Monday, 15 December 2014

A Quick Catch Up

Hello, did you have a good weekend? Mine has been great, I trained clients Saturday morning/afternoon then in the evening I went out to dinner with Dale's new boss which was fun. We went for a curry and it was bloody lovely, gotta love a good curry! Sunday had a lazy start, always good, then a trip to town and a visit to Dale's mums before heading home to watch the second Hobbit film, we plan to see the third today so needed a little refresh! All in all a good weekend right?

Today I have a quick meeting to get my workbook before starting a week of training tomorrow. I will be training up until Friday this week and the following Monday which will be the last day and then it will all be about Christmas!!! Yay can't wait for the festivities to begin : )

I have been eating lots of lovely food lately but when looking for photos it seems I have not been so great and taking them....bad blogger! So I thought I would share 3 things that have been pictured and have made my taste buds very happy and yes they are all on the sweeter side! 


Homemade almond milk frothy mocha, so good! I love my coffee and sometimes adding the taste of chocolate is just needed, wouldn't you agree?


Cold mornings are made for porridge, its like a cuddle in a bowl and throw in some banana and almond butter I'm in total heaven. This has got to be one of my favourite flavour combos. 


Lastly is this incredible chocolate my lovely sister gave me for my birthday, its rich and smooth and tastes amazing! All chocolate lovers out there need to try this! You can get your hands on some over at The Future Kept and believe me you won't regret it! 

As I mentioned above I have a little meeting today then plan to go to the cinema and relax tonight before a mammoth week of training. I'm really looking forward to meeting the peeps who are also on the course and learning lots of new stuff its very exciting! I will try to pop in during the next few days and let you know how its all going so until then......

Questions:

Are you a mocha lover?

Whats your favourite porridge flavour combo?

Have you tried Pump Street Bakery chocolate?

Friday, 12 December 2014

Recipe: Matcha Green Tea, Chocolate and Banana Bread

I posted some pictures of this yummy matcha green tea, chocolate and banana bread last week so I thought it probably time I got the recipe up for you guys. This is a fuss free recipe that tastes great and has some health benefits due to the ingredients, best get your aprons on!  

Before we get to the cake here is a little look at the health benefits some of the ingredients in this cake have to offer:

Matcha Green Tea - matcha has many benefits and a few of those are.....it is filled with powerful antioxidants, boosts metabolism and burns calories, detoxifies the body, enhances your mood, rich in fibre, fights against viruses and bacteria, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar to name a few! 

Dark Chocolate - ha as well as tasting awesome....quality dark chocolate is rich in fibre, iron, magnesium and other minerals plus it is a source of antioxidant.

Bananas - these yellow fruits are filled with good stuff and great for us because they provide lots of energy, they are rich in pectin which aids digestion, they act as a prebiotic which stimulates the growth of good bacteria, high in fibre and potassium....the list goes on and on!

Time to bake then!


Ingredients:

1.5 cups gluten free plain flour
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
3/4 cup Coconom turmeric and tamarind coconut sugar
1 pack of Grinki matcha green tea powder 1/2 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat your oven to a medium heat.

In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and green tea then combine.

In a separate bowl add bananas, mash, then add all the other liquid ingredients and combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix, don't over mix though gluten free flour can go a bit funny if you over work it! Stir in chic chips and stir a couple more times.

Pour batter into a loaf tin lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, check bread after 30 mins. You can check loaf is cooked with a skewer,  if it comes out clean its ready to come out of the oven.

Let the bread cool completely or just until it is still slightly warm and enjoy : )


Like usual this cake did not hang around for long it was devoured over the weekend. I am a sucker for a good banana cake and this was definitely a good one. 

Question:

Do you like adding other ingredients to banana cake or are you plain a banana kinda person?

