Category Archives: Healthy Eating

CarolCooks2…Week 9…in my Kitchen…made from scratch…Homemade Sausages and Sausage Spice mixes…

Welcome to my kitchen where I cook almost everything from scratch…Today I will tell you a little about myself and one of the reasons why I cook from scratch…

Just lately my phobia about food when I don’t know its origin or who made it has got worse maybe it is because I am reading and researching more about food…

My phobia stems way back from childhood when we were on our annual holiday to Great Yarmouth and for many years we stayed at the same guesthouse…I have many happy memories apart from this one…Mrs Horne was the lady who owned the guest house and she did all her own cooking and baking with the help of her mother…

This particular evening homemade meat pies were on the menu…Bear in mind I was about 8 years old and my father was a stickler for manners and eating up our dinners.

Cutting open my pie …This green stuff came out…My reaction was horror and at the top of my voice, I said I am not eating that it is green…My father’s reaction was to tell me through gritted teeth to be quiet and eat it!

My mother on glancing at my plate quietly picked the plate up and returned it to the kitchen telling my father… she can’t eat that…

What transpired was that a very apologetic old lady came out of the kitchen and explained that with the bit of pastry left over she had made herself a greengage jam pie…That was what landed on my plate with potatoes and gravy…

Needless to say for an 8-year-old it scarred me for life…haha…

From that day to this anything which I don’t know the origin or if it looks or sounds suspect in any way invokes that feeling of horror and I can be turned off anything in a trice…

Hence why I have always cooked from scratch…So there you have it …A humble greengage pie covered in gravy…gave me my phobia…

Hence I always make my own sausages or buy them from a friend here who makes her own sausages ( I have watched) she was married to a German gentleman so makes really lovely German sausages also many of the markets here make their own sausages which means natural sausage casings are freely available…

Sausages frying

A quick tip on how to spot a natural casing is if the sausages on display are not all a uniform shape but all slightly different and maybe wider at one end from the other.

Firstly I will give you two recipes for Sausage spices which are easy to make as most people have the spices in their store cupboards and it helps with the rotation of your spices as they do lose their flavour if they sit in your cupboard for an extended period…

These mixes are lovely if you are buying your meat already minced… I will also give you a recipe for making your own sausage meat from scratch.

Sausage Spice Mix

This spice mix is enough for 1lb of meat once mixed in the meat chill for about 3 hours as the meat must get really cold before filling your casings…but of course, if you want to make a larger amount then store it in a sealed container but remember not to use fresh garlic but dried if storing the mix for another day which is why with this mix I just make as required as I prefer to use fresh garlic.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ tsp of Paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp of red pepper flakes ( optional)
  • 1 tsp of garlic granules ( I use fresh garlic)

Mix all the spices together or if you like your fennel a bit finer then blitz or grind in a pestle and mortar use as required.

Italian Seasoning

This Italian seasoning is very nice if you don’t have Italian seasoning but have dried oregano and rosemary then use those…

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • ½ tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of minced garlic
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp minced shallot

Mix all the ingredients together this mix is enough for 2 lbs of meat.

A Quick Tip I always make and cook a small patty just to check the seasoning and adjust if required.

Sausage Casings.

 

Natural sausage casings are generally made from pigs intestines although sheep’s, goat or cattle are sometimes used. The intestines are scraped, flushed and washed with salt and water either by hand or machine and have been used for centuries.

A video showing how to clean the casings. This is a really good clear video…I can buy natural casings here which do not need quite so much work but I found this video extremely helpful.

Organic food regulations only permit natural casings.

As I stated above you can spot whether or not natural casing is used in sausage production as the sausages will not all have a uniform shape.

Artificial Casings.

Artificial casings are made from collagen often from cattle skin, cellulose or plastic (not eaten)

If you buy a lot of sausages, you may notice some have plastic skin that has to be removed or separated when cooking.

Vegetarian Casings.

Are 100% plant-based and used in Halal or Kosher food making.

The Sausage.

I expect you were wondering when I would get to this part… I think making sausages is a great idea as you can introduce so many flavours and spices which to buy are generally expensive and unless you are buying Artisan ones the other ingredients are probably questionable…

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¾ lbs Lean Pork…Hip or shoulder
  • 1lb 2 oz Belly Pork
  • 1lb 2 oz Pork back fat
  • 3 oz salt
  • 1 ½ tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 6 oz breadcrumbs or medium oatmeal
  • 250 ml iced water
  • 6 metres (20 feet) 28–35mm (3⁄4–11⁄2in) sheep or hog casings, soaked and one end knotted

A quick tip If you put the Pork fat into the freezer for 30 minutes, it will mince more easily without melting.

