Category Archives: Budgeting

Food on Friday ~ Spicy

food for the body is not enough ~ there should also be food for the soul

Everyone’s definition of what constitutes spicy food is different.  Some people think a dash of black pepper is sufficient, whereas others like the red hot chili peppers, (and that’s a very overrated band).

Personally I prefer a little subtlety in my spice palette.

First up this week we have a dish with good old-fashioned mustard from Diane’s Kitchen.  I think you should be able to make this Honey Mustard Chicken in about a half-hour, maybe serve it with a baked potato.

Honey Mustard Chicken

Next we have a vegan recipe from Cookie + kate, and this Spicy Black Bean Soup with a Cuban twist should be in your bowl in about 45 minutes.  Obviously this would be great to take to work the following day, and Kate says it freezes well in Mason jars ~ hmmmm, I’d never freeze a glass jar.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has this brilliant recipe for Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowls ~ ginger is the Queen of Spices, it’s good for just about whatever ails you, as well as providing a great pick-me-up.

Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowls

Half Baked Harvest is a site for some really pretty dishes, and this 30 Minute Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl is no exception.  I really like the look of this recipe and it’s on my list to try in the very near future ~ I like 30 minute recipes.

30 Minute Vietnamese Beef and Crispy Rice Bowl

Next to last for this week, from Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français, there’s this Chilli and Ginger Glazed Salmon ~ what’s not to like about this dish?

Chilli and Ginger Glazed Salmon

This week’s collection is from Olive Magazine, with their 25 Best Ever Hot and Spicy Recipes.  I’ve chosen to feature this Sri Lankan Veggie Curry partly because it’s vegetarian, but mostly because I love Sri Lankan food ~ it’s far, far better than Thai.

Sri Lankan Veggie Curry

~

jack collier

jackcollier@talktalk.net

 

Chinese 5 Spice Beef and Ginger Stir Fry

from Vacation Food

the interconnectedness of agribusiness and you

Gambling with your health and well-being for the sake of more profitable hamburgers.

One of the main purposes of genetically modifying food plants such as wheat and corn is to make them resistant to a weed-killer called Roundup, which is sprayed on food crops several times in a season ~ including right before harvesting to dry the crop out.  The principal active ingredient of Roundup is a chemical called Glyphosate.  Of many lies told about glyphosate is that it was discovered by Monsanto in 1970.  In fact this nasty chemical was first patented as a descaling and chelating agent for boilers and pipes by the Stauffer Chemical Co. in 1961.  It’s a drain cleaner.

Glyphosate is a poisonous organophosphorus carcinogen.

When I was a boy, learning about farming, I was told about field rotation, (or crop rotation), which is the practice of changing what the farmer grows on any piece of land on a four-year cycle.  This prevents such nasty things as soil erosion, soil exhaustion, soil poisoning, and poor soil fertility ~ all of which lead to poor crop yields.

Modern agribusiness doesn’t practice crop rotation, instead it uses monoculture farming.  This destructive method of land use requires large amounts of artificial fertilisers and pesticides to make it work, and it leads to an unbalanced and unsustainable ecosystem.  Agribusiness in the USA does not work in harmony with the land, instead it beats the land into submission to produce larger and larger amounts of poisonous food and drink.

These are very similar farming practices to those which caused the Great Plains dust bowl of the 1930’s, except modern farming practices are far more intensive and artificial than anything dreamed of by the farmers who helped cause the Great Depression.  Today, agriculture is based on very capital-intensive heavy machinery.

If a farmer in a typical high plains farming community decides to eschew intensive chemical-based monoculture and embrace more ecologically sustainable organic agriculture, he / she is likely to be ostracised by the rest of his / her community.  Peer pressure is a powerful thing and very difficult to ignore.  Most farmers are in denial about the damage they are doing to the soil, the rivers, the sea, and the wider environment.  Not to mention the poisons they are putting into your food and drink.

