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.

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