Honestly Healthy 3 Day Cleanse

You will have seen in a previous blog that I have become a huge fan of Natasha Corrett and her way of thinking about food. She has inspired me to research into the Alkaline Diet and the lifestyle that comes with it. There is a link further down from the Telegraph about the Cleanse 🙂

I can’t claim that you’ll be a convert and live a beautifully healthy life with ease, but I know for me, Natasha has encouraged me and helped me tackle my relationship with food.

For a couple of years now, feeling bloated and in pain has become a regular occurrence after eating. I’m left feeling tired and drained of energy. Because of this though, I have read up a lot on different ‘diets’ and lifestyles, tested many recipes and developed my love of food. I am even doing short courses in diet and nutrition, and sports nutrition. I’ve adapted my lifestyle and eat a lot healthier, as well as exercise regularly. I have felt an improvement in my energy levels and the way I generally feel but my bloating and occasional pain has stayed to haunt me.

Keeping a food diary was my wake up call. It’s clear that I have a sensitive stomach and I needed to see what foods I consumed frequently. I knew that most of the things I ate were healthy, but I didn’t quite realise that the majority of my intake was carb and dairy related. The obvious conclusion was to eat more plant based food! Everything I make is from scratch using fresh ingredients, but half of my plate would be full of white rice, pasta or potatoes. Just being aware of this and reducing the portion sizes of these has made a massive difference. I feel much better now that white bread/pasta/rice has been swapped to wholemeal and takes up less space on my plate. And I LOVE sweet potato! Why had I not been eating this before!

When I came across Natasha Corrett, I bought her book straight away. The recipes were accessible, easy and delicious! She showed me that it doesn’t have to be a challenge to get more plant based produce into my daily life. I didn’t have to eliminate anything from my diet. I just had to swap the ratios around. For those that know me, you’ve seen the amount I can stack away sometimes! Never ending pit…

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This brings me onto the reason for this blog in the first place… The Honestly Healthy Cleanse.

3 days of soups, smoothies, and juices. When I saw this, I instantly told myself that it wouldn’t happen. There’s no way I could live off liquid for 3 days! My desire to constantly eat would take over and I wouldn’t get to the end. But after reading a little more on the reasons for doing a ‘cleanse’ and the benefits, I decided to give it a go. The boost of nutrients nourishing my body would help improve my skin, my hair, give me a glow, help get rid of water retention, reduce bloating, increase my energy… oh the list goes on. There wasn’t a reason I could think of not to do it! It’s only 3 days… how hard can that be! I drink a smoothie for my breakfast every morning already. I eat soup as well (might be accompanied by a big slab of buttered bread… but that’s not the point ha!)

I did have to make sure I prepared everything a day in advance because there wasn’t enough time first thing in the morning before work to start chopping veg for a smoothie. They tasted just as good kept in the fridge overnight until ready to drink.

Give this a read and see what you think 🙂 There are recipes attached too! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11307754/Cleanse-your-body-with-the-alkaline-diet.html

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If I said it’s been plain sailing, I’d be lying. I found it tough at first. Not because I was hungry, but because I felt as though I needed to physically chew something. I haven’t felt hungry once! That was my biggest fear. I’ve even had to skip a few of the mid-afternoon snacks because I just couldn’t manage anymore liquid! Everything I’ve tasted has been delicious too! In the day, I never gave my soups and smoothies a second thought, but when it came to the evenings, I struggled. The other half would make himself dinner and sit next to me whilst I was slurping my soup. The smell from his food would send me insane! But I got through it because I knew how proud I’d feel that I had accomplished the Cleanse and I was looking forward to seeing what a difference it made. In all honesty, I never craved junk food once. What I really looked forward to was the act of chewing and a variety of flavours in one meal instead of your whole meal tasting the same.

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On the first day I felt a little irritable because I was battling with myself. Half of me wanted to give up and admit defeat. I tried to tell myself that I didn’t need to do it and it was pointless. But the other half of me was really intrigued as to whether there would be any benefits. My curiosity won! Thankfully!

