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Healthy Eating on the Road (3): LUNCH

This post continues on from my earlier posts about how to stay healthy on the road. In post one, I shared some general thoughts on how to stay healthy when you travel a lot. Post two focused on some fun breakfast ideas. Today I’d like to focus on…LUNCH!

This one is tricky because you’re trying to find the sweet spot between buying stuff that lasts in the car/bus, but doesn’t contain a million strange preservatives and sugary crap. It also involves a stop at a grocery store. And preferably a knife and fork.

1. Look for whole, natural foods.

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My rule of thumb for travel snacks is to buy as many whole food snacks as I can before picking up a few healthy-ish processed ones like granola bars, dark chocolate, crackers, and very importantly, things to go on crackers. 

2. Bread and bread alternatives.

This one depends on whether you’re in the gluten-free camp or not. If gluten isn’t a problem for you, then choose a nice fresh bread to eat on the day, and stock up on some breads that won’t spoil as quickly, such as pita pockets or wraps that come in a vaccuum pack. The vacuum packs will allow you a couple of days storage before opening, and then should last a day or two once opened so long as you reseal the packs correctly!

If you are in the gluten-free camp, there are plenty of alternatives that last really well in the car. Rice or oat cakes are my go-to, or else rye crackers such as Ryvita or Finn Crisp (these are easy to find in most supermarkets in Ireland/Europe…maybe not so much in the U.S.).

Not a grain-eater? Not a problem. Buy a big bag of apples or pears and a knife. You can cut the apples into slices and eat them with cheese or nut butter on top. Yum.

3. Toppings.

My usual toppings are usually avocado, hummus and nut butters. So, for example you could stop to make a pita pocket stuffed with avocado slices and hummus, or a couple of rice cakes with peanut butter and banana slices on top, or apple slices dipped in almond butter. Some of my favourite combos:

  • Hummus on pita/rice cakes.
  • Nut butter or cheese on apple slices.
  • Nut butter on anything.
  • Avocado on rye crackers with a boiled egg or tuna (see 4 below!).
  • Rice cakes layered with peanut butter and banana slices on top.

4. Extra protein ideas.

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If you need something more meaty, tinned sardines, salmon or tuna is a handy option (just make sure you buy a can that has a pull-ring!). You can either eat it with a fork straight from the (drained) can, or mash it up with the avocado to make a super-healthy tuna-“mayo”. Be warned though- your travel buddies will NOT thank you for that one, especially if you try and prep it in a moving car! This one is DEFINITELY only doable if you are pulling over to the side of the road to avoid assaulting your bandmates nostrils.

IMG_7883And if you want to get even weirder, you could bring a couple of boiled eggs. I know what you’re thinking, ew. And who has time to be that organised? The reason I mention it is that when I traveled around Japan last year, you could buy boiled eggs as a snack in every 7-11 and Family Mart. They even sold them along some of the hikes to temples! It was brilliant. We were able to eat eggs for breakfast while walking to the subway! So, if travelling in Japan, you can buy some boiled eggs to bring with you as a snack. Anywhere else, you may have to boil them that morning, and eat within a few hours.

 

5. Snazzy Extras

Just in case you’re reading through this thinking ‘there is nooo wayyy a few crackers are going to fill me’, this section is for you.

After having a few rice cakes covered in whatever you fancy, try adding a few extras to your lunch. Kind of like how in primary school we used to have a sandwich AND an apple AND a carton of milk. Try a grown-up version of this: a few avocado crackers AND an apple AND a handful of nuts AND a couple of squares of quality dark chocolate. You could also buy a few healthy granola bars to keep you going (more on how to choose these in the next post). And maybe finish it all off with a green tea.

Teeny X

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Banana-Oat Bars

These are my favourite granola bars at the moment. They are so easy to make, they hold together well, they last outside the refrigerator, AND only require THREE ingredients! 

SO…what’s the secret?

BANANAS.

I have recently discovered how amazing bananas are in baking because they can act as a binder and a sweetener in one, making your recipe really simple because you won’t need flour, eggs, sugar, or honey. So the recipe is basically just banana and oats, and then whatever nuts (or seeds) you feel like putting in it!

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I know what you’re thinking, how could they possibly taste good?! You’ll be surprised. They have a light banana-y sweetness combined with an awesome chewy texture that make them taste like more. But don’t take my word for it, try them and see for yourself!

 

Banana-Oat Bars

 

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*This recipe is vegan-friendly, dairy-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free & gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats*

PREP TIME: 5 mins | COOKING TIME: 20-25 minutes | MAKES: 12 bars

INGREDIENTS

2 large ripe bananas, peeled.

2 cups rolled oats (jumbo oats)

1/2 cup nuts and/or seeds of your choice*, roughly chopped

optional extras: 1/4 teaspoon sea salt; 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* I use just walnuts most of the time,  but in these photos I’ve used a combination of walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/160C fan.
  2. Lightly grease a 9 X 9-inch square baking tray with coconut oil or butter.
  3. Mash the bananas in a medium-sized mixing bowl using a fork until they are mostly liquid, without any big chunks remaining. If using sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla, add them in now and stir through the banana mixture.
  4. Toss in the oats and whatever nuts/seeds you are using. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are evenly coated with banana.
  5. Transfer the mixture into your greased baking tin. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press the mixture down firmly and evenly.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges begin to crisp (It took 22 minutes for me, but every oven is different).
  7. Allow the baking pan to cool on a rack. Once cool, remove the mixture from the pan and cut into 12 rectangle bars. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Try with a cup of tea or with some almondbutter slathered on top. Yum.

 

 

 

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Healthy Eating on the Road Part 2: Breakfast!

 

A while ago, I shared part 1 of Healthy Eating on the Road, giving some basic tips for staying healthy while travelling. I know I have a lot of musician friends out there who struggle to find healthy options while on tour. I’ll be doing a few Friday posts sharing my favourite health nut tips and recipes to help you plan ahead so that you don’t have to eat crap and feel like crap on the road!

Part 2 is all about BREAKFAST. If you travel a lot for gigs and the food options are pretty slim, these tips might be just what you need to start off your day on tour!

Leaving at 7am to make it to your next venue by 6pm is no fun, and doesn’t leave much time or brainpower for making a good breakfast.  The trick is to be organized the day before! Below are loads of delicious, simple foods you can make or buy in advance and bring with you to avoid the seemingly inevitable 9am McDonalds’ pitstop. 

1. Nature’s Breakfast: fruit, berries, nuts and seeds

Ready-to-eat whole foods such as fruit, nuts and seeds make an awesome breakfast because they involve no preparation at all, and don’t even need to be refrigerated! You just need to buy them in advance. Choose local and/or organic veggies if you can, as these have more of the good stuff (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) and less of the bad stuff (pesticides and weird textures from being picked before ripening).

Try keeping fresh fruit such as apples, bananas or berries in your bag for a quick morning brekkie. Berries are amazing because they contain lots of protective antioxidants such as vitamin C, and they also contain less sugar than other fruits! Just make sure you aren’t storing them right beside your gig clothes as that could get messy. 

