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Wednesday 30 September 2020

Chocolate Pound Cake : Made with Coconut Flour : It's Low Carb

If you are looking for "an easy low carb coconut flour pound cake made with coconut flour and baked in a loaf pan" then look no further! "This simple low carb cake is great as a snack with a pat of butter or dressed up with ice cream... for some people, not being able to enjoy desserts and baked goods on any diet is a deal breaker. But low carbers have found ways to healthify some of their favourite recipes, making them diabetic friendly and healthy for weight-loss."

"Because coconut flour is used in this recipe, the net carbs are super low and perfect for those on a ketogenic diet. Another plus? Since the price of almond flour has steadily climbed higher, coconut flour is becoming the more economical choice."

Serves 12
2 net carbs per serving.
Dry Ingredients
3/4 cups (70 g) (Bob's Red Mill) Coconut Flour
1/2 cup (115 g) Sukrin 1 (or Swerve Granulated)
1/4 cup (25 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
Wet Ingredients
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon stevia glycerite or more to taste
2 teaspoons vinegar
Melt together
4 ounces (1 stick/ 113 g) salted butter, melted (or coconut milk)
1 ounce (28 g) unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
Optional Topping
2 tablespoons (Lily's) Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips

Need help with weight/measurement conversion, please see here
Please find cooking instructions, and much more, at Low Carb Maven blog here

don't forget to put the kettle on
will you have tea or coffee

This blog brings 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.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 29 September 2020

The Rise Of Childhood Obesity

You only have to type in childhood obesity in the search engine of your computer and you will find many articles about it. In fact it would seem that Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. 

I came across one such article from Christine Fallabel and I share part of what she has written, the link to her full article is given below, but she writes:

"September is National Childhood Obesity Month in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, about 1 in 5 American children (19%) is obese, and the numbers are startlingly and steadily rising. Bringing awareness to this health crisis can help educate parents and caregivers about warning signs for childhood obesity, and how to prevent it for their children and loved ones.

Causes of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity can have many causes, most of which are behavioural in nature, although metabolism and genetics do play a strong role. Lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating patterns are some of the highest risk factors for developing obesity, as is a lack of sleep, and simply not having access to a safe place to exercise or the ability to buy healthy foods (living in a food desert, for example). Many social determinants of health play a role here. Children of lower socioeconomic status are at higher risk of developing obesity than children of higher socioeconomic status, who may have better access to parks and recreation and healthy foods.

Preventing Childhood Obesity at Home

There is a lot that family and friends can do to help to prevent obesity from affecting a child’s life.
1. Tracking a child’s weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) regularly can keep a child on track; if you see rapid weight gain, you can catch it more quickly and reach out to your doctor for a check-up.
2. Focusing meals on fresh fruits and vegetables, and eating foods in their most natural state prevents eating additional additives, preservatives and chemicals that won’t fill a child up, but are loaded with empty calories.
3. Make sure your child is active every day. Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity. This need not be a formal activity, like a soccer game. Walking the dog, helping to clean the house, and even walking around the shopping mall are all great forms of physical activity that gets a child moving and don’t cost any money.
4. Limit screen time. In 2019, the World Health Organization released new guidelines for the recommended amount of screen time by age, for children.
5. Make sure children are drinking water and not soda. About 40% of the calories consumed by 2-18 year olds comes in the form of these empty calories. Swapping soda out for water will save a ton of calories and will ensure that your child is filling up on wholesome, nutrient-dense calories instead.
6. Make sure your child has a healthy HbA1c. Keeping tight control on blood sugars and HbA1c can prevent overtreating lows and overeating, both of which can contribute to weight gain.
7. Eat healthy meals as a family. Children do what you model, not necessarily what you tell them to do. If you act as a role model with healthy meals, they will naturally follow.
8. Make sure your child is getting adequate sleep. When sleep patterns and circadian rhythms are off, children’s hormone levels become out of range, and they are more likely to overeat and not be physically active. They may also fall behind in school and suffer low self-confidence, resulting in overeating as a coping mechanism. Make sure your child is getting good sleep every night of the week.

Community and Societal Support

Preventing obesity may start at home, but it takes a village to raise a healthy child. Communities should provide safe and healthy playgrounds and parks accessible to all children, and local schools should provide free, clean, and safe drinking water and lunchroom cafeterias should provide balanced, healthy meals. Schools should also encourage physical activity, and provide robust physical education classes and electives for children and teens.

Additionally, your child’s health care provider should be conducting regular physical and mental health checks, to make sure your child is on track to enter adolescence and adulthood in a healthy mindset and at a healthy weight, especially if they are living with diabetes, which can make them more prone to disordered eating.

Together, with cooperation from parents, caregivers, schools, communities and engaged paediatricians and care teams, we can work to prevent childhood obesity and set the stage for healthy children and the future (healthy) adults we hope they will become."
The above is taken from Christine's original article, which can be read in full and with all relevant research/information links here

I read with interest the points Christine made about prevention, they all made good sense but it was point number two that jumped out at me.
Do have a read and please share any thoughts, comments, etc. with us.

