Crackerbread Challenge – Super Healthy and Easy Bruschetta

Crackerbread Bruschetta

I have a new food obsession.  Ryvita Crackerbread.  (I’m sure there must be other brands out there, too).

Now I know what you’re thinking.  ‘How boring.  The gloomy dieter’s resort.  Cardboard.’

I beg to differ.

These things are so versatile; so low in calories, sat fats or well, anything, that you can really pile them up without feeling too guilty.  You can have them savoury or sweet; use them to dip into sauces and soups… it goes on.

So I have decided to come up with as many healthy dishes using Crackerbreads as possible.  They don’t need to be boring.  Soft cheese is NOT your only topping option.  I promise.

So here goes with my first healthy, delicious Crackerbread Creation.

Serves 1


3 Crackerbreads

1 1/2 salad tomatoes or 4-5 cherry tomatoes

1 large iceberg lettuce leaf

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp dried basil (or a sprig of fresh Basil, chopped, if you have it)

1tsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp garlic paste

Salt and ground black pepper


Chop the tomatoes into small chunks. Crackerbread Bruschetta Mix In a large cup or small bowl, combine the ingredients (except Crackerbreads and lettuce) and stir well.  (It might be worth making a few portions at once – this mixture keeps well in a tupperware container in the fridge – around 3 days).

Tear the lettuce and split between Crackerbreads. Now put the bruschetta mixture on top.



Feel good about how healthy you are being.


Let me know your thoughts if you try this, or any variations you might have.


A Big Lifestyle Change

I know, I know.  It’s been a really long time.

But it’s been a really busy, stressful time too.

When I began this blog I was happily engaged to the love of my life, living in a beautiful modern flat in the leafy suburbs, and steadily working my way through my degree.

But then we split up.

For various reasons, G and I just weren’t working anymore.  So we agreed to split, but to keep the flat for a while whist we both sorted ourselves out and looked for other accommodation.  But break ups are never simple – especially when you’re living together.  (Oh, and when you have a dissertation to worry about, too).

For several months we continued to live together in our beautiful home.  It was easier that way because it allowed me time to focus on my degree and gave him time to settle into his new promotion at work.

It acually went quite well to begin with.  That is, until he moved his new girlfriend in.

I won’t go into detail about how hard it was.  But it was.  And everything I enjoyed doing, including writing this blog, came to a standstill.  I was too broken to even think about writing.

By some miracle, the new girlfriend and I came to be quite civil with each other after a month or so of awkwardness, and I actually valued her company as a friend – she had done a degree before, and knew what I was going through with dissertation stress.  I also made a few other friends in the block who helped to keep me sane.

But relations with G broke down big time.  He couldn’t handle my friendship with his girlfriend, and got very bitter and angry all the time.  Mostly it was directed at me, but unfortunately she had to put up with it too sometimes.

In the end, the time came to move out.  Thanks to his untamed spending when we were together, I had been left with a fairly substantial debt that meant I would struggle to find my own space – especially as I was still a student and living off of a student loan.

But my new friends came to the rescue.  I spent a small amount of time on the sofa of one girl’s flat, but after we experienced a quite horrific break-in, I was homeless again.  Luck shone on me for a change though, and I am currently flat-sitting for my friend Charles for three months, as he is away travelling.  After this, well…God knows, but I try to remain hopeful that I’ll find employment soon (I got my degree last week – a 2:1 MA Hons. and I couldn’t be happier considering what I went through in those last few months).  My hope is to find a job and move into somewhere of my own, or at least be able to flatshare.

Now then, back to the good stuff.  I have been fairly healthy recently; mostly because I’ve had to be so thrifty, and that means cooking, rather than eating processed stuff or going out.  I also have a gym membership that lasts until September and I plan to swim as often as possible.

My current healthy eating obsession is Ryvita Crackerbread – I hope to write a post with some new and interesting toppings soon.

