We have been feeling a little under the weather in our household over the last few days. I was too poorly yesterday to make it in to the city centre to visit the food Market which is on as part of Bristol'd Big Green Week. I love that Bristol is so environmentally friendly and that there are so many fantastic ethical restaurants here such as The Ethicurean & The Thali Cafes. In our household we aside from being vegetarians we also make every effort to shop locally and to eat with the seasons, because not only is it better for the environment, it is cheaper & the food tastes so much better!
I started to feel a little better last night & really fancied some clean fresh tasting food & this is what i came up with for our dinner: A warm green veg & new potato salad with Mint pesto. Everything in this dish is in season now and if you are anything like me you'll have plenty of mint in your garden right now........it's loving this wet & occasionally sunny weather we are having & growing like mad! As i'm still being quite strict with my PCOS diet this is another dairy free, low GI recipe so it's pretty damn good for you. Enjoy!
Warm Green Veg & New Potato Salad with Mint Pesto:
- For the Salad:
- 600g New potatoes
- 1 large bunch of Asparagus
- 2 Courgettes
- 100g Sugar snap peas
- Lettuce leaves of your choice
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- a handful of pine nut kernels
- For the pesto:
- 2 generous handfuls of fresh mint
- 50g of unsalted Cashew nuts & pine nut kernels
- 75ml Olive Oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Salt & Black Pepper
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Serves 3-4 adults.
The Warm Green Salad:
- Preheat oven to 200℃.
- Halve the new potatoes, place on a baking tray & drizzle with olive oil. cook in the oven for 30minutes.
- Wash all of the green veg.
- Chop the courgette into long chunky strips & cut the thick ends off of the asparagus.
- Drizzle a little olive oil in a pan & fry off the greens until tender.
- Add the pine nuts to toast. When browned, turn off the heat & squeeze lemon juice over the veg.
- Place a lid over the pan while you prepare the pesto.
- Remove all of the mint leaves from the hard stems & wash under cold water.
- Put the mint, nuts, olive oil, lemon juice in a food processor & blend until smooth. Season to taste.
- Take the potatoes out of the oven & serve in the centre of the plates. Place salad leaves & green veg mixture around the edge.
- Drizzle with pesto & enjoy!
So the PCOS friendly diet is going quite well (I only say quite as I'm still falling off the sugar wagon sometimes!) and i'm really happy with some of my dairy & lo GI food experiments lately. I find lunchtime is the hardest meal to stay healthy with as i'm usually in a rush & craving a quick 'pick me up' so I've been searching for some super quick ideas for me & Henry to have for lunch. I came up with these avocado & tomato dip recipes which are great for yours & any little ones lunch, but would also be great to dip tortilla chips in at a party.
I know that as a mum is can be quite hard finding things to give your little one that you like as well so i thought i'd share these for you all to try. The tomato dip also goes down a treat served over warm pasta for lunch the next day too! Yummy!
However a firm favourite with us is to eat these dips spread on toasted bread.......well because toast is awesome!
I used butter beans as the base for both dips as i love them & always have tins of them in the cupboard, however you can substitute for another bean if you prefer. Cannellini beans also work really well. These dips are a great source of protein, mono-unsaturated fats & vitamin B & C so you can tuck in knowing you're giving yourself lots of lovely goodness!
I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
Tomato & Butter bean dip:
up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
400g tin butter beans drained & rinsed
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic chopped
1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
a generous handful of chopped basil & parsley
ground black pepper (salt optional, but not advised if feeding to children.)
- Drain all of the juice from the chopped tomatoes into a separate bowl. Place the tomatoes into the bowl & add the drained beans, garlic, herbs, lemon juice & olive oil. Blend together in a blender or using a hand blender.
- Add a small amount of the drained tomato juice if you think the dip is too thick.
- Season to taste.
- Serve on toasted french stick or pitta bread with fresh tomatoes & Cucumber.
Avocado, Red onion & Butter bean dip:
up to 2 days in the fridge in an air tight container.
1 very ripe avocado.
1/4 large red onion
juice of 1 lime
400g of drained & rinsed butter beans
Handful of coriander (optional).
- Peal, pit & slice the avocado & place in the bowl & cover with the juice of the lime.
- Finely dice the red onion & add to the bowl with the avocado.
- Add the butter beans & coriander & blend in the food processor or using a hand blender.
