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Spices can amp up the sex appeal

Spices can amp up the sex appeal

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you might be thinking about ways to heat things up in the bedroom.

Luckily for you, many of the most effective aphrodisiacs are found in your spice cabinet. (Essentially, spices can spice things up.)

To take advantage of all the spices that can elevate libido, we’ve created a meal featuring some of the spices that are considered the sexiest of them all.

After dinner, everything else is up to you!

Nutmeg

According to researchers, women in Africa have been using nutmeg as an aphrodisiac for centuries.

And in India, a 2005 animal study found that nutmeg boosted sexual sustainability, “increasing both libido and potency,” they said.

What better reason to have this little seed on hand?

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

This beautiful soup is the perfect way to kick off a meal designed to fuel romance.

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 small Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the squash, carrots, apples, potato, bay leaf, salt, pepper and nutmeg and cover with six cups of water.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 45 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and blend soup until smooth.

Lavender

The aroma of lavender is considered relaxing, so spritzing bed sheets will create a peaceful place for romance.

Beforehand, however, consider adding lavender – which increases blood flow - to your meal’s main dish, Roast Chicken Provencal featuring herbes de Provence. The classic French recipe is simple to make but it looks and tastes like a dish worthy of any chef’s kitchen.

ROAST CHICKEN PROVENCAL

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup herbes de Provence
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 4-pound chicken

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

While oven preheats, mix the garlic, herbes de Provence, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture generously on the outer skin and the inside of the chicken.

Place the chicken on a wire rack inside a roasting pan so the skin can crisp all around, and bake for 25 minutes, until skin begins to brown.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees and 25 to 30 minutes longer, until the inside temperature (test on the thigh) reaches 165 degrees.

Allow the chicken to rest 10 minutes before carving.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Saffron

Cleopatra reportedly loved saffron, the pricy bright yellow spice that reigns as the most expensive spice in the world.

But modern experts are weighing in as well, and according to a 2011 study from Canadian researchers, saffron is believed to contribute to the function of certain neurotransmitters that stimulate libido or erogenous zones, boosting lust levels.

SAFFRON RICE

A lovely side to your roast chicken, saffron rice takes advantage of the aphrodisiac qualities of saffron while adding color to your plate.

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch saffron, crumbled

In a medium saucepan, place the rice, chicken stock, butter, salt and saffron and bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat, allowing the rice to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the stock is absorbed and rice is tender.

Vanilla

The aroma of vanilla (which has been considered an aphrodisiac for centuries) is one that will bring men to their knees, according to Dr. Alan Hirsch of Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation.

Well, older men. While younger men were aroused by cinnamon, their more mature counterparts were more aroused by the aroma of vanilla.

“A way to a man’s heart is maybe more through his nose,” said Hirsch, who headed a study exploring which scents led to the biggest arousal levels.

How to use: The Daily Mail recommends adding a vanilla bean to a glass of champagne or other sparkling wine (cava from Spain or prosecco from Italy) to benefit from both ingesting and the aroma of va va va voom vanilla.

Cinnamon

In Hirsch’s study, younger men were more aroused by the scent of cinnamon – cinnamon buns in particular - than vanilla, which comes as no surprise, since cinnamon has long been considered an aphrodisiac because it generates heat within the body when consumed.

Bring on the cinnamon!

CINNAMON ROLL PIE

This pie contains everything that a cinnamon roll has to offer, without all the trouble. Keep the servings small so feelings of fullness don’t disrupt your planned evening of romance.

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar (using vanilla-infused sugar* will amplify the sex appeal of this decadent dish)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (16.3-ounce) package refrigerated biscuits

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a deep-dish pie plate by coating the bottom with two tablespoons of melted butter. Set aside.

Place the remaining melted butter in a small bowl; set aside.

Combine the pecans, sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl, mixing well. Sprinkle one-fourth of the nut mixture on the bottom of the pie plate.

Separate each biscuit into three layers, dipping each layer in the melted butter. Layer eight biscuit pieces over the pecan layer, then repeat pecan layer and biscuit layer two more times.

Top with remaining pecan mixture and drizzle with any leftover melted butter.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown.

Serve warm.

* To make vanilla-infused sugar, cut a vanilla bean in half and place at the bottom of a glass jar or contain. Fill with sugar. Over time, the vanilla will permeate the sugar beautifully, making it perfect for desserts or morning coffee.

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