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.


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New Year… new food.

Meat eaters, vegetarians, gluten free or just plain picky eaters… I’ve devised a new way to plan a weekly menu for a large family there is every type of eater.


For a long, long time I’ve suffered to all the meat eaters in my family, I cook them the main meal every night, I cook the picky eaters a basic meal then when it comes to me, I just can’t be bothered, so I just grab anything that’s easy, usually it is not that healthy, I try but I just can’t cook 3 separate meals a night.  For anyone that knows me well, I love healthy eating, I make sure my family have healthy meals involving bone broth, lots of super grains and veggies, I even disguise the veggies in sauces and casseroles by pureeing them.  Well it’s time for change, I want to be inspired by food again, eat things I enjoy not just what the meat eaters in my family love, I hate beef in Guinness, I hate chicken noodle soup, or even chicken pot pie, it’s just not who I am… I love lots of healthy salads, eggs, lots of eggs, avocado toast and warm winter soups creamy and full of veggies, so I have devised a new strategy for menu planning for a large family of picky eaters, why I didn’t think of this sooner is beyond me. 

I have been researching lots of vegetarian recipes, the kind I like to eat, then I plan a meat to compliment that dish, hopefully it is plain enough for those that are plain eaters, I then add a carbohydrate for those that want it and voila… basically one meal three ways.

This weeks menu plan… 

Sunday – lemon chicken for some, Salmon for others, baked potatoes for some, baked sweet potatoes for others and salad

Monday – Jamie Oliver’s aubergine daal served with rice and salad and roasted chicken

Tuesday – Jamie Oliver’s blue cheese and sweet potato frittata served with salad, sausages and bread for those that want it.

Wednesday – Jamie Oliver’s chopped salad with a pasta bake.

Thursday – Jamie Oliver’s baked squash with quinoa and meatballs for those that want it.

Friday is always cheat day… no cooking, pizza day!

I always try to buy as much organic foods as my budget will allow or I can get, I am planning on some homemade bread baking this week too, clean eating is not always as easy as it sounds especially if you eat out, but I try very hard to keep my shopping very healthy with a large proportion of my budget going to fruit and vegetables and organic meat.

And so you have it, a menu planned for a very large family, three ways, meat for the meat eaters, grains for the carbohydrate fans, basic and plain for the picky eaters and the perfect vegetarian meal as the core of the plan… simple and hopefully delicious.

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Schedules, organization and new found happiness.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that it is not only the food we eat that is poisoned with chemicals, the the products we clean our house with is even worse… cleaning and tidying our house is a hazard breathing in the fumes from the cleaning products we have to use, in recent years I have switched over to more natural cleaners, laundry detergent and dishwashing products, Target is my favorite place to buy these products they have a great selection and I definitely feel better not breathing in all those chemicals found in conventional cleaners.

It has taken me a lot of years to find a cleaning schedule that works for me, I’ve always been a huge do all your housework in one day person, but I end up grumpy, exhausted and dislike everyone around me as I’ve scrubbed everything all in one day and it’s their fault. I’ve  never been very good at organizing and decluttering my life, but right now I seem to have hit on a system that works for me… decluttering is part of the schedule, the less cluttered a space is the easier and quicker it is to clean, freeing my time up for other things… always the best side of life.

I have read several articles about decluttering your life in 30 days, 365 days, but my system just requires decluttering in the normal course of my cleaning routine, so far I have cleaned up both bathrooms, Florries bedroom, our bedroom, the kitchen, our entryway and our front living room, next stop the closets… do I love it? do I really need it? Keep it or toss?

I do not proclaim to be perfect, of course there will always be things I can’t live without, but changing the way I think is changing our lives, I’ve struggled for the past couple of years in our house, I felt I just couldn’t get on top of our mess, I would go out rather than stay in and face the mess, but finally I’m sorting my life out, I’m meditating, fitting yoga into my schedule, organizing  with my household schedules and getting the hang of teaching my little ones myself.


So here is a glimpse at my week, before the fun starts…

Everyday tasks…

Wipe down the countertops

Wipe down the kitchen sink

Sweep the floors

Take out the trash

Do the laundry… being a large family means clothes need washing every day
Once a week tasks…

Wipe down the appliances MONDAY

Scrub the toilets showers and sinks TUESDAY

Clean the mirrors WEDNESDAY

Dust the furniture and shelving WEDNESDAY

Change the bed linens THURSDAY … two beds every week, this may seem like I only wash my bedding every 10 weeks, but I only wash 3 1/2 beds at the moment.

Vacuum carpets rugs and upholstery THURSDAY… IROBOT ON EVERY DAY

Mop the floors FRIDAY

Clean and check fridge for expired items FRIDAY

Grocery  shopping  FRIDAY
I have always been a huge menu planner, you have to be with a large family… now I am taking this approach to running my house, plan, plan, plan, this may not work for everyone but right now it really is working for me and I feel so much happier, of course I always have my little or slightly bigger saboteurs, but now I feel armed with the knowledge how to combat this And it seems to be working so far.

