Overnight oats.. the basic recipe.

If you’ve never heard of overnight oats before, let me give you a quick little primer. Overnight oats are a no-cook method of making porridge. Instead of cooking your oats with liquid in the microwave, you mix your oats with the liquid and other mix-ins, and let it rest in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, you have a pudding-like porridge that is perfect for easy grab-and-go breakfasts. It doesn’t have the same texture as microwave oats. It’s creamier, denser, and in my opinion, so much tastier.

So, what do you need to make them?

The basic staples are:

  • oats (as many as you need to suffice your hunger needs),
  • Liquid (I use dairy free milks but you can use yogurt, water, milk, coconut water… ANY liquid)!

Mix these together, with the optional add ins below and leave for a minimum of 8 hours!

The optional add ins:

  • Chia seeds/ Flax seeds; these make a gloopier consistency but will help to keep you full for longer.
  • Frozen berries; these are great as they add in a natural sweetness,
  • Nut butter; this makes it even creamier,
  • Superfood powders; cacao powder adds a great chocolate flavour, lucuma has a lovely caramel taste, maca for a natural caffeine kick, acai to add a lovely colour..
  • Nuts and seeds; this adds a great texture to your breakfast plus adds in healthy fats,
  • Grated apple; this is more like a bircher recipe but tastes great!
  • Protein powders; great to add in a protein kick post/ pre workout!

Great flavour combinations:

Here, you use the basic staples and then add in your optional add ins to mix things up!

  1. Cacao orange; cacao powder (or chocolate protein powder) + grated orange zest,
  2. PB and J; Peanut butter + Frozen Berries + chia seeds,
  3. Vanilla; Vanilla protein powder + Chia seeds + Fruit,
  4. Carrot Cake; grated carrot + raisins + vanilla protein powder,
  5. Banana Choc chip; Cacao Nibs + Banana coins + Vanilla Protein Powder,
  6. Tropical fruit; frozen mixed tropical fruits + chia seeds + Vanilla Protein Powder,
  7. Chocolate coconut; cacao powder + coconut milk + desiccated coconut,
  8. Apple Pie; Diced apple + cinnamon + Nutmeg + Raisins

 

Let me know if you try them!

 

Hannah x

 

 

Meal Prep: Turkey Meatballs with tomato sauce and courgetti…

 

Usually people hear the word ‘meal prep’ and think this process takes a few hours . However, if you plan your meals carefully, you can take only 90 minutes of your time to cook your favourite healthy dishes every week.  I then store my meals in plastic containers in the fridge or freezer for the next few days.

By preparing a large batch of a specific meal, you drastically reduces your cooking time. This means that at work you don’t hit the often not so healthy canteen and in the evenings you don’t have to worry about slogging over the stove to cook meals.

The recipe below is one of my favourites and features, alongside others, on the daily mail website.

I get my meat from Muscle Food Uk, and couldn’t recommend their products enough. The service is quick and efficient, the meat is a bargain and, importantly, it is delicious!

Serves 2

Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced.
  • I stick of celery finely chopped,
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil,
  • 1 tsp of mixed herbs,
  • 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes,
  • Seasoning to taste!
  • 8 turkey meatballs,
  • 2 courgettes, spiralised,

 

  1. For the sauce, put the onion and celery into a preheated frying pan and sautee for about ten minutes.
  2. Add the can of tomatoes, filling up the empty can with water to add to the pan.
  3. Season, stir well and let the mixture come to a bubble, then turn the heat down and simmer the sauce gently while you get on with the meatballs.
  4. Drop the meatballs gently into the simmering sauce.
  5. Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve with courgetti.

Enjoy!

xxx

Ollybars.. My thoughts.

I recently discovered Olly Bars, a London based producer of handmade, healthy snack bars intended to keep you fuller for longer. Olly started the business with the aim of creating the ‘best tasting energy bars’ packed with plenty of healthy fruit and nuts. Many ‘healthy’ breakfast bars are actually anything but that, so I was pretty chuffed to be sent these bars! These bars are SO addictive but guilt free as they don’t contain all the additives.

