Sip Away That Winter Chill

                                                           By Brit Elders

 

Spiced Hot Apple Cider
Here is a perfect warming, healing tonic for the body that’s also simple to make.

1 cup organic apple cider
½ tsp organic apple cider vinegar
½ tsp organic maple syrup (you can add more)
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole clove
dash of nutmeg

Heat the apple cider on the stovetop to the beginning of a boil.
Add the other ingredients.
Steep ten minutes.
Remove the cinnamon and clove and enjoy.

What are the health benefits to my spiced hot cider drink?
Compounds in apples and apple juice called phytonutrients act in much the same way that red wine and teas do to delay the break down of LDL or "bad" cholesterol. When LDL oxidizes, or deteriorates in the blood, plaque accumulates along the walls of the coronary artery and causes dangerous thickening of the artery. Apples, apple juice and apple cider can all help prevent this.

Most cider is made from fermented apple juice. Natural cider has nothing added and relies on the wild yeast present in the apples for fermentation. Apple cider vinegar helps the body detox and has been shown to help with many illnesses. The bitter taste is hidden in my cider recipe with all of the other nutritious ingredients. Did you know that cinnamon is being used to prevent and ease distress caused by diabetes type II? Or that cloves are a natural anti-inflammatory? Or that nutmeg, used in small doses, is a natural calmative? Or that maple syrup has manganese and is an antioxidant?

Teas are a warming, healing drink that can brighten winter blues and calm daily tensions that inevitably surface. Peppermint, spice, chamomile, green, black, or hot spiced chai… all can be a cupful of relaxed enjoyment.

Cheerful Chai
14 cardamom pods
4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups almond milk
4 sticks of cinnamon broken into pieces
8 whole cloves
1 vanilla bean, split
2 tablespoons black tea (leaves)
Stevia, Maple Sugar crystals or honey to sweeten to desired taste.

Using the flat side of large knife, crush the cardamom pods to expose seeds.
Bring the water, almond milk, cardamom pods, cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the tea and remove from heat.
Cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Give the liquid time to absorb the spices.
Strain and serve hot.
Sweeten as desired.
Makes 6 servings.

*If you like a mocha flavor add 2 tablespoons of organic coco power to the mixture before you steep it.
*If you like a little citrus zip to your chai, add some zest of orange before the steeping process.
*If you are avoiding caffeine, replace the black tea leaves with rooibos tea or green tea.

There is no end to the variations on this basic recipe, so if you are feeling adventurous, try some changes and share them with us.

Brit Elders is an author, CEO of ShirleyMacLaine.com and Editor of Dynamic Living Magazine.

Dynamic Living Magazine Issue Vol. 1  Jan/Feb 2011