Category Archives: Cooking

Food on Friday ~ Healthy and Easy

the basis of all happiness is good health

It’s all very well my trying to eat a very healthy Paleo diet, but face it, if the recipes are too difficult or too time consuming I’m just not going to make them.  There is a limit to how much time a chap living alone is prepared to spend in the kitchen.

All of these recipes are healthy and easy, so enjoy.

First up this week, from Ali at Gimme Some Oven we have chicken and wild rice soup.  May as well face it, it this viral epidemic gets worse we may all be glad of some chicken soup.  This is real comfort food.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup.

Next, from Joy The Baker we have a roasted lemon chicken soup. This looks and sounds fabulous.  I’ll bet this is a great pick-me-up too,

Roasted Lemon Chicken Soup

From Well Plated by Erin there this great looking but deceptively easy salmon wellington, (although I would have called it salmon en croute). I’d serve this with roasted asparagus.  What a fabulous and fabulously easy meal to serve for dinner, or for a dinner party

Salmon Wellington

Another salmon dish, sheet pan chipotle salmon with cilantro lime special sauce, this one from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; .  I like sheet pan cooking, a lot.

Sheet Pan Chipolte Salmon with Cilantro Lime Special Sauce

With St. Patricks day coming up what about trying this Irish Stout beef stew with herbed dumplings?  This recipe is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats.  (To be honest, St. Patricks day is a non-event in most of English England.  And right now the last place I want to spend any time is in a crowded bar.)

Irish Stout Beef Stew

And finally for this week, from In Dianes Kitchen we have a really simple recipe idea for sugar snap peas and bacon.  What a smashing side dish, or with rice it would make a good light lunch to take to work, perhaps.

Sugar Snap Peas and Bacon

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

even on his little boat, Marmaduke is quite the chef

Food on Friday

our caveman ancestors didn’t have combine harvesters

My healthier living plan involves something like the Paleo diet, although not in a strict nor fashionable way.  However, it does mean that there are some types of food that I’m not going to tuck into on a regular basis; dairy, eggs, and most especially wheat / grains and their products like bread, noodles, and pasta.  (I love pasta.)  However, my food guru tells me that long grain and wild rice as well as quinoa are good on even my pretty strict Paleo diet.

First up this week from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin I’d like to show you this Korean beef bowl recipe.  This looks super delicious, and I would serve it with long grain and wild rice.

Korean Beef Bowl

I am really going to make this blackened shrimp kale caesar salad next week.  One of the things I like about this dish is that it’s complete with so few ingredients.  You can usually rely on Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats to have some very healthy, tasty, yet simple recipes.

Blackened Shrimp Kale Caesar Salad

Earlier this week I made salmon and asparagus in a garlic lemon butter sauce, cooked in a foil pack, the recipe from eatwell101.  Let me tell you, it was simple to prepare and absolutely delicious.  I can recommend this to you all.  (That’ not my picture, but my dish came out looking exactly as per.)

Salmon and Asparagus in Garlic Lemon Butter

From Holly at Spend with Pennies I like this recipe for instant pot chicken and vegetables.  I don’t have an instant pot, (we call them a pressure cooker), but I’m pretty certain I can make this dish in my little combination microwave / fan oven.

Instant Pot Chicken and Vegetables

This is a different take on a staple vegetable; from Dianes Kitchen why not try these herbed carrots?  As a ‘wonder food’ carrots are a brilliant source of beta carotene, fibre, vitamins, potassium, and antioxidants.

Herbed Carrots

Despite that I’m in England in winter I’m eating a lot of salad, and I am attracted to this brussels, butternut, and edamame salad with orange sesame sauce by Heather Christo.  Her dishes always look so fabulous.

Brussels Butternut Edamame Salad

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

no longer on my menu

and I liked both

Food on Valentine’s Friday

if music be the food of love, play on…..

