I know of a place where the wild thyme grows
Thymus Vulgaris, garden thyme, is one of the four great medicinal and culinary herbs; parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme….. A herb is a plant where the leafy green and flowering parts are found useful in cooking and natural medicine. Whereas, a spice is produced from other parts of a plant; seeds, bark, roots, fruit…. Ergo ginger is a spice, whereas the ash tree is used both as a herb and a spice.
Trust me, thyme is most definitely a herb and an important ingredient in Mediterranean, Indian, and Caribbean recipes. Thyme is also a basic ingredient in perfumery.
In medicine, thyme should be treated with caution because, like all herbs, it contains some very powerful and complex chemicals, especially thymol. Interestingly the antiseptic thymol is a major ingredient of Listerine mouthwash and most alcohol-free hand sanitisers.
Other major and powerful compounds found in the common or garden thyme are; borneol, carvavrol, eucalyptol, menthene, thymene, and tannin. The major effects of these compounds are; antibiotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, balsamic, carminative, and soporific. (Balsamic really means ‘elixir’)
Thyme tea, (usually made with dried leaves), is calming, helps most people to sleep, fights off coughs, reduces inflammations, and much reduces embarrassing night-time flatulence. As with most natural herb teas women of child-bearing age should take care as it increases blood flow to the uterus. Thyme in wine is good, and I use sprigs of thyme in both olive oil and apple cider vinegar, (makes a fabulous salad dressing) Thyme tea is a potent female aphrodisiac. Thyme and marijuana cookies should be treated with very great care indeed.
A sprig of thyme under the pillow is an aid to calm sleep, and a good bunch of thyme in your bath will help kill off very nasty things like toenail fungus, athletes foot, and the hookworm ancylostomiasis.
Thyme of any variety is easy to grow, it prefers a well-drained gravelly soil in full sun. Collect your thyme in spring and early summer. Bees love thyme as the flowers are nectar-rich ~ real thyme honey has all of the properties you can find in the plant.
if you have a scrap of space, grow herbs
you don’t need a silver fork to enjoy good food
Here in England we have been in lockdown for just about a year, and trust me there’s not much fun in that. There is also a regrettable tendency to eat the wrong things at the wrong times; which isn’t healthy. One of the few things we can enjoy is good, healthy food, hopefully some of these recipes will cheer us up.
First this week, from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest we have this Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special. Looks deliciously easy.
Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp Special
From Karina at Cafe Delites we have this wonderful Jambalaya; chicken, sausage, shrimp, rice in a Creole saute from New Orleans. Fabulous.
Jessica at How Sweet Eats says this dish; Lemon Butter Shrimp and Broccoli Skillet is the perfect weeknight dinner. I aver that this would be a perfect, healthy meal at any time of the week.
Lemon Butter Shrimp and Broccoli Skillet
Holly at Spend with Pennies says this Shrimp Lo Mein can be ready in just 30 minutes. I’d take a little longer, just to enjoy cooking this good-looking dish.
Shrimp Lo Mein
If you get weary of shrimp, yet want to stay with the theme, From Chungah at Damn Delicious we have a recipe for Garlic Butter Clams with White Wine Cream Sauce. I’d want some crispy garlic bread to go along with this dish.
Garlic Butter Clams with White Wine Cream Sauce
Our big collection this week is from Delish Magazine; 82 Shrimp Recipes That’ll Make Meatless Mondays Your Favorite Day Of The Week. From this list how about a Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Pasta?
Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Pasta
maybe Marmaduke is waiting for the shrimp-boats to come in
only the pure in heart can make a good soup
In many parts of England and the USA it’s cold, dark, and miserable. At times like these I believe that we all need comfort food, and what better than a nourishing, warming, interesting soup?
And, if you are pure in heart, then you can make a decent soup over an open fire, if you have to. Better still would be an unfashionable wood burning stove. The people of Texas will tell you that relying on electricity is not always a good idea, nor mains gas either. BTW, never, ever use petrol, (gasoline) to start a fire ~ not if you want to go on living.
