Egg, Asparagus, Broccoli & Pepper Couscous (fast, easy, and healthy!)

IMG_20170516_212211_450The past few weeks have been a bit busy for me, what with my final essays for third year being handed in tomorrow, and completing my poetry portfolio to hand in a couple of weeks ago- something I’ve spent nearly a year working on and had to be pried away from me. I know that this time of year us students tend to just pick up food as we go, and though I am always ready to indulge my love of food, it can become a little bit expensive. It can become a LOT expensive. And since I’ve been spending a lot of time in a local cake shop recently, and I would rather spend my money on cake (its really good cake), this was becoming a bit of a problem. This is the kind of lunch that provides a solution: its fast, its pretty no-brain-power-required, it tastes great, and it will make you feel good. You can also then spend more money on cake.

Swap in whatever veggies you want/have. Here I’ve used broccoli (I always have that in), pepper (I was finishing up a three pack), and asparagus (on offer in the market, and coincidentally one of my favourite vegetables, so I was using up a massive bunch of the stuff). The idea is to keep this cheap, so don’t go buy mega-expensive ingredients. Couscous is something I feel like every student should have in, as are eggs. Both are things you can make multiple meals out of, and so are invaluable.

Continue reading “Egg, Asparagus, Broccoli & Pepper Couscous (fast, easy, and healthy!)”

Healthy Breakfast Trifle (single serve!)

IMG_20170515_071546_420First things first: Hello! Its been a while hasn’t it? This is the first recipe I’ve posted in what seems like forever, but since my final EVER university essays are nearly complete, I can start recipe developing again. Beginning with this recipe for a breakfast trifle/overnight oats hybrid…

About two days ago I was sent some lucuma powder from Seven Hills Wholefoods (I’ve been calling it lumaca for about two years now- I clearly don’t read things properly), and told that it’s apparently popular in ice cream in South America, and it also has a custard-like flavour. I was sold on custard-like. However, I have found that if you just straight-up use lucuma, it tastes nothing like custard. You have to add vanilla. Once I figured that out, a breakfast trifle was inevitable. We have a cheat’s apple and raspberry compote (takes five minutes, literally), a “custard” overnight oats layer, and then a layer of Greek yoghurt mixed with maple syrup, dusted in cocoa powder and topped with raspberries.  Looks like a dessert, but you can eat it for breakfast. Eat real trifle for breakfast if you’re into that kind of thing, but I took the time to type this, and these are more likely to keep you going until lunch, so at least give it a try. This recipe is one of your ‘5 a day’, the Greek yoghurt provides some protein, the oats provide some slow release carbohydrates, and it tastes like something worth getting out of bed for. Continue reading “Healthy Breakfast Trifle (single serve!)”

April Goals Evaluation 2017- Finding employment & Getting a massage…

Looking back I actually got a hell of a lot done over April…it was a pretty productive month. As with all goals, some have been more important than others, and this month I chose to focus on uni and taking care of myself. Let me know how you’re doing as we enter month no.5 of reaching for 2017 goals – are you sticking with your goals? Have they changed slightly, as you learn more about what you really want? Have you dropped some in order to focus on others? Comment below, and also let me know: what has been your biggest achievement of April?

FOCUS GOALS OF THE MONTH:

Self

(This is where I am rolling all of these into one: Relax; Be more adventurous/ accept fear & uncertainty; Enjoy; Expand my mind and enrich my life)

