Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid


In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid gets its name from the Greek word pantos, meaning everywhere; because it is available in such a wide variety of foods. The problem is that much of a foods content of B5 is lost through cooking; which in another reason for eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible in the raw state.

B5 is one of the eight water-soluble B vitamins which cannot be stored by the body and have to be replenished in your daily diet. We have already covered B1, B2, and B3 and B5 like the others plays an important role in the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, which is burned to produce energy. They are also needed to breakdown fats and proteins as well as promoting the health of the nervous system, skin, hair, eyes and importantly this month, the liver.

Vitamin B5 has a number of roles in the body some more critical than others. One job that is vitally important is assisting in the manufacture of red blood cells as well as sex and stress related hormones. Without B5 our digestive tract would become unhealthy and we would be unable to use other vitamins as effectively. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘anti-stress’ vitamin because it is believed to enhance the activity of the immune system and help the body overcome stressful conditions.

Currently research is looking into the benefits of B5 and treatment for elevated cholesterol but there are other areas where the vitamin may be beneficial.

Some studies are indicating that B5 may speed up wound healing especially following surgery and as part of a B-complex supplement it may help recovery from major burns.

Arthritis has also come under the microscope as blood tests taken from arthritis sufferers’ show that they were suffering from a deficiency of pantothenic acid, but more study will be needed to confirm this.

There are rumours that taking B5 can help with wrinkles and stop your hair greying but this is not proven.

What are the symptoms of deficiency?

If you are following a healthy eating plan with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrains you will be unlikely to be suffering from B5 deficiency.

If you were suffering from a mild to moderate deficiency you might suffer from:

  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • tingling in the hands
  • depression
  • abdominal pains
  • insomnia
  • burning feet
  • muscle weakness
  • cramps.

In extreme cases personality changes can take place as well as heart problems.

What are the best food sources for Vitamin B5

Although offal has gone out of fashion, they are great sources of Vitamin Bs.. including B5.

  • Chicken and beef liver
  • Avocados
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Shitake Mushooms but all mushrooms have good amounts
  • Dairy including Cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • beef and poultry
  • shellfish
  • Salmon and other oily fish
  • Trout
  • Peanuts
  • Lentils
  • Strawberries.

Time to hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating dishes that include ingredients that are great sources of this vitamin.

B5… As Sally has explained is one of the water soluble vitamins thus much of it is lost through cooking hence why we should eat as many vegetables as possible in their raw state…

Also as it is water soluble the vitamin will be lost if the food is boiled…

These spring rolls are very popular here in Thailand both with the children and adults and are found on street food stalls everywhere.

Ingredients for the peanut dipping sauce.

• 1 garlic clove
• 1 thumb-sized piece of organic ginger
• 2 tbsp gluten-free tamari or regular soy sauce
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
• ⅓ (85 g) cup peanut butter( to make your own)which is so easy https://carolcooks2.com/2017/08/09/healthy-eating-peanuts/
• ¼ (60 ml) cup water (more or less as needed)

Ingredients for the Spring Rolls.

• 1 cup cooked rice noodles
• 5-8 rice paper sheets
• 1 carrot
• 1 avocado
• ½ cucumber
• ½ red pepper
• 5-8 lettuce leaves or salad greens of your choice
• 1 handful fresh basil
• 1 handful fresh cilantro

Let’s Cook!

To make the peanut sauce: blend or mix together all the ingredients until smooth.

To make the wraps: cut all the veggies into thin strips which is an art I have learnt here or use a spiraliser if you have one.

Put the rice paper sheets, one at a time, in warm water so they soften. Then place them on a large plate and carefully dry them with a kitchen towel.

Arrange your fillings in the middle of the paper and sprinkle 1 tsp of the peanut sauce over the veggies. Fold over two ends then wrap it up like a burrito, making it as tight as possible.

It took me a while to get a hang of it, so keep trying it is not easy and watching the Thais it is second nature even the kids are better than me…ha-ha Don’t worry if you get a little hole it happens as you can see…Practice makes perfect.

N.B…I often add prawns to ours which takes the taste up a notch…One of our favourites.

Chicken Livers are one of the best sources of vitamin B5 and something many people don’t like…Chicken livers are the favoured livers here and more often cooked with spices.

I also make pate which the Thais love but is not something they usually make with the livers.  I have introduced that to the Thais I know, as well as Christmas pudding which they have come to love…

SAM_7988

Chicken Liver Red Curry with Green Beans Recipe

Alternatively, I just quickly fry the chicken livers in some butter and olive oil, salt and pepper and serve with onions and mashed potatoes a dish that hubby loves…He is not usually a spicy person but I think his love of liver overcomes the spiciness…haha.

This lovely Avocado and mango salsa is fresh and vibrant and can be paired with chicken, salmon, tuna it is packed full of fresh, B5 vitamins and tastes amazing…

Ingredients

• 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced medium. …
• 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced medium.
• 1 small red onion, diced small.
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves.
• 1/2 to 1 red chilli finely chopped remove seeds if required
• 2 tbsp fresh lime juice.
• 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil.
• A pinch of sea salt to taste

Photo credit: MarioMelendez on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and chill until required…An easy healthy accompaniment to your food…

Salmon one of my favourite fish and packed with B5 I always wrap mine in foil and cook in the oven to help retain the vitamins…

Cajun Salmon with Salted Lime Butter…

Ingredients for the Salted Lime Butter.

• 4 tbsp butter unsalted
• ½ Lime zested
• A pinch of sea salt

Method

Mix the lime zest and salt into the butter, then keep in the fridge until required either in a ramekin or make a roll and slice of as required.

Ingredients for the Cajun Spice Topping…

• 2 tbsp of dried oregano
• 2 tbsp garlic powder…
• 2 tbsp paprika
• 2 tbsp mineral or sea salt
• 1 tbsp black pepper
• 1 tbsp dried thyme
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tbsp onion powder
• 1 tsp chilli flakes ( optional)

To Prepare

  • Mix all the dried ingredients together …I always add fresh garlic and chopped onion to mine so I make my mix excluding the onion and garlic and then when required I add the fresh ingredients…
  • Place the salmon on foil and add the amount of  Cajun topping you require
  • seal the foil and cook in oven at 180 for 10-15 mins until cooked
  • I open the foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking and add my lime butter…
  • Serve with rice or noodles and freshly steamed vegetables or a nice avocado and mango salsa as above which helps cut through the Cajun spices.

Another way to eat your salmon is in this lovely soup…

A take on Tom Yum Soup… This is one of my favourite Thai soups and so easy to make from scratch. It also brings back memories of a certain lady…Keeleigh who when she visited us could not get enough of this fabulous soup…I am sure she would also love this version…

Ingredients

• 2 litres of water
• 4 stalks of lemon grass
• 1-inch chunk of galangal
• 10 kaffir lime leaves
• 10 Thai chillies
• 5 cloves of garlic
• 85 gm salmon per person
• 100 gm noodles of your choice per person
• 300 grams of oyster mushrooms
• 2 medium tomatoes cut into quarters.
• 5-6 shallots halved if really small if a little bigger quartered
• 1 and a half tsp of sugar
• 7 – 10 tbsp of fish sauce (depending on your taste)
• Juice of 5 -8 limes.
• A handful of cilantro ( Coriander)
• Half hardboiled egg per person…optional

N.B I recommend using the lowest amount of limes and fish sauce and Taste! Adjust if necessary as everyone’s taste varies.

Let’s Cook!

  • The first thing to do is put about 2 litres of water in a large pot to boil.
  • Then I like to start by squeezing my limes. This is not the first step of the recipe, but it’s best to have your limes squeezed so when you need them later, you don’t need to rush to squeeze them all.
  • Take your stalks of lemongrass, and first tear off the outermost leaf and throw it out. Then, I like to use a rolling-pin or the handle end of a knife to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours. Then just slice it diagonally into 1-inch strips or so.
  • Take about 1 thumb-sized chunk of the root part of galangal, and chop it into slices.
  • Coarsely break about 10 kaffir lime leaves – no need to cut them, just tear them – which is going to help release their flavour.
  • Peel about 5 cloves of garlic.
  • I used about 10 Thai birds eye chillies for this recipe, but you can use however many you’d like. First, take off the stem, and then you can either just slice them in two pieces, or give them a little pound on your cutting board like I did (just be careful of flying seeds). You can also remove the seeds if you still like the chilli flavour but not as much heat.
  • Throw the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chillies into the water.
  • You can put the lid on just so it starts to boil which releases the herb flavours quicker.
  • Boil your soup with all the herbs in it for about 10 minutes.
  • Then add your mushrooms, which you should pre-rinse beforehand.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and onions. Cook for further 6-8 minutes.
  • Now add your noodles and after 2 mins add your salmon and cook for a further 5 mins until salmon is just poached…
  • Remove from heat and gently stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.
    Taste and adjust if necessary.
  • This delicious soup is now ready to serve. Garnish with half a boiled egg and some coriander…

Enjoy!

If you are doing an original Tom Yum with prawns, only add your 500 gm of prepared prawns and cook for 2-3 mins max ( if overcooked the prawns will sink to the bottom of the pan. If you get any scum on the surface of soup it’s from the prawns then just skim off with a spoon. Then remove from heat and gently stir in fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and cilantro.

Taste and adjust if necessary.

Enjoy!

I hope these recipes have given you some ideas how to maximise your B5 intake…

Until next time have a lovely Easter and have some chocolate for me as we can’t get Easter eggs here…xx

My thanks to Carol for preparing these delicious dishes to ensure you and your family are obtaining adequate amounts of vitamins such as B5 in your diet. 

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

You will find me with some other blogging friends on a relatively new, and friendlier site called MeWe…. mewe.com/i/sallycronin

And Carol and I are both in the group where you can share your blog posts https://mewe.com/join/authorsbloggerscircleabcgroup

 

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Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor to prevent nutritional deficiencies – Vitamin B3 – Niacin


In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B3 is also known in different forms as Niacin, Nicotinic Acid, Nicotinamide and Nicinamide. When the vitamin was first discovered it was called nicotinic acid but there was a concern that it would be associated with nicotine in cigarettes, leading to the false assumption that somehow smoking might provide you with nutrients. It was decided to call it Niacin instead.

It works with other nutrients, particularly B1, B2, B5, B6 and biotin to break the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in food down into energy. B3 itself is essential in this process and it goes further by aiding in the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach to aid the digestion of food. It is actually involved in over 40 metabolic functions which shows how important it is in our levels of energy on a daily basis.

We are at the mercy of toxins and harmful chemicals in the body that need to be eliminated efficiently to prevent build up and illness. B3 works with the body and other nutrients to achieve this. Additionally when we are under attack from bacteria and viruses that we have not managed to eliminate fast enough, B3 will also assist in the antioxidant processes within the body to help us heal faster.

Enzymes in the body are unique substances that speed up chemical reactions in the body. They are responsible produce the energy we need, the breakdown of dietary fats, the production of certain hormones and cholesterol. In addition they are needed for the processing of genetic material (DNA) and the growth and healthy maturing of cells. B3 is essential for the efficiency of many of these enzymes.

One of the areas that B3 is used therapeutically is in the lowering of cholesterol. B3 actually lowers LDL (lousy cholesterol) and raises HDL (healthy cholesterol). In tests, supplemented B3 proved more effective than many of the normal cholesterol lowering drugs although there have been instances of side effects in the form of excessive flushing. To prevent this you can take time release tablets and also begin on a low dose, gradually building up to the therapeutic level.

High dosage of any vitamin therapy should only be undertaken with the supervision of a medical professional and there are a number of different forms of B3 supplementation that can be used to minimise side effects whilst still acting to reduce LDL and raise HDL.

People at risk of being Vitamin B3 deficient.

It is not considered to be a common deficiency but even a mild one can have an impact on your health. People who are intolerant to gluten are at risk as are those with other intestinal problems including Crohn’s Disease and IBS.

