Total Pageviews

Monday, 20 March 2023

Some Facts About Spring ... and a tasty spring-time soup!


How spring can affect your sense of smell and other bizarre facts about the UK spring season.

1. It starts at different times
Spring can start at different times, depending on who you ask. Looking at the astronomical calendar the first day of spring is 20 March. The Phenological method records dates of reoccurring natural phenomena such as flowering. For meteorologists, spring starts on 1 March and runs until 31 May.

2. Snow?
Many people say you're more likely to see snow at Easter than at Christmas. This is borne out of statistics to some extent - snow or sleet falls on average 3.9 days in December, compared to 4.2 days in March. However, because Easter is a 'moveable feast', it can also take place in April, which has only 2.3 days of snow or sleet fall. So it depends on exactly when Easter falls in any given year.

3. Vernal Equinox
The first day of spring, the vernal equinox, has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

4. The warmest spring...
The warmest spring on record was 2011 with an average daytime temperature of 9.2 °C.

5. ...and the coldest spring
Was the spring of 1962, with an average daytime maximum of 5.8 °C.

6. The wettest spring
1947 saw the wettest spring to date with 331.7 mm of rainfall.

7. Average temperatures
The average mean temperature for spring is 7.7 °C.

8. Something in the air?
Sense of smell can be more acute in spring as there is usually more moisture in the air.

9. It isn't the start of the pollen season
Spring is often associated with the start of the pollen season. However, some pollen types can release as early as January.

10. The sunniest spring
The sunniest spring was in 1948, in which a total of 558 sunshine hours were recorded.
Words and above image from here

Sharing a tasty spring-time bowl of soup
~ Spring minestrone soup with pesto ~


This Mary Berry recipe for a light and summery minestrone soup makes the most of springtime vegetables, don't forget a dollop of pesto on top!

Try freezing this soup in portion-sized containers - it will keep for 2 months.
Each serving provides 4.5g protein, 16g carbohydrate, 14g fat, 4g fibre.

Ingredients
Serves Six
3 tbsp olive oil
40g/1½oz butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 leek, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
250g/9oz potatoes*, peeled and finely chopped
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
150g/5oz savoy cabbage
2 litres/3½ pints beef or vegetable stock
400g/14oz can Italian chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp green basil pesto
*If you would like a lower carb alternative to potatoes, you will find some suggestions here
Method
1. Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Add onions, leek and potatoes and cook for about five minutes, until starting to soften, stirring from time to time. Add the celery and cook for a few minutes more.
2. Meanwhile cut the half cabbage in quarters. Remove central stalk from cabbage and discard. Cut leaves across the wedge shape in short shreds.
3. Pour stock and can of tomatoes into the pan with the cabbage. Bring to the boil and gently simmer for about 30 mins.
4. Add pesto for the last 5 mins, and check the seasoning before serving.

xxxx ooo xxxx

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 your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Mothers Day Weekend (UK) 2023

Here in the UK, 19th of March is Mothers Day (2023), and hopefully your card(s) will have been received and displayed, you may receive presents too, however you celebrate, have a Happy Mothers Day.


For those of you who may be interested here are three 'Mothers Day Trivia' facts.

Mothers Day Trivia: Shortest Interval Between Two Children
Jayne Bleackley is the mother who holds the record for the shortest interval between two children born in separate confinements. She gave birth to Joseph Robert on September 3, 1999, and Annie Jessica Joyce on March 30, 2000. The babies were born 208 days apart.

Mothers Day Trivia: Longest Interval Between Two Children
Elizabeth Ann Buttle is the mother who holds the record for the longest interval between the birth of two children. She gave birth to Belinda on May 19,1956 and Joseph on November 20, 1997. The babies were born 41 years 185 days apart. The mother was 60 years old when her son Joseph was born.

Mothers Day Trivia: Highest Recorded Number of Children
The highest officially recorded number of children born to one mother is 69, to the first wife of Feodor Vassilyev (1707-1782) of Shuya, Russia. Between 1725 and 1765, in a total of 27 confinements, she gave birth to 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets. 67 of them survived infancy.

Above facts from here

If you should be celebrating Mother's Day, have an especially nice day.
~ I will be very fortunate, as we will spend time with family over the weekend ~


Forever in my heart
Forever in my thoughts
Forever in my life
My mum is always with me
Thank you Mum
I'll always love you

All the best Jan

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Lentil and Vegetable Minestrone Stew / Casserole

Are you looking for a warming stew/casserole. Well how about considering this one!


