Diet and nutrition, Uncategorized

Chopped Salads… 

I try my very hardest to eat healthy and cleanly as much as I can, of course it’s more difficult when you are out or busy but on the whole we eat a good healthy diet… this is a difficult thing to do when you have a large family of picky eaters.  Getting my two youngest children to eat well is a challenge, I believe in never forcing them to eat, but I do try and encourage them to try something, sometimes they love it, like Florrie with fresh peas at the farm when we were picking them,  she took one taste and loved them, but when I was spiralizing the carrots she asked to taste them and hated them straight away, the face she pulled was quite funny.  I have discovered recently that their best meal of the day is breakfast, they love fresh eggs fried with coconut oil every morning, and now we get freshly laid eggs from our neighbor next door, they are delicious, they love strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and watermelon, they love smoothies and homemade pancakes, Jamie Oliver’s one cup recipe, so simple and quick, they will eat these until the cows come home, they are also delicious when you swap the flour out for a gluten free flour too. I try most days to make breakfast their most important meal of the day as they eat really well, then I feel there  is not so much pressure for the rest of the day as I know they have eaten one good meal that day.

Lunch is another meal I kind of miss with,  it’s usually just me I’m making lunch for, my babies are happy to graze after a large breakfast, I kind of always fail for myself.  I make fresh salads for Paul and Mabel, but I always forget myself… I’ve come up with a new plan, Salad lunch prep for the week, I will make enough basic salad for a week, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and scallions,  a tip I have just learnt is to line your containers with kitchen roll paper to absorb the moisture, then daily using leftovers from dinner change each salad up daily, today we will be having a lemon rosemary roasted chicken, I’m having shrimp, with a kale Cesar salad and tortilla wraps, so I’ll shred some chicken, or add shrimp and add it to the salad and bake a couple of wraps to crisp them up to add to the salad… I’m hoping this will keep me on track instead of snacking with my children.  

I have recently discovered I absolutely love chopped salad, we have had it before a few years ago, recipes from Jamie Oliver again, but I really hadn’t thought about chopping every salad we have until I visited a new salad place that has just opened in a local town, in Chopt you pick your salad then they ask if you want it chopped up, Kale Cesar salad with tofu totally chopped up and it was totally delicious.  I thought I’d try it out on my family… huge success, they prefer their salad ingredients chopped up, but as you can imagine chopping 8 salads is very time consuming, each person likes certain things in their salads, so I’ve been tossing salad ingredients into separate bowls then emptying the bowls onto a board and finely chopping them… until last night when I came up with the genius idea of the food processor, you can start with the harder veggies like carrot and broccoli, pulse them a couple of times then add the rest of the salad ingredients, it worked perfectly, and it was a lot quicker, you just have to clean up the food processor bowl and blade, but not too bad.  So my chopped salads have been a huge success, my family are enjoying them so much they are saying they do not need the carbs along with their protein just the salad it’s so filling… My only problem now is how much Salad veggies I am getting through, but at least everyone is eating their greens, well except for one extremely picky eater, who likes everything as plain as it can be.

I’ll leave you on a sweet note… I was visiting friends for lunch yesterday, I usually take desert with us, but I’ve been in search for healthier sweet treats, some I’ve made have been ok, but just not quite right, yesterday I came across this recipe for Lemon coconut muffins, they were healthier because the sugar was very low, and could easily be swapped out for honey, or some other healthy substitute, they contained coconut oil and yogurt, I think they would even be good with gluten free flour instead of all purpose flour… they were a huge success both at lunch and at home, but be warned if you try these at home, the batter is extremely thick, she does say that on the recipe, but I was surprised at just how thick it was, I added a little more coconut milk just to loosen it a little… but despite that they will definitely be something I will be making again and again.


Waiting for a hurricane…

Am I the only one who hates the waiting part of a hurricane arriving, I hate the not knowing, will we lose power, will the basement flood again, the questions are endless and all you can do is wait and watch! They say its going to be bad, but I personally am trying to stay positive and hope that they are wrong, very wrong in this case!

Now the big question on my mind this morning is what would be good Hurricane food… My mind goes straight to a big pot of chili and warm homemade breadsticks, but then I remember Jord is home and he won’t eat it so now I’m thinking about warm comforting food like pork ragu and parpadelle pasta in the hope that we still have power to heat it through later!

As I sit in my kitchen on my sofa by the window I hear the wind gust past our window and I look out across the garden, the world seems still to me at this moment in time, it’s like we are all holding our breath just waiting for Sandy to arrive… What will be, will be… Stay safe!



