Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas Cookies

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go! I couldn't be any happier that it's this wonderful time of the year again. The dark evenings make you want to go pour yourself a hot cup of tea, cuddle up next to the fireplace, and listen to Michael Bublé's album on repeat. The only thing missing from this idyllic festive scene, (obviously Michael Bublé there in person) is a batch of my Christmas cookies! 

Dunked in dark chocolate, then sprinkled with flaked almonds and dried cranberries, these delicious delights are most definitely on the good list this year. You won't find any nasty refined sugar or gluten here. The cranberries and dark chocolate are also both bursting with anti-oxidants. They really are good for you and so yummy that there might not be any left for Santa, sorry!


Makes 10 Cookies

1 1/2 mug of Rolled Oats
1/4 mug of Maple Syrup
4 tablespoons of Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Essence
1 Egg
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoons of Cinnamon

(Toppings: 200g dark chocolate, flaked almonds and dried cranberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. On a greased baking tray, add a dollop of mixture to form cookie. (It may look slightly on the moist side, but don't worry, it comes out a lovely cake texture than a drier biscuit.)
  4. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Remove from tray and leave on a cooling rack.
  6. Once cooled, dunk the cookies in dark chocolate. 
  7. Scatter with flaked almonds and cranberries. Leave to dry, and enjoy!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Buckwheat Pancakes

If your day starts off with pancakes, you know it's going to be a good one! I love lazy weekend or day off mornings, which consist of lounging in pyjamas (for a ridiculously lengthy period of time) and eating a stack of fluffy pancakes. Ahhh bliss. 

However, I sometimes find once the pancakes have been smothered in maple syrup, I tend to feel the groggy effects a couple of hours later. Not good. This is the result of a nasty sugar level crash which comes when eating pancakes made with white-flour and lots of refined sugar. However, I love pancakes. How could I not eat them!? So I wanted to find a recipe which didn't make me feel like this, and yet still tasted flipping amazing. I wouldn't want any of you lovelies feeling like this either so... here is the perfect solution to this pancake epidemic... Buckwheat flour. 

Say what?

When the buckwheat seed is milled, it produces a wonderfully nutty flavoured flour, which is both gluten-free (for any of you coeliac's out there) and whole-grain. It helps keep your blood sugar levels at a consistent level, and prevents extreme energy spikes/crashes throughout the day. Also, buckwheat is packed with lots of added nutritious goodness; several B vitamins which are needed for energy metabolism and minerals such as iron and magnesium. Yay, I think that's the problem solved!
        
Makes 8 pancakes; Serves 2 

3 tablespoons Maple syrup
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon Melted Butter; more for greasing the pan
1/2 mug Milk (use whatever milk you have; cow's milk, almond etc)
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
3/4 mug Buckwheat flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
  1. Melt butter and mix ingredients together in a bowl. 
  2. Heat the frying pan to medium heat, and grease with a little butter.
  3. Once the pan has heated up, add dollops of the mixture. Once air bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the pancake, flip over using a spatula, and allow for the other side to become golden-brown also.
  4. Once both sides have been cooked, remove the pancake and place on a cooling rack. (However they are very good, so you may be tempted to just eat them straight away.)


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Mediterranean stuffed Chicken

This is the perfect alternative to the classic Sunday lunch. Chicken, potatoes, vegetables, you name it - it's there. Yet it has got bucket loads of added flavour and as well, cheesy goodness. Amazing cheesy goodness. 

Seriously, you need to give it a go. I have been making it quite a bit recently, and being honest, I actually think I could eat this every day. It really is that great! The meal requires just a little baby sitting and preparation, but it delivers mouth-watering results every single time. 

Feta cheese is amazing as it is so soft, crumbly and has a pungent flavour. This means that only need a small amount is needed to make a tasty addition to your meals. Some other milder cheeses require a lot more to be added in recipes, as the strength of the cheese isn't as strong. So a stronger cheese is definitely a better alternative, as you are still guaranteed the same delicious taste but without over-loading on saturated fats.