Let’s make Sausages

Chop the meat and fat into chunks and chill thoroughly.

Mince the meat and fat through a coarse mincing plate onto a deep, wide tray when mincing alternate meat and fat pieces.

Mix the salt and spices with the bread crumbs or oatmeal if using and sprinkle this mix over the minced meat and get those hands in there and start to mix. Drizzle in the iced water and mix thoroughly to ensure the spices are distributed evenly.

Now make your little tester patty and cook…Taste and adjust the seasoning as required.

Now mince the mixture again through a fine mincing plate.

If you are lucky to have a filler nozzle then fit it and fill those casings making sure it is not too tight or burst when you make your links.

Twist the end of the sausage to close it and decide on the length you desire for each sausage and pinch the sausage easing the meat away to form a gap in the casing then twist the sausage twice…Remember when you do the next sausage twist in the opposite direction or the links will unravel easily.

If you have any air bubbles then prick the skin at that point using a cocktail stick or a sterilised needle. If the mixture is too loose within the skin squeeze from the closest link and then twist the skin again…

As with anything new practice makes perfect.

Homemade Sausages

Your finished sausages on the BBQ

I hope that you have enjoyed this post on how to make your own sausages and if you enjoy as there are so many different flavours you can make …

You can mix pork and beef, chicken sausages are nice…

My favourite sausages are:

Cheddar cheeses and jalapeno

Chicken, pancetta and rosemary

Basil and tomato

Apple and caramelised onions

Red onion and parmesan

The beauty also of making your own sausages is that you can make a mix of flavours something to suit everyone…How good is that?

Enjoy and have fun …xxx

I hope you have enjoyed this week in my kitchen if you have any recipe requests please let me know and I will be happy to find them and test them out for you…x

Thank you for joining me in my kitchen today…my dearest wish is that more people would count chemicals instead of calories and cost…Carol xx

Healthy Eating …Snacking is it good for you ?

 

Snacking can be an important part of your diet if you stick to a few simple rules…It is healthy to snack if you have a long time between the next meal…sticking it out generally doesn’t work..you will either head for the biscuit tin or the fridge and have just one…?

It can also help stop you overeating at meal times because you are just soooo hungry…

What do you need to watch out for?

Portion Size:

Guessing is easy but very rarely works you may err on the side of caution and underestimate or you could be way over…

Pick foods which are low in added fat and sugars but high in fibre and water content, for example, an Apple ticks all the boxes a bag of chips/crisps, unfortunately, doesn’t.

I have read many publications which state aim for fruit, vegetables, whole-grain foods or low-fat dairy...I steer clear of anything which screams at me low fat as that generally means high sugar as for the taste to be palatable something else has to be added if fat is taken away…which means sugar if a list of ingredients has sugar or corn syrup in the first few ingredients buyer beware…

Another pitfall is recipes saying only 46 calories each which is what I came across the other day when researching for this post…Broccoli and Cheese Bites they were called and looked delicious really appetising…

The list of ingredients: broccoli, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, flour, eggs and various spices…that made them sound even more delicious I could taste them…cook them in a mini muffin pan which I happen to have and they are mini…trust me…HOWEVER…and this is where the kicker comes in something as delicious sounding and I am sure they also smelt amazing…4 would take me to just under 200cals… 5 would take me over…Looking at them I could have easily eaten 5 and some…I would also want a drink…cheese makes you thirsty…

I will definitely make these at some point…just not at the moment when I am trying to get back into my healthy eating and lose the few pounds I have added during the lockdowns and the festive season…sigh…something to look forward to…xx

Some healthy snacks…

  • Apples (dried or cut into wedges), 1 medium or ¼ cup (35 grams)
  • Bananas, 1 medium
  • Raisins, ¼ cup (35 grams)
  • Fruit leather (dried fruit puree) without added sugar…I love the mango one it is very nice if you can get it..
  • Carrots (regular carrots julienned, or baby carrots ), 1 cup (130 grams)
  • Snap peas (the pods are edible), 1.5 cups (350 grams)
  • Nuts, 1 oz. (28 grams) (about 23 almonds)
  • Whole-grain dry cereal (if sugar is not listed as one of the first 2 ingredients), ¾ cup (70 grams)…don’t forget to count the milk as all cereal absorb milk differently and you could use 125ml or 200ml…just be aware.
  • Pretzels, 1 oz. (28 grams)
  • Yolida Natural live Yoghurt per 150gm serving 100 cals…with serving of 2 fresh passionfruits @34 cals each.
  • Air-popped popcorn, 3 cups (33 grams)
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes, ½ cup (120 grams)
  • Hummus, ½ cups (120 grams)
  • Pumpkin seeds in the shell, ½ cup (18 grams)

If you pair the protein with carbs you will feel fuller for longer  for example:

  • Wholewheat cracker with Peanut Butter
  • Natural yoghurt with fruit
  • Hummus with carrot or bell pepper ..julienned.

