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Wednesday 31 July 2019

Lemon Poppy-Seed Soufflés : Low Carb : Keto

These low carb lemon poppy-seed soufflés are a light and moist keto treat, and/or a perfect dessert! If you do make these as a dessert course, make sure you pop them out of the oven just as you’re ready to serve (soufflés tend to sink!) and sprinkle them with powdered erythritol for an impressive presentation!

What You Need...
1 cup Whole-milk (full fat) Ricotta
2 large Eggs, separated
1/4 cup Erythritol
2 tsp. Lemon Zest
1 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Poppy Seeds

What You Do...
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F and separate 2 eggs into 2 mixing bowls. Beat the egg whites until they’re foamy, then add in 2 tbsp. of erythritol and beat until shiny and stiff peaks form.
2. In the other mixing bowl, cream together the egg yolks, ricotta cheese and the other 2 tbsp. of erythritol.
3. Into the egg yolk ricotta bowl, add the zest and juice of half a lemon. Then, add the vanilla extract and poppy seeds. Mix well to combine.
4. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks half at a time, stirring gently.

5. Grease 4 ramekins and add your soufflé batter into each one. Gently shake and tap the ramekins to flatten out the tops of the soufflés. Bake for about 20 minutes. The soufflé tops should be set but slightly jiggly.

The above makes...
A total of 4 Low Carb Lemon Poppy Soufflés.
Each soufflé comes out to be 155.25 Calories, 11.02g Fats, 2.64g Net Carbs, and 10.4g Protein.

Recipe with step-by-step guide and more, can be seen here
Need help with weight/measurement conversion, see here

Poppy seeds "are the tiny, edible blue-grey or ivory-coloured seeds of the poppy flower. The former are more common in European cookery; and the latter in Indian cuisine. Although the poppy is the source of opium, its seeds lose their narcotic characteristics as they ripen.

Buyer's guide:
White poppy seeds are not widely available, but you will find them in Indian grocers.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to prevent them from becoming rancid.

Because they’re so small and have a tendency to stick together, poppy seeds are often dry-roasted, or soaked and ground before use to make them easier to handle. In Central and Eastern Europe, they are sprinkled onto cakes, breads, biscuits and bagels, and added to potato, egg, pasta, cream and cheese dishes. In India, they are used as a spice or as a thickener in curries."

There is also a nice Orange and Poppy Seeds Cupcakes low carb recipe here

We bring a variety of recipe ideas to 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

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Root Vegetables : So Healthy

Rachael Link MS RD writes:
"Root vegetables have long been enjoyed as a delicious part of a healthy diet.
Defined as an edible plant that grows underground, potatoes, carrots and onions are a few common examples that most are familiar with.
However, there are many other types — each with a distinct set of nutrients and health benefits.

Here are the 13 healthiest root vegetables to add to your diet.

1. Onions
Onions are popular root vegetables, serving as a staple ingredient in many cuisines. They’re high in fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants. Onions work well in a variety of meals and can easily be added to salads, soups, scrambled eggs, casseroles and many more.

Summary Onions are high in antioxidants and may help reduce blood sugar levels and your risk of certain cancers. 

2. Sweet Potatoes 
Sweet potatoes are vibrant and delicious root vegetables that are highly nutritious and jam-packed with health benefits. They’re rich in fibre, vitamin C, manganese and vitamin A and a good source of several antioxidants. Sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, roasted or sautéed and enjoyed as a delicious side dish or added to everything from sandwiches to salads to breakfast bowls.

Summary Sweet potatoes may help improve blood sugar control and are high in vitamin A, which may preserve vision and improve immunity and skin health. 

3. Turnips 
Turnips are a delicious root vegetable and have been cultivated for centuries. They have an impressive nutrient profile, being a great source of vitamin C, fibre, manganese and potassium. Turnips can be swapped into nearly any recipe in place of potatoes. Try making turnip fries, coleslaw, stir-fry or salad.

Summary Turnips are high in immune-boosting vitamin C and considered a root as well as cruciferous vegetable. Eating it may be associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer.

4. Ginger 
Ginger is a flowering plant from China that is closely related to other root vegetables like turmeric. It’s loaded with antioxidants, including a specific compound called gingerol, which has been associated with a long list of health benefits. It may also decrease pain and inflammation, with other research showing that ginger extract could help relieve menstrual pain and reduce symptoms in people with osteoarthritis. Ginger makes a great addition to tea, soups, smoothies and stews and can bring a zesty zing to just about any dish.

