Friday, February 12, 2016

To your health

Current Read

Beyond the Paleo Diet
for Total Health
and a Longer Life
by
Nora T. Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT


Finished Reading

The Big Fat Surprise (read 7 times)
Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet
by
Nina Teicholz


Grain Brain (read 6 times) and Brain Maker (read 2 times, 3 coming up)
by
Dr. David Perlmutter

You may be wondering why I read and re-read these books. Well, simply put they are worth it. The information in them isn't just a one-off pass for me. I read them several times so the information sinks in.

Let me start by saying this about me - I like using my brain. I like thinking for myself. I like digesting information - fact based, well researched information. I then take the time to implement what I have learned and test the theories for myself.

Even before reading these excellent books I shied away from the propaganda which has veiled much of North America in a massive and sad health crisis since the early 1950's when Dr. Ancel Keys, with the support of the AHA (American Heart Association), hypothesized that all fat caused coronary heart disease. To date, this hypothesis remains unsubstantiated as Dr. Keys was unable to show conclusive proof for it.

As my parents are from Austria eating animal fat, particularly butter, was part of my upbringing. My father forbid any form of margarine and refined oils in the house. Food was as unprocessed and unrefined as possible, with much of the protein that made it to our table coming from my father's hunting and fishing efforts. We had a large and abundant garden. My mother baked using only lard and butter - no Crisco or "fake" shortening ever made it into our kitchen.

Sadly, even with all this wonderful wisdom it was easy to get caught up in the hype of what was good for heart health. Even my dear mother succumbed to the ravages of diabetes because of bad advice from dieticians which were told to promote carbohydrates over protein and fat.

If you suffer from any of the Western Diseases (also known as Diseases of affluence) such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression than you really need to read the aforementioned books. NOW!

I would recommend starting with The Big Fat Surprise. You will be in for a rude awakening. Further, if you are an American you will be angry with your government for allowing this heart/diet hypothesis deception to continue.

But... here's the clincher... sadly, we have only ourselves to blame.

What ever happened to DUE DILIGENCE?

At what point are we responsible for our wellbeing and health related choices?

At what point did we stop questioning and become puppets, manipulated by the likes of Dr. Ancel Keys, the AHA, and even the government of the day into thinking they know what's best for us?

Take back your brain, and start using it.

Of course, you might want to first start by feeding your brain what it's been craving these past sixty years - FAT - saturated fat to be more specific.

Look for a follow up post on FAT... and its wonderful healing powers. Don't take my word for it though, eat some and see how your brain responds.

Written with your good health in mind.

Cheers, Jenny


Sunday, January 03, 2016

Turning a page into 2016

Day 3 - What are you reading?




Books I'm listening to on Overdrive, on my iPhone:

- Something Blue, Emily Giffin
- The Big Fat Surprise, Nina Teicholz (I've listened 5 times so far, so much great info)
-The Brain Maker, David Perlmutter, MD (2nd time)

Books I've listened to since August 2015:

- Something Borrowed, Emily Giffin
- Mean Streak, Sandra Brown
- Baby Proof, Emily Giffin
- Heart of the Matter, Emily Giffin
- Only Time Will Tell, Jeffrey Archer (Waiting for 2nd book, will read the series)
- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
- The One & Only, Emily Giffin
- A Cold and Lonely Place, Sara J. Henry
- Can You Keep a Secret?, Sophie Kinsella
- The Friday Night Knitting Club, Kate Jacobs
- "A" is for Alibi, Sue Grafton (I won't read the rest, way too long winded.)
- All the Agatha Raisin books, M. C. Beaton  (They are fun, quick, witty)
- Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple (I really enjoyed this book - well written.)
- All the Hamish MacBeth books, M. C. Beaton (Hamish is a great character, simple plots, easy read.)
- The Pearl, John Steinbeck (My mom's favourite, so I had to read it. Loved it.)
- By Stone, by Blade, by Fire, Kate Wilhelm 
- The Best Defense, Kate Wilhelm
- The Undomestic Goddess, Sophie Kinsella
- Death Qualified, Kate Wilhelm
- The Prince of Silence, Kate Wilhelm
- The Shadows, Jacqueline West
- The Shopaholic Series, Sophie Kinsella (I never thought I'd like Chicklit, but Kinsella rocks it.)
- Remember Me?, Sophie Kinsella
- Twenties Girl, Sophie Kinsella
- Open and Shut, David Rosenfelt
- Play Dead, David Rosenfelt
- New Tricks, David Rosenfelt
- The Silent Sister, Diane Chamberlain 
- The Good Father, Diane Chamberlain
- The Escape Artist, Diane Chamberlain
- Dog Tags, David Rosenfelt
- First Degree, David Rosenfelt
- Don't Tell a Soul, David Rosenfelt
- Down to the Wire, David Rosenfelt
- The Deepest Water, Kate Wilhelm (I have really enjoyed Kate Wilhelm's books - suspense heavy.)

