I’m not exactly the green-fingered type (much as I fantasise about being a self-sufficienter in the style of ‘The Good Life’) and generally plants rarely survive long in my company – in reality I’m a cut-flowers kind of girl.
But, even I can manage a few herbs (and I mean a few!).
Top tip – only choose to keep herby plants that you do actually like to eat meaning you’ll remember to water them and give them the occasional spot of tlc … For me, that means basil (for salads, pastas), coriander (for curries,soups), mint (for home-made and rather generous mojito’s (and sometimes lamb!)), rosemary (for veggie dishes and lamb) and chilli plants (curries – actually almost everything gets a chilli hit in our house!).
These little herbs simply and super-scrummily add a little extra punch of flavour, vitamins and minerals and all-round good stuff to simple food – de-lish!
Though little word of warning; as the saying goes ‘use it or lose it’ – obviously this phrase was referring to herbs – use them regularly to spice up your life and in turn you’ll have super healthy, herby plants – brilliant!
Tinned produce? Umm, what the …? But hang on and stay with me here – pulses, think chickpeas, lentils, butter beans, kidney beans (and all their beany friends) are BRILL-I-ANT for bulking up your fave meals, and not only do they give you a brilliant plant-based protein hit but they’re also:
A brilliant source of fibre, vitamins and minerals
They can help lower heart disease, blood pressure and cholesterol
And, count as one of your five-a-day
Is there no end to their all-round fabulousness? Now where’s that tin-opener …
Believe me, I was, until recently, a bit of a food shop ‘snob’ (eek, feeling a bit bad about that now!). Anywhoooo, that was until I was made redundant (boo hiss!) and was forced to overcome my very real fear of being spotted stepping over the Poundland threshold. Due to a serious lack of £££’s I realised it was time for a food-and-grocery-shop rethink … And a visit to Poundland … The outcome – get yourself there!
Poundland is brilliant for store cupboard essentials and household cleaning products – think clingfilm, sandwich bag, foil, olive oil, soy sauce etc, etc …). Even more brilliantly they also sell packs of super-lushious, protein-packed nuts, seeds and dried fruits (sooooo much cheaper than anywhere else) along with perfectly sized snackette containers – so you can mix up your own bespoke ‘on the go’ snack pots – think Graze only much, much cheaper!
I’m fundamentally quite (shhh!) lazy <whispers> and in part due to this, but also combined with an all-too-often case of serious time mis-management, this ‘chuck it all in’ soup has become my go to for a number of reasons:
1. You literally chuck in all manor of veg you have lying around (and if you’re anything like me, the veg will be in desperate need of saving before it literally drags itself off to the recycling …) – think carrots, sweet potato, peppers, onion, tomatoes, beetroot … the list is endless …
2. It’s the lazy girl’s way of getting her ‘ 5 – 7’ a day (hooray!)
3. It’s super-tasty (thank goodness for the likes of curry or chilli powder!)
4. It’s super-easy to make (I cook mine whilst doing other stuff – for a lazy girl I can multi-task well!):
Roughly chop all your veg (the more the merrier!) and bung in a big saucepan along with: a tin of chopped tomatoes, a couple of cloves of garlic, red lentils (if you have any) and curry or chilli powder to taste. Refill the empty tin with water and add this too. Cook on medium heat for about 15 mins. Ta dah! Done – now simply squish it all up with a hand-blender, pour in to your bowl(s) and go eat.
So this is a kind of ‘trick’ I sometimes play on myself when I’m feeling vulnerable to the temptations of greed! Oops!
Instead of your usual plate, try dishing up your fave meal(s) in a bowl instead … go with this: filling a bowl with delicious food will a) keep it warmer for longer and b) trick your eyes/brain in to thinking you have more super-scrumptious grub to dig into than you really do (clever stuff?!) – which in turn = fewer calories consumed (that’s a mathematical formula I do understand and like!).
Some of my fave ‘bowl’ meals: curries (sometimes without carby rice if I’m feeling particularly smug), stews, pastas, chillies, soup … Yum!