Wednesday, 30 November 2016

What I Eat in a Day 5

Hi again! Today's post is another what I eat in a day post and i'm sure by now you are noticing some themes, i'm really quite repetitive with my meals. I always have apples, clementines, a home made soup and cheese toasties nearly every day! But I never seem to get sick of them! This day I tried to be a little bit more healthy than usual as I had quite a lot of food over the weekend, including lots of chips, pizza, takeaways and chocolate! It was amazing and tasty food but my body always feels a bit yuck after eating like that for a few days, so I had to get back to my normal diet and restore some order!


A royal gala apple cut into wedges with a tablespoon of peanut butter

This is my sort of lighter breakfast option, I had a takeaway pizza the night before so wasn't really feeling too hungry. I love this combination, peanut butter just goes so well with apple. It's so tasty and very quick to prepare, it's even great to eat on the go! The apple gives you one of your 5 a day and the peanut butter gives you some protein to keep you going, so you don't starve 5 mins later. My only problem is trying not to eat the whole jar of peanut butter (trust me this is a really big problem!). I also had a massive coffee (of course!) and a HUGE glass of water, I really needed it, I was so thirsty after the pizza the night before.


Mexican chilli bean soup, a cheesy pitta and 4 clementines

This soup was part of my meal plan for the week before but we didn't eat it. Since all the ingredients are store cupboard and keep very well,  I decided to make it for my lunch! It's such an easy recipe and is from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe! I've talked about this book before so I won't bore you again but it really is amazing for yummy and very budget friendly meals. This soup is so good for you too, comforting and healthy, it's a win win! It has carrots, onions, tomatoes, black beans, red wine and a secret ingredient! You want to know what the secret is, it's dark chocolate (you can thank me for this sometime!). The dark chocolate really makes this dish taste so rich and delicious and gives it a lovely thick sauce. Dark chocolate is also a great addition to a chilli con carne, apparently the Mexicans do this and that's good enough for me! And of course I couldn't have a bowl of soup without some form of cheese toastie, this time it was a griddled pitta, so yummy dunked into the chilli tomato soup! I finished all that food off with 4 (yes 4!) clementines. They really are one of my favourite fruits, so sweet and they smell delicious!


 Bacon, Cabbage and Veg Hash with Mustard Mash

Dinner was another creation of Jack Monroe but I added the mustard mash for a bit of comforting winter food! I love mustard mash and this was definitely my favourite mash I have ever made. It's so easy, you just boil your potatoes, skin on, for extra nutrition. When they are boiled, you drain them and mash them with a bit of butter, milk, salt, pepper and a good tablespoon of wholegrain mustard, yum yum! And they are perfect paired with this bacon and veg hash. The hash contains good quality smoked bacon, cabbage, peas, onion, carrots, mustard, thyme, white wine and stock. It doesn't look great on the plate but it really is a taste sensation. This is also a great recipe for using up leftover veg in the fridge, any root veg or mushrooms would work well with this, either in the hash or the mash. I have to say that I may have gone for seconds too, it's just the perfect cosy food for this time of year.

For my evening snack I just had a big mug of peppermint tea and a few squares of wholenut milk chocolate and that was me for the day. I completely forgot to take a picture of these as I was deep in Christmas gift planning and buying! Most nights I would have a cup of herbal non caffeinated tea, I just find them great for relaxation and some, like the peppermint tea, are great for settling your stomach after dinner. Peppermint is definitely my favourite but there's also quite a few others I like, liquorice on it's own or with cinnamon or peppermint, apple and cinnamon, fennel or after dinner blends. I might do a post sometime with my favourite flavours and brands, I would also love to hear your recommendations, if you have any?

So that's all I ate yesterday, it was all very tasty and I also felt very good after eating, much better than after the takeaway pizza, although it was delicious! I will be back on Friday with the first of my festive posts, and let's just say it's a tasty one so you'll have to give it a go! So join me then when we can start the Christmas magic!

Thanks for reading,

Rachael xx.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Meal Plan Tuesday

Hey everyone and welcome back to the Tea Cozy! I'm back today with my meal plan for this week, slightly later than normal, hence, the scored off meal on the plan! I had a bit of a busy weekend, we travelled to Dublin on Saturday to see Ireland vs Australia rugby match, Ireland won woohoo! We also did quite a bit of socialising and cooking and i'm only now getting caught up with things! So, this weeks meal plan contains a few meals we did not eat from the plan last week and a few others which use up ingredients which I had in the house! I am again using A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe and Save with Jamie by Jamie Oliver. I just can't seem to get enough of these books at the minute and they are perfect for saving that wee bit of extra money before the festive season truly kicks off.

