Do you ever feel ‘too tired to cook’ after a long busy day? Well you’re certainly not alone!

A few years ago I surveyed Stonesoup readers for their biggest cooking challenges. The number 1 response was being ‘tired at the end of a long day’.

We all know what that feels like.

But how do you make it easier to cook when you’re tired AND hungry?

Or as one of my students calls it…’HANGRY’.

So here’s my simple 2-step process to make it easier to get into the kitchen and cook the delicious, healthy meals you and your family deserve…

STEP 1. Have actual food in the house

If there isn’t food in the house we’re all more likely to pick up takeout than go to the store, buy ingredients, come home and cook. Food in the house gives you a HUGE head start.

I find there are 2 parts to this.

First, having a well stocked pantry can be a huge life saver.

The other piece of the puzzle is a regular system for buying fresh ingredients. It might be an idyllic weekly trip to the farmers market, a Monday night supermarket run or an online order that gets delivered.

The type of system isn’t important. Just find one that works for you.

STEP 2. Have a collection of fast, simple recipes at your fingertips.

Having a collection of quick, healthy, easy recipes is key. If you know dinner is only going to take you 10-15 minutes, aren’t you more likely to be able to find the energy you need to make it happen?

I can hear you asking…

“Great Jules, but where am I going to find such a collection?”

To be honest, you don’t need to look any further than Stonesoup. This collection of 50 healthy 10-Minute meals is a great place to start.

BUT if you want a collection of super easy, healthy and yummy recipes that you can save on your phone or tablet to access any time, even when you’re not online, then I have just the thing for you..

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The best selling of my eCookbooks is called the ‘Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion’.

It’s all about helping you avoid becoming ‘Hangry’!

If you’s like to discover more go to:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/tiredhungrycookscompanion/

_____________

easy fish curry-2

Easy Fish Curry

My Irishman and I have been on a mission to eat more fish so we have been having a regular pescetarian Monday. This curry was inspired by one such Monday. I’ve found buying fish at our local farmers market makes fish cooking much more affordable and delicious. I’ve served it on a bed of cauliflower ‘rice’ (raw grated cauliflower) but you’re welcome to use steamed basmati rice if you prefer.

enough for 2
450g (1lb) fish fillets, chopped into chunks
1-2 tablespoons garam masala
1-4 red chillies, chopped
1 can tomatoes (400g / 14oz), chopped
4 tablespoons whipping cream (35% milk fat)
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked

1. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium high heat.

2. Add the fish and brown for a few minutes. Then add the garam masala and chilli. Stir for a few seconds.

3. Add tomatoes and their juices. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the fish has cooked through.

4. Stir in cream and bring back to a gentle simmer.

5. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with coriander on top.

Variations

vegetarian – replace fish with drained canned chickpeas or home cooked chickpeas.

vegan – replace fish with diced eggplant. Will take longer for the eggplant to cook in the sauce, around 20 minutes. And replace cream with coconut milk.

dairy-free - replace cream with coconut milk. Butter or ghee could also be used instead of cream.

different herbs – if coriander (cilantro) isn’t your thing consider basil, mint, a handful of fresh curry leaves. Or just skip the herbs.

carnivore – replace fish with diced chicken thighs fillets or sliced steak. Adjust the cooking time as needed.

no garam masala – replace with a mild curry powder or loads of black pepper and a little ground cumin.

With love,
Jules x
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ps. Not sure if the Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion will help YOU?

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Here’s what people are saying about it…

“I’m really enjoying the Tired and Hungry Cooks Companion – it’s helping me to become somebody who actually cooks for herself! Because there are few ingredients, I can read the recipe once and remember it. I am starting to have repertoire of recipes in my head. I’m saving money because I am not buying lunches or eating out. I’m enjoying my food more.”
Jen, Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion Owner.


“I love your latest eCookbook. It has been my saviour with a newborn along with international postings for my husband. We are currently in South America and even though not all the ingredients are available, the fact it’s transportable and 5 ingredients to whip up in minutes has saved our night life!

Emma, Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion Owner.


“I love how your five-minute meals are actually meals, not just haphazardly thrown-together salads or supplemented pre-packaged ‘foods’. Most of those recipes are exactly the amount of effort I’d want to exert if I was tired and hungry, but didn’t want to settle for noodles or fast food.”

