Happy New Year everyone! I’m confident this is going to be a healthy and happy 2014, with a Tough Mudder already booked for July there’s no doubt about it, i am going to have to up my game in training and I’m really looking forward to it!
It was a great start to the new year yesterday with the first run of the year in the pouring rain!
I always think its the initial thought of looking outside and thinking its going to be a freezing cold run with chattering teeth and stiff muscles when the weather is miserable that puts most people off…i know it does to me on a lot of occasions! But then after the run I don’t know why i thought it in the first place because firstly, when its raining its cloudy and often warmer then if it were clear winter skies, secondly there’s a certain sense of greater accomplishment when your running in the rain, you have actually got off your ass and done it when everyone else is driving in their cars or sat at home. Thirdly, if your running with someone, dodging puddles becomes a funny game! and finally, you feel GREAT after!
So next time there’s a heavy down poor and your itching to expel some of that energy go for a run in the rain!
Also any runners out there, or wanting to start running, check out downloading the Strava Run app, I’ve only just begun using it, but I think it might have good potential in motivating me (and others) to get off my ass and run most days like I used to. Its got challenges you can join, including this months ‘prove it’ challenge, logging the totally distance you ran this month so i recommend checking it out, its free so what have you got to lose?!
This week hasn’t been the best in terms of keeping fit and healthy eating as I’ve been away from home for a few days, But the beginning of the week started well with gym sessions and healthy lunches.
Adam’s been showing me a few new exercises involving weights (even though I kept complaining my arms were too weak throughout the reps!), mixed in with some interval training on the treadmill and cross-trainer. The exercises included:
- Squat with a twist (literally) – 2 x 10 reps
- Swiss ball fly with weights – 2 x 15 reps
- Dumb bell Y-lift – 2 x 10 reps
- Sumo dead lift with a high pull (using the kettle bell) – 2 x 15 reps
- One leg bicep curl – 2 x 10 reps normally, then 2 x 10 reps with a 3 second count up.
Our lunches always tend to be pretty healthy, either a salad, couscous or sandwich for Adam and a salad, soup or yogurt and fruit for me, but we have gone a little falafel crazy at the moment so why not have them for lunch too!
Hopefully this will go better!
So it’s been a couple of months since i last posted on my blog, but I’ve been moving house and busy with work.However, now we are almost settled (minus getting pretty much all of the furniture!) me and my boyfriend are hoping to get nice and fit and healthy!
We have made the first step, joining the gym….now we have been going for runs around town and workouts at the gym but it’s time to get serious!
Using the scales at home we have weighed ourselves, including body fat percentage and BMI.
Personally I want to tone up, in particular my stomach, yet I’ve been staying within my comfort zone in exercising. Therefore I need to focus more on interval training and using weights instead of spending the whole gym session on cardio. Whereas, Adam wants to focus on getting his body fat down to 20% and be comfortable with his stomach.
At the moment these are our stats:
Weight: 7st 10
Body Fat: 15.3%
BMI – 18.2
Body Fat: 26.1%
Every weekend I hope to bring you an update on our progress, what we’ve been eating that week, workouts we have completed and how our overall progress is going. We are not setting a time limit, but hopefully come bikini season we will both be comfortable with our bodies!
Let the mission begin!
So its been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog, it has been a pretty hectic few months…but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped cooking!
Just this weekend I made a tasty snack to take with me for a project I have been working away from home on..however it’s only Tuesday and I’ve just finished the last of snack already! But they are pretty good….
….. its Roasted Chickpeas!
You’ve probably already seen various recipes and flavours for this healthy snack, but I had to share them with you as they are healthy, easy to make, cheap and extremely tasty! You can also use various flavourings to your liking, sweet or savoury, and they are a great alternative to nuts (I’m pretty sure nuts are my staple food so it’s good to mix things up a little bit!)
This week, I flavoured the chickpeas with pepper, garlic salt, chilli olive oil, smoked paprika and mixed herbs.
If you have any suggestions for flavourings, please do comment!
For the rest of this week I am traveling up North to work on a project involving gulls…not too sure what this entails yet but hopefully not getting attacked during the nesting season! But this means I will be driving there tonight and staying until Friday in a bed and breakfast, so last night I decided to have a little granola cooking frenzy and tried out a few different combinations of flavours that i can tub up and take with me.
The result ended up with three different flavour combinations:
- Citrus granola– using fresh lemon and lime zest and juice
- Coco granola – a mix of toasted dessicated coconut and coconut shavings
- Bakewell granola – flavoured with ground almonds and almond escence
This time, in addition to my basic granola mix I also added some uncooked quinoa before putting in the oven which adds a tasty crunch!
