Month: July 2012

Sample time!


What a great week, the Olympics kicked off last night with a complex and very well dreamed up opening ceremony that had something for everyone, I got an ‘A’ in my latest Nutrition course assignment and I managed to get another 5 recipes cooked and  into my book, despite being back at work this week. I’ve also had a few lovely comments about my book, its layout, the quality of the photography and more importantly the finished recipes themselves!

This time I want to share a few more things with you. Now I’m pretty comfortable with the layout of the book, I don’t mind showing you a sample page from the inside, which will give you a good idea of how the rest of the book looks. I also want to try to answer a couple of questions I had from readers after last time’s post.

But first, the cover…!

Janice with Front Cover of Book on iPadI have a cover for the book, which I designed right back when I first started out on this journey, and I still haven’t fallen out with it, so I want your opinion… good cover or not? What else, if anything, would you like to see on the cover to tell you more about what’s inside? Does this cover get across the point of what might be inside well enough? Do you think the picture works? Click for a closer look. And yes, this is me by the way!

I have been asked this week whether the book will contain any vegetarian recipes, and the answer to that is easy – YES. At the moment around half the recipes fall into this category, with options of turning lots of the others into vegetarian options simply by swapping the meat/fish for a suitable substitute. The recipe I’m about to share below is one of the vegetarian dishes.

Another question I was asked was when do I think the book will be out? Well, I’m currently working on the last 10-15 recipes for the book, and at the moment I’m managing to get around 5 or 6 per week done, so that would mean about 3 weeks until I finish cooking. Then I will have the finishing touches such as the ‘About the Ingredients’ section and of course I have my introduction to write, so maybe another week or two for all that. I am hoping it will be available by the end of August. Not too long to wait!

And so to the inside of the book. I have tended to stick with a similar layout for all recipes, so there will be a page with the ingredients, directions, a small picture and all the facts & figures about the dish. On the opposite side of the page (if you’re viewing a double spread) will be either a full page picture or sometimes two half page pictures of the finished dish.

Janice with Sample Recipe Page on iPad

If you click on the second picture you will see an example double page spread of my ‘Stuffed Walnut Topped Mushrooms’ recipe. What do you think?

You will also see on the bottom left corner of the page there is a little pie chart, not to make you want to eat pie(!), but to give you the all important macronutrient breakdown of the dish. You will see the amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat and saturated fat, indicated by the coloured portions. I think is a really great feature for those wanting to choose a recipe they can quickly see fits into their goals (high protein for example, or maybe the 40:40:20 ratios that are popular). Of course I also tell you how many calories in each portion and give you the gramme count of the protein, carbs and fat too.

And so to the recipe, I know, I know, you want it right now. I do hope you will try out this recipe as it really is easy peasy and anyone can do it. Plus, it tastes fabulous! Earlier in the week I gave this recipe to my vegetarian screenwriter friend in Canada, Shannon, and she tried it out and loved it. In fact she was so impressed she made the same dish using button mushrooms later the same week, which was also a success. So if you want to read her opinion, you can click here for the post all about it. And, finally here is the recipe in its entirety, just for you. Why not have a go at it this week and let me know what you thought.

Stuffed Walnut Topped Mushrooms

Stuffed Walnut-Topped Mushrooms

Ingredients:

4 Portobello mushrooms (large, flat)

300g tub low fat, low sodium cottage cheese

1 clove of garlic, minced

½ small red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 banana shallot or 2 small regular shallots, finely chopped

Ground black pepper, to taste

10 walnut halves, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5.

Cut off the stalks of the mushrooms then lay them upside down an oven tray.

In a small bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, garlic, shallot and red pepper.

Spoon the mixture onto the upturned mushrooms, pressing it down slightly and making sure it is pressed into all edges.

Add freshly ground pepper to the surface of the cottage cheese mixture then top with the finely chopped walnuts.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes, turning half way through the cooking time. Once the walnuts start to brown the stuffed mushrooms are done.

You may find that quite a bit of water is released from both the mushrooms and the cottage cheese, this is quite normal and the water can be discarded.

Serve immediately. Use either 2 mushrooms per person or serve 1 mushroom per person with some green vegetables on the side.

Two stuffed mushrooms gives 219 calories, 21g protein, 13g carbohydrates, 10g fat (2g of which is saturated fat).

So there you have it, and now let me have it – your opinions and any more questions please!!!

Janice.

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So What’s It All About?


I hope you’ve all had a great weekend, I certainly have. I’ve made great progress into getting some more of my recipes cooked, photographed and laid out in my book, so I am pleased with that. I also had time for a little shopping, always a good thing, and I also checked out the film “Julie & Julia”, recommended to me by a friend. If you haven’t seen the film and are at all interesting in either cooking or blogging, you should DEFINITELY give it a go.

Before I get into the main content of the post today I want to welcome all of you new followers and thank you for signing up for updates, I really appreciate your interest! I know most of you came through a link that Nancy Reinhardt posted on her Facebook page so I thank her for that too.

A few people have no doubt read the blog and thought, “but what’s it all about?” (the recipe book, not the blog – I hope that much is obvious!). So I thought I’d try to explain where I’m coming from in creating this brand new cook book.

