GymBug

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Archive for the tag “honey”

Snack time!

Hi there!

Sorry I’ve been absent, the weather is gorgeous and I’ve been spending a lot of time outside getting my daily dose of Vitamin D!

Getafe

Can’t help but be outside.

However, yesterday I discovered a new delicious, quick and healthy snack! It’s pretty basic but tastes like apple pie!

Ingredients;

  • 1 apple, chopped (go for any type you want)
  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • 1/4 cup cornflakes/bran flakes/crunchy cereal
    Watch what you choose, remember some are high in sugar and calories
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon

Method;

  1. Add the oats, apple and cornflakes/bran flakes/crunchy cereal to a bowl.
  2. Add as much honey and cinnamon as you like.
  3. Enjoy!
  4. Optional; if you’re looking for a punchier snack, add some greek yoghurt to it (proteeeeeein).
Om nom nom

Om nom nom

I know it doesn’t look like much but I swear it’s delicious!

Happy snacking!

Gym Bug

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Oats!

Hi there!

Warning: I will use oats and porridge interchangeably.

I’ve already done a post on Stoats, which is a great porridge company based in Scotland. I love their oats and recommend trying their flavours to mix breakfast up! However, if you prefer making your own delicious oats, I’ve made a list of easy toppings that you can cook into the porridge (just cook the toppings with th oats) or throw on after cooking. I usually cook my oats in the microwave also a make it slightly drier.

  • Banana; very simple. If you microwave your oats the banana disappears and creates a delicious and creamy mix.
  • Banana and honey; bit sweeter.
  • Pineapple; this becomes insanely hot in the microwave, but it’s a great sweet and sour flavour. Add some dried/fresh coconut to make a tropical breakfast.
  • Dried fruit; cranberries, raisins, sultanas, apricots, dried coconut, the list goes on! Bananas and raisins are also delicious.
  • Cinnamon; powdered cinnamon is brilliant, throw it in with bananas, apples, raisins for even more flavour.
  • Apples; cook them with the porridge too for delicious, hot breakfast.
  • Berries; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Again, add these on top or cook into the porridge. Cooking them creates a lovely compote.
  • Peanut butter; on its own, with cinnamon, bananas or apples.
  • Jam; a bit more fruit (and a bit more sugar).
  • Peanut Butter and Jam; watch the portions here, but it’s a delicious treat.
  • Dark chocolate; a couple of squares, great if you’re craving some chocolate.
  • Cocoa powder; not as tasty as dark chocolate but better if you’re watching your calories.
  • Yoghurt; I really enjoy cooking up a nice, hot bowl of porridge and adding a tablespoon of low-fat natural or fruit flavoured yoghurt.
  • Granola; top your bowl with a modest amount of granola for a lovely crunch.
  • Almonds; adds a nice crunch and delicious flavour. Best add these in and cook for the final 20 seconds or crush them into your porridge.
  • Protein Powder; I recommend mixing up the protein and milk in your shaker then adding that to the oats before cooking to make sure the protein dissolves well.

You can also make porridge savoury, but I’ve never tried this (yet) but here’s a list of recipes from Shape to try if sweet porridge is not your thing!

If hot porridge is not your thing then try mixing your oats (typical 40g portion) with yoghurt in an airtight container (I use Weight Watchers individual pots, one per breakfast, great flavours), throw in some toppings listed above  and leave it overnight. Next morning you’ll have delicious cold oats, they must be left overnight however to ensure the oats soften. I’ve already mentioned overnight oats before with a recipe for Bircher’s Muesli that my mum makes.

IMPORTANT; porridge doesn’t need to be just for breakfast. Porridge can be a brilliant recovery food. Over the Christmas holidays I enjoyed cold, overnight oats post-run. You can get a great balance of carbohydrates and proteins and some sugars to help your body recover.

I’m a huge fan of porridge in case no one noticed.

Gym Bug

Breakfast; The Most Important Meal of the Day

Hi there!

Today I shall be discussing the most important meal of the day; BREAKFAST. Studies have repeatedly shown breakfast is vital if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Literally, Google the importance of breakfast and see what happens!

The whole idea behind ‘breakfast is the important meal of the day’ relates to the fact that you haven’t eaten for a considerable amount of time whilst you’ve been sleeping. It’s roughly an average of 5-7 hours. That’s a long time for your body not to receive fuel. Yes, your metabolism is not running at such a high rate when you’re sleeping but you are still burning calories to breath and function, right? Eating breakfast gives you the energy to perform better, concentrate, exercise and generally tackle the day better. It may also reduce hunger throughout the day, leading to weight loss or management. Overall, breakfast is a must-have if you’re looking to make healthier lifestyle choices. Plus, it’s absolutely delicious and it can be quick if you need it to be!

