Tuesday Tips ~ 12 March (on Wednesday!)

Yes, I know…I’m late…again!

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

And here is today’s yesterday’s tips………….

🙂  To rescue overcooked meats, slice thinly and cover slices with a salsa made from olive oil, lime juice, chopped tomatoes, onions and chilli.  The acid and oil replace the moisture in the meat.

TT:  Sounds good to me even if you don’t overcook the meat!

🙂  Don’t add soy sauce to the wok until right at the end of the cooking time.  if added earlier it will cause the food to stick to the pan and may give a bitter taste.

TT:  I’ll have to try this next time I make a stir-fry.

🙂  Clingfilm/plastic wrap can sometimes be very difficult to handle.  Try keeping it in the fridge ~ it also helps with finding the end.

TT:  Sorry, but I’m not keeping it in the fridge….too inconvenient.  My rolls of foil and clingfilm, plastic bags, etc. are in a drawer right at my work area.

entertaining guests🙂  Whether planning a dinner party or a meal for someone special, never try a new recipe and/or a new ingredient at the same time.

TT:  Instead, test it out on your family first!

🙂  If a recipe calls for self-raising flour and all you have is plain flour, use 1 level teaspoon of baking powder to every 110g/scant 4oz of flour.

TT:  Tried and tested and yes, it works.

🙂  Coffee grounds, filter paper, teabags, egg cartons and scrunched-up paper wrappers can all be added to the garden compost.

TT:  Raw egg shells can also be added.  Just crush them up first and with the egg cartons, tear it up into pieces.

tomato🙂  Put fresh tomatoes into boiling water for one minute to loosen skins before peeling and adding to sauces.

TT:  I usually score an ‘X’ on the bottom first as it helps to start the peel coming off.

browngrocerybag🙂  Drain foods cooked in oil on an empty brown grocery bag rather than paper towels, as this will retain the crispness.

TT:  Well this is fine IF YOU LIVE IN THE U.S. WHERE THEY ACTUALLY HAVE THESE!!  This country does not have brown grocery bags…everything is PLASTIC!  I wish we had brown grocery bags as at least they could be recycled.  I have a real problem with this tip considering it’s from a UK calendar!  (as a side note:  We bring our own reusable canvas bags when we go shopping so that we do not add to the already-full-of-plastic landfills areas)

OK kids, there you go.  I will try not to be late next week with my tips, but you know, sometimes life just….happens!

♥  Terri  ♥

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Food and Fitness Tips

Happy Thursday All!  It’s Friday Eve!

Chef P has the day off tomorrow so we’re heading to Borough Market in London by train!  We were there just before Christmas last year, so at least I know what to expect and what I can get there!

I’ll talk about that in another post, but for today, I’m going to give you some food and fitness tips and just some general well-being tips; well probably more food tips, but it’s nice to throw something different in once in a while. 🙂

Stop-Smoking-Aids¤ Stop Smoking!  Probably the number one thing you really should do.  Women who stop smoking by the age of 30 reduce their risk of dying of tobacco-related diseases by 97%.  Quit by 40 and your risk is reduced by 90%.  Stop Smoking Day here in the UK is March 13….next week.  What a perfect time to give it up for good!

¤  Drink your H2O.  Water is a secret weight-loss weapon.  Dehydration slows your metabolism and stops fat burning.  But 10 minutes after drinking 500ml/17fl oz. of cold water, your rate of calorie burning rises by 30% and peaks after 30 minutes.  Nearly half of that comes from your body trying to heat the water.

¤ Enjoy your food.  Don’t just woof it down!  A recent paper published in Obesity found those who chewed their food properly, keeping it in their mouths for up to eight minutes(!) before swallowing, ate less.  Chewing properly also helps release nutrients from the food, so you don’t need to eat as much to absorb the right amounts.

pasta¤  Eat Pasta!  White pasta has an undeserved bad image:  The Mediterranean diet uses white pasta and is one of the healthiest diets in the world.  It proves you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to eat healthy.  Pasta is high carb, but low on the Glycemic Index, because the starch molecules are encapsulated in a unique way in the pasta dough.  However, don’t overcook it as this breaks down the structures, raising the GI.

¤ Keep a food diary.  Keeping a food diary can help you lose weight.  If you’ve had a bad week, you can go back and pinpoint where you screwed up it went wrong.

¤ Cut down on the saturated fats.  Yes, we’ve heard this before, but this is great for keeping your heart healthy.  Even though you cut out the saturated fats, your body still needs fat so you need to consume the good ones, in particular the oils found in avocados, nuts, sees and evening primrose oil.

