Total Pageviews

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Summer carrot, tarragon and white bean soup : Vegan : Vegetarian : Gluten Free

Today started with some lovely sunshine but as the day went on it became quite cloudy ... first it was rain, then some hail and then snow! Excited telephone calls were shared with two of our grandchildren as they were hoping the snow would settle and they could build a snowman - even a small one would be good Grandma, I was told. The excitement was wonderful to share, I could hear it coming down the telephone line! Alas the snow didn't last long enough so 'Snowy the Snowman' will have to wait a while longer to appear in their garden...


But seeing snowflakes falling, my thoughts turned to soup. Yum, I thought! So I am sharing this satisfying, vegan/vegetarian soup which uses three tasty vegetables. It's also suitable for freezing so you could choose to make a few meals out of it!


Ingredients
Serves Four
1 tbsp (rapeseed) oil
2 large leeks, well washed, halved lengthways and finely sliced
700g carrots, chopped
1.4l hot reduced-salt vegetable bouillon*
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 x 400g cans cannellini beans in water
⅔ small pack tarragon, leaves roughly chopped
Method
1. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large pan and fry the leeks and carrots for 5 minutes to soften.
2. Pour over the stock, stir in the garlic, the beans with their liquid, and three-quarters of the tarragon, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the veg is just tender. Stir in the remaining tarragon before serving
Nutrition Per Serving
Fat 6g Carbs 38g Fibre 13g Protein 11g
Original recipe here
Tips
Vegans check the ingredients of the bouillon*
Don't leave out the tarragon. It's a great flavouring for the soup.

You may also be interested in these recipes
Vegetable Stew - see here
Cheezy Vegan Broccoli Soup - see here
Focaccia Bread, low carb and gluten fee - see 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

Saturday, 10 April 2021

'Birdsong Makes You Feel Good In Nature'

Are Birds the Reason You Feel Good in Nature?
There have been many studies that show being in nature is good for your health. Walking in the woods boosts your well-being. Living near trees can help you live longer.  Being around water can improve your mood.

But when you go for a walk in the woods, what is it particularly about being in nature or being outdoors that makes you feel good? Is it the sights or smells or sounds? A new study finds it might have something to do with the birds you hear while you stroll.

Researchers from California Polytechnic State University analysed how much the natural sounds people hear when their outdoors affect well-being. They found that the “phantom chorus” of birds singing increased well-being in protected natural areas. The study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

For the study, researchers placed 10 hidden, evenly spaced speakers on two sections of trails in the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks in Colorado. They played recorded songs from 11 species of birds including American robins, house finches, and black-capped chickadees.

The speakers were placed in realistic microhabitats for each species in order to be authentic. For example, the speaker broadcasting the song of the spotted towhee was placed near the ground in shrubs where the bird is most often found.

The researchers alternated playing the birdsong for a few hours a day for a week, and then turned off the speakers for a week at a time. They interviewed hikers after they passed through the sections with the speakers.

“The main result is that hikers that heard the birdsong responded to questions that indicated a higher current level of well-being relative to those that did not hear the birdsong,” Cal Poly biology Professor Clinton Francis, who led the research, tells Treehugger.

Hikers who heard more birdsong on the first part of the trail said they felt better. Those who heard more birdsong on the second section reported that they thought more birds lived along that part of the trail. Researchers discovered that this perception of more birds contributed to making the hikers feel better.

“With the phantom chorus, we were able to demonstrate that natural sounds have a measurable effect on the quality of hikers' experiences on the trail. That is, hearing nature seems to be important,” says Francis, who is spending the 2020-2021 academic year as the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen, Germany.

“While the bigger picture of nature's restorative properties is likely to be more complex and involve multiple sensory modalities, our study is the first to experimentally manipulate a single one (sound) in the field and demonstrate its importance to human experiences in nature,” Francis says. “Furthermore, our results underscore the need for park managers to reduce anthropogenic noise pollution, which is not only a cost-effective way to improve visitors' experiences, but can also benefit wildlife as well.”

Spotted towhees were recorded for the study's bird chorus : credit M Schmitz

How Nature Benefits People
Francis points out that the findings can be used in several ways to increase human well-being and the conservation of nature.

“I believe that conservation and biodiversity preservation can improve by demonstrating how nature benefits people. The psychological ecosystem services that nature provides is an important way that people benefit from nature,” he says.

“So far, understanding these benefits has been harder because it is difficult to put a dollar amount on psychological ecosystem services compared to ecosystem services like percent carbon sequestered or boosts to fruit tree pollination. Finally, it is also important for individuals to hear how nature experiences can improve their own lives — carving out time each week to be in nature can have a strong and positive influence on people’s outlook on life.”

Words above from original article which can be seen in full with all relevant links here
h/t Marks Daily Apple here

Find out more about the UK birds song here

Out earlier, I spotted a friendly robin, have you seen or heard any birds recently?

