by Molly Jo Realy @RealMojo68
Today I’m focusing on Food and Fun. Which reminds me, it’s time for y’all to head on over to Facebook and vote for what I should put on the plate next week. Just click on the photos below to get there. You can also vote on my Instagram post, or by leaving a comment here. This week’s choices are: Egg Salad, Potato Chip Casserole, or Slow Cooker Ratatouille.
The kitchen is always a haven for me, a safe place where I can keep my body busy with cooking while my mind works out this week’s budget or next week’s character crisis. It’s near nirvana, blending and creating flavors, and one of the best ways to accomplish that is by mixing spices, and I’m not just talking sugar and salt.
This is the part where I tell you this post is in no way endorsed, sponsored, or whatevered by anyone or anything else. No body paid me, suggested to me, or offered me goods in exchange for my opinion. I just thought it’d be a fun topic for today’s 5TF.
Of course, I’m a fan of the McCormick brand because, and I think you know this, they’re the home of Zatarain’s. Yes, the Zatarain’s. The I’m-writing-and-need-inspiration spice. The I’m-so-glad-they-exist rice mixes. The blacken-that-salmon-more flavor. Yes, that Zatarain’s. Who can forget the lovely care package they sent me a few years ago? Gee, it’s almost time for a new one . . . *nudge, nudge, Jazz Man!*
Foodie Peeps, I give you this week’s Five Things Friday:
- Cinnamon It’s not just for Christmas. This great spice comes in both stick and ground form. I love adding a broken stick or two to my cider, hot tea, or latte. Of course, it’s a staple in my hot cocoa as well. But you already knew that. It’s got a crazy amount of healthy properties too, like soothing upset stomachs, and energy and brain boosts. Remember that for next time!
- Oregano. Ah, molto bella! What true Italian kitchen is without this pungent addition? Great on sandwiches and pizzas, in soups, and on salads. Oregano is my all-purpose main-dish spice. In oil form, Oregano is an immune-system booster and helps conquer the common cold faster than without it. Its warming properties make it a natural pain reliever, too.
- Bay leaf. Say what?! You say. That’s not a spice. Ookkaayyy, (in my long, drawn-out voice), so technically it’s an herb. But for realz. I’ve had soups and other dishes both with and without this seasoning. I’ll take the bay leaf for two hundred, Alex. Hands down. Every. Single. Time. The oil compounds are used in prevention of heart disease, and to help digestion.
- Ginger. Now contrary to some arguments, ginger really is a spice. Hey, I don’t make this stuff up! Tangy ginger root has some amazing health properties. A few shavings in your hot tea will knock that cold right out of you. Okay, maybe not SuperMan fast, but definitely Jimmie Johnson fast. It boosts your immune system and help handle the nausea that comes with allergies.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice. This blend of other spices brought together into one ahh-mazing mix? When I say, “more,” you say, “please!” Am I right? Snap the finger girl, you know I am. A dash of this in your frothy coffee or on top a scoop of French vanilla ice cream. Mmhmm. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. There is never, I repeat, never, a bad time for pumpkin pie spice. And since September is just four weeks away (I know, right?!), it’s Game On for all-things-pumpkin season!
In the kitchen, you can combine spices to suit your palate. Experiment with a dash of this, a sprinkle of that.
Tonight I created a new dry rub recipe: Two parts turmeric, two parts smoked paprika, and one part ground coffee. I’m pretty much in love with it already and can’t wait to try it with different coffees, and on different foods. It smells so good I almost want to use it as a body scrub. Too much? Yah, I guess you’re right. Okay, we’ll keep it on the food.
Nearly every spice has culinary, aromatic, and health benefits. What are your favorites?
With a dash of salt and a zest for life,
And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!