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Friday, 31 December 2021

Wishing You A Happy, Peaceful And Healthy New Year


As 2021 draws to a close, and we welcome the new year of 2022,
we thank all the people that have taken the time to read our blog during this past year,
and a special thank you to the very kind people who take the time to comment.

We wish all our readers a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year.

Jan and Eddie

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Thursday Three : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (4)

Here we are with another 'Thursday Three' of lower carb recipe suggestions.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions ๐Ÿ˜Š


Courgette / Zucchini and Tomato Basil Soup
This tasty vegan/vegetarian recipe is perfect for cooler days
Ingredients
Serves Six
500 g courgettes/zucchini
500 g tomatoes
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp sun-dried tomato purรฉe
1 Tbsp flour
1 Litre vegetable stock
Olive oil
large bunch of fresh basil
Salt and pepper
More details


Orange, Mozzarella and Rocket (Arugula) Salad
This recipe uses oranges and cheese, and of course a little greenery,
tasty, easy and so refreshing
Ingredients
Serves Four
3 normal or blood oranges
2 x 125g balls mozzarella, the best you can afford (or burrata, if you can get it), torn
2 big handfuls rocket (arugula)
½ red onion, thinly sliced
low carb bread, to serve (optional)
For the dressing
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp mustard seed (black or brown)
1 tsp poppy seed
More details


Parmesan Crusted Cauliflower Steaks
your taste buds will be zinging with this lovely recipe
Ingredients
Serves 4
1 Head of Cauliflower
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Clove Garlic, grated or pressed
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
More details

I hope you've enjoyed this 'Thursday Three'.
I wonder have you a favourite looking recipe out of these three?
They all look good, I think I will be putting cauliflower on my shopping list ๐Ÿ˜€

You can also have a look at previous 'Thursday Three' lower carb recipe suggestions using this link 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, 29 December 2021

Decembers Flowers : Happiness and Hope

For those of you who have read the post 'December Arrives, the twelfth month' you will know that December birth flowers are holly and narcissus (specifically, the paperwhite). While December’s flowers may be very different from each other, one being a bulb and the other an evergreen shrub, they both symbolize happiness and hope, and as we are so close to saying goodbye to 2021 and welcoming 2022 these words may be appearing in our thoughts and resolutions! I wonder will you be making any New Year resolutions?

The Holly
Holly symbolizes a wish for domestic happiness.

Although some animals and birds enjoy holly berries, they are semi-toxic to humans.

The good news is that deer tend to avoid eating holly due to their sharp leaves, which makes them a deer-resistant plant for gardens.


The Narcissus (Paperwhite)
Narcissus conveys that you want your beloved to stay just the way they are.

While there are many types of flowers in the genus Narcissus (including the daffodil), the paperwhite is the winter-growing variety and the birth flower for December.


We do have some (artificial) holly sprigs indoors as part of the Christmas Holiday dรฉcor. I do like seeing the green leaves and lovely red berries, but haven't any paperwhites. Do you have either of these two December flowers in your home?

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

As regular readers know, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, music and recipes!


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

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Beef Stew : Lovely Winter Dish : The Mary Berry Way

Today I am sharing a recipe by Mary Berry  a warming beef stew flavoured with ginger, paprika and horseradish ... just lovely.

For this recipe you will need a 2 litre/3½ pint shallow ovenproof and flameproof dish or pan.

Ingredients
Serves Six
1 tbsp sunflower oil
750g/1lb 10oz braising steak, cut into 2cm/¾in cubes
25g/1oz butter
2 small leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp paprika
40g/1½oz plain flour
425ml/¾ pint good-quality beef stock, hot
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 small celeriac, peeled and cubed into 2cm/¾in pieces
2 heaped tbsp hot horseradish cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
Method
1. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pan and fry the meat over high heat until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas 3.
3. Add the butter and leeks to the unwashed pan, and fry for a few minutes. Sprinkle in the ginger, paprika and flour, stir and cook for a minute. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil, stirring until thickened. Add Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Return the meat to the pan, bring to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer for a few minutes.
4. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 1¾–2 hours. After this time, stir in the celeriac, bring back to the boil for a few minutes then return to the oven for about 30 minutes, until the meat and celeriac are tender.
5. Stir in the horseradish cream, sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.
From original idea here

Another Recipe Suggestion
For readers who enjoy vegetable soup, you may like this recipe here


~ a winter flower bouquet ~

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

All the best Jan

Monday, 27 December 2021

Twixmas - Everything You Need To Know !

