Monday, October 30, 2017

Making the Most of Fall and its Harvest


Fall is with us. The leaves are falling from the trees, the temperature is dropping, and harvest is coming to an end. This is the time of year that can really come to be defined by its edible offerings. Just think of how many people wait in anticipation of pumpkin spice lattes throughout the year. But there’s so much more to try out than mass-produced, commercialised beverages. Hearty, warming food is where it’s at this season, and we’re here to help you make the most of it! Here are just a few ideas to get your mouth watering and your stomach grumbling.

Root Vegetables

Root vegetables should form the foundations of most of your main meals this season. Why? Well, they’re stodgy, packed with energy and will keep you full and functioning through the colder, shorter days. There’s so much you can do with them. But a firm favourite of ours is a chunky vegetable stew. This meal will take a while to make, but it’s surprisingly easy and is definitely worth the wait. All you need to do is fill a huge pot and leave it simmering with vegetable stock. Then roughly cut wholesome root vegetables such as white potato, sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, onion and garlic, and throw them into the pot. Guarantee the good quality of these ingredients by purchasing from renowned suppliers such as Smithfield Food. You don’t need to be precise with your slicing. The rougher, the better, as it will give the final dish a more authentic, rustic feel. Store any leftover stew away in Tupperware in the fridge. It could last you for a few filling and hearty meals.

Sweet Treats

While savoury options spring to mind at the mention of harvest vegetables, you should bear in mind that there are delicious sweet treats that can be made from humble ingredients such as the pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is an autumnal staple and is something that everyone should try their hand at making at some point or another. After all, what’s better than home baking? It fills your home with delicious scents, and there’s something oh so rewarding about making your own baked goods. For pumpkin pie, use fresh pumpkin rather than tinned pumpkin. This will give you the best final taste and texture. Scoop out the stringy portions and ensure that the remaining pumpkin flesh is rinsed of seeds. Cut the flesh into chunks, then boil with water in a saucepan. Drain it, then mash. Place in a blender with evaporated milk, two beaten eggs, and 175g of brown sugar. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Blend. Next, prepare your pastry as usual, or invest in ready-made store-bought pastry if you have a little less time on your hands or are a little less confident in your pastry making skills. Gently press your pastry around a pie dish. Fill with your blended pumpkin mix and bake for 40 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees celsius (gas mark 6).

This is the best time of year for the produce that will make these recipes, so make the most of it!

We Wish You A Tasty Christmas: Australian Christmas Foods

October is almost over, which indicates that Christmas is right around the corner. For many people (myself included), Christmas dinner is the best part of the entire holiday, so you have to make sure that it’s done right. While Christmas is the same day in England, America, and Australia, Australia’s weather is completely different, which means that the food on the Christmas dinner table differs too. Here are some of the best foods that you find on a traditional Christmas dinner table in Australia.

Christmas Ham
While turkey is the traditional Christmas meat in England, in Australia, ham runs the show. Different families will have different rules and recipes for their ham glaze, but typically apricot, maple, or honey is used to create the perfect blend of sweet and smoky within the meat. Your ham, like the legendary ones from Smithfield Food, will take a few hours to cook, but this is usually much quicker than a turkey, and in this time, your house will be filled with the delicious aroma. Once finished, be sure to serve your ham with cranberry or applesauce, as they compliment the meat and crackling perfectly.

While some families in England and The USA like to serve a side dish of salmon with their Christmas dinner, in Australia, we’re all about our prawns, from a simple, yet delicious prawn cocktail, to entire platters of king and tiger prawns. Although prawns are great as a starter or a side dish, some families forget about the ham altogether and have prawns as their main dish. However, if prawns aren’t really your things, you could always go for lobster or a fish, such as salmon. Just be sure that your seafood is the last thing that you buy for your Christmas dinner, and buy a couple of days before Christmas at the very earliest, to ensure that it’s still fresh on Christmas day.

Christmas Pudding
Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t escape Christmas pudding on Christmas day. It was brought to Australia from England during early British colonisation and is rich in flavour. Typically served with custard, the Christmas pudding contains cinnamon, ginger, and a range of other mixed spices as well as several different fruits, such as dates, figs, and sultanas. Brandy or rum was typically mixed into the batter, to give it a kick, and keep the pudding moist, although sherry and port have since been recommended instead.

What is Christmas without gingerbread? Ginger is a scent typically associated with Christmas, along with cinnamon, and is found in all Christmas scented candles, air fresheners, and anything else Christmas scented. During the Christmas period, you can find gingerbread men and houses absolutely everywhere, so why not make some of your own? Gingerbread houses aren't the easiest thing to construct, but there are kits in most supermarkets, so you have no excuses for not giving it a go.

