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Nutrition

Warm Up the Winter with These Flavorful Spice Blends

February 13 2019

Colder weather begs for warm, tasty food to comfort the soul. It's also the time of the year to be more health-conscious and build up the immune system to fight against common ailments like colds and the flu. By adding flavorful, nutritious spice blends to savory and sweet dishes, meals become more satisfying and healthy. Here are some aromatic spice blend recipes that are perfect options for flavor and nutrition.

Health Benefits of Spices

Spices don't only add flavor and depth to recipes; they add nutrition as well. Research has shown that consuming spices like turmeric may provide several health advantages. Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric may also be beneficial to brain function and lower the chance of heart disease. Some say that it can help ease arthritis pain and has antidepressant qualities.

Cayenne pepper and other types of hot peppers contain capsaicin, which may boost metabolism and lower blood pressure.

One of the most popular spices used around the world, cinnamon is packed full of healthy antioxidants that have been shown to help fight diseases. Antioxidants boost the immune system, making it more powerful in its fight against illnesses. Research has shown that cinnamon may help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes although studies are not conclusive. Cinnamon not only adds great flavor to food; many cultures add it to their recipes to aid digestion.

Spice Blends for Savory Recipes

Soups, stews, chilis and curries are perfect dishes for colder days, mainly because of the delicious blend of spices that they have in them. In addition, they aren't only for meat lovers. The following spice blend recipes are just as good in vegetarian and vegan dishes as they are in dishes made with meat.

Spice Blend for Chili and Soup

This spice blend is perfect for pots of chili with meat or vegetarian versions of chili. It's also great to use in bean soup, in lentil stew or on root vegetables before roasting.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Place spice blend in an airtight container like a glass jar.
  3. Store in a cool, dark space for up to six months.
  4. Use 1-2 Tbs. of the spice blend for every pound of meat in the recipe. If the dish is vegetable-based, use 1-1.5 Tbs. for every 2 cups of raw veggies. Some people like their blend hotter than others, so measurements can be adjusted to personal preferences.
  5. To bring out the most flavor and aroma from these spices while cooking, add them to the dish during the browning process of either the meat or onions according to the recipe being used.

Spice Blend for Hearty Meat or Root Vegetable Stews

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients, except bay leaves, in a bowl. Mix well until all powders are combined thoroughly. Then, add the bay leaves on top.
  2. Store the mixture in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to six months.
  3. Use 1-2 Tbs. of the blend for every pound of meat in the recipe, and add 2 whole bay leaves. If the dish is vegetarian, use 1-1.5 Tbs. for every 2 cups of raw vegetables and 2 whole bay leaves. Adjustments to the amounts of individual spices can be easily made according to personal preference.
  4. To bring out the most flavor and aroma from these spices while cooking, add them to the dish during the browning process of either the meat or onions according to the recipe being used.

Homemade Curry Powder Spice Blend

Curry powder is growing in popularity all over the world. It is being used more in everyday dishes, not just in Indian recipes. It is quite common to add this spice mix to rice dishes, seafood stews or stir-fried vegetables. Curry powder is a complex mixture of spices, and there are hundreds of possible combinations. Some blends even contain 10 to 20 different spices. Because the possible combinations are endless, tweaks can be made to this recipe according to personal preference. Curry powder blends add delicious warmth, depth and flavor to all recipes whether they contain meat, fish, poultry or vegetables alone. Adding the spices to the meat or onions while they are browning in oil brings out their flavor and aroma to the max. Make winter meals come alive with this delicious curry powder spice blend.

Ingredients:

Optional ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined.
  2. Store in an airtight container placed in a dark, cool place for up to six months.
  3. Use approximately 2 Tbs. of the blend for every pound of meat or 2 cups of raw vegetables in vegetarian recipes. More or less can be added according to preference.
  4. Add the spices during the browning process in the recipe for ultimate flavor and aroma.

Spice Blends for Sweet Dishes

There is nothing better than walking into a warm home that is filled with the aroma of spicy baked goods. It's easy to mix up a batch of these spice blends to have on hand for baking and cooking.

Apple Pie Spice Blend

This spice blend is also perfect in apple cake, raisin spice cake or pancakes. It is amazing when sprinkled on oatmeal, rice pudding or baked apples.

Ingredients:

Optional ingredient:

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined.
  2. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to six months.
  3. Use approximately 2 tsp. for every 1 cup of sugar called for in the recipe. The amount used can be increased or decreased according to personal taste preferences. Mix it together with the sugar to ensure that it is incorporated well, and then mix it with the apples or other fruit.

Pumpkin Spice Blend

Fortunately, this pumpkin spice combination isn't saved only for pie making any more. It's just as delicious in pumpkin cake, on rice pudding, in hot chocolate and in many other recipes.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Combine all of the spices together in a bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined.
  2. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot for up to six months.
  3. Use approximately 2 tsp. for every 1 cup of sugar called for in the recipe. The amount used can be increased or decreased according to personal taste preferences. Mix it together with the sugar to ensure that it is incorporated well, and then mix it with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.

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