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Monday

Habanero Chili Prawns on a bed of Wild Rice

I was walking through Trader Joe's the other day... to all my English people, it's the equivalent to an in between Sainsbury's and M&S grocery shop, with Whole Foods being the Waitrose of America (slightly on the expensive side), the links are there if you want to check out their websites.. right, where was I? Oh yeah, walking around aimlessly through the grocery store trying to figure out what to buy, and I realised I hadn't had fish, specifically prawns, in FOREVER! So obviously I decided to buy a pack of them.

I've always been a pretty big seafood fan. We lived in Spain for a couple of years during my teenage years because of my tennis playing and were lucky enough to eat their world famous paella for a couple of years. If you're ever lucky enough to travel to the beautiful country of Spain don't miss out on their paella; if you don't like seafood they also have a load of other versions too, but you have to try it! You won't be disappointed, trust me, and would I lie to you?

Back to this killer dish.



To feed one person, all you're going to need is...

8 prawns, give or take a few depending on how you feel
Wild rice
2 garlic cloves
1 Jalapeño
Handful of cilantro
Pine nuts
Olive oil & a bit of salt

Firstly measure out your rice. I usually measure it with my mason jar and pour it till around the 200 mark. Bear it mind I tend to eat more than the average human because I genuinely my stomach may be a bottomless pit at this point, but worst comes to worst you can just put it in the fridge for the next day. Pour about double the water (or whatever the packaging tells you to put) in with the rice, wait for  it to boil and put the heat down to low and allow it to simmer until all the water is gone.

Whilst the rice is on you can chop your jalapeño, garlic and cilantro, and then marinade your prawns. I bought this habanero chili hot sauce from Trader Joe's so I decided to use that. BEWARE OF THE SPICE! If you have time I would always suggest a homemade marinade, but this was all I had time for so it had to do. Mix it up with your chopped garlic and jalapeños and then place it in a pre heated pan with a splash of olive oil.






Let them sit for about a minute and then start moving them around in the pan so they are able to cook on both sides. Cook them for about 4 to five minutes until done.

Then add your cilantro to the rice, followed by your cooked prawns and mix it all together.


This is an extremely healthy dish that fills you up and only has minimal calories.
It's prawntastic... Too cheesy?




Friday

Superfood Brunch

I don't know about you, but I love a good brunch.
It's not breakfast, because I'm not a huge breakfast fan, but when you combine it with lunch it just becomes a magical experience. That's not to say I don't like breakfast food, it's honestly just the time of the day. I'm the furthest thing from a morning person, therefore, any "breakfast" I consume is technically brunch anyway due to the time of day I eat it. Because who doesn't love a huge stack of pancakes in the morning?

So, this morning I had to wake up super early for a business call. After faffing around after the phone call, taking a shower, and just getting my life together, I figured I should eat something.


Cue my walk to the fridge - otherwise known as my favourite place in the world - where I found some tomatoes, eggs, spinach, feta, strawberries, and garlic. There was also a beautiful avocado glowing in my fruit bowl outside of the fridge. I'm not kidding, I think avocados may be angels. I could hear it calling my name, so I had to use it. Avocados are huge over here in America,  especially in California, they freaking love them! In England they've never been a massive thing, unless you're making guacamole or something, but they definitely should be.

To start with put a pan on medium heat and start chopping up your tomatoes and garlic.
Once your pan has reached a sufficient heat add a little bit of olive oil to it and evenly distribute it around the pan. Throw in your tomatoes and garlic and allow them to heat up slightly and then add your egg on top.

Now, I recently saw Jamie Oliver making legitimately the perfect fried egg. Instead of just leaving the egg on the pan uncovered, place a lid on top of it and leave it there for about two minutes, it will then come off the pan with a slight white covering over the yolk. I will do a separate post to show exactly how it's done in the next few days, but it's pretty easy to get the hang of.

Whilst all of this is going on, add some olive oil to your spinach and use your hands to make sure its goes through the whole salad. Add a little salt and some chili flakes as well. Then, top your spinach with the egg, tomatoes and garlic. Add your sliced strawberries and avocado. Don't forget to sprinkle on some feta, and voila! Brunch served! Not only are you now set for the day, but you also just had a ridiculously healthy start, which if your mother is like mine will make her extra pleased.



Monday

A solo Valentines dinner

Firstly, happy valentines day to you all.
Another year has come and gone, and yet another year flying solo.

If, like me, you are once again on that solo trip on Valentines day then you're going to have to make it a day dedicated to yourself... because let's be honest, you are the most important person in your life right now (aside from your family, but they're are on the other side of the world - in my case at least).

This year I decided to take advice from Parks and Recreation and treat ma'self.
I was going to cook myself a three course meal, then I realised the starter was big enough to be used for the main. So, really I killed two birds with one stone as the washing up was slightly less with only the two dishes.

I started with a hyped up kale salad.
Ended with strawberries and a dark chocolate dipping sauce.
Oh, and pretty much demolished a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
Casual Sunday evening.