Summary Ginger is rich in antioxidants and can help reduce nausea and decrease pain and inflammation.

5. Beets 
Beets are one of the most nutritious root vegetables available, packing a good amount of fibre, folate and manganese into each serving. They’re also high in nitrates, which are beneficial plant compounds that can help dilate your blood vessels, potentially lowering blood pressure and improving heart health. To take advantage of the unique health benefits of beets, try roasting, juicing, pickling, boiling or steaming this delicious root vegetable.

Summary Beets are a good source of nitrates and may improve exercise performance, increase blood flow and decrease the growth of cancer cells — according to human and animal studies.

6. Garlic 
Garlic is a root vegetable that belongs to the Allium genus and is closely related to onions, leeks, chives and shallots. Each serving of garlic boasts a good amount of several important nutrients, including manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Plus, it’s well-known for its medicinal properties, studies have found that garlic can promote heart health by lowering blood pressure and levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides. It may also boost immune function, as research shows that it can decrease symptom severity and help prevent infections, such as the common cold. Best of all, garlic is highly versatile and can be used to amplify the flavour of your favourite savoury soups, sauces, side dishes and main courses.

Summary Garlic has potent medicinal properties due to the compound allicin. It may help improve your immunity, reduce blood pressure and decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

7. Radishes 
Radishes may be small, but they manage to pack a punch when it comes to nutrition. They’re low in carbs and calories, yet contain a good amount of fibre and vitamin C. Radishes are great for bringing a bit of crunch to your meals or snacks. Try adding slices to slaws, sandwiches, salads or tacos to give your dish a nutritious and tasty upgrade.

Summary Radishes contain a good amount of fibre and vitamin C. They may also have antifungal properties and could protect against stomach ulcers, according to animal and test-tube studies.

8. Fennel 
Known for its liquorice-like flavour, fennel is a flowering plant species closely related to carrots. In addition to supplying very few calories per serving, fennel packs fibre, vitamin C, potassium and manganese. Fennel can be enjoyed fresh, roasted or sautéed, as well as mixed into salads, soups, sauces and pasta dishes.

Summary Fennel contains the compound anethole, which has been shown to reduce blood sugar and block the growth of bacteria in test-tube and animal studies.

9. Carrots 
As one of the most well-known root vegetables, carrots also top the charts as one of the most nutritious. They’re brimming with vitamins A and K, as well as the important antioxidant beta-carotene. What’s more, eating carotenoids may protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss. Carrots make a great snack when eaten raw or dipped in hummus, but they can also be cooked and used in stir-fries, stews or side dishes.

Summary Carrots are high in beta-carotene, which may be tied to a lower risk of vision problems and certain types of cancer. Eating carrots has also been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved antioxidant status. 

10. Celeriac 
Also known as celery root, celeriac is a highly versatile and delicious root vegetable that’s easy to cook and enjoy. It contains a hearty dose of vitamin C and phosphorus and is also an excellent source of vitamin K, squeezing in 80% of the daily recommended value in a single one-cup (156-gram) serving. Vitamin K is an essential nutrient, necessary for proper blood clotting. It’s also needed for the function of osteocalcin, a protein hormone that is key for your bone health. Celeriac has a nutty taste and crunchy texture that works especially well in salads. It can also be boiled, roasted, baked or mashed and used in place of potatoes in nearly any recipe.

Summary Celeriac is a nutrient-rich root vegetable that’s high in vitamin K, a vitamin that is necessary for blood clotting and bone health. 

11. Turmeric 
Turmeric is a type of root vegetable that belongs to the same plant family as ginger and cardamom. The rhizomes, or root, of the plant are often ground into a spice, which is used to add a splash of color, flavour and health benefits to many dishes. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has been shown to prevent blood clot formation, lower cholesterol levels and reduce markers of inflammation in both test-tube and animal studies. Research in humans also suggests that curcumin may alleviate joint pain, stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease symptoms of depression. Turmeric is widely available as a spice and can be added to both savoury and sweet recipes, as well as drinks, such as golden turmeric milk. To reap its benefits, be sure to pair turmeric with black pepper, as the latter contains a compound that can significantly boost the absorption of curcumin in your gut.

Summary Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that has been associated with a long list of benefits, including improved joint pain, blood sugar levels and symptoms of depression. 

12. Potatoes 
Potatoes* are incredibly versatile and widely available, with up to 2,000 different varieties currently cultivated in 160 countries around the world. They’re also very nutritious, packing a good chunk of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. Steer clear of fried potatoes or processed potato products, which are often high in fat, salt and calories yet lacking in nutrition. Instead, select baked, boiled or steamed potatoes to get the most nutrients.