Aldrea, Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion Owner.

pps. Here’s the link again:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/tiredhungrycookscompanion/

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When I was getting into cooking, one of the few things I found really intimidating was working with spices. I’m not sure what caused my ‘spice phobia’ but I do remember only using spices if the recipe called for them. I’d always use exactly the types and amounts listed.

Talk about restrictive.

Over the years, with a lot of trial and a little bit of error, I’ve adopted a more liberated approach to cooking with spices.

Why Use Spices?

If you’re ever short on time or short on space in your pantry, spices can be an absolute life saver when it comes to making food taste amazing.

Not only that, using different spices is by far the quickest and easiest way to make a boring old dish taste new and exciting.

What’s not to love about spice?

Anyway its been literally years since I last wrote about spices on Stonesoup so I thought it was high time that we had a little spice love.

I specifically wanted to share my 3 favourite spice blends because these days I find I’m far more likely to reach for a blend than faff around with adding a heap of different single spices.

Using spice blends means you get the complexity of flavour of loads of different spices all in the one little packet. Love it!

My 3 Favourite Spice Blends.

1. RAS EL HANOUT
This is a Moroccan spice blend that translates as ‘top of the shop’. It’s traditionally the best spice blend a Moroccan spice merchant will sell. The ingredients lists can be lengthy, with as many as 23 different spices. And as you can imagine the flavour is exotic and complex without being too ‘out there’.

It’s my favourite blend for the tajine recipe below and it works really well with fish and chicken and vegetables like eggplant (aubergine).

Best substitute for Ras el Hanout: Equal parts paprika, coriander, ginger and a pinch of saffron OR just ground coriander.

2. BAHARAT
A Lebanese blend of 7 spices including paprika, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. It’s a bit darker and more intense than Ras el Hanout but still works well with meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables.

Best substitute for Baharat: Equal parts paprika, cumin and cinnamon OR ground cumin.

3. GARAM MASALA
I always spell this Indian spice blend wrong but think I’ve got it right today! For some reason garam masala is my ‘go-to’ Indian spice if I’m in the mood for a bit of curry. I tend to reach for garam masala over a generic curry powder.

I think this is because garam masala tends to be more laid back than some in your face curry powders. Which tends to suit my cooking style better.

Best substitute for Garam Masala: Mild curry powder OR loads of black pepper.

What about you?

Do you have a ‘spice phobia’? What are your favourite spices or blends? I’d love to hear in the comments below :)

____________________

moroccan meatball tajine-3

Moroccan Meatball Tajine

This is a dish I’ve been making for years and am kinda surprised I haven’t ever written about it on Stonesoup. About time! It’s a brilliant example of how using spices can transform a boring old dish (Italian meatballs) into something exotic and super tasty.

enough for 2-3
1 onion, peeled & chopped
450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
125g (5oz) almond meal
2 teaspoons ras el hanout, baharat or ground coriander
1 jar tomato passata or puree (700g /
4 tablespoons butter
1 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves picked
cauliflower rice or cooked couscous to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Place onion in a small pan on a medium heat with a little oil and cook until soft but not browned. About 5 minutes or a little longer.

2. Combine cooked onion, beef, almond meal and your chosen spice in a large bowl. Season generously with salt. Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place in an ovenproof dish.

3. Pour over the tomato passata or puree and top with butter. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or longer until the meatballs are browned on top and cooked through.

4. Serve meatballs on a bed of cauliflower rice or couscous with coriander leaves on top.

VARIATIONS
to serve with couscous – cook couscous according to the packet but add some extra butter.

to serve with cauli rice – grate 1/2 small cauliflower using your food processor or a box grater and serve meatballs on top. No need to cook or warm it.

different accompaniments – great wrapped in lebanese bread, tortillas or other flat bread. Could be served with your favourite pasta.

short on time – skip the onion and simmer the tajine on the stovetop until the meatballs are just cooked through. You might also like to skip the meatball rolling and just cook the meat more like a bolognese sauce.

different meat - beef is a favourite but lamb is also great. Pork, chicken, turkey or buffalo could all be used.

vegetarian – try adding the spice above to these lentil balls.

nut-free – replace almond meal with soft bread crumbs or cooked quinoa.

dairy-free – replace butter with lots of extra virgin olive oil.

different herbs – mint, basil, parsley or baby spinach are all great.

italian meatballs – just skip the spice and serve with basil instead of the coriander.

indian meatballs – use garam masala as your spice and serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt.

