Crumbs..

I discovered I wasn’t the only one to stock up on comfort food yesterday.  On my back home from the chiropractor, I bought a chocolate cake, HD cookies and cream and a packet of pretzels.  A friend texted me to say she had bought something chocolatey for herself and a colleague mentioned carrot cake to me this morning.  Winter blues, folks.

Anyway, I digress.

Once we got home from school today, I cut the Bear a slice of chocolate cake and left her to tuck in whilst I went back into the kitchen to get myself a slice.  I joined the Bear a few minutes later and she handed me her plate which – the cake was half eaten.  Thinking she was full, I took the plate off her as she said, ‘you have it, Mama’.  Aww, how sweet, I thought.  Until I saw her make a beeline for my plate. … !

 

January 2017 round up

I only made one resolution for 2017.  To clock up 3,650,000 steps by the end of the year.

Neither 2015 and 2016 were particularly good to me, therefore towards the end of last year, I decided to treat the transition to January 2017 not as a brand new year, rather a typical month which followed the end of a previous month.  If that makes sense.

I felt very strongly about using up our pantry staples in January without having to do big weekly Ocado shops.  We managed rather well, I must say.  There were some takeaway meals and we did eat out at the weekends, but by mid last week, our cupboards were almost bare.  I promptly organised an Ocado delivery which drew big cheers from the Bear.

Speaking of whom, we have all been sleep deprived as the Bear struggles with night terrors.  This has given me the added excuse to indulge in coffee.  Far too much, unfortunately.  That, plus I’m an early starter at work.  The coffee band-aid saga continues. I was doing well with packed lunches until last week.  I fell ill and it proved too much of an effort.

A few photos of what we had to eat in the last few days.

Clockwise:  (1) Lamb burgers, mushroom and red onion relish, sweet potato fries, salad (2) The Bear’s bowl of homemade meatballs, cheesy pasta (not pictured – a bowl of salad) (3) Kale, peppers, mushroom stir-fry topped with fried egg and sweet chilli sauce.

Here’s a quick meal plan for the week ahead:

Monday 30/1 – Udon noodle, prawn and veg stir-fry for hubby, egg and prawn fried brown rice for me

Tuesday 31/1 – Salmon, brown rice, veg stir-fry

Wednesday 1/2 – jacket potatoes, beans, salad

Thursday – 2/2 dhall, omelette, fishcakes

Friday – 3/3 leftovers

Did anyone watch Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Show last week? Jamie recreated a River Cafe dish for Michael McIntyre.  Scallops, borlotti beans and tenderstem broccoli.  It looked fab and I’ve been dreaming about it since.  Might be a project for the coming weekend.

The food plan for February is to gradually decrease my sugar intake in preparation for Lent which is only a few weeks away.  The Hubby and I recently discussed reducing our intake of red meat – we have been eating chili con carne and lamb curries recently!  I’m feeling better now and have my work lunches for the next three days prepped (quinoa, bulghur wheat + kale + grated carrots + boiled egg).

Hope everyone has had a decent enough start to the new year.  If anyone is still reading this, do drop me a line to share any food related resolutions you’ve made for the month/year/.

 

Kimchi mixed mushrooms and puy lentil casserole

It was a full-on week at work and I’m still getting to grips with how things run with my new employer.   I was in Sainsbury’s yesterday and really craved mushrooms.  Before long, my shopping basket had the following – shiitake, oyster and enoki mushrooms, a jar of kimchi and kale.

I made my go-to recipe for puy lentil casserole by Ina Garten (Barefoot in Paris) with the addition of kale, parsnips and ginger to boost the earthy flavours.

The mushrooms were cooked very simply as follows:

Kimchi mixed mushrooms (serves 2)

Prep and cooking time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 200g mixed mushrooms (trimmed, stemmed, cleaned)
  • 1 tbsp kimchi
  • 1/2 tsp herb de provence
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan
  2. Add the mushrooms and stir in the oil for a minute
  3. Add the kimchi and herb the provence.  Leave to cook for another minute
  4. Season with salt (be mindful that the kimchi is salty) and pepper

Serve up the puy lentil casserole in a bowl and top with the kimchi mushrooms.

