Category Archives: Healthy

Mint Sugar

When it comes to herbs, mint is an absolute favorite of mine, and I love using it to make Mint Sugar! Have you ever tried it before? It is SO simple to make! Mint Sugar is exactly what it sounds like, mint + sugar. It is perfect to sprinkle on top of fresh fruit, rim cocktail glasses, or stir into tea or lemonade. No matter how you use it, you will love the refreshing minty sweetness the Mint Sugar adds to your favourite food and drinks!

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Mint Sugar

1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

To make mint sugar, combine 1 tablespoon mint leaves with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar using a mortar and pestle or a food processor. If you have neither piece of equipment, you can chop the mint finely with a knife, and rub it into the sugar. The recipe can obviously be scaled up or down depending on how much you want to make.

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I love the combination of mint & pineapple for a refreshing and healthy dessert. But mint sugar really can  be sprinkled on all manner of fruits, from citrus to strawberries, peaches, melons and the list goes on. You don’t need a lot, so it’s not terribly unhealthy, but it adds a touch of sweetness and sparkle. While the mint sugar will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two, it is best when it is freshly made.

Jamie Oliver is a fan of herb sugars too, for example he serves basil & mint sugar with fruit salad at his Recipease cafes (as seen here in my brunch review).

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I personally love swirling it into my greek yoghurt, then adding fresh fruit and a big scoop of my holy-grail homemade Honey Nut Granola (recipe HERE). Have you ever tried mint or any other herb sugar?

  
Leave a comment | Posted in 80/20 Diet, Food, Healthy, Lifestyle, Recipe

Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese and Prosciutto

Just a quick little recipe from me today. Having a party or need a nice and easy starter for your dinner guests? Look no further! These Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese and Prosciutto is one of my go-to recipes that might look very fancy but is actually super simple to prepare. The combination of the melted goats cheese with the sweet fresh figs tastes incredible plus adding the herbs, honey and prosciutto brings it all together to create a perfect bite of creamy, juicy, sweet, salty and savoury!

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Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese and Prosciutto

Serves 4
Ingredients:

  • 12 fresh figs
  • goats cheese
  • 12 thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • black pepper
  • sea salt
  • honey

Method:

Heat your oven to 200ºC. Gently wash your fresh figs and slice and X into the stem side of each fig using a sharp knife. Only cut until about three-quarters of the way down (do not cut all the way through or your figs will just fall apart). Use your fingers to carefully open up the figs to prepare for stuffing. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese into each fig and sprinkle with a bit of fresh thyme. Now wrap a strip of prosciutto around each fig. Arrange them all on a baking sheet, and they’re ready to go in the oven! Or if you’re have a party, you can do all this ahead of time, then just pop them in the oven when you’re ready! Roast the stuffed figs about 8 to 12 minutes. The figs will open up a little bit and the the goats cheese should be oozy and the figs intoxicatingly juicy. Remove them from the oven and carefully arrange them on a serving platter or on individual plates with fresh arugula (optional).  Drizzle each fig with honey and serve immediately.

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Don’t they just look amazing? So colourful and the mix of flavours is deeeelicious! I made these Roasted Figs with Goats Cheese and Prosciutto for my family for  Christmas Day Dinner and it was a huge hit.

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Super tasty, they look impressive, are quick to prepare and another little bonus is that this starter is also actually quite healthy which means fits nicely into my 80/20 diet! Have you ever tried the combination of fresh figs, goats cheese and prosciutto? Let me know if you give this recipe I go – I’d love to know what you think.

  
Leave a comment | Posted in 80/20 Diet, Food, Healthy, Lifestyle, Recipe

Green Juice with spinach, apple and cucumber

There is no use in sugar-coating it. After Christmas my body definitely needed a caloric break from all the chocolate, cheese, wine, cocktails and fatty goodness that I had consumed. That’s why January was all about health for me; meaning no alcohol, healthy eating and as much healthy living and exercise as possible. One of the things I really started enjoying were Green Juices loaded with green vegetables to detoxify and alkalize my body and to increase my energy and vitality. 

I always thought you needed a fancy (aka expensive) juicer machine to make green juices until I came across this handy video online that showed me you can actually easily make them at home just using a blender. This quick and easy Green Juice with spinach, apple and cucumber recipe is made in a normal blender, giving you the option to strain the juice for a thinner consistency, or, just start enjoying it, hearty pulp and all.

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Green Juice with spinach, apple and cucumber

Ingredients (1 glass)
100ml water
100g Spinach
1 Green Apple 
1/2 Cucumber
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 tsp of Chlorella (optional)
Ice (optional)

Directions

Chop your apple and cucumber part into small pieces. Then just add all of the ingredients into the blneder in the order in which they are listed. Blend on the highest setting and occassionally give it a little shake (or stir) to ensure everything gets well-blended. It will become the consistancy of a smoothie. If you want to enjoy the pulp with your juice, pour the mixture into glasses and serve. If you prefer a thinner consistency, pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, and using a spatula, press the pulp into the sieve to extract as much liquid as possible. (Or if you want to take it one step further you can also strain the juice through a cheese/nut cloth to wring out as much liquid as possible) Pour the strained juice into glasses and serve.

