All I want is to live a normal life
the beach at Cancun
As we gradually come out of lockdown, some normal things I haven’t been able to do for months have become possible ~ like getting my hair cut, or even booking a vacation.
One of the good things about having been in self-isolation for over a year is that I haven’t spent much money, so now I am almost out of lockdown I can afford to take my friend to anywhere we would like to go.
Should be fun.
this might be the route to normality
only the pure in heart can make a good soup
In many parts of England and the USA it’s cold, dark, and miserable. At times like these I believe that we all need comfort food, and what better than a nourishing, warming, interesting soup?
And, if you are pure in heart, then you can make a decent soup over an open fire, if you have to. Better still would be an unfashionable wood burning stove. The people of Texas will tell you that relying on electricity is not always a good idea, nor mains gas either. BTW, never, ever use petrol, (gasoline) to start a fire ~ not if you want to go on living.
First up this week, from Chungah at Damn Delicious we have this Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup. You know what? If you don’t have a slow cooker, then get one. At this time of year it will be a brilliant investment.
Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has a recipe for Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup. Tuscany is one of my favourite places in the entire world.
Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup
Holly at Spend with Pennies has a wonderful looking recipe for Chicken Corn Chowder with Bacon; how very American! This really is a meal in a bowl.
Chicken Corn Chowder with Bacon
Dana the Minimalist Baker has a collection; Healthy Winter Recipes for Cold People, and from that I’ve chosen to feature her very easy, very healthy, gluten free, one pot, Curried Potato and Lentil Soup, (with kale).
Curried Potato and Lentil Soup
Meanwhile, Jessica at How Sweet Eats offers us 20 of Her Favorite Soup Recipes for Winter; from which I give you this Easy Lemon Chicken Soup. OK it’s the second lemon chicken recipe this week but they are very different.
Easy Lemon Chicken Soup
Finally for this week Country Living has a collection of 55+ Extra Comforting Soups and Stews to Warm You Up on Chilly Winter Nights. How about this Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup for something very different?
Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup
they even get snow in Arizona
I know, I was there
first, use what you have to hand
On Friday, looking through my refrigerator and store cupboard I found an eclectic mixture of bits and pieces; steak, red onion, garlic, olives, and dried apricots. All of that’s been there a little while, and it’s either use it or lose it into the trash.
I thought I could turn these into something like a Moroccan Beef Tagine for Saturday’s dinner. I’ve no doubt I have enough in my spice rack to come up with vaguely the correct blend. (I have some baby bell peppers too.)
Moroccan Beef Tagine
That wasn’t my picture because I hadn’t made it yet….
As it happened it turned out well, especially for a first attempt at the recipe.
Next time it will be better.
I’m not quite certain what tweaks I need to make, but hey, I cook for Marmy and me…… I need to practice my food photography too.
except I don’t think Marmaduke likes Moroccan food very much ~ he is an English bear
first, use what you have to hand
Looking through my refrigerator and store cupboard I found an eclectic mixtire of bits and pieces; steak, red onion, garlic, olives, and dried apricots. All of that’s been there a little while, and it’s either use it or lose it into the trash.
I think I can turn these into something like a Moroccan Beef Tagine for Saturday’s dinner. I’ve no doubt I have enough in my spice rack to come up with vaguely the correct blend. (I have some baby bell peppers too.)
Moroccan Beef Tagine
That’s not my picture because I haven’t made it yet….
I will let you know how it works out.
I don’t think Marmaduke likes Moroccan food
one should not merely eat to live
Life should be fun, filled with enjoyment, good friends, good times, and great memories. Too much of our mealtimes today are snatched, eaten on the run, filled with convenience food, fast food, and takeouts. And, in all honesty, too many of my meals are from a can or the freezer, and eaten alone. I guess that’s a lockdown thing.
Let’s see if we can change that lonely, bland, and unhealthy life for the better. Let’s taste our food again.
Despite having spent quite a lot of time in Southern California I’ve never had anything like these Queso Fundido Taquitos ~ from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest. Served with avocado lime crema.
Queso Fundido Taquitos
I’ve never had a Chicken Sheet Pan Quesadilla either. This from Ali at Gimme Some Oven. Easy, delicious, perfect to share with friends.
Chicken Sheet Pan Quesadilla
Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has this very nice-looking recipe for Sweet and Spicy Thai Chicken. It’s a 45 minute dish, but I think most people I know could spend a very relaxing hour making this yummy concoction.
Sweet and Spicy Thai Chicken
Joy the Baker says these Mediterranean Salmon Parcels are a weeknight dinner. I think you could serve this recipe to your friends any time. I really like cooking in foil.
Mediterranean Salmon Parcels
Another seafood dish, this time from Chungah at Damn Delicious; Brown Butter Scallops. Quick, easy, and very healthy. You could serve this with rice, salad, or just some crusty bread.
Brown Butter Scallops
It turns out that over in the USA it’s about to be Super Bowl Sunday. Ergo our collection this week is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats; 21 Favourite Recipes for Superbowl Sunday. From her collection I’ve chosen to feature a Caesar Salad with Pizza Croutons ~ very pretty.