Summary Potatoes pack many nutrients and are high in resistant starch. 

13. Rutabaga (Swede) 
Rutabagas (swede) are root vegetables that belong to the mustard family and are commonly cultivated for their edible leaves and roots. Each serving of rutabagas supplies plenty of vitamin C, potassium and manganese along with disease-fighting antioxidants. Rutabagas are also a good source of fibre, which can help support your digestive health and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Rutabaga (swede) can be mashed, baked or roasted and enjoyed in soups, salads, noodles and even desserts.

Summary Rutabagas (swede) are high in fibre and glucosinolates, which may help protect against cancer and prevent oxidative stress. 

The Bottom Line 

Plenty of nutritious and delicious root vegetables exist — each with a unique set of health benefits. From reducing oxidative stress to preventing chronic disease, adding a serving or two of root vegetables to your daily diet can be incredibly beneficial. For best results, combine these tasty root vegetables with a variety of other nutrient-rich ingredients to help optimize your diet and your health."
Rachael's full article with all information / research links is here

*Many diabetics, and those who live the LCHF or Keto lifestyle, do not include potatoes in their menu plans and this article does include potatoes. They contain starch and the impact of the starch in potatoes can place them in the "bad carb" category for some people. While healthy individuals can tolerate them in moderation, the carbohydrates in potatoes are not a good choice for anyone who is diabetic or prediabetic or needs to keep their blood sugar balanced. Please read 'Introduction to low-carb for beginners' for more details, you can see it here

If you would like to know more about the lower carb vegetables, you can read about the best and the worst here

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

All the best Jan

Monday 29 July 2019

Mushroom and Ricotta Stuffed Chicken Breasts : Low Carb

My chicken recipe folder keeps on growing. Well 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 has a high level of good quality protein, as well as B vitamins, iron, copper and selenium. This is a new recipe suggestion (although you may have something similar already in your recipe file), with delicately flavoured mushrooms and rich cheesy filling, these stuffed low-carb chicken breasts are sure to impress. Serve with a fresh salad, or perhaps a side of roasted vegetables. Enjoy!

Serves Four
7g carbs per serving
4 chicken breasts (approx. 0.33 lb / 150 g each)
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
sea salt and ground black pepper
2½ oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. coconut aminos or tamari soy sauce
7 oz. ricotta cheese
1 oz. parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 oz. leafy greens
1 cup sour cream

Can be found here

Did you know - Ricotta is an Italian fresh cheese made from sheep, cow, goat or buffalo’s milk whey left over from the production of cheese. Since the casein is filtered away from whey during cheese making process, Ricotta is suitable for persons with casein intolerance. Being low in fat and high in protein, Ricotta is a dieter’s dream cheese.

Traditional Italian fresh ricotta is smoother than cottage cheese and tastes mildly sweet. Good Ricotta is firm, not solid and consists of a mass of fine, moist, delicate grains, neither salted nor ripened. The light, delicate consistency and clean flavours make it a perfect accompaniment to a variety of recipes and dishes.

Ricotta is a popular ingredient in many Italian dishes. It is also suitable as a sauce thickener. Fresh Ricotta pairs great with Sauvignon Blanc.
There are three distinct varieties of ricotta: ricotta salata moliterna (ewe's milk whey), ricotta piemontese (cow's milk whey + 10% milk) and ricotta romana (a by product of Romano cheese production).

read more about the nutritional benefits of ricotta cheese here

Dear reader, the recipes on this blog are only suggestions, and you may wish to amend them slightly to better suit your own individual requirements. 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


Another very special watch, I think you will agree, and the photography and digital imaging is exceptional. Enjoy. Eddie

Friday 26 July 2019

Weekend English Breakfast Frittata

Where has this week gone to? It's whizzed by, and now here we are looking forward to the weekend. With that in mind why not take a little time and enjoy a 'Weekend English Breakfast Frittata' … it's a clever twist on the full English breakfast! Packed with sausage, smoked bacon and soft button mushrooms, this Frittata is just the perfect early morning dish, and so low in carbs, it's virtually no carb!

