Breakfast: Healthy chocolate and blueberry muffins!

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Ingredients:

3 large eggs

1 medium banana

25g butter cubed

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

1 teaspoon lemon juice

200g ground almonds

20g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

125g blueberries

Method

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C or 180 degrees C for fan assisted ovens.
  • In a large mixing bowl break banana into chunks. Add the chopped butter and mash together with the back of a fork.
  • Add eggs, maple syrup, bicarbonate soda, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Whisk thoroughly ideally using an electric whisk.
  • Add ground almonds and cocoa powder. Whisk thoroughly for a second time.
  • Add the blueberries to the mixture and gently fold in with a large spoon.

ingreds-in-bowl

  • Grease a cupcake tin ideally with low cal spray and distribute the mixture between the cupcake moulds. (With this mixture you can usually make 9 large muffins or 12 medium depending on how you would like to distribute your mixture.)
  • **Top Tip: Try not to add too many blueberries to the one muffin cup as this will make the muffin very moist and more likely to fall apart.**
  • Put the muffins in the oven and cook for 20mins. You should know they are done if you touch then and they spring back slightly. If they still seem too squishy and moist leave them in for an additional couple of minutes.
  • Leave the muffins to cool and then gently remove from muffin tin and enjoy!

I created this recipe basing it on an earlier banana bread recipe I had shared with you guys. I really wanted something tasty and filling to start off my day. The canteen in my work does these amazing blueberry scones that are just soooo hard to resist. Therefore I set about to make a healthy alternative that also tastes amazing and here we are! I cant help but feel a little smug in the office knowing that my colleagues are munching away on these scones which have twice as many calories as the yummy muffins that I am eating (just kidding… sort of hehe). I make a batch of the muffins at the start of the week and keep them in the fridge for each day. Mind you they are so tasty they don’t last long at all in our house. Let me know if you get a chance to try them yourself and what you think!

Happy cooking!

Xx

 

Comfort Food: Healthy Shepherds Pie

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Ingredients:

400g lean minced beef

2 medium onions, chopped

2 celery sticks, finely sliced

2 medium carrots, diced

400g can of chopped tomatoes

2tbsp tomato purée

500ml beef stock, made with 1 beef Stock cube

1tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1tsp dried mixed herbs

4tsp cornflour

1tbsp cold water

Flaked sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the leeky potato topping:

750g floury potatoes

2tsp sunflower oil

2 slender leeks, trimmed and cut into 1cm slices

150g half-fat crème fraiche

flaked sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

ingredients

Method:

  • Place a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the mince and cook it with the onions, celery and carrots for 10 minutes until lightly browned.

veg-in-pot

  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and mixed herbs. Season with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover loosely and simmer gently for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • About 20 minutes before the meat is ready, make the potato topping. Peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 4cm chunks. Put them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat slightly and simmer for 18–20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the leeks for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring often.

leeks

  • Drain the potatoes, then tip them back into the pan, season to taste and mash with the crème fraiche until smooth. Stir in the sautéed leeks and set aside.

mash-in-pot

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°C/Gas Mark 7. When the beef has been simmering for 40 minutes, mix the cornflour with the cold water to make a smooth paste. Stir this into the beef and cook for another 1–2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, stirring often.
  • Pour the beef mixture into a 2-litre shallow ovenproof dish. Using a large spoon, top the beef with the mashed potatoes and leeks. Spoon the mixture all around the edge of the dish before heading into the middle, then fluff up with a fork.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. If making this ahead of time, let the pie cool, then cover and put in the fridge.

Well I promised you lot some comfort food recipes and trust me this first one does not disappoint! My favourite meal when I go home to my mum and dads house (apart from a Sunday roast) is my mums shepherds pie. It really is the ultimate comfort food and perfect for cosy nights in with the heating on catching up on your favourite shows. So I decided to look into a healthier alternative that we could all still enjoy. I experimented with a few recipes and this one is by far my favourite. I love the leeks in the mash it really does make it extra tasty and the whole dish is just filled with lovely homely flavours. Lean beef cooked without fat also reduces the calories. I made a big batch that can be kept in the fridge and used throughout the week or alternatively frozen to be eaten later (very handy when you come in out of the cold after a hard days work and just want to relax). This one would also be great for dinner parties. I would even go as far as to say that your guests probably won’t be able to tell that it is on the more healthy side. If you do try this recipe I would love to know what you think or even send me pictures of your creations.