It became a little easier on the second day as I was trying soups I’d never had before. Discovering new flavour combinations is wonderful! I was also very surprised at how full I felt! I had to skip the mid-morning juice and ended up having the mid-afternoon smoothie for my evening meal instead of the soup I’d planned to have originally. I can normally consume a fair amount of food! So this was a shock because I didn’t actually want or need anything else. Sitting and watching cookery programmes and reading through my new cookery books was a breeze too! I may have starred longingly at a few of the photos (particularly Jamie’s Everyday Superfood Mushroom Curry *drools*), but it never once made me feel like faltering. I went to bed tired and with a headache but feeling good.

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As I never managed to finish all of the allocated soups and smoothies the previous day, I skipped making the mid-afternoon smoothie as I knew I wouldn’t need it. I was correct. Thick blended soups really do keep you full! Good job really! I’d be making claw marks on my desk with my fingernails by now if not! I couldn’t get hold of any gluten-free oats for my breakfast smoothie, so I unfortunately had to use regular ones (does this mean I failed?). As mushrooms are one of my favourite foods, I was actually really looking forward to tucking into a big bowl of mushroom soup for my dinner and curling up on the sofa to watch the Great British Bake Off final! Not to mention the excitement at being able to eat solid food the day after! The mushroom soup isn’t on the Cleanse but I stuck to the Alkaline way of eating and created it to replace some of the suggestions Natasha makes. I can’t say I’m a fan of Cauliflower, although mixed with Pink Peppercorns, it does sound delicious (Page 38). Maybe I’ll give it a try next time!

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I made the decision to carry on with the soups and smoothies for breakfast and lunch Thursday and Friday. Each soup I cooked made 2 portions so I wanted to make sure they didn’t go to waste J And as I already drink smoothies for my breakfast, I just chose some more from the Honestly Healthy Cleanse book. The 1 of the solid evening meals I chose was adapted from from the Cleanse. I savoured every single mouthful! Nutritious and delicious!

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What you really want to know is whether I felt a benefit to all of this…. And the answer is yes! I feel great! I’ve had a few comments on how good my skin looks and that I have an added bounce in my step. The few spots I had form being run down have faded and I’ve even lost a few inches! What’s not to like! But the main reason for the Cleanse was to give my stomach a rest from constantly digesting solid food and it has really helped. I haven’t felt bloated once and haven’t needed to undo that top button of my trousers after every meal! Just consuming liquid isn’t something I can do on a regular basis (and I don’t suggest anybody else does either), but every couple of months, I believe this is a great way to ‘Cleanse’ and put yourself back on the right track; with your mind as well as your body. Natasha recommends this cleanse of a weekend so you are relaxed and can focus your energy into really looking after yourself. It’s a great idea! I went to work every day and this made it harder because sometimes when you are having a stressful day at work, you don’t want liquidised kale! It just doesn’t cut it! My will power and determination stuck with me though and I’m glad 🙂

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There were certain ingredients that I couldn’t get hold of, so these were either substituted or left out altogether. Unfortunately, living in Stoke doesn’t lend itself to ‘exotic’ powders and ingredients! *dreams of big city life* They can all be ordered online with forward planning though! I did however take a sachet of pro-biotic everyday alongside the Cleanse. You’ll often see yoghurts with this as an added ingredient. It is a good bacteria that helps give the digestive system a boost and aids a healthy gut. I found it to really help and will continue to take every couple of months to make sure everything is working the way it should. If you’ve got IBS, taking this could really help reduce your symptoms (alongside a healthy diet of course).

Let me know if you decide to give any of the Cleanses in the book a go! I would love to hear from you! I’ll be following these as a guide throughout my food journey and discovery and I hope they help many others just like me to realise how easy it can be to really look after yourself no matter what your circumstance, budget, reason, lifestyle.

Love and Lemons xxx

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My Week – No Caffine/Solid Food (3days)/Alcohol/Dairy/Wheat or Gluten/Meat/Sugar/Processed Food

Day 1:

– Breakfast: Green Smoothie (Page 31)
– Mid-Morning: Red Juice (I don’t own a juicer so bought a pure red juice from supermarket)
– Lunch: Carrot + Coriander Soup (Adapted from Page 41 Carrot + Lime Soup)
– Mid-Afternoon: Avocado Smoothie (Page 57)
– Dinner: Spicy Butternut Squash Soup (My own, message me for recipe)

Day 2:

– Breakfast: Carrot + Tumeric Smoothie (Page 31, Acquired taste!)
– Lunch: Yesterdays leftover Butternut Squash Soup
– Dinner: Chia Green Smoothie (Page 33, Really good!)

