Breakfast of champions: 10 reasons to eat oats (and 4 ways to pimp your porridge)

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As the mornings get darker it’s high time I dedicated an entire post to one of my favourite foods, the humble bowl of porridge.  Continue reading

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10 ways to supercharge your breakfast with protein power

Whether you’re an early morning exerciser or just want to hit those macros early doors, you’ll know how important getting a protein packed breakfast is. A friend at work, bored by his morning omelette, asked for ideas on quick high protein breakfasts –  here are 10 ways to get it in first thing.  Continue reading

Five live: easy summer recipes

Image from Vogue

Image from Vogue

Summer is here! It’s finally even reached Lancashire, as you’ll see above Chaz and I have been soaking up some rays strolling down Blackburn Road of an evening. So without further ado we’ve gathered a handful of simple, tasty recipes perfect for warmer days and al fresco dinners.

Asian tuna with spicy cashews and broccoli (gluten-free)

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Our friend Amy made this for us last week on a really cool hot plate/grill contraption but it would work just as well on a normal grill.

She simply marinaded some fresh tuna steaks in soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger and sesame seeds (she’s one of those annoyingly cool cooks who never measures anything and it turns out amazing so use your own judgement on quantities) then we grilled our own and eagerly tucked in with broccoli and cashews stir fried with sesame oil, a dash of soy and fresh chillies (flakes would also work). Simple, quick and so good.

Raw blueberry cheesecake (vegan, gluten-free)

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This is a favourite of mine and I’ve made it so many times but as it’s frozen (you take it out of the freezer for 10 minutes to eat) it’s great for warmer months. It was one of the first Deliciously Ella recipes I ever made and I still love it; I made it again last month after half forgetting about it and it was great to have something healthy in for midweek desserts to stop me contemplating a chocolate run.

It’s easy to make as long as your food processor is up to the job; I’ve broken a few blenders making it as you do need something stronger. Once you’ve got a decent processor on the go it’s simply a case of chucking in the required ingredients for each of the three layers then freezing for a few hours.

Serves 10.

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 1.5 cups of almonds
  • 2.5 of medjool dates

For the middle:

  • 2 cups of soaked cashew nuts
  • 2 frozen over-ripe bananas
  • 0.5 cup of maple syrup, agave syrup or honey (less if you don’t have as much of a sweet tooth)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

For the top:

  • 1 cup of freshly frozen blueberries (freeze for a couple of hours before making)
  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 medjool dates
  • 1 tablespoon of chosen syrup/honey
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Method

1. Slice three bananas and freeze for at least three hours with the blueberries. Soak the cashews in a bowl of cold water for a few hours too.

2. Base layer – put almonds into food processor and blend until crushed. Add pitted dates and blend again until a sticky mix forms. I can’t always find/afford medjool so if you use normal dates you might need to add a drop of water to get it sticky. Press into the base of a cake tin and put in the freezer.

3. Middle layer – simply add all ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Take the base layer out of the freezer and pour this mix over it before putting back into the freezer.

4. Wait twenty minutes for the middle layer to set in the freezer before making the third layer.

5. Top layer – add ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth and then pour over the middle layer.

6. Freeze for two hours before serving – remove for a few minutes before serving.

THE spinach and mushroom lasagne (veggie, can be gluten-free)

Image from BBC Good Food

Image from BBC Good Food

An old favourite that we’ve recently revived, this is a great veggie option for summer dining and goes perfectly with a seasonal salad. It features cheese so it’s not vegan friendly, but you can use gluten-free or wholewheat lasagne sheets depending on your preferences/dietary needs.

