This week’s meal plan and a rant about misleading food packaging

this week's meal plan


Hello Everybody,

Rant Alert – why you should be wary of misleading packaging!!

Today I wanted to highlight why you need to read the nutritional information labels on the foods you buy, very carefully, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

When I was doing my online shop this week, these food bars popped up – ‘Goodness Knows – Cranberry & Almond’.  You may well have seen them advertised on TV.  Anyhow, they looked healthy, so I thought I would give them a try, but I didn’t check out any of the nutritional info before I ordered them.

healthy snack bars

nutritional information on Goodness KnowsThe bars duly arrived.  Very helpfully their packaging does have a clear ‘traffic light’ box detailing the fats, sugars and salt content.  As you can see fat and sugar are in the red zone due to the high levels of both.  Salt was amber, as again the bars have quite high levels.  Each individual packet (containing 4 squares) is 153 calories, which isn’t too high for a snack, but this does depend on the nutritional content of the snack.

When I had a look at the ingredients, nearly every ingredient has been sweetened – sweetened cranberries, sweetened crisped rice, sweetened rolled oats.  There was also a long list of added sugars – glucose syrup, sugar, glycerol, cane molasses together with fats such as palm fat.  So whilst the remaining ingredients of dried cranberries, almonds, oats, crisped rice and peanuts are relatively healthy, the other ingredients far outweigh any healthy benefits.

In actual fact, when I compared the nutritional information of the Goodness Knows bars to Jaffa Cakes, the “healthy bars” showed higher fat and salt levels per 100g than the Jaffa cakes!.

jaffa cake nutrition box

goodness knows nutrition label






So, how do they get to call themselves “Goodness”.  Well according to their website 10% of sale profits go to community projects.  They also use sustainable manufacturing sites.  In addition, they have no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives in their products.

Now, NO WHERE on their marketing or packaging do they claim any health benefits.  However, I think the product name and photography could be misleading and make you think you are buying some sort of healthy snack.

So, my advice to you is always check the nutritional labels.  I know it’s a bit boring and sometimes you just don’t have the time, but often that’s what manufacturers are relying on to trick you into buying their high sugar products.

Be careful out there – it’s a sugar death trap!

This week’s meal plan:-

  • Slow roasted duck legs with tomatoes and leek, roasted potatoes, carrots and sweet-corn
  • Spicy pork steaks with paprika, rice and greens
  • Chicken creamy pasta and sweet-corn
  • Sausage hotpot and tagliatelle
  • Beef tacos and salad
  • Indian chicken curry and rice
  • Penne pasta with tuna and tomatoes


I hope you have a super week.  Let me know in the comments below or on the New Leaf facebook page  if you spot any packaging that you think is misleading.

Don’t forget you can sign up for the free New Leaf Newsletter delivered straight to your inbox HERE.


Signature from Janine x


This week’s meal plan and why we need to change the way we think about food

this week's meal plan


Hello Everybody,

Why we need to change the way we think about food.

This week I had an appointment at the hairdressers.  Like most hairdressers, discussions flowed from local news, to fashion and food.  With it being November,  the conversation turned to Christmas food and what sort of meals everyone was planning.  One of the hairdressers made a wonderful observation:-

“Nowadays, chocolate, sweets and treats are so cheap and prolific that people eat them all the time, so they aren’t really a treat anymore.  Spending money on good quality meat, such as free range turkey has now become the treat”.

I loved her observation.  She was completely right, in that everyone eats chocolates, puddings and sweets as the ‘norm’ these days.  As a society we really need to change the way we view food.

It shouldn’t be a cheap commodity to squander and waste.

To be able to afford the best foods we need to move away from the mind-set of

“quantity over quality”.


If we all enjoy smaller portions of good quality meat, supplemented with plentiful amounts of vegetables, our waistlines and health would soon see the benefits.  The Planet as a whole would also benefit from a reduction in the mass production of crops to feed factory farmed animals.

If you’re interested in more information on this subject, check out meat free Mondays.

Even if you don’t want to ditch meat, buying from local butchers, who can tell you exactly where your meat has come from, can make a big difference to your health and the Planet.

This week’s meal plan:-

  • Beef casserole, Jacket potatoes and peas
  • Fish pie with salmon and prawns
  • Crumbed chicken breasts, potato wedges and salad
  • Paella
  • Roast Pork Loin with roasted apples and potatoes and vegies
  • Thai green pork curry and rice (using left over roast pork).


I hope you have a super week.  Let me know in the comments below or on the New Leaf facebook page whether you have embraced Meat free Mondays.

Don’t forget you can sign up to the New Leaf free newsletter HERE.

Signature from Janine x


This week’s meal plan and Halloween Pumpkin Scone Recipe

this week's meal plan


Hello Everybody and Happy Halloween!

If you have kids I’m sure they are ramping up their excitement levels in readiness for Halloween.   As a small distraction from all the sweets and chocolate, I thought I would share with you my Pumpkin Scone recipe.  When the kids start cutting out their pumpkins, try and rescue some of the flesh – I used the sections from the eyes and mouth cuttings.  Cut into small sections and microwave with a dash of water, until the pumpkin goes soft.  Mash thoroughly and leave to cool.