There you have it, the foods typical of an Australian Christmas dinner. If you’re not from down under, why not incorporate some of these into your own Christmas dinner, for a change during the festive period.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Eating the Ethical Way

here is a way to eat right. And no, this doesn’t necessarily mean eating a healthy diet. And no, this doesn't necessarily mean using your cutlery. This means eating ethically. This means eating what you want, but ensuring that what you do eat is sourced ethically and caused no harm to anybody or anything on its way to your plate. To see how you can become ethical with your eating habits, make sure to read on.

Eating meat can be ethical

Yes, you don’t have to become a vegetarian or a vegan to be an ethical eating; you can eat meat and eat ethical at the same time. But, when you do you have to do more then just pick meat up from the shelves of your supermarket and then be happy to cook and eat it. No, you have to do your research into how the meat that you buy is sourced. Specifically, for meat to be ethical it needs to be sourced from an animal that was provided comfort whilst alive. It needs to have been free in the fields and treated with the utmost respect, not packed indoors with its kind and literally shoved around like a herd of cattle. To eat meat ethically, you have to be sure that the meat you eat has been treated with respect. Smithfield Food are one such producer of food who are committed to producing food, good food, the right way. They provide meat, but the meat they provide is wrought from animals that they have treated in the right way — a humane way — and they make this clear in their mission statement. So, you need to get your meat from this producer, or a producer of the like, if you want to be sure that the meat you eat is ethical.

Something else that you can to be more ethical with your meat eating, as stated here, is to eat 50% less meat a week, if you can.

Respect the rights of your fellow humans

To be truly ethical with the way you both eat and drink, you need to bare in mind the hardship a human being might have had to go through in order to source it for you. You have to consider what kind of treatment and pressure they were put under when sourcing it. And you need to think about the working conditions they worked in when sourcing it.

To be fair and ethical with your food and drink choices, choose food and drink, particularly drinks like coffee and tea, that comes with a Fairtrade logo attached to the box. When this logo is evident, you can be sure that no workers or farmers were harmed in the sourcing of your drink, and you can be sure none of them were treated unfairly.

Basically, eating ethically is refusing to eat food at the expense of anything, be it the environment, animals or even humans. For more advice on how to be ethical with your eating, make sure to check out this helpful article.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Let's Taco 'Bout Your Eating Habits

Sometimes, saying you’re going to eat healthier and exercise is just a way to make yourself feel better. But when your friend comes to you and mentions going to the gym, you really want to crawl back into your bed and hope they go away. Eating healthy and completing regular exercise requires a lot of determination and commitment that you just won't have if you’re not one hundred percent focused on your end goal. Even if you don’t want or need to lose weight, you still need to think about your eating habits.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dinner Debut: How to Host a Smashing Autumn Party

When the weather gets chillier and frosty, there’s no better place to be than in the kitchen - gathered around a steaming pot with a handful of your friends. We tend to meet around food bit more often during the colder season, perhaps because we need that extra bit of warmth and comfort from each other or maybe just because there are too many delicious autumn recipes not to share with each other.

Image link: Pexels

Start out by inviting your friends over for some healthy comfort meals, and wait eagerly for them to invite you next. It’s free food, after all, and great company.

The autumn table

Setting the table for a summer BBQ is something quite different than preparing it for your autumn guests. It all depends on how fancy you’d like it, though, but it is something mesmerizing about polished cutlery and lit candles when the world is dark and gloomy outside. Make sure the lighting is dim and maybe even just from the candles alone unless it makes the atmosphere a bit too romantic.

If you want to spend a lot of time on the details and making it beautiful, such as getting that cutlery sparkling polished and folding intricate art out of your napkins, it’s a good idea to start the evening before. That way, you won’t be busy with it by the time your guests arrive - and you can enjoy the cocktails instead.

If you have a lot of them coming over, it’s also smart to think about who should sit where. Don’t pair them up with their friends but try to make the new faces sit next to each instead, so that you can watch those friendships being formed over your delicious cooking.

Start with a raw starter

Your guests will be impressed no matter what, but a surprising starter can really help put those stars in their eyes. A small selection of cured meats, for example, or a lamb filled tartar, and pair it with an interesting drink; have a look at this review kikori Japanese whiskey and check out their recipe selection if you want to include it in your cocktail menu as well.

Serve it all up on a large wooden board and let your guests help themselves to avoid that formal feeling throughout the dinner.

