You guys are amazing. I loved reading all of your favorite doughnut flavors. They left me craving some doughnuts myself. I didn’t realize apple cider doughnuts were such a thing. The winner of Ashley’s Baked Doughnuts for Everyone cookbook is Lauren Marie. Congrats girl! Your copy should be on its way soon!
As cold and flu season rolls around with cooler temperatures, it is important to nourish our bodies with a variety of foods and spices to keep ourselves healthy and our immune system strong. It is equally as important to remember to take time for ourselves to relax, spend time with friends and family, and exercise in order to relieve stress. Cooking ourselves nutritious foods can provide our bodies with an array of beneficial nutrients, relieving stress by taking time for ourselves in the kitchen, while also helping us feel good about taking care of ourselves and others. A few key foods and spices that contribute to a healthy immune system among other things include:
- Sweet Potatoes: rich in beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), vitamin C, and vitamin E, sweet potatoes are a significant source of anti-oxidants that can benefit our immune system, prevent disease and cancer, aid in recovery from sickness or surgery, and improve our skin, hair, and eyes. In addition, vitamin A and vitamin C are anti-inflammatory, making sweet potatoes beneficial for those suffering from arthritis or asthma. They also contain a significant amount of fiber, contributing to the health of our digestive tracts, a first line defense mechanism for our immune system.
- Cooked Cauliflower: as an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, and a good source of vitamins B5 and B6, cooked cauliflower contributes to healthy immune function.
- Coconut: by providing a bit of fat, coconut aids in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A and E.
- Ginger: as a warming spice, ginger can promote healthy sweating during a cold or flu, promoting recovery and fighting off infections. While ginger is commonly used to calm the digestive system, it also possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can beneficial for those suffering from arthritis or recovering from heavy exercise.
- Cinnamon: the essential oils found in cinnamon are considered to be anti-microbial, helping stop the growth of bacteria. In addition, by slowing the rate at which food empties from the stomach, cinnamon can aid in blood sugar control, particularly when combined with a high glycemic food. Traditional Chinese Medicine mixes cinnamon in tea with fresh ginger to provide cold and flu relief.
- Turmeric: getting its bright yellow color from curcumin, turmeric provides anti-inflammatory benefits at the level of Motrin and other NSAIDs. It has been used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), relief for rheumatoid arthritis, helping those with cystic fibrosis, and cancer prevention, just to name a few.
Next time you are feeling undernourished or under the weather, warm up with a bowl of this flavorful and fragrant Curried Vegetable Dahl with Coconut Basmati Rice. By featuring all of the foods and spices listed above, it provides benefits for your immune system and is anti-inflammatory.
Curried Vegetable Dahl with Coconut Basmati Rice
Coconut Basmati Rice
2 cups brown basmati rice
3 cups water
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt
1 large cinnamon stick
¼ cup raisins
1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan or rice cooker. Cook according to rice package directions. Remove cinnamon stick before serving.
Curried Vegetable Dahl
1 ½ cups red lentils, rinsed well
4 cups water
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon butter or ghee
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly ¼” dice
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups water
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 red or green bell peppers, diced
1 bunch fresh spinach, cleaned and roughly chopped
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
- Combine rinsed lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, uncover, and cook until tender; about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent; about 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, ginger, curry powder, cumin. Continue to sauté for about 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add 2 cups of water, cauliflower, and bell peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered until sweet potato and cauliflower are tender; about 10-15 minutes.
- When lentils are done, puree them with an immersion blender or carefully transfer them along with their cooking water to an upright blender and blend for 2 minutes. Transfer to simmering vegetables along with chopped spinach and lemon juice, stir well. Simmer until spinach is just wilted; about 1-2 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve over Coconut Basmati Rice.
What foods do you nourish yourself with during cold and flu season?