weelissa

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

Tagged in: winter

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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Handy Guide to Hand Cream

Dry hands are something I struggle with in winter every year. From that tight feeling when you flex those fingers, to full on dry, unsightly knuckle patches. For me, there’s no getting away from it. As those cold, dark nights draw in, and the Birkenstocks are thrown in the wardrobe for next year, I wrap up warm and head to Boots for lotions and potions to perk up those pinkies.

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Porridge: How do you eat yours?

Delicious Porridge with St Dalfour Jam

Normally the sound of Beyonce singing about Single Ladies would make me jump up and do some kind of ridiculous dance which makes my partner question my sanity. But at 5:30am on a Monday morning, the blasting Single Ladies makes me want to delete the entire Beyonce discography from my iPhone. For me, at this time, Beyonce is the sound which brings me back to reality and reminds me that I have a shift starting at 7am.

When it comes to breakfast at that time of the morning, everyone has something to say. My partner can’t eat until about 2pm in the afternoon because it makes him feel sick, but I can’t leave the house without something in my belly. And on these bitter winter mornings, where you have to test how cold the floor is before you get out of bed, nothing quite makes me feel better than a warming bowl of porridge. On a Monday I make mine in a mug in the microwave and eat it in the car!

Porridge (or porage) is the food of my Scottish heritage and it is definitely something you either love or hate. But I think that the reason a lot of people don’t like it, or don’t give it a chance is because they think it’s a hassle. Porridge is such an easy breakfast to make, that I can’t believe it gets such bad press. And, for the health conscious amongst us, the oats are full of healthy wholegrain oats which release their energy slowly throughout the morning, keeping you full up until lunch- subject to the topping you prefer.

The traditional Scottish method of making porridge is to cook it with water and salt, but this reminds me of something Oliver would have eaten; how that boy wanted more I’ll never know. The other alternative is to make it with milk and sweeten it. I prefer the latter, but I tend to sweeten it with toppings such as fruit and spices so that I’m not piling refined sugar into my body first thing in the morning, as that isn’t very good for your glucose levels.

Porridge Toppings

A selection of my favourite porridge toppings

The toppings I tend to smother in my porridge depend on what I want that morning, and how much time I have. If I feel I need to get a lot of protein into my belly that morning, I’ll add a scoop of my favourite protein powder in smooth chocolate flavour which is Impact Whey Isolate from myprotein.com or 15g of almond butter or peanut butter when it’s cooking to give it a delicious nutty taste full of protein. Almond butter has better nutrients but it’s not always available in shops. I go for Natural Almond Butter or Meridian Peanut Butter. Alternatively, you can sprinkle 10g of flaked almonds or other nuts on top of your porridge which gives a nice bite.

Coconut is another favourite porridge topping of mine. A super food which tends to get a lot of bad press due to it’s fat content, Coconut is actually very high in GOOD saturate fats which your body will always use as energy and never store. If in a coconutty mood, I’ll add a teaspoon of Organic Coconoil when the porridge is cooking, or sprinkle some dessicated coconut on top.

Occasionally I do get a craving of jam in my porridge, which is fine if you do it moderately, weigh your jam, and use a jam which is low in refined sugar. My pick of the bunch is St Dalfour Strawberry jam. St Dalfour jams contain no sugar, instead they are sweetened with concentrated grape juice. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very sugary, but it’s not as bad as a jam made with cane sugar.

I do add fruit to porridge too, but not too much because it can be extremely sweet and doesn’t always mix well. The fruits I tend to use are strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in the summer, and in winter I’ll chop a small braeburn or cox apple and mix it through the porridge whilst it’s still cooking and add a dash of cinnamon for a nice Christmassy taste. Sliced banana and a tiny bit of demerera sugar are also divine but only once in a while.

So how do I make porridge?

Ingredients

-40g of Scots Rough Porage

-1 cup of milk (I tend to use Kara coconut milk)

-Pinch of salt

-Choice of topping

Method

If possible, soak your oats overnight in a little water and milk to make them fluffy

Add your oats to a small pan and add the milk and salt. The salt is important as it brings out the flavour.

Stir with a wooden spoon until thick. (If you’re adding protein or a nut butter, now is the time to stir it into the porridge)

Pour into your favourite bowl and top with your favourite topping.

Munchy Munchy!

Hopefully this has given you some food for thought, so don’t be afraid to bust out those oats and give your tastebuds a treat! Please comment below with your favourite porridge toppings.

Until next time, stay Healthy.

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!