All the best Jan 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Coconut Cream With Berries : Dairy Free and Low Carb


If you are looking for a dairy free yogurt or perhaps a quick and easy low-carb dessert then look no further! This delicious recipe could be just what you want.

I know many like to start their day with a yogurt in the morning, or indeed perhaps enjoy one at lunch-time. Now if you are 'dairy free' you can still enjoy 'yogurt' just try one of these three versions. 

Combine coconut cream with one of these three low carb fruits ... strawberries, raspberries or blueberries - so take your pick, which one is your favourite? This does make a great dessert choice too!

Ingredients
Serves One
120 ml / ½ cup
 coconut cream
(coconut cream which contains 35% fat was used)
55 g / 2 oz. fresh strawberries or raspberries or blueberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
Mix all ingredients using an immersion blender.
(You can also add a spoonful of coconut oil to increase the fat ratio if required)
You can see this Fanny Lindkvist recipe, and more, on Diet Doctor site here

Coconut cream is very similar to coconut milk but contains less water. The difference is mainly consistency. It has a thicker, more paste-like consistency, while coconut milk is generally a liquid. Coconut cream is used as an ingredient in cooking, having a mild non-sweet taste. Coconut cream is available canned from Asian and Caribbean stores and larger supermarkets.

Some other posts that may be of interest
Non-Dairy Substitutes for Milk - see here
Chocolate Pudding, Dairy Free and Low Carb - see here
Individual Fish Pies, Low Carb, Dairy Free and Tasty - see here
Baked Aubergine / Eggplant Bruschetta, Lower Carb and Vegetarian - see here
Roasted Aubergine/Eggplant, Vegetable & Chickpea Curry, Dairy Free & Vegetarian - see here

sharing a spring-time shrub, a wonderful colour, Chaenomeles, image from 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

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Fennel, makes a nice addition to a recipe

Fennel is from the same family as the herb and seed of the same name, it's also known as Florence fennel, finocchio, or sweet fennel, and is very popular in Italian cookery. When eaten raw, the texture is crisp and the flavour is quite assertive and aniseedy. Cooked, it's softer and more mellow. Fennel has a white bulb with edible, feathery green fronds and a distinctive aniseed taste. If you find the flavour of raw fennel a little intense, try cooking it – heat mellows the taste and it becomes soft and caramelised.

Chicken and Fennel Ragout - With Crispy Lemon and Herb Potatoes


Make the most of fragrant fennel in this traditional French ragout. Frying succulent chicken thighs until golden, cooking slowly in a white wine and fennel broth and finishing off with soft cheese and dill, gives a hearty chicken stew that's packed with fresh spring flavour.

Ingredients
Serves Four
750g (1 1/2lb) new potatoes, larger ones halved
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 lemon, zested and juiced
6 large skinless and boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
2 tbsp plain flour
2 large fennel bulbs, thickly sliced, fronds reserved
175ml (6fl oz) white wine
300ml chicken stock
75g light soft cheese
handful fresh dill, chopped
Nutrition
Per Serving: Carbohydrate 40.8g Protein 35.2g Fibre 3.4g Fat 27g
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C. In a roasting tin, toss the potatoes with 1 tbsp of oil, the fennel seeds and the lemon zest. Season well. Roast for 40 minutes, shaking the tin halfway through.
2. Dust the chicken using half the flour; season well. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a cast-iron casserole dish or a large, lidded frying pan over a medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on both sides until golden, then transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan, then fry the fennel for 5 minutes.
3. Scatter the remaining flour over the fennel and toss to coat. Stir in the wine and stock, scraping up any meaty bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the chicken and any juices to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and turn off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and soft cheese with a little more seasoning. Scatter over the dill and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
5. Shred the chicken using two forks, then scatter over the fennel fronds. Serve with the roasted potatoes.
From idea seen here

Cod Parcels Steamed - With Fennel and Herbs


Serve up this pretty parcel of flaky cod, sweet fennel and fresh herbs. Whoever opens it is in for a delicious experience. Yum!

Ingredients
Serves Four
1 tbsp olive oil
2 echalion shallots, finely sliced
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
125ml (4fl oz) white wine
4 x 125g (4oz) pieces cod loin, if you don't have cod, try using another white fish 
1 lemon, half cut into 4 slices (keep the other half for squeezing over the peas)
4 stalks lemon thyme
350g (12oz) frozen peas
large handful fresh mint leaves, chopped
Optional - new potatoes, to serve
Nutrition
Per Serving: Carbohydrate 10.3g Protein 25.4g Fibre 5.8g Fat 4.5g
Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200ºC, fan 180ºC. Tear off 4 x 40cm (16in) long pieces of non-stick baking paper for your parcels.
2. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat and cook the shallots, fennel and garlic for 10 minutes, or until softened and golden. Add the wine to the pan and bubble for a minute. Remove from the heat and divide the shallot mixture between the parcels, top each with a piece of fish, scatter over a little salt and pepper then top with a slice of lemon and a sprig of lemon thyme. Spoon over the wine sauce. Scrunch up the edges of the baking paper to seal into a parcel. Put the parcels on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the frozen peas. Cook for a couple of minutes, then drain. Put in a bowl, add the mint and a squeeze of lemon, then crush lightly and season.
4. Place the parcels on 4 plates to be opened at the table, and serve with the minted peas.
Optional - may also be served with new potatoes.
From idea seen here

Fennel it's fabulous, more to read here

As regular readers know, this blog brings a variety of recipe ideas, and it is always important to note, that 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, and if you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, then test is best, i.e. use your meter.

