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Saturday, December 11 2010

As you prepare for the holidays, remember to have certain key spices readily available so that you can quickly prepare delicious recipes that are full of flavor. Many of the best dessert, beverage and side dish recipes include these spices.

Fast fact: Did you know that spices don't just add flavor but also have many health benefits? Spices have been used for thousands of years for healing and health. Of course, it is important to use spices appropriately and in moderation. The following five spices are the most frequently used in my holiday recipes.

 

  1. Cinnamon (ground and sticks) is a sweet spice that is often used in baking as well as in recipes for side dishes such as sweet potatoes. Cinnamon is readily available in grinders as well. Cinnamon is also thought to improve your memory and boost brain activity so if you need to remember a long list of holiday things to do, add cinnamon to your coffee.
  2. Nutmeg is popular in many countries. It is a key ingredient in many cookie recipes and is perfect in eggnog. Nutmeg contains compounds that are thought to have calming effects. So,consider adding it to drinks like eggnog to possibly help reduce holiday stress.
  3. Ginger is another must have spice for holiday cooking. Gingerbread cookies and many other desserts require ginger. Ginger also has many health benefits including helping fight inflammation to reduce arthritis pain and soothing upset stomachs. (This is just one more reason to keep it handy!)
  4. Vanilla is always needed for baking and can also be used in certain seafood recipes for added flavor. When buying vanilla, look for pure vanilla extract (35 percent alcohol). Vanilla contains small amounts of minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium and zinc) making it another example of a healthy spice.
  5. Allspice is a frequently used spice in holiday baking. It was named "Allspice" back in the 1600s and was called "Allspice" because it was thought to combine the flavor of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Allspice is another spice known for its anti inflammatory benefits. Include this spice in your holiday recipes since it may relieve sore muscles or the pain of arthritis.

 

There are many great holiday recipes that include spices. Try a few that are shown on this web site http://www.spicesimply.com/holiday-spices.html

As you can tell from just these five examples, spices can do more than just add flavor. Spices can improve your health and well-being.

Lynn Reed Thompson

 
Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 01 2010

hristmas for most is partially about the food. What better way to celebrate this Christian festival with a gigantic festive feast! Although we all may look forward to the meat orientated meal on Christmas day, having a similar meal too often beforehand may in fact make the meal not that special to some. Avoid being too traditional at Christmas parties, and instead of serving the traditional Christmas meal, add a unique and unusual twist to the meal - it does not have to be just festive after all!

A well designed starters will prepare everyone for the sort of meal you are going for and should prepare the palette for the rest of the meal. Most Christmas party dinners use as a starter fresh fruit with Coulis, salads combined with smoked fish or delicate cheeses. These refreshing but strong dishes act as a great aperitif and will impress any guest!

Now the mains have to be the creme de la creme of the meal, in order to really satisfy your guests. Stick to the more expensive meats, such as fish, lamb, pork and beef, as these are the more special and traditional meats of the season. Roast the meat, until the juices are perfect and season with the herbs of your choice. Rosemary, mint and sage are all the best traditional herbs that garnish meats perfectly. If you want a meal that is bit more unique, opt for stuffing the meat with beans and nuts as these will give a less subtle flavour to the meat. Side dishes are usually roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Although, wonderfully delicious, adding something a little different may create a more memorable and unique Christmas meal for your guests. Roasted or mashed butternut squash is a delicious complementary side dish to meat as they add a much sweeter flavour. If butternut squash is not for you, mashed potatoes and parsnips are still a sweet flavour to add to the meal.

Not everyone is a desert fan, so consider of having the option of the alternative cheeseboard, which will satisfy the savoury tooth. For those who are sweet toothed, consider a light chocolate or fruit flavoured moose or sorbet. After a heavy meal, most guests may not want a heavy desert, so opt for finer deserts that are not heavy or overly sweet. But if you do want to keep traditional, a mince pie with clotted cream will add that festive treat to your meal. 
Posted by: Send a Meal AT 02:03 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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