Tag Archives: Half Baked Harvest

Monochrome Monday ~ Erotic Smoking

sometimes smoking is a highly sexual act

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Jack Collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

most will find this picture erotic

Food on Friday ~ Better than Take-Out

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well, if one has not dined well.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part in maintaining good health.  Along with plenty of fresh air and exercise it can help you look and feel your best.

This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the optimal amount of food and drink to maintain a healthy body weight.  You also need all of the essential vitamins and minerals, else you could get quite sick.

Maybe the hardest part of a healthy diet is the sheer quantity of water we should really drink, and for the average person this works out to 8 x 8 ounce glasses of water, (green tea, fruit tea, herbal tea, coffee without sugar), which is half a US gallon every day, more if you’ve been boozing.  In European terms this is 2 litres.

But today we are going to look at some great recipes for fabulous dishes ~ as a much healthier alternative than even the very best take-out.

First up this week we have hamburger steaks with a mushroom sauce from Holly at Spend With Pennies.  While there is no way on this God’s Earth that I would buy a hamburger at a fast-food outlet such as McDonalds, I think a home-made burger can be fabulous.

Hamburger Steaks with a Mushroom Sauce

Another home-made alternative to unhealthy take-out; egg roll in a bowl from Well Plated by Erin Clarke.  At one time I loved Chinese and Thai take out, but the muck is full of gluten and MSG, and I’ve seen out back of a takeout kitchen and hygiene is in a far country.

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Something that you certainly wouldn’t get from the average take-out; chinese mushroom dumplings with sweet chili ginger sesame sauce.  Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has very descriptive names for her recipes.  Good for her!

Chinese Mushroom Dumplings

Now Heather Christo always makes her food look fabulous, and this green thai currey with vegetables is no exception.  Get yourself some lemon rice and a bottle of Tiger beer to go with it.  Heather’s recipes are all allergy free, (for all I know they’re gluten free too).

Green Thai Curry with Vegetables

The Minimalist Baker’s recipes are definitely gluten free, and this easy 1 pot tikka masala looks far, far better than anything you’d get from any Indian take-out place.

Easy 1-Pot Tikka Masala

Our collection this week is from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats; 25 weeks of my favorite healthier weeknight dinners.  From this 175 recipe collection I’ve chosen to feature baked parmesan chicken with lemon arugula.  You can get Parmesan chicken as a take-out, but I wouldn’t.

Baked Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Arugula

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

egg-drop chicken soup

Food on Friday ~ Pot Luck Christmas

Good food is at the heart of a great Christmas and a Happy New Year

The theme for this Food on Friday was suggested to me by a friend in California ~ I would never have thought if it on my own.  Here in England the traditional Christmas Day fayre is exactly the same as a Thanksgiving Dinner ~ only better.  The idea of having a pot luck Christmas lunch / dinner is alien to an Englishman, but it does sound brilliant.  As a matter of fact, we don’t do pot luck at all in England.

Ergo these recipes should not only be fantastic in their own right, but should also be suitable to take along to a pot luck meal.

First up this week, here’s a simply delicious dish from Dianes Kitchen; baked chicken Parmesan meatballs.  Diane says these are great eaten right of the oven, or with your favorite sauce.  These look as though they would be very welcome at any pot luck.

Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

If we’re looking for an appetiser to have with drinks then we could do worse than go for these fabulously festive brie bites from Erin Clarke at Well Plated by Erin.

Brie Bites with Puff Pastry

Here in England, just about the only time we eat brussel sprouts is at Christmas, so I felt I just had to include a sprouts recipe.  From Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have these roasted bacon brussels sprouts with salted honey.  A great side dish to take to a pot luck.

Roasted Bacon Brussels Sprouts with Salted Honey

In all my visits to the USA, I have never, ever had a decent baked potato.  That’s because you guys cook them in the microwave.  A proper jacket potato needs a very hot oven, and I’ve yet to see anyone in the USA actually use their oven,  So, since great baked potatoes would go down well at a pot luck here’s Ali from Gimmie some Oven to tell you how to do it.