Plan Ahead:

Measure out portions and put in a container/bag…if you are going out pop one or two in your bag or keep some portions in the fridge or cupboard if you are measuring cereal…it saves searching the fridge or cupboards or picking something up from a corner shop.

At home, if you or your family snack while watching TV…

Measure a portion into individual bowls rather than just dipping into a big bowl or packet you will invariably eat more.

Above all pick foods you enjoy, eating should be enjoyable, simple and not stressful…xxx

Thank you for dropping in and reading this post please leave a comment as any tips or comments I treasure… as you all know I just love to chat…Love Carol xx

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

Sally has kindly invited me back with my new series…Welcome to Carol Taylor’s Green Kitchen…I hope you all enjoy please let us know as we both love to chat…Hugs xxx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I am delighted to be back with a brand- new column at Smorgasbord Magazine. Thank you, Sally for inviting me back x

Those of you who know me well know how passionate I am about cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients, the environment and ensuring that the food I make for my family is clean and as chemical free as it can possible be.

I am also of an age where I need to keep myself as healthy as I can by eating a varied diet which will also keep me at a healthy weight as long as I continue to exercise which in my case is walking daily…

This monthly post will cover sustainability, news on food production…changes for the better and maybe a villain or three…haha, a recipe or two including some plant- based recipes, hints and tips on making my household a little greener…aka recycling and composting.

View original post 1,639 more words

Eat Smart , Eat Healthy …Dinner!

Welcome to another edition of healthy eating...Today I am looking at Dinnertime some eat it in the middle of the day others in the evening…I am trying to show that if we eat healthily then losing weight is a bonus I am already being bombarded by all these apps and at what cost? I truly believe that if we really, really want a healthy body then the first place to look is to what we put in our mouths…

For me, too many people count calories and don’t count the chemicals in their food…

You will not hear or read a calorie on here …I also believe that we know what we are putting in our mouths…we just choose to not care I suppose if you are eating processed foods all day and every day you will be extremely lucky if your body doesn’t react…

Mine did…over Christmas but I enjoyed what I ate I didn’t enjoy the pounds I put on…however, I am now back to my normal way of eating and I have upped my exercise…because if we listen to our bodies it tells us…Simples really…

I hear little rumbles around the internet about Cravings…

Our taste buds are funny creatures but I do believe and it works for me that if you can abstain then the craving decreases and of course if you eat things which are not sweet then they change your taste buds I know mine have…

I actually picked up a bar of my favourite chocolate yesterday and put it back…I didn’t want it enough to drop it in my basket… I came out of that shop feeling really pleased with myself…

Is it to do with personalities? I don’t know much about that but have read various articles on addictive personalities…I am guessing I don’t have one… I have always had the capacity to just stop doing something…Mind over matter??? What do you think??

Or is it just habitual?

I think I err on the side of habitual… I stopped eating the biscuits and after a few weeks, I didn’t want them… Here is a short article which is very interesting…

http://theconversation.com/theres-no-such-thing-as-an-addictive-personality-heres-why-55275

What is it then? What are your thoughts?

Because I love food…I enjoy my meals… I eat curries and stir-fries…

I rarely snack … I eat my 2 meals a day and sometimes 1 snack…

Two main meals a day and a little something with my sundowner…although my sundowner is non-alcoholic as I am doing Dry January and maybe even February we shall see…I am also foregoing my snack for a few weeks until I get back on track properly.

What am I enjoying this week for dinner…

I enjoyed a lovely Thai Green Curry and some steamed salmon trout..one of my absolute favourites and it will be my evening meal tonight.

salmon-steamed-Thai- coriander-chilli

Thai style steamed salmon with coriander and fish sauce, chilli and lime

Salmon Trout. Quick and easy to do and cooks while the rice is cooking…

Ingredients:

  • 180gm  Trout or Salmon fillet.

For the topping:

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

Mix all the ingredients together.

Put fish on foil and spoon topping on. I reserve some of the toppings to add when serving. Seal foil and put in the oven on 180 for 10/15 mins until cooked.

Enjoy!

