|Fresh veg:||Garlic clove||€0.39|
|Courgettes: 2 x 500g (€0.89 each)||€1.78|
|Peppers: 2 (€0.69 each)||€1.38|
|Salad potatoes: 1 pack of 1000g||€0.99|
|Butternut Squash: 3 (€0.79 each)||€2.37|
|Fish:||Kiln-roasted Salmon fillet: 3 packs of 185g (€3.19 each)||€9.57|
|Dairy:||Feta Cheese: 4 packs of 200g (€1.79 each)||€7.16|
|Ardagh Lighter Mature White Grated Cheese: 1 pack of 250g||€1.59|
|World:||Brown Rice: 1 pack of 1kg||€1.15|
|Balsamic Vinegar: 1 bottle of 250ml||€1.99|
|Eggs:||Free Range Large Eggs: 2 packs of 6 (€1.89 each)||€3.78|
|Frozen Veg:||Broccoli Florets: 1 pack of 907g||€0.49|
|Spinach: 1 pack of 907g||€1.09|
|Green Beans: 1 pack of 970g||€0.69|
|Cauliflower Florets: 1 pack of 907g||€0.79|
|Kale: 1 pack of 750g||€1.09|
|Other:||Tofu: 4 packs of 300g (€1.99 each)||€7.96|
|Tamari: 1 bottle of 250ml||€3.45|
Last year, my guilt about climate change and niggles about animal welfare finally got too loud to ignore. So I resolved to turn veggie as much as I could.
At first, I did the obvious thing: I extracted the meat from my meals, and increased my starch and vegetables to the same volume of the missing meat. However, starches and veggies are not as protein-dense as meat. Consequently, I was not meeting my RDA of protein, and I was not a happy camper: I was consistently grumpy and hungry.
Then I hit gold… a little bird (who happens to be a professional dietician) told me of a magical index which listed the macronutrient composition of all foods available in the UK. And – this fact makes me so happy to live in the 21st century – this incredible resource is publicly available!!
The amazing index is the “McCance and Widdowson’s composition of foods integrated dataset” . It’s available in both .pdf and Excel format here.
Me being me (i.e. a total nerd) I downloaded the magical Excel file, and calculated veggie food combinations that would give me 20g protein per meal.
At the moment I don’t have a lot of time for cooking. So I’d describe my creations as ‘how to quickly throw quantities of food together’, rather than ‘haute cuisine recipes’. But, in case you, too, are a busy bee who wants to lessen their ecological footprint, I share my fave food combos below.
Or … why not download the McCance and Widdowson dataset yourself, and design your own protein-rich veggie food combos? And then … share them with me? 😉
Also, in future I’d love to try making a second draft of these food combos which uses the amount of food in a single packet (e.g. broccoli comes in packets of 907g. So it would be really handy if my tofu recipe used exactly 907g of broccoli, rather than its current 880g.!) Less measuring = fasterrrr!
And I’d also love to try pairing foods which are in season at the same time. So watch this space…. !
Complete and utter disclaimer: This blog is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this blog or materials linked from this blog is at the user’s own risk. The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition they may have, and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.
I added a marinade inspired by chef René Ortiz to this tofu combo!
Nutritional info of one portion (not including marinade)…
Approx. cost per portion: €1.88
|Ingredients||1 portion||8 portions|
|Rice, brown wholegrain (exchange for quinoa* if you’d like)||100g||800g (320g dry)|
|Ginger||2″ piece||2 x 4″ pieces|
|Garlic||1/2 clove||4 cloves|
Put balsamic vinegar and soy sauce together in a big bowl. Chop the tofu up into whatever size you want. Add tofu to bowl of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Leave it there to marinate for at least 1 hour.
Start the brown rice cooking; get it to the simmer stage.
Start the spinach and broccoli cooking, however you wish; I steam them.
Mince garlic; grate ginger.
When tofu has been marinated: heat oil in a non-stick frying pan or pot. Add ginger and garlic and stirfry them until beginning to brown.
Drain tofu, reserving marinade.
Add tofu to frying-pan and cook for around 5–7 minutes.
Add the reserved marinade to the frying pan.
Hopefully your rice, spinach, and broccoli are cooked now; add them to the frying pan.
Let simmer until marinade is reduced.
*267g dry quinoa yields 800g cooked. Nutritional info of 1 portion with quinoa:
Nutritional info per portion …
Approx. cost per portion: €1.22
|Ingredients||1 portion||8 portions|
|Rice, brown wholegrain||80g||640g (256g dry)|
Cook cauliflower and green beans however you want. I steam them.
