Bored with your old recipes? Maybe it's time to spice up your cooking. Here are five great healthy suggestions to turn old duds into gourmet delights.

Fennel Seeds: Fennel a plant native of the Mediterranean has a deep aromatic anise flavor. Albeit native to the Mediterranean, the herb has found its way into Middle Eastern, Indian, and North European cooking. This herb is the source of the distinctive taste in Italian sausages. While highly flavorful, the seed is rich in vitamin C, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. As well, it has been found to have a host of medicinal benefits from relieving flatulence, acting as a natural decongestant, and an appetite suppressant. This multifaceted herb would be great in picking up soups, tomatoes sauces, rice, or your classic meatloaf.

Turmeric, a herbaceous plant of the ginger family, has an authentic earthy, mustardy, peppery aroma. The yellow spice is common in Indian cuisine, curries, as well, it's the substance that gives mustard it's yellow hue. Turmeric is rich in managenese and iron as well vitamin B6, dietary fiber, and potassium. The combinatory rich blend of vitamins, minerals, and the compound curcumin have a powerful affects as an anti-inflammatory, on treating irritable bowel syndrome, and on protecting cell damage. As well, studies have shown that it prevents cancer cell growth and lowers cholesterol levels. Turmeric would be a lovely spice to add to eggs, soups, sauces, chicken, fish, beans. Simply, anything you want to add yellow color to, a smidgen of turmeric would suffice. Again I have another soup story. A roommate of mine made some chicken rice soup that simply was not up to par. And the soup was becoming a decorative item in the fridge. Luckily, the soup wasn't beyond ressurrection, a can of chicken broth, curry, turmeric, sauteed onions and celery gave the soup life again. It now had a deep yellow broth and bold rich flavor. The soup was history after that.

Cinnamon I'm sure you've used this spice before. But you may have not known that cinnamon in your kitchen may not be real cinnamon. Most likely it is made from the bark of the cassia tree which has similar properties as the real cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum. True cinnamon grows in Sri Lanka along the Malabar coast while cassia is grown in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. All this time you thought your were eating cinnamon - that's good marketing on part of the agricultural industry. Cassia tends to have slightly bitter and hot overtones compared to the warm, sweet, aromatic true cinnamon. Regardless of which cinnamon you use, they both have a host of health benefits. Studies have shown that cinnamon helps to prevent clotting, maintains blood sugar and improves brain function. Cinnamon is great choice in desserts, on top of breakfast foods such as waffles or yogurt, on non-citrus fruits, and to give your cooking middle-eastern zing a bit goes well with chicken or lamb.

Dill, a green slightly bitter aromatic herb native to Southern Russia, West Africa, and Mediterranean region. Dill is great source vitamins (B12, B11, B6, C, A) and minerals (iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium and cooper). This rich source of vitamins and minerals have been found to maintain healthy bones and protect against free radicals and carcinogens. Dill would be a wonderful addition to potatoes or any other vegetables, or it can be used as a garnish on fish, chicken, salads, vegetables, or eggs. A few months ago, I used dill in some smoked salmon frittatas which gave it a classic light gourmet finish.

Chili peppers, common in Latin, Indian, Thai cuisine, are rich in vitamin A, fiber, and vitamin C. The active ingredient in Chili Pepper's capsaicin gives its pungent taste and intense heat. Chili Peppers have been shown to reduce inflammation, to boost immunity, to prevent ulcers, and burn calories. Chili peppers rather diced or dried would be great in salsas, sauteed vegetables, meat or anything you want to give an extra kick.

Nothing goes better with Rubberbanditz than food.  Spice up your meal- spice up the way your feel.

Milton Gilder