Diet and nutrition, plant based diet, recipes, Uncategorized

Inspired by others…

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I am totally inspired by so many people on social media for their recipes, from simple Instagram posts with awesome beautiful photos of gorgeous food, to gorgeous blogs full of healthy recipes, social media can be my go to inspiration for so many meals.  Now let’s not forget my most ultimate favorite chef, going right back to his ‘Naked’ days, he has just got better and better with the years, he is always learning new techniques, changing and evolving with everything he does and that is why I will always love Jamie Oliver and his awesome recipes too.

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I want to talk today about a few of my favorite cooking people on the World Wide Web, from plant based meals to Mediterranean recipes, I love them for so many different reasons.  I’m going to start with a woman I follow on Instagram, I originally started to follow her because I loved her home, she was based in Japan where her husband was stationed, a military family that has now moved to the beautiful country that is Italy.  Now this woman not only takes beautiful photos, her home is so simple but absolutely gorgeous, and the food she cooks leaves my mouth watering, it’s simplicity at its finest, but all the ingredients look so fresh, delicious and tasty.  One of my most favorite things she made recently was a tray of beautiful large olives, she baked them together with bunches of fresh herbs, artichoke hearts, one of my favorite things to eat, beautiful lemon slices and a drizzle of olive oil… I absolutely love baked warm olives, she served it with fresh crusty Italian bread and some cheese… simple indulgence and totally my style of cooking and eating, who needs a fancy meal when this rustic dish has beautiful flavors that make your taste buds sing and dance. If you would like to follow her too, look on Instagram for giosmama2626 I promise you will not be disappointed. 

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Next on my list is Deliciously Ella, plant based awesomeness, I love all her recipes from breakfast creamy mushrooms on crispy sourdough toast to her lentil bolognese. She started out because she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, not wanting to spend the rest of her life on drugs she turned her life around with an awesome healthy diet, managed to ditch the drugs she was on and now she has an awesome restaurant in London, publishes beautiful books and she has recently had a gorgeous baby girl… totally inspiring. Take look at her website https://deliciouslyella.com and follow her on Facebook, I promise you won’t regret it.

I was introduced to Aine Carlin by my sister in-law the last time we were back in the UK visiting, I have one of her cookbooks too… all I can say is if you want a plant based meal her recipes are amazing, of course you could always add in some meat if you want to too, we just love the black bean enchiladas and the lentil curry, both so delicious and so nutritious.  Simple food that tastes so yummy.  Take a look at her website here http://www.peasoupeats.com/ or follow her on Instagram and Pinterest, you will definitely be inspired. 

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Last but not least is the Minimalist Baker, take a look at her blog again you will not be disappointed, her recipes are well thought through they taste delicious and she has something for everyone from recipes with Mediterranean flare to spicy Mexican dishes, sweet treats and baked deserts too.  If you want to browse through her recipes the link is here https://minimalistbaker.com

I think as a cook you need inspiration, cooking is an art, we need to create dishes that not only taste delicious but are pleasing to our eyes, if we lose sight of this, cooking becomes mundane and boring, when I watch Jamie cook he makes me want to eat that dish, he is descriptive in every way, he is totally inspiring.  When I eat food I want my taste buds to begin a happy dance, I want my eyes to be drawn to the colors and most of all I want to want to eat that dish again and again, I want to crave that food, and I want to recreate it over and over.  

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Simple Mediterranean food excites me, the fresh healthy ingredients, spicy Indian dishes sing to me, and Mexican bean dishes with lashes of avocados make me so happy. Whatever you eat, or whatever you make for you or your family, you should be filled with passion for the ingredients you have, fresh and tasty full of nutrients to nourish your body and mind… keep it real and keep it fresh always… go create art!

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Freezer love

I love my freezer, I love to freeze leftovers, I love to freeze an abundance of fruit and vegetables… I just love to have a freezer full of produce, but of course the trick is not to overfill your freezer so much that you never get to use the produce at the back or stored deeply below the current food in there, I love to virtually empty my freezer before restocking it, it gives me real pleasure to see an empty freezer just before I do my weekly grocery trip, of course my children are never too thrilled by this, but personally I love that feeling that I have used wisely all of my groceries before I restock… I just hate waste!

