Chickpea Fajitas

Yep, chickpeas again.

My ability to stay calm when a sense of urgency is really necessary is a truly well-honed skill. In a couple of days we are moving all the way from Bristol to Brighton, and on top of that today was Ivy’s birthday, I have a uni assignment due in and I also seem to have caught whatever diseases Ivy has decided to pass onto me this week. Colds, by the way, do not seem to be helped by traipsing around in the rain for over an hour while Ivy is pushed around on her new scooter like some kind of queen of the world:

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Dom took Ivy away to his parent’s for 5 days so I can “get us organised” and what do I do? Go to London for two days, come back to Bristol with a chronic hangover and spend the next 2 nights watching 90s teen horror films and sobbing a little bit when thinking about how much I miss Ivy. I am so shit.

It is kind of impossible for me to think about how much we have to do over this weekend without feeling a little like I am about to have a heart attack, so instead I have decided not to bother tidying up Ivy’s birthday crap because it’ll all be going into boxes anyway, and am currently eating the face off of Ivy’s caterpillar cake. So the last few days of living in our lovely house will be spent in a room looking like this:

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Of course, I left the present-wrapping and balloon-inflating until last minute as well so had to make a quick and easy dinner that didn’t require venturing out into the rain and buying ingredients (seriously England, what the fuck? Its July!). Because I was using what was in my kitchen, I replaced soured cream with half fat creme fraiche which was just as delicious. I also made my own seasoning using this recipe:http://cookingtipoftheday.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/recipe-fajita-seasoning.html but replaced the chicken stock cube with a vegetable stock cube. Ivy likes a bit of spice but you can obviously adjust the amount of chilli and cayenne powder depending on how much of a badass your kid is.

Chickpea Fajitas (2 adults, 1 kid)

5-6 flour tortillas

1 packet of fajita seasoning or homemade seasoning from link above

2 peppers (I used green and yellow)

1 tin of chickpeas, drained

1 onion, sliced

Soured cream or creme fraiche

Salsa

Avocado, diced

Heat oil in a pan and add onion for a few minutes until it starts to soften, then add the peppers, chickpeas and seasoning and cook until the chickpeas have softened. Serve with the cream, salsa and avocado and a big side salad and sweet potato wedges.

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Stewed Apple with Manuka Honey

So I have a poorly Ivy this week. I hate seeing her feel rubbish but hey, its an excuse to stay in pyjamas and watch Peter Pan on the laptop so Ivy is coping, little soldier

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It is so tough when they aren’t old enough to verbalise how they are feeling, but going by the fact that she had a temperature last night, a little puke and has been refusing to eat any solid foods today I am guessing that she has some kind of throat infection. Feeding her a cup a soup (her first full sentence today was ‘more soup please’, after saying ‘more please soup’ about 5 times) I just NEEDED to get some vitamins into her, watch her gulp down those horrid salty crappy tasting soups was painful for me.

So I decided to make some stewed apple, then remembered the manuka honey sitting in my cupboard, unused after all those months ago when my mum called me repeatedly and barked the health benefits at me until I finally relented and bought a jar to appease her. Apparently manuka honey is great for healing wounds, sore throats and other general cold and flu symptoms. Usually, I am a bit skeptical of anything that claims to miraculously heal you and make you live to 100 when the prices are usually insanely high, but I figured it was worth a try and it would probably make the stew taste a little nicer anyway.

Here is the very simple recipe. It feels like kind of a waste of a post but given that I haven’t cooked anything for 2 days it was either this or instructions on how to boil water and stir it into soup mix.

Stewed Apple with Manuka Honey (serves 2)

2 dessert apples; I used pink ladies

1 teaspoon cinnamon

15g raisins

1 tablespoon manuka honey

75ml water

Peel and core apple and chop into small cubes. Place the apple in a small saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients, stir, cover and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until very soft and mushy, stirring occasionally. Next time I make this, I think I’ll try sprinkling some oats and adding a dollop of greek honey and the end, so I can trick myself into thinking I’m eating apple pie.

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It went down well

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As a side note, has anyone else watched Peter Pan recently? I don’t remember him being such an asshole, geez.

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Easy and Quick Chickpea Korma

My boyfriend has just taken Ivy out on his fortnightly ‘daddy-daughter day’ to the Aquarium, (so glad I am not included in this, octopus give me nightmares) so because I am nursing a mild hangover I am choosing to ignore my messy house and talk about food instead.

Chickpeas are definitely one of my favourite pulses. I have this weird thing about Quorn, something about the texture about it makes me feel all funny and grossed out, so I usually end up resorting to either chickpeas or lentils. For a long time Ivy refused to partake in any chickpea-eating activities much to my chagrin, until I discovered that if I call them ‘chicken peas’ she will laugh hysterically and then shovel them all down. That’s a bit weird, right? So now we have chickpea meals at least once a week, chickpea fajitas being my most recent discovery but a chickpea korma is definitely our favourite. I never thought I could say chickpea so much in one paragraph.

