Category Archives: Food

Not Sleeping is Very Bad

Insomnia turns an earthly paradise into a place of torture.

If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes of getting into bed and turning off the lights, if you toss and turn and wake up several times in the night, if you don’t wake up feeling instantly refreshed and ready to hit the ground running, then you are not getting enough good sleep.

Scientific studies show that for good health almost everyone needs 7 or 8 hours of good sleep, every single night of their adult lives.  Not getting enough good sleep does really bad things to you.

Just some of the bad effects of lack of sleep are; depression, diabetes, fatigue, heart diseases, heart attack, high blood pressure, poor immune system leading to illness, impulsive behaviours, irritability, paranoia, stroke, suicidal thoughts, and Death.

All of us know exactly that some of the things some of us do from time to time will prevent us from sleeping well at night; not getting enough fresh air and exercise during the day, drinking too much booze, eating late at night, using social media late at night, not going to bed at the same time every night, staying in bed late at weekends, having unresolved issues that prey on our mind, having an untreated mental illness, having our bedroom too warm, too noisy, and not dark enough, being in a dysfunctional relationship, hanging out in bars, casual sex…..

I’ve got a bad case of the 3.00 am guilts ~ you know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right?  Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression, paranoia, and self-loathing.  ~  D. D. Barant.

Some things that most of us do will disrupt our internal body clock, our circadian rhythm, and prevent us from getting a decent night’s sleep, for night after night after night.  Who knew that our internal body clock is so important to good sleep and good health?  If you do stuff that fucks up disrupts your internal body clock, resulting in a lack of good sleep, you will seriously damage your physical, mental, and spiritual health and fitness.

All the things that will help ensure that we will always have a good night’s sleep are so bleeding obvious that a child of 5, or 6, or 7 already knows them, instinctively.

  • Stick to a sleep schedule.  Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends and vacations.
  • Get plenty of fresh air and exercise.  Get out and walk for an hour a day, (10,000 steps), but not too late in the day.
  • Get plenty of sunlight during the day ~ tricky if you live in northern England like me, (or Canada, or Alaska, or Scandinavia…).
  • Avoid caffeine later in the day.  It’s a stimulant, and the caffeine in a cup of coffee will take about 6 or 8 hours to wear off.
  • Do not smoke.  Nicotine is a stimulant, smoking affects your breathing, you will get nicotine withdrawal through the night and wake up, you will have nightmares for years after you stop smoking.  Smokers never sleep well.
  •  Booze.  Don’t drink to much, especially late at night.  A glass of wine / hard booze just before you go to bed will stop you from getting a decent night’s rest.  Trust me, people who drink late at night, most nights, are three parts of the smegging way to being an alcoholic.
  • Do not eat late at night.  Don’t eat anything much for a couple of hours before bed-time.
  • Don’t take a nap after three in the afternoon.
  • Have a relaxing hot bath just before bed-time.  Light some candles, play some relaxing music, turn off your racing mind.
  • Have a dark bedroom, quiet bedroom, cool bedroom, gadget free bedroom, and no fucking blue light from your phone / tablet / computer shining all night.
  • Forget all the bad things from the day, especially the ignorant son of a bitch person who cut you up on the freeway on your way to work.
  • Finally, if you just cannot get to sleep, then don’t just lie in bed fretting.  If you really cannot sleep, get up and do something else instead, (but none of the bad things listed above).

One thing that some doctors say will result in a restored sleep cycle and better sleep is using marijuana, pot, cannabis.  There are some serious downside risks to the cannabis user, such as; anxiety, breathing problems, poor coordination, damaging a child in the womb, hallucinations, heart attacks, impaired thinking and cognitive functions, nausea, road traffic accidents, smoking anything is a known health risk, suicide, paranoia and schizophrenia, being arrested, losing your job, and Death.  All other drugs you can take to help you sleep are worse than marijuana, especially in the longer term.  (Anyhow, I would never sleep with anyone who uses drugs.  Come to that, I wouldn’t have lunch with a drug user.)

Some say that going without sleep for night after night is dangerous.  And, that eventually going without sleep will kill you, after 11 days or so.  All I know is that not sleeping is very, very unpleasant.

~

Insomnia

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

you may be able to tell that I didn’t sleep well last night

 

Food on Friday ~ Memorial Day

one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak

And that’s how to make Planters’ Rum Punch, an Englishman’s preferred drink to go along with a summer barbecue.  The strong is Caribbean Dark Rum, (or try Woods 100), and the sour is fresh lime juice.  You can guess the rest ~ (simple syrup and iced water).

