Monday, 20 October 2014

Weekend Highlights

How did Monday come round so soon?! Its true I am sad to see the weekend go but I am super happy this week is well on its way and thats because I am off to Ireland on Thursday to see my sister and my mum as well as meet little Joey for the first time!! To say I am excited is an understatement : )

Although the weekend went far to quickly it was filled with lots of fun sand I thought it would be nice to share my weekend highlights with you....


Pancakes, who doesn't love pancakes? I haven't eaten them for ages then on Saturday morning I got the urge to make pancakes so I did. These were maple and banana pancakes topped with a dollop of crunchy peanut butter, delicious! The recipe for these will be coming up soon so keep yours eyes peeled. 


Saturday was Hastings bonfire night and although me and Dale didn't go out we did walk along the seafront to see the fireworks, they didn't disappoint it was a wonderful show of light...I literally turn into a child again when I see fireworks I love them! 


Sunday morning was very lazy we got up and watched Saturday nights X Factor then went shopping for the weeks food. When we got back we realised we hadn't eaten breakfast so made a yummy gluten free egg and mushroom sarnie for brunch. This was so good and yes there was a helping of tomato sauce of course! 


We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting Dale's family, the sun was out and it felt like the beginning of summer again, if only.......


We were invited to my friends for dinner Sunday evening so I offered to take pudding and as it was still chocolate week I made brownies, OMG these triple chocolate brownies were insane! We actually had brownies and ice cream and everybody praised my offering which was lovely. Obviously I will be sharing this recipe too, how could I not?!

Question:

What are your weekend highlights?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Recipe: Gluten Free Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Its still chocolate week people so before this week is out I do hope you will have made or eaten something rather chocolately?! I have succeed on both I made some very chocolately shortbread and ate it with some help of course : ) I love anything chocolate and could happily eat it everyday although I'm pretty sure my thighs might have something to say about that!

I decided to make these chocolate shortbread cookies by chance, I had originally wanted to make a big square shortbread which could have been sliced into lengths or biscuits like this recipe I found but I changed the recipe round a little to make it gluten free which made the mixture really sticky so the shortbread cookies were born! 


Ingredients:

2 cups gluten free plain flour
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup Coconom Original coconut sugar 
226g butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180.

Cream butter then add in sugar, salt and vanilla essence.

Sieve flour and cocoa powder into the butter then stir to combine, then place the mix into the fridge for 10-20 minutes.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper then, using a spoon, take some mixture and place it on the tray leave a little room round each cookie as they spread.

Bake for 16-20 minutes, check to see if cookie bottoms are cooked before removing to cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy with a cuppa.


These are really chocolately and yummy, I think I would make them a tad smaller then I did when making them next time to get them a little more crisp and I will definitely be trying them out with some almond flour added into the mix so keep your eyes peeled for those! 

If cookies aren't your thing then check out my Chocolate Pinterest board below, I'm sure there will be something to take your fancy.......



Enjoy your Saturday peeps and remember you have to eat some chocolate before this week is out!!!

Question:

Have you treated your tastebuds to some chocolate this week?

Friday, 17 October 2014

A Day In The Life - Tuesday

This weeks day in a life is all about what I got up to on Tuesday from start to finish....

5.30am Alarm Alarm ALARM!!! NOOOOO

5.40am - ALARM seriously gotta get up...I do, throw on some clothes get my face kind of ok to be seen by another human and rush out the door! 

6am - Arrive at clients house coffee in hand feeling slightly more awake


7.15am - Arrive back home, sit down and start to check through all my emails and social media sites.

7.30am - Feeling hungry so make a rather delicious breakfast. I used some Natures Path (review coming soon) spiced apple gluten free oats to make porridge. Obvioulsy any porridge of mine has got to be pimped so I add a super soft banana, some apple/mango puree and peanut butter...joyous!

8am - Continue with emails and social media catch up or feed my online addiction some might say! 


9am - Time to get my sweat on! I did a full body Vipr workout that left my muscles screaming! A job well done. 

10am - Shower and freshen up

10.30am - Sit down with a cuppa and browse the job sites.....OMG jobs at the moment suck!

