Sourdough Toast & Home-made Pine Nut Pesto Salsa

I found a magazine stashed away under the sofa called, “Summer Vegetarian” recently. I had a look through and decided that pretty much everything could be veganised or was already vegan. I looked at the first recipe and instantly wanted to make it. It was called, “Ricotta toasts with rocket and pine nut salsa.” I’ve put my Queer hands all over it, veganed the shit out of it and below is the result:

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Ingredients:

* 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped.

* 50g bag of wild rocket.

* 20g of fresh basil.

* A whole small jar of capers, drained.

* Juice of half a fresh lemon.

* 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.

*  Half a small bag of pine nuts.

* 1 loaf of sourdough bread.

* Two fresh tomatoes, sliced.

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Method:

Put the garlic, rocket, basil leaves, capers, lemon juice and olive oil into a food processor and pulse blend until you have a chunky, bright green sauce.

Stir the pine nuts through the sauce and give another quick pulse blend.

Slice your sourdough loaf and toast under the grill or in the toaster.

Spread your pesto salsa on your toast and top with fresh sliced tomatoes. You can also add a dash of balsamic vinegar here for a little extra flavour.

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The original recipe suggests that per serving you’d be looking at 279 calories. Personally I’d guess that it was much less than that because I’ve not used any animal derived ingredients.

This took approximately ten minutes to make and it will use the entire loaf.

I’d serve this as a snack, a starter or a light lunch. It’s full of protein, vitamin C and vitamin E. Enjoy! 🙂

Seriously Tasty Time Saving Porridge Topper

Oats are amazing! They are great for the bacteria in your gut, give you loads of energy, keep you full up and are loaded with fiber. Being vegan I don’t really need to worry about fiber because everything I eat has it in, but you can always do with more right?

Mykey and I live a very hectic lifestyle. We are guardians to five cats and one very lively American Bulldog called Bailey. We also work full time and train twice a day everyday at the gym. A little while ago I decided we needed to cut down on the amount of time we spent getting ready in the morning for work, so I came up with this great time saving idea that gives porridge an extra health boost and tastes great.

I make up a jar full of super foods that I then sprinkle on top. Before I used to spend and extra twenty minutes in the morning making sure our breakfasts were as packed with nutrients as possible. Now I stick my spoon in my jar and throw it on top of my bowl of oats, before smothering in soya milk and sometimes heating in the microwave.

Yum!

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The jar lasts about a month if two of you are eating porridge everyday for 5 out of 7 days a week. I also like to put different things in it each month, but this month I’ve gone with flaked almonds, pecan nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried goji berries, shredded coconut, walnuts, milled flaxseed, chia seeds and if I put anything else in there, I can’t remember!

Enjoy! 🙂

Vegetable Paella

Sorry I’ve not posted in a while! I’ve unfortunately had a lot of anxiety issues lately but fear not, I’m back on track to being a super fitness fiend.

Seeing as we’re all feeling the squeeze at the moment, I thought I’d do another one of my Cheap as Chips meals. Most of the ingredients you should have in your cupboard or fridge and if you don’t, you should be able to source them from your local corner shop.

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 bell peppers (you can even go for frozen ones if you’re super skint.)
  • A large handful of frozen peas
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 pint of long grain rice
  • 2 pints of vegetable stock
  • A good pinch of black pepper

Method

Chop your peppers, onion and garlic and place in a heated pan with some oil. Add your frozen ingredients (which for me was just peas) and mix.

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Then create a well in the middle of the pan and fill with your two chopped fresh tomatoes and the paprika.

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Now pour the vegetable stock straight into the well in the middle and mix everything around thoroughly.

Add the rice and mix through thoroughly.

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Allow to simmer on the lowest heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. In this time the liquid will start to be absorbed by the rice, so make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.

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Once 20 minutes has passed, sprinkle with pepper and allow to stand for another five minutes. (The longer you leave it the thicker it will become.)

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Spaghetti & Meatballs – Not What You Think!

This can be made raw if you have a dehydrator, which I do, however for the interest of the general public I’ll do this the traditional way…..for a very untraditional take on this classic Italian dish.

Ingredients

1 pack of sun dried tomatoes

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves

2 tsp flax seed

1 tsp hemp seeds

A large handful of standard mushrooms

A good sprinkle of both oregano and basil

A small sprinkle of fennel seed

Half a small bag of walnuts

4 large tomatoes

Fresh basil leaves

Sea salt

2 large courgettes

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Method:

Get the oven on at full whack.

Place the sundried tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, 2 garlic cloves (peeled), flax, hemp seeds, herbs, walnuts and sea salt in the blender and pulse blend until it forms into a crumbly mixture.