Many diabetics, and those who live the LCHF or Keto lifestyle, do not include potatoes in their menu plans and these recipe suggestions do include them. Always remember that recipes can be amended slightly to suit your needs and adjust the carbs or nutrition requirements accordingly. If you would like a lower carb alternative to potatoes you will find some suggestions here

Bon Appetit

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

I hear you knocking - but you can't come in !

From time to time we post something completely different, and this story is a little different! What would you do if a swan kept knocking on your front door?


"Stephen Legg isn't sure if the swan that knocks on his door all day really likes him or really hates him.

"I don't know. I'm not sure if swans are personal like that," the 70-year-old Northampton, England, resident said.

"It lives in a lake which is adjacent to the property, and at this time of year, it seems to come and spend the whole of its day tapping on my front door."

The swan in question has been terrorizing the neighbourhood with its persistent door-knocking over the last five years, residents say.

"People call it Percy and Cedric and almost everything else, and I've got a variety of names for it," Legg said. 

Percy a.k.a. Cedric seems to have taken a particular liking to Legg's home. It opens and closes the mail slot door like a door-knocker.

"Originally we thought he was trying to sort of pick insects off the glass pane, but I think now he just likes the noise," Legg said. "He can do four or five hours in one go if he's having an off day…. I find it a bit irritating after a couple of hours."

The feathered fiend raps on the door almost every day between March and June, Legg said.

"He doesn't do it all the time because his girlfriend is lurking around as well. And so they disappear and have a swim around the lake, and then he comes back and there's another 10 minutes of knocking on the door."

One year, Legg says he put up a plastic bag to ward off the noisy neighbour, and the bird concentrated its efforts on a nearby house instead.

"But the trouble was, of course, the postman and the newspaper boy couldn't deliver things. So I didn't have any post for three months."

For years, Legg and his neighbours have endured Cedric's antics with little fanfare — until Northampton resident Wendy Howard posted a video of the bird's shenanigans on Facebook, and the story took off.

Now Legg is fielding calls from journalists around the world interested in Cedric.

"It just seems completely remarkable in this day and age that people should be interested in this old swan," he said."

Please see story and video by CBC/Radio-Canada here

On a personal note although I enjoy seeing birds/swans I don't think I would want my door being continually knocked by one, would you?

All the best Jan 

Monday, 5 April 2021

Peanut Butter Fat Bombs : Keto : Low Carb


These keto/low carb peanut butter fat bombs use five simple ingredients and couldn’t be easier to make. Topped with a delicious chocolate ganache, they are the perfect decadent keto/low carb snack.

Fat bombs are super easy to make, but their low-carb, high-fat content is also great for avoiding a blood sugar spike.

Keto/low carb fat bombs are made from a high-fat base such as nut butter, coconut oil, avocados, or cream cheese. Then, you add tasty low-carb goodies to go with the flavour. This is usually ingredients like sugar-free chocolate for a sweet fat bomb or bacon for a savoury fat bomb.

The high-fat base in this recipe is made from a combination of peanut butter and and coconut oil for a rich, creamy texture. Topped with a bit of chocolate ganache, it becomes a decadent treat that’s perfect for an on-the-go snack or when you need to satisfy your sweet tooth!

These peanut butter and chocolate fat bombs make snacking on a low carb or keto diet easy and stress-free.

These tasty bites pack a powerful amount of energy! Make them ahead of time and store them in the fridge for a ready-to-go, delicious snack.

Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
3/4 cup peanut butter (no added salt and sugar)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 – 4 drops liquid stevia

Chocolate Ganache
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
6 tbsp. coconut oil
1 – 2 drops liquid stevia

Method
1: In a small bowl, mix together the coconut oil, peanut butter, salt, vanilla extract, and liquid stevia (or another no-calorie sweetener). Whisk until smooth and creamy.
2: Line a 6-muffin tray with muffin paper cups. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the peanut butter mixture into each cup.
3: Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight, to set.
4: While the peanut butter layer is chilling, whisk together the ganache ingredients until silky smooth.
5: Spoon about 1 tablespoon of chocolate ganache on top of each fat bomb.
6: Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes
Now you have delicious chocolate and peanut butter cups to enjoy throughout the week! Be sure to store them in the refrigerator.

This recipe is for 12 fat bombs. The size of each one will depend on what size muffin tray or chocolate mold you use.

