Category Archives: Budgeting

Food on Friday ~ Healthy Salmon Recipes

if you want something beautiful on the table, pick up some salmon

If you’re trying to eat a very healthy diet, then salmon should be on your shopping list.  This attractive fish has a stack of health benefits, not just that it’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, eating salmon is supposed to reduce the risk factors for several nasty diseases.  Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, and fresh line-caught salmon should be clean ~ not full of all the crap that is in some of the food we eat.

Buying the right piece of salmon is important, starting with the basic rule ~ never buy anything that looks manky.  Anything that says wild is probably better than farmed, and some farmed salmon is better than others.  Usually the rule is the more you pay the better it will be, but not always, but don’t sweat it.  Go to a good grocery store or fishmonger, and you’ll be fine.

First this week we have one of my favourite salmon dishes; Thai salmon in foil,from Chungah at Damn Delicious.  I think cooking in foil is a brilliant technique, and it reduces the amount of washing-up no end.

Thai Salmon in Foil

Another recipe for cooking in foil, and following on from last week’s post which was all about cilantro; from Averie Sunshine’s archive I have chosen this foil pack lime cilantro salmon.   This is so easy to make, and it will be ready to eat in 10 minutes ~ you heard me right, just 10 minutes to produce this wonderful healthy dish.

Foil Pack Lime Cilantro Salmon

Now we have a fabulous 30 minute recipe from Sabrina Modelle; grilled salmon with peach salsa.  This dish has so much going for it; you can cook the salmon on the BBQ, which means you can make the whole recipe in your yard.  Anything with grilled salmon looks really special, so this is something you can serve to guests.  And, best of all, it’s a 30 minute recipe that will make a great lunch, dinner, or something to take to work the following day.  (This recipe was found for us by Elise at Simply Recipes).

Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa

Until I saw this from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest I had never heard of cooking on a BBQ grill by placing the food on a cedar plank.  But, now I’ve seen this cedar plank salmon with watermelon feta salsa from Teighan this is something I must try the next time I’m somewhere warm and sunny ~ that’s if anyone friend will let me.  I’m an Englishman, and as everyone knows we are terrible at cooking on a BBQ.

Cedar Plank Salmon with watermelon Feta Salsa

This brilliant sweet and smokey cedar planked salmon is from Kate Merker at Country Living magazine.  Apart from soaking the plank for a couple of hours to stop it from catching fire, this is a very easy BBQ recipe!

Sweet and Smokey Cedar Plank Salmon

With healthy eating in mind I so like the look of this dish of braised salmon from Heather Christo; Paleo red curry braised salmon with sweet potatoes Fabulous!.  Paleo is good, I think.  This 45 minute recipe not only uses coconut oil and coconut milk, it also has more than enough garlic.  Nice.

Paleo Red Curry Braised Salmon with Sweet Potatoes

Our collection this week is from Olive Magazine, their 40 best ever easy salmon recipes.  And I’ve chosen to feature the very first recipe from this great collection Thai salmon parcels with jasmine rice.

Thai Salmon Parcels with Jasmine Rice

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

BLT salmon salad with creamy avocado green goddess dressing.

How To Be Happier

Happiness will not come to you.  Happiness can only come from you.

There are lots of books, TV shows, podcasts, and blog posts that purport to tell us how to be happy.  Some focus on the practical aspects, some on emotional states, some are spiritual, and some others are religious.  Personally, I wouldn’t give much weight to anyone with religion telling me how to be happy, because it will always involve God, (in one way, shape, or form).

God and I went in different directions some time ago.

There are also lots of pithy inspirational sayings about happiness.

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.  ~  Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Not everyone would agree with Roosevelt.

Therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, priests, and inspirational speakers can most likely give us a host of things we can do to improve our happiness.  From; building a growth mindset for happiness, to being optimistic, to ending negative thinking, to taking breaks from social media, to trusting in your higher power, and having a healthy lifestyle.  Having a healthy lifestyle sounds like a good start to me.

Another good start to greater happiness, that comes both before and after having a healthy lifestyle, is dealing with your addictions.  I have yet to meet an alcoholic, problem drinker, drug addict, casual drug user, chronic gambler, someone who often has casual sex, or anyone with an eating disorder who was happy in any way shape or form.  Addicts and people who go against their inner beliefs always live with inner misery.