With love,
Jules x
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If I mention the words ‘mindless eating’, what thoughts pop into your head?

Probably nothing healthy, right?

For me ‘mindless eating’ normally evokes thoughts of chowing down on junk in front of the TV or computer. Big bags of chips or pop corn at the cinema. Or shoveling ice cream straight from the tub.

While I’m a huge fan of the concept of MindFUL eating, I’ve also come to appreciate that there’s a place for mindLESS eating in a healthy lifestyle.

Really? Mindless eating = healthy?

Mindless Eating for good is a concept I discovered via the lovely Darya Rose. It was coined by researcher Brian Wansink in his awesome book, ‘Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think’.

Basically Wansink’s research team have found that our bodies aren’t very good at accurately keeping track of how much food we eat. Most people can eat 20% less and not actually feel like they’re missing out on anything.

Wainsink calls this the ‘mindless margin’. It’s basically a ‘buffer zone’ where our brains don’t detect whether we’ve eaten more or less.

Over time, the extra (or less) food eaten in the mindless margin adds up to weight gained (or lost!).

So today I wanted to share some tips from Wainsink’s book that I’ve found helpful.

3 Tips to Eat Less Mindlessly

1. Use smaller plates
It’s an optical illusion but it really does work. The same amount of food look like much more if served on smaller plates. So you’re more likely to feel satisfied with less.

Same goes for smaller glasses, something to think about if you’re trying to limit your wine consumption. (Nothing to see here…)

2. Serve (slightly) less food
Most of us keep eating until our plates are empty. So a great way to eat less is to serve yourself less food to begin with. The trick is to find a balance, you don’t want to feel like you’re missing out. It’s about keeping inside the ‘mindless margin’.

3. Only serve healthy options in the middle of the table.
I love serving big platters of food in the middle of the table because it looks so appealing. But as you probably know yourself, if food is there it gets eaten.

I’ve found by serving healthy options like salad and vegetables in the middle, I still get the look and feeling of abundance. However keeping the extra servings of meat and potatoes in the kitchen, means we’re far less likely to have too much of these.

____________

easy chinese chicken

Easy Chinese Chicken

The simple sauce for this chicken was inspired by my favourite food writer, Nigel Slater. A bit of garlic, some 5-Spice powder and soy sauce. So easy and really delish. I can get Chinese 5-Spice at my local supermarket but if you can’t, an online spice merchant will be able to help you out. Or see the variation below for an alternative.

Enough for 2
2 teaspoons Chinese 5-Spice
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
500g (1lb) chicken thigh fillets, slice into bite sized pieces
250g (1/2 lb) snow peas, trimmed
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
handful cashews

1. Combine 5-spice, garlic and 2 tablespoons oil. Toss in the chicken and allow to marinate for as long as you’ve got. A few minutes is fine but for anything longer than an hour, keep it in the fridge.

2. Heat a little oil in a wok or large frying pan on a very high heat. Add snow peas and stir fry until bright green and just cooked but still very crunchy. Remove to a clean bowl.

3. Heat a little more oil in the wok and stir fry chicken until well browned and just cooked though. About 5-10 minutes.

4. Return snow peas to the pan to warm through. Remove from the heat and toss in the soy sauce.

5. Serve in two bowls with cashews on top.

VARIATIONS
vegetarian – replace chicken with sliced hallomi and pan fry until golden instead of stir frying.

vegan – replace chicken with sliced eggplant. Allow more time stir frying for the eggplant to cook properly. Undercooked eggplant is one of my least favourite things.

no Chinese 5-spice – make your own approximation with equal parts ground cinnamon, fennel seeds, black pepper and star anise. Or at a minimum just use cinnamon and fennel.

different veg – asparagus, sugar snap peas, bok choy, broccolini, broccoli, Chinese broccoli, red capsicum (bell pepper), zucchini (courgettes).

more veg – serve on a bed of cauliflower ‘rice’ (grated raw cauli).

carb-lovers – serve with steamed rice or rice noodles cooked according to the packet.

different meat – minced (ground) chicken, chicken breasts, pork fillet, steaks – any tender cut that will stir fry well.