Chaz was the first to discover this simple BBC Good Food recipe and as I watched her make it for the first time I couldn’t believe it would be tasty with so few ingredients but it really works. It’s actually making me hungry just typing this. We’ve shared it with loads of friends since who all love it too (it’s been dubbed THE lasagne in fact), most recent convert was Marie who made it this week after asking for ideas on how to use up a bag of spinach. Turned out she had all the ingredients already in, it’s one of those kind of recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 250g pack mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, chopped (dried will do)
  • 200g bag spinach
  • 300g tub soft cheese (I use full fat)
  • 4 tbsp grated cheese (the original recipe calls for parmesan; I use cheddar as I tend to have it in)
  • 6-8 fresh lasagne sheets

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add garlic and cook for 1 min. Add mushrooms and thyme, then cook for 3 mins until they start to soften.
  2. Throw in the spinach and stir until the heat of the pan wilts the leaves. Remove from the heat and stir in the soft cheese, 1 tbsp cheese and some seasoning.
  3. Put a quarter of the spinach mix on the bottom of a medium-sized baking dish, lay pasta sheets on top, then repeat until you have used all the pasta/covered the mix.
  4. Finish with the final layer of the mix, sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and bake for 35 mins until golden and the pasta is tender.

Jo’s summer bircher (can be vegan and gluten-free)

Our friend Jo invented this last week after becoming bored of porridge and fancying something different for summer.

Ingredients

  • 30g oats
  • Handful of frozen raspberries
  • Tbsp of desiccated coconut
  • About 70g Greek yogurt (or non-dairy if vegan)

Method

Mix all ingredients together, the yogurt quantity is up to you; just enough to make it moist then refrigerate overnight. Like all birchers, this is easy to make ahead of time so get prepping on Sunday night for a week of quick, easy and tasty summer brekkies.

Feta salad (veggie)

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With salmon (mixed in), baby gem and avo for lunch

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I made this after ogling a lunchtime snapchat from Jo and a big batch in the fridge has made for happy lunches and sides all week. It’s not so much of a recipe as an assembly job/idea; there are so many different things you can throw in so use it more as a guide than anything. You could omit the feta and swap it for tofu to make it vegan.

Serves 6 as a side or makes four lunches with extras thrown in.

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of feta, cubed
  • 1 sweet pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 pack of cherry or plum tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tbsps of silverskin onions, chopped in half or smaller if you can
  • 2 tbsps green olives, halved or quartered
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped (mint would work too)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2tbsps apple cider vinegar

Method

Just chop and throw into a big bowl then stir everything together.

Copenhagen: pleased to eat you

If you’re up for a city break with a side order of healthy eating venues then Copenhagen comes highly recommended. Having spent 4 days in the Scandinavian city I was lucky enough to sample some Danish delights.

One of my pet peeves (along with animals dressed as humans) is arriving at a new destination and eating at any old place (which my friend Faye will vouch for having to witness my horror on many occasion when this has happened). Because of this I did my research and was able to visit some of the places I had checked online.

Our first food stop was Café Norden, which had been recommended by our friends Sarah and Nic as they made it their daily haunt during their visit and you can see why. The menu was extensive (although not very vegetarian or vegan friendly) with plenty of sandwiches, salads, burgers and cakes. I opted for the goat’s cheese salad with avocado, nuts, tomato, olives, rye bread croutons and honey (very Kings and Greens friendly). Rosie got the burger and Faye excelled in her choice of a smorgasbord of Danish delights.

norden salad

Supersize salad

The breakfast winner

The winning meal

In order to get in as many meals as possible during our visit we managed to squeeze in an afternoon cake stop at the small but perfectly formed 42Raw, which was top of my hit-list. As they explain on their website, “42°Raw is a celebration of food and drink served in their natural state. Naked, nutrient rich and delicious, just as nature intended” and they serve a huge selection of raw sandwiches, salads and sweet treats. We called here twice for coffee (almond milk chai lattes of course) and cakes but never got a chance to have lunch here so that’s number 1 on my list should I return.

Raw cake paradise

Raw cake paradise

42 coffe and cake

42Raw lunch menu

42Raw lunch menu

After an afternoon-turned-evening sampling the beers at The Taphouse (we managed to sample 6 of the 61 beers on tap so definitely need to return to Copenhagen to get to work on the rest of them) and Charlie’s Bar (great name) it was soon well into the evening and that dreaded time in every health food freak’s night: kebab time. We were lucky enough to stumble across Ahaaa kebab house which was actually amazing! They had a huge vegetarian menu and we all tucked into halloumi, falafel and avocado wraps with huge smiles on our faces. You don’t get that kinda kebab in Accrington!

