A barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.
It’s officially summer, (well according to most people), and that’s a time to cook food out of doors. Barbecues, are more an excuse to have a social gathering than a way of cooking food, especially in America. Menus and recipes should perhaps be chosen with that in mind.
You know what? I’m terrible at barbecues.
Something traditionally American for an American barbecue; sticky bourbon ribs. Except this time it’s from English girl Amanda Wren-Greenwood living in France, and her blog Chez la Rêve Français. This is a 2 hour recipe, but I’m certain the results will be worth it.
Sticky Bourbon Ribs
Now, from another English girl Petra, and her blog Food Eat Love, we have; a perfect day for a smoking barbecue. You know what? All my attempts at a barbecue smoke too much….
A Perfect Day for a Smoking Barbecue
at Cooking Up The Pantry gives us a dish that will take some time, but it’s traditionally English and will wow! your guests; barbecued leg of lamb with lots of garlic and rosemary. I love rosemary ~ the herb I mean.
Barbecued Leg of Lamb with Lots of Garlic and Rosemary
Here’s something we probably wouldn’t have at a barbecue in England; braised bbq beef sandwich. This is from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes and it simply looks delicious.
Braised BBQ Beef Sandwich
I know that you like collections, so here’s a great collection from Country Living; 50+ grilling recipes for an epic summer cookout. This collection includes this very interesting coffee and brown sugar coated skirt steak. Hmmmmm.
Coffee and Brown Sugar Coated Skirt Steak
One of the ‘must haves’ at any barbecue is some great salads. Chungah at Damn Delicious has this light and delicious looking shrimp cobb salad with cilantro lime vinaigrette. Shrimp, bacon bits, and avocado… what’s not to like.
Shrimp Cobb Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
Heather Christo always makes a great looking salads and appetisers. For those of you who like collections she has 10 of the best amazing healthy huge salads, including this seared tuna with chilli and mango cilantro ginger vinaigrette. Fabulous.
Seared Tuna with Chilli and Mango Cilantro Vinaigrette
And for something to drink at your BBQ, I give you the 10 best lip-smackingly food margarita recipes. (Is lip-smakingly even a word?)
there are also some great barbecue salads
in last week’s Food on Friday
Take Good Care Of Yourself.
It turns out that the urban myth of red meat being bad for you is true after all. Which is sad, because I do enjoy a good steak.
The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. ~ Julia Child
Eating a lot of steak, or roast beef, or burgers, or lamb, or pork increases your chances of dying from 9 major diseases by 26%, according to the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. Red meat raises the risk of death from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, a stroke, various infections, and kidney, liver, and lung diseases. (You can die from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.)
Processed red meat such as corned beef is even worse for you, as is eating offal, liver, kidneys, pate…
There is a lot of ‘bad’ stuff in red meat, including cholesterol, (although there is a lot of ‘bad’ cholesterol in other popular foods such as macaroni and cheese). As well as the fat in red meat having too much of the ‘bad’ cholesterol, (Low Density Lipoprotein), red meat also contains a lot of heme iron, and too much of that is very bad for you as well. Too much heme iron increases your chances of dying from cancer, a stroke, liver failure, or heart disease.
At the moment I am taking a daily iron supplement, because I was diagnosed with a low red blood cell count, (anemia), but when my blood count returns to normal I will stop taking iron supplements. Too much heme iron can result in haemochromatosis, which is a particularly nasty illness causing things like fatty liver, cirrhosis, and liver failure.
Luckily, regularly eating white meat, (chicken breast), and oily fish may reverse the damage caused by eating steaks. Just don’t eat the chicken skin, or processed white meat, or processed fish. In fact don’t ever eat processed meat or canned meat ~ canned food is generally very bad for your health.
We are what we eat. Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es. ~ Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.
It is a scientifically proven fact that our food choices affect our health. I know that if my diet is bad ~ if I drink too much booze, have too much sugar, eat processed foods, eat out, eat ready-meals, eat too much fatty meat, then I feel bloated, lacking in energy, and I gain weight. It is also a scientifically proven fact that an unhealthy diet will significantly shorten my life.
Health is the natural condition. When sickness occurs, it is a sign that nature has gone off course because of a physical or mental imbalance. The road to health for everyone is through moderation, harmony, and a ‘sound mind in a sound body’. ~ Jostein Gaarder
Like everything else in life, our diet should be moderation in all things. When it comes to my diet, I have tried various fads, including eating only one meal a day, being vegan, and never eating carbohydrates. Now I believe that a mixture of the Paleo Diet, and the Mediterranean Diet is right for me.
Some things I try not to eat include wheat, (bread, pasta, cookies), and some other grains, (white rice), processed food, canned food, and dairy products.