These chemical fertilisers and pesticides can take decades to completely clear from the environment.  The half-life of glyphosate in soil and water is much longer than Monsanto would like to admit.  Monsanto is a German company.

Some say they would never shop at a farmers market or buy organic produce.  And some people don’t believe that intensive farming practices are killing them.  All I know is that in 1945 about 45% of American food was grown in people’s back yards.

And, by the way, probiotic drinks are very bad for your health. The live bacteria in probiotic drinks originated in cows.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

anything made with grains is bad for you

unless it’s organic, then it’s not so bad

Become a Renaissance Being

The heart and soul of a Renaissance Man is creativity.

Creativity, curiosity, honesty, openness, kindness, understanding ~ these things and honour are what separates a truly superior Renaissance Man from the common herd.  There are a couple of other important attributes a superior man should possess in abundance; confidence and self-control ~ a Renaissance Man does not want, desire, nor need instant gratification to bolster his self-confidence.  The confidence of a Renaissance Man is assured and will brook no criticisms.

part-finished teardrop trailer kit

A superior man is creative and innovative, and creativity means to actually create something, if there is no physical end-product then all you are doing is daydreaming.  Almost everyone can daydream and come up with an idea or two, but few will go on to get those ideas down on paper, make a plan, and go on to create / build / make whatever it is the plan calls for, be it writing a book, creating a work of art, a boat, car, a tiny trailer, a kitchen, bathroom, or even a whole home.  Almost everyone goes no further than having an idea, they never follow through and do something tangible.  They are held back by a lack of confidence in themselves, laziness, fear, and the pressures of coping with a partner, family, friends, and coworkers.  These are excuses, not reasons.

Other reasons for not actually doing something real, for going no further than daydreaming, are; lack of money, time pressures, lack of space, not knowing how to do whatever it is they think they want to do…..  All of these are also just fucking pathetic excuses.  And then there are some other reasons people don’t do creative stuff; they drink too much, smoke too much, smoke pot, do street drugs, take too many unnecessary prescription and over-the-counter medications, gamble, spend too much time looking for cheap sex in bars……

Perhaps to be truly creative you first have to put your life in order.  It’s a fallacy that booze and drugs will help your creativity ~ all those things will do is help you daydream, right up to the point where you pass out.

Creative living and creativity is available to all of us  But how do we energise our creative abilities?

  • Do something, even if it’s just baby steps.  Make a start on your project, even if it’s just writing down your ideas. Get out of your comfort zone.  Pick up whatever tools you need to work on your project, from a hammer, to a brush, to a tablet.
  • Mindfullness.  Be aware of ourselves, be aware of our environment, be in the moment.
  • Fresh air, exercise, sunshine, movement in nature.  Get off your ass and take some physical activity to energise your body.  Most office workers do not move nearly enough during the day, and then they go home, sit on the sofa, and drink some booze in front of the TV.
  • Stop taking yourself too seriously.  Reawaken the inner child.  Be prepared to make mistakes. Be playful.

Some say that serious people don’t have time to waste on being creative.  And, that being mindful is just a ‘new-age’ gimmick.  All I know is that a really cool Renaissance Man creates his own reality.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

get out into nature

Food on Friday ~ Menu Planning

For some people meal planning is like a chess puzzle.

~

Planning what we are going to eat for a whole week is a pretty easy thing to do, but it does mean sitting down and writing a list or two.  It might also mean looking at some recipes, and then checking what one has in the larder, refrigerator, freezer, and garden.  That leads to making a shopping list ~ (and one should never go into a supermarket without a shopping list) ~ and a menu list for the week.

Get one thing straight, a recipe, a menu list, and a shopping list aren’t rules ~ these things are just guidelines to help us get organised without wasting lots and lots of time.