Well now, this coming Monday, the 28th of May, is Memorial Day in the USA.  It’s also the Spring Bank Holiday here in Great Britain.  For some of us this is the first real day of summer, more or less ~ although the weather in most of England and America hasn’t been very summery of late.

Particularly in the USA, this coming Monday is the time to clean the cobwebs of that old barbecue, dust down the patio furniture, invite some friends overs, and hang out in the yard eating, drinking, and shooting the shit breeze.

So, for this week’s Food on Friday I’m going to feature stuff that goes well with kicking back outdoors.

I know a very nice American girl who really likes cilantro and lime.  So, first to the BBQ this week is Jessica Merchant from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and her blog How Sweet Eats.  Jessica has this cool recipe for Cilantro Lime Flank Steak, and while it will only take you 20 minutes to cook in the broiler, you need to start marinading the steak on Sunday.  Make plenty and take the leftovers to work on Tuesday, (if there are any leftovers).

Cilantro Lime Flank Steak

From San Diego we have the sunshine girl Averie with her Grilled Steak Kabobs, (funny we call these things kebabs in England).  You will want a good top sirloin steak for these rich looking skewers.  Again, these will cook very fast on the grill, but you want to allow at least 4 hours for the marinade to work.

Grilled Steak Kabobs

If you don’t like steak, then what about these Honey BBQ Chicken Kabobs from Chungah at Damn Delicious.  Again this dish will only take you 20 minutes to cook on the grill, but you need to allow a couple of extra hours for the marinade to do its work.  Looks tasty to me.

Honey BBQ Chicken Kabobs

To go with all this meat you’re going to cook on your freshly cleaned BBQ, you’re going to need some salad, and from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower, we have this good looking dish; Avocado Corn Caprese Salad, dressed with a honey balsamic vinaigrette.  Looks so delicious and refreshing.

Avocado Corn Caprese Salad

From the Californian White on Rice couple we have a very different Grilled Romaine and Corn Salad, something you can make on your BBQ in under half an hour ~ while you’re grilling your other vegetables too.   (If you’re cooking any vegetables…)

Grilled Romaine & Corn Salad

I know that most of you like the recipe collections I feature, and here’s another one. From Olive magazine we have the 32 Best Ever BBQ Recipes to help you enjoy the sunshine this coming Memorial Day.  I particularly like this very quick and easy recipe for Miami-Style Blackened Fish Sandwich with Smoked Paprika Mayo ~ ready in just 20 minutes.  Me, I’d use salmon, tuna, or swordfish to make a really top-notch blackened fish sandwich.

Miami-Style Blackened Fish Sandwich with Smoked Paprika Mayo

Should you want to make a dessert for your guests, then Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes has found us a collection of 9 Crowd-Pleasing Desserts for Your Memorial Day Party.  I particularly like the look of this Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake recipe by Cindy Rahe.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

And finally this Friday, for those of us who aren’t content just to suck back beers, we have another collection from Wide Open Eats, 20 Best Big Batch Cocktails for Backyard BBQs and Lazy Sundays.  As a very practiced consumer of alcoholic beverages I particularly like the look of this Pitcher Hurricane Cocktail.  this recipe is to make a gallon of the stuff.  Personally I’d just tip in a whole bottle of both dark rum and light rum, (and I’d also miss out the metrosexual umbrellas), but that’s me for you.

Pitcher Hurricane Cocktail

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

the English version of Memorial Day is observed on Remembrance Sunday, as near as possible to November 11th

It’s a solemn occasion.

How to have more spending money

There is scarcely anything that will drag you down like debt.

Basically there are two ways we can have more cash to spend on the things we really like, want, and desire ~ one is to go out and get more money, earn it, marry it, inherit it, steal it….

The other way to have more cash to spend on the things we really like is to spend less on ‘essentials’ ~ the things we have to buy to survive.

For if we remember our Dickens and what Mr. Micawber said in David Copperfield, happiness lies in spending less than we earn, and unhappiness lies in spending more than we actually have.

