Diet Changes

So I am no longer plant-based. I decided that trying to restrict my diet in that way was stressful to me. In addition to that I can honestly say that being plant-based did not improve my health or make me feel better in the long run.

I know this will disappoint many of my readers. I jumped into this with excitement and truly believed that plant-based was the key to health and weigh loss. Nine months later and I was stressed out, my random pain was worse, and I had gained 40lbs.

I do believe I gave this a good go. This wasn’t a 2 week thing and quitting. I did have an initial weight loss with pb eating but after several more weeks the weight started climbing. I kept believing that if I just kept my focus it would reverse and all would get better. It didn’t!

Nine months on and my clothes no longer fit. I joined a gym and weighed in on their handy dandy boditrax. I had no idea it was 40lbs up from my pre-plant based diet and 50 lbs up from the initial pb weight loss . I felt pretty damn disgusted with myself.

Since dropping the food restrictions I was lost almost 2kg (5lbs) without calorie counting. I have felt a bit less hungry than since allowing meat back into my diet so I think that is the main difference. While plant-based I was hungry all the time.

I am not sure where I am going to go with my food choices in the future. I will continue to have plant-based recipes on here and probably add some that aren’t. I still have a vegetarian in the house so I am still balancing cooking for different diet choices so I will likely try and do more posts about how to walk that tightrope.

I am on a Break

I thought I might do a series on the various things I am doing for my mental health as I have been struggling for a while. Nothing serious….just been in a funk for the last 6 months. With university work and family always around everything got a bit on top of me. Add in a move along the way and a second big lockdown for added stress i just needed to do something. So what did I do? Lots of little somethings.

Today I will tell you about one of the bigger little somethings. I decided to take a Facebook break. I have been on Facebook since 2008 and have never needed a break until now. It had always been my way of keeping up with family and friends near and far. It had helped me find home education support back in my home ed days. It was always a nice place for until recently.

What happened to push me to log out? I have found that society has gotten particularly hateful and being hidden behind a keyboard that previously annoying poster that would, occassionally, grate on the nerves got more incessant or tipped into vitriol. I was finding it in big groups dedicated to one subject or another and in the local community groups. When I started feeling it in the more personal posts I knew it was time to get out of society a bit.

I am very introverted. Most of the last year has been refreshing for me as I have not had to go out ad socialise as much. I could heroically hide out in my home watching movies and it was socially approved. That is not normal.

So for the last week or so I have not been on Facebook. It is the only social media I generally would communicate on so the only one I deleted. I do have Instagram but as that is for comics and cat pics it is not partically stressful. So far I have been ok. I have missed the lazy scrolling through while watching tv but that is about it. I know that if there is anything important I need to know someone can message me. If i have an urge to read it I can log into the website but I am not planning to bring back my apps. It is nice to not find myself reacting to notifications all day or getting upset about something stupid.

If you would like to know a few other things I am doing to try to de-stress and calm my life stay tuned. Facebook is really just a drop in my bucket.

My COVID Vaccine Experience

On the 17th of March, at about 3pm, I had my first COVID vaccination. For me it was Astra Zeneca. I thought for those on the fence and just so people can be prepared I would share my experience.

I stood in my line, 2 metres apart like always, and checked in with my centre. Waited in another line before before checking in in full indoors. Another little line and I was with the Royal Stabber, aka vaccinator. All of my line standing probably was about 15 minutes. The man jabbing me that day asked a few questions like if I had recently had any other vaccinations, was on blood thinners, or might be pregnant. Big old no with a curse on anyone trying to declare me knocked up (now I am imagining them asking 90 yo women if they might be pregnant). All good so the stabbing begins.

I am sure the needle was small but I didn’t look. Not a big fan of needles and they are not a mere sharp scratch for me but a burning pain (suspect it has something to do with my nickel allergy). Now most shots I have had have been a quick in and out situation but this one must be a bit bigger as it took a bit to get all the vaccine into my arm. It did hurt a bit, not gonna lie. As I had someone to drive me home they let me go immediately but if you were driving yourself they asked you to watch 15 minutes in case of reaction.

That is my little vaccination site. No big deal at all.

After the vaccination I walked back to the car and had to wait for my husband to finish his business meeting. So while other waited 15 minutes I was stuck for 40. In those first few minutes though I only noticed one thing, a creeping warmth radiating out from the vaccination site. It wasn’t painful or anything. Honestly, if I had been doing something at all I wouldn’t have noticed it but I was annoyingly bored.

