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Sunday 19 May 2024

Words Worth Sharing !

“Leave footprints of love and kindness wherever you go.”
Author Unknown

I thought these words worth sharing,
Would you agree?

All the best Jan

Saturday 18 May 2024

Foods Anyone with Allergies Should Consider Eating

Springtime is marked by three distinct things ... flowers blooming, warmer temperatures, and allergies! While the flowers are beautiful, the dreaded pollen can take its toll on numerous people, causing more than just sinus issues.


There's currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it. Antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays can help and your local pharmacist should be able to offer guidance on this. 

Can what you eat help with allergies? Unfortunately, there are no magical foods that can cure your allergies. But, there are certain foods you can eat to help support your body if you suffer from allergies.

These are the top five foods anyone with allergies should consider eating

1. Garlic

Garlic is a powerhouse food packed with many strong compounds, especially beneficial for those who experience allergies. Not only does it have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties that may help reduce allergy symptoms, but it also contains quercetin. Quercetin has immunomodulatory effects, meaning it helps regulate the immune system's response to foreign invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and allergens.

2. Citrus Fruits

The star vitamin in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits is Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and reduce inflammation associated with allergies. Vitamin C plays a vital role in supporting immune function and enhancing the body's ability to fight off infections and allergens. It helps stimulate the production and activity of white blood cells, which are involved in the immune response. By bolstering the immune system, vitamin C may help reduce the severity and duration of allergy symptoms.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit inflammatory pathways and reduce the production of inflammatory molecules. By reducing inflammation, turmeric may help alleviate allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching. Plus, turmeric boasts antioxidant properties which may help to relieve allergy symptoms.

4. Salmon And Other Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Allergic reactions trigger inflammation in the body as the immune system responds to allergens. Omega-3s help reduce the production of inflammatory molecules, which in turn help reduce inflammation and alleviate allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, and itching.

5. Onion

Onions are nutritious vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Onions are a significant dietary source of quercetin, a flavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Quercetin has been studied for its potential to reduce allergic reactions by stabilizing mast cells and inhibiting the release of histamine, a compound involved in allergic responses. Consuming quercetin-rich foods like onions may help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Above words and image taken from article here
The NHS also give advice about Hay Fever/ Allergies here


Do you have problems with pollen/hay fever? Do you find certain foods help alleviate it? Do please share your thoughts and any tips in the comments below.

Important:
Please note articles within this blog are 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 GP or local health care team/provider.

All the best Jan

Friday 17 May 2024

Swap pasta and rice for a lower carb alternative vegetable !

When you live the LCHF lifestyle you look for alternatives, or swaps, to foods like pasta and rice, for example take these two recipes. The first one swaps pasta for cauliflower and the second swaps pasta for courgette/zucchini.

I hope you may try one (or both) of these recipe suggestions.

Cauliflower Spinach Chicken Alfredo
swap pasta for cauliflower
the recipe per serving works out at 14g carbs
see more details here


Spinach and ricotta lasagne with courgette pasta
swap pasta for courgettes/zucchini
the recipe per serving works out at 19.3 g carbs
see more details here


Spinach
Both of these recipe suggestions use spinach. Here in the UK spinach is in season between March and June. Leafy spinach is a handy veg to keep in the cupboard for adding to soups, stews or simply raw in salads. Baby spinach has a milder flavour, but in all varieties you should look for bright green leaves and crisp stems. Spinach cooks quickly and shrinks dramatically, so you often need more than you might think.

Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folic acid as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach. Others include kale, broccoli and green cabbage.
You can read more about spinach here


Dear reader, this blog contains a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to 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 a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health it is always advisable to consult your Doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Thursday 16 May 2024

Salmon stuffed with avocado : A fabulous pairing !


Take some salmon, add some mashed avocado and what a fabulous pairing they make. It's a quick and easy, great tasting meal and fits in with my LCHF menu plans well 😋

Ingredients
Serves Four
4 Salmon Fillets (approx. 6 oz. each)
2 Avocados, mashed
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Sea Salt + Black Pepper, to taste

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400F. / 200C. / Gas 6. Place salmon fillets on a work surface and cut a slit in them horizontally (do not cut all the way through). Stuff mashed avocado in between the slits and season the fillets liberally with salt and pepper.

