Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Pack up a Picnic with a little help from GLAD

Who doesn’t love having a picnic? When the sun is out it’s all I want to do! For some reason food eaten outdoors seems to taste better so whenever the opportunity arises we pack up some food, grab our blanket and head for a picnic. It doesn’t matter if it’s a grassy park, on the side of a river or on a sandy beach, it’s all about being outside and enjoying some delicious food while soaking up the sun’s rays!

When packing a picnic you need food that is portable so I love lots of different types of picky food! Transporting the food in one piece is key and with the help of GLAD products it is effortless.
Some of my favourite foods to make for a picnic include Chicken Drumsticks which we barbecue ahead of time and slather with our favourite BBQ Sauce. Served with some homemade Coleslaw it makes a fantastic picnic treat that everyone loves.

I absolutely love GLAD Lunch To Go Containers which have a separate little dressing cup attached inside to the lid for your salad dressing! No more soggy salads as you simply dress your salad as you are about to eat it. Genius! You could also use them for veges and dip which I always grab for a picnic. It takes moments to prepare, is healthy, delicious and again every loves it. Or how about making some homemade Hummus and popping some good quality extra virgin olive oil in the dressing cup to drizzle over the hummus at the last minute… Or if you are a chilli addict like me fill the little cup with some of your favourite hot sauce, such as Sriracha and then you can add a spicy kick to your dips. Yum!

For something sweet and refreshing I can never resist wedges of Watermelon and fresh Strawberries which I again just pop into a GLAD container. I pack a Snack bag for any Strawberry Husks to be thrown into which makes for easy clean up and don’t forget the wet wipes for sticky hands which I pop into Medium Storage Bags.

Snack bags are also great for individual snacks for any young family members. I pack raisins, crackers and even baby biscuits in them for a quick and easy bite to eat.

Of course if your picnic is a last minute adventure then there is nothing wrong with making up some quick and easy sandwiches with everyone’s favourite fillings, and if you are really stuck for time stop at your local supermarket or grocery store on your way and grab some of your families favourite foods.

So what are you waiting for?! The next time the sun is shining and you have a day off, pack up some of your favourite foods or head to your local deli, pop it all in a cooler or hamper and find a nice spot for you to enjoy. It’s what sunny days are made for and with GLAD products it’s easy!

Here are a few more of my favourite Picnic foods:

{Easy to make and great for anyone unable to eat Gluten.}

{Such a treat and make for an ultimate picnic! Just don’t forget the ketchup!}

{The ULTIMATE picnic sandwich!}

{For an extra special treat!}

{Who doesn’t love a good Pasta Salad!? If needing to be Gluten Free substitute the Pasta for a GF alternative – my fave is Corn Pasta.}

{Kicking things up a notch and making this an extra special picnic!}

{If you want to surprise children why not try Beetroot Hummus or Carrot Hummus for some fantastic all natural colourful food!}

A selection of Cheese, Hams and Cold Meats

{Transports well and doesn’t need to stay chilled. Simply wrap in Cling Wrap.}


Happy Picnicking!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Curried Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

It’s amazing how comforting and nourishing a hot bowl of soup can be. This is a perfect soup to warm you up on a rainy day and it takes no time to make at all. Even better it is a delicious, filling soup that is completely gluten and dairy free!

I made this recently because I’d received some vegetables from my Mother-in-law as they were moving and she was emptying her fridge. I used what I had but don’t worry too much about exact quantities – if you have 1 sweet potato use it all, you just might need to add a little extra stock. I like this particular soup to have texture which is why I grate the veggies but if you prefer you could easily blend it for a smooth, thick soup.

Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
4 carrots, peeled and grated
½ good sized sweet potato, peeled and grated
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or grated on a microplane
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp curry powder
200ml coconut milk
1000ml vegetable or chicken stock
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan then add the leeks. Cook for a few minutes until softened but not browned, then add the grated carrots, sweet potato, garlic, ginger and curry powder. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure nothing catches and then add the coconut milk and stock. Season with some salt and pepper and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary then ladle into bowls while piping hot! 

*For extra spice add some fresh chilli, finely chopped and if you find the soup too sweet you could add a spritz of lime juice.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Change of Diet ~ Entering the World of Wheat Free and Limited Dairy....

*Image courtesy of logo-kid.com

Yes you read the title right!! For various personal reasons our Dr. has suggested that we try a Wheat Free Diet with limited dairy. Now if you know me (or have looked at the amount of recipes I  have under the pasta section!) you'll know that giving up wheat (albeit temporarily) is a b-i-g thing for me. Without doubt one of my favourite things in the world is a big bowl of Spicy Tomato Pasta and as for French Bread.... don't even get me started! However I am more than willing to give this a go so I thought if I'm going to do it I would share my experiences with you.

