Spice Up Your Taste Buds!

Salt and pepper — the two seasoning staples at our kitchen table. I am partial to black pepper myself. Since I am not a big salt person (and I know many of you are), I decided to go on a quest to find other spices that may add a little extra zest to some of my favorite dishes. Plus, I am trying to reduce the amount of sodium that can be found in some processed foods we eat and expand my flavor palate.

One of my favorites — crushed red pepper flakes. I started adding this to my pizza, but thought about adding to my pasta sauce and even my chili. Depending on your taste, it can break you into a little sweat, but is one spice that increases your metabolism (who doesn’t like that!) and helps your immune system.

Another favorite is cinnamon. I have always loved the smell of this spice because my grandmother and mother baked with it. My mother even throws a pinch into her spaghetti sauce. Delish! Cinnamon is a spice that helps control your blood sugar as well as reduces your triglycerides. Try adding some to your morning oatmeal toast or add some to that barbeque sauce. So good on pork.

Rosemary — ahhh, yes. One of my favorite ways to use this spice is to sprinkle it with olive oil over roasted red potatoes. Or you can add to steak, fish or chicken.  It also helps with mental focus. No wonder I am thinking better!

Have muscle pain? Try a little ginger tea, add some to your stir-fry, or serve with sushi. This ancient Chinese secret needs to be shared more!

We talked about rosemary. How about thyme? Adding this spice, especially to soups, helps lower blood pressure and protects against food-borne bacteria. Always a good thing.

In addition, did you ever wonder why lemon is served with seafood? A little splash of citrus –lemon, lime or vinegar – can replace salt in many diets while providing some needed flavor and giving a boost of Vitamin C.

There are many spices and condiments infused in menus today. While you are dining out, take note of the use of sriracha (very popular now), pesto, Tabasco, etc. Let your taste buds take a journey and enjoy.

Have you uncovered a favorite use for a spice? Share it (and your recipe!) with us!

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