Cheesy leeks / kale

I have two different methods to make this…both incredibly quick and equally tasty. Which method I use depends on what is in my fridge. I use leeks and / or kale.

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Cheesy leeks and kale served on gluten-free toast with sweet piquante peppers

The quantities given serve 2

Recipe 1:

Ingredients:

2 leeks – sliced / 1 leek – sliced and large handful of kale – torn away from the thick stalks / 2 large handfuls of kale

Knob of butter

3-4 tbsp of water

4 tbsp cream cheese

Method:

Melt the butter and toss the prepared vegetables in the hot butter. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water, cover and leave on a moderate heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the desired texture. Add the cream cheese and stir until thoroughly dispersed and heated through. Serve.

Recipe 2:

Ingredients:

2 leeks – sliced / 1 leek – sliced and large handful of kale – torn away from the thick stalk / 2 large handfuls of kale

Knob of butter

3-4 tbsp of water

4 tbsp creme fraiche

handful of grated cheese

Method:

Melt the butter and toss the prepared vegetables in the hot butter. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water, cover and leave on a moderate heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the desired texture. Add the creme fraiche and grated cheese and stir until thoroughly dispersed and heated through. Serve.

 

 

 

Mrs Impatient

On the 28th of December, I wrote that I had finished chemotherapy and was at last starting on the road to recovery…followed by a post on the 26th February about the start of a new healthy me.

I think I was both naive and deluded! My doctors told me the chemotherapy would impact on my system for several months and  this compounded by the 5 weeks of daily radiotherapy would mean that the side effects would be long reaching. But …oh no…not me I thought! Well – they were right. I have been  / am really frustrated by the very slow process of recovery.

I understand that my body has taken a battering but I truly thought I would bounce back more quickly. I am struggling with accepting this – although I have no choice and am trying to turn my, ‘But I’ve only managed to do this,’ into, ‘Today I have done this!’ I have accepted (I think) that I won’t be the same as before diagnosis – and that isn’t a bad thing, I had already recognised that things needed to change – hence handing my notice in at work. I am accepting that this is a blip, a haitus in my plans and future goals and only that. I would like to have heard the words, ‘You are clear.’ but know that with the ‘high risk cancer’ (oncologist’s words not mine) it is all about doing things to increase my survival rate and chance of being around in 10 years. This is taking a bit to process…but I will 🙂

On a very positive note I now have a complete covering of baby soft hair on my head (albeit a different colour and flecks of grey – lovingly pointed out by one of my daughters!!), a full set of lashes and eyebrows and I do now feel in the right place mentally to tackle the few pounds that I put on during chemo and am fully embracing the diets choices  I used to make prior to treatment.  Of this part of my life, I can be in full control.

Would love to read the thoughts and words of wisdom from those of you who are at the same point as me,  ahead of me or just interested in my ramblings 🙂

Chick pea and lentil stew

This is a really quick dish to make and is delicious on its own or with crusty bread and a salad or baked potato.

Ingredients:

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Can of chick peas – drained

Small butternut squash peeled and cubed

Onion – finely chopped                 Olive oil

2 cups of red lentils                        1 tsp ginger

Carton of passata                            1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp turmeric                                  500 ml vegetable stock

Method:

Fry the onions until soft. Add the spices and heat for another minute. Add all the other ingredients and simmer until the lentils are soft.

 

All a bit bonkers…

This is going to seem to be a bit bonkers…

I have only just realised; I have had cancer.

People who know me will probably think that I have finally lost the plot. They know I was diagnosed last July. Since then I have existed within a whirlwind of tests, operation, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, weekly and sometimes daily visits to the cancer hospital, visits to my own doctor, visits to district nurses, etc.

Throughout all of this I haven’t really had time to think…or been able to think. It was during my penultimate visit for radiotherapy treatment (18/19 treatments on 9th February) that the reality hit me – like a sledgehammer. I then did what I had vowed I would never do – spent a week wallowing in self pity and ‘woe is me’ mode.

Now it is all about moving forward. Yes, I still have reminders of the treatment – operation scars, nails falling off, aching bones and joints, burned skin – but… my body is recovering and the signs are clear. I have a covering of hair on my head, eyelashes and eyebrows are returning and my energy levels are increasing.

