Breakfast on the go!

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I’m always looking out for quickie breakfasts that are clean, filling AND super tasty for when I’m on the go. I have been stalking KALYN’S KITCHEN recently for ideas and came across a broccoli and cheese casserole that I had to try. The concept is simple, you can pretty much go crazy and add any mix of vegetables you like and it can be eaten hot or cold – perfect if you don’t have access to a microwave! 
Preheat the oven to 375 F whilst preparing the ingredients. I used:
1 broccoli crown
1 red pepper
1 cup spinach
1/3 cup mexican cheese blend
6 eggs + 1 cup egg whites + splash whole milk
I blanched the broccoli for a couple of minutes in boiling water and then added them to the tin along with the chopped red pepper and spinach. I whisked the eggs and egg whites together with some whole milk – you could use almond milk here as an alternative. I added salt, pepper, marjoram spice and basil to the eggs then poured over the veggies in the tin. I mixed it all together using a spoon and sprinkled the cheese over the top. I then baked it in the oven for approx 25mins – basically until it has cooked through. Once cool, I cut into portions (it made 5 servings) and wrapped in foil for the fridge. 

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Healing from the inside out

Reposting this article as anti-inflammatory foods are so important during the winter months when your immune system might drop. There are always lots of nasty bugs flying around too that you hopefully can avoid with some of these eating tips!!

The Provan Way

AppleAfter our trip to True Food Kitchen yesterday where the menu is based on the anti-inflammatory diet, it got me thinking more about the concept and how it could be beneficial to me and my poor strained groin. A muscle strain generally occurs when the muscle itself has been over-stretched or torn, damaging the muscle fibers. This can cause inflammation in the tissue surrounding the muscle. It’s inevitable that inflammation in the body will lead to ill-health and disease in extreme cases. Inflammation can be swelling, redness, heat and pain produced in the body. Your diet can change that. I’m a firm believer that your diet and the food you consume is the best medicine to better health. So why not consume more of those anti-inflammatory foods and speed up this recovery before I go potty from not working out!
Here’s my top tips for an anti-inflammatory diet:
  • Stuff yourself to the brim with vegetables at every…

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Your organic grocery list

I’ve seen my grocery bill increase a great deal since opting for organically grown fruit and vegetables. This morning I paid $2.98 for a red pepper. RIDICULOUS! We go through so much fruit and veggies in our household. For me alone, I usually aim to eat between 9-11 servings. So you can imagine how much I need my fridge to be stocked. It’s too expensive for me to buy all of my groceries organic, so I prioritize and buy the ‘dirty dozen’ list organic. The Environment Working Group released a list of 48 items from the most contaminated to the least contaminated – click here to see them. The ones towards the end of the list generally have thick skins i.e. pineapples, avocados – therefore the innards are safer. The ‘dirty dozen’ is a great reference guide for your organic items and the clean fifteen items are safe to eat non-organic! Print it off and take it with you to the store!!
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Cookie Dough DIP!

IMG_4657Following on from my last post about your winter waistline, I thought I’d scour some healthy eating blogs and find some tasty recipes to try out in preparation. I came across Chocolate Covered Katie and love her creative recipe ideas! Since moving to Houston I’ve been blown away by cookie dough. I wish I’d never tried it as I’m hooked! If you haven’t visited Marble Slab Creamery then take a trip there. Oh. My. God. it is the cream of the crop when it comes to cookie dough ice-cream. It’s my go to place when I want to indulge and treat myself. 
So when I spotted this recipe for a Healthy Cookie Dough Dip, I was excited. My excitement soon faded however when I looked at the ingredients. Chick peas. Say what?! I really doubted that this could taste good but curiosity got the better of me and I tried it out. Well I was wrong, it’s delicious and I encourage you to try this out and see for yourself. I have such a sweet tooth and this really hit the spot. It’s not a bang-on equivalent to cookie dough but it is a seriously tasty dip that resembles cookie dough flavours. It’s protein rich from the chick peas, gluten-free and contains no refined sugar. I have pretty much demolished the whole tub. Winner.
Ingredients:
1 can chick peas / garbanzo beans (drain and rinse well)
Pinch salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup organic maple syrup
1/3 cup choc chips – I used 62% cacao dark chocolate chunks
3 tbsp rolled gluten free oats
I very simply combined all of the above ingredients (apart from the chocky) into a blender and mixed until it was a paste-like consistency. I then added the chocky chunks and blasted it in the blender so that it was still pretty chunky throughout the dip. Put in the fridge overnight and serve up with rice cakes, crackers, chips or shortbread. Featured in the photo is mini star-shaped shortbread cookies I picked up! 

