Eat | Simple roasted vegetable soup

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The key to good eating is simple. In that for the most part it should be just that, simple. A soup seems like a lot of moving parts to make it from scratch but in essence what your doing is simple it just takes time.

The same is to be said about a roast vegetable soup. The biggest obstacle of course is the roast the vegetables first. I do this by part boiling the vegetables first and then roasting them in a raosting tray in the oven.

The ingredients I used are perfect for a winter warmer this winter and for using left over vegetable from Christmas and New Years.

The following amounts made three good sized servings. Everything was initially roughly chopped into cubes.

3 Parsnips

3 Carrots

1 Sweet potato

1 small red onion

2 Garlic cloves

1 handful of brussel sprouts

1 stick of celery

Nutmeg (a pinch), Vegetable Stock, a little bit of English Mustard, wholegrain works equally well.

You want to divide your produce into two separate piles to start, you want everything bar the red onion, garlic and brussels cut into cubes and chucked into a pan of boiling water to wait until they are softer.

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In the meantime fry your onion and garlic with a nob of butter in a frying pan, as the onion softens throw in the brussels! Now apparently the only way to cook brussels is to fry them or roast them, boil them and you have some very gross vegetables on your hands. Now I don’t mind them boiled but quickly fried with garlic and wham, perfection. Once they are fried (Five minutes each side until golden fried) throw them into your roasting tin and await your other vegetables!

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Once softened distribute three quarters of the veg into your roasting tin. We used rapeseed oil because we have an issue with Olive, but most would use Olive then throw all of that into the oven! Later in the process I also added a drizzle of honey, I probably shuffled the vegetable roasting around three to four times before adding this to finalise the vegetables.

Leaving the other quarter to boil I added, vegetable stock, nut meg and some celery. Using a blender I blended this as smooth as possible, made easy by lots of water! This doesn’t have any milk or lactose in this recipe but you could add some creme fresh to make it more decadent.

Once this is done I left the soup on a low heat until the rest of the vegetables are ready. dividing them again a quarter is left as whole, roasted cubes and the rest is blended in with the original mixture.

To serve simply decant the soup into bowls, piling the unblended vegetables into a pile on the top of the soup with some fresh, toasty bread you have the ideal meal for a cold winters day either at lunch like we did or as a tasty dinner!

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The Weekend | Summer BBQ

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The BBQ is one of those amazing food choices which I can’t fail to full for year on year. Alongside family picnics (which I have mixed in here) the BBQ always feels somewhat indulgent and ultimately the best way to relax into a summer evening, wherever you are.
Food for a Great British BBQ

On the Menu (for a feast)

  • Burgers (bun or bunless – Lettuce wraps are equally amazing!) +
  • Chicken Drumsticks wrapped in bacon or Joshes Korean BBQ version (Josh uses a sauce mix and rub leaving them in this mixture over night in the fridge within a bowl firmly covered by clingfilm.)
  • Sausage Rolls (homemade)
  • Apple Rockcakes (recipe below)
  • Strawberries and clotted Cream
  • Joshes Mocktail/Cocktail

chickenapple rock cakes

Apple Rockcakes/buns

I have a whole host of BBQ/Picnic Staples from my childhood which I wanted to share for this post but none have been so prevalent as the Apple Rockcake. A recipe taken from my mums Sainsbury’s companion cookbook from the late 80’s (I’m guessing here) I have a lot of fond memories of these little piece of apple goodness.

You will need;

200grams Plain or wholemeal flour

25grams Ground Rice

2 teaspoons of baking powder

pinch of salt

75grams of butter

75grams Demerara sugar

250grams of dessert apples, cored and diced

1 egg

2 tablespoons of milk

  1. sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl; if using wholemeal flour, just stir all the dry ingredients together.
  2. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs, then stir in the sugar and apple
  3. Whisk the egg and milk together, add to the mixture and mix into a stiff dough.
  4. Divide the mixture into eight and place the mounds on a greased baking sheet, Bake in a preheated oven, 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6, for 15-20 minutes, until firm to the touch. Cool slightly on a wire rack and serve warm.

