Monday, 30 January 2017

Meal Plan Monday

Hello everyone and welcome back to my little blog. I hope you all had a fab weekend! My weekend was pretty good. On Friday I made yummy pulled pork baps for dinner and we had some pretty delicious mars bar rice krispie buns ( I told you I was going to make them in my last post, I couldn't wait ha!). I know everyone has their own recipe for these but I might share mine with you as a wee treat. We also watched Zoolander 2 (weirdest plot EVER!! But I kind of liked it!), headed out to not one, but TWO amazing lakes for a walk and I baked a cherry bakewell cake to top the weekend off just perfectly. What did you do this weekend, anything fun? Today, as you all know is meal plan Monday, so I've got my meal plan for the week to share today! I made a little mistake when planning this week, I forgot we were going to visit my parents at the weekend and planned too many meals, aah well these can always keep until next week. Anyway, enough rambling, on with the food...

Tues: Tortilla Quiche and Veg, Tesco Recipe Card.

Wed: Meatballs and Mash, Tesco Recipe Card.

Thurs: Pizza, Salad and Wedges.

Fri: Pea and Ham Soup, my recipe.

Sat: Fajita Sweet Potatoes, Good Food February.

Sun: Tuna and Spinach Puttanesca, Good Food February.

Mon: Falafel and Salad, Tesco Recipe Card.

The recipes from this week are mainly from Good Food magazine (surprise, surprise, you are probably sick of me ranting about this so much!). Also, last time I was in Tesco I noticed that they had started to do recipe cards from members of the public and some of the meals sound absolutely delicious. I just had to try them! I will definitely let you know how I get on with these, as they would be another great FREE recipe resource and probably not too taxing! I'm particularly looking forward to Meatballs and MASH ( I LOVE MASH!!!) and the fajita sweet potatoes sound delicious. Are you making anything exciting to eat this week, please do share with me! Anyway, I will stop this rambling and leave you with some photos of the glorious lakes that my beautiful country is home to. Thank you so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

A Narnia-like lamp-post in Hillsborough.

 Beautiful reflections in the lake, Hillsborough.

There were so many swans, geese and ducks on the lake. For someone who is afraid of birds, this was slightly frightening.

 Oxford Island Nature Reserve, Lough Neagh.

 Oxford Island Nature Reserve, Lough Neagh.

 Lough Neagh .

That creature, right there, is me. At this point I was absolutely freezing and in need of coffee and cake!

Friday, 27 January 2017

5 Tips for Eating Healthily on a Budget

Happy Friday y'all! Today, i'm back sharing with you five tips to help you eat healthily on a budget. As my husband and I are trying to save for our first home, this is something that I find very interesting. These are just a few tips that I have learnt along the way that I thought I would share with you. Anywhere I can save money is great, if you have any tips please feel free to share in the comments. Firstly, before getting on with my tips, I would like to define what I mean by 'healthy'. In my case it means to eat everything in moderation, I see no need to cut out anything I enjoy like cake, chocolate, ice-cream, wine, beer, CHEESE, the list goes on and on. You've probably seen this in my what I eat in a day posts. My diet very much focusses on a huge variety of fruit, veg, wholegrain carbs, good quality meat and butter and of course, chocolate. But I do know that healthy diets are different to every person, this is just what I find 'healthy'. I have written a few other posts which may be helpful if you are trying to eat on a budget, have a wee read here and here if you need a few more pointers.  Anyway, let's get on with my tips...

1. Frozen vegetables and fruit are usually cheaper than fresh so they are a good place to start if you eat a lot of veg and want to save a good bit of money. It's a great idea to stock up on these veg as you can add them to lots of different meals to bulk them out. Another good idea when it comes to veg is to buy fruit and veg which are in season. Where I live, carrots, cabbage and potatoes are grown very easily and are therefore, very cheap.

2. As I have mentioned before, meal planning is a great thing to do to save a bit of money and eat healthily. Firstly, you will always have a healthy dinner in the house and won't be tempted to a cheeky take-away (although this does still happen, I assure you, just not as frequently!). And secondly, when you're planning your meals you can be selective about recipes you choose, choosing recipes with more veg. I always try and plan meals that have at least two portions of fruit and veg in them. It's also easy to switch in wholegrain carbs in place of white carbs in the meals.