In fact the list of people who live in utter misery is both long and heartbreaking.  The very sick, the starving, the poor, people living on the streets, those who have recently lost a loved one, refugees, and anyone who abuses their body, mind, and spirit are likely to enjoy little real happiness.

However, some say that you only need 3 big things to be happier;

  1. Work.  Most people don’t like or enjoy their work, which is sad and bad.  Those people should bite the bullet and find a better job for them.  But being out of work means you’re going to be broke and miserable, and work gives you money.
  2. Money.  Money can’t buy happiness, but try living flat broke in modern society to know what misery is.  Having just enough money will make you happier than being broke.
  3. Marriage ~ or a stable long-term relationship.  This gives you things like friendship, security, and sex.  People who live alone for too long are usually miserable and can become mentally ill.

It’s much more complicated than that, but I guarantee that if you don’t have all of those three things you will be very unhappy, probably depressed, and perhaps even suicidal.

Some say that money can’t buy you love.  And that sex without love is just a meaningless mechanical act.  All I know is that for a healthy person to live without sex and companionship is almost the definition of misery.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

friendship, companionship, and sex may come in many different forms

Food on Friday ~ Mostly Chicken

I will respect this liver.  After all it’s not mine. ~ George Best

So, I’m working on this healthier eating plan, with the avowed aim of being fitter, healthier, and detoxing my body ~ especially detoxing my liver, which is the body’s chemical factory.

The most important thing for most of us to do if we want to be fitter, healthier, and have a cleaner liver is to give up booze.  If you take a drink the liver will stop whatever it’s doing and start to process alcohol, and your liver will do bugger-all else until all the booze has been flushed from your system.  George Best, was one of the greatest soccer players of all time, he died in 2005 of alcoholism after having a liver  transplant.

As well as giving up booze I’m also not going to eat dairy, including eggs, and I won’t touch anything at all containing wheat flour, or high-fructose corn syrup.  I don’t want to consume  the weedkiller that’s routinely sprayed on those crops and persists right up to the point we take the glyphosate into our bodies.

First this week we have a very healthy looking dish from Simply Recipes; green bean salad with lemon and dill by Summer Miller.  I guess for most of us this would be a side-dish, but I’d be pleased to have just this for lunch, (maybe with some cherry tomatoes).

Green Bean Salad with Lemon and Dill

From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats how about this cool looking crispy baked Parmesan chicken with lemon arugula.  I know I said I wasn’t eating dairy, but a little Parmesan is more than just OK, it makes this dish.  Chicken is a very low-fat meat, and I’m trying for a low-fat diet.

Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Arugula

Another brilliant chicken dish, this time from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb.  This one pan garlic herb chicken and asparagus looks brilliant, and if I’m so minded I guess I would use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter.  I love one pan meals, so easy to clean up afterwards.

One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus

Heidi at Foodie Crush has posted this Thai basil chicken, (Pad Krapow Gai).  I must try this, Heidi says it’s easy and I really like all the ingredients she’s listed.  Especially I want to try cooking with coconut milk.  I think I’d serve this with wild rice and quinoa, which I can get at my favourite supermarket.

Thai Basil Chicken

Dana Shultz, the Minimalist Baker, has these ultra-healthy sounding crispy miso chickpea bowls with garlic sesame dressing.  It seems this is a 10 ingredient bowl ~ I can cope with that.

Crispy Miso Chickpea Bowls with Garlic Sesame Dressing

And, finally for this week, Teigan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest offers us these weeknight 30 minute coconut curry chicken meatballs.  Never mind weeknight, these would be great to serve when you have friends around.

Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

healthy eating needs oily fish

foil pack grilled salmon with lemony asparagus

 

 

Food on Friday ~ Desserts

There’s mo metaphysics on Earth like a chocolate dessert. ~ Pessoa

Now that summer is here, and some of us may be thinking of entertaining and garden parties, it might also be the right time to think of indulgent desserts.  After all, one may have the greatest grill in the district, but that means little if you can’t follow up the steak, oysters, and king crab with a really great dessert.

Some of you may also have some annual holiday celebrations coming up, I know my cousins across the pond celebrate their independence soon…..  And talking of dessert in the USA, pie and cheesecake isn’t what a great summer desert is all about.

So, first up this week, from Heather Christo, we have this vegan triple coconut sorbet.  I love sorbet, so light and refreshing on a hot summer afternoon.  This sorbet is dairy-free, nut-free, and free from soy products.

