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Saturday 29 June 2024

Chicken with a Crispy Baked Gluten Free Crust and BBQ Mayo


Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. This super easy recipe combines tender chicken with a gluten-free crust, a delicious BBQ sauce, and a fresh green salad. Cook in the oven or use your air fryer if you have one! A delicious recipe and it's low carb too!

Ingredients
Serves 4
6g carbs per serving
1⁄3 cup / 75ml coconut flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 lbs / 900g chicken thighs

BBQ-mayo
1 cup / 225ml mayonnaise
2 tablespoons tomato paste or sugar free BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Salad
4 oz. / 110g baby spinach
1 green bell pepper, sliced
½ red onion, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Please see cooking instructions at Diet Doctor site here

Benefits of Baking with Coconut Flour
  • Coconut flour is rich in protein, fibre and fat which makes it exceptionally filling.
  • Coconut flour is also a good source of lauric acid, a saturated fat thought to support the immune system and the thyroid. Like most healthy fats, lauric acid also promotes good skin health.
  • Coconut flour is an exceptionally good source of manganese which helps you to better utilize many nutrients including choline and biotin (found in eggs), vitamin C and thiamine. Manganese also supports bone health, nervous system function, thyroid health and helps to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
  • Coconut flour is not grain-based, and, as such does not present many of the issues that accompany grains. Coconut flour is gluten-free and, while it does contain food phytate, the mineral-binding effects of phytates in coconut are virtual non-existent so coconut flour does not need to be soaked.
Read more here

You will find a variety of recipes 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.

... and as it's the weekend, I wish all readers a happy one.

All the best Jan

Friday 28 June 2024

Have a Happy Friday

Happy Friday and weekend wishes to you
I hope you like these flowers ...
image from here

... as it's Friday
why not treat yourself to a
Low-carb, gluten free muffin cake which has a hint of cinnamon
and goes very well with a cup of tea or coffee



Ingredients
Makes 10
4g carbs per muffin/cake
200 g almond flour or crushed almonds
¼ tsp salt
4 eggs
80 ml water
2 tsp baking powder
100 g butter
10 g Splenda (sugar substitute)
2 tsp cinnamon

Method
1. Preheat the your oven to 350º F 180º C gas mark 4-moderate
2. Mix all the ingredients together either by hand or using a mixer.
3. Grease a muffin/cupcake pan and evenly divide the mixture.
4. Bake for about 25 Minutes

Notes
These taste amazing, but you can also add sultanas, nuts or anything else to the mixture before baking if you so wish, although this will alter the carb count!
From an idea here
If you should need help with measurement conversions please see here


A variety of recipe ideas 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. 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 27 June 2024

Consider eating these eight vegetables raw for a health boost!

The eight vegetables you might not know you can eat raw for health boost

From creamy mashed potato and sweetcorn smothered in butter to rich tomato soup and miso-glazed aubergine, cooked veggies can be incredibly tasty.

But did you know that, in some cases, munching raw vegetables can be better for your health?

“When veggies are cooked, some of the heat-sensitive nutrients, such as vitamin C, can become depleted,” says functional nutritionist Pauline Cox.

“Beneficial enzymes within raw veg can also be lost to roasting and cooking.”

Fresh veg can be especially appealing in summer when you’re craving filling salads and crunchy snacks.

“Adding more raw to your daily dish will liven up your palate and upgrade your dinner plate,” Cox says.

As with any raw ingredient, it’s important to prepare veg properly.

“Whether you’re eating vegetables raw or cooked, always wash them well before consuming to help reduce pesticide residue or harmful bacteria,” suggests Maz Packham, nutritional therapist.

image from article here

Here, experts talk through eight vegetables that are delicious raw…

1. Sweet potato

“Sweet potato, often associated with oven baked, roasted or mashed, can actually be consumed raw,” says Cox.

But you’ll want to grate the flesh first to make it more palatable: “Grated into a slaw, sweet potatoes are a super source of beta carotene, vitamin C and fibre.”

2. Kale

Baked kale chips have become very trendy in recent years as health-conscious individuals look for new ways to consume the vitamin-rich leaves.

“Many individuals find it easier to digest kale once it’s been sauteed or steamed,” says registered nutritionist Jenna Hope.

“However, massaging raw kale with olive oil instead can also help to aid digestion whilst preserving the vitamin C.

“Additionally, adding olive oil can help to increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin K, which is also present in kale.”

3. Sugar snap peas

Unlike some types of peas, there’s no need to shell sugar snaps, which are high in vitamins C and K.

“Vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant we need to consume through foods for collagen production, to support iron absorption, and for a healthy functioning immune system,” says Packham.

“Sugar snap peas are also a good source of vitamin K and folate which are abundant in green vegetables, and they’re a great source of fibre helping to support beneficial bacteria in the gut and good digestive health.”

They make a delicious snack on their own or dipped in hummus.

“You may want to break off the ends and remove the outer string that runs along the side; you may not even notice it,” Packham continues.

“Cut the pods into smaller segments and mix into salads for extra texture and crunch.”

4. Celeriac

“Rich in vitamin K, celeriac may have bone-health boosting properties, as higher intake of vitamin K is associated with a lower risk of fractures,” suggests Cox.

Cut off the tough outer peel before grating, slicing ribbons with a vegetable peeler or chopping into small pieces.

“Delicate in flavour but packed with goodness, celeriac makes a great addition to any salad,” says Cox.

“Thinly sliced into matchstick-sized strips and tossed with a dollop* of olive oil, mayonnaise and a little mustard, celeriac can liven up any meal as a side dish.”

5. Cauliflower

Cauliflower cheese may be a culinary classic, but you don’t have to bake this cruciferous veg to reap the health rewards.

“Cauli is bursting with vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fibre,” says Cox.

She recommends: “Raw cauliflower makes a great dunker for a delicious guacamole or hummus.”

However, if you have any digestive health issues you should be cautious with cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower.

“They can cause excess gas as they contain an indigestible fibre called raffinose,” says Rob Hobson, a registered consultant nutritionist.

“Bacteria try and break this down in the large intestine and in the process produce gas. This could be an issue for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as it can exacerbate symptoms.”

6. Baby corn

While full-size corn cobs are way too tough to consume whole, baby corn (harvested before the stalks mature) is soft enough to munch whole.

“Despite its size, baby corn is nutritionally rich containing vitamins A and C as well as folate and potassium,” says Packham.

“The high fibre content helps support a healthy gut while also helping you to feel fuller for longer.”

You can slice the stalks to add to salads or serve them as crudités, Packham suggests: “Baby corn is a great snack option and can be left whole – it tastes delicious dipped into hummus or guacamole.”

7. Courgette/Zucchini

“Courgettes are rich in vitamin C and B6, which can also be degraded by high heat,” says Jenna Hope, and because it’s got a semi-firm texture it’s easy to adapt for raw dishes.

Hope adds: “Try slicing up your courgettes and using them as an alternative to cucumber in salads, or sliced up and dipped into hummus or guacamole.”

8. Brussels sprouts

Not a fan of the classic Christmas dinner side dish?

“Trying them raw might just see you developing a newfound love for the humble Brussels sprout,” says Cox, recommending the brassica as a rich source of vitamins C and K.

“Thinly sliced and treated like shredded lettuce, glug on a generous dose of avocado oil or olive oil and a few chopped pecans or walnuts and finish with some fresh, grilled goat’s cheese – this combo may well win you over!”

As Brussels sprouts are cruciferous, the same warning applies to cauliflower for people with IBS.

Hobson adds: “They contain compounds called glucosinolates which can reduce the absorption of iodine which could interfere with thyroid function.

“People with underactive thyroid may want to limit their intake of these compounds. Cooking them lowers the levels of glucosinolates.”
Above words taken from an article seen here

*A dollop is a small, rounded, and usually spoonful-sized portion of an ingredient, typically added to dishes for an extra burst of flavour, texture, or presentation.

Do you like eating raw vegetables? Have you a favourite?

~ xxx ooo xxx ~

It is IMPORTANT to note that articles within this blog are provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Not all the recipe ideas/food suggestions within this blog, may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues please take these into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. 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 26 June 2024

Triple Berry Summer Salad : An Old Favourite : So Delicious

I first came across this recipe idea in 2015, and I have mentioned it quite a few times on the blog! In fact I am sure there will be some readers who may have tried it, but if you haven't, it's highly recommended!

Some describe it as simply amazing, others as simply wonderful. This triple berry summer salad is both of those. Just have a read of the ingredients and your taste buds are already in action savouring the great taste. Make a note of the ingredients - go out and get them and then just make and enjoy this super summer salad.


