Bombay Chicken w/ Roasted Cauliflower, Spinach and Brown Rice.

Whoever said Indian delights are purely for weekend indulgences? I’m just going to get straight to the point with this recipe and keep it short.

Forget ringing the local takeaway or turning to the reserve jar of Masala stored at the back of the cupboard. This recipe is going to introduce you to beautifully juicy chicken encased in a wonderful explosion of flavours. If that hasn’t got you listening, then this will… It’s not only delicious; it’s healthy! Yes you heard me. Bombay style chicken that tastes naughty, but is far from it!

I must have been living in a bubble the last 26 years of my life because I have only just found out that you can microwave uncooked popadoms instead of frying them! Why has this only now been brought to my attention?! A big crispy disc to scoop up the leftovers, without the oil or fat. WIN! It doesn’t get much better than that.

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Rub your chicken and cauliflower with the spices, then slide in the oven. Boil your rice, make the mint yoghurt dressing, and pile your plate full of fresh spinach. You’re all set to go!

When the chicken is 5 minutes away from coming out of the oven, prepare your poppadoms and scoop the rice onto your spinach. Stand for a minute to take in the smells drifting their way to your nose from the wonderful Bombay surprise; letting your mouth water in anticipation.

Cut the chicken into strips and lie on the rice along with the roasted cauliflower. Drizzle the yoghurt in an artistic fashion around the plate and dig in!

I cannot wait to cook this again. It can be a struggle some days to stay healthy and motivated during the week, but with recipes like this, there is no excuse. It’s so simple and quick. I guarantee all the family will love it!

Delicious and nutritious! Squeezing some lemon juice onto the spinach will help your body to soak up all the essential nutrients more effectively and the sneaky roasted cauliflower can almost be disguised for those non-believers, as it is covered in gorgeous flavour. Cauliflower is usually at the bottom of my veggie list, but rubbed with the spice and roasted until just cooked (still crunchy), has converted me slightly. I dare you to give it a go 🙂

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Once again, Jamie Oliver has surpassed himself and converted a much loved Saturday night takeaway dish into a guilt-free dish for any time of the week. Put down the Local Indian Restaurant’s menu and get in the kitchen! You won’t regret it 🙂

It makes a great sharer for when you’ve got friends or family over! Lay it all out in the middle of the table and let people help themselves. What a conversation starter! It looks impressive and you’ll wow everybody in the room.

For the recipe, please check out Jamie’s Everyday Superfood. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Everyday-Super-Food-Jamie-Oliver/dp/0718181239/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444217622&sr=8-1&keywords=jamie%27s+everyday+superfood

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I’m slowly working my way through the recipes and I have not been disappointed yet.

I truly believe that a healthy lifestyle and food is the key to being happier inside and out J I automatically reach for foods that will nourish me from head to foot. Healthy does not have to be boring, and Jamie certainly proves this.

Don’t eat healthily because you have to. Eat healthily because it’s delicious.’ – Jamie Oliver

http://www.jamieoliver.com/healthier-happier-you/

Love and Lemons xxx

Green Veg Soba Noodle Bowl

I’ve had a few weeks away from blogging, from work (sitting behind a desk), and from the rain (well mostly!). It was just what I needed. Mountain air, active days, food lovingly prepared by somebody else, and best of all… stuffing my face with no washing up to do afterwards! That’s definitely a lifestyle I could get used to. Living a slow-paced life in the Italian Dolomites with not a care in the world. Cooking and baking all day for the villagers and exploring every corner of the mountains *floats of into a dream*

I came back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. Slightly achy legs from all the climbs and hikes, but being able to see the views I witnessed is well worth the burning muscles! And of course, a great excuse to eat lots of food… You need the energy when being so active all day!

I ate a lot on holiday, but I ate sensibly and watched the kind of foods I was consuming. My intake was high but that was because I was very active and needed the volume in order to sustain my energy levels. Fruit, yoghurt and eggs for breakfast. A great way to start the day!

This doesn’t mean I didn’t indulge and treat myself! Of course I did! But I made sure this wasn’t excessive. I work too hard to throw all my hard work away, but I also know a little of what you love doesn’t hurt you. And I do not believe in denying yourself; but I do believe in keeping everything balanced.

