Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 21st – 27th February 2021 – 1960s Pop Music, Short Stories, Poetry, Blog Stars, Books, Reviews and Funnies


Welcome to the weekly round up with posts that you might have missed during the week.

I don’t have a great deal to report this week which in many respects is a good thing. We are waiting to hear the government decision regarding lock down today or tomorrow but it looks like it has been extended to the end of April with certain services such as hairdressing being one of the last to open.

Just as well my husband has become so deft with the scissors and clippers and as my hair is short anyway it has not been too bad.  I take the clippers to his hair too and after nearly a year we may continue after the restrictions are lifted.

I have been out and about however in the virtual sense which was a lot of fun. This week I was delighted to be the guest of author Hugh Roberts where I shared the story of my acting debut….I hope you will head over to read..

Watch Out For The Matador! – A True Story

As always my thanks to William Price King and delighted that the Breakfast Show is going down well, despite the fact that it is a little early for many of you to remember the songs.. If you do have memories and a favourite track from the 1960s we would love to include you in the Breakfast Show Special at the end of March.. details here The Breakfast Show 2021

Thank you also to you for all the visits, comments and shares again this week.. I do appreciate the support very much.

On with the posts from the week….

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1963 – Part Two

Jane Risdon shares the background to one of her favourite tracks of the 1960s

What’s in a Name? – Prince Charming by Sally Cronin

Return to Tales from the Irish Garden.. Previously

Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge No 213 #Badger Hexastich x two – Beacon and Umbrella by Sally Cronin

#Paranormal #Romance – Ghostly Interference: (White Rune Series Book 1) by Jan Sikes.

#Cancer #Journal – Apple Blossom: my Hope…my Inspiration by Jaye Marie

Past Book Reviews 2020 -#Poetry Inner Rumblings: by Joyce Murphy

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Thriller -Deep Cover by John L. DeBoer

chicken sandwich

Recipes that Pack a Punch – A Chicken Sandwich and how your body extracts the nutrients

Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Seven – Anti-Aging and Attitude of Mind

Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #AfghanistanAdventures #54 Winter travel by Mary Smith

Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Writing – Author Bio Dos and Don’ts by K.M. Allan

Going West: The Accidental Tourist by Sue Vincent

Monday 22nd February 2021 – #Food Carol Taylor, #Home Chantelle Atkins with Jessica Norrie, #Bookreview Harmony Kent

Wednesday 24th February 2021 – #LakeDistrict Mike Biles, #AlooGobi Sowmya’s Spicy Corner, #Publishing Alison Williams

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – New Book on the Shelves #Ghosts – Brody Cody and the Haunted Vacation House by Toni Pike.

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – Author Update – #Nature Joyce Murphy, #Fantasy Maria Matthews

New Book on the Shelves – #Thriller – Shattered Lives: A Jo Naylor Adventure by Allan Hudson

New Book on the Shelves – #YA #Fantasy – Rites of Passage (The Rites Trilogy Book 1) by Doug Parker

New Author on the Shelves – #Family – Sisters of the Undertow by Johnnie Bernhard

#Reviews #Family Lisette Brodey, #SouthernCulture Claire Fullerton, #Fantasy Tyler Edwards

#Murdermystery Terry Tyler, #Meditation Sue Vincent, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach

#Lockdown M.J. Mallon, #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Paranormal Marcia Meara

February 23rd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – After Surgery and Shopping for a Husband

February 25th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Lost Glasses and Best Beer in the World

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – Host Sally Cronin – We are all going to the dogs!

 

Thanks very much for visiting today and I hope you will join me again next week.. have a great weekend.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Recipes that Pack a Punch – A Chicken Sandwich and how your body extracts the nutrients by Sally Cronin


So far in this series I have shared recipes for dishes that contain ingredients that are packed with nutrients. Today’s recipe is for one of the simplest meals we can fix, in minutes. A chicken sandwich. Of course not all sandwiches are created equal and some are more nutritional than others, but you can rest assured that your body will take every last bit of goodness out of that sandwich, and treat it with same respect it would do for a Michelin starred 18 course taster menu.

Some of you will recognise this post from two years ago but I hope that those of you who have not read it, will enjoy finding out what happens to a Chicken Sandwich when it passes through your system. (If you want to check out the nutrients in the ingredients you can find them Weekly Shopping List by Nutrient)

Ingredients for my chicken sandwich

  • Homemade wholegrain bread and you can find my recipe (Yeast Free Irish Soda Bread)
  • A good swipe of grass fed butter (grass fed daily contains more of the essential K2 vitamin)
  • A dollop of homemade mayonnaise, recipe in last week’s post (chilled soups, salads and dressings
  • Mix of lettuce, spinach, rocket and watercress baby leaves
  • Fresh roasted chicken breast or thigh meat
  • Thinly sliced tomato
  • Half an avocado
  • Seasoning to taste

I am sure I don’t need to tell you how to put these together to create a delicious sandwich.

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 boost our immune system 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 share what happens to that delicious sandwich from the moment you take that first mouthful. At that point one of the most complex systems in our body is already at work to get what it needs from this simple meal.

The journey of the chicken sandwich from first bite to fuelling your immune system, building bones, feeding your brain, protecting your heart and keeping your gut full of healthy bacteria.

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.

This is when total levels of cholesterol 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. 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.

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.

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 lacking in sufficient healthy fats, vegetables and fruits, 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 healthy fats. This does not mean that you cannot eat white flour products, for example sourdough bread because of the live nature of the fermentation process is a healthier alternative to store bought plastic cheap white bread.

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. Weekly Shopping List by Nutrient

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for joining me for this series and as always delighted to receive your feedback… keep young at heart… thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – February 14th – 20th 2021 – Romance, Songs 1960s, Chilled soups, book reviews, videos and funnies


Welcome to the update of posts that you might have missed from the week here on Smorgasbord.

