Thursday, 30 July 2015

Burrito Bowl / Recipe

I'm not entirely sure what to call this creation, I've seen lots of different variations on Pinterest (New addiction, move over Tumblr). A burrito bowl, a Buddha bowl, a salad bowl or a de-constructed sushi bowl. Basically, a BOWL of absolute yummy nutritious goodness. I'm currently loving this dish, I've been having it every day for dinner for the last week and I'm still not bored of it. It's versatile, you can literally add anything you fancy. Whether that be meat, cheese, different kinds of vegetables, grains - quinoa, couscous or rice. There's no limits to what you can add, however I'm going to put my recipe/how I put the bowl together. I must admit that I did specifically buy a white, rounded shallow bowl purely for photogenic photos. 

I am becoming the ultimate blogger, aren't I?

  • Handful of raw spinach
  • 1 small sweet potato, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1/2 courgette, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 carrot, raw, grated
  • 50g chickpeas, drained
  • 80g sweetcorn
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika
This doesn't exactly require a method, it's just a pretty bowl of food, aesthetic right. Over the last week I've changed the meal around a bit, adding houmous, halloumi, broad beans, mushrooms and edamame beans.

Here's a couple more images of the dish, with a variety of different ingredients. It would be cool if anyone else made this, to see what you put in the bowl. It's simple to throw together, doesn't require much preparation and provides more than your 5-a-day.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Wick Farm and Strawberry Picking

Last week saw my family witness my cousin get married to her South African partner, held in the most beautiful venue in Bath. Wick Farm's venue holds a modernized barn, high ceilings, a pond with a decking area (First image showcases the greenery surrounding the pond, which did have little ducklings...) and the bar (Third photo) with a super comfy sofa, my food baby and I would later collapse there in a fit of delicious food. 

My cousin is very D.I.Y and the wedding venue had lots of her little touches, the flowers decorating the tables were from her garden, the pots of jam on the tables were put together by her also, she likes to make her own jam! There were fairy lights, candles, hundreds and hundreds of candles which myself and another one of my cousins had the fabulous job of lighting them all when it began to get dark. Origami doves hung from the ceiling, jam jars hand decorated and homemade activities for the younger children including a large scale Ker-Plunk and hula hoops. 

The food was incredible, I was so impressed. Leading up to the wedding I was worried that there wouldn't be anything suitable for me to eat after my cousin told us her plans of a BBQ, however I wasn't disappointed. After the vows and speeches had taken place, the BBQ began and everybody dived for food, literally. Being a vegetarian at a BBQ is normally tricky unless it's pre-planned, which thankfully my cousin (the bride) Christine had it all sorted. My option was these beautiful stuffed peppers (First image) and then a buffet style help yourself to pasta, rice, herby potatoes and freshly baked bread. Pudding was profiteroles!!! The weather stayed sunny for the majority of the day, except one minor pour down which saw everybody sitting outside grab their chairs and run. Activities had been set up, including (Third picture) a collection of props to take silly photos, my brother and sister took the perfect opportunity. Later in the evening, there was more food. Yes, more food. Pizza made on slices of french bread and curly fries. Unconventional for a traditional wedding but this was no ordinary wedding, I continuously found myself  amazed by the effort going into the preparations by the bride and the hens. To sum up the day, it was good company, laughter, mouth-watering food, family love and wonderful weather. 

Skip forward a few days back home, my family and I decided to go to Grove Farm where you pick your own fruit and vegetables. The weather was practical and saw my brother and I picking several punnets of strawberries (Above picture) and not forgetting the sneaky eating of them as we collected them. I like to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables so this was an ideal day out. We left with a wheelbarrow full of fresh strawberries, carrots, onions, potatoes, raspberries, courgettes and beetroots, not only did we leave with fresh produce, we left with suspicious fruit juices on our t-shirts that we attempted to hide when we paid eventually (after eating everything). 

