weelissa

Lover of make-up, good food, fine wine, heavy weights and sleeping…

Tagged in: recipe

Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I don’t know about you, but there’s something really comforting about Autumn weather. Yes I know it’s cold and a bit drizzly, but impending thoughts of German Christmas Markets and woolly jumpers makes me fuzzy inside.

Unfortunately, one thing which also turns with the weather are my eating habits. Tuna salads just don’t do it for me in October and, before I can say ‘Deck the halls’, I’ve fallen head first into a packet of mince pies and I’m drowning in brandy cream.

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New Year, New You

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic festive period and didn’t overindulge too much like I did. Traditional Boxing Day trifle went down a treat this year, just like every other year before it, and the wine carafe was always full, just like every weekend before it since 2005.

I bet my right arm (and you can keep it, because I hate my bingo wings) that everyone is having a health kick this January. Are you weighing your Special K and counting the calories in your morning coffee? Yeah, you’re on a health kick. It’s either one of your New Years resolutions or you’re just trying to ease back into the way life was before buy one get one free mince pies in Asda. And I’m no different. I too am on a health kick, but a different kind of health kick than usual.

Pushing yourself too hard can reverse the desired outcome.

Studies have shown that most people break their healthy New Years resolutions by January 5th. Any diet resolution which forces you to eat peanut butter out the jar at 1am on a Thursday morning is not a great resolution, and the reason why most people are forced to break their resolutions is because they are unrealistic. If you set yourself a booze free January then you’re just going to end up sucking chocolate liquers and crying into your cranberry juice. A better way to ensure you are becoming healthier is to make it gradual. Instead of a booze free month, go for four booze free days a week, or only drink at weekends. Immediately the goal is achievable and it is still bringing you a little bit closer to good health.

Another resolution which is high on most people’s charts is the ‘I’m going to the gym every day after work and I’m gonna be so buff’. So you sign up on a £50 a month contract for a year and jog to the gym in your new lycra ready to sweat. But come the end of your second week, you’re exhausted, malnutritioned and you’ve gained 3lbs. Oh, did you hear that? It was the sound of a cork popping on a bottle of wine. Bang! Two resolutions broken in week two. Common knowledge with us humans is that if we over exert ourselves into something then we soon bore ourselves of it and lose interest completely. If you’re going to join a gym, then start by going three times a week for about an hour and eating a good diet to justify the gym. If you overdo it, you’ll quit. And the weight gain will be because you’ve gained muscle, your body thinks you’re starving because you’re over working it and not eating enough, you’re retaining water, you’re menstruating or you haven’t pooped since Christmas Eve. Three times a week, that’s all you need to do to make a difference to your physical health.

And the same goes for your diet. Don’t restrict your calories too much, because most likely you’ll be cutting your intake from the past two weeks by over two thirds which will instantly tell your body it’s starving and your body will instantly try to store everything you eat. Be sensible. Instead of eating cabbage soup for a month, which lets face it, will only last until Monday lunchtime, just cut the crap. Sweets, desserts, starchy carbs like bread and white pasta and fizzy drinks, or even one or two of these will make a difference to your health and you’re much more likely to stick to the plan.

So although I’m sitting here sipping on a small glass of Chianti, it’s all part of my eating plan for the month, which I have been sticking to. If you want to know about said eating plan then you’ll need to read my next post. Until then, stay healthy.

Low Fat Turkey Burger a la Lissa!

You know when you have the urge to sink your teeth into something meaty but the thought of cheating your diet with a greasy Maccy D’s makes you seeth with guilt? Well this recipe for Asian inspired turkey burgers gives you some of the same meaty satisfaction but with a much leaner and healthier protein. This is great for muscle repair after a workout and it fills you up a treat, plus they’re dead simple to make so you really have no excuse. Although, I would strongly advise that you don’t substitute the fat from the meat by smothering it in melted cheese. My partner, Chris, is not guilty of that at all.

For a healthy meal, serve with a mixed bean and vegetable salad. The beans are full of fibre which is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system and they also release their energy slowly helping to keep your fingers out of the biscuit jar during the Coronation Street ad break. Alternatively, if you can’t stand the thought of a burger with no bun, have the burger inside a warm wholemeal pita pocket and serve with a crunchy vegetable salad.

Ingredients

500g lean turkey mince

1 egg yolk

1 finely chopped spring onion

1cm grated root ginger

1 teaspoon of lazy chillis (or finely chopped fresh chillis)

salt and pepper to season

For cooking

1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

1. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix it up with your hands until its evenly distributed.

2. Shape the burgers into 4 patties (of two if you’re both mega hungry) and place on a dinner plate before putting in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Once the patties are ready, heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the burgers slowly until the juices run clear. A great tip to keep them moist is not to press them down with a fish slice when they’re cooking as this can dry them out. You can also grill the burgers but, in all honesty, they are not as tasty.

Munchy munchy!

Mum’s Healthy Lentil Soup

As the dark nights draw in and the wilted, brown leaves fall from the trees (and get stuck in our windscreen wipers), I don’t know about you, but I find that dry tuna salads and shop bought sarnies don’t quite cut the mustard when it comes to lunch time. By the time I hang up my headset at 1pm on a Monday, I’m desperate for something comforting and warming.

A few weeks ago I was back home in Scotland and I asked my mum to teach me how to make her famously tasty lentil soup in time for the cold November days and I feel I should share it as it is low fat, high protein and incredibly easy to make. And the best thing about this soup is that it’s packed to the brim with slow carb lentils which fill you up until dinner and mean that you do not need any bread with it. D’yall hear that bread munchers? Put down the Hovis…

Make a big batch of it on a Sunday evening and your lunches are sorted for the week. And, best of all, it’s well cheap to make. Bargain!

Ingredients

Lunches sorted for the week!

Lean, smoked ham joint / ham hough (optional)

4 large carrots

2 large potatoes

1 large onion

300g lentils

chopped parsley

vegetable stock powder

salt and pepper

2 litres boiling water approx

Cooking Instructions

1. Place your ham hough or joint into a soup pot and cover with boiling water and a few whole peppercorns. Simmer the ham for 1.5 hours or until the ham is cooked. Once cooked, remove  and wrap in foil to rest whilst you prepare the rest of the soup. If you’re a vegetarian, just make up 2 litres of vegetable stock.

2. Grate your carrots, potato and onion and add to the stock, along with your lentils and a tablespoon of vegetable stock (if you’re making the vegetarian version you don’t need extra stock). Cook the soup for about 30 minutes, or a bit longer if you like it mushy like me, and take it off the heat.

3. If you’re making the meaty version, shred and cut up the ham, taking care to cut off any fat, and add to the soup.

4. Finally chop your parsley and add to the soup.

5. Season and enjoy!