I have been resisting the dreaded January diet. It’s my birthday month in case I haven’t already bleated on about it enough. Essentially I want to pretend Christmas didn’t happen with its supersized mugs of boozy hot chocolate, mince pies at 9am and late night bags of smokey salted almonds. I was a committed festive eater. I am now unsurprised to find the waistband of my jeans tugging, hurting even. So I need to pull back a little. I am of an age where weight is just still coming off quickly and easily. I know I am on borrowed time. Soon my metabolism will slow and I’ll have to be sensible. Until that time, well, you’ll find me doing my usual nonsense of being a piglet and then eating like a Parisian.
So I give you a chai smoothie I made for my Back to School column. Take a look at the column here to see other recipes which are rather virtuous. There’s also a few recipes this month from GBBO winner Nadia.
Now onto Mrs Bell’s Brownies. Here’s the situation. I am slowly marching towards launching. Things I still have to do include printing the stickers (the illustrations are almost done), updating my food hygiene certificate, writing the web copy, ordering the packaging, gah, this all actually sounds like an awful lot.
I’m stressed into inaction. I find myself not sleeping. I am worried about how I will cope if 100 people order in one day. (Nice problem to have). I am worried about how it will feel if/when there isn’t even one paltry order. I feel sad about my anxiety. I used to be gung ho. I was the girl who felt I could do anything. My confidence is not as it were and I am not sure why. I want my 22 year old self to give me a shake and whisper ‘you’ve got this’ into my ear. Who is that girl? Where did she go?
I cleaned a cupboard yesterday and filled it with ingredients. That felt like progress. I started to do my accounts which are long overdue. (More as a displacement activity, gosh I remember when meeting inappropriate men was a displacement activity, not admin!) And on Friday my lovely friend Scott shot pictures for the website. We had a fun time. It was relaxed and fun and did not feel like work. It’s amazing how some friends really do step up when you are having a crisis of confidence. And for that I am thankful.
Here’s the recipe. I use a Nutribullet to whizz mine up.
Photography: Scott Choucino
Styling and Props: Woodrow Studios
More on the brownies soon.
Lots of great recipes like this in my books, Recipes from a Normal Mum, (available on Amazon, at The Works, Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets) and The Power of Frozen (available through Amazon).
Last January: Roasted rainbow roots and pan fried pork, Banana and chia porridge bread, Baked tortilla, Roasted cauliflower, celery and garlic soup, Garlic, lemon and sweet chilli chicken, Oreo peanut butter brownies and Skinny orange and cardamom tealoaf.
Two years ago: Lamb and pea pie on This Morning, Halloumi, courgette and carrot fritters, Crunchy piggy meatballs (also on This Morning) and Granola breakfast muffins.
Three years ago: Lemon & blueberry loaf, my Bake Off Cherry Bakewell inspired cupcakes, plus Sesame bread sticks
Four years ago: Love cupcakes, White chocolate, lemon and macadamia cake and a perfect wintery Roasted celeriac, carrot and parsnip soup.
Five years ago: Bake me not chocolate cake, Jelly and ice-cream meringue roulade, Good flapjack and Banana, butterscotch and fig traybake.
Six years ago: Treasure hunt ice-cream, Rhubarb and ginger chutney and Carrot cake.
- 250ml almond milk (or other milk if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp oats
- 1 tsbp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 4 ice cubes
Add all the ingredients to your smoothie maker and blend until well combined. Drink immediately.
This recipe first appeared in Back to School digital magazine.
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