Friday, 29 April 2011

Coronation Chicken Recipe for the Royal Wedding

I know it's corny but here is a recipe for easy Coronation chicken which I am making today, the day of the royal wedding of Prince William & Kate Middleton.

Quick and easy - you'll never go to the sandwich shop again. This recipe has a decidedly citrus twist, but feel free to embellish however you'd like - add sultanas, peppers, pineapple, nuts, spring onion, etc.

100g (4 oz) mayonnaise
75g (3 oz) mango chutney
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 dessertspoon lime zest
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
500g (1 1/4 lb) skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets - cooked and diced

Preparation method
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, chutney, curry powder, lime zest, lime juice and salt. Add chicken and toss with the dressing until well coated. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Use half mayonnaise, half crème fraîche for a lower fat version of this recipe.

Source: All Recipes

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Top 10 Bad Things That Are Good For You

Article by Heather Whipps / Source: Live Science and Mind Power News

Beer quells heart disease and chocolate staves off cancer? Though often tagged with a disclaimer, studies that tell us to eat, inhale and generally indulge in "bad stuff" is music to our ears. So go ahead and enjoy these bad-for-you remedies — everything in moderation, as they say — until the next study inevitably overturns the research.

BEER: The newest bad kid on the block, beer has long been overshadowed by its healthier alcoholic cousins. While no one's suggesting you switch that glass of antioxidant-rich Pinot Noir for a tall glass of lager—there's still that beer gut to worry about—new research has suggested that moderate beer intake can actually improve cardiovascular function. Now if only a scientist will discover the health benefits of ballpark franks and chicken wings. Heaven.

ANGER: If you're one of those people who tends to bottle things up, only to explode ... don't hold it in so long. Studies show that bursts of anger here and there are good for the health, and can be an even more effective coping mechanism than becoming afraid, irritated or disgusted. Anger, like the consumables in this list, however, is best in moderation: stay angry for long periods of time and you'll be plagued with a host of health issues, like blood pressure, sleep disorders and lung damage.

COFFEE: Java is one of the most debated substances around. Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? Both? The consensus, now anyways, seems to favor those who enjoy their morning jolt—unrelated studies claim coffee is a major source of antioxidants in our diet and can help lower your risk of diabetes. Something in the beans is also thought to ease the onset of cirrhosis of the liver and pancreatitis, good news for those who like to party hard all night before their morning caffeine boost.

LSD: We're definitely not in the business of advocating drug use. But check out this interesting science: In heavy drinkers, small doses of LSD have been thought to help bypass the rock-bottom stage of alcoholism and prevent relapses. These studies—some decades old—were done in closely monitored, clinical settings; many patients haven't had a drink in the many years since. It's an interesting finding that needs a lot more investigation, and not a remedy that should ever be tried at home. Meantime—and this may come as no surprise—a recent study of 36 volunteers who took an LSD-like drug in a lab setting had them reporting mystical experiences and behavior changes that lasted for weeks.

SUNLIGHT: Exposure to the sun's rays is necessary to survive, but can also kill you in gross, cancerous quantities. Asthmatics, at least, could benefit from measured doses of ultraviolet rays, according to scientists. Sunlight suppressed the immune reactions that cause asthma in some lab studies with mice and could be used to treat humans afflicted with the disease in the future. And sunlight—even if indirect, such as on a shaded porch—is known to boost the mood. Extra sunlight can help office workers avoid afternoon drowsiness, a recent study found. There's still no excuse to head outside and bake, however.

MAGGOTS: They're creepy, slimy and altogether ooky, but maggots can save your life. These squirmy larvae are science's newest wonder-cure and were approved in 2003 as the Food & Drug Administration's only live medical device. Placed on serious wounds, maggots mimic their "wild" lifestyle and munch on bacteria and dead tissue, stimulating healing and helping to prevent infection.

MARIJUANA: It's medicinal, we swear! Marijuana, often associated with memory loss, is ironically now being hyped as a way to stave off the ultimate form of memory loss—Alzheimer's. Recent studies on mice suggest that anti-inflammatories found in the drug prevent the clumping of brain proteins, one major cause of the disease. So when should you start preventative therapy? We suggest waiting for the human studies to wrap up.

RED WINE: A crucial ingredient in the diets of the world's heart-healthiest populations—like those Bordeaux-guzzling French—red wine has long been known to have potent anti-cancer and artery-protecting benefits. The key, some studies indicate, is an antioxidant found specifically in the skin of red wine grapes, called resveratrol. The latest studies even link resveratrol to greater endurance, a reduction in gum disease and Alzheimer's. White wine, which is fermented after the skins are removed, is less beneficial according to some studies.