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It tastes delicious and it’s also bloody good for you! Just check out some of the health benefits of these superstar ingredients!

Spinach is incredibly rich in chlorophyll, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K and minerals as Iron, Zinc and Selenium, besides being loaded with phytonutrients such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which give us a powerful anti oxidant and anti inflammation protection, preventing the degradation of the cells, the onset of diseases such as cancer and osteoporosis and alleviating problems associated with stress. Thanks to this combination of nutrients, the regular consumption of spinach improves skin, vision and bone health, helps the blood detoxification and formation, contributes greatly to a healthy nervous system and brain function and helps alkalize our pH. After all Popeye knew what he was doing!

Chlorella is a single celled Japanese algae whole food, packed full of nutrients to help support hair, skin and nails, as well as arming your body for the winter cold and flu season, so it’s no wonder the supermodels are slurping the green stuff.


Cucumbers rehydrate the body and replenishes daily vitamins. Cucumbers are 95 percent water, keeping the body hydrated while helping the body eliminate toxins. Cucumbers are full of antioxidants – especially vitamins A, B, and C that boost immunity and give you more energy when you are feeling lethargic.

There are many health benefits of Lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.

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Green Juice with spinach makes for a perfect quick breakfast before heading out to the gym or a run in the morning! Have you ever made green juice at home (with or without a juicer)? Do share your favourite green juice recipe in the comments, I’d love to read them!

  
2 Comments | Posted in 80/20 Diet, Food, Healthy, Lifestyle, Recipe

Hot Pod Yoga

January has been all about health for me! Doing Dry January has meant I haven’t had a drop of alcohol since New Years Eve and I have been eating very healthy and trying to fit some form of exercise into my week at least 3-4 times a week. Because I am still struggling with my knee injury I have also been looking at different ways to exercise and yoga and pilates are some of classes I have been trying.

When it comes to yoga, I haven’t done much of this in my life. Last year I tried some sessions of Bikram Yoga because some of my friends swore by it! However I wasn’t a huge fan – I found the 90min sessions a bit too long, too boring and too hot. But the strengthening results and the relaxing, warmth and stretching aspect I did enjoy. So when I came across the concept of Hot Pod Yoga I was instantly intrigued.

20140124 203410 Hot Pod Yoga “Hotpod provide pop-up hot Vinyasa Yoga classes – an intensive and balanced physical workout, restoring calm and clarity in a soothing environment. The (not too hot) 37°c heat warms the muscles and aids flexibility as well as making the heart work harder.”

The sessions are only 1 hour long and whilst the heat not as intense as Bikram Yoga,  you will still work up a sweat because the ‘Vinyasa flow’ Yoga is a lot more active.

“The classes combine a real aerobic and cardiovascular workout with meditative and relaxing elements. Sequences of active and passive postures rebalance the body, strengthening weak spots and easing tension. Blood flow to muscles, ligaments and organs is increased and the body benefits from better flow of energy. So as well as toning muscles and aiding weight-loss, the postures purify and heal the body and mind.” Oh and they say you can burn up to 700 calories a class…uhh yes please!

The other difference about Hot Pod Yoga is that the sessions are held inside their unique pop-up studios. The portable studios are like blown up big tents with glowing walls, making it all cosy and warm and dark to really get you into a lovely tranquil environment to practice yoga. Let’s step inside shall we?

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This is Dionne, the lovely trainer in their Notting Hill location. Some of the poses she manages to do are hugely impressive but who knows maybe after a few more sessions I will get a better and a bit more balanced too! I have done two sessions so far and have really enjoyed it. I’ve been going to studio in Notting Hill (not far from my house – how convenient) but they also offer classes in Brixton, Hackney, South Birmingham and Swansea.

Another bonus is that you can book online to attend a class and that their classes are quite well priced; starting from £12 for a single pass or only £9.60 when you buy a pack of 10. For a full timetable of classes, prices and further details, visit www.hotpodyoga.com.

Have you had a healthy start to January and does this Hot Pod Yoga sound like something you’d be keen to try?

  
Leave a comment | Posted in Fitness, Healthy, Lifestyle, London

Healthy low carb dinners – Cauliflower Rice!

As you know I am a true believer in the 80/20 diet, which is all about the right balance between eating healthy (80%) and treating yourself (20%). As part of this ‘diet’ I usually try to eat very healthy during the week and for the last few months I have started to cut out carbs on my healthy dinner time meals. Via Pinterest and other blogs I actually realised that there are lots of delicious low-carb alternatives out there; like my beloved zucchini noodles! But now onto another low-carb goodie; have you ever heard of cauliflower rice?