Serves Four
2 outdoor-bred pork sausages
1 tbsp. oil
3 smoked back bacon rashers fat trimmed cut into cubes
75 g button mushrooms sliced
65 g tomatoes halved (e.g. cherry or pomodorino)
4 large (British) free-range eggs
12.5 g bunch fresh chives snipped

1. Squeeze the sausages out of their skins, and roll the sausage-meat into 12 bite-size balls.
2. Heat ½ tablespoon of the oil in a 20cm ovenproof frying pan. Add the sausage and fry all over for 1 minute, until browned and cooked through. Add the bacon and mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, until golden. Add the tomatoes for a further minute. Remove the mixture and set aside. Discard excess fat from the pan.
3. Whisk together the eggs and chives and season with freshly ground black pepper. Stir in 2/3 of the fried sausage mix. Pre-heat the grill to medium.
4. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan over a medium heat. Add the egg mixture, tipping the pan so that it covers the base. Turn down the heat and scatter over the remaining sausage mixture. Cook for 8 minutes, or until almost set.
5. Place under a pre-heated grill, for 2-3 minutes, until the frittata is set and golden. Let cool slightly, then slide out of the pan, cut into wedges and serve.
6. Enjoy!

Recipe idea from here

... and please don't forget a cup of tea or coffee to go with it !

The recipes on this blog are only suggestions, and you may wish to amend them slightly to better suit your own individual requirements. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. 

All the best Jan

Thursday 25 July 2019

Local Band Raising Money for Charity

Well here in the Northern Hemisphere it seems summer is in full swing! Most of the UK schools have broken up for their six week summer break and although the children have big beaming smiles … not all parents have, as many juggle child-care arrangements, or the thought 'what are we going to do for six weeks?'. I always used to look forward to this nice long break and being able to get out and about with the children ... now I look forward to spending time with children and grandchildren ... how the years fly by! 

Summer fun started recently with the 'Pedal Car Grand Prix' see here and continued with a 'Family Fun Day and BBQ' which as well as providing a lot of fun also raised money for a good cause. 'Making A Difference (M.A.D). Group is a small group of only three ladies who are proud to be part of the whole Cancer Research UK team. They raise funds to help research into Cancer by putting on a variety of events and money raised help research into Cancer. These lovely ladies (and helpers) are a local fundraising group raising vital funds for CRUK across the Counties of Dorset & Hampshire.

a few pictures from family fun day - please click on each one to enlarge

One of our sons is the drummer, and with his four friends play in a group called 'Barefoot Soul'.
They were providing some of the great music for the afternoon. 
… setting up and sound-check in the bandstand ... I like its design!

Barefoot Soul played a great selection of music
and yes 
"Jumping Jack Flash ... it was a gas!"

the group being joined by guest 'Mr. G'

It was a super family afternoon with great music,  various rides, fun stalls, face painting, five-a-side football and a tug of war ... did I mention the burger bar!!!

At the end of a super afternoon it was nice to get back and put our feet up ...
Anyone for a White Chocolate Raspberry Lolly (Popsicle), it's low carb and dairy free, more details here

All the best Jan

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Here’s What Happens to Your Body When You Meditate

This is quite a long read, but interesting … well I thought so!
As seen in the Sydney Morning Herald and Food Matters site

"It's a piece of advice yogis have given for thousands of years: take a deep breath and relax. Watch the tension melt from your muscles and all your niggling worries vanish. Somehow we all know that relaxation is good for us. 

Now the hard science has caught up: a comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level was published about 7 years ago. What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ''disease-fighting genes'' were active, compared to those who practiced no form of relaxation. 

In particular, they found genes that protect from disorders such as pain, infertility, high blood pressure, and even rheumatoid arthritis were switched on. The researchers say the changes were induced by what they call ''the relaxation effect'', a phenomenon that could be just as powerful as any medical drug but without the side effects. ''We found a range of disease-fighting genes were active in the relaxation practitioners that were not active in the control group,'' Dr. Herbert Benson, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the research, says. The good news for the control group with the less-healthy genes is that the research didn't stop there. 

The experiment, which showed just how responsive genes are to behaviour, mood, and environment, revealed that genes can switch on just as easily as they switch off. ''Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practicing relaxation methods every day,'' says Jake Toby, a hypnotherapist at London's Body-Mind Medicine Centre, who teaches clients how to induce the relaxation effect. ''After two months, their bodies began to change: the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells, and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on.'' 

More encouraging still, the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practice: the more people practiced relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels, and lower blood pressure. Benson believes the research is pivotal because it shows how a person's state of mind affects the body on a physical and genetic level. It might also explain why relaxation induced by meditation or repetitive mantras is considered to be a powerful remedy in traditions such as Ayurveda in India or Tibetan medicine. 