Caesar Salad with Pizza Croutons
why women desire more shoes and men don’t have a clue
hideous fuck me heels
It’s a funny thing, most men will buy themselves a new pair of shoes for a very special occasion, a new job, a first date, getting married….. Or, if the shoes they habitually wear are so down at heal and scruffy that even spit and polish will no longer make them presentable.
In contrast most women will buy new shoes just because they like them, or to feel better, or because they like shopping, or they’ve bought a new dress / suit and they need shoes and a purse to match. Women will also buy new shoes for a very special occasion, a new job, meeting old friends, vacations, a first date, getting married…..
But then most women like shopping, especially with his credit card, and most men don’t like shopping at all. And most men can’t understand that at all, but then most men don’t have a clue about women.
A woman needs to know but one man to understand all men; whereas a man may know many women and not understand one of them. ~ Helen Rowland
But then, most women know that most men are just a life-support system for their penis.
It’s a fact that women write almost all the books on human relationships, marriage, sex, and love ~ and that 80% of the people who buy these books are women. Perhaps men would understand women better if they made an effort, and yet men don’t even listen when their partner is trying to talk with them. A lot of men equate their wife / partner / girlfriend attempting to have a conversation as nagging. And only women nag. A man may criticise, find fault, complain, and go into ‘problem-solving mode’ ~ but that’s not nagging, that’s just passing on their years of accumulated masculine wisdom.
When women nag, go on and on about something, they firmly believe that their ‘nagging’ shows that they care about their man. She might know she is being irritating, but she can’t help it because she’s a nest-builder, nurse, manager, and mother. And, she knows that she’s telling then truth.
The fact is men and women are very different, right down to the structure of their brains, bodies, emotions, feelings, and instincts. There is no equality of the sexes, which is why women desire more shoes, and men don’t have a clue.
the holy grail?
five inch Jimmy Choos
save power and protect the planet
eat raw meat
There is solid evidence that that ‘people’ were using and controlling fire at least a million years ago, so Paleolithic man undoubtedly knew how to cook, even if it was only toasting a haunch of bison over an open fire. Unless you’re very keen on sushi and carpaccio you won’t be eating a lot of raw meat on a Paleo Diet, and because of the possibility of parasites there is no way I would eat raw fish.
The Paleolithic Era lasted from about 2.5 million years ago until 10,000 years ago, just after the last ice age. (lithic means stone, so our ancestors were using flint tools) Theoretically the Paleo Diet is based upon what our stone age ancestors were eating.
So, going forward my diet will be: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, lean meat, (especially good quality from grass-fed animals or wild game), fresh fish, (especially salmon, mackeral, pilchards, and tuna). For cooking we should use oil from fruits and nuts like olive oil, almond oil, and coconut oil. Having said that, as our paleolithic ancestors were cooking and eating lots of meat I see nothing wrong with using lard and dripping.
The foods to avoid are things that our ancestors would never have had access to; grains like wheat, oats, barley, rice, (anyway grains are all drenched in poisonous Roundup / Glyphosate), legumes like beans, lentils, peanuts, and peas, any and all dairy products like butter, cheese, yogurt, cream, milk. On a Paleo diet there is no refined sugar, (which lets out cakes, candy, chocolate, and sweetened drinks), root vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, turnips, and not too much salt, (right up until the middle ages salt was a very precious commodity). Neither would Paleolithic man have access to processed food, canned food, breakfast cereals, chips, crisps, pies, microwave meals, and ready meals ~ all of which are full of crap.
Booze is mostly out too ~ the earliest known beer dates from about 5,000 years ago ~ but perhaps hard liquor sneaks in as evidence for that dates back at least 9,000 years.
The main reason I’m going onto the pretty strict paleo diet are that all through lockdown I’ve been putting on weight, and now I want to get my trim body back. Other benefits of a Paleo Diet are; better resistance to diabetes, improved cardio vascular health, more energy, and better resistance to all the diseases linked to inflammation.
Some say that modern life is injurious to our health. And that wheat is so unhealthy we should probably stop eating it. All I know is that lockdown is the unhealthiest way of living I know.
from Creme de la Crumb
for most of human prehistory
carbohydrates were extremely scarce
The real birth of farming, and therefore an abundance of carbohydrates, was probably after the last ice age some 10,000 years ago. Before that, and before mankind learned how to store grains and nuts, carbohydrates would only be readily available in the harvest season. More than that, most carbohydrates would come from nuts rather than grains and seeds, and most nuts contain far more fat and protein than they do carbohydrates.
Some would say that eating carbohydrates is unnatural, and the number of wheat / gluten related illnesses would seem to prove that; celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia, dermatitis, bloating, and wheat allergies. Anyhow, modern wheat is so drenched in Roundup / Glyphosate that it’s poisonous over time.
A paleo diet is based on the food eaten by early humans; meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts ~ completely eschewing dairy products, cereals, and of course no processed foods at all. And, that’s what I’m now following ~ So Help Me God.