One problem with a fruit-only breakfast is that it can spike your blood sugars and leave you feeling hungry an hour later. To avoid this, try pairing your berries with a handful of raw nuts and/or seeds for a more balanced breakfast. Raw nuts and seeds are an excellent energy source because they contain lots of protein and good fats, so are the perfect snack for keeping you going without spiking your blood sugars too much. 

2. Make your own granola

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If you’re travelling more long-term and get access to a kitchen, you can make your own granola to last you for the week, and BOOM that’s breakfast sorted for ya! I have stayed in a few hostels where backpackers shared their granola recipes with other guests by sticking them on the fridge! You can find healthy granola recipes on my blog here and here. Once you’ve made and cooled the granola, store it in a ziplock bag and keep in your car or bag for a quick breakfast or snack!

3. Make your own travel treats.

The day before you leave, set aside some time to premake a few healthy snacks for your trip. 

One really easy option is trail mix: Just combine your favourite nuts, seeds, and dried fruits in a plastic bag and bring it with you! (e.g. almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and maybe some fruit like grapes, raisins or dates). Make sure to buy your nuts raw and unsalted, with no suspicious extras in the ingredients list. Unfortunately, store-bought roasted nuts are often made using unhealthy oils such as canola or sunflower oil that you’re better off avoiding. 

If you want to get fancy, you could try my grain-free granola recipe, which tastes amazing on its own as a trail mix! It combines nuts, seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup and sea salt together to make an awesome sweet-salty snack!

Another great idea is to pre-make a bunch of energy balls and granola bars to bring with you. Although I LOVE making raw truffles and raw energy balls, they do tend to get a bit soft if they’re out of the refrigerator for more than a couple of hours, so might not work if you have long days and no way of keeping them cool. Granola bars are a far more portable option. I’ve shared a recipe here for some grain-free ones, and am still working on perfecting my favourite oat-based ones which will be up on the blog soon!

There we go. That’s breakfast taken care of. Stop by next week for some lunch tips!

 

Teeny x

 

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Anne’s Salmon-Rice Dish

This dish was invented by my mom. She was looking in the fridge one day to decide what to cook for dinner, and found a packet of smoked salmon and some leftover rice. She threw them together with some veggies and an egg, everybody loved it, and so it made its way into our weekly rotation of dinners! It’s been such a hit that it has even featured at a few dinner parties.

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This was the first time I had ever tasted cooked smoked salmon before. It seemed a strange idea to me at first, but it actually works really well because the smoked salmon adds a great smokey flavour to the dish, and the saltiness seasons the rest of the dish perfectly! You could probably make it with leftover baked salmon too, although I’d imagine you would need to cook the rice in stock to make up for the lack of ‘smokey’ taste.

It’s a convenient dinner to make if you don’t have time to run to the shop and buy fresh fish. Also, the smoked salmon turns opaque and takes on a totally different texture to raw smoked salmon, so this is a good one for people who aren’t into the texture of raw smoked salmon.

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As you can see here, the rice is a bright yellow colour. My mom always adds couple of teaspoons of turmeric to rice while it’s cooking, and it’s a habit I’ve taken on too, so this is just standard rice in our household really. It’s gotten to the point where white or brown rice looks strange to us! Regular leftover rice will do, but the turmeric does add some great anti-inflammatory properties to the dish as well as a splash of colour and a subtle nutty taste, so I would recommend trying it if you’re cooking fresh rice for this dish.

We always change up the veggies in this one- spinach and mushroom is a favourite combination of ours, or carrot and celery, or the veg featured below. Use whatever you have really!

SERVES: 4 | PREP TIME: 10 mins | COOK TIME: 20-30 mins

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INGREDIENTS

for  the rice, you’ll need about 3-4 cups leftover cooked rice, or if cooking fresh:

1 cup dry basmati rice

2 cups water

2 teaspoons turmeric

for the rest of the dish:

1 medium onion, finely sliced

a selection of vegetables: here I used:

  • 1 ramiro pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a courgette, chopped
  • about 80g spinach leaves

250-300g smoked salmon (from an ethical, sustainable source if possible)

1 egg (free range organic if possible)

1 lemon

a few turns of the black pepper mill

METHOD

  1. If you don’t have leftover rice, get your rice going first! Add turmeric to the rice and water at the beginning, then cook as you usually would.
  2. While the rice is cooking, prep your onion, pepper and courgette.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over  medium heat. Add the chopped onion, and sweat for 3-5 minutes or until soft.
  4. Add the courgette and pepper, or whatever veggies you like! Cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until they are beginning to soften.
  5. Add the cooked rice to the pan. Lower the heat and stir rice in until it is evenly mixed in with the vegetables. Allow to heat for a minute, but don’t let it stick to the pan!
  6. Crack the egg into the dish, mixing around until the rice and veggies are evenly coated. Then add the smoked salmon by separating the layers of salmon and spreading them over the top of  the dish.  Cover, and leave to cook for a further 2 minutes.
  7. When you take the lid off, the salmon will be starting to firm up and turn opaque. Now you can break it up into smaller pieces and stir it in to the rice and veggies underneath. Mix in the spinach leaves at this point if using, cover, and leave to cook for another couple of minutes until the spinach has wilted and the salmon and eggs have turned opaque.
  8. Squeeze half a lemon over the dish, and serve with a salad, black pepper, and some extra lemon wedges on the side!

 

 

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Super Berry Bircher Muesli

Bircher muesli is a quick and nutritious breakfast that could possibly save you an extra 10 minutes in the morning! Yes, you read this correctly, that means one extra hit of the snooze button! You prepare it the night before, leave in the fridge, and then boom. Instant breakfast in the morning. No cooking, no clean-up.

It was originally created around 1900 by a Swiss doctor called Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner. This smart dude fed it to the patients in his hospital, where a diet rich in fresh fruit and veggies was a core aspect of his therapy. The original recipe included oats, apples, nuts, a squeeze of lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. The oats were soaked overnight to make them more digestible, and then served in the morning with yoghurt.

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All grains, legumes and nuts naturally contain quite a lot of phytic acid. During digestion, the phytic acid binds to vitamins and minerals in our food, making them more difficult to absorb. By soaking our grains and legumes, we break down some of this phytic acid ahead of time, making the awesome goodness of grains and legumes more available to our bodies!

Of course, Bircher muesli has evolved over the years since 1900, and now there are dried store bought muesli varieties that often contain far more grains and sugar than the original light recipe, which was more focused on fresh fruit.

The good news is that health nuts are always finding creative ways to pimp up this awesome recipe.  The one I’ve made here replaces the apples with berries, and the condensed milk with homemade nut milk. I’ve also used a combo of nuts, seeds, and some fancy extras instead of just nuts.

This serves one small person, but feel free to one-and-a-half it or double it if you know you have a long day ahead of you!

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, refined sugar-free & gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats*

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SERVES: 1 | PREP TIME: 5 minutes | COOK TIME: 0 minutes!

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons oats (use gluten-free if you’re gluten intolerant)

3 tablespoons nutritious nuts, seeds and dried berries! I used:

  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fancy extras (I used this superfood breakfast topper, but it’s not necessary! Use whatever you have lying around the house- chopped nuts? flax or chia seeds? cacao nibs? goji berries?)