I need to eat more oily fish, such as salmon. Looks like I also need to cut down on steak too. Shame, especially as I like my steak well-done, and that is really bad for my health…
You like your potatoes more interesting?
If you’re unlucky side dishes can be really boring, even when the rest of the meal is fabulous. None of these sides are anything less than interesting, and some of them are good enough to make a tasty snack all on their own. So, what’s not to like?
I love the look of this recipe from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest; crispy oregano smashed potatoes with feta and lemon ~ wow! Such a fabulous side dish that you could just eat this as a super-filling snack, (and oregano is such a great herb).
Crispy Oregano Smashed Potatoes with Feta and Lemon
Chungah at Damn Delicious gives us these great slow cooker cheesy scalloped potatoes ~ she says this crockpot dish is so damn easy. Well, it does look so damn good for something that only takes 20 minutes to prepare, and then can be left to cook while you’re doing something else ~ like going to work. It would be a great accompaniment to Chungah’s bacon scallops too.
Slow Cooker Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
Another potato dish, this time from Amanda at Chez Le Réve Français; cheese and onion potato cakes. This very, very easy 20 minute dish would make a tasty supper as well as a much more interesting side dish than ordinary mashed potatoes.
Cheese and Onion Potato Cakes
Something different from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower; cheesy cauliflower mash. Allegedly this tastes like mac and cheese but has the texture of mashed potatoes. Weird but nice. Looks good for a 20 minute dish that would be an interesting side, snack, or something to take to work the following day.
Cheesy Cauliflower Mash
Do you want something spectacular made with potatoes? Then what about these Tahini whipped potatoes with cilantro chili sauce from Heather Christo? I bet these are some spicy potatoes. I’d like to choose Heather’s Peking cranberry lacquered turkey to go with this.
Tahini Whipped Potatoes with Cilantro Chili Sauce
This is a spectacular dish for a romantic dinner for two. From the lovely Alina at Passion Cook we have salad tulips, (aka devilled cherry tomatoes). Pretty, or what?
Salad Tulips, (aka Devilled Cherry Tomatoes)
If you like green beans, then you will love these loaded skillet toasted green beans from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet It is. Allegedly, these are the most unboring green beans you can get. Not bad for a 30 minute dish. Would go well with Jessica’s unboring bourbon fig + gorgonzola stuffed pork tenderloin.
Loaded Skillet Toasted Green Beans
thanks ever so to all the great cooks featured in this week’s Food on Friday
all of these dishes be nice at a Champagne Sunday Brunch, say in Long Beach
Life is so endlessly delicious.
I have a friend, (really… I do have a friend), who tells me that she doesn’t have time to cook and eat properly. You know what? Everybody has enough time in the day to cook a great evening meal, made with fresh and healthy ingredients, without spending hours in the kitchen. Or maybe my friend is just crap at time management.
There are some rules / guidelines / suggestions for not spending hours and hours preparing your regular evening meal, and rule # one is, only use one pan. If you can’t see the sense in that then go and sit in a darkened room for a couple of hours.
From Chungah at Damn delicious we have sheet pan garlic butter tilapia. This is a 30 minute recipe, and you can substitute any white fish for the tilapia. Personally I like deep, cold water fish; cod, haddock, halibut… and I’d add lots of fresh herbs, like basil and parsley.
Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Tilapia
Next, from the lovely Averie Sunshine we have sheet pan chili lime chicken and peppers. This is another dead easy 30 minute dish, which you could start preparing the night before if you want to give the chicken longer to marinade.
Sheet Pan Chili Lime Chicken and Peppers
OK, so this dish is pushing the 30 minute rule by 15 minutes, but you can get ready-prepared quinoa. Anyhow, like everything from Heather Christo this vegan roasted vegetable quinoa salad looks fabulous, and it’s also vegan and gluten free.
Vegan Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Best Chinese Orange Chicken
If you want something even more exotic than Chinese orange chicken, then the cute Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has found for us this Chicken Biryani as prepared by Sheryl Julian.
And yet another wok dish, this time from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower, asparagus and shiitaki mushroom stir fry. This is a simple and very quick vegan and gluten free dinner after a busy working day. Now and again I might add shrimp to this…
Finally for this week, from Country Living magazine, we have 40+ easy slow cooker recipes for busy nights. This collection includes a fantastic red-eye brisket stew from Marian Cooper Cairns, you can put this in your crockpot in the morning and it will be ready to eat when you get home from work.
If that’s not enough, then how about 201 quick and easy weeknight meals to get you to the weekend?
a great big thank you to all the cooks featured in this week’s Food on Friday
There is a warrior’s path to the end of suffering.
