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Sunday 29 November 2020

Cheese Soufflé : Two Ways

Cheese Soufflé two ways. One is made with lower carb almond flour, it's grain free, gluten free and sugar free (although you could also use coconut flour if preferred). The other uses 'regular plain' flour. Whichever recipe you may choose, I hope you enjoy your soufflé, but remember once it's risen and cooked, serve it immediately.   

Low Carb / Keto Cheese and Bacon Soufflé

A perfect low carb / keto soufflé with some cheese and bacon!
It's gluten, grain and sugar free.
four servings - 3.6g carbs per serving
4 eggs - separated
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp almond flour
120g shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup heavy cream
6 slices bacon
both written and with video here

Three Cheese Soufflé

uses Parmesan, Gruyere and Cheddar Cheese
six servings - 6.3g carbs per serving
20g plain flour
50g butter
450ml semi-skimmed milk
4 large eggs, separated
25g Parmesan, grated
50g Gruyere, grated
25g Cheddar, grated
a few chive stalks, halved
a few basil leaves, finely sliced
can be seen here

A little more about soufflés
A soufflé is a baked egg-based dish which originated in early eighteenth century France. It is made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savoury main dish or sweetened as a dessert.

What does the name soufflé mean
A soufflé is a baked dish with a flavourful base mixed with beaten egg whites. When baked, air bubbles in the egg whites expand, puffing the soufflé up over the top of the dish. The name for this signature French dish is a derivative of the French verb “souffler,” which means “to blow” or “to inflate.” 

Where Did Soufflé Originate?
The earliest mention of the soufflé is attributed to French master cook Vincent La Chapelle, in the early eighteenth century. The development and popularization of the soufflé is usually traced to French chef Marie-Antoine Carême in the early nineteenth century.
More about soufflés here

Related Post
Celeriac & Blue Cheese Soufflés - see here

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

All the best Jan

Saturday 28 November 2020

Walking can be so good for you !

Sharing these words from article in The Diabetes Diet Blog:

"Adapted from BMJ Sept 19 Promoting physical activity to patients by Christine Haseler et al.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has described walking as a miracle cure. Despite this many of us are not as active as we should be and inactivity is thought to result in as many deaths as smoking. More than a quarter of UK adults do less than 30 minutes physical activity a week.

Quantified, these are the benefits of just plain walking:

30% lower all cause mortality, even 10 minutes a day is worthwhile.

20-30% lower risk of dementia.

Better relief from back pain than back exercises

30% lower risk of colon cancer

30% reduction in falls for older adults

22-83% reduction in osteoarthritis

even lower body fat than playing sports

20-35% lower risk of cardiovascular disease

20% lower risk of breast cancer

30-40% lower risk of metabolic syndrome or type two diabetes

The people who need to see their GP before undertaking exercise are few but include people with unstable angina, aortic stenosis or uncontrolled severe hypertension.

In pregnancy the sort of activities that need to stop are: impact activities, lying on the back for long periods, high altitude activities and underwater activities."
Words above from here

Related Post
Why not take a walk - read it here

The photograph above shows me enjoying a winter walk ...

After a nice walk why not enjoy a bowl (or mug) of Minestrone Soup
see details here

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

All the best Jan

Friday 27 November 2020

Bean and Halloumi Stew : Vegetarian Choice

Have you heard of Halloumi? It's pronounced ha-loo-mee. It's a semi-hard chewy, white cheese originating from Cyprus and made from cow's, goat's or sheep's milk, or a combination. It has a mild salty flavour and lends itself beautifully to cooking due to its firm texture which is retained even when cooked and exposed to high temperatures. It has become a firm favourite in our household and sometimes we just cook a couple of slices and enjoy them as a snack! However Halloumi does lend itself so well to recipes such as this one ...

This 'BBC Good Food' recipe uses a can of mixed beans to make a tomato-based veggie stew with halloumi. You can make it in just twenty five minutes for a quick and easy lunch/supper.

Serves Two
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp red chilli, sundried tomato pesto or vegan alternative
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
400g can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
400g can chopped tomatoes
½ x 250g block halloumi*, sliced
½ small bunch of coriander, finely chopped
To serve (optional)
garlic bread, 
Low-carb bread made in a mug - see here

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and pepper, along with a pinch of salt and fry for ten minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, pesto and ground coriander, and cook for one minute. Tip in the beans and tomatoes along with ½ can of water, then bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for ten minutes.
Add the remaining oil to a separate frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the halloumi for two minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Taste the beans for seasoning, then spoon into deep bowls. Top with the halloumi and scatter over the chopped coriander. Serve with garlic bread, if you like.

