Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Why I LOVE Herbs and Spices

Ask Paula Deen how to make a dish taste better, she will say, "Add butter." Ask my husband, he will say, "BACON!" Ask Rachael Ray and you'll get, "EVOO = YUM-O!" And ask Bobby Flay and he may just tell you to, "Grill it!" Guess what? They are all right on.

But if you ask me, I will have you consider adding a little spice. I LOVE herbs and spices! Herbs and spices are not only a way to add tons of flavor without the added fat and calories, but they are also packed with health-boosting nutrients and other benefits. Let's take oregano, for example, which has as many antioxidants in a half a teaspoon as can be found in an entire spinach salad. If you are looking for a little heat, ginger, cayenne and black pepper contain compounds found to boost the metabolism. These three also have an aphrodisiac effect, but we'll leave that for a post some other time.

A very popular herb that is currently in season, and will be until September, is basil. In just two tablespoons of chopped basil, you will find more than a quarter of your Daily Value for vitamin K, A and C; as well as iron and calcium. Studies can even support that basil is able to aide in the reduction of inflammation and the growth of bacteria. Don't know what to do with the extra fresh basil you buy? Wach, de-stem and dry it. Then, chop it in a food processor with a minimal amount of olive oil. Press this into an ice tray and freeze. These will keep for several months.

Whether fresh or dried, these spices and herbs are a healthy way to add flavor and nutrients to your dishes. The next time you reach for the butter, bacon or salt...take a peek at your spice rack. You will find all you need and more.



~Image taken from www.rachaelray.com.

4 comments:

  1. Herbs and spices are critical to a flavorful dish. This Summer I grew and purchased quite a bit of basil, which then I turned into pesto. The beauty of pesto is that a little can a long way in flavoring a dish. I placed them in freezer bags, and now I can use it all year.

    Basil is great summer herb to highlight. Nice post.

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  2. I completely agree! I have a pretty good herb garden this year that I use all the time in all of my cooking. I was wondering about the nutritional value of these herbs, so thanks for the info.

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  3. Herbs are awesome! I grow a substantial herb garden every summer and at their peak I will pick the very best selections and freeze them in ice cubes to use during the winter or whenever I can't get fresh. Pick your herbs, rinse, small chop or dice, add them to an ice-cube tray and fill with water. Freeze. When frozen pop them out and put in freezer bags label and store. When you are looking for that “fresh” essence just grab an herb cube from the freezer let the ice melt and you have a perfectly preserved herb ready to flavor your dish.

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  4. PS Love your blog Lindsay! It's smart, cute and full of good stuff!!! (I ahve blog envy!!) ha-ha! Keep up the good work!

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