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

Monday 28 September 2020

Having a snooze !


Our son recently sent us this photograph.
While he enjoyed watching the TV, 'cat' was very happy to have a snooze.

Awww, I thought it was so sweet.
Happy Monday everyone

All the best Jan

Sunday 27 September 2020

Pork can make a wonderful tender stew !

Although not eaten by all, Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, accounting for about 38% of meat production worldwide. Pork is the culinary name for meat from a domestic pig - Sus scrofa domesticus - , and there is evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC.

I do like to include Pork in my weekly menu plans, and there are so many ways to cook and enjoy it. Take this recipe suggestion, a delicious plateful, and the ingredients used fit well with the LCHF lifestyle too!

Serves 6 - 8
2 tsp olive oil
750 g pork shoulder, cut into 5cm cubes
2 tbsp. plain flour
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
230 g tin chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 heaped tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 (low-salt) chicken or vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp. grated parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 140°C, gas 2. Heat half the olive oil in a medium non-stick saucepan. Dust the pork with the flour. Add half the pork to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the pork and set aside.
2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, along with the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the onion has softened slightly. Return the meat to the pan with the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme leaves. Make up 500ml stock using the stock cube and pour 300ml into the pan (save the rest for another recipe). Bring to the boil, then carefully pour the contents of the pan into an ovenproof casserole. Cover with a lid then transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
3. Just before serving, remove the casserole from the oven, sprinkle with the grated parmesan and bake until the cheese has melted.

Nutritional Details:
Each serving provides
7.6g carbohydrate 2.1g fibre 13.8g protein 8.0g fat

Delicious served with celeriac or swede mash
You can freeze this, but do it before adding the Parmesan, and defrost fully before cooking and check it's piping hot when you serve.
From an original idea here

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

All the best Jan

Saturday 26 September 2020

Les Feuilles Mortes (Autumn Leaves) Andrea Bocelli : Saturday Music

I've been singing this song for days, probably not too well! LOL! So as it's Saturday let's have some music on this blog. The Autumn leaves with one of my favourite singers and so right for this time of year, I hope you enjoy it. All the best Jan

Friday 25 September 2020

Animal Antics !

From time to time we post something completely different; 
Like these photographs from the 2021 Countryfile Calendar.
The Calendar will be sold in aid of the BBC’s Children In Need Appeal.
Last year, the calendar raised more than £2.4 million for the charity.

'An apple a day' photo credit Michelle Howell

'Nut-quacker' photo credit Lin Bingham

'Scent of Spring' photo credit Ben Stokoe

Have you a favourite?

You can see these and more amazing photographs here

All the best Jan

Thursday 24 September 2020

Sweet potato and Chicken traybake : Tasty any day of the week dish !

Who can resist this easy chicken traybake which can be enjoyed any day of the week! Chicken pieces and colourful sweet potatoes, red onions and broccoli are simply roasted with herbs, paprika and lemon. Adding stock ensures everything is beautifully tender and there’s a little gravy left in the bottom to serve.

Serves Four
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
2 red onions, cut into wedges
350g broccoli, broken into florets
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1½ tbsp olive oil
6 skinless chicken thigh fillets, each cut in half
2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges to serve
1 tsp smoked paprika
150ml chicken stock
1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Add the sweet potatoes, onions, broccoli and garlic to a large roasting tray and sprinkle over the dried herbs. Season and drizzle over 1 tbsp of the oil, then toss everything together. Spread the veg out in an even layer and roast for 15 mins.
2. Remove the tray from the oven and give the veg a good mix. Add the chicken pieces and drizzle with the remaining ½ tbsp oil. Squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle with the paprika. Return to the oven for 15 mins.
3. Pour over most of the chicken stock, then roast for a final 15-20 mins (topping up with a little more stock if it starts to look too dry) until the chicken is cooked through and the veg is completely tender. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and serve with lemon wedges.
Nutrition Per Serving
Carbohydrate 33.3g Protein 33.8g Fibre 8.7g Fat 20g
From original recipe idea here

Sweet potatoes
These versatile orange spuds have become a popular store-cupboard staple. Sweet potatoes can be treated in the same way as white potatoes and are great for baking, roasting and mashing. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fibre, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus. The carbohydrate content in sweet potatoes, (and white potatoes), will result in a blood sugar impact in any serving size and many diabetics choose not to eat them. However, sweet potatoes are naturally more nutrient-dense; so if you do choose to eat them they could be the better option between the two!
Some other recipes you may like to try:
Vegetable Frittata, with sweet potato, green beans, onion and more - see details here
Roasted sweet potato and carrot soup - see details here

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

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Don't Throw Those Broccoli Stalks Away !

Masha Goepel writes:
"Broccoli stalks don’t tend to feature highly in recipe books. Everyone loves cooking with broccoli florets, while all too often the stalks are tossed in the compost bin or fed to the chickens.

