|Recipe of the week...|
... Feta & Sweet Potato Taquitos
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon smoky chipotle paste, 1 little gem lettuce, 1 spring onion, 6 white tortilla wraps, 400g sweet potatoes, 100g feta cheese, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 2 tomatoes, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, olive oil, salt and pepper
Time taken: About half an hour
Serves: 2 super filing, super healthy, super tasty portions
How are we all today? As I write, it’s late afternoon in Autumn. A sunny September day – a Sunday, no less – and all is well with me. I’ve had a wonderful weekend spent reading a good book (Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land), drinking cocktails and dancing with the girls. I’ve been on a walk in the country, watched When Harry Met Sally (for the first time – and I liked it) and I’ve baked buns to take into work with me tomorrow.
Pretty good weekend, I think? How about yours, readers, what wonderful times have you been having? Have you stretched your legs and cleared your head and danced around the room? I hope you have, readers. And if you haven’t yet – there’s still time! We have hours of the weekend left still – make the most and go crazy, Sunday evening style (ie. in PJs and slippers). Do it!
On the foody side of life, readers, I’ve been thinking these past few days about habits. I was talking with my Father Bear about this earlier on our country walk, about being stuck in a rut with food. But how is it that we get into the habit of eating habitually? A tongue twister, I know! But a curious question. As anyone that took psychology at school (hands in the air!) will know... habits develop when you repeat a behaviour in the same situation, and get a reward each time.
Then, over time, this continues and the behaviour gets to be more automatic and a habit forms. Like – without fail, I buy Belvita every time I see them on offer in a shop. This means I always will have plenty of breakfast biscuits in my drawer at work, I’m rewarded with breakfast on weekdays, and I never have to think about keeping this drawer stocked. Ta-da!
In some instances of habitual behaviour, it can be the case instead that the ‘reward’ = you stopping something bad from happening. Like – when we have leftover water in the jugs at work, which we didn’t drink the day before, I water the plants in the office with it. And then the plants (mostly) live. Like magic! I stop them (some of them, anyway) from dying.
Can you think of examples of your own, readers? Instances where you perform a habitual behaviour effortlessly – it needs little / no conscious awareness on your part to make it happen – when you encounter a specific situation or a cue to trigger the behaviour in you.
According to the re:wellbeing program I’ve been working through, food habits can develop in childhood. “As a baby, you were given a bottle to comfort you. As a child you were likely given food as a reward for doing well, being good, or to console you when you were upset or something went wrong – do you remember a being allowed to buy sweets after a trip to the doctor’s office or a good exam result? We also learn to associate certain foods with special events and feelings, for example cakes are associated with celebrating a birthday and feeling a sense of fun and enjoyment.”
Then, it’s often quite simple to see how these associations can live on into adulthood. Research has shown that we might crave creamy foods when we’re in need of comfort – it’s mad to think, but the logic is that the creamy food’s simulating the milk we were given as children. Crazy, right? But, a real thing!
And a habit doesn’t have to just be an action, like buying Belvita or watering the plants, you can also develop habitual patterns of thinking. Say you treat yourself to dessert even though you hadn’t planned to – it tastes great but straight away you think to yourself ‘my diet is ruined’. And, then, it’s thoughts like these which can trigger habitual actions – like opening a tub of Ben & Jerrys! Why not – your diet’s ruined, right??
What a fucking nightmare. And, often, emotional eating (go see my last blog post) can be thought of as a habit because the eating is triggered by a cue – a situation or thought that evokes an emotion – which then causes you to eat food in order to deal. You see, readers?
Eating becomes automatic – often you’re done before you engage with what’s happening – and it can feel like you’re running on auto-pilot as you eat. In such times, eating is a direct response to an emotion that’s been thrown up by a specific situation or thought, and it leads to a reward, like a sugar rush or feeling like you’ve dealt with the emotion.
So, the habit goes on. This idea of emotional eating as habitual can explain why people continue to eat even if they feel bad about it… the eating is a habit triggered by a cue. Simple as that. Understandable and – in my mind – something to be overcome. You’re an adult now and habits can be broken, you can make up a new response to a cue.