I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas, Eddie and I certainly did. We were fortunate to spend some wonderful time with family. A lot of fun was had, a lot of food was eaten (low carb of course!) alcohol was consumed, (but there was non alcoholic choices too!) All in all time spent filled with love, laughter, and a lot of fun, special family times. 

Now, here we are, it's the 27th December and the start of Twixmas. Do I hear you ask the question What is Twixmas? Well, here is everything you need to know about the period between Christmas and New Year ... plus how to make the most of your free time.

Twixmas for many is a favourite time of the year. Once the stress of Christmas Day is over, Twixmas, the relaxed period between Christmas and New Year – when life seems to slow down a little and everyone takes a collective deep breath – comes along to help recharge our batteries before we welcome in another year.

Marked from the 27th until 30th December, here is everything you need to know about Twixmas, including how to spend it.

What is Twixmas?
Twixmas is the term used to describe the days between Christmas and New Year (27th-30th December), when – work and family commitments depending – you can take some much needed down time. For many of us, it's time when we can fully relax and spend our days doing nothing.


Why is it called Twixmas?
Twixmas originates from the old English word 'betwixt' which simply means 'between'.

How can I spend Twixmas?
The simple answer? Any way you want! For some, Twixmas is all about curling up under a blanket in cosy PJs with a festive film, or that buzzed-about boxset or book. For others, it's a chance to get some air, enjoy countryside walks or indulge in a little craft or DIY activities. It's also the perfect time to gather your thoughts ahead of 2022, and write down your new goals.

Things to do during Twixmas:
Cook up something comforting. Twixmas is a great time to use up leftovers. If you have too much Turkey left over the recipe suggestions here may help.

Get cosy and catch up on those Christmas TV specials you missed. 

Shop the post-Christmas sales from the comfort of your sofa. Pick up a bargain for the house without having to battle the crowds. 

Indulge in a spot of pampering; light some candles, run a bath and kick back with a face mask.

Read one of this year's most talked about books. Or perhaps get lost in the bestselling tome from the year you were born!

Rearrange your bedroom; transform your bedroom space into a tranquil, stylish space to help you unwind at the end of a long day.

Declutter your home and tidy up all of those new presents. Whether it's that jumbled cupboard under the stairs or the kids' bedroom, use Twixmas to get your clean on.

Decorate! With Christmas Day now behind us, why not give your home a lick of paint. Let next year's interior design trends inspire your next move.

Go offline, it's a great way to recharge your mind before 2022 begins.
Words above, with all relevant links, can be seen at original article here

I think I may spend a little time sitting quietly with a good book, a cup of tea and a low carb cookie biscuit, see more about low carb/keto biscuits 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

Friday, 24 December 2021

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers


We wish all our readers the compliments of the Season and a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year.

Thank you so much for reading our blog,
and a special thank you to the very kind people who take the time to comment.

