Mustard Pork Chops with Apple Slices

On Wednesdays I like to cook up something quick and easy but really tasty! It is that part of the week when you just want to either put your feet up and relax or get out and do something fun. So the mid-week meal series I will bring you, will have you enjoying your evenings without spending too much time cooking or cleaning!

Pork Chops are amazing, they cook quickly and take on flavours really well, for me apple, pork and mustard are a winning combination, they are my favourite sausages and this dish is even better because you really get the full flavours

Pork chops are a good meat choice because they are low in saturated fat but high in protein. A problem a lot of people have is that they find pork chops to be very dry, this is from over cooking them. I know we used to be told to fully cook pork but you should actually cook pork until it’s medium or even medium rare, it should to be juicy and pink inside, they are far more delicious this way.

I find the best way to cook them is to pan fry them for a few minutes on each side, then to put them in a pre heated oven and finally to tent them in your tin foil when you take them out, to gently finish cooking. By doing it this way you lock in  all the taste but keep them nice and moist.

I cooked the apples in the same pan I had fried the pork chops in, which picked up all those lovely flavours but if you would like it to look a little cleaner then you can (if you really want) fry them in a separate pan as then can pick up a few crispy flecks but otherwise get them in the same one!

This dish only takes about half an hour and it is a nice alternative to chicken, you can change-up the flavors, just have a go at some different marinades and cook them in the same way. My friend made some orange and ginger pork chops and they were very tasty, you could also try apple sauce and dairy free cheese, I bet they would be nice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pork Chop loins
  • 3 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (extra for frying)
  • 4 Sprigs of thyme (2 finely chopped)
  • ½ a  tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • ½ tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 apple cored and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of Dairy Free butter
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 400°f,  season a baking tray with olive oil, salt and pepper and 2 thyme sprigs. In a bowl mix together the mustard, oil, chopped thyme, minced garlic, cayenne pepper and season. Add the pork chops to the marinade and fully cover.

In a hot pan over a medium heat, pan fry for 3 minutes each side then place pork chops on the baking tray and put to one side.

Add sliced apples, butter, brown sugar and lemon juice to frying pan cook till light golden brown then spoon over the pork chops and place in the oven for 4-5 minutes.

Remove the pork chops from the oven and tent the tinfoil for  8 mins. Serve with boiled new potatoes and corn on the cob and enjoy.

BBQ Chicken Gluten Free Pizza

Here is my recipe for Gluten and Dairy Free pizza dough, it’s quick and easy to make, it is also much cheaper than buying the pre made ones.

It’s not really a mid-week meal because it does take a little longer than my usual ones but if you make this up on a weekend and freeze some dough, you could definitely use it as a midweek meal. This pizza base is lovely, its crisp on the bottom with a fluffy crust that can be stuffed with DF Cheese, you will love it.

What I like about pizza is that you can top it with any flavors that you fancy, you can have dairy-free cheese if you like but it would be just as tasty without. I did 2 pizzas they are so quick to whip up I did the second while the 1st was cooking.

I topped them with kale, tomatoes, bacon, BBQ Chicken, caramelized onions and Daiya Jack cheese. I did the BBQ chicken by grilling it then shredding it with a fork and stirring in Bulls eye BBQ sauce.

What I like about this dough is that you don’t need to give it time to rise, you just pop all of your ingredients in 1 bowl, mix it together and your done! Making the pizza sauce is also really simple!

Ingredients:

Makes 1 large pizza

Pizza Dough

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of tapioca flour
  • 2/3 cups brown rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons of glutinous (sweet) rice flour plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon of quick rising yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Pizza Sauce (enough for 2 pizzas)

  • 1 tin of tomato paste
  • Water (fill empty tomato paste tin with water)
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun Spice
  • salt and pepper

Toppings (double for 2 pizzas)

  •  BBQ Sauce
  • 1 Chicken Breast
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 3 kale leaves
  • daiya jack wedge
  • 1/2 box of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of earth balance buttery sticks
  • parsley

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°, place your chicken breast on the grill until fully cooked, whilst that is cooking in a small sauce pan over a medium-low heat, add all of the tomato paste ingredients together and blend with a fork, when fully combined remove from heat and put to one side.

Add together all of the ingredients for the pizza dough in a bowl, I put the liquids in 1st. With an electric whisker mix together for a minute or two, If the mixture starts to shoot outwards add a little more water until it forms a dough ball. Sprinkle your hands with sweet rice flour and remove the dough from the bowl, flour your rolling-pin and roll the dough until desired thickness is reached. I rolled it on my lined baking sheet so I didn’t have to move it again. Turn over the edges if you want to make a thick crust, you could also stuff with Daiya at this point

Cover the base with tomato paste then add your sliced peppers, kale and caramlized onions. To Caramelize the onions you cook the slices down over a medium low heat with 1/2 tablespoon of DF Butter and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar, it will take around 15 minutes (this is optional you can just use sliced onions but these work lovely with the BBQ sauce). For the BBQ Chicken to simply shred the cooked chicken with a fork then in a bowl add some bbq sauce until it looks like pulled pork and is moist, i used about 5 tablespoons. Finish by topping with the cherry tomatoes and bacon, place in the oven for 10 minutes.