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We all need to come back down to earth though… and this is how I kick started my healthy daily routine again; A big bowl of Green Veg Soba Noodles. Absolutely delicious and thoroughly nutritious!

Ultimate clean eating comfort food. You can feel as though you’re being naughty whilst giving your body a squeeze of pure goodness. Get in the kitchen and rustle this up in 15 minutes (great for lazy evenings after work), then wrap yourself in that blanket and curl up on the sofa watching your favourite TV programme. That’s exactly what I did! Night in on my own, warming noodles, and Penny Dreadful on TV. Perfection!

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This time… I can’t tempt you in with a glamorous Pinterest image because the recipe is my own straight from the Lemon’s Kitchen Gourmet 15 minute meals journal. Step aside Jamie Oliver!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can add any veg you like to the noodles. I love green veg because it makes the dish so vibrant and earthy. Grab whatever you can find and chuck it in! Perfect recipe for that lonely veg lying at the back fridge crying out to be eaten. There is no need to be precious about quantities or weighing anything out either! There’s no excuse no to make this!

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Serves 2

15 minutes

2 big bowls and 2 sets of chopsticks (or forks)

2 hungry mouths and the latest box set on record

Ingredients:

x2 ties of soba noodles (they usually come in serving portions)

Glug of rapeseed oil or garlic oil

x8 asparagus spears

x8 chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped

x2 generous handfuls of spinach

x2 large eggs, hard boiled and sliced

Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Truffle Oil/Honey (Optional)

Pistachio Nuts to sprinkle (Optional)

Sunflower Seeds to sprinkle (Optional)

To Make:

Boil the kettle, and add water to pan with noodles. Cook until nearly soft and drain (about 5 minutes)

Whilst the kettle is boiling and the noodles are cooking, heat the rapeseed/garlic oil in a large pan and add the asparagus and mushrooms. Once slightly softened, add the spinach and soy sauce. Toss together and continue cooking for another few minutes until spinach has wilted. At this point, add the drained noodles and stir ingredients together until noodles are heated through again.

Grab your bowl and spoon the noodles in, lay the sliced egg on top (one each), sprinkle on the nuts and seeds and then drizzle over the wonderful truffle oil to finish!

You’ll be eating it before you’ve even sat down!

Delicious, quick and so easy to make!

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To give an example of how you can swap the ingredients around… If I was to make this dish today… After looking in the fridge, my vegetables of choice would be kale lightly stir-fried in garlic oil before adding to the noodles and freshly shelled peas. Mmmmm!

Until next time foodie lovers!

Love and Lemons xxx

It’s Hasn’t Been Easy, And This Is Just The Beginning…

I wouldn’t usually post stuff like this but a few people have asked recently what motivates me to get up early in the mornings to workout and what drives me to put down the cake and pick up the smoothies. This….. I’ve always struggled with my weight and confidence. I’ve never been the slimmest and I’m blessed with wide child bearing hips. But waking up and seeing my hard work paying off gives me the drive and determination to work even harder, to be even better. Being happy in your skin is achievable. It’s not easy! In fact, it’s really tough sometimes… And I do slip… But I pick myself back up and I carry on. Everyday is the start of something new 😊 and it only gets better if you’re willing to put the work in. Results haven’t been overnight. For me, they’ve taken years, as I’m still improving my health and fitness, but it’s been a wonderful journey so far and it’s only the beginning.

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Truffled Gnocchi w/ Mushroom Ragu

This is a recipe you’ll either love or hate… a little like Marmite. And I love both! I’ve finally found the perfect vegetarian comfort food. Rich, creamy, filling, full of flavour, with a real ‘meaty’ bite. And not to mention, absolutely delicious! It can be easily made vegan too. Double WIN!

I’ve been saving this recipe for when the boy has gone to play so I can savour it curled up on my own. He also isn’t a big fan of gnocchi, whereas I on the other hand think it is amazing!

If it’s right up your street as well and you’re also a lover of mushrooms, you NEED to be in the kitchen right now lovingly preparing this dish!

