Monday, 29 February 2016

How not to meal plan ...

This week I was all prepared with my meal plan. I'd rearranged a few bits after realising nearly every meal was pork in some form and decided that was a bit OTT. Last night I logged on the PC to finalise it....and it wasn't my usual home screen.. 

And I couldn't find anything on it.

No photos.

No meal plan.


Horror, yes. 

Eventually I thought it had done some kind of update, and I found everything had been magically moved to another drive, so I promptly relocated everything.... Relief was an understatement ... And so I finalised said plan, whilst watching Lukcy Man- am loving the series has kept me so hooked, I didn't write it down, like I normally do to attach to the fridge...

Tonight I get home from work, wearily log on, eventually it opens and my more regular home screen is showing...okay....try to open meal planner... And it's gone. Proper gone. Everything else has gone. I swear I will never buy a hp again! Nothing but trouble! So I am praying to the back up cloud gods that it did in deed back up or I think I might have a meltdown. I've had to drive into town tonight and drop it back at pc world for repair, so back to using the iPad, which anyone who has ever tried the blogger app knows how basic it is...

So. Am hastily trying  to remember what I put down other than tonight's foot long hotdogs. 

As a little highlight the below picture is the planned Korean seafood pancake I made last week, from a waitrose recipe - I think my pan was a bit small as it was quite a beast but it was delicious - definitely will make again!

This evening has been definitely one of those gahhhargh evenings, I didn't sleep well last night so feel a bit worn out from a lovely but busy weekend - lots of lovely food - plus a trip to the theatre to see Priscilla, queen of the desert, which was brilliant, and then tonight having to drive into town and sort out the laptop, then a planned quick trip to halfords took ages whilst I managed to let the female population down in not knowing how to open the bonnet of the car, and then offending the chap who helped by not realising he was a mechanic. On the plus side he was amazed I still own a real map!
And I spiller milk on the carpet. Bed is beckoning! 

So guessing my meal plan - I think it was mostly what I planned....

Tonight was foot long hotdogs, in baguette with garlic fried Savoy cabbage
Thai style pork meatballs, broccoli, with basmati rice
Pesto baked cod, potato wedges, braised leeks and peas
Macaroni cheese
Scampi, mash and peas 

Bear with me till am computer enabled again! 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Midweek thoughts on healthy eating..

So back in January, contrary to what gets banded about the news I decided on postponing making any resolutions! After all its a long, slightly dreary, dark and very cold time when all you want is hot cocoa and cheese (maybe not together though), then all of a sudden trying to commit to eating salad all of a sudden is really never going to work! Then February came, and with it a whole load of rather invasive digestive testing which involved a mix of starvation, marmite as a drink (I can't even make eye contact with its golden form in the cupboard) and being subjected to medicine that made me really re-consider why on earth I had even bothered muttering to my GP that I had issues!

So March is steadily approaching, Spring is in the air and daffodils are blooming and now the tests are out of the way it is time I think to start thinking about some healthier meals too. Now admittedly I am not overweight, in fact the past 6 months had seen me lose a few kg's but that has balanced out now, and with the fibromyalgia restricting how much exercise I can subject myself too and the IBS still occasionally rearing its ugly head I am determined to get back to a more functional level. I think the oesophagitis is on the mend too thanks to the meds so am hoping its a step in the right direction.

Getting the right nutrition makes such a difference to with the fibro and my energy levels, so over the next few weeks I will be trying out a few healthier options and sharing the successes and failures with you! On a super positive note I got the '5 year' all clear from my Oncologist this morning and no longer having to be on active monitoring! I can't tell you the relief I feel. Going back down that road is one I never want to go again!

So far, with everything that's happened, anything overly fatty and creamy are out (hello light soft cheese-eek!) as it frankly gives me digestive hell and so its goodbye my sweet chorizo too! My first stab at trying to eat healthier things is going to start with breakfast. Something I am not good at. The via the other night I found a bag of neglected chia seeds and on a whim made Chia pudding - I often don't eat breakfast till about 10am, and take my acid meds when I wake at 7am, and wondering if the delay is not helping the stomach so thought something soft might be manageable..

..I will be honest that at first glance this morning eating it was not my first thought and I managed a tentative spoonful... and whilst it was very weird it was okay weird.. not as bad as I feared though not that I could face any more of it so early - though I did finish the small batch when I got home from work and again it was the initial hesitation, I don't really like the flavour of milk (I know, weirdo!) I would make it again but maybe with a nut milk or something more palatable.. have any of you experimented with it to good success? Is it worth it?! I am off yoghurt at the moment as the texture doesn't agree with me so trying to improvise!

Today's breakfast was overnight oats, with chia, coconut and a little drizzle of maple syrup - this time the chia was far more palatable and its something I think I could tolerate more often.. am sure it has to be healthier than a pain au chocolat...!