Ingredients
Serves Four
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced small
1 celery stick, diced small
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp. sundried tomato paste
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 bay leaf
700ml hot reduced-salt vegetable or chicken stock
1 x 400g tin pomodorini cherry tomatoes
1 x 400g tin green lentils, drained and well-rinsed
100g cabbage or kale, any tough stalks removed, shredded
To serve (optional)
a few Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative) shavings
a few basil leaves
a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
Method
1. Heat the oil in a large casserole or heavy-based pan. Add the onion, carrot and celery; cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the rosemary, bay leaf, stock and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove the rosemary and bay leaf.
3. Add the lentils and cabbage or kale; simmer for 5 minutes until the veg is tender. Season. Serve in bowls with Parmesan shavings, basil leaves and a drizzle of oil, if you like.
Tip - Get Ahead
Make up to 2 days ahead, cool and chill. Gently reheat until piping hot, adding a little more water if necessary. Freeze (without the cabbage/kale) for up to 1 month.
Nutritional Details Per Serving
Fat 5g Carbs 19g Fibre 6g Protein 6g
From an original idea here


Dear reader, this blog brings a variety of recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 15 March 2023

'Reasons You Need to Be Eating Avocado'


The words below are taken from article here
"Avocado is one of those foods that almost every dietary ideology agrees is good for you. Vegans, vegetarians, paleos, Mediterranean diet espousers, and low carb/keto diet fans all promote avocados as a “good fat.” Even the USDA dietary committee wants people eating avocados. But most avocado discussion stops there. It’s “good for you” and that’s about all you hear about the avocado.

But the human research convincingly shows that avocados—the whole fruit—are incredibly healthy and nutrient-dense additions to anyone’s diet. Unless you have a specific reason for not eating them, you should be eating avocados oil on a regular basis. Here are seven evidence-based reasons why this is the case:

  • Avocados improve cholesterol
  • Avocados make meat healthier
  • Avocados make meals more filling and satisfying
  • Avocados improve cognitive function
  • Avocados improve gut health
  • Avocados reduce oxidative stress and inflammation
  • Avocados improve eye health
  • Avocados are micronutrient-rich.

When most people talk about the nutrients found in avocados, they talk about potassium and monounsaturated fat. These are good components of the avocado, but there’s a lot more to it. 

A single avocado gives you:
30% of daily folate
40% of vitamin B5
15% of riboflavin
23% of vitamin B6
17% of vitamin E
28% of vitamin K
26% of copper
9% of magnesium
15% of potassium

That’s not bad for 200 calories of healthy fat and prebiotic fibre that also has all the beneficial effects mentioned above. Avocados are delicious, nutritious, and improve many aspects of your health. There’s no reason not to eat them on a regular basis."
The above is a snippet from the original article which you can read in full here

If you don't like avocados (and not everyone does) how about these avocado substitutes see here




~ enjoy your day ~

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 your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

'Why is Kindness Important?'

Sharing an article about Kindness you may like to read ...

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. – Plato

The art of kindness is an underrated art. Ask anyone around you whether or not they think kindness is important, and more often than not, about ninety percent of them would tell you that it is important.

Why is kindness important?
A question we find an easy answer to. Yet, it only takes a glance at society to see that we still have a long way to go when it comes to mastering kindness. This, generally, stems from the fact that despite professing it on the surface, some of us don’t really understand .

Others who do, don’t really understand the complete facets of kindness.

In this article, we explore 11 crucial reasons why is kindness important, shedding even more light on why to progress as a society, we must place a higher emphasis on kindness and begin to show it more.

Kindness in Two Forms
Before we move on thoroughly into highlighting the importance of kindness, it is first crucial that we understand what the term means in the first place.

To do this, we have to look at the whole idea of kindness from two angles – as something we do unto others and as something we give to ourselves.

Kindness to Others
Showing kindness to others is perhaps the most popular phrase humans throw about without really committing to it. Many don’t even really know what it means in the first place.

To many, showing kindness implies going out of their ways to do something grand and unbelievable for others. Some even believe that they can’t be kind to others until the act of kindness makes them suffer in one way or another.

Generally, though, this isn’t usually the case.