- Serve on toasted bread or with tortilla wraps that have been baked in the oven until slightly crispy. Add chopped red peppers & cucumber for added crunch.
Yes i am still here and I have lots to tell you all about some exciting new projects and the developments with our house, but before i do i thought i had better explain why i have been absent from here for quite some time. I haven't abandoned this blog and my Homemade Mama ventures, In fact i have sat down to write things so many times, but i just didn't know what to say at the time.
Things have been quite tough over the last few months for me health wise, much of which i think is a direct result of not taking care of myself properly while renovating the house. After we moved in early March i began to feel very low and started to suffer with anxiety attacks and violent mood swings (which although were worse on those close to me!). I didn't really want to see anybody and felt that nobody would really want to see me either. I was depressed one moment, agitated the next. My skin was terrible due to a nasty outbreak of acne, I had developed a beautiful collection of hairs on my chin and i was exhausted to the point that walking up the stairs was an effort some days. I cried everyday, which just isn't like me! Despite the fact that I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) after my third miscarriage in 2010 i had never really thought much about it to be honest. I have always had fairly normal periods, if a longer than a normal cycle and i'm not overweight so i didn't really think that i had any symptoms. However after a lot of research after a chat to my doctor it would seem that depression, anxiety, mood swings and fatigue, along with my delightful acne & facial hairs are all symptoms! Isn't PCOS a dream?!?!
The reason i went to see a doctor was that i had the misfortune to have my 4th Miscarriage in March. This is not an easy subject to write about, especially so soon after the event so i will keep it brief, but i will say that it seems pretty certain that my PCOS has played a part in my miscarriage as my hormone levels are seriously out of whack (a medical term obviously!). Now although this was a horrible thing to go through AGAIN, it has had some positive effect in that it has made me make some steps to control my PCOS symptoms & they appear to really be working! I don't want to make this an essay on PCOS as i'm sure it will bore you silly, but if you want to know more about it please do get in touch! I have been reading every book and article i can find on the matter & as a result of this information have made some dramatic changes to my diet that involve cutting out most refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and milk. I am also exercising again (which is amazing!) and taking a rather large selection of vitamins known to help.
For the first time in months i am feeling much more like myself, i'm no longer crying all the time like a crazed hormonal beast which can only be a good thing! I'm still not 100% as my anxiety levels and fatigue still need to normalise, but they are nowhere near as bad as they have been! I'm starting to get better and it feels fantastic! I have really found taking charge and being proactive about my own health really empowering & have seen some really positive effects. Plus we have really revamped what we eat as a family. We have always been pretty healthy in that we are vegetarians who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables along with low fat sources of protein, but we got a bit stuck in a food rut after Henry was born due to lack of time. However i have really been enjoying cooking new things for us all, especially as i know that this new diet reduces my Mister's cholesterol levels as well as my insulin resistance! This weeks favourites have had a mexican theme & have been yummy! We've needed a bit of chilli in our lives as we're certainly not getting any heat in the weather here. ;)
My biggest challenge now as a total sugar junkie is to seriously cut down on my chocolate/cake/cookie consumption.......wish me luck! I don't have many vices, but by god i love cake!!
Also although i know it may seem a little morbid or depressing, but i thought i would let you all know about another book while i was on the subject of my current reading. I first read this book on the recommendation of my OB-GYN at Southmead after my third miscarriage, and i truly believe that if it wasn't for the practical advice and facts in this book i wouldn't have been able to carry Henry to term! It is a must for all women who want to know what they can do to help themselves after a miscarriage & want answers as to what may have been the cause. It can give you a feeling of control and ward off the utter helplessness you can feel after such a horrible event. Anyway it's called 'Miscarriage: What every woman needs to know' (2001) by Professor Lesley Regan. I really wish that somebody had put this book in my hands years ago after my first miscarriage, so i am letting you all know in case you know somebody who might benefit from reading it.
So there you have it: i have been away being a bit of a hormonal mess (Thank you endocrine system & Insulin......you've been just swell to me) but i'm getting back to normal and trying really hard to show my body that it's just not acceptable to be so disobedient & act so strangely without my express conscious permission! ;) I now have my much needed energy and creative mojo back and i have been putting it to good use! I will post again tomorrow to ask you all for your opinions on a new creative project