Lentil and Sweet Potato Dahl

Thursday, 28 January 2016
Lentil and Sweet Potato Dahl

I love lentils lots so you will probably see quite a lot of lentil-based recipes popping up on here. They are just so cheap to buy and I really like the taste and texture of them. The red ones are my favourite but I've recently been trying more recipes with the green ones too - this one uses both! I have a low iron count and lentils are a really good source of iron so that's another reason I like eating them quite often. They're also high in fibre and are a wonderful source of plant-based protein so really, everyone should be eating more of them. I've also been loving sweet potatoes recently, they are just so hearty and warming in the winter, so this recipe was born and it is one of my favourite dinners at the moment. It only takes around 10 minutes of preparation and it's great for freezing. I like to cook a huge batch at the weekend and freeze the leftovers in portions for quick weekday dinners. It's so yummy served with brown rice or warm pitta bread, or you can just eat a huge portion of it by itself, either way, it's delicious.

Lentil and Sweet Potato Dahl

You will need (serves 2): 
1 red onion
1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup red and/or green lentils (I used a quarter cup of each)
3 handfuls spinach
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
1 cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried coriander leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried chillies (you can add more or less to your own taste)
1 tablespoon tomato puree

- Dice the onion into small pieces and cut the sweet potato into small chunks.
- In a large pot, fry the onion in a small amount of olive oil over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, excluding the spinach, to the pot. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer over a low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Add the spinach and cook for a further minute.
- Serve with rice or warm pitta bread.

Lentil and Sweet Potato Dahl

Spinach, Rocket and Avocado Quinoa Salad

Monday, 25 January 2016
Spinach, Rocket and Avocado Quinoa Salad

This is my absolute favourite salad at the moment! It's so tasty, refreshing and lovely and filling, and always keeps me going until dinner time. It's got so much goodness in it and gives you a really nice mix of nutritious veggies while also leaving you completely satisfied thanks to the protein-rich quinoa. When I first changed my lifestyle, I was a little overwhelmed by all these 'superfoods', it was like a foreign language (and it took me about six months to find out how to even pronounce quinoa - it's like keen-wah, if you were also wondering!), so it's taken me a while to figure them out. I'd just say, don't be put off by them, quinoa is wonderful you just need to know what to do with it because I won't lie, it doesn't taste great on its own. This recipe can also be served without the quinoa though, if you're looking for something a little lighter or to serve as a side. I hope you enjoy it! 

Spinach, Rocket and Avocado Quinoa Salad

You will need (serves 2): 
1/2 cup quinoa (and some dried coriander, paprika and pepper to season)
100g spinach 
40g rocket (about three handfuls)
1/4 of a cucumber 
1 avocado
8 cherry tomatoes 
a handful of toasted pine nuts 
the juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil 

- Start off by cooking the quinoa - rinse the it thoroughly in cold water then add to a pot over a low heat with one and a half cups of water. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Once all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa has gone clear remove from heat and season with coriander, paprika and pepper (just a dash of each is enough). Leave to the side to cool. 
- Roughly chop the spinach and rocket and chop up the cucumber into quartered slices and the tomatoes in half. 
- Add the quinoa and all the salad into a large bowl and then add in the olive oil and lemon juice. Give everything a good stir. 
- Top with chopped avocado and a sprinkle of pine nuts. 

Tip - if you're making this salad in advance to take for lunch then pop the chopped avocado in with the salad before you mix in the olive oil and lemon dressing - this just means the avocado will also be coated in lemon juice, preserving it for the next day.

Spinach, Rocket and Avocado Quinoa Salad

Banana, Blueberry and Almond Porridge

Thursday, 21 January 2016
Banana, Blueberry and Almond Porridge

When I decided that I wanted to start this blog to share my passion for food and the things I love to eat, I knew that a porridge recipe would have to be the first recipe I shared, and it will definitely be the first of many because I am a self-confessed porridge addict.

