They say that scent provides the strongest memories, and that is certainly true of fall spices. Cinnamon may remind you of baking your first apple pie with your mom, and the scent of sage in your Thanksgiving stuffing may bring you back to fun times in your grandmother’s kitchen. There’s something special about these spices, and there’s so much more to them than seasoning your favorite recipes. Read on to learn the history of and interesting uses for these scent-sational spices.
It’s hard to imagine an apple or pumpkin pie without cinnamon. This sweet spice comes from the inner bark of cinnamon trees found in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Burma. It is mentioned throughout antiquity and was even imported to ancient Egypt. Nowadays, cinnamon can be purchased in stick form or ground for convenience.
Cinnamon has many health benefits. It is said to help with muscle spasms, infections, loss of appetite and the common cold. Studies have also shown that cinnamon can help Type 2 diabetics control their blood glucose levels.
After you use your cinnamon in your favorite apple pie recipe, you can use any leftover sticks to make a great-smelling stovetop potpourri. Try this: cut one lemon, one apple and one orange into fourths. Place in pot with two to three cinnamon sticks, and cover with water. Simmer and enjoy the wonderful aroma.
Clove is a strong spice that is popular in many fall recipes, from clove-studded hams to pumpkin pies. They are the dried flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree, which is native to Indonesia. This potent spice has been known to numb the mouth, and a little bit goes a long way when it comes to seasoning.
Cloves are said to act as an ant repellant, and can also be brewed and drank as a tea. They are also good at combating morning sickness and other forms of digestive distress.
You can use whole cloves to make a pomander ball, a fun and easy Christmas craft. Simply tie a red or green ribbon around an orange, poke holes into the fruit and insert cloves. The orange will dry and continue to emit a wonderful scent for years. They make great decorations or drawer sachets.
This popular spice, a mainstay of gingerbread and gingerbread cookies, hails from Central America. It comes from the dried, unripe fruit of a canopy tree. When dried they resemble peppercorns, and they are typically ground into a powder for convenience.
Allspice is common in many Caribbean recipes, and used in jerk seasoning and in barbecue sauces. It is also in Middle Eastern cuisine and is used to flavor many meat and stew dishes.
Whole allspice makes a great addition to dried potpourri. Mix together dried, sliced fruits, dried herbs and flowers, and spices to create your own, one-of-a-kind allspice potpourri creation. This makes a great gift idea.
A stuffing staple, sage has its roots in the Mediterranean region, although nowadays it can be found in many places throughout the world. This herb has a long history of culinary and medicinal use, and in ancient times was thought to ward off evil and aid with fertility.
Sage is a mainstay in many European recipes, especially in traditional bread stuffing prepared during the holidays. It’s one of the herbs mentioned in the Old English song “Scarborough Fair.”
Sage is a wonderful-smelling and attractive herb, and it makes a beautiful edible Christmas wreath. Combined with oregano, rosemary and bay leaves, this stunning wreath is a perfect gift for friends.
Use these popular herbs and spices to add a kick to your recipes, your home and your gift-giving this holiday season.
BIO: Alicia is a content coordinator for a tech company. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking healthy meals, and blogging about health, tech and communication on MarCom Land.
Good Morning everyone! How great does daylight savings feel? I am loving the extra hour of sleep and earlier morning light! Speaking of morning, a popular conversation that’s often had in my morning WODs is about breakfast; what everyone’s eating besides eggs since you can only eat scrambled eggs for so long without burning out.
Corey and I have eggs almost every morning and they (very rarely) get old. I attribute our love for breakfast to the creative way we make our morning eggs. Really the eggs are a protein vehicle for everything else I’m craving in the morning. We also make an effort to squeeze in as many vegetables as we can in the morning. Everything from collard greens to brussel sprouts are fair game.
This recipe derived from a deep craving for ham and cheese. I have a feeling that this omelet will be making a reappearance at our house on winter weekends
Brussel Sprouts, Pancetta and Cheese Omelet
Yield : 2 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
6 large organic free-range eggs
2 T. of Kerry Gold butter
½ cup of Pancetta
2 cups of shredded brussel sprouts
¼ c of shredded raw cheddar cheese
In a skillet melt the butter over medium heat and toss in the pancetta. Cook until the pancetta is fragrant and slightly crispy. While the pancetta is cooking, chop the brussel sprouts into thin slices (the thinner the pieces the better). Add the brussel sprouts to the pan and cook until crispy.
In a separate bowl, crack and beat the six eggs. Add salt and pepper. For a fluffier egg, add just a dollop of cream or milk while beating. Add the eggs to the pan and cook until the omelet bubbles in the center. Flip the eggs once the corners are easily lifted from the pan.
Finally add the shredded cheese to the eggs. Cook in the pan until the cheese is melted and serve hot!