Mix everything together… feta begins to melt over everything… yum…
Nutritional info per portion:
Approx. cost per portion: €1.17
|Ingredients||1 portion||8 portions|
|Reduced fat mature cheddar||20g||160g|
|Rice, brown wholegrain||80||640g (256g dry)|
Cook courgette and kale however you want. (I grill courgette on a George Foreman grill; I steam the kale).
Mix egg and cheese together.
Throw all ingredients into a pan and scramble until egg cooked.
Nutritional info per portion:
Approx. cost per portion: €1.80
|Ingredients||1 portion||8 portions|
|Butternut squash, baked||205g||
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Go off and do something else for 20 min.
Cut squash in half length-ways, scoop out seeds, and put baking in oven (I follow the instructions here )
Cook potatoes however you wish – I buy baby potatoes and cook them in the microwave.
Chop up peppers and cook however you wish- I grill them on a George Foreman grill.
Chop salmon into bite-size pieces.
Mix all ingredients together.
(or, ‘THE MASSIVELY, FABULOUSLY, WONDERFULLY, MAXIMALLY OPTIMISED GRANT-WRITING MASTERPLAN’)
Last night I found myself awake at 4am, cooking 56 meals, for no other reason than that I was avoiding writing a grant. Today I nearly had heart failure trying to get my grant finished, and may have set a Guinness world record for ‘The Latest Online Grant Application Ever Successfully Submitted’. I have finally decided that I would like to try a gentler system, and have come up with this aspirational grant-writing timeline for future endeavours. (And with that, I’m off to bed after eating a lovely pre-prepared dinner … cooking-as-procrastination has some upsides, at least 😉 )
Cautionary note: Prepare yourselves for a foreign concept. This timeline aims to submit the day before the advertised submission deadline. WOAH!!
12 days before submission: Register for online system if necessary (takes 5 working days for Irish Arts Council). Invite referees to send letters; ask proofreaders if they’ll look at draft 1 of your doc in a week’s time.
11 days before submission: Analyse grant guidelines; get more info on objectives of the award by ringing awarding body (e.g Arts Council / hosting venue); brainstorm possible project activities.
10 days before submission: Choose project activity. Invite collaborators & ask for letter of support, costs & fees, CV, bio.
9 days before submission: Do draft schedule for project. Assemble all costings for project. Do draft 1 of budget
8 days before submission: Write CV
7 days before submission: Write ‘Statement of Artistic Practice’
6 days before submission: Assemble samples of creative work
5 days before submission: Do draft 2 of budget (… this time in Excel)
4 days before submission: Download and fill in first half of Application Form (for Irish AC, as far as ‘Details of proposal’)
3 days before submission: Finish Application Form, proofread, send for proofreading by others
2 days before submission: Assemble all letters of support, collaborators’ CVs and bios, references, any additional docs.
Day before submission: get proofreaders’ feedback and make final edits to Application Form
Day of submission: upload all files; double-check all files are uploaded; hit ‘submit’.
Day of submission deadline: relaaax! Maybe do some cooking!! 🙂
Aaaah, grant-writing… possibly the bane of my life. I will do ANYTHING to avoid it. But last night, as I was up at 4am batch-cooking 56 meals, I finally thought to myself ‘Úna, there has got to be a better way.’ And with that in mind, I have put together an aspirational schedule, and these tips for myself, for the next time I’m applying for a grant-a-roo.
Top tip: it’s so basic, but hit ‘save’ frequently. Including while working online.
– With every significant change in your document, click ‘Save As’ and amend the filename with a number, e.g. BursaryDraft1.doc , BursaryDraft2.doc, BursaryDraft3.doc . Now if for some reason your document gets corrupted, all is not lost.
– Timeline? I’ve learnt the hard way that I can’t organise mandatory documentation for a grant without an absolute minimum of 3 days’ notice. I need to start assembling this material a minimum of 3 days before the submission deadline, and ideally 12 days. (I can pull allnighters, but I can’t make other people answer my emails!)
– If it’s an online application system… put all your supporting documents in one location, clearly labeled. This will save you hours in the eventual uploading process. At the very beginning of writing your grant:
- Create a folder on your computer. Call it ‘Bursary X’.
- Create a subfolder. Call it ‘Supporting Materials’.
- Save every document you intend to upload to ‘Supporting Materials’.
