Conscious Cook: The sweet, sweet taste of spring

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” —Proverbs 16:24

After being assaulted by storms this March, we’ll find spring, if it ever arrives, ever so sweet. As the days turn warmer and the Earth begins to blossom, the sunshine opens up the spirit inside us. We are reminded to speak softly to our loved ones, friends, and strangers alike, and be ever grateful for the many blessings each new season brings.

An abundance of sweet treats are offered at many Easter celebrations. Occasional indulgences are a wonderful part of preparing a delicious life, and including more natural alternatives will provide a bit of balance. Honey, particularly locally produced honey, is a delectably delicious, sweet food that has many nutritional attributes. Honey that is produced naturally and locally, rather than commercially processed, is full of fabulous flavor and will offer the most intense health benefits.

Honey contains flavonoids, hard-working antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of some cancers, and perhaps lessen the risks of heart disease. A natural cough suppressant, honey provides soothing relief for colds and sore throats. An excellent source of energy, honey provides superior maintenance for glycogen levels and improves recovery time after intense workouts. Anti-inflammatory honey may help soothe the stinging sensation of minor burns, while the anti-bacterial content may help prevent infection. Honey-based facials are easy to concoct and will smooth and soften winter-worn skin.

Honey is a vital ingredient that will bring the sweetness of life into your kitchen. Stir a spoonful of honey into a hot cup of tea for instant comfort. Mix a tablespoon of honey into a bit of softened butter, add a dash of cinnamon and enjoy a luscious honey butter that will make toast, muffins, oatmeal, pancakes or French toast quite lavish. Add honey to marinades, salad dressings, sauces, and syrups for an extra lovely layer of flavor. Drizzle honey onto frozen yogurt, or blend into smoothies.

For an exceptional Easter breakfast or brunch offering, prepare a platter full of colorful fruits and berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, banana, pineapple and blueberries, and cover them with a succulent honey sauce. Top it off with chopped pecans or almonds if desired, or a smattering of shredded coconut.

Celebrate Easter and every day of your delicious life with sweet words and sweet, satisfying flavor.

Simple Honey Sauce

Makes one cup

¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (any fat percentage you prefer)

¼ cup local honey

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

¼ teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Mix together all ingredients. Use immediately or store in fridge until ready to use, up to one day ahead. You can substitute lemon and lime juice and zest for orange juice and zest. Double or triple recipe as needed.

For more on Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook,” go to www.theconsciouscook.net.