Say you’re in a situation where you’ve eaten an unplanned dessert – think how lucky you are to be able to afford to eat dessert. To have been born in an area of the world where anyone can eat desserts. To be able to enjoy dessert at the end of the day, as a reward for everything you’ve accomplished today. Think how many desserts the Queen must have eaten by now – and she’s in champion health. Aren’t desserts wonderful.
Say you’re hit by the thought ‘my diet is ruined’. Is it? Are you giving up on it right now? Are you about to throw it out the window? Really – after you’ve tried so hard? But, you’ve been enjoying it loads and feeling really good about yourself for eating well! You’re inspiring folk with tales of how well it’s working. A dessert won’t break a diet – you will, if you choose to.
Can you think of examples of your own, readers? If you keep enforcing a powerful response, one that you choose, and you’re of sound mind that this is the better response, then it could go on to become a habit of its own over time. Stick at it and you could soon have formed a new habit, one triggered by the same cue that you were responding to differently before.
ANYWAYS. I will leave it there with my food habit-related pondering, readers. I know it’s late on a Sunday and about time for brains to be turned off. But, interesting! I think so anyway. And now I have for you… a recipe! Hurray! Here’s a recipe I’d like to share with you to end this week on a foody high, readers, a Gousto recipe for Feta & Sweet Potato Taquitos, which you can rustle up in just 10 simple steps…
Recipe: Feta & Sweet Potato Taquitos
1. Set aside all your cares and concerns… now is the time for Mexican food. First, get your ingredients out on the counter, pour yourself a drink – you’ve earned one – and heat the oven to 220C.
2. Begin by chopping the sweet potatoes (skins on) into small, bite-sized pieces. Then place the sweet potato on a baking try, drizzle with cooking oil, and sprinkle with ground coriander.
3. Season your sweet potato generously with salt and pepper, give your potato chunks a good mix up until they’re well covered, then carefully transport into the oven to roast for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, as your sweet potato sizzles, prepare your salad ingredients. Cut the little gem lettuce in half lengthways, and finely slice. Chop the tomatoes into tiny, baby bite-sized pieces. Trim the spring onion and slice finely.
5. Crumble the feta into small bite-sized bits and set a little aside for serving up. Once your sweet potato chunks are tender, remove them from the oven. Leave the oven turned on for now.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: If – like me – you’re not a fan of greasy foods, take a moment now to tip your sweet potato out on some kitchen roll and pat dry to remove any excess oil.
6. Divide the sweet potatoes evenly between the tortillas, placing them on one side of the tortilla and leaving the other side empty for now. Crush the potato down gently with the back of a spoon, to help the contents of your taquito to stay together, and then crumble feta over the top.
7. Roll each taquito tightly to form a cigar shape and place them snugly side by side on a baking try, with the seam face down. Pop in the oven to bake for ten minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: When rolling wraps, I try to fold over the top and bottom of the tortilla first and then roll, so there are no escape routes for the contents of the taquito. But everyone has their own method – good luck however you roll!
8. Meanwhile, mix the mayonnaise and chipotle paste with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and mix together – this is your spicy tomato sauce.
9. Once your taquitos are starting to brown around the edges, safely take out of the oven and turn this off. Serve between two dinner plates and top your taquitos with spicy tomato sauce.
10. Add some lettuce and spring onion salad, and crumble the remaining feta over the top – now get stuck in and enjoy your Mexican feast!
|Ta-da! What a cracking plateful of food!|
In the words of Gousto…
“Taquitos are Mexican rolled tacos, filled with a plethora of delicious meats, cheeses and vegetables. They are usually deep-fried, but without Gousto makeover we have made these incredibly easy to cook, at a fraction of the calories. Ours are filled with sweet potato and feta, creating the perfect balance between salt, tang and sweetness.”
What do you think, readers? Are you tempted by these taquitos?? Might you get the ingredients in and give these a go sometime this week? I recommend you do! These taquitos are – obviously – super tasty to eat, readers. Also, easy to cook – it’s a really straightforward recipe – and you use your hands so it’s a fun one to take on.
I say go go go taquito! Please let me know, readers, if you give this recipe a try – wat do you think of taquitos? Do you like? Did it go well? Did you have fun in the kitchen? Fill me in, readers? I’m wishing you every success in the kitchen – I’m sure you’ll be fine – and I’m wishing you a week filled with fabulous foods, readers. Eat only the best! Have a wonderful week.