Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about GINGER!

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Ginger is a spice native to southeastern Asia, a region whose cuisines frequently feature this aromatic and distinctly tasting herb. The flesh of ginger can be yellow, white or red in color and it is covered with a brownish skin. Ginger has been mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern literature, and has been admired for its culinary as well as medicinal properties.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Ginger has been considered at being effective in alleviating symptoms of various health conditions as well as in preventing others.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols (responsible for ginger’s distinctive flavor) which are believed to help reduce pain and improve mobility for individuals suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (when consumed regularly).

Gastrointestinal Relief: Some studies indicate that ginger is  effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating.

Immune Boosting: Ginger is not only thought to be heat-causing but to also promote sweating, which is helpful when you are battling a fever. Sweating not only facilitates detoxification but, according to recent research, also fights off infections.

Safe and Effective Relief of Morning Sickness: Ginger  has been demonstrated to be very useful in reducing the symptoms of morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), even in its most severe form, hyperemesis gravidum,  which can require hospitalization. BONUS: Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, ginger is natural and safe.

Protection against Colorectal Cancer: Gingerols are believed to inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells

Promotes Death of Ovarian Cancer Cells: Gingerols are thought to kill ovarian cancer cells.

MEDICINAL USES

Relieve Cold Symptoms & Soothe Aches/ Relieve Chills – Soak your feet in a Ginger-Mustard bath (Directions below) or drink a glass of Ginger Tea (Recipe below).

Clean and Disinfect Cuts & Scrapes – Dab the area with a thin slice of fresh ginger before bandaging.

Relieve Fatigue – Soak your feet in a Ginger-Mustard bath (Directions Below).

Treat Diarrhea – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Congestion – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Constipation – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Cramps – Drink a glass of ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Ear Aches – Drink a glass of ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Flatulence – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Headaches – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Heartburn – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Hot Flashes – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Indigestion – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Morning Sickness – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Motion Sickness – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Relieve Aches in Muscles – Rub muscles with a homemade Ginger massage oil (Directions below).

Relieve Nausea – Drink a glass of Ginger tea (Recipe below).

Reduce the Appearance of Scars – Rub a sliver of Ginger on the area, two times a day until it fades.

Relieve Stress – Soak in a warm bath with ginger bath salts. To make the bath salts, mix together 3 teaspoons grated ginger, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ¼ cup Epsom salt in a small container than add to your bathwater.

Relieve Dry Mouth – Chew on a piece of fresh ginger.

OTHER USES

Treat and Soothe Acne – Rub the area with a thin slice of fresh ginger and/or apply ginger juice to the affected

Lighten Age Spots – Rub a little fresh ginger on the affected area daily.

Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite – Massage the affected area with homemade Ginger Massage oil (Directions below). 

Moisturize Hair – Apply Ginger tea after shampooing; allow tea to cool before using.

To Stimulate Hair Growth – Massage your scalp with a mixture of  1 tablespoon finely grated ginger and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Allow the mixture to remain on hair for 30
minutes before shampooing.

To Strengthen Hair – After shampooing, rinse hair with ginger tea (allow to cool before using).

Revitalize Skin – Wash with a body scrub made from 2 teaspoons grated ginger, ¼ cup olive oi, ½ cup sugar and lemon zest.

Even Out Skin Tone – Drink a glass of ginger tea daily (recipe below).

Minimize Wrinkles – Drink a glass of ginger tea daily (recipe below).

RECIPES

Ginger Mustard Bath: Add 2 Tsps of freshly ground ginger and 1 Tbsp of mustard powder to warm water.

Ginger Lemonade: Simply combine freshly grated ginger, lemon juice, cane juice or honey and water.

Ginger Orange Sweet Potatoes: Add ginger and orange juice to puréed sweet potatoes.

Ginger Infused Salad Dressing: Combine ginger, soy sauce, garlic and olive oil to taste.

Ginger Apple Pie: Add grated ginger to your favorite recipe for baked apple pie.

Ginger Tea: Peel ginger, cut 4-6 slices and boil in water for 10-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon and honey to taste.

Ginger Massage Oil: Place 1 cup olive oil in a small saucepan, add an inch of thinly sliced, fresh ginger, than add 10 dried rosebuds; heat on low for 30 minutes.