Taphouse beers

Taphouse trio

Taphouse us

Beer bingo winners

kebab

Beats a greasy donner

The next morning brought us to Granola (after what seemed like hours trudging through rain, sleet and snow looking for The Laundromat café to no avail). This place had an old school French bistro vibe to it and would’ve been the perfect breakfast venue if they hadn’t seated two of the tallest girls I know at a tiny table being forced to play footsie with each other the whole time (even the toilet seemed to be exclusively for shorties). However the breakfast was amazing; yoghurt, granola (of course), pancakes and maple syrup, fresh fruit and the best cinnamon toast I have ever tasted. If we didn’t have to hot-foot it outta there for Faye and Rosie to stretch their long limbs I could’ve stayed for lunch and ordered the same again.

Granola brekky

Granola greatness

small loo

Toilet troubles

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Paleo and interesting

Lunch brought us to Paleo, a fastfood/takeaway café, with normal sized seating, based on primal gastronomy (their words, not mine) aptly located next door to 42Raw. It was a tough choice but I went for the nuts and berries salad which came with stone age bread (which I’m hoping means made from a stone age recipe, not preserved from the stone age – either way it was yummy), Faye got bolo (spicy ragu on vegetable noodles) and Rosie opted for the chicken salad. They were all really tasty and I’d definitely return to sample more of their stone age dishes.

bolo yolo

bolo yolo

Not your average chicken salad

Not your average chicken salad

YUM

Lunch on the goji

Having had a late lunch (and my second 42Raw afternoon cake) and a fun-filled evening of beer and board games at the highly recommended Tiger Spilbar (with cheap beer and a huge selection of board games) we weren’t hungry until much later and although we were tempted to return to Ahaaa for another kebab we decided to try somewhere new. The fact that I can’t remember the name proves it was probably my least favourite eatery during the trip, although I did really enjoy the salmon fillet I had (although I opted out of the pre-dinner tequila shot that Rosie and Faye went for, maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much!)

Games night

Games night

Tequila starter anyone?

Tequila starter anyone?

For breakfast the next day we were successful in finding The Laundromat Café, which as the name suggests is a Café-cum-laundrette that presumably serves the locals more than tourists as it was out on a limb a bit (I think it’s a chain but they all seemed quite far out of the city centre) but it was well worth the trip. They had a huge breakfast menu, with lots of both meaty (including The Dirty Breakfast) and vegetarian (including The Clean Breakfast) options. I opted for the clean breakfast and it was really good. They also do lunches and some vegan options too. There was a really relaxed atmosphere and you could easily spend a few hours here eating, drinking, doing your washing and reading from their extensive library.

photo 1

The clean breakfast

The clean breakfast

The dirty breakfast

The dirty breakfast

The breakfast for people with a small appetite

The breakfast for people with a small appetite

Rainbow reading

Rainbow reading

After a big and late brunch we had booked in for a big meal that night so decided just to have coffee and cake at Charlottenborg Art Centre (another great name) on Nyhavn later in the afternoon which had a really funky interior with a gift shop, art gallery and a really nice courtyard (although we didn’t see much of it in torrential rain).

Another cake break

Another cake break

We did in the end

We did in the end

Artsy

Artsy

Our final evening meal brought us to Salt, which is the restaurant at The Admiral hotel on the docks. It was a really nice venue with a tapas style menu (although the dishes were served one after another in the order we had ordered them much to our confusion) and I went for warm spinach salad with salted lemon and egg yolk, sand shrimps with broccoli and kelp and fried halibut with caramalised fennel and black pepper and they were all amazing. We rounded the evening off with a cheeseboard at Salt and a LOT of Tuborg at Rosie McGee’s irish bar (you can take the girls out of Accrington…)

Salt n pepper

Salt n peppa

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Too much tuborg

Too much Tuborg

Our final morning found us nursing slight hangovers with tasty brunches at Europa 1989. I had the vegetarian brunch which included yoghurt, berries, maple syrup, cheese, jam, potato rosti with poached egg and asparagus with an avocado, beetroot and grapefruit salad. Need I say more?

