Food

1539 // Chester

Yesterday I went with some of my family for a meal at 1539 in Chester, which is a contemporary restaurant and bar which is located on the racecourse. The restaurant serves a range of British food for all of the family and offers stunning views across Chester recourse as well as having its own rooftop lounge and terrace, offering an array of drinks which would make the perfect start to any race day or special occasion.

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On arrival we were shown to our table which offered an incredible view across the racecourse. The restaurant sits above the course so the view really is amazing. We had a set menu which a number of different options for the starter, main and desert and you had the option to choose a 2 course meal or 3, of course I went for 3.

For the starter I went for the Spiced butternut squash soup, served with roasted pumpkin seeds and warm crusty bread. The soup was really nice and gave just a little kick which was good as I’m not a massive fan of really spicy food.

For the main course there were some really nice chooses but I had to go for the roast sirloin beef. It was served with a Yorkshire pudding, seasonal vegetables, roasted potatoes, cauliflower cheese, mashed potatoes and a red wine jus, the perfect meal to finish off a Sunday. You could either have the beef pink or well done, I went for well done and it was cooked beautifully, I would go as far as saying it was the nicest Sunday dinner I have ever had in a restaurant.

Whenever I go out for a meal the desert is usually my favourite part as I have a really bad sweet tooth so I struggled to decide what to choose but in the end I went for the chocolate and honeycomb chocolate slab cake, which was served with vanilla ice cream. When it was put in front of me I did think it didn’t look that big but it was really sweet and rich so it turned out to be the perfect size. The cake was made up of a honeycomb base, topped with rich chocolate and finished off with raspberries on top, the perfect combination.

All 3 courses really were faultless and the location of the restaurant just made the meal even better. I really would recommend 1539 if you’re in the area, it’s the perfect place for a relaxed, family meal and they even have a children’s menu so it’s perfect for all of the family.

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Grilled Peanut Butter Banana Split

img_1481Being a fan of both food and fitness, it’s sometimes hard to get the balance of both right. I love going to the gym and keeping fit but I also love a sweet treat so finding a recipe that isn’t full of fat, sugar and calories but at the same time cures my sweet cravings is something I would have to give a go!

I was researching recipes that were healthy alternatives to sweet treats and I came across a recipe for an alternative to a banana split and it involved some of my favourite foods, peanut butter, Greek yoghurt and berries so I decided to give it a go.

This recipe makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
2 bananas
½ cup of Greek yoghurt (I used full fat)
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp butter
Honey
Mix of berries to top

Method:

  1. Heat the griddle plate to a medium/high heat and then melt the butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
  2. Slice the bananas down the middle so you have two halves and then brush the banana with a layer of the melted butter. You don’t need to brush any on the skin side.
  3. In a bowl mix together the Greek yoghurt and peanut butter, I used Whole Earth peanut butter as I feel it’s by far the best tasting and it contains only natural ingredients.
  4. Once the griddle is hot, Place the bananas skin side up and cook for about 3 minutes. Once the 3 minutes is up, flip them over and cook the skin side for a further 1-2 minutes.fullsizerender-1
  5. Carefully remove the bananas from the griddle and then using a spoon life the bananas out of the skin.
  6. Place the bananas on a plate and spread the yoghurt mixture over the top and decorate with your chosen berries. To finish squeeze some runny honey over the top and there you have it, a healthier alternative to banana split.fullsizerender-2

Enjoy!

img_1538fullsizerender-e14748985943171I was sent the griddle plate from the guys at Savisto and I couldn’t really fault it. The product was sent to me within 3 days and packaged securely. What I really like about this griddle plate was the size of it, griddle plates that I have used in the past have been relatively small where this one is very spacious and has two sides, a griddle side which I used in this recipe and also a flat side which I used to cook bacon on and it worked really well.

One thing I was worried about was cleaning the plate but it was a lot easier than what I thought, although you do have to leave it a while to cool down. I would definitely recommend this product but they have so many other products to offer as well.

Unique Ways To Fit Protein Powder Into A Healthy Diet

CaptureA few weeks ago you may have seen my post about what supplements are recommended for weight gain and what I find works for me but some people do find having a protein shake to be boring or for the majority of people you don’t always remember to consume it. This post explores how you can add protein powder into your diet through various healthy recipes.