Halloween Pumpkin Scone Recipe

1 tablespoon of butter

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt or mixed spice

1 egg lightly beaten

1 cup mashed cooled pumpkin

2 to 3 cups of Self raising flour


Beat together the butter, sugar and salt/mixed spice with an electric mixer.  Add the egg, then the mashed pumpkin.  Stir in two cups of self raising flour.  If the mixture hasn’t come together into a dough then slowly add some of the third cup of flour until this happens.

Gently roll the dough mixture onto a floured surface and cut out your desired scone sized rounds.  Place onto a baking tray and lightly brush with milk to help brown the top of the scones.

Bake in a moderate to high oven (180/200°C) for about 20 minutes or until brown and the base of the scone sounds hollow when tapped.  Allow to cool slightly.  The scones can be served either warm or cold.


photo of scones and a pumpkinYou can serve these scones with some lovely homemade jam or a great savoury alternative is to serve them with Philidelphia cream cheese and some homemade chutney.  If you don’t make chutney yourself, hopefully you may have a lovely Granny or family member who would be happy to donate some!.

You may have noticed that many of my recipes are measured out in cups.  This type of measuring is really popular in America and Australia.  I love it because it saves having to get the kitchen scales out and start weighing everything.  If you fancy investing in a set, they are becoming easier to find in the UK.  I found this set on Amazon.  (This is an affiliate link – you will not be charged more for the product, but this website will receive a small commission).  There’s lots of other  designs as well, so go check them out.


This week’s meal plan

This week’s meal plan was inspired over a cup of tea and a read though the October issue of the Sainsbury’s magazine.  You can find many of the meals I have planned in the magazine.

  • Chutney glazed salmon fillets, rice and stir fried greens
  • Sweet orange chicken breasts, rice and broccoli.
  • Shepherds pie
  • Devilish Chilli con carne (for Halloween night)
  • Lamb curry (using the Sunday roast leftovers)
  • Chicken Arrabbiata pasta
  • Roast Lamb and all the trimmings

I hope you have a super, scary Halloween.  Let me know in the comments below or on the New Leaf Facebook page, if you try out my Pumpkin Scone recipe.


Don’t forget you can sign up for the free New Leaf weekly newsletter HERE


Signature from Janine x


Autumn Apples and a Somerset Apple cake recipe

photo of different types of apples


At this time of year there is an abundance of beautiful British apples.  Growing up as a child, living in a low income, country environment, apples were a staple of daily life.  You could actually say, that being poor helped protect my teeth, as we couldn’t afford lots of sweets, biscuits or processed foods.  Whenever my brother and I asked for a snack or something to eat, we were always told by my mother “have an apple”!.

Thankfully, the constant supply of apples didn’t put me off them, basically because they are so versatile.

So, what can apples do for your health?

Firstly, apples make a fantastic snack for the kids when you are out and about over half term.


Well, they are packed with antioxidants which protect our cells from damage from pollution and UV rays.

They are  high in fibre, so are great for the digestive system  – #healthygut

Apples are also packed full of vitamins that help boost your immune system and can even help to break down fat – so a great snack for us mum’s too!

At this time of year, many neighbours and friends may have free apples to give away, so your healthy snack doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

What else can you do with apples?

Don’t forget you can stew eating and cooking apples down to use for an apple sauce for the Sunday roast, or add to warming crumbles and apples pies, spoon over your morning porridge or Greek yogurt.  You can also remove the core from the middle of a whole apple, stuff the middle with dried fruit and drizzle with honey for a  Bonfire night baked apple.

A family favourite is Somerset Apple cake – yes, the New Leaf family does eat cake!  Everything in moderation.

Somerset Apple Cake recipe:-

photo of Somerset Apple Cake

6 oz/170g butter

6 oz/170g sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten

6 0z/170g self raising flour

1-2 diced apples

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Fold in flour, eggs and cinnamon.  Then stir in the diced apples.  Pour into a greased, square baking tin, lined with greaseproof paper.  Cook for about 45 minutes at 180°C, until a knife comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the tin before turning out on to a wire rack to cool.  You can serve this warm with ice-cream or crème fraiche/Greek yoghurt.


So, remember “An Apple a Day” will help to keep the doctor away!.

Let me know how you enjoy your Autumn Apples in the comments below or on our Facebook page HERE



This week’s meal plan

this week's meal plan



Hello Everybody

I hope you are having a good week – no doubt many of you have children home for the half term. If they’re anything like mine, they are probably eating you out of house and home!!


Here’s a little activity I got mine to do with some satsumas ready for Halloween –

a bowl of fruit with satsumas with halloween facesit kept them quiet for all of 15 minutes but makes a great, fun snack!



Here’s this week’s meal plan

  • Creamy salmon pasta
  • Pad Thai with prawns and chicken
  • Chicken, ham and mushroom squares with salad
  • Red pepper and chorizo quiche with salad
  • Chicken saltimbocca spirali (chicken and twisted pasta)
  • Sausages with balsamic onions, roasted tomatoes and potato and cauliflower mash
  • Homemade Lasagne


I hope you have a super week and enjoy the count down to Halloween.  I’m hoping to get a few more recipes out to you this week, so make sure you like and follow the New Leaf facebook page HERE.

Don’t forget you can also sign up for the regular free Newsletter HERE to get updates straight to your inbox.


Signature from Janine x