Simple Weeknight Dinner – Turkey Mince

Ingredients

  • Turkey Mince (as little or as much as you like – we always cook extra for lunches/leftovers)
  • 1 can Chopped Tomatoes
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • 1 White Onion
  • Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 Tsp Cumin
  • Chilli Flakes or 1 Fresh Chilli 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

    Method

    1. Melt coconut oil (or any other oil of your choosing) in a pan on a medium heat.
    2. Add onion and garlic and fry until browning.
    3. Add turkey mince and fry until there are no visible pink pieces of meat left.
    4. Pour in chopped tomatoes and add the spices.
    5. Mix altogether and simmer until the turkey mince is cooked through and the juices from the tomatoes are being absorbed.

    Healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated or contain loads of ingredients you’ve never heard of! This meal is cheap, accessible and you can choose how your serve it. You can also add any leftover veg in the fridge (as I have done in the above picture by adding a green pepper that needed used) and I’m pretty sure it would still taste great – don’t hold me to that! We’ve tried it in stuffed peppers, with rice and poured over sweet potato wedges… all 3 are delicious! 

    Give it a go and let me know what you think!

    L x

    Marathon Training – Week 1

    So as most of you will be aware, I decided to take on a big challenge in 2017 and entered my first marathon! It is now 16 weeks away and I’m in my first week of structured training. Until now, I have been running regularly but intuitively. I am both nervous and excited for this venture and can’t wait to share it all with you! Does anyone else have a big race coming up this year or something you’re working towards?!

    Day 1 – 1hr Body Pump

    I was actually feeling really negative about my training and my body (everyone has those days, right?!) and I totally lacked the motivation to work out. However, if I’ve learned anything in this process, I know that the best way to shake the negative attitude is to go work out! Guess what? It worked and I felt 10000 times better after my class. I couldn’t cop out on day 1, especially as I slipped up and bought a bar of chocolate… Cravings took over, but hey, I knew it wouldn’t kill me.

    Day 2 – 3 miles

    I decided to run the 3 miles intended for day 3 and swap my rest day as I had plans for Wednesday evening and it worked better for my week. The weather was absolutely shocking (lots of rain and wind) so I took to the treadmill on the way home from work. I can’t afford to catch a cold in this training cycle! I haven’t run treadmill miles in forever – so it felt a little bit weird but I got it done nonetheless (and was glad that it was only 3 miles!)

    Day 3 – Rest

    I took my rest day and it was entirely welcomed! My legs were aching from Body Pump on Monday and I really needed a night to just chill after getting my nails done. Sometimes it just takes something small to make you feel a little better.

    Day 4 – 4 miles

    4 miles before breakfast! God I missed my morning workouts. It sets me up for the day and I generally feel a lot better and more productive at work. I’m going to try and get back into doing these, even though it means I do have to get up pre-6am to fit it in before work.

    Day 5 – 3 miles + 45 minute spin class

    I was going out for dinner with my friend after work and going to a spin class at 7am before working, meaning I’d have to have come home and run before going for dinner. I knew I wouldn’t feel like doing that so I got up half an hour earlier in the morning and got it all done before work. I felt great all day – but it did affect my hunger!! I’ll need to take more food to work next time I decide to do a longer session in the morning.

    Day 6 – Rest 

    Ah… what a lovely Saturday morning spent chilling out, eating good food and watching Peaky Blinders. Just because it’s the weekend and a rest day doesn’t mean I have to fall off track. I still made good choices in terms of nutrition and a sober night bowling with friends was the perfect way to socialise without throwing all my hard work out the window!

    Day 7 – 5 miles

    I finished the week off with a mid-afternoon run. It was really cold and trying to snow outside but it felt good nonetheless. I ran in a pretty good time and had a delicious treat afterwards – my 3 ingredient banana pancakes! A great end to a great week!

    Total: 15 miles

    I spend my Sunday evening preparing and planning my meals and workouts for next week. I am ready for week 2 of my training and actually looking forward to Monday! Hope you all have a good week!

    L x

    Eating Out In Amsterdam

    I’m just home from an incredible 3-day city break in Amsterdam and I couldn’t be more upset about it. The minute we arrived in our hotel to leaving for the airport to fly home it was crazy busy but brilliant!

    We stayed in a gorgeous hotel, The Hoxton, in an area called 9 streets. The hotel came highly recommended to us by a friend and it did not disappoint! We had an amazing room with a view out on to the canal so we couldn’t have asked for more.


