Monday, 16 January 2017

Meal Plan Monday

Hello my lovelies! How is everyone? Did you all have a good weekend? My weekend was pretty busy, lots of chores to do about the house and lots of cooking, of course! We had friends over for a little mini dinner party, which was lovely. I made a big pot of veggie chilli and for dessert we had chocolate malt cookie ice-cream sandwiches, just thinking about it is making my mouth water again ( I have loads of cookies left in the cupboard calling out to me).

Apparently, it's 'blue monday' today, the most depressing day of year. I have to tell you I don't feel it, I got up early, did a workout, the sun is shining (it's still freezing though!) and I am feeling motivated to power through my to do list! Hope you aren't feeling too blue! So, today, to brighten everyone's mood let's talk about food, Yay! I'm sharing with you today my meal plan for the week ahead. This week we are going back to some old favourites for some comforting winter food. On with the food...


Tues: Vegetable and Cheese Soup with Wheaten Bread, my recipe.

Wed: Spaghetti Bolognese, my recipe.

Thurs: Pasta and Spinach Tortilla with Green Veg, Good Food book.

Fri: Speedy Meatball Stew, Good Food book.

Sat: Aubergine Dahl, Save With Jamie.

Sun: Chicken with Roots and Veg, Good Food book.

Mon: Veggie Thai Green Stir-Fry, my recipe.

As you can see, this weeks recipes are a mix of my own and some favourites from both Save with Jamie and Good Food's 500 Triple tested recipe collection. If you're lucky this week I might share one or two of my favourite recipes from this week. I just want to take a moment to talk about that Good Food recipe book because it's amazing. You all know my love for Save with Jamie but this recipe book is such a dense collection of recipes, there really is a recipe for every occasion and every meal. I have tried a huge quantity of recipes from this book and every recipe is delicious, simple and fail-safe, you really can't go wrong with this book. There's cheap, healthy, family, comfort food and dessert recipes in there and they are all so tasty. I highly suggest that if you ever see this book in a book shop you nab it before anyone else does, it's simply fantastic.

That's it for today, what will you be eating this week? I would love to know, so please comment down below! I'm really looking forward to making some of these dishes especially the spaghetti Bolognese because it's been one of my favourites my whole life (i'm a bit of a pasta addict!). I will leave you today with some pictures from a walk by the seaside on Sunday in the beautiful Crawfordsburn, Northern Ireland. Thank you so much for reading,

Rachael xx.





Friday, 13 January 2017

Potato and Leek Soup

Happy Friday y'all! Yay it's almost the weekend which means a lot of organising for me about the house as I have been sick with a horrid cold all week and haven't got much done! We are in the process of trying to de-clutter and simplify our home, one room at a time! This is a huge undertaking as we have been filling our house with stuff for the last 4 years, it's about time we did a good clear out. What are your plans for the weekend? Also, who else has SNOW?? We have had quite a bit here in Northern Ireland. I really don't like it, I just don't like the stress it causes but it does look oh so pretty (trying to be positive!). So, to warm us all up in this cold snap i'm sharing with you today my recipe for Potato and Leek Soup. This recipe is a favourite of the husband, along with the Stilton and Parsnip soup. This soup is a staple in Northern Ireland (we love our potatoes) and is the ultimate form of comfort in a bowl. Making my own soup is one of my favourite things to do, especially if i'm making it for other people, it's love in a bowl.

 This recipe makes enough for about 4 really big bowls of soup or 5 normal sized bowls.

Ingredients

2 onions, chopped
150g streaky smoked bacon, chopped
a knob of butter
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a vegetable/chicken stock cube
3 large potatoes, chopped
4 leeks, washed, trimmed and chopped
250ml double cream
a few sprigs of fresh thyme



Method

1. Fry the bacon and onion in the knob of butter over a medium heat until softened, this should take about 10mins. You can add a pinch of salt at this stage to stop the onions browning.
2. Add the crushed garlic and fry for a further 1 minute.
3. Add the leeks to the pan and soften over a medium heat for about 10mins.
4. Add the stripped thyme leaves and chopped potatoes. Crush in your stock cube.
5. Just cover with boiled water from the kettle and bring to the boil.
6. Turn the heat down and simmer until the potatoes are done, this should take about 25mins.
7. Use a stick blender and blend until very smooth. Don't worry if it's too thick as it will loosen with the cream.
8. Season to perfection and stir in the double cream.
9. Serve up and devour and feel perfectly warmed and comforted from the inside out.



