Fresh Start

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Excuse me while I indulge in a little cliché. As we pack away Christmas I am, as always at this time of the year overcome with the urge to become healthier. The fact that this happens every January is an irony not lost on me. Ever the optimist I am certain one year I will greet the new year several stone lighter and able to stride up the Malverns without creaky knees and degenerating tendons. 

It ought to be easy. I love healthy foods, I enjoy all kinds of fruit and veg, whole grains, fish, lean meats. I love cooking it too. I have a Pinterest board devoted to delicious and healthy recipes , there is so much inspiration out there if I can just fight my way through the mountains of cupcakes and brownies. Baking is a fun and satisfying hobby but its results have to be eaten by someone, and all too often that someone is me. 

This year I am aiming to put home baking in its proper place. Despite what television shows and cookery books would have us believe, cakes, biscuits and puddings are not for every day eating. They are treats and treats are not treats if you have them every day. The next cake I make will be the first birthday cake of the year -Tom's in February. It will be just big enough for us all to have a piece, with maybe a bit extra for the birthday boy.

Instead of baking my focus is going to be on this kind of food.


Avocado, roast peppers (from a jar), red onion and coriander sprinkled with lime juice and sea salt.


A simple green salad (from a bag of leaves)


Roasted unpeeled potatoes tossed in garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.


Salmon rubbed with a blend of chilli and lime (from a tub bought at Whole Foods in Cheltenham) roasted in a hot oven for 15 minutes.

All simple to prepare, full of flavour and absolutely delicious.


There will be more of this sort of thing. It's not diet food, nor rabbit food. It's delicious food for every day and it's good for you.

54 comments:

  1. That looks insanely yummy - and I am always a fan of eating more vegetables.

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  2. Oh, so very true! My thoughts exactly and here's hoping we both manage to shed those extra pounds x

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  3. Happy New Year Sue. I am looking forward to reading healthy food posts.

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  4. Oh Sue, I have been thinking the same thing and your photos have inspired me. I have lost weight so many times in my life and never been able to keep it off so I'm sure the answer is healthy eating, not dieting. You are brave to announce your intentions to the world and I wish you every success. What do Charlie and the kids think of your cake ban though?

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    1. Charlie is all for it. I will be keeping the tin supplied with flapjacks (which I don't eat) and they all love bread and jam, and fruit. Cake for birthdays!

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  5. That really does look good food on every level! The roast potatoes - would you parboil first even though chopped up? I'm with you on the cake thing - it's just soooo tricky to hold off on biscuits. Love your multi coloured lights. Heather x

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    1. No par-boiling Heather. They go in a hot oven -about 200 for about 25 mins.

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    2. Great, will try them that way, thanks. x

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  6. I want to eat the screen those dishes look so good!

    The irony is not lost on me either, but every year I get the same urge as well! Maybe this is the year....

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  7. Oh yum!
    Happy New Year, Sue, I'm hoping to get back to my blogging habits!
    Diana x

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  8. Ok now I've seen the photos I'll go with the salad thing! Looking forward to your new recipes if they are anything like the above. Happy New Year Julie x

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  9. There are many blogs with food and recipes. Yours-I can not tell why, is the most "human" and everyday-but-yummy! I think it is because of the way that you write about food: like talking to your girl-friends in a Saturday-coffee-gathering, or to your sister.
    Thank you, I wish you a happy new year, and keep on, I am always here even though I never comment.

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  10. Mmmm yummy, I am definitely in the mood for some of that yummy food you have made. Looks like perfect everyday food. I'm definitely having avocado salad and roast spuds soon!!

    Helen xx

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  11. Mmmm...looking forward to another year of delicious recipes. Just dashing off to the kitchen to make that avocado salad but not before wishing you a wonderful 2013.

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  12. I have just got to the age where I think it is foolhardy and unattractively ditzy to keep promising myself to lose the last stone and get fit but never quite managing it. It just seems weak now, so I am totally with you on basically having sugary treats only on high days and holidays and being honest with myself that gardening and half hour dog walks are not enough. As always, you inspire! X

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  13. We are CRAVING those kinds of meals at the moment! Feeling very stodgy indeed - and we cut back HUGELY on the sweets/chocolate/cake/biscuits this Christmas. Off out to the shops tomorrow and they are precisely the kind of ingredients I shall be buying. I shall personally be cutting back on the amount of carbs I eat as they really are my 'thing' and like you I fantasise about being a couple of stone lighter one Christmas. Or any time, really!

    I'll be consulting your blog regularly to keep me up to scratch, Sue - don't let me down!!

    Oh, and Happy New Year!

