Health

Wolfy’s Couscous… A Review!!

As someone who works 9am-5pm five days a week, with an hour round-commute, I like to spend my evenings and weekends relaxing. I try to do all of my essential chores in as little time, with as little effort as I can, so I can chill out and enjoy my free time. So one of the dreaded tasks for me is food prep. Whilst an essential part of my routine to keep my diet on track, it can be time consuming and not the most exciting of tasks.

However, there are those weekends where I’m simply too busy. Last weekend, I went away for a girly weekend and didn’t get back until late Sunday night – by then supermarkets were closed and realistically I didn’t want to be spending my Sunday evening slaving away in the kitchen. In situations like this, I want to pick something up out of the fridge or the cupboard, that’s quick, easy, tasty and still healthy and nutritious – and that’s where Wolfy’s Couscous come in. The team at Wolfy’s kindly sent me these Couscous pots to try – and boy are they a game changer.  These are perfect for those days when I haven’t been so on top of my food prep, or if I’m out and about and don’t want to sacrifice my clean eating.

The first thing to comment on is the packaging – it’s extremely colourful and vibrant, so straight away it stands out from the boring tinned stuff gathering dust in your cupboard, and makes for a far more attractive lunch option. Second of all, the packaging states that these are vegan and free from anything artificial  – I’m working really hard to try and be more conscious of what I’m putting in my body, so straight away, this makes me feel all warm inside knowing that I’m sticking to my clean living plan.

Here’s what I thought of each of the flavours, and also what I paired each pot with:

Garlic and Herb Couscous with Sundried Tomato and Chipotle Relish

The addition of the Sundried Tomato and Chipotle Relish really made this pot – I find that Couscous can be quite dry on its own, so this added so much more moisture to the dish, as well as a complementary combination of flavours. I absolutely adore spicy food, so the additional kick this relish gave to the meal, really was right up my street. I was slightly dubious about this keeping me full – I tend to stick to three meals a day with no snacking, so I was slightly worried I wouldn’t last until dinner – however, it really did do the trick, and kept my stomach from growling, and my energy in tip-top condition right through ‘til dinner time!!!

Root Veg Couscous with Sweet Onion Relish

I paired this pot with a delicious sweet and crunchy side salad, which worked so nicely with the Couscous – I also don’t really like onion so I swopped out this relish with some spicy tomato salsa I had in the fridge – it tasted just as yummy, and the combination of tastes worked so well together. I love having lots of veggies incorporated in my meals, and this enabled me to do this whilst having lunch on-the-go. By adding in some extra goodness, this also showed me that these pots are so versatile and you can mix it up a little!!

Curry Couscous with Mango Chutney Relish 

Curry isn’t something I personally associate with lunch – for me this is more of an evening meal, so I decided to try this pot with my dinner – so I cooked up some spicy chicken and veg, and instead of adding rice like I normally would, I added this couscous pot instead. The mango chutney relish was SO good – I absolutely love the stuff anyway, so this certainly did not disappoint!!! There were so many flavours in this pot which went so nicely with my chicken (which I’d also added some dry spices to!) so this is definitely something I would have again.

Overall – I absolutely loved these. I love to include lots of flavour and different herbs and spices in my meals, and I was so pleased with how much flavour these really exuded. Whilst I added some extra side dishes to these on some days, they were also perfectly tasty on their own, and definitely enough to fill you up until your next meal – I must say, my favourite actually had to be the Garlic and Herb Couscous pot with the sundried tomato and chipotle relish – there were so many flavours in this, it was just simply delicious!!

I was also impressed with how simple and easy the pots were to prepare – chuck in a measured amount of boiling water, place the lid back on, and by the time I’ve walked back to my desk at work, it’s ready to eat!!!

For someone who is trying to limit my intake of processed and artificial flavours and foods, as well as being conscious of my personal contribution to the environment, these are the perfect no-guilt lunch pot which left me feeling comfortably full, healthy and slightly smug. These are perfect for when I’m out and on the go and need to grab something which doesn’t sacrifice my clean lifestyle, and is extremely tasty at the same time. They’re also a fantastic addition to my weeknight dinners, so I’ll most definitely be heading down to my local Waitrose and incorporating these into my weekly shop!

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Beauty, Fashion, Fitness, Lifestyle

Beating those January blues

2018 is finally upon us, and the gloomy shadow of January is here. New Years Resolutions have been made (some broken already!) and the glorious memories of yummy food and mulled wine are fading away, as we all trudge back to work, and the reality that Christmas is over sets in.

So as the taste of that glorious Christmas food becomes but a distant memory, and the January blues set in, it’s fair to say everyone is feeling a bit down.

So considering today is officially known as ‘Blue Monday’, I thought I’d write a post around how to beat those January blues, and make your January just as exciting as any other month!!

Dry January

For the first time EVER, I have committed myself to Dry January. I’ve tried to do this for the last 3-4 years, and every time, I have failed. However this year, I was absolutely determined to have an alcohol-free month, and having not gone longer than a week without some sort of alcoholic beverage over the last several years, this is quite a challenge for me (don’t judge, I love a glass of red, okay).

