Monday, November 13, 2017

Easy Lunches to Bring to Work

We have all been in this scenario; it gets to the middle of the day and your stomach starts rumbling. You realise that you haven’t brought anything to have for lunch, so you head out to buy something. And when you are hungry, you often come back with way too much unhealthy food.

To combat this, in this article, we are going to talk about a few easy lunches to cook and bring into work. Not only is this the much healthier approach as you can control exactly what goes inside, it is also the more cost-effective choice. And, here are some coolers worth the money that you can bring your healthy lunch in with. So, let’s begin!

Interesting Salads

Salads are a classic lunch option, but they can get a little boring over time. The trick is to vary things up over time. Why not try an avocado chicken salad with some yoghurt and lemon juice? If you are a vegetarian, you could replace the chicken with chickpeas so you still get your source of protein. Looking for something with a little more spice? Then go for a chorizo and tomato salad with some tangy cherry vinegar.

Super Sandwiches

Rather than your boring old ham and cheese, you should try to be a little more interesting with your sandwich-making. For example, who could resist a crunchy peanut butter wrap with some chopped apple and granola? A nice simple option (it only needs four ingredients) is a red pepper, goat cheese and fresh mint wrap, with just a pinch of salt. If you have a little bit more time on your hands to prepare a really great lunch, go for a sweet potato, chickpea and quinoa veggie burger.

Something Different

If you are sick to death of the usual sandwich and salad options, you could instead try something a little different. Check out this buddha bowl recipe, packed with protein to keep you going through a long day at work. Another great healthy option is a chicken and asparagus lemon stir-fry, where you can transform some relatively bland basic ingredients with lemon juice, garlic, and soy sauce. If you feel like having a bit of brunch at work, you could go for some mini frittatas.

Slow Cooked Options

A nice, affordable option is to make things in bulk and enjoy them during the course of the week. If you have a slow cooker, now is the time to dig it out. During the winter months, there is nothing like a nice stew - beef and barley is a fantastic choice or you sausage and bean is another nice one. Alternatively, you could go for some handmade soup such as tomato lentil or vegetable. These are very cheap and can last you a long time. Another great option is a vegetable curry complete with sweet potato and chickpeas.

Hopefully, you are now inspired to create yourself some lovely work lunches which are great for your health, your tastebuds and your wallet!               

Thursday, November 2, 2017

In Your Twenties? Let’s Learn How To Get Into Cooking

OK, guys, the party’s over. It won’t be long until we’ve left university behind and find ourselves out there in the big, bad (but also awesome!) world, and it’s high time we learned how to take care of ourselves. All the goods things in life happen when we’ve got the essentials in place, which means looking after ourselves, getting enough exercise, and eating well. But how do we achieve the last part if we’ve been eating noodles for the past three years? Below, we take a look at simple ways you can get into cooking and make it a part of your life.

pexels-photo-326278 (1).jpeg

Look Up Simple Recipes

We’ll save the three-course Sunday dinners for another time. To begin with, look up those simple, easy to make delicious meals. There are plenty of nutritious options out there that you can whip up in no time. This will just get you used to spending time in the kitchen; once you’ve got your bearings, you’ll be able to tackle more advanced dishes.

Affordable, Tasty

One of the biggest misconceptions about cooking is that good food has to be expensive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Good food is all around and never has to cost too much. Fill your cupboards with lentils, beans, hummus, and all the other delicious kitchen staples. If you have them and some Smithfield Meats, you’ll be able to create a healthy and tasty meal that won’t put a dent in your post-student life budget. So the next time your friend tells you they opt for inexpensive ready meals because they can’t afford to eat anything more nutritious, tell them they’re wrong!

Have a Tidy, Well-Prepped Kitchen

We’ve all been in some pretty horrific student digs. Indeed, this is one of the reasons students are known for not cooking: it’s impossible to find all the cooking utensils! Having a tidy kitchen, one that has all the essential cooking supplies and equipment, will make you much more likely to spend some time getting to know the art of cooking. Also, it’s just more hygienic!

The Power of Leftovers

One of the best things about cooking is the leftovers! If you make one great pot of curry or chilli, you’ll be able to eat for days. And you’ll also discover that these types of foods only become more flavoursome if they’re stored overnight. If you’re in the mood for a warming, hearty dish that’ll feed you for days, look up the best autumn chilli recipes.

Make It Fun

Like anything in life, you’ll be much more likely to get stuck into the habit of cooking if you find it enjoyable. So make it fun! Playing music, dancing around, or enjoying a glass of wine as you prepare food will show you that cooking doesn’t have to be a chore.