Also when considering a vegetarian or vegan diet it is important to substitute animals products with foods that contain all the B vitamins, and may need additional supplementation too.

The elderly and those suffering from a decreased appetite also may need additional B vitamins in supplement form.

The mild symptoms of a deficiency.

General fatigue
Insomnia
Being cold all the time,
Mild depression
Muscle cramps
Tingling in the fingers
Depressed appetite
Digestive problems
Headaches

Severe deficiency of the vitamin leads to Pellagra and can be fatal

Skin disorders including dermatitis
Diarrhea
Dementia

B3 is water soluble and therefore needs to be replenished daily from your diet it is found in liver, chicken, Turkey, salmon, swordfish, tuna, venison, eggs, cheese and milk. Plant sources include green leafy vegetables such as Asparagus, broccoli, carrots, dates, mushrooms, peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, sunflower seeds and wholegrains.

I am now going to hand over to Carol who has whipped up some delicious dishes for the whole family using some of the B3 rich foods as ingredients.

I am thoroughly enjoying this new series as it is helping me to know which of the foods I eat are the ones I need for my optimum health…I hope you are also finding this series helpful with your healthy eating plans.

Cauliflower cheese with broccoli

My go to dish when I want something that reminds me of home…Broccoli and cauliflower cheese…

I will let you determine how much you use because you know how much you eat and how many you are cooking for.

Ingredients

• Broccoli… cut into florets.
• Cauliflower cut into florets.
• Steam the vegetables lightly as they will finish cooking when the sauce is added.
• Tomatoes for decoration.
• For the Sauce:
• 2 tbsp Corn flour
• 1 0z/25gm Butter… I generally just slice it off the block so probably use a tad. more
• 3/4 pint Milk
• Salt
• Freshly ground Pepper.
• 3 oz/70gm Cheddar cheese plus extra for topping.
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard.

I have always used a flour/butter roux to make a white sauce and if that’s how you roll then that’s fine.

My son (bless him) has turned it on its head and asked me why did I make it hard for myself….mmm…teaching mum to suck eggs?

His version and now I have got used to it…it is easier. But am I going to tell him that…Nope!

Let’s Cook

  1. Mix the corn flour to a smooth paste with a little of the milk set aside.
  2. Bring your milk to a slow boil, add the butter and let it melt.
  3. Now…pour your corn flour mix into the milk in very small amounts stirring as you pour, repeating until all the corn flour is incorporated you now have a very smooth sauce.
  4. Season with Salt and pepper and add Dijon mustard again stirring the entire time cook for 1-2 minutes stirring to cook off the taste of the corn flour.
  5. Stir in your cheese I use a strong English cheddar but you can use gruyere cheese or another cheese of your choice or mix your cheeses.
  6. Put steamed vegetables into an ovenproof dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Grate some more cheese over the top you could also mix the cheese with breadcrumbs to make a crispier topping.
  7. Put halved small tomatoes or sliced larger ones around the edge of the dish.

Yes, you will notice a gap…No I didn’t run out of tomatoes….We have… he who shall remain nameless who doesn’t like tomatoes anywhere near his portion.

I am saying no more!

Enjoy!

Lemon Chicken with Asparagus

Ingredients:

• 4 chicken breasts
• 2tbsp coconut oil
• 4 cloves of garlic crushed
• 8 oz mushrooms sliced
• ¾ cup of milk/cream
• Juice of a Lemon
• Lemon slices
• Couple sprigs fresh thyme
• Salt and pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Heat pan and add 1 tbsp of the oil when the oil is hot add the chicken skin side down, cook for about3 mins both side and set aside.
  2. If required add the remaining oil to the pan and add the garlic, asparagus and mushrooms saute until the asp is lightly browned about 8 mins.
  3. Return the chicken to the pan, add the milk and lemon juice slowly heat, throw in thyme and arrange lemon slices on top of the chicken bring to a very slow simmer then cover the pan and put in a preheated oven until chicken is cooked or if you prefer carry on cooking on the stove top.
  4. Taste and then season.
  5. Serve with steamed rice, pasta or zucchini ribbons (zoodles)

Thai Mushroom Larb

As I have been trying to find some nice flavoursome meatless recipes I came across this one and as Larb is a favourite here I decided to give this version a go… The initial reaction from
the meat eaters in this house were not one of joy…ha-ha but on reflection they had to admit it was nice.

Made using the shiitake mushroom which is great in stir-fries, soups and with pasta, it also apparently makes tasty veggie bacon.

Ingredients

• 12 oz shiitake mushrooms cut into 1/2 in pieces…Remove stalks and reserve for stir fry etc
• 3 spring onions chopped
• 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
• 1 clove of garlic finely diced
• 1 small shallot sliced thinly
• 1 tsp dried chilli or 1 fresh chilli finely sliced
• 1 tbsp fish sauce
• A handful of mint leaves
• Lime Juice plus wedges to serve
• Few peanuts roughly chopped.
• Oil to cook mushrooms.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Add 2 tbsp oil to pan over a medium to high heat add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 mins, shake and cook for another 3-4 mins until mushrooms are crispy…Do not add salt or they won’t crisp.
  2. Add ginger and garlic and remove from the heat.
  3. Add spring onions, chilli, fish sauce and half the nuts stir to combine and add mint leaves.
  4. Taste and add a squeeze of lime juice adjust seasoning if required…
    Peanut butter

Quite by accident (we were drying) peanuts some must have escaped and took root so I can now say I grow my own peanuts.

I am not talking about the salted peanuts that you buy in packets in the shop or supermarket but peanuts grown naturally and roasted or made into healthy peanut butter.

These peanuts are high in monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that is vital in the heart healthy Mediterranean diet. There have been many studies on peanuts and they have shown that this little legume is very vital for heart health.

Peanuts are a good source of Vitamins as well as providing resveratrol, the phenolic antioxidant also found in red grapes and red wine. While it cannot compare with the fruits highest in antioxidants i.e. pomegranate, roasted peanuts do compare with the antioxidants of apples, carrots and beets.

Rather than buying store bought peanut butter which is full of nasties it is easier and it is very quick to make your own. It is the quickest easiest recipe to make ever, the kids can help blitz it and as well as being tasty it has no nasties.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Take 500 gm raw peanuts. Put in oven on tray and cook on high for 10 mins.
  2. Take out of oven and reserve a few (if you like crunchy peanut butter) like me. Put the remainder of nuts in a food processor and blitz at 1 min intervals scrapping down the sides. Do this for 4 mins or until smooth.
  3. Add 1tsp of salt, 1 tbsp oil and remainder of reserved nuts if using. If you want to add honey, Nutella or flavouring of your choice then add now.
  4. Blitz again for 1 min and put in a suitable container. Stores in fridge for 3/4 weeks…….IT’S DELISH!

Sunflower seeds…

Sunflower seeds are a little powerhouse of nutrients they can be added to a crumble topping, roasted as a snack or with scrambled eggs which is a new one on me …What do you think…?

For a crumble topping

Make the topping and then layer with the stewed fruit as pictured above.

Ingredients

• 150g/5½oz light muscovite sugar
• 150g/5½oz walnuts, roughly chopped
• 50g/1¾oz sunflower seeds
• 100g/3½oz softened butter
• 50 g/1 ¾ oz plain flour
• 50 g/1 ¾ oz porridge oats

Let’s Cook

  1. Put the dry topping ingredients in a mixing bowl and rub in the butter until it is evenly distributed and the mixture has formed small clumps.
  2. Spread the mixture evenly over a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden-brown and crisp.
  3. Stir to break up the crumble and sprinkle over the hot fruit of your choice…

That’s all for this week I hope you enjoy the recipes please let us know in comments if you have any questions or queries we love to hear from you.

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

As I move from Facebook to share my posts, you will find me with some other blogging friends on a relatively new, and friendlier site called MeWe….you can find me on mewe.com/i/sallycronin

Smorgasbord Health Column Rewind – Cook from Scratch with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Beans – A staple food for 12,000 years


This week in the Cook from Scratch rewind I explore the health benefits of beans and Carol Taylor will then use them as ingredients in dishes to please the whole family.

Beans can be tricky so Carol has been working away in the kitchen to give you some fool proof recipes to try so that you can include this very nutrient dense food.

 

 

Mention the fact that you are an ardent bean lover and people automatically give you a wide berth. Unfortunately this very nutritious food group has developed a rather anti-social reputation over the years but prepared and cooked correctly beans can overcome their wind producing properties.

History of the Bean

There is evidence going back nearly 12,000 years that peas were part of the staple diet in certain cultures and certainly natives of Peru and Mexico were cultivating beans as a crop 9,000 years ago. It is likely that they were one of the first crops to be planted when man ceased to be nomadic and settled into communities.

There are many types of bean used as a staple food in different cultures around the world including Black beans, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Navy Beans and Soybeans. In Asia where consumption of soybean products is very high it is regarded as one of the best preventative medicines that you can eat.

What are the main health benefits of beans.

For anyone suffering high cholesterol levels, blood pressure, heart disease, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, Diverticulitis, colon cancer, diabetes or iron deficiency, beans are definitely on the healing foods list. One of the main health benefits of eating beans is their high fibre content.

Although fibre is not exactly up there on everyone’s favourite foods list it is extremely important to our overall health. Fibre is carbohydrate that cannot be digested and there are two types, water-soluble and water insoluble. Primarily water-soluble fibre comes from oatmeal, oat bran, nuts and seeds, fruit and legumes that include peas, lentils and beans. The insoluble fibre is mainly found in wholegrains, wheat bran, seeds, root vegetables, cucumbers, courgettes, celery and tomatoes.

Fibre acts like a vacuum cleaner, travelling through the blood stream and intestines collecting cholesterol plaque, toxins, waste products from normal bodily functions and anything else that should not be there.

Provided you do not pile high fat sauces and butter onto this group of foods they can be a very healthy aid to weight loss as fibre has no calories and the foods containing it are generally low in fat and high in nutrients.

Other healthy elements in beans.

Beans are packed with nutrients as well as fibre including Vitamin B1 (thiamin) copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and tryptophan. The combination of nutrients will help boost your immune system, balance blood sugar levels, lower your risk of heart disease and help protect you against cancer.

Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates and for a healthy nervous system. Every cell in the body requires this vitamin to form the fuel the body runs on, ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).

Copper is an essential trace mineral needed to absorb and utilise iron and also assist in the production of collagen.

Folate is a B Vitamin essential for cell replication and growth. It is needed for our nervous system and heart health as folate helps lower homocysteine levels in the blood, a leading contributory factor in heart disease.

Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for bone, protein and fatty acid formation, forming new cells, activating the B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood and forming ATP. The secretion and action of insulin also needs magnesium as does the correct balance of calcium in the body.

Iron is an integral part of the oxygen-carrying haemoglobin in the blood, which is why a deficiency can cause fatigue and ill health.

Manganese boosts energy and the immune system and molybdenum another trace mineral helps detox the body of sulphites a commonly used preservative in processed food and one that many people have a sensitivity to.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is critical in the manufacture of serotonin a neurotransmitter that affects our mental wellbeing.

Preparing beans to avoid the wind factor.

If you are not used to fibre then you need to introduce it into your diet over a period of days. This guideline applies to eating beans as people who eat them regularly seem to have less of a problem. There are a number of guidelines to ensure that you receive all of the benefits and none of the more anti-social side effects.

  • 1. Soak your dried beans for at least 6 hours before cooking. Change the water several times.
  • 2. Put the beans in a large pot and cover with cold unsalted water usually 3 to 6 times the amount of beans. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Drain the beans after 30 minutes and replace the water. Bring back to the boil and then simmer.
  • 3. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface of the water.
  • 4. When the beans have softened add some salt, as this will bring out there flavour. If you add salt at the beginning of cooking it can make the beans tougher. If you are on a low sodium diet then be careful about how much salt you add or use and alternative.
  • 5. When the beans are cooked you can prepare in a number of ways. Include in brown rice dishes; stir-fry with a little olive oil, seasonings and favourite spices.
  • 6. A lovely way to eat beans is in a casserole with tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, carrots, potatoes, celery and vegetable stock.
  • 7. Make your own baked beans with homemade tomato sauce and serve on jacket potatoes or on toast.
  • 8. You can blend with other ingredients and make hamburgers, meatloaves and pates.