I hope all is well with you. Quiet here except for the noise of the wind howling around the house and the six inch puddle stretching across the front of the house. I know I wished I had a swimming pool but clearly the genie was having an off day.

The garden birds have been having a tough time of it with the winds and driving rain making it difficult to fly, particularly for the small birds such as the sparrows and tits. I usually buy my birdseed and fat balls at the garden centre or at a push smaller packs as the supermarket but of course the centres have been shut since the New Year and the supermarket shelves are bare of both seed and other products. One store has at least got some sunflower hearts and I have mixed that with sultanas and cooked brown rice.. They can at least digest that easily and it has nutrients for them.. The sunflower hearts provide the good fats and protein.

I have taken to put some on the ground as well as on our platform feeder and hanging baskets and hopefully they will get enough nourishment.

They are staying in the thick hedge in our back garden but when I got out (dressed in full wet gear) there is a sudden chorus of song and I can feel hundreds of eyes on me… as soon as the back door closes they are in the feeders and on the ground which is encouraging.

Anyway.. on with the posts from the week and as always my gratitude to William Price King, D.G. Kaye and Carol Taylor for their terrific contributions and to you for visiting, sharing and commenting.. it keeps me motivated..

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1963 – Part One

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – February 2021 – Online Dating – Staying Safe

Bread, Homemade Peanut Butter and Home Grown Vegetables and Herbs.

St. Valentine’s Day – The Meaning of Romance to Me by Sally Cronin

Charlie the Junkyard Dog

 

 

Barbados and the last letter home 1986. Sally Cronin

#WWI – #Family Saga – The Heart Stone by Judith Barrow

#Children’s – A Beechworth Bakery Bears e-Book (too) by Frank Prem

– Past Book Reviews 2020 -My Name is Danny – #Doglovers – Tales from Danny the Dog assisted by Andrew Joyce.

Butterfly Cinquain – Fate’s Voice by Sally Cronin

Your Own Opinions And Feelings #selfaware by Toni Pike

#Finance – Working with a Financial Planner by Sharon Marchisello

– #Spying – The Story about House Hunting While Being Watched by D.G. Kaye

#Q&A D.G. Kaye, #Valentines Carol Taylor, #Interview as guest of Amy Reade

#Swearing The Story Reading Ape, #Deserts Cindy Knoke, #Speedreading Robbie Cheadle

-#JulesVerne Carol Seidl, #Waves Melanie Stewart, #Medication D.G.Kaye

#Reviews by V.M.Sang, #Cookbook Marian Beaman, #IrishMyths I.E. Kneverday

#Teaching Pete Springer, #Betrayal Abigail Johnston, #Hitching Andrew Joyce

Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Six – Anti-Aging and Oxygen

Salads are not just for Summer

New Book on the Shelves – #Fantasy Dead of Winter: Journey 2, Penllyn by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

#Psychological Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Thriller Alex Craigie,

#Thriller Gwen M. Plano, #WIIDrama Marina Osipova, #Paranormal John W. Howell

February 16th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

February 18th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Vows and Good Deeds

February 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Flying first class and Shakespeare insults

 

Thank you for all your support and I hope you will drop in again next week… enjoy your weekend.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Recipes that Pack a Punch – #Mushroom Soup and Mushroom Chilli Carbonara by Sally Cronin


In this series I will be sharing recipes that pack a punch of nutrition and still taste delicious. By now you know that I believe in a ‘cook from scratch’ approach to preparing meals and I have followed that philosophy for over forty years. In my mid-20s I was cooking food for 110 growing children three times a day, and the focus had to be on the nutrition as well as the taste. As a nutritional therapist for the last 25 years, I have shared these recipes with my clients to ensure that they never went hungry or deficient in the essential nutrients their bodies needed to be healthy.

Today I am sharing two recipes containing mushrooms and if you are looking to prepare some meat free dishes during the week, mushrooms are a great alternative and packed with nutrients..especially when combined with other ingredients such as onions, green vegetables and eggs to add their nourishment to the dish.

There is more information about the nutrients and health benefits of mushrooms at the end of the post..

I love soups in the winter months and like to buy the boxes of mixed mushrooms with all their varying flavours that bring depth to a soup. The Asian mushrooms in particular such as Shitake and Maitake have additional health benefits and are available in most supermarkets or frozen which is how I buy them for use in casseroles and soups.

Creamy mushroom soup

When preparing mushrooms remember that if you wash them you need to dry as much as possible before cooking, however with soup that is not too much of a problem since you need the liquid.

To serve four people a generous supper portion or six as a starter.

  • 250gm (8oz) mushrooms (the type of mushroom will determine colour – brown mushrooms give a depth of flavour but you can use shiitake or button too.
  • 1 medium onion.
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon and rind (try freezing your lemon before grating and you get the added vitamin C from the pith)
  • 600ml (pint) of chicken or vegetable stock.
  • 200ml (1/2 pint milk) I use full fat milk to give a creamy taste but you can use semi-skimmed.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (a pinch)
  • A half teaspoon of pimiento dulce to add a little spice and colour.

Preparation

  1. Wash and slice the mushrooms and put into a pan with the finely chopped onion and grated rind and lemon juice.
  2. Pour in the stock and milk and add the thyme and salt and pepper.
  3. Cover the pan and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Liquidise the soup and then return to the pan to reheat and check the seasoning.
  5. Serve hot with warm homemade soda bread. (recipe next week)

Mushroom Chilli Carbonara

I love pasta although I do not eat as much carbohydrates these days as my requirement is much less than it used to be. However, we have a pasta dish with or without meat at least once a week. Here is a recipe using mushrooms and with a touch of added heat from chilli.

Serves 4 people.