The perfect mix of food for a delicious afternoon and evening in the garden complete with a nice glass of wine or cold beer . . .

 

Food & Health | Health Kickstart at breakfast

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Last week we took off two days before the bank holiday so we could give ourselves a much needed break. Unlike our usual stay-cations where we cram in as much as possible this was the short holiday where we decided that we wouldn’t do anything.

It also happened to be the last weekend of eating whatever we want before our self-imposed four month wedding diet kicked in. (By now it has and I’m probably a craving mess right now.) Something we both noticed by three days in however was that although sometimes its nice to forget the rules completely your body also needs to be nourished and looked after as well. The bread might taste great but the body sometimes needs recalibration.

Starting with breakfast and a run on Monday morning we were getting back on track and this right here is the best way to kick start it. Porridge, Linseed, Honey, Banana, Cinnamon and pumpkin seeds. Throw in as much water as possible and peppermint tea and you’ve got yourself a party of good eats! Now ask me this again next week and it might be a different story . . .
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Bake! | Oh Protein balls…

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The easiest thing you’ll ever make via Pinterest? Protein Balls.

Honestly I read a lot of recipes about these little balls of joy and I came to one conclusion. These were originally created by someone very hungry who quickly resorted to pulling out their favourite things from their stock cupboard to create a treat which was more exciting than a piece of fruit.

Its like the concoctions you made as a child when your parents weren’t looking and you felt like you were starving after school. You had nothing in the house bar stock cupboard ingredients and resorted to eating Nutella out of the jar. We’ve all been there. Sorry Mum.

So how do you make these uber easy, Pinterest/Instagram ready snacks? Basically you need a few ingredients. Something to act like a binding ingredient (peanut/almond butter/Dates) something pretend healthy ( pistachios/some trendy nut or seed) and something bad, coco/cacao powder then something to roll it in (more chocolate substitute or coconut). Oh and Protein powder, if your into that.

Its the greatest thing that you can literally take anything and make these and alter them to your personal tastes as you go along. To create you ideally need a mixer so you can throw all the ingredients in and voila! Its really is that easy! In fact theres almost no point to protein ball posts because all you need is a little imagination, a bit of time and a whole load of childhood memories aiding you in creating what could be quite possibly the grossest thing you’ll ever eat!

As it is, these taste pretty good and they are, Peanut Butter, Coco Powder (for baking), desiccated coconut, dates, honey and a mixed linseed.

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Make a small treat feel like a big treat!

It is now officially a year until our wedding. Cue screams you for excitement and me in horror since I feel seriously un prepared but then again maybe I’m just doing the old school wait till the night before to get everything done but lets hope not!

Anyway because of this we realised we really needed to get ourselves back onto the health and fitness track which since we were moving had gone completely out of the window!

So its clearly not enough to just join the gym (apparently you have to go to? Horror.) but we also wanted to overhaul our diets as well! So as you might not know I love myself a snack and in particular I have a hugely sweet tooth. Now if there is one thing that can derail a diet it’s a sweet tooth!

Now, I had completely forgotten this trick which I believe I stole from my grandparents and that is to use a small spoon. Who would have thought that something could be so simple but which works really well and even worked after photographing this fruit bowl!

What I love to do and what I have done above is take a smaller portion of fruit than normal. I choose four medium strawberries, six (slightly large) raspberries and a handful of blueberries and for the naughty bit a tiny amount of chocolate drops. The next thing to do to make your snack or in my case breakfast to go further is to cut any big fruit down! So each strawberry I managed to cut down into about four to five pieces which meant that four became twenty! And cut my raspberries in half! So you have immediately made your snack double in size! Then put them into a small bowl and there you have it a snack twice the size of what it actually is! Then of course I had to add a couple of chocolate drops since it was the weekend after all!

You’ve already made your snack look bigger than it is but to add to that then make your spoon as small as possible! Why does this work? Because you can’t fit as much on one spoon it takes you longer to eat. If there is one thing you are doing wrong when eating it is this, you don’t pay enough attention to the food your eating and you eat too fast.

This is pretty much the most helpful thing that you can do when you’re trying to be healthy and that is stretching out the food you want to eat. Also if you eat for longer it gives you time for your body and brain to catch up and tell you that you are in fact full! Which can take up to twenty minutes.