But just how can relaxation have such wide-ranging and powerful effects? Research has described the negative effects of stress on the body. Linked to the release of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol, stress raises the heart rate and blood pressure, weakens immunity, and lowers fertility. By contrast, the state of relaxation is linked to higher levels of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin, and to the growth hormone which repairs cells and tissue. Indeed, studies show that relaxation has virtually the opposite effect, lowering heart rate, boosting immunity, and enabling the body to thrive. 

''On a biological level, stress is linked to fight-flight and danger,'' Dr. Jane Flemming, a London GP, says. ''In survival mode, heart rate rises and blood pressure shoots up. Meanwhile, muscles, preparing for danger, contract and tighten. And non-essential functions such as immunity and digestion go by the wayside.'' Relaxation, on the other hand, is a state of rest, enjoyment, and physical renewal. Free of danger, muscles can relax and food can be digested. The heart can slow and blood circulation flows freely to the body's tissues, feeding it with nutrients and oxygen. This restful state is good for fertility, as the body is able to conserve the resources it needs to generate new life. 

While relaxation techniques can be very different, their biological effects are essentially similar. ''When you relax, the parasympathetic nervous system switches on. That is linked to better digestion, memory, and immunity, among other things,'' Toby says. ''As long as you relax deeply, you'll reap the rewards.'' But, he warns, deep relaxation isn't the sort of switching off you do relaxing with a cup of tea or lounging on the sofa. 

''What you're looking for is a state of deep relaxation where tension is released from the body on a physical level and your mind completely switches off,'' he says. ''The effect won't be achieved by lounging round in an everyday way, nor can you force yourself to relax. You can only really achieve it by learning specific techniques such as self-hypnosis, guided imagery, or meditation.'' 

The relaxation effect, however, may not be as pronounced on everyone. ''Some people are more susceptible to relaxation methods than others,'' says Joan Borysenko, director of a relaxation program for outpatients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston. ''Through relaxation, we find some people experience a little improvement, others a lot. And there are a few whose lives turn around totally.'' 

7 Health Benefits of Meditation
One of the easiest ways to achieve this relaxation effect, as mentioned above, is through meditation. So, the next time you tune out and switch off and let yourself melt into a soothing meditation, remind yourself of all the good work it's doing on your body. These are just some of the scientifically proven benefits.

1. Increased Immunity
Relaxation appears to boost immunity in recovering cancer patients. A study at the Ohio State University found that progressive muscular relaxation, when practiced daily, reduced the risk of breast cancer recurrence. In another study at Ohio State, a month of relaxation exercises boosted natural killer cells in the elderly, giving them greater resistance to tumours and to viruses.

2. Emotional Balance
Emotional balance means to be free of all the neurotic behaviour that results from the existence of a tortured and traumatized ego. This is very hard to achieve fully, but meditation certainly is the way to cure such neurosis and unhealthy emotional states. As one’s consciousness is cleansed of emotionally soaked memories, not only does great freedom abound, but also great balance. As one’s responses then are not coloured by the burdens one carries but are instead true, direct and appropriate.

3. Increased Fertility
A study at the University of Western Australia found that women are more likely to conceive during periods when they are relaxed rather than stressed. A study at Trakya University, in Turkey, also found that stress reduces sperm count and motility, suggesting relaxation may also boost male fertility.

4. Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome
When patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome began practicing a relaxation meditation twice daily, their symptoms of bloating, diarrhea and constipation improved significantly. The meditation was so effective the researchers at the State University of New York recommended it as an effective treatment.

5. Lowers Blood Pressure
A study at Harvard Medical School found that meditation lowered blood pressure by making the body less responsive to stress hormones, in a similar way to blood pressure-lowering medication. Meanwhile, a British Medical Journal report found that patients trained how to relax had significantly lower blood pressure.

6. Anti-Inflammatory
Stress leads to inflammation, a state linked to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and skin conditions such as psoriasis, say researchers at Emory University in the US. Relaxation can help prevent and treat such symptoms by switching off the stress response. In this way, one study at McGill University in Canada found that meditation clinically improved the symptoms of psoriasis.

7. Calmness
The simple difference between those who meditate and those who do not is that for a meditative mind the thought occurs but is witnessed, while for an ordinary mind, the thought occurs and is the boss. So in both minds, an upsetting thought can occur, but for those who meditate, it is just another thought, which is seen as such and is allowed to blossom and die, while in the ordinary mind the thought instigates a storm which rages on and on.