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Change…

I struggle with change, I know change is inevitable but it’s hard to put in the work change brings with it.  I look back at my older children, life was so much easier when they were little, their problems were easier to deal with, when they were hungry, when they  were arguing with their siblings over a toy, when they were tired, now as adults themselves I sometimes find myself wishing they were younger again.

I always struggle with change of seasons, it’s hard to know what to wear, I’m always struggling at the beginning of every season to know what I wore the last time the weather changed to hot or cold.  I LOVE my boots in fact my closet is full of boots, short ones, tall ones, brown ones, not so brown ones, but I always try to hang on to the last of summer at this time of the year, clinging desperately to my Birkenstock sandals one last day before it really gets too cold for my toes to take the chilly weather.  This year is no different, when is it too cold to wear my beloved BIRKS?


Sometimes we become complacent in our lives, it’s so easy for me to get back into bed after B and M leave the house at 6.30am, I lay in with my babies, but this usually leads to me not getting things done, I’m always chasing the minutes of the day to get things done… and because of this I have not managed to do any yoga for months, there is never enough time in each day, so this is where my new changes will come into play… it’s time to get my life in order and organized!

I have saved an article on Pinterest, that got me thinking, How to clean a home, I needed a plan of action, so lists are my new organized self best friend, I have devised lists for everything that needs doing in my life.  I have a schedule for each day including homeschooling, yoga and meditation, all very important things in my life.  I have used this article to devise a plan for the house, now the kitchen is almost finished it’s time to clean this place up and shake up these children who have an easy life living here.  I will keep you updated on my progress with keeping to a schedule weekly, monthly and seasonally… I am really hoping this will give me more free time, my crochet hooks are missing me.


I am already a big menu planner, it’s the only way to survive with a large family, I plan, make lists and shop weekly,  this works for me and my family really well, I use an organic produce delivery company every week, adjusting my order to my menu plan  and then shop one day a week for everything else, with my new organized pantry space, putting everything away is a breeze these days, I also have a list in my iPad for things I run out of, so I can look at these if I am shopping easily on my phone.  I also do my laundry daily, I alternate with darks and lights daily, I add in a whites wash and towels and bedding when needed, it keeps the laundry pile down and makes folding much easier when it’s done daily.


I am hoping organization will give me some time back into my life… fingers crossed ✨

Diet and nutrition, Uncategorized

Paleo lifestyle

Ive been playing around with a Paleo lifestyle for a while, it’s hard when you have no kitchen to be fully into it, it’s so easy to say I’ll grill some sausages and stick them in a bun just because you don’t have countertops, an oven, Stove top or dishwasher, but really right now I’m a little more equipped to start it full time, I have some countertops, soon to be a a lot of countertop space, I have the grill, a microwave and a multi task slow cooker, what more does a girl want?  My kitchen stuff is all still packed away, but I now have pantry space to buy and store ingredients like apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and all the staples for nutrition that I have there to hand usually, and my refrigerator is looking more sparse now I have cleared out all the pantry stuff I had no storage space for.

Against all grains blueberry pancakes.

I am resuming my organic delivery once again this week Door to Door Organics, I love  to buy organic when I can and this delivery service is great for all things organic, I’ve been putting it on hold most weeks but it’s time to get my Paleo lifestyle kicked up a notch.

I’ve also cheated a little bit with my menu planning, I found a website with some Paleo recipes and I have just used these, so here we go, here is my menu plan for the coming week…

Deconstructed hamburger salad

Mexican breakfast for dinner

Easy taco soup

Loaded nachos 

Tomato basil chicken

Spicy sausage soup

Left over night… My favorite night.

As with everything in life, things are never easy, and my family don’t make cooking for them easy at all, I have several picky eaters, myself who doesn’t really eat meat and then others who eat everything.  How do I cope with this I hear you ask when you are cooking for such a large family, well I have just learnt to adapt my cooking technique, meat cooked separately and added after to soups and some casseroles, veggies added after I’m dished up certain meals… You do what you can, and I will try to simplify this menu and make it work for everyone and their tastes as I go along.

Of course not everyone in my family wants to be Paleo, and although I think everyone will benefit from a little of this in their diet, I fully understand that I need to add a carbohydrate to our protein and veggies, so I will serve up a separate side dish with every meal, sometimes it will be noodles, other times rice, tortilla chips or even bread, whatever suits the meal I’m serving and also makes my life easier.

Feeding a large family the healthy way can be a challenge sometimes, but with a little planning it can work out in the end.

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January… Love it or hate it?

I love January 2nd… I Hate January the month, but love this day… Now I don’t want to be a bah humbug type person, but I love that January 2nd, no matter what day of the week it falls on brings back the world to it’s normal place, all the crowds of busy shoppers are gone, the stress the holiday season brings disappears and the world for just one day seems right again!

