Category Archives: Diet

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

you are your own enemy

We are each our own devil, and we make the world our hell.

You decide what to eat, how much alcohol you’re going to drink, how much rest and sleep you are going to get, whether you’re going to smoke cigarettes, how much fresh air and exercise you’re going to have, whether or not you’re going to take drugs (illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over the counter medication), and how much stress you’re going to put yourself under before you stop and maybe meditate for a while.

And, more likely than not, you know what you should be doing for a healthier and longer life, as opposed to what you are actually doing with your life every day.  The chances are that every day you’re putting your body, mind, and spirit under extreme stress by doing exactly the wrong things on purpose.

Our bodies are designed to self-heal, but if we keep putting our body, mind, and spirit under stress, then we are going to degenerate, get sick, get old, look old, become unfit and overweight, and die painfully long before we should.

Yet I know that everyone reading this wants to be fit, healthy, and happy ~ so why do so many people subject themselves to so much fucking crap, every single day?

  • Be your own best carer.  Too many of us spend too much time taking care of other people, when what they should be doing is practicing self-care and putting themselves first.  If you make yourself ill, unfit, mentally sick, stressed-out, then you’re not going to be of much use to anyone else.
  • Get back to nature.  Get outdoors, get some fresh air and sunshine, breathe deeply of clean air, drink at least 3 pints of fresh clean water a day, enjoy the far horizons.  If you spend a lot of time indoors, using a computer, drinking coffee, then the tiny electrical signals that actually operate your mind and body get screwed, so you’re tired and can’t think properly by the end of the day.
  • Get plenty of sleep.  Most people need 7 to 9 hours of good quality deep REM sleep.  Don’t fall asleep in a chair in front of the TV.  Make your bedroom a blackout zone.  Go to bed the day before you get up.  Don’t drink too much booze right before bedtime.
  • Eat the right amount of good quality, healthy, organic food.  Avoid processed foods.  Drink those 3 pints of good clean water every day.  Eat a high water content diet.
  • Stop sabotaging yourself.  Commit to self-care and practice it every single day.  If you are addicted to anything: cigarettes, booze, drugs, gambling, binge eating, self-harm, anger, stress then find a cure.  Be prepared to do whatever it takes to recover from your addiction.

Some say that they hate themselves.  And, some people act as though they really do hate themselves.  All I know is that these days I am a very cool guy, living a really great life.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

recently I stayed at the best B & B in all America

Healthier Food and Drink

The more you eat, the less flavour.  The less you eat, the more flavour.

There are literally thousands of diets out there, from the 5:2 diet, the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet, the Sushi diet, and even the simple calorie controlled diet.  These diets can get quite complicated and the professional aficionados would love us to buy their books explaining the benefits of these diets and giving us lots of recipes that we’re probably never going to cook.  As it happens I try to follow the tenants of a Mediterranean diet, simply because I like Mediterranean food.  Conversely I would never follow a Sushi diet because I hate sushi and I firmly believe that raw fish is inherently unhealthy, to the point of being dangerous.

honey salmon in foil

There is one basic truth about losing weight ~ eat less.  The average female office worker only needs about 2,000 calories a day, and the average male about 2,500.  A weight loss diet probably means a woman eating 1,500 calories a day, and a man about 2,000.  There are a myriad of calorie calculators on the internet.

However, after some study of diets, nutrition, and health, I can give you some basic guidelines about what you should include and avoid in all those calories.

