Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herb Dumplings – Comfort Food for a Snowy Weekend!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend!

It’s been snowing here in Bath. Yay!

Snowy Bathampton Meadows 500

Snow is something of a novelty here. Last year it only snowed for one afternoon!

Lil’ L was so excited when he awoke on Friday and saw the snow. Not only did it mean that he got a bonus day off school, but it also meant that he would finally get to use the sledge that his grandparents had bought him two years ago!

He quickly gulped down his breakfast, threw on some warm clothes, and was out the door!

Lil L Snowy Bath January 2013 1

With all this freshly fallen snow, the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful!

Snowy Tree in Snowy Bath January 2013

As lunch time, M came for a spot of sledging. The boys had a huge amount of fun!

Lil L sledging in Snowy Bath January 2013

They were moving so fast that I only just managed to catch a shot of them. Can you spot them? They’re behind the tree!

Lil L sledging in Snowy Bath January 2013 3

I’m a big scaredy cat when it comes to things like this, so I’m very happy to watch from the sidelines.

Lil L Snowy Bath January 2013 2

As well as sledging, we’ve had some beautiful walks this weekend, including one along the Kennet & Avon Canal into Bath City Centre.

Snowy walk along the K&A Canal - January 2013

Upon arrival, Lil’ L suggested we warm up with a veggie pasty from our favourite pasty shop¬† (Pasty Presto) by Bath Abbey ūüôā

Lil L at Pasty Presto Bath

Back home, we’ve been warming up with lots of hot chocolate. Our current favourite blend is the Elements for Life Raw Hot Chocolate. It’s totally lush! (check out my review here). To make it into a filling, nutritious snack, I’ve been throwing a bunch of ingredients in the blender (1 cup Alpro Almond Milk, 1 tbsp raw hot chocolate powder, 1 tbsp chia seeds & 1 tbsp ground almonds per person) and blending it on high speed before gently heating it through. It’s delicious, thick, creamy and leaves you feeling totally full up ūüôā

Lil L drinking hot choc

I’ve also been making lots of comfort food. For the second Sunday in a row, I’ve made a Sweet Chestnut Casserole with Herb Dumplings.¬† We absolutely love this dish and it’s perfect for this time of year.

Chestnut Casserole with Herby Dumplings

N.B. Recipe updated 1/3/18 to match the recipe in the Bit of the Good Stuff cookbook.

For a Gluten Free version, you could serve the casserole with a root veg mash or add an oaty crumble topping.

Have a great week everyone! Stay warm!



Is it snowing where you are?
What are your favourite Winter warming comfort foods?





WIAW – I’ll bring the Mediterranean Vegetable Crumble (with recipe!)

The lovely Jenn over at Peas and Crayons has set ‘Falling into New Habits’ as the theme for this month’s What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) parties. Maybe the first new habit I should ‘fall into’ for Fall is actually turning up at the WIAW parties. I’ve been missing all summer! Sorry guys! There was a serious lack of food photography going on in July & August as I was too busy (having¬†fun) with Lil’ L.¬†Now he’s back at school, there’s no excuses!

However, one¬†new habit that I have¬†taken up this month is¬†going for a¬†30 minute run straight after school drop off.¬†¬†I’m not a ‘morning person’,¬†but this quick run in the fresh air is making a world of difference to my day.¬†By the time I get back home, I feel really alert, and the fact that I’ve actually ‘achieved’ something before 9.30 spurs me on for the rest of the day.

My productivity levels have definitely increased since I made this simple change to my daily routine.¬†Let’s hope I continue with it!

I’m also enjoying the opportunity it gives me to spend an extra half hour outside in the¬†fresh air, enjoying¬†the morning sunshine (we’re having a great September here in Bath!) and¬†taking in the beautiful views.¬†Here’s my favourite pics¬†from this week’s runs.

I’ve always struggled to run in the mornings but I do feel like I’m getting a bit better at it.¬†I have no trouble running at night… it¬†feels effortless, like I’m flying rather than running.¬†In stark contrast,¬†in the mornings,¬†I feel like I’m glued to the ground,¬†and it takes¬†a huge amount of effort to pick up my legs¬†and run.¬†Weird eh? Does anyone else experience this or is it just me???

