Monday, 25 March 2013

Monday Meal Planning (25 March 2013)

I'm sorry not to have been here for a while. Life has been a little challenging of late and I had to pause on a few things, including the blog, to take stock and sort out where I went from here.

Basically, the last three years have been a real rollercoaster for me and my husband. Cancer, business-threatening recession (which would mean home-threatening too since we live above the pub), the highs of a first baby coupled with almost losing him soon after his birth, and a small house fire are just some (albeit the biggies!) of what we have been through. Having to be a cook while pregnant and suffering from Hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme sickness) wasn't something I'd recommend either!

For most of that time I handled things well, or did a good job of putting off handling them, but recently I have realised that I actually have a lot of issues to work through. Consequently I have been feeling very blue and having had a few panic attacks I know I need to get some help. I've been somewhere like this before, although for different reasons and to a different degree. I had treatment for depression a few years back and what I learnt in the talking therapy (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) has served me very well in the last few years. Sometimes, though, the most important thing is to know when to ask someone to help.

So I have been to the doctors and asked for a referral to a therapist. I just need to talk to someone and work out exactly which of my lovely recent life experiences it is that is causing me difficulties so I can sort it out. I'm actually really looking forward to it as I had such a positive time with talking therapy last time round. I wish more people had access to the techniques in their everyday lives!

While I wait for the referral I am concentrating on the basics: healthy eating, enough sleep, fresh air and exercise, avoid the things that cause me most stress (as much as possible), and tackle those I can't avoid as best I can. So, sorting out the mess our house is in is my current project. I have my sister coaching me and a wonderful website called FlyLady to keep me going. But that's a post for another day.

Since this is supposed to be my Meal Planning post I'd better get on and talk about food! I am leaving two days free for eating leftovers or a 'throw together something from the cupboard' day. As ever the food is meat and dairy free.


Roast dinner with nut cutlets, broccoli, roast veg and potatoes, and Yorkshire Puds

Vegetable & bean sausages in a tomatoey vegetable stew

Mushroom and quinoa pie, sweet and white potato mash, greens and carrots

Oriental Lentil-herder's pie

Curry of some kind


Slow-cooked vegetable soup with homecooked bread


Dhal, greens and flatbreads

Bean hotpot with homemade tortillas (I had NO idea they were so easy!)

Baking & extras
Almond Quinoa Muffins (yum!)

Banana, fruit and chocolate chip Bread (double yum! recipes on their way...) 

For a looksy at what other people are eating this week, head over to At Home with Mrs B or if you are Stateside, go to I'm an Organizing Junkie

Oat, almond & fruit breakfast smoothie - dairy free and delicious!

My little boy loves his smoothies. The whole process from chucking in the ingredients, eating the results and then playing (extensively...) with his great love, the blender, is all done with great enjoyment.

Here is our current favourite smoothie for breakfast. It tastes great and is very healthy. It's plant based so dairy free and vegan friendly. It's full of essential goodness like calcium, omega oils, vitamins C, B12 and D2, plus much more!

If you don't eat nuts, just omit the almonds and put in an extra tablespoon of oats.

This amount gives you a thick smoothie for 2 adults and a toddler. For a thinner smoothie, just add more milk.

Oat, almond & fruit breakfast smoothie

1/2 banana
1/2 medium-large orange
2 handfuls (about 1/2 cup) of mixed berries (I use frozen)
3-4 tbsps oats
2 tbsps ground almonds
1 tbsp omega oil (or flaxseed oil if that's what you've got)
2 tsps maple syrup
several shakes of lemon juice
2 tbsps chopped parsley
2 cups dairy free milk (use one fortified with calcium and vitamins)

Bung it all in and blend until smooth. Best eaten the same day (never lasts long in our house). Enjoy!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Meal Planning Monday (5 March 2013)

Despite the fact that we just eat plants, I am feeling a lack of greens at the moment. Sounds silly, I know, but I can always tell when our greens quotient has fallen as I begin to fantasise about plates just piled high with plain cooked vegetables, rather than cooked up into particular dishes. So, this week, there will be lots of side veg and lots and lots of greens.

With this in mind, yesterday we headed to our local(ish) Morrisons store, which has recently refitted its fruit and vegetable section. We'd heard some really good reviews of it, but even so I was amazed at what I saw. A run of the mill supermarket selection transformed and extended with piles of exotic vegetables that I actually need to look up to remind myself of what they are! And the greens section has water misted over it continuously to keep things fresh. Never seen that before!

I know it is a little sad to get excited about a supermarket, and in general I am not a fan of the places, but I had to seriously restrain myself from cramming too much into the trolley. The prices could have been a bit lower, but you can't have everything. Turmeric root - they actually had turmeric root! And the mushroom selection...well, I just hope it sells well enough to continue so we can indulge ourselves there once a month.

Onto this week's meals. As ever they are plant-based, with a little room in the schedule left for leftovers which I am trying to have more of to lighten the daily cooking burden.

Black eyed pea & vegetable lemony stew
enough leftovers to have for lunch with bread

Dosa (Indian crispy pancakes) with vegetable curry and dhal
never made these before but I loved them in India

Lentil Herder's Pie with sweet potato topping

Mushroom & lentil pie, potatoes or sweet potatoes and greens
the filling is leftover from our roast dinner on Sunday

Vegetable & bean burger, with a bun and mixed veg fries
am determined to crack a 'chewy' texture burger, rather than a squashy one

Slow cooked vegetable soup
...with added greens

Mexican Bean pasta soup

we're back on the daily smoothie wagon

Chocolate muffins
Almond & quinoa muffins
Omega rich flapjack (new recipe I'm working on)

 For a looksy at what other people are eating this week, head over to At Home with Mrs B or if you are Stateside, go to I'm an Organizing Junkie