Archives for January 2014

My favourite kitchen appliance


I have actually only had the Nutribullet for a month now, but it is already my favourite kitchen appliance by far. I have actually gone through 2 Magic Bullet’s over the last 8 years, that both literally died from wear and tear of being used so much. So this time when it was time to get a new one, we decided to upgrade to the big brother of Magic Bullet, the Nutribullet by Magic Bullet. The Nutribullet seems to be a lot better quality, has a better motor, more sturdy and doesn’t have a lot of extra gadgets you never use, like the Magic Bullet, so really happy we upgraded.

So the reason we chose to get this kind of blender, is that we already have a food processor, so seemed silly to get a normal blender. Plus these big kitchen appliances take up a lot of space and are just a bit more difficult to clean. With this, you just unscrew, rinse under water and pop in the dishwasher, where it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
We actually also own a hand blender, but to be honest, both that and the food processor get used only a few times a year, max, as even if I am blending a bigger portion of something, I will still use the Bullet and just do it in batches, as I know it will be easier to clean afterwards.
So what do we use it for? well, everything really and not just for healthy drinks. We use it for smoothies, juices, healthy ice-cream, soups, pastes and sauces. We actually use it so much, that I wish you could get extra blades and cups, so I didn’t have to wash them by hand in-between running the dishwasher.
But I also like that with this you can sort of chop things roughly, like when I make puttanesca, but I can also get it completely smooth for when I am juicing.


These are some of the things I make during the week, using the Nutribullet. To be honest, this could easily be what I make in a day actually.

First picture is of the healthy pancakes that I learned to make via an Instagram from Gemsmaquillage, Click Here to see. I just add a tablespoon more of my gluten free oats to my pancakes. I just pop all the ingredients in the Nutribullet and hey presto, you got easy healthy pancake batter.


Next picture is Puttanesca pasta sauce, where I just chop the ingredients roughly using the Nutribullet. See recipe Here.


Next is my favourite juice recipe, green lemonade. Click Here for recipe and video on how to make it.


Then there is my a bit healthier chocolate chip cookies, where I use the Nutribullet to blend together nuts and flour, and then stir in the wet ingredients with a fork. For recipe Click Here.


And last is my favourite healthy dessert, just roughly chopped up bananas that has been frozen, with a few frozen berries, almond milk and a tiny bit of vanilla paste. Then just blend into a lovely healthy ice-“cream”. 


Definitely a good choice if you are looking for a blender and you want something that is easy to clean and doesn’t take up to much kitchen space.

Price is £99.99 and we got ours from Robert Dyas http://www.robertdyas.co.uk/nutribullet-nutrition-extractor/ here in UK.

Healthy snack options, for home and on the go.


I think especially in the beginning when you are trying to eat healthier, it can be very difficult not giving into old cravings. So I have found some healthier no fuss alternatives for when those cravings come around, as I think if you don’t have a substitute in your house or with you on the go, it is more likely for you to “fall in” and eat something unhealthy.
All of these snacks are also great handbag snacks to carry around with you, for when you suddenly get a chocolate craving or feel your blood sugar dropping. 

First of it the good old banana, it is great for when you are feeling hungry in-between meals and great for stabilising you blood sugar. It is great for the handbag as it has it’s own protective skin, but if you do find it gets bruised in you bag, you can also get a banana case for it (just search banana case on amazon).
It is also a great evening snack, so if you are feeling hungry late at night, they won’t interfere with a good nights sleep, as they actually have muscle relaxing properties.


Chocolate is something most people love and crave, but not all love dark chocolate, that are the healthier option, mainly because of the bitterness. But these lovely dark chocolate buttons, that are from Beyond Dark , are smooth, not very bitter, low in sugar, dairy free and has 3 times as much antioxidants than normal dark chocolate. They are also great for portion controls as it is easy to just take out a few buttons when you feel a chocolate craving coming on. If you cut off the top and put a sealing food clip on, they are also great for the handbag, #grannyalert but it works.
For more information visit http://www.beyonddark.co.uk 


Dried fruit can be a great option, but they can be quite concentrated in fructose, so like anything really enjoy in moderations. Dates are suppose to be one of the healthier in the dried fruits category, as they are a good source of fibres, vitamins and minerals. If you get the fresher kind, the are also the natures version of amazing fudge-caramel like sweet, so really good to satisfy a sweet craving. In a small tupperware, they are great for the handbag.


