Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 10th – 16th January 2021 -1960s music, Breakfasts, Anti-Aging, Book Reviews and Funnies.


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

There seems to be little let up from either virus or weather this week and apart from a trip the supermarket and a few turns around the garden I have not ventured out relying on indoor exercise options. I am grateful apart from an inquisitive robin who sat on the windowsill one day, nobody has seem me bopping around the kitchen to Status Quo and Tina Turner with a carrot peeler and wearing my apron.

In case you are wondering this is not a new trend of mine.. here I am the first Christmas in our first home 40 years ago. Only I seem to have a glass of sherry in my hand rather than a carrot peeler. For some reason I thought a goose was a good idea for Christmas dinner..more fat than meat.. and I had those pans for at least twenty-five years. And I seemed to have two aprons.. nothing like changing for dinner.

Some good news to share as  D.G. Kaye and Carol Taylor will both will be back this week with the first of their 2021 columns.

Debby Gies will be entertaining and inspiring us with her first Relationship column of the year on Monday and I am sure as interesting and inspiring as always. If you would like to catch up on the posts from 2020... Here is the link

Carol Taylor begins a brand new monthly column on Wednesday – Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen and this week she will be looking at recycling, the plastic wrap most of us use in our food preparation and storage, and a recipe for some great sandwich bread. I hope you will join us and discover ways we can become more environmentally aware.

I have been out and about this week..

My thanks to Sue Vincent for inviting me over to her place this week to talk about the sewing connection between the generations of women in my family.. I also share my own needlework passion which is tapestry. Sue Vincent – Guest Sally Cronin – The Sewing Gene

And finally…The 2021 Posts from your Archives list is now at 20 bloggers and there is still time to add your name and participate in this series.. It is another opportunity to promote your blog or books or both… and you can never have too much of that… check the post for details and all you need to know is let me know if you wish to take part.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries February 2021- ‘Pot Luck’ and Do You Trust Me??

Thanks to William Price King and Debby Gies for their wonderful contributions this week and to you for all the support..

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1960 – Part Two

What’s In A Name Clive – The Debt by Sally Cronin

What’s in a Name? – Beatrix – Behind the Mask by Sally Cronin

Lost Cats and Tomatoes

#Paranormal #Mystery – This Second Chance by D.L. Finn

#Family – The Sum of our Sorrows by Lisette Brodey

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Psychological #Thriller – Warning Signs by Carol Balawyder

Please note that Blackthorn will be FREE between 23rd – 27th January 2021.

Past Book Reviews 2019/2020 – #PostApocalyptic – Blackthorn by Terry Tyler

Turning Back the Clock 2021- Anti-Aging without the Botox by Sally Cronin

Recipes that Pack a Punch – Breakfasts – Wholegrains – Meusli Porridge by Sally Cronin

Recipes that Pack a Punch – Breakfasts – Versatile and Nutritious Eggs

11th January 2021 – #Spaghetti John W. Howell, #2020 Don Massenzio, #Unfinished #Books Jacqui Murray

#Humour The Story Reading Ape, #Writing Charles Yallowitz, #Inspiration Robbie Cheadle.

 

#Recipes Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen, Amy M. Reade, Carol Taylor

#Romance Jacquie Biggar, #Supernatural Jessica Bakkers, #Paranormal Jan Sikes

#1960s Jane Risdon, #Mystery Amy M. Reade, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano.

#Supernatural John W. Howell, #Pilgrims Noelle Granger, #Southernculture Claire Fullerton.

#Emotions Jeff Goodman, #ComicCon Candy Keane

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Waistbands and Walking into a Bar

January 14th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Dry January and Genies

– It’s all about the Cats and Dogs…host Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Health Column – Recipes that Pack a Punch – Breakfasts – Versatile and Nutritious Eggs 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. In the previous post I shared a recipe for Meusli Porridge

Breakfasts – Versatile and Nutritious Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of choline and selenium, and a good source of high-quality protein, Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, iron, iodine, phosphorus, selenium and you can read more about the key nutrients at the end of the post.