  • 250gm (8oz) button, chestnut or shiitake mushrooms.
  • 300ml (1/2pint) hot water
  • 225gm (8oz) pasta of your choice – Tagliatelle or spaghetti is great especially whole wheat.
  • 1 crushed garlic clove or level teaspoon of garlic powder if you like the spice.
  • 25/30gm (just over an 1oz) butter
  • 15ml (1tbsp) Olive oil (do not worry about virgin or extra virgin for frying)
  • 1 Teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
  • 300ml (1/2 pint) single cream
  • 2 eggs
  • You can also add a handful of chopped spinach to add some colour and extra nutrients
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese and some chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Preparation

  1. Cook the pasta according to the preparation information on the packet, drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
  2. In a pan lightly sauté the garlic if you have used fresh cloves in the butter and oil.
  3. Add the mushrooms, chilli flakes and cook for about three minutes.
  4. Pour in your hot water and boil to reduce the sauce.
  5. Beat the eggs and the cream with the seasoning.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the pan of mushrooms and then add the eggs and cream.
  7. Mix through the ingredients
  8. Reheat so that the eggs are cooked but don’t boil.
  9. Serve in a bowl with grated parmesan and chopped parsley.

More about mushrooms

According to the ancient Egyptians, over 4,000 years ago, eating mushrooms granted you immortality. The pharaohs even went as far as to ban commoners from eating these delicious fungi but it was probably more to guarantee that they received an ample supply. Mushrooms have played a large role in the diet of many cultures and there is evidence that 3,000 years ago certain varieties of mushrooms were used in Chinese medicine and they still play a huge role in Chinese cuisine today.

There are an estimated 20,000 varieties of mushrooms growing around the modern world, with around 2,000 being edible. Of these, over 250 types of mushroom have been recognised as being medically active or therapeutic.

More and more research is indicating that certain varieties have the overwhelming potential to cure cancer and AIDS and in Japan some of the extracts from mushrooms are already being used in mainstream medicine.

One area of research is into the phytochemical action that suppresses two enzymes, aromatase and steroid 5alpha-reductase. Aromatase converts the hormone androgen into oestrogen, an excess of which can promote the development of breast cancer. Steroid 5alpha-reductase has the same effect on testosterone, converting it to dihydrotestosterone, which has been shown to be involved in the development of prostate cancer. In the laboratory a team led by a Dr. Chen discovered that the mushroom extract suppressed the growth of both these cells.

Apart from their medicinal properties, mushrooms are first and foremost an excellent food source. They are low in calories, high in B vitamins, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc – and supply us with protein and fibre. They are versatile and they are easy to cook and blend with other ingredients on a daily basis. For vegetarians they provide not only protein but also the daily recommended amount of B12 a vitamin often lacking in a non-meat diet.  You can discover more about this amazing food source of nutrients: Smorgasbord Health Column, Food Therapy – Mushrooms

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for joining me for this series and as always delighted to receive your feedback… keep young at heart… thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly Round Up – 31st January – 6th February 2021 – 1960s Music, Bloggers, Book Reviews, Hormones, Shortstories, Slowcooking and Funnies


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

I hope everyone is doing well and not to badly impacted by the winter storms across America and Europe… we don’t tend to get snow very often in our part of the Irish coast but it looks like we may well get hit tomorrow and then a freeze next week. I took the precaution of doing the weekly shop today instead of Monday and went early. By the time I was leaving at 10.00 the built up as a lot of others had the same idea.

Virus numbers seem to be coming down although not early enough here at the moment. We shall see if the March 5th lifting of restrictions will take place.

In the meantime as one of the five million people still choosing to use the Classic Editor.. I was furious when they updated the programme two days ago which now means adding two steps instead of one to inserting images, short links, centering text, bolding text, adding colour, and italics. Thankfully there are a few keyboard shortcuts for some, but otherwise you now have to click an up arrow to the editing icons instead of them being visible whilst you format the post. Pain in the butt and another move in my opinion to drive us into using the block editor.. underhand.

Of course unless you are a paid subscriber to  WordPress you cannot access help in person. The irony is that if they could guarantee that I could retain the classic editor and keep the current format, I would be happy to pay them an annual subscription. I am sure that most of the other 5 million people still using the Classic Editor would probably be happy to do so.

The latest news from the forums is that they say, if the demand is still there after December 31st 2021, they will reconsider supporting it into 2022.

Whilst it might sound like I am an entrenched luddite, it is more down to the way I blog, which is several times a day. I appreciate that for many that is breaking the rules of blogging, but my vision was of a magazine style blog with varied topics and an effective book marketing platform. I am not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but if they keep mucking around with the functionality of the editor then I will be looking at making some changes.

I love doing this and it is frustrating when I can’t do it the way I want.   Which incidentally was their grand opening mission statement.. ‘Your blog, Your Way.’

Anyway.. enough of the rant.

Thanks very much for keeping me motivated by your visits and comments…  Also to the guests this week who are participating in the Breakfast Show specials and the Posts from the Archives.

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1962 – Part One

The Breakfast Show – 1960s Hits Part Two – Special Guests John W. Howell and Jennie Fitzkee

July 1986 – Rafting on the Guadaloupe

What’s in a Name? – Patrick – Love in a Time of War

What’s in a Name? – Martha The System Administrator

#1960s #Thriller – Paris Escapade by Ted Myers

#Fantasy #Adventure – Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Familysaga – The Memory by Judith Barrow

Past Book Reviews 2020 – a kiss for the worthy: #Poetry inspired by the Walt Whitman poem ‘Leaves of Grass’ (A Love Poetry Trilogy Book 2) by Frank Prem

#PersonalPower #Standards by Toni Pike

#Finance – Reversal of Fortune by Sharon Marchisello

#Life – Nature’s Hideaway – Pond Party! – Observations by D.G. Kaye

#Writing D.G. Kaye, #Blogging Pete Springer, #Zucchini Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen

#Greece Eat Dessert First, Mairzy Doats by Elizabeth Gauffreau, #FlashFiction Janet Gogerty