CHOCOLATE: Chocolate lovers rejoice: study after study lately has touted the magical benefits of the indulgent treat, which is packed with the antioxidant flavonols that prevent certain cancers and keep your arteries from clogging. The most recent news? These powerful chemicals may even increase blood flow to the brain, warding off dementia. Just stick to the highest cocoa content possible—the bars packed with sugar don't help your health one bit.

SEX: Scientists have found that the benefits of sex go beyond immediate, ahem, gratification and satisfying the goal of procreation. Besides the obvious evolutionary purposes, we can all take pleasure in the news that having sex is an easy way to reduce stress, lower cholesterol and improve circulation throughout the body. As if you needed another excuse.

Note from Antonia:
I have never taken any drugs other than when medically prescribed. I have never smoked anything. I therefore do not advocate marijuana or LSD but am simply re-publishing this article which arrived in my inbox. Oh and who said sex was a bad thing?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Blonde Joke

A blonde walked into a store to buy curtains.

She went up to the salesman and said, "I want those pink curtains to fit my computer screen.

The salesman mentioned, "Computers don't need curtains."

The blonde replied, "Hellooo…. I have windows!"

Friday, 22 April 2011

Why is it Good Friday?

Today is Good Friday, the day when we remember Christ being crucified. Why is Good Friday referred to as “good”? What the Jewish authorities and Romans did to Jesus was definitely not good (Matthew 26-27). However, the results of Christ’s death are very good.

The name may be derived from 'God's Friday' in the same way that good-bye is derived from 'God be with ye'. The simplest explanation is that the day is truly good because in Christ’s death, the barrier of sin between God and his people was broken through redemption by the death of Jesus Christ.

Other Names for Good Friday
The Anglo-Saxon name for Good Friday was Long Friday, due to the long fast imposed upon this day. The day is also known as Black Friday or Sorrowful Friday. In the Eastern orthodox Churches, it is known as the "Great Friday".

History of Good Friday
The Good Friday date is one of the oldest Christian holidays, with some sources saying that it has been observed since 100 AD. It was associated with fasting during the early years of its observance and was associated with the crucifixion around the 4th century AD.

A Public Holiday in Some Countries
Good Friday is a most holy day to remember Christ’s crucifixion before his rising from the dead on Easter Sunday. It is a public holiday in the UK, one of only two days when shops and businesses are closed, the other being Christmas Day. The same applies in Sweden, Denmark and Norway,

Good Friday is a public holiday in many countries with a strong Christian tradition ie Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean countries, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Mexico and Singapore. Also in 11 of the United States of America.

Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country, prohibits all alcohol from being sold on Good Friday. Banks and public institutions are closed but it is not an official bank/public holiday.

The Service of Darkness/Tenebrae
The Service of Darkness, known as the Tenebrae is celebrated in some Western Churches. During this ceremony the lights in the church are slowly dimmed marking the darkness that covered Earth upon Christ’s death. The Tenebrae ends with a loud noise known as the strepitus. This loud noise is used as a symbol to mark several sounds that are noted in scripture. They are: Jesus’ final cries, the earthquake at his death, the shutting of his tomb and the second earthquake when he rises from the dead. The purpose of the Service of Darkness is to recreate the betrayal, abandonment and agony of the events leading up to, and the death of, Christ.

As Jesus faced death literally, he needed God's help to save him from the world. Jesus' words from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" echo the human experience of seeking a reality beyond death (Matthew 27:46).

For Christians, Good Friday is a time to be with Jesus in his time of suffering and wait with him in hope of God's promise, eternal life to all who believe. The "good" in Good Friday reflects the Christian hope of resurrection and new life in Jesus, foreshadowing Easter Sunday, when Christians believe that God resurrected Jesus from the dead.

Lutheran tradition
In the Lutheran Church from the 16th to 20th century, Good Friday was the most important holiday and abstention from all worldly works was expected. It was a prime day to receive the Eucharist but in the mid-20th century, this moved to Maundy Thursday.

Not on a Friday for All Churches
Baptist, Pentecostal and many non-denominational churches do not observe Good Friday, regarding it as a papist tradition, and observe the crucifixion on the Wednesday to coincide with the Jewish sacrifice of the Passover Lamb, the Lamb being Jesus for the Christians. A Wednesday crucifixion allowed Jesus to be in the tomb “for three days and three nights” (Matthew 12:40) rather than two nights if on a Friday. John’s Gospel gives Jesus’ death on Thursday.

Catholic Traditions on Good Friday
Good Friday is noted and celebrated in many different ways throughout the world. Catholics mark the day by attending church and reliving the fourteen Stations of the Cross although it is not a public holiday. The Stations of the Cross are areas throughout the church that show the events that took place leading up to, and including, Christ’s crucifixion, death and entombment. No mass is celebrated but churches are often draped in black eg in Belgium.

