Cheat Treat – MYO Bounty Bites

A healthy lifestyle and diet is all about balance. Unless you have military discipline, it can be almost impossible to have a golden week of healthy meals and let’s be honest, you shouldn’t have to. Life is all about enjoying it and I think that if you really want that last slice of cake then just go for it. Why deny yourself these delectable pleasures in life?
Now, in saying that I’m not encouraging you to go and eat the whole packet of biscuits or anything like that but just to be mindful that there is nothing wrong with treating yourself.
This post is a recipe for a super sweet treat that will satisfy your sugar cravings but also help you stay on track if you are keeping up a healthy diet.
As with all my recipes, they are quick and easy to make and taste really nice. There is little effort involved with this one so try them out and see what you think. They are a nice Saturday or Sunday afternoon activity that you can enjoy when they’re done with a nice brew.
They store well so you can make up a batch and have them on-hand in the snack drawer for when those cheeky cravings creep up on you during the week too.
It’s hard to go wrong with these little guys 🙂

Ingredients

4 Tbsp. Honey
110 grams Dark Chocolate
1 Tsp. Vanilla Essence
5 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 cups Desiccated Coconut

Method

In a mixing bowl, add the coconut, honey, vanilla and coconut oil.
Mix it all together evenly to make a big white, coconuty paste.
Using your hands, take a chunk of the paste and start to roll into a ball, squeezing out any air to make it nice and compact.
Continue to do this until all the mix has been used up.
Lay the coconut bites out on a tray, cover with cling film and leave to set in the fridge for about an hour or until they have solidified.
When you’re happy with them, start to melt your chocolate in a bowl until it runs nice and thin.
Pop each coconut ball into the chocolate and cover evenly. Transfer to the tray you used earlier.
Continue to do this until all the bites have been chocolified.
When they’re all done, pop the tray back in the fridge for another while until the chocolate has cooled and set.
Admire your creation and enjoy their yummy goodness.

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Infused Olive Oils

Olive oil is one of the good ones, full of the good fats and an essential cooking product for the healthy chef.

To heat on the pan when cooking or drizzle over salad as a dressing alternative, its just something you need to have in the cupboard.
A great way to enjoy olive oil more and use it more diversely is to infuse it with your favourite herbs and spices.
This is just a quick post to show you how to create some really interesting flavours that you can then add to your favourite cooked dishes and especially salads.
Essentially all you need is a big bottle of good quality olive oil, some smaller glass bottles or jars and your desired ingredients to add to the oil.
Below is the guide for:

Chili Oil
Garlic Oil
Basil Oil
Rosemary Oil

Basil Oil
3-4 sprigs fresh Basil
½ cup olive oil

Rosemary Oil
3-4 sprigs Rosemary
½ cup olive oil

Chili Oil
1 tbsp Red Chili Flakes
1 to 2 whole, dried Thai chilies
½ cup olive oil

For each of the above ingredients, the recipe is pretty simple.
Stuff your herb or chili into the bottle or jar you are going to use.
Warm the olive oil on a pan until it starts to bubble slightly.
Ten pour the oil into the jar and seal tightly.
Store in the fridge overnight and it will be ready to use.

Garlic Oil
4 cloves Garlic, peeled
Juice from ¼ lemon
1 to 2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Garlic infused oil is a bit more complex to put together as uncooked garlic can cause food poisoning.
So, half your garlic cloves steep them in the lemon juice.
Then roast them in the oven for about 45 minutes.
Add the cloves to a small airtight container and pour the oil over the cloves until they are covered in oil.
Refrigerate overnight and then strain the oil into a jar or bottle and seal.
Do not add the garlic cloves to the bottle.

These oils can be used and stored for about 10-14 days. I would recommend storing them in the fridge also.

Homemade Fit Food – Granola

Granola is a really good contributor to a healthy diet – but only if its not loaded with sugar like so many brands available on the market now.
I remember thinking I was only brilliant having granola with my yogurt instead of cereal but it can pretty scary when you read the packet and see what’s actually in there.
So to save myself the bother, I experimented around in the kitchen instead and have started to make my own so I know exactly whats gone into it and I’m not loading up on hidden sugars.
Granola is one of those foods that you can keep versatile, there’s no set list of ingredients you have to abide by.
Nuts and seeds would be my main additions but that’s not to say you can’t use dried fruits among other ingredients, that’s just my personal preference.
Anyway, here is a quick breakdown of how I make my own granola. Hopefully it will inspire you to throw some of your own together for an energy filled breakfast.