And let me just say, I am so excited for this Christmas! Our Christmas last year was a very sad occasion, so i'm excited to celebrate this year with ALL the cheese, chocolate and wine! Yes! I also have some exciting Christmas posts planned with recipes, gift ideas, craft ideas and meal plans which are festive and use up your Christmas leftovers! So, keep your eyes peeled around the start of December as that is when the festivities commence! Anyway, let's get back to the here and now, this is the meal plan for this week...

Monday: Spring Piggy and Mustard Mash, A Girl Called Jack

Tuesday: Peach and Chickpea Curry with Rice and Peas, A Girl Called Jack

Wednesday: Mexican Bean Soup and a cheese Pitta, A Girl Called Jack (already made and eaten, hence why it's scored out of the plan)

Thursday: Grated Rainbow Salad and Sesame Feta Fritters, Save with Jamie

Friday: Puffy Pea and Potato Pie, Save with Jamie

Saturday: Squash and Spinach Pasta Rotolo, Save with Jamie

Sunday: Mince and Onion Pie with Green Veg, Save with Jamie

Monday: Pork Meatloaf and Vegetables, Save with Jamie.

So, there you have it, that's our food plan for the week. I'm especially looking forward to the squash and spinach pasta, I've made it before and it is so delicious and perfect warming comfort food. I will be back tomorrow with a what I eat post to catch up on how the recipes are going this week. Stay tuned for Friday's post as it's about to get very festive around here, I can't wait to get my festive spirit out! Our tree is going up this weekend and i'm also going to be trying my hand at making our own Christmas wreath for the front door :). Have you guys got your trees up yet? Also, I would really love to know what your favourite festive recipe is? I need ideas! Thanks again for reading, we will talk again soon,

Rachael xx.

Friday, 25 November 2016

10 Top Tips for Supermarket Shopping

Hi everyone! Today I'm back with another post in my top tips series. Whilst i'm a huge fan of shopping locally and supporting local farmers, I understand that it's difficult to solely shop in these establishments these days and big out of town supermarkets are just so handy! I love going to my local butcher but I still have yet to find a vegetable shop which is just as handy, so alas to Tesco I go!

However, these places are money making machines, quite literally, and they know just how to tempt you out of your hard earned money. So if you can't shop online and you have to go into the store, it's important to keep your wits about you and not be led astray by all the pretty signage and brands. So, I've compiled my top ten tips for keeping in mind when you are racing round the aisles chucking stuff in your trolley. Hopefully this list should help you save a bit of dough, cut down some food waste and make shopping in your local supermarket a little less stressful. One thing to note which I think is the most important is always to go with a list, otherwise you can come home with about 20 different things you didn't need ( believe me I have done it)! So, on with the tips...

1. When buying fresh produce like eggs, milk, vegetables etc. Have a root around and find the product with the longest use-by time, it's usually hiding at the back of the shelf. This means it will keep for longer at home and you will have less food waste. Also preventing you from having to return to the supermarket to replace the item if it goes out of date. Also, have a wee look online on how to store items before you use them to prolong their life after the trolley. Recently, I learnt that if you buy cut herbs or spring onions you can put them in a glass of water in the fridge and this helps to keep them longer.

2. Along the same lines, once you think your loaf of bread is starting to go stale, you can freeze it. Just toast the slices as and when you need it! If you have too much bread you can turn it into breadcrumbs and freeze or dry in oven to make croutons. You could even buy a loaf that is very reduced because it's near it's use buy date and pop it straight in the freezer when you get home.

3. When buying fruit such as berries out of season, buy them frozen. They are often much better value and taste better as they were probably frozen within hours of picking! They are great frozen with ice cream or in smoothies but also work great defrosted on porridge. It's also a good thing to know roughly when certain fruits and veg are in season as they are usually much cheaper during this time and just after.

4. Sometimes it is better value to buy things in bulk e.g. rice and dried pasta. These items will keep for a long time in the store cupboard and will always get used. Make sure when buying these items you look at the price per kg as this will let you know which is cheapest. This is only a good idea if it is something that you will definitely use.

5. If you find you always run out of milk, buy an extra pint or two and pop in the freezer. You can defrost it when you need it, all at once by submerging in warm water or a little at a time by leaving at room temperature.

6. Don't always go for big brands! Some supermarket own brands are really good and contain the same ingredients as the big brands but are much cheaper. Even the value products can be really good too, although this is all about trial and error until you find the ones that you like. I love the value frozen peas from Tesco, they taste so good, even better than the big brand leader.

7. When buying vegetables don't always go for fresh! Frozen and canned are also very good and very affordable, they are sometimes pre-chopped too which is so handy and a time saver. My favourite frozen veg are spinach, peas, chopped peppers, broccoli, broad beans, sweetcorn and cauliflower. Canned tomatoes, beans, lentils and chickpeas are also really good value. You can even get frozen avocados and smoothie mixes now, frozen is definitely the way to go!

