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Mediterranean herbs and spices

Herbs and spices are a great way to spice up your dishes. With spices you don’t need to add fats, because on their own they give an absolutely great taste!

In the Mediterranean diet, spices are used to enhance the flavor of its produce, be it vegetables, legumes, meat, fish or poultry. They are incredibly healthy and should be consumed frequently.

Spices and herbs are a surprising source of antioxidants and help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.

The Mediterranean region is exceptionally fertile, making it easy for herbs and spices to flourish there. But thankfully we can find all these herbs and spices everywhere!

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Here are some of the Mediterranean herbs and spices:

Basil, Cinnamon, Sage

Bay leaves, Cloves, Sea salt

Caraway seeds, Coriander, thyme

Cardamom, Garlic, Turmeric

Chives, Marjoram, Ginger

Cilantro, Mint, Pepper

Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley

Onion, Rosemary, Chili peppers, dill.

See some of their benefits here.

Tips:

-Stir some oregano in your vinaigrette salad dressing.

-Add rosemary leaves to veggies like asparagus, spinach and tomatoes.

-Mix up:1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper and a dash of sea salt. Pour into a bowl and serve with bread. Delicious!

*image via pinterest

 

 

 

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What is Zaatar?

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Zaatar is a spice and herb blend from the middle east. You can find in all the houses around the middle east. Even here in Canada, every middle eastern person i know has a bag in their kitchen! It’s that important!

Zaatar has an amazing and unique flavor that is aromatic, and tangy at the same time.

In arabic, Zaatar means thyme; it is actually a blend of dried thyme, sesame seeds and sumac. And it is this combination that gives Zaatar its unique flavor.

Zaatar is used through out the middle east , sprinkled on hummus, on grilled chicken, mixed in with feta cheese or combined with tomatoes and onions..Combined with olive oil, it makes a tasty paste for dipping bread.

Benefits of Zaatar (of course there are benefits!)

*Thyme: an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties that benefit brain function and the heart. (When i was a kid my parents used to tell me to have Zaatar in the morning before school, it opens up the brain!)

*Sesame seeds: contains calcium, copper and a type of phystoterol that can reduce blood cholesterol levels and boost immunity.

*Sumac: this spice is a burgundy red powder with a somewhat lemony flavor. It is an antioxidant as well and is known to soothe stomach upsets.

See how beneficial Zaatar is for your health? And you’re going to love its taste!

You can make your own Zaatar or buy it, both the Zaatar and its ingredients are available at middle eastern food stores or speciality food stores.

One of the most common ways to eat Zaatar is to have a” Man’ouche”, a flat bread dough with zaatar and olive oil.

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Here’s how to do it the easy way!

Use a pizza dough for the flat bread.

Mix 2-3 tablespoons of Zaatar with olive oil till you get a rather liquid paste. Pour over the dough and cook in oven till crispy.

Cut it in slices and eat with yogurt, yummm!

This Zaatar pizza is very easy to freeze and tastes exactly the same when you warm it up again. Enjoy!

*images via, pinterest,medcookingalaska

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What do you do for willpower?

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When faced with the picture above, do you give in or do you have an amazing willpower that fights all temptations?

I personally always felt like i “needed” to eat my dessert! I come from a family where food is very important, and finishing off a meal with a sweet is “de rigueur”! Even if it is a small piece of chocolate.

But sometimes, age (I hit 42 this year, and my body doesn’t burn as it used to!), weight or sickness can change all that, and your craving for sweets has to be crushed!

What to do without feeling miserable? Because let’s face it, a huge cake looking at you from across the table is very hard to resist!

1-You can keep repeating a mantra in your head; about a better body, the bad effects of sugar, your strength and willpower, etc…

2-You can convince yourself that by eating healthy you have reached the body you always wanted, you feel healthier, and you’re not going back thank you very much. Affirmation.

3-You can do something i read about a long time ago and i think it’s perfect for me!

3 teaspoons of dessert: 1 for taste

                                            1 for savoring

                                            1 for goodbye

Perfect isn’t it?!

So which one would work for you?

*image via pinterest

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OliveLifestyle on Facebook!

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Finally we are on Facebook, so come on and join us for daily tips, inspirations, and much more! All about mediterranean lifestyle, sharing with you what worked for me and hopefully will work for you!

www.facebook.com/olivelifestyle

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Find your medicine in your kitchen!

Did you know that your kitchen is packed with natural medicine? Check out these healing herbs and spices:

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Mint: can ease hiccups

Turmeric: anti-cancer

Ginger: anti-nausea

Black pepper:helps to relieve indigestion

Oregano: helps soothe stomach muscles

Fennel: can reduce bad breath and body odor

Thyme: relaxes respiratory muscles

Basil: can relieve gas and soothe stomach upsets

Clove: anti-microbial

Rosemary: antioxidant

Cinnamon: helps lower blood pressure

Sage: antiseptic and antibiotic

Cayenne : can stop a heart attack

Dill: treat heartburn, colic and gas

Garlic: natural antiseptic

*image via pinterest

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You time

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Living with kids is a stressful challenge, living with 4 is, well a nut house! In a good way!

Looking back at the years, i wonder how they didn’t drive me crazy! The key to staying calm in my experience, is just to ignore the little things and focus on the important stuff. I know, staying calm in the midst of a tantrum, a teenage girl with raging hormones, house work , and everything in between is not easy.

