[ Info: Cozy Comforts ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
The Shadow of the Header Snow Corner
Winter weather often drives even the most seasoned of us in search of extra warmth, whether its found in front of a cozy fire, under a plush blanket or in the steam rising from a bowl of hearty soup.
The season of comfort food is here…and if you keep your pantry and fridge stocked with a few essentials, you won’t risk getting cold feet from having to run out to the store!

[ Cozy Comforts: Cool Beans, Warm Heart ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a. cool beans, warm heart

We all know the old sing-song motto that starts out with, “beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…” We’ll bypass the “more you eat” part of the verse and just appreciate the fact that it’s true that beans are indeed good for your heart, as well as your bones, muscles and brain cells.

A single cup of beans packs as much as 16 grams of protein, which your body uses to regulate certain hormones and enzymes and to synthesize amino acids that are involved in the manufacture and repair of bone and muscle tissue. The same cup also provides complex carbohydrates with a low-to-moderate glycemic index, which provide more fuel for energy longer than other carbs.

Beans are also high in calcium, potassium, folate and fiber, but are low in sodium and fat and are completely free of cholesterol. Black beans, navy beans, white beans, garbanzo beans (chick peas), kidney beans and pinto beans make flavorful additions to winter soups, stews and chili.

add some
chili pepper >

[ chili pepper ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

[ Cozy Comforts: Nutritious Cruciferous ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

b. nutritious cruciferous

Plants in the Brassica family are collectively known as cruciferous vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale and cabbage. All of these vegetables are abundant in nutrients.

A half cup of cooked kale, for example, provides a full day’s supply of vitamin A and 30% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin A is required to synthesize rhodopsin, an important photoreceptor pigment found in the retina. Vitamin C is needed for a variety of metabolic processes and to enhance immune function.

Cruciferous vegetables, especially cauliflower and broccoli, also contain a high content of sulforaphane and other sulfurous compounds, which appear to stimulate an increased production of liver enzymes that help to rid the body of toxins.

add some
thyme >

[ thyme ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

[ Cozy Comforts: Cheese, Please ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

c. cheese, please

Ah…nothing makes food more comfy than ooey, gooey, cheese. Made from cow, goat or sheep’s milk, cheese is an excellent source of calcium and protein. Because some types can be high in fat and sodium, however, moderation is advised.

Note that some of the best “melters,” namely part-skim mozzarella, American, Gruyere and Swiss, are lower in sodium, fat and calories than most other cheeses. Even low-fat cottage cheese (large curd, preferred) makes a dreamy comfort food when mixed with lumpy mashed potatoes, diced onion and black pepper and baked until hot and bubbly – a dish known as Cottage Potatoes.

If you’re vegan, there are plenty of non-dairy cheese choices out there these days that you can use in recipes in place of traditional cheese.

add some
peppercorn >

[ peppercorn ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

[ Cozy Comforts: So Long, Plain Grain ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

d. so long, plain grain

Winter marks the dark part of the year in which to enjoy the harvest plucked while still warm from the summer sun. Maybe you didn’t bring in the sheaves yourself, but you can still be rejoiceful about nourishing your body and soul with a bowl of hot brown rice, couscous or quinoa.

Unfortunately, because these foods are too often regarded as side dishes they are denied the chance of playing a leading role at the dinner table. Combined with veggies, beans, cheese, and perhaps other pantry fare like chopped nuts and dried fruit, a dish of grains stops being a meal cohost and becomes a culinary masterpiece that stands alone.

add some
caraway >

[ caraway ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

spices to try in your comfort foods

keep warm recipes

White Bean & Kale Soup Recipe
Kickin' Beef & Bourbon Chili Recipe
Herbed Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

Monterey Bay Herb Company