Spicy Asparagus, Spinach & Egg Pitta Pizzas

wp-1490546830425.jpgWhen I was in my first year of uni I got into pitta pizza in a massive way. It was a staple meal whilst adjusting to uni life. Now that I’m weeks away from completing my degree, I keep remembering little bits of my first year and giving a few nostalgic sighs now and again. I feel like this is the perfect time to resurrect pitta pizzas- but make them a bit more sophisticated. Seen as I’m such a classy, sophisticated nearly-twenty-one year old, who is completely in control of her life, and ready to graduate in July (your sarcasm klaxon should be going by now).

But back to the pitta pizza. These are basically a healthier, quicker, much easier alternative to making/ ordering a Florentine pizza. If you’ve never tried egg on pizza, then you seriously need to make these. Because runny yolks ain’t just for breakfast. Though you could make these for breakfast, because pizza for breakfast actually sounds pretty attractive to me. As long as it isn’t the leftover post-drinking pizza we all experienced in first year. Which we aren’t going to talk about.

Ingredients

  • 2 wholemeal pitta breads
  • 1tbsp tomato puree mixed with 1tsp dried Italian herbs, and 1 tbsp. cold water (you’ll probably have some leftover-you don’t have to use it all)
  • 1 handful of asparagus, chopped into small pieces (each spear into roughly three)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 small handful spinach
  • 30g cheese of choice, grated
  • Salt, black pepper, chilli flakes, and white pepper to taste

Method

  • Preheat the grill to medium, and place some foil onto a baking tray (means no sticking, and less washing up)
  • Place your pittas onto the tray along with the asparagus, and place under the grill for 2 minutes
  • Once the pittas are a little toasted, turn them over, spread the tomato puree over the top, and layer on the asparagus, spinach, and cheese. Place back under the grill for 1 minute.
  • After a minute crack one egg onto each pizza. Return to the grill for the final time, now for 4-5 minutes, until the egg white is cooked, and the yolk still runny (TIP! If the pitta is starting to brown a little too much but the egg isn’t cooked to your liking, then whack each pitta in to the microwave for up to 30 seconds, checking it regularly to avoid egg explosions).
  • Plate up, and top with black pepper, white pepper (AMAZING on eggs), salt, and chilli flakes.

Total Body Superset Workout!

For a couple of months now I’ve been doing a workout split of :

  • Chest & Back
  • Arms & Shoulders
  • Lower Body

And then my fourth day has been:

  •  Some kind of HIIT for the entire body (play day basically)

But after a while I’d exhausted many of my favourite HIIT workouts, and wanted to mix it up just a little bit. Enter “supersets”. When I first started going to the gym to use weights, I forked out for two personal training sessions, and the PT designed me a superset workout. I used this faithfully until I got bored, but recently the idea of a superset workout has begun to appeal to me again.

So, below is my total body superset workout. Obviously adjust the weights to suit you. The moves combined cover upper, lower, core, and some moves work everything at once. In a few weeks I’ll mix up the moves again. Below you can see how I like to do this workout. I keep rest periods short or non-existent between moves, so that I still have an element of speed to get my heart rate up:

  • Warm up for 5-10 minutes, with some kind of cardio machine (I walk the 20 minutes to the gym carrying my bag, and so often go for 5 minutes warm up)
  • Complete 3 rounds of one superset before moving onto the next set.
  • Complete the two exercises in the set without a break, and then rest for 20-30 seconds max if needed before repeating for the second/third time. As you get better you can reduce the rest periods accordingly. Some sets you may be able to get through without a rest.
  • The rest between the supersets is simply how long it takes you to set up for the next superset
  • To cool off make sure you stretch the entire body for 5-10 minutes

 

SS1-

15 v-sits

15 Bosu cross climbers

SS2-

10 upright rows 10kg

10 bent over rows 10kg Continue reading “Total Body Superset Workout!”