Happy cooking!

Xx

 

Meal prep Monday:Turkey Burritos

packets-together

Ingredients:

500g Turkey

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

8 wholemeal tortilla wraps

low fat cheese (grated)

Taco seasoning

Aluminium foil

Large plastic freezer back

ingredients

Method:

  • Start off by dicing your onion and then frying it in a small amount of oil in either a wok or frying pan.
  • Mince two garlic cloves into your onions and stir until lightly golden.

onions

  • Now add your turkey mince and stir to combine it with your onion and garlic.
  • When you notice your turkey has browned. Add in your taco seasoning.

mince-in-pan

  • Stir in seasoning and cook turkey for a further couple of minutes making sure it is coated well.
  • Remove mixture from the heat and set aside for ten minutes to cool.
  • Now divide the meat into 8 portions and place in a line on each tortilla.
  • Now sprinkle on a little low fat cheese. (You can skip this stage if you want to be really good).

mince-in-wrap

  • Now fold your burrito. You may have your own preferred way of doing this but if not here is a very helpful guide… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/20/how-to-wrap-burrito_n_6003430.html
  • Roll up each burrito in aluminium foil. Place wrapped burritos inside resealable gallon-sized bag. Label the bag and place in the freezer.
  • The burritos will last 30-45 days in the freezer.
  • To eat remove from aluminium foil and heat in the microwave for 60 – 90 seconds or until the burrito is heated through and enjoy!

This recipe is literally so handy. I make these on a Monday night and then keep them in the freezer for my lunches. It means I can just literally run in to the kitchen and grab a little foil packet and go! Not to mention they are full of flavour and far far better for you than your average sandwich. The turkey mince is lean and very low fat so you don’t have to feel guilty at all. I particularly like having these burritos coming into the autumn/winter months as it is nice to have some warm comfort food when it is freezing and horrible outside. Also the spice in the taco seasoning gives a little kick to keep you warm. I would usually alternate having a burrito for lunch one day and then maybe soup the next so one batch of these can last me 2 weeks which is brilliant. Not only is this recipe, healthy and handy but it is also cost effective and saves me a few pennies on the weekly shop! 🙂 Please do let me know if you try this recipe and what you think about it and i will feature your review on my blog and facebook!

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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Healthy Tuna burgers

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Ingredients: (yields 4 small burgers or 2 large)

2 x 125g tins of Tuna in Brine

2 cloves of garlic

70g breadcrumbs

80ml Teriyaki sauce

2 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce e.g Tabasco

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

ingrediants

Method:

  • In a large mixing bowl add the two tins of Tuna.
  • Break the tuna up using a fork making sure there are no big chunks.
  • Add the Teriyaki sauce

swirl

  • Add breadcrumbs and egg whites and combine.

breadcrumbs

  • Season with black pepper, minced garlic and hot pepper sauce.

garlic

  • Use your hands to mould this mixture into patties.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan on a medium heat.

  • Cook the burgers until brown on both sides approx 4mins each side.

frying

  • Now serve in a bap with some low fat cheese and enjoy! (I was a bit more liberal with the cheese than I probably should have been hehe)

with cheese

This recipe is great for several reasons. It is ridiculously easy to make and also it is quick and fuss free. In fact the only fuss I encountered when making these burgers is that my bloomin tin opener broke so i had to stab the tuna tin to get into it. Seriously what is it with tin openers each time we buy one it breaks within months! Anyway I digress… haha. As the preparation and cooking of these burgers only takes around 15 minutes this recipe is perfect for any one who is in a hurry or just wants to get their dinner into them after a long day! The burgers are incredibly tasty which is great and also lower in fat than your standard beef burgers. I love the kick that they are given by the teriyaki and tobacco sauces. An all round winner for me and I will certainly be looking forward to another helping! As always do let me know if you have tried them and what your thoughts are on this recipe.

