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Friday, 22 January 2021

Will Chicken Soup Really Cure Your Cold?

Jo Lewin, registered nutritionist writes:
"Make no bones about it – chicken soup is the nation’s go-to dish when we’re feeling blue - but is there more to this brothy tonic than its comforting connotations? What do you reach for when your body succumbs to the winter sniffles? A 'State of the Nation' survey revealed the majority of us find sanctuary in the warming goodness of chicken soup – but why are boiled bones so restorative? Please read on and discover how the classic tonic delivers more than just a placebo high…


Prevention is better than cure
It may be worth giving yourself a dose of chicken soup as a preventative measure before the first twinge of a cold appears. A 1998 report from Coping with Allergies and Asthma found that broth may improve the function of cilia (the tiny hairs in our noses) that prevent contagions getting into the body.

Added benefit to support immunity
Other key ingredients in a chicken soup include onions, garlic and additional vegetables that add flavour and a healthy dose of phytonutrients – vital for a well-functioning immune system. They can also help to reduce inflammation in the body, which in turn may help to ease the symptoms of a pesky cold.

Healthy calories
At the first sign of sickness, your body will be working overtime to fight off infection, and this takes energy. Often we don’t feel like eating much when under the weather, but this is where the old adage, 'feed a cold' rings true. Chicken soup is a great source of healthy, easily digested calories, with heaps of added nutritional benefits.

Gut feelings
Keeping our digestive system healthy is especially important when we’re sick so that our bodies are able to absorb all the infection-fighting vitamins and minerals it needs from the food we eat. Glucosamine is one of the main building blocks of our digestive system and is released from bones when they’re cooked down. As your broth cools, a layer of gelatine will congeal on the surface. This combination of gelatine and glucosamine can help protect and heal the lining of the digestive tract.

Reduce symptoms
Chicken is especially rich in a compound called carnosine, and it’s this that studies suggest helps reduce that stuffy, congested feeling in your nose and throat. It’s thought that carnosine minimises inflammation in the upper respiratory tract by stopping the migration of white blood cells. The benefit only lasts for as long as the soup remains in the body – so be sure to make up a big batch!

Anti-inflammatory effects
When cooking bones with joint tissue on them (like necks, knuckles, ribs or the leftover carcass from a roasted chicken) the joint tissue cooks down and dissolves into the broth. The gelatine, glucosamine and chondroitin contained within are released into the broth, absorbed by our bodies and used to repair and rebuild our own connective tissue while reducing inflammation, helping you to get back on your feet faster after a bout of illness.

The nostalgia factor
While the evidence stacks in favour of chicken soup being the ultimate cold remedy, don’t underestimate the power of placebo. If your mum used to tuck you up with a bowl of boiling broth and promised it would make you feel all better, these associations probably still influence how you feel today. The placebo effect is a well-documented phenomenon, relating to the power of the mind over the body – if we expect to get better as a result of a medicinal or natural tonic, we often will feel that we are on the mend. The message? Think positive and eat up!
You’ve read the science, perhaps now it’s time to try some soup!"
Above words taken from Jo's original article which can be read in full with all research links here

"this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider."

Rustic Roast Chicken Soup


Ingredients
Serves Four
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 tbsp. thyme leaves, roughly chopped
300g leftover roast chicken, shredded and skin removed
200g frozen peas
3 tbsp. Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
squeeze lemon juice
Instructions
can be seen here

Other soup recipes you may like
Chicken Soup for the Soul, with some tasty vegetables - see here
Herby chicken and butter bean soup - see here
A Quick Minestrone Soup - see here
A Summer Vegetable Minestrone - see here

should you have a cold, or be feeling 'a little under the weather'
I hope these winter roses may help to cheer you up

Dear reader, you will find a wide variety of articles and recipes within this blog. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Ya gotta larf.



No money in dead people, no money in healthy people, the money is in keeping us alive..... sort of.

Eddie

Bubble and Squeak !

more about guinea pigs here

Perhaps some readers may think I am talking about two guinea pigs named 'Bubble and Squeak' when I'm actually referring to a wonderful dish my dear Mum quite often used to serve up on Mondays ... and we enjoyed it!

Yes, memories and family traditions are important, well they are to me!

"Traditional Bubble and Squeak
Bubble and Squeak is a traditional English dish made from the leftovers of Sunday dinner or Christmas dinner, with the main ingredient being the leftover potatoes and cabbage, though most vegetables can be added such as Broccoli and carrots. It is all mashed together, shallow fried in hot lard, and then traditionally served along with cold meats (also leftover from the Sunday/Christmas roast) and pickles, or sometimes served as part of a cooked breakfast (fry-up). Some people when cooking a roast dinner will even cook extra potatoes and vegetables so that they have enough for their Bubble and Squeak the next day!