Just as my life has, this blog will see a few changes too.  I no longer want to focus solely on healthy eating and fitness; I want it to follow my entire journey to becoming a happier, healthier and more successful individual.  This means that there might be some posts about subjects such as job hunting, days out/activities with friends, beauty and fashion, habits and so on.  I want to try new things and push my own boundaries.  I hope that all of these posts will still be relevant to my readers who are trying to make lifestyle changes for the better too, and hopefully I’ll inspire a few of you along the way.

Please leave me a comment if you have any thoughts at all; I used to love reading them and I think it will really encourage me on my journey if I interact with others who are looking to make similar improvements.

All the best!xxx

GoodGirl and the Three Bears, or Tips About Portion Size

* We are not actually bears. Also, Grant is not overweight, as his bear might suggest. I just needed to demonstrate a height and weight difference. And I draw badly.

Here is a short story with a nutritional message, about human (no, sorry, MY) stupidity.  Also, check out the portion-size tips below!

Once upon a time, Chani was cooking a delicious meal for her fiancé (well, he said it was delicious!)  She had measured out all of the ingredients for two servings, cooked them, and then served them up.  Just as she usually did when it was her turn to cook.  Grant did the same.

Chani and Grant ate the food. Yummy.

This carried on for several years.

Then Chani noticed that she had put on a little weight, and was getting a little bit wobbly around the seams.  And then one day, during the usual meal preparation, Chani realised something really, really obvious.

As a student she had always made a Chani-sized portion because she was only feeding herself.  Now she was serving a portion that would fill up Grant, and having the same for herself.  In other words, Chani was eating way too much – more than was required for her height, weight and activity levels.

The end.

But not any more.

It really amazes me that neither of us managed to notice this mistake earlier.  It also amazes me that I never once, whilst this was going on, felt too full.  But I suppose that just goes to show how the mind can play tricks on you about how hungry you are.

I came to wonder that perhaps other people out there were making the same mistake – people who were trying to eat healthily, but were innocently getting their portion size all wrong.

Here’s where I think the problem comes from: As children we are taught to share, and to share equally with our friends, siblings etc.  At work, as a chef, Grant has to make sure that all dishes that he serves up are the same size, because one customer pays the same as the next.  In supermarkets, ready-meals are designed for either one, two or four people.

This might seem fair in some ways, but what it fails to take into account is our individual needs.  Grant is a good 3 stones heavier than I.  Our portions fill him up, but they must be over-feeding me.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this story in case it helps any of you out, especially those of you who cook for more than just one mouth at a time.  It’s worth stepping back after you’ve served up your food to see if your portion sizes really match up to your nutritional goals and needs.

We all know the one about using smaller plates, but in case you don’t want to have to do a complete crockery overhaul, here are some other ways to fix your portion size:

1.  Count your calories.  Using an app such as MyFitnessPal, you can work out your individual calorie allowance based on your height, weight, and activity levels.  Then you can scan or add in the food you eat as you go.  In the evening, the amount of calories you have left can determine your portion size at dinner (providing you can measure it in terms of calories (actually, you can do this on the app)).  Using these apps can be quite time-consuming to begin with, but I have to say that in the few months when I used MyFitnessPal (available on iTunes), I only exceeded my intake once or twice.  It really does work!  Also, after a while, you get to realise what a healthy sized portion looks like for you and don’t really need the app anymore.

2. Take a half-portion of what you would usually have.  Wait 20 minutes.  If you’re still hungry, help yourself to a little more, and so on.  Apparently it takes our body around 20 minutes after actually being full to register in your brain as being so.  So, if you don’t feel hungry after 20, you’re full.

3.  Always drink a glass of water with (or just before) your meal.  Quite often, feelings of hunger are actually misplaced feelings of thirst.  Combine a glass of water with a reduced portion size and see if you don’t feel great after you’re finished.

4.  Don’t use waste as an excuse.  If you’re full up, stop.  Yes, it’s horrible to see food go in the bin, but it’s also horrible when you’ve been slaving away in the gym, only to waste all that effort by eating too much.  There is nothing wrong with putting uneaten food back in the fridge (best before guidelines applicable).  Many restaurants offer ‘doggy bags’ – so why not do the same at home?

