Monday 29 May 2017

LITTLE GEMS: A week of bowl food fun! Plus eating out at Bents, The Garden, Fox, Village Cafe and Porta

So this week started off so well. I had a great yoga session and a very productive day on Monday. Then unfortunately when the news broke about the bombing on Tuesday my heart broke and I guess although I have not had a bad week as such, I've felt a lot of pain for all those that have been suffering. I have also felt so much gratitude for everything I have in my life. For anybody who has been affected (which I guess could be said for all of us in the UK - especially locally here in Manchester) my heart goes out to you. However, I have never been so proud to be from Manchester and as the world has been put into perspective a bit more, I am even more grateful for every day and anytime I get to spend with friends and family. Luckily, I have had a fantastic weekend full of that. So, on a lighter note, here are my foodie adventures this week...

The most delicious breakfast from The Garden in Hale on Monday post yoga. This is their harissa hash and OMG, it's heaven!

Protein smoothie is week with some greens and chocolate protein powder (plus all the usual bits!)

Delicious avo toast

My fav pasta. This is super quick on a weekday night. The brown rice pasta takes 7 mins to cook and then I just bung in the peas towards the end of the cooking. Stir in my basil dressing and some spinach leaves - then you're good to go!

First acai bowl of the week!

I think the theme this week has to be 'bowl food'. This is brown rice with teriyaki aubergine and home grown baby gem lettuce! I absolutely love this dish, I really need to make it more often!

Second a acai bowl of the week... can't get enough of these in Summer 

This was a really yummy lunch. I pretty much emptied out my cupboard for this. Black beans, hummus, more home grown baby gem and a charred aubergine (leftover from the other night) and brown rice. I love bowl food so much, anything that can be eaten with just a spoon is so comforting

So not had a frappe in years and for some reason I was craving one! I know how bad they are but I tried my hardest to make this the best option possible. This is a mocha frappe made with almond milk and decaf coffee (it was late a afternoon and caffeinated coffee would have sent me over the edge ha ha!). Ok, so not something I would have regular, but now and again I treat myself. After all, it's all about having balance right?

Friday night I had a super yummy dinner at Porta. I've taken some pics but to be honest they are the exact same dishes that we have every time ha ha! We had the toasted corn this time too which was yum!

Potato tortilla

Padron peppers

Tomato and mozzarella salad

Tomato bread, calamari and grilled prawns

Finally the yummy chocolate mousse. I literally have two spoons of this as a treat but it's so worth the tummy pangs after

Had a lovely lunch out on Saturday at The Village Cafe. I've not actually eaten here before but the salad was quite tasty - plus I was super hungry!

So I went for the chicken salad without the chicken ha ha! I asked them for avocado instead and it worked quite well. It's basically like a Caesar salad with tomatoes 

Had a bit of an experiment with some baking on Saturday. I had a play with some Cinnabons without wheat or dairy. They were not too bad actually considering I thought they would be a disaster. 

I was in some kind of experimental mood on Saturday! I decided to try and make a fattoush salad but with a twist. I'm not a fan of raw onion or tomatoes that are not cooked.... so I made a roasted version! Roasted onions and tomatoes with crispy oven cooked pitta crisps! It turned out so so well I think I will be doing it again soon!

I cooked some butternut squash and did a Harrisa sea bass to go with it. It was all so yum and nice and light too. The weather was so warm I didn't want anything too heavy so this hit the spot perfectly!

Then on Sunday I went for a delicious brunch with my Mamma to Fox in Hale Barns. I went for the waffles and Mamma had the eggs florentine and it was actually really good. I was a little disappointed that the waffles weren't freshly made like Piccolinos but they were really tasty all the same.

Entry of maple syrup too! They were really sweet but it was all washed down with a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea.

Then finally today I decided to indulge ha ha! What can I say, it's all about balance right? I know I talk about this a lot but it's true. I love my healthy eating, but if I don't allow myself a treat now and again I will end up resenting it. Just for the record, when I do eat more 'unhealthy' foods, I still try and make sure that they are freshly made and not processed.

I ventured out to Bents today - possibly one of my fav places on earth believe it or not. They do some delicious homemade soups so I went for the vegetable and lentil and an egg mayo sandwich. This was so filling and comforting, just what I need for a Bank Holiday Monday :)

Yep, I did it! I had a piece of pecan pie! Ok, so it was mahoosive and I literally managed to finish only half of it but it was goooood!! Super sweet though mind you, think my teeth might fall out by morning ha ha!