The History of Bubble and Squeak
The earliest known recipe of Bubble and Squeak was by Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell in 1806:
"Boil, chop, and fry, with a little butter, pepper, and salt, some cabbage, and lay on it slices of rare done beef, lightly fried" - Maria Eliza Ketelby Rundell.

Bubble and Squeak was very popular during World War II when food was short due to rationing. History suggests that it was around this time of food rationing that Bubble and Squeak went from a beef-based recipe (such as in the recipe by Maria Rundell) to the modern potato based recipe that we all know and love today.

Bubble and Squeak is so called because of the noises it makes whilst frying in the pan, though others have said that the bubble and squeak is the noise your stomach makes after eating it! We'll let you decide.

Bubble and Squeak Recipe
There is no precise recipe for traditional Bubble and Squeak as it was always made from leftovers, which is part of the beauty of it. Here is a very quick take on how to make Bubble and Squeak. The only thing people often say to make sure of is that you use equal quantities of potatoes to vegetables, but there is no golden rule, however the potato is what binds it all together and so having more potato than veg is fine. You can use leftover boiled potatoes or even roast potatoes if you wish.
Mash your leftover potatoes in a bowl.
Finely chop or shred your leftover vegetables and add them to the bowl, mixing them in with the potatoes.
Add a thick slice of butter (or preferably animal fat) to a non-stick frying pan and when it's hot, add the mixture from the bowl, .
Press the mixture down with a spatula and smooth it out slightly. Leave it undisturbed to cook on a moderate heat for five minutes or more until a nice thick brown crust forms, then turn it over and repeat before serving it up.
Use animal fat to reach higher temperatures which is when it starts to 'Bubble and Squeak' plus you'll get a better crust.
For added flavour, cook some streaky bacon in the pan first, then remove it before frying the Bubble and Squeak in the bacon fat, then serve it up with the bacon and whatever else you fancy as part of a good old British fry-up.
You might also like to finely chop an onion and fry it in the bacon fat for a few minutes until soft, before adding the Bubble and Squeak mixture to the pan and mixing it in. Then simply press the mixture down with the spatula and leave to cook and form its crust.
Many people like to form the mixture into patties, and then serve them up with a fried egg on top."
Words taken from article here

Here is a lower carb version of bubble and squeak

Ingredients
Serves 3
2 tbsp. butter
10 oz (approx. 3 cups) cooked mixed low carb vegetables,
eg cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, carrots
2 cups cooked mashed cauliflower 
salt and black pepper
Instructions
1. Shred or finely chop the cooked vegetables.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet/frying pan and add the cauliflower and vegetables. Sauté for 10 minutes, making sure the veggies are thoroughly warmed through.
3. Press the mixture into a large patty and leave alone for a few minutes. Slide the patty onto a plate, then invert it back into the pan to cook the other side.
4. After a few more minutes, slide the cooked bubble and squeak onto a serving plate.
Note
Approximately 7g net carbs per serving, but due to the nature of the recipe with using various leftover vegetables it is impossible to be exact!
See recipe and more details at 'Step Away From The Carbs' site here
Need help with weight/measurement conversion see here

A variety of articles and recipes are within this blog. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Quote of the day.

A new Administration in the US today, will life improve for the average American? While checking out a US political website last night, I read the following regarding the new Government.

"Very similar to advertising “New and Improved”.However, in reality it’s the same crap in a slightly different box that just cost more, and generally less of it."

Pretty much the same here in the UK. We swap one bunch of crooks for the other bunch of crooks. It was ever thus. 

God bless America 

Eddie

Cauliflower Choices : A Healthy Vegetable

Cauliflower is an extremely healthy vegetable that’s a significant source of nutrients, in fact cauliflower contains some of almost every vitamin and mineral that you need. It also contains unique plant compounds that may reduce the risk of several diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Additionally, it’s weight loss friendly and incredibly easy to add to your diet.

It's certainly one of our favourite vegetables and I know many 'low carbers' enjoy it in their menu plans. It seems that cauliflower is having a renaissance. Yes, it can sometimes be a little more expensive, so keep your eyes open for any special offers that your local store or supermarket may have.