12am - Eat some un-pictured rice cakes topped with peanut butter and cheddar cheese, yes its a peanut butter kind of day : )

12.30am - My client is here so time to work. 

2pm - Meet my friend Wayne in town for a coffee and a catch up in Nero. I can't believe its been a month since we hung out...time flys!


3.30pm Get home and eat a little snack of tuna dressed in basil olive oil and apple cider vinegar with a few slices of cucumber. 


3.50pm Suddenly feel the urge to bake and as its chocolate week I couldn't resist making some gluten free chocolate shortbread cookies......hello! 

4.45pm - Next client arrives. 

6pm - My day is done time to relax, not that my day was exactly strenuous! I wait for Dale to get home so I can get dinner in the oven. He never gets home at the same time due to traffic plus he likes to help me make dinner..or do I force him..either way we make dinner! 


7pm - Enjoy this delicious Autumnal Dumpling Squash for dinner. This was one of those meals that make your tastebuds go YES YES YES!! You gotta try it!


8pm - 10pm - Watch the new Sons of Anarchy season...OMG this is blood bath but so good! Gotta love boys on bikes : )

10.30pm - Bed

Question:

Have you done any baking lately? 

Do you watch Sons of Anarchy?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Recipe: Autumnal Sweet Dumpling Squash (gluten free, vegetarian)

One thing I love about this time of year is the range of squashes on offer, usually its butternut squash and thats your lot but at the moment we are being offered lots of different ones which are welcomed in our house. I love squash for making soups or adding to a selection of roasted veggies but my favourite way to eat them is stuffed and luckily Dale loves them that way too. While walking round Lidl's the other day on our weekly shop I was pleased to see lots of different ones to choose from, I bought a medium sized Sweet Dumpling squash and made an awesome meal with it for two : )

Autumnal Sweet Dumpling Squash


Ingredients:
(serves 2)

1 medium sized sweet dumpling squash
basil olive oil
sea salt 
chilli flakes

3/4 cup quinoa
1 small red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 small courgette, grated
coconut oil
1tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper to season
feta for topping - optional

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180. 

Chop your squash in half and scrape out seeds. Drizzle some basil olive oil into the squash then use your fingers or a brush to coat the flesh then sprinkle with a little course sea salt and some dried chilli flakes. Place your squash on a baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

While your squash bakes its time to make the filling! Boil some hot water then add the quinoa and hot water to a pan and bring back to the boil, simmer for 10-12 minutes. 

In a non-stick frying pan add a little coconut oil, about a tsp and melt. Add the diced onion and crusted garlic and leave to sweat for a few minutes over a low heat. Add the carrots and courgette to the pan and continue to heat through.

Once the quinoa is cooked drain and add to the veggie mix along with the rosemary and some salt and pepper to season. Continue to cook over a low heat until your squash is done.

Your squash is ready once it is slightly browned on the edges and a knife slides into the flesh easily. Remove your squash and place two thin slices of feta in the bottom before filling with your quinoa veggie filling. Slice a few more slices of feta and cube them crumble on top. 

Serve, enjoy!


Delicious! The Sweet Dumpling squash has a slight corn taste to it and combined with the other flavours was glorious! Me and Dale thoroughly enjoyed this meal it was healthy, filling and pretty easy to put together. What more could you want from a week night meal?!

Questions:

Do you ever make stuffed squashes?

Whats your favourite filling?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Workout Wednesday: The Benefits Of Sports Massage

Hi all, hows your week going? Mine has been good so far, I have been training clients and browsing the job sites but more on this another time. For the past few months, if you have been reading, you will have seen me talking about my back and how it hasn't been playing ball. Finally after lots of waiting, not many workouts other then walking and lots of sports massages I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I am doing more workouts nothing crazy but I can do a full body workout with weights and not feel like my lower back is going to explode which is massive progress! I need to start back at the beginning for a bit to get my back strength up and my upper body has definitely lost strength but I am enjoying the muscle ache after a good workout instead of pain. The sports massages I have been having every two weeks have helped with my recovery so I thought I would talk about the benefits of having them if your injured or if you workout a lot and want to prevent getting injured.