Overall in the last few days, I've been surrounded by good company, food and generally happy memories. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

I Am An Adult

Legally, yes I am an adult but considering I'm still in education and I live with my parents I don't quite feel like I fit the criteria for the adult life. More often but not it seems as though I should have a strict life plan, to be out of education and earning money in a full time job, to be paying bills, to find a suitable life partner, to be cooking dinner every night that every stereotypical woman should be, to be doing the housework and to be learning how to drive. I'm not doing any of those things yet and this post almost ties in with my previous post about failure (this post here). Perhaps because other people my age (I'm 19) are already settling down, buying cars, moving out of their parents home, having full time jobs and beginning to start families. I compare myself to these people and ultimately, I feel once again like a failure, however starting a family isn't my plan.

My plan involves

  • Passing my A-levels, I still have one year left to go and am awaiting my AS results next month.
  • Apply to university.
  • Study, study, study.
  • Get into the university I love the most. 
  • Study, study, study. 
  • Get a part time job whilst I'm studying.
  • Recover. This is the most important one to me, this comes before anything else, this comes before money and learning. I'm going to be vague about my problems until I write a longer post about it, but I suffer with several mental illnesses that I haven't touched on too much. 
That's it. That's how far my plan goes. I don't have any idea what university I want to go to, hell I don't even know what career I want to go into and that is okay. To give myself time is all I can do as a human. I'm only 19 and I have my whole life ahead of me. There's no need to rush things, I want to travel the world and I'm worrying I'm running out of time. I want to go to America and see the 9/11 memorial. I want to go to Amsterdam and visit the Van Gogh museum and Anne Franks house. I want to travel around France like my mum did as a young adult. I want to write something that gets published into the big wide world. 

Some of you have well thought out life plans and some don't. Comparing your goals to somebody else's will halt your progress. Work on you, for you. Don't go for that job if it doesn't make you happy, but it makes your mum happy. Your happiness is the most vital. You're in charge of your own happiness, so referring to the quote up above (Thank you Pinterest for your excessive amount of motivational quotes) do what you have to do to get where you want to be. It may take blood, sweat and tears but in the end, it'll be worth it. You'll be able to say I graduated university, I travelled the world, I became a mum or a wife or I got that job. 

For the time being, until you reach where you want to be, make yourself small short period goals that are achievable and give yourself more credit. 

My small goals include (These are also little things that will make me happy)
  1. Get out of bed. 
  2. Write.
  3. Make the most of every day.
  4. Smile at a stranger a day.
  5. Exercise daily, reach my fitness goals.
  6. Read.
These seem like New Year's resolutions and maybe that's just what they are... But half way through July. 

What are your goals? Both long term and short term.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Overcoming Failure

Feeling as if I've failed at a task/goal is something I'm not good at dealing with, mix that with being a perfectionist, well it doesn't go down well. Everyone has their fair share of failures and what they class as failure. You might have failed an exam, failed getting out of bed this morning or failed at beating a personal best at the gym. Everyone has degrees of failure, my failure might necessarily not be a failure to you.

My failures come when I'm baking and the cake I bake doesn't turn out how I wanted it to look, or more importantly doesn't look good enough for the Instagram aesthetic, this bows down to my perfectionist trait. I'm a writer, or I like to call myself that or aim to have that title and when a piece I'm writing doesn't look how I want it to or my quality of writing isn't great I feel like a failure and it upsets me a lot. Failure also comes to me when I'm exercising, if I set out for a run with a specific goal in mind, but for some reason (fatigue or weather issues) I don't reach that goal, I have to stop and often I walk the remaining distance. This is my biggest feeling of failure and it kills me, bats me down and makes me feel worse about such a minor situation. I'm actually scared of failure, it prevents me from taking opportunities because I'm so terrified of not succeeding.