3. Don't buy expensive superfood ingredients. These ingredients are amazing if you can afford them but there are many cheaper alternatives which are just as healthy but are nowhere near as expensive. I generally steer clear of things like quinoa or superfood powders as they are just so expensive, wholegrain rice and fresh fruit/veg are much cheaper and just as healthy.

4. A little bit of what you fancy is a great idea. I always have some chocolate in the house to have everyday, I find that it stops me wanting any big desserts or cakes. It's better to have a bit of chocolate everyday than to avoid it all week and then scoff a huge chocolate cake at the weekend, it's cheaper and healthier. A great swap to do is to have dark chocolate rather than milk, there is less sugar in it and it has been proven to be good for you (I definitely have heard this somewhere, I am right, right?). Because dark chocolate is so rich (70%+) you don't eat as much of it and it lasts longer than milk chocolate. I could definitely eat a huge bar of milk chocolate in one sitting and then another the next night, dark chocolate reduces the likelihood of this happening.

5. Eat vegetarian a few nights of the week. This is a great idea as you have to really bulk out meals with fruit, veg and healthy pulses and grains etc. This generally makes the meals cheaper and you get a variety of different fruit and veg in each meal. Doing this will also enable you to spend a wee bit more on better quality meat from your supermarket or butcher for your more meaty meals. Vegetarian meals are so different to the usual boring 'token vegetarian' option of restaurants, I love eating meat-free meals now as you have to work a wee bit harder with herbs and spices to give the meals as much flavour. My favourites are a veggie chilli with all the trimmings, soups, stir frys and big salads.

I hope you enjoyed reading these tips and you found them helpful. Again, if you have any tips, please do share them with me. I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Having written this post on enjoying everything in moderation, I'm going to make some mars bar crispy buns for us to enjoy this weekend. I'm such a child, I've been dying to make these all week, ha! Thank you so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

What I Eat in a Day 12

Happy Wednesday everybody! Is it just me or is this week going by very slowly, come on Friday, hurry up! How is your week going thus far? I started a literature evening course last night which is very exciting. It's on the Bronte sisters, who wrote two of my favourite books, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights! It was weird being back at my university after 4 years but kind of nice too! I'm looking forward to analysing literature again! Anyway, today I've got another what I eat in a day post (as the title suggests, duh Rachael!) for you. Yesterday was a pretty good day food-wise, I had lots of tasty grub. On with the food...


 Porridge made with whole milk, topped with frozen berries, honey and cinnamon.

Back to an old favourite again! I just can't stay away from porridge for too long, especially on cold and dreary winter mornings! I changed it up slightly this time by using frozen red berries along with the usual cinnamon and honey. The berries worked really well as they gave a sharpness to the porridge and also turned it a lovely shade of pink, what can I say, I love eating the rainbow. This was also washed down with a huge mug of coffee (of course!).


Wholegrain Pasta, Tomato and Pea Frittata with 3 clementines.

This frittata is a variation on one I made for dinner last week. It is so tasty and so filling, it kept me full all afternoon. It's so easy to make and you can really use whatever you have in the fridge/freezer. I just used a handful of cooked pasta, a handful of peas and a handful of plum tomatoes. I mixed two eggs with some seasoning, some cheddar cheese and a drop of milk. I then added the eggs to the pan with the other ingredients and cooked for about 5 mins on the hob and then topped with more cheese and transferred to under the grill until it was set and golden. So easy and yes, I did eat the whole thing, it's all good stuff though so it's fine.


Sardine, Olive and Tomato Spaghetti Topped with Crispy herby breadcrumbs and Parmesan.

Pasta twice in one day is definitely the sign of a good day! This dish was really delicious and so easy to make. The crispy breadcrumbs take what is an ordinary pasta dish and transform it into a taste sensation. They also make it look a bit more classy. I'm not usually a fan of sardines but in this dish, they just melt into the sauce and taste amazing. This recipe was from the BBC Good Food February issue and I will definitely be making it again. Also, a quick word on spaghetti, I always use wholegrain spaghetti. I know that this isn't traditional but I find it's such an easy health swap and it works really well as it retains a little bit more of a bite than normal spaghetti. I also find that the slightly nuttier taste works really well with strong and substantial sauces like this one or a Bolognese. If you haven't tried wholegrain spaghetti you should definitely give it a go!