The peanut butter can be substituted for any other nut butter at a 1:1 ratio.

To add more flavour, try adding 1-2 drops of an edible essential oil like peppermint or orange.

These fat bombs should be kept in the refrigerator; they will melt at room temperature.

They can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Nutrition
Carbs: 3g Protein: 4g Fat: 24g

Original recipe with video guide can be seen here
Need help with weight measurement conversion see here

Some other recipes you may like
Coconut Macaroons, they are low carb and vegan, see here
Mocha Ice Bombs, a perfect low carb Autumn (or Spring) treat, see here
Chocolate Treats, the LCHF way, see 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

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Future hero?

 This is a great little video clip, how cute is this kid, future hero I reckon.


Eddie


Friday, 2 April 2021

It's a little bit Continental : Bistro Beef In Beer


A bistro or bistrot /ˈbiːstroʊ/, is, in its original Parisian incarnation, a small restaurant, serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting with alcohol. Bistros are defined mostly by the foods they serve. French home-style cooking, and slow-cooked foods, like this recipe suggestion, or a cassoulet, bean stew, are typical.

Don't you just love the look of those shiitake mushrooms! They go so well in this beef casserole, which is served with a herby nut topping. It also freezes well, which can be a bonus!

Ingredients
Serves 10 (or adjust as necessary)
14g carb per serving
4 tbsp. olive oil
1.5 kg (3lb 3½oz) chuck steak, cut into bite-size pieces
450 g (1lb) button onions or shallots, peeled and left whole
3 fat garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp. demerara sugar
350 g (12oz) shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp. each plain flour and English mustard powder
450 ml (¾ pint) Continental-style beer
A few fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves

For the gremolata topping:
Ingredients
80 g pack flat-leafed parsley, chopped
Coarsely grated rind of 2 oranges, plus juice of 1 orange
50 g (2oz) walnut pieces, toasted and roughly chopped
2 red onions, peeled and very finely chopped

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC (130ºC fan) mark 2. Heat half the olive oil in a large flameproof ovenproof casserole until sizzling. Brown meat, a few pieces at a time, adding the remaining oil if needed. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or the meat will stew rather than brown. Every piece should be dark brown - the colour adds richness to the final flavour. Transfer each batch of meat to a plate while you brown the remainder.
2. Add onions to the pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly for 5min or until they're beginning to soften and colour. Add garlic and sugar; fry for 4-5min or until onions are soft and caramelised. Add mushrooms and cook for 2-3min.
3. Turn the heat down and return all the meat and any juices to the casserole. Add the flour, mustard and plenty of seasoning and stir in with a wooden spoon. Gradually pour in the beer, stirring as you go. Bring slowly to a gentle simmer, add thyme and bay leaves and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
4. Put the casserole in the oven and cook for 3-3½hr. The beef should be tender and the sauce dark and rich. Season to taste. If making ahead, cool and freeze for up to one month in a freezer-proof container.
5. If serving from frozen, thaw overnight at cool room temperature. Preheat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan) mark 4. Slowly bring beef to the boil in the casserole. Cover and reheat for 25-30min. Then mix together all the gremolata ingredients. Serve separately to scatter over the stew.
From an original Good House-keeping recipe here

At the Bistro, Jean Béraud

You may also like these recipes
French-Style Chicken and Fennel Braise - see here
Normandy Pork Casserole - see here
Salad Aveyronnaise, a little bit of France on your table - see here

A variety of recipe ideas are 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

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Welcome April


As we welcome April, which in the Northern Hemisphere is generally known for the start of warmer weather, many will also be looking forward to celebrating / observing Easter.

Easter for the year 2021 is celebrated/observed on Sunday, April 4th. Easter also called Resurrection Sunday or Pascha is one of the most important days in the Christian faith.

Many will also be hoping the Easter bunny will make an appearance!
The story of the Easter Bunny is thought to have become common in the 19th Century. Rabbits usually give birth to a big litter of babies (called kittens), so they became a symbol of new life. Legend has it that the Easter Bunny lays, decorates and hides eggs as they are also a symbol of new life. This is why some children might enjoy Easter egg hunts as part of the festival. It doesn't do all the work alone though! In Switzerland, Easter eggs are delivered by a cuckoo and in parts of Germany by a fox.

image from here

We know April is the fourth month of the year, but that’s only by the Gregorian calendar that we adhere to now. It was previously the fifth month in the earlier Julian calendar.

April also only had 29 days, but a 30th day was added when Julius Caesar established the Julian calendar.

In the Southern Hemisphere, April is the seasonal equivalent to October.

No one is sure how the month ended up with its name, but we do know the Romans named it “Aprillis.”

The etymology behind the word “April” comes from the verb “aperire,” which means “to open.” It’s commonly believed that the word refers to the season of trees and flowers begin to “open” or bloom.

Those who were born in April have a diamond as their birthstone, which represents innocence.
Their birth flower is either a Daisy or a Sweet Pea.

