For some it’s heir favourite time of the year ~ others aren’t always so fortunate, so we’ll try hard to make this a happy Christmas for the whole world.
Anyway, back to food for this Christmas. I’ve no doubt that you’ve got all the main stuff organised ~ the Christmas Dinner I mean. But what about all those snacks, and breakfasts, and afternoon teas that you’re going to want to provide over this festive season?
What about all those extras? Well, this Food on Friday might just give you some good ideas.
First this week we have this really cool snowflake pull-apart monkey bread from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest. Loaded with butterscotch and cinnamon ~ what a great breakfast, or something extra sweet to have with your afternoon tea!
Snowflake Pull-Apart Monkey Bread
From No Plate Like Home, how about this eggnog quick bread with rum infused glaze? What a great idea for afternoon tea, or for something to have at parties. You know what? I’ll bet this will go down a treat.
Eggnog Quick Bread with Rum Infused Glaze
Next from the archives of Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français we have this Christmas tarted up treacle tart with ginger and pecans. Jeez! This looks so rich and tasty~ I love treacle tart!
Tarted Up Treacle Tart with Ginger and Pecans
Now for something that’s a cross between sweet and savory ~ from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes we have honey hazelnut baked brie. I really like baked brie, and this recipe looks fabulous with a sweet and sour honey sauce.
Honey Hazelnut Baked Brie
Here’s something sweet and irresistible from Averie Cooks; melt in your mouth toffee. Averie says it’s perfect for cookie exchanges, or as a hostess gift, or for parties. This toffee looks good to me.
Melt In Your Mouth Toffee
Well, something no drinks party should be without is a brilliant cheese board. So Chungah at Damn Delicious offers us some tips on how to create the perfect holiday cheese board. Looks damn delicious to me.
The Perfect Holiday Cheese Board
And, talking about drinks, Country Living has this brilliant collection of drinks recipes; 30 Christmas cocktails for a holly jolly holiday season. Among the recipes is this cool white Christmas mojito from Half Baked Harvest.
White Christmas Mojito
Have a very Happy Christmas
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Almost anyone can cook a great dinner inside half an hour.
When you’re working for a living it isn’t always so easy to find the time to cook a proper dinner, and sometimes we just don’t have the energy after a long day at work, (maybe with a stressful commute thrown in). Ergo during the week what we really want is something very easy for dinner, and preferably pretty quick and requiring the minimum number of pans and dishes.
I firmly believe that the recipes I’m giving you in this week’s Food on Friday fit the bill as far as easy mid-week dinners go, and will also make a great lunch to take to work, or eat at the weekends.
Firstly this week, from San Diego girl Averie Sunshine from Averie cooks we have this really easy chicken stir fry with noodles. Healthy, very easy, and ready in just 15 minutes, this is a great mid-week stand-by dinner. There are lots of vegetables in this dish, miss out the chicken, maybe add cashew nuts, and you could have yourself a vegan stir fry,
Chicken Stir Fry with Noodles
Another brilliant stir fry, this time from Dana the Minimalist Baker, 30-minute cauliflower rice stir-fry. This healthy, flavourful, quick and easy dish is vegan and gluten free, and if you like you could swap broccoli for the cauliflower. What’s not to like.
30-Minute Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry
When it comes to easy mid-week dinners, there’s nothing easier than a pan of soup you already have in the refrigerator. So while some soups may take a while to prepare, make a big pot and you have the basis of several lunches and dinners for the week to come. From Joy the Baker we have a recipe for carrot coconut red curry soup. To begin with, making the soup will take you about an hour, so maybe that’s best done at the weekend, but once it’s made, add some crusty sourdough bread, and you have a great mid-week dinner. This is a vegan dish.
Carrot Coconut Red Curry Soup
Another soup, this time from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats; 30 minute Asian chicken soup. As its says, you should be able to make this big bowl of health in a half-hour. And best of all, this is a one-pot recipe.
30 Minute Asian Chicken Soup.
Now from Heather Christo we have a fast and easy bee pho, this isn’t really authentic because it’s a very shortcut recipe you can have ready in 45 minutes, a lot of which you can use to do other things ~ like find the show you want to watch on TV.
Fast and Easy Beef Pho
Even though it’s autumn, running into winter, and here in England it’s cold, damp, and grey, sometimes we still crave a salad. San Francisco girl Andrea from Cooking with a wallflower has a good recipe for autumn apple salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette. This great looking and very healthy fall salad should be ready in just 10 minutes. Enjoy.
Autumn Apple Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Finally for this week, a collection for you from Good Housekeeping, midweek meal recipes, all of which should take less than a half hour and use no more than 10 ingredients. I like the look of all the recipes in this collection, but especially I like this quick pan-fried salmon with sweet and sour leeks, (here in the North East of England we love our leeks).
