Category Archives: healthy eating

Spicy butternut squash and red pepper soup

I’ve got into a really bad habit of buying my lunch everyday which is bad for both my waistline and my purse!

To combat this last Sunday I made a batch of my favourite healthy, cheap soup. This recipe is not only fat free but budget friendly too. It makes around 8 portions and costs a mere £2ish!

I give you Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper soup. Eat your heart out New Covent Garden Soup Company! I think it is originally adapted from a weight watchers recipe but I have added my own tweaks.

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You need….

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One Butternut squash
2 red peppers (you can use yellow but red makes in more orange)
2 stock cubes or stock pots or 2 spoons bouillon powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsps smoked paprika
1 onion (obviously I felt he wasn’t photogenic enough)

Turn your oven on to about 200 degrees
Whack your squash into a baking tray and put it into the over whole. It will need about 40 mins or so to roast and will look like this when it is cooked through.

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Poke him with a sharp knife and if it sinks in easily it’s cooked.

You can make this with unroasted squash but frankly if you have ever peeled and chopped a raw squash you will realised what a total mare that is…. Roasting makes the whole process much easier.
Once the squash is cooked leave it to cool for a bit unless you are a masochist like me and like juggling a burning hot kilo of veg.

Chop your onion and peppers into chunks. Boil the kettle. Get a BIG pan on the hob.
Throw in your veg along with around 2 litres of stock. As well as some salt and your spices

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Bring to the boil and simmer until the peppers and onion are tender.

Now wrestle your squash out of his skin and deseed it. Chop the squash flesh roughly.

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Chuck that into the pan and leave on a low heat for about 20 mins until its all merged together.

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Allow to cool slightly then blend up with a stick blender until it is smooth.

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A portion of this contains around 100kcals if you wanted to make it less virtuous you could serve with sour cream or Creme Fraiche but I love it’s spicy kick. This version is quite hot so you may want to adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Let me know if you make it and like it!

Spicy chicken and rice salad

I thought I’d share with you one of our favourite weeknight dinners. This is one of those healthy quick meals which you can throw together of an evening in about 15 mins and still feel virtuous.

A few weeks ago for lunch I bought this Tesco Moroccan Chicken and rice salad.

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(Image source Tesco.com)

I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to recreate it myself.

Here is how to make my version which is a bit more Mexican!

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Here is what you need.

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1 pack chicken breast pieces. These were garlic and herb but it doesn’t matter really.
1 pack Uncle Ben’s Express Long Grain and Wild rice. (If you aren’t lazy like me you can cook your own wild rice but trust me this is much quicker!)
Some fajita seasoning
Salad veg ( this is rocket, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, some ordinary lettuce)
1 pack coriander
2 limes
2 peppers.
Fat free Greek yogurt (or any plain yogurt)
Tomato purée
Salt

Chop your peppers into chunks, open our chicken and get a pan on a medium heat
Chuck them into the pan, add about a tablespoon of tomato purée, juice of half a lime and about a teaspoon of fajita seasoning.

Stir it around a bit and leave to cook through, add a splash of water if it gets a bit sticky.

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You want to be left with a dry mixture which is coated in a spicy gloop.

Meanwhile put your rice in the microwave following the instructions.

Chop your salad leaves and veg and half the bunch of coriander, squeeze over the half of the lime and toss together.

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Once the rice has cooled slightly add that to the mixture. You want the salad to slightly warm and wilt but not totally.

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Spread it over a platter or on to individual plates if you don’t fancy the Jamie Oliver style of presentation.

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Now prepare your dressing. This is the bit that brings everything together.

Add about 100grms of yogurt to a bowl, another tablespoon of tomato purée, 2 teaspoons of fajita seasoning, a pinch of salt, the juice of the other lime and a splash of water.

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Stir it up til it’s smooth.

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Chop in the coriander

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Stir that in and maybe a splash more of water to make it fairly runny.

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Pile up the cooled chicken on top of the rice/salad mixture.

Then dot the dressing all over

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You can serve it at this point or sprinkle with some low fat grated cheese (cheese and spicy is always good right?)

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You can serve with bread if you are giving this to a man or yesterday’s left over tapas bits if you are me…

Enjoy! Let me know if you make it and like it!

Stealing Jamie’s Dinner

Today’s dinner was inspired by this photo uploaded by Jamie Oliver to Instagram

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Marinated griddled vegetables.
I had to adapt this slightly given that fennel and baby leeks are hard to come by in Lidl, it’s far too hot to stand over a flipping griddle and I didn’t really fancy 8 tablespoons of olive oil. Still the principle is much the same.
First off though I have a confession.
My name is Sam and I am addicted to peppers…..I find it impossible to leave a supermarket without a bag of them. This can result in what can only be described as a pepper mountain in the fridge. I bought 3 today only to discover we actually already had 4.5 in the fridge…. I also was conned into purchasing these babies…

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Peppers packaged to look like pick and mix….hell yes…
Anyway here is my take on Jamie’s dinner

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Grab your veg…peppers are recommended and yes that is the 0.5 going into the mix.