8. Don't go for every buy one get one free offer! Only buy it if it's on your list anyway or it's something you will definitely use, like a bag of pasta or rice, not something that will go off very quickly or is too much temptation if you are trying to be healthy ( those biscuit and crisp offers i'm looking at you). The meat offers are usually pretty good value and you can freeze the meat for use at a later date.

9.Consider doing all your shopping with one supermarket, including toiletries, petrol etc and make use of the supermarkets loyalty scheme. You will get rewarded for being a regular shopper and may even save some money.

10. When going to a supermarket, consider the time of day! The best times are early in the morning or late at night! I find supermarket shopping pretty stressful and if there are lots of people about I don't feel like I can make the best decisions as I feel i'm being rushed! But if I go when it's quiet there is more time to think and consider these tips as I wheel around my trolley. Also, don't go when you are really hungry, really not a good idea people, trust me I've been there!

So there you have it! I hope you find these tips helpful and they make that weekly shop just a little bit easier! Do you have any tips you could share with me that I may not have thought of? I always like to hear other people's ideas? Also, it's nearly December now and that means only one thing, CHRISTMAS!! Our Christmas tree is going up next weekend and I am so excited, plus this week we have had the most beautiful winter weather in Northern Ireland, gorgeous sunsets and frosty mornings! I will leave you with a picture of the oh-so beautiful Northern Ireland...Thanks for reading, talk soon!

Rachael xx.

 Porstewart Strand, Northern Ireland featuring my dog George

Porstewart Strand, Northern Ireland at Sunset

A Pretty winter sky

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

What I Eat in a Day 4

Hi all and welcome back to another what I eat in a day post! I hope you are still enjoying these posts as much as me! This day was a bit of a comfort food day for me, it was freezing where I live so I thought I would eat some pretty cosy and comforting foods to help keep me nice and toasty! This day was also very good for me as it featured quite a lot of chocolate, always a winner in my book. So let's get cracking...


 Home-made Double chocolate and peanut butter granola with milk and sliced banana and a HUGE coffee!

I actually managed to have something different from porridge this week, yay go me! This granola keeps really well so i'm still eating from the batch I made last week. You can find the recipe for it here, so go ahead and give it a try, it really is delicious! I just served mine up with some cold whole milk and a sliced banana, yum yum and very simple and quick! I also washed this all down with a huge mug of coffee, I really am very grumpy in the morning until I get my coffee and then I become a much nicer person ( the real me, just caffeinated ha!). Is this anyone else too? Please tell me i'm not alone in this!


 Home-made Broccoli soup with a cheese toastie and satsumas 

We didn't have enough leftovers from the night before to have for lunch this day so first thing in the morning I went diving into my freezer to see what I could find. I love doing this, it's like a pot-luck, you're not really sure what anything is going to turn out as! But luckily I managed to find a tub of home-made broccoli soup which I made a couple of months ago. Yay, score! And what goes well with broccoli, cheese! So, naturally I had to  make a cheese toastie. This soup was lovely and light and paired perfectly with a cheese toastie dunked into it, perfect warming winter food. And of course I had to have some lovely satsumas or clementines, I can never tell which! I love that is the season for these again, they are one of my favourite fruits. And perfect for that winter hit of vitamin C.


 Some fruit and nut chocolate and a coffee

I was having a bit of a mid-afternoon slump and needed a hit of chocolate and coffee. I believe it is one of life's simplest pleasures to be able to sit down with a hot cup of coffee and some chocolate. I even like to dunk my chocolate in my hot coffee until it melts a little, is that weird? Five minutes of bliss and a hit of sugar and i'm ready to get up and go again. Oh and I always make my afternoon coffee really milky and pretty weak as I need my beauty sleep and go to bed pretty early, I don't want anything to mess with that!


Sausage and beer casserole with some garlic sautéed peas and cabbage

This recipe came from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe and it is one of my favourites in the book. It's such a winter warmer and tastes delicious, especially with great quality sausages from our butcher. The casserole contains onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans and sausages and is a whopping 4 of your 5 a day. I was also fancying something green with it and had loads of cabbage in the fridge so I just sautéed some cabbage in a non-stick pan with garlic and a little butter. Then I added in some frozen peas ( I love peas, did I mention this? if in doubt, add peas, that's my motto).  This is a really great side to rustle up quickly and easily and will add instant healthiness to your meal. It's great with a roast dinner or any sort of pie or tart! I love cabbage and it is so good for you. Cabbage is really high in vitamin C which is perfect for this time of year. This dish is so yummy, easy to prepare and pretty healthy too.