I also had three triangles of a Toblerone and a peppermint tea after I got home from my evening class. They didn't last long enough for a picture, ha! I've got to get that chocolate in every day, even if it is pretty late.

So, there you go, everything I ate yesterday! I hope enjoy reading this post as much as I enjoyed eating it (ha ok, maybe not!). Did you have any tasty meals yesterday, please do let me know. Thank you so much for reading, we'll talk again soon,

Rachael xx.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Meal Plan Monday

Howdy everyone! (I'm cringey, I know!). Hope you all had a truly wonderful weekend! I went to see La La Land at the weekend and it was just beautiful, definitely my kind of movie. Although, I can't say the husband enjoyed it just as much as me! Have you seen it yet? We also went to look at adopting a puppy from a local shelter, there were none that were right for us that time but we will keep looking! Did you do anything fun or exciting this weekend? Today I'm sharing with you my meal plan for the week, because, yes you guessed it, it's meal plan Monday! I am particularly excited about some of these meals.

Tues: Pulled Pork Baps with sweetcorn and coleslaw, my recipe.

Wed: Sardine Pasta with crunchy Parsley crumbs, Good Food February.

Thurs: Sweet Potato Noodle Soup, Good Food February.

Fri: Butter Chicken, Rice and Naan Bread, Good Food February.

Sat: Winter Veg and Goat's Cheese Pasties with Green Veg, Good Food February.

Sun: Baked Feta with Sumac Grapes, Pearl Barley Salad, Pittas and Lamb Meatballs, Good Food February.

Mon: Sausage, Broccoli and Gnocchi Bake, Tesco February.

As you can tell the new issue of Good Food magazine arrived through my door last week and boy was it a corker, packed full of amazing recipes. I could barely contain my excitement to try some of these recipes, particularly the Butter chicken and the baked feta with sumac grapes, yummy! I'm also going to try and do a pulled pork in the slow cooker, this will be a bit of an experiment as I have never tried this before, hopefully it works well! Any suggestions of how to do this are very welcome in the comments below! Are you making any tasty dishes this week? I will be back soon to let you know how I am getting on with these recipes, thank you so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Favourite Foodie Christmas Presents

Hello everyone, it's finally Friday, woop woop! Who's got that Friday feeling? I certainly have, I'm looking forward to a weekend of winter walks, getting organised and of course, tasty food and drink. We are having spaghetti for dinner tonight and I'm scarily excited (pasta fiends put your hands up!!). Today I have a long overdue Christmas gift post, I got so many lovely presents that I definitely didn't deserve, it was so hard to choose some favourites. But, I decided to pick a few of my favourite food and drink gifts.

Hotel Chocolat Cocoa nibs

I'm sure you have seen me using these in different dishes in my January posts. I absolutely love them, they give that chocolate flavour with a crunch and reduced sugar which is fab post Christmas. I use them on top of yoghurt, porridge and even in baking. I had never tried these before now and am so glad I got them as I will definitely be repurchasing.

Hario V60 Coffee Maker

This was actually a present I got for my husband, Sean. He's a big coffee lover and has many different ways of making coffee. Little did I know that I would enjoy this present as much as him. It uses a pour over method of making coffee which is super simple and even more tasty. Definitely an investment if you are into your coffee, it's quite inexpensive too compared to other coffee production methods.

Eden Mill Gin

My husband and I love a G+T at the weekend and this was a Gin that we had never tried before. It comes form St. Andrews in Scotland and is really delicious. Also, I really love the bottle, I kind of can't wait till it's done and I can put some pretty flowers in there.

 Tesco Clementine Honey and Oat Shortbread

Firstly I love the tin, again I can't wait to put some flowers in there and secondly these biscuits are truly amazing and perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. The flavours are so subtle in these but they taste nothing like any shortbread you have ever tasted. I think they would be lovely crumbled on top of a chocolatey dessert.