I like having a book on the go. I do "read" books as well, though lately I am reading technical manuals and have little time to pick up a book for leisure purposes.

Audiobooks are perfect for when I'm in my car, doing dishes, standing in line, winding down the evening, or when eye fatigue (from reading technical papers) takes over. I would never have ploughed my way through the above list of books in 4 1/2 months if I was turning a page - I'm a slow reader.

I recommend all the books I've listened to. I've taken some out of the library for my mom to read, she really enjoyed Kate Wilhelm's writing, along with Kate Jacob's book, The Friday Night Knitting Club.

________________________________

Visit Order Of Books, this site is amazing. It gives the order books were written in so you don't ever miss a book penned by your favourite author. It was helpful for reading M. C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth series in order, as well as many others.

________________________________

I'm giving a quick shout out to Maxine, from England. We met while I was in a Microsoft store getting acquainted with my new Surface 3 computer. She has recommended a few titles which I am going to pass on. As she is a fan of M. C. Beaton (a good sign) I am looking forward to adding her suggestions to my "Must Read List".

- The New Rector, Rebecca Shaw
- Murdoch Mysteries, Maureen Jennings

________________________________

2016 is looking good in the reading department. I'm always open to a good recommendation, so, if you have a title/author you'd like to share, please leave it in the comment area.


WHAT'S ON YOUR READING LIST? 

PAST AND PRESENT - ANYTHING GOOD?


Cheers,  Jenny

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Time does fly...


The end of 2015 is fast approaching, where has the time gone. (Not really a question.)



I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas.



If that's not your bent, then Happy Holidays.

I've been lying low on all fronts. In fact, other than this blog, I've closed shop on all other fronts except Twitter.


I tweet, it's short and sweet, so it's easy.


Time is at a premium so I've had to pick and choose what gets my time, rambling here was shortlisted. (It's brutal, but that's life.)


The latter half of 2015 has been a whirlwind of activity bringing wonderful opportunities my way. Some exciting times await me in 2016 and for that I am doing a little happy dance.


On a side note, my bread baking has taken on a life of its own. I'm quite the little bread baker if I do say so myself. (Still as modest as ever too.)

Okay, that's all for now.


Except this.


Here's what keeps me smiling...



"I don't think she can see me."
"Just a few minutes more, please."
"Right after I stretch, I promise I'll go back to..."
"... my own little beddy."


Little Miss Lucyfur is a small slice of heaven in my otherwise hellishly crazy existence. That's good hellish, in case you were wondering. She makes me laugh. I love watching her sleep, she's so peaceful.

And with that... I wish you all a peaceful exit out of 2015.



Cheers,  Jenny


Saturday, September 12, 2015

CREPES morph into PANCAKES


In light of a few readers asking for their very own copy of the alluded to Coconut Flour Pancake recipe in my last post - here it is for those of you not bold enough to ask…. hehehehehehe… I read your minds.

I have a recipe for CREPES (using wheat flour) - it's easy and I've been making these crepes for as long as I can remember - love, love, love me some crepes.