Thursday, 11 December 2014

5 Things I'm Loving Right Now

I haven't shared a 5 Things I'm Loving post yet this month and I have been loving lots these past few days so I thought it about time I shared some things that have been brining me joy. Sometimes its the most simple things that bring so much to our lives its good to sit back and appreciate them : )


Lemon & Lime Curd, I used to eat this all the time as a child so when I popped into my sisters local farm shop and saw this on the shelf I knew I had to invest! I am so glad I did, this is one good curd, perfect on buttery toast...I could eat it very day!


This ginger pussy cat sits in my garden soaking up the winter sun so I usually go over and say hello, she is so beautiful it would be rude not too! 


New trainers! These are an early Christmas present from Dale, I really needed some all black trainers so I went for these Vans which are comfy and look good too : )


We went to Brighton on Sunday for Christmas shopping and decided to drop into Pho for a yummy Vietnamese lunch. We had crispy squid to start then I had some tofu and mushroom flat noodles, delicious! I am never disappointed when I go to Pho its just simple good food. 


Winter walks through the park, I love winter walks when its cold but sunny the scenery lights up and looks so beautiful. I great start to any day especially when it looks like this : )

Question:

Tell me something your loving right now.....go!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Its All Change Round Here

Finally!! Hello readers I hope you are all well, this has been a crazy few days which is why I have been MIA since Thursday. I have been chock-a-block with clients plus Dale had a few days off before  he started his new job today, which meant we spent Saturday afternoon, Sunday and Monday together  then when I finally and some time yesterday to blog the electricity was cut off, nightmare!! Which means there is no Workout Wednesday post today but you can grab a free workout from my Workout Page as there are plenty to choose from : ) 


Dale being off and clients is not the only reason I have not had any time of late, there is another big reason and that reason? I got a new job!! You might remember my last Currently post when I mentioned going to a job interview, well it seems I had all the luck in the world that day because I was offered the job the day after! The job is for Mencap and the role is a Support Worker for people with learning disabilities. I am so excited to have got the job and I actually went in yesterday for my first shadow shift at the house. I got to meet some support workers and all the tenants of the house I am going to be working in. I had the best afternoon and am even more excited about my new life ahead. Next week I am doing a full week of training then some more shadow shifts till the end of the year and I will properly start in January.

I have taken a part time position so I can continue training clients also, it just means I will have some guaranteed cash each month which will give both me and Dale peace of mind. I think 2015 is going to be a great year for us both, lots of changes to get used to but all of them for the better : )

I can't wait to be part of a team again and get out of the house a bit more, working from home is great in lots of ways but it also has its down side, this job is going to really change things up and I am looking forward to it.

With training, Christmas and new shifts coming my way it might be a little quiet round here at times but I will pop in as much as possible to let you know how its going and what I've been up to.

Have a fab hump day peeps!

Question:

Do you have any news you would like to share?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Two Chestnut Recipes with Merchant Gourmet

Now the festive season is upon us all I can think of is festive foods to cook up in the kitchen and one in particular ingredient, chestnuts. I adore chestnuts, when I lived in Barcelona one of my Christmas time rituals was walking down the bustling streets to find a chestnut roasting street vendor to feed my chestnut addiction. There is something about freshly roasted chestnuts that feels so festive and that is one thing I miss from my time there. 

When the kind peeps over at Merchant Gourmet offered to send me some products to try I new I had to have the chestnuts, I have wanted to experiment with chestnuts this year and this was the perfect opportunity.


I was sent a tin of Chestnut Puree and a pack of vacuum packed Whole Chestnuts. I new exactly what I wanted to make with  both these products and each recipe turned out so well I thought you might like to try them too. 

Chestnut and Squash Soup


The first recipe is a yummy hearty soup using the chestnut puree.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 leek, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large butternut squash, cubed
1 can chestnut puree
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 kettle boiling water

Method:

Add olive oil to a large pan and heat over a low flame, add the garlic and onion and let them sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the leek, carrot and bay leaves. Stir and cook for a further few minutes.

