Overindulgent kids free time and a green kale, avocado and pineapple smoothie

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Last weekend was a rare and lovely event of nearly 48 hours of me and husband time without the kids. Not that I don’t love spending time with my kids but I find it important for us as a couple to recharge, regroup and just being two people in a relationship rather than just mummy and daddy sometimes. We spent a month looking forward to it which in itself is a treat. ( it’s always good to have things to look forward to ) I’m very lucky to have a sister and brother-in-law who are willing to sacrifice their weekend peace and quiet for us to have some is time.

We decided to not go away for our weekend but to actually be tourists at home in London and we turned into two kids in a candy shop and tried as many restaurants, bars and coffee places that we could possibly try in a weekend. All these places that you can’t go to with a buggy and 2 kids that are unable to sit still for no more than 10 minutes!

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Although the weekend was amazing it wasn’t exactly amazingly healthy. I have a fairly addictive personality to put it mildly, it’s all or nothing, on or off, do or don’t. (Yes I have been betting on most games during the World Cup! ; )
I’m working hard to learn moderation but didn’t succeed this weekend so after a hedonistic 48 hours I’m getting back to my latest favourite, smoothie meals! Sometimes I have one for breakfast, sometimes for lunch and if I don’t have time for a proper sit down meal in the evening I might even squeeze in a smoothie for dinner. I always thought I would go hungry having just a smoothie as a meal but if you do it right then it can be very filling.

Advantages of a smoothie as a meal;
You’re giving your digestive system a well-deserved break, it’s fast and easy and it’s easy to load the smoothie with nutrients.

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Green breakfast smoothie with quinoa and kale

Serves 1

1 cup of kale (roughly 2 medium leaves)
1 cup of coconut water
1 cup of chopped pineapple
1 oz of cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon of wheatgrass
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1/3 of an avocado

Cook the quinoa. If you’re having the smoothie for breakfast the quinoa can be cooked the day before to save time in the morning. Crush the chia seeds a little bit to get the most omega 3 out of them. Add everything to the blender and blend until smooth. Breakfast is served!

Perfect exercise and a quinoa, peanut butter, hemp, chia seed protein bar

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Right, the search for the exercise or combination of exercises that will make me feel the best, physically and mentally has started. I will try on a monthly basis all kinds of normal and not so normal ways of get my body moving. Then I will evaluate them. You know, as a fun experiment that you can do on yourself. I have started with something that I’m quite familiar with, the gym. A bit boring I know but a really great deal came up and I thought picking something familiar can be a good way to get back into doing some exercise. Maybe I’m just a creature of habit…..
Next on the list is bikram (hot) yoga, again another great deal, and after that some personal training thanks to a dear friend who very kindly passed on some sessions that she can’t use.

Things I also want to try are dance (salsa, flamenco and old school jazz dance), recliner Pilates, running (if my knees are up for it) and various kinds of non-hot yoga. I’m sure I will think of some more fun ways of getting fit and if anyone has something to recommend please leave a comment below.

Evaluation categories will be as follows;

How much have my spirits lifted ( do I feel on top of the world? )
How happy do my muscles feel (stretched, no pain, stronger etc)
How calm and at peace do I feel
How happy does it make me feel
How clean and refreshed do I feel
Fitness and cardio levels

I will post the evaluation of my gym sessions by the end of this week.

After one of my visits to the gym this week I was in the need of something to eat. My muscles and body felt tired and stomach screamed feed me so I thought about getting a protein bar to give my muscles something to feel better. Until I read the ingredients list…….seriously, do we go to the gym to get fitter and healthier or to get unwell? It’s like; Great you have done a fantastic workout to make yourself healthier. Now, stuff some rubbish into yourself because too much of this healthy stuff can be bad for you…….honestly!

Anyhow I decided to make my own protein bars and stay away from 15 types of sugars and sweeteners and e-numbers and milk and gluten and fillers and flavourings and whatnot. And it is so easy to make your own. Then I know I’m giving my body some really good healthy nutrient filled protein rather than just a lot of rubbish. These bars contains appx 9g of protein and appx 225 of calories. They are lower in protein than the standard gym bars but since I’m not a body builder and not currently doing really hard exercise I don’t feel I need more. If you feel you need more protein just add a scoop or two of some whey protein powder.

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Quinoa, dates, hemp seeds, chia seeds, peanut butter, cacao powder

10 bars

1/3 cup quinoa
2/3 cup of water
10 pitted dates
1/2 cup cashews or almonds
6 tablespoons of peanut butter (no added sugar)
4 tablespoon of Chia seeds
4 tablespoons of shelled hemp seeds

Soak the chia seeds in 3 tablespoons of water. Rinse the quinoa. Add the drained quinoa to a saucepan with 2/3 of a cup of water. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and cook covered for 15 min. Take it off the heat and let it stand covered for 5 min.

In the meantime add the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth-ish consistency. Add the quinoa and blend for another couple of minutes. Add to a 30x20cm pan and flatten it out with your fingers or a spatula. Put in fridge until cool. Cut into 10 pieces. Wrap individually in baking paper, pop in freezer and when you’re going for some exercise bring one along and it will defrost during your workout.

