Posted in food, nutrition, Uncategorized

Recipe: Quorn mince and green lentil curry.

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It was my turn to cook dinner last week and I decided to be adventurous and try something new.  I have eaten quorn on numerous occasions when I lived away from home as a student but my family hadn’t so I thought there’s no time like the present to serve it to them. I knew my brother would pull a face being the meat-lover that he is and not the most willing to try vegetarian options, but I hoped to change his mind about this sustainable protein source!

I found a recipe for “Quorn Meat Free Mince & Vegetable Curry” on the quorn website and thought it sounded delicious, I just adapted it slightly in terms of veggies used. I liked the fact this recipe had an abundance of herbs and spices to add flavour, because I know quorn can be quite bland and not have much of a taste. This was also a positive when trying to convince a stubborn meat eater that quorn tastes good.

Ingredients (serves 4):

300g Quorn mince

1 tspn olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 tin chopped tomatoe

1 tspn tomato puree

1 red onion

1 red pepper

1 can green lentils drained

Curry Spices:

1 tspn chilli powder

1 tspn ground ginger

½ tspn ground coriander

½ tspn ground cumin

½ tspn ground turmeric

Combine the spices together and set aside in a bowl. Fry the veg and garlic in oil and then add the spice mix. Add tinned tomatoes and tomato puree. Add the quorn mince and green lentils. I served with brown rice.

Unfortunately I did not win my brother over completely with the quorn in that he still prefers beef due to the flavour. I mean I prefer the flavour of beef mince but I think of the health and environmental benefits when consuming quorn!

Posted in fitness, Uncategorized

Workouts in the last week or so…

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I have been the worst blogger the past week or so. I’ve had so many uni deadlines that I just haven’t had the time but the dissertation is just about done and due on Monday so the workload will quieten down a bit, finally!

So last Monday I went for a run, it feels strange saying this now but it was actually snowing! Hasn’t the weather been so bipolar the last couple of weeks? Today it was glorious sunshine and I have the beginning of a tan, yay! I had my head stuck down in uni work all day and badly needed fresh air, so I forced myself out into the half blizzard and managed to run 3.5 km. The weather took its toll on me after a while so I did not manage a full 5 km. I find a run is a great way to de-stress from revising all day, regardless of the weather try and get out if it is safe. Trust me it will help a million!

Then on Wednesday I trained legs. Just my usual workout that you will find in the most recent leg workout post. My squat wasn’t as heavy but I am trying to work on form more just now to prevent lower back pain. A guy in the gym told me I do bend my lower back slightly even though I don’t think I am, so he suggested I try squatting with the Smith machine. Personally I find it difficult to squat on a Smith machine with the bar fixed, so I have opted for lowering the weight instead. I do a max of 45 kg just now.

Friday was upper body day and I slightly changed things up.:

I started with a 15 minute run to try and up the cardio

I then did face pulls 3 x 10 at 13.5 kg

Tricep extensions with cable 3 x 10 at 12. 5 kg

Lat pull downs 3 x 10 at 23 kg

Overhead press 3 x 10 at 15 kg

Upright row 3 x 10 at 20 kg

Body weight press ups 2 x 10

Ab work to finish.

Then the weekend exercise consisted mainly of steps at work and then a night out for May day.

Today I was back at the gym for legs and again this did not differ much from the norm except I used dumb bells for straight legged deadlifts and one 10 kg dumb bell for hip thrusts. This was due to part of the gym being closed to the public. I also did hip abductors instead of pull throughs for this reason.

Have a great week everyone!

 

 

Posted in food

Recipe: Spinach and ricotta pastry twists. 

To celebrate the last day of uni lectures/ tutorials on Friday, my course held a pot luck lunch. 

With there being 25 of us on the course and everyone bringing something, there was a lot of food. Somewhow we managed to devour the majority of it though!

I decided to make something savoury as there always seems to be an abundance of sweet food at these things. Spinach and ricotta is a favourite combination of mine so I opted for this filling within pastry. They were delicious and can be eaten hot or cold. 

Ingredients:

250g puff pastry

150g spinach 

100g ricotta cheese

1 red onion

1 tspn olive oil

1 egg 

Salt and pepper for flavour 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Fry the onion in oil, then add the spinach and then the ricotta. Separate the pastry into 4 balls and roll out into a large oval shape with a rolling pin. Score the sides of the pastry with a knife to form slits. Spoon the mixture into the centre of the pastry oval. Wrap the pastry slits round the filling and place on a baking tray. Brush egg over the top of the twists and bake for 25 minutes. 

Posted in fitness, Uncategorized

Last week in workouts.

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Last week was a great week of workouts for me! My first week of being 22 wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Firstly on Monday night I went for a run. This is a rare occurrence for me but hopefully it will become a weekly thing. Although this Monday a run hasn’t happened, maybe later in the week. Cardio is something I find difficult to implement into my week because well I’m pretty bad at it. But got to tell myself that practice makes perfect right? The run was just under 5 km but did involve a lot of active rest in the form of speed walking. It averaged at 6 minutes 19 seconds/ km.