So, before I post some recipe collections, let me feature something about menu planning.  From Hali Bey Ramdene at The Kitchn I can give you The Beginners Guide to Meal Planning: What to Know, How to Succeed, and What to Skip.  Remember, when you plan your meals to allow enough quantity so that you have leftovers for another day, or to take to work for lunch.  Also, when you plan your meals try to follow some healthy eating guidelines.

The Beginners Guide to Meal Planning

Some more on the basics of meal planning and we have Common Meal-Planning Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid from Greatist, and The Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning from the Wellness Mama.

Winter Meal Plan

My own preferred menus lean towards Mediterranean food, and Heidi at Foodie Crush has a great post of 50 Favorite Mediterranean Diet Recipes, which also includes a Mediterranean diet plan and this recipe for Mediterranean Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Olive Tapenade.  I love the fresh herbs in this dish.

Mediterranean Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Olive Tapenade

It’s the heart of the apple season here, and I really do prefer eating organic foods in season.  But what to do with apples?  Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest found this post by Katherine Power at Clique Brands ~ 4 apple recipes she’s looking forward to baking this month.  I particularly like the look to this Honeycrisp Apple Pandowdy, (what a great name).

Honeycrisp Apple Pandowdy

Last up this week, from Alanna Taylor Tobin at The Bojon Gourmet we have Savoring Winter with 40 Vibrant Citrus Recipes. This is all so colourful, but I especially like the look of these gluten-free black sesame kumquat financiers, (except I’d call them tea-cakes).

Savoring Winter with 40 Vibrant Citrus Recipes

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you can buy packet sauces, they make meal planning easy

grasp your own future

Dreams do not have deadlines nor commitments…..

Hardly anyone is really in control of their own life.  This is doubly true if you happen to be an ‘average person’, who has a job, mortgage, and normal financial commitments ~ face it you have to turn up for work every day, whether you like it or not.  Add in a family, who undoubtedly will have expectations of you, and your time is not hardly ever your own.  (And, I wasn’t even thinking about the ‘average person’ who is married with children.)

The ‘average person’ can’t really have dreams and desires, unless their dreams and desires happen to fit in with what others expect of you.

Just supposing you want to take a year off, buy an old school bus, turn into a camper van, and see as much of backroads America / Europe, as you possibly can in that year.  What do you think your partner / family / friends / employer / neighbours are going to say about that?

I’ll tell you that the likelihood is that their views and words will range from incredulity to negativity, to downright hostility.  That is if you are an ‘average person’ living a ‘normal life’.  Ergo, to protect yourself you would probably not ever have that kind of empowering dream and desire.

Instead your mind will be filled with things such as; ‘what can I do about my partner / sister / brother…..?’ or ‘how can I afford to pay my bills’, or ‘how can I get a better job?’ or ‘what can I have for lunch / dinner / supper?’

None of us can do anything about our past, except reframe the way we think about it.

Most ‘normal’ and ‘average’ people can do very little about what’s happening to them in the present.  The chances are that, for them, today will be pretty much like yesterday.  If they have to work for a living the chances are that any working day will be exactly like the working day before.  Even their thoughts and conversations will have a mind-numbing repetitious banality.

However, and this is fucking damned important, we can all do something about our futures.

NOBODY has to settle for the status quo.  If there is something or someone in your life that’s sucking the life out of you, then get rid of it / them.  If your marriage is crap / abusive / boring, then get out of it.  If your job is horrible and badly paid, then leave and get another job ~ there’s nothing like being out of work to put a real edge on job hunting.

There is only one problem ~ most people will never leave their ‘comfort zone’.  If that’s you, then it’s time you grew up and grasped your own future with both hands ~ carpe diem.

As for me?  I’m a really cool guy, living a great life.  I can do just about whatever I want, just about whenever I want ~ within my own pretty rigid code of ethics, and the fact that I don’t ever want to get arrested again.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

That van was in Palm Springs

Food on Friday ~ Easy Lunches

Time is an illusion ~ lunchtime doubly so…..

