How to feel good? 3 easy steps… (Guest post by Just Josi Health)

We all want to feel good right? But sometimes it’s easy to feel down and we just don’t know why. Sometimes we get stuck in a bit of a negative rut and can’t explain what has caused it but we just know it needs to stop. I’ve found a couple of things really help me if I’m feeling this way and they may be easier to implement in your life than you realise.

  1. Self-care

This is so underrated and I know so many people struggle to find the time to make this a priority but as they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup! Giving yourself time to recharge is so important and comes in a variety of ways for different people – personally if I have a nice long shower, moisturise from head to toe I use the Aveeno moisturiser and honestly it cannot be beaten!), put some amazing hair treatment in and sit on the sofa with a cup of peppermint tea.

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I’ll either just put some nice music on or watch vlogs on Youtube to switch off my brain from any stresses. Even just one afternoon of this every couple of weeks is enough to keep me going, but I think it’s important we all keep an eye on ourselves and make sure we know when to take a break as everyone is different!

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  1. Unfollow negativity

This may sound a little controversial but I really don’t think it is talked about enough. Not everyone is compatible with everyone, it’s not meant to be that way, as they say you could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches. It is so easy to compare ourselves to things we see, especially on social media, so if seeing someone’s posts is constantly getting you down, what is stopping you from removing that negative influence? They may not even mean to do it but that doesn’t mean you should continue to feel down as a result of their posts or comments. Even if it is someone you used to be friends with, if their presence in your life is a constant negative then have the strength to move on. Neither of you need that in your lives, in the long run it is better for everyone.

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  1. Compliment someone

There is no better feeling than making someone’s day and I’m sure that the more happiness you spread, the more you feel it. Of course it’s normal to have down days but if you make a conscious effort to smile and pay compliments, it will become so natural and you will find yourself making people’s day regularly without even meaning to. That positivity will rapidly spread and you will be surrounded with a group of people all lifting each other up which is bound to make you feel good!

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What do you do to feel good?

J x

Outfit by Sweaty Betty

You can pick up the Aveeno range at Hello Skin (use code HELLOJOSI for a discount!)

Photography by Anna

 

Peanut Butter Choccy Courgette Bites (Guest post by Bites By Becs) 

These healthy Peanut Butter Choccy Courgette  Brownies are gooey, decadent, and perfectly sweet! They’re free of refined sugar, flour, butter and can be gluten-free.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large/2 small courgettes, grated 
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed (the riper the better) 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 80g peanut butter  
  • 50g oats, ground (simply blend regular oats in a blender) 
  • 50g coconut flour 
  • 20g coconut sugar  
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon  
  • Pinch of salt  
  • ½ tsp. baking powder 
  • 75g 85% dark chocolate, broken into small chunks  
  • 50g walnuts, chopped  

 

  • 25g 85% dark chocolate, melted 

 

Method: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a brownie tin.  
  2. In a large bowl mix together the grated courgette, mashed banana, eggs and peanut butter until well combined.  
  3. Add the ground oats, coconut flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and pinch of salt.  
  4. Finally, chop the dark chocolate and walnuts into small chunks and fold them through the mixture. Ensure everything is well combined. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin and cook in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  
  6. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Once cooled drizzle the cake with melted dark chocolate. Let the chocolate set and slice into portions.  
  7. I think these little bites are delicious how they are, warmed in the microwave or even cold out of the fridge.  
  8. Enjoy these little bites as a perfect afternoon pick-me-up, weekend or after dinner treat!

Becs

 

x

 

Parsnip Brownies…

The ingredients in this chocolate and parsnip brownie work beautifully together – I dare you to try it. The sweetness of the parsnip perfectly complements the rich, dark chocolate. Plus, if they have parsnip in, they surely count as one of your five a day, right?

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Serves 8
Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 150g of chopped parsnip,
  • 50g of Doisy and Dam Chocolate (any will be fine for this),
  • 120g of egg whites or two whole eggs,
  • 50g of sweetener (I used a granulated one but honey, or similar, would work fine),
  • 100g of Buckwheat flour,
  • 100ml of milk (I used a strawberry flavoured one),
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao powder,
  • ½ a teaspoon of baking powder.

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Method:

  1. Grease and line a small baking tin (I actually used a loaf tin),
  2. Pre heat the oven to 160C,
  3. In you blender, pop all of the ingredients.
  4. Blend until they are well combined,
  5. Now pour the mixture in to your prepared tin and pop in to the oven for around 30 minutes or until the brownies are firm to touch,
  6. Take out of the tin and then leave to cool on a cooling rack,
  7. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut in to squares.
  8. ENJOY!

