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Gallons of Vanilla and Buckets of Cinnamon

In the olden days, when my first mother-in-law, who I loved, was decluttering her kitchen cupboards, she thoughtfully brought me the decades-old spices she had never been able to use up, assuring me that spices don't go bad. I dutifully found space in my own cluttered cupboards for them. She may have been right, but I'll never really know because there comes a point when it doesn't matter what's inside the aged plastic container. It's simply time to give it landfill wings.

The average home baker buys spices in pretty sane quantities; an ounce here, point seven ounces there. I started small, too, scanning the seasoning and spice shelves at Walmart looking for ground cinnamon and nutmeg for the holiday baking. Of course, I was always appropriately appalled by the heart-clutching prices and teeny weeny containers of the McCormick spices compared to Walmart's more budget friendly options. I grumbled all the way to the checkout and again when I was putting away the groceries if I was ever forced to pay an "arm and a leg" for a thimble sized jar of spice. Highway robbery, it was!

When I started baking and selling from home I got greedy. I loved to shop at our

membership-free local restaurant supply store, Smart and Final; the sizes of THOSE containers! I couldn't afford much in the way of traditional shopping therapy back in the day, but how easy it was to rationalize ingredients! They were just groceries, after all. I could make MONEY with this kind of shopping. When I brought home my first commercial-sized tub of ground cinnamon I hid it from my then-husband. It's easy to sneak in little stuff and let it blend in, but when you're buying ground cinnamon by the pound it gets dicey. It kind of makes a dent in your grocery budget, too. Boy! I felt like a rebel baking queen, though, scooping out that cinnamon. I thought I'd never have to buy it again!


In the last few months, not only have I gone through pounds of cinnamon, but I actually finished off a GALLON of vanilla; a GALLON! I guess when you measure by the quarter cup instead of a teaspoon or a tablespoon it goes a bit faster. But my little homemaker self, who once snuck a tub of cinnamon into the house, cannot really wrap my head around the changes and the growth that I have been blessed with in the last year. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you have the  the skills, passion, and the right cheerleader; one that says, "BUY MORE CINNAMON!"

(Thank you, honey)

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