The Christmas Dinner

I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday period! For the past 2 years I have enjoyed being in charge of my Christmas dinner making plans and drawing up lists to create what my friends like to call ‘My Little Pinterest Christmas’. This year I decided to make a predominantly SANE and entirely vegan dinner, and I think it went pretty well. It tasted divine, and there was none of the guilt about going back for seconds, even thirds. I hope this meal plan gives you inspiration and ideas for meals in the coming year!

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The pièce de résistance of the meal was definitely this stuffed butternut squash. It was an amalgamation of two recipes: one to prepare the squash, and one to prepare the stuffing. The stuffing was composed of two layers, the base stuffing was the lentil dahl from recipe two, and the top stuffing was sautéed onions, mushroom, and butternut squash. This makes a great center piece for any vegan or vegetarian roast meal.

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The next recipe is a twist on some classic roast components; instead of being roasted, the sprouts are fried and the potatoes par-boiled. The lemon and rosemary make this dish very flavourful.

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My roasted sides were: carrots, mangetout (as a subtitute for green beans), and roasted tomatoes on the vine(I added balsamic vinegar for a twist). The next piece is probably my favourite surprise of the entire meal- Cauliflower gravy. Every good roast is accompanied by a strong hearty gravy, and this meal is no exception. The gravy is flavourful, rich and provides the perfect accompaniment; and the best part is it’s completely vegan and SANE.

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Finally onto dessert, I made baked oranges topped with cherries. The recipe called for the oranges to be baked with cinnamon and cognac, but I went for cinnamon, nutmeg, and red wine to create more of a mulled fruit kind of recipe. The fruit smelt and tasted amazing, and was a refereshing end to the meal.

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Looking at pictures of my plate is making me hungry, thankfully it’s boxing day, the day of leftovers!

Merry Christmas, and as always stay SANE.

Hello December

Hello December

 

Marsala was Pantone’s colour of 2015 and my favourite winter colour. These are examples of a few of the things I’m planning on purchasing in AW 15. I love capes and hope to add one to my wardrobe. Holiday sweaters are a must, and can definitely be classy and festive, and not tacky at all. I need a new watch and I love the roman numeral detail, I have gravitated to it in the past and think it is a classic look. I love vintage jewellery and picked up a beautiful art deco style ring and a vintage fair a couple of weeks ago, this ring is a beautiful statement piece. As ever I love a new pair of shoes, I recently bought some Hunter boot cuffs, and I am always on the hunt for the perfect pair of boots, and finally who doesn’t love a good court shoe.

Monsoon vintage jewelry
£6.65 – monsoon.co.uk

Alexander McQueen sweater
net-a-porter.com

Coat
£39 – choies.com

Pumps
£280 – excelsiormilano.com

Hunter boots
£76 – outdoorandcountry.co.uk

Michael Kors watch
£120 – tradesy.com

Dot Bo holiday decoration
£12 – dotandbo.com

Sixtrees wall art
nordstromrack.com

Busy Being SANE in the Kitchen

Hello again!

The past couple months have been exciting. I submitted my placement year dissertation, and had my viva voce (oral exam), it’s nice to feel like a chapter of my life is coming to a natural close. I submitted the first of my final year dissertations, and I am excited about my project, and feeling like my creative juices are flowing. I feel at home again in Manchester and just in time for the festive season! There may be some seasonal cooking coming your way so watch this space.

I have been experimenting in the kitchen a lot recently and I found some great recipes online. With all the hard work lately I was feeling a bit lacklustre and run down so I have introduced small amounts of carbs, predominantly unrefined, back into my life. Some of these recipes include breading, which is the only refined carb product I am using. I have also been having some gluten free products as sides because they are more unrefined.  Possibly the biggest dietary change is my shift to a predominantly plant-based diet, the bulk of my diet does not feature meat and hopefully I will eventually be animal product free!

As always all the recipes featured are on my Pinterest board, and I hope you enjoy this montage of food

These stuffed portabello mushrooms really hit the spot and made a nice salad topper.

Carrot fries are an amazing side, here I paired them with baked eggs and salad pitta pockets (GF).

These honey garlic grilled vegetables went down a treat, I used them to top some pitta halves (GF) to create sort of mini pizzas, and had some fresh rocket and peppered peas on the side.