First up this Friday, from Chungah at Damn Delicious we have Easy Chimichurri Shrimp. One benefit of a Paleo diet is that most dishes are quick, easy, and clean. Chimichurri is a tangy quite hot dressing.
Easy Chimichurri Shrimp
Not everyone likes pork chops, but from Holly at Spend with Pennies I like the look of her recipe for Juicy Baked Pork Chops. So many people cook pork chops until they’re dry and tasteless.
Juicy Baked Pork Chops
The usual extremely pretty dish from Jessica at How Sweet Eats; Garlic Brown Sugar Flank Steak with Chimichurri. One of the good things about a paleo diet is that I can eat just as much steak as I want. This is a super cilantro heavy chimichurri dressing, and another 30 minute recipe. Fabulous!
Garlic Brown Sugar Flank Steak with Chimichurri
From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest, how about this Pan Roasted Pomegranate Glazed Salmon. Not your same old dull salmon dinner at all. Simple, quick, and very tasty in a different way.
Pan Roasted Pomegranate Glazed Salmon
Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb also has a super 30 minute salmon recipe; Best Easy Healthy Baked Salmon. Cooked just with lemon and garlic, what could be easier or better?
Best Easy Healthy Baked Salmon
The collection this week is from Delish magazine; 40 Paleo Recipes That Will Make You Forget You’re On A Diet. Well a Paleo meal shouldn’t make you feel as though you’re on a diet, protein is very filling. The dish I’ve chosen to feature is another fish recipe; Baked Swordfish Steak ~ and swordfish is fabulous served any way.
Baked Swordfish Steak
a true Paleo Diet should include game
healthy eating is a way of life
Deep into lockdown and I am not feeling at my best. The edict here is that we should stay at home, not going out at all except for ‘essential’ purposes. Well, for me shopping for food is an essential reason to get out of the garret. And face it, when one can’t go anywhere nor meet with friends, then cooking is one of the few real pleasures left in life. Ergo, the dishes this week are things that look and sound good. Maybe all these recipes are healthy and very nutritious, but this week that’s all secondary to simple pleasure.
Not only that ~ these recipes remind me of warmer and better times spent in California.
From Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest we have 30 Minute Creamy Thai Turmeric Chicken and Noodles. I like easy thirty-minute recipes. Turmeric is supposed to have lots of interesting health benefits.
30 Minute Creamy Thai Turmeric Chicken and Noodles
Another 30 minute dish, this time from Dana at Minimalist Baker; Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetable Panzanella ~ how very Californian. This is quick, nutritious, vegetarian comfort food. Rosemary is another herb with lots of health benefits attached to it.
Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetable Panzanella
At Cooking with a Wallflower one of Andrea’s top ten recipes is this Korean Style Spinach Mushroom Glass Noodles. I enjoy making a stir fry and this vegetarian dish looks so very easy for a lunch or dinner at any time.
Korean Style Spinach Mushroom Glass Noodles
Here in England, in the depths of winter, a hearty soup is always welcome on the dinner plate. Holly at Spend with Pennies has something that would remind me of warmer and better times vacationing in California. A Crock Pot Taco Soup ~ and almost everyone has a crock pot tucked away in a kitchen cupboard. Allegedly this soup is so easy it practically cooks itself.
Crock Pot Taco Soup
I’ve realised that the recipes this week all have some kind of Californian connection. So, how could I not include something like these Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Chipotle Slaw and Roasted Pineapple Sauce. From epicurious.
Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos
Our collection this week comes from Jessica at How Sweet Eats; 20 of My Favorite Soup Recipes for Winter. From this fabulous list I’ve chosen to feature this great looking Chicken Tortellini Soup. If you buy a rotisserie chicken this dish is so quick and easy.
Chicken Tortellini Soup
Santa Monica, CA
sometimes, even I can’t fix everything
somewhere in there is a busted part
Well, I failed at repairing my heating / hot water system. The part I ordered and fitted yesterday rectified one fault, but obviously it wasn’t the main problem. There’s now a lot of pretty lights working on the gas boiler’s control panel, but the important indicator light, the one that says the gas is lit, remains obstinately dark.
I could investigate further and try another fix, but I won’t do that for three very important reasons;
- I don’t have the special tools one needs to work on gas appliances. Crucially these special tools include a gas leak detector. Although gas is actually odorless, a stenching agent is added so one can smell a very bad gas leak. But a leak small enough to be undetectable by human olfactory senses can still be extremely dangerous.
- I do not have easy access to the parts I might need to undertake a repair.
- Legally, all gas work should only ever be carried out by an appropriately qualified engineer. In the UK that means you have to on the Gas Safe Register, and renew your qualification every year. I haven’t been a qualified gas engineer for 15 years or so.
Today I’ll find a properly qualified engineer who is working during this current draconian lockdown, and make an appointment to have someone come and look at my lack of heating and hot water problem.
Actually, wanting to have fixed this gas boiler problem myself is not a money issue, it’s more that I don’t like strangers in the garret, and neither does Marmaduke.
Failing to repair something is a huge blow to my self-esteem. But needs must when the Devil drives.
good old Marmaduke
he’s all ready to help