Jan and Eddie

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Thursday Three : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (3)

Here we are with another 'Thursday Three' of lower carb recipe suggestions.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions ๐Ÿ˜Š


Christmas Wreath Salad
Ingredients
Serves 8
250 grams mixed lettuce leaf
½ small red onion finely sliced
300 grams cherry tomatoes (mini mozzarella)
1 cup basil leaves
Dressing Ingredients
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic minced
More details


Braised Beef with Red Wine and Cranberry
Ingredients
Serves 4
1kg braising steak
3 onions ( I usually use red ones)
300ml red wine
300ml stock
3 rounded tbsp cranberry sauce (check sugar/carb content if using shop bought)
Serve
with vegetables of your choice
lower carb choices could be cauliflower rice, mashed swede,
fine green beans are also nice.
More details


Vanilla Panna Cotta
Ingredients
Four servings
4g carbs per serving
2 tsp (5g) unflavoured powdered gelatine
water
2 cups (475ml) heavy (double) whipping cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp (4g) erythritol (optional)
2 tbsp. pomegranates, the seeds
fresh mint (optional)
More details

I hope you've enjoyed this 'Thursday Three'.
I wonder have you a favourite looking recipe out of these three?
They all look good, I think I may try all three very soon ๐Ÿ˜€

You can also have a look at previous 'Thursday Three' lower carb recipe suggestions using this link 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, 22 December 2021

Christmas Trivia - Did You Know ?


With Christmas so close now I thought it would be nice to share a few Christmas Trivia questions (and answers) about the Christmas holiday season. How many of these did you know? 

What are the origins of the advent calendar tradition?
Advent calendars date back to the mid-19th century. At that time, these calendars consisted of chalk marks on doors or lit candles, and were used by German Protestants to count the days leading up to Christmas.

What was the first Christmas movie ever made?
Santa Claus (1898).

What is the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time?
The Grinch (2018) and in second place Home Alone (1990).

What is the most recorded Christmas song?
“Silent Night.”

What is the best-selling Christmas song?
“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby.

Who popularized the Christmas tree tradition?
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

What do people traditionally place at the top of Christmas trees?
An angel ornament.

What is the earliest mention of Christmas stockings?
In 1823, stockings were mentioned in the famous poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

When and where were Christmas cards first sold?
London, 1843.

What are the three traditional colours of Christmas?
Red, green, and gold.

When do the earliest gingerbread cookie recipes date back to?
2,400 B.C.

Who popularized the modern-day gingerbread cookie?
Queen Elizabeth I.

and talking about gingerbread cookies
you may like to try these
Gingerbread Cookies / Biscuits
a low carb recipe, made using coconut flour
more details here


Dear reader, 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

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Tips For A Stress Free Christmas / Holiday Season

Talking with friends and family not everyone finds the Christmas/Holiday Season easy, many can and do get stressed. Cooking a delicious meal for guests doesn't always come easy. Then you may have friends and family, relatives that don’t always see eye to eye.


If you can get through the holiday season relatively stress-free, then you’ve done a wonderful job, but if you are someone who is prone to stress easily, don’t worry, here are six tips that could help make your Christmas / Holiday Season that little bit easier.

1. Plan Your Menu In Advance
Just like meal prep, planning your Christmas / Holiday menu well in advance takes a massive weight off your shoulders. 

2. Prepare Food Ahead Of Time
Where you can, start preparing your delicious dishes ahead of time. It will make your day go smoothly when you’re not whipping up a last-minute cranberry sauce at the 11th hour. That way when the guests arrive you can just whip out your food and enjoy it with everyone.

3. Allow Yourself Time To Rest
Rest is the antidote to stress. It often feels like when there’s a lot on your plate, rest is the last thing that will help you get the job done. But the opposite is actually true. Taking time to rest, focus, get a good night’s sleep, and time for yourself is important.

4. Practice Conscious Breathwork
This can come in the form of meditation, or something as simple as taking a relaxing, mindful breath in times of pressure. If you burn your turkey/main dish, (or like me one year drop it on the floor) then take a deep breath and then respond. This simple, mindful practice encourages the body to switch on the rest and digest system, alleviating stress from the body.

5. Agree To Disagree
We all know how family get-togethers can sometimes be awkward. You may have a family member say something that you believe is out of line, other times, you might find yourself disagreeing with their point of view. There is a lot of tension in the world right now, and learning to appreciate those who have a different point of view is a lifelong skill. But to remove the stress from the day, agreeing to disagree is often a good approach.