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  14. That's perfect Sue.
    Just what I need after all the indulgence of Christmas. I can't fit into my jeans anymore and the scales tell me why.

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  15. I've got a mouthful of Quality Street ... but I'm with you, Sue, honest I am!

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  16. Delicious! It all looks so appetising and satisfying.

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  17. Right - I've packed my bags - I'm moving in :)

    I know my first cake is needed next Friday with another just 6 days later!!

    However I have actually lost weight over Christmas AND NOT through illness - I've just managed to mislay my appetite!!

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  18. Those salads look delicious, I always feel a real yearning for salad, and fresh greenery in general, at around this time of year - we end up seeing a lot of family and friends over Christmas, which is lovely, but every get together turns into a vast feeding frenzy and by the time New Year's day rolls around I feel as though I never want to eat again. It'll all change tomorrow morning though when I'm faced with the choice of Weetabix or slice of toast and grapefruit marmalade (Salt sugar smoke - v. delicious). Anyway, looking forward to your recipes, and in the meantime, Happy New Year.

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  19. Well your cakes have inspired me, I made the pumpkin one a couple of times, so hopefuly your healthy eating will inspire me too - I need it!!

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  20. A face in screen moment if ever there was one. You'll be carrying a lot of folk along with you.

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  21. I stopped baking - except for special occasions - about 4 years ago and we do eat healthily in just the way you describe but I still don't lose weight. I'm resolved to cut portion size and exercise more - I measure my fitness by the ease with which I can get up Malvern Church St and how much puff I've got left at the top!

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  22. oooh yes! this looks wonderful.

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  23. Yum! I have to loose weight this year - rheumatoid arthritis is so much easier to manage if your bmi is under control - but until I can get my jaw sorted chewing salady stuff is a challenge. Any chance you can share some healthy soup recipes too Sue?


    A very Happy New Year to you and yours x

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    1. You poor thing Annie -I'll see what I can do with the soup.

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  24. Your food looks wonderful! I certainly agree with you that the treats should not be everyday items, it's so easy to get into a bad habit and add them to your trolley/bake them - and I am very guilty of that - so thank you for writing about it in your blog and I shall follow with interest. Happy New Year to you Sue.

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  25. You echo my sentiments exactly - the food looks totally delicious - I don't suppose you could lay another place for me at your table - no, I didn't think so.

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  26. Hip, Hip, Hooray!
    What you are saying rings true for me and I dare say most of us ... so lead on !

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  27. Oh what a riot of beautiful colours!!! You see, and I really don't mean to sound smug, I am very lucky to love absolutely everything you've pictured. I don't have a sweet tooth at all (other than a few strips of G&Bs chocolate once a month as dictated by hormones). My weakness though? Cheese. I'll be anybody's for a baked camembert!

    The point being I'm wildly excited about your new regime and will be looking to you for continued inspiration!

    A very happy New Year to you Sue.

    Heather x

    PS. We had warm pear in our chicken salad this evening with sprouting sunflower seeds (Waitrose) - I lightly toasted them and they were wonderful.

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    1. Heather that sounds gorgeous. I'm anybody's for a baked camembert too, but I'm anybody's for a chocolate cake too!

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  28. yum that avacodo salad looks good! I can only resist the baking by not making it gluten free......... which means that the gluten free Christmas cake is giving me "eat me" glances.

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  29. Since my elder daughter left home to go to university two years ago, I've been baking much less than I used to, as my younger daughter doesn't really like cakes or biscuits. However we all love our carbs which probably accounts for our ever expanding girths. I've not been disappointed in any of your recipes thus far, so I look forward to your new healthier dishes.

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  30. Well Sue, I do wish you a very Happy 2013, and now have to confess that this morning I baked yet another batch of "Christmas" sugar cookies. Later on in the day, I did prepare a traditional New Year's Day southern USA dish of black eyed peas...prepared by me in a very untraditional way.

    I wonder why it is that I connect salads to summer, even though lots of lettuces, etc. are available year round.

    Before I type more, I will now munch a crisp small apple...and then, confession: a cookie or three might be on the plate.

    xo

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  31. deedownunder4:32 am GMT

    Hi Sue,
    Happy New Year!, and what an excellent way to start it.....those dishes look delicious and so colourful. I will try any of your "new you" recipes - can't wait!

    It is so hot here at the moment, that salad meals are the only things we can eat - Anything which involves putting on the oven is out, as it only adds to the heat in the house which registers 33 degrees celcius in my lounge -and that is with all the doors and windows open and the fans on.

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  32. How could I not be with you on this? I will be on the look out, in particular, for things I cannot grow myself in wet West Wales, and can be used in small quantities without waste, as husband works away Mon-Fri.
    Power to the chopping knife and salad spinner!

