Low Calorie Christmas Cocktails

file_000Thanks to my lovely friend Michael at Black Leaf Events I will be enjoying these slightly less naughty calorie wise festive cocktails with my family this year.

Try them out and save your self some calories!

Rosemary and Grapefruit Fizz

  • Rosemary
  • vodka
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Light Ginger ale
  • Ice
  1. Add 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and 4 thick peels of pink grapefruit into a bottle of vodka and leave to infuse for 3 hours.
  2. Strain out the vodka and re-bottle.
  3. To serve pour 35ml of the infused Vodka into a tall glass filled with cubed ice, top with light ginger ale and garnish with a pink grapefruit slice and rosemary sprig.

Winter Spice G&T

  • 50ml Bulldog Gin
  • 200ml Fever tree light tonic
  • Star Anise
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Ice
  1. Fill a large glass with lots of ice.
  2. Add gin and light tonic water.
  3. Garnish with two star anise and one cinnamon stick.
  4. Stir well.

Pome-sietta Punch 

  • 1 bottle of Prosecco
  • 125ml Cointreau
  • 500ml Pomegranate juice
  • Pomegranate seeds
  1. Add all ingredients to a jug or punch bowl and mix together.
  2. Place in the fridge to chill.
  3. Place a few pomegranate seeds into a champagne flute or saucer, pour cocktail over and enjoy.

Check out http://www.blackleafevents.co.uk for cringeworthy photos of me holding trays, as well as to find out more about what they do.

 

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Butternut squash Lasagne

img_1568I have been loving my Live Lean deliveries for the last few months, and having new meat to try rather than just chicken, chicken, lazy lazy chicken, has inspired me to get more creative in the kitchen. I am eating higher carbs at the moment as I’m trying to build muscle, but eating the same things does get rather boring. As soon as I saw these Butternut squash lasagne sheets in Sainsburys there was no holding me back. Now needless to say you could definitely just buy a butternut squash and do this yourself, the sheets probably wouldn’t be as neat, and it’s quite a stressful job I imagine, but if you cant get hold of these sheets obviously get to chopping.

This butternut squash lasagne was not only delicious but was such a balanced meal nutrition wise, and was so satisfying.

I made mine on a whim so ended up re-heating some the next day which was still totally delicious. The Live lean mince really made it so juicy and tasty, if you haven’t tried them out already you must. Mince meat especially can be so grey and dull when cooked and poor quality mince meat can also break up into such small pieces its just horrible. This mince meat stays thick and delicious throughout cooking creating a truly spectacular lasagne.

Recipe makes a family size lasagne I say 4 portions.

Ingredients: 

  • 400g Live Lean mince beef
  • 100g Eat Lean Protein cheese
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 80g Lurpack lighter
  • 80g Plain flour
  • 800ml Semi Skimmed milk
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Pack (400g) Butternut squash lasagne sheets

Method: 

  1. Start by making your white sauce, melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Stir in the flour, whisking in a little milk at a time. Stir continuously until you have  a thick creamy sauce. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Chop your onion and soften in a large saucepan with the tbsp of olive oil. Once softened add the mince beef and brown.
  4. Add in the chopped tomatoes and garlic at this point,  season with anything of your choice at this point, from red wine to nutmeg.
  5. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally to stop the bottom from sticking on a low/medium heat. The longer you can cook it for the nicer the sauce will become.
  6. When your ready to assemble pick out a nice dish, and assemble starting with a thin meat layer, then your butternut squash sheets, then a white sauce layer, more mince, more butternut squash sheets until your out of ingredients. Finish on a butternut squash layer covered in your white sauce, grate on your protein cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven for around 45 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy.