– When contacting each referee and asking them for a letter of reference, tell them what grant you’re applying for, and what your focus is, but actually ask them to leave the title of the grant OUT of the application. That way you can recycle this letter for future use (and avoid bugging them again – a win-win!)
– Before you start, think ‘who do I know who could proofread my application?’ Aim for 2 people to proofread the first draft of your application form. Criteria for these people, in order of preference:
- They won won the grant you are applying for in the past
- They won a different grant, awarded by the same body, but the grants are in the same domain (e.g. for me, music)
- They won a different grant in a different domain (e..g. for me, literature, theatre)
- They are experienced grant writers
- They are very good writers
(You may also want to think of 2 people to help you choose your best work for the supporting materials. These people don’t have to be academic, but must have expertise in your domain. For example, I asked 2 friends of mine who are excellent music critics, but not very ‘wordy’, to help me select the best of my audio recordings for inclusion in a grant I applied for last summer.)
Contact the people you’d like to proofread your application / listen to your material, tell them you’d like to send them your application in 5/6 days for submission in 7 days, and ask them if they’ll proofread it for you. People appreciate a heads-up. And some chocolate after 🙂
– I find that collecting quotes, letters of support and CVs from potential collaborators, is one of the most time-consuming tasks… perhaps because (a) it’s high stakes (it’s a mandatory requirement of an Irish AC application, so if you don’t include them in your application it won’t get assessed) and (b) it’s a tedious task so most normal humans put it off. Consider giving your invited collaborators a draft letter of support to edit themselves, just to get them started.
– Úna’s grant uploading checklist:
- Application form
- Examples of work
- Letters of support
- Collaborators’ CVs
- Collaborators’ bios
- Letters of in-kind support
- Letters of reference (a doc with bios of referees may be necessary)
- Any additional docs, like an additional budget / schedule
– A few days after the whole shebang is submitted, I recommend making a list of all your referees, collaborators, proofreaders, anyone who helped you, and send them thank-you cards / emails. They took time out of their busy lives for you!!
… are you psychologically prepared?? If so, take a look at …
*Huge thank you to sound engineer and music-maker Shay Leon for this excellent suggestion!
For years, I would race out of the house to the airport, wearing damp jeans – because I had left it so late to pack I had to wear clothes I had grabbed out of the washing machine, still wet!!! After a decade of travelling, I’ve finally figured out a few things that make the process more efficient. Hope these help you…
I always travel with two cards from two different ATM networks, e.g. a Visa AND a Mastercard, or a Link AND a Cirrus. Either I have 2 cards from 2 different ATM networks, or I have a card from one ATM network, and my travel buddy has a card from another ATM network. On a trip with a pal years ago, my friend’s card didn’t work, and if we hadn’t had cards from two different ATM networks we would have had a serious problemo.
6 weeks before departure:
- Last year when planning a long-haul trip, I suddenly realized I might have to get vaccines. 3 weeks before my departure, I went to the doctor, to find the lead-in time for all my jabs was … 5 weeks. I was able to get most of them, but had to travel without one of the recommended jabs. I do NOT recommend this. In future, I will give myself at least a 6-week lead-in time for vaccination. Please learn from my mistake, and check your vaccination requirements at least 6 weeks before departure!!
7 working days before departure:
- We all have a secret fear. Mine is I arriving in a country and my ATM card not working, or it taking me a few days to find an ATM where my card works. Therefore, particularly if I’m going far away, I think it’s a good idea to bring a bit of local currency with me. My local bank doesn’t carry currency from any developing country, so I have to order currency at least 5 working days before I depart.
- It’s a good idea to confirm the dress code for the gig a week before departure in case I need to get a particular garment.
3 days before departure:
- The obvious: laundry!
- …and I try to use up as much of my perishable food as possible. This few days is usually marked by unusual food combinations… Brussels sprouts and sweetcorn, anyone?!
1 working day before departure:
- It’s old-skool, but some airlines require a printout of the online check-in. So the last day before travel, I check that I have ink in my printer, and if not, I buy some. If I’m really organized, I go to McCambridge’s in Shop St., and buy Barry’s Tea and some gorgeous hard Irish cheese as a gift for my hosts. (Ask McCambridge’s to vacuum-pack the cheese and it travels beautifully). If I’m under pressure for time, I buy Barry’s Tea or a hard Irish cheese at the airport.
- I was in Asia in 2017; I didn’t tell the bank about my trip, and upon me using my card in an ATM so far away, the bank froze my card as an anti-fraud measure. It was SUPREMELY stressful being in a foreign country with no access to cash. So I recommend ringing your bank and telling them you’ll be going abroad, particularly if it’s to a different continent.
