This version of a paella offers the combination of comfort, a multitude of flavours and a dish equally popular in summer and winter making it a family staple in our house. The oven-bake aspect means once you have everything in the pot you don’t need to be hanging over it until it’s cooked.
It’s also a very versatile dish. You can load more veg in or leave out some. It’s a great one to use up veg about to turn. Courgettes, mushrooms, red or green peppers and more can be added.
Makes enough for a family of 5 for dinner, leaving loads for lunch the next day too!
300g risotto rice
1 x 200g whole Chorizo cubed
360g Prawns raw chilled
2 medium onions diced
4 Carrots diced small
1 Yellow pepper chopped
1 large Celery stick chopped
1-2 garlic cloves depending on preference
800ml Chicken or veg stock
Saffron – a couple of threads
1-2 tsp Mixed herbs
Handful of chopped Coriander leaves
Chopped parsley for serving (optional)
Fry the onion for a few mins until it looks slightly opaque (see-through).
Add the chorizo and cook for a few minutes to allow the flavours to come out.
Add the celery, carrot, peppers and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
Add the rice and stir through for a minute or two on the heat.
Add the passata, saffron, mixed herbs, coriander and stock and stir.
Put a lid on the pot and transfer to a pre-heated oven at 200F (180C) for 20 mins.
Add the prawns and cook for a further 10-15 mins until the prawns are cooked through.
Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and devour!
As a skill meal planning may not be regarded as sexy. But it has incredible qualities that shine through and make it very desirable. What other activity can offer a combination of improving your time management, reducing stress, improving nutritional intake, cost effectiveness and is sustainable too? I mean come on, surely we should all give it a try.
The problem so many people have is that they are short on time in the first place. When it comes to meal planning people sometimes think they want to be handed a finished meal plan and that’s the extent of it. For guaranteed success, however, the reality is different. There is a bit of work involved up front but the pay-off, already outlined, is well worth it.
It really is the starting point of taking control of your health, your way, entirely on your terms. It has the best chance of succeeding this way. If it doesn’t work for you straight away, you’ve invested in it personally so you know how to go about tweaking it so that you can revise it to work for you.
The three things you need to approach meal planning for success are:
Set the right goals so that you stay motivated and on-track. Being clear of your objective in terms of meal planning is the recipe to success. Is there an underlying reason you want to get meal planning from a nutrition perspective? Maybe you want to eat more healthily, become more sustainable by incorporating in-season ingredients into your daily meals or you might simply want to improve the habits of your family. It could be that you want to manage your weight better, increase your energy or reduce your household costs. Knowing your why is critical to your success. It’s important to spend a bit of time asking yourself ‘why meal planning?’ because it’s when things start to falter you can remind yourself of this and get motivated to stick with it.
Once you understand the outcome you want to achieve then you can have this as a focus when you are choosing your meals. Get informed as much as you can in terms of nutritional needs for your circumstances. Learning more about reading food labels may be something to consider. There will undoubtedly be taste considerations that need to be addressed also. Decide how you want to address these. You may want to push the introduction of a wider variety of vegetables into your weekly diet, or your children’s diet. This can be incorporated into your plan. You are in control.
Having the most appropriate tools for you is key. An approach or template or format that you can relate to and can make work for you is the first step. Then you need to make the plan work for your schedule and circumstances. Knowing the limitations and boundaries to your schedule and the people who will be impacted by your meal plan will allow you to tailor and tweak the plan to optimize success. Don’t plan to overhaul your entire diet in one go. Take on small changes and allow yourself time to bed them down and succeed at them before moving on to the next. Start with X number of dinners a week, or choose which meal to address so that it suits your needs right now. Your shopping then can become streamlined to avoid waste and maximize nutrition, maybe even taking into account what’s in season.
SOLUTION FOR YOU
To really get you in gear and help you bed down meal planning into your weekly routine then this online programme is for you. ‘3-Steps to Meal Planning for Health’ is The WellNow Co.’s video led online programme full of tools and information to get you meal planning like a pro. Check it out now, you won’t regret it.