So many people either grab something from the deli, or supermarket, or just eat out at lunchtime.  Actually, at weekends there’s no reason even a working person should do that.  It’s perfectly possible to prepare and cook a great lunch in about 30 minutes at home, and that way you know exactly what you’re eating without having to puzzle over just what’s in your lunch burrito.  And, if you make lunch, (or supper), at home, then you’re going to have some great leftovers to take to work the following day.

From Dianes Kitchen there’s this wonderful-looking crab meat Frittata.  Now, while I like both frittata and crab this is a combination I’ve never thought of.  I agree with Diane, this dish would be great at breakfast, lunch, or supper ~ or for something to take to work the following day.

Crab Meat Fritatta

Chungah at Damn Delicious has a recipe for creamy red pepper shells, I think this dish would make a wonderful lunch along with a glass of Italian or Californian red wine, and maybe a hunk of crusty bread.  I think I could whip this together in 30 minutes, and it’s another dish to take to work the following day.

Creamy Red Pepper Shells

Well then, Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb invites us to try this dish of Southwest Stuffed Poblano Peppers, which she assures us are the BEST healthy stuffed peppers you’ll ever eat.  If you don’t want your peppers too hot, then choose green and not red.  As well as ground beef and rice you could use a host of similar Southern and Californian ingredients to make you stuffed peppers luncheon.  I guess you could make this dish in 30 ~ 45 minutes.

Southwest Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Here’s an awesomely artistic dish from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; Spicy Turkey Taco Salad with Baja Dressing.  This is big, green, nutritious, filling, and healthy.  OK, so this may be a 40 minute recipe, but there are so many cheats and shortcuts into making this that I think preparing this dish just takes as long as you want to take.

Spicy Turkey Taco Salad with Baja Dressing

I am very well aware that you American guys like your mac and cheese, so just for you here’s a recipe.  Found for us by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes this dish, by Aaron Hutcherson, combines two classic American comfort foods into Chili Mac and Cheese.

Chili Mac and Cheese

This week’s collection is brought to us by Good Housekeeping who have no less than 70 Healthy Lunch Ideas That Will Actually Keep You Full Until Dinner ~ wow!  From this collection I’ve chosen to feature a Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad ~ even I like to be healthy sometimes.  Anyhow you can make this dish in 25 minutes, and as well as being a good lunch or supper, it will make a good side for any of the other dishes featured in this weeks Food on Friday.

Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Marmaduke isn’t a big fan of Mac and Cheese

and then again, neither am I

Food on Friday ~ New Year’s

What the New Year brings to our tables will depend on what we bring to the New Year.

Next Year I will have a new focus for each week’s food on Friday ~ concentrating on recipes, foods, and dishes to enhance our wellbeing, health, and happiness.  I have no doubt whatsoever that the great cooks I have featured thus far in this series of blog posts will be more than up to the challenge of our creating a healthier lifestyle, while still retaining each of their unique signature styles.

But, for this last Food on Friday of 2018, I want to show you some recipes and dishes which will be great to offer your guests at whatever New Year’s get-together or wild party you are hosting.

No part would be complete without a great cheese board, so from San Diego cook Averie Sunshine we have ideas on just how to make the best cheese board.  I really like that Averie uses prosciutto on her cheese boards!  Me, I like to have a soft blue cheese, or maybe just a good old English Stilton.  There are as many wines to drink with cheese as there are cheeses, but with Stilton it should be a good warm port.

The Very Best Cheese Board

Should you want to drink beer at New Year, then what about having these spinach and artichoke stuffed soft pretzels to go with your brew?  From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  Of course, what we English call beer and the fizzy pop the rest of the world drinks are two very different ales.

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Soft Pretzels

So, if you live by the sea, then you should serve a dish that reflects that.  I guess none of you live on the Chesapeake, but from Dianes Kitchen I offer you this Chesapeake Crab Strata.  Serve it like slices of pizza.  Here in the North East of England we get some really great crab from the cold North Sea.  Some say you should drink a Pinot Grigo with crab, but I would always prefer a cold Verdicchio.

