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If you like Asian cuisine, you’re familiar with ginger as an ingredient. And most people know that ginger ale will help settle an upset stomach, but did you also know that ginger can help ease menstrual cramps and provide migraine relief?

If you do any kind of Google search on the benefits of ginger, you’ll find it can be used for a variety of ailments:

  • Nausea – from motion sickness, pregnancy or chemotherapy
  • Headaches
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Inflammation of joints from arthritis
  • Relieving gas
  • Cold and flu
  • Sore throat

There have even been studies on how ginger affects cancer. One study suggests that ginger actually causes ovarian cancer cells to die off. With history of ovarian cancer in my family, I’m hoping this one is true.

So, it seems ginger is good for darn near everything. But, how should you take it?

You could take a ginger supplement, but the easiest (and most fun) way is to use raw ginger root in recipes. Simply slice or grate into stir fries, add to a salad or dressings, sauté with fresh vegetables (think broccoli!), use as in a glaze for fish, or even bake into cookies or muffins. You can even add it to fresh juice for a nice spicy kick & warming quality. Even nibbling on the candied ginger can help ward off nausea.

But one of the simplest ways to enjoy ginger is in tea – add 4-6 slices of raw ginger to cup and cover with boiling water.  Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Add honey and lemon (or lime) if desired.

ginger tea - perfect for cool fall days

Ginger tea not only help digestion, it just tastes good! Try it the next time you feel a cold or sore throat coming on.

What are your favorite ways to use ginger?

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The wonderful thing about soup is that it’s hardly ever bad. You can throw just about any vegetable into a pot with some stock and come out with something pretty darn wonderful.

Which is exactly what I did this week. I had some CSA veggies wilting away in my fridge that I knew would be perfect in a soup. So, I got to chopping and ended up with some tasty vegetable soup.

vegetable soup with baked delicata squash

The sad looking veggies in my fridge included:

carrots
celery
leeks
potatoes
green peppers
garlic
green beans

Add to some vegetable or chicken stock (I used 3 32 oz. containers) and heat until vegetables are cooked through.

I was going to add the squash I had in the fridge, but realized that probably wasn’t going to work well. So I roasted it with a bit of olive oil andsome seasonings instead. And although I read you can eat the skin of a delicata squash, that was SO not happening. The skin was rock hard. Instead, I topped with butter and scooped the squash out.

Totally delicious and simple meal.

What are your favorite vegetables in soup?


This week, I was off Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and got to spend some quality time with the boys.

Lovie & I read blogs.

where are the cat treat recipes?

And Loki helped me in the kitchen:

This celery doesn't look so fresh to me mom. I should probably just eat it for you.

But mostly, we did this:

Yeah, we like to nap. In fact, Wednesday was all about the napping. I wasn’t feeling too well and the boys were all for just laying around with mom. Lovie even held my hand for a while ..

 


A while ago I signed up for a blogger care package swap at Cook. Vegan. Lover. I love these kinds of things. Food bloggers are the best at putting together care packages. This is what I got from Fawn at Milano Running Mom.

 

It included veggie soup mix; ginger snap cookies (which I LOVE!), gluten-free brownie mix;

Smoked salmon; a chocolate bar; two Alternative Baking Company cookies (LOVE them as well!) and two Tasty Bite chickpea dishes. I was so very excited about the Tasty Bite packages. I’ve been wanting to try these forever, but haven’t been brave enough to buy them. I’ve already tried the channa masala one and it was really good. But I do want to find a recipe to make it on my own.

Have you ever done a care package swap? What’s the best thing you got from a swap?

10k training


Not sure what possessed me to decide I need to stop wavering and start training for a 10k. Actually, I know exactly what it was – a Twitter exchange with my friends Krista and Lin after seeing so many tweets about the Chicago Marathon:

And so it began. I finished up my first week of 10k training last week.

So far, things I like about the training:

  • having set schedule of when to run
  • having a goal

Things I don’t like about the training:

  • I am SORE.
  • I am tired.
  • I can never seem to dress appropriately for the weather.
  • And I never know what to eat before a run.

What are your tips for training for a 10k? Especially when all I want to do is this:

I hate Mondays.


Eggplant has never really been one of my favorite vegetable (or is it a fruit?), so when I got a large eggplant in my CSA box, I had no idea what to do with it. Thankfully, my aunt recently made this dish and let me try some while I was visiting last weekend. I’m convinced it is the only way to eat eggplant now.

The tomato sauce is amazing. It makes quite a bit, but I’m sure it will freeze well and be a great topping for pasta.

 

 

eggplant parmesan

 

Eggplant parmesan w/ roasted red pepper tomato sauce
Adapted from Bobby Flay

Tomato sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 4 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the red peppers and cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and spices, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. (You could leave it chunky if you like it that way.)

You will only use about half of this sauce. Freeze it for later!

Eggplant:

  • dried seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Butter, for greasing the dish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 medium eggplant,  cut into 1/2-inch-thick round slices
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce
  • 1 package shredded Italian cheese blend

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of rimmed baking sheet.

Place the bread crumbs into a large shallow bowl. In another medium shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and 2 tablespoons of water together. Put flour into separate bowl for dredging.

Season each eggplant slice on both sides with salt and pepper.Dredge each eggplant slice in the flour, tapping off excess, then dip it in the egg, and finally dredge it in the bread crumb mixture. Shake off any excess breading and transfer the egg plant to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.

Working in small batches, pan fry a few of the eggplant slices, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.

Cover the bottom of the prepared baking sheet with some of the tomato sauce and arrange eggplant  in single layer over the sauce. Cover the eggplant with some of the sauce and then grated cheese. Bake until hot and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

 

eggplant parmesan

 


… or those watching calories.

My aunt has made this cake the last two times I’ve visited. It’s definitely one of those dishes you take to a party so you’re not tempted to just sit down with the pan and a fork.

I’m pretty sure this is a variation of the “better than sex” cake. Not sure it’s quite that, but it is damn good. And ridiculously easy.

1 chocolate cake mix, prepared
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar caramel ice cream topping
1 tub cool whip (or whipped cream)
toffee bits for topping

Bake cake according to box directions. When it comes out of oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then poke with holes & pour sweetened condensed milk over top. Then pour over caramel. Refrigerate for a few hours to overnight. When ready to serve, cover with whipped topping & sprinkle with toffee bits.