Happy New Year my lovelies! I hope you all had a good one whether you were working, playing, sleeping or screwing!

Over the last year and a bit I have shared many a home-cooked food photo on Instagram. It really all started when I partook in Stella Shape Up and found that I really enjoyed cooking healthier meals and substituting various carbs and sugars for lower caloried alternatives. I am no longer quite as strict as I used to be, but my favourite meals to prepare are definitely the colourful more healthy varieties. One look at my body and you would see that I clearly like to indulge as well – pasta is a total favourite of mine as it bread, yorkshire puddings and cheesy garlic mash – cheese in general to be honest! But I take more pride in the meals that I will be sharing with you now in this much requested post!

Nature and nurture have both played a part in my love of food and cooking. I am told that my real Mum was a really excellent cook, and my Dad, (step) Mum and Grandparents (who are from the Baltics) are all great cooks who always let me muck in in the kitchen – which is the best place to be in as you get to sample everything!! I learn about flavours, what went with what, what really shouldn’t go but really did, and that cooking is not always about following recipes!
I am definitely guilty of making massive portions – and I often really push myself to finish dishes, even when I am stuffed. But I am getting better at eating slower and allowing my tummy to tell my mind to stop eating – and the fridge often contains half finished plates of food that I polish off at the next meal. I do try to eat a larger breakfast, small lunch and smaller dinner, but that’s not something I follow to a T!

So please bear in mind that this post will contain lots of food photos and explaining why I create certain things but no recipes as such as I never weigh or measure things – I know which combos I like and what works well and it’s often the same old same old. I do always post the ingredients on Instagram/Facebook when I post the photos. I wasn’t sure exactly how to do this so please bear with me and I hope you find it useful!

Two of my favourite kitchen things are my Nutribullet and my ‘Spiraleze’ spiralizer, both from eBay and shockingly, I am not paid to promote them! It took a bit of trial and error to get the quantities right in my Nutribullet…

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As unlike a juicer, what you put in it what you get, and what I initially got was a paste! I now know to add little bits of things and some liquid – whether that’s water, prune juice, coconut water, beetroot juice, superberry juice or anything else! My favourite juice to make is ‘poop juice’ and it contains little snippets of all of these things – and you’ll see how it got it’s name!

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I also use my bullet to make tomato sauces for pasta type dishes, guacamole, hummus and many other things! Just always make sure that you add enough liquid. Making these things is great food prep – I will touch on this more later on in the post.

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Speaking of prep – I will often spiralize courgettes, carrots, beetroot and cucumbers in advance as well. The latter can be popped into a tub together as they will all be eaten raw in salads. The courgette is used instead of pasta or noodles in some dishes. So as not to wasted anything I do eat the middle bits as well, and I will often sprinkle a little bit of lemon juice onto the veggies to stop them going too brown.
There’s something very pleasing about eating spiralized veggies, and the carrot and beetroot especially add a different kind of crunch to salads.

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Courgetti with home-made pesto (basil, sun dried tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic) topped with pine nuts, parmesan and basil.

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Courgetti Bolognese!  The sauce is homemade – tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, chilli and oil.

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Courgetti with roasted veg and a little oil, lemon, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan.

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A linseed wrap with spinach, cucumber, spiralized carrots and beetroot and chicken with mayo.

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Spiralized courgette with a salmon fish cake and homemade pesto.

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Zoodles with my take on ‘bun cha’ – chicken and veg with a lemon grass, lime, sesame oil, honey, chilli, garlic, vinegar and fish sauce.

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Another take on bun cha, but with pork!

One big thing that I have changed is – breakfast! Anything goes (and I mean ANYTHING), but I generally prefer savoury food now, as starting the day with sugar never did me any favours. I try to have fish or chicken and there are often eggs involved! Prep is a vital thing with breakfast as a lot of people are often in a rush in the mornings. This is my favourite speedy brekkie:

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Toasted rye bread with guacamole (blended avocado, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, chilli, lemon juice and spring onions) topped with spinach and poached eggs. Amazing!

Here are the sort of things I make when I have more time:

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Avocado on toast, poached tomatoes, mushrooms with garlic, smoked salmon and poached eggs.

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Scrambled eggs (cooked with a little butter) that had smoked salmon added once the heat was off, spinach and mushrooms, raw tomatoes, pepper and avocado with balsamic glaze, garlic and chilli and…juiced ginger!  I was ill!

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Avocado and eggs! With raw spinach (and balsamic glaze) and garlic mushrooms.

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Spinach and avocado with scrambled egg and smoked salmon.