Composting broccoli is definitely good for the soil, and your flock can benefit a lot from a few stalks, but you’ll be depriving yourself of numerous nutritional benefits. Let’s learn to share the healing. Throw some stalks and leaves into the chicken coop, but fill your compost bin with egg shells and coffee grounds instead.

You don’t want to discard any nutrient-dense morsels, or miss out on the flavourful new takes on old recipes broccoli stalks can offer. The trick to finding ways to incorporate the stems is to consider them separately from florets.

Imagine the stalk is a vegetable all its own, with a crisp texture and a mild, fresh flavour. Now, give it a chance to shine.

How can we incorporate broccoli stalks and enjoy both their flavour, and their nutritional benefits?

Believe it or not, the stems are both tasty, and easy to cook. Some people prefer to peel off the outer skin before preparing the stalks, but it’s not essential. Younger broccoli stalks especially have very tender, flavourful stems—skin and all.

1. Soups:
One of my favourite ways to prepare these stems is in hearty soups and stews. Broccoli stalks tend to hold up better in minestrone than the florets. Chop them into thick cubes and throw them into the soup along with your potatoes and onions to simmer.

Broccoli stalks can also make a great addition to a broccoli-cheese soup. Added along with the florets, the stems make this type of soup heartier and more sustaining than usual. They also add a bit of a soft crunch.

2. Stir-Fries:
Throw some thinly sliced stems into your stir-fry instead of water chestnuts (or in addition to them) for an extra healthy addition to a vegetable-rich meal. Stir-fries are a great option for getting the maximum health benefits from cooked broccoli stalks. Quick, high-heat cooking preserves many nutrients that might otherwise be cooked away. Add the green florets to your stir-fry a minute or so after the stems to cook everything perfectly.

3. Omelettes:
Sear julienned broccoli stalks in olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt, and fold them into an omelette along with some sharp cheddar cheese and fresh chives for an indulgent Sunday brunch. Or, throw diced stems into a frittata with smoked gouda and thickly sliced bacon to feed a crowd on Saturday morning.

Slicing broccoli stalks into long spears and roasting them is another amazing way to cook this neglected vegetable. Mingle the spears with squash, onions, tomatoes, and beets. Coat them with olive oil, and sprinkle thyme and sea salt on top before roasting.

4. In the Raw:
You certainly don’t have to cook broccoli stalks to enjoy their flavour or health benefits. Raw stems can be a delicious, fresh addition to any meal.

Imagine thinly sliced stalks brightening up the average veggie tray with a crisp, new flavour option. Or peeled, slim stalk circles for scooping up hummus like a crunchy little chip! There are so many ways to incorporate raw broccoli stems as a snack or meal.

5. Slaws and Salads:
Try grating fresh broccoli stalks into a slaw with slivered almonds, fresh carrots, and crumbled feta. The stalks with be a great addition to any slaw, however. Toss them together with cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, or potato salad for a pop of colour and a burst of flavour.

6. Gluten-Free Cracker Alternatives:
Peeled, raw broccoli stems can be sliced thin and topped with goat cheese, dried cranberries, and crushed pistachios for a great, gluten-free crostini as well. Welcome your gluten-free guests with something new and exciting.

Broccoli stalks are a great base to build on when you start seeing them as nature’s own cracker. There is no limit to the toppings these little stalks can’t handle.

7. The New Pickle:
Sliced into broad strips and sprinkled with dill, salt, and vinegar, raw broccoli stalks are a tasty and novel re-invention of the conventional pickle. Serve a few beside (or inside) sandwiches!

You can even mince them and make relish. Combine broccoli stalk with red onions, dill, vinegar, and a mildly spicy pepper for a hot relish. Pile it on tuna salad for a whole new tuna melt.

Nourishing the Whole Family:
If you’re a pet owner, you know that your pet’s health is important. We care about our animal companions, and want them to be as healthy as possible. They’re a part of the family.

People aren’t the only ones who can benefit from broccoli’s nutrient density. Your pup would love a bit of broccoli. Broccoli is also one of the few vegetables that is healthy for dogs to consume consistently. If you feed your dogs a good diet of bones, meat, and vegetables, chances are you know all this. If you don’t, let me go over a few basics.

Dogs are not “pure” or obligate carnivores. Unlike cats, hawks, owls, mink, and other, exclusive carnivores, dogs need more than just meat. It’s healthy for a dog to have access to some veggies as well. Broccoli is a great, healthy addition to your dog’s diet. Try steaming some broccoli stalks and mixing them in with your pup’s meal. Or blend steamed broccoli into your home-made dog treats.

Like people, dogs benefit from the added vitamins and nutrients. If your dog is anything like mine, she’ll be sneaking raw broccoli stalks off the table in no time.

Cats are considered obligate carnivores, so adding broccoli stalks to their regular diet is discouraged. That said, broccoli is one of the few vegetables they can eat without harm. Therefore, an occasional broccoli treat might be fun for your kitty.