Loaded Cauliflower Mash
Ingredients
Serves Four
1½ lbs (650g) cauliflower, cut into florets
2 oz. (55g) butter, room temperature
4 oz. (110g) cream cheese, room temperature
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4 oz. (110g) bacon, chopped
1 cup (4 oz./110g) shredded/grated cheddar cheese
½ oz. (2 1⁄3 tbsp/14g) scallions/spring onions, thinly sliced
½ cup (120ml) sour cream
Instructions
see here


Parmesan Crusted Cauliflower
Ingredients
1 Head of Cauliflower
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Clove Garlic, grated or pressed
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Instructions
see here


Garlic and chilli prawns with cauliflower rice
Ingredients
Serves Two
300g (10oz) cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2.5cm (1in) piece fresh ginger, finely grated
150g (5oz) raw king prawns
5 spring onions, (scallions) sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 courgette, (zucchini) cut into ribbons
50g (2oz) frozen garden peas, defrosted
For the dressing
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh coriander leaves, plus extra to garnish
1 tsp clear honey
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
Instructions
see here

I hope you may try one (or all) of these recipe suggestions soon
If you should need help with weight/measurement conversion, see here

We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Creamy Pork and Wild Mushroom Casserole : A Delicious Dish !


Tender chunks of pork and wild mushrooms with every delicious mouthful in this rich and creamy dish. It could become your perfect dinner!

Ingredients
Serves Four
1 tbsp olive oil
700g pork shoulder steaks, cut into large chunks
3 tbsp plain flour
65g Italian smoked pancetta
2 echalion shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250ml white wine
150g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
250ml chicken stock
1 tbsp freshly picked thyme leaves
100g wild mushrooms
75ml double (heavy) cream

Method
1. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick casserole pan. Season the pork, sprinkle over the flour and toss well to coat. Place ⅓ of the pork in a single layer in the pan and cook until brown on both sides. Remove and repeat with the rest of the pork.
2. Add the pancetta to the pan, cook for 1 min, then add the shallots and garlic, and sauté for 2 mins. Pour in the wine and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, then allow to reduce by half.
3. Return the meat back to the pan along with the chestnut mushrooms, chicken stock and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 15-20 mins. Remove the lid, add the wild mushrooms and cream, and simmer for 5-10 mins or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Season to taste and serve with vegetables of your choice, for example mashed potato or swede and sautéed Savoy cabbage.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Cook as instructed and allow to cool completely. Then transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe container, seal and freeze for up to 1-3 months. To serve, defrost thoroughly in the fridge overnight before reheating. To reheat and serve, place on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the dish is heated through.

Nutrition Per Serving
Carbohydrate 9.7g Protein 41.6g Fibre 1.2g Fat 28g 
From original recipe here

also sharing these snowdrops, one of the January birth flowers

Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe ideas are within this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Monday, 18 January 2021

Have we been washing our towels all wrong – here’s how you should really be cleaning them

Well, you can't say there isn't variety on this blog. Whether it be articles and studies about diabetes and living the low carb lifestyle, to a wide variety of recipe suggestions, and even wildlife photography - there is variety - and they do say 'variety is the spice of life'.

But how about this one?

Have we been washing our towels all wrong? 


"Towel designer and expert Lucy Ackroyd of Christy has revealed some top tips in keeping your towels light, fluffy and practically hotel standard.

The first tip Lucy advises is to wash your towels separately. Sure, it's easy to just put a whole stack of laundry into the machine - but Lucy reveals that this can stop them from becoming lovely and fluffy.

"When washing your towels, never overload the machine. The towels need plenty of room within the drum to breathe and circulate, allowing them to be rinsed and fluffed up properly," she explains.

"If you try to stuff too many in, you'll end up with a clumped together heap, with moisture pockets throughout, leading to scratchy, stiff towels.

"Make sure to wash your towels separately to your other laundry to avoid any colour or fibres transferring onto your beautiful pristine towels."

Another hot tip from Lucy is to avoid silicone-based fabric softeners when putting you towels to wash. Why? Because repeated use of these sorts of softeners can lead to build up, and make your towels less absorbent in the long run - and no-one wants to be left dripping wet after a shower.

And while it may be tempting to boil your towels in a super-hot wash, this could be the very worst thing for them.

"Generally, wash your towels at 40 degrees as any higher can cause them to wear out too quickly," Lucy says.

"However, to remove oils and bacteria that can build up over time, put them through a 60 degree wash occasionally. This routine will allow them to be perfectly hygienic without taking away from their quality and texture."

Once they've been through the washing machine, shaking your towels can genuinely make all the difference to how soft they can be.