Handful of fresh mixed berries (I used raspberry and some blueberries)

1/2 cup nut milk of you choice (I used homemade but store-bought is fine)

A squeeze of fresh lemon

METHOD

  1. Place all the ingredients into a breakfast bowl or kilner jar. Mix around and mash the berries into the other ingredients.
  2. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
  3. That’s it! Instant nutritious breakfast awaits you the following morning. Eat it as is, or top it off with yoghurt and more berries, banana slices and drizzle of nut butter, or whatever you fancy yourself!
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Homemade Nut Milk

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of store bought nut milks as they tend to have a lot of preservatives and other nasties added into them to keep them shelf stable. That being said, I am guilty of buying the odd carton once every few weeks because they’re just so convenient and tasty.

This week, I tried making my own nut milks for the first time. And guess what? It actually is REALLY EASY! The things that were preventing me from doing it before were: a) having to soak nuts overnight before and b) needing a nut milk bag/piece of muslin cloth for straining the pieces of nuts out of the milk.

Once I bought myself some muslin cloth in a local fabric shop and got organized about buying and soaking whatever nuts I needed the night before, the rest was a doddle.

…so, here we go: cashew milk and hazelnut milk.

*These recipes are vegan-friendly, grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar free*

Cashew Milk

YIELDS: 3-4 cups milk | PREP TIME: soak nuts overnight | MAKE: 10 minutes

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup cashews (raw & unsalted)

3 cups filtered water

….that’s it!

optional flavours: 

2 medjool dates

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

…you’ll also need some muslin cloth, cheese cloth or a nut milk bag. I used muslin cloth here.

METHOD

  1. Measure out 1 cup of raw unsalted cashews. Leave to soak in water in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next day, your nuts should be plump and soft to the touch. Drain and rinse the nuts thoroughly, then place them in your blender with 3 cups of fresh filtered water. Blitz for about 20-30 seconds until you get a milk-coloured liquid.
  3. Place a sieve on top of a bowl or measuring jug that holds about 1 Litre/4 cups liquid. Drape the muslin cloth over the sieve, and gradually pour the nut milk through the cloth and sieve, letting it drip into the container below. You’ll need to do this in stages as the bits of nut will gather in the cloth, slowing the process down. Towards the end, you can grab the four corners of the cloth, twist them together to form a sort of ‘bag’, and gently squeeze the milk down through the cloth until all the milk has passed through the cloth (make sure your hands are clean for this part!). Discard the pulp, or save to use for something else.
  4. If adding some optional flavours, rinse out your blender, pour the strained milk back in, and add the cinnamon/vanilla/dates until smooth. I used cinnamon and vanilla extract here, and it was yummy.
  5. You’re done! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Hazelnut Milk

YIELDS: 3-4 cups milk | PREP TIME: soak nuts overnight | MAKE: 10 minutes

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INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup hazelnuts (raw & unsalted)

1/4 cup almonds (raw & unsalted)

3 cups filtered water

….that’s it!

optional flavours: 

 

as above

…you’ll also need some muslin cloth, cheese cloth or a nut milk bag. I used muslin cloth here.

METHOD

  1. Measure out 3/4 cup of raw unsalted hazelnuts and 1/4 cup raw unsalted almonds. Leave to soak in water in the fridge overnight.
  2. The rest is the same as the cashew nut milk recipe above.

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

This is one of my favourite on-the-go lunch or dinner recipes. It uses quinoa instead of the traditional bulghur wheat used in tabbouleh. The cucumber combined with the fresh parsley, lemon juice and mint give it a refreshing taste. It makes a great side dish to bring to a potluck or BBQ, or you can take it with you to work as a tasty desk lunch!

Quinoa is a 5,000 year old grain that originated in The Andean region of South America. The Incas thought the crop to be sacred, and referred to it as “the mother of all grains”. Technically, it’s not actually a grain but a pseudograin. It has a pretty impressive nutritional profile, which explains its popularity among health nuts!

Vegetarians love the stuff because it is one of the few grains that contains all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein! One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 8g protein, which is good for a grain (but still lower than other protein sources, i.e. you could get 6g protein by eating a single egg, or 1oz raw almonds).

Quinoa also boasts an impressive 5g of fibre per cup, which is higher than what you’d find in one cup of long grain brown rice (about 3.5g per cup). This fibre-and-protein combo helps keep us full for longer and doesn’t spike our blood sugars quite as much as comparable grains.

You may have heard quinoa referred to as a superfood. As well as its protein and fibre attributes, quinoa contains a high level antioxidants, B vitamins, folate, magnesium and iron compared to other grains. One cup quinoa gives you an impressive 30% of your RDA of magnesium! Most people who eat a standard American Diet are not getting enough magnesium as it tends to be lost during food processing. Chronic magnesium deficiency can lead to leg cramps, muscle pains, insomnia and anxiety, so it is important to eat more whole foods to keep our magnesium levels up!

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So, anyway….back to the recipe. I usually add some kind of protein or good fat source to the dish if it’s going to be my lunch or dinner to make it more substantial. Here I added a can of chickpeas, but sometimes I put it in a lunchbox with a soft-boiled egg on top, or maybe half an avocado or some feta cheese. So once you’ve got the basic recipe down, feel free to add whatever protein you like to it, box it, and bring it with you when you’re on the go!

*This recipe is gluten-free, vegan-friendly, plant-based, and refined sugar free*

SERVES: 4-6 | PREP TIME: 30 mins |

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of quinoa, rinsed well*

8 small-medium tomatoes (or 1 pint cherry tomatoes), diced

1 cucumber, peeled and diced

1/2 cup mint leaves (1 small bunch), chopped

1/2 cup parsley leaves (1 small bunch), chopped

Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon (depending on how juicy it is!)

3 tablespoons olive oil

a few turns of the sea salt and black pepper mills (to taste)

optional:

1/2 medium red onion, diced (unfortunately raw onion does not agree with me, but it is nice in the recipe!)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed OR a soft boiled organic free range egg OR some feta cheese from sheep’s milk)

*You can save time by cooking the quinoa earlier on in the day, or the night before. Sometimes I put on some extra quinoa for dinner, cool it and keep in the fridge to use for this recipe.

METHOD

  1. Measure out 1 cup dry quinoa. Rinse well in a fine sieve, then knock into a medium size pan. Cover with 2 cups water, bring to the boil, and leave to cook on medium heat for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and leave to stand for 3 more minutes until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork to separate grains. Transfer to a bowl or tray and allow it to cool.
  2. While your quinoa is cooking and cooling, prep your veggies! Peel and dice the cucumber, dice the tomatoes (and onion if using). Chop the parsley and mint leaves finely. Combine all veggies and herbs in a large mixing bowl.
  3. If using a can of chickpeas, rinse and drain thoroughly, then stir in to the veggie mixture.
  4. Prepare your dressing by adding your freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Use a whisk or fork to combine.
  5. Once your quinoa is cooled, add it to your mixing bowl with the veggies and toss. Drizzle the dressing over it and toss again until evenly coated. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for a handy on-the-go lunch or dinner!
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Rainbow Frittata

Frittata is like a fancy version of an omelette, or a lazy version of a quiche. There’s no need to make pastry, but at the same time it takes a little more effort than just throwing everything in a pan.

