Friday, 12 June 2015

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin

Over the years I have reviewed some fabulous recipe books, I love new ideas and flavours to excite the tastebuds so when I was offered a copy of Amy Chaplin's new book I said a big yes!

"Amy Chaplin has worked as a vegetarian chef for over 20 years in cities that include Amsterdam, London, Sydney and New York. Raised in rural New South Wales, Australia on a whole food diet by vegetarian parents, Amy’s approach to food is inspired by nature and the healing benefits of whole food ingredients." - taken from Amy's website.


When I received my copy in the post and had a look through I was very excited, the photography is so well done that you just want to jump inside the pictures to devour the food on offer. There is over 150 vegetarian and vegan recipes that are also mostly gluten free which is great for me.


The books starts with some great advice on what to stock your pantry with and how to store different types of food. Then the recipes start and its a party for the mind, I want to make everything from this book and I plan to work my way through it thats for sure! 


I thought I would pick a favourite looking recipe to share with you and as I usually go for a sweet dish this time I went savoury. I had a friend round for dinner a couple of weeks ago and it just so happens that she is vegan which was the perfect excuse to get in the kitchen and try out this recipe:

Roasted Winter Vegetables And Rocket Salad - with mustard dressing


Serves 4 to 6

Roasted Vegetables:

1 sweet potato, halved lengthways and cut into 6mm slices
1 parsnip, halved and cut into 6mm slices
2 carrots, cut into 6mm diagonal slices
1 golden beetroot, halved and thinly sliced
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:

1 tablespoon wholegrain djion mustard
1 tablespoon unpasteurised apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
60ml extra virgin olive oil

Salad:

160g cooked chickpeas
40g chopped toasted walnuts
100g baby rocket leaves

Roast The Vegetables

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and set aside.
 In a large bowl, toss sliced sweet potato, parsnip, carrots and beetroot with olive oil, salt and pinch of black pepper. Divide between trays, spreading vegetables out in single layers and roast for 20 minutes. Stir, rotate trays and roast for another 20 - 25 minutes or until vegetables are browning. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Make The Dressing

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to mix; set aside.

Make The Salad

Place chickpeas, toasted walnuts, roasted vegetables and rocket in a large salad bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle dressing over the salad and toss again. Serve immediately. 


This dish went down a storm, it was delicious. I did make a couple of changes, I couldn't find a golden beetroot so I used a purple one and I used almonds instead of walnuts but I'm sure it was just as good. My friend absolutely loved it and I am looking forward to trying out more of the great looking dishes from this book they all sound amazing!

If like me you are a lover of vegan and vegetarian dishes made with wholesome ingredients then this recipe book is definitely one to check out : )


At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen officially releases on 18th June and is published by
Jacqui Small (www.jacquismallpub.com)

All images are extracted from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin. Photographs by Johnny Miller.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Eats and Exercise

Yay to the sunshine!! 
The weather today is glorious down here on the coast and I am keeping my fingers crossed that summer is here and there is lots more sun to come. This month has started with a bang and already been a busy few days. I am also in panic mode because as of yet I am still without a bridesmaid dress for my fiends wedding on the 20th of June, EEEEEEKKKK! I do have a dress here but it has a small pucker in the material and with no more left in my size I am not sure what to do....so I ordered another dress which will be here tomorrow and fingers crossed it fits and looks good because its a beautiful dress and my favourite so far, only time will tell! 

Over the past week I have been busy in the kitchen making all sorts of wonderful tasting food which makes me happy, I love creating new meals and love eating them even more! 



Smoothies in a bowl are back and here to stay through the warmer months, I love that they are so easy to throw together are filling and contain lots of healthy ingredients. The perfect pre or post workout meal and I quite often have one for lunch too. 


I don't think I'll ever get bored of eggs and mushrooms for a quick and easy meal, this had some lacto free cheddar thrown into the mix which tasted awesome : )


I had a friend round for dinner last Sunday night and decided to try out a recipe from a new cook book I was sent to review I can confirm that this dinner was delicious and I will be sharing the recipe with you in my review post so keep your eyes peeled for that. 


A little while ago I picked up some Genius gluten free pastry from Tesco and I have to say its great. Gluten free pastry is so hard to make so being able to buy it pre-made is very appealing to me, I decided to put it to the test and made a feta, broccoli and mushroom quiche which was glorious. The pastry is delicious and it was nice to have something different, I never make quiche or pies because I'm useless at the pastry but not any more thank you Genius! 