2. Heat olive oil in an oven safe skillet/pan (you can use cast iron for this, but any will do) over medium high heat. Sear the salmon, skin side up if they have skin, for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Flip the fillets over, transfer the pan to the oven and finish cooking until salmon is cooked to desired done-ness, about 5-7 minutes depending on thickness. Serves 4.

Goes nicely with sautéed lower carb vegetables ...
From original idea here


~ wishing all readers a happy day ~

You will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog, and it is important to 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 a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health it is always advisable to consult your Doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Motion Is Lotion - Why Moving Your Body Is So Important

It's always nice to get-together with friends over a cuppa, and you never know where the conversation might lead! For instance just recently a friend was talking about 'Motion Is Lotion' she was having some therapy to help with an injury and her therapist had used these words. It got me thinking and this post is where my thoughts and internet research lead to. I hope you find it an interesting read, and don't forget to please share your thoughts in the comments section.


"Motion Is Lotion – Why Moving Your Body Is So Important


Motion Is Lotion, or another term would be, movement is medicine. This article will explain all the benefits that simply moving your body can do and why it’s crucial to your life.

Musculoskeletal Benefits

The reason we use these terms is that it is the most natural way for the body to heal itself. When we talk about movement is medicine or motion is lotion, a lot of people think, “Oh, exercise, yeah, we’re working our muscles.” but the benefits of exercise go far beyond the musculoskeletal system. 
  • Aid joint lubrication and nourishment
  • Ease your joint pain and stiffness
  • Improve flexibility & mobility
  • Build muscular strength
  • Improve your balance
  • Help you sleep better
  • Improve posture
  • Improve or maintain the density of your bones
  • Improve overall health and fitness

Mental Health Benefits


The second benefit of moving your body is overall mental health. It releases positive hormones throughout the body from the brain, and you are going to see a positive emotional response to exercise from the mental health aspect.
  • Lower stress levels
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Improve cognitive function
  • Better endurance
  • Increased interest in sex
  • Increase energy and motivation

Gastrointestinal Benefits


Next, from the gastrointestinal aspect, we can improve gastric motility. Movement can improve the ability to digest food. It can see decreased amounts of inflammation in blood markers and biochemical markers such as that.
  • Improve food digestion
  • Decreased inflammation in blood markets
  • More diverse gut microbiota

Cardiovascular Benefits


Finally, we have cardiovascular benefits, between the heart and the lungs. All of these systems combine, even from the endocrine system in terms of hormones and hormonal imbalances. Exercise improves these.
  • Increase exercise tolerance
  • Reduction of body weight
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Reduction in bad cholesterol
  • Increase in insulin sensitivity

Movement Is Medicine

It’s the most natural medication or the most natural prescription you can get from any doctor.

Making sure that you are moving often, moving well, and making sure that you are getting the proper amount of activity, you’ll see benefits not only to your musculoskeletal system but to the cognitive system, heart, lungs, endocrine, gastrointestinal, you name it!

Movement is medicine, and it’s going to improve all of your systems.

It is highly recommended to consult with a doctor or an expert if you are concerned about exercising or experiencing any abnormal pain."

Above words taken from here
Image from google

Related Post
'Exercise for Better Health' - read it here

I think any movement/exercise is important. Of course, how you choose to do this is a personal choice and our age and any health concerns must always be taken into account. Just remember, any motion/movement is good 😊

Please be aware that articles within this blog are 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, including medication, you should contact your Doctor/local health care provider.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Creamy Mushroom Chicken

Yes, another chicken recipe! You really can't have too many can you!? For me chicken has so many plus points. Its versatility, as well as the ease and speed with which it can be cooked, make it one of the most popular meats around. It's certainly popular in our house! Plus of course it has a high level of good quality protein, as well as B vitamins, iron, copper and selenium... and it's usually reasonably priced too, which is always welcome! This creamy chicken and mushroom dinner is really satisfying but low in calories. Have a look and see what you think.

For readers who prefer a vegetarian dish, I have included a recipe suggestion which can be seen below.


Ingredients
Serves Two
spray olive oil
2 chicken breasts, skinless and trimmed (200g/7oz each)
½ onion, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
100g/3½oz mixed or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
250ml/9fl oz chicken stock (made with ½ a stock cube)
salt and pepper
100ml/3½fl oz half-fat crème fraîche
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
300g/10½oz broccoli, steamed, to serve

Method
1. Heat the spray oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the chicken breasts and fry for about 10 minutes, or until well browned on both sides. Set aside.
2. In the same pan, add a little more oil and fry the onion for 2–3 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for another 1–2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry until golden-brown. If they start to stick, add a little stock to the pan.
3. Return the chicken to the pan and stir in the stock. Bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid, lower the heat and simmer for 12–15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Meanwhile, cook the broccoli in boiling salted water until tender.
5. Stir the crème fraîche and parsley into the sauce and serve immediately with the broccoli.