Porridge is perhaps the most versatile breakfast ever because there are just so many wonderful possibilities and flavours. You can (and I do) eat porridge for breakfast almost every single day and never get bored. I know quite a few people who think that porridge is boring, bland and not at all exciting but they are so wrong - you just need to know how to cook it to make it taste incredible. This banana, blueberry and almond combination is one of my favourites at the moment. The almond milk and banana create a delicious sweetness without the need for any added sugars and the blueberry topping gives it a yummy pop of fruity flavour. It will also keep you lovely and full until lunch because oats are packed full of fibre and goodness, which just another reason to love good old porridge.

Banana, Blueberry and Almond Porridge

You will need (serves 1):
1/2 cup oats 
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon chia seeds (these can easily be left out without affecting the recipe, I just add them in for extra goodness!)
1 teaspoon almond butter
1 banana
a handful of blueberries

- Mix together the oats and chia seeds with the water and almond milk in a pot and pop over a medium heat. 
- Add half the banana, chopped, into the mixture and stir through. 
- Once bubbling, leave the porridge to simmer for 5-6 minutes until it has absorbed all the liquid and is really nice and creamy. Make sure you stir the porridge regularly while it cooks so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. If you like your porridge a bit runnier you can add extra water/almond milk while it cooks. 
- Add the almond butter to the porridge a minute before it is finished cooking and give it a good mix. 
- While the porridge is simmering, make the blueberry compote for the topping - add the blueberries into a pot with 2 tablespoons of water and simmer over a low heat for 2-3 minutes. Using the back of the spoon press down on some of the blueberries to release the juices while they are cooking. You can also add a drop of honey to the compote if you want it a bit sweeter but I find it's sweet enough without this.
- Serve the porridge with the blueberry compote and the other half of the banana chopped on top.

Banana, Blueberry and Almond Porridge


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Hello, and thank you so much for stopping by! I can't quite believe that I'm doing this, starting a whole new blog and beginning again from nothing, but here I am. I'm Nicole and for the past three years I have written a lifestyle blog, posting all about adventures I'd been on, little things that made me happy, the books I'd gotten lost in and the things I love. I changed a lot in those three years, going from a sleep deprived student who survived purely on pasta, toast and chocolate to a healthy food lover who enjoys nothing more than spending hours in the kitchen, creating delicious meals and yummy treats. It was about a year and a half ago that I realised how unhealthy I was. I'd just started working full-time and I hated how awful I felt, sitting down at a desk all day, feeling exhausted all the time from a high sugar, low veggie diet, and I knew I had to do something about it. I joined the gym, fell in love with vegetables and healthy eating and I have never felt better - and, well, the rest is history. 

So, here I am starting a brand new space where I can share my passion for food and health. I am so proud of how far my lifestyle blog has come, and how much it helped me to grow as a person, but I just wasn't happy with it anymore because I had lost my love for it. For a long time I thought about starting a food blog, but I never had the confidence to do it. Until now, because if I don't do it now I don't think I ever will. Looking after yourself is so important and that starts with what we put into ourselves. In this space I hope to inspire more of you to lead a healthier life, to share easy, healthy and yummy recipes with you and to spread my love of food.

All of the recipes will be vegetarian as I recently decided to cut meat from my diet, which was quite  easy as I rarely ate meat anyway, and I feel so much better for it (I'll be doing a whole post on this soon so watch out for that). I'm also considering taking it a step further and going vegan, however, I need to look a little more into that first but from what I've found out so far it sounds like it would be a wonderful change. If any of you reading this are vegan then let me know your thoughts, I'd love to hear about your experience! 

I hope you will stick around and follow my adventures in the kitchen because I can't wait to get started. I'm so excited about this blog and I hope you will enjoy it too. 

If you'd like to stay up to date with all my new recipes and posts then you can follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter or Instagram - I'd love to see you there!