Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Coming up this week..

Lots of events happening for me this coming week!

For starters, it is my 20th birthday today - woohoo! Quite excited, but I feel really old! 20 feels like a massive leap from 19. I have no real plans for today other than to pop into town with my boyfriend and to enjoy a Domino's Pizza with all of my family in the evening. I know it's not a healthy meal, but it's my idea of a great birthday feast, yum yum!

Tomorrow, Jago and I are heading off to the beautiful city of Paris! We're staying for two nights. I am looking forward to it, but a bit scared about all the train transfers and having to be places, that we have no idea where they are, at certain times. Just hoping we are on time for everything. We have an extremely early start, as our first train leaves at 6:00am! The first day we're there we have a tour of the Eiffel Tower in the evening, which includes a cruise and coach trip too. The other two days we'll be exploring. Jago has been to France before, but this is a completely new country for me. I shall be taking hundreds of photos. I'm a bit nervous about what kind of food there's going to be over there, other than croissants.. I have no knowledge on French cuisine. To be honest, I have hardly any knowledge on the country as a whole - I know a couple of simple words and also a couple of the famous landmarks, but that's about as complex as it gets.. So there will be plenty for me to take in whilst over there.

The day after we come back from Paris, I am celebrating my birthday by having a drunken night with my friends. I do love a good night out! Got to enjoy them whilst I can 'cause, as they say, "you only live once". I won't be holding back on any naughty cocktails, as long as I don't have to pay for them, haha. The only drink I usually order myself is Malibu with Diet Coke - it's my absolute favourite.

I have an action packed week ahead of me and I am so excited for it all! I don't have high hopes with my healthy eating this week though. I'm not sure what the food's going to be like in France, but I want to experience the French cuisine without worrying about the calorie content in everything. I will try and not eat too much on the other days though.. But birthday cake could be an issue, depending on what type of cake I have been bought (if any)! I'll also try not to eat too much Domino's tonight, if I can help it. ;) I'm expecting a weight gain after this week, but I won't let it get me down too much. As long as I can still squeeze into my new outfit for my birthday night out, then I'll be okay. I'll just be extra good for the weeks after this week.

If I don't post much, or even at all, this week, this post explains why! Have a great week everybody. :)

Friday, 22 February 2013

Homemade healthy banana "ice cream".

This is probably the most simple "recipe" I have ever made, and it's so delicious. A much funner way of eating a banana. I heard the idea on a tv programme last week (I honestly can't remember what programme though, sorry!) and thought I'd give it a go. This recipe tastes best when made with very ripe bananas, as they're much sweeter (and easier to mash). This will be perfect for all ages to enjoy in the upcoming Spring and Summer months, when the weather's hotter. Could even be a dessert for after dinner or enjoy as a little healthy snack between meal times.

Working out the calorie content for your plain banana "ice cream": Times 90 by however many bananas you've used, then divide it by however many servings you've made. That will give you your calorie content for each serving.

This is how I've made mine:

- 3 ripe bananas

1. Peel the 3 bananas, break them into 2/3 pieces and put them into a bowl.

2. Using a fork, mash them up until they become smooth as you can possibly get it.

3. Transfer put the mashed banana into 1 big lidded tub, or 2/3 smaller lidded tubs (for single servings).

4. Place the tub(s) into a freezer overnight.

5. Take out and leave to defrost for 10/15 minutes, or place the tub(s) into a microwave, on the "deforst" setting for about 30 seconds+, until the banana "ice cream" becomes slightly lose from the sides of the tub, but is still cold (this step is optional, but I find it makes it easier to get the spoon in to eat it).


P.S. Since first making this recipe, I have thought up another way of changing this recipe up - making it even simpler to make, giving it a smoother texture and maybe even making it more delicious (with added flavours, instead of just banana)! I will be trying this recipe soon. Once I've done it, if it's a success, I'll post it up for you all to see! :)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Weight & measurements update.

My current weight: 8 stone 13.75 lbs (125.75lbs).

I've put on almost 1 lb since joining the gym at the beginning of last month.. I'm a little disappointed, but I'm really hoping it's because "muscle weighs more than fat". I guess I'll just have to wait and see the next few measurement/weight updates I do to see if there's any kind of pattern to it. I don't mind gaining weight as long as the measurements improve as a result of it.