  • Drink 3 pints of fresh clean water every day.
  • Eating a little every couple of hours avoids and cures adrenal fatigue.
  • Wild foods are good ~ especially healthy grains such as wild rice.  Eat organic food whenever you can.
  • Try not to eat processed and canned foods.
  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is vital to our health.  Apples, Banana, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Grapes, Leeks, Pears, Potato (especially potato skins), Spinach, & etc..  Avoid too much citrus fruit, it messes with the acid balance of our gut.
  • Adding herbs and spices adds important phytochemicals to our food.  Fresh parsley, basil, and rosemary are especially good.
  • Eat grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, lamb, wild salmon, net caught ocean fish, shrimp, crab, and lobster.  Avoid too much pork, (and if you eat pork make damn certain it’s properly cooked).  Avoid farmed fish, (especially tilapia which is cheap whitefish), cheap chicken, bacon, and turkey.  Eat shellfish at your peril.
  • Don’t drink a lot of fresh milk, don’t put cream or half-and-half in your coffee, and don’t eat a lot of yogurt or cheese.
  • Take vitamin and mineral supplements; B4, B12, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, (and if you are a menstruating woman take Iron supplements).
  • Do not ever eat anything made with modern wheat; bread, cake, cookies, pasta, tortillas…..
  • Avoid too much; complex carbohydrates, caffeine, sugar, and salt.
  • Don’t drink too much coffee or ordinary tea, try green tea instead.
  • Don’t drink diet sodas, or use artificial sweeteners.  In fact really cut down on drinking any soda at all.
  • Really, really avoid too much alcohol.  One bottle of red wine a week is a good limit, (or if you can’t live with that, two bottles a week).  Do not regularly get buzzed, and regularly would be once a month.

You may think that’s all too damn difficult, and probably expensive.  Well, it takes effort to follow any guidelines,  and good organic food carries a price premium, but really, how much is a healthier and longer life worth to you?

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

cauliflower is a surprisingly versatile vegetable

 

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

Health and Well-Being

To enjoy a comfortable and happy life ~ stay fit and healthy.

If you want to live a great life, then you first have to show up.  If you want to live a great life, then first of all you have to drag yourself out of bed at a decent time in the mornings.  If you want to live a great life, then don’t spend your time smoking, getting high, drinking, over-eating, or having casual sex.

That’s unless you think that sleeping late, hanging around in bars, taking drugs, and fucking casual pick-ups constitutes living a great life.  Trust me ~ it doesn’t.  Live down there in the gutter like a slut or bum and you’ll die young and unhappy, and nobody at all will care.

Others may think that their lives are good, even though they spend all their time at home alone on social media, or on sex sites, or watching porn, or ‘enjoying’ other disreputable online activities.  Those people are quite likely to go from one day to another unwashed, unshaven, without putting on a clean change of clothes, hair uncombed, and if they’re a woman without a touch of makeup.  Their place probably looks like a pigsty, and they most likely stink too.

To live a truly great life we first of all have to be fit enough, healthy enough, and mentally alert.

And there are some easy steps to take;

  • Stop using drugs ~ and that includes pot and unnecessary medication, such as sleeping aids.
  • Stop smoking ~ I saw a documentary the other day, and a lot of older people were interviewed, people who had lived in the generation when everyone smoked cigarettes.  Fuck!  They looked horrific, especially the women.  Smoking destroys your looks, your health, and then it kills you.
  • Stop drinking so much ~ you may think you’re intelligent, sensible, and funny after several drinks.  You are deluding yourself.  After a few drinks you’re just embarrassing.
  • Go to bed at a decent time every night, and get up at a decent time in the morning ~ every fucking day.
  • Eat healthy ~ there are a million diet suggestions on the internet, for example try the Mediterranean Diet.
  • Get some fresh air and sunshine ~ just don’t try to be one of the children of the night.
  • Exercise ~ preferably in the fresh air and sunshine.  For example, try walking 10,000 steps a day.  Get out of your fucking car and walk to the store for a change.
  • Learn to meditate ~ yoga, and walking meditation are good.
  • Have some pride in yourself, learn to like and love yourself, and stop lying to yourself and others.

Everything I have written above is true.  I should know, I’ve been to all of those bad places.  Today I am really cool guy, living a great life, and I follow the simple programme I have outlined above.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

always hanging out in the moonlight is just for vampires and fools

Boxing Day ~ British

A day between the insantity of Christmas and the drudgery of normality.

Boxing Day isn’t an old tradition here, only going back a couple of hundred years or so.  What’s supposed to happen today is that we give servants, postmen, errand-boys, chimney-sweeps, and milkmen their ‘Christmas Box’ of maybe a sixpence.

What actually happens is a lot of sport and a hell of a lot of shopping.  The Sales start today and about twice as much money gets spent here as on the recently imported ‘Black Friday’.

I will admit that I plan to visit some of the better local stores today because I’m working on being the best version of me that I can possibly be.

So WTF has that got to do with shopping?

