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Posts Tagged ‘Spices’

Curcumin―the active form of turmeric―has shown promise in the prevention and therapeutic management of Alzheimer’s Disease. While much research remains to be done for conclusive evidence, adding turmeric in food preparation may show some benefits. The appropriate amounts of curcumin supplements remain unclear. Without more definitive research, it is wise to avoid these supplements and rely on its use in foods.

While the use of curcumin supplements remains uncertain, a little turmeric added into your dishes can provide one more step toward healthy eating. I recall as a child my mother sprinkling this distinct flavored spice on coleslaw. Occasionally, I do the same. Curious as to how I could use this spice that has been advocated for several years as affecting memory, I sought new recipes. You can find a few online, but I stayed with the tried-and-true, a Green Tomato Relish. This recipe has been handed down in my family from generation to generation for about 100 years.tomatoes green

 

Green Tomato Relish

1 gallon ground green tomatoes

5 green sweet peppers

1 hot red pepper

6-8 small white onions

1 stalk celery

1 medium head cabbage

½ cup salt (not iodized)TURMERIC .jpg

4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon mustard seed

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 quart vinegar (5 percent acidity)

juice of 4 lemons

Grind vegetables together. Add salt. Put into a cheesecloth bag and drip (several hours or overnight). Mix spices, sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar. Heat to dissolve sugar. Add vegetable mixture gradually, combining with vinegar mixture, and heat thoroughly. Pack into hot, sterile jars and seal. (I water bath for about 20 minutes to make sure no microbes remain). This can remain sealed and stored for several months.

Another choice is to use curry. How does curry compare to turmeric? Curry is a combination of spices; turmeric, chili powder, and cumin. Because it has turmeric in it, it has similar qualities and nutritive values but in smaller quantities. Include this spice as well not only to enhance flavor of favorite dishes, but as a bonus to a healthy diet. Below is another family favorite, Chicken Asparagus Casserole, that began with my generation.

Chicken Asparagus Casserole 

8-10 frozen chicken breasts stripsCURRY

¼  cup olive oil

1 can asparagus pieces (15 ounce)

1 can asparagus spears (15 ounce)

1 can (10 1/2 ounce) low-fat cream of chicken soup

½ cup calorie reduced salad dressing (Miracle Whip)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon curry powder

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Defrost 8-10 chicken breast strips. Place in a microwavable dish, cover and cook until tender (or brown lightly on both sides in a skillet with cooking olive oil). Drain asparagus (or peas) and place in bottom of 9″ X 9″ X 2″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. (I often use 2 (15 ounce) cans of Lesueur sweet peas instead of asparagus or one can of peas and one can of asparagus spears). Top with chicken strips. Mix together soup, salad dressing, lemon juice and curry powder. Pour over chicken and asparagus. Top with shredded cheese. Cover and bake at 375o F. for 30 minutes. Leftovers freeze well.

How do you use turmeric or curry? Please share some of your favorite healthy dishes. We all want new ways to keep our memories intact.

 

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Each year media, current research, or consumer groups prompt changes in the food market. Sometimes restaurants initiate new eating trends by promoting certain foods.

I grew up with meals of mustard greens and turnip greens―both nutritious choices. Kale, unknown to me as a child, has replaced those as one of my favorite powerhouses for nutrients. A favored nutrient-loaded food of last year, newer trends in 2016 pushed kale aside. Personal food selections and exposure to new foods change how and what we eat. With shifts in taste and preferences, what can we expect for this year?

  • Food and Meal Delivery:  Not all changes involve food choices. Ranked high on the list for 2016 is how we choose to get our meals. Food delivered to our doorstep has moved beyond pizza. More companies now cater to complete menus or provide ingredient-ready versions that require minimum preparation for a home-cooked meal. For those with super busy schedules or limited cooking skills, delivered meals may be an economical choice compared to the time to shop, prepare, and purchase onetime-use ingredients that languish in cupboards until ruined or out of date.
  • Clean Food:  This unusual term means different things to different people. Consumers have become conscious of what is added to foods. Alert manufacturers now state what products don’t have. These “free-from” labels may include GMO, antibiotics, or additives. The term may also refer to high-quality protein and carbohydrate or even a reminder of local food sources.
  • Veggie Entrees:  We don’t have to be vegetarian to make vegetables a mainstay in our diet. Increasing numbers of consumers lean toward healthful dishes with vegetables at the forefront. Many of us fail to get enough vegetables in our diets. With veggies as the focal point for entrees, with or without added small portions of lean meat, it’s a win-win situation. Dishes primarily from vegetables may also cost less.
  • Beans, Beans, and More Beans: What we know as legumes are more specifically recognized as pulses. Pulses, a part of the legume family, refer only to the dried seeds. The most common ones are dried peas and beans, lentils, and chickpeas. Pulses have several nutritional advantages (high protein and fiber) and usually provide less expensive meals.
  • Spice It Up:  For several years researchers have claimed the benefits of certain spices. While they are used sparingly, they contribute to flavor while adding nutrients. Some commonly used healthful spices include black pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric.
  • From Sweet to Bitter: Consumers seem to be moving more toward bitter vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and collard greens. Expect these vegetables to be touted this year, especially in restaurants.
  • Less Pasta:  This popular food has waned in favor. Manufactures report reduced sales and revenue from pasta products.

What will you eat this year? You can choose to follow emerging trends or not. Whether you do or don’t, the best option during 2016 is to choose more nutritious foods and diets.

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