Ginger Martini: Soak ginger slices in vodka and then garnish martini with vodka infused ginger slices.

TIPS & TRICKS

  • Fresh ginger is preferable to dried ginger as it contains higher levels of gingerol.
  • When purchasing fresh ginger, make sure it is firm and free of mould.
  • Ginger is generally available in two forms, either young or mature. Mature ginger has a tough skin and requires peeling while young ginger does not need to be peeled.
  • Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled. Stored unpeeled in the freezer, it will keep for up to six months.
  • Dried ginger powder should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Alternatively, you can store it in the refrigerator where it will enjoy a shelf life of about one year (To store ginger for an even longer period of time, you can peel it and cover it with vodka prior to storing). 
  •  The taste that ginger imparts to a dish depends upon when it is added during the cooking process. When ginger is added at the beginning, it will lend a subtler flavor while added near the end, it will deliver a more pungent taste.
  • You can easily peel ginger by tilting a spoon to its side and scraping down the root.
  • Add extra pizzaz to your rice side dishes by sprinkling grated ginger, sesame seeds and seaweed on top.
  • Spice up sautéed vegetables by adding freshly minced ginger.
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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

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I have been coming across various recipes for yummy Pumpkin based dishes over the last few days and since Fall is in the air, I couldn’t help but  begin experimenting with Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream. I found various recipes online which I tested out before I settled on the recipe below to share with you all.
I had a friend over the other day and he was beyond amazed that this “ice cream” contained no dairy or animal products. For those of you who are not vegan, feel free to substitute with non-vegan products (which I have listed below) but keep in mind that this will likely result in a different consistency of ice cream.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews (Soak in warm water for 4-6 hours, or in boiling hot water for 1-2 hours)
  • 1 cup light coconut or almond milk
  • 3/4 cup Pumpkin puree
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 Tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 Tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 Tsp ground cinnamon
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Soak  cashews  for 4-6 hours in warm water. You can also soak them in boiling water for 1-2 hours.
  2. Once soaked, add cashews and remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and modify flavors as required.
  3. Add mixture to a freezer-safe pan and freeze until hard and chilled (at least 4-6 hours but preferably overnight).
  4. Remove pan from the freezer and thaw for 30-40 minutes before serving. Serve with brown sugar roasted pecans or almonds.

ROASTED PECANS/ALMONDS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 1/2 cup of pecans or almonds on a foil-lined baking sheet and toast for +/- 8 minutes. Melt 1 Tbsp (vegan or not) butter in a skillet and stir in 1 Tbsp brown sugar, pinch each of sea salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Remove toasted pecans or almonds from oven, toss with butter/spice mixture and then spread nuts back onto the baking sheet and toast for another 5-9 minutes (until fragrant and golden brown).

You can store the unused portion of ice cream in the freezer for up to a week.

Simple, Healthy and EASY Recipes with Avocado – # 1: Chocolate Avocado Pudding

dessert-282385_1920Chocolate Avocado Pudding Recipe

1 Medium Avocado

5 Tsps Cocoa Powder

5 Tsps Brown or Coconut Sugar

3 Tbsps Coconut Milk

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

A little tiny bit of ground cinnamon

Blend all the above ingredients together to your desired consistency and enjoy ! You can add an ice cube if you want an icy frozen texture and taste 🙂 I sometimes also top this off with bulgar and/or cranberries and/or figs and/or shredded coconut. Use your imagination and let your taste buds guide you!

How to Keep Avocado (Guacamole) GREEN for 3 Days !!!

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I have struggled forever to keep raw avocado-based dishes (i.e. Guacamole) GREEN for beyond 24 hours! I’ve heard lots of tricks – leave the pit in, add cilantro or mint or lemon/lime yadda, yadda, yadda…. that were intended to stretch out the life of avocado, and tried them out, but none of them worked for me 😞 Although I manage to salvage post 24-hour avocado-based dishes by scraping the browned part off and eating the rest (which usually remains green for a day or, if you’re lucky, two), I was recently taught a trick (which is not a myth but rather science-based!) that has helped me keep my Guacamole and other raw avocado-based prepared treats GREEN for about 3 days 😀 This makes the decision to buy a bag of avocados super easy for me.

