Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Your Cupboard - Good For You, Cinnamon

Just the name 'Cinnamon' immediately brings to mind it's warm sweet fragrance.

While Cinnamon has traditionally been used to flavor side dishes and desserts, modern research has also shown it to be antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, a mood leveler, and blood sugar stabilizer.

Another unique property is that it enhances any sweetener. By adding a small amount of Cinnamon to a recipe, you can use less sugar, stevia, honey, etc., and the end results are still sweet tasting. And I like to use it to freshen stale air and drains and repel pests.

To freshen stale air:
Fill a 3 qt. pan half full of water, bring to a boil, lower to simmer & add 1/2 tsp Cinnamon. Let simmer uncovered 20-30 minutes, turn burner off, and let sit til cool. (Many Real Estate agents do this to make a house seem more 'warm & inviting'.)

To freshen drains:
Pour cool Cinnamon water (from above) down drain; or pour 'old' Cinammon into drain & flush with hot tap water for several seconds.
Note: while it may take several years for a spice to lose it's odor, it can begin to lose potency within 3-6 months. It's also recommended to store any spice away from direct light, heat, & humidity.

Pest control:
Whether by itself or mixed with Cayenne, Cinnamon helps repel ants and other bugs. (Simply sprinkle a thick layer on/around areas of infestation.)

My personal favorite 'Cinnamon' recipe, see directly below Reader Request.

Reader Request: Please take a few seconds to share, in the Comment Box below, what you know about Cinnamon. This can be anything from using it to brush your teeth to a recipe. Other readers appreciate this, and so do I! I post a public MAHALO (thanks) and/or link (on both Facebook & Twitter) back to those who leave good comments, suggestions, and/or recipes.

Spiced Rice
2 c liquid (this can be: water, chicken or vegetable broth, plain/unsweetened soy, rice, almond, or coconut milk)
1 c rice (long or short grain; brown or Jasmine is best)
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ground Ginger
1/8 tsp each Cumin and Turmeric (or 1/4 tsp mild powered curry blend)
pinch of Saffron threads (optional)

Options: Spices can be increased/decreased to personal taste. Cumin and Turmeric can be substituted with other spices such as Cardamom, Allspice, Corriander, Cayenne, Chili/Taco blend, or Five Spice. Common add-ins are 1/2 cup of: raisins, currants, dried cranberries, Goji berries, shredded carrots, baby peas, drained crushed pineapple, shredded coconut, or chopped nuts. (Any of these can be added individually or your favorites mixed together for a more unique signature dish. If concerned about over cooking fruit/nuts simply add them right before serving.)

Put the 2 cups liquid in 3 qt. pan and bring to a boil. (Milk of any kind can burn on high/medium high, so stir if necessary.) As soon as liquid comes to a boil add rice, spices, and add-ins (if desired) & turn heat down to simmer. Cover and let simmer (without stirring) for about 35 - 40 minutes, or until rice is done. When done, stir to blend ingredients (if needed), then serve.

This dish goes well with any type of cuisine - American, Asian, Indian, Mexican, and even Greek & Italian*. Leftover Spiced Rice can be used as breakfast cereal, stuffed into baked squash, fried, added to meatloaf, made into fruit & rice salad, or rice pudding. It can also be cooled & drizzled with chocolate sauce or frozen to use another time, as it's great reheated. (*Substitute Greek or Italian spices for Cumin/Turmeric, add 2 cloves crushed garlic and 1/2 cup chopped olives.)

Note: Cinammon is a pungent and warming spice, therefore too much can affect certain sensitive individuals, including children. Areas usually involved are: the mouth, esophogus, stomach, intestinal tract, and liver. Besides using smaller amounts, it's generally suggested to drink dairy or vegetarian milk, rather than water, to soothe the burning/irritating sensation.

References: www.wikipedia.org, www.webmd.com, www.healthinfo.com, and www.nih.gov

This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat, or cure any known or unknown disease.

All rights reserved. All blogs and photos on this site are copyrighted, and may not be stored, retrieved, copied, or sold in any form without express permission.

The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat, or cure. Nor is it intended to replace the advice of your primary care provider. No liability is assumed by the owner of this site, the author, or editor for the use or misuse of the information contained herein.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


A little over two years ago I received a call from one of my sisters asking if I could help with our Mom. Her recent health issue wasn't critical, however, my sister couldn't shake a funny feeling she had about Mom.

While Mom had received good medical care, it was obvious she was different. One thing quickly flowed into another, and in September of this year she passed away.

Mom was intelligent, witty, artistic, loved nature, pickin' rocks, and had a great sense of humor. She was passionate about her flowers and birds and her yard overflowed with them. She had a 'travel bug' and had been all over the U.S., taken numerous trips to Canada, as well as toured Europe and Australia.

Her other "quirks", included being anxious; obsessive/compulsive; open, yet secretive, controlling, judgmental, co-dependant; and very fearful about her own death. Mom also had what she referred to as 'Scarlett O'Hara Syndrome' (I'll do it tomorrow) and great difficulty in letting go of things.

For whatever reasons, we've had members in every generation with mild to severe symptoms of these other denser quirks. Regardless of backgrounds or experiences, it's common during/after the passing of a close family member, to have a whole host of family and/or individual quirks show up. And it was common knowledge Mom had witnessed some doozies, as she used to say, especially those of her siblings when her parents passed.

Even though the doctors and Hospice had good information and were appropriately compassionate, my brother decided to Google certain things. He would then call with the highlights. This simple, yet liberating, act allowed us to openly talk about what was occurring with Mom, rather than repeat old family patterns.

Mom never wanted to "end up in the hospital or nursing home, have strangers taking care of her, or be alone at the end". As I sat next to her bed as she left her body, I was glad she was finally able to let go. I was also grateful she'd known she was in her own home and not alone. (She 'didn't want a houseful', so everyone else was nearby at my sisters.)

Afterward she was dressed in her late summer travel clothes. Her purse contained a replica passport and favorite sunglasses so she had all she needed for her final trip. And I know she would've laughed over the adventure that ensued in getting her to her destination in Oregon.

So, bless you Mom, and all your quirks. They made you the interesting person you were. Without your quirks we wouldn't have all these stories to tell...or the things in us that we can change or improve. So see, you do live forever.

Photo in this blog: one of my Mom's favorite Giant Red Amaryllis

Gratitude to:
my brother & sisters - for your unique variations of Mom's sense of humor
my sister-in-law - for all you did for Mom, plus your make up artistry
my daughter, other family & friends - for your love, support, prayers, cards, & etc.
Hospice of North Idaho - for your quick response and valuable support
Merv - for being Mom's best male friend
Anne - Mom's step Mom, for being her best female friend, defender, and confidant
Ewam - the garden of 1000 Buddhas, Arlee, Montana - for graciously accepting the numerous boxes of plants donated from Mom's personal garden, thereby allowing all the animals, birds, and visitors to enjoy her beloved flowers for years to come

Note: next blogs will be: IN YOUR CUPBOARD - GOOD FOR YOU