When I get back from the run, I’m¬†doing a simple¬†5 minute core strength yoga sequence,¬†then it’s time for breakfast.

On the subject of food, since coming back from the Summer holidays, I’m full of renewed enthusiasm for cooking fresh home-made meals. I just need to get into the habit of photographing them! For this week’s WIAW party,¬†I thought I’d¬†share my favourite breakfast, lunch and dinner from the past seven days. Fortunately, these were the three meals that I did actually manage to photograph!¬†I hope you enjoy them as I much as I did! ūüôā

Continuing with my recent chocolate-banana obsession, my favourite post-run breakfast has been a chocolate-banana energy shake. It tastes fantastic, is packed with goodness, and leaves me feeling full up all morning.

Here’s how I make it…

Lil’ L and M love this shake too. As well as being¬†great for breakfast¬†(and especially good¬†for those mornings when you’re in a rush), it also makes a great after-school or post-work snack.

Chocolate Banana Energy Milkshake

I’ve had lots of¬†lovely lunches this past week, but my favourite was this Thai Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup.

So delicious!¬†I’ll write up the recipe and post it on Friday. I¬†promise!

It was hard to choose a favourite dinner, as I’ve been cooking lots of our favourites this week.¬†However, this is¬†the one that I managed to photograph… Mediterranean Vegetable Crumble.

This is so yummy and can be eaten hot or cold. Any leftovers make a great addition to work lunch boxes.

Here’s how I make it….

My favourite dessert of the week has got to be the instant dairy free chocolate banana ice cream with chocolate sauce and nut sprinkles. Yum yum yum!

Time to head over to Jenn’s and join the party!

Enjoy the rest of¬†your week everyone ūüôā xx

This time last year…. my first appearance at Jenn’s WIAW party!!! ¬†WIAW Party – I’ll bring noodles

WIAW Fun, Food & Fitness

Fun and Fitness

Since July is the month of WIAW Fun, Food and Fitness, I thought I’d begin today’s post with a quick rundown of my current exercise regime.

When I left salaried work a few years ago to set up my own business, I stopped my gym membership to save money. Ever since then, I’ve been exercising in the great outdoors. When I went to the gym, it was all about the exercise. Now it’s so much more. As well as helping me to stay fit, exercising outdoors gives me the opportunity to get some fresh air and take in the beautiful views. It helps me to feel connected to my local environment.

It gives me the opportunity to recite mantras and get connected spiritually.

I also love the opportunities it gives me to interact¬†with members of the local community. There’s lots of¬†smiles, ‘hellos’ and words of encouragement as I make my way along the road or tow path.¬†


For me,¬†exercising outside¬†has¬†had a huge, positive impact on my well-being, both physically and mentally. I used to love going to the gym. Now, the thought of being cooped up in a sweaty room, with no fresh air, and with only¬†machines and screens to look at¬†just doesn’t¬†appeal¬†anymore.

At the moment, I’m running on average twice a week. I have two favourite routes, one flat route along the Kennet & Avon¬†towpath, and a second hilly route up to St Catherine’s Court.


4-5 mile runs suit me perfectly and I run around 10 miles per hour now (a whole minute quicker than this time last year. Woo hoo!)

I also cycle 1-2 times a week. I love mountain biking at the weekends with the family, and tend to cycle into Bath once a week too.


I sold my car a few years ago (to cut costs) so these days  cycling, walking and running are my modes of transport. I love getting about this way, for the same reasons as I love exercising outside.

Over the past decade¬†I’ve found the optimum¬†level of exercise to suit my body. In my teens and 20s I was prone to knee injuries and seemed to always be at the physio. For the past ten years, I haven’t had a single injury. Long may it continue!

Fun and Food

For this week’s WIAW foodie party, I thought I’d show our eats from today.

A delicious bowl of porridge for me & M. In mine, I added ground cinnamon, mixed spice, almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazils, ground linseed, shelled hempseed and goji berries. It was made with Alpro Original Soya Milk (the version sweetened with apple juice) and I lightly drizzled some Sweet Freedom Fruit Sweetener on top.