Now it is time to hand you over to the cooking expert who has created some wonderful ways to include beans regularly in your diet.  Here’s Carol………

Full of Beans by Carol Taylor

Beans are such a versatile legume…it is the name used for the seeds of several plants that includes beans, peas and lentils and they are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available and if you have perused Sally’s writing before you got to my recipes you will know just how beneficial to our health and wellbeing they are.

Sally has even included a little tip which may make the air surrounding you be a little less sulphuric…ha ha…Methinks we have all been on the receiving end of that one!

Here in Thailand beans are included in most Thai diets and come in many guises some I had never seen or heard of before living here and have now come to love and one which is very aptly called the Stink Bean grew on me as after eating these your urine will smell very much like the smell you get after consuming asparagus.

Firstly my time in the kitchen over the last few days has been fraught to say the very least and also hilarious….My first effort at making Baked Beans ended in a culinary disaster…and I forgot to take pictures but trust me the pot was encrusted with burnt beans and the smell invaded everything…My other half who was left in charge while I went to the hairdressers…Big Mistake… went on the defensive…

When he managed to get his nose out of his book (why) after all those years of not reading anything did I encourage him to read??? He had a simple task og keeping an eye on the pot of beans… As soon as I walked in I could smell the burning. The answer to my “ Could you not smell the burning?” Was.. and I quote “I thought that was a cooking smell “

Those who know me don’t very often see me stunned into silence…..I was just speechless …If the volcano had erupted it would still be spewing forth…lol

Take 2.

As these beans have very little cooking juice they need constant stirring and watching (and folks) let me tell you I have made the mistakes so you will not…. See how good I am to you!
I set the timer on my phone to go off every 5 minutes… My office is in my bedroom and up 2 flights of a marble staircase… I forgot how quick I could get down and up to reset the timer and at my age…I was impressed and so was little Lily who turned it into a game…I got 2 hours of up and down the stairs which was good exercise …I felt invigorated..truly… I knew if I burnt these beans I would never ever live it down.

The result:

They were ok…took ages to soften and so next time I hope they will be just perfect and not take so long to cook so I have slightly rewritten the recipe…. And next time I make these baked beans I will not only pre-soak them but will be pre-cooking them in water before adding the ingredients…You live and learn don’t you???

Baked Beans:

Firstly, cover the beans with water and soak the beans overnight. Secondly cover the beans with fresh water and cook for at least 2 hours until they are nearly soft it will depend on the age of the beans as apparently the ones you buy of of the supermarket shelves can be years old so it is best to buy online or from a health food store as they have a bigger turnover and the beans are likely to be somewhat younger.

Now we can add our tomatoes and seasonings and cook for a further 2 hours or until soft.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gm Navy Beans or haricot beans
  • 200 gm passata or good chopped tomatoes
  • 20 ml Apple cider vinegar
  • 10 ml Soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme or other herbs
  • A dash of olive oil
  • Salt to season (Don’t) add salt until near the end of the cooking time.

This was my basic bean recipe and I have also included underneath a few ideas for variations.

Let’s Cook!

In an oven proof dish mix all the ingredients except for the salt together and pour over your pre soaked and pre- cooked beans. Cover with the lid and cook at 175C for about 2 hours or until soft. Don’t forget to stir occasionally and add water if required.

Enjoy!

Oh! And a little cooking tip…
Never throw away the liquid you pre- cook your beans in it makes an idea base for soups.

Now for a few ideas for some additions to your basic bean mix…

Apple-Cheddar Baked Beans: Core and cut up 1 tart apple (such as Granny Smith) and stir it into the bean mixture before baking. Sprinkle the beans with 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked cheddar cheese after baking.

Hawaiian Baked Beans: Stir one 8-ounce can pineapple titbits, undrained, into the bean mixture before baking. Bake the beans uncovered for the last 10 minutes.

Apricot Baked Beans: Substitute apricot preserves for the honey, and stir 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots into the bean mixture before baking.

Maple-Pecan Baked Beans: Substitute maple syrup for the honey. Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans over the bean mixture before serving.

Another great idea for beans is a lovely mixed bean salad with my favourite feta cheese.

Mix black beans, kidney beans and great northern beans, dice some fresh tomatoes with green chilli peppers, feta cheese, red onion, Greek seasoning, and 2 cloves of garlic finely diced in a bowl. Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey mustard, and Worcestershire sauce in a separate bowl; pour over the bean mixture. Toss to coat.

This is lovely served with some grilled fish, a nice chicken breast cooked in garlic butter or a piece of medium rare steak.

This can be whipped up in minutes with ingredients you probably have in your fridge or store cupboard.

Ideal when you really don’t want to cook.

Hummus:

My home-made Tahini is now made and in the fridge. Click the link below for the recipe.
https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/happiness-often-sneaks-in-through-a-door-you-didnt-know-you-left-open/

Ingredients:

  • 3tbsp Tahini Paste
  • I can of chick peas or you can use soaked dried, cooked chickpeas.
  • 2tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2tbsp Olive Oil,
  • 1 clove Garlic,
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
  • ½ -1 tsp salt

Let’s Cook!

  1. Combine your tahini paste with the lemon juice and blitz. Add olive oil, cumin, salt and garlic and blitz. Add half the drained can of chick peas and blitz 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add other half of Chick peas and blitz again for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Put in suitable container or serving bowl drizzle with 1 tbsp Olive Oil and sprinkle with Paprika.
  4. Voila it’s now ready to eat with Sliced pitta bread or cut up vegetables of your choice.
  5. This will keep up to 1 week in the fridge.

Wing Beans:

This lovely fluted edged little bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), Is also known as the Goa bean, asparagus pea, four-angled bean, four-cornered bean, Manila bean, Mauritius bean, and winged pea.

Winged bean is nutrient rich, and all parts of the plant are edible. Leaves can be eaten like spinach, flowers can be used in salads, tubers can be eaten raw or cooked, and seeds can be used in similar ways as the soybean.

All you need is Wing beans, garlic, a small chilli chopped( optional) and some seasoning sauce I use Oyster sauce….Which I believe is available worldwide now in Asian stores.

Chop your wing beans in ½ inch pieces on the diagonal; chop your garlic and chilli if used.

Add a little coconut oil to a pan quickly stir fry the garlic and chilli add the beans and stir fry 1-2 minutes add 1-2 tbsp oyster sauce and stir fry for another minute and viola a lovely little dish which I eat for a quick lunch with some steamed rice or it can be served as an accompaniment to a main meal.

Enjoy!

Stink Beans:

This recipe is for one of the most popular beans in Thailand called the Stink Bean it is often eaten raw with a spicy dip and also stir fried with prawns , chicken or Pork.

Ingredients

  • 400 grams shrimp (you can also make this recipe with chicken or pork)
  • 2 – 3 heaping tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 cup of shelled stink beans (I used 6 pods, and you can use more or less)
  • ½ tsp shrimp paste
  • ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • ½ tbsp sugar (This is the Thai way, but I use less or none)
  • 6 – 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying

Let’s Cook!

  1. Prepare the shrimp by taking off the head and peeling the shell, and then devein them. If you want to prepare your shrimp Thai style, peel the body, but leave the tail on.
  2. Stink beans grow in a long twisted hard pods, so the first thing to do is peel the stink beans out of the outer shell. The skin is quite tough so it’s easiest to take a sharp knife and slice the bean, almost in half first. Then peel back the skin and remove the stink bean inside. You’ll also see an inner, beige colored skin that coats the stink beans, and you want to remove that too.
  3. Go through all the pods and remove all the stink beans – this will probably take a few minutes.
  4. Put your wok or frying pan on a medium heat and add about 2 tbsp of oil. I normally like to use less oil when I stir fry Thai food, but with this stink bean curry recipe, you really need to add some oil so the curry paste gets nice and fragrant when frying and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. When your oil is sizzling hot, add in the curry paste, first start with 2 tbsp. – you can always come back and add more later if it’s not flavourful enough. Then add about ½ tsp of shrimp paste.
  6. Stir fry the curry paste, working it into the oil, and scraping it off the bottom of the pan. Immediately you should start to smell those beautiful chillies, the lemongrass and the turmeric. Keep stir frying for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, making sure the paste doesn’t burn, but is nice and fragrant.
  7. Add the shrimp, and stir fry continuously for about 30 seconds. The shrimp should pretty quickly start to turn from transparent to pink orange in colour. If the curry paste starts to get dry, you can toss in a splash of water, and that should give you some liquid to work with as well as a little extra sauce.
  8. Then toss in the stink beans, and stir fry for about another 30 seconds or so. You want to keep stirring hard so the curry paste doesn’t stick to the pan.
  9. Season with ½ tbsp of oyster sauce and ½ tbsp of sugar (the normal Thai way is to use sugar, so I showed it this way in the recipe, BUT, when I cook it myself I normally omit the sugar or use just a tiny bit – so up to you how much sugar you want to add).
  10. Again, if your stink beans ( goong pad sataw) get dry, add another splash of water, and then stir fry for just another minute.
  11. The final step is to take 6 – 8 kaffir lime leaves, and tear them off the stems directly into the curry. When you tear the kaffir lime leaves, it will release their flavour. Stir fry for just 10 seconds, and then turn off the heat.
  12.  Immediately put it onto a serving plate, and you’re ready to start eating.

Serve with some steamed rice…

Enjoy!

Lastly we have a ..Chilli Con Carne of which there are many variations. Most of which I think are a generic chilli as a proper Mexican chilli is normally chunks of beef and no tomatoes and actually bears little resemblance to the Chilli Con Carne we know and love…

Ingredients

  • 500 gm lean minced Beef ( I use pork) as I can’t get minced beef here.
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped2 inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped
  • 1-3 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 beef stock cube or 1 pt of fresh made beef or vegetable stock
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans, drained

Let’s Cook!

  1. Put the olive oil in a large pan and heat add the chopped onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.I like to add my cumin seeds with the onions as it brings out their full flavour and we love cumin.
  2. Add the minced meat and cook , stirring until nicely browned.Add the tomatoes, stock, peppers and tomato puree stirring in well and bring to a soft simmer.
  3. Add the paprika, marjoram and sugar. Cook for 20 minutes now this is where I taste and add more chilli and usually more cumin seeds and then add the drained kidney beans and cook for a further 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with steamed rice and sour cream dusted with a little smoked paprika.

Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed these bean recipes and I would like to thank Sally once again for allowing me to add my recipes to her wonderful posts on the health benefits of the food we eat.

As always I am so grateful to Carol for the time and effort that she puts into preparing these recipes, including misunderstandings with her assistant!  She is a treasure.

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor to prevent nutrient deficiency – Vitamin B2 -Riboflavin


In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

 

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

Like the other B vitamins, B2 plays an important role in energy production by ensuring the efficient metabolism of the food that we eat in the form of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It plays a key role in our nutritional processes such as its help in processing amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which is the substance that we are made of. Twenty amino acids are needed to build the various different proteins used in the growth, repair and maintenance of our body tissues and whilst eleven of these are made by the body itself, the others must be obtained from our diet and processed by other agents including B2.

Surprisingly, despite there being plenty of sources for B vitamins in the Western world, a deficiency is not uncommon. There are a number of causes for this, lack of variety in the diet, restricted diets for weight loss, a change of diet to vegetarianism or veganism without careful consideration and inclusion of alternatives to meat to provide B vitamins. It is also common in those who drink heavily. It is also found to be deficient in those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and cataracts.

Here is a quick look at why Vitamin B2 is essential in the diet.

