Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Food in the News – Gluten Free products and health!

Smorgasbord Health 2017

There are definitely some of you reading this that need to maintain a gluten free diet because of celiac disease or other intestinal health issues that have been diagnosed.

However, there are many who believe that swapping their wholegrain bread for gluten free products is going to be the healthier option or to lose weight. Unfortunately this is not always the case, as a very valuable source of nutrients including B-vitamins is removed from the diet. If there is no official diagnosis of gluten intolerance or celiac disease, you may be wasting a great deal of money on a product that contains far unhealthier ingredients.

I am not an advocate of giving up any particular food group, including whole grains, especially for growing children and young adults. For those of us who are no longer growing (except perhaps sideways), whole grains should still play a small to moderate role in our diet. This is also dependent on our activity levels and this food group provides us with energy. If you are a runner or involved in any sport or intensive activity for more than an hour a day, you will need to included more whole grains in your diet.

Here are two articles that expands on the issue, and it is worth reading the entire article to learn more about gluten and its role in our health. It is also important to note that the Gluten Free industry is worth approximately 8 billion dollars a year in the USA and even in Ireland consumers are spending 66million Euros per annum.

An extract from How to eat Gluten again without your body and mind going nuts by Anna Medaris Miller of

For a little over a year, Jackie Diette didn’t eat gluten. In fact, the 30-year-old fashion director in New York City ate little more than vegetables, meats and healthy fats. “From [my health care team’s] expertise combined with my own research about the effects of food containing gluten, I was confident that removing it from my diet would help me obtain my weight loss goals,” she says.

She was right, and lost about 130 pounds. But now that Diette’s focus is weight maintenance, she realizes that some of the credit given to gluten-free eating – peddled as everything from a weight-loss method to a heart disease prevention strategy to a treatment for depression – might be misaligned. “My experience taught me that gluten itself isn’t necessarily the enemy,” says Diette, whose weight has remained stable for about five months with a healthy diet that includes some carbohydrates and gluten.

You can read the rest of the article here:

Here is another article from an Irish Professor of medicine on the subject in the Irish Times.

Eighty per cent of people who follow a gluten-free diet are not diagnosed coeliacs

People in Ireland are wasting tens of millions of euro each year on high-priced gluten-free products that do little or nothing to improve their health, a doctor has said.

Irish residents increased their spend on gluten-free food by €25 million over the past 12 months, and one in five consumers now regularly buys such products, despite the fact only 1 per cent of the population have coeliac disease, according to Bord Bia research published on Wednesday.

The research described gluten-free food as mainstream and said the market was worth about €66 million, a jump of 36 per cent in just one year.

Almost 80 per cent of those who told Bord Bia researchers they follow a gluten-free diet are not diagnosed as coeliac, while 38 per cent do not have any intolerance to wheat at all. They have adopted a gluten-free diet because they believe it to be a healthier lifestyle choice.

“We are all susceptible to the power of mass marketing and ultimately that is what this is, it is just a fad,” said Prof Fergus Shanahan, chair of the department of medicine at University College Cork. “I know people might say who is this arrogant doctor to dismiss a gluten-free diet as a fad, but for the vast majority of people, that is exactly what it is.”

Read the rest of the article:

These are just two opinions on the issue. In my twenty years as a nutritional therapist I have found that intestinal issues are caused by many other dietary additives than gluten including excess sugar and lack of a balanced intake of fresh vegetables and fruit. There are also causes for intestinal health issues including an overgrowth of Candida which leads to leaky gut syndrome, and overuse of certain medications.

I have also found that it is more often the ingredients that are added to wholegrains that cause a problem such as non-butter spreads, jams and processed sauces.

Following a cook from scratch approach to preparing natural, fresh produce usually results in an improvement in intestinal health and also weight and other health issues.

It is important that if you have a persistent intestinal problem that you seek a professional diagnosis rather than assume that you have a gluten intolerance. In around 80% of us this is not the case.

Thanks for dropping and as always your feedback is welcome.. Sally.


Cooking from Scratch 2017- Guest post invitation to those who love to cook Fresh Food.

Recently you might have seen a series of posts from Carol Taylor and myself on foods, their health benefits and some recipes to encourage us to include in our daily diet.

Over the last four years I have enjoyed sharing your recipes that are Cooked From Scratch and I would love to share more of them.

Thanksgiving is coming up on November 23rd so it would be great to start getting recipes for that celebration and for the lead up to Christmas.

I would like to stay within the health area and invite those of you with favourite recipes that are cooked from scratch (no processed sauces etc) to guest post.  Old family favourites and new finds.  They do not have to be for specialised diets as long as they combine fresh food of all types. I am particularly keen on promoting recipes that will suit people on reduced sugar diets or have a problem with gluten.  Very often they can become stuck in a rut eating a handful of dishes that they feel safe with. When you submit a recipe it would be helpful if you have some illustrations with it but I can source those for you.

It would also be great to post dishes from around the world so that we can all share the wonderful ingredients such as spices that are so good for us.

You will of course receive full promotion for your blog, books and social media sites as I would like to make sure that you get some publicity from the post.

If you are interested please send an email to I look forward to hearing from you and we can talk about how best to showcase your recipe.  best wishes  Sally


Thank you for dropping by and I look forward to hearing from you.. Sally

Smorgasbord Guest Post – South African traditional food – Babotie Recipe by Tandy Sinclair.

When I was living as a child in Cape Town, my father who loved to experiment, would make lunch every Saturday. He made Babotie and it is absolutely delicious. When I mentioned on the blog recently, Tandy Sinclair very kindly volunteered to provide the traditional recipe for this family favourite.