Quick pan-Fried Salmon with Sweet and Sour Leeks
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Anger blows out the candle of the mind.
People are telling me that I need to relax more, stop being angry, stop being paranoid…
Anger, confusion, and paranoia are all symptoms of a chronic lack of thiamine and potassium in the blood stream ~ and I was suffering from that. (But so are nausea, heart palpitations, strokes, and death through heart failure)
I realise that I have been holding on to anger from the past. I need to let go of this anger and stop letting it rule me. The time to deal with anger and paranoia are when I first feel it ~ I need to relax, let go, and not let anger and paranoia fester in my mind.
Yet I know how to relax, and it’s really very simple.
- Take a walk by the sea.
- Practice clean deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga.
- Stay away from any booze.
- Take a long bath with some relaxing music playing.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep.
- Talk with my family and friends.
- Keep my apartment clean and tidy.
- Read something inspirational and mindful.
- Do something creative ~ like writing this blog, making something, cooking…
- Check my thinking and let go of negative thoughts.
- Go back to seeing a professional counsellor.
- Build and photograph a rock stack by the sea.
There is something very therapeutic about building a rock stack.
Food on Friday will return next week.
pictures taken with a Lumix.
Foreigners cannot enjoy our food, any more than we can enjoy theirs. ~ Mark Twain
Go to almost any town in the USA and you will find a Mexican place, a pizza joint, and a bar selling a mixture of ‘Italian’ and ‘English’ food. If you’re in a larger town you will probably also find a sushi restaurant, (Sakura in St. George UT is pretty good), and likely there will be a Chinese place, and a Thai restaurant. Sakura in St. George has a super entrance doorway.
Is there such a thing as ‘American’ cuisine, or is it merely foods borrowed from the rest of the world? I would aver that real American food consists of steaks, burgers, hot dogs, french fries, salads, and of course lots of bad cheese and ketchup.
On my recent US road trip I ate the best steak I’ve ever had, and didn’t eat the very worst chilli dog I’ve ever been served. The quality of the food in the USA goes from very, very good to stuff I wouldn’t give a dog.
In the same joint that served that great steak, (White Mountain Mining Co, Rock Springs WY) I also had a truly boring salad that was 90% iceberg lettuce, and a baked potato that was left over from the day before. On the same trip I also enjoyed a really good pizza from a place called Craftsman Wood Fired Pizza, in Placentia , Orange County CA.
In California, in the western USA in general, they also have a buffet thing going. My friend and I had a pretty good meal at a buffet place in Primm Nevada. On the way back to civilisation, Primm, just like every other town in Nevada, is totally devoted to casinos, gambling, and gamblers. I don’t gamble, my friend loves the slots, and that can be a little annoying for both of us. If you don’t like gambling, don’t ever go to Nevada.
The most impressive buffet I’ve ever been to, in my whole life, was the Champagne Sunday Brunch, aboard the RMS Queen Mary, in Long Beach California. If you’re ever in Southern California, I would strongly recommend you take your girl there for Sunday brunch. Just don’t eat much the day before, and make certain that one of you is the designated driver, (or book a room). There is a fabulous cocktail bar aboard her too.
A few things for the unwary traveller to bear in mind when eating at a Restaurant in the USA; try to go during their happy hour, to European eyes places close very early, remember to add sales tax to the prices when you’re budgeting ~ and on top of that the standard tip anywhere is 20%, (and I hate that). Don’t expect to be given cutlery, (Americans are like children and eat with their fingers), and if there’s a wait for a table, you can always eat at the bar, where it’s first come first served. (I hate eating at the bar because brash Americans will talk to you while you’re eating.)
In bars that serve food the beer is generally pretty good, but the wine and margaritas can be of very variable quality ~ they will still get you very drunk. The food in most American bars is garbage.
Americans can eat garbage, providing you sprinkle it liberally with cheese, ketchup, mustard, chilli sauce, Tabasco, cayenne pepper, or any other condiment which destroys the original flavor of the dish ~ Henry Miller, American Writer.
All in all, eating in the USA is a different and sometimes unnerving experience for a well-mannered Englishman. But then eating in France, Greece, Italy, Spain… has its own idiosyncracies. Close your eyes and enjoy the experience. Some American food is fabulous, and sometimes the dining experience is even better.
Just don’t eat Mexican food…
Good food begins and ends with good talk.
Some say that a Mediterranean diet is good for you. And, that if you eat a mostly Mediterranean diet you’ll be healthier and live longer. All I know is that you should always have a really good extra virgin olive oil.
