Superfood Iced Latte

Well it’s Summer here in the UK and iced coffees & teas are a popular beverage of choice to keep us nice and cool and ensure we get our caffeine hit 😉

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I like to add superfoods to my meals and drinks wherever I can and this was an opportunity not to be missed 😀

The turmeric powder that I added is not everyone’s cup of tea (pun intended LOL), but I really like the subtle spice that it added to mine. Try it and if not sure, just take out the turmeric from the below recipe… 🙂

I use my Nutri-Ninja smoothie maker for this as it crushes ice really well but you can use whatever machine you have.

Ingredients 

  • 1.5-2 cups milk (you choose which milk to have – I used cow’s milk but you can use dairy alternatives)
  • 1-2 tsp. coffee
  • 1-2 tsp. sugar free caramel syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Natures Heart Cacao + Superpowders Mix (which has cacao, maca, bee pollen, goldenberry and lucuma in it)
  • A few ice cubes

Directions

  1. Pop the ingredients into the blender cup and blend
  2. Pour into a glass with ice and enjoy!

With love, Tash ❤ x

Succulent Sweet & Spicy Lamb Tagine

I prepared this and cooked it on a weekend so that it could slow cook in the tagine for a few hours and it did not disappoint 😀 Hubby said this is one of his fave meals so it’s going to have to be a regular in our house 🙂 If you love lamb and sweet and spicy flavours, this is one recipe you need to try…

If you have time and you know you are going to cook this, you could always season the meat with the spices and honey and leave overnight to let the flavours infuse… I wasn’t that prepared this time… maybe next time 😉

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Ingredients (for 2 ppl)

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 diced red onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 400g diced lamb
  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. bouillon vegetable stock (I use the low salt version)
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • Handful frozen or fresh spinach (I used frozen)
  • Handful of garden peas (I used frozen)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves (I keep a little plant in my kitchen window – smells amazing and I use basil a lot) 🙂

Directions 

  1. Heat the olive oil in wok/large pan
  2. Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil
  3. Add the diced lamb and brown the meat
  4. Add the spices in the order above
  5. Pour in the honey and stir well
  6. Pop in your frozen vegetables
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and let simmer for 10 mins or so
  8. Pop in the raisins, sliced almonds, fresh parsley and basil leaves
  9. Mix well and pop into your tagine (or casserole dish if you don’t have a tagine)
  10. Cook on low (I cooked ours on 150 degrees / gas mark 2) for approx 4-6 hours… Keep an eye on it… I turned the heat right down during the last couple of hours as it was drying out slightly. If you only have a couple of hours, cook it on 190 degrees / gas mark 5.
  11.  Enjoy!

With love, Tash ❤

My Favourite Eye Cream

As we all know, one area of the face that ages the quickest is the eye area 😦

If using an eye cream is not part of your daily routine, I would recommend adding it in now – you can’t use a normal face cream on your delicate eye area and eye creams are developed to help with a variety of problems that only occur around the eyes, such as; bags and dark circles as well as lines and wrinkles. A good eye cream is an essential in my opinion 🙂

I suffered with puffy eyes and dark circles long before I noticed any fine lines but when I saw those starting to crop up, I knew I needed to find a really good eye cream that would treat all of those areas. Easy peasy you may think…unfortunately not. My search went on for a good couple of years. I tried expensive creams, cheap ones and everything in between and nothing seemed to noticeably help. Until I tried Boots Time Delay anti-ageing eye cream. 

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I can honestly say, this is the best eye cream I have ever come across at a really affordable price (usually between £5 and £8). It seems to treat all the issues in the eye area in one handy cream. I have recommended it to lots of people who are now using it and most recently recommended it to my sister and she has agreed that she really can see a difference ❤

I can certainly tell if I have run out and not been able to use it for a couple of days…and that to me says it all. I now have at least 2 in my possession at any given time, which is handy as I keep giving one away when I recommend it! LOL! 😉

Definitely a product worthy of a blog post recommendation from me to you 😀

With love, Tash ❤ x

Superfood Brownies

 

Yup, you read right… superfood brownies made with cacao! 😀 And even better, they are dairy free, refined sugar free and gluten free – YAY! 😀