We don’t have to hurt ourselves to be kind to others. Simple acts of kindness such as giving a compliment and offering someone your seat all go a long way in making a difference in someone else’s life.

The more mature you are, the more helpful and kind you are. The reason is that your maturity level is proportional to your kindness.

Kindness to Oneself
The most obscure of the two forms of kindness, “kindness to oneself” is usually overlooked by many because they feel as though it should be a given.

While this is right and kindness to oneself should always be a constant feature in our lives, it usually isn’t. In fact, it isn’t rare to find people who have mastered being kind to others who still haven’t realized that they have to be kind to themselves, too.

Not only is being kind to ourselves essential for our personal growth and the growth of our communities, but it is also one of the best ways to be kinder to others.

In short, if we don’t master the art of being kind to ourselves, it becomes a lot more challenging to be kind to other people.


Why is kindness important?
11 Reasons why being kind matters

As we grow up, we learn that being kind is a good thing. We are raised in a society where we are taught to be kind and to help others, but why? If we think about it for just a little while, the answer seems fairly obvious.

This list is not comprehensive but it contains 11 of the most powerful reasons that being kind matters in the world.

1. Tremendous emotional return for minimal effort

2. Kindness is Contagious

3. Kindness Builds Bridges

4. It Helps Lift Mental Blocks

5. It is Good Karma

6. Kindness Provides Clarity

7. It Can Brighten up Someone Else’s Day

8. Life is to Live and Love Fully

9. It is a form of Catharsis

10. Being Kind Actually Increases Life Span

11. Kindness is the Perfect Example to Set for Younger Generation

Conclusion
The great writer Henry James once described the three most important things in human life. The first, he said, was being kind. The second? Being kind. The third? Being kind, too.

Looking at the eleven points we’ve highlighted above, it is not hard at all to see why he said what he said. Kindness has always been, and will always remain, one of the most important facets of human lives and interaction.

Once we master kindness, we elevate ourselves, those around us, and our society as well. No other human action offers such a comprehensive benefit with absolutely no side effects.

This is why being kind matters.

Sharing is caring!"

Both images and words above are only a snippet from the original article which you can read in full here

Have you been kind today? Have you helped someone today?
Do please share your thoughts in the comments below.


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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

Just a reminder
It seems many of us are still experiencing problems with blogger, especially with comments going into the spam folder. Do please check your spam folder daily.


All the best Jan

Monday, 13 March 2023

Baked Mascarpone and Blueberry Dessert : Delicious and Low Carb

Sharing a recipe idea from Pascale Naessens, this sugar-free yet deliciously decadent low-carb dessert has only three ingredients, so simple and easy!


Ingredients
Serves Two
9g carbs per serving
2 egg yolks
200 g (200 ml) mascarpone cheese
100 g (160 ml) fresh blueberries (strawberries, or raspberries could be used).
Instructions
can be seen here


Mascarpone originated in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy during the Renaissance. It is ivory-coloured, exceptionally smooth, and an easily spreadable fresh cream cheese. The flavour is milky and slightly sweet. The rich, buttery texture comes from the high butterfat content. Mascarpone generally comes in tubs, and it should remain refrigerated. Check the "use by" date on the package for storage time, but it's generally a week.
You can read more about this cheese here

This blog offers a wide variety of articles and recipe ideas, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Beef Stew - Slow Cooker Recipe

" A slow cooker is the pinnacle of low-maintenance cooking. Place the ingredients inside, turn it on, and let it cook. Your only thought is how delicious that meal is going to taste. But some slow cookers have features which make them better suited to your specific needs than other models. To be happy with your purchase, you'll want those needs met.

The best slow cookers offer a consistent temperature through many hours of cooking. The warm setting must keep your food warm without letting it continue to cook. You'll want a capacity that can accommodate your family's needs, a removable inner pot that is easy to clean, and durable construction that will allow many long years of use.

Some slow cookers have programmable features that might be of interest. If you'd like a more in-depth look at these appliances, continue reading here"

Here is an easy slow cooker beef stew that's ready when you are. Throw store cupboard ingredients into the slow cooker with some braising steak and serve with mash of your choice.

Each serving (without mash) provides:
34g protein, 13g carbohydrates, 11g fat, 4g fibre and 2.5g salt.