Each serving provides:-
391 kcal, 58g protein, 10.5g carbohydrate (of which 7g sugars), 11.5g fat (of which 6g saturates), 7.5g fibre and 1.1g salt.
From original idea here

Alternative vegetarian recipe
Creamy low carb cauliflower risotto with spinach and goat cheese - details here


You will find a variety of 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Sunday 12 May 2024

Start the day with gratitude !

I saw this on Christine's blog
Good words I think !

Wishing all readers a Happy Sunday.
It's also Mothers Day in some countries (not the UK).
If you are celebrating this day, have a happy one.

All the best Jan

Saturday 11 May 2024

May Birth Flower : Hawthorn

If you are a May baby your birth flowers are Lily-of-the-valley and Hawthorn. This post is about the Hawthorn, but if you haven't already seen my earlier post about Lily-of-the-Valley, you can read it here

Hawthorn
is a flowering shrub in the rose family with flowers that bloom in May in small white, red, or pink clusters. Small berries, called haws, sprout after the flowers. The fruit is an important winter food source for birds, and the thorny hawthorns also provide protective nesting areas safe from predators. The hawthorn is a longstanding symbol of hope.


Hawthorn are found in Europe and Asia, as well as North America. There are hundreds of species of Hawthorn, which are small, dense trees or shrubs that can grow up to 30 feet tall.

Hawthorn Meanings and Symbolism
  • Hawthorn have long been a symbol of hope. Other associations include its ability to mark the entrance to other worlds, with a strong connection to fairies.
  • Ancient Greeks were said to use its branches during wedding processions, while in Celtic lore, Hawthorn was thought to heal a broken heart.
  • According to Serbian lore, it was once believed that stakes made from Hawthorn could slay vampires.
  • Hawthorn are associated with the pagan symbol of fertility.
  • It was once thought that bringing a hawthorn blossom inside would be followed by illness and death. During medieval times, the smell of Hawthorn blossom was associated with the Great Plague.
  • Many have believed that a Hawthorn’s bloom marked the point of change from spring to summer.
Hawthorn in History
  • The Hawthorn’s link to May Day is undeniable. For this reason, it has been customary to decorate the celebration with flowering Hawthorn branches, most notably in the form of May Day garlands.
  • In 1923, the white Hawthorn blossom was recognized as the state flower of Missouri.
  • Hawthorn has been used for medicinal purposes for years, including to treat heart and blood diseases, as well as chest pains, blood pressure issues, and high cholesterol. The majority of its medicinal value is found in its fruit pigments.
  • Hawthorn leaves and fruit are edible. When picked young, the leaves can be used in salads. The fruit can be eaten on its own or used to make jelly and wine.
  • The shrike—a type of bird—will impale its (already dead) prey onto a hawthorn’s thorn, allowing the bird to eat more comfortably.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. You may now like to read this one about 'Some Foods In Season During May' which also has some recipe suggestions - see here

All the best Jan

Friday 10 May 2024

Healthy Tuna Lettuce Wraps : Low Carb : Low Salt : High Protein

Make these nifty wraps with avocado mayo as a great low-carb, high-protein lunch. They're packed with omega-3-rich tuna while also being low in salt.


Ingredients
Serves Two
2 drops oil, for brushing
2 x 140g fresh tuna fillets, defrosted
(although you can use canned tuna)
1 ripe avocado
½ tsp English mustard powder
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp capers
8 romaine lettuce leaves
16 cherry tomatoes, preferably on the vine, halved

Instructions
1. Brush the tuna with a little oil. Heat a non-stick pan, add the tuna and cook for 1 min each side, or a min or so longer for a thicker fillet. Transfer to a plate to rest.
2. Halve and stone the avocado and scoop the flesh into a small bowl. Add the mustard powder and vinegar, then mash well so that the mixture is smooth like mayonnaise. Stir in the capers. Spoon into two small dishes and put on serving plates with the lettuce leaves, and tomatoes.
3. Slice the tuna (it should be slightly pink inside) and arrange on the plates. Spoon some ‘mayo’ on the lettuce leaves and top with tuna and cherry tomatoes and a few extra capers. To eat, roll up into little wraps.

