Simple Saturday pleasures

Turnips and fennel curry

Saturday finally arrived, with no plans, a stack of books I want to read, and a stocked refrigerator with several things already cubed, diced, turned into a paste, and spiced the way I like it.

I started getting out of bed around 5:30, my body totally “slept out” and ready to welcome the day.  As is my habit, I took a blood pressure reading, and it was the lowest I’ve had in over a year.  This has been the trend lately with better eating, and the accompanying weight loss that has been the secondary benefit.

First up, make some tea.  My favorite tea is “bush” tea from South Africa, also called “red tea”, technically rooibos.  This organic brand from Davidson’s is my favorite.  It also has some dried mint leaves in it, and it’s perfect for a great start to the day.  I added a little ground cardamom and whole anise seeds to spice it up even more with the sweet fragrance that each one brings to the cup.

Perusing the “ready” items in the fridge, and in the mood for some turnips in a curry, I was in luck!  I pulled a small “one-serving size” skillet from my stack of “loud banging noise” cooking vessels with minimal effort, and it woke no one in the house who was still sleeping.

I put in two tablespoons of my curry paste I made for my curry dishes early in the week, consisting of onions, garlic, ginger, and turmeric.  I added about twice as much unsweetened coconut milk and brought it all to a slow simmer.  I added two slices of fresh fennel and a diced turnip, brought it all back to a simmer, covered it, set the stove to low, and sat down with my tea and my pups on the soft couch next to the first light of the morning showing through the glass in my door.

When I finished the cup of tea, I checked on the tenderness of the turnips and fennel, and it was perfection!  After pouring it into my bowl, I added some freshly sprouted adzuki beans and topped it all with some hemp heart seeds.

A perfect morning to read, to write, to snooze, and to love life.


15 Health Benefits of Cardamom – Sunwarrior News

CardamomI’ve fallen head over heels for cardamom!  I’ve been drinking cardamom tea in the morning, and it has done great things to my mood.  It has definitely given me a fresh start to the day.

This article (see link at bottom), from Sunwarrior, lists 15 health benefits that are linked to this sweet, citrus-flavored spice.  My top three in the list are these:

  • Blood pressure – There are lots of reasons my blood pressure may be going down, such as weight loss of about 35 pounds in the last two months, but I continue to have as one of my goals, to be drug-free within the next 6 months.  My blood pressure medication is the only one still remaining.
  • Depression – Having been medicated for depression off an on for over 20 years, I am seeking a permanent “fix” that will continue to lift my mood and get me off these meds.  I am not currently taking anything for it, and I’m feeling great.  I’m cautious about it however, and I keep a close watch on my mood over extended periods of time.  I’ve been seriously depressed in the past, and I do NOT want to go there again.  I don’t know how much, if any, cardamom is helping, but I do know that the immediate result of smelling it and drinking it is a great mood and more energy.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Anything that can give me relief from psoriasis and other inflammatory problems, is welcomed into my life.  Cardamom is just one of many new things in my diet providing an arsenal against inflammation.

Read the entire list at Sunwarrior and, perhaps, find how useful cardamom may be in your life.  Even if it had nothing to do with better health, the flavor is a great reason to use it.

15 Health Benefits of Cardamom, from Sunwarrior News

Cardamom tea

CardamomI am learning more about spices I’ve never before incorporated into my cooking, and I am finding that many, like cardamom, have extraordinary health benefits as well as exotic flavors that I have never experienced.

Having recently begun exploration into the complex world of curries, and spices used in them, I had some freshly ground cardamom that needed to be used while it was still bursting with its sweet aroma and in its most healthful state.  It smells so good that I can sit for several minutes just inhaling it from the little plastic bag where I keep it.  The thought came to mind, “just like the old days when I enjoyed several minutes of sniffing my bourbon before drinking it.”

This fine article on cardamom came up in my Google search, and I discovered its many uses.  One of the commenters on the article mentioned his using it as a tea.  Perfect!

Adding a few cloves, another of my new favorite spices, I used about 1/4 tsp of freshly ground cardamom to one large coffee mug of hot water, enjoying the fine aromatic blend while it cooled.  Stirring it a few times to keep all the spice from settling, sipping it slowly, it was one of the most enjoyable morning teas I’ve ever had, clearing my mind as well as refreshing my palate.  This could become a morning ritual, a healthful one!