So even more so, during the first week of January I was feeling more bluey than normal. But I decided I wasn’t going to let this get me down, and in fact I was going to use this time to really take care of myself, my health and body, and also set myself up for the year ahead. So here are a few tips and ideas for making your January that little bit brighter.

A little pamper can’t hurt…

As the mornings are getting colder and the evenings are getting darker, and whatever was left in our bank accounts has dwindled away (because let’s face it, Christmas wipes us all out and it is a LONG way til payday) all I want to do is snuggle under a blanket and stay indoors. So what better than to create your own at-home spa?! I absolutely adore the spa and pampering myself, so this for me is a great idea to have some real ‘me time’ and indulge in some luxurious products.

So throw in some bath bombs and a purifying face mask, and I’m on my own indulgent journey to relaxation. I love taking the time to unwind in a nice hot bubble bath with my favourite book or relaxing music playing, whilst my Origins purifying face mask soaks in. My lovely fiancé also bought me these gorgeous and fragrant bath bombs for Christmas, so what better excuse to use them?!

Next on the pamper list – hands and nails! This may sound silly but since becoming engaged and spending endless hours staring at my ring, I’ve wanted to make sure my hands are looking their best at all times. So indulging in this glorious Champneys hand and nail spa, followed by a manicure using my new Ted Baker nail varnish (another Christmas quirk) will make sure they are looking their best. Finishing this off with a Clarins hand and nail cream, means they feel as great as they look!!!

Comfortable loungewear

As mentioned earlier, the gloomy darkness of January makes me want to snuggle under a blanket, so again to make me feel my best whilst doing this – some great and comfortable loungewear!!! I received these glorious cotton Victoria’s Secret pyjamas for Christmas, which are perfect for snuggling up in. Paired with my Emu Australia slippers, makes for the perfect evening snuggle on the sofa.

Try something new

Whether that’s a new fitness class at your local gym to sweat out those toxins, or trying out the new art class which has just opened in town, trying something new is always a great way to get something fun and social into the diary. Pair up with a friend, and this makes it even more enjoyable!!

Get organised

Now this, I absolutely love – I love having a big clear out and organising everything, as it makes me feel like I’m detoxing my surroundings as well as my body!!! So whether that’s listing all those unwanted clothes on eBay that you never got round to doing, or making the journey to your local recycling centre to get rid of all the junk and rubbish you’ve been hoarding, along with rifling through new cookbooks to get some meal plan inspiration – all of these are great ways to get you feeling refreshed and like you’re winning at life.

These are my top tips for beating those January blues – I’d love to hear how you motivate yourself during this dark and cold month, and any tips you may have!

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Health, Lifestyle

‘Feed Me Vegan’ by Lucy Watson. The Review!

So after the long-awaited delivery, last Thursday, Lucy Watson’s ‘Feed Me Vegan’ cookbook finally arrived through the post. I’ve been really looking forward to receiving this book, for a multitude of reasons. First of all – I love Lucy Watson. Alongside her great sense of style and serious eyebrow game, I admire how strong-minded she is, and how she fights for what she believes in and voices it. Second of all, after recently watching the Netflix documentary ‘What the Health’, it really exposed a lot around the meat and dairy industry, and not only how cruel it is to animals in the processes it follows, but also how bad it can actually be for our health. So I wanted to try to tone down the amount of meat and dairy in my diet. This isn’t something I have found particularly difficult – I love veggie food anyway, and I will often be the one who picks the veggie option when out for dinner. When I saw that Lucy was releasing this cookbook, instantly I knew I had to buy it, as this would instil me with an entirely new armoury of recipes to try, which were meat and dairy free for me to enjoy.

One of the first things I loved about this book, was the introduction. It gives great insight into Lucy’s childhood, her relationship with animals, and why she made the choice to go Vegan. There is nothing ‘preachy’ about her writing; it’s simply an explanation as to why she has made the choices she has, and has some encouraging words for what she hopes to achieve with her book. Again, she’s not telling everyone ‘you must go vegan’ it’s simply there to be an eye-opener into what’s going on in the meat and dairy industry, and if this book can help us make healthier choices, then it’s done the job.

Recipes

One of the biggest factors for me when cooking, is time. I have what you would call a typical working week – a 9-5pm job, I don’t usually get home until around 5:45, and by the time I get in the door, the last thing I want to do is slave over the cooker for hours on end with more ingredients than you can count. I also don’t want to be spending over and above my weekly food budget. Within her book, Lucy has an entire section called ‘Feed Me Quickly’. And this section is perfect, for just that. Minimal ingredients, minimal time, and you’re still sticking to a healthy and clean diet. The majority of ingredients, as you can imagine are fresh vegetables, herbs and spices, and a few dairy/meat replacements. I have placed some of my favourite recipes so far down below, so you can see what I’ve been cooking, the time it has taken me, and of course, how it tasted!!

