Annie crept up to a slumbering LJ, playfully and slowly waving a rosemary sprig under his nose. He continued to sleep. “He doesn’t smell this, as strong as it is?”

Puzzled, she started to carefully rise and move back; suddenly, he grabbed her arm and pulled her on top of him. They both laughed and kissed.

“Are you trying to make me feel hungry so I’ll wake up, or are you trying to wake me up because you’re hungry?’ he said.

Annie smiled, “actually, I’ve been picking herbs. We have a ton of Rosemary, so I thought I’d bring some over to you to be the inspiration for lunch today.”

“An abundance of Rosemary is just in time. We are starting to run low on our homemade Rosemary Infused Olive Oil. I will use the rest today to make Rosemary and Olive Oil Smashed Potatoes.”

“Sounds delish. I also like to drizzle it on popcorn. It makes the snack extra healthy.”

“Why do you say that?

“Well,” Annie said thoughtfully, “because corn is a whole grain, and when it is air-popped, it is a source of low-calorie fiber. Olive oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is not known for weight gain. Since Rosemary is believed to help boost brain function, increase circulation, ease stress, and perk you up, Rosemary-olive oil popcorn becomes a healthy plant-based snack. Two cups are only 134 calories.”

“I see,” nodded LJ. “I like the idea of synergistically improving and enhancing the health benefits of spices by combining them with other liquid food, which helps increase their absorption rate. Spices provide substantial phytochemical benefits because they are made from seeds, leaves, roots, fruit, and flowers. They provide vitamins and minerals that support brain health, boost immunity, suppress inflammation, and boost metabolism. Many are natural preservatives due to their high levels of antioxidants. Their healing properties help prevent chronic disease. Studies show people who eat spicy food daily have a 14% lower risk of death than those who eat spicy foods once a week or less.”

“I agree; that’s why I enjoy your Oregano and Tomato sauce.”

“Thanks. Did you know there are 42 types of Oregano? It contains vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Eating Oregano alone doesn’t taste good, but when you add it to tomatoes, the combination provides powerful antioxidant benefits. I use a few drops of its oil to make the sauce or dried Oregano.”

“I did not know that, so thanks for sharing. What do you think about Cilantro Lime Dressing?”

Cilantro, aka coriander, appears to help reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. When it is mixed with Lime, a citrus known to boost immunity, you benefit from its powerful heart health properties. Cilantro also supports healthy hair, skin, and nails. Additionally, Lime helps prevent kidney stones and supports healthy skin.”

“A Basil and Lemon Pesto is another delicious combination of a spice and fruit, providing heart health benefits, including reducing blood pressure and cholesterol,” said Annie. “Basil is rich in vitamin K and manganese. It lowers uric acid levels in the kidneys, helps prevent kidney stones, and plays a role in preventing fat buildup in the liver. Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, folate, and magnesium.

“Did you like the Fennel Honey I used on your French toast?” asked LJ as they started walking toward the kitchen.

Annie Laughed, “I sure do. Honey Fennel is a perfect example of nature using a spice to make honey. Honeybees harvest the nectar from fennel flowers and convert it into honey. Fennel provides the nutrients beta-carotene (converts to vitamin A in the body) and Vitamin C, which is vital for healthy skin and collagen production. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It helps regulate heartbeat and lowers blood pressure. Honey is a natural sweetener also known for its heart health benefits.”

Fennel tea has many benefits, but I like Turmeric and Chamomile Moon milk as a nightcap.”

LJ held the door open for Annie, “why?”

Chamomile has a sedative effect which helps support sleep. Studies indicate Turmeric enhances serotonin levels while its Curcumin helps reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. As we get older it can be hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Which is why I make it for us every night. Herbs that have sedative effects are a healthy way to help with sleep instead of over-the-counter meds that can harm the liver and kidneys if used for a long time.”


“Thank you.”


Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.


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