 
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These brownies are so good, they are perfect to have in the house for when the sweet cravings hit. The chocolate topping works perfectly when cooled and gives them a fudge-y caramel-y taste and texture… yum! 😀

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Ingredients

Brownie Mix

  • 3/4 cup – melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 6 tbsp. honey
  • 6 tbsp. sugar free caramel syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour

Chocolate Icing

  • 8 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. sugar free caramel syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp. cacao powder

Directions

Brownie mix

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5 / 190 degrees
  2. Pop all the ingredients into a bowl in the order shown above mixing really well each time you add something
  3. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases and pop in the oven for 25-30 mins or until firm to the touch (keep checking they aren’t burning)
  4. Take out of the oven and let cool before icing

Chocolate Icing 

  1. Pop all the ingredients in a bowl in the order shown above and mix well each time you add something
  2. Let the mixture thicken slightly by leaving it to stand for 10 mins or so
  3. Once the brownies have cooled, spoon the icing on top and decorate with whatever you like or just leave them plain. I used wafer daisies 🙂
  4. If the icing starts to melt a little, (they shouldn’t as the brownies should be cool enough) just pop them in the fridge

Prep time – 15 min | Baking time – 30 mins | Total = 45 mins

Enjoy lovelies 😀

With love, Tash ❤

 

Rocky Road Peanut Butter Pots

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I made rocky road yesterday and thought that it would probably be really nice made into a pot with a peanut butter surprise 😀 and I was not wrong!!! Sooo good! I’m off to make some more after I write this up for you guys! 😉

Ingredients 

Chocolate

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. sugar free caramel syrup
  • 2 tbsp. sugar free butterscotch syrup
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla essence 

You can use more honey and maple syrup if you don’t have the other syrups but to get the caramel fudgy taste, the caramel and butterscotch work really well and I would recommend getting your hands on some 🙂

Rocky Road Bits – you can mix and match these and add whatever you like 🙂

  • 1-2 tbsp. cacao nibs
  • 1-2 tbsp. flaked almonds
  • 1-2 tbsp. raisins
  • 1-2 tbsp. glacier cherries
  • 1-2 tbsp. mini marshmallows (refined sugar in these)

I’ve put 1-2 tbsp. because it depends on how chunky you like your rocky road 😀

Peanut Butter 

  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter per pot (you could add more or less but it depends on the size of your pot and how much you love PB) 😉
    • I always use organic and sugar free pb…

Directions

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a pan or a cup and pop in a mixing bowl and let cool slightly
  2. Slowly add the cacao powder and mix in well
  3. Add all the other ingredients mixing well into a smooth creamy chocolate consistency. Sometimes you may need to add more cacao or more coconut oil to get the right silky texture but mixing for a good few minutes helps get the right consistency 😋
  4. Add your rocky road ingredients and mix well
  5. Pop some PB in the bottom of your pots
  6. Pour the mixture of rocky road over the top
  7. Pop in the fridge until hardened but still a little bit fudgy to the touch

Enjoy 😀

With love,

Tash ❤ x

Perfect Healthier Rocky Road

I’m always trying to improve my recipes and with this one being made regularly in my house, I have plenty of opportunity to master it 😀

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This recipe has mini marshmallows in it but that’s the only refined sugar you’ll find 😀 and of course, you can leave those out if you prefer 🙂

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These are so creamy and delicious you can’t tell that there isn’t any refined sugar (apart from the mini marshmallows) or dairy in them!

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Ingredients

Chocolate

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. sugar free caramel syrup
  • 2 tbsp. sugar free butterscotch syrup
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla essence 

Rocky Road Bits – you can mix and match these and add whatever you like 🙂

  • 1-2 tbsp. cacao nibs
  • 1-2 tbsp. flaked almonds
  • 1-2 tbsp. raisins
  • 1-2 tbsp. glacier cherries
  • 1-2 tbsp. mini marshmallows (refined sugar in these)

I’ve put 1-2 tbsp. because it depends on how chunky you like your rocky road 😀

Directions

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a pan or a cup and pop in a mixing bowl and let cool slightly
  2. Slowly add the cacao powder and mix in well
  3. Add all the other ingredients mixing well into a smooth creamy chocolate consistency. Sometimes you may need to add more cacao or more coconut oil to get the right silky texture but a good few mins of stirring is needed to get a smooth and silky texture 😋
  4. Add your rocky road ingredients and mix well
  5. Pour into silicon dishes
  6. Pop into freezer for an hour or so. You can also just pop them in the fridge for a couple of hours if you prefer it slightly softer
  7. Once hardened, they can be taken out and kept in the fridge

