Chicken Cacciatore recipe, healthy food, Jamie Oliver, Chcken Pasta, free reciepe, healthy living

Chicken Cacciatore Pasta

This is another quick and easy meal from Helen Dalton, really simple to make but full of flavour.  This Chicken Cacciatore Pasta recipe is a great one for the weekend when you want something home cooked but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

I am always on the look out for new pasta recipes, this is an adaptation of a Jamie Oliver recipe and is delicious!


4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs or you can use chicken breast
olive oil
200g chestnut mushrooms
4 rashers of smoked pancetta
2/3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 jarred red peppers
1 fresh red chilli (deseeded and cut into fine pieces)
60ml red wine
500g passata
bunch of fresh basil

Cut the chicken into chunks and place in a large frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil.  Chop the mushrooms and red peppers, slice the pancetta and add to the pan.  Turn up the heat and keep stirring until golden.  Finely slice and add the chilli, pour in the wine, passata, and chopped basil.  Season to taste, reduce to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened, around 20-25 minutes.

Cook your pasta and spoon the sauce on top.

Serve with grated parmesan and toasted ciabatta slices.

Country vegetable soup – Gluten and Dairy free and a Vegan option

For this soup recipe I thought I would go back to basics and use a pressure cooker.  Vegetables cook a lot quicker and you don’t loose any of the steam so more of the nutrients are kept within the soup.  You can use a slow cooker but don’t cook for too long as the veg will go to mush and you will have a very sloppy soup.

This dish is packed full with essential winter goodness to try and fight off those colds before they arrive.

Broccoli is high in fibre, 2.6g per 100g portion,  high in antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene and C, and Potassium.

Cabbage, try to use a savoy cabbage as the green leafs contain more vitamins and minerals than the lighter variety, also has 3.1g per 100g portion of fibre.

Swede has 24 calories per 100g and contains the antioxidant vitamins beta-carotene and vitamin C  and is a good source of fibre.

Kale is another green veg that is classed as a super food due to the high levels of antioxidants beta-carotene C and E and also contains potassium and magnesium.


    • 2 Shallots – chopped finely
    • 1 cm Fresh Ginger – chopped very finely
    • ½ Butternut Squash - cubed
    • ½ Swede - cubed
    • 100 g Kale
    • ½ Cabbage – chopped
    • ½ Courgette
    • 3 Carrots - cubed
    • 1 Parsnip - cubed
    • 8 Florets of Broccoli
    • 4 Potatoes – cubed
    • 1 tbsp of sesame seed oil
    • 1 Knorr Vegetable stock cube with 500ml water (vegan, use the knorr vegetable stock pot)
    • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    • 1 tbsp coconut flour


  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker until hot, add the onions and ginger and simmer until soft.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, pour over the stock and sprinkle the herbs and seasoning.
  3. Place the lid on and bring to pressure and cook for 10 mins
  4. Mix the coconut flour with a little water to make a paste and stir into the soup to add a thick sauce.
  5. Leave to cool for about 30 mins then blitz in the Nutrabulit




Curried Lentil Soup recipe, curried soup recipe, healthy soup recipe, healthy diet, free soup recipe

Curried Lentil Soup

Simple and satisfying, this spicy winter soup is another brilliant recipe by Helen Dalton, it's sure to warm you up on a cold winters day.

Curried Lentil Soup

Make your own super soups!  This soup is delicious, full of protein and is quick and easy to prepare.
I make a big saucepan full, batch it up and freeze, brilliant for a healthy lunch at work that you can heat up in minutes in the microwave.


1 onion
1 carrot
2 sticks of celery
drizzle of olive oil
200g red split lentils
2 tbsp of curry paste
2 pints of vegetable stock


Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery into small pieces. Use a food processor if you have one. Place in large pan and cook for a about 5 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the curry paste, lentils and stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring now and again. Remove from heat and blend until smooth.

Hearty Autumn Tomato and Lentil Soup

You just can’t beat a Hearty Soup on a winters night.

As the nights get colder and darker you can’t beat a good Hearty Soup.  I do get a bit carried away when I make soup, as you can just about throw anything that is left in the fridge into it.  I always start with this base and experiment from there.  This base doesn’t use garlic or celery as it can aggravate the stomach of anyone who has a food intolerance.

This is also a great way to get extra veg into your little angels and your not so little angels if they are fussy.  Be careful not to add too many leafy green veg as it does change the colour of the soup and might put them off.  Stick to lighter coloured veg, like butternut squash, cauliflower, swede, carrots and parsnips.


