Midweek Madness: Speedy Peanut Stir Fry Sauce!

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Stopped momentarily on the way in from work to appreciate these beauties.

Things have been a bit haphazard since… ooooh, well, all this year basically. Continuing along the meandering path that is my career, I have two sort-of jobs. I’m adulting hard – I’m self employed now you see, it says so on the 76 page form I sent to the tax office.

In job number one I worked all through January, and have done the odd shift since then. Then I took on a few weeks work (job number two) in a different company at the beginning of February and two months later I’m still there. So I’m basically working full time until I’m told otherwise – it keeps getting extended (yay!) and we have a very understanding creche. I have to turn down shifts that I’m offered in job number one just in case I get more work in job number two (I prefer it you see). But I am conscious of ‘keeping in’ with job number one and not forgetting how to actually do the job, so I have committed to sporadic weekend shifts there.

Which is all to say my meal planning and organization is disastrous at exactly the point that I could really do with it being the opposite. I do have a couple of speedy midweek specials that I roll out and one of them is a stirfry – rice or noodles, tofu or quorn or neither and whatever veg are to hand. Always topped with nuts or seeds, and often with this super good peanut sauce.

Now, don’t laugh. I signed up to Snapchat (@jillo_properfud). Luckily I don’t have a child old enough to point and laugh at me. When I told my husband he looked confused – though strangely not threatened – and said is that not just for teenagers sharing nudie pics? Loads of great bloggers are on there, and even though I’m not sure I have exactly cracked it in terms of how to best use it, I did realize very quickly that the Story function is perfect for recipe videos. This is my first one. It’s very rough and ready. VERY. But I’m not entirely ashamed of it, and I don’t care what my voice sounds like after a good conversation with fellow bloggers made me realise everyone thinks they sound like a dickhead at first.

Super Easy, Ridiculously Tasty Peanut Sauce

I keep chunks of peeled chopped ginger in a ziplock bag in the freezer. When you need to use just steep it in some boiling water for a couple of minutes before sticking it in the blender.

  • Blitz a big garlic clove & and inch or so of ginger.

Now add everything else and blitz it till smooth.

  • ½ a cup of smooth peanut butter. I use the Meridian brand for all my nut butters.
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. I’m probably a bit more liberal with this.
  • Juice of half a lime.
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. I’m not sure that it matters if it’s dark or light, I just like to use the soft one, not demerara or anything like that.
  • Chilli flakes to taste. You could use half a red chilli either if you and yours like a bit of heat
  • ½ a cup of water (less if you want a thicker sauce)

That’s it! It’s that easy.

This keeps in the fridge for a few days, so you can be nice and prepared and make it in advance. When you’re ready to use it just toss it over your veg and stir it through until warm.

Because I was actually trying to feed my family in a hurry I didn’t take any actual nice pictures of the dinner as well as snap chatting so instead, here are a couple from a trip to Cork last week. Don’t be fooled. It rained for 75% of the time, but when it was good, it was very very good.

IMG_1097Dreamy rockpool

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#tbt to this day forever please

IMG_1192Pondering jumping fish. Rarely is he ever transfixed for so long.

What We’re Eating Now: Autumn Snacktime

It can’t all be jellies and biscuits can it? No. No is the answer. Here’s some seasonal Autumn snacks we’re enjoying.

Coconuts.

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Drank most of it before I took the pic

Nuts about them. Okay, enough tired puns. My coconut and associated products love is well documented and this is my by-now annual post that mentions them. I was feeling a bit run down after a wedding last weekend and necked some delicious carrot and apple juice made with coconut water straight from the source. Dominic requested coconut in his lunchbox, which I was delighted about. It can be hard enough fill his lunchbox healthily. Then I remembered…the nut ban! Feck. But is coconut one of those things that isn’t technically a nut? Google wasn’t helping so I emailed the school secretary to check if I was allowed send in coconut and lo and behold, it was fine! (You should probably check with your school before doing the same though)

Me and my family eat a lot of nuts so I did take some time to chat to Dom about how serious it can be if some one does has an anaphylactic reaction to them. I’m sure he probably spent next break time miming stabbing his classmates with an epipen. Anyway, we polished it off in a couple of days of lunchboxes between us.

Apples.fall snacks, autumn snacks

My sister has a tree in her garden. The fruit is quite tart, but baked in the oven at night, then the flesh scooped into porridge the next morning…delicious!  Another tasty apple snack we’re loving right now is slices of apple spread with peanut butter and topped with some cacao nibs. I’m not even sure Dominic realises that one is healthy. It’s not suitable for school, but it sure is good for filling a gap between weekend activities and I’ve been bringing that combo to work too.

Pomegranate.fall snacks, autumn snacks

Ah these pretend appley looking creatures, full of delicious jewels. I don’t even know if they’re particularly autumnal, I don’t think they even grow here. But they do seem to be more available right now. I like to use them in fancy Ottolenghi recipes but the kids lap it up too. I dish it up for dessert with some natural yogurt and honey. Since I had the cacao nibs handy I threw some in. I made the mistake of telling Ted it was chocolate. He didn’t react well initially, but came round after and cleaned his bowl.