Ingredients
Serves four
9oz baby spinach, torn
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup chopped basil
1 avocado, chopped
4oz goat cheese

Directions
1. Divide baby spinach between plates then top with berries, almonds*, basil and chopped avocado. Crumble goat cheese on top then dress with salad dressing. You could use a strawberry balsamic vinegar, but any olive-oil based vinaigrette would be fantastic.
2. So easy and fabulously fresh, no-cook, and light ...yet filling from the goat cheese and avocado. You could if you wish serve it with some grilled chicken breast marinated in some of that balsamic vinegar. Dear readers it's entirely up to you.

*The easiest way to toast almonds is to spread them on a plate and microwave in thirty second increments until they’re golden brown. You could also do this in the oven, but sometimes you just don't need the oven on!

I hope you enjoy this taste of summer soon, see original recipe idea here
If you should need help with measurement/weight conversion see here

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 please take these into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. 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 25 June 2024

Courgette (Zucchini) and Feta Bakes : Low Carb Lunch or Picnic

If you’re already living the LCHF lifestyle, you will know that courgettes are low in carbs, just 2g. carb per 100g, and they are probably high up on your must buy shopping (or growing) list. They may not pack the nutritional punch of other green vegetables (broccoli, kale etc.) but they do contain significant levels of potassium to control blood pressure and vitamin C to boost your immune system.


The courgette’s thin dark skin is high in soluble fibre, which slows digestion and stabilises blood sugar levels – potentially getting rid of those pesky mid-afternoon sweet cravings. Soluble fibre can also prevent constipation and help with those horrible IBS symptoms so many of us endure.
More to read about courgettes/zucchini here

Now onto a recipe suggestion that uses fresh courgettes and crumbly, creamy Greek feta together in these egg bakes which are ideal for a simple lunch or picnic. Why not make a big batch and freeze some for later, as they can even be packed up in lunchboxes for the kids, too.


Ingredients
Serves/Makes 12
3 medium courgettes (zucchini), coarsely grated
10 eggs, beaten
handful mint, chopped
100g (3 1/2oz) feta cheese
olive oil, for greasing

Method
1. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C.
2. Sprinkle ½ tsp salt over the courgettes and leave for 5 mins. Put in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze tightly to remove the excess water. Put in a large bowl and stir through the eggs, mint and most of the feta and season, if you like.
3. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin. Fill the moulds and sprinkle with feta. Bake for 12-15 mins, then grill for 2-3 mins until the cheese is golden. Leave to cool a little then carefully ease out of muffin tin and serve. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines
Bake according to the recipe. Allow to cool completely. Wrap well in clingfilm and tin foil (to prevent freezer burn) and freeze for up to 1 month.

Loosen the tin foil and clingfilm but leave to defrost in packaging at room temperature for several hours before serving. If you wish to serve the baked goods warm, place them on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a moderate oven.

Nutritional Information
Fat 8g Protein 7.9g Carbs 0.7g
From an original idea 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. 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 24 June 2024

Heatwave warning : Some common medications increase the risk of overheating and dehydration



Here in the UK our weather has been much sunnier and warmer recently, in fact some news outlets are talking about a UK heatwave and warning about common medications which can increase the risk of overheating and dehydration! It is certainly important to note that hot weather can pose a risk for individuals taking certain common medications, no matter where in the world you live.

Medications used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, allergies, and mental health disorders could have an unwanted side-effect as they may make it harder for patients to stay hydrated or cool down effectively in hot weather. This means that soaring temperatures could potentially be dangerous, or even fatal, for those who aren't adequately prepared.

So, which medications increase heat sensitivity?

Diuretics, a type of medication often prescribed to treat heart failure, high blood pressure, or kidney disease, could cause issues. These drugs increase urination frequency, which, while beneficial for these conditions, can lead to dehydration or an imbalance of electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, or salt.

This makes it more difficult for the body to regulate its temperature,

This can prove especially risky during a heatwave. Heat is already a common cause of dehydration, so those using this medication are advised to maintain high water intake and stay alert for signs of dehydration like headaches, dizziness, dark coloured urine and feeling thirsty.

Another medication that could spell trouble in hot weather includes the Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), typically prescribed for high blood pressure patients. As the mercury rises, these individuals may be more prone to fainting or falling.

Additionally, this medicine cloaks the sensation of thirst, making it harder to recognise when dehydration may be setting in.

Beta-blockers, too, impose a risk. Not only do they heighten your odds of fainting and losing your footing, but they also hinder the body's sweating ability.

This poses concerns about overheating due to insufficient cooling. This side effect isn't unique to Beta-blockers; some antipsychotic medications used for mental health illnesses such as haloperidol, olanzapine and risperidone also dim the sweating capacity.

