Banana and Blueberry Baked Oats

Too many of you were asking about this favourite of mine on my Instagram this morning so here a quick post for you all.  If I have time in the morning, baked oats are defiantly the way to go ! It’s such a different texture from your usually porridge oats in the morning that it’s a fabulous change ! Oats are fabulous at keeping you full throughout the day too so here is my simple banana and blueberry recipe! I hope it can satisfy your taste buds ! I am working on new combinations too as we speak

Difficulty: Easy

Serves: 1-2 (depending on how hungry you are)

1 cup of rolled oats (90g)

1 tablespoon of flaxseed (add water to turn it into an flaxegg)

1 and a half bananas

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Set the oven for 190 degrees (fan)

Measure your oats into a bowl and cover in boiling water and leave for 5 minutes

Add your flaxegg and give it a stir

Then add your chopped banana and blueberries and stir (sometimes I leave some to one side side to decorate)

Pour the mixture into a oven proof dish

Place in the oven for around 20-30 minutes until brown and crispy on top

It really is that simple ! So no excuses not to try it as it will really make a nice change to your breakfast in the morning as well as making the kitchen smell divine ! If you try it out I would love you to take a photo and tag me it in on my Instagram @first_steps_to_running

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Banana Pancakes

So many of you have been requesting my banana oat pancake recipe which I have finally perfected and its ready to share! Its a great breakfast at the weekends when you have lots of time on your hands and easily satisfy your hunger for hours. So I hope you all have a go and I hope it works. Remember to take a photo and tag me into it. (@first_steps_to_running)

Serves: 7/8 mini pancakes

Ingredients:

100g oats (blended into a processor until it resembles flour – feel free you use flour in placement.)

150ml of plant based milk

1 medium banana

10g chia seeds soaked in X water for 10 minutes before making

Method:

Prepare you chia seeds and water.

Peel and mash a banana on a chopping board.

Add the mashed banana to the blended oats or flour and plant based milk and mix together until it reassembles a batter.

Add you chia seeds which should have absorbed the water into the batter and stir once again until equally distributed throughout the batter.

Use a non-stick pan and if you feel you may some oil, I suggest a teaspoon of coconut oil. Place on the hob on a medium heat.

Pour in your pancake mix, I suggest a fist sized pancake and not too thick unless they will not cook in the middle.

Flip them over after around 4/5 minutes until they are browned on one size.

Repeat this until all your batter is used. If you find that they are not cooked in the middle it because the batter is too thick or the pan is on a too higher heat.

Serve with extra fruit, coconut yogurt, maple syrup or whatever your favourite topping.

Remember to take a photo.

Pancakes

 

Filled Sweet Potato

I love a sweet potato jackets ! I could easily eat it all the time, which I have to admit I do. So I thought I would do some experiments with all the foods on my plate and mix them together. The result was this amazing filled sweet potato which is the perfect recipe to carry you into spring and summer as it can easily be served with fresh vegetables or a big salad.

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Difficulity: Easy

Serves 1 but you do have at lot of filling which you could either serve on the side or have it as part of your lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato

1 tin of drained black beans

1 tablespoon of miso paste

1 crushed garlic clove

14/13 cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved

1 teaspoon of cumin

Oprionals:

Handful of sweetcorn or peas could also be added to the mix

Method:

Turn the oven on to 220 degrees and wrap your sweet potato in foil and place in the oven. It will take around an hour to cook.

After around 40 minutes, add your crushed garlic and tomatoes to a pan and heat on medium.

After your tomatoes begin to cook, usually around 3 minutes, add the miso, cumin and black beans and give it a stir until the miso paste has melted. Be careful not to damage the tomatoes though.

By this time your sweet potato should be cooked but if it’s not just turn down the hob and leave the saucepan to simmer.

Once cooked, slice your sweet potato in half and remove around 3/4 of the soft sweet potato and transfer to the saucepan with your filling.

Tip: to hold its structure, I tend to leave a small bit of sweet potato near the edges.

Mix the sweet potato throughly in with the beans and tomatoes and scoop into the sweet potato.

Put your two halves of sweet potato on greeseproof paper on a baking tray and either bake for another 15 minutes or grill for 10 minutes.

Then you are ready to serve.

Hope you enjoy

xxx

Sweet Potato Pie

Its turning colder each day and this recipe is not only great for using the leftovers in the fridge but is a vegan friendly option. Its a weekly staple on my menu.