Hangover heaven

Hangover heaven

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One of the best things about eating in Copenhagen was how every menu suited all tastes and appetites. It’s rare to find anywhere where we live that serves a full English and meaty feasts alongside extensive vegetarian and healthy options but we were spoilt for choice here. The Danes clearly make more of a big deal about brunch as every brunch menu was packed full as were the cafes every morning. As you can tell eating was one of the main things we did and I don’t think I’ve ever been on a holiday that has had so many amazing eating venues. I’d definitely recommend it and there’s still so many places on my list that we didn’t even get to try, which just means I’ll have to return again soon :-).

Here are some more menus for your perusal.

Laundromat menu

Laundromat menu

Granola menu

Granola menu

granola menu 2

Paleo menu

Paleo menu

P.S I also had some pringles on the plane 😉

Greens don’t quit: super six recipes

Green is our favourite colour, so think of this as either a belated St Patrick’s Day post, a way of remembering one of our favourite running songs (Just Be Good To Green by Pro G and Lily Allen puts a spring in our step) or a tribute to our favourite Friend, Rachel.

We decided to share a few of our favourite green recipes with you and invite you to share your own in the comments below!

Kale crisps

kale jumper quinoa vodka

Kale crisps get demolished so quickly we can’t find a pic despite serving hundreds of times – so here’s a kale sweater instead

This super snack is a must for us whenever we are entertaining as it’s so quick and a surprising crowd pleaser. Ditch the crisps and serve this instead, we are yet to meet a guest we haven’t converted!

Simply grab a few handfuls of kale, remove the stalks and lay on a baking tray. Coat in olive oil but not too much – I use a lid’s worth – then massage this in for about 30 seconds until you feel the kale wilting. Sprinkle with salt and chilli flakes and bake for 10-15 minutes on about 200 degrees until it crisps up then tuck in!

The Hulk smoothie bowl

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Created this very morning after my 7.30am meeting was cancelled and I found myself with the gift of time, this is a tasty way to get your greens in early doors to power you through to lunch. Serves 1.

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/3 large avocado or 1/2 small
  • 1 frozen banana (I peel and chop before freezing for easy speedy use)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp spirulina (will work without this but if you have any it’s great for protein and vitamins)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Blitz it up in your blender, adding extra milk/water to your preferred consistency but the point of the smoothie bowl is that it’s thicker than your average smoothie so you can eat with a spoon.

Topping ideas…

  • Cacao nibs
  • Toasted coconut chips
  • Bee pollen
  • Chia seeds
  • Fresh or frozen fruit
  • Crushed nuts

Detox green soup

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We sometimes knock up a batch of green soup on a Sunday for a quick Monday lunch after an indulgent weekend, makes you feel back on track instantly and all those vitamins do wonders for your sad Monday carbface. Great for 5:2 fast days too.

This is a fairly vague recipe because you can throw in whatever greens you have but should provide a decent springboard for your souper creations.

Serves 3-4

  • 1 head of broccoli (florets and stalk)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • A couple of handfuls of spinach (add the whole bag if it needs using up)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp Bouillon/veg stock
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 500ml – 1 litre water (enough to cover veg)

Fry the garlic, broccoli florets and cumin for five minutes to soften then add the stock, spinach, peas and chickpeas and warm it all up for another five minutes. Blend in your food processor/blender, add salt and pepper to taste then squeeze the lemon in before serving.

Kale and avo salad

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Now you’ve perfected your kale massaging technique you can use it to whip up this game changing salad. A lofty claim but I think this dressing might sway even the most ardent of green haterz.