Nutrition Per Serving
Fat 25g Carbohydrates 36g Fibre 14g Protein 19g

Recipe Tips
Swap the halloumi* for fried aubergine slices and use a vegan friendly sundried tomato pesto. (also good for those who may not like Halloumi)

Add a little coconut milk if you don't like things with too much of a tomato taste.

Adding some meat free sausages and a little bit of curry powder also works well.

Of course you could choose to add meat sausages! Recipe choices are always a personal preference.

sharing these red berries seen on a recent walk

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

Thursday 26 November 2020

Welcome to democracy

This is how the world works. Eddie

Happy Thanksgiving 2020

Wishing all our readers who may be celebrating Thanksgiving a Happy Day

Good luck and good health to you all

Jan and Eddie

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Top ten low-carb vegetables, do you include any in your menu plans?

"Here are ten great low-carb vegetables, tasty and rich in nutrients but with very few carbs. Sorted by how popular and useful they are in low-carb cooking.
All numbers are net carbs per 100 grams (3½ ounces).

Cauliflower – 3 g.
Perhaps the most classic and iconic of all low-carb vegetables. The base of cauliflower rice and cauliflower mash.

Cabbage – 3 g.
Another great low-carb vegetable. Who doesn’t love butter-fried green cabbage or the simply amazing Asian cabbage stir-fry?

Avocado – 2 g.
Not just low carb, but also full of nutritious fat. Technically a fruit, but most people likely think of it as a vegetable. Avocado can be eaten in all kinds of ways, including on its own, in salads, or it can be used to make guacamole.

Broccoli – 4 g.
As well as low carb, it's brimming with good nutrients. Just fry it in butter or add some cheese for great-tasting side dishes.

Zucchini/Courgette – 3 g.
Try zucchini (courgette) fries or chips. Zucchini/Courgette can also be used to make low-carb pasta...yummy!

Spinach – 1 g.
An extremely low-carb vegetable, spinach is full of vitamins and minerals and can be used many ways. It pairs beautifully with eggs, such as in a frittata.

Asparagus – 2 g.
Revered as both a food and medicine – and aphrodisiac – by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans up to medieval times, asparagus is one of the world’s oldest cultivated vegetables. Nutritious and delicious! Try it wrapped with prosciutto and grilled.

Kale – 3 g.
Hardier than spinach, less watery, but just as nutrient-rich, kale can stand up to mincing, sautéing, baking, and much more.

Green beans – 4 g.
Frenched, diced and tossed in a salad, fricasseed and more, green beans taste great especially with added fats like butter, an olive-oil vinaigrette, or bacon.

Brussels sprouts – 5 g.
Nutty, filling and nutritious, they are especially good roasted with olive oil and garlic, or with bacon... or steam and serve with a cheese cream sauce." 

Low-carb vegetables – read more about the best and the worst here
Eddie and I enjoy all of these, do you like all of them, have you a favourite?

All the best Jan

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Tuesday Trio : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (14)

This Tuesday Trio of recipe suggestions definitely has more of a vegetarian theme. 
Vegetable dishes and a carrot cake, read on and see if you'd like to try one, or all, of these ideas.

Red Roasted Carrots
Somehow the colour is just right for Autumn, and they are simply delicious. 
half teaspoon each of
cinnamon, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder and sea salt
5 or 6 diagonally (oval) cut carrots
1TBS olive oil and 1tsp sesame oil.
More details
can be seen here

Cauliflower, Leek and Cheese Gratin
A recipe for a creamy side dish , cauliflower and leek gratin,
baked in a cheddar cheese sauce with thyme, it's a popular dish.
30g butter
30g plain flour
400ml whole milk
3 tbsp. double (heavy) cream
100g mature Cheddar, grated
1 leek, cut into chunks
Medium head of cauliflower, broken into equal-size florets
Few thyme sprigs, leaves picked
More details
can be seen here

Carrot Cake
A low carb carrot cake makes a fabulous treat with your morning tea or coffee, 
and also works well as a dessert.
3 cups grated carrot
5 eggs
1 cup Butter melted
3 tbsp Natvia (granulated)
1 ½ cups Almond meal/flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ cup Chopped walnuts
1 tsp Mixed spice
2 tsp Vanilla essence
½ cup Coconut (desiccated or thread)
More details
can be seen here

I hope you've enjoyed this Tuesday Trio, have you a favourite out of these three?

You can see more Tuesday Trio posts here
If you need help with weight/measurement conversion - see here

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

All the best Jan

Covid the great hoax?