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 1/2

Ingredients:

85g carrots

80g Frozen Peas

200g of tinned chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon of cumin

One packet of sliced chestnut mushrooms

210g Red kidney beans

300g – 320g Sweet potato

1 tablespoon of tomato purée (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

Begin by steaming or roasting your sweet potato. In a separate saucepan pour in the rest of the ingredients (apart from the tinned tomato and tomato puree) with a little water or steam and allow to cook until soft.

Just before the sweet potato is cooked and the vegetables are cooked transfer into a saucepan with the tinned tomatoes, puree and the cumin. Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer.

Once the sweet potato is soft also, quickly add this to a food processor and blend until soft like mash.

Pour the cooked vegetables into a small oven proof dish and then top with the sweet potato mash.

If desired, sprinkle the top with a suitable amount of paprika to taste.

Then place the dish into the oven and bake for around 15 – 20 minutes.

Serve with extra vegetables on the side if you want or simple eat the dish as it is.

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Ellie’s Bean Chilli

My all time favourite recipe. I cannot get enough of it. This spicy dish is so easy to prepare and can easily be served quickly with a side of brown rice. It involves minimal washing up as it literally uses one pot. You can simply add all the ingredients and leave to simmer and just like that you find yourself in front of a delicious and high nutrients mean which will become a powerhouse when you add with brown rice too.

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 1

Ingredients:

Passata 400g

1 tin of drained red kidney beans

1 tin of drained black beans

Two – Three large carrots (spirallized)

Good handful of frozen peas or sweetcorn

1 crushed garlic clove

1 teaspoon of chilli (or more if you like spice)

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon of tomato puree

1 red or yellow pepper

It is really a one pot dish.

Add all the ingredients listed into one large saucepan and bring to a boil. Once it has been brought to a boil, turn down and leave it to simmer for around 10 minutes.

If you have not spirallized the carrots but opted to chopped the carrots, it may take longer due to the vegetables needing to soften.

Serve pipping hot with some rice on the side.

I hope you enjoy it.

 

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12 Days of Lush Products Review

Lush is one of my favourite companies. Their products are never tested on animals and best of all…most of their products are vegan friendly. So obviously this year I asked for a lot of lush products for Christmas as well as purchasing a few bits beforehand to get myself ready for this holiday period! So here are my verdicts of 12 Lush Products tested over 12 days.

The products I used were are all vegan and are listed below:

  1. I Love Juicy (Shampoo)
  2. Grease Lightening Spot Treatment
  3. 9 to 5 (cleanser)
  4. Tea Tree Water (Toner)
  5. Veganese (Conditioner)
  6. Dirty Springwash (Shower Gel)
  7. Eyes Right (Mascara)
  8. Rose Jam (Bath bar)
  9. Ro’s Argan (Body conditioner)
  10. Golden Wonder (Bath bomb)
  11. Butterball (Bath bomb)
  12. Star Dust (Bath bomb)

 

I Love Juicy Shampoo

This smells like tropical fruits in a bottle. Afterwards, my hair has never felt so fresh and clean. It lathers easily when using which means you only need a little amount so I am pretty sure this bottle will last me a good few months. I would happily recommend this product as its a great everyday shampoo which has left my hair feeling refreshed and soft.

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Grease Lightening Spot Treatment

This is a gel like formula which one should apply to your area of need. It does soothe my area of irration but I am yet to see it work. I think its perhaps a product which needs to be used regularly to see a difference but I will defiantly keep up with it and hopefully be able to update you all later.

9 to 5 cleanser

I love this product. Usually cleansers dry my face out or feel too greasy to use but this product leaves my skin feeling soft and clean. It is visible when you use a cotton pad to apply that this product works as you can visibly see the dirt collected on your skin over night or at the end of the day when you apply the cleanser then you can simply wash it off with warm water. Over the few days of using it, my pores do look visibly reduced so this is a keeper in my skincare routine from now on.

Tea Tree Water (Toner)

Simple and easy to apply. Simply spray and rub into your skin. It makes my facial preparation in the morning a lot quicker and I love the smell of tea tree. Usually with toners, I find them a little to harsh on my skin but this product has not caused any redness or dryness so its a keeper. However, I think this product works well for those prone to spot break outs as the tea tree certainly calms this area of my skin down but I can imagine it to be a little too harsh on those without this problem so perhaps look into other toners available at Lush.