Vegan Triple Coconut Sorbet

Now, from Chungah at Damn Delicious, I offer you this substantial slow cooker apple pear crisp.  Apples and pears are such a fabulous combination ~ I used to know a great London pub called The Apples and Pears.  (In Cockney rhyming slang that doesn’t mean what you think.)

Slow Cooker Apple Pear Crisp

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has a very cool  looking dessert which appeals both to the sophisticated English Gentleman and the northern street kid in me; black raspberry lavender cobbler.

Black Raspberry Lavender Cobbler

I suppose I have to include one cheesecake recipe, but to give it an English flavour I offer you this no-bake Eton mess berry cheesecake from Half Baked Harvest.  (Eton is a town near Windsor, where the Queen lives.)

No-bake Eton Mess Berry Cheescake

To bring chocolate to the table, how about a chocolate cake, or 25?  From Olive Magazine we have the best chocolate cake recipes; including this ultimate chocolate fudge cake.

Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Cake

Your collection this week is from Delish Magazine; 79 delish summer desert recipes you’ll be making again and again.  I confess that this collection had me at the best ever rhubarb pie.  Being a proper Northern Englishman I love rhubarb pie ~ serve it with custard or vanilla ice cream.

Best Ever Rhubarb Pie

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

and to drink with your delicious desserts,

how about champagne mojitos?

(or a nice cup of tea)

The High Cost of Money

Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need more.

In The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare explores the dangers of borrowing money, and in Hamlet, Shakespeare says; ‘neither a borrower nor a lender be…..’  And, especially think twice, and twice again before borrowing money from a friend.  Think about what you need the most ~ the friendship or the money, for money is often the cause of acrimony and breakups of even the closest of relationships.  Your friend may not charge you financial interest on the sums you borrow, but there are likely to be charges and obligations other than strictly monetary.

In order of the least to most desirable lenders from whom you could think of approaching are;

  • Friends and lovers.  Borrow from a friend and be prepared to soon lose a friend.
  • Parents and family.
  • Payday Lenders, who will charge you usuary rates of interest ~ 250% to over 1,000% per annum.
  • Guarantor Lenders.  If you have a poor credit rating you could get a friend or family member to guarantee your loan.  These are doubly bad, with all the disadvantages of actually borrowing from friends, lovers, parents and family ~ plus very high rates of interest 50% per annum being about the norm.
  • Credit card debt.  These insidious borrowings can cost you 25% or more over a year ~ if you go on using that card you may never be debt free.
  • Bank loans.  If your bank will lend you money you may expect to pay a low rate of interest, maybe between 3% and 10% per annum.
  • Mortgages and other secured loans from your bank or a  mortgage company / broker.  Personally, I could get a mortgage at 2% per annum.
  • Car loans.  If you should want to buy a new car, many dealers will offer you a car loan at 0%.

And, why do you want a loan anyhow?  The very worst reason for borrowing is to feed your addiction; gambling, drugs, booze, sex…. and the second worst reason for borrowing money is to pay off another debt.  Both of those are likely to get you into deeper and even worse trouble.  Maybe the only good reasons for  borrowing are to buy a home, or car,  (or in some places to pay medical fees).  Vacations, wide-screen TVs, plush furniture,  jewellery, fancy clothes, expensive shoes, are all not worth getting yourself into debt for.

So, just beware of borrowing anything from anyone.

Some say a fool and his money are soon parted.  And that a man in love never counts the cost of anything.  All I know is that Shakespeare was a pretty smart guy.

~

Jack Collier

jackcollier7@ talktalk.net

Maybe a convertible Mustang isn’t the most prudent purchase.

Food on Friday ~ Summer BBQ

Friends, fun, beer, and BBQ ~ it’s what summer’s all about.

When you read this I’ll probably be in the air, somewhere over the Atlantic ocean, but I’m looking forward to sampling food like this when I eventually arrive at my various destinations in the USA; Orange County, Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff in AZ, and probably LA and San Diego Counties too.

From my Californian friends I know that it’s already BBQ season over there, so here’s an essential accompaniment to any grill, a potato salad.  Except from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest, here we have a wonderful looking pesto potato salad.