Hope you like the new improved recipe guys! This is definitely my new obsession! 😀

With love,

Tash ❤ x

Avocado, Chia, Baobab & Protein Smoothie Bowl

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I’ve come to the conclusion that if you want your smoothie bowl to be thick and creamy enough to pop other ingredients on top without losing them when they sink into the mixture, (can you tell this has been a long trial and error journey?!)  you need to add half an avocado 🙂 It’s the best thickening ingredient 😀 and it’s also DELICIOUS! 😉

Ingredients

(liquid measurements may vary depending on the size of your smoothie maker)

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 scoop protein powder – I used The Organic Protein Company protein
  • 1 tsp. baobab powder
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup almond milk

Directions

  1. Pop all the ingredients into your smoothie cup and blend using your smoothie maker
  2. Pour into a bowl
  3. Top with anything you like to give it some crunch 😀 I used granola, freeze-dried strawberries and desiccated coconut

Enjoy 😀

With love, Tash ❤ x

Skin care – My Favourite Vitamin C & Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

As well as being a big foodie, I am also really into skin care, make up and all things girlie girl (and boy of course) 😀 I love sharing the things I find that really work with family and friends and thought I would also share them with you 😀

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The first thing I want to tell you about is this amazing serum that I’ve used for a couple of years now. It was recommended to me by my wonderful hairdresser (thanks Aleca) and I haven’t looked back since!

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It’s a vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serum that you wear under moisturiser to give your skin an extra anti-ageing boost.

Vitamin C

We all know the benefits of eating foods high in vitamin c but there are also many benefits to using it topically on your skin and I’ve listed the key ones below: –

  1. Vitamin C is the main ingredient of collagen and the production and metabolism of collagen is the key attribute to healthy, smooth, radiant and younger looking skin.
  2. Applying vitamin c to your skin protects it from free radicals due to its antioxidant function.
  3. Helps to protect it from sun damage as it strengthens the skin barrier and thickens the dermis (the thick layer of living tissue below the epidermis which forms the true skin, containing blood capillaries, nerve endings, sweat glands, hair follicles, and other structures).
  4. In high concentrations it can reduce the appearance of skin discoloration.

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid also has many benefits when applied to the skin but the main one of interest to those of us trying to hold off the signs of ageing, is its unique ability to retain moisture. The more moisture we can keep in our skin, the longer we will hold those pesky wrinkles at bay.

Similar to vitamin c, hyaluronic acid also protects the skin from harmful UVB rays which can cause sunspots.

This Serum

Serums are usually thinner in consistency than a moisturiser and are able to penetrate deeper into the skin layers and the ingredients in this serum in particular seem to absorb quickly and really hydrate the skin without making it greasy, which is fab for my oily / combination skin.

Whilst I firmly believe that diet is the main ingredient to having great skin, a good skin care routine is also important.

Key info on this serum 😀

  • Where I bought it – Amazon
  • Cost –  £15.90 for a 60 ml bottle
  • Packaging – Comes in a cute glass bottle with both a pump and a dropper so you can choose which you prefer (I use the pump)
  • Scent – Smells slightly of oranges
  • Consistency – thin and watery in consistency and when applied to the skin, it soaks in immediately and my skin feels slightly tighter straight away but not in an unpleasant way
  • General skin appearance – I’ve noticed that my skin is a lot smoother in appearance since I started using this serum and have had a lot of compliments on my skin. My skin is clearer, has more of a glow and my complexion looks more balanced with less sun spots or marks (and I am Queen of the sun worshippers 😉 )
  • Anti-ageing – I am now 36 (yikes 😮 ) and I really do think that this serum has helped me keep wrinkles at bay. It’s hard to tell as I don’t know what my skin would be like without it but I know I haven’t got any wrinkles other than the fine lines everyone gets when they smile or frown… ok, ok… I get a big bum crack between my eyebrows when I frown – (full disclosure haha!)  but those are natural and the only way to get rid of them is botox (which I’d rather not resort to) or not to smile or frown and let’s face it (excuse the pun) – that ain’t ever gonna happen 😉
  • How long does it last? – Mine lasts me about 3-4 months as you only need 1-2 pumps of the product morning and night.

