[VIDEO]: Pass the cinnamon, please!

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I've been waiting months to talk about cinnamon. THE fall and winter spice, my most used spice, and some may argue the best spice. Many of us love it because it's usually featured in yummy baked goods -- think apple pie, pancakes, muffins, oatmeal, etc. But did you know it's actually one of the best things for your body?

When I weaned myself off a serious sugar addiction, one of the many things that helped me was this big bad spice. Any time I added it to my food, I was able to get that "fix" I needed for sweets, without actually eating sugar. I added it onto my nut butters, into oatmeal, into smoothies, heck, I even experimented with savory foods like roasted veggies and meats. And I hit the jackpot.

You can eat it 3 ways -- the cinnamon stick (the inner tree bark, dried and rolled into said stick), ground cinnamon (cinnamon sticks ground together), and essential oils (where all the nutrients in cinnamon are found). All are amazing for you, so experiment with all 3 until you get into your cooking groove! And since spices have a shelf life of about 6 months, make sure you're refreshing your cinnamon twice a year!

Watch Michelle's Monday Minute episode below on all things cinnamon, and snag my scrumptious recipe for Moroccan Shepherd's Pie below the vid. Enjoy and share!

Moroccan Shepherd's Pie
Servings: 6

Ingredients:
--FILLING--
1 lb. ground pastured lamb
1 tbsp. EVOO
1 white onion, small dice
1 red onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
pinch chili powder
2 c. chopped plum tomatoes (drain if using canned)
1/2 c. raisins or currants
1/2 bunch cillantro, de-stemmed and chopped
salt/pepper to taste

--TOPPING--
2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 tbsp. EVOO
1 tbsp.. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. coconut milk
salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Heat EVOO in medium oven safe skillet (or medium pan). Add onions, garlic, ginger, spices and salt, and cook until softened, about 8-10 mins.
  3. Add ground lamb, and brown until cooked through, using a spoon to break apart chunks.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 10 mins. 
  5. Add raisins and chopped cilantro, mixing until incorporated. Remove from heat.
  6. Boil the potatoes for 15 mins. or until fork-tender. Drain well and add the olive oil, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and coconut milk. With a potato masher or food processor, blend until you achieve a creamy consistency.
  7. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
  8. Spread sweet potato mash over filling direction in cast iron (or fill an oven-safe casserole dish with the filling, and spread the sweet potato mash on top). Bake for 40 mins. until the topping is beginning to brown. Garnish with additional cilantro.

[Note: Leftovers make a delicious paleo breakfast alongside braised or sauteed greens!]