My favourite healthy quick and easy meal

One big concern about switching to a healthier diet is the amount of time required to prepare healthy meals. So today I wanted to share my favourite healthy meal which I rely on which is soup.

What’s so great about soup?

Soup is my favourite healthy meal because it is easy to make, it’s versatile, you don’t need a recipe, it can be made in only one pot, it’s frugal, healthy, you can sneak vegetables in that you (or others) might not otherwise eat and it can last for days if you make a big batch. What’s not to love?!

How do I get started?

Slow cooker – (That’s a crock-pot for those across the pond.) My favourite way to make soup is in the slow cooker because it allows me to prep at least 3 days worth of lunches in one go and then leave it to cook while I go do something else more interesting than stirring a pot! Simply chop up your vegetables, add stock or water and your herbs and spices then leave to cook. When it’s done simply use an immersion blender to turn your freshly cooked vegetables into soup and voila – you have an easy healthy meal.

Staples – Although soup comes in many varieties and flavours the basics of any good soup tend to remain the same and can be bought cheaply to create several different soups. I usually rely on butter, onion, garlic, celery, stock, salt and pepper and then add whatever vegetables I want to base my soup on.

Herbs & spices – You can switch things up with your soups by adding different herbs and spices depending on your mood which means that even if you use the same vegetables your soup doesn’t need to taste the same every time. Right now I am loving fenugreek to add a bit of a kick to my soups but I believe in experimenting and having fun! I usually get my ideas for which herbs and spices to put in by rummaging in our spices cupboard and smelling them.

What vegetables/flavours could I use?

The world is your oyster but you could try potatoes, leeks, broccoli, peas, red bell peppers, onions, carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, cabbage, pumpkin, lentils, mini pasta. If you get stuck for ideas you can always check out what’s available in the supermarket and then make it from fresh to avoid all the additives and preservatives.

What is my favourite flavour of soup?

My favourite flavour of soup is spicy parsnip right now but not so long ago tomato soup was where it was at!

What’s your favourite go-to healthy meal? Do you make soup? Share with me in the comments below and thanks as always for reading.

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5 easy steps towards better health

For those of us who are, shall say, a bit prone to falling off the waggon with regards to taking care of our health from time to time I wanted to write about five easy steps you can take to improve your health on a small scale that will inspire you to make more changes and feel accomplished. If you haven’t guessed I’m all about progress, not perfection.

Remember, the longest journey always begins with the first steps.

Here’s give simple easy steps you can take towards your journey to health.

1. Drink one glass of water

Drinking eight glasses a day every might seen impossible and daunting, not to mention like you are giving up all other drinks. So why not begin by committing yourself to drinking just one glass a day? Or if you prefer, a 500ml bottle you can sip whilst doing other activities.

2. Eat one piece of fruit

Having a wholly clean or ‘perfect’ diet can seem intimidating and difficult, so why not start by eating just one piece of fresh fruit a day? Or if you prefer you could go for vegetable sticks with dip. Every nutrient counts. Maybe the rest of your diet will suck, but so far you’ve done two things to improve your health – good on you!

3. Take a vitamin

This takes seconds to do but you will reap the benefits and you’ve done yet another small step towards your health.

4. Switch to one decaf drink

All that caffeine does nothing for your body, so if you aren’t ready to quit caffeine, why not try switching one drink a day to decaf? The easiest one to do will be the last drink of the day since most people state their reason for drinking coffee in the morning is to get going. It will also help you get off to sleep better in the evening.

5. Get some sleep

You deserve it. And you’d be surprised how a good night’s sleep will make you feel so much better. So why not go to bed half an hour early or if you’re feeling ambitious, an hour? And with a bit less caffeine in your system you’ll likely feel sleepier and find this step easy than usual and drop off faster.

So there you have it, give easy ways to get started or re-start your health journey. Have you fallen off the waggon? Or are you just starting to do something about your unhealthy diet? Share with me in the comments below.