And there you go, that's what I eat in day. I also had a big mug of peppermint tea in the evening whilst watching Lost. I didn't take a picture of that, but you've probably seen a mug of tea before, they all look the same! Also, can we just talk about Lost. Ahhh I love it, it just became available on demand on virgin media and i'm so excited. I'm up to the very end of season 1 and i'm completely hooked. I briefly got into it a while back but then couldn't find it anywhere ( I didn't want to buy a 6 season box set) but i'm so happy I can now watch it for free. Do you like Lost? I know i'm really late to the party, are there any other TV shows you would recommend like this?

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on life and food,

Rachael xx.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Meal Plan Monday- Budget Meals

Hi guys!! Well, the weekend is over and the new week has brought freezing weather here in Northern Ireland! I just can't seem to get warmed up even with blankets, hot water bottles, fluffy slippers and a lit stove! But on the bright side, today is meal plan Monday, so you know what that means, that's right, it's the day I share with you all what I will be eating this week. I've got some good meals planned and I'm quite excited, a couple are new recipes I've not tried before and some are old favourites. This weeks meal plan is a budget meal plan to show you can eat healthy home cooked meals on a pretty strict budget. Just to give you an idea, I did my shopping for all of this in Tesco and a local butcher and the total came to £37!!! That's £37 for 2 people's breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for 8 days! That works out at about 77p for each meal, what a bargain! But they won't taste cheap (hopefully!) at all but will be delicious, warming, healthy and comforting! Just Perfect! 

As I have a particularly HUUUGE spice collection, I did not have to buy any herbs or spices for any of the meals. A wee tip for you is to gradually build your spice and herb collection one or two at a time, each week. It spreads the cost so you won't really notice it and means that the amount of tasty meals you can make instantly increases.

I used two of my favourite recipe books for this meal plan, A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe and Save with Jamie by Jamie Oliver. I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of these books if you are in need of budget recipe inspiration, the recipes are so easy to follow and so tasty. A Girl Called Jack is particularly useful in helping to cut down food costs, she has loads of helpful hints and tricks to cut costs but also to make leftovers and meals go further. You should definitely check out her book or even her blog which is equally helpful.

So here we go, these are the meals that we will be eating this week:

Monday: Mexican Chocolate, Chilli and Black Bean Soup with cheese toasties, A Girl Called Jack (are you sensing a theme here? I've got to have the those toasties!)

Tuesday: Peach and Chickpea Curry with Rice and Peas, A Girl Called Jack

Wednesday: Spring Piggy and Mustard Mash, A Girl Called Jack

Thursday: Sausage and Beer Casserole and Green Veg, A Girl Called Jack

Friday: Sicilian Squash and Chickpea Stew with Couscous , Save with Jamie

Saturday: Sweet Potato and Spinach Fritata and Green Veg, Save with Jamie

Sunday: Sweet Pea Fish Pie, Save with Jamie

Monday: Chicken and Chorizo Paella, Save with Jamie.

I'm especially looking forward to the Sausage Casserole, perfect winter warming food! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! I spent the weekend baking a mammoth chocolate and salted caramel cake, shopping and going to see Fantastic Beasts ( which is pretty epic and you have got to go and see it!) My husband and I also attempted to bake our second sourdough loaf. This sourdough malarkey is a bit of a challenge, not going to lie, but we are going to persevere with it and hopefully we will produce a loaf-like sourdough. So far we have managed to bake a sourdough brick and a sourdough Frisbee, really not sure where we are going wrong, oops! Well anyway, have lovely week and I will be back during the week with a catch up on how the meals are going and maybe a sneaky recipe! Thanks for reading,

Rachael xx.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola

Hi everyone! I'm back today with a recipe for you, this double chocolate peanut butter granola (doesn't that just sound delicious). I know it's not the healthiest of recipes but i'm all about that everything in moderation life (although you can't really eat this in moderation, it's addictive, sorry). I think food is all about a little bit of what you fancy when you fancy it. Plus, when you make your own granola you can control exactly what goes into it, thereby you could make it healthier if you wanted. This granola recipe is such an easy one to make and you can make a big batch of it on a Sunday and munch away at it throughout the week, very simple and not to mention way way way cheaper than shop bought granolas!