I had not seen anything about when the side effects might start so I expected to feel bad within a few hours…that is not the case. I a managed to make dinner for the family ad relax in the evening. I was good for the rest of the day with only a tiny headache start near bedtime at 10. As I am a migraine sufferer, I took my migraine meds and ibuprofen and nipped that headache in the bud. I headed to bed happy all seemed good.

Got home from my jab and had sushi bowls for the family. Yum yum!

First thing in the morning I got on my iPad and was reading my Facebook when my mother in law messaged to see how I was. Did I have any side effects. I had to report that other than the small headache which I nipped in the bud I had been good. Then I got up and started my day. That is when I noticed my arm hurt. It was tender to touch and achey to use. Now I deal with hand, wrist and arm pain on a daily basis so I really did have to consider what was vaccine and what was just me but the extra minor ache and heaviness along with the tender to touch was definitely new. My usual pain is very electrical in nature and the vaccine side effects were more muscular/ joint.

As my morning went on I got more tired and achey. The achey was not severe or really painful. I just felt like I had run a half marathon in welly boots. I had run half marathons before so I know the exhausted,worn out, ache of which I speak. Around noon I headed up to my room and spent the next several hours just resting in bed. I did have a few minor headaches threaten to start but I had my ibuprofen regularly through the day ( I was a bit scared of a knock down, drag out migraine being triggered) and luckily that seemed to stop anything getting worse for my head beyond a bit of extra brain fog.

By dinner time I felt much better but I was not about to get up and cook. Alan ordered pizza for us as that is what I most wanted. Nothing healthy about it but it was vegan from Dominos and yummy. I continued to feel a bit better through the evening and went to bed.

The next day I think my arm was maybe a bit more sore but the rest of the symptoms had passed. I wasn’t achey anymore, I had no headaches, and I was probably feeling less brain fog than usual. This was a good thing as I also had to drive Joey to college which is about an hour round trip. I was concerned that some other side effects might pop up but they didn’t and I was all good.

It is now the 21st of March and my arm is less sore to the touch. Just a bit of acknowledgment of the great stabbing of 2021. It did stay sore all of the last 4 days but never anything too bad. Leaning against a wall on day 2 was ill planned but I shall survive. The bit of ache in my arm when moving it has been like having had a good arm workout with the weights. Nothing so bad as to stop me from getting my stuff done but enough to remind me of the jab.

Overall, I would have to say that for me the side effects were not so bad. I was mentally prepared for an excruciating migraine and horrible joint pain but that never happened. I must admit I am an expect the worst sort of person. So, if you are going in for your shot and are feeling a bit nervous I hope this helps. Everyone will react differently though so you might better or worse than me so always take with a grain of salt.

My Sustainability Debt Snowball

I was listening to a talk with the author of a book called The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide, Jen Gale. I found this video at the right time. When I was in the right mindset. This post is about my take on what she said and how I am implementing my next imperfect sustainable step. If you are interested in listening to it yourself the video can be found at https://www.open.edu/openlearn/nature-environment/being-sustainableish .

In the talk, Jen discusses the need for us to do something to help or at least stop hurting the environment. That we don’t need to be perfect environmentalists but imperfect ones. Now this isn’t the first place I have heard or read this sentiment but it does come at a time I feel ready to hear it again.

She warns about becoming overwhelmed and getting frozen into inaction because you don’t know where to start or feel like you can’t do enough. This is a problem I often find myself in. It all seems a bit too much. I feel too small to do enough to make a difference. I get fatigued trying to do everything to the point that I eventually do nothing. I have been in this do nothing place for several months and I don’t like this place.

Jen’s message is to do something no matter how small. Sort of like the way Dave Ramsey talks about paying off your debts starting with the smallest and getting rid of them one at a time in a debt snowball. We need our sustainable snowball and it might look different in every household and maybe for each person. So what might be my next step be?

Right now I am stressed by my rubbish and recycling. Where I am living I have a smallish wheelie bin each that is emptied every two weeks for rubbish and the other recycling. In addition we have food waste and glass but these I don’t completely fill and struggle to not overfill. Yesterday our recycling went out and the bin was so full we couldn’t put the last indoor bin into the wheelie bin and rubbish is often the same. So my small sustainability debt is to reduce my waste enough to not overflow the bins.

The question for me is how. I have to look at my waste and think about what is taking up the most space so I can find ways of cutting back. I know a big issue in my recycling is plastic.