Just don’t ever give broccoli (or any other brassica) to pet rabbits, as it can cause life-threatening gas or intestinal blockage.

Learning Curve:
There are always hits and misses whenever we start exploring new foods, or new ways of cooking with old favourites. Broccoli stalks are no different. I’ve found I don’t like them steamed and blended into smoothies, but you might! Never be afraid to try something new.

Broccoli stalks are a forgiving food to work with. They’re simple, mild, crisp, and versatile. Best of all, your body will have a the benefits of a nutrient dense superfood. Be prepared to feel stronger and more energetic than ever when you invite more of this wonderful vegetable into your diet."

Above words and more to read from Masha's original article here

Dear reader, this blog brings 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.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Can I offer you a Low Carb / Keto Cookie Biscuit !

Sometimes it is so enjoyable to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and help yourself to a nice cookie biscuit, and even better if it's a low carb / keto one! Here are two recipe suggestions you may like.

Swedish Hazelnut Cookies/Biscuits
These crunchy keto cookies are incredibly quick and simple to bake. If you happen to be Swedish I bet your grandmother used to bake these for you when you were a child. It will surely bring back some sweet memories but without the sugar.

makes 18 servings
just 1g net carb per serving
3½ oz. (100g) butter, softened
1⁄3 cup (75ml/ erythritol
1 egg yolk
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (100g) almond flour
1 cup (110g) hazelnut flour
18 hazelnuts
Keeps fresh for at least one week in the fridge in an airtight container or for a couple of months in the freezer.
Recipe Instructions
can be found here

Low Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies
With only 2 net carbs per cookie biscuit for this low carb version of chocolate chip cookies, you may like to give this recipe a try. If you do, I think it may be one you will use again and again, as many others have found out ...
Makes 24
1 ¼ cup almond flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder (preferably corn free)
⅛ tsp sea salt, *optional
⅔ cup sweetener of choice e.g. Swerve sweetener or other low carb granulated sweetener equivalent
5 ½ tbsp butter, cold (it must be cold)
½ tbsp molasses *optional
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
½ cup sugar free chocolate chips or chopped low carb chocolate bar (85% type)
¼ cup chopped pecans *optional
Full recipe and baking instructions
can be seen here

If you should need help with weight/measurement conversions, please see here

The above recipes uses '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

If you may be looking for low carb cake recipe ideas, why not consider one or all of these here

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 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 21 September 2020

Jamie Oliver's : Mushroom and Kale Frittata : Low Carb

Jamie Oliver is a British chef and restaurateur who is known for his approachable cuisine, which has led him to front numerous television shows and open many restaurants.

Jamie says, "My frittata makes mushrooms the star of the dish. Not only do they add a whole load of flavour, but they have a deliciously meaty texture. I've buddied them up with a little cheese, garlic and crispy kale for a beautiful, simple dish - happy days!"

Serves Four
400g mixed mushrooms
100g curly kale
1 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions (scallions)
75g cottage cheese
40g Cheddar
3 garlic cloves
8 large free-range eggs
2 beef tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
15g fresh basil
1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Slice or tear the mushrooms into a 26cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan and dry-fry on a medium heat for 5 mins or until slightly charred, then remove to a plate – you may need to work in batches.
2. Put the kale in a bowl, drizzle over ½ a tbsp olive oil and add a small pinch of salt. Toss together, then give the leaves a scrunch with your hands.
3. Trim and finely slice the spring onions, then tip into the bowl with the cottage cheese. Finely grate in the Cheddar, season with pepper and mix well.
4. Finely slice the garlic, add to the pan with ½ tbsp olive oil and cook for 2 mins or until golden. Add the mushrooms and season.
5. Lightly beat the eggs, then pour into the pan, moving the egg around with a spatula for 1 min before allowing it to settle. Arrange the kale over the top, pushing it into the egg a little. Dollop over spoons of the cheese mixture, then transfer to the oven for 10 mins or until golden and nicely set.
6. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on a plate. Drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil, season to taste and pick over the basil leaves.
7. Loosen the edges of the frittata with a spatula, then slide onto a board. Serve in wedges with the fresh tomato salad.
Nutrition Per Serving
Fat 19g Protein 21.8g Carbohydrates 4.7g Fibre 1.5g
From original recipe idea here

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that’s part of the brassica family which includes broccoli and cauliflower. Like all good brassicas it’s packed with vitamins and fibre.

It can be eaten cooked or raw. Although the latter does require some chewing!

