Tag Archives: Spices

The Perfect Gluten-Free Dessert with a Secret Ingredient

brownies-blue2sm-682x1024Calling all sweet tooths! Brownies are a dessert staple – right after cake, ice cream and pie. There are so many variations of the brownie recipe that it can be difficult to carve out your own, but after many attempts I think I’ve done it.

It took a while to get this recipe right, but I found that spinach, of all things, is the key. Not only does it add a little nutrition to the treat but it also helps keep the brownie moist. I’ve also added Cardomom, which is a bit of an exotic spice. If you don’t have it in your cupboard you can skip it, but I think it rounds out the taste nicely. Oh, and these brownies are also gluten-free! Does it get any better than that?

Perfect Gluten-Free Spinach Brownies

makes @16 brownies

Serve with Almond Milk

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Line an 9×12-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Steam the spinach until wilted (about 2 minutes).

 In a mixing bowl whisk together the raw cacao, almond meal, sorghum flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and baking soda.

 Put the maple syrup and the spinach in a blender and blend until pureed.

 Make a well in the center of the mixing bowl and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract, sesame oil and maple syrup-spinach mixture. Beat on low-medium for two minutes, until the batter begins to come together. At first it will seem thin but keep beating until it thickens and becomes smooth and glossy. It might seem a little soupy to you but that is ok. It will come together in the oven.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

 If you are adding nuts, stir in the nuts by hand. Even out the batter with a silicone spatula.

 Stud the top with some dark chocolate chips and press in slightly.

 Bake in the center of a preheated 350ºF oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the brownies are set. The top will crack, like a flourless chocolate cake. You will know it is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Originally posted on my website, TappsTips.com 

5 Natural Ways to Boost Total Body Wellness

GingerSoothingBath

There’s a reason we often refer to “wellness” instead of “health,” though both words in essence refer to the same thing. The difference is that the former connotes a whole-self vitality that brings mind, body, and spirit into alignment for optimal health. And in most cases, the path to wellness is paved with natural products and practices, making the individual the expert on his or her own well-being.

If you struggle with any health concerns, or if you just want to boost overall wellness, increase your energy, and get that “glow” people are always talking about, then you may benefit from introducing some new practices into your daily routine.

Here are 5 natural tools to boost overall wellness:

1. Introduce spices and herbs into your diet.

Many common seasonings pack antioxidants and polyphenols, which can curb inflammation in the body, relieve pain, lower blood pressure, and more. In addition to that, spices and herbs add so much flavor to recipes that you’ll find yourself reaching less and less for the salt, sugar, and other unhealthy additives. A win-win all around!

Our tip: Ginger is the perfect spice to start with. With its spicy kick and subtle sweetness, ginger adds delicious flavor to savory and sweet dishes, alike! We love Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger powder, which is 100% pure ginger naturally sourced from the beautiful island of Wakaya.

2. Start a mindfulness practice.

“Mindfulness” can mean different things to different people, but the intention is always the same. Be aware of your thoughts and biases, practice listening, practice gratitude, and challenge yourself to speak, think, and act mindfully throughout the day. Mindfulness techniques, which can include meditation, focused awareness, and yoga, have been shown to help reduce stress, depression, and anxiety (along with other conventional treatments.)

Our tip: Find a time of the day that works for you to sit, be still, and just breathe. Maybe it’s right when you get up in the morning and are still sitting in bed; or perhaps it’s a few quiet moments after the kids have gone to sleep and the computer is turned off. Return to this inner space every day, and feel the effects the practice has on your life.

3. Try natural remedies for common ailments before turning to chemical-based drugs.

There is certainly a time and place for conventional medicine, don’t get us wrong! But many common, daily ailments – like headaches, nausea, sore muscles, and morning sickness – can be more easily (and effectively!) remedied by natural products. If there is a specific chronic condition you struggle with, do a bit of research to see what herbs, spices, and practices might help alleviate discomfort.

Our tip: Ginger has been proven to be an extremely effective product for easing nausea and related ailments. Try Ginger-Eze, a natural ginger remedy, as your go-to for alleviating motion sickness, cold symptoms, sore muscles and more.

4. Incorporate fitness into your daily routine.

For some people, having an allotted hour at the gym or in a fitness class is what they need to make sure exercise makes it into their schedule. But for many of us this strategy can be daunting, and we either skip it altogether or over-work ourselves when we do make the time to exercise. Staying active can be surprisingly easy, though, when we incorporate fitness into our lives by walking and biking for transportation, doing exercises that promote practical strength, and enjoying fun weekend activities that get us moving!

Our tip: Opt for “functional fitness” workouts, either on your own or at a gym that specializes in this kind of exercise. Functional fitness focuses on whole-body strength, balance, and stamina for daily life.

