Quinoa – The Super grain of the Future

quinoa

Quinoa (Pronounced: keen-wa) is a seed that was domesticated for human consumption, three to four thousand years ago. It grows in the Andes region of South America and was once one of three staple foods of the Inca civilisation, who in turn referred to it as the mother grain. It is nowadays often called The Supergrain of the Future.

Nutritionally, quinoa is a complete protein containing all nine of the essential amino acids, whereas, all other plant based foods would need to be combined with another food to make a complete protein. This makes quinoa an ideal ingredient to include in a vegetarian/vegan diet. The only other food sources that provide a complete protein are animal-based; such as meat & dairy products, which of course do not fit in the above lifestyle. It also means that you could live on quinoa alone and be nutritionally satiated.

Quinoa is also packed with dietary fibre; and is easy to digest, rich in magnesium & iron and better still it is completely Gluten Free.

In the kitchen, quinoa can be prepared and cooked in the same way as rice. I usually use two parts water to one part quinoa, which I sometimes add stock or a variety of spices to (more on this below)

It is super simple to add to any recipe and I love to eat it in replace of rice or to bulk out salads in summer. Today I used it to make a light and tasty tuna salad…

Tuna Quinoa salad

Serves 4

2 x tin tuna
1 cup Quinoa
2 large handfuls spinach
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes
1 Avocado
1 x can chickpeas
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Freshly squeezed lemon

Soak the quinoa in boiling water for 5 minutes to help remove the bitter coating, then rinse thoroughly in cold water. Add the Quinoa to 2 cups of water & a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer for 15minutes and then remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix together the tuna, spinach, tomatoes, avocado and chickpeas and after the 5 minutes are up add the Quinoa and mix once again. Finally, drizzle the salad with the oil & lemon, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Please keep your eyes peeled for more recipes using quinoa… including my quinoa porridge fit for a paleo diet!

Everybody loves a bit of chocolate now and again right?!? (Or probably everyday if you’re anything like me) and it’s so much easier to make raw chocolate then it would seem. I love making my own and adding extra ingredients to it for a quick and easy treat. It satisfies my sweet tooth almost instantly PLUS if you make it using the right ingredients it’s full of antioxidants & has amazing health benefits when eaten as part of a balanced diet.

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(Please note: the following information is a result of my findings, to find out more or make your mind up please research further)

Cacao
Anti-aging
Boosts brain power
Improve Vascular function
Detoxifies the liver
Mood enhancing

Coconut Oil
Promotes weight loss
Regulates blood sugar
Anti-inflammatory in the digestive tracks
Energy Booster
(Coconut oil is also great used on the body as a moisturiser & a hair mask)

 

Get to the making bit already!!! I hear you shouting.

Okay, okay…

 

To make the chocolate, mix together 2tbsp of raw cacao powder with 1tbsp of coconut oil & a further 1tbsp of maple syrup. Add into moulds and freeze for a minimum of 2 hours. It really is that easy!

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You could even take out the maple syrup and use 2tbsp of coconut oil, adding some honey or stevia to the mix if you want to sweeten.

Furthermore, I added some raspberries, almonds & goji berries to some of my moulds before pouring in the chocolate mix but you could add anything you want.

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The possibilities really are endless!!!

Lastly, I prefer to store mine in the freezer and take them out as and when I need a treat (in fact, I’m walking straight to the freezer when I finish this post, I’m addicted)

Happy chocolatiering!!!

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Miami Baby…

Whoop!  I finally booked mine and my fiancés flights to Miami in February and I couldn’t be more excited!!!  Not only will it be my first trip to the States & mine and my fiancés first big holiday abroad as a married couple BUT we will also be attending a lovely friend’s wedding while we are there.

Finally, I have a reason to bust my ass even more at the gym and throw myself 110% into my diet plan…  Operation abs is a go go!!!

At the start of the year I set a resolution to have abs by the time we roll into 2014 and after a strong start to the year I can feel myself slipping.  Summer is here and ‘surely that’s a reason to enjoy myself?’ But a few too many ice creams have resulted in a few too many pounds added.  I’ve come too far to ruin it now though and I’m determined to stick to my goals.  So after walking around a beautiful village market this morning, full of scrumptious food & sunning myself in the garden, I’ve decided there is no time like the present to get back in the saddle, so to speak.  I need to swap all those sugary treats I’ve been consuming with some clean and equally delicious treats.  They are not always lower in calories but they will definitely result in a lower number on the tape measure (I try not to weigh myself as muscle weighs more than fat & as long as I feel good, a number doesn’t matter).

Now, in the spirit of reducing the amount of processed CRAP I’ve been eating, here’s my Almond Choc Chip ‘Cookie’ Recipe I just came up with.  Hope you enjoy!!!

ALMOND CHOC CHIP COOKIES

1.5 CUPS OF ALMOND MEAL
3 TBSP COCONUT OIL
¼ CUP XYLITOL
1 EGG
¼ TSP SALT
½ TSP VANILLA ESSENCE
¼ TSP BAKING SODA
1 TBSP MAPLE SYRUP
¼ CUP CHOC CHIPS

Preheat the Oven to 175 (350) degrees.

Beat the egg with the xylitol and coconut oil, then add all the other ingredients except the choc chips and mix together well.  Then fold in the choc chips.  Next put balls of the mixture (around 1tbsp) on a lined baking tray and flatten slightly but not too much.  Add to the oven for around 12-15 minutes

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Remove from the oven and leave to cool

ENJOY with a good brew

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P.s – The mixture also tasted great before cooked.  Next time I might leave out the egg & baking soda and try adding it to my favourite frozen yoghurt (recipe will come)

My First Blog Post

Welcome to my first blog post, WOW, it seems like it’s taken me forever to get to this point.

I had the idea to start my own blog a while back when I became obsessed with posting my food & workouts on instagram. However, being a perfectionist it has taken me a long time to get to this point and after carrying out copious amounts of research on what people want to hear and read, I am still unsure of what to write. SO I have concluded that I shall write about the things that excite me in life and when reading other blogs… which is simply my two favourite things; lifting weights & eating delicious (but simple) food. I particularly love to read about this stuff from real everyday women. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to read about the model types living in California, the beautiful people who are lucky enough to work out on muscle beach, but, not being one of these people and residing in the rainy city of Manchester, UK, I sometimes find this can be slightly depressing.

So, here I am. Your average young women, who maybe doesn’t have the perfect body, but is passionate enough (& maybe dumb enough) to believe that one day, I too could be comfortably training on Miami Beach in my skimpy bikini (or at least on holiday in Devon).

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I adore spending time in my kitchen; experimenting to make my favourite meals & treats clean and healthy. To me there is nothing more satisfying then shocking my friends with a Brownie made out of BLACK BEANS or a cupcake made with protein & no added sugar! So, I thought what better way to accompany my first blog post than with a recipe for my favourite treat made clean.

Black Bean Brownies

brownie

My Big Fit Brownie Recipe

1x can Black Beans (240g drained)

½ cup of unsweetened cocoa (preferably cacao)

2 eggs

3 TBSP Coconut oil

¼ cup Xylitol

¼ cup raw honey

1 x heaping TBSP Peanut Butter

Blend all of the above and add to a greased muffin tin and cook on 180 degrees c for 25-30 mins. To check if they are done, use a skewer and make sure it comes out clean.
This recipe makes 10 individual brownies and you can add some nuts to the batter or maybe even some fruit.

Macros per brownie.
138kcal
7g fat
19g carbs
5g protein

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If you wanted to you could use the mixture to make one big brownie and cut it into smaller squares.

Enjoy!