Despite the feeling of failure, I'm trying to turn those negative "I give up" feelings into something positive. If I've failed due to making a mistake, I realise now that it was a mistake and only a minor setback. So I'm putting together a few points of how to overcome that failure and turn it into something positive and uplifting, change that negative emotion into motivation to do better next time.

  1. You are not your failures. Do not let them define you as a person. 
  2. Try again next time, whether that's tomorrow or next week. You always have time. All us humans have is time, use it efficiently and to your best ability. 
  3. Don't dwell on your failures. Easier said than done, I know that too well. Forget about it, it's not the end of the world. Dwelling on your failures will only make you feel worse about the situation, if you focus on what you've done wrong, you're never going to get it right. Yes, address where you went wrong and correct it next time. 
  4. You have more chances. You might have failed that test or been unsuccessful in a job interview but there's always another time to succeed. 
  5. Tomorrow is a new day. Remember that. Start afresh. Forget what happened yesterday.
You're not the only human being to fail. Did you know that Thomas Edison failed at least 1,000 times before creating the light-bulb? Walt Disney was told he lacked imagination and had no good ideas, look at what Disney has become. 

Remember what happens today, you can change tomorrow. So what if you failed that test? So what if you skipped the gym today? So what if you burned dinner? SO WHAT. Life is full of mistakes but YOU are not your mistakes.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Recipe / Sweet Potato and Lentil Burgers

As you may all know, I am a vegetarian and have been now for over a year and I often try out new recipes or put together my own recipes which I have with this one. I like to know what goes into my food, therefore making it from scratch using fresh ingredients allows me to note down the nutrients provided in a portion. Making meals from scratch is one of my favourite things to do, if and when I have the time, because I know that there's no nasty additives in the ingredients list.
Whilst making these burgers, although I normally avoid eating high amounts of carbohydrate due to my diabetes I really fancied a wholemeal roll to go with the burgers, however when I went to the shop I checked the ingredients of a packet of rolls and an ingredient used was CARAMELIZED SUGAR!!!! I was shocked, put the packet down and when I got home, I simply settled for wholemeal sandwich thins and they did the job, lowering the original carbohydrate count from the (caramelized sugar) wholemeal rolls from 25 to a wholemeal sandwich thin of 19. You may think that isn't much of a difference, but when it comes to calculating the carbohydrate content of my meals which I have to do to manage my diabetes, it makes a big difference and actually lowers the amount of insulin needed for that specific meal.

(Burgers/patties prepped and ready to cook)

Makes 8 burgers
13g carbohydrate per burger/70 calories!!! Good right???

Ingredients List:
2 medium sized sweet potatoes (Skins left on, pricked with a fork)
1 400g tin of green lentils (Drained and rinsed)
1 grated carrot
Half a cauliflower
1 onion
Handful of garlic
20g wholemeal flour 
Seasonings of your choice to taste, I used pepper, salt and paprika. 


1. Chop the cauliflower into small heads and blitz them (I used a blender) into a rice like consistency. Mix in a large mixing bowl with the grated carrot.
2. Prep the sweet potatoes for the oven, leave the skins on and prick them thoroughly with a fork, before putting them into the oven for 40 minutes at gas mark 5. 
3. In a saucepan on medium heat, begin sauteing the onion and garlic until turning slightly brown.
4. Add lentils and seasonings to the saucepan, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes.
5. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and take off their skins (Be careful the potatoes are going to be hot!) and mash the sweet potato with a fork.
6. When the onion and lentil mix is cooked thoroughly, remove from heat and begin mixing the sweet potato, lentil mix and cauliflower and carrot mix together. 
7. Add 20g of wholemeal flour to the mix. 
8. Split the mixture evenly into 8 balls. Use scales for efficiency, each burger averagely weight 100g.  Pat the balls into your preferred burger shape.
9. Butter your baking tray lightly before placing the burgers on it. Place in the oven at gas mask 4 for 30-40 minutes, checking frequently and turning them over. 

I'm extremely happy with this recipe, especially the carbohydrate count per burger.