Chocolate Protein Cups

Hello there! I feel like I haven’t been here for ages, but it’s actually only been a week. A bit of a difficult week at home, so I’ve not really been in kitchen enough to have anything to write about.

I did make a second attempt at some chocolate protein cups though. My first attempt was a couple of months ago, and although they were delicious, the presentation needed quite a bit of work! See below:

Strawberry Protein Cups

This time I tried a new flavour, and made the chocolate myself. The presentation is definitely better, but I still want to work on the recipe a couple more times to get it right.

The filling this time around was blackberries, almond butter, oats and hemp protein. Look at that beautiful purple colour!

IMG_1996

 

The chocolate I made using Lucy Bee coconut oil, cocoa powder and Xylitol. It was quite strong, but that’s how I like my chocolate, and it actually contrasted really nicely with the filling. Here’s how they turned out:

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Not perfect yet, but still really pretty! I’ve been enjoying these as a snack before or after workouts. Healthy, delicious, and takes care of my chocolate cravings!

Hopefully as life settles down at home, I’ll have some more food to share with you. Have a great day, everyone! xo

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Versatile Blogger Award

I’ve just found out that I’ve been nominated by the lovely Chloe at It Started in Oxford for the Versatile Blogger award! Thank you, Chloe! Blogging is brand new to me, so something like this is a nice surprise. It seems like a brilliant way to support fellow bloggers.

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who gave you this award, and leave a link to their blog.
  2. Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
  3. Nominate 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.

Ok, seven things about myself…

  1. I’m 32, and have lived in 19 different houses throughout my life so far
  2. My dad is my hero, and my best friend
  3. I have a phobia of ch**se. Obviously I can’t even write down the word, or say it out loud without gagging. I don’t walk down the dairy aisle in the supermarket, and it doesn’t enter my house.
  4. I love mashed potato. A lot.
  5. Since I was 9 years old, I have wanted to live in Portugal
  6. I love to sing and dance. Nowadays I only do this when I’m at home alone!
  7. My favourite film is The Outsiders.

As I say, the blogging universe is still new to me, so I haven’t discovered that many blogs that I follow yet, and not sure I can give you 15. I nominate:

K, at Peeled Wellness

Lauren, at The Vegan Muffin Woman

Am, at 3 Rooms + Kitchen

Veggiezest

Hollie, at Simply Whole Foods

Sorry, I don’t have more people to nominate. I’m sure I’ll find soon, and kick myself!

Have a great day, everyone xo

Chia Pudding

I went through a phase last year, of making a lot of chia pudding. I’d discovered it through Instagram, and it seemed like an ideal breakfast for me to take to work. As the weather cooled down, I stopped making it, and it’s been months, but this weekend I made my first chia pudding of 2015, and it was good!

I just bought some Koko Chocolate Coconut milk this week – had no idea they did a chocolate version! – and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out.

Strawberry Chocolate Chia Pudding

Extreme close up…!

I blended some frozen strawberries, with some of the chocolate coconut milk, added the chia seeds and popped in the fridge. It really is that simple! I’ve noticed that a lot of people say to just leave the pudding for an hour or so, to allow the chia seeds to absorb the liquid, but I like to leave mine at least overnight, so I always make it in advance.

This one smelled and tasted fantastic – I’m so happy I’ve discovered the chocolate coconut milk! A delicious high protein breakfast, that I can take to work in a mason jar and keep in the fridge.

As usual, I’ll be trying out some different flavours, as I get back into a new pudding phase, but below are a couple of recipes I have made previously.

Persimmon Chia Pudding
Persimmon Chia Pudding
Blackberry Chia Pudding
Blackberry Chia Pudding

 

 

 

 

 

 

The top one is flavoured with persimmons and coconut milk, and the bottom one is blackberry and coconut milk. You might be able to tell from the photos that these two have a thicker consistency than the one I made this weekend. I actually prefer them like this, and it just requires adding more chia seeds. Unfortunately I underestimated the amount I put in this time, and it wasn’t as thick. Still very tasty though!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend folks, and try some chia pudding!