  • On the expanding my mind front…
    • Podcasts listened to: 9.
    • Documentaries watched: 1.
    • GOT Season 6: Completed (documentaries come second to this. Always.)
    • TED Talks watched: 16.
    • Books/ short stories (any everything in-between) read- 4.
  • One of my biggest goals for the month was to read up on British politics and read into current affairs more (this also played into the final research for my file of original work- see below). I found a document on the history of British politics and read many articles on the Trump-Putin situation, which naturally did lead to reading up on North Korea too. So a bit of a learning curve here, to put it mildly.
  • I completed a 30 Days of Minimalism Challenge, and loved it. I feel I have a lot less clutter, and am still finding things to de-clutter now. I’ll be repeating the challenge a bit more ruthlessly, and in a shorter space of time, just before I leave Newcastle to move home (obviously I won’t fit everything I own into one room).
  • I got a massage! Major self-care points earned here, and it is 100% something I’ll be doing again.
  • I cut my hair even shorter, and its now hovering in ‘bobbed’ territory. I’ve also kept it that one shade darker, and I am LOVING it. Apparently, for the first time in my life, I look my age!
  • I also took a week off of list-making and just went with the flow. This meant that when I came back to lists I managed to really slim-line my To-Do’s. I also learnt to be more flexible and just take some time off full stop. The last week of my Easter break I let myself relax, and felt a lot better for it.
  • I tried four new fear foods (yaaay!!)- but then I also began binge eating again for some reason I am still trying to figure out. Possibly it is due to the immense amount of change just on the horizon, as I finish uni and have to leave Newcastle, which is more my home than home is, because I chose to live here.  You can read about this here, but obviously its a very upsetting thing for me to have binge eating re-emerge. However, I can and will get past it, and May will mean spending a lot of time on this.

STATUS: A mixed month. I did some great self-care activities, I tried some fear foods, completed a challenge, learnt loads- but also did have a bit of a dip in recovering from ED, and this month exposed a few issues I thought were no longer in existence. I also didn’t live up to my goal of replying to texts etc. more rapidly, though I did manage to meet a lot of friends in person.

Uni:

  • Handed in my biggest piece of work, which the past three years of learning has been building up to: my portfolio of original work. For anyone who is new here: that’s a collection of twenty poems, plus an essay explaining my creative process, research, and decisions, plus a bibliography detailing nearly a year’s research into my chosen topic.
  • I’d planned on completing my final two essays (due in May) during April. Didn’t happen. The above was, and had to be, my focus. So now (May) I am cracking down on these final two pieces of work, for which I did begin my research. I would like to highlight though that I could’ve really relaxed a bit more over Easter break. Our lecturers actually told us to put these essays on the back-burner, and I didn’t listen, wanting to just get them out of the way. Though the research I did was useful, I could definitely have taken it a bit easier.
  • Buying my graduation gown didn’t happen. Its on the list for next month. I really have no excuse for not finding time to do this. Buying lecturer gifts/cards hasn’t happened yet either, purely because I’ve realised it’s still slightly too early.

STATUS: Final two essays due in 9 days. Final lectures and seminars have been attended. Absolutely devastated that its over, but I’m focusing on just enjoying the final few days I have left in higher education.

MINOR GOALS OF THE MONTH:

Start to establish my career path

  • I HAVE A JOB!! I’m honestly still in a bit of shock regarding this. In September I’ll be taking up a position as a marketing executive for a social media management company dealing in food, drink, and tourism. I’ll be meeting clients, brainstorming campaign ideas, copywriting, and maybe even taking some photos for social media. I am incredibly grateful to be going into a job I love straight from uni. I kind of had to just do what I could with this in April, and then sit back and let what would be, be. I know that a lot of hard work over the years has gone into my getting this, including 6 months of relentlessly searching, and it feels good to be able to say that. I don’t believe in false modesty in women (in anyone, though we are more conditioned to adopt this attitude), and I’m going to say it: what with blogging, work experience, exams through high school and my degree, I have worked my arse off to get this and I am coming around to giving myself a pat on the back.

STATUS: Awaiting my contract to arrive, so I can sign my life away. I just have to keep my creative juices flowing, as my role will involve a lot of creativity, and so obviously I don’t want to be getting rusty. Continue reading “April Goals Evaluation 2017- Finding employment & Getting a massage…”

MULTIPLE Chocolate Bars Review?!

Helloooo chocolate!