During treatment my diet changed. Partly due to taste buds; partly due to the fact that many of my staple foods were banned (sprouted legumes, kefir, salads) and partly because somedays eating anything was better than eating nothing.

It is time to recalibrate.

Here is to the healthy me 🙂

Roasted vegetables, watercress and chicken soup

I always make this type of soup using leftovers. When I make a roast dinner or a dish involving roast vegetables I ensure there are some leftover to make soup the next day. Perfect if the roast was chicken as the scraps can be added to the soup and the carcass can be boiled / simmered to make a nutritious stock.

So, to a few leftover roasted vegetables – including potatoes – I add a bag of watercress and pint of stock. I simmer this for 10 minutes, blitz and then add the chicken scraps. Quick. Easy. Delicious.

Leek and potato soup 

I love autumn and winter – perfect weather for a bowl of warming and filling soup. I tend to make my soups hearty rather than a consomme type.

This soup is so easy to make and quick – from thought to tableware in half an hour😊

For a pan load that will provide 4 generous servings I use:

Ingredients:

3 leeks washed and chopped

5 white potatoes  peeled and chopped into small pieces

1 pint of stock – vegetable  or chicken

Cup of milk – optional

Salt and pepper.

Method:

Put the leeks, potatoes stock and seasoning in a pan. Cover and bring to the boil. Simmer until soft. Remove from the heat and blend until nearly smooth. I like to leave the odd chunk. Put back on the heat and add the milk if desired. bring up to boiling and serve.

Mushroom ‘stroganoff’

A thoroughly delicious but incredibly simple meal. I used full fat everything…but all the relevant ingredients could be substituted for reduced calorie if so desired.

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I didn’t really measure anything so this is rough guide:

Ingredients:

Punnet of button mushrooms                          Parmesan      Butter/oil to cook

Brie – chopped into chunks                               Single cream

Garlic clove – finely chopped                            Onion – finely chopped

Method:

Saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms in butter/oil.

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Add the brie and stir until melted.

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Stir in sufficient cream to make a sauce – do not boil.

Serve immediately. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Delicious on naan (gf) bread.

 

A new way of thinking

Having spent the last few weeks immersed in studying nutrition I have done a great deal of thinking about food… even more so than normal! This combined with my slowly changing relationship with food has made me come to some conclusions…I am no longer dieting – hoorah but instead I am eating mindfully. It is different!

I am no longer driven by the all consuming need / desire to lose weight or a quick fix but instead I eat to enhance my health and improve my lifestyle.

I have stopped counting calories and now eat quality calories.

I’m giving myself permission to eat the good foods until I am satisfied not depriving myself or denying myself.

I eat when I am hungry and listen to my internal cues rather than being driven by external cues.

and…finally, food is no longer my enemy / nemesis or a trap but to my absolute astonishment it is my ally and liberator.  Two words I never ever thought would be written by me about food!

.

 

 

Wild keta salmon on courgetti, chickpeas and pine nuts

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 salmon fillets

2 courgettes – spiralised                     1/4 cup pine nuts

1 cup of chick peas (tinned)                1 tsp ground ginger

Tamari to flavour – 1 tbsp                  olive oil for cooking

Method:

Bake the salmon fillets in the oven in a tin foil parcel for 10-15 minutes – no additional flavours / oil added.

Whilst it is cooking, heat  the oil in a frying pan. Add the chick peas, pine nuts and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the courgetti and cook for a further minute. Add tamari  – heat through and serve.

Power of the mind

This week has been a hard one for me…I have really struggled with both sleeping and staying positive. What I have found interesting, now I can reflect back, is the speed at which both these factors impacted on my dietary desires and motivations.

I have been virtually sugar-free for months now yet this week the craving for sugar was really strong – I succumbed to cake a couple of times and even though it tasted hideously sweet, I persevered! It would have been so easy to fall back in to old habits – shockingly easy in fact – the addictive power of sugar is so scary. With a supreme conscious effort I have had a good talking to myself and ignored the voice of sugar whispering to me.

Once upon a time I would have chastised myself for this ‘slip’…but instead I am celebrating my strength and the overwhelming desire to be healthy.