My 10 favourite recipes from last year

So my white month started today , also my no sugar, no dairy and no gluten month. I know I only mentioned booze, the evil white stuff and dairy but what the heck if I’m going to be good I might as well be very good.
I’m probably also feeling inspired to be very good because I watched a fairly cheesy ( I cried a lot in the end ) but also very inspiring Australian/ American documentary last night called Fat, Sick & Nearly dead. It’s about a guy, Joe Cross, who goes on a 60 day juice fast to heal himself and take the one foot that he has in the grave out of the grave. He also meets another man with the same issues as himself. Can he convince him to start the fast as well? If you want some motivation for living a healthier life, this is a good film to watch.

Anyway, I have gone through the recipes that I wrote about on my blog last year to find out which ones do I keep coming back to over and over again! It always annoys me whenever tv-series do these episodes when the characters are just thinking back to things that has happened previously. I always get the feeling that the writers must have been very busy so they haven’t had time to write something new. And it’s sort of true for me as well, I have been very busy preparing for my meeting with the Neurologist tomorrow. I want to be armed to the teeth when I go there. But me being busy isn’t the only reason I have done a “10 favourite recipes” I also find it’s good to evaluate your year when it has come to an end so here we go;

My favourite 10

Peanut butter smoothie
This smoothie is fantastic! It’s a great combo of being that perfect healthy treat and a pre-sports drink, snack! It contains both short-term and long-term energy and is also quite filling. For me it has been more of a healthy treat but since I’m going to be doing more exercise this year……..

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Raw cacao, macadamia, goji and coconut balls
I’m hooked on these yummy little things. Full of anti-oxidants! They are lovely to eat straight out of the freezer so great to have handy if you are craving some chocolate.

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Roasted parsnip and garlic soup
My latest addition to my soup collection and I love it. It’s soo good for keeping those pesky flu-germs away given all the garlic. And delicious!

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Pineapple, ginger, chia seeds and coconut water smoothie
Refreshing and ideal before or after sports due to the coconut water. Also very good if your stomach is upset or as a hangover cure.

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Mozzarella, quinoa, peach, chilli and pomegranate salad
Haven’t made this in a while given how hard it is to find decent peaches this time of the year but it’s a great salad that I make lots of when good peaches are plentiful

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Macademia nut butter smoothie with mint dark chocolate covered macademia nuts
This is quite high in fat and calories so shouldn’t be eaten everyday but it’s a lovely, very nutritious and good for you treat. Waaaaay better for you than my old pals Ben & Jerry

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Fake sushi
A super nutritious and very easy way of making sushi.

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Beetroot goat cheese salad
Good enough to be eaten throughout the year. Perfect for lunch since beetroot is an energy booster

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Liquorice smoothie
A recipe from Ascension kitchen.com. Delicious and so good if you are feeling a bit stressed out

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Giving up coffee
Isn’t obviously a recipe but it’s one of the best things I did last year. Believe me next time I go to Sicily I won’t say no to that perfect espresso. But on a regular basis I feel more balanced, focused and calmer without it.

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Dinner by myself and a mozzarella, quinoa, peach, chilli and pomegranate salad!

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I was left on my own last night, husband went to the pub!!!! So had to cook for me, myself and I which I hate. My default food for when I have to eat on my own is usually gnocchi since I love it and husband hates it but gnocchi just feels too stodgy so decided to try something a bit healthier ( I will go on a search for a healthier gnocchi some other day ) Used whatever I could find in the fridge and this is what I came up with. Because of the quinoa it was really filling despite being a salad and all the goodie goodies gave it the comfort factor one needs on a cold day like yesterday ! ( It seems like summer is truly over : (

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serves 1
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup of quinoa ( I used a mixture of red and white)
2/3 of a mozzarella ball
1 peach
1/4 of an avocado
1/4 of a pomegranate ( to be prepared earlier )
A decent sized handful of mint
1/2 of a red chilli
1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil

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Start by preparing the pomegranate. Link on how to do it. I usually after step 3 put the pomegranate in a bowl of water for 15 min and then de-seed it. It makes it easier.
Wash the spinach and cook the quinoa according to instructions. Chop the chilli and mint and mix with the olive oil. Cut the peach in slices leaving the skin on and cut the avocado in 1 1/2 cm cubes. Tear the mozzarella into pieces. Mix everything together. Finish off the pomegranate and sprinkle over salad

Pomegranate – has been called a super food. Super foods are called super foods because they are super stuffed with healthy stuff. Isn’t that super duper!  No difference with pomegranates, high in vitamin c, high in anti-oxidants, good source of fibre (both soluble and insoluble) and a whole other range of other vitamins and minerals. But there has also been quite a few studies showing that pomegranate juice can possible be effective against various cancers ( mainly prostrate) Study through NHS

Quinoa – It’s a complete protein, contains all nine amino acid so great to eat if you are a vegetarian or doing sports. Rich in fibre, iron, B2. It’s also gluten-free