Coconut Millionaires shortbread

IMG_3223I had been dying to get my hands on Pip and Nut‘s coconut almond butter for ages. I am in love with their almond butter and really wanted to try out a recipe using one of their flavoured nut butters. Thankfully Holland & Barrett have also now started stocking the flavours so I raced down there to grab a jar. My boyfriend told me he wanted me to make something with a bit of crunch to it as I haven’t in a while (fair comment). The obvious place to start was to try a variation on my Protein Millionaires Shortbread. So here it is,  in all its delicious glory.


My recipe makes 6, but I do have a very small tin I could bake them in, if you don’t have such a small tin maybe double the recipe up and make 12.

Ingredients

For the shortbread

  • 10g Gluten free oats (normal oats would be fine too)
  • 10g Pea protein powder
  • 15g Coconut flour
  • 1tbsp Coconut sugar
  • 40g Ground almonds
  • 45g Pip & Nut Coconut almond butter
  • 25g Agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil

For the caramel

  • 1/2 tbsp Almond butter
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla whey protein (I use The Protein works vanilla creme)
  • 1 tbsp Chocolate whey protein (I use The Protein works Chocolate silk)
  • 2 tbsp The Protein Works zero syrups maple syrup

For the chocolate topping

  • 25g Dark chocolate
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp Chocolate whey protein (I use The Protein works chocolate silk)
  • Desiccated coconut to top

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4 and line a small dish with baking paper.
  2. Start by using a blender to grind down your oats to a fine flour, and mix all of the shortbread ingredients together in a bowl. If it will not combine you can add a drop or two of water but you want it to be a very crumbly dough that just about forms a ball.
  3. Press the dough into the bottom of your square tin, ensuring it is pushed right into the edges and is as even as possible.
  4. Prick the shortbread gently all over with a fork.
  5. Bake in the oven for approx. 10 minutes and remove as it starts to brown.
  6. Leave the shortbread to cool for at least 30 minutes in the tin, it will continue to harden out of the oven so this time is very important.
  7. Once cooled make up your caramel by mixing all the caramel ingredients together. Create a thick caramel texture and the spread evenly onto the biscuit.
  8. Melt the dark chocolate together with the coconut oil in the microwave checking and stirring it every ten seconds to ensure it does not burn.
  9. Add the protein powder to the chocolate mixture, and spread carefully on top of the caramel.
  10. Allow to chill for minimum 1 hour before slicing into 6 slices and enjoying!

MACROS (per slice): 190kcal/ 14g Fat/ 10g Carbs/ 7.5g Net Carbs/ 7g Protein 

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Tefal ActiFry Review & Spicy Boodles

IMG_2622 I had never been so excited for a package to arrive. The moment I first clasped eyes on this bad boy I knew we would be so happy together.

The Tefal ActiFry is something I have wanted to have a chance to try out for so long, and I was utterly delighted to get the opportunity to review it.

First impressions:

My model is the ActiFry Express XL and wow it is XL. It looked beautiful on my worktop all shiny and full of promise, and I couldn’t wait to get it going. I started off simple and set about chopping some sweet potato to make some sweet potato fries.

What I liked:

I cannot express enough how simple the machine was to use and start up . A simple on switch and plus and minus buttons to set your timer. You can open the ActiFry with the click of a button during cooking to check your foods progress, meaning if your unsure how long something needs its not an issue.

Another thing I really liked is compared to baking in the oven (I never fry in oil) it was super quick! The sweet potato took 20 minutes to transform itself into crispy, healthy, heavenly fries. Not to mention no pre-heating time, as soon as you press that on switch your fries start cooking.

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What were the fries like?:

In a word…incredible. I have been trying for so long to perfect my sweet potato fries baked in the oven. They call for lashings of olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and corn flour (in an attempt to get them crispy). For these simple fries, I literally chopped up one potato, added around 1/4 of the tbsp the ActiFry comes with, of olive oil, and seasoned them with a little paprika and salt when they were finished. They were crispy, hot and delicious, and tasted all the better knowing how healthy they were. When it came to true test of crispness, the ‘can is hold itself up?’ test, they passed with flying colours.

The Best bits: 

  • Easy to clean, virtually no mess at all.
  • Quick cooking time.
  • Easy to use and change the timer.
  • Requires such a little amount of oil.

What I didn’t like so much:

So if you read me blog you of course will understand that my first thought on what to make in the ActiFry would be protein donuts…I know I can hear you all screaming out for them, but due to the paddle in the centre of the fryer that pushes the food around, I came across a fair few technical difficulties. I Still haven’t given up on the dream so watch this space. But the paddle is what moves the food around, so anything easily broken, like freshly battered fish (I later discovered) is still workable but a little more tricky.