From original recipe here

~ wishing you a happy day ~

Dear reader, this blog contains a variety of recipe ideas, and it is important to 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 a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health it is always advisable to consult your Doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Thursday 9 May 2024

'What to eat for high blood pressure (hypertension)'

Today I'm sharing an article by Jo Williams a Registered nutritionist, she writes :-


What to eat for high blood pressure (hypertension)

People with high blood pressure have an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure means your heart has to work harder to pump the blood around your body. A reading of 140/90mmHg (140 systolic and 90 diastolic) is considered to be hypertension. Ideally, aim for a blood pressure reading below 120/80mmHg. However, everyone's blood pressure will be slightly different. What's considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else. I
t is important to speak to your GP or healthcare team/provider if you are concerned.
  • Fruit and vegetables contain potassium, which may help manage blood pressure by counteracting the effects of too much salt (sodium). If you have high blood pressure, aim to eat at seven to nine portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day, focusing on vegetables.
  • Dietary sources of magnesium, calcium and folate, such as green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, Pak Choi and broccoli), wholegrain cereals, nuts and seeds, are essential for blood pressure management.
  • There is a link between too much salt in your diet and high blood pressure. The body only needs a very small amount of sodium to function properly, and we eat much more than we need. Minimise your salt intake to 6g or less per day – that's the equivalent to 1 tsp per day.
  • The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) includes low-fat dairy and wholegrains, while avoiding excess meat and sugary foods. It is a proven effective treatment for high blood pressure. See some DASH diet recipes here
Do this

1. Eat at least two servings of fruit or vegetables at each meal.
2. Take regular exercise and if you smoke, quit! If you live in the UK you can visit the NHS website for support to help you quit smoking, link here
3. Schedule time into your day to relax – stress increases the risk of high blood pressure.
4. Limit your salt intake to 6g or less per day.
5. If you are overweight, try to lower your weight into the healthy range. Being physically active plays an important part in this.

For more information about blood pressure, visit the NHS site here

Important: 
Please note articles within this blog are 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 GP or local health care team/provider.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Red Peppers Stuffed With Cod and Tomatoes

We do enjoy red peppers in our house, and this mix of red pepper and tomatoes really brings out the taste of the cod...


Ingredients
Serves Six
600g cod (
consider using haddock or pollock if preferred)
6 red peppers
1 small red chilli pepper (optional)
3 tomatoes
1 small bunch of basil
2 cloves of garlic
100ml olive oil
80g grated parmesan

Method
1. Cut the tops off the peppers, and carefully remove the core and seeds. Reserve the tops and hulls of the peppers.
2. Wash the tomatoes and remove the stalks. Plunge them into boiling water for a few minutes until the skin starts to detach. Remove the skins then loosely crush them in a bowl. If using chilli, wash and chop it finely, and peel and finely chop the garlic. Thin out the leaves from the bunch of basil and loosely chop.
3. Heat half the oil in a large casserole dish, then add the peppers (placing them vertically, open top upwards), lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.
4. Cook the cod in boiling water for 5 minutes then drain it and thin out the slices. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and then add the cod, tomatoes and garlic, cook for 5 minutes then turn the heat off and add the basil and chilli pepper and mix well.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas Mark 6.
6. Take the peppers and gently stuff them with the cod, tomato and garlic mixture and place them in an ovenproof dish. Place the lids back onto the peppers, cover them loosely with foil and then place into the oven. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the foil, and sprinkle with the grates parmesan and serve.

Nutritional Details Per Serving
Carbohydrate 11.9g Protein 26.1g Fibre 4g Fat 23g

From an original idea here
Why not serve them with some Cauliflower Couscous - see details here


~ enjoy your day ~

This blog contains a variety of recipe ideas, and it is important to 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 a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health it is always advisable to consult your Doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Tray-Baked Eggs : Quick, Easy, Vegetarian : Packed With Protein


Here we have a vegetarian breakfast, lunch or snack that’s really quick, easy and packed with protein.