Babotie is a traditional Cape Malay dish that usually contains sultanas


This recipe for Babotie comes from my Curry cook book. Babotie is a spiced minced meat baked with a savoury custard. According to the book, it was brought to South Africa by Southeast Asian slaves in the 17th Century. Babotie is a tribute to Cape Malay cooking styles and Islamic culinary influences. Boer settlers would bake their babotie in a hollowed out pumpkin. You can add sultanas, raisins or dried apricots to this babotie recipe to give it your own unique twist.

Ingredients for the mince

  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed, roughly torn up
  • 125mls milk *
  • 30mls olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 600g lamb mince **
  • 12.5mls mild curry powder
  • 3.75mls ground cinnamon
  • Generous grind of black pepper
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 15mls mango atchar / chutney
  • 5mls demerara sugar – I used fructose
  • 15g blanched almonds, roughly chopped

for the savoury topping:

  • 6 bay leaves
  • Reserved milk *, plus extra to make it up to 100mls
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100mls cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • Ground nutmeg for sprinkling

Method for the mince

  • Place the bread into a small bowl and add the milk
  • Leave to stand while you prepare the mince
  • Heat the oil in an stove and oven proof casserole dish over a medium temperature
  • When hot add the butter and leave to melt
  • Sauté the onions and chillies until the onions are soft and golden
  • Add the garlic and mince and continue cooking until the mince is browned, stirring frequently
  • Season with the spices, black pepper and lemon zest and cook for a further 5 minutes
  • Squeeze the excess milk from the bread (*reserving the milk) and add the bread to the mince
  • Stir well to break up any lumps
  • Add the lemon juice, chutney, sugar and almonds and stir well
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool
  • Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius

for the savoury topping:

  • *** Place the bay leaves into the mince so that they stick out
  • Whisk together the milk, eggs and cream
  • Season generously before pouring the mixture over the mince
  • Sprinkle the top with ground nutmeg
  • Set the dish into a roasting pan and fill the roasting pan halfway with hot water
  • Bake for 35 minutes until the top is set

Serve with boiled rice, baked sweet potato, or in a hollowed out bread roll

My Notes
** use beef mince if you cannot get lamb mince*** at this stage you could transfer the mince to an oven proof dish but I prefer to bake it in the casserole dish

*** Follow this link for conversion tables and handy hints:

About Tandy Sinclair

Tandy’s first memories of food involve her paternal grandmother who always had enough food at her table to feed a small army. She can remember stepping into her grandmother’s pantry and eating pickled onions right out of the jar. The pantry also always had a container of crunchies and one bite of this treat transports her right back to that place. Coming from a Jewish family, high holy days meant cooking with all the aunts and it is her Aunty Tilly’s ice cream that was the inspiration behind her recipe book, Lavender & Lime. Tandy’s maternal grandfather was the first foodie she knew and he was a dab hand in the kitchen, making his own mayonnaise, marzipan and Steak Tartar among other meals. They shared a mutual passion for mustard and Tandy always has at least four jars in her fridge at any one time.

Tandy lives in Gordons Bay in a cottage with her husband and three dogs. Tandy and Dave are busy building a house which is an adventure all in itself. She is really looking forward to a bigger kitchen. In the meantime, all creations come out of a really small space. Tandy believes in spending money only once and so she saves up to get the kitchen tools she thinks are the best quality. Each year they visit a new place to experience the food of the area and you can follow along on their adventures.

When not in her kitchen Tandy is at work selling Natural and Organic products.

This is Tandy Sinclair’s cookbook which is available exclusively and printed to order.

It has been a huge learning curve and it has been made possible with input from many people. I will continue to print the books to order so if you would like one please send me an email. The recipe book costs R95 excluding postage and packaging of R25 (for up to 5 books, in South Africa) R95 is around $7, Euro 7 and £6 + P&P. The book has been printed in A5 format on 140gm gloss paper and the cover is glossy 300gm. There are color photographs spread out throughout the book.

You can obtain the cookbook directly from Tandy at the email in this link:

Connect to Tandy Sinclair.


My thanks to Tandy for bringing this childhood memory back to life and since the curry master in the house is David I will persuade him to make Babotie for us soon.

Please share this wonderful recipe far and wide… it is very special. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – The Bitter Truth about a Sweet Tooth by Julie Lawford

I am delighted to welcome author Julie Lawford to the blog to share some of her extensive archived of health posts. The first post is close to my heart… and shares Julie’s own experiences with sugar and some of the recent findings on this sweet and addictive invader.

For decades, losing weight has been all about cutting fat. ‘Official’ health guidelines directed us to ditch the full-fat milk in favour of semi- or better still, skimmed milk. Butter was demonised and we were told it was better for us to smear synthetic spreads across our bread. Low fat products filled the supermarket shelves and most of us were unaware that once the fat was excluded, in order to endow them with any taste, they had been packed full of… sugar. How is any of that better for us?

You’ll probably be aware that the official guidelines have recently undergone a seismic shift. Fats – especially good fats are IN, and sugar – despite the protestations of the food industry – is now OUT. Sugar has been rebranded the biggest dietary evil of our time.

Let me pin my colours to the mast here. I believe this to be absolutely true.

I’m not presenting myself as an expert on the matter. But I’ve been persuaded of the arguments and benefits by reading and learning from sources such as:

  • Pure, White and Deadly: How sugar is killing us and what we can do to stop it; by John Yudkin
  •  Sugar – The Bitter Truth; a lecture available here on YouTube, given by Robert Lustig
  • Fat Chance: The Hidden Truth About Sugar, Obesity and Disease; by Robert Lustig
  • Action On Sugar (website here) and Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra (website here)

The arguments are, believe me, compelling. Sugar rewards you emotionally, but does nothing for your body, and it was undoubtedly a major factor in my weight gain – and that’s not even taking into account the whole diabetes issue and a host of other damaging outcomes. The information is all out there – Google it.