While that is cooking grate about half of the daiya wedge, remove the pizza from the oven, top with grated daiya and place back in for another 10 minutes or untill the daiya begins to turn lightly golden and melted. Slice and serve and if like us you love it make yourself a second while you have all of the ingredients out and have the left overs at work the next day!

Great Under The Stairs Ideas

My soon to be sister in law posted this adorable play house idea picture recently and it got me thinking about other fun uses for that space under the stairs. I think Harry Potter gave it a bad rep but they are actually a really good place to get creative.

The Play House

And Another

A Powder Room

A homework Area

An Office

Wine Storage

A Library

I love this kitchen

Tea and Toast Area

A Dog House, I think the little one is the boss!

And here are some lovely storage ideas

Hope you liked them! 🙂

Quinoa with Jerk Turkey

On Wednesdays I like to cook up something quick and easy but really tasty! It is that part of the week when you just want to either put your feet up and relax or get out and do something fun. So the mid-week meal series I will bring you, will have you enjoying your evenings without spending too much time cooking or cleaning!

I am a big fan of Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) It’s unlike any other grain because it is a complete protein containing all 8 amino acids that our body needs. It is a very versatile, gluten-free food that can be eaten warm like rice or cold in salads, it can be used to make veggie burgers, ground into flour and pasta, it can even be cooked in almond milk like porridge. For vegetarians it is also a great option because of its high protein content, 1 cup has 9 grams compared to an egg which contains 6 grams.

If you thought brown rice was a good option you have to try quinoa, it has less carbs,  is higher in iron, calcium, fiber, protein and every other vitamin and mineral which it is packed full of! It also cooks much faster taking just 15 minutes, I like to cook it in chicken stock for added flavor.

You need to soak quinoa to get the best tasting end result or it can be slightly bitter, I just pop some in water in the morning and then it is ready to use when I get home but if you forget, soaking it for 10 minutes will do the same thing and you will end up with lovely fluffy quinoa that has a light nutty taste.

I added some chopped tomato, cucumber and spring onion to the Quinoa once it had finished cooking then topped it with Turkey cooked in PC Choice Jerk Sauce (you can use any marinade or sauce that you like) some Dairy Free Tzatziki that I had made up in the fridge and bean sprouts. It’s a great tasting dish that’s really quick to make and full of health benefits.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Quinoa (red or white)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cucumber sliced
  • 1 bunch of spring onions sliced
  • 3 large tomatoes cut into chunks
  • 2 turkey breasts, cubed
  • Dairy Free Tzatziki (Optional)
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Jerk Sauce

Directions

Drain the soaked Quinoa and add to a pan, cover with 2 cups of chicken stock, bring to the boil then reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for 15 mins. While the Quinoa is simmering cover your turkey with enough jerk sauce to coat it all, add to a frying pan, over a medium heat until cooked through, about 12 minutes.

When the Quinoa has finished simmering remove from heat and allow to sit covered for 5 minutes. Add in the other vegetables and scoop into a bowl, top with Turkey, two tablespoons of Tzatziki and a few bean sprouts. Serve and enjoy!

Soothing Heat Pad

It was my good friend Avey’s birthday recently, I decided to make her a soothing heat pad because she suffers from terrible migraines, I wanted to make one long enough so she could wrap around the base of her neck/shoulders.

I love heat pads they are great for relieving muscle pain, cramps, headaches or just for keeping you toasty in winter! I fell in love with this retro Wizard of Oz material while I was out shopping with my aunt, so I decided to brush up on my sewing as Ave loves hand-made gifts.

They are a fun, easy project and you can use essential oils to give them any kind of smell you like, I used peppermint because that is her favorite but lavender would be nice and relaxing.

You can also use different fillers, I used organic flax seeds which gave it a nice weight and smoothness. Because the flax has a high oil content it is also supposed to be less of a fire hazard when heating. You could also use rice (not the par boiled kind) which is cheaper or any kind of dried bean.

I put the flax-seed in batches into a zip lock bag and added in drops of the peppermint oil and gave it a good shake then poured it into the pad. I used about 1200 grams of flax but you could make your heat pad smaller than the one I did.

What you will need:

  • 22″ x 16″ piece of fabric
  • 1200 grams of organic flax-seed (or rice)
  • peppermint essential oil

Directions

  • Cut your fabric to size then fold in half lengthways, inside out.
  • Secure three of the sides with pins.
  • Use a sewing machine or hand stitch the 3 sides.
  • Pour the flax seeds into a zip lock bag and add a few drops of essential oil untill fragrant, you will need to do this in batches to cover all of the seeds.
  • Pull the material through the hole so it is now the right side out
  • Pour the seeds into the hole until it is between 1/2 and 3/4 full. You don’t want to fill it all the way or it won’t sit comfortably over you.
  • Stitch the final side closed then add a few drops of peppermint to the outside of your heat pad and your done.
  • Always keep an eye on the pad when you heat it as they can be a fire hazard and should only take 1 – 2 mins in the microwave to get nice and hot.