Last night hubby and the grandson had liver and onions…I don’t eat many potatoes I much prefer rice…  I had a portion of chilli in the freezer which was my evening meal with of course the mandatory sour cream and parmesan and a portion of vegetables as I cooked too many for the boys…

So as you can see I eat normal food..No diet food…I don’t take sugar in my tea or eat high sugar processed snacks so I suppose the only sugar I consume on a regular basis is natural sugars…

As you know I advocate eating healthy balanced meals I don’t believe in cutting out food groups like meat, most fruits or pasta/rice/potatoes…I do believe we should avoid or eat little highly processed foods, food with added sugars, we should choose good quality cooking oils, avoid excessive intake of high mercury fish like tuna…I was also shocked to read how Victoria Beckham on having a blood test had unusually high levels of mercury in her blood apparently dangerously high…to me that goes back to what I keep saying we need to apply moderation with most foods…

A balanced healthy diet should not cause any spikes in anything…Balance and moderation is the key to good health…

It has taken me a number of years to feel happy in my skin…so far said very quietly for my age I am healthy…I don’t exclude anything from my diet…I even enjoy MacDonald’s Cheeseburger very, very occasionally…

For me, my eating regime is easy to follow and coupled with the 80/20 rule and intermittent fasting and exercise I am seeing results…

That hasn’t always been the case...At this moment I am the lightest I have been for a good few years …I have also accepted I will never be the weight I was when I married… More fat on a chip my husband used to say…haha

Life happened, it gets in the way, doesn’t it? I got married, I had kids… I ate what they didn’t eat, I worked and shopped in my lunch hour and while queuing to pay eyed the strategically placed sweets by the till ( those stores) know how to tempt one don’t they? The mums and friends who mean well…Just have one…That won’t hurt…

box four doughnuts iced

I feel your pain I know what you have been through …

It ain’t easy and while I may make it appear to be …I have eaten my share of what I shouldn’t and moderation did not come into it…I am now older and wiser…haha…Believe what you will…But I have realised I need to cherish this body as it is the one and only one I have or will have…Better late than never…

And remember…Losing weight is not a sprint, it is a marathon and your mental and emotional attitude towards the project is a key factor in your successful weight loss.

What works for you??? What do you struggle with?? 

If you have enjoyed this post please leave a comment as any tips or comments I treasure yesterday I was given a lovely recipe  to try and as you all know I just love to chat…Love Carol xx

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…10th January-16th January 2021…Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

 

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…It is a cloudy and still morning here…a tad warmer just by a whisper and I am contemplating my day while I sip my Oolong Tea…

Well, the New Year has definitely started…on that, I decline to comment I’ll leave that to everyone else…This is a stress-free zone for today at least…

My word for this year is Improv… Why?

The year ahead will be challenging, unrehearsed, unscripted… we may have to think on our feet and be spontaneous at times thus improvising will definitely be on the agenda…for me a perfect word…What’s your word(s) for the year?

Meatless Monday’s…

Here I am dipping my toes into making and introducing more plant-based meals to my family…although they are willing participants they will try anything once they are also my harshest critics…Wish me luck…smile…

Thank you, Darlene, for the recipe I will be testing it this week…tomorrow I am going be getting all my different lentils out of my store cupboard…in the meantime enjoy my first Meatless Mondays…

Meatless Mondays

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/01/11/meatless-mondays/

We are all... well I am …looking to eat more healthily after the cumulative effects of the lockdowns and the festive season…

Eat Smart! Eat Healthily…Breakfasts…

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/01/12/eat-smart-eat-healthily-breakfast/

This week I have also been participating in the Travel Challenge…

Suffice to say I will not be linking to all those posts today…But if you would love to join in or just view vicariously then please do…

 Sharon at the awesome Gum trees and Galaxies blog, nominated me to participate in the Travel picture challenge. I mean do I have travel pictures…haha… Gum trees and galaxies blogs about travel, adventure, books, life and stuff especially if your passion is all of those plus the environment it then makes this blog a must-read who knows what little gems you may find…

The challenge is about visual images so we need to post a favourite travel picture for 10 days without explanation and nominate someone else to participate.

Actually, I am finding it hard to decide who to nominate for these final two but if you would like to be nominated leave me a comment and I will send the next one your way. xx

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/01/12/travel-challenge-day-8-12th-january-2020/

The Culinary Alphabet with a little twist…Q (bbQ) and R (caviaR)

We are back to one of my challenges which I hope you are enjoying ...I have thought about how I am going to follow these two series and have come up with the idea of maybe still sticking with the Alphabet theme and picking 3 A’s, B’s etc in relation to the environment and climate change, of course, some letters have nothing Q being one of them… an example being for A …Air Pollution, Air Quality and Algae Blooms…most of the words I know and have heard of and maybe know something about I just thought I could expand on that…I’ll leave you with that thought?

Now back to Wednesday and my Culinary Alphabet for this week…Enjoy!

