Category Archives: Diet

Food on Friday ~ Sweet Potato

sweet potatoes are ideal for lazy days

I have a confession in that I’ve never really come to terms with the sweet potato.  It’s not something we ever had in England when I was in my formative years.  Also, I have no idea if what I’m looking at is a sweet potato, or a yam.  What’s the difference anyway?  I do know that a yam is not a sweet potato, the two root vegetables are completely different.

At least I can help with the difference between sweet potatoes and yams, courtesy of Holly at Spend with Pennies who has a post called sweet potato vs yam: what is the difference?

Holly also has some cool sweet potato recipes, including this very easy sweet potato casserole.  Seems it’s delicious and nutritious.  I’m guessing that Holly is very American as she has added pecan nuts to the dish.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Next, from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin we have this old fashioned sweet potato pie.  Actually, this looks delicious.  Erin says this is much better than a pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving ~ personally I can think of no good reason to eat pumpkin at all.

Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has a very cool recipe for twice baked sweet potatoes with pumpkin and sage.  I really want to try this ~ so perhaps there is a good reason to eat pumpkin after all.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pumpkin and Sage

Heidi at Foodie Crush also has a recipe for twice baked sweet potatoes, this time with maple syrup, white cheddar, and brown sugar bacon.  I think it would be very cool to serve both of these twice baked sweet potatoes at a party.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup, White Cheddar, and Bacon

This utterly brilliant vegan / vegetarian recipe collection is from Cookie + kate; what to cook this November.  The sweet potato recipe is sweet potato & black bean tacos with avocado-pepita dip.  These do look good.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos with Avocado- Pepita Dip

 

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Brain Health

with perseverance and endurance you can survive any storm

Nobody sane wants to suffer a doddering old age when you can’t remember anything or anyone.  And certainly nobody wants to become an early victim of Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Maybe most of us have had a parent or elderly relative who has suffered from memory loss, disorientation, poor judgement, mood swings, and a complete inability to live an independently normal life.  To a certain extent maybe that can be expected and accepted when the sufferer in in their 80s or so, but why should it be?  And why should anyone expect or accept the early onset of what should be a disease of the elderly such as Alzheimer’s Disease?

The fact is we can take steps to protect and, if necessary, repair our cognitive abilities.  It’s not rocket science, look any website such as cognitive vitality and you will see that the things that we need to do to protect ourselves against things like dementia are exactly the same things we should be doing to live a healthy life.  In order, and without even checking my information, these are;

  • Stop smoking completely, (and vaping is even worse than smoking).  Smoking will kill you in so many ways, but if you last long enough it will kill your brain.
  • Don’t ever use drugs like pot, cocaine, heroin, (and don’t kid yourself that once in a while is OK). Don’t abuse prescription drugs, in fact as far as possible stop taking prescription drugs.
  • Stop drinking, get sober, give up the booze, (and don’t even try to tell me that you can control your drinking).  Drinking will also kill you in so many ways, but if you last long enough it will kill your brain.
  • Eat for your brain.  There is strong evidence that the right kind of diet will promote brain health.  To begin with, stop eating canned food, processed food, and fast foods.  Check out websites like Purple Almond Wellness.
  • Get enough good quality sleep.  Keep a regular bedtime 365 days a year, do not sleep in at weekends.  Do not take sleeping medication, you should never need it.
  • Take lots of fresh air, exercise, and sunshine.  You know that you need to walk for your circulation to work properly?  If you try the 10,000 steps a day thing you will sleep alright.
  • Lose whatever causes you stress.  You know that too much stress could kill you?  It will certainly shorten your life expectancy and make you prone to nasty diseases such as cancer.
  • Be active in mind and spirit.  Keep learning, meet new people, get a hobby, do stuff.  If you sit there drinking beer and watching sports TV your body weight is going to balloon and your IQ is going to plummet.
  • Get really, really physically healthy.  This is a big topic, so learn how to do it, start with a website like seven fitness tips for improved physical health.  And don’t just sit there, get up and do things.