I was having regular massages (every 6 weeks) during the beginning of this year which were just keeping my muscles loose and working in the right way but I missed an appointment before Glastonbury in June then spent 5 days in wellies standing up for over 12hrs a day and it took its toll, I think that is when my back got injured. Another factor is our sofa, its comfy but in no way supportive, no good for a bad back especially when I was sitting on it for hours a day working on my computer! Since getting my desk and having my regular massage my back as I said feels on the mend. I will be continuing to have a massage every 3-4 weeks then in the end I will have one every 6, because I work out a lot a regular massage to me is very important. Lets look at the benefits shall we....

source

Regular sports massages can help to increase sports performance by preventing injuries and keeping the body flexible. The massage stretches the muscle in a mulitdirectional manner which releases tension and pressure keeping the muscle flexible.

When a muscle is injured or stiffens up fluids and nutrients can't pass through it easily, a sports massage allows these fluids and nutrients to pass through which aids recovery by removing waste products such as lactic acid. This is why after a sports massage you are always advised to drink lots of water as this also helps move the waste products that have been released into your system after your massage.

Sports massage can improve circulation by stimulating the muscle tissue.

When you exercise the muscles fibres tear then rebuild themselves to become stronger, if you train a lot the more trauma the muscle receives and the more scar tissue can form. Regular massages can help to realign the scar tissue preventing injuries and pain.

Sports massages aren't always the most relaxing and can be quite painful depending if your injured or how tight the muscles have become but afterward the tension in your body should be lowered and you can feel relaxed after well I know I do!

*****************************************

Sports massage can obviously help get your body back to where it should be but its definitely worth looking at your life and other factors that could be contributing to your injury. My treatments were making my back feel better but within days it was back to feeling uncomfortable so I was advised to look at my everyday routine and what could be preventing my treatment from working to its full extent. I realised I was getting massaged then sitting crunched up on my sofa whilst working. I got a desk and have been sitting at that to work and suddenly my treatments are working like they should be and my recovery is happening quickly! A definite lesson learned there.

For me having sports massages is so important and I do advise my clients to have them, not as regularly as me but if they feel any sort of tightness its better to get it looked at before it turns into something more serious. If you love to exercise there is nothing worse then being injured and not being able to do your normal routine. I go stir crazy I know that!

Question:

Do you get sport massages?

Monday, 13 October 2014

5 Things I'm Loving Right Now

Hello and Happy Monday! Did you all have a good weekend? Mine was lovely although the hangover Sunday morning was not so good! Saturday I worked at the shop then Dale came to meet me and we went to a friends surprise 30th birthday party. It was a great night and we got to catch up with some old friends we don't usually see but the drinks were drunk too fast on an empty stomach and we were home by 11.30pm! Sunday we were super lazy other then doing the weekly shop and I made a yummy dinner for some friends in the evening, we had a vegan feast which was bloody lovely! I didn't take any photos but the food went down so well I will be recreating it very soon and I will share it with you I promise : )

At the beginning of the month I did a "5 Things I Am Loving Post" which you seemed to enjoy so here we are again with 5 more things I am loving.


Porridge! Creamy maple porridge topped with apple and mango puree and toasted almonds to be precise! I had this yummy bowl of goodness Saturday morning after my workout and it kept me going right up till lunch. 


Tabata! I love doing Tabata workouts they are quick and easy to fit into any day especially if your short on time. I did this arms and abs one Saturday morning and it set me up for the day. 


Unicorn Key!!!!! OMG my sister showed me this key and I want one so bad, they are from Let's Go HME and I am in love with it! The She-Ra in me needs this key!


My Pumpkin Bread! This loaf turned out so well, moist and a little spiced from the ginger its been perfect for breakfasts and snacks. I'm pretty sure this loaf is going to be recreated sooner rather then later! 


Chocolate! I have been saving this beautifully wrapped bar of chocolate from Cocoa Runners for some time but I finally broke into it and enjoyed the richness, delicious!

