Mason Jar Salads

Mason Jar Salad 1

These Mason Jar* salads are a recent discovery of mine. They are genius!  Since I went back working I have been buying my lunch out each day which is not something I can or want to keep doing. Apart from the expense I find I am eating stuff I wouldn’t normally choose to eat. In line with my 80/20 philosophy about food I like to eat healthily during the week so I can relax at the weekend and enjoy a few treats plus a few glasses of wine. This requires a bit of organisation and planning though during the week and these salads in a jar are a brilliant idea.  I make two at a time and they fit neatly in my handbag. With these salads it is all about the order of the ingredients – salad dressing first, this is so important as it guarantees that your salad ingredients don’t get soggy. Then put in a grain or a protein or something else big and chunky (e.g. chick peas, quinoa, sweet potato, butternut squash, pasta etc) layer your ingredients according to how heavy they are, e.g towards the top add nuts, grated cheese, seeds and lastly top it with your salad leaves. When you are ready to eat it then you just turn it out into a bowl, the salad leaves will be at the bottom.  Just mix it and there you go – a perfectly fresh and satisfying salad.   This website which I came across will give you some great ideas to encourage you to give this a go.

*PS – I bought the jar in SuperValu for €4.50 – however any clean jar that has a suitably wide opening will do.

In the one in the photo there is the following (from the bottom up!):

  • Spiralised / grated courgette
  • Shredded carrot
  • Black olives
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Cucumber chunks
  • Cooked chicken
  • Mange tout(lightly steamed)
  • Broccoli (lightly steamed)
  • Mixed leaves

 

 

10 minute Energy Balls

 

Energy balls 1

It is no coincidence that this week’s recipe is quick, easy, with ingredients to give you an energy boost! My weekly post is later than usual this week due to work pressures however worth the wait I hope! These energy balls are delicious, made in minutes and quite addictive. They are full of good things and contain only natural sugars. I have been trying to cut down on sugar over the past year and I get my ‘sweet fix’ now from dark chocolate (74% cocoa solids), these energy balls and these sugar-free chocolate chip cookies from a previous post. (I am sure any goodness is negated however once you eat more than 4 of them in one go!).

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Delicious Chickpea Burgers

 

Chickpea burgers 3

These burgers are a revelation – delicious, healthy, good for you, low in fat,  quick and easy to make. They also keep you feeling fuller for longer because chickpeas are full of protein and fibre and as if that wasn’t enough they also contain exceptional levels of iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium. The burgers take only minutes to make so they are the ultimate healthy ‘fast food’.  Continue reading

Avocado Chocolate Mousse


Avocado choc mousse

Avocado and chocolate in the same sentence??? Kind of hard to get your head around isn’t it? Can you think of any nicer way to eat something healthy and good for you than in a chocolate mousse??? Bring it on, I hear you say! Any time I mention the words avocado and chocolate in the same sentence, people turn their noses up BUT they are people who have never tried it. It is also possibly the quickest, simplest and healthiest chocolate mousse there is. Continue reading

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Chicken & Veg Soup 2

I am not one for making New Year resolutions as I find it hard enough to get through the dark and dreary month of January without making it even tougher. Anyway most resolutions tend to be based on things we feel guilty about like eating and drinking too much over Christmas. (Why do we do this to ourselves?!) I would encourage anyone who is considering going on a diet now to scrap the guilt and instead consider being kind to yourself by cooking and eating real food and cutting back on sugar and processed foods. However, making wholesale changes to eating habits can be overwhelming and difficult to do all at once so another approach is to  start gradually by focussing on one meal in the day for a start e.g. for the first week / month resolve to eat a good, healthy breakfast or lunch each day.    Continue reading

Cauliflower Soup 3 ways

 

Cauli Soup 4

This week’s recipe is a delicious, simple, comforting soup that can be styled / flavoured three different ways!  Cauliflower is not a vegetable that excites me, mainly because of it’s colour. However, when one arrived home in the weekly grocery shop recently because it was on “special offer” I was scratching my head as to what to do with it! So I  decided to do a little experimentation with the basic soup recipe by making 3 variations from the poor, unloved head of cauliflower! It turns out that the soup is the perfect palate to which flavours can be added to create something that will surprise your taste buds. Continue reading

Quick & tasty herb crusted salmon

Salmon lime 4

This simple recipe is an absolute winner – quick and easy, perfect for busy weekdays but also brilliant if you are having friends over because it is absolutely delicious and looks so good. Please believe me when I say that it is a really, really simple and healthy dish that anyone could make. In fact if you are having friends round for dinner you could cook this in the oven along with the Buttermilk Roast Chicken from my last post and provide a choice of main course (or give them both!). We celebrate New Year’s Eve (also my Dad’s birthday) every year by having my extended family for a big get-together and since I discovered this recipe it has been on the menu because it is stress-free and also very popular.  Continue reading

Buttermilk Roast Chicken with Leeks & Bacon

Buttermilk chicken 1

This is a recipe I got on a cookery course I did in The Tannery Cookery School in Dungarvan with Paul Flynn. I love it because it is great for a quick weekday dinner but also is fancy enough to serve if having friends over for dinner. It is a brilliant recipe to have in your repertoire of dishes that are quick, easy, delicious and healthy.

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Winter quinoa salad

Quinoa salad 6

This beautiful and nutritious salad will brighten up any dark, dreary day. I know you are probably saying salads are for Summer but the ingredients in this recipe are available all year round in our supermarkets so there is no reason not to give it a go to brighten up any day –  you will be so glad and your body will thank you for it. You will know from a previous recipe that I am a big fan of quinoa not just because it is quick and easy to make, but also because it is a super healthy source of (plant-based) protein and a slow release energy sustaining food (i.e. keeps you full for longer!).  It also keeps and travels well so very handy for making wonderful healthy lunches to bring to work and also for using up leftovers such as cooked chicken or roasted vegetables. Beats a ham sandwich any day! Continue reading

Sweet Potato topped lamb pie

 

Sweet Potato C Pie 2

We are all feeling a chill in the air this week – sadly I packed away my Summer clothes during the week (I have a small wardrobe!) and out came the jumpers and jackets.  What I hate more than the cold however is the dark evenings and the only way I can survive them is to have something nice to look forward to for dinner. This recipe is one of my new favourite healthy Winter meals that can also be prepared ahead.
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