Unfortunately my trusty taste taster is away with work at the moment, but if he’s lucky I might save him a bit of each and see what he thinks of them. In the meantime, here’s what I think of the flavour combos…
Citrus Granola – This had a refreshing taste with strong citrus flavour. It wasn’t too sharp or bitter but had a nice tangy taste.
Coco Granola – I was a bit disappointed with this granola, but only because the intensity of flavour from the dessicated coconut was lacking. The granola had a great bite to it, really crunchy, but without the added coconut shavings mixed into the cooled mixture it didn’t really taste like coconut. Think I may have to revisit this one…
Bakewell Granola – Now for my favourite! Although I may be being a bit biased as I love bakewell tart…. and pretty much anything almondy! This granola was much lighter in colour (so if you do try this mix be aware it doesn’t brown as much as other granola’s so you don’t burn it!), but it still had a nice crunch to it. The ground almonds created a light flavour and also helped stick the mixture together. If you are a fellow lover of bakewell or frangipane treats I recommend you try this variation!
I’m not a big fan of eating Indian food out, I think I find them too rich which might be the use of butter ghee, but I do like homemade vegetarian curry dishes, in particular lentil dahl. Last year I had an amazing meal at a vegetarian restaurant in Bournemouth called Zoukinis, so if your ever around that area you have to check it out! Anyway, on this particular day it was their Thali night with a set dinner menu of Indian and Nepalese dishes and a great lentil dahl which the owner told us contained 11 different spices. This inspired me the next time I made dahl to layer up the spices and it definitely makes all the difference, making a tasty, fragrant and light, but filling meal. It just goes to show that powerful flavours can be made by just using and combining spices without adding salt, stock cubes or ready made seasonings (which often contain high amounts of salt).
When I last made my red lentil dahl, I served it with roasted curried Squash and a refreshing yogurt and mint dip.
My first snack has been created, yey! After creating my healthy granola recipe I wanted to spice it up a bit with some different flavours to what you would normally find in the supermarket…and therefore gingerbread granola was born!
This granola contains a huge chunk of fresh ginger root and a mix of spices that are normally used to make a sticky gingerbread cake or men – ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice.
The outcome was tasty and the boyfriend loved it! An overall success!…I can’t say the same about the pinto bean blondies I attempted to try though
Find my recipe for gingerbread granola here under variations.
Granola is great as a snack, tastes yummy, travels well and full of healthy energy boosting ingredients….right?
To a certain point yes. Granola often contains a base of oats, aiding digestion, dried fruits, supplying nutrients and vitamins, and a mix of seeds and nuts, providing the good fats. But it is also full of sugar, either from syrups, refined sugar or honey that are used to sweeten the cereal and from sweetened dried fruits such as pineapples, papaya, cranberries and banana chips.
I wanted to create a granola without all this additional sugar and find a healthy binder instead, so I began with an investigation into ingredients substitutions.
I’ve often used homemade unsweetened apple puree as a substitute in baking for sugar and butter so i thought this might work and attempted to try it…now the granola tasted ok, but the apple made the ingredients too wet and it failed to get the crunchy texture that granola has… and it has got to be crunchy!
Therefore, internet searching recommenced…
Then I found a few sites that suggested using date puree as a sweetener…and I conveniently had some dates…
Let the cooking begin!
So Scrap the sugary granola and make your own healthier version. And the best thing about making it yourself is you get to add your favourite ingredients!
Check out my basic recipe for a healthy granola!
So I have a little project going on at the moment and my boyfriend is the guinea pig!
My mission is to create healthy snack foods for my boyfriend by either inventing something completely different or altering recipes, excluding the bad fats, sugars and using natural ingredients. At the moment he works away from home during the week, so these snacks have to be able to travel well too.
One major challenge though… one of his favourite snack foods is cheese puffs.
Now how do you make those healthy?!
You can follow my mission here!
I love making and eating falafels, they taste amazing with a yoghurt and mint dip (or with ketchup!) and leave you completely satisfied!
Normally when I make falafels, I brown them lightly in a pan with a little oil before cooking them through in the oven to get a crispy outside. But today I decided to go all out healthy, omitting the frying and they still tasted delicious and crunchy!!
These are my new and improved baked spicy falafels!
This evenings batch had some added pinto beans in that I had left over and I chowed it down with a pile of cooked kale!