Olympics Inspired Mission: GET FIT

As our eyes have turned to Rio and the world has become transfixed with the impressive leaps, jumps, dives, sprints and somersaults (to name a few) over the last week and a bit, it has brought me to a much-needed conclusion. I need to get fit.
Watching the unfaltering determination and sheer brilliance of the world-class athletes that have been filling our television screens has awoken in me the once-sporty version of myself. Looking back to a time where I used to do athletics, swimming, hockey, tennis and dance, it has made me determined to get off my ass and regain the fitness levels of my 15 year old self. Currently not being able to afford a gym membership, it looks like running it is!

Day One:

Now it is with no exaggeration when I say that I am cannot long distance run. I despise the sport. I tell myself it’s because I used to sprint when I was younger and therefore I’m naturally not ‘built’ for it- but let’s be honest, I’m just not very good at it.

My first run in what seems like forever was, to put it mildly, painful. I had to stop countless times and my chest was on fire, but at least I made it out the door. Baby steps hey? Plus, Radio 1’s Dance Anthems in Ibiza helped me a little (a lot), along with some beautiful views which were just asking to be taken a photo of…


Achieved: 2.5 miles

Day Two:

After watching Mo Farah win the Men’s 10,000m whilst tucked up in bed this morning, I realised I needed to get the hell up and get out there again. Ever the optimist, I was ready to run like Mo. Feeling good I left the house to meet my friend, ready to run the race of my life. Realistically, I got to the end of the road and had to stop before my chest felt like it was going to implode, yet again.

Achieved: 2.5 miles of running/walking. (But mainly walking and talking, not going to lie).

Day Three:

I’m just hoping the route on my Nike Running app is slightly more green than orange tomorrow…

Any running tips would be warmly welcomed!

X

Paradise Bars


Paradise Bars by Hemsley & Hemsley are the best invention ever- healthy Bounty bars made with deliciously wholesome ingredients. My best friend made them a while ago and I’ve been desperate to make them ever since. Anyone who is an avid coconut lover, like myself, will adore these guilt-free treats! And as for all you Bounty haters (I know there are many of you out there)- look away now!

I’ve really struggled to eat healthily recently, probably because I have such a sweet-tooth and could snack on chocolate till the cows came home. So, I’m hoping that by creating ‘healthy’ sweet treats it will curb my 4pm sugar cravings at work!

They are extremely rich, luxurious and moreish, so a small bite-size piece is definitely enough. (I’m going to have to dramatically reduce mine in size, as they are currently huge).

(On a side note, how pretty is this slab of Divine dark chocolate?)
Hemsley & Hemsley’s recipe:

INGREDIENTS

200 g bar of creamed coconut

6 tbsp. coconut oil

3 tbsp. raw honey

1½ tsp vanilla extract

A pinch of sea salt

150 g desiccated coconut

200 g (85% cocoa solids) dark chocolate (although 70% is fine too)

METHOD

  1. Line an 8 inch square tin with baking parchment. In cold weather, place the unopened packet of creamed coconut in a bowl of warm water to melt it through (you can massage the packet to help it along). In warm weather, the creamed coconut will already be fluid enough.
  2. When it’s soft all the way through, pour into a bowl and mix in the coconut oil (it will melt if it’s hard), raw honey, vanilla, salt and 2–4 tablespoons water if you like a softer centre.
  3. Stir in the desiccated coconut evenly to create a doughy consistency.
  4. Pour the dough into the prepared tin. Press the mixture down with the back of a spoon to make it level and set in the fridge for 15 minutes until hard.
  5. Turn the tin of coconut mixture out onto a chopping board and slice into 6 horizontal slices by 4 vertical. (I cut them a lot smaller as they are very rich!) Place them onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and keep in the freezer while you prep the chocolate.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of warm water – make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl and do not allow the water to boil or simmer – you may have to keep removing from the heat. This should take about 30 minutes.
  7. When the chocolate has almost melted, take the bowl off the heat and place on a tea towel to avoid slipping. Leave it to cool as much as possible without it hardening to give a thicker coating to the paradise bars – stir occasionally.
  8. Dip the frozen coconut bars into the chocolate using two forks, letting the excess drop off, and carefully place back onto the cold baking tray, leaving space between each bar. If the chocolate mixture becomes too cold, you may need to put it back over the simmering water again.
  9. When you’ve finished dipping all the bars, place the tray back in the fridge until set. Once set, seal in a glass or ceramic container in the fridge or freezer until required. If they are kept sealed in the fridge, they will keep for a month – or longer in the freezer.