6. Avoid Foods That Trigger You
This last one should go without saying, but it is worth emphasizing. Physical stressors on the body almost always grow into psychological stressors. The Holiday Season / Christmas can be a time of indulgence, and that’s okay, as long as you know your limits. For example, if you know that gluten makes you cranky and bloated, reach for dishes that are gluten-free. These days, you don’t need to worry about being fussy, everyone has different dietary needs and they are all respected. Getting through your Christmas / Holiday celebrations while being kind on your digestive system is key to a stress-free day.
Adapted from an idea seen here


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

All the best Jan

Monday, 20 December 2021

Pork Recipes : So Easy and Low Carb Too

Did you know ... "Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig. It is the most commonly consumed meat worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC. Pork is eaten both freshly cooked and preserved. Curing extends the shelf life of the pork products. Ham, smoked pork, gammon, bacon and sausage are examples of preserved pork. Charcuterie is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, many from pork." ... you can read more about Pork here

I do like to include Pork in my weekly menu plans, and there are so many ways to cook and enjoy it, as these three recipe suggestions show.

For those readers who do not include pork in their menu plans, or may be looking for other recipe alternatives, I have included some suggestions at the end of this post.


Pork tenderloin, bacon, mushrooms, and green beans
cooked together in a creamy garlic sauce with a hint of rosemary.
Simple, delicious and low in carbs ๐Ÿ˜Š
 Ingredients
Serves 4
1½ lbs (650g) pork tenderloin or chicken breasts
5 oz. (140g) bacon
7 oz. (200g) mushrooms, sliced
5 oz. (140g) fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
(also known as French beans and haricots verts)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and ground black pepper
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup (240ml) heavy whipping cream
(also known as thickened cream or double cream)
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
Instructions
more details here


Cheese and Onion Pork Chops
Enjoy British pork with melted Cheshire cheese and a kick of English mustard.
This is such an easy dish, a family favourite ๐Ÿ˜‹
Ingredients
Serves Four
4 pork chops
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp English mustard
4 tbsp. caramelised onions, from a jar (make your own if preferred)
50g Cheshire cheese, grated
1 tsp thyme, chopped
Instructions
more details here


Lemon Garlic Pork Steaks with Mushrooms
This simple to make recipe suggestion is very tasty, low in carbs and gluten free.
Also it only dirties one pan - don't you just love recipes like this ๐Ÿ˜€
Ingredients
Serves Four
4 large, bone-in pork steaks (about 2 lbs)
2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 1/2 tsp sea salt, more to taste
3 tbsp. butter (or ghee)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Instructions
more details here

You may like to see these recipe suggestions
Chicken - see here
Fish - see here
Vegetarian - see here
Vegan - see here


~ some flowers to brighten the day ~

As regular readers know, there is 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

Sunday, 19 December 2021

Detox Your Home (Plus DIY Toxin-Free Cleaner Recipe)

"You might have done a detox in order to eliminate toxins from your body, but have you done anything about the toxins in your own home? With the average house containing over 500 chemicals and the increasing knowledge that common household cleaning products are found to have negative effects on the body, it’s more important than ever to clear your home of dangerous toxins for the health and safety of your family and yourselves.

Here are five simple tips on how you can detox your home today:-

1. Take The Time To Read And Understand Labels
Reading the ingredients list of everyday cleaning products can be overwhelming with words that you have often never heard of, let alone even pronounce. By doing a simple Google search, you can familiarize yourself with the names of dangerous chemicals and how they can potentially harm your body.

2. Don’t Be Misled By ‘Green’ And ‘Natural’ Marketing Scams
Many households have begun using ‘green’ alternatives in their home believing they are a safer option but even these can contain harmful ingredients. Unfortunately, the terms ‘green’ and ‘natural’ are often nothing more than marketing terms used by manufacturers to increase sales and cannot automatically be deemed safe.

3. Make Your Own Nontoxic All-Purpose Cleaner
The best way to ensure there are no dangerous chemicals in your cleaning products is to make your own! It’s not only safer for your family but also way cheaper. All you need for a basic all-purpose cleaner is water, white vinegar and bicarbonate soda.