"Your body temperature has a higher likelihood of getting hotter when you're on those medications," Dr Michael Redlener, the medical director of the emergency department at Mount Sinai West, elaborated to the New York Times.

Certain antidepressants can increase the risk as they often heighten sweating and suppress thirst, making users more prone to dehydration-related complications.

Those taking thyroid medication for an underactive thyroid could also be impacted, as these medications can elevate body temperature and make it more difficult to effectively regulate body temperature.

Stimulants such as amphetamines and medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may also heighten the risk of heat-related illnesses by interacting with the central nervous system and brain.

The risks aren't confined to prescription medication either, as certain over-the-counter medicines can also make you more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, such as the sleeping pill Nytol (Diphenhydramine), and hay fever medicines like Phenergan and Sominex (Promethazine).

How can I stay cool in the heat?

While these medications can make you more susceptible to heat-related problems, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on enjoying your time in the sunshine - there are several ways to mitigate the risk and help yourself stay safe this Summer.

One way to stay safe is to try and limit your exposure to the outdoor temperatures by staying in an air-conditioned environment, however if this isn't possible, drinking plenty of water and staying in the shade outdoors will help to lessen your risk of suffering from a serious complication.

When you are outdoors, try to wear loose fitting clothing in a lighter shade, such as white, yellow, or pastel colours, instead of darker shades like black, green and navy which absorb heat.

If you do spend time outdoors, it's important to brush up on the signs of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, in order to get treatment quickly. Signs include heavy sweating, headaches, nausea, clammy skin and sometimes even vomiting.

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which happens when the body temperature hits 39C or higher and can prove fatal if left untreated.

If you think you may be suffering from either condition, seek emergency medical care immediately.

Above image from google.
Words above taken from article here

Related Posts
It's hot - heatwave health alert and ways to cope with Type 1 Diabetes in the heat, read it here
When It's Hot Stay Hydrated, read it here

** Post Edit a Yellow heat-health alert set for most of England **
more details here

Please note that articles within this blog are provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor, pharmacist or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.

All the best Jan

Sunday 23 June 2024

Sugar Cravings : Some Tips On How To Get Rid Of Them


"How to Get Rid of Sugar Cravings Once and for All

Worldwide we eat an excess amount of sugar. It is a common hurdle many face on their journey to wellness. Understanding and addressing sugar cravings is important to sustaining balanced health.

Here are some tips on what to do when you see a pattern of sugar cravings start to rise:

1. Nourish Your Body With Nutrient-Rich Foods
Cravings often stem from nutrient deficiencies. Ensuring a balanced diet rich in whole foods can help curb the desire for sugary treats. Focus on incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Foods high in fiber, like oats, beans, and leafy greens, help stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing the intensity and frequency of cravings.

2. Stay Hydrated
Sometimes, what we perceive as a craving for sugar is actually our body signalling thirst. Drinking adequate water throughout the day can help keep cravings at bay. If plain water doesn’t excite you, try infusing it with slices of citrus fruits, cucumber, or mint for a refreshing twist.

3. Prioritize Protein And Healthy Fats
Including sufficient protein and healthy fats in your meals can promote satiety and help regulate blood sugar levels. Protein sources like eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes, along with fats from avocados, nuts, and olive oil, provide lasting energy and keep you feeling full longer, reducing the urge for a sugar fix.

4. Embrace Natural Sweeteners
When the craving for something sweet becomes irresistible, opt for natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar in moderation. These alternatives can satisfy your sweet tooth without the adverse effects of refined sugars.

5. Utilize Mindful Eating Practices
Engage in mindful eating by paying close attention to what you eat and savouring every bite. This practice can help you recognize when you're truly hungry versus when you're eating out of habit or emotional need. By slowing down and appreciating your meals, you’re less likely to seek out sugary snacks impulsively.

6. Get Moving
Physical activity is a powerful tool against cravings. Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress, often underlying causes of sugar cravings. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a full workout, find an activity that you enjoy and make it a regular part of your routine.

7. Sleep Well
Lack of sleep can trigger cravings as your body seeks quick energy fixes. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to help regulate hunger hormones and keep your cravings in check. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a restful environment can support better sleep hygiene.

8. Plan And Prepare
Planning your meals and snacks* in advance can prevent you from reaching for sugary options out of convenience. Prepare healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, and yogurt so that you have nutritious choices readily available when hunger strikes.