Some time ago I had already significantly reduced my intake of chocolate, mainly because I realised I was addicted and was consuming far too much on a far too regular basis. I know. I know. People think I’m mad, but for the last three years, I’ve eaten chocolate at only two times of the year, for a couple of weeks at Christmas and Easter. Four months ago, along with a host of other dietary changes, I resolved to cut it out altogether. I took the decision not to re-introduce it for Christmas 2015. I’d enjoyed having those two indulgent periods of the year to look forward to, but they had rarely lived up to expectations and I’d become aware that for me, chocolate no longer filled the emotional hole it was supposed to fill.

Cutting it out resulted in a substantial reduction in my sugar intake, but it wasn’t enough. I don’t like sweet pastries and I don’t crave cakes particularly, but I have a weakness for biscuits/cookies, sweet cereals and a variety of confectionary. I had the killer Sweet Tooth.

Ah… biscuits/cookies… If I had them in the house, I would easily eat 4 or 5 with every cup of coffee. When I stopped buying them, there were days when I would prowl the kitchen looking for something – anything – sweet to plug the gap. But that passes fairly quickly, although I do recall squeezing spoons of toffee sauce one evening! But the truth is, the less of the sweet stuff you have around you, the easier it is not to consume it. And once the cravings diminish, you’ll be amazed, and you’ll wonder how sugar ever had such a hold over you.

There were two sweet things that hung about for a little longer… (1) I struggled with a nice, healthy bowl of porridge – I couldn’t enjoy it without a big squeeze of Golden Syrup and (2) I was still consuming sweetened yoghurts. Neither of these seemed particularly bad to me (it’s amazing how you can delude yourself, isn’t it?) – after all, I was eating porridge, and yoghurt, wasn’t I? But they had to go. Now I can enjoy porridge with a sprinkle of salt (yes, really!) and some blueberries or banana, and I’ve replaced sweetened yoghurts with my favourite creamy indulgence – Fage Greek Style (ahem, full fat) yoghurt, packed with friendly bacteria, which is utterly sublime.

What surprised me most was how both my compulsion and my taste for sweet things has gone. I don’t miss anything – and that amazes me. Cravings disappeared quickly and on the one or two occasions when I’ve had a small taste of sweet, out of politeness or because I didn’t want to be too pedantic about it, I’ve found the taste… not pleasant. Sweet is now… too sweet. That, my friends, is massive – the fact that once you’re no longer slamming your taste-buds with a tsunami of sugar, they don’t cry out for it, and when they get it, they don’t much like it any more. Massive.

It’s become so obvious to me that we are trained from childhood and endlessly influenced by advertising and the media, to crave sugar and regard sweet things as treats. Now there are savouries which I regard as treats – although my goal is to ‘treat’ myself with other things, not edibles. But, as they say, it’s a journey.

I would encourage anybody to take a run at this. Like any addiction, it’s tough at first, but eliminating sugar has so many positive effects on the body, that it’s worth persisting.

I’m not, as I mentioned, totally pedantic about it. My focus was on eliminating the main sweetened food groups – cakes, biscuits, breads, cereals, confectionary, deserts, sweetened drinks and fruit juices (but NOT whole fruit) – and avoiding added sugar in processed or ready meals, mainly by avoiding processed or ready meals. Doh. If there is sugar here and there, as there is, say, in salad dressings and other condiments, I’m content to overlook this. But at a guess, I believe I must have eliminated 95% or more of added sugar from my life, and I’m happy with this.

The anti-sugar lobby began to find its voice last year. Now it must demand that food manufacturers lower the quantity of sugar in their products – and it can’t do that without support from the general public. It’s bound to take some time. I would urge you not to wait for the food industry to catch up. By far the easiest way to reduce your own sugar intake immediately is to turn you back on those highly sweetened products.

Oh, and one small piece of advice. If you decide to begin this process, don’t just put or throw away the sweet stuff in your cupboards… douse it with washing-up liquid first!

©Julie Lawford 2016

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Singled Out by Julie Lawford

One of the reviews for Singled Out.

Most definitely for those who enjoy a book with an uncomfortable edge, ‘Singled Out’ is one of the most striking novels I’ve encountered in a very long time. With its short chapters, punchy dialogue, intriguing characterisation and wonderful descriptive passages, it’d make a terrific holiday read. And it’ll haunt your reflections long after the final page has been turned.

It is also one of the bravest pieces of writing to have come my way in a long time. In a masterful opening scene, Lawford leaves her readers in no doubt about her ability to grasp material that many writers would avoid, and bring it to the page without reservation. Those who choose to stay the course won’t regret their decision, but should be aware that this narrative demands to be treated with the respect it deserves. Lawford’s pen doesn’t pull any punches. Her ability to write certain scenes from the male perspective is, quite simply, astonishing.

But who is the male in question? From the moment the opening scene strikes home, the reader is faced with a gripping quest to solve this burning question. It is here that Lawford’s talent really comes into its own. She weaves a complex tale with disarming ease and leads her readers from twist to turn with effortless skill, and at a gentle pace offering deceptive comfort to the unaware (until the next shock comes their way). This is writing as a craft.

Lawford also offers her readers a polished, professional product. Its cover is atmospheric and the patience of a careful edit is evident on every page. On rare occasions I come across a novel that restores my faith in contemporary fiction. ‘Singled Out’ is one such title. I’ll never forget it.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.


My thanks to Julie for her post and please let us have your feedback about your relationship with sugar and all things sweet. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – The Immune System and Digestive System and A Chicken Sandwich

Smorgasbord Health 2017

The immune system- The Digestive process.