This granola is so tasty and can be served so many different ways. I love it with some natural yoghurt, honey and sliced banana. It's great with milk, hot or cold, it's the perfect treat yourself breakfast, a big bowl of this with warm milk, it's like eating cereal with chocolate milk. You can also use it to top porridge or ice-cream or sprinkle on top of a bowl of fruit, like berries. Sometimes, I just eat it as it is as a little treat. Or you can add nuts and dried fruit and make a sort of trail mix for taking out and about. Once you master the basic recipe you can change it up and add a little bit of what you like. Cinnamon, chopped nuts, raisins or freeze dried strawberries and bananas would all work really well.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola


250g oats
2tbsp soft brown sugar
4tbsp heaped of crunchy peanut butter
4tbsp flavourless oil, I used groundnut oil, for an extra nutty taste
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
50g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
a pinch of sea salt


1.Preheat oven to 180degrees. Melt peanut butter in a pan over a low heat and stir in the oil.
2. In a large bowl mix together the oats, sea salt and brown sugar.
3. Pour over the peanut butter and oil mixture.
4. Mix until fully combined.
5. Pour the granola mix unto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
6. Pop into the oven for 30mins, checking every 10mins it's not burning and mixing, so everything gets toasted evenly.
7. When toasted evenly remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
8. When completely cool mix in the chocolate chips. If you don't eat this all at once, you can store it in an airtight container for 3 days. Although it doesn't usually last that long.

So there you go there's the recipe, so simple you could barely even call it a recipe. Please let me know if you give this a try. Also if you have any favourite granola recipes please do share them with me, i'm always on the look out for new ideas. Thanks again for reading, talk again soon,

Rachael xx.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

What I Eat in a Day 3

Hello everyone and welcome back to another what I eat in a day post, I hope you are enjoying these as much as I am. I'm really enjoying trying to make my food look semi-decent before I scoff it, ha! I also feel like it may help me be a bit more mindful about the way I eat! I've tried all those mindfulness meditation things and they just don't work for me, my head is always so full of thoughts (mainly food) rushing around and colliding! But mindful eating is something I might be able to do, it's all about taking the time to appreciate your meal in the moment, enjoying it and then noticing when you are full and how it makes you feel. Hmm, we'll see, it seems like a pretty good concept. Anyway, back to my meals for the day. These meals were all very simple to prepare and took no time at all, so let's get cracking! Also, if you stay tuned to the end i'm going to share my very easy, throw everything in a wok,veggie stir fry recipe, so keep reading!


Porridge made with whole milk, topped with sliced banana, honey and cinnamon
Erm, so you see a recurring theme here. I get so stuck on one breakfast and never change until I am absolutely sick of it. Note to self, I must try something different for breakfast tomorrow. In my defence, porridge is like comfort food to me, it's so warm and cosy and perfect for these dark and cold mornings, yuck!


 Home-made Olive and Rosemary wheaten bread topped with wilted spinach, guacamole, a fried egg and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil AND 3 miniscule oranges.

I had a bit more time this day for lunch so I thought I would make something different. I usually have leftovers from the night before, which is still very yummy but not very spur of the moment, seize the day ha! So, in a moment of spontaneity I came up with this and let me tell you it was delish! I just love avocados and they are perfect with my slightly toasted salty and sweet wheaten bread ( I may share my recipe for this at a later date if you are interested). Wheaten bread is a Northern Irish delicacy if your not familiar with it and not from the emerald isle, it's a national treasure which uses bicarbonate of soda as the rising agent.  My husband and I are trying to give up supermarket bread and bake our own, a big challenge. I've had a sourdough starter on the go for about a week now, it's like having a pet, a huge commitment I don't think I was a fully prepared for. We haven't actually used it to bake yet but I will let you know how that goes! Wheaten bread however, is so easy and tasty, 5mins prep and 45mins in the oven and you are done! I digressed quite dramatically here but I will try and document on the blog how our bread experiments work out.


Vegetable Stir Fry and boiled basmati rice

This stir fry is so simple and quick to make, you can use any veg you have in the fridge. I just used whatever I had in the fridge but mushrooms, sugar snap peas, cabbage, spinach and pak choi are great in it too. This is my own made up recipe and is by no means traditional, it's just something I came up with, liked and used repeatedly. The recipe also doesn't have to be vegetarian, I have made it with prawns, duck, chicken and even some leftover roast goose at Christmas last year (a very extravagant mid-week meal). This dish is a great one for getting your 5 a day, you can get 3/4 portions of veg in this meal alone. It's great served with rice as I did last nice or with some noodles tossed through it. It's perfect for an easy, healthy and light mid-week meal. Go on, give it a try!

