Recipe: Breakfast Muffins

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Breakfast Muffins

Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 apples, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 100g honey
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp rolled oats, plus extra to sprinkle

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC/Gas 4
  2. Line a muffin tin with paper cases
  3. In a bowl mix all the 'wet' ingredients; carrot, apple, lemon zest and juice, honey, oil and eggs
  4. Add the cinnamon, chia seeds and salt, mix together
  5. In another bowl sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, add the oats and mix together (I say sift, you should sift, I never do...)
  6. Fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture and lightly mix to form a batter
  7. Divide between the muffin cases and sprinkle the tops with the extra oats
  8. Should make between 8-10 muffins
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the top springs back when lightly pressed
  10. Remove from oven and leave for 5-10 minutes before removing from the muffin tray.
  11. Make sure to eat at least one when they are still warm...
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/02/25/recipe-breakfast-muffins/

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The veggie who came to tea…

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That moment of dread and panic. Vegetarians and vegans coming to dinner. Arghhhhhh!

I was chatting yesterday to a man in Tesco, as you do. He told me his daughter was a vegan, his son loved sausages and he was a diabetic. Mealtimes, he said, were a nightmare. he just did not know what to do for the best, or what to cook. Helpful as ever, I suggested curries and chillies which can be made with the same bases but with the addition of meat separately. We discussed this and a few other options. He thanked me and said that really he should be able to manage better since he’d spent twenty years working as a chef!! You can perhaps imagine my surprise.

If a trained chef struggles how are us mere mortals meant to manage?

My own family are doing marvellously well with our eating regimes and we’ve enjoyed some marvellous meals, my Mother-In-Law’s aubergine tagine is gorgeous and I particularly liked¬†my Christmas Day vegetable and oat roulade with hidden sprout surprise ūüėÄ courtesy of my ever inventive Mum. My sister cooked a marvellous curry for us all on Valentine’s Day and made this magnificent dessert – fabulous!

vegan pudding

If you do have a dinner guest with dietary requirements or restrictions though – here are some things which might help to think about

  1. Ask your guest exactly what they do and do not eat. They will probably appreciate the time and effort you’ve taken and will feel confident that they’ll be ‘safe’ eating at your house. It’s really quite awkward if someone doesn’t understand what you choose to eat and not eat and insists upon offering you something which you have to refuse and risk hurting their feelings or denigrating their kindness.
  2. Don’t head straight for the macaroni cheese, pizza or stuffed mushroom options for your vegetarian guest, I’ve watched Come Dine with Me, I know the default options and trust me, those can¬†get quite tiresome, as does the assumption that vegetarians must¬†live on cheese (although, I know some actually do…alarmingly).
  3. Don’t make assumptions about substituting quorn or other textured vegetable proteins (TVP’s) into their meal. Many of us really prefer not to eat the ‘pretend’ meats and cheeses. Frankly most of them taste pretty¬†guff anyway and I don’t need to feel like a meat/cheese eater to fit in.
  4. Be careful when buying alternative milks and other soya based products like¬†yoghurt.¬†They can be ridiculously high in unnecesary¬†sugars. It’s best to ask first if your guest likes the sweetened or unsweetened varieties best.
  5. Some people may be particular about food miles, sustainability and organic produce. About the deforestation caused by palm oils for example which are terribly threatening to orang-utang habitats and, therefore, their populations. Genetically modified ingredients can also problematic as can excessively packaged or artificial ingredients.

Being sensitive about what you eat can be seen to be fussy, politically correct or plain bloody awkward but we all make choices about what we decide to eat and I don’t criticise yours (much).

I can’t speak for all your dinner guests but most vegetarians and vegans will be happy with something fresh, natural and colourful and vegetables are a lot cheaper than those expensive cuts of meat or fish which leaves more for an extravagant bottle of wine ūüôā

 

 

 

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Recipe: Cowboy beans

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Cowboy Beans

Cowboy Beans

Ingredients

  • Baking potatoes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 400g haricot beans, drained
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes with herbs
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • handful of chopped chives to serve

Instructions

  1. Bake the potatoes according to your preference
  2. With 30 minutes or so left of baking time, prepare the cowboy beans
  3. Warm the oil in a pan and gently fry the carrots and celery until softened but not coloured (about 10 minutes)
  4. Add the drained beans, tomatoes, tinned tomatoes and paprika
  5. Cook for a further 10 minutes
  6. Split open the potatoes and spoon the hot bean mixture over
  7. serve with the chopped chives

Notes

Grated cheese or soured cream can also be added as toppings if preferred. Perfect on toast, with sauages and mash, and they keep well in the fridge for a few days so make plenty!