Serves 2 as main or 4 as side

  • 1 x 200g bag kale
  • 1 avocado, chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp soy or tamari (gluten-free version)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime

Pour the dressing ingredients into a mug and whisk up with a fork until smooth, then pour onto the kale (I don’t remove stalks as I don’t mind them but you can). Massage in for about a minute – important because it breaks it down and absorbs the flavour of the zingy dressing. Keeps in the fridge all week, add avo to serve plus anything else you like – pomegranates, goji berries, roasted sweet potato or cooked quinoa are my usuals. This is a regular feature on my Sunday batch cook list for work lunches and evening sides.

Super spirulina smoothie

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Serves 1

  • 1/4 cucumber, chopped
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp honey/agave/maple syrup
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup almond milk

Whizz up in a blender, add liquid to your preferred consistency.

Kale pesto

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We’ve adapted this BBC Good Food recipe to be vegan-friendly. Perfect with courgetti, soba noodles or wholewheat spaghetti, it can also be great on homemade pizzas or as a dip for SP wedges.

  • 85g pine nuts (toasted for a few mins in a dry frying pan)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 85g kale
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Juice 1 lemon

Simply blitz all ingredients in a food processor until it forms a paste, season to taste.

Enjoy!

Round our way: healthy eating in Lancashire

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Round our way the birds might be singing (couldn’t bring myself to type ‘are’ despite a hardcore teenage Oasis habit).

But the region’s eateries ain’t the kale-loving caverns we might dream of so we’ve become experts at tracking down the best of the bunch when it comes to both healthy and veggie options (the combo being the much sought holy grail).

We’ve put this post together with a lot of help from our comrade in the war against beige food, Jade – you can follow her healthy adventures on Instagram at @strawberry_moon_

1. Green Chimney, Colne

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Great chickpea burger, strawberry salmon salad with avo, sweet potato fries and a delish selection of vegan cakes. They do soya lattes (good to know) and we are yet to check out the breakfasts but they sound amazing – spelt toast, veggie eggs benedicts, pancakes and porridge. We’re actually off there tonight so check our Instagram to see what we feast on!

2. The Bear, Todmorden

latte

Top of our to-do list at the moment is Jade’s favourite veggie haunt in Todmorden. Ever since she Instagrammed this warm coconut milk we’ve been dying to try it so watch this space. In fact I’ve just spent a good 10 minutes ogling their menu so it’s becoming an urgent priority!

3. The Sanctuary, Langho

sanctuary

We were devastated to arrive here post-16 mile run last Friday to find they’d stopped serving lunch a mere 15 minutes earlier but everything sounded amazing and the cakes were tip top. I picked up some of this Primrose’s Kitchen beetroot and ginger muesli from the little shop in the cafe and it’s been getting me out of bed all week. So good!

Sadly they’re only open weekdays at the minute so worth a visit if you’ve got a day off or a ridiculous amount of holidays like Chaz (joking teachers! You work hard!).

4. Do-dah’s, Rawtenstall

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Chaz was beside herself to score a raw brownie here the other day. Check it out.

5. Garden Kitchen, Holden Clough

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Homemade granola, eggs and asparagus, squash curry, goat’s cheese burger (OK so not exactly healthy… but panko crumbed heaven) and a separate gluten-free menu, they have a great veggie selection and will also prepare vegan options if you call ahead. Famous for their afternoon tea picnic tables if you’re in the market for a gluten bonanza!

6. Roots, Lancaster

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Slightly further afield, but well worth a visit if you’re day tripping. Everything is locally sourced, veggie and seasonal. Just how we like it.

7. Whale Tail Café, Lancaster

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Lancaster veggies are spoilt as this place is another great spot for plant-tastic dining. Lots of vegan options and organic booze too.

8. Greens, Didsbury

prosecco pals

Since a surprise birthday treat last October we’ve been meaning to revisit Simon Rimmer’s Greens to explore the rest of their menu. Still thinking about the amazing Chinese-style mushroom pancakes!

9. Wokki, Accrington

Thai street food in Accrington?? You bet. Try the vegan soups to warm yourself up (spring still seems a way off) and ring to order ahead if you’re pushed for time as everything is cooked freshly to order.

