A Loss Of Rythem

The saying goes that when one does not stick to a promise to better themselves in some way, they have “fallen off the wagon”. Normally this applies to people struggling with the incredibly difficult journey that is being a recovering alcoholic yet I apply this to the current state of mind and body that I have found myself in.

My body has been thrown off rhythm.

I feel tired and sluggish, I struggle to think clearly and I ache. I have felt like this for a couple of weeks and it has only been today that a light-bulb has gone off over my head and the answer has appeared to me.

I have fallen off of the wagon of even moderately healthy eating.

I have never been a massive health food nut but I do try and avoid snacks, limit the amount of fatty foods I intake and I try to eat as many vegetables as I can. For some reason I just do not enjoy eating fruit so I take vitamin pills to make up for it and focus on my veggies.

However, in the last couple of weeks I have well and truly gone on a un-health food binge! Last weekend alone I at twice at Mcdonald’s and once at KFC, the meals I have planned for this week comprised of burgers and pies and chips, all things from the freezer that while being healthy on my bank balance, not so much on my insides. Drinking has also crept up again as well resulting in indulging an a glass or two too many of red wine because it would go nicely with the meal I’m having.

I really need to kick this habit before it becomes a bigger problem. If I feel like crap during the day I’m more likely to make crap for tea too under the guise of comfort food. The stupidest thing is I have a ring binder full of wonderful recipes I’ve found online and I heave shelves full of cookbooks all with nutritious, healthy and delicious recipes in them yet day in, day out I reach into the freezer and pull out a piece of processed turkey shaped inexplicably (and unrecognizably) as a dinosaur, or a pack of chicken nuggets, or a beef burger and so on.

I lack motivation for anything right now and I know it is because the fuel I am putting into my body is not allowing it to run effectively meaning I’m trying to operate at a low rev (and yes, that is a car metaphor).

So, the burgers I had planned to use for tonight can stay in the freezer for now. I have some home made potato wedges in the fridge (leftovers from last night’s beef and onion pie and wedges) ¬†so it is off to the supermarket over the road to pick up something a little bit better. A little less processed.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.

I know I am not going to be the only one who has gone through an issue like this with food, where you get caught in a spiral of junk food is making you feel bad so you eat more junk food to cheer yourself up. I would be very interested to hear stories from anyone reading this who has had the same sort of journey themselves. *sits back and watches tumbleweed to pass by*

Accidental Success

Today I learned a lesson. Ribbon blade on the Spiralizer does not work on a wonky carrot! However, while I do not have carrot ribbons, I do have cute little carrot curls which will still taste just as nice after a quick stir-fry.

It’s too bad the rest of the meal is rather unhealthy. After a very trying few days at work and a bit of a bad week last week, we felt the need for some comfort food. Enter home made potato wedges (not overly un-healthy as I try not to use too much oil) and the food-of-the-gods that is Bernard Matthews Hamwiches!

Hyper-processed turkey ham, rubber cheese and breadcrumbs mixed into small triangles of goodness.

Everyone has their Achilles Heel. Be it burgers, chocolate or *checks for people listening in* Soda.

The good news is food went down a storm!

Little does husband know tomorrow’d tea is all-out health food ūüėČ

New Favorite Kitchen Gadget

Note to self: Learn how to take better looking photos of food.

Trust me, this meal tasted a whole lot better than it looks!

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The Spiralizer I recently purchased is turning out to be a massive success! The most recent use of my new favorite kitchen gadget was for this. We had a lovely meal of whole-tail scampi and king prawns with chips and veg mix. Again, it tasted way better than it looks here!

For the veg I used the thin noodle blade on the Spiralizer on a carrot and the chunky stem of broccoli. I’d never before considered using the whole stem before and right now I shudder to think of the amount of perfectly good broccoli I just threw away! I also used a few floretts of the broccoli and put the whole lot in a wok with a little chili oil to give it a kick and some soy sauce (hence the dark colour of the veg.

A few minutes of stir frying for the veg to get an al-dente crunch to it and voila! The best thing is that cooking the veg this way retains all of the nutrients that would otherwise leech out when being boiled.

I think this sort of thing is going to become a theme at our house!

Vegetables Made Fun

Yesterday I finally received my much awaited Spiralizer! I am always one to get excited about new devices, especially kitchen gadgets, promising myself that each new thing will revolutionize how we live our lives. My gleaming white gadget was proudly sitting on our kitchen counter-top having been un-boxed and cleaned by my wonderful husband by the time I got home from work.

I instantly got to fiddling with it, checking out the different cutting blades and while I was rather disappointed with the somewhat useless instruction guide and lack of suggested recipes, I was thrilled with it!

Unfortunately it seems that due to a particularly bad growing season in Spain, the UK is currently facing a national courgette (Zucchini in ‘British’) shortage so I have been unable to source one to try out the now infamous Zoodles. The husband had quite a chuckle when I told him this and he asked if the shortage was due to so many people spiralizing them!

Still, I had a good selection of vegetables in the store cupboard to try out my new device. I started off with the ribbon cutter and reduced an unsuspecting carrot to a beautiful curl of bright orange and followed that up by using the fine noodle blade on an equally unsuspecting parsnip. After playing with the springy curls for a few minutes (OK, it ended up being quite a while but I’m an adult now, I’m allowed to play with my food!) I popped the lot in the oven while the rest of our evening meal was cooking.

The results, while not a good looking as those on some of the videos circling the internet, still tasted very good and looked quite appealing on the plate! They certainly went down well with both of us as not a crumb was left.

I have collected a multitude of recipe ideas for it from various food blogs and sites so I have a long list to be getting on with. There was also zero wastage as the off cuts went straight into the rabbit hutch!