Nutty Chocolate Protein Balls (Guest recipe: @bitesbybecs)

Like many of us, I’m definitely not immune to the 3pm munchies. When work is flat out, my stress levels have crept up and, I get HANGRY… This is torturous… but, thankfully, @bitesbybecs sent me a recipe for a great chocolate alternative that can really help curb that desire for a naughty mid-afternoon snack.

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Enter the nutty chocolate protein ball – jam-packed full of hunger-abating good stuff and super easy to whip up.

Makes 6 protein balls.

Ingredients:

* 30g rolled oats

* 25g cashew nuts

* 25g almonds

* 25g hazelnuts

* 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

* 30g raisins

* 1 tbsp. cacao powder

* 1 tbsp. honey

* 25g protein powder (either chocolate, vanilla or unflavoured)

* Desiccated coconut for rolling the protein balls in

 

Method:

1. Add dry ingredients to a food processor and mix until well combined.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to form a sticky dough consistency. If the mixture looks on the dry side then add a little more melted coconut oil.

3. Remove from the food processor and carefully roll into balls, approximately 1 inch thick. Roll the protein balls in desiccated coconut.

4. Store in the refrigerator. These protein balls will last for up to a week. Enjoy!!

If you like this recipe, then follow Becs, a BSc Nutrition student, on her instagram or twitter account.

Chocolate Torte (Guest recipe: @cleansupperclub_)

When a friend asks ‘can you bring a dessert?’ it’s always a difficult choice, do we take one of our delicious raw cheesecakes or this divine (no bake) chocolate superfood loaded torte. It’s tricky as they are both a popular choice. They are brilliant because we don’t have to skip dessert and the other guests have no idea how many health benefits there are to these scrumptious desserts! In fact they’ve no idea they are healthy at all – truly satisfying.

Our Guilt free Chocolate torte is filled with super ingredients, sometimes we don’t know whether to eat it or use it as a face mask! The joy of a raw nut pastry base and cacao filled centre is that the torte remains crammed full of fabulous nutrients.

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Equipment

Flan case -depending on the depth of the dish this recipe will fill a 20 to 23cm dish.
Food mixer
Food processor
Whisk by hand, electric or Food mixer
Cling film

Ingredients

No bake base
300g Almonds or nut mix – split equally between Brazil, Almond, Cashew nuts.
80g /one cup Desiccated Coconut
1 cup of Dates stoned (soaked if they are slightly dry)
3 heaped tbsp. of Coconut Oil gently melted

Chocolate Filling
3 Eggs
3 tbsp. of Rice Malt Syrup
3 tbsp. of Coconut Oil gently melted
100g of Raw Cacao Powder
1 tsp. of Raw Vanilla Powder
1 tsp. of Lucuma Powder (optional)

Method
1. Line the flan dish with cling film or coconut oil (we find cling film easier, particularly if its not a loose bottom dish)

2. In the food processor put all the nuts and blitz until they make a crumble like crumb texture. Add desiccated coconut and pulse a few times.

3. Add dates, pour in coconut oil and then blitz until they are all blended in.

4. Base mix is ready when you can grab a handful, squeeze it in your fist and it stays firmly bound together.

5. Then tip half of the mix into the flan dish, start to firmly press the mix down, to about 0.5cm thick. Do the same with the remaining mix so that it reaches the top edge of the dish.

6. Place the base into the fridge until the filling is ready.

7. For the filling crack all three eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk until light and creamy colour. We use a food mixer or electric hand held whisk.

8. Melt the coconut oil gently in a medium pan.

9. Once the oil is melted add the rice malt syrup and sieve in the vanilla, lucuma (if using) and cacao powder.

10. Stir together then, tip into bowl with the eggs and whisk until completely blended together.

11. Then remove base from fridge; pour mix into base, using a spatula make sure you remove all the delicious mix from the bowl. The top of the torte should be flat.

12. Carefully place the torte into the fridge. Leave until set.

To serve
We love to serve this torte with fresh mint leaves and berries

bio…

www.cleansupperclub.co.uk

We are two Cheshire based home cooks who love to create healthy and delicious recipes. Our recipes are for easy everyday nourishment, entertaining, fun, energy, delight and temptation but our priority is great family food.