At St. Valentine’s Day a young man’s mind turns to love and romance, and having been a young man once I can vouch for that.  For all I know a woman’s mind turns to love and romance, and probably food too.

But what to do?  Perhaps the young man want’s to take his best girl out for a special meal, in which case find the best restaurant within a reasonable distance of her place, even if you can’t quite afford it…..  If the restaurant is in or near a good hotel, and if you think she would like it, then book a room, have champagne sent up.

Or, you could cook something special for the object of your affections.  Here are some recipes that might go down well on this Valentine’s weekend.

First for this Valentine’s Day we have a steak.  Cooking a great steak is fairly easy if you know how, and Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has a fabulous recipe for smoked ancho chile salted steaks with drunken burst sweet cherries + burrata.  If your paramour likes a big red with their steak, then maybe find a bottle of Barolo.

Smoked Ancho Chile Salted Steak

From Joy the Baker there’s a fabulous recipe for shrimp étouffée risotto.  Joy suggests that you cook this dish together ~ whatever floats your boat.  (An étouffée is a spicy Cajun stew made with vegetables and seafood.)

Shrimp Étouffée Risotto

If you want to risk pasta, what with your date dressed up to the nines and all, then we have 15 romantically simple pasta dinners that scream ‘That’s Amore!’  This from Brit+Cco.  This is a very risky dish of linguini with clams, but it’s so easy and so impressive.

Linguini with Clams

Should your love be vegetarian, vegan, of just into eating a lot of plant-based food right now, then Heather Christo has a collection of 100 plant-based recipes.  To save you the bother of looking through this list I’ve found you this beet quinoa salad with pomegranate, mint, and pistachio.  This dish can serve as a starter, entree or a side, and you can make it ahead of the evening and keep it in the refrigerator.

Beet Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate, Mint, and Pistachio

Our idea for a romantic dessert comes from In Diane’s Kitchen; this delicious looking strawberry pie.  Diane says this is the easiest strawberry pie she has ever made, and face it, you don’t want to be spending all evening in the kitchen.

Strawberry Pie

Our final collection for this Valentine’s day comes from Country Living; 65 Best Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas for the Most Romantic Date Night.  I particularly like this Engagement Chicken Pasta, but maybe don’t tell her what it’s called unless you have the ring.

Engagement Chicken Pasta

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you are eating Italian, ask if the restaurant has a demi-frizzanti Franciacorta.  That will impress.

Food on Friday ~ Healthier Eating

life is not merely being alive, but being well

It still behoves me to search out recipes which will help me to live a healthier life ~ to be fit and well.  And in all honesty, that isn’t hard, there are plenty of very tasty, good-looking, and very healthy recipes out there, including on many of the cookery blogs I have been following for ages.  Not only that, some of the cooks I follow feature mostly very healthy, allergen-free, and gluten-free dishes.

For me, the three main things I need to concentrate on are to eat much leaner meats, eat a lot more fruits and vegetables, and use much less salt.  That shouldn’t be too hard, should it?  Actually, I’m finding the much less salt thing quite difficult.  Oh well, nothing worthwhile is ever that easy.

First this week we have Diane’s recipe for vegetable rice soup ~ and if you ask me this dish is fantastic.  This looks easy, nutritious, and very healthy, perfect for a weekend lunch or a light dinner.

Vegetable Rice Soup

Next, from that specialist in wholesome food, Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest there is this citrus avocado salad with orange tahini vinaigrette.  This is a very simple recipe, but so good looking that I’m prepared to bet good money that it’s delicious.

Citrus Avocado Salad with Orange Tahini Vinaigrette

From Erin Clarke, at Well Plated by Erin we have an easy, healthy, and juicy crockpot Mexican chicken. You can make this with chicken breasts or thighs, depending what’s good in your supermarket today.  Looks great.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

Another chicken dish, this time classic chicken noodle soup from Holly at Spend with Pennies.  Easily made from scratch Holly says it’s cozy, comforting and delicious ~ it looks it.

