I love this time of year when I am driving the winding roads to home and spot the cheery red buckets hanging on the maple trees...all positioned and ready for sap collection. This of course, also marking the much awaited return of spring! This winter has been a long one. In fact, at this point in time it may seem to be never ending.
I hope that I heard this wrong, but I think someone said we might get more snow again next week. Oh well, the sun is shining upon us today and that always makes us feel warmer on the inside...even if it is still so darn chilly outside! It is true...a good dose of Vitamin D (aka: sunshine) is often just what the doctor ordered.
Friends and family often tell me that I should move from the Middle of Nowhere, Ohio where I reside. I'm telling you....nothing beats the views here. (Well, except for a sunset on a warm sandy beach!) The rolling hills and country side sprinkled with growing crops and grazing cows...just seems to be the right place for me to call home. It warms my soul like no expressway view ever could. As my father would say, "Home is where you hang your hat". For now, I am happy to hang my hat where the red buckets hang; sending their cheery greetings to us as we quickly drive by...in a rush to Somewhere Else, Ohio.
Here are some pretty cool nutritional nuggets which share what gooey goodness pure maple syrup has to offer!
- Maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese, which plays an important role in energy production and antioxidant defenses...and is necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
- This natural sweetener provides 37% of the Daily Value of riboflavin, which aids in the metabolic processes.
- Pure maple syrup also contains 18% of the recommended Daily Value of zinc, which is essential for a healthy immune system.
- Other minerals found in maple syrup are magnesium, calcium and potassium which can decrease the risk of hypertension or stroke.
Ways to enjoy this happy, sappy syrup:
- Maple syrup can be used in place of table sugar as a natural sweetener. Give it a try in your tea and coffee for a new and unique taste.
- Pour some maple syrup on oatmeal topped with walnuts and raisins....yum!
- Add maple syrup and cinnamon to puréed cooked sweet potatoes.
- Combine maple syrup with orange juice and low sodium soy sauce and use as a marinade.
- Spread peanut butter on a piece of whole wheat toast, top with sliced bananas and then drizzle maple syrup on top for a sweet, gooey treat.
- And as always...serve over warm pancakes along with a large dab of organic butter. (Look for my previous post for my delish pumpkin pancake recipe!)