Before I get to the various ways you can enjoy eggs for breakfast, it is important to remember to prepare this nutritious food with care. Despite the scares in the 90s about salmonella in eggs, there is a great deal more control now on the keeping of poultry and how to avoid infection. I don’t recommend eating raw eggs and I prefer mine to have been cooked through. You can read about this in more detail in this post I wrote in 2019: Salmonella in eggs

Buying the best eggs.

Most eggs on the shelves of the supermarket, particularly the cheaper multi-packs are commercially raised and fed an artificial diet of corn, wheat, soy and other grains. To get around the free range trend, farmers raise the chickens in barns uncaged but fed commercial feed with additives that play a role, in not just the nutrition of the egg, but to fulfill out expectations of how our eggs should look.

Our expectation of what an egg should look like.

When we crack open an egg we expect to see a  rich golden yellow yolk surrounded by a lovely white colour.

However, the colour is not naturally that yellow and is achieved artificially according to the purpose of the eggs and a scale between 1- 15 dependent on the requirements by the customers of the poultry farmer.

Where colour is not an issue, such as in commercial food manufacture of packaged cakes cakes, a paler yolk is acceptable. Most domestic consumers prefer a rich golden or even orange colour to their yolk and that is about 11 on the scale. Fining dining establishments to serve egg dishes where the yolk is king of the dish, would require the richest colour on the scale.

Where does the colour come from?

Chicken feed can be adjusted with colouring to ensure the right level of yellow or golden yolk for a specific consumer. The collective name for these colourants is xanthophylls or E161

The mass poultry factories where most of our eggs originate even if they are ‘free-range’ within a barn and the poor birds in cages are fed this industrial feed which bears little relation to the natural diet of a chicken.

Check the labels

I try to buy organic uncaged free range eggs from grass fed chickens rather than grain because they have a much more natural diet which includes plants such as grass and leaves, insects and seeds that they forage for. They tend to have a paler yolk but they do have more health benefits.

Genuine free range eggs from chickens with a natural diet have a different nutritional profile including the level of Omega- Fats essential to prevent inflammation in the body and the development of heart disease and some cancers. Foraging free range chicken eggs contain three to ten times the Omega- 3 than those fed corn and other grain commercial feeds.

Now time for some recipes..

There is the old joke about not being ‘able to boil and egg‘ but here are some timings that produce the different consistencies that might be helpful.

Boiled Egg with wholegrain toast (my recipe for Irish Soda Bread later in the series)

I prefer my eggs to be fairly well cooked in the centre but I am sure you have your individual preference.

Pop an egg into boiling water using a spoon or ladle so that it does not crack.

  1. Five minutes: set white and runny yolk  and you can dip your toast into the centre
  2. Six minutes: liquid yolk – a little less runny
  3. Seven minutes: almost set  (my preference)
  4. Ten minutes: hard-boiled egg ideal for making sandwiches or for salads. (drop into ice cold water immediately to stop them cooking any further.

Scrambled Egg in the Microwave

I have been using a microwave both in my catering businesses and personally since 1978 and I use everyday to save time and washing up. I enjoy scrambled eggs once or twice a week and it is quick and easy.

  1. Use a microwave safe bowl and I always use glass.
  2. Crack two eggs into the bowl and add 200gm of milk and whisk.
  3. Add a half ounce of butter and a pinch of salt.
  4. Place in the microwave with a lid (I use a plate)
  5. Microwave for two minutes and then stir the contents with a fork
  6. Microwave for another two minutes and fluff up with a fork.
  7. Chop up some chives or spring onions and sprinkle on top
  8. Serve on a piece of wholegrain lightly buttered toast or with a sourdough roll and butter
  9. Add a chopped tomato for additional Vitamin C.

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.

These are just two of the egg dishes that you can prepare for breakfast and you might also enjoy poached eggs, fried eggs,  French Toast, or an omelette. All would give you a nutritional punch to start the day.

Accompany them with

  • Green Tea (protects against heart disease, cancers, cholesterol, strokes, blood pressure)
  • Fresh squeezed unsweetened orange juice (Immune System, Cancer, cholesterol, fibre, ulcers, kidney stones)

I will be sharing more egg recipes for light suppers later in the series but next week starting the day in continental style with frittata and tostada.

More information about the amazing nutrients in eggs that make them such an important addition to our diet.