  • 4 shallots, chopped finely
  • 1.5 cm cube of fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 50g lentils
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carton of passata
  • 1 Red Pepper chopped
  • 1 Green Pepper chopped
  • 1 Yellow Pepper chopped
  • 1 Red Chili chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of Tomato Puree
  • a large handful of basil leaves, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan until hot, add the shallots and ginger and cook until the onions are translucent (you can add Garlic and Celery to add flavour at this point).
  2. Add the chili to the onions, season to taste and cook for a further 2 mins.
  3. Boil the lentils for 10 mins, skim off any white foam, then add to the pot with the remaining water.
  4. Place the rest of the ingredients in the pan, bring to the boil, then simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally. You may need to add a little extra water if the consistency becomes too thick.
  5. Place to one side to allow to cool a little, then put the liquid in a blender, I always use a Nutribullet as they make a lovely smooth soup.
  6. Serve with our homemade bread.


Polenta cake, what is polenta, what can I make with polenta, polenta and honey cake recipe

Orange and Lemon Polenta Cake

So what is Polenta and what can I do with it.

It originated from northern Italy and used to be known as peasant food but is now popular all over Europe due to being inexpensive and can be prepared in many different ways.  It’s normally made from the yellow corn, by grinding the dried corn kernels to either fine, medium and course texture depending upon how it is going to be used.  The finely ground white version is normally known as ‘cornflour’.  The Polenta that is referred to in this recipe is the medium version and has a slightly crunchy texture, I have added a link to Sainsbury’s online as they stock it.

It can be made into a a version of mashed potato, added to dishes like a flour, or cooked and sliced and added to a stir fry.  You do need to follow the instructions carefully if you are making your own.  There is a fine line between the correct amount of water added, to get the best texture.

Polenta is made from ground cornmeal so is great for anyone with a wheat intolerance or celiacs as it naturally gluten free.  50 grams of dry polenta will give you 172 calories, 4.3 grams protein, 37 grams carbs, and is a  good source of Iron.


  • 150ml Sunflower Oil
  • 150g Runny Honey
  • 3 Eggs
  • 100g Ground Polenta
  • 60g Coconut Flour
  • 2 large Oranges
  • 1 lemon


  1. Pre heat the oven to 160C/gas 3
  2. Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl mix the oil and honey together, then combine ingredients from both bowls.
  3. Add zest of the oranges and lemon and fold in the Polenta, coconut flour and the juice of the oranges.
  4. Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin and bake for approx. 40-50 mins. Once cooked leave in the tin until cool.


Has Your Healthy Habit Turned Into An Unhealthy Obsession?

Is your diet and exercise routine really healthy?

Whilst reading this you might be in the midst of: carb cycling, quitting sugar, no carbs, clean eating, HIIT training, Cross-Fit, Bodypump or one of the many other promised routes to a better body.

Congratulations you are motivated and committed to a healthy lifestyle.  You have created good habits, ensuring you stick to your routines which in turn leads to you reaching your goals.

What happens though if those habits are not so good after all and have quietly turned into unhealthy obsessions.  Your healthy habits have started to intrude more and more into your day and are actually now starting to interfere with how you live your life.  Your habits are now mentally, emotionally or physically holding you prisoner and you can't go a day without your habit being part of it.  You now have an obsession.

Hobby/Habit/Obsession - Surely they are all the same thing?

Well yes you could say they are, but to varying degrees, it's very easy to disguise an unhealthy obsession as a healthy habit.  The difference lies in if we feel anxious or maybe even angry if we fail to make the habit part of our day.

Hobby: something we do for pleasure in our spare time which is not detrimental to our wellbeing.

Habit: something we do on a regular basis with very little conscious thought, like brushing your teeth or locking the front door.  Good or bad habits are made through repetition of a task, they take a while to form and can take equally as long to break.

Obsession: A pressure to carry out a habit that might not necessarily be good for us, but with no way to stop yourself from carrying on, often leading to anger or anxiety if the habit cannot be acted upon.

So has your healthy habit turned into an unhealthy obsession, it can be hard to recognise when it's cloaked in being good for you. The difference between the two is how easy it is to stop or skip the habit.  Some of the signs that could indicate your healthy habit is getting out of control:

You constantly cancel social time with friends just to fit in gym sessions.

You get stressed if you can't fit in a certain amount of weekly workouts.

You have to burn a certain number of calories before you leave the gym.

You take your trainers on every holiday and you use them.

You become agitated if you can't see the healthy option on the menu.

Constantly weighing yourself.

The number on the scales can ruin your day.

You started eating a clean diet, but now have limited yourself so much that you have to eat the same things day after day.

