Low cal lasagne cups!

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Ingredients:

400g lean mince beef (I used Tescos 18% fat mince)

400g Dolmio lasagne red sauce light

1 white onion chopped

250g or 24 slices of wafer thin smoked ham

180g Philadelphia light

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Method:

  • Heat a large pan on medium to high heat and spray with Frylight 1 cal oil spray.
  • Dice your onion and add it to the pan. Heat through for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften.
  • Add your minced meat to the pan. Mix with the onion and cook for roughly 5 minutes until browned and cooked through.
  • Add red Dolmio sauce and stir. Allow to heat for a further 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime get out your muffin tray and spray a little oil into each cup. This will stop the ham from sticking to the sides when cooked.
  • Now place two pieces of ham into each cup (one on top of the other creating a little well in the middle.

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  • Once your mince is done cooking place a heaped tablespoon of it into each ham cup.
  • Now top each cup with a heaped teaspoon of Philadelphia light.
  • Place your muffin tray into the oven at 180 degrees C and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and dig in!

 

Guys, BIG ANNOUNCEMENT….. This is now my new favourite recipe ever! These little cups are absolutely delicious. The smokiness of the ham blends with the sauce and meat mixture when heated to create the most amazing flavour. Not to mention the Philadelphia on top gives you a lovely creamy cheesy hit that just makes the whole dish. I really can’t get enough of these little fellas. I take two into work each day and heat them up in the microwave for lunch. They smell absolutely amazing too an easy way to make your work colleagues jealous of your lunch haha! Each cup is only 130 calories and they are packed with protein so you don’t have to feel guilty at all… well unless you decided to eat the whole batch which trust me is very tempting. I’d really love to know if any of you decide to try this recipe. If you do please get in touch and I will feature you on my blog and Facebook. Ps. you will notice from my photos I didn’t buy enough ham the first time around rookie mistake!!! You can find the accurate amount you need in the ingredients list.

Happy cooking!

Xx

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Chocolate Bread Pudding!

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Ingredients: Serves 8

300ml/1.2 cup skimmed milk

100g pitted dates

250g brown bread (about 7 slices)

200ml/0.75 cup boiling water

25g/0.2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp dark vanilla extract

1 egg

30g/1 oz dark or milk chocolate

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Method:

  • Firstly we are going to start by making a syrup out of the dates. Combine the boiling water and dates in a small bowl and leave for 15 minutes until the dates are softened.
  • Pour the dates and water into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Tear up the bread into small pieces in a large bowl. Then add the milk, date mixture, cocoa powder vanilla extract and beaten egg.
  • Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  • Grease a 8 x 5 inch baking dish and then evenly add the mixture to it.
  • Crush the dark chocolate into small pieces. (I put the chocolate into a sandwich bag and gave it a whack with a rolling pin.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate pieces evenly over the top of the mix.
  • Bake in the oven at 200 degrees C or 180 degrees C for fan assisted ovens.
  • Remove and eat while still warm and gooey!

Having been on a diet myself I’ve been finding that I am  craving something sweet particularly in the evenings after my dinner. This is the perfect after dinner treat to stave off those cravings! Yes when we hear the word chocolate we automatically think “oh no I can’t have that I’m on a diet and chocolate is a no no.” However there is so little chocolate in this dish that you can allow yourself to indulge without feeling guilty! Also this pudding is low in sugar as we obtain our sweet taste by making the date syrup so really its a win win all round! At 142 calories a slice you really can’t complain and it tastes awesome. The only hard part is stopping at one slice! I would love to know your thoughts on this recipe or if you have any ideas on how to adapt it to make it better. Feel free to contact me on any of my social media if you give it a try.

Happy cooking!

Xx

The dreaded first cardio workout of the year!

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Well guys, I have just finished my first cardio workout of the year and I feel great! I felt so sluggish and tired when I got up today and I really didn’t think I would make it to the gym at all. My gym is just across the road from my work so if I am doing a cardio workout I always try to go on my lunch break. If I wait until the end of the day I will be even more tired and may have gone off the idea. I also like the fact that if I get my workout done during my working day then when half 4 comes I know I can just go home, put the dinner on and relax without the thought of the gym hanging over me.

I have been out of the routine of regularly exercising for weeks now. This was due to Christmas and coming down with a heavy cold. Not to mention I have most certainly been over indulging in the treats department, so I fully expected today to be a real struggle. Even on the short walk across to the gym my brain was thinking “Oh god nooooo! Anything but this! It’s not too late to turn around and just head into town and go shopping instead.” But I persevered and eventually I found myself stepping back onto the cross trainer (elliptical machine for you Americans!)