I have an addiction to Dr Pepper. Yes, that chemical shitstorm that does nothing to nourish me in any way. I usually get it in plastic bottles because it is cheaper that way but plastic can’t recycle indefinitely and never really goes away. It is also bulky in the bin. There are many other plastic items in there because so much is wrapped in plastic at the store but those bottles are my first stop.

I would love to just switch to water but I have tried that and failed dozens of times since I was a teenager. They say that a sign of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. I am choosing to stop trying to stop and look at a plan b.

For comparison, 6 cans is roughly the same amount of drink as the one bottle. The crushed cans take less space than an uncrushed bottle, more than a crushed bottle but the cans can fall into smaller spaces in the bin.

Right now I am trying to switch to cans. Cans can be recycled forever until plastic so I am hoping that means it is a better choice. In addition to its ability to be recycled the cans also are less bulky (I have a can crusher) and can fit down the nooks and crannies of the bin so take up less space I hope.

The big questions I am not sure of are : Are the cans, in fact, better for the environment? Will this in fact reduce my recycling waste enough to not overflow the bin? And how to get the cans without them wrapped in plastic (in the U.K. supermarkets only coke tends to be in cardboard cases)? I don’t have these answers yet but will keep reading. If you have the answers please let me know.

Is this one thing enough to solve my immediate overflow problem? No! Partially because I need to deal with both rubbish and recycling bins and that only deals with one but it is a start. I will need to take note of what else is in the bins and research what I can do.

Is reducing my waste to merely not overflowing enough to save the world? No, obviously not but it is one imperfect step forward. It is a start. It is movement. It is action. What will be the next step in your sustainable debt snowball? Let me know in comments and maybe you will inspire me too.

Squeaky Bean

Love the name of this product! Let’s start out with…I am not affiliated with this product or any other at this time. I just tried it and thought I would let others know about it. Now if someone wanted to send me free vegan foods to review HONESTLY I would not stop them. I am just a tiny little blog though so nothing free coming my way.

Back to the Squeaky Bean! It is lunch “meat” or deli slices and chunks. That doesn’t sound all that nice….chunks….but it tastes really good. If you have ever been in a UK supermarket then you have likely seen the packs of ready to eat meat pieces near the lunchmeat. This is a vegan version of that. It is pieces of plant-based meat alternative with favours like bbq, hot &spicy, falafel and tikka. They are high in protein and taste so good. They are also very filling!

Before going plant-based I did a high protein diet which helped me lose a lot of weight. One of my favourite lunch ideas was a pack of that cooked meat from the supermarket along with a pack of berries. This filled me up, was easy, and I enjoyed it. Going plant-based my options plummeted for that favourite easy meal then came Squeaky Bean with their chunks. It fills that space perfectly and I can see having that favourite lunch back again.

In addition to that lunch idea I have a few other uses for the chunks. We have had wraps a few times lately. Just chunks, salad, and a bit of a plant-based sauce of choice. Once we even added hash browns which was too filling but yummy. This week I plan to make a pesto pasta salad with the hot&spicy chunks chopped up in it along with veggies. Normally this is more of a summer meal for us but it is striking my fancy. Another is to add to your salad just like a meat eater might add cooked chicken. They are great cold but would be good hot as well I am sure. I have not cooked them myself nor submerged in liquid (soups) so not sure how they would hold up there but if anyone tries that let me know how it goes in the comments.

I have added a picture of the nutritional information to show how high in protein they are. I realised too late for the pictures that the ingredients is likely helpful too. I would make note that the chunks are a product of the UK and that I believe Squeaky Bean is a UK company (based on these labels). The pastrami looks to be produced in Italy .

Now for the deli slices. I have tried several favours with two as my favourites. There are pastrami, ham, kebab, and roast chicken that I can recall off the top of my head. My favourites being the pastrami and ham. I think most everyone knows how to use a deli slice so I won’t get into that. I will say that these are popular enough in my home that I am buying 6 packs a week and still running out before payday. I would buy more but the price is a bit high for me.

Let’s talk price. The deli slices are 90g a pack and cost £2. For comparison, Tesco has ham slices in a 125g pack for £2. That is about 38% more product for the same price. The chunks are in packs of 160g for £2. Ready to eat chicken chunks are 180g for £2.50. For this one it is 12.5% more product for a 25% more money. That is my point here? It isn’t that it is horribly overpriced but this is definitely in the realm of how you make eating a vegan diet expensive compared to an omni diet. As I bought 2 packs of ham, 4 packs of pastrami, 2 packs of bbq chunks, and 2 packs of hot& spicy chunks last night, I spent £20 on this stuff. That is shocking to my wallet! I can’t afford to keep that going now that I have done the maths. OUCH!