5.  Eat what you love.  Beware of cutting out food groups or certain meals.  This method of dieting is unhealthy and destined for failure.  If you want to eat something ‘naughty’, go ahead, so long as you have a reasonable portion size (and don’t do this all the time).  Making sure you enjoy your food, mouthful by mouthful, is very important for feeling satisfied with your portion size.  Take time to savour every mouthful.

6.  In some restaurants, e.g. Jamie’s Italian in Glasgow centre, you can ask for a small portion (there are separate prices on the menu).  We go here sometimes if we’ve been in town shopping and until lately I didn’t realise this.  When I did, I ordered the small portion of ‘Scallop and Squid Ink Angel Hair’ (my favourite) instead.   And it filled me up, just the same.  Magic! (Jamie’s Italian can be found in several major UK cities – I’d highly reccomment it).

Have any more portion tips?  Comment to share!

Healthy Recipe of the Week: Courgette (Zucchini) Cous-Cous

A hearty, healthy snack

Apologies if the picture is a bit messy.  This is my second helping in the same bowl, so the sides look a bit smeary.  But it was just so damned good, even if I say so myself.  It might be something about using a little milk – it just seems to make it more wholesome and satisfying.



75g plain cous-cous

100ml skimmed milk (or half milk, half water)

1/2 courgette (zucchini) sliced thinly, then cut each slice into quarters.

a few cherry tomatoes, sliced

squeeze lime juice

1 tbsp tomato puree

Herbs:  1tbsp chopped coriander, 1/2 tsp each of parsley, oregano and basil.  Fresh is best but dried will be just fine.


a little oil


1. Fry off the courgette lightly in the oil.  You really don’t need much; just enough to stop it sticking.  Set the fried courgette aside.

2. Using the same pan as before (always thinking of ways to avoid washing up) heat the milk until almost boiling.  Turn off the heat, stir in the cous-cous and leave for around 5 minutes to soak.

3. Mix in the other ingredients and heat gently for 2 minutes.  Serve and enjoy.

This is so yummy, and it’s a great change for when you’re getting bored of pasta.  As with my other recipes, there’s so many variations that you could try, but this version makes a lovely seasonal meal.  I was so happy because I got to use the first of our tomatoes from the patio!  So much tastier than the ones in the supermarket.  A lot less acidic.  Oh, and pesticide free.  Bonus points.

Yay! Tomatoes!

Leave a comment and tell me what you think.  Happy cooking!

Healthy Recipe of a Previous Week: Mushroom Cups

Non-guilty Nom

After publishing my first ‘Recipe of the Week’ in mid-July, it appears that I am in recipe arrears.  Don’t get me wrong – I have been eating healthily.  It’s just that for the last few weeks I simply haven’t been feeling it in the kitchen creativity department, just making the same old boring stir-fries and pasta salads again and again.  However, this week I’ve struck lucky twice, and so here’s the first of two healthy, tasty recipes that I’m posting today in order to make up for the lack in the previous weeks.  Hope you enjoy!

MUSHROOM CUPS – 2 cups serves 1

Apologies to the mushroom-haters – this one isn’t for you.  (But please read on, there’s countless variations).  I love this dish.  It’s low cal, low fat and yet so filling!  And it’s one of the quickest, easiest recipes. Ever.


2 lettuce leaves (iceberg is ideal)

Two handfuls of chopped mushrooms (around 6 or 7 medium ones)

1 slice wholemeal bread, cut into crouton-sized pieces.

1 small red onion, sliced

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard

A little oil for frying.  I used grapeseed – low in sat fats.

Lots of seasoning


1. Fry off the onions in the oil.  Add in the mushrooms and crushed garlic, and fry until soft.

2. Next, add in the bread pieces and mustard.  Season well.  The bread should soak up the juices from the other ingredients.  Continue to heat in the pan for a minute or two.