How to Switch Off Stress
How can you use relaxation's healing powers? Harvard researchers found that yoga, meditation, and even repetitive prayer and mantras all induced the relaxation effect. ''The more regularly these techniques are practiced, the more deeply rooted the benefits will be,'' Jake Toby says. Try one or more of these techniques for 15 minutes once or twice a day.

Body Scan
Starting with your head and working down to your arms and feet, notice how you feel in your body. Taking in your head and neck, simply notice if you feel tense, relaxed, calm or anxious. See how much you can spread any sensations of softness and relaxation to areas of your body that feel tense. Once you reach your feet, work back up your body.

Breath Focus
Sit comfortably. Tune into your breath, follow the sensation of inhaling from your nose to abdomen and out again. Let the tension go with each exhalation. When you notice your mind wandering, return to your breath.

Mantra Repetition
The relaxation response can be evoked by sitting quietly with eyes closed for 15 minutes twice a day, and mentally repeating a simple word or sound such as ''Om''.

Guided Imagery
Imagine a wonderfully relaxing light or a soothing waterfall washing away tension from your body and mind. Make your image vivid, imagining texture, colour, and any fragrance as the image washes over you."

Words above and more from here

Do You Take Time Out To Relax?
I do my best to take some 'me-time' and relax. Some of my friends say yoga is excellent, a few have tried meditation. I wonder, do you take time out? Have you any tips to share?

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

All the best Jan

Summer Style All Green Salad ... with broccoli, asparagus and more !

Many may call this an 'LA-style all green salad' but whether you are in LA, London, Llandudno, Lugano, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Limerick, Lanark ... or your own town, if you like broccoli why not consider giving this a try. The recipe idea does suggest a tin of green lentils, which does 'up' the carb content *.

The recipes on this blog are only suggestions, and you may wish to amend them slightly to better suit your own individual requirements. If you are a diabetic and not sure of how certain foods may affect your blood sugar level ... test is best i.e. do use your meter.

... but on we go. This is a plate brimming with the best of summer veg, all topped off with a zesty dressing.

Serves Four
1 tbsp. olive oil
0.5 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 washed lemon
80 g fat-free natural yogurt
1 medium head broccoli, broken into florets
250 g bunch asparagus, trimmed
200 g baby leaf watercress, spinach and rocket salad
410 g tin green lentils in water, drained and rinsed
1 ripe avocado peeled, de-stoned and chopped
40 g seed mix

1. Make the dressing: in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, cumin, garlic, lemon zest and juice and natural yogurt. Set aside.
2. Steam the broccoli over a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Add the asparagus for the final 2 minutes.
3. Toss together the salad leaves with the asparagus, broccoli, lentils and avocado. Divide between 4 plates, drizzle with the dressing and serve scattered with the seed mix. 

Each serving provides:

* 16.4g carbohydrate 8.5g fibre 15.5g protein 15.9g fat
From an original idea here

perhaps you may enjoy a taste of 'LA style all green salad' in a summer garden
image from google

For those readers in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope your summer is going well. For those who are once again experiencing very hot temperatures, do remember to stay hydrated ... 

Of course for those readers living in the Southern Hemisphere you may prefer a warming Tuscan-style winter vegetable soup, see the recipe here

… thanks for reading.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Jaquet Droz The Bird Minute Repeater Watch

As Jan often says, we try to bring a magazine type format to our blog. With this in mind, here is something completely different for your enjoyment. I have been interested in fine watches for many years, in my opinion, the Jaquet Droz watches have taken fine watch making to a stratospheric level, with of course, stratospheric prices. 

Please check out this short video, I think it will bring a smile to your face, especially the bird watchers who visit us. When the video starts click on the you-tube link and go full screen, the music and the photography is stunning. Have a great day. Eddie 

Monday 22 July 2019

Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers : BBQ - Griddle - Grill

These halloumi and vegetable skewers are so versatile, and although this recipe uses red peppers, small shallots and baby button mushrooms, you could use just about any vegetable e.g. courgette (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant) and red onions.

Serves Four
225 g (lighter) halloumi, cubed
2 red peppers, de-seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
8 small shallots, peeled
100 g baby button mushrooms, halved
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
60 ml olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 pinch of crushed chillies 

1. Spear the halloumi, peppers, shallots and mushrooms, alternating each, onto four metal skewers (if using wooden skewers soak them for 30 minutes first to prevent burning). Arrange in a shallow dish and set aside.
2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, adding the chilli flakes sparingly unless you like things spicy. Drizzle most of the dressing over the skewers and turn to coat. Marinate for 10 minutes.

