Healthy Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

With the beautiful hot summer weather upon us, I just knew I had to come up with a light, refreshing and fruity pudding recipe.  After all, everyone is gasping for something light and refreshing in this heatwave we're having in the UK!  And of course so many people are raging about the famous chia seed pudding, that I knew that I just had to share my own chia seed pudding recipe with you.


I made a batch at the weekend, so I filmed the process to give you a detailed step by step guide.  By batch, I typically mean 4 servings, but for the purposes of the video, I turned it into 3 generous servings.  This is a fabulous and versatile pudding recipe because you can top it with any kind of fruit, including mango, strawberries, raspberries etc.

Also, instead of almond milk, of course you can use hemp milk, or coconut milk etc.  Plus, you can totes turn this into a vegan recipe; you can just leave out the Greek yoghurt, remembering that the ratio you will therefore require is 3 tbsps chia seeds to 1 cup of almond milk (or whatever milk you prefer).  And you can substitute the honey for some maple syrup.

But of course, the chia seed pudding doesn't only have to be a dessert; oh no.  It tastes a little bit like a delish fruity museli, and therefore can be had at breakfast too.  This is a great time saver, because part of the recipe is to leave the chia seeds soaking overnight, so you'll always have a ready batch in the morning.  They can also be enjoyed as a sneaky snack!

Here is my recipe and step by step guide:-

Ingredients
1.5 cups of almond milk, 1.5 cups of 0% fat free Greek yoghurt, 6 tbsps of chia seeds, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence, 2 table spoons of honey or maple syrup.
For the topping: 1 cup of chopped almonds, 1.5 cups of blueberries, 1 or 2 tablespoons of honey (or maple syrup).

This is so diverse, I've even added other spices etc before instead of vanilla essence - you could add half a teaspoon of cinnamon, ginger, cocoa powder, cardamon, wheatgrass, and you could top it with goji berries instead, amongst other fruit.

So go on, give it a try and let me know what you think. Feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel here and also please visit my Instagram page, my facebook page, my pinterest page and my twitter account.

Take care, and don't forget to put on some sun cream!

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7 How To Must-Know Kitchen Tips, Tricks and Hacks

I just love spending time in the kitchen, being creative and inventive.  But so as to add to one's creativity, I have collaborated a selection of useful 'how-to' tips.  

Two of my tips are kitchen shortcuts for eggs - an essential ingredient for many, many savoury and sweet dishes.  The first one and possibly favourite is this little trick for how to separate an egg yolk from the white easily:-


My second tip is also for eggs, but for boiled eggs; how to peel a hard boiled egg FAST:-


And now on to fruit, here is a fantastic tip for how to peel an avocado fast:-


In line with this, here is a great method to peel a mango, for when you need the flesh away from the skin to add to a recipe or smoothie etc:-



Check out this strawberry life hack - how to destalk strawberries easily and quickly:-



And the onto potatoes.  Have you ever heard of someone peeling potatoes with their own hands?  And at that, peeling a large potato in under 15 seconds?  Well, here is how:-

And finally onto pomegranates, a quick way to extract their seeds:-


I hope you enjoyed these sneaky kitchen hacks.  Do let me know what you think, and if you have any ideas to add to these. Feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel here and also please visit my Instagram page, my facebook page, my pinterest page and my twitter account.

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How to Do a British Sunday Roast the Healthy Way

So, last Sunday, I was about to do my usual roast dinner, including roast chicken, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, cranberry sauce, peas and gravy...but, it's summer, and summer is the time to have lovely, delicious and refreshing light clean recipes that are just so yum!  I have also decided that I need to lose a couple more pounds so I didn't fancy a highly calorific and heavy roast dinner.  I'm really into clean eating at the moment too, so now was the time to try something new...

I therefore came up with an alternative - still have my roast chicken, but to accompany it, I would have a delish orange salad (because as we all know, oranges go so well with chicken) and some Charlotte potatoes.  So, I tried it out and filmed it, and to my astonishment, it was probably the nicest meal I've had in a long time.



I therefore thought I'd share the process with you here:-

Ingredients
1 whole chicken, sprinkling of salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken (absolutely no need to add any oil or fats), 300g of boiled Charlotte potatoes (or new potatoes), 1 orange, 3 pieces of gem lettuce, 1 large mushroom, 1 organic red onion, a third of a cucumber, 1 carrot, a few bits of cress.

This recipe is for one person, so obviously if you are cooking for two or more, you would need to double the quantities etc.  (By the way, I didn't eat a whole chicken, I kept the leftovers in the fridge to have during the week ;-P).