Some say that their lifestyle is fine.  And that it’s OK to always drive the mile to the store and back.  All I know is that the average American is killing themselves, and if they’re unlucky they’ll live long enough to kill their brain first.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

being upset is no reason to;

drink, use drugs, smoke…

 

Food on Friday ~ November

autumn ~ the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

Here in the North of England the nights are really drawing in now ~ we will have about 8 hours of daylight today.  The weather is grey, wet, and windy.  As the tide rolls in it brings a clinging mist with it.  It’s time to think about recipes that are going to be nice and warming to come home to.  November is a darkling month for us.

Jessica at How Sweet Eats has this fabulous recipe for Tuscan tomato bean soup with kale, and if you know anything at all about Italy you’ll know that Italian winters can be even colder and wetter than our home-grown English version.  A healthy warming soup is just what you need for cold, wet weather.

Tuscan Tomato Bean Soup with Kale

From Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin we have this crockpot beef stew recipe.  The thing about slow cooked beef is that one can use cheaper cuts, and it’s still going to be deliciously fall-apart tender.  Here I would add carrots, swede, and potato for the vegetables.

Crockpot Beef Stew

Tieghan Gerard at How Sweet Eats has this fabulous-looking 30 minute coq au vin chicken meatballs with browned butter mashed potatoes.  I just have to try this recipe.

30 Minute Coq au Vin Chicken Meatballs

Our first collection this week is for 10 heart healthy fall dinners from Tamara Hoerner at Purple Almond Wellness.  I especially like the look of this roasted chicken and garlic potatoes with red pepper relish, originally from WomansDay.  Looks really warming, delcious, and healthy.

Roasted Chicken and Garlic Potatoes with Red Pepper Relish

Simply Recipes has a new feature and their first post in this category was called the most popular recipes in October.  From there I’ve found this feta-brined roast chicken by Irvin Lin.

Feta-Brined Roast Chicken

Last December Olive Magazine published their 30 best ever one-pot / slow-cooker recipes, and I very much like the look and sound of their brisket sandwiches with beer onions and blue cheese.  How nice with a glass of good English beer!

Brisket Sandwiches with Beer Onions and Blue Cheese

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

chicken and leek pie

Food on Friday ~ Healthy Halloween

have you come to sing pumpkin carols?

Here in ye Merrie Olde England we eschew Halloween as the pagan / catholic / foreign festival it is.  Instead we celebrate Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th.  However, these recipes are great for any cooler night when you’re having guests around, and you’re looking for something that evokes a darkly festive air.  Something healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare?

All of the dishes I’m featuring this week are healthy as well as tasty and great looking, and if you want to make the most of a healthy eating recipe then try to buy the freshest organic ingredients that you can find.

And OK, this is a shorter post because I’m not at all happy with some Halloween excesses,

First up this week, and the first time I’ve featured this site; from poach me quick we have sticky and smokey chipotle and maple-baked chicken on the bone.  Try not to get any of the messy stuff on your fingers onto your Halloween Costume.

Sticky and Smokey Chipotle Maple-Baked Chicken on the Bone

If you’re looking for something sweeter to have with tea, coffee, or a harder drink, then there’s this seasonally perfect pumpkin white chocolate bundt cake from Heather Christo.  I bet Charlie Brown would love this at Halloween.  Heather’s recipes are very healthy indeed.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Bundt Cake

And, from Ali Gimmie some Oven there’s candied walnuts, which I like the look of and she says are so irresistibly delicious.  OK walnuts are one of those things we should eat to stave off the horrible ageing problems ~ so make these.

Candied Walnuts

Now for something very American, from Good Housekeeping; acorn squash with brown rice and turkey sausage.  Allegedly acorn squash is one of those superfoods, and makes the serving dish for this great-looking recipe.