I feel like a bit of a cheat including this because I don’t make the paste myself but it is such a great meal to make if you have had a busy day, got home late and in a rush to make dinner before the little ones crash out. Sometimes in that situation I find myself resorting to making some pretty dull and not particularly healthy meals so this is a great one to have planned. I usually use Marks and Spencers korma paste but I’m sure any would do, or you could even make your own ahead of time and keep it in the fridge!

Chickpea and Spinach Korma

1 medium onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1cm ginger, finely chopped or minced

1/2 jar korma paste

1 tin of coconut milk

1/2 yellow pepper, diced

200g fresh spinach

1 tin of chickpeas

Vegetable oil

Basmati rice, to serve

Heat oil in a large pan and add onions, cook until softened. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a further minute, then add the paste and stir fry until aromatic. Pour in the coconut milk, bring to the boil, add chickpeas and yellow pepper, then turn down to simmer. Cover and simmer for approx. 20 minutes until chickpeas and pepper are softened. Stir in spinach until wilted and then serve with steaming hot rice.

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heh heh heh heh. Chicken peas.

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Simple Vegetable Risotto

It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that risotto is not a culinary masterpiece and total pain in the ass to make. As a student, I thought that I could call myself a ‘good cook’ because I was capable of putting a quorn fillet in the oven and boiling pasta, anything that involved chopping an onion was considered too scary and abandoned. It still makes me embarrassed when I think of the look on my boyfriend’s face when he discovered that I didn’t know how to fry an egg, (I DONT EVEN LIKE EGGS WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO COOK THEM????) but since having Ivy I have turned into a pretty decent cook, and oh how I love to prove that man wrong.

So, I digress; once I finally braved my risotto and realised it was pretty simple, albeit a little tedious, it has become a staple in the house when I need to use up vegetables in the fridge. My other using-up-veg failsafe meal is a vegetable thai green curry but it is so easy it doesn’t even warrant a post: Tesco thai green curry paste (the most mild), coconut milk, vegetables of your choice, a splash of fish sauce and a teaspoon of sugar, simmered for 20 minutes. Done.

The risotto takes a bit more effort (and even, GASP, involves chopping an onion) but the effect of this meal is magical, Ivy will literally eat anything that I hide in risotto. I could probably make a risotto of brussel sprouts and old pieces of play doh and she would still ask for seconds.

We don’t have a t.v because we are weirdos, so keeping Ivy entertained while staying close to the pan sometimes proves to be a bit of a challenge and I resort to In The Night Garden on BBC Iplayer so Ivy can dance to that stupid makka pakka song (what is that shit?) and I can stir in peace, but often she just sits on the countertop and “helps” by dipping a wooden spoon in and out occasionally and eating Rice Krispies out of the box after I ask her not to.

Vegetable Risotto (this serves 4 people)

Knob of butter or olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

250g arborio risotto rice

Vegetables of your choice – in this risotto I used 1 carrot quartered, half a pack of asparagus halved, half a head of broccoli chopped and frozen peas

1 litre vegetable stock

2 tablespoons of soft cheese

Head oil or butter in a pan until hot and add onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add vegetables and garlic and fry for a further couple of minutes, then add the rice and fry until the rice is hot, stirring frequently. Pour in a good amount of stock (about half) and bring to the boil, then simmer. Once the stock is absorbed, add more with a ladle and keep adding until the rice is soft and cooked – it may take a little more than advised but the risotto still retain a good texture and shouldn’t be congealed. Add the soft cheese and stir through and serve.

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Great risotto. Shame my Rice Krispies stock is depleted.

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Smoked paprika butter bean and roasted veg pasta

I don’t particularly like long, drawn out introductions so here are the basics:

My name is Lucille

I have an almost-two year old gorgeous little terror called Ivy

I am a part time Psychology student

I’m 23

I bloody love to cook!

 I know how difficult it is to come up with healthy, easy meals for our little ones; I quickly found that just steaming plain vegetables and putting them on a plate simply doesn’t cut it for Ivy. I am constantly coming up with new ideas for nutritious and quick meals that are veggie-friendly but still full of flavour and thought it was about time I share!

 This week I had it in my head that I wanted to eat butterbeans. I find that pulses and beans tend to come second to salty meat like bacon and sausages in most meals, they don’t get nearly enough credit. Following my discovery of real smoked paprika last week, I realised that the strong, smokey flavour could easily substitute real meat. I wasn’t sure whether to go with pasta or couscous but Ivy makes most of the decisions in this household and is growing increasingly suspicious of couscous, so tagliatelle it was. So,while simultaneously watching Ivy and her toddler boyfriend dancing to The Paragons and smearing play doh artfully into my cream carpets, I came up with this dish and MY GOD was it delicious:

Roasted vegetables and smoked paprika butterbeans with tagliatelle. (Serves 2 adults, 1 hungry kid)

You will need:

1 red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 half of a red pepper

1 half of a courgette

Half a packet of cherry tomatoes – around 150g

Butterbeans

Smoked paprika (pimenton)

Fresh parsley

Olive Oil

Tagliatelle

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6

Chop the courgette into quarters, the red pepper into chunks and halve the cherry tomatoes

In a bowl, mix with a good amount of olive oil, and season

Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until cherry tomatoes begin to caramelise

Meanwhile, boil a pan of water and add 200-250g tagliatelle, depending on how much you like your carbs!