Now, I did feel that there is no need for any oil or salad dressing on the salad, because the burst of delicious orange juice from the orange segments when you bite in is enough.  Also, if you have a bit of chicken and a bit of orange on the same forkful/mouthful, you can really feel the wonderful flavour combination.

I hope you enjoyed this Sunday dinner recipe idea. Do let me know what you think.  Feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel here and also please visit my Instagram page, my facebook page, my pinterest page and my twitter account.

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Healthy Blueberry, Tuna and Mushroom Salad Recipe

Ever had blueberries in a salad?  It's common to have grapefruit, lemon, orange and stawberries in salads, amongst other fruits, but it's not quite as commonplace to have blueberries.  Look at this lovely salad I made - one of the most colourful salads I have ever made:-


If your blueberries are lovely and ripe and juicy, then they are absolutely delicious in a savoury salad, because their sweetness really compliments the rest of the ingredients, and when your mouth bursts into a blueberry, it feels like a well-earned holiday for your tongue.


I had had a busy day at work, and in the evening I was really hungry, but I knew my pallet was desiring something super-healthy and low fat that would give me the energy boost I needed.  Now, I don't actually like lettuce (weird, I know), so there is no lettue involved, but I came up with this delicious salad recipe.  The ingredients are:
300g blueberries, 1 tin of tuna, 1 large mushroom (or 2 smaller ones, a quarter of a cucumber, half a yellow pepper, 1 carrot, 150g cherry tomatoes, 300g edamame beans, 1 organic red onion, some cress, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, freshly squeezed lemon juice from one lemon.


I added chia seeds because their texture and crunchiness really gives the salad a subtle lift.  Also, chia seeds are bursting forth with Omega-3 fatty acids, great for heart health, fighting heart disease, and reducing bad cholesterol.  They are also packed with calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and fibre.  These are more great reasons to add chia seeds to salads, puddings and smoothies.

Here is the little video I made of me making the salad:-

Did you like the giant pencil sharpner I used on the carrot?  It's a great kitchen tool to have because it's easier to use than a grater.  I bought it from Tiger Stores.

Let me know what you think about this recipe idea, and please comment below. Feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel here and also please visit my Instagram page, my facebook page, my pinterest page and my twitter account.

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Healthy Barbecued Sardines and Tomato Bread Recipe

Sardines are great as the centrepiece in a main meal, whether it be for lunch or dinner. This is because they have a very distinguishable, bold flavour.  They are also a great health food; full of plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and protein, which I will get on to later.


My favourite way of having sardines is to grill them on the barbecue.  This is very typical and traditional in Portugal, (where I seem to have been spending most of my time, lately).  I especially like the smokey barbecue flavour that barbecued sardines have.  I know they have plenty of little hairline bones in them, but generally these can just be chewed carefully and consumed with the rest of the meat. Or you can easily fillet them by running your knife down the centre of the back of the fish, in the traditional filleting manner.

In order to barbecue sardines, you need to be quite careful because they are dainty and when turning them over, they can easily rip apart or stick to the barbecue grill.  If you're going to do barbecued sardines this summer, why not try this recipe idea to accompany them; have them with tomato bread and a salad?

Check out this video idea of a barbecue meal my husband and I had when we were on holiday in Portugal for a month:-

One reason why I decided to up my intake of oily fish this summer, is because they are high in protein, which provides us with amino acids. Amino acids are used by our bodies to create new proteins, forming and repairing cells, connective tissues, muscles and antibodies. This in turn strengthens our immune system and delivers nutrients and oxygen throughout our bodies.

Sardines are also rich in vitamin D - this is great because not many foods contain it, and most of us rely on sunlight to get vitamin D - not good when you spend all day in an office.

Sardines are also calcium-rich when you consume their bones. This is fab news for people who are dairy intolerant (seems to be more and more people these days).  A 3.75-ounce serving provides 35% of the RDA of calcium, it also provides 60% RDA of selenium and 45% RDA of phosphorus. 

So I hope I have come up with enough reasons for you to try sardines on the barbecue.  They are just so light and fluffy and healthy!  Let me know what you think about this recipe idea, and please comment below. Feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel here and also please visit my Instagram page, my facebook page, my pinterest page and my twitter account.

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Clean Eating and a Healthy Lifestyle with Free Meal Planner

Clean eating is something I committed to over 3 years ago and haven’t looked back. Clean eating has literally changed my life for the better and it has transformed the way I regard food.  But don’t get me wrong; living a completely clean lifestyle doesn’t mean I’ve given up sweets and the occasional roast dinner completely, but I stand by living the 80/20 rule.  This means 80% of the time I choose to eat non-processed, mainly organic and healthy foods, and 20% of the time I allow myself to let loose (!) This not only keeps me sane because YES I still love indulging in some of my favorite meals I grew up on, but it also helps me stick to this healthy lifestyle idea. Tbh my skin has never been clearer, I’m in a much better mood (so my husband reckons lol), my workouts have become stronger and I sleep better too. 