Well… since dabbling with all things GRAIN FREE I started wondering if I could whip up some grain free crepes. Ever the risk taker with my new found passion (aka making a mess in my kitchen) I decided to play with my crepe recipe.

First, for those of you loving crepes and not minding wheat flour - here is the crepe recipe I've used for decades. It comes to you compliments of my Kate Aitken's Canadian Cook Book. (circa 1971)

FYI: It has been one of the most useful cook books I own. It's about the size of a pocket paperback, and chock-full of amazing tips too.

I took a photo of the recipe - click to enlarge.

Okay… here's where it get interesting.


So… looking at this crepe recipe (which I always double) I took 4 eggs, beat them to within an inch of their lives, added 1 1/3 cup of 36% whipping cream and coconut milk (that's about 2/3c each), added 3 Tbsp. butter (I added 1 more than the doubled amount) and gave it all a good beating. I never add the salt, well, almost never. And I for sure NEVER add lemon rind - you see, it says optional. I never add optional stuff - just me!

Last, I added in the coconut flour. I only used 1/2 cup as I have noticed coconut flour acts like a sponge and absorbs liquid quickly. The mixture was very much like crepe mixture should be - runny.

With the above steps done I decided to try and make a crepe. I poured some in my skillet, did the circling bit so it was nice and thin.

Everything was looking good - until I had to flip the dang thing.

Well…

DISASTER…. it wouldn't stick together. It fell apart - pieces everywhere.

Into the garbage it went.

THE LIGHT BULB TURNED ON AT THIS POINT. I realized I needed to add something to act as glue to hold it all together.

Psyllium Husk Powder came to the rescue. Now… here's where the risk taking came in…

I asked myself - "How much Psyllium?" and I decided on 1 Tbsp. I based this on how much I use in my bread and muffin recipes.

WELL - I looked at the mixture which was NOT runny like it should be for crepes so I thought… hmmm, how about making little pancakes.

OMG They were so amazing I can't even tell you. I ate them all. I slathered them with butter and REAL maple syrup (none of that fake stuff for us Canadians) and thought I'd died and gone to Pancake Heaven.

Seriously… talk about falling into the batter, but this was really a great trial and error moment.

I have written it out properly and will now share it with YOU.

Here it is…

GRAIN FREE PANCAKE RECIPE, a Pearson Report original.

4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/3 cup milk (use something thick like whipping cream, or whole fat coconut milk)
3 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup coconut flour (doesn't need to be sifted)
1 Tbsp psyllium husk powder
1/4 tsp salt (won't hurt if you don't use it)

Beat the first 3 ingredients together, then add the last 3 to the mixture, beat again. Note: this mixture looks runny but thickens quickly because of the psyllium husk, it will surprise you.

Heat frying pan/skillet on medium high, add some coconut oil or butter to the pan, then add the pancake batter by the spoonful (large or small, your call). Just don't make them big - harder to flip.

Brown, then flip and brown the other side. Serve right away with butter and REAL maple syrup.

Can be enjoyed cold with jam or cheese.

***I can't stress enough how important it is for you to tweak this recipe as you see fit. For example, some folks might add a few drops of Vanilla Extract, others might enjoy the salt, or the lemon rind. 
That's the fun part about recipes - make them your own. 

 Let me know how it all turns out.

Some pics to give you some idea of what I'm talking about...

See how it thickens
Psyllium Husk Powder, in jar, and Coconut Flour
Frying in Coconut Oil and Butter
Flipped and looking good
More butter, some awesome real Maple Syrup
and down the hatch - these puppies did not last long on the plate.

There you go - straight from the Pearson Report Kitchen - man, am I one talented chick! What next, Donald Trump's running mate?  I'm falling off my chair in a fit of giggles!

Well… what have you been messing with in your kitchen?


Here's what I've got in store for you next - my Cauliflower Crust Hamburger Pizza - double yum!



Happy salivating!



Cheers,  Jenny

Sunday, August 23, 2015

BAKING BREAD


Not just any old bread, but GRAIN FREE bread.