The role in the uptake of iron

Research into anaemia has highlighted the role of B2 in the body’s inability to manufacture red blood cells. There are two areas that would appear to be particularly critical. One is the vitamin’s role in mobilising iron from storage to the cells and secondly that a deficiency prevents the efficient absorption of iron.
Energy

Vitamin B2 is a vitamin that is essential for metabolising carbohydrates to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) without which we would be totally lacking in energy. It also works with enzymes in the liver to eliminate toxins, which helps keep us clear of infection.

Pre-Natal health

B2 is needed to change B6 and Folic Acid into an active and usable form so that our nervous system is protected. Folic acid is essential for healthy cell division and is needed before and during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy to help prevent birth defects. B2 is also part of the process that changes tryptophan, so important to our mental wellbeing, into niacin.

Antioxidant efficiency

Our bodies have an extremely complex chemical operating system and it is synergistic. It is rare for one of the chemical components to work in isolation and it usually requires a reaction to occur to achieve a function. For example B2 is needed to recycle the vital antioxidant Glutathione in its oxidised state (after it has done its job to detoxify the unstable free radicals) into reduced Glutathione so it can go back and do the job again.
Other areas where B2 is essential.

Without sufficient B2 we would not have healthy skin, nails and hair and our thyroid function can be compromised, B vitamins are also essential for brain health.

Some of the symptoms of Vitamin B2 deficiency.

1. Weakness or fatigue
2. Frequent bouts of depression
3. Frequent throat infections
4. Dry Skin, in particular persistent skin cracking
5. Dermatitis and other skin conditions such as acne
6. Anaemia (poor uptake of iron)
7. Migraines and headaches,
8. Rheumatoid arthritis

Dairy products are one of the main sources of Vitamin B2.

If I was to use an alternative it would not be soy-milk but rice milk. The only proviso with rice milk is if you are diabetic or at risk of diabetes.

Other foods that provide you with Vitamin B2

1. Offal meats
2. lamb
3. Beef,
4. oily fish such as mackerel.
5. eggs
6. wholegrain Rice.
7. dark Green vegetables (Spinach and Broccoli)
8. asparagus,
9. mushrooms
10. almonds.

I am now going to hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating dishes that include some of the high source foods needed to provide you and your family sufficient Vitamin B2

Carol Cooks 2 with Vitamin B2.

I am already loving this new series that Sally and myself are bringing to you…It was the brainchild of Sally and I think it is a great idea…Although I know a fair bit about cooking and food I am the first to admit that although I know what is good for me I don’t always know why…If a doctor or health practitioner informed me I was short on a certain Vitamin and needed to include more of it in my diet I wouldn’t always know where to start…

The recipes I will be providing for each vitamin will help with this and will include everyday foods which will help boost any given deficiency …Some of the ingredients will be duplicated but we are hoping that it will make it easier for you to remember which ingredients contain which Vitamins it has certainly helped me while I have been looking at recipes and ingredients.

Today I am looking at ingredients which contain or convert to vitamin B2 … All these recipes are made in my own kitchen and tested by me and my family…

Offal contains B1 and B2 and I know many people do not like offal…I was bought up eating offal and offal is eaten and cooked a lot by Thais… Thais tend to use chicken livers whereas my mum used lambs or pigs liver she also used to stuff pigs hearts with sage and onion stuffing which cooked slowly with onions and served with mash, broccoli and carrots with thick gravy it was a lovely hearty meal…

Liver and Bacon was my mum’s preferred way of serving liver and mine until I moved here I now use chicken livers and add some chilli paste…Although it is quite a fiery little dish even hubby eats it as I think his love of liver overrides the fact he is sweating buckets because of the heat of the chilli…haha

This lovely spicy chicken liver dish is very easy and quick to make…..In Thai it translates to Pad Ped Kuang Nai Gai Tua Fuk Yaao try pronouncing that after a few sundowners…

Spicy Chicken Livers.

Ingredients:

  • 350 gm Chicken Livers
  • 4 or 5 long green beans.
  • 2 tsp Red curry paste… depending on your red curry paste you use you may need to add more…I use a locally made one which blows your head off …so only use 2 tsp and it is still hot!
  • 1-2 tbsp Fish Sauce.
  • 6/8 Lime leaves very finely sliced.
  • 4 tbsp Coconut Milk or more if you like a bit more sauce.
  • Small amount of coconut oil.

N.B You can use oil of your choice I just always cook with Coconut oil.
Serve with brown/wild steamed rice.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Clean and cut up chicken livers..I do bite size pieces.
  2. Cut up long beans into half-inch long pieces.
  3. Finely shred lime leaves…..I roll them and shred.
  4. Heat Pan over fairly high heat, add a small amount of oil, add chilli paste and 1 tbsp Fish sauce stir until paste is liquid, add finely sliced lime leaves and chicken livers , stir until just cooked.
  5. Add green beans and coconut milk and cook gently for 2/3 mins.
  6. Taste and add more fish sauce if required…I generally add about another half tbsp.

It is now ready to serve…this is quite a dry dish so can be served with a small bowl of miso soup with chopped spring onions if liked.

N.B. If you can’t get snake beans then substitute green beans.

Spinach and Brocolli are a great source of Vitamin B2…

Now I know many people don’t eat vegetables and that really surprises me as we love our vegetables we were always given them as children and I did the same to mine I never forced a vegetable as long as they ate at least one vegetable with their meal. But I also found that as they grew older they liked that veg which they hadn’t when younger a good example is Brussel sprouts.

Vegetables can be disguised if you really don’t eat them with a cheese sauce or popped between the layers of a lasagne…

How lovely does that look..A simple white sauce with added grated cheeses poured over the top of any vegetable you like I use cauliflower and broccoli mixed sometimes have added it to cabbage and it makes a lovely dish on its own with some grilled tomatoes or as a side vegetable with fish.

My salad this week again using Mackerel which we love is :- Mackerel and green mango salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small mackerel or mackerel fillets
  • 1 green mango, julienned
  • 3 shallots finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2 -4 fresh red chillies sliced
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes ( optional)
  • 1 handful of fresh mint picked and chopped
  • 1 handful coriander chopped
  • 2 tbsp unsalted roasted nuts.

To prepare

  1. Grill the mackerel unless you buy ready smoked mackerel and in that case break it into flakes.
  2. Julienne your mango, slice your shallots and chop your herbs.
  3. Put all your chopped ingredients and the fish into a serving bowl and add your chillies, fish sauce and Lime Juice..
  4. Taste and if you wish to add a little sugar to balance the flavour or suit your palate then add it now.

Serve with noodles or some steamed plain potatoes.

I personally preferred this mackerel dish to the one last week not by much but I like fruity flavours…If you can’t get green mango then I think( and) am going to try it next it would be lovely with mango which is just ripe but still firm which I think you could get almost anywhere in the world now…Or try a green apple which I think would be equally as good.

Mushrooms also contain B2 and I love mushrooms in any way shape or form and there are so many different mushrooms…

Mushroom Pate…

Ingredients

  • A cup of shelled walnuts
  • Half a cup of minced shallots
  • ¼ lb shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ lb Crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ lb Portobello mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tbsp of roasted garlic puree
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Black pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Lets Cook!

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F, 175C
  2. Spread the walnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven until lightly brown. Take out and set to one side.
  3. In a large pan melt the butter and add the shallots, cook until translucent then add the mushrooms, garlic, parsley, thyme , salt and pepper, cook, stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Next blend the walnuts and oil together until they form a thick paste, add the mushroom mix and blend until it reaches your desired consistency…some like a coarser pate than others.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
  6. Put in small ramekins or one large dish. Cover with cling film and chill for a few hours or overnight before serving.

A simple dish is mushrooms on toast.

Ingredients to serve 2 people.

  • 2 slices of sour dough bread or bread of your choice. Toasted.
  • 170 gm of mixed mushrooms
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 2 slices of bacon or prosciutto
  • Few sprigs of Parsley, chopped for dish and to garnish
  • Knob of butter

Let’s Cook!

  1. Fry your bacon or prosciutto and set to one side. Cut into pieces.
  2. Add the butter to a pan then add mushrooms cook for 2 minutes, add crushed garlic and crème fraiche cook for 3-5 mins and stir in some chopped parsley.
  3. Pile mushrooms on top of toast and garnish with bacon and some parsley.
  4. If you are feeling really peckish then top the mushrooms with a poached egg.

Enjoy!

Mushrooms also go well in a cream or tomato sauce over pasta or in a lovely mushroom risotto. They lend themselves to so many savoury dishes and cream of mushroom soup is very nice…One of my grandsons favourites.

What is your favourite mushroom dish?

My thanks to Carol for creating and adapting recipes to include Vitamin B2 rich foods and I am sure the whole family will love them.

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

As I move from Facebook to share my posts, you will find me with some other blogging friends on a relatively new, and friendlier site called MeWe….you can find me on mewe.com/i/sallycronin

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Social Media Shenanigans, Spring Flowers, Mexican Getaways, Italian Food, music, humour and Fabulous Guests


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed.

Firstly, an update on the Facebook debacle which only gets worse I am afraid. I know that several of you have been hit by blocked posts that contain links and are still having issues. I can comment, and share posts internally on Facebook but post links are still being blocked.

Disturbingly today that included the link to Debby Gies Sunday Interview which I sent to her in a Direct Message… supposedly private! It was blocked and in bold red told me that it did not meet community standards. I have appealed of course but it does have a warning for us all. Do not disclose private information in a direct message. For example if as they say Facebook is selling our data to health insurance companies, and we mention in a private message about a health issue we have to a friend, and then apply for insurance! Does that sound paranoid? Probably. What about your email address that you send in a message, or your postal address and the dates you will be away on vacation.

I had no illusions about Facebook but they have now embarked on a wholesale censorship programme that is unacceptable. They want you to have a page where they can bombard you with messages to boost your post to thousands of others at a cost. And they want to encourage you to buy from one of their advertisers and when you do, by all accounts you never hear the last of them.

I have friends and family on Facebook and I can at least for the time being share your posts from there. But over the next few weeks as MeWe grows and develops mewe.com/i/sallycronin and the author’s group which now has nearly 50 members https://mewe.com/join/theliterarydivashangout – I will be only using Facebook sparingly to stay in touch and to share others work internally. Eventually, I will be closing my account as I won’t be blackmailed or have any more of my private messages intercepted.

On a brighter note.. I have done the sums and the statistics show that the referrals to the blog is approximately 10%…thankfully most of those who share from Facebook are also contacts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or other sites that I am a member of such as MeWe. My main concern was for the book promotions that I post for other authors but after two weeks there has been no change to the response which is a relief.

Thank you for all your support and I appreciate all the shares to FB from here in the past, but I have now permanently removed the share button, as I don’t want you to be faced with messages from FB telling you that it is not allowed. They are intimidating and offer not recourse so I am done.

And as an aside.. new users are asked for a photograph before they are allowed to sign up for an account. It can take several days to get back to you. But in the meantime with facial recognition they can have mined a great deal of information about who you are and your history online. Whilst this does mean that the fake generals and other trolls will not be accepted, it also means that they can pick and choose who they admit to the site and if you do not fit their profile as a potential buyer of the advertising that they send your way… who knows where it will lead!

It is now affecting millions of users and you might find this post interesting sourced by Carol Taylor: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/135476927/posts/1232

On with the posts from the week, and as always I am very grateful to the contributors who spend time and a great deal of effort to write columns and guest articles.

Welcome to Debby Gies March edition of her Travel Column where she shares the first part of her trip and two month vacation in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.. and the flight did not go as planned!