There are some tried and tested ways to spend less on the boring essentials.  In my quest for minimalistic living, I have personal, (sometimes very bitter), experience of all of these following ideas:

  1. Live in a smaller place.  Smaller homes cost less to buy, attract lower property taxes, and use less utilities; water, gas, electricity.
  2. If you can, switch your utilities provider to a better and cheaper company.  All utilities companies are money-grabbing vultures, but try to choose the best of a bad lot.
  3. Drive a smaller car.  Smaller cars are less expensive to buy and insure, and in general use much less gas than a bigger car with more weight and a bigger engine.  If you buy a classic smaller car, as opposed to the latest model, then you won’t even suffer from depreciation.
  4. Switch your car insurance to a better and cheaper company.
  5. Learn some DIY skills.  You don’t have to use expensive and useless contractors, car mechanics, cleaners, or gardeners.  It’s cheaper and better if you do as much as you can for yourself.
  6. Cut out impulse purchases.  On impulse, too many of us buy too much stuff that we don’t actually need, want, or really like.  All that stuff clutters up our home and convinces us that we need to move to a bigger place.
  7. Don’t marry a sexy trophy wife, (or toy boy), who will also want you to move into a bigger place.  A trophy wife, (or toy boy), will end up costing you most of your treasure, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
  8. Don’t try to buy love.  It doesn’t work, it will cost you a fortune, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
  9. Control your addictions….. booze, drugs, gambling, pornography, casual sex, smoking….. All of these will all cost you just about everything you have, including your self-respect.
  10. Resist the urge to have the latest and most expensive technologies.  You don’t need a huge TV, costly cable, the newest computer, the best tablet, the most expensive iPhone with the most expensive contract.
  11. Buy whole foods rather than processed, heavily packaged, and generally bad for you costly crap.
  12. Buy generic brands.  Trust me, I’ve been into factories where the expensive labels and generic brands are actually made on the same production line with exactly the same content.  Only the packaging is different.
  13. If you can, then buy in bulk.
  14. Stop going out to lunch at work, instead take a packed lunch.  Those people you go to lunch with are probably boring and certainly aren’t your real friends anyway.  And, if you’re an average guy the women you take to lunch are never going to have sex with you, so you’re wasting your time and money.
  15. Don’t join a gym.  Most of the people who have gym membership never go there.  For great exercise take a long walk in the sunshine instead.
  16. Visit thrift stores, and if you find clothes you like, then save money and buy ‘pre-loved’ stuff.
  17. Don’t give to a big charity.  (Have you any idea how much the bosses of the big charities pay themselves?  The average pay across the top 100 charities is more than £250,000 a year, plus huge bonuses.)
  18. Don’t spend all your time drinking in pubs and bars ~ the booze is expensive there, and nobody in your favourite pub is your real friend anyway.

And finally, don’t spend on borrowed money, especially credit cards which all charge usury rates of interest.  Credit cards are NOT money.  Really, really, really NEVER use a payday lender, which all charge eye-watering criminal rates of interest.

You can probably think of some other money-saving tips of your own.  For a month try making a note of what you actually spend your hard-earned on ~ I guarantee that you will be surprised and shocked.  Learn what you actually spend your money on, and then you can start to control your finances.

Some say that money can’t buy happiness.  And that a fool and his money are soon parted.  All I know is that having money makes misery more bearable.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

you can take the idea of living in a tiny home to the extreme…..

Food on Friday ~ Cauliflower

Cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.  ~  Mark Twain

Most will regard the humble cauliflower as a boring side dish ~ at best.  Perhaps something not to put into one’s shopping cart on a regular basis.  But, as I hope these smashing recipes from some great cooks will show you, there are a lot of exciting dishes you can make with this cruciferous vegetable.  Cauliflower is from the same plant family as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts and is said to be even better for you, in some ways, than these green vegetables.

First this week we have these cool cauliflower rice carne asada bowls with mango salsa, from Teighan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.  This whole meal will take you an hour to make, but you can do so much with the leftovers afterwards.  Lunch at work, tacos, burritos, topped with a fried egg…

Cauliflowere Rice Carne Asada Bowls with Mango Salsa

Cauliflower cheese is a classic dish, but this creamy cauliflower gratin from Chungah at Damn Delicious is just a little bit special.  Again this easy dish will take you about an hour, and again this is something that you can reheat in the microwave at work.  Or have with a nice steak for dinner later in the week.

Creamy Cauliflower Gratin

Next, from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower there’s this cool dish to think about; zucchini lentil pasta with mashed cauliflower.  Made with mushrooms, squash, and grape tomatoes ~ with a side of creamy mashed cauliflower.  It looks very delicious for a midweek dinner.