Who else loves chia pudding? What do you add to yours? How else do you use chia seeds? I’m always after new combinations and ideas to try!

 

Sharing Smoothies

In case you didn’t know, I work full time over 3.5 days, and Tuesday is my full day off. It’s not very often I get to sit around and relax though! I’m either spending time with my dad, doing course work, catching up on laundry(!) or experimenting in the kitchen.

Today, I plan to do a little of everything, but first I’d like to share a few of my favourite home made smoothies with you.

Smoothies are a great way for us to consume an abundance of various vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy. I love fruit, but I find it difficult to eat some fruits in their whole form, like bananas, avocado and strawberries. I either don’t like the taste, or the texture puts me off. Put these fruits in smoothie form though, and I’d drink them all day!

I’m a big fan of green smoothies, but only a couple of the smoothies I’m sharing with you today can be considered ‘green’. I’m in a phase at the moment, where I’m enjoying fruit smoothies, and preferring to eat my greens, rather than drink them. That could change at any time though!

First up, is an old, simple favourite of mine, and does actually have some green in it. It’s a combination of blackberries, spinach and lime. The blackberries were freshly picked from the village where I live, but then frozen in batches as I had too many to keep in the fridge!

Blackberry Smoothie
Blackberry Smoothie

Blackberries are one of my top three favourite fruits. I prefer to eat them in their whole form, but when you’re overloaded with them, it’s nice to have other options! I also love having a stash of limes in the kitchen, and the flavour works really well with the blackberries. So fresh!


My next offering was actually part juiced, and a very random experiment. It was a time when I was throwing cacao nibs into anything and everything to see what worked with them! I’d also recently read that it was ok to juice limes without peeling them. So I did.

Raspberry Cacao Smoothie

I started off by juicing some romaine lettuce and a whole lime, with peel. I don’t like the texture I get from blending romaine, (maybe it’s just my blender) and I wanted to try juicing a whole lime! (Simple things please me.) I then added the juice to some frozen raspberries, and at the last moment, chucked in a handful of cacao nibs!

There was a very strong tang to this one, from the whole lime, and the nibs gave it a little bit of crunch, but it all worked beautifully for me. Probably not one you could drink often, unless like me, you like the powerful flavour.


I recently shared this one on my Instagram as a post workout drink. It’s just cucumber, lemon, ginger and water – simple! I would usually prefer lime with my cucumber, but I’d just used my last one and was due to go shopping for more! Treat yourself by adding some mint in there as well..Cucumber


This was another post workout drink I knocked up. It’s actually made with a serving of Vegan Strawberry Shakeology, but from now on I’ll just be using fresh strawberries, as I find the taste of Shakeology too rich.

Strawberry Recovery Smoothie

A simple mix of Strawberry Shakeology, banana, almond butter and coconut milk. Very sweet, but gave me back my energy after an intense workout.


My current favourite, is my Sunshine Smoothie. It has a beautiful flavour, looks gorgeous and actually makes me smile! Even more so, now that the weather is starting to warm up.

My Sunshine Smoothie!
My Sunshine Smoothie!

Another simple combination – frozen mango, oranges, lime and coconut water. Liquid sunshine!


My last one for this post is another recent. It’s a pretty pink combination of frozen watermelon, strawberries, lime and coconut water. It has a very mild taste, but so refreshing.

Strawberry Watermelon Smoothie


Well, that was just a small selection of some simple favourites, and they were in no particular order! I’m always trying to come up with new combinations that are perfect for Spring and Summer. Feel free to share any of your favourites too!

 

Nicecream and Clean Eating on a Budget

Bit of a random title for a blog post there, but who cares!

Nutrition and the journey to become the healthiest version of myself I can be are very important to me, and what I’m most passionate about. I don’t earn much money in my full time office job, and I have rent and bills to pay, which leaves me with very little cash leftover, but I still want to eat fresh food that is good for me.

It’s infuriating to hear people say they can’t afford to eat healthy. Generally, I find this to be untrue, and many people who say these things are either lazy or uneducated, which is a real shame.

