Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Flapping—And Cooking

The heel flaps are half done—16 rows of 32 completed.
The cakes of yarn look very hollow.. I suspect it is just me being anxious.

Mean while...

Do you have a personal spice blend? And if not, why not? I have, over the years, found I use more of some spices than other, and for the past year or two, have been making and 'bottling” my own blend of spice. I kept reading how this spice or that, has magical properties.. That they are natural antibiotic, or anti inflammatory, or full of anti oxidants, and how I should include them in my diet.. (Often at quantities that are just crazy—I like cinnamon, but I am not going to change my diet enough to eat 2 full teaspoons a day of it). But with my own little spice blend, I find my self using and eating more spices. Maybe not a the full therapeutic quanites, but more, all the same.

So I have a few spice blends—one is Italian—with thyme, oregano and basil mix together with dried fire roasted tomatoes and garlic... Nothing out of the ordinary—but good with red sauce, or mixed into fried breadcrumbs—for an oil and vinegar dressing for pasta, or something to use with an olive oil dip, or on a flat bread or with bread sticks. I have a southwestern blend, too, with cilantro, and chilies (a red chili powder, with some dried jalapeno flakes, chipoli flakes, too. Fire roasted garlic, and fire roasted tomatoes, and I add those packets of dried lime juice—All the spices mix together—a quick and easy way to season meat (beef , pork or chicken) or cheese, or dips.

I also have my general purpose spice mix—I use this on eggs (not too much) or with roast vegetables (lots!) or with roast meat--(especially poultry!)

My blend is adapted from several recipes—One recipe was too hot (I reduced the amount of cayenne pepper) and one was too much like a curry blend (I love curry, but I wanted something more general purpose mix—so I tinkered and came up with this.. Spicy and flavorful, but not hot.

My Masala Mix
1 tablespoon each of:
cinnamon
paprika
coriander
Plus 
1 teaspoon each
ginger
turmeric
clove—a little less than a full teaspoon
cayenne pepper (more if you like HOT!)
cumin
 ½ teaspoon of nutmeg—More if you are a big fan of ketchup.  
The predominant flavor of commercial ketchup is nutmeg—spice up things with this blend,  one with extra nutmeg,  and wean your kids from putting ketchup on everything!

When I make this up, I double the recipe, (2 tablespoons, 2 teaspoons) –Which makes about 1 cup, and for me, is about enough for a month.
The original blend recipe I started with was hotter (more cayenne pepper) and had garlic      powder (I love garlic, but not garlic powder, especially not when it is cooked.)  The original 
recipe didn't have turmeric, or cloves... so I have made lots of tweeks to the original—and 
you can too.  Take my recipe as a starting point, and edit it till its just right for you.

My favorite way to use it is for roast vegetables—Mix up your favorites.. Root vegetables        (carrots, turnips, sweet potatoes (and white potatoes), thick sliced onions, too), Greens like Brussels sprouts, or not quite green, cauliflower, Kohlrabi. Squash—I like winter squash best, but summer squash, works too.  Cooked beans, especially chick peas, are a great addition,   too.  You can use a single vegetable, like sweet potato or carrots, or a  mix—The choices are 
endless.  

I dice them, not to small, put them into a plastic bag, add some oil (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, depending on the quantity of vegetables, and then add 1 or more tablespoons of the spice mix. Close the bag to toss them all together, then onto a cookie sheet  and roast for 20 to 30 minutes until tender (a lot depends on how small or large you cut the vegetables), in a 350° oven.  Left over (I never have any!) are good reheated.  Quantities?  Well its up to you!  I sometime make roast mix veggies as a meatless meal (I add pumpkin seeds or sunflower seed, or both) and sometimes I make a double batch.  

You know your family—and know if you need 1 sweet potato—or 3!

This mix (a little bit!) is great for cheese sauce, too.  From a simple macaroni and cheese(in a box) , to a gourmet sauce...And for scrabbled eggs, at breakfast.

Finally this blend is great for seasoning roasted chicken, pork and lamb ---Sea foods too, especially fried seafood.. add some to your tartar sauce!

I find this blend  a great way to increase my consumption of all these spices--(I don't end up taking the total of 2 tablespoons in a week that the miracle sites, (and the medical sites) say are needed for a complete transformation.. but with this blend, I am eating more ginger, and more turmeric, and more cinnamon than I did before I mixed up this blend.. It's a step in the right directions.

Having them as a mixed up ready to use blend,  means I do use them.. And they taste good.. Well, to me they taste good.  You can change up the spices, adding more of this, or less of that, until you get the blend that works for you...



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