Monday, 1 September 2014

About The Author - Blog-tember Day One

Hey everybody happy September 1st!!!

This is day one of my Blog-tember challenge and its a kind of intro/about me style post so if you are new to Salad and Sequins this is where you can get to know me a little bit more or if your already a follower maybe this will tell you a little more then you already knew : )

If this "About the Author" was in the back of my own book the title of my book would be...

 A Gluten Free Girls Guide To Eating and Drinking Healthy on a Budget
- featuring breakfast, lunch, dinner and more


About the Author

Tamzin Pettitt is a lifestyle food and fitness blogger, qualified personal trainer and now author. Tamzin started her blogging career back in 2009 when she realised, after becoming obsessed with American food/fitness blogs, the UK blogging scene didn't offer much in the way of lifestyle, food and fitness blogs so she created Salad and Sequins. A place to share her love of delicious foods and exercise. Writing Salad and Sequins eventually led Tamzin to change her career and train as a personal trainer and she became qualified as a level 3 trainer in September 2011. 

Fast forward to 2012 when Tamzin was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, for some daunting but not for Tamzin! She has taken it in her stride and has enjoyed learning how to use different ingredients to create delicious foods that can be enjoyed by the whole family on a budget. Tamzin believes that eating well and gluten free does not have to be boring, unhealthy or expensive. She shares lost of alternative recipe ideas on her blog Salad and Sequins along with free workouts and an insight into her daily life. So once you have finished this book go say hi, she would love to meet you!

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Haha, that was actually really hard to write! But I always find writing about myself kind of odd.....anyway I hope you have got to know me a little bit more and by the end of September you definitely will!

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Before I leave I wanted to share one more thing with you. For the past few months I have been adding my blog post to the App Dayre a mobile blogging application for people like you and me to share their story. I was asked to take part for blogging competition with the chance of winning a Dayre scholarship and although I don't think I will win the comp I did just get Editors Pick!!!!


Editors Pick means my page gets shown to every user on Dayre which is pretty awesome especially as i have only be on there for 3 months...I rather chuffed if I do say so myself! I think the app is quite unknown to the UK but its great so if you fancy getting your blog seen by an alternative audience then get on it!

Brave Love Blog

Question:

What would your book title be?

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Good Bye August Hello Blog-Tember!

Well here we are on the last day of the month, August has come and gone crazy fast and I am shocked that we are saying hello to September tomorrow! I have had a great month lots of ups a few downs but nothing that has stopped me from keeping my head up and staying focused. I actually feel really positive about the next few months, I have kicked myself up the butt and really got organised after the summer months being a lot of partying its time to buckle down and get my work life a little more on point! 

September is going to be busy for me, I have the up and coming arrival of my sisters bubba, a friends wedding, holiday to Spain, new clients and work at the London Tattoo Convention to list a few things I will be doing! 

Another to add to the list is this fab September challenge: The Blog-tember Challenge created by Bailey over at Brave Love. Someone had pinned this on Pinterest and after taking a look I was sold, she has given a topic for each day of September which is really helpful plus I love the idea of blogging an array of different posts, a lot different to my usual ones, giving you a little bit more of me. If you fancy giving it a go too go check out her post and join in the fun!! 


I will be posting every day so come on by and and let me know how you think I'm doing : )

Question:

Do you have a busy September ahead?

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Recipe: Gluten Free Oat, Lemon and Chia Cookies + Freego Review

Yay to the weekend, yes I am working today but come 6pm I'm free as a bird not that I have much planned for tonight other then chilling at home but a quiet night in is fine by me! 

Today I have one more review for you before we say hello to September, this review is all about an online store called Freego. If like me you are gluten intolerant or you just like gluten free foods then this could be the site for you. Freego is a brand new business that specialises in allergen-friendly, healthy foods delivered straight to your door. They have lots of well known brands, some new to me brands, offering everything from baking ingredients to savoury snacks. I was lucky enough to get a £20 gift voucher to buy some products and try out the site. 

I found the site really easy to use and the products are great, with lots of choice to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner. After having a good browse these are the products I decided to try:


Baking:

Red Mill Oat Flour
Red Mill Millet Flour
Doves Farm Baking powder

I chose the flours because I want to experiment with different flours and the baking powder because I have run out and its a store cupboard essential for me. 

Savoury:

dial Rice and Corn Tagliatelle
Meridian Green Pesto

I don't eat much pasta but I used to make a really tasty tagliatelle dish so I want to recreate a gluten free version and the pesto will go nicely. 

Snacks:

Meridian Almond Butter
Rebel Kitchen Chai Coconut Mylk

I have recently run out of almond butter so couldn't resist a new pot and the chai mylk I have wanted to try for ages so had to grab one of those. I can confirm the mylk is bloody lovely! 