Overall:

I’m in love with the thing. Its already made poor George (Foreman) rather redundant, as I have found cooking my chicken in it so easy and tasty. Sausages can be just chucked in and are cooked in 10 minutes without the need for any oil at all, and I have even created some more exciting things…See boodles below 😉

10/10, 5*, Big thumbs up from me

….and OMG the fries.



IMG_2943Spicy Boodles in the Actify 

Recipe serves 2

Cooking time is approx 25 minutes from chopping board to dinner plate.

Ingredients: 

  • 130g Baby new potatoes
  • 60g Red onion
  • 1 Aubergine (approx 250g)
  • 80g Red bell pepper
  • 1tsp Thai 7 Spice (you could use another mix of spices)
  • 200g Chicken breast meat
  • 1 Tin/Carton chopped tomatoes (approx 390g)
  • 1 Large garlic clove
  • 1 Small green chilli (mine was 17g)
  • 60g Spinach
  • 300g Boodles (butternut squash noodles)

Method:

  1. Chop up your baby new potatoes into small cubes and chop your red onion pop them into the actifry with 1/4 tbsp olive oil.
  2. Set your timer for 5 minutes and leave to cook.
  3. Meanwhile slice your Aubergine into thick slices (approx 1.5cm thick) and then cut the slices into quarters. Chop up the red pepper, and chicken breast.
  4. After the 5 minutes add the prepared aubergine, red pepper, chicken and thai 7 spice, drizzle with 1/4 tbsp olive oil and set your timer for 20 minutes.
  5. Set about finely chopping your chilli and garlic clove.
  6. When the timer shows 10 minutes left open the ActiFry, and add the chopped tomatoes, chilli and garlic, and give it all a little stir.
  7. When the timer shows 5 minutes left of cooking time add the boodles and spinach, stir to incorporate the boodles, and allow to finish cooking.
  8. The timer will go off and you have two generous portions of deliciously chilli boodles to enjoy!

MACROS(per portion) : 387Kcal/ 8.8g Fat/ 34g Carbs/38.6g Protein/ 8g Fibre

 

Salted Caramel Coffee Loaf

IMG_2686When The Protein Works email came through about their new flavour of whey protein ‘Salted Caramel Latte‘  it took me a matter of minutes before I was on the website placing my order. I love a good latte, and I have had their ‘Caramel Macchiato’ flavour before and loved it, so I was sure this new creation wouldn’t disappoint. The moment I tasted it I knew I would be baking with it, and a coffee loaf was the most obvious way to go.

So here it is, its moist, light, and yet satisfying enough for breakfast with a bit of peanut butter and a coffee.

I had my slice with Pip & Nut Almond butter and it was DELICIOUS!

You’ll need a loaf tin, and ideally loaf tin liners, or baking parchment to line the tin with. The recipe makes one standard sized loaf and my macros are based on cutting it into 10 slices.

Ingredients

  • 20g instant coffee dissolved in 20g approx boiling water
  • 20g coconut oil
  • 100g Salted caramel latte whey protein
  • 100g Fage total 0% fat free yoghurt
  • 100g Oats blended to a flour
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 3 tbsp Agave
  • 30g All bran
  • 70g Unsweetened almond milk

Method 

  1. Dissolve your instant coffee in the boiling water and add in the coconut oil which will then melt in. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4
  2. Blend your oats to a flour and add in to the dissolved mixture. Add in the Salted caramel latte protein powder, yogurt and eggs and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add in the tsp of baking soda, agave and all bran, making sure the mix is thoroughly mixed.
  4. Finally add in the almond milk a little at a time. Beware it is quite a wet mix as it creates a nice moist texture to the loaf.
  5. Pour the mix into your prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for around 45mins until browning and a knife dipped into the middle comes out clean.

MACROS (per 1/10th loaf) 143 Kcal/ 4.4g Fat/ 15g Carbs (13g net carbs) / 11g Protein 

 

 

 

Cookie dough cups

IMG_2477I love Reeses peanut butter cups, and I love cookies. So the simple solution to what to eat next became cookie dough cups! These are quite a high fat treat, so definitely a treat rather than a breakfast idea! But we all need to maintain a balance in life, and a bit of healthy fat in the form of dark chocolate is a good thing every now and then. One is definitely enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, so don’t make too big a batch, keeping them lying around the house could be dangerous.

The recipe makes 6 cookie cups, you will need a cupcake tray and 6 cupcake cases to chill the cups in.