Delicious additions could be some Siracha or hot sauce!
Question of the Day: How do you prefer your eggs?
Hello , Hello!
As you may have seen in my last post we are new puppy parents and excited/weary from it all! Puppies are a lot of work but all of the training, walking, feeding is a labor of love. At the end of the day when Piper snuggles into me, there is no way I cannot fall in love with her all over again.
I am also a believer that our pets teach us lessons about life and ourselves. That said, these are my Puppy Love lessons from little miss Piper.
Lesson #1: Sleep is critical
Puppies have the best method for how they spend their day. Get up early, play, eat, poop, sleep, repeat. Thankfully for us, Piper has adjusted quickly to our schedule of being an early riser and early to bed without getting up (too much) throughout the night. Having a few sleep-deprived nights, we quickly realized how running on all cylinders is critical to good health. Without enough sleep, your brain cannot do a deep clean, your body cannot repair and often times for me it means my healthy eating is compromised. I eat way more when I'm tired, often because I don' t have the energy to make good food choices.
Lesson #2: True Love is unconditional
Often times in our personal (people) relationships love is conditional. Would you still love your friend if they were nasty to you because they were having a bad day? A dog's love is unconditional and so special. I always feel missed when I walk in the door even if 5 minutes has passed. And even if my day is going terribly, and I'm grumpy when I return home, she's there to snuggle and play with Corey and me. I forgot how much I missed having a furry friend around the house until she wriggled her way into our lives!
Lesson #3: Take time to stop and smell the Roses
Almost every morning Piper and I take about a 30 minute walk together. During this time, she stops to smell just about everything in her path. I have come to enjoy that time alone with her and actually be present. Unfortunately this happened so infrequently before having her around. Now every day we have time to stop, sniff and enjoy.
She continues to teach and test us everyday with new experiences. I feel like there could be a whole blog dedicated to lessons learned from our pets. If you're looking for a good read with a similar vibe, read The Art of Racing in the Rain. I promise you will not be disappointed.Question of the Day: What have your furry friends taught you?
Oh my how we have had so many changes in our lives in the last 6 months...HECK 6 days! This fall has been a whirlwind of change! All positive (thank goodness) and a lot of it will be reflected in the blog in the future.
1.) I dropped out of the Philadelphia Full Marathon
Although I was in denial for awhile, I am not nearly prepared to run another full marathon this November. Between training for the Virginia Beach half marathon, training for the MS 75 Bike Ride and renovating our home, there has been no time for 2 hour long runs on Saturday mornings. I feel so much better now that I’ve made the decision to drop down to the half! I had an amazing experience last year and I don’t want to compromise the amazing memories I have. Not to mention, when I told the lovely Trendy Trainer my plans, she was 110% supportive. Like she would be any different ;)
2.) I completed my first long-distance bike ride!
75 miles doesn’t make the Kay family shake in their boots! Last Saturday, my family and I completed 75 miles from Philadelphia (roughly) to Ocean City, NJ all for patients suffering from MS. This cause is especially close for my family who has two members suffering from the effects of MS. My mom and her twin brother are both being treated and so by us pedaling for 7 hours, we were able to give back in a grand way. After hoofing BOTH bridges into Ocean City, we all decided next year, we’re getting a bigger team! Go hard or go home!
3.) We have a new baby in the house!
Blog world, please meet the love of our lives- Piper! She’s 12 weeks old and a German Shorthaired Pointer. Corey and I brought her home 2 Saturdays ago and it’s been love ever since. Expect lots of doggie updates/photo bombs in upcoming APOG posts. While she’s already taking well to being house-broken, she has also enjoying chewing everything in sight. No can be heard echoing the halls of our home.
So there you have it! With a new puppy, endurance training, home rennos and my sister’s bridal shower this weekend we are running in 750 directions.
Question of the day: Do you have any good puppy training tips?! We’re all ears!
Now that it’s officially fall I’m in full-blown domestic goddess mode. I love cooking and baking in the kitchen when the weather turns cold and because of this you can expect a barrage of recipes coming your way. Most of them will probably include pumpkin or some form of squash. I love, love, love pumpkin and so I cram it in between September – November. Sorry I’m not sorry.
This recipe stemmed from our love of grass-fed ground beef (seriously I could eat it every-freaking-day) and the farmer’s market picks for the week. We’ve gotten quite creative with zucchini in the last few months since there’s only so many times you can eat it sautéed. The beauty of this recipe is that it can take on whatever ingredients you have in the fridge. For us, beef usually wins.