Day 3:

– Breakfast: Kale & Oat Smoothie (Page 56, Swapped Spirulina for Matcha Powder)
– Mid-Morning: Green Juice (Shop Bought, pure)
– Lunch: Broccoli, Celery & Dill Soup (Page 42, Delicious! Chop Dill up finely unless you want it wrapped around your blender!)
– Mid-Afternoon: Fig & Almond Milk Smoothie (My own, message me for recipe)
– Dinner: Mushroom & Hazelnut Soup (My own, message me for the recipe)

Day 4:

– Breakfast: Beetroot & Blueberry Smoothie (Page 56, used shop bought red juice instead of beetroot)
– Lunch: Yesterdays leftover Mushroom Soup
– Dinner: Garlic, Kale & Spinach w/ Poached Eggs (My own, message me for the recipe)

Day 5:

– Breakfast: Beetroot & Blueberry Smoothie (Page 56)
– Mid-Afternoon: Peppermint Tea
– Lunch: Leftover Broccoli, Celery & Dill Soup (Piece of seeded toast w/ coconut oil)
– Dinner: Sweet Potato & Fennel Seed Rosti w/ Baked Eggs (Adapted from Page 110)

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Chicken Skewers w/ Yellow Pepper Sauce & Quinoa

Most of us have been in that situation where we’ve come home after a session at the gym, or stumbled through the front door after that long run, but then make the wrong food choice for dinner; such as cheddar cheese on toast (because oh! I really can’t be bothered to cook, just give me something quick!). I used to fall foul of this a lot, especially in the mornings after my workout before heading to the office. I’d grab some toast on the way to work or tuck into a huge bowl of pasta for my dinner!

Doing a little research and following my nutritional studies, I began to realise how important these post-workout meals were. I now make sure I have the right choices in the house whether I am rushing to work or spending the evening preparing a feast. Keep a stock of homemade or good quality oat, seed and nut bars for breakfast! Think ahead and make smoothies to store in the fridge. They are a great on-the-go breakfast asked full of protein, vitamins and minerals to help repair those aching muscles.

The blog isn’t all about this way of thinking though so I won’t bore you anymore! But I will post a Blog somewhere along the line about good and bad food choices, so stay tuned if you’re interested! Or drop me a message if you’d like to discuss more.

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What did I come here for today? CHICKEN SKEWERS… That’s what! A brilliant quick and easy meal jam packed with nutrients to help heal muscles and refuel your body full of energy. Just look at some of those ingredients above. Can you feel the health?!

Chicken is a great source of protein and a brilliantly lean meat if you are looking to keep the calories down. It’s so versatile and can be used in virtually every recipe! In this particular instance, I chose to grill the skewers for quickness (and because my skillet isn’t long enough!), but if it’s a lovely summer’s evening… Get in the garden and fire up the BBQ, invite some friends around and have a feast fit for a king!

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As you can see, my creation doesn’t quite look like Jamie’s in the book above, but that doesn’t matter! Adaptation and variation are what lead to new creations and wonderful adventures in the kitchen! I do have to admit though, I’m not sure how Jamie managed to get his sauce so yellow! That’s impressive! Don’t let your pepper char….

In my last Blog, I mentioned Jamie Oliver’s new book ‘Everyday Superfood’, and this is a recipe plucked straight from there. First one I’ve made and I cannot wait to make some more! Fear not Vegetarians! There are some amazing meat-free options to choose from. The Mighty Mushroom Curry with Red Lentils, Brown Rice and Poppadoms will be on my dinner table next week without fail! I’ve only just eaten and my stomach is grumbling for more.

