If you want to add some healthy new flavours to your meals, it’s time to move beyond your salt and pepper shakers. There’s an entire world’s worth of herbs and spices out there for you to try, and they’re full of flavour and nutritional benefits. Many of these spices instantly bring to mind a particular part of the world or type of cuisine, – lemongrass goes well with Thai food and curry powder goes well with Indian cuisine. But that doesn’t mean that you can only use these spices for their authentic dishes. Have fun exploring the many different, innovative dishes that you can create using spices and let your taste buds be your tour guide as you experiment with new tastes in the kitchen.
With the many options of herbs and spices that there are to choose from, make sure your spice rack is stocked with these six essential and healthy ingredients to get started:
Health benefits: Turmeric is a concentrated source of anti-inflammatory properties (curcumin) are shown to promote liver function and heart health.
Nutritional benefits: Turmeric is rich in iron and manganese, fibre, B6, and potassium, and is the highest known source of beta carotene. The bright yellow pigment of this spice might have a role in halting the development of colon cancer.
How to use it: Add turmeric to salad dressings, mix it into brown rice, add some extra turmeric into curry for even more flavour, and add it to lentils or Indian-themed dishes.
Health benefits: Cumin soothes the digestive system, improves liver function, helps you absorb nutrients from other foods, and relieves abdominal bloating, gas and colic as well as digestive-related migraines and headaches.
Nutritional benefits: Cumin is a good source of iron and helps to stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes.
How to use it: Add this spice to black pepper and honey to flavour vegetables, boil the seeds for a warming tea, add it to legumes for spice and flavour, add it to brown rice with apricots and almonds, add it to sautéed vegetables, and use it in dips, pilafs, and soups.
Health benefits: Parsley contains volatile oils that have been shown to inhibit tumour formation, and has flavonoids that function as antioxidants that prevent oxygen-based damage to cells.
Nutritional benefits: Parsley is loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium fibre, vitamins E and C, manganese, and tryptophan. This herb is medicinal for the stomach, treats anemia and rheumatism, promotes lactation, and helps contract the uterus.
How to use it: Use parsley in tabbouleh, chop and sprinkle on top of soup, and you can use it to make pesto.
Health benefits:Cinnamon blocks inflammation and bacterial growth, as well as helps to regulate blood sugar.
Nutritional benefits: Cinnamon is a source of calcium, manganese, dietary fibre, and iron. It helps to increase digestive fluid secretion and relieve intestinal gas. This spice counteracts congestion and aids blood circulation, and its aroma relieves tension and helps steady the nerves
How to use it: Sprinkle cinnamon on toast with honey, add it to warmed rice milk with honey, add it to water when cooking quinoa, or add it to black beans for burritos or nachos.
Health benefits: Ginger soothes the stomach and reduces nausea, as well as relaxes the intestinal tract and reduces gas. Ginger prevents motion sickness (especially seasickness) as well as reduces nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It contains anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which is why people with arthritis may experience reduced pain and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly.
Nutritional benefits: Ginger contains a source of magnesium, B6, potassium, manganese, and copper. By increasing circulation, ginger helps you cleanse through the skin, bowels and kidneys. It is anti-inflammatory and helps destroy many intestinal parasites.
How to use it: Add ginger to vegetables, use it to make ginger lemonade, add it to rice dishes with sesame seeds and strips of nori, combine it with tamari, sesame oil and garlic to make a delicious salad dressing, or add it to sautéed vegetables.
Health benefits: The volatile oils in oregano can inhibit the growth of bacteria. The numerous phytonutrients found in this herb are antioxidants that can prevent oxygen-based damage to the cell structures. On a per gram, fresh-weight basis, oregano has demonstrated 42 times more antioxidant capacity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and four times more than blueberries.
Nutritional benefits: Oregano is a source of fibre, iron, manganese, calcium, vitamins C and A, and omega-3 fatty acids
How to use it: Garnish pizza with fresh oregano, add the nutritious herb to sautéed mushrooms and onions, add a few fresh sprigs to a container of olive oil to infuse it, or add it to omelettes.
This article was originally featured on Chatelaine.