Add the squash and chestnut puree then the water and stir. Turn up the het and bring soup to the boil.

Add some salt and pepper to the pot and once the soup is boiling turn down to simmer for 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.

Once the soup is cooked take it off the heat and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and whizz it up with a hand blender.

Enjoy!


This soup is great with crusty bread or roasted broccoli like I had it. Its flavoursome, thick and filling and perfect for cold nights when you want something quick and easy to eat : )

Stuffed Squash with Bacon, Chestnuts and Sprouts


My second recipe is a bit of a classic with a twist.

Ingredients:

1 stuffing squash
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
8 rashers of thin streaky smoked bacon
1 pack ready to eat chestnuts
3/4 pack sprouts
olive oil
chilli flakes
salt

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180.

Cut your squash in half and scoop out the seeds then rub a little olive oil over each of the insides and sprinkle with chilli flakes and a little salt before placing in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until browned and a little crispy.

While your squash roasts prepare the sprouts by cutting off the outer layers and cutting in half then steaming them for 4 minutes to soften.

Cut the bacon into thin strips and the chestnuts into halves and set aside.

In a large pan add a little olive oil and place over a medium heat. Slice the onion, crush the garlic and add to the pan. Cook for a minute or so then add the bacon.

Once the bacon starts to crisp add the chestnuts and sprouts then sprinkle with a little salt. Cook for a further 10 minutes at that point your squash should be just about ready to come out of the oven.

Place the squash on a warmed plate and top with chestnut mix.

Devour!


Yummers!!!!!!!!

This turned out so well and was a hit with the man, definitely one I will be making again which is fine by me! Usually the sprouts, bacon and chestnuts are used as a classic side but I think it works just as good as a proper main meal.

Questions:

Do you like chestnuts?

Whats your favourite meal using chestnuts?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Workout Wednesday: 8 Tips To Staying Fit and Weight Gain Free Over The Festive Season

With the festive season now here the topic on most of my clients lips is Christmas weight gain and how they can prevent it but still enjoy the festivities. December is filled with parties and social invites  which makes the realisation of fitting into that skimpy number become all the more real but fret not it doesn't have to be bad news. If you have some weight to lose its not too late to start and you could be more then ready for that party dress in a couple of weeks! 

 I have some tips to share with you today on how I will be keeping the festive weight gain at bay and these might work for you too......

source

1. I'll be sticking to my 5:2 way of life - I wrote about this back in September so if you missed it you can read the post here. I am someone that couldn't even think about passing on the Christmas food delights so by keeping my calorie intake to 500 for two days of the week means I can enjoy all the yummy foods but put on minimal if any weight.

2. I'll be exercising over the festive season - for some strange reason some people think because its Christmas they don't need to workout?! Huh?? To me this is one of the most important times to keep active and if you have time off work you can get more workouts in then normal no? One of my favourite things to do on Christmas Day is to go for a walk round the park if the day is nice and leading up to Christmas I always like to do a little extra when it comes to fitness purely because I know I will be eating richer foods and I don't want to worry about it!

3. Eat a healthy snack before going to a party - I know it might sound crazy to eat before going to a party where there will no doubtably be food on offer but I can guarantee the offerings are not going to be healthy and in my case gluten free. I try to eat a small snack before leaving the house so I know I have eaten something and can keep my snacking to a minimum if any. Plus it means I can enjoy an alcoholic beverage without it being drunk on an empty stomach which is never good! I would much prefer to have a glass or two then the high calorie snacks that can usually be found at a party.

4. Don't over do the boozing - I do, as I mentioned above, enjoy a drink but I have never been one to drink all day just because its Christmas. I have a drink on Christmas Eve then none on Christmas Day and don't really have any more until New Years Eve to be honest but thats just me. If you tend to enjoy a few more drinks over the festive season remember to drink lots of water during the day to even things out and if you can try to have some days that are alcohol free your body will thank you!