This is my meal planner that helps me stick to clean eating (scroll down to download this one and also the blank planner):-

So I wanted to share a bit more about this healthy lifestyle and set you a challenge; why don't you, (if you don't already) try it out? You can start by committing to following this idea for just a week, and see how you go.

So what is clean eating anyway? Clean eating focusses on eating wholesome, nutritious and unprocessed foods.  However, there are no hard n fast rules because it's all about listening to your body and identifying the foods that work for you and your lifestyle.




With clean eating, it is a great idea to plan your meals and snacks for the week ahead.  It is not an essential part to clean eating, but it is a very good idea.  I have provided a blank meal plannner in word format so you can easily download it and edit it here:-
Clean Eating Meal Planner
To make life easier for you, in this blog post, I have provided a sample meal plan with delicious healthy recipes (with videos to teach you 'how') to make it easier to start your journey to eating clean.  If you’re not new to clean eating then that’s okay too!  This is still a great way to maintain your healthy lifestyle and try out new recipes.
 Here are some helpful tips to stay on track:
  • 1. Plan what you will eat for the week ahead using my blank meal plan (or use the one I've filled in).
  • 2. Eliminate added sugars from your diet
  • 3. In the supermarket, chose the isles where the fresh produce is stocked
  • 4. Drink plenty of water
  • 5. Focus on nutrients, not just calories
  • 6. Cook your own meals 
  • 7. Always stock your fridge with fresh produce
Here you can download my own sample meal plan in pdf format with links to all the recipes:
Clean Eating Recipes in the above Meal Plan

Monday

Tuna, Edamame and, Blackberry Salad for lunch:-

Ingredients
Rocket, lettuce leaves, edamame beans, a can of tuna (drained, in brine), half a small red onion, 1 whole carrot grated, 250g blackberries, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, quarter of a cucumber cut into small pieces, 8 or 9 cherry tomatoes, 1 large mushroom cut into small pieces, chives finely cut, poppy seed dressing.

Method to the Madness
Cut the cucumber, mushroom, chives up into small pieces.  
Cut cherry tomatoes in half if desired.  
Grate carrot.  
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  
Add whatever dressing you desire.  
Serve and enjoy.


Slow Cooked Chicken in Almond Stew for dinner:-



Ingredients
2 carrots, 3 medium sized potatoes, 1 clove of garlic, 2 red onions, around 5 spring onions, peas, around 10 pieces of chicken thighs and drumsticks, salt, pepper, paprika, thyme and basil. 1 chicken oxo cube, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of coarse grain mustard, 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds, flour to thicken. Plus a sprinkling of almonds on the final dish.

Tuesday

Salmon spinach and avocado wrap for lunch:-
Ingredients: Seeded wholemeal wrap, avocado, hot salmon flakes, spinach, cucumber, 

Light 598 Calorie Pizza for dinner:-

Ingredients: Seeded tortilla wraps, 2-3 tbsps reduced fat pesto, 2-3 tbsps concentrated tomato puree, 2 x tomatoes, shredded chicken breast, spinach, low fat mozzarrella cheese

Wednesday

Chicken, Mozzarella and Mayo Wrap for lunch:-


Ingredients: seeded wholemeal wrap, lighter than light Hellman's mayonnaise, 50% half fat mozarella cheese, chicken breast, on the vine organic tomatoes, spring onion, spinach.

Rusic Lamb Recipe in Honey and Mint Sauce for dinner:-


Thursday

High Protein Salad Recipe for lunch:-

Ingredients: New potatoes, roast chicken breast, lettuce, marinated herring with dill, 3 boiled eggs, smoked salmon with dill, sweet pickled onions, parsley, mushrooms, 1x lemon, 1 tomato, 1 red onion, cucumber, mint leaves, chia seeds, 1 avocado, gherkins, olives, pistachios, dried apricots, almonds, dried canberries.

Chicken and Coconut Slow Cooked Curry Recipe for dinner:-


Ingredients
Chicken Breasts x 5, 2 red onions,1 pepper, 1 clove of garlic, 5 tablespoons of dessicated coconut, 4 tablespoons of tomato paste/puree, 1 can of coconut milk, 2 tablespoons garam massala, 2 tablespoons mild curry powder, one teaspoon of sea salt, one teaspoon of chili flakes, Optional cornflour to thicken the sauce.