Meridian PB & Coconut and PB & Pumpkin bars review

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If you’re a regular to this blog, then you’ll probably remember- way back- me reviewing the Meridian Peanut, Cashew, and Almond butter bars. And then the Peanut and Cocoa/ Banana/ Berry bars. Well now I’m reviewing the Peanut and Coconut/ Pumpkin Seed bars, because the others have proven so popular than Meridian have decided to expand their collection even further. My favourite before digging into these bars was probably the Peanut & Cocoa, so be sure to try that one as its already stocked in several health food shops, including Holland & Barratt’s. Out of these two newbies I think that the Peanut & Pumpkin Seed has won me over. The coconut one was equally delicious, but the pumpkin seeds just really did it for me. Both are great ideas for a pre/post gym snack on the go, a study snack, or heated up as a dessert with either some of Meridian’s sugar free jam on top, or (personally) I love the Jim Jam’s chocolate hazelnut spread on top…

 

Taste

PB & Coconut- Subtle coconut taste emerges once you’ve chewed it a couple of times, and you get a good coconut aftertaste. Not artificial coconut, just natural coconut flavour. The base is definitely peanut though, and the more savoury taste of this works really well with the sweeter coconut.

PB & Pumpkin- Mainly peanut, but the bits of pumpkin seed add in some earthier flavour. Seeds have a very specific taste that I’m not so great at describing; I feel like pumpkin seeds have a mild, sweetly nutty taste…slightly similar to a pistachio, but not as sweet, perhaps. Again, works really well with the slightly more savoury peanut.

 

Texture

PB & Coconut- The bar has a slightly looser, chunkier texture than the traditional PB bars, which are chewier. Chunks of desiccated coconut, and pieces of peanut throughout are what causes this, and I personally really liked it.

PB & Pumpkin- Much closer to the traditional PB bars. This bar is chewier, with pieces of peanut and whole pumpkin seeds throughout. As this was my preferred texture this was a huge thumbs up from me.

 

Ingredients & Nutritionals

Again, what makes these bars so great for post- workout is the combination of carbs and protein. If you have one of these with a regular skimmed latte or cappuccino then you’re hitting around 14-15g protein with the coconut bar, and 16-17g with the pumpkin seed bar, from just that combination. Your average protein bar/shake is around 20g of protein per serving, and so although this is fractionally lower, its an ideal alternative for anyone wanting an alternative to using protein powders (I know this is my preference, as I’m fussy with protein powders, and they can also be very expensive- though bear in mind the majority of your protein should be coming from a well balanced diet containing whole foods, not a powder or bar). The coconut bar is obviously higher in saturated fat than the pumpkin seed bar, as coconut does contain higher levels of fats, however considering that 20g is the maximum amount per day recommended for a woman I don’t particularly see this as an issue. If you are watching the sat-fat though, then the pumpkin seed bar only has 1.84g of saturated fat. Fats in total though are an asset of these bars, contributing to satiety value and so how full they’ll keep you (don’t shirk fats people).

PB & Coconut- Peanuts (41%), Brown Rice Malt, Coconut (20%), Rice Bran, Rice Protein, Concentrated Fruit Juice (Grape), Rice Starch, Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin

kcal- 207.6kcal

fat- 13.44g

sat fat- 5.64g

carbs- 14.28g

sugars- 9.12g

fibre- 1.96g

protein – 6.76g

salt- 0.04g

 

PB & Pumpkin- Peanuts (52%), Brown Rice Malt, Pumpkin Seeds (10%), Rice Bran, Concentrated Fruit Juice (Grape), Rice Starch, Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin

kcal- 202kcal

fat- 12.68g

sat fat- 1.84g

carbs- 12.12g

sugars- 7.6g

fibre- 3.6g

protein – 8.04g

salt- 0.04g

 

There you go, my review of the new bars. Massive thumbs up from me, and I cant wait to get some more pumpkin seed bars. As with everything peanut butter (aka. the elixir of life), I encourage you to get your mitts on these if you can. At the moment they’re only stocked online, but hopefully will be coming to stores in the future.