Are they worth the purchase? If you have the money to spend on it then I wholeheartedly recommend these products. If you are trying to feed the family on a tight budget you will probably need to give this a miss or save for a special treat. If you are a vegan that is out of the house for the day and needs lunch, the chunks and a pack for fruit might be a decent lunch option.

I really have loved these items as evidenced by the excessive amount I spent on them last night. Squeaky Bean products taste really good and fill the sandwich filler gap perfectly. Have a go for yourself and enjoy.

Pandemic diaries….day 5299

I woke to darkness which was glorious only to be plunged into the light. The day had begun!

I read about the fall of America while my tea went cold before dragging myself downstairs to reheat my tea and have breakfast. I would have a filling breakfast sandwich to get me through my morning of study. Afterall, I am a first year student in university even if I am 45 million years old and the mother of a girl preparing to graduate university herself this year. I need my fuel.

Having heaved my full figured carcass back up to the computer desk and logged in with this soul sucking dread screaming out to me. I couldn’t get the cut and paste of the module coursework to work. Cut and paste and it didn’t work! So I head to the forum here I am told I must be in the editor not the shell but what does that mean? The man explains the meaning which only tells me still that I am in the wrong place but the app we were instructed to use only has one place as far as I can understand so I am not sure how to get to the shell. Moved on.

Worked on the online activity which was reading about an online notebook that seemed more complicated than needed and notes have never worked well for me anyway. Did the quiz questions (which just means homework we are encouraged to discuss in forum) only to find that it is too early to help despite there being at least two of us asking for help. The reasoning being that they need to give everyone the chance to do it on there own because obviously if it is discussed amounts those that want to discuss it the others are forced to log in, search down the forum post and ogle all that unwanted information….ffs!

After all that I decided to work on the assignment only to be befuddled by the need to download a file which I couldn’t find anywhere. I was about to head back to the forum from hell when I mis-clicked something so had to wonder my way back and accidentally found the file but by then it was 1pm and I was tired and hungry.

After lunch I got my audiobook going and headed up all the mother f*cking stairs with the plan to clean the bathroom when I realised I forgot the cleaning cloths. I declared (to no one in particular), “F*ck it all!” And went for a nap.

Now we all know a nap can’t be a nap. I listen to my book in my room and went to the toilet to pee every 20 minutes because I am 45 million years old and I did fuel my day with tea and diet Dr Pepper. My cat declared his love for me incessantly on one toilet trip because he wanted me to feed him for I believe the third time of the day. After feeding him….again….his love disappeared and I stopped existing again.

Dinner of Mexican chicken less rice was my next task. I poured the salsa over the This isn’t Chicken at lunchtime along with a tin of taco beans. I pulled out the rice and went to measure only to find that I didn’t really have enough….damn. I just decided to f*ck it and keep going. Into the instantpot went the “marinaded” fake chicken, salsa, beans, some frozen corn, rice and water. Put the machine on rice and walked away. Now the rice function is normally 12 minutes but an hour later it started counting down from 16 minutes. WTF! It finally finishes and it looks like soup. FFS!

Once dinner is over I am finishing off this day watching the end of the world (?)….aka the last season of Supernatural. I am a year late? No, I am just in the U.K. with the shittiest TV imaginable and eventually had to buy the last season because the sodding tv channel that was showing it for the first 13 seasons just decided not to finish showing it. I am definitely routing for those conspiring to kill god at this point.

Did I mention that hubby and I thought it a great idea to avoid alcohol until the end of February as we had been drinking too much this last year? Oh yeah, we decided this and vowed on it just days because the latest lockdown. FML!

Mushroom Filling

I know this isn’t the most delicious sounding title but I was at a bit of a lose to describe this recipe. I have used it to fill a pot pie as well as mixing it with pasta. It is versatile and moreish. As I am planning to use it as a topping on a puff pastry this week I am certain that will be one of the pictures but I shall try to dig out another picture or two to help do the recipe justice.