From Greece, tzatziki is basically a mixture of yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, garlic, and mint, and you can buy it from your local store, or you can even make your own. The Bojon Gourmet has this nice little farro and cucumber salad with feta, dill, and mint that not only would be nice with some tzatziki, but also combines its flavours. Both would go nicely with some grilled goat.
Farro and Cucumber Salad with Feta, Dill, and Mint
And now, from Heidi at foodiecrush we have this outrageous herbacious Mediterranean chickpea salad. (I had to include this just for the name of the dish.)
Outrageous Herbacious Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
From Heather Christo this week we have Mediterranean pasta with grilled swordfish, lemons and gremolata. Gremolata is also dead easy to make for yourself. (I love grilled swordfish, but some say we shouldn’t buy swordfish ~ I will go on eating it, because whatever I do won’t affect how much fish the Japanese rape from the sea.) This 25 minute dish is perfect for a barbecue with the kind of friend who doesn’t expect a burned burger in a cheap bun.
Mediterranean Pasta with Grilled Swordfish, Lemons, and Gremolata
Sardines are a quintessentially Mediterranean dish, and Petra from Food Eat Love has some super taste combinations in this dish of fresh sardines, roast baby beets with whipped avocado and feta. As you’d expect it’s the beetroot that going to take the longest to cook here.
Fresh Sardines, Roast baby Beets with Whipped Avocado and Feta
This is another Mediterranean dish I love, grilled lamb kebabs, this time from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest. (Do you want to know my own secret ingredient for grilling Mediterranean style? 7Up ~ when the charcoal gets too hot and the meat looks like it might burn, I sprinkle 7Up over the grill.) Tieghan’s is a half-hour dish, but one should really marinade the lamb overnight.
Mediterranean Grilled Lamb Kebabs
Dana at The Minimalist Baker has the ultimate Mediterranean bowl, looks fabulous, and it’s easy, healthy, and gluten-free. However, I would definitely add a little more extra virgin olive oil.
The Ultimate Mediterranean Bowl
Cod Cherry Tomato and Green Olive Tray Roast
get yourself a cookery book
Is there anything a Mediterranean Diet can’t cure?
Specifically, I wonder if a Mediterranean diet can help to cure this terrible head-cold I’ve suddenly contracted? Or more likely stop me from catching a cold in the first place? Well yes it could ~ but only if I really upped the amount of raw garlic I eat.
A diet rich in oily fish, fresh vegetables, olive oil, garlic, and nuts protects our bodies and our brains, especially as we get older. However, to get the most benefit from a Mediterranean diet we also need to cut down on alcohol ~ one drink a day for women, (try not to spill it, and drink red wine, not white), and one or two drinks a day for men. Lucky for me I don’t drink at all these days. But, a glass of red wine every day is actually very good for you.
It isn’t only the Mediterranean peoples who ate that type of diet, the Vikings did too, and nobody ever accused a viking of being a sickly wuss.
Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food. ~ Hippocrates
People from the Mediterranean region have longer life expectancies and are generally healthier than people from Northern Europe and the United States of America. The United Kingdom ranks 19th and the USA 31st in terms of average life expectancy, (out of 183 counties listed).
People from around the sunny Mediterranean have lower risks of suffering; Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, colitis, depression, heart diseases, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, and strokes. Trust me, you do not want to get type 2 diabetes, and you really, really, don’t want to have a stroke.
A proper Mediterranean diet isn’t all baguettes, pizza, pasta, and roasted lamb with lots of herbs. A healthy Mediterranean diet consists of the region’s fruits, vegetables, (especially leafy greens like spinach), seafood, olive oil, cheese, and a couple of glasses of a robust red wine. These are all anti-inflammatory foods.
But you also need to add a lot of fresh air, sunshine, and lots of physical activity to the mixture to obtain the most benefits. If you are not already doing so, then you should walk 10,000 steps a day, both to improve your health and help prevent an early death.
Modern scientific evidence suggests that many, (some), of the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet accrue directly from all the good olive oil included in just about every recipe, dish, meal eaten around the Mare Nostrum.
Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids, (MUFAs), which are supposed to be good for you ~ at least the Mayo Clinic says that MUFAs are good for you. In fact the well-respected Mayo Clinic says that olive oil is good for you ~ in moderation.
So; your Mediterranean diet should include;
- The very best extra virgin olive oil you can get. Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on Earth. Only ever buy extra virgin olive oil.
- Fresh fish. The oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, pilchards, and sardines are full of vitamins D, B, omega 3 fatty acids, and selenium. Eating oily fish a couple of times a week is said to help prevent; arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, prostate cancer, schizophrenia, and blindness / impaired vision.