Eating all this yummy food is great but its a good thing I exercise! Luckily I love to get moving and my workouts at the moment are really challenging but also lots of fun, I like nothing more then getting out and about in the sunshine to do workouts when the weather is like this and I have been taking full advantage.


Saturday morning I took a client and my TRX to a local park to get our sweat on. One of us worked on the TRX whilst the other ran circuits of the park and then we would switch. It was a great morning, great start to the day and I definitely felt like I had a good workout. 


Early morning power walks are wonderful along Hastings seafront in the summer and they are a great low impact workout to compliment the higher impact stuff I like to do. 


I'm also loving early morning runs along the seafront too which will be happening a lot more while the weather is good. 

Other workouts have been a mix of strength and HIIT, I'm loving the weights right now and am feeling a lot stronger which is a good feeling. 

Look out for my book review post coming up over the next few days, while I am out having fun at the weekend! I'm working tomorrow night then Saturday night I have my friends hen party and Sunday I am off to the Wildlife festival near Brighton which is gong to be awesome I'll be sure to tell you all about it. Have a great weekend peeps x x

Question:

What exercise are you loving at the moment?

Monday, 1 June 2015

Guest Post: The Origins of Stress & Anxiety and How Meditation Can Help

Happy June Everybody!!! 

I thought I would start this month with a guest post all about meditation which is something I think I should definitely think about doing, my job isn't highly stressful but it can be very tiring a little stressful at times and getting out of the busy mind would help me but I never seem to have the time which is just an excuse really! 


The Origins of Stress & Anxiety and How Meditation Can Help


Contrary to popular belief, stress is amazing. It’s a wonderful piece of evolutionary design that’s essential for our existence. Without it, none of us would be sitting here. It enabled our ancient ancestors to fight their way out of trouble, or if the threat in question had very big teeth, to run away with flailing arms whilst screaming “help” in the Paleolithic language. The evolutionary origins of stress were vital for our survival.

Fast-forward 150,000 years and the same threats have largely disappeared. We live in the relative safety and comfort of our homes, rarely facing the same dangers of great, great, great, great grandpa Adam. The modern world has evolved at an alarming rate, much faster than any of us could have imagined, and certainly much faster than our biological evolution.

Yet we still harbor the very same fight or flight responses from all those years ago. When triggered it causes a cascade or chemicals to flow through our body that fundamentally alters the way our brains and bodies behave. Deadlines, work pressures, emails, alarms, traffic jams, financial pressure, relationships and social commitments are the modern day saber toothed tigers. On their own these new social pressures are typically manageable, add them all together on a regular basis and it’s really no surprise that so many of us finding modern life overwhelming.

There’s been a wealth of research and hypotheses on the mismatch between our stress response system and modern life. While life for our ancient ancestors was not without its challenges, the periods between stressful events were longer and they arguably had more time to recover. The stresses themselves were also very different from today, more physical than mental. The demands, commitments and goals we all place on ourselves ensures that we can often live in a near permanent state of stress.

However, it is possible to combat stress with meditation. The effects of persistent stress are counteracted when we meditate, even down to a hormonal level. For example the hormone cortisol which can cause all kinds of mischievousness is reduced by up to a third in meditators. It also soothes the part of the brain that tends to blare in panic whenever a challenging situation arises, which not only helps in the short term but means that generally meditators recover from stressful events more quickly and are calmer in the face of them.

By providing a deeply profound rest in which your body rebalances itself, meditation can be very restorative. The state of stress that your body has grown used to and even perpetuates is lessened, as your brain learns to respond more appropriately to anxiety-causing, but not life-threatening, situations. It is also a good way of showing yourself self-care, and devoting some time to you. Now more than ever it’s important to be kind to ourselves, to take time out, even if it’s just for a short period every day. By remembering what our bodies were initially designed for, we can hopefully re-address the demands of the modern world and occasionally travel back in time.

Holly Ashby is a writer who currently works at Will Williams Meditation, a meditation centre in London that aims to improve people’s health and happiness through the practice of Vedic meditation.

Question:

Do you meditate?

Friday, 29 May 2015

5 Things I'm Loving - May 2015

Hello and Happy Friday!! 

I'm so glad its the weekend tomorrow I have one client Saturday morning then two days to myself to just relax and chill which is going to be bloody lovely! I have been waiting for this weekend for which seems like forever so I am going to enjoy having some free time especially as June is going to be another full on month. I have all my weekends used up already with two festivals a wedding and work so its going to be another month that flies by I'm sure. 

But before we talk about June lets finish of May shall we? I have been loving lots this month but I have 5 things that definitely come to mind which I thought I would share with you...