Last one is nuts. I think for a lot of years people have been afraid of nuts, as they are high in fat (if I had a penny for every time I had heard the phrase “vegetarians get fat because they eat to many nuts”). But a lot of new research are now saying that if you eat raw nuts, they will not affect you weight because of the way you digest them, but are very good for you because of vitamins and fibres they contain. The key word here being raw though and a small handful of almonds are a great snack for during the day, as it is high in protein and fibre, so will keep you full in-between meals. So just pop a bag in you handbag for hunger emergencies.


Let me know what your healthy snacks are and what you find easy to carry around with you for when craving strikes.


Mia

Puttanesca, my favourite.


This is probably my favourite pasta recipe, might actually be my favourite recipe all together now that I think about it. I have made it countless times, since I saw a chef make it on danish television, about 6 years ago and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it.
I am not a big fan of Puttanesca when ordering it at restaurants, and I think the reason is big pieces of anchovies and tomato in those versions, which I am not a fan of personally. In my recipe all the ingredients are finely chopped and I think that is the reason, why everyone I have ever made this for like it so much as well, despite them normally not liking all the ingredients that goes into it. 
I actually hadn’t heard about puttanesca before watching Lemony  Snicket’s A series of unfortunate events, where the kids make it, saying Puttanesca is Italian for very few ingredients, not sure if that is true though. But anyway, I have a bit of a weird obsession with food in movies, so when I saw the recipe on tv, I had to try it.


My friend once said when tasting this, a friend who don’t like anchovies, olives or capers I might add, that it tasted like a bolognese sauce, but with a lot more flavour and much yummier. So just goes to show you, that you shouldn’t be put off by this recipe, despite not liking all the ingredients that goes into it.


Makes about 4 portions as a pasta sauce, but can also be used as a courgetti sauce, on cooked potatoes or as a hot dip.

 

200g black pitted olives
50g capers
1-2 cloves of garlic
1-2 chilies
3-5 small anchovies or about 2 inches of anchovy paste
2 tablespoons of oil
canned tomatoes
zest of one unwaxed lemon
A big handful parsley

 

Chop up all the ingredients finely (blending the canned tomatoes), I just pulse them all separately in a blender.
Then heat up the oil in a pan and add the garlic and anchovies, stirring for about a minute until the anchovies have melted.
Add the capers and olives and fry for a minute or two, then adding the blended tomatoes and lemon peel. Once mixed well, just let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes and you get a thick consist like a bolognese sauce. Then just add the parsley and you are ready to serve.

 

Enjoy
Mia
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A bit of a better for you chocolate chip cookie.


I love this recipe for many reasons, one of them being that it is a great way to use up some nuts you might just have left over or just lying around. But it is also a bit of a better for you cookie, it is still a cookie with fat and sugar, so don’t think you can eat endlessly without guilt, but is just a bit better cookie for your blood sugar and has a bit more protein in it. I normally have one coming back from a long walk and craving something sweet or as an afternoon snack to tie me over till dinner.

It is a very flexible recipe, as you can pretty much tailor this recipe to your need, depending on if you want it dairy free, gluten free or with what natural sugar or oil you like to use.


It is so easy to make, and once you find out the calculations of the recipe, it is easy to make with however many grams of nuts you have lying around.
For instance, if you have 100g of nuts, then need same grams of flour. Then half the gram amount to get the grams of chocolate chip cookies and the ml amount for liquids, so 50g/ml of oil and sweetener.
And then you can add a little salt or/and vanilla paste to taste, I personally like a bit of salt to even out the sweetness in the cookie.
So for good measures here are the ingredients listed in measurements, but you could just as easily make this with say 60g of nuts you had left over from something, and then 60g of flour and 30g chocolate and 30ml of the wet…..hope this makes sense.