First up this week, from Chungah at Damn Delicious we have this Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup. You know what? If you don’t have a slow cooker, then get one. At this time of year it will be a brilliant investment.
Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has a recipe for Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup. Tuscany is one of my favourite places in the entire world.
Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup
Holly at Spend with Pennies has a wonderful looking recipe for Chicken Corn Chowder with Bacon; how very American! This really is a meal in a bowl.
Chicken Corn Chowder with Bacon
Dana the Minimalist Baker has a collection; Healthy Winter Recipes for Cold People, and from that I’ve chosen to feature her very easy, very healthy, gluten free, one pot, Curried Potato and Lentil Soup, (with kale).
Curried Potato and Lentil Soup
Meanwhile, Jessica at How Sweet Eats offers us 20 of Her Favorite Soup Recipes for Winter; from which I give you this Easy Lemon Chicken Soup. OK it’s the second lemon chicken recipe this week but they are very different.
Easy Lemon Chicken Soup
Finally for this week Country Living has a collection of 55+ Extra Comforting Soups and Stews to Warm You Up on Chilly Winter Nights. How about this Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup for something very different?
Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup
they even get snow in Arizona
I know, I was there
when things get bad it takes everything you’ve got
keep on keeping on
It’s now the 332 day of lockdown, and this morning it took a lot of determination just to get out of bed and get moving. I could say that I wasn’t feeling so good, but that wouldn’t be true, today it’s all in my mind. If you haven’t suffered the agony of strict self-isolation for almost a year, then you don’t know how I was feeling at 04:00 this morning. Kind of lethargic and depressed, with a touch of meaningless thrown in.
As a matter of fact, lockdown is completely meaningless. All this destruction of the very fabric of modern society is doing is to make politicians and health officials feel better about the myriad of public inquiries they are going to face when all this is eventually over.
So, how do I get through this mess?
- set small goals for each day
- if that’s too difficult set small goals for the next hour
- keep as fit and healthy as possible
- eat regular, high quality meals
- stay away from booze, drugs, candy….
- read something challenging every day
What I really want to do is get out of the garret and go somewhere warm and sunny ~ but taking a vacation is illegal here. I want to see my friends, but that’s also illegal here. In fact having any pleasure at all is just about illegal here.
So, I will look of the bright side, and do the best I can.
every door is locked
first, use what you have to hand
On Friday, looking through my refrigerator and store cupboard I found an eclectic mixture of bits and pieces; steak, red onion, garlic, olives, and dried apricots. All of that’s been there a little while, and it’s either use it or lose it into the trash.
I thought I could turn these into something like a Moroccan Beef Tagine for Saturday’s dinner. I’ve no doubt I have enough in my spice rack to come up with vaguely the correct blend. (I have some baby bell peppers too.)
Moroccan Beef Tagine
That wasn’t my picture because I hadn’t made it yet….
As it happened it turned out well, especially for a first attempt at the recipe.
Next time it will be better.
I’m not quite certain what tweaks I need to make, but hey, I cook for Marmy and me…… I need to practice my food photography too.
except I don’t think Marmaduke likes Moroccan food very much ~ he is an English bear
first, use what you have to hand
Looking through my refrigerator and store cupboard I found an eclectic mixtire of bits and pieces; steak, red onion, garlic, olives, and dried apricots. All of that’s been there a little while, and it’s either use it or lose it into the trash.
I think I can turn these into something like a Moroccan Beef Tagine for Saturday’s dinner. I’ve no doubt I have enough in my spice rack to come up with vaguely the correct blend. (I have some baby bell peppers too.)
Moroccan Beef Tagine
That’s not my picture because I haven’t made it yet….
I will let you know how it works out.