Protein powder is a handy substance-it can be difficult to get your macro ratios right without it, and who has time to spend hours coming up with meal plans when there’s a quick and convenient way to boost your protein intake without throwing off your other numbers? The downside is, drinking a protein shake (or three) every day can get boring quickly. When your choices are limited to chocolate or vanilla shakes, it doesn’t seem like much of a choice at all.

Here’s the cool thing: you’re not limited to mixing your protein powder with plain water and gulping it down. There’s a ton of things you can do with flavoured or unflavoured protein powder, all of which can be integrated into a healthy diet to add a little more interest to your life. Boring food is a motivation killer for eating well–but your food doesn’t have to be boring!

Let’s look at some cool ways to use protein powder in interesting, unique ways that’ll save you from yet another boring post-workout shake.

DIY protein bars and bites

Did you know you can make your own protein bars? What about bite-sized, protein-packed treats? Protein bars and bites are a great way to boost your protein intake, but the store bought ones can be not only expensive, but full of ingredients you don’t want to eat.

Enter the homemade option. The great thing about this is that a lot of make-at-home protein bar recipes don’t require you to bake them at all–just measure, mix, and refrigerate! So even if you’re not skilled in the kitchen–even if you’re prone to burning water–you can still make your own high-protein treats for post-workout and between-meals snacks.

The other thing is that if you make your own bars and bites, you can control what goes in them. Allergic to nuts? Make your own definitely-nut-free versions. Eating paleo? You can avoid the artificial sweeteners and use honey or maple syrup instead. The possibilities are endless!

Here are some recipes to get you started, but you should absolutely feel free to experiment:

No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Protein Bars – just five ingredients and 25 minutes! This is as easy as making your own food from scratch gets.

Homemade Quest Bars – this recipe also includes vegan options, which shows the real benefit of making your own protein bars–you get to choose what goes into them!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bites – this DIY protein bite recipe costs a fraction of what store-bought protein snacks do, and is twice as delicious.Cookie doughAdd protein powder to your breakfast

Getting in that all-important pre-workout protein can be tough if you work out in the mornings, but fear not: you can add protein powder to all your favourite breakfast foods to give them a boost without making them weird at all.

Pancakes take on protein powder especially well, because they don’t strictly need wheat flour to come up as fluffy discs of deliciousness. But you can also add (unflavoured) protein powder to your scrambled eggs and omelettes, and vanilla or chocolate protein powder to your oatmeal.

You can even sprinkle protein powder on your cereal, if that’s your preferred breakfast food. Pick a flavoured one for an extra touch of luxury with breakfast!

Try these recipes as a starting point, but don’t be afraid to branch out:

Overnight Cake Batter Protein Oatmeal – this is the most convenient breakfast you’ll ever make, and the protein content is impressive!

Four-Ingredient Protein Pancakes – these are easier to make than regular pancakes, and high-protein, too!

Protein boost your meals

Plenty of main meals–other than breakfast–lend themselves to the addition of unflavoured protein powder. If you’re a fan of breaded chicken, you can replace some of the bread crumbs with protein powder. If you make your own hamburgers, the same principle applies. You can also add protein powder to sauces as a thickening agent–it has a pretty neutral flavour, so it won’t mess up your recipes.

Plus, it’s pretty inexpensive. Nutrition and supplement stores are constantly rolling out new offers and promotions to keep people returning, and websites like ProteinPromo.com are always on top of new and exclusive money off codes.

If you’re trying to get your family to eat healthier but you’ve got some picky eaters, hidden protein powder in main meals is a great way to boost their protein intake without them ever knowing. For example, protein powder dissolves completely in a homemade cheese sauce, so high-protein mac ‘n’ cheese is an ideal way to get a fussy eater to get their daily dose of protein.

You can also add it to soups and pizza bases or homemade dinner rolls–the possibilities really are endless once you start!

Need a nudge in the right direction? Try:

High Protein, Low Carb Chicken Pasta – this recipe uses pea protein to thicken the cheese sauce, and once you’ve got that technique figured out, the world is your oyster.