This is a perfectly yummy and comforting soup on it's own but it is also great served with freshly baked wheaten bread or some cheese scones. We served ours with home-made cheese, sage and mustard scones and they were divine (pictured above). You can find the recipe for these on the BBC Good Food website. I just love something to dunk in my soup, there's just something so rustic and comforting about it! Let me know if you give this soup a try, also what are your favourite soups, I would love to know!! Thank you so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

What I Eat in a Day 10

Hello everyone, happy hump day! I hope your day started well with a very large cup of coffee. Mine certainly did as I did not sleep at all well last night due to some pretty strong winds here in Northern Ireland but it has brought some sunny skies this morning, which is always a plus! Today is my weekly what I eat in a day post with a sneaky wee recipe thrown in for good measure, so keep your eyes peeled. I was still feeling quite poorly yesterday due to a horrid lingering cold but I managed to eat some scrummy food (something other than toast, yay!). On with the food...

BREAKFAST

 Raspberry and Cinnamon baked oats with a coffee.

This was a new recipe that I tried out yesterday morning and it was delicious and so easy to rustle up. It actually felt like I was eating dessert for breakfast, always a good idea by the way :). I'm so excited to try out different combos, I think I have found my new breakfast staple. So I thought it was too good not to share with you all. So here's the recipe...this recipe serves one ( a very generous serving).

You will need:

A handful of frozen/fresh raspberries (I used frozen)
tsp of cinnamon
tbsp. of honey
your usual amount of porridge and milk for one serving

Method:

1. Soak the oats in milk for about 10mins whilst you preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Once soaked mix all the ingredients together and pop in a small baking dish.
3. Bake in the oven for about 20mins until it's golden, a bit crispy and set on the top.
4. Eat up and enjoy!


 LUNCH

 Sweet Potato Quesadillas with peas and some clementines.

Lunch was leftover dinner from the night before and was these super tasty quesadillas from the BBC Good Food magazine. I also ate a mountain of peas too because I love peas, they are so delicious. I love quesadillas, they are so versatile and you can use up what ever you have in the fridge, so they are also thrifty!

AFTERNOON SNACK

Coffee with a couple of Christmas chocolates.

Need I say more, I needed my usual afternoon pick me up and the chocolates were calling for me from the cupboard, how could I say no? I am trying to switch one of my coffees in the day to green tea but i'm not doing too well with that ha! Coffee is one of my only vices.

DINNER

Cauliflower, spinach and sausage bake.

This was such a delicious bake, a bit like cauliflower cheese. Essentially it's cauliflower and spinach in a mustardy cheese sauce topped with crispy sausage meat, what's not to love. This was the perfect comfort food for a cold and windy winter's night. This would also be great with potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, kale or butternut squash. It can be quite easily changed up depending on what you have in the fridge.

Wow that's a lot of tasty food. That breakfast really is a great find, I can't wait to make more combinations. Let me know if you give this recipe a go? Also, I would love to know what breakfasts you have been loving lately? I will be back with another foodie post soon. Thank you so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Meal Plan Monday

Hello my lovelies! Welcome back to the Tea Cozy Kitchen, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are feeling suitably energised for the week ahead! I had a lovely weekend, we visited a dog shelter on Saturday to talk about adopting a puppy which is very exciting! Although, I'm not really feeling it today as I am sick with a horrible cold/flu thing that I have had for two weeks, yuck, it just keeps coming and going! But alas, i'm determined to power through my Monday and make sure I am organised for the week ahead. Today i'm sharing with you my meal plan for this week (hopefully I will be able to eat more than toast). There are some delicious meals in store this week so keep reading...


Tues: Tomato Soup with Cheese Scones, my recipe.

Wed: Cauli-Kale Sausage Bake, Good Food December.

Thurs: Oregano Halloumi with Orzo Salad, Good Food December.

Fri: Chipotle Chicken Wraps, Good Food December.

Sat: Double Bean and Roasted Pepper Chilli with Peacamole, Good Food December.

Sun: Red Pepper Prawns with Rice and Green Veg, Good Food January.

Mon: Leek and Potato Soup with Wheaten Bread, my recipe.

And there you have it, everything that we are eating this week for dinner! All the recipes, as you can see, are coming from Good Food magazine! I'm using December's issue as well this week as I didn't get a chance to make all the tasty recipes I wanted to over the month of December! The good thing about BBC good food is that all the recipes are available online after the magazine has been published, which is amazing. The BBC Good Food website is such a useful and free recipe resource if you are looking for dinner inspiration. I am particularly excited about making the Sausage Bake and the Chilli. I love a veggie chilli, it's just so warming and comforting! That's it for today, i will be back again for a few more posts this week, so keep your eyes peeled! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my little spot on the internet,

Rachael xx.


