Tag Archives | ginger

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

Asparagus – for salad, side or super quick lunch

It’s here, it’s here! Asparagus season is here!

Our farmers market moved outside earlier this month and beautiful asparagus was on display at several stands. I was like a kid in a candy store (or, more accurately, a food nut at the farmers market) and dove right in picking out two big bunches. A few shoppers may have seen me skipping back to my car….

If you haven’t brought asparagus into your kitchen yet you MUST pick some up right away. Asparagus is a super special veggie with a pretty short-lived season so it’s now or never my friend! If you live in California you may have seen these beautiful green spears as early as February and will enjoy them at least until June or July. In the colder east coast our season is from May until July. Local, in season asparagus is tender, crisp and juicy and can even be eaten raw. If you remember it as tough and stringy you likely got asparagus at the grocery store which flew in from a faraway land. Not good! Check out your farmers market and get your local asparagus today!

As I mentioned, asparagus is a super special veggie – let me tell you what I mean. Asparagus is a great source of inulin, a substance that is not digested in the stomach. Instead, it makes it’s way to our large intestines where it supports the growth of good bacteria. By helping out those good guys we support healthier digestion, improve nutrient absorption, and can lower the risk of colon cancer. Plus, asparagus is loaded in vitamin K, important for bone health and blood clotting and vitamin B1 for proper energy production and nerve health.

Listen up ladies! Asparagus is rich in folate. That important nutrient that you need to load up on if you’re pregnant. Get it in!

If the health benefits don’t have you convinced, let me leave you with this. Asparagus is one of the easiest veggies to prepare. With about 5 strokes of your knife, a hot pan and some healthy fat you’ve got a fantastic side dish in 5 minutes. Yeah, I’m a sucker for convenience too!

When I got home from the market I stared at my two bunches of asparagus on the kitchen counter and thought, “this sure is A LOT of asparagus for two people!” So, I decided to create a dish that could be eaten hot or cold so I could easily eat it as a quick lunch. What resulted was a delicious spring dish that could be served as a vegetable side, a room temperature salad or a grab and go lunch. Win, win, win!

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Asparagus and Bean Salad with Lemon Ginger Aioli 

Serves 3-4

Ingredients
½ tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon shallot (you can also use a yellow onion)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 bunch asparagus, about ½ pound, cut into pinky finger length pieces
1 cup chickpeas (rinsed and drained if canned)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon tarragon (or other fresh herbs you have on hand)
1 teaspoon parsley
sea salt
freshly grated lemon zest (from organic lemon!)

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot (if using) and sauté, stirring occasionally 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften and become translucent. Lower heat if shallot begins to brown.
  2. Stir in coriander and sauté about 1 minute more until the spice becomes fragrant.
  3. Add asparagus pieces and stir until well combined with the shallot and coriander. Cook the asparagus, stirring occasionally, for a total of about 4-5 minutes until it just starts to become bright green. Add the chickpeas and stir until well combined. Cook about 3-4 minutes more until the chickpeas are cooked through and the asparagus is green and still has crunch.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice, tarragon and parsley. Season with sea salt to taste. The lemon juice should release any yummy bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Put asparagus and bean salad in a serving bowl and garnish with lemon zest. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: This salad is perfect warm, room temperature or cold as a leftover for lunch. It can also be combined with a grain like wild rice or quinoa to extend it or make a heartier meal. Also delicious with tuna, topped with a soft boiled egg or added to a homemade broth for soup. When asparagus is out of season substitute in another veggie like broccoli, summer squash or turnips. To make it even snazzier you can finish it off with toasted hazelnuts or almond slivers!

Inspired by Wild Apple Magazine

Lemon Ginger Aioli

Ingredients
½ cup cashews, soaked in water 2-6 hours
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon white miso paste
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
3-4 tablespoons water
sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a blender combine cashews, ginger, lemon juice, miso paste, flaxseed oil and 2 tablespoons of the water. Blend until well combined. Add more of the water and blend again if it needs to be thinned out more. You can adjust the consistency to your liking my adding more or less water.
  2. Taste and add sea salt to taste. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: You can easily adjust the seasoning of this dressing by using other ingredients such as toasted sesame oil instead of the flaxseed oil or tamari instead of salt. If you don’t have cashews or forgot to soak them you can use the same amount of tahini in place of the cashews.

Serve the aioli dressing alongside the asparagus bean salad so everyone can add the right amount to their liking. Store the aioli in a glass container for 3-5 days.