Friday

Salmon, Cream Cheese and Tomato Wrap for lunch:-


Ingredients: Lightest Philadelphia Cream Cheese, wholemeal wrap, avocado, plum tomatoes, spring onion, salmon flakes, spinach.

Spanish and Mushroom Omelette for dinner:-



Saturday

Anything for lunch, then, Duck a l'orange for dinner:-


Ingredients:
4x duck legs
6 oranges
1 beef stock cube
1 pot of honey (454g)
salt and pepper
flour to thicken (preferably gluten-free flour)
Plus potatoes, peas and soya beans, if that's what you like.

And on Sunday, have the day off!

I think that the overriding key which will determine your success with regards to clean eating, is your mindset.  Where our minds are (and of course, our mental health), can significantly impact on your healthy lifestyle.  However, this is probly the hardest aspect of our life to conquer in order to achieve life long wellness.  

Our minds are similar to the way our muscles work; the more you use your mind, the stronger it becomes.  Focussing on our mindset and where our thoughts are at will open doors to more opportunities and ideas in life, achieve more happiness and a healthier lifestyle.


So if you're ready to kick start your healthy eating plan for that summer bod, what better way than to use my sample meal plan, or create your own, using my blank one?!  Remember that clean eating is a lifestyle, not a diet, so if you approach it with that mindset, then you're already one step ahead!

Let me know what you think, and please comment below. Feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel here and also please visit my Instagram page, my facebook page, my pinterest page and my twitter account.

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Vlogs and Vlogging - the Life of an International Vlogger

So...I really love vlogging, and filming and travelling and seeing the world.  I have parents-in-law who live in Spain, and also we have a timeshare in Portugal where we go every Christmas for 2+ weeks.  The villa where we stay is self-catering, which means...I get busy in the kitchen, as well as filming our outings.



In July/August 2015, I emigrated to Portugal!!  And of course, in true vlogger style, I document the trip from packing up the van in England, and all the furniture, right up to the ferry crossing and travelling across France and Spain, then also abit of my new house:-




In May 2015, we spent a whole month in Portugal; along the Silver Coast just north of Lisbon.  During that time, we visited Alcobaça Monastry and I made this vlog of it plus an eggy bread recipe, to reflect a monastic lifestyle:-



I also decided to make a general vlog on various places along the Silver Coast:-



Lisbon is my favourite city in the world.  This is the vlog I did on it in May 2015:-



Before spending the month in Portugal, we went to Madrid in Spain:-



And now on to the rest of my international vlogs:-


For New Year 2015, we stayed at The Conrad Hilton, Algarve - a 6 star hotel.  Here's my vlog on it:-


I filmed our new year's eve and added a blueberry sorbet for good measure:-


In this Vlog, I show you around Four Seasons Country Club in Quinta do Lago, Almancil:-


Here I'm just showing you what the Algarvian Beaches are like, plus a great way to drink water in case you're thirsty by the beach:



I just love Portugal and experiencing the Algarvian culture!  In this vlog, I visit Loule market and make some healthy Christmas pudding with my purchases:-



I made this delicious Avocado and dark Chocolate Slice in the Algarve, Portugal:-


We met up with the whole family in Spain to visit my parents-in-law who live near Malaga:-


My Vlogmas Vlog in Obidos, Portugal:-




I spent Easter 2016, also my birthday weekend, in Your Hotel and Spa in Alcobaça, Portugal:-


Let me know what you think, and please comment below. Feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel here and also please visit my Instagram page, my facebook page, my pinterest page and my twitter account.

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Barbecuing - BBQ Tips, Tricks and Secrets for a Great Barbecue

Barbecuing is such a great and healthy way to cook food. It is a delicious and natural cooking method whereby the food is flavoured by the smoking process - you sort of smoke the food over charcoal or wood.

Many people believe that simply putting meat or veg on a barbecue is a relatively easy process, but here I would like to challenge that and inform you that it is indeed an art and a very specific science.  

So many times I have frequented barbecues in England where the meat has been blasted over hot flames, resulting in burnt skin and a tasteless, often undercooked meal.  I have also witnessed people using white spirit to encourage a barbecue.  This is a dangerous method which inflicts an unhealthy and unpleasant taste onto the food.

In this blog article, I propose to run you through the whole process of delivering a successful barbecue and 
reveal some fantastic tips.  Here is my BBQ Beginner's Guide in video format. All of the information in this video is covered in this article:- 


Firstly, it is very important to not have a boiling hot barbecue - you must wait at least 30 minutes after lighting the barbecue for the flames to calm down and the temperature to cool.  This is important because you will want to cook the food as slowly as possible to ensure the food is actually cooked.  Otherwise, the outside of the veg or meat will be burnt, and the inside will be uncooked or raw.


