Red Tomato’s

redtomatos

Introducing the tomato.

It comes in many shapes, sizes and colours but it’s best known wearing a red coat and whether or not you believe it to be part of the vegetable family or fruit, it has graced our plates and tables for many years.

So why have I chosen to feature our red friend?  Well,  I’ll tell you.

Life was simple, free and easy growing up in the states during the 70’s and as a kid, I had the pleasure of regularly visiting farmer’s markets and helping my brother and later on my parent’s tend to an extensive and beautiful vegetable garden in the heart of Northern Maine, New England.

At a very early age, I remember my father bringing home his favourite plum tomato’s and eating them like candy.  They were bright red, shiny and were still attached to their vine with soft and fragrant leaves. It’s hard to explain the scent but I guess they smelled like sweet earth to me. I loved them and they were easy to pop in your mouth.

“Where’s the beef?”  Beefsteak tomato’s… now this one is the Daddy of all tomato’s!  As much as I’d like to say my first experience of this meaty fruit was in New York, I will hold my hand’s up and admit that New Jersey at that time had the best! (sorry fellow New Yorka’s)

Now this is one that can ONLY be enjoyed 2 ways:

  1. cut in half, salted and eaten like an apple
  2. Sliced thick and served on a juicy burger

My summer’s spent in Maine as a child were magical. It was like camping,  an adventure of sorts and it helped me to appreciate nature and the simplistic life. What kid wakes up in the morning, picks tomato’s, green beans and sweet peas off of their vine’s and eats them quite happily whilst walking through a maze of blooms to reach a babbling brook only steps away?  It was me and I am grateful.

There’s a bit more to this story, which was the motivation for this post.  Moving to Northern UK was a culture shock for me in the beginning and I had to adjust to many differences, mainly food.   My first tomato experience here was completely different.

Entering the quite reputable kebab take-away… so you can probably gather that I’m pretty darn passionate about food in general.  “What would you like on your kebab Miss?”  “Oh, I’d like tomato, lettuce, onions and whatever else you have in the way of salad please.”  I got home and opened the carefully wrapped package.  Orange?? These tomato’s are orange.  My husband (who is not entirely passionate about food in general) replied, “what’s wrong with that?”

My reply: “Everything darling, just everything.”

Listen to your mother

I’m switching tactics here, following one of my earlier   posts entitled “Food Glorious Food.”

Diet’s, healthy eating, fitness programmes.. they are there to help us right?  One size fits all… I have learned that this is not the way to approach weight loss and become a healthier you.  I’m no expert by any means but the fact is…everyone is different.

Over the course of my life, I have tried numerous plans, pills and potions, which were advertised to “give you your ideal body” in so many weeks, months etc.  Back then I believed every word however; now that I’m older and wiser, I know that It’s impossible to guarantee the same results if you don’t know your individual circumstances, genetics, metabolism etc. For example… would a vegetarian have the same results as me on an Atkins type diet?  What about someone who has physical limitations and would find it difficult or nearly impossible to go spinning or weight train? Can we all afford a personal trainer? Probably not…

So that leads to the journey I have found myself part of and I’m hoping it can provide others with some inspiration from lessons that I have learned.

Let’s see if Mother was right….

  1. Metabolism-“breakfast is the most important meal of the day” it jump-starts your metabolism and this instruction was embedded in me from an early age.
  2. Oatmeal and oils Oatmeal is not only healthy for your heart, but it also sets you up for the day leaving you feeling full and satisfied. Oil’s- ease up on these folks… there are good oils/fats and bad ones. Stick with oily fishes (high in Omega like Salmon and mackerel), cod liver oil in the form of a capsule from your health food shop or grocery store and low-fat cooking spray.  (They even have olive oil types and garlic flavours now)
  3. Tomatoes-Vitamin C, good source of fibre, potassium and B6 to name a few!  Can be eaten raw   on it’s own to help with snack cravings, in a salad of course or sautéed with other veggies. SWEET! Treats are also important! If you don’t treat yourself now and again, you’ll end up bingeing and reversing all of the good you’ve accomplished. Save a small treat for each day or reward yourself at the end of the week or weekend. For instance: 2 of  your favourite cookies with a cup of herbal tea at night or perhaps some Chinese food on a Friday or Saturday night. (get something tasty but try to stay away from fried stuff in gloopy sauce.)
  4. Herbs-Goodbye gloopy oily and sugary sauces… Let’s opt for flavourful herbs instead. pepper, rosemary, basil, cilantro, curry powder, tarragon, lemongrass.. you choose.. it tastes nice and it’s healthy!
  5. Eggs- Great source of protein (especially for vegetarians) and easy again to snack on if you plan ahead and hard boil a bunch for the fridge.  Plus, it contains .. you ready? (Iron, zinc, iodine, Vitamin E, B2 and studies have shown that it boosts weight loss when eaten for breakfast (without 4 slices of toast with butter of course!)
  6. Red food-Well, green food has always been on the list, but as we’re going with mom’s advice here.. I’d like to focus on the red’s-Strawberries (high in vitamin c and has powerful antioxidants that have been proven to preventdegeneration of the eyes in some cases)  cherries are high in quercetin and ellagic acid. This antioxidant flavonoid has been shown to promote cell and tissue health.Cherries are also high in substances related to reducing the joint and muscle discomfort. Cherries also contain melatonin, an important natural chemical related to healthy sleep rhythms and maintaining a youthful appearance. BONUS!