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If you have never eaten quinoa before, let me just tell you how good it is for your body! It has all the essential amino acids that we need making it very high in protein. Naturally gluten-free. Magnesium. Good for your metabolic health. Bursting with antioxidants… Do I need to go on? Even if you don’t fully understand what all of these do, you can just tell they are working wonders with every mouthful.

It can taste quite bland if just eaten on its own, so mixing it in a salad or accompanying it with other flavour packed ingredients is recommended. In this instance, I rubbed the mould (ramekin) in truffle rapeseed oil and then pressed in the quinoa. The tiny seeds/grains soaked up the oil and scented the plate beautifully. This little addition took the dish to a whole new level. I went from amateur cook to gourmet chef in seconds!

Are you ready to nourish that body and get those tastebuds tickled?

RECIPE (Exclusive!)
Serves 2
40 mins

  • 150g regular,  black or red quinoa (I used regular as it’s more widely available)
  • 1 fresh yellow or red chilli (I used red)
  • 2 yellow peppers (I used 3 small)
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 glove of garlic
  • 2 tbsps cider vinegar
  • olive oil (I used rapeseed)
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 sprigs of fresh coriander
  • natural yoghurt; optional (I didn’t use)
  • truffle oil (my optional extra)

Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, then drain.

Dressed the chilli and peppers, quarter the peppers, and put both into a shallow 25cm pan on a medium heat.

Trim the spring onions and add the whites to the pan (reserving the green tops). Peel, slice and add the garlic, along with the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of oil and a good splash of water.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until soft and sweet, stirring occasionally. Decant the contents of the pan into a blender, blitz until smooth, then season to perfection.

You can cook your skewers in a hot non-stick frying pan, griddle pan or even under the grill at full whack. Slice the chicken lengthways into 2cm strips, and chop the greens of the spring onions into 2cm chunks.

Checking that your skewers will fit inside your frying, griddle or grill pan, divide up the chicken and spring onions, weaving the chicken around the onions.

Strip the thyme leaves over the skewers, lightly season, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of oil and rub all over, then cook for around 8 minutes, or until the chicken is golden, charred and cooked through.

Meanwhile, peal and slice the avocado.

Pack half the quinoa into a small oil-rubbed bowl (this is where I used my truffle oil), the turn out onto a plate and repeat.

Divide the yellow pepper sauce, sliced avocado, coriander leaves and chicken between your plates, then tuck in.

This is delicious with a dollop of yoghurt on the side too, if you like.

CALORIES – 549kcal
FAT – 19.8g
SAT FAT – 3.3g
PROTEIN – 42.4g (Yes… Check that out! 46g per day is recommended for the average women)
CARBS – 53.5g
SUGAR – 14.6g
FIBRE – 4.3g

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Now you’ve had a sneak peak into Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Superfood, get  purchasing. You won’t regret it if you’re looking to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

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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Green Super Smoothie

I haven’t posted for nearly two weeks due to being so busy! Why does life have to get in the way of sharing beautiful food with my wonderful followers?

I have some exciting posts to come, but for now as a little thirst quencher, let me introduce you to my utterly delicious on-the-go superfood smoothie. I created this one morning after a home workout, so I could drink it in the car on the way to work. It’s definitely my go to smoothie now when I want a boost first thing in the morning, or I feel like having a smoothie for lunch. It can be made in advance too so even more time is saved! Make the night before and put in the fridge for a quick fix the day after, or it can be frozen for up to 6 weeks in the freezer. You know what this means… MEGA SMOOTHIE BATCH MAKING for the ultimate laziness.

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I don’t usually weigh out many of the ingredients (apart from a couple) and just put in the quantity I feel like at the time. So you can adjust to your own preferences. My blender is the perfect cup size so I know stuffing that full to the brim with goodness is the right amount to make a perfect sized cup.

Ingredients: (Makes 1)
– Half a banana
– 1 Kiwi
– 1 tbsp. of peanut butter (no palm oil)
– 1-2 tsps. grated fresh ginger
– Handfuls of spinach
– Juice of half a lemon
– 1 Cup of coconut milk
– Half a cup of water (this can be adjusted depending on your preferable consistency and volume)
– Sprinkle of chia and sunflower seeds

Add to blender in this order, whizz and enjoy.

Happy slurping!

Love & 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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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

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