Full List of Ingredients (taken from Amazon)

Deionized Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide (Plant Based Hyaluronic Acid), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), d-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Car- bomer, Arginine, Ferulic Acid, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Sim- mondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Amino Acid Blend (Sodium L-Pyrrolidone Carboxylate, Sodium Lactate, LArginine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid, Glycine, L-Alanine, L-Serine, L-Valine, L-Proline, L-threonine, L-Isoleucine, L-Histidine, L-Phenylalanine), Phenoxyethanol, Ethyl Hexyl Glycerin, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola Ext- ract), Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail Plant Extract), Pelagonium Gravoleons (Geranium Extract), Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion Extract).

This is my experience of this serum and I would definitely recommend trying it 🙂

With love, Tash

Egg & Kale Pitta Pizza

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Say whaaat? Look at those perfect soft boiled eggs 😀

This egg and kale pitta pizza is the perfect lunch when you fancy something quick, healthy and easy and you have a hankering for pizza 😉

Ingredients

  • Wholemeal pitta
  • Tomato & olive pesto (I used Sacla) – 1-2 tbsp depending on how much you like
  • Curly kale – handful
  • Soft boiled egg x 1
  • Cheddar cheese – sprinkle
  • Chilli flakes – sprinkle
  • Salt & pepper – sprinkle
  • Chilli rapeseed oil – to drizzle – optional (I just looove chilli rapeseed oil)!

Directions

  1. Boil an egg for 5-7 minutes – depending on how runny you like the yolk (I sit on the fence and go for 6 minutes) and pop in a bowl of cold water to stop it cooking
  2. Cut the wholemeal pitta in half and lightly toast
  3. Spoon the pesto on the pitta
  4. Sprinkle the cheese
  5. Wash the kale and pop it on top
  6. Chop the soft boiled egg and add it to the pitta
  7. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and chilli flakes
  8. Pop under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese has melted
  9. Drizzle the chilli rapeseed oil over the top
  10. Devour!!!

Enjoy! 😀

With love, Tash x

Counting Calories – My Experience

A couple of years ago, I started using a popular calorie tracker out of curiosity and with a view to keeping on top of my calorie intake. I didn’t particularly have any goals as such, my diet was pretty healthy and I exercised regularly but I’d heard of this app and I thought I’d give it a go. Probably not the best decision for someone that has already had a brush with an eating disorder.

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I used it solidly for about 6 months before I woke up to the detrimental effects the app was having on my health and well-being.

When you think about how much time you have to put into using a tracker to count the calories of every ingredient you put into a meal and every morsel you put into your mouth, you soon realise that it is akin to having an eating disorder and not only is it easy to become obsessive, in order to do it right… you have to be obsessive!

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The app gives you the option to put on weight, maintain weight or lose weight. Before even really thinking about whether I needed or wanted to lose weight, I had chosen the ‘lose weight’ option and clicked on the recommended 0.5 kg loss per week which reduced the amount of calories I was allowed per day.

Even though I was already eating less than my body needed to maintain a weight I was actually happy with, I felt guilty if my calories went over my allowance for that day. On the flip side of this, I was elated when I was under my calories and even treated it a bit like a competition to ensure that this happened.

The app requires you to weigh yourself weekly – something I had stopped doing many moons ago. Even though I know that if I am working out regularly and eating well, my weight either doesn’t change or increases slightly along with my muscle tone, I still did as the app told me to and weighed myself and thus became more obsessive about the numbers on the scale than my overall health.

Unfortunately, a calorie tracker doesn’t account for quality of nutrients; healthy fats for example are really high in calories but the health benefits far outweigh the calorific value.

I personally love avocado and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on my salad and if you add both of these items to a chicken salad, you are adding 120 cals for 1/2 avocado and 118 cals for 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil = 238 cals!! And that’s if you stick to a measly 1 tbsp. of olive oil… is that even possible?? 😉 Avocado and extra virgin olive oil might be high in calories but consuming them benefit your hair, skin, nails, cardiovascular system and have cancer fighting properties along with many, many other health benefits. Cutting out or restricting healthy fats also means lower levels of necessary nutrients are absorbed, especially the fat soluble vitamins such as; vitamins A, D, E and K.