By following “mother’s” instructions, I  lost 2 stone (almost 30 pounds) in 7 months.  I feel better about myself and I’m healthier to boot.

I hope this helps at least a few people and thanks for reading!

With love-Hands-on

Red berry health facts were taken from this site

Food glorious food

Lobstah  A word of thanks goes to my new audience members who helped provide some inspiration for this post!  “Lobstah”, as it’s known in its native area Maine, USA has been a luxury food item for many years.  I for one can never get enough of it when I’m visiting my family in the states.

When I was a struggling student in Portland, Maine, I used to visit the local fish market that would sell “lobster bodies” (5 for $1.)  Essentially, these were freshly cooked lobsters, minus the claws and tail.  A lobster lover and a “Mainer” as they are known, would tell you that it doesn’t matter if the common pieces are missing… it’s still lobster down to the last morsel.

Lobster in England is a very different story…there’s no love, appreciation or fanfare for the poor but delicious clawed delicacy here! (In my experience anyway)

It’s also extremely expensive, even when you opt for our Scottish neighbor’s version.  So…. using my favourite meal as a prequel, how can we as lovers of good cuisine enjoy luxury food on a budget? It can be done… trust me!

Your cost can be drastically reduced if you commit to cooking from scratch at home,instead of turning down a meal in a fancy restaurant.  For instance; luxury foods items such as caviar, smoked salmon, filet mignon, pate, truffles, saffron, lobster and even good wine can be enjoyed on a budget if you look and plan.  By the way, Shiitake mushrooms or ground hazelnuts are a good alternative to truffles! Check your local fish markets for caviar too!

I am so thankful that I was exposed to a wide variety of culinary delights when I was growing up.  My family and I LOVE good food… so much so that it has become the centre of our events and visits with one another.  I’m laughing to myself right now thinking  of my husband with a very limited palate, who experienced mealtimes with my family for the very first time years ago. Whilst eating breakfast, we discuss perhaps what we’ll plan for lunch and at lunch we plan the family dinner feast! (Having a “nosh” in between meals is not unusual either, thanks to our Jewish heritage)

Tastes are important. Food doesn’t need to be expensive or luxurious to be enjoyable. Freshly cut seasonal fruits and nice middle-of-the-road cheeses with a  zippy wine in the summer is wonderful! Frozen baby shrimp or prawns with mussels, marinara sauce over angel hair pasta.. IS delicious too!

So the moral of this story is… if you love good food but want to avoid the high cost…. create your own luxury with foods that are fresh and accessible, recipes that are simple and adaptable and most of all tasty!

Share the love!

Enjoy x

Hands-on

Look into my eyes-tips for connecting

eyes

They say the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul…. I truly believe this.

In fact, the realisation of this in my lifetime has proven itself time and time again both in my personal and professional relationships.

I ask each and every one of you who are closely attached to a significant other, whom you love and adore to test this out!  Look deeply into his or her eyes and think about what you see.  You might be thinking “what am I looking for?”  Well… I’ll tell you what you should look for:

  • Sparkle
  • Warmness
  • Love
  • Respect
  • Infinity (where there is no end)

and most importantly, this person should be looking back at you and you should return the favour of the above.

Now if you apply this rule to business, obviously you’re not looking for love but rather a genuine, honest and non-threatening professional connection.  I’ve listed a few traits to look for and a few to avoid.  I like to end things on a positive note therefore; I’ll start with those you should avoid first:

  • Shiftiness
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Disconnection
  • Shallowness

You’ll know how to recognise these traits when you experience them. Think about when you attend networking events… there may be some people who you meet and think to yourself later, nope.. didn’t connect with him/her so I don’t think I’ll contact them.  TRUST your instincts.

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Sincerity
  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Openness

and of course, always pay attention to see if they are looking back and connecting with you.  Genuine folk have no problem making eye contact with other people.

I do not profess to be a psychologist or an expert in this field, but I have lived, experienced and tested this in my life so why shouldn’t you?

Thanks for reading

Hands-on 🙂