In my life I have been lost, often alone, and sometimes in pain. I have been down and disappointed, I have been beaten by misfortune, I’ve been so tired and despairing I could not eat or sleep, I’ve been crushed by unrequited love, I wanted things that were always out of reach, and I was so lonely I cried bitter tears. Then I found a guiding star to wish to, and that bright star led me to a good place of freedom from pain and suffering. Now I can cross broad oceans, climb tall mountains, see the far horizons.
Now I can experience true friendship and real love.
Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards, and leads us from this world to another. ~ Plato
You too can find your star to wish upon and to follow, if only you are prepared to search both the heavens and deep within yourself.
In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a supercomputer reveals that the ultimate answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything is 42.
The answer to the Great Question… Of Life, the Universe, and Everything… Is… Forty-Two. ~ Deep Thought
This was meant as a joke, 42 was just a random number picked out of thin air by Douglas Adams, the author of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Allegedly. However it turns out that the number forty-two has symbolism and special meanings in a whole raft of philosophies, religions, and magical convictions. Forty-two is a highly symbolic number slipped into a work of fiction, seemingly by accident, or coincidence.
However, despite what some may say, there is an answer, a simple answer to Life.
If we are to believe numerology then 42 is an Angel Number, and the energies of this number bring us an inner-wisdom to help us pursue our Life Purpose. To pursue your Life Purpose, then first you must realise that the true purpose of your life is to live and to grow ~ to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually, in health and happiness. That may be a long, long way from where you find yourself right now.
In order to get to where you want to go, you first have to know two things;
- Exactly where you are right now.
- Exactly where it is you want to get to.
You don’t need to know the road in-between, that will become only too apparent on your journey to your ultimate truth.
If you are anything like I used to be, then where you are right now could be unhealthy, unsatisfying, and depressing. There may be no real joy and happiness in your life. You may see no way out, even though you have sought relief and escape through religion, inspirational books, motivational speakers, support groups, counsellors, psychologists, doctors, medication, booze, street drugs, gambling, casual sex…
None of those escape routes will work for long, and the consequences of some methods of escape from hard reality just make things much worse. I know, before I found my own ultimate truth, my own warrior’s path, I tried just about every quick fix there is.
There are more false prophets than there are those inspired by an ultimate truth.
Taking the wrong road through self-destructive behaviour leads to one rock-bottom after another, and each new rock-bottom is worse than the one before.
There are no quick fixes in Life, and nobody can fix you but you.
The Ultimate Truth is this; Life is Difficult and Painful.
Once you are prepared to recognise that truth, once you are prepared to accept, appreciate, and understand that Life is Difficult and Painful, then you can transcend all pain and suffering. You can take your first step on the warrior’s path to freedom from desolation and misery.
The first step in any journey is always the hardest. It will mean uncertainty, leaving your comfort zone, doing things that seem unnatural, and at first it may seem just as painful as the misery you’re trying to leave behind. But, you have to know this ~ follow the warrior’s path and things will get better. Your life will become even better than you could ever have imagined it could be.
The first step is to recognise and accept that you are the cause of your own unhappiness. Whatever the proximate cause of your misery and unhappiness, be it alcoholism, gambling, an abusive relationship, or whatever is your personal purgatory, the ultimate cause of your pain is your own need for instant gratification. We must to accept that the causes of all our problems and unhappiness are our own cravings, desires, wants, lusts, needs, and our blaming of others when things don’t go the way we want them to.
Self-discipline is hard, it means not taking that next drink, not having that next cigarette, not overeating, not placing our happiness in the hands of another. Self-discipline means turning up for work on time, getting enough good quality sleep, getting enough fresh air and exercise. Self-discipline means not blaming others for our misfortunes, not spending money we don’t have, not allowing ourselves to become infatuated with someone who will never truly return our affections. Self-discipline is what will free you from pain, misery, and the teachings of false prophets.
You don’t need the hurt anymore, and you don’t need the pain in your life. I promise you that if you accept and understand that you can’t ever change what happens to you, but you can change what you do, then your shadows will turn into warm sunlight. Don’t ever allow yourself to give in to your craving for instant gratification, have the patience to appreciate, accept,and understand yourself, trust in yourself and not in others, and your life will get better. Your whole life will improve very fast, and it will be better than you have ever dreamed possible.
Night Sweats, Night Terrors, Nightmares, Sleep Terrors.
Night Terrors are not Nightmares ~ typically a nightmare happens when you’re in deep dream sleep, whereas night terrors wake you up, so the experience of a night terror is one of wakefulness. Night terrors are also different from Sleep Terrors, because a night terror will wake you up, whereas with a sleep terror you will have all the symptoms of extreme fear, but you will stay asleep. If you are awake, or partially awake, and terrified in the night, then the chances are you are suffering from night terrors, (which are a recognised psychological disorder).