Use autumn elements

The different seasons gives us a lot of options of great vegetables which you can use as much in your cooking as in your decoration. While spring also has its share of delicious vegetables, it’s not quite the same to decorate with cucumber and asparagus as it is to put out a few bright pumpkins - although it may look quite eccentric. Embrace game, mushrooms, brightly colored squash, and plan your menu around these.

Nature has a lot of decorative stuff you can use too, by the way, and nothing should stop you from throwing a few red leaves over the table if you feel it will work with your autumn theme.

Try to plan as much as it upfront and save yourself the stress of not finding the right ingredients when your guests are due to arrive in a couple of hours. Make it easier and ask one of them to bring dessert, for example, if you’re willing to share the credit. The most important thing is that you enjoy each other’s company - and that your responsibilities as a host are over for this season.

Drink Fizzy Pop? There’s Good Reason To Stop

When a bottle of delicious fizzy-pop costs less than a bottle of water in most stores and shops, it’s easy to see why so many people like to drink the stuff. It tastes better, goes down more satisfyingly, and is a lot cheaper than the clear stuff. Of course, though, there’s a reason health experts will tell you not to drink these sorts of beverages. So, to help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the reasons you should stop, along with some of the best methods to help you in this journey.

There are quite a few reasons to stop drinking a lot of the carbonated drinks you find on the shelves of stores around the world. In most cases, these reasons are directly health-related, causing issues in loads of different parts of the body. Below, you can find some examples of these. Along with this, though, it can also be worth doing some research of your own.

  • Sugar is one of the biggest concerns to take into account when choosing your drinks. Carbonated options tend to be laced with the stuff, often only drinking a couple of large glasses will be enough to take up an entire day’s worth of healthy intake. When you consume too much sugar, your body will struggle to burn all of your energy, storing it as fat instead. Along with this, sugar can be bad for your heart and other parts of your body, too.

  • Of course, in the modern world, there are loads of ways to make something sweet without having to fill it with sugar. Using chemicals to sweeten the mix, loads of today’s fizzy drinks are branded as diet or light options, and they’re not always as good for you as you might expect. Among other problems, one of the biggest issues these beverages cause is dulled taste. Forcing your body to deal with unnaturally sweet things all the time will always have an impact over time.

  • Finally, it’s time to think about the reason behind your drinking in the first place. People and other animals need to consume water in order to survive. Our bodies are almost entirely made from it and need a constant supply if they’re going to stay in good condition. Carbonated drinks use a chemical called phosphoric acid to trick your body into thinking it’s being hydrated more than it is. In reality, though, water does a much better job of actually keeping you hydrated.

It’s very easy to talk about the negatives of a product or lifestyle choice without offering up any alternatives. This wouldn’t be a big help to you, though, so this part of the post is going to be surrounding the options you have which aren’t fizzy pop. With these in the fridge, it should be nice and easy to start drinking a little more healthily.

  • As the very first alternative to carbonated drinks, water is the best option you have. This is the substance your body craves. Of course, though, a lot of people don’t like the lack of taste found in most aqua options. So, it can be very tempting to go for something nicer.

  • For those looking for something with flavor, but don’t care about sweetness, milk can be another great alternative to fizzy pop. By choosing the right types, like fat-free and semi-skimmed, it’s easy to drink milk without any negative health impacts. A lot of people love this sort of drink once they get used to it instead of something carbonated.

  • Unfortunately, milk isn’t for everyone, and it won’t appeal to those with a sweet tooth. In this position, flavored drink solutions come next in order of greatness. Whether it’s a cordial or squash option, a lot of people find these methods to be perfect when they’re trying to drink healthily. These are much better than fresh fruit juices which usually contain a lot of sugar.

  • Finally, for some people, escaping the fizz will be almost impossible. If the texture is your favourite part of these drinks, it can be very hard to move on to options which are flat. Thankfully, though, this isn’t an issue, nowadays. Instead, you just need some sparkling water. This sort of beverage comes in loads of different varieties, offering a healthy alternative to pop, while also giving you most of the flavors you love.

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of what you can be doing to take carbonated drinks out of your life. This sort of lifestyle choice is very easy to improve with very little effort. Even if it’s just a matter of buying less of the drinks you enjoy.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Healthy Autumn Recipes For Those Chilly Nights In

Just because the skies are growing grey and dark, doesn’t mean that we have to resign ourselves to pulling the duvets up over our heads and burying our faces in a selection bag of chocolate bars. While we may be in the grip of Seasonal Affective Disorder, that’s no reason why we shouldn’t resist the temptation to be insular and inactive and subsist on junk food. The reality is that there are plenty of healthy and nutritious yet warming and comforting foods that are perfect for chilly nights in either alone, with the one we love or as friends as part of a cheerfully cozy dinner party.

The trick is moderation

Remember that we have the seasonal excess of Christmas to look forward to, so it’s important to remember that as well as trying to be as active as possible we remember the virtue of moderation. As much as our hibernation instinct may be telling us to load up on empty calories and crawl into bed, there’s a great deal of value in portion control. Many of us also find ourselves drinking more at this time of year and (for obvious reasons) it’s important to be responsible here too. Alcohol can slow your metabolism and compromise your fitness goals so it’s important not to accompany your alcohol intake with yet more empty calories. For a less caloric option go for spirits with high fiber juices or sugar free mixers like the recipes this review Kikori Japanese whiskey gives us. By embracing moderation, the battle’s already half won.


Roasted squash, pancetta and chestnut risotto

All the flavors of autumn are reflected in this healthy, high fiber dish. Cut the peeled squash into slender spirals and accompany it with quartered roasted chestnuts alongside your favourite seasonal greens, shallots, sage garlic, 6-8 slices of crispy pancetta and warming chilli flakes amidst a base of arborio rice (or pearl barley for a healthier option) cooked in vegetable stock or bouillon. This dish is quick and easy to make as well as being a great comfort food on dark, drizzly evenings.

Moroccan squash, chickpea and cavolo nero stew

A great protein and fiber rich option that’s great for veggies and vegans accompanied with steaming green beans and carrots. The large chunks of butternut squash lend the dish substance while the flavor comes from a combination of bay leaves, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, toasted fennel seeds and warming harissa paste. Not only is this great, warming comfort food but it’s super nutritious, too! In fact, one portion of this represents three of your five-a-day portions of fruit and veg.

Roasted cauli-broc bowl with tahini hummus

The reason many of us find ourselves seduced by high fat, high sugar, nutritionally void convenience foods is because we tell ourselves it’s too complicated and time consuming to prepare healthier fare. This dish, however, proves that nothing could be further from the truth. The combination of quinoa, baby spinach, cauliflower and broccoli means that the dish is incredibly nutrient rich while a drizzling of olive oil, tahini and hummus will ensure a great balance between healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and good quality protein.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Eating Yourself Slim? It’s Easier Than You Think!

Many people think that dieting and losing weight is all about getting enough exercise. While it’s an important part of your weight loss routine, it’s also important to keep an eye on what you’re eating. Your food and drink choices have a huge impact on your weight, and if you’re not careful then you’ll keep putting on weight despite working out and trying to keep the calories down.

Image: Pexels

Count those calories

People don’t realise how many calories they actually take in until they start counting. Use a simple smartphone app or an online website to track your calories so you can monitor how much you’re actually eating. You’ll find that certain snacks and foods, such as soda and biscuits, contain a lot of calories but very little nutrients. In fact, many of these foods are known as empty calories because they contribute to your weight gain but don’t contribute to your health. It’s been said many times, but cutting out these types of foods is important, and the only way to realise how big of an effect they have on your health is to count calories and learn it the hard way.

Let’s take an example to really show how bad these calories are. A bowl of cereal is roughly 300 calories. A bowl of oatmeal with a banana is about 350 calories. A baked potato with some sour cream and salsa is around 300 calories. These are all fantastic lunch and breakfast options, but now let’s compare them to common snacks. A 500ml bottle of coke contains roughly 210 calories and regular Snickers bar has almost 230 calories. As you can see, these sweet snacks and drinks have so many calories that they could account for an entire meal, yet they are less filling and don’t pack the nutrients that a proper meal does.

Choosing the right foods to eat

One of the best ways to get the right foods is to look at diet plans such as the HCG diet, Mediterranean diet and Atkins diet. These diets are perfect for beginners because they are well-known, have plenty of research backing them and there are many websites that give out sample meal plans. This makes these diets easy to follow. Assuming you’ve got the discipline to follow them, you’ll find that they’re great for controlling your calories.

The aim of the game is to eat foods that are good for you and low in calories. This is how you “eat yourself slim”—by replacing bad foods with better ones that are equally as filling. Here are a couple of examples of good foods that are low in calories and packed with nutrients:

  • Celery - At 16 calories per cup, celery is a delicious and crunchy snack, but it’s not for everyone.
  • Kale - Kale is around 5 calories per cup and is packed full of nutrients that can keep us healthy.
  • Cucumbers - Cucumbers sit at roughly 15 calories per cup. They are mainly made up of water and are delicious and refreshing in salads and even drinks.
  • Broccoli - 31 calories per cup and packed full of fibre, minerals and vitamins.

These are just some of the important foods you should be thinking about when losing weight. They’re all low in calories, packed full of good nutrients and are cheap as well.