PROTEINWe are made of protein and very cell in our bodies and every function requires protein to survive, thrive and repair itself. It is involved in hormone manufacture, our soft tissue, bone strength, haemoglobin that combines with iron to carry oxygen around the body and the vitality and strength of our hair and nails.  The body needs food to obtain protein and so including foods such as eggs and other protein rich foods is essential.

N.B It is easy to think that as protein is good for us that we should eat as much as we like. In fact the body can only handle around 10 to 15% of our daily intake as protein on a regular basis as the body goes into overload. Kidney’s in particular are vulnerable. This particular refers to animal based proteins.

CHOLINE: One of the few substances that can penetrate the brain membranes, raising levels of acetylcholine a neurotransmitter that may improve focus and memory. Acetylcholine is also necessary for stimulating the contraction of all muscles including the facial muscles. This may help maintain a youthful appearance. Choline also seems to help with controlling cholesterol, keeping arteries clear.

IODINE: Iodine is a trace mineral that is needed to make thyroid hormones that maintain metabolism in all the cells of the body. It is rare to be deficient in the western world but the key time to ensure that iodine levels are maintained is during pregnancy as deficiency of the mineral has been linked to miscarriages and premature births and congenital abnormalities. Children whose mothers were deficient in iodine can develop growth and mental issues and hearing loss. A moderate deficiency has also been linked to ADHD.

IRON: The main function of iron is in haemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying component of blood. When someone is iron deficient they suffer extreme fatigue because they are being starved of oxygen. Iron is also part of myoglobin which helps muscle cells store oxygen and it is also essential for the formation of ATP.

Dietary iron is found in two forms, haem iron and non-haem iron. (Heme in US). Haem iron, which is the most absorbable, is found only in animal flesh as it is taken from the haemoglobin and myoglobin in animal tissue. Non-haem iron is found in plant foods.

SELENIUM: A very important trace mineral that activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. It is vital for immune system function and may help prevent prostate cancer.

PHOSPHORUS: Essential for bone formation and production of red blood cells. Also needed for the production of ATP fuel for energy. Small amounts are involved in most of the chemical reactions throughout the body

VITAMIN A or RETINOL was actually the first of the fat-soluble vitamins to be identified, in the States in 1913.  It is only found in animal sources but some plants contain compounds called carotenoids, which give fruit and vegetables their red, orange and yellow colours.  The body can convert some of these carotenoids including beta-carotene into Vitamin A. Find out more about this nutrient: Vitamin A – Retinal or Beta Carotene

VITAMIN B2: RIBOFLAVIN; Also essential for metabolising carbohydrates to produce ATP, and also fats, amino acids and proteins too. It is necessary to activate Vitamin B6 and Folic Acid. It works with enzymes in the liver to eliminate toxins.

VITAMIN B12: CYANOCOLBALAMIN; Essential for the efficient working of every cell in the body especially those with a rapid turnover rate and it prevents their degeneration. It works with B6 and Folic Acid to control Homocysteine levels in the blood. It is involved in the synthesis of DNA and the proper functioning of the Nervous system by maintaining myelin surrounding the nerves. It is involved in the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for resetting our biological clock’s rhythm when we change to a new time zone and aiding sleep patterns. It is used in the treatment of diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Anaemia, Low Blood Pressure, hearing disorders, asthma and allergies, infertility and cancer

VITAMIN D: CHOLECALCIFEROL; Essential for maintaining blood levels of calcium by increasing absorption from food and decreasing loss from urine. This maintains a balance preventing calcium from being removed from the stores in the bones. It also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system and blood cell formation. It may protect against prostate cancer. It is needed for adequate levels of insulin and may protect the body from Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes.

VITAMIN E: TOCOPHEROL; As an antioxidant it protects cell membranes and other fat-soluble parts of the body such as LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage and blood vessels. It can be used topically for skin health and is involved in the reproductive system. It may help prevent circulatory problems that lead to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease by preventing clots from forming. It improves the pulmonary function of the lungs and enhances the white blood cells ability to resist infection.

©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.

Size Matters -Serialisation – Chapter Sixteen. Healthy food does not mean tasteless food


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Chapter Sixteen – Healthy Food does not mean tasteless food.