Yield: 4 servings (we had a honking big zucchini)
Cook time: 30 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
1 ginormous zucchini (or two smaller zucchini)
1 lb of grass fed ground beef
1/2 vidalia onion sliced thin
1 carrot shredded
1/2 cup of organic ketchup
1 Tbsp. of smoked paprika
3 Tbsp. of garlic
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a skillet cook the beef until browned. Break it up with a spatula so that its in smaller pieces. While the beef is cooking, slice zucchini in half (or fourths). You want to do this as if the zucchini is on its end. Hollow out the zucchini and cut the meat of it into small cubes. Take the hollow tubes and place them in an oven safe dish.
In a separate pan, add the coconut oil and sliced Vidalia onion. Shred the carrots and add them to the pan once the onion is partially translucent. Finally add the zucchini and cook until its tender.
Add the cooked veggie mixture to the cooked meat mixture. Add the ketchup and mix well. You want the meat mixture to be “wet” looking. Finally add the spices and mix. Take the meat mixture and add it to the hollow zucchini tubes.
Place the stuffed zucchini in the oven and bake for 10-20 minutes or until the outer shell is soft. You can serve with grated parmesan cheese or cheddar for extra flavor!
Question of the Day: How much pumpkin do you consume between September - November?
Summer is officially over and I'm a bit sad. How is it that with each passing year the time seems to go faster? Going through my phone and camera, I saw so many pictures I failed to share. What a bad blogger! Instead of stepping back to rewrite outdated posts, I thought a photo dump might be more fun. What did you do to enjoy the summer?
Lots of Girls' Days/Nights
Greetings from the Outer Banks! This week Corey and our family/friends are enjoying a week of sun, sand and relaxation. After we all have been working hard in the office and on our ‘new’ home, its nice to get away and slow down to enjoy the last week of summer.
Welcome to our home for the week!
How cute is the name of our place? Southern Comfort- adorable! Each of the homes here have their own name and we are quite spoiled to be in a cozy community that includes a gym, tennis courts, indoor pool and game room. Not to mention a house with our own pool and hot tub- it’s the perfect fit!
Some of my posts this week will be Paleo/health related and some will be our adventures on the beach so I hope that you will stay tuned! Besides, health can’t go by the wayside with half-marathon #6 waiting for me in VA Beach on the way home!
How are you spending the last week of summer? Are you soaking in the last of the BBQs, pool and sun? Or are you already getting ready for fall?
The below guest blog post is brought to you by Alicia. Alicia is a content coordinator for a tech company. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking healthy meals, and blogging about health, tech and communication on MarCom Land
Benefits of Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’re like many people who have heard about adding apple cider vinegar in a diet, you may not have a very positive response. A lot of people are confused about why someone would make a daily habit of downing a shot glass of the stuff early each morning. It certainly doesn’t taste that great.
The fact is that people who regularly use apple cider vinegar as a health tonic aren’t doing it because they think it tastes great. Instead, they’re looking at a lot of collected information about home remedies and natural tonics that show that the vinegar can have a good impact on their overall health.
Potential Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Many people who are on a diet drink apple cider vinegar in the morning to stimulate their metabolism. That’s because some studies suggest that it can boost the metabolism
, and when it comes to stimulating the metabolism, early morning is a good time to do it.
In general, having a more active metabolism throughout the day leads the body to burn more fat, which in turn leads to faster and more significant weight loss. Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, apple cider vinegar can be an essential part of a plan to work toward better health.
Apple cider vinegar can also have a positive effect on high cholesterol or blood pressure. It can also help regulate blood sugar levels, which if too high, can pose a major risk to those who are diabetic.
If you don’t like drinking the vinegar in water, put a fourth cup in you chili or into a bean dish. You can even add it as a dressing for salads or sautéed spinach. Cautions for Apple Cider Vinegar
One thing to be aware of before adding apple cider vinegar to your regular diet is that it’s highly acidic, so it can in some cases damage the teeth or throat. Many of those who drink the stuff over the long term like to dilute it with water to help lessen its impact on the sensitive internal tissues. With all of the ambiguity around cider cures, it’s not uncommon for people to have discussions and even arguments about how to use elements like apple cider vinegar
to improve health.
It’s generally a good idea to talk to your doctor before going ahead with any kind of dietary supplement or other home remedy. That’s because cider or anything else can work differently according to each person’s individual health conditions. Giving your doctor a list of all the medications you take and any allergies you might have can help him or her make sure that any new treatments or remedies you adopt won’t interact badly with anything else that you’re taking in order to manage your health.
With the right kind of care and oversight, apple cider vinegar can be a helpful way to get on track toward a better body mass index and a better quality of life.
Drinking apple cider vinegar can act as a “natural remedy” for ongoing bodily health. It’s important for those who want better access to healthy diets to understand the kinds of chemistry that are involved in home remedies and other less formal “tonics.”
After purchasing apple cider vinegar, if you find the drink is not for you use it for other purposes around the house. A clear cup with apple cider vinegar and a little dish soap is a great fruit fly and mosquito trap
. Vinegar can also work as an organic cleaner for your kitchen counters.
