Let's talk about how to add flavor to our food. Often times we feel that healthy food is bland and we get bored of it easily. Spices not only allow us to be creative with our meals but they also offer lots of great health benefits. Here are a few fun recipes to try with the family!
Ginger Carrot soup
2 large onions chopped
2 tbsp of olive oil
12 large carrots peeled and chopped
2 apples cored, peeled and chopped
2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups of water
3 tsp of fresh minced ginger
1 pinch of salt
black pepper to taste
1. In a large pot sauté the onions in olive oil on medium high heat until translucent
2. Add the ginger and mix well for about a minute
3. Add the carrots and apple, coconut milk and water and let boil on medium high heat until the carrots become soft. This can take approximately 15-20 minutes. Continue to mix once in a while to keep the mixture from burning.
4. Use an immersion blender to mix the soup until smooth. Alternatively you can use a blender but place a towel on the lid of the blender to prevent burning yourself!
5. Add salt and pepper to taste
Jessica's health tips: Ginger contains many helpful properties that have been proven to aid in digestion and motion sickness. It has also been shown to have anti-viral properties. Carrots are very nutritious, containing high amounts of vitamin A, fiber, biotin as well as carotenes which have anti-cancer properties. This soup is great if you have a cold, upset stomach or motion sickness.
Chana Masala (Indian Chickpea stew)
3 cans of Chickpeas rinsed and strained
5 medium tomatoes diced
One small onion finely chopped
3 tsps of Garlic
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp Coriander
½ tsp Tumeric
1 tsp Chili powder
One small jalapeno (optional)
¾ cup of Plain nonfat greek yogurt
1 tbsp of olive oil
1. In a large nonstick pan add the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. I add the spices to this step (garam masala, turmeric, coriander and chili powder). This allows us to bloom the spices and bring out the most flavor for the dish.
2. Add the chopped jalapeno, chickpeas and tomatoes
3. add one cup of water and cook on medium high heat until the mixture starts to thicken
4. For the final step, add the yogurt and mix well. Serve over brown rice or with fresh warm pita.
Jessica's health tips: Coriander, a popular middle-east ingredient, has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics and improve cognition and memory. Chickpeas aka garbanzo beans are my one of my favorite foods. They are high in fiber and protein and will keep you full for a long time.
1 tsp Turmeric
2 cups Coconut milk
2 cups of either almond milk or skim milk
Pinch of Black pepper
½ tsp of cinnamon or 3 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp of coconut sugar, agave or maple syrup – sweeten to taste
1. Add all ingredients into a medium pot
2. Cook on medium high eat until bubbling slightly
3. Whisk throughout the cooking process so as not to burn the mixture
4. Strain if you prefer a smoother liquid
5. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Jessica's health tips: Turmeric has long been recognized for medicinal properties. It has a component called curcumin, which is a polyphenol. It helps reduce the inflammation that is present in ailments such as hyperlipidemia and arthritis. There are many positive studies linking turmeric to reduction of pain in arthritis sufferers. Try using it daily for a month, see if it relieves your joint pain. You must add black pepper to activate the curcumin.