Saturday, November 22, 2014

Supermarket Superfoods

Have you ever clicked on an article about a superfood only to find that the super food was super hard to find in local stores or super expensive? Not this superfood!

Dried herbs are chock full of antioxidants and phytochemicals. These are compounds that keep your cells thriving, your organs fully functioning, keep you feeling great, and even ward off dangerous bacteria and oxidation in food. And the best thing is that you probably don't even have to go to the supermarket; you probably have most of these spices sitting in your cabinet.

My Spice collection in my NYC apartment 3 years ago
Three apartments later and we still have the same set!

This is why I love my spice collection. When I was living in NY, we had a fabulous reasonably-priced health food store nearby and I gradually replaced my 99-cent spice collection with this fabulous glass jar set. This set of spice jars (+ my mason jars)have been with me through 4 apartments!  You can buy your own beautiful set by clicking the (affiliate) link below (or click on "Simply Organic to by individual jars for less than $5.00 each). I bought about 20 spices for my sister when she was getting married and she told me it was one of her best gifts! They also make a great holiday gift.

Numerous studies point to a myriad of benefits from spices that are sitting in your cabinet right now:
  • Cinnamon to help control blood sugar and decrease inflammation
  • Turmeric to help control blood sugar and decrease inflammation
  • Ginger to help control blood sugar, decrease inflammation, ease indigestion, and act as an anti-oxidant
  • Cumin to help control blood sugar, act as an anti-oxidant in the liver and kidneys, and reduce cortisol and stress markers
  • Garlic to help control blood sugar and act as an antioxidant
  • Sea salt to balance the delicate electrolytes in your body
  • Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, and Thyme to ward off the flu and illness by acting as strong antioxidants
  • Coriander as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer agent (scientific example)
  • Black pepper to inhibit cell-death in the brain, theoretically protecting brain health

For references you can read here, here, here, here (click "download"), and here to start!

So the next time you want to reach for an artificial spice blend (i.e chicken rub or taco mix) that may be mostly monosodium glutamate, or a stock powder that is mostly sugar and cornstarch, or a salad dressing made with high fructose corn syrup, run to your spice cabinet instead and whip up something yummy and super tasty with your already-purchased superfoods. Add some turmeric to your stir fried chicken, cinnamon and cumin to your sweet potatoes, garlic and oregano to your salad, the possibilities are endless.

Here is one of my favorite homemade Italian spice blends that is absolutely incredible in this kale soup:

Italian Seasoning Spice Blend
3 Tablespoons dried basil
3 Tablespoons dried oregano
3 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon back pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Garlic Kale Sweet Potato Soup

2 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped

3 1/2 tsp. dried Italian herb seasoning (see recipe above or buy a ready-made one)

6 cups water vegetable broth 

2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 lb sweet potatoes, scrubbed and diced

4 oz. kale, tough stems removed, chopped coursely (about 4 cups)

12 garlic cloves (I've added a few more but it's up to your taste)

salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and Italian herb seasoning; saute until

onions are soft and golden, about 6 minutes

2. Stir in water or broth, beans, sweet potatoes, and kale; bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low

and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add garlic to simmer soup base. Simmer until sweet potatoes and greens are tender.

About 15 - 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: 6 servings (1 1/2 cup each)

For your favorite foodie, consider the following gifts for the holiday season:


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