Apologies for not posting for a while. I have still been cooking and storing up recipes though. On the advise of the lady I see for CBT, I have been actively working on improving my mood and energy levels. I have been feeling extreme fatigue for almost a year so it is very apt that things are starting to look up as the sun finally comes out.
Anyway, I have enjoyed the British sunshine this weekend and I have been planning for a healthy week before I go on holiday. Lack of exercise has left me somewhat concious about my body but I also want to get my digestion in a good place before I head out into the unknown.
Having so little energy, and only perking up slightly in the last couple of weeks (due to cbt, sunshine and a change of medication) yoga has been my saviour. That and light gardening.
So here is my work food for tomorrow. Nutritious and delicious. A simple green salad of lettuce, julienne courgette and cucumber, mixed with a little veganase. Ok, so I could have picked a better dressing but I gave in to a craving. I also have a snack box of red grapes and two small apricots. Yum!
Next up are some pictures of my work in progress vegetable garden.
Parsnips that won’t be ready until winter.
Strawberries that should be ready in about a month or two.
Dwarf green beans.
Carrots…yes a planted a few earlier than the rest.
And a variety of seedlings.
I’m pretty new to growing veggies so hopefully I will have something edible at the end of all this. Some people might call me sad but I love veggies. I get so excited when I find a new variety of something that I have never tried before!
Pasta is a super easy weeknight dish. There are so many great gluten free pastas out there now that you don’t have to go without. I like the supermarkets own brands for standard shapes, and I like doves farm organic brown rice spagetti for a bit more sophistication and health benefits.
What ever pasta you use you can sometimes fall into the trap of mixing it with a jar of sauce and not a lot else. Not a lot else is what you want on a weeknight. You don’t really want to be spending hours preparing meat(less) balls. That’s the whole point of a quick pasta dish!
Ok so this one isn’t quite as quick but it uses a premade sauce to hurry things along and to keep washing up to a minimum. Plus it is delicious! If you want to add protein then sprinkle over some toasted pinenuta, or when you have a little more time (or some on stand by in the freezer) add some bean balls. That’s the beauty of this type of dish; it’s not chemistry so you can pretty much wing it!
Recipe (to serve two)
Pasta of your choice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper
1/2 jar tomato and basil pasta sauce
Fresh basil leaves
Heat the oil until it sizzles when you drop a cube of aubergine in. I chopped my aubergine into about 1cm cubes and thew them all into the hot all with the dried herbs and a little salt and pepper.
Saute the aubergine until they are softened and golden (while boiling your pasta, assuming you are using dried)
Add the balsamic to the aubergine and stir well to coat all pieces. Saute for another 5 minutes.
Add the sauce and heat through. Tear some basil leaves and add. Serve over the cooked pasta and enjoy.
Now that was easy wasn’t it? Plus it used up a beautiful aubergine that probably would have ended up in the bin otherwise.
I am loving courgette at the moment, especially yellow ones. I still haven’t been brave enough to try raw courgette ‘pasta’ yet but I was craving pasta so this was the next best thing.
Combined with peas, lemon and basil, this is the perfect spring/summer dish. Simple but delicious.
I don’t know about you but I have yet to find a gluten free pasta that doesn’t dry out and go a bit hard when it left to cool (unless it is drowning in sauce) so is best enjoyed right away.
Recipe (per person)
Gluten free pasta
2 inch chunk of courgette
2-3 tbsp peas
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper
Small handful basil leaves
Chop courgette into chunks. Saute in oil and sprinkle with dried basil. Season. Allow them to colour lightlu while you cook the pasta.
Add the peas so they are warmed but still bright green. Switch off heat and add lemon juice and half the basil. Stir.
Mix pasta into vegetable mix and garnish with the rest of the basil.
I love making a sauce or pesto with spinach. It’s packed with nutrients so long as you don’t cook the life out of it, plus it tastes so fresh combined with a dash of fresh lemon juice.
Pine nuts are a new ingredient in my kitchen. Toasted and tossed over this salad, or any salad, they are delicious. I love adding nuts to dishes so I am delighted to have a new variety of nut to add to my larder.
As I said, heat will drain your spinach of it’s beautiful life giving nutrients so I prefer to cool my quinoa and keep my sauce raw for a cold salad, but if you prefer it all warm then heat up your sauce but try not to over do it.
1/2 cup Uncooked Quinoa
Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Handful Fresh Basil Leaves
2 Big Handfuls Spinach Leaves
Pinch of Salt
1 tbsp Pine Nuts
1 – 2 inch Chunk of Courgette/Zuccini
A few Cherry Tomatoes
Cook the quinoa in water until tender then drain and cool. Put the spinach, basil, oil, lemon and salt in a blender and blend into a sauce. You may need to add a little water to loosen it up.
Toast the pine nuts lightly. Heat up a griddle pan and finely slice the courgette. I used a mandolin to get it nice and thin, taking a slice off your thumb is optional.
Lightly brush the slices of courgette with oil (I seasoned mine with a little dried basil too) and griddle until they are softened and have lovely brown bar marks on them. Mix your sauce into your quinoa.
Make a bed with the lettuce and spoon on the quinoa. Decorate with the nuts, courgette and tomatoes.
If you avoid gluten and live in the UK you will know that good gluten free wraps are hard to come by, if at all. So I was pretty excited when I found these in Tesco…
These are expensive at £3.10 for only 3 rectangular wraps but they are large and so flexible that it’s kind of worth it. I even half expected a stomach ache after eating these as you would never know they were gluten free. But they do contain dairy so beware.
If the price still bothers you then do what I did and slice them in half width ways to make 6 smaller ones and serve with a large salad or something.
I spread mine with mashed avocado with a little lime, lettuce cucumber matchsticks and a side of cherry plum tomatoes and carrot sticks. Yum!
Have you found any good gluten free products lately?