With love,
Jules x
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I‘m a huge believer in the power of habits for helping to put everyday decisions on autopilot, making it much easier to live a healthy life.

One of the things I’ve learned in my study of habit formation over the years is the power of public commitment.

Earlier in the year, I joined Febfast and committed to a month without alcohol.

It was tough. Especially the night we were staying with friends in Sydney and everyone else was drinking really lovely wine.

One of my friends tried to persuade me to have some. They weren’t going to tell anybody…

It was tempting.

But you know what kept me from caving?

The thought of having to sit down here and admit to you that I had broken my promise.

While Febfast is long gone, I have a few bad cooking habits that I’ve been trying to kick on my own. And if truth be told, I haven’t been having much luck.

So today I’m ‘outing’ myself on my 3 worst habits. I’ll report back in a month or so to let you know how I’ve gone.

BAD HABIT 1. Picking While I Cook

As I mentioned in my interview with the lovely Darya Rose a few weeks ago, picking at food while I cook has long been my worst cooking habit.

Now that I’m getting dinner ready for Fergal before I start cooking for my Irishman and me, it’s been getting worse.

I hate that feeling of sitting down to dinner and not being hungry.

Darya had some brilliant advice around setting boundaries for snacking, like using a plate and only doing it sitting at the table. I’ve been working on implementing this for a few weeks now, and while I have made some progress, there have been times when I have had my official snack and still picked while cooking.

I need a bit more help with this one.

BAD HABIT 2. Dull Knives

Even though we have top quality knives and the easiest sharpening system ever, I’m very embarrassed to admit that I can easily go weeks if not months without sharpening.

I know dull knives are dangerous. I just can’t explain this terrible habit apart from being super lazy.

So I commit to sharpening my knives at least once a week on Sunday or Monday. I’ve started this week off with sharp knives. It feels great.

BAD HABIT 3. Not Washing Leaves and Herbs

I think this habit started when we were buying most of our veg from the supermarket. Those pre-washed bags of salad leaves and herbs are just ‘oh so easy’.

Now we buy the lions share of our veg from the farmers market. I’m loving the increase in quality and freshness but have honestly been ‘pretending’ to myself that the leaves don’t need washing.

When clearly they do. I know.

I can’t believe I’m going to put this in writing, but we had a guest staying who found a slug in the salad. Even that mortification hasn’t wrenched me out of my slothfulness.

It’s definitely time for a change. So when I report back I’m planning on my salad spinner being my new best friend.

What about you?

Do you have any bad cooking habits that you’d like to break? Or even some good habits you’d like to form?

I’d love to hear about them in the comment below :)

_________________

kale 'cabonara'-4

Kale ‘Cabonara’

OK so if you’re a purist when it comes to the naming of dishes, you’d better block your ears. I know that cabonara traditionally includes egg yolk and no cream, but I really liked the sound of kale ‘cabonara’ and I felt more in the mood for cream than egg yolk… so that what we have.

Enough for 2
4-6 slices bacon, chopped
1 bunch kale, ribs discarded (if tough) & leaves sliced into ribbons
1-2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons cream
2 large handfuls grated parmesan + extra to serve

1. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and cook bacon on a medium high heat until well browned.

2. Remove bacon from the pan and add the kale and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring every few minutes until the kale is wilted and deep green in colour. It will take about 5-10 minutes. If it starts to burn, add a splash of water to help generate some steam.

3. Return bacon to the pan and add cream. Stir over the heat to warm through then remove from the heat and add the cheese.

4. Divide between two plates and serve with extra cheese if you like.

VARIATIONS
more substantial / carb lovers – toss in some cooked pasta at the end. A drained can of chickpeas or white beans will do the same job without causing blood sugar problems.

paleo / more classic cabonara – replace cream with 2 egg yolks. Add the yolks with the bacon off the heat. And see the dairy-free option.

dairy-free – replace cream with 2 egg yolks and replace parmesan with grated brazil nuts and if you like a teaspoon of nutritional yeast.

vegetarian – replace bacon with chopped smoked tofu – a really lovely ingredient. OR serve with a big handful of smoked almonds or other nuts.

different greens – as much as I love kale, any leafy greens such as spinach, baby spinach, chard or silverbeet can be used.

vegan - cook sliced kale with garlic in olive oil and serve with more olive oil and a good few handfuls of roasted nuts or cooked legumes.