Smoothies



Now the weather has started to warm up I am back on the smoothie train and I am so glad because a smoothie is just sooooo good especially when eaten from a bowl right? I have been adding in lots of good fats like almond butter and avocado so they are super filling as well as delicious. I will have to post some recipes soon because I know you guys would love the flavours of these : )

Joey


I get weekly and sometimes daily pictures of my gorgeous nephew, I know I'm bias but he is the cutest little boy I think I've ever set my eyes on just look at him! He brings joy to my life thats for sure.

Fishing


Ok Dale fishing and me joining him for overnight stays at the lake. After a busy work week its a pretty great relief to just sit and listen to nature hanging with the man not having to do anything other then chat, read or just be, until he catches a fish that is then its all go! 

Nakd Nibbles 



I saw the Nakd Nibbles in a shop a while ago (bottom pic) and just had to try them. I thought they were nice and the salted caramel where a definite favourite so when I was asked if I would like some samples to try (top pic) I said a big yes. I really liked the mint humbug flavour but the other two not so much they tasted a bit strange to me I think you can taste the natural flavours they add a little too much. I would definitely eat the salted caramel and the humbug ones again they are a great handbag snack. 

Blended Americano's


Another thing I love when the weather fairs is blended americanos, just water, coffee and ice they are so refreshing with a great caffeine kick but no calories so they are guilt free which is a bonus especially as the usual blended drinks are calorific! 

So guys those are some of the things I been loving this month and I am sure June will bring lots of new things that I will be able to share with you.

Question:

What have you been loving in May?

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Recipe: Gluten Free Caramel Cheesecakes with Merchant Gourmet Dulce De Leche

Hello how are we, are you enjoying May or has it flown by in what seems like a few days like it has for me?! I can't say I haven't enjoyed the past couple of weeks but I am definitely surprised that in just a few days we will be saying goodbye May and hello June crazy right?? 

The past week before the bank holiday has been a bit of a blur for me I worked a lot of extra hours and the week just seemed to disappear, there was fun mixed in but it was very tiring and I am in need of a few days off which I am getting this weekend yay! I am still trying to find the time to blog and pop in to say hi especially as I have so much to blog about but alas there just has not been the time but I have a sneaky hour today so I just had to drop in and share this glorious pudding recipe with you, its definitely not for those watching the calories but if you enjoy a healthy balanced diet there is no reason why you couldn't indulge in this pudding because I can tell you now this is one you are going to want to try! 

Gluten Free Caramel Cheesecakes 



Quite a while ago now I was lucky enough to be treated to this jar of Dulce De Leche from the kind peeps over at Merchant Gourmet, not something I would think of buying myself but I am so glad I got to try it because it is glorious! A couple of weeks ago I asked my dad and his girlfriend round for dinner so I had the perfect opportunity to try this stuff out and I new exactly what I was going to create, Dale loves caramel and my dad loves cheesecake so that is how this recipe was born....

Ingredients:
(makes 4)

Base:

1/2 pack gluten free digestive biscuits
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
2 Tbsp lacto free butter

Topping:

1 + 1/2 pack lacto free cream cheese
3 Tbsp Dulce De Leche
4 Tbsp crushed almonds 
1 + 1/2 Tbsp coconut sugar



Method:

Base:

Crush the digestive biscuits and put to the side. In a small saucepan heat the butter over a low heat, once melted remove from the heat and stir in biscuits and coconut sugar. Once combined place in 4 pots in equal quantities, then put in the fridge to cool. 

Topping:

In a bowl mix cream cheese and dulce de leche put aside, in a small pan add the crushed almonds and coconut sugar, continuously stir over a low heat until sugar melts and coats the almonds, remove from heat. Take the cheesecake base out of the fridge and top with the cream cheese mix in equal parts then top with the crushed almonds and place back in the fridge. 

Take the cheesecakes out of the fridge 10-20 minutes before serving.....enjoy! 



These bad boys went down a treat, they are rich and creamy and make for a very luxurious pudding which are a total crowd pleaser. Dale has asked for these to be made again which I will be happy to do although only for a special occasion as they are definitely not low calorie! 

Have a lovely wednesday peeps, and if you get a chance to make these let me know what you think x

Questions:

Are you a cheesecake fan?

Have you tried Merchant Gourmet's Dulce De Leche?