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  33. Delicious recipes on Pinterest - thank you. I know what you mean about wanting to eat healthier after Christmas, but I don't think I could convince my son that cakes are not an everyday food!:) Happy New Year, Pj x

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  34. Just what I need. I have joined WW online in an attempt to let my bones make a bid for freedom this year. A very Happy New Year to you Sue.

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  35. Anonymous12:04 pm GMT

    Hallo Sue and happy new year!
    The pictures look wonderful and the recipes are easy and healthy.
    I wait for the next. Thanks for inspiring me.
    Paola from Italy

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  36. Pati from London12:32 pm GMT

    Happy New Year Sue!!
    Ohh Sue, bring these delicious recipes on!!! They are definitely my cuppa....
    Pati xx

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  37. Bizarrely been echoing those same thoughts with my other half this morning as I struggled into a pair of previously svelte jeans. I fear we will be joining you on the healthy eating trail; i learned years ago that diets just don't work for me but eating more healthily helps me shed the pounds and gives me more energy. Now if only the sun would come out so i can go and enjoy that energy outside. Oh well! on with the wellies ....again.

    Happy new year and thanks for such a lovely and inspirational blog - the lentil salad looks divine.

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  38. Anonymous4:22 pm GMT

    HI Sue I've lost 2 stone 2lb in the last nine months and i'm very pleased with myself, but I need to loose another 2 stone by May. Your lovely new recipes will surely help. I certainly feel much better for having lost weight ME

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  39. No desserts here, I have an orange every night after dinner. Potatoes and bread are my downfall - I would probably have the salmon and salad but not potatoes. I have lost thirty pounds over the last two years - I try to lose at least one pound a month or sometimes one and a half. I really miss baking though........I was really good at it !

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  40. The avocado salad looks so yummy that I am going to make it for me instead of what the rest of the family are eating. I've always resisted cooking separately but if they see me eating healthy and yummy food perhaps that will encourage them to try hew things.

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  41. Looks delicious. I have made a pact with myself that I will only bake for the weekends that my stepson comes to visit (once a fortnight). He and my husband, between them can put away a dozen brownies or cupcakes, or a whole loaf cake. I get the pleasure of the baking with the pleasure of two young men scoffing slice after slice and that makes me feel good! (I think I'm a feeder.)

    Happy new year. Really love your blog. You make me want to be a better person.

    Nicki

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  42. That looks delicious!!! I am defintely going to be follwing your blog.
    Happy new year, and cheers to a fresh start!
    Ana BC

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  43. (Love Nicki's comment about you making her want to be a better person and understand and echo the sentiment).

    Anyway, wanted to say, cliches are so for a reason - after the feasting I think everyone feels the need for a more restrained, healthier period. I'll be looking for inspiration here, as always...

    And a very happy new year to you,

    Jo x

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  44. Happy New Year to you Sue,loved your post,but then i always do,will definately be checking out your recipes as i too need to lose a bit(quite a bit)!! even tho' i'm vegetarian, recipes can always be adapted ,Thanks for the inspiration
    Best Wishes
    Sue xx

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  45. You are so right! I know I have been totally brainwashed into believing in an "everyday treat" that I don't really need.

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  46. Happy New Year Sue, and yeah I think it happens every year after Christmas is done, when we look at our wardrobe and find nothing fits well or we don't want to get out of bed in the morning because we feel so sluggish. I love fresh salads and eat a lot of them but in Michigan in the winter it's hard to get excited about cold food! We make a lot of soups with homemade stocks and fresh vegetables, but have to watch the bread, it's too easy to comfort eat in the winter. I intend to get on the treadmill at least a couple of times a week too, as soon as I'm over the oral surgery I had to have for an impacted wisdom tooth just before the New Year!!

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  47. I too am on a health kick. I'm forty this year and I know it's a cliche but I don't want to be fat and forty. The trouble is, if baking is a hobby it's difficult to do it an not eat the treats on a regular basis. I'm trying to find something to replace it - I'm getting on with a patchwork I started ages ago and I'm going to have a go at brewing. Anyhoo, the avacado salad looks delicious.
    Happy New Year,
    Natalie (the artist formerly known as Dulce Domum).

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  48. I only discovered your blog in November when googling 'Christmas cake without currants' . What a discovery! It's a joy to read your news and recipes, and I'llcertainly be trying the salad- as soon as I've finished the cake, which was delicious (using apricots and more sultanas instead of gritty currants). Thanks and happy new year.

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  49. Looking at this has made me very very hungry.

    Think I'll go eat!

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