Chicken & Peanut Buckwheat Noodles

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Another day, another tonne of carbs! Buckwheat noodles are the centre of this clean, gluten-free dish which satisfies cravings quickly and provides a steady supply of energy for hours afterwards (well, 2 hours…did I mention I’m bulking?!) You could use average noodles for this if you’re not fussed about eating clean, but buckwheat or soba noodles give it a Wagamamma’s feel and are much more nutritious.

Everything can be cooked from scratch and it’ll take about 30 minutes, or take a few short cuts and have it ready in 15. It’s a great one to whip up for a quick post-workout dinner, making extra for tupperware glory at lunchtime the next day.

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Ingredients (for 2):

  • 2 nests buckwheat noodles
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp nut butter (peanut or cashew work best)
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • 200g pack pre-cooked chicken (or 2 chicken breasts you’ve already cooked)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • handful sugarsnap peas
  • sprinkling of sesame seeds (I’ve used black sesame here for colour)
  • handful dry roasted peanuts, bashed up with a rolling pin.

Method:

If making from scratch, cook your chicken breasts at 170C (for 25-30mins). Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the noodles. Simmer for 4 mins. Meanwhile, combine the sesame oil, soy, lime juice, honey, nut butter, Tabasco and a splash of water in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 45 secs. Stir well to combine into a smooth sauce.

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Add the sauce to the noodles and then chuck in the chicken, pepper and sugarsnaps. Sprinkle with the dry roasted nuts and sesame seeds and serve!

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Spice Up Your Rice!

spice up your rice

Apologies to everyone who’s been asking for recipes recently, I moved house this week so blogging kinda went out the window. BUT, as of today, my content will be much more frequent and I’ve got tons of fab recipes to share.

As anyone who follows me on twitter will know, I’m currently doing a clean bulk. My PT has increased my intake of complex carbs by about tenfold and after two weeks, I’m pretty god damn bored of sweet potatoes and rice. So for the past week I’ve been trying to find ways to jazz it up, while keeping it clean.

This is the first part of the INCREDIBLY exciting mini series ‘Spice up your rice’ (I know, try to contain yourselves…) I’ll post 4 ways I’ve started eating rice which helps me on my way to hitting my massive 400g daily carb target, without going insane. For those of you who meal prep, you can still cook a giant batch of plain rice, then portion it up and add the flavouring ingredients afterwards. First up, Spicy tomato rice.

Ingredients:

  • Rice (I used 75-100g wholegrain rice per serving for this)
  • 3-4 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 peppers (I used 1 red, 1 yellow, for sweetness and colour).
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1/2 chilli (optional)

Method:

Cook the rice according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, finely chop the peppers and chilli, if using. Slice up the spring onions, but separate the green and white parts.

Heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add a little oil. Add the white parts of the spring onions and when softened, add the diced peppers. If you like it really hot, add the chilli now too. If not, add it cold at the end. Once the veggies are softened, but still retain their shape, add the tomato puree and rice. Mix everything up well, so the puree colours the rice, and allow the rice to fully heat through. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the green parts of the spring onions for crunch.

This is great with a chicken breast and chipotle sauce if you’re stuck for a decent dinner and need to hit some macros.

Don’t forget to tweet me some pics if you make any of my recipes! Next up…Sticky coconut rice with coriander

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Eat: Minimal Effort Macro Shopping List

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Sticking to nutritional goals is a massive challenge for most people, from those who compete professionally to those who are battling weight loss. With the amount of effort meal prep and macros can be, it’s no wonder, a full-time job and regular training routine takes up enough time as it is, before you’ve even thought about what you’re eating or feeding the rest of your family.

Unfortunately, when you start training properly, it becomes pretty obvious that the gym does not ‘free’ up calories for you to replace as soon as you get back to the fridge and if you want to reach whatever goal you’ve set yourself, nutrition is of equal importance to your workout, as well as playing a vital role in keeping you motivated and energised.