10. Zakros, Blackburn Market

A Greek and Thai place Jade raves about for lunches. Who knew Blackburn Market was such a treasure trove of culinary finery!

11. Jim’s Café, Colne

Another on our East Lancs hitlist! Has anyone been?

We’ve deliberately not included central Manchester here as options are plentiful but we may do a separate post later if anyone is interested – all suggestions welcome!

Anywhere we’ve missed or any great tips? Please comment so we can feed our healthy dining addictions!

All images taken by us (or Jade)

Super Quinoa

First let’s set the record straight, it’s pronounced keen-wah. Don’t worry, we’ve all been through the kwinoa phase.

quinoa tesco

It’s a very trendy food at the moment and you really should believe the hype as it’s packed full of protein which is great if you’re avoiding or eating less meat as you need to make sure you’re hitting your protein goals in some way. It’s also gluten free so ideal if you’re wanting to beat the bloat.

Most local supermarkets now stock it (if not get us on the case, we contacted Sainsbury’s to ask them to stock it in their Arnold store and they’re working on it now) so you don’t need to go out of your way to get it and it’s even cropping up in restaurant menus (much to our delight).

As quinoa as mustard with my menu choice

As quinoa as mustard with my menu choice

As well as being a super tasty super food,  it’s also really flexible and can be used in so many ways. It’s easy to make and I usually batch cook a load on a Sunday to form part of various meals throughout the week. Make sure you rinse it thoroughly as it can taste bitter if you skip this step. I also cook it in some veg stock (I like to use bouillon) and add some seasoning to give it a bit more flavour. You can also squeeze in some lemon and lime while it’s cooking but I usually do this just before I serve it.

If you’ve got some pre-cooked quinoa in the fridge making a salad bowl out of it is so easy. You can put it together with pretty much anything. My usual lunch is quinoa with kale, avocado and hummus topped with chilli flakes. I also made a big batch of quinoa for a Jacob’s join at work recently and teamed it with roasted pine nuts, grapes and chick peas (I was planning on using pomegranate seeds but didn’t have any in and found that grapes worked just as well). For a post-run midweek tea last week I put some with tinned tuna, spinach, grapes and a sprinkle of tahini.

quinoa jjquinoa tea

If you’d prefer it warm there are lots of recipes around. Deliciously Ella’s roasted squash and pine nut quinoa is a favourite of mine and she also has a brussel sprout, portebello mushroom and pomegranate recipe that I’ve been meaning to give a try. Quinoa can also be a healthy equivalent to rice in any risotto recipe so if you’ve got any suggestions let us know!

If you’re feeling adventurous it doesn’t have to end there! It can also be used to make pizza bases, pancakes, muffins, bread and Ali does a mean porridge with it following a recipe by Madeleine Shaw. If you fancy a challenge Buzzfeed has got 32 recipe ideas (aptly titled 32 ways to eat quinoa and succeed in life) that sound amazing. In their words, quinoa is more than just a grain, it’s a lifestyle.

32 ways

Catcher in the rye: weekend brunching and post-run munching

xmas day brunch

Rye bread is a real saviour for the health nut. Usually made without any wheat – therefore gluten-free to banish that dreaded bloat – it’s packed with fibre and has a low glycaemic index, which means it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels like evil white bread does and keeps you full for so much longer.

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Don’t be fooled by those thin slices – they’re densely and deliciously packed with all the nutrients to make you bounce through the afternoon. Plus – a lot of varieties also contain other tasty seeds and grains that are great for fuelling hungry bodies. We usually buy Biona’s because it’s available in our local Tesco, but many Lidl stores do great versions as do health shops.

biona

So it’s little surprise this wonderbread is the base of choice for regular post-workout snacks for our super marathon running friend Euan. He asked us for a few new topping ideas to alternate with his usual mackerel and avo combo to tick those carb, fat and protein boxes in one tasty sitting.

Here are a few ideas we came up with – enjoy toasted or as it comes.