With love,
Jules x
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A few weeks ago, my Irishman was in a lift with a family with a sick baby. He mentioned that he has a one-year-old and the other parents were like, ‘Oh you must be used to him being sick’.

My Irishman was a little taken back by this.

Over dinner he told me about his encounter with the sick child.

We both realized we’ve been very lucky with Fergal. Apart from the odd runny nose, he hasn’t ever been really sick. (Excuse me while I just go and touch some wood!)

But is this just good luck? Or good genes? Or something we’re doing or not doing?

In all likelihood, it’s a combination. However, our habits and lifestyle must be having an impact.

4 Ways I Keep My Family Healthy

1. We eat real food.
The rate of obesity has increased at the same rate as our consumption of processed food. Coincidence? I think not.

What do I mean by ‘real food’?

Basically, it’s anything without a complicated ‘ingredients list’ on the pack. Or better yet, food that doesn’t come in packages. Like vegetables, fish, meat etc.

While most of our food falls into the ‘real’ category, we don’t obsess. I’m happy for occasional processed conveniences like commercial curry pastes or tomato ketchup.

2. We go easy on grains, especially wheat.
The main problem with grains, even ‘whole grains’ is they provide loads of carbohydrates without enough beneficial micronutrients. I prefer to get my carbs in the form of vegetables and legumes.

Even if you think you don’t have a problem with wheat or gluten, you may find your health improves if you experiment with removing wheat from your diet. It’s not just a digestive thing. In ‘Wheat Belly,’ William Davis links consumption of modern wheat to all sorts of ills including schizophrenia.

3. We aren’t afraid of fat. Including saturated fat.
Whenever I write about fat it tends to be controversial. The whole ‘low fat’ movement has a lot to answer for.

Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. In our house we love olive oil, butter, cream, nuts, avocado and bacon.

Not ready to stop being fat phobic? Then check out:
What Does It Mean to Be Fat-Adapted?
Why Fat is the Preferred Fuel for Human Metabolism

Also, saturated fat isn’t bad for us. In 2010 a panel of heart disease experts concluded that reducing saturated fat intake doesn’t reduce the risk of heart disease.

Saturated fat tends to be the most stable fat for cooking and can actually be beneficial. If you think I’ve gone crazy, read 7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat.

4. We eat lots of vegetables.
Vitamins. Minerals. Fiber. Antioxidants. Plus they’re delicious.

What’s not to love about veg!

______________

In case you’re wondering, I’d better be clear about my credentials.

I’m not a professional dietitian or nutritionist. However, I did study nutrition at university. For my Food Science Degree I took two nutrition subjects (and got distinctions!) along with basic biochemistry.

___________________
bacon & cabbage-2

Super Yum Bacon & Cabbage

My Irishman tells me that bacon and cabbage is a traditional dish from Limerick. He’s a big fan of his Mum, Geraldine’s version.

I knew it was a bit risky to mess around with a family favourite but I couldn’t help myself. Instead of boiling the cabbage, I just soften it in a little oil which saves time and reduces the risk of any ‘smelly’ cabbagey flavours.

enough for 2
3-4 slices bacon, chopped
1 bunch leeks, washed & white parts sliced OR 1 onion
1/2 small cabbage or 1/4 large, sliced
1 tablespoon rice or other wine vinegar

1. Heat a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Add a little olive oil and brown bacon.

2. Then add the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring when you think of it.

3. When the leeks have started to soften, add the cabbage and a splash of water. Cover and cook, stirring every few minutes until the cabbage is ‘al dente’ or just soft. Somewhere from 5-10 minutes.