I'm baking with COCONUT FLOUR. 


I discovered an awesome recipe for Grain and Nut Free Sandwich Bread over at Colorful Eats, a wonderful blog by Caroline Potter, NTP. (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner)

I found her while searching for grain free bread recipes. After experimenting with a few others, I found Caroline's recipe to be the best of the lot. Please visit Colorful Eats and check out Caroline's offerings. 

As I mentioned in my last post, I made Caroline's Grain Free Bread following her recipe to the tee - and it was fabulous. Light, fluffy, tasty and very much a "bread".

HOWEVER…

There was a rather lengthly process to making this bread which I then experimented with the next time I attempted it. 

To my surprise I discovered one could easily make this bread without a lot of separating, whipping, and worrying over the whole blend-it-all-together-correctly business.

Without further ado, here is my version of Caroline's amazing Grain Free Bread.


Oven: 350 F
Time: 50 minutes (give or take 2)

Makes one loaf (about 8.5 x 4.5 size)  Line the bottom with parchment paper. Don't line the wide sides, butter them. Let the parchment go up on the narrow ends. So the bread only actually touches the side parts. This makes it easy to remove.

Ingredients:


6 eggs  (Large or Med, doesn't seem to matter. The last loaf I used 3 of each)
1/2 cup whole fat, plain yogurt (the fatter, the better)
5 tbsp Butter (melted - do this at the start so it's not hot when using it)

1/2 cup coconut flour (Not necessary to sift it)
1/4 cup psyllium husk powder (Easily found in Health Food stores)
**Measure these two ingredients, and put them together in a small bowl.

1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
**Measure these two ingredients into something small.

1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:


Okay… note I've sectioned these ingredients into 4 sections.

I like to prep all my ingredients first - like painting a room. It's the prep that takes a moment.

1. Beat the eggs till blended and airy. I used a hand mixer, about 30-40 sec on Low to break the yokes and then on High for a good minute and a half. This will look fluffy, airy, foamy - definitely well blended.

2. Add the yogurt to the eggs - beat again.

3. Add the melted butter to the egg mixture and beat again.

4. Add the coconut flour and psyllium husk powder. Again with the beating. You will see the consistency starting to thicken. Take a moment to clean the sides of your bowl.

5. Add baking soda and salt - more beating, on med, then on high. Just to blend.

6. Now… add the lemon juice and give this whole mixture some love. Beat, gently on a lower speed, then work up to High. You will see the reaction of adding the lemon juice last - it fluffs up quite a bit.

7. Pour into your loaf pan. Try not to press down on the ingredients too much. Be gentle. 

There you have it. A grain free loaf of bread just waiting to be enjoyed.

See how the parchment paper goes up at the end of the loaf.
Fresh out of the oven - a few slices to tempt you.
I use my Breville Toaster Oven to bake my bread.
Works like a charm.

SOME FOOTNOTES:


I was wondering what makes a bread rise when not using gluten, which is found in wheat. I found the answer on the website of Dr. William Davis. He wrote this great article titled, Secrets of making wheat-free bread rise, so if you're curious he will explain the chemical reaction needed to make bread rise.

With my adjustments to the recipe I found on Caroline's excellent site, which truly I'm grateful to have found, you will see I have added the lemon juice last. By doing so it seems to trigger the action of the baking soda, which in turn adds volume.

Today, I made this loaf again… following the instructions above. The bread was amazing. It had a fluffy texture, yet it seems dense at the same time. But, most importantly, it's quick - and for me, that's gold.

When I used apple cider vinegar, instead of the lemon juice, the baking soda taste was noticeable. Not with the lemon juice. I have also added 1 more tsp of lemon juice to my version.

Regarding the butter. Caroline's original recipe calls for 4 tbsp. I have chosen to add 1 more tbsp to my recipe. Not sure why, but it seems to give it a better flavour. You can play with this and see what works for you.