Pesto Potato Salad

Another potato side, this time from Diane’s Kitchen; simple twice baked potatoes, and the good thing about this dish is that, (if you need to), you can mostly prepare it the day before and finish it off in the oven or microwave.

Simple Twice Baked Potatoes

From Creme de la Crumb this is a fast, easy, and flavourful recipe you can just stick in the oven or broiler; sheet pan salmon, asparagus, and potatoes.  Or you could just do the salmon and asparagus and have it with a dill salad.

Sheet Pan Salmon, Asparagus, Potatoes

Talking of a dill salad, from Julia Moskin at the New York Times, we have this soft herb salad, which just cries out for whatever fresh greens you have growing in your garden.  This will go great with any BBQ’d salmon dish.

Soft Herb Salad

Your collection this week is from Olive Magazine which has 62 of the best BBQ recipes, and I especially like this very easy Miami-style blackened fish sandwich with smoked paprika mayo.  Cooking fish on the grill is so easy and deliciously cool.

Miami-Style Blackened Fish Sandwich with Smoked Paprika Mayo

And to drink with your early summer BBQ garden party; Beer.  Vine Pair has a list of the 50 best bottled beers of 2018, and at #1 the Sierra Nevada Brewing hazy little thing IPA.  If I was still a drinking man I’d quaff a few tinnies of this stuff.  IPA stands for India Pale Ale ~ Asian Indians, not the American kind.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Hazy Little Thing IPA

~

jack collier

jack collier7@talktalk.net

 

BBQ chicken lettuce wraps

clean, healthy, great with tequila

Food on Friday ~ Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Friday, let the long weekend begin.

This Monday is Memorial Day in the USA, and late Spring Bank Holiday in the UK, which means we all get a long weekend.  The weather should be good, so it’s a perfect time for some al-fresco dining.

Enjoy these cool recipes.

From Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb we have a recipe for one pan creamy cilantro lime chicken and rice.  I really like one pan dishes, but it’s coriander here, not cilantro.  Nice by any name.

One pan Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

This is interesting from The Flourishing Foodie, pasta with a tomato vodka cream sauce.  I’ve heard of vodka pasta sauces before, but I’ve never tried one ~ maybe it’s time that I did.

Pasta with a Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce

If you like salmon, then try this recipe for honey mustard grilled salmon with avocado basil sauce posted by Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  Perfect for Memorial Day.  Here in England we have a public hiliday on May 27th too, but it’s called Spring Bank Holiday ~ how boring.

Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon with Avocado Basil Sauce

Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has this wonderful dish; pan seared scallops pasta carbonara.  This would be great to serve to a few friends on any holiday.

Pan Seared Scallops Pasta Carbonara

I like recipe collections, and I’m pretty certain that you do too.  Ergo from Delish we have 40 recipes for the perfect Memorial Day BBQ ~ including this fabulous recipe for grilled ranch potatoes.

Grilled Ranch Potatoes

And finally for this week 65 Memorial Day recipes for your holiday weekend barbecue, from Country Living.  I especially like this sweet-and-smoky cedar-planked salmon ~ and if you shop now you can probably get a suitable plank for Monday.

Sweet and Smoky Cedar Planked Salmon

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

you can buy grilling planks from Amazon

Food on Friday ~ Midweek Dinners and Workday Lunches

There is always a great recipe for tonight’s dinner.

This week’s recipes are all about making a good midweek dinner, but just as importantly every dish described here is also going to be great to take to work the following day.  And, you know that it’s always better to take your lunch into work, rather than buy something at a deli or pay a small fortune to eat out at a restaurant.

So, try some of these and enjoy.

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest gives us something interesting and colourful with her weeknight saucy pineapple bbq chicken bowls.  As well as being perfect for any night of the week, this recipe is also perfect to take to work for lunch.

Weeknight Saucy Pineapple BBQ Chicken Bowls

Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has this really cool recipe for spinach bacon quiche  ~  and this is a hell of a lot easier to make than you might think.  This delicious looking quiche would be great for a midweek dinner with some salad, or to take to work for brunch / lunch.

Spinach Bacon Quiche

Another quiche, (they are so great to take to work for lunch), this time an easy quiche Lorraine from Heidi at Foodie Crush.  This recipe will be great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even a midweek dinner.  Also from Heidi 14 days of healthy breakfast recipe ideas.