Cooking For The Indecisive

My husband, bless his soul. must be one of the most indecisive men on this planet. Whenever we go out for the day he starts off by saying “I’ll take you for a pub lunch!” and then a bit later on “Do you just fancy a McDonalds¬†or KFC?” and then … “Shall we see what they on offer at the supermarket?”. I like to try and have the weeknight meals all planned out before I do the weekly food shop yet we always end up going off list.

Hopefully this is something I can work on as part of my ‘kitchen streamlining’ program which started with food store clear-outs and compiling a full inventory of what food we have in the house. Below is what will hopefully form our meals for the week.

Sunday – Steak & onion pie with mash and veggies. – Sundays have always been the last treat day of the week for us. Yes, the meal isn’t the healthiest but it is hearty and is undoubtedly the comfort food I need before heading back to work on Monday morning.

Monday – Chicken pieces with home made potato wedges – All oven roasted to try and keep it a little healthier than it may otherwise have been. With a home made herb rub added for a bit of seasoning to the chicken and a corn cobette on the side. A lovely way to end the first working day of the week.

Tuesday – Pork belly with spicy vegetable couscous salad. I cook meat such as pork belly on my Gerorge Forman grill now to try and take away any excess fat yet the pork belly pieces still retain a lot of moisture and flavour and do not dry out. That evening I have a dance class that starts at 7:30 so plenty of time to get home, have a filling yet not too heavy meal and then head back out again.

Wednesday – Ham & cheese panini – On Wednesdays I have a dance class from 6 till 8 so it’s a bit late when I get home to be having a big meal. I used these small square panini rolls from the local bakery, fill them with ham and a reduced fat cheddar cheese and combine it with a nice side salad for a light yet satisfying meal for myself and my husband when I get home.

Thursday – Pasta bolognese – If my spiralizer is here on time I’m going to make this with a mix of tri-colour pasta and then some ‘zoodles’ to test the taste out a bit. I always add a ton of extra mushrooms to my beef bolognese sauce to build it up a bit too.

Friday – Takeaway or ‘Fakeaway’ night – depending on how we are feeling we will either have a takeout meal (Chinese, Indian, chip shop, kebab shop …) or we will buy a ‘fakeaway’ from the local supermarket to create our own Indian, Chinese or any other takeout meal we can recreate for a fraction of the price.

Saturday – Gammon & Chips – With a grilled pineapple slice, a fried egg and a heap of garden peas thrown in for good measure. This is a firm favorite in my household.

I will have to see how things go during the week if we stick to this plan or not …

 

Wishing For Automatic Organisation

I wish there was a way to organizing various aspects of your life automatic. I am currently on a mission to reduce the amount of food we waste as much as possible following a frankly embarrassing clear out of stored food over the last two weekends.

I started my mission by simply pulling everything out of our freezers and cupboards and throwing away everything that was past any conceivable safe use date as well as anything that had been accidentally stored incorrectly (one horror story involved a container of rice that has somehow taken on moisture … not a pretty sight). I then made a list of everything I put back and made sure everything was organised into specific drawers/shelves.

I printed out the list to attach to the front of each storage location and crossed off/added items as and when. This has allowed me to keep a close grip on what we actually have in to cook. My plan for next weekend is to organise all of my recipe books, clippings and print-outs and try and get some semblance of organisation to those too. It’s very easy to see why this is a job that I have so often overlooked, it is surprisingly difficult to get a new organisational structure started, let alone have it flowing in an optimal way. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a magic button I could just push and POOF! Everything would be nice and neat and organised and, most importantly, locatable!

I am hoping that this will also help my husband manage his blood sugar levels a little better as he would be able to look at a list and see exactly what we have available instead of reaching for some chocolate if his sugar levels drop a little too much. Type 1 diabetes combined with an unruly and cluttered store cupboard mean that the easy option has often been the only option.

Internal Filters (Or Lack Thereof)

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” – Thumper the Rabbit

When I was growing up this was one of the key quotes that my parents taught me. Always be kind, polite and considerate to people and they will do the same to you. It always confused and upset me, therefore, that the bullies in my school seemed to be able to say whatever they wanted and never got in any real trouble. My mum would tell me it was because they were being mean and that I was the much better person for not rising to it.

20+ years later the same rules still apply yet the same types of people break them on a daily basis.

Freedom of speech is an amazing thing. It means that people can stand up for what they believe in, for a cause they feel strongly about and for themselves in general. However, freedom of speech comes with consequences for those that abuse it and turn it into a weapon to be used against others. This has always been happening but now, thanks to social media tearing away geographical barriers, it appears to be much more widespread and aggressive that it ever has been before.

Now instead of children being afraid to go to school because of the mean kid that sits behind them in class, people are afraid of nameless, faceless people on the internet hurling abuse from other continents under the guise of free speech.

People died so that everyone regardless of gender, colour, race or religion could speak freely for themselves. They did not die just so some cyber bully can call someone the most awful racially/sexually motivated names and expect the other person to take it because they are using their “right to free speech”. We should be more civilized than that!

If everyone would simply engage a mental filter before they speak out the would would be a happier place. Find more constructive ways of rallying against oppression or to sound out your beliefs. Instead of hurling insults engage in a debate with your verbal counterpart and maybe, just maybe, you will both learn something.

Everyone has their own demons they need to deal with, some are routed in cultural history, some are more recent and personal, but everyone has them. Everyone has something they get upset about, feel strongly about or wish they could change. Likewise everyone has small accomplishments and victories that they want to jump up and down about to celebrate. There has to be ways of getting what you want to say across without being intentionally aggressive, smug or just plain rude.