Deliciously Ella’s Oat Cookies

Food and Drink

I have a chronically sweet tooth!

Step one is to find a substitute for the little treats and nibbles that I’m a nightmare for indulging in.

I found this wonderful recipe on the app and decided to give it a go!

I made a few substitutions to fit in with the ingredients I had at home; i used coconut milk instead of almond milk and coconut flour instead of brown rice flour. I also used gluten free oats and a yummy bar of dark chocolate.

My verdict? They’re absolutely delicious. They are sweet and have a lovely texture and apart from not having the ‘butteriness’ of the oat cookies I would usually eat, they were totally moorish! Even my hubby (who hates cakes and biscuits) loves them and has surprised me by going back for my!

These are going to be a go to for a sweet little treat over the next few weeks!

Step One – my 3 week challenge

Food and Drink, Lifestyle

If you read my previous post you’ll know that I had planned to start on the anti-inflammatory diet this week. Unfortunately I ended up back at the hospital and on antibiotics so I decided to wait until I was all clear before embarking on this pretty big change.

I’ve set myself the start date of Monday week, which gives me time to menu plan, shop and do any necessary food prep so that I can fully embrace the changes.

The first step of the plan that I am following is to eliminate 4 food groups for 3 weeks; gluten, corn, soy and dairy. Gluten’s easy for me as I’ve been eating gluten free for 5 years now due to being a Coeliac. Corn and soy should be fairly easy, as they aren’t in any of my main ‘go-to’ foods (although there are a few unlikely exclusions on the list in these categories that I wouldn’t of thought of!). Dairy, however, will undoubtedly be the biggest challenge. Anyone who knows me knows that the only way I drink my coffee is as a latte! I also have porridge (made with milk) for breakfast everyday, have a penchant for milk chocolate and hugely enjoy cheeses, creams and buttery foods. That’s going to be a tough one!

I’ve been having a little practice and the milk substitute that I like best is coconut milk, although I have a few others to try too (hemp milk is a thing, it seems!).

In order to help with my menu planning I’ve also downloaded the Deliciously Ella app, which is absolutely packed with wonderful and delicious recipes. They are all vegan, so aside from a few substitutions and adding in meat (can’t ever see myself going vegan!), I’m excited to try them out.

I’ll be keeping you updated on my progress and using my Instagram to share some of the yummier foods and also the challenges (what am I thinking, having a dairy free Easter!!!).

Let’s see how this goes!

(After the three weeks I will gradually reintroduce each food group to my diet to see how my body tolerates it. The idea is that these are the groups that most commonly cause inflammation, so by emitting and reintroducing them I will clearly see how my body reacts to them and whether I should eradicate them from my diet longer term.)

Trying Something New

Food and Drink, Lifestyle

If you read my last post (Living with an invisible illness) you will know that I was feeling pretty fed up with always feeling sub-par. Well, writing the post has spurred me into action and I’ve spent the last week and a half (while I’ve been unable to carry on with my normal acitivities) researching different schools of thought around autoimmune diseases.

The first and most promising thing I have found is about dietary change. If you are familiar with Deliciously Ella this wont come as a surprise to you, as she changed her life by changing what she ate. I’ve been reading all sorts of online resources and have found that there is a lot of research around functional medicine and an antiinflammatory dient, with a number of the sources claiming to have halted the development of autoimmune diseases and even, in some cases, reversed them.

This is a very exciting discovery for me and I have decided to give one of the methods a go. I have a book that I will be using as a guide, for the initial phase of dietary change, called The Immune System Recovery Plan. This book was written by Dr Susan Blum and this is part of what appeals to me. Firstly, she trained as a traditional doctor so is entirely au fait with modern practices as well as having an in depth understanding of all things anatomical and medical. Secondly, she herself was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (one of the ones I have) and she used this method to heal herself.

Now, please dont think that I am going into this without doing a lot of additional research and finding out the good, the bad and the ugly before I make an informed decision about what I would like to try.

