Category Archives: Health

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

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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.

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Solitary People ~ Lonely Beaches

With no compass you cannot tell who the enemy is.

Are you lonely tonight?

Are you sad because you’re on your own?

There was a time when I lived the life of a celibate solitary recluse.  Not just for a few days, or a few weeks, but for several years.  I cared for nobody, not even for myself.

I think the important thing is caring about someone.  It’s being by themselves that does people in, makes them old and bitter.  ~  Thomas Tryon

I completely isolated myself in my garret.  My only companion was my little teddy bear; Marmaduke.  I hardly ever went out.  I didn’t answer my telephone.  I didn’t see any of the people who reached out to me in friendship.  My only contact with the world was through this blog ~ and in its early days this blog was a pathetic spavined thing.

When I did go out it would be at very unsocial hours; the early morning, late evening, midnight.  And, I didn’t go to places where I was likely to meet people.  I walked solitary on a lonely beach.

Life wasn’t making me lonely, I was avoiding human contact, pushing people away, sabotaging any relationships I had.  I was making myself lonely.

There was an underlying reason for this.  It’s a serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder, and one of the symptoms of this illness is cutting off all communication with others because of a real difficulty in maintaining a stable relationship.  It isn’t good.

It’s so bad that if I developed a relationship, then a part of me would want to destroy it.  Perhaps I could keep a friendship for a while, but eventually the Mr. Hyde in me would do something bad enough to make that friend walk away ~ which is what I expected all along.  Another of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder is an abnormal fear of abandonment, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have been lucky.  I have one friend, one long-distance relationship, and that friend has stuck by me, been my cheerleader, counsellor, and my muse.  That friendship has got me out of the garret, encouraged me to grow, allowed me to escape the worst of my self-imposed exile from the real world.

Not everyone who has cut themselves off from the world is that lucky.  But, perhaps we can all be that lucky if we are willing to take a chance, and if we are really willing to work at becoming a better, more reliable, more stable, more personable, and less threatening version of ourselves.

It’s scary.  But real life is scary.  Shit happens.  With the right mental attitude we can all enjoy life.  I learned to love myself and love others.

My life is good today.  I still walk the lonely beach, but I’m no longer alone.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

luckily, a teddy bear can’t really walk out on you

Feeling Good isn’t Good

If you’re feeling good then nothing else should matter.

Like many who have had an abnormal Fear of Abandonment due to suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, I have been very used to feeling bad.  Alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression, anger, low self-esteem, relationship problems, suicidal thoughts, problems trusting anyone, fear, disgust, sadness…  In the past I knew all of these bad feelings intimately.  My whole world was a pale, dead, dark moon.

The nadir of my misery was on December 11th 2017, when I suffered from mental, psychological, and spiritual distress that was almost unbearable.  I felt as though I was having a mental breakdown ~ that my mind was broken and my soul was destroyed. I was physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually afraid.  I was afraid that I was becoming a lunatic.

That is not a good feeling.  But then, I was very used to feeling very bad.

The Christmas and New Year’s holidays came, and things were a little better.  Once you have hit your rock bottom, then the only way should be up.  It doesn’t work like that.  Below your rock bottom is another, lower, more hellish rock bottom.

I know because at the New Year I caught influenza, and I did become a lunatic due to a fever caused by the virus.  I don’t quite know what I did during the couple or three weeks I was deathly ill, except that I had strange visions and imaginings.  I remembered things that never happened, and I remembered real events, and each memory taught me a lesson.  Each memory lifted some evil from my mind and my soul.

Today I feel pretty good.  And I’m struggling to cope with feeling good.

They got scared when they started feeling good, just because it was so unfamiliar.  Like chronic prisoners facing release from their cells.  ~  Lisa Alther.

When you are used to being Mr. Hyde, it’s a struggle to be a good guy.  It’s difficult to love and trust when you are used to never trusting anyone.  It’s hard to take a chance on people, even with someone you told yourself you cared for, when you never took a chance on anyone, ever.  When you are used to feeling disappointment, anger, resentment, suspicion, distrust ~ when you are used to being Mr. Hyde ~ it’s scary to focus only on the good things.

I’m very uncomfortable with good feelings because I am so unused to feeling really, truly, genuinely fine.  I wake in the morning and I distrust the fact that I feel good.  I am expecting crushing disappointment, sooner or later, because I don’t expect these good feelings to last.

