Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spice Up Your Life

Just got home from a trip to the health food store and only have an hour before I have to pick up my lovely spawn from her 3rd day at swim camp.  Was starving and wanted something super healthy and packed with protein.  Quick go-to snack?  Hummus!  It really only takes minutes to make and the flavor combinations are endless.  Check out my on-a-whim creation: Moroccan Spiced Hummus with Baked Pita Chips and see below why you too, should include these spices in your life!

Cilantro - one of my favorites.  Really.  I love this stuff.  Some quick facts:
  • Anti-oxidant rich
  • Helps lower LDL (Bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Very good source of Vitamins A & K, which are good for vision and bones
  • Provides 30% of daily recommended levels of vitamin C
  • Rich in other minerals like Potassium, Iron and more!

Turmeric - This spice has proven over centuries to be crazy-good for you.  There are too many reasons to list, so the following list was provided by: http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/20-health-benefits-of-turmeric.html
  • It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
  • When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
  • Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
  • May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
  • Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
  • Is a natural liver detoxifier.
  • May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
  • May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
  • It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects. 
  •  Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice
  • Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
  • May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
  • Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
  • Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
  • Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
  • Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.
  • Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
  • Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
  •  May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.

Moroccan Spiced Hummus with Baked Pita ChipsMade this on a whim.  Delicious!  The curry flavor is actually very mild in this, so if you are a fan of curry, feel free to add more. 

Hummus2 Cloves Garlic
1 Can Organic Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp Tahini
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
1/3 C Cilantro, packed into measuring cup.  Break off bottoms of stems, but leave leafy stems in tact.
1 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
1 Tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp White Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Agave (optional)
Pepper to taste
1/3 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or a combo of EVOO and Flax Oil for an extra health boost!  I used a mix.)

Process garlic cloves in food processor.  Add chickpeas and process again.  Add remaining ingredients, save for the oil.  Process until well combined.  Drizzle in oil from the hopper of your food processor while it's on and stop occasionally to scrape the sides down with a spatula. 

To serve: put in to a bowl or dish, top with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of turmeric & garlic powder.    I also sprinkled Dulse on mine for an extra health kick.

Pita ChipsUse your favorite pita or flatbreads (Dairy-Free!, multigrain!), Spray quickly with light mist of cooking spray (I use Organic Canola Oil Spray) and sprinkle with salt, pepper and turmeric.  Bake in preheated oven or toaster oven at 375ยบ until you can smell them.  About 5-8 minutes.  Generally, as soon as you can smell the 'fresh baked bread smell', they are either done or about a minute away from done. 


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