Ingredients
Serves Four
8 (free-range) eggs
2 red peppers, deseeded and finely sliced
80g/3oz chestnut mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
40g/1½oz spinach, roughly chopped
50g/1¾oz mature cheddar cheese, grated
½ tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4.
2. Lightly grease a 35cm/14 in x 25cm/10in 2cm/¾in deep roasting tin and line with baking paper.
3. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the salt and pepper and whisk well.
4. Pour the eggs into the oven tray making sure they spread into the corners. Scatter the peppers, mushrooms and spinach over the eggs and top with the cheddar.
5. Place in the oven to bake for 10–12 minutes, or until just set and lightly golden around the edges.
6. Remove the eggs from the oven and leave to rest for 2 minutes, then slide out onto a board and cut into pieces.

Each serving provides
20g protein, 3g carbohydrates (of which 3g sugars), 16g fat (of which 6g saturates), 2g fibre, 1.3g salt.

Tip
If not eating straightaway, leave to cool to room temperature, cut into slices and put in a sealable container. It will keep for 3 days in the fridge and is best eaten cold, if not eaten straight away.
From original idea here

For readers who are not able to eat eggs
Have a look at this article, 'Thirteen Effective Substitutes for Eggs' find it here


'eggs are eggscellent' and so nutritious
read more here

~ wishing you a happy day ~ 

You will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog, and it is important to 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 a reliable meter. If you have any concerns about your health it is always advisable to consult your Doctor or health care team.

Just a reminder to keep checking your spam folder as many bloggers are finding comments are incorrectly going into spam!

All the best Jan

Monday 6 May 2024

May Birth Flower : Lily-of-the-Valley

If you are a May baby your birth flowers are Lily-of-the-valley and Hawthorn. This post is about Lily-of-the-valley. With its small, dainty, bell-shaped white flowers, it is a perennial groundcover that spreads aggressively given the right conditions. These flowers represent sweetness and purity.


It is also known as Our Lady’s Tears, May lily, and May bells. It is native to Eurasia, but has become naturalized in North America, having been planted in home gardens for its simple foliage and lovely flowers.

It produces pendulous, bell-shaped white flowers with a strong, sweet smell. It can also produce pink or purple blossoms.

Lily-of-the-valley Meanings and Symbolism
  • In ancient astrology, Lily-of-the-valley was said to be protected by the son of the goddess Maia. In Greek mythology, that son was Hermes; for the Romans, it was Mercury.
  • According to legend, Lily-of-the-valley fell in love with the song of the nightingale and only bloomed when the bird returned to the woods in May.
  • It is also believed that Apollo created the ground cover flower for nymphs to walk on.
  • This flower has been associated with motherhood, sweetness, purity, and humility. It signifies a return to happiness, likely due to its time of bloom and the anticipation of summer.
  • In Christian lore, Lily-of-the-valley came to be from Eve’s tears after she was expelled from the Garden of Eden. It has also been said that Lily-of-the-valley sprouted from the tears of Mary at the site of Christ’s crucifixion.
Lily-of-the valley in History
  • In the 1500s, King Charles IX was gifted a lily-of-the-valley for good luck on May Day, and each year following, he continued the tradition of gifting the flowers for luck.
  • In France, the tradition of gifting Lily-of-the-valley continues as a symbol of good luck.
  • In Serbia, Lily-of-the-valley is picked on St. George’s feast day, and people decorate their homes with the flowers to bring about good luck and prosperity.
  • The flower is mentioned numerous times in the bible and has also been associated with Christ’s second coming.
  • Thomas Jefferson recorded the flower in a list of hardy perennials that grew at his Monticello home.
  • Due to its sweet fragrance, Lily-of-the-valley is a popular choice for wedding bouquets. In Holland, newlyweds have been known to plant Lily-of-the-valley in their garden to bring about luck in their marriage. The flowers were also part of the bridal bouquets of Princess Diana and Kate Middleton.
  • In Helston, England, the Lily-of-the-valley is worn during the Furry Dance, a centuries-old celebration observed on May 8 each year.
  • Lily-of-the-valley is the national flower of Finland.
I hope you enjoyed this post. One about the month of May other birth flower Hawthorn will follow shortly. Do you have any Lily-of-the-valley growing in your garden?


You may now like to read this post 'Some Foods In Season During May' which also has some recipe suggestions - see here

All the best Jan

Sunday 5 May 2024

Pot-roast chicken with vegetables and barley


A roast dinner with hardly any washing up, what could be better. This dish features chicken, a firm family favourite, and which even in these days of rising costs is still reasonably priced. Read on for more details ...