Firstly, I do appreciate many people have died due to the Covid 19 virus, evidently, from many sources, the average age is 82. We live in the New Forest, population 180,000. Total deaths up to 30th October,138. Please understand, the area has a higher than average aged population, many people retire to the area, it's a great place to live and see out final years. I don't know what you think, but a 138 deaths does not seem too many to me. The sixty-four thousand dollar question for me is, how many have died from heart attacks, stroke, Alzheimer's, etc. etc. in the same period? Far more than 138 fore-sure. Remember cases does not mean deaths, and latest info suggests the tests have proved to be woefully inaccurate. 

Getting me coat.


Information from this site here

Monday 23 November 2020

Migraine and Cluster Headaches : Is a keto diet helpful ?

Is a keto diet helpful for migraines and cluster headaches?

If you suffer from migraines or cluster headaches, you’ll likely agree that few things on earth can make you feel more miserable. Could following a ketogenic diet possibly provide relief? Emerging scientific evidence suggests that, possibly by reducing inflammation in the brain, keto eating may benefit those with migraines or cluster headaches. Indeed, some people have reported that their headaches dramatically improved after switching to a keto diet.

In this guide, we’ll discuss why a ketogenic diet may be helpful for migraines and cluster headaches, and provide practical advice for getting the best results.

What are migraines?
Migraines are severe headaches that are usually accompanied by nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light and noise. They are more common in women and can be triggered by hormonal changes, certain foods, stress, and other factors. Medications provide relief for some but often come with side effects.

Keto for migraines

Why a ketogenic diet might help
Migraines appear to involve inflammation, chemical imbalances, and impaired energy metabolism in the brain. Some researchers theorize that ketogenic diets may provide migraine relief by reducing inflammation and imparting other beneficial effects on the brain.

Scientific evidence supporting keto diets for migraines
In small studies, ketogenic diets have been found to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, leading to decreased use of medication, in several participants. However, improvement didn’t occur in everyone. More studies, especially clinical trials, are needed.

Anecdotal evidence supporting keto diets for migraines
much more to read here

What are cluster headaches?
Cluster headaches cause severe one-sided head pain several times a day for a few days, weeks, or months. In chronic cluster headaches, attacks can last for a year or longer. Triggers include alcohol, chemicals, stress, and weather changes. Acute and preventive treatments may help some but not all people with cluster headaches.

Keto for cluster headaches

Why a ketogenic diet might help
Ketogenic diets can potentially reduce inflammation, and small studies suggest they may be beneficial for people with migraines. Because migraine and cluster headaches share some similarities, a keto approach may potentially provide relief for people with cluster headaches.

Scientific evidence supporting keto for cluster headaches

Limited research suggests that keto diets may help reduce or possibly resolve cluster headaches in people with drug-resistant cluster headaches. However, much more study is needed.

Anecdotal evidence supporting keto for cluster headaches
more to read here

Getting started
How can you follow the keto diet and get the best results for migraines? Here are a few pointers:
Keep carbs very low
Learn more about the keto diet
Take steps to avoid the “keto flu”
Get enough magnesium
Discuss medications with your doctor
more to read here

Key takeaways
If you suffer from migraines or cluster headaches, a keto diet may potentially help improve your symptoms.

Based on published studies and personal reports, some people have experienced dramatic reductions in headache frequency, severity, and medication usage simply by changing their diet.

However, there are no guarantees. As with epilepsy and other neurological conditions, it’s likely that not everyone who follows a keto diet for migraine or cluster headaches will improve.

On the other hand, a keto diet is a healthy way of eating that can provide other benefits. And if following a keto lifestyle might lead to fewer migraine or cluster headaches and improve your quality of life, it seems worthwhile to give it a try.

The above is a snippet from Franziska's article, read it in full with all research/other links here 

Have you any thoughts on the above article? Do you, or someone you know, 'suffer' with migraine or cluster headaches. Please share any thoughts or tips you may have in the comments.

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

All the best Jan

Sunday 22 November 2020

Ask me if I am worried!

And I'm in the high risk group. Never forget folks, death can be fatal. 


Thankful for ...

Like many other Families, and Grandparents, Covid 19 has kept us apart. Yes, we have been fortunate to be able to use the internet to keep in touch, to enjoy and share each others news to laugh and smile together on screen. Virtual hugs and kisses are good but they are not the same as the real thing. We wonder when we will be able to meet up again? Will it be sometime this year, or may we have to wait until next year? Time will tell ... In the meantime we are thankful for photographs and the internet.