You are hearing it every where, gluten free this, gluten free that! You may not even really know what it means, but you want to learn more. For many, this is a way of life as so much of the population has been diagnosed with Celiac disease. This very common condition means the body is unable to breakdown the protein gluten, and these individuals must avoid gluten for the rest of their life. Now this is not a curse, this is actually a wonderful way to live as gluten free eating and living can be fun and innovative.
It’s important to understand that this is not a trend or the latest fad diet, it is a serious way of living and some have no choice. However if you are making the choice to eat this way for health or digestive reasons, I must warn you, there are a lot of claims for gluten free products that may not have even contain gluten to begin with. Then there are gluten free products that are made with processed or poor ingredients like: canola oil, sugar, potato starch, corn starch and other overly processed non-health promoting additives. This is a common mistake that people make when “going gluten free”. They think that anything labelled as gluten free is healthy and safe to eat. There can also be traces of milk, butter or eggs in some of these items which is used to replace to gluten to give them their softness and texture, so if you are vegan, you want to be sure to double check your ingredients list.
Now of course where I come from and my standpoint on gluten free eating, is of course to keep it as natural and wholesome as you can. You can even make soft moist muffins with out dairy! (See the delicious recipe below) Now, I do not have celiac disease, nor am I intolerant to gluten, but I do choose to eat a gluten free diet most of the time. Eating gluten free means that you are ultimately making it really easy for your body to digest (less bloating) and break down that particular grain. What’s even better; is that most gluten free grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth, and brown rice happen to be really good for you nutritionally as they are loaded with protein, fiber and essential vitamins.
So be mindful, and explore the world of gluten free with these tips in mind. Keep it natural, keep it clean and your belly will not only feel less bloated but you will also get the chance to explore some wonderful new ingredients!
To find out more on gluten free grains and Celiac disease please read this article.
The good news!
There are lots of incredible foods to choose from that are natural and gluten free including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Then of course, you can add some amazing gluten free grains while keeping your meals totally pure and natural. You can get breads, pastas, crackers, cookies and other favourites made from real ingredients that are tasty and wholesome – many of which are vegan and sometimes even nut free. Just be sure to practise label-reading so you can become an amazing gluten-free shopper.
Below is my guide to living an exceptionally delicious gluten free lifestyle whether it’s all of the time or sometimes!
Join me on November 19th for our GOURMET and GLUTEN FREE class. We will be cooking up some incredible dishes like pesto pasta, veggie stir fry, carrot soup, and delicious cookies – all without gluten and full of flavour!
Gluten Free Find – a great resource for all things gluten free, from products, to upcoming events, workshops and so much more!
On November 11th, which happens to be my birthday there will be an incredible Gluten Free Garage event in Toronto taking place at the Wychwood Barns.
Some of my Favourite GF Products
Little Steam Bakery Bread
Food For Life
Sweets from the Earth
Raw Foodz Dressings
Sun Warrior Protein
Ruth’s Hemp Foods
Gluten Free Restaurant & Cafe’s I love (In Toronto)!
Live Food Bar
The Naked Sprout
Please share more restaurants that you love below, whether in Toronto or wherever you live. The more resources we can provide people the better!
Now you’ve got to try these Yummy…
Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Chia Muffins
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup applesauce + 1 tbsp ground chia (instead of egg)
1/2 cup rice milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp whole chia seeds
1 honey crisp apple, chopped into cubes
How it’s made:
Preheat oven to 350F
1. Mix brown rice flour, almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt in a large bowl
2. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce + chia, rice milk maple syrup, coconut oil, chia seeds and chopped apple and stir together
3. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until well combined. Spoon the mixture into a muffin tray.
4. Bake for 15 -20 minutes at 350F.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for several minutes.
Makes approximately 8 muffins.
When it comes to whole grains, I feel like Kamut or better known as khorasan always gets the pushover. It is all about whole wheat, rye and even spelt gets the spotlight more than Kamut does. I even notice that I use spelt most of the time in my recipes (unless it’s gluten free). There is nothing wrong with spelt, don’t get me wrong. But there is something very special about Kamut and it is time it gets some attention! In fact before I go on, something very interesting that I just learned and would like to share is that Kamut is not actually the name of the wheat variety, it is the brand name. khorasan is actually the name of the grain that we know to be Kamut. Interesting fact..huh! Or maybe you already knew that. You can still refer to that grain as Kamut, because the grain has been trademarked under that name!