Kale Chips

If you haven’t tried Kale chips you have to give them a go! I picked mine from my mums garden, she grows lots of lovely veggies! You can find it in the grocery store near the leafy greens. You can also use kale in salads or steam it with other veggies it has a great natural flavour. 

 When I was young we used to get crispy seaweed at our local Chinese restaurant which i think was just deep-fried cabbage, this reminded me of that but much nicer and it’s far healthier. Although it might not look like it they actually are really tasty and a great substitute for crisps (potato chips)

Chris was skeptical when he saw me picking it and telling him how addictive they are but after trying them he loved it and we make them quite a bit now as a good naughty tasting, healthy snack.

Kale has more iron than red meat and more calcium per calorie than milk, it is very high in fiber, a great anti inflammatory and full of vitamins and minerals. It also fights 5 types of cancer, ovarian, breast, colon, bladder and prostate.

So if you haven’t tried it, it’s definitely a vegetable that you should try to include in your diet and Kale Chips I think are the tastiest way to have it, so the next time you are craving crisps or something a little salty give them a go.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tablespoon of Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Cajun Spice or seasoning of your choice

Directions:

Pre heat your oven to 325°F, Wash the kale thoroughly with cold water then pat dry with kitchen roll. Remove the rib of the kale with a knife then tear into large pieces. Place the kale in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and toss untill fully coated. Spread out on a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil then sprinkle with Cajun spice (you can use any flavor you like, herbs, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika anything that takes your fancy)  Place in the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 15 minutes of until the kale is crispy but not burnt. Pop in a bowl and watch them disappear!

Teriyaki Chicken with Egg Fried Rice

On Wednesdays I like to cook up something quick and easy but really tasty! It is that part of the week when you just want to either put your feet up and relax or get out and do something fun. So the mid-week meal series I will bring you, will have you enjoying your evenings without spending too much time cooking or cleaning!

This dish is nice and easy, you can use bottled teriyaki sauce as long as it is gluten-free or you can make up a batch which only takes a few mins and it tastes amazing. You can also jar the rest for next time, it’s tasty, cheap and preservative free.

The egg fried rice is quick and easy, I was having some brown rice with a curry on Monday so I just made extra and kept it in the fridge for this dish. You can also add extra veggies, chicken or prawns to the egg rice recipe if you wanted to have that as a main dish sometime.

Bok Choy is a favourite of mine, it is beneficial for preventing endometrial cancer along with prostate, lung and colon as well as being very high in vitamins and minerals. It steams very quickly, I just drizzled it in a little sesame oil and it was lovely.

I like my veggies with a bit of crunch because then they keeps most of their health benefits and I don’t like them mushy. I used Broccoli, green peppers and courgettes, I think sugar snap peas would be nice as well.

The trick for egg fried rice is to make a space in your pan and pour your egg in a little at a time and scramble it then mix it into your rice and continue. If you pour it over your rice it just coats it and makes it quite sticky.

This is really tasty and knocks the socks off any kind of teriyaki take out that I’ve had and its very versatile, you can switch up the protein and veggies to keep it interesting, it’s a great mid-week staple.

Serves 3

Ingredients:

Teriyaki Sauce

I adapted this from here

  • 1/4 cup of gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 5 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of cold water

Teriyaki Chicken

  • 3 chicken breasts sliced
  • 1 broccoli head
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1.5 cups of teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil

Egg Fried Rice:

  • 2 cups of cold cooked brown rice
  • 1 bunch of green onion (spring onions) sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of gluten-free soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs whisked
  • Bok Choy
  • Sesame oil

Directions:

Teriyaki Sauce

In a pan heat all of your ingredients except the 1/4 cup of cold water and cornstarch. When it turns in to a smooth liquid mix together the cold water and cornstarch in a jug then add to your mixture. Bring to the boil then simmer for 5 mins.

Teriyaki Chicken and Egg Fried Rice

Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to a pan then over a medium heat seal your sliced chicken, add in your onions drizzle over some of the teriyaki sauce to coat everything then lightly brown the chicken. Add in the other vegetables and enough sauce to generously cover everything and allow to simmer for around 7 mins.

While that is simmering away add two tablespoons of sesame oil to a frying pan, when hot add the cold rice and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the soy sauce, onions and spices and give it a good stir. Make a space in the pan and add a couple of tablespoons of egg and scramble, when firm add to the rice and continue untill it is all cooked. Give the rice a stir and remove from the heat.

In a small pan over a medium heat add the washed bok choy and a drizzle of sesame oil. cover and allow to steam for 4 minutes. Give your Teriyaki chicken a stir add in the remaining sauce if you like and allow to simmer for a couple more minutes then serve. Hope you enjoy!