So, on the subject of freezers, I was thrilled this week whilst I was on my weekly trip to Costco, the fruit and vegetables in there looked so enticing and abundant I had to stock up, now I know everything in Costco comes in huge sizes and even for our larger than average family, when it comes to fruit and vegetables, we cannot get through the package sizes either, so with that in mind I still filled my cart with cherries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, asparagus and so on, I think my cart was mainly healthy fruit and vegetables this week, but I had a plan… Now this is where my freezer comes in, I bagged half of each container into ziplock bags and placed them into my freezer… Genius, right? I can hear you all saying but the fruit just does not taste the same after it is frozen and you are right, but it is perfect for smoothies, homemade ice cream, muffins, cheesecake, sauces, juicing, the list is endless… Of course it is great for adding to cocktails too! So now I not only have a refrigerator full of healthy fruit and vegetables but a freezer well stocked for all our summer favorites too… Not only healthy but budget friendly too!

Still on the subject of freezers, my new plan is to cook and freeze batches of beans, pulses and lentils… I love, love, love these ingredients but more often than not I find I just don’t have the time to cook them along with dinner or I just simply forget to, so after a little research I have discovered that all of these ingredients freeze and reheat well… So batch cooking these ingredients will mean I can always have them on hand in my beloved freezer, meaning that we will be eating much healthier too!

Recipe for chocolate covered strawberries

1 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (I used Kirkland semi sweet)
1 1/2tablespoon of coconut oil ( I used Trader Joes)
20 fresh strawberries

There are two ways of melting your chocolate with the coconut oil, the first is taking a great amount of care in your microwave, they burn easily so melt them in 30 second bursts until they are smooth and melted, the other way, which is the method I used is to take about an inch of boiling water in a pan, place your bowl of chocolate and coconut oil over the water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water and then let your boiling water slowly melt your chocolate for a few minutes, once it is smooth and melted take it off the heat and wash and pat dry your strawberries, then coat each strawberry with the chocolate mixture, taking care not to cover the green leafy part, place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, then place in refrigerator to chill then serve with anything you like… Delicious!

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My favorite things to eat…

I am going to try and post my favorite recipe of the meal we have eaten in the last week, each Wednesday… This week I have two favorite recipes to share with you, both were very delicious and super healthy, I am trying to add chia seeds to all of our meals, more often than not I forget as I am usually doing my normal multi tasking Mommy act at this time of the day, but I will get into the habit soon… Fingers crossed!

Black bean and arugula salad with creamy avocado dressing

1/2 can of drained and rinsed black beans
5 small sweet baby peppers sliced
1 bag of arugula
1 small red onion finely sliced
1 handful of pea shoots chopped
1 handful of Cilantro chopped
1 avacado
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the first 6 items, then take a ripe avacado and mash or blend in a blender for a few minutes with lime juice and about 1/4 cup of water then add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, stir then coat your salad with your creamy dressing… Serve fresh with whatever takes your fancy, we had spicy Mexican pork with ours then a huge bowl of fresh strawberries for dessert… Healthy and very delicious!

White turkey chili with a twist

1 packet of ground turkey
Small amount of oil, I used spray coconut oil from Trader Joes
2 cups of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of cumin
1-2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes
1 small red onion finely chopped
3 small sweet peppers slice
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 can of cannellini beans drained
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 pack of orzo

Sauté the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, then add peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes before adding ground turkey… Cook until browned then add spinach, let it slightly wilt before adding chicken broth, red pepper flakes, cumin and cannellini beans, bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer then cover and cook for 30 minutes. Cook orzo according to the packet instructions, add the feta cheese, stir until slightly melted then when the turkey chili is cooked, combine it with the orzo and cheese mixture… Serve and enjoy!

It is Florrie’s second Birthday this coming Saturday, so after a long weekend filled with Anniversary, Mothers Day and Birthday celebrations, I am trying to concentrate on getting everything ready for my little flower to have a wonderful day too… This has meant finishing off her wigwam playhouse (tutorial to follow soon), shopping for cupcake supplies… Guess what cake she is having? and of course getting her some fabulous new princess pink toys! In a family as large as ours, parties don’t really need to be more than the people that are living in our house, well at the tender age of 2 anyway and that is about all I can cope with at the moment, I am sure next year maybe a different story!

Have a wonderful day… Sunny spring wishes for everyone!

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