Ingredients 

  • 30g Almond Butter I use Pip and Nut
  • 25g Vanilla Whey Protein
  • 35g Lighter cream cheese
  • 5g Agave
  • 10g Dark Chocolate chips
  • 100g Dark Chocolate chips or a bar (to melt down)
  • 30g Coconut oil
  • 10g Chocolate Whey Protein

Method

  1. Start by melting down the 100g Dark chocolate with the coconut oil, in either a microwave, checking every 10 seconds so it doesn’t burn or using a pyrex bowl over a pan on boiled water.
  2. Add the Chocolate whey protein to the chocolate mixture and set aside to start to cool and thicken.
  3. In a new bowl combine the cream cheese and almond butter throughly, add in the agave and vanilla whey protein. It should be a sticky mixture.
  4. Add the 10g chocolate chips to the cookie dough mixture and set aside.
  5. Lay out your 6 cupcake cases in your cupcake tray, and return to your chocolate mix which hopefully will have thickened up a bit by now. using a spoon gently fill the bottoms of the cupcake cases with approx 1 tbsp of chocolate mix, enough to cover the bottom of the case fully. (if you make the bottom layer too thick the cookie dough will sink to the bottom)
  6. Gently place approx 1tsp of the cookie dough mix into the cupcake cases ontop of the chocolate.
  7. Finally top with the rest of the chocolate mix to form the lid of the cookie cup. If your dough is poking out of the top too much you can push it down gently with a chocolate dipped teaspoon.
  8. Leave to chill for minimum 1hour in the fridge and enjoy.

 

MACROS:(per cookie cup) 207 Kcal/ /14g Fat/ 10g Carbs/ 7g Protein 

Body bands in the gym and at home

IMG_2505Quads, quads, quads, glutes, glutes, glutes. That’s what I’m all about right now. I’m currently reverse dieting, and I will be eventually increasing my calories to above maintenance in order to build myself the dream booty. After months in a calorie deficit it feels amazing, and with it I feel its definitely time to kick my training up a gear.

I weight train with splits of push, pull, legs, and abs, and recently I’ve been finding ways of making my leg days (2 a week) more productive.

I bought these fantastic body bands from Dream Fitness for at home workouts. They are a KILLER, and if your working out at home doing body weight exercises or free squats these are a must buy, and will dramatically increase the effectiveness of your workout.

A few weeks ago I decided to take them to the gym with me, on a whim really, I enjoy using them for hip thrusts, as sometimes I find a barbell on my hips so uncomfortable, but using no weight at all doesn’t quite feel hard enough.

I have now begun adding them into one leg day a week and can really feel that happy burn, burns that little hotter.

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Goblet squats – I do 5 sets using the green (medium) resistance band and 5 sets using the red (heavy)  band just above my knees while holding a kettle-bell or medicine ball.

 

 

 

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Hip thrusts – With the band just above my knees for added resistance, you can also try a variation on this I have started including, raising one leg at a time straight in front of you, while hooking the band around one knee and the other foot.
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Side steps and squats– step apart, squat, together, apart squat and repeat. These are great to add onto your at home workout, or in the gym after traditional squats to create a superset.

 

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Overhead squats–  These are great for focusing on your squat form.  I use the heaviest band (red) and concentrate on going low into the movement.

If you’re looking to step up your in gym workout, or your at home workout I have really found adding in body bands is a great way to do it.

They are reasonably priced, convenient, and can completely transform your workout.

 

5 ways to prevent muscle soreness

IMG_2193 (1)What Are DOMS?

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the pain and soreness felt in muscles several hours to days after strenuous exercise. The stiffness is felt most strongly 24 to 72 hours after the exercise. Anyone that has ever worked out can relate to DOMS and although some people may see it as a good workout, others see it as a hindrance that they would rather avoid. Adding the below recovery and prevention tools to your exercise plan can help you against DOMS, potentially allowing you to train for longer and reducing the risk of injury.

5 Ways to Prevent Soreness after Working Out

1) Warm Up

Ensure that you warm up before exercising. Performing a few sets using a light weight working the same muscles that you are going to train can help to reducing DOMS. In addition, bodyweight exercises are also a good way to ease into your workout.

2) Recovery

Performing low intensity exercise both immediately after an intense workout and in the days following can help to reduce the soreness in your muscles by increasing the flow of blood around your body.

3) Branch chained amino acids (BCAAs)

Various studies have shown that BCAAs have help to improve muscle recovery and reduce soreness. BCAAs are also great for protein synthesis and muscle breakdown.

4) Use a foam roller

A foam roller is a cylinder made out of foam that can ease tightness and tension between your muscles. Using your bodyweight, you roll major muscle groups (glutes, quads, upper back, calves) over the foam, applying pressure to tight areas and trigger points to smooth out knots and increase blood flow. If you’re unsure, ask a personal trainer at your gym to guide you.

5) Stretching

Studies have shown that stretching can help to reduce muscle tension and increase the range of movement in your joints. It also helps to increase circulation of blood around your body.

This blog piece was guest written for me  by the fabulous people at Fitness Buddy 247  check out their blog for more articles on a range of fitness related topics.