We love sharing our food at friendly home based supper clubs, weekly we can be found testing our recipes on the public at the brilliant Altrincham Market. We are passionate foodie bloggers – currently redeveloping our website whilst busy creating recipes for brands both large and small all from the Clean Supper Club kitchen. Claire & Sarah


CLEAN SUPPER CLUB LLP
Claire Swift & Sarah Biagetti

 

Poke Bowl (Guest post: @freddie_church)

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Ever heard of Pokē?  No, me neither until just last week. This is the latest trend on London’s street food scene, having recently been brought across the pond from California thanks to Pokē – a new foodstand trading with Kerb streetfood and definitely one of my new absolute favorites. Pokē, pronounced Poh-Keh meaning “to slice or cut” is the Hawaiian answer to sushi; given that I am a self-confessed raw-fish fanatic, this is all I’ve been able to think about since I first heard of it.

Pokē is a mix of raw marinated fish using both salmon, ahi tuna or a market special fish, along with a mix of fresh pickles, black rice and wakame seaweed salad. Given that the name itself means to slice or cut; you can imagine that the way everything is prepared is very important to the success of the dish. The fish of your choice – when I visited I chose the ahi tuna – is cut into small cubes; the way it is cut allows the texture and freshness of the fish to really come through.  This is placed on a bed of perfectly cooked black rice which added a really nice texture, but to my surprise had been cooked together with a little garlic which added a good punch of flavour.

Then came the wakame seaweed, carrot and edamame salad. Whilst I love the texture of seaweed, which is often soft and delicate, others often are less keen on it; however, for those who don’t like the idea of seaweed, fear not, each of the elements in the salad is perfectly dressed and provides a really strong crunch and balance to the overall dish. A multitude of different pickles is placed on top, not only adding the most incredible array of colour to the dish, but an acidic kick and freshness. You can tell each of the pickles is freshly made; none of them have the overly strong acidic taste which pickles often develop when they sit around. Each of the vegetables is cut slightly differently and is pickled in a different way from one another, so with every mouthful you get different combinations of flavours, which really does make the dish an absolute pleasure to eat and leaves you wanting more.

Along with your own choice of fish and basic pickles, you are also given a choice of extras – pickles and mayos to really pimp your Pokē. I chose Kimkchi because it’s another of those flavours that is highly addictive, to the point that whenever I see it as an option on a menu it’s very hard to say no to. Importantly, however, like the other pickles, it was not overly strong because whilst it does have an addictive flavour it can be overpowering. Finally, I chose the wasabi mayo as the final element to my perfect Pokē which was the milder option of the two. The other mayo on offer was a sriracha mayo and whilst I do love a hit of chili in most of the dishes I eat I wanted to try the pokē in as natural a state as possible this first time.

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Another reason I absolutely loved this food stall was the people behind it. Thankfully when I went, it was a little quieter and I was able to talk to Guy who is the man responsible for bringing this dish into the lives of Londoners. Given that I was trying to make my own pokē for the blog, one of the main issues I asked him about was where he found the wakame seaweed (I couldn’t find it when I made the recipe so I used spring greens which worked really well). However, Guy told me they just use the dry version and reconstitute it, but he is currently in contact with some seaweed farmers down in Cornwall to try and get fresh seaweed, which I can imagine will only bring more flavour to the dish. Similarly, he told me that whilst he loves all the ingredients they use, because they are so fresh, he particularly loves the salmon because, not only is it incredibly fresh but it is also incredibly local. This is what I love about food markets as a whole; not only do they do the most fantastic things with the ingredients they have, but they work hard to make sure their produce is as locally sourced as possible and combining international inspiration and fresh British produce can only be a good thing as far as I’m concerned. I love that Pokē want to show people that it is possible to do something different with fresh British ingredients and that made me enjoy their food and their ethos all the more.

As with any dish involving raw ingredients the quality has to be the best, but I especially loved the balance Pokē has managed to achieve. None of the flavour of any singular ingredient is lost and all you get is fresh ingredients working perfectly together in harmony to give you a spectacular finished dish. I implore you to go and see them to try it for yourself.  You will not be disappointed.

How to find Pokē: Kings Cross/ West India Quay, check the Kerb Website for full details : http://www.kerbfood.com

Pokē bowl

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Ingredients:

300g sushi-grade salmon

100g black/ white sticky rice

200g spring greens

5-6 radishes

100g sesame seeds

1 avocado

mirren rice wine

rice vinegar

soy sauce

sugar

lime juice

chili

corriander

 

Method:

First make your pickles, slice the radishes as thin as you can or you could use the slicer attachment on a food processor if you have one. Then, in a small bowl, mix equal parts of the sugar and rice vinegar and leave the radishes to sit in it for around 10 minutes. I found that this still means the radishes will be crunchy but will have taken on some of the acidity from the vinegar.

