Tag Archives: healthy eating

Next Level Cauliflower – Recipe

I’ve had a long-standing dislike to cauliflower. Even slathering it in cheese sauce and bacon bits could never disguise the taste of Grandma’s sock drawer. Until…

…You roast the hell out of that brassica!

spiced, roasted cauliflower

spiced, roasted cauliflower

OK, in all fairness, I am getting better at eating cauliflower, now that I’m a grown up (sort of), so if you do really really truly HATE cauliflower, this may not be the holy grail of all recipes, but it is worth a shot, because this really does change up the flavour and texture of that brain-like veggie.

Another reason to train yourself to eat cauliflower is that it is so good for you. These white cruciferous vegetables are rammed with phytonutrients and antioxidants (clever things that can help to protect us against cancer). They are also low energy dense foods, as in, you can eat lots and lots and lots & feel full (high water content), without actually eating very many calories – excellent if you need to feel satiated after eating & good news if you are on a calorie-restricted diet. Being a vegetable, the humble cauliflower is also a great source of fibre – another tick in the box for helping you feel full & keeping your tummy happy.

This way of cooking cauliflower is genius. It take a few seconds to prepare, next to no cooking supervision required & it uses no fat whatsoever, so it keeps the dish low in fat & therefore, low in calories too. The best thing about cooking vegetables in huge roasted chunks like this, is that you can often use them in place of higher carb foods, like potatoes.

So, here is how you make this:

Ingredients:

  • 1 big cauliflower
  • 1-2tsps of spice mix (your choice, but I used ‘old bay’ seasoning, something like cajun/curry/fajita seasoning would be awesome too!)
  • Spritz of lemon juice

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to Gas 6/200C
  2. Remove the outer leaves of the cauli
  3. Chop the cauli in half, then try to cut in to large, equal sized wedges – not all wedges will stay in one piece, but that’s cool because the small bits roast up & go super crispy & tasty!
  4. Bung the wedges on a good, solid non-stick baking sheet & sprinkle with your chosen spice mix.
  5. Turn the wedges over and season the other side.
  6. Chuck the tray in the oven for approx 30-40mins (use your own judgement here & cook to your liking, I like it when it starts to blacken around the edges!)
  7. Whip out the oven, sprinkle with lemon juice & eat the whole damn lot before anyone else gets a look-in!

Enjoy!

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Ginger Banoffee Protein Flapjacks

I’ve been desperate to find a recipe for a protein flapjack with a baked crunch, moist softness, yummy flavour & that oaty texture. I reckon that I’ve baked that right up earlier on today. If you’re a fan of flapjacks & a fan of protein treats, but not a fan of the fats and sugars used in average commercial brands, then give this a go & see what you think.

IMG_0208

Ingredients:

  • 1 small banana
  • 3tbsps coconut oil
  • 3tbsps ginger flavoured coconom (or regular coconom & a pinch of ground ginger)
  • 12 drops toffee flavdrops
  • 15 drops banana flavdrops
  • 1 cup rolled oats (regular or gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup rice protein
  • 2 scoops myprotein protein crispies
  • 2tbsp water

Method:

  1. Heat oven to Gas 6/200C
  2. Peel the banana, snap in half & chuck in a bowl.
  3. Melt the coconut oil (I usually chuck mine in a cup in the microwave for a few seconds)
  4. Add the ginger coconom to the melted coconut oil, add in both flav drops and stir. Pour this liquid mix in with the banana. Blend with a stick blender until it looks a bit like caramel.
  5. Add the rolled oats, rice protein & protein crispies and mix – add in 1 or 2 tbsp water if needed. The mix should not be stiff, but also not runny – it should hold its shape in the baking case, but easy to spread and level out with a spoon.
  6. Dump the mix in to a silicon pan – I used a square brownie pan – if your mix doesn’t quite fill the pan, just spread it out to about 1.5-2cm thick & square up the loose side with a spoon.
  7. Bake for about 15-25minutes – this will depend on how thick your have made them, but they should be a golden brown colour and firm to the touch.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for about 15minutes, then gently transfer to a cooling rack until totally cool. Chop in to 8 pieces & hide them from everyone else!!