Final Thoughts

The motivation for a takeaway will always be there, but at some stage or another, you’re going to have to cook for yourself. Start today, and begin your journey towards a healthy lifestyle!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Making the Most of Fall and its Harvest


Fall is with us. The leaves are falling from the trees, the temperature is dropping, and harvest is coming to an end. This is the time of year that can really come to be defined by its edible offerings. Just think of how many people wait in anticipation of pumpkin spice lattes throughout the year. But there’s so much more to try out than mass-produced, commercialised beverages. Hearty, warming food is where it’s at this season, and we’re here to help you make the most of it! Here are just a few ideas to get your mouth watering and your stomach grumbling.

Root Vegetables

Root vegetables should form the foundations of most of your main meals this season. Why? Well, they’re stodgy, packed with energy and will keep you full and functioning through the colder, shorter days. There’s so much you can do with them. But a firm favourite of ours is a chunky vegetable stew. This meal will take a while to make, but it’s surprisingly easy and is definitely worth the wait. All you need to do is fill a huge pot and leave it simmering with vegetable stock. Then roughly cut wholesome root vegetables such as white potato, sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, onion and garlic, and throw them into the pot. Guarantee the good quality of these ingredients by purchasing from renowned suppliers such as Smithfield Food. You don’t need to be precise with your slicing. The rougher, the better, as it will give the final dish a more authentic, rustic feel. Store any leftover stew away in Tupperware in the fridge. It could last you for a few filling and hearty meals.

Sweet Treats

While savoury options spring to mind at the mention of harvest vegetables, you should bear in mind that there are delicious sweet treats that can be made from humble ingredients such as the pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is an autumnal staple and is something that everyone should try their hand at making at some point or another. After all, what’s better than home baking? It fills your home with delicious scents, and there’s something oh so rewarding about making your own baked goods. For pumpkin pie, use fresh pumpkin rather than tinned pumpkin. This will give you the best final taste and texture. Scoop out the stringy portions and ensure that the remaining pumpkin flesh is rinsed of seeds. Cut the flesh into chunks, then boil with water in a saucepan. Drain it, then mash. Place in a blender with evaporated milk, two beaten eggs, and 175g of brown sugar. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Blend. Next, prepare your pastry as usual, or invest in ready-made store-bought pastry if you have a little less time on your hands or are a little less confident in your pastry making skills. Gently press your pastry around a pie dish. Fill with your blended pumpkin mix and bake for 40 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees celsius (gas mark 6).

This is the best time of year for the produce that will make these recipes, so make the most of it!

We Wish You A Tasty Christmas: Australian Christmas Foods

October is almost over, which indicates that Christmas is right around the corner. For many people (myself included), Christmas dinner is the best part of the entire holiday, so you have to make sure that it’s done right. While Christmas is the same day in England, America, and Australia, Australia’s weather is completely different, which means that the food on the Christmas dinner table differs too. Here are some of the best foods that you find on a traditional Christmas dinner table in Australia.

Christmas Ham
While turkey is the traditional Christmas meat in England, in Australia, ham runs the show. Different families will have different rules and recipes for their ham glaze, but typically apricot, maple, or honey is used to create the perfect blend of sweet and smoky within the meat. Your ham, like the legendary ones from Smithfield Food, will take a few hours to cook, but this is usually much quicker than a turkey, and in this time, your house will be filled with the delicious aroma. Once finished, be sure to serve your ham with cranberry or applesauce, as they compliment the meat and crackling perfectly.

While some families in England and The USA like to serve a side dish of salmon with their Christmas dinner, in Australia, we’re all about our prawns, from a simple, yet delicious prawn cocktail, to entire platters of king and tiger prawns. Although prawns are great as a starter or a side dish, some families forget about the ham altogether and have prawns as their main dish. However, if prawns aren’t really your things, you could always go for lobster or a fish, such as salmon. Just be sure that your seafood is the last thing that you buy for your Christmas dinner, and buy a couple of days before Christmas at the very earliest, to ensure that it’s still fresh on Christmas day.

Christmas Pudding
Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t escape Christmas pudding on Christmas day. It was brought to Australia from England during early British colonisation and is rich in flavour. Typically served with custard, the Christmas pudding contains cinnamon, ginger, and a range of other mixed spices as well as several different fruits, such as dates, figs, and sultanas. Brandy or rum was typically mixed into the batter, to give it a kick, and keep the pudding moist, although sherry and port have since been recommended instead.

What is Christmas without gingerbread? Ginger is a scent typically associated with Christmas, along with cinnamon, and is found in all Christmas scented candles, air fresheners, and anything else Christmas scented. During the Christmas period, you can find gingerbread men and houses absolutely everywhere, so why not make some of your own? Gingerbread houses aren't the easiest thing to construct, but there are kits in most supermarkets, so you have no excuses for not giving it a go.

There you have it, the foods typical of an Australian Christmas dinner. If you’re not from down under, why not incorporate some of these into your own Christmas dinner, for a change during the festive period.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Eating the Ethical Way

here is a way to eat right. And no, this doesn’t necessarily mean eating a healthy diet. And no, this doesn't necessarily mean using your cutlery. This means eating ethically. This means eating what you want, but ensuring that what you do eat is sourced ethically and caused no harm to anybody or anything on its way to your plate. To see how you can become ethical with your eating habits, make sure to read on.