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Veganese

I don’t use conditioner every time I wash my hair but use it once or twice a week. Veganese is such a light conditioner and it really does soft and moisture my hair leaving it silky smooth. I purchased the smallest bottle which will last me a while but I did find I had to use more than my regular conditioner so if you are a more regular user of conditioner this may be a more expense investment but I did find the my hair had more of a gloss look to it.

Dirty Springwash

This shower gel was perfect after a long day or that sweaty work out. It left me feeling so fresh and clean. My skin was smooth and smelt of spearmint, one of my favourite smells. After a workout or a long day I found this nourished and helped relax my muscles too which is more than I could have for in a shower gel. I would certainly recommend this to all my fitness fans out there.

Eyes Right Mascara

Who would have thought a brand so known for bath and shower products does make up and perfume too. The mascara comes in quite a small bottle which I was worried would not last me too long but I may be mistaken. Each time I have applied it, there have been no clumps in the mascara and has a big affect making my eyelashes look bigger. It easily lasts all day… the only downside is that it is not waterproof.

Rose Jam

What can be better when you purchase one lovely smelling bath bar to be told to twist and spilt it into two halves so you can use it twice. After a long week, I simply placed this in a warm bath and the room came alive with a sweet smell which then lasted on my skin through the whole of the next day which I was not complaining about. If you love the smell of flowers this was certainly is for you.

Ro’s Argan

If you liked the Rose Jam, this is a perfect body conditioner to use more often than the bath bar with the same beautiful smell. Simply apply it to your skin and wash out and dap your skin dry. I could not use this product everyday but perhaps more like once a week leaving my skin stay smooth and radiant. You only need a small amount to get this desired result so while the pot may seem expensive, it is most definitely long lasting.

Golden Wonder

A gold present bath bomb! Gilter and everything you expect from its gold exterior. The sweet sense of orange fills the room but you suddenly become surprised by the bright blue interior that fizzes away. This is definitely a great Christmas present for anyone who loves lush and I hope they bring it back next year!

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Butterball

Compared to all the fun coloured bath bombs at lush this one may get simply overlooked by being a plain white sphere or at christmas it shaped as a bear. However, your missing out especially given the winter season. I notice when it starts to get colder, my body seems to become a little drier so I decided to give this ago as recommend by the sales assistant. I am so grateful he did as my skin has never felt so silky and smooth and full of moisture. My dry skin has disappeared but the only downside is that bath can become a little bit of a hazard as it turns very slippery.

Star Dust

This was given to me as part of a gift set (along with golden wonder) which was beautiful wrapped as typical of lush gifts. The smell is not overwhelming but quite calming and turns the water a beautiful aqua blue colour. It has specks of colour in it which by the end of bath meant I had to clean it out throughly. I was not overly impressed but if you like vanilla then this may be one for you try.

 

Mushroom and Tomato Pasta

Mushroom and Tomato Pasta

I have never been a fan of pasta but since I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance I decided to explore it again and I came across a fantastic quinoa and pea pasta which is high in protein and super nutritious as well as tasting far from the pasta I had previously with a more nutty flavour. So since then I have been experimenting with quick and simple pasta sauces to add more flavour to this stable ingredient and my result was this perfect quick and simple mushroom and tomato sauce which I truly believe you cannot go wrong with.

Serves 1
Difficulty: Very easy

Ingredients:
85g Pasta (quinoa or brown rice pasta is a great gluten free alternative here)
125g spinach
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of oregano
1 garlic clove
50g tomato purée
1 tablespoon of miso
230g chestnut mushrooms
200g cherry tomatoes

Firstly, boil the pasta in hot water. Different pastas will take different times to cook so check the label but brown rice pasta usually takes about 20 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, a little water to a pan with your cherry tomatoes (cut into halves) and chopped up chestnut mushrooms (into slices) and diced garlic.

Also this to simmer away until your mushrooms look tender and your tomato skins start to peel away. Then add your tablespoon of miso paste with your oregano and chilli flakes.

After allowing to cook for a few minutes to absorb the flavours add your tomato purée and stir in. Lastly add your spinach which will dramatically reduce down in the pan.

By this time your pasta should be ready so simply drain the boiling water and add the pasta to the sauce so it can absorb the flavours of the miso and spices.

Serve up in a nice pasta bowl and you have yourself a quick but delicious tea perfect for the weekdays after a long day at work.