I wanted to put together a post with lots of helpful tools, gadgets and products for you to feel more healthy, organsied, eco-friendly and amazing all at the same time this summer. I thought this list of 12 things to help keep you healthy this summer should hit the spot for most people. You’ll find all these products are really practical and useful and will help you make better choices to stay healthy and well along the way.
Whether you are looking to get more handy in the kitchen while we continue to dine at home a lot more than before, or looking for useful on-the-go products for when you’re out and about picnicking with family and friends, or you want to give your skin and hair a bit more love and attention. It’s all here, we’ve got you covered.
You can find a wider selection of products than this summer edit in our shop. And like our shop, this article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small fee for promoting the products, but you won’t pay any more.
Ice pop moulds are one of the most used ‘toys’ in our kitchen over the summer. They are such a great way to have a cooling, sweet treat that isn’t packed with additives and loaded with added sugar. You can have great fun playing with flavours – pineapple and mango is a firm favourite. I particularly love these because of the lids being attached to the body of the mould. It avoids anyone distractedly throwing the lid out by accident!
The great thing about using glass storage containers is that you can avoid cling film and still be really organised. These ones can be stored in the freezer and used in the oven. Reducing food waste has a huge impact on the environment, and your wallet too!
These fermenting jars come in loads of different sizes. I have a range of them and use them for so many things from pasta and rice, to nuts and seeds. They keep everything really fresh, are handy to bring to bulk food shops and look pretty too!
These were a game-changer for our kitchen. I always had a mish-mash of bowls, so to have a selection of different sized bowls, that stack so don’t take up much space and have lids so can store things and keep them fresh is amazing. They clean well and easily and I’m now never short of bowls when prepping multiple salads, dressings and marinades.
I used to feel a pang of guilt every time I used a plastic pod in the coffee machine. When I discovered these I was so excited. I now have a swagger as the machine goes bbbrrrrrr with the coffee I love in it.
The beautiful range of stainless steel bottles from Irish company, Mother Reusables are like a work of art. They are an ethical company with serious credentials. You are not just supporting Irish, but helping the environment by reducing single use plastic water bottles and for every bottle sold they will plant a tree. The bottles will keep you cold drinks cold or hot drinks hot. Perfect for a day outing!
They even have a gorgeous range of kids bottles which are a really handy size. Check them out for the full range.
These bento box lunchboxes are so handy for summer picnics, not to mention school lunches and work lunches. They are great for bringing a variety of salads, food types and flavours and not have them all crossing over. They come in different sizes and configurations but this is my personal favourite. Easy to manage and the perfect size.
Whether you’re looking to reduce your plastic at home or on-the-go, these stainless steel straws are a really smart option. There are 12 straws and they come with different coloured silicone tips to make it easy to claim your own. It also comes with two handy cleaning brushes and a cloth pouch to keep them all together.
Another handy option for picnics, but also for when you’re back working at the office and getting take-out lunches, is this neat set. A stainless steel cutlery set with chop sticks and two straws. So handy for on-the-go.
For any of you that already follow us on Instagram or Facebook you will know that Indeora is our fave healthy deodorant. No nasty chemicals so perfect for keeping your toxic load under check while also adding magnesium. Good for you, and also great for teens and tweens in these warm sporty months. Use ‘WELLNOW15‘ for your discount of 15%.
We have been using Yogandha Oils for years and just can’t get enough. The quality and texture of the oils is just luxury in a bottle . The range covers relax to muscle soothe to balance and beyond. This Irish company is internationally renowned and I can’t recommend enough. I use the roll-on oil in the morning to balance my mood and instead of perfume. Try it for yourself!
You may be aware of our bulk shopping offering. We have loads of home cleaning and personal care products in 5 litres sizes to help reduce plastic use, save money and be super convenient too. We added the award winning Green People sunscreen to this offering. Note: The sunscreen is not a bulk item but compliments any busy family’s bulk order perfectly!
