Monday, December 26, 2011

How to eat healthily at a barbecue

Whether you have a posh barbecue or a humble disposable one there is no doubt about it, food tastes better cooked out of doors. The only problem is that if you are on a diet or trying to watch your cholesterol levels a lot of food traditionally cooked at a barbecue can be unhealthy.

by alisdair

Too much red meat can increase the likelihood of heart disease and certain cancers so many people are avoiding steak and burgers when it comes to choosing their meat for the barbecue. Pork on the other hand is high in protein and low in fat and Vit B, so long as you choose a lean cut such as tenderloin or loin chops. There are many delicious marinades which make your pork taste even better on the barbecue. Have a look for recipes for barbecues online or buy a bottle of marinade from the supermarket.

Chicken too is a good healthy choice for a barbecue so long as you remove the skin before eating as this is where you will find most of the fat content. Make sure that your chicken is thoroughly cooked to avoid salmonella issues. The easiest type of chicken to cook safely on the barbecue is boned.

We all know that we should eat more fish and what better way to enjoy it than on the barbecue? Monkish is a nice firm fish so excellent for using in kebabs. If you are using wooden skewers soak them in water to avoid them burning. Salmon too is good grilled on the barbie either as it is or wrapped in a foil parcel with a bit of lemon.

Even if you are watching your waistline it is easy to fall prey at a barbecue to the temptation of potato salad and coleslaw, both of which are full of mayonnaise. You could try using a low fat mayonnaise or serve an alternative such as a green salad and boiled new potatoes or couscous.

Asian food barbecue ideas

Barbecues are an increasingly popular way of cooking food in the summer. Gone are the days of somewhat primitive rickety contraptions and now manufacturers such as offer a wealth of sophisticated gas grills, making life even easier for the outdoor cook.

barbecue idea
by victoriapeckham

If you’re looking for a change from the usual sausages and burgers that are served at barbecues why not add an Asian touch to your food?

Instead of your favourite marinade you could add flavour to your chicken or pork with teriyaki or hoi sin sauce. Alternatively spice rubs, such as five spice or a tandoori mix can be rubbed on to your meat to add extra flavour. Either rub the spices on dry or mix with a small amount of oil to make a thick paste.

Spareribs are great on a barbecue and there are recipes galore on the internet. One of my personal favourites contains black beans, chillies, soy sauce and brown sugar.

If you like your food to have a kick then look out for jars of Szechuan peppercorns which, combined with chilli in a marinade, gives your food a hefty kick. Lamb cut into chunks and marinated for a few hours can be threaded on to skewers and alternated with jalapeno peppers before barbecuing. Serve with a yogurt and cucumber dressing to temper the heat if you feel you may have been heavy handed with the spices!

The Asian influence needn’t stop with your meat either: instead of a green salad, potato salad or coleslaw you could prepare a noodle salad, a Chinese potato salad with chilli paste and sesame oil or a coleslaw made with bok choy instead of your usual cabbage and a rice vinegar dressing. If you like Indian food you could make a batch of spicy basmati rice or a side dish of aubergines cooked with tomatoes and a selection of spices, as accompaniments to your main dishes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Save money on your Christmas dinner

It’s lovely to have the whole family with you for Christmas dinner but in these hard economic times it can be a worry when you work out how much it is all going to cost. Christmas is the one day a year when, regardless of the fact that you might normally be a fan of quick meals, you have to pull out all the stops and put on a spread fit for a king.

Christmas dinner
by tastingsf

Here are our tips to have a fantastic day but come out of it with the bank balance still intact.

- Whilst it is nice to have a glass of bubbly before the meal it needn’t be champagne. Try a bottle or two of prosecco or cava instead or forsake the bubbles and make a jug of mulled wine. Have a look on the internet for printable coupons and you could save on your drinks.
- If you have the money, then a starter of dressed lobster is delicious. However, prawns or smoked salmon are equally tasty and if you put them on a bed of lettuce or on top of blinis they also look very attractive.
- Not everyone can afford a fresh turkey and there is nothing wrong with cooking a frozen bird. Just make sure that you get it out of the freezer in plenty of time.
- Cooking it slowly, covered in foil, on a rack over a tray of stock makes sure that it does not dry out and the stock makes scrumptious gravy which will compensate for the fact that frozen birds are sometimes less tasty than fresh.
- You’ve done the hard work so why not ask a guest or two whether they would mind bringing a pudding (traditional Christmas pud or something else) or a cheese board?

Healthy hair and healthy skin advice

We are what we eat and this holds true for our hair and skin too. If your diet is poor then expect symptoms such as hair that is too dry or too greasy, dandruff, hair loss, skin that is spot prone or too dry, rashes and liver spots. Having plenty of fluids is important too, especially water, fruit juice and vegetable juice. Cut back on alcohol, caffeine and fatty food if you want to improve the health of your hair and skin.

Healthy hair
by o5com

A little TLC will benefit your hair enormously. Don’t overdo the chemical treatments that it is subjected to and, even if you condition every time you wash, it will still appreciate a deep conditioner twice a month. If you live in a hard water area use a product, such as Pantene’s Pro V Clarifying Shampoo every week to get rid of the build up of minerals. Whilst on the subject of washing your hair, wet hair is more likely to stretch and break than dry hair so be careful to use a wide toothed plastic comb rather than your normal hair brush. If you use a hair dryer use the diffuser attachment so that your hair is less likely to be damaged by excessive heat.

For healthy skin adequate sleep is essential as it is during this time that skin cells are renewed. Aim for at least eight hours a night. One of the most damaging things for your skin is excessive exposure to sun. Always use a moisturiser with a factor 15 protection, even in the winter, and if you are out in the sun for prolonged periods use a sunscreen of at least factor 30. Stick to a good cleansing, toning and moisturising regime. This needn’t cost a fortune with many products available from the likes of Nivea and Olay for between £2 and £7.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Homemade sandwiches

We all know that making your own sandwiches can at times become very boring and repetitive; often it seems as though you’re always left eating the same sandwich with the same old dull filling. However, with so many different sorts of bread and filling available on the market now, there’s no excuse not to indulge in this most convenient of lunchtime meals!

That said, don’t think that just because you’re eating a sandwich that you’re opting for a healthy lunch choice. If health is high up on the agenda for you when it comes to midday munchies, the first thing to do when making a sandwich is to change from white bread to wholemeal or seeded bread.

For the main ingredient, meanwhile, try using leftovers from yesterday’s dinner. This will save both time and money. You could try using roast chicken or beef, and mix these staple ingredients in with some salad leafs. Add some low fat mayonnaise or roast vegetables with cottage cheese or houmous for that extra special touch.

If there’s one thing that a good old Sunday roast can teach us, it’s that last night’s roast dinner can be used to make a yummy sandwich the next day. However, if cold roast beef doesn’t float your boat, other types of filling that are both quick and simple to put together include hardboiled eggs with chopped watercress and low fat mayonnaise, avocado with low fat cream, chopped tomatoes with some lemon juice, tuna with chopped parsley and spring onion drizzled with some balsamic vinegar, and prawns with ketchup, low fat mayonnaise and watercress.

The healthy sandwich fillings mentioned above are just a few examples of what you could put in a sandwich. So, just remember if you don’t have a great deal of money, making sandwiches as part of a packed lunch or as a light snack is a great way of saving money and being super-healthy at the same time. Experiment yourself with different foods and try creating your own filling today!