#TVReview D.G. Kaye, #Mushrooms Carol Taylor, #Poetry Recap Colleen M. Chesebro

#WildDogs Patricia Furstenberg, #Tofu Jemima Pett, #SueVincent Carrot Ranch

olives

Turning Back the Clock 2021 -Anti-Aging and The Hormone Factor

Vegetable Casserole/soup/base

– #Cheetahs Patricia Furstenberg, #History Barbara Ann Mojica, #Nature Joyce Murphy

New Release -#Fantasy Heather Kindt, Reviews- #Poetry/Prose M.J. Mallon, #Paranormal Romance Stevie Turner

#Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, Fiona Tarr, #Comingofage Bette A. Stevens

Reviews #Family Christa Polkinhorn, #Shortstories Karen Ingalls, #Sc-fi Sandra J. Jackson

February 2nd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Wine Day and One Liners

February 4th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Margaritas and Flying Companions. Posted on February 4, 2021 by Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life.

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – February 2021 – Another Open Mic Night

 

Thank you very much for dropping in this week and for your support.. enjoy the weekend and I hope you will join me again next week..

Smorgasbord Health Column – Recipes that Pack a Punch – Vegetable Casserole/soup/base by Sally Cronin


I am a huge fan of bulk food preparation and it probably stems from running my own business single handed cooking for 100 + customers every lunchtime in a pub I was landlady of, and then later preparing cooked breakfast, lunch and high tea for 120 children and 20 staff in a boarding school. Meals that have to be ready at a specific time of day for that many, requires planning and preparation in advance, particularly of vegetables.

Since vegetables lose a great deal of nutrients the moment you cut into them, and then even more if they are left uncooked for more than a few hours, it meant an early start each day. I did have an industrial water peeler for potatoes and carrots etc, and two staff to help prep for meals, but it still was time consuming. However, blanching and freezing vegetables as soon as they are peeled and cut, does preserve most of the nutrients and cuts down the cooking time.

Now that there are only two of us to cook for, I still like to prep vegetables in bulk two or three times a week and they stay fresh in the fridge for at least three days.

David, my husband, has an extra boost in the evenings with a bowl of mixed vegetable soup, jazzed up with a little protein left over from our main meal and sometimes a spoonful of rice.

My favourite pieces of kitchen equipment are my two slow cookers, one large and one medium. Today I am sharing my recipe for the weekly pot of vegetable casserole, soup and sauce base which produces 8 portions of nutrient dense and tasty main meals or suppers. Adding extras such as beans makes this a great meal for vegetarians and is usually a hit with children who might be reluctant to eat vegetables prepared in other ways.

It is also a great dish for those who might be recovering from an illness or surgery or for an elderly person who has lost their appetite. It can be blitzed to make a smooth soup and you can add some whole milk to make it creamy in texture. It will lose none of its nutrients and it will be easily absorbed by the body.

One of the major benefits of using a slow cooker is that you lose none of the nutrients during the cooking process as it is all retained in the mixture.

Before I give you the recipe… a reminder of the essential nutrients we should be including in our daily diet to maintain an effective immune system, strong teeth and bones, efficient digestive system and a brain firing on all cylinders. You can find each of these nutrients described in more detail in a series from 2020 and linked to from this comprehensive shopping list that provides all the nutrients you need in a weekly shop: Smorgasbord Health Weekly Grocery Shopping List.

  • Vitamins and anti-oxidants – A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (Folate) B12, C, D, E, K,
  • Minerals – Calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc.
  • Amino Acids –  L-Arginine, L-Tryptophan, L-Glutamine
  • Essential Fatty AcidsOmega-3 (Linolenic Acid), Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) 
  • Bioflavonoidsphytochemicals that enhance the action of Vitamin C.
  • Very strong anti-oxidants such as Nasunin and Chlorogenic acid

Ingredients and some of their essential nutrients in a recipe that packs a punch.

  • 150ml Olive Oil – Omega 9 Fatty Acid and Vitamin E
  • Two large Onions and 2 cloves crushed Garlic – Folate, B1, B6 Vitamin C, biotin, manganese, copper, chromium, quercitin, potassium, phosphorus.
  • Three handfuls of fresh Spinach – Vitamin K, Vitamins A, Folate, B1, B2, B6, C, E, calcium and potassium.
  • Four sticks of Celery – High in anti-oxidants and fibre, vitamin K, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium,
  • Four large Parsnips – Fibre – vitamin B6 – vitamin C, vitamin K – folate – vitamin E – magnesium: thiamine – phosphorus – zinc
  • Three medium Leeks – Vitamin A folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. vitamin K – calcium, iron magnesium, manganese, potassium , selenium and zinc.
  • Four large Carrots – Vitamin A (retinol), beta-carotene (turned into vitamin A in the body), other carotenoids, B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals calcium and potassium.
  • One large Butternut Squash – vitamin A, vitamin B1, B3, B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, potassium:
  • Six large tomatoes skinned and blitzed in a blender. beta-carotene (vitamin A) , vitamins C and E, B vitamins and vitamin K, calcium and magnesium.
  • Handful of fresh Basil leaves: polyphenolic flavonoids like orientin and vicenin. vitamin-A, vitamin K, copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium.
  • 600ml of vegetable stock made from organic cubes available from Health Food Shops or sometimes in supermarkets.
  • Added extra to make a more substantial meal with an added boost of nutrients
  •  One can of organic mixed beans (usually in health food section or health food shop and no added ingredients – vitamin B1, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and tryptophan.
  • Any fresh vegetables you have that need using up such as red peppers, spring onions, mushrooms etc.. All will add their own nutrients to the feast.

To prepare

Simply dice or chop all the vegetables, add the stock, cover ( I put a tea towel on top of the cover as well to retain the heat) and cook on high for two hours and then on low for another hour. Check to make sure the root vegetables which tend to be fibrous are fully cooked and tender.