- If I’m anxious about theft, I make a photocopy of my passport, medical insurance docs, credit cards and put that page in a different location to my wallet.
- Buy any items I’m short of, e.g. protein bars ( …any excuse! ) .
LEAVING THE HOUSE
Before leaving, I aspire to …
- Empty my kitchen bins
- Put all perishable food from my fridge into the freezer
- Turn of all sockets EXCEPT for freezer
- Set up an autoresponder on my emails
- Put a msg on my voicemail
This prevents me arriving home to an exceedingly bad smell. !
FOR LIAISING AT ARRIVALS / MAXIMISING PRODUCTIVITY
I’ve made a habit of putting my plug converter and device rechargers in my handbag, not main luggage, so I can recharge my devices as necessary, even if my luggage is checked. (This is especially necessary now that some airlines have a policy of checking carry-on luggage at the gate.) This was a particularly good idea that one time I was landing in Beirut and had no idea who was picking me up…!
YOUR AIRPORT TRANSFER
There are 3 bus companies that service the route between Galway city and Dublin airport (in no particular order: Bus Éireann, Citylink, Gobus) When I’m bussing to/from Galway to Dublin airport for a flight, I deliberately buy only a single ticket. That means that when I fly back and arrive in Dublin airport, exhausted and needing to get home ASAP, I can hop on the next bus departing, rather than waiting for a bus run by the company I made the outbound journey on. It’s totally worth the extra €10 to get home to your bed when jetlagged and exhausted.
GETTING THROUGH SECURITY FAST
I consciously wear light, preferably slip-on, shoes to airport so I get through security asap. I once wore punk boots to the airport… what a TERRIBLE idea. Never again.
I deliberately don’t wear hair accessories going through airports. As they’re frequently made of metal, I have to take them off and put them in a tray going through security, and it’s one more thing to worry about plus I left a particularly nice flower in a security tray in Philly last year. Philly, you deflowered me. !
On most flights, I…
- stretch my legs while sitting in my seat
- get up and walk to the toilet / around the cabin at least once
Just once in my life I neglected to do this, and my legs swelled up – SO SCARY! If your legs swell up, it’s probably not serious, this is what I did and the swelling went down in a few hours.
Super sports therapist, Adrian Cradock, gave me a great tip to avoid / help back pain: bring a tennis ball, place it between your back and the seat, and rub the ball into your back as you travel. Also, to avoid DVT you can place the tennis ball under your thighs when sitting. To save space, I use my hand-therapy ball, the Handmaster, instead of a tennis ball.
TO FACILITATE SLEEPING
- Buy a J-pillow… A travel pillow recommended by Alexander Technique teacher (and excellent musician) Teresa Turner, it’s one of the best things I ever bought. Latch it to your handbag and never go on a long journey without it.
- I try to sleep as much as possible on flights. I generally sleep better with a bit of shade / darkness on my eyes. For years I travelled with a funkily-designed eyeshade, feeling very hip, until it was time to actually wear it, when the whole illusion of being ‘cool’ crumbled… the eyeshade would end up on my nose, in my mouth, on my forehead, EVERYWHERE but actually on my eyes. These days I bring a light raincoat with a hood, and pull the hood over my face to block out light when trying to sleep.
- When in the air, I try to drink more than my normal amount of water. I find that unless I do this, I wake up from dehydration. Yeuch.
I try to eat some natural yoghurt when I’m abroad; it lines my gut with local bacteria that help me digest local food.
So that’s it… Úna’s Últimate travelling system, conveniently condensed into a one-page checklist, which you can download here.
Hopefully these tips will help you to be healthy, relaxed, comfortable, time-efficient and rested during your travels… and at the very least, ensure that you don’t return to a smelly house! 🙂 In Irish, we say ‘Go n-éirí an bóthar leat… ‘ May the road rise to meet you. GOOD LUCK on your journey. Let me know if you find any of this helpful, and if you have any tips for me!!
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat,
One of the things I am totally nerdy about is … packing. Yup, weird, I know. So here’s my two cents on how to save two cents, do the deed as quickly as possible, and keep your mind clear on the road! 🙂
Before even starting to pack, I recommend confirming your checked luggage allowance. A development in long-haul airfares this year is that some airfares are exceedingly cheap, but don’t include checked luggage. So, it’s sooo simple, but… I recommend confirming your checked luggage allowance before you pack.