Ingredients
Serves Six - adjust to suit
600ml/20fl oz just-boiled water
1 beef stock cube
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp yeast extract
900g/2lb good-quality braising steak, trimmed and cut into roughly 4cm/1½in chunks
100g/3½oz smoked bacon lardons*, or sliced smoked back bacon
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 carrots (about 400g/14oz), peeled and cut into roughly 3cm/1¼in chunks
4 celery sticks, trimmed and cut into roughly 3cm/1¼in lengths
3 tbsp plain flour (25g/1oz)
1 tsp flaked sea salt, plus extra to season
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 bay leaf (dried or fresh)
ground black pepper
Serving suggestions
mashed swede, celeriac or potato
Method
1. Pour the just-boiled water into a heatproof measuring jug, add the stock cube, tomato purée and yeast extract. Stir well until the cube has dissolved and set aside.
2. Put the beef, bacon and vegetables in a slow cooker, sprinkle over the flour and add the salt, herbs and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Toss together. Add the stock mixture and stir well.
3. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 8–10 hours, until the beef and vegetables are tender. Serve the beef stew with mashed potatoes.
Recipe Tips
i) Beef shin or beef brisket will also work in this stew. You can pack the slow cooker the night before and keep it in the fridge, but you must add cooled beef stock instead of hot. Take the packed slow cooker out of the fridge for 30 minutes before putting it on to reduce the risk of cracking the dish. The stew will take 10 hours if started from cold.
ii) *Lardons are small chunks of diced bacon (smoked or unsmoked) that are used to give a good, salty depth of flavour to robust dishes. They are sold vacuum-packed in most supermarkets, but if you can’t find them buy thick rashers of bacon and dice them yourself.
From original idea here

Some readers may also be interested in seeing these two slow cooker recipes
Chicken Casserole recipe here
Vegetarian Stew recipe 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, cartoons, 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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Saturday, 11 March 2023

'Reducing social media use by as little as 15 minutes a day improves health, study finds'

"NEW SWANSEA UNIVERSITY RESEARCH SHOWS REDUCING SOCIAL MEDIA USE BY JUST 15 MINUTES A DAY CAN IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH


New research from Swansea University shows that reducing social media use by 15 minutes a day can significantly improve general health and immune function and reduce levels of loneliness and depression.

The study, published in the Journal of Technology in Behavior Science, was conducted by Professor Phil Reed, Tegan Fowkes, and Mariam Khela from Swansea University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Over three months, the team examined the effects on physical health and psychological functioning of getting people to reduce their social media usage by 15 minutes a day.

The outcomes were compared to groups that were not asked to reduce their usage or were explicitly asked to do something other than social media during those 15 minutes.

50 participants (33 female and 17 male), aged 20-25, answered monthly questions about their health and psychological function and also provided weekly reports on their social media usage.

The results showed that the group asked to reduce their social media use had an average 15% improvement in immune function, including fewer colds, flu, warts, and verrucae, a 50% improvement in sleep quality, and 30% fewer depressive symptoms. These improvements were significantly greater than that experienced by the other two groups, neither of which showed any changes in those measures.

Those instructed to reduce their usage ended up doing so by about 40 minutes a day, rather than the 15 minutes requested, whereas there was a daily 10-minute increase for the group asked not to do anything. Strikingly, the group specifically asked to do something other than social media increased their usage by around 25 minutes a day.

Whilst previous studies have noted a correlation between reduced social media usage and improvements in psychological well-being, this new report is important in that it shows an experimentally-controlled relationship, which suggests a causal relationship between social media reduction and improved physical health.

Professor Phil Reed, from Swansea University’s School of Psychology, said: “These data demonstrate that, when people reduce their social media use, their lives can improve in many ways – including benefits for their physical health and psychological well-being.”

“It remains to be established whether the relationship between social media use and health factors is a direct one, or whether changes in well-being variables, such as depression, or other factors, such as an increase in physical activity, mediate it.”

Professor Reed added: “That the group asked to reduce their usage and do something different did not show these benefits suggests that campaigns to make people healthier could avoid telling people how to use their time. They can resent it. Instead, give them the facts, and let them deal with how they make the reduction, rather than telling them to do something more useful – it may not be effective.”"
Above image and words taken from article here

~ xxx ooo xxx ~

My thoughts:
The world has certainly changed in recent years, and no matter our age many of us are guilty of spending too much time on our computer screens, phones, social media etc. it just makes sense to try and limit the time spent on them.
Do please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

All the best Jan

Friday, 10 March 2023

Broccoli ... did you know !