My thoughts in January focus on two things, hibernation, as I hate the winter months and trying to organize myself for yet another new year that lies ahead! I also try to focus on healthy eating and this year I need to cut out calories and try to lose some of the pregnancy weight gain, so my plan is to take recipes and adjust to healthier low fat ingredients!

Today is the first Sunday of 2015, we are staying in the house today, catching up on some chores and eating… But in alignment with my New Years resolution, I’m cutting the calories in our Sunday dinner… Potato and green bean casserole, steak, for those that love it and slimmed down carrot cake I’m converting it into pumpkin cake as I don’t have any carrots, it’s fine though I love pumpkin anything!

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In true January style my head is full of cold, sore throat, stuffy nose… My Mum always says we need the cold weather to kill off all the germs, but for me I just feel to cold weather breeds more germs, we are stuffed up in houses with heat blowing around making us dry, we go from warm houses to freezing cold temperatures all day, then our lack of sunshine leads to depression! January begins a countdown of weeks until we can crack out our sandals and sun lotion!

Happy New Year!

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Happy, Happy Holidays to one and all!

Christmas grocery planning and shopping is always a favorite pastime of mine… NOT, but I’m getting there, which is always a good start, the planning is done, now onto the shopping… Luckily Paul is off tomorrow and is coming with me to get the food, always a mammoth task with so many hungry mouths to feed in our house!

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Having a large family makes planning my menu especially for the holidays an essential, it’s a mammoth task that takes time and precision, especially when you are a home cooking person, not using convenience foods as much as possible! I’ve started my week today with some ingredients I already have in, I like to include baked goods in my menu too, and this week I’m going to be experimenting with using some gluten free flours to add to my dairy free change outs I now use in some recipes, it’s taken my brain a while to adjust to thinking dairy free where I can, but I’m slowly getting there!

Brownies are becoming a hot favorite in my house, I’ve discovered that melting some butter in a large cast iron skillet for baking then making the batter in the pot I melt the sticks of butter in makes brownies not only a success but it’s oh so easy with little to clean up… Easy quick and delicious, but this week I’m planning on trying to use the recipe and make it gluten free… I love experimenting with recipes to make my life easier! We have a new store opened near us, their selection on flours is fantastic and cheap too, so I’m heading in there to see what they have and what I can save on!

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We are not great traditionalists in our house, I like to mix it up for Christmas now and then, my absolute favorite thing to do for the holidays is go on vacation, I love being away and just doing something completely different, a few years ago we spent our Christmas and New Year in Florida then California… Best Christmas ever, but when times are tough you have to vacation at home for Christmas and make some traditions for your family! One of our new traditions is making our own mince pies, I prepare the mincemeat in advance and then Paul and Mabel make the pastry and bake the pies on Christmas Eve, I of course supervise with a glass of wine from the sofa! Mincemeat is one of those things I always bought in a jar until a friend told me how easy it was to make your own fresh and delicious, so now each year I whip up a batch ready for Christmas Eve baking!

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Another tradition we have steered away from in recent years is the traditional turkey dinner, oh no I hear many of you say, but after cooking Thanksgiving dinner just a few short weeks before, my need to repeat the process is not there! This year though we having a little bit of tradition with a baked ham, but apart from that I’m going for easy to prepare and little to do on the day itself!

We still call the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, always a true Brit, no matter where we live, our Black Friday left over sandwiches will be transformed into a Boxing Day treat this year too! Of course whatever the celebration there has to be a cheeseboard, a new favorite a large bucket of Trader Joes popcorn and lots of chocolate this and that… Oh I forgot something we’ve always had at this time of year is satsumas, mandarins or clementines… Vitamin C to ward off those dreaded Christmas bugs… That’s about it, our Traditions in a nutshell!

Now for my menu for the next week…

Thursday…
Tortilla soup and cornbread
Friday…
Chicken and fennel soup… Focaccia bread
Saturday…
Pumpkin pasta bake
Sunday…
Chicken pot pie and baked potatoes
Monday…
Sausage tortellini soup and a Mac and cheese
Tuesday…
Rotisserie chicken warm chicken salad

Christmas Eve
Pizza night with a huge cheese board
Mince pies

Christmas Day
Breakfast… Muffins and bacon rolls
Ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, Cesar salad, pumpkin lasagne
Chocolate Victoria and strawberry cake
Apple crumble and whipped cream

Boxing Day
Leftover sandwiches
Brownies

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This year of course is Tate’s first Christmas, I’ve hardly had time to decorate the house with this little bombshell in my life, at 9 months old he is into everything and anything, so Paul put the tree up and that’s as far as we have got… It is what it is, it’s far more important to enjoy my time with him before he grows up and that is happening so fast already!

Whatever you have planned for the Holiday season… take a deep breath, breathe and remember the most important thing of this season is family and loved ones, not the chaos that is in the shops right now!

Happy Holidays!

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