Easy Vegetable Stir Fry

Serves 4   30mins-ish

2 onions, finely sliced
2 carrots, peeled into ribbons
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 head of broccoli, broken into florets
2 red/orange/yellow peppers, cut into strips
thumb size piece of ginger, grated
1tsp chilli flakes
2tbsp sesame oil
2tbsp soy sauce
2tsp chines 5 spice
frozen peas, as much or as little as you like, I like loads!
2tbsp sesame seeds
2tbsp honey
basmati rice, boiled, to serve

1. Heat the sesame oil in a wok and add the onions. Fry on a medium heat until softened.
2. Add garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, soy sauce and Chinese 5 spice. Fry for another minute.
3. Add broccoli along with a little water and steam in wok for about 5-10mins, until slightly soft.
4. Add peppers and carrots and fry for another 5ish minutes, keep tossing everything so it gets coated in the lovely sauce.
5. Drizzle over the honey and mix.
6. Add the peas and turn the heat off. The residual heat in the wok will thaw the peas.
7. Serve with boiled rice topped with sesame seeds and drizzled with your chosen chilli sauce, or extra soy sauce.

So, there you have it, everything I ate yesterday! It was a particularly yummy and healthy day (not like me). Let me know if you try this recipe, or if you have any recommendations for stir fry recipes. What are your go to mid-week recipes? Thank you for taking the time to read my musings on food, I will be back soon with more foodie thoughts.

Rachael xo.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Meal Plan Monday- Quick and Easy

Hi everyone and welcome back to another meal plan Monday. I realised that last weeks meal plan featured a lot of long recipes, they weren't very difficult to prepare they just took a long time to cook and I also realise that this is not the most practical for a weekly meal plan. So, this week I have tried to feature recipes which are either very easy like the slow cooker chilli or are very quick, 30 minutes or less. That way when you get home from work and are starving, dinner is only 30 minutes away, yay! The weekend recipes however are slightly longer as we have a wee bit more time to cook on these days. You will notice that two of the recipes are the same as last week as we didn't end up eating them last week. Both meals are store-cupboard meals so they can be switched about whenever we feel like having them. So here we go...

Tuesday: Veggie Stir-Fry, my recipe

Wednesday: Tuscan Bean Soup and a cheese toastie, Avoca Soup

Thursday: Spaghetti Bolognese, my recipe

Friday: Mexican Chicken Burgers and Sweet Potato Wedges, Good Food November

Saturday: Sausage Beanpot, Good Food October

Sunday: Veggie Gurkha Curry, Jamie Oliver Family Classics

Monday: Slow Cooker Chilli and Rice, my recipe.

There you have it, that is what we will be eating this week. There's a bit more meat than we would normally have but that's because we have loads in the freezer. On a side note that is a great tip for meal planning. We always go to the butcher on a Saturday and get all our meat for the week and put it in the freezer as soon as we get home. This way you have exactly what you need and it doesn't go off so you eliminate any waste ( you just have to remember to take it out of the freezer to defrost, I have forgotten this so many times, oops).

Each week I am hoping to share a different meal plan with you for different circumstances, next weeks meal plan will be a weekly meal plan which will hopefully work out very cheap, along with a few tips on how to meal plan very cheaply. If you have any requests for meal plans please do let me know as I love to work them out for people and the more difficulties e.g. budget, time, vegetarian, low-carb etc. the better ( I like to give myself a challenge). Also, please feel free to share your meal plans with me as I would love to see them. I will be back later on in the week with a what I eat in a day post where I will let you know how I'm getting on with the plan and maybe share a cheeky recipe or two, so stay tuned for that. Again, thanks for reading and we will talk again soon,

Rachael xo.

Friday, 11 November 2016

October Foodie Favourites

Hi everyone and welcome back to the Tea Cozy Kitchen! October has been and gone and the 'C' word is just around the corner (seriously where has this year gone?) so I thought I would take this opportunity to talk through some of the foodie and not so foodie things that I have been loving in the month of October. This will be a monthly feature and will hopefully inspire you with recipes, recipe books, future purchases and some much loved TV shows to watch. so let's get started!

1. Porridge

I'm sure you know by now that I love porridge so it had to be included in the favourites as I have had it for breakfast nearly every day this month. It is the perfect cosy breakfast and I love that you can change it up with different fruit toppings and additions. This is one of my favourite combos at the moment, porridge cooked on the hob with whole milk topped with apple, honey and cinnamon, it's perfectly seasonal.

2. Charity Shops For Kitchen Stuff

So this month I have been trying to fill out my kitchen a little with some nice serving plates and platters etc. for taking food photos and for generally just making my food look better. I love that mix and match look, think Jamie Oliver's food styling. They have some great things in TK Maxx but at £20-£30 a pop that's a bit out of my price range. So, I thought I would give some charity shops a go and they were amazing. I got all these items for just £6 (I mean how great is that?) and they were just what I was looking for. I love that I can buy stuff at a great price and give money to charity. You do need to root around a bit but you can find some gems, I would just recommend giving them a wee wash first.