However, I am going to give it a go, see if I can make myself feel a bit better in the short term, see if I can translate that into feeling better in the longer term and then ultimately see whether this has any impact on the chronic conditions that I have been diagnosed with and those which have on the fence results and we are ‘watching and waiting’ to see if anything develops.

I have decided to share this journey with you for two reasons; if it works, I will be able to look back and see the process I went through and know that it may also help others going through the same thing. Even if it doesn’t work, I will find it motivating to be sharing the journey and the changes I am making, in order to keep me focussed and following through with what I have set out to achieve.

So, I have decided that I will start next Monday. Between now and then I will start getting my kitchen cupboards and fridge ready and working out a meal plan. I’ll share every step as I go and hope you enjoy joining me on this little challenge!

Prepping Ahead

Food and Drink

It is really important to me that Little V gets lots of fruit and vegetables in her diet.

Every couple of weeks, on a Sunday, I make up some ‘soffritto’ bags and freeze them, ready to use as a base for lots of her dinners.

They couldn’t be easier (and you can mix and match whichever vegetables you fancy!). I don’t always use peppers, but I had one in the fridge, so added that to my normal base this week.

Wash, peel and chop (according to what is required of each chosen vegetable!).

I used to chop them all a lot smaller than this, but the size of the chunks has grown with V : )

I’ll be uploading some recipe ideas for you soon – but just get these bagged up and in your freezer ready to use when you need a quick and easy base for dinner!

One Pan Sticky Cod (for all the family)

Food and Drink

Shopping / Store Cupboard List

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2x Cod Fillets (skinned and boned, 1 per person)
  • 3x Carrots
  • Handful of Spring Onions
  • Pack of Tender Stem Broccoli
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2.5 tbsp Runny Honey
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil

 

Preparation

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChop the cod into 1 inch squares
  • Peel and chop the carrots
  • Chop the Tender Stem Brocolli
  • Finely Chop the Spring Onions

 

 

 

Method

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan on a high heat.
  2. Cook the cod and carrot on a high heat until the carrots begin to soften and the cod starts to colour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Add a splash (tiny splash!) of water to the pan to ‘deglaze’ (stop everything sticking).
  4. Add the broccoli and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the soy sauce, honey, spring onion and pepper.
  6. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the pan is sticky and the vegetables are caramelised a little.
  7. Serve with your choice of carb (or not, I find this quite filling on its own): rice, potato, sweet potato, whatever takes your fancy!

Notes

My daughter is just too young for this at the moment, as she can’t have honey until she is one, but I know she’ll love it when she can eat it as she’s a big vegetable fan!

This dish would also work with chicken, pork or salmon.

Don’t stir too much while you’re cooking, as the fish will flake and disappear!

 

Sausage Risotto (for everyone)

Food and Drink

Shopping / Store Cupboard List

  • 2 x shallots
  • 1 cup arborio risotto rice
  • Large knob butter
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 litre stock (I use Italian Brodo, but any stock works)
  • 5 sausages (either chopped up or whole, depending on how long you have!)
  • Dried chilli flakes (I use 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1 bag spinach
  • Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper

Preparation

  • Chop the shallots
  • Rinse the rice
  • Make the stock
  • Prep the sausages (if you aren’t chopping them up, pierce holes in the skin)
  • Chop the courgette

Method

  1. If you have a risotto pan, use that, otherwise a large non-stick frying pan is ideal.
  2. Heat the pan on a medium heat and melt the butter.
  3. Add the shallots, chilli and rice and stir until softened.
  4. Add the sausage and gently heat until browned.
  5. Pour in the red wine (if using) and allow to bubble to cook off the alcohol.
  6. Add the courgette.
  7. Add the stock 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it has been absorbed, then add another.
  8. Repeat until nearly all the stock is in.
  9. Season to taste.
  10. Put the spinach on top of the rice, pour over the last bit of stock and stir.
  11. Keep stirring until the spinach has wilted and the risotto is your preferred consistency.
  12. Put a couple of knobs of butter on top and grate over the parmesan.
  13. Serve quickly!