Protein Power Pizza – once you learn to make this pizza base, you’ll have a quick, easy and tasty meal that you can make in endless varieties on hand all the time.

Protein powder = baking magic

If you’re confident with baking, your options for getting protein powder into your diet in fun, exciting ways explode. You can replace a percentage of the flour in just about any recipe with protein powder–up to 10% for cakes, higher for cookies and bars.

Here’s a secret tip for you–because of the way whey protein absorbs moisture, you can use unflavoured or chocolate protein powder to make the chewiest, fudgiest brownies ever by replacing about 20% of the flour with protein powder. Most of the rising action in brownies comes from the eggs, so you can even replace the rest of the flour with almond meal, coconut flour, or whatever other substitute you like. People will beg you for your secret recipe, and you won’t have to feel guilty about giving yourself or your kids a treat!

There are hundreds of baking recipes available that use protein powder–just hit up Pinterest to see what I mean–but here are a few great ones to get you started:

Chocolate Protein Brownies – these brownies take advantage of the properties of protein powder, as mentioned above, to make dense, chocolatey brownies.

Glazed Protein Donuts – what more could you want than the classic glazed donut in a high-protein version?

Chocolate Banana Protein Mug Cake – this is one for even the non-bakers, as it only takes minutes and is cooked in the microwave, so you don’t even need to own an oven.

Cool down, bulk up

Frozen desserts also lend themselves to the addition of protein powder. Both ice cream and popsicles ‘hide’ protein powder really well, so this is the perfect thing for kids–or for post-workout treats during the warmer months!

You can simply add a scoop of protein powder to your favourite ice cream or popsicle recipe–just pick a flavour that matches, or choose unflavoured powder. Traditional ice cream is already high in protein thanks to the eggs and dairy, but there’s no reason you can’t make it a protein powerhouse with the addition of a secret ingredient.

Need some inspiration? Try these recipes on for size:

High-Protein Ice Cream – this one also focuses on reducing the amount of sugar, so it’s a good alternative to ‘traditional’ ice cream if you’re watching that, too.

Protein Fudgsicles – not just better for you than the store-bought version, but way better tasting, too.

Make some fancy protein shakes

If you’re sick of plain protein shakes but you still like to drink your protein where possible, then why not make yourself a fancier protein shake? You don’t have to stick to the directions on the pack to get the full benefit from your protein powder–in fact, if you choose your shake recipe wisely, you can have a delicious treat that tastes like dessert but is even better for you than a regular protein shake.

This is handy if you have trouble eating before or after a workout–it’s much easier to drink something than sit down and eat it, and it sits more easily in your stomach, too. If you’re sick of plain protein shakes, you don’t have to give them up–you just need to change them up!

The number of fancy protein shake recipes available is basically infinite, but here’s a few to get you thinking:

Cafe Mocha Protein Shake – need a coffee fix of a morning? Try this shake for your protein and caffeine needs.

Mint Cookies and Cream Shake – this recipe shows that you really don’t have to stick to the boring, traditional protein shake.

Snickerdoodle Protein Shake – if you can imagine it, you can make it into a protein shake. The choice doesn’t have to be between chocolate or vanilla anymore!

Once you start seeing all the ways you can use protein powder other than what the instructions on the side of the tub say, you’ll realise that you can put it in… well, almost everything! Whether you’re devoted to flavoured brands or you prefer to pick up unflavoured powder instead, you no longer have to be limited to straightforward shakes, and you don’t have to worry if you just can’t face another one.

Adding more protein to your diet is a great way to eat healthier and really boost the effectiveness of your workouts–whether they be in the gym or during the rush to get the kids to school! I hope you’ll try out some of these tips for quicker, easier, healthier eating with protein powder.

Malteaser Tray Bake

Untitled design (14).pngConsidering today is Friday I thought I would share this Malteaser tray bake recipe with you. I don’t normally make things like this but today in work we are having a bake off to raise money for our chosen charity Claire House so I had to get involved. Technically this recipe isn’t baking but I seen it online and had to give it a go. It’s so simple and quick to make so I would definitely recommend it as a Friday Treat!