Slice the red onion into half strips and heat olive oil in a pan.

Gently fry the onion for five minutes and then add 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and the butter beans and fry for another 5 minutes.

Take roasted vegetables out the oven, mix in with the butter beans, add fresh chopped parsley and pour over the pasta. And hopefully it will look a little like this:

(Without the blob of pesto on the side of the bowl. Long story.)

While the roasted veg could probably be substituted for any other vegetable, and the butter beans could be swapped for other beans or pulses like chickpeas or cannellini beans, the two most essential ingredients are the smoked paprika and the cherry tomatoes. I am totally obsessed with roasted cherry tomatoes, they create such a delicious rich and slightly sweet flavour – very appealing for the little ones. Even the boyfriend was impressed by this one and he is one of those annoying people who disregard any meatless meal as proper food, what a philistine.

Right, back to unsuccessfully scraping play doh off of my poor carpet.

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Wow. It has been a really long time. So much has changed, I don’t even know where to begin! I’m sure no-one will read this but I feel I owe the journal an update.

In June 2009, I met my amazing boyfriend Dom. I thought he was THE best looking person I had ever seen and it was all very whirlwind and easy, we were basically living together by July. My ED habits were still very prevelant and I was still stuck in a cycle of restricting and having a weekly binge session until I unexpectedly fell pregnant in October. I was so not prepared for this that I didn’t even realise until December!

At first I cried for days and thought I had no option other than one, but slowly we both came round to the idea of taking the harder path. I had an inheritance come through around the same time so we could still afford for Dom to study without being stressed about money, so we went for it and on July 6th 2010 my beautiful Ivy Phelan was born, who is now 18 months:

It was so weird. As soon as I realised that I was pregnant, nourishing myself suddenly seemed easier. It was like I finally had an excuse to eat, an excuse that would win over all my awful ED feelings. I may still not have believed that i deserved to eat but my daughter sure as hell deserved it! I hadn’t experienced being able to enjoy foodlike a normal person in years. I loved being pregnant. Even after she was born, my attitude towards food seemed to naturally relax.

We live in a gorgeous little 2 bed victorian house overlooking a park in Bristol. Our bedroom has its own balcony! It all feels very idyllic. I am also starting an online degree in Psychology in a few weeks, as getting knocked up kind of got in the way of my previous degree! I don’t think I ever would have completed it, pregnant or not. I was severely messed up until this miracle happened. Constantly drunk, high and starving.

The reason I have been drawn back to here is sadly these feelings seem to be creeping back, and I need to sort this out before it gets bad again. Although I am a size 8-10 and I should be happy with that, I feel uncomfortable at this weight and just want to lose a few pounds. But I can already feel myself obsessing over food, and I don’t seem to be able to diet sensibly. Today I ate spaghetti bolognese and I feel so guilty I want to cry because I have only been eating 1000 calories a day since I started my diet. 

I CANNOT let myself fall back into this cycle. Being anorexic and a mum is just as bad as being a drug addict and a mum. It is consuming, it makes me irrational and angry, it isolates me from others and I am risking killing myself if I give into my weaknesses. I cannot taint Ivy’s childhood with an eating disorder! I would never forgive myself if she developed one too. The thought makes me physically hurt. I suppose I am just looking for a little support as it appears that all my ED-related thoughts haven’t just suddenly vanished like I’d naively hoped. I don’t feel like I can talk to my mum about this either as she would just totally freak out. She never stops worrying that i have relapsed.

I am a good mum to Ivy and I need to stay that way. This is all for her.

 

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I’m sorry I’ve been so terrible at offering you all support, I’m just so exhausted at the moment. I promise I will reply soon.

Intake today: a banana.

I had an amazing night on Friday, aided by copious amounts of mdma, ket, vodka and red stripes. I had only eaten a small bag of pretzels that day and got personally told to go home by the d.j at 8 in the morning. Couldn’t eat on Saturday thanks to a horrific comedown and by Sunday I could barely get out of bed, which is scary when I’m not living at home and can’t beg my mum to bring me up an apple. I almost fainted when I finally stood up, it was horrible.

    
(I’m the rather joyful looking one in the middle, its amazing what drugs can do)

I’ve become weary I guess. It just feels like before recovery I was promised this amazing life as soon as I started eating again, this promise was never fulfilled. I was even more miserable, because on top of my depression I had to deal with food 3 times a day and my growing insecurities with my growing size. I know that means I never fully recovered, but I just don’t think I’m ready yet. How the fuck else do I cope?

A couple of vain shots. God I have so much weight to re-lose.

 

Shopping list this week, I have a sweet tooth lately which is odd for me:

4 green apples
3 oranges
A pack of bananas
2 tropical fruit salads
Romaine lettuce
3 raspberry fat free yogurts
Seasame rice cakes
Minestrone cup a soup
Lentil cup a soup
3 tins of weight watchers tuna in a tomato and herb dressing (absolutely DELICIOUS, may i add!)

Thats to last me 10 days. Pathetic, huh?

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