Spice Up Your Winter, Baby it’s Cold Outside!

These recipes are great for those who want a little spice with not a ton of heat, and you want to try something new! All spices are ground fresh from our vendor with no additives, and we have an “open and sniff” policy, so come check it out!

Harissa Spice Mix Marinade

The classic Moroccan seasoning Harissa is a spicy red blend of chilis, cumin, and garlic that complements a wide variety of foods. Harissa can be used in rice, couscous, soups, salads, vegetables, stews, kabobs and even on sandwiches instead of mustard. You can make a traditional Harissa paste by mixing the blend with chopped garlic and olive oil, as below.


Harissa Spice Mix

Recipe provided by M&K Food Shop. They currently have a delicious Turkish beef and veggie Harissa shish kabobs over Turkish rice, and it’s amazing! It’s available today and the week of December 13-17!

1 cup greek yogurt (vegan substitute- vegan sour cream)

1 tbs Harissa Spice Mix

¾ tsp garlic granules

1 tsp lemon juice

Olive oil- enough to thin the paste

Salt and pepper to taste

Blend together to form a paste, or a thin marinade. If using as a paste, toss your choice of protein (steak, chicken, tofu, etc) in paste to coat, and cook accordingly. If using as a marinade, marinate for 6-8 hours, then cook.  


Chocolate Chili Flourless Cake

Urfa chilies are a fairly mild chili named after Urfa, located in Turkey where they are grown. Urfa has a rich earthy flavor, an aroma of tobacco and smoke, raisins, and chocolate.  Urfa is typically used when preparing meat for cooking, but can be used by sprinkling on pastas, pizzas, and salads, and pairs especially well with chocolate!


Urfa Chili

Flourless Chocolate Cake


4 oz bittersweet chocolate chips

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

¾ cup sugar

3 large eggs

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper, and butter paper.

In a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler, or bowl, from heat.  Wipe outside of bowl dry. Whisk in sugar, and add eggs while whisking. Sift ½ cup cocoa powder into the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven for 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Top with ganache, dust additional cocoa powder on top if desired.

Chili Chocolate Ganache Topping:


7 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

¾ cup whipping cream

Splash of Dark Rum (optional)

2 tsp-2 tbs Urfa Biber Chili


Heat the cream in a double boiler or in a metal bowl over a barely simmering pan of water.  Heat until it starts to steam and is warm to the touch, DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat, wipe outside of bowl dry, add chocolate and stir until smooth.  Add splash of rum (optional), stir into the chocolate sauce. Stir in Urfa Chili to taste, or alternatively, sprinkle the Urfa Chili over the top of the ganache once it is spread onto the cake, or offer in a bowl to guests as a condiment. Pour the ganache over your Flourless Chocolate Cake and spread smoothly and evenly. This can also be used over cupcakes, strawberries, or another favorite dessert!


Urfa Chili Chocolate Cake

Spice, Spice Baby and Smoked Paprika Potato Soup


By The Sultana of Spice Carrie

Queenpin Herb Shop has OPENED and not only do we carry a large selection of herbs, we also have spices! Freshly ground from our vendor, these spices will knock your socks off!

We have 3 different types of paprika, lots of different chili powders, and several blends. We also have an “open and sniff” policy, so come experience the aromas!

We will be sharing recipes on a regular basis. For your weekend, a simple delicious soup featuring Smoked Paprika (we have Hot and Sweet Smoked Paprika):

Smoked Paprika Sweet Potato Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (roughly 4 cups)
1 pear, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (roughly 1 cup)
3 1/2 to 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
Blue cheese, garnish
coarsely chopped pecans, garnish

Heat a pot over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, then shallots; saute until shallots are fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in sweet potatoes, pears, 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth, the smoked paprika, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, 15 to 18 minutes.
Use an immersion blender (or transfer soup to a standard blender) and puree until smooth. Add more vegetable broth, if you prefer a thinner soup. Stir in heavy cream. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Divide soup into two bowls. Top with crumbled blue cheese, pecans and freshly ground black pepper.queenpin-herb-shop-logo

Let’s Start a Self-Love Rebellion


A few months ago I saw this quote posted on Facebook: In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act. It hit me in the gut. Not only because I’m a rebel at heart, but because that simple statement is so dang true. I quickly Googled the source and found New York Artist Caroline Caldwell had Tweeted this genius statement of face slapping truth in February 2016

sl_rebellionThe statement hit me so hard that I immediately decided that Queenpin Family Wellness has to start a Self-Love Rebellion. We actually have already started it, all of our workshops and retreats are geared to this very topic, but it didn’t have a name. I couldn’t put my finger on what I was noticing in almost every patient that enters my clinic. This low hum of self-despair.