By implementing these strategies, you can take control of your sugar cravings and embark on a journey toward a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. Remember, it’s not about depriving yourself but about making mindful choices that nourish your body and soul."
Words and image above from article here
*Read more about low carb snacks here

Please note
Articles / studies within this blog are provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, including medication, you should contact your Doctor/local health care provider.

All the best Jan

Saturday 22 June 2024

Wishing you blue skies and a happy weekend

 

sky image from here

As the weekend comes round once more, I wish you a good one.
I hope you may see some blue skies.
According to the weather forecast I think Eddie and I will 😊

We may enjoy a delicious
Leek and Chorizo Frittata
you can see the recipe here


Whatever your plans are this weekend, I wish you an enjoyable one.
Take time to focus on the positive aspects of life and to find joy in the little things. 
Above all 'spread a little happiness' to all those around you.

All the best Jan

Friday 21 June 2024

Lemon Cheesecake Fluff : A Low Carb Summer Delight

On yesterday's summer solstice post here I mentioned perhaps celebrating it with a lovely scoop (or two) of lemon ice cream. The recipe suggestion I linked to is sugar free and low in carbs, and if you missed it you can see more details here

Well, I am continuing with a summer and lemon theme in today's post, because I am sharing a recipe for lemon cheesecake fluff. It is simple and quick to make and if you garnish it with some fresh berries and lemon zest it makes it even more delicious, and at 5g carbs per serving it fits into many peoples LCHF menu plans well!


Ingredients
Serves Four
8 oz. / 225g cream cheese
½ cup / 125ml heavy (double) whipping cream
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powdered erythritol sweetener (optional)
Garnish
½ cup / 125ml fresh blackberries (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

You can see how to make this dessert at Diet Doctor site here

~ wishing all readers a happy day ~

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

Thursday 20 June 2024

Summer Solstice 2024 ...the longest day

As many celebrate the summer solstice this article looks at, "Three summer solstice myths and the truth behind them.

What is the summer solstice?

The summer solstice is the 'longest' day of the year, giving us a chance to take advantage of added sunlight in what is set to be amongst the wettest summers on record.

It is widely celebrated across the globe, but as with any event of cultural significance, the solstice has accumulated many a myth and folktale over the years.

So we're here to set the record straight, and help you sort the truth from the myths this summer solstice.

When is the summer solstice 2024?

The summer solstice will take place on Thursday 20th June at 9.51pm (BST) in the UK.

While we will reap the benefits of added daylight across the whole of the day, this is the exact moment at which the northern hemisphere is most tilted towards the sun.

Is the summer solstice the hottest day of the year?

It's a myth!

While the summer solstice may mark the longest day of the year, it does not make it the hottest.

Generally, the light comes before the heat, meaning the hottest days of the year tend to come around three to four weeks after the summer solstice.

So fear not, while this may mark the return of shorter days, you might still have the added heat to look forward to.

Do some places get 24 hours of daylight during the summer solstice?

It's a fact!

Despite sounding a bit mad, this is actually true! Various areas in and around the Arctic Circle actually see 24 hours of daylight during periods of the summer, including sections of Alaska and Northern Norway.

The phenomena, known as the Midnight Sun, gives the appearance of an endless sunset during the night, before the sun begins to rise again as morning arrives.

Stonehenge UK

Was Stonehenge built to align with the sun on the solstice?

It's a fact…ish!

Britain's biggest celebration of the summer solstice takes place at Stonehenge, with crowds of up to 10,000 people gathering at the iconic monument to bask in the light, and for good reason too!

English Heritage, the charity responsible for managing Stonehenge, claim that the monument was built to align with the sun on the summer and winter solstices, with sun rays shining right into the heart of the stone circle.

Some people dispute this, however, believing the monument to have originally been built as a burial ground. Other theories about the origins of Stonehenge include that it was built by mythic wizard Merlin, or even by some form of alien lifeform!"
Words from article here
Read more about Stonehenge here

~ xxx ooo xxx ~

Why not celebrate summer solstice with a lovely scoop (or two) of lemon ice cream, this recipe suggestion is sugar free and low in carbs. More details here


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 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

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Mangetout : 'Eat It All'


Mangetout are young, tender garden peas. Find out when mangetout are in season, how to buy the best, and tips for storing and cooking this green vegetable by reading this article.

What is mangetout?
The French name tells you everything; it means ‘eat it all’. Mangetout properly means a type of garden pea picked very young, so young that the pod is still flat and the peas have barely developed. *Also known as snow pea or sugar pea. A sugar snap pea is more fully developed and rounder, but the pod can still be eaten.