4. Incorporate Essential Oils
Don’t like the smell of vinegar? The smell will leave not long after it dries, but you can also add a few drops of your favourite essential oil, like lavender or eucalyptus, to your DIY cleaning products. They are not only antibacterial but will have your whole house smelling beautiful too.

5. Keep The Air Clean
When you breathe, your body takes oxygen and releases carbon dioxide; during photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. By adding indoor plants around your home, you can increase the oxygen levels and clean the air. Plants that fare well indoors include the spider plant, peace lily and dragon tree. You can also keep the air clean by eliminating artificial air fresheners and instead use fresh flowers or bowls of herbs to add a nice fragrance.

image from here

DIY TOXIN-FREE FLOOR CLEANER RECIPE
Ingredients
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1 1/2 cups of water
10 drops lemon oil
10 drops lavender oil
4 drops melaleuca oil
Method
Place in a glass spray bottle. Spray onto floors and mop. Alternatively, double or triple the recipe amount (depending on the area you need to mop) and place in a bucket and mop floor.
Do not use on polished timber floors as the essential oils and vinegar can dull the shine/strip the varnish- omit essential oils and vinegar and use the following instead: 2 cups water and 2 cups liquid castile"

Above words taken from article by James Colquhoun here


Related Post
Natural Cleaners To Use Around The Home - read it here

Dear reader, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, cartoons, music and recipes!

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

All the best Jan

Saturday, 18 December 2021

A Christmas Tree That's Edible : The Brussels Sprouts Christmas Tree It's a Showstopper

Some readers may have seen this before, the Brussels Sprouts Christmas Tree, it really is a showstopper. Brussels sprouts are rich in many valuable nutrients, and not just to be enjoyed at Christmas. These 'mini cabbages' have a nutty, distinct flavour but they are seen as "The quintessential Christmas dinner veg. Brussels sprouts are thought to have been cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century - hence the name. Although they're related to cabbage - they even look like a miniature, compact version - they have a sweet, nutty flavour, which some people can find bitter. They grow in multiple rows along a thick, central stalk.

Now let's get back to the Brussels Sprouts Christmas Tree …


~ such a tasty work of art ~


Kate says, "turn the humble sprout side dish into a showstopper this Christmas! Roasted Brussel Sprout Christmas Tree – simply arrange into a fun tree shape and roast. Roasting makes sprouts taste delicious and is a vegan and gluten free Christmas side dish."

Ingredients
Serves Four
25-30 Brussel sprouts
1 parsnip (or carrot)
1 slice butternut squash
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 handful dried cranberries
salt and pepper
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
2. Check the sprouts for any major blemishes and cut them out. Trim the bottom and cut each one in half so there is a flat side. Place them into a bowl with half the oil and toss to coat.
3. Peel and slice the parsnip (or carrot) lengthways into equal length pieces then rub to coat with some of the remaining oil.
4. Add the sprouts to the baking sheet in a large tree shape. Use the parsnips to create the tree trunk.
5. Use a star cookie cutter (or a knife to make the shape freehand) to make a star shape from the butternut squash slice. Lightly coat it with oil and add to the top of the sprout tree.
6. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until cooked and beginning to brown.
7. Add the dried cranberries decoratively to the sprout Christmas tree and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
8. Serve

This super idea from Kate, comes with a step by step guide … you will find it here


Readers, you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, but 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, 17 December 2021

Why Are Red And Green The Colours Of Christmas?


The Holiday Season ... Christmas is upon us. It is a time of festivities and colour, of twinkling lights, tinsel, nativity plays and more. Like many our house has been decorated in readiness and the predominant colours are red and green. Did you know that, "Globally, red and green are famously the colours that represent Christmas. Whenever we see these two colours together we automatically associate it with the holidays. But why is it just these two colours and where did the association come from?