But here is a little more info directly from the source:
KAMUT® is the name of the BRAND, not the wheat. One of the biggest misconceptions about KAMUT® Khorasan Wheat is that the name “Kamut” refers to the type of wheat, while in fact, KAMUT® is the branded name. Bob Quinn, Founder of Kamut International, wanted to assure the quality of the organic, heirloom grain, khorasan wheat. Under the brand KAMUT®, consumers know they can trust this wheat will always be grown certified organic, will always be non-GMO, and will never be altered or modified. KAMUT® brand khorasan wheat is grown under strict production guidelines and every field is tested for high quality standards. Go to http://www.kamut.com/en/trademark.html for more information about this like how “KAMUT” was picked as the name!
The reason why most people don’t use whole grains or unknown varieties is because people are just not informed. It doesn’t mean they don’t like it, they just don’t know. Once they taste it, it surely gets the seal of approval!
Kamut has a whole host of health benefits. Not only does this whole grain provide our body with complex “slow burning” carbohydrates but it is also high in fiber and other nutrients. Kamut in particular is considered a high energy food that is also high in protein and doesn’t cause the same kinds of problems that whole wheat does in our body in terms of gas, bloating, pain and cramping. (The same goes for Spelt, Barley, Rye and Oats they are all very similar). Individuals who are even intolerant to wheat, do very well on Kamut (but not if you have Celiac Disease). It is high in antioxidants, easy to digest and overall causes less allergic reactions and over all discomfort. However if you are gluten intolerant of have Celiac – then you would stay away from Kamut and the above listed grains all together and go for grains like quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, milled and brown rice.
Recently I have been experimenting with some different brands of Kamut flour but my latest favourite is from Grainstorm, a local Toronto company that specializes in hand milled fresh grains. I picked up a bag at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago and have been experimenting ever since. The good thing to know is that Kamut can replace whole wheat flour in equal amounts in any recipe. You will get a grainier, chewier richer texture with Kamut. you will be pleasantly surprised and you can actually taste the difference!
One of my favourite muffins to make this time of year is Carrot Ginger – they are like mini bites of carrot cake. So good!
Approx. 4 mini muffins equals 2 regular size muffins, but it’s hard to keep track they
they are this small!!
Spiced Carrot Ginger Muffins
What’s in it?
2 cups whole grain Kamut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I like to use a lot!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup vanilla rice milk
2 organic eggs or 2 tbsp ground flax soaked with 6 tbsp water
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons grapeseed or coconut oil
2 medium carrots, grated
1-2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1 cup raisins
What You do!
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Mix dry ingredient
- Add wet ingredients (along with raisins, carrots and ginger)
- Stir until combined
- Pour into mini muffin cup trays (makes approx 36 muffins)
- Bake for 12-15 minutes
For full size muffins- Bake for 20-24 minutes (makes approx 18 muffins)
Have you tried Kamut?
In what or how?
Just the word Apple Cider makes you feel all warm and cozy, especially this time of year. But apple cider doesn’t just mean a delicious drink that you sip on that is pipping hot, it also includes a nutritious wonderful vinegar that has more health benefits than I can keep track of! Both are pure extracts from organic apples that produce incredible products for our health, appetite and enjoyment!
Apple Cider Vinegar:
There are many varieties out there, so I am going to help the confusion and direct you to Filsingers which is a local Canadian brand. They have the purest products I have ever tasted. Their vinegar is fresh, pure unpasteurized and unfiltered. Which means nothing has been done to it along the process. You are getting their own certified organic apples, which are pressed and aged without preservatives or additives. In case you didn’t know this Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for centuries to help with a variety of ailments because if it’s powerful cleansing qualities. Apple cider vinegar is a naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic.
