Tag Archives: Coconut Biscuits

CarolCooks2…Friday Food Reviews…The Definition of Processed Foods…

 

Welcome to Friday Food Reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they?  where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…Processed Foods…

Processed food is any food which has been altered in some way during its preparation. Some examples are freezing, canning, drying and baking…

Not all processed food is unhealthy as we will learn in this post but many do contain high levels of salt, sugar and fats added to extend the shelf life of foods and make it more palatable. It is also very easy to consume far more than the recommended daily levels because many people do not read labels or labels can be misleading and a single item of food can be called by a few different names which can make it quite hard for the consumer…

I have given up the game of trying to read labels a long time ago and if I see a long list of ingredients with words I don’t know or understand then I don’t buy it…

As consumers, we cannot control what is in the food we purchase HOWEVER as consumers we can control what we choose to buy…

Something to help read those labels and tell you the sugar, salt and fat content and offer an alternative is a Food Scanner App… 

This link is a good start to finding the best food scanner app for you…

Now for examples of processed foods …

  • Cheese
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Bread
  • Snacks…Crisps, sausage rolls, pies
  • Meat: Bacon, Sausage, ham, salami and pate
  • Convenience ready meals
  • Cakes and Biscuits/Cookies
  • Drinks, milk or soft drinks
  • Breakfast cereal

Some processes are to make food safe such as pasteurisation which removes harmful bacteria from milk. Although there are many schools of thought on that now…As a child, I always had milk straight from the cows but now that many farmers use hormones etc that may not be as safe…Pasteurised fruit juices I never buy them I juice my own or buy freshly juiced I just don’t like food or drink which has been messed with unnecessarily…

Other processes to make food suitable for use such as pressing seeds to make oil. Processes to make our food safer or to enable us to eat or use something are fine it is just all the added sugar, salt and fats which get me…It gets people addicted and then it is a vicious circle and much of it is aimed at children which I think is unethical and really wrong…I can’t imagine what diseases our next generation will have because of all these additives…there is also the state of children’s teeth around the world ask any dentist!

Cereals… Porridge is good for you, especially in the winter months and keeps you full until lunchtime…Shredded wheat seems to be one of the good guys. As for other cereals like those below…I would not feed them to my children.

cereal-1444495_640

That being said, here are the worst cereals you can buy, based on their nutritional value
and sugar content…What tempts the kid’s cartoon characters like ” Cap’n Crunch” for 
one  and if I see “Quaker”  on a packet it  says to me healthy…not anymore it seems their 
 multi-grain cereal most certainly isn’t there plain old oats maybe but not those…
It does look like “Fruit Loops escaped that list this time and to be fair they have taken steps to
clean up their act…but that ingredients list is still far too long for me …

Why are they bad for you? Anything that states honey-coated, frosted or chocolate-coated contains a lot of added sugars and it is the added sugars in products which are harmful…

To me, they just sound like something which I would not wish my children to eat…Just sugar-filled nothing…cereals are something many people feed their children it quick and easy but so is putting the slow cooker on with porridge at night…

Crisps…Generally, crisps are better for you than chips as you can buy them in small packets thus restricting how much you eat… Crisps are high in salt and artificial food flavourings…

chips-3737973_640

This video on crisps and what they contain plus the best crisps to buy and eat is quite comprehensive.

There are so many processed foods that I think moderation should apply…

Biscuits…Something that we reach for when we have a cup of tea or just when we pass the biscuit tin but how healthy are they?

cookie-3216243_640

I love shortbread and a digestive with my morning cuppa but since realising just how much added sugar and calories 2 biscuits add up to over the course of the year I have stopped…This link will tell you what your favourite biscuit does or does not contain and maybe like me you will decide that they are just something that you can go without.