Nightmares usually occur in the early morning during REM sleep when our dreams are at their most vivid. More often than not we can remember all the cinematographic details of a long, scary nightmarish dream when we first wake. On the other hand, night terrors usually happen during the first part of the night, aren’t part of REM sleep, and we won’t remember anything much other than waking up / being awake in a terrified state.
Typically, night terrors are caused by a previous psychological trauma, (such as an abusive childhood), or by stress, or by substance abuse, (such as drinking too much just before bedtime). However, as one of the causes of drinking too much before bedtime is a mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder, which is itself probably caused by a previous psychological trauma, it’s fair to say that if you suffer from night terrors you’re probably drinking too much and suffered some severe disturbance / abuse / trauma in your past. Chances are if you’re in that situation you’re also feeling very pressured right now, and suffering from the symptoms of undue stress. It’s an illogical Catch-22 situation.
If you suffer from night terrors it’s likely that you wake very suddenly with an intense fear of something unknown / a nameless dread. Your heart will be beating fast, you will be breathing hard and fast, your blood pressure will be elevated, your eyes will be wide and staring, and you will be sweating. This is different from night sweats, which is severe and excessive sweating, without the associated terror. The common causes of night sweats are medical, and some of them are very nasty, such as cancer. However, one other cause of night sweats is drinking too much.
What night terrors will do to you is prevent you from getting the 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep that most adults need every night. As well as making you feel tired, lethargic, and irritable, not getting enough sleep can cause lots of nasty illnesses such as; high blood pressure, strokes, and heart disease.
The most likely advice if you have night terrors when you get beyond your teens is that you should see a doctor. Good luck with that one, because the only real cure for night terrors is to treat the underlying problem(s). That will mean doing something about the effects of any psychological trauma in your past, and cutting out whatever drug you’re taking too much of late at night ~ including coffee, booze, prescription drugs, street drugs…
There are some very common-sense things you can do if you suffer from night terrors, sleep terror, nightmares, and / or night sweats ~ without resorting to medication and a long period of talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy. None of these are easy, or likely to give you a quick fix, but you should consider;
- Giving up booze completely, or cutting down a lot, and never drinking late at night.
- Quitting smoking ~ and if you smoke do not have a cigarette last thing at night.
- Stop using street drugs, and talk to your doctor about any prescription medication you are on.
- Late at night don’t drink coffee, and don’t eat a meal within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime.
- Stay hydrated. The average person needs 3 litres / 6 pints of water a day ~ but tea, coffee, wine, and beer don’t really help you to stay properly hydrated.
- Do not take a nap during the day, especially don’t take an afternoon nap.
- Go to bed at the same reasonable time every night, (if you need to be up at 7 am you need to be in bed at 10 pm), and get up at the same reasonable time each morning. Stick to this sleep schedule, even at weekends. Changing the time you go to bed, and the time you get out of bed, wrecks your internal body clock.
- Wind down in the evenings. Don’t use social media late at night or first thing in the morning. Instead practice a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as meditation and listening to relaxing, classical music.
- During the day get at least an hour of fresh air and moderate / vigorous / strenuous exercise.
- Make sure your bedroom is right for sleep. Your bedroom should be clean, tidy, quiet, very dark, still, and fairly cool, (between 60 and 67 degrees F). You really do need to sleep in total darkness and quiet.
- Make certain your mattress and pillows are comfortable for you. If your mattress is good quality it should last 10 years, after that, get a new one.
- Keep a sleep diary.
An episode of night terror can be brought on by worry, stress, emotional tension, fatigue, conflict, and especially too much alcohol late at night, (or more likely a combination of factors, including booze). How much is too much alcohol? Actually, too much booze is however many drinks puts your health and well-being at risk. For me, one drink is one too many.
After suffering night terrors you are likely to be utterly inconsolable, grown women, (and men), may cry, and the event may be so disturbing that your mind will wipe most of it from your memory. The next morning you won’t be able to remember what terrified you.
In adults, it is most likely that night terrors, sleep terrors, and nightmares have an underlying cause of previous severe stress, trauma, mental and / or physical abuse, and subsequent mental disorders and generalised anxiety. In fact, the underlying causes of sleep problems can be very similar to the underlying causes of addiction.
Not getting enough good quality sleep is a serious matter. The consequences are severe, up to and including death. If you’re suffering from night terrors, sleep terrors, nightmares, night sweats, then you really do need to take action right away. Start with the tips I’ve given above, but if you have to, go and see your doctor.