In my book, Just Food for Health, the chapter on the digestive system is nine A4 pages long (there are a few illustrations). You are used to seeing long posts from me which is why I split the Digestive System and the Immune System into shorter posts in the Top to Toe Series.

I wrote this short story to describe the passage of a very common and tasty snack that many of us enjoy. Usually with only one thing in mind. The taste.. However, perhaps after following this chicken sandwich through your digestive tract you might think about it in a different way. For those who read this last year.. apologies but I wanted to link the Top to Toe Digestive System and Immune System together


Firstly, though a little about antibiotics. Most of the stories in the media are about the concerns of scientists and doctors that we are fast running out of effective antibiotics to kill the many strains of bacteria that threaten our health.

If human DNA only mutates every 10,000 years or so, they are outstripped by ‘Formula 1‘ bacteria. They are mutating in a heartbeat to survive and this is where the problem lies with antibiotics. We have over prescribed them in the last 50 years or so, pumped them through the food chain resulting in damage to our immune systems and we have created a group of superbugs that don’t care what you throw at them.

Our immune system is our own personal health insurance and we need to make sure that it is boosted so that it can handle the minor bacterial infections we will all have from time to time and only have antibiotics if our system cannot overcome the problem itself.

The purpose of this post is to illustrate how the food that we put in our mouths is critical to the efficiency of our Immune System. Without the right ingredients that have to be processed at every stage of digestion, there would be no defence mechanism in place and we would die. Therefore you really need to think of these two major operating systems of the body as working in tandem.

Our body is pretty amazing but it is not a magician. You do not eat a meal and are suddenly flooded with vitamins and minerals. It is necessary for the food to go through a complex process before its nutrients can be utilised to combat bacteria and provide us with energy.

For that task we need enzymes and other ingredients produced by our organs. For the purpose of this post I am going to use a sandwich that many of us might eat and then forget about. What happens to it after the juicy chicken and tangy mayo has left our mouth is not our concern surely?  But it is!

One of the most complex systems in our body is already at work having begun the process the moment you started to chew the first mouthful of the sandwich.

chicken sandwichYou take your first bite of a wholegrain sandwich with chicken and salad, a bit of butter and a smidgen salt and mayonnaise (lovely)- in the meantime your teeth, tongue and salivary glands that produce the first phase of enzymes begin the digestive process before passing the food (properly chewed is helpful) into the pharynx at the back of the throat. For example amylase produced by the salivary glands converts the bread in the sandwich into pairs of sugars, or dissacharides.

Salivary GlandsThe food then passes into the oesophagus through to the stomach where hydrochloric acid modifies pepsinogen, secreted by the stomach lining to form an enzyme called pepsin. Pepsin breaks down the chicken into smaller units called polypeptides and lipase will break down any fatty globules into glycerol and fatty acids. The acid in the stomach will also kill as much harmful bacteria as possible (not only in the food itself but passed on from the hands that made it and the board it was made on). The end result is a highly acidic liquid that is passed into the duodenum.

Stomach and PancreasThe duodenum will secrete a mucus in response to two hormones (secretin and pancreozymin) that are released to neutralise the acidic liquid that was your chicken sandwich. Bile is also passed into the duodenum either directly from the liver or from the gallbladder where it has been stored.

Acid Alkali scale-01Bile is a complex fluid containing water, electrolytes and organic molecules including bile acids, cholesterol, phospholipids and bilirubin essential for the digestion of fats and their absorption along with fat-soluble vitamins as they pass through the small intestine. The bile has also picked up the waste products that have been accumulating in the liver so that they can be passed through the colon for elimination.

Referring back to my cholesterol blogs – –  this is when total levels are affected by the efficiency of the bile process. Cholesterol not only comes from food but is also manufactured in the liver. It is virtually insoluble in most fluids except for bile where the acids and fats such as lecithin do the job. If this process is not effective cholesterol can collect into stones that block the ducts and cause problems with the digestion of fat. Bile levels in the body are lowest after fasting which is why you have a cholesterol test at least 12 hours after your last meal.

IntestinesBy the time the liquid sandwich reaches the duodenum the particles within it are already very small, however they need to be smaller still before they pass into the ileum, where the final chemical processing will take place. The enzymes that have joined the mix from the pancreas and amylase will break down the food even further into peptides and maltose which is a disaccharide sugar.7. The small intestine is lined by millions of villi, tiny hair like projections which each contain a capillary and a tiny branch of the lymphatic system called a lacteal (yesterday’s blog). More enzymes maltase, sucrase and lactase are produced to facilitate the absorption of the smaller particles through the villi – including breaking down the sugar pairs into single sugars called monosaccharides which pass through easily.

Intestinal villi

Villi in the intestines

The glycerol, fatty acids and the now dissolved vitamins are sucked up into the lymphatic system through the lacteal and into the bloodstream. Other nutrients such as amino acids, sugars and minerals are absorbed into the capillary in the villi which connects directly to the hepatic portal vein and the liver. It is here, in the liver that certain nutrients will be extracted and stored for later use whilst others are passed onto the body.

Single villus

Single Villus with its complex absorption system

The carbohydrate in the sandwich we have eaten has been broken down into first pairs of sugars and then into single sugar molecules and have passed through the villi into the liver. Glucose provides our energy and the liver will determine current levels in our system, how much glucose to convert to glycogen to store and how much to release directly into the bloodstream as long term imbalance can cause diabetes.

Once all the nutrients have been extracted and passed into the bloodstream, lymphatic system or liver, any insoluble and undigested food moves into the large intestine. Any water and salt remaining in the mixture is absorbed into the lining of the intestine and the remainder mixes with all the other waste products produced by the body such as bacteria and dead cells – it is then pack and pressed and stored for excretion.