Acorn Squash with Brown Rice and Turkey Sausage

Turns out that one can treat acorn squash in pretty much the same way as one would treat a potato, although I suspect that the squash is better for a bloke than a spud would be.  So, as an opposite to the good old jacket potato, how about this baked acorn squash with butter and brown sugar, from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes.  God!  That would be so good with ice cream ~ or am I being silly?

Baked  Acorn Squash with Butter and Brown Sugar

I’m enthused about acorn squash, especially as it seems you can use the gourd as a serving vessel ~ what a brilliant way to save on the washing-up.  It looks like a pretty good thing for vegetarians and vegans too.  So for our collection this week, from Country Living we have 30 best acorn squash recipes for a healthy addition to you fall dinners.  One of the great looking recipes is the acorn squash soup with turmeric from Seasonal Cravings.  Who doesn’t like a warming soup on a cold night?

Acorn Squash Soup with Turmeric

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

perfect for a Halloween cocktail

pomegranate ginger paloma

ginger is a ‘new’ superfood

 

Food on Friday ~ Chowder

chowder breathes reassurance, it steams satisfaction

As if you didn’t know, a chowder is a rich soup or stew, often of fish, typically popular in New England and Atlantic Canada ~ usually served with crackers for some insane reason.  Chowder does travel; I have had a great clam chowder at a diner on Ghirardelli in San Francisco.  Although now thought of as a strictly American / New England dish, chowder probably originates in Normandy and / or Cornwall.  At one time England was said to be an island made of coal and surrounded by fish, both perfect for the cooking of a great seafood chowder.

As the year turns, the nights draw in and the weather becomes colder and wetter, a steaming bowl of chowder is a fabulously warming dish to serve to a hungry Englishman.

Something different from well plated by Erin; roasted cauliflower chowder, (very healthy), originally from Two Peas and Their Pod cookbook by Maria Litchy.  Erin also has a great recipe for crockpot potato soup, which is pretty damn close to being a chowder.

Roasted Cauliflower Chowder

And from Heidi at Foodie Crush there’s a slow cooker corn chowder; this is made with a blend of almond milk and cashew milk.  Interesting.

Slow Cooker Corn Chowder

A while ago I was wondering if one could make a decent salmon soup, it turns out there is a shed-load of brilliant salmon soup recipes around on the internet.  From Yummly I can offer you a collection of the 10 best salmon soup recipes, (trust me there are a lot more than 10 salmon soup recipes on this site).  Looking through Yummly’s recipes I found a super salmon chowder from Andrea Beaman at Further Food, (which is another cool site).

salmon-chowder

Super Salmon Chowder

A great collection from delicious magazine.  Their winter soup recipes include this fabulous looking and great sounding smoked bacon, leek, and butter bean chowder from Debbie Major. I have tried this recipe, and it’s fantastic.

Smoked Bacon, Leek, and Butter Bean Chowder

Again from Delish magazine we have a collection of 17 chowders to help you transition from summer to fall.  I especially like the look of this New England clam chowder recipe by A Family Feast with its added bacon and salt pork ~ very traditional.  Personally I would never thicken a chowder with flour or corn starch, I’d use potato instead.

New England Clam Chowder

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

try beer and crusty bread with your chowder

Superfoods ~ Dandelion

at first a weed, and then a wish

When I was a much younger man, trying to grow a pristine lawn, the last thing I wanted in my garden was dandelions.  These damn weeds are incredibly pernicious and damn difficult to get rid of.  But back then I didn’t understand anything at all about herbalism, and the almost magical medicinal, therapeutic, and health benefits we can get from the common dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale. (to give it its proper name). The common dandelion is a real superfood.

Officially, this wild plant is a weed and usually very unwelcome in lawns, (or anywhere else come to that), because it will choke other plants and its silver tufted seeds will get everywhere when blown in the wind.  The easiest and best way to get rid of unwanted dandelions is with a herbicide, but these days none of us approves of herbicides at all.  If you just dig up a dandelion then you have to make certain to get every last bit of the tap-root.