Then to finish off my weekend of comfort eating I thought I would have some more bowl food! My fav brown rice pasta with basil dressing, kale and peas. I am officially stuffed and I think I just want some food off plates next week ha ha! Need to formalise my meals by eating with a knife as well as a fork! ;)

I've had such a lovely weekend with friends and family. I felt like I needed it too, it's been a bit of a hard one to take in for me and so many other people. I hope wherever you are you had a lovely week and were not affected by the terrible atrocities that took place in Manchester.

Sending lots of love and well wishes to you all.

Thanks so much for reading

Big love,

Em x

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Today, Fear Can Stay At Home...

I woke up on Tuesday morning as usual, a bit of a grown and a stretch and then checked my phone. The 'news' app had flashed up saying about the horrendous attack on young children and families in Manchester. My heart broke and I literally jumped up and shouted "What the f*@k?!?'
I was so fortunate that I didn't personally know anybody involved, but my heart broke all the same. I literally was in a daze all day yesterday - couldn't even string sentences together and I couldn't understand really why. I hadn't been hurt, nobody I knew was injured but I couldn't help but think about what had happened so so close to home.
As the day went on I realised what it was, why I was so shaken. I hate to say it, but it was fear. Every time I heard a noise or a bang from a vehicle drive past the clinic I jumped. I was thinking about my loved ones all day hoping they were safe and staying out of harms way. I know I'm not alone either, I can't imagine what some people had to face yesterday. The families who have lost loved ones, the emergency staff who have had to treat people and deal with the atrocities of what happened.

When fear takes over us it can ruin us. I have woken up this morning fearing so many things. I worry about where my husband is going, what my family is doing today, where my friends are... is everybody going to be safe??

I know I can't let this happen though and I know that the people of Manchester are so strong. We can all get through this and we will recover and be stronger. No bastards will ever make us fearful of going out with friends, going to work, going to a bloody concert. We're Mancs! Nobody messes with a Mancunian right! So I hope that from here we can all stand together. Every creed and colour. Every race and religion. I am so proud to be a Manc right now because I know Mancs don't fear anything! We're friggin hard nuts!

So today I will leave my fear at home... in a small box... hidden under a pile of stuff that I don't ever look at. I don't need to take that shit with me. It doesn't fit in my bag or my pocket and it's certainly not coming with me to work. I will be strong and brave and not worry about some bastards who want to take our freedom. I will continue to be me and I hope you continue to be you! Don't let fear get in the way today - with anything! If nothing else, this has taught me that life is too short to keep worrying about stupid shit and get on with things.

I hope you are all safe and well. I hope you have not been affected by any of these horrific circumstances and if you have, from the bottom of my heart I am truly sorry. 

We live in the most amazing city and I'm so proud to be a part of it!

I read this quote this morning and it really struck a cord...

'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him.” “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” “There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” “Don't be afraid of your fears.'

Thank you for reading,

Em x


Sunday 21 May 2017

LITTLE GEMS: Out and about this week! Eat Kaizen, Bakchich, The Om Yoga Show, The Greenhouse, The Garden, Red Chilli Manchester, Altrincham Market Honest Crust and Oh Mei Dumpling! Wowsers!

Hi! Welcome back to my blog! I hope you've had a lovely week. I've been out and about a bit this week and been doing a bit of cooking too...

I made some brown rice pasta on Monday night with some tomato and chilli sauce that I had made a couple of weeks ago (and then popped in the freezer). I just added some olives and artichokes and it was sooo yum! Took less than 10 minutes to cook too!

Tasty breakfast with some fresh strawberries, granola and Koko coconut yoghurt

So I never really take pictures of my lunch as it's pretty much the same every day to be honest. I ALWAYS get the soup from The Garden in Hale. It's so delicious, freshly made each day, Vegan, only costs £3 and it's organic! What more can I ask for?!!?! I would tell you what this one was, but I never really ask what the flavour is, I just ask for the soup :)

Tuesday night was quite a late one and so I needed another quick dinner for when I came home. I decided on soup noodles with some delicious dumplings from Oh Mei Dumpling. I have these frozen and so all I needed to do is cook them (which takes less than 10 mins!). I fried some lettuce and had some ramen with it - perfect, quick dinner after work :)

These dumplings are incredible! She made me vegan ones too! I can't tell you how chuffed this made me. I know I'm not vegan, but I try to eat as little animal produce during the week where possible because I know it suits my body better... Besides, there is a lot of cheese coming up this weekend ha ha!

Standard Thursday morning breakfast now post yoga is an acai bowl. I've not had as many this week because the weather has not been as nice up here in Manchester. It's like a rule that I can only have these when the sun is shining ha ha!

