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Spice of the Month: Sage - Friday, May 17, 2013

 Today’s herbalists recommend sipping sage tea for upset stomachs and sore throats; one study found that spraying sore throats with a sage solution gave effective pain relief. And whoever gave the herb the wisdom-connoting “sage” moniker may have been onto something: preliminary research suggests the herb may improve some symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease by preventing a key enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in memory and learning. In another study, college students who took sage extracts in capsule form performed significantly better on memory tests, and their moods improved.

May help: Preserve memory, soothe sore throats.

Recipe to try: Sweet Potato & Turnip Mash with Sage Butter and More Sage Recipes

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Recipe of the Month: EASY COOKED PESTO BEAN SOUP - Friday, May 03, 2013

 Directions
Saute 5 sliced garlic cloves and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a skillet with olive oil. Add 2 cans drained cannellini beans and 1 cup water; simmer until thick, 8 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan.

Add 3 cups chicken broth and 1 cup chopped celery; cook 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each chopped olives and roasted peppers.

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Spice of the month: Fennel Seed. - Friday, April 26, 2013

Fennel Seed

 

Health Benefits: Calms Menstrual Cramps

Fennel is one of the few plants that has it all — it’s a vegetable, herb and spice. That tang of licorice when you bite into a fennel seed comes from the volatile oil anethole, the same compound that gives anise its licorice-like flavor. Fennel seeds are teeming with anethole and dozens of other phytochemicals, including phytoestrogens, estrogen-like compounds found in plants. These can help offset menstrual cramps that affect more than 50 percent of menstruating women.

In a study reported in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, doctors treated 30 women with moderate to severe menstrual cramps, using either an extract of fennel or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) similar to ibuprofen. Both the drug and fennel effectively relieved menstrual pain. In a similar study, involving 110 women, fennel outperformed the NSAID.

Fennel has also been shown to calm colic in babies. In a study, doctors treated 125 infants with colic, dividing them into one group that received a product containing fennel seed oil and one that received a placebo. The fennel seed product eliminated colic in 65 percent of the babies given it, compared with 24 percent of the placebo group.

May also help prevent and treat:
Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), dementia, glaucoma, heart disease, high blood pressure, hirsutism (unwanted hair growth in women), stroke.

How to buy fennel seed:
Fennel seeds are sold whole or ground. Whole fennel seeds are yellow and tinged with green, which indicates top quality. Ground fennel starts to lose its flavor after six months, while whole fennel seeds keep for three years, so it’s best to buy whole and grind as needed.

Most of the fennel seed sold in grocery stores is imported from Egypt. If you shop in an Indian market, you may come across Lucknow fennel seeds, which are about half the size of regular fennel seeds. They’re mostly green and have a sweeter flavor — in India, they are eaten as an after-dinner digestif.

Cooking tips:

* Dry and crush toasted fennel seeds and steep them in tea.
* Fennel seed naturally complements many foods from the Mediterranean diet, including tomatoes, olives, olive oil, basil, grilled meat and seafood.
* Throw in extra fennel seeds the next time you make a sausage ragu.
* Add fennel seeds to fruit salads and compotes.
* Add ground fennel to scrambled eggs.
* Make spiced olives by marinating 2 cups olives in ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon each of fennel seeds, dried oregano and dried thyme.

 

 

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6 tips that you should always keep in mind! - Saturday, April 13, 2013

 Simple tips that help you to get through your day.

1. Place some chopped onion in the vessel having burnt food, pour boiling water in it, keep 5 minutes and then clean.

2. Keeping a small piece of hing (asafoetida) in the same container will store chili powder for long time.

3. Use a wooden board to chop. It will not blunt the knife. Don`t use a plastic board, small plastic pieces may go with the vegetables.

4. You can use dried coriander and mint leaves in coarse powder form in vegetable curry or chutney, if fresh ones are not available. To keep them fresh for longer time, wrap them in a muslin cloth and keep in a fridge.