Measurements updated (in inches / cms):

Bust = 29.75" / 75.5cm
Waist = 28.25" / 71.5cm
Hips = 32" / 81cm
Neck = 13" / 33cm
Left bingo-wing = 10" / 25.5cm
Right bingo-wing = 10" / 25.5cm
Left thunder-thigh = 21.75" / 55cm
Right thunder-thigh = 21.75" / 55cm

New measurements:

Shoulders = 21" / 53.5cm
Right forearm = 9.25" / 23.5cm
Left forearm = 9" / 22.5cm
Right calve = 13.5" / 34cm
Left calve = 13.75" / 35cm

A couple of these measurements have improved since the last time I posted which is great! But a couple have increased in size, which I'm a bit annoyed with. Although the "bingo-wings" have probably increased because they've now become a little muscular compared to before.

I have noticed, since starting the gym, I have slightly more defined muscles now, especially my biceps and calve muscles (still no six pack though, haha). I love showing family and friends the mini muscles I've developed - a bit weird, I know, but I thinks it's probably because I never thought I could do it and actually stick to attending a gym for longer than a week, and seeing little results is such a great feeling. I've been going to the gym for over a month now and I really feel great for it. Some days are harder than others, but I drag myself there no matter how I feel. :)

Sorry I haven't taken a photo for this update. I really can't get a good photo.. I need to find a long mirror I can place a bit further away from the edge of my bed. The place where I take my photos from at the moment is such an awkward, unflattering angle - makes me look like I've haven't improved since starting, when I know I have! I'll try and sort the mirror situation out when I have some money and time to do it.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Dairy-free overnight oats.

I have discovered my new favourite breakfast - overnight oats. Once made, it looks quite similar to regular hot porridge, but taste so different - it's really cold, sweeter and makes a lovely change from the norm'. They are fantastic for people who don't have time to make a proper breakfast in the morning, as porridge can be quite time consuming to make. You don't have to worry about making them in the morning as you can make them the night before, so in the morning they become something you can just grab and eat straight away, or even grab and take with you to enjoy when you get to wherever you need to be. They are very versatile - you can make it dairy-free (as I've done in the recipe below) or use proper milk and yoghurt, and you can use any filling you want (such as banana slices, dried fruits, raisins, cinnamon, golden syrup, fresh berries, sliced apple - anything at all). You can either add the filling in the night before, or add it in in the morning - completely your choice. I have made this recipe twice now, and I will definitely be making it again and again!

This recipe is dairy-free, serves 1 and is approx. 270 kcal (if you use a different filling than I did, just add however many calories your filling contains to 160, which will give you an approx. amount of calories your breakfast contains. If you make this with real milk/yoghurt, it'll be slightly more calories).

- 200ml unsweetened almond milk
- 1 sachet porridge oats
- 60g plain soya yoghurt
- your choice of filling (optional) - I used a raisin, cinnamon and apple cereal topper, which I bought in Tesco.
- 1/2 tbsp of agave syrup (optional)

You'll also need a cup/jar with a lid.

1. Pour the almond milk into an empty cup/jar. Add in the oats and your choice of filling (if you'd prefer you can leave the filling out and add this in in the morning after the oats have been left to soak).

2. Place the cup/jar onto some digital scales, and set the scales to zero whilst the cups on it. Pour in 60g plain soya yoghurt. Then squirt in a little bit of agave syrup, if you're using it.

3. Give the oats mixture a stir and place the lid on. Place it in the fridge overnight.

4. The next morning, take it out of the fridge, take the lid off and give it a good stir. You can either enjoy it straight out of the cup or pour it into another bowl. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Homemade chocolate peanut butter cups.

As some of you may already know, I LOVE peanut butter. I can happily eat it on it's own straight from the jar. The first time I ever tried peanut butter was last year, in the form of a Reece's peanut butter cup - one little bite and I was in heaven. They taste incredible, like nothing I've ever tasted before. The down side to Reece's cups are all of the calories they contain. If they weren't so calorific, I'd treat myself to them everyday! My boyfriend surprised me with a packet of them yesterday. I really enjoyed them, but felt a little guilty afterwards. So I decided I was going to make some peanut butter cups of my own, and make them less calorific, so I can enjoy them without the guilt. I've wasted no time at all in getting on and making them. I made them first thing this morning - I was that eager. What I came up with turned out better than expected! They are delicious! Just as good as Reece's cups, in my opinion. I will definitely be making these regularly, as they taste far too good not to. Peanut butter is a massive weakness of mine, but now I can enjoy it, smothered in chocolate, without any guilt. Yay! :)

This recipe makes around 10 "cups" and is approx. 50 kcal each. If you make more/less than 10 just divide 510 by however many cups you made, that will give you the approx. amount of calories each one contains. :)

- 12 small squares of plain cooking chocolate
- 2 tbsp reduced-fat peanut butter
(You will also need mini cupcake cases. You can buy these cheaply in Sainsburys - under £1 for 100 cases).