3. Spoon the mixture into your lettuce leaves (cups).  You’re done.

It might not look like the most colourful dish, but it’s packed with flavour.  What’s more, the single slice of bread makes this a good choice  if you’re watching the carbs, but still has the effect of filling you up along with the mushrooms.  Give it a go and you’ll see for yourself!


Endless, really.  Why not add diced chicken breast or a poached egg on top for a protein hit, or replace the mushrooms with cherry tomatoes for a lighter, more summery meal?  Try it with a can of tuna and wrap the lettuce cups tightly in foil for a great new packed lunch idea!  Please comment with your own versions and let me know what you think!

Healthy Recipe of the Week: Warm Asian Chicken Salad

Hi guys!

My fiancé might be the chef of the household, but I love to get creative in the kitchen too.  Occasionally, I stumble across something quite successful and tasty; so I thought I’d start sharing these recipes with you!  Please let me know if you make them and leave your thoughts in a comment below.  P.s. They’re super-dooper easy!


Perfect for a weekend lunch or a feel-good, protein-filled weeknight dinner!


2 skinless chicken breasts

1 large carrot, peeled

1/2 a large courgette (zucchini)

4 heaped tbsp of frozen sweetcorn

4 heaped tbsp pasta shapes.  I used emiliane (>>>) because it’s tiny and looks like cute little flowers, but any small-ish shape will do.

6-8 cherry tomatoes

1 clove of garlic*

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce (mild or hot – up to you, but for this recipe I’d go for hot as there’s not much in the dish anyway)

very small piece of ginger, crushed or grated

salt and pepper

oil to fry – I used grapeseed as it’s one of the healthier options


1. Ribbon the courgette and carrot using a peeler, or finely slice them.  Chop the tomatoes finely.

2. Fry this veg in a little oil with salt and pepper.  Add garlic and continue to fry until veg is soft and slightly golden.  Set aside.

3.  Meanwhile, boil the pasta and sweetcorn together in a saucepan until al-dente. (This is why small pasta shapes come in handy – then you can boil the sweetcorn in the same pan without overboiling it whilst waiting for the pasta to cook.  I’m all for saving on the washing up!).

4.  Cut your chicken breasts in half lengthways through the midde i.e. making two thin slices of breast. Using the pan you fried the veg in, fry your chicken, turning occasionally, for 4-5 minutes.  In the middle of this process, add the soy sauce, sweet chilli and ginger, ensuring that the chicken gets a good coating.

5.  Drain the pasta/sweetcorn mix and return to the heat along with the fried veg, mixing well.

6.  Serve up the chicken on top of a bed of veg, and enjoy!

Free Garlicky Goodness

* On a side note, I used wild garlic here that G and I dug up and turned into a garlic paste yesterday.  We managed to get 400g of garlic from a metre square patch of wild garlic in the woods!   We washed and pureed it with a generous measure of salt and oil.  It’ll last a couple of weeks in the fridge or you can freeze it in ice cube trays and add a cube to each dish requiring a clove of garlic. Why not have a go if you happen to have any nearby? (Check a foraging blog for identification – several bulbs belong to the wild garlic family, and generally if they smell strongly of garlic, they’re edible. The leaves of these plants are starting to go over now, but if you’ve seen

some, bulbs can be dug up until roughly december).  Happy cooking!

Making Furry-Fwends

Totally irrelevant to this blog…but this is my hamster. Enjoying a moment on a friend’s blog. So I had to. If you love hamsters or just like looking at cute pictures of them, then go check out HamsterDiaries.


Sorry for two posts in one day… Couldnt resist posting this!

Hamsters are universally loved little creatures.
I mean whats not to love about a furry pet that can curl up in the palm of your hand and munch biscuits!
Looking at hamster pictures is a guilty pleasure.
Each one has a unique little face and each and every one of them make me go ‘Nawwwwr!’

One of my readers emailed me a picture I just HAVE to share with you all.
Meet Heston.
Now, I have been assured that lil Heston here didnt eat the contents of this box… but what a brilliant excuse anyway when you finish off a box of choccys! ‘The hamster did it…

Challenging my two this little guy is.
Going to have to step my game up on the whole cuteness thing…


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