So why don’t you shut yourself in a bubble for 10 minutes?

I found this picture a couple of years ago in a magazine, i think it was an ad for coffee, and it made me smile because this is what i used to do when the kids were little and i couldn’t handle it anymore!

I would have my coffee, close my eyes, my ears, and just shut off the world for 10 minutes. They would be screaming, fighting,calling me, breaking something, while i was there sipping my coffee calmly as if nothing was happening around me, as if they weren’t killing each other in the next room and breaking the house down!

This bubble you put yourself into has the power to give you extra energy, recuperate, and get back to the craziness! Not only does this bubble calm you down, it centers you and makes you focus on one thing only. You. Kind of like yoga if you want (a 10 mn meditation!). Whatever is happening won’t touch you, just enjoy your moment of peace and savor each minute..

So steal yourself away in the midst of chaos, take a deep breath, and then get back into the jungle!

Do you have a “you” moment? Please share!

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The wonder spice

Ginger is a wonder spice, did you know that?

Sure it is not a spice you will find a lot in Mediterranean dishes, but since it is available to us, and it is healthy, why not use it in our daily life?

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Here are 7 top benefits of ginger(and a bonus!)

-Ginger clears up the sinuses that tend to flare up from time to time.

-Feeling nauseaus? Chew on ginger.

-Gas? Ginger helps reduce flatulence.

-Joint pain? Ginger, with its anti-inflamatory properties, can bring relief; pour some ginger essential oil into your bath to help aching muscles and joints.

-Chewing ginger post-operation can help overcome nausea.

-Ginger tea with some lemon drops is a cure for throat and nose congestion.

Menstrual cramp relief.

And here is a benefit I discovered on my own!

15 years ago I was scheduled to travel on a certain day, but that same day I woke up with a terrible flu, my throat and nose were congested so I really thought of postponing my trip.

But my ever resourceful mom gave me a small bag with little pieces of ginger inside, peeled, and advised me to chew on them when the plane takes off and lands.

(Being the good daughter that I am), I did as she said, and believe me, when I chewed my little piece of ginger I felt my nose, throat, and ears open up in a second (a little like a cartoonish character where there is a whoosh coming from the ears? That’s exactly how I felt!).

So we have another benefit, ginger relieves from blocked ears!

 

 

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15 unusual uses for olive oil!

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As you well may know, olive oil is a staple in the mediterranean diet; use it instead of butter and other fats.

I only cook with olive oil, except for deep frying (but i never deep fry, so!). Its uses are very versatile, not only contained to cooking:

1-Easy clean up for garden tools

2-Diaper rash treatment

3-Furniture polish

4-Hair tonic

5-Skin moisturizer

6-Free a stuck zipper

7-Sticker remover

8-Ear ache relief

9-Shoe polish

10-Smooth shave

11-Stainless steel shine

12-Eye make up remover

13-DIY lip balm

14-Lamp fuel

15-Nail and cuticle care

I have used it in about five of these uses. How about you?

*image,pinterest

 

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Left over Pasta sauce?

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The beauty of the Mediterranean diet is its versatility.

Imagine you cooked a big pot of pasta sauce and have a jar full in your freezer. What to do with it other than eat the same dish twice?

Pasta sauces, like tomato sauce, pesto sauce, or any kind of sauce really, would work well in any dish.

I use a lot of my pesto sauce in salads, even with grilled meat, over potatoes, grilled peppers or mushrooms…

As for the tomato sauce, use it over hot cooked white beans, a plate of brown or white rice, add some blanched asparagus, and there you have it, a new healthy dish ready in minutes!

There are no limits to what you can do with pasta sauce!

What about you, what do you do with your leftover sauce?

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5 tips to an easier life!

 

As you know i am a mom of 4, half of them grown ups now thank god, but I still remember clearly how it was dealing with 4 little monsters (let’s be real here, they are only angels when they’re asleep!).

They say (I don’t know who THEY are) women are very good at multitasking; well try multitasking your job, four kids, your husband and your house! Ever felt like hiding under your comforter and let everything and everyone manage on their own?

I have some tips for you don’t you worry! First and foremost, believe me you are not alone in having these feelings. We are women after all, and sometimes we just need a break!

After talking to many working moms here and in my home country, I came up with a few tricks that will help make your life easier:

1 -Always prepare your kid’s clothes the night before. Always. No matter how tired you are, you will be grateful for that the next day!

 2-All kids should be in bed by a certain time, no negotiations. Mama time (and her glass of wine) is sacred.

 3-Before going to bed, get a big basket (your laundry basket will do just fine), go around the house and pick up everything that isn’t in its place. You will be amazed how waking up to a neat house makes you feel.

 4-Now this is a bit tricky, not everyone is organized, much less me, but try preparing your menu at the beginning of the week; get all the groceries you need, and prepare meals according to it. Life with children is already out of control, you don’t want to lose it at dinner time!

 5-Ask for help. From your husband, you mother ,your sister, your friends…They are all there for you. When you feel like your home is looking and feeling more and more like a nut house, that’s the time to call for help!

No one expects us to be perfect, we are all juggling to keep our life in balance, so try these tips, and let’s see if they work for you.

Have a lovely and stress-free weekend, xo..

 

 

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