But, unless it really is in the wrong place, why try to eradicate a dandelion at all?  For a start, dandelion leaves are a great addition to a summer salad, and it is said that eating dandelion salad will help women to lose weight, and is why French women don’t get fat.

Collected in the autumn, the most medicinally efficacious part of the dandelion is the tap root which can be juiced, dried and used as a coffee substitute, turned into tea, or in all of the other complex preparations such as tincture and homeopathic dynamizations.  For those biochemically inclined who may be interested dandelion root contains; taraxacin, choline, inulin, phytosterol, tannin, and mucilage.  The major properties of the dandelion are as a cholagogue, laxative, depurative, and as a tonic.  If you want to do a liver detox, forget celery juice and turn instead to the humble dandelion.

Dandelion sap will remove warts, corns, verrucae, dark spots on the skin, and lighten freckles.

However, like many medicinal plants the common dandelion is an exceedingly powerful collection of chemical compounds, so care should be taken when using it medicinally.

Broadly speaking, your common or garden dandelion leaf is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other great stuff, so add some leaves to your salads.  There are a stack of dandelion recipes, a salad might even stop you getting fat or help you to lose weight, especially as part of a Mediterranean Diet.  Anything made from dandelion is damn good for your liver, and might just be the best way ever to do a liver detox.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

blueberry balsamic chicken over dandelion greens

 

 

Food on Friday ~ Autumn

Autumn carries gold in its breath

Call it Autumn, or call it the Fall, now is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.  The days are shortening, the wind is a little colder, and the trees are covered in beaten gold, copper, and brown.

Perhaps this is also a time to change our recipes as the fresh, local ingredients drift from summer fruits to the richer fare of Autumn.  This is no longer the time to try and keep that svelte bikini figure, perhaps now we can allow for that extra pound or two that will make our fall wardrobe fit a little better. So, here is a selection of recipes which may tempt you as this season for reflection begins.

First up this week is Tifanny from Creme de la Crumb who offers us something very warming for when the autumn nights draw in; instant pot roast and potatoes.  I really like the instant part.

Instant Pot Roast and Potatoes

From Heather Christo we have this beautiful roasted butternut squash soup, which is vegan, and these days that’s a good thing.  This recipe is also a good thing for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving.

Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Minimalist Baker has a perfect recipe for the fall; 1 hour fall pot pies.  This is a 10 ingredient dish that we really can make in just an hour,and these are vegan too.

Vegan 1 Hour Fall Pot Pies

We seem to be hitting a vegan / vegetarian theme this week, because Half Baked Harvest’s September 23rd post, (the date of the equinox), was herby buttered mushroom stroganoff.  I’m guessing that it would be pretty easy to turn this 30 minute recipe into a vegan dish.

Herby Buttered Mushroom Stoganoff

Back to our soup menu, (and who doesn’t like a warming soup on a chilly autumn evening), and Claudia Cash at Simply Recipes offers her 11 best soups to make in the Fall.  I am especially intrigued by this recipe for baked potato soup ~ just how fabulous does that sound!  I’m especially glad that bacon features in this dish.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

We have gone really crazy with our final collection for this week, from Country Living magazine; 70 Fall recipes you’ll want to make all season long.  Totally ignoring the shaved Brussels sprouts salad, (yuck), I’ve picked out this easy sheet pan chicken with sweet potatoes apples and Brussels sprouts, from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes Apples and Brussels Sprouts

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

perfect for fall

hot maple apple cider

Food on Friday ~ Healthy Salmon Recipes

if you want something beautiful on the table, pick up some salmon

If you’re trying to eat a very healthy diet, then salmon should be on your shopping list.  This attractive fish has a stack of health benefits, not just that it’s rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, eating salmon is supposed to reduce the risk factors for several nasty diseases.  Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, and fresh line-caught salmon should be clean ~ not full of all the crap that is in some of the food we eat.