As soon as my package had arrived it was a good excuse to get my baking thinking cap on and with these new flours to try out all I could think of was cookies! I also had some lemons that need using so this is what I came up with......


Ingredients:

175g Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour
50g Coconom Ginger Coconut Sugar
1/2 tsp Doves Farm Gluten Free Baking Powder
100g Melted Lucy Bees Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Large Lemon Rind and 1/2 the Juice


Method:

Pre heat your oven to 180.

Add flour, sugar and baking powder to a large mixing bowl and combine.

If like me your coconut oil is quite hard zap it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds then stir in to the dry ingredients. Grate the rind of the lemon into the mix followed by the juice, and the chia seeds.

Mix again then put the dough into the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.

I then rolled out the dough and used cutters to make my cookies but you can just form balls and flatten in your hands if you prefer.

Place cookies on a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes depending on your oven, check after 8 minutes. The cookies will be quite soft still but they harden once cooled so take them out and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy : )


The oat flour works great in this recipe and combined with the coconut oil these cookies have a short cake consistency yum!

To round up I would definitely use Freego again the site is easy to use and you get kept up to date with the delivery by text or email so you know exactly when to expect your order. Go check them out and if you like what you see use the code: SparklesFree to get free delivery!

Question:

Have you heard of Freego? 

Friday, 29 August 2014

August Reviews Featuring: Steens, Detox Your World, John West, Cocoa Runners and Uzuma Green Juice

Its that time again for me to share with you some great, new to me, products that I think your going to love. I always say this but I like to just remind everyone that reads these reviews, all the words and thoughts are my own, I was given these products to try out free of charge but that will not influence my review. I also only say yes to the products I think you will be interested in knowing more about. So lets have a look shall we....



If I am honest I am not a big honey eater, I sometimes add it to recipes and I have in the past invested in a pot of manuka honey but its not something I think about buying really so when offered to try some I thought why not? Especially as before we know it winter will be here and the common cold will be flying about and one way I like to rid a cold is hot water, maunka honey and lemon.

I got to try out Steens Raw 15+ Manuka Honey which is said to be high in antibacterial levels and recommend for the treatment of ulcers, strep throat, cold sores, digestion, burns, skin infections, cuts and abrasions, nice little list of benefits there! When my honey arrived I couldn't resist trying it on a slice of buttered toast and my tastebuds were mighty glad I did its gorgeous! The honey is really thick and tastes wonderful, definitely worth trying if your a honey lover that also loves a health food : )

You can keep up to date with Steens on Facebook and Twitter.

Detox Your World


The lovely peeps at Detox Your World were kind enough to send me some granola samples from their new Superfoodies range. Now you all know I love granola so throw in some superfoods and I'm sold! I was sent the Green Granola - Coconut and Spirulina, Brown Granola - Cacao Nibs and Maca plus the Red Granola - Goji and Acai. All of the granolas are gluten free, vegan and paleo which covers pretty much everyone! My favourite would have to be the Cacao and Maca but the Goji and Acai comes a close second, I like the Coconut one but it does taste of spirulina which will not be to everyones liking. I love the fact that these granolas are not sweet and they taste healthy but if you like something a little sweeter you could add a little maple syrup or coconut sugar. I would recommend trying these if you love cereal but want something healthy or like me your a granola freak!

Keep up to date with new products and more on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

John West


Next up is this giant tuna haul from the lovely guys at John West. I have eaten John West tuna on and off for years but the New Tuna Infusions range I hadn't heard of so was intrigued to try them. We eat tuna on a regular basis round here be it with sweet pots, in sandwiches or salad plus its an easy food to transport which means its great to take to work. Some of the samples I was sent unfortunately contained gluten so I couldn't try them but the ones I could eat I really enjoyed. I tried the basil, lemon and thyme and coriander and cumin all of which tasted great. They come in little one portion sized tins which I took to work and ate with salad or as a snack. If you like tuna then give these a go, tuna can be quite dry to eat on its own but these flavour combos with a little olive oil really work!

Check out John West on Facebook for more info.

Cocoa Runners


Hands up who loves chocolate!!!! Both my hands are up thats for sure and when offered chocolate to review I say a big yes! Cocoa Runners is a fabulous online club you can join to discover the most wonderful chocolate bars and get them delivered straight to your door, perfect if you like to discover new chocolate for yourself or as a gift but don't get time to browse round the shops.