The Best Baked Potatoes

So, you’re going to a pot luck and you want to really help the table along / show off how rich you are, then why not take along a whole maple glazed ham.  We have the perfect recipe from Chungah at Damn Delicious.

Maple Glazed Ham

Our collection this week comes from Taste of Home, 40 last minute Potluck ideas ready in 30 minutes or less.  From this collection I’ve chosen to feature herb-roasted olives & tomatoes, partly because the recipe is by Anndrea Bailey from Huntington Beach, California.  I like Huntington Beach.  Anyway this is a great vegan side.

Herb Roasted Olives and Tomatoes

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

30 minute Asian Chicken Soup

one of the best soup recipes ever.

I’ve made this.

Food on Friday ~ December 6th

It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.

Early December and it’s cold, dark, and drear in the run-up to Christmas.  Today there is not much cheer around here, and anyway most people are busy making their arrangements for a great Christmas holiday.

Well, I’ll be on my own in the garret again over the Christmas holidays, so one of the things I should do is cook myself some great food.  There are some very cool, very easy recipes in this post, and I hope that we can all enjoy them in the run-up to Christmas Day.  I’m wondering if there’s going to be any great Christmas time TV.

First up this week, from Barcelona we have Ali at Gimmie Some Oven who has a healthier broccoli chicken casserole, made with pasta, tender chicken, and broccoli in a cheddar mushroom sauce.  Despite everything this is a light and very healthy dish that’s really easy to prepare.

Healthier Broccoli Chicken Casserole

Now from Joy the Baker, something else with a broccoli theme; spicy broccoli pizza with homemade pizza crust.  This is far, far better than anything you could buy anywhere, and a great pre-Christmas treat for your casual guests.

Spicy Broccoli Pizza with a Homemade Pizza Crust

Dana Shultz, the Minimalist Baker has a cool recipe for one-pot chicken soup with white beans and kale.  This 30 minute recipe does look so easy to make, and it’s warming, healthy, and gluten free.  What more could you want on a cold December evening.

One-Pot Chicken Soup with White Beans and Kale

Another great chicken dish, and this time the recipe is from the ever-delightful Heather Christo;  creamy tomato baked chicken and pasta.  I would use gluten free, or wholemeal pasta, but that’s your choice.  Whatever this is a great midweek dinner.

Creamy Tomato Baked Chicken and Pasta

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest always gives us the longest titles for her recipes, this one is 30 minute Chinese egg drop chicken rice soup with garlicky chile oil. Say no more…..

Chinese Egg Drop Chicken Soup

The collection this week is from Country Living magazine; 85 easy Christmas appetizers that will delight all of your holiday guests.  From this huge list I’ve chosen these deviled eggs with old bay shrimp from Carrie Purcell.  But make your own choices fro your pre-Christmas drinks party and Boxing Day snacks.

Deviled Eggs with Old Bay Shrimp

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

some people are almost ready for Christmas

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

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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

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

BLT salmon salad with creamy avocado green goddess dressing.

Food on Friday ~ Healthy Salads

success is the sum of small efforts ~ repeated every single day

To be fit and healthy in body, mind, and spirit, you must set good habits to live by day after day.  Don’t fall for the weird diets nor the food fads, just make an effort to eat well and stay active ~ every single day for the rest of your life.

It might be tempting to believe the falsehoods that tell you that if you but buy this product you can lose 5 lbs in a week, or if you follow that diet you can drop two sizes in a month, but those goals are usually doomed to fail.

To be who you truly want to be includes eating a healthy, balanced diet. I hope that these recipes may help you to do just that.

This is interesting from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest, Greek watermelon feta salad with basil vinaigrette.

Greek Watermelon Feta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

From Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower we have another cool salad dish, this is a garlic shrimp avocado saladAvocado is another of those great superfoods.