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A variation of the former but on toast!

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Veggie and pork sausages, avocado and chilli and mushrooms and tomatoes. The lump is homemade hash browns – grated potato and onion mixed with eggs and cooked in coconut oil.

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Scrambled eggs, avocado with bacon, mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes.

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Lentils, avocado, tomatoes, salmon and spinach.

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A slightly controversial breakfast – a salad!  Spinach, cucumber, steamed courgette and peppers, sun dried tomatoes, chicken, goat’s cheese and balsamic vinegar.

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The same old but with mixed beans in ketchup!

I think you might be starting to see that I favour a lot of the same old foods and seasonings.  And that’s key to finding food that you want to make – finding what you enjoy and what works well together but also not getting bored.  Finding what takes the quickest times some morning, or what your children will eat.  Sometimes my breakfast is a huge experiment of fridge leftovers – and the greatest recipes are sometimes discovered that way!!!
In terms of what to add – if you prep too much food you can always pop it in the fridge for another day. When it comes to seasoning things, it’s best to start small and smell and taste things where possible. Also go on what you or the person you are cooking for likes – personally, I like chilli but can’t handle too much, garlic is my favourite and I love citrus, but not so much that it overpowers. Trial and error is a big part of it all. I started to use lemongrass a year a so ago, and I have learnt how much is good to add, ditto with adding nuts and seeds to the top of things. I think I prefer cooking this way rather than following a recipe as I really get a feel for the food and tastes and I have to rely on myself not a book that doesn’t know me!

Photographing your food is another great way to make fun, appetising meals.  We eat with our eyes before our mouths, and food photos tend to go down well on social media and make you feel good about your creation and the time you took!

Here are some more creations!

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This is a ‘George was too lazy to spiralize but wanted a faux pasta like dish’ meal – sliced courgette, sun dried and cooked tomatoes, lemon juice, oil, garlic, parmesan and basil. Simple yet yummy!

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Shop bought fish cakes with salad and home made pesto.

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Steamed haddock and veg and raw chilli and garlic – it’s that simple sometimes!

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Steamed squash and veg with roasted salmon topped with capers.

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A yummy spiralized salad with crunch seeds and roasted salmon.

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All the raw veg – beetroot, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, poached eggs, hummus and smoked salmon.

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Steamed veg with plaice and capers.

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This little concontion made a beautiful curry!  I served it on brown rice, and the spring onions, parsley and lime are to garnish.

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Salmon and veg with chilli and garlic forever!  Salmon can be pretty cheap – some supermarkets sell packs with, say, 8 individually wrapped fillets in that are perfect for freezing and cracking out when you have no food left!

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Scallops and chorizo!  How I love thee!  Served with veg and butternut squash mash.

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Salad time! Spinach with poached peppers and courgettes, sun dried tomatoes, chicken, chorizo, goat’s cheese and balsamic glaze.

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This was a ‘fridge amnesty’ salad! Lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, beetroot, carrot, pickled onions, red cabbage, pomegranates (all raw), brown rice, quinoa, chicken and mixed seeds with a honey, mustard, chilli, lemon, garlic and vinegar dressing.  That’s my usual go to homemade dressing combo!  Again – adjust ingredients to suit your taste.

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A slightly greener version of the above.

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Spinach, cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, ssun dried tomatoes, steamed broccoli, roasted squash, raw beetroot, poached chicken, goat’s cheese, pomegranate, seeds and a homemade chilli, garlic and citrus dressing.

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Spiralizer action with a fish cake, seeds, homemade guacamole and seeds.

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I am not a fan of goat’s cheese, but with the right salad it does work well!  Melted onto warm chicken with balsamic vinegar…mmm!

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More spiralized goodness!

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This looks like a complicated feast but it was lots of little bits all thrown together — as per!  I love the yummy frankfurters – they are from M&S.  And of course, good old balsamic glaze!!

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I was pretty proud of this one!  Chicken Kiev!  I stuffed the chicken with chopped garlic and parsley and rolled it in coconut flour, beaten egg and ground almond and fried it in coconut oil.  Served on spiralized courgette and salad.

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Belly pork is a real favourite of mine,  I cooked it in it’s own fat with ginger and apple and served it with roasted squash and veggies.

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It looked like gloop and tasted like heaven!  Beetroot and squash mashed with a little bit of butter and served with turkey and rye bread meatballs (literally mix those things together and poach in shallow water), veggies and a homemade tomato sauce and topped with basil and parmesan.