And what’s more… being able to take leftovers to work easily makes lunchtime the best part of the following day! *dreams of silky mushrooms encased in truffle oil*

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When taking inspiration from recipes, I always check the ingredients list and then read through the instructions a couple of times to assess technique and method. Unless it is a complicated one, this is as far as I go in terms of following the steps. I swap around ingredients depending on what I have available, or what I fancy at the time. If I can make it healthier, I will always strive too. It lessens the guilt and makes my body thankful for the kindness shown to it.

In this case, the recipe shows you how to make your own truffled gnocchi. As this was a meal being prepared on a weekday after work just for myself, I didn’t want to spend all night cooking, so I bought good quality ready-made gnocchi from the supermarket and tossed it in a little truffle oil to coat after boiling. It tastes as wonderful and is less hassle. If you have never made your own before though, I suggest giving it a go when you have time to do so. It’s worth it, and you can make all sorts of variations! But… Cheating is ok! I do it ALL the time if it means cutting cooking time down after a long day at work.

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The mushroom ragu is divine! I don’t like to use packet mixes when it comes to spice rubs if I have all the ingredients to hand. This is because I can tailor it to suit my own tastebuds. For the rub in this recipe I used chilli flakes, smoked paprika, oregano and cumin seeds; and then ground them to a powder. If you have read any of my other blog posts, you know I like it hot, so it’s a given that extra chilli is added J

For this recipe to work, you need sturdy, nutty mushrooms. I used forestiere mushrooms, which you can get easily at the supermarket. When I can get hold of them, I also love Chinese mushrooms as they add an extra depth. Mix both varieties for a heavenly ragu. To keep the dish vegetarian, mix a vegetable stock cube with marmite. Or if you are a meat eater, you can swap the marmite for Bovril. Both are delicious! The recipe doesn’t actually include this, but I highly recommend if you’re not using a beef stock cube.

And once more, just to keep it healthier, half fat crème fraiche to finish it off really adds that luxurious touch to make it truly decadent.

Follow this link for the original recipe http://simply-delicious-food.com/2013/06/04/truffled-gnocchi-with-mushroom-ragu/ The blog is simple and down to earth. Not to mention the wonderful photography.

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If you do try this recipe, as its one of my favourites, please do let me know! I would love to hear from you.

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Right, now I’m off to stuff my face with the leftovers!

Enjoy the weekend fellow foodies.

Eat, laugh and feel good.

Love and Lemons xxx

Asian Salmon & Noodles

There is something so mouth-watering about crispy salmon. Especially when it is juicy and bursting with flavour. I always remove the skin because it’s not something I like to eat, but a crisp layer of flesh can still be achieved to rival any skin-on recipe. And of course, it’s a healthier option!

If you’re short on time after a busy day at work, this is perfect because it can be prepared and on the table within a 20 minutes.

I love soba noodles with this recipe because they have a beautifully nutty flavour and are really versatile. Definitely my favourite type of noodle! If you love noodle soups, these are perfect for that! Oh now I just want a big bowl of noodles… Whatever pasta accompaniment you go with, start cooking it before you prepare the rest of the dish. It can be ready to reheat and add to the saucy veg as soon as the salmon is done.

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I usually have small amounts of a range of veg left in my fridge, which I save for recipes like this! You don’t have to stick to an ingredients list religiously; just throw in what you enjoy eating and watch the dish transform into your own creation before your eyes! On this occasion, I added spring onions (this is what the blog refers to as green onions), chestnut mushrooms (because I prefer the meatier texture and earthy flavour), 1tsp dried chilli’s (I couldn’t find the hot sauce!), frozen garden peas (instead of the snow peas), kale and red cabbage. All of this I stir-fried in the wok before adding the sauce.

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The salmon is cooked under the grill. This was the quickest and most effective way to achieve a crispy top whilst ensuring the salmon was cooked all the way through and still juicy. My favourite part is mopping the marinade all over the fish every couple of minutes to ensure a wonderful layer of flavour.

Did I mention that this recipe is also really good for you?! Packed full of protein, vitamins, and healthy fats. My aching body loves to refuel with this after a session at the gym or run. It helps to repair those muscles and gives me the energy I need to feel great for the rest of the evening.

The recipe is written for 4 people but I made it for 2. You can cut the quantities in half or make the full amount and save the rest for lunch the next day J As you can tell from my notes above, I didn’t stick to the recipe closely, so my quantities varied. It can be adapted to however you like. If you would like the recipe amounts for what I made, then please just comment below.