  • I portion out into freezer containers or you can store portions in the fridge for up to three days.
  • It can be used as a base for main meals by adding in cooked protein to the portions as needed.Great for pasta or rice dishes.
  • Or as suppers as a rich soup (dilute the mixture which is quite thick) with a dollop of live yogurt and chopped chives to make it creamier served with some sliced homemade bread.

Image pixabay.com

©Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for visiting today and as always I value your feedback.. next time some soups that taste good and do you good….thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 24th – 30th January 2021 – 1960s music, America, Book Reviews, pH balance, Anti-Aging and funnies


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

A quick intro today as I have very little to report on the home front.. the weather is the same, lockdown extended to March 5th and more travel restrictions in place. On the bright side, we did binge watch the last four James Bond’s to get ourselves ready to watch the new one when it eventually gets released.

We are also enjoying our foreign language series,particularly the Scandinavian shows, and amazing how quickly you forget the subtitles. They are also very well made and thankfully missing so much of the unnecessary chit chat that the English speaking series seem to contain.. in one show we watched last week 20 minutes of a murder mystery was spent with two of the detectives bickering in a car on their way from one scene to another.. I must be getting old…or grumpy… or both.

Anyway.. thankfully there are some great people around to cheer me up including William Price King and the hits of the 60s.. four guests join us this week in the special shows.. the first today and one tomorrow.. Hopefully more of you will join us with your memories of the music of the time as we move through the decades.

Also of course Debby Gies who has been sending funnies my way to share with you.. she does a great job.. And thank you for visiting and sharing the posts, it is very much appreciated.

On with the posts from the week..

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1961 – Part Two

– The Breakfast Show – 1960s Hits Part One – Special Guests Ann Patras, Darlene Foster

– Houston – June 1986 – June 1986 – Kittens, sit ups and water volley ball!

#Rescue Dogs – The Sanctuary

What’s In A Name – Theresa at the Checkout

Some clarification on the book promotion and my own book reviews here on Smorgasbord.

Book Promotion and Book Reviews 2021 Guidelines

#Thriller #Sci-fi- The Hitman and the Thief by Richard Dee

#Western #Romance – Gwen Slade: Bounty Hunter by Sandra Cox

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Mystery – Examining Kitchen Cupboards by Stevie Turner

– Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Romance – Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal

-Anti-Aging and pH balance Eating Plan

DSC_1207aw

– Main Meal – Brown Rice Pilaf – Multi-Vitamin on a plate

The Children’s Reading Room – New Author – The Runaway Schoolhouse by Maria Matthews

#TeddyBear Sue Wickstead, #Historical Antoinette Truglio Martin, #Traveladventure Darlene Foster

New Author on the Shelves – #Paranormal #Thriller Crescent City Moon: Book 1 in the Crescent City Series by Nola Nash

#Humour Lizzie Chantree, #Design Valentina Cirasola, #Writing Harmony Kent

New Release – #Romance #Saga The Heartstone by Judith Barrow, #Myths Barbara Spencer, #Teaching Pete Springer

Hugh W. Roberts

#Guestpost Hugh Roberts, #Sociamedia Chuck Jackson, #Guestpost Marcia Meara

#WritingPrompts Frank Prem, Q&A D.G. Kaye, #Review by Claire Fullerton

Wednesday 27th January 2021 – #Coconutwater Carol Taylor, #Life Jane Sturgeon, #Release Stuart France and Sue Vincent.,

#FullMoon Joan Hall, #Poetry Robbie Cheadle, #CoAuthorship John W. Howell

January 26th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Roomba and Skipping

January 28th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Spiders and Gravestones

Thanks for dropping in and enjoy the rest of your weekend.. I hope you will join me again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Recipes that Pack a Punch – Main Meal – Brown Rice Pilaf – Multi-Vitamin on a plate by Sally Cronin


In this series I will be sharing recipes that pack a punch of nutrition and still taste delicious. By now you know that I believe in a ‘cook from scratch’ approach to preparing meals and I have followed that philosophy for over forty years. In my mid-20s I was cooking food for 110 growing children three times a day, and the focus had to be on the nutrition as well as the taste. As a nutritional therapist for the last 25 years, I have shared these recipes with my clients to ensure that they never went hungry or deficient in the essential nutrients their bodies needed to be healthy.

Main Meal of the Day

This recipe is for a main meal and can be eaten either at lunch time or for dinner.. However, if you are eating in the evening then I recommend that you eat at least three hours before you go to bed so that your digestive system is processing it as you get try to get to sleep. Also as you will not necessarily be as active in the evening, you might think about halving the amount of wholegrain rice. Despite being a healthy carbohydrate it is not going to be burnt off as your body goes in to standby mode overnight.

I know that if you have been following the blog for the last seven years or so, you will have seen this recipe before, but for those of new to the blog you might find it a useful illustration of how you can pack a plate with not just food but nutrients.

My philosophy about food is very simple. ‘Cook from Scratch’ avoiding industrialised foods that have been infused with chemical enhancers and gift-wrapped in plastic. This does not mean that you stop eating the occasional food that comes in a packet or carton.. but if you eat at least 80% of your food from fresh produce with only 20% that is manufactured you are doing pretty well.

However, all of us go through times when we might need a little additional help and that is where taking the right supplements is useful.

And the word supplement means in addition to not instead of. Your body is designed to process food to extract the nutrients that it requires and many supplements on the market, especially the cheaper brands may not be in a form that your body can utilise.

You can reproduce some of those often expensive vitamin and mineral supplements yourself, and here is my version.

This dish contains most of the food groups and a great many of the nutrients we require on a daily basis. Protein, wholegrain carbohydrates, good fats and a wide range of nutrients.  Whilst it makes a delicious main meal for the family you can make it in bulk and keep some in the fridge for two to three days and freeze portions for later in the week. You only need a couple of large serving spoons to get a great nutritional boost.