For some people, porridge is a winter breakfast but I can happily eat it all year round ūüôā

Lil’ L chose to have a mix of granola and Shreddies, and I added in some flaked almonds, chopped walnuts, shelled hempseed and ground linseed for a nutritional boost.

The night before, while we were washing up, I quickly made some tomato pasta for lunchboxes. It only took a few minutes to prepare. While the organic wholegrain pasta twists were cooking, I finely chopped some veggies Рcarrot, fine green beans, mushrooms, red pepper, red onion Рand let them gently cook in a frying pan with a little olive oil. When the pasta was cooked, I mixed in half a jar of Seeds of Change Organic Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce and the veggies. I also added some sunflower seeds, shelled hempseeds, pine nuts and nutritional yeast for a nutritional boost.

Marigold Nutritional Yeast with Vitamin¬†B12 is one of my all-time favourite health food/vegan products. It’s got a delicious cheesy/nutty flavour which works really well in pasta dishes. I also use it for savoury crumbles,¬†pizzas,¬†pesto and, ground with raw cashews, as a¬†vegetarian¬†replacement for¬†parmesan.

It’s got an amazing nutritional profile. As well as being high in protein, it’s packed with B vitamins and zinc. Just one small 5g serving provides 220% of your B12 RDA.

You can buy the Marigold Nutritional Yeast from health food stores and online. I tend to buy mine from Harvest in Bath, or online from Goodness Direct.

Lil’ L morning snackseeded flatbreads with home-made¬†humous
Lil’ L post-school snack – small bowl of raw cashews (he loves these!)
Lil’ L pre-swimming snack¬†¬†3 mini banana pancakes (leftover from Sunday)¬†with chopped pecans and a drizzle of Sweet Freedom Fruit Sweetener
My post-school snack – a mixed bowl of raw nuts (cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds) and raisins.


I’m loving this snack at the moment, but I end up eating a pretty big bowlful. I’ve heard¬†that raw nuts are actually a negative calorie food but¬†I must check this out for sure!

For dinner, we had one of our all-time favourite meals¬†…. Veggie Fajitas.¬†¬† This is my favourite kind of ‘fast food’ – it’s¬†ready in less than 10 minutes, only uses one pan (gotta love the ‘one pans’!), it’s really tasty and¬†healthy! I wish all ‘fast food’ could be like this!

You can make veggie fajitas simply by using veggies and seeds, but I also like to add in half a pack of Fry’s Vegetarian Chunky Strips for added flavour and texture. These can be bought in the freezer section of health food stores like Holland and Barrett.


¬†To make the fajitas, I simply stir fried some veggies,¬†seeds and the¬†vegetarian chunky strips¬†in a little olive oil. I then sprinkled on some fajita seasoning mix (not too much as Lil’ L doesn’t like his dinners too spicy). Once I’d removed Lil’ L’s portion I added some Linghams Chilli Sauce to add more heat for me & M.

Just look at all those beautiful colours in the pan ūüôā

The fajitas were served in Tesco wholemeal seeded tortilla wraps. We had two each, and Lil’ L took the leftovers to school the next day for his lunch.

For dessert we had some fresh pineapple chunks and a fresh¬†strawberry jelly. Lil’ L absolutely loves these jellies…. and¬†I love the fact that they’re sugar-free, gelatine-free and contain real strawberries (which he normally runs a mile from!) Recipe coming very soon!¬†

After dinner Lil’ L and M tried one of the¬†raw chocolate-coated lime creams that I made yesterday.¬†¬†They got a big thumbs up ūüôā¬†

Here’s how they looked before I added the chocolate coating…

They really do make a refreshing after-dinner treat.¬† Both M and Lil’ L loved the¬†raw chocolate coating I added after the pic,¬†whereas I prefer them without. Lil’ L said that I’m¬†over-ruled so the chocolate’s staying!

Well, that was another¬†great day of eats. Time to head over to the lovely Jenn’s and check out the¬†yummy WIAW¬†food gallery.