So there you have it! The easiest way to make a small amount of mostly healthy food go further! Another steal from my super grandparents is crumbling a meringue over fruit for an evening dessert or adding a probiotic yoghurt to the mix which is also great for those of you suffering with IBS!

Make: Joshes, end of summer Mocktail/Cocktail

A refreshing cucumber & lemon Mocktail or Cocktail when you add Gin!

So did you know that Josh is the main Chef in our house? You might be surprised by this but Josh is one of the best cooks I know and I am blessed weekly by all his lovely food! In fact terribly you can witness how often I cook by how often I post an Instagram of food, if its Instagrammed I’ve made it. Mad proud of my limited skillz ok?

We had this little dream of a mocktail a few weeks ago and although I had photographed it and talked everyone I knows ear off about it it just never made it to the blog. So although this is a little out of season it is just as good to have now! (we also have this as a mocktail but you can do this same drink with Gin and it will be just as good!)

Ingredients 

  • Tonic Water
  • Mint
  • Cucumber
  • Lemon (you could also use limes – we had run out!)

(Glasses (are from IKEA!!), chopping board (from Joseph & Joseph and knife!)

So these are the Josh instructions!

Firstly cut your ingredients (cucumber and Lemon) into pieces and pop them in the bottom of your glasses. Next thing is ice cubes! Crushed ice would be amazing but we have these strange reusable ice cube things which you can see above instead. The next of course is, mint. Crushing this is best so tear it into your glass as you go! Now once the three are together a good idea is to crush the ingredients down a little bit as this will give you more flavour! From then it really is as simple as adding tonic water. A great idea is to let this settle somewhat as it gives you more flavour but I can understand that if your in a rush you might not wait all that long!

Another tip is if your adding gin put that in first before the tonic water and crush your lemon or lime into this mixture!

To finalise it we also put a few pieces of fruit in there as well just for a more summer vibe!

p.s we may have also eaten a nice big bowl of strawberries and raspberries! Sooooo good!

5 things.

5 things this week that I have been up to or falling in love with . . .

Fashion

Zara now only £7.99!

Bright, patterned scarves

The only way to keep a capsule interesting is by changing things and one of the things I am again looking to change come fall? Colour and texture. I’ll admit I did fall into Zara and yes I may have purchased two items but let me clear this up. I allowed myself the odd purchase, this time round was nothing to do with none at all but everything to do with a hell of a lot less, bonus points? I had waited for this T shirt to be in sale from full price, you know I’m almost proud of myself!

Interiors

Royal blue and Bunny(!!!!) Cushions are from TK Maxx but are now no longer available 😦 the fuzzy one is Matalan (only £8!!) and the very famous black and white pillow which can be seen on the book below was from Ikea a couple of years back!

Royal Blue & Mustard

So this all really started with cushions. In fact it started in our living room. As our living room has felt overrun by reds and heavy patterns these last few years I really wanted to pull back on the colour however as it is we ended up pulling out our white cushions (which honestly I always felt were a bit at odds with the rest of the room) and have instead put in our decorative cushions/pillows from the bedroom. Instead of where was white is now grey with a splash of turquoise. Maybe blue and red doesn’t scream at you straight off the bat but we’ve grown to love it.

Of course in their place I could have just done a straight swap, but then again, where is the fun in that? No. Instead we took a trip to TK Maxx (place of dreams) a few weeks back and bought ourselves some new, bold, royal blue crushed velvet cushions and of course this darling rabbit one as well . . .

Even better they are all feather filled! Say good bye to twisted Ikea pillows and hello to heaven!

Food

Avocado + Egg

I almost tried this recipe out the other day but of course my avocado was off! Has anyone else had a rotten time with Avocado of late? Mine all seem determined to go brown and streaky even before they are ripe! Nightmare! Now I have heard mixed reviews about this Pinterest worthy breakfast, but have any of you guys tried it? Its currently on the top of my list to try!