FINALLY, the beauty about recipes is they are meant to be tweaked and adjusted to meet our own personal tastes. I have done so and have really been happy with the outcome.

I hope you have a chance to make this for yourself - if you do, please share your results.

HAPPY BAKING.


Do you tweak recipes?


Cheers, Jenny

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SUMMER reading CONTINUES


If you read my last post you will have gleaned the CAPS tell it like it is.

Therefore SUMMER CONTINUES is the theme of today's post. 

It's HOT OUTSIDE.

It's HOT INSIDE. 

But that's mostly because I'm BAKING up a storm. (yummy details below)

WHILE I'M BAKING…

I'm enjoying the writings of KATE WILHELM, and in particular, The PRICE of SILENCE.

Audiobook Cover
Book Cover

As per my recent readings, this is an audiobook, by Blackstone Audio, narrated by Anna Fields. I'm very impressed with the range of voices Ms. Fields brings to this story.

Out of 32 Chapters, I'm at the Chapter 7 mark and thoroughly gripped as the suspense builds. Click on this LINK if you're interested in reading the writeup by Booklist.

The book that got me hooked on Kate Wilhelm's writing is called The Deepest Water - now, that was a very good book. Again, I listened to it, but it can be had as a "real" book.


☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀

As my SUMMER CONTINUES I have been experimenting in my kitchen… with GRAIN FREE baking. (I listen to my book while I bake - clever use of time, eh!)


I'm baking with COCONUT FLOUR and I must say - IT IS AMAZING - TASTES GREAT TOO.

Here's the recipe for GRAIN AND NUT FREE BREAD that I have be using.

STOP RIGHT THERE - BEFORE YOU CLICK THE LINK… 
READ THIS…

I tried this recipe as outlined - lots of steps - but it turned out fantastic.

The second time, I was rushed for time, and DID NOT whip the egg whites. Instead I beat (with electric hand beater) the eggs, white and yoke, as one.
I then added all the ingredients, EXCEPT the psyllium husk powder and apple cider vinegar, and again beat the mixture on high for about a minute.
I added the psyllium and apple cider vinegar last and beat again.
Tossed it all in my glass loaf pan, lined on the bottom with parchment paper and baked it.

IT WAS WICKEDLY AWESOME AND EVEN FLUFFIER THAN THE FIRST. (I shared this info with the author of the recipe in her comment area.)

Since then I've made about six loaves my way - they've all turned out perfect. 

Today, I played around and added 1 extra tbsp. butter, and 1 extra 1/2 tsp of lemon juice. 

Oh, today, but the way, was the first time I tried the lemon juice instead of the cider vinegar. 

LOVED IT!

BEFORE BAKING 

AFTER BAKING - yummy.

So… there you have it. A great recipe for a GRAIN AND NUT FREE BREAD.


What have you been doing as this SUMMER CONTINUES?

BAKING or READING… or BOTH?

Or SOMETHING ELSE - say FISHING perhaps? 


Cheers, Jenny

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer READING list, and other NONSENSE...

Have you ever noticed the words I put in capitals are actually the REAL title?

So this post is really about READING NONSENSE.




Back in May I installed a FREE app to my phone called OVERDRIVE - it's free, so that was a huge incentive. I installed it, followed the onscreen instructions, then ADDED my local library to its My Libraries List.

This app is available for iOS, Android, Laptops, iPods, etc. Here's their HELP page, which explains everything you might have questions about.

Then, I logged into my local library and started selecting books to listen to, which I download directly to my phone. I do this over my Wi-Fi so as not to use my phone's data plan.

Oh… did I mention OVERDRIVE is great for audiobooks? 


Having someone read to me is way more interesting, and a better use of my time, than being spoon fed the drivel that's on the telly, or radio, these days. (News and music are included in this statement.)

Since mid May, when I installed OVERDRIVE, I have listened to 32 books.

You read that right! I have listened to 32 books, and counting. 

Before using OVERDRIVE, I would go to my local library and take out CD books and play them in my car. That was great, but rather annoying when a disk needed to be changed. Also, it was less convenient once I got home and headed in the house as I couldn't be bothered to take the CDs in with me.