    However, I was apprehensive about having a weekend away from my normal routine, with the start of my marathon training cycle due to begin in just a weeks time. With no room in my hand luggage for my runners, I set about researching some healthy eateries to ensure that I at least stayed relatively on track with my nutrition. Upon arriving in Amsterdam, I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to be hard to eat well there. Being a pretty hip city, it was way ahead of the game in terms of health cafes and restaurants. This being said, I was also there to enjoy myself just before my training began so I didn’t want to be too strict with it.

    On Friday, we were pretty hungry after travelling and arrived at our hotel just in time for lunch. We decided to dine at the hotels restaurant and use the time to get our bearings and figure out a plan of action for the coming days. The restaurant, Lotti’s, had quite a short menu but also offered good options for breakfast, lunch and dinner all within the one menu. I quite fancied a steak (one of my go-to choices when eating out as you can easily keep it relatively low-calorie by pairing with a salad or veg) but as it was lunchtime I opted for a salad instead. Chicken Caesar salad. Now this dish is a tricky one as once you add up the sauce, the Parmesan cheese and croutons, your lettuce based dish could end up clocking in at 1000+ calories. I’m a little fussy when it comes to ordering this. I always ask for dressing on the side – that way I can add the bare minimum or none at all. I also tend to request no croutons as I don’t really see the sense in ordering a salad if you’re going to eat half a loaf of crispy bread through it. However, in certain situations, I sometimes feel uncomfortable or feel it is not appropriate to be making such demands so I just leave them to the side. This time, Lotti’s were super accommodating and I got my dressing on the side! The salad itself; I’d give it a 6/10.

    Friday night was a little bit of a disaster. We walked for miles across the city before we came to the restaurant where we eventually dined. We just hadn’t planned things properly and by the time we arrived and got a table it was well after 9pm and we were starving from the days exertions. We ate at an Argentinian restaurant in Jordaan called Salmuera. On walking through the door to our table we walked past a huge grill full of chicken, steak, pork and fish with the spicy aromas filling the air immediately…mmm!! At this point I knew we’d made a good choice and I was going to be able to eat well there. We both went for a 1/2 grilled chicken and shared a side of mixed vegetables and sweet potato. It was a high class Nandos – and that’s not a bad thing! 8/10.


    I forgot to mention we drank quite a lot of red wine in the Argentinian place so I woke up on the Saturday morning feeling less than fresh – but still determined to stick to my plan of eating as well as possible. That went out the window when we ventured to The Pancake Bakery! It seemed like half of Amsterdam had the same idea.. but it’s always a good sign when you have to wait for a table. After Brandon convincing me I deserved it after all the walking we’d done (and it didn’t take a lot of convincing) I ordered a crepe style pancake with Nutella. It was everything that dreams are made of. I’m sure you can all imagine… but it beat me, I ended up feeling sick and couldn’t finish it. At that point I realised I’d made an error and should have gone for one of their savoury giant omelettes – which looked incredible! It still gets a solid 7/10 but be prepared for the laidback service!


    Lunch on Saturday was on the go! We ended up getting a Braatwurst from a stall, Braat! on the rooftop terrace of the Heineken Experience. This was a solid 10/10. It was far from what I’d choose as a healthy lunch option back home but it tasted amazing and I really wanted to try it – so I decided not to deny myself a simple pleasure.

    It was Italian (one of my favourite cuisines EVER!) on Saturday night at Casa Di David. It was just a short walk from our hotel which was also a bonus! We’d tried to get in on the Friday evening but they were fully booked – a good sign – so we had to wait! Make a reservation if you want to go at the weekend. I had Amatriciana bucatini (a kind of thick spaghetti-like pasta) and it was delicious. The carbs were most-welcomed after a long day of walking all over the ENTIRE city! I wish I’d worn my Fitbit to track how many miles we walked/steps we’d done.

    Pancakes were on the menu again for Sunday morning. This time, we dined at a really cool restaurant, Mook, which was quite a walk from our hotel – but oh, so worth it! The simple, clean interior oozed style and it was clear we were in one of Amsterdam’s hip, well established brunch locations. Surrounded by loads of cool and quirky people, we couldn’t wait to get a look at the menu! Brandon was excited to see stacks of pancakes being served around us and we both opted for the Blue Magic Pancakes – organic pancakes served with blueberries, maple syrup and coconut. Brandon chose the deluxe version which included strawberries and banana too! They were absolutely delicious but again, I couldn’t finish them! It felt naughty but healthy at the same time! I highly rate this restaurant and would 100% return if I’m ever back in the city.