There are two zodiac signs in April. Aries, which is until April 19th, and Taurus, which is April 20th and onwards.

Of course, one of the most well-known dates of April, is April Fools’ Day on the 1st of the month. No one is sure where this originated from, but some believe it to be inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s story in “Canterbury Tales” called “Nun’s Priest’s Tale.” 

Whatever you plan to do during the month of April, I hope it will be a good month for you. 

Easter Egg Anyone ?
Low Carb : Gluten Free : Paleo : more details 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!

Please note, not all recipe suggestions 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

Ya gotta larf.

 


Eddie

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Baked Mascarpone and Blueberry Dessert : LCHF Dessert

From an idea by Pascale Naessens, this sugar-free yet deliciously decadent low-carb dessert has only three ingredients, so simple and easy! 


Ingredients
Serves Two
9g carbs per serving
2 egg yolks
200 g (200 ml) mascarpone cheese
100 g (160 ml) fresh blueberries (strawberries, or raspberries could be used).
Instructions
can be seen here


Mascarpone originated in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy during the Renaissance. It is ivory-coloured, exceptionally smooth, and an easily spreadable fresh cream cheese. The flavour is milky and slightly sweet. The rich, buttery texture comes from the high butterfat content. Mascarpone generally comes in tubs, and it should remain refrigerated. Check the "use by" date on the package for storage time, but it's generally a week.
You can read more about this cheese here

Related Posts
What is LCHF Anyway - see here

This blog offers a wide variety of recipes/food ideas, and not all may be suitable for you. If you 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

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Take A Walk In The Park Day : March 30th

Today is 30th March and it's 'Take a walk in the park day'. Yes, a great day to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. If the weather holds up why not even go out and have a picnic, Covid 19 restrictions permitting.


When cities are being designed one of the primary things they ensure to make space for is city parks. From small parks the size of just a couple of blocks to large ones that cover acres of land, city planners know the importance of providing green areas for people to go. Take A Walk In The Park Day celebrates these small excursions and the differences they can make to our mental, physical, and emotional health.

History of Take A Walk In The Park Day
This day was founded to help people reconnect with the wilder spaces within our civilized world. Thousands of people all over the country walk in local parks, exploring the wildlife and beauty of the natural world around them.

During these walks many opt to bring cameras so they can take pictures of the beauty they find, others opt to bring a book and enjoy the peace of the natural space. Jogging, playing games, drawing pictures from nature, all of these are things people do when they go out and enjoy time in the park.

Getting out into nature has been proven to have a number of therapeutic effects on those who take the time to do it. Their stress levels go down, their heart and mind feel refreshed, their creativity gets inspired, and they become more productive at work. All of this doesn’t even include the physical health benefits they get from walking in the park.

Keeping our bodies in motion and remaining active are important parts of our long term health. Daily walks help keep joints healthy, our muscles limber, and our hearts beating steadily. Every day you walk walking gets to be just a little bit easier and you’ll find yourself less tired than the day before. Take A Walk In The Park Day encourages you to get out and do that, every day of the year.

How To Celebrate Take A Walk In The Park Day
Celebrating this day is as simple as doing what it says on the tin, go take a walk in the park! Everyday people take walks as an easy way to get exercise and reconnect with nature, and that’s been proven to have a positive effect on our sense of well-being. Taking a walk can relieve stress, ease worries, and otherwise make every day just a little bit better. 
Above information from here

Are you planning on enjoying a walk today? I may not walk in a park but I hope to enjoy a leisurely walk locally.
Enjoy your day.

All the best Jan

Monday, 29 March 2021

Curry Anyone : Cauliflower, Swede & Turnip Curry

A friend of mine often says, any day with a 'y' in it makes it a good day for curry,  and she could be right! The first curry recipe in Britain appeared in the recipe book, The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse in 1747. Of course the original curry pre-dates this by centuries, and you can read more about curry, its history etc. here 


In more modern times curry can make a nice addition to your menu plans, and this suggestion uses root vegetables, which I know many readers find delicious. Once cooked serve this dish how it suits you ... on it's own-very tasty, or perhaps with rice and yogurt, or why not keep it lower carb and consider making some cauliflower couscous.

The recipe given below is 6.2g carb per serving.

Ingredients
Serves Four
Vegetable oil for frying
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
25-30 fresh curry leaves
1 small onion, grated
2cm fresh ginger, grated
2-3 dried red chillies
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
200g chopped tinned tomatoes
4 tbsp. desiccated coconut
250g mixed swede and turnip, diced
1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
Handful of chopped fresh coriander

Method
1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, then add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Cook for a minute until the mustard seeds just start to pop, being careful not to let them burn (see tip), then add the onion and ginger and fry for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the dried chillies, turmeric, fennel and fenugreek seeds, then fry for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, coconut, swede, turnip and a good splash of water. Season, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Stir through the cauliflower, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Scatter with the coriander and serve.