I don’t think Marmaduke likes Moroccan food
one should not merely eat to live
Life should be fun, filled with enjoyment, good friends, good times, and great memories. Too much of our mealtimes today are snatched, eaten on the run, filled with convenience food, fast food, and takeouts. And, in all honesty, too many of my meals are from a can or the freezer, and eaten alone. I guess that’s a lockdown thing.
Let’s see if we can change that lonely, bland, and unhealthy life for the better. Let’s taste our food again.
Despite having spent quite a lot of time in Southern California I’ve never had anything like these Queso Fundido Taquitos ~ from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest. Served with avocado lime crema.
Queso Fundido Taquitos
I’ve never had a Chicken Sheet Pan Quesadilla either. This from Ali at Gimme Some Oven. Easy, delicious, perfect to share with friends.
Chicken Sheet Pan Quesadilla
Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has this very nice-looking recipe for Sweet and Spicy Thai Chicken. It’s a 45 minute dish, but I think most people I know could spend a very relaxing hour making this yummy concoction.
Sweet and Spicy Thai Chicken
Joy the Baker says these Mediterranean Salmon Parcels are a weeknight dinner. I think you could serve this recipe to your friends any time. I really like cooking in foil.
Mediterranean Salmon Parcels
Another seafood dish, this time from Chungah at Damn Delicious; Brown Butter Scallops. Quick, easy, and very healthy. You could serve this with rice, salad, or just some crusty bread.
Brown Butter Scallops
It turns out that over in the USA it’s about to be Super Bowl Sunday. Ergo our collection this week is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats; 21 Favourite Recipes for Superbowl Sunday. From her collection I’ve chosen to feature a Caesar Salad with Pizza Croutons ~ very pretty.
Caesar Salad with Pizza Croutons
healthy eating is a way of life
Most Americans are unhealthy. The USA spends twice as much on heathcare as the average OECD country, yet has the lowest life expectancy and highest suicide rate among the 11 OECD countries. Almost half of adult Americans are obese, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA, and almost 35 million Americans have been diagnosed to have diabetes. Most of these illnesses can be put down to unhealthy lifestyles ~ about one third of Americans are classified as ‘physically inactive’, and the US Department of Health says 80% do not take enough exercise to be even moderately fit and healthy. Things are not much better here in England.
To eat a healthy diet, to live with a healthy lifestyle, isn’t difficult. It does mean giving up a couple of things; drinking and smoking chief among them. There are also some things we should consume a lot less of; refined sugar, caffeine, stuff made with white flour, dairy, canned food, fast food, processed food, take out meals, sugary carbonated drinks, and anything and everything with high fructose corn syrup in it, (HFCS).
Now that I have to control my recently diagnosed high blood pressure, the kinds of dishes I’ll be eating are shown here.
Petra at Food Eat Love has a great recipe for Beef with Ginger and Grapefruit. Beef is more than just OK, and both ginger and grapefruit are great for keeping one’s blood pressure under control.
Beef with Ginger and Grapefruit
Oily fish is very good for our health and so are cilantro and citrus. Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb combines these ingredients in her Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil. An easy and healthy 30 minute dish. Supposedly, honey has some surprising health benefits.
Baked Honey Cilantro Lime Salmon in Foil
A good breakfast is important to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Jessica Merchant has a collection of her 10 Favorite Weekday Breakfasts. From that I’m featuring these Pumpkin Protein Pancakes, so easy and so healthy.
Pumpkin Protein Pancakes
A healthy hearty diet need not be lots and lots of salads, we can also eat comfort food and Holly at Spend With Pennies has a great side dish of Colcannon ~ mashed potatoes and cabbage, fabulous served with corned beef. Potato and cruciferous vegetables are good for helping to control one’s blood pressure. (there is the obvious farting issue when it comes to eating lots of cruciferous vegetables)
Joy the baker has this very interesting dish; Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash. Brussel Sprouts are cruciferous vegetables and really good for us, and mushrooms have lots of potential benefits when it comes to preventing cardio vascular diseases.
