So I am back from a break. I didn’t go on holiday, but besides going to work, church, seeing friends and watching way too many episodes of series, you name it, The Blacklist, Girl Boss, Grimm, and I finally finished House… I have not been very productive. Sometimes in life, you need a little downtime, but I am ready to get back onto the wagon 😀 So I thought I’d start off with looking at the health benefits of the spices used to make chai over the next few posts. Chai latte, chai teas, I love chai! In Cape Town, (it could be in other areas too, but here is where I discovered it), there is this pudding called boeber, which is a milky pudding with vermicelli and sago which uses cardamom and cinnamon, so it’s almost like chai, I love that too! Pretty much anything that tastes even vaguely like chai, I enjoy.
So, cinnamon. I find cinnamon to be quite a comforting spice. It smells wonderful and I associate it with delicious foods. Hot cross buns, pancakes, various desserts. I don’t like oats, so I always sprinkle cinnamon on top and put in raisins, and naughty naughty, some sugar (or honey when I am slightly less naughty) and butter, well, margarine (the kind with the seed oils). Cinnamon is great! Perhaps not everything we use cinnamon in or on is healthy, but cinnamon itself is actually full of benefits for your health.
Cinnamon does the following:
- It helps stabilize your blood sugar if it’s too high.
- It can boost brain activity, so it’s great to include it in your breakfast.
- It has anti-inflammatory effects, I haven’t tried this myself, but before I pop a pill next time, I’ll see if this helps.
- It’s antibacterial and antifungal.
- Apparently, it helps to relieve PMS. I don’t know about the rest of you ladies, but that sounds fantastic to me! I am definitely going to give this a go.
Looking at all those benefits makes me want to go crazy with cinnamon. BUT. As with everything, moderation is key. Eating too much cinnamon can be bad for you. Studies aren’t quite clear on how much is too much but have determined that 4-6 grams are the safe maximum per day. 6g works out to just over a teaspoon. Considering that we usually just sprinkle some lightly onto whatever we’re eating, we don’t need to worry too much. The only other thing I would like to mention is that if you are diabetic, because of the blood sugar lowering effect of cinnamon, you may want to check with your doctor before taking any supplements that contain it as they may be more concentrated. In fact, anyone who is on any special kind of medication should check before supplementing with herbs and spices just to be on the safe side.
But back on to the awesomeness of cinnamon. As I have already mentioned there are quite a few dishes you can use cinnamon in. It’s great in breakfasts, teas, and lattes, it’s found in lots of dessert foods and pastries such as cinnamon rolls, apple tarts, pumpkin pies and donuts (you might want to go easy on these), but cinnamon is also often used in curries, pork and beef dishes. My husband and I sprinkle cinnamon over our pumpkin, sweet potatoes, oats, pankcakes, milk tart, sometimes fruit and in winter we make gluvine. As I’ve mentioned, I drink chai latte’s from time to time, and I often drink chai tea at home, all of which contain cinnamon. It’s such a versatile spice. There are so many recipes out there, so if you want to whip up something fabulous, just google cinnamon recipes.
I am going to leave you with a recipe for milk tart or melk tert, a South African pudding which is absolutely delicious! Usually, I wouldn’t post unhealthy things on here, but I figured hey, let’s live a little. Just as long as you are eating healthily and exercising the rest of the time. I think the 80-20 % rule is great in terms of eating too. Really try to keep this recipe for a cheat day or special occasions. It makes a tart that will serve a few people, so it’s great for if you have friends and family around, but keeps well for about 3 to 4 days, we have never tried any longer than that. I found this recipe on justeasyrecipes.co.za. There are so many out there with many great variations to suit your taste. We have a recipe at home, but it wasn’t very detailed. I now see why my husband’s milk tart comes out differently each time! I would have tried guessing, but unless it’s one of those premixed packets, my baking is an absolute disaster:
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 ½ cups milk
2 ½ tbsp cornflour
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 ½ tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
a big spoon of butter
Cream butter and sugar well together and add the egg, before beating well.
Add all other ingredients – making a stiff dough.
Press into one or two round cake tins/pie dishes.
Bake blind for 15 minutes at 180°C (use wax paper to cover the pastry and place dry beans/rice over the paper to weight the pastry down). Then remove the paper and beans/rice and bake for an additional 5 minutes until light brown.
Bring milk to a gentle boil.
Beat eggs well and add sugar, flour, cornflour and salt.
Pour boiling milk into the mixture and stir well.
Return to stove and stir for 10-12 minutes on medium heat until the mixture thickens.
Add butter and vanilla essence and mix through, then pour into cooked shell.
Allow to cool in the fridge (you do not need to cook the tart any further)
To decorate, sprinkle with cinnamon.
The author notes that she used a 26cm dish for baking and still had some pastry left over. Not sure if dish sizes are in inches overseas, but 26cm is around 10 inches give or take. Just so you know more or less what size dish to use.
So get sprinkling for good health and deliciousness and take it easy on the puddings and pastries 😉
Web MD: Supplement guide-cinnamon.
Just easy recipes: Milk tart.
Shaw Academy notes from Ultimate Weigh Loss course.