Tip
Keep an eye on the mustard seeds – if they start to burn the dish will taste bitter.

Nutritional Information
Fat 9.7g Protein 2.3g Carbs 6.2g Fibre 4.3g
From an original idea here

Did you know about Fenugreek seeds, they are a popular seed in Indian cookery, in which it's termed methi, this small, hard, mustard yellow seed has a tangy, bitter, burnt-sugar flavour.


The herb of the same name (see fenugreek herb) is grown from it and is also used in Middle Eastern cooking.


Fenugreek Seeds
They are available all year round, but choose the best:-
Like all seeds, fenugreek seeds are best bought little and often - that way, instead of having them languish in your store cupboard for a long time, you can buy more, fresher seeds as and when you need them. The best place to buy them is Indian speciality stores.
How to prepare them:-
You'll get more flavour out of fenugreek seeds by grinding or dry frying them. To dry fry, heat up a pan, tip in the seeds and, over a medium heat, brown for a couple of minutes, tossing them around the pan frequently. As the seed's so hard, they're difficult to grind by hand so, for recipes that call for ground, rather than whole, buy ready-ground, unless you have a small coffee grinder.
When you store them:-
They are best kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place, and should last for up to one year.
Cook them:-
In curries, pickles and sauces.

You will find a variety of recipe ideas 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

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Spring Cleaning Time : Some Tips !

Some may say, there's no better time than spring to give your home a good and thorough clean! Well, with signs of Spring around my pink duster has been out of the cupboard and those winter cobwebs have been dealt with, furniture has been moved out so all the nooks and crannies can be vacuumed, our windows are sparkling (thanks to Eddie) and even the Easter Chicks are sitting on the window-sill in readiness for the coming Easter weekend. Easter Sunday being on the 4th April in 2021.

Do you like to Spring Clean? Not everyone does. I did come across this article which has some helpful tips you may find interesting, and I share them below.


"Declutter your home
There's a simple rule you can use to declutter you home. If you haven't used something in the past six months, then you should consider throwing it away. The only exception to this rule is seasonal items and clothing. Separate out the 'keep', 'donate' or 'throw away' items and clearly label them to avoid any treasures getting thrown away by mistake. By taking this ruthless stance, you'll soon discover how many excess items you have around your home and how much additional room you'll have if you throw a few things away.

Deep clean your carpets
You'll be surprised how much dirt, dust and hair builds up in your carpet. This can be especially bad in bedrooms and dining rooms, where you're less likely to move bulky furniture around when you're cleaning. A deep clean will help restore the carpet's colour and texture. Using a high-performance vacuum cleaner or hiring a professional will allow you to breathe new life into your carpets. While your furniture is out of its usual place during the clean, you can start to think about rearranging certain items. You don't necessarily need to invest in new furniture, but a move around might bring a new function to a room or just give it a new look.

Remove pet hairs with rubber gloves
Pets are a delight to live with, but a menace when it comes to keeping your home clean. Cats and dogs especially will cast their hairs everywhere. That's where a pair of rubber gloves comes in handy. Because of the material they're made from, and the friction it creates, hairs will naturally stick to them. So, whether you need to de-hair your sofa, curtains or bedding, your trusty rubber gloves can sort you out. Failing that, a trusty lint roller work wonders on removing pet hairs from fabric.

Clean your oven with bicarbonate of soda
Oven cleaning is a time-intensive task, but a small amount of bicarbonate of soda can go a long way. Add bicarbonate of soda to water in a spray bottle and you've got your own handy oven-cleaning solution. You just need to spray the solution on the interior surfaces of your oven, avoiding the heating elements. Leave overnight and wipe clean the next day. If any soda remains, spray with vinegar to remove it. Avoid using harsh chemicals as these could cause irritation to your skin and damage your oven. If you'd rather put your feet up than get stuck in, it's worth having your oven professionally cleaned to get it sparkling again.

Get your fridge sparkling clean
We're all guilty of not cleaning our fridge as often as we should. This means that stains, food matter and water can build up. To battle this, you need a few household items. The first two are a toothbrush and toothpaste. The chemicals found in toothpaste will help remove stains easily and the toothbrush provides the friction and accuracy that you need to get the job done. Once you've got your fridge nice and clean, it's time to tackle any lurking smells. Cut a lemon in half and place the two halves in your fridge: one on the top shelf and the other on the bottom shelf. The lemon will naturally absorb any odours and leave your fridge smelling fresh.

Unleash the power of your dishwasher
Your dishwasher is a superhero in disguise. Its helpfulness doesn't stop at cleaning the dishes: you can place children's plastic toys (without batteries) into the dishwasher, along with your normal detergent or tablet, and get them nice and clean again. Not only that, it helps to sanitise the toys, so that they can be played with time and time again. The beauty of using your dishwasher to wash toys means that you can simply put it on and let it get to work. Essentially, you get a thorough clean without much effort.