Eating meat can be ethical

Yes, you don’t have to become a vegetarian or a vegan to be an ethical eating; you can eat meat and eat ethical at the same time. But, when you do you have to do more then just pick meat up from the shelves of your supermarket and then be happy to cook and eat it. No, you have to do your research into how the meat that you buy is sourced. Specifically, for meat to be ethical it needs to be sourced from an animal that was provided comfort whilst alive. It needs to have been free in the fields and treated with the utmost respect, not packed indoors with its kind and literally shoved around like a herd of cattle. To eat meat ethically, you have to be sure that the meat you eat has been treated with respect. Smithfield Food are one such producer of food who are committed to producing food, good food, the right way. They provide meat, but the meat they provide is wrought from animals that they have treated in the right way — a humane way — and they make this clear in their mission statement. So, you need to get your meat from this producer, or a producer of the like, if you want to be sure that the meat you eat is ethical.

Something else that you can to be more ethical with your meat eating, as stated here, is to eat 50% less meat a week, if you can.

Respect the rights of your fellow humans

To be truly ethical with the way you both eat and drink, you need to bare in mind the hardship a human being might have had to go through in order to source it for you. You have to consider what kind of treatment and pressure they were put under when sourcing it. And you need to think about the working conditions they worked in when sourcing it.

To be fair and ethical with your food and drink choices, choose food and drink, particularly drinks like coffee and tea, that comes with a Fairtrade logo attached to the box. When this logo is evident, you can be sure that no workers or farmers were harmed in the sourcing of your drink, and you can be sure none of them were treated unfairly.

Basically, eating ethically is refusing to eat food at the expense of anything, be it the environment, animals or even humans. For more advice on how to be ethical with your eating, make sure to check out this helpful article.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Let's Taco 'Bout Your Eating Habits

Sometimes, saying you’re going to eat healthier and exercise is just a way to make yourself feel better. But when your friend comes to you and mentions going to the gym, you really want to crawl back into your bed and hope they go away. Eating healthy and completing regular exercise requires a lot of determination and commitment that you just won't have if you’re not one hundred percent focused on your end goal. Even if you don’t want or need to lose weight, you still need to think about your eating habits.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dinner Debut: How to Host a Smashing Autumn Party

When the weather gets chillier and frosty, there’s no better place to be than in the kitchen - gathered around a steaming pot with a handful of your friends. We tend to meet around food bit more often during the colder season, perhaps because we need that extra bit of warmth and comfort from each other or maybe just because there are too many delicious autumn recipes not to share with each other.

Image link: Pexels

Start out by inviting your friends over for some healthy comfort meals, and wait eagerly for them to invite you next. It’s free food, after all, and great company.

The autumn table

Setting the table for a summer BBQ is something quite different than preparing it for your autumn guests. It all depends on how fancy you’d like it, though, but it is something mesmerizing about polished cutlery and lit candles when the world is dark and gloomy outside. Make sure the lighting is dim and maybe even just from the candles alone unless it makes the atmosphere a bit too romantic.

If you want to spend a lot of time on the details and making it beautiful, such as getting that cutlery sparkling polished and folding intricate art out of your napkins, it’s a good idea to start the evening before. That way, you won’t be busy with it by the time your guests arrive - and you can enjoy the cocktails instead.

If you have a lot of them coming over, it’s also smart to think about who should sit where. Don’t pair them up with their friends but try to make the new faces sit next to each instead, so that you can watch those friendships being formed over your delicious cooking.

Start with a raw starter

Your guests will be impressed no matter what, but a surprising starter can really help put those stars in their eyes. A small selection of cured meats, for example, or a lamb filled tartar, and pair it with an interesting drink; have a look at this review kikori Japanese whiskey and check out their recipe selection if you want to include it in your cocktail menu as well.

Serve it all up on a large wooden board and let your guests help themselves to avoid that formal feeling throughout the dinner.

Use autumn elements

The different seasons gives us a lot of options of great vegetables which you can use as much in your cooking as in your decoration. While spring also has its share of delicious vegetables, it’s not quite the same to decorate with cucumber and asparagus as it is to put out a few bright pumpkins - although it may look quite eccentric. Embrace game, mushrooms, brightly colored squash, and plan your menu around these.

Nature has a lot of decorative stuff you can use too, by the way, and nothing should stop you from throwing a few red leaves over the table if you feel it will work with your autumn theme.

Try to plan as much as it upfront and save yourself the stress of not finding the right ingredients when your guests are due to arrive in a couple of hours. Make it easier and ask one of them to bring dessert, for example, if you’re willing to share the credit. The most important thing is that you enjoy each other’s company - and that your responsibilities as a host are over for this season.