Another tradition is to venerate, or honour, the cross by kissing a crucifix. On Good Friday, the altar in the Catholic Church has no decorations and the candle, which always burns to note God’s presence, is unlit. This is the only day that God is considered not present in the church and the only day in the Catholic Church in which a mass is not celebrated.

The day is solemn and a general air of sadness is felt in many towns and villages. Many Christians in Poland fast on dry bread and roasted potatoes. Egg decorating is also part of the Easter preparations in Poland and many other countries.

In Spain, it is another solemn day, part of "Semana Santa" (Holy Week).

Hot Cross Buns
In many English-speaking countries, it is traditional to eat warm 'hot cross buns' on Good Friday. Hot Cross Buns with their combination of spicy, sweet and fruity flavours have long been an Easter tradition.

Delia Smith’s Hot Cross Bun recipe

Hot Cross Bun recipe and other Easter treats for children

The pastry cross on top of the buns symbolises the cross that Jesus was killed on.

Hot Cross Buns nursery rhyme c.1798
Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!

One a penny two a penny - Hot cross buns
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons
One a penny two a penny - Hot cross buns

Hot Cross Bun Ceremony
At the London Pub, The Widow's Son, a Hot Cross Bun Ceremony takes place each Good Friday. In the early 19th century, a widow who lived on the site was expecting her sailor son back home for Easter and placed a hot cross bun ready for him on Good Friday. The son never returned, but undaunted the widow left the bun waiting for him and added a new bun each year. Successive landlords have kept the tradition going after the pub was opened.

It is traditional to eat fish on Good Friday instead of meat.

Cramp Rings
From the reign of Edward III to that of Mary Tudor, monarchs used to bless a plateful of gold and silver rings every Good Friday at the Chapel Royal, within St. James's Palace. By rubbing the rings between their fingers, the royal touch was believed to cure cramp and epilepsy. The custom was abolished during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Good Friday superstitions
There are a number of superstitions relating to Good Friday:

A child born on Good Friday and baptised on Easter Sunday has the gift of healing.

Many fishermen will not set out for catch on Good Friday.

Bread or cakes baked on this day will not go mouldy.

Eggs laid on Good Friday will never go bad.

The planting of crops is not advised on this day, as an old belief says that no iron should enter the ground (i.e. spade, fork etc.).

Hot cross buns baked on Good Friday were supposed to have magical powers. It is said that you could keep a hot cross bun which had been made on Good Friday for at least a year and it wouldn't go mouldy.

Hardened old hot cross buns are supposed to protect the house from fire

Sailors took hot cross buns to sea with them to prevent shipwreck.

A bun baked on Good Friday and left to get hard could be grated up and put in some warm milk to stop an upset tummy.

Having a hair cut on Good Friday will prevent toothaches the rest of the year.

No shedding of blood should take place and no work undertaken with hammer, nails or wood.

Try to arrange your affairs to die on Good Friday so that you are rewarded by going straight to heaven without spending any time in Purgatory.

Finally, there is a British superstition that laundry should never be washed on Good Friday, based on a folk legend that a washerwoman mocked Christ on his way to the crucifixion by either throwing dirty water over him or hitting him in the face with wet laundry.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Brain Foods for Memory

Here's the scoop on brain foods. Like you, I've always heard that certain brain foods can help you think better and improve memory. There are several types of foods that can protect your brain, improve how well it works and even build new brain cells.

First, let me clear up a common myth: yes, you can grow new brain cells as an adult! The myth that your brain stops growing is false. Lots of new research proves that your neurons (brain cells) can put out new branches and make new connections no matter what your age.

Of course, all cells need nutrients to grow. So including brain foods in your diet gives your brain the building blocks it needs. More neurons and connections in your brain equals a stronger memory and a mind that simply works better.

1. Healthy Fats - Build Your Brain

Much of a brain cell's structure is made up of what are called "healthy fats". The most important of these are the Omega-3 fatty acids. As your brain repairs itself and grows new neurons, it needs an abundant supply of Omega-3s from your diet.

The best sources of Omega-3 fats include cold-water fish such as salmon and albacore tuna. Other foods with Omega-3 are canola oil, soybeans, walnuts, wheatgerm, eggs, and flaxseed oil.

Recent studies have shown that Omega-3 vitamins can greatly improve memory and attention in some people.

2. Antioxidants - Protect Your Brain

As we age, substances in our bloodstream known as "free radicals" attack and break down our brain cells. If you don't fight this, you are likely to experience age-related memory loss when you get older.