3. Heat the barbecue to medium-high (or use a griddle pan over a medium heat if not barbecuing). Cook the skewers for 4-5 minutes, then turn and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften and char around the edges. Take off the barbecue – the metal skewers will be very hot, so be careful – and drizzle over the remaining dressing. 
Nutritional Details: 
Each serving provides 
27.8g Fat 7.7g Carbohydrate 2.3g Fibre 14.7g Protein 
From an original idea here 

Halloumi is a firm, slightly springy white cheese from Cyprus, traditionally made with sheeps’ milk, although these days mass-produced varieties often use cows’ milk.

In texture, halloumi is similar to a firm mozzarella, making it a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. Unlike mozzarella, however, it has a strong salty flavour, particularly when preserved in brine.

Buyer's guide:
The best halloumi is made from sheeps’ milk, and will come from Cyprus, although these days you can even find varieties made in Britain.

Halloumi will keep in the fridge for many months if left in its original packaging, complete with brine or whey. Once opened, submerge in salt water and refrigerate.

In the Middle East, halloumi is usually fried or grilled to take advantage of its high melting point. Although halloumi can be eaten straight from the packet, some chefs recommend soaking it in buttermilk for a day or two before preparing, to give it a richer, less salty flavour.

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

All the best Jan

Sunday 21 July 2019

Low Carb Scones : Devonshire Tea : Devon A Beautiful UK County

Visit Devon in the South West UK and you may want to stay forever! It's a stunning county of great contrasts, with two beautiful coastlines, two National Parks and five official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There’s so much to see and do. From historic cities, to family-friendly beaches, tiny pebbled coves, wild and windswept bays with stunning views, and glorious green countryside The food is delicious too from Devon Crab to a wonderful Devonshire Cream Tea.

Talking of which I recently came across a wonderful low carb recipe on Karen's KETohh blog, she writes it's a Diabetic Recipe, also gluten free, Keto, LCHF. 

Karen says; "a sugar free and low carb life does not mean missing out on great tasting food such as these Low Carb Scones. I just want to clarify that this scone recipe is to make scones that go with jam and cream, otherwise known as Devonshire tea.

Delicious, nutritious and sugar free, these scones go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee. Dress them up and serve them to impress your guests or simply have a couple of these delicious scones for morning or afternoon tea (yes please) served with butter and jam. This recipe is ideal for anyone generally trying to reduce the carbs and sugar in their life. It’s a great recipe also for diabetics, celiacs, those with gluten intolerance, and for anyone following a low carb, Keto or LCHF way of eating.

Serve these simply with butter and some Sugar Free Strawberry Chia Jam Spread or Raspberry Chia Jam Spread, or add some whipped cream for the perfect Devonshire Tea. These scones will last for 2-3 days stored in an airtight container but are also suitable for freezing as long as they are in an airtight bag. To freshen the scones or heat them up, simply microwave for a few seconds. You can also heat them in a low to moderate oven for about 5 minutes, taking care not to brown too much.

When you look at the recipe ingredients feel free to switch out the Greek yogurt for sour cream if you wish or need to. Please note that the key to shaping these scones is in letting the dough rest for 10 minutes before shaping, so that the little amount of coconut flour used in the recipe thickens it up and enables you to cut out the scones. Minimalize your handling of the dough to keep these as light as possible. Bring any scraps of dough gently back together to cut out the last few scones. 

I hope you enjoy these … if you’ve never experienced Devonshire Tea and give these a try, then you are in for an wonderful experience."

12 scones
250 grams almond meal/ flour
2 tablespoon coconut flour
½ cup Greek yoghurt or sour cream
1 large egg
50 grams melted butter cooled
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
1. Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F Fan Forced
2. Mix dry ingredients together till well blended, ensuring baking powder and soda are well mixed.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix gently till combined.
4. Important- Leave sit for 10 mins to enable dough to thicken slightly.
5. Shape gently with hands on baking paper so that it the dough is about 3-4 cms./1.5 " thick. Using a small scone cutter (or champagne glass) cut into 12 scones. Scoop the dough gently back together, to cut the last few scones
6. Bake at 180 C/350 C fan forced for about 12-14 minutes or till cooked.
7. You can brush the tops of the scones with butter or egg just prior to baking to brown slightly but it isn't necessary.
8. Note that I don't add sweetener to this recipe because I always serve them with jam and cream. You could add a tiny amount if you wished to and some vanilla extract, but keep it to a minimum.
9. Always minimize your handling of the dough so keep them as light as possible.
10. Cut cooked scones in half with a really sharp serrated knife to serve, as they don't have any gluten in them they are a bit more fragile than normal scones.
11. If you wish to reheat or freshen scones, zap in the microwave for a few seconds or heat in a low to moderate oven for about 5 minutes.
Nutritional Information