Although no one knows the origins of red and green at Christmas for certain, there are many theories, and in this article, we will look at the possible reasons why these became the colours of the season.

Why are red and green associated with Christmas?
Christmas is the time of year where we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, but over the decades it has become more about exchanging gifts and spending time with our family and friends.

There are simple associations that make us think of these colours, Santa’s suit is red and a Christmas tree is green. But the use of these two colours stems back further. In Christianity, it is taught that the red represents the blood of Jesus when he was crucified, and the green represents the eternal life of Jesus like an evergreen tree. Some people claim it comes from holly bushes, with their red berries and dark green leaves as they thrive at that time of year. Holly bushes are used to make wreaths that we hang on our front doors during the holiday season so they are a popular image at this time of year. There are many links and stories that are claimed to be the reason for the colour choices at Christmas. Some people believe that the colours have come from more commercial influences.

Where did the colour red originate in association with Christmas?
Although red has been a prominent colour used at Christmas, it is said that Coca-Cola was the one who made it a dominant colour. In 1931 Coca-Cola advertisements became more popular in magazines, especially when approaching the holidays. One of the first advertisements was commissioned to illustrator Haddon Sundblom, with the instructions of creating an advertisement with Santa Claus drinking Coca-Cola. Sundblom wanted to create an image of the real Santa, rather than of someone dressed as Santa. This was a turning point in history because the illustration of Santa was so lifelike that it became the image representation of the real Father Christmas. Santa wore red and from then on, Coca-Cola has continued to advertise with its red branding and hence becoming an associated colour of Christmas.

Why did the colour green become associated with Christmas?
The association of green at Christmas doesn’t have quite a significant defining moment like the colour red. Many associations point back to the flora and concept of bringing an evergreen tree into the home around Christmas time. The first documentation of bringing a tree into the home is in Roman culture when they celebrated Saturnalia. This was to honour the God Saturn and was celebrated from December 17 to 23. Traditions involved decorating the home with holly and evergreen trees, which would be decorated with small figures. This is one of the oldest examples of trees being brought inside during the winter to decorate the home. The colour green is widely associated with Christmas because we decorate our homes with trees, holly, and mistletoe.

What other colours were used at Christmas in history?
Victorian Christmas cards show that various combinations of colours were paired when it came to Christmas. Victorian cards use colour combinations like red and green, red and blue, blue and green, blue and white. 
Original decorations would have come from natural elements found at that time of year across the flora and fauna, which had an array of colours. Many are still reflected at Christmas today such as snow, icicles, robins, holly, and mistletoe.
Santa Claus was even depicted wearing different coloured suits, from red to green and blue.
It wasn’t until 1931 when Christmas started to become more of a commercial holiday and this is when green and red became the defining colours. Like other holidays, Christmas has its traditions and associations. Some are more recent than others but red and green have been the colours of Christmas for hundreds of years. It would seem that due to the commercialization of the holiday, it has resulted in these two colours becoming the most prominent at Christmas.
Much like orange and black at Halloween, red and green have stuck as being the representational colours of that time of year."
Words above, with all relevant links, can be seen here


Have you decorated your home for the celebration of the Holiday Season and Christmas? Do you have one, or two dominant colours? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Fruit Cake (a low carb alternative) and could be just right for Christmas, look here

As regular readers know, this blog is presented in a magazine style - we hope something for everyone. You will find a variety of articles, studies, thoughts, photographs, music and recipes!

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

All the best Jan

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Thursday Three : Low Carb Recipe Suggestions (2)

Here we are with another 'Thursday Three' of lower carb recipe suggestions.
There's definitely a vegetable side dish theme going here ๐Ÿ˜Š
I hope you enjoy these suggestions.

Green Beans with Garlic and Almonds
This is a wonderfully green, crispy and crunchy low-carb side dish.
Green beans always go great with a nice Sunday roast, or even Christmas turkey.