Fortunately, there are a lot of foods that contain a helpful substance called "antioxidants". These antioxidants merge with the free radicals in your blood and make them harmless. So it pays to eat lots of antioxidant foods every day.

Good sources of antioxidants include tea (especially green tea), blueberries and other berries, red grapes, tomatoes, broccoli, garlic, spinach, carrots, whole grains and soy.

3. High-Tyrosine Proteins - Spark Your Brain

Besides neurons, your brain also includes important chemicals called "neurotransmitters". Neurotransmitters are the messengers that carry brain signals from one neuron to the next. You may have a great brain structure, but if your supply of the different neurotransmitters is insufficient your brain won't function properly.

Some components of neurotransmitters, such as tryptophan, can't be made within the body but must be consumed directly from your diet. Others such as tyrosine can be made by the body but still require the right foods in your diet.

The best neurotransmitter-building foods for boosting alertness, energy, and concentration include seafood, meat, eggs, soy and dairy products.

4. Water - Hydrate Your Brain

As you probably know, most of your body is water. It is very easy to not consume enough water and become dehydrated. Being even slightly dehydrated decreases your mental energy and can impair your memory.

Drink at least three or four liters of water a day. I like to carry around a one-liter bottle and just fill it up whenever I pass a water fountain.

5. Vitamins & Minerals - Brain Building Blocks

Certain vitamins and minerals are also important building blocks for your brain. You definitely want to avoid any kind of vitamin deficiency. The best way to do so is to supplement with vitamin and mineral tablets.

The most important for brain function are Vitamins C, B12, and B6. So take a Vitamin C supplement daily and consider taking a B Complex vitamin along with it.

Some important minerals for brain building include Iron (for women, especially) and Calcium. Deficiencies of either of these have been shown to impair learning.

An easy way to get most of your most important vitamins and minerals is to simply take a multivitamin each day. Also consider a fish oil capsule (for Omega-3 fatty acids), a 1,000 mg Vitamin C tablet and a B Complex vitamin.

Make sure you always take your vitamins with food and not on an empty stomach. Not only will you avoid a stomach ache, but vitamins and minerals need to combine with food in your digestive system or they will be to a large degree wasted.

6. Fiber - Regulate Your Fuel Supply

Fiber is a suprising brain food, but an important one. Okay, fine, it's not really a "food". But fiber does help your brain function at its best. The reason is that fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar from your diet.

Your brain operates 100% on sugar. But the trick is that the sugar must be delivered in a very steady stream and in the proper amount or your brain gets overwhelmed. Eating enough fiber slows your digestion and results in the sugar in your food being delivered into your bloodstream gradually.

Foods containing healthy amounts of fiber include dried fruits (such as raisins, dates, prunes, and apricots), vegetables (such as green peas, broccoli, and spinach), peas and beans (such as black-eyed peas, lima beans, and kidney beans), nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed and almonds), whole fruit (such as apples with the skin, oranges, avocados, kiwi, and pears), and whole wheat grains (such as barley, brown rice, and the various whole wheat pastas and cereals).


So there you have it. To keep your brain healthy and your memory at its best, simply start eating foods from all of these groups on a regular basis.

Slowly replace the high-sugar, high-fat foods in your diet with these healthy brain foods. Not only will your brain and memory benefit, but your body will, too. I guarantee you will notice a difference!


The Samurai Asks the Zen Monk for Advice

From Paulo Coelho's blog:

A Samurai who was known for his nobility and honesty, went to visit a Zen monk to ask him for his advice. When the monk had finished his prayers, the Samurai asked,
"Why do I feel so inferior? I have faced death many times, have defended those who are weak. Nevertheless, upon seeing you meditating, I felt that my life had absolutely no importance whatsoever."

"Wait. Once I have attended to all those who come to see me today, I shall answer you."

The samurai spent the whole day sitting in the temple gardens, watching the people go in and out in search of advice. He saw how the monk received them all with the same patience and the same illuminated smile on his face.

At nightfall, when everyone had gone, he demanded, "Now can you teach me?"

The master invited him in and lead him to his room. The full moon shone in the sky, and the atmosphere was one of profound tranquility.
"Do you see the moon, how beautiful it is? It will cross the entire firmament, and tomorrow the sun will shine once again. But sunlight is much brighter, and can show the details of the landscape around us: trees, mountains, clouds. I have contemplated the two for years, and have never heard the moon say: why do I not shine like the sun? Is it because I am inferior?"

"Of course not", answered the samurai, "the moon and the sun are different things, each has its own beauty. You cannot compare the two."

"So you know the answer. We are two different people, each fighting in his own way for that which he believes, and making it possible to make the world a better javascript:void(0)place; the rest are mere appearances."