It makes a great Sunday brunch. The leftovers can be used the next day for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Serve with a side salad or rice, topped with some goats cheese or an avocado, or just as it is depending on how hungry you are!

I like to make a substantial meal out of it by throwing in as many different veggies as possible, including some sweet potato. Since it turned out particularly multi-coloured, I named it Rainbow Frittata. You don’t have to use these exact veggies yourself- just use whatever you have in the fridge!

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Eggs are extremely nutrient-dense little foods. As well as being a great source of high quality protein, they contain heart-protecting omega-3, they are also high in lutein and which is great for eye health, they also contain good amounts of vitamins A, D, E and B 12 as well as iron.

Not all eggs are created equal however. We don’t always think about it, but the conditions the chickens are raised in affect the health of their eggs. Eggs from free range chickens are far better for us that those from cage raised chickens.  A healthy chicken who can run around outside, perch, and have a relatively good life will lay much healthier eggs than a caged hen who is squashed into a tiny space with lots of other chickens, can’t stand up, and is fed out of a feed lot.  If you can get organic free range, then even better! Dr. Josh Axe summarizes the differences between the nutritional value of caged and free range eggs here, and it’s quite surprising –  Free range eggs contain 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, twice as much omega-3, three times the vitamin E, and 7 times more beta-carotene than cage raised! So there ya go, you’ve six more reasons to make more ethical choices in the supermarket.

*This recipe is grain-free, paleo-friendly, vegetarian-friendly, & gluten-free*

Rainbow Frittata

SERVES: 4 as a main (or 8 as a side) | COOK: 25 mins | PREP: 5 mins

 

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced into discs

1 medium courgette, thinly sliced into discs

1/2 a red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 a yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

8 medium eggs (organic and free-range if possible)

a few handfuls of baby spinach

salt and pepper, to taste

optional extra: parsley and chives (or some other fresh green herbs of your choice!)

 

METHOD

1. Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes, cover, and leave for 6-8 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are beginning to soften;

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2. Add the courgette and pepper slices with a little salt and pepper, then cover and cook for another 3 minutes. Then stir in the spinach and cook for another minute until wilted;

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3. While you’re waiting, prep your eggs by whisking them thoroughly in a bowl with a fork and any pent up frustration you can muster! I added some salt and pepper here too;

4. Pour the egg mixture over your veggies in the pan. You can add half of your chopped herbs here too if you’re using them. Then cook on LOW heat for about 10 minutes until most of the mixture has set but the top is still a bit runny (if the heat is too high the eggs may go a weird grey colour so best to avoid this if possible);

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5. Finish by sticking it under the grill (broiler) for a couple of minutes until golden! (Warning, keep an eye on it as it can go too golden very fast! As you can see mine is more of a brown than a golden in the middle…)

6. Sprinkle with parsley, chives or whatever herb you fancy and serve!

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Guest Recipe: Sweet Potato and Quinoa Curry

I make this curry at least once every couple of weeks, so really wanted to share it with you all since it’s so delicious, simple, and healthy. It is adapted from Oliver McCabe’s book, The Fuel Food Cookbook. Oliver McCabe is the owner of Select Stores, a beautiful little health food store on the corner in Dalkey.  It has a great selection of healthy fruit, veg, pantry foods, household products, and a lovely little deli too! Well worth a visit. You can get McCabe’s cookbook here, or sample some of his delicious recipes by calling in to the shop if you live locally.

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The chickpeas and quinoa make this dish an excellent source of plant-based protein. The colourful array of veggies (sweet potato, spinach, red onion, garlic) mean that it is packed full of protective antioxidants. I love to serve it in bowls and eat it with a spoon for a comforting, nourishing mid-week dinner.

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, refined sugar-free & gluten-free*

Guest Recipe: Oliver McCabe’s Sweet Potato and Quinoa Curry

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INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 small onions

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon grated fresh root ginger

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 x 400g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2-3 tablespoons mild curry powder (I made my own using 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons coriander, 2 teaspoons turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon)

2 teaspoons of gluten-free vegetable Bouillon powder (or 1 cube vegetable stock)

500ml hot water

200g quinoa

3 handfuls of baby spinach

A few turns of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

METHOD

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and sweat for about 5 minutes until soft.
  3. While you’re waiting, make your stock in a measuring jug by adding 2 teaspoons Bouillon powder/1 stock cube to 500ml boiling water and stir.
  4. Add the cubed sweet potatoes, chickpeas and curry powder to the pan, stirring until the curry powder evenly coats everything else. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
  5. Add the quinoa, stock, and a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the quinoa and sweet potatoes are cooked and all the water is absorbed. (If the curry runs out of liquid before the quinoa is cooked, just add a little more water).
  6. Add the spinach, stir through then cover again and let simmer until the spinach has wilted.
  7. Check seasoning and add a little salt and pepper to taste, then you’re good to go!

 

Featured

Grain-free Granola Bars

Lately I’ve been experimenting with on-the-go snacks. I find I’m most likely to cave to sugary, processed snacks when I’m out and about and the options are scarce. So, the trick to avoiding these moments is to always have some homemade snacks around to grab on your way out the door! These are perfect, and only require 7 ingredients!

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I love making quick raw energy balls, but the problem with taking these out in your handbag is they tend to become a gooey mess within a few hours of leaving the house.

While browsing the interweb for ideas, I looked for healthy granola bars that would be a) vegan-friendly and b) paleo-friendly (i.e. grain-free), to suit as many different lifestyles as possible. Unfortunately, most baked granola bars involved using eggs or oats, which were both out for me.

Then I came across a few recipes using flax eggs to hold the bars together, and coconut flakes instead of oats! Perfect. Voila, this recipe was born*, and devoured within a few days.

*Adapted from Camilla’s recipe on her blog Power Hungry.

Grain-free Granola Bars

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*This recipe is vegan-friendly, paleo-friendly, grain-free, refined sugar-free & gluten-free *

PREP TIME: 10 mins | COOKING TIME: approx. 15 minutes | YIELDS: 8

INGREDIENTS

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoon ground flaxseeds + 5 tablespoons warm water)

1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used Dunnes Stores brand mixed nuts: a combo of almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts and pecans)

1/2 cup mixed seeds (I used sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds)

1/2 cup coconut flakes

2 Tablespoons almond butter (or nut/seed butter of your choice!)

2 1/2 Tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

METHOD

  1. To make your flax egg, grab a cereal bowl, combine the flaxseed and water together, and leave to set for 10 minutes while you prep the recipe.
  2. Preheat oven to 160 celcius (fan oven).
  3. Line  an 8 x 8 baking tin with parchment paper (or loaf tin if you don’t have an 8 x 8!)
  4. Pulse the mixed nuts in a blender until they break down a little bit, but still have a good bit of texture to them (like granola).
  5. In a small saucepan, melt the almond butter, maple syrup, and sea salt over a low heat until they combine into a sticky caramel-like liquid.
  6. While you are waiting, combine the nuts, seeds, coconut flakes and flax egg in a large mixing bowl. Stir until evenly coated.
  7. Pour the melted almond butter-maple-sea salt mixture into the mixing bowl, again stirring until everything is evenly coated.
  8. Transfer mixture to the lined baking tin, pressing down firmly to ensure it sticks together nicely.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-16 minutes (depending on the oven) until lightly browned at the edges and centre feels dry to the touch.
  10. Allow to cool completely in the tin before cutting into 8 granola bars.