Ingredients

1 cup Porridge Oats
1/4 cup Chopped Almonds
1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 cup mix of Chia, Flax and Sesame Seeds
1/2 cup Dried Goji Berries
1/4 cup Raisins/Sultanas
1/2 cup Honey

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees C.
Pour the porridge oats, almonds and all your seeds into a bowl and mix around.
On some greased parchment paper on an oven tray, pour out the oast and seed mix to make one layer.
Place the oven tray into the middle shelf of the oven and toast your mix for about 10-15 minutes or until the mix becomes golden brown.
Transfer your oat and seed mix back into a bowl and add the berries, raisins and honey.
Evenly coat the mix with the honey and spread back out onto a flat dish.
Leave to cool and set in the fridge for a couple of hours and then move your granola into an aitight container.

This will keep for a good few days and can be used to mix through some yogurt for a really yummy breakfast.

The Salad Bar – Sweet Potato & Fig Salad

I ordered this salad in a bar in Australia a few years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since.
It’s such a simple combination of ingredients but I would have never thought to combine them and now I’m so glad I have because the taste is something serious.
With its sweet against salty combination, this salad will certainly satisfy your taste buds and also impress your friends at that Summer Barbeque.

Ingredients

100 grams Fresh Baby Spinach
1 medium Sweet Potato, diced
1 cup Greek Feta, diced
1 cup Dried Figs, halved
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees C and cover an oven tray with greaseproof paper.
Spread out the sweet potato cubes on the tray and spray with olive oil.
Pop the tray in the oven and roast the cubes until cooked through, about 20 minutes usually.
Remove the sweet potato from the oven and leave to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
While you’re waiting for the cubes to cool, add spinach, feta and figs to a large salad bowl.
Add the balsamic vinegar and toss.
When the sweet potato has cooled, add this to the salad bowl and give it another toss.
Pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a fork and sit out the back to enjoy.
Hashtag Summer 🙂

Feature Fit Food #2 – Spinach

Spinach, in all it’s dark green glory, really is a super Superfood.
This leafy green vegetable is bursting with nutrient richness and so many health benefiting properties.
Although some would say it’s an acquired taste, spinach is certainly a vegetable that everyone should try to incorporate into their diet and this post is going to give you a few reasons why.
I myself am one of this Leaf’s biggest fans using it in almost every meal in some form and go through bags of it in my weekly grocery shop.
You can buy spinach in its fresh form from the vegetable aisle but I also always keep a big bag of frozen spinach in the freezer to use in cooking.
When it comes to my diet, the more spinach the better and here are a few facts to show you why.

Below is the Nutritional Information Per 100 grams of Fresh Spinach:

Calories

23 g
Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 0 g
Sodium 79 mg
Potassium 558 mg
Carbohydrate 3.6 g
Dietary Fibre 22 g
Sugar 0.4 g
Protein 2.9 g

To summarise the above table, Spinach is basically class! It’s low in Fat and Cholesterol and high in Potassium, Protein and Fibre.
Along with these rich properties, Spinach is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Studies have also liked Spinach to have some anti-cancerous properties also.

The nutritious properties of Spinach does not stop there though. There is a whole host of other vitamins and minerals that Spinach has that only adds to its superness!

Per 100 grams of fresh spinach, there is 187% of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A provides certain health benefits such as immune support, eye health, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

There is also 9% RDA Of Calcium which is crucial to bone health and brain-to-body communication.

With 40% RDA of Vitamin C, Spinach is a great way to increase your intake of this highly important vitamin. Vitamin C provides support for the growth and repair of tissue, repair of wounds and also helps produce Collagen.

100 grams of Spinach packs in 15% RDA of Iron too which is essential for healthy blood in the body. There is also 10% RDA Of the ever-important Vitamin B6 which we need to release energy from our food and reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Last but certainly not least, there is 19% RDA of Magnesium. Magnesium is an under-rated mineral that provides so many health benefits including tissue repair, immune support, heart health, diabetes prevention and some studies also link good levels of magnesium to a lower level of depression and headaches.

So I think it’s safe to say from the above that Spinach really is a super food and the more we incorporate it into our diet, the better off we’ll be.

Check out a couple of my recipes that include Spinach under the “Green” category and keep an eye out for more to come!