Apologies for the MIA status. Life has once again been hectic with a crazy work schedule and summer fun.
Well, it seems I too was bit with the A-Z bug (aka Miss Caroline
) and loved the survey so here’s my take on me through the alphabet! A. Attached or Single?
Attached! Corey and I have been together for 4 years and I feel so blessed to have him in my life
B. Best Friend? Of course as so many other ladies would respond, I have been blessed to have a lot of truly wonderful people in my life. Throughout each stage you have been there for me and I cherish our memories. Of my list of course includes college roomie Kait. Partner-in-crime and life soul-mate Courtney, post college pal Kara and certainly last but not least my sisters (Just to name a few!). My sisters have been my best friends since childhood and I cannot imagine my life without them.
C. Cake or pie? Cake please! As mentioned in previous early APOG days, my go-to cake is from Eat, Live Run. Jenna knows how to bake and its my go-to self-made birthday cake every year! YUM!!!
D. Day of choice? Saturday. Especially in the summer I love spending the day with the BF going to the farmer’s market and running local errands with afternoon’s by the pool. Ahh!
E. Essential Item? My water bottle! I carry this baby everywhere I go and often color coordinate with my outfit! Its clearly what all the cool kids do right? No
F. Favorite color? I’ve always been a blue girl. Maybe its because I have blue and white pumping through my veins? Maybe its because I’m a ging? Either way works for me!
G. Gummy bears or worms? Gross neither. Now if we were talking secret flavor skittles? Oh man! Bring it onnnnnnn!! I love skittles!
H. Home town? Pipersville, PA. Fact I live only 10 minutes now from my parents and wouldn’t have it any other way!
I. Favorite Indulgence? Cheese, Chocolate and wine….always wine
J. January or July? July. I met Corey in July so I consider it a lucky month of sorts
K. Kids? Someday yes!
L. Life isn’t complete without? My family and friends. My family and BF keep me sane in the craziness that is our day to day.
M. Marriage date? TBD
N. Number of brothers/sisters? I’m the oldest of 4- 3 girls and 1 boy. If you can’t already tell by my personality, just ask any of them…I’m totally the older sister. Worry wort? Check. Mother hen? Check. Late night therapist? You betcha.
O. Oranges or Apples? Apples. With almond butter please ;)
P. Phobias? Heights and snakes. Definitely snakes.
Q. Quotes? I have so many quotes that I love its hard to pick just one. The mantra I have hanging at my desk says: “Be like a duck- quiet on the surface but paddle like hell underneath”
R. Reasons to smile? A million reasons to smile: my family, friends, health, love, life. I am a very lucky girl.
S. Season of choice? I love the change in seasons. Corey will often tease me to say I love whatever season is next and its true! I love the peacefulness of a big snowfall, EVERYTHING about fall, the excitement of warmth in spring and the long summer days.
T. Tag 5 People:
OK ladies your turn!
My balanced and Zen friend Trish
My inspiration to keep pushing Julie
LLS Rockstar athlete Kara
Kitchen Goddess and HLS ’12 roomie Jamie
Marathon Buddy Melissa V. Vegetable?
We eat lots o veg in the Pinch of Ginger household. I seriously could eat sweet potatoes and eggplant every.single.day
W. Worst habit? Oh I’m not sure what you’re talking about ;)
X. X-ray or Ultrasound? Which do I prefer? Neither. Both equal testing for something that should not be happening (aka a woman who has not yet had babies)
Y. Your favorite food? Do I really have to pick a favorite? If so, the cheese stands alone …at the top :)
Z. Zodiac sign? Capricorn
YOUR turn! Pick your three initials and answer the corresponding questions in the comment box.
Hi friends! These next two weeks are full of travel for me which means lots of juggling my workouts and eating. I will tell you that I struggle hard core staying healthy on the road. I tend to hit snooze on the alarm and drink/ eat my face off with clients and coworkers.
Because I travel more now than ever before, I try to follow a few guidelines to stay as healthy as possible.
- pack lots of snacks - as long as i pack snacks like seltzer water, nutz and jerky I will stay away from reststop food.
- plan ahead- the more I can plan the better! Sure I might have every meal out, but scoping the menu ahead of time gives me a gameplan
- Share your workout plan- invite your coworkers to join you on your daily run/walk or yoga session. You're more likely to get out of bed with a little motivation!
- Get enough sleep! I never sleep well in a hotel so sometimes a little sleep will be the best healthy start!
Just because you're logging the miles by train, plane or automobile doesn't mean you have to be gluttonous and lazy! Enjoy the temporary a scenery on a walk while muching on a packed apple- you'll feel so much better that you did!Question of the Day: What are your healthy travel tips?