#WIAW Going Green: Watercress and Leek Soup & I ♥ Edamame Beans

Last Wednesday I was all set to publish a post on my current favourite lunches, including this beautiful Sweet Beet Soup

Sweet Beet Soup

and this yummy wrap…

Seeded wholegrain tortilla with caramelised onion hummus, grated carrot, grated red cabbage, chopped raw beet root, sweet pickle, sunflower & hemp seeds
Seeded wholegrain tortilla with caramelised onion hummus, grated carrot, grated red cabbage, chopped raw beet root, sweet pickle, sunflower & hemp seeds


… when I discovered that the theme for this month’s WIAW parties is ‘Going Green’!  My choice of food colour was all wrong! :/

But no worries, I’m back this week with a recipe for a dish that’s very green indeed… Leek and Watercress Soup.  I’ve mentioned this soup a couple of times on the blog already as it’s one of Lil’ L’s all-time favourite soups.  He’s been eating it since he was a toddler!  A couple of my readers have requested the recipe and I do apologise for how long it’s taken me to get round to posting it.  I’ve got a serious backlog of recipes to post this year, but I’m slowly getting there!

Watercress & Leek Soup - 500 copy

For those of you that may be concerned that watercress is too peppery for kids, rest assured that when cooked in this soup, the pepperiness of the watercress becomes very subtle indeed.  The addition of potatoes contributes to the soup’s mild flavour, as well as giving it a lovely, creamy texture, without the need for milk or cream.

Here’s how I make it…

And finally, before I go, I would just like to show you one of my latest green food obsessions…  Edamame (Soya) Beans!



I can’t believe that I only discovered these beans last month! How on earth did it take me so long? My friend ordered them as a starter when we met for lunch in London and I proceeded to devour the whole bowl!

Back home in Bath, I’ve discovered that Waitrose sell fresh edamame beans on their sushi bar, and in bags in the frozen vegetable section.  I much prefer the unshelled beans.  There’s something really satisfying about popping them out.  Lil’ L loves them too, so I’ve been adding them to his lunch box as a ‘treat’ 😉

As well as being packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, soya beans are also a great source of protein.  If you’re interested in reading more about their health benefits, the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation have produced an informative 60 page booklet that’s available to download for free.

The Soya Story

I love the fact that even at my old age 😉  I’m still discovering new foods.

Are there any foods that you’ve recently discovered that you love?



#WIAW – Fruit and Nut Pullao Rice

WIAW Party Time!

Thanks, as always, to Jenn over at Peas and Crayons for hosting our virtual foodie feast. Jenn wrote an awesome post last Friday on the Glorification of Sugar, which really is worth a read.  I’m loving her Play with your Produce Pinterest board.  I can’t imagine how any kiddie would be able to resist veggies when displayed in such fun and attractive ways 😉

Right time to get with my submission for this week’s WIAW party (I’m already so late!)  This week, I thought I’d share our eats from Sunday.

As per usual on a Sunday, Lil’ L asked whether we could have a ‘special’ breakfast.  As a change from pancakes, he asked whether we could have Apple & Cinnamon Monkey Bread.  We used to eat this a lot as a ‘treat’ breakfast, but I’d totally forgot all about it!  I remember taking this shot last time we ate it … back in September!

Lil L & Monkey Bread

These little apple cinnamon bread balls really are delicious, and a great breakfast/brunch treat to make with the kids.  I’ll type up the recipe and post it on Friday.

Apple & Cinnamon Monkey Bread


For lunch, we  had Thai Vegetable Curry, leftover from Thursday evening.  This is one of our absolute favourite home-made curries.

Thai Vegetable Curry

I make my own Thai curry paste, so that it’s mild enough for Lil’ L (I also prefer it to the shop-bought pastes AND there’s no waste as I freeze it in portions 😉 )   This time round, I doubled the quantities and I’m planning to use the second portion next week to make Thai Sweet Potato Soup.