Ingredients:

Large sharing bag of Malteasers
250g digestive biscuits
2 cups rice krispies
125g unsalted butter
395g condensed milk
2 tbsp cocoa powder
300g white chocolate

Method:

Line a square baking tin with baking paper. Break the biscuits into chunks and either crush with a rolling pin or put into a food processor and blend until the biscuits are the consistency of bread crumbs.

Next, add the biscuit crumbs and rice krispies to a large bowl and then take out about 3/4 of Malteasers from the bag and cut in half, then adding them to the bowl with the other ingredients.

IMG_0716.JPGThe next thing to do is add the cocoa powder, butter and condensed milk to a bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water (about a medium heat), making sure all of the ingredients are well combined.

Once the ingredients in the pan have turned to a smooth, liquid texture pour it over the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. Once you have done this add the mixture to the baking tin and then using the back of a spoon or spatula, press the mixture down, making an even surface.

Next, break the white chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl. Using the microwave, melt the chocolate in 30 second bursts, stirring after each one.

Once the chocolate has completely melted, pour it over the base and spread it out evenly, making sure all of the edges are covered. Using the remaining Malteasers press them into the chocolate in about 6 even lines.Untitled design (13).pngThe baking tin then needs to be put in the fridge for about 1-2 hours or until the chocolate has set. Once it has set remove from the fridge and cut into even pieces.

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Enjoy! 🙂

#Leanin15 Challenge – Turkey Stuffed Peppers

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My Next Lean in 15 meal was Turkey Stuffed Peppers which I have never tried before. I wanted to make them for my dinner as I feel I’m always having the same thing, usually chicken and rice which can get very boring so I was hoping this would add some flavour to my meal.

Ingredients:

2 Peppers
Olive oil
500g Turkey mince
1 Red onion (Chopped into small pieces)
Mushrooms (I used about 5, chopped into small pieces)
1 Garlic clove (Crushed or finely chopped)
400g Chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp Tomato puree
Ground cumin
Soy sauce
Mozzarella

Method:

Firstly pre-heat the oven to about 180c, then chop your peppers straight down the middle and remove the seeds.

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Once this has been done place the peppers onto an oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. Place the tray in the oven and cook the peppers for about 15 minutes or until they have softened.

Whilst the peppers are cooking chop the onion, mushrooms and crush the garlic clove. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a frying pan and fry the turkey mince until they are brown, then add the mushrooms, garlic and onion and fry for another minute or so.

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Once the onions and mushrooms have softened add the chopped tomatoes and ground cumin, I just sprinkled about a teaspoon  of cumin over the mince. Finally add about a tablespoon of soy sauce to the mixture and stir thoroughly.

Check your peppers are soft and remove from the oven, parts of the pepper may have browned slightly but that’s fine. Spoon the mince into the peppers and finish by sprinkling some mozzarella cheese over the top. I had some of the mixture left over which I put in the freezer to have for my dinner another day 🙂

I wasn’t sure if I would like stuffed peppers but I’ve got to say I was really happy with how they turned out, I would definitely recommend them!

#Leanin15 Challenge – Mighty Duck Noodles

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For my next Lean In 15 meal I wanted to try The Mighty Duck Noodles. I have had duck before and I really like it but I have never cooked it myself so I thought I would try something different.

I doubled the recipe so it would be enough for 2 people.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 x Duck breasts (skin removed and cut into thin slices)
1 tsp Five-spice powder
6 Spring onions (finely sliced)
2 Garlic cloves ( finely sliced or crushed)
200g Tender stem broccoli
300-500g Fresh egg noodles ( I used about 350g)
4 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1/2 Small cucumber (sliced into thin strips)

Method:

Before I started to fry the duck I chopped the spring onions, garlic and I also chopped any pieces of broccoli that were quite chunky in half so they cooked evenly.

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Once the skin had been removed from the duck I sliced the breasts into small strips. I added the coconut oil to a frying pan and put the heat on medium-high. Once the oil had melted I added the strips of duck to the pan and let it fry for a few minutes.

Untitled design (10).pngOnce all of the duck had completely browned I turned the heat up to high and added the broccoli, spring onions, garlic, five-spice and a few tablespoons of water, this helps to steam the veg. Carry on frying the ingredients for about another 3 minutes and then add the noodles. Stir all of the ingredients to make sure the noodles are cooked thoroughly.