    Serves 4   
                                      
    4 rashers of Bacon
    4 Chicken breasts
   100g of Feta Cheese

     Dressing for chicken:
  a few glugs of Olive oil
                 sprinkle of Black Pepper,            
       Oregano and Chili powder
  1 Garlic clove, crushed

      2 Peppers, sliced
     1 red onion, quartered
     8 baby potatoes
      2 tomatoes, quartered
      a few sprigs of Rosemary
  1. Preheat oven to 200oC.
  2. Wash and cut vegetables. Place potatoes in baking tray first, drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and scatter over some rosemary. Bake in oven for 40 minutes.
  3. Carefully butterfly the chicken by making a slice into it with a sharp knife. Then stuff each breast with 25g of cheese. Wrap the chicken with a rasher of bacon.
  4. Place each piece of chicken into another baking tray. 
  5. Mix together dressing for the chicken, and cover it with the mixture. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until cooked through and the chicken flesh is white in colour. After 20 minutes, make sure chicken remains moist by basting it with the garlic-y dressing. Then cover with tin foil for remaining time in the oven, to avoid the chicken drying out.
  6. Add the rest of the vegetables to potatoes once they've been in oven for 10 minutes. Mix them to ensure they are covered in oil, rosemary and salt. Give the veg a good stir every 10 minutes until cooked, to make sure that they go crispy.
  7. Remove chicken and vegetables from oven, plate up, serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Butternut Squash & Basil Pesto Pasta

Why is it that every Italian dish tastes absolutely delicious? They are the food gurus...masterminds. Ok you may be able to hint my slight favoritism towards Italian cuisine, but it is true none the less. Their food usually tastes pretty good. By usually, I mean 100% of the time. Italians believe that using fresh ingredients is the secret, and I would have to agree with them. Food made from scratch, with fresh ingredients, really does produce the best results. (However, I think the great deal of glorious sunshine probably does helps make their food taste heavenly!)

Pesto is the most amazing sauce ever, and is pasta's best friend. It is traditionally made from crushed garlic, blended pine nuts, basil, olive oil, cream and Parmesan cheese. Now a days, you can simply purchase it in a jar in the supermarkets for convenience. However there is something special about making yourself a batch of pesto. It can be stored for future use in the freezer, or freshly made pesto can be kept refrigerated in an air tight container, ready to use for up to a week.

Basil is good source of vitamin A, which is a powerful anti-oxidant, which reduces the activation of free radicals oxidizing cholesterol in the blood. Basil is a source of magnesium, which promotes heart health by relaxing muscles, therefore improving blood flow and lessening the risk of irregular heart rhythms. Green leafy foods are amazing in general, and should definitely be included in the diet due to their super high nutrient levels. Basil is a great source of calcium, iron and vitamin K, which is important factor in blood clotting.

I tend to make a lighter version of the well-known Italian creation, yet not losing any of the well-loved taste. It goes perfectly with pasta, but is also a fantastic addition to meat dishes or swirled in with roasted vegetables. Buon appetito! 

Serves 4

1 Butternut Squash
Wholewheat pasta, for 4 people

                     Pesto:
1 mug of Basil
1 Garlic clove, crushed
1/4 mug of Parmesan                                  cheese, grated
5 tbsp of Olive oil
4 tbsp Lime juice
Salt and Pepper to season

  1. Peel and cube butternut squash. Place in roasting tray, drizzle over some olive oil, and season with salt. Roast for 30 minutes in 180oC oven.
  2. Boil the pasta for 20 minutes, or until al dente.
  3. Blend together pesto ingredients in food processor.
  4. Drain water from cooked pasta, but reserve about 4 tbsp worth. Add in roasted squash, and stir in pesto sauce.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Chicken & Chorizo Spanish Stew

This my friends, isn't just your standard stew. Spiced with paprika rather than using a heavy tomato base, this stew is light yet filling, and packed with immense flavour. Serve with your greatest attempt at a Spanish accent, crusty bread, and you're guaranteed an absolute crowd pleaser. It really does capture summer with every bite!




Serves 6

6 Chicken Thighs, chopped
250g Chorizo, chopped
3 Peppers (Preferably red, orange and yellow), sliced
1 Onion, chopped
12 Baby Potatoes, washed with skin left on
2 litres of Chicken stock
2 tbsp Paprika
Sprinkle of Salt, Pepper and Oregano
Parsley, for serving





  1. In a pot, fry off chicken with drizzle of olive oil, until browned. Then fry off chorizo along with the chicken.
  2. In a seperate pot, fry off onions until browned, then cook the peppers for a few minutes so they are slightly softened.
  3. Add vegetables to meat pan with paprika, and stir.
  4. Sprinkle with seasonings, and add stock along with potatoes.
  5. Put a lid on the pot and leave to simmer, over medium heat, for 40 minutes. (Until potatoes are cooked)
  6. Season to taste, then serve with crusty bread and a sprinkle of parsley to garnish.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Amazeballs

Do you picture yourself in this situation? 

It's 5pm, you've just finished work or classes for the day. You're tired, lunch feels like forever ago, and you're just a little bit cranky. You come home and raid the fridge for a delicious snack that requires zero prep requirement. Something which will make all feel right with the world again and rescue you from your state of 'hanger'. 