So there goes the last of your chicken sandwich. I hope it puts a different perspective on the food that you are putting into your mouth – it also is important to remember that if you have a white diet, white grains, fats and sugars, you are giving your body a great deal less to work with and your body and immune system will struggle to get what it needs to be healthy.

The only foods that provide our digestive system with the raw ingredients to maintain and boost our immune systems are natural, unprocessed vegetables, fruit, protein, wholegrain carbohydrates and healty fats.

If 80% of the time you are consuming these foods cooked from scratch then 20% of the time eating foods that have are not as healthy is not a problem.

Most of us have access to an amazing variety of fresh foods but stay firmly fixed on a handful. We need a really wide variety of food to obtain all the nutrients we need for our immune system and this shopping list might help you out.

©sallygeorginacronin Just Food For Health 1998 – 2017

You will find all the posts for the Top to Toe series in this directory:

Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to share.. your feedback is always very welcome.. Sally

Guest Posts Revisited Cook From Scratch with Author J.P.Mclean – Roasted Tomato Sauce

Another series that I would like to repeat is the original Cook from Scratch back in 2014 as the dishes are just as delicious and back then they were aimed at a much smaller audience.

This week the cook from scratch is a dish that I refer to as ‘red gold’… It can be used as a wonderful pasta sauce but also as the base for many more dishes.. I have a version (not as delicious as this sounds) that I cook up in bulk and store in the freezer in two portion containers. Not only do I use a couple of times a week in my everyday cooking but also very useful to have on hand when visitors drop by unexpectedly.

Cooked tomato is one of the exceptions when it comes to nutritional benefits.  The lycopene which is the most beneficial ingredient in the tomato is more potent when cooked than when fresh.  Add in the garlic and olive oil and this sauce with rice or pasta is packed full of goodness.

My guest today is J.P McLean (Jo-Anne) who has her recipe for roasted tomato sauce down to a fine art.

Jo-Anne is the author of The Gift Legacy. A Thriller that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night skies.

About Book 1 – The Gift – Awakening.

Every Gift has its Price . . .

When Emelynn Taylor accepts a mysterious gift from a stranger, her life alters irrevocably. Haunted by terrifying abilities she can’t control, Emelynn returns to her abandoned home on the British Columbia coast where she vows to take command of her unruly gift. A near-fatal miscalculation drops her into the hands of a man who takes her breath away and an underground society who share the gift; but as they steer her into unknown territory, secrets surface and conspiracies are revealed. Will Emelynn master her dangerous gift and escape the unfolding web of perils before they take her life?

A fantasy thriller that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night skies.

If you’re new to the fantasy genre, this is a good place to start. The Gift Legacy crosses genres. It’s light on fantasy, heavy on thriller, with a healthy undercurrent of action and adventure. The books have been described as smart, contemporary and addictive.

One of the recent reviews for the book

The Gift Awakening is a fantasy that starts off slowly and gains momentum. The main protagonist, Emelynn, knows she is different but doesn’t realize just how unusual her gifted talents are.

She was just a normal preteen when a woman visited her on the beach near her home and bestowed a strange gift upon her. Odd things begin to happen to her and when she is seen by a doctor after one of these peculiar episodes he makes her aware of what is happening to her.

When a handsome stranger comes into her life Emelynn is tossed into more turmoil than she could ever imagine. This story continued to intrigue me and I couldn’t put it down for long.

This author has a winning series that is sure to get the attention of fantasy lovers out there. I look forward to the next books in this gripping series.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Jo-Anne on Goodreads:

Now time for Jo-Anne’s delicious and easy to make tomato sauce.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

I make this at the end of the tomato season to fill my freezer with read-to-use tomato sauce. It’s suitable for use as a base for spaghetti sauce, chili and soup, or for use in stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls. It’s quite flexible and can be adjusted to taste, adding onions or peppers or other spices. I’ve never weighed or measured the amount of tomatoes, I simply fill my roaster, and it’s one that fits an 18-20lb turkey.

Fresh tomatoes washed and quartered.
A whole head of garlic, peeled
¼ cup olive oil and salt to taste.

Pile a large roaster with the tomatoes and garlic. Drizzle oil over top and sprinkle with salt.
Roast in a 350 oven for 4-5 hours, stirring every hour or so until reduced to 1/3 original volume.
The tomato skins will blacken, which is good – it adds flavour. Let the mixture cool.

You can either process the sauce with a food processor, or if you prefer to remove the skins and seeds entirely, you can process it with a European Tomato Press, known in our house as the Wapper because of the noise it makes when you operate it. I put the pulp through twice to get all the yummy goodness out.

Can be used immediately or frozen.

Connect to Jo-Anne


My thanks to Jo-Anne for contributing this delicious and extremely useful roasted tomato sauce.  For the previous recipes in the series please check the directory and I hope that you will accept my invitation to share one of your favourite cook from scratch recipes. Just email me on



Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch – Is it wrong to swear when baking for the church pie sale? by Molly Stevens

Sometimes our efforts in the kitchen, especially when it is for a special occasion or event do not go according to plan.. even with a little prayer.. Molly Stevens of Shallow Reflections shares her experience.. one that I have enjoyed myself many times…. which is why I always keep a tub of ice-cream in the freezer and some frozen berries!

By the way Molly has been nominated for this year’s Blogger’s Bash Awards in the Hidden Gem Category.

You can vote for Molly and your favourite bloggers in the ten categories and voting ends on June 2nd.

Is it wrong to swear when baking for church pie sale?

For our annual church pie sale, I usually keep it simple and use convenient pie crusts that unfold from a box, loading them with sweet, stress-free fillings.