Lucy advises a brisk shake before they go into the drum, and a brisk shake after they've done a cycle.

"This will open up the fibres slightly, allowing the detergent to sink inside every pore and make them super clean," she says.

"At the end of the drying cycle, or before hanging them outside if you are line drying, shake the towels a second time. The act of shaking will loosen the fibres of the fabric, making your towels super plush and fluffy."

One golden rule for drying your towels is to always avoid putting it on the radiator. "This will lead to a rough finish, exactly what you are trying to avoid!" 

"Instead, alternate between tumble drying and line drying. The best way to get super fluffy towels is tumble drying immediately after a wash, however overuse can make the fabric wear down over time.

"To combat the effect of the tumble dryer, line dry your towels occasionally. Not only does line drying leave your towels with a fresh natural scent, but the sunlight can also have a bleaching effect which is perfect if you have white towels. "The UV rays can even help kill bacteria!"" ...

Well there you have it!
Who knew there was so much to it?

Out of interest how do you wash your towels, if you have any tips do please share them in the comments.

Above words from article here

Related Post That May Interest You
Wash Day Blues - read it here

After you've done your washing why not reward yourself with a cup of tea (or coffee)
and a Lemon 'Sponge' Cake Bar, they are low carb and sugar free - more details here


A variety of articles and recipes are within this blog. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 17 January 2021

UK study shows you can cut Blood Pressure on a low carb diet


UK study shows you can cut Blood Pressure on a low carb diet by 10 units
"Adapted from Substantial and sustained improvements in blood pressure, weight, and lipid profiles from a carbohydrate restricted diet: an observational study of insulin resistant patients in primary care. David J Unwin. Simon D Tobin et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019 Jul 26;16(15);2680

Hypertension is the second biggest known global risk factor for disease after poor diet. Perhaps lifestyle interventions are underutilised? This study was undertaken in 154 patients with type two diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance in a general practice. This was an observational study that lasted an average of two years.

The average systolic blood pressure reduction was 10.9 mmHg. The mean diastolic reduction was 6.3 mmHg and the mean weight loss was 9.5 Kg. Lipid profiles were markedly improved. Medication was meanwhile reduced by an average of 20%."
Words above taken from The Diabetes Diet Blog here

You can see the original paper "Substantial and Sustained Improvements in Blood Pressure, Weight and Lipid Profiles from a Carbohydrate Restricted Diet: An Observational Study of Insulin Resistant Patients in Primary Care" here


Dear reader, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, music and recipes! However, not all the recipes ideas featured in this blog may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Saturday, 16 January 2021

It's Time For YEAR !

Hello there, this post continues my take on New Year!
This means I give a food take on words.
As we are in the early stages of the New Year these are the two words I have chosen!

Have you seen my take on NEW here

This post is about the letters which make up Y E A R  !

Starting with Y for Yoghurt
Lemon Yoghurt Cheesecake : The Low Carb Way
see details on this post here


Moving on to E for Eggplant (also known as Aubergine)
Eggplant Bruschetta (Baked Aubergine) - Lower Carb and Vegetarian
see details on this post here


Next comes A for Avocado
Sail Away on a delicious Avocado Boat
see details on this post here


Finally it's R for Radish
Salmon, Cucumber and Radish Salad
see details on this post here


Well that's my take on Y E A R
What foods would you have chosen for these four letters?
Do please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe ideas and articles within this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Friday, 15 January 2021

Quote of the day

“The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” – Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

Just about sums up the times we live in. The profoundly abnormal has become normal. Have a nice day.

Eddie

Thursday, 14 January 2021

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away — Is It Fact or Fiction?


Rachael Link MS RD writes:
"You likely know the familiar expression, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
While the phrase was first coined in 1913, it was based on a Pembrokeshire proverb that originated in 1866. In fact, Notes and Queries magazine was the first to publish the original quote; "Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread." Although research shows that eating more apples may not actually be associated with fewer visits to the doctor, adding apples to your diet can help improve several aspects of your health.

This article takes a closer look at whether eating an apple a day can truly help keep the doctor away.


Health benefits
Apples have been associated with a number of benefits that could help promote long-term health.

Highly nutritious. Apples are loaded with important nutrients, including fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Supports heart health. Studies show that eating more apples could be associated with a lower risk of several chronic conditions, including heart disease.

Contains cancer-fighting compounds. Apples contain several compounds that may help prevent cancer formation, including antioxidants and flavonoids

Other health benefits
Apples have also been linked to several other health benefits that could help keep the doctor away:

Support weight loss. Due to their fibre content, apples have been shown to promote feelings of fullness, decrease calorie intake, and increase weight loss.

