Spaghetti and Beanballs

I've always fancied making veggie meatballs to top a bowl of spaghetti, but I just never got around to it until now. Well I did used to make them many years ago, but they came from a packet.

I think of 'meatballs'  every time the 'on top of spaghetti' song pops into my head. It was a song I learned in Brownies. You don't know it?

Spaghetti Song

On top of spaghetti, 

All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball, 
When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table,

And on to the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.

It rolled down the garden,

And under a bush,
And then my poor meatball,
Was nothing but mush.

So if you eat spaghetti,

All covered with cheese,
Hold on to your meatball,
Cause someone might sneeze.

A cautionary tale if ever there was one, I think you'll agree?

When I sing it to Cooper, I always sing beanballs, so it was about time I made some, so he knew what they heck I singing about.

I served my bean balls in a simple tomato sauce.

For my beanballs I used kidney beans, but you could use a variety of beans and to make them. To make them suitable for Graham who is vegan, I bound them with some peanut butter and flavoured them with cumin.

They worked really well and we all enjoyed them. I'll definitely make them again. I might try making some mini bean balls next time, just for the cuteness factor.

print recipe

Spaghetti and Beanballs
A scrummy vegetarian meatball to serve coated with tomato sauce on top of spaghetti.
  • 400g tin kidney beans
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 heaped tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • a good grinding of salt & black pepper
  • 6 slices wholemeal bread
1. Whizz up your bread until you have fine breadcrumbs and set aside.2. Mash together all of the other ingredients, apart from the water.3. Fold the breadcrumbs into your mixture. If it is a little dry or not coming together, then add the suggested water and a little more if you think it needs it.4. Roll the mixture into balls and pop into the fridge until you are ready to cook them.5. To cook them, either bake in the oven or fry in a little oil. I baked them in a preheated oven (220 c/200 c fan/425 f/gas 7) for 25 - 30 minutes.6. Serve with a simple tomato sauce and freshly cooked spaghetti, then top with parmesan (veggie or vegan).7. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4-6

My beanballs are being discussed on twitter. Here is a sneaky peek!


Don't they look good? I love all the added courgette. I wonder if her hubby noticed the difference? I will let you know if I find out!

Thanks Jen!

Jen blogs over at Blue Kitchen Bakes, if you haven't met her before.


The Mean Green Smoothie - National Vegetarian Week

You know how much I like my smoothies.

Here is my latest offering The Mean Green Smoothie.

I call it mean because of the kiwi fruit I added. Boy does it give it a kick! Kiwi are usually sweet with a bit of tang right? Juice it and it becomes a monster that hits you at the back of the throat. Not in an unpleasant way, but it does have a kick. Cooper really didn't like this one, but I love it!

It's a mixture of greens and orange, which account for the sludgy swamp colour. Sweet easy peelers, creamy avocado, sharp kiwi fruit, green spinach, orange juice, lemon juice and wheat grass.

As well as being slurpilious and having a kick, it's super good for you. High in Potassium and very high in Vitamin A and C.

It's also only 71 calories a glass, so it's great for the 5:2 Diet.

This is the first time I've used wheat grass in a smoothie. I was kindly sent a box of Wheat Grass Juice Powder by Pukka Herbs. They know how much I love my smoothies!

Pukka Herbs specialise in Organic and Fairtrade Teas, but they also sell a great range of health products and skincare. I was more interested in their health powders, that could give my smoothies a zap!

I'd heard of wheat grass before. Who hasn't heard of the juice bars in America, where suited and booted
business men and women, stop in on their way to work for a shot of wheat grass juice. So, what's so great about it?

Here is what Pukka say about it:

"Wheat Grass Juice naturally supports the body's ability to cleanse itself due to its high chlorophyll content. It is one of the most nourishing foods in the world containing an easy to digest broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins and antioxidants. To ensure optimum potency, we use only concentrated juice from fresh wheat grass."

It's suitable for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diets and it only takes 5 minutes to make (add a couple more minutes if you have to blanch your spinach).

Now for the recipe.

print recipe

The Mean Green Smoothie

Sweet easy peelers, creamy avocado, sharp kiwi fruit, green spinach, orange juice, lemon juice and wheat grass combine in this nutrient powerhouse to make a powerful and delicious smoothie.
  • 5 easy peelers (or clementines)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 kiwi fruit
  • a large handful spinach
  • 500ml orange juice
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp wheat grass juice powder
1. Wash your spinach. If you have a vitamix like me you can add the spinach fresh, if you don't, pop it in a colander in the sink and pour a kettleful of boiling water over it. Rinse with cold water to refresh, then squeeze as much liquid out of it as possible before adding to your blender or food processor.2. Prepare the rest of the ingredients. Peel the oranges and kiwi fruit, scoop the flesh from the avocado and juice have a lemon.3. Pop all of your ingredients into a blender and whizz until smooth. You can add ice if you like.4. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4

I am entering my smoothie into Ricki's Wellness Weekends.  