If you’ve read any of my other posts, or viewed my Instagram account, you’ll have noticed that I love my fruits and veggies! In the last year or so, I’ve become more mindful about where I buy my fresh produce from, as it seems that supermarkets are getting bigger, while small businesses are suffering all over the place. I like to support smaller businesses as much as I can, and not just for my grocery shopping.

In Durham we’re fortunate to have several fruit and veg stalls to choose from, and one of them even has a website and offer home delivery! On market day, there are even more fruit and veg stalls, as well as butchers and sellers of preserves, baked goods etc. The food you buy from these places tastes so much better than what you find in a supermarket, and if only more people would realise this!

I did my weekly shop on Saturday, and paid a visit to my favourite green grocers. (We’re on chatting terms now!) Below is what I came out with – devastated I forgot the Daikon though!

Berries

  • Blackberries x4
  • Strawberries x2
  • Red grapes x1

= £3

 

 

 

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels SproutsVeggies
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Purple cabbage
  • Swede
  • Pineapple
  • Cauliflower

= £5.54

I think £8.54 is a bargain for this selection of lovely fruits and veggies, which will actually last me longer than a week. The fruits can be frozen to use later in smoothies or nicecream. And obviously the veg can be cooked up into different dishes that I can freeze for later as well.

I’d say that planning is an important factor when you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget. Make a list and go shopping when you’re not pressed for time. If a particular ingredient is too much for your budget, adapt your plan and substitute for something that’s cheaper and in season. It can be done, people!

 


Part 2 – Nicecream! I really just wanted to share/brag about the fact that I’ve nearly perfected the art of making nicecream! I made this beauty on Saturday morning for breakfast, and it was honestly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. I didn’t want to get to the bottom of the bowl!

BlackberryNicecream

 

How pretty is that, really? I’m so happy with this, and I’m dying to make more, but I only just bought more bananas, which aren’t ripe enough yet! There were three bananas, blackberries, coconut milk and cocoa powder in this one, and it’s definitely my favourite flavour by far. A very simple, healthy and filling breakfast!

What’s your favourite nicecream flavour? Where do you get your fresh produce from?

 

A Good Food Day

Friday I was determined to get back into my good eating habits, after a pretty poor week. No excuses, I just gave into some bad cravings that I instantly regretted! I also skipped a couple of workouts, which is very unlike me.

So, I made a good effort on Friday to get back on track, and had some delicious foods in the process . . .

FridayCollage

I started off with a cup of rooibus (redbush) tea and some oats with coconut milk (has to be heated up for me – the only way I can tolerate milk) and coconut sugar

Lunch was a bowl of home made French Onion soup, and one of my protein cupcakes (not photographed, but mentioned in a previous post). Did you like my reflection in the photo?! I make my French onion soup with vegetable stock rather than beef, as in the traditional recipe. So tasty, and easy to drink from a mug as well!

It was my late shift at work, so I took the rest of the soup with me, plus some roasted carrots and sweet potatoes – roasted with Lucy Bee coconut oil, garlic powder, rosemary and paprika. My favourite combination!

I also took a portion of cooked chicken, with gherkins and mixed seeds. When I say that out loud, or write it down, it sounds absolutely disgusting, so I won’t be surprised to find you turning your nose up at it! The combination just works for me though, and it’s delicious! A new, simple favourite.

I allowed myself a few of my raspberry chocolate bites when I got home, which I posted about recently, as they’re actually healthy, and I like to treat myself on a Friday!

All in all, a good day getting back on track. Why leave something until Monday, that you can start today?

Rainbow Salad

So this morning I made a salad for work. Shock! Only this one wasn’t an accident. I purposely made this one to work around a key ingredient: Mooli (or Daikon).

I bought one from the green grocers the other day, with absolutely no plans on what to do with it! I just remembered trying it when I was a teenager, and loving it, so knew I had to get one to create a recipe with.

mooli

I believe mooli is used a lot in Asia, both cooked and raw. I was disappointed to find out that no one I know has even heard of it though! I love radishes, and think they’re all extremely underrated. When I’m not growing my own, I will always have a stash that I’ve bought from the green grocers. I find them very more-ish and eat them pretty much every day.

