Tag Archives | cinnamon

Six Ways to Spice Up Your Health

I don’t know about you, but November totally snuck up on me!

It seems like Mister Wes and I were JUST getting started grilling and having dinners on the deck. 

But, I’m not really that upset about it. There is something refreshing and comforting about bundling up in sweaters and scarves, inhaling the cool air and sipping on warming soups.

(I know, I know….I might feel differently about it when we’re knee-high in snow drifts! For now, just let me remain positive.)

Fall is the perfect time to bring out warming spices for cool weather drinks and dishes. From homemade hot chocolate to pumpkin spice muffins, there are certain spices that pair perfectly with the crisp leaves and shorter days of autumn.

Is there anything better than oatmeal with cinnamon or a little cayenne in your hot cocoa?

However, spices can do so much more than just enhance the flavor of your food – they can also enhance your health. Head on over to the blog to check out my six favorite fall spices to enjoy amazing flavors and incredible health benefits!

CINNAMON is a powerful antioxidant that can improve insulin response and help keep blood sugar under control. Research shows that eating half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily reduces risk factors for diabetes and heart disease within six weeks.

How to use it: Cinnamon is commonly used in oatmeal and other breakfast foods. But, it pairs well with savory dishes as well like fall squashes, lamb and chicken. Search for Moroccan recipes, which frequently use cinnamon.
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NUTMEG contains antibacterial compounds that can help fight germs in your mouth. The primary substance is macelignan, which reduces plaque formation by 50 percent and eradicates cavity-producing microbes, according to Italian researchers.

How to use it: Nutmeg pairs well with winter squashes, leafy greens as well as yogurt. Try it in coffee or homemade hot chocolate.
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GINGER is known for it’s ability to calm upset stomach and relieve nausea, but it has also been shown to help decrease pain. Gingerol, a chemical in ginger, is thought to reduce inflammation and block nerve pathways that process pain.

How to use it: Ginger is a great addition to stir-fries, cabbage slaws and in pureed pumpkin soup.
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TURMERIC, also found in curry powders, is given its bright yellow color by curcumin. This powerful substance is getting a lot of attention in the scientific community for it’s potential anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

How to use it: Curry and turmeric are essential for Indian curry dishes. You can also add turmeric to sautéed leafy greens, or blend it with honey and add it to hot water for a refreshing hot drink.
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CAYENNE helps crank up your body’s thermostat by giving your metabolism a nice boost, thanks to the substance capsaicin. On a side note, use a sprinkle of cayenne on a cut to staunch bleeding. Surprisingly, this does not sting as you might expect!

How to use it: A small amount of cayenne doesn’t add spice as much as it adds just a touch of heat to dishes. If you are a fast eater, adding just a small pinch of cayenne can help slow you down. Cayenne is perfect for chili or on roasted winter squash.
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CUMIN can provide up to 22 percent of your daily iron intake in just one tablespoon. Preliminary research has also shown that this spice can boost your brainpower: in an animal study, consuming cumin extract was shown to improve performance on memory tests.

How to use it: Cumin is used in Indian, Mexican and Spanish dishes. You can use it already ground, or toast the seeds for a stronger flavor. From black beans and rice to Indian curry, cumin is an all around spice that can be used in a variety of ways.

Comments { 2 } · Posted on November 10, 2015 in General

Apples – from doctors to dessert

The old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” sounds like an overused and antiquated saying. But, don’t dismiss this incredible fall fruit so quickly! Pennsylvania apple growers produce approximately 440 million pounds of apples each year, making us the 4th largest apple producer in the country. There’s no reason to not be meeting your daily apple quota.

Apples are a rich source of pectin, a type of fiber found in fruits, that can help lower cholesterol, promote beneficial intestinal flora, and support normal colon function. They are also high in quercetin and other antioxidant flavonoids that can help protect you from cancer, heart disease, and asthma. Apples pack a punch in vitamin C, making them an ideal food to support your immune system as we head into the colder months. Sure puts that old saying into perspective, doesn’t it?

When eating apples or any other fruit it is a good idea to pair it with some form of fat. This will help keep your blood sugar stable and makes it a more satisfying meal. Almond and peanut butter, a handful of raw nuts, cheese or yogurt are all great additions to any fruit.

I always have apples in my fruit bowl at home. Not only are they a perfect on-the-go snack, but they can be added to everything from soups to salads. A slice of crisp apple on a sandwich can also be a nice addition.

And then there is dessert! Apples are great baked in the oven, in pies and crisps. However, sometimes we want a sweet treat without turning on the oven and dealing with 50 ingredients. Not to mention all the clean up! This weeks’ recipe is a “jack of all trades”. You can use it as a delicious dessert, a quick midday snack and it’s even perfect for breakfast. That’s right! Serve this dessert for breakfast and your kids will never leave hungry for school again!

One delicious way to serve this recipe is with some homemade granola. I make big batches of granola every few weeks and Mr. Wes eats it by the handfuls. So, not wanting to leave you high and dry I’ve included my granola recipe below for you. Enjoy!

Sautéed Cinnamon Apples with Maple Yogurt and Chopped Nuts

Ingredients

½ tablespoon organic butter
2 medium apples, chopped
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup plain organic yogurt
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
drizzle of vanilla extract
handful of chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds and pecans are great)

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan heat the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped apples and cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the apples and stir until well combined. Divide the apples into 4 serving bowls.
  3. In a medium bowl mix the yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla. Spoon the maple yogurt over the apples and top with chopped nuts or granola. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: You can make the apples ahead of time and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. Add them to your morning oatmeal or granola.

Maple Granola with Nuts and Seeds

Ingredients

4 cups rolls oats (aka old fashioned oats. If you are gluten free pick up the gluten free oats from Bob’s Red Mill)
2 cups crispy brown rice cereal (Erewhon is a good brand. Often found in the gluten free section of the grocery store)
1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup chopped almonds
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup apple sauce
½ cup real maple syrup (can also use ¼ cup brown rice syrup and ¼ cup maple syrup)
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. In a large bowl mix together all dry ingredients. In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together the applesauce, syrup, molasses and vanilla extract.
  3. Pour wet mixture over dry and mix until everything is well coated.
  4. Transfer mixture to two large baking sheets and spread out evenly.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes and then give the granola a little stir. Often the pieces on the outside of the sheet brown faster. Bake for another 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before putting into jars. It will not be totally crunchy when you take it out of the oven. That happens as it cools and dries.
  6. Add the raisins to each pan and toss until well combined. Store your granola in jars in your pantry. Enjoy!

Variations: Experiment with your own mix of nuts, seeds and spices. Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, sunflower and sesame seeds are all great additions. You can also add more cinnamon or sweetners if you prefer. You can also use cooked canned pumpkin in place of the applesauce. Just be sure the only ingredient is pumpkin and it doesn’t have added sugars, spices or flavorings.

Comments { 1 } · Posted on September 5, 2013 in Healthy Recipes