Thai Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

After lunch, we had a hot chocolate made with Alpro Hazelnut Drink.  It’s the first time I’ve used hazelnut milk in hot chocolate and it was delicious!  I also blended in some ground almonds and chia seeds to add protein and other yummy goodness.  I’ll definitely be making this one again 🙂

Hot Chocolate

In the afternoon, we munched on pretzels whilst watching Monster House on DVD (a very bizarre film IMO!)

For our main meal, I made a Fruit and Nut Pullao Rice.   I was amazed to discover that the last time I made this dish was in 2011!!!

With its fragrant flavours, fruit and nuttiness, M and I love this dish… unfortunately Lil’ L isn’t so keen.  I thought I’d try again but alas no, it was still a thumbs down 🙁  He just doesn’t like fruit flavours in his savoury dishes.

Fruit & Nut Pullao Rice

I had the leftovers today for lunch and it confirmed for me how much I like this dish.  Perhaps, when I try again in the future, I’ll just add the fruits after I’ve taken out Lil’ L’s portion. That might work 😉

I know it says on my blog that all recipes are road-tested and approved by Lil’ L, but I thought I’d publish this one anyhow.  I’m sure he’ll approve of it one day 😉

Here’s how I made it…

I’ll be back again on Friday with the Monkey Bread recipe and to announce 3 winners of the Good Hemp Seed Giveaway.  The giveaway is open to UK residents until midnight tomorrow (Thursday 28th February 2012) so do make sure you enter if you haven’t done so already!

Enjoy the rest of the week everyone! xx

First Signs of Spring! #WIAW Butternut Squash & Apricot Tagine

The mornings are getting lighter, the sun’s starting to shine, and there are signs of new life in the garden.

First Crocuses of Spring - Feb 2013

Spring is definitely in the air and how glorious it feels 🙂

These crocuses have popped up in the cracked pavement on our driveway!
Each Spring, these crocuses pop up in the cracked pavement on our driveway!

Now it’s lighter in the mornings, I’m finding it much easier to get out of bed.  No need for the alarm clock anymore, I’m naturally waking up at 7am.  It feels so good to be waking up in daylight rather than the pitch black.

First Primroses of Spring - Feb 2013 - 500

The river and tow path are finally starting to dry out, which means I finally can stop wading through mud on my morning runs 🙂

First Crocuses of Spring 2 - Feb 2013 - 500

All around there are signs of new life and the birds are busy building nests.

Snowdrops - Feb 2013 - 500

Spring is a glorious time of year isn’t it?

First Narcissus of Spring - February 2013 - 500


The theme of this month’s WIAW parties,  hosted by the lovely Jenn over at Peas & Crayons, is ‘Love Your Veggies’.  As you can probably tell from my blog posts, I have a huge love of veggies.  I love eating them, and I would LOVE to grow my own.  The trouble is, everything I attempt to grow gets eaten by a plethora of creatures.  I wouldn’t mind sharing the produce with them, but they leave me with nothing!  The question is, do I attempt to grow veggies again this year? If  I do, I definitely need to find something that’s slug and snail proof. Any ideas?

Anyway, for this Wednesday’s WIAW party, I’d like to share my eats from yesterday.  All produce shop-bought but organic and, where possible, locally grown (just not in my back yard 😉 )

– Warm water & lemon
– Bowl of chocolate porridge, made with quick oats, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, Alpro soya milk, and a sprinkling of walnuts, almonds, ground flaxseed, hemp seed, and gojis on top (Lil’ L had the same!*)
– 1 black coffee

* Lil’ L came home from his last school cookery class declaring that he now loves goji berries (big thank you to his wonderful cookery teachers! 😀 )  I’ve tried for years to encourage him to eat dried fruits but, up until now, he’s disliked all of them. It’s funny how extreme kids can be with their foods…. going from despising them one minute to loving them the next.  Anyway, I’m just really happy that he’s now eating this  amazing little nutrient-packed berry 🙂

For lunch, I had a big bowl of Pomegranate, Beet Root, Orange and Walnut Salad, which also included rocket, mixed salad leaves, hemp seed and a sweet mustard dressing. This salad is packed with so many lush flavours, textures and nutrients and it includes two of my current food obsessions… pomegranate and beet root.  I just can’t get enough of them at the moment!

