Wednesday, May 09, 2012

5 ways to getting your 5 a Day

I'm on day 9 of my #5aDay challenge & so far it's going ok. Some days (like the weekend) were a bit of a struggle as I was out and about and my eating gave way to drinking. But even then I managed to eat 5 different fruit & veg.

It's beginning to wane a bit at the moment due to lack of planning, but I thought I'd share with you some tips that have helped me so far on my challenge.

Get your fruit & veg delivered
We stumbled upon a veg box delivery service and it has definitely helped make sure I get my fill. Instead of going to the shops and just buying what we need, we plan our meals around what we have. It means we will often get items that we wouldn't normally buy, and get a good variety. I know this isn't going to practical for everyone, but I would definitely recommend it if you can.

Plan your meals and...
If you don't get a veg box delivered (and even if you do) take some time to plan some meals and buy what you need. Making sure you have the food in the house is a HUGE help to making sure you can eat it. So take 20 minutes to plan meals for 3 days or a week, whatever you have the time for. I am a bit rubbish at this, as I can barely decide what I want to eat for lunch let along in 3 days time. And don't forget to plan in some nice meals! A fruit salad with a splash of cream still counts....

...plan for leftovers
When you cook, plan to have leftovers the following day. It's a lot easier to cook 4 different veg if you cook in bulk and knowing it will last a few meals. Make a sunday dinner, then use the veg for fry up the following day. Make a vegetable chilli, then use it as a topping for jacket potato. Boil some veg, then quickly roast it for a salad.

Make your own snack packs
If your fruit and veg is prepared and easy to grab on the go, it's much easier to get your fill. So when you buy a melon, take it home and slice it. When you're searching the fridge for something to snack on, it's ready to eat. Make a fruit salad and have a bowl with a yoghurt. Cut up carrot sticks and eat with a pot of hummus. Just make sure it's as easy to grab some fruit or veg as it is to grab a biscuit or chocolate bar.

Know your fruit & veg
Understand what does count towards your five a day. It's better to get a variety and knowing what does count makes it easier that just sticking to the standards. Mushrooms, beans, even popcorn (according to some sources) all count towards your five a day.

If you have any tips or tricks, feel free to share.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Planning a pantry

Hubby and I have talked about having a proper, walk-in pantry for as long as we've been living together. Over the last few years we have spent a lot of time cooking & buying kitchen gadgets & ingredients, and with my baking business as well, we've found that we just don't have enough storage for it all. This means we have cluttered work surfaces & it's just getting on our nerves. So we have finally decided to convert the space under the stairs into a pantry!

It's just big enough to put up some shelves and hooks and be able to stand in it. And with some careful planning it should be able to accommodate all of our staples and some gadgets leaving us more space in the kitchen.

Following some online research & plenty of pinning I have found some lovely pantries & great ideas for organising and storing our stuff. Including using magnetic blackboard paint & magnets to store herbs & spices, making pretty labels, even painting bunting over shelves!

Anyway, I sat down and started planning, and here is my initial sketch.

Even more exciting is that last week we actually started work on it too! We cleared it out a few months ago, and last week hubby sealed the plaster ready for painting. Today we're planning to buy some paint & go look at containers so we can plan shelf widths etc. (How's that for planning?!)

Have you got a pantry or have you seen any you'd like to share feel free to leave a comment. Or if you have any pantry planning tips is love to hear about them.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Eating 5 a Day in May

In an attempt to improve my diet I am making an effort to eat 5 different fruit & vegetables every day in May. I don't eat particualrly badly, but fruit and veg tend to be a bit of an afterthought rather than an integral part of my diet. I read somewhere that it takes 30 days to form a habit so for the month of May I am going to make an effort to eat my 5 a day hoping that it'll become second nature.

I have been posting my daily eating recods on tumblr, so come and follow me there if you want some ideas on how to increase your F&V intake.I'll add an update here every now and then too, more for my own records really.

Disclaimer time - I know that in many cases (during past 'experiments') that I don't eat what is the recommended quantity for it to count as a portion, but that's not really the aim here. The aim is to start including more variety in my meals, so for example if I have a turkey salad sandwich I will list tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber as 3/5, but it is more likely to count as just one portion according to the guidelines. I'm hoping to build up to the actual portion sizes later on. But for now it's about the variety.

This project also has a bit of a sideline - I will sometimes take photos of my food, so I'm hoping this get me practising food presentation and photography, and get me cooking and experimenting a bit more rather than just sticking to what I normally do.

It also means I need to be more organised & make sure I have the variety of F&V in the house, so I can't use it as an excuse.

Anyway, enough rambling. Here's my progress so far.

Day 1
Breakfast: I actually missed it today but I planned to have a banana sandwich (0/5)
Lunch: fried leftover veg (carrot, swede & cauliflower) with ham, mushrooms & fried egg. (4/5)
Snack: slice of melon (5/5)
Dinner: pan fried lemon & pepper tilapia with giant cous cous & greek salad (red onion, cucumber & tomato) (8/5)

Day 2
Breakfast: Yoghurt & Fruit Salad - orange, grapefruit, melon, grapes (4/5)
Lunch: Turkey salad sandwich - red onion, little gem, tomatoes, cucumber (8/5)
Snack: orange juice (8/5)
Dinner: Prawn Harissa Stew with rice & flag bread - tomatoes, garlic, onion (9/5)

Day 3
Breakfast: banana sandwich (1/5)
Lunch: chicken burger with lettuce, red onion & tomato. Orange juice. (5/5)
Dinner: moussaka.- tomatoes, onion, aubergine. (6/5)
Wine: grape? :)

Note: Where I have had tomatoes for lunch & dinner, this only counts as 1.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Copying, Stealing, Inspiration & Good Ideas

There's been a lot in the crafty world lately about copycats & people stealing ideas. I'm not talking about using someone else's images to promote yourself. But when two craftspeople or designers produce very similar work. How do we know who has copied who? Or indeed if anyone copied at all? Surely this could just be coincidence? We are all inspired by something, and in many cases it's by trends, whether in fashion, craft, or cake making.

I know I have created cakes that look like someone else's because we've been inspired by the same thing - Cath Kidston prints for examples.

I made a birthday card for my sister with quilled cocktails on & then noticed someone else has made a card with a quilled martini glass too. But how do I prove I haven't copied? How do I prove that I just had the same idea? Because I've started to notice that some of the copycat claims aren't for identical matches but very similar designs.

I understand there's a 7 differences rule, that there should be 7 distinct differences between two items to prove its not a copy. But when you're dealing with a cupcake, or a quilled card, there aren't often that many changes to work on.

So this is a genuine question:

How do I carry on crafting, designing websites and decorating cakes without the fear of being outed on twitter as a copycat simply for having the same good idea as someone else?

Your thoughts?