Best Everyday Cookbooks That Helped!

Here are my 5 Top Cookbooks for usability in the kitchen. One of the key elements has been accessibility to ingredients as well as meal cost. In this challenging 18 months, how we live our lives, and certainly shop has been modified or even changed completely even if it has only been temporary. Plant based meals are now common place and encouraged so testing and including plant based cookbook options was a must.

The following cookbooks all have great recipe ideas for all culinary tastes and budgets, and of course they always make for great gift ideas, and all of them can conveniently found on For UK click here. For US click here or for Amazon, just click on the image!

Fakeaways – Dale Pinnock

Just before lock down in the UK I had happened to pick up this great cookbook by Dale Pinnock at my local library . So pleased I did , as with takeaways shut, this was a great go to alternative. He advertises as a healthy, budget-friendly takeaways for everyday cooking, and it did do what it said on the tin!

One of my bug bears is ingredients I’ve never heard of or cant find in my local supermarket. Given the restrictions during lockdown, this was even more relevant. The book is broken up by chapters for each countries recipes. It covers Indian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Thai and grills and classics. So a wide range is covered . I happened to start off with the Egg and vegetable fried rice, which was lovely. I also made it with with white rice when I didnt have brown and even a mix of the two, when rice stocks were low at my house. They were all equally delicious.

As we love an Indian, I quickly went to that department. The Power Pilau Rice, although I didn’t bother with the goji berries, as I didn’t have any. The Chana Masala was also great. I didn’t worry too much with the Italian dishes just because I make a lot of Italian anyway. Although I did like the sound of the Spaghetti Puttanesca. The Middle Eastern Fasula was nice, although I swapped in a non meat alternative. The whole family loved the Thai-Style Lentil Stew. Although I didn’t have lemongrass stalks and used lemongrass paste instead.

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Meet Our Pets

We have always been animal lovers. One of the things we had in common when meeting was a childhood yearning for a dog neither of us ever had one but walked other peoples. So once we had our own home, pets were quickly on the agenda!

Choosing The Right Pet

As much as we wanted a dog at the time we both worked full time at the same time all day, we wanted to re-home from an animal shelter and we knew they wouldn’t agree it, with good reason, (professional dog walkers didn’t exist then) Even with decent walks before and after work, any dog would be left a long time, 5 days a week. We were not able to return at lunch time either. So as much as we wanted a dog, we made the decision to wait and ended up sounding like our parents! Thankfully the allowed us an adult cat, we named her Hattie, she was amazing and settled in immediately. A year later our work patterns changed to shifts, and we felt we could better accommodate a dog. Badger then joined our family.

Even if you are not buying a pet from an animal charity, they do offer great advice, and help you consider both the needs for yourself and the animal. There is nothing more miserable, costly and stressful for both yourself and your pet with a wrong choice. I particularly like the PDSAs super quick Get Pet Wise questionnaire which helps you decide, which kind of pet would be a good match for you and your lifestyle.

In the UK according to the PDSA paw report 50% of UK adults own a pet. There are currently an estimated 10.9 million pet cats, 9.9 million pet dogs and 900 000 pet rabbits. Obviously there are a multitude of other pets besides dogs,cats and rabbits. In the US according to the National Pet Ownership Survey 2019-2020 67% of US households or about 85 million families, own a pet.

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5 Easy ways to reduce plastic in your food shopping

We don’t need a few people to do Zero Waste perfectly, we need loads of people to do it imperfectly.

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You know what it’s like, you’ve seen the media footage, you don’t want to see suffering animals, find packaging from your purchase ending up in the sea or a landfill site on the other side of the world. You’ve heard of Zero Waste, but think these people must be on a completely different planet to you and in the haze and stress of it all, somehow, you have to work, live and shop somewhere. – Here’s 5 easy hassle free ways you can do just that, as well as feel better that you are helping to reduce the overall consumption of plastic!

#1 Glass bottles and jars & more Glass bottles & jars !

When you start shopping in your supermarket, start thinking in terms of bottles and jars. Most products will also come in a bottle or jar alternative. Tomato ketchup, pasta sauces, mayonnaise, cooking oils. If you swap as many of your products as you can to glass versions, you will stop bringing so much plastic even into the house. Glass is much easier to re-use in the house . For ideas on What can i do with my glass jars? another post I have written click here .

#2 Consider Tinned

If there’s no glass alternative – is there a tin version? We are so used to picking up plastic, sometimes we just don’t think about it. Tin is more Eco-friendly than plastic and ideas of re-use coming soon. I’m now using them in my garden! Also consider tinned for drinks in preference to particularly single use plastic drinks bottles.

#3 Look for Cardboard

Open any freezer at the supermarket and your likely to fill your trolley with a tonne of items in the worst kind of plastic, unlikely to be even recyclable. Some companies are moving to more cardboard packaging, and some don’t have plastic around the items inside either. Frozen is a good way of using items, as you want them and creating less wastage. But it is also worth considering the packaging here.

Same with cleaning and clothes washing items, lookout for cardboard options. You can even totally re-think these items, but more on that in other posts.

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What Is Art Journaling And How Do I Start?

Art Journaling can really be anything you want it to be. A more official description is perhaps a ‘visual diary’. It’s a place where you can record and express your memories, thoughts and emotions through art, words and imagery. That may sound scary but it really isn’t, and you don’t have to be trying to feel or express anything. See below for what it is good for and how you can start.

How does it help?

It’s an excellent way of taking some time out and expressing yourself in a different way. It’s great for getting things out of your head and left on a page! You can do it alone, get together with friends, join a group or all three!

How do I start?

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