Homework time for Grandson,
busy making a Saxon shield.
History and Design Technology Lessons merge

Dad was on hand to help with some of the tools used

I'll play you a tune on my recorder Grandma

Grand-daughter looking good in her Children In Need top
the charity raised over £37 million this year

The best things in life
are the people we love,
the places we've been,
and the memories we've made 
along the way.
(even if these memories are from photographs and via the internet)

All the best Jan

Saturday 21 November 2020

Tips For A Healthy Thanksgiving

Here in the UK the Countdown to Christmas continues. Christmas Cards are being written, Christmas Gifts being bought … and possibly you've got some food in the cupboard or freezer waiting to be consumed over the Christmas festivities. Of course with Covid still very much in evidence Christmas gatherings could well be different.

If like me you have American friends and bloggers they have been busy getting ready for Thanksgiving Day which is on Thursday 26th November … for our blogging friends in Canada they have already celebrated theirs!

As Covid is a world-wide issue holiday celebrations for many of us will be different this year but we can still do our best to have a healthy holiday season/thanksgiving.

I share an article from James Colquhoun in which he gives seven tips for a healthy thanksgiving. He writes; "when it comes to holiday celebrations, it can be difficult to resist all those extra treats and temptations, with good intentions sometimes flying out the window. It is possible to keep a reign on your health and feel fantastic throughout Thanksgiving, however, with these seven simple tricks.

1. Load Up On Veggies
With roast turkey a common thanksgiving meal in many homes, it is the ideal dish to boost with veggies. Load up on pumpkin, kale, sweet potatoes, asparagus, carrots, onions, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, green beans, garlic, and mushrooms, and you will find you have a plate of sensational goodness right there – no guilt necessary! Just be careful how you cook your veggies, using a high-quality oil if roasting (keeping oil to a minimum), steaming as many veggies as possible to ensure their nutritional value is maintained. Complement them with homemade gravy and fresh cranberry sauce, and voila!

2. Experiment With A New Menu
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to cook up a storm, so why not break some boundaries and do something different this year? It’s the perfect moment to think outside the square and make your own thanksgiving classics! With so many delicious and healthy recipes available, you can nurture your body with tasty nutritional dishes galore. Try gluten/grain/dairy/meat-free if you want – it’s up to you!

3. Practice Conscious Consumption
Eating mindfully and slowly is one of the best ways to listen and respond to your body. Being aware of each mouthful as you eat brings your mind to the moment and helps your stomach connect with your brain, allowing you to sense when you feel satisfied. The antithesis of mindless consumption, conscious consumption enables you to revel in and feel grateful for each taste, flavour, and sensation that you encounter.

4. Hold Back On The Gluten
Gluten is a protein composite found in several types of grains, including wheat, spelt, rye and barley. Gluten does not agree with everyone, and even in those who do not experience an obvious intolerance, it has been shown to cause lethargy, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhoea, and irritable bowel syndrome to just name a few side effects. Gluten has even been linked to some serious autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. Holding back on the bread over the holiday period is therefore not unwise.

5. Steer Clear Of Refined Sugar
One of the main sources of calories is refined sugar – and it is poison! In fact, excessive sugar consumption is probably the largest factor underlying obesity and chronic disease in America. It damages the immune system, causes mood swings and premature aging, and contributes to ailments such as tooth decay, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Found in pre-packaged foods, refined sugar is toxic, and should be avoided at all costs.

6. Look After You
If you are out dining with friends or family over the Thanksgiving period, don’t feel you have to bend to peer pressure by gorging on the food you would rather not have. Feel free to refuse a second helping or give the chocolate box a swerve. If eating out, suggest a restaurant you know has a great healthy menu. You deserve to look after yourself and ultimately your body will thank you for it.

7. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Everyone loves to relax and unwind over the holiday season, but overdoing it in the alcohol stakes can leave you feeling sluggish, moody, dehydrated, and on a big come-down. With alcohol depleting the body of essential minerals and nutrients, zapping energy, and causing weight gain, keeping tabs on the amount you consume is a good idea. Alternatively, you could ditch it altogether, and go for a fresh juice mocktail instead, packed full of feel-good fabulousness!"
You can see James' original article here

Related Posts
Turkey, a fool-proof guide, perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas - see it here

If you should be looking for alternative Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving / Christmas recipes have a look here please note not all shown in the link are low carb!

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 your meter.

All the best Jan

Friday 20 November 2020

Lamb Stew Mediterranean Style !

Lamb is usually a very tasty meat, but can be expensive. We don't eat it too often - in fact I keep a look out for special offers at my supermarket, Farmer's Market or butcher ... depending on where I maybe shopping! If you are not too familiar with the different cuts of lamb, have a read here

Today I share a classic Mediterranean lamb stew recipe that'll recall memories of warmer, sunnier days. Made with lamb neck fillet and using black olives, red pepper and strips of orange peel, it has a rich but piquant flavour. Finish with sprigs of thyme to add a fresh and aromatic scent and (optional) serve with a generous hunk of sourdough bread to mop up any remaining juices.