Garlic Shrimp Avocado Salad

Amanda at Chez le Rêve Français has an interesting carrot and celeriac remoulade, which in my ignorance I would have called a salad.  The remoulade part is actually an easy sauce.  You can make this dish in just about 15 minutes, and it would make a great lunch, maybe with some chicken or tuna.

Carrot and Celeriac Remoulade

This best easy Italian green salad comes from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb.  One could also add some chicken, or mozzarella, or chickpeas to this dish to make it more of an entree.

Best Easy Italian Green Salad

This Tartiflette is an utterly fabulous French dish from Petra at Food Eat Love.  I believe that the picture speaks for itself.

Tartiflette

Our recipe collection this week is from Cookie + kate who have 45 vegetarian recipes that pack well for lunch.  Or you should really check out their total library of pack for lunch recipes.  I think that is awesome!  I have chosen to feature their roasted cauliflower and farro salad with feta and avocado.

Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Feta and Avocado

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

garlic butter shrimp zucchini noodles

Food on Friday ~ Mostly Chicken

I will respect this liver.  After all it’s not mine. ~ George Best

So, I’m working on this healthier eating plan, with the avowed aim of being fitter, healthier, and detoxing my body ~ especially detoxing my liver, which is the body’s chemical factory.

The most important thing for most of us to do if we want to be fitter, healthier, and have a cleaner liver is to give up booze.  If you take a drink the liver will stop whatever it’s doing and start to process alcohol, and your liver will do bugger-all else until all the booze has been flushed from your system.  George Best, was one of the greatest soccer players of all time, he died in 2005 of alcoholism after having a liver  transplant.

As well as giving up booze I’m also not going to eat dairy, including eggs, and I won’t touch anything at all containing wheat flour, or high-fructose corn syrup.  I don’t want to consume  the weedkiller that’s routinely sprayed on those crops and persists right up to the point we take the glyphosate into our bodies.

First this week we have a very healthy looking dish from Simply Recipes; green bean salad with lemon and dill by Summer Miller.  I guess for most of us this would be a side-dish, but I’d be pleased to have just this for lunch, (maybe with some cherry tomatoes).

Green Bean Salad with Lemon and Dill

From Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats how about this cool looking crispy baked Parmesan chicken with lemon arugula.  I know I said I wasn’t eating dairy, but a little Parmesan is more than just OK, it makes this dish.  Chicken is a very low-fat meat, and I’m trying for a low-fat diet.

Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken with Lemon Arugula

Another brilliant chicken dish, this time from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb.  This one pan garlic herb chicken and asparagus looks brilliant, and if I’m so minded I guess I would use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter.  I love one pan meals, so easy to clean up afterwards.

One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus

Heidi at Foodie Crush has posted this Thai basil chicken, (Pad Krapow Gai).  I must try this, Heidi says it’s easy and I really like all the ingredients she’s listed.  Especially I want to try cooking with coconut milk.  I think I’d serve this with wild rice and quinoa, which I can get at my favourite supermarket.

Thai Basil Chicken

Dana Shultz, the Minimalist Baker, has these ultra-healthy sounding crispy miso chickpea bowls with garlic sesame dressing.  It seems this is a 10 ingredient bowl ~ I can cope with that.

Crispy Miso Chickpea Bowls with Garlic Sesame Dressing

And, finally for this week, Teigan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest offers us these weeknight 30 minute coconut curry chicken meatballs.  Never mind weeknight, these would be great to serve when you have friends around.

Coconut Curry Chicken Meatballs

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

healthy eating needs oily fish

foil pack grilled salmon with lemony asparagus

 

 

Food on Friday ~ Healthier Eating

It’s not a short term diet ~ it’s a long term lifestyle change

I’ve been spending a little time thinking about leading a healthier life ~ well you do when you get to a certain age.  Fresh air, sunshine, exercise, meditation, reading self-improvement books, listening to inspirational podcasts, and eating the ‘right’ foods.  The snag is there are as many ideas about what constitutes a healthy diet as there are diets.