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Chop them up into evenish pieces

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Add one tablespoon of olive oil. (Yes 1 Jamie….)

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Add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and if you love it like me some smoked paprika and some oregano.

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Chuck everything into a roasting tray and put your oven on to about 200 degrees.
Put the vegetables into the oven for around 20 minutes then stir them and wait another 20 ish or in my case, leave them while you have a shower.
In the meantime prep the dressing.

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Bash up a bag of supermarket basil in a pestle and mortar.

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Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a pinch of salt then another tablespoon of olive oil.

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Make a paste which looks like pond slime….

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Add the veg to a bowl with the dressing and the chopped cherry tomatoes.
Leave to cool and absorb the flavours then put on a platter with some sliced mozzarella.

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We served ours with chorizo couscous and some more homemade gazpacho.

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Perfect summer eating and probably all of your 5 a day…..!

A week of eats

To go with my running mission I’ve been focussing on eating cleaner. As I love reading what people eat I thought I’d show you a selection of meals, breakfasts and snacks.
I work a selection of shifts so I can either be going to work at 6am or finishing at 9pm or working overnight. On really tough days it can be all of the above in one!
Breakfast is really important to me as I’m fairly active throughout the day and lunch can be hours away. If I don’t have breakfast there is a danger I might eat a member of the general public.
My go to breakfast at the moment is raw porridge oats mixed with berries and fat free Greek yogurt sometimes with a bit of Baobab powder mixed it.

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On days off it might be something like eggs on rye toast or this fruity fiesta of lime spritzed papaya.

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Or just fresh berries and yogurt.

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If I need to snack during the day then I rely on rice cakes, Bear fruit yoyos, alpen light bars and Nakd bars.

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I was working overnight shifts a week or so ago and made myself up a little snack box of a chopped up fruit peeler, some toddler rice cakes and some dried apple. Successfully kept me out of the sweetie drawer.

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Given my shifts lunch can either be at 10am or 4pm and doesn’t generally look good enough to take a photo of! It’s nearly always lettuce, tomato and cucumber with raw peppers and then either cottage cheese or chicken breast.
Now onto dinners! I tend to throw a lot of things into a pan and serve with some protein. Last night was peppered mackerel and roasted veg, the night before a massive smoked salmon salad. Anywhere here are some of my creations.

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Griddled veg topped with low fat feta and lemon and basil.

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Pan cooked asparagus, courgettes and tomatoes with low fat feta again.

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Tenderstem broccoli and mushrooms with a steamed chicken breast.

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Lazy girls dinner of crudités and dip.

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Monster salad.

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The lovely Gemma’s pizza rolls
Because of all this clean eating there have been none of these which is frankly criminal….

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Wing wing situation

Inspired by this post by Gemsmaquillage I was driven to turn our bland turkey steak dinner into a peri peri feast!

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We marinated our turkey steaks in some Nandos medium sauce. Meanwhile I cooked some regular frozen peas in a pan with a sprig of mint. I threw together a quick salad, chucked some olives in a bowl, chopped the halloumi up and cooked it til crispy. Once that was done we put the turkey steaks in the pan with the remaining marinade. I mixed a bit of Nandos sauce with extra light mayo to make perinnaise. The rice was microwaved to packet instructions while I smashed up the peas with a potato masher with a bit of salt, chilli flakes, more mint and a teaspoon of olive oil. Warmed up the pittas and took the lid off the coleslaw and there we go….Nandos without leaving the house!

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PS I am not sponsored by Sainsburys I just work near one!

Green Monsters or just Monsters

Like everyone else on the Internet I am on a bit of a health kick. Every year about this time I experience pre summer body panic. Every year about October I get swamped by work and end up working 14 hours a day and living off carbs and cheese…..what a way to go right?
So currently I am trying to get back into my skinniest jeans….whilst still working 11 or 12 hours a day. Part of this is obviously exercise, I am a massive Jillian Michaels fan, she is the voice in my head when I want to stop.

The other part is about eating. I generally follow a fairly low carb self devised diet plan which I track using the OCD sufferers friend ‘my fitness pal’

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Be warned, it gets obsessive.

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Screen shot from the Jillian Michaels iPhone app.
So anyway breakfast at the moment is a smoothie based on the green monster recipe from oh she glows http://ohsheglows.com/2011/01/13/classic-green-monster/

So here is the version we had today.

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I blended half a banana, 2 strawberries, a handful of raspberries, a handful of raw spinach, 200ml of almond milk and 2 tablespoons of low fat yogurt.

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Then blend it to death!

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It was very tasty and kept me going til lunch.
The boyfriend is a little less impressed with the healthy eating so he had to have this home made bunny sundae after dinner….one step at a time eh…

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Anyone got a great smoothie recipe for me to try? Have you gone green? Or do you just want the bunny sundae…?