Here are some excellent breakfast options;

  • Porridge
    A huge favourite of mine. I usually have this for breakfast every day and I never get sick of it. The best part about porridge is that you can change it up all the time. Try it with sliced banana, apple, berries, pineapples and more fruit! I love cooking the fruit in with the porridge to soften the fruit and get the juices mixed with the oats. You can also add honey, agave syrup, seeds, cacoa powder, dark chocolate drops, nut butter and cinnamon! Also if you’ve made it rather thick, a good spoonful of yoghurt is delicious too. Porridge is a low glycaemic index food which means it’s slow releasing, keeping you fuelled and focused until lunch (or maybe snack time).
  • Pancakes
    I’ve done two different pancakes posts; Protein Power Pancakes and 2-Ingredient Pancakes. There are literally hundreds of recipes out there though and you can make variations on both these recipes. The best and most versatile thing about pancakes though is the toppings. Go for fruit, syrup (watch the quantities), nut butters, yoghurt, some cinnamon to make them sweet. If you’re wanting something a bit more savoury pancakes are great with eggs (maybe not the two recipes listed above, but a more neutral pancake mix), bacon, sausage (not the healthiest options), even have them with some ham and tomato or avocado.
  • Overnight oats
    I have had Bircher’s Muesli that my mum made once and it’s phenomenal, I’ll post the recipe below for you to try but overnight oats are becoming insanely popular. These are great if you need a grab’n’go breakfast.
  • Eggs
    Have them scrambled, boiled, poached, in an omelette, however you like them! These are a great source of protein which will keep you going until lunch. Have a veggie omelette, veggie scramble, boiled eggs with whole wheat toast, scrambled eggs and avocado, again the possibilities are endless!
  • Muffins
    You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, it sounds strange but you can create some delicious and healthy breakfast muffins for another grab’n’go breakfast. It’s all about preparing the night before and making sure you’re not buying your breakfast muffin! Here’s a recipe below I found for delicious Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins.
  • Smoothies
    Another grab’n’go one here. Through in your favourite fruit, some low-fat yoghurt, oats and blitz it! You can also make vegetable juices or through in some spinach, kale etc to make different combinations of smoothies. Freeze the fruit for an ice-cold serving of breakfast. Also, if you’re taking protein feel free to through in a scoop of your powder to really get a packed breakfast.

These are but a few options. Here’s a link to my Breakfast board on Pinterest for more inspiration  I’m constantly updating it with new finds and I’ll post on here when I use new recipes and let you know the verdict!

Now for the Bircher’s Muesli (for 6, overnight recipe)

Ingredients;
1 cup rolled oats
1 ¾ cups water or milk
1 green apple
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ cups plain yoghurt/non-fat greek yoghurt/ low-fat fruit yoghurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Method;
1. Combine the water or milk and oats, cover and leave overnight.
2. The next morning make sure your oats are nice and soft.
3. Core and grate the apple into the oats.
4. Add the honey, yoghurt and (if using) the cinnamon to the oats and apple.
5. Stir until all is well combined.
6. Serve as it is or with your favourite breakfast toppings.

Some favourite toppings; banana, dark chocolate drops, berries, raisins, nuts.

This is a delicious breakfast and one I’m sneakily hoping will be prepared at some stage when I’m home, I may even make it myself!

With all these amazing recipes why would you want to skip breakfast!?

Gym Bug

2-Ingredient Pancakes

Hi there!

Last night was pancake night! A friend and I had decided to make some pancakes to give ourselves a break from studying. However, we used a recipe neither of us had tried before. I was slightly sceptical, there is literally 2 ingredients in these pancakes but they were actually really, really good.

Ingredients; (for one person, about 3-5 pancakes)

1 large, ripe banana
2 eggs
Cinnamon (optional, we actually forgot)

Method;

  • Mash the eggs, bananas and cinnamon (if using) all together to form a smooth batter.
    You could use a blender here if you have one.
  • Heat a little oil in a pan (on a medium heat).
  • Fry the pancakes until browned on each side, about 2 tablespoons per pancake works well.
  • Serve with your favourite toppings!

We had jam or honey or a bit of dark chocolate on ours, but try with yoghurt, fruit, dark chocolate drops, maple syrup, whatever you love on pancakes! They are sweet because of the banana, so watch out for that!

A couple of cooking notes;

  • The ‘batter’ will be quite thin if you leave your bananas slightly chunkier (like we did), it still works really well, plus you get delicious hits of warm banana through the pancake.
  • They are paler than normal pancakes, to ensure the egg is cooked leave about 2-3 on each side.
  • If you’ve left banana chunks in there; you will find wetter parts through the pancake as you are eating it, the pancake is cooked (if you’ve left it long enough) it’s just the banana making it a bit more moist.
  • Next time I think I’ll add some raisins or dark chocolate drops to add to these a bit.
  • If you’re looking to bulk them up a bit add some peanut butter in there or any nut butter (or you could use these as toppings).
  • Chocolate craving? Cocao powder in there.
  • These average out at about 25 calories per pancake (untopped), that’s about a 20 calorie saving per pancake compared to generic pancakes!