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats, how about this smoky butternut kale salad with goat cheese and apricot vinaigrette ~ and it’s not just another boring butternut squash kale salad either.  (except I might be tempted to use Wensleydale instead of goat cheese)

Smoky Butternut Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Apricot Vinaigrette

Our collection this week is from Good Housekeeping; 16 healthy salmon recipes that are beyond tasty.  These are all fabulous dinner recipes, and not just midweek either.  From the list I’ve chosen to feature this very easy roasted salmon and beets with herb vinaigrette.  I must try this recipe this weekend.

Roasted Salmon and Beets with Herb Vinaigrette

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

poor Marmaduke only has healthy eggs for his dinner tonight

Food on Friday ~ Wellness

love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle

You might have read here that I made myself so ill through a combination of too much booze and not eating the right things at the right time, (and eating a lot of the wrong things, like processed food), that I had to spend a week in hospital.  You know what?  I would have gone on in the same old way if I hadn’t turned-up for a routine health check.

What has that got to do with a recipes post?  From now on I am mostly going to post recipes that seem healthier and better for us in body, mind and spirit.  Less fats, more lean meat and oily fish, and much more fruits and vegetables.  It also seems that not all plant-based foods are good for us.  That high-fructose corn syrup is very bad for us seems obvious, but corn oil, wheat, legumes…..?  They’re bad for us too, generally.

So, I will try to avoid recipes that contain anything that’s generally on the minus side of the wellness equation.

First up this week from Dana The Minimalist Baker is her easy 30 minute Chinese Chicken Salad.  I think this fits my healthy eating bill perfectly, especially as it’s soy-free ~ plus, just look at those colours.  There are a stack of tasty-looking salad recipes on this site, it may well be that this is one of my new go-to sites.

30 Minute Chinese Chicken Salad

Next, from Heather Christo a vegan white bean sweet potato chili.  This also has chunks of avocado, fresno chili, cilantro, and green onions.  I need to eat less meat so this dish will be ideal when I really want a smoky chili, but shouldn’t eat any beef for a while.

Vegan White Bean Sweet Potato Chili

Chicken has to be part of my new way of living, but chicken can be bland and boring.  Not so this roasted garlic butter chicken with lemon olive dressing, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  I think this dish has got so much going for it…..

Roasted Garlic Butter Chicken with Lemon Olive Dressing

Salmon has to be part of my wellness diet, and I really like the look of this baked teriyaki salmon from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin.  I especially like that the salmon fillet is cooked in foil ~ I love cooking in foil.  Erin also shows us how to make our own, healthier, Teriyaki sauce ~ brilliant.

Baked Teriyaki Salmon

Not many know that, until the end of WWII, pork was not much eaten in England.  We English ate mutton, pork is actually a German staple.  However, this recipe for the best baked pork tenderloin is positively part of my healthier eating plan.  Tiffany from Creme de la Crumb tells us how to do it.

Best Baked Pork Tenderloin

As my new eating plan is kind of a modified Paleo Diet our collection this week is from Delish magazine; 40 Paleo recipes that will make you forget you’re on a diet ~ well there are diets and there are diets.  I have chosen to feature this good-looking baked swordfish steak, and if you have never tried swordfish steak then you’ve missed out on one of the great things in life.

Baked Swordfish Steak

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

poor little Marmaduke can’t have his canned spaghetti any more.

Keto Diet Myths

Jack Spratt could eat no fat
his wife could eat no lean

apple, butter, and sage pork chops

Some confuse the Keto diet with the Paleo diet, and while there are some similarities, in reality they are radically different, and you will be on one or the other for completely different reasons.  The Paleo diet is all about a healthy way of eating that should normalise your weight.  Other benefits of the Paleo diet are improved heart and circulatory health, less inflammation, and it also helps people with type 2 diabetes, and / or staves off diabetes.

