Month: January 2013

Prune Shortcake Cookies

Don’t let the title put you off these gorgeous-tasting cookies!!! Prunes are optional and the shortcake hints only at the flavour, not the assumed ingredient list!

So I still have your attention? Good!

Prune Shortcake CookiesI wanted to share these cookies with you because I simply can’t believe how good they taste, bearing in mind they have none of your traditional cookie ingredients in them. They’re gluten, dairy and wheat-free. But before I get to the recipe, just a few snippets of information about a couple of the ingredients.

Firstly, I have used coconut oil in this recipe. For those of you thinking, “Wait a minute, you said this was a healthy recipe yet you’re pouring oil into the mix?”, let me tell you a bit about coconut oil. For a start, yes it is technically a saturated fat, due to the type of chemical structure it is composed of. You can usually tell which fats are the saturated ones as they will generally be solid at room temperature (unless you’re lucky enough to live in a very warm climate).  Coconut oil indeed sits on the shelf as a solid and only melts at a temperature above 24 degrees Celcius. However, coconut oil is different from most other saturated fats, as it is made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s), which is just a fancy way of saying its structure is a little different from other saturated fats, and this type of structure is one that is readily assimilated (gobbled up!) by the body, meaning you use the energy from coconut oil straight away and don’t store it in your fat cells as you might with other saturated fats. Perfect! When buying coconut oil you should make sure it is COLD pressed, VIRGIN coconut oil. This is the best quality oil you can get. Coconut oil is also one of the few oils that can be used at high temperatures, as its structure does not break down under heat and saves us from those nasty free radicals, which only cause premature ageing. So all round, coconut oil is a great oil to use for cooking with. It also has other fantastic health benefits such as helping protect from mental degeneration, aswell as beauty benefits when used as a moisturiser or as a hair conditioner. Look it up!

Ground almonds (or almond flour as some of you know it) is quite literally almonds that have been ground very finely. Usually it’s the blanched almonds that are used to make the flour, so you don’t get the brown ‘skin’ of the almond in the meal. I have used measurements in cups of ground almonds here, but make sure you pat down the flour into the cup, or you could end up with some air and less almonds than you thought.

So, with that said, onto the recipe. I hope you will make these cookies, they literally take less than 15 minutes including baking time, so what’s to lose?

Prune Shortcake Cookies

Makes 12 small cookies. Each cookie contains 91 calories, 7g carbohydrates, 5g protein, 7g fat (1g of which is saturated fat), 3g sugar.

Ingredients: (more…)


Make At Home KFC-Style Chicken Strips

How are everyone’s New Year Resolutions going? Have you fallen off the wagon already or are you staying steadfast to your new goals? I’m please to say I am doing well with my goals, as outlined in this post. I have stuck to my goal of hitting 4-5 A.R.T. Method workouts per week and have done well on choosing healthy alternatives when I crave something not-so-clean. The workouts have been easy to stick to as I don’t see them as a chore, the A.R.T. Method is my type of workout so I know I will enjoy my time doing that. I think the food choices have been helped by making sure my breakfast and meals for work are prepared in advance (for example having a shed load of pumpkin spiced waffles on hand in the freezer to use for breakfast whenever I want). I only had one slip up when I underestimated how much food I’d need with me at work and ended up resorting to a snack out of the machine at work, oops 😉

I’ve been eating a lot of fish and salmon in particular lately, so this week I thought it was time to make some chicken again, so I came up with a great way to make your chicken finger lickin’ good, just like the old Colonel himself. So I present my Make At Home KFC-Style Chicken Strips. Sorry if you’re vegetarian, this is not made for you, however I think this one might work with alternative protein sources such as quorn or tofu. If you try it let me know! The taste is spicy with a little kick from the crushed chillis, but you can play around with the added spices if you like it hotter still! The ground almonds used in this recipe really increase the protein content and also add some great healthy fats too, so it really is a great alternative to KFC. It’s also gluten-free, wheat-free and dairy-free.

Here’s the recipe.

Make At Home KFC-Style Chicken Strips

Serves 2, or 3 for a smaller meal

Per Serving (chicken strips only): 390 calories,  40g protein, 9g carbohydrates, 23g fat (4g of which is saturated fat), 2g sugar, 72mg sodium

2 100g / 3.5oz chicken breasts
2-3 egg yolks

1/2 cup ground almonds (almond flour)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. onion granules
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed chilli flakes


Prepare the chicken by cutting into strips of equal thickness, under 1cm / 1/3rd inch thick.

Prepare the spice coating by mixing everything apart from the chicken and egg yolks in a small bowl, then mix everything together thoroughly.

Make At Home KFC-Style Chicken Strips


Pumpkin Spiced Waffles

I’ve just been preparing for the week by making up some foods in advance, so I thought I’d share this recipe with you, it’s for Pumpkin Spiced Waffles. These are great for making in advance and freezing, so you can just take out when needed. I have these for breakfast most mornings, usually with some Greek yogurt and either warmed berries or a sliced banana. I just place the waffles into my bowl, microwave for 1 minute to ensure that the waffles AND the bowl below are hot (to keep the waffles warm for longer), then add the toppings.

Here’s the recipe.

Pumpkin Spiced Waffles

Makes around 20 waffles (using my waffle maker but others will vary).