    I realised I am a creature of habit when I ended up ordering another Caesar salad for lunch at a gorgeous restaurant we discovered, Herengracht, located in the Herengracht area. Either that or it’s just a popular salad that a lot of restaurants have on their menu. We dined outside in their terraced garden area with Brandon’s friends despite the sub-zero temperatures. That might be a bit of an exaggeration but it was close! I made my usual requests and to my surprise the waitress got it right without writing anything down. My salad arrived and it was delicious; a definite 9/10. Maybe it was the addition of the bacon but I wasn’t even jealous watching the boys eat club sandwiches and french onion soup!


    Sadly, after all that our weekend in Amsterdam came to and end and it was off to the airport to catch our flight home! There was so much we didn’t see or do and I would love to return to experience it again and check out more of the places we discovered to eat!

    I hope this is of some use to you all if you ever find yourselves in the Netherlands wondering where to eat out!

    L x

    ‘I Can’t Run’

    I said these exact same words to myself around a year ago when I struggled to run for longer than 5 minutes on a treadmill without feeling like I required a full tank of oxygen to breathe. I said it to my partner over and over again meanwhile I’d be sat on the sofa gorging on my second packet of crisps of the day. Then I was unable to run as my body didn’t have any fuel from starving myself. These were all excuses, because running was hard. In fact, it seemed damn near impossible to me at the time. I’d see people out running and wonder how they were performing this miraculous act. Oh, how messed up this thinking was. In reality, I couldn’t run because I wasn’t in a good frame of mind to try, not because MY body was incapable.

    My first piece of advice to anyone looking to get into running is don’t tell yourself that you can’t do anything. As I’ve discovered – the human body is capable of a lot more than we may even realise. It adapts to whatever you put it through! Everyone can run. You just have to get out there and remember that the first run is always the hardest!!

    Don’t do too much too soon either. Even experienced runners make this mistake. It’s no use running six times a week on week 1 and then week 2 is non-existent. Start slow and build it up until you’re consistent week to week. This is where you’ll see your body changing and progress being made.

    I’m about to enter into my training cycle for the Edinburgh Marathon in May after 3 weeks of being unwell. I’ll begin on Monday 6 February and train for 16 weeks. After recovering from illness I wanted to get myself back to a base-level of fitness before this begins and my first time back pounding the pavements was tough. I ran 2.5 miles (which was all I could manage) on Monday and then 3 miles on Tuesday – in pretty slow times compared to what I was doing prior to Christmas. It was difficult for me, mentally, to listen to my body and ease myself back in slowly. Yes, I’m a bit gutted I didn’t run a bit further or a bit faster but I would have done more damage to my body going hell for leather on those 2 runs. I made that mistake just after Christmas in going back to the gym too soon and it put me out for a further 2 weeks!

    And… just after getting back into running, I’m off to Amsterdam this weekend for 3 days so I’ll be taking some more time off exercising. Hopefully all the walking we do whilst sightseeing will make up for it! I’ve also done a lot of research into healthy-eating hotspots in Amsterdam so I’ll be doing a post on where to stay on track whilst in the city, when I get back! Keep your eyes peeled!

    Time to get my bags packed! Have a good one.

    L x

     

    Joe Wicks – Lean in 15

    He’s pretty much been dubbed the health and fitness guru of 2016… so when Brandon bought me one of Joe Wicks’ books back in September for my birthday, I was excited to see what all the hype was about! At the time we were on a pretty strict cutting diet and as his recipes leave out calorie and macro counts, we decided not to put it to use straight away.

    However, after a couple of months of more intuitive eating, enjoying the Festive season and recovering from illness it seemed rather fitting that we get started with Lean in 15 to get things back on track!

    We picked out our meals for the week and did the food shop – which was not cheap! A lot of fresh ingredients means it can get pretty pricey but in my opinion, it’s definitely worth it. It’s much more satisfying to know exactly what ingredients are going into your meal and knowing that it’s all the good stuff! For us personally, another thing that adds cost (and previously put us off using recipe books) is the ingredients you have to buy just to use 1 tablespoon of it! Although the more we’re cooking, the more we’re building up our “store-cupboard staples.”