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Toss it all together to reheat the noodles, place the salmon on top, and serve. Voila. Perfection.

There is another Asian salmon recipe on the blog combing this versatile fish with rice noodles and asparagus. The ‘Asian’ ingredients aren’t much different to this dish, but used in a different way to create something complete different and just as special. This will be on a weeknight menu of mine very soon!

This blog showcases a lot of different types of recipe, so check it out and see what tickles your taste buds. I have spotted Pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sauce and pecans, oh yes please!

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http://juliasalbum.com/2013/04/asian-salmon-and-noodles-recipe/

And as always, let me know what you think. Until next time…. Keep cooking! And remember; good, healthy, nutritious food doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, time consuming or bland!

Love & Lemons xxx

https://www.pinterest.com/lemonskitchen/

Pepperoni Meatballs w/ Spaghetti

Go out and buy the ingredients for this recipe straight away. Take it from me, these are some of the best meatballs you’ll ever taste. And believe me, I’ve tested a lot. To say I love meatballs would be a slight understatement. There are so many combinations you can do, but these juicy balls of flavour are just divine. Mixing a selection of pepperoni, beef and pork together, is a match made in heaven.

You surely don’t need me to go on and convince you anymore?

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A meal for 6, was meant to have catered for 4 with leftovers. There were no leftovers… Something as delicious as these can’t be put in Tupperware and placed in the fridge!

Rich tomato sauce wrapped around Al Dente spaghetti with huge mouthwatering meatballs *dreams* I think I need to eat this at least once a week.

I served this with garlicky cheese bread and some smoked sea salt.

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There was nothing I felt the need to change 😊 The wine I used was last nights leftover Cote du Rhone. I always add the best quality wine to my food. If I won’t drink it, it doesn’t get added to my food either!

I didn’t have enough pepperoni so I made up the quantity with chorizo. This gave the meatballs a smoky edge.

Perfect meal choice for a dinner party because I didn’t have to spend all evening in the kitchen. I prepared everything beforehand and only needed to spend 10 minutes away from everybody whilst cooking the spaghetti and warming the bread. Perfect 😊

My pan wasn’t big enough to mix the spaghetti into the sauce, so everybody had to do that on their own plate. Nothing wrong with a bit of on the plate meal prep!

The excitement to tuck in nearly made me forget to take photos! Hence the rushed look of them. Who can blame me?!

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The blog this recipe is featured on has some wonderful recipes; Herbed Gnocchi, Taiwan Pork Ragu, Bacon Cracklin’ Pancakes…

Not a site to visit if you’re searching for healthy, body nourishing cuisine! This is for your indulgent ‘sod it’ days! But lets face it, everybody has these once in a while.

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http://ladyandpups.com/2015/02/19/peperoni-meatballs-spaghetti/

Oh just look at the photograph, how could you scroll past that without the urge to feast?! ULTIMATE COMFORT!

Until next time 😊

Love and Lemons xxx

https://www.pinterest.com/lemonskitchen/

Meat Free Week (It’s a long one!)

Meat-Free Week passed a lot of people by without any acknowledgement of its existence. This makes me sad, but at the same time determined to be a voice for the cause.

I am a little late with this blog as this ‘event’ was the 23rd-29th March. I do apologise for this. Life has a way of rudely getting in the way sometimes! Not to mention a bank holiday weekend spent poorly on the sofa. A 4 day weekend you say? An extended weekend of nausea and headaches?… Yeh bring it on! I definitely know how to live the adventurous life.

I do hope this is a topic you will take interest in and continue to read to the end of the page. I will be including links, recipes and photos along the way so stay with me! I would also love to hear your opinion on the subject; please do send me a message.

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I chose to take part in this event for many reasons. Firstly to prove to myself and to my partner that every meal doesn’t have to revolve around meat and food can be delicious without it.  A lot of my meals are vegetarian already but convincing the boy was a tougher challenge! At the end of the week, he agreed that he didn’t miss meat in any of the meals I made. That is an amazing achievement all by itself!