Ingredients
Serves four
1.5-1.8kg/3lb 5oz - 4lb chicken (free-range or organic, if possible)
olive oil, for roasting
½ swede (rutabaga), peeled and chopped
3 carrots, cut into chunks
2 onions, chopped
100g/3½oz pearl barley
2 chicken stock cubes
500ml/18fl oz hot water
2 garlic cloves, flattened
1 tsp dried thyme
1 head spring greens, shredded
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 240C/220C Fan/Gas 9, or as high as it will go.
2. Put the chicken into a large casserole dish, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes to brown the chicken, then remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
3. Transfer the chicken to a plate, then put all the ingredients except the spring greens into the casserole. Lay the chicken on top and cover with the lid.
4. Set the casserole over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, until you hear the liquid in the bottom of the dish start to boil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through completely.
5. Carefully remove the chicken from the pan with a pair of forks or tongs and set aside to rest for 15-20 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, stir the spring greens into the vegetables and pearl barley, cover with a lid and leave to stand while the chicken rests.
7. Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables.

Each serving provides
447 kcal, 57g protein, 17g carbohydrate (of which 13g sugars), 14.5g fat (of which 3.5g saturates), 10g fibre and 2.5g salt.

Pearl Barley 
... has seen a big revival recently thanks to its high nutritious value and crunchy texture. It is most often cooked in stocks or soups, where it absorbs all the flavours from the liquid. This means that the taste of the grain largely depends on what it's cooked in.

Pearl barley is harvested from ears of barley. They're processed so that the hull is removed, and at this point, is known as 'hulled barley', 'dehulled barley' or 'pot barley', which is more prevalent in America than Britain. The bran is still round the grain, which gives it extra nutrients, but also increases the cooking time. For the grain to become pearl barley, it needs to be polished or 'pearled'. This process removes the outer bran, and gives the grain a shiny appearance.

Pearl barley has a neutral-cereal taste. Its most distinctive feature is its texture. The grains also thicken soups and stews, imparting a creaminess which means that the liquid coats the back of a spoon.

Praised for its high nutritional levels, pearl barley is found in lots of health food shops, as well as the health food, or grain aisle of most mainstream supermarkets. More to read here

Recipe from an original idea here

For readers who may prefer a vegetarian dish, have a look at 'Vegetarian Stew' here

We bring a variety of articles and recipe ideas to 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Saturday 4 May 2024

Take Time To Relax This Weekend


In a world which at times seems to be moving ever faster, and many are constantly running to keep up with it, should we perhaps just say 'stop' and take time to chill out, relax, de-stress?

I saw this article by Alison Paton, she raised some interesting points. See what you think.

"Go for a short walk: We often associate walking with stress, trying to get to work or to the next meeting. We are physically moving forward but our minds are elsewhere; our to do list, the disagreement you had yesterday or what you are having for lunch. Mindful walking teaches you to be in the hear and now. Notice what is going on around you, listen to the sounds, feel the ground beneath your feet; the muscles in your body working. Try practising mindful walking on your way to work - or better still visit your nearest green space for an evening stroll.

Colouring for adults: It may sound silly but adult colouring books are the new trendy way to de-stress and practise mindfulness. They give adults a creative outlet, it doesn't require much logical thinking and is very nostalgic - think back to the last time you coloured in, I bet you didn't even know what the word stress meant, let alone experienced it (and please don't stress out about colouring out of the lines!)

Read a book: When's the last time you got into bed early and lost yourself in a good book. As we get older we can suppress our creative imaginations, focusing too much on the seriousness of real life. And if you don't have time to read a novel there are plenty of short story books out there waiting for you to lose yourself in.

Write for fun: Or better still, why not try writing a short story, or maybe even try your hand at poetry. But make sure you are doing it for fun. As a writer I sometimes forget to enjoy it and focus too much on deadlines, getting the next post out and basically writing because I have to and not because I want to. Remember, this is for you and for no-one else.

Stretching: Morning, noon and night - take some time out to stretch. Whether you're practising yoga, working on mobility or simply stretching to wake yourself up - get your mat out and do it! You can even take time to stretch at your desk - there are plenty of short videos out there showing you how!

Write to do lists: Sometimes sleep is the only time I get to truly de-stress, and even then I start thinking of everything I need to do the next day, week, month and things that may not even happen. If this sounds all too familiar make sure you write a 'to do' list every night before you go to bed. Get your thoughts out of your head and on to paper - then forget about them until the morning when you're ready to take action.