Once you’ve tried them, then let me know: Team Coconut, or Team Pumpkin Seed?

 

 

 

 

 

Banana & Nutella Omelette

wp-1489851522837.jpgI’m almost certain that many of you thought I had gone slightly nuts when I posted this on Instagram. Who on earth would put banana and Nutella in an omelette? What kind of banana-Nutella sacrilege is that?! Well. I’m just that kind of person.

If you’ve never tried a sweet omelette, then I encourage you to do so – as soon as possible. If you can’t handle savoury in a morning, but you also don’t like super-heavy breakfasts, then they’re right up your alley. Sweet omelettes are mentioned in all of the below posts:

21 Omelette Ideas

Cottage Cheese, Raspberry & Maple Syrup Soufflé Omelette

Apple & Salted Caramel Chia “Cream” Omelette

Today though we’re turning our attention to that classic banana-Nutella combo (PSST! If you want more banana and Nutella, then check out my healthy pancakes!). Though I used the Jim Jam’s chocolate – hazelnut spread as a slightly healthier alternative. This is my favourite sweet omelette so far. The “Nutella” melts, the banana melts, the vanilla and cinnamon taste amazing with the chocolate and hazlenut- and a cheeky drizzle of maple syrup doesn’t go amiss either… Continue reading “Banana & Nutella Omelette”

The Lite Chocolate Company: Mint Dark Chocolate Review

wp-1489248086265.jpgIf you remember me falling in love with this brand a few posts back, then you won’t be surprised to hear that I had high hopes for the rest of the chocolate bars. Queue mint dark chocolate (I’ve left a link to where you can buy it just there, if you fancy trying it after the review), which is actually my favourite kind of dark chocolate, and so had a lot to live up to.

This bar still has the smooth chocolate of the orange bar that I reviewed, but doesn’t have any bits in it. Which means anyone who likes purely smooth chocolate can rejoice. The mint flavour is delicate, cool, and crisp. The chocolate is rich, being of the Belgium variety. I actually finished this bar in two sittings, which means it greatly impressed me. At approximately 200kcal per half a bar (40g of chocolate), and containing a tiny amount of sugar,  I  still class this as a treat- but a slightly healthier version of a treat. Not to mention that dark chocolate is also a probiotic apparently, and contains some antioxidants. Totally justifiable…

Which brings me nicely to nutritional values, because I know that if you’re looking for a lower sugar chocolate to take care of your teeth a bit more, or because you’re diabetic, or simply to switch up your regular Cadbury’s/Galaxy/Lindtt (have to say, I do love the latter) – then this is probably what you want to know. The chocolate is sweetened with stevia, which comes from a species of plant, and after research is currently considered to be a healthier alternative to regular sugar by the NHS. If you’re a coeliac, then this chocolate is also gluten free. If you track macros (I don’t) it’s low carbohydrate (my love of carbs prevents me from caring about this to be honest, but its a fun fact for you all).

So, the nutritional values, per half of a bar, as that’s what I ate:

195kcal, 15g fat (9.5g saturated), 6g carbohydrates, 1.2g of which are sugar, 14.7g fibre, 2.4g protein, 0.09g salt.

The chocolate is still high in saturated fat, at 9.5g per half a bar. However, a) you don’t have to eat half a bar in one go, I just did because it was delicious, and my diet tends to be low in saturated fats generally so I felt entitled to treat myself (#balance), and b) this is still chocolate, and so of course it will contain cocoa butter, and so will contain some fat.

The ingredients:

cocoa mass, fibre, cocoa butter, sweetener (miltitol), fat reduced cocoa powder, mint flavour, emulsifier, sweetener (steviol glycosides), natural flavours.

Not too bad when you check out the back of a regular chocolate bar! The cocoa content of the bar is 52% (that’s how dark the chocolate is), which did make me sceptical about how much I would like the chocolate itself, being a fan of super-dark varieties. However, the lower cocoa content does work here; still dark, but it allows the mint flavour to come through wonderfully. The lack of sickly-sweet flavour also means that the cocoa flavour itself isn’t lost. Equalling one well-balanced chocolate bar in the taste department.

