Sunday, 29 June 2014

Good clean fun with food glorious food

I recently received a message on my instagram page from a girl who said she really liked following me because I ate well and exercised regularly, but I was still realistic. This really meant a lot to me because that's exactly what I'm trying to achieve. I love following loads of inspiring people on social media and get much of my inspiration, motivation, recipes and workout ideas from here. But, I do find some a bit over the top. Each to their own but I don't think it's achievable (not for me anyway) to get up at 4:30 every morning to exercise. Cut out alcohol (I know, that's completely laughable for me!) Only ever use raw cacao (do you know how expensive that stuff is?!) And never eat certain foods ever again. Not gonna happen. 

It gets tiring having to justify
myself. All. The. Time
Image from pintrest

For me, it's all about balance so I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite foods to eat, cook and talk about. I will also mention which ones have been husband approved. And no, before you ask, I don't eat ALL of this in one day.

Breakfast - used to be my most disappointing meal of the day, now I absolutely love it and actually look forward to it!
  • Overnight oats. Oats soaked in almond milk with chia seeds a touch of raw honey, fresh berries and flaxseed with maybe some coconut or banana. I make them the night before and heat them in winter, or eat them cold in summer (or if I can't be bothered to walk two flights of stairs to the microwave at work). Husband approved (minus the chia seeds but I can sneak flaxseed in there and he's mildly ok with that).
Overnight oats - one of the first healthy
breakfasts I tried and STILL one of
my favourites

  • Smoothies. Yum! Again, I make them the night before so if I put oats or nuts in them, they have time to soften which make them easier to digest. I add whatever I've got to hand but always keep a stash of bananas in the freezer. Coconut milk makes them creamy and delicious; and my cashew and mango green smoothie is the best (all husband approved AND I can put chia seeds in them cause he can't tell once it's all blended together!)
Not husband approved if it's served
with chia seeds like this, or with
a cool stripey straw

  • Banana pancakes. Two eggs, one mashed banana - mix together, add some cinnamon and coconut (both optional) and cook small spoonfuls in a frypan for 1-2 minutes per side. That's it! Yum hot or cold with berries and nut butter. Sort of husband approved. During the week he'll eat them but won't allow them on the weekends when 'real' pancakes should be consumed!
The best - don't act like you're
not impressed

Lunch - avoiding the canteen at lunch is hard cause the smells are always delicious. I need to make sure my lunch is satisfying so I'm no tempted to stray!
  • Usually just leftovers from the night before but packed into a salad. I'm I love with avocados so buy them every week. I love making them into chunky salsas to have with salad and a bit of leftover meat from the night before.
Salads don't have to be boring

  • Corn fritters. Always a winner and so good with salad, natural yogurt, salsa - anything really!
Smoked salmon, salad and
corn fritters = an epic lunch

  • Rice paper rolls. A bit fiddly to make but utterly delicious. I like mine filled with lettuce, thinly sliced carrot, shallots and either cooked prawns or chicken. A little bit of soy and chilli sauce for dipping and these are the envy of the lunch table.
Yum. Just yum. Nothing else
needs to be said here.

Snacks - I like a good variety of little snacks and my work friends find it rather amusing seeing how many Tupperware containers I bring in every day.

Just a typical stash for a day at work.
Thank goodness we have a dishwasher

  • Bliss balls. Usually made with coconut, coconut oil, some type of nut, dates, pure cocoa and some seeds. Nothing nasty, everything raw and natural. Yum!
These are the best - keep in your
freezer and you'll always have
something sweet on hand

  • Savoury spiced mixed nuts or a combination of sweet and salty with nuts, seeds and 85% dark chocolate. It's tempting to just sit there and pick out all the chocolate!
Love the combination of sweet and salty

  • Vege sticks or rice cakes with pure peanut butter or nut butter. Nothing but crushed nuts because why does there need to be anything else in peanut butter? Trust me, it's delicious AND B now happily eats pure nut butters on toast.
Cucumber and cashew butter. I could
eat this stuff by the bucket load but
everything in moderation - it takes
a LOT of self control

Dinner - I plan mine a week in advance and often spend a majority of my day thinking about what I'm going to have for dinner!

A typical grocery shop for me. The not so clean
foods were strategically placed so
they would not make it into the shot... I
couldn't have them ruin a perfectly
good instagram pic now could I??

  • Baked salmon is always a favourite. I love it flaked over brown rice noodles with Asian dressing for the best salmon noodle salad. Husband approved. As long as dinner's got meat and it's not too hippy, it's almost always approved.
Baked salmon salad - can't go wrong

  • Burgers with a mushroom bun. Everything you love about a burger (homemade patty so you know exactly what's in it) but with a baked mushroom in place of the bun. The mushroom part of this meal is not totally husband approved. Easily solved by buying just one bread roll for a 'real' burger! He will eat and enjoy the mushroom but never turns down a real burger if it's on offer!
A very deconstructed burger - one to eat
with a knife and fork, that's for sure

  • Turkey, goats cheese and spinach patties. These seriously rock. Most definitely husband approved and he's happy to make them too!
So much better than I ever gave them
credit for. Now one of my absolute
favourite dinners

  • Paleo butter chicken with caulirice. Don't knock it till you've tried it. One of the first ever paleo recipe I cooked and one of my favourites. You can't even tell it's healthy and gets the husband tick of approval.
Such a good dinner - this one was served
with lime pickle and some natural yogurt
(cause I went a little heavy on the chilli)

  • Healthy nachos with chunky avocado salsa and cauli pita chips instead of corn chips. Believe it or not... Husband approved!
An example of caulipita chips top right.
YUM (yum seems to be the most overused
word in this blog, sorry about that).