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A semi-healthy curry alternative: Shop bought butter chicken sauce with chicken served with Uncle Ben’s 5 grain rice mix (quinoa, brown rice etc) with peppers and spring onions, and on top is a mix of raw: cucumber, spring onions, pomegranate, bean sprouts, chilli, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and vinegar.

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Grilled peppers with a salad containing raw beetroot, tomato, bean sprouts, honey, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic.
Salmon roasted with an almond, pine nut, chilli, garlic, lemon, lime and parsley ‘crust’.

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A slightly alternative risotto like dish!
Red rice, grains and quinoa with chicken, peas, sweetcorn, beetroot and roasted peppers cooked with a little bit of chicken stock and chilli and topped with parsley, toasted pine nuts, roasted garlic and lemon.

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I love pasta!  This spinach pasta by ‘Seeds of Change’ is the bomb!  Turkey mince bolegnese with a homemade sauce.

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You can’t go wrong with soup.  This is a favourite invention – blended butterbeans and chicken stock with chicken, sweetcorn, spring onions, honey, lime, coconut milk and chilli.

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Pork, ginger and apple, you strike again!

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I love pomegranate seeds on salads and chicken dishes.  This sauce contained similar things to the soup – coconut milk, lime, honey and chilli.

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They strike again!

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Butterbeans are a grean protein and carb alternative if you are looking for a change – and they are so creamy and fluffy and delicious!  I haven’t had much luck with buying dried ones and soaking them and so I always buy canned beans.

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This was another ‘breaded’ chicken dish where I subbed breadcrumbs and oil for ground almonds and coconut oil – and I added blended garlic and parsley to the crust and baked it.

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Roasted chicken (generally seasoned with the usual chilli, garlic, lemon, honey and parsley combo) with veggies. I love roasting chicken and then picking at it/adding it to salads and meals for a few days before making stock with the bones and giving them to the rats!

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You may have already seen this one but with beetroot….copy paste…a slightly alternative risotto like dish!
Red rice, grains and quinoa with chicken, peas, sweetcorn, red cabbage and roasted peppers cooked with a little bit of chicken stock and chilli and topped with parsley, toasted pine nuts, roasted garlic and lemon

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Duck, grains and all the veggies!

My tastes are actually pretty simple as you can see!  Garlic on everything, parsley and lemon if I can help it and usually lots of veggies!

And as for snacking:

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I generally only like peanut butter in it’s preferred state – on buttery toast with or without jam, but this is a really yummy sweet snack!  Be prepared to be surprised!  Any nut butters work.

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I LOVE medjool dates!  They aren’t *quite* fudge, but they do do a good joob!  These are they mixed with a variety of nuts, apricots, goji berries, raisins and cocoonut butter and topped with dark chocolate.  Yum!

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I nicked this raw blueberry&orange cheesecake recipe from ‘This Rawsome Vegan Life’, and it wasn’t the prettiest, but it was amazing!

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My first ever attempt at raw bounties!  After buying some from a health food cafe I decided I had to make them!  The base contains coconut oil, flour, cream and the real desiccated deal and agave syrup, and the top is agave syrup, coconut oil and cacao powder.  I have made several versions of these to try to get the perfect combo and I am still learning!

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Coconut and banana cookies!  They contain: coconut cream, coconut oil and coconut flour, desiccated coconut, ground Brazil nuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts, vanilla bean paste, agave syrup, medjool dates and bananas. The top is decorated with banana slices (soaked in lemon juice to stop them going brown) and a little cinnamon. I baked them on a low heat for 35 minutes and they were chewy and moist.

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Another raw bounty attempt!  This time with medjool dates inside and coated in dark chocolate.

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The flapjacks that fell apart and so were basically used as cereal!  They contained the usual oats, raisins and cherries but also flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut oil and goji berries.  I baked them for a little while but they just were not to be sliced into pieces that stayed together!  Still yummy though!

I of course snack on chocolate like it’s going out of fashion, but trying out ‘raw’ and vegan recipes is really fun and interesting.  Without sounding like the world’s biggest wanker – my body feels good when good stuff goes into it, and of course I really love cooking, so this is a labour of love more than anything!

I hope that this post has helped and inspired in some way!  If I could tell you some things to take away from it it would be:

  • * Prep your food as much as you can!  Pre cooked chicken for salads, guacamole, sliced garlic, spiralied veg.
  • * Have fun!  Experiment!  Try new things!
  • * Work out which tastes and flavours you like so you can work out what sort of things to add to your food.
  • * If you make too much food then pop it into the fridge for another day.
    * Follow lots of foodie social media accounts and get inspired!

Tell me your thoughts below!

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