5. Use natural products for beauty and skin care.

Many commercial beauty and skin care products are terrible for your health. Some products have even tested positive for mercury, lead, bacteria, and other toxins. Yikes! Thankfully some of the most effective, powerful, and beautifying products come right out of the earth and don’t carry the same side-effects at the drugstore variety.

Our tip: To nourish and moisturize your skin, as well as treat rashes and minor burns, try Dilo Cream, made with oil from the super-plant Calophyllum inophyllum. This tree has so many amazing properties, and its oil has been used as a skin treatment throughout the Pacific and tropical regions of Africa for years.

We hope these tips give you some creative and empowering ideas for boosting your own wellness practice. What are your favorite tools for overall health? Let us know in the comments below!

* * *

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Wakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the LA Times, New York Times Gift GuideOprah’s favorite things and many more!

To experience the benefits of natural wellness practices, stock up on Wakaya Perfection’s 100% organic Dilo Cream and Ginger powder! Visit WakayaPerfection.com to order your Dilo Cream, Ginger powder, and Ginger-Eze, too, with accompanying recipes like the Ginger Lime Creme Brulee or Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Chops!

Use the promo code THRIVE and receive 15% off your next purchase!

The Benefits of Turmeric: Salvation from the Spice Rack

Turmeric_main_0127Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme may be most famous for their uses as flavorings (and musical inspiration), but herbs and spices do much, much more than kick our food up a notch. Many common plants that we use to flavor and season—coriander and cardamom, basil and bay, cayenne and caraway, saffron and sassafras—actually have properties that do far more than tantalize our taste buds. Turmeric, a peppery spice belonging to the ginger family that makes frequent appearances in earthy Indian and Southeast Asian
cooking, is renowned for its myriad benefits beyond the stove top. Formore than four thousand years, it’s been used in cosmetics, textiles, and medicines. In India, women rub bright yellow turmeric powder on their faces and bodies to achieve a golden glow. It’s a common coloring agent in mustard, cheese, and butter. And thanks to a host of new studies and clinical observations, scientists are discovering that turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, with some astounding effects:

  • Studies at the University of Texas found that curcumin (the active compound in turmeric) inhibited the growth of melanoma and slowed the spread of breast cancer.
  • Since turmeric is an important component of curry, some doctors theorize that increased consumption of the spice is one reason why the rate of Alzheimer’s disease is so low in India—about one-quarter that of the United States.
  • Research in Italy determined that osteoarthritis sufferers who supplemented their medication with a turmeric-based compound saw a 58 percent decrease in pain and stiffness.
  • According to the University of Maryland, turmeric helped patients with ulcerative colitis remain in remission.
  • Animal studies have found that turmeric caused test subjects’ blood sugar and cholesterol levels to drop.
  • In patients with the eye disease uveitis, treatment with curcumin was as effective as standard steroid treatment in reducing the inflammation.
  • In Chinese and ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used to aid digestion, cleanse the liver, and even regulate the menstrual cycle.
  • Research at the University of South Dakota determined that cancer cells that were exposed to curcumin were later more responsive to chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Turmeric may stall the progress of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. In countries such as India and China, where turmeric consumption is high, these diseases are very rare. Tests at Vanderbilt University Medical Center determined that when mice with the disease were injected with a dose of curcumin equivalent to a moderate human dose, their symptoms went away.
  • In many traditional medicines, a paste made from turmeric powder is applied to the skin in order to soothe and heal discomfort from eczema, psoriasis, and allergies.
  • Turmeric is a thermogenic spice, which can help with weight loss. Spicy plants (like ginger, cayenne, and peppers) incite the body to boost metabolism and thereby burn calories.

If you’re not a curry lover, fear not—most health-food stores sell turmeric powder in capsule form. Loose turmeric powder or liquid forms of the spice can be included in earthy soups and sauces, steeped like a tea, or added to milk or rice.

Of course, no responsible doctor suggests discontinuing a prescribed course of medication in favor of a turmeric-only regimen. Always employ natural or complementary methods in conjunction with a doctor’s planned course of treatment, and always discuss any additional nutritional supplements with your own physician before taking them.

More studies are needed to confirm whether turmeric really is a wonder spice, but much anecdotal evidence points to what traditional medicine has suggested for years: that when ingested regularly, turmeric can keep the doctor—as well as a wide variety of other problems—far, far away.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Carol Mitchell

Surajkund Crafts Mela 2010

When it comes to arts & crafts, India has always captured the world’s imagination. We owe our global reputation to our rich heritage – one that´s lived on in our villages for centuries.India has many cultural events that set the stage for traditional artists to showcase their creations. The most vibrant of them all is the Surajkund Handicrafts Mela.The Surajkund Mela was orgaised to promote the culture and traditions of Haryana. The first Mela was put together by the Haryana Government in 1981. Artisans from all over the state came together for the first time ever. Ideas were exchanged, and a thriving art culture was born. Year after year, people took notice and the Mela spread its wings further. Today, it is one of the biggest art events in India. Skilled artisans now converge, not just from around India, but neighbouring countries as well.