*These keep in an airtight container for about 3 days, in the fridge for about 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 2 months.

 

Featured

Grain-free Coconut Granola

This granola may lead to some serious snacking-by-the-handful. You’ve been warned! It is amazingly delicious with almond milk, on top of porridge, or as a homemade trail mix to snack on when you’re on the go!

I decided to try out a grain-free one because I seemed to be eating oats non-stop there for a couple of weeks and thought I’d try something new. The oats have been replaced with coconut flakes (the big kinds, not desiccated coconut!). They go a lovely golden colour and have a moreish crunchy texture- you’d hardly notice there are no oats!

This granola is packed full of nutrients since it is made entirely of lightly toasted nuts and seeds coated in a little maple syrup and coconut oil. It is inspired by a recipe by Dr. Sarah Ballantine, an award-winning paleo food blogger (see original here).

Grain-free Granola

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, paleo-friendly, grain-free, refined sugar-free & gluten-free *

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PREP TIME: 5 minutes | COOKING TIME: 20-25 mins

INGREDIENTS

dry:

2 cups coconut flakes

2 cups mixed nuts (I used a mix of walnuts, pecans, almonds, brazils, and hazelnuts)

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*you’ll need to buy the coconut flakes, nuts and seeds raw and unsalted 

wet:

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil

a few turns of the sea salt grinder (optional)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius (fan oven).
  2. Cover a large baking pan with some parchment paper.
  3. Pulse the mixed nuts in a blender until they break down a little bit, but still have a good bit of texture and CRUNCH!(Or just chop with a knife if you don’t have a blender).
  4. Put the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  5. Put the wet ingredients in a small saucepan, melt over a low heat, and stir gently until combined.
  6. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ones and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  7. Place the mixture on a large baking tray and spread out evenly.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the coconut chips turn a golden brown. You might need to shake and turn it halfway through. (Always keep an eye on your granola because it is sooo easy to burn-I’ve done it so many times!)
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking tray before storing in an airtight container.

 

Featured

Millennial Granola

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This one was created when my American boyfriend and I were living with my parents for a month or so in their house in Dublin due to visa plans not working out as expected. Did you know that almost 40% of the millennial generation (18-34 years old) are living at home with their parents? Yeah. This recipe is a shout out to my fellow millennials who have had to move home at some point during their twenties.

After spending a year in New York, my idea of a portion size changed dramatically. The Yank and I kept depleting the dainty Irish shop-bought granola supplies in the cupboard, so I decided to make an American-sized industrial batch of this stuff to tie us over for the last few days of our stay.

When I was a college student I used to visit home most weekends. The first thing I did was raid the fridge and the cupboard for tasty treats: chocolate bars, cheese slices and Nutella. Coming home as a millennial adult is a little different: I find that I raid the kitchen for fancy-pants foods like nut butters, gourmet cheese and crackers, and avocados. One of my favourite things about this recipe was that I got to use an unopened jar of blackstrap molasses that was hiding in the back of the pantry. Very fancy indeed.

I’m a big fan of sweeteners that not only make your dish taste great, but also provide you with some added nutrients. Containing high levels of B6, manganese, magnesium, potassium, iron, and selenium, molasses is a great subtle and nutritious sweetener to add to your morning bowl of crunch.

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Millennial Granola

*This recipe is vegan, refined sugar-free & gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats*

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PREP TIME: 10 mins  |  COOKING TIME: 15 mins

(Makes a large container of granola to last about 5-7 days.)

INGREDIENTS

dry:

2 cups oats

1 1/2 cups mixed nuts (I used a mix of walnuts, pecans, almonds, brazils, and hazelnuts)

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

wet:

3 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon molasses

2 teaspoons cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

*This recipe is vegan, refined sugar-free & gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats*

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan).
  2. Roughly chop the mixed nuts.  I like to leave them pretty big for more crunch, but you could also throw them in a food processor briefly to make smaller chunks!
  3. Put the dry ingredients  in a large bowl and mix.
  4. Put the wet ingredients in a small saucepan, melt over a low heat, and stir gently until everything has melted into a sweet, sticky liquid.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  6. Place the mixture on a large baking tray and spread out evenly.
  7. Place in the oven for about 15-18 minutes, depending on the oven. Make sure to stir it about halfway through the cooking time so that it all crisps evenly. Granola is very easy to overcook, so always keep an eye on it and stir if necessary!
  8. Once the mixture has gone a nice golden colour, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking tray before storing in an airtight container.
Featured

Tempeh-Beet Curry

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This is a quick, filling, and nutritious curry recipe that my boyfriend and I came up with in New York. It became our go-to when we didn’t have too much time to cook before going out. It makes a great mid-week dinner!

You can usually find tempeh in Wholefoods or Trader Joe’s. If you’re looking for it in Ireland, you would probably need to swing by your local health food shop as it hasn’t made it to the supermarkets yet, as far as I know.

Tempeh is made of fermented whole soybeans. When you add tempeh starter to soya beans and let it sit for a day or two, it becomes a loaf-like fermented food product. The use of the whole soya bean along with the fermentation process leaves us with a very nutritious end product with a high protein content (the same as meat!) and lots of B vitamins!

Tempeh has become one of those trendy health foods because it is thought to reduce cholesterol (due to its isoflavone and niacin content),  increase bone density (high calcium and copper content), and even help balance your gut bacteria thanks to the good bacteria which grow during fermentation! It also adds an awesome meat-like texture and a bit of a nutty flavour to your plate of veggies.

Soy is quite a controversial topic amongst health nerds, and for good reasons too. Nutritional cook Susan Jane White gives us a great low-down on the controversies surrounding soy in her first cookbook, so what I’ve written below is mostly based on that (to read more about her thoughts on it, check out her blog post here).

Soy has traditionally been used for years in the East as an excellent plant-based source of protein and vitamins. Once word got out West about how great soy products were for peoples’ health in places like Japan, this drove consumer demand for soy products way up worldwide. This high demand led to more and more industrially produced soy products.

Big companies found cheaper ways of making tofu, soy sauces, soy milks and other soy products, leaving them nutritionally deplete. Some cheap techniques used include chemical isolation and genetic modification (that’s why soy is often associated with GMO!). So, by the time your average slab of tofu or dash of soy sauce gets to your table, it’s only a shadow of the nutrient-dense powerhouse it was when it was first grown! Very sad news for all soy lovers, I know! 😥

What’s more is that the soybean is used to make up a lot of animal feed, and so a lot of forests are being destroyed to make space for soy to be grown in vast monocultures, often as GMO, causing environmental degradation, water wastage, and all the usual problems associated with the dominant meat industry.