Macros per Slice (approx):

Cals: 135, Fat: 5.9g, Carbs: 13.7g, Protein: 6.7g

I’ve used ginger coconom in this recipe, hence the ‘ginger’ bit, but to be honest, it doesn’t come through massively in the end product, so if you are after a major ginger punch, whack in a little extra ground ginger before mixing.

If you’re not a fan of ginger at all, just use unflavoured coconut sugar. If you don’t like bananas, leave out the banana & the banana flavdrops, replace with a good dollop of apple sauce and some vanilla flavdrops.

Serve these babies up alongside a cup of tea, or with yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, or whack some ice-cream on it for an awesome dessert.

Give them a go, what do you think??

 

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My Fantasy Food Team

I stepped on the scales this morning – I actually don’t do this very often, as I find it can sometimes have a detrimental effect on how you behave for the rest of the day/week/month if you don’t like what you see. According to my (cheap, old, not very accurate) scales, I now weigh in at 139.5lbs. The half pound is very important because that makes me UNDER 10 stone, that is NINE STONE something. A loss of OVER five stone. Good times.

Anywho, I’ve noticed recently, that a lot of people I know are passing comment on my weightloss (something that actually creeps me out a bit!) & then asking how I’ve done it. Well, there’s no special secret, trick or magic spell. The answer is simple:

Eat better. Move more.

You’ll notice that I’ve said “eat better“, not “eat less“. Whilst limiting calories is an age-old, time-tested way to certainly reduce weight, it is actually more important to make sure that you are eating the right things first. For example, you could calorie count a 1500kcal diet & eat low fat crisps, low fat cheese, and sugar-free sweets till the cal counter tells you you’re done. You’ll have sunk your daily intake, but likely feel hungry, tired, a bit crabby as you are being ‘punished’ on your diet. You’ll also be far more likely to crave more food & make further poor choices.

I’m a huge advocate of snacking. Little healthier snacks between meals will stop you from sugar-crashing & craving a quick fix, like chocolate. Choose things that are full of either proteins or complex carbs, as these will help you to feel fuller for longer.

By eating better – choosing fruits, vegetables, healthy snacks AND the odd treat, you will find that you will not be so hungry, nor as likely to delve in to a huge bar of chocolate. You won’t feel so ‘punished’ if you are full. You won’t feel so terrible if you actually allow yourself an occasional treat*

*a giant bar of chocolate, giant bag of crisps, 3 bottles of wine isn’t a treat – try a small bar of chocolate, a bag of baked crisps or a glass (maybe 2) of wine.

I thought I’d share my food staples with you. These are foods that I eat at least 2/3 times a week. Foods that help me to feel full and that feel like a treat in themselves, when really, they’re all pretty healthy! They might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but give some of them a go:

  • Nakd & Trek Bars – I’ve mentioned these in a previous post. They are still delicious, sweet & sticky – perfect for sweet cravings. They have also just released a Christmas Pud flavour & it is out of this world.
  • Quest Bars – These aren’t for everyone. I spend quite a bit of time doing exercise, both cardio & weights. I am aiming to build strength, build muscle. These delicious protein bars come in heaps of different flavours and feel like a real treat. They are low in carbs, low in cals and high in protein. They are a bit on the £££ side of the snack world, but for me, they are totally worth it & they are a MILLION times better than a yucky protein shake!
  • Yoghurts – Either plain, fat free greek yoghurt (I like fage total the best), or, Danio fruit minis, or Liberte fruit layers. All low in fat and low in cals, but thick & creamy, so quite filling.
  • Fruit – I eat heaps of fruit. If I’m feeling lazy (and likely to reach for something worse), I’ll get the pre-prep packs from the shops, but most of the time, I’ll prepare it myself. Try freezing grapes as a great sub for sweets. Eat alongside other foods to make it go further & fill you up even more. Grab up a sack of clementines – seasonal & the perfect size for snacking on. A good ol’ banana is a powerhouse!
  • Marks and Spencer’s Guilt-Free Snack Range – The crisps that these guys sell are great, mostly around or under 100kcals per pack. Huge range of flavours. My faves are the sour cream and chilli lentil curls & the little bacon lentil tubes. Also a great pesto chickpea shell flavour available too. Perfect substitute for ‘normal’ crisps.
  • Popcorn – Amazing stuff. My fave brands are metcalfes (the sweet & salt and the  heat & sweet are to die for). Also try portlebay – the lemon sherbert flavour is unbelievable! Popcorn is relatively low in cals and the flavoured varieties make it feel like a special treat.
  • Rice-cakes – These are a bit of a new revelation for me. My faves at the mo are made by Kallo. There is a great kiddy range that are strawberry yoghurt & come pre-packed in 2s. Also give their dark choc and orange flavour a go!
  • Quorn – low fat, low cal, protein source & really reasonably priced. The family ‘chicken’ roast is so good & ridiculously good value!
  • Ryvita – great source of fibre, low in fat, low in cals and perfect for topping with delicious stuff. My fave topping is cottage cheese, ham, fig and basil.
  • Warburtons Wholemeal Pitta Halves – I don’t eat much bread, but these are high in fibre and relatively low cal. Great to eat with soup.
  • Low Fat Cottage cheese – great source of protein and low in fat & cals. Great as a topping, or as a replacement for mayo. Chuck in on crackers, mix in to tuna, blob it on soup, spread on ham and add a gherkin for a roll-up snack, use it in cooking & baking too.
  • Protein powders – these are great for whipping up great snacks. I’ve got the protein powder cookbook & the banana bread & vanilla blueberry muffins are super delicious and quick to make. Most of the recipes are low carb, low fat, high protein & made with great stuff like coconut flour.
  • Oats – I eat these mostly as porridge (made with skimmed milk), but also use them in lots of recipes
  • Soup – the days are getting colder and darker & soup is great for lunch. Make your own where possible, but for those of you with limited time or without the inclination to make it, there are some very good pre-prepped stuff in supermarkets now. Just try to avoid aby that have cheese or bacon/chorizo in, as these will be higher in fat and therefore, higher in cals too.
  • Vegetables – A bit of a no-brainer, but eating loads of veg will help to fill you up. Eat it raw, steamed, boiled, roasted. As a quick side dish, I like to chop loads of crunchy veggies up and chuck in a spoon of plain greek yoghurt, some lemon juice and some herbs & seasoning – perfect speedy sort-of coleslaw!
  • Veg chips – some days only chips will do – unless you can make veg chips! I like to make veg chips using carrot, parsnip, sweet potato and sometimes bog-standard normal potatoes. A teeny bit of oil, a good non-stick baking tray, hot hot hot oven and a great seasoning mix (I use semolina, for crunch, a little sea salt and some paprika and cumin). So good, give them a try!
  • Hognuts Nutbutters – A relatively new find for me. So delicious, loads of gorgeous flavours of nut butter – all hand blended & high in protein. Great toast topper, awesome stirred in to oats, or baked in to a protein cookie!

This isn’t an exhaustive list, by any means, but they are certainly favourites of mine. I try to avoid full fat cheeses and fatty meats such as salami or sausages. I don’t eat very much bread or pasta, but when I do, I eat wholemeal, where possible. I limit my alcohol intake and don’t drink at all during the week. I generally have a day of ‘relaxed’ eating at the weekend, especially if there’s a birthday or if friends are over. I do still put everything in to myfitnesspal though – even if it is wayyyyyyy over what I should have had – I find that by doing this, it does make you think & ask yourself whether you should really have that extra slice of cake or not – the answer is usually not! 😉

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What’s in Halina’s Cupboard?