These are our favourite shampoo and conditioner. We have a whole range of their beautiful scents. They say it best themselves:
“All our natural vegan shampoos are animal cruelty free, are SLS and paraben free and are vegetarian. We use no synthetic colouring, fragrances or artificial preservatives in our shampoos to ensure that they are as natural as possible. We pride ourselves in creating paraben free shampoos made with 100% natural fragrance.”
That should keep you healthy and well for the summer! If you have any suggestions of products that have really helped you stay on track with your health goals, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your top products so I can share. And if you use any of the above I’d love to hear how you get on with them too!
One of the questions I’ve been asked a lot is about what are the best re-usable dispensers for bulk shampoo, conditioner and hand wash. I know that re-using is the best approach, but for some of you who want to embark on this change it may not be practical. So, I’ve compiled a few suggested items and a bit of an explainer with each.
I consciously started looking at my health habits 8 years ago when I was run down, suffering from poor sleep, IBS and had skin allergies. This was down to stress, poor nutrition and environmental factors. It was when I chose a career change from TV commercials producer to nutrition, health and wellness coach. I started primarily with nutrition – it’s an accessible way to improve your health, and although it requires knowledge and discipline it’s something many people do regularly.
I then started to look at all the environmental factors that impact my health – this was as much about the planet as my allergies and bouts of unexplained eczema. I’m talking about moisturisers, shampoos, make-up as well as household cleaning products. It’s a minefield. But with the change in products the improvements have been incredibly notable. For starters I couldn’t tell you the last time I had problems with my skin, we’re talking years.
Although I made a lot of these changes years ago, I’m always looking to improve how I run my house. To be mindful of the environment on the whole but also to reduce the toxins going into my actual household too. This applies to the personal care products as much as the household cleaning products. As part of the coaching offered with The WellNow Co we consider environmental factors such as these and look at ways to change to ‘cleaner’ products that may have less of an impact on your health.
Prior to the pandemic, I had always wanted to get these products in bulk sizes. The cost savings is a very attractive reason. The reduction in plastic too. And the convenience of being able to refill shampoo in your house is a total luxury. But I felt like I needed to research it all, re-configure my utility room and invest upfront in the purchase of them. So last June (2020) I finally made the leap and did just that. I have not looked back.
The biggest things I have noticed since buying in bulk are:
A massive saving – being able to buy quality products at a fraction of the price of them in their regular sizes is fantastic.
It’s so convenient – refilling at home is so handy and saves me time.
Shopping is more focused – the weekly shop is now focused almost solely on food, so our meal plan is much more effective. The shop is also quicker, saving considerable time, and it’s much less bulky.
Sustainable – there is a massive reduction in plastic. One 5 litre bulk container is the equivalent to 25 bottles of 200ml, with their lids or pumps etc.
Reducing toxic load – by making these bulk products eco-friendly we are keeping chemicals off our skin, out of our homes and out of the greater environment.
It can require space which is a very valuable commodity in any house, but if you can figure out a place to store even a few bulk products you’ll be doing you, your family and the environment a massive favour.
I’ve achieved a lot of positive change in living more sustainably, and I also know there is a lot more I can do. The main thing is that I’m open to learning and adapting. I try not to berate myself when there are obvious changes I need to embrace staring me in the face, I try to figure out a flow of steps to make it happen. In a family of five I need buy-in and support from everyone, but usually I need to lead the change and bring everyone on board. There is not one final destination, but if we don’t move towards making substantial changes in terms of how we operate our households we are moving towards environmental damage that we are responsible for.
Silver linings are few and far between at the moment. We all now know first hand how hard living through a pandemic is. And while the pressures are very individual, nobody has escaped some form of hardship. However, the silver linings may be the best prize we get out of the situation.
What is undeniably true, is that the pandemic has given us the opportunity and the time to focus on ourselves and our family, enjoy the outdoors and nature more and to put in place the necessary routines to ensure that we come out of this in a healthier and happier place. So, let’s grab that silver lining and run with it.