- Green fruits and vegetables. It seems that eating green plant stuff can reduce the risk of cancer, helps maintain strong bones and good teeth, and promotes the health of your eyesight in your senior years. Popeye was right all along, spinach is good for you ~ and so are kale and dandelion leaves.
- Garlic. Everyone knows that Mediterranean people eat a lot of garlic. The Ancient Egyptians used garlic as a medicine. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed a hell of a lot of garlic. The health benefits of garlic include; fighting off allergies, keeping bacterial and viral infections at bay, improving your skin, prevents colds and sore throats, reduces the risk of thrombosis, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, helps prevent type 2 diabetes, reduces cancer risks, helps beat anaemia, and improves your sex life, (if she can stand the smell). If you can manage it, eat raw garlic, especially if you have dental problems.
- Nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are good for your heart. It seems nuts and seeds contain lots of unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, plant sterols, fibre, vitamin E, and something called L-arginine. Allegedly L-arginine does wonders for your sex life.
- A glass of a robust red wine, (when I was drinking I would always choose an Italian red). The health benefits of red wine were known as far back as the ancient Egyptians. It seems a regular glass of red wine boosts heart health, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces the risk of degenerative diseases, helps reduce he risks of type 2 diabetes, stops you being so obese, and may prevent Alzheimer’s
However, some things about the Mediterranean lifestyle are very, very bad for you. Men from the Mediterranean coasts of; Spain, France, Corsica, Italy, Greece, (and less desirable places like Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia and Albania), smoke far too much, drive like maniacs in unroadworthy heaps, drive when they’re drunk, and sleep in the afternoons when they’re drunk. In medieval Hell-Holes like Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt you will just get ripped off and / or assaulted / shot / blown up.
And yet, parts of the Mediterranean are among the most beautiful, most magical, most spiritual places on this Mother Earth. Guys, take your girl there, soon and often.
I’m glad I am a woman who once danced naked in the Mediterranean Sea at Midnight. ~ Mercedes McCambridge
A Mediterranean Diet is not only good for you, it has some utterly fabulous, great tasting recipes. Mix Mediterranean with Paleo and you may well have the perfect diet for your health, fitness, well-being, and gustatory satisfaction.
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We may all be sensitive to gluten.
In yesterday’s post I wrote about how bad gluten can be for some people, and how bad modern American wheat is for everyone. Ergo, today’s Food on Friday features gluten-free recipes for those of us who don’t want to consume wheat flour, and for those of us who may have some degree of non celiac gluten intolerance.
Heather Christo’s website holds all allergen free, and mostly gluten-free recipes. Not only do they all sound delicious and nutritious, but all of Heather’s dishes look absolutely beautiful. Recently, as well as featuring grilled nectarine balsamic chicken, blackberry coconut oatmeal muffins, (both vegan and gluten free), and telling us everything we need to know about gluten free beer, Heather has a great recipe for grilled salmon, strawberries, and nectarine kebabs. Looks fantastic.
Grilled Salmon, Strawberries, and Nectarine Kebabs
San Diego cook Averie Sunshine has a great recipe for spicy baked eggs and hash brown casserole, a pumpkin and cheesy baked potato casserole, as well as this creamy and crispy hash browns frittata, and Averie says all of these are both vegetarian and gluten-free.
Creamy and Crispy Hash Browns Frittata
Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower has this really easy recipe for garlic shrimp spring rolls with tamarind vinaigrette, Vietnamese inspired and gluten-free. This should be ready in 35 minutes and would make a fabulous midweek dinner.
Garlic Shrimp Spring Rolls with Tamarind Vinaigrette
Todd & Diane, the White on Rice Couple have a stack of vegetarian and gluten-free recipes. But being a meat-eater, I really like the look of this sriracha roast chicken with sriracha gravy.
Sriracha Roast Chicken with Sriracha Gravy
From Group SOI, purveyors of Italian Food Solutions, we have a quinoa salad with cardamom and coriander extra virgin olive oil. Quinoa has become one of the most popular health foods, as it’s high in protein, has all nine essential amino acids, and is gluten-free.
Quinoa Salad with Cardamom and Coriander Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If you want to be gluten-free, but you must have noodles, then try Ramen Noodles. Ramen Noodles should be gluten free, but it’s always worth checking the labels. So, from Teighan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have these 15 minute garlic butter Ramen noodles. What could be easier for a midweek dinner?
15 Minute Garlic Butter Ramen Noodles
For those of us who like recipe collections, Woman’s Day has 40 delicious dinner recipes you won’t even realize are gluten-free, including this fantastic looking balsamic chicken with apple, lentil, and spinach salad. This very easy dinner should be ready in just 25 minutes.
Balsamic Chicken with Apple, Lentil and Spinach Salad
there are loads of gluten-free cookbooks
click on the book