Some people love it, some hate it, and some hate it so much that they try and ban it altogether. And yes, we’re talking about broccoli!

The broccoli plant is a distant cousin of the common cabbage as it also belongs to the Brassicaceae family. With broccoli, though, the main edible parts are actually the stalk and flowers instead of the leaves (although you can eat them too).


Broccoli was highly valued by the Romans.
The history of broccoli goes back much further than you’d think. Like many other vegetables we eat today, broccoli was cultivated from a mix of different plants and then selectively bred to become the vegetable we know today.

This vegetable’s history goes back to the Etruscans, an ancient Italian civilization that predated the Roman Empire. The Etruscan people cultivated the vegetable sometime around the 6th Century BC. The Romans adopted many aspects of Etruscan culture, including their love for broccoli.

England called it Italian asparagus.
As previously mentioned, broccoli is part of the same family as cabbage, a large family that includes cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, and kohlrabi. Despite this, when the vegetable first made it to England, it was instead associated with asparagus.

In fact, despite being a favoured food of the Romans, it seems that it took a long time to spread further than Italy. The earliest report of it in France, for example, is as late as the 1500s!

More than 200 years later, it was still relatively unknown in England, with it being called “Italian asparagus” in a popular gardening dictionary.

It wasn’t until the 1920s that broccoli became common in the US.
One of the first records we have relating to broccoli in the US goes back to the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson had a bit of a 'green thumb', and as such, he would frequently share seeds with some of his friends over in Europe. One such packet of seeds that he received were broccoli seeds, which he noted sowing at his estate in Virginia on May 27, 1767.

It wasn’t until much later in the 1920s that broccoli became a common sight when Italian migrants brought it over and regularly consumed them. Even then, it was almost exclusively eaten by Italian migrants and their descendants for decades before becoming a bit more mainstream.

George H. W. Bush banned broccoli on Air Force One.
Some people hate broccoli, and then there are people that hate broccoli so much that they publicly declare that they never want to see the vegetable ever again.

Believe it or not, that man was the 41st president of the United States of America, George H. W. Bush. While in a press conference, Bush (apparently) stated “I do not like broccoli, and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it, and I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

He made this declaration when asked why he had banned the vegetable from all Air Force One flights.

Broccoli is really good for your health!
First things first, if you know how to cook broccoli well, it can be absolutely delicious. Most people who dislike it, probably including George H. W. Bush, have simply only ever been fed it in an over-cooked mushy gross state.

The truth is that broccoli is incredibly good for you, so good that the term “superfood” is quite often thrown around in association with it. It’s high in protein, fibre, vitamin C and is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, and calcium, among many others. It’s also full of antioxidants, is good for your digestion, and is even claimed to help prevent cancer!
Words above taken from article here

Related Broccoli Posts
Don't Throw Those Broccoli Stalks Away - read it here
Riced Broccoli Recipe: Instantly Up Your Fibre Intake : Low Carb / Keto - read it here
Pork Chops with broccoli mash - low carb recipe - read it here
Broccoli and Chickpea Frittata - read it here

~ enjoy your day ~

This blog offers a wide variety of articles and recipe ideas, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Almond, courgette (zucchini) and rosemary cake


'This wonderful almond cake is actually packed with veg! Made with grated courgette (zucchini), ground almond, and with a hint of rosemary and zesty lemon, this pretty cake can also make a great dinner party dessert when served with a dollop of whipped ricotta and fresh raspberries.
Each serving has; Fat 18g Carbohydrate 18g Protein 8.1g Fibre 0.9g, so for some readers the carb. content may not be suitable*.

Ingredients
Serves 10
300g (about 2 medium-sized) courgettes, trimmed and grated
50ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
130g ground almonds
70g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
75g light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
150g raspberries, to serve
250g ricotta, lightly whipped, to serve (optional)
Method
1. Place the grated courgette in a colander and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Toss well, then place over the sink to drain for 30 mins.
2. Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. Grease a 20cm cake tin with olive oil and line the base with baking paper.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, pinch of salt and chopped rosemary. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and lemon zest and juice.
4. Rinse the courgette to get rid of any excess salt and tip onto a clean tea towel. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can, then tip into the almond bowl and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and stir well to make a smooth batter.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40-50 mins until lightly browned on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If the cake is starting to brown too quickly, cover loosely with a piece of foil.
6. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 mins, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack. To serve, dust with the icing sugar before cutting into slices. If serving as a dessert, cut into slices and serve with a scattering of raspberries and a dollop of the whipped ricotta.
Tips:
i) Salting and draining the grated courgette is important for the final texture of the cake, otherwise it may be too soggy as courgettes naturally contain a lot of water.
ii) This cake is designed to not have that big of a rise as it is made with quite a heavy batter.'
From original idea here