100g nuts, like almonds, hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts.
100g flour (you can easily make these gluten free by using plain gluten free flour).
50g dark chocolate chips (use dairy free once for a dairy free version).
50ml oil, like coconut, groundnut or light olive oil.
50ml sweet freedom, agave or light honey.
Salt and/or vanilla past to taste.


Preheat oven to 175°C


In a blender, blend together nuts, flour and (salt), until finely blended. Transferee to a bowl and break up any clumps between your hands.
whisk together the wet ingredients, and with a fork, stir them into the flour-nut mixture, until it all comes together as a sticky dough.
Then stir in the chocolate buttons.
Take teaspoons of dough and roll into balls between your hands, place on a baking tray covered with baking paper, and press them a bit flatter to a cookie shape.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Let them stay on the baking tray for a few minutes, then transferee to a wire rack to cool completely.


Enjoy

Mia
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Getting healthy and in shape. Part 2, what works for me.


So 2014 is going to be the year I get back to a healthier, happier, fitter me. But because of not really having been able to do a lot of exercise the last three years, because of a broken ankle, I am sort of starting from the bottom again. 
I have been trying to get out of the house as much as possible since I broke my ankle, but I had a lot of complications with it, so there were long periods of time where it just wasn’t possible. I am now finally at a place where I can once again build up my fitness levels and become more active once again, but I also know it won’t happen from one day to the next, having been through this once before. Read about that in part 1 by clicking Here.

I am also going to be changing my diet up a little. I am already quite good at eating healthy, but I have definitely been falling a little in connection with often choosing easy meal option, while we have been busy renovating our new house and not having a kitchen for a long time.


I am quite fortunate in having gone through all this before, because it doesn’t seem as daunting this time, as I have obviously been able to to it before, so know I can do it now.
I do have to be careful of not putting to much strain on my joints on the leg where I broke the ankle, but I think that is the case for anyone who are starting to get active from the button, as you joints are not use to the strain and you are more likely to do damage if not careful. This was one of the things I was very much aware of last time and this time. So first thing that I know work for me, are the right shoes. I was lucky that I got a gift certificate to a sports shop that specialise in custom footwear  last time, so I was filmed running on a treadmill, where they found that I twist my foot inwards when I run because of a high arch, meaning that my trainers need to have arch support, for my ankles and knees not to suffer any damage in the long run.
My husband actually have the same thing, and for years he had trouble with his knee, but since getting insoles in his trainers and football boots, he hasn’t had any problems since. So very important to get the right foot wear for you.


Second thing that has already been a bigger help this time is a running app for my phone, as the one I have gotten also includes other activities beside running, like walking. Last time I would time myself walking the same route to see if I had improved, but this app just makes that much easier, as you can track the distance you have walked, the time it has taken you and your average speed. This is especially great for when you have days you don’t seem to see any improvement, that you can compare how much you have improved since your first walk.
Last time I started off with a 20 minute walk, but this time I am able to start of with a 40 minute walk, just because I am a more active person now than I was 8 years ago and I have been doing physio as part of ankle recovery. I do that walk about 3-5 times a week and I walk in a tempo where I am flushed and a little out of breath after the walk.
Then when you find the walk to easy, you add in a bit more distance and slowly work up to the time you want. If you want to start running, that comes when you are able to walk 45 minutes to an hour without being out of breath and if you walk any faster you would be running anyway. You want to put the walk down to a 20-30 minute distance again, a few times a week. For every 4-5 minutes you want to do a slow run for 30 seconds and slowly week by week, add on 30 seconds of running one week, and take off a minutes of walking the next. 
If you do find that you are starting to get knee or ankle pains, stop running and start doing some exercises to strengthen the muscles around your joints and maybe see a doctor. Then try the running again a few months later. Very important to listen to you body, pain isn’t always gain!


You will also find that starting to exercise will take up a lot of you energy and you might feel more tired than before starting the regime, so make sure to take the time out to be tired and don’t arrange a lot of plans in your calendars, try and have as open a calendar as possible in the beginning, it is about focusing on you and your health. You will have plenty of time to be sociable when you start getting the reward of extra energy when your body gets use to the exercise. 