I know that it has been quite some time since I posted a review (or anything really- damn you essays!), but today I am making up for that. With a review of not one, but FOUR chocolate bars. I also figured out how to create a little collage of pictures at the top of the post- impressive, no? So, below is a quick review of four different chocolate bars, all of which would probably class themselves as “healthy”. But which ones taste great? I’ll leave links to the places you can buy all of these down below, and leave you to read on, because there is an iced coffee with my name on (literally) in the Starbucks around the corner…

Cavalier Hazelnut Milk Chocolate

RATING: 3/5 stars

This was okay. The chocolate didn’t have a weird aftertaste (which was an issue with two of these bars, as you will see). However, as I’m used to dark chocolate I also didn’t think it tasted of much. It was milk chocolate, but wasn’t super-creamy. Perhaps if you aren’t a dark chocolate or a super-creamy chocolate person you will find your perfect balance here. There are pieces of hazelnut in it, they are evenly distributed- they are also VERY small. However, kudos to Cavalier, there is more hazelnut here than in a bar of dairy milk. Sugar free, which for diabetics or the sugar-conscious is always an upside. It wasn’t the best sugar-free chocolate I’ve had (I love The Lite Company, and Discover for sugar-free), it wasn’t the worst.

Ombar Blueberry & Acai

4/5 stars

This was the highest scoring bar of the bunch. Seriously rich, dark chocolate. Really fruity blueberry-acai taste. Its not one I would be eating all in one go (very often) because of how strongly flavoured it is. This could be an all-time favourite chocolate though. Looking at the ingredients this is suitable for vegans, if you’re a vegan on a chocolate hunt, and love berry flavours. Highly recommend.

Ombar Coconut & Vanilla Centres

3.5/5 stars

I didn’t not like this bar. But it did have a slightly odd aftertaste. The texture though, was amazing. Creamy, smooth, super-decadent truffle-y centre (not too much, not too little for me- though I know some of you may find the amount slightly disappointing, I think it would be too sickly with any more). It’s vegan, so its also obviously dairy-free, in-case this is something that you look for. Intense coconut flavour, slight vanilla undertone. It was okay, but I personally would rather buy a different flavour if purchasing again.

Doisy & Dam Toasted Rice, Maple & Pink Salt

1.5/5 stars

This was the most disappointing chocolate I tried out of all of the bars. I bought Doisy & Dam because it has recently been all over my favourite YouTube and IG accounts. Perhaps it was just this one flavour? There are LOADS of beautiful flavours on the website, and the majority sound very appealing. I only went with this bar because I ADORE salty-sweet, and this was available in a small bar. However, this was both too salty and too sweet. I have no idea how they managed this. I usually LOVE super-dark chocolate, opting for around 80%, so this wasn’t particularly too dark- but it was a bit too bitter for some reason. This could possibly be due to the super-sweet maple and the super-salty pink salt throwing my taste buds off. Disappointing. Still ate it. Still going to try the other flavours- but wouldn’t recommend this one. Coconut & Lucuma, or Goji & Orange, or Lemon, Poppy Seed & Baobab (that’s a white chocolate one) are on my to-try list. Fingers crossed that they taste better than this one.

 

 

Cavalier Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts right here

Ombars right here

Doisy & Dam right here

Recovery Update: Struggling AND Making Progress?!

Hellooo there everybody! So. I know that a while ago I wrote a post telling you all about fear foods and overcoming the last few bits of my issues with food. Recently I have wanted to write a follow up, and I haven’t really been able to focus on any other posts but this one. Which means I am now writing it for you. Then I can get typing some other things for you as well.

It was very hard for me to admit that mentally I still struggle sometimes- because I genuinely love food, and love moving my body, and try to aim for balance. However, maybe 30-50% of the time I am not where I want to be, and I am not in a very balanced place. But I’m working on it. A lot has happened in the few months since that first post I wrote on the subject of fear foods, and I think that I’ve realised I have more to work on than I thought. So this is my update, which I’ve been planning to do for a long time but didn’t quite have the courage to, and so shall have to bullet pointed because I have way too much to tell you all…

