Monday, 10 January 2011

Meat-free Monday

As I went to write this post, I realised that today has been completely meat-free...not deliberately but hey, it makes a good post title! :) We try to have meat-free meals 2-3 times a week, mainly for cost reasons although I like that it gives me an excuse to try out new recipes/vegetables. To be fair dinner is the only "real" cooking I've done today, so more on that later.

First, breakfast, porridge. Once Liam and daughter were off to uni/school so that I could eat in relative peace! Today I was trying out a new brand of oats and a new peanut butter...

I used to eat Quaker oats as a child but have been favouring Scott's oats recently, when the shop has them in stock at least. Quaker oats seemed smaller when I poured them into the bowl. I made up my porridge with milk, tinned peaches and cinnamon...I love this combo!!


The Quaker oats seemed to make a more creamy/gloopy texture...not sure which I prefer to be honest, but they both taste great so all good!

I topped this with a simple blob of peanut butter...


I'm pleased to report that this peanut butter was much more to my taste! :) less liquidy texture so that I was able to have a blob, a nice salty taste, and the fact the it is "wholenut" made me feel it was slightly healthier...plus the flecks of peanut skin look nice with the flecks of cinnamon in my porridge!!! :-D

Mid-morning, when baby went for a nap, I treated myself to a latte and time on the sofa reading a book...bliss!!


After work on Saturday, I was absolutely exhausted so bought a couple of Innocent Veg Pots that were on offer, to save me cooking lunches when it's just me and baby during the week. Today I actually had a lot more energy, but decided to have one anyway...Italian Mushroom Risotto...

this looked lovely and fresh inside...

didn't look quite so vibrant once it was cooked but was still really tasty...


I loved the variety of vegetables in it, the green lentils being a surprise favourite. My only criticism would be that for a mushroom risotto it wasn't particularly mushroomy! Had bits of mushroom in it but not much mushroom flavour. Great general vegetable risotto though and so easy to cook - 4 minutes in the microwave and it's done - great way to increase your veg intake without much effort! :) Realise I sound a bit like an advert, oops...can you tell I really enjoyed this??!

Mid-afternoon I chopped up a couple of carrots to have with some of Tesco's Caramelised Onion Houmous...now this stuff I really do love!


delicious! If only all my snacks are all this healthy and tasty - I usually just grab whatever's near me (spoon of peanut butter, chocolate buttons etc) rather than taking the time to make something I'll really enjoy.

Dinner was something I'd been looking forward to all day :) No recipe to follow although it was inspired by a meal out I had recently - vegetable lasagne. The version I had in the restaurant was supposedly red pepper and portobello mushroom lasagne but all the vegetables were finely chopped into the sauce so you couldn't really distinguish any flavours, and the whole thing was instead covered in cheese! It also used meat-free mince which was ok, but I wanted my lasagne to be based on vegetables.

I first put 4 peppers into a roasting dish with a little oil and put them in the oven at 190C for 30 minutes...



I then started making the sauce. I first simmered a carton of passata (at this stage I realised Liam had used the last of the garlic when he cooked on Saturday, grrr, so I popped a chopped red onion in with the peppers to make up for lack of flavour) and when the peppers were about 15 minutes away from being ready I added a tin of green lentils (drained and rinsed first) and 250g of mushrooms - I did chop these quite finely so they were part of the sauce.

this is what the sauce looked like when cooked...


and the roast veg...


I also made a white sauce by melting 40g butter, stirring in 40g plain flour, cooking for a couple of minutes and then whisking in 350ml skimmed milk until the sauce was thickened and smooth...


Then it was time to layer up the lasagne...apologies if this gets a bit repetitive, I want to have a good account of this recipe so I can make it again...it was definitely a success! :) So, roast veg first...


then a layer of the lentil/mushroom mix...

3 dry lasagne sheets...


then half the white sauce...

and repeat... rest of the roast veg...


rest of the lentil/mushroom mix...


lasagne sheets...

rest of the white sauce - try to make sure you've left enough to fully cover the lasagne sheets...


and then finally top with about 70g of grated cheese...


In the oven at 200C for 30-35 minutes and it should come out smelling great and looking like this...


this tasted so good...Liam was a bit wary at first when he spotted the empty tin of green lentils on the side, but he went back for seconds! Divine...


definitely a new family favourite, so healthy and tasty too :) made enough for me, Liam and daughter plus seconds for both of them and leftovers for me and baby to have for lunch tomorrow or Wednesday :)

Today has been a really good day :) really enjoyed spending one-to-one time with the baby and, during the day at least, my food has been both healthy and delicious. Sadly, despite what the photos suggest, behind the camera there has been other food going into my mouth - a tsp of peanut butter, a handful of granola and the last square of dark chocolate whilst cooking dinner, plus a chocolate covered flapjack I'd originally bought for Liam (well I bought 2 because they were on offer, but they were both meant to be for him!) this evening, oops!

I'm having a real battle in my head at the moment - on the one hand I know I should be trying to lose the weight that I've put on recently, but I just love my food too much! I don't want to keep gaining weight though, which is what is happening at the moment...I need to get to the stage where I can maintain my weight (preferably with little or no effort from me!!) until my head is ready to start losing again. Otherwise by the time I get my head together I'm going to have a lot more weight to lose!!

4 comments:

  1. I could seriously have written that last paragraph. I know it's not possible, but I would love life so much more if I could just embrace my love of food and love of eating. But there's always the side effect of gaining weight, which makes me very distressed and I find heartbreaking/impossible to deal with. I just seem to have lost all motivation when it comes to eating and keep resigning myself to my behaviours, after years of fighting them and trying to resist.

    Food is something wonderful and eating should be a pleasurable experience...I just wish there was some way for us both to be at our 'happy weights' while enjoying food and life at the same time.

    Side note: you're a wonderful cook! I'd adore that lasagne made with soymilk for the white sauce and with vegan cheese on top. Just the thought is making me peckish :)

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  2. That lasagne looks lovely- I think lentisl have such bad press but they are really tasty. I would make it without the white sauce as I am not keen on that, and have a really tomatoey lasagne :) And I still have not tried peaches in porridge! Note to self- try it!
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. That lasagne looks fab! I haven't tried those innocent veg pots yet. They do look delicious!

    ReplyDelete
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