While this is happening, take the skin off your salmon with a filleting knife, or you can ask your fishmonger to do it for you. As mentioned earlier it is very important that the salmon is of the highest quality; in my experience, while it might be ok to ask at a supermarket fish counter, they often don’t recommend using their fish for this kind of thing for safety reasons. It is better to go to a local fishmonger because they will know more about their product and you will get a better dish overall. I got mine from The Chelsea Fishmonger http://www.thechelseafishmonger.co.uk

Then slice the salmon with a very sharp knife into strips or cubes. Make the marinade: in a small bowl mix 4tbs of soy sauce with 2 tbs of mirren, this balances the saltiness of the soy sauce with sweetness from the mirren. Leave the fish to marinate for as long as possible before serving.

Put the rice on to boil for about 10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions. While the rice is boiling put the sesame seeds in a dry pan to toast, you will get a much more intense nutty flavour, but make sure you watch them closely as they burn really easily. Toss or stir them occasionally to ensure an even colour.

Once everything is marinating and the rice is cooking, take the spring greens off the stalks, rolling the leaves up to look like cigars, then slice them across into tiny ribbons, peel and slice the avocado and finely chop the chili and coriander.

When all the elements are ready, season to taste with a dressing made up of more soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and lime. Then all that is left to do is to put it all together in a big bowl garnish with finely chopped chili, coriander and sesame seeds and get stuck in!

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Follow Freddie on Instagram or on his blog.

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Festive Fruit & Nut Fudge (Guest Post: @spamellab)

This delicious take on a festive favourite is so easy to make and requires only 6 staple ingredients! As you have many optional add ins, you really can make this recipe your own!

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Serves: 12

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 2 hours chilling time

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons tahini (I used Meridian)
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter (I used Meridian)
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup or molasses (for a richer flavour! I used Meridian)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (I used Lucy Bee)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (OR a dash of your favourite booze – brandy or rum would work amazingly!)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice

Add ins: Feel free to use whatever dried fruits, nuts and seeds you wish (about 6 tablespoons in total)

I used:

  • Chopped cooked chestnut (Merchant Gourmet are great)
  • Dried cranberries
  • Mixed dried fruit
  • Seeds (I used Apple & Cinnamon Good4U snacks)
  • Chopped dried apple (Nim’s Fruit Crisps are ideal)

To decorate: Pumpkin seeds, bee pollen and dried cranberries

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Get making!

  1. Place the tahini, almond butter, maple syrup/molasses and coconut oil in a small pan and heat gently to melt.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and mixed spice.
  3. Now stir in your chosen add ins and mix to coat.
  4. Spoon into a small lined tupperware box or silicone mold (one large one or individual) and smooth out evenly.
  5. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours to firm.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, simply pop out of the freezer and slice up into chunks. Top with extras if you wish – now enjoy straight away!
  7. Keep any remaining fudge in the freezer for at least 2 weeks.

 

You can follow Pamella’s recipes on her blog, facebook, twitter and instagram; her recipes are amazing and very inspiring!

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Bodybuilding.. What is it? (Guest post: @leishamulveyfit)