I want to change my look, my health, my place ~ and that means out with some of the old and in with some better new stuff.  I’m trying a different, maybe more fashionable, but certainly more ‘English’ and preppier look in clothes ~ even to wear when I’m a visiting tourist in other countries.  Why would I want to look like a Californian when I’m in California, or a Frenchman when I’m in France?  (OK I have no objection to looking like a cool Italian guy anytime, sans the man-bag.)  And, as Shakespeare said; the clothes maketh the man.

As for buying stuff to help improve my health and fitness…..  I hate to admit this, and don’t tell a soul, but I want a blender because I have accepted the health benefits of the whole ‘smoothie’ thing.  I know, neither manly, nor English.  But sometimes a cool guy needs to bend a little.  It seems that if you want to get the full benefits from spinach you need to have it in a smoothie.

My place needs some new art, lighting, and bed linen.  Probably I will need to look further afield than this one-donkey town to find that stuff, but I’m used to doing that.  For example, I always bought my silk ties in either Florence or Sienna, (which is also where I usually bought an annual boot-load, (trunk-load), of olive oil and wine).

So, sometimes even a cool guy should spend a little time shopping.  The trick I find is to know what I want before I venture out, and never, ever get stressed.

Stress will kill you.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

let others get stressed if they wish

Rituals and Habits

We are what we repeatedly do.

If you are at rock bottom, deep in the slough of despond and fighting off depression, then sometimes you can see no way out.  Everything seems hopeless and pointless, and you may feel helpless and aimless.  There may come a time when you don’t even want to get out of bed ~ unless it’s go and get your next drink or other drug of your choice.  Sometimes, late at night I’ve seen disheveled individuals shopping for booze, obviously wearing a coat over whatever they last went to bed in.

When it’s that bad, may I suggest a way to get yourself back onto this planet with the ordinary people?  Try to develop some useful rituals and habits that will stick with you for the rest of your life.  Perhaps in order of bringing you back to normality, do these things every single day;

  1. Get yourself out of bed at the same ‘reasonable’ time every day.  Say, eight in the morning.
  2. Go to the bathroom, have a wash, and if you’re a guy get a shave.  If you’re a woman, do something with your hair.  Do this every morning.
  3. Every single fucking damn day, find some clean clothes and get dressed.  If you went to bed dressed, get changed.
  4. In the kitchen, drink a pint of water.  Try some tea, coffee, and something to eat too.
  5. Take out the obvious trash, and then walk to the nearest store. Do Not Drive.  While you’re there buy food and fruit or vegetable juice.  Do Not Buy Booze or Medications.
  6. After lunch take a couple of hours to nap on the sofa or in the chair.  Make it an unbreakable ritual to take an afternoon nap.  If you can meditate, make it an unbreakable ritual to try to meditate during that time.
  7. After your nap telephone someone to tell them you’re alive and doing better.  It might be a while since they spoke to you when you were sober, so they’ll be pleasantly surprised.  If you don’t know anyone phone AA, or NA, or the Samaritans, but for Gods’ sakes talk to someone.
  8. Always go for an afternoon stroll.  Don’t go into a bar, or the store, or any of your usual haunts.  Walk in the park, or by the sea, somewhere peaceful.
  9. Read something difficult, useful, inspirational, helpful ~ if you have nothing to read, find a big book, or a Bible, or a discarded newspaper, or join the fucking damn library.
  10. Eat an evening meal, every single fucking damn day.  Eat a meal even if you feel like throwing up ~ you need the calories and other nutrients, or you will die.  Drink a pint of water with your meal
  11. If you have been to a 12-step meeting before, go back.  Attend regularly.  If you haven’t been to a 12 step meeting find one that suits your particular problem.  If you can’t find something that matches your current form of self-harm, go to AA.  If you can’t get there, phone them, and they will send someone to get you.
  12. Go to bed at the same time every day.  Say ten o’clock.  Drink a pint of water and then get changed before you go to bed, even if that means sleeping nude.  Go to the bathroom before you go to bed, wash, clean your teeth, examine yourself for injuries that might need treatment tomorrow.

If you have never been where I’ve been, where some still are, the above 12 rituals and habits might seem bleeding obvious.  But, if the last thing you drank was booze, and the last thing you ate were pills, then those 12 habits might just keep you alive, sane, and on the road to recovery.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

you may think you look as cool as this when you go to your bar

you don’t

 

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

 

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