However, for me eating better means cutting out a lot of fat, being as gluten-free as I can manage, and not eating dairy ~ I’m slightly lactose intolerant anyway.  Instead of those things I’m not going to eat I’m planning on a lot more organic fruits and vegetables.  Ergo, today’s recipes are kind of leaning towards the long term lifestyle change I’m working on.

One benefit of the healthy eating plan I’m working towards is that, in general, the recipes are very easy.

First up this week, from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes we have this easy cucumber salad, and you can’t get a simpler recipe than this one.

Easy Cucumber Salad

Next, from Heidi at Foodie Crush we have this great recipe for the best BBQ chicken ~ chicken is firmly part of my healthier lifestyle.

The Best BBQ Chicken

There’s gluten-free, and there’s not eating anything made from wheat, and then there’s the fact that sometimes you’ve just got to have pasta.  This slow roasted tomato basil pasta is as healthy as pasta can get ~ from Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats.  Personally, I will be using gluten-free pasta ~ gluten is nasty stuff.

Slow Roasted Tomato Basil Pasta

Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest has this cool recipe for a corn, tomato, and avocado pasta salad ~ this is such a quick recipe, and as I said sometimes one just has to have pasta.

Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Pasta Salad

This is a fabulous dish from Tiffany at Creme de la Crumb; one pan garlic herb chicken and asparagus ~ and it doesn’t get any better than that.

One Pan Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus

Oily fish is an important part of a healthy eating lifestyle, and from Delish we have 45 healthy salmon recipes, including this brilliant foil pack grilled salmon with lemony asparagus ~ it seems that lemon is good for you.

Foil Pack Grilled Salmon with Lemony Asparagus

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

canned and processed food is not part of a healthier lifestyle

Food on Friday ~ Desserts

There’s mo metaphysics on Earth like a chocolate dessert. ~ Pessoa

Now that summer is here, and some of us may be thinking of entertaining and garden parties, it might also be the right time to think of indulgent desserts.  After all, one may have the greatest grill in the district, but that means little if you can’t follow up the steak, oysters, and king crab with a really great dessert.

Some of you may also have some annual holiday celebrations coming up, I know my cousins across the pond celebrate their independence soon…..  And talking of dessert in the USA, pie and cheesecake isn’t what a great summer desert is all about.

So, first up this week, from Heather Christo, we have this vegan triple coconut sorbet.  I love sorbet, so light and refreshing on a hot summer afternoon.  This sorbet is dairy-free, nut-free, and free from soy products.

Vegan Triple Coconut Sorbet

Now, from Chungah at Damn Delicious, I offer you this substantial slow cooker apple pear crisp.  Apples and pears are such a fabulous combination ~ I used to know a great London pub called The Apples and Pears.  (In Cockney rhyming slang that doesn’t mean what you think.)

Slow Cooker Apple Pear Crisp

Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats has a very cool  looking dessert which appeals both to the sophisticated English Gentleman and the northern street kid in me; black raspberry lavender cobbler.

Black Raspberry Lavender Cobbler

I suppose I have to include one cheesecake recipe, but to give it an English flavour I offer you this no-bake Eton mess berry cheesecake from Half Baked Harvest.  (Eton is a town near Windsor, where the Queen lives.)

No-bake Eton Mess Berry Cheescake

To bring chocolate to the table, how about a chocolate cake, or 25?  From Olive Magazine we have the best chocolate cake recipes; including this ultimate chocolate fudge cake.

Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Cake

Your collection this week is from Delish Magazine; 79 delish summer desert recipes you’ll be making again and again.  I confess that this collection had me at the best ever rhubarb pie.  Being a proper Northern Englishman I love rhubarb pie ~ serve it with custard or vanilla ice cream.

Best Ever Rhubarb Pie

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

and to drink with your delicious desserts,

how about champagne mojitos?

(or a nice cup of tea)

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