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Meal plan w/c 2 January 2017

We have eaten really well over the last few weeks.  Chocolates and other treats aside, having time off work meant more time to cook up decent meals at home.  One of the things I’ve enjoyed most over Christmas sitting down to dinner as a family of three.

It’s back to work and school tomorrow.  The Bear gets breakfast, lunch and tea in nursery so she normally isn’t hungry for much when she gets home.  Just some fruit or a biscuit.  I’ll see what she asks for tomorrow evening.

Here is the our meal plan for the week. A bit of a cheat’s plan as I have some leftovers in the freezer from the weekend.  I’ve also included tonight’s dinner in for the sake of completeness.

  • Monday – lamb rogan josh, okra stir-fry, basmati rice
  • Tuesday –  leftover pasta bake (inspired by a Bill Granger recipe from Bill’s Basics – ricotta, kale, lobster, homemade pistou)
  • Wednesday – jacket potatoes and leftovers (chili con carne, puy lentils casserole)
  • Thursday – meal out (Gramps is visiting)
  • Friday – homemade veggie broth (black-eyed beans, kale, carrots, celery)

My new office is lacking in kitchen amenities, therefore I have been spending far too much on eating lunch out.  I’m not a coeliac but do struggle with bread.  And don’t get me started on Pret coffees.  So easily done first thing in the morning on the way into work, especially if you are an early riser (5.30am) like me.   So, I’ve bought a big box of Special K to bring into work tomorrow.  Lunch packed and in the fridge (quinoa salad).  Three days a week at least.  The closest I’ve come to making a resolution.  Wish me luck.

Suggestions for (non-microwaveable) packed lunches welcome.

Here’s to a good 2017

Happy New Year, hope everyone had a relaxing break over the Christmas holidays.  We are all heading back to work and nursery tomorrow.  The Bear misses her friends and teachers and is looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.  I was in work for a day last week – emails all up to date and therefore very little sense of foreboding ahead of tomorrow.

Two years ago, I couldn’t wait to see the end of 2015.  Unfortunately 2016 wasn’t an entirely kind year.  Health issues prevailed for most of the year which put paid to plans in general.

Therefore I have decided to embrace January 2017 not as the start of a new year, rather, the beginning of a new month.  As you would a March or August. Events of 2016 gave us cold feet and we resorted to drifting.  But we need to have faith (restored) and to live again.

Happy 2017.  All the very best for the year ahead.

Wendover Woods

As cooler weather sets in, the temptation to stay in and hibernate is rather strong.  Thankfully Hubby the ever sensible one talked me into heading out for a walk and a dose of fresh air.

I suggested a trip to Wendover Woods seeing it was a lovely, sunny Sunday albeit a definite crisp in the air. 

We packed a sandwich lunch for the Bear, wrapped up warm but foolishly left our wellies behind.

Parking starts from £1.70 for 2 hours.  We clearly picked a busy Sunday and managed to snag the last spot!  

It was rather cold. We only stayed an hour. A quick walk, lunch, a spot of running around and then off in search of coffee where the queue wasn’t a mile long.

A date with Hubby

Hubby and I went into London yesterday after dropping the Bear off to nursery.  

I’ve lived in London for many years but never quite made it to the V&A museum.  Hubby was keen so we jumped on the tube and made our way to South Kensington. 

There was no queue and the museum was relatively quiet at 11am.  We had a good browse around – very fascinating displays of furniture, weapons, busts and statues, items of clothing etc

It was lunchtime and we left the V&A museum to locate a little French cafe I had read about online, Raison D’etre.  We scored the last table after placing our order at the counter. A very popular place with young French students from the nearby French Institute. 

Very tasty mozzarella, avocado and tomato baguette and Caesar salad, washed down with delicious coffee. 

We hopped back onto the tube and wondered through Charing Cross to look for some old coin shops.  It started raining as well but we sought shelter and carried on to House of Fraser on Oxford St. A quick cuppa at their tearoom later, it was time to collect the Bear from nursery. 

A very leisurely day had. Hope you enjoyed our date, Hubby.