3. Recipe book favourites

These are my recipe book favourites for this month, as you can tell I've been eating mostly from these three resources for the whole month of October. I love eating seasonally and the good food and Tesco magazine are great for recipes featuring ingredients which are in season now and therefore tasting better and cheaper, yay! Also, as always I've been loving Jamie Oliver's Family Classics. I bought this book a couple of months ago and have been dipping in and out of it since. It's such a great book, all the meals are reasonably healthy and so tasty, well done Mr Oliver.

3. Pumpkin and Butternut Squashes

I couldn't have an October favourites and not feature our orange friend the pumpkin. Although great for carving they are also great for eating and are great in cosy stews at this time of year and are very good for you. I've been cooking a lot with these guys over the course of the month, I've made squash mac 'n' cheese, Sicilian squash and chickpea stew and a spicy pumpkin and lentil one pot meal. I've also have had them dotted about the house because they are cute and festive (I especially love the munchkin pumpkins, they are so cute).

4. Vanilla Nut Ground Coffee

I found this coffee in TK Max for £4 and thought I had to give it a go. I love Starbucks Toffee Nut Latte but wanted to have something like it at home and this just hits the spot. It's lovely and sweet and feels quite festive. It also gives off a lovely aroma in the kitchen when you are making a pot of it. I would really recommend TK Maxx for food, they usually have fancy and quite posh ingredients for a much lower price. I've seen very fancy truffles, different cured meats, nuts, syrups and flavourings all at very reasonable prices. So get yourself down there, they also had loads of different flavours of this particular brand of coffee. It's perfect with a cookie too!

5. Gilmore Girls

Not a foodie favourite but like everyone else I have been obsessed with the Gilmore girls this month, don't even get me started on how excited I am for the revival later this month, I am so excited. I don't know what it is about this show that everybody loves so much but it just seems to have that perfect formula of comedy, drama and sentimentality. I grew up with this show and missed a season or two as it was hard to see on UK TV  but I have been getting caught up on what I missed ready for the revival series, did I mention I'm so excited? The only problem is this show makes me so hungry, they always seem to be eating and talking about yummy food, not to mention all the coffee they drink. I have heard that there is a lady who has written a recipe book inspired by all the food talked about in the Gilmore Girls, I will have to get my hands on that! It's the perfect show to sit down and have a cuppa and escape for an hour or two.

There you go, those were my 5 foodie favourites for October. I'm sure there are loads more but you have to draw the line somewhere, I could go on and on about the things I love but I will stop here! Let me know what things you have been loving this month? And are you a Gilmore Girls fan? Also let me know if you have any recipe book recommendation's this month, I'm always on the look out for more inspiration in the kitchen.

Thanks for reading and stop by again soon,

Rachael xo.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

What I Eat in a Day 2

Hey all! So i'm back today with a what I eat in a day post and checking in with how i'm getting on with my meal plan this week plus i'm going to share a sneaky wee recipe for my healthy-ish peanut butter, banana and dark chocolate ice cream, so stay tuned. The day which I am about to share is a normal day for me, not too healthy and not too unhealthy, just normal and easy. So, have a wee read and enjoy! Oh and please let me know if you try the ice-cream, I find it so yummy and it satisfies my sweet tooth without being too heavy or artificial tasting.


Porridge cooked with whole milk topped with banana, honey and cinnamon and a HUGE coffee.

I have to admit something now, I am porridge obsessed if this is even a thing. This time of year just brings out the porridge monster in me. I love coming up with new combinations and toppings and at the moment this is my favourite, it's just so warming and cosy. Plus, I recently read that cinnamon is really good for you so, win win! I know there is some controversy on how porridge is made ( my husband swears by using water to cook it and adding milk at the end, yuck!) but I always just cook mine with whole milk, as I like it really creamy. Then I just topped with sliced banana, drizzle over honey and sprinkle over cinnamon and there you go, it's as easy as that. I find that porridge does help me keep full to lunchtime as well, which is great as it stops me snacking on other things.


Left over slow cooked chicken madras with rice and 2 satsumas

The day before this day we had slow cooker chicken madras for dinner so I just reheated some leftovers for my lunch and cooked up some rice (mainly peas, I LOVE peas!). This recipe is from the Tesco food magazine for October and is well worth trying if you have a slow cooker. I love my slow cooker and jump at the chance of trying a new recipe in it. This was so simple to make and when it's dinner time you just have to serve it up and eat, there's not even that many dishes to do because you just have the one pot. Slow cookers are a great kitchen gadget, definitely worth having in your kitchen for a morning when you are winning at life and organisation and you can get dinner done and dusted before 10am, YES! Also, I always like to have some fruit with my lunch and because it's cold and flu season (yuck!), oranges won today to keep me topped up with vitamin c.