NOW, things are different. Other than when I'm showering, or working on my book, I am plugged into a story, and really great stories at that, whether I'm at home, or on the road.

WHAT ARE YOU READING? I HEAR YOU ASKING. 

**FYI: all the links are active and will take you to a site called Order of Books which will give you info on the author and the books they've written. I find this helpful when looking for books in a series. You can add an author of your choice in the search bar as well.

Let me start by pointing out a few things about how I read first.

1. I still pick up books, the real thing, with pages and all. My current read is: The Light of Day, by Eric Ambler. I'm halfway through it. It's good. I highly recommend it.

2. When I'm not in the mood for turning pages, I have several books on my Kindle. I'm still making my way through The Game of Thrones - just rounding the bend and heading for home on Book 4.

I have Open Season for Murder (A Mac Faraday Mystery) by Lauren Carr. Her writing is light, but full of punch. Unlike the drag-it-out-for-way-longer-than-necessary approach of George R. R. Martin's work, Carr's writing is sharp, and to the point. Only available in e-book form so hence reading it on my Kindle.

I read about two "real" books, and several e-books per month. Of which, I've read several books from some of you out there! Yes, YOU!

With the addition of audiobooks it is amazing how many more books I get to which might otherwise never make it to the list of "hold and read" books.

WHY IS THE OVERDRIVE AUDIOBOOK OPTION WORTH LOOKING INTO?

If you're on the road, to and from work/school, to the gym and back, grocery shopping, or any of the million other reasons we find ourselves in our cars, or on the bus, this OVERDRIVE app is for you. It is way more entertaining than listening to the car radio, that's for sure. Ask Stephen Kingit's because of him I'm doing this. He recommended it in his book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

Some recommendations: (If I could be so bold… me, bold, no...)

David Rosenfelt - writes the Andy Carpenter Series. The reader of these audiobooks is amazing, and the stories are really plausible, they make you think too. I love whodunits… and these are definitely good. The Andy Carpenter Series has 13 books - I've read 5 so far, and enjoyed each one. David also writes stand alone books, of which Don't Tell a Soul, and Down to the Wire are brilliant.

I just finished The Deepest Water, by Kate Wilhelm, and have already put Holds on several of her other works. She's worth checking out. In fact, this was such a gripping story that I listened until 3am last night - yup, I sacrificed my beauty sleep for this book and it was worth the one new wrinkle I acquired. 

Diane Chamberlain, who wrote The Escape Artist, The Good Father and The Silent Sister, which I read one after the other as I was so captivated by her writing, is another "good" read. The person reading her stories is talented with voices, easy to listen to and understand.

Which brings me to one thing about audiobooks… the voice of the reader. You either like it, or you don't. These, that I'm recommending, have been quite good, easy to understand, and some, like those that are part of a series, where the same voice reads them all, really get you into the story's character(s).

I'm a fan of M. C. Beaton's books - the Agatha Raisin Series, and the Hamish MacBeth Series. For the most part it's the same reader for each of these series and they are both bloody good. It took me a moment or two to acclimatize to the Scottish accent in the Hamish MacBeth stories, but once I got it I was off and running. (Yes, you can listen while on your treadmill too - just sayin'.)

In the Agatha Raisin Series there are about 26 books, I've listened to 17 so far. The Hamish MacBeth Series has about 31, I've only read 7, but that's because I only found out about them recently. :)

I never thought of myself as a chick lit reader - but Sophie Kinsella rocks this category with her Shopaholic Series. Her stand alone selections are funny and witty, but have an element of reality laced within the story. I've really enjoyed her storytelling talents.


There you have it… what I do with time that would otherwise be wasted - I fill it with some pretty impressive storytelling.

HOW ABOUT YOU - DO YOU LISTEN TO AUDIOBOOKS?

If so, when, where, what, and who? The how part I think I can figure out on my own!


Cheers, Jenny