Here’s what you do. Once you prepare your avocado-based dish, you transfer it to tupperware (preferably glass ware) and then smother it until there it very little or no air left. Then you spoon a few teaspoons of water (based on how much avocado-based dish you are going to store – I use 3-4 Tsps for a Cup) on top and cover the tupperware with its airtight cover. Refrigerate. When you remove the tupperware from the refrigerator , spoon out as much of the water as you can (without letting it get into the mixture) and then mix together your dish and serve!

Whats the secret? The H20 prevents oxidization which otherwise causes the avocado to brown 🙂

Enjoy your GREEN avocados!

P.S. I’ll post the recipe for this avocado spread (which I use on toast and top with tomato, cucumber and sprouts) as soon as I can along with other easy and simple raw avocado-based recipes.

CHEEZY KALE CHIPS (Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 bunches green or red curly kale
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened soymilk, almondmilk or ricemilk, or water
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon onion granules
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon juice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Soak cashews in enough water to cover for a couple of hours and then drain.

Preheat the oven to 275°F.

Wash, de-stem and thoroughly dry kale, tearing it into large pieces; set aside.

Purée soaked cashews, soymilk, peppers, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion granules, lemon juice and salt.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Lightly coat kale leaves with cashew sauce and spread in a single layer on baking sheets.

*** Make sure leaves are not stacked on top of each other, so that leaves dry and bake evenly.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until crisp, gently turning over about halfway through cooking.

Remove from baking sheets and repeat with remaining kale leaves and cashew mixture.

Cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 150 calories (70 from fat), 8g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 7g protein

Quinoa & Sweet Potato Salad

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Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water (use Imagine no-chicken broth or vegetable stock instead to add more flavor)
2 TBL olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves
2 TBL lemon juice
1 TBL Braggs or tamari
1 TBL maple syrup
1/4 cup sliced almonds (can use chopped nuts, like almonds, walnuts or pecans)
salt and pepper to taste

1 medium red bell pepper, core removed and chopped adds more color and crunch (Optional)

Add water and quinoa to medium saucepan and stir.

Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Heat oil and add in onion, garlic, and sweet potatoes and sauté, in a large skillet on medium heat, until sweet potatoes are tender but firm to the bite.

Add cumin (if using bell pepper, add in now) and saute for 2 minutes then set aside.

Toast nuts in a small saucepan over medium to low heat until toasty brown, about 8-10 minutes, shaking the pan to evenly toast all pieces.

Whisk together the lemon juice, Braggs and maple syrup in a large bowl.

Add spinach leaves and toss to coat.

Add in quinoa, sweet potato mixture, and nuts and stir gently to combine; salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm or chilled.

Natural Remedies

Although the last few days in Toronto have felt like summer has decided to return, Fall is here and the next few days will confirm that as temperatures drop! We all know too well that temperature shifts often cause many to fall under the weather, so although I will soon post a blog on how to enhance our Immune Systems’ ability to ward off disease, for now I will share 3 homemade recipes for cough & cold season courtesy of Mama Earth Organics!

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Winter Sore Throat “Tea”

Upon the first signs of a sore throat, in a jar combine lemon slices, organic honey and sliced ginger. Close jar and store in the fridge; it will form into a “jelly”.

To serve: Spoon jelly into a mug and pour boiling water over.

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Honey & Cinnamon Cold Remedy

Did you know that a teaspoon of honey and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon can usually knock out a cold within a day or two? Most effective when taken upon the first sign of a sniffle as it usually diminishes the intensity of Cold symptoms within a few hours. Take twice a day for 3 days for best results. Both honey and cinnamon are antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, in addition to having properties which combat bladder/kidney infections, reduce sugar levels, blood pressure and act as a pain reliever for arthritis! Not bad for a remedy that costs a few cents and takes less than a minute to prepare, huh?

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Honey & Apple Cider Vinegar Cough Syrup

Honey and vinegar are two of the principle ingredients in homemade cough syrup. This strong-tasting syrup helps calm persistent coughs that accompany chest colds and infections. Besides the soothing properties of honey and vinegar, this syrup also contains ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory. Mix 2 tbsp. of hot water, 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp. of honey, 1/4 tsp. of ground cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp. of ground ginger. Take 1 tsp. of the homemade cough syrup every two to three hours.