Cooking, Health Bites, Lifestyle, Wellness

Spices Are Medicine Too!

Various spices

In ancient times, spices were more than just a condiment added to various foods for flavor. In fact, in many cultures, spices were used not only for consumption but for medicines as well. There was really no distinction between spices that were used to flavor food from spices that were used for medicine. In fact, spices were so valuable that they were often used as articles of exchange and trade.

As a student of functional nutrition, it is always my goal to find foods that not only taste amazing, but can aid in the healing of various health issues.

Here are a few of my favorite spices and how I like to use them to perform double duty.

For my coffee lovers, who also love the various creamers and syrups but are trying to avoid dairy and sugar. Consider adding cinnamon to your brew. Why?? Cinnamon is not only a natural sweetener, but it has been shown to lower blood sugar, which is a big deal if you are diabetic or borderline. It also has anti inflammatory properties. And I love it mixed in tea and in my chicory root coffee.

Turmeric, is another favorite, this brightly colored spice is so commonly used in Indian cooking, I would almost question the authenticity of any Indian dish that doesn’t include it. Turmeric is anti inflammatory, provides anti-oxidants and may also improve memory, as evidenced by the fact, that Indians have the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s globally.

Another favorite around here is ginger. I always have a few numbs of ginger in my freezer, not just for cooking but for stomach aches, nausea, or just as aid for digestion. Did you know that ginger, though spicy is anti-inflammatory? It is an anti-oxidant, anti-viral, reduces arthritis pain, relieves asthma and may even protect the brain from oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Wow!

I could go on! But the point is this, if we’re trying to live our healthiest and to minimize dis-ease, I think we can take a page or two from the ancients. They seemed to understand that food should not only nourish and stop hunger, but should simultaneously have a medical benefit as well.

How would you incorporate healing spices into your daily regimen?

With love,

AngelaChristine

Rosemary, garlic, sage and thyme

Cooking, Family, Homestead, Lifestyle, Mindset

Soup! Because I Love You

I truly enjoy cooking! Not to the level of opening a restaurant or a cafe, but to the level that I want to cook the best food that I can for those that I love. Fortunately, it’s something that I get to do everyday for my most favorite people on this planet, my children. Today was no different.

Much like many other areas in the country at the moment, we experienced a bit of unusually cold weather, for northwest Georgia. The low this morning was about 27 degrees Fahrenheit with a few snow flurries. It was so cold that my sliding doors on my minivan would not open until it was sufficiently warmed up. I believe the high was a sunny but cold 33 or 34 degrees. Yikes!

With the temperature hovering so low, it only made sense that our dinner would be some type of soup. Let me just say that soup, is my love language. I could absolutely eat soup year round! But what I love around this time of the year is the memories of my childhood that come flooding back when I am in the kitchen. I reminisce on how good it felt to eat at my grandmothers’ tables. I can almost smell all the smells and the joy I felt to when I was in their kitchens.

Both of my grandmothers were wonderful cooks. My dad’s mother, was more of an Iron Chef type cook. That woman could make the most amazing meals and so to us it was always a treat to eat at her home because you knew, no matter what it was, it would be delicious!! My Nana (my mother’s mother) on the other hand was a bit more straight forward with her cooking, her one signature dish was fried chicken. But her hugs and conversation was what drew you in. It saddens me that my children, have never experienced those moments. Perhaps one day, when I become a grandmother, I’ll be able to create in my grandchildren’s lives abundant and colorful memories of love.

Tonight, in honor of serving and all things winter, I decided to make my version of a minestrone soup minus the pasta and beans. What emerged was a flavorful burst of summer squash, chicken sausage, chopped tomatoes and a mixture of herbs that not only make the soup taste delicious, but are also good for you as well. Think, any boost I can give to my immune system, I am in!

Summer Winter Soup

The one drawback here is that I am not good about writing things down, because I never really know what is going to come together when I start, but today was an exception. Here is what I used:

One pound of mild chicken sausage (gluten free) with casing removed. One medium yellow onion, five cloves of garlic (fresh), three sticks of celery, and three carrots peeled and chopped. I sautéed that mixture together in my Instant Pot and once cooked through, I started layering in the spices.

Two teaspoons dried oregano, one teaspoon of thyme, one teaspoon of garlic powder, one half teaspoon of dried rosemary, one teaspoon of dried basil and one teaspoon of dried parsley. I then added in a box of chopped tomatoes, a bag of frozen yellow squash and two fresh peeled and chopped zucchini followed by two boxes of chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste! I then put on the lid and let it cook at pressure for about 20 minutes. It was a hit! And we still have plenty for lunch tomorrow.

If you find cooking challenging, start with soup. It’s probably the one meal that you can make that will turn out well, even when you don’t know what you’re doing. But more than that, you will create some lasting memories for the ones you love when you take the lid off that (instant) pot!

With love and soup!

AngelaChristine