There is no need to use rich, high-fat ingredients to produce interesting and tasty dishes. Although the supermarkets are packed with low-fat alternatives and sugar substitutes I have moved away from using these in recent years. I am not a fan of what I term Industrial Food which is mass produced and chemically enhanced. What I do believe in is a ‘Cook from Scratch’ approach to healthy eating.

The more I have researched food manufacturing standards – and the chemical additives that saturate most processed foods – the more I have reverted to using the real stuff, but just less of it.

I don’t have a problem with semi-skimmed milk or low-fat yoghurts although I buy whole fat varieties and organic when I do use them. I use olive oil for cooking and on bread, potatoes and salads so have no need for reduced fat alternatives, which are loaded with hydrogenated fats, more dangerous than eating the real stuff.

If you like butter then learn to use a scrape instead of half a pound and this is more about your willpower than the fat content. Use full fat cheddar but slice it thinly or just sprinkle some grated cheese on your pizza or potato. Your taste buds will change as you reduce the amount of fats, sugars and salt in your diet and you will be amazed at how sweet and salty you will find processed food after a very short time.

You need healthy fats for most of the processes within your body and certainly the mistaken advice of the 80s which turned us into a fatphobic generation and carbohydrate addicts is one of the main reasons we are facing the obesity crisis today.

Use herbs, spices and basic salt and pepper seasoning to ensure that the food that you eat is tasty. Do not forget however; if you suffer from high blood pressure you need to cut back your salt to around one level teaspoon a day across all your meals. This means that you definitely should not eat any industrially prepared foods.

Sauces

This is another area where you can gain weight-saving advantages simply by making your own sauces from natural ingredients. There is so much sugar in prepared sauces that you might as well sit down with a bag of sugar and a dessertspoon and work your way through it.

Make your own pasta sauces with fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, red peppers and 10 ml olive oil. Season with Mediterranean herbs like basil and you will have produced a low fat and low sugar version that would delight any Italian.

Pasta and Rice

Please use whole grain pasta and brown rice as so many of the essential nutrients are removed from white starchy foods during processing. In fact, with white rice they have to re-fortify with B-vitamins after removing all the natural stuff. Brown rice is wonderfully nutty and full of fibre and health benefits.

You will see some ideas for portion sizes for these carbohydrates in the section on designing your own programme in the link at the end of the post, but if you add lots of fresh steamed vegetables to your dish you will find that there is more than enough on your plate.

Jams and marmalades

There is no getting away from it; jams and marmalades have lots of sugar in them. Eating them once in a while is fine but try and use a mashed banana, sliced tomato, sliced egg or a little honey instead. If you are going to have marmalade on your toast in the morning then have a scrape of butter and a teaspoon of the spread. If you are exercising and following the eating programme at least 80% of the time you can afford to enjoy the taste of real strawberry jam or marmalade as part of it. Again, it is down to you and your willpower. You know what a teaspoon is and it is up to you to be sensible as after all it is your weight you are trying to lose not mine.

As an alternative to jams and marmalades you might like to adopt one of the typical breakfasts here in Spain.

Most of us associate a continental breakfast with breads, butter and jams or perhaps sliced meats and cheese. However, here is Spain a very common breakfast or mid-morning snack is Toasted bread with olive oil and a spread made from tomatoes.

tomato

It is something we eat frequently when we are out for coffee instead of something sweet and because I usually do not eat traditional breakfast now at 8.00 in the morning breaking my fast at 11.00 or 12.00 suits me better. Over the years I have developed various recipes for this simple dish and it is so easy to whip up and so packed with nutrients that I thought you might like to find out more about it.

Although the dish is really easy to make and serve, it is absolutely packed with nutrients that work on so many levels in your body and benefit virtually every major organ, your skeleton and your immune system. Tomatoes, onions, Garlic, Red Peppers and olive oil. Mega nutritious and delicious.

You can make several days’ worth 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.

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

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/cook-from-scratch-yeast-free-irish-soda-bread/

Basic 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. Based on four tomatoes cut into cubes and put into a blender. Add 1 dessertspoon of Extra Virgin Olive oil and a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of mild pimiento powder. Blend until a puree. The skin of the tomatoes will solidify the mix so scrape into a dish or a storage container.

Red 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 sunflower oil in a pan or in a microwave without oil but a little water for 10 minutes. Add to your tomatoes and blitz it all up together.