These were such a great mix up to my usual boring dinners! Love them! There are some photos below (on my iPhone, apologies about the quality) of them cooking and one finished pancake!

Pancake Cooking

Pancake cooking

One completed pancake

One completed pancake

The set-up

The set-up

It’s a Monday! Did you get your Monday off to a great start with a workout!? I did not, the gym is closed so I went yesterday instead! But if you can go on a Monday I recommend it! It sets you up for the week!
Here’s to a great week.

Gym Bug

Adoring Avocados

Hi there!

It’s almost Christmas (as I’ve said, I know, but I’m so excited). Which means delicious food circling and lots of opportunities to show off some (healthy) cooking! These recipes are not just exclusively for Christmas though so keep a note of them for future opportunities to use them! They’re great for dinner parties, appetisers or just a healthy dinner!

A big health food in my house is avocado. We love them! They’re in season May through to August (but you can still get some now) and are brilliant sources of good fats (poly- and monounsaturated fats) which when eaten instead of saturated fats can help lower cholesterol. Some avoid avocado because they are high in fat and therefor calories, but again, good fats. They are very easy to chop up and throw in a salad, put on some ryvita or crispbread or whip up some guacamole! Here are some recipes below my family enjoy.

Guacamole

1 avocado
1/3 red chili, deseeded and chopped
1/2 red onion
1 clove of garlic
3 cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper

  1. Blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor until to the desired consistency.
  2. Add salt, pepper, more chili to taste.
  3. Store in an airtight container, keeps for roughly 3 days (ensure to leave the avocado pip in with the guacamole to prevent browning)

Avocado Salad Dressing

1 avocado
1/2 tablespoon honey
2- 3 drops of Tabasco
Handful of coriander
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon of cider or sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion
Juice from 1 lime
3/4 cup of water
Salt and pepper

  1. Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until you get a smooth, creamy texture.
  2. Season as required to your own personal taste, add more Tabasco if you like the kick.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for around an hour before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
  4. This will keep for around 3-5 days in the fridge, stored in an airtight container.

Caeser Salad Dressing-this is a great, healthier alternative to a mayonnaise based dressing, you can also use fat-free natural or greek yoghurt (about 5 tablespoons)

1 avocado
2 tablespoon of finely grated Parmesan
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper

  1. Blend the avocado in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients except the olive oil.
  3. Add the olive oil last and stir briefly.
  4. Season if desired.
  5. This will store in an airtight container for about 3 days in the fridge.
You can play around with the quantities of all of these recipes to get the desired flavors and consistencies. Honestly, when I make them I just go with it until I get the flavor I’m looking for. Beware with the Avocado Salad Dressing, the honey can be very distinctive and make the dressing sweet, best go for less at first then add if desired.
Parmaham, Avocado and Balsamic Salad
1 pack parmaham
1 avocado
50g pine nuts
150ml balasmic dressing
200ml extra virgin olive oil
As much rocket as you like
Salt and pepper
  1. Wash the rocket thoroughly and pat dry, lay out on a large, flat plate.
  2. Toast your pine nuts by laying them on a frying pan (no oil) on a medium-high heat until they start to brown (some may have black patches, that’s fine) remove from the heat and allow to cool in a dish.
  3. Mix the balsamic and olive oil together, we place it in a  glass bottle with an unpeeled clove of garlic, salt and pepper and shake thoroughly (you can store it in this bottle in the fridge for salads too).
  4. Peel and slice the avocado, best to cut the avocado in half, remove the pip then slice length ways to keep the curved shape in each slice.
  5. Scatter the avocado across the rocket, tear the parmaham and scatter it too then sprinkle over the pine nuts.
  6. Drizzle some of the dressing (not all of it) over the plate and allow others to add more dressing if desired (remember that dressing can be used for all salads).
  7. Best eaten then and there, but will keep in the fridge for a day or 2, make sure to keep the avocado pip and pop it on the plate/in the container when you store it.
Creamy Avocado Pasta (for one)- this is a super simple, cheap pasta dish that’s very quick and healthy!
1 avocado (the riper, the better)
70g wholewheat pasta
1 garlic clove
1 red onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
50g peas
Chicken or prawns (optional)
Salt and pepper
  1. Start cooking your wholewheat pasta, it takes slightly longer than normal pasta, best give it around 12 minutes, at around minute 9 or 10 throw in the peas to the water.
  2. If you’re having chicken cook it now any way you wish and slice it into manageable chunks, if your prawns are raw cook them now.
  3. Chop the garlic and onion and put in a food processor with the avocado, chili powder, olive oil,salt and pepper and blitz until you get a smooth, creamy sauce.
  4. Once your pasta and chicken/prawns are ready, drain the pasta and throw in the chicken/prawns and stir in the avocado sauce (I do this in the pot the pasta was cooked in to heat the sauce up a bit)
  5. For vegetarians you could try adding tofu or quorn (never tested this myself).