But one lovely summer evening after a satisfying day at the office, I announced I was going to make lemon meringue pies from scratch. Patrick pointed out that this might not be the best night to experiment in the kitchen, but I forged ahead with luscious delusions of grandeur dancing in my head.

I congratulated myself on remaining calm while ‘no fail pie crust’ dough stuck to my rolling-pin. I employed utmost patience while I lined tiny aluminum pie plates with ragged ribbons of mangled pastry.

When I took a flip on the flour-coated floor, a couple of curse words escaped my pristine lips. But I dusted myself off, rationalizing that my slip of the tongue was excusable, since I didn’t take the Lord’s name in vain.

While my pastry masterpieces were browning in a 450-degree oven, I whisked boiling lemon filling, and beat egg whites. Patrick couldn’t help but notice I was a little agitated when he helped me wrestle the filled pies into the oven. Wisdom prevailed, and he refrained from reminding me of his earlier warning about tackling this culinary adventure on a blistering, humid evening, after a long, stressful day at the office.

He had no cutting retort as I glared at him, my lips pressed together restraining these bitter sentiments, “For the love of God, why didn’t you talk me out of this?” Under my torrid breath, I muttered a stronger profanity, but rationalized it was permissible, since it was unintelligible.

As my physical and emotional temperatures rose, I watched through the smudged oven window while copious chunks of crust crumbled into a lake of fire and brimstone. I had an asthma attack when I opened the oven door, and inhaled toxic black smoke. Wheezing and coughing made it difficult to steady the pies, and molten, lemony lava crested and receded, threatening to overflow the crusts’ jagged edges.

The smoke detector made a piercing announcement that the house might be on fire, and the dog began to bark and run in circles around my legs. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience when to my horror, I finally uttered an expletive that shattered a commandment.

Once the pies were on the cooling racks, weeping syrupy meringue tears, I rationalized that I had done what any Christian would do under the circumstances: given a shout out to Jesus for help in a desperate situation.

I’m sure that even the most pie-ous among you will not cast judgment on me for swearing (or writing bad puns) now that you know the full story. After all, didn’t Jesus say not to look at the speck of pie crust in your neighbor’s eye, when you have a whole lemon meringue pie in yours?

©2015, Stevens. All rights reserved.

Image Pie: depositphotos_copyright-olyina.jpg

About Molly Stevens

My name is Molly and I arrived late to the writing desk, but am forever grateful my second act took this direction instead of adult tricycle racing or hoarding cats.

I grew up on a potato farm in northern Maine, where I wore a snowsuit over both my Halloween costume and my Easter dress. No one knows for sure if my ideas result from eating too many carbs, or childhood exposure to herbicides.

I have ‘practiced’ professional nursing for *mumble,mumble* years, and someday hope I’ll be competent or retired, whichever comes first. My husband, Patrick, is watching for early signs of dementia, and will have me put in a home when I show an enthusiasm for camping.

When I’m not writing, working or watching the Patriots win super bowls, I love to spend time with our son, daughter-in-law and two perfect grandsons.

Connect to Molly


Would be delighted to share your Cook from Scratch stories, even the disastrous ones.  Contact me at

Thanks to Molly for sharing her post and to you for dropping by… Sally

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from scratch – Magical Cloud Eggs – Jena C. Henry

My thanks to author Jena C. Henry who has sent me this cook from scratch recipe for some wonderful eggs for the whole family.

Magical Cloud Eggs – (for American and English cooks)

I wish I had sent this recipe to Sally before Mother’s Day. Kids would have a blast making this magical dish for Mom’s (Mum’s breakfast in bed.

But Cloud Eggs are fun any time. I made these eggs for me on a regular Thursday and giggled while (whilst) I made them and smiled as I ate them. Adding this recipe to my favorites (favourites) Enjoy!

Here are my directions. I got carried away and wrote 8 steps, but it’s really simple: separate eggs, whip the egg whites, plop them whites into cloud shapes, with a well for the egg yolk. Bake the cloud egg whites, drop in the egg yolk, bake some more and eat!

1. The only ingredient is an egg. One egg makes a serving. Decide how many eggs you want to use. (Use may Parmesan cheese if you want.)

2. Preheat your oven to 450 F degrees (I believe that is 232.222 Celsius, have fun with that!) A hot oven is what we want.

3. Separate the eggs. I put all the whites in one big bowl, and each (unbroken) yolk in a separate little cup. So if you are making four cloud eggs, you will need 1 big bowl and 4 small cups. Or if you are a child making this, you will need 7 big bowls and 21 little cups. And you might as well eat the chocolates Mom (Mum) had hidden in one of the bowls.

4. Whip the whites at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. As you may know whipping egg whites is amazingly fun. If you are a child, your Mom (Mum) would prefer it if you kept the beaters in the bowl.

5. If you want, add some grated Parmesan cheese to the egg whites. I didn’t do this, because I wanted to try it plain and then decide if I wanted cheese.

6. Put parchment paper, or something similar, on a baking sheet. Then make your clouds. Plop a pile of egg whites on the baking sheet, and make a little well for the yolk.

7. Bake the egg white clouds for about 3 minutes. Then slide the baking sheet out and gently place an egg yolk in the well you made in each cloud. Bake for 3 more minutes.

But you may want to think about timing, depending on how runny you want your egg yolks. I would say it takes 6-7 minutes of total baking. If you want firmer eggs, then I would only bake the whites for 2 minutes, and bake the yolks for 5 minutes. That way your egg white clouds won’t bake too brown. So adjust depending on your taste. Do you know what I mean? If you are child, just go watch TV and forget about them.

8. Gently remove the baked cloud eggs from the baking sheet and to loud acclaims and applause, enjoy them! Kids- Mom (Mum) doesn’t care if you dropped one on the floor- just pick it up before a pet gets it.)