*If you would prefer a lower carb Ricotta Almond Cake, 5.6g carbohydrate per slice, please look here


~ enjoy your day ~

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

All the best Jan

Wednesday, 8 March 2023

'U.S. Life Span Falling Behind Our Peer Countries'

image from google

Sharing an article by Steve Parker, M.D. on Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog

"From NPR:

The average life expectancy for Americans shortened by over seven months [in 2021], according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That decrease follows an already big decline of 1.8 years in 2020. As a result, the expected life span of someone born in the U.S. is now 76.4 years — the shortest it has been in nearly two decades.

But we still have the best healthcare system in the world, right? Not if you judge it by life expectancy. From Health System Tracker:

Life expectancy in the U.S. and peer countries generally increased from 1980-2019, but decreased in most countries in 2020 due to COVID-19. From 2020 to 2021, life expectancy at birth began to rebound in most comparable countries while it continued to decline in the U.S. The CDC estimates life expectancy at birth in the U.S. decreased to 76.1 years in 2021, down 2.7 years from 78.8 years in 2019 and down 0.9 years from 2020. The average life expectancy at birth among comparable countries was 82.4 years in 2021, down 0.2 years from 2019 and up 0.4 years from 2020.

Click the article links for potential explanations.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Healthy diet, exercise, and weight management improve longevity ... "

--- xxx ooo xxx ---

Looking at the figures on Health System Tracker the UK figures for Life expectancy at birth by sex, in years, 2021 are 78.7 male and 82.8 female.

Do please share any thoughts on the above article in the comments section below.

All the best Jan

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Midweek Macaroon Anyone - a low carb, gluten free, grain free, sugar free recipe

Sharing details of Libby's Macaroons recipe. They are Low Carb, Sugar Free, Gluten Free and Grain Free, and are a fabulous way to use up any egg whites you may have left over. It’s a really adaptable recipe whereby you can dip them in chocolate, add lemon or orange zest, add some ginger or some vanilla and cinnamon. You could be spoilt for choice !


SUGAR FREE MACAROONS
Ingredients - Serves Twenty
4 egg whites
2 tbsp. granulated stevia, or sweetener of choice, to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (200g) unsweetened desiccated coconut

INSTRUCTIONS
Clean a large bowl with kitchen paper to ensure it is free of grease or oil, otherwise your egg whites won't whisk well. Whisk the egg whites with the stevia, to form stiff peaks.
Add the vanilla and the coconut and gently mix to combine.
Line a baking tray with a non stick liner or baking paper. Roll a spoonful of macaroon mixture into a small firm ball and place evenly on the baking tray.
Bake at 180C/350F for10-12 minutes depending on your oven and the humidity.

NOTES
Optional, you may like the subtle vanilla flavour of these macaroons, but others have enjoyed adapting these by adding almond essence, cinnamon or dipping in chocolate. The choice is yours ...

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Serving size: 1 Macaroon Calories: 29
Fat: 2.6g Carbohydrates: 1g Sugar: 0.3g Fibre: 0.65g Protein: 0.69g

Do go over to Libby's Ditch the Carbs site for more information - see here

~ xxx ~ 

Don't like macaroons!
How about, Low Carb Chocolate Muffin, in a mug.
With this recipe you can microwave or oven-bake - more details here

just putting the kettle on
a cup of tea with a macaroon
or chocolate muffin😋

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

All the best Jan

Monday, 6 March 2023

Reduce food waste and save money!

"Six ways to reduce food waste and save money

No one wants to waste food and money, especially with the cost of living crisis. The climate action charity Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found out that UK consumers throw out around a sixth of the food they buy, costing each of us £210 a year on average.

So here we have simple tips from Which? that could help you tackle an environmental issue and at the same time save money.

1. Try frozen instead of fresh
Buying frozen foods is an easy way to minimise waste and save money. Which? research captured the prices of own-brand fresh and frozen products across nine major supermarkets, and in most cases the frozen versions were cheaper than fresh foods.