Friday, 6 January 2017

Hello 2017!

Hello my lovelies, I hope you are all doing well! I'm back with some thoughts for 2017, you've probably seen a lot of these kind of posts floating about the blogosphere. As I have already said I love the new year, I love a chance to evaluate my life and discover what's working, what isn't and any improvements I can make. Usually, I make a whole list of resolutions that I never keep and end up feeling pretty deflated that I haven't achieved enough during the year! Leading to the feeling that I am not enough, my life is not enough! However, this year i'm doing things slightly differently and setting myself five (yes only five!) ideas that I want to keep at the forefront of my mind this year! I'm not doing any fad diets, planning to lose any weight or exercise a certain number of times a week. These sorts of goals for me are unhealthy and doomed to fail. So what am I going to do this year, I hear you ask, well read on...


Spend more time outside

I live in the most beautiful country (it's true, you really should visit sometime!). Northern Ireland has many gorgeous beaches, forests, fields, mountains, parks and walks all within a short drive away (one perk of living in a small country!). I really am so lucky to live here. One of the things I would like to do this year is to spend more time outdoors appreciating this beautiful scenery. Whether that be a short and brisk cold evening walk in the winter or a long dander round the coast in the summer, i'm totally up for anything. I love my country and want to see everything it has to offer.

Read 12 books this year

Reading for me sort of fell by the wayside in 2016, but i'm hoping to re-ignite my passion for literature in 2017. I think that 12 books a year is a pretty good target, I've nearly finished my first one, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (amazing, in case you were wondering!). I'm a pretty fast reader, an English Degree can do that to a person. Once I get into a book there is no stopping me! So, if you have any recommendations please feel free to comment down below!

My health is my wealth

This idea is something I was thinking a lot about in 2016 as I was not taking care of myself like I should have been. In 2017 I just want to focus on my health, not in the diet 'I need to eat more healthily' sense, i'm very happy with my diet but in the case of my mind. I want to learn to think more positively, embrace life and enjoy it fully. Another thing I want to get cracked is a sleep routine. I could literally sleep all the time, anywhere, so I just want to get a nice clean sleep. What does this mean I here you ask? Well, going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time, and spending some time before bed clearing my head of thoughts and worries from the day.

Love more

Quite a simple one really I just want to love more! Love life more and all the people and animals that live in it! Whether that be my lovely hubby, my family, my friends, my pets or even strangers. This is such an easy one to say but probably the most difficult one to live out, people can be a little mean and rude (working in retail taught me that) but everyone needs a little bit of love.

Simplicity

I think many people are thinking about this for the new year! In 2017 I want to get away from endless consumption and the constant feeling of not having enough stuff! I want to reduce the amount of clothes that I have and work to free myself of all the clutter I have amassed over the years. Simplicity also refers to the approach I want to have to life, enjoy the simple things and simple joys in life. Simple, hopefully!

So, there you go, some things that I am thinking about going into the new year! It's maybe a bit late but I didn't want to jump into committing myself to anything, these are well considered goals for the year! What are your goals for the year, i would love to know? Sorry that this post got a little personal I will be back with the foodieness soon, until then, thank you for reading,

Rachael xx.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

What I Eat in a Day 9


Helloooo! How is the new year treating you all? I'm loving 2017 so far ( I know it's only been 4 days!). I feel like this is going to be a good year for us! I'm also loving being back in my normal eating routine. I love the festive feasting for a bit but after a while I just need to get back to a big plate of veggies. Today's post is my weekly what I eat in a day post, i'm still really loving these posts, I love trying to make my food look a little prettier. Yesterday was a really good day for food for me, healthy and very tasty, all the recipes turned out very well. So, let's get on with the food...

BREAKFAST

 Porridge made with whole milk and topped with banana slices, cocoa nibs and honey.

I didn't waste too much time getting back to my old favourite, did I? Although I did change it up slightly with the cocoa nibs! The cocoa nibs are something new for me, I had never tried them before. We got these as a Christmas gift in a Hotel Chocolat hamper (lucky us, I know!) so I was very excited to give them a try! They are delicious, let me tell you! They give a lovely hint of chocolate without being too sweet in the morning and I love the crunch they give to your bowl of porridge! They also look really pretty on top of your porridge, so they really are a great ingredient. I will have to try other ways of using them, any suggestions...? Feel free to comment down below!