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Sweet Potato Scoops

Ingredients

1 medium Sweet Potato, washed
4 cubes Frozen Spinach
4 Tbsp. Low Fat Cream Cheese
2 sprigs Spring Onion, finely chopped
4 Bacon Rashers, diced
½ cup Grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Method

Preheat your oven to 200 Degrees C and line an oven tray with greased parchment paper
Rub your squeaky clean Sweet Potato with olive oil, cut in half lengthways and wrap in tin foil.
Pop the potatoes on the tray and into the oven for 45 – 60 mins (keep an eye on them as you don’t want to overdo them, it will depend on their size how long they will take).
When they have been cooked through, remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and the tin foil and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.
While waiting for the potatoes to cool, throw your diced bacon rashers onto a hot pan and cook quickly.
Transfer cooked bacon to some paper towel to absorb any excess fat.
Once cooled, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
Put the potato skins to one side.
Defrost the frozen spinach and drain off any excess water.
Add the spinach, chopped spring onion, cream cheese and cooked bacon bits to the potato.
Mix up all the ingredients with a spoon until even and stuff the mix back into each of the halved potato skins.
Sprinkle each of your potato halves with the parmesan and grill until golden brown.
Serve piping hot.

These guys are such a treat and taste a lot naughtier than they really are.
You can have them as a main meal or use one half as a side to a main dish either, it’s totally up to you!
The filling’s ingredients are also not limited to what I have suggested, you can use any number of ingredients that you like to make your filling.
Enjoy Guys!!

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Homemade Fit Food – Peanut Butter Dip

This little winner is so simple to make and will help you keep on track with all the healthy changes you’ve been making.
Packed with protein and energy, this dip will fill you nicely before or after a workout or will wait quietly for you in the fridge for when you have a burst of craves.
Give it a lash and let me know what you reckon?!

Ingredients

½ cup (Low Fat) Greek Yogurt
¼ cup good quality Peanut Butter (crunchy is better in my opinion for this but up to you!)
½ Tbsp. Lemon Juice

Method

Not even a recipe guys, throw all 3 ingredients into the blender or Nutribullet or even use a bit of elbow grease and mix until even.
Chop up some fruit or veg or whatever you want to dip in and enjoy the yummy goodness 🙂

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Zucchini Fritters

These guys are a great way to get some additional veg into your diet without chomping down on the same old salad every day.
There’s a little bit of preparation involved but they taste great and look great too.
Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable and is defo one of my faves so here is the latest creation I could think up for you guys.

Ingredients

1 large zucchini, topped and tailed
1 medium potato, peeled
1 brown or white onion, peeled and chopped
¼ cup wholemeal flour
1 egg, beaten
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C.
In a large bowl, grate your zucchini and potato and mix together.
Transfer the mix to some paper towel and squeeze as much moisture as possible from the vegetables.
Dry them out as much as you can and pop them back in the bowl.
Add the flour to the mix to help absorb the moisture and throw in the onion.
Add salt and pepper and stir the mix thoroughly .
Add the beaten egg and cover all of the mix in the egg.
If the mix looks too runny, add a little bit more flour to help it solidify.
Heat the olive oil on a pan and take a handful of the mix in your palm to create a patty.
Pop the patty on the pan and repeat 3-4 times until the pan is full.
Cook the patties on each side for about 4-5 minutes and transfer to a foil lined oven tray.
Repeat this until all of the mix has been used up.
Pop the oven tray with all your patties into the oven and let them finish cooking in there for about 20 minutes.
Keep an eye on them though as you don’t want them to burn.
Remove from the oven and enjoy piping hot!

Zucchini Fritters can be used as a side dish in a main meal or as the main component also.
They can be eaten as a vegetarian alternative to a burger patty in a bun or whatever way you like to enjoy a burger.
They go great as a side with the Stuffed Peppers I posted about the other day too if you want to create a very fancy looking and really healthy dish.

*Tip: If you are lucky enough to own a Spiralizer like me, you can also spiralize the zucchini and potato and even the onion if you like instead of grating them.
Use the small noodle blade if you do go down this road.
Your fritters will look even extra awesome!

Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I’m always thinking of new ways to use my favourite lean ingredients for my main meals so that I don’t grow tired of the same food day-in-day-out and to keep myself interested in healthy eating.
I’ve been on the Turkey Burger train the last few months and as tasty as they are, I wanted to find other ways to use turkey mince so that I can mix it up week to week.
My other lunch staple is always Spinach and then I’ll always use whatever else is in the fridge to make some sort of meal out of these guys.
So my latest idea was to give Stuffed Peppers a try. They always look so pretty and when you break down the ingredients I figured you can make them to be good and healthy so I said I’d give them a go.
I was pretty chuffed with the finished product and again they’re quick to make and cheap to buy so 10/10 all ‘round.
Enjoy folks!!