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I put my headphones in and soon got into a rhythm. I told myself that I wouldn’t push it and would do 15 minutes and see how I felt after that. Half an hour later I was still at it and time had flown. I had to stop in order to get back to work on time but I have to say I am very proud of myself!. When I stepped off I just felt great. I thought after all that build up in my own head it really wasn’t that hard and I can definitely get back into the swing of things. Back in the office I felt way more energised and genuinely felt happier. I have to remember what an advantage exercise has on your mood! Another important point to note is that before my workout I was craving loads of unhealthy treats for lunch. Afterwards I couldn’t have felt more different! I happily ate my tuna and broccoli and felt full and satisfied afterwards.

For goodness sake if I can do well on my first day back and feel this great then its only onwards and upwards from here. That is partly why I am writing this post so that I can look back on it when I’m not feeling motivated. I urge you all to get out there and start working out even if it is just a walk. Write down how you feel beforehand and then write down how you feel after. Then use this to motivate yourself on a day where you frankly can’t be bothered. Remember 15 minutes exercise means you are 15 minutes better than if you were to just sit on the couch. Every little bit counts towards a better you! Now here a selfie of me looking like a complete sweaty Betty but proud haha….

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Xx

Low Calorie- Iced Lemon Cupcakes

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Ingredients

12 cupcake cases

Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

2 large eggs

150ml low fat natural yogurt

2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk

50ml sunflower oil

100g blueberries

75g golden caster sugar

1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

200g self raising flower

For the icing:

4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

100g icing sugar

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Method:

  • Firstly pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C or 180 degrees for fan assisted ovens.
  • This recipe serves 12 so line a 12 whole muffin tray with your cupcake cases.

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  • Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and stir in the sugar, blueberries and lemon zest. Make a well in the centre. It is important to sift the flour so that there are no lumps.

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  • Beat the eggs with a large whisk until smooth, then beat in the yogurt, milk and oil until well combined. Stir into the flour mixture with a large metal spoon until very lightly mixed.
  • Divide the batter between the paper cases. Make sure not to overfill the cases as remember the cupcakes will rise.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 16–18 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and golden brown.
  • Transfer them to a wire rack and leave to cool.

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  • To make the lemon icing, mix the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth and runny. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the cupcakes and leave to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

iced-on-rack

I was inspired to do a bit of baking this week as the Great British Bake off has just finished its last series here in the UK and I was looking for my weekly cake fix! Also I feel I have been concentrating a lot on savoury recipes and we need a little sweetness in our lives. Trust me things can get a little bland during the weekly routine if all you are eating is meat and veg so these cupcakes are the perfect wee pick me up. Not only are they absolutely delicious but they are also only 169 calories each! Make sure you have a few friends or kids that you can hand then out to as well as it would be easy to go to town on the hole batch! As always I would love to hear from you if you decide to try this recipe or have any ideas on how you would make it your own!

Happy cooking!

Xx

Skinny Thai green Curry!

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Ingredients:

450g diced chicken

2 teaspoons canola/rapeseed oil

450g aubergine, diced

200g carrots diced or spiraled

240ml “lite” coconut milk

240ml reduced-sodium chicken stock

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon green curry paste

1 tablespoon fish sauce, optional

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/2 cup sliced fresh basil

ingredients

Method:

  • Heat a large pan on high and cook your chicken thoroughly roughly 15mins.
  • Take chicken from the pan and set it to the side.

 

  • Add aubergine, carrots, coconut milk, broth, brown sugar, curry paste, fish sauce (if using) and lime juice to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the pan; stir to coat with the sauce and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat; stir in basil and serve immediately.

This recipe is fab for several reasons. Firstly it is so easy you literally bung everything in the pot so where could you go wrong! And secondly the curry is low cal and packed full of nutrients from all those vegetables. Just because it is low in calories does not mean it is low in flavour. This dish is bursting with flavour and I like it because it is actually quite refreshing. I am not one for a hot curry so this is just perfect for me and anyone else who cant take the heat! You can serve it any way you like I opted for brown rice and a mini naan (I could quite easily eat a large naan so best to buy the mini ones to avoid temptation haha). It is great for entertaining or re-heating over a couple of nights. Plus there is just enough warmth in it for it to be a great comfort food during the winter months as well. Please do let me know if you try this recipe and what you thought!

Happy cooking!

Xx

I love Matcha green tea!

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Well folks, welcome to my first lifestyle post! So far I haven’t actually posted much about myself on this blog so I thought I would include a few snippets each week letting you know what I’ve been up to and a little more about my weight loss journey. I have been gradually loosing weight for about a year and a half now and am currently down by just over 2 stone (that’s around 30 pounds my American friends). I attribute this to making simple and easy changes to my lifestyle. I have tried many fad diets before and none of them have worked for me. I now believe that you have to change the way you live in order to take advantage of loosing weight and keeping it off.