Pomegranate, Orange, Walnut, Hemp Seed Salad 1 - 500
– Lil’ L and M both took leftover roasted vegetable pasta in their lunchboxes (M’s pasta was mixed with Sacla Char-Grilled Aubergine Pesto; Lil’ L’s with Sacla Sun-Dried Tomato Paste as the school has a nut ban).  Mixed in with the wholegrain pasta was roasted broccoli, carrot, red onion, chestnut mushrooms, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. When it had cooled down, we sprinkled on hemp seeds (for omega 3) and nutritional yeast (for a B12 boost).  I hadn’t made this dish in a long while and I’d forgotten how good a simple meal like this tastes!

Drinks & Snacks
– Nettle tea, peppermint tea, Innocent tropical juice, water
– 2 Kallo Balsamic Vinegar and Sea Salt Rice Cakes (Lil’ L and I are loving these at the moment!)
– Lil’ L and I shared some pistachios after school

After School Snacks - Pistachios

For our main meal, we had a Moroccan-inspired Butternut Squash and Apricot Tagine.  This is one of Lil L’s current favourite dinners and he always asks for seconds!

Butternut Squash & Apricot Tagine - 500

I make the tagine mild, so that it’s suitable for children, but once I’ve removed the kiddie portions, I add some harissa paste, North African spices or cayenne pepper to spice it up for the adults.

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki’s #Wellness Weekend]

– I made a batch of Raisin and Oatmeal Cookies for my Tuesday night study class and enjoyed one with a cup of peppermint & green tea during our class break.
– Lil’ L and M had a cookie and some Alpro yoghurt drizzled with Clarks Original Maple Syrup (I love this stuff and bought 6 bottles from Tesco this week as it’s currently on offer 😉 )

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone xx

– What’s the weather like where you are?  Any signs of Spring yet?
– Are you planning to grow your own veggies this year?  If so, do you know of any veggies that are slug and snail proof? All suggestions will be greatly appreciated 🙂



CCK’s Black Bean Brownies (Dairy Free / Wheat Free / Vegan)

I am a huge fan of Chocolate Covered Katie.  And who wouldn’t be?  This girl takes our favourite sugary, fat-laden treats and transforms them into healthy desserts.  Katie’s a vegan, so all her desserts are dairy and egg free, and most are gluten free and free of refined sugar.

What I find really amazing is that Katie’s healthy versions of classic treats often taste far better than the original.  And they definitely leave you feeling better inside.  No stomach aches, no sugar hangover, and no guilt!

One of my all-time favourite CCK recipes is her No Flour Black Bean Brownie.  I love the idea of adding healthful ingredients such as beans into desserts, but when you have children around, it’s important that said ingredients can’t be detected.  I can assure you that even the fussiest of kids will be unable to detect the goodness that lies in these brownies.  So let’s keep the beans a secret okay 😉

CCK's Black Bean Brownie - Vegan & Wheat Free

I’ve been making and eating A LOT of these brownies in the past couple of weeks.  I’ve made them for coffee mornings with friends, lunch box treats for M and Lil’ L, and for my Tuesday night study group.  I’ve also made a batch for Valentine’s Day 😉

Valentines Chocolate Black Bean Brownie with Almonds & Gojis

My current favourite way of serving these brownies is with a topping of dark chocolate, flaked almonds and gojis.  It adds another dimension to the texture and flavour, as well as adding even more goodness and nutrition.  They also look pretty, don’t you think?

Black Bean Brownie 3 - Vegan & Wheat Free - 500

Since I’ve eaten one of these brownies every day so far this week, it seems fitting to dedicate today’s WIAW post in their honour.  Thank you, as always, to the lovely Jenn over at Peas and Crayons for hosting this fabulous food fest.