Mooli and radishes are pretty similar in their nutritional values, being as they’re from the same family. 100g contains approximately 16-18 calories, and both have significant amounts of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Radishes also contain vitamin B6, but Mooli does not.

So I wanted my salad to revolve around the foot long, 300g mooli I had in my possession, and just knew it had to be pretty!

I’m a big fan of carrots, and I think they taste even better grated. So I grated two carrots and the mooli, and worked from there. I then added some diced red onion and shredded some romaine (got to have that green stuff!) to get a lovely rainbow effect. That was fine for me. Nice and simple, with no need for dressing, as grating the carrots and mooli released more of their moisture.

RainbowSalad

As an after thought, I did add some pickled cabbage, and a handful of mixed seeds, just for a bit more crunch. Cue, close up . . .

RainbowSalad2

The textures and flavours (and colours!) worked so well together in this salad. It tasted so fresh, and I honestly could’ve eaten it all day. Good job, I have the rest in the fridge for tomorrow!

Who else loves mooli or radishes? What do you do with them?

Coconut Crunch and Raspberry Bites

As I mentioned in my last post, yesterday was a bit of an experimenting day in the kitchen. My favourite kind of day!

I tried out a new recipe for a sausage casserole – which was delicious, by the way – but more importantly, I made a couple of lovely, chocolate treats!

Usually when I make chocolatey things, I make my own chocolate, but I didn’t notice until I’d started that I didn’t have enough cocoa powder for everything! So, I had to improvise, by breaking into a bar of 75% Green & Blacks, mixed with some Tesco Finest 85% Cocoa Solids. A bit of a mixture yes, but I wasn’t about to waste what I’d started making!

First up, was something I like to call Coconut Crunch.

CoconutCrunch

 

Sorry about the photos, but hopefully you still get the idea that these are pretty tasty! They always go down well at home and at work, so I’m happy with them. I’ve actually been working on a slightly different version of these today, but more about that another time!

The great thing about Coconut Crunch is that you can play around with ingredient ratios, or just use whatever you have in your cupboards. This batch was made with oats, walnuts, pecans and coconut. I then use whatever sweeteners I happen to have in the house. On this occasion it was Tiana’s Crystallised Coconut Nectar, and Meridian’s Molasses. Xylitol and maple syrup work lovely also.


 

Next up were these Raspberry Bites, made in the cutest little heart molds that I just bought from Wilko’s! I’ve started a collection of silicone molds, so if anyone has spotted any good ones, let me know!

Raspberry Bites

 

My mouth waters just looking at these. I adore raspberries, and chocolate, so the combination will always be a winner for me!

They were so simple to make. I melted some coconut oil (Lucy Bee, of course!) and mixed it with fresh raspberries and cocoa powder. I then spooned the mixture into the molds and left in the freezer for an hour or so.

Again, there so much room for experimentation with these. Coconut, mint, blackberries, orange etc. If I wasn’t running low on Lucy Bee, I would’ve made a whole lot more of these!


 

 

So those were the results of my kitchen day yesterday, but while we’re on about chocolatey things, I thought I’d take this opportunity to also share a photo of some Strawberry Protein Cups I made recently.

Strawberry Protein Cups

 

Very messy, and not very ‘cup’ like, but forgive me please, as it was my first attempt! They still tasted amazing, and I’ve scoffed two of them today! Next time though, I promise, I will perfect the presentation…

The aim of these was that I wanted to make my own protein snack, and this is the first thing I came up with. I don’t like the texture of nuts, or granola type things, so ‘normal’ protein bars do not appeal to me at all. This little creation however, contains a hemp protein powder that I use, strawberries, oats and almond butter, covered in home made chocolate. What’s not to love!

 

Does anyone else make treats like these, regularly? I’d love to hear about any winning combinations that I might not have thought of…

A Few Healthy Favourites

I’ve been playing around a little in the kitchen, this morning. Not quite finished though, so nothing to report at the moment. Until then, I thought I would share a few of my favourite food items with you, that I just can’t live without.