Your winter waistline

I’m sure you’ve noticed the increasing number of articles flying around the net about ‘fighting the holiday bulge’ or ”what NOT to eat during the holidays’… and being a bit of a health-freak it’s making me anxious!! I don’t want to feel like this!! Holidays should be about relaxing and indulging with friends and family. Letting your hair down and enjoying these precious times together. You only have one life to live and it would be SO boring without treats along the way. Now I’m not saying forget about all the hard work you put in keeping yourself fit and healthy, what I’m saying is don’t stress too much about having a mulled wine (or two) and a christmas pie! My view is if there is a time in your life that it’s OKAY to put on a few pounds, it’s the Xmas holidays (or your honeymoon!!) You’re all wrapped up anyway in your cosy clothes, hibernation sets in and that little bit of extra fat will keep your body a little more insulated. So try NOT to freak out over what you’re going to eat and drink over the holidays and follow some simple pointers –
  • Portion control. Enjoy all the trimmings of your Xmas dinner but opt for smaller portions. Avoid overeating. It’s hard I know. 
  • Workout! Complete a 30-45 minute circuit targeting the entire body in the MORNINGS and get the metabolism fired up. This will leave you the rest of the day for fun times with the family and reduce those guilty pangs when you pick up a glass of red!
  • Make your own desserts and treats! Have fun with your family cooking clean and delicious Christmas delights to enjoy with half the calories. There are endless websites/blogs out there with recipes that provide healthy alternatives without all that added sugar. Get creative. 
  • Eat filling healthy snacks throughout the day as you normally would. Don’t starve yourself prior to having a large meal or you definitely will overeat. Your body will also be in starvation mode and will cling onto every ounce of fat that you eat during that meal. 
  • Don’t stress! When you’re stressed your body releases the hormone cortisol which will increase your cravings for comfort food and BAD treats. Relax and enjoy.
With a drop in temperature your appetite will increase. I know I’m craving warm, high-carb foods like there’s no tomorrow! The temperature rarely drops to freezing in Houston, but you definitely feel the colder weather after such a hot and steamy summer. I’ve been making hearty soups to keep me warm and full and as soon as it’s a little cold I’m armed with a scarf and hat. But getting all wrapped up isn’t quite enough to keep your body protected from the cold. With colder temperatures, comes colder bodies. This is what encourages the cravings for warm and comforting foods. 
Fox News reported that a study from Texas Tech University followed 48 men and 100 women between the ages of 18 and 65 for the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. At the beginning and end of the study, researchers measured the subjects’ weights and body fat percentages. On average, the volunteers gained one and a half pounds (men about two pounds each, and about a pound for the women), far less than the 7 to 10 pounds often cited this time of year!! So cheers to the holidays everyone and enjoy!!

Heat your cockles – Mild Cod Curry

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This is a repost of a recipe on my facebook page that we enjoyed last night. Perfect for the colder weather! There is lots of hype in the press about fish oil and the intake of omega 3’s due to hundreds of studies backing up the benefits. It’s been shown to reduce the risk cardiovascular disease, reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels; function as a natural blood thinner, which results in the lowering of blood pressure; and reduces inflammation in the body. So on that note, I try get a range of fish in my diet – salmon, cod, tuna. Here’s a very simple recipe with minimal prep time and takes 20mins to cook! 
Alaskan cod fillet
1 Red bell pepper
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander / fresh leaves
Pinch red chilli pepper flakes
(Salt & black pepper to taste)

Sautee the red pepper for a couple of mins then add all the dry herbs/spices. Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the fish, poaching it for approx 20 mins or until the fish flakes. Buy a large piece of fish so you can portion it out across several meals. This tastes AMAZING on day two! Serve with your favourite green veggies!!