I discovered recipes for baked okra and fried greens beans a few months ago and finally got round to trying them out; needless to say I fell in love with them and have adapted them to make cauliflower, and Quorn breaded creations. I can honestly say these are all worthy substitutes for fried chicken!

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Finally, we have the whole roasted cauliflower. This was a delight to make, it filled the kitchen with a beautiful spice aroma. Roasting the cauliflower leaves it tender and ‘melt in you mouth’, with a nice crispy exterior. I will definitely be making this again, possibly as an alternative seasonal roast.

Stay SANE!

 

Back on the Wagon

I recently took a 2 month vacation, spending some time at the happiest, most magical place on earth- Disney World; visiting family in the Lake Michigan area; and rejuvenating at home in Malawi. I’m now back in Manchester and ready to tackle my final year of university. I’m well aware that part of my success this year depends on my health and well being, so I’m making a particular effort to jump back into the SANE life.

The weather is still quite mild at the minute, so I’m enjoying having salad meals, but I can’t wait to get into experimenting with more hearty wintery style meals. I’ve also been trying to get into the habit of eating breakfast to make sure I get the quantities of veg that I need each day, and I quite like waking up to a smoothie bowl. Without further a do, here’s some of my meals from the past week. Stay SANE!

    Sea food Stir fry

 Cauliflower rice, with chicken, and lemon and herb vegetables 

  Haddock in tomato sauce, on mixed salad leaves

 Green smoothie bowl with fresh raspberries 

Green smoothie bowl, topped with sesame seeds 

Adventures in SANE Eating

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted about my SANE eating, life caught up with and it’s been a busy time. However, I have managed to be pretty consistent with the SANE eating. It has been a great time of creativity and discovery with food; I’m going to share some of my breakthroughs.

During the first couple of weeks of SANE eating I made a lot of sir fries and, as nice as stir fires are, that got boring very quickly, and I found myself slipping back into old eating habits. So I went to my trusty source of food inspiration- Pinterest, and began a board of foods and recipes that fell into SANE categories.

The 2 most exciting experiments for me were using vegetables as pasta, and pizza base alternatives.

My first test was courgetti, finely grated or spiralised courgette (Zucchini) used as a substitute for spaghetti or noodles. I made a mushroom courgetti to go with steak, and it was a great meal, I will definitely be having it again soon.

The next test was courgette lasagna, which uses courgette finely sliced length-ways instead of flat noodles. The lasagna was incredible and it was a struggle to not eat the whole thing in one sitting.

The next thing I tried was the alternative pizza bases. I made cauliflower and spinach pizzas and personally I found the spinach base to be the better of the 2. Both were a worthy pizza substitute though and fairly quick and easy to make.

  

    

My most recent experiment was with cauliflower rice, the first time I made it , it was more mash than rice, but I have enjoyed success with it recently, and enjoyed this prawn “risotto” this weekend.

I’m enjoying all the kitchen experiments, and beginning to build up a new repertoire of easy daily meals that follow the SANE way of life.

Till next time, stay SANE!

A SANE Weekend

I’ve been doing SANE eating for half a week now, and for the most part I am really enjoying it. I’ve developed a routine with my meals and smoothies, I’m enjoying eating regularly throughout the day and not feeling hungry. Over the weekend I did treat myself to a little bit of inSANEity, I had some cookies and caffeinated tea with milk. I think one of my issues is I miss the taste of chocolate. Now chocolate in itself is not bad, cacao is on the list of SANE foods, but chocolate sweets are not good. So I’ve bought some organic cacao powder and will be using it over the next few days and we’ll see how that goes. I got a reasonably priced sampling size off of a whole foods seller on Amazon.

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In terms of meals I ate this weekend I had a variety of stir fries. This is my mixed meat and vegetable one which had: Chicken, beef, smoked haddock, kale, bean sprouts, and sugar snaps.

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One major thing I discovered this weekend is I no longer had any snack food; all the snacks I used to eat were inSANE, and I also didn’t want to overdo the nuts because those are quite high in fat content. So I had to get a little creative with my snacks; this was good because it made me think if I really wanted a snack because a snack now involves food prep not just unwrapping and consumption. My favourite snack this weekend was a fried egg, with chili mushy peas, and romaine leaves.