Yeehah!

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/02/16/recipe-cowboy-beans/

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How do you know I’m telling the truth?

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My friend¬†gave me¬†an article from Cosmopolitan magazine entitled “The heal bloggers who duped us all.” The article goes on to expose ‘Inspirational Instagrammers.’ Women who took regular photographs of their slim bodies and posted positive and healthful advice. They weren’t as they seemed. One was suffering from orthorexia (the eating disorder characterised by an obsession with healthy eating), one was chugging pints and eating take away food and another was forced to admit that it was all for ‘likes and followers’ and none of it was true!

Worse though were the wellness coaches who claimed to be able to cure cancer. One lied about her own fictitious brain tumour another claimed to have cured herself while in fact her disease was steadily claiming her life. Both of these women actively encouraged people to eschew their medical treatments in favour of nutrition.

None of these bloggers have any qualifications or expertise in these fields but they often have one thing in common. They’re attractive, young and fit. And this sells. They each made lucrative business of their blogs. Books, appearances and endorsements all centred around their apparent ‘wellness.’

I have so many issues with all of this. As someone who blogs about health, nutrition and wellness herself I’m appalled that anyone could deliberately dupe their followers. Whilst I am trying to support my own immune system while dealing with a¬† tumour it is always in conjunction with medical advice. My fabulous consultant is very supportive but his advice is always sought. I’m not an oncologist or a Doctor of medicine. I’m a psychologist who happens to believe in plant power and positive thinking. You can be assured that every post I write¬†is properly¬†researched, that if I claim to be eating a certain way – it is the truth, and that I can only suggest what works for me and allow you to make up your own minds.

It says something quite profound about our desperate need to be able to ‘fix’ ourselves that we will believe anything we read as long as it’s on t’internet.

If a product or a service uses half-naked images of beautiful bodies to inspire you I’d advise you to be very careful. Thinspiration is an insidious tool used in marketing and less than¬†scrupulous advertising. I have a nice, lean midriff but I’m not about to post a picture of it.¬† Thinness isn’t health. We shouldn’t be using unrealistic imagery of very slender people to sell anything. If I could show you how healthy I feel I would but that’s the thing. How do you demonstrate your health? Your inner wellness? The state of your arteries? liver? kidneys? Of course you can’t.¬†So, instead¬†here’s a picture of me shinning up a lamppost in a pair of Birkenstocks. Try doing that if you’re feeling sluggish, bloated or lethargic ūüôā

climbing a lampost

 

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Recipe: Curried Chip Butties

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Recipe: Curried Chip Butties

Recipe: Curried Chip Butties

Ingredients

  • Around 10 decent sized potatoes (scale up or down depending upon how many you are feeding), peeled and sliced into wedges
  • 2 sliced red chillies (with or without seeds depending on your preference)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds and garam masala
  • 2 red onions very finely sliced
  • Juice of a lime
  • 10 chapatis
  • large handful of spinach
  • Natural yoghurt (optional)
  • Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 200oC/Fan 108oC/Gas Mark 6
  2. Toss the potato wedges with the chillies, 3 tbsp of the oil, seeds and spices and add plenty of seasoning
  3. Spread the seasoned potatoes over two baking trays and roast for 25-35 minutes until browned
  4. Fry the onion, in a large pan, with the remaining oil until caramelised
  5. Remove from heat and squeeze the lime juice over
  6. Warm the chapatis according to the packet instructions
  7. Assemble your wraps by placing spinach leaves onto the chapatis and top with potato wedges, onions, yoghurt if using, and chopped coriander
  8. Roll up and enjoy!

Notes

There will probably be extra wedges to serve on the side and a black dahl makes a really nice accompaniment or as an addition to the wrap itself!