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There are three different flavours: banana brunch, peanut choc chip and all day breakfast.

‘All day Breakfast’

Made with oats, dates, nuts and cocoa butter this snack bar will keep you full all morning. This bar is a good source of protein, with each bar containing 9g. It is also high in protein, additive-free and suitable for vegans. The bar has a chewy consistency and with every bite, you bite in to something different. It is a sizeable bar, probably double the size of those you would normally buy, so is great, satisfying breakfast option.

‘Peanut Choc Chip’

This bar is brilliant as a sweet but guilt-free dessert (and will satisfy a peanut-lover no end). It has to be my favourite. It is sweet but not too sweet and has an amazing texture. Basically, I love it!!!

‘Banana Brunch’

The superfood snack contains chia, sunflower and flax seeds – and has lowered the amount of natural fruit sugars by 40%, replacing them with protein by using vegan-friendly pea crunchies. Coming in at around 250 calories, it is a great pre/ post workout snack.. it didn’t quite suffice for breakfast.

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Overall, I give the bars an average of 7/10 BUTthe peanut choc chip bar gets 10/10 from me!

 

Hannah x

Turkey Mince.. My favourite recipes.

If you’ve followed for a while, you will probably know by now that I  love turkey mince. I think it is so versatile. So much so, that I prep it for both lunches and dinners.

You can also have it in so many forms:

  • Meatballs,
  • Burgers,
  • Mince- think Chilli con carne, tacos, keemas (this is my absolute favourite), lasagna, as a pizza topping.
  • Basically, if red meat is the mince suggestion in a recipe, just change it to turkey.

Why turkey mince?

In no way am I saying that red meat is bad, in fact my Dad is a beef farmer (check out Hannem Limousin’s). Red meat is a good source of proteins, vitamins and minerals in your diet. Red meat provides us with iron, and meat is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12. However, too much red meat can lead to you eating too much saturated fat.

This is where the turkey mince comes in to action. You can have the same meals, BUT with less fat, calories and more protein. If you are going to swap to turkey then make sure you are using turkey breast mince, not thigh. The thigh is a much fattier cut of meat and can end up the same if not higher in calories and fat than beef mince and undoing all your good intentions!

So, here are a few of my favourite recipes from around the internet that are quick and easy and use mince that I would change to a turkey alternative.

  1. Turkey Mince Cottage Pie with a sweet potato topping. 
  2. The best healthy Turkey Chilli. 
  3. Slowcooker healthy Turkey Keema
  4. Turkey Burgers; here are a few recipes:

5.  Turkey Meatballs; here are a few that I love:

 

I hope you find this helpful!

 

Hannah xxx

 

Carrot Loaf cake…

I love carrot cake; as I was growing up, it was definitely my favourite cake of choice! However, your traditional cake is definitely not as healthy as this option and is often high in both fat and calories!

This cake though, contains 6.8g of protein per slice and only 1.2g of fat!

Ingredients:

  • 100g of plain yogurt,
  • 250g of liquid egg whites (or 4 whole eggs whisked together),
  • 40g of vanilla or plain whey protein,
  • 150g of grated carrot,
  • 30g of date nectar,
  • 50g of coconut flour,
  • 50g of dried fruit,

For the icing:

  • 20g of casein protein,
  • 100g of plain yogurt,
  • nuts and seeds to sprinkle!

Method: 

  1. Line a loaf tin and pre heat your oven to 160C,
  2. Combine all of the cake ingredients until well mixed and then pour them in to the tin,
  3. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until firm to touch.
  4. Take the cake out of the tin and tip on a cooling rack,
  5. Leave the cake to cool on a cooling rack,
  6. Whilst the cake is cooling, mix together the yogurt and casein,
  7. Once cooled, spread this over the cake and then sprinkle the nuts and seeds on top,
  8. ENJOY!

 

Don’t forget to let me know if you make it!

 

Hannah x

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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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.