Buying the right piece of salmon is important, starting with the basic rule ~ never buy anything that looks manky.  Anything that says wild is probably better than farmed, and some farmed salmon is better than others.  Usually the rule is the more you pay the better it will be, but not always, but don’t sweat it.  Go to a good grocery store or fishmonger, and you’ll be fine.

First this week we have one of my favourite salmon dishes; Thai salmon in foil,from Chungah at Damn Delicious.  I think cooking in foil is a brilliant technique, and it reduces the amount of washing-up no end.

Thai Salmon in Foil

Another recipe for cooking in foil, and following on from last week’s post which was all about cilantro; from Averie Sunshine’s archive I have chosen this foil pack lime cilantro salmon.   This is so easy to make, and it will be ready to eat in 10 minutes ~ you heard me right, just 10 minutes to produce this wonderful healthy dish.

Foil Pack Lime Cilantro Salmon

Now we have a fabulous 30 minute recipe from Sabrina Modelle; grilled salmon with peach salsa.  This dish has so much going for it; you can cook the salmon on the BBQ, which means you can make the whole recipe in your yard.  Anything with grilled salmon looks really special, so this is something you can serve to guests.  And, best of all, it’s a 30 minute recipe that will make a great lunch, dinner, or something to take to work the following day.  (This recipe was found for us by Elise at Simply Recipes).

Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa

Until I saw this from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest I had never heard of cooking on a BBQ grill by placing the food on a cedar plank.  But, now I’ve seen this cedar plank salmon with watermelon feta salsa from Teighan this is something I must try the next time I’m somewhere warm and sunny ~ that’s if anyone friend will let me.  I’m an Englishman, and as everyone knows we are terrible at cooking on a BBQ.

Cedar Plank Salmon with watermelon Feta Salsa

This brilliant sweet and smokey cedar planked salmon is from Kate Merker at Country Living magazine.  Apart from soaking the plank for a couple of hours to stop it from catching fire, this is a very easy BBQ recipe!

Sweet and Smokey Cedar Plank Salmon

With healthy eating in mind I so like the look of this dish of braised salmon from Heather Christo; Paleo red curry braised salmon with sweet potatoes Fabulous!.  Paleo is good, I think.  This 45 minute recipe not only uses coconut oil and coconut milk, it also has more than enough garlic.  Nice.

Paleo Red Curry Braised Salmon with Sweet Potatoes

Our collection this week is from Olive Magazine, their 40 best ever easy salmon recipes.  And I’ve chosen to feature the very first recipe from this great collection Thai salmon parcels with jasmine rice.

Thai Salmon Parcels with Jasmine Rice

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

BLT salmon salad with creamy avocado green goddess dressing.

Beer is Bad for You

Lots of beer, now there’s a temporary solution.

English Pubs Exist to Sell Beer

Despite what some would like to believe, beer is just as bad for you as any other alcohol, and depending how much of the brown falling-down-water you drink, beer is possibly worse that your other regular tipples.  All booze has some very deleterious effects on your health, and the more your regularly drink the faster these bad things will happen to you.

Alcohol causes accidents in the home, on the road, and everywhere else you might find yourself after one too many drinks.  Most people who commit suicide have been drinking heavily.  Booze is also the direct cause of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases, liver failure, fatty liver, hepatitis, and cirrhosis, sundry gastrointestinal disorders, pneumonia and other respiratory tract diseases, various cancers, pancreatitis, and diseases of malnutrition such as Wernicke’s encephalopathy, Korsakoff’s psychosis, amblyopia, and polyneuropathy.  Without treatment you could die from all of these alcohol related dangers.  Even with treatment some of the above will still kill you.  If you don’t stop drinking, then you will die, horribly and before your time, from one or more of the nasty alcohol related killer diseases.

But, isn’t drinking beer safer?  Isn’t it OK to have a few beers, every now and again.