There are three main varieties:
1. Curly Green Kale (pictured above)
2. Curly Purple Kale
3. Tuscan Kale.
(It’s also called Cavolo Nero, Lacitano Kale or Dinosaur Kale)

Not everyone enjoys kale, so here are the best kale substitutes:
1. Collard Greens
In terms of flavour and texture collard greens are the closest match to kale and can be used interchangeably.
2. English Spinach
The most common green, English spinach or spinach has a more green ‘spinachy’ flavour than kale. And the leaves are much more soft and delicate. However if you just want to add some cooked greens to a dish, spinach including defrosted frozen spinach is a good kale substitute.
Spinach isn’t great eaten raw though so don’t use it in recipes where the kale is uncooked.
3. Baby Spinach Leaves
If your recipes calls for raw kale or baby kale leaves, baby spinach is your best bet. The thing to note is baby spinach is more delicate so you won’t need to massage and probably won’t need as much dressing.
4. Swiss Chard / Rainbow Chard (Silverbeet)
Similar to English Spinach the chard family is great in cooked kale recipes. The stems of chard are larger and stronger in flavour than kale stems so you may like to compost the stems or use for another dish. Or cook the stems separately – expect them to take longer than kale to soften.
Unless your chard is super young and tender, it will be too bitter to eat raw.
5. Mustard Greens
While these have a strong hot mustardy flavour when raw, once cooked they taste a lot like kale. Texturally similar too. And packed with nutrition!
Young mustard greens can be lovely raw if you like a little heat.
6. Chinese Broccoli
While the stems are much thicker and the leaves are smaller, Chinese broccoli does taste similar to kale. Not a good choice for raw kale dishes due to the thick stems.
7. Broccoli Raab / Sprouting Broccoli
Not as leafy as kale, however a good kale substitute for cooked dishes that include the stems.
8. Turnip / Kohlrabi Tops
Slightly different in flavour to kale, these green tops of fellow members of the brassica family can be used instead of kale. If the leaves are young and tender they can be used raw like kale leaves.

You can read more about 'The Best Simple Kale Substitutes' here

You will find a variety of recipe ideas and articles 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 20 September 2020

Healthiest Way to Cook Eggs !

James Colquhoun at Food Matters writes:

Firstly, not all eggs are created equal. Secondly, not all cooking methods maintain the nutritional integrity of their health-promoting essential fatty acids. If you’re not avoiding eggs for allergy or ethical reasons, they can be a powerful nutritional inclusion in your diet. Eggs are a rich source of full-spectrum protein, healthy fats, and micronutrients like iron and B12.

The healthiest eggs to choose are pasture-raised and free-range. This is because the chickens get to eat their own natural diet (including grasses, seeds, weeds, insects, bugs, and more) and move about in a natural way (scratching, roaming, and playing in the sun). This results in healthier chickens and a higher quality egg, rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and beta carotene.

Some other points to consider when buying eggs are sourcing from local farms and looking for your country’s animal welfare organization’s tick of approval.

Once you’ve found the right egg, it’s time to master the right cooking method. The key nutritional principle to remember when cooking an egg is to maintain the nutritional integrity of the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) in the yolk, these are the DHA and EPA fats essential for brain and bodily function. These EFA’s are adversely affected by high temperatures which means you should aim to not overcook your yolk.

So no matter how you like your eggs, here’s our guide for cooking perfect, healthy eggs, every time.

1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add a splash of vinegar (you can use apple cider vinegar if you have it).
2. Gently swirl the water with a spatula or big spoon as you crack the egg in. If easier, you can crack the egg into a small bowl beforehand and slide it into the swirling water.
3. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the white has set. The aim is to have a firm white and soft-to-runny yolk.

1. Place eggs (still in their shells) into a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.
2. Turn on your timer from when the water begins a rolling boil.
3. Soft-boiled eggs will only take 3-4 minutes. For a firmer egg, boil for 6-8 minutes.
4. Strain the hot water and let cool in cold water for 1 minute. This makes your egg easier to peel and stops it from continuing to cook.

Fried (Sunny Side Up & Over Easy)
1. Begin with a small amount of oil, butter, or ghee on the pan over medium-high heat.
2. Crack your eggs into the pan and cover with a lid.
3. Wait for the eggs to turn a little white, approximately 1 minute, then add a small splash of water (1-2 tbsp) into the pan, and put the lid back on. This will help to steam the bottom without burning and stop your egg from staying gluggy and uncooked on top.
4. If you enjoy your eggs sunny side up, add a little more water to the pan until your egg whites are cooked and the yolk is soft-to-runny, about 2-3 minutes. If you prefer over-easy, flip the egg once the white is cooked for a further minute keeping the yolk in a soft-to-runny consistency.

1. Start with a little high-quality butter or ghee in a pan over a low-medium heat as you mix your eggs in a bowl with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or seasonings of your choice. Pour your eggs in and constantly mix your eggs - it doesn’t need to be a fast movement, but rather a consistent motion. We suggest using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and avoid any damage to your pan while keeping the eggs nice and fluffy.
2. Take the eggs off the heat when they’re almost cooked (still slightly runny) and place them back into the whisking bowl (it will gently cook any of the remaining egg in the bowl) as they will continue to cook until you are ready to serve.

