Happy @ Home

Summer, Sun, Sunglasses, Relaxation

Loving a very lazy weekend this weekend – the last for a while as my social diary is pretty full for the next month or so. And in order to fully embrace my lack of commitments, I have spent the whole weekend in a tracksuit, with no make-up and hair tied back.  There has been some cooking, less cleaning and quite a lot of reading.  A little wine, a little more coffee and lots of lemony water. No work…not one minute…not even a thought. And countless lost hours peeking into the lives of strangers through Instagram and  Bloglovin. Generally a perfect weekend!!!

I am not sure if “wanderlust” is a personality trait and if so whether it is a vice or a virtue but whatever you want to call it, I have it.  Watching Donal Skehan in Greece or Rick Stein’s long weekend in Reykjavik has resulted in a need for physical distance to be created between me and my credit card.  My desire to book flights and spend hours perusing Air BnB can regularly become completely overwhelming and the fact that I booked a week in London on Thursday makes it imperative, while at the same time close to impossible, that I resist any further Ryanair transactions for a little while at least. Therefore my favourite post of the week was terribly timed as I faced my perpetual dilemma…“to book or not to book, that is the question”. You see I found Cookies & Candies post, Charmed by Lisbon” well, charming, and now I think it would be a perfect long weekend destination. She said it’s great value too and the food looks fab….how is a girl to resist?

Realising that I really can’t book anything until I have the current credit card issue at least partly under control, I needed a distraction.  And thankfully here intervened a really cool playlist shared by Rosie from A Rosie Outlook. I was hooked from the first track, Ruth B’s stunning, slow, melancholy offering Lost Boy.  This is definitely worth a listen, as is the rest of the list. It is a soulful, poignant and melancholy mix of tracks perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Credit card crisis momentarily averted.

Turntable, Vinyl, Sound, Retro, Stereo

The sun has been trying to come out today and there is a little glimmer of hope that there may be at least some sliver of a summer. This is one of those things that can never be taken for granted here in Ireland. There have been years when, to quote an esteemed national political figure, we got “drowned out of it every day”. But the Irish are a nation of meteorological optimists and a few dry hours leads to serious contemplation of the summer wardrobe. This for me has to include white skinnies and so this post from Laura at lustrous.ie was both timely and helpful and it is clear we share a love of River Island’s Molly jeggings. For the last couple of years I have also loved white ankle skimming skinny jeans with little zips from Zara. Really hope they get them in this year.

Finally, I am constantly searching for new and improved granola recipes. I make it often, generally successfully but there are a few things that always take some points away in my imaginary grading scale. One is that the nuts often feel like they are verging on burnt, the second is that I worry they it too sweet to really be healthy at all and finally I don’t know when is best to add things like the fruit and the coconut. Today I stumbled across a new recipe and while I need to see how it tastes on a weekday morning with yoghurt and berries, it is currently cooling on the rack and looks like it may be my best effort yet. Hope your weekend was also a happy one, whatever that means for you. And for the week ahead just keep smiling, you will always be amazed how many people smile back xoxo

Yogurt, Granola, Blueberries, Fruit

Super Food Saturday

“Cakes are healthy too, you just eat a small slice.”  – Mary Berry

I am inclined to agree with Mary Berry’s philosophy which has echoes of “a little of what you fancy…” and so I have been enjoying a pretty healthy few weeks with little sprinkles of cheating.

Today, I have decided to share my meal plan for the day, complete with a couple of my new favourite recipes. Limiting carbs and particularly bread has meant keeping breakfasts light and I have been experimenting with lots of different types of smoothies. This is my current favourite..

Oaty Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • Handful of strawberries
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1 chopped banana
  • A couple of handfuls of porridge oats
  • 1 small tub of Greek yoghurt
  • A drizzle of honey
  • A drop of vanilla extract
  • A generous amount of almond milk
  • 4-6 ice cubes

Method:

Just bung every thing in the blender and blitz until smooth.  It is sweet and delicious but still healthy and the oats and yoghurt  give it enough bulk to keep me full until lunch.  I have it with a soft boiled egg and a cup of warm water with lemon.

Weekday lunches have been mostly salads or leftovers from the previous night’s dinner but today I am opting for Jamie Oliver’s “Healthy Chicken Club” with some minor adjustments to suit what I have in my store cupboard.  The recipe comes from  Everyday Super Food (I picked it up through one of those book clubs at work for €10)

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I am aware that there is bread in this lunch, but it is Saturday and I cheerfully refer you back to Mary Berry’s quote. To allow myself to feel a little virtuous I am using a fresh loaf of honey and spelt bread.

Healthy Chicken Club

Ingredients:

  • 3cm piece of cucumber
  • 1 ripe pear
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1/2 a little gem lettuce
  • 2 sprigs of basil
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon of English Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts
  • 4 slices of spelt bread
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 handfuls of rocket
  • 1/2 a lemon

Method:

  • Half the cucumber and scoop out the seeds.
  • Grate the cucumber and pear with a box grater and squeeze out any excess liquid with your hands. Put these in a bowl.
  • Shred the lettuce and basil and thinly slice the spring onion before adding to the bowl with the pear and cucumber.
  • Add the yoghurt, mustard and vinegar.  Mix everything well. Taste and season as required.
  • Slice the chicken and tomato and toss the rocket in a little lemon juice.
  • Now toast the bread on a dry pan and you are ready to build your sandwich.
  • Take a toast, pop on a layer of sliced tomato, a generous helping of the dressed salad, chicken, more dressed salad and some rocket leaves.  Top with another slice of toast.
  • Eat and enjoy xo

This was really, really delicious – all the tastiness of a club sandwich but with no bacon, oil, butter or mayo adding to the calorie count.  I would highly recommend it, it was even a hit with my trusty taster who likes to add a generous handful of criticism to many of the “cleaned up” recipes. With the addition of some baked sweet potato fries it would make also make a great dinner.

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For dinner tonight we are going to stick with Jamie and try Chicken and Sweet Potato Cacciatore with Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Olives. It has three of your 5 a day and is bursting with B12.  Given that is a rainy Saturday it may well be followed by a good book, a blazing fire and a glass of slightly warmed Chianti (yep, I know….alcohol!!!…I again refer you to Mary Berry but instead of “cake” read “wine” and for “slice” try “glass” xx)  I will let you know how the recipe goes.  Have a great weekend and fingers crossed for the return of sunny days and stunning sunsets next week.

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