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Shape the mixture into small balls using a soup spoon and place in a baking tray.

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Then place in the oven on a 15 minute timer. Make sure you turn the heat down to about 200 degrees otherwise they will burn.

In the meantime, make the tomato sauce.

Combine the fresh tomatoes, two garlic, basil and sea salt and blend until smooth. (Use the food processor again. No need to wash it out.)

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You can then place this in a pan to heat or you can serve it cold.

Next you need to cut or spiralise the courgettes into noodles.

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I also added a cheeky splash of soy sauce just for some extra flavour.

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Then remove the meatballs from the oven and place on top of your, “spaghetti.”

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Pour your tomato sauce either warmed or cold over the top and enjoy the marvellous mix of flavours in this healthy, low calorie dish.

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Butter Bean Soup

Yes I know I’m doing another soup recipe, but it’s cold and who doesn’t need warming up in this weather? By the way, I’m not looking forward to winter! 😦

First off, we need the ingredients. This is another cheap and healthy meal.

  • A tablespoon of vegetable stock
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 400 grams of butter beans (Mine are dried, so I soaked mine for a few hours before hand. Tinned are much quicker.)
  • Two medium sized potatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • Sage, parsley and thyme (or whatever similar herbs you have.)

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Now get yourself a large sauce pan and fill with water. Place your butter beans in the pan and turn the heat on full.

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Now it’s time for the potatoes. Make sure you dice those bad boys first.

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Onion and celery are next. Again chopped up nice and small.

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The water will be warming up nicely now, so it’s time to add the peeled and chopped carrots.

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If you’re a fan of Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals like I am, you’ll have a garlic crusher. It is my number one time saving device because you don’t have to peel the garlic. 🙂 Add those crushed cloves in baby! (You can never have too much garlic!)

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Now sprinkle your mixture of herbs over the top, stir through. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for about 35 minutes.

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I actually put this yummy monster of a soup in a tub and took it to work.

You won’t need bread. This will fill you up with goodness from your head to your toes. Enjoy! 🙂

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(The recipe will make two very large portions.)

Creamy Carrot & Ginger Soup

I don’t know about where you live, but here in the South East of England Autumn is just starting and it’s getting chilly. What better way to start autumn than with a lovely, warming soup? This is so easy, cheap and ready within 25 minutes. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 10 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • A cube or large sprinkle of vegetable stock
  • Ginger paste
  • Coriander
  • Rapeseed oil

 

Method

Place a teaspoon of rapeseed oil into a hot pan and then place your chopped onions in.

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Laugh at a mutated carrot

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Add the rest of the carrots to the pan and mix well with a good sprinkle of dried coriander.

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Then add the vegetable stock in it’s dry form.

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Add a large squeeze of ginger paste, then pour in a pint of boiling water.

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Allow to cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, or when the carrots soften.

Now it’s time to blend. Be careful that your blender is tightened up properly because you don’t want hot water to spray out onto you. (Speaking from experience btw.)

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Pulse blend until you get a lovely thick paste.

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Serve straight away with some more coriander, perhaps some soy sauce and a good chunky roll if that’s your thing.

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This is literally the best soup I’ve ever made and it was really, really filling. 🙂

 

Get Ripped or Die Trying!

Whilst on holiday recently, there was a very large hill that we had to cycle up. Mykey and I probably could have gone most of the way, if not all of the way without a break. My little sister however kept coming out with the same phrase, “I can’t.” I kept telling her that there is no such thing as can’t, that there is try as best as you can. Do you know what? She made it up that 1.5k hill, even if she was grunting like a bodybuilder as the end. (Hey,  who doesn’t man!?) She circuit trained with us most days and practised ballet. Anyway, my little sister is ten years old and vegan as fuck! So what’s your excuse for not exercising?

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This morning when you stood at your back door having a cigarette and waiting for the kettle to boil, you could have been doing a high intensity interval session, before jumping in the shower.

That achievement it took you 2 hours to get on your Xbox? You could have run a muddy obstacle race in that time.

The 15 minutes you spent getting the kids and buggy strapped into the car could have been spent walking to your destination instead.

Time is certainly not an excuse. I train 10-15 hours a week, have a full time job, 5 cats, a bunny, a very happy and stable relationship and to top it all off, I quite often have to work away or commute up to 3 hours to my place of work. I FIND WAYS to make time for exercise. The internet is my friend. It’s not unheard of for me to look up some random work out and do it on my bed in my pokey little hotel room at 9 o’clock at night after a hard day at the office.