DSC_1207awBut before I give you the recipe I would like to show you how this meal is in fact a delicious form of a multi-vitamin pill that the body understands and you will gain more benefit from.

This recipe provides you with a great vitamin B-Punch. I am only including those nutrients that are available in a higher concentration, but I think it illustrates that if you compare this to the information on your multivitamin supplement; you are getting most of what you need in this simple to make dish.

Ingredients with main nutritional elements.

Brown rice (I use Brown Basmati) – any form of brown 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. It also contains selenium and copper.

Olive Oil – Omega 9 Fatty Acid and Vitamin E. Inflammatory disease throughout the body is one of the leading causes of health problems for major organs such as the heart and brain. Using Extra Virgin Olive oil even in cooking helps reduce inflammation in the body. Also contains Vitamin E.

Onions and Garlic Folate, B1, B6 Vitamin C, biotin, manganese, copper, chromium, quercitin, potassium, phosphorus – heart health, blood sugar levels, inflammation, digestive system.

Red Peppers – Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, phosphorus, magnesium. Antioxidant.

MushroomsFolate, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, copper, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, manganese and a great source of protein.

Walnuts – Omega 3 fatty acids, copper, manganese and biotin. Heart health.

Spinach – Vitamin K, Vitamins A, Folate, B1, B2, B6, C, E, Calcium and potassium.

Tuna/SalmonOmega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B3, B6, B12, selenium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium.

Eggs – Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Folic Acid, Vitamin A, B2, B5, B12, D (very important) E, iron, iodine, selenium. (Research is indicating that having an egg a day is not harmful as unhealthy cholesterol is not caused by eating natural foods containing it but in eating industrial foods with high sugar levels and commercially manufactured fats).

Ingredients for four servings. You can freeze three portions and use as needed.

  • 225gm /8oz of wholegrain rice (you can add some wild rice for flavour)
  • 15ml/ 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil. (Recent research has indicated that this is safe to heat for cooking but do not burn).
  • 30gm real butter (Spreads that contain half and half butter and margarine are also full of additives) Better to have a little of the real dairy fat.
  • 1 large finely chopped onion.
  • Half a red pepper
  • Handful of mushrooms, button or shitake and as an alternative protein.
  • 10 chopped walnuts.
  • 4 oz. of finely chopped spinach or dandelion leaves.
  • Any leftover vegetables from the day before.
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic.
  • 1 teaspoon mild pimiento
  • Your choice of protein – One Egg per person, chicken, salmon, tuna, lean bacon or a mix of various kinds.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare

  1. Wash the rice under cold running water until clear and drain to remove dust and any remaining debris. Cook until tender in boiling water for 20/25 minutes either on the stove or in a rice cooker in the microwave.
  2. Hard boil four eggs. (A little tip is to put a teaspoon of bicarbonate in the water and it will make the eggs much easier to peel).
  3. In a frying pan melt your butter into the olive oil and cook your bacon and remove from the pan. Add finely chopped onions, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic with a pinch of salt, the pimiento and a sprinkle of pepper to the bacon infused oil and butter and cook until soft. Add the bacon back in and then stir in the chopped spinach and walnuts.
  4. Drain your rice and I usually pour boiling water over it in the colander to remove any starch residue. Add in one large serving spoon per person to the pan and on a low heat blend the rice through the ingredients.
  5. Add in your cooked protein such as chicken, tuna or salmon or cooked shrimp.
  6. Serve in a bowl and garnish with a hardboiled egg.

Variations.

Add in the vegetables you enjoy to the base recipe and you can jazz it up for dinner parties as guests love the variety. You can also eat this cold. Keep in the fridge in a sealed container and serve with a garden salad.  It will keep for a day or two and you can reheat with a small amount of stock in a large frying pan or reheat in the microwave.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

 

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

Thanks for joining me for this series and as always delighted to receive your feedback… keep young at heart… thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – January 17th – 23rd 2021 – 1960’s music, Online Scammers, Green Kitchens, Book Reviews, Anti-aging and Laughter


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

Despite being a momentous week in many ways around the world,very little has been going on in our neck of the woods as our lockdown continues until February 1st. The children here in Ireland are meant to go back to school on 31st of January but I expect that might change as the numbers are still very concerning. They were over 8000 two weeks ago and still at 2,000 + a day.. for a population of just under 5 million it is not good. Still not sure what is happening with vaccines for our age group yet but no doubt they will filter through eventually.

It is however a cold, frosty but sunny day which cheers things up and I have spent some time in the garden repairing our homemade bird feeder. Designed to limit access by the crows (I don’t mind them having a mouthful but they tend to descend as a mob, scaring off the other birds and eating the lot).. Anyway, the crows spend a great deal of time thwarting my efforts and had removed some of the sticks on the outside of the pyramid by undoing the string holding them… If I didn’t find them so amusing….

I also had to break the ice on the two watering holes.. one is a meter square former seed box which is a favourite with the starlings who dive in and have a bath whatever the weather and sometimes there are up to 15 or 16 carrying out the ablutions with much joy.

There are often four or five in the smaller bath which requires constant fill ups in the summer as they splash around having fun.

Not having a dog at the moment, these and the sparrows, tits and the doves are my babies and they have certainly given us much pleasure during lockdown…

Anyway, I hope your week has been good and thank you for visiting today… also my thanks to William Price King (The Breakfast Show), Debby Gies (first relationship column 2021) and Carol Taylor (brand new column, Carol’s Green Kitchen) for their ongoing contributions and I hope you will pop into their posts to enjoy..