Inspired by Heather Crosby, YumUniverse.com

 

Comments { 1 } · Posted on May 21, 2014 in Healthy Recipes

Gingered Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

I typically serve a big salad with every dinner. We skip salad plates and usually just eat it right out of a big ceramic salad bowl we received as a wedding gift. It’s become such a habit that I always forget to give dinner guests salad plates and I have to stop myself from diving fork-first into the bowl. You know your friends are considered family when they are invited to eat directly out of your salad bowl.

Yes, we keep it classy on the homestead!

Since delicate greens aren’t quite in season yet I’ve been relying on heartier veggies to create fresh and crunchy salad concoctions. Using things like cabbage, carrots, fennel and Brussels sprouts as bases for salads means salad leftover end up being lunch the next day instead of compost. I made this Gingered Cabbage and Carrot Slaw on a Friday and we ate from it the rest of the weekend! Plus, using your food processor saves a ton of time and your knuckles will be happy that they are not coming into contact with the box grater. THAT is never a good thing!

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Gingered Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

Ingredients

For the salad
handful of parsley
2 medium carrots, peeled
1/4 of a head of green cabbage, cut in half
1/2 an apple, chopped

For the dressing
Juice of 1 lemon (lime juice would work too)
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional, depends on how sour you like it)
1 drop DoTERRA ginger essential oil (you can also finely grate fresh ginger, use about 1/2 tablespoon and add more if needed)
salt and pepper to taste
drizzle of organic extra virgin olive oil (about 2 teaspoons)

Instructions

    1. Add the parsley to the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. You don’t have to remove the parsley from the food processor. You’re basically going to build your salad in the food processor. Add grating insert and the grate carrots. Then, remove the grating insert and replace with the slicing insert. Slice the cabbage into the carrots and parsley.
    2. Put the prepared vegetables into your serving bowl and add the apples. Toss until well combined and set aside.
    3. In a small bowl mix the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar (if using), ginger and a generous pinch of salt. Whisk until well combined and pour over the slaw. Mix the slaw until well coated. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. The salt and acid will help soften the cabbage a bit and draw out some of the water. Shortly before serving drizzle the olive oil on top and add some freshly grated pepper. Toss and serve. Enjoy!

Are you on Facebook? Then make sure you are a Home Cooked Healing fan! All fans will be entered in the Sassy Saltbox Giveaway. Drawing will take place April, 1 2014!

Comments { 0 } · Posted on March 18, 2014 in General, Healthy Recipes

Sautéed Bok Choy with Garlic and Ginger

Bok choy has got it all! It has a deliciously sweet and mild taste. Its leaves are tender while its stalks provide a satisfying crunch. Plus, it cooks up quickly! It is most often used in Asian soups and stir-fries but can also be added to salads or served on it’s own as a fantastic side dish. Being part of the cabbage family it is of course also packed with amazing nutrients that are beneficial for your health

Here are 3 reasons to bring this tasty green home today!

Lower Blood Pressure Naturally: Bok choy is packed with potassium and calcium, both of which help to lower blood pressure.
Your Antioxidant Ally: This veggie is loaded in antioxidant vitamins A and C. One cup of cooked bok choy provides more than 100% of the RDA of vitamin A and almost two-thirds the RDA vitamin C.
Dynamic Digestion: Bok choy is a good source of fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive system. Fiber also helps manage weight, balance blood sugar and helps eliminate toxins.

The farmers market is abundant with bok choy this time of year. Stop by the market this afternoon between 3 and 7 to pick up a few bunches. Then, stop by the demo tent to see me make this recipe so you’ll be ready to hit the kitchen when you get home!

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Sautéed Bok Choy with Garlic and Ginger

Serves 4

Ingredients
½ tablespoon coconut oil
2 bunches bok choy
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoon tamari
drizzle of toasted sesame oil
salt to taste
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the bok choy by cutting the stalk parts from the leaves. Slice the stalks at an angle into 1-inch pieces. Layer the leaves on top of each other, roll up tightly and slice into 1-inch strips. Place stalks and leaves in separate bowls.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the stalks with a pinch of salt about 3-4 minutes, until they start to become translucent and tender. Add garlic and ginger and give a good stir to combine.
  3. Add the leaves to the pan and toss well so everything is combined. Sauté the leaves about 1 minute until they begin to wilt lightly. Add tamari and toasted sesame oil. Heat through about 1 more minute. Taste and add more tamari, sesame oil or salt as necessary. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: You can serve this as a side dish alongside chicken or fish. It’s also delicious mixed with brown rice and topped with a fried egg for a quick and simple dinner.

Comments { 0 } · Posted on May 22, 2013 in Healthy Recipes