¤ Try coconut oil.  Coconut oil is great in food and has so many benefits.  It doesn’t degrade at high cooking temps, unlike many other oils and you can even use it in smoothies.  It’s high in lauric acid – a good thing (a type of saturated fatty acid – also a good thing), which can speed up metabolism and great for your joints.  Go for an extra-virgin, raw, cold-pressed oil to really benefit your health.

nocake¤ Crave a dessert after dinner?  Brush your teeth after eating.  The taste of the toothpaste and the time it takes distracts you, so your craving goes away.  Pop a toothbrush in your bag if eating out.

¤  Avoid drinking water with dinner.  Too much fluid can dilute the digestive enzymes in your mouth and stomach, making them less effective.  Aim to drink 30 minutes either side of your meal.  An occasional glass of wine with dinner is fine, but sip it slowly to make the most of it.

sleepy_cat¤ Get some sleep!  Lack of sleep contributes to obesity as it affects the amount of calories we eat the next day.  Different hormones affect men and women after a poor night’s sleep.  The hormone ghrelin rises in men, increasing their appetite, and the satiety hormone GLP-I falls in women, so they don’t feel full after eating.

Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Mar 5

What a gorgeous day we have here today in southern England!  The sun has been shining brightly most of the day, albeit it’s a tad on the cool side.  Come on, Spring!

Here are today’s tips.  Has anyone tried any of the past tips yet?  Would love to hear your comments or experiences.

 

ξ  Cheat with a ready meal (once in a while), but add a sprinkle of fresh herbs, a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of olive oil to pep up the flavors.

TT:  Sorry, but no.  I don’t touch ready meals and haven’t eaten one in nearly 8 years.  I can add fresh herbs and lemon juice just as easily to freshly prepared food and prefer to do just that!

sponge

 

ξ  Heat dish cloths or sponges in a microwave for 30-40 seconds to kill all bacteria.

TT:  I prefer using a sponge over a dish cloth.  All my dish towels, rags, counter wipe cloths, etc. are put into the hamper at the end of each day and are washed in temps of 60°c(140°f) or above with bleach added every second or third wash.  The sponge is replaced every other week.

 

 

ξ  Before squeezing citrus fruits for recipes, microwave 15-30 seconds to double the amount of juice you get.

TT:  This absolutely does work!  Cut the fruit in half first before microwaving.  I zap a lemon for 30 seconds and it’s just enough.

ξ  Wrap celery in foil before storing in the fridge.  It will keep for weeks.

TT:  Can’t say that I’ve ever tried this as we go through a good bit of celery so usually end up buying it every other week.  It doesn’t get a chance to go bad!

AHrefrigeratorξ  Sprinkle empty waste baskets and kitchen bins with a little baking soda/bicarbonate of soda from time to time to absorb any lingering smells and odors.  Pour the old baking soda down the kitchen drain to keep it sweet smelling.

TT:  I do this all the time and it does appear to help.

ξ  Certain varieties of potato can go gluey when mashed.  This can happen as a result of using cold milk.  Instead, try warming the milk before adding and grate some nutmeg over top for a touch of added flavor.

TT:  I usually get the milk out ahead of time so it’s not actually cold, but it’s room temp.  Nutmeg on taters is yummy!

Your kitchen tips for the week!

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

 

Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ 26 Feb

sorry-im-lateYes, yes, I know….it’s Wednesday and I’m a day late.  Better late than never, they always say!

Without further adieu….

Φ  To stop a pan boiling over, insert a wooden toothpick between the pan and the lid.

TT:  Personally, I think this is a waste of a toothpick and also, there’s the possibility of the toothpick falling into the pan if you happen to forget that it’s there.  Or worse, if you have a gas stove as we do, it falls out and under the pan and starts a fire!  I usually just cock the lid up a bit when putting it on to allow some of the steam to escape.

Φ  It’s simple to stop cabbage smells while cooking ~ don’t overcook it and don’t cover the pot with a lid.

TT:  We cook a good bit of cabbage but never seem to have a problem with smells.  Perhaps because we usually add other flavorings to the pan so we smell the flavorings instead.  I always have the lid on too.

greenpotatoΦ  Cut any green parts of a potato away before cooking ~ the green part contains an unpleasant-tasting poison called solanine.  It won’t kill you, but you’re better off without it.

TT:  I ALWAYS do this!  Who wants to eat green potato anyway?  Unless you’re Dr. Seuss!  Oh wait, that was green eggs…. 🙂

Φ  When heating cream, use a heavy-based saucepan and a low gentle heat, allowing the cream to come to a simmer slowly.  Avoid boiling rapidly.