If the answer is yes, (or even if it's no) then say hello to these seriously great energy bites, aka Amazeballs. They are the perfect solution to your rumbling-tummy issue, and possibly any other problem you may have in life.

These little treats fantastically curb energy slumps, and truly do live up to their name. If you think dates are just for cute, old people who need to increase dietary fibre intake to improve their you-know-what, then think again! They have the most incredible caramel-like taste, which makes them the perfect base for these snacks.

Cashews are among the healthier nut choices, as they have a high level of omega-3 and protein. Once the dates and cashews have been blended together, then you can add pretty much anything else you desire. Dried fruit, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds? You name it! Splash of vanilla extract and maybe a pinch of cinnamon? Badda bing, badda boom - they're done! Scoop out using a teaspoon and roll the mixture into little balls with your hands. Pop them in the fridge where they can last a few days in a sealed container. Then kindly thank Amazeballs for saving you from ever resembling a hungry bear again.


Coconut and Cashew Amazeballs


                         Serves 16


1 1/2 mugs Dates
1 mug Cashews
1/2 mug Desiccated Coconut
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Cinnamon
1 tbsp Water
Optional: Extra Coconut for rolling

1. Blend cashews in a food processor for a few seconds until they become a chunky-flour like consistency.
2. Add dates into nut-flour and blend.
3. Then add in coconut, vanilla extract, pinch of cinnamon and water.
4. Blend ingredients until all mixed together. Scoop out a tablespoon of mixture and roll with your hands to form a ball. 
[Optional: Roll energy bites in desiccated coconut to finish.]
5. Can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for a few days.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Moroccan Salad with Lemon Yoghurt Dressing

This is one of my favourites to make for lunch or dinner. Moroccan couscous is that good, that I could definitely be tempted to eating a few spoonfuls of it for my brekkie if it were lying around...This is a super easy meal, albeit the rather extravagant title. I tend to make a big batch and then store this deliciousness in an airtight container for whenever I fancy over the next few days.

Chickpeas are a great source of protein and the couscous is a hearty carbohyrdate. The combination of protein and carbohydrate, (as well some lovely veggies thrown in there too) served with a generous dollop of zesty lemon yoghurt dressing, will keep you feeling full throughout the day. It's an anti-the-usual-post-carb bloated feeling guarantee. Also, everyone may be a little envious of your fancy-pants-yet-secretly-simple creation. 



Serves 3

For salad:

200g Couscous
1 can Chickpeas
2 tbsp Harrissa Spice
4 inches Cucumber, diced
2 Spring Onions, chopped
Handful Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Handful Coriander, chopped
Drizzle Oive Oil and White Wine Vinegar
Salt to season

Dressing:

Half a mug Greek Yoghurt
1 Lemon, juiced

  1. To make salad, place couscous in a bowl and cover with boiling. Stir, then leave to soak for 5 minutes.
  2. Whilst you wait for couscous to fluff up, rinse canned chickpeas and prepare vegetables.
  3. Once couscous is ready, stir with a fork, then add vegetables and chickpeas.
  4. Season with coriander, harissa spice and salt. 
  5. Drizzle over with olive oil and vinegar. 
  6. For the dressing, juice a lemon and mix into yoghurt, to form thick dressing consistency. 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Smoothie Bowl

I'm usually not a major smoothie fan. Smoothies are, yes, very delicious and are a great way of getting in a few portions of your recommended fruit/veg intake. However I'm usually left feeling hungry about 2 hours later...so here is where the beautiful Smoothie bowl comes into place! It has the same great taste and preparation ease as your usual smoothie. Yet the smoothie bowl is super enhanced and has some lovely nutritional added goodness! 

Just whiz all the ingredients in a blender, and then top with whatever you're craving or have in the fridge/cupboard (e.g. nuts, seeds, flaxseed, fruit slices, granola). Basically, go crazy and add whatever you fancy to your yummy smoothie bowl. Oh you wild thing!

      

Serves 2

1 Mango
1 Banana
1 mug of Ice Cubes
1 mug of Orange Juice
1 mug of Greek Yoghurt

Topped with: Almonds, kiwi slices, desiccated coconut, chia seeds and dried apricots.
  1. Whiz all ingredients together in blender. 
  2. Scoop into bowl, top with whatever you like and enjoy!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Sweet Potato Mexican Salad

Lunch time is when most of us are usually on the go. Either at university, school or work; we all just want something quick and ready at hand to satisfy those ravenous hunger cravings. I believe that preparation is key for a nutritious and filling lunch. With just a little planning ahead, you can ensure that you'll be digging into a satisfyingly nutritious and delicious meal. 