The Ketogenic Diet is something else all together.  It’s also a low / zero carb way of eating, (less than 50 grams of carbs per day), but the key thing is that it’s a very, very high fat diet.  Among the principal benefits claimed for the Keto Diet are that it helps with diabetes, polycystic ovaries, and it also staves of cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, drug-resistant epilepsy and acne.  But mainly, the Keto diet is about weight loss.

I have read that one should not begin a proper Ketogenic Diet unless you have proper medical supervision, because the whole point of the keto diet is to completely change the metabolism of your body, especially the way the liver works.  Instead of turning carbohydrates into glucose, your liver must turn fat into ketones.  Thereby your body will become incredibly efficient at burning fat.  You will see a massive reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels.  Once you start this diet it will take your body 3 to 5 days to reach the point where it switches from using sugar to using ketones.

One danger of the keto diet is ketoacidocis, where excessive ketone bodies accumulate and you will get a dangerously toxic level of acid in your blood.

On the keto diet you don’t eat carbohydrates, (less than 50g a day, say a bagel), and only 10% to 20% of your daily food intake should be protein.  The rest of what you consume is fat.

Eat; high fat meat like bacon and a good steak, cocoa butter, lard, goose fat, olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, almond oil, avocado, coconut meat, fat-rich nuts and seeds, green low-carb vegetables, butter, hard cheeses, wild caught oily fish, liver, eggs, dark chocolate, hard liquor without a sweetened mixer…..

Do not eat; any grains or anything made from flour, like bread, refined sugars, mayonnaise and the like, starchy root vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes, corn, squash, fruits, fruit juices, peas, beans, peanuts, anything marked ‘low fat’, beer, wine, flavoured and sweet booze….

The keto diet can be dangerous causing; low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies, Beri Beri, heart and circulatory disease, dizziness, low energy, mood swings, upset stomach.  The keto diet is very antisocial.  The keto diet is utterly unsafe for anyone who has problems with their pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gallbladder.

Some say the keto diet is a great way to lose weight fast.  And that it helped with their diabetes.  All I know is I wouldn’t try this without consulting my doctor and a dietitian.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

you can drink this with a little spring water

 

 

 

Food on Friday ~ Muffins

I’ve been told some people are obsessed with bran muffins

Now I’m not certain what’s going on, but several of the cooks whose blogs I follow have posts about muffins this week.  I looked it up, thinking it was National Muffin Week or something, but no, it’s seems it’s just one of those spooky coincidences that keeps happening for me right now.

National Muffin Day in the USA is actually February 20th.

Two interesting things; #1 here in England we do not eat a lot of English muffins.  #2 I didn’t know there was a second meaning for the word muffin, or stud muffin at any rate.

However, be all that as it may, here are some cool muffin recipes, which I may have to reprise on February 20th, or not.

First up this week we have Heather Christo’s delicious looking almond poppyseed muffins, and being from Heather they are allergen free, vegan, and gluten free.  All I know is they look very yummy.

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has a recipe for ube mochi muffins.  I have to admit the only bit of that I understand is muffins, but these little cakes look fantastic and I would be interested to try them.

Ube Mochi Muffins

And I thought I should include a recipe for ‘space muffins’ for those of you who would like to ingest their marijuana.  Personally, I cannot see the attraction, but then I have enough of a problem with booze.

Cannabis Muffins

Now for something else completely different we have these pizza muffins from In Dianes Kitchen.  Now that is a good idea for a pre-prepared snack or for something to take to work for lunch.

Pizza Muffins

Erin Clarke, at Well Plated by Erin has a cool collection of healthy muffin recipes.  I very much like the look of her unique muffin recipes, especially the gingerbread apple muffins.  How interesting.

Gingerbread Apple Muffins

Our last collection this week is from delish magazine; 52 muffins to make your morning a little more enjoyable.  From this great collection I’ve chosen to feature the chocolate lover’s chocolate chocolate-chip muffins by our friend Averie Sunshine.

Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Paleo Diet Myths

agriculture is all about profit, it’s never been about health

The first thing to know about the Paleo Diet is that it has bugger-all to do with the Paleolithic era of man, which actually lasted from about 3.3 million years BC until about 14,000 years ago when the Paleolithic era morphed into the Neolithic Era.  During most of the Paleolithic era people weren’t even what can be called human.  During all of that time ‘man’ used stone tools, ‘lithic’ means ‘of stone’, and the for all of that time ‘man’s’ diet was whatever he could kill or gather from the environment around him, wherever he happened to live.  Acorns don’t feature heavily in any popular diet I know of.

Since The Wolf Moon on January 10th this year my life keeps getting better and better ~ different and better.  I have made a conscious decision to turn back the clock on my lifestyle and live more like our Neolithic ancestors did ~ in terms of diet and exercise that is…..  And so help me, a proper Paleo Diet is a good starting point ~ there is a difference between some popular versions of the Paleo Diet and what is good for you.

First, what isn’t included in a Paleo Diet; refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, grains like wheat, barley, and rice…..  all of those will make you ill, maybe cause cancers, and eventually kill you.  Also avoid; Legumes like beans and peas, dairy like milk and cheese, (make your own mind up about eggs), most vegetable oils like corn oil and sunflower oil, trans fats like you find in margarine, look for the words ‘hydrogenated’ and avoid that like the plague.  Don’t consume anything with artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin, these are nasty and will hurt your body, cut down on salt.  Don’t eat processed foods, nothing from cans, no pre-prepared meals in an aluminium or plastic tray, nothing labeled ‘diet’ or ‘low-fat’.  If it looks like it was made in a factory don’t eat it.

Don’t buy take-out ~ you don’t know what’s in it, and have you ever seen around back of a take-out place?  Dirt, rats, cockroaches, dangerous filth…..  Don’t eat at restaurants too often.

What should we eat, what am I going to eat?

  • fruits and vegetables, but not legumes like beans and peas.
  • nuts and seeds, good luck on buying acorns.
  • lean meats, grass fed if possible.
  • Fish, especially those fish rich in omega-3, like salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna.  Cod and haddock are good too because you know they must be wild-caught.
  • Use good oil from fruits and nuts, extra virgin olive oil is my staple.
  • Potatoes.  Strictly speaking I shouldn’t eat high starch food, but I’m not giving up on a jacket potato with my steak.

Also I do not ever take medication, the side-effects aren’t trivial, they are effects, not innocent side-effects.  Most medication will make you very sick sooner or later, and all medication is addictive sooner or later.  Avoid alcohol and drugs, do not use pot, it will give you schizophrenia, do not ever ever even experiment with something like cocaine.  The effects on your brain never, ever go away.

Along with a good diet I will also exercise like our neolithic ancestors, and they walked.  Imagine walking down a herd of bison.  How far do you think you need to walk to exhaust a bison?

Some say that modern processed foods are a boon.  And that take-out pizza and beer makes for a healthy diet.  All I know is I want to be fit, healthy, and looking forward to a long life.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if you want to drink,

stick to a little red wine,

or a good British beer.

Food on Friday ~ Better than Take-Out

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well, if one has not dined well.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part in maintaining good health.  Along with plenty of fresh air and exercise it can help you look and feel your best.

This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the optimal amount of food and drink to maintain a healthy body weight.  You also need all of the essential vitamins and minerals, else you could get quite sick.

Maybe the hardest part of a healthy diet is the sheer quantity of water we should really drink, and for the average person this works out to 8 x 8 ounce glasses of water, (green tea, fruit tea, herbal tea, coffee without sugar), which is half a US gallon every day, more if you’ve been boozing.  In European terms this is 2 litres.

