One thing I adore about our lovely Yellow City is the relationships I have built with other local businesses. What better time to make those connections and feel that love than the upcoming holiday season? 

We all have our favorite bakeries to visit for Saturday brunch or watering holes we frequent for that five o’clock cocktail after a long day at work. To be recognized and acknowledged as a friend when you walk in—to have them call your name from behind the counter as if you’ve been missed since they last saw you—gives us all a bit of the warm fuzzies. You love their product or service, and they love to see your face. For me, one of these kinds of local businesses is SALT Spices and Specialties

In October, I created a delightful plant-forward dinner for Panhandle PBS’s Savor the Goods series. Tucker, the owner of SALT, helped me design a gorgeous Italian blend seasoning that I used in one of the dishes I served. It complemented each element of the dish and gave it extra razzle-dazzle. Tucker’s willingness to work with me on the flavor profile I desired spoke volumes. It’s that attention to customer detail that sent me back this month for yet another blend I craved: chai spice. 

Composed of the familiar autumn scents of cinnamon, cardamom, clove and nutmeg, a chai spice blend is the perfect addition to a cup of joe, muffins, pecan pie or breakfast smoothies. The benefits of adding chai spice into your daily routine: It can boost your mood and calm inflammation. And we can certainly use all the help we can get during the busiest time of the year! 

Here are two of my favorite ways to use Chai Spice blend. 

Morning Chai Coffee
1 cup brewed black coffee 
½ teaspoon SALT Spice and Specialties Chai Spice blend 
2 tablespoons of your favorite creamer 
1 drop vanilla extract 
Sugar (optional) 

Stir to combine and enjoy. 

Makes 1 serving

Chai Breakfast Smoothie
1 cup oat (or whole) milk 
1 cup frozen bananas 
2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons almond butter 
2 scoops vanilla protein powder 
2 dates, pits removed 
1 to 2 teaspoons SALT Spice and Specialties Chai Spice blend 
1 cup ice cubes 

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. For a thinner consistency, add more milk.

Makes 2 servings


  • Ruthie Martinez

    Ruthie owns Black Fig Food catering and is proprietor of the online cooking platform Elevated Plant Plate. Learn more at and