Another great thing I have found helps me get motivated to go on my walks, is audiobooks, something exciting that you are eager to hear what happens next is a good way to get you out of the house if you only allow your self to listen when on walks. I am currently listening to Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, that I got via Audible.


Third for me is diet, as exercise and diet go hand in hand. So I am cutting out white sugars, white pasta, white rice and white bread. have fruit and vegetables at every meal and a daily juice, and making my own healthy meals, so I know exactly what is in them.
I am obviously not being religious about this, as it can make your life a bit miserable, but as a good guideline for my diet most of the time.
And I am definitely not going on a diet, I don’t even own a pair of scales, it is all about being healthy for me.


Hope you found some of my tips helpful and please tell me in the comments down below if you are trying to get healthy and what helps you. Or if you are finding it hard and need a bit of encouragement, please write as well.


The running App I use is the Runtastic that works with a gps in your phone. for more information visit www.runtastic.com


And for more information on Audible, visit www.audible.co.uk


Mia

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Getting healthy and in shape. Part 1, my story.


About 8 year ago I decided to take my own health in my own hands and do something about feeling better physically, but also mentally, as I was over weight and just not that happy in the mood department. I come from a very un-active family, where the only excise my family did was bicycling when growing up, and it wasn’t for the benefit of being active, because when living in Copenhagen, it is just the most common way to get from A to B, meaning it can be quite slow and not really get your heart rate up. So when I met my husband, who had a car, my activity levels dropped to almost nothing, resulting in me putting on weight, losing energy and just not feeling good in general.

We then moved into a flat right across from a gym, so there was no longer any excuse not to join and start getting into shape. I had joined a gym several times before and failed, but looking back, I think the main reason I failed was because I didn’t understand the benefits of it and the fact that I was put on a program that was way more advanced than I was or wasn’t suited to me. 
But this time I was very lucky, because the trainer at the gym, that helped me with my program, understood that it if you have never been active, you shouldn’t just throw yourself into training, but ease into it, letting your body and mind adjust and not feel overwhelmed. 
I understand how it can be difficult for a trainer that has always been active to think, they just need to get active, because it comes easily to them, but we are all different and what comes easily to some will not be easy for others, that is just the way of life. So I was so lucky getting a trainer that was able to see that.


The trainer set me up with some simple warm up and a few simple exercises, that I was suppose to do 3 times a week. On 3 of the other days I would go for a 20 minute brisk walk and last day would be a relaxing day. Then when I slowly started to improve, I started to ad exercises and minutes to my walks. So over a year, I ended up being able to run for 30 minutes straight (not having been able to run EVER) and lift my own body weight. A long way away from where I started. I felt happier, healthier and not to mention, I had a great posture.


But not long after that, we moved to London, and if you are from London you will know, gyms are crazy expensive and far apart here. And my long walks along the beach in Copenhagen was replaced with long walks on overly trafficked roads, that is, when I was not to busy working 16 hour makeup jobs, so all my hard work just fated away.
Then on top of that, something very unfortunate happened 3 years ago, I broke my ankle quite severely on a ski trip, which I won’t get to much into. But after a lot of hospital visits, treatment and operation, I am now ready to get healthy again.
I won’t be joining a gym, as I don’t feel like that is for me anymore, but I will be getting a lot more outdoor exercise and going back to healthy eating again. 


I will do a part 2 to this post, explaining what I will be doing this time to get back into shape from scratch and what I find helpful last time and this time.
Pease leave a message telling me your experience and what you found hard or useful.

Click Here for part 2.


Mia

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Grapefruit Tea.


Now that the weather has become colder, I just want something nice and warm after having been outside, so I have started making my grapefruit tea again, as it is filled with vitamin C and super yummy.
Heating up grapefruit juice doesn’t take away any of the Vitamin C, but it does seem to take away some of the bitterness and sourness, so you might like it even if you are normally not a grapefruit fan.
For one serving:


1 juice of one grapefruit.
250 ml Water.
1 cinnamon tea bag (I use Yogi, click here for more info).
Honey or other preferred sweetener. 


Add water and tea bag to a small pot and bring to a boil, then take it off the heat and let it steep for 5 minutes. 
Then add the grapefruit juice to the pan and heat back up again to just before boiling point.
Then pour into a mug (strain if you don’t like pulp) and add honey or sweetener to taste.