So has anyone stuck to resolutions or are they work in progress? Any suggestions for a healthy breakfast other than smoothies? Never enjoyed them as wonderful as they look!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Meal Planning Monday

Monday has come around so fast again! For a rare change we stuck to 4 nights out of 5 from last weeks plan! The tuna got abandoned again but I can't remember what we had instead...ah nope, we went out to friends instead for dinner! Despite having to switch my diet slightly and getting head around it, it seems to have paid off as I had no bad flares last week and following the special diets things seem to have settled almost back to what I refer to as being 'my normal'! I still need to do a little work on it, and actually stick to a food diary - I have a collection of abandoned ones, its almost like my brain is rebelling against my digestion! Am due to see the gastro doc again next month to review everything so hopefully things will carry on settling down and he won't order any more tests to shake it all up again!

I am apologetic as ever for the lack of blogging... I am definitely back in the kitchen and cooking but its been a mixture of easy items like sausages or old favourites, nothing very blog worthy for you!  A little highlight in an attempt not to throw anything away was when I cooked the peas on Wednesday night, I added in some quickly shredded, neglected iceberg lettuce, along with a pinch of veg stock powder, then drained and finished with a splodge of some spare cream cheese with chives - made a really good use of the lettuce and it tasted lovely! We did try also a new receipe last week of some turkey, feta and olive burgers but I think the oven didn't do them justice and will have to await summertime and try to barbecue them instead! This was my dad's burger (I had mine without bun, silly really as lovely brioche!)

Last week I have received a new grating gadget which I promise to blog soon and I have finally unpacked the dehydrator I received at Christmas, which I really do intend to try using it soon though it seems super confusing as to how long anything might take in it! Additionally in the real world I am part of a project team, and we are super busy as deadlines are fast approaching and I find that I don't want to look at my PC when I get home, oh and I am also working through an online photography course which is zapping my free time! I never like to do things by halves! I am planning a little holiday in a few weeks to unwind, will be needed!

Also from last week's photos, these were the Ham and spinach florentines from Monday night - which were easy to make and tasty little one pots and ideal on a busy night! B really liked them too so I will definitely make again! A few minutes to assemble, 20 minutes in the oven and ta dah-dinner!:

This week's plan is mostly courtesy of the freezer - either ready made items or things I have already cooked and squirreled away for ease:

Pulled pork sausages, creamed leeks and sweet potato mash 
(bought the sausages reduced, they look good!)

Gammon and potato bake mozzarella, cabbage 
(Boiled the gammon with fresh ginger slices yesterday, recipe made countless times)

Tuna in crumbs, spring rolls, egg fried udon or rice 
(Both tuna and spring rolls are from the freezer)

Whole Edamame to start, then Prawn pancake (Korean style), stir fried tahini & soy dressed veggies 
(An actual effort to cook something new this week on least busy night!)

Scampi, sweet potato jacket, peas 
(Lazy dinner for one!)

Monday, 15 February 2016

Meal Planning Monday

Last week I didn't bother writing a meal planning post - not because I didn't want to but it was the final week (I hope!) of another round of tests on my digestive issues, and I was on a very limited diet again, to which frankly I never want to drink hot marmite any time again soon! It reminded me of a very inadvisable crash diet to get into a bridesmaid dress a few years back! Fortunately and finally I have part of the puzzle solved - I have something called Oesophagitis, basically a moderately inflamed bit above my stomach, which explains nearly all the weird and wonderful joys like persistent heartburn that's kept me awake at nights, random vomiting, general miserableness and being off my food the past few months! Its also a relief was nothing more serious!

Did you have a good Valentines Day? I went to the cinema - twice - then cooked rather late when I got home - we had these lush Coquille St Jacques (I cheated and bought them!) It was the first time B had eaten scallops and he loved them, sad almost for me though as was secretly hoping to eat both of them! Our main was posh sausages, mash and fried courgettes! We were too full so skipped pudding and had it tonight instead - Strawberry blancmange! Soft food is good food!

Whilst its great I have some of the answers (there are still other issues) I've had to re look at my meal planning and choices. I adore chorizo and spicy food, which clearly is off the menu and in all honesty they have been in moderation anyway for some time but now are very much off menu! I've been utterly bewildered by the good old internet as to what is best to eat and read very conflicting advice... onion.. definitely no tomatoes.. confused about aubergine... who knows! Anyway I have made my meal plan, trying to avoid tomatoes but still make tasty food - I even bought a fresh basil plant on Saturday which is smelling heavenly on the windowsill and will be sneaking in meals to liven them up instead!

The plan is done, though there are a few items I bought I have not planned for so some of the sides might get moved around! This is why you should take a list....

Ham, egg and spinach florentine, baguette 

(made this years back, loved it then and sure will still do!)

Sticky cocktail sausages, stir fried veggies, noodles 
(Nigella recipe with honey and soy)

Salmon Fishcakes, peas, mash 
(cheaty midweek meal!)

Feta and olive Turkey burgers, roasted veggies, couscous 
(new recipe I found here, not had before but look good!)

Tuna in black pepper breadcrumbs, spring rolls, egg fried rice 
(a cheat item - both tuna and spring rolls bought reduced!)

