Hibiscus Tea.

 

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Lately my blood pressure has been a little higher than normal, so I did some research and decided that I would try to make some hibiscus tea, as the hibiscus flower has many health benefits , helps to lower blood pressure,helps to lower cholesterol, speeds up metabolism and boosts your immune system.

Worth a try I thought, as I have many bushes around me.

Step 1.So this is how I made my tea. First I dead headed the bush, then separated the stigma from the petals.

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Step 2.

Then I separated the five petals and put them in the sun to dry.

 

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Once dry I put them in a kilner jar.

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Step 3.

I put a handful in my 700ml teapot and topped up with boiling water.

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Step 4.

Let the petals soak for about 5 mins, then you can pour into a cup , or you can let it cool and pour in a glass.  I usually use a little honey  to sweeten it a little.

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Well I have only being doing this for a week and my blood pressure has reduced from 145/95 to 128/85 much better.

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Chinese Cabbage ( Pak Choy)

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This vegetable which is the same family as cabbage and broccoli is so versatile and has a fresher flavour than cabbage.

Pak Choy is low in calories and has zero fat, it contains high levels of vitamin A ,C and K.

The young small ones are the best, when you buy them put in plastic bag and refrigerate it will keep up to 3 days.

There are many uses for pak choy, I only started eating it recently, it is great instead of lettuce ( I am not a fan of lettuce )in a salad the stalks are crunchy and the leaves are good also, I use rocket sometimes but there is no crunch.

Lately as well as using pak choy in salad, I have made noodle soup, by grating carrot,turnip then adding finely chopped pak choy and spring onions with a vegetable stock cube, this does not take long to cook, then add fine noodles 5 mins before end of cooking, this makes a lovely light and refreshing soup.

Grilled pak choy is good too, just cut in half coat with garlic butter or olive oil and grill until it has some colour, the green part goes really crispy and tastes delicious .

Personal Challenge Update

On 26 th November I posted about continuing to swim in my pool in the winter months well, I almost made it , there were 3 weeks that we did not have much sun and the temperature was down to 16 degrees, and I did try to swim but it was really too cold.

Now the temperature is about 24 degrees, and with the sun it feels warmer, so I have managed to swim the last few days , and think now it will not be a problem to keep going until November, great !

Personal Challenge

As I have mentioned on other posts I like to swim as a form of exercise, but because my pool is not heated,I  usually only swim from March to October.

I began to question why I could not mange to swim all year, because for me there are many benefits to be had from swimming, it eases my back pain, also relieves the postherpetic  neuralgia I have as a result of having shingles 3 years ago, and of course it is a good form of all over exercise.

On checking the internet to see if swimming in cold water had any bad effects on your body, I was satisfied that is was safe to do so in fact good for you, especially your circulation.

This morning I went down for a swim, the air temp was 20 degrees, no sun,the water was cold, but after about 2 mins it felt ok and I really enjoyed it feeling very invigorated when I came out.

So the decision was made I will continue to swim and see if I can make it through the year.

Tip of the week

Lemons

Lemons are very versatile here are some of the things I use lemons for

  • My morning drink – hot water, slice lemon and honey, kick starts your digestive system.
  • cleaning my chopping board – eliminates smells
  • insect repellant – put 20 drops of lemon oil to 250ml water in a spray bottle and spray the room. 10 drops of oil to 1 oz sunflower oil and rub onto exposed skin, helps keep insects at bay.
  • gargle – juice of 1 lemon,1 tsp salt,add to a cup of warm water, gargle a few times, this helps a sore throat.
  • add a cup of lemon juice to your laundry for a boost, helps with stains .
  • use instead of bleach, add lemon juice and baking soda to water and soak your delicates.
  • highlight your hair – rinse your hair with 1/2 cup of lemon juice to 3/4 cup water. let dry in the sun repeat every day for a week.
  • salad dressing – lemon juice, olive oil crushed garlic and pepper.
  • lemon juice added to curry, gives it a lift.
  • marinade meat especially turkey or chicken in lemon juice – tenderizes the meat.
  • add lemon juice to your oil burner – helps concentration.
  • lemons contain anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, as well as being a liver cleanser.

Tip of the week

Why not try to pickle your own beetroot, it is easy and so much better for you than bought ones.

Beetroot has many health benefits, contains dietary fibre which helps promote stable blood sugar levels.

High in vitamin A, good source of Magnesium and Potassium.

Here is how I pickle mine, not difficult at all.

It is better if you can buy organic beetroot. I usually make enough for to fill 2 kilner jars.

Recipe

7 or 8 beetroot ( about tennis ball size)

1 cup cider or apple vinegar

1 desert spoonful of honey

2 star anise

1/2 tsp mixed spice.

Method

  • place whole beetroot into pot cover with cold water, bring to the boil and then turn heat down to a simmer , let simmer for about 1 hour. ( do not take skin or stalk off beetroot at this stage )

 

 

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  • Put vinegar, water, honey, star anise and mixed spice into a small pot and bring to the boil then stir and take off heat.

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  • When beetroot is cooked and cooled, take stalk and skin off.

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  • Cut into bite sized pieces and put into kilner jar, then cover with vinegar, and close jar.

 

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  • When cool I store in cupboard in the dark
  • Once opened I store in the fridge

These jars unopened will keep for months.If you prefer you can eat cold cooked beetroot in a salad, the only thing is it does not keep long.

I usually cook my beetroot at night , let it cool overnight in pot then drain and pickle the next day.

 

Tip of the week

Bananas

Bananas are very good for you, they contain potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, C and B 6.

I really love bananas they are probably my favourite fruit. We have lots of bananas in Tenerife, If you put them in the fridge they will keep longer. If you have got more than you can eat, you can take the skin off cover in foil and put in freezer, they make good healthy ice lollies, they have a really creamy taste similar to milk lollies.

You can use banana skin for warts and verrucas, cut a piece of skin to cover the wart or verruca the cover with tape and leave overnight, repeat every night till gone, I do not know how it works but it does.

Last of all you can cook with bananas, I found this great pancake recipe on the internet it is sugar free, gluten free and dairy free.( http://www.huffingtonpost.com), I have altered the recipe a bit because I am allergic to nuts and the recipe had used almond flour which I substitued for maize flour. I really like banana loaf but find it hard to get a good wheat free recipe, but these pancakes are a very good substitute.

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2 ripe mashed banana

1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 eggs

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup maize flour

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

2 tsp. ground seeds (pumpkin,sesame, sunflower)

coconut oil for frying

Method:

1. Combine all wet ingredients ( banana,coconut milk,eggs,vanilla) with a whisk.

2. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients ,oat flour, baking powder ,salt, cinnamon,  nutmeg, mixed seeds, maize flour.

3. Add dry ingredients to wet, mix till smooth, it should be quite wet a dropping consistency

4. Leave to stand for about a min, it will thicken, if you feel it is too thick add a little more coconut milk or water.

5. Put a little coconut oil  onto griddle or frying pan.

6. Drop a dsp. of mixture onto griddle, the pancakes are ready when brown on both sides and cooked through.

I found these pancakes easy to make and delicious. You can have them for breakfast as I did with toasted coconut and sweet soya sauce ,or maple syrup, the options are endless.