October 30, 2012

Something to Soothe


Where I sit, the sun is shining and skies are blue but I still think of friends, family and so many strangers on the east coast who are struggling with the aftermath of wind and water and a huge storm. I hope that everyone has a safe warm place to go and I think especially of those who don't. While there isn't enough I can do to help, I turn as always to the small things I can do here now for myself and others. Sometimes it is no bigger than a smile or hello as I meet a stranger on the sidewalk. I know there is always more to do but I also believe that these brief gestures are beginnings that will eventually grow into something more meaningful.

Taking care of yourself, too, is essential. There are those seasons, those days when I need a little extra care and something to soothe my body or soul. I'm sure you've experienced this during a busy time when you can't even find a few spare minutes to catch up with yourself and when the needs of work or family or the season take over everything else. When the weather becomes cold and raw,  my throat get scratchy and dry and I need to make an effort to keep myself healthy and happy. Honey and ginger are usually the first remedies I turn to. I decided to try making a honey and ginger simple syrup that I could add to mugs of tea at a moment's notice. It also makes a nice addition to bubbly water for a homemade ginger ale. I like my ginger as spicy as possible, but you can always adjust this to your taste.

P.S. My other favorite use for honey in the winter is this body scrub from Ashley English. It is an essential when you feel like you need to do something extra caring for yourself.

Honey Ginger Syrup
I found that 1/4 cup of ginger wasn't strong enough for me, although the honey syrup with a hint of ginger is still soothing. If you chop the ginger instead of grating it, you will have left over chunks of sweetened ginger (a bit like crystallized ginger) but I found that the grated ginger gave the syrup a stronger flavor.

1 cup water
1 cup honey
1/4-1/2 cup grated or finely chopped ginger 
a splash of lemon juice (optional)

Add the water, honey and ginger to a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the honey and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, checking often so it doesn't get too hot and boil over (if it does your kitchen will smell like ginger bread, or so I've, um, heard). Remove from heat and leave to steep until cooled, then strain out the ginger. Store the syrup at room temperature or refrigerate to keep longer. 

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