Beating The Food Blues

I have found recently that I have become rather bored with the food I have been eating. It’s always the same routine of regular meals and that has resulted in us diverging from my meal plans more often than not. While we have been getting through a lot of the food in the freezer, it just gets replaced with the same things. We have also somehow managed to fill the freezers with bits and bobs that don’t seem to have a place in many meals. What can I say … I’m a sucker for a special offer on a party nibble platter.

This week I’m trying to find a way to make the weeks meals more …captivating

In addition to this I have put on a few more pounds than I am comfortable with over the last few months and I need to do something about that before it gets too out of hand. So … I’m trying a week of meatless meals to see if I can work healthy alternatives in to our diet.

Here is the plan for this week …

Monday: Quorn escallops with home made potato wedges and veg (peas and sweetcorn are my absolute favorite with this … definitely need to add some colour)

Tuesday: Brocolli and cheese quiche with salad (yes, I know quiche is far from a health food but it is a firm favorite for a quick meal)

Wednesday: Veggie bolognese with zoodles/courgetti

Thursday: Fajita vegetable flatbread with salad (kind of a take on a pizza)

Friday: Takeaway/fakeaway

Hopefully this will allow us to have a bit of a break from the mundane.


A Naturally Dubious Nature

If there is one thing I would like to change about myself it’s my self confidence. Not as in ‘can’t step out of the house’ confidence, I mean confidence in my own ability to do things. I have a phrase that perfectly sums me up.

I doubt therefore I don’t.

Because I have such a dubious view of my own ability sometimes, I end up not even trying. Why try if you know you are going to fail anyway? Why waste the energy? Believe me, I don’t like this about myself and I hate even more the fact that I have just grown to accept this about myself.

Someone hands me a task to do and my first instinct is to cry because I just know I’m going to screw it up. I start going to the guy but end up giving that up because I know I’m not getting anywhere. Why bother trying to stop biting my nails when I know I’m just going to start again at some point?

I could go on.

This is why I have always operated online through … secret identities. I have had a couple of online personas in the past, most notably for when I was writing fanfiction (under a different name back then). That way I didn’t have to worry that if it wasn’t any good then I would be blamed for it, I always had deniability and the ability to disappear and become someone else.

Why am I like this? Well, I could always use the good old crutch of the fact that I was bullied a lot as a kid but was that the cause or a symptom? I don’t suppose I will ever figure that one out (See? there I go again).

My life at this particular moment is on a knife edge of the biggest decision my husband and I will ever have to make. Do we stick with living where we are now, in boring old suburbia with a low paying job, or do we up sticks and move everything we have to somewhere beautiful and remote where we can run a home business? My hear says “YES!!!! Go for it! Don’t let this opportunity get away!” but my head says “eeeehhhhhh, I’m not so sure …”.

*Sigh* Would someone like to make my life choices for me please?

Response to word prompt “Dubious“.

Baby Steps

After the horrors of this last weeks fat-fueled convenience meals and takeaways, I promised myself I would start once again to try and make healthier meals for myself and my husband. I really do need to get a handle on things, especially portion sizes (I tend to over-fill plates) or we will be feeling the consequences. Even after a week or so of ‘binge eating’ I felt podgy and bloated for days afterwards.

One thing I am trying to do is get myself more readily organised. I already have lists of things I have in the freezer but as that list is on the freezer itself, I can’t make up meals while I am at work if I am struggling to think of what to cook. So, I have treated myself to a new zip-up A5 organizer which has the normal two ring binder rings in it (I find the specialist filofax 6 ring things to be too fussy to make my own inserts for) and I have spent some time developing a weekly meal plan and shopping list that fits what I want.

Now, while I am waiting for that to arrive I am also trying one other small thing on the road to healthier meals. Swapping out just one of the components to a healthier one. It’s a small change but it will hopefully help to get us on the right track.

Last nights meal consisted of, admittedly, one of the unhealthiest cuts of meat out there but also one of the nicest … pork belly. I have always found pork too dry to have normally, I like pork in casseroles but I am not a fan of a pork chop. Belly pork however is always very juicy and flavorful which all regretfully stems from it’s high fat content. But still … YUM!

I cooked the strips in the oven on a wire rack to avoid it sitting in it’s own juices but letting the melting fat baste the meat as it cooked. A good rub with some salt also meant a rather naughty treat of crackling for the Husband (I can’t stand the stuff myself). These were served up with (and here is the “healthy” part) some spicy vegetable couscous and a shredded salad comprised of various types of lettuce, cabbage and bell peppers.