How to cook mangetout
Ideally, mangetouts can be cooked just as they are and great care must be taken to serve them crisp and brightly coloured.

Unfortunately, the variety sold and the time of the year means you always have to check for strings. Pull back the stalk end to see if the string is developed and if so, you must string every one, both sides. If the strings are minor, you may eat them as they are.

They are an excellent ingredient to use in stir-fries when they can be cut in half diagonally, both for looks and for faster cooking. Otherwise, the microwave is by far the best way to enhance and enjoy their green, garden flavour. Cook covered with no added water other than any left after rinsing and shaking dry. Steaming quickly reduces their flavour and colour; boiling does the same, faster.

The sweetness of lightly cooked mangetout peas is especially good with all seafood (even in cocktails) and with fish, hot or cold. They make an interesting ingredient in salads, too. Find more mangetout cooking ideas here

How to store mangetout
Best eaten quickly. The ideal way to keep them crisp and fresh is to store them in the refrigerator in a roomy bag or box into which you have sprinkled a little water, which will then keep them in very good condition for days.

When is mangetout in season?
The UK season is June to September, but supplies from other countries appear throughout much of the year. Frozen mangetout can be found but, like all such vegetables, they will have been blanched and so need less cooking than fresh ones.

Choose the best mangetout
Being so young, the pods deteriorate very quickly. They should be green, rather than yellow, and not in the least flabby – they should break crisply and look moist. Also check for strings on either side; if these are prominent or seem tough, the pods have dried out.
Words above taken from article here


*In the US and elsewhere mangetout peas are typically described as 'snow peas' and 'snap peas'. Sugar snap peas are usually those with a rounder pod and crunchier texture. 

You may like to try this recipe
Lamb chops with courgette, mangetout and feta cheese salad


Ingredients
Serves Two
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
4 lamb chops
2 small courgettes (zucchini), sliced into 1cm-thick rounds
200g mangetout
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp chilli flakes (optional)
small handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
small handful basil leaves, roughly chopped
25g feta, crumbled
Nutrition Per Serving
Fat 31g Protein 47g Carbs 6g
Recipe Instructions
can be seen 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

Tuesday 18 June 2024

I Missed 'Eat Your Vegetables Day' Did You?

Blogging friend Tom mentioned that it was 'Eat Your Vegetables Day' yesterday (more details here).  I must admit this was news to me! However, we enjoy eating vegetables in our house, and yesterday was no exception, but it got me thinking and prompted this post 😊


What are vegetables?
Speaking from a botanical or gardening point of view, vegetables are the leaves, stems or roots of plants. However, many non-sweet fruits are commonly considered vegetables for eating or cooking purposes.

Different types of vegetables
Vegetables can be broadly classified into four categories:

1. Above-ground vegetables: greens (spinach, lettuce, chard, etcetera), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, et cetera), bulbs (onions, garlic) and fungi (mushrooms).

2. Below-ground/root/starchy vegetables: beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, (swede), turnip, yams, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc.

3. Gourds: pumpkins, hard-shelled squashes and other winter squashes.

4. Technically fruits but treated like vegetables: avocados, olives, bell peppers, eggplant/aubergine, tomatoes and zucchini/courgette. Unlike other fruits, these aren’t sweet and are often prepared and consumed with other vegetables. Avocados and olives are unique among fruits and vegetables because most of their calories come from fat rather than sugar or starch.

Nutritional composition of vegetables

Above-ground vegetables are low carb/keto-friendly foods that provide 5 or fewer grams of net carbs per 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving. Not so for the root and starchy vegetables, however, which range from 6 to 17 grams of net carbs per serving. Vegetables usually contain moderate to high amounts of fibre, especially avocado — which also happens to be among the lowest in net carbs.

Overall, vegetables are more nutrient-dense than fruits, although their vitamin and mineral content can also be affected by factors like growing and storage conditions. Most veggies are good to excellent sources of potassium, and bell peppers and cruciferous vegetables are also high in vitamin C.

Low-carb vegetables – read more about the best and the worst here

Words above taken from article 'Do you need to eat fruits and vegetables?' which you can read here

With dinner, Eddie and I enjoyed a mix of vegetables - broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and peas, followed with some blueberries and cream for dessert 😋

Dear reader, we bring a variety of articles, studies etc. plus recent news/views and recipe ideas to this blog, we hope something for everyone to read and enjoy. Please note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. 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 17 June 2024

Caponata : Somewhere between a stew and a salad : It's tasty

Caponata is a Sicilian dish consisting of chopped fried eggplant/aubergine and other vegetables, seasoned with olive oil, tomato sauce, celery, olives, and capers.