Home Body Remedies: for skin, wounds, burns, acne, sunburns, insect bites
Weight Loss and Metabolism: I don’t like to promote “weight loss”, but apple cider can speed up your metabolism, making your body more efficient at burning energy (place 1 tbsp in a glass of water and drink first thing in the morning or throughout the day)
Home Cleaning: this may be an expensive way to clean your house, but apple cider vinegar makes a great disinfectant, deodorizer and over all household cleaner
Food and Recipes: Apple cider vinegar is an amazing addition to salad dressings, stir fry’s, and can be used to add acid (or make buttermilk) in recipes such as cookies, pancakes and muffins
(If you are not local to Ontario, just be sure to look for products with similar standards – Bragg’s, Eden, Spectrum etc..)
Sweet Apple Cider:
Filsinger’s sweet apple cider is made the old fashioned way from whole apples. They blend several varieties of apples such as McIntosh, Cortland, Spy, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Ida Red. Using a variety of apples according to them enhances the flavour. They also don’t use any preservatives or additives in the preparation of the final product.
“Since 1953 our soils and trees have been balanced with seaweed extracts, trace minerals and compost. Our apples are grown without the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides. We are certified organic by OCIA International.”
Sweet Apple Cider can be enjoyed:
Warmed up with a cinnamon stick any time of day! You can have apple cider cold as well, but it just isn’t the same. So if you can, warm it up in a pot, sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and a large cinnamon stick. Get into your comfiest clothing and curl up on the couch in from of a fire!
Filsinger’s also makes amazing: Applesauce and Apple Butter
Sweet Apple Cider Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Filsinger’s apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Filsinger’s sweet apple cider
1 tbsp local honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
Place all the ingredients in a blender or small processor and blend until well combined and creamy. Tastes delicious on spinach or arugula with fresh sliced apples, walnuts and hemp seeds!
If you have never used or tried Apple Cider Vinegar, now is your chance!!
Tell me why, what and how you would like to use it and you just may win your very own bottle of Filsinger’s Apple Cider Vinegar
(You must be able to pick it up in Toronto)
Here’s how to win!
Post A Comment Below
Mention it on Facebook and Become a Fan
At the end of the week I will do a lucky random draw – good luck Torontonians!
I remember the days when we would drive all the way down to Buffalo to grab a box of hostess mini muffins at Wegmans. It was the concept of mini that was so enticing and the fact that you could only get them in the USA. They also tasted pretty good and you could pop at least five of them and not feel guilty, because they were small right? Well of course the processed ingredients in these boxed muffins didn’t matter at that point in my life. But now they do, and many moons later, I still love muffins and especially mini ones. I have my own mini muffins tray – so I can now put dollops of delicious, wholesome and healthy batter in and make batches of goodness whenever I feel the urge. Actually, these past couple of weeks seem to be all about muffins and snacks. I can stop making them! Maybe because it just that time of year that we want a little more sweetness and more things to munch on. Or maybe I am just making up excuses. Because the truth is they are so much fun to make! Muffins are especially interesting as I always like to come up with new combination’s! One of my favourite muffins back in the day, and still to this day are apple cinnamon. There is something about just a bit size muffin that is so much fun – and they honestly taste better. That’s because so much stuff is packed into such a small space. Especially these ones, which are bursting with apples, cinnamon and currents in every bite. The other best part about mini’s, other than them being super cute, you can pack them up and take them with you on the go! They also make a great snack! They also taste especially delicious with almond or sunflower seed butter.
MINI APPLE CINNAMON MUFFINS
What’s in it?
1 cup spelt, kamut or oat flour
½ cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup oil (coconut or grapeseed)
¼ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 apple, seeded and cut into small cubes (you can even leave the skin on!)
½ cup rice milk
½ raisins or currents
****Trade in the apples for bananas and raisins or currents for chocolate chips or blueberries and make a different variety!
How it’s made!
Preheat oven to 350F
- Measure and combine dry ingredients, flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda cinnamon and sea salt
- Mix wet ingredients, oil, maple syrup, apple sauce, apples and rice milk.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well, making sure there are no lumps. Stir in raisins.
- Spread mixture evenly among 24 mini muffin holes in the tray.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- Remove from oven, let sit for a few minutes and remove and cool muffins on cooling rack or tray.
To make 8- 12 full size muffins – bake for 20-24 minutes!