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And onto the smoothies, I’ve still not gotten round to photographing any of them, but I made a lovely one this weekend that I’m now calling my red velvet smoothie. It has the same ingredients as my green smoothie I just threw in a little beetroot and it tasted great, and the texture was very creamy. I think I may try adding the cacao to that smoothie and have a little bit of a veggie chocolate/red velvet cake in a cup sort of smoothie going on.

To round off I’m definitely a lot more satisfied with my eating, I don’t feel hungry as often anymore, and when I do, I don’t feel as if I’ve over eaten I just know it’s time for more food and that I nee to get my veggie servings in. Till next time, stay SANE!

The Journey to SANE Eating

I’ve recently been entreated to read the book ‘The Calorie Myth‘ by Johnathan Bailor, and I have to say it has impressed me so far. The principles behind it are firmly rooted in science, and unlike most diets promotes long term change in lifestyle, and tends to focus your attention on what you can eat as opposed to providing an extensive list of banned foods. The book is also great because it keeps the focus on the quality of your food and not the quatities, so long calorie counting! Foods are classified as SANE or inSANE. SANE stands for 4 qualities that foods have: Satiety, Aggression, Nutrition, and Efficiency. These four words provide us with 4 questions to ask of our food; how long will this keep me full? How likely is this to be stored as fat? What is the quality of the nutrients? Finally, how efficiently is this metabolised? Foods that are SANE will keep you full for longer, be unlikely to be stored as fat, have high quality nutrients, and be inefficiently metabolised (the more work your body has to do to break down a food, the less likely it is to be stored as fat). I was pleased to find that a lot of SANE foods I actually really like, and so I’ve done a nice big monthly grocery shop and I’m beginning my journey to SANEity.

I thought I would chronicle my experience firstly, because I am under no pretenses that this will be an easy thing to do, and it’ll be nice to leave an honest account that will hopefully help others. Secondly, it’ll be nice to have some accountability, I’ve spoken soo highly of this book, I should have some documented results. Let the SANEity begin!

In the book, it’s explained how carbs are not SANE, but starchy vegetables are, so in cutting back on carbs the RDA servings of fresh vegetables increases dramatically to ensure that you are still getting enough nutrients to fulfill your body’s needs. The amount of servings needed scared me a little, I couldn’t fathom fitting that many meals in a day. So, I jumped the smoothie band wagon and bought a Magic Bullet by Nutri, and I can honestly say I’m enjoying the product.

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Onto the smoothies though, I tried a pure green smoothie made of spinach, kale, celery, and cucumber, and it was terrible and I thought what have I gotten myself into there’s no way I can do this every day. I persevered with some experimentation though and have found a nice simple smoothie that I like; a revised infinitely better tasting green smoothie; and a nice veg purée that also is great for getting in the veggie servings. My smoothie is made from celery, tomato, cucumber and plain Greek yoghurt; I think this will be my breakfast smoothie for a little while as it is very quick and easy, and leaves me feeling not too full and energized. I’ve always had trouble eating breakfast; food too early in the day just left me feeling ill, too full, and a bit sluggish; not a great way to begin, so I’m glad I’ve been able to make something that fits my needs well. My new and greatly improved green smoothie features the addition of some tomato, and some cottage cheese. My veggie dip is made of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots that have been lightly steamed. I throw in a couple of spices, and have it as an accompaniment to my evening stir fry.

The other SANE meals I have are my lunch; I pack a couple of handfuls of frozen veg with a handful of pieces of meat (chicken/pork); a mid afternoon snack of macadamia and cashew nuts; and for dinner stir fried veggies with some fish. These first couple of days I have had a couple of inSANE foods. I had a couple of brownies, and a fizzy drink, but if other people’s experiences are anything to go by they found their cravings for inSANE stuff really decreased.

Currently I feel like this is sustainable, and I’m enjoying the change, eating breakfast does make me feel a bit better in the morning at least it gets me up and productive a little earlier. I will try and start adding more pictures of my foods as this goes on. I hope you enjoy joining me on this journey and maybe be inspired to start your own path to health and wellbeing.