Easy Quiche Lorraine

Believe it or not, this grilled Thai pork tenderloin with soba noodle salad, is also an easy midweek meal.  At least Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats says it is.  The leftovers would be utterly brilliant to take to work for lunch, eaten cold, (or reserve the tenderloin and heat that in the microwave).

Grilled Thai Pork Tenderloin with Soba Noodle Salad

Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has this super recipe for one pan Spanish chicken and rice, a bold and zesty dish you can make in a half-an-hour.  Tiffany calls one of her ingredients coriander, which you may know better as cilantro.

One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice

Our collection this week is from Carrie Havranek at Simply recipes who has 6 easy Vietnamese recipes you can totally make at home.  My favourite for a midweek dinner and something great to take to work for lunch is this Char Siu Chicken, which would be perfect with rice and /or salad.

Char Siu Chicken

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

how to make the best grilled salmon

a post from Foodie Crush

Live Within Your Means

To achieve your goals and dreams you are going to need money.

Back in the day I worked in banking and finance, and I saw first-hand just how much of a mess most people could make of their finances ~ usually due to buying things they couldn’t really afford.  The three main culprits when it came to unaffordable and expensive purchases were; cars, clothes / shoes, and vacations ~ none of which are essential.  (There’s a caveat, in that you may actually need a car and you do need clothes and shoes, but you can buy the cheapest used stuff you can find, rather than flashy and expensive.)

You do not need to be a millionaire, or act like a millionaire, to be successful or feel successful.  Financial wealth is only one indicator of success.  However, you’re going to need money just to live day-to-day, and no successful person has ever ignored their finances.  Conversely, all successful people know how to manage their money and plan their finances.  And rule #1 is Borrowing is Bad, especially if you borrow money you can’t easily pay off.

Financial planning begins with these 4 questions;

  1. How much money do you take home each month?
  2. What are your regular bills; mortgage, utilities, taxes, loan repayments?
  3. How much do you spend each month in the various stores you use; clothes, groceries, gas, booze, cigarettes, etc?
  4. What assets and debts do you have?

If you are in the fortunate position of making more money than you regularly spend, then you should also be able to work out how much you are saving each month.

You need to write all this down, either just pen and paper, or on a spreadsheet.

If you are regularly spending more than you earn, then you are heading for deep shit.

If you are regularly spending more than you earn, then you need to totally cut out some of your expenditure.  Stop buying booze, cigarettes, chocolate, and anything else you may be addicted to; gambling, porn, sex, drugs…..  Always buy the cheapest gas, buy less expensive groceries, stop eating out, stop using the deli to buy your lunchtime sandwiches and make them at home instead…..

Borrowing is Bad.  Some borrowing is worse.  PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARDS.  Credit card debt is ruinously expensive.  In this day and age if your paying more than 10% as an annual interest rate on a loan, then stop eating until that debt is paid off.

Some say that they can make money playing online poker.  And, that its good to go to the pub most nights a week.  All I know is that some people end up on the street.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

life on the street is no fun

Food on Friday ~ Healthy Summertime

It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine, it’s summertime.

Now that the weather is much better for most of you guys ~ warmer, sunnier, bluer skies ~ it’s perhaps time to think of lighter and healthier summertime dishes, rather than all of those warming soups you were cooking just a few weeks ago.

This week’s dishes all have a seafood angle to them.

First this week we have Chungah at Damn Delicious with these very clean and healthy looking garlic butter shrimp zucchini noodles.  I have to admit that I don’t actually make zucchini noodles, but looking at this recipe I’m beginning to think that I should.

Garlic Butter Shrimp Zucchini Noodles

Now, from Heidi at Foodie Crush we have this very useful post entitled how to make the best grilled salmon.  This isn’t so much a recipe as a method, but I think it’s damn good.

How to Make the Best Grilled Salmon

Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has a great summertime dish; spicy garlic shrimp with coconut rice.  And, Elise is right, any shrimp dish is best eaten fresh.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has an absolutely delicious-looking crab avocado salad on buttered garlic toast.  So mouth-watering.  So great to serve with drinks.

Crab Avocado Salad on Buttered Garlic Toast

This is interesting from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb; garlic lime shrimp marinade.  And this is a fast marinade that will be ready for the grill in just 15 minutes.  Lots of cilantro.

Garlic Lime Shrimp Marinade

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

and to drink, not wine

Heather Christo gives us a

vodka fruit punch

 

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