1. Crack eggs into a bowl with a healthy pinch of salt and a good bit of freshly ground black pepper and whisk. We recommend two eggs per person.
2. Finely chop your favourite herbs and add them to the eggs. This step is optional but makes the omelette that much more delightful.
3. Heat your frying pan on medium heat, and once warm, add butter, ghee, or cooking oil. Allow it to bubble then tilt the pan so it covers the whole surface.
4. Slowly pour your egg mixture into the pan and leave them untouched for 20 seconds or so, until it begins to cook.
5. Use a rubber spatula or fork to gently pull the sides of the mixture away from the pan, while tilting the pan to allow for the uncooked egg mixture on top to run into the surface of the pan.
6. Continue this motion around the pan so the mixture has time to rotate and cook.
7. Now leave the omelette to cook until almost set, which should only take a minute or two. You can use this time to prep any fillings and scatter them on one half of the omelette.
8. Using a spatula, gently flip the unfilled side onto the filled side and cook for another 30 seconds.
9. Remove from the heat and gently slide onto a plate to serve. The aim is that the inside of the omelette should still have a slightly runny to soft consistency to maintain the nutritional integrity of the egg.

Eggs can be incredibly nutritious, when coming from happy, healthy hens and when they’re cooked in just the right way. So crack out the pots and pans and crack open a shell to make the most of this easy addition.
Words above are from James' original article which you can see here
Do you like eggs? I enjoyed poached eggs for breakfast today.

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 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 19 September 2020

Question : Are low-carb and keto diets healthy for bones?

Lauren Weiss is a behavioural nutritionist specializing in the low-carb and keto lifestyle. She has recently written an article/guide on Diet Doctor site regarding low carb and keto diets, and are they healthy for bones?

She writes: "For many, a reduction in bone health, strength, and density is an all too common part of the aging process. Fortunately, several healthy lifestyle habits, including a low-carb or keto diet, can potentially slow or even reverse bone loss as you age.

What is bone health and why is it so important?

Bone is a constantly changing living tissue, even though its hardened appearance may make you think otherwise. Bones are mostly made up of collagen, a protein which provides the soft framework, and calcium phosphate, which adds strength and hardens the framework.

Bones play many important functions in the body, such as providing structure and scaffolding for your body, allowing you to move, anchoring muscles, storing calcium, and protecting your organs (e.g., brain, heart) from injury.

In your late teens to early 20s, your bones achieve their “peak bone mass,” meaning that your body has the greatest amount of bone.

Lifestyle habits — especially diet and exercise, and especially during the period of bone growth in childhood through young adulthood — can influence your peak bone mass by approximately 20 to 40%.

Around midlife, you will likely start to lose bone as part of the aging process unless you incorporate several important lifestyle habits. Since bone loss is “silent,” most people are unaware that they are losing bone.

Unfortunately, poor bone health later in life increases your risk of fracture and frailty, which can have a profound effect on your independence and quality of life. That is why it pays to prioritize bone health as you age.

What conditions are associated with poor bone health?

As bones start to slowly thin out with age, they can become less dense, more brittle, and more likely to break. When this process is accelerated, it can result in osteopenia (low bone mass) or osteoporosis (severe bone loss). Osteoporosis afflicts approximately 200 million people worldwide.

This condition leads to more than 8.9 million fractures every year, and an osteoporotic fracture occurs every 3 seconds around the world.

How do you know if you have poor bone health? Bone health can be measured using a bone scan machine called DEXA, short for dual x-ray absorptiometry.
This machine measures the density of your bones. If your density values are lower than the normal ranges for you age and gender, you may be diagnosed as having osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Increasing evidence shows that several other conditions may be associated with osteoporosis and fracture risk, such as type 2 diabetes, sarcopenic obesity (having more body fat than muscle), and Alzheimer’s disease. 

This does not mean that one causes the other, but this does suggest that similar mechanisms, such as “inflammaging” (inflammation associated with aging) may be involved in the development of each of these diseases.

Future research will hopefully help us better understand these relationships.

Are you at risk for poor bone health?

We can divide the many factors associated with bone growth and bone loss into two categories: nonmodifiable and modifiable.

Examples of the nonmodifiable risk factors — meaning you cannot change them — are age, gender, heredity, and ethnicity or race. Research shows that being female, having a genetic predisposition, and being Caucasian or Asian all increase your risk for accelerated, age-related bone loss.

Although you cannot do anything to change these factors, you can focus on your modifiable variables to help keep your bones healthy.

Modifiable variables are ones you can change during your lifetime to help prevent or slow age-related bone loss. Most of these variables are associated with lifestyle, such as diet, exercise, smoking habits, and alcohol intake. Good nutrition — as well as staying active, not smoking, and avoiding heavy drinking — can help to keep your bones strong as you age.

Even though a large amount of research has explored lifestyle factors, many questions remain. Let’s take a look at them, so you can start making informed choices about how to keep your bones healthy.

The article continues, with questions and answers:-
Will taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements or eating foods rich in these nutrients protect your bones?

What other nutrients may help keep your bones healthy?

What type of exercise is best for bone health?

What are the effects of a low-carb or keto diet on bone health?