When I came new to the world of so-called ‘eating clean’ I fairly quickly understood the principles of it – eat fresh foods that you can either grow or kill, cut out processed foods, added sugar and added salt, and drink plenty of water. Ok, there might be some other parts to the definition that I’ve left out but I’m sure you all get the idea. So with this new list of ‘allowable’ foods in my hand, I had a go at making them into meals. To start with this was fine, I had plain chicken with broccoli, tuna with a sweet potato, oats with eggs, and so on, but this soon became boring for me as I LOVE FOOD and I wasn’t getting my usual fix of the variety of flavours that I knew were out there. So, like many, I scoured various sources for new recipes so I could make my diet more interesting again, whilst still maintaining the principles of eating clean. Some recipes I tried were very dry, others a bit bland, and others were just eggs, eggs, eggs… ENOUGH EGGS!!!

Most people new to eating clean will own one or more of Tosca Reno’s cookbooks, I do. In fact I have 4 of them including the Workout manual. Tosca is great, she provides a ton of recipes, all made of fresh, clean ingredients…. BUT… I was personally put off a lot of her recipes as they contain ingredients that I either had never heard of, or that I wouldn’t know where to get them from, or (most importantly for me) I didn’t know how the finished recipe would taste. Not all Tosca’s recipes have a picture either, which to me is a no-no because I always flick past those pages. I am a busy person and I don’t want to spend time understanding a recipe, I want to SEE what it will look like before I even consider looking at the ingredients.

So, a year later, much learning under my belt, lots of experimenting with flavours, tailoring recipes to put my own spin on things, inventing some dishes of my own that I don’t even know if they exist anywhere else (don’t worry, they all taste great!!!), I am creating my own recipe book, with what I believe is a fantastic selection of EASY to create dishes, that are TASTY and also fit the CLEAN bill. And “Easy Tasty Clean” was born.

Here is why I think my book is unique:

  • In my book, I use simple language to describe the process of creating the dishes.
  • In my book, EVERY recipe has at LEAST one picture. 90% have FULL PAGE pictures PLUS incidentals to show different stages of cooking or an alternative view of the food.
  • In my book, I ensure that ALL recipes have a good amount of protein content, a low level of saturated fat and balanced carbohydrates, to fulfil the needs of the person who exercises regularly who wants to maintain muscle mass and energy levels.
  • In my book, I include EXTRAS, such as my ‘How To’ section and my ‘Ingredients’ section, which explain cooking and preparation techniques, as well as describing some of the important ingredients used in the book, with the aim of taking the mystery out of these ingredients and enabling the reader to UNDERSTAND WHY and HOW to use them.
  • In the making of my book, I am personally COOKING and  PHOTOGRAPHING every single recipe, and also DESIGNING ALL the pages in the book. I’m not looking for brownie points, I’m just saying, it’s ALL MINE and I believe in it 100%!!!
  • My qualification in Nutrition that I am current studying for means that I feel able to give nutritional advice and can guarantee that all the recipes are HEALTHY.

 

So hopefully this will give you an understanding of the shape and direction the book is taking, and hopefully you’ll agree there is a place in the market for this type of book.

Next time I will share a sample recipe and show you how I am laying out the pages of the book, by putting a picture of a double page spread up for you to see – I’m sure you will let me know what you think!

Looking forward to your feedback on what I’ve shared today, thanks for reading!

Janice.

A Productive Week


So what do you do when you have a week at home and lots of ideas in your head? Answer: you get those ideas OUT of your head and ONTO the page!

This week I’ve been off work and have made great strides into getting some of the recipes that have been floating around in my head down onto a plate and onto virtual paper. The book I am authoring, “Easy Tasty Clean”, is really starting to take shape, with now around 55 pages and well over 20 recipes in it. Each recipe I make I also photograph in my little ‘studio’ upstairs, so there will never be any recipes in the book that don’t have an accompanying picture. I find that off-putting when I read other cookbooks, if they don’t have pictures I NEVER make them. Eating starts with the eyes for me and I’m guessing I’m not alone in that.

Easy Tasty Clean Recipe

And as I’m a photographer too, I am making sure my pictures not only accurately reflect what the food looks like on a plate, but am also making them look GOOD. Good enough to eat you might say. I hope so anyway! Here is a sneak preview of one of the dishes I made yesterday. Not telling you what’s in it, I’ll save that for the book!

This week I have had a couple of bits of exciting news I want to share with you…

As some of you may know, I design and look after the website for Nancy Reinhardt, an amazingly driven, caring and gorgeous woman I met on Facebook around 9 months ago. She inspired me to get back into lifting weights and has helped me gain some better definition and shape than I’ve ever had before. Well, she has been so impressed with the samples of pages from my book that I’ve been sending her that she wants to feature the book on her website, and even wants to write the Foreword for it!!! How exciting is that?! She believes that this type of book is definitely what’s missing out there – it’s real EASY recipes for real busy and fit people, who want TASTY, CLEAN food. Although there are many clean eating resources out there, such as Tosca Reno’s series of books, many of them use ingredients that people haven’t heard of or wouldn’t know how to go about finding, and are way too complicated for everyday REAL life. My book is written by someone who’s gone through the learning stages of taking clean ingredients and formulating them into actual edible food. Yes I have taken tips for recipes from various sources but I have then tailored them to be my own and have discovered that easy is what people like myself need. Be sure to visit Nancy’s website as she has some great tips on eating clean in her tips page, and if you want to delve into making this a lifestyle she has some great coaching plans available too. Check her out!

