The Week Of The Month Before It Gets Crazy

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I know, that’s a long title. Every year around halfway through December is when everything kicks into overdrive for my family and my mum (used to) nearly die of stress. We would have my sisters and brothers birthdays just before Christmas, two days apart and of course no way were they celebrating together. Then two (or sometimes three) days of Christmas parties and then New Years. By January we were exhausted. This got better as we got older, but November is still a bit of a restless month. It feels like a run-up to something, a quiet before the storm. I feel myself gearing up for the holidays as well, trying to cook a little healthier so I lose some weight before throwing myself into the festivities (because let’s face it, no one can resist all that food) and come out the other side fat(ter). Luckily this doesn’t mean salads all week, but rather balanced, carb-light food. 

cottage pie with scarfMonday I started off with some leftover cottage pie. I had to photograph it for the blog post on Tuesday, so I’d made it over the weekend. I had some left in the fridge. That’s one of the beauties of a recipe like this. The flavours mingle so that it’s even better the next day. If you did want to make this far in advance you could, just freeze the pie before you put it in the oven and simply finish baking it whenever you’re ready for it. I finished cooking it completely because I knew I was going to eat it in the next two days anyway. I warmed it up in the oven and had my whole night to do other things (ahem, bing watch Gilmore Girls (again)).

chicken burritosTuesday I made chicken wraps. Because not being able to eat cheese should never stop anyone from eating wraps. I took 2 chicken breasts, 1 ENORMOUS paprika (so if you live in a country where the paprika’s are normal sized, you might want to go with two), 1 red onion, guacamole, burrito spice mix (check ingredients), 200 grams of corn and 6 small whole wheat tortillas. The chicken, paprika and onion were covered in burrito spice mix, then I added some guacamole over the top of the chicken and baked it at 180C for about 25 minutes. I cut everything into small pieces, tossed it with the corn and divided it over the wraps. Me and my flatmate had 2 each for dinner and 1 for lunch the next day. Meal prep is the best. Especially because we had to have these on-the-go for both days.

That place in Santa CruzWednesday we were working late and grabbed dinner at a little place in Santa Cruz. But guys … guys … this place … it was AWESOME. It’s the smallest little bar, tucked away in a side street, all the cooking is done right in front of your eyes, they’ll know exactly what goes into the food so it wasn’t a problem that I couldn’t have dairy. They don’t even have menus, the girls behind the counter/in the kitchen ARE the menu. We had a steak with a tomato. I know that doesn’t sound so special, but this steak, man. It was cooked perfectly, salted to perfection and topped with seared rosemary. The slightly burned rosemary taste travelled down into the meat and it was just one perfect bite after another. I was also incredibly hungry, so that may have helped. Anyway the food was long gone before I realised I should have taken pictures (eternal shame on me as a food blogger, I really need to get better at that). I do have a photo of the bar/kitchen area that we could see sitting at the counter.

Thursday I made some more quiche. The puff pastry here comes in two perfect quiche sized units, so I tend to just make quiche two weeks in a row. I had bought some cherry tomatoes for it, and I used leftover bacon bits. Very simple, but very tasty. So you’ll want to get 1 puff pastry sheet, about 200 gr of cherry tomatoes, 125 gr of bacon bits, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic and 4 eggs. You fry up your bacon until it reaches your preferred crispiness (for me that would be all but burn them into oblivion). Sautee your onion and garlic together. Beat up your eggs, add some dille or oregano and some salt and pepper. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half. Arrange half the tomatoes over the bottom of the pie dish, divide the bacon and onions over the top, pour over your eggs, then spread the other half of the tomatoes over the top. This all goes in the oven at 180C for around 45 minutes. Et voila, another easy peasy meal.

Today I’ll be making these stuffed courgettes. I haven’t been able to find dairy free pesto anymore, so I’ll be using tomato frito instead. I expect it’ll come out tasty anyway, but I’ll let you know how it went!

For the weekend I’m thinking about lots of grilled veggies, maybe a salad or a soup. There’s a farmers market not far from here that I found out about recently, so I’ll be visiting that for sure!

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