8 eggs
1 can (400g) pumpkin
1 tsp. baking soda
1.5 tsp. cinnamon
1.5 tsp mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice)
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted if solid
1 banana

Pumpkin Spiced Waffle Ingredients

Blend everything in a blender, introducing a little air into the mix by using high speed mixing.
Heat the waffle maker and place a quarter cup of mixture onto the plate for each waffle.
Close the plates and leave until ready (around 3-5 minutes depending on your heat setting), remove with a wooden spatula.

When removing the waffles from the pan I always fan them out on a plate, I find they cool quicker when not stacked directly on top of each other.

Pumpkin Spiced Waffles

And this is how the waffles look when stacked, pretty hey!Pumpkin Spiced Waffles

With all the waffles cooked, tear up some squares of greaseproof paper or baking parchment and place a piece between each pair of waffles (assuming you want to eat 2 waffles for your meal – you can put 3 or 4 together if you need more than I do!)Pumpkin Spiced Waffles

Now place the separated waffles into a plastic freezer bag and place into the freezer. When you come to take a pair of waffles out they will easily separate from the next pair.
Pumpkin Spiced Waffles

You could also make standard pancakes with this mixture but make sure you make them quite thin, there’s nothing worse than squidgy under-cooked pancakes!

A little preparation can lead to a lot less faffing later on, so get prepping today and save yourself some time each day this week!

One last note, you might have noticed I’ve had a change of theme for this blog, New Year just makes me want to start a fresh, so here it is!


Don’t Be A Workout Tart (and other resolutions)

Hello again and Happy New Year to you all! It’s been a while since I last posted but I wanted to wait just a few more days, until most of the New Year craziness was out of the way and people were glad to be getting back into the normal swing of life.

I, like I would imagine most of you at the turn of the year, had been pondering what I might do differently this year. What might I try to improve on that I did not master last year? How might I still further improve my health and fitness levels to a point where I am happy with the things I am doing and the results I am achieving?

I want to use this post to put down my personal health & fitness resolutions. These are the things that I want to work on for myself this year, and for the future beyond that. So here they are:

  1. Don’t be a workout tart. Instead of falling in love with every new programme that comes out and constantly swapping to the next big thing, never giving the current beau a fair chance, I want to stick with one workout programme for a few months and really see if I can get some good results from it. I don’t want to allow myself to be swayed by what other people are doing or what the latest hot-off-the-press programme is.
  2. Choose healthy alternatives to fulfil any cravings. For example, if I’m craving chocolate, just have 1-2 squares of very dark chocolate or make a cup of hot cocoa. If I want something salty or savoury, have a lightly salted rice cake with a little cottage cheese or nut butter. And so on. I need to make sure I always have alternatives to hand because if I’m not prepared I may choose the not so good option. You make ask what the not so good options are doing in my house anyway… well they’re largely not but it’s not just me who lives here you know 😉 Maybe I just need to work on my willpower 😉
  3. Nutrition over everything. I still truly believe that the nutrition you put into your body reflects on everything else about you, your mind, body, skin, hair, mood, attitude, energy, immunity and overall health. So this one is not so much a resolution but more of a reminder to myself to always try to put good quality, nutritious food into my body, in order to get the most back from it, in terms of continued good health both now and in the future.


I want to expand on number one as this is quite a big deal for me. As some of you may know I’ve had to give up heavy weight training due to my trigger finger – when I grip dumbbells for too long, my middle finger on my left hand invariably locks & clicks the next day and for a few days after, which is no fun. I’ve already had one cortisone injection that worked for about 3 months and I could have another, but after 3 injections I know the only option is surgery, which I would like to avoid if at all possible! So I’ve had to look for a workout that will still tone & shape my body but that doesn’t rely on dumbbells for the most part. And I think I’ve found it!!!

Terri WalshSo, in line with resolution number 1, I will aim to stick to my new workout-of-choice, which is in the main Terri Walsh’s A.R.T. Method, for at least 4 months, before I decide if I will continue, depending if I have some good results from it. I am truly hopeful that this method really will work out well for me, I’ve only done 5 workouts to date but when I do it I feel strong, powerful and like I have no end to my enthusiasm. I also feel my muscles on fire, which is also a good sign 😉  I’m not trying to create huge muscles, I just want to feel a little more toned around the middle and rear. The classes I’m doing are Terri’s Online Virtual Classes, filmed in her New York studio, so it’s like having a real instructor there but in your own home. For the exercises that use dumbbells I may be able to use wrist weights some of the time, and others I will just try not to ‘grip’ so tightly and see how I go. If you want to try A.R.T. for yourself you can click here and do her sample ‘Quicktone’ class, which will tone your buns & thighs. The classes I’ve signed up for are mostly around 50 minutes long and I will report back how this workout is going in a future post. I have taken starting measurements & weight so I have something to compare to later, to judge whether it is a success for me.

ToniqueTo compliment my A.R.T. workouts I will also do a Tonique workout once a week, twice at most, which I believe will enhance my endurance and also challenge my muscles in a different way, keep them guessing so to speak. Click here for a preview of the new Tonique Born To Move workouts that I will be doing.

This year I want to feel like I am dedicating the right amount of time and energy to both my workouts and to my love of all things nutrition-related. However, I don’t want to spend excessive amounts of time pouring over every new bit of information that comes out about these things, so I want to create that balance that will leave me fulfilled but not over-awed.

So that’s it for today, I just wanted to lay down my ground rules to myself and having them set out here means I will hopefully keep them in the forefront of my mind and will have a greater chance of success.

I hope you all thought about what you wanted to achieve this year too, and how you might change what you were doing last year into something better suited to you for 2013.

Stay healthy!