Surajkund becomes alive with the rhythm and beats of folk dances and riot of colors. Rajasthan– The magic of vibrant Rajasthan is the theme state  for this year Mela.Surajkund is the annual fair that showcases the finest handlooms, handicrafts, authentic fragrances & flavours of rich Indian cuisines. As winter turns briefly into spring, a caravan of 400 National and State awardee craftpersons from every corner of India wind their way to Surajkund. This year craftpersons from SAARC Nations are participating in the Surajkund Crafts Mela. At Surajkund Mela, the artisans’ delicate hands create the most beautiful pieces which have fascinated many through ages !24th Surajkund Crafts Mela offers a lot of Fun, Frolic,Entertainment and exclusive shopping. In the rural ambience, 400 craftperson will display and Demonstrate their finest crafts work that is set to capture your hearts. The authentic fragrances & flavours of rich Indian cuisines will kindle your taste buds. Tap your feet with the beats of enthralling folk dancers from the various parts of the country.

Welcome to Surajkund Mela 2010
The Surajkund Fair is going to be held from 1st to 15th February 2010. Artisans, craftsmen and performers will be arriving at this cultural hotspot to showcase their talents. Whether it´s from across the
country or beyond. Step in to find a wealth of exquisite handicraft items including paintings, jewelry, showpieces, upholstery, furniture and more.  You´ll also find mehendi design artists, musicians, dancers, painters, weavers, sculptures, craftsmen from all around. The idea is to exhibit the splendid variety of Indian culture.

Craft exhibitions

 Chikri woodcraft of Kashmir

 Lace and crochet items of Goa

 Banjara and Bunni embroidery of Gujarat

 Sandalwood and rosewood carving handicrafts of South India

 Kantha work of West Bengal and North–East India

 Chikan work of Lucknow

 
The Surajkund Food Festival
 No Indian celebration is complete without Indian spices. Savour traditional recipes from all over the country, on a platter!While you shop, soak in the aroma of delicious cuisines being prepared at the many stalls. Savour delicacies from around the country.

A fair to cherish and remember…..

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. The Craftspersons from all over India, SAARC and other neighbouring countries would be selling the best of Handlooms and Handicrafts items.

 2. The State of Rajasthan is the Theme State of the Mela Rajasthan known for its Fort Places, Textiles,Handicrafts,Cuisines and Fairand Festivals. Replica of Choki-Dhani can be seen at Haveli in Mela Ground.

 3. Tajikistan,Egypt and Thailand are the three Partner Countries. They will bring their craftsmen,cultural teams and cuisines.

 4. Best of Cultural programmes organized jointly by Ministry of Culture,ICCR,New Delhi, Theme State Rajasthan and Cultural Affairs Department, Haryana & Haryana Kala Parishad.

 5. Exporters meet and Buyers meet to be held at Surajkund Design Galleries with assistance of the DC Handlooms and DC Handicrafts.

 6. Food Court with variety of Indian, Thau & Egyptain Food.

 7. Amusement Zone with playful rides and swings.

 8. Folk Dances by Schools/Colleges at Chaupal daily from 11 a.m. onwards

9. Participate in special games and in competitions like Rangoli (2nd Feb.), Face painting(3rd Feb.), Essay Writing (4th Feb.) , Mehandi (5th Feb.) drawing (9th feb.), kite Flying for adults (10th Feb.) and Photography for amateurs only(11th Feb.)

The Spice Story of India

Here is the recipe for Punjabi Kadhi (Vegetable dumplings in a
savory yogurt curry). I have also seen some chefs spell it “Punjabi
Kudhi”, meaning the girl from Punjab. I like it that when we are
writing Hindi in English, we are creating a whole new language of
possibilities.

Here is the recipe for Punjabi Kadhi (Vegetable dumplings in a
savory yogurt curry). I have also seen some chefs spell it “Punjabi
Kudhi”, meaning the girl from Punjab. I like it that when we are
writing Hindi in English, we are creating a whole new language of
possibilities.

Punjabi Kadhi
Vegetable dumplings in a savory yogurt curry.
Serves 4

Vegetable dumplings

1 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped potato
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A 1-inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
salt to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

Kadhi

1 cup plain yogurt (soft tofu whipped with lemon juice and salt will do in a pinch)
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon dried coriander seeds
10 curry leaves
2 whole dried red chili peppers
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Mix all vegetable dumplings ingredients in a large mixing bowl with
about 1/2 cup water. Make sure that the mixture does not have too much
liquid. Adjust the consistency by adding more water or chickpea flour.

Heat the oil in a deep skillet, pot or wok to 375

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