The GOOD Stuff

  • Began attending counselling again, and a support group to help me finally tackle the mental aspects of ED. This has been a HUGE help, and having other people around me who get it, and who can help, is a great comfort.
  • Some fear foods I have tackled: sugar-free flavoured iced coffee, subway sandwiches, foods with refined sugar in them, pizza at a restaurant, a cinnamon bun, enchiladas made at home with some cheese on top (the cheese was the bit I was scared of), home-cooked pasta, hot chocolate, protein bars, food cooked by someone else….
  • Some of the above foods I have since been eating on a regular basis, some of them I discovered I didn’t actually like after having them a few times, or will only be eating very rarely if I truly fancy them because they weren’t as good as I imagined (hot chocolate, cinnamon bun). Some I discovered actually made me feel ill. These foods I made sure to try at least three times to check it was the food, then accepted it just didn’t agree with me (this was the protein bar, which I became scared of due to their still being an “unhealthy health food”. However, I’ve tried a few different brands and found some I do like- such as protein cookies- which I will buy again. Not as a health food, but just as a packaged cookie that I want to eat).
  • I began to try and scale hunger, and spot emotional hunger and eat according to the first. I also began eating what I fancied- well, trying to, things take time- and not trying to choose the “better” option.
  • Disrupted routines have taught me I could be a bit more flexible. Going home for Easter meant working with my family’s schedules too, and not doing my own thing all the time. It’s helped me see that maybe I could move my gym trips around a bit, or wait a bit longer to eat, or eat out sometimes. I won’t lie, these still aren’t things I relish putting into practice, but I know I can do them if I feel the need to.
  • I tried to do a “lean bulk”- it didn’t turn out so well. BUT! I learnt I can eat more than I thought, and that having done so my performance in the gym really went up. This upping portions was something that was still a tiny bit scary until then. As a result of doing so I upped my weights, I had more energy, I wasn’t thinking of food as much (when I began recovering weight-wise these things also happened, and so I took these as a good sign). And then I pushed it a bit too far and decide to stop with actively bulking, as you’ll soon see. I just wasn’t ready for it, and having tried it, I don’t think actively bulking is something I’m even interested in right now.

 

Annnnd the stuff that hasn’t gone so great (but which I now know I need to work on)…

Continue reading “Recovery Update: Struggling AND Making Progress?!”

Raspberry, Pear & Chocolate Overnight Oats

IMG_20170421_091924_883I tend to go through phases with breakfasts. The porridge phase (okay, that one never ends), the pancake phase, the eggs on toast phase, the shredded wheat phase…and the overnight oats phase. This is one of my favourite variations on overnight oats. You’ll find plenty of recipes for them under the food section of the blog, though the combination of sweet pear, bitter dark chocolate (we’re using cacao, though if you really like things much sweeter you can either add maple syrup, or use a cocoa powder / hot chocolate mix instead), and juicy, sharp raspberries is amazing. Any overnight oats recipe is ideal for mornings when you know you’ll be in a rush, and short on time to make something. Continue reading “Raspberry, Pear & Chocolate Overnight Oats”

Lemon & Raspberry Pancakes with Cashew Butter & Yoghurt “Cream”

IMG_20170419_074354_424-2I feel like lemon and raspberry is a classic combination. It’s one of my favourites. So obviously I wanted to showcase this in pancake form- and top it all off with a creamy, sweet, nutty cashew butter and Greek yoghurt cream.

I used coconut flour, as I was given this a while ago, never used it- and it goes out of date later this year. However, feel free to use plain or self raising flour, but you will need to reduce the milk by a couple of tbsp. (as coconut flour is richer in fibre, and so apparently  requires more liquid to form a batter). If I didn’t have the coconut flour I would be using self-raising flour, as I don’t see the point in going out to buy expensive ingredients that you’re only going to use for one recipe. Don’t feel the need to go out and buy it specifically for this is what I’m saying, though if you feel you’d experiment with it a bit more regularly than I do, then go for it- I hear that it’s great in baking.

Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 6tbsp almond milk
  • Zest and juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 large handful frozen raspberries
  • 50g Greek yoghurt
  • 1tbsp smooth cashew butter
  • 1.5tsp maple syrup

Method

  • Mix together the coconut flour, cinnamon and baking powder, with the egg, milk, 1/2tsp maple syrup, and lemon zest.
  • Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and bring up to a medium heat. Add the batter a little at a time to form pancakes. Onto each pancake crumble some frozen raspberry, then flip and cook the other side.
  • Plate up. Beat together the Greek yoghurt and cashew butter. Top the pancakes with the mixture, some frozen raspberries, and the remaining maple syrup.