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/02/05/recipe-curried-chip-butties/

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Recipe: Butternut Bad Boy Brownies

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Recipe: Butternut Bad Boy Brownies

Recipe: Butternut Bad Boy Brownies

Ingredients

  • One whole or 600g approx of peeled, chopped butternut squash
  • 100g good quality dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 100g good quality cocoa powder (or cacao if you have it)
  • 2 tbsp of self-raising gluten-free flour (or ordinary self-raising if gluten is not a problem)
  • pinch of salt
  • Icing sugar to decorate

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 181oC/160oC fan/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease and line a 20x20 baking tin (or brownie tin if you have one) with baking paper
  3. Put the squash into a microwaveable bowl, add a splash of water and cover with clingfilm
  4. Cook on high for 10 minutes until the squash is really soft.
  5. Drain any excess water and add the broken chocolate, stir until melted
  6. Puree the squash and chocolate with a hand-held stick blender or mash thoroughly
  7. Break the eggs into a large bowl, add the sugar and whisk until really light and fluffy (this step is really important to give a mousse like texture)
  8. Fold the cocoa powder, flour and salt into the egg mixture
  9. Then fold in the chocolate squash mixture, be careful not to knock out all the air as you fold
  10. Pour into the prepared tin
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until the brownies have set)
  12. Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into squares and dusting with icing sugar

Notes

These have about a third of the fat of a regular chocolate brownie, less than half the calories, carbs and a fraction of the sugar.

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/02/04/recipe-butternut-bad-boy-brownies/

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You’ve always been a food crank: A day in the life of a health food freak

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It’s been a while since I posted a food diary. So I thought I’d do an update of where I’m at these days.

Since the first of September I’ve been vegan, avoid processed sugars and processed foods and have limited my alcohol and caffeine intake quite dramatically. I drink occasionally and moderately and have one small fresh coffee daily. Maximum.

sign-of-love-heart-made-from-small-tomatoes-1245618-639x528

Results? My skin is bright and clear, my¬†hair is shiny¬†and my nails are stronger (although a set of super sharp new kitchen knives means my nails are also suddenly very short – oops!). I have oodles of energy and I feel quite marvellous thank you. I’ve shredded all my additional body fat and am now completely lean. The weight loss has been very gradual and no one seems to have noticed, or at least they have not commented, so I guess I must look well. I have noticed some shape changes. My waist is substantially smaller and my rib area and upper arms are definitely noticeably¬†slimmer. ¬†My stomach is flatter and there are abdominal muscles which were a little bit hidden before. In short, I look pretty much as I did when I was running 20+ miles a week doing cross country. These days¬†I’m restricted by a dodgy knee so brisk walking is all I can manage but my body has returned to those fitter days. Which makes me happy because I feel strong and am loving the plant powered me!

In terms of my ‘Think Shrink’ programme to try to manage my tumour, it does feel a bit smaller and flatter. I know, I know, it’s probably wishful thinking or that my glands have subsided (I did have a lost voice scenario a week or two ago) but it does feel¬†a bit less protruding and marble like. Whether that is in my own hopeful head, I don’t know yet but it’s a much happier feeling than thinking it might have increased let me tell you! I have another MRI scheduled to measure progress so I’ll know more in March what I’m facing. Until then, I’m staying positive, keeping busy and more motivated than ever to eat well and properly nourish this body I’ve been blessed with. She’s served me well – she deserves my attention!

Thank you to all my likers, commenters, sharers and friends. You keep me going when it’s tough and sometimes it is tough. Sometimes it is pretty scary too but I know I am doing everything I can to help myself and, if I can help others on the way, it’s a huge bonus!

So what does a daily food intake for a food crank/health freak look like?

Before 7am: small strong coffee

Breakfast 1: two slices of wholemeal, seeded toast with soya butter or almond butter, pot of rooibos tea

Breakfast 2: Kale, blueberry, coconut, ginger and almond milk smoothie with agave and a bagel with red pepper hoummous, rocket, baby spinach and celery

Decaffeinated green tea and a pink lady apple

Lunch: Vegetable burger, large mixed salad and home-made chips, mineral water

2 mugs of detox tea

Dinner: spiralised courgette with fresh pesto and mixed heirloom tomatoes, 2 glasses of mineral water

Mug of elderberry and Echinacea tea

Supper: Bowl of porridge with soya milk and mixed dried berries (blueberries, goldenberries, golden raisins and cranberries) and chia seeds.

And to Elaine, thanks for being friends with this food crank all these years ūüėÄ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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