Happy cooking Xx

Roasted garlic and caramelised onion soup!

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Ingredients: Yields 6 servings

1 large whole bulb of garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil

6 thinly sliced onions

2 large leeks

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons flour

80 ml dry white wine

850 ml of chicken stock

500 ml milk

ingredients

Method:

  • First we need to roast our Garlic. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Peel and separate the cloves of garlic contained in the large bulb.

garlic before

  • Rub 1-1/2 tsps oil over garlic head; wrap in foil and bake for one hour.

garlic wrapped

  • In the meantime whilst your garlic is roasting we are going to caramelise our veg!
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a pot over medium heat; add chopped onions and leeks and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often.

onions and leeks before

  • Add 1/2 tsp salt and thyme; cook an additional 30 minutes or until onions are golden.
  • Take off the hob and set aside for a few minutes.

caramilised leeks and onions

  • Remove Garlic from the oven. Open the foil carefully so as not to burn yourself.
  • The garlic should be soft. Mash it with a fork and set aside in a bowl for later.

roasted garlic after

  • Put your onions and leaks back on the hob.
  • Stir in flour; add wine and broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  • Add garlic pulp, remaining salt and milk to onion mixture.
  • Simmer 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  • Blend mixture in pot using a hand blender or you can do this in a food processor but may have to do it in two batches.

blending

  • Serve soup and garnish with your choice of ingredients. I used Thyme and have also tried cheese nom nom!

This recipe defines comfort food. It is light enough as to not make you feel guilty eating it but boy is it filling and tasty! Not to mention when cooking it it makes the house smell amazing. As we all know I love to add garlic to almost all of my recipes but there is something about roasted garlic that just makes things so much better. I think one of the best things about this soup is that it really fills you up. A small portion goes a very long way. I usually have this for dinner with a nice piece of bread and then keep the leftovers for my lunch during the week. Isn’t it great to be able to have something that tastes more fattening than it actually is! Not to mention the many benefits that come from onions and garlic. Although they are known as the most pungent smelling vegetables onions and garlic have antioxidant properties that help protect against health conditions such as heart disease and cancer. What more could you want. As always I will be interested to hear if any of you try this recipe. Let me know how it works out for you!

Happy cooking!

Xx

Skinny egg fried rice!

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Ingredients: (serves 6)

2 large eggs   

225g uncooked carrots, shredded   

225g uncooked scallions, sliced   

675g cooked white rice

100g frozen green peas, thawed   

60ml low sodium soy sauce, or to taste

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

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Method:

  • Lightly beat eggs with a fork or whisk.
  • Coat a large non-stick skillet or wok with cooking spray; warm pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add eggs to the pan coating the bottom. As eggs start to cook move them around the pan to avoid burning.
  • Cook until eggs are cooked through, about 2 minute and remove eggs from skillet and set aside.
  • Off heat, re-coat same skillet with cooking spray; set over medium-high heat.
  • Add carrots and onions, cook for 5mins until tender.

carrots and onions in wok

  • Add chives and minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

chives and garlic

  • Stir in cooked rice, peas and soy sauce; cook until heated through, stirring once or twice.
  • Gently stir in cooked egg and remaining scallions; heat through.
  • Serve and enjoy!

 

This recipe is so simple and takes no time at all. It went down a storm in our house and the best thing is you can have it as a side to whatever dish you want. Therefore making a big batch at the start of the week is great as you can store it in the fridge and have it with different dinners and lunches. I know there are sceptics out there who see the word skinny in front of a recipe and think ‘It may be skinny but I bet it doesn’t taste great’ but trust me guys this tastes great and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Not to mention it is really filling. I only needed a small portion and felt satisfied. I cooked duck to accompany this particular batch of fried rice and it was lovely I would highly recommend it. Overall an easy, delicious go to recipe that is a must to put into your weekly rotation.

Happy cooking!

Xx

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

ingreds

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

ingredients

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.

cheese grated on top b4 oven.JPG

  • 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