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1961 – Part One

January 2021 – Online Connections–Vetting on the Internet, Email and Social Media for Scammers and Trolls

Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen – Homemade Bread, Plastic Alternatives, Grated Cheese

#History #Reference – A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays by Mike Biles

#Mystery – Mistaken Identity: Death On The Cable Car ( Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 4) by James J. Cudney

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Poetry and #Prose Mr. Sagittarius by M.J. Mallon

What’s in a Name? – Xenia – Beloved by Sally Cronin

What’s in a Name? – Vanessa – In a Dilemma

What’s in a Name? – Jack – The VIP Visitor

Houston – June 1986 – South Padre Island and Getting Fit.. Sally Cronin

Health and energy and long life all begin with a correct pH balance. The pH balance refers to the acidity or alkalinity of every living organism. The scale for measuring this balance is called Potential for Hydrogen or pH balance and each system or organ has its optimum balance for health.

Turning Back the Clock 2021 -Anti-Aging and the correct pH balance

Recipes that Pack a Punch – Breakfasts/Brunch – Frittata and Tostada

#Teaching Pete Springer, #Review Alison Williams, #Scams Stevie Turner

Cathy Ryan

#BookReviews D.G. Kaye, Jessica Norrie, #Writers Cathy Ryan

Friday 22nd January 2021 – #Review by Jessica Bakkers, #Co-authors by Gwen Plano, #Funnies The Story Reading Ape

New Author on the Shelves – #Dystopian #Science Fiction -The Outlands by Tyler Edwards

– New Releases – #Scifi Richard Dee, #Fantasy Teagan Riordain Geneviene, Review – #Humour Sue Vincent

Thriller Chuck Bowie, Reviews – #Poetry Miriam Hurdle, #Shortstories Allan Hudson

#Contemporary Sian Turner, #Blogging #Authors Anne R. Allen, #History Mike Biles

#Bullying Eloise de Sousa, #Adventure D.L. Finn, #Butterflies Bette A. Stevens

January 19th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Quotes and a letter to friends

January 21st Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin -Wizards and Squirrels

January 22nd 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Selfies and Jigsaws

 

Thank you very much for visiting and your support.. it is much appreciated.. I hope you will join me again next week…enjoy your weekend.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Recipes that Pack a Punch – Breakfasts/Brunch – Frittata and Tostada by Sally Cronin


In my post last week I shared the wonderful health benefits of The versatile Egg..and if you missed the post, you will find all the nutrients eggs contain and how important they are for the body.

I have mentioned before that I eat within an eight hour window have done so for the last seven years and if you are unfamiliar with intermittent fasting here is a brief summary.

To be honest I am not an advocate for complete fasting over extended periods. Even under medical supervision I always feel that unless it is a method of eating that the body has developed over time, it can add more stress to the organs and our emotional response to food. Additionally those who embark on a fast unsupervised may have an underlying health problem that can cause serious issues. For very young people particularly teenagers this can be a very dangerous and complicated process that can result in not just physical damage but emotionally and mentally too. So first and foremost, do seek advice before contemplating any form of radical dieting.

Intermittent Fasting advocates claim that there are a number of health benefits outside of steady weight-loss. These include reversal of Type II diabetes.  Here is a summary.

  1. Blood levels of insulin drop which leads to more efficient fat burning
  2. Your body has downtime when it can initiate vital cellular repair.
  3. Blood levels of human growth hormone increase dramatically which also encourages fat burning.
  4. It is claimed that intermittent fasting increases your metabolic rate encouraging weight loss and reduction in fat in stubborn places such as the belly.
  5. Type II diabetes has responded well to intermittent fasting with a significant drop in fasting blood sugar levels and fasting insulin levels.
  6. Some research is indicating that intermittent fasting can benefit oxidative stress on cells and reduce inflammation.
  7. There are many studies into the benefits currently and new evidence is being published frequently and is worth keeping an eye open for.

Eating pattern

  • If you choose to follow this form of eating pattern you can choose from eating 500/600 calories for two days of the week and eat normally for the other five days.
  • Or eat between an 8 hour window every day.

If you are very active you might find the two low calorie days very tough and certainly I don’t recommend for growing children or teenagers. However if you are in isolation at the moment and not very active you can still eat reasonably well on 500 calories by eating substantial salads without dressing and homemade vegetable soups.

We prefer the second approach and so we tend to have brunch rather than an early breakfast and here are two of our favourite dishes.

Baked Frittata

Image by mhburton from Pixabay

Ingredients for two people for two days (keeps well in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave)

  • Six eggs whisked
  • 200ml full fat milk, or plain yoghurt (skimmed milk is too watery)
  • One onion finely chopped and cooked off in a little butter in a skillet
  • Two tomatoes finely chopped
  • One small red pepper finely chopped
  • Small handful of fresh spinach
  • Or any leftover cooked vegetables you have in the fridge (broccoli, carrots, leeks peas)
  • Two ounces of grated cheddar, parmesan, or favourite cheese
  • Two ounces of unsalted ham, or leftover chicken, sausage or salmon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Herb of choice.. I use a fresh basil.

How to prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (180 fan assisted) Gas Mark 6
  2. Grease a ceramic oven proof dish with reasonably high sides with some butter
  3. Mix the ingredients (apart from the cheese) together in a bowl and pour into the dish.
  4. Place a plate over the top and microwave for 10 minutes
  5. Remove and sprinkle the cheese on top
  6. Place in the middle of the oven for ten minutes.
  7. It should rise in the dish like a souffle,
  8. Cut into portions and serve with a side salad, or if hungry some fresh baked bread and butter.

Add half an Avocado

Avocados contain unsaturated fats and also contain phytosterols which have shown to lower the more harmful small particle cholesterol LDL (low density cholesterol) which clumps together in the arteries causing blockages. Avocados are great for heart health, skin, eye and bone health and also promote the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A,D,K and the Vitamin C aids your body to absorb iron and Vitamin D in the eggs.