Katie’s original Black Bean Brownie post and recipe can be found here.  Do check it out as her pictures of the brownies are stunning!  Katie gives a few ingredient options in her post.  Here’s how I make them …

Black Bean Brownie 2 - Vegan & Wheat Free - 500

Have you tried any of Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipes?  If so, which are your favourites? 
Next on my list to try is her Lil’ Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.  Lil’ L loves this combo so this could be a great lunch box treat for him 🙂

#WIAW – I’ll Bring the Sweet and Sour Stir Fry (and recipe!)

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

What’s the weather like where you are?  Here in Bath, we’re finally getting to see the odd glimmer of sunshine.  I find blue skies so uplifting 🙂

Bathampton Meadows February 2013

Now the snow and ice has finally gone, I’m back into my 30 minute morning jogs after I’ve dropped Lil’ L off at school.

River Avon

I never been ‘a morning person’ but I find these runs are really helping to energise me.  I still find it much harder to run in the morning than at night but I guess that’s just the way my body works.  At night it seems effortless, while in the morning I feel like my trainers are glued to the ground.  Hopefully, one day, my body will get used to running in the morning and it won’t feel like such an effort.  Until then, I’ll keep plodding along 😉

For this week’s WIAW party, I though I’d share my eats from yesterday, including a recipe for one of our all-time favourite stir fries… ‘Sweet n Sour’.


– Warm water & lemon

– After my run, I made myself a large bowl of cinnamon porridge, made with Mornflake Superfast Oats, Alpro Almond Milk and a sprinkling of ground cinnamon.  When it had cooled down slightly, I’ll sprinkled in some hempseed, ground linseed, chopped walnuts, flaked almonds, goji berries and candied citrus peel, and a light drizzle of Sweet Freedom natural sweetener.

Porridge with nuts, gojis and candied citrus peel
This was followed by a black coffee

– Lil’ L had three apple & cinnamon pancakes (left over from the weekend), sprinkled with ground linseed, chopped pecans and walnuts and a drizzle of Clarks original maples syrup


For lunch, I had some creamy Red Lentil Dhal, which was left over from Saturday night.  This is still one of my all-time favourite dishes and it’s so easy and cheap to make!

Red Lentil Dhal with Butternut Squash

For our main meal on Saturday, I’d added butternut squash, red pepper and chopped chestnut mushrooms to the dhal.  We loved this combo so much that I think I’m going to have to change my original recipe.

Lil’ L took some Sweet Kale Soup for his lunch today (one of his latest favourite soups 😉 )


– 1 organic apple
nettle & peppermint teas

When Lil’ L got in from school we both fancied a ‘Raw’ Hot Chocolate.  This time we used 1 tbsp each of the Elements for Life Original Chocolate Blend and Spiced (Cinnamon) Blend, 2 tbsp ground almonds, 2 tbsp chia seeds and 2 cups Alpro Almond Milk.  We first blended the ingredients smooth in the blender, then gently heated it through.  Delicious!

Raw Hot Chocolate - Original 1

We drank the chocolates whilst playing Lil’ L’s current favourite board game called Dungeon.   M visited his parents last week and returned home with a whole array of board games, books and toys from his childhood.  You would not believe how excited Lil’ L was.  It felt like Christmas had come again!

I have no interest whatsoever in computer games, but old board games, now they’re something else 😉  I’d never heard of ‘Dungeon’, but I can imagine it’s classified as a ‘Boy’s Game’ as you have to combat monsters for treasure.  While our game is from the 80s, you can still buy it in the shops.  Obviously our version looks way different to the modern one.

Dungeon Game 1

And check out the family on the back of our box.  Now that does make me feel old!!!

Dungeon Game 2


For dinner, we had Sweet ‘n’ Sour Stir Fry.  This is a quick and simple wok-based dish.  You don’t have to include the tofu if you’re not a fan of it, but we love the additional texture that it brings to the dish.