1. Review Your Eating Habits
While many of us are at home trying to work and homeschool, feeling like we are not nailing either, it can be a great time to look inward at our family’s eating habits. Increasing awareness around what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat it can be really helpful to improving our families’ health through nutrition. Keep a food diary over a few days with as much detail as possible and be as honest as you can. Then review it and see where you can cut back or change anything. Some things to look for:
Are you eating enough fruit and veg? Don’t worry, most people don’t. So consider where you can squeeze in a few more portions each day.
Nearly everyone puts the blinkers on around their snack consumption. Be really honest about what you’ve eaten each day – yes, that third biscuit counts! You may need to look at decreasing sugary treats.
From a health, environmental and cost perspective many of us need to consider reducing the amount of meat we eat (if you’re not vegan or vegetarian). Think about eating more plant based foods or vegetarian options.
Fibre is such an important aspect of our gut health and the western diet is naturally low in it. Increase fibre by replacing white with brown – bread/rice/pasta
Hydrate – It’s difficult to remember to keep our water intake at the optimum level regardless of time of year. Use a water bottle and fill it at the start of the day, and refill it throughout the day until you have reached your goal of approximately 2 litres.
2. Time to delve into your nutrition-related pain points – Fussy eaters, food waste & overspending on food?
You are not alone if you find yourself whipping up two or three dinners for just one sitting in order to accommodate the different (fussy!) palates. Very often our children reject foods and we take the path of least resistance as we pick our battles carefully! Not only is this not sustainable for the busy working parent who is already stretched to their limits, but it’s not helping our child develop tastes and interests in other foods. It is also a huge source of food waste, and with food waste, there is money waste also.
Now is the time to help your kids really understand why we should eat a certain way and what the benefits to them are. By realizing they can enhance their learning ability, and their running speed from choosing the best foods for them is a good start. Empowering them is rewarded with buy-in from them. Broadening their food horizons is good for their health, your time, your wallet and the environment. Two effective activities to task them with are:
Let them create their own meal plan for their lunches during the week. It helps taking the daily thinking out of it for parents and they can keep doing when they go back to school.
Do an ‘Eat The Rainbow Challenge’ for the kids or the whole family. See how many portions of the different colours everyone eats across a week. This can highlight where increases or changes can be made to your eating habits, but done in a fun and engaging way.
3. Take the time for a Household Audit
Scrambling from week to week is no way to live. Most of us would like a calmer life to allow us to enjoy ourselves more and feel optimally productive. A really effective approach to improving how you run your home is to do a ‘Household Audit’. Three effective ways to make your household more efficient are:
Look at your household budget to help you to optimally understand and refine your spending.
Meal Planning and shopping list templates will help you reduce costs, waste and trips to the shops.
A review of your household cleaning and personal care products will allow for clarity. Should you buy certain products in bulk, reducing waste and costs. Could you look at buying a more environmentally clean product which is better for you personally but also the planet.
4. Think it, plan it, do it!
Each and every choice we make for ourselves has an impact on our health and how we feel. Some habits we have we know we want to change. Becoming aware of what we would like our life to ultimately look like and deciding what it will take to get there will help inform what new habits we want to form, and what old ones we want to lose.
Whether stress is a big factor in your life, or whether you want to increase your exercise and movement, or if poor sleep is impacting your life or your work/life balance is out of whack, establishing clear goals is critical to succeeding with positive behaviour change. A couple of ways to help figure out what your goal is, and the action steps to make it happen are:
Ask yourself how you want the situation to look when you have succeeded in achieving your goal. Use this visualization to look realistically at what changes need to be made in order to get there.
Write out the list of things that need to change to achieve your goal. This can be a long or short list depending on your circumstances and what the goal is. Then rate how ready you are to make each of the items on the list from 1-10. Choose the three top-rated steps that you are most ready to change first, and work your way down the list.
5. Find your pot of gold
The silver linings may end up being your pot of gold when the pandemic finally ends. Taking a simple approach with small steps of change we can look at our lives in terms of nutrition, lifestyle and how we want to change them. Tap into your positive thoughts to make it happen.
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