MACROS per portion: 565 Calories/25g Fat/ 30g Carbs/ 41g Protein 

 

 

How to enjoy Christmas

img_9420My top tips on how to enjoy Christmas…without hating yourself for it afterwards.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not this time of year we are absolutely surrounded by tasty treats, gooey cheeses, chocolates, carbs and more chocolates, all for you to enjoy, and you should. We all should be able to enjoy Christmas, but what really is the most enjoyable thing about it? Is it stuffing that 9th quality street in your mouth when your already stuffed from a huge roast dinner, not to mention the handful after handful of honeyed nuts you ate before. Or is it really, the time off work and time spent with the ones you love. 

If your lucky enough to spend Christmas with loved ones I am certain it’s the latter.  

I love Christmas, I love spending time with my family, and my boyfriend and his family. I love giving and receiving gifts, celebrating the year and remembering those that are sadly no longer with us. I also love the food, all those Christmas flavours, but let’s be realistic let’s do this in moderation people. So here’s my top tips for getting through the season. 

  • Pick one festive treat you really want and eat it. Don’t eat all the crappy tinned chocolates just because they’re there. Say to yourself you know what I LOVE after eight mints and after my dinner Christmas evening I’m gonna sit there and eat them. As many as I like. No ones saying only have 5.  But don’t eat everything. Don’t eat the after eights then suck on candy canes and gingerbread houses just because. Listen to your body. You don’t need to feel stuffed just because it’s Christmas. You are not Santa. 
  • Stay away from the festive hot drinks. They are crazy calorific and they are a treat. If you’ve been craving that Black Forest hot chocolate all year get a small and get it once. For those calories you could probably eat your whole Christmas dinner. Just be mindful. Stick to the peppermint tea. You’ll have enough calories to consume on the few days over Christmas no need to indulge on the surrounding weeks. Especially on things that are hardly worth it. 
  • Don’t use Christmas as an excuse not to train. If anything it’s more important with all the extra food you’ll be consuming. Get in the gym and turn those roasties into gains. Make the gym fun, with friends having time off work and gyms excitedly awaiting the January crowd your bound to get a few free guest passes. Bring a pal and show them how hard you work. Most gyms are open restricted hours over Christmas but they are open. Try to make time for a session or two. You’ll feel a lot better about the mince pies 
  • Watch the alcohol. It’s easy to opt for wine and prosecco but try making some low calorie cocktails for your family. Gin, vodka, diet mixers, fruits. I’ll post a few low calorie festive cocktail recipes in my next post for you to enjoy and make for your families. 
  • Enjoy your dinner. From start to end. Savour every bite. Stuff your face full of brussel sprouts and pigs in blankets. Just enjoy that meal with your family. Eat the dessert hell sample all the desserts. But when dinner is done it’s done. Yes enjoy a chocolate in the evening but those calories are still calories don’t waste them just because. That’s not the spirit of Christmas that’s gluttony. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas remember what it’s about and enjoy any time off you might have with people you love. Be grateful for what you have and don’t reverse how hard you’ve worked all year for one weekend. 

Merry Christmas to you all.

Ordering meat hampers online

Processed with Snapseed.If you haven’t yet dipped your toes into the water of ordering your meat online you must give it a go. Eating healthily, whether to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight, is the hardest part of living the fit life. Live Lean UK delivering my meat fresh to my door have made managing my food so much easier.

Before I had my meat delivered I would find myself buying fresh meat without any pre planning 2/3 times a week. Not only is it a far more expensive to do things that way, but it also makes planning healthy meals a lot harder and makes picking up ready made things much more tempting.

Having a freezer full of meat ready to go, means I have to plan my meals and defrost accordingly. Its also far less hassle and a far cheaper way to eat, especially when your eating as much meat as I do.

Most recently I ordered this ‘ 82 Piece Hamper‘ its currently priced at £59.95 and provides me with enough meat to last the whole month! If my boyfriend nabs some chicken here and there it still lasts me a good 3 weeks.