But today we are going to look at some great recipes for fabulous dishes ~ as a much healthier alternative than even the very best take-out.

First up this week we have hamburger steaks with a mushroom sauce from Holly at Spend With Pennies.  While there is no way on this God’s Earth that I would buy a hamburger at a fast-food outlet such as McDonalds, I think a home-made burger can be fabulous.

Hamburger Steaks with a Mushroom Sauce

Another home-made alternative to unhealthy take-out; egg roll in a bowl from Well Plated by Erin Clarke.  At one time I loved Chinese and Thai take out, but the muck is full of gluten and MSG, and I’ve seen out back of a takeout kitchen and hygiene is in a far country.

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Something that you certainly wouldn’t get from the average take-out; chinese mushroom dumplings with sweet chili ginger sesame sauce.  Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has very descriptive names for her recipes.  Good for her!

Chinese Mushroom Dumplings

Now Heather Christo always makes her food look fabulous, and this green thai currey with vegetables is no exception.  Get yourself some lemon rice and a bottle of Tiger beer to go with it.  Heather’s recipes are all allergy free, (for all I know they’re gluten free too).

Green Thai Curry with Vegetables

The Minimalist Baker’s recipes are definitely gluten free, and this easy 1 pot tikka masala looks far, far better than anything you’d get from any Indian take-out place.

Easy 1-Pot Tikka Masala

Our collection this week is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats; 25 weeks of my favorite healthier weeknight dinners.  From this 175 recipe collection I’ve chosen to feature baked parmesan chicken with lemon arugula.  You can get Parmesan chicken as a take-out, but I wouldn’t.

Baked Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Arugula

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

egg-drop chicken soup

Food on Friday ~ Pot Luck Christmas

Good food is at the heart of a great Christmas and a Happy New Year

The theme for this Food on Friday was suggested to me by a friend in California ~ I would never have thought if it on my own.  Here in England the traditional Christmas Day fayre is exactly the same as a Thanksgiving Dinner ~ only better.  The idea of having a pot luck Christmas lunch / dinner is alien to an Englishman, but it does sound brilliant.  As a matter of fact, we don’t do pot luck at all in England.

Ergo these recipes should not only be fantastic in their own right, but should also be suitable to take along to a pot luck meal.

First up this week, here’s a simply delicious dish from Dianes Kitchen; baked chicken Parmesan meatballs.  Diane says these are great eaten right of the oven, or with your favorite sauce.  These look as though they would be very welcome at any pot luck.

Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

If we’re looking for an appetiser to have with drinks then we could do worse than go for these fabulously festive brie bites from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin.

Brie Bites with Puff Pastry

Here in England, just about the only time we eat brussel sprouts is at Christmas, so I felt I just had to include a sprouts recipe.  From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have these roasted bacon brussels sprouts with salted honey.  A great side dish to take to a pot luck.

Roasted Bacon Brussels Sprouts with Salted Honey

In all my visits to the USA, I have never, ever had a decent baked potato.  That’s because you guys cook them in the microwave.  A proper jacket potato needs a very hot oven, and I’ve yet to see anyone in the USA actually use their oven,  So, since great baked potatoes would go down well at a pot luck here’s Ali from Gimmie some Oven to tell you how to do it.

The Best Baked Potatoes

So, you’re going to a pot luck and you want to really help the table along / show off how rich you are, then why not take along a whole maple glazed ham.  We have the perfect recipe from Chungah at Damn Delicious.

Maple Glazed Ham

Our collection this week comes from Taste of Home, 40 last minute Potluck ideas ready in 30 minutes or less.  From this collection I’ve chosen to feature herb-roasted olives & tomatoes, partly because the recipe is by Anndrea Bailey from Huntington Beach, California.  I like Huntington Beach.  Anyway this is a great vegan side.

Herb Roasted Olives and Tomatoes

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

30 minute Asian Chicken Soup

one of the best soup recipes ever.

I’ve made this.

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