Yes you heard me, tea for you! I am giving a away a whole tin of Nourish Tea‘s looseleaf tea. If you haven’t tried one of their teas yet then you are truly missing out. Nourish tea is a Toronto based company that brings the purest and most wholesome organic teas to consumers. Their tea spectrum ranges from green teas to white teas, black teas and their newest line of amazing herbals teas. However a favourite among many is Chai and for that reason I am going to give away a whole tin of YUMMY CHAI – but first let’s talk about Chai!
This flavourful blend of traditional Indian spices like cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and other warming delicious spices that make this tea unique. If you want to find out more on chai read my post.There are some great reasons here as to how chai tea began and what chai actually means. Most traditional chai is made from black tea, however you can also make it with red tea if you have a caffeine sensitivity like me. Every now and then, I treat myself and enjoy nourish teas’ chai and it is fabulous and fresh.
For me…this tea is best in the morning!
Marni’s Morning Chai Latte
1-2 tsp Yummy Chai
2 cups vanilla rice milk or almond milk
1 tbsp honey
pinch of cinnamon
1. In a small pot bring “milk” to a boil. Lower head and add Chai tea. Stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Pour through a tea steeper into a large mug.
3. Stir in honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Now in order to be the owner of this delicious tea…I need a couple of things from you! There are a number of ways you can win this contest.
1. Leave a comment here and tell me your favourite kind of tea or why you love Chai!
2. Post a link to this post on your blog and come back here letting me know you did so!
3. Follow me on Twitter and Tweet this post and your favourite tea and let me know on this post! You can also click on Twitter Icon at bottom!
4. Become a Fan of Delicious Knowledge and leave a comment on my fan page and/or on my blog! You can also click on Facebook Icon at bottom!
5. Follow my blog and of course, leave a comment!
I will then assign a number to every post, comment and tweet for the next week and then randomly pick a number. (This means of course you can share more than once in multiple ways – as it will only increase your chances to win!) I will then announce the winner on my blog and get in contact with you!
It’s Tea Time!
If there were two words to sum up the month of October it would be sugar and spice. Sugar is what makes Halloween so popular. It is not the fun and cute costumes, the pumpkins or the decorations, it is the empty calories that fill up the bags for millions of kids all across North America that make this holiday so memorable. If you were to rethink the concept of Halloween -you could change this and still make it fun and full of “sweetness”. Not to mention, you would be doing teenagers and kids all over a huge favour in the long run. In case you didn’t know, there are so many delicious healthy treats that you could be giving out on Halloween. If you’ve got kids of your own, you could be doing what a friend of mine does, Halloween in reverse. Invite all of your kids friends over…and make them most decadent chocolate cake, cookies etc. using natural organic ingredients, whole grain flours, maple syrup, real cocoa powder and then later have your kids hand out naturally sweetened lolly pops, chocolates, gummies, or anything else that is fun and naturally “colourful”. That way your kids can still dress up, get in their dose of sweetness and have a great time!
On a whole other topic…there is spice…the almighty contrast that compliments sweetness. Spice is thrown in the mix because the fall season begs for warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom. All delicious and all can bring flavour and natural sweetness to anything created in the kitchen. One of my favourite things to make this time of year that blends both worlds together is cinnamon baked apples. Not only are you getting the natural sweetness from the apples, which of course would sweeter if they are local, but they are full of fiber and taste delicious when they are baked. Then you top them off with a scrumptious mixture of maple syrup, brown rice syrup, raisins and some nuts such as almonds or walnuts. There is no healthier way to have dessert, snack or breakfast then to bake up some apples and top them with this glaze and spices such as cinnamon and ginger. These spices are warming and compliment the apples – what better combination than apples and cinnamon ?
Baked Cinnamon Apples
6-8 organic apples (braeburn, fuji, honey crisp, royal gala)
¼ cup chopped raisins
1 cup almonds or walnuts, chopped or ground
1 tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tbsp maple syrup
½-1 cup apple juice
1 tbsp cinnamon
(optional extras clove powder, cardamom pods, allspice)
1 Tablespoon Coconut oil
Preheat oven to 375F
- Core apples, leaving the bottom intact to prevent leakage
- Finely grind or chop nuts by hand or in a food processor. In a medium bowl, combine ground nuts, cinnamon, raisins and syrups and mix well.
- Stuff the mixture into each of the apples and place them into a small glass baking dish.