Takeaway Thursday!! Possibly my fav night of the week! We decided to take it on the road this week and went to Altrincham Market. I opted for the mushroom pizza from Honest Crust and hubs had a steak from The Tender Cow. 

We also ordered these crispy, fried artichokes too. They weren't as good as the ones from The Viceroy in New York, but they were pretty close! They come with fried sage leaves and ricotta cheese

So after yoga on Friday morning I decided to get a double whammy and go to the Om Yoga Show. The girls from The Garden were catering and so I had to go and show my support. I got the sweet potato jacket with homemade beans and cashew cheese. It was amazing too! I really enjoyed it! The yoga show was ok, I didn't take any pictures sorry but I wasn't really 'feeling' it. I think because I was by myself I was some kind of target for the sales people and I was at one point followed as I was trying to walk away from somebody selling to me! It was very hard sell there and I found it a bit uncomfortable - even the beauty shows are not that bad! I only stayed for around 45 mins, had a quick mooch and then got off. I don't mind being able to look around and people asking to help me, but don't chase me down the aisle seriously!

Friday night we went to Red Chilli on Oxford Road in Manchester and had the usual. Fish, tofu and greens. It was so good too! Everything was super crispy and fresh! :)

Saturday lunch we went to The Green house (also on Oxford road but in Hale instead!). I love these oat cakes and the salad. We shared because the portions are so big but it all got finished!

So I had a very sad looking banana sat in the kitchen - which is exciting! It means one thing in our house... Banana and Oat cookie time!

These are delicious and also pretty healthy for you. Ok, I won't say they are good for you, but they are much better than pre-packaged ones. Check out the recipe here.

Saturday night was a mega feast at Bakchich in Manchester. We had so much food we ended up bringing some home. It was really good though. I love this kind of food for a change as I don't have it that often. I will do a post on here soon as it's a cool place to check out!

Sunday breakfast before work today was an omelette as per usual. I keep trying to find something that can fill me up like this can but I struggle. I loved my sweet potato hash brown but it took a little longer to cook and on a Sunday morning I just don't have the time. Anybody have any ideas? I want something that is plant based. Porridge/acai bowls/avo toast etc etc just doesn't keep me full till the afternoon :( 

It tasted good though! Plus I was a bit naughty and put it on a brioche roll :)

Then for my (late) lunch I ventured out to Eat Kaizen in Altrincham. I was so excited to try this place as I had heard so many good things about it. It certainly did not disappoint either! They were closing early and I rocked up 15 minutes before they shut. I said I would have a takeaway so they didn't have to wait for me but they were so nice and told me to sit in. I had the superfood salad with vegan dressing and some sweet potato fries. It was sooooo good!!! The staff were super friendly and helpful and the food was fab! If you haven't been I would definitely recommend it. They have so many healthy choices too... it might be one of my new fav places to eat :)

Finally, we went on a lovely evening walk to night and I came across this stunning tree! It's little things like this that make my week!

I hope you've had a lovely week and weekend,

Thanks so much for reading,

Big love,

Em x

Wednesday 17 May 2017

INSPIRATION: Max out! You'll Get So Much MORE From It!

So in the last month or so I've been in work a lot more than usual. When I say a lot more, I'm talking maybe an extra hour or two a day (when I don't necessarily need to be there).
You might think I'm a bit crazy and at first I did too. Due to whatever reason, I was getting to work waaay earlier than I needed to and found myself just getting stuff done. I am that person who thrives on productivity and there is some loose wire in my brain that seems to love it when I can plan my day, write lists and tick everything off - and then possibly write things down on the list that I've already done just so I can tick them off. Yes, I know it sounds crazy!

What I found though, that being in work longer than I needed to be was actually really good for me. Obviously I love my business and find myself working 'on' it when I'm not 'in' it, but sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming - especially when you're self employed like me. However, I found that by being there more and doing more made me want to do even more. I've really enjoyed it, like the place has become even more of a second home than it was before.

So what's my point? Why am I rambling on about this? Well, I believe the more you give, the more you get and this is so right in work too. When you spend more time there (than just the bare minimum) it all means just that bit more. You've given even more of you and you actually start to enjoy being there. It's like you can re-wire your brain and I can honestly say that I have loved being in work more. I feel more passion for my job when I'm there and I actually enjoy it more.

So, don't think I'm totally mad, but maybe for the next few weeks focus on something that you want to get more from. Maybe it's your job, your home, your relationships... whatever it is and spend more time with it. Maybe go into work 30 minutes earlier and get some jobs done that have been hanging around for days. Struggling in a relationship? Maybe give that person more of your time, even if you don't want to at first. Even if it is about your health and lifestyle, focus more on yourself, cooking instead of getting take out, going to the gym or taking a walk after dinner instead of sitting on the couch. Whatever it may be, just try it for a couple of weeks and give just that bit more, it might just surprise you!