*hangs head in shame* I know, I know, this post should have been up on Tuesday, but the Fathers’ Day orders have been keeping me chained to the Cherry Pie Lane desk for most of the week!

Anywho, here we are, better late than never & this week’s post is awesome. The cupboard we are going to rummage through this week belongs to Halina, who has her own food blog at kitchenchoufleur.

I’ll hand you over to Halina to explain the contents of her cupboard and what she absolutely cannot live without:

halina

So I have included for you a photo of not just my main ingredients cupboard, but the surrounding area as well. I have too many herbs, spices, and various other ingredients/tins/crap to fit in just one easily-accessible cupboard.
I’m currently trying to lose a lot of weight for my wedding in December, so eating and cooking to a Slimming World-friendly plan is a big part of that. However, I have always cooked from fresh and enjoyed creating and exploring new recipes, hence the over-abundance of jars, pots and packets etc. My “every-day” herbs and spices are kept in the rolling spice rack you can see on the side, and the cupboard houses the more rarely-used, but also incredibly important items.
My Must-Haves include:
  • Oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, cumin, paprika, chilli powder – the basic everyday herbs & spices that go into almost everything I cook
  • FryLight – a low-fat diet unfortunately means very little oil, however this stuff is a brilliant substitute
  • Truvia – a sweetener that isn’t a disgustingly fake pot full of Evil, instead being made from a plant. Only the tiniest amount is needed to give a lovely sweet taste to any food.
  • Strong wholemeal flour – I make all my own bread, both white (for the toddler) and wholemeal. It’s SO much tastier and fills my house with that gorgeous fresh bread smell.
  • Stock cubes – the way to get anything to taste good. Anything. I promise.
  • Worcester sauce – the best way to add depth and body to any meal. Plus it’s gorgeous on cheese on toast.
My Favourites (as well as all of the above):
  • Saffron – this stuff is expensive, but one little jar from the supermarket can last so, so long. I bought mine over one year ago and there is still a tiny bit left. A small pinch gives the most delicious honeyed flavour to anything, and is especially good in tagines and stews.
  • Rajah (other brands are available!) packet spices – these can be found in supermarkets the same as the tiny jars of spices, but are ridiculously cheaper for a far larger amount. I make a lot of curries, all low in fat, and these are the best thing ever for that purpose.
  • Passata – I bloody love passata. I buy these cheapie cardboard boxes of it from Aldi. They last ages, they make amazing sauces without fail, and they can be used for anything. For example, I often make a weekend breakfast of spring onions, chillies, red peppers, ham and cherry tomatoes, all finely diced and scrambled with eggs and a few tablespoons of passata. Delicious.

Looking at the above, none of it seems particularly original or like a wonder-product…it’s all just simple, honest, delicious stuff that makes simple, honest, delicious food, from scratch, to low-fat requirements. These are the basic gists of my blog, really, along with budgeting, meal-planning, and slow cooking.

Thanks so much for sharing your cupboard with us Halina – what a great stash of kitchen essentials. Massive hats off to you for making all your own bread, I LOVE that smell! I totally agree with the little cartons of passata, I get through heaps of those too! There are a few things in thsi cupboard that I’ve never tried, like Frylight & Truvia – I’ve also not tried any of the slimming world plans, but I know lots of people that have had massive success using them.

What do you guys think about Halina’s cupboard? Go and check out her blog too for loads of great recipes and ideas on budgeting your meals.

Are you in to healthy eating and or fitness? Trying to lose weight? Do you have anything hiding in your kitchen cupboards that you’d like to share? Drop me a message though the ‘about’ page or mail me at: info@cherrypielane.co.uk & I’ll get your cupboards linked up!

 

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