Mushroom Filling

2 onions

2 leek

600g sliced mushrooms

150g spring greens

2 tbsp butter (I use vitalite)

100g cream cheese (I used a vegan one with herbs though don’t recall the brand)

75ml soya milk

1tbsp liquid seasoning

1-1 1/2 tsp black pepper

1tbsp mixed herbs

1tsp garlic purée

1tsp meat gravy (the one I have seems to be vegan)

Method

I start by sautéing the onions and leeks in the butter. When they are soft I add the garlic, mushrooms, and greens. Stir around a bit without letting it burn on. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until all is soft with a bit of a creamy sauce.

As the best laid plans go and all my mushroom tart did quite go to plan for the picture. I had the lid on a bit too long and the liquids built up rather than cook down so I had to add a bit more gravy powder. So the picture shows it a bit darker than usual. It still came out rich and delicious though. I had also needed to switch out my spring greens for spinach so this might have added to my liquid issue.

I actually had enough filling to make two mushroom tarts with this filling. I just bought two ready rolled puff pastries from the store s I am not a crust making person if I can help it. Came out so well that everyone had double portions.

I don’t have a picture of the pie I made with this recipe last month but I do have a couple from the pasta version.

Versatile and gorgeous. I am also 100% sure it would go gloriously with rice or as a baked potato filling. If yo have a go at this recipe let us know how you serve it.

New Year….Old Me

I see the old adage of new year…new me and just laugh. A changing of calendars makes no difference to the essence of me. Shall I lose 50 lbs this year…probably not. Shall I try to diet this year….almost certainly! Shall I become super efficient and get all my work done….certainly not! So New Year….Old Me.

Yup, still a family organiser as I need to know everywhere I am driving to get kids to difference educational establishments inside and outside our region.

We did get our move done. The keys will be handed in in a few days as we need to get meter readings done on the last day we are scheduled to be there. Our flat was converted from two into three bedrooms so we have a new wall though the coving and skirting boards were not available so we had to move everything in without it complete and the builder will come back and complete it with all our furniture in place because….sod’s law (that is Murphy’s law for those in the US).

I have to be happy to have survived moving over Christmas while I was meant to be studying all during a pandemic. Oh and in that time they have now discovered that pesky little virus has adapted and gotten even better at infecting us so we are locked down enough that the only next stage is burying us each alive in our own little death cells. Funny thing is that actually I am so much of an introvert and homebody that the only real effect on me is not being able to buy my new blinds in person at IKEA ….so I ordered them online and had IKEA deliver. If they didn’t charge a f*** ton for delivery I would probably buy much, much more from them.

I was meant to be studying this whole last month and I felt very guilty about my utter lack of effort on that front right up to the day I was meant to have my Christmas break to which I continued to not study but knowing I had ‘earned’ my break. Today was the first day back to official study time and 10 days until the next assignment is due. I have not done any of question 5 as I got so painfully board and frustrated during the coursework for that. I read through the chapter for question 6 and need to do work tomorrow. I actually kind of liked that chapter. I also need to read chapter 7 which looks to be about scaring me into complex and unmemorable passwords and other such security measures. It doesn’t have a question in the assignment so maybe I could skip it to try harder on the skipped question but I would rather read the chapter not worthy of a question than do any more of chapter 5. I know I must do it eventually but 9 days is ages, right?

The article titles remind me of old newsreels about VD (that is STDs for you youngsters). Now we are just having to worry what our computers are getting up to.

Honestly though….block two of this module has been the most boring and dreadful educational experience I have had….ever! It does look like the topics of the next block are mostly in the only area of this module that doesn’t make me want to dive head first out of 20 story building. I am grasping at this with white knuckles in fear it will me as horrific as the rest of TM112 . Pray for me!

So what are my goals for the new year? Just keep swimming! I have to get through this module and then I will have several months break before I can sign up for anything else. I have no idea what that anything else will be as I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. So I guess actually studying will be required.

I also plan to get back to my recipes and need to finish off the crocheted blanket I am making for my eldest. I am not going to declare any diets at this time as I still have cookies and popcorn left in the snack box and because….I don’t wanna! I have decided that I don’t wanna is in fact a reasonable excuse for not doing something….well reasonable for me but my kids need to come up with something better.

Love to claim this was a leftover Christmas goody or that it was at all plant-based but it is not…it is the after Christmas Costco splurge just because I could and consequences me damned! oh and I do believe that weight is a bit wrong as that should say kg not g and I am sure I shall be gaining more weight than that of the whole tin….only per cookie.

So if you want to make grand plans and push yourself to great heights than go for it! If you want to just ride the waves and go with the flow of who you know you already even though you are a procrastinating, anxiety, sweary person like me….surfs up! Have a fabulous New Year!