©Jena C. Henry, May, 2017

About Jena C. Henry

Jena C. Henry is an active, high energy gal who is a wife, mother, non-profit volunteer and bon vivant. She created the book series, The Golden Age of Charli, to encourage, entertain and share her joy of living and laughing. Jena C. Henry holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Akron School of Law. Now retired, she and her husband, Alan, live in tropical Ohio where they enjoy their two adult children and extended family, friends and darling dog.

Jena presents writing workshops to help creatives achieve their dreams of writing a book and publishing it.When she is finished tidying her house, Jena likes to relax on her front porch and read and write. She enjoys fine dining, traveling to visit family, and lounging by lovely bodies…of water.

Books by Jena C. Henry

About the The Golden Age of Charli RSVP

Charlotte McAntic spent her thirties, forties, and even fifties in peace and harmony aligning her marriage, mortgage, careers, and children. As she stumbles into a new phase of life—also known as the Golden Years—Charli cannot help but wonder where the gold and her husband, Pud, are hiding.

Pud is happily cruising down the retirement path that, for him, leads straight to the golf course. While Charli spends her days at home cleaning out closets and the basement, she yearns to gaze deeply into Pud’s blue eyes and remember all the reasons why she fell in love with him thirty years ago. Unfortunately, the only thing Pud is eying is the next fairway. Knowing there is more to savor in retirement than silver-hair shampoos, senior discounts, and hernia surgery, Charli embarks on a quest to do whatever it takes to spend retirement in the embrace of the man she loves. But is it too late for happily ever after?

In this humorous novel, a high-energy wife and her solid guy must learn to adjust to a new chapter in their lives and find their way back into each other’s hearts after their retirement begins with a jolt.

Read all the reviews for the three books and buy:

Check out other reviews on Goodreads:

My thanks to Jena for this easy to make but spectacular looking egg dish that will delight the family. And if you have a recipe that is a family favourite that uses all natural ingredients (even if it is one you have adapted over the years) please let me know at

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Stevie Wonder, Justice ‘East End’ Style, Skin and Bones

Welcome to the round up for the posts this week just in case you missed any. I feel a little guilty since I spent quite a bit of time off line and not spending time with your blogs but I promise that just another week to go and I will be more attentive.

The plan was to get the next volume of What’s in a Name finished.. I have two more stories to go Y and Z… already in my head and then I have some surprises to add that will be revealed when it is published.  A slightely different appoach to the names from K to Z with just ordinary people doing something they will be remembered for.. Even if it is only by those they love.

Some of you may remember that I wrote a story using an illustration by the very talented Donata Zawadzka.

This story along with 24 more make up the sequel to Tales from the Garden but this time set in Ireland. Queen Filigree is forced to escape from the palace beneath the magnolia tree in Spain and to seek refuge with her Irish cousin.

I am working with Donata who is producing four central illustrations that head up the four seasons in the book and I am very excited by the project. And I have to thank Paul Andruss for introducing us. It will be in print as well as Ebook and is the first book of mine to be written in Ireland since 1999.

You can find out more about Donata at her website and her sales site:
Buy her work on Redbubble:

I have managed to get some gardening done this week which has a duel purpose.. I pot plants and plot stories!  I am going to do the same this week whilst I finish the current projects but I will be in each day to check up on things and have a chat.

Thank you for all your wonderful support and wonderful comments… I am hugely grateful.

Now for a look at the posts from the week… with additional thanks to my two collaborators.. William Price King and Paul Andruss.

William Price meets the Legends

A brand new series and this time the artist is the amazingly talented Mr. Stevie Wonder who has entertained us for over 50 years. His first performances at age 11 propelled him to early stardom and some of his most iconic hits were written when he was a teenager.  To get you in the mood is one of my all time favourites.

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss

Paul explores the origins of music and you might look at chimpanzees in a different light.

The Colour of Life – by Geoff Cronin

Just a few more chapters to go in my father-in-law’s memoir but since so many of you have enjoyed I will also be serialising his second book of tall tales.. This week too I pay tribute to my mother-in-law Joan who would have been 97 yesterday. A lovely woman with the most infectious laugh you will ever hear.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Reading and Interview

Just  a reminder that if you are in the bookstore you are welcome to do a book reading and interview. The details of how to do that are in this post.  My guest this week was Richard Ankers and next week Sandra J. Jackson and C.S. Boyack.

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

If you are not already on the shelves of the bookstore then please pop in and take a look at this post which has a link to what you need to send me.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

If you are in the bookstore you can enjoy regular updates of new releases, great reviews or offers.. Just send me an email to

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews

This is open to all authors on the bookstore shelves or not… just send the link to your latest great review to

Jessica Norrie

Smorgasbord Poetry

My thanks to Robbie Cheadle for her contribution to this post this week.. In a dilemma about which cake to bake for her husband’s birthday she took to verse…

Smorgasbord Short Stories

The Sewing Circle is about a group of elderly residents of an East London estate whose lives are devastated by the actions of a family of thugs.  Here are all three episodes. More stories from this collection next week.

Some personal stuff

I was delighted to be interviewed by two writers this week. The first was with Amy M. Reade.

And the second was with Lisa Burton.... courtesy of Craig Boyack.

I was also very honoured to be nominated in the Most Informative Category for the #BloggersBash this year and voting is now open. There are ten categories and some wonderful nominees.. Please head over and vote for your favourites.

Smorgasbord Health – Let’s Walk a Marathon Challenge

This week.. how to burn extra fat…

Smorgasbord Health – Top to Toe.

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch

I would love to hear from you if you have a recipe made from fresh ingredients that is a favourite..