4. Season with salt and pepper and vinegar. Serve hot.

VARIATIONS
different cabbage thicknesses – I like to slice my cabbage finely using my knife, so not as fine as a mandoline. This way the cabbage cooks quickly. If you’re after a more chunky look, cutting the cabbage into 1 inch ribbons will also work, just expect a longer cooking time.

more veg – serve with flat leaf parsley leaves, baby spinach or a few spoonfuls of home made sauerkraut.

different cabbage – I’ve used white cabbage in the picture but we love this with red cabbage (and balsamic vinegar) or savoy as well. You could also use brussels sprouts, just remember to slice them finely so they cook quickly. Kale can also be used.

vegetarian – just skip the bacon and serve with a salty cheese crumbled over like feta.

herby – a little thyme or sage added with the onions is also lovely.

carb lovers – serve with steamed or mashed potatoes.

vegan – replace bacon with smoked tofu or skip the bacon and serve topped with roasted or smoked nuts such as almonds.

With love,
Jules x
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You know when you come across someone who is a kindred spirit? Someone who has similar philosophies to your own?

I love when that happens.

Like when I discovered Darya Rose from the fab little blog summertomato.com.

Darya and I share a lot in common including a love of vegetables and legumes, a background in science (Darya has a Ph.D) and a firm belief in the power of healthy eating. We’ve both written guest posts for Tim Ferrissblog, which is how I discovered her.

Anyway, Darya’s book Foodist: Using Real Food and Real Science to Lose Weight Without Dieting is one of the best books I’ve read on healthy eating.

Actually I love it so much I’ve read (listened to the audiobook version) about 5 times in the last year.

If you’re at all interested in how to use real food and healthy habits to control your weight, or even just after some inspiration to help you eat healthier, I can’t recommend Foodist enough.

But in case you need more convincing, I contacted Darya and asked her a couple of questions…

Q. For you personally, what are the top 2 habits you’ve developed (or quit) for controlling your weight?

A. The number one habit I had to give up, without a doubt, was dieting. It sounds counter-intuitive, but dieting was what caused me to make terrible food choices, deprive myself and ultimately overeat. Once I embraced the joy of Real Food all the “self control” I wished I had became second nature. Eating right became easy for me, and I lost weight naturally.

The second habit was cooking. I never used to cook, and to be honest I thought it was beneath me. I was an academic and preferred to outsource my food preparation so that I could focus on “more important things.” I was so misguided. Once the value of Real Food started becoming clear to me, I realized the only practical way to fit my new lifestyle into my grad student budget was to learn how to cook for myself.

What surprised me was how easy it was.

I thought I needed to have some special talent to make food taste good (I had been known to burn water in the past), but when you start with excellent, seasonal ingredients it’s actually kind of hard to mess it up. Then you just need to develop a few simple skills (sautéing, roasting, etc.) and it’s a piece of cake. These days I actually consider it easier to cook and eat at home than go out to a restaurant in the city.

Q. The habit I struggle with the most is snacking while I’m cooking. This is especially bad at dinner when I’m tired and lacking will power! I often sit down to eat and am already full. Now that I have a baby who eats dinner before us, I find it’s getting worse. I’ve tried having healthy snacks on hand which does help sometimes but often I eat the healthy snacks and reach for more food as well. Any ideas how I can stop so I can enjoy my meals at the table?

A. Snacking is tough for a lot of people. One of the issues is that it is difficult to make it a discreet occurrence; it is hard to create a barrier to stop yourself from overdoing it. The key to reprogramming any habit is to pay close attention to the triggers that drive your behavior, and what feelings they activate. The next step is finding ways to steer yourself in a different direction.

One way that I’ve personally been able to control creeping habits like snacking (I lump work/email in the same category, since I work at home it’s hard to keep work out of my personal life sometimes) is to create clear boundaries.

For instance, I too am often hungry before dinner, which is often after I finish my daily workout. I know that there is no way I can get through the cooking process on so little fuel, so I consciously have a satisfying snack before starting to cook. Carrot sticks wouldn’t cut it in these situations. I often have a bit of trail mix, cheese or a hearty piece of fruit. It’s important to make your snacking official, use a plate and sit at a table. That way eating while standing or walking around the kitchen feels weird and inappropriate.

With my method I’m satisfied enough to not snack during the cooking process, then by the time dinner is ready I’m hungry again. Similarly I keep work in its place by forbidding email in the living room. I have a home office (far away from the living area), which is the only place I’m allowed to work. If I want to check email I have to walk away from everyone and go into my boring office. It’s a pretty good deterrent.

