Home Sweet Home

Last morning in America.

We all had a long day ahead of us so we stocked up with a large brunch at Made 2 Order

We will all miss the sunshine, delicious brunches, water everywhere and friendly Americans.  Thank you to everyone who served us, waited on us, helped us and chatted to us.  We had an excellent holiday.

Good bye Miami.

A short but sweet stop over at Raleigh-Durham.

Eventually, we were home.  It’s lovely to go away but also good to be home.

I bought some magazines to read in Florida and am now going to enjoy cooking some of the recipes from them.

Sunday nights dinner was quite easy and super tasty.   We had blackened chicken, broccoli and a sweet potato dish baked with a brown sugar and pecan topping.

Baked Sweet Potato with Pecan Praline Topping

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (I used Molasses sugar)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 90 g butter


  • Preheat oven to 190°
  • Stab the potatoes a few times with a fork and bake in the oven until tender, about 50 – 60 minutes
  • Cut the potatoes in half and scrape the flesh in to a large bowl
  • Add the milk, eggs, vanilla and salt and mash in to the potatoes
  • Mash lightly so the mixture is still a little lumpy
  • Butter a baking dish and pour the potato mixture in to the dish
  • In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, pecans, flour and butter together with a fork until the mixture resembles crumble
  • Sprinkle the pecan praline topping over the sweet potato mixture.  It will be in clumps but it melts and spreads over the top during cooking
  • Bake until golden brown – about 30 minutes

The sweet potato with pecan praline topping was delicious and worked very well with the spicy blackened chicken.

I loved having a break from the kitchen but it was great to be back in it.  Blueberry smoothie for breakfast (blueberries, natural yogurt, hazelnut milk, poppy seeds and a frozen banana).

I made a chicken casserole for lunch, using vegetables from the garden.  It was wonderful to be out there with my trowel, digging up carrots and my first parsnips 🙂 Strange how one parsnip was very large but its neighbour was so small!  The mud washed off easily and I didn’t peel these vegetables as they are organic.

These vegetables (carrots, parsnips, garlic and onion) are all from my garden 🙂

Garlic Chicken and Root Vegetable Casserole

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 8 chicken thighs, with skin removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, separated in to cloves and peeled and crushed
  • 2 parsnips, chopped
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 cup wine
  • 500ml chicken stock


  • Preheat the oven to 190°
  • Combine the flour, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl
  • Add the chicken thighs and turn to cover in the seasoned flour
  • Heat the oil in a large hob proof casserole dish
  • Shake the excess flour from the chicken thighs and fry until browned on each side (about 5 minutes – I did mine in 2 batches)
  • Drain on kitchen paper

  • Add the prepared vegetables to the fat remaining in the casserole dish and fry for approximately 5 minutes, stirring regularly to coat the vegetables in the flour and oil remaining from frying the chicken
  • Add the thyme
  • Add 1 heaped tbsp of the remaining seasoned flour and stir to coat the vegetables then fry for 1 minute
  • Deglaze the pot with the wine
  • Stir in the chicken stock
  • Arrange the chicken on top of the vegetables
  • Bring the stock to a simmer, cover the casserole dish and place in the oven for 1 hour.

I served this with some of the sweet potato dish I made yesterday which reheated very well.  The chicken fell off the bone and the sauce was thick, rich tasting and delicious.  I used red wine as I had some open hence the sauce is quite a dark colour.  It would be paler if you used white wine.  The sauce is quite peppery so you could cut the pepper down if you are not a fan of it

For supper I made a blue cheese dressing which I poured over a simple salad of lambs lettuce, tomatoes and sprouted sunflower seeds.

I enjoyed being home and cooking again and managed to eat lots of healthy food today.  I definitely put on some weight on holiday, which is easily done in America.  Now I need to lose it and keep going.  I am looking forward to losing weight again.

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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7 Responses to Home Sweet Home

  1. laura1952 says:

    I am so glad you arrived home safely without incident! Enjoy being back in your own kitchen/garden, in charge of what you eat.

  2. veg grower up the road says:

    Welcome home Zoe. Back to the chill! Xx

  3. Olivia says:

    Had fun following u on your holiday

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