Mediterranean Lamb Stew with Olives

Serves Four
2 tbsp olive oil
500g lamb neck fillet, cubed
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
125ml dry white wine
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 x 5cm strips orange peel (pith removed)
2 sprigs thyme
1 red pepper, sliced
handful pitted Kalamata olives
sourdough or crusty bread, to serve, optional

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan. Add the lamb and cook for 5-10 mins until browned all over. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. In the same pan, heat the remaining oil, add the onion and cook for 5 mins until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 secs more.
3. Increase the heat and pour in the white wine. Bring to the boil, then leave to bubble for 2-3 mins until the liquid has reduced by half.
4. Return the lamb to the pan, along with the tomatoes, orange peel, thyme sprigs and 200ml water. Leave to simmer gently for 1 hr, adding a splash more water if needed.
5. Add the red pepper and olives and cook for a further 20 mins, until the peppers have softened. To serve, remove the orange peel and enjoy with some sourdough or crusty bread, if you like.
From original idea here

Other Popular Lamb Recipes
Rick Stein's : Lamb Casserole with Aubergine / Eggplant - see here
Lamb and Red Wine Casserole Recipe : Plus More About Lamb - see here
Lemony Lamb Chops - Grilled - see here
Rosemary Crusted Lamb with Parsnip Fries - see here

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

All the best Jan

Thursday 19 November 2020

DIABETES NEWS : Meta-analysis finds keto diets are beneficial for type 2 diabetes

Franziska Spritzler RD CDE at Diet Doctor site writes:

"As interest in ketogenic diets continues to grow, we are seeing more reviews analyzing the outcomes of existing trials, including a study we covered last June.

Now, a new meta-analysis of clinical trials looking at ketogenic diets exclusively in people with type 2 diabetes concludes that very low-carb diets significantly reduce blood sugar, promote weight loss, and improve lipid profiles:

Cureus 2020: Effects of the ketogenic diet on glycemic control in diabetic patients: meta-analysis of clinical trials

Admittedly, this was a small meta-analysis. Although the researchers accepted six studies for the review, they included only the four trials with control groups in the meta-analysis. Of those four, three were randomized controlled trials, and in the other trial participants were allowed to choose whether to follow a keto diet or a low-calorie diet.

Some of the studies may be familiar to many people, including a 2008 trial comparing a keto diet to a low-glycemic diet led by Dr. Eric Westman and a 2017 trial testing a keto diet against a “Plate Method” diet led by Dr. Laura Saslow.

The trials lasted between 16 and 32 weeks, and the number of participants ranged from 25 to 363. Target carb intake was less than 20 grams per day in two studies and 20 to 50 grams per day in the other two studies.

Overall, participants had significant reductions in fasting blood sugar, HbA1c, weight, and triglycerides, along with increases in HDL and little to no changes in LDL. Yet when analysts pooled all the trials’ results, the effects were less dramatic due to the large variations in outcomes among the studies.

However, the researchers emphasized that this should not influence clinicians’ decision-making when considering ketogenic diets for their patients, given that ketogenic diets outperformed the control diets in each trial.

The researchers admitted that they had assumed the participants’ lipid profiles would worsen due to higher fat intake on the keto diet. Yet after conducting their analysis, they found that the opposite occurred.

They concluded by stating, “It is, therefore, the recommendation of this review that the ketogenic diet be considered as a therapeutic intervention for diabetic patients along with medications.”

At Diet Doctor, we wholeheartedly agree. We hope that reviews like this encourage clinicians to support their patients who want to reverse type 2 diabetes with a keto or very-low-carb approach."
Words above from article here

Diabetes News Related Posts
Study shows low carb reverses diabetes and saves money - here
New “real world” study confirms benefits of a self-selected low-carb lifestyle for type 2 diabetes - here
How Low Carb Can Help, plus a favourite low carb recipe - here
Introduction to low-carb for beginners - 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

Roast Vegetables are always a winner

wonderful roast vegetables - see here

Tess Patrick writes:
Nothing warms the soul than a perfectly cooked, roast veggie. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and bursting with flavour that leaves you salivating in seconds. Sharing a few secrets to take your roast vegetables from drab to fab. 