- Pour the apple juice on top of the apples and into the baking dish.
- Bake in flat corning ware greased with coconut oil, uncovered for 20 minutes and baste apples with juice at bottom and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes or until tender.
1 ½ cup pomegranate juice
½ cup apple juice
¾ cup sake (optional)
¼ cup black cherry juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar
splash of fresh ginger juice and/or lime juice
4 cinnamon sticks
In a martini shaker, pour all the ingredients except the cinnamon sticks over ice and shake or stir very well to chill. Strain and pour into martini glasses and garnish with cinnamon sticks
So there you have it, one of the healthiest martini recipes you will ever have! Jam packed with antioxidants and vitamins, this martini is a nice treat for any special occasion.
Those who know me, know that I am not an advocate for alcohol; however, a tasty martini with delicious wholesome ingredients makes it all worth while.
Especially if you are not a drinker, having just one of these is just enough-your palate and your senses will be more than satisfied. You don’t even have to add the sake – as this makes a delicious virgin cocktail.
If you haven’t heard of or tried sake – let me tell you it’s worth the try – at least once.
Sake is fermented from steamed rice, yeast and koji (a bacterial starter) and water.
Sake also happens to be rich in amino acids and naturally occurring carbohydrates. Sake also has no sulfites, and is therefore an excellent replacement for those who like white wine but have an allergic response to sulfites that causes asthma-like symptoms. So as you can see for being an alcohol, sake is pretty natural with only it’s four ingredients.
Sake also has a reputation as a love potion. In Japan drinking sake is very sacred and should be sipped for enjoyment and pleasure – as sex in Japan is something to savor.
As good as sake is, especially in this recipe, make sure you don’t drink to much or you won’t see straight-it really hits you much harder than other alcohols because it’s so natural. The good news is that sake generally doesn’t give you a hangover. Which I believe is something worth mentioning.
So if you are having an occasion and want to make something a little extra special, serve up some sake cocktails and garnish them with fun things like cinnamon sticks, fresh raspberries or lime slices.
Choosing the right warming foods to eat during these below freezing cold days is key nourishing you body and soul. It’s not enough to just take a hot shower and have a bowl of soup. There are in fact some particular foods and spices that warm up your body up from the inside out. The body naturally craves, starchy, heavy and sweet foods during the winter season. So instead of going for the processed stuff like donuts, Alfredo sauces, cakes and pies or other rich and dense foods which leave you feeling lethargic and draggy – not to mention the calories they pack in. Why not try making your own satisfying creations in the kitchen! You can still fulfill your cravings by choosing the right ingredients. Not only will you be satisfied with just one serving but you can also feel great knowing that you made it from scratch!
Choosing warming foods like cooked grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain pasta’s or baked yams and even a variety of soups and stews are sure to keep you warm during these frigidly cold days. You can even satisfy those sweet cravings with some home baked goodies like muffins and pies made with whole grain flours and natural sweeteners. If you are on the go, get yourself a reusable stainless steel mug and fill them up with warm herbal teas to sip throughout the day. When you are at home, brew yourself your own loose leaf teas or try making your own chai latte’s or dark pure cocoa hot chocolate!
I encourage you to use a variety of warming spices in different ways. Try using cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, cumin, turmeric and cloves. Your body and your taste buds will thank you for their warmth and delicious essence.
Since apples are so widely available during the winter months and there is nothing better then a little cinnamon and nutmeg to warm you up, I decided to make apple pie for my family dinner last night. I have to admit, I love to bake – but pie making isn’t my specialty. So I promise that this recipe is simple enough that anyone can do it… I promise!
I even went the length of making my own ice cream…I know what you are thinking. Ice cream is cold and it’s not healthy! Well not true if you make your own with the right ingredients and warming spices. I now have this amazing ice cream maker which means that I can use anything as the base! So I chose organic pure coconut milk (to read more on the health benefits of coconut milk check out my posting CooCoo for Coconut). I blended that up with some maple syrup, cinnamon and agar for a creamy consistency. Then the whole thing churns and makes delicious “ice cream” that I can put on top of my warm apple pie!
Hot Apple-Cinnamon Pie…”A La Mode”!
