Saturday, March 3, 2018

Five Simple Ingredients for Good Health

With winter winding down on the calendar but spring still not any where near, the fluctuation in temperatures from day to day can make staying healthy a bit of a challenge.  Since we are not over the flu season quite yet, it is important to continue to devote time to some healthy regiments and homemade remedies.  Of course, eating healthy, nutritional foods in a well-balanced daily diet is a large part of maintaining an energized body.  However, this post includes a few, but very significant ways to use five additional ingredients to help ward off whatever seems to be going around. 

These five therapeutic ingredients are ginger root, mint, lemon, honey and cayenne pepper. These powerful ingredients which you may already have stored in your kitchen pantry are every bit an added bonus and extra benefit to maintain or restore good health and well-being.  The following ideas and recipes are definitely worth trying and sharing with family and friends.

Lets visit each one each one of these nourishing ingredients.......

1.   Ginger Root:

The first is Homemade Ginger Chews made from fresh grated ginger root and is one of many ways to use fresh ginger.  Although this is delicious enough to consider it as candy, I have added a bit more shredded ginger root to make my chews stronger in ginger essence and even more of a curative remedy.  (I happen to love the taste of ginger.)  Ginger has such wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and has helped family members and neighbors with their cough and unsettled tummies.

For the recipe and instructions, visit with Meagan at Growing Up Herbal at this link:   Ginger Chews.


Before I wrap each ginger chew in parchment paper, I first roll it in tapioca flour to keep it from sticking since I love the texture of the pieces made to the "chewy" stage.   The picture below shows one piece with the tapioca flour and the other without.  The tapioca flour does not interfere with the delicious taste of the ginger chew.  These luscious, golden color chews have a bit of "heat" or zing that warms your mouth and your stomach.









2.  Mint:

There is nothing more satisfying than a hot, freshly brewed cup of homemade mint tea.  A few years back, I planted a small mint plant in a planter in the back yard near our dining room window.  It, of course, grew but struggled being in the planter, so it was relocated to another area away from the house where it had much more room to grow and flourish in ground.  Since then it has provided an abundance of sweet, delicate leaves for dehydrating and use for tea throughout the cold winter.  Mint tea has helped with headaches and indigestion and has been used as an after dinner beverage.  The medicinal properties of mint becomes especially useful when that "too full" feeling occurs from the consumption of rich foods or the over-consumption of foods around the holidays.  Of course, it can be appreciated either hot or cold at any time and for any reason and not just used during the cold and flu season.  Smooth and invigorating, mint tea can be a beverage to savor during rest and relaxation and for pure enjoyment.

To change things up a bit, mint leaves can be simmered with one part sugar and two parts water to make a concentrated, mint-infused simple syrup.  This concentrated syrup can be added as a flavoring to any type of beverages and in the Cream Cheese After Dinner Mints pictured below.  If you happen to not have a mint plant to make your own tincture, peppermint extract can be used instead.  To obtain the recipe for the Cream Cheese After Dinner Mints,  just click this link:  Cream Cheese After Dinner Mints.  





3.  Lemons:

Who can't help but love the taste of a lemon.  The tart, bright flavor of a fresh lemon causes that overwhelming pungent, mouth-watering pucker.  Not everyone enjoys the gripping acidity but there is a great health benefit to all this intense flavor.  Of course, a bit of added sweetness in the form of honey or sugar helps balance out that sourness and make consuming this fresh citrus fruit more palatable. Besides being high in vitamin C, it is also rich in potassium and vitamin B6.  

One way to enjoy this delectable fruit is to make it into a power-packed curd with plenty of zest.  Used on toast, pancakes, cookies, cupcakes or any other baked good, Lemon Curd is a perfect way to get your vitamin C while enjoying it as a treat.  The Lemon Curd pictured below is used as a spread on some lemon chia shortbread cookies and makes a heavenly and wholesome indulgence.





3.  Honey:

Honey....that sweet, sticky liquid gold.  Yum.  Whenever a recipe calls for a sweetener, honey is the best choice.  The thick, golden yellow bee nectar pictured below is used in one of most popular salad dressings in my family.  Honey can be so beneficial for your health in that it is a natural antiseptic and has antioxidant properties.  Other than its uses in desserts, honey can be seen in main dishes, side dishes, condiments and all across the culinary categories.  

For example, the following Asian Sesame Honey Dressing recipe below is great for drizzling over leafy salads, garden vegetables or is excellent as a dipping sauce for deep fried, breaded chicken pieces.  It is an amazing way to consume honey and takes only a few minutes to make.  






This simple and delicious Asian Sesame Honey Dressing recipe makes a small batch and can be doubled for a larger portion.

Asian Sesame Honey Dressing

3 T honey
1 1/2 T white or rice wine vinegar
1/4 C mayonnaise
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. sesame oil

Whisk ingredients together and refrigerator several hours before serving on salads or as a dipping sauce for breaded chicken tenders.


5.  Cayenne Pepper:

Cayenne Pepper as a powdered spice is the ingredient in foods and beverages which add the bit of "heat" without causing intense burning like that of some of the other liquid hot pepper sauces.  It has the ability to boost the body's metabolism and aid in circulation.  Traditionally, the spice was used primarily in main dishes or on meats, but the growth of its uses has expanded into everything including desserts. 

A pleasant way to use cayenne pepper is on a trail mix with nuts or on roasted chickpeas coated with honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  It is perfect for snacking and beneficial for your health in a sweet, spicy crunchy way. 





One last thing to mention......

Please come back to visit again when The Little Yellow Corner Store will participate with other tablescape designers in the Springtime Tablescape Blog Hop starting March 19th - 23rd, 2018.  This blog hop is certainly a welcomed event as Spring and the Easter holiday approaches and new concepts and design ideas are needed for inspiration.  Take the time to visit the links to all of the designer's blogs which will be listed in my participating post on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 of that week.  The hop is filled with fun and exciting Spring tablescape interpretations that can definitely have you looking forward to Spring's arrival.