Happy Wednesday everyone! ūüôā xx

Do you enjoy exercising outside or do you prefer hitting the gym? 

Weekend Highlights – Spray Painting, Bike Riding & Roasted Vegetable Risotto (with Recipe!)

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend ūüôā

We managed to fit in lots of fun activities this weekend, starting off with a trip to the library on Saturday morning where¬†Lil’ L returned his¬†book¬†and came out with another seven! You can guess who ended up carrying those round Bath. Luckily he had lots of books to keep him occupied while we went for coffees in Neros ūüėČ

I’m still getting a real kick out of how much Lil’ L is enjoying reading.¬† In addition to the library books, he’s also currently reading a chapter of Lemony Snicket¬†to us every night and, on his own, he’s reading Philip Pullman’s ‘The Subtle Knife’ (both books that he picked up from the charity shop for a couple of pounds each).

In the afternoon, after a quick visit to a local village fete, Lil’ L and his friend T did some stencilling and spray art with M¬†in our garage.

T did a space-inspired picture, while Lil’ L sprayed an underwater scene with a scary looking fish!

On Sunday, it actually stopped raining for a few hours and the sun came out. We decided to grab the opportunity to go out for a bike ride along the Kennet & Avon Canal.

To make it more interesting for Lil’ L, we said we’d cycle to the Angel Fish Cafe at Limpley Stoke for lunch.¬† That sure got him moving!

Both the boys fancied baked beans on toast¬†but we were surprised to find that the Cafe only served white bread. No wholemeal, no granary, no seeded bread.¬† That’s no good!¬†Bike riders need big chunky¬†doorsteps of wholemeal granary bread to refuel them, not thin anaemic white slices ūüėČ

Lil’ L asked if he could have an ice cream for dessert. I told him he could have one at the Canal Boat Cafe in Bathampton (back where we started our journey). This was a sneaky move on my part to make sure he peddled fast rather than dawdled all the way back. It sure worked ūüėČ

We’ve had an unbelievable amount of rain lately but, on the plus side, the countryside is looking beautifully lush and green!

The muddy bike bottom really isn’t a good look is it? I’m so glad I’ve finally had mudguards fitted to my bike.

The face was pretty muddy too (and chocolatey!)

And look at those legs!

Back home, Lil’ L headed straight to the shower while I made the most of our sunshine and did a little gardening. I was amazed to find that we’ve actually managed to grow some¬†strawberries that haven’t been eaten by a slug … or snail …¬†or blackbird!

And look what else I came across… a beautiful shimmering blue damselfly taking refuge on Buddha ūüôā

He stayed there for ages!

After a great day out, I cooked us a large pan of roasted squash and red pepper risotto. It was very yummy indeed. Unfortunately, Lil’ L isn’t a huge fan of risotto (he isn’t keen on the texture of Arborio¬†rice) but I pre-empted any negative comments by serving it with some toasted wholegrain tortilla segments. He then proceeded to tuck in with enthusiasm, piling the crispy tortilla high with the risotto, and ate every last grain!

I often find that the addition of a ‘bready’ side dish, like a flat bread, tortilla, or piece of garlic bread can transform a meal for Lil L. I wonder if this is the same for all children?

At the weekend, I made the risotto¬†with an old packet of¬†Arborio¬†rice that needed using up. Next time I make the risotto, I’m going to try the Riso Gallo 3 Grains Risotto Rice which consists of Italian Rice, Spelt and Pearl Barley. As this rice contains wholegrains, it will have a lower GI than regular white risotto rice, as well as other nutrients such as Iron and B Vitamins.

With the butternut squash and red pepper pieces, our risotto did look quite pretty. I also added some peas to add more colour and lovely nutrients ūüôā

Here’s how I made it:

Have¬†a great week everyone! ūüôā xx

This time last year… Glastonbury!

Father’s Day Highlights & WIAW

Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a great week so far!

Firstly, I’d like to say a big THANK YOU¬†for all your kind birthday wishes. They really made me smile ūüôā¬† Well, I’ve been 40 for a week and a half now¬†and I’m glad to¬†report that I’m still feeling as young as ever. Long¬†may it¬†continue!

