Week Eight

Vegetarian Mama

So this blog is very much about my personal journey to make my family more eco friendly and our lifestyle more sustainable.  I think the issue of sustainability is in pretty much everything that we do. The way we travel, the way we shop and definitely in the way we eat…

This week I watched the video Vegucated. The long one about 3 people trying to go vegan. It took me most of the week to get through it in small chunks. You know in between nappy changes and playtime and making dinner and putting on the wash. Well in the end I finished watching and I’m glad I did. It made my mind up. Im going vegetarian. In fact I’ve been heading that way for a while so this really just gave me the final push. I quit pork in november and I’ve gradually been decreasing my meat consumption ever since.

I’m really glad that I’ve reached this point in my life. It’s something I’ve been evolving too without realising for a while. I’m not one of those lucky people that can change the habits of my lifetime overnight and it stick. I have to gradually work towards better decisions and habits and I think this is one of those times where the result is actually better than the original intention.

The intention being to eat less meat to encourage a more varied and healthy diet. The result of becoming vegetarian means in essence a total (thought gradual) overhaul of my eating habits PLUS no more eating Mrs chicken and Mrs cow which aligns more with my kindness to all ethics and morals.

The reason I’m not going vegan at this point is because I do rely on cheese and eggs to bump up my protein and also my trade is baking so I think it would make me a bit of a hypocrite to not eat these things at home but sell them gladly in the forms of sweet and delicious cakes. Plus for me it would make cooking for Penny very tricky! Cheese omelette is my fail safe when we’re going through a grumpy day.

With vegetarianism in mind, I’ll be posting some more vegetarian recipes this week!

Have a great day

Jessica x

Vegetable Lentil Dahl

Easy lentils for easy meals, Simples.

Ingredients

tbsp olive oil

1 cloves garlic

1 x finely chopped onion

1 x grated courgette

3 x grated carrot

1 x veggie stock cube

350 gms red lentils

salt and pepper for seasoning

Herbs of your choosing (I like a sprig of rosemary)

Method

Fry the onion, courgette and carrot in the olive oil in a big saucepan or frying pan until the mixture softens and starts to go brown. Mix in the stock cube and a splash of boiling water. Continue to stir for 2 mins. Use a hand blender to blitz the mixture in the pan so it’s quite fine. Gradually add 750ml of boiling water. Once the water is combined pour in the lentils and simmer for 20-25 mins. Use a hand whisk to help the lentils break down (if you’re using your best pan try using a silicone whisk to prevent scratches.) It’s done once the lentils have soaked up the liquid and have gone nice and soft.

After cooking you can eat straight away as a side dish or on it’s own with some salad and bread. Russell discovered by accident that it tastes good as a topper to hummus on toast!

You can vary the vegetables you use depending on what’s in your fridge, great for using up veg that might be on the turn.

Keep leftovers in the fridge in a tightly sealed tupperware container for up to 3 days.

Happy cooking!

Jessica x

Tomato Sauce

This is an easy, tasty recipe for Tomato sauce and is great on Pizza or pasta or even toast!

Ingredients

tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic

2 x onion

2 x tins of chopped or plum tomatoes

handful of fresh baby tomatoes

handful fresh basil

handful of fresh oregano

salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

Chop the garlic and onion and fry gently in the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and cook until the onions are soft and slightly brown. I like to add the herbs at this point and give it a really good stir. I think this gives more flavour than adding later. Also I chop them quite a lot so the flavour can really get into the whole sauce, but you can leave them chunkier if you like. Next pour in the tin tomatoes, stir and simmer for a good 25 mins. Once the mixture has turned from liquid and tomatoes to a  nice thick consistency, it’s ready! Cool and store in individual portions or get cracking and spread it on your pizza base!

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Can be fridged for a week or frozen for a month.

Jessica x

Coconut Ice Lollies

Ingredients

One tin coconut milk

Handful of strawberries/raspberries/blueberries

Set of four reusable lolly moulds

Method

Pour the coconut milk into a measuring jug or batter bowl. Chop your fruit into small pieces . Mix into the milk and pour into the lolly moulds. Make sure you leave a good inch of the space at the top to put the lolly top on, otherwise it’ll leak everywhere and you won’t be able to get the lollies out! Once the tops are on, place upright in the freezer. They should be done after a couple of hours. If you can’t get the lollies to pop out straight away, give them 5 minutes and they’ll come out easily.

I like this recipe because it’s really nice to have something creamy and cold for the summer months that isn’t traditional sugar laden ice cream! Great for kids too as it feels like a really nice treat, but in fact you’re feeding them nutritious fruit and coconut milk. Commence evil Mum laugh! It’s also much cheaper than shop bought lollies, repeat evil laugh!

You can try any fruit you like too, berries are great because they spread evenly in the milk – just make sure whatever you use is chopped small so it doesn’t jam in the mould.

Watch out for brain freeze!

Jessica x

Easy Root Veggie Soup

Ingredients

500g root veg (carrots, parsnips, swede etc)

half bulb garlic

500ml veg stock

salt + pepper for seasoning

tbsp olive oil

Method

Wash veg thoroughly and top and tail (alternatively wash and peel veg if you prefer.) Chop into large but similar sized chunks. Toss lightly in a baking tin with the olive oil and seasoning. Cut the top off the garlic so you can just see the cloves on the top and wrap in tin foil. Place this in the middle of the veg. Roast for approx 35 mins on 180 degrees – this time will depend on whether you have electric/fan/gas oven and how large your vegetable chunks are. If you can’t easily stick a fork in the veg, keep going until you can.

Once the veg is done, remove from the oven and unwrap the garlic from the foil. Carefully squeeze the garlic out of the bulb – this will come out in a lovely mush. If it’s not at all mushy you might need to pop it back in the oven for an extra 10 mins.

Now whizz whizz whizz with a hand blender or food processor, whilst combining the 500ml of veg stock gradually. If you prefer a thicker soup add less stock and if you like it thinner add more!

There you have it, easy peasy root veg soup. I like to add some nice mature cheese and eat with a nice big wedge of bread and butter.

Top tip for weaning – if you want to make up small quantities to lessen wastage, freeze the veg once roasted and cooled. When you want a quick meal for your baby take out a small portion of frozen veg, add boiling water and a small bit of low salt veg stock or just pepper and whizz it up. You don’t have to wait ages for soup to defrost or play the microwave game this way, handy for busy mummies who still want to serve cheap nutritious food.

Happy souping!

Jessica x