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Dis isn’t chocolate!
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The happy snacker

We’re falling for these Autumnal snacks, how about you?

PS. Did you see what I did there…Fall? Autumn? (Sorry)

 

Are you sick of super foods yet?

What? Cacao and avocado do not a mousse make? You don’t care that you’re supposed to be doing post-Christmas food penance (it’s january still?), cauliflower rice is not a ‘thing’? You glide past bags of dark irontastic kale thinking of the washing those curly little buggers must need even if they’re only 39c this week?

Ah, but be intimidated no more! I have the kale use for you!

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A Week In Dinners: What We Ate Round Ours.

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As part of a look at what ‘real’ families eat, Sinéad over at Bumbles of Rice started a ‘Week In Dinners’ linky. I’m always interested in what other people are chomping down on, and I think it’s important to represent for the veggie contingent here in the Properfud house.

Monday: I concocted something with bulgar wheat, chickpeas and a creamy nutty dressing which was FINE but a bit forgettable. It got eaten by everyone but the leftovers are still in the fridge. I suppose I should chuck them now.

Tuesday: A random walk through the Marks & Spencer food hall meant some items threw themselves in my basket like Cheese Tasters, overpriced dark chocolate and stem ginger cookies (for a trip to a friends house), a Nutty Superfood Salad and a Sprouted Bean Salad.  For dinner the husband cooked up some quorn pieces with red pesto, a little stock and frozen spinach and we ate that served with the salads. The boys picked the bits they wanted out of the salads and we ate the rest. I didn’t even try to make them eat any more than they wanted because I wanted it all to myself.

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Me, when I get my hands on Cheese Tasters

Slim-With-TinaWednesday: I got my hands on the Slim With Tina book a couple of weeks ago. You can find out more and buy it here.

I’m not slimming (see above), but I do really like Tina’s approach to health and fitness and this book includes lots of great meal ideas. I learned to run properly on a Run With Tina group course, and have had a strong social media friendship with her since.  My ever-popular pancake recipe even made it into her book with some healthy modifications! I was like a proud mammy when I saw that in there.

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Anyway, she has a delicious simple Chana Masala recipe in the book. I had run out of chickpeas so it was technically Bean-a Masala, as I used a couple of tins of mixed beans. This is a real store-cupboard meal for me, I always have the ingredients (or substitutes!) on hand. I picked at food as I cooked and then ran out the door to my Boxfit class as the boys sat down for dinner. Plates were cleaned!  I also did some grilled aubergine and courgettes on the side because I swear I get itchy if my day doesn’t have enough veggies in it. My husband didn’t even offer them to anyone so I ate them all later *burp*

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Thursday: I made both banana bread and scones on Thursday so had run out of steam a bit by dinner time. Baking with a toddler is double the work, and due to waning enthusiasm for both bonding and cleaning up obviously I dispatched him to in front of the TV while I rolled and cut them. That tiny baby bib is what he insisted on wearing as his apron. It protected NOTHING.

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Luckily I found some Lorraine Pascale marscapone gnocchi in the freezer – this stuff is so good, I always make a good big batch and freeze some. I fried that up, served it on rocket with basil pesto, avocado and yellow peppers. Plates were served according to taste preferences – that is no leaves, loads of pepper for the kids. I think Teddy robbed about half my gnocchi.

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Friday: I cooked up some fresh rice and the boys ate leftover Chana Masala. I didn’t feel so great with a crappy sore throat, and the husband had his eye on a takeaway. I eyed up an avocado smoothie recipe in a bid to make myself feel healthy. Then I thought about the Cheese Tasters for a bit. Curse you M&S and your tasty snacks! I relented and made the smoothie (and it was delicious). Did I have takeaway later? You’ll never know…

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Don’t forget to look at all the other Week in Dinners posts over here!

Nuts for coconuts.

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Yes, it’s that time of year; coconuts are cheap and plentiful in our supermarkets.  I was excited about this last year too, but it bears repeating given that in the intervening 12 months I have become an even bigger fan of the fuzzy ovals of goodness, adding it’s amazing oil to my Things I Love From Coconuts list, the contents of which are published below:

  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut water
  • Coconut flesh

Last year I used a corkscrew, but my husband – perhaps over-egging the coconut – decided a drill was yer only man for the task. Or you could try a screwdriver but probably not if you have a decent sense of self preservation and place value on not stabbing yourself in the hand.

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Yes, the coconut does indeed look like it’s weeing.

Drill through one of the dents (nope, still don’t know the proper word for those) and pour out the delicious coconut water through a sieve.

Here’s our pure coconut water – mean mammy would only hand over a small bit – and a few days of healthy snacking.  All for a mere 69c.

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Pre-bedtime hydration