Apricot, Almond and Pecan Granola (3 Step Granola)

I am ill with a cold, but luckily haven’t had any time off work ill since the end of February. I’ll take small victories where I can.

I generally have stomach issues, colds I get about once a year, so hopefully this is all I will have to put up with in 2018.

I have had trouble sleeping because The Boy has been away on a stag do and as soppy and as silly as it sounds I can’t get to sleep easily without him there. And being ill with a cold always gives me insomnia, so when I woke up at 4:50am this morning I knew attempting to get back to sleep would be futile, so I got up, watched some of the Commonwealth Games, and made Granola.

 

INGREDIENTS

350g Oats

70g Flaked Almonds

70g Pecans, chopped into small pieces

2 tsp Cinnamon

140g Dried Apricots, chopped into small pieces

250ml Honey

60ml Rapeseed Oil

METHOD

Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and then add the honey and oil.

Mix together and spread out across two baking trays as thinly as you can.

Bake in an oven at Gas Mark 4 for about 30 minutes, mixing half way through (I also like to swap the trays around the shelves)

I think this is my best granola recipe yet.

 

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Batch Cooking My Work Lunches: Red Lentil and Coconut Soup

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to batch cook.

(Ok, that is not strictly true, I made 2 portions of a swede, cabbage, onion, carrot and pea soup earlier this week, but for various reasons it smelt and tasted bad, we all make mistakes).

I have decided to use up what I have in my cupboards, perhaps inspired by being stuck at home due to the snow, and I decided to tackle a bag of lentils I bought in 2017. Probably mid 2017.

I had a quick look on BBC Good Food for ideas and made this.

Note: I have divided it into 4 potions, but I think it would have been better as 3, but maybe I am greedy (I am greedy).

INGREDIENTS

150g Red Split Lentils

1 Tbsp Chopped Ginger (I used frozen)

2 Gloves Garlic (I used 2 tsp of lazy garlic)

1 lovely sized tsp of Turmeric (There ain’t no party like a Turmeric party)

1.2l Vegetable Stock.

1/2 Onion, or 2 handfuls of Frozen Onion

3 ‘clumps’ (technical term, obviously) of Frozen Spinach

400ml Can of Light Coconut Milk

METHOD

Add the lentils, turmeric, ginger and garlic to a large pan and then add the stock.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Add the coconut milk, mix and then add the frozen vegetables and simmer until cooked.

Lean over the saucepan and smell your delicious soup.

When The Boy suggests you assign your coloured soup mugs to certain days of the week – e.g. Red = Monday, scoff at him, but actually think it’s a good idea.

(What colour would you guys assign to each day?)

(I would have Red = Monday, Pink = Tuesday, Green = Wednesday and Blue = Thursday)

(They only had 4 colours in the shop, poor Friday).

 

The Fabulous Baker Brother’s Spinach Muffins: Batch Cooking

There’s a bit of a story behind this.

The boy decided to revolutionise the hallway of our house, this meant I had to find a place for the relegated cook books, the ones I am debating whether to get rid of or not.

One was The Fabulous Baker Brothers which I inherited from my step mum. I was flicking through it this morning looking for inspiration when I saw the recipe for Spinach Muffins, and thought that would be great for my work breakfasts.

Then I totally made the muffins instead.

Then I did the weekly food shop and saw that Spinach was on special offer and forgot that I had decided against making them on account of the fact I had made muffins and bought some.

As soon as I got home I said s*** when I remembered.

And spinach doesn’t exactly last long, and I am planning something mega and not involving spinach at all for dinner which will involve leftovers for lunches, so this left me pondering.

And I decided f*** it and made the muffins anyway.

They are delicious. Of course I have eaten some already. I had to check for poison.

In other news somehow I have managed to get down to my lowest weight all year so I will celebrate with an extra muffin. Yes, I am stupid.

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Bad Boy Bean, Veg and Cheese Burgers

Get these in your face, NOW!

This was a result of trying to find a way to get rid of some tins of beans which I have been trying to get out of the cupboards since JANUARY after I realised the boy detests Red Kidney Beans and I’m not overly keen on them either.

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INGREDIENTS: Makes 8. I know the picture shows 6 but they were unreasonably huge! I misjudged.

250g Mozzarella

1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, rinsed.

1 x 400g tin of baked beans, rinsed.

3 small sweet potatoes diced.

Onion, frozen is fine.

3 slices of bread worth of breadcrumbs (I toasted ‘freezer bread’ for this and then put it a slice a time through my food processor).

Garlic granules, onion powder, paprika.

About 300ml stock.

METHOD

I’m not going to tell how I actually made it, I’m going to tell you how it should have been made.

Make up the stock and add the onion, sweet potato and drained beans to a big pan and boil till soft in the pan.

You may have used just enough stock to basically turn it into a semi solid mush, this is good.

Drain the mixture of excess water.

Grate the mozzarella (if you can, I gave up and just tore it into little pieces) and add that, the vegetable/bean mix and breadcrumbs into a mixing bowl.

MASH IT.

Leave to cool until you can safely touch it and mould into patties.

Place on a tray, cover in cling film, and then place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, ideally longer.

Bake in the oven for around 35 minutes on a high heat it you like them crispy like me, flipping half way through.

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Yes. I had two burgers. I was hungry. I didn’t have any sides if that somehow makes it better.

Batch Cooking My Work Lunches: Brown Lentil Dahl/Soup

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I call this Dahl/Soup as it was supposed to be a soup, and by some definitions still could be, but it could also resemble the texture of a Dahl. I will leave it to your own judgements to decide what side it falls on.

WARNING: If you use dried lentils like I did then bear in mind they may need soaking for up to 12 hours before hand. Do not attempt to skip this step. Always follow the instructions on whatever lentils you use.

INGREDIENTS

300g Dried Brown Lentils

Frozen Peas

Frozen Onion

Minced GingerGarlic (about 2 tablespoons worth)

Turmeric, Cinnamon, Pepper, Curry Powder, Rapeseed Oil, Tomato Puree

1 Litre of vegetable stock

1 x 400g tin of coconut milk

METHOD

Prep the lentils, begin soaking (if needed) the night before.

Cook the lentils in the stock for about 40 minutes or according to your packet instructions.

Once the lentils are cooked add the frozen peas and onions and coconut milk.

In a little pot or ramekin mix 1 teaspoon of rapeseed oil with the 2 tablespoons of minced gingergarlic, 1 teaspoon of turmeric (there ain’t no party like a turmeric party), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of tomato puree and 1 teaspoon of curry powder.

When the lentils, peas and onions are nearly all cooked and thickening up add the seasoning and mix in.

This makes 4 portions that will be fine for hearty stomachs, or you could make 3 decadent portions.

Batch Cooking my Work Lunches: Frozen Veg Couscous

Yes, I know I have totally made couscous before, I am just merely showing you that frozen vegetables are nothing to be afraid of, they are yummy. I don’t want to sound like a spokesperson for frozen veg (I would probably have a lot more money if I was) but in most cases they have been proven to contain more nutrients then their fresh counter parts as they are frozen at peak condition.

AND THEY ARE CHEAPER TOO!

Cheap is very important to me. At University I lived off frozen vegetables as it was the only way I could afford to eat in some semblance of a healthy way and to prevent scurvy.

My couscous included frozen swede, frozen sweetcorn, frozen peppers, frozen onion, frozen mushroom and frozen courgette that I had prepped myself yesterday. I roasted them in the oven in a bit of oil, cooked the couscous separately, then when both were done I mixed them together and to continue the frozen theme further I added frozen coriander.

I may just make it to Friday with the £1.51 that remains of the food budget. As long as I can ration the boy’s milk drinking habit.

Batch Cooking my Work Breakfasts: Vegetable Muffins

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We have very little remaining of the food budget, and to be fair we only have to last till Friday, but that was after the boy and I had a disagreement about whether we needed to replace the rice krispies in this month, or the next food month. We compromised, the boy and I donated half the cost each and bought a pack (he can’t live without them), but I will add it to next month’s food budget spreadsheet.

I normally take 2 cheap cereal bars and a banana in my bag to eat on the train for my breakfast, but the budget didn’t allow me to replace these stocks after they ran out on Saturday. So I had to come up with a batch cook idea to last me for the week.

These muffins are from a combination of the original recipe, and a swap recipe in this book I absolutely love called My Zero-Waste Kitchen which is a Dorling Kindersley book, I believe the author is Kate Turner, and I have found out she has a blog called homegrownkate.com.

So for that reason I won’t repeat the recipe, as it is not mine, but the muffins contained 2 grated sweet potatoes and 1 grated carrot and I managed to finally use up all my chickpea flour. They are yummy.

I really can’t recommend that book enough.