Notes

Prep Time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking Time: around 30 minutes

 

Sausage Risotto (for baby)

baby, Food and Drink

Shopping / Store Cupboard List

  • Handful of baby spinach leavesfullsizeoutput_9c1c
  • 1/4 cup arborio risotto rice
  • Small piece parmesan
  • Small knob butter
  • 1/4 courgette
  • 1 x sausage
  • 1/2 baby stock cube

 

Preparation

  • Wash and chop the spinachfullsizeoutput_9c1e
  • Rinse the rice
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Chop the courgette
  • Remove the sausage meat from the sausage
  • Make 300ml stock

 

Method

 

  1. Heat the butter over a medium heat until melted.
  2. Put the sausage meat and rice into the pan and allow the meat to brown.
  3. Add in the courgette and spinach.
  4. Gradually add in the stock, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly until it has been absorbed by the rice.
  5. Don’t take your eyes off the risotto (if you can help it!): every time the stock is nearly gone, add more and repeat.
  6. Allow the risotto to bubble away as it cooks.
  7. When you add the last bit of stock, add the parmesan and stir it through.

Notes

I find these quantities are perfect for two baby sized meals (my little one is 11 months).

The spoon we are using is a proper risotto spoon! It has a hole in it to further enable the ‘agitating’ of the starch in the rice. But mostly it’s a pretty heart spoon so what’s not to love!

Verdict: Success!

 

Mummy-lead Weaning

baby, Food and Drink

Why I’m going against the grain and doing it my way. 

I love food. I love all the flavours, smells, textures and combinations that are available. I love the experience of creating delicious dishes and meals and sharing them with the people I love for everyone’s enjoyment. 

In fact, I’m so into food and sharing it, that when we bought our house my one non-negotiable deal-breaker was that it have an open plan kitchen/dining/living area for this precise reason. 

So, when the paediatrician we’ve been seeing to get to the bottom of why my little one is sick all the time suggested we start weaning her at 4 months my inner foodie jumped for joy! 

For me, Violetta’s food journey is about so much more than just filling her tummy up and keeping her content. It’s about flavour and texture, social time as a family and experimentation. 

I have decided to wean her on purées that I make myself (or with my Mum – food is a family affair in our house!), instead of the popular  approach that is baby-lead weaning. This isn’t to say that I’m anti baby-lead in any way. I’m a big believer in parents making the right decision for them and their little ones! 

So why mummy-lead weaning?

Simply, it works for us. 

Violetta happily eats from the spoon. She loves purée and we have a super interactive mealtime. She tends to finish what’s in her bowl, sometimes even wanting more, and she’s currently not too bothered about holding the spoon. 

This means I get to indulge her with homemade purées and flavour combinations that I’m fast learning she loves! 

One day, when she’s a bit bigger, I’ll give her samples of foods to hold and try feeding herself, but for now mummy is in charge and we’re loving our food journey together! 

That’s Just Souper!

Food and Drink

Is there anything more comforting than homemade soup on a chilly night?

My Grandma recently long-term loaned me her fabulous Cuisinart Soup Maker and I am hooked!

The recipe for the bowl of deliciousness is below (same idea whether you’re using a bowl or a super-duper soup making machine!).

Ingredients:

1 x cauliflower

1 x potato

Knob of butter

600ml chicken stock

400ml milk

Salt and pepper

1 x pack of pancetta

Grated cheddar

Method:

Melt the butter, add the (peeled and chopped) potato, add the (chopped) cauliflower, milk, stock, salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Blend until smooth, season to taste and add fried pancetta and cheese to serve.

Freezes fine if it’s too much for the family 🙂 

Turkish Tea + French Honey

Food and Drink

These two simple ingredients combined are absolute heaven.

I was introduced to ‘Turkish Tea’ by my Turkish/American neighbour and her Mum. It is spicy, sweet and full of flavour. Combined with a spoonful of the tastiest French Honey (from my Mum and Dad’s recent trip to Paris) it is heaven in a mug. Good for the soul, good for the tummy and good for the mind.

Best served in multiples to share with friends!