Hello gorgeous friend!
HAPPY SOLSTICE, CHRISTMAS AND HANUKKAH!
It is indeed that time of year where I whip out all my fave spices and get very aromatically attuned to the Winter Holiday season. Personally I’ll be celebrating all 3 of these holidays. I’m going to share my spice list with you as well as some Ayurvedic recipes and tips to warm you up and bliss you out regardless of what you’re celebrating.
Spices are your kitchen wellness apothecary to boost and juicy-up your OJAS! This is the word that describes your essence of health, your vim ‘n vigor! I have not had to stay home with the sniffles once so far this season and I attribute that to my spice intake through cooking blends, infusions, elixirs, teas and tonics. Also, I have my diffuser rotating 24/7 with anti-microbial oils of ginger, tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint. This has been super-helpful also with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) otherwise know as the Winter blues.
For a South African born gal I am always seeking out ways to take in some light and warmth in this Northern climate. The hot spices, and bright plant essences definitely work their magic when I evoke them daily.
These pungent spices are also a key to good digestion at this cold, heavy time of year. It is coming into the Kapha season imbued with the elements of earth and water and for sluggish digestion, these spices will get your furnace cranking into gear.
MY SUPER-FANTASTIC 9 SPICE LIST FOR WINTER
By incorporating all of these 9 spices daily in your Winter routine you will find yourself feeling warm, strong, relaxed and energized. You will feel better by adorning your food with the aromatic gifts of the spice world.
OK first in line has got to be this super-spice. How can it not be? I have personally made my ‘Muti’ tonic (muti means medicine in Zulu) for several suffering cold-laden souls in the last few weeks and they all swear they woke up cured the very next day. I must say I felt like a regular sangoma (Zulu witch Doctor) but the credit all goes to the wisdom of these aromatic spices. This is my go-to when even a hint of a cold or cough appears in my household.
Simple and power-packed. This recipe includes 2 of my other top-of-the-pops spices for Winter; ginger, and black pepper. Add to a medium pot one sliced lemon (include skins), 1 tsp black peppercorns, 3 inch sliced fresh ginger, 1 tsp ground turmeric and four cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain into a nice big mug and add 1 tsp honey. You can add pinch of cayenne for more spicy heat. Sip when you are feeling the hint of a cold coming on for prevention or when you have a full blown cold to alleviate the symptoms. More about this amazing anti-inflammatory, cure-all rhizome on my Turmeric blog.
Oh ginger my love! No kitchen apothecary is complete without you. EVERYTHING. I put ginger in everything! Fresh ginger in my turmeric elixir and almost every soup. Ground ginger in my to-go chai blend that I can just stir into a regular tea even when I am travelling. Make you a batch? 1TBSP ground ginger, 1TBSP ground cardamom, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground fennel, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper. Blend these together and carry in a small glass jar or tupperware container. You can add ground rooibos tea to this blend and all you need is to add 1 tsp of mix to a cup of hot water, honey to taste and milk of your choice. Travel with this and those airport tea moments can become a warm place of bliss.
Yes, just yes! Black pepper is excellent for drying out excess congestion in the lungs and sinuses. Add to food and drinks. A very important addition to the Golden Elixir that Ayurveda has made a household word these days in trendy coffee shops everywhere. How I make my turmeric latte with black pepper? I use 1 cup homemade almond milk and steam it in my super-duper milk steamer. I grate 2 TBSP fresh ginger and squeeze the juice in to a cup, adding 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp honey and the frothy almond milk. Best sipping drink for a cozy Winter afternoon. Want to turn this into a golden-nog? Add 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg and a whipped white of an egg and 4 TBSP coconut cream. I kid you not!
The STAR of spices. Say no more. Just go HERE.
Ever had a toothache? You may have rubbed clove oil or chewed on an actual clove bud for relief. Why? Because clove is an analgesic, numbs the pain. Also happens to be the strong grounding spice in a lot of good chai blends. Pop a few cloves into your hot apple cider, add a 1/2 tsp turmeric and a cinnamon stick and you’re on the way to sweet and spicy nirvana. Oh and a seasonal splash of bourbon doesn’t hurt either when you really want to warm up. In moderation : )
this sweet and sassy spice has become my sweetener of choice. I add it to oatmeal, chai, on toast, in my bliss balls, soups, and baked goodies. Cinnamon is helpful in balancing blood sugar and is also an aphrodisiac. Hmm that works!
Meet the Queen of spices! Cardamom is an exquisite aromatic jewel in the crown of spices. Used for digestive relief, as a breath freshener and a warming upper respiratory tonic and you should experience what it does for the soul!
Not only does this versatile spice taste like every spice but in Ayurveda it is known as an all-round-healer. This aromatic spice tastes like clove, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper all rolled into one. you can add a tsp of this ground spice in the chai-to-go powder I mentioned above. This enchanting spice is a powerful antioxidant, digestive and relaxing to the nervous system. And if you ever want to make ‘jerk-chicken’ or veggies taste Jamaican-style, this is your spice. Rub some ground allspice onto your veggies with olive oil and bake in the oven. Works on tofu and beans to achieve the same flavour. For something different this spice is divine added to your hanukkah latkes!
Last but not least on my list is nutmeg (and mace-nutmeg’s lacy covering that is so exotic and earthy in looks and taste). This is my go-to spice for my Winter beddy-bye drink. Grate 1/4 tsp nutmeg into a quarter cup warm milk/almond milk, you can add a bit of honey or other nutritious whole sweetener to taste but it is good as is. Nutmeg is a sedative, relaxing the nervous system and makes a good sleep tonic. Add nutmeg to your morning oatmeal and also to rice and other grains with ghee.
NOW GO SPICE IT UP and have yourself a blissful, fragrant holiday filled with all the delights of health, love, and gratitude. Share the love and take a friend in need of healing warmth, a turmeric elixir, just like me you too can become a sangoma!
Fragrant Holiday Blessings,