TT:  I don’t cook with cream very much except if I’m making a dessert.  However, I do follow this mantra and heat it up gently.

Φ  Clean a stainless steel sink by wiping with a bit of pasty toothpaste (gel won’t work).  Rub in then rinse well (for a sparkling sink with fresh breath!)

TT:  You can also use baking soda and get the same results.

FrostedFreezerΦ  Defrost your freezer when the layer of ice inside has reached a thickness of 1cm (1/3 inch).  Switch off the freezer, remove the food and thaw the freezer.  Run the freezer for 1/2 an hour before refilling.

TT:  I think it’s time for me to defrost the freezer….

Φ  When cooking pasta, use as big a pan as possible to prevent sticking as it needs room to move around freely.  Don’t add the pasta until the water is boiling rapidly.

TT:  I do this all the time.  Make sure you stir the pasta occasionally while cooking and add salt to the water before you add the pasta.

*******************

So there you go, your kitchen tips for the week!

♥  Terri  ♥

Is your Diet making you FAT?

Well here we are, the second month into the new year and swiftly approaching the third already.

Can you believe it??

Before you know it, the daffodils will be popping up, the leaves on the trees will be sprouting again and everything will be turning greener and springing into life.

So here’s a question for you…How many of you have fallen off the diet wagon already?  Come on now, raise your hands….let’s see…1…2….3,4….5…….6….hmmm….thought so.  Don’t worry, my hand was partially up.  I haven’t been totally bad, but haven’t been totally good either.

I was reading an article over the weekend that talks about the diet mistakes we make and they’re making us fat instead of the other way around.  I admit to sort of doing the second one.  How many of these are you guilty of?

SKIPPING BREAKFAST

smily-breakfastSome think that not eating breakfast encourages your body to burn fat when in fact, thin people eat breakfast; fat people don’t.

Not eating breakfast leads to overeating later on as your blood sugar drops mid-morning, making you crave foods that aren’t healthy such as that double mocha and Danish.  Plus, you are more likely to binge at night as your body plays catch-up on missed calories, making you more likely to store the calories as fat.

So what should you do?  Any form of protein in the morning ~ plain yogurt with berries, an omelette, smoked salmon or sugar-free muesli with nuts ~ makes for a breakfast of kings, thin ones!  Can’t face having breakfast?  Eat a handful of walnuts or almonds about an hour after waking should be enough to stop you bingeing later.

WEEKEND BLOWOUT

nocakeIf you eat healthy all week, is it fine to treat yourself at weekends?  Even after 5 days of restraint, two days of freestyle carbicide will make you gain weight. (What’s carbicide?  Eating every bad carbohydrate within reach!)

Let’s say you eat and sensibly manage your carb intake during the week and then binge on lasagna, burgers, bread, cakes, ice cream, etc., over time, you could gain 10 lbs. or more.  Carbs are first stored as glucose and water, but will turn into fat if it isn’t worked off, so you’ll need to do extra exercise during the week.  Many people equate the weekend with being relaxed so therefore, they relax their eating habits.  If you feel compelled to overeat on the weekends, then it suggests the way you’re eating during the week isn’t satisfying you.

So what should you do?  Pepper your working week with small amounts of what you fancy, such as a small glass of wine, a piece of dark chocolate or a bite or two of cake.  If you end up having a big greasy breakfast on Saturday morning, make sure the rest of your meals for the day are healthy.  If you say to yourself ‘oh the damage has been done and I may as well continue for the weekend’, then you’ll gain back weight.  That’s how fat people think.

DIET DRINKS

Diet drinks have no calories so they won’t impact on your weight, right?  Wrong!  People who drink diet sodas are fatter than those who don’t.

Diet drinks feed a sweet tooth as, gram for gram, artificial sweeteners can be 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.  When your body receives a sweet taste without the expected calories, it triggers sweet cravings that make you eat more.  Sweeteners have also been shown to have a similar effect to real sugar on blood glucose and insulin levels.  One study found that a high intake of diet drinks could increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by 67%.

So what should you do?  Drink water or soda water with fresh lime or lemon or have some decaf or herbal tea or coffee.  If you want something sweet, coconut water with nothing added is a natural, healthy choice.

BUT IT’S HEALTHY!

Just because a food is healthy, doesn’t mean you can eat it in excess.

