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Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Spice It up with Cinnamon, It's Not Just for Desserts: Budget Recipes & the Miraculous Spice for Meats, Fruits, & Vegetables... and for Health

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson

 

Cinnamon Scrolls (also called cinnamon quills or cinnamon sticks)| Photo credit: Charles Haynes, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Cinnamon Scrolls (also called cinnamon quills or cinnamon sticks) | Photo credit: Charles Haynes, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

There is no denying that ground cinnamon is fabulous in desserts, fancy coffee drinks, and baked pastry products. However, to use the spice only for sweet, after-dinner treats is to not take full advantage of its flavor enhancements for meats and vegetables. Not only that, but the medicinal qualities and health properties of cinnamon are noteworthy and have been used for centuries. As well as being much cheaper, safer, and more tasty than medications, cinnamon is often a good, if not better, alternative.

Cinnamon is as close to miraculous as you can get.

Studies have shown that less than 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon eaten per day over 40 days can have startling results in the improvement in blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. A half teaspoon isn't very much. Sprinkling some on hot cereal, combining it with butter or margarine with toast, adding a small amount to simmering vegetables or on apple, peach, or banana slices ... the benefits of cinnamon are remarkable and so little is required to help control type-2 diabetes, lower cholesterol, and fight infections.

Another study conducted by researchers at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service found that a substance in cinnamon called MHCP makes fat cells more responsive to the body's insulin, aiding in glucose (sugar) metabolism. Based on these results, many dietitians are now encouraging the eating of cinnamon to help in weight loss.

Because of its antioxidant qualities, research is being conducted using cinnamon in battling human cancers.

Word of caution: someone who is diabetic should not stop taking his or her medication without doctor's approval. While cinnamon will help in controlling type-2 diabetes, and eating it as described will likely mean that a smaller medication dosage will be necessary (perhaps even NO medication), do not ever stop taking the medication without consulting with your physician first.

Cinnamon has also been used for centuries to soothe indigestion, control bad breath, alleviate coughing, headaches, and toothaches, and preserve foods — it's lethal against nasty, food-borne bacteria such as E. coli. Cinnamon is also a great source of fiber, manganese, iron, and calcium. Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known — it is mentioned in the Bible and was used in ancient Egypt as a beverage flavoring, a medicine, and an embalming agent. In China, cinnamon was first mentioned for its therapeutic qualities in one of the earliest books on Chinese botanical medicine, dated around 2,700 B.C.

Cinnamon was once considered more precious than gold. And, it tastes sooo good, too.

In this video, clinical nutritionist Alexis Beck shared with Diet.com Video Host Sarah the secret health benefits behind cinnamon for diabetes.

 

Beyond warm cinnamon rolls and cookies, there are many other ways to use cinnamon frugally at the breakfast, lunch, and dinner tables (although, I lack all self control when it comes to cinnamon rolls straight from the oven!).

Here are a variety of thrifty, creative recipes for you to use to prepare dishes using the "miracle" spice, cinnamon.

 


Cinnamon Recipe Directory

Cinnamon-Glazed Roast Beef


Nutella Pots de Crème
Cinnamon Swirls (video demo) Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Kofta Curry Stuffed Tomatoes, Middle Eastern Style
Cincinnati-Style Chili Retro Bread Pudding
Lavender Rice Pudding Greek Seasoning Spice Mix
Cinnamon-Glazed Baby Carrots Sweet Potato Custard
Beef Stew with Cinnamon Stir-Fried Spaghetti
Hot Spiced Cider Apple Custard
Cinnamon Espresso Churros (video demo) German Beer Coffee Cake
Baked Pork Chops With Apple Cranberry Sauce Edamame Stew
Cinnamon Parsnip Soup Sautéd Chickpeas with Cinnamon


Cinnamon-Glazed Roast Beef
Recipe originally posted here at Frugal Café Blog Zone.

Cinnamon Glazed Roast Beef | Photo credit: Delairen, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Cinnamon Glazed Roast Beef | Photo credit: Delairen, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

Cinnamon glaze on a roast beef? Sounds exotic, and strangely delicious. Cooking the roast at 500 degrees F seems high, but I'm guessing that may be necessary to produce an exterior crunchiness.