Improve bone health. Human, animal, and test-tube studies have found that eating a higher amount of fruit could be associated with increased bone mineral density and a lower risk of osteoporosis.

Promote brain function. Animal studies suggest that eating apples could help reduce oxidative stress, prevent mental decline, and slow signs of aging.

Protect against asthma. Studies show that an increased intake of apples may be linked to a lower risk of asthma.

Reduce the risk of diabetes. According to one large review, eating one apple per day was tied to a 28% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared with not eating any apples at all.

SUMMARY
Apples are highly nutritious and have been associated with several health benefits, including improved heart health and a reduced risk of certain types of cancer.

Potential downsides
Eating an apple every day is unlikely to harm your health.

However, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, and eating multiple apples each day may cause several adverse side effects. In particular, rapidly increasing your intake of fibre over a short period of time can cause symptoms like gas, bloating, and stomach pain.

Like other fruits, apples also contain a good chunk of carbs in each serving. While this is not a problem for most people, those following a low carb or ketogenic diet may need to moderate their intake.

SUMMARY
Eating an apple every day is unlikely to negatively affect your health. However, eating excessive amounts of apples every day could contribute to digestive issues.

Other healthy options
Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, apples are an excellent addition to the diet and may offer several health benefits.

However, many fruits and vegetables offer a similar set of nutrients and can be equally beneficial for health.

Plus, incorporating a variety of other fruits and vegetables into your routine can add more flavour and nutritional value to your diet.

Here are a few other fruits and vegetables that you can swap in for apples from time to time:
bananas, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower,
grapefruit, kale, mango, peaches, pears, pineapples,
raspberries, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes"

If you are looking for lower carb fruits and berries, read more about the best and the worst here

If you are looking for lower carb vegetables, read more about the best and the worst here

"SUMMARY
Many fruits and vegetables offer a set of nutrients and health benefits that are similar to those of apples, and they can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

The bottom line
Although eating more apples may not literally be associated with fewer visits to the doctor, apples are rich in nutrients and offer several benefits for disease prevention and long-term health.

In addition to apples, many other fruits and vegetables provide a similar set of nutrients and health benefits.

For best results, enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables as part of a nutritious, well-rounded diet."
Above words taken from Rachael's article, see it in full with all relevant research links here

Some recipes using apples you may like
Baked Apples, low carb - see here
Apple Crumble, the lower carb way - see here
Apple Dump Cake, it's low carb, grain free, gluten free - see here
Pork, celeriac and apple bake - see here
Pork chops with apple, lime and mint butter - see here


We bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Quote of the day.

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F. Kennedy 

Eddie

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Spinach, Sweet Potato and Lentil Dahl : A Winter Classic

"It's the time of year where our bodies are craving nothing more than curling up by the fire with a bowl of soul-warming food that's going to nourish us from the inside out. This dahl could be described as a winter classic,! It's packed with fresh seasonal vegetables and spices to support digestion and immunity, alongside the healthy fats of coconut cream that give you brighter energy, for longer. The best part about this dish is it comes together in half an hour and you can easily double the batch to last a week!" 


Ingredients 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow (brown) onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
½ long red chili, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garam marsala
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 x 14 fl oz (400g) can diced tomatoes
1 medium sweet potato, cut into small even chunks
½ cup red split lentils, soaked overnight
1 cup vegetable stock
½ x 14 fl oz (400mL) can coconut cream
1 cup baby spinach leaves

To serve
¼ bunch cilantro (coriander) leaves
Coconut yogurt

Method
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, wide-base pot or pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili, continuing to sauté for another minute. Then add turmeric, cumin, and garam marsala. Lightly sauté for 2 - 3 minutes or until fragrant.
3. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, sweet potato, lentils, stock, and coconut cream. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked. Stir through baby spinach leaves right at the end.
4. Serve topped with cilantro leaves and a dollop of coconut yogurt.
See original recipe here
Need help with weight/measurement conversion, see here

Did you know - Dahl (also spelled dhal, daal, and dal) is essentially a thick South Asian-inspired lentil stew that is often prepared with ghee or clarified butter. There ​is actually a wide range of dahls made from many different types of lentils and other vegetables called "pulses." Dried and split, they are cooked with various spices, meats, and vegetables. Options include red and yellow lentils, mung beans, lobiya (black-eyed peas), and chickpeas, among others. It's easy to modify a dahl to make it mild or spicy or to create a full dahl-based meal or a side dish.
More to read, including a Spicy Vegan Lentil Dahl here


Dear reader, this blog offers a wide variety of recipe/food ideas, not all may be suitable for YOU. If you may have any food likes / dislikes, allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Monday, 11 January 2021

Quote of the day.