To make it all a little easier, I have a list that I order online when I’m short of time, can’t be bothered to think, too tired etc etc. It’s like that show Ready, Steady, Cook! Lay it all out, grab things and you’ve got a decent meal with minimal effort. My list comprises mostly of unrefined carbs, healthy fats and protein. These mostly whole ingredients can be made into a variety of easy, nutritionally balanced meals when you’re struggling.

It’s not perfect, as you can see I’m not a massive fan of fruit and dark green veg (oooops), but this is what fits my macros, doesn’t cost the earth and also what I won’t have to kid myself I like and then end up throwing in the bin (KALE).

shopping list

A few(but not all) ideas:

Breakfasts:

  • eggs + spinach + peppers = omelet
  • Total Greek + blueberries + oats + maple syrup
  • oats + blueberries + milk + maple syrup = porridge
  • steak + eggs

Lunches:

  • hot smoked salmon fillet + spinach + quinoa salad
  • avocado + chicken breast + quinoa salad
  • tuna + hard boiled eggs + spinach salad
  • wholewheat pasta + spring onions + tuna salad with creme fraiche mayo
  • baked sweet potato + cottage cheese

Dinners:

Desserts:

  • Total Greek + maple syrup + chocolate + blueberries
  • All the above frozen = frozen yoghurt
  • melted chocolate + almonds/brazils/pecans from mixed nuts
  • avocado + chocolate + maple syrup = rich chocolate mousse
  • chocolate rice cakes + Total Greek + blueberries

 

Most supermarkets allow you to save lists like this online, so you can literally just book a slot and press a button and your food arrives the next day. This is a god send if you’re pushed for time. Or not, I mean who actually wants to spend any time in the supermarket anyway?! To make your own list, check your MyFitnessPal or keep a food diary for 7 days. Work out what you eat the most of and how versatile these ingredients are and then just save it all, with a few options (as above) stuck on the fridge. It will seriously stop post-gym binges, late night take-outs & the hours of beating yourself up that usually follow.

It’s a bit of effort, but saves you a lot along the way..if you try it, tweet me & let me know how you get on x

My Daily Diet

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This post is for all the lovely girls who ask me what I eat & how much of it! Unfortunately it’s quite hard for women to know how much we should eat, what and when particularly if you’re trying to lose weight. Women’s media has reported for so long that if you eat a low calorie diet, you’ll be skinny. While it’s largely true that if you burn more calories than you take in, your weight will drop; eating half the recommended daily allowance isn’t the answer for most of us.

I didn’t realise how little I was eating until I started using MyFitness Pal to log my food and count my macros. I was really low on energy when I started training regularly and would crash out as soon as I got in from the gym. It was difficult to start eating my recommended daily calories, it felt like my stomach wasn’t big enough and I had to remind myself to make time to eat actual meals instead of my 1 meal a day and a bunch of snacks. I think this is the case for so many women and a lot of girls who contact me about diet & workouts are confused about why they don’t look how they want to when they’re hardly eating. Even if you don’t want to count macros all the time, it’s a good starting point to make a habit of it for a few months, until you build up an awareness of what to eat, how much and how often to make yourself feel healthier and stronger. Diet is absolutely integral to reaching aesthetic goals & building a basic understanding of nutrition is really important if you’re looking for optimum results from your workout. Training and diet is a vital partnership, results won’t be at their best if you have one without the other. Once you’ve built a foundation, you won’t have to log and count everything unless you want to, or you’re training specifically for something.

It took me a while to start to recognise the nutritional profile of certain foods and when I did I found I was eating more or less the same thing all the time just to hit macros. Now, I try and vary it and try new things by substituting the standard rice and chicken for other grains and lean meats like quinoa or turkey. Still, there are certain things I order every time I shop and I’ll do a post later in the week about what they are and why I rely on them.

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This is a typical food diary for me, I’m 5’5″, weigh 56kg with 17% body fat and eat 2200-2300kcal a day, with a macro split of approx 241g carbs, 165g protein and 64g fat. Sometimes I switch it up so it’s lower carb & higher fat, but try to stick to weekly macros, including if I decide to have a cheat meal.