Before coming to the -


Emerging research supports the idea that low-carb diets may actually improve our bones. For starters, low-carb diets can reduce inflammation, and researchers have proposed that inflammation may be associated with the development of osteoporosis.

We also know that well-formulated low-carb or keto diets emphasize the consumption of protein and nutrient-rich vegetables, which evidence suggests are important for bone health as well as overall health. No convincing evidence as of yet shows that low-carb or keto diets have any harmful effects on bone, and the new accumulating research suggests the opposite may be true.

A well-balanced, low-carb or keto diet that includes adequate amounts of high-quality protein, calcium-rich foods, and nutrient-dense vegetables may not only help keep your bones strong but help keep your body healthier as you age."

The above is a snippet of Lauren's article which you can read in full and with all reference links here

This blog brings 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.

All the best Jan

Friday 18 September 2020

Pork and Chickpea Stew : One Pot Meal

This recipe suggestion is for an easy pork and chickpea stew that looks as though you slaved over it all afternoon but it only takes 30 minutes! It's full of hearty flavour and everything all in one pot! Don't you just love it when washing up is kept to a minimum!

See the tip at the bottom of the recipe for how to make a veggie version, too.

Serves Four
2 tbsp oil, ideally olive oil
250g/9oz pork fillet (tenderloin), trimmed and cut into small cubes
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 medium courgette/zucchini (roughly 185g/6½oz), ends trimmed, halved lengthways and sliced into semi circles
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½–1 tsp smoked paprika, hot or sweet
400g/14oz tin chickpeas, drained
400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 chicken or pork stock cube
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wide-based casserole.
2. Season the pork with salt and pepper and fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.
3. Add the remaining oil, the onion, pepper and courgette to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned, stirring regularly.
4. Add the garlic, paprika, chickpeas and tinned tomatoes. Half-fill the empty tomato tin with water and add to the pan (roughly 200ml/7fl oz water). Crumble in the stock cube and add the cooked pork. Bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the pork is tender, stirring regularly.

Recipe Tips
For a vegetarian or vegan version of this stew, cook a large cubed aubergine/eggplant instead of the pork in the first step, adding an extra tablespoon of oil once it begins to fry.

See original recipe idea and video guide here

We just love red peppers, there is something cheerful about them, perhaps that's why it's this blogs logo! Or maybe it's because one cup equals close to 300% of your daily Vitamin C requirement! Why not include red peppers on your shopping list - or are you already?

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.

All the best Jan

Thursday 17 September 2020

The Best Oils To Cook With !

James Colquhoun writes: 
"Fat and oil have had a pretty bad rap over the years. The “FAT-FREE" 80’s lead to our demise of this once revered staple and now with highly processed and refined vegetable oils and trans-fats permeating our modern foods, and leading to more illness and disease, it’s fair that we approach this topic with caution.

Choosing the best oils to cook with doesn’t need to be daunting, it simply comes down to a simple two-step approach. Firstly, is the oil or fat in its nutritious raw form and suitable for human consumption in small amounts? And secondarily, does the oil have a high smoke point, in that it can resist high temperatures before oxidizing, which can create harmful free-radicals?

With that in mind, here are our top 4 cooking oils and why.

1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the best additions to any wholefoods pantry (or beauty cabinet for that matter). The largest portion of fat in coconut oil comes from a healthy saturated fat called lauric acid which has been proven to encourage your body to burn fat and also raise HDL (good) cholesterol in your blood, which may help reduce heart disease risk. And most importantly, when it comes to cooking, coconut oil is resistant to oxidization at high temperatures which makes it a great stable oil to cook with. Plus, the delightfully fragrant flavour makes it ideal for any Asian-inspired dishes.

2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
No kitchen is complete without cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. If possible, organic is best here too. But what sets this apart from your regular olive oil? It’s the first extraction from the olive, done without any heat or chemicals that destroy the integrity of this amazing plant. It’s a delicious dressing just on its own but is praised for taking Mediterranean cooking to the next level. Extra virgin olive oil has widespread health benefits, including improving heart health, promoting brain function, potential anti-cancer benefits, and like coconut oil, it can also handle moderately high temperatures without oxidating. 

3. Organic Grass-Fed Butter
Firstly, if you don’t do well on milk (I don’t) you may still do ok on butter (I do). Unlike milk, butter has very low amounts of lactose, the protein in milk which many people react to. This has to do with how butter is made. So if you choose to include small amounts of dairy is in your diet, you can’t go past good-quality, organic, grass-fed butter. For starters, the smell of the butter bubbling in the pan is enough to make anyone nostalgic. But what many don’t realize is that this simple switch is one of the best choices for your health. What dairy cows eat greatly impacts the nutritional value of the milk they produce - and the butter that is made from that milk. Studies have shown that grass-fed is a richer source of Vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, and up to 500% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) - linked to promising anti-cancer effects, and Vitamin K2. It’s still a concentrated source of fats and calories, so it’s important to make sure you’re not smothering your dishes in it - but this is one simple, accessible switch to improve your health in the long run. I also occasionally use both butter and olive oil when cooking as this can help to avoid the butter from burning.