Miso-Glazed Aubergine

This one is perfect for those of you who get in from work, really can’t be bothered and just want to throw something in the oven (I often have those nights myself!!). The ingredients are very minimal, and the time it took me in total from scouring the cupboards for my ingredients, through to sitting down and eating, was around 35 minutes. That’s pretty good going, if you ask me!!

Aubergine Ingredients

First of all, I cut the aubergine in half, scoured it and popped it in the oven for 25 minutes. Whilst this was cooking, I mixed together the white miso, the mirin and the caster sugar, and left this on side. At this point, I curled up on the sofa for 20 minutes and watched the first half of an episode of Homeland – ideal!!

Aubergine in pan and miso

When the aubergine was ready, which was true to the time in the recipe, I took this out of the oven, brushed over my miso/mirin/sugar mixture, and popped this under the grill on a high heat for 5 minutes. Whilst this was caramelising and crisping up, I chopped my spring onions.

Finishedaubergine

As you can see, the result was pretty great. And to my surprise – extremely tasty!! The glaze gives it a lovely sweet taste, and mixed with the salt, sesame seeds and spring onion, hits your taste buds with rich and natural flavours. A new favourite of mine for the ‘lazy work night’ kind of meal!

Pad Thai

This book is also filled with plenty of other recipes, and one which I made from the ‘Feed Me Feasts’ section, was Pad Thai. I absolutely adore Thai food, so I was really hoping this would live up to expectations. Again – the ingredients weren’t complex in the slightest, I could see the health benefits of everything going into my food and the nutrients they held, which made me very excited to try this one.

Pad Thai ingredients

One ingredient which I was extremely apprehensive over, was tofu. I’ve never tried it before, and it wasn’t something I could ever see myself liking. It doesn’t really have a scent to it, and the texture of it, I discovered was quite rubbery; so I was extremely worried that this was going to turn out to be a complete disaster. When the recipe asked for the tofu to be crumbled, which I found was surprisingly easy (basically just squashing it between your fingers!!) it looks like scrambled egg, which made me feel even more concerned about how this would turn out. However – I was pleasantly surprised. When sautéed with the onions, garlic, ginger and turmeric, it turned golden and crispy, and mixed with all of the ingredients, absorbed all of the flavours and tasted absolutely delicious.

Stir fry veg in pan

Time

In terms of time, as this wasn’t in the ‘Feed Me Quickly’ section, I prepared myself to be spending at least over an hour prepping and cooking this, through to sitting down to eat. However again – a pleasant surprise. Once I’d prepped all my ingredients, which took around 15/20 minutes, then through to cooking time, I managed all of this within 45 minutes! Which is perfectly achievable for a weeknight meal.

Padthaidone

And voila! This was the finished product on my plate. The addition of the peanuts gave that delicious nutty taste to complement the soy and the vegetables, and to my delight, I’d made enough for a second serving for my lunch the following day. The only thing I would probably do differently is not be so over-zealous with the lime – it made the dish slightly too sweet for me, so next time, I will definitely be holding back on that… and maybe adding more peanuts as a treat!

And finally…  Feed Me Sweet Treats!!

I have a real sweet tooth, and I often find myself reaching for the chocolate on an evening, so I want to be able to still treat myself, but in a slightly healthier way. As well as this, my boyfriend has a particular fondness for jam – so I decided to make these delicious jam biscuits, as at least that meant I wouldn’t scoff them all by myself!!

As per all of the other recipes I’ve tried so far, the ingredients were fairly minimal and easy to find at the supermarket.

Jam biscuits ingredients

In terms of time, this one did take longer than the others, however this was mainly due to the fact that once you’ve made the dough, you need to leave it to set in the fridge for two hours. Other than that, it took me all of 10-15 minutes to make the dough. Now I didn’t have a whisk, which the instructions do say you’ll need, however I found I managed to make the dough just as well using a spoon and my hands to mix!!

Dough

Once the dough was ready, I kneaded this and cut my circles out with a cookie cutter, as instructed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a cookie cutter small enough to cut out the hearts… so as you can see, these are a tad misshapen! I popped these in the oven for around 7-8 minutes, and then left these to cool on the side before adding the jam.

Biscuit halves

And voila!! My delicious jam biscuits!! They tasted absolutely yummy, and they were definitely favoured by my boyfriend as well. I will definitely be making these much more often.

Jambiscuits

As you can see, I’ve had lots of fun this week experimenting with these recipes. And I must say – this book has exceeded my expectations. Whenever I have made Vegan meals in the past, I have always felt that something on my plate was missing, and I wasn’t getting the nutrients or enjoyment out of the food like I should. This book has given me some great and tasty recipes where I feel completely fulfilled with what I’m eating, and again it has given me some great quick and simple recipes to enjoy during the week without sacrificing taste. I haven’t even noticed this week that I have been eating Vegan meals – which is definitely a positive sign!! If you haven’t already done so, I would certainly recommend purchasing this book, and if you already have, I’d love to hear your thoughts and which recipes you would recommend!

 

 

 

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