Photographer/cook Delairen provided this unusual recipe from her fun and sassy food blog, Delementals — she describes the finished roast as "a little spicy, a little sweet, and a whole lotta beefy flavor":

 

 

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, catsup, roasted garlic, cinnamon, salt, horseradish, and cayenne pepper.

Coat the the roast completely with brown sugar mixture and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour while roast comes up to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast.

Place the roast on the roasting rack over a drip pan and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Turn off oven and allow the roast to continue baking in the residual heat until its internal temperature reaches 130°F.

Remove from oven and allow to rest before slicing.

Serves 4 - 6.

 

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Cinnamon Swirls

Video summary from YouTube contributor llam89:

This recipe came directly from the Kitchen Princess Manga, so it likely caters more towards Japanese taste buds.

 

 

Combine sifted flour, yeast, and pinch of salt into a bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Microwave milk for 20 seconds, then pour over the dry ingredients and add the egg yolk.

Stir the ingredients well into a dough then knead it on a floured surface for 10 min. Form into a ball.

Place the dough in a bowl and cover it. Let it ferment for 50 min in a warm place.

Once the dough has expanded, roll the dough into a flattened rectangle.

Sprinkle the top with sugar and cinnamon all over. Carefully roll the dough into a log, seal the edge and slice them into 1 inches wide.

Place the cinnamon swirls on a cookie tray and ferment again for an additional 15 min.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the cinnamon swirls for 15 minutes, be careful not to burn them.

Remove from oven and serve!

The how-to video for the recipe above is no longer available on YouTube. I've located these two cooking demo videos for homemade cinnamon buns as alternatives.

How to Make Cinnamon Buns

 

How to Make Homemade Cinnamon Buns

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Kofta Curry
Recipe originally posted at Cooks United.

 

 

Mix together meat, half of the onion, garlic, ginger, chili, coriander, and egg. Mix in a bowl and then shape into 16 balls with dampened hands.

Fry meatballs in batches until browned; drain and set aside.

Place the remaining onion in the pan, add the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring continously. Add milk and tomato purée and bring to a boil. Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in yogurt and heat through, but do not boil.

Serve with rice.

 

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Cincinnati-Style Chili

Description and recipe from the About.com Homecooking website:

This beef chili is a favorite in Cincinnati, served with spaghetti, Cheddar cheese, beans, and onions as traditional accompaniments.

 

 

In a large heavy kettle, cook the onions and the garlic in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the onions are softened. Add the ground beef, and cook the mixture, stirring and breaking up the lumps, until the beef is no longer pink.

Add the chili powder, the paprika, the cumin, the coriander, the allspice, the oregano, the cayenne, the cinnamon, the cloves, and the mace and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the bay leaf, the water, the tomato sauce, the vinegar, and the molasses and simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary to keep the beef barely covered, for 2 hours, or until it is thickened but soupy enough to be ladled. Discard the bay leaf and season the chili with salt and pepper.

The chili may be frozen or made 4 days in advance, cooled, uncovered, and kept covered and chilled. Serve the chili as is or in the traditional Cincinnati "five-way" style: Ladle the chili over the spaghetti and top it with the beans, the onion, the Cheddar, and the oyster crackers.

Yield: 6 servings (about 8 cups)

Original source: Best of Gourmet 1993.

 

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Lavender Rice Pudding

Lavender Rice Pudding | Photo credit: Posixeleni, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

Lavender Rice Pudding | Photo credit: Posixeleni, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Recipe originally posted here on Frugal Café Blog Zone.

Homemade rice pudding is filling and nourishing. It's a thrifty way to use up leftover pre-cooked rice (but can be made with uncooked rice — follow package instructions, simmering covered for at least 20 minutes if using uncooked rice) or to create a healthful dessert. Long before desserts were mass-produced and sold in grocery stores, rice pudding with many different flavorings was made in millions of kitchens on several continents.