5. Put some boric powder in kitchen in corners and other places. Cockroaches will leave your house.

6. Immerse coconut in water for ½ an hour to remove its hust.

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RECIPE OF THE MONTH:Blueberry Banana Smoothie - Friday, April 05, 2013

BLUEBERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE

 


• 1 1/4 cups calcium-fortified orange juice $
o 1 1/4 cups frozen mixed berries (such as Cascadian Farm Harvest Berries) $
o 1 cup sliced ripe banana $
o 1/2 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt $
o 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
o 1 tablespoon sugar $
Preparation
. Combine all ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.
Note:
Sip this power breakfast which boasts more than 300 milligrams of calcium while getting ready for work or on your way there. A scoop of powdered milk boosts the calcium contributed by the yogurt and the calcium-fortified orange juice. Additional nutritional benefits come from potassium-rich banana and antioxidant-rich berries. Frozen berries ensure a thick, creamy consistency, but you can also use fresh ones. Other frozen fruits, such as peaches or mangoes, work well, too.
 

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Recipe of the Month: Blueberry mix cake - Friday, March 29, 2013

Bake this easy cake mix blueberry cake in a Bundt cake pan or tube cake pan. Use plain, vanilla, or blueberry yogurt in this delicious cake.
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Ingredients:
• 3 large eggs
• 8 ounces plain, vanilla, or blueberry yogurt
• 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar if using unsweetened yogurt
• 1/3 cup canola oil, corn oil, or safflower oil
• 1 white cake mix with pudding in the mix
• 16 ounces frozen blueberries
Preparation:
Grease and flour a 10 or 12-cup Bundt cake pan or a tube cake pan. Heat the oven to 325° for a dark-colored Bundt cake pan or nonstick pan, or 350° for a light-colored pan.
In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat together the eggs, yogurt, orange juice concentrate, sugar, and oil until smooth. Slowly beat in the cake mix. Continue beating on high speed for 2 minutes. Fold blueberries into the batter. Batter will be somewhat lumpy. Spoon into prepared cake pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, depending on pan size and color, or until browned and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean.

 

 

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Spice of the month: Capsaicin - Friday, March 15, 2013

Ever add a pinch of cinnamon to your coffee or a spring of rosemary to your famous baked chicken? You may think you're merely making your favorite drinks and dishes more flavorful, but spicing up your meals doesn’t just up the tastiness factor -- it can also be a boon to your health and your beauty.

"The benefits spices offer you in terms of your diet and health are endless," says Elisa Zied, R.D., author of "Nutrition at Your Fingertips." "They can help control blood sugar, protect against inflammation that can contribute to chronic diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and may play a role -- directly or indirectly -- in weight management. Spices literally add spice to your life and diet but can also be a simple way to enhance meals and optimize your overall health, inside and out."

Find out which health benefits are hiding in your spice rack and test-drive the top disease-fighting spices with our easy-breezy recipes. 

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Top 10 Tips that help you in the kitchen. - Monday, March 11, 2013

Working in kitchen can really be fun if you know some basic keys. Here are some special tips to make your work interesting and comfortable.

1. To remove the skin of almonds easily, soak them in hot water for 15-20 minutes.

2. Putting 3-4 cloves in sugar container will keep the ants at bay.

3. If you keep a piece of blotting paper at the bottom of the container, it will keep biscuits fresh for a longer time.

4. Avoid the use of butter. It it is essential to use, use a butter containing low saturated fat or with plant stanols (which avoid absorption of cholesterol by our body) or similar substitutes.

5. Apply some lemon juice on the cut surface of the apple to avoid browning. They will look fresh for a longer time.

6. Apply mashed banana over a burn on your body for cooling effect.

7. Apply a mixture of 1 pinch of chewing tobacco and 1 drop of water. Mix and apply directly and immediately to the sting; cover with bandaid to hold in place. Pain will go away in just a few short minutes.

8. Slit karelas at the middle and apply a mixture of salt, wheat flour and curd all round. Keep aside for ½ hour and then cook.

9. To keep celery fresh for a long time, wrap it in aluminium foil and place in the refrigerator.

10. Place some chopped onion in the vessel having burnt food, pour boiling water in it, keep 5 minutes and then clean. 

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Recipe of the Month: Eggplant Mozarella - Friday, March 01, 2013

Brilliant Eggplant Mozarella

 

In this low-fat, vegetarian dish, a layer of mozzarella covers lightly-breaded eggplant in a spaghetti sauce with green onion, mushroom, and cottage cheese.