Jamie Oliver's Family Classics Chicken and Chorizo Traybake

For dinner this evening I made this traybake from Jamie Oliver's family classics cookbook and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It was very easy to assemble, it was just a case of getting all the ingredients together in a tray and popping in the oven to cook. You can't really go wrong with sweet potatoes, chicken things, peppers, chorizo and almonds. It was the perfect bright and tasty pick me up for a horrible evening, I mean seriously the weather turned horrendous, it just bucketed rain out of the heavens. This was the first time I had tried this recipe and it was delicious so I will definitely be making it again, the only thing I would recommend doing would be to leave it in the oven for about 20mins longer than the recipe as my potatoes needed a little extra cooking.


Home-made Peanut butter, banana and dark chocolate ice-cream

This evening because of the aforementioned weather I was really craving something chocolatey and comfort foodie and could not get ice-cream out of my head. So I decided to make something a little healthier than the delicious feasts that I was dreaming up in my imagination. You've probably seen recipes for this in loads of different places but I have my own that I thought I would share with you. It's a really great recipe for using up slightly over-ripe bananas, just chop them up and the put them in the freezer and you are 5mins away from home-made ice cream at all times. So here we go:

Peanut Butter, Banana and Dark Chocolate Ice cream
Serves 2 (About 3 scoops each)

You will need:
3 frozen bananas, frozen in slices
1-2 Tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
a little whole milk
50g dark chocolate, cut into small chunks

1. Put your banana in a powerful food processor along with your peanut butter and a little milk and blend until you get a nice smooth consistency. You can keep adding the milk a little at a time to get it to your desired creaminess.
2. Add your chocolate chunks and stir in until evenly dispersed.
3. Scoop into your bowl and eat it away. It does melt quite fast but it usually doesn't last that long for this to be a problem.

Once you have the basics of this ice-cream down you can start playing, the possibilities are endless. You could add cocoa powder, chopped nuts, vanilla extract, almond extract or more fruit like raspberries. It really is that simple and yummy!

Okay, so thanks very much for reading and I hope you enjoyed the journey through my day in food. If you have tried any of these recipes please do let me know how you got on with them. Also, any porridge ideas that are your favourite would be greatly appreciated.
Until next time,

Rachael xo.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Meal Plan Monday

Hi all! Sorry about the break from the blogosphere last week, I was having some serious technical difficulties i.e. my laptop was giving me the black screen of death. I'm back now and today I'm going to share with you my meal plan for this week. As I am obsessed with food and what my next meal is going to be ( anyone else like this? no, just me!) I love to read things like this, I find they help with inspiration for meal ideas, meal planning tips and recipe book recommendations.

Firstly, I would like to start of by saying that I am a bit of an organisational freak and I have been accused of over planning but I find that this is the best to way to keep my husband and I on a relatively healthy diet and budget and helps us eliminate food waste (this is something I feel very strongly about, I'm such a boring adult ha!). I tend to plan my meals Monday-Sunday with leftovers of main meals for lunches the next day, I order our groceries online and pick up from store on a Sunday afternoon, that way we are all stocked up for the week ahead. When planning my meals I take a few things into consideration, how many veg are in a dish, the length of time a recipe takes and if the ingredients can be kept if we don't end up making that dish on the night planned. This weeks recipes are mainly taken from Jamie Oliver's new book 'Superfood Family Classics'. On a brief side note, I absolutely adore this book, the recipes are quite simple, healthy and very tasty. I also decided to make a soup out of the Avoca Soup recipe book. this time of year always makes me feel like soup, it's so comforting and cosy, and if you throw in a cheese toastie i'm in heaven.

So here we go, here's what i'm making this week:

Monday: Slow cooker chicken madras (it's bubbling away as I type and wafting glorious spicy scents round the house). The recipe is from the Tesco Magazine, October Issue.

Tuesday: Tomato and Roast Pepper soup topped with sweetcorn and served with a cheese toastie, Avoca Soup.

Wednesday: Crispy Trout, Oats, Thyme and Veg, Jamie Oliver Family Classics.

Thursday: Super Shepherd's Pie, Jamie Oliver Family Classics.

Friday: Squash Mac 'n' Cheese, Jamie Oliver Family Classics.

Saturday: Chicken and Chorizo Bake, Jamie Oliver Family Classics.

Sunday: Veggie Gurkha Curry, Jamie Oliver Family Classics.

Monday: Merguez Beanpot, Good Food Magazine October.

There you go, that's what we will be eating for the next week. I always get quite excited when I meal plan as some of these dishes sound really yummy and also I haven't tried a lot of these recipes and I love making new things. Please let me know if you have tried any of these recipes, I would love to know what you thought. Also feel free to share your meal plan for the week or any tips and tricks you have when planning your meals. I will be checking in throughout the week with a 'what I eat in a day' post which will report back on how I get on with some of these recipes.

Thanks for reading and happy meal planning,