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-puerto-vallarta-mexico-part-one/

This week Paul Andruss shares the bulbs that will make your late spring garden abundant with colour.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-light-up-your-life-with-brilliant-late-spring-bulbs-3/

This week my guest is regular contributor non-fiction author D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who reveals her contents of her purse, fashion sense, strangest dream and her love (hate) of the vacuum!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-d-g-kaye

This week Silvia Todesco shares a fabulous recipe for oven baked, bacon wrapped cod which has to be a family favourite..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-silvia-todesco-italian-cookery-oven-baked-bacon-wrapped-cod-fish-light-crunchy-and-so-good/

This week we look at the health benefits of honey… and Carol Taylor uses this as an ingredient in some stunning dishes.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-health-rewind-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-honey-nectar-of-the-gods/

A new series looking at ‘One Hit Wonders‘ from the 1950s onwards….this week ‘Lollipop’ by Ronald and Ruby…who were they, were are they now?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-music-column-new-series-one-hit-wonders-lollipop-ronald-ruby-1958/

My response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 127 and this week the prompt words are ‘Follow and Lead’…. I have chosen ‘Succeed and Hint’ as my synonyms.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-poetry-challenge-etheree-how-to-succeed-in-life-by-sally-cronin/

A further look at the rights as laid down by the United Nation that we should all be entitled to, but have an obligation to protect.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-survival-in-a-modern-world-our-rights-to-personal-freedom/

It is March 1986 and we drive back from Atlanta in one day.. and attend a BBQ cookout in Conroe Texas, this is my letter home to my parents in the UK.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1985-1987-road-trip-atlanta-houston-and-bbq-cookout-1986/

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills involves a chisel…as a noun or a verb… you will also enjoy Charli’s description of the thaw that is occurring on her finger (or thumb) that reaches out in to Lake Superior- here is my response – The Dancer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-the-dancer-by-sally-cronin/

Before you Get Started on your weight loss programme– Managing People, Environment and your expectations

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-before-you-get-started-managing-people-environment/

This week Balroop Singh shares her experience of arranged marriages and her own happy relationship.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-why-i-married-at-23sometimes-we-do-make-wrong-decisions-by-balroop-singh/

This week Darlene Foster finds and visits the grave of her great-great-grandmother.

DSCN0188

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-a-special-resting-place-by-darlene-foster/

In this post Jennie Fitzkee shares the connections that she was able to make between reading Little House on the Prairie and her own grandfather from a similar era and his experiences of mining.

image

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-one-picture-for-a-thousand-words-by-jennie-fitzkee/

This week Robbie Cheadle shares a wonderful poem that she wrote on 9th of February 2017 which was her sixteenth Wedding Anniversary…

wedding-photo-1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-contrasting-colours-a-poem-for-my-wedding-anniversary-by-robbie-cheadle/

Sharon Marchisello shares the strategies that her mother employed to make the most of every penny.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-remembering-my-frugal-mother-by-sharon-marchisello/

Bette Stevens shares a moving poem in tribute to her mother.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-poetry-thank-you-mama-by-bette-a-stevens/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-how-dare-the-birds-sing-book-one-in-the-love-and-fate-series-1-by-marina-osipova/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-a-very-special-house-by-thea-ramsay/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-special-price-the-princes-protege-the-five-kingdoms-book-three-by-deborah-jay/

Author Updates – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updates-reviews-john-w-howell-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones-and-sue-coletta/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-offers-joy-lennick-olga-nunez-miret-diana-j-febry-and-richard-dee/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-6/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-7/

Thank you very much for all your support and I would love to hear from you about any of the posts or if you would like some book promotion. .Have a great week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Rewind – Cook from Scratch with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Honey – Nectar of the Gods


This week it is the turn of honey which has been providing sweetness to our diet for thousands of years. First I look at its many health benefits and then Carol is going to work her magic in the kitchen.

 

Many people are enjoying the benefits of plant based sweeteners such as Stevia which are very useful in cooking and as an alternative to table sugar.  I do use at times but I still use honey for its reputation for thousands of years as a healing food.

I doubt that there are many people today who are not aware of the health risks in consuming too much sugar-rich food. Diabetes is on the increase, especially in children, and along with obesity is likely to be one of the top causes of premature death within a few years.

To my mind, the insidious inclusion of sugars in processed foods and equally as bad the introduction of toxic artificial sweeteners is one of the reasons for increased levels of cancer and degenerative diseases such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. We are becoming nutritionally deficient as we become more and more reliant on convenience and junk food laden with fats and sugars.

Honey is the exception and I encourage even my clients with Candida Albicans to use it in moderation as a healthy alternative to sugar or artificial sweeteners.

History of Honey.

For thousands of years it has been used both as a nutritious addition to diet and as an effective medicine and the oldest reference to this delicacy dates back to 5500 BC. At that time Lower Egypt was actually called Bee Land while the Upper Egypt was called Reed Land. By 2500 BC bee keeping was well established and a thriving trade existed between Egypt and India – where honey became associated with religious rites.

Apparently, 110 large pots of honey was equivalent to one donkey or ox. Babylonian and Sumerian clay tablets describe honey’s use as a medicine, some of which included powdered bees, which was considered a cure for bladder stones and dropsy. In all over half of the documented remedies, recognised from these periods in our history, were based on honey.

At first honey was treasured, due to not only its sweet taste but also its rarity. It was considered to be a divine substance and therefore it played a substantial role in many ancient people’s rites and ceremonies. Apart from anointing the dead, jars of honey were sent into the next world to nourish the deceased and in some civilisations honey took on mythical and magical properties.

The Aztecs and Mayan cultures of South America kept colonies of native bees, for their honey and wax, mainly for use as medicine. Sometime in the 16th or 17th century settlers brought European bees into the Americas and honey became more available to everyone.

It is considered to be very pure and therefore used in marriage rites around the world including in our own expression of “honeymoon” as it promoted fertility and was thought to act as an aphrodisiac.

If all that is not enough to tempt you to use honey on a daily basis then some of the health benefits of honey may be able to persuade you.

 

Raw Irish Honey: https://www.coolmorebees.com/

Health benefits of honey

Having given honey such a wonderful lead-in I now have to put in a proviso and that is that not all honey is created equal.

Bees make honey for their own nourishment from the nectar collected from flowers and the enzymes in their saliva. They carry the honey back to the hive where it is deposited in the cells in the walls where it dries out and forms that consistency that we are familiar with.

The quality and medicinal qualities of honey are very dependent on the plants that the bees producing that honey have had access to. Most of the commercially available honey originates from bees feeding on clovers, heather and acacia plants but there are some wonderful flavours available from bees with access to herb plants such as thyme and lavender.

Unfortunately, in the processing of wild honey to the commercially acceptable product you find on most supermarket shelves, many of the nutrients can be lost. One in particular that is a very valuable anti-bacterial agent is Propolis, the glue that bees use to seal the hive and protect the contents. This is usually present in small amounts in wild honey but is lost in processing – unless it is marked on the jar. You can buy Propolis honey but it can be a little more expensive but worth it.

One of the best honeys in the world comes from New Zealand and is called Manuka honey and because of its reputation for healing it is very heavily tested and regulated to maintain its high standards.

Active Manuka honey is used both internally and externally to treat a number of medical conditions and research is being conducted to legitimise the claims that are made of its effectiveness which show a great deal of promise. Currently it may help prevent stomach ulcers, poor digestion, gastritis, Helicobacter Pylori (H.Pylori), skin ulcers, sore throats, skin infections, boost immune system and energy levels. It is thought that it might even work effectively against MRSA, which would be very interesting.

If you are eating honey then do buy locally and if possible from source. Visit the beekeeper and you should see someone in glowing health, which will be a testament to the quality of his bees and honey. We had bee farms near where we lived in Madrid and they are miles from pollution and surrounded by wild plants of every variety in the hills.

Internal health benefits

Good quality raw honey is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. It is also an amazing energy source and certainly Greek athletes used both honey and figs to enhance their performance on the track. Modern researchers conducted a study using athletes, some of which were given a honey, some sugar and some maltodextrin as the carbohydrate source. The athletes who were given the honey maintained a steady blood sugar level throughout the two hour training session and their recovery times was much better than those athletes on the alternative energy sources.

For anyone suffering from diabetes, finding a sweetener that does not affect blood sugar levels dramatically is vitally important and honey would appear to raise levels far less than any other refined alternative. However, this still does not mean that a diabetic can eat honey freely but it does mean that breakfast porridge and cups of tea can benefit from a little sweetness if it is required. Please check with your doctor beforehand.

It has also been found that natural honey rather than processed honey can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels (smaller particle cholesterol that when oxidised can attach to the walls of arteries and block them), homocysteine levels and increases the level of HDL (healthy cholesterol) helping to prevent heart disease.

Honey’s healing properties are beneficial for stomach ulcers, sore throats and intestinal damage with a balancing effect on intestinal bacteria. This includes Candida Albicans, which goes against most therapists’ philosophy of eliminating all sweeteners from a sufferer’s diet. All my clients have switched to honey in their programmes and it seems to not only help in the recovery but also provides a small element of sweetness to satisfy cravings.

It has been found that taking natural honey on a daily basis raises blood levels of the protective antioxidant compounds that we need to prevent disease and to heal ourselves. Admittedly the subjects in the study that confirmed this consumed four tablespoons of buckwheat honey per day which would grate on even my sweet tooth. I do believe as you know in the accumulative effect and therefore over a period of time taking a teaspoon or so of honey per day on food or in drinks should benefit you in the long term.

External health benefits

As with ulcers internally, honey is excellent for external wound healing. Honey absorbs water in the wound inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi. Also honey contains glucose oxidase that when mixed with water produces hydrogen peroxide which is a mild antiseptic. There are also specific enzymes in honey, particularly Manuka honey that appear to speed up the healing process in combination with the common antioxidant properties.

Now time to hand over to Carol to share some of the wonderful ways you can incorporate honey into your diet.

Honey, Nectar of the Gods.

 

What a brilliant post from Sally on the benefits of honey, there is nothing like locally produced raw honey if you can get it, if not buy the best honey you can either Manuka or Propolis honey, you will reap the benefits health and taste wise.

Where do I get my honey? Well my first bottle ……I was sitting on the beach with my sun downer…..fending off the ever-present sellers of touristy bits and bobs……when a man appeared carrying a very heavy-looking bucket ….what did he have…Well I had to look and what a surprise…it was fresh, very fresh honeycomb..and he strained the most glorious bottle of fresh honey…I just had to purchase it…the taste was so fresh and very slightly scented…amazing and a beautiful golden colour.

Just the thing to make some delish Honey, Coconut and Lemon Pancakes.

This recipe makes 5-6. Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of coconut flour.
  • 1 tbsp of honey.
  • 1 cup of coconut milk.
  • 8 eggs.
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda.
  • Coconut oil or butter for frying, lemon wedges and extra honey to serve.

To prepare:

Place all of the pancake ingredients in a large bowl and combine well. Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat and add one teaspoon of coconut oil, covering the base of the pan while it melts. Add a large scoop of pancake batter into the frying pan and cook until the top of the pancake begins to bubble and has started to cook. Flip the pancake over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until the pancake has cooked through. Repeat with the remaining batter then serve with a drizzle of honey and a lemon wedge for squeezing the juice over the pancakes.

 

And enjoy!

Now I have moved to the North of Thailand I get my honey straight from the comb…I am so lucky and I know that and it is beautiful.

I always take a little apple cider vinegar with a spoonful of honey in hot water first thing in the morning…on an empty tummy I have been taking it for a couple of years ..it is said to fight off joint inflammation and I don’t suffer from joint pain or anything…..

Almond and mixed nuts

Need a quick gift or a healthy snack then these almonds or mixed nuts are delicious and super easy to make. Just mix honey into some raw almonds or nuts of your choice and sprinkle them with sea salt. Bake for about 25minutes in the oven…You can even get creative with the spices…a little chilli or cinnamon….

Honey mixed with Dijon mustard makes a lovely glaze for BBQ meats. Or one of my favourites is ¾ cup of honey, 1 tbsp red chillies finely chopped, 1 tbsp green chillies finely chopped and 1 tbsp lime juice. Mix all together and leave for 1 hour in fridge it is then ready to use.

Another wonderful dip for a cold meat platter on a summer’s day

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp oil,
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped,
  • 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes,
  • 1/3 cup honey,
  • 2 tsp soy sauce,
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar,
  • ¼ to ½ cup water
  • and 2 tsp cornstarch.

