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Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Soup

I was so excited to find this gorgeous selection of different pumpkins, they were just screaming at me to be turned into a Roasted Pumpkin Soup!

As we know, the season of ghosts and ghouls is not just about dressing up in scary, polyester costumes and letting your children eat more sweets than they would consume across the entire year. The falling leaves and the chill in the air also bring a whole new selection of sumptuous seasonal foods. And pumpkins are not just for carving! 

This Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe is so simple; it's all bringing out the flavour of the pumpkin with complementary spices.

Simply slice the pumpkins in half, drizzle with a light oil, and sprinkle with spices - I used smoked paprika, nutmeg and caraway seeds. Roast them in the oven for a delicious smokey flavour, and scoop out the flesh into the softened onions and garlic, and simmer in stock before you blend. Full instructions can be found in the recipe below.

The soup is delicious...

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Gluten-Free Blueberry and Almond Butter Porridge

Serves 1
A wholesome, warming autumnal breakfast
 
 
Total Time
10 min
 
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup/21g brown rice flakes (such as Big Oz)
  2. 1/4 cup/21g quinoa flakes (such as Amisa)
  3. 1 cup/240ml non-dairy milk of choice (such as Koko)
  4. Big handful frozen blueberries (or fruit of choice)
  5. 2 tsp almond butter
  6. 1 tsp coconut palm sugar (Biona)
  7. 1 nectarine
  8. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients except the nectarine and the cinnamon into a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until the milk has been absorbed and the rice/quinoa flakes are cooked.
  3. Top with nectarine and cinnamon.

So, the mornings are getting a little cooler and I've been getting a bit of a hankering for some warm, wholesome porridge. After a little experimentation I've come up with this delicious blueberry and almond butter porridge. Don't get me wrong, I still love my Nutribullet smoothies, but sometimes you need something a little more substantial of an autumn...

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Healthy (ish) Valentine’s Chocolate Pudding

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Actually, I’m not a massive fan of Valentine’s Day. I spent the best part of my twenties cursing all the couples as I drifted in and out of unsuitable ‘relationships’ but mainly remained single (TMI?!) So I don’t really see the point of an over-commercialised ‘holiday’ designed to make single people feel inadequate and couples feel as though they have to gaze into each other’s eyes in a check-tableclothed Italian restaurant being overcharged for a plate of spaghetti carbonara.

Having said that, I still expect a card from the other half ;)

So my lovely husband and I tend to just make each other dinner at home and tonight it’s my turn for pudding. I have just whipped up these little chocolate mousses with a surprise healthy ingredient. They tasted pretty good when I licked the spoon so here’s hoping the afternoon in the fridge will make them super-yummy.

Simply whizz up 1 tablespoon of...

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Healthy Christmas Treats for Kids (And Adults!)

I have been inspired to write this post in advance of my appearance tonight on the lovely Parent’s Show on my local radio station in St Albans, Radio Verulam 92.6FM

The topic got me thinking about Christmas and about our traditions of allowing ourselves to completely stuff our faces with the knowledge that we’ll mop up all the damage in January. This tradition is about as ingrained in the British psyche at the Queen’s Speech. But it’s not exactly sending out the right message to our children is it? Especially at Christmas. Truckloads of chocolate + a bucket of sweets + a skipful of Santa excitement + a day of insane present-opening = MELTDOWNORAMA!!! I mean I think we’ve come to expect a level of completely tearful tantrums at some point over the festive season (and that’s not just because I have NOTHING to wear on Christmas Day), but is it really fair on our children’s little bodies to let them eat whatever they want, keep...

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Seriously easy, seriously good Squash and Coconut soup

You can’t have failed to notice that squashes and pumpkins are just a little bit in season at the moment. I fully appreciate that cooking with them can be a bit of a faff with the chopping and the peeling, but once you’ve got over that, they are so tasty and warming, especially in a soup. Having been presented with two consecutive Celebration Squashes (pictured) in my veggie box, I was started to panic a bit about what to do with them. But a can of coconut milk soon inspired me to whip up a really easy soup.