Chesapeake Crab Strata

After my recent trip to Albuquerque I said that I would never eat meatloaf again ~ but brought to us by Elise Bauer at Simply Recipies here’s an idea for bbq meatloaf bites.  Now I know that the chef, Nick Evans, intended these to be part of a meal for kids ~ but after a few drinks all men are just kids anyhow.  As far as I’m concerned you can drink whatever the fuck hell you like with meatloaf….. personally I would choose a red Cotes du Rhone Villages.

BBQ Meatloaf Bites

From Chungah at Damn Delicious there’s this new recipe collection; 15 best quick and easy New Year’s Eve appetisers…..  My favourite dish here is this really clean-looking dish of lemon garlic shrimp kabobs ~ try these with a really cold vodka martini.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Kabobs

And finanally for 2018, from Country Living Magazine, we have a collection of 40 unbelievably easy New Year’s Eve appetisers.   From this collection I like the look of these smoked salmon and cream cheese cucumber bites.  Just how easy is that?  If you want to show some real class, then you drink single malt whisky with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Cucumber Bites

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

not many are man enough to drink Laphroaig

Food on Friday ~ Recipe Collections

I’m inspired by collections of recipes from around the world…..

From time to time the cooks / chefs whose blogs I follow and feature in Food on Friday, post recipe collections, and I think that’s so cool.  Usually these compendia of dishes have a theme, and that’s cool too.

Sometimes we get collections of other interesting cooking and kitchen related tips and ideas ~ and it’s worth remembering these when gift-giving time comes along.  Dependiong upon when you read this ~ there are only 60 more days until Christmas.

From Chungah at Damn Delicious we have a collection of her 15 best fall soups.  Chungah says these warming, delicious, and easy soups can be made on the stove top or crockpot.  They all look good to come home to on a old autumnal evening, but I especially like the look of this recipe for Greek lemon chicken soup ~ maybe because I’m not long returned from the Greek Island of Crete.

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Some say avocados are very good for you.  And that there are lots of delicious avocado recipes to choose from.  All I know is that San Diego girl Averie Sunshine contributed to this Community Table collection; 6 creative, delicious ways to use avocados.  One of my favourite of Averie’s avocado recipes is for chicken avocado lack bean salad.  Doesn’t that look fabulous?

Chicken Avocado Black Bean Salad

With Thanksgiving coming up for all you Americans I make no apologies for including friendsgiving 2018 with anthropologie, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  This is packed with tips on how to lay a perfect Thangsgiving Table, including recipes and drinks.  We don’t have Thanksgiving in England, whci is a bit of a shame…..   (If you didn’t know, Anthropologie is a store.)

Friendsgiving 2018 with Anthropologie

From Expert Home Tips, these 24 cooking hacks you NEED to have in your life aren’t strictly recipe realated, but there are some damn cood idea’s here.  And you know what?  I really like #1 which is about juicing a lemon without a juicer.

Juice a Lemon Without Fancy Equipment

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Food on Friday ~ Pot Luck

You can’t get to work on time, but you’re first in line for a pot luck

Usually I like to have some kind of a theme to the recipes I feature in Food on Friday, but today you’re going to get dishes just because I like the look of them.  I hope that’s OK will all of you.

All of these recipes will be great for your office’s Halloween Pot Luck lunch.

First for this week, from San Diego girl Averie Sunshine we have this quick, easy, and delicious 15-minute spicy korean skillet chicken.  Now, here in my part of England we get hardly any Korean food, but I do so like cooking with a good, heavy skillet.  If you don’t have one, then get one.

15 Minute Spicy Korean Skillet Chicken

I promise you that there’s no overriding theme to this week’s Food on Friday, but our second dish is also Korean based.  From Chungah at Demn Delicious there’s these delicious-looking Korean chicken kabobs.  What a fabulous dish for parties or barbecues.