Breakfast Calories Carbs Fat Protein Iron Sugar
3 Egg Omelette with spinach 210 1 15 19 0 1
210 1 15 19 0 1
Lunch

Chicken & Cashew nuts with broccoli

Sainsbury’s – Chicken Diced Breast, 150 g 236 0 6 45 0 0
Small Handful – Cashew Nuts, 25 g 146 6 11 6 0 2
Sainsburys – Brown Rice, 60 g uncooked 212 43 2 5 0 0
594 49 19 56 0 2
Dinner: Herb crusted grilled chicken w/sweet potato mash, kale & spinach
Mashed Sweet Potato (W/o Skin, Boiled), 250 grams 190 45 0 5 4 0
Sainsburys – Chicken Breast Fillet Portions –  150 g 207 0 3 46 0 0

397 45 3 51 4 0
Snacks
Cnp – Pro Peptide protein shake 1 X 3 Scoop Serving, 3 Scoops 230 6 3 45 0 3
Sainsbury’s – 1% Fat Milk, 350 ml 151 17 4 13 0 17
Petit Filous Strawberry – 50g Pot, 100 g 96 13 2 5 0 12
Blueberries – Raw, 25 g 14 4 0 0 0 2
Metcalfe’s Skinny Topcorn – Sweet N’ Salt Popcorn, 25 g bag 115 18 5 2 0 5
Green and Blacks Organic – Mini Chocolate Bars, 15 g bar 84 7 5 1 0 0
Sainsbury’s – 1% Fat Milk, 200 ml 86 10 2 7 0 10

792 78 21 73 0 49
Intra Workout
Haribo – Tangfastics, 40 g 136 31 0 3 0 24
136 31 0 3 0 24
Totals 2,129 204 58 202 4 76
Your Daily Goal 2,200 248 61 165 100 77
Remaining 71 44 3 -37 96 1
Calories Carbs Fat Protein Iron Sugar

Chipotle chicken, salsa & corn: Gains in a bag!

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I seem to start nearly every recipe post by banging on about how simple it is; but seriously, a blind monkey could make this one.

The secret is to buy Bart Smokey Chipotle Rub, because the whole recipe uses this massive plastic baking bag which is packaged up really small inside the spice box. Essentially, you just chuck the corn, chicken and spices in the bag and then chop up the salsa ingredients – that is literally IT. You could make it with a different brand and cover it with foil in a baking tray; but for simplicity and ease, just buy the Bart one.

If you haven’t tried chipotle yet, you’re either crazy, or living on the moon. It’s been popping up everywhere over the past year, from street food to Southern American rib & burger joints that are taking over at the moment.  The spice has a really smokey, barbeque flavour which is perfect with meat. You can buy it in rubs, sauces, marinades, jams; all with varying levels of heat. I’ve made chipotle ribs before with a sauce; but didn’t post them because it was so spicy it was inedible!! The rub I bought for this gave the smokey depth you can only achieve with this spice, but just the right amount of heat to enhance the flavour without losing it. If you’re a gym bunny who’s shoveling chicken & rice on the daily, chipotle is a must – it transforms the ordinary into an addictive must-have.

Serves 4 (small plates (1 chicken breast, 1 cob, 1 serving salsa) or 2 large. If you want something more substantial, a baked sweet potato with low fat cottage cheese would go well with this.

Ingredients:

  • 4  British Chicken Breast Fillets
  • 4 whole sweetcorn
  • 27g pack Bart Smokey Chipotle Rub
  • 1 tbsp clear honey

For the salsa:

  • 400g can black eyed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime

Method:

Put the chicken and sweetcorn in the marinade bag, with the honey and chipotle, tie it and shake it up to coat. Leave it to marinate for about 20 mins while you make the salsa.

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For the salsa, just chop all the ingredients and combine in a bowl with the oil and lime juice.

Preheat the oven to 190C/180C fan and put the bag in a roasting tin to cook for 25 mins. Be really careful opening it, steam burns are nasty! Serve with the salsa!