Now I know going Wheat Free isn't exactly a new thing and for many different reasons millions of people have jumped on the Gluten Free Band Wagon, I just didn't think I would ever be one but here I am! I'm not going to lie, when I initially started doing some research and looked for delicious wheat free recipes that were also limited in dairy it was overwhelming. My moods have been up and down over the past 5 days but I finally think I am getting there.... well to grips with it anyway. I still have a long road ahead and know I will have my cravings but today I am definitely feeling positive about things.

So what have I done? Well for starters, I haven't thrown out every item that has wheat in it. For now it's just been put to one side and instead today I replaced it with some gluten free alternatives. After doing some research I decided to try Corn Pasta rather than the Rice Pasta (which I have had in the past and really didn't like). I have also stocked up in Gluten Free Crackers (which I have yet to try) and lots of super crunchy Rice Crackers which I absolutely love anyway so no issues there. Since toast features heavily in my breakfast routine I've had to come up with some new ideas so today I made a giant batch of Granola* for us as well as some Granola Energy Bars courtesy of Dorie Greenspan's wonderful book Baking Chez Moi. I also have plenty of eggs in the fridge and this morning I had a delicious breakfast of Scrambled Eggs with Spring(Green) Onion, Tomatoes, Chilli and Coriander (Cilantro) with some Avocado on the side. It was delicious and I certainly didn't feel like I was missing out! A lot of Smoothies and Juices are going to be appearing so today I also stocked up with plenty of fruit (including frozen fruit for things that aren't quite in season yet), spinach and kale as well as Pomegranate Juice, Coconut Water and Almond Milk. I also bought some Coconut Yogurt which is another new item for me and yet to be tried (I'll let you know how I find all the new things!).

Monday, March 30, 2015

My Meat Free Week

Having just completed Meat Free Week I thought I would fill you in with my experience of the week I just had where I wasn't able to eat any meat, fish or seafood for 1 week....That's right 1 week, 7 days, 168 hours.... in reality a very short time. To all the vegetarians out there I apologise as what I'm about to say sounds pretty pathetic but this 7 short days actually felt relatively long and it turned out to be harder than I thought!

When I decided to accept the challenge I did it purely for myself...I wanted to see how I would feel going meatless for a week. Generally we eat meat free meals about twice a week and in all honesty I never thought anything of it. Eating meat 7 days a week is a big no-go for me... I simply find it to be too much. Cost aside (which would be far too much for my budget!) meat everyday is just overkill (sorry, no pun intended!).

For years I have been an advocate of buying better quality meat and simply eating less of it and I really do stand by that. There are many issues associated with our global meat consumption, notably the impact it has on the environment, animals (increased consumption has lead to inhumane farming practices for a start) and of course our own health. As posted on the Meat Free Week website "the U.N. has identified the livestock industry as one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems" so we really do need to stop and seriously think about how much meat we eat.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Meal Plan for Meat Free Week

Monday (March 23rd, 2015) is the start of Meat Free Week, a global campaign to create awareness of how much meat you eat and the impact that it has on our health as well as the animals and the environment. The challenge is to go meat free for a full week which includes ALL meat, fish and seafood.

Although we do eat quite a lot of meat I always try to have at least 2 nights a week where we eat vegetarian meals so I'm excited to have a full week of delicious vegetarian food (breakfast and lunch included), and no there isn't a nut roast in sight!

To make things easier for you if you are interested in taking part in Meat Free Week, I decided to share my weekly meal plan which is packed with delicious, nutritious recipes. All recipes have a link included so you can join me for the week or pick and chose as you like any recipes that appeal. For more meal ideas why not have a look at the recipes provided on the Meat Free Week website or alternatively check out Jamie Oliver's recipes dedicated to this fantastic campaign, or if you have a favourite vegetarian meal please feel free to share links in the comments section!

So what are you waiting for? Join me and hundreds of other people and go meat free for a week!

Monday March 23rd ~ 29th

                                  Monday  -        Slow Cooker Quinoa, Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chilli
                                  Tuesday -         North African Squash & Chickpea Stew
                                  Wednesday -    Spicy Tomato & Mozzarella Gnocchi with Green Salad
                                  Thursday -       Grilled Halloumi with Quinoa & Beetroot Salad
                                  Friday -            Deliciously Dhal
                                  Saturday -        Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Tofu Brilliant Veggie Burger
                                  Sunday -          Vegetable Jalfrezi

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