1. Fill a small saucepan with water and place on a high heat, then turn the heat down once the water's at boiling point. Place the chocolate into a glass bowl and place that over the saucepan. It's important to make sure you don't let the water touch the bottom of the glass bowl, as this will burn the chocolate (tip some of the water out if you have to). Once it's all melted, put aside for a couple minutes to cool a little.

2. Using a teaspoon, put about 1/2 tsp (you can always add more if you feel you need it) into the bottom of a mini cupcake case. Swirl the chocolate halfway up the sides of the cases - try and get it as even as possible all the way around. Once done, put it into the fridge and begin with the next one. Continue to repeat this (making sure you place each one in the fridge as they're done) until you've done approx. 10, but make sure there's quite a bit of chocolate leftover, as you'll need it later.

3. Meanwhile, get another glass bowl and place the peanut butter into it. Put the bowl over the saucepan of water you used previously. Make sure you stir it occasionally, until the peanut butter becomes smooth and liquid-y. Set aside to cool a little, whilst you're continuing step 2.

4. Once step 2 and 3 are complete, place the chocolate back onto the saucepan to keep it warm and melted. Take out a chocolate "cup" and use a teaspoon to fill it with peanut butter - try not to fill it up over the top of the chocolate sides. Shake it a little to flatten the filling. Place it back into the fridge to cool down. Keep repeating this until all of the cups are filled and back in the fridge.

5. Now take a filled cup and use a teaspoon to place a blob of melted chocolate on top (you can always add more if you need it). Use the underside of the spoon to s[read the chocolate around so it's completely covering the peanut butter and touches all of the sides of the case, to seal the peanut butter in the middle. You need to do this step as quickly as possible (if you're not quick, the heat from the chocolate will make the peanut butter too soft and the filling and chocolate will start mixing together). Place back in the fridge as you finish each one, to harden the chocolate.

The method is very repetitive and quite time consuming, but you have to work as quickly as possible, so the melted chocolate and peanut butter doesn't get too cool. You can use this recipe to make milk chocolate and white chocolate peanut butter cups too, but you'll have too adjust the calories. These will keep for a few days. Store in the fridge, to keep them from becoming too warm and melted. Fingers crossed, if they're done correctly, they'll look like mini Reece's peanut butter cups once they're peeled out of their cases. They'll also have a soft peanut butter centre - yum yum! ;)

P.S.  I'm sorry for the awfully confusing instructions. I made this recipe and method up myself, for a change. As you can probably tell, I'm not very good at it. I'm better at writing what I think about things, rather than how to actually make things. So big apologies, and I hope it's understandable!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Refreshing springtime smoothie.

Whilst I was in my local Tesco store, I picked up their free magazine "Tesco Magazine, For Real Living". It's always an interesting read and usually includes some pretty good recipes. Well, I was flicking through the "January - February 2013" issue and came across their 'Perfect Blend' recipes (page 115). They all look so colourful and appetising - I just had to give one a go. I chose to try the 'refreshing kiwi fruit, apple, grape and lime' smoothie, firstly because it sounds delicious, and secondly because I already had most of the ingredients at home and if I didn't do something with them soon, they'd probably get chucked away. The sun was out this morning (for a change) - this smoothie felt perfect to enjoy in this wonderful weather. It's got a sharp citrusy taste to it that literally tickles the taste buds! A great start to my morning - I feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day!

This smoothie serves 2 and is approx. 138 kcal per serving. (The two servings are very small though, so if you like a big smoothie, like me, this would only serve one). The only things I did differently are using a Gala apple instead of the ones they suggested, as it's all we have in our house at the moment. I also used plain soya yoghurt instead of vanilla yoghurt.. But I'm sure these tiny changes wouldn't have made much of a difference to the taste of the finished smoothie.

- 3 kiwi fruit, pealed and cut into pieces
- 1 apple (such as Cox or Golden Delicious), cored and cut into pieces
- Large handful of green grapes
- 1 lime, juiced
- 100g low-fat vanilla yoghurt
- Large handful of ice

1. Put the fruit into a blender, then add the lime juice, yoghurt and ice. Whizz for about 1 minute until smooth, then pour into glasses and serve.