Establish a routine: You may see the weekend as a time to go out and party, or to catch up on sleep but try to go to bed and get up at the same time. Once your body establishes a routine you'll more likely be able to relax.

Breathe: Yes, breathing is the most natural thing we do, but do we really concentrate on the breath to ensure its of good quality. Our day to day breathing is generally very shallow and we don't even notice we are doing it. I suggest taking up to 10 minutes out of your day to relax and concentrate on breathing deeply; feel how your stomach expands and retracts with each breath. Both yoga and meditation are also great ways to practise quality breathing. Trust me, you'll feel like a pretty large weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

Put on some music: Lets forgo the heavy metal and rap for this one and put something on a little more chilled. Maybe some classical music or some chilled out vibes. Research suggests that listening to music can relax the body, decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure. So next time you're writing that stressful paper, or stuck in a traffic jam pop on some Mozart or some Bach and get cracking!

Switch off: This one is so important as we live in a world where technology is at the forefront of everything we do - when last thing at night and first thing in the morning we check FB/IG/Twitter or our emails. Looking at your screen up to 2 hours before bedtime can make it harder for you to fall asleep and can seriously damage the quality of sleep you are getting; not to mention seeing the stress inducing email we forgot to respond to at work that day, or the model on Instagram that makes you start hating your body at 11 o'clock at night. I even suggest a no phone day once a month, this takes away the convenience of being able to check your social media at any given minute meaning you have to create set times to go onto the computer."

Well, what did you think of the suggestions?
Will you be trying some?

Whatever you decide - here's to a relaxing and stress free time.
I'm going to take a few minutes out with a good book and a refreshing cuppa!


All the best Jan

Friday 3 May 2024

An Alien Abduction!

I had to laugh the other day when 'CJ' wrote about an alien abduction.

Have you experienced an alien abduction?
I must admit I have 😊
(a very long nap where you have no idea what time it is when you wake up)


~ Wishing you a happy day ~

All the best Jan

Thursday 2 May 2024

Anyone for a Lollipop !

Now these lollipops are a little different!
They are made with ...

Parmesan Cheese and Poppy Seeds

Sharing a recipe suggestion from Lorraine Pascale ... 

Equipment and preparation
You will need 10 white round lollipop sticks, a round 9cm/3½in chefs’ ring or cookie cutter and two baking trays.

Ingredients
makes ten
butter, for greasing
80g/3oz Parmesan, finely grated (or similar alternative vegetarian hard cheese)
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7, line two large baking trays with baking paper and grease them with butter.
2. Toss the cheese and seeds together in a small bowl. Sit a 9cm/3½in chefs’ ring or cookie cutter on one of the baking trays and sprinkle a small handful of the cheese mixture into it, in a thin layer. Carefully lift the ring off to reveal a neat-edged disc of Parmesan and lay a lollipop stick on top, with the tip of the stick touching the middle of the disc.
3. Repeat with the remaining cheese and sticks to make 10 in total (leaving about 3cm/1¼in spaces between them to allow for any spreading during cooking).
4. You should have a little Parmesan left over, so use it to cover up the part of the lollipop stick resting on the disc.
5. Bake in the oven for five minutes, swapping the lollipops to a different shelf halfway through. The cheese should be lightly golden-brown and bubbling.
6. Remove from the oven and slide the paper off the baking trays and onto a rack to help speed up cooling. Leave to cool for 1–2 minutes, or until the lollipops have become crisp. Very carefully remove each one with a palette knife. It's nice to serve these stuck upright into a box with holes in the top!

Why not give these lollipops a try ... they're certainly different!


~ wishing you a happy day ~

Dear reader, not all the food and 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Welcome May 2024

As we say hello to the new month of May, yes the fifth month of the year, for those who live in the Northern hemisphere, we say goodbye to cooler days and look forward to warmer ones. With spring flowers blooming, birds chirping, many of us find life is starting to seem a little more joyful.

If you’re on the other side of the world, in the southern hemisphere, then it’s a time when summer is gone and the nights are getting colder and darker, warm soups and hearty casseroles may start appearing in menu plans.

But, no matter where in the world you are, I wish you a Happy May.

May - some facts!

May is pretty exclusive when it comes to days of the week. No other month in one single year starts or finishes on the same weekday as May. Basically, if the first of May is on a Friday, and the 31st of May is on a Sunday, no other months in the year will start or end on a Friday or a Sunday!