Steam clean your microwave
Dirt and grime can easily build up in your microwave. It's one of those appliances that you use so often that you take for granted. So, a good clean will not only get it back to its former self, but also improve its general hygiene. Tackling built-up food and grease normally calls for bucket loads of elbow grease, but our helpful hint will put a stop to that. Using a combination of vinegar and water, you can create a solution that will help you tackle those stubborn stains. Heat a measuring jug with a fifty-fifty solution for ten minutes in your microwave, until it steams up. Remove the jug and then use a cloth to wipe away the moisture and dirt.

Revamp your wardrobe
You may have a wonderful array of outfits, but chances are that you don't wear them all-year round. So, it's time to revamp your wardrobe. First separate your clothes into seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. Then try your outfits on. Do they still fit? Do you still like them? If the answer is 'no' then get rid of them. You could either donate them to charity, sell them on eBay or organise a swap shop with friends and family. For the clothes you decide to keep, bag up the ones that are out of season and store these in your attic or wardrobe. Another handy tip to help you out in the morning is to organise your clothes by colour, so that you can put outfits together in half the time, with no need to hunt out your favourite top.

Breathe life back into your bedsheets
We all have that favourite duvet set that we return to time and time again. But over time colours can fade and soon you're left with drab looking bed sheets. Rather than throw them away, it's work soaking them in bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar as this can help you breathe life back into your bed sheets and get rid of any lingering odours. Make sure you rinse them thoroughly to eradicate the vinegar smell before using. You can also use bicarbonate of soda to deodorise your mattress. Simply sprinkle all over your mattress and leave for up to eight hours. Then vacuum up any excess powder and your mattress is as good as new.

Clean your bathroom while you sleep
No, we don't literally mean clean while you sleep: you deserve your rest after all! We've found a way for you to leave your bathroom to get clean overnight. Limescale is notoriously difficult to remove. That's where white vinegar can help. It's great at breaking down the molecules and removing a build-up of limescale. In fact, it can remove stains from the toilet, shower and sink. All you need to do is spray it on and leave it to get to work. For showerheads, simply fill a bag with white vinegar and tie it around the head, leave it to break down the limescale overnight. To avoid smelling strongly of vinegar, make sure you wear protective gloves and ventilate your bathroom where possible."
Words above from article here

Related Post
Natural Cleaners To Use Around The Home - see here

Do you like to Spring Clean?
Have you any tips? Do please share them in the comments.
One very important tip, is to reward yourself with a nice cuppa after all of your hard work, and perhaps a Low Carb Chocolate Cookie / Biscuit, see more details 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!

Please note, not all recipe suggestions 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, 26 March 2021

Aubergine / Eggplant Tacos with Cilantro and Brie

Erin Gleeson writes; "these aubergine/eggplant "tacos" are a tasty appetizer… It’s basically just a little round of baked eggplant with brie and cilantro in the middle, folded up like a mini taco! You could also serve them alongside a main course as a vegetable. I bake/roast the eggplant rounds on a greased cookie sheet, drizzled with olive oil (generously) plus a bit of sea salt if you wish. If you flip the aubergine/eggplant half way through, it’ll get brown on both sides. About 8 minutes on each side - but watch them closely - if some slices are thinner, they’ll cook faster.
Enjoy!"




Cilantro is an herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavour. The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavours are very different and cannot be substituted for each other. (Some countries refer to the cilantro as coriander, so any references to "fresh coriander" or "coriander leaves" refer to cilantro.) It can be easily confused with flat-leaf parsley in appearance, so be sure to sniff carefully. Look for a bunch with un-wilted leaves in medium green. Found fresh year round in most markets.
Information about Cilantro from here

Related Post
Health Benefits of Aubergines / Eggplants ... and some recipes, see here

This blog offers a wide variety of recipes/food ideas, and not all may be suitable for you. If you 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

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Scallions : Spring Onions : Green Onions ... so good raw or cooked

Spring onions are also known as scallions or green onions. Spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested before the bulb has had a chance to swell. Both the long, slender green tops and the small white bulb are edible, and are good either raw or cooked. They have a similar flavour to onions, but are much milder.



Availability
All year round, and easy to grow in a vegetable patch from seed.
Choose the best
Go for spring onions with firm, unblemished bulbs and bright green perky leaves. Avoid those that are slimy or wilting. The skin covering a spring onion bulb can be either white or deep red fading to white at the roots - there's no significant difference in taste. Similarly, the bulb can be quite pronounced or more like a leek in shape, with no noticeable swelling; again, this has no impact on flavour.
Prepare it
Wash, then trim off the root as well as any ragged ends at the top. Slice the bulb into rounds. Cut the green tops across (kitchen scissors are good for this) or lengthways with a knife, then lengthways again, according to what shape you'd like. If you want to make the tops into a garnish, cut into slim lengths, as above, then stand in ice cold water for 30 minutes.
Store it
In a perforated bag in the fridge. Spring onions don't last as long as onions, so use within four or five days.
Alternatives
Try shallot.
Recipe suggestions using spring onions / scallions