Ingredients

400 grams Lean Turkey Mince
100 grams Quinoa, uncooked
300 ml Chicken Stock
4 large Peppers, halved and deseeded
4 cubes Frozen Spinach
25 grams Feta, crumbled
1 Tsp. Onion Granules
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
½ Tsp. Chili Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees C and line an oven tray with greased tin foil.
In a pot, cook quinoa in the chicken stock as per the packet instructions.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat some olive oil on a pan and fry the turkey mice.
Pour some boiling water over the frozen spinach and leave to defrost for a couple of minutes.
Drain the spinach of any excess water and add to the turkey.
Add all of the seasoning and stir through.
Cook until the mince has begun to brown and leave to one side.
Making sure your peppers have been hollowed out, place them on the oven tray.
When your quinoa has been cooked through, transfer from the pot and add it to the turkey mix and stir in.
Use a spoon to scoop the turkey and quinoa mix from the pan and fill each of the halved peppers.
When all of the peppers have been filled, sprinkle the crumbled feta on the top of each pepper.
Place your oven tray on the middle shelf of the oven and roast the stuffed peppers for 10-15 minutes or until the feta has started to brown.
Remove the tray from the oven and serve immediately.

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I’m having mine this week with fresh spinach and steamed asparagus and its delish!

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Homemade Fit Food- Blueberry Power Muffins

The next instalment of my Fit Food Series are the little beauties I like to call Blueberry Power Muffins.
This Fit Food has a similar recipe to my Porridge Bread so if you’ve tried that you’ll know they’re cheap and cheerful to whack together.
My Power Muffins are packed with energy, protein and anti-oxidants so they’re well worth giving a go.
Have Fun!

Ingredients

1 x 500  ml cup Greek Style Yogurt
2 cup Porridge Oats (rinse out yogurt tub and fill twice with oats)
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tbsp. Stevia Sweetener
1 small punnet Fresh Blueberries
1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
1 egg, beaten
Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C.
Spray a muffin tray with olive oil spray and set to one side.
In a large mixing bowl, add yogurt, baking soda and stevia sweetener and stir briskly until the mix starts to rise.
Pour oats in gradually and stir until fully covered by yogurt.
Add blueberries and beaten egg and continue to mix until you’ve created an even dough-like mixture.
Scoop out the mix bit by bit into the muffin cases until all the mix has been used up.
Sprinkle the chia seeds and some porridge oats over each muffin and push down with the back of a spoon so they’ll stick.
Pop the muffin tray in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes.’
They may need a little longer so judge this by how moist the dough in the middle of one muffin is until you’re happy they’re cooked though.
Once cooked, leave the muffins to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.

These Power Muffins are great to throw in your lunch box or gym bag and have as a mid-morning or pre workout snack.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think 😉

Homemade Hummus

When making small changes to your diet to become healthier, another ideal food to add to the menu is Hummus. Hummus is mainly made from Chick Peas that are packed with protein, fibre and omega 3.
You can use it as a trusty condiment for snacks or as an alternative dip or side sauce for more substantial meals. One of the most well known ways to have hummus is with carrot batons but I also like to use it as an alternative to mayonnaise or butter on (porridge) bread, crackers, wraps. My favourite way to have it is with Falafel as a side sauce. The two are a match made in heaven.

You can also vary the flavours of hummus you have if you want to keep it interesting and enticing.
Flavours such as garlic & lemon, roast carrot, red pepper and my favourite, beetroot, are just some examples of how you can spice it up.

Here are the basic instructions to make it and I’ll include some tips on how to add the extra flavours further down.

Ingredients

1 tin Chick Peas, rinsed
2 cloves Garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp. Tahini
Pinch of Ground Cumin
1.5 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Water
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Simply combine all these ingredients into a food processor, blender or Nutribullet
and whizz until you reach the consistency you want.
You may need to add a tipple more of water or olive oil so keep going until you’re happy with how it looks.
Do a taste test and see if you want to add a bit more seasoning, its totes up to you how you want it to taste!

If you want to mix it up and make some beautifully coloured and flavoured hummus to show off, the recipe is easy to add to.

For roast carrot, pepper or beetroot hummus, simply chop up your chosen vegetable into small chunks, spread out on a baking tray and cook for 10-15 minutes.
After you have made your base hummus, add the roast veg to the mixer and whizz it through.