Hummus, pistachios and peanuts contain healthy fats but come will mega calories and often fail the ‘eat just one’ test.  Such foods can act as triggers for those with a tendency to overeat.  A food labeled ‘healthy’ doesn’t give you the option to just completely ignore calories.  Beware of cereals, snack bars and drinks that present themselves as healthy that are anything but.  Most people know that if sugar is listed in the first few ingredients, then it’s best to put it back on the shelf.  However, you do need to be aware of the sneaky ways that manufacturer’s list sugar on ingredients.

So what should you do?  No matter how healthy they are, don’t keep foods around that you find irresistible.  Things like raw almonds or Brazil nuts are a better choice than something like wasabi nuts.  If you find it difficult to have only 1-2 teaspoons of hummus with your veggies for a snack, then choose something else.  Avoid so-called healthy foods with ingredients such as corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, fructose or any other word ending in ‘ose’.  Some foods produced by weight-loss programs can be high in sugar, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates, which increase appetite.

FAT PHOBIA

OliveOilDon’t avoid fat if you want to lose weight.  Successful dieters get 30% of their daily calories from fat.

Studies show that the tiny 10% of people who lose weight and keep it off eat moderate amounts of good fats.  Fat is highly satiating and keeps you feeling fuller longer.  When dieters avoid fat, they are hungry all the time.  An obsession with low-fat products merely fuels a craving for fatty foods and that’s why they end up stuffing themselves with cakes and ice cream.  Low fat food is pointless because when the fat is removed, it is replaced with something else to retain taste and texture and that is usually sugar and flour, which provide calories but not very good nutrition.

Fat also provides essential vitamins A, D, E and K.  Unfortunately, we are now deficient in many of these thanks to the low-fat message, especially vitamin D, which is one of the reasons behind the re-emergence of rickets.

So what should you do?  Make sure you eat plenty of good fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids as there is evidence that these help the body burn fat.  Oily fish, coconut oil, walnuts and flax seeds are all good sources.  Put a small bit, about a 1/2 teaspoon of butter in your morning porridge or on your steamed veggies.  Try drizzling extra virgin olive oil on your veggies also as it gives them a nice added flavor.

HOW SUCCESSFUL DIETERS KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF

MaxineDiet90% of people who go on diets regain the weight within a year.  The US national Weight Control Registry studied the habits of the 10% of people who did keep off anything from 30 lbs. to 300 lbs. for five years or more.  Here’s what they did:

78% ate breakfast every day.  75% weighed themselves at least once a week.  62% watched less than 10 hours of TV a week.  90% exercised moderately for an hour every day (most chose walking).

IN CONCLUSION…

The only diets that have been proven effective for long-term weight loss in randomized controlled studies are those that focus on higher amounts of protein and vegetables, and limit carbohydrates to those with a low glycemic index (GI).  GI is a number rating out of 100 that refers to how quickly a particular food causes spikes in blood sugar.  Low GI is considered 55 or under.

Gives you some things to think about, eh?

  Terri  

What to do with…GINGER

HenryVIIIHenry VIII is said to have used ginger as a medicine for its qualities, as outlined by Culpeper, the herbalist, 150 years later:  ‘Ginger helps digestion, warms the stomach, clears the sight and is profitable for old men; it heats the joints and is therefore useful against gout’.

ginger

fresh root ginger

Ginger has an impressive record in treating many ailments:  it is said to help poor circulation and to cure flatulence and indigestion.  It is taken as a drink for coughs, nausea and influenza.  In the East, ginger is chewed to ward off evil spirits.  It is considered to be a cure for travel sickness and the essential oil is used in perfumery.

CULTIVATION

red ginger

red ginger plant

The ginger plant is an upright tropical plant, which is propagated by dividing the rhizomes.  It grows to about 3 feet, with elegant lance-shaped leaves and yellow flowers tinged with purple or red flowers.  Harvesting takes place 9-10 months after planting and in many parts of the world, this is still done by hand.  Much of the crop is washed, sun dried and then ground to a powder for domestic and commercial use.

CULINARY USE

gingerbreadThe essential oil is used in commercial flavorings.  Fresh root ginger is extremely popular in a variety of stir-fry or curry dishes.  It is used in different techniques; slices can be added to marinades or in cooking and removed before serving.  Grated, chopped or crushed ginger is used in pastes or braised dishes.  Finely shredded ginger can be added to fried or stir-fried dishes or it may be used raw in salads.  Pickled or preserved ginger is served as appetizers or used in savory cooking.  It is also used in Western baking, for example, in traditional ginger breads, cakes and biscuits such as ginger snaps.  The spice is also used in chutneys, pickles, jams and sweet preserves as well as drinks such as ginger beer, ginger ale and ginger wine.