Guaranteed the Parmaham, Avocado and Balsamic salad will make an appearance in my household over the festive period (or at least a variation of it). Give them go and always be willing to tweak them as you see fit (and healthy).

It’s the weekend! Have a great weekend everybody!
Gym Bug

Stoats; Fuelling you with Scottish greatness

Hi there!

Now, I’m a huge fan of porridge. I think it’s a super kick start to your day; excellent source of energy, filling, warm and low GI. For me, porridge ticks all the boxes and it’s NOT BORING. You can add fruit, sauces, chocolate, peanut butter; the list is endless with a good old bowl of oats! I eat a variety of brands of porridge but my all-time favourite has to be good old Stoats. It was my dad that picked up a box a while ago because it was on special in the supermarket. He came home with Apricot and Sultana, and the box didn’t last the week (my dad and I especially partial to this flavour).
The oats are Scottish (waving the flag here, you go Stoats) and they use all natural ingredients like fruits and seeds (always a huge bonus).
Here’s a run-down of what they’ve got;

  • Apricot & Sultana Porridge;
    Stoats get their proportion of fruit to oats spot on here. Juicy sultanas and dried apricots bring the occasional bite of sweetness without it being too much. You don’t even need to add anything; it’s delicious on its own.
  • Sunflower & Poppy Seed Porridge;
    My twin loves this one. I definitely prefer the apricot one but this always made a nice break. The subtle crunch of the seeds gave a nice, subtle flavour. I’ll admit, my sister adds peanut butter, but it’s a very good porridge with or without it (given my obsession with peanut butter, it’s very good with it).
  • Apple & Cinnamon;
    A tummy hug. Best way to describe it. I am not a huge fan of cinnamon, but they’ve again got the balance spot on. The apples compliment the cinnamon perfectly so rather than being overwhelmed and feeling like you’ve done the Cinnamon Challenge you’re left with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your tummy. This is excellent on a cold morning.
  • Original Oats;
    We usually have a box in the house as back-up in case we run out of the others. I chop through banana, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, apple, raisins etc (maybe some peanut butter) to give it a bit more flavour. But these oats are very filling and perfect to get you up and going.
  • Quick Pots;
    These are one portioned sized boxes of porridge for on the go dining. As a snack or as a breakfast these are great for chucking in your bag and going. Like most oats, you can make it with hot water, so you don’t even need to worry about heating up milk. They come in 3 flavours; Apple & Cinnamon, Original and Cranberry & Blueberry. They DON’T offer the Cranberry & Blueberry in large boxes only in porridge pot form, but I recommend giving it a try, nice tangy berries always make a great start to the morning.
  • Porridge Bars;
    Energy packed bars for snacking or a quick breakfast. They come in 6 flavours; Apple & Cinnamon, Apricot & Sultana, Blueberry & Honey, Fig & Date, Raspberry & Honey and White Choc & Hazelnut. I’m a fan of Apple & Cinnamon as well as their Raspberry & Honey. But I can tell you, they’re all delicious and filling.
  • Oatcakes;
    I didn’t actually know they produced these. I learned this by checking out their website. I’m a fan of oatcakes (and cheese, anybody?), so I’m sure their amazing.
Taken from their Pinterest page

Taken from their Pinterest page, look at that range!

What’s also great is how much they care about customer feedback. My dad e-mailed them to let them know we’re huge fans and to ask a question about production. They responded with a really kind e-mail and then SENT US STOATS GOODIES. Now, I’m a sucker for freebies so that sends them from 0 to hero in my book. It shows a different level of customer commitment.  They were also incredibly helpful in making sure I got all my information correct for you readers out there!
I would like to point out the box of goodies event occurred months ago and Stoats is not sponsoring this post, the onset of winter and the finishing of my only box of Stoats here in Madrid prompted this post.

Something that’s also great is that they’re not necessarily for breakfast. My dad enjoys a bowl of Stoats to fuel him for his long-distance runs.

You can purchase their products on their online store or keep an eye for their oats, bars and pots in Asda, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and lots of independent deli’s, cafes and farm shops! They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (some great recipes).

Stoats of Scotland, woot woot! If you’re looking for a great meal (breakfast is the most important meals of the day) then go for Stoats. You won’t regret it.

Gym Bug

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