To prepare:

  1. In a small bowl stir together the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ¼ cup of water and the cornstarch.
  2. Put the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and let the mix warm up for about 30 seconds, add the garlic and cook until fragrant and just starting to colour, 15-20 seconds max.
  3. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for another 15-30 seconds until garlic is very lightly browned.
  4. Restir the honey mixture and pour into the saucepan, bring to a simmer stirring, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins stirring frequently.
  5. Add more water if desired.

You now have a lovely dip for your cold platter.

What I also love is chilli infused honey… Place honey in a saucepan and warm until it reaches 180 degrees on a sugar thermometer. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Then pour your honey over a jar of chillies. Cool to room temperature.

Beautiful with meat or fish….

For a lovely honey, ginger and mint tea which not only tastes great but is full of health benefits as it is anti oxidant and anti flammatory.

  • Take a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger and chop finely or grate.
  • 2 cups of water
  • The juice of 1 med lemon or lime about 3 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Mint leaves.

 

  1. Bring the water to the boil and steep the ginger fro 10-15 minutes, add the honey and lemon juice then strain to catch the ginger bits although if I have grated the ginger then I leave it in. Add the mint.
  2. Serve hot or cold …I like it chilled and keep a jug in the fridge.

Well, we can’t leave you without a cake to have with your elevenses or afternoon tea… Can we???

This lovely honey cake is beautiful and lasts for 4-5 days wrapped and stored in an airtight container.

I definitely need airtight and ant proof container here as those pesky little sugar ants get in the smallest of gaps they even get in unopened packets…grrrr

Honey Cake.

  1. Oven 140C Fan/160C/Gas 3.
  2. Grease and line a 20cm round loose bottomed cake tin.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gm clear honey plus 2tbsp to glaze cake.
  • 225 gm unsalted butter
  • 100 gm raw cane sugar
  • 3 large eggs beaten
  • 300 gm unbleached SR flour

To prepare:

  1. Cut the butter into pieces and put in a pan with the honey and the sugar once it has melted then increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Then leave to cool for 10- 15 minutes as you don’t want the eggs to scramble.
  2. Once the mix has cooled down beat the eggs into the mix then add the mix to the sieved flour. Beat until smooth.
  3. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until well risen and golden brown. A skewer should come out clean.
  4. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and melt 2 tbsp of honey and brush the top of the cake with the melted honey.
  5. Leave to cool.

Well that all for this week I hope you have enjoyed mine and Sally’s collaboration because we love doing it.

©Recipes Carol Taylor

If you love it then please share with your friends or reblog as we want to show as many people as we can that good, healthy food need not be expensive or hard to find it is just normal foods you can grow yourself or buy from your farmers market or local store.

My thanks to Carol for another fantastic array of foods that bring honey into the spotlight.

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

Please feel free to share thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round up – Social Media Woes, Jazz, Gardening, Italian Recipes, Nutritional cooking, Flash Fiction and Books Galore


Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week… especially if you normally pick them up on Facebook!

I won’t go into detail as I covered it in a post early in the week, but suffice to say that I was in Facebook quarantine for two days with my posts removed as not meeting the community standards and I also received notification that someone has reported my posts as offensive.  I also got this message when I tried to share other blogger’s posts.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-removal-of-the-facebook-link-button/

Those clicking the Facebook share button were also getting a blocked message and rather than cause them upset, I removed the button until Friday after I had sent numerous appeals to the governing body and emails (still no response) and I was able to finally share from other blogs and those sharing from here got through.

I have not posted any links to the blog posts themselves until today.. and hopefully you are reading this because it has gone onto my timeline.

I am not the only person to be affected this week including Debby Gies who you know as a regular contributor here. It is allegedly down to the new policies on fake news and too many external URLS being posted.

Clearly though someone thought that book promotions and health posts were offensive and rather than hit the unfriend button, decided to report me.

That’s life… Going forward I am restricting my own links to other blogger’s posts and once week my round up and hopefully we can maintain the status quo.

In the meantime several of us have also joined MeWe with is a similar interface as Facebook but is more user friendly. They also guarantee that none of our data will be sold. It is early days, but if you are an author you might like to check it out, as Colleen Chesebro, Debby Gies and myself are part of a Literary Diva’s Library on the new site to help you promote your books, reviews and interviews. Just click the image and it will take you there.. my personal profile is mewe.com/i/sallycronin

Anyway.. no more drama…… and on with the week’s posts…

This week William Price King introduces us to the unique talents of jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-esperanza-spalding-jazz-bassist-and-singer/

This week Paul Andruss introduces us to the Hellebores… and some of the poisonous beauties much loved in ancient times as instruments of death…including deadly nightshade.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-heavenly-hellebores-3/

The next in the series to prevent nutritional deficiency by creating dishes containing the nutrient for the whole family… Carol Taylor has produced some wonderful recipes using ingredients rich in Vitamin B1.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/06/smorgasbord-health-column-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-cook-from-scratch-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiency-vitamin-b1-thiamin/

In the second of this series, Silvia Todesco shares a traditional ricotta and beef meatballs in tomato sauce….

IMG_2826

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-silvia-todesco-italian-cookery-ricotta-and-beef-meatballs-an-italian-classic/

My personal stuff – Short stories and poetry

My response to Diana Wallace Peach’s monthly speculative fiction photo prompt..a story titled A Moment of Alignment.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/smorgasbord-short-stories-diana-wallace-peach-marchs-speculative-fiction-a-moment-of-alignment-by-sally-cronin/

Colleen Chesbro’s weekly poetry challenge is an escape from my WIP that I look forward to…. this week my poem was an etheree… March Hares

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebro-weekly-poetry-challenge-march-hares-etheree-by-sally-cronin/

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction was to create a story about a mouse.. in 99 words, no more, no less….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-my-mouse-by-sally-cronin/

This week a look at how our childhood can influence both our willpower and how we regard the food that we eat. Understanding your relationship to food is important for health and also for weight loss.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-emotional-factor-willpower-and-childish-things/

This week a look at more of the official human rights as laid down by the United Nations, and our obligation to protect that right and to abide by the law… and when you look at the mortality rates of car accidents vs. murder rates and the high percentage of fatalities associated with texting and drink driving, you will find it hard to separate the two.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/something-to-think-about-survival-in-modern-world-our-rights-part-two-by-sally-cronin/

An unexpected gift of a turkey causes untold mayhem in the farmyard which as always creates an entertaining episode from the family archives of Linda Bethea

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-linda-bethea-pass-the-chicken-please-or-fowl-friends/

There are a number of flash fiction challenges on WordPress that are really fun to take part in and certainly do hone our skill at brevity.. Here is a post from Joy Lennick’s archives on the subject and an example of her own flash fiction.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-on-the-subject-of-flash-fiction-and-minimilism-by-joy-lennick/

I am delighted to welcome author L.T. Garvin (Lana Broussard) to Smorgasbord with a series of guest posts, and her first is a heartrending poem about the past, her family and the devastating loss of a mother in wartime. Lana will be joining us every two weeks until April 8th.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/04/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-l-t-garvin-poetry-looking-homeward/

My guest this week is author Ann Barnes who shares the animal she would like to have a conversation with, her weirdest dream, what is in her handbag, and what she would have done differently.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-ann-barnes/

This series offers you a chance to share posts from your own archives that you would like seen by a new audience. Perhaps a post your wrote a year or so ago. If you are interested you can click on the link in any of the posts below to get the details. It is another opportunity to promote your books or other creative work as well.

Can you remember your first flight in a plane? Poet and author Balroop Singh shares hers which was a magical experience… she would love to hear about yours.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/04/smorgasbord-blogs-from-your-archives-family-my-first-flight-by-balroop-singh/

Childrens/YA author Darlene Foster, shares more of her extended family that emigrated to Canada in the 1900s… this time her father’s relatives.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-the-other-side-of-the-family-by-darlene-foster/

Jennie Fitzkee who has over 30 years experience as a pre-school teacher, and loves sharing stories with her class, shares her childhood in relations to fairy stories and how many have an element of violence. She explores the need for a reality check for children from an early age about life in general, but there need to be guidelines on how they are introduced.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-my-mothers-fairy-tales-by-jennie-fitzkee/

Robbie Cheadle spends a great deal of time tempting us to eat scrumptious baked delights, and this is no exception as she shares the family recipe of Granny Una’s apple pie…bibs on…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-granny-unas-apple-pie-by-robbie-cheadle/

Sharon Marchisello learnt some valuable financial lessons from her parents, and this week the advice given to her by her father.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-financial-lessons-from-my-father-by-sharon-marchisello/

Children’s author Bette A. Stevens shares her poem in tribute to her grandmother.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-poetry-grandmas-legacy-by-bette-a-stevens/

New Book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-romance-skating-on-thin-ice-by-jacquie-biggar/New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-shades-of-sepia-cover-model-book-2-by-laura-m-baird/

Author Updates – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/04/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updates-reviews-deborah-jay-andrew-joyce-and-jacqui-murray/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-rachele-baker-dvm-marina-osipova-and-d-wallace-peach/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/05/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-doctors-and-side-effects/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-5/

Thank you very much for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed the posts. Thank to those who have shared to Facebook, sometimes using alternative methods!  I appreciate the support.

Hopefully all is more or less back to normal!!!!!!

 

Smorgasbord Health Column with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency – Vitamin B1- Thiamin


In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B1- Thiamin

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that along with the other B vitamins and Vitamin C it travels through the blood stream and any excess is eliminated in our urine. The body cannot store thiamin but it is found in tissues within the body such as in the liver, heart, kidneys and the nervous system where it binds to enzymes.

This does mean that these types of vitamins need to be replaced from our food continuously.

Thiamin helps fuel our bodies by converting blood sugar into energy. Every cell in the body requires it to form the fuel we run on called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It also keeps our mucus membranes healthy and with other B vitamins is essential for a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system as well as muscular function. It is also important for healthy skin, hair and our eyes.

Deficiency of B1

It is very rare in this day and age in the western world to find a person who is deficient in Thiamin. A lack of it can cause a disease called beriberi with symptoms of rapid heartbeat, muscle wasting, nerve problems and confusion. The body is unable to efficiently digest carbohydrates which results in a build-up of pyruvic acid in the bloodstream leading to the symptoms.

There have been babies who have suffered from this due to a lack of the vitamin in their formula and people who drink excessive amounts of alcohol can also develop beriberi.

Most commonly it is found in elderly people who have general malabsorption problems or a restricted diet. Some children with congenital heart disease may suffer a deficiency, as can patients undergoing kidney dialysis who should be prescribed B1 by their doctor.

A deficiency is also likely in someone who has an eating disorder, particularly anorexia or who suffers from Crohn’s disease where there is a general malabsorption of nutrients as a whole.

Some of the mild symptoms that might indicate that you are becoming deficient in B1.

1. Frequent headaches
2. General Fatigue
3. Regular nausea
4. Irritability
5. Mild depression

More Severe symptoms of a deficiency which might indicate Beriberi

1. Confusion
2. Burning sensation or tingling in the hands and feet,
3. Trouble breathing
4. Uncontrolled eye movements.

As a supplement it is usually taken as part of a B-complex formulation and does work better with vitamin B2 and B3. As with all supplements that could have an effect on your health, you should first look at your diet and make changes to ensure that you are getting the nutrient from sources your body recognises. Food is always the best source, but if you are in one of the risk groups then do consult a doctor about your need for supplementation.

The best food sources B1

  • All wholegrains such as brown rice, oats and whole wheat cereals and bread, beans, sunflower seeds, lentils sesame seeds, nuts,
  • Fruit such as pineapple, watermelon, Vegetables including asparagus, spinach, squash,
  • Protein oily fish, eggs, lean ham and pork.

Time to hand over to Carol to turn these vitamin B1 rich ingredients into delicious dishes to include regularly in your diet.