1. Smashed avocado with chilli flakes, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime

2. Mashed banana with cashew nuts (raw or toasted in the oven or pan fried for 5 minutes), sunflower seeds and a drizzling of agave syrup, honey or maple syrup

3. Poached eggs, spinach and baked asparagus

4. Smoked salmon and scrambled egg

5. Almond butter with sliced banana and a sprinkling of chia seeds (great for rehydrating after long runs)

6. Healthy nutella with Himalayan pink salt

7. Mozzarella, sliced heritage tomatoes and fresh basil

8. Beetroot and feta

9. Kale pesto with cherry tomatoes

10. Homemade classic hummus

11. Raspberry chia jam and peanut butter

12. Sundried tomato spread – delish on its own or you could melt some goat’s cheese on top for a quick healthy pizza slice

13. Sliced pear, stilton and chopped walnuts

14. Mashed sweet potato (chop and steam/boil for 5 minutes then drain) with black beans and sour cream (vegan alternative if you prefer)

15. Roasted red peppers, basil leaves and sliced avocado

16. Goat’s cheese, walnuts and honey

These are all meat-free and many vegan but most would work well with added meat if that floats your boat. Any other bright ideas? Post in the comments, don’t be shy!

Images from our own Instagrams and Tesco online

Bircher King

bc

During the hazy days of surviving on minimum calories in order to consume a 23.5” pizza (we’ve all now seen that picture from the last post) breakfast was an easy way to save cals.

As you may know, I (Chaz) am a teacher and I usually lasted until break time on a 54 calorie WeightWatchers yoghurt, somehow managing to stay standing long enough to walk to the staff room for my cereal bar at 11am.

Breakfast always used to be something I quickly consumed to stop being hungry and having probably over eaten the night before came as some kind of morning punishment. Since starting eating healthily, breakfast has been a huge turning point for me and these days I make sure I have something substantial and tasty and I have so much more energy throughout the day as a result.

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Sometimes I make a green or almond butter smoothie using my Nutribullet and at the weekend I like to have avocado on rye toast (watch out for a post coming soon on other rye toast topping ideas), but during the week I don’t have time in the morning to make something like that so my favourite weekday breakfast is the Bircher.

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Birchers are named after Maximilian Bircher-Benner, a 19th century health freak after our own hearts who first invented muesli for patients in his Swiss nutritional clinic.

Another name for a Bircher is overnight oats and these do exactly what they say on the jar. They can be prepared the night before so I usually make 2 or 3 jars at a time to save me time throughout the week – tear yourself away from that Sunday box set marathon for just ten minutes and I promise you’ll thank yourself for it on those dark weekday mornings.

bircher1

80p mason jar from Ikea

bircherprep

Here are some ideas to start the Bircher Revolution.

  • Oats, natural yoghurt (if you’re avoiding dairy you can replace yoghurt with almond milk, water or Coyo in any of these), cinnamon, cacao nibs and banana
  • Almond milk, chia seeds, flaked almonds, oats, goji berries, agave syrup
  • Flaxseeds, chia seeds, agave, oats, coconut milk, blueberries
  • Coconut water, strawberries. oats, almonds, dessicated coconuts
  • Fig, oats, cacao nibs, manuka honey, almond milk
  • Mango, dessicated coconut, natural yoghurt, cacao nibs
  • Oats, raisins, grated apple, cinnamon, water and honey

I rarely follow a recipe for a bircher and don’t usually weigh things out, put a little extra liquid in if you’re using oats or chia seeds as they will expand overnight, but you can always add extra in the morning to get the consistency you prefer so don’t worry about being precise. Play around to find your favourite combos and use whatever you have handy. We use jam jars, honey pots or small mason jars and as long as it all fits into one of those you won’t be overeating – plus, it’s easily portable to throw into your bag for a healthy, tasty breakfast on the go or at your desk.

bircher 1 bircher2

I like to buy whatever fruit is in season for toppings and throw a few things in together so don’t feel like you have to be strict with these.

If you’d rather follow a recipe, Honestly Healthy does a really simple, really tasty one using cheap and easy-to-find ingredients to get you started.

Have you joined the Bircher gang yet? Any great combos we should be trying?

breakfast

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