Since low-quality soy is now so cheap to produce, it is often thrown into processed foods as an inexpensive bulking agent, so that is why so many of our chocolatey treats contain soy isolate or some other kind of soy derivative. Kind of like how corn and wheat have ended up in everything. As a result, people are beginning to develop sensitivities and intolerances to soy (again similar to the corn and wheat stories).

My thoughts on soy are that it is best to avoid it if you can, especially in processed foods. When I do buy it, I try to only use it once a week, buy mostly fermented products such as tempeh or miso paste, and make sure that it is organic, ethically produced, and non-GMO.

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, refined sugar-free & gluten-free*

Tempeh-Beet Curry

IMG_0479SERVES: 4   |   PREP TIME: 10 min  |   COOKING TIME: 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into half-moons

2 raw beets, peeled and chopped into matchsticks

1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets

1 packet of organic, non-GMO tempeh

3 handfuls of spinach

2 tablespoons mild curry powder (I used Trader Joe’s)

1 can full fat coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

salt & pepper to taste

rice or quinoa (to serve)

METHOD

  1. If you don’t have leftover rice or quinoa in the fridge, it’s best to start that first!
  2. Heat some oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, and sweat for 3-5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the carrots, beets, and garlic. Leave to cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
  4. Add in the curry paste and stir until everything is coated. Follow this with the can of coconut milk, the broccoli, and some salt and pepper. Stir, bring to the boil and leave to simmer at a low to medium heat for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tempeh. Leave for 3-5 minutes, or until the tempeh is heated through and the veggies are cooked. I like them with a bit of a crunch!
  6. Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt.
  7. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime, and stir.
  8. Serve in a bowl on top of quinoa or rice. Enjoy!
Featured

Cashew-Cacao Spring Balls

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Happy Spring everyone! Apparently the first day of Spring was on Monday. I don’t know about everywhere else, but it definitely feels more like winter here in Dublin today (thanks to the grey skies and sideways rain). If you’re like me and sometimes need a little chocolatey pick-me-up to keep you going on grey days like these, you’ll LOVE this delicious little number.

There are so many variations on energy ball recipes out there. Personally, I like to keep it simple. These Cashew-Cacao Spring Balls contain only 5 ingredients, and will definitely put a spring in your step! (Pro tip: if you’re watching you sodium intake, they work great without the sea salt, and will only contain 4 ingredients! Yuss!)

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5 ingredients: cashews, dates, cacao powder, coconut oil & sea salt.

Medjool dates are appearing in all sorts of recipes lately, and it’s no wonder really. They have an amazing ability to add natural sweetness as well as a delicious, caramelly texture to sweet dishes. On top of that, they are a great source of  potassium, magnesium and fibre! This recipe works out at less than 1 date per ball, so you don’t even need that many dates to get that amazing decadent, sweet taste!

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When it comes to choosing sweeteners, it’s important to choose your poison wisely, and enjoy in moderation. Some good options are dates, raw honey, good quality maple syrup, and coconut blossom sugar. Remember that all these healthy(ish) sweeteners DO contain naturally-occuring sugars (mostly glucose and fructose), so are not sugar-free. They’re just refined sugar-free. 

The difference between eating lots of dates and eating lots of refined (cane) sugar is that when you eat refined sugar all you get is the calories, with absolutely no other nutrients. When you choose a natural, unprocessed sweetener (like the ones mentioned above), you’re getting lots of other great nutrients along with the natural sugars in dates. For this reason, natural sweeteners are more satiating, and less likely to lead to a sugar crash a few hours later.

Now, the fun part: the recipe. Warning: this one involves getting your hands messy!

 

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, refined sugar-free & grain-free*

Cashew-Cacao Spring Balls

MAKES: approx. 12  | PREP TIME: 20 min

INGREDIENTS

7 dates

150g cashews

3 tablespoons cacao powder

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

METHOD

Pro tip: if the Medjool dates you bought are a bit tough, you might need to soak them in boiling water for about 15 minutes, and then drain them before adding them in step 2, with a tablespoon of their soaking water.  

  1. Place 2/3 of the cashews in a blender or food processor, and blend until you get a fine flour. Throw in the remainder of the cashews and pulse to get a rougher texture. Take all cashews out and set aside.
  2. Place the dates and the tablespoon of melted coconut oil in the food processor, and blend until you get a thick paste.
  3. Add the blended cashews back in on top of the dates, along with the cacao powder and sea salt. Blend everything together until you get a thick, chocolate-y dough-like texture (see photos).
  4. Pinch a bit of the mixture into your hands and roll until it forms a ball (about the size of a ping-pong ball). Repeat until you run out of mixture. It made 12 for me.
  5. Place in a container in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up, then store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

 

 

 

Featured

‘Shamrock Shake’ Smoothie

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! For the day that’s in it, I thought I’d procrastinate the rest of the ‘Healthy Eating On The Road’ posts until next Friday, and instead share with you this festive green smoothie!

As a kid, getting a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s on Grafton Street around St. Patrick’s Day was such a treat. As my tastes have changed just a tad since I was ten years old, I don’t think I’d dig those shakes as much as an adult. My stomach definitely wouldn’t anyway. Instead, behold the Shamrock Shake’s alter ego: a delicious, fresh, green smoothie with some lemon and mint for some extra zing!

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This smoothie gets its pale green colour from the handful of spinach mixed in with the almond milk. It gets its delicous smooth texture from the half of an avocado and the banana. The almondbutter and flaxseeds add some awesome plant-based protein and good fats, and the mint and lemon add a bit of pizazz! The result: a smooth, cooling, refreshing glass of green energy. If you need a little more sweetness in your life, feel free to add a teaspoon or two of your favourite natural sweetener!

Green smoothies make a great breakfast, on-the-go lunch, or post-workout booster. The squeeze of lemon juice will help kick-start your liver if you plan to part-take in the Paddy’s day festivities, and the cooling mint is great for an upset stomach. Maybe keep this one in mind for tomorrow morning.

‘Shamrock Shake’ Smoothie

SERVES: 1  |  PREP TIME: 5 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 cup almond milk

1 banana

1 handful spinach

1/2 avocado

2 teaspoons ground flaxseeds

1 teaspoon almondbutter (or peanutbutter if you prefer)

juice of 1/2 a juicy lemon (or to taste)

8 mint leaves (or to taste)

optional: 1-2 teaspoons of your preferred sweetener!

METHOD

  1. Chop all ingredients into small chunks.
  2. Put in your blender and whizz until smooth!
  3. Serve with mint leaves on top in the shape of a shamrock.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Teeny x

 

 

 

 

Featured

Raw Cacao-Almond Truffles

 

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These truffles are my FAVOURITE little treat to have stocked in the fridge. They are amazing because: (a) they can be made without a blender, (b) they only take about 20 minutes, and (c) they knock the SOCKS off of you with their intense chocolaty hit! They only require 5 dry ingredients (+ a little water), all of which store really well in the cupboard and can be broken out to make a fresh batch in case of Chocolate Emergency. They’re great if you need something quick to bring to a party, or simply to keep in the fridge for whenever you need a pick-me-up!