This list is by no means exhaustive and is actually based on some of my past personal obsessions.  I have stepped over the line myself and know how out of hand what seems like a healthy habit can become.

My Habits/Obsessions

My unhealthy obsession with food and exercise began at a young age with a throwaway comment that led to me thinking I needed to lose some weight.  It all started well and I liked the results that it was having on my body, I'm not even sure when it became an obsession.  I began to worry more and more that I would put on weight, to avoid this I severely restricted my food intake.

I was at a dangerously low weight, it was a very worrying time for my parents who tried everything to convince me to eat.  I would become angry and defensive every time food was mentioned.  Luckily in my late teens life suddenly became more interesting than my unhealthy obsession and I began to develop a normal eating pattern.

You would think I had learned my lesson, but no unfortunately I hadn't.  I then discovered the gym, it quickly became my new obsession, to the extent I was working out seven days a week and sometimes twice a day, with no rest.  This was exhausting and took over my life to such an extent that I started to become ill physically and mentally.

The toll it took on my body was immense, rather than creating a healthy toned body I now had a body that was letting me down.  Ultimatley something that was supposed to be doing me good was having the opposite effect.

This vicious circle stopped when I met my husband, I didn't have the time or inclination to carry on with my obsession. I honestly can't tell you if my obsessions were a coping mechanism, linked to my turbulent teenage years or if it's just the way I am made.

If you have realised that maybe you are in the grips of an obsession there is no easy answer to break the cycle.  I did manage it on my own, for others it takes the help of professionals.  I now look back with regret at the hours wasted in the gym trying to maintain a rididculous exercise regime.

Some of the things I wish I had known

There is so much misinformation surrounding diets and exercise that it's no wonder people get sucked into the latest fad, especially if it offers a quick fix.

Sadly a quick fix doesn't always lead to long term results and can start a horrible cycle of looking for the next craze that promises miracles.

This can create all sorts of problems, setting you up with an unhealthy mindset of believing you need to be following hard, possibly damaging routines to maintain your size and shape.

Lack of food and extreme exercise did not result in me having a better body, what has helped is gaining knowledge about how to eat well and exercise efficiently without it taking over my life.


Can't Beat A Bit Of Rhubarb and Apple Crumble, Free Crumble Recipe, Rhubard and Apple Crumble,

Cant beat a bit of Traditional Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

I love the idea of being able to grow my own vegetables, however in reality I always manage to kill them off!!  Well that is apart from Rhubarb!

My Rhubarb plant is right at the bottom of the garden and I do absolutely nothing to it!!   Luckily the less I do to it the more it just grows and grows.  Happy days, luckily some of my family like it!  If you are growing your own Rhubarb, take care what you do with the leaves as they are extremely high in Oxalic Acid, which can harmful to us.  However they are fine to pop in your compost bin.

There are quite a few recipes I am experimenting with, but thought I would just start with the good old fashioned  crumble as it is so quick and easy to make.

Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, however it is used in most dishes as a fruit.  It also has the least amount of calories per 100g than any other vegetable at 21 calories.  You have heard of term, 'Oh Rhubarb keeps me regular' well that is because it is high in dietary soluble fiber.  This means it will absorb quickly into the water within your digestive system and 'help you go'.  As an adult, we should aim at around 30g per day, the average person normally consumes around 18g per day.  Dietary fiber is also good at helping to remove excess cholesterol that clogs up your arteries.  One portion of Rhubarb gives you 45% of your daily vitamin K requirements and has nearly as much calcium as a glass of milk.


  • 3 cooking Apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 14 sticks of Rhubarb, remove outside and chop into chunks
  • 25g Brown Sugar
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 100g butter
  • 150g Flour
  • 150g Demerara Sugar
  • 100g Porridge Oats


  • Place the apples in a dish with 1/2 the brown sugar and cinnamon, cook in the microwave for about 6 minutes until they start to soften.
  • In another dish add the Rhubarb, remaining sugar and cinnamon and cook for about 6 minutes in the microwave. I find it so much easier than in a pan on the hob as you don't need to add any extra water.
  • While the fruit is cooking sieve the flour into a bowl.  Add the butter in small chunks and rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like bread crumbs.  Mix in the oats and sugar.
  • Mix the 2 fruits together and split between the 2 bowls, sprinkle the crumble mixture on the top and using a potato masher pat the crumble mixture flat.  Sprinkle with a little extra sugar
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins at 180C until the top is crunchy.
Chilli Bean Soup Recipe, Free Soup Recipe, Healthy Soup Recipe, Healthy Lunch Ideas, fitness for women, fitness for over forties, healthy eating, balanced diet

Chilli Bean Soup

Nothing beats a bowl of warm soup when it's cold outside. This recipe from Helen Dalton, is quick and easy to make and makes a great alternative to your lunchtime sandwich.