This hamper comes with a whopping 5kg of chicken breasts, which is approx. 24 breasts. I eat these mainly for lunches during the week. As soon as the box arrives I get to work portioning the chicken out into individual freezer bags so its easy to defrost. Couldn’t be more convenient. It also comes with a variety of different meats, from pork sausages, to meatballs, rump steaks, and the most incredible minced beef. All for £59.95!

Eating a variety of different meats is ideal for any diet, these money saving hampers are an excellent way to make dieting easy for you, and keep an eye on my blog for some exciting recipe ideas on what to do with you meat too!

If you fancy giving Live Lean a go enter CWPS in the discount code box for £5 off your order!

Bulk update: my latest fears

Processed with Snapseed.As promised I will keep you all fully updated during this bulking process. Thankfully I seem to have banished those negative body image attitudes. I finally feel ok about the extra weight gain, which actually isn’t something  I thought I would feel ok about ever. Yes I am a bit softer, my arms have INSTANTLY gripped onto every bit of fat they could find, typical, but the extra weight is creating some nice curves, and actually sitting on my frame a lot more comfortably that it ever was before.

My latest concern, because being me, a worrier, an over thinker and a Virgo, once I banish one fear another one creeps up into its place; is that I wont gain muscle.

I know that this is the only way to gain muscle, people have told me, I have seen my boyfriend do it, I have listened to podcasts, read it online and in books. I KNOW this, I know I have followed all the right steps. After my diet I carefully reverse dieted in order to keep my metabolism in check, I increased my carb intake on this bulk carefully, and I haven’t caused any damage to my metabolism.

BUT, and this is a big one, I have never done it, I have no real proof that me, my body will respond to this, which is very scary. I think this fear has led me to really get into my head about it, and I have begun focusing way to much on the numbers on the weights I’m lifting, because in my head numbers increasing MUST mean I am growing. I have checked myself and I am now going to focus my head during my sessions and concentrate, on yes, lifting heavy, but most importantly keeping my muscles under tension.

When you really think about it, its not the weight that’s important…Big revelation I know, but its keeping your muscle under tension. Picture the slim female painter and decorator with guns of steel, she doesn’t use a heavier brush or roller every day, or heavier paint, she just constantly keeps her muscles under tension which creates growth.

Feeling more confident in how I look, and getting used to being softer. Learning to actually enjoy the fact that I can eat more carbs which I love, and I am now going to attempt to beat this newest fear. I will concentrate on keeping my muscles under tension and TRUST that they will grow. I am doing everything right, I need to enjoy this journey, work hard, and I will reap the rewards. I HAVE TO.

Pumpkin cookie cake bites

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I am going pumpkin crazy this autumn and I have been in the kitchen working on all sorts of pumpkin recipes. These started out as cookies but after a few attempts they remained moist and cakey so I am calling them cookie cake bites. They may not have a fancy name but damn are they good. So good that both my roomie and my boyfriend have asked me to make more, and they haven’t stopped eating them. Not a protein bake per say but definitely a clean bake.

Makes 8 cookie cake bites

Ingredients: 

  • 60g Coconut oil
  • 3tbsp Stevia
  • 3 tbsp Pumpkin puree
  • Pinch or a dash of vanilla extract
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 150g Brown rice flour
  • 30g Dark chocolate chips

Method: 

  1. Prepare a cookie tray and pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5/ 190 degrees.
  2. In a box soften your coconut oil with the back of a wooden spoon, and add in the stevia. Cream coconut oil and stevia together.
  3. Add in the Pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  4. Mix thoroughly and add in the brown rice flour. The mixture should form a soft dough just stiff enough that you can form it in your hands.
  5. Finally adding in the chocolate chips before separating your dough into 8 equal pieces.
  6. Roll the 8 pieces of dough into balls between your palms before flattening slightly creating thick discs.
  7. Transfer to the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until slightly browning.

MACROS (per cookie cake): 153 kcal/ 8.7g Fat/ 18.5g Carbs/1.6g Protein 

Hows the bulk going ?