As I try to avoid wheat, I substitute regular wheat based foods like pasta and cous cous, with brown rice pasta and corn-based couscous. Plus cauliflowers are incredibly versatile and I make loads of great things with these. Be careful with 'free from' or gluten free foods as they are often packed with random ingredients and additives which make them a very poor choice.

Desserts - when you just need something sweet and think only icecream or palm-oil/sugar packed chocolate will do. I have the answer!
  • Raw snickers cake. Amazing, I promise you. Husband approved, chocolate fiend sister approved, fussy 'nothing healthy ever tastes good' work people approved. Slice up and keep in the freezer, it's SO delicious.
I was sad when this cake ended.

  • Clean coconut roughs. Like the real chocolate but with just four ingredients. Raw and an absolute favourite! Definitely husband approved.
You've probably seen this pic before.
That's because they're awesome and deserve
to be talked about often. And eaten even
more often

  • Chocolate caramel cups. I took these as a dessert option to a recent BBQ and they were almost as popular as the full fat, full sugar caramel slice I also made. Husband ate one before we left, one at the BBQ and requested another the day after. Try them. Clean, raw, natural but they do NOT taste it!
Photo credit from my lovely big sister
who is a chocolate snob. She liked them
so that means they MUST be good.
To finish up, here some rules I've been following to try and clean up my eating habits with healthy, wholesome, delicious foods. I follow these 80% of the time so I'm certainly no saint, but eating this way has made me feel better both inside and out.

  • Read your food labels! If you don't recognise an ingredient or you're not sure how to pronounce it, it probably means you shouldn't be eating it.
  • Count nutrients, not calories. Nuts are high in calories but are going to be a better snack than low-cal, low-fat chips or muesli bars that are packed with additives and other odd why-is-that-in-there-and-what-exactly-is-it foods.
  • Check for sugar. Refined sugars are scarily addictive and so much research is pointing to sugar being the culprit for weight gain. I do eat sugars such as dates, raw honey and maple syrup. I'm not perfect but cutting out refined sugar is a big step in the right direction. Next step is swapping these for rice malt syrup.
  • Try to buy foods in their most natural form possible.
  • Make your own. Burger patties, muesli, biscuits, sweets... It means you know exactly what's in it and can control the sugar and other nasties that sneak into shop bought foods.
  • Embrace your freezer! It will become your best friend. Mine is stocked full of herbs, chillies, bliss balls, coconut rough chocolates, ready to go burgers... It's jam packed and helps stop me reaching for the less healthy alternatives if I need a snack or dinner quickly.

I'm sure you've realised by now that I could go on and on but I promise I'll stop now! Please feel free to leave me a comment if you're interested in any of my recipes or follow me on instagram cause every second picture I post is of food!! Thanks for reading! xx

Monday, 2 June 2014

Life. Love. Travel. Food

When I started this blog, the first thing I did was come up with ideas of what to call it. To state the obvious, I settled on lifelovetravelfood - a bit of this, a bit of that, all the things I'm passionate about. 

After my first post, we were discussing it at work and my friend K explained to another friend that the idea behind my blog was that I wrote a bit on each section every post - a bit of life, a touch of love, my latest travel and lots of food. If I'm perfectly honest, that wasn't the idea at all but she made it sound so good so I just picked it up and ran with it. 

But as my blog as progresses, I worry that I might be starting to get a bit boring. Plus with some sections much bigger than others (and one day that 'travel' section is bound to dry up) I thought why not mix it up a bit. Gotta learn to love and embrace change! My next thought was to focus some blog posts just on one theme. So which ones gets the first solo act?

It seems a bit silly to blog about 'travel' when we've barely left the TW postcode, let alone the country so what could I possibly write about. I'll save that one for later. 

Keeping it local - by the river
in Staines (yes, Ali-G's hood)

Well, 'love' is always a tough one cause I don't want to write sappy things about B. That's really not my style. And besides, with my niece or nephew coming into the world in a few short weeks, I might save it for when I meet him / her for the first time. I can't imagine that won't be love at first sight. 

Summer is on its way - something I LOVE
(plus I don't think J would want me to put
up a pic of her bump - even though I
think it's absolutely beautiful)

So that leaves 'life' or 'food'. To be honest, I'm in a bit of a rut with 'life'. Nothing to complain about (although B will beg to differ) just nothing to write home about either. I continue to look at the bright side of life (because there's a LOT of brightness and so much to be grateful for) and remember what's important. Easier said than done, that's for sure. But perhaps I'll leave 'life' for another month when I've figured out what the future holds for me.

Life can be absolutely beautiful. A
stunning sunset in my usually less than
beautiful neighborhood. Taken from
my balcony

So there you go... It all comes down to food. Yessss!! Secretly this is what I wanted to talk about all along and spend most of my days talking about to anyone who'll a) listen b) feign an ever so slight interest in the topic. I don't preach. I don't judge (no J, I do not judge!) because no two people are the same and eveyone's opinions are different. Plus when people tell me that certain foods I eat are a scam and have no benefit and I'm getting sucked into a world of corporate marketing, that really annoys me. Each to their own I say and that's the way it should be for eveything.

A clean creation - coconut and buckwheat
pancakes. Don't act like you're
not impressed...

Oh look at that... now it looks as if this has turned into a blog post of it's own! I think I'm beginning to believe what my parents have said for years and what people at work are starting to come out and say... I do rabbit on a lot, don't I?!

One last thing. K, who writes over at somethingkatesaid this is my thank you for being the brains, the inspiration and the ideas girl behind my blog! I'd never have thought of it on my own, you creative little gem you!