A quick description from photographer/cook Posixeleni on how she made the lavender rice pudding shown in the photo:

Heat up some milk, rice, lavender blossoms, cinnamon stick, orange peel, and an opened vanilla bean in a pot. Then throw in some custard (powder) when the rice is fully cooked.

 

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Cinnamon-Glazed Baby Carrots
Recipe originally posted on the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website, under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

 

Super easy recipe — kids who don't typically like eating cooked carrots may love these.

 

Place the carrots in a small saucepan. Add just enough water to barely cover the carrots. Cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 7–8 minutes, just until the carrots are easily pierced with a sharp knife.

While the carrots are cooking, combine margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan, and melt together over low heat (or put in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for a few seconds on high power, until margarine is mostly melted). Stir well to combine ingredients.

Drain carrots, leaving them in the saucepan. Pour cinnamon mixture over carrots. Cook and stir over medium heat for 2–3 minutes, just until carrots are thoroughly coated and the glaze thickens slightly. Serve warm.

 

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Beef Stew with Cinnamon
Recipe originally posted at 123Recipes.com.

 

 

Put the oil in a skillet or flameproof casserole with a lid and place over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, seasoning it with salt and pepper as it cooks and turning it only when each side is browned. (The meat can also be browned in the oven) As the meat browns, remove each piece with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Pour or spoon off most of the fat and brown the chopped onion lightly over medium heat. Remove and add to the meat. Add the pearl onions and brown them quickly; remove them and set aside separately.

Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 seconds. Return the meat and chopped onion along with the red wine, stock, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, tomato paste, and additional salt and pepper. Cover tightly and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers gently. Cook for about an hour, or until the meat is fairly tender.

Add the vinegar and pearl onions and continue to simmer until the meat is very tender, roughly 30 minutes more. (You can prepare the dish to this point in advance and let sit for a few hours or cover and refrigerate for up to a day before reheating, adding a little water if necessary.)

 

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Hot Spiced Cider
Recipe originally published in The Cookin' Cheap Cookbook.

Hot Spiced Cider | Photo credit: dktrpepr, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

Hot Spiced Cider | Photo credit: dktrpepr, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

 

 

Combine all ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Cool and refrigerate covered several hours. Just before serving, reheat slowly. Strain to remove spices. Serve hot, in mugs or punch cups.

Serves 8.

 

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Cinnamon Espresso Churros

In the video demo below, Food Network's culinary-talented Giada De Laurentiis shows on her food show, Giada at Home, how to create this popular ethnic dessert with a slight twist... Cinnamon Espresso Churros.

 

Cinnamon Espresso Churros - Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis

 

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Baked Pork Chops With Apple Cranberry Sauce
Recipe originally posted on the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website, under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

 

For pork chops:

 

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Season pork chops with pepper and orange zest.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pork chops, and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn over and brown the second side, an additional 2 minutes. Remove pork chops from the pan, place them on a nonstick baking sheet, and put in the oven to cook for an additional 10 minutes (to a minimum internal temperature of 160 °F).

Add chicken broth to the sauté pan and stir to loosen the flavorful brown bits. Set aside for later.

Meanwhile, place grated apples, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the apples begin to soften.

Add cranberries, orange juice, and saved broth with flavorful brown bits. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a gentle simmer. Simmer for up to 10 minutes, or until the cranberries are plump and the apples are tender. Remove the cinnamon stick.

Peel the orange used for the zest, and cut it into eight sections for garnish.

Serve one pork chop with ¼ cup of sauce and two orange segments.

Serves 4.

 

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Cinnamon Parsnip Soup
Original recipe posted at Quality Health.

 

 

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Sauté onion about 5 minutes, stirring often, until onion is tender. Add next 3 ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until parsnips are very tender. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and process, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return to saucepan.

Stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Heat until steaming. Do not boil.

Serves 6.

 

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Nutella Pots de Crème

Nutella Pots de Crème | Photo credit: Cinnamon Girl, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Nutella Pots de Crème | Photo credit: Cinnamon Girl, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Recipe originally here posted at Frugal Café Blog Zone.