The birthstone for May is the emerald. Emeralds typically range from a deep-sea green to a lighter colour. Emeralds are symbols of fertility and rebirth.

May actually has two birth flowers – the Lily-of-the-Valley and the Hawthorn. The Hawthorn flower is a symbol of hope, while the Lily-of-the-Valley represents the return of happiness and sweetness.

May also has two Zodiac signs, Taurus and Gemini. Taurus April 21 to May 20 and Gemini May 21 to June 20. People born under the sign of Taurus are said to be ambitious and smart, yet trustworthy. Those born under the sign of Gemini are said to be passionate, adaptable, and smart.

May is the month that the Eurovision song contest is held every year. For those not in the know, Eurovision is an international song contest that has been held every year since 1956. Some of the contest winners over the years have gone on to be incredibly successful groups, with the most notable being ABBA!

May is a special time for Star Wars fans worldwide and always a good reason to re-watch the movies. May the 4th is celebrated as Star Wars day, due to the way the date sounds similar to “May the Force.” 

May’s full Moon, called the Flower Moon, appears on Thursday, May 23. The best view of this full Moon, requires you to step outside on the night of the 23rd or the 24th and look for that big, bright, shining lunar disk!

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

and to start the new month I share a recipe suggestion for
Tuscan Chicken - Made in the microwave !


This colourful Tuscan chicken is a doddle to make in the microwave and sure to be a hit with all the family. Cooking in the microwave keeps the chicken deliciously tender and the creamy tomato and spinach sauce complements it perfectly. It’s fantastic served with microwave frozen cauliflower rice (or rice of your choice). More details here

~ Wishing you a happy May 2024 ~

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas within this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy ... 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Healthy Eyes : Foods To Help Keep Them Healthy

Foods To Help Healthy Eyes

"Are you eating the right kind of foods that can help improve vision and prevent age-related eye diseases such as cataract. It is easier to protect your eyes by eating foods that are packed with vision-friendly nutrients. Learn more about some of these foods that can improve your eyesight and help protect against sight threatening diseases.


Eggs – Eggs are full of eye-friendly antioxidants. Egg yolks are high in lutein. It is a type of a carotenoid that helps fight macular degeneration, the leading cause of old age blindness.

Green and leafy vegetables – These vegetables contain carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are very beneficial for vision and have a positive impact on the retina. They may help reduce disability and discomfort from glare, enhance contrast and reduce photo-stress recovery times.

Fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C – Citrus fruits like oranges and vegetables like red capsicums are packed with vitamin C. They provide antioxidants that help keep the eyes healthy. Vitamin C helps the body form and maintain connective tissue, including collagen found in the cornea of the eye. It promotes the delicate capillaries in the retina.

Nuts – Nuts are tasty snacks that are excellent source of vitamin E and minerals such as zinc that help keep your eyes healthy. They may decrease the risk of cataract and age related macular degeneration. Being packed with vitamin E, nuts help protect membranes of cells throughout the body against damage caused by free radicals.

Beans – Kidney beans, black-eyed peas and lentils are good sources of bioflavonoids and zinc. They can help protect the retina and lower the risk for developing macular degeneration and cataracts.

Oysters and pork – Oysters and pork are super foods proven to boost eye health. The selenium and zinc in these foods are good for your eyes as they protect against macular degeneration and night blindness.

Salmon, tuna and other oily fishes – Salmon, tuna and other fatty fishes are the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids which may help treat eye diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal infant vision development. It is a high source of B vitamins too which can slash the risk of cataracts by about half."
Words above from article here


Please note articles within this blog are 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.

All the best Jan

Monday 29 April 2024

Meet Swan Jovi

From time to time we post something completely different,
and this story is a little different!

Marina welcomes 'newest berth holder' Swan Jovi


the swan has been nicknamed Swan Jovi
photo credit - Torquay Marina

A swan has built a nest at a marina in South Devon, UK.

The bird, which has been nicknamed Swan Jovi, created a nest on a jet ski pod in Torquay Marina.

The marina said the swan became its "newest berth holder" earlier this week and had laid three eggs.

It said staff were "keeping an eye" on the swan and advice from charities and vets was to "let her be".

The above taken from article here

I do hope all goes well for this swan 😊

Just a reminder to keep checking your spam folder as many bloggers are finding comments are incorrectly going into spam!

All the best Jan