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In a word…petrifying. Well it was, but I am starting to come to terms with it. For starters I got off on a bad footing with my water intake. Before my holiday to Bali, I was solidly drinking 4-6 litres of water every day without fail. In Bali I ate lots of healthy foods, but definitely overall ate more calories and neglected my water. When I got home I was ill for the first week and not training, and by the time I got back into training and onto my bulking calories it was nearly the end of September, and had been a good 3 weeks off any real sort of plan.

I realised last Saturday that I had seriously let my water intake slip. I looked in the mirror and felt sluggish, bloated and horrible. YAY bulking. I could have kicked myself. I know how important drinking water is, and how much not drinking enough effects me and makes me feel, so I was so frustrated with myself that I had let things slip.

Already I feel HUGE. Now that’s not a cry for attention, I know I’m not, but the more you train and concentrate on changing your body, the more you notice every minor change.

I am currently carrying 3 extra lbs. Probably 1/2lbs of that is water that I haven’t lost yet, and I also feel bloated, not forgetting I am taking creatine which is well known to cause bloating. All in all I am struggling and I wish those girls with those fantastic bodies would share that a bit more.

All I see on social media from the girls whose bodies I aspire to have, is lean,strong, beautiful bodies, and there is no way they can be like that all year round. I know that in order to gain muscle I must eat in calorie surplus, and with that will inevitably come some fat gain. So as I muddle my way through this journey I want to share with you all exactly how I am feeling, and show you my body going through all of its changes.

My boyfriend and my trainer can all tell me a hundred times that this is necessary, that they all feel like this when going through a bulking phase, but this is the first time for me, and I cant help but question the process, question if I am gaining weight to quickly, and question if I am training hard enough to have any real impact.

My head is packed with doubts and fears for this process, but I do so badly want the end result, and everything I have learnt so far has proven that this is the only way to get it.  As my trainer reminded me last night, it takes 7 weeks to lose a stone healthily. 7 weeks. That is more than do able. I need to focus myself on the outcome, push through those insecurities and get through these next few months. I may feel chunkier, and I may feel a bit bloated from the carbs, but I DO feel strong, and I am enjoying pushing myself and lifting heavier weights. This will be good for me, it will allow me to build my muscles, and when I do lean out next year  will reveal a stronger, leaner, more muscular version of me.

So hows your bulk going? Lets use #teambulk on instagram and keep talking about it, the more open we are with each other the more we will realise were not alone.

Clean Shepherds pie

img_6564I love this time of year, the weather, the ankle boots and big wooly jumpers, and most of all the food. Even though I am now in bulk mode, I’m still eating clean. This shepherds pie recipe is one of my absolute favourites, made with lean British Live Lean mince beef, this recipe will warm your body and your heart.

If like me you can afford the carbs, have two portions, but if your on a bit of a lower carb diet 1/4 of the dish is more than enough for a satisfying dinner.

Dish makes 4 portions.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Medium white onion
  • 2 Medium carrots
  • 2 tbsp Tomato puree
  • 1 Knorr Rich beef stock pot (or alternative)
  • 2 Parsnips
  • 300g Sweet Potato
  • 400g Live Lean lean minced beef
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt/pepper/Paprika or seasoning of choice

Method: 

  1. Start by peeling and chopping your parsnips and sweet potato, put into a saucepan with water and allow to boil. This will be your topping.
  2. Chop, and gently fry your onion in a pan with your olive oil.
  3. While the onions soften, chop your carrots into small cubes, then add them to the pan.
  4. Season the carrots and onions with salt and pepper and add in your mince beef, breaking it up in the pan with a wooden spoon.
  5. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/ 180 degrees.
  6. Once the mince is coloured, add your knorr stock pot with around 100ml of boiling water.
  7. Stir in the tomato puree, and pop the lid on the pan to allow to reduce.
  8. Once your sweet potatoes and parnsips are soft, drain the water, season with paprika and mash thoroughly until smooth.
  9. Keep an eye on your meat, and once its reduced and thickening up nicely transfer into an oven proof bowl and top with the mash. Transfer to your preheated oven for browning.