Or make your own and then you are safe in the knowledge that they may not be the healthiest things to eat but that they have no nasties and if eaten in moderation are much better than a store-bought packet.,,and fresh;y baked cookies/biscuits taste sooooo moreish….

https://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/wellbeing/biscuits-the-best-and-worst-revealed-41310

These biscuits are really easy to make and very moreish…

Homemade Coconut Biscuits…

I don’t make biscuits/cookies very often..almost never but once a packet of store brought cookies/biscuits are opened because of the humidity here they don’t last long they either go off or the ants take residence. I was guided to make these by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar… aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats…and they are so delicious…I know a biscuit is never either but if I have one I am going to enjoy knowing that they have no nasties and I can control the sugar…

These biscuits/cookies are my basic recipe …

Ingredients:

  • 150 gm rolled oats
  • 100 gm plain flour
  • 100 gm light brown sugar( I used raw sugar)
  • 100 gm desiccated coconut
  • 100 gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175 C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, coconut and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to a boil and add two tbsp of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form a slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put them on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking ( the mix made 15 balls) Slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

THE BISCUITS WILL BE SOFT TO THE TOUCH BUT WILL HARDEN ON COOLING.

Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes. They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…haha…I could build a wall with them…Opppps

Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés.

Any meat that has been cured, smoked, canned or salted is a processed food, and these types of meats, including hot dogs, salami and cured bacon, are associated with increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers such as bowel or stomach.

I can hear you asking are there any deli meats which are not classified as processed meats? Yes, there are …Fresh chicken, turkey, beef, minced meat and burgers, pork and fish that have not been modified are considered unprocessed meats…Check before you buy…

To recap many processed foods we could make at home and would be much healthier, they wouldn’t have the shelf life but would also have no nasties…or you can make an informed choice …read my post and all will be explained…

There are so many apps now where we can check out our favourite foods and be offered alternatives or we could make them at home…

Ready Meals…

I am just going to touch on ready meals today and most people’s favourite Mac and Cheese…

Homemade Mac & Cheese v processed Mac & Cheese.

macaroni and cheese

I know we can’t make everything at home and sometimes for ease, there is nothing wrong with buying processed food sometimes on occasion just not regularly as it will be detrimental to health…

Thank you for reading and I hope you now know a little more about processed foods and which ones are processed so we can eat them or cook with them safe in the knowledge that we are happy to do so… I hope you all have a great weekend xx As always I look forward to your comments xx

Foods which can help reduce your cholesterol levels naturally.

lady holding veggies

Cholesterol.… there has been so much bad publicity about taking statins, however, if you are taking prescribed medication for your cholesterol please speak to your doctor before you stop taking any prescribed medication.

If your doctor is suggesting that you take medication then now is maybe the time to look at natural ways of reducing your cholesterol before you start medication and it does work as my mum did just that and she got her cholesterol level down and didn’t need medication so diet does work for a lot of people.

Nuts…

If you’re looking for a snack food that lowers your cholesterol levels, research shows that you should get cracking! Ha Ha… In a study published by The Medical Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that people who munched their way through 1.5 oz of whole walnuts 6 days a week for 1 month lowered their total cholesterol by 5.4% and LDL cholesterol by 9.3%. Almonds and Hazelnuts are other great options.

The picture above shows the little cob nuts we used to pick and enjoy at Christmas also known as Hazelnuts they are sweet and incredibly nutritious edible kernels from the “birch” or Betulaceae family of trees.

They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic as well as essential fatty acid, linoleic acid that helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol and raises HDL or good cholesterol.

Spinach…

This popular green food contains lots of lutein, the sunshine-yellow pigment found in dark green leafy vegetables and egg yolks. Research suggests that just ½ cup of lutein-rich food daily guards against heart attacks by helping artery walls “shrug off” cholesterol invaders that cause clogging.

Just take…

  • 25g butter 
  • 100g fresh breadcrumb
  • zest of a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 500g spinach…

Firstly melt the butter in a large frying pan add everything except for the spinach. Cook until golden and crunchy. Remove from the pan and put to one side. Add the spinach to the pan and wilt, Stir and season then put in a serving dish and top with the crispy crumbs and serve as a lovely side dish with pasta or ????? You choose!

You choose!

Fruit……..

Fruits such as apples, citrus fruit, berries, apricots, and cherries are high in soluble fibre and pectin both have been shown to be helpful in lowering cholesterol. A bowl of beautiful fruit in season is just wonderful or make it into a smoothie…I use fresh and frozen fruit for my smoothies, if you have some bananas that are getting too ripe and they do ripen so quickly don’t they?..then pop them in a bag ..remove the skin of course and chop them into pieces and when you do a smoothie just pop in frozen.