Would love to know if you guys give these a go! They really are heavenly. X



Pancake Day: Cinnamon, Banana & Caramelised Pecan pancakes!

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In aid of Shrove Tuesday tomorrow (seriously, where on earth has it come from? I swear it was Christmas, like last week) and because I am recuperating in bed with flu, I thought I would take this much-needed opportunity to post about one of my favourite batches of pancakes that I made a few weeks ago.

I was super proud of how this delicious stack turned out, mainly because of the ingenious addition of caramelised pecans on top. If I do say so myself. They really are a game changer!


The recipe could not be simpler. All you will need is a ripe banana and 2 eggs- simply mash the banana and whisk in the eggs. Then sprinkle in some cinnamon before cooking in coconut oil. Then in the same pan- whilst hot- drizzle in a generous helping of honey and as it starts to bubble, add in your pecan nuts. Finally, when lovely and caramelised, top your pancakes. Et voilà!

Happy pancake-day-making everyone. X

Get the Glow (back)

After waking up this morning and reading about Madeleine Shaw’s amazing new Glow Guides app, I was finally inspired to get healthy again (after telling myself to do so for weeks). The app is filled with delicious meal plans, workouts, yoga and meditation videos to name a few. You can download the app for free, but if you want to join Madeleine and the community on your 8 week plan, you then need to buy the content. At a crazy £50, it is a purchase I probably won’t be making (for a very long time- if at all), despite it sounding amazing. However, it certainly suceeded in making me want to get the glow (back).   

I have been eating particularly badly ever since the winter months rolled in- indulging would be an understatement. I apparently didn’t get the memo to start that much needed health-kick that everyone embarked upon on the 1st January. Better late than never, hey?

To set myself off on the right foot, I made a hearty and filling breakfast of Cocoa, Almond milk porridge, with banana, pecan nuts, almonds and chia seeds. Topped off with a drizzle of honey.

A similar variation on the coconut milk porridge I’ve posted before: IMG_8278

I cooked the oats in almond milk in a pan and then stirred in a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder. I then topped with chopped banana and sprinkled with almonds, pecans and chia seeds. I then drizzled with honey to take away the sharpness of the cocoa.

It tastes like pure luxury! Rich and silky and still made with good, natural ingredients. If you have any favourite meal suggestions they would be most welcome, preferably some work lunch ideas!

X

Kusmi Tea Time 

  

A fairly new discovery of mine is Kusmi tea. Simply put, it’s delish. I’m a big tea drinker so I was delighted when I received this beautiful box of ‘Les Essentiels de Kusmi Tea’ for Christmas. The box and the gorgeously packaged muslin tea bags alone are enough to send a tea drinker into utter tea heaven.

There’s an array of weird and wonderful flavours in the box, but my absolute favourite has to be ‘Imperial Label’- a green tea with infusions of orange and cinnamon.  It’s so unique in it’s flavour it tastes like no other tea I’ve ever tried.

 

So if you’re getting bored of the bog standard English Breakfast (although saying that, I don’t think I could ever get sick of the stuff), then I would recommend the deliciously different blend of teas that Kusmi has to offer!

Super Seedy Energy Bars

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I wanted to share with you all Madeleine Shaw’s great little recipe for her Seedy Energy Bars. I made them a while ago and have only just got round to blogging about them! Whilst I was a bit apprehensive that these may taste a little too healthy to be enjoyable, I did really like them. (Although I did add a good dollop of honey for some extra sweetness!).

The recipe was really simple and the bars would be perfect to take to work to give you that much-needed energy boost!

Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 100g pumpkin seeds
  • 100g sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  1. In the food processor blend the banana, coconut oil, tahini, salt and cinnamon, until you have a paste.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse for another minute.
  3. Pour the mixture out on to a coconut oil-greased roasting tin or cake tin, and put it in the freezer for 1 hour.
  4. Remove it form the freezer, cut into bars and transfer to the fridge. These bars will last for 1 week in the fridge.

Et voila!

Although, if you don’t have time to make these, I couldn’t recommend these seedy 9 Bars enough! I bought them when they were on offer the other week to take with me to work and they’re so delish. My favourite so far is definitely the Raspberry Cocoa Kick!