Thanks so much for reading,

Big love,

Em x

Sunday 14 May 2017

LITTLE GEMS: Rich food weekend... Bring on the curry and cheese! Eating out at Gusto, San Carlo, The Greenhouse and The Garden

Hello! Welcome back! How are you? What was your 'good week' this week? Anything exciting happen?
I feel like my last couple of blogs have not been too exciting I'm afraid. I've been snowed under with work and having to help my Mum who's just had a minor op, so going out to eat hasn't been as easy. Don't worry though, I've of course managed to fit it in though somehow ha ha! 
I started off the week as I meant to go on, with a delicious protein smoothie :) using a frozen banana, forzen berries, 1/4 cup oats, water and some chocolate protein powder...

Then, obviously I had to have an avo toast at some point!

I got some sea bass for a change which I had a couple of nights on the run. This fist one was grilled with teriyaki vegetables and it was so so delicious!

First acai bowl of the week...

Now, I don't normally take pics of my lunches because they are usually always the same. Soup from The Garden, but this day I fancied a change. This is their vegan version of a BLT - but they call it a TLT using tempeh instead of bacon. It was actually really really good! Always nice to have a change now and again :)

Second version of the sea bass was with some noodles as well and I did a sweet chilli sauce on the fish! I am trying to eat a little less fish if I can (clearly not this week mind!), but I find it so quick to cook. Sea bass, especially as it's so thin, takes literally a few mins under the grill and dinner is served. Super quick if you fancy a hearty meal at high speed!

Post yoga acai bowl. I just love these so much. They actually become rather addictive!

Trying very hard to drink more water on my days off. I find I'm pretty good during the week, but as soon as the weekend comes I just fall out of the habit and by Monday I'm dehydrated. So, this was my idea, take a bottle of water with me when I'm out. Here I've added lots of fresh mint and some lemon slices too. This is so fresh and zingy, lovely if you fancy something different in your water!

Quick post yoga breakfast for one at The Garden. I love these breakfast jars and with an 'I am well' tonic I can't ask for more!

Then I treated myself to The Greenhouse for lunch on Friday. I always have the mixed salad when I'm by myself, but for some reason I fancied the Oat Pancakes. They sound gross but they are so so good I can't explain! Yuuuummmyyy!!

Friday night I went with hubs at Gusto on Deansgate. I've not been here in so long and so he thought he would take me for a change.

This venue is really stunning. So much so I was going to do an 'eating out' post on it, but I'm sure you've tried Gusto before right?? Dinner was nice. We try to order lots of dishes when we eat out now so we can try plenty of things.

It was all pretty nice, but the only disappointment was the aubergine. On the menu it said 'baked aubergine' so we presumed it would be in some kind of tomato style sauce... yeah, not so much! It came deep fried in a batter, no flavour, seasoning or sauce. We very rarely complain or leave food but this was really dull. The manager was very willing to change it for something else, but in true 'Brit' style, I was like "no no, it's fine!" when really I should have swapped it, Hey ho, just won't be ordering it again anyways! 

Calamari and creamed spinach

Deep fried cheese and also the truffle fries

Prawn and garlic tagliatelle (this was good!)

The dreaded aubergine!

Anyways, it was fine. We had a lovely night and left with a full belly! Happy days!

Saturday I had to nip into town with hubs, so we went for lunch at San Carlo in Selfridges (the downstairs one!) I always have the same here, it's the Mediterranean veg with mozzarella and sweet potato fries! Delish! 

Just a bit too much cheese for me though ha ha! Not used to this much in one hit!

Saturday night was sooo lovely. We had my parents over for dinner and hubs organised some tasty food. We got some takeaway from a place in town which does all 'home-cooked' style foods. So we got some starters (meat for the boys and veggies for me and Ma). Hubs then made a samosa chaat which was heaven! I adore street food. This was perfect!

Erm... then I forgot to take pics of the curries ha ha! Must have been too hungry! We had okra, chickpea curry and lentil dahl though. The food was actually really tasty, just like home cooking. We probably could have pulled it off as our own!

Then Sunday breakfast was some of my fav pancakes. These are dairy and gluten free. I love to stack mine with coconut yoghurt, fruit, almond butter and maple syrup. Sooooo gooood!!

We've then spent the day with family and running errands. Plus we had so much food left over from last night I've just been munching away on that all night!

I hope your week was good, I'm off now to munch some more on some okra I think... ok gotta run, food is calling :)

Thanks so much for reading,

Big love,

Em x

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