For the hyped up Kale salad you need:
Kale (shocking, I know)
Pine nuts
Pancetta
Plum tomatoes
Garlic
Mozzarella
Lime, salt, chili flakes

Strawberry dessert is pretty simple:
Strawberries
Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate
-- or whatever you decide, but I love a bit of Green & Blacks



For starters, put a pan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Once this has  reached a good heating point, add your chopped up pieces of garlic. Don't allow them to brown too much, but just give them a little bit of colour. Once this has happened, add your kale and about a cup of water. Now, many recipes tell you to cover the kale and leave it for about 5 minutes. I did not do this, instead I just left it for about a minute and then started moving it around the pan. Once you have done this for around 5 minutes, add a bit of lime. Keep stirring and then pour out a little bit of the remaining water (still leaving a little bit in there to allow the kale to keep cooking).

I then put the kale and chopped garlic into a saucepan and put the pancetta in the pan. Once this has cooked, combine the pancetta with the kale. Add the pine nuts and tomatoes to the pan and allow them to cook for a while. When they have reached your desired cooking point then re-add the kale and the pancetta to the pan cooking for about a minute more, and combing all of the foods together.

Drizzle with lime, salt, and chili flakes. Throw on your pieces of mozzarella, mix it all together, and serve.
I'm not going to lie to you, I genuinely wasn't a huge fan of kale before this, but I can honestly say that I actually made kale that tastes really good. Trust me, I was shocked too.


DESSERT

I don't know about you, but chocolate is a huge part of my life.
America does NOT have the best chocolate in the world, but it'll do at times. I will take a bar of English Dairy Milk any day of the week over Hershey's (if you ever take a trip to England, make sure you buy a bar of dairy milk chocolate - the one they sell in America is not the same and tastes pretty awful if I'm completely honest). But you've gotta take what you've got here. Thankfully, they still have green & blacks, so I went for that.

Evenly break up your pieces of chocolate and place them in a bowl.
Microwave for a minute, check the chocolate, mix it round a bit. If it's not melted, put it in for another minute, but check it at around 30-45 seconds just to see how melted it is.

Chop up your strawberries into quarters and serve them up.
Start dipping away my friends and treat yourself to the best valentines you will ever have! ❤️




Side note: my mum made some beautiful valentines cupcakes, but sadly she's all the way in England. She did however send me a picture, so here they are in all their glory.


Wednesday

Pesto Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust

Yes, this recipe sounds as incredible as the title.
Not only is it a great substitute in terms of health, but it also tastes equally as amazing as it sounds.
Now, don't get me wrong, pizza is one of my favourite foods, especially having lived in New York. Considering it was apparently national pizza day today I figured I had to have pizza. BUT, I am going to New York next week and as I'm going to be eating a lot of pizza (artichoke pizza for the most part; which if you ever go to New York you NEEED to try) I figured I should make a slightly healthier version.

I'd seen the Cauliflower version of pizza all around the web and figured I'd give it a shot.


Ingredients (for 2/3 people)

about half of a large cauliflower
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 and a half cups of (part skim) mozzarella,
2 tablespoons of parmesan
salt, pepper
chili flakes
1 cup of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 garlic cloves, chopped and diced
spinach leaves
parchment paper

To begin with, crank the oven up to and 425° let it preheat.
Now, there are two ways you can do the next part: the easy way, or the hard and gritty way.
I chose was forced to choose the hard and gritty way as I do not currently own a food processor where I'm living, and therefore had to grate the cauliflower by hand. Great arm workout, but the food processor would have definitely been less time consuming, although the nitty gritty of it all may have made it that much more magical at the end (possibly).

Anyway, even out the pieces of cauliflower as this makes it easier to grate... and grate away!
Leaving you with the finished product.. only took me about 400 minutes. Just kidding, but I am considering that food processor!




It does look pretty though; hard work pays off and all.
Place it in the microwave for around 7 to 8 minutes and then let it out to cool for a little.

Whilst it's in the microwave, you can prepare the next steps.

  • Lightly beat your egg
  • Chop up that mozzarella
    • and try not to eat half of it like I do. Willpower = 0
  • Get that salt, pepper and parmesan ready
Mix all of those ingredients into your squishy cauliflower, ring out all of the excess moisture and place it on your parchment paper, firstly in a snowball shape, and then follow that up with a pizza shape.




Leave that in the oven for around 10-15 minutes.
Prepare all of your toppings in the mean time. 



This is where I changed things up a little bit.

All of the websites I've looked at have obviously used tomato sauce as their base. I'm not a huge fan of tomato sauce, but I am a HUGE fan of pesto, so obviously I decided to go for that instead. You can either use homemade pesto or just get the wonderful stuff they provide at the store. Considering my lack of a food processor, I went with the store brand. After spreading this over the base of the pizza, I added my pre-cut tomatoes and mozzarella, as well as a bit of garlic.