Tip: This is an ideal BBQ dish, cook as above and finish off on the coals!

Approx Macros: 395kcals, 10.5g fat, 31.2g carbohydrate, 43.8g protein per serving

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Thai salmon burgers with lime & ginger quinoa

salmon burgers

Unfortunately I can’t take credit for this recipe, but I had to post it because its one of my favourites, super nutritious and absolutely packed with protein. The key ingredients, salmon, quinoa and edamame (soy) beans are all rich sources of it and one serving should contain at least 42g. The Thai spices make this fun and tasty to eat, a nice change from chicken & rice…

Adapted from Dale Pinnock’s Healthy Everyday

Serves 4 (or two if you’re hungry)

Approx Macros:

Protein – 42g, Carbs – 50g, Fat – 23g

Ingredients
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • Juice of 2 limes, plus wedges to serve
  • 2cm pieces of ginger
  • 200g quinoa
  • 150g edamame beans (fresh or frozen)
  • Large bunch fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
  • Splash olive oil, for frying
  • Salt & pepper
Method
  1. Place the salmon, garlic, Thai curry paste and half the lime juice in a food processor, season with salt, and process into a smooth, mince-like texture. If you don’t have a processor or blender, steam the salmon then flake it and mix with the above ingredients.
  2. Remove the mixture, divide in half, and using your hands, form 4 burger patty shapes (or 8 small ones). Set aside in the fridge to firm up slightly. If you’ve pre-cooked the salmon, make sure it’s completely cool before you fridge it. You could freeze the burgers at this point too.
  3. Put the quinoa in a pan with the piece of ginger, cover with boiling water, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until just tender (if your edamame beans are frozen, at the same time, boil these for 3-4 minutes in a separate pan until tender) .
  4. Drain the quinoa and stir in the edamame beans, remaining lime juice and coriander. Season with salt & pepper. Stir well and set aside.
  5. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, add the salmon burgers, and fry for 5 minutes on each side, or just until solid & warmed through if salmon is pre-cooked.
  6. Place some quinoa on the center of each plate. Place the burger on top and garnish with coriander and lime wedges

Life lately – a month in pictures

I’ve been super busy at work recently, so haven’t been blogging anywhere near as much as I’d like. As it’s getting a bit quieter again until September, I’m really looking forward to getting back into it. I need to get my Instagram up and running properly, but until then, here’s my month in pictures! I love the quote in the middle, I’ve set it as my phone background so I remember to take a step back and get outside whenever things get a bit stressful. Easier said than done sometimes, but even the words ‘Log off’ inspire a sense of calm, don’t you think?

PicMonkey Collage

Spring pea & bean salad with mint and feta

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In the warmer weather, I always crave fresh, green, light food that’s nutritious and full of summer flavour. I love small dishes and make this Spring Salad a lot for my vegetarian friends as part of a tapas table. It’s a great lunch or solo supper with wholemeal pittas and hummus cut with creme fraiche and paprika.

If you’re a carnivore, it’s a fantastic accompaniment to grilled chicken and won’t be out of place at a BBQ either.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (I use Canelleni)
  • 1 cup/ 300g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup/300g peas (fresh or frozen)
  • large handful mint
  • large handful corriander
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • glug extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • crumbled feta
  • Wholemeal pitta breads and creme fraiche mixed with hummus & paprika to serve

Method:

Drain and rinse the white beans and add to a large bowl. If using frozen broad beans and peas, simmer on the hob for approx. 3 mins, drain and immediately tip into a bowl of ice water to blanche and keep the vibrant green colour. Drain again and add to the bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, except the mint. This will turn black in a few hours, so keep it until you want to serve. Season to taste & preferably eat al fresco!

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Nutri-Dictionary #2: Sugar & Sweeteners

sweeter than sugar

Sugar – the devil word in 2014. The press is completely saturated this year with reasons to quit the sweet stuff, but those of us who have tried it know you that half the battle is finding your way through the maze of alternate options.