Tomato Tostada

The second recipe today is a popular dish served by all cafes and bars particularly in the morning. We would head out for coffee and Tostada and combine with our grocery shopping. It is simple and delicious to make at home and you can eat earlier in the day as breakfast.

Whilst it makes this post a little longer than a simple recipe I wanted to illustrate how nutritionally important this dish is for our health by giving you a brief overview of the ingredients too.

But first the recipe.

You can make several days’ worth of the tomato topping and store in an airtight container in the fridge. As there are no artificial additives and refined sugars it is a great alternative to other spreads and you can enjoy any time of the day. We have eaten in the evening for a supper from time to time. When we have guests we might also add some lean chicken or a piece of roast beef to the top.

The Bread

I tend to use my own homemade wholemeal Irish Soda bread which is yeast and sugar free. It can be a little crumbly but delicious with the tomatoes.

Or you can buy a wholegrain baguette from a bakery where it has been made on the premises (no additives).

tomatoesBasic Tomato recipe.

  • You will need one tomato per serving. Using up tomatoes that have gone a little soft is great and just wash and take out the central stem.
  • This recipe is based on four tomatoes cut into cubes and put into a blender.
  • Add 1 dessert spoon of Extra Virgin Olive oil and a pinch of salt. Blend until a puree.
  • The skin of the tomatoes will solidify the mix so scrape into a dish or a storage container to serve as soon as blended.
  • If you would like to add some more depth to the spread you can add 1/2 teaspoon of Pimiento Dulce which is lovely and smokey.

peppersRed pepper addition with onion and garlic.

To make the tomato spread especially rich and also even more nutritionally dense, chop up half a red pepper, half an onion and a clove of garlic and cook off with a little coconut oil or olive oil in a pan; or in a microwave without oil with a little water for 10 minutes. Add to your tomatoes and blitz it all up together.

Putting it together

Take a fairly thick slice of bread and toast both sides, or split a small sized wholegrain baquette and then drizzle a little olive oil over while hot. Use a spoon and add a good amount of the tomato spread making sure that it covers the surface of the toast.

Enjoy…

If you have the time to read, here is a brief look at the health benefits and the nutrients that are packed into this simple tomato dish.

Although it contains fats they are healthy fats and if you need to lose weight just use less on your toast as there is plenty of flavour in the spread already.

olive oilExtra virgin olive oil which is from the first pressing of the olives is the best oil to use as it contains higher levels of nutrients, particularly Vitamin E and Essential Fatty Acids.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesise and must be obtained through diet.

Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid and is used in the formation of cell walls, improving circulation and oxygen. A deficiency can lead to decreased immune system function; elevated levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.

Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) is the primary Omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 can improve rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis.

In a human trial it was found that polyphenol rich olive oil included in the diet improved the health of blood vessels which was not the case for another group of volunteers that included oil in their diet with the phenols removed. Obviously the healthier the blood vessels the more effective the entire circulatory system

Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain Vitamins A, C, and K. Folate and Potassium and provide good quantities of B Vitamins Thiamin, Niacin, B6 as well as the minerals magnesium, phosphorus and copper.

With the addition of fibre, regular inclusion of tomatoes in your diet, helps protect you against high blood pressure, too much oxidised low density lipoprotein cholesterol (the unhealthy kind) and heart disease.

Combine this with beta-carotene which is found in brightly coloured foods such as carrots, eating tomatoes offers some protection against sun damage. The lycopene content also has been show to make the skin less sensitive to UV light damage helping keep your skin looking younger.

As we age we also lose bone density and the Vitamin K, calcium and lycopene are essential in the production of new bone.

Red Peppers

Red peppers are packed with vitamin C, in fact more than most citrus fruits, and they have a high anti-oxidant level including Vitamin A, adding to that already present in the tomatoes.

They also add more B vitamins into the recipe including B6 which makes neurotransmitters that might help inhibit the development of breast cancer.

As well as the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, red peppers have a good amount of manganese, needed for bone density and tendons and cartilage.

Onions and Garlic
 onionsOnions and garlic fit well into the category of ‘Superfood’ as they are both nutritional and can influence health in a very positive way.

The onion has a powerful sulphur-containing compound, which is responsible for the pungent odour and for the health benefits. Onions contain allyl propyl disulphide, chromium, Vitamin C and flavonoids, the most beneficial being Quercitin.

Allyl propyl disulphide lowers blood sugar levels by competing with insulin, which is also a disulphide for space in the liver where insulin is normally deactivated. This results in an increase in the amount of insulin available to move glucose into cells causing a lowering of blood sugar.

Chromium is a mineral that also helps cells respond efficiently to insulin, which in turn decreases blood sugar levels. These two properties in the onion make it a vegetable worth including in our daily diet as we get older to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Chromium has also been shown to improve glucose tolerance, lower insulin levels, and decrease total cholesterol levels whilst increasing levels of the healthy cholesterol (HDL).

Garlic contains many helpful compounds including thiosulfinates such as allicin, sulphates including alliin and dithins the most researched being ajoene.
(Just a quick note on the addition of garlic you might want to time this ingredient so that it does not clash with a business meeting or a romantic date….)

Research has identified that garlic lowers blood pressure, decreases the ability of platelets to clump together forming clots, reduces blood levels of lousy cholesterol (LDL) whilst increasing levels of healthy cholesterol (HDL). It also helps our blood vessels relax which prevents atherosclerosis, heart disease and the risks of heart attacks and strokes.

Garlic, like the onion is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. With the current concerns that we have about potential ‘Super bugs’ it is interesting that garlic appears to be an effective antibiotic, even against some of these resistant strains.

Cancer protection is essential for all of us. The compound ajoene might be effective in the treatment of skin cancer and eating two or more servings a week of garlic may help prevent colon cancer.

See what I mean about nutrient dense! – Next time a main meal that boost your nutrient intake

©Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

 

Thanks for joining me for this series and as always delighted to receive your feedback… keep young at heart… thanks Sally.