4. Organic Grass-Fed Ghee
Ghee is the holy grail of dairy products. It is a form of highly-clarified butter that has traditionally been used in Asian cooking and stems from Ayurveda’s healing roots. The process of converting butter to ghee involves melting it to remove the milk solids - meaning the final result has significantly fewer dairy sugars and proteins (even more digestible for those who are lactose sensitive). This simple change in form may make it a great alternative for anyone navigating a dairy intolerance. Unlike butter, ghee won’t turn rancid at room temperature and retains its original flavour and freshness for up to a year. While other fats and oils can slow down the body’s digestive process and give us that heavy feeling in our stomach, ghee stimulates the digestive system by encouraging the secretion of stomach acids to break down food. Ghee is one of our must-reach-for cooking essentials, because of both the nutty flavour and the high burning temperature.

There are widespread benefits to be enjoyed from healthy fats; from brain function to heart health, there's a strong case to include more of the right sources in your diet. Sometimes that begins with the absolute basics. So by doing something as simple as switching out your go-to cooking oil, you're making a long-term investment in your health and wellbeing." 
The above from original here

This blog brings 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.

All the best Jan

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Blue Cheese

This recipe suggestion can make an easy starter for dinner parties or perhaps a simple meal for one. Some may like to serve it with crusty bread, or perhaps a low carb bread to mop up the juices!
Serves One
2 Portobello mushrooms, stalks removed and chopped
50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
½ onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ red pepper chopped
50g/1¾oz mild vegetarian blue cheese (you could substitute blue cheese for grated cheddar or any other cheese if preferred)
50g/1¾oz white breadcrumbs
50g/1¾oz fresh chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
2. Put the Portobello mushrooms on a baking tray. Divide the unsalted butter between each mushroom. Season with salt and pepper and put a sprig of fresh thyme in both the mushrooms. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the chopped mushroom stalks and pepper and cook until softened.
4. Spoon the mixture into the baked mushrooms. Put the (blue) cheese on top and sprinkle breadcrumbs all over. Roast the mushrooms for a further 6 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbling.
5. Put the mushrooms on a serving plate, sprinkle over the chopped chives and serve.
From original idea here

You will find a variety of recipe ideas within this blog. 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 your meter. 

All the best Jan

Sunday 13 September 2020

Looking Back At Wonderful September Days

We are very fortunate to have enjoyed many visits to the New Forest, Hampshire, and plan to go again very soon. Whenever we go I so enjoy being able to take your time, take in the views and perhaps meander a little (I'm good at that! LOL!) come on Jan, I hear Eddie say. I was reminiscing about previous September days spent there and thought I'd do a post about it, well why not! So these are old photographs (the first three courtesy of Mr Google) but always nice to see, well I think so!

You often see thatched cottages like these

New Forest Cattle

New Forest Ponies

The New Forest Heathland is lovely

and walking through the very straight trees so enjoyable

You just can't beat it!
In these rather strange days of Covid 19
I think it's even more important to take time out and enjoy a little nature.
It's something we hope to do again soon.

Thanks for reading
All the best Jan

Saturday 12 September 2020

Chicken : Low Carb : Keto : Three Delicious Recipe Choices

Chicken's 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.
The pale flesh has a close texture and a mild flavour that pairs up well with many different ingredients. Never eat raw chicken, and always thoroughly wash your hands, utensils and cutting board as soon as you've cut or handled raw chicken.
Here are three popular low carb/keto chicken dishes you may wish to try:-

Chicken and mushrooms with tomato cream sauce
Serves Four
4g net carbs per serving
4 chicken breasts (without skin)
sea salt and ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp salted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
225 ml heavy whipping cream
75 g finely grated parmesan cheese
110 g fresh, diced tomatoes
fresh basil, for garnish
Instructions can be seen here

Chicken with mushrooms and Parmesan 
Serves Four
6g net carbs per serving
2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
650 g boneless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
225 g baby bella mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
350 ml heavy (double) whipping cream
50 g parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp fresh parsley
Instructions can be seen here

Cauliflower Chicken Alfredo
10g net carbs per serving
Serves Four
150 g bacon, diced
650 g chicken breasts (without skin)
50 g butter
4 garlic cloves
200 g baby spinach
350 ml heavy (double) whipping cream
110 g grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
550 g cauliflower
Instructions can be seen here

As my blogging friend Debbie would say; if you love chicken you will love these recipes; definitely a case of winner, winner, chicken dinner!
I wonder which of the above three recipes may you try first?

Alternative Recipe Suggestions
For our vegetarian and vegan readers, why not have a look at these recipe suggestions;
Vegetarian Choices, five recipe suggestions can be seen here
Mushroom Bourguignon with Celeriac Mash, more details here
Vegan Choices, lower carb recipe suggestions can be seen here

Lentil Shepherd's Pie, more details here 

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog. 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 your meter. 

All the best Jan