The consumer body calculated the price per 100 grams for each item and used those figures to determine a price range of what you could expect to pay for the fresh version of the product compared to the frozen version. For example, frozen raspberries were between 42p and £1.07 per 100g, significantly cheaper than fresh raspberries which ranged from £1.26 to £1.80 per 100g.

The additional benefit of frozen food is that you only use what you need – the remainder can be stored in the freezer for next time. This significantly reduces the risk of throwing away food, and saves you money in the long term. Freezing can also extend the lifespan of fresh foods, such as milk, bread, eggs and cheese.

2. Use common sense with best-before dates
Use-by and best-before dates often get confused, but they're not the same thing. Best-before dates refer to quality and are typically found on bread, frozen, tinned and dried foods. The food will be at its 'best' before this date, but is still safe to eat after the date has passed.

In recent years, many supermarkets have actually removed best-before dates from fruit and vegetables and improved packaging information, in an attempt to reduce food waste. Use by dates on milk and cheese have been changed to best before dates.

These products can still be safe to consume if past their best – a sniff test is sufficient for milk, or look for signs of mould or curdling.

Common sense should also be used for fruit and vegetables. Anything that is smelly, mouldy or slimy should be avoided.

3. Pay attention to use-by dates
Use-by dates relate to safety – a product is safe to eat up until the date given, beyond that there is a risk of food poisoning. These dates are found on highly perishable foods such as raw and cooked meat and fish, bagged salads, and dips such as houmous.

For most products with a use-by date you do need to be cautious. Eating foods that are outside of their use-by date can mean ingesting harmful bacteria and developing food poisoning.

Shoppers should keep an eye on use-by dates, and only buy products that they know they can consume in the timeframe given. Anything that won’t be used in time can be frozen before the use-by date.

4. Keep fruit and veg in the fridge
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recently changed its advice for storing potatoes, until now the official advice has been to store your potatoes in a cool, dark cupboard and not in the fridge.

While it was previously considered dangerous to store them in the fridge, new research has found that this isn’t the case – and storing in the fridge actually increases the shelf life as well.

The same applies to other fruits and vegetables. Research from the WRAP looked at the impact on the shelf life of keeping fruit and veg in the fridge versus storing them in a fruit bowl or larder, and found the former preserves them for longer.

They uncovered that apples that have been refrigerated last between 69 and 77 days longer (depending on whether they were packaged or not). Broccoli also lasted significantly longer in the fridge than out.

5. Check the 'reduced' aisle in supermarkets
Most supermarkets have a 'reduced' aisle or area of the shop with items reduced that day. These are items, often adorned with yellow stickers, that have been discounted due to imminent use-by dates or minor damage.

If you don't regularly pick things up from here, this tip could definitely save you money. Only buy products that you know you will eat soon, or that you can freeze to eat later.

6. Make salad items last longer
Bagged spinach and salad leaves have a short shelf life and are one of the most wasted foods.

Which? members reported extending the life of bagged salads by adding a sheet of kitchen roll to the bag once it's opened and sealing it with a clip. This helps to absorb excess moisture.

Alternatively, remove leaves from the bag, dry them and transfer them to an airtight container lined with kitchen roll."
Words above taken from article here

My Tip!
How about buying wonky vegetables, they are exactly the same as the more 'perfect looking', just not as pretty. Perhaps roast them? See recipe below.

Related Post
Ways to Reduce Food Waste Daily - read it here


wonderful roast vegetables
whether using perfect or wonky fresh vegetables
roast veggies are always a winner - see more details 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 your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan

Sunday, 5 March 2023

'Short activity breaks are helpful to improve your health'

Sharing an article from Dr Katharine Morrison seen on Diabetes Diet blog

"Get up for at least 5 minutes every 30 minutes at work

Adapted from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Jan 12 2023

Short, regular breaks from sitting down at work and at home can improve your blood sugar and blood pressure.

Researchers from Columbia University in New York tested middle aged and older adults using various sitting/gentle walking protocols for eight hours a day. Even very short breaks of a minute improved blood pressure but to reduce blood sugars as well, you need a break of five minutes every 30 minutes.

These short activity breaks are helpful to improve your health and should be done in addition to a daily activity/exercise regime.

Dr Morrisons comment: You will need to plan how to do this in most work and home situations. You could make a point of taking the stairs, walking around while taking phone calls, getting out for a short walk at lunch time, going to see people in person rather than phoning them, and doing exercises during commercial breaks in front of the television. Every little helps."