Fuel your workout

We get energy from the food we consume – proteins, fats and carbohydrates (macronutrients). Without going into too much detail, each of these macro’s are of great importance to your diet AND your workouts. 
So in order to have a great workout with heaps of energy AND to ensure that you recover quickly and effectively from it, you need to make sure that your feeding yourself before and after. Everyone’s nutritional needs will differ but regardless of your goals / activity level, the importance of eating these macros is paramount. If you are not exercising super early in the morning, ensure you have a well BALANCED meal of protein, carbs and fats, 2-3 hrs prior. I talk to so many people that go CRAZY for high-protein, low-carb meals. Protein rarely supplies energy during exercise. The only time it can be used as fuel is when your in starvation mode!! Carbohydrates will provide you with fuel and energy for day to day life and exercise. Simple carbs are a great option before exercise as they are easily digested – fruit being a top option as it’s easily digested, convenient and easy to take with you if you’re out and about.
I prefer to have a snack that combines all my macros – mainly carbs with some protein and fat. Similar to my main meals but a far smaller portion! This concept I carry throughout the day, including post workout. Eating this way does require preparation and if you can find 5 minutes to organise these, you will see an increase in your energy levels and no doubt greater results! Your portion size and timing of your snack can only be determined with trial and error. Aim to eat your snack 30mins-1hr prior to exercise. It has taken me a long time to get to this point of knowing what and when I need to eat before I workout. The below are some PRE WORKOUT snacks I enjoy!!
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 1/2 cup cantaloupe melon, tsp almond butter
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup blueberries, small handful raw unsalted nuts
  • my PANCAKE RECIPE!
  • spread tsp almond butter on 1 rice cake, mash 1/3 banana on the top (YUM)
  • smoothies!! 1 cup almond milk, scoop vanilla protein, 1/2 cup blueberries, small handful raw unsalted nuts
  • another smoothie – 1 cup almond milk, scoop vanilla protein, cup spinach, 1/2 apple, tbsp avocado
  • 2 hard boiled eggs with carrot stalks and hummus
  • 2 slices turkey breast, 1 cup wilted spinach, tbsp avocado on half an ezekiel muffin
  • Apple slices with tsp almond butter
Please share any yummy pre-workout snacks or habits that you have!! I’m always up for trying something new!!

Autumn grilled salmon

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With the change of weather comes a change in taste buds. My body is preparing for winter hibernation so I’m craving warm and filling foods. No more salads. So I dusted off my George Forman for a spot of indoor grilling. If you don’t have one, I highly suggest adding one to the kitchen collection. You can pretty much whack anything on the Forman. They are inexpensive and everything seems to taste great when cooked on it. When using it for meats, the grease simply drains off reducing the amount of saturated fat and calories. This is a simple dish with lots of beautiful flavours that requires little preparation and cooking time. Just how I like it, FUSS FREE AND FULL OF GOODNESS. There’s a full list of ingredients at the bottom of the post.
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Season the salmon with sea salt, black pepper and I’ve used a cajun creole seasoning here (blend of paprika, onion, lemon peel, chile pepper, thyme, cloves, red pepper, bay leaf)
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Pop the fillet into the Georgey and close the lid. Cooking time will depend on how you like it and the thickness of the fillet. I like it quite pink in the middle, so this fillet only took 10 minutes. Meanwhile clean the brussels, chop the ends off and chop into smaller pieces. Heat a skillet with a large helping of grapeseed oil. You can use olive oil. Throw in the brussels, chopped zucchini and season with garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper and a large handful of WALNUTS. 
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Saute the brussels for approx 10 minutes. Cooking time will depend on how you like them!  I like mine with a little crunch! The skin of the salmon should peel of easily when removed from the grill. The walnuts work so well with the brussels, I really love all these flavours together. Enjoy! 
IMG_4587 Ingredients:
  • Salmon fillet
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Zucchini
  • Large handful of raw unsalted walnuts
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Beanies!