To enter, simply link up a vegan recipe you made (and posted about) that contains health-supporting ingredients.  

This means any good-for-you whole foods, especially those with antioxidant properties or “functional foods” (ie, offering naturally medicinal or health-promoting qualities–such as garlic, coconut oil, all vegetables, fruits, herbs, etc.)–but any
fresh, real food is welcome!

Happy Vegetarian Week!

My National Vegetarian Week:
Saturday: The Mean Green Smoothie

And check out my post on trying a vegetarian diet over at Baby Centre. 36 gorgeous starters, main courses and desserts to choose from.

Disclosure: Pukka Herbs sent me a box of wheat grass juice powder to try. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

5:2 Diet - Broccoli and Celery Soup = 111 Calories

Fast day soup equals happy tummy, in fact any day soup equals happy tummy, but knowing it is helping you lose weight makes it even more special.

A simple, fresh green soup that is frugal too. Broccoli, potato, celery and a bag of mixed leaves that needed used up were the base for this soup.

5:2 Diet - Broccoli and Celery Soup = 111 Calories

Oh yes and did I mention it is only 111 calories per portion? No! Silly me!

I thought is was slurpingly good and Cooper loved it. Graham was a bit more blasé about it, saying it wasn't one of his favourites. Honestly! Sometimes I despair!!

Here is Cooper enjoying his soup. I made it during the day for our evening meal, but Cooper couldn't wait and wanted a cup of yummy soup right away. It was a bit hot, so I put a splosh of milk in his.

I do hope you give it a go. It's super good and on feast days it would be nice with that splosh of milk I added for Cooper or even some brie or blue cheese added.

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Broccoli and Celery Soup
A super healthy and frugal green soup made from broccoli, celery and potato. Only 111 calories per portion.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 160g bag watercress, spinach and rocket (or any mixed leaves)
  • 4 pints vegetable stock
  • a good grinding of black pepper
1. Saute the onion, garlic and celery in the olive oil in a large pan until the onion is soft and translucent. 2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender.3. Whizz until nearly smooth. I like to leave some texture in my soup.4. Season. 5. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 6


National Vegetarian Week - The 5:2 Diet for Vegetarians

I started following the 5:2 Diet back in August last year after watching the Horizon documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer.

In the documentary Dr Michael Mosley examined the science behind fasting and how it could help us all to lose weight and live longer.

There is science behind the diet and you can read about it my original 5:2 Diet post, but for this post I wanted to look at the 5:2 Diet for vegetarians.

Spinach Dal, my 5:2 dinner tonight. Small portion with 2 pittas
I suppose you would like to know how much I have lost? Not as much as some people have, that's for sure. At my best, I'd lost 1 stone and 4 lbs, which is the equivalent of 8.25 kilos. At the moment I have settled at around a stone. On my report card it will say could do better!

So what do you need to do? What have I learned?

Here are my top 10 tips:
  1. Eat under 500 calories if you are a women or 600 calories if you are a man, twice a week.
  2. The rest of the time you can eat what you want, but beware, if you go too crazy on feast days, you won't lose weight and all of that work with be in vain.
  3. Approach the fast days with a positive mind.
  4. Plan what you will eat on fast days, don't leave it to chance.
  5. Don't let yourself go over the calorie limit, that is a slippery slope.
  6. Drink lots of water. It is suggested that green tea is good for fast days too.
  7. Fast on work days. You will be too busy to think too much about eating.
  8. Talk to other people about your fast. It's great to have a bit of encouragement and you will probably find other people are doing the 5:2 Diet too.
  9. Keep busy in the evenings as this can be a danger time as you wind down.
  10. Go to bed early!
And now for my recipes. I hope they will inspire you to have a go, but remember do not attempt any diet if you are pregnant or have any health problems. Do consult your doctor if you are in any doubt.

Left:            Low Calorie Spicy Tomato & Lentil Soup = 123 calories per portion
Centre:        Broccoli and Celery Soup = 111 calories per portion (come back for the recipe tomorrow)
Right:          Minestrone Soup = 198 calories per portion

Left:           Avocado, Apple & Hazelnut Salad = 227 calories per portion
Centre:       Savoury Cauliflower Rice = 137 calories per portion
Right:         Fridge Salad = 230 calories per portion

Left:         One-Pot Southern Style Rice = 232 calories per portion
Centre:     Simple Tomato Sauce = 63 calories per portion
Right:       Moroccan Style Potato Bake = 233 calories per portion

Left:         Garden Cottage Pie = 342 calories per portion
Right:       Vegetable and Lentil Stew = 242 calories per portion

Left:         Plum & Apple Smoothie with Fizz = 68 calories per glass
Centre:     Pink Mango Smoothie = 115 calories per glass
Right:       Swamp Juice = 115 calories per glass

Left:       Cinnamon Apple Crisps = 50 calories per portion
Right:     Coocnut Fruit Salad = 174 calories per portion

You can also follow my Pinterest board - 5:2 Diet for Vegetarians.