1. All About The Flavour
Everyone knows the best roast isn’t about what veggie, but about the flavour, it’s smothered in. Get creative with your spice rack and try a new combination. Curried vegetables with turmeric, curry powder, and chili are a crowd-favourite to accompany any Asian dishes. For a traditional Tuscan taste, try herbs such as thyme and oregano, with a generous helping of garlic. Those potluck Mexican nights? Try glazing your cauliflower with cumin and smoked paprika. Herbs and spices are like a math equation with no right answer; keep trying all the possible combinations until you find your most mouth-watering answer. After a good place to start? Let this Whole Roasted Cauliflower knock your taste buds off.

2. Keep It Local
Where possible, make sure the veggies you’re using are locally grown, seasonal and organic. This will make sure you’re delving into the most nutrient-rich and diverse plate of vitamins and minerals. Our body’s digestive cycles move with the seasons, so they crave different vegetables throughout the months of the year to support natural detoxification and hibernation. Plus, the reward of knowing you’ve supported a local business and kept your food miles to a bare minimum makes the roasties taste extra-sweet. This Roast Kumara and Chickpea Salad with Almond Parmesan is a great base to start substituting those out-of-season vegetables with some local produce.

3. Play Around With Oils
Many of us were taught that the perfect roast is made when it’s tossed in a cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil, and in many dishes, this may be true. However, the seasoned roasters know that playing around with the type of oil used to crisp the vegetables will totally change the aromatic outcome of the dish. Coconut is a wonderful oil to use that has an impressive nutritional profile, and a dash of sesame oil can be used for an aromatic, South-East Asian flavour. If dairy is in your diet, try using a little ghee for a rustic take on roasties or opt for a neutral but nutritious flavour with safflower or grapeseed. It’s just as important to make sure you don’t drown the vegetables in oil, both for texture and overall health, and to ensure the oils aren’t exceeding burning temperature, becoming carcinogenic. This Satay Vegetable Curry with Quinoa is a wonderful way to play around with the different flavours of oils.

4. Keep It Uniform
Cutting your vegetables to roughly the same size will ensure they cook evenly and on time. Don’t be pedantic, but do try to make it easy for yourself once the roasties get into the oven. Some veggies can be trickier than others, but learn how to nail it with this Roast Pumpkin and Chili-Garlic Spinach Pasta .

5. Stagger Cooking Times & Trays
Everyone’s found out the hard way that most foods cook in their own time, meaning a zucchini/courgette is far more likely to be reduced to cinders before a chunk of sweet potato. Start with your heavier, starchier veggies, and as you take the pans out of the oven to toss, gradually add the lighter foods so they’re all ready at the same time. It’s also important not to overcrowd the pan, so the roasties caramelize and crisp, rather than steam and stick. If you’re cooking for a crowd, it may be easier to use a couple of different trays - and this way you can sort your cooking times down to the minute! Take guidance with this Prebiotic Tray Bake with Tahini Drizzle .

6. Get Creative With Leftovers
While the most mouth-watering roast vegetable is fresh out of the oven and fragrant, it’s pretty much common knowledge that they taste just as good, if not better, the next day. It's good to cook up a bunch of roasties to last a week as they’re delicious in so many ways. For example in homemade pizzas, in a frittata, tossed through a salad with baby spinach and goats cheese, or even thrown together with free-range eggs to make a smokey breakfast hash. A favourite for any occasion? Sweet potato chips, sprinkled with chili flakes and crisped with coconut oil. Or try these Mashed Vegetable and Quinoa Fritters .

Roast vegetables are a household staple, but it can be hard to weed out the mouth-watering recipes from the not-so-wonderful. With these few tips and tricks up your apron, see what magic you create.

Have you any favourite ways to jazz up your vegetables?

Words above and more can be seen at original article here

Posh Roasted Vegetables : The Mary Berry Way
see here

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

All the best Jan

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Putting your Christmas Decorations up early is good for you !

Ally Head writes: "In a year that’s felt a little glum, to say the least, the twinkling allure of Christmas is keeping many people’s spirits high right now. With traditions such as making Christmas pudding, wrapping gifts and decorating the Christmas tree just around the corner, the festive season promises to foster feelings of cheer, love, and goodwill. Which, let’s be honest, everyone could do with a little extra of this year!

With that in mind, are you considering putting your Christmas decorations up early this year? It feels as if many of us are keener than ever to kick off the festivities, with England in a nationwide lockdown until 2 December. Sure, it’s probably because we're more focused than ever on our homes without the distractions of normal life. But we have an inkling there might be some deeper-rooted psychological reasons that explain why you may be feeling the urge to get festive as soon as possible...

Has your other half been talking about getting a Christmas tree since Halloween, or have your children been waxing lyrical about tinsel, baubles, and fairy lights for weeks? Then this one’s for you...