Put your troubles away for a little while and enjoy the outlook of a pug who has a neural problem but does not let it get him down..

Thanks for showing up, commenting, sharing and being so supportive.. hugs Sally

Keep smiling




Cook from Scratch – The sandwich that packs a punch with link to 140 fillings

Sometimes we over complicate things especially when it comes to healthy eating. One of the healthiest lunches you can make, pack and eat on the go is a sandwich and later in the post there is a link to a wonderful food blog where Grace Hall has compiled a list of 140 fillings.  There is more than enough choise to find natural fresh ingredients that will give you a healthy boost in the middle of the day. Especially if you team with an apple or an orange.

There is a current trend to demonise carbohydrates, and as with any trend, the baby is thrown out with the bathwater. There is no doubt that when we are less than active, eating too many carbohydrates of the wrong kind, can lead to sugar overload and fat being laid down in the belly area.  But we do need a moderate amount of wholegrain carbohydrates, and despite alleged evidence to the contrary our bodies have been eating good grains for a very long time particular in their wild state.

Our current obesity problem is related to another trend thirty years ago, that enouraged us  all to give up fat and eat mainly carbohydrates. The body has an essential need for good fats and has had the indignity of being bombarded with fads and myths for far too long and this was one of the most harmful in our modern diet.

There is no doubt that the body finds modern refined grains such as white flour hard to digest, and to find any nutritional benefit, even when the industrial food merchants pop some synthetic vitamins into their concoctions. But wholegrains and root vegetables are packed with nutrients and are needed by our bodies in varying amounts.


Carbohydrates are a component of food that supplies us with energy in the form of calories to the body. Along with proteins and fats they provide the human body with the main elements required to be healthy. Carbohydrates are made up of sugars (simple carbohydrates), starches (complex carbohydrates) and fibre. If you take the fibre out of the formula through over processing you are just left with the sugars.. These are intense and result in blood glucose fluctuations. You may have experienced this for yourself after a heavy lunch with lots of white rice followed by a rich and sugary dessert. You become light headed and feel faint requiring a top up around 4pm in the afternoon!

If a child has a white flour, sugar and transfat diet from an early age not only are they likely to be obese but they are also at risk of developing diabetes.  More and more middle-aged adults also suffer from pre-diabetic conditions especially when their exercise levels drop off.

There is no doubt that our requirement for carbohydrates will change as we get older. When we are children and young adults our growing bodies require a supercharged fuel – carbohydrates are also needed in higher concentration during periods of high activity as you get older, but should be allied to that particular period of exercise. When men and women pass through the mid-life change the requirement certainly drops but levels again depend on how active your life style is. If you still run 5 miles three times a week or play a fast game of tennis, you can eat more carbohydrates than someone who enjoys video games.

If someone is a total couch potato drifting from bed to table, table to car, car to desk, desk to car, car to sofa – then putting a high octane fuel into the body will simply be converted to fat. However, stopping all carbohydrates is wrong – there are certain nutrients and fibre within wholegrain carbohydrates that the body needs so that the chemical balance is maintained. Eating them in moderation is the key.

As an example of how a good grain becomes a refined grain with added synthetic vitamins.

Any variety of wholegrain rice will contain more of the nutrients as it loses only the outer layer of the grain called the hull. During the process that turns brown rice to white rice it loses 67% of its vitamin B3 (niacin) 80% of B1, 90% of B6 – half of its manganese and phosphorus, 60% of its iron and all the dietary fibre and essential fatty acids. Do you realise that to make white rice acceptable as a food it has to be artificially enriched with B1 B3 and iron? It is amazing the difference that processing a food can have on its nutritional content.

The processing the wholegrain wheat and other cereals that we consume has the same effect on their nutritional value to the body.

You might as well be eating cardboard rather than white packaged bread, cakes, biscuits and savoury pies.

I shared the recipe for Irish Soda Bread last week and a number of you commented that you make your own bread.. that is great especially with wholegrain flour and no additives and with minimum sugar.

If I do buy bread, I buy the in house bakery wholegrain varieties that have a short shelf life and freeze them so that they stay fresh. The reason they go stale is that they are not filled with transfats and additives.

If you use two medium slices of wholegrain bread for your sandwiches with a light spread of real butter and not low-fat spread or margerine you have a great base for your lunch. To eat immediately to to take to school, work or for a day out.

To put things into perspective.. store bought sandwiches have been made from unknown ingredients, perhaps two days ago, with margerine or cheap mayonnaise and can have a calorie count of up to 600 calories with high saturated fat content.

By putting good quality salad vegetables in your sandwich you are not only making a more filling sandwich but you are adding to the nutritional content.

I am not going to reinvent the wheel on this one when I can simply share a link to this post by Grace Hall of Eats Amazing. 140 fillings that means that sandwiches are never boring. If you use all fresh ingredients and have a different sandwich every day you can still lose weight. Counteract having a mature cheddar cheese sandwich one day with salad with a hard boiled egg sandwich and salad the next day.

Most of the fattening elements are adding too much mayonnaise when a scrape of butter, seasoning and herbs are just as tasty.

This is one of the most versatile lunches you can have and I look forward to mine everyday, particularly now that I have Grace’s list to select my preferences from.

The Ultimate List of Sandwich Fillings by Grace Hall of Eats Amazing a UK food blog.

Do you ever get fed up of sandwiches? Think they’re boring? Well think again, because today I have over 140 sandwich filling ideas to share with you. You read that right, I’ve got 140+ different sandwich ideas right here in this post – sandwiches will never be dull again!

Follow this link for an amazing A – Z link to 140 fillings for sandwiches :

As always if you have any questions about your dietary needs or my posts you can contact me on .. thanks for stopping by.