All in all I would 100% recommend this chocolate as a healthier treat. It is still chocolate, but it’s a great alternative to some of the more artificial flavour/colour packed bars out there. I’d also purchase it for diabetic friends and relatives, should they be looking for a sugar-free chocolate. As with the orange bar though, this has probably become one of my favourite chocolate bars, full stop, in the universe of chocolate bars- whether they contain sugar or are sugar free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chilli, Ginger & Prawn Rice

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If you follow me over on IG, then you’ll know the amount of chilli I like to put in my food very nearly gassed my flatmate, who began to have a coughing fit while I cooked this. Needless to say, I put in more than I have specified in the recipe below, because not all of us like spice quite so much. However, if you’re a spice fiend too, then feel free to up the chilli content.

The main star of the dish is the ginger though. I love ginger in stir fries and curries, and thanks to making this I have a whole packet to play around with this week. It’s great for aiding digestion and getting rid of gas (unglamorous, but true), alleviating nausea, un-bunging a blocked nose if you have a cold (the spice will help too), and it just tastes plain amazing.

A few swaps you may want to try with this dish:

  • Try switching the rice for bulgur wheat if you’re in a hurry, and cut 15 minutes off a 30 minute meal
  • If you’re a veggie swap the prawns for Quorn chunks, or even better: put two fried eggs on top instead
  • Use canned fish in place of the prawns to lower the cost (I know prawns are a luxury buy for me anyway): I’d actually opt for canned mussels, or canned mackerel, or even tuna
  • If you’re vegan then some red kidney beans, tempeh, or baked tofu chunks will also be delicious
  • You can actually mix the rice into the meal when cooked, placing everything into the pan, and this is lovely- I didn’t simply because I wanted an aesthetically pleasing photograph.
  • I have mentioned this below, but if you don’t have soy sauce in your cupboard, then try swapping in balsamic vinegar. You’ll lower the salt content, and I actually think I prefer the taste in this meal…

Continue reading “Chilli, Ginger & Prawn Rice”

Is it just me…or are health magazines for women becoming unhealthy?

Do me a favour: before reading any further head over to Google and type in “women’s magazines”. Click on images. What do you see?

My first impression was of an overwhelming sameness. Literally all of the these images are of young women- teen to maybe late twenties, if you’re lucky, or they’re very famous. All have conventionally beautiful and “feminine” physiques, many have long blonde hair, pretty much all are white. Most pose with “come to bed eyes”, though I’m not really sure why they’re trying to seduce me. As I’m one of their heterosexual, white, early to mid twenties target audience, and not interested in going to bed with them. If they wanted men to read their “Drop 7lb in 7 Days”, or “Holy Grail Mascaras” articles, then it would be understandable– but, supposedly, the cover image is selling the content to me.

Okay, now type in ‘women’s magazines on health and fitness’. The pool of diversity seems to get even smaller, surprisingly. And I have to say, that angers me more than the above. For a long time I felt like magazines that focused on women’s health were better than their mainstream lifestyle/beauty cousins. Y’know, because one would assume they’d be pushing HEALTH over aesthetics.

More and more frequently I’m seeing mixed messages on the front of these glossies. I used to love them, and read them whenever I could afford them. However, I’ve noticed a change over the past few years…on one side of the highly photo-shopped cover model they tell us to love ourselves. On the other they talk about beach bodies, and cough up pseudo-science aimed at shrinking our fat cells. Which, by the way, as women we are genetically predisposed to carry, as we need it in reserve should we decide to produce offspring. Health magazines for women are changing.

So today I thought we’d chat about this. And below are a number of reasons I’ve found myself unable to read the majority of specifically health and fitness devoted glossies, written specifically for us lucky ladies. Do you feel the same way about some of these reasons? Disagree? Does something else I haven’t picked up on bother you? Comment below, and let me know… Continue reading “Is it just me…or are health magazines for women becoming unhealthy?”