My National Vegetarian Week:

Monday: Weekly Meal Planning
Tuesday: My Top 7 Vegetarian Food Bloggers

Wednesday: My Top 3 Vegan Food Bloggers

Thursday: The 5:2 Diet for Vegetarians

Friday: Broccoli and Celery Soup

Saturday: The Mean Green Smoothie

Sunday: Spaghetti and Beanballs  

Happy Vegetarian Week!

National Vegetarian Week - Vegan Food Bloggers

It's National Vegetarian Week here in the UK and what better time to celebrate the best vegetarian and vegan food bloggers.

Yesterday I talked about my Top 7 Vegetarian Food Bloggers and today I would like to introduce you to some of my favourite vegan food bloggers.

This post is dedicated to my lovely hubby (well lovely when he isn't being grumpy, especially in the mornings), who became vegan last year. 

I am so proud of him. He made the decision, stuck with it and never wavered. He doesn't ever try to make Cooper and I feel bad for still eating dairy either. For that I love him even more.

1. Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Zucchini Noodles with Sesame Peanut Sauce
I discovered Susan's blog way before I had any interest in vegan cooking, but I fell in love with it anyway!

I defy you to go there and not drool over the food. Forget it being vegan. Susan's food is what you will want to eat. Yes you! Just look at it!

Susan became a vegetarian in 1988, at about the same time as me, but 6 years later she decided to eliminate dairy from her diet too. She also made the decision to try and cook fat free too and the weight just dropped off her. She says some has piled back on, but I think she looks pretty gorgeous!

Susan lives in Mississippi with her husband and teenage daughter.

Featured recipe:

photo: Fat Free Vegan Kitchen


2. Diet, Dessert and Dogs

Tex-Mex Black Bean Burgers
Ricki was one of my first blogger friends and she has remained a loyal friend ever since. As you can see as well as cooking and baking Ricki loves her does and they are sweethearts. She calls them The Girls! They have quite a lot to say about Ricki's cooking and baking.

Ricki is college teacher who also teaches cookery classes and writes cookbooks alongside her blog. Yes, I know, how does she fit it all in. She also always makes time for other bloggers too as well as her readers.

Ricki eats and cooks a vegan diet but she also cooks and bakes sugar-free, gluten-free, allergy-friendly. She is one top gal all around!

Featured recipe:

photo: Diet, Dessert and Dogs

3. Andrea's Easy Vegan Cooking

Roasted Sweet Potato Pate
Andrea calls herself a reluctant cook, but I don't believe that for a minute.

After a shoulder injury made it too painful for Andrea to cook, her husband took over in the kitchen, but Andrea's interest never waned. She poured over cookbooks and magazines and eventually she got back into the kitchen.

Andrea cooks comfort food for her extended family and takes her grandchildren into the kitchen to cook and bake now too.

Somehow Andrea managed to delete all the photos on her blog, but she's a fighter and were the lesser among us would have given up in defeat, Andrea is working her way through and adding new photos. She has brought a good few years up to date now.

Featured recipe:

photo: Andrea's Easy Vegan Cooking

Well that's my top three. I only have another small selections of vegan blogs to visit, but I don't know them well enough to swipe photos to show you without causing offence.

Here are a few others to visit:

  1. The Taste Space
  2. Holy Cow!
  3. Chocolate-Covered Katie
  4. Oh She Glows
  5. The Vegan Stoner
  6. Chow Vegan
  7. Urban Vegan
And here are a few of my vegan recipes:

  1. Cajun Spiced Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers
  2. Easy Chickpea and Coriander Patties
  3. Lentil, Courgette and Thyme Burgers

  1. Aloo Gobhi
  2. Roasted Veg Vindaloo
  3. Spinach and Potato Curry

  1. Peanutty Vegetable Noodles
  2. Penne Arrabiata
  3. Roast Vegetable Sauce for Pasta
  4. Bolognaise

Main Meals (Various)
  1. Cottage Garden Pie 
  2. Rich Mushroom and Neep Pie 
  3. One-Pot Southern Style Rice
  4. Richly Braised Lentils
  5. Vegetabel and Lentil Stew

Sweet Treats
  1. Carrot Cake
  2. Vanilla Cake
  3. Chocolate and Banana Flapjacks
  4. Cinnamon Apple Crisps
  5. Peanut Butter and Coconut Cookies
  6. Sweet Basil and Lemon Shortbread

Happy Vegetarian Week!