Thursday, 4 February 2016

New Dishes and Kitchen Bits

No new recipes from me this week, cooking is still a bit hit and miss! I've been cooking a few new dishes but mostly old comforting favourites like Corned Beef Hash and am inbetween some tests to try and figure out my digestive system, which frankly I am at the point of wondering what on earth to eat and cook as everything seems to be an issue and as a result I am trying to go through the motions of meal planning in the hope I can stick to it! Its so frustrating as I love my food so am keeping faith that once these ghastly tests are out of the way I can eat 'normal' again!

Anyway enough of my moaning, one new dish, that I happily stumbled upon was this Italian Baked Eggs recipe. It was one of those completely unplanned meals, I'd been shopping on Sunday, popped in M&S to get some olives for a friend and being the recipe magnet I am picked up an in-store flyer, then saw they had a food app, which I subsequently downloaded it when I arrived home and within a few minutes saw this recipe and half an hour later it was on the table! I am not sponsored or affiliated to M&S in any way- it just all happened so seamlessly! As I had forgotten to actually buy or thaw anything for dinner too and realised I had all the ingredients it was poetry in motion!

We loved everything about this recipe - the only real changes was adding a spoonful of capers and omitting the basil (I didn't have any). I used good quality tinned tomatoes too - as its a fairly quick dish it definitely makes a difference. For the pesto I must admit I normally buy in a fairly cheap green one but stumbled across some forgotten Sacla Classic Pesto shot, which I was sent as a sample quite a while back - the pot size was the perfect amount for the recipe and the lovely Basil flavour made up for the missing basil! A definite keeper of a dish, the flavours all worked so well together though next time I will halve it - it made a lot of food! I had another portion cold for lunch and I wasn't sure if it would work cold but it still tasted good! Oh and best of all it cooks all in one pan!

As readers will know, I am a terrible magnet not just for recipe cards but cute kitchen stuff too - I have broken so many wine bottle stoppers and was delighted to find this super cute silicon flower bottle stopper! There was a couple of designs but I was good and only bought one, afterall leftover wine is a rare thing!

 This was a lesson dear reader. Do not make jam in the microwave in your soup container.

A new tea on my horizon is this beautifully presented Kenyan Earth from Williamson Tea. I received this close to Christmas but due to some health issues have only just sampled my first mug at the weekend! The tea container in itself is just so pretty, I love the elegant Elephant design and she sits happily now on top of the fridge, stuffed with my Kenyan Earth teabags. The tin tea mug is also super cute to enjoy it in! I am normally an English Breakfast drinker and this tea reminded me of it, though with a little extra body to get me going in the morning but without being overpowering. A very pleasant cuppa! I enjoyed it with a cheese and ham baguette, stuffed with my homemade green tomato chutney and it went very well!
Last but not least I am delighted to have a shiny new knob for my saucepan lid! It was my most used medium sized Meyer saucepan, that I bought somewhere close to 10 years ago - and was gutted when it finally gave up a few weeks back and fell apart in my hands - however I contacted their customer services in the vain hope of getting a replacement, as I really am not ready emotionally or financially to get a replacement pan and they sent me it for free! Yay to great customer service!


Monday, 1 February 2016

Weekly Meal Planner

Firstly, me bad - another week without posting a recipe! Our evening routine is so different now, if anything I have more time on my hands but therein lies the problem - I've either been out or too busy cooking in the kitchen and eating it!!

Last we stuck to plan apart from Friday night - I had accidentally had tuna for lunch and unsurprisingly I didn't quite fancy it also for dinner! Instead I was very bad and instead ate a mixture of bruschetta covered in custard cream spread (yes you did read that right, and I like it) and erm mini duck spring rolls! Though I did eat a lot for lunch so was not very hungry!

Whilst this is not the most appetizing looking of meals it was one of my favourites of the whole week - I borrowed the idea from Nigella of making her spicy sausage patties, though left my boyfriend unattended for a few minutes to make the patties, it was supposed to be 16 mini patties, we had 7 bigger ones but I think he preferred them like this! We had some really tasty pork sausages, I left out the seasonings other than adding my new favourite ingredient of roasted black sesame seeds, and we used Thai sweet chilli sauce instead on top. Served with home made pickled radishes, and egg fried udon we had quite a feast that at the same time felt quite virtuous!

This week took a bit of extra planning - it culminates with the next round of gastro investigations so I've been writing it armed with the bundle of paper of what I can and can't eat. Tomorrow is 6 hours nil by mouth ahead of some acid tests I am grimacing just thinking about! How will I survive lunch break I am not sure! Also I am not allowed an bran for the next week so having to check any naughty snacky packets just in case its in them!

I'm still on a bit of a purge to clear one of the cupboards - mostly as its a hassle to get to the stuff so trying to plan around using bits up and a few odds n ends! One of my colleagues has given me the gumbo recipe and am looking forward to both making and eating it!

Bacon and leek noodles 
Creamy tomato & chorizo Baked tortellini, green beans, mange tout 
Thai pork vermicelli 
Prawn and chorizo gumbo, rice 
Baba ganoush, home made flatbreads, marinated courgettes, stuffed olives

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