Bodybuilding? A bro sport exclusively for the biggest guy in the gym or a diverse sport for dedicated men and women?
I obviously agree with the latter as a female bodybuilder competing in the bike fitness category. In this blog I’m going to outline what Bodybuilding is, what competing involves and how a bodybuilder approaches nutrition.
What is Bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding is the use of resistance training to develop and grow your muscles. There are varying levels of muscle required for different categories, the three female categories are
  1. Bikini Fitness
  2. Body Fitness
  3. Physique
They are each marked according to different criteria regarding muscle size, muscle shape, definition, leanness, symmetry and stage presence. On stage you are required to perform a posing routine to show off your physique in the best possible way (This is by far the hardest part I think… Posing hurts)
Nutrition
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PRE COMP
Everyones ‘prep’ is different some people diet for 20 weeks, some people just 8. It all depends on how much weight/fat mass you need to loose. Generally during the diet people will often eat fairly frequently 5-6 meals ensuring a protein feed in each meal so they are continually fuelling their muscles. Food is based on complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, vegetables and healthy fats (Just as any healthy diet should be) Some people carb cycle, some people have ‘high’ and ‘low’ days but essentially you have to be in a calorie deficit. Refeed meals can be implemented to spike certain hormone levels and also to maintain adherence to the diet. But I believe that in those dieting weeks the occasional treat can still be incorporated, the closer you get and the lower your calories the less this can happen though.
PEAK WEEK
You’ve probably heard of al sorts of crazy things about this week in particular. The 7 days before your competition are important for getting your muscles full so they appear better on stage and also ensure you look ‘shredded’ and the abs are popping as they say. This week tends to be more bland food with Chicken, White Fish, green beans and rice firmly on the menu. Show day gets as exciting as rice cakes and peanut butter though and we all love peanut butter !
POST COMP/OFFSEASON
In the offseason a certain amount of fat mass needs to be restored to put your body into a healthier state. Some people incase their calories slowly and some people quickly go back to their maintenance and gradually into a surplus. In the offseason the aim is to be in a calorie surplus where you can build muscle. I follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of my food comes from whole food ingredients and 20% comes from more processed slightly more delicious foods. I bake my own versions of classic desserts like doughnuts, brownies and cakes and this helps keep my sweet tooth satisfied.
Overall in the run up to a competition yes your diet does need to be on point, it requires dedication ,time and planning. The offseason allows you to live a more balanced healthy lifestyle that is balanced and more sustainable, Bodybuilding is not 12 months of Chicken and broccoli being hungry and depriving yourself.
Bodybuilding is not for everyone and i understand that, we all have our own interests, our own sports and our own ways of being active. I hope this has given you an insight into the bodybuilding world to see what it is and what goes on off stage.
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Leisha is a health and fitness blogger who creates lots of healthy recipes. Leisha is studying sport science at university and shares her knowledge to dispel nutrition myths. Having recently competed in bikini fitness, and also studying to be a PT Leisha has lots of different aspects to her fitness journey. To see more from Leisha, visit her bloginstagramtwitter and facebook.

Vegan Mince Pies (Guest post: @healthyjon)

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a mince pie or two. But as with so many festive treats, mince pies come with a nasty nutritional profile, not any more! These little Christmas desserts are not only delicious but nutritiously balanced. Made with mostly dried fruit and buckwheat flour. This is a recipe you wont want to miss this Christmas! Vegan Mince Pies.

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Serves 12
Preparation time 30 minutes

Cooking time 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
For the pastry cases:
  • 200g of buckwheat or spelt flour
  • 100g of coconut oil
  • 5tbsp. of honey
  • ½tsp. of cinnamon
  • ¼tsp. of ginger
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt.
  • For the filling:
  • 120g of raisins or mixed dried berries
  • 3 medjool dates
  • ½ an orange, juice & zest
  • 1tsp. of coconut oil
  • 1tsp. of cinnamon
  • ½tsp. of ginger
  • A few grates of nutmeg
  • Enough water to cover contents of saucepan
  • 1tsp. of lucuma, maca or baobab powder (optional)

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INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Start by making the cases. Add the Flour, spices, honey, salt & melted coconut oil to your food processor and blitz until the mixture starts to come together.
  2. Remove from the food processor scraping all the contents into a freezer/sandwich bag.
  3. Pop this into the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Now lets make the lovely winter spiced fruit filling.
  5. Add your dried fruit, coconut oil, spices and superfood powder (if using) to a small saucepan. Chop your dates into small chunks and add to the pan.
  6. Grate and juice your orange then add to the saucepan, along with enough water to just cover the contents of the pan.
  7. Turn the hob on to a medium heat and cover. Leave to simmer until all the water has been absorbed and evaporated (usually 15-20 minutes depending on how much water was added). When the mince meat is done remove from the hob.
  8. Remove your pastry from the freezer and pop back into the food processor. The freezing process will make our mince pie pastry wonderfully light and crumbly.
  9. Blitz for just a few seconds then remove and using your hands, roll the pastry into a ball.
  10. Lightly cover your work surface and rolling pin in flour and roll out your pastry until it is roughly 4mm thick or half the width of your index finger.
  11. Using a pastry cutter, cut the pastry into disks and add to a greased cupcake baking tray.
  12. Collect the unused pastry and roll out to make your heart shaped toppings.
  13. Fill the cases with your mince meat, cover with your pastry topping and pop into the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes or until golden.

To serve, I suggest dusting with a sprinkle of cinnamon from a height. You guys can feel free to top with cream or ice cream if you wish but I will reframe from such indulgences. If you would like a healthier alternative add 1/2 a can of coconut cream to a bowl with a touch of vanilla essence and beat using an electric whisk. The result is a wonderfully light cream perfect to top your freshly baked mince pies.

Happy eating and I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas. Jon

Visit Jons blog or instagram account for more delicious recipes.