5. Eat healthy and light during the day - if you are a social butterfly and get lots of invites to parties etc over the festive season one way to keep things healthy is to eat light and healthy during the day or when your in control of what your eating then when it comes to party food you can spend a few more calories on eating those higher fat/calorie foods.

6. Wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds - it can take up to 20 minutes before your body registers that your full so once you have eaten your dinner wait a while before gorging on a second helping. Plus you want to leave room for pudding right?!

7. Try to get enough shut eye - Christmas can be a stressful time for lots of us and not getting enough sleep can just add to the stress. Try to take some me time if you can and relax, aim to get 8 hours of sleep a night to give your body time to heal itself from all the rich foods and social activities. Not getting enough sleep can stimulate your appetite which can lead to bad food choices which is not a good thing during this time of year so its really important to get those hours of pure rest in!

8. Don't Stress Out - this time of year is also about relaxing and not getting too stressed out so if you do tend to put on a few pounds they can be lost once all the partying is over and if you do miss a workout don't fret there is always tomorrow. The most important thing is to enjoy the end of the year with family and friends and once all is said and done the new year means a new start for many of us and you can lose any unwanted pounds then : )

Question:

How do you keep fit and healthy over the festive season?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Birthday Weekend Recap

Hello and Happy December!! I hope you all had a fab end to month I know I did! I had the best birthday so I thought I would recap it for you purely because there was so much glorious food consumed it would be crazy not to show you it! 

My birthday was Saturday 29th but the celebrations started on the Friday before with a girly bring a dish lunch at mine. I had four friends round including my sister Jes for a yummy food frenzy, I'm very lucky to have such talented friends when it comes to cooking : )


I made a couple of offerings to the meal, a yummy rice and carrot salad based on this recipe I found on  Pinterest, I just changed it up a little by using rice and maple syrup.


I also made some spicy chickpeas and made sure there was a bowl of salad leaves.


Others bought homemade smoked mackerel, a few cheeses, olives, stilton and pear quiche and gluten free crackers. A proper feast and that was just the savouries! 


One friend made these amazing dairy and gluten free truffles. OMG these were amazing she is one talented lady when it comes to chocolate making! There were three types, honey and bees pollen, vanilla and cacao nib plus pistachio and rose which were my particular favourite. 


The other pudding was this beautifully made gluten free bakewell tart especially made with no icing for me as I hate the stuff! 


This was glorious and I enjoyed every bite! 

After lunch me and one of the girls popped into town and I bought some rather snazzy gold sequinned trousers for my birthday night out, I didn't actually know what I was doing but I had a feeling it would involve going into town so I decided I needed some disco trousers! Friday night I just stayed in with Dale and we had a very tasty dinner which I will be blogging about soon, it involves chestnuts and was delicious! 

My Birthday


After a little lay in on Saturday morning I got up and made coffee while Dale made me a yummy bacon and lettuce birthday butty. A great start to the day and once it had settled we got ready to go out. 


The morning was spent with my family, my grandma was over so I got to have coffee with her which was the best birthday gift, I hadn't seen her for about two years so I was stoked to be hanging with her and the rest of my crew : )

The afternoon was spent going to town and also going to see Dale's mum and stepdad until about 6ish when Dale informed me it was time to go get ready, for what I didn't know but I was getting excited! Once the disco trousers were on we got a cab to town.


Dale then surprised me with a meal in a new restaurant I have been wanting to try for ages! He had invited my best buddies and we had an awesome evening : )


For my meal I had sea bream with greens and dill mash, it was delicious although Dale ate my mash and I drank a mojito! We all really enjoyed the food and the drinks and after went to a pub in town before going to a club......


The rest is history....a hairy history! ha

Suffice to say Sunday morning I work up with a very sore head but it was totally worth it, turing 33 was lots of fun and a big thank you goes to Dale for making me feel super special : )

Questions:

Do you ever do bring a dish meals with friends? 

Have you ever had a surprise on your birthday?