Secondly, HAPPY BELATED FATHER’S DAY to all the Dads out there.¬†¬†I hope you all had lots of fun on Sunday!¬†¬†

I thought it only right that¬†M should decide¬†how he’d¬†like to spend Father’s Day.¬†¬†After all, the day was ‘his’ ūüėȬ†Here’s what he chose to do….

– Mountain bike ride in the morning…¬†followed by a lunch¬†of creamy¬†spiced¬†parsnip soup

–¬†Trip to an open day at Crofton¬†Pumping Station to see the oldest beam engine in the world in action (such a boy thing to do!)


– Visit to the market town of Marlborough for coffees and a browse round the Oxfam shop (we all bought a little something ;))

– Art session with Lil’ L where he taught Lil’ L how to stencil and spray paint (it was his first time!)

–¬†And, to finish off the day …¬† an evening meal at our¬†favourite Indian restaurant, Rajpoot.¬†¬†

Even though we did lots of activities, the day was really chilled and M said he loved it … and that’s¬†the most important thing!

WIAW – Time I got partying!

Yesterday, I¬†actually managed to photograph a days’ worth of¬†meals.¬† That hasn’t happened in a while!¬† It’s¬†WIAW¬†time ūüôā¬† Let’s get partying!

On warm days, such as yesterday, we’re¬†enjoying a simple bowl of cold oats, made with¬†Alpro Almond or Soya milk, and a sprinkling of chopped nuts, linseed and goji berries.¬† We’ve been using the¬†Mornflake Superfast Oats which are so fine that they can be served straight away, without the need to soak them in milk overnight.¬†

I was surprised how enthusiastic Lil’ L is about this simple breakfast.¬† For the past couple of weeks, he’s asked for it most mornings!

For their packed lunches, M and Lil’ L had seeded bagels filled with bean pate¬†and some slices of red pepper on the side.¬† The lunch looked so good that I decided to have it myself too ūüôā

I rarely buy shop-bought pate but this Redwood Beanfeast Pate is absolutely delicious!¬† It contains 7 different types of bean and 4 different types of seed, so it’s packed full of goodness.¬† It’s available from¬†Holland & Barratt and Asda, and also online from¬†Redwood¬†and¬†Goodness Direct.¬† It costs around ¬£1.58 and will¬†easily serve us for 4-6 lunches, so a pretty¬†good value purchase!

For dinner, we had one of our absolute all-time favourite meals… roasted squash and black bean enchiladas in a lightly spiced tomato sauce.¬† Such a simple meal to make and so tasty!

This meal is delicious served warm¬†or cold, and Lil’ L loves to take the leftovers for¬†his lunch the next day.¬† Recipe coming soon!

РCreamy strawberry banana chia smoothie
– Piece of orange and almond cake

Me: Hot lemon & water, Clipper organic nettle tea, Twinings cherry & cinnamon tea, apple & mango juice, 1 black coffee, lots of water

Lil’ L: Innocent apple & mango juice, Innocent apple juice carton, water

No snacks for me today. 
Lil L: sesame rice cakes with manuka honey; oatmeal & raisin cookie 

I¬†always make sure¬†that Lil’ L has two snacks available each day – one for morning playtime and one when he gets in from school.¬† I always try and give¬†him tasty,¬†nutritious snacks¬†that are going to nourish him and give him lots of slow release energy.¬† Since June is the WIAW month of ‘Sensible Snacking’,¬†next week I’ll¬†give a rundown of some of Lil L’s¬†current favourite snacks.

Have a great week everyone! xx

This time a year ago…. Samosas and St Catherines

‘Waterscapes’ Weekend Photo Journal

Hi everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend! 

The glorious weather continues here in the UK ūüôā

We went for some beautiful walks by the River Avon and Kennet & Avon Canal on Saturday and Sunday.  Here are a few of my favourite sights from the weekend.





What¬†was the highlight of your weekend?¬† I’d love¬†to hear about it!¬†¬†

Have a great week everyone! 

I hope the sun is shining wherever you are ūüôā xx