Ingredients
• 1/2 C. chopped green onion
• 1/2 C. sliced mushrooms
• 1/4 C. water
• 2 C. spaghetti sauce
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced
• 1 egg white, slightly beaten
• 1 Tbs. water
• 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. olive oil
• 1 C. low-fat cottage cheese
• 1 C. shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese (4 oz.)
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large saucepan over low heat, cook green onion and mushrooms in 1/4 C. water, until tender. Add spaghetti sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle salt over sliced eggplant; set aside to drain about 10 minutes. In a shallow bowl, beat egg white and water together. Dip eggplant in egg mixture, then into flour. In a large non-stick skillet, heat a few drops of oil over medium heat. Add eggplant slices and cook until browned, turning once; drain on paper towel. Continue until all slices are cooked. In a 13 x 9-inch casserole, spread about 1/2 C. sauce. Add a layer of eggplant, top with 1/2 C. cottage cheese and more sauce. Repeat until all ingredients are used, ending with sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
 

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Spice of the month: CINNAMON - Friday, February 15, 2013

CINNAMON:


Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods. While native only to the island of Sri Lanka, cinnamon trees are now naturalized in South East Asia
If you want to react faster in your next squash game, chew some cinnamon gum. It speeds the way your brain processes visual cues. Cinnamon regulates blood sugar levels.
History
Cinnamon, which is actually the dried bark of the laurel tree, has been used since antiquity. This powerful spice was used in Egypt, Rome, and China. Native to Sri Lanka, cinnamon can be produced from many species of laurel. The “real” cinnamon of old comes from the C. zeylanicum tree, but most modern cinnamon comes from the C. cassia tree.
Origin
The history of cinnamon dates back to about 2800 BC where it can be found referenced as kwai in Chinese writings. It was used medicinally for colds and flu as well as problems of the digestive system. One of the worlds most important medicinal spices, it was also mentioned by Pliny, Dioscorides, and Theophrastus.
Historically, cinnamon is even mentioned in the Bible. Moses used it as an ingredient for his anointing oils. In ancient Rome, it was burned during funerals, perhaps partly as a way to ward off the odor of dead bodies. The ancient Egyptians used it in embalming mummies because of its pleasant odors and its preservative qualities.

How to buy cinnamon
Ground cinnamon begins to fade in flavor after a few months, so it’s best to buy whole cinnamon quills (or sticks) and grind as needed. The quills are somewhat tough, so you’ll need a sturdy spice grinder or fine grater.
If your only option is to buy ground cinnamon, try to find good stuff made from whole quills, as opposed to “featherings” (which are the inner bark of twigs and small shoots that are not large enough to form a full quill) or from “cinnamon chips” (made from shavings and trimmings). When in doubt, buy Ceylon cinnamon, which comes from Sri Lanka and is widely considered to be the best in the world.
Health Benefits: Balances Blood Sugar
1)Maybe it’s ironic that cinnamon — that spicy-sweet favorite that cooks use to give desserts extra flavor — can help control blood-sugar problems. Or maybe — given the fact that the rate of type 2 diabetes in the United States has doubled in the past two decades — it’s Mother Nature’s way of cutting us a break.
2)Study after study has shown that cinnamon can play a role in the everyday management of blood sugar (glucose) levels and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
3)Diabetes, a disease of chronically high blood sugar, attacks arteries and veins, increasing the risk of heart disease sixfold. The good news is that preventing type 2 diabetes and reversing prediabetes is possible with lifestyle changes alone — they are actually more effective than preventive medications.
4)Cinnamon helps control blood-sugar levels in the short term as well. Swedish researchers studied 14 people, feeding them the same meal twice — rice pudding, with or without a hefty sprinkling of cinnamon. The cinnamon-spiced meal yielded significantly lower blood-sugar levels.
May also help prevent and treat:
Cancer, cholesterol problems, food poisoning, heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome, stroke, ulcer, vaginal yeast infection, wounds.

 

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