"As a member, every month we will send you four chocolate bars delivered in a box specially designed to fit through your letterbox (and in sufficiently non-descript outer packaging that we hope it won’t be “borrowed” by envious neighbours). These bars are carefully chosen around themes which showcase latest developments and the characteristics of “bean-to-bar” chocolate. We will get “under the wrapper” with tasting cards for each bar that bring you the stories behind the chocolate, makers and growers."  - Cocoa Runners

 I was really impressed with the package I received, the chocolate (that I have tasted so far) is delicious and the packaging is beautiful! I am a sucker for good packaging so I was won over by these bars and the fact they taste awesome is a win win for me! Honestly just go take a look at their Chocolate Library...amazing!

See something you wanna try?? Well as a gift to you from Cocoa Runners you can use the code: Sparkles5 - and get £5 off your first box or subscription!!

Follow Cocoa Runners on Facebook and Twitter for updates and more.

Uzuma Green Juice 


Last but not least I have been sent these Uzuma green juices to try, I have literally just got them so I will be doing a full review soon, I have tasted the Shine juice and it has a massive thumbs up!

Check them out on Facebook and Twitter and keep an eye out for my full review coming soon!

Ok thats my August product reviews there is one more coming this month but you'll have to wait till tomorrow for that and a fabulous new recipe!

Have a great Friday folks its nearly the weekend!!!!

Question:

Have you tried any of the above, what did you think?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Recipe: Vegan Chickpea and New Potato Curry

Oh yes I have been making curry again and it was a party for the tastebuds thats for sure! I have mentioned before how I am training up my tastebuds to eat hotter foods because Dale is a lover of heat and if there is one way to get him to eat more vegetarian/vegan food its spice! 

Earlier this week I made this awesome curry, inspired by a client that had given me some home grown chilli's which by the way are HOT!!! You can definitely tell the difference from a shop bought chilli much to Dales joy, ha! I had a few bits in the cupboard but most of my ingredients were bought in our weekly shop. This curry would easily feed 6-8 people, we had a portion each and I freezes the rest for easy go to meals for the week..we don't mind eating the same thing more then once a week! 

Vegan Chickpea and New Potato Curry


Ingredients:

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
 2 Tbsp garam masala spice
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
4 cardamon pods
4 drops turmeric (spice drop)
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 can chickpeas
600g new potatoes
1 large courgette
1 medium head broccoli
1 small red pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper - to season
*1 tsp corn flour - optional to thicken

Method:

In a large cooking pot add oil and once melted add onion, garlic and chilli cook for 3-5 minutes on a low heat before adding all the spices. Cook the spices for about 2 minutes then add the tomatoes and leave on a low heat while you chop the potatoes, broccoli, pepper and courgette. 

Once you have chopped the veg add the coconut milk and chickpeas to the pan, stir, then add the chopped veggies and peas. Stir again then juice half a lemon into the pan and season with salt and pepper. 

Leave to simmer for 35-40 minutes. Then serve with rice. 

*Once my curry was cooked I mixed 1 tsp of corn flour with half cup water and poured into the pot to thicken the sauce. 


This is very filling especially if you eat it with the rice, its perfect if your looking for a filling meal that is inexpensive, tastes good and is healthy too! Even with the coconut milk this curry had a kick but it was a warm heat rather then a complete burn up! 

I have some green chilli's left still that my client was kind enough to give me so I will be experimenting with those in a soup recipe...watch this space : )

Questions:

Do you love a bit of spice in your food?

If you have a partner do you both like heat or does one of you like it more then the other?


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Workout Wednesday: My Top Five Back Exercises

Hello all you exercise lovers how we doing?
I'm all good and loving the fact my back is behaving and I can get back into my workout routine, there are some exercises I'm staying away from just until I feel my back can take it and won't be pushed too far, like squat thrusts love um but they bend my back and stretch it in a way that its not quite ready for! It is getting there though with help from lots of stretching and gentle exercise : )

So todays Workout Wednesday is focusing on the back and my favourite way to train it using weights and just the body. I can't say enough how important it is to train the back and keep it strong, I know I suffer from a weak lower back which is why I need to concentrate on my abs and back a lot and even more so now...I don't want my lower back to become even more of a problem! 


1. Back Extensions

Back extensions can be performed just using your body or you can use equipment such as a stability ball or workout bench. Adding this exercise to your routine will help to improve your posture by strengthening your lower back muscles which will keep you standing up straight. By keeping the lower back muscles strong you will decrease the risk of injury and back pain, this exercise also gives the abs a good workout when performed properly. When you lift your upper body you flex and stretch through your abs differently to when you do crunches for example, hitting them at a different angle which is great for strengthening them. 