Once the noodles are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the hoisin sauce and place into bowls. Top with the sliced cucumber and to finish I drizzled some more hoisin over the top!

 

#Leanin15 Challenge – Sausage Pasta

Untitled design (5).pngIf you have read the post I wrote a few days ago then you will know I have set myself the challenge of making at least one Lean in 15 meal a week. This is partly because I enjoy cooking and I want to start eating more healthy but also because I want to publish regular posts on my blog. So, the first meal I have made is The Body Coach’s sausage pasta and here is the recipe on how to make it.

Ingredients:

Cocount oil or Fry light
1 onion
1 chilli
1 clove of garlic (chopped or crushed)
Sausages (I used about 6)
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Garden peas (1 or 2 handfuls)
Whole wheat pasta
500ml Chicken stock
Salt & Pepper to season

Method:

Firstly let me just tell you that this meal is so easy to make! The quantity of ingredients I used made about 4 good sized portions.

To start, pre-heat your oven to around 200c and cook the sausages for about 20-30 mins. It doesn’t matter if their not completely cooked as they will be added to a pan later where they will be left to simmer.

Once you have put the sausages in the oven chop your onion into small chunks and then do the same with the chilli but try and chop it as small as possible so the flavour is evenly mixed with the other ingredients.Untitled design (6).pngNext you need to add about a teaspoon of coconut oil to a hot pan along with the onion chilli and crushed garlic. I like to fry them for a few minutes just to make sure they are soft before the rest of the ingredients are added. Once the sausages are cooked remove them from the oven and chop them however you would like. I prefer to cut them into small pieces.

Add the sausages to the pan as well as the chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, chicken stock, garden peas and then season with salt & pepper. The final ingredient to add is the pasta. I don’t add a certain amount, I just added a few handfuls and that seemed to be enough.Untitled design (7).pngOnce all the ingredients have been added to the pan, bring to the boil and cover. All you need to do now is leave it to simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken and for the pasta to cook. I stirred the ingredients once or twice just to make sure they didn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Once the pasta is cooked serve with a sprinkle of either Parmesan cheese or my favourite feta! Untitled design (5).pngEnjoy! 🙂

Homemade Salt & Pepper Chicken

As it’s the new year I wanted to start eating healthier and one of my weaknesses is a Chinese takeaway. The meal I always like to order is Salt & Pepper chicken so when I came across a healthy version of my favourite takeaway meal, I had to give it a go!

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Ingredients:
Chicken breast (1 per person)
Salt & Pepper
Garlic granules
Plain flour
1 egg
1 Red Pepper
1 Green pepper
1 Onion
1 Chilli
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
White wine vinegar
Honey

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 190c and using fry light, grease an oven tray.
Next cut your chicken beasts into cubes of about 1cm. Then in a bowl combine 4/5 tablespoons of flour, half a teaspoon of garlic granules and half a teaspoon of salt & pepper (sometimes I add a but more).

In a separate bowl you then need to whisk your egg and then add a splash of soy sauce.

Then comes the messy part! Mix your chicken in with the egg mixture and make sure all of the chunks are covered with egg. Then taking one piece of chicken at a time, roll the chicken in the flour mixture and once fully covered place on your oven tray.

Once all of the chicken is covered in the flour mixture place the oven tray in the center of the oven and cook for half an hour, turning the chicken over half way through.

When the Chicken is in the oven you need to finely slice the onion, peppers & chilli.

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When the chicken is is nearly done in a large frying pan add the onions & peppers and fry until softened. This is where you need to add a splash of sesame oil but make sure you don’t add too much because it can be quite strong.

Once the chicken is then cooked add it to your frying pan along with the chilli and fry for a few minutes. Whilst the chicken and veg is frying mix together two teaspoons of honey (you can use sugar if you would prefer) & two tablespoons of white wine vinegar until you get a smooth mixture. Once you you can then pour it over the chicken, onions & peppers.

Once you have completed all of the above steps you are done! I usually serve it with brown rice to give it more of a takeaway feel. Enjoy!

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