    On Monday night, I was still feeling pretty rubbish so we decided to make the hearty-looking Chicken Pie first. I’d never made a pie until then- we actually had to buy a pie dish – so I was pretty excited for this right of passage in the kitchen! It was very simple to make, with ingredients that were easy to get hold of which is a bonus for a first-timer like me! It also only requires 20 minutes in the oven after all the prep is done – so it’s perfect for a mid-week dinner. As a pie-rookie, I don’t have anything else to compare it to, but if I do say so myself it was really tasty! Both Brandon and I wolfed it down and went back for seconds. This probably defeats the purpose of it being healthy but we’re both recovering from being pretty unwell the last few weeks and it was exactly what we were needing to feel a little better.


    Next up was Tuesday night’s Asian Duck Salad! I love all things Asian when it comes to food so I was slightly underwhelmed when I didn’t have much of an appetite for it. Something beige and carby sounded far more like what I was wanting. Nevertheless, we’d spent the money on all the fresh stuff and there was no way that was going to waste, so we gave it a go! I was actually pleasantly surprised… We cooked the duck for slightly longer than the 1 and a half minutes recommended as it was still looking pretty pink at that point and other than that it turned out that it did in fact hit the spot and I was glad to be nourishing my body properly with ACTUAL GREEN VEGETABLES!

    I was working late on Wednesday and was not feeling well at all so didn’t eat much. It was Thursday before we returned to Lean in 15. We were heading out to see Jack Whitehall performing at the Edinburgh Playhouse after work so we needed something that didn’t take long to prepare and cook. It was Lamb Koftas on the menu and they did not disappoint. I prepped them in just under 10 minutes and they didn’t take long under the grill at all. We’ve previously bought similar pre-made products from the supermarkets and I never will again! These were fresh, full of flavour and we got a lot more for our money by buying a big pack of lean lamb mince. I didn’t get a picture as they were not as aesthetically pleasing as the other dishes we’ve tried so far but don’t judge a book by its cover!

    Friday night’s dinner was perfect and one the yummiest dishes of the week, Steak with Chorizo and Kale. Again, it was another really quick dish to make – especially if you like your steak rare like I do! I wouldn’t normally have paired steak and chorizo and I’d never actually tried kale before but I was committed to following the recipes by the book. As a result, I discovered I really like kale. I also felt fully satiated afterwards – which I was dubious as to whether I would with the lack of carbohydrates on the plate. 

    I’m loving following Lean in 15 so far for 2 reasons; the meals are really tasty and I’m having a lot of fun in the kitchen! I highly recommend anyone looking to start following a healthy eating plan to get themselves a copy of one of Joe Wicks’ books. You won’t regret it! 

    Has anyone else tried any of his recipes before? What did you think? 

    L x 

    Day Nine – Pancake Day

    All I’ve seen plastered across social media today (TORTURE) is pictures of everyone’s pancake stacks, dripping in syrup or Nutella but Pancake Day does not have to be avoided – there are healthy options out there! The recipes for Protein Pancakes are all over the internet; but these are not always easy and often unsuccessful from what I have read!

    Tonight Brandon found an easy two-ingredient recipe, tried it and it worked! Here it is;

    • 1 Medium Banana
    • 2 Whole Eggs

    Blend the ingredients and then fry using a small amount of butter or oil. It really is that simple! Make them small in order to get a good thickness. They don’t win any awards for beauty but they taste amazing and make for the perfect healthy indulgence!

    image

    Today was my first day back in the gym after 3 days off and I loved it! I’m hooked on working out – there’s definitely worse things to be addicted to. I felt refreshed, had loads of energy and I worked my body HARD!

    My workout was;

    • 5k Run (350kcals burned)
    • Bicep Curls – 4 sets/12 reps (3kg)
    • Skull Crushers – 3 sets/10 reps (3kg)
    • Deltoid Raises – 3 sets/10 reps (2kg)
    • Tricep Dips – 3 sets/10 reps

    I’m using low weights when I work my arms as I’m not aiming to gain size but rather retain definition! I’m quite lucky as I already have naturally muscular arms and shoulders, meaning this does not require heavy lifting or 1000 reps of each excercise!

    As I was back in the gym my intake increased:

    • Black Grapes
    • Graze BBQ Smokehouse Crunch Pack
    • Chicken and Couscous
    • Chicken w/ Fajita seasoning, Peppers and Onions
    • 2 Banana Pancakes

    And it’s off to bed before I do it all again!

    L x