Mostly, the answer to those questions is no.  In a healthy adult, moderate drinking doesn’t cause too much damage, and by moderate I mean 1 pint of beer a day, or one standard size glass of wine a day ~ any more than that is quite damaging to your health.  And you can’t save up your weekly quota and safely drink it all at the weekend either.  Nor can you stay sober for a month and then get good and drunk to make up for all that boring sobriety ~ try that and you’ll most likely end up in vomiting your guts up, or in hospital, or dead.

So what about only ever drinking beer?  Beer is made from water, a grain such as wheat or barley, and is usually flavoured with hops.  Beer is usually between 4% and 12% alcohol by volume, (ABV).  Your liver will take 1 hour to process a bottle of a weaker beer, and maybe 3 hours to process a pint of strong beer.  While your liver is processing alcohol it isn’t doing anything else.

In comparison, wine usually has an ABV of 10% to 18%. Drinking an average size glass of wine is the equivalent of drinking a pint of strong beer.  The ABV of spirits varies from between 35% to 60%, (sometimes more).  A standard measure of spirits, (one shot), is about equivalent to drinking a bottle of strong beer.

The reasons beer is so bad for you is that there’s a lot of it by sheer quantity, which puts strain on your kidneys dealing with all that urine.  Beer is full of grains which are packed with gluten and generally very bad for your digestion, there’s lots of calories in beer, and it’s got hops in it which is a soporific and also promotes the creation of estrogen in the body.  Why do you think most beer drinkers are fat, have overhanging bellies, and guys who drink a lot of beer get man-boobs?  Beer will kill you just as fast as any other alcohol, and it will make you very unattractive in the process.

Some say that beer is good for you.  And that real men always have a few beers when they meet with the guys, or have a BBQ, or watch sports TV…..  All I know is that people who drink beer become fat and unattractive, and then they die, before their time.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

if the bottom falls out of your world,

drink Guinness and have the world fall out of your bottom.

Food on Friday ~ Cilantro

Cilantro ~ the Devil Herb.

In England ‘Cilantro’ is called ‘Coriander’, which is the word Americans use for just the dried seeds of the plant.  Funny, in England we say ‘Coriander Seeds’.  The difference arises because ‘Cilantro’ is a Spanish word, and there a big Hispanic influence in the USA.  Here, just about the only Spanish influences are that we beat the Spanish Armada in May 1588, and some of us go there on vacation.

Coriander is also known as Chinese parsley, and can be used both in salads and as a herb in cooking.

Some really great dishes use this adaptable plant, which goes really well with lime.

First today we have this cilantro lime chicken dish from Chungah at Damn Delicious.  The other fabulous seasonings used in this recipe are brown sugar, oregano, and basil.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

A similar dish from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb.  Except now we have a recipe for one pan creamy cilantro lime chicken and rice.  I really like one pan dishes, but it’s coriander here, not cilantro.  Nice by any name.

One Pan Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb has this super recipe for one pan Spanish chicken and rice, a bold and zesty dish you can make in a half-an-hour.  Strangely, Tiffany calls one of her ingredients coriander, which we now know better as cilantro.

One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice

Also from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb, this is interesting; garlic lime shrimp marinade.  And this is a fast marinade that will be ready for the grill in just 15 minutes.  Lots of cilantro.  Tiffany seems to like Cilantro.

Garlic Lime Shrimp Marinade

From San Diego’s Averie Sunshine archive I have chosen this foil pack lime cilantro salmon.   This is so easy to make, and it will be ready to eat in 10 minutes ~ you heard me right, just 10 minutes to produce this wonderful tasty, and very healthy dish.

Foil Pack Lime Cilantro Salmon

Heather Christo has a different kind of cilantro recipe for a warm summer afternoon, this tomato peach and avocado salad with cilantro vinaigrette.  Heather says that this is a beautifully simple 30 minute salad that will totally blow your socks off.  I tend to agree. Nice to take to work for lunch too.

Tomato Peach and Avocado Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

cilantro lime rice

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