Today, caponata is typically used as a side dish for fish dishes and sometimes as an appetizer, but since the 18th century it has also been used as a main course.

Variants may add carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, pine nuts, and raisins.

This authentic caponata is somewhere between a stew and a salad. Sweet and sour aubergines mix with salty olives, capers and tangy tomatoes. Best eaten at room temperature or just warm. Many enjoy this served with some with crusty ciabatta. There are some lower carb bread recipe suggestions here and here and here


Ingredients
Serves Four
4 medium aubergines/eggplants, chopped into 2cm/1in cubes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes
100g/3½oz green olives
3 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1½ tbsp sugar, or to taste
handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Method
1. Sprinkle the aubergines with salt and leave to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.
2. Heat some of the olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the aubergine on a moderate heat for 10 minutes. When softened and browned, set aside. You may have to do this in batches.
3. Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan and gently fry the onion and the celery until softened and translucent, but not browned. Add the tomatoes, olives and capers, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook for 20 minutes until the mixture has thickened.
4.In a separate bowl, mix together the red wine vinegar and sugar. Add this to the pan with the aubergine and cook for 10 minutes. It is ready when the red wine vinegar has been absorbed.
5. Transfer the caponata to a large bowl, add the chopped parsley and mix well. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil to serve. Serve hot or at room temperature.
From original idea here

If you've seen Inspector Montalbano on television I'm sure he would enjoy this dish! LOL!

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

Sunday 16 June 2024

Happy Fathers Day 2024

image from google

Today Sunday 16th June 2024 here in the UK, and many other countries, we celebrate Father's Day. It is usually held on the third Sunday of June and is a day to honour fathers and father figures, such as grandfathers and fathers-in-law. Many people make a special effort to visit their fathers or to send them a card or gifts. More information can be read here

If you live in America it was back on June 19, 1910 that Father’s Day was founded, in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA by Sonora Smart Dodd to honour her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, for all his efforts as a single parent raising his six children. According to Hallmark Fathers Day is the fourth largest card sending occasion. More information can be read here

In our house cards and gifts are given and some arrived early by post ready for Eddie to open. Although it's not always possible to see all family members, those we can't are just a 'phone call away. 

Wherever you may live we wish all who will be celebrating this day a happy day.

If you can smell a wonderful aroma wafting from your computer screen it could well be the bacon sizzling in the pan, a great way to start Father's Day 😋


Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe suggestions 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

Saturday 15 June 2024

June Views : Peace and Tranquillity

From the comfort of my armchair I enjoyed these beautiful views.
I hope you do too.
They are from the County of Hampshire in the UK.


Salt Marshes, Lymington
Photograph Credit Emma Hill


Ballard Lake, New Milton
Photograph Credit Eric Holland


Sunrise, Gosport
Photograph Credit Ali Tre

Wishing all readers a happy weekend.

All the best Jan

Friday 14 June 2024

Juicy Melon and Smoky Parma Ham : A Delicious Pairing

First 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.


Now onto the recipe ...
Take two delicate flavours - sweet and juicy melon with smoky slices of Parma ham, pair them together, and what do you get? A lovely starter dish for a dinner party, but can also be enjoyed as a light lunch (yes please), and is such a refreshing combination of tastes.

Ingredients
Serves Four
1 honeydew melon
2 x 88g (2oz) packs of Parma ham, torn
50g (2oz) wild rocket*
pinch ground black pepper
4 tsp oil

Method
1. Cut the melon into thick slices and remove the skin and any pips. Then chop into large chunks.
2. Divide the melon between 4 plates then add the Parma ham.
3. Scatter with a little rocket, season with black pepper and drizzle with the oil.

Per Serving
Carbohydrate 13.2g Protein 13.5g Fibre 1.9g Fat 11g
From original idea here

The greenery is provided by using wild rocket* which is sometimes known as Arugula. Now we all know that salad greens are healthy, and that most are very low in calories. However, did you know that not all give you a good dose of nutrients... well Arugula/ Rocket is one leafy green vegetable that stands out as a rich source of many vitamins and minerals.

Consider the difference between iceberg lettuce and arugula/rocket:
Arugula contains about eight times the calcium,
fives times the vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K,
four times the iron as the same amount of iceberg lettuce.
The choice is easy... start with arugula/rocket for a healthier salad!