A few things that have really changed my life are:

  • Cutting back on the amount of bread I eat. (I simply no longer eat sandwiches for my lunch every day so have cut down on 10 slices of bread a week!)
  • Taking the stairs at least once a day in work. (A small change which makes a huge difference)
  • Walking to and from work.(I live 3km away from my work and walk this everyday however if you live further afield why not get off the bus a couple of stops early and get a bit of exercise in?)
  • Calorie counting (I use http://www.Myfitnesspal.com which is great, it really makes you think about what you are putting into your body).
  • And finally I allow myself 2 cheat days a week. I save mine until the weekend so that I have something to look forward to. Honestly I think if you deny yourself the food that you crave e.g chocolate you’ll end up craving it more. Then once you give in and have a piece you think to yourself ‘right well I obviously can’t keep up with this diet I may as well give up’. If you let yourself have what you want in small amounts once or twice a week you will benefit from it in the long run. And lets face it a little bit of chocolate or a packet of crisps is enough to keep us sane on those days where we have just had enough of everything and need a treat.

Each week I hope to share with you some new tricks to dieting as well as what has been working for me in my everyday life. For me each new week is a learning curve when it comes to loosing weight and being healthy and so I invite you to come and experience it with me! 🙂

Right! So back to Matcha….

I have been drinking Matcha green tea for around 2 months now every morning when I get into work. I had begun to feel a little guilty about the calories my normal coffee was adding to my diet every day. Especially as I don’t scrimp on the added milk and sugar. I decided to give Pukka Matcha green tea a try as I had seen a lot of articles regarding Matcha on other health blogs. Let me tell you it does not disappoint! From the first couple of sips Matcha gave me a lovely energy that lasts throughout the morning. I genuinely feel far more alert and ready to go after a nice cup of Matcha tea. Matcha is a form of powdered green tea. You’re drinking the entire leaf when you drink Matcha which is why you get so many more health benefits.

Benefits of drinking Matcha green tea:

  • One cup of Matcha tea has the antioxidant power equivalent to 10 cups of brewed green tea.
  • Matcha has approximately 15 times the amount of antioxidants of pomegranates or blueberries.
  • Matcha is especially known for being rich in theanines and catechins. Theanine relaxes those who take it in and has an effect of soothing one’s feelings. Catechins are compounds of polyphenol that contains many effects like dietary effects and antioxidant effects.
  • Mathca can also help with your cholesterol.
  • Drinking Matcha greatly improves the look and feel of your skin.

So really what’s not to love? One more benefit that I have found is that the tea actually fills me up and settles my stomach. I find my stomach can get a bit grumbly in the morning making me want to eat more than I really should. Drinking this tea makes me feel full and energised. So in summary I highly recommend you give it a try!

Please do share with me your thought’s on Matcha or in fact any recipes you have come across which use it as an ingredient. I would also love to hear about other herbal teas that you guys enjoy!

Xx

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No Flour delicious banana bread muffins!

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Ingredients: (Yields 12)

300g  ripe bananas (roughly 3 medium bananas)

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons of maple syrup – adjust to your taste

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

30g  butter

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

200g ground almonds

1 tablespoon of whole flaxseed plus extra for decorating the top of your muffins

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Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 160 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl mash together the bananas and butter. (a fork works well for mashing).

banana and butter

  • Now add the maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice and mix well with a whisk.
  • Add the ground almonds and a tablespoon of whole flaxseed and mix well.
  • Grease your muffin tins with butter or low fat spray. Alternatively you can use individual muffin cases.
  • Spoon your batter evenly into each muffin cup and top with a pinch of flax seeds.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. You will know if the muffins are done by inserting a skewer into the middle and it coming out dry.
  • Allow muffins to cool and eat warm or at room temperature. Remember to store covered, in the fridge and most importantly enjoy!

**Note this recipe can also be used to make a loaf of bread. Use a bread loaf tin. Fill with the mixture and cook for 1hr 10mins. If the bread starts to brown too much during baking cover with a piece of tinfoil.

These little muffins have been a god send for my partner and I. We now have them every morning for breakfast and they make a great guilt-free snack for when you get peckish during the day. There is no flour, sugar or preservatives and each muffin is only 89 calories so you can have more than 1! The bananas, maple syrup and vanilla give these muffins a lovely sweet taste and so when I am craving something sweet this is now my go to snack. The bread is filling and will keep your energy levels up during the day. Almonds are full of Vitamin E and magnesium, and the Omega-3-rich flaxseed which is added means these muffins aren’t just delicious but nutritious as well. Not to mention they smell great when they come out the oven! As ever I would love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe.

Happy cooking!

Xx

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Omelette and Spinach cannelloni NO PASTA!

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Ingredients

500g Spinach

150g cream cheese  (could use ricotta cheese if preferred)

75g Parmesan cheese, grated

Nutmeg, grated

4-6eggs

4 tblspn water

1 tblspn olive oil

Salt and pepper

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Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F degrees.