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Unlike most healthy treat recipes, they don’t rely on dates for their sweetness or texture, so are good for anyone who doesn’t tolerate dates too well. I used maple syrup here, but you could also sub this for another sweetener such as honey or coconut sugar dissolved in a little warm water (this changes the texture a little).

They usually need to be rolled in something, otherwise they are a little sticky to pick up. My go-to is coconut flakes, so you could simply do this and save yourself buying extra ingredients for rolling. Or else you can get creative with whatever nuts and seeds you have around the kitchen! Here, I’ve used finely-chopped roasted hazelnuts and extra cacao powder as well as the coconut flakes.

These have saved me from reaching for sugar-and-additive-laden sweet treats on numerous occasions! Although they still contain some natural sweetener and caffeine (because of the cacao), they are much healthier than your average store-bought chocolatey treat, so you can enjoy that burst of energy and chocolate fix from natural, unprocessed ingredients! Yes! Winning.

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*This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free & grain-free*

Raw Cacao-Almond Truffles

MAKES: approx. 15 small truffles | PREP TIME: 20 mins

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INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cup ground almonds

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

3 tablespoons maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

3-4 tablespoons water

a pinch of sea salt (optional)

1/3 cup of dessicated coconut (for rolling)

*optional extras for rolling*

3 tablespoons of finely chopped, roasted hazelnuts

3 tablespoons of cacao

METHOD

  1. Spread some desiccated coconut evenly over a large plate. (Best to do this while your hands are still clean!)
  2. Add the ground almonds, cacao powder, sweetener and coconut oil to a mixing bowl.
  3. Gradually add in the water, and mix ingredients around until they form a thick paste.
  4. Now the fun part: pinch about a dessertspoon of mixture into your hands and roll into a ball shape (If the mixture feels too thick to roll into balls with your hand, at a little extra water. If you’ve added too much water, just add a little extra ground almonds to even it out).
  5. Roll the ball around the coconut-covered plate until it is evenly covered in desiccated coconut. Set finished ball aside on a different plate.
  6. Repeat until you run out of mixture. Pop the plate full of chocolaty awesomeness in the fridge for about an hour to firm up (if you can resist).

*Tip: once you have the basic recipe down, you can get creative by rolling the balls in other delicious things, like ground almonds, chopped roasted hazelnuts, cacao powder, or just leave them plain with a pinch of sea salt!

 

 

 

Featured

Healthy Eating On The Road (1)

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Driving towards the Colorado mountains last June.

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve decided to dedicate Friday to non-recipe posts. These will focus on other thoughts about our health and the environment. First up is a series about how to stay healthy while travelling! If anyone is away over the weekend, this post might be just what you’re looking for. Shout out to my fellow musician friends who know how tough it is trying to eat healthily while on tour. We’ve all been there: you’re on a healthy streak of eating well and even exercising a bit, when suddenly you get a call to play a gig in the middle of nowhere, and before you know it, you’re deciding between a McDonald’s burger or that dodgy-looking sandwich in the petrol station. Not very inspiring. For anyone who travels a lot for work or otherwise, here are some things I’ve found useful for keeping healthy while on the road:

1. ALWAYS bring water.

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Multnomah Falls, Portland, OR.

This is so simple, yet so easy to forget! And it’s a great place to start if you’re trying to make some small changes. Try stocking up on couple of bottles of water before you take off (or if you’re flying you might need to wait until you’ve landed), so that you always have some on hand. Fun fact: a lot of the time that we think we feel hungry, we’re actually just dehydrated because our bodies can sometimes mistake thirst for hunger. So one possible way to keep hunger pangs at bay is to sip on water during your travels. Not only will you feel fuller, but you’ll also feel more energized, awake, focused, and (for the touring musicians who enjoy the occasional drink) less hungover!

2. Be ORGANISED.

Easier said than done, but sooo important if you want to be able to eat healthily while driving through the arse end of nowhere. The day before I go away, I usually try to make time to go shopping and stock up on a big bag of mixed nuts and/or seeds  (unsalted and raw is best- and just make sure to read the ingredients list for any weird additives before buying!), maybe a few fruits and veggies, and some other snack ideas which I’ll elaborate on in my next post.

It’s always great to start as you mean to go on, so if I have time I attempt to make the first day as healthy as I can (the calm before the storm). On the morning you leave, how about giving yourself a little extra time in the morning to make a nice healthy breakfast at home (scrambled eggs and veggies, or a big bowl of porridge), and prepare a packed lunch? Either a salad, sandwich, or some leftover dinner from the night before. Then you’ll only have to buy dinner out! Look at you, being healthy and saving some pennies at the same time!

3. Buy REAL FOOD snacks.

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An amazing spread at a City Growers fundraiser, Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, NY.

It may seem obvious, but when we’re in a rush it can be easy to forget that snacks don’t actually have to be packaged in the form of a granola bar or bag of crisps. There are plenty of real, whole foods out there that keep pretty well in the car, are pretty easy to find on the road, and are far healthier and filling than sugary granola bars! Fruits like apples and bananas are usually easy to find, as are nuts and dried fruits like raisins or dates. If you pass a grocery store, some baby peppers or carrots and hummus can make a delicious savoury roadside snack, or some avocado mashed on crackers. Or how about peanutbutter on apple slices? There are so many real foods out there that need little to no prep- it’s just a matter of thinking outside the (snack)box a bit!

4. Break up with COFFEE: Make friends with GREEN TEA.

It is tempting to rely on coffee as a crutch to get your through the tour, but personally I find the more run down I get, the less my body can handle it! The first few days are great, but after a few late nights coffee often starts to make me jittery for a couple of hours. Next comes the giant caffeine crash, and finally the hanger sets in. If this sounds all too familiar, try to limit the coffee to once in the morning, then switch to green teas the rest of the day to keep your energy levels a bit more balanced throughout the day!

Do you have any tips for keeping healthy on the road? If you do, please feel free to share them here or on Instagram, I’d love to hear from you!

Teeny x

Featured

5-Minute Happy Heart Salad

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This salad wasn’t actually going to be on my blog because it’s just so ridiculously easy to make. But then it looked pretty and tasted great, so here it is!

Salad is my go-to lunch. I rarely follow salad recipes and instead chuck whatever is in the fridge into my bowl. Because who has time to make fancy salads on your average weekday? Most of my salads are what I like to call ‘that’ll do’ salads. They are healthy and keep me full until dinner, but are not very inspiring or noteworthy. This one was different.

First of all, the flaxseed oil and walnuts make it an amazing source of plant-based omega-3. Omega-3 is a type of essential fatty acid. ‘Essential’ means that our bodies can’t make them on their own, and so we must rely on our diet to supply us with adequate omega-3 to maintain optimal health. As the most concentrated sources of it are oily fish, people on plant-based diets need to make an effort to ensure they are getting enough of it every day, and that they aren’t only consuming omega-6 (which are found in nuts and seeds, and are abundant in the Standard American Diet in processed vegetable oils and grains). Here are just some of the ways omega-3 fatty acids can help our overall health and wellness:

  • Cardiovascular health- they help to reduce blood pressure and improve circulation
  • Mental health-they help to balance mood and prevent depression. They are also thought to help sharpen the mind and improve concentration
  • Joints and muscles-they help to reduce inflammation.