Chilli Bean Soup

This Chilli Bean soup tastes fantastic and is really filling.  I make a big batch and freeze in containers for lunch.  It's packed with vegetables and mixed pulses, making it an excellent source of fibre. Enjoy it with some crusty bread.


1 tbsp of olive oil
1 red onion chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 green pepper deseeded and chopped
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chilli powder
400g can mixed pulses (I use the napolina range and it comes in a spicy sauce)
300g can of cannellini bean (or a choice of your preference, please make sure you drain and rinse)
500g passata
250ml of vegetable stock


Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and peppers and fry gently, until softened. Add the cumin powder, smoked paprika and chilli powder stir gently for a few seconds. Add the pulses, passata and stock to the pan. Stir well, bring to the boil and reduce the heat, simmer gently for 20/25 minutes until the vegetables are tender. This soup is best left to cool and heated through a few hours later, it allows the soup to thicken, at this point you may wish to add a touch more water/stock.

Apple and plum pudding, healthy recipes, healthy food, free recipes

Apple and Plum Pudding (Gluten and Dairy Free) using Coconut Flour

Coconut flour, what and why should I use it?

I have been experimenting with coconut flour, it has a far less grainy texture compared to most gluten free flours.  As you can imagine I have had mixed success, ranging from sawdust to glub.  What you have to remember, when using coconut flour, is you cannot just swap like for like in any recipe, it will absorb any liquid far more than normal flour.  I have mainly been using 1/2 to 1/4 of normal flour to coconut flour,  but will always use less to start with as you can always add more depending on the texture.

Coconut flour is made from 'meat' or the white pulp of the coconut and is naturally gluten and lactose free so no chemicals are used to alter the composition.  It is relatively easy to make, follow this link and see how you get on.  The flour has a higher protein and fiber content than normal flour and due to its low GI content is great in helping to maintain your blood sugar which prevents peaks and troughs of energy.

There has been lots in the media recently about the health benefits of coconut water and how it can help to rehydrate you after a workout.  It is packed with minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese, it also contains high levels of antioxidants and amino acids.  However in recent tests, water has been found to be just as good at rehydrating the body during and post workout.  So I think the jury is still out on that one.  If you like the taste and feel better after drinking it, then it may be for you.  I personally still prefer basic water.

Try this really quick and easy pudding that all the family can enjoy.


Fruit Layer

  • 2 x Cooking Apples, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
  • 3 x Plums washed, stone removed and chopped into cubes
  • 1/2 tbsp Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon


  • 4 Eggs
  • 75 grams Caster Sugar
  • 50 grams Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 20 grams of Ground Almonds


  1. Put fruit, sugar and cinnamon in a pan and cook for 2 mins on a high heat, reduce to a simmer for 15-20 mins until the fruit is soft.
  2. While the fruit is cooking whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until fluffy and quite firm.  Gently stir in Flour, Almonds and baking powder until thoroughly mixed, do not beat the mixture as all the air will be lost and the 'sponge' won't rise.
  3. Add the fruit to a dish and pour over the topping.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 170C and bake for about 30 mins until the topping is firm to touch.
  5. Serve immediately with a splash of Coconut Cream.
Quick and easy Midweek diner - sausage traybake, Sausage traybake recipe, free sausage traybake recipe, healthy recipes, healthy food

Quick And Easy Midweek Diner – Baked Sausages

This is another quick and easy meal from Helen Dalton, a great alternative to the usual sausage tray bake, full of healthy ingredients and flavour.


8 good quality sausages, cut into small chunks (about 4cm)
800 g small waxy potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
1 large sweet potato cut into chunks
1 red & 1 yellow pepper cut into chunks
1 large red onion cut into chunks
1 large carrot cut into batons
1 courgette cut into chunks
1½ tsp smoked or sweet paprika
2 sprigs rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ciabatta or panini rolls cut into chunks
good plug of olive oil
Serve with a leafy green salad and balsamic glaze (although my kids love a Nando's hot sauce with this)


Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Place all of the above into a large roasting tray or casserole dish.

Drizzle over the oil and gently toss to combine. Use your hands and get stuck in!

Place in the oven and cook, stir occasionally for 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the sausages and bread are golden brown.

You may not like all of the vegetables so feel free to take some out and add others.  Butternut squash is a good alternative to sweet potato.  This also works well with vegetarian sausages.   The ciabatta is delicious, if you try a piece from the bottom of the tray it has soaked up all of the juices and if on top its like giant croutons.