Spicy Parsnip Soup Recipe

I don’t know about you but I love a good spicy parsnip soup! Unfortunately for me it’s not a common type of soup to find canned in the supermarket. The only brand I can find in the UK, whilst tasty, is also expensive. Since I’m on a budget I decided to make my own from scratch. I read a few recipes but none sounded right so I got to work and made my own perfect spicy parsnip soup. Not only is it full of vegetables which are great for your health but it’s super delicious too! Here it is:

Ingredients

  • 3 parsnips
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Butter (I never measure butter while cooking I just add as needed)
  • Gelatin
  • Double cream

Spices

  • Salt (I used iodised salt here)
  • Black pepper
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Fenugreek
  • Ginger
  • All spice
  • Tumeric
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Rosemary

Method

1. Heat up a tray in the oven with plenty of butter.

2. Cut the parsnips and carrot into quarters and put them in the oven for 25 minutes until they start to soften. Turn over and add more butter on top when/if needed.

3. While the root vegetables roast, chop the onion and garlic clove and cook in butter on medium heat in a large soup saucepan.

4. Boil the kettle and mix up the stock cube before adding it to your pot, then add the celery.

5. Once your parsnips have softened a little, take them out of the oven and finish them by boiling in the pot. Add more water if necessary. I left my lid on at a slight angle to speed this up.

6. Add all the spices and a little gelatin. I didn’t measure anything out, I just added a sprinkle of everything – about the same as the amount of salt and pepper you would add to a dish, then taste.

7. Remove the soup from the hob and blend with an immersion blender. Add a little cream to taste and stir well. If necessary put back on the hob to warm before serving.

8. Serve with buttered rolls and enjoy!

If you make this soup please let me know if you enjoyed it, I would love to hear from you.

I’m now on Pinterest!

I recently made a new Pinterest account for my blog and I wanted to share it with you all – click here to follow me.

I use the account to pin ideas for my future home, well-being and health tips, organisation tips, cleaning tips, food and drink ideas and so on.

I’m a big lover of Pinterest and I hope you’ll join me over there!

Happy pinning!

Reflecting on two years smoke-free

I first began smoking out of curiosity.

When I was growing up my grandma was in poor health but when I reached my mid-teens she became housebound. She developed emphysema, then COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and then one day I walked into her bedroom and her medical notes were pasted to the wall where they read ‘lung failure’.

About ten years ago she was admitted to hospital on Christmas Eve and we were told to say our goodbyes. We had a priest come and bless her. I was awake for more than 24 hours and finally went home on Christmas Day, completely exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. After that I thought she would never smoke again. She lived for another five years after this and continued to smoke through many, many more similar hospital admissions.

I don’t know why she continued to smoke – they say it wouldn’t have cured the damage she had already done but to me that’s like saying you’ve got one broken leg so why not have two? They are probably right that her condition wouldn’t have improved – but it could have stabilised and been managed at emphysema instead of lung failure. Instead she continued to decline and struggle to breathe for the remaining five years of her life, and yes, it was horrific to watch.

So I was curious – what could possibly make someone want to continue smoking when it was making you so ill? I can only imagine that not being able to breathe is terrifying, but not being able to breathe for years? Unimaginable.

When I tried my first cigarettes I was totally unimpressed. I thought it was pretty disgusting and nothing to be addicted to. I didn’t get it at all. Later I tried again with menthols and found something I could smoke. So I smoked menthols for a few years, putting up with the headaches, sickness, nausea, feeling out of breath, shaky, and general feeling of unwell-ness that came with being a smoker. Then I met my partner and he didn’t like me smoking, so I quit. After that I only smoked on and off – when I stressed, upset or abroad where cigarettes were very cheap compared to the now skyrocketing prices of the UK due to laws designed to deter smokers (they work). But I didn’t really quit altogether per say, I always liked to know it was there – if I wanted it, but mostly I didn’t bother. I guess it just kind of tapered off until recently I was wondering how long it had been since I had smoked and realised that it was coming up to two years.

I only really gained an understanding when after many, many years of being eating disordered I desperately wanted to quit and to change but found myself unable no matter how I came at the problem. Finally, I understood how you could continue to smoke whilst being unable to breathe – and then I gained a greater sense of compassion, empathy and understanding – a sort of closeness to her, if you like.

Do I miss it? Yes and no. Some days I really crave it, whilst others I can’t imagine ever craving a cigarette ever again. Mostly when I walk behind smokers and breathe in that second-hand smoke – and it’s not cheating – I feel nostalgia for memories of people and a time now long gone.