Huel review

Huel is a plant-based meal replacement product that I have no ties to at this time. Please know this is from using the products for just over a week so not long term. I decided to give it a try to help me focus in on my meals and getting my snacking under control. Some people will use it like a protein shake while others might use it as extra nutrition or for dieting. I kind of used it for all of those thing.

I am one week into using a shake in the morning, a hot and savoury at lunch and a snack bar if needed before having a normal plant-based dinner. I think it took me about five days before I managed to have a low snacking day and yet at 6 days in I weighed in 3lbs lighter. This was likely a coincidence as I can’t say that I likely had even a day under 2000 calories. Not sure how the three pounds snuck away but please don’t come back this time.

The shakes! I have the chocolate and vanilla flavours which are nice. The chocolate is not dark tasting which I liked. It actually reminded me of a chocolate pudding I used to love as a kid. The vanilla is a bit weak in flavour. Normally vanilla is my favourite but this one kind of disappointed me. Now, at 400 calories each, I need that shake to be worthy. Flavour wise it was only about a 7. Also, I got the ready to drink shakes which are only 20 G protein so if you are trying to really up that area the Huel black powder might be worth a look. I haven’t had that yet.

The hot and savoury is next. It is described by Huel as a risotto texture. I see why they said that but it is not quite there. I call it my lunch goop. The Mexican chilli is the only flavour I have tried so far and it tastes quite nice but the texture is odd. It does have solid bits in it including flax seed as I recall but it is based in powder that is sort of a very think shake texture. Not surprising and really about what I expected. These are also 400 calories but with 24g protein. The taste is a good 8 to 8.5 but the texture is more of a 5.

Those snack bars. Dear Lord ….those snack bars….why? They have little flavour. A slight hint tries to come out but the cardboard like mouth feel overwhelms what little flavour is there. It isn’t as dry and powdery as most I have tried but it is not enjoyable. I find myself avoiding these as I still have over twenty to get through. The snack bars get a 3 from me. Do not recommend.

Would I recommend the Huel products? The ready to drink shakes….yes. The hot and savoury….yes with the warning that the texture is a bit goopy. The bars…oh hells no. They do have other flavours of everything so worth a look. The shakes can be powder to make your own and the powder options are higher in protein but not calories.

How well have they worked for me and will I buy it again? The ready to drink shakes seem to upset my stomach for some reason. Not sure why so I will keep working through my stock and update this later on that. It might just be too much liquid and not enough solid at once since I drink a good bit of tea in the mornings. The hot and savoury I would buy again. It is handy in that you can prepare it like a pot noodle and the taste is good. I have gotten used to the texture as well. The bars are a no. I will work through my boxes until they are gone but I am not reordering that.

The Huel does seem to have helped me feel less hungry throughout the day. I also felt a bit more energy I think. Could be the spike in protein satisfied me better. Might be that the array of vitamins and minerals got me the extra I was not getting elsewhere. I just know I do feel a bit perked up from where I was a couple weeks ago.

I hope this is helpful to others. I know I like to read reviews not linked to the product directly which is why I decided to share. As I have said, I am not getting anything for the review and I paid for the products out of my own little credit card…..ok my husband’s credit card for full honesty.

Vegetable Barley Soup

When I checked the clearance produce section at Tesco I found a vegetable soup mix for 20p (12 cents US) as well as sliced spring greens 25p (14 cents US) so I decided to make some vegetable soup. I still had barley at home in addition to some red lentils, spices and stock cubes so decided this was a good plan. Not sure of the total cost of ingredients but would guesstimate just over a pound for the whole soup for five people and probably leftovers.

Vegetable Barley Soup

  • 750g vegetable soup mix or chopped root vegetables of choice
  • 120g sliced spring greens (half of the bag I bought)
  • 500g barley
  • 250g red lentils
  • 3 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp garlic purée
  • 2L water

Method

Put it all in a big pot and cook until barley is soft and chewy. I am using an instantpot for about 40 minutes because that was the setting that happens on the soup button. I know it is all so technical.

Now I will just serve this as is since it has a protein source with lots of good healthy carbs but that isn’t the only option. You can serve with nice crusty bread or maybe some crispy roast potatoes. If you or those you are cooking for insist on meat it is easily added but not needed at all. It is an all around good basic recipe.

Why have I posted such a simple and no-brain recipe? Because we often overlook these simple meals. We try to be fancy and complicated when all our bodies really crave is a simple vegetable soup to warm and nourish us.

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