 “So, we must beware of a tyranny of opinion which tries to make only one side of a question the one which may be heard. Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people’s idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage” Winston Churchill

Never more apt than the times we live in now.

Eddie

Let's Take N E W and Year Will Follow !

Hello there, this post is my take on New Year!
This means I give a food take on words.
As we are in the early stages of the New Year these are the two words I have chosen!

So we have N E W  YEAR !

Starting with 'N'

Nutmeg - a winter spice - perhaps an old fashioned spice - conjuring up memories of
warm cosy kitchens, log fires, drawing the curtains, opening a book.
Goes well in a broccoli and stilton soup,
seasoned with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.




Read more about Nutmeg and see the recipe here

Next we have 'E'

Eggs - perhaps one of the few foods that should be classed as 'superfoods' 
as they are loaded with nutrients some of which are rare in the modern diet.
There are so many wonderful recipes that use eggs
here is a breakfast casserole, a tasty vegetarian recipe.




Read more about Eggs and see the recipe here

Continuing with 'W'

Watercress - With deep green leaves, and crisp, paler stems, watercress is related to mustard and is one of the strongest-tasting salad leaves available. It has a pungent, slightly bitter, peppery flavour and is highly nutritious, containing significant amounts of iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and E. 

The recipe I've chosen is
Cod Roasted with watercress sauce and roasted cherry tomatoes




Read more about watercress here and see the recipe here

Well that's my take on N E W
What would you have chosen for these three letters?
Do please share your thoughts in the comments below.

My take on Y E A R coming soon!

Dear reader, you will find a variety of recipe ideas and articles within this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Amazing Wildlife Photographs

Have you got a few minutes to sit down with a cuppa?
To enjoy these photographs, and more!
Perhaps treat yourself to a low carb chocolate chip cookie - find recipe here

"The Moment" By Yongqing Bao

This Himalayan marmot was not long out of hibernation when it was surprised by a mother Tibetan fox with three hungry cubs to feed. With lightning-fast reactions, Yongqing captured the attack – the power of the predator baring her teeth, the terror of her prey, the intensity of life and death written on their faces.

As one of the highest-altitude-dwelling mammals, the Himalayan marmot relies on its thick fur for survival through the extreme cold. In the heart of winter it spends more than six months in an exceptionally deep burrow with the rest of its colony. Marmots usually do not resurface until spring, an opportunity not to be missed by hungry predators.

"Land Of The Eagle" By Audun Rikardsen

Audun carefully positioned this tree branch, hoping it would make a perfect lookout for a golden eagle. He set up a camera trap and occasionally left road-kill carrion nearby. Very gradually, over the next three years, this eagle started to use the branch to survey its coastal realm. Audun captured its power as it came in to land, talons outstretched.

Golden eagles typically fly at around 50 kilometres per hour but can reach speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour when diving for prey. This, along with their sharp talons, makes them formidable hunters. Normally they kill small mammals, birds, reptiles or fish, but they also eat carrion and have been known to target larger animals too.

"Portrait Of A Mother" By Ingo Arndt

When you are eye to eye with a wild puma,’ says Ingo, ‘excitement is guaranteed.’ Tracking these elusive cats on foot meant lugging heavy gear long distances, often in freezing temperatures and unrelenting winds. Mutual respect gradually earned him the trust of a female and her cubs, allowing him to capture this intimate family portrait.

Pumas remain playful throughout their lives. Play-fighting teaches cubs vital survival skills including how to hunt, fight and escape. The cubs will stay with their mother for up to two years before gaining independence. They will live a solitary existence as adults until it is their turn to breed.

Have you a favourite?
These and more can be seen here

Wishing you a happy day
All the best Jan

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Mary Berry's Spanish Tortilla/Omelette - Time For Tortilla Part Two !


Have you seen the post 'time for tortilla part one' here? Well I mentioned that 'time for tortilla part two' would be coming soon ... and here it is!

A lovely recipe suggestion from Mary Berry,  who is one of the best-known and respected cookery writers and broadcasters in the UK. She describes her cooking style as 'family' - practical, healthy recipes that incorporate lots of fresh ingredients. This recipe is so versatile and easy to do and makes a delicious brunch, lunch, picnic or light supper.