Put that back in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Take it out, add some spinach and you will be the happiest bunny in the world.


YES.


OH YEAH!


Pair it with your favourite wine (personally, I love a good Sauvignon Blanc).



Let me know what you guys think! 
Happy National Pizza Day
Enjoy! xo

Kale and Rice Stuffed Red Pepper

I've decided that 2016 is going to be my year. I'm not going to let anyone get me down, I'm going to stand up for myself and I'm just going to tell people how I really feel. This for me is a challenge as I am known for basically letting people walk all over me as I have a tendency to be way too nice to people that don't necessarily deserve it. This year, however, I've decided that's all going to change. I know it may sound ridiculous, but honestly just be yourself and don't let anyone get you down. You genuinely do only live once, and having those negative aspects in your life do not help anyone.

Now, carrying on with the food and the healthy eating (don't worry, I intend on writing a carb invested blog post in the coming days), and keeping mother proud I decided to experiment with a little stuffed pepper recipe.


It's a relatively straight forward meal to make, tastes incredible and you also feel super healthy afterwards. WIN, WIN! 

Ingredients

Kale
Red Pepper
Organic Rice
Avocado
Mozzarella
Tomatoes
Pine Nuts

Before we even touch the peppers and any other ingredient, we are going to put our rice on. 
Use about a cup and a half more water to rice. For example, if you were to put one cup on rice into your saucepan then add the same amount of water, times it by two and add an extra half. Allow it to reach boiling point, cover it with a lid and put the heat down to low, allowing it to cook for around 25-30 minutes, depending on the type of rice you have. 














Pre heat your oven to 400°f.
During this time, you are able to chop your tomatoes, half your peppers and prepare your avocado and mozzarella.




Once you have sliced your pepper in half, paste it in olive oil and put salt and chili flakes on the inside. Or salt and pepper, I just had no pepper and I love anything spicy. Place these bad boys in the oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Whilst this is happening, you can make start on the rest of the dinner.

Put a bit of olive oil in your frying pan and then chuck your kale in. Allow it to cook for a minute or two and then add some lemon juice to liven things up. 


Once it all looks green and scrumptious, put it to the side on a paper towel and put the tomatoes into the already heated pan. Once they have have been cooked a decent amount, place them on top of the kale that is currently on the paper towel. Then we add the pie nuts into the pan, allow them to roast for a couple of minutes. Once this is all done, throw all three ingredients into the pan together for a short period of time and rustle them around.


It should be time to take your peppers out of the oven by now, so place them aside for a couple of minutes. Once they have slightly cooled, put a bit of rice into the pepper, then put the stuffed pepper onto your serving dish. The you are able to top this with your concoction of kale, tomato and pine nuts, and top it all off with avocado and a few slices of mozzarella. 



Pair with a glass of wine (or two) and you'll be good to go.
Happy eating! xo

Monday

Blackberry and Pine Nut Salad

I recently moved to California, the San Francisco bay area to be precise.
Aside from the people I work with I don't really know anyone here, which is hard, so what do I do when I'm bored? I start experimenting with new recipes. Due to San Francisco being known for its healthy eating I figured I'd start it off with a superfood salad.


It's a pretty easy dish, that consists of

Blackberries
Tomatoes
Kale
Pine Nuts
Feta Cheese
Organic Rice



It's pretty straightforward to make and takes a solid 30 minutes or so. Alongside that, it's also ridiculously healthy and my mother would be so very proud.

For starters you put however much rice you would like in a saucepan and then add double the amount in water. I use a mason jar to measure mine and usually have it at the '100' mark on that. Personally I have no clue what it represents, but its usually enough for me. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a dash of salt to the water and rice, crank the stove up to boiling point and wait for the water to start boiling. Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to low and then cover the saucepan with a tight lid and allow the rice to cook for around 25 to 30 minutes.

Wait for about 15 minutes, chopping up your tomatoes in the meantime.

When we reach the 15 minute mark, pre heat a frying pan with some olive oil in it.


Once the frying pan is hot, chuck the kale into the pan [where you get to hear that beautiful sizzling sound]. Season it with a little salt and the juice of a lemon and move the kale around in the pan with a spatula so it doesn't burn.



Once the kale is complete, place it in your bowl or on your plate, and then chuck the tomatoes in your already hot pan and let them sizzle for a little bit. Then add some blackberries, and sprinkle a little feta on the top to add some colour and happiness. 


Look at it, already a sight of beauty.

Only a few more steps to go on this journey of healthiness. 

Your rice should be done by now, so take it off of heat and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes.

Wipe the remaining oil off of the already heated pan and throw some pine nuts on there so they are able to roast before you add them to the dish. You can use whatever kind of nuts take your fancy here obviously, but pine nuts just make me happy because pine nuts are in pesto and pesto is my favourite thing in life. 



Add the now ready rice and these roasted pine nuts to your dish and there you have it.

Happy eating!