Question:

Whats something your loving right now?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

3 Pumpkin Recipes That Will Make Your Tastebuds Sing!

If you haven't seen the soar of pumpkin recipes floating about the internet the past few weeks you must have had your eyes shut whilst reading blog posts, searching Pinterest or Instagram! Now I love me some pumpkin so I thought I would jump on the band wagon and create some yummy recipes for you all featuring the beloved squash. The great thing about adding pumpkin to your recipes is it has some great health benefits like....

Pumpkin contains Vitamin A and is rich in carotenoids.
Pumpkin is high in fibre helping to keep you fuller for longer.
Pumpkin contains high levels of Potassium so its great for refuelling after a workout.
Pumpkin is also high in Vitamin C which is thought to help ward off colds perfect for the colder weather.

With the all the goodness you get from the humble pumpkin it would be crazy not to include this yummy vegetable in your diet especially this time of year. I have three very different recipes to share today so if you like pumpkin these are for you! I actually used a can of pumpkin (for all 3 recipes!) because it had been in my cupboard for a little while waiting for me to find the perfect recipes but obviously you can use fresh ones instead if you have them which would be better as they are in season right now : )


OMG tho was insane! If you remember angel delight from your childhood then this is for you the consistency of this is exactly the same and the caramel flavour is similar if not better then the angel delight packs plus this is filled with other healthy ingredients to pack a health punch! 


Ingredients:
(serves one large or two small)

2 small frozen bananas
1/2 frozen avocado
1/4 tin pumpkin puree
1.5 cups almond milk
1Tbsp lucuma powder
1Tbsp dark tahini
1 pack stevia (optional)

Topping:
(optional)

2Tbsp unsweetened desiccated coconut
1/2 Tbsp flaked almonds


Put all ingredients into a blender and whizz up until smooth. For the optional topping, add ingredients to a non-stick pan and heat until browned, pour "angel delight" into a bowl and top with coconut and almonds.

Enjoy! 


So good! This is not too cold as there is no added ice, its more like a chilled mousse and is very filling. This kept me going for hours and I cannot wait to eat it again! 


Next up is this yummy pumpkin loaf, I have been looking for a good pumpkin bread recipe for ages and finally I found one that was pretty much perfect but I did change it round a little. You can find the original here of try mine out below : )


Ingredients:

1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup almond milk
1 1/4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour blend
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
3/4 cups ginger coconut sugar (coconom)
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp mixed seeds

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a metal loaf pan and set aside

Place the pumpkin, eggs, oil, and almond milk in a large mixing bowl and combine until silky smooth.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet, and mix thoroughly, pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan then sprinkle with mixed seeds.

Bake for 40-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out dry and center is set. Mine only took 40 minutes but my oven is kind of weird! Allow to cool in the pan before removing to a wire rack.


Cut a slice when still warm and top with a little coconut oil...heaven!


Using coconut sugar in this recipe means it is not overly sweet, perfect for me in fact. Such an Autumnal tasting food and a great alternative to banana bread : )

Vegetarian Pumpkin, Tomato and Chilli Cheesy Delight


Finally I am going to share this dinner recipe I made with the last little bit of pumpkin puree I had left. I am not one for wasting anything that is not inedible which is how this savoury vegetarian delight came about!

Ingredients:
(serves one)

Sauce:

1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 small red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 large mushrooms
4 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1/2 can chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to season

Other Ingredients:

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
4 broccoli florets quartered
grated cheddar cheese - optional

Method:

Add coconut oil to large non-stick pan and warm over a low heat, add onion and garlic and let them cook for a couple of minutes before adding the mushrooms.

While they cook add carrots and broccoli to a steamer and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Once the mushrooms, onion sand garlic start to brown add the pumpkin puree, tomatoes, cayenne and salt and pepper. Stir and leave to heat through while your veggies steam.

Once the veg has softened add it to the pumpkin and tomato mix then stir until all veggies are coated in sauce.

Serve with a topping of grated cheese.

Mmmmmm this was really tasty and the sauce turned out really well, it took less then 20 minutes to throw together too so perfect if your short on time but want something healthy and filling. This meal could also be vegan if you cut out the cheese, I think it would go really well with tofu if you wanted to add some protein : )

Question:

What is your favourite pumpkin recipe?