National Vegetarian Week - Vegetarian Food Bloggers

I thought it would be nice to celebrate some of the best veggie and vegan food bloggers this week. I won't be able to include all of the wonderful veggie and vegan blogs I visit, but I would like to introduce you to a few of my favourites. Today I would like to introduce you to some of the best vegetarian food blogs.

1. Allotment 2 Kitchen

Vegan Chocolate Gingerbread Cake
Shaheen started her blog to highlight the meals she made with vegetables grown in her allotment.

Shaheen has been blogging since January 2009 and I've never known a more committed cook and blogger.

In the last four years Shaheen has blogged the most mouth watering meals on almost a daily basis.

Her food is the type that I want to eat. Hearty, honest food with big flavours that make the most of seasonal vegetables.

Shaheen may have started in her allotment just feeding her family, but now she feeds the lucky inhabitants of Newport, Wales from her cafe - Hunky Dorys.

If you're nearby, be sure to stop in and say hi, then tuck in. As well as vegetarian food, Shaheen now makes an exciting range of vegan food and cakes too.

Featured recipe:

photo: Allotment 2 Kitchen

2. Lisa's Kitchen

Kashmiri Chickpeas with Mushrooms
Lisa has to be one of my best buddies in blogland. We've been friends for years now and our biggest regret is that we live so far apart. I'm in Scotland and Lisa lives in London, Ontario.

Lisa has been writing her blog since 2007 and her speciality is spice. If you are looking for some tasty and authentic vegetarian Indian dishes, then Lisa is the woman to see.

Lisa has over a thousand appetising and healthy recipes to choose from. Mostly savoury dishes, but a also some exceptional sweet treats, so why not pop over there and have a look. You won't be disappointed!

Featured recipe:

photo: Lisa's Kitchen

Veggie Pot Pie Soup
Becca is a relatively new blogger, but you wouldn't know it from her blog and her gorgeous food photography. It all looks very professional and she reached that stage so very quickly. It just makes the rest of us, that have built up those skills over many years feel very old and slow, well me anyway!

Becca is in her twenties and lives in Liverpool. I don't know what to say about her food other than I love every single thing this girl blogs! Her food rocks and she seems to be really lovely girl too!

Featured recipe:

photo: Amuse Your Bouche

Australia Day Fudge
I was lucky enough to meet Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe recently. Cooper and I had a lovely day out in Edinburgh with Johanna and her little girl Sylvia. We had great fun exploring the Natural History Museum of Scotland, then in the evening we met up with Johanna's husband and Chele from The Chocolate.Teapot.

Johanna and her family live in Melbourne, Australia and she has been blogging since 2007.

Johanna blogs her family meals, which are real vegetarian comfort food. The kind that puts a smile on your face and leaves you feeling full and content. Oh and she has mastered many kinds of vegan cheese!

Her posts all include snippets of her day and the little amusing things her toddler does and says. Her posts are as comforting as her food and she is a delightful friend to have.

Featured recipe:  

photo: Green Gourmet Giraffe

Vegan Hot Cross Buns
Lisa is the vegetarian mum of two teenage daughters. She used to be the food editor for a major parenting site, but once the girls went to school, she decided she needed a new job with a bit more real life company and channelled her passion for food into her blog.

Lisa has been writing her blog since 2010 and is another vegetarian blogger that cooks very down-to-earth vegetarian family meals that would please even the meatiest of meat eaters. 

Colourful, satisfying food that makes you want to tuck in. Oh to be able to dip a fork into the screen and have a taste.

Featured recipe:

photo: We Don't Eat Anything With A Face

Kung Pao Spaghetti
I don't know much about Claire form Chez Cayenne. I know she's from Texas and she's married, but that's about it. She really doesn't give much away.

What I do know is I love visiting her blog.

Waffles, burritos, spaghetti, focaccia, wraps, fritters........ Mmmmmm!

Her photos are clear, crisp and exciting! As Val over at More Than Burnt Toast would say, they are very droolworthy!

Quick! Go visit Claire!

Featured recipe:

photo: Chez Cayenne

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
I only came across The Garden Grazer recently. I can only think I must have found the blog through Tastespotting or on Pinterest because the photos are stunning.

The Garden Grazer is written by Kaitlin. She and her husband are both vegetarian and her "goal is to make vegetarian cooking fun, simple, affordable, approachable, and of course delicious (to please both carnivores and herbivores alike)!" I can state categorically say that she does this 100%.

Kaitlin has only been blogging since early 2012, but her blog is very professional and a treat to visit.

Featured recipe:

photo: The Garden Grazer

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to some of my favourite vegetarian food bloggers and I do hope you'll take the time to visit each of them this week to celebrate National Vegetarian Week.

Tune in each day this week for another veggie week post.

Tomorrow I will be talking about some of my favourite Vegan bloggers.

Happy National Vegetarian Week!

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