We’ve spoken to three psychological experts to explore the potential mental health benefits of putting your Christmas decorations up early, particularly in light of a year irrevocably altered as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

When do Christmas decorations traditionally go up?

First things first, what counts as "early" when it comes to decorating? In Victorian times, decorations were put up on Christmas Eve and left up until Twelfth Night, but nowadays, many people put up all their decorations, from trees to tinsel, a lot earlier. How early, you ask? Anytime from the end of November, according to sales stats from tree seller, Stagsden Christmas Trees.

Are there psychological benefits to putting your Christmas decorations up early?

It certainly sounds as if decorating early could have its upsides. “I think everything that you can do to make your home cosier and more celebratory this winter can only help your mental state," says Heather Garbutt, psychotherapist and director of 'The Counselling & Psychotherapy Centre'.

Clinical psychologist Dr Georgia Halls agrees, sharing that, for many, putting up Christmas decorations reminds us of good times, community and connection. “It’s an activity we usually share with others and has an element of familiarity, which can be very comforting."

Inviting festive cheer into your home early by putting Christmas decorations up could create a longer-lasting feeling of goodwill and subtly lift your mood by adding sparkle to an otherwise normal environment, Heather reckons. “Whichever Christmas decorations you like – whether it’s fairy lights, table decorations, trees or candles – can form a buffer against a world that is pretty tough at the moment,” she continues. “Doing your favourite Christmas things earlier will remind you of the simple joys and pleasures of being human.” Hear, hear!

Marsha Chinichian, the resident clinical psychotherapist at 'Mindshine', agrees. “Many studies found that the anticipation of something can be a powerful, positive, and important part of a happier life,” she explains. So, decorating earlier could be a really simple way to build some healthy holiday season anticipation.

“Decorating early really isn’t a bad idea at all," she says. "Studies show that decorating for the holidays improves mood and ignites positive memories." Not to mention that fact that the actual act of putting Christmas decorations up offers a boost of your happy hormone, dopamine. “Holiday decorating ignites the child in each of us, eliciting positive emotions,” she explains.

On top of this, for many of us, Christmas decorating is a yearly ritual that brings comfort and consolation from the mere act of doing it. Research from Harvard Business School supports this, showing that repeating familiar routines is essential for mental wellbeing.

So, does decorating for Christmas have a positive mental impact?

In short, yes. “The simple presence of Christmas decorations is an affirmation of joy and celebration,” explains Heather. Whether you celebrate Christmas for religious, cultural, or social reasons, decorations add more beauty to the darkest time of the year, she continues. Christmas lights can also be beneficial simply by helping to brighten up your inside space. “Any additional light we can add to our homes during the dark winter months is a real asset,” adds Heather.

Above all, if you feel like decorating early then there's no reason why you shouldn't. All three psychology experts encourage doing anything that brings you personal joy right now.

“In the context of an uncertain environment thanks to Covid-19, Christmas decorations may allow people to control their own space using a method which has proven time and time again to raise spirits for many people,” Georgia explains.

Marsha agrees, saying that decorating is crucial for bringing a little happiness to 2020, as people are spending more time than ever at home. “The pandemic is offering an almost forced slow down and check-in,” she explains. Rather than feel sad about what could have been, she suggests reframing your mindset to enjoy the small things – like decorating.

Without the prospect of festive events filling up your diary, you and your household will likely have a lot more free time to spend at home. Taking the time to decorate your space in a way you love could really lift your moods, she says. “Changing up the house and focusing on décor can shift the mood drastically and make it feel like a happier space.”

If you'd like to put your Christmas decorations up early but are still feeling a little hesitant about going against tradition, how about decorating in stages?

How to put your Christmas decorations up early

If don't want to make your home too festive before December but are raring to go, then decorating gradually is the way forward.

To find out how best to phase in your Christmas decorations this year, we asked Good Housekeeping's Homes & Gardens Director, Carolyn Bailey, for her step-by-step decorating timeline to follow...

1. The best way to kick off the festive season is by putting your advent calendar on display.
2. Next, unpack your scented Christmas or winter candles so you can start using these to fill your home with fabulous scents of the season.
3. Then, pop a wreath on the front door to give passers-by a festive welcome.
4. Next up, add a twinkle to your home by draping a few strings of fairy lights over surfaces – you can pop them into glass vases to create a lovely warm glow, too. If you are planning to make decorations or paperchains, this is also a good time to get on with this.
5. Once December arrives, think about installing your Christmas tree, especially if you are buying a fresh one – there will be more choice the earlier you shop – and pop on your fairy lights and decorations. Remember, more is more and the fuller the tree, the better it will look.
6. Then, fill bowls with baubles and pop them on coffee tables and side tables.
7. The week before Christmas, you can add in cut foliage from your garden – it’s amazing what you can find – and drape it over mantelpieces and along the bannister. Treat yourself to some eucalyptus branches, which make fabulous statement displays and smell divine. Look out for good quality mistletoe too, as this shouts 'Christmas'.
8. Last minute before the big day – stuff oranges with cloves and display them in bowls or along mantelpieces, buy some seasonal blooms for your dining table or console, then just wait for Santa!"
Ally's words above, with all relevant links can be seen at article here