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/01/13/the-culinary-alphabet-with-a-little-twistq-bbq-and-r-caviar/

Thursday...I shared one of Sally’s posts…Sally blogs over at Smorgasbord Magazine and is a qualified and experienced, nutritionist whose advice I value greatly…I trust her…

I’m sure many of us look in the mirror and don’t always like/recognise who we see…I hardly guild the lily any more preferring to go au natural…but I do want to keep my smoothish skin without resorting to botox…Sally can help so head over and have a read…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/01/14/smorgasbord-health-column-turning-back-the-clock-2021-anti-aging-without-the-botox-by-sally-cronin/

Healthy Eating Lunches… whether you are at home or at work or just on the go…there is something for everyone …Enjoy!

https://carolcooks2.com/2021/01/15/eat-smart-eat-healthy-lunches/

Going to work on an egg used to be tagline in the UK  back in the ’50s. and 60’s…

Today eggs are still a valuable source of nutrients please head over to Sally’s to see why we should still go to work on an egg…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2021/01/14/smorgasbord-health-column-recipes-that-pack-a-punch-breakfasts-versatile-and-nutritious-eggs-by-sally-cronin/

Saturday Snippets…Welcome to the day when whimsey reigns supreme… there is music and some messages about the environment…the discovery of the worlds longest animal ..weird fruit which also appeared on Star Trek Deep Space 9…and so much more…I do hope you enjoy!

Well, that’s it for today…I hope you have enjoyed the read…if you have please head over and leave a comment it makes my day to hear from you …Love Carol xx

 

Eat Smart! Eat Healthily…Breakfast!

 

Good morning from not so sunny Thailand(10 degrees) even hubby and it is first for him since we landed here 8 years ago(he) who has always laughed at me for donning warm clothes has succumbed and is wearing jogging pants and a jumper…

I hope you are all well and getting over the Christmas festivities it is such a busy time of year and sometimes we don’t have time to eat or eat on the run…Don’t we???

Today I am going to repost and have revamped one of my healthy eating posts from a few years ago starting with the first meal of the day… Breakfasts which I hope will help sustain you until lunch and which you can prepare really quickly… there is something for everyone…vegetarians, vegans whatever your eating plan…Breakfast is served…

Firstly…Porridge…

If you don’t know already I had six children, a dog, a cat, a snake, a parrot and a horse…Get the picture all who I had to feed and get off to school before I went to work….lol

Breakfast time was busy…My slow cooker was a lifesaver during the cold winter months …I put the porridge on at night before I went to bed and come the morning it was ready and waiting…So easy…

Hubby was first out of the door having had his bowl of porridge and as the kids appeared they could get theirs it was always fresh and hot…

You can serve porridge with honey, fruit compote, fresh fruit or even a sprinkling of brown sugar which was an occasional treat for me…a throwback to my childhood…

Other toppings:

  • Mango and toasted coconut
  • Bacon and maple syrup
  • Peanut Butter and grapes

I cannot pick a favourite out of these as I love them all…

How about some nice wholemeal Toast with peanut butter and sliced banana maybe a sprinkling of cinnamon and /or honey…for my US cousins it’s jam/jelly…

Or slice some strawberries..anything goes really or some mashed avocado and a hardboiled egg roughly chopped… Quick, easy and nutritious…

Love Peanut Butter then here is the link to make your own…quick and easier than anything you have ever made and no nasties.

Eggs are always a good way to start your day…

Softly scrambled or poached…they are one of my favourite things. Hubby has bread with his eggs I just eat scrambled eggs on their own sometimes I grill some tomatoes as I really love eggs and tomatoes.

Here is a lovely video on how to poach an egg something that many including me have had problems getting the perfect poached egg… And if everyone wants a poached egg this man shows you how to do six eggs at once…

A yoghurt is a great option if you don’t have time to eat it at home put it in a mason jar with a lid and eat it when you get to work…

What I love about these jars is you can take them you and any fruit of your choice you can layer it or just top the yoghurt with it.

Easy to make oats to top your yoghurt or porridge.

Quick crunchy Oats…

  • 1 cup of uncooked oats…
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar…
  • 3 tbsp butter.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder ( optional)

Let’s Bake!

Mix all 3 ingredients together and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes stirring  I love to add a bit of cinnamon…

Allow to cool and top your porridge or yoghurt.

Thank you for reading I hope some of these breakfast ideas has made your tastebuds zing xxx

What is your favourite breakfast?

That’s all for this morning thank you for popping in today I hope you have enjoyed this breakfast edition …as always I look forward to your comments as you all know I love to chat…Thanx Carol xx