Ingredients
Serves Six
7g carbs per serving
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
700 g fresh green beans
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
80 ml almonds, chopped
more details here

Cheesy Leeks
A tasty side dish for a Roast Dinner, or a vegetarian supper


Ingredients
Serves 2 - 4
4 slender leeks (around 575g/1lb 4½oz total weight), trimmed
20g/¾oz butter, plus extra for greasing
20g/¾oz plain flour
200ml/7fl oz milk, semi-skimmed or full-fat
1 tsp English or Dijon mustard
100g/3½oz mature cheddar cheese, or other cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp dried white breadcrumbs (ideally panko breadcrumbs), optional
salt and freshly ground black pepper
more details here

Spicy Mushrooms with Peppers
A tasty side dish or starter


Ingredients
Serves Four (as starter or side dish)
200g chestnut mushrooms (wipe gently with dampened kitchen paper to clean)
50ml olive oil
20ml truffle flavour olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 red chilli pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
salt and pepper
more details here

I hope you've enjoyed this 'Thursday Three'.
I wonder have you a favourite looking recipe out of these three?
They all look good, but I think I will choose the cheesy leeks.

You can also have a look at previous 'Thursday Three' lower carb recipe suggestions using this link 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, 15 December 2021

Things Your Mind And Body Are Doing While You Sleep


"You are probably well aware that your body requires adequate sleep every night – ideally around seven to eight hours – to function properly and maintain your health, but you may not realize how much goes on while you are sleeping.

Read on to learn eight surprising things your mind and body are doing while you snooze.

Your Body Temperature Drops Significantly
During sleep, your body temperature drops to reduce the rate at which it burns calories and release melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone that plays a key role in your circadian rhythm.

Toxins are Cleansed
When at rest, the body filters out toxins and clears damaged molecules.
These processes allow the body and brain to rejuvenate.
Without sufficient amounts of sleep, the brain is unable to purge toxins.
This may lead to an increase is neurological deterioration.

You Lose Weight
Throughout the night, you lose weight due to expelling humid air and losing water through perspiration.
As opposed to during the day, there is no consumption of food or beverages to offset this effect.
This leads to a decrease in pounds by the morning.
During sleep, your body also regulates hunger hormones.
This means that you are better equipped to fight off junk food cravings if you got an appropriate amount of sleep the night before.

You Dream
Everyone knows the mind creates dreams during the night but you may be surprised to learn how much you dream. We can spend as many as 2 hours dreaming each night.

You Get Taller
Your body actually experiences an increase in height while you sleep.
When you are laying down, the discs in your spine decompress and rehydrate causing them to get bigger and slightly boost your height.

You May Jerk Involuntarily
Whether you sleep alone or with a partner, for many people, falling asleep produces a phenomenon where muscles suddenly contract involuntarily.
This creates a sudden jerk. In some cases, it may be noticeable enough to wake you back up.

Your Skin is Boosted
Collagen – a protein that contributes to youthful, healthy skin – is produced at an increased rate while you sleep.
It is stimulated by growth hormones that are released as you snooze.
Higher levels of collagen promote more resilient, vibrant skin.

You Wake Up – Often
During the night, we actually wake up numerous times – up to 15 – each hour.
This usually occurs when we are shifting to a different sleep stage.
The periods of wakefulness are usually so brief that we do not remember them.

Final Thoughts
Getting an adequate amount of sleep is a crucial component of good health.
Given all the health benefits and the fascinating facts mentioned above, make a point to get a solid chunk of sleep each night.
To increase your odds of getting deep, restful sleep, avoid caffeine too close to bedtime, keep your room dark, and skip screen time prior to hitting the pillow."
Words above from article here

Related Post
Best Foods and Drinks Before Bed - read it here


Dear reader, this blog offers a wide variety of articles and recipe ideas, 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

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Calming Foods to Reduce Anxiety and Stress These Holidays


"In this article, you are going to discover nine foods proven to help boost your feel-good hormones, lower your blood pressure, and reduce cortisol levels, which will help you balance your moods and feel calmer.

