I challenge you to find a spice that rivals cinnamon when it comes to comforting kitchen fragrances. And there’s something about autumn that makes spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg especially fabulous for flavoring foods without adding calories.
When I was growing up, my grandmother was my favorite babysitter. She made what I naively thought was a gourmet concoction (bear in mind that my mother specialized in making frozen TV dinners). Granny mixed plain applesauce, a dash of pure maple syrup, a pinch of cinnamon and a generous dash of ginger. Then she and I would use graham crackers to dunk, dip and devour our way through our applesauce dip. To me, that was the height of chic cuisine!
Today I still think of my grandmother when I experiment with these spices. Some suggestions for how to incorporate the spicy flavor of fall into your own life:
- Use cinnamon and ginger mixed with plain canned pumpkin, Stevia and plain Greek yogurt for a pumpkin pie-type pudding. Experiment with the amount of each ingredient that you use. I typically use half pumpkin and half yogurt. Choose organic spices, such as Simply Organic Cinnamon Powder. And be sure to use plain pumpkin, not pre-made pumpkin pie filling. My favorite: Farmer’s Market Organic Canned Pumpkin Puree.
- Don’t overlook winter squash in the market. It might look plain on the outside, but cooking winter squash and then mashing it with butter and a dash of ginger tastes like the ultimate comfort food. You can grate fresh ginger root or use Starwest Botanicals Organic Ginger Root Powder.
- Here’s one of those cooking tips that sound crazy and turn out to be crazy-wonderful. Steam green cabbage. Then serve with a pat of grass-fed butter and a sprinkle of (wait for it) nutmeg. There’s something about the nutmeg flavor that brings out the full tang of the cabbage, and also makes a small amount of grass-fed butter linger on the tongue. Grate nutmeg on the cabbage just before serving.
- Turn your plain breakfast oatmeal from blah to bazinga! The secret’s in the spices. Experiment by adding ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon or even allspice. Try a spoonful of peanut butter or coconut oil as well for a breakfast that will keep you full.
- Two words that symbolize autumn beverages’ pleasures: Cinnamon sticks. Stir hot apple cider with one, stick into a cup of cocoa to make it extra-special or even mix your cream into your coffee with a cinnamon stick.