We’re in late fall and winter officially arrives December 21st. As the temperatures drop, our bodies crave a warming, comforting meal. Traditionally, certain flavors like in spices and herbs are traditionally used to welcome fall and to make cozy meals during the coldest season. Today let’s looks at special flavors and think about new dishes to add to our menu. Here are seven winter ideas you need this year. Not only do they add great flavor, but many also add healthy benefits. We can all use that.
This spice is one of my favorite flavors. I’ve written before about ginger supporting your immune system. It’s one of the ingredients in my Lemon Ginger Honey Morning Drink. Ginger is not only delicious and warming during crisp evenings, but it may help stabilize cholesterol levels and aid stomach distress.
This classic flavor is hard to avoid anytime but especially during the holidays. A dash of cinnamon in hot cider, pumpkin loaves, and holiday cookies adds flavor and nutritional benefits. The good news is that besides the great flavor, it is now being investigated as an aid to stabilize blood sugar. This is a great benefit for diabetics. Cinnamon is a rich botanical source of polyphenolics [a.k.a health-boosting micronutrients]. Feel free to add cinnamon dishes to the menu. Have you tried a homemade cinnamon latte?
3. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan is an aged cheese with a strong flavor and a crumbly texture produced in certain regions of Northern Italy. It’s not a spice nor an herb, but it does add so much flavor to most dishes. As for benefits, it’s highly nutritious and can be a great choice for people with lactose intolerance, lacto-vegetarians, and those who are after easy-to-digest proteins. It may also support bone health. I like to add parmesan cheese to salads, soups, and of course pasta.
4. Quinoa The Super Grain
Quinoa is becoming a popular grain because it’s high in protein and fiber. 1 cup contains over 8 grams of protein, as opposed to 5 grams in brown rice. Quinoa has a complete protein unlike brown rice which only contains a few of the essential amino acids. Plus, it’s a good source of nutrients like manganese, magnesium, and copper. Use it like other grains in salads, stews, and soups and raise the nutrition level. Check out Eating Well’s great post with helpful tips on cooking quinoa.
5. Homemade Biscuits or Scones
I wanted to add one of the most comforting foods I know, a bread warm from the oven. My grandmother made outstanding biscuits. For decades she got up early, made biscuits for the family breakfast, and sent her husband and children off with a pail of biscuits for lunch. I know scones are King in the U.K. although I must admit I’ve never had a scone. I’ve always wanted to try one. I’m sure it’s wonderful. I just remember my childhood with fresh, warm biscuits and butter. My soul is happy with the memory. Fresh homemade biscuits are pretty much a thing of the past but should definitely be on your list of foods to try this holiday season if you’ve never tried it before. I must admit I’m not a great biscuit maker, but I make them occasionally since I’m retired. If you’d like to try, this is a great light & fluffy biscuits recipe from Bless This Mess. It’s made with buttermilk, but she has another recipe for an all butter biscuit if you prefer.
Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. It’s fragrant and just touching the needles leaves a wonderful scent on my fingers. I was happy to read that its scent alone may stimulate the brain to improve alertness. You can also derive long-term benefits from the delicious herb, because the carnosic acid in rosemary may improve cognitive function. In fact, populations that eat the most of it in their diet also live the longest. Unfortunately, too much rosemary can cause diarrhea or headaches, and it’s best avoided during pregnancy.
Popularly used in South Asian cooking, as well as in trendy Golden Milk recipes, turmeric has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb to promote healing from a host of illnesses. Some consider it a miracle spice with brain healing properties. Turmeric will make your mind feel better. Research indicates it “possibly increasing serotonin in the brain.” Additionally, it can address more day-to-day health concerns, as the main ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, is a strong antioxidant. I use turmeric often as a dash on dishes I prepare. Did you try Orange Turmeric Boost for your immune system? It’s a great support at the start of the day.
This winter, try something new and reconsider your favorite recipes. From cinnamon to quinoa, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy. So get cooking and enjoy all that winter has to offer!
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