Photographer/cook Cinnamon Girl's wonderful food blog Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice has all sorts of yummy recipes, including this easy dessert one: Nutella Pots de Crème Recipe (by Reeni)

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place six 4-ounce ramekins into a large baking dish without the sides touching.

In a large heat-proof mixing bowl, whisk yolks, sugar, and cinnamon together.

In a small saucepan, heat half & half, Nutella, and chocolate together on low heat until melted, whisk well. Add a few tablespoons into egg mixture and whisk well to temper. Slowly pour the rest in whisking the entire time.

Divide evenly among ramekins, place in oven and fill the pan halfway with hot water (not boiling). Bake for 40 minutes until custard is set in the middle. Cool on wire racks and chill well before serving.

 

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Muffins | Photo credit: norwichnuts, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Apple Cinnamon Muffins | Photo credit: norwichnuts, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Recipe for these quick, simple apple cinnamon muffins were also provided by photographer/cook norwichnuts and was previously posted here at Frugal Café Blog Zone.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin.

Mix all the ingredients together then fold in the apples last.

Fill muffin tins and bake 15 minutes or so until browned.

Makes 12.

 

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Stuffed Tomatoes, Middle Eastern Style

I found this stuffed tomato recipe in Jeff Smith's wonderful 1984 cookbook The Frugal Gourmet. He wrote, "The Middle Eastern chefs are so clever with vegetables and spices. We rarely think of spicing up vegetables with cinnamon and allspice. In this dish, you find a refreshing surprise."

Smith also pointed out in his book that because cinnamon is so dense a spice, it's difficult to grind into a powder, and he recommended buying it already ground.

 

 

Cook the rice and set aside.

Brown the hamburger along with the onion. Allow to cool.

Core the tomatoes so that they can be stuffed. Use a very sharp knife, and cut a circle about 2 inches in diameter around the stem point. With a spoon, remove the center pulp (save pulp for soup).

Mix the hamburger and onions with the cinnamon, allspice, salt, pepper, and rice. Fill each of the tomato cups with the filling, leaving a bit on the top. Do not pack down. Bake at 350 deg F. for 15 to 20 min.

Serves 6.

 

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Retro Bread Pudding
Recipe previously posted here at Frugal Café Blog Zone.

Retro Bread Pudding | Photo credit: Mr. Ducke, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Retro Bread Pudding | Photo credit: Mr. Ducke, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Homemade bread pudding has been a favorite cheap dessert for centuries, especially during economic hard times — it's only now coming back into favor in America. A variety of bread puddings have been eaten in Europe and Asia since the 12th century. It's still popular in many countries and the southern US.

Bread pudding is a frugal treat using stale or left-over bread, which is combined with egg, sugar, milk, a bit of fat or butter, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or vanilla. Dried fruit, like raisins or sultanas, are often added. A delicious dessert that is the hallmark of frugality. Photographer and cook Mr. Ducke provided his super-simple recipe for Retro Bread Pudding, which he found in a 50-year-old local cookbook, as he describes here:

Bread Pudding following a recipe from "Cooking Gems from the Jewelry City," a 1952 book of local recipes. It was excellent!

 

Cook in double boiler for 45 minutes.

(Alternatively, bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F)

Original recipe - Gladys Gilbert.

 

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Greek Seasoning Spice Mix
Recipe originally from Cooks United.

For a flavorful, multi-purpose spice mix with a Greek flare, don't pop for a pricey, premade bottle of mixed spices when you can make your own mix for so much less. This Greek seasoning spice mix goes well on all types of meats, rice dishes, pasta, vegetables (especially tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant), or salads. A little goes a long way, so experiment with how much of this mix your family likes.

 

 

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Serve with red meat, pork, poultry, or fish.

 

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Sweet Potato Custard
Recipe originally posted on the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website, under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Sweet potatoes — super-rich in essential vitamins — and bananas combine to make this flavorful, lowfat custard.

 

 

As needed, use nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together mashed sweet potato and banana. Add milk, blending well.