Mushroom and Brussels Sprout Hash
Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has this very attractive recipe for Healthier 25 Minute Kung Pao Chicken. I have just got to try this easy, healthy dish ~ using brown / wild rice.
Healthier 25 Minute Kung Pao Chicken
but a glass of good red wine is probably beneficial most evenings of the week
if you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple;
then you’re not really hungry, just bored
Yesterday I was diagnosed as having high blood pressure and told that I need to have a battery of tests, and prescribed some powerful medicine to help me. To help myself I need to change my lifestyle;
- eat a heart-healthy diet with less salt, less refined sugar, and less caffeine
- get my weight into the green zone body mass index, which means losing about ten pounds
- take regular exercise ~ which is a bit difficult given how much I hurt
- give up booze and smoking ~ which is OK because I’ve never smoked and haven’t taken a drink since Christmas
The type of menu I should be on includes;
From Jessica at How Sweet Eats, Shredded Citrus Brussels Sprouts Salad with Avocado and Pomegranate.
Shredded Citrus Brussels Sprouts Salad with Avocado and Pomegranate
Salmon and other oily fish are good too. A recipe by Chungah at Damn Delicious; Lemon Dill Salmon in Foil. I love these easy ‘wrapped in foil’ dishes.
Lemon Dill Salmon in Foil
And last for this morning; a collection from Delish Magazine; 33 Amazing Broccoli Recipes Even Broccoli Haters Can’t Hate. I’ve chosen to feature this Better than Takeout Beef and Broccoli.
Better than Takeout Beef and Broccoli
The Minimalist Baker
save power and protect the planet
eat raw meat
There is solid evidence that that ‘people’ were using and controlling fire at least a million years ago, so Paleolithic man undoubtedly knew how to cook, even if it was only toasting a haunch of bison over an open fire. Unless you’re very keen on sushi and carpaccio you won’t be eating a lot of raw meat on a Paleo Diet, and because of the possibility of parasites there is no way I would eat raw fish.
The Paleolithic Era lasted from about 2.5 million years ago until 10,000 years ago, just after the last ice age. (lithic means stone, so our ancestors were using flint tools) Theoretically the Paleo Diet is based upon what our stone age ancestors were eating.
So, going forward my diet will be: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, nuts, lean meat, (especially good quality from grass-fed animals or wild game), fresh fish, (especially salmon, mackeral, pilchards, and tuna). For cooking we should use oil from fruits and nuts like olive oil, almond oil, and coconut oil. Having said that, as our paleolithic ancestors were cooking and eating lots of meat I see nothing wrong with using lard and dripping.
The foods to avoid are things that our ancestors would never have had access to; grains like wheat, oats, barley, rice, (anyway grains are all drenched in poisonous Roundup / Glyphosate), legumes like beans, lentils, peanuts, and peas, any and all dairy products like butter, cheese, yogurt, cream, milk. On a Paleo diet there is no refined sugar, (which lets out cakes, candy, chocolate, and sweetened drinks), root vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, turnips, and not too much salt, (right up until the middle ages salt was a very precious commodity). Neither would Paleolithic man have access to processed food, canned food, breakfast cereals, chips, crisps, pies, microwave meals, and ready meals ~ all of which are full of crap.
Booze is mostly out too ~ the earliest known beer dates from about 5,000 years ago ~ but perhaps hard liquor sneaks in as evidence for that dates back at least 9,000 years.
The main reason I’m going onto the pretty strict paleo diet are that all through lockdown I’ve been putting on weight, and now I want to get my trim body back. Other benefits of a Paleo Diet are; better resistance to diabetes, improved cardio vascular health, more energy, and better resistance to all the diseases linked to inflammation.
Some say that modern life is injurious to our health. And that wheat is so unhealthy we should probably stop eating it. All I know is that lockdown is the unhealthiest way of living I know.
from Creme de la Crumb