What is your favourite tea in winter? why not tell me in a comment below.


And if you want to know how I survive winter, then click Here, to read more.


Mia
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Surviving Winter


If you are like me and find that when 1st of January hits and the Christmas festivities have gone, sunny spring days somehow seem like light years away (despite this january being surprisingly sunny and nice). Then you might find some of the winter survival skills, I have picked up during the years, helpful.
I have actually come to enjoy winter now, through a lot of testing what works for me, so this is what I have found helps for me and maybe you will find some tips that works for you too.

First one is get active, it is very easy to just curl up on the sofa with a nice movie when it is miserable weather outside, but going for a brisk walk is probably the best way to fill up your body with energy. As a danish saying goes “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad choice of clothes”. So I have invested in some good rain proof gear, to go out and conger the weather in, as no one will die from getting a bit of rain on their face, as long as you don’t get soaked and cold on your body.

 

Second one is candles, I stock up on them to make sure I have enough at all times. This is definitely a very scandinavian thing to do to survive winter blues, as you will find candles burning in most scandinavian homes during winter, the reason being to bring light to your home in the dark winter days. It can be so depressing when your home starts to go dark at 4.pm and strong electric light doesn’t make it better, so light up those candles for a cosy soothing light.
And there is nothing like curling up on the sofa with a nice movie, AFTER you have been for a walk, and have the room bathe in candlelight, to make you all warm and cosy on the inside and forget about the dark and cold weather outside.

 

Third is NOT to start a diet in january. Your body has been spoiled doing winter, getting lots of fat and calories, so no wonder if is a shock to the system, to all of a sudden be getting far less calories and fat than it needs to keep the body warm during the cold winter months. I find the best way is to get the calories you need, but by eating healthy, which in turn will give you more energy and help support your body’s immunesystem to fight off the cold and flue bugs. And you can always start the diet in the spring time, when the weather starts to get a bit warmer.
Read my Healthy January post Here.

 

Fourth is to make sure that you’re getting the vitamins you need. Did you know that a lot of people that suffer from a winter depression is caused by vitamin D3 deficiency? I was quite shocked to read that myself in Mark Hyman’s book, The UltraMind Solution, a very good read by the way. It is so easy to get a vitamin D deficiency, as we are constantly being told to be careful of the sun, which makes us almost avoid it all together, but it is the biggest source for our bodies to get vitamin D. 
Finding this out has been so helpful to me, as I was definitely suffering from vitamin D and C deficiency. So I now make sure to sit in the sun for 10-15 minutes whenever there is any. Eating a more vitamin enriched diet and taking supplements in the right dose for my body. 

 

Fifth is antioxidants. Green and black tea (and even coffee), has antioxidants in them, just make sure to let your tea bag steep for the right amount of time when brewing it, as a teabag need to steep at least 3 minutes to the right amount of antioxidants from it, but depending on the tea if it needs longer. 
But another great way to get antioxidants are berries, and because fresh berries might be more expensive during winter and in some cases might have travelled a long way to get to your grocery store. The alternative can be frozen berries, as they are plucked when they are ripe and then frozen immediately after, optimising nutrition content. So why not start your day with a berry smoothie or ending your evening with a sorbet, just by blending up frozen berry and banana.

 

And last, six is probiotics. The add saying “keep your tummy happy for better health” is actually right, as the right bacteria in your stomach is part of a good immune system. 
For a long time I thought that I was doing my body good by eating probiotic yoghurt every day, turns out I was actually upsetting my atomic more than I was doing good, as I was lactose intolerant. 
When talking to people about probiotics, most people think it is something that is naturally in yoghurt, but it is actually something that is added to yoghurt when they are advertised as probiotic yoghurt. So that means you can just as easily get probiotic in capsule form. Obviously if you don’t have a problem with dairy and find the best way to get you probiotic is eating yoghurt, that is a good way too.

 

Hope you found some of the tips useful and if you have a tip, then please leave me a comment telling me what you find useful to surviving winter.

My 2013 and my 2014

2013-2024

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