1 1/4 cups light spelt flour
1 cup spelt flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons maple sugar
Pinch of sea salt
2/3 cup cold coconut butter
1/3 cup ice water
4 cups tart apples, such as granny smiths, jonathan or spy, peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1. Sift the flours, cinnamon and salt into a medium bowl. Add the oil and mix well.
2. Add the ice water gradually to the mixture while continuing to mix the dough. Continue to mix until dough is firm but not flaky. Roll up the dough, put into a bowl, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Form the dough into 2 balls. Roll one out into a circle with ½ inch thickness. Press into an 8-inch pie pan and trim, leaving ½ in all around.
4. Preheat oven to 350 F
5. In a large bowl, combine the apples, maple syrup and lemon juice. In a small bowl, mix together the arrowroot, cinnamon and nutmeg, then toss with the apple mixture. Add the filling into the pie shell.
6. Roll out the second ball of dough into a circle large enough to cover the pie. Top the pie with the dough, then trim any excess dough and crimp the edges. Cut 3 slits in the top crust.
7. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until the piecrust is golden.
Serve with vanilla rice or soy ice cream or make your own!
It is so nice to know that the flavours that come from traditional Indian cuisine, are not only delicious to that palate but they are completely nourishing to the body as well.
We had a chance to discover this on Wednesday’s Indian Flavours Cooking Class.
We created and sampled a whole range of dishes from Chana Masala to Lentil Dal, to a Saffron Yellow Basmati Rice, to a Brown Rice Pudding and of course the class would not have been complete without a Coconut Vegetable Curry (recipe below).
The common thread in all the recipes was all the fresh and fragrant spices that were in each dish. We made continuous use of the flavours of cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, garlic, cumin and mustard seeds. Each on of these delicate spices offers a wonderful infusion of flavour that makes you want to use them all the time.
So here is a quick guide to some of the beneficial properties of these spices:
Sweet and pungent, pleasant and warming cinnamon supports the spleen and the pancreas, stomach, bladder, kidney and liver meridians (from a Chinese medicine perspective).
Cinnamon aid in digestion, aid in circulation and helps to treat diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and menstrual cramps. Cinnamon is also well known for it’s blood stabilizing abilities.
Has a peppery and pungent taste. It is warming and stimulates digestion and boost circulation, respiration and nervous system function. Ginger is useful for colds and fevers and alleviates motion sickness and nausea. It is also an anti-inflammatory and destroys intestinal parasites.
Has the highest source of beta carotene. It tones the spleen and pancreas, liver and stomach. It strengthens the immune system and enhances digestion and helps to dissolve cysts and gallstones. Turmeric is antibacterial and may be used to regulate blood sugar for diabetics.
Is sweet and pungent and warming. It also acts upon the spleen and pancreas, stomach, lung and kidney meridians. It aids in digestion, relaxes spasms and cuts mucus, making it useful in lung tonics. It also eases coughs, breathlessness, burning urination, incontinence and hemorrhoids.
Are bitter, spicy and warming. They tonify the kidney, spleen, pancreas and stomach. Cloves also aid digestion, treat nausea, hiccups and vomiting.
Is pungent and bitter. It aids the digestive system, improves liver function, promotes assimilation of other foods and relieves abdominal distention, gas and colic, as well as migraines and headaches.
If you want more information on these spices or any other specific food have a look at Rebecca Woods book “The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia” which is available for purchase right here on my page (see my favourite book list).
So warm up this winter and make use of these nourishing and health supportive spices!
Coconut Vegetable Curry
1 Spanish onion
1-2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ cup coconut oil
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¾ cubes
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¾ “ cubes
1 medium cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
1 cup shelled peas, cooked
½ red cabbage
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
Vegetables can be roasted*
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoons turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon fenugreek
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds, no pods
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
1. In a large skillet, sauté onions, with one teaspoon salt in oil until they begin to soften and brown. Add squash and cook ten minutes more. Add potatoes and curry blend and continue sautéing another five minutes, stirring often.
2. Add cauliflower to the top of the squash and potatoes, being careful no to stir the mixture. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender (15-20 minutes).
3. With a wooden spoon, smash some of the squash in the curry mixture against the sides of the skillet to thicken the sauce. Stir in the peas and season to taste with salt.