Good morning from sunny Thailand although we had the mother of storms last night and we are expecting a few more as when the temperatures start to rise we get the tropical storms as well but generally over night and it is also the reason why our vegetation is green and lush it gets the best of both worlds.

I am already loving this new series that Sally and myself are bringing to you…It was the brainchild of Sally and I think it is a great idea…Although I know a fair bit about cooking and food I am the first to admit that although I know what is good for me I don’t always know why…If a doctor or health practitioner informed me I was short on a certain Vitamin and needed to include more of it in my diet I wouldn’t always know where to start…

The recipes I will be providing for each vitamin will help with this and will include everyday foods which will help boost any given deficiency …Today I am looking at ingredients which contain or convert to vitamin B1 … All these recipes are made in my own kitchen and tested by me and my family…

Starting with this lovely Mackerel dish…Mackerel is an oily fish and a very popular fish here it can be found on all the fish stalls and BBQ’S on all the street corners… Often just eaten with sticky rice and a spicy dip it is also made into lovely salads both here and in Mediterranean cuisine.

Smoked Mackerel, Broccoli and Almond salad.

Ingredients:

  • 4 smoked mackerel fillets
  • 300 gm tender stem broccoli
  • 300 gm purple sprouting broccoli
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tbsp capers plus 1 tbsp of caper juice
  • 1 lime juice and zest
  • 60 gm toasted almond flakes
  • 60 gm toasted walnuts chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt

This recipe will make enough for 4/5 persons and I have also included 2 different dressings. The thing I love about these recipes is that you can scale it down for 1 or 2 persons.

Dressing 1 …A yoghurt dressing.

  • 4 tbsp Natural Yoghurt
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 20 gm chopped fresh herbs of your choice I used coriander, dill and mint.
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Flaky salt and freshly ground pepper to season.

To make just combine all the ingredients together and chill until required.

Dressing 2…Apple which was our favourite…

  • 50 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ an apple peeled and finely chopped or julienned.
  • 20 gm chopped fresh herbs of your choice
  • ½ tbsp runny honey
  • Flaky salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Mix together the onions, capers, caper vinegar, salt and lime juice and zest set to one side to allow flavours to develop.
  2. Make your dressing by whisking or blending ingredients together and put in the fridge until required.
  3. Steam the prepared broccoli until tender 5-7 mins.
  4. Skin and flake your mackerel.
  5. When ready to serve toss your salad ingredients and mackerel gently together with ½ your chosen dressing and ½ of the nuts.
  6. Arrange in a serving bowl or individual plates and drizzle with the remainder of the dressing and scatter the nuts over the top.

Serve with toasted sourdough bread drizzled with some olive oil and rubbed with some roasted garlic.

We all loved the apple dressing the most as the apples give it a tart fresh flavor and cut through the grease of the mackerel…

Another favourite fish dish is …Yellow tail fish with a sesame seed crust.

The Yellow Tail fish or Amber Jack is native to the North East Pacific from Japan to Hawaii. It is also not related to the Yellow tail Tuna.

In Japan, this fish is eaten cooked or raw and known as Hamachi or Buri.

As you know I am firmly in the camp of eating healthily and choose my fish carefully …I steer clear of farmed fish and only eat locally caught straight off the boats or fish which is responsibly sourced. It doesn’t mean however that it is expensive which a lot of people seem to think …You can buy fish responsibly and at good prices by researching your local markets or even buying frozen.

This fish has extra lean, firm white meat and if you want a lighter meal then it is a lovely tasting fish with a mild flavour.

Ingredients for two servings.

  • 2 x 150 g pieces yellow tail fish or any other firm white fish.
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to season…..I use pink Himalayan or mineral salt which is farmed close to my home.
  • 1 egg white whisked until it is foamy.
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds.
  • Oil for frying…I use coconut oil.

For chilli, lime and soy sauce.

  • 60 ml Soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey……I use honey from the comb
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 chilli deseeded and finely sliced…guess who leaves the seeds in? Moi
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A drizzle of sesame seed oil
  • Fresh coriander leaves to serve

Let’s Cook!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Season the yellow tail fillets with a little salt and freshly milled black pepper. I cut the fish into steaks…
  3. Dip the seasoned fish into the egg white and coat both sides with sesame seeds.
  4. Heat a little coconut oil (or oil of your choice) in a frying pan and sear the fish for about a minute on each side or until the sesame seeds are golden brown. Remove the fish and place in a roasting pan.
  5. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, make the soy sauce reduction. Place the soy sauce, honey, garlic, chilli, lime juice and sesame oil in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
  7. Cook for about 2–3 minutes or until the sauce has reduced slightly and has thickened so it coats the back of your spoon.
  8. Remove the garlic clove and set to one side…
  9. Once the fish is cooked, remove it from the oven and serve immediately, drizzled with a little soy sauce reduction.

Serve with brown or wild rice, steamed pak Choy or spinach and fresh lime wedges.

Enjoy!

Both Pineapple and watermelon contain the vitamin B1 and are very popular fruits here either eaten after a meal just as they are or maybe with a little spicy dipping sauce…

Pineapple also lends itself well to being cooked or added to a stir fry or curry… Spicy pineapple being a favourite here it is quick and easy to do…We also love it pickled…Yes you can pickle most things…ha-ha

Ingredients:

  • 300 gm of fresh pineapple cut into smallish chunks
  • A handful of shallots finely sliced
  • 1 pickled jalapeno sliced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
  • The juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • A handful of chopped coriander

You will need 3 sterilised jars with lids.

Let’s Cook!

Heat the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, limes and Jalapenos together and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat add the shallots and leave the mixture to cool down.

Did you know? Watermelon is not only lovely in a smoothie or just as it is and it also comes not only in red, but yellow… As you know I also believe that you should Waste not! Want Not! Water melon rinds are great pickled…

Even my Thai family liked these although they did suggest adding tamarind…Thais often don’t like our pickles as they find them too vinegary but loved these… I loved that they offered a suggestion which is how good dishes evolve.

Fruity Fridays…On A Sunday! Watermelon.

Lastly Pork is a good source of the B1 Vitamin and this quick easy stir fry incorporates pork and a dark green aka Kale and a firm family favourite

Ingredients:

  • 2 Belly Pork Strips or you could use loin or shoulder sliced if you didn’t want to wait while the belly pork cooks.
  • 8 Large leaves of Kale.
  • 3/4 cloves Garlic. squashed with the flat blade of a knife.
  • 2/3 birds eye chillies.
  • 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2/3 shakes of Maggi Sauce.
  • Half tbsp. Oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Cook Belly Pork in the oven until tender and crispy. For about 30 mins.
  2. I normally cook on about 180/200 degrees to start and then reduce heat slightly to160 degrees. When the pork is tender turn up the heat to crisp the pork. When nice and crispy remove the pork from the oven and chop into bite pieces.
  3. Heat the wok or large fry pan and add half tablespoon oil.
  4. Add crushed garlic and chillies, add little hot water and cook for 1 min…at this point the chillies may overpower you..Ha ha….turn on expel fan and add chopped Kale.
  5. Stems first if using as they take longer to cook. I use stems of Kale also if they are quite thick slice into 2-inch pieces.
  6. Cook for 2 mins and add remainder of Kale leaves and turn over a few times ….I use fish slice as I find it easier to just turn kale over.
  7. Add 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce and 1 tbsp Soy along with few shakes of Maggi (seasoning Sauce). Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cook for further 2/3 mins.
  8. Add crispy Pork turn or stir a few times to mix.

Serve with brown or wild rice

Enjoy!

©Recipes Carol Taylor

I hope these recipes have given you an idea of how to incorporate the Vitamin B1 into your diet.

Until next time when it will be Vitamin B 2…

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

 

As I move from Facebook to share my posts, you will find me with some other blogging friends on a relatively new, and friendlier site called MeWe….you can find me on mewe.com/i/sallycronin

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Jazz, Chicken Poop, Chopped liver, Old Age, Australia and Sheep farming!


Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord this week that you might have missed. 

Despite some grey and misty starts to the days, there has been a trending upward curve in the temperatures and the hedgerows and gardens locally are beginning to show signs of spring. For someone who does not do short days, devoid of sun, and usually wet, this is a great shift in the weather. All my years as a child and adult living in sunnier climates makes it a challenge. I must admit to becoming a bit of a hermit from October to March and guess in a previous life I must have been a bear!  I can be be grumpy enough at times, especially when I wake from a long sleep and am hungry and thirsty.

Thankfully there have been some offline activities this week that have been great fun and people and laughter make all the difference.

Apart from that…. it has been a great week here online with a new job for me, having been invited to be an administrator for The Literary Diva’s Library on Facebook, alongside Colleen Chesebro and D.G.Kaye… and Colleen has added me into the group banner and if you click that, it will take you to the page where you can share book reviews for yourself and crucially for others, and also author interviews and news. The more members we have the more effective the group will be in supporting authors.

If you are an author and would like to be part of a group that supports and promotes other authors then please head to Facebook by clicking the image.

As always I would like to thank the contributors to the blog who inform and entertain you. This includes those participating in the new Posts from Your Archives series which is all about the family.. If you click on one of the posts it will give you the details on how to share your posts to a new audience. You can also become a guest writer with any new material that you would like to share… you can email me for details if you are interested sally.cronin(at)moyhill.com

Welcome to the music column with William Price King and this week the featured artist is Ted Nash, Saxophonist and Composer  and his work Portrait in Seven Shades.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-jazz-ted-nash-with-portraits-in-seven-shades/

In this week’s re-run of Paul Andruss’s gardening column, he promotes the beneficial properties of chicken poop for the garden…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-the-best-thing-to-come-out-of-a-chicken-by-paul-andruss-3/

A new series of Cook from Scratch with myself and Carol Taylor. This time looking at nutrients and the symptoms that you might be deficient in them.. I share the signs and the foods to include to avoid becoming deficient, and Carol turns them into delicious meals for all the family. This week Vitamin A..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/new-series-smorgasbord-health-column-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-cook-from-scratch-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiency/

In this week’s chapter I look at the amount of sugar that is hidden in our diet and how Candida Albicans thrives on this food, fueling the overgrowth in our gut.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-eliminating-its-favourite-food-sugars-by-sally-cronin/

My guest today is author Sheila Williams who lives in France, but in the past has enjoyed several careers, including that of sheep farmer (more about that later!). Sheila shares a mortifying experience in a restaurant, her fashion sense, the contents of her handbag and a tussle with a persistent romeo ram (of the sheep variety!)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-sheila-williams/

This week Linda shares ‘Family Talk’ the expressions that become a code that every member of the family understands.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-linda-bethea-family-talk/

Australian author Frank Prem shares his love of his hometown, and the inspiration behind his recently released collection of poems and stories.. Small Town Kid.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-frank-prem-welcome-to-beechworth-victoria-australia/

Joy shares a poem that expresses the joys of being young at heart at eighty-three years old…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-poetry-mistaken-identity-by-joy-lennick/

As a follow on from the Valentine’s Day post of romantic ballads, here are some of the requests with more to come on Tuesday.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/smorgasbord-music-column-the-romantic-ballad-request-show-part-one-becky-ross-michael-d-g-kaye-abbie-taylor-cindy-knoke-sue-vincent/

My guest today is poet Miriam Hurdle who wrote a post in 2017 at Thanksgiving. It was an eventful time with Miriam in recovery from an operation for cancer and her daughter about to give birth.