For lemon & garlic hummus or sundried tomato and basil, again just chop up your desired ingredients and add them to the base hummus to combine.

Once you’ve made the base recipe, its hard to go wrong with adding different flavours so have some fun with it and enjoy the end result!

Inspiration : Asian

With overseas travel becoming more affordable and popular in recent years, international cuisine is fast becoming the same.
Curries, stir fries, noodles, sushi – they are available everywhere now and the best thing about these South East Asian eats is that they’re quick, clean and wholesome.
Travelling South East Asia last year was a culinary feast for me as a foodie, I literally couldn’t wait for the next time I would be hungry and my bucket list mainly contained local, ethnic dishes I had heard about before the trip.
Anyone who has been to South East Asia will agree with me that the locals like to cook fast. The main means to a main meal in South East Asia is usually a giant hot wok where you throw all of your
desired ingredients in and let the fusion begin. With most of these countries belonging to the third world, you will also see that the locals will source their food as fresh and as cheap as possible with vegetarian dishes being hugely popular
due to the high cost of meat and poultry.
A foodies dream, South East Asia dared me to push my taste buds to the max and dip outside my comfort zone every now and then by trying something new and bizarre.
The intense aroma of chili and garlic fusing together with fresh coriander and basil winding its way through a busy food market is really something else!

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Me trying the local delicacy – deep fried cockroach

I took notes of every dish that delighted or surprised me, guessing what flavours were used to make me so satisfied.
I also took a Thai Cooking Class in Northern Thailand to learn as much as I could about the core fundamentals of South East Asian cuisine.
I would like to share with you some of my favourite dishes from the trip over a series of posts and hopefully give you some Asian Inspiration for your next meal.

First up is an all ’round favourite – Thai Green Curry.
Here you will see how to create the paste from scratch and I’ll add a quick recipe to throw it together at the end.

Ingredients

5 fresh Green Chilis, finely chopped
1 Tsp. Salt
1 thumb Lemongrass, finely chopped
5 cloves Garlic, crushed
3 Shallots, sliced
1/4 lime, sliced
1 Tbsp. Coriander, chopped
1 Tsp. Turmeric
1 Tsp. Shrimp Paste
1 Tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Ground Coriander
1/2 Tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp. Ground Ginger

Method

Using a food processor, pestle and mortar, coffee grinder; combine ground coriander, cumin seeds and black pepper.
Add the green chilis and salt and mix thoroughly.
Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the shrimp paste and combine together.
Once youve reached a smooth paste-like consistency, add the shrimp paste and mix until smooth and fine.
*If you want to make the paste greener, add in some coriander or basil leaf and combine.
You now have your paste!
I know its much easier just to buy from the jar but trust me, it tastes far better when you make it yourself – so authentic!

*To make a thai green curry with your paste, brown a chopped onion on a hot pan and add 2 Tsp. of the paste.
Stir in 1/2 cup of coconut milk and stir until mixed through.
Add your sliced meat of choice, I usually use chicken or prawns and stir until meat is cooked through.
Gradually add another 1/2 cup of coconut milk and 1 Tbsp. fish sauce and stir through.
Leave to bubble on a low heat for about 10-15 minutes and serve with steamed rice.
Delish!

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Vietnamese Noodle Soup

This is one of my favourite quick dishes to throw together.
It takes no time at all and is so yum!

Ingredients

500 ml vegetable or chicken stock
50 grams rice noodles
5-8 mushrooms, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
1 cup bean sprouts, washed
1 cup bok choy leaves, chopped
1/2 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 red chilli, sliced and de-seeded
Pinch of garlic powder
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 Tpsn. Fish Sauce
1/2 cup thinly sliced meat of choice (chicken, beef, pork or a handful of prawns)

Method

I don’t really have too much of a method for this one, its usually just me throwing it all in and hoping for the best.

In a small pot, bring your stock to the boil.
Once bubbling, add the thinly sliced meat of choice and let it cook in the stock for about 5 minutes to make your broth.
Add mushrooms, spring onion, carrots, garlic and fish sauce and let fuse until mushrooms are soft.
Add rice noodles and cook for about 5 minutes.
At this stage, do a taste test and see what you want to add more of, garlic, chilli flakes, salt, whatever.
Once you’re happy with the flavour, throw in the fresh chilis, bean sprouts, bok choy and soy sauce and let them warm up for about a minute or two.
Transfer from the pot to a bowl and dig in.
My mouth is actually watering writing this, I think I know whats on the menu for me today!