But I’m doing all right today, and step by step things are getting better for me, and for those I care for.

I have a strategy.  I know I will have bad thoughts, bad feelings, and a temptation to return to my old ways of misery.  I can accept feeling bad, but I no longer have to let feeling bad take over my life again.  I can accept the bad thoughts for what they are, my old demons trying to drag me down to another hellish rock bottom.  I never need to let that happen again.

Today, tonight, and tomorrow I can focus on feeling good.  Feeling bad is a choice I need never make again.  In future I will choose to feel good.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Spencer Tracy as Mr. Hyde

 

Begin A New Beginning

In every life there will be some troubles.

Recently I was pretty ill with the flu.  In between feeling very poorly, and very tired, my feverish mind wandered to some very strange places.  I vividly remembered things from the past, and some of those memories were  false,  but even the false memories had a lesson for me.

In my fevered imaginings I realised that I had often been judgemental, unforgiving, and aggressive.  That I measured people by my own standards, morals, and mores.  If I thought a person had hurt me, or intended to hurt me, or didn’t measure up to what I thought was acceptable standards of behaviour, then I was quite likely to attack that person.  I could become a real Mr. Hyde character.  That applied especially if I told myself that I cared about the person concerned.

In my fevered imaginings I realised that my judgemental, unforgiving, and aggressive behaviour was totally unacceptable.  Not only that, it didn’t achieve anything good, and it didn’t make me happy ~ it didn’t make anyone happy.

In fact, being a judgemental unforgiving perfectionist made me so unhappy that from time to time I would try to escape my misery by drinking far too much booze.  As you would expect, getting drunk didn’t make me happy either.

In fact, drinking just made everything much worse.  Every single time I’ve touched booze in the past few years something extremely, irredeemably bad has happened.  Every single time I’ve had even one drink I began a downward spiral which inevitably lead me to becoming Mr. Hyde.

It didn’t take fevered imaginings brought on by the flu to make me realise that I needed to make a new beginning.  On December 11th last year I had the worst mental, psychological, and spiritual day of my life.  My mind was broken and my soul was destroyed.  I knew back then that I needed to change or there wasn’t much point in my being anything other than a lonely recluse.  If I wanted a good life, then I needed to begin a new beginning as a kinder, stable, more reliable, more likeable man.

My mental health was at stake, I needed to change or continue on the downward spiral to the rock bottom of total lunacy.

I have changed, and it was both very difficult and very easy.  The easy part is that all I need to do is stop being a judgemental unforgiving perfectionist.  Stop thinking the worst of people, stop imagining that the people I care for are trying to hurt me, and stop dwelling on the past.  As I said easy.

The very difficult thing is that making a fundamental change to one’s own personality means overturning one’s core beliefs and values ~ and that’s hard.  It means reconsidering what’s important in life.  It means letting go of old attitudes, old habits, beliefs, outdated goals, even one’s old Life’s Purpose.  It means changing how we think about relationships, love, and life.

However, we can create anything we want, if we want it enough.

Einstein said; the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

I needed to do things differently.  I needed to begin a new beginning.  I firmly believe I have started on a different and better road.  I don’t think I’m a lunatic anymore.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

England’s Winter Miseries

When the English winter comes howling in.

I didn’t want to be in England over the Christmas Holidays, and I’d prefer not to be here right now either.  Next year I’m determined to spend a part of the winter in the sunshine.

Northern England in particular is a miserable place to be in winter.  Right now the temperature outside is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s still dark, there’s a strong wind, and a mixture of rain and wet snow is falling.  In the next couple of days the weather here is going to get much worse with 80 mph winds and a lot of snow expected.  The sea is vicious and cold.

Drivers are being warned to stay off the roads, and only to make the most essential journeys.  Our rail service is in chaos, and there are long flight delays at our airports.  We do not handle snow very well at all, and the high winds can actually blow over trucks.  Some of our most important bridges are closed.

There is an epidemic of a particularly nasty strain of the flu, (Aussie flu H3N2), which can be fatal in itself.  Influenza can lead to several other fatal illnesses; bronchitis, pleurisy, and pneumonia.   Our health service is overwhelmed; the hospitals are full and people are being advised not to visit their own doctors except in cases of an emergency.

The thing is,  the cold, damp, and dark English winter weather makes people prone to catching nasty winter diseases; colds, flue, bronchitis pleurisy, and pneumonia.

