I love to eat! But I'd rather not spend a lot of time cooking. I developed these crockpot recipes with inspiration from Heaven's Banquet—Ayurvedic Vegetarian Cookbook by Miriam Hospodar, and The Ageless Woman—Natural Health & Beauty After Forty, by Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf, an expert in the system of natural medicine called ayurveda.
For a recipe index, see the Blog Archive below.
Crockpot Soupe Basics:
I'm an intuitive cook; I use words like "about" or "handful". My recipes make about four servings of hearty soup. The basic measurements are: 1/4 - 1/3 cup whole grain; approx. 1/3 cup lentils; 1.5 quarts of water; 1.5 - 2 Tablespoons of ghee (clarified butter, highly recommended by ayurveda) or vegetable oil; 1 teaspoon of salt; 1 rounded Tablespoon of spices; and about 3 cups of mixed veggies. I use, and recommend, organic ingredients for the purest food and optimal nutrition. I hope this blog helps you enjoy good eatin', good health, and creative cooking! I love to hear your comments.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spices for crockpot cooking

Here are the spices I keep on hand for a variety of soup recipes. (Generally, I use one well-rounded Tablespoon of any spice blend):
  • "Smart Spice Mix", an ayurvedic blend from Dr. Lonsdorf's book The Ageless Woman. (See May 2009 Blog Archive for the recipe, and read the book for an understanding of medicinal properties of herbs and spices.)
  • Lemon Curry powder from Frontier Herbs (an organic blend of turmeric, coriander, cumin, lemon peel, black pepper, freeze-dried whole lemon, cardamom, cinnamon, dehydrated garlic and red pepper/cayenne.)
  • "All-Purpose Seasoning" from Simply Organic (a blend of black pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, celery seed, tomato powder, basil, thyme, sage, oregano, and coriander)
  • Individual spices such as turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper corns.
  • Maharishi Ayurveda Products (www.mapi.com) have spice blends called churnas. Easy to use, and delicious, churnas balance the mind and body according to the season or individual needs.
I also keep on hand:
  • Fresh parsley is loaded with nutrients.
  • Fresh cilantro aids digestions. Wonderful for Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and fusion recipes.
  • Fresh ginger root aids digestion and absorption, and reduces inflammation in the body. How to use: Grate it or chop finely. Add to the hot oil and sautée briefly before adding other spices and vegetables. Store ginger root in a paper bag in the fridge.
  • One can of coconut milk, whole or lite, to use for Asian-inspired or creme soups.
  • One small jar of Thai green curry paste.
  • Brown mustard seeds. How to use: Heat oil on medium, and add 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds to hot oil. When they start to pop, reduce temperature and add other spices. (If using mustard seeds and ginger root, do the mustard seeds first, then ginger, then any other spices.)
  • Hing, aka asafoetida, is a pungent powdered resin available in Asian groceries or well-stocked health food stores. Don't be put off by the smell; the flavor is wonderful! How to use: Add a dash after sautéeing other spices on medium/low heat. Make it brief. Don't let it burn... it's not pleasant.
  • Natural mineral salt
Nice to know: Coriander seeds can be ground in a spice blender or "Magic Bullet" and used in Mexican, Italian, and Asian recipes. A dash of turmeric added to grains and lentils after they've cooked is a great way to incorporate it's anti-inflammatory benefits into any recipe. Black pepper, freshly ground, aids absorption of nutrients. Asafoetida is said to help reduce gas and lower cholesterol.

Keep all spices in air tight containers, not plastic baggies.

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