Getting Ahead

So the weekend is over and it’s back to the proverbial daily grind. Eating healthy is tough, especially when you work in the City Centre and there are lots of others around you, tempting you to stray…

I bring my lunch from home for two reasons, the first being it’s way more cost effective (I have a budget of £40 a week to feed two of us, breakfast, lunch and dinner) and also it’s easier to make the ‘right’ choice,  when there’s already a healthy lunch sitting in your bag, as opposed to the sad looking 310kcal tuna and cucumber sandwich with a few bland apple slices in the meal deal.

I actually tend to steer clear of cold lunches, sandwiches, salads etc, as it’s really easy to eat them when you get that 10:30/11am twinge that tells you “I could be hungry” when most of the time if you’re like me, you’re probably in need of a big drink of water. Generally I eat quite a high carb – low fat diet, not everyone approves of this but it works for me, I have a guideline for myself of 1200-1400 calories a day (don’t get me wrong, there are days I do go over) so breakfast, lunch and dinner are set at 400Kcals, and I want to feel full!

Sunday is my prep day normally, I used to make my lunch the night before, however I got pretty lazy and everyday was chicken, rice and cabbage – so I decided to spend an hour or so each Sunday making a few different dishes and freezing them for the week to come.

I do have a few certain meals that I know freeze pretty well, take little effort to prepare and so I tend to make them on a rotation, with the occasional inspiration or whim leading me to add something to the menu.

This week will be quite standard for me, I did see some Peri-Peri Chicken Sausages during my weekly shop and decided to give them a try as they are about 90Kcals each which is not too shabby so they haven’t usually been in the line-up, but maybe they’ll become a regular feature.

So first up to prepare was Bulgar Wheat with said Sausages and Roast Vegetables (in this case peppers, courgettes and aubergine) a bit of tomato, chilli, and seasoning and we are good to go on that one.

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Next is Pasta with Spinach ‘Pesto’, Chicken and Green Veg – this does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, I wilt the spinach with some garlic, salt and pepper, add a little milk and whizz it up to the high heavens, cook my pasta, blanch a few peas, broccoli and leeks, toss it all togetherand there you have it, a vibrant green and filling lunch.

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Fried-Rice this one is an all-time easy and I have been eating this one since, well forever,

photo 5I get some peas, carrots, sweetcorn, diced chicken (or actually turkey breast in this instance) in the non-stick frying pan with some soy sauce and fish sauce, add some cooked rice (day old rice, if you haven’t heard already, is ideal) stir it up and voila!

My last dish this Sunday was pasta again, for those of you who may have noticed that only adds up to four I did double up the rice to allow for two days (my excuse is that I didn’t get home ’til 8:30pm and I just couldn’t get my brain to stretch that far) so it was Pasta with Spicy Sausage and Tomato Sauce. I do like to save time, so as you can see this was was easy after the others. Sausages? Already cooked. Pasta? Already cooked. Vegetables? You guessed it, I threw in the same mediterranean vibe that I roasted up for the bulgar, so all I had to do was simmer a little sauce while everything else was cooking, some tomatoes, chillies, salt, pepper, sugar, what ever my little hands could reach and then stir it through for the grand finale.photo 4g

Maximum time from opening the fridge to completion – probably an hour and a half. Time saved from stressing throughout the week, immeasurable!

Let me know how it compares to your lunch time habits – what do you do to stay happy and healthy for lunch?

Easter Weekend

Let’s back track, Easter weekend is always big (literally) as for the most part everyone has four days off, so it’s the best time for having little get togethers. Not to mention if you’re lucky you might get some good weather too!

I actually had a pretty food-centric one so it’s great to be able to share (even if it is most definitely not my normal eating habits).

Good Friday. My mum has always told me that at Easter, we eat fish on Fridays so naturally I took this food tradition to heart.

Good Friday BreakfastMy day started with smoked mackerel and a poached egg, and I loved it!

(That’s a solitary pancake and some spinach hiding under there by the way).
Lunch was also fish, and I had guests, so I decided to have something I wouldn’t eat usually from week to week. I actually love Salmon-en-Croute but the guilt factor of the pastry and fatty fish (I know it’s all good) weighs heavily on me, literally.

Salmon-abouttbe-En-CrouteI totally took a picture when it was cooked too (but it was a little on the toasted side).

This was dished up with some finely sliced potatoes and fennel, roasted in the oven, asparagus and what I believe to be called Chantenay Carrots – the little fats ones to most of us.

We wrapped up dinner with a marbled chocolate cake topped with the obligatory mini-eggs.

Saturday. We went to Sheffield on Saturday to visit my boyfriend’s sister, we had a cute little afternoon tea, minus any sandwiches as my boyfriend has a complete no-no policy on bread for himself. On her menu were little vegetarian sausages, cheese and roasted cherry tomatoes on oat biscuits, a killer bulgar wheat salad (which I ripped-off and have since added to my repertoire) with pomegranate seeds, browned onions and feta cheese. The sweet side was made up of dark chocolate ‘nests’ and lemon-y butterfly cakes which were also awesome – in general her cakes are if we’re being honest. Copious amounts of tea and a stop off at a little Italian coffee shop/deli for a pretty great coffee and we were then off to my parents for Day Three of the long weekend.

Somer's Bulgar Wheat Salad

(This is my duplication of said salad afterwards – I forgot to mention the walnuts which were an integral part!)

Easter Sunday. My Dad will use any excuse to barbecue, so it was certainly no surprise that we had a rather large one that weekend. I was tasked with making the dessert. Now desserts are not usually my forté, my explanation being that I have less chance to practise as I would be obliged to eat the whole thing. But I decided that I was feeling confident and opted to go for something previously unattempted, and uneaten by myself.

Key Lime Pie was my choice, I am a great lover of the zesty and zingy and hell, if you can’t follow a barbecue with something like that, what can you?

Key Lime PieThe Raw Material - Key Lime Pie

I can happily say I think I pulled it off – I was pretty amazed that even my brother managed an (albeit slightly back-handed) compliment, so I will take it as a victory. It was insanely simple and I definitely liked eating it, so it was a brilliant way for me to top off my packed weekend before the guilt got to me, and I decided to behave on Monday.

A Long-Term Relationship

Sunny Breakfast

Most people’s relationship with food is complicated. There are things we love, things we hate, times we could do with out the hassle, but one this is certain – we can’t live without it.

Physically yes, but most often emotionally too – what we eat is usually determined by how we feel and I am no exception. I would have to say healthy or unhealthy, girls and boys alike almost everyone I know has food on their mind, what they just ate, what they’re about to eat and what they wish they could be eating! It’s because of this relationship the whole idea of blogging seemed a reasonable step – if I’m going to think and talk about food, eat it and prepare it, why not write about it too.

 

So I’ll be sharing my own intimate encounters with food, the things I’ve been cooking and eating, and imagining. And if you are the type of person who always wanted to have a picture book rather than a novel, you can find me on instagram as well @poppys.kitchen.