Zucchini Lentil Pasta with Mashed Cauliflower

~

Yvette’s Gourmet Kitchen has this brilliant looking recipe for roasted cauliflower with almonds and capers.  I think you can have this dish ready in 30 minutes. It’s vegan if you use a vegetarian substitute for the Parmesan cheese.

Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds and Capers

Here’s something exotically different and up-market from Petra at Food Eat Love; cauliflower soup with beetroot and gin cured salmon.  This dish is something for a really posh dinner party ~or be even posher than that and serve to your house-guests at breakfast.  The dish only takes 10 minutes to prepare, but you have to cure the salmon for 36 hours before that.

Cauliflower Soup with Beetroot and Gin Cured Salmon

A blog-post of cauliflower recipes wouldn’t be anything without a soup.  Ergo from Alanna at the Bojon Gourmet we have cauliflower and yellow split pea soup with turmeric and curried ghee.  Both cauliflower and turmeric are supposed to be very good for you.  This is a great soup to make a lot of, to take to work later, as it will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator.

Cauliflower and Yellow Split Pea Soup with Turmeric and Curried Ghee

And finally this week we have our list, this time from delish. So, how about 70 crazy creative things to make with cauliflower????  These 70 cool recipes include this loaded grilled cauliflower by Lauren Miyashiro, which should take you about 20 minutes to prepare.

Loaded Grilled Cauliflower

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

cauliflower is easy to grow, even if you only have a small garden, it’s pretty decorative too.

Food on Friday ~ very easy dinners

Almost anyone can cook a great dinner inside half an hour.

When you’re working for a living it isn’t always so easy to find the time to cook a proper dinner, and sometimes we just don’t have the energy after a long day at work, (maybe with a stressful commute thrown in).  Ergo during the week what we really want is something very easy for dinner, and preferably pretty quick and requiring the minimum number of pans and dishes.

I firmly believe that the recipes I’m giving you in this week’s Food on Friday fit the bill as far as easy mid-week dinners go, and will also make a great lunch to take to work, or eat at the weekends.

Firstly this week, from San Diego girl Averie Sunshine from Averie cooks we have this really easy chicken stir fry with noodles.  Healthy, very easy, and ready in just 15 minutes, this is a great mid-week stand-by dinner.  There are lots of vegetables in this dish, miss out the chicken, maybe add cashew nuts, and you could have yourself a vegan stir fry,

Chicken Stir Fry with Noodles

Another brilliant stir fry, this time from Dana the Minimalist Baker, 30-minute cauliflower rice stir-fry.  This healthy, flavourful, quick and easy dish is vegan and gluten free, and if you like you could swap broccoli for the cauliflower.  What’s not to like.

30-Minute Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry

When it comes to easy mid-week dinners, there’s nothing easier than a pan of soup you already have in the refrigerator.  So while some soups may take a while to prepare, make a big pot and you have the basis of several lunches and dinners for the week to come.  From Joy the Baker we have a recipe for carrot coconut red curry soup.  To begin with, making the soup will take you about an hour, so maybe that’s best done at the weekend, but once it’s made, add some crusty sourdough bread, and you have a great mid-week dinner.  This is a vegan dish.

Carrot Coconut Red Curry Soup

Another soup, this time from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats; 30 minute Asian chicken soup.  As its says, you should be able to make this big bowl of health in a half-hour.  And best of all, this is a one-pot recipe.

30 Minute Asian Chicken Soup.

Now from Heather Christo we have a fast and easy bee pho, this isn’t really authentic because it’s a very shortcut recipe you can have ready in 45 minutes, a lot of which you can use to do other things ~ like find the show you want to watch on TV.

Fast and Easy Beef Pho

Even though it’s autumn, running into winter, and here in England it’s cold, damp, and grey, sometimes we still crave a salad.  San Francisco girl Andrea from Cooking with a wallflower has a good recipe for autumn apple salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette.  This great looking and very healthy fall salad should be ready in just 10 minutes.  Enjoy.

Autumn Apple Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Finally for this week, a collection for you from Good Housekeeping, midweek meal recipes, all of which should take less than a half hour and use no more than 10 ingredients.  I like the look of all the recipes in this collection, but especially I like this quick pan-fried salmon with sweet and sour leeks, (here in the North East of England we love our leeks).

Quick pan-Fried Salmon with Sweet and Sour Leeks

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

 

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