Well, as an example this Broccoli Beef dinner is one of my healthy dinner go-to recipes and even though this looks like normal rice, I can tell you there isn’t a grain to be found in that photo!

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Cauliflower rice is pretty much ‘rice’ made from, you guessed it, cauliflower! When grated it has couscous-like texture and is perfect with chicken, steak or anything you would normally serve with rice. Plus it’s great with things like curries and stir-fry’s because it absorbs the flavours of the sauces you serve it with.

Does it taste like cauliflower? Well yes, but I think it has a very mild taste, so even if cauliflower doesn’t usually rock your boat, I’d say give it a go! And if you add some garlic, herbs or spices during the cooking process it will really change the flavour. Plus did I mention that 100g of cauliflower rice is only 24 calories, compared to 100g of rice at 355 calories!

So how do I make cauliflower rice? It’s SUPER simple and this is all you need to know!

Ingredients/Tools: 

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower (serves 2, or keep 1 portion covered in fridge for lunch the next day)
  • Food processor or if (like me) you don’t have one, a cheese grater will do just fine!
  • Microwave or frying pan/wok depending on preferred cooking method for your dinner.

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Method:

  • Rinse cauliflower under cool water and pat dry.
  • Using a cheese grater, grate the cauliflower to a coarse texture (approximately the size of rice grains). Or use a food processor to pulse the cauliflower to desired texture.
  • When it comes to cooking the ‘rice’ you can either steam it or sauté/fry it depending on your preference or the type of dish you will be serving it with.
  • When steaming it I usually just place the grated cauliflower rice in a microwave safe bowl and cook it on full power in the microwave for 2 minutes (reduce to 1 min seconds if using one portion’s worth). Oh and there’s no need to add water: there’s already enough liquid  in the cauliflower to stop it from drying out. Keep an eye on your rice while it’s cooking, you don’t want to overheat it so it remains a little crunchy!
  • Stir fry/Sauté; heat a tiny bit of oil in a wok or saucepan over medium heat. Add in the cauliflower rice and fry/saute for 2-3 minutes. You can also add garlic or spices and herbs to give it extra flavour!
  • Then when cooked, serve immediately with your meal and enjoy this guilt free little side-dish!

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Some more suggestions for enjoying Cauliflower Rice;

  • Herbed rice; add 1/4 cup of fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, green onion, and/or other herbs of your choice.
  • Curried Cauliflower Rice; add 1 tablespoon turmeric or curry powder.
  • Chinese Fried Rice; after frying the cauliflower rice, push the cauliflower to one side of the pan. Pour in one (1) beaten egg into the empty part of the pan and lightly scramble the egg. Then mix the scrambled egg and cauliflower “rice” together. If desired, add a little soy sauce to the mixture.
  • Rice Salad; after frying and cooling, mix in some chopped cucumbers and tomatoes. Season lightly with some oil and vinegar.
  • Spanish Rice; after cooking the cauliflower, add an 8-ounce can of chopped tomatoes and a little hot sauce (to taste). Can also add some sautéed diced green pepper and garlic.
  • Vegetable Rice; add your favorite diced vegetable and sauté with onions.
  • Lemon Rice; add some lemon zest and lemon juice

One of my favourite meals I have with cauliflower rice is this Broccoli Beef recipe – it’s SO tasty and pretty easy to make and trust me you won’t miss the normal rice one bit.

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BROCCOLI BEEF (with cauliflower rice)
Serves 4 – Original recipe from Iowa Girl Eats 

Ingredients:
3/4 pound flank steak, sliced very thin and against the grain
4 cups broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces
1-1/2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil like vegetable or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
cooked cauliflower rice

For the beef marinade:
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

For the sauce:
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 teaspoons mirin
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Place the sliced beef in a large ziplock bag. Stir together the marinade ingredients and pour into the bag. Smoosh to coat the beef in the mixture, then let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for 2 minutes, or until crisp tender. Do not overcook as the broccoli will cook a bit more later in the recipe.
  3. Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat an electric wok, or very large skillet, to high heat. Add the oil then gently place the beef in the wok and spread into a single layer. Let the beef cook for 1 minute without touching it.
  5. Add the garlic and stir continuously for 1 minute, then add in the sauce and broccoli. Bring the sauce to a boil, then add in the cornstarch dissolved in water. Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve over cauliflower rice and enjoy! :)

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Have you heard of or tried cauliflower rice before, and if not are you now inspired to give it a go? I’d love to know what you think, and what your favourite way is to enjoy it!

  
5 Comments | Posted in 80/20 Diet, Food, Healthy, Recipe