Archive for May 27th, 2010

My daughter Nissa came home last night too excited to share this – a bag of herbs and spices which she won earlier when she joined the special dancing class in her workout at Golds’ gym At Robinson’s Galleria.  Both of them, my daughter and son are now fitness buff, working out at least thrice or four times a week at the gym.

Along with the seven bottles of different herbs is a small compilation of a cookbook entitled Spices for Health. I was elated and she said “I know you’ll like it Ma”.  But of course!  I’ve been using different herbs and spices since I started learning how to cook.  They are healthier than using sodium and monosodium glutamate.   Herbs add life and taste to any kind of food and one can’t ignore the fact that some of them are antioxidants too.  As I’ve said in my previous blog,  I am on a low purine diet.  Doctor’s orders so it can’t really be ignored.  Go easy on the salt. 

Inside the bag are bottles of Cinnamon, Ginger, Oregano, Cayenne pepper, Rosemary, Thyme and Curry powder.  Wow!  Can’t wait to use these spices soon!

Did you know that Cinnamon vies for the top when it comes  to antioxidant properties along with blueberries and pomegranate juice?   Hmm, I love cinnamon in apple crumble.  Cinnamon is the dried ground bark of Cinnamomum cassia, it’s brown to reddish brown in color.   I remember putting some cinnamon sticks in one corner of the kitchen to keep it smelling fresh and heavenly.

Antioxidants are workhorses in our bodies providing a range of benefits that help boost the immune system.  And some studies show that herbs and spices also have anti-inflammatory properties that help promote good health.

Ginger is a tuber that is consumed whole as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae).  It has many health benefits and it is one of the most common spices which we can find in the kitchen.  It may help relieve the nausea in chemotherapy for people with cancer.  Don’t you just love Ginger snaps?

Oregano is a member of the mint family and it is also known as “wild marjoram”.  My mom swears by the efficacy of oregano leaves in treating common cough.   Taken fresh,  it’s a bit bitter to the taste.  Because of its high antioxidant level, researchers are continually exploring the use of oregano in various food applications to inhibit bacterial growth.

Cayenne, best known as red Chile peppers.  Capsaicin is the powerful compound that gives chile the heat.  Cayenne has the most capsaicin  although all red peppers including the milder paprika and chili powder are surprisingly good source of antioxidants.

Rosemary – I seldom use this except Italian cooking and marinades.  This aromatic herb is packed with flavors and antioxidants too.   I love it on pasta and grilled meat.

Thyme has flavonoids which increases the herb’s antioxidant property.  A teaspoon of this versatile herb has almost the same antioxidant as a carrot or a half-cup of chopped tomato.

Curry powder is a blend of turmeric and other spices.  I love to cook chicken curry.  Curry powder could also be used in salad.

There you have it guys, herbs and spices, ti’s McCormick!

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For several days now, I’ve been waiting for this bud to bloom.  I’ve been on the look-out for that sweet and heady scent of a gardenia.  It reminds me of childhood spent in the province.

My lovely gardenia!

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