Add brown sugar, egg yolks, and salt, mixing thoroughly.

Spray 1-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer sweet potato/banana mixture to casserole dish.

Combine raisins, sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle over top of sweet potato mixture.

Bake in preheated 325° F oven for 40–45 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Makes 6 servings.

 

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Stir-Fried Spaghetti
Recipe originally from Cooks.com.

An unusual Asian twist on spaghetti.

 

To make the spaghetti:

To make the marinade:

 

Boil spaghetti until done. Drain and run spaghetti under cold tap water. Drain and set aside.

Slice chicken meat thinly and then into 2-inch strips. Place chicken in marinade.

Slice mushrooms, red pepper, onion, and green onions into 2" strips. Heat some cooking oil in a wok or Dutch oven. Stir-fry cooking onions until fragrant.

Add in the marinated chicken meat and stir-fry for another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the rest of the vegetable ingredients and cook for a couple of minutes. Season to taste. Finally, add the cooked spaghetti and stir-fry for several minutes, mixing well.

 

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Apple Custard
Recipe originally published in The Cookin' Cheap Cookbook.

 

 

Peel, core, and slice apples.

Grease 1-quart casserole dish with margarine. Add apples.

Beat milk and eggs. Add sugar and cinnamon. Pour mixture over apples. Bake in a 350-degree F oven until custard is set, about 45 minutes.

Serves 4.

 

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German Beer Coffee Cake

Original sources: About.com Home Cooking, German Beer Coffee Cake Recipe, and Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking by Charlotte Turgeon (Crown Publishing).

Filled with walnuts and dates, this spicy coffee cake gets its leavening from beer.

 

Combine brown sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. Cream until smooth and well-blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift cinnamon, allspice, cloves, flour, baking soda, and salt together. Dust walnuts and dates with a small amount of this mixture.

Add remaining flour mixture alternately with beer to creamed mixture, blending well after each addition. Stir in walnuts and dates. Spoon batter into large, well-buttered and floured tube or Bundt pan.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1-1/4 hours or until cake tester comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes, invert onto a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and place on a serving plate.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

 

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Edamame Stew
Recipe originally posted on the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute website, under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and from Deliciously Healthy Dinners.

This spicy, hearty stew can be frozen for later use.

 

 

Place frozen edamame in a deep saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

While soybeans cook, chop tomatoes, zucchini, and onion.

In a large nonstick sauté pan, cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper, and allspice (or cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice). Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.

Add garlic. Cook and stir for 1 minute.

Stir in the drained edamame, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, and salt.

Cover. Simmer until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in lemon juice and oregano. Serve immediately.

Serve over brown rice for a complete meal.

Serves 4-6.

 

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Sautéd Chickpeas with Cinnamon
Original recipe posted at Quality Health.

Heat olive oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté cinnamon sticks 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in drained chickpeas and sauté about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned and crisp. Transfer chickpeas to a bowl.

Add remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Toss.

Serves 4.

 

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Additional Sources:
Duke, James A., The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods, Rodale, Inc., 2008.
Johnson, Laban, and Bly, Larry, The Cookin' Cheap Cookbook, Taylor Publishing Co., Dallas, TX, 1988.
Smith, Jeff, The Frugal Gourmet, William and Morrow Co., Inc., 1984.
Mancini-Filho J, Van-Koiij A, Mancini DA, Cozzolino FF, Torres RP (December 1998). "Antioxidant activity of cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, Breyne) extracts". Boll Chim Farm 137 (11): 443–7. PMID 10077878 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10077878).
WHFoods.com, Cinnamon (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=68).
Wikipedia, "Cinnamon" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnamon).
Wondrak GT, Villeneuve NF, Lamore SD, Bause AS, Jiang T, Zhang DD (May 2010). "The Cinnamon-Derived Dietary Factor Cinnamic Aldehyde Activates the Nrf2-Dependent Antioxidant Response in Human Epithelial Colon Cells". Molecules 15 (5): 3338–55. doi:10.3390/molecules15053338. PMID 20657484 (http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/15/5/3338/)