Quitting sugar cold-turkey is hardcore. I did it for the whole of January and limited sugar to fruit only in effort to see if my hard-earned results in the gym would increase. After two weeks of what my colleagues refer to as the ‘hellish bitch phase’ I slowly saw the merits of quitting. I’ve slowly reintroduced it but have relied on various sweeteners since, to try and replace a lot of the sugar I’d use in baking or on porridge for breakfast. Here’s the low down…

Stevia: A plant native to Central and South America that can be processed to produce a sweetener 3 times sweeter than sugar, with 0 calories. Hard to imagine but boy, is this stuff sweet. Easily utilised in baking where other sweeteners fail, Stevia is widely used and regarded among nutritionists as the best sugar substitute. The downsides are that widely available brands such as Truvia cost £5 a tub, although a little goes a verrrrry long way!
Best used:  To replace sugar in baking or hot drinks, weight loss

Xylitol: Due to the similarity in sweetness to sugar, xylitol is the most popular sugar alcohol and provides only 2.4 calories per gram compared to 4 calories in sugar. It sounds like Russian, but if you’ve ever eaten sugar free gum or sweets, chances are you’ve had your fair share of Xylitol. It’s perfect in these products because it has a slightly minty-fresh edge to the taste, meaning it’s not ideal in recipes or drinks. However, it’s a great product for diabetics as it doesn’t stimulate insulin production or increase blood sugar levels.

Best used: For a sweet confectionary fix when you need it

Agave Nectar: Agave nectar contains more calories than sugar (20 calories per teaspoon compared to 15 calories in sugar) and is 90% fructose.  However, since agave is significantly sweeter than sugar, less is needed when used for substituting.  Unlike other sweeteners, agave contains iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Not preferable to Stevia if you’re wanting to lose weight, but good in baking and desserts.

Best used: On porridge with banana and cacao nibs

Sweet Freedom Syrups: My personal favourite, these syrups are a combination of fruit sugars from apples, grapes and carob. Although the syrups have a high level of fructose, their taste is fantastic – similar to honey or golden syrup. Sweet Freedom do a light and dark syrup and a ‘Choc Shot’ with only 14 calories per tsp. Ideal for baking and desserts, this stuff was a saving grace for me when I quit sugar and continues to keep my Carb macros on track today.

Best used: On pancakes, in hot chocolate, or as a replacement for honey

 

Nutri-Dictionary #1 : Coconut

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Welcome to my weekly feature, Nutri-Dictionary! Every week I will devote a little column to de-busting the hype around certain nutrition crazes – God knows there are enough of them. First up – coconuts!

Coconut oil – The holy grail of health products in 2014. The least chemically altered of all cooking oils, this thick, lard like substance is a really high quality fat that you can cook with, consume raw, rub into skin and hair, it even removes mascara! Prices start at £6.50, but a little goes a long way.

Usage: Take 1tsp mixed into espresso for a killer pre-workout kick. Also fab for raw treats – see my raw chocolate brownies

Coconut water – This is the liquid from young, green coconuts. It’s full of electrolytes so provides the body with natural energy and unparalleled hydration (many athletes use it instead of sports drinks). The market is saturated with brands such as Zico (by Coca Cola) and Vita Coco, of which there are many with added flavours. My favourite is GoCoco, which is less chemically altered and has a sweeter, more natural coconut taste.

Usage: Great in smoothies or protein shakes instead of milk or water. Also a fab hangover cure!

Coconut milk – A fragrant, dairy alternative often used in thai cooking to add a smoothness to sauces

Usage: Thin your curries with a good splash of this. It adds a slightly sweet, creamy dimension.

Coconut cream – The thick cream left from the process of soaking the coconut fruit to produce the milk. Excellent for many of the same purposes; curries and sauces are the most common.

Usage: Try a coconut rice pudding for a healthy but comforting supper.

Coconut sugar – This sugar is derived from the coconut palm tree and is touted as being more nutritious and lower on the glycaemic index than sugar.

Usage: Try replacing usual sugar or sweetener in baking and puddings. Also ideal for dusting the rims of cocktail glasses.