Shopping

Lusting after

£29.99 Zara

This beautiful wine red tassel bag from Zara, holy moly I want, I want! You’d think in the middle of summer I wouldn’t be thinking about rich winter colours but you would be wrong! There is something so symbolic and lovely about colour in general, it can so easily evoke so many different feelings but the one I love most is those colours that feel supportive, like they love you and will make you instantly happy! That’s wine/burgundy for sure!

Reading

The Nesting Place

On Amazon! (I bought mine in Kindle form but I am tempted to get it again as a hardback!)

I bought this book for many reasons but funnily the main one was because it focuses on manageable upgrades and in finding the beauty in the imperfections in your home whilst building your style slowly and organically. The reason this is funny is because I had to stop reading it on the train into work as it got me riled up and ready to revitalise my home, so much so that I would go into work frustrated and anxious. Thankfully I can read this on the evening train with no problems however, and thank heavens because this is a fantastic book!

Most importantly I can even suggest this to you (in fact even more so) if like us you are renting. The focus on this book is not a how to decorate your home or DIY’s but more developing your inner mind and peace with the idea that you don’t have to have your house all figured out or keep up with the Jones’s as it were!

Even better this books is a couple of years old so it’s a lovely reprieve from the colour grey! You can check up on Myquellyn and her current home and blog here+.

Do you like, love or loathe 5 things posts going forward? drop me an email or comment below!

Food for thought.

Food for thought.

Not so much minimalism but an adventure with food. Over the last few years I have had an odd relationship with food. Having IBS means that my food choices are often odd and sometimes limited. I don’t have them down at all (in the grand scheme of things) but in the last year I have really begun to better understand my limits from food and because of that I have also begun to see a vast difference in my digestive health.

No more beef

It happened last Wednesday. I got home late from an onsite job and being the lazy girl I am I got a McDonalds. A cheese burger in fact. Now back in the days we fondly named these Crack burgers, the addictive burger you had to have post university night out but nowadays for the most part I am completely beef free. In fact I probably hadn’t eaten beef at all in 2015 until Wednesday.

I had initially made the switch to corn mince etc after feeling really rather ill after having beef and honestly it’s made the biggest change in my health that I have noticed. What used to happen was sickening nausea the next day, now if you’re suffering IBS and you just have nausea every day for months on end, you end up stop knowing what it feels like to be normal but (touching all the wood) I haven’t had that in so long that now I just can’t risk going back. Now going back to beef when I had it on Wednesday it was no longer a crack burger because you know what happens when you stop eating beef and go back to it? Well beef tastes like Cow and quite frankly I no longer like the taste! At all! and I am shocked! Don’t ask me what that means for McDonalds emergencies! Chicken sandwich but not having beef seems like the right way to go, for now.

Dipped toes in paleo

In the same vein we have also made over our baking somewhat, we’ve already stopped using oil, bar coconut oil but another thing I have wanted to try more of is Paleo. I mentioned it last week but we made banana and chocolate chip (ok not all paleo) Greek yogurt muffins. These are not made with traditional flour, they also don’t contain butter or eggs! Its honestly the dream and even better for IBS fellows you use porridge oats! Now porridge oats are the bees knees in my world! They are so un-harmful for either C, D or mixed (in fact they help!) but along with this they are basically, banana, Greek yogurt, chocolate drops and a little bit of brown sugar! So simple and you know what it’s not too bad!

I wouldn’t say its ever as good as a normal bake but it’s made an ace breakfast for the past week!

Food is such a delicate thing sometimes, when I was in university I rarely thought about what I was putting in my body and it’s so interesting to see as you get older how much you do start thinking about food and altering your diet to suit its needs! What do you guys think about your food? Are there things that you no longer like to eat?

Date Night, Everynight.

I am a firm believer that date nights should happen as often as possible. It needn’t be fancy or even with a significant other but finding some time for a fancier dinner or a meal out is always a good idea.

Me and Josh are massive foodies and when I say massive, I mean massive! Since knowing Josh m food preferences have grown an awful lot! He is incredibly adventurous when it comes to food and I have to say, its worn off on me somewhat!

This past Saturday was one where we decided to have a nice date night at home. After all whether its at home or out its always a nice night to break with tradition. This past weekend we lived the tapas dream picking up a few of our favourites to have a nice picky meal together with of course a little red wine!

