Cauli-risotto stuffed roasted red peppers

IMG_20160131_110437Ingredients

  • 1/2 cauliflower.
  • 1 oz light Philadelphia cream cheese.
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, diced.
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
  • 1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs.
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger.
  • Black pepper.
  • 3 medium – large red bell peppers.

Serves 3.

Nutritional Information

Per stuffed pepper: 82kcal; 5g protein, 15g carbohydrates, 1g fat.

Method

  1. Chop up the cauliflower into florets. In a food processor, pulse until the cauliflower has a rice-like consistency.
  2. In a large pan, add the cauliflower and shallow fry over a medium heat. Add the herbs, ginger, black pepper and garlic powder. Pour in enough boiling water so the cauliflower is covered and there is about 1cm extra liquid on top.
  3. Bring the cauliflower to the boil and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the Philadelphia and diced jalapeno and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°f and chop the tops off the bell peppers.
  6. Cook the peppers in a microwave on the vegetable setting/high for about 3 minutes. The skins should be ‘sagging’ slightly.
  7. In an ovenproof dish, stand up the peppers and fill the peppers with the cauli-risotto mixture.
  8. Add the tops of the peppers back on and cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

These make a great side for any meat dish. I am serving mine with deconstructed tacos this week.

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Barbecue, coffee and garlic turkey burgers

IMG_20160124_104701Ingredients

  • 1 lb 99% fat free ground turkey.
  • Handful of grated zucchini/courgette.
  • 1/4 of a red onion, diced.
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped.
  • 5 mushrooms, finely chopped.
  • 1 tsp Trader Joes barbecue, coffee and garlic rub.

Makes 8 burgers; serves 4.

Nutritional Information

Per 2 burgers: 142kcal, 29g protein, 4.5g carbs, 1g fat.

Method

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients with your hands.
  2. Shape the mixture into eight patties.
  3. Over a medium heat, cook the burgers in a good non-stick pan. Turn after approximately 5 minutes each side.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Gaining Perks to Poverty Calories

So, when I prepped for my fitness photoshoot back in November 2015, I ‘dieted’ for 20 weeks. Over those weeks, my calories were lowered and, as anyone who has ever dieted for a photoshoot or for the stage knows, prep diets don’t lend themselves to variety and indulgence. However, you soon learn it really is the small things that add that sense to your diet. Here is my list of prep ‘saviours’!

  1. Refeeds. What are refeeds you might say? These are days that I literally counted down to every week. My coach started alloting me refeeds about halfway through my prep. These are days where your calories are increased, specifically through extra carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores, boost metabolism and offer sanity! My refeeds included foods such as: bananas, oats, strawberry jelly/jam, bagels, Nutella, rice cakes, barbecue sauce and rice. What I loved about these was the feeling of pure indulgence whilst eating them; I also slept incredibly well after gobbling all this down!
  2. Almond butter. This was in my diet from day 1 to photoshoot day. It was something I looked forward to every day!
  3. Whey protein powder. This helped to stifle my very sweet tooth (thank you, Dymatize Birthday Cake/Double Fudge Brownie flavours!) and I also blended it with coffee to make a Frappucino and cooked a scoop in the microwave with some baking powder which made a pauper’s version of a Beltsander Brownie.
  4. Walden Farms. Their calorie free caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, pancake syrup and salad dressings (my favourite is the caesar) were a lifesaver! They taste incredible.
  5. Spices. Paprika, cayenne pepper, seasonings, cinnamon….these added variety to my chicken and fish!
  6. BCAAs. I drank these like they were going out of fashion. Not only did it benefit my DOMS, but they taste like soda! The BCAA Xtend don’t have any calories either and my other favourites, Musclepharm, only have 10 calories per scoop.
  7. Chewing gum. All flavours, all varieties.
  8. Sugar free, fat free jell-o. I used to mix a tiny amount into my greek yoghurt to take away the sourness and also add different flavours!
  9. Jordan’s Skinny Syrups. These are so versatile and I loved mixing them into my yoghurt, coffee or oats!
  10. Herbal tea. Hot or cold. Celestial sugar cookie tea is delicious. Luckily, I also had a big stash of Twinings green tea flavours (gingerbread, cherry bakewall, salted caramel, fudge melts and caramelised green apple) to keep me going too!

Benchpressingbaubles

Exercise made me taller!

So I first started being interested in fitness when I saw a picture of myself at a family outing in summer 2009. I hated the shape of my face and decided something had to change. I had never eaten badly; my Mum is a fantastic cook who made plenty of healthy, balanced meals throughout my childhood (and still does now!) But when I moved to university, I replaced her homecooking with convenience meals… and alcohol. I also wasn’t overly active – I was a university student, who loved nothing more than going out drinking and eating cheesy chips at 3am. Over the summer, I started attending classes at the health club/gym that my Mum was a member of and lost about 8lb as well as growing, yes, growing, an inch taller! My posture had improved so much from exercsising that I became taller than my Mum. Check mark on the bucket list!

In 2009, I signed up for Cardiff half marathon (more was coerced into it when I had had a few vodkas!) and I loved the feeling of seeing my body change, as well as becoming visibly fitter. I loved doing the half marathon and completed 2 more in Cardiff subsequently. In 2011, my boyfriend of the time persuaded me to join this new low cost gym. I gave him my debit card details and told him to sign me up, as I am guilty of ‘bookmarking’ such things and then never following through! We signed up for a Friday evening class, with a very enthusiastic but friendly trainer and we loved it! I became a bit of a class attending-aholic, and loved the atmosphere and the friendliness of the personal trainers and the post workout endorphines. I became interested in nutrition and used meal replacement shakes for about 6 months, which was my first introduction to protein shakes. Something I was always fearful of (I lived up to the female stereotype of thinking this would make me bulky!)

After using meal replacement shakes, my weight loss plateaued and when I stopped using them, I gained back weight as I was left with big sugar cravings. I wasn’t sure what to do, so went back to the personal trainer who I had first met on the first day at the gym! He took me into the weights room (I refused to go in there unless personally escorted) and gave me a diet plan to follow. I can’t pretend I enjoyed my first few experiences of using real weights as opposed to lurid colored dumbbells that look like cat toys. But I perservered. And, oh, how things have changed!

-Benchpressingbaubles

Butternut squash, eggplant and onion curry with cumin infused cauli-rice

butternut squash curryIngredients

Serves 5.

  • 1lb butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 20oz chicken (cooked weight/optional)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 cauliflower (grated)
  • 1 tbsp Trader Joe’s curry powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Splash of coconut water
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin

Nutritional Information

Per portion: 251kcal: 33g protein, 27g carbohydrates; 3.5g fat

Method

  1. Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat and add in chopped onion and half the curry powder (this would also be where to add in chicken). Cook until the onion is softened and browned.
  2. Add in remainder of vegetables (except the cauliflower) and the rest of the curry powder and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
  3. When the vegetables have softened, pour in the almond milk and coconut water and simmer, with the lid on for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the grated cauliflower and cumin over a medium heat in a non-stick frying pan, stirring constantly.
  5. Serve immediately or separate out into portions for meal prep.