Take a fairly thick slice of either homemade wholegrain or from a bakery where it has been made on the supermarket premises (no additives) Toast both sides and then drizzle a little olive oil over the hot bread. Use a spoon and add a good amount of the tomato spread making sure that it covers all the top of the toast.

Enjoy…

meat and fish

Red meat

If you are vegetarian then make sure that you are using an alternative to meat, such as tofu or some other fermented Soya protein, so that you are obtaining the B-vitamins. Eating lean red meat as part of your eating programme is absolutely fine as long as you cut off most of the spare fat before cooking. I advocate lots of variety and if you are eating chicken, turkey, salmon, white fish during the week that only leaves a couple of days to eat lamb and beef anyway. Use about 6 oz. uncooked weight – and grill or roast.

Fried foods

I know that many people like a traditional cooked breakfast. If you feel you really must occasionally indulge in one, try to make it lower in fat by grilling the bacon and poaching the egg. Ideally you should stay away from bacon, sausage and black pudding on a daily basis and regard as a Sunday special. Better choices are a poached egg on toast with sugar-free baked beans, or scrambled egg on toast with grilled tomatoes.

Grill or cook in the oven, rather than frying. You will soon find that you have lost your taste for all the fat you were eating and you will notice the flavour of the food much more.

You can also use a microwave. Most items can be cooked in this way, but make sure that you get the right cooking containers.

The unbeatable fruit salad

fruit and veg banner

There is much in the media about not eating too much fruit… I agree a diet that entirely comprises fruit is not going to give you the balanced diet that you need for health. However, fresh fruit that is in season has been part of the human diet since we first were able to pick it off the trees or bushes. That is a lot longer than the so called ‘guardians’ of our food intake have been. Fresh fruit as part of your daily diet is very important and is less calorific that drinking a large glass of the same fruit that has been juiced from four or five portions.

One of the most useful dishes I have eaten from childhood is fresh fruit salad. Growing up in South Africa enabled me to sample fresh peaches and grapes straight from the orchard or vine. The first time I made fruit salad for myself, I found it a bit of a chore, but after the first week I was hooked. I am going to give you the two versions that I enjoy the most, and they are really simple.

The fruit salad can be kept in the refrigerator in a large sealed container, and it will last for four or five days. I eat it for breakfast sometimes, or for a snack. It is also something to pick at when I am cooking dinner and feel tempted whilst waiting for the meal to be ready. Not only does it taste refreshing, but it is good for you. The apple juice is cleansing for the liver because of the pectin it contains and all the fruit has vitamins and fibre, which are essential in any healthy diet.

You can eat one or two small bowls day, and if you want a change you can top it with a yogurt. I often use as a supper and add a tablespoon of cooked brown rice to the mix with a yoghurt. You will find that the preparation time spent once or twice a week is the best half-hour you will ever invest in your diet.

Normal version

Two red and two green apples, a bunch of seedless grapes, one fresh pineapple or a can of pineapple chunks in fruit juice, two pears, six plums and two large oranges. Cut all the fruit into pieces and add to sufficient apple juice to cover it. I recommend that you use fresh squeezed juice if you can and if you do not have a juicer then try one from the supermarket fresh produce counter. You do not need to use much just enough to make sure the fruit is kept moist.

Soft version

Two peaches, one melon, a large punnet of strawberries, six plums, two mangoes, two papayas, a bunch of seedless grapes and four mandarin oranges. Cut into pieces and add to sufficient unsweetened juice to cover the fruit.

You can use whatever fruit you wish. This is your alternative to chocolate and biscuits. Its natural sweetness is easily processed by our bodies. Fruit still has a calorie value, but a breakfast bowl will only be about 100 calories and is ideal for a snack or extra filler if you are hungry.

There are other ways of using fruit in your everyday diet which are appetising and nutritious. As an alternative to fizzy, canned drinks, you can dilute fresh squeezed juices with sparkling mineral water.

©sallygeorginacronin Size Matters 2001 – 2015

You can find the previous fifteen chapters in the directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/size-matters-serialisation/

I hope that you are finding the posts useful and if you have any questions please put into the comments section. If you would like to ask a question offline then happy to help via sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Thanks for dropping by.