Excuse the poor photography (apart from the middle one – I ran out of almond butter yesterday, so got this photo from Google!) the lighting in my house isn’t the best.

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On the left we have Lucy Bee’s Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. I’ve tried other coconut oils in the past, but Lucy Bee is the only one I use now, and I love it, as it’s useful in so many ways. I need to start buying the bigger jars though, as the small ones don’t last me very long at all!

I use it for cooking and baking (obviously!), and as a moisturiser for my face. I generally don’t moisturise, as I find eating a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables means my skin is always soft. Moisturising with a little of Lucy Bee is a nice treat for me though – and is excellent as a make up base! I also like to drop a spoonful of oil into my hot water to drink. An excellent way to get some healthy fats in my body. By doing this, I’ve noticed my teeth are slightly whiter. Another plus!


As you can see, the middle photo is Meridian’s smooth almond butter. I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of nuts, and I find almonds repulsive! This almond butter tastes and smells so good though, and it’s another healthy fat I can add to my diet.

I use it in smoothies and baking at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll find some other uses for it in the future. It’s always tempting to just eat it straight from the spoon!


The photo on the right, is Tiana’s crystallised coconut nectar. My local Holland & Barrett kept saying they didn’t stock this stuff, and I was about to order some online, when it suddenly appeared in the store! Needless to say, I was very happy to know I can buy it local now.

I know, sugar is sugar, but I believe coconut nectar is better option than ordinary cane sugar. Coconut nectar, Xylitol and molasses are the only sweeteners I have in my cupboards, and I use all of them for baking. I also love a bit of coconut nectar on my Weetabix, which is a lovely treat!

So there you go. Just a few of my favourite things. I’d love to know if anyone else loves these items as much as I do! What other uses do you have for them? And what items can’t you live without?

 

 

 

Day Off, Meal Prep and the Mighty Green Salad!

Today was my usual day off work, and I was going to spend it in the kitchen, reworking some old recipes of mine, but things didn’t work out like that. Do they ever?!

It’s ok though, because I’ve a really nice, chilled out day, enjoying my own company and relaxing. I did manage to make it into the kitchen, but only to prepare my meals for the next two days.

I started off the morning with a workout, then got an early bus into town to stock up on fruit and veg. They actually know me in the green grocers now, as I’m usually there just as they’re opening at 7am! I much prefer to get my fruit and veg from a green grocers, rather than a supermarket, although if I’m in a bind, I’ll get a few items from Sainsbury’s or Lidl.

Before I went home, I stopped off to see my dad briefly, and had some breakfast. I then did another workout before running myself a lovely magnesium bath, and after that I just pottered around the house and watched movies.

A well spent day off, methinks, but part of me was putting off the inevitable task of having to prep my meals tonight (unusual for me) as I had absolutely no idea what to make. A fridge full of lovely fruits and vegetables, and no inspiration at all! Maybe all the colours were a bit overwhelming . . .

To give myself a hand I picked out a few things that were nearing expiration and told myself I had to use them somehow. (I hate waste.) It’s funny how well something like that can work, as once I had some things out in front of me, a couple of ideas popped into my head and I set to work. Oh, and surprise, surprise, I came up with a new salad! I call it the Mighty Green Salad, and you’ll find out why soon enough . . .

The meals I’ve prepped tonight – which will be the same for both days – are:

  1. Purple grapes and blackberriesCollage1
  2. Mighty Green Salad
  3. Roasted carrots and brussels sprouts with rosemary and black pepper
  4. Sunshine Smoothie

 

 

 

Obviously I will be eating more than that, but my smoky burgers and spicy beans weren’t quite as photogenic!

I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got there, and I can’t wait to get a taste of the Mighty Green! While I was making it, I also had another idea, but I’ll have to save that for new day. It’s been written down in my food diary though, so I don’t forget!

How do you get yourself motivated to do meal prep? Do you ever need to give yourself a push to come up with something a bit different?