Related Posts
Is Sitting Too Much Bad for Your Health? - read it here
'Exercise for Better Health' - read it here


image from google

On a personal note, it sometimes is too easy to sit too long at a computer screen blogging!!!
I do make the effort to get up every now and again and move around, take a short walk etc.
Do please share your thoughts on this article in the comment section below.

All the best Jan 

Saturday, 4 March 2023

Tarragon Chicken ... a tasty dish

Today, I am sharing a Chicken recipe, inspired by a French classic. It is a rich, creamy and fragrant chicken dish. Simple but stylish, which makes it perfect for both casual suppers and dinner parties, and a special tasty dish for myself and Eddie 😋 


Ingredients
Serves Four (adjust as necessary)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin removed
6 garlic cloves, sliced in half lengthways
4 large shallots, peeled and finely sliced
8 rashers smoked streaky bacon, rind removed and sliced into 2cm/¾in pieces
280g/10oz chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
400ml/14fl oz dry cider
4 tsp Dijon mustard
30g/1oz tarragon leaves, finely chopped
150ml/5fl oz double (heavy) cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method
1. Melt the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large casserole dish over a medium heat. Season the chicken thighs and fry on both sides until golden before removing and setting aside.
2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the casserole and add the garlic, shallots and bacon. Sauté for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots have softened and the bacon has started to colour.
3. Add the mushrooms, fry for a few minutes and then add the cider, mustard and half of the tarragon. Return the chicken to the casserole and bring to a simmer. Place the lid half on and gently cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
4. Stir in the cream, bring back to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes with the lid off. Season with salt and pepper to taste, scatter over the remaining tarragon and serve.

Recipe Tips
Some may like to serve this dish with basmati rice, or creamy mashed potatoes.
A lower carb alternative would be cauliflower rice, or mashed swede.
However, a big pile of greens, such as steamed spinach, chard or green beans is lovely too.
From original idea here

For readers who may like a vegetarian recipe, there are five choices here
For readers who may prefer a vegan recipe, have a look at these five choices here


~ happy weekend wishes ~

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

All the best Jan

Friday, 3 March 2023

Air Fryer or Oven Cook : Three Low Carb Recipe Choices

Do you use an air fryer? I don't have one at the moment! However, knowing many readers do, I thought it definitely worth sharing these three low carb recipe suggestions. Don't worry if you do not have an air fryer, you can use the oven method detailed in each link.


Air fryer Italian stuffed chicken breasts
Cream cheese, pesto, and Parmesan cheese are combined and packed into chicken breast pockets.
Air frying them makes this quick, easy, and mess-free, but they're just as good baked in the oven.

Ingredients
Serves Two
4g carbs per serving
1 lb (2) chicken breasts
4 oz. (½ cup) cream cheese
2 tbsp green pesto
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
½ tsp avocado oil
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Instructions
more details here


Air fryer zucchini/courgette fries with yogurt dip
Do you love the mouthfeel of piping hot fries with a tangy cooling dip?
These Zucchini/courgette fries could become your new best friend.
Made in the air fryer, they're healthier than a traditional fry and sport a flavourful Parmesan crunch.
No air fryer! Don't worry use your oven!

Ingredients
Four servings
3g carbs per serving
Zucchini/Courgette fries
12 oz. zucchini/courgette
½ tbsp avocado oil
½ oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
½ tsp paprika powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Yogurt dip
3½ oz. (½ cup) Greek yogurt (0% fat)
2 tbsp finely chopped scallions/spring onions
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ tsp onion powder
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
more details, including a vegan option, here


Air fryer lemon ricotta cheesecake
A fluffy cheesecake with a touch of lemon, topped with fresh raspberries.
The combination of ricotta and sour cream keeps this light in flavour.
Makes a lovely finish to a special meal.
The air fryer method is ideally suited for smaller servings,
if serving more than four, try the oven method.

Ingredients
six servings
7g carbs per serving 
14 oz. (1 2⁄3 cups) ricotta cheese
4 oz. sour cream
½ cup (3 2⁄3 oz.) erythritol
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon, zest and juice
½ cup (2¼ oz.) fresh raspberries
Instructions
more details here

Related Post
Air Fryer Recipes : Keto / Low Carb : See here


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. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan