Monthly Archives: August 2015

Pum recommends…Soup Sundays

I feel like I’ve slightly overdone it the past couple of weeks.  Given that I’ve done loads of fun things I don’t regret it, but I do think it’s time I had a bit of a lighter week.

I love it when I have no plans on a Sunday, particularly after a busy Friday/Saturday, allowing me to relax and get sorted for the week ahead.  This is going to be a ‘soup week’ for me where the majority (if not all) of my lunches and dinners will be soup.  I didn’t want this to be a boring week so I’ve made big batches of 3 of my favourite soups to alternate.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup

https://pumdiets.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/pums-favourite-recipes-deliciously-ellas-roasted-tomato-and-red-pepper-soup/

Carrot and Ginger Soup

https://pumdiets.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/pums-favourite-recipes-carrot-and-ginger-soup/

Butternut Squash and Celeriac

This one is super easy and you get a really lovely flavour coming from the celeriac (thanks for the tip Mum).  Simply cut up 2 butternut squash (skin on) and 1 celeriac (peeled) and roast for 1 hour (turning half way through).  They should both be very soft but not burnt when done.  Then just whizz up in a blender with hot water (add slowly until you get the consistency you prefer, I keep my soups quite thick) and some salt and pepper (you can also add veggie or chicken stock cubes if you prefer).  I even blitz this up with the butternut squash skin still on because it goes so soft when you roast for so long, but you can remove the skin if you like.

soup1soup2soup3soup4soup5soup6

soup8I got straight in there and had a big bowl of the roasted red pepper and tomato soup for my lunch today.  Urghh it’s so yummy and I love that there’s no stock in my recipe, so it won’t bloat me.

soup11

soup13

Like my new top?  Couldn’t resist!  Although it has had me singing Wyclef Jean all week…

soup12

“DROP A BEAT!”

soup14

Wish me luck on my ‘soup week’

Pum x

Advertisements

Pum’s favourite recipes…Balsamic Tofu with Sweet Potato Noodles

Tofu is such a versatile ingredient.  I know a lot of people will be put off by it or not even consider using it but it takes on flavour really well and helps to bulk up your veggies.

Tofu is also an excellent source of amino acids, iron, calcium and other micro-nutrients.  There has been some press over the health dangers of soy but as with most things I think in moderation you can get some of the benefits without exposing yourself to all the risks.

One of my favourite ways to cook with tofu is in this recipe, I just find it so tasty!

Pum’s Balsamic Tofu with Sweet Potato Noodles

Ingredients
  1. 1/2 carton firm tofu
  2. 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  3. 1/4 cup olive oil
  4. 1 tbsp. mixed Italian herb seasoning
  5. 1 large sweet potato
What Pum did
  1. Halved the tofu and wrapped in a paper towel to queeze the liquid out (the best method I’ve found for this is leaving for 10 minutes with a heavy pan on top to press down gently).
  2. Mixed the oil, vinegar and seasoning to make a marinade.
  3. Chopped the tofu into cubes, covered with the marinade and left for 20 minutes.
  4. Made the sweet potato noodles using a spiralizer (or if you don’t have one prepare sweet potato however you like; cubed and baked, mashed, sweet potato fries…all will do nicely)
  5. Baked the tofu for 20 minutes on a lined baking tray (saving the marinade).
  6. Blanched the sweet potato noodles in boiling water for 3-5 minutes (you still want some bite).
  7. Served the tofu over the noodles dressed with the marinade.

tofu marinadetofu noodlestofu bakedtofu balsamic foodgawkertofu sweet potatotofu sweet potato noodles

I find this light enough for a nice weekend lunch.  If you’re looking what to do with the leftover tofu from the carton just add to freezer bags, pop in the freezer and add to your next smoothie.

Pum x

Pum’s favourite recipes…Multigrain Blueberry Smoothie Bowl

Do you ever find that you run low on lots of cupboard staples at once?  This happens to me in most aspects of my life; toiletries, make up, cleaning products and key food store cupboard ingredients all seem ready to run out at the same time!  Disaster!

But the silver lining to recently running low on several of the grains I like to use regularly is coming up with my multigrain smoothie bowls.  By using a small amount of each grain you get more varied nutrition and textures in the one bowl.  These are great versions of smoothies that can either be drunk on the go or eaten from a bowl with toppings.  Because the grains have been soaked and blended they’re easy to digest but offer a lot of fibre making them so filling!

Pum’s Multigrain Blueberry Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp. oat bran
  2. 2 tbsp. quinoa
  3. 2 tbsp. buckwheat
  4. 1 tsp. powdered ginger
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla essence
  6. 1 tbsp. honey (and extra for drizzling if desired)
  7. 1 cup almond milk
  8. frozen fruit (I used a few blackberries and a generous handful of blueberries)
What Pum did
  1. Combined all ingredients in a bowl and stirred well to mix.  Leave mixture overnight to soak.
  2. In the morning whizz up in a blender to a smooth consistency.

This is the recipe for the base bowl.  I like to top with some extra oat bran and my quinoa nut granola.

Recipe here: https://pumdiets.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/pums-favourite-recipes-quinoa-nut-granola/

grain smoothie ingredients

grain smoothie

grain blueberry smoothie

grain blackberry smoothie

Something about waking up to a breakfast like this makes me feel like I’ve given myself a right good treat, when really it couldn’t be easier.  It’s just so pretty!

Pum x

Pum’s favourite recipes…Cacao Coconut Tahini Bites

I’m getting much better with my self-control these days.  My last batch of coffee date cookies lasted weeks!  I bought some tahini with the view to making dressings for salads (which I’m sure we’ll come to) but ended up making more healthy dessert bites to satisfy my after-dinner cravings.

If you don’t know, tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and has the consistency similar to smooth nut butters.  It’s another great source of protein as well as calcium and is meant to promote healthy skin and muscle tone…all good stuff!

This is a super easy recipe that’s so quick and doesn’t involve any cooking whatsoever.

Pum’s Cacao Coconut Tahini Bites

Ingredients
  1. 1 heaped tbsp. tahini
  2. 1/2 cup ground almonds
  3. powdered cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg (1/2 tbsp. each)
  4. 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  5. 2 tbsp. desiccated coconut
  6. 1 tbsp. raw cacao
  7. 1/4 cup water
  8. Pinch salt
What Pum did
  1. Combined dry ingredients in a large bowl and stirred well to mix.
  2. Added tahini, syrup and water slowly to combine.
  3. Shaped into balls and set in fridge.

Definitely enjoy these bad boys chilled!

tahini ingredients

tahini balls coconuttahini bites

Pum x

Pum recommends…Simple Suppers

Whenever I have to have a later dinner (and by later I mean after 7.30pm because I’m clearly a pensioner and like to eat my dinner at 5pm!) I try to make it a bit lighter.

One of my favourite ingredients to do this with is sweet potato.  Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals (vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, potassium, fibre, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and phosphorus…just from a quick scan!), they are filling but never leave me feeling uncomfortably full!

A really quick and simple late night dinner is mashed sweet potato with half an avocado and a bit scoop of cottage cheese.  Top with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and a generous amount of cracked black pepper and you’ve got yourself a satisfying meal that takes no time at all to prepare.

sweet potato

Fancy something for after?  Try following with an easy dessert of grilled peaches with toasted walnuts and greek yoghurt drizzled in honey or agave syrup.  Simply put the peaches until the grill until you see the juices bubbling and lightly toast the walnuts in a dry pan (being careful not to burn).  Easy and delicious!

grilled peaches
Pum x

Pum update…Trip Update and What I Ate

I’m back!  I just had the best ever mini-break, 4 days 3 nights in England, with my best friend.

Thought I’d do a short round up of what we got up to and most importantly what food was involved!

Sunday

We travelled down to stay with Vivi’s sister-in-law and husband in Rugby.  What a lovely little place and beautiful house they have!  This was a great relaxed night, we ordered some pizzas and chatted the night away.  I had a veggie pizza (the ‘Giardiniera’ from Pizza Express – artichokes, mushrooms, red peppers, tomatoes, olives, pesto, mozzarella) so tasty I’d have that again!

pizza

Monday

We had a lazy morning with some breakfast before hitting the road again.  Trying to be good (because I knew what was coming later in the trip) I stuck to fruit.

breakfast gemmas

We then drove to Watford where we checked into the Sopwell House Hotel.  This was convenient for the Harry Potter Studio Tour as well as having a lovely spa.  Not long after we arrived at the studios for the key part of the trip…HARRY POTTER!

Here are some pictures of the brilliant tour…if you haven’t been already you have to go!

hp4hp12hp20hp24hp16hp1hp6hp8hp21hphp23hp22

It’s so difficult to narrow down the highlights as we thoroughly enjoyed it all but the huge model of Hogwarts they used for the wide pan shots was absolutely mesmerizing.

I also fell in love with butterbeer…yes that is butterscotch cream on top

hp19hp15

I really had to rein it in with the purchases as the shop was excellent, so much good merchandise.  I settled on a white chocolate wand (which I ate almost immediately, woops), a massive Hedwig mug (for my tea in work) and some Gryffindor shorts (absolutely love them).  And Vivi got some sweets to take home to the hubby.

hp13hp3hp2hp14Not having eaten much (if anything?) since breakfast we ordered room service later on once we got back to the hotel.

room service food

Tuesday

In the morning I got up early to use the spa as check out was 11am.  I managed a 40 length swim before chilling in the sauna/steam room.  All the facilities were really lovely.

I had to make sure I had the hotel breakfast as I absolutely love a buffet.  I wasn’t disappointed as there was such a varied choice.  I settled for smoked salmon then a fruit bowl.

brunch spabrunch hotel

Back on the road again we drove to Bicester.  Bicester has a cute designer shopping village and we were ready to get our serious shop on.

bicesterbicester shopping

I came away with 2 pairs of boots (total bargain both £198 reduced to £57 each) while Vivi treated herself to yet another Prada purse (she’ll kill me for saying that, I tried to stop her I really did).  I have always had trouble finding boots to fit my calves so I was extremely chuffed getting 2 pairs to fit so well!

boots

We also stopped at Lola’s Cupcakes and picked up some treats for the hotel room later.  The choice was difficult but I settled on 2 mini cupcakes (peanut butter obviously and cookies and cream) and a brownie (peanut butter yet again).  Amazing!

lola cakeslola dessertslolaslolas treats

The mega shopping completely took it out of me and I was done!  A nice relaxing night in the hotel, we just went to Tesco and picked up bits and bobs for dinner.  I got a salad, hummus, fruit and tucked right into my cupcakes!

Wednesday

And that was the holiday over!  After a quick breakfast of instant porridge and a banana we were on the road again back home.

breakfastscotland

Like I said this was a brilliant trip.  So good to spend quality time with my best friend and get to see more of the UK.

I put on 1lb during the trip however I honestly think that will go back off tomorrow after being back in my routine and drinking more water (with the travelling I was consciously drinking a bit less).  Overall I’m taking that as a win.

Pum x

Pum recommends…Oat Bran

In conversation with one of my ‘healthiest’ friends he mentioned that he has started eating oat bran for breakfast because it is so good for you.  Oat bran?  Ok I like to think that I’m generally well informed about healthy grains but I’ll admit I didn’t actually know what this was, how it differed to porridge oats or why it would be better for me.

After some brief research I knew I needed to try this!

Lower in calories, higher in fibre and protein than porridge oats and proven to lower cholesterol, oat bran seems like an all round great breakfast option and one that will help me continue to lose the poundage!

I came back from my mini-holiday last night and thought this morning was a good opportunity to try this for the first time…

Pum’s Simple Oat Bran

Ingredients
  1. 1 cup almond milk (or water/milk of choice)
  2. 1/4 cup oat bran
  3. 1/2 banana mashed
  4. Maple syrup for drizzling
What Pum did
  1. Soaked the oat bran in almond milk overnight.
  2. In the morning heat the oat bran mix along with the mashed banana over a low/medium heat stirring well for 5 minutes.
  3. Serve with maple syrup (or honey, agave etc.)

oat bran maple syrup oat bran

This was so delicious and a lovely texture.  The banana gives enough sweetness that you probably don’t need as much syrup as I had…but it was gooood.  It really kept me filled up too!

I can’t wait to try different varieties and I’ll definitely be incorporating this into my breakfast meal plans.

Pum x