Serving: 1 scone
Carbohydrates: 2.4g | Protein: 5.4g | Fat: 19.1g | Fibre: 2.1g
Original recipe and more can be seen here

The above recipe use 'low carb flour' and if you are just starting a low carb diet/lifestyle you may feel confused with which low carb flours to use. You may never have used any of them before and how to use them properly can be daunting. Low carb flours do not behave like wheat flour, and how to use them in your old regular high carb recipes is a common question. Of course you may also be interested, or want to know more about them. If that is the case then Libby at 'Ditch The Carbs' site has a very good guide, and you can read it here

picturesque Devon country cottage - Devon images from google

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

All the best Jan

Saturday 20 July 2019


Yes it’s Saturday night again and Saturday night is music night on this blog. Does music get any better than this? The voice, the musicianship, simply stunning. Peace to all. Eddie

Swede / Rutabaga : Seven Health and Nutrition Benefits, and Seven Recipe Choices

"Swede/Rutabaga is a root vegetable that belongs to the Brassica genus of plants, whose members are informally known as cruciferous vegetables. It’s round with a brownish-white colour and looks similar to a turnip. In fact, it’s commonly referred to as a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. The rutabaga is a staple in Northern European cuisine and also known by the names “swede” and “Swedish turnip.” They are extremely nutritious and well known for their antioxidant content.

Here are seven health and nutrition benefits of swede/rutabaga.

Nutritious and low in calories
Swede/Rutabagas are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C and E. They are also a good source of folate and provide small amounts of phosphorus and selenium.
High in antioxidants
Swede/Rutabagas are a good source of glucosinolates and vitamins C and E. These are disease-fighting compounds that help protect your body from oxidative stress.
May prevent premature aging
Rutabagas/swede are naturally high in vitamin C, which protects your skin from UV damage and promotes collagen synthesis. Other antioxidants in rutabagas/swede may also play a protective role in skin aging.
Promotes bowel health
Rutabagas/swede are a rich source of fibre, which feeds healthy bacteria in your gut and may decrease your risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
May help with weight loss
Consuming swede/rutabaga may aid weight loss by increasing fullness and helping prevent overeating.
High in potassium
Rutabagas/swede are naturally high in potassium, a mineral that regulates fluid balance, nerve signalling, and blood pressure. A potassium-rich diet is associated with a lower risk of stroke and heart disease. 
Easy to add to your diet 
Swede/Rutabaga can be prepared in many different ways and is available throughout the year, making it an easy vegetable to add to your diet. You can enjoy rutabagas/swede raw or cook them similarly to how you cook potatoes, but be sure to peel the skin, as these vegetables usually have a protective wax coating. Meanwhile, its leaves can be added to salads or soups. Rutabagas have a pleasant sweet and slightly bitter flavour.
You can add them to meals in a variety of ways, including:
boiled and mashed
cut into fries and fried
roasted in the oven
added to a soup
thinly sliced and added to a casserole
grated raw into a salad
Due to their versatility in flavour and preparation methods, rutabagas can replace potatoes, carrots, turnips, and other root vegetables in most recipes.

The bottom line 
Rutabagas/swede are a hearty vegetable packed with fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants. They promote feelings of fullness, which can prevent weight gain. Furthermore, they contain powerful compounds that help fight inflammation, prevent premature aging, and are associated with a reduced risk of various cancers. If you want to get creative in the kitchen, swede/rutabagas are a great ingredient to experiment with. They’re delicious and easy to add to many recipes."
Words and picture above taken from a recent article by Katey Davidson, MScFN, RD, to read her article in full, with all related research links, please see here

* Here are seven recipe choices *

have you tried Cream Roasted Swede (Rutabaga) Soup, see recipe details here

or a Lamb and Swede/Rutabaga Hotpot, see recipe details here

or Oven-baked swede /rutabaga wedges, more details here

or swede / rutabaga simply mashed, see more details here

how about swede / rutabaga rosti, more details here

this Oven-Baked Paprika Chicken with Swede / Rutabaga is nice, see more here

you might like, Sweet and sour swede (rutabaga) with bacon, see details here

Thanks for reading ... we bring a variety of articles and recipe ideas to 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