1. Capsicum (Peppers)
Why it works: When we’re stressed, our body releases a chemical called cortisol. Capsicum reduces the amount of cortisol in the bloodstream which helps to manage stress, plus it contains vitamin C that boosts immunity.
How to eat it: Chop up some raw sticks to have at your desk at work and munch on them on their own or with a nice hummus when you’re feeling stressed. The crunchiness will also help to relieve your tense jaw.

2. Cooked Tomato
Why it works: Like capsicum, this too helps to reduce your cortisol levels but is also a major source of lycopene; which has been linked to a reduction of depressive symptoms, and helps prevent inflammation and blood clots. Studies have found cooking tomatoes can increase the potency of lycopene, far great than any other fruit or vegetable.
How to eat it: Try adding cooked tomatoes to your breakfast routine or make some delicious tomato soup for lunch or dinner.

3. Spinach
Why it works: Spinach, and other dark leafy greens are rich in folate which helps your body produce serotonin and dopamine, regulating your mood. Spinach is also high in magnesium which helps to lower high blood pressure. The body becomes depleted of magnesium when under stress, so getting plenty of magnesium through spinach is a great way to bring your body back to balance.
How to eat it: Add a cup of spinach leaves to your morning smoothie or create a healthy bed of baby spinach leaves to eat with a couple of poached eggs for breakfast.

4. Avocado
Why it works: Avocados contain 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and folate. According to research published in the Nutrition Journal, avocados keep you satiated throughout the day and are helpful for regulating blood sugar levels, which helps to keep your mood steady even in times of stress.
How to eat it: Avocado is so versatile you can add it to almost anything or eat it on its own for a pick-me-up snack. Add avocado to your morning smoothies, chop it up and put it in your salad, whip it up in your blender to make a guacamole dip or even use it in a dessert to curb those sweet cravings!

5. Salmon
Why it works: Salmon is an excellent source of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids which help regulate your hormones and brighten your mood. Salmon also contains zinc, which is often depleted in the body in times of stress.
How to eat it: Breakfast, lunch or dinner! This delicious protein is great with eggs for breakfast, pan-fried in coconut oil and partnered with a side salad for lunch, or why not try it with a coconut and macadamia crust for an easy but impressive dinner. For a quick and easy bite to eat when you’re busy, have a salmon nori roll to get the added benefit of the seaweed’s vitamins and minerals.

6. Dark Chocolate
Why it works: With magnesium deficiency linked to anxiety and stress, you don’t have to feel guilty about a few bites of chocolate when you’re stressed. Good quality dark chocolate contains magnesium and zinc to give you a healthy boost.
How to eat it: Have a few pieces of high-quality dark chocolate as a snack when you’re stressed.

7. Walnuts
Why it works: Walnuts contain a plant form of Omega- 3 fatty acid that the body converts into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to lower norepinephrine, a hormone which can make you feel anxious and irritable.
How to eat it: Add a sprinkling of walnuts to your salad at lunch.

8. L-Tryptophan
Why it works: L-tryptophan is an amino acid that your body converts to the ‘happy chemical’ serotonin. Do you get cranky when you’re stressed? Research has shown that people who consume tryptophan become significantly more agreeable and less quarrelsome.
How to eat it: Foods rich in L-tryptophan include oats, yogurt, nuts, seeds or organic pasture fed animal products.

9. Sesame Seeds
Why it works: Stress and anxiety tend to deplete your body of zinc, and our bodies need zinc for both the immune and nervous systems. Sesame seeds hold around 10 mg of zinc per 100 g serving, whether you eat them raw, toasted or ground.
How to eat it: Sesame seeds ground into butter, known as tahini, is delicious with salads or as a dip with a few veggie sticks for a quick and easy snack. Tahini is also a core ingredient for hummus!

If you know you’re a ‘comfort eater’ when you’re stressed, stock up on these healthy, calming foods to help you balance your emotions and keep your calm."
Words above and all relevant links can be seen here

Thanks for reading. A cuppa and square of dark chocolate works for me … how about you?


You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas 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