Adding a Spicy Zing to Sweet Apple Cider

ginger-turmeric-ciderFor cold weather, a hot drink like our Ginger and Turmeric Hot Cider warms you up fast. Its combination of ginger and turmeric add cancer-preventive compounds to the cider’s phytochemicals for a naturally sweet drink that is at once spicy and soothing.

Turmeric is the spice that gives curry powder its yellow color. By itself, dried ground turmeric doesn’t taste very strong and has a slightly peppery, earthy quality. But its health-protective qualities that are similar to ginger’s. Both are roots that contain compounds found in research studies to have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that protect cells against damage linked to cancer.

The color of turmeric comes from the phytochemical curcumin. The spice was used as a yellowing dye since 600 BCE, according to archeological finds in Assyria. It was less expensive than saffron, and has traditionally been used in India to color the rice served at weddings, a cosmetic, a skin tonic and as a folk remedy for stomach and liver ailments.

If you can find fresh turmeric root at an Asian or health food market, try it in this recipe; if not, just use ¼ teaspoon of dried turmeric for each serving of cider. A dash of ground turmeric can also be added to brown rice while it cooks to make the color more appealing, as well as stirred into lentil, green pea or tomato soup to enhance flavor. Hummus dip, salad dressing and stir-fries are other tasty places for turmeric.

Ginger gives a spicy zing to winter dishes. It not only adds a kick to cider, but minced fresh ginger is a key ingredient for Asian-style stir-fries and garlic sauces and tastes great in baked fruit recipes like apple crisp or fruit compote. Most grocery stores carry fresh ginger root – a little bit gives you a lot of flavor, much more than dried ground ginger.

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Healthy, Hearty Sweet Potato Bean Soup

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Photo by Heather Victoria Photography

Beans have always come in handy when animal proteins were scarce; now they can stand in for red meat when you’re trying to cut back to eating no more than 3 ounces of lean red meat per day, as AICR recommends for lower cancer risk.

For a warming and satisfying meal, look no further than our Health-e-Recipe for Sweet Potato Bean Soup. Almost a stew, This rich-tasting soup is based on a rich low-sodium chicken broth enhanced with tomato paste, a product high in the protective phytochemical lycopene.

Simmered with nutritious onions and celery, chopped sweet potato chunks add plenty of the cancer-preventive phytochemical beta-carotene (also present in other orange vegetables and fruits, like carrots). Continue reading


New England Gingerbread Pudding, A Classic Holiday Dessert

As someone who considers herself handy in the kitchen, this has been one of the most interesting (unusual?) recipes I’ve ever followed. Mostly because until yesterday I had never heard of cornmeal pudding. In fact, when I was approached by the moderators of this blog to see if I would be interested in evaluating the recipe, my first response after glancing at the ingredient list was “Oh no, they wrote cornmeal, not corn starch!” As you can imagine, I was initially apprehensive about the success of this dish.

But I’m willing to be proven wrong, and I consider myself a bit of a savant when it comes to homemade puddings, thanks in large part to the wisdom of Maya Angelou’s cookbook, The Welcome Kitchen. There are few things more comforting than a nice, warm pudding on a rainy afternoon, so I set to work.

image001I  first preheated the oven to 300 degrees, and then began the pudding by scalding 5 cups of milk in a medium saucepan, a step designed to help to milk mix smoothly with the cornmeal. Because I don’t have a double boiler, I worked over a low heat to avoid burning the pudding. Continue reading