I like to eat quite regularly and sometimes I found that if I had a good breakfast such as porridge with nuts and fruits, a healthy mid-morning snack and a good healthy lunch with some healthy fats, I ended up with hardly any calories left for my dinner. If you add a workout into the calorie tracker, it gives you back the calories that you’ve burned so I’d end up working out even if I was tired or really didn’t feel like it just so that I could have some dinner without feeling guilty for going over my calories.

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All in all, it was a miserable experience for me and not one that I will be repeating. If you really need to lose weight and struggle with portion sizes etc. I can see how tracking your calories will help and it’s also handy to use it to understand and track the nutrients you are getting from your diet and what you are missing but using it daily for months on end just didn’t work for me and I’ll only ever use it now as a quick refresh on my nutrient intake.

I managed to find the right balance for me and my weight has stayed the same within around 2 kgs for a few years now and yes I am heavier now than when I was as a size 6 – 20 year old but (as anyone that knows me knows), I didn’t let that girl eat! I now manage to eat well and still have treats when I feel like having them and I am a happy and healthy maintainable size 8-10 with a full and happy tummy and a healthy relationship with food.

So…how did I find that elusive balance and find my ‘happy healthy’?

  1. I went back to eating by looking at ingredients rather than at calories – if it’s got millions of ingredients in it that I can’t even pronounce, let alone understand – I don’t eat it.
  2. I exercise 3-5 times per week and this includes doing a yoga based workout at least once per week.
  3. I drink 2-3 litres of water per day as a minimum.
  4. I eat regularly.
    1. If I ignore my hunger pangs, I end up making bad choices and reaching for the processed sugary snacks every single time.I snack on healthy foods and snack bars… again by looking at the ingredients.
  5. Some healthy snack bars look like they have as much sugar and as many calories in them as a choccy bar but you have to think in terms of nutrients and ingredients. If the sugar is coming from fruits and not from added refined sugar, it is more nutritious to have the healthy snack bar. 
  6. I only drink alcohol occasionally.
  7. I don’t eat sauces with every meal, preferring to taste the flavour of the food rather than sugar laden sauces such as ketchup and I actually find them really sweet.
  8. If I am craving a sweet treat after a meal, I’ll try and have a fruit tea, some greek yogurt or a decaffeinated coffee with a tiny dollop of sugar free caramel syrup and these usually do the trick.
  9. If I really want some chocolate or a bag of crisps, I have some.
    1. I used to restrict ‘treats’ to weekends only but found that it would get to Friday night and I’d eat a weeks’ worth of chocolate and cakes in one sitting… the old binge eating!! Such a bad habit and overloading the body with sugar and saturated fats like that is not good for your blood sugar levels. A little bit every now and then, however, doesn’t hurt. It definitely works better for me not to restrict.
  10. I stopped worrying about what size clothes I was buying and concentrated on how they looked and felt.
    1. I want a nice peachy bum, (who doesn’t??) and I do squats and lunges and use weights to get it! Unfortunately, having a larger, more rounded bum means I can’t fit into a size 8 pair of jeans anymore. Something I used to want to change. Not anymore, I am happy with my size 10 bottom thank you squats 😉
  11. I try to eat healthy foods 80-90% of the time and allow myself to have the odd pizza or burger once or twice a week maximum.
  12. I try to make as much as possible from scratch at home, preferring to make my own burgers, muffins etc.
  13. I steer clear of white processed carbs; white pasta, rice and potato.
    1. I still eat carbs as they form an important part of a healthy diet but I choose to eat wholewheat rice, bread and pasta or lentil and chickpea pasta, sweet potatoes, etc. White processed carbs don’t agree with me so this is an easy decision to make. Sometimes I do have the odd couple of chips or white bun on a burger but it is rare.

 

Balance to me is about being happy with the look and feel of your body and the weight you naturally reach when you are eating as healthy as you can without depriving yourself of the things that make life fun.

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With love, Tash x

Healthy Recipes | Nutrition | Lifestyle | Fitness | Beauty

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