9 bar

Cocoa & Coconut Milk Porridge

This is possibly one of the best breakfasts I have ever made. And quite possibly the best thing ever. I woke up with a major sweet-tooth this morning, really craving something chocolatey- and sometimes bog-standard porridge just doesn’t cut it! Rather than reach for a piece of chocolate cake (admittedly, yes I have done that for breakfast before), what better thing to do than to create a creamy, rich, chocolatey, oaty heaven, that is still relatively healthy!

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I cooked the oats in coconut milk and then stirred in a teaspoon of cocoa powder whilst hot. Then topped with chopped banana and sprinkled with flaked almonds and chia seeds. I also added a small drizzle of agave nectar, to take away the sharpness of the cocoa. I popped the porridge in the microwave for an extra 30 seconds which cooks the banana slightly, and combined with the agave nectar it creates that amazing melted, caramelly, creaminess that you get when you barbecue bananas.

It tastes like pure luxury! Rich and silky and still made with good, natural ingredients. I don’t think my photo does it justice! I think I would honestly have this for pudding as well. Yum.

X

Raw Chocolate Brownies

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Morning all! Here is something that is guaranteed to brighten up your Monday morning… Raw Chocolate Brownies!

They are an amazing guilt-free treat, full of only good, wholesome ingredients. They’re perfect for those afternoon cravings for something sweet (that I seem to get rather a lot), or as a delicious dessert. The recipe is from health guru Madeleine Shaw. I absolutely love her recipe book Get The Glow- it’s hard to believe that everything she creates is so healthy because it all tastes so damn good!

I altered the recipe slightly, and threw in a few almonds as well as hazelnuts and unfortunately did not have any cacao powder, so used some trusty cocoa powder instead, which works just as well.

The recipe:

150g hazelnuts

150g Medjool dates, stoned

small pinch of salt

50g raw cacao powder (or cocoa)

3 tbsp coconut oil

Simply blend the hazelnuts (and extra almonds, if you so wish) in a food processor for 3 minutes, then add the dates, salt and cocoa powder. Gradually add in the coconut oil. Then once it is all blended together and smooth, spoon the mixture into a cake tin. You then put the mix in the freezer to set for 30 minutes, and then pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

I’m really craving one as I write this!

I also just wanted to take the time to say thankyou to all of my lovely new followers, I can’t believe I’ve reached over 200! I decided it was time to re-vamp my blog, so check out the new style if you get a chance!

Have a great day everyone x

The Prettiest Breakfast in All The Land: Beetroot & Ginger Muesli 

  

I think I have officially become obsessed with breakfast. I never used to feel like eating much of it a few years ago and I was never particularly inventive with my dishes in the mornings. But now I can’t get enough of the glorious stuff! I especially enjoy getting creative in the kitchen when it comes to porridge- the world is your oyster when it comes to jazzing it up with fruit, nuts, seeds and even different types of milk. 

Much to my delight (as I had been eyeing it up for a while), I managed to get my hands on some of the amazing Primrose’s Kitchen ‘Raw Beetroot and Ginger Muesli’ for the bargain price of 99p. (As a luxury cereal it’s usually £4.99, but hey the perks of working at Waitrose!) Her cereals are made in Dorset and are gluten-free and vegan friendly. It’s so delicious. It’s sort of a mix between muesli and granola because it has a bit of a crunch to it, which I like. The subtle fieriness of the ginger is really warming and is a little different for a muesli. 

  
I had it yesterday morning with coconut milk, chopped banana, nectarine and some almonds. Doesn’t it just look so pretty?! (It also tastes great sprinkled on yoghurt with fruit.) Yum. 

Super-Salad!

salad

I thought I would take a little break from job applications to share with you all the amazing salad that I concocted for lunch yesterday. My creation consisted of houmous, spinach leaves, carrot, cucumber, spelt, quinoa & wild rice. Incredibly healthy, filling, and utterly delicious!

I used a pre-made packet of grains (the spelt, quinoa & rice), and then all I did was mix that with a grated carrot, sliced cucumber and some baby spinach leaves.

salad 3

I’m so obsessed with houmous at the moment, I really could eat it with anything! So I obviously had to incorporate a huge dollop of it on top. It works so well with this, adding a tangy, wholesome taste to the salad. I then drizzled the dish with a splash of olive oil and seasoned well. Et voilà!