Take a shot of Fire Brew
How do you ensure your day starts right? Do you take a morning walk or brew a pot of coffee to drink while you do the crossword puzzle?
I like to start my day with puzzles and coffee but lately I've added taking a shot of Fire Brew health tonic to my morning routine. Its intense flavor really wakes me up.
Fire Brew health tonics are the brainchild of Valerie Roth. She tells me she always loved playing in the kitchen and making concoctions but it wasn't until she began studying holistic nutrition that she found her opportunity to blend her love of food with healthy eating to create tonics which were beneficial to herself and others.
Fire Brew is an all-natural, everyday wellness booster with an apple cider vinegar base. Roth and her team start with raw, organic vinegar and then steep it for four to six weeks with nutrient dense vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices — all hand chopped, shredded and juiced — for optimal health benefits.
The vinegar is then strained and pressed and the concentrated vitamin-packed liquid is bottled to have you firing on all cylinders.
"It is not a relaxing sipping vinegar, though you can certainly sweeten it with honey, cut with your favorite beverage and/or add it to your foods," Valerie said. "At its heart, it's a shot-based tonic — concentrated and ready to use as a multivitamin in liquid form."
And it is a product that wasn't readily available until she made it.
Some of the whole fruits and vegetables used in the tonics include fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, fresh horseradish, fresh habaneros, onions, celery, oranges and orange peels, lemons and lemon peels, apples, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme.
"The amount of immune-boosting nutritional goodness in this tonic is awesome," Valerie writes on her website, drinkfirebrew.com. "The brew should be taken daily as a preventive measure in either shot form, in your beverage of choice or integrated into your food choices (such as salad dressings or marinades).
"It can also treat a number of maladies that arise from common colds to inflammation, digestive and circulatory issues, high blood pressure, etc."
Valerie says the whole-food health tonics stimulate digestion, reduce inflammation, relieve muscle soreness, break up congestion, move toxins out of the body, increase circulation and support optimal cardiovascular function.
The specific blends have even more potent power.
The garden blend strengthens bones and teeth due to high doses of vitamin K and calcium; supports brain development due to high levels of folate; keeps blood strong due to high iron levels and supports the growth of all bodily tissues, including skin and hair.
The citrus blend packs in the vitamin C and dietary fiber; boosts the body's defense system against illnesses; increases T cell/white blood cell activity that engulfs free radicals and promotes circulatory health.
The hibiscus blend contains vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which have antioxidant properties; helps with mild colds, bruising, and flu and swelling; may help lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels; relieves stomach disorders, respiratory disorders, fever, aches, infections and joint pain and is a highly nourishing reproductive tonic.
The beet blend protects heart health due to folate and betaine content; boosts eye health due to lutein, lowers blood pressure and protects the liver due to betaines. It also boosts energy levels due to its high nitrate concentrate and combats constipation due to high fiber.
The chai blend reduces inflammation due to its main component, Eugenol; is excellent for skin-related imbalances and quells digestive issues including stomach ulcers, heartburn and colic. It also stimulates the liver and is considered a very safe diuretic, and improves hormone balances in both men and women.
A new flavor is Wheatgrass with Fresh Mint Spring Boost. The website says the benefits of wheatgrass include chlorophyll to detox, antioxidants to heal free radical damage and enzymes to aid digestion. Two ounces of wheatgrass juice has the nutritional equivalent of five pounds of the best raw organic vegetables, the website says.
Does Valerie have a favorite flavor?
"I really love them all," she said. "It depends on the mood I am in which flavor I'll choose. It depends on what is calling out to me."
The Fire Brew flavor I am drinking is pomegranate laced with horseradish. I add a tablespoon to about a half cup of water each morning. The flavor is intense, but delightful. And if I forget to drink it I miss it.
"Try to make it a habit," Valerie says. "Your body will move better, you'll have better joint action, breathing. Your gut health will improve. Any inflammation related ailment will improve."
Fire Brew health tonics are available at New Seasons Markets, Market of Choice and Uptown Market in our area. You can also order online, and learn more about the products at drinkfirebrew.com.
Good news — asparagus is in season. It is delicious roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, or quickly steamed. This recipe is yet another way to enjoy it, tossed with melon and tomatoes and sprinkled with ricotta salata. Ricotta salata is Italian sheep milk cheese; you can also use feta cheese.
Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!
Grilled Melon Salad
Makes 4 servings
½ small cantaloupe melon, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon chopped mint
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon Calabrian chile paste
1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
Ricotta salata or feta cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler, for serving, optional
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
Drizzle the melon slices with olive oil and place in the grill pan.
Grill undisturbed until browned on the first side, about 30 seconds. Flip and grill on the reverse side for an additional 30 seconds.
Remove to a cutting board to cool slightly, then cut into ½-inch pieces. Place the grilled melon in a medium bowl, along with the tomatoes, mint, lime juice, chile paste and ¼ teaspoon salt; mix well with a spoon. Set aside to let the flavors mingle.
Meanwhile, heat 5 tablespoons water in a large skillet over medium heat.
When bubbles just start rising to the surface, begin whisking in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly to form an emulsion.
When all the butter is incorporated, reduce the heat to medium low to keep the mixture at just below a simmer. Add the thyme and ½ teaspoon salt, swirling the pan to combine. Add the asparagus and toss gently to coat. Cover the pan and cook until the asparagus is tender all the way through when pierced with the tip of a knife, 5 minutes.
Remove the asparagus to a platter and spoon some of the melon salad over the top. Top with a few shavings of ricotta salata if desired.
Serve with additional salad on the side.
Recipe courtesy of The Food Network.