Secondly, for health reasons and to cram my diet full of more fruit and veg, which I find hard sometimes because, I’m not a meat and veg kind of girl. I love experimenting and often overlook the plant based ingredients I should be including. This is slowly starting to change, but taking out meat altogether really helped me showcase the often disregarded veg on offer. At the end of the week, I felt great and my body could feel the benefits of the amazing nourishment I had given it. Since this week, if I am eating out, my eye automatically scans for the vegetarian options before any meat based. I did miss eating fish though!

And thirdly, because I am a strong believer in a sustainable lifestyle and I think more people should be aware of what they are eating, how often they are eating it, where it is coming from, and the health benefits/risks of their diet. The UKs meat consumption is double the world average. Cutting down on meat can benefit our health, the environment, and animal welfare.

I support this crucial campaign and hope that I can raise awareness to at least a couple of people reading my blog. It’s easier than you may think to make a difference to yourself and the world around you. I aim to have at least 2 meat free days a week. I’m not suggesting anybody should give up eating meat, I never will because I eat it as part of a healthy balanced diet. But I always make sure my meat is sustainable, fresh and the best quality I can afford.

EAT LESS, CARE MORE, FEEL GOOD.

If you would like to read more about this campaign and any of the issues, please visit https://uk.meatfreeweek.org/home

If you’ve stayed with me so far, you’re in for a treat!

I do have to admit now that I only lasted until Friday night because I forgot to let my sister-in-law know that I was doing the challenge, so we were greeted with a cottage pie upon arrival at her house. And I did have a fish finger sandwich on the Saturday for lunch, but this was completely justified because the only vegetarian option on the pub menu was goats cheese (I’d rather go hungry as it’s food of the devil!). And, one more… I ate half a sausage sandwich on the Sunday morning as we were still at the sister-in-laws. I felt guilty though so I gave the other half away!

Now that I’ve got the confessions out of the way… Let’s get on to the wonderful vegetarian adventure of food I did eat!

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I won’t go into detail about all the meals I ate, but for breakfast all week I had variations of Weetabix with almond milk, honey and either sunflower seeds, strawberries, blueberries or cherries. This is my go-to breakfast during my working week. Fills me up all morning so I don’t get tempted to reach for those 11am office biscuits!

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Lunch was a spicy couscous salad with beetroot, coriander and rice crackers. I haven’t photographed any of my lunches so if you like the sound of them, drop me a message and I’ll give you the recipe!

Now to the best part… Dinner! From the moment I get up, I am already planning what’s for dinner. In fact, it’s not often that anything other than putting food in my belly goes through my head. Yes, I’m the kind of person that plans my day around eating!

I am a halloumi addict so it seemed right to base my first meat free meal around this wonderful cheese. Grilled and placed on a bed of rocket and iceberg lettuce. Next comes the lightly toasted pine nuts, freshly popped pomegranate seeds, lemon marinated olives, crushed cheddar crisps as a crust and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Finally served with a slice of wholemeal bread. Absolute heaven. I made sure there was enough left over for lunch the next day.

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Day 2 dinner was a beautiful smoked mushroom risotto on a bed of rocket and iceberg lettuce, drizzled with smoked truffle oil. It was so creamy and delicious. I challenge you not to go back for seconds!

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I didn’t use a recipe for this, but I learnt to make risotto by following Martha Stewart’s fool proof dish! Once you know the basics, you can make all sorts of wonderful variations! I love to use pearl barley instead of risotto rice, for a nuttier, more nutritious meal.

http://www.marthastewart.com/343419/mushroom-risotto

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Just as with the Halloumi salad, I made sure there was some risotto left over for lunch the next day. Gourmet meals at my desk whilst everybody else chews on a sandwich from the shop next door. Life is great! Ha.

My after dinner snack was a microwaved bag of lightly salted popcorn from the wonderful company Graze. They are always there in my hour of need!

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Wednesday was the day I was most concerned about because I had arranged to meet a friend for dinner. From my experiences, vegetarian options when eating out are rubbish! If you don’t like goats cheese or mushrooms, you’re pretty much stuffed. As you have already gathered; I. Do. Not. Like. Goats Cheese *shudders* I do however love mushrooms, but the meals always use a mushroom as a meat substitute, which isn’t my idea of fun!