Are you a fan of heinz baked beans? If you’re from the UK then you probably are, especially layered on toast with a hangover! Mmm! Have you’ve ever checked out the nutrition label though? Um totally devastating. Each tin contains over 20g sugar and only 1/2 can, the recommended serving size, contains 25% of your daily salt intake… waaah! (Please note these figures may differ in the UK!!!)
BUT winters coming in and I’m craving comforting food. Beans are top of the list. They’re hearty, absorb flavours really well so work well with spices AND they are fibrous, so they’ll keep my belly feeling fuller for longer. I made my own easy and clean recipe with ALOT less sugar and salt. They are 100% more tasty than heinz beans and have a bit of heat to them. These beans will be ready in 30mins max and make a great accompaniment to a baked potato, omelette, or whatever you wish. Ross had some this evening in a baked potato with roast chicken and a dollop of sour cream. YUM!
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Ingredients:
  • 15oz Tin red kidney beans
  • 8oz tin tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp of worcestershire sauce
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
If you like super spicy, try adding tabasco sauce!
Combine all the ingredients in a small pan, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat until the sauce is nice and thick – I cooked them for approx 25 mins. Easy to store in the fridge and reheat when needed! They taste even better on day 2! Enjoy!

Healing from the inside out

AppleAfter our trip to True Food Kitchen yesterday where the menu is based on the anti-inflammatory diet, it got me thinking more about the concept and how it could be beneficial to me and my poor strained groin. A muscle strain generally occurs when the muscle itself has been over-stretched or torn, damaging the muscle fibers. This can cause inflammation in the tissue surrounding the muscle. It’s inevitable that inflammation in the body will lead to ill-health and disease in extreme cases. Inflammation can be swelling, redness, heat and pain produced in the body. Your diet can change that. I’m a firm believer that your diet and the food you consume is the best medicine to better health. So why not consume more of those anti-inflammatory foods and speed up this recovery before I go potty from not working out!
Here’s my top tips for an anti-inflammatory diet:
  • Stuff yourself to the brim with vegetables at every meal – 1/2 your plate – YES HALF should be filled with vegetables. Leafy greens, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini.. there are so many! Vegetables will NOT make you fat. Eat them, and lots of them.
  • Fruit – well if you’re not already eating blueberries where have you been?! Here’s some more to try – blackberries, strawberries, peaches, oranges, pink grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, cherries, apples, and pears. I eat an apple everyday.
  • Eat lean protein sources such as turkey, chicken (skinless), beef – i like going for leaner cuts like tenderloin, top loin and sirloin tip. Pork – I’ve been cooking more of recently and found it super tasty.
  • Eat plenty of fish, oily fishies rich in omega-3 fats – salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies.. I’m thinking the more it stinks, the better it is!
  • Go Nuts! Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds.. again lots to choose from. I LOVE roasted nuts and put them through most meals for added good fats. Avoid salted nuts, go for raw/roasted.
  • Good old dairy. I don’t know what I’d do without eggs honestly. I eat them everyday. Cottage cheese, plain yogurt and natural cheeses such as feta, ricotta are often found in my meals. I always buy full fat options as what’s the point in eating a non-fat yogurt? All the calcium and goodness that you’re eating it for has been stripped away and replaced with a chemical of some description when being processed. Portion control is key!
  • Spice up your life with herbs and spices! Again, not sure what I’d do without my spice cupboard when I’m cooking. I chuck anything in. My favs are cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric, chilli flakes, black pepper and thyme. Basil, chamomile, cilantro, thyme, and rosemary are useful not only for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity but they have clinical benefits in conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Oils are great not only for cooking but as dressings on your salad! I also buy fresh olives and put them through salads and mediterranean style dishes. I use grapeseed oil for cooking most days as it has a high smoke point, very light and is high in polyunsaturated fats and loaded with antioxidants.
  • Eat some whole grains. Go easy on the portion size but add them to your diet. Brown rice, basmati rice, barley, quinoa, buckwheat.. they take a wee while to digest so great for leaving you feeling fuller for longer.
  • AVOID PROCESSED FOODS – CEREALS, FRIED FOOD, CANDY, READY-MADE MEALS, BISCUITS, BREADS.. notice I say avoid. The reason being that it’s okay now and again to have these foods just limit them. I love chips and dip and I also love ice-cream. Life would be boring if you didn’t indulge in the things you loved!