Next on my exciting news list is that after publishing my last post, I received a message from a local lady who writes a blog called “Lancashire Food“. She wants to do a review of my e-book and feature it on her blog! So I will send her the book when it’s complete and she will review it, maybe feature one of my recipes and accompanying pictures on the blog. I’m nervous already, the thought of someone scrutinizing my work so closely sure gives me the willies, but it could be a great thing if it turns out well!

In the next few days my lovely friend Shannon in Canada is going to be making one of my recipes to try for herself. She admits to not really ‘doing’ dairy but she is going to try one of my dishes that involves cottage cheese, as she feels she wants to increase her protein intake. So I am also awaiting the review of that, watch this space. Shan is a fantastic screenwriter and also writes a blog of her own, “Mastering The Method“, about the ups & downs of trying to maintaing a great body after 40. You should check her out if you want a great read and a laugh or two in with the bargain. She’s the best.

So, moving forward, I aim to continue creating and cooking great recipes that fit the brief (easy, tasty & clean) and getting them down and ready to go. Next week I will be moving platform from PC to Mac so that process will be interesting, trying to get all my files, pictures, everything over to start work on my new toy workspace. I think there will be a few weeks of running two machines somehow…

Have a great weekend everyone.

Winning AND Losing


So it’s the weekend, in fact it’s a VERY long weekend as I have the next week off work. Well, off my day job I should say. The time I’ll have to myself over the next few days has come at just the right time as I have lots going on in my head regarding my new book, lots of ideas for recipes, photographs, page layouts, in fact everything that this project encompasses. I need this week to get some of those ideas out of my head and onto paper (or onto a plate!) or I’m in danger of exploding!

Last night I made a great recipe for my evening meal, but of course I couldn’t just make my dinner and eat it, oh no, every time I cook at the moment I’m trying to make something different, so I can cook it, photograph it and get it into the book. It’s the only way I’m going to make serious headway into getting this project moving. As it stands I have about a dozen recipes done, which I’ve managed to do in the last couple of weeks, so I’m managing about one per day, which I suppose is not bad going seeing as I only have evenings and the weekends to spend on this.

In the last few days I have sent samples of pages of my book to a couple of friends to get their opinion, see if they like the style of what I’m doing and if they think it’s worth me carrying on with it. Luckily for me, they have come back with a big resounding YES! In fact one of my opinion-pollees said (and I quote)

“It is ******* real food done well and done simply and it’s food real people eat! Even better than Tosca’s in my opinion.”

Now that’s something I can’t say I ever thought I would hear, especially not so early in the project. But now it’s been said I feel just a touch (ok, a helluvalot!) more pressure to produce something amazing! I will try people! Thanks for the vote of confindence though, you know who you are 😉  And sorry, Tosca!

So the title of this post is Winning AND Losing, and at the moment I am definitely doing both. But maybe not in the sense you might think. I am definitely winning as this project feels right for me, I love doing it and I am producing some great work AND it’s all my own! But what am I losing? WEIGHT! Yes, in my efforts to make balanced, clean meals I think I have been feeding my body exactly what it needs, in the right proportions, and it has decided to shed a couple of pounds in the past week! I now weigh what I did when I was 20. I’m not particularly trying to lose weight, although I would still like to swap a little more of my body fat for muscle, so it will be interesting to see whether this trend continues as I get deeper into the project.

Have a great weekend everyone, and please tell me what you would like to know about this project!

Beginnings!


Wow, my first post. For now I’ll just say I’m VERY excited to be doing this blog, to be documenting the steps I’ll be taking over the next few weeks with the aim of getting my very first recipe book published. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Janice Cumberlidge, I’m 41 (35 if anyone asks you) and I live in the U.K. I’ve been striving to follow a clean, healthy diet combined with making time for regular workouts for over a year PROPERLY, before which I THOUGHT I was exercising and eating reasonably well but was actually not! Then I discovered clean eating and weight training and since then things are looking up, I’m looking better, I weigh less now than I did when I was 25 and I have better muscle tone than I think I EVER did!

So I am here to share with you my journey as I gather my favourite clean-eating recipes together, cook and photograph every single one of them (at least once!) and design and create what will hopefully be a beautiful book, to share with everyone who also is interested in this lifestyle. The recipes will be (as the title suggests) EASY to make – not too many steps to get to the final product, TASTY – taste is so important when it comes to enjoyment of food, and CLEAN – in order to be successful in this lifestyle you have to make the effort to eat whole foods, not the toxic, pre-packaged ‘foods’ we are constantly led to believe will make us healthier.

So there you have it, my goal – make a book. Wish me luck and please follow me on this journey by signing up for email updates and sharing with friends who might also be interested!