Veggie Scramble : Breakfast Quick and Easy : Low Carb / Keto
recipe/more details here


Scrambled Egg and Feta Hash : Low Carb : A Joe Wicks favourite
recipe/more details here


Garlic and chilli prawns with cauliflower rice
recipe/more details here


Salmon, Cucumber and Radish Salad : Perfect For Salad Days
recipe/more details here


Chicken Wings Provençal
recipe/more details here


Dear reader, a variety of articles, and recipe ideas, are within this blog, 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, 24 March 2021

Thai Fish Curry with Coconut Cream : Great tasting and Low Carb


Mid-week already! Whatever happened to Monday and Tuesday? Our days passed by happily and quietly, the temperatures were warmer and Spring was definitely in the air, perhaps a sign of better things to come, we hope so.

But as it's now mid-week, how about considering this creamy oven-bake curry for dinner today! It is a great way to cook fish, nicely seasoned and flavoured (as you can see from the ingredients), and it's quick and easy to make. Who knows it may just become a new favourite in your menu plans.

Ingredients
Serves Four : 10g carbs per serving
1 tbsp coconut oil for greasing the baking dish
650 g salmon, boneless fillets or white fish (e.g. cod, haddock, halibut), in pieces
salt and pepper
28 g butter or ghee
2 tbsp red curry paste or green curry paste
475 ml coconut cream
120 ml (8 g) fresh cilantro, chopped (also known as coriander/dhania)
450 g cauliflower or broccoli

Tip
If you can't find coconut cream in your grocery store you can use canned coconut milk, but then use two cans. Let the cans sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or over-night. Carefully open the cans and scoop out the coconut cream that will have solidified on top.

Don't use the thinner coconut water from the can for this recipe, but don't throw it out either. You can save it and use in smoothies and other refreshing drinks.

Instructions
can be seen here

Cilantro is a herb with wide delicate lacy green leaves and a pungent flavour. The seed of the cilantro plant is known as coriander. Although cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, their flavours are very different and cannot be substituted for each other. (Some countries refer to the cilantro as coriander, so any references to "fresh coriander" or "coriander leaves" refer to cilantro.) It can be easily confused with flat-leaf parsley in appearance, so be sure to sniff carefully. Look for a bunch with un-wilted leaves in medium green. Found fresh year round in most markets.
Information about Cilantro from here

Talking Thai, you may also want to try these choices
Time For Thai Choices : Fish, Pumpkin, Vegetables, Chicken, Tofu : see here

Dear reader, this blog offers a wide variety of recipes/food ideas, and not all may be suitable for you. If you 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, 22 March 2021

Extra Virgin Olive Oil : Why Is It The Healthiest Fat On Earth !



Do you use extra virgin olive oil? Is it included on your shopping list? My answer is yes to both questions. Most people agree that extra virgin olive oil is incredibly healthy - read on and find out more.

Kris Gunnars BSc writes:
"Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil Is the Healthiest Fat on Earth
Dietary fats are highly controversial, with debates about animal fats, seed oils, and everything in between in full force.

That said, most people agree that extra virgin olive oil is incredibly healthy.

Part of the Mediterranean diet, this traditional oil has been a dietary staple for some of the world's healthiest populations.

Studies show that the fatty acids and antioxidants in olive oil can offer some powerful health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease.

This article reviews why extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats.

What is olive oil and how is it made?
True extra virgin olive oil is 100% natural and very high in antioxidants. Many of the lower quality olive oils have been processed and adulterated with cheaper oils.

Nutrient composition of extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil is very high in monounsaturated fats and contains a modest amount of vitamins E and K. True extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, some of which have powerful health benefits.

Extra virgin olive oil contains anti-inflammatory substances
Olive oil contains oleic acid and oleocanthal, two nutrients that can fight inflammation. This may be the main reason for olive oil's health benefits.

Extra virgin olive oil and cardiovascular disease
Olive oil may be one of the healthiest foods you can eat for heart health. It reduces blood pressure and inflammation, protects LDL particles from oxidation, and may help prevent unwanted blood clotting.

Other health benefits of extra virgin olive oil
Preliminary evidence suggests that olive oil can help fight cancer and Alzheimer's disease, although human studies need to confirm this.

Can you cook with it?
Overall, olive oil seems to be very safe even for cooking at a fairly high heat.

The bottom line
Olive oil is super healthy. For those who have heart disease or are at a high risk of developing it, olive oil is most definitely a superfood. However, be sure to purchase extra virgin olive oil that hasn't been diluted with cheaper oils. The benefits of this wonderful fat are among the few things that most people in nutrition agree upon."
The above words are just a snippet from Kris Gunnars original article, which can be seen in full with all information and research links here

Do you like to use extra virgin olive oil?
Is it included in your shopping list?


Dear reader, a variety of articles, and recipe ideas, are within this blog, 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