Are you thinking of decorating your home earlier this year?
Enjoy the holiday season and please remember the low carb fruit cake ...

see fruit cake details here

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

All the best Jan

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Tuesday Trio : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (13)

It's time for Tuesday Trio
Read on and see what this weeks selections are

Pork and Squash Casserole
quick to prepare warming low carb dish
Serves Four
9.5g carbs per serving 
2 tbsp. Oil
500g Pork Diced Shoulder
1 onion, chopped
200g butternut squash, diced
1 large carrot, sliced
500ml vegetable stock
Instructions/more details can be seen here

Cupcakes with Orange Frosting
also nice for Christmas / Thanksgiving
12 servings
4g carbs per serving/cake
4 oz. butter, melted
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground cardamom (green)
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
½ cup heavy whipping cream (double cream/thickened cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2½ cups almond flour
3 tbsp ground psyllium husk powder
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 large eggs
½ cup erythritol
10 oz. cream cheese room temperature
2 oz. butter, room temperature
¼ cup erythritol
1 orange, zest
2 tbsp fresh cranberries or lingonberries (optional)
Instructions/more details can be seen here

Vegetarian Low-carb Quiche
also nice for Christmas / Thanksgiving
Six Servings
13g carbs per serving
Pie crust
2 oz. butter, softened or coconut oil
1¼ cups almond flour
½ cup sesame seeds
1 egg
1 tbsp ground psyllium husk powder
1 pinch salt
9 oz. kale, de-stemmed and chopped
3½ oz. leeks, finely chopped
5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
3 eggs
1¼ cups heavy whipping cream (double cream/thickened cream)
3½ oz. walnuts, chopped
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
4 oz. sun-dried tomatoes in oil
Instructions/more details can be seen here

I hope you've enjoyed this Tuesday Trio, have you a favourite out of these three?

You can see more Tuesday Trio posts here
If you need help with weight/measurement conversion - see here

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

All the best Jan

Sunday 15 November 2020

Bad news for food manufacturers: the low-carb word is out !

"It is becoming obvious that high consumption of carbs is driving waves of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Joanna Blythman writes

The low-carb diet market is expected to grow by 6.4% by 2027. More of us are limiting the carbs on our plates, a worrying trend for food manufacturers whose business model depends on highly processed forms of corn, wheat, grain and rice.

The distinction between ‘good’ (complex) and ‘bad’ (simple) carbohydrates used to have considerable traction, but it hasn’t brought on board doubters persuaded to follow a ‘keto’ or ‘paleo’ eating approach.

Now Big Carb is trying to reverse that trend. A press release landed on my desk, trumpeting Against the Grain, “a new paper [that] reveals that cereals offer greater health and nutrition benefits than commonly acknowledged, despite often being considered ‘nutrient-poor’”. Two of the three authors of this review are economists at the CGIAR International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre.

Their conclusion is so desperate it’s almost amusing: “Only relative to other ‘nutrient-rich’ foodstuffs can cereals be described as ‘nutrient-poor’.” Well, I might appreciate the joke more if the authors stopped there, and didn’t go on to argue that to feed the world “within planetary boundaries”, current intakes of wholegrain foods should more than double. But it’s becoming stark-staring obvious that high consumption of carbs is driving the waves of obesity and type 2 diabetes washing up everywhere from the UK to India.

To be fair, the authors refer obliquely to the need to “address tricky issues like the current over-processing, to make the most of the nutrition potential of maize and wheat”. But that still leaves them behind the curve.

Worldwide awareness is growing that our bodies metabolise carbs much in the same way as sugar. In the UK, Dr David Unwin, a GP who has had positive results with diabetic patients, has developed visually striking infographics, depicting the glycemic load of any given food in terms of the equivalent number of teaspoons of sugar it contains. His infographics had their endorsement from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence removed this year, following a complaint that they weren’t “evidence-based”.

Let NICE play safe. The low-carb word is out and unstoppable. Many people who previously struggled to control their weight and blood sugar are finding that it works for them."
Words above from article here
h/t Marks Daily Apple here

This blog brings a variety of articles, studies 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