  • Cook the spinach until tender.  Mix with the cream cheese, half the Parmesan cheese and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

  • Whisk the eggs with the water and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat and pour in enough egg mixture to make a small, thin omelette.   Cook until firm and turn over to cook the over side.   Remove and place to the side.  Continue to do this until all of egg mixture is used.
  • Spoon some of the spinach mixture onto an edge of an omelette and roll up.  Place in a shallow gratin dish and repeat using all of the omelettes.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake for 25 minutes.

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  • Eat and enjoy!

I was eager to try this recipe as I absolutely love cannelloni. I thought making it using omelettes would be a real challenge but it actually worked out really well. A good tip is not to overfill your omelette as they are quite thin and prone to splitting. This tasty recipe yields about four portions. The filling was lovely and can easily be adapted for your own tastes. I think next time I will throw in a bit of chicken into the spinach mix to pack it out a little more. This makes a great main as it is extremely filling and much healthier than the pasta versions you would be used to. The dish is packed with protein from both the omelette and Spinach so would be ideal to have after a workout. I really cant get enough of this one and urge you all to try it. Also it is a great way for those of us who are obsessed with cheese to get our fix! As usual let me know if you have tried this and send e your pictures if you would like.

Happy cooking!

Xx

 

Delicious Broccoli and potato soup

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Ingredients:

1 large head of broccoli

1 large potato peeled and chopped into cubes

1 Large white onion diced

2 cloves of garlic

500ml vegetable stock

250ml low fat milk

125ml water

Salt and pepper

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Method:

  • Cut the broccoli into roughly 1 inch pieces. You can cut and add a bit of the stem but discard the main stem.

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  • Put all the ingredients into a pot except the milk, salt and pepper.
  • Put on the lid of the pot and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to medium and rapidly simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and add your milk. Now bring back to the boil and then remove from the heat altogether.
  • Now whizz the hand blender until thoroughly mixed together.
  • To thicken the soup cook it longer on the stove at a medium/low heat.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with a side of your choice. (I have chosen some gorgeous wheaten bread that my talented partner made *recipe for this to follow).

I was a little sceptical of this recipe when I first made it. I’m not really sure why, maybe it was the colour of the soup that made my brain think this may be healthy but I bet it doesn’t taste great. Maybe the green reminded me of lettuce too much haha! Think again. This soup is so unbelievably tasty. I absolutely love it. Plus it is packed full of nutrients from all that veg! I like to have this recipe for dinner but it would make a great packed lunch too. It makes enough soup for about 3-4 servings so you could easily make it at the start of the week and just store it in the fridge. *I am lucky enough to have a partner who loves to bake. He inherited a great bread recipe from his lovely mum and was able to make us a great side for this dish. Bread isn’t very healthy as we all well know but when eaten in moderation it compliments this soup perfectly.

For those who are interested I will post the bread recipe up here as well shortly.

If you do try this recipe I would love to know what you thought of it and by all means send me some pictures if you’d like.

Enjoy and happy cooking!

Xx

Healthy Oriental Beef and Broccoli

Attention attention! This is such a great recipe I’m willing to say that it is my favourite so far! I cant urge you enough to try it. It is simply delicious.

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Ingredients:

1lb Flank/Skirt steak thinly sliced across the grain

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 large white onion diced

roughly 2 small crowns of broccoli florets

2 tbsp. cornflower

180ml water

80ml low sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

⅛ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

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Method:

  • Slice your steak into thin pieces across the grain. (I actually ended up using scissors to cut the beef as it can be quite tough).
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well-browned, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Now remove the beef from the skillet and set to the side.
  • In the same pan that the beef was in add the garlic, white onion and spring onions. Cook for 1 min stirring throughout.
  • Add the broccoli to the skillet and cover with a lid for 5 mins. Open pot half way through the 5 mins and give the ingredients a stir. Then replace the lid for the remaining time.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine water and cornflower and mix until no longer lumpy. Now add the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and red pepper flakes to the same bowl and stir to combine.

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  • Remove cover from pan and add sauce. Cook until sauce starts to thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Add beef and stir , cooking an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • No you are ready to serve ans enjoy!

I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this recipe. I would happily eat it most nights for dinner. Also this would be a great one to prep at the start of the week and bring in for lunch during the working week. I choose to serve this with plain noodles as the beef is so flavoursome you don’t really need anything else. However this would also go well with the likes of rice, chips and even mashed potatoes.  I absolutely love a good Chinese takeaway but we all know how unhealthy they are. This is a fantastic healthy alternative containing lots of protein as well as a hell of a lot less salt than your usual takeaway whilst still maintaining a mouthwatering  full-bodied flavour. Honestly if you decide to try none of my other recipes at least try this one you wont be disappointed. As usual let me know what you think if you do decide to get cooking and of course send me your photos and I will feature them on my FB and blog.

Happy cooking!

Xx