Menu planning at it’s best…

I am now very much into my 40’s, 7 children, 1 husband and 6 houses later I have learnt that for me, the only way I am truly content with life is when I am organized. Organization helps you budget your money as you can food shop economically with menu planning preparation, you know what you are eating for the week ahead, organization means you have much more time on your hands to do the fun things in life (a friend of mine who completely advocates an organized life and has written a very successful e-book on this very subject, Evelyn is just so right). So with all of this in mind my aim is to shape up and clear out every drawer, cupboard, nook and cranny in my house into an organized space, and I am very lucky because I have a daughter who loves doing just that, organizing my cupboards, she cannot wait to help me with this task!

My first task was to completely re-organize my kitchen cupboards, when we moved into the house I placed my kitchen equipment into cupboards without thinking about actually using the working space, as most of you know I love to cook, so three and a half years later this kitchen layout was just not working for me, so over several days, and I mean several days, as Florrie was putting things back into the cupboards as I was taking them out, I managed to reorganize my whole kitchen… It now works much better for me, if only I could get my children to remember my new system and not put the plates and bowls back into the old cupboards… I should not moan really, as they are emptying the dishwasher for me more regularly these days!

My next task was to reorganize the actual floor space and that is still a work in progress, the new study is starting to take shape and has become a popular room, not only for Paul to work in, but a homework room for Blu and Mabel, with the computer and printer set up in there! Today I am ready to recover my grandmothers ottoman in there and make a curtain for my meshed cabinet, pictures need to be put up, then finally the room needs a lamp and a couple more cushions on the sofa and it will be complete!

Finally, on this topic of organization I found this blogging site this morning on menu planning at its best, so I wanted to share this woman’s blog with you, she not only plans her dinners for the week, but she is super organized and plans breakfast, lunch and snacks… is something I strive for completely, I think it will take a lot of skill to achieve this but it will be the ultimate in menu planning… Wish me luck, I will let you know how I get on!

Happy Organizing!



Re-kindled love affair with Ikea

I am in love with Ikea… It’s been about 4 years since I have stepped into an Ikea store, well that is until last Friday… And now I am in love! Some things were still the same, very traditional Swedish furniture but now they have added lots more… lots more of everything, things that I LOVE… plates, mugs, pots, pans, FABRIC, frames, cushions, lamps, and did I mention Fabric… Lots and lots of things to buy! So with the total reorganization of my first floor of my house I definitely have another trip to Ikea in mind, very soon!

We have nearly lived in this house for 4 years… I know, wow where did those years go to? As many of you know we would love to move, but with the economy, and jobs at threat at Paul’s company, the sensible thing is to stay a little while longer, so with that in mind I have set about making the space work for us as a family… First job of the day was to find Paul a more quiet spot to work from home in… Our formal dining room has become a dumping ground recently for all things that need sorting out and I can honestly say in the nearly 4 years we have lived here we have never once sat down and eaten a meal in that room, so of course this was the logical place to create a study for Paul to work from home in… This is where Ikea comes into play, I want to masculine up this room with a black a white throw for the leather couch that is now in there, add a black rug and make some black a white check curtains and of course Ikea has the perfect budget friendly items to allow me to create a perfect work space for Paul and finally this dumping ground will be a well used room!

Next on my list was to change around our kitchen/family room, the oversized kitchen table was always cramped into the bay window in the kitchen, and no one really sat at it, so I decided to place it at the other end of the room in front of the fire place, as a dining area, we now have a central area to sit and eat in with space around the table to sit on all the chairs! The kitchen is our favorite room of the house… Most of our family discussions, decisions and late night talks take place around the kitchen island so I decided to create a ‘Friends’ coffee shop feel to the kitchen area by placing my shabby new/old couch into the bay area along with my leather chair and a coffee table, we now have an area where we can all chat whilst cooking and cleaning, I just love it!

Now this new lay out may not work for some people, like Lewis, Jord and Faz for example, all they have done is moan about it, but for me, I think it is a good use of space in our house that we did not use properly… Mabel sits at the table now to eat, watch tv (something I always moaned about before) and do her homework, we sat in the kitchen late last night and drunk our wine in pure comfort and Paul will hopefully have his own sanction to work in by Friday… Well that’s if I finish getting it organized by then… Next stop Ikea, fabric shopping… Yay, one of my favorite things to

On a side note, I think I have been watching way too much HGTV recently, House Hunters, The Property Brothers, Love it or List it, the list is endless, so I apologize now for this blog sounding like a commentator from a House renovation show!