To some this is Tortilla to others it is Spanish omelette which is the English name for a traditional dish from Spanish cuisine called tortilla española or tortilla de patatas. (These dishes are unrelated to the maize or wheat tortilla of Mexico and neighbouring countries).
The Spanish tortilla (tortilla de patatas) is widely eaten in Spain and some Spanish-speaking countries, and there are numerous regional variations.

In the US it may be known as a Frittata, some call it a pie!
You can read more on this post here

To make Mary's recipe, here are the ingredients you will need for two
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
½ red pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
225g/8oz peeled potatoes, cut into 1cm/½in slices
4 large free-range eggs
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Here is the method
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small heavy-based frying pan that's about 20cm/8in in diameter. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes.

Add the pepper and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and gently cook over a low heat for about 15–20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the potatoes are cooked through. Transfer to a bowl and wipe the pan clean.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs into the bowl with the cooked mixture.

Add the remaining oil to the pan. Carefully pour in the egg mixture and sprinkle with parsley. Cook on a medium heat until the sides and top have just set and the base is lightly golden-brown. When the middle is set, carefully slide onto a plate.

Put the pan on top of the omelette and flip over to cook the other side for 3–4 minutes, or until golden-brown all over and just cooked through. Slide onto a plate to serve.

This recipe does contain potatoes, so may affect blood sugar levels. If you would like a lower carb alternative to potatoes you will find some suggestions here
Original recipe idea here

You may want to try 'Posh Roasted Vegetables - The Mary Berry Way' see here



A variety of recipe ideas are within this blog, but please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Friday, 8 January 2021

Health Benefits of Cucumbers


Tess Patrick writes:
"When we think of the healthiest green foods, our minds picture kale salads and spirulina smoothies. Only it doesn’t have to be that complicated, the ultimate green food might have been right in front of us all along. Cucumber is one of the most versatile and health-promoting foods to easily bring into any diet and like tomatoes, cucumber is one of those foods used as a vegetable but is technically a fruit. Regardless of it’s botanical classification, it can (and should) still be used as one healthy component of your 5+ a day.

We use cucumbers in everything from tasty pickles, to Greek salads, and even fresh green juices, and this is just one of the reasons we love them. Discover seven favourite health benefits of cucumbers below:

Incredibly Hydrating (96% Water Content)
Some love lemon or lime in their water, but why not try a few slices of cucumber, with some sprigs of mint, it's refreshing! From time-to-time, some of us may have likely been left with unpleasant soggy sandwiches from the water-rich food. It should be no surprise, as they consist of 96% water content, which is used by the body to digest and transport nutrients to exactly where they need to go, as well as being needed for all elements of our health.

Good Source Of Fibre And Promotes Digestion
Dietary fibre is an often neglected requirement in our daily diets. Fibre is needed to regulate bowel movements and promote good digestive health! Without sufficient fibre intake, of soluble, insoluble, and resistant starch, toxins and wastes can remain unmoved in various stages of the digestive tract, which can wreak all kinds of havoc in the body. Often this can lead to inflammation and chronic disease, so providing your body with the fibre it needs to function regularly is needed for thriving health. To add to the bountiful fibre, adequate hydration is also needed to transport wastes through the body, so the high water content also aids in digestion.

Aids In Blood Sugar Control
Insulin resistance and diabetes are many countries most longstanding and pressing health concerns. Increasingly, people are looking to preventative approaches and natural ways to manage any risk factors - including their blood sugar control. In some recent studies, diets rich in cucumber have been shown to reduce and help control blood sugar levels. Others have taken it further and found that cucumber peel extract reverses diabetes-associated changes to health while decreasing blood sugar. These findings may suggest that these health-promoting benefits may be found in the nutrient-rich cucumber skin, so stop peeling those cucumbers and enjoy them as nature intended!

Rich Source Of Vital Micronutrients
A healthy, balanced diet is more about the ‘right’ portion of macros - we need sufficient micronutrient intakes (vitamins and minerals) for our healthiest versions of ourselves. Most fruits and vegetables offer a diverse range of micronutrients. Cucumbers are rich in Vitamins C and K, as well as magnesium, potassium, and manganese (11oz contains 10%, 13%, and 12% of RDI’s respectively)!