Korean Chicken Kabobs

Just to prove that I don’t have a Korean theme running this week, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have this great looking slow cooker herbed chicken and rice pilaf.  This is just the right time of year for us all to pull the slow cooker out of the cupboard.  Fabulous!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Pilaf

Well then, perhaps there’s a chicken theme going this week, because next up, from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats I’m featuring this dish of yogurt and lemon marinated grilled chicken.  Doesn’t it look fabulous?

Yogurt and Lemon Marinated Grilled Chicken

Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has another great looking dish for warming barbecues or parties on a cold autumn night, these bourbon maple glazed chicken wings.  How classic!

Bourbon Maple Glazed Chicken Wings

Last for this week, and we’re back to an Asian themed dish from Heather Christo; asian chicken zoodle soup.  How pretty!  How healthy! How Delicious!  How quick and easy!  Zoodle?  What a silly name for an ingredient!  I love it!

Asian Chicken Zoodle Soup

It turns out that there was an accidental theme this week ~ great looking recipes for chicken.

There have been previous posts all about poultry, for example Healthy Chicken.

~

jack collier

jackcolier7@talktalk.net

 

sauteed chicken with sage butter

 

10 things successful people do

Life can take us down unexpected and difficult paths.

Through painful experience, I have learned that to be very successful in your life, there are some things we must do.  Most of them are difficult, bordering on the impossible, but all of these 10 things listed below are actually achievable.

There are two types of people who will tell that you cannot make a difference in this world; those who are afraid to try, and those who are afraid you will succeed.  ~  Ray Goforth.

I firmly believe that these are the most important of the rules we must follow in order to overcome life’s challenges, and ultimately win out:

  1. Stay Healthy.  It’s almost impossible to be successful if you’re often ill, spending time in bed, or in hospital.
  2. Overcome Addictions.  Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Gambling, Smoking….. to name perhaps the most dangerous of all possible addictions.  If you drink too much you will lose almost everything.  If you drink and gamble you will lose everything.  If you drink, gamble, smoke, and take drugs, you will lose everything, and then you’ll die ~ horribly
  3. Stay Within the Law.  If you get involved with illegal activities, including taking drugs, drink driving, illegal gambling ~ sometime or other you will have a run in with The Police.  A criminal record does your chances of living your dream life no good at all.
  4. Say Goodbye to Toxic People.  Toxic relationships will make you unhappy, corrupt your mind and soul, and prevent you from realising how much better things can be.
  5. Seek Out, and Take, Good Advice.  If you’re physically ill see a doctor, if you’re suffering mentally see a counsellor, and if you’re just struggling seek out your closest and wisest friend.  Whatever advice you’re given, really take it to heart.
  6. Do Not Waste Time or Money.  Too many people throw their money away without thought.  Almost everyone wastes their time on unimportant activities.  A fool and his money are soon parted.  Time is the most precious resource we have.
  7. Stay Romantically and Sexually Faithful.  Affairs, casual sex, multiple partners, using sex-workers, are all going to waste your time and money.  You will get into trouble, and if you’re married, you will be asked for a divorce.
  8. Keep Learning.  Nobody can know everything, but most people don’t even try to improve their mind and knowledge once they finish their formal education.  The internet and a million books are out their, and something you learn may just give you the edge you need to become successful.
  9. Focus On Things You Can Control.  God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  And, don’t let me try to change people, because that never works.
  10. Follow Your Dreams.  Dreams are the fuel for your success.  Without dreams there can never be any meaningful and lasting success in your life.

Some very smart people can ignore some of these rules, some of the time, and still be successful.  But you can’t ignore all of these rules, all of the time, and still have a hope in hell of making a success of your life.  And, never worry about failure, just make certain that you pick yourself up and start again.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Marmaduke is a success,

and he loves Bentleys and Jaguars

 

 

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