2. Pull Ups

As long as you have a bar pull ups can be done anywhere and being a compound exercise they are great for targeting lots of muscles in the upper body especially the back. You do need good upper body strength to perform pull ups but if you have access to a pull up bar machine at the gym you can do assisted pull ups which is great place to start. You can make them harder by adding weight or changing the grip on bar to give yourself more of a challenge plus they get your heart pumping which is always good! Because pull ups really work the whole back and core these will also help with your posture and keeping injuries at bay. 

3. Bent Over Rows

I love to perform bent over rows with my barbell but dumbbells are great too. This is another compound exercise so your getting a great upper body workout as well as targeting the back. You can work different muscles by pulling the weight higher towards the chest (chest and upper back) or towards the mid section (middle of the back). Its very important to keep your core engaged and a good posture while doing bent over rows so if you don't have a trainer to help I would always advise using a mirror to keep an eye on your body making sure you stay injury free!

4. Deadlifts

Some hate deadliest others rave about them, I am one that loves a deadlift. I can't lift masses of weight but I do like to add them to my routines because this exercise doesn't just train the back it works the entire body in one foul swoop! You need a barbell and a focused mind for this one, deadlifts target all the major muscle groups especially the core which is used to stabilise the body. Another one where posture is very important I would again suggest doing this in front of a mirror if you don't have trainer to help guide you but I would say getting someone to help you with this one is a good idea. I have seen so many people in the gym not doing this exercise right and its just plan dangerous so get some guidance! 

5. TRX/Suspension Trainer Row

If you read my blog you will know I love my TRX, every exercise you perform on it uses the core so you can't use it without getting a great workout for your back but my particular favourite is the row. This exercise is great for strengthening the upper back as well as the core, shoulders and your hand grip (great for pull ups!). You can make the exercise harder by changing your foot position, the lower you go the harder the workout!

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All of the above are regular offenders in my workout routines and I shall be focusing on them even more since my back obviously needs some work! 

Question:

Do you remember to train your back, if so whats your favourite exercise?


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Hi all, hope everyone enjoyed the bank holiday?! As I mentioned due to our up and coming holiday it was a very quiet one for us but thats fine by me I am looking forward to getting back to my normal routine after a very busy few months! 

Today I thought I would share with you how I eat healthy on a budget. I used to spend a lot of money on food, buying all the latest superfood crazes but these days we don't have the money to just spend without a care so I try to make our weekly budget stretch as far as possible as well as keeping it healthy. The shop I am sharing with you today is pretty typical for us a few add ons which I will explain a long the way. I tend to buy the majority of our food at Lidl and anything I can't get there I go to either Asda or Tesco. 

Our weekly food budget is £50 but I always try to get it under that which means we save some money  which is always nice! I also try to think about what evening meals we will have during the week, I don't meal plan per se but I like to have some sort of plan so I am not left without a particular ingredient. Ok lets have a look at the shopping shall we:

Lidl


What I bought:

1 pack peanuts
1 pack little gems (includes 2)
1 cucumber
1 pepper
3 courgettes
4 pears
1 coconut
1 pack carrots
2 heads broccoli
1 large sweet potato 
1 pack new potatoes
1 brown seeded loaf
1 pack butter
1 pack bananas
2 cans chickpeas
2 cans tin toms
1 basil plant
1 pack kitchen roll
1 air freshener
1 pack cat food

Total cost: £19.45

Ingredients for vegetable and chickpea curry and a sweet potato soup which will be our evening meals, I make big batches to cover a few meals. I also plan to make a veggie basil rice dish. The bread, banana, butter and peanuts are for Dale's snacks and lunches and the lettuce and cucumber I use for lunches with eggs or tuna. 

Asda


What I bought:

1 pack mushrooms
1 pack brown rice
1 pack pasta
1 pack chicken for sandwiches
1 pack crisps
12 eggs
almond milk
soya milk
frozen raspberries
vanilla soya ice cream
baby wipes

Total cost: £17.62

This was a little different to usual, the soy ice cream and raspberries along with the pears from the Lidl shop I used to make this crumble yesterday which I took round to Dale's mums, she made dinner I made pudding. The crisps pasta, soy milk and chicken are agin for Dales lunches. Almond milk and eggs usually get eaten by me and the rice is for week night meals. 

Lidl and Asda total: £37.07

As you can see this week I have saved on our weekly budget by £12.97 so I am happy with that. There are some not so healthy items in our shop but the man likes what he likes! Generally this is a healthy shop full of whole foods and an array of colours, I also have lots of stuff in the cupboards already that I am trying to use up which is why it came in a little cheaper then normal. 

I just wanted to share this to show that eating healthy does not have to be expensive. So many people use the excuse that eating healthy is expensive but £50 or under for two people to eat healthy for a week to me is not really pushing the boat out! 

Questions:

Whats your weekly shopping budget?

Do you consider your weekly shop healthy?