My smoothie recipe....  a couple of strawberries, a banana, a few frozen raspberries and 3 cheeks of lime and about half a small glass of coconut milk. I like my drinks a bit tart and I don’t do sweet drinks so if you like yours sweeter you may want to cut the lime a little and add some honey to sweeten but the beauty of the smoothies is anything goes ….you can make them to order.

I also sometimes add a slice of tomato, beetroot( not in vinegar), and carrot…Play with your flavours you will be surprised and you are getting your 5 a day beautifully served in a glass of deliciousness.

If I want it colder and more frozen then I use frozen bananas.

Fatty Fish…

Omega 3 fats found in fish are one of the natural health wonders of the world these fatty acids can lower cholesterol by replacing saturated fats with omega-3 like those found in salmon, sardines, and herring can raise good cholesterol by as much as 4%.

Do you think that fish looks appetising? It is one of my favourite dinners and is so quick and easy to do click here for the recipe     I hope you love it as much as I do. For ease, I buy a piece of fish and portion and freeze it so if you are busy or working you can just take it from the freezer before you leave the house and it is nice and thawed ready to cook when you get home.

Garlic…

Aside from adding zing to almost any dish, garlic makes the list of foods that lower cholesterol; Research also finds that it helps stop artery-clogging plaque at its earliest stage by keeping cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls.

Oats…

If you are looking to lower your cholesterol then get out the Scotts Porridge Oats.  I grew up on those… a lovely warming bowl before I went out into the cold to walk to school. Yes…shock horror..walk to school…

Now that is another post as I still walk …my longest walk….26.2 miles which is the official length of a marathon and I did it!

Back to that bowl of oats…Eating two servings of oats for breakfast can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by 5.3% in only 6 weeks.

The key to this cholesterol buster is beta-glucans, a substance in oats that absorbs LDL, which your body then excretes.

Don’t like porridge then what about some lovely oat biscuits?

Coconut Biscuits

I don’t make biscuits very often..almost never but I food because of the humidity doesn’t last long here it either goes off or the ants take residence. I was guided by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats.

These cookies are my basic recipe and next time will be my experimental recipe I am already planning what I can add to them.

Ingredients:

  • 150gm rolled oats
  • 100gm plain flour
  • 100gm light brown sugar( I used raw sugar)
  • 100gm desiccated coconut
  • 100gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, coconut and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to a boil and add two tbsps of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form a slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put them on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking ( the mix made 15 balls) Slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

THE BISCUITS WILL BE SOFT TO THE TOUCH BUT WILL HARDEN ON COOLING.

Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes. They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…haha…I could have built a wall with them…Opppps

Olive Oil…

Good news: This common cooking ingredient can help your health. Olive Oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which lower LDL cholesterol—and have the welcome side effect of trimming belly fat. Use it to make your own salad dressings, marinate chicken and fish, or roast vegetables.

Isn’t healthy eating delicious???

Red Wine….

I love science especially when it tells me that a glass of what I love is healthy for me….It doesn’t get better than that…Does it???

Now, who doesn’t love a good Rioja? Well, those lovely high fibre Tempranillo grapes may well significantly lower our cholesterol levels.

A study by the Department of metabolism and nutrition at University Health News 

Confirmed this …That’s good news a glass of Red wine is beneficial to our health, isn’t it…..Cheers!

 

I hope you enjoy these posts ..my aim is to encourage healthy eating but also to help you realise that most of us only need to tweak our diets a little as much of what we eat is good for us as long as we buy fresh produce or grow our own… don’t buy processed foods but hey I don’t buy processed foods and we eat well…I also have a budget and buy foods in season, on special offer, if it is something I use, we swap vegetables and fruit here so if I have too much of something I share it with my family or neighbours and they do likewise.

Just a few little adjustments sometimes make so much difference.

I could tell you about so much more…name everything which helps lower your cholesterol…It would be akin to War and Peace BUT I want you to use google, ask and decide for yourself what you want to cook and what you want to buy……If only 1 person does this then I will be a happy bunny.

 

And if you think I am being too frivolous as health is a serious subject……..Laughter is also good for your health.

Until next time…Stay safe, laugh a lot, have a glass of red wine and  ASK a question.