The important part is that there’s a clear boundary for when snacking or working is/isn’t allowed. In Foodist I call these black & white rules.

kale with pistachios-3

Kale with Pistachios

Adapted from Foodist by Darya Rose. This is one of Darya’s ‘home court’ recipes which is similar to greens I cook all the time. I love Darya’s idea to leave the garlic sit and add at the end of the cooking time. Darya notes that this time increases the nutritional content of the garlic while minimising the risk of burning the garlic. Love it!

enough for 1-2
1 bunch kale
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
handful shelled pistachios, roasted
100g (3.5oz) cooked lentils (1/2 cup), optional

1. Wash kale well and slice into ribbons. Leave some water on the leaves to help the kale steam as it cooks. If the stems are really thick, remove the stems and just use the leaves.

2. Heat a large frying pan on a medium high heat. Add a splash of olive oil, the chopped kale and a pinch of salt. Cover with a lid and cook for a few minutes.

3. Stir and if the kale is drying out or starting to burn add a few tablespoons of water. Cover again and cook for another few minutes. Keep cooking and stirring like this until the kale is wilted.

4. Make a hole in the center of the kale, add the garlic and a splash more oil. Allow the garlic to cook for about 30 seconds then stir it into the kale.

5. Add pistachios and lentils (if using). Stir. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper if needed.

VARIATIONS
carnivore – brown some chopped bacon or chorizo before adding the kale. Or serve as a side to roast or BBQ chicken.

different greens – I’ve used purple kale in the picture but any green kale or leafy greens such as spinach or chard are great.

lemony – if the greens taste a little flat, I sometimes add a splash of lemon juice or sherry vinegar at the end.

more substantial – add more cooked lentils or other legumes such as chickpeas or beans.

different nuts – feel free to us other nuts such as almonds, cashews, brazil nuts or pine nuts.

nut-free – just replace the nuts with extra lentils or a handful of toasted sourdough breadcrumbs for extra crunch.

other ideas for tasty additions - roast chopped beets, shavings of parmesan, goats cheese, ricotta, sardines, fresh parsley, lemon zest, or aioli.

With love,
Jules x
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an you believe it’s September already? I know! I really love this time of year. Spring is just beginning to make an appearance both in the weather and the produce available at the farmers market. The days are getting longer. And it’s my birthday(!) This year, I’m continuing my birthday traditions of sharing a new […]

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ithout a doubt, the saddest day of the year for me is the 20th August. You see it’s the day that nine years ago my family huddled in a little hospital room and watched my Mum breathe her last breath. I still really miss her. This year I’m feeling it even more than usual. I […]

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The Number 1. Way to Improve
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ot long after we moved into our little farm house earlier in the year, I was beginning to question my ability to cook without burning something. It started one night when I was making a bolognese sauce… Somehow I got side tracked and forgot I had the pot on the highest setting. The next thing […]

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July 15, 2014

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ince becoming a Mum just over a year ago, there have been many changes in my life. Easily the biggest one, from a food perspective, is that I just don’t have as much time to spend in the kitchen as I used to… So meanwhile I’ve been relying on the quicker recipes in my repertoire […]

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hen I decided to quit my corporate job designing chocolate biscuits (cookies) over 4 years ago, there was one thing I knew I was going to miss… working as part of a team. I’ve absolutely loved the transition to full time blogger and entrepreneur. And these days with social media, I never have to worry […]

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June 24, 2014

ou might remember a few months back, I mentioned that I was planning to pull together a new FREE eCookbook for Stonesoup email subscribers. And my lovely assistant Caroline had the brilliant idea to make it a ‘best of Stonesoup’ compilation and to get you to vote for your favourite Stonesoup recipes. Well today that […]

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nce upon a time I worked for a multinational breakfast cereal company as a young food scientist developing new breakfast and snack products. One of the ‘perks’ of the job was the canteen filled with an amazing array of free cereal and milk. As you can imagine, pretty much everyone had their breakfast at work. […]

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June 3, 2014

hese days, if I get asked to describe my diet, the shortest answer is that I’m ‘mostly paleo’. Now if you’re wondering ‘what on earth is Jules talking about?’, allow me to explain… ‘Paleo’ is a way of eating that is loosely based on what our paleolithic ancestors ate. In short that includes meat, poultry, […]

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