My next workout was Wednesday and it was legs. See my last post of a leg workout to see what I did. My leg days often consist of the same exercises and are very glute focused.

On Thursday I was going to try Functional 45 for the first time with my friend but unfortunately the class was cancelled so I did an upper body session. This consisted of:

5 minute treadmill run warm up

Face pulls 3 x 10 at 13.5 kg

Tricep extensions with cable machine 3 x 10 at 10 kg

Overhead press 3 x 10 kg with 15 kg barbell

Upright row 3 x 10 with 20 kg barbell

Overhead tricep extension with 7 kg medicine ball

2 x 10 body weight press ups

Core work to finish.

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Then Easter Sunday was a family day. We went for a lovely walk along the beach and then had lamb for dinner. Most importantly this weekend was the opening of the Easter eggs!

Happy Easter everyone!

Posted in fitness, food

Catching a cold and turning 22.

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This past week hasn’t been the best quality in terms of fitness. Firstly it was for a bad reason – I caught the common cold. But thankfully the second reason was more joyous – my birthday.

I made it to the gym last Monday for a leg session. It was actually a great session. The attachment for the cable machine which I love using for glute kickbacks also turned up again. I was so glad because this is one of my fav exercises at the gym. My routine was pretty much my usual leg day:

Squats – 10 x 20 kg, 40 kg, 50 kg and 2 x 5 at 55 kg

Curtsy lunges – 20 holding 10 kg plate then 10

Pull throughs – 3 x 10 at 12.5 kg

Glute kickbacks – 3 x 10 on each leg at 10 kg

Glute bridges – 3 x 15, hold for 10 then pulse for 10 with 10 kg plate

American deadlifts – 3 x 10 with 30 kg barbell

Stretches to finish.

Then on Wednesday I did a HIIT session of my own outdoors with the sun shining. Yes the sun was shining in Scotland – haha. But Wednesday night was when the cold started to hit. It wasn’t just the common cold either, as my head was constantly pounding and my energy levels were at an all time low. I started to feel better on Friday but thought it was best to wait until my full recovery before working out again. I made myself and my brother a veggie filled lunch to get as many nutrients in as possible to help get rid of this flu.

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All I did was throw broccoli, cauliflower, carrot and spinach into a pan along with tuna, a packet of Tilda brown basmati and quinoa, tuna, a tablespoon of Philadelphia and some mixed herbs.  It tasted really good and the volume of veg produced a filling dish. (If you try and make this, microwave or boil the veg for a short time before pan cooking).

Then was Sunday, my birthday and turning the grand old age of 22. I had my fav breakfast pictured below of scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon. Delish!

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The day ended with a delicious bar meal and a few cheeky cocktails. This was very much an indulgent weekend so this week I plan to get more workouts in, in between my piles of uni work. Hope you all had a great week!

Posted in fitness

Review: Strong by Zanna Van Dijk.

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First of all, if you haven’t heard of Zanna or come across her YouTube channel go check it out now! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiwekT__lvIsNfPq9Ps2P8w

She is a great inspirational figure on a fitness, nutrition and general health and well being level. I often find myself stumbling upon her most recent videos when taking a study break or having some chill time.

Her book ‘Strong’ is great for workout ideas and how to go about starting up an exercise schedule. She goes over the basics of nutrition too and the book includes some great recipe ideas which I will definitely be trying out soon! Probably most importantly the book goes into the topics of mindfulness and self love which everyone should be adapting. When it comes to eating I, for one should adapt a more mindful approach. I find I more or less inhale my food and always finish before everyone else. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love food but perhaps taking a more mindful approach would increase this even more. There is a whole page of this in the book.

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The book is also filled with inspirational quotes, my favourite being: “Your mind will quit 100 times before your body ever does”. I feel so many of us can relate to this in a variety of situations, whether that is exercise – wanting to stop for a rest when running, not completing that last burpee of the set, or even in a real life work or uni situation where you are finding something difficult. Don’t give up! Take a step back, breathe and reflect, You will succeed a whole lot better.

Altogether a great informative book which will inspire anyone who reads it to make change. Highly recommend!

Posted in food

Smoked salmon and crème frîache pasta.

I don’t know about you guys but smoked salmon is one of my ultimate favourite foods. Cold in a sandwich, on a cracker, in a salad I will try and eat it when I can. But in moderation of course!

I was shopping in Aldi with my dad and when we saw smoked salmon trimmings for a very good price     we just had to purchase these and thought they would go great in a pasta!

We had a joint effort to come up with a sauce to go with it and cooking the final result. We used a mixture of plain spaghetti and linguine because it was all we had in the house. It can be made healthier by using wholewheat pasta but we decided to treat ourselves with this meal. You can also have a side of salad to up the micronutrient content. 