Contains Antioxidants For Cellular Health
Antioxidants are a buzzword in the health and wellness space, but what do they actually do? Through environmental toxicity and widespread other day-to-day factors, our body’s cells are subject to oxidization (a chemical reaction that forms highly reactive atoms with unpaired electrons known as free radicals). Antioxidants are compounds, commonly found in plant-based sources, to prevent chronic health concerns arising over time - including cancer, heart, lung, and autoimmune disease. In one 30-day study, results found that the daily consumption of cucumber powder (a higher intake than one would typically consume), increased antioxidant activity within the body.

Low Calorie And May Aid In Weight Loss
When on weight-loss journeys, or calorie-specific diets, individuals at times need to be concerned with caloric intake. For example, for weight loss, one needs to be in a caloric deficit (although this differs from person-to-person and should be done with the advice of a qualified practitioner). The difficulty for many people is that calories also equate to energy, so it’s important to eat low-calorie foods that still have the nutrients to sustain you. Thankfully, cucumber is one of these foods, with 45cal to an 11oz serving. It makes for a great snack with protein-rich dips like hummus to facilitate weight loss.


Easy Addition To Any Diet
The good thing about cucumber is that it is an easy addition to any diet/menu plan. You can dice them up in a wrap or sandwich, pickle them for later, use them as a staple in Greek salads or tzatziki, and as mentioned earlier, why not dice them up and add them to a carafe of water for an extra thirst-quenching drink. That way, you can make sure you’re taking advantage of all of the ‘vegetables’ widely available health-promoting properties."
Words above taken from original article, which can be seen in full with all research links here

Some recipes suggestions which feature cucumber
Pan-fried trout with a cucumber, apple and dill salad - see here
Crab and Chia In Cucumber Cups (with chervil sprigs) - see here
Salmon, Cucumber and Radish Salad - see here
Chicken Souvlaki with tzatziki sauce - see here
Cucumber and Halloumi Bites - see here

stilton bites using cucumber and red peppers - see here

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Thought for today.


"Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." 

Joseph Stalin.

Eddie

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

How to lose weight fast: Five easy evidence-based steps


Franziska Spritzler RD CDE writes:

"Do you want to lose weight as quickly as possible? When it comes to fast weight loss, it’s important to take a healthy approach — one that promotes loss of fat, retention of muscle, and increases your likelihood of keeping the weight off.

What is “fast” weight loss?
Health authorities typically recommend losing about 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 0.9 kilo) per week, and many people seem to lose weight at about this rate.

Therefore, losing any more than 2 pounds (0.9 kilo) per week is considered “fast” weight loss. Yet for many people, that may not sound quick.

While losing 10 pounds (4.5 kilos) in a week may technically be possible for some — especially those who carry a lot of excess weight — it isn’t realistic for most of us.

What about severe calorie restriction?
What if you eat only 500 or 600 calories a day? Although drastically cutting calories can cause rapid weight loss, consuming far less than your body needs can be counterproductive.

Severe calorie restriction can make you feel extremely hungry, deprived, and fatigued. What’s more, it often leads to loss of muscle, or lean mass.

Generally speaking, the more lean mass you have, the more calories your body burns at rest.

Loss of muscle during very-low-calorie dieting can slow down metabolism, making future regain much more likely.

So fast weight loss via severe calorie restriction may not be a good idea for many people.

Fast, healthy, sustainable weight loss
Is it possible to lose weight both rapidly and permanently? Yes, indeed.

Recent research suggests that people who lose weight quickly are just as likely to keep pounds or kilos off as those who lose weight more gradually.

Moreover, preserving lean mass seems to decrease a person’s risk for regain, regardless of how long it takes them to lose the weight.

Therefore, for fast weight loss that’s also healthy and sustainable, aim to lose fat without losing muscle.

In addition, several factors influence how quickly you can lose weight. Women typically lose weight more slowly than men.

And because metabolic rate tends to decline with age, older women may lose at a slower pace than younger men and women — despite putting in just as much effort, if not more.

Are you ready to start losing fat in a healthy way while enjoying delicious, nourishing food that prevents you from feeling hungry or deprived?


Below, you’ll find the simple steps to take to start losing weight quickly.

Five simple steps to fast weight loss

Cut way back on carbs

Eat plenty of protein

Keep fat intake moderate

Go for non-starchy vegetables

Get some exercise, but don’t overdo it

Take-home message
Yes, you can lose weight quickly. However, the rate at which you lose isn’t always within your control. Also, preventing loss of muscle may be key for long-term weight-loss success.

Following these five easy steps can help you lose weight in a healthy way without feeling hungry, at a pace that’s right for your body and sets you up to keep the weight off long term."
The above is a snippet of Franziska's post which you can read in full with all research links here


You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues please take these into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan