There are a million different reasons to throw a party at home, in the office, or for the community. No matter the purpose, every party needs party snacks.
When you spend your weekdays sat at a desk, staying fit and healthy can be troublesome. After a long, hard day’s work, exercise seems like too much effort and hassle. Plus, if your work brings you stress, you can find yourself craving sweets and junk food. Therefore, trying to lead a nutritious lifestyle can seem frustrating when your work life is plagued with sitting still, little exercise, and leaving you too tired when you do have free time.
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Cooking for my entire family is sometimes a chore, but in most situations I’m glad to do it. Trying to get everyone fed on a budget can be challenging, but the more challenging thing is to make sure they all have the adequate nutrition that they need in order to remain healthy. Every one of my children will hopefully live longer than I do, but for that to happen I must make sure they are properly nourished.
Mainly because of their sheer stupidity, it makes for quite a bit of fun watching those late night / early morning commercials through which they try to sell ‘useful’ and ‘innovative’ household products. I guess the reason why they sell them that early in the morning, particularly over weekends, is because that’s when drunkards are up and someone who’s drunk is the only type of person I could see buying most of these products.
Every so often though a good product comes along, often fuelled by whatever the latest dietary, health or beauty fad is. Recently there’s been a spate of commercials for blenders, but blenders which are referred to more as juicers than plain blenders, in line with the juicing fad that’s been sweeping the world, I guess.
So anyway, I took my time and got a good juicer for my kitchen, something which was overdue in any case since the old blender has been dead for quite some time now and I must say I’ve kind of fallen into trying this juicing thing out, with some rather intriguing results as well.
So what’s all the fuss about with juicing?
Great for Weight Loss
For those who are on a diet and have a goal to lose weight, juicing makes for a great way to go. The idea is that you eat less solid foods while still getting in some vital nutrients you need to maintain a healthy diet, so less useless calories are ingested — calories which the body otherwise naturally processes by converting them into unwanted fat reserves.
As with any diet related to something like weight loss however, this is not designed to be a permanent solution. It’s okay to fill up on a fruit & veg juice when you’re perhaps on the go and need a quick, healthy snack to deliver the vital nutrients your body requires, but juicing should never be a permanent substitute for eating your recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables proper.
Juicing blenders are great at extracting the juice from the fresh ingredients, however they leave behind an important component of these fruits and vegetables, which is the fibre-rich pulp, something which is required in the body for regulation and to flush out toxins. If you’re going to incorporate juicing into your long term dietary plan then it’s perhaps best to add back a bit of the pulp just so that you get a bit more balance out of what is otherwise meant to be a short term or periodic dietary adjustment.
Detoxification & Nutrient Re-Balancing
Juicing is also great for detoxification, with some specific juicing recipes targeting specific organs and bodily functions. Beet juice for example is great for the cleansing of the liver, while juicing in general helps during the nutrient re-balancing process, like if you’re deficient in a specific nutrient or a specific set of nutrients then juicing delivers them on your body’s liquid express train, sparing the alimentary canal what would otherwise be the hard work of digesting the fleshier bits of the fruits and veggies you’re juicing.
If this was a one-line post and I didn’t have to go any further than explaining why you and yours need to be eating more fish, it would be as simple as saying that fish is very healthy. There are indeed some reasons for eating fish more often beyond its health benefits and since fish does indeed make for one of my favourite ingredients to cook with, I’ll be happy to get into it all.
“Clean” source of protein
As far as getting your recommended dietary portion of proteins, it seldom gets “cleaner” than fish as a good source. Depending on the type of fish you’ll be cooking of course, fish is almost as pure as protein can get in its natural form and this is largely due to the fact that fish as they occur in nature are often on the move and so build up lean muscle tissue while their constant need to be on the move has them eating all the time for their energy. That’s why fish pretty much doesn’t have any fat to speak of, with even something like a fried fish dish making for a very healthy source of protein.
So something like deep sea hake will do well for your family’s source of the closest thing to pure protein as you can get, without going the supplements route.
Pilchards in particular come to mind as another variety of fish which is extremely healthy, very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which aid in the development and functionality of the brain amongst other things. Canned pilchards often don’t taste too good however and this is often the case no matter how they’ve been canned (precooked and canned in tomato sauce, etc).
So if you can get them fresh or as fresh as you can then a good fish curry with white rice and an island coconut salad will do.
Going back to the health-factor however — you only have to look at counties such as Japan where fish is major part of their diet in that part of the world and if you were to go there now you wouldn’t find too many obese people. Fish is filling and healthy, making for a great main for any meal.
Many ways to prepare fish
This is one of the biggest reasons why I personally love fish and why I think you and your family should be eating it more often. There are about a million ways to cook just one variety of fish and in each case the dish can come out tasting completely different from the next dish which features the exact same fish variety.
Season your hake with fresh lemon and garlic on one occasion for example and then on the next occasion you could season the same hake with fish spice and you’ll have two dishes of the same fish variety which taste completely different.
Even something like frying over microwaving, boiling or smoking will have the same fish dish tasting completely different, more so if it’s served with different sides.
Health nuts almost never eat-out for fear of what the fast food industry is generally associated with, which is unhealthy junk food. For the most part they’re right because fast food has this way of luring you in and making you feel like you’re not doing something too bad by indulging in what are actually very unhealthy eating choices and so you find yourself making all sorts of “making up” promises to yourself, like perhaps resolving to put in a double shift next time you hit the gym.
How your body reacts to something like some bad food which you’ve eaten is the perfect indicator for how long the contents of the food you eat last in your body. I mean think about what is the rather unpleasant experience of diarrhoea — how long do you experience the discomfort of having to run to the toilet every few minutes or hours? The same applies to experiencing the effects of having had some food poisoning or in fact just a reaction to some food which you might have an intolerance for or which you’re allergic to. Symptoms such as blackheads developing in your ears or acne breaking out on your face are the real indicators of how long food remains in your system since the likes of experiencing diarrhoea or reacting by vomiting are ways for your body to get rid of toxic food constituents as soon as it can.
So a moment on the lips is indeed very close to making for a lifetime on the hips, but even if you are a health nut, this doesn’t mean you can’t indulge every so often.
What being a health nut also means is that you don’t have to be afraid of perhaps eating out at a restaurant or other “fast food” joint where the food is prepared for you. More and more “fast food” outlets are taking this fast food thing quite literally and only really referring to the food they offer as “fast” because it’s prepared quickly.
So you can maintain a healthy diet while eating out, but be prepared to fight off the natural urges and the rather leading suggestions of the likes of serving waiters and the advertised special of the day.
You need to go with a set plan — there are certain foods you must be okay with eating when you leave the house and you should stick to your guns when you arrive at the restaurant or other food outlet at which you want to get your quick fill.
Unfortunately as far as restaurant menus go, the healthier options seem to be a bit more expensive, so you might want to listen to what the waiter is trying to up-sell you on, but often what is put up as the “manager’s special” or any other form of special of the day normally isn’t healthy. If you also demonstrate the intention to become a regular customer of a specific restaurant (or even if you aren’t) it doesn’t hurt to ask for the food to be prepared in a special way just for you, like perhaps replacing fries with a salad in a certain dish or something like replacing the fizzy drink with yoghurt.
As much as I actually enjoy the process of preparing meals for my family, particularly the daily dinner, sometimes the mood calls for the lot of us to go out and enjoy dinner prepared by someone else, with the favourite alternative being that of an all-you-can-eat-buffet. This is not because of the “all-you-can-eat” factor, but rather just because of the variety on offer, which means everyone can enjoy dinner together and yet we’re each helping ourselves to different foods — to each of our favourite foods.
It also makes for a nice change enjoying some food which was prepared by someone else, on more of a personal level, but what inevitably happens is that you tend to criticise the cooking a bit and iterate through the various considerations of just how you could have perhaps prepared a certain food better or in fact you find yourself wondering just what recipe they used to prepare a certain food in a certain way.
Some of the pitfalls of frequenting a buffet every now and again tend to show up along the way however, such as getting food which is not all that fresh, having to eat or leave on your plate some overcooked food or food which doesn’t quite taste the way your eyes suggested it would. There’s also the small matter of getting overwhelmed by all the choices and it happens even to those who regularly visit all-you-can-eat buffets. With all those choices you can find yourself overbalancing certain food types and ultimately not getting a healthy and nutritious helping of your dinner, or you might fill up a bit too much on a certain food type to find that you don’t have any space left to get a good chunk of that dessert you were keeping a keen eye on.
The trick to navigating your way through an all-you-eat-buffet resides in exercising a little patience. Wait until the top-pickings have indeed been picked off by other diners as this normally means you can benefit from what a lot of buffets unfortunately do, which is put the older food at the top so that it can be consumed first, with the fresher food lying in wait underneath.
If it comes to it you can even just help yourself to the deeper-lying food in the case of self-serving buffets, but not all buffets implement this practice of serving older food first. It is however somewhat of an industry standard which permeates even the restaurant industry, so it’s very likely that it occurs.
In addition to playing the waiting game to get your fill, always fill your plate up with less food than you think you’ll be satisfied with. You can always go back for seconds if you want, otherwise you run the risk of falling “victim” to what buffets are all about — creating the illusion that you’re going to fill up on more food than you usually do whereas you end up walking away not having eaten much because you’re overwhelmed by so many different choices.
The three-bites rule must come into effect, which simply states that you should put on your plate a portion of a certain food which amounts to three bites max.
It was all the better that I tried this recipe out on a Saturday morning when the whole family gets up a little later, which means I had some leeway for the experimentation I wanted to get in and it wasn’t a matter of having to get it right first time because everybody’s rushing off to work (hubby) and school. I could very well have tried it out for the very first time during the week because this is quite an easy pancake recipe which has worked out perfectly each subsequent time I’ve made it.
So I emphasise eggless just because I wanted to add a bit of variety to the breakfasts we often have, but this works particularly well for those who have an egg allergy, especially if it’s an egg allergy you’ve developed after having already had a taste of just how delicious pancakes can be…you’re welcome!
The utensils and measuring instruments I use for all my baking (although these are to be griddle fried) were all passed down from my grandmother who bought them in the USA and brought them across the border into Canada, so I inherited the use of US measurements since we in turn brought everything over from Canada when I was knee-high. I’ll tell you; these things are built to last because I still use grandma’s baking utensils.
So anyway, I reckon it’s all the better since this recipe represents typical US portions and yields up to twelve pancakes, a perfect number for my big family of 7 since one or two tummies always want seconds. So the ingredients are:
2/3 of a cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of all-purpose flour
A 1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of white sugar
2 and a 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 small, finely chopped, ripe bananas
1 and a 1/2 cups of skim milk
Preparation method (very easy)
Seriously, it’s as easy as mixing the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large bowl (large enough so that you have no problem mixing everything in) and stirring. Stir in the bananas and milk, only until the mixture is slightly moist.
Oil the griddle lightly and heat (you can also use a frying pan) on medium-high heat. Now scoop (you should be able to pour it as well) the batter in amounts of around 1/4 of a cup to brown on both sides for each pancake.
Serve hot with whatever toppings you enjoy your pancakes with. You’ll notice that this is one of the healthier pancakes to make, so you might want to keep things as healthy as possible using something like honey with low-fat butter instead of something like full cream butter and syrup. Either way, enjoy and there are many different ways you can experiment to get slightly different outcomes, like perhaps adding nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
The pancakes should have a fluffy appearance if done right, but you can also use overripe bananas, in which case the pancakes will have a little bit of browner appearance.