MACROS(per portion): 276 Kcal/ 6.7g Fat/ 29g Carbs/ 25g Protein

 

 

Banana choc chip cookies

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I bought THE most excitingly autumnal flavour of peanut butter on The Protein Works, well actually my boyfriend bought me it, better say that because if he reads this he will put me straight! Its PUMPKIN SPICE!!!! I know brace yourselves autumn is officially here, and I am all over the seasonal flavours. As soon as I tasted it, I wanted to smother it on a banana, something to do with the cinnamon in it I suppose, and I knew it would go so well in a banana bake.

Cookies were born! If you don’t have or don’t fancy getting yourself Pumpkin Spice peanut butter, regular peanut butter would do too.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Medium Banana
  • 100g Pumpkin Spice Peanut butter luxe
  • 30g Coconut flour
  • 20g Pea Protein
  • Pinch of Vanilla essence
  • 80g Ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp Agave
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil (melted)
  • 30g Dark Chocolate chips

Method: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to gas mark 6/ 190 degrees, and line a cookie tray with baking parchment.
  2. Mash your banana in a bowl, and add in your peanut butter, give it a good mix until combined.
  3. Add in your coconut flour, almonds, pea protein and vanilla essence. Mix well, this should create quite a stiff mix.
  4. Add in the agave and the melted (the microwave will do) coconut oil.
  5. Finally add in the dark chocolate chips, the mix will be a firm dough, similar in texture to a shortcrust pastry. Mould in your hands to create 10 cookies, and flatten down to discs. This mixture shouldn’t spread much in baking so don’t be afraid to make them the shape you want.
  6. Bake for approx 10 minutes until golden but still soft on the inside.

MACROS (per cookie): 169 Kcal/ 11g Fat/ 10.4g Carbs/ 7.3g Protein

 

 

Want meat? Live Lean UK

img_6186Wow…meat delivered to your door, and not just any meat, high quality British meat, sourced from the highest welfare farms, where the animals enjoyed a free and natural life.

When I first heard about Live Lean I was already getting a regular meat delivery from a rival company. When I saw Live Leans website, I loved the modern look of the site, and the look of their fantastic money saving bundles. Although similar to its rival,  I was keen to see what the differences were.

Sourcing high quality meat is important to me, but so is value. Eating the amount of protein I eat to try and build and maintain muscle, as I’m sure many of you know can be so expensive. Live Lean is an ideal way to get high quality meats, all in one place, delivered to your door, with a quality you can trust.

Live Lean do some amazing bundles too, and they sell a huge range of meats from the humble chicken breast all the way to exotic crocodile. The bundles give you a chance to add in some foods you wouldn’t usually try, which is great for your diet, as a varied diet keeps your metabolism on its toes and stops diet food or ‘clean’ food being boring.

If you have never tried a meat delivery service before, or even if you have, I urge you to give Live Lean UK a go. Having meat delivered in bulk in this way saves so much time, energy and money on your weekly food shop. Now I know this way of life, I just wont be able to go back. I used to spend £4.50 in the supermarket on 4 tiny chicken breasts, each weighing between 120-150g, being full of water and having no flavour. On Live Lean  you can get 5kg (approx 24) Huge 200g approx juicy chicken breasts with no added water, for £24.95.

Top things I love about Live Lean:

  • You can go on their website and read about the farms where your food comes from.
  • They sell a huge variety of lean meats.
  • Value for money.
  • High quality British meat.
  • Fast home delivery.
  • Amazing offers in bulk buys and bundles.
  • It makes meal prepping so easy.

If you do want to give them a go, as an added bonus the lovely people at Live Lean UK have given me a £5 discount code….and guess what its reusable.

Use code: CWPS

Let me know what you think of them!