Read more about Parma Ham here

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 12 June 2024

Chicken Thigh Traybake - with broccoli, red onion and sweet potatoes

Today, I'm sharing an easy chicken traybake recipe, that could be perfect for a midweek family dinner, or in fact perfect for any day of the week! Chicken pieces and colourful sweet potatoes, red onions and broccoli are simply roasted with herbs, paprika and lemon. Adding stock ensures everything is beautifully tender and there’s a little gravy left in the bottom to serve.


Ingredients
Serves Four
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
2 red onions, cut into wedges
350g broccoli, broken into florets
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1½ tbsp. olive oil
6 skinless chicken thigh fillets, each cut in half
2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges to serve
1 tsp smoked paprika
150ml chicken stock

Method
1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Add the sweet potatoes, onions, broccoli and garlic to a large roasting tray and sprinkle over the dried herbs. Season and drizzle over 1 tbsp. of the oil, then toss everything together. Spread the veg out in an even layer and roast for 15 mins.

2. Remove the tray from the oven and give the veg a good mix. Add the chicken pieces and drizzle with the remaining ½ tbsp. oil. Squeeze over the lemon juice and sprinkle with the paprika. Return to the oven for 15 mins.

3. Pour over most of the chicken stock, then roast for a final 15-20 mins (topping up with a little more stock if it starts to look too dry) until the chicken is cooked through and the veg is completely tender. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition - Each Serving
Fat 20g Carbohydrate 33.3g Protein 33.8g Fibre 8.7g
Recipe from an original idea here

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.

This recipe uses sweet potatoes which are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fibre, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus.

However, the carbohydrate content in sweet potatoes, (and white potatoes), will result in a blood sugar impact in any serving size and many diabetics choose not to eat them. However, sweet potatoes are naturally more nutrient-dense; so if you do choose to eat them they could be the better option between the two!

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.

For readers who may prefer a vegetarian recipe
Baked Ratatouille with Butter Bean Mash - more details here

All the best Jan

Tuesday 11 June 2024

June Birth Flower : Honeysuckle

If you are a June baby your birth flowers are the Rose and Honeysuckle. Roses are among the most recognizable flowers, often given as a sign of affection because they have long been a symbol of love. The honeysuckle, with its tubular flowers, is a magnet for hummingbirds and represents happiness and positive energy. This post is about the Honeysuckle, if you haven't already seen my earlier post about the Rose, you can read it here

image from google

The honeysuckle emerges in the spring with fragrant flowers that have four petals and grow in two pairs or clusters. Flowers, which are tubular, range in colour from white and yellow to purple, pink, and red. After the bloom is done, flowers are replaced with round berries that can be orange, red, or a shade of pink. Honeysuckles are native to the Northern Hemisphere, with certain species native to locations in China, Japan, Europe, India, and North America.

image from google

Honeysuckle Meanings and Symbolism
The name honeysuckle comes from the Middle English word honeysouke, which translates to “honey suck.” It is believed the name came from the ability to suck the sweet nectar straight from the flowers once picked.

The honeysuckle traditionally symbolized happiness and affection for a new love. It has also been known to represent nostalgia for first loves or old flames.

Honeysuckles were commonly planted near homes to create a feeling of nostalgia and honour those who had died. They are also meant to bring happiness and positive energy into one’s life. According to other legends, planting a honeysuckle near the home would keep away negativity and protect one from evil spirits.

Honeysuckle in History
  • The Druids used symbols of honeysuckle in the Celtic alphabet to represent joy and happiness.
  • A small plaque on the Anderson Memorial Bridge, near the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an ode to William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” character Quentin Compson. The plaque reads, “Quentin Compson III/June 2, 1910/Drowned in the odour of honeysuckle.”
  • Honeysuckle has been used to treat a number of ailments—digestive disorders, respiratory issues, and headaches. Its uses also include treating arthritis, rashes, skin diseases, and even snakebites.
  • In China, honeysuckle has been traditionally thought to remove toxins from the body and promote positive emotions.
A final three facts
The flowers of honeysuckle can be distilled to extract their aromatic oils. These oils are often used in perfumes, soaps, and other beauty products for their sweet and captivating fragrance.

In folklore and mythology, honeysuckle is often associated with love and devotion. It is believed to bring good fortune to those who have it growing in their garden, and its sweet scent is said to attract love and romance.

The dried flowers and leaves of honeysuckle are commonly used to make herbal teas. These teas are not only delicious but also provide a range of potential health benefits.
xxx oooo xxx

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. You may now like to read this one about 'Some Foods In Season During June' which also has some recipe suggestions - see here

All the best Jan