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The beetroot also deserves a mention here because in my rush to eat the above salad, I didn’t notice that you can’t really see it in this photo! Ahem. Sorry about that. Beets are amazing because they benefit our bodies in so many different ways. As well as being an awesome source of antioxidants, folate, potassium, and magnesium, they have been shown to support heart health and exercise endurance because of their nitrate content (you can read more about that here). I use pre-cooked beet here from a vaccuum pack, but you could also grate in some raw beet if you have them to add a nice bit of texture and crunch.

Finally, this salad rocks because it is just so easy to make. No cooking required.

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*This recipe is vegan, refined sugar-free & gluten-free, and grain-free*

5-Minute Happy Heart Salad

SERVES: 1 | PREP TIME: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

for the salad:

Salad leaves of your choice (I used a mixed leaf one here)

1/2 a cooked beet, chopped (or you could grate a raw beet if you have it!)

1/2 avocado, diced

3 small vine tomatoes, quartered

a sprinkling of walnuts

for the dressing:

1 dessertspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 dessertspoon flaxseed oil

a little salt & pepper

METHOD

  1. Put the salad leaves on your plate.
  2. Dice the cucumber and beet and layer on top of your salad leaves.
  3. Slice the avocado and tomato and add on top of everything else.
  4. Put all the salad ingredients in a sealable container and shake around until they combine into a bright yellow dressing. Pour on top of the salad.
  5. Add a sprinkling of walnuts (and some other nuts or seeds if you like!).
  6. Mix everything together and devour.
Featured

Chocoholic’s Porridge

Trying to cut down on coffee, but still want a morning pick-me-up? Look no further! This bowl of porridge will set you up for the day and give you that extra boost of energy you need on a cold March morning.

The two things that make this porridge amazing are coconut and cacao. My last porridge recipe used good fats to create a creamy texture, instead of relying on milk. This recipe uses the same trick! Here I’m using coconut cream to give the porridge a luxurious creamy texture. The cacao mixes with the coconut cream to give it that awesome chocolate-y colour and taste. I add a little sweetness by sprinkling a teaspoon of coconut sugar over the top to give it a delicious hint of caramel sweetness. It sort of tastes like a posh, grown-up version of Coco Pops. But wayyy better for you.

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I love using coconut milk (the kind from a can), but the problem is that I usually only use a couple of tablespoons in recipes like this. It’s pretty expensive, messy, and time-consuming to open a whole can just for small things like your morning bowl of porridge. A good trick is to buy a block of coconut cream instead! You can get it them in most health food stores, they cost about 2-3 euro, and they last for ages if you store them in an airtight container in the fridge. So, instead of going through cans like a college student during spring break, you can just saw off a bitesized chunk of coconut cream whenever you need it.

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Pro tip: This works as a replacement for coconut milk in curries too- you just heat some water in a small saucepan and let the chunk of coconut cream melt into it (usually 50g in 100ml warm water works, or follow instructions on packaging). Easy peasy!

Cacao is my friend. I’ve recently been trying to cut down on my caffeine intake, and having cacao around to wean me off coffee has been great (as cacao does contain some caffeine). Raw cacao powder comes from the cacao bean and is the source of natural, unprocessed chocolate! It is beneficial for heart health due to its high antioxidant level (even more antioxidants than blueberries!), it helps with nerve and muscle function due to its high magnesium content, it helps digestion due to its fiber content, it is a good vegetarian source of iron, and lest we’ve forgotten, it is a natural mood-elevator! There we go, five great excuses treat yourself to a chocolate-y breakfast. Enjoy!

*This recipe is vegan, refined sugar-free & gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats*

Chocoholic’s Porridge

SERVES: 1   |   PREP TIME: 1 min  |   COOKING TIME: 10 mins

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INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup of oats (use certified gluten free if you tolerate them better, or if you are coeliac)

2/3 cup of water

a bitesize chip of coconut cream

2 teaspoons cacao powder

for the toppings: 

1-2 teaspoons coconut sugar

a handful of fresh raspberries or strawberries

some chopped nuts of your choice

METHOD

  1. Add the oats, water and coconut cream into a saucepan. Gently heat for about 5 minutes, stirring as the coconut melts.
  2. Once the porridge begins to bubble, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer for a minute or so, until most of the water has evaporated.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in the cacao powder.
  4. Pour into a bowl, and sprinkle the coconut sugar on top, letting it melt into the hot chocolatey oats.
  5. Add some chopped nuts and raspberries on top and eat for brekkie or dessert!

*Healthy tip: Sometimes I add some ground flaxseed into the porridge when I’m adding the cacao- this adds extra omega-3, protein, and fibre, making your breakfast even more nutritious! You may need a little more water in the recipe though, as flaxseeds tend to soak it all up.

Homemade Nut & Seed Butter

When there is no nut butter in the house you’ll usually find me looking forlornly into the cupboard where the jar once was, trying to think of a replacement snack. It has become a total staple in my diet. Since lashing nut butter on everything is quite an expensive habit, I’ve been on a mission to find a cheaper way to feed my addiction by making my own at home!

Mixed nuts tend to be cheaper to buy in supermarkets here than one type of nut, and seeds are cheaper than nuts. So I experimented with making a mixed nut and sunflower seed butter, and it was delicious!

LRM_EXPORT_20170511_094730Two cups of nuts/seeds yields 1 cup of nut butter, or roughly 220g (so if you imagine those tiny jars of nut butter that are sold by many different brands in Ireland, it makes about a third more than the quantity you would get in one of those). You can make it with any nut you like, or a combination of your favourites! I usually buy Dunnes Stores or Supervalu mixed nuts bags which contain a combo of walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and almonds.

The ratio of nuts to seeds is really up to you. I used about 1 1/4 cups of mixed nuts, and 3/4 cup of sunflower seeds here and you could definitely taste the sunflower seeds (which I liked!), but if you’re not into that then I would go with more nuts and fewer seeds!

Once you have chosen your nuts then all you need is a pinch of salt, a powerful food processor, and patience my friend! It takes anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes to transform the nuts into butter, so maybe grab your laptop so you can check emails.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups mixed nuts and seeds of your choice (always buy raw unsalted!)

a pinch of sea salt (optional)

you’ll also need a sturdy blender or food processor. I would go with a food processor over a hand-held blender as you can blend larger quantities more evenly this way. 

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C (130 fan/300F).
  2. Place your chosen nuts and seeds on a baking tray and leave to toast for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly for about 15 minutes.
  3. Put the toasted nuts and seeds in the food processor and blend for 15-20 minutes, stopping it occasionally to scrape down the sides and to let your blender cool. Please don’t give up and be tempted to throw in some water or oil to speed up the process because it will ruin the consistency of the but nutter! Here are some photos of the process so you know what you’re looking for:
  4. Once it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency, scrape it all out and store it in a clean airtight jar or container. Tastes great on banana slices, rice cakes, in porridge, or in these grain-free granola bars!

Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Stories.