We went to the Old Hall in Sandbach, http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/oldhall/ and I was pleasantly surprised at their vegetarian options! There were still only 3 choices for main courses but at least they were offering something different. It had to be the tandoori halloumi salad for me though, as soon as I saw it; there was no other choice to be made.

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It was full of watercress, salad leaves, coconut, lime, mint and fresh pineapple. I loved every mouthful and the only downside for me was the preference of liking my halloumi grilled and not raw.

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I was naughty and had a Rhubarb and Blood Orange Pavolva. This looked like the best option for a low calorie dessert to take away the craving for something sweet. Meringue is always a great choice if you’re looking for that little something. It ended up being pure cream and sugary fruit, which tasted lovely but was perhaps a little to indulgent for me that evening!

Lunch Thursday was a jacket potato with cheese, beans and rocket lettuce. Can’t really go wrong with this staple!

My Veggie Lasagne definitely came out on top this week. The boy loved it and went back for more. That’s a result! Once again, I made the recipe up myself but I am more than happy to share it with you 🙂 Packed with butternut squash, mushrooms, sprinkle of cinnamon, mozzarella, carrots, ‘cheat cheese sauce’ and lots more! Really easy to make and it’s on the table in no time at all!

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I can’t eat lasagne without some crunchy salad to go with it and a slice of naughty garlic bread!

I’ll let you in on a little secret… my cheese sauce is just semi-skimmed milk with a little grated cheese, wholegrain mustard and then thickened up with cornflour. You can’t tell the difference between this and it’s full-fat counterpart! You feel like you’re eating something truly indulgent but it’s not going to stick to those hips!

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You’ve probably guessed the trend here… There was more than enough left over for a couple of lunches the next day. So we both had something delicious to heat up and tuck into.

And then this is where I failed… although I did have cheddar and broccoli soup which was delicious! I am planning on getting the recipe for this and making it over and over again! So once more, if you would like the recipe, please let me know. I sadly didn’t take a photo, so I can’t show you how wonderful it was!

Snack was cottage cheese and crackers.

Saturday was another halloumi day! I do like other cheeses! And there are other meals that I love too. It just so happened to be the only vegetarian choice on the comedy club menu. But it was a great combination of ingredients and flavours. Grilled halloumi, avocado, pomegranate, asparagus, mixed leaves, tomatoes and gherkins. You must try! I’ll be recreating this at home and will show you all the finished product. It was too dark for me to photograph the meal that evening! I followed it up by a naughty piece of chocolate cake. It was a birthday celebration after all… Would have been rude not to right?

I don’t normally eat out so much but this week happened to fall on our London trip! I will add some extra tried and tested recipes at the end of this blog for those of you looking to eat less meat J

Sunday dinner/lunch was a beautiful beetroot and sweet potato veggie burger with sweet potato fries. Usually, I would stay well away from the veggie burgers in restaurants and pubs because they tend to be deep fried and full of stodgy potato. On this occasion, I was starving after a long day spent walking, so I wanted something that would fill me up ready for the long journey back home from London. It was delicious. Baked and not greasy at all. There were so many flavours and the beetroot really came through. If you’re in Guildford, drop by the Britannia http://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/pubs/guildford/britannia#_=_ for some tasty pub grub.

After this week, I have a new found appreciation for vegetarians and vegans. Eating at home is amazing and there are so many choices. I cannot wait to try out some of the other recipes I discovered! But if you are out and about, the options are sparse or really boring. No I would not like a mushroom instead of the meat. I will just have a plate of vegetables then! And no, grating cheese on top of my vegetables does not count as a meal.

But if done correctly, some of the best food you will ever eat has no trace of meat. I’m not saying give it up. As I said before, I never will. But please consider your health, the health of the environment and animal welfare. Everybody can make a difference but just changing one little thing in their lives, or having one meat free day a week.

Love to you all! And if you’ve actually got this far, thank you for listening to my ramble!

I have a whole board dedicated to the wonderful fresh produce on offer to us. Go check it out J https://www.pinterest.com/lemonskitchen/meatless-wonders/

Some of the recipes I was going to make but never got round to doing so:

Red Lentils & Spinach in Masala Sauce

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Roasted Butternut Squash w/ Kale, Almond, Pecan & Parmesan

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Butternut Squash & Feta Falafel

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Enjoy J

Love and Lemons xxx