The couscous works really well as an alternative to a potato product which I would normally put with pork, and it added much more in flavor too. It went down a storm and didn’t result in either of us feeling that we had over eaten. The carefully dissected pieces of solid fat piled neatly at thew side of my plate helped to ease my conscience over the fattiness of the cut at least a little bit.

That meal then formed a major part of my lunch today which is a very nice change. Normally I’m a white bread sandwich kind of girl but this time I made myself a little box of goodness.


Leftover spicy vegetable couscous with lambs lettuce and pea shoots with a few mushrooms I kept back from my breakfast omelet. I added the mushrooms as I was worried it would be a bit bland without but to be honest it would be fine just as couscous and salad. The salad added just the right bite to it and lamb’s lettuce is my favorite leafy green to have. I feel like my lunch time hunger has been satisfied but not to the point of feeling too full.

I think we are heading in the right direction. To change the way we eat we need to take baby steps and work on one thing at a time otherwise we will fail just like last time.

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.

Simple Things In Life

A majority of us in the western world are materialistic, whether we like to admit it or not. We value material objects to the point where we feel we could not function without them. We use objects as a way of competing with each other or impressing each other. We also use objects to make ourselves reel better or to cheer ourselves up. This trait causes us to miss out on the simple things in life and is only a temporary fix for deeper issues.

I myself have fallen victim to this so many times! I’m a “retail therapy” kind of girl however I don’t head down to the high street when I’m feeling a bit blue, I head to eBay. Constant access to the internet is a very dangerous thing! Especially when this includes the ability to look up items on my phone during a looooong quiet shift at work. I constantly try to remind myself that it’s the simple things in life that can give a person the most pleasure, but I keep on slipping back into the materialistic money pit and end up buying something I either don’t really need or will never use.

Today, I have bought yet another kitchen gadget. A couple of years ago I purchased a juicer with the intention of using it as often as possible to try and increase the variety in my diet. My husband (then boyfriend) and I used it once and then put it into the deepest darkest kitchen cupboard we could find. While the orange and mango juice it made was very nice, the two small glasses of juice the appeared from the spout of the machine did not in any way justify the amount of time it took to then clean the machine. The inability to use a dishwasher added to the problem and we both chalked it up to a failed experiment and never touched the thing again. (I really should get round to selling it)

Today, I have bought a Spiralizer.

I have been aware of these things for a long time but only really in relation to things like “zoodles” so I had believed that options for this gadget were somewhat limited. However, I recently stumbled over some recipes online where people have used these things on sweet potato and so on. So I get to my usual researching, I read reviews and trials, I watched youtube videos from people using the machines and then settled on one model. I checked on Amazon and the one I liked was showing as being £19.99 reduced from £49.99. Bargain! however, I like to try and be a bit more savvy than that, so I hopped over to eBay and found the exact same model, new and in box, listed as an unwanted Christmas present for £8.99 including delivery. Now that’s what I call a bargain!

So I will shortly be able to make tiny ribbons and spirals out of all manner of fruit and veg … I just need to make sure I use the darn thing. In one way though, it may help us to be better equipped to enjoying small things in life as it will be perfect for making picnic salads to take out to the park with our dog!

I will post a follow up of how well the thing works once it has been tried and tested.

Pleasure In The Small Things

A vast majority of us feel overworked and underpaid. We trudge to work on food, by bike, bus, train or car, sit at a desk for 8 hours a day wondering if we are living to work or working to live and daydreaming about being anywhere else than here. A few lucky people get to do their absolute dream job, but even those people would have days when they just feel like everything has been pilled up on top of their shoulders until they reach breaking point.

Many of us suffer from the soul destroying combination of a demanding boss and unrealistic targets, yet we just keep going. Day in, day out, with the exact same routine.

It is in situations such as this that it is especially important to remember to look to the little things in life that give us pleasure. That make us smile and think, you know what … things really aren’t all bad. I try to look for something like this everyday and normally it involves snuggling up on the sofa with my husband at the end of the day and just relaxing.

Today, as I set off for work at 8:30 in the morning there was a slight frost on the ground and a fine mist in the air. I scraped the ice of my car as the engine warmed up and set off on my 9 mile commute. The first stage of my commute has me driving up the hill and through the centre of the village where we live. The main road through the centre of the village crests the top of the hill and gives very pretty views on it’s way down on either side.

Today, this view was even better than it has been before (If you can look beyond the roof of the supermarket mega-store a little further down the hill). The mist was sitting fairly close to the ground and made the countryside that stretched out in front of me look like it was a land in the clouds. A few small rises of land peeked out above the mist like small islands, the trees on their tops mysterious and faded behind the white layer to the air.

It was a magical way of seeing a view I drive past nearly every day. If it wasn’t for the need to get into work on time I would have pulled over and just looked at it for a bit longer.