You can’t afford healthy food? Well that is absolute tosh! A can of kidney beans is 16p, a pack of chopped tomatoes is 34p and a bag of frozen broccoli is £1. Add some chilli powder or some curry powder and you have a very basic, healthy meal that will feed 2/3 people.(I aim to do a budget recipe page soon with challenges set by people who follow my blog with only three ingredients and one spice/herb. WATCH THIS SPACE!)  Also things like bananas, rice and dried beans etc. are dirt cheap. The best time to go to the supermarket for a good deal on fresh fruit and veg is around 6/7pm. This is when they get their first produce deliveries in and start reducing all the produce that goes out of date in the next few days. You can get up to 80% off sometimes. Can’t get there in the evening? Go at 1pm. This is another reduction time. You won’t get as big savings, but you’re still looking at about 40% off. Now food isn’t an excuse either! : P

You think you can’t do it and you lack motivation? Look at me! I was overweight, depressed and a borderline alcoholic. I could never run, lift or really do anything since I hit 18. I jacked all my bad habits in and a couple of days ago I ran a Spartan Race. You CAN do it. Start small and work up to the big stuff. It takes ages, so don’t lose faith and whatever you do, don’t go on some stupid diet like Weight Watchers or Slimming World. They are businesses. They are there to make money out of you when you keep failing and re-joining. My mum has being doing this for the past 30 years. Maybe one day she’ll listen to me. Only 2 in 1000 lose the weight and keep it off with those programmes. It’s about a total lifestyle change. Eat clean and train dirty! Cut out refined carbohydrates, sugar and all processed crap. Eat whole foods. Eat lots of raw food. Drink loads of water. Eat enough food to sustain the amount of exercise you are doing, with a slight deficit and stay that way forever. You’ll go down to your natural bodyweight and you’ll feel better in yourself.

Now I’ve had a good rant, maybe I should actually get to my point. This post is titled, “Get Ripped or Die Trying.” I know I’m strong. I have been for a while. There is plenty of muscle under my 20 something % body fat (can’t remember what it was, but I have a new measurement in a few weeks. I think it was between22 and 24 %.)  just screaming to get out for the world to see. Occasionally in the morning, before hydration you can see my biceps nicely and four of my six pack. (Damn little bit of belly fat that won’t go away!) I need to burn the shit out of that body fat percentage. Here’s how I’m going to do it;

Diet Clean-up

My eating habits have been really clean for a long time now, but they could still do with cleaning up further.  Here’s how:

1)      Alcohol will be severely limited to celebration days. This is as much to do with metabolism as it is to do with empty calorie intake. At the moment I only tend to have a couple of drinks a month. I want that down to birthdays, weddings, New Year and Christmas Day.

2)      Any processed carbohydrates such as pasta and bread etc. will be completely removed and replaced with quinoa, amaranth and wild rice.

3)      I’ll be using fruit for energy and vegetables for repair.

4)      There will be lots more raw food, especially greens.

5)      I will be eating three main meals and two snacks a day. All of them will be vegan wholefoods that are nutrient dense as fuck. Therefore I won’t be monitoring calories anymore. This makes me happy.

Training Clean-up

I’ll be upping the amount and intensity of my training. See below diagram for more information.

Training Scehdule

 

New Goals

The Spartan Race I ran recently has been the pinnacle of my fitness so far. I now have to raise the bar, so I’ve signed up for a Tough Mudder in April. I’ve shifted my training to match and told my personal trainer I want to get absolutely totally 100% on this. I fail at monkey bars currently, so this is a big hurdle for me to start with.

 

What are your goals?

Stuffed Tomatoes

A while back I asked my friend on Facebook to come up with three cheap ingredients and I’d make a simple, healthy meal out of them. The first person to post was my friend Pete. He suggested that I make something out of twigs, leaves and water in traditional vegan style. Of course he was joking and subsequently posted tomatoes, pine nuts and tofu. What a great combination! Tofu is rammed full of protein and calcium, pine nuts have loads of vitamin E and tomatoes have loads of vitamin C. A healthy and affordable combination. 

I went to Asda and brought two pack of beef tomatoes. They are currently out of season so they cost more than I was hoping. I also brought just one pack of silken tofu. I already had a bag of pine nuts at home. They are the expensive part, but once you buy some you will find many uses for them and they last for ages. Total basic ingredient cost approximately £6.80 and that will feed two people for lunch or four people for a starter.

Turn on your oven and heat to 200 degrees.

 

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Now the problem i have is that on it’s own, tofu tastes of NOTHING. I figured most people would have garlic, onions and turmeric in the house, so I’m allowing them as ingredients because they are store cupboard staples. (If you don’t have them, they are pretty damn cheap from any local corner shop.)