I made it without any chilli, as I was saving some for the kids, but it would definitely benefit from a little kick of heat if you’re not sharing it with your little ones; some fresh ginger would give it another awesome zing. Give it a go, it really couldn’t be easier.

Ingredients:

2 Celebration squashes (or any other type of squash/small pumpkin), cut into quarters, skin on, seasoned and drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven for about 45...

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It’s ‘Empty the fridge of random vegetables night!’

I’ve mentioned on here before that we get a box of organic vegetables delivered every Friday. It’s fab, I love it and it makes me feel good on many different levels. Well I have this thing about not having any vegetables leftover from the old box when the new box arrives. I just don’t like it, it makes me twitch. Because, invariably last week’s veggies are going to get shoved to the back of drawer by the shiny new gorgeous ones that are fresh out of the box, and then by Tuesday, they’ll end up in the bin. So, on Thursday nights I make something out of every half-eaten, slightly on-the-turn vegetable that is left in the fridge. Tonight, I opened the fridge and stared at the following:

  • 1/2 a fennel
  • 2 beetroots
  • 1/2 a bag of green salady leaves
  • 4 radishes
  • A tiny, quite bendy carrot
  • 1/4 of a broccoli head

So we made an enormous salad and did a couple of funky things with the raw veggies to jazz it up. Here are some ideas for things you can do with slightly...

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Cinnamon and Almond Hot Chocolate

Try this heavenly dairy-free alternative to a regular hot chocolate – just perfect for curling up with on a snowy day like today:

250mls almond milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cocoa powder (Suma make a dairy & gluten-free alternative)

I, rather decadently, whizzed up all the ingredients in my Nespresso milk frother but if you do not have one of these (I admit they are more of a luxury than an essential kitchen appliance) then do it the manual way instead: make a paste with the cinnamon and cocoa powder in a little cold almond milk, then whisk in the warmed almond milk and pour into your favourite mug. This is mine.

Wrap your frosty fingers round the mug and make soothing mmm sounds between each sip.

Happy Snow Day!

xoxo

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Winter Warmer

So it’s Arctic outside, the thermals are on, and with more snow forecast our instinct is to reach for comfort food that is going to leave us feeling all warm and cosy. Comfort food doesn’t have to be stodgy though and at this time of year my slow-cooker is a permanent fixture on my kitchen counter. I adore my slow-cooker (I have a Crock-Pot, but others are available). All I have to do is chuck some meat and veg into it and rudely ignore it for the rest of the day. Then, at dinnertime I slop the contents into a plowl (platey-bowl or bowly-plate) and thank it kindly for making me a delicious, hearty, warming, nutritious meal!

So I’d like to share a recipe for a casserole that I made the other day using my usual trick of adding a few shakes of whichever spices are closest to the front of the cupboard, and this one was really quite heavenly. Rich, spicy, warming – get involved!

1 pack of diced casserole beef
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2...

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New Year’s Schmesolutions

Happy New Year! I sincerely hope you are bringing in 2013 with love and laughter.

Have you made a list of New Year’s Resolutions? Is it the same as last year’s? How did that work out for you?

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. They set you up to fail because, usually, by 2nd January, mine have gone out the window.

Isn’t it interesting how a lot of New Year’s Resolutions are based around food or body image? Must drink less alcohol, must drink more water, must lose weight, must do this diet, must eat less carbs, must eat more veg, must get rid of cellulite, must look younger etc etc.

How about if, instead of a lengthy, intimidating list of self-improvements that only make us feel worse about ourselves, we decided on just one and worked at sticking at it? How about if we just changed ‘One Small Thing’?

‘One Small Thing’ is my January gift to you. Pick one change you really want to make, be really specific, make it...

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