In order to light the barbecue , there are loads of different ways, but one of the easiest ways is to put a few firelighters on the barbecue, light with a long match and wait a few seconds for the flames to grow:- 

Heap on some charcoal or wood.  As mentioned above, wait at least 30 minutes for the flames to calm down and the temperature to reduce.

Start off by cleaning the grill.  Obviously it is best to clean the grill while it is hot as the fat and residue from the last barby will come off much easier.  Choose a wire brush to rub the grill down with on both sides of the grill:-
Then use plenty of kitchen towel to rub the grill down with to actually extract the dirt.  You are now ready.

Prepare your food.  For veg, wrap it up with at least two sheets of aluminium foil.  You can barbecue anything - potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, stuffed peppers, stuffed potatoes, fruit, corn on the cob etc.  In order to prepare the meat, you can generally pour a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and if you want some oregano or basil.  Use your hands or a plastic bag to spread the seasoning all over the meat.


For larger veg, such as a large jacket potato, place them directly next to (not on top of) the hot charcoal.  The foil could catch fire which is why the potatoes are placed to the side.  You can add an onion and a pepper (no need to cover in foil) also to the side of the hot charcoal.


Place the meat skin-side down on the grill.  Make sure the grill is on the coolest setting - as high above the charcoal or wood as it can be.  


 You need to start to turn the meat almost straight away otherwise the skin will start to stick.  Gently free the meat and turn over.  With chicken, for example, the skin contains a lot of fat, which falls down and hits the charcoal, causing flames to flare up. This is the time to move the meat across to a cooler part of the barbecue - a place where there is no or little heat underneath. Once the flames have calmed down, you can move the meat back above the charcoal.

Make sure you don't burn the meat - this is where your cool spot comes into play to avoid it becoming burnt. Remember that a cooler barbecue is better to cook the meat as slowly as possible.  When the meat is done, move it over to the coolest spot to keep it warm and finish off the other ingredients.

Check out this barbecue lamb video:-

So this leads me to my first tip; you must create a cooler spot inside the barbecue.  This needs to be an area where there is no charcoal or wood under the grill. Some people use water to spray on the barbecue to dampen down the flames. This is a nonsense because all you need to do is move the meat to the cooler part.

As with many things in life, your barbecuing skills will get better over time with more practice. It is something you have to gauge - almost "be in touch with the meat" to gauge when to turn it.  I also cannot give out cooking times really because it depends on size of barbecue, size of grill, amount of charcoal or wood being used and of course temperature of the barbecue. 

Now back to the veg; you can burn the onion and pepper - turn them gently around the edge of the charcoals or wood. When they are completely black means they are ready.  Just take the two or three burnt layers off the onion and it is ready to eat with no additives or sauces - it is lovely and caramelised. As for the pepper, cool it down in cold water like so:-



Then carefully scrape the black skin off with your hands:-



It is lovely and soft with a delicious BBQ taste to it. Also slowly turn the other veg. Obviously a large jacket potato will take much longer than other, smaller veg, so you need to gauge this. The potatoes will feel soft when you squeeze them gently with your tongs. 

For barbecuing tomatoes and other softer, more delicate veg, place them on the grill covered in foil. Here is a video demonstrating this:-

You can also barbecue fruit; the process is the same as the veg; wrap them up in 2 sheets of aluminium foil and place directly over the hot coals. This will need to be done once your barbecue and main meal is done and ready to eat, so that the fruit will be ready, soft and caramelised as soon as you've finished eating. Also, the barbecue will be even cooler at this time so you can place them directly over the centre of the coals.  
Check out this caramelised banana video on the barbecue:-

Barbecuing fish is also an excellent option. Check out this video here where we barbecued squid:-

Some top tips:-
  • 1. Make sure the grill is clean
  • 2. Don't put uncooked meat on top of or touching cooked meat in order to avoid cross contamination
  • 3. Keep your hands clean during the barbecuing process
  • 4. Create a cool spot
  • 5. Don't handle the meat with your hands once placed on the grill
  • 6. Use 2 sheets of aluminium foil for veg
  • 7. Enjoy your barbecue and don't stress too much

I hope this article and tips have been useful for you!  Shortly I shall be uploading more barbecue videos to this blog post.  Feel free to check out my other vlogs here, and also check me out on YoutubeTwitterInstagram and Facebook

Remember to take a pic of your barbecue and tag me in on any social media platform.

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