Rice Cooker

This was a gift from my parents. This has revolutionised the way I cook rice, so simple and the rice is perfect every time. A great investment for the kitchen if you eat a lot of chillis, burritos, curries and stir-frys like us! It's also great for steaming vegetables but I haven't tried this yet, I still have that to look forward to!

Co Couture Chocolate

As you know, I am a chocoholic and let me just say that this chocolate is amazing!! It's from a local chocolatier to us in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We received a couple of bags of these mini chocolate bars, raspberry and white chocolate and salted caramel. They are so delicious and well worth a try if you are ever in Belfast. I love that they were only made down the road.

And there you have a few of my favourite foodie Christmas gifts. There were so many more but these were the top few (for this read the only ones we hadn't eaten yet, ha!). Did you get any yummy Christmas gifts? I would love to know! Also, have you tried any of these tasty treats? Thank you so much for reading, I will be back with another post soon,

Rachael xx.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

What I Eat in a Day 11

Hello again everyone! Happy hump day! I hope everyone's week is going well and you are feeling productive and motivated but how about a little foodie distraction!  I'm back today with my what I eat in a day post! Yesterday was a very tasty day filled with lots of fruit, veg and chocolate, definitely my kind of day. Here we go...


Banana, frozen strawberry and carrot smoothie

I have been trying to do a bit of a work out in the mornings (not like me I can assure you) to try and up my fitness a bit. The workouts are going well so far and I am really starting to enjoy the post workout endorphins but I still can't manage to eat a big meal post exercise so a smoothie is my go-to breakfast. I love the way smoothies make me feel that summer is just around the corner, they are so bright and fruity. I'm no smoothie expert but I find the trick is to have at least one veg in the mix, it can't all be fruit. Although, more fruit than veg is a good idea as it keeps it sweet. The banana makes it creamy and sweet, the strawberries give a punchy flavour, the carrot, well it's just there for nutritional benefit.


 Pesto Orzo pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, olives and peas (and 3 satsumas)

Lunch was leftover pasta salad from dinner the night before. I love anything with pesto so this salad is a winner with me! For dinner we served it up with oregano marinated fried halloumi and for lunch the next day I just added some extra veg. It really was very yummy and very simple to make. If you haven't tried orzo pasta before you should definitely give it a go, it is great for pasta salads or soups etc.


 Natural yoghurt with local honey, cocoa nibs and 2 squares of white chocolate (and a HUGE coffee)

Mid-afternoon and I was feeling so hungry, the workout was catching up with me I  think. So it goes without saying that I needed a huge coffee but I also needed a snack that was quite filling. I came up with this concoction and boy was it tasty and just what I needed. It definitely kept me going the rest of the afternoon. I love these mini chocolate bars, they are raspberry white chocolate and covered in rose gold powder, so beautiful!


Moroccan Roasted vegetable, chickpea and sausage bake.

This recipe is an old favourite from the BBC Good Food 500 triple tested recipes book. However, I did have to adapt it slightly as the recipe called for chicken legs but our butcher didn't have any left so I decided to try sausages (our butcher does really good sausages). It was so good I think I will make it with sausages in future. The recipe is so simple to make and so flavourful. Basically, you just roast onions, carrots, parsnips and the sausages in olive oil and Moroccan seasoning and then you add chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and coriander. So yummy! We just had it on it's own like a stew but it would be delicious served with lemon couscous, it would also help it to go a bit further. So delicious, and I am having it for lunch today too, yay, the perks of making enough for four when there's only two of you!

Also, as this blog is an honest place, I have to come clean about something. My husband and I ate a whole terry's chocolate orange between us in the evening washed down with a peppermint tea. It was scoffed before I had the chance to take a picture. I was really craving chocolate and we still have Christmas chocolate left so I was like, YES!! I'm a firm believer that if you are really craving something, you should have it but in moderation. You should never deprive yourself, life is too short! So yes, I had half of a terry's chocolate orange last night and it was AMAZING!!

Anywho, that is everything I ate yesterday and everything for today! Did you have any good meals yesterday? What is your favourite teatime treat? Thank you so much for reading,

Rachael xx.

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.


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


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...


 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


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!


 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!


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.


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.


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...


 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!


 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!


 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!).

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.