LUNCH


 Roast lemon and rosemary chicken with peas, crispy potatoes and roasted root veggies, 3 clementines.

Lunch was leftovers from the night before! It was our last holiday night so we decided to go out in style with a healthy-ish roast! One fact about me is I absolutely LOVE a roast dinner, you just can't beat it! We roasted a chicken a top some red onion, a garlic bulb, butternut squash and carrots with lemon and rosemary and it was so scrummy! I also made some lovely crispy rosemary potatoes, which were so tasty! I toyed with the idea of mash with this, I LOVE mash (I am Northern Irish after all!) but thought the crispy potatoes would work better. So lucky me, I had these tasty leftovers for lunch, yay!

AFTERNOON SNACK

 Pink smarties and a cup of coffee.

After that huge lunch you wouldn't of thought that I would need an afternoon snack but alas the Christmas chocolate in the cupboard was calling my name! And of course you can't have chocolate in the afternoon without a coffee. I also needed a serious perk up, there was too much lounging over Christmas! The pink smarties were a gift for Christmas, I put them into a little ramekin to try and stop myself eating the whole tube (smart idea I thought!).

DINNER
Baked whole ricotta with cherry tomatoes, lentils and spinach.

This dish was high in health! So many vegetables in one dish! This recipe came from the BBC Good Food January issue and did not disappoint! Anything with lentils and i'm there! The only change I made to the recipe was to substitute green lentils for puy lentils. Don't get me wrong I love puy lentils but they are soooo expensive! Green lentils are much cheaper and you don't compromise on flavour. I had never baked a whole ricotta before but  will definitely be doing this again, it sort of firms up and takes on a more filling texture, this was such a good vegetarian dish!

And that's it! That's everything I ate yesterday and it was all very delicious and nutritious, just the right sort of start I wanted for 2017! Start as you mean to go on and all that jazz! I hope you enjoyed this post and it has given you some ideas for meals! I also hope that you have had a good start to 2017 and that it brings great things for you! Thank you for reading,

Rachael xx.


Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Meal Plan Tuesday


Hi all! Welcome to 2017!! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and new year and are back to business feeling refreshed and inspired! I know I am! I love new year, I love the opportunity to evaluate my life and improve on areas that I feel could be better at. More to the point i'm an organisational freak and love that a new year gives me the chance to embrace this side of me! Today i'm back with my regular weekly meal plan. This weeks plan uses up some Christmas leftovers (they've been in the freezer, don't worry!) and is quite a healthy plan as i'm craving vegetables majorly after all the festive feasting. I know many of you will be on new year's diets, it's inevitable with the media pushing us to embrace a new you but I just want to say consider taking things slowly and embrace a lifestyle change rather than a diet! All too often I have thrown myself full throttle into a diet in January and have given up by the end of the month, small and healthy changes that are permanent are the way to go! Anyway, preachy bit over, on with the food...

Isn't my 2017 diary gorgeous? Well worth the searching (i'm very fussy about my diaries don't you know?).

MON: Leftover Turkey Pie, Save with Jamie.

TUES: Pea and Ham Soup with Stuffing and Cranberry Sandwiches.

WED: Whole Baked Ricotta with Lentils and Cherry Tomatoes, Good Food Jan.

THURS: Green Pesto Minestrone and Wheaten Bread, Good Food Jan.

FRI: Veggie Chilli, Good Food Jan.

SAT: Sweet Potato, Peanut Butter and Chilli Quesadillas with Green Veg, Good Food Jan.

SUN: Roast Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary Root Veg, Good Food Jan.

MON: Meze Platter, Good Food Jan.

As you can see, a lot of these recipes come from the January edition of Good Food magazine. My lovely husband got me a subscription to this magazine for Christmas (I picked a good one!). So now, I get it delivered straight to my door before it even hits the shops, yay! I really recommend picking up a copy of this magazine if you fancy some healthy recipes for the new year, it is jammed packed with amazing meal inspiration. I've probably said this before but Good Food magazine has taught me everything I know about food and helped me fall in love with a healthy attitude towards cooking and food. I'm really looking forward to cooking some of these meals, especially the meze platter, I love meze food, oh and the veggie chilli, you just can't beat a chilli!

Well, there you have it, my food plan for the week. I hope it gave you some meal inspiration or maybe even inspired you to create your very own meal plan ( I couldn't be without mine now). I will be back tomorrow with a what I eat in a day post and fill you in on how i'm getting on with the recipes. Thanks so much for reading,

Rachael xx.