Choose your weapon: are you going to check a bag or not? If at all possible, I recommend bringing a carry-on case (both in terms of security and size), because…
– it’s better for your body (less to haul around)
– it’s likely to be cheaper (you never know when you’ll come across an unexpected luggage charge when travelling, plus if renting a car you’ll be able to rent a smaller car)
– it’s friendlier (if you have a smaller case you’ll have more carspace and can give a lift to someone!)
This saved me €50 lately… I was flying transatlantic, thought I had the option of bringing a large case, decided to bring my carry-on for ease, and it turned out my flight didn’t include a checked luggage. So I merrily used my carry-on and saved myself an extra charge. Wahoo! A cherry on the lightly-packed cake!
When it comes to the actual deed of packing, I find there are just too many things to remember. So, nerd that I am, I have written a packing checklist, and every time I have to go somewhere, I print off this list and check items off it as I pack. Good news: I am making this checklist available for you to download here. Items are listed in order of importance; items in italics are optional depending on the destination, weather, and itinerary.
(One musician pal packs in a more intuitive way… he leaves his suitcase open in the kitchen for the week before departure, and as he thinks of things he needs to pack, he throws them in the case.)
So when it comes to The Deed, here are a few of my considerations.
HOW MUCH TO PACK?
I figure out how many mornings I’ll be away… that equals how many knickers to bring.
I generally pack one daytime outfit for every two days away.
If I’m going for 8 nights or less, I don’t plan on doing laundry.
If I’m going for 14 nights, I either
a) pack 7 outfits or
b) pack 4 outfits and do laundry on the trip.
Whether I do (a) or (b) depends on my luggage allowance, itinerary, and access to laundry.
If I’m away for longer than 2 weeks, I pack for 8 nights and do laundry on the trip.
WHAT TO PACK?
Firstly, I check the weather at the destination, and decide what to wear for the journey itself. I find deciding what to wear for a trip from rainy Ireland to a warm destination to be a science in itself, so I wrote a separate blogpost on this … read it here. I put those clothes for my travel-day by my bed, so I can get dressed quickly the morning of my departure.
I wear dresses as much as possible when travelling, because
- they’re more space-efficient to pack than, for example, a trousers plus top
- I can wear a light dress with a long-sleeved top beneath / cardigan on top / with fleecy tights, and hey presto – I’m warm! I find long-sleeved tops, cardigans and tights to be far more space-efficient than, say, a bulky jumper, so I then get a lot more ‘bang for my buck’ from my packing.
My system for planning my outfits is…
- I decide on the core garment – usually a dress (sometimes shorts, a skirt, or trousers, but for coherence in this article we’ll just say a dress)
- I decide on the shoes I’m going to wear with it
- I add in a long-sleeved top, cardigan, tights, hair accessory, and scarf that match so I can put on layers depending on the temperature.
I try to make all the shoes and accessories match at least 2 dresses; e.g. I’ll bring 2 blue dresses, then pack black pumps, a blue long-sleeved top, navy cardigan, navy tights, blue hair accessory and white scarf… all of which match bothblue dresses.
When travelling I generally avoid outfits with jewellery and belts.
I usually swim in a swimsuit, but when travelling I pack a bikini because it’s more space-efficient.
If going to a cold place, I try to bring a fleece rather than a massive woolly jumper or a hoodie; fleece is more space-efficient. I’ll pack boots, and wear them rather than pack them.
If I’m not sure what awaits me on the trip, I try to pack smart casual, with one ‘glam’ outfit.
Little toiletry note: Ace fiddler Soazig Hamelin gave me the idea of packing a shampoo bar, rather than liquid shampoo, to simplify my journey through security.
HOW TO PACK?
My globetrotting pal Ali recommends folding all clothes in an ‘army roll’ for the following reasons:
- It’s far more space-efficient than normal folding
- You can see at a glance what your wardrobe options are, so it saves time when dressing
- The fact that your luggage is tidy helps keeps your mind clear. This may sound illogical to some, but it makes perfect sense to me! I find it difficult to think clearly if my house or devices are unorganized and chaotic. Ergo I understand how keeping my luggage in order when travelling would help me maintain mental clarity.
You can learn how to do an ‘army roll’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuD-ZZydsVg
Agus sin é! Hopefully these tips will save you some time and / or grief. For a couple of tips on how to make the journey as easy as possible, read here. Let me know if you have any tips! And watch this space – I mean, I haven’t even got started on my real passion, which is … luggage! 😉
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat, may the road rise to meet you!