TYPES OF GINGER

Fresh Root Ginger   Look for plump, silvery skinned pieces, which are called ‘hands’.  Young ginger has smoother, thin skin firmly clinging to the firm and quite heavy root.  Older ginger has thicker, papery skin which sits more loosely on the root.  Avoid ginger that is wrinkled, softened or very light in weight.

Ground Ginger  Pale sand-colored spice widely used in baking.

crystallized ginger

crystallized ginger

Crystallized Ginger  Preserved by cooking in syrup, then dried and rolled in sugar.

Pickled Ginger  A savory condiment used in Oriental cooking.  Chinese pickled ginger is light, sweet and sour and quite hot in flavor.  Sweet red pickled ginger is slightly tangy, but mainly sweet as it is candied.  Japanese pickled ginger is more delicate than Chinese pickles.

Preserved or Stem Ginger  Traditionally packed into decorative, bulbous Chinese ginger jars.  The plump, tender young ginger is peeled and preserved in syrup, making it sweet and fairly spicy.

COOKING TIPS

Use a little crushed ginger in marinades for pork steaks or chops.

Try adding a little finely grated fresh or chopped crystallized ginger to fruit puddings using rhubarb, plus or pears.  Can even be used in crumbles or pastry pies.

ginger-tea

ginger tea

Make a soothing tea when you’re feeling under the weather.  Drop a slice or two into a mug and add hot water and honey along with a cinnamon stick and a slice of lemon or orange or add a slice to some lemon tea.  Ginger tea is also a natural remedy for menstrual cramps and helps relieve stress.  It encourages normal blood circulation, strengthens immunity and reduces inflammation.

Minced fried ginger can be added to Asian dishes just as you would fried garlic to Italian dishes.  It takes ordinary rice to a new level!

Got an overload of ginger?  You can freeze fresh ginger.  Simply freeze the whole root in a resealable plastic bag.  You can then use it without thawing.  Using a sharp knife, peel off the skin for the amount needed and then use a microplane to grate what you need.  Don’t leave the whole root out to thaw as it will become soft and mushy when thawed.

Hmmm….I may just have to go make myself a cup of ginger tea…..

♥  Terri  ♥

Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Feb 19

Good Morning Campers!

Welcome to another sunny day here on Planet Earth!

Here’s your tips for this week…

Whole Wheat Pancakesπ  If you make pancakes in advance of needing them, reheat them in a pile in the microwave wrapped in clingfilm/plastic wrap, with pieces of greaseproof paper between each pancake.

TT: I don’t make pancakes very often, but when I do, I want them right then and there.  If I’m going to make them, I’m not going to eat them later!  If I do have leftovers, then I would wrap them and reheat them as noted.

π  Got garlic breath?  Then try these tips and see which one works for you:  eat some fresh parsley, chew a coffee bean or eat a bowl of lemon sorbet.

TT:  As we both eat a good bit of garlic in this house, I see no need to worry about offending each other.  However, if you’re the only one eating it, then this is a good idea!

meatπ  Fresh meat such as beef, lamb or pork can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days before cooking, but should be eaten within 2-3 days when cooked.

TT:  When we buy fresh meat, it gets re-wrapped in portioned sizes and frozen for later use, whether that be 5 days or 5 weeks.  It saves having to waste it by throwing it out because it was forgotten in the fridge.  Leftovers are usually taken for lunch the next day by Chef P and if there’s still more, I’ll eat it for lunch here at home.  Any remaining cooked meat, such as from a roast, is put into the freezer to use later in stews.

π  Romantic meals should be simple, to avoid spending too long in the kitchen.  Asparagus is an aphrodisiac so makes a good starter.  A pie can be made in advance.  Chocolate desserts are the ultimate end to a romantic meal.

TT:  Don’t want to spend too long in the kitchen?  Here’s a better tip…Pick a nice restaurant and go out to eat! 😉

π  Put clingfilm/plastic wrap over the top of the food processor before using.  It keeps the lid clean, saving washing it and also saves space in the dishwasher if you use one of those.

TT:  Haven’t tried this yet, but really like this tip.  Will definitely try it next time I use my food processor.

π  Massage copper-bottomed pans with ketchup to dissolve the tarnish.  For stubborn stains, add a pinch of salt while you rub.

TT: I don’t have any copper-bottomed pans, but my mom does and I remember cleaning them with lemon juice and salt.  I would cut the lemon in half, sprinkle with the salt and scrub the pan using the lemon half.

Have a lovely day!

♥  Terri  ♥