Mushroom and spinach stronganoff

Last September, when G Major started reception, I dropped my hours at work a bit to enable me to do pick up three days a week. I have always felt very strongly that it’s a good idea, if at all possible, for an adult to be at home after school in the early years, when the kids are knackered and need a decent feed and help with reading and there are playdates and extra curricular activities and not enough hours in the weekend to do everything you want to do together. I’m very fortunate indeed I’ve been able to wrangle the hours I do.

I rather thought it would be a breeze – I’d pootle home after work, have a chat at the school gates, relax with G Major while providing a gently stimulating environment, serve a balanced hot meal, and then collect G Minor from nursery early enough to also spend quality time with her.

LOLs.

I am running ALL THE TIME. I battle Southern Trains to get home; I race up the hill to get to the classroom door on time; we now have swimming and dance after school; reading is fraught when G Major is tired; she doesn’t want to go back out to nursery; G Major wants her sister’s post-nursery snack and G Minor wants her sister’s supper; no one agrees on what TV show to watch and what bedtime story to have; I have to pick up on work in the evening and connect with my US colleagues.

Part time work does not always equal less work.

I am knackered. So to avoid feeling utterly shattered, I’m keeping an eye on my diet. This recipe is a good boost for iron and vitamins B and D. Clearly, one meal is not going to make any difference to your energy levels, but it’s a good recipe to have in rotation. And it’s veggie.

Serves 2, plus a bit left for lunch the next day

What you need

  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms, preferably a mix of different types
  • Half an onion, sliced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Half a bag of baby spinach
  • Half a small pot of sour cream
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • Same of Worcestershire sauce
  • Ground black pepper
  • Pinch of paprika

What you do

  • Fry the onion and garlic in some oil until soft
  • Add the mushrooms, paprika and a good grind of black pepper and fry the mushrooms for about 8 minutes
  • Add the brandy, sour cream and Worcestershire sauce and allow to bubble away for a couple of minutes, then add the spinach and allow to just wilt.

I served this over rice, but you could also have it as a side with steak or a pork chop. It would also be delicious over a baked sweet potato.

Big G won’t eat mushrooms so I cooked this when he was out at a work do, and ate it slumped comatose in front of some bad TV, while I ignored the washing that needed folding.

Living. The. Dream.

What’s your go-to meal when you’re feeling a bit tired and flat?

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Green smoothie wanker 

On the 5 days of my 5:2 diet, I am attempting to cram in as much goodness as possible with the fewest carbs.

This has led me, inevitably, to the green breakfast smoothie.

Bloody smoothies. I hate the preparation, I hate washing up the blender, I hate the inevitable little bit of smoothie ick that doesn’t come off the glass in the dishwasher.

But Tesco, bless them, now sells frozen avocado and frozen kale alongside their frozen spinach, so I really have no excuse.

kale
I also freeze carrot juice and coconut water in icecube trays so I have portions all ready to throw in the blender.

I horrify myself.

Green Breakfast Smoothie

2 lumps frozen kale, defrosted
2 lumps frozen spinach, defrosted
Couple of chunks of frozen avocado
Wodge of cucumber
Splash of lemon juice
Ginger (from a squeezy tube, if you’re as lazy as me)
Teaspoon of whey powder for protein
Teaspoon of coconut oil for fat
Enough carrot juice or coconut water to loosen the mix

Throw it all in the blender, mix. Drink smugly.