Daily I see patients suffering from self-doubt, self-deprecation, and just plain feelings-of-not-rightness, never-enoughness. And it is not just women. It is men too. The onslaught of information we are receiving every minute about how we need to be other than what we are is poisoning our minds against us. We are constantly striving to be different than what we are at the present moment because we are being told that it is not enough, when actually we are. Right as we are at this very moment, we are enough.

And honestly, if we aren’t “right” in this moment, the changes we have to do to be enough take about 10 seconds, not millions of dollars, and hours of time. TEN SECONDS. That’s it.

Wanna do something subversive? Wanna be a rebel and love yourself in ten seconds? Pick the one that’s right for you. Try it. If you don’t think you’re awesome right after. Do something else. We’re all made differently. One size does not fit all.dsc_0039



Take 5 deep breaths – deep in the belly – root yourself

Stand up straight and throw your shoulders back

Give yourself a pep talk in an accent (I prefer a French Accent)

Write I love you on yourself with washable marker

Be kind to someone

Do a push up or as many as you can (I’m a one and done-er)


List 5 things you do well

Think of someone who loves you exactly as you are

Do a yoga move

Kiss your shoulder

Pat yourself and tell yourself you are doing an awesome job at humanness

Curl those arms up and kiss your guns (biceps)


REPEAT AS NEEDED Continue the subversion by creating your own simple ways to treat yourself right. Start to compliment others loudly, often, and for things besides looks: “You know friend, I love the way you hum absent-mindedly while you work. You are always on key.” Or, “You are always on time. That is great trait.” By helping someone like themselves you are being a total rebel badass!

And join our Self-Love Rebellion by not buying into the fact that you aren’t exactly as you should be right now. Spread the word. Speak out. Love yourself without apology.

Want a little community for your Self-Love Rebellion? Join Queenpin Family Wellness and Girls Rock Roanoke on November 2nd for the FREE screening of Embrace a movie about learning to love yourself with all your curves and edges.





Acupuncture and Cupping Are Just Like Gravity

I have developed a pat answer when people ask me, “The patient has to believe in acupuncture for it to work, right?”

I smile, because I understand why people ask this question. Acupuncture has not yet become mainstream in our culture, and the idea of using small needles to treat big issues seems a little like something you’d only read about in science fiction. So I don’t get angry, I reply, “Acupuncture is just like gravity. You don’t have to believe in it for it to work.”FullSizeRender (41)


Recently I read an article discussing cupping at the Olympics. There were many theories presented about how and why cupping works. One of the theories put forth stated the only reason cupping works is the placebo effect. The placebo effect is when something seems to work just because a patient believes it does. Think sugar pills treating heartburn.


View More: http://melissamesko.pass.us/queenpin2016I see cupping work everyday. Does it help every patient? No. Is it for every patient? No. Does it only work on the patients that believe? No. Do I need to spend my days convincing people why it works? No, I don’t. As an acupuncturist I just need to treat my patients knowing that this medicine can heal.


The mystery of the placebo effect has baffled scientist for years because it doesn’t follow the rules of scientific study, but you know humans, we’ve got to try to figure this out. The placebo effect is so effective in clinical trials that several Harvard-affiliated hospitals created the Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter (PiPS), headquartered at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.


They have found that neurologically just believing that something is going to make yoView More: http://melissamesko.pass.us/queenpin2016u feel better triggers the reward centers of your brain to release dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter in our brains. The belief makes us happier, happier patients heal faster.

I know why acupuncture works, I know why cupping works. I understand the biology of it, I understand the Chinese medical theory behind it. Some of my patients want to hear all the details, but most don’t. They just come week after week until they feel better and then they stop in for maintenance when they need it. That’s when they realize it doesn’t matter why. It just matters that they feel better.

And I’ll continue to treat the skeptics, because one my favorite things to do as an acupuncturist is to gently insert two or three needles in a skeptic’s ankle, (though they’ve come in for neck pain), and say, “Move your neck for me….now where do you feel the pain now?” The look of surprise on their face is priceless as they realize their pain in gone.



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