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First things first; chop the onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and place in a hot pan with oil of your choice. I used sesame seed oil for some extra flavour.

 

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Stir lots and then place about half of the bag of pine nuts into the pan.

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Stir some more and then turn the heat off.

Next job is to prepare the tomatoes. Slice the tops off quite thinly and place to one side. (You’ll need them later.)

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Now slice a deep circle around the center of the tomato and scoop out with a knife or a spoon. (I used a bit of both.)

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Once you have completed this, place on a baking tray upside down to allow any extra fluid to drain away.

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Place any leftover tomato center that isn’t part of the hard core, into the pan with the pine nuts etc and turn the heat back on.

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Cut open the pack of silken tofu and squeeze into the hot pan. Mix well and then add a good sprinkle of turmeric. You can also add any other condiments that you have laying around here. Soy sauce, salt or black pepper would go really well and give it some extra flavour. 

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Mix everything really well. Then turn your beef tomatoes over and fill with the warm tofu mix. Then place the lids you chopped off earlier on top.

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I also sprinkled a bit of olive oil over the top here so they would bake more quickly, but this is optional too.

Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Serve as a starter with some rocket salad or as a lunch on it’s own. Two will most certainly fill you up.

Enjoy! 🙂

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Golden Aubergine with Greens and Potato Gratin

This is a veganised version of Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meal, “golden chicken, braised greens and potato gratin.” I could well have used some seriously decent mock chicken from Veggie World, but I firstly intended to do this with tofu. I looked in the fridge, the cupboard and the freezer and I had absolutely zero tofu, so I decided to go with an aubergine. If you are serving this for more than two people, use more than one aubergine.

Prep:

Boil the kettle

Pans out

Oven pre-heated to 200 degrees

Food processor setup

Ingredients:

800 g potatoes (I was lucky enough to have some that a work colleague had grown.)

Vegetable stock powder (or crumbled cube)

1 red onion

Rapeseed oil

Dried sage

A can of reduced fat coconut cream

Nutritional yeast

1 aubergine

Dried rosemary

Sea salt

Pepper

Frozen peas

Frozen runner beans

Method:

Finely slice the potatoes in the food processor.

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Then tip into a pan and cover with the hot water from the kettle. Leave on the heat, but do not allow to boil over.

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Peel the onions and also put through the food processor.

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Place in a high edged roasted dish and sprinkle with oil, stock, salt and pepper. Place this on the hob and turn up the heat, adding a dash of water to stop it from burning and then after you have stirred it thoroughly, turn the heat off.

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Slice the aubergine and place in a hot pan with a tablespoon of oil. Season with salt, pepper and rosemary.

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Leave for a few minutes and flip occasionally to allow both sides to brown. The aubergine will absorb the oil pretty quickly, so I added a dash of water here and there to keep it cooking without burning. You can turn the heat down and allow this cook whilst you get on with other things now.

Drain the potatoes well in a colander, then pour into the tray with the onions and turn the heat back on whilst you mix everything together.

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Pour over the coconut cream and a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Turn the hob off and pick tray up with an oven glove and place on the top shelf of the oven for 10 minutes.

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In the meantime you can continue flipping your aubergine slices and adding water if needed.

Now you should use the rest of the water in the kettle to steam your peas and runner beans for about three minutes.

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Drain your peas and beans and season with herbs of choice. I used dried chives.

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Serve up and enjoy this creamy delight.

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Jamie Oliver reckons this meal is 600 calories. I’d say take away the single dairy cream and the fried chicken and it’s down to 450 – 500 calories. An ideal lunch or pre-17:00 meal. Enjoy!

Creamy Chic Pea Salad

This is a leaner version of a creamy chicken salad, especially if you can get reduced fat vegan mayonnaise. I used to really enjoy creamy foods before I went vegan, so it was great news to me that this can be achieved with lower fat, high protein and by not harming any animals. What a result ay?

Ingredients:

* Two romaine lettuces.

* Fresh or tinned pineapple cut into triangles.

* Half a jar of reduced fat, egg free mayonnaise. (If you can get garlic mayo, even better.)

* Fresh or dried parsley, chopped finely.

* A large handful of walnuts

* A can of chic peas or 300g of sprouted chic peas.

Method:

Rinse the chic peas under the cold tap

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Add the mayonniase

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Combine together with a spoon or a fork and add in the parsley.

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Leave to stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to mix. In the meantime chop your romaine lettuce using scissors if possible to trim the leaves down to a reasonable size.

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Place the lettuce on a plate, then spoon the creamy mixture on top. Now grab your pineapple and walnuts and sprinkle over the top. How easy was that? Dig in!

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