Ingredients (for 3):

225g pasta of your choice (long thin pasta like the ones I used go best)

1 tspn olive oil

80g crème frîache

100ml chicken stock

150g peas

Mixed herbs to season

Boil the pasta. Whilst cookin the pasta, place the olive oil in a pan, add the peas and crème frîache until basically boiling. Add the salmon and herbs to taste.

Posted in fitness

Workouts with more cardio and a 60 kg squat.

Yes yes this weeks workouts did include an outdoor run! 

My pacing is pretty awful so as usual my attempt at a 5k turned into interval runs. I think it will take practise to be able to run a full 5k again and get the fitness level up. 

I did manage to do 2km without stopping and this was in 10 minutes 50 seconds then I had active rest in the form of walking for 30 seconds, I then basically sprinted my third km with a stop of 10-20 seconds active rest in the middle of this km, and finally did the same with the last 1.66km. 

I did enjoy the run except the cold air affected my lungs slightly (and probably the fact that I’m not as fit as I want to be just now – oops). 

My other two workouts were the same as last weeks upper body and lower body workouts. Except I managed to get back to the old 60kg squat for 3 reps! I am trying to incorporate a cardio workout a week now so hopefully the weather stays nice and I keep up the outdoor runs!

Happy Monday everyone, have a great week of workouts! 

Posted in fitness

The importance of stretching.

Hope you are all having a week of great workouts!

I thought I would take the chance to talk about stretching. There are so many people I see that do not stretch in the gym, I mean maybe they go home to stretch but it is important to do stretches as part of a cool down at the gym to prevent injury. For one, I definitely notice a difference in my mobility after stretching. It helps get rid of the muscle tightness caused by lifting weights and improve flexibility!

Everyone is different and it is a matter of personal preference if you prefer stretching out with a foam roller or just carry out your own movements. Personally I do not own a foam roller and have never tried to use one so I can’t say if they work for me or not. I find static stretches work for me though. I do these at the end of a workout and on most rest days now especially if I feel tightness (mostly in my legs and back).

I have pictured some of my regular stretches above. The furthest left picture stretches the inner upper leg muscles so the abductors mostly, but also the back when you lean forward. If you push down on your legs with your elbows a more dramatic stretch will be felt. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet touching and bring them in to your groin as far as you can. Reach over your feet with your arms so your back is arched over your legs. Hold for around 15 seconds. This is my favourite stretch as my inner thighs get quite tight after training legs!

The middles is mostly a calf and quadricep stretch. Sit with legs open and straight, grab one foot or if you can’t get quite as far as the foot, as far as you can go, with both hands. Hold this for around 15 seconds before switching to the other leg. With time and doing this stretch regularly you’ll probably find you can reach further.

Third is a tricep stretch, the harder you push down on the elbow the more of a stretch you will feel. Place the palm of your hand on your back so your armpit is basically in your ear. With the other hand push down on the raised elbow. Again hold this for 15 seconds.

These are just three examples of stretches, there are millions of different stretches out there. But trust me you will notice a difference in your flexibility if you start stretching!

Posted in music

New Music: A totally different kind of post for me.

I thought it was about time I shared one my other passions in life as well as fitness, MUSIC!

I am ashamed to say I do not play any musical instruments, which many people find surprising when they meet me considering how wide my music knowledge is, and how often you’ll find me listening to music. I know the basics of guitar and piano but nothing more than that.

From a young age my passion has been indie/ alternative music, growing up listening to the likes of Oasis and The Stone Roses. As I have aged my horizons have broadened and I now listen to a variety of genres. With the recent increase in the popularity of R&B and rap, I have found myself joining the band wagon slightly with the likes of Drake and Kanye West featuring in my listening more regularly.

When it comes to working out at the gym I NEED music. If I have forgotten my earphones I already know my workout will not be as high quality as normal. For working out I usually listen to dance and electro style music just to get in the right mood and pace.

Anyway that’s a brief overview of my music taste, now I would like to share some of my favourite music from the last few months and some recently discovered artists:

  1. The XX – I See You (album)

This was the first full new album I listened to in 2017. As with most albums some tracks are better than others. My personal favourite is “Dangerous”. The male and female vocals compliment each other well. Check it out if you haven’t already.

2.  Circa Waves – Different Creatures (album)

This is a new release from the band, quite different from their first debut album in that the mood is more real and emotive. But still a great sound.

3. Anteros (band)

It was a total coincidence that I have seen this band live twice this year at the only two gigs I have attended so far. They played support to both Two Door Cinema Club and White Lies. Their image reminds me very much of Blondie. They are of a catchy indie pop sound and I would say ones to look out for. Give the tracks “Breakfast” and “Anteros” a listen!

4. The Hunna (band)

An indie band I have recently discovered. The song “Piece by Piece” came up on my Spotify discover playlist last week and being the indie fan girl I am it definitely appealed to my taste. “Bonfire” is my fav song of there’s at the moment.

5. Lana Del Rey – Love (song)

I would be lying if I said Lana is not my girl crush. Her voice gives me chills every time. Her new release “Love” did not change this. A highly emotive track that you must give a listen.