"How?!", you may say. Just cook off a combination of goods that will last up to a few days, when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Salads are a perfect solution. I'm not talking about limp leaf, the odd watery tomato, malodorous kind. I been, show-stopping, taste-bud loving stuff. It's really not that difficult. Just plan ahead. Afterwards, say "Hey presto!" to 5 minutes more in bed, and avoiding the temptation of grabbing a sugary fix in attempt to compensate for missing nutrients. .


I love to make this Sweet Potato Mexican salad for my on-the-go lunches. I usually prepare the sweet potato and corn mix the night before, storing them then in separate air-tight containers. (Oh and also, cover the corn mix in lime juice. It acts as a preservative and will keep your salad fresssssh.)







Serves 3

2 Sweet Potatoes
1 Tin Sweetcorn*
1 Tin Kidney Beans*
Red Pepper*
Rocket Leaves
2 Spring Onions
Lime, juiced
Olive Oil
Cumin and Paprika for seasoning

*Or if you're short for time, you can buy Green Giants already prepared Mexican Corn mix. It's pretty much the same thing. All you have to do is drain water excess and it's ready!
  1. Cut sweet potato into wedges, and sprinkle over cumin, paprika, salt and olive oil. Bake in oven for 40 minutes at 180oC. Turn over after 20 minutes.
  2. Prepare corn mix buy draining and rinsing kidney beans. Then chop spring onions and red pepper into small chunks. Mix together with sweetcorn, kidney beans and lime juice.
  3. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and layer on bed of rocket leaves. 
  4. Add corn mix on top and cover with more lime juice.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Baked Porridge

If someone had mentioned the word "porridge" to me in the past, I probably would have squirmed at the mere mention of the word. Porridge had been such a boring meal compared to the incredible meals my Mum cooked for us. The pale, lumpy concoction was yes, healthy, but not fun to eat. I thought I'd put those days behind me, until...I stumbled across this deliciously, oaty and not-so-tasking creation! Porridge doesn't have to be boring and it's so ridiculously versatile. You can add pretty much whatever you fancy to it, and it'll taste great! I'm a total oat convert. Now I can hardly go a couple of days without craving some of this tummy-warming goodness. The fruit sugars caramelise making it taste like dessert first thing in the morning, and who doesn't like the sound of that!? 

I have two personal favourite flavours; baked blueberry and banana, as well as baked peach melba porridge.
  • First things first, add 100g of Rolled Oats and 300ml of boiling water to casserole dish. Leave to soak for 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 180oC.
Baked Blueberry and Banana Porridge

Serves 2

2 handfuls of Blueberries
1 Banana
150ml of Milk (whatever you like/have in the house; cow's, almond, oat etc.)
1 tablespoon of Honey
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
Optional: Handful of Almonds 
  1. Chop banana into the already soaked oats, as well adding half of the blueberries.
  2. Then mix in the milk, honey, cinnamon and vanilla essence.
  3. Place in oven and leave to bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and top with the remaining blueberries and almonds.
Baked Peach Melba Porridge

Serves 2

2 Peaches
2 handfuls of frozen Raspberries*
150ml of Milk
1 tablespoon of Honey
1/2 teaspoon of Cinnamon
  1. Chop 1 peach into soaked oats, as well adding half of the raspberries.
  2. Mix in the milk, honey and cinnamon.
  3. Place in oven and leave to bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, top with fresh peach slices and remaining raspberries.
*You can also use fresh raspeberries instead of frozen. I just choose to use frozen raspberries in this recipe, as they are cheaper to buy in bulk and have same nutritional value as fresh fruit.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Blog beginnings

After a while now, I've 'hmmm-ed' and 'ahh-ed' over the idea of starting a blog. My mind flitted between possible pros to cons. However with a little more time on my hands, as I am officially off for summer, I really have no excuse. Final verdict...say hellllo to the blog beginnings of Juicy Lucie Foods! 

I've been studying Nutrition at university in Scotland, and I absolutely love it. It really has changed my views towards food altogether! Nutrition isn't about choosing a diet low in calories, fat, or cutting flavour. I certainly do not fear burgers or butter. I just choose not to consume these foods in such monstrous portions everyday. I prefer to opt for foods which are nutritionally packed and will provide me with what I need to live life to the fullest! 

A few weeks ago, I began an Instagram account (@juicyluciefoods) and I started posting some meals which I'd made. However I thought a blog would be a much better way to share more indepth recipes and nutritional info about what I've learnt. I want to create recipes which are easy to make, don't require hours of laboring in the kitchen and are kind to my bank balance. As well as tasting delicious of course!  I hope this blog is enjoyable and inspires you to go on this nutritional journey with me. If that's by trying new foods, learning new ways to cook or just realising the joy of eating healthy! I know I will be inspired too and I'm very excited to begin my blogging journey with you all!