Sweet n Sour Stir Fry

Here’s how I made it…

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s #Wellness Weekend]


For dessert, we ‘taste tested’ one of these chocolate black bean brownie hearts.  They were oh so good!

Valentines Chocolate Black Bean Brownie with Almonds & Gojis - 500

Thank you so much to our lovely WIAW host, Jenn over at Peas and Crayons.  I’m off to hook up with all the other enthusiastic foodies and check out their yummy eats.  Hope to see you there 😉

When it comes to games are you high tech or old school?


#WIAW – I’ll Bring the Chickpea & Vegetable Balti (& recipe!)

Upon my return from the school run this morning, I spotted the first signs of new life in our (otherwise dead looking) garden. The snowdrops seem to have appeared overnight!


And what a joy they are to behold 🙂

For this week’s WIAW party, I’m sharing our eats from Sunday, which included some of our all-time favourite breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I’ve even written up another one-pot recipe to share. I’ve got such a backlog of recipes to write up… but I’m getting there… slowly!

Thanks, as always, to our most gracious host, Jenn over at Peas and Crayons.


As it was Sunday, Lil’ L was very keen to have a ‘special breakfast’. He’d spotted some very ripe bananas sitting in the fruit bowl and suggested we make some banana pancakes. I halved our usual recipe, used two frying pans, and speedily made 6 pancakes, which we shared 🙂

Banana Pancake with nut and choc chip topping - 500

We’ve been playing around with new toppings for pancakes. This week we had pecans, walnuts, dessicated coconut, choc chips and a drizzle of maple syrup. This combo went perfectly with the banana pancakes.  It was very yummy indeed 🙂


Ready for when M got back from his Sunday morning marathon mountain bike ride, I made a large pot of watercress, leek and potato soup, which we served with chunks of wholegrain, seeded bread.

Watercress & Leek Soup - 500

You might be surprised to hear that this is one of Lil’ L’s favourite soups. He’s been eating eat since he was about 2. While raw watercress can be quite peppery, when combined with potato and leek in a soup, it takes on a wonderful, mild taste.

For lunch time dessert, we had a slice (or two!) of raw chocolate and lime cashew cream cake. I actually made this cake for M’s birthday back in December but we never got round to eating it!

Raw Chocolate Lime Cashew Cream Cake - 500

This dessert is really good. Lil’ L described it as ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’! I scribbled notes of how I made it on a scrap of paper and as soon as I locate it (!), I’ll write up the recipe and post it.


Our Sunday dinner wasn’t particularly traditional… we had a Chickpea and Vegetable Balti served with home-made naans.  Mind you, maybe curry has become the traditional English Sunday dinner. It wouldn’t surprise me. I can happily eat curry any day of the week 🙂

Chickpea & Vegetable Balti

This balti was designed to be mild enough for children, but if no kiddies are going near the balti bowls, feel free to crank up the heat!

Here’s how I made it:

Lil’ L loved this dish so much that he ‘bagsied’ the fourth portion and took it to school the next day for his lunch, rolled in a seeded tortilla wrap!

[This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s #Wellness Weekend]


To boost our calcium, fruit and omega-3 intake, for dessert we had a berry milkshake smoothie. Since Lil’ L doesn’t like the pips from raspberries and blackberries (I’m not that keen either!), I blended the berries and almond milk first, then sieved it before returning it to the blender and adding banana and chia seeds.  It was creamy, refreshing and ‘special’ enough to be considered a ‘real dessert’ by Lil’ L 😉

Berry Milkshake Smoothie

So that’s me done for another WIAW.  It’s time to hook up with all the lovely bloggers over at Jenn’s. Hopefully see you there!

Are you a fan of curry? If so, what’s your favourite type?
I adore Indian kormas and baltis as well as creamy Thai curries.  I’m such a wimp though when it comes to heat. Anything beyond ‘mild’ and I feel like a pressure cooker about to explode!