We also adore setting the mood. We like to do this by adding candles as well as something beautiful to be set on the table and often we pick out a great soundtrack to play in the background. In the last year its featured quite heavily on the music we’d like to feature at our wedding.

We are currently burning through a fuzzy duck candle from Christmas and Diptyques Amber for something pretty we pulled out our incense burner which was bought for Josh by his parents in Saudi Arabia.

Our food adventure this week didn’t end there and on Sunday we experimented with greek yogurt, banana muffins as well as baking an over the top Smitten Kitten red velvet cake (it has wine in it!). We also made a fancy sausage roll to have with salad for our lunch/come main meal of the day which featured sausage along with chorizo and apple!

Lets talk . . . Reasons behind Blogging

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Recently i’ve been going completely against what blogs I normally read. I’ve got to be honest since finding the wonderful world of blogs I have to admit I have been pretty devout to american bloggers like cupcakes and cashmere, Kendi Everyday, Sincerely Jules, Its because I think too much, my edit . . . the list goes on but recently I’ve fallen in love with british blogs! and there are so many more ‘tall’ centric bloggers as well! I’ve been in tall girl heaven!

Anyway, I found this iwantyoutoknow.co.uk the other day and im kinda in love. I love the mix of style, arts, fashion and lifestyle mix that this blog has to offer and its based in London! Excellent. The lovely writer of this blog, Kristabel wrote this+ article and referenced this further article+. This got me thinking about therealjlow/TVCLifestyles and my reasons for what I post and what I have created.

Firstly I find the suggestion that personal style blogs must come to end as very saddening. I love a good, well presented personal style blog, why? Because I’m incredibly nosey and how better to get A, a look into other peoples lives but also get inspiration for my own outfits and from real people no less! The blogs I truly love rarely contain high end or designer clothes, because really? I can’t afford it, I feel too big for it and its really not realistic to me unfortunantly. So give me a blog with clothes from high street stores and im sold, or vintage finds or the great 30×30. Thats what really interests me, not sitting front row at fashion week. 

So the idea of these great blogs disapearing because there won’t be the chance to become famous? Thats incredibly disheartening. Reading the second article was incredibly interesting however and it did for a second make me stop and think what am I really putting out on the internet and what am I doing it for? and you know what? the answers not really changed since when I began TRJL and TVC with Gemma. To promote style for the non-designer wearing girl on the street whose not your average or commonly desired size or shape. On here, its also got a lot to do with putting it out there that Tall girls need more clothing options that black trousers and black and white tee shirts.

In fact, I think that we need more personal style blogs or maybe better ways to find PSB’s that arn’t advertising designer and unaffordable brands. Thats not to say that I don’t like inspirational clothing or designer clothes but I need more from my blogs than just pretty pictures, sometimes I want the ability to buy an entire outfit, if I wanted and be able to afford it. In fact, I miss good old fashioned affordable blogs, anyone else? 

What was great about reading this however was the writers ideas about the seperation of ‘bloggers’ and its made me think of my original plans to include more than just fashion and i’d like to get back to that to showcase a little bit more than my clothes, but my cooking, my home and what I’m up to . . .

What do you think?

Living on the Weekend

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This weekend was a chill weekend. It was a if I don’t have to leave the house weekend then I won’t. Saturday was mainly a sleeping and DVD day which was a great, a very much needed day off. Working in the city from our town means early morning wake up calls and getting home late so a day sleeping past six in the morning is a luxury. 

Its funny how since leaving university and my parents home how much more time is spent doing things. Whether thats cleaning the house, getting the weeks food, getting the cars serviced, making sure you’ve paid the bills, organising our insurance etc seems to take up a lot of down time. That and working full time means that the moments I spend sitting down doing nothing is minuscule at best.  

So this weekend we relaxed, drank Pimm’s full of enough fruit to sink a battle ship, we had barbecue for dinner and mussels tonight and I cleaned our dressing room man cave. To be honest I almost didn’t make it out alive but you’ll see and hear more about that later in the week!

How was your weekend? Did you get a good lie in?