I had this Aussi flu just after Christmas, and I was very poorly for a couple of weeks.  High temperature, hacking cough, tiredness, aches and pains, headache, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, and an inability to eat ~ I have lost 10 lbs since Christmas.

Trust me, you don’t want to catch this Aussi flu.

Trust me, you don’t want to be in Northern England in winter either.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday ~ P.S.S. Wingfield Castle

Built in 1934 as a Humber Estuary Ferry, this historic paddle steamer is now one of 3 museum ships moored in the marina just a couple of hundred yards from my garret.  In the summer I often go aboard her to read, relax, and sunbathe on the upper deck.  Marmaduke likes sunbathing and reading there too ~ he usually sits in one of the lifeboats.  (The square-rigger in the background is the frigate HMS Trincomalee, which is the second oldest ship still afloat.)

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Pictures taken with a Lumix

 

 

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Be Yourself

My epiphany came in that moment of the dawn.

In my heart

I feel like I was born again

In my soul

I feel an entire new beginning

In my spirit

It feels like I am an entire man

In dreams

It feels like my life is starting anew

because of the dreadful dawn Aphrodite brings

and she brings torture, torment, pain, and sorrows 

she brings eroticism, sexual love, and bright tomorrows 

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

 

 

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Core Values

Core Values are who you are when no one is watching.

Appreciation of natural beauty is one of my core values.

I cannot claim to know, accept, and understand in detail what my core values about Life are.  In fact, I even had to check the definition of ‘core values’ before I could work on knowing, accepting, and understanding my own core values.  The various definitions seem to coalesce into;

Core Values are Fundamental Beliefs and Principles that guide a person’s conduct and relationships with others.

It would appear that Core Values can be positive, negative, or pretty meaningless and neutral.  I firmly believe that almost everyone has all three types of core values, and we all have more negative core values than we would like to believe.

My own negative core values include;

  • Everybody lies.
  • The world is full of fools, and 90% of the people I meet will be much less intelligent than I.
  • The world is a dangerous and brutal place, and a man has to be capable, knowledgable, and tough to survive and thrive.
  • Casual sex, first date sex, sex with multiple partners, picking up girls in bars ~ are all reprehensible behaviours.

My more positive core values include;

  • Treating my friends with kindness, consideration, acceptance, understanding, and unselfish love.
  • A belief that there is great beauty in this world, and it should be protected, celebrated, and appreciated.
  • Life is short, and I should therefore make the very most of every minute of every single day.
  • I should continue to strive for self-improvement and self-awareness.
  • We should treat all others as well as we possibly can, just as we ourselves would wish to be treated.

If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.  ~  J.K. Rowling

As it goes, I have a small problem with the quote from J.K. Rowling, as it makes the assumption that some people are superior to others, ergo some people are inferior.  Actually, this is true, but it is not a pleasant thought.

My wishy-washy, neutral and meaningless core beliefs include a belief that politics, and religion are pointless, dishonest, and self-serving.  Which may really be more negative than neutral.

There are some other words which resonate with me when it comes to my core values;

Honesty, Integrity, Individuality, Enjoyment, Trustworthiness, Reliability, Wisdom, Simplicity, Learning, Discipline, Truthfulness, Politeness…..  All of these words should probably form part of my written core values.

It’s actually all pretty difficult stuff.  I think I need to meditate, or take a long walk, or just let my subconscious mind ponder the whole subject of my own core values for a while.  It could take the rest of my life.  It should take the rest of my life.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Dawn seen from the garret.

 

 

 

 

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Mental Breakdown.

My mind is broken and my soul is destroyed.

Today I have been suffering from distress so intense that it’s almost unbearable.

I don’t believe I’m depressed because I have been able to function today, after a fashion.  I have washed, shaved, my clothes are fairly clean, my home is clean, I have cooked and eaten a meal.  However, the anxiety and nameless dread are incredibly severe.

There doesn’t seem any reason to hope, and yet there is every reason to fear.  I am mentally, spiritually, and physically afraid.  I want to run.  I am so afraid that my chest hurts, and there is nothing for me to be afraid of.

I want to be alone.  I have been isolating myself in my garret, and yet I would give almost anything to have a friend to talk with.

I’m a mature man, but fat tears have been rolling down my cheeks.

I’m exhausted, mentally and physically done in.

I feel as though I have nothing left to give.

There is no reason for me to be so acutely distressed.

Looking back I don’t ever remember feeling this bad before.

I’m becoming a lunatic.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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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