9

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-thanksgiving-2017-by-miriam-hurdle/

D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies, shares the signs that you are in an abusive relationship, and from personal experience, she inspires those who are trapped in a cycle of abuse to break free.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-memoir-bytes-the-10-red-flags-i-didnt-pay-attention-to-domestic-abuse-by-d-g-kaye/

Delighted that author Sue Vincent is sharing a post from her archives, particularly as it is all about dogs that have been a part of her family, going back generations.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-a-family-of-dogs-by-sue-vincent/

In respect of this series, where I explore some of the key elements of our modern lives, I take a light-hearted look at love and romance. Well partly light-hearted, as there are some elements of this universally sought after state of bliss that can be from the dark side. 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-romance-a-modern-fairy-story-by-sally-cronin/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-swimming-for-profit-and-pleasure-the-port-naain-intelligencer-by-jim-webster/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-wings-of-prey-book-6-the-gift-legacy-by-j-p-mclean/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-sci-fi-thriller-life-and-other-dreams-by-richard-dee/

Author updates

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-james-j-cudney-paulette-mahurin-and-jean-lee/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-reviews-deborah-a-bowman-olga-nunez-miret-and-vashti-quiroz-vega/

This week my etheree is on the Joys of Spring….in response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 124

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-poetry-challenge-124-etheree-the-joys-of-spring-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-debby-gies-and-a-joke-from-the-archives/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-the-thrill-of-the-chase-and-senior-dating-ads/

Thank you for all you support and look forward to seeing you again next week.. Thanks Sally.

#New Series -Smorgasbord #Health Column with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency.


Welcome to a brand new series, where we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods... Cooked from Scratch.

Before we cover the first vitamin today…. a little bit about the difference between fat soluble and water soluble vitamins.

WATER SOLUBLE VITAMINS.

These include all the B vitamins, vitamin C as well as Folic Acid. They are not easily stored in the body and are often lost in cooking or by being eliminated from the body. This means that they must be consumed in constant daily amounts to prevent deficiencies. In the case of Vitamin C this could lead to poor immune system function and if you are deficient in the B vitamins you will not be able to metabolise the fat, protein and carbohydrates that you eat.

FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS.

These vitamins include A, D, E and K. Because they are soluble in fat they tend to be stored in the body’s fat tissues, fat cells and liver. This means that they should be supplemented with care if you are already taking in plenty on a daily basis in your diet. In excess even supposedly beneficial nutrients can be toxic and this is why you always should adjust your diet first before taking in additional supplements.

A good place to start is with Vitamin A – Beta Carotene.

What is Vitamin A – Beta Carotene is essential for?

Vitamin A is essential for our healthy eyesight, especially at night, hence the name retinal from retina. The retina contains rod cells and these contain pigments that can detect small amounts of light and therefore adapt the eye to low-light or night vision or are responsible for our day time vision. Vitamin A is particularly necessary for the synthesis of rhodopsin the photo-pigment involved in night vision.

Vitamin A also helps ensure that our cells reproduce normally. It is necessary for the health of our skin, the mucus membranes in our respiratory system, digestive and urinary tracts. Our bones and our soft tissues require Vitamin A as part of the complex nutrient cocktail that keeps them from disease.

For younger people, Vitamin A has a direct influence on their reproductive capabilities. It has been shown to have an effect on the function and development of sperm, ovaries and the placenta. The growth and normal development of the embryo and then the foetus depends on a good level of the vitamin in the diet.

Our immune system is our first line of defence and it requires a combination of anti-oxidants and nutrients to be robust enough to cope with the stress of modern life and disease. Vitamin A is vital for this protection system as it stimulates the function of white blood cells within the immune system, encourages the production of antibodies to fight infection as well as increase our antiviral abilities.

It is rare to find a lack of the nutrient in someone with a varied and balanced diet but here are some of the of the symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency.

1. Dry flaky skin and related conditions such as eczema.
2. Dry eyes and difficulty in producing tears and cornea damage in certain countries where deficiency is common it can lead to night blindness and also total blindness.
3. Infertility problems for both men and women and a possible link to miscarriages.
4. A vitamin A deficiency in pregnancy can lead to developmental issues for the fetus.
5. Children who have a deficiency usually exhibit stunted growth but need to take with other nutrients to benefit from supplementation.
6. Frequent infections, particularly of the throat and chest are a sign that there is a Vitamin A deficiency.
7. The elderly or those with a compromised immune system, may be deficient in several nutrients, but Vitamin A deficiency is likely to lead to more severe respiratory infections, such as pneumonia.

If you feel that you are exhibiting the above symptoms moderately to severely then I do suggest you talk to your doctor and have a blood test.

As always it is better to consume foods that contain nutrients in a form that the body can process and use. However, where there is a severe deficiency, a supplement can also be taken to help restore the correct balance in the body.

Best food sources for Vitamin A – The most abundant source of the vitamin is found:

  • liver,
  • fish liver oils,
  • grass fed dairy butter,(cattle’s natural food is grass not grain or corn)
  • cheese,
  • free range eggs
  • oily fish.

Beta carotene is the substance from plants that the body converts to Vitamin A and the best sources are:

  • carrots,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • green leafy vegetables,
  • orange and red coloured vegetables,
  • apricots,
  • asparagus,
  • broccoli,
  • cantaloupe melon,
  • cashews,
  • nectarines,
  • peaches,
  • peppers
  • spinach.

I am now handing over to Carol Taylor who has devised some easy to prepare recipes to ensure you are getting sufficient Vitamin A – Beta Carotene.

A new series on Smorgasbord Health and one which I am looking forward to providing the recipes for I hope you enjoy them. Not all meals need to be made from ingredients straight out of the shopping basket. Most of us have leftovers in the fridge or freezer, such as pasta, cooked vegetables, scraps of meat etc. And they can be utilised to make delicious meals that are just as nutritious.

Let’s make a Frittata.

Ingredients:

• 4 Organic free range eggs
• 1 tbsp Olive oil
• 3 small cold potatoes sliced
• 1 small onion sliced
• A handful of spinach
• 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/4 cup of milk
• Few mushrooms sliced
• Few slices salami or chorizo
• Grated cheddar cheese

Let’s Cook!

  1. Add oil to heavy bottomed pan /skillet and add cooked sliced potatoes cover with lid or foil and cook until golden. If you are using uncooked potatoes then cook for about 10 minutes until tender but firm.
  2. Meanwhile cook the salami/ chorizo…I like mine a little crispy.
  3. Add onions and mushrooms and cook until onion softens.
  4. Add any other vegetables you are using I added sliced tomato and Thai spinach which has finer leaves than the spinach I used in the UK but you could add anything else finely sliced peppers, asparagus leftover cooked vegetables anything you fancy.
  5. Beat the eggs with milk and season well.
  6. Pour over your potatoes and vegetables and lower the heat.
  7. Add the grated cheese.
  8. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the eggs are set.

Turn out onto a plate and cut into portions. Serve with stir fried greens or red peppers, some sweet potato wedges or crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Stir Fried Vegetables.

Before I came to Thailand I was absolutely the worst at making any stir-fry and they tasted awful…Learning how to cook the Thai way has been a revolution for me and taught me so much about cooking and tasting…

Stir fries are not as easy as they look… Thais eat a lot of stir fried vegetables and this is one such dish.

Stir-fried Morning Glory or Pad Pak Boon Fai Daeng is also known as water spinach…It is a very popular vegetable dish in Thailand. A very quick dish to cook once you have all your ingredients prepared…5 mins at the most.

Ingredients:

• 1 bunch of Morning Glory (spinach)
• 4-6 cloves of garlic
• 3 or more Thai Chillies
• 2 tbsp of Oyster Sauce
• 1 tbsp of Thai Fish Sauce
• 1 tbsp of fermented soybean paste or oil with soya beans( Optional)
• 1 tsp sugar
• 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil
• 1/4 cup fresh vegetable or pork stock

Let’s Cook!

  1. Wash and cut your morning-glory/spinach into 4-6 inch pieces.
  2. Bash the chillies and garlic in a pestle and mortar
  3. Heat the oil in a pan until very hot.
  4. Add the garlic and chillies and stir-fry (stirring) for 15-20 seconds be careful not to let garlic burn.
  5. Add morning-glory/spinach and all other ingredients except for the vegetable stock.
  6. Stir-fry for 40 seconds and add vegetable stock and stir-fry for another 10 seconds.

N.B. Experiment with your own stir fries using any of the vegetables listed as good sources of Vitamin A.

Fish is another source of vitamin A.

Salmon is a fish that is packed with Omega 3 oils and Vitamin A as well as other vitamins…

It can be cooked in foil which is my preferred way and easy to do. Quick and easy to do and cooks while the rice is cooking…

Salmon Trout.

Ingredients:

• 180 gm Trout or Salmon fillet.

For the topping:

• 1 spring Onion finely chopped.
• 2/3 stems Coriander chopped finely… I use the stem as well.
• 1 red birds eye chilli finely chopped.
• 1 tbsp Fish Sauce.
• A cheek of lime.

Let’s Cook

  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Put fish on foil and spoon the topping on. I reserve some of the topping to add when serving.
  3. Seal foil and put in the oven on 180 for 10/15 mins until cooked.

This is lovely eaten with rice and some stir fried morning glory or spinach.

Enjoy!

Sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin A and one of my favourite sweet potato recipes is this one…

Sweet Potato with feta, honey and roasted grapes.

Ingredients:

• 4 baked sweet potatoes
• 2 cups of seedless red grapes
• 1 tsp of coconut oil or olive oil
• ¼ tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
• 4 oz of feta, goats cheese or ricotta
• Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
• 2 tbsp honey plus more to drizzle.

Let’s Cook

  1. Put the 2 cups of grapes on a baking tray and drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper then roast at 350F for about 20 mins or until the skins start to burst…Make sure to check them as we don’t want them to burn.
  2. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. Take your cooked cooled sweet potato and gently remove the flesh as the skins are softer than normal white potatoes. I normally leave some of the flesh attached as it is easier and just scoop out the middle.
  4. In a bowl mash the potato with 3 oz of the goat’s cheese, honey, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste then put the potato back in the skins and crumble some more goats cheese on top …

To serve: add the grapes and drizzle more honey if desired…

Enjoy!

Some tips on how to enhance your dishes with Vitamin A.

When layering your lasagne, pop some spinach between the layers. If you have some picky eaters in the family who don’t normally eat green vegetables, they will hardly notice the spinach mixed with the cheese and tomatoes.

Stuffed peppers (and other vegetables) are another way to get your Vitamin A and easy to do…

Peaches in season are another good source of Vitamin A, and again there is nothing better than a lovely stuffed peach. Just mix some oats with brown sugar, cinnamon and diced butter fill the middle and bake until soft…To die for…

One of the best sources of Vitamin A… liver.

If your family are not keen on eating fried liver which is a great source of Vitamin A, make it into a lovely pate with some crispy melba toast or chopped red, green and yellow peppers…and just don’t mention it is liver.

Ingredients:

• 220g/8oz butter.
• 4 shallots chopped.
• 2 cloves, crushed or finely chopped.
• 450g/1lb chicken Livers, trimmed and cut in half.
• 1 tbsp Brandy.
• 1 tsp mustard powder.
• salt and freshly ground black pepper.
• 1 bay leaf, to garnish.
• 2-3 fresh cranberries, to garnish.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Melt 110g/4oz of the butter in a pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and fry until softened, but not coloured.
  2. Add the garlic and chicken livers and fry the livers until golden-brown all over and cooked through.
  3. Add the brandy and mustard powder and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Place the liver mixture and 55g/2oz of the remaining butter into a food processor and blend until smooth. Season, to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To Serve

1. Transfer the pâté into a serving ramekin or small dish and decorate with a couple of cranberries and a bay leaf….. I use lime leaves as I cannot always get fresh bay leaves.

2. Melt the remaining 55g/2oz of butter in a clean pan. Skim off the froth and pour the butter over the pâté. Transfer to the fridge to chill, then serve from the ramekin when ready.

Mackerel and salmon also makes a lovely pates.

©Recipes Carol Taylor

However busy your lifestyle, your health has to come first. You can prepare many dishes in bulk, freezing a portion for the following week. And is eating the same meal two nights in a row really such a bad thing?

As Carol has demonstrated, including sufficient Vitamin A in your diet is very tasty, and all these foods do not just have Vitamin A but a combination of others that will contribute to your overall requirement.

Please join us again in two weeks for the next post in the series when we will be looking at all the ways you can introduce Vitamin B1 into your regular diet.

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Additional images – Pixabay.com