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Food, Fun and Fitness

Hello, how are we and how is May shaping up for you? I'm loving this month so far there has already been loads of fun and its only set to get better! Its been all go this side of the screen and here's why:

Last month me my sister and another friend all got chosen for bridesmaid duties at one of our best friends weddings which might I add is on the 20th of June so not long to get sorted! We still have our outfits to buy so the beginning of May has been all about finding something to wear, we still haven't decided yet but we need to quickly! With all of us working pretty heavy ours though its hard to fit in the time so the internet is getting pounded any spare moment.  

Food

My food intake never seems to be affected though I can always find time to eat especially when almond butter is involved...


Gluten free oats with almond butter and coconut sugar is just bloody amazing and always sets me up for the day. 



Scrambled veggies and egg topped with almond butter makes a great lunch or breakfast to be honest and is super filling, I can't get enough of it : )

It hasn't been all about almond butter though.....


I got home after a 20hr shift yesterday and had my first smoothie in ages, I was actually greeted by Dale with this freshly made for me which was a right treat! Smoothie weather is definitely upon us. 


Then last night after a great outdoor workout with a client I made this tasty dish of tomato and chilli veggies topped with gluten free sausages, so good : )

Fun

Over the bank holiday weekend I met up with some friends one of which is pregnant for the first time which is sooooo exciting, I can't wait to meet the little nugget, roll on August! 

As I mentioned I have been searching for a bridesmaid outfit and last week me and the girls went to Bluewater shopping centre to hunt, we didn't find anything we could decide on but it was such a fun day with the girls trying on loads of outfits. 

Then this past weekend me and Dale went to his boss's wife's birthday party and had a fab time.....



Gotta love a party with a photo booth, after a few bevy's! 

Fitness

The workouts have definitely picked up over the past few weeks I have been doing lots more home workouts including strength and HIIT and lots more outdoor running. I have been doing 2-3 runs a week and 2-3 home workouts which is definitely needed before the wedding and of course Glastonbury, I have high hopes that this year its going to be a dry one...please : )


I also do at least one long walk a week with a client which is always a fab way to start the day especially when we walk along the seafront. 

I can't believe this month is almost half way through and with so much going on over the next few months this year is gonna be over sooner then I know it I guess thats the same for most of us though ay?!

Question

What has May been like for you so far?

Saturday, 2 May 2015

April 2015 in Pictures

Hello! Well its been a long time since I came by to say hi hasn't it!? I decided to take a month off from social media and take a step back from the blog, my Instagram account and Facebook. I have dropped in a bit on the the other sites but not much as I just needed to cut myself off for a bit. With my new job and still training clients I am working a lot and really felt the need to just relax in my free time and see my friends and family rather then sitting at a computer screen and its been good but I do miss blogging so I am back! 

April has been a good month I have had lots of fun with Dale, friends and family. I have been getting out and doing lots of workouts and eating some very tasty foods so I thought this post could be an avalanche of photos for you to see whats been going on this month so sit back grab a cuppa and enjoy this phono marathon! 

Food Glorious Food


I made a glorious banana and carrot cake which went down a treat.


I discovered M&S have a great gluten free range including a poppy seed loaf which is awesome teamed with raspberry jam.


Quick and easy dishes with eggs and veggies is still a go to meal for me. 


I enjoyed some cereal to change things up at breakfast time.


I also got back to having some savoury breakfasts, you can't beat chicken with avocado to start the day!


I suffered from a killer cold which only lasted a few days thank god, I think meals packed with veggies and LOTS of garlic like this pasta dish helped : )


I discovered the new Nakd nibbles which are rather tasty I think my favourite so far would have to be the salted caramel, yummy! 


I treated myself to some peppered smoked mackerel which remmed me how much I love it and it will be eaten a lot more! 


Me and Dale got a day off together and started it by going for breakfast on a big red bus.....


I enjoyed every bite of this bad boy!


It was really fun and really tasty, I think me and Dale will be revisiting the bus for another breakfast for sure.

Getting Out and About


After our breakfast we went fishing for the day which was really relaxing.


I have got out for lots of morning walks and enjoyed the weather getting warmer. 


I have also stepped up the running and been getting 2-3 in a week on top of my home workouts, summer is coming and I definitely need to step it up a little! 

Everything Else


I looked after me sisters kitty cats while she enjoyed some time in Paris.


I got my fringe cut a little shorter and spent a few nights out with friends.


I ended the month with a day trip to Brighton with my friend Wayne and we took some time to sit in the sun and watch the world go by. 

As you can see although I haven't been here I have been doing lots, I hope you too had a fabulous April. I'm looking forward to catching up with all your blogs and getting back to blogging x

Question:

How was April for you?