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Quick Quinoa Pizza Crust

Pizza ! A stable on most people menu seen as an indulgent treat which also has an unhealthy stigma attached to it. Well that last bit can certainly be change. My quinoa crust pizza base is so indulgent but is a super healthy and gluten free alternative ! It’s super easy to make and you only need a good quality food processor.
Time to make: 35 minutes

Difficulty: Easy to medium
Ingredients to make one small/medium pizza for one:

95g of quinoa

20ml of apple cider vinegar or the juice of one whole lemon

1 teaspoon of Oregano

1 teaspoon of hot chilli flakes

1 and half tablespoon of tomato purée or if you are feeling the need for some spice I can strongly recommend Harissa

Then your choice of topping – spinach, pepper, tomatoes, olives, rocket, mushrooms. FullSizeRender.jpg

The list is endless, versatile and is all down to personal taste.
First step is vital and one usually most people forget. Soak the quinoa in water for at least 9 hours – the water should be around 1cm higher than the quinoa in the bowl and just leave it in the fridge overnight and the next day.

After that time, drain off any excess water but usually I find there is hardly any. Pour the quinoa, apple cider vinegar, oregano and chill flakes into the food processor and use until a smooth paste is formed.

This usually takes around 5-10 minutes.

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and pour the batter on the baking tray.

Using the back of a knife carefully shape and flatten the batter to resemble your pizza crust. It’s up to you what shape and how thick you want it but I usually go for a little bit bigger than a one pound coin thickness.

Cook this at 190 degrees fan for 15 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven, spread on your base (tomato purée for instance) and add your topping.

You can either eat this raw or return it to the oven for another five minutes. The choice is yours or either steam your toppings and add once the pizza base is completed in the oven.

Then enjoy. It’s a very simple and quick recipe to transform your beloved favourite recipe and as its healthy you could have it more than once a week!

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Balance 

I was recently at an event when one person approached me and asked “I thought you would be wearing your trainers?” This certainly got me thinking.
There was a time when I would have agreed. Having an eating disorder meant that I got stressed very quickly when I did not do my regular exercise routine everyday so I would always be in gym kit but this was not the correct balance to strike with exercise at all. It resulted in my ability to never wear gym kit as even walking up the stairs would wear me out.

Now however, I have found the balance which I think is so difficult for many people to find in some aspect of their life for me this was a mental balance involving exercise for some balance is crucial in a physical aspects such as balancing on a tightrope. Either way, one needs to achieve a middle point which might be hard to achieve.

After much education and learning to look after my only body I have. I discovered it needs rest as much as it needs the odd run or gym session in the week. It also needs a lot of fuel from food to keep going on both days which you do and do not exercise. Without either of these two objectives we cannot achieve our personal bests or even perform an exercise routine well. This might seem common sense to you but my mind was very distorted and I simply find it difficult to find the right amount of exercise to amount of food needed.

So I think it’s vital to learn not to go over board with fitness but really fine tune your ears to listen to what your body needs on a regular basis. Once you have found that perfect balance for you, it’s a great foundation for perhaps pushing yourself that little bit further on your next run but not overdoing it to cause harm.

So that’s why I have this mentality:

Listen to your body !

Nourish it and finally …

Love your body !

These simple steps certainly made my exercise routines more purposeful, fun and enjoyable. It also provides a great platform for someone who wants to get into exercise so find your equilibrium and enjoy it.

Cruelty Free Make up Brushes

I am not a big fan of using my dogs fur to apply my make up are you ? But so many brands out there are happy to supply us with make up brushes commonly made from squirrel, horse, mink hair.

Every year, millions of these animals are slaughtered, captured, beaten or skinned alive just so you can have that perfect brush to apply your make up on a regular basis. While the United Kingdom does have strict animal cruelty laws, many countries which we import such goods from don’t.

There is NO need to have real animal hair in your make up brushes as there are so many high end synthetic brushes for us to choose from. BareMinerals, a well known brand still use pony and goats hair and so does MAC.

I strongly recommend EcoTools or The Body Shop. Both brands are relatively cheap and are high quality. The brushes are soft and feel luxurious on your skin.The Body Shop facial powder brushes are extremely soft on your skin, while their eye makeup brushes give you good control to perfect your eyeshadow. Even better are the fact that Ecotools donate part of their revenues to helping the environment and their packaging is recyclable.DSC_0372.JPG

They both are synthetic so thats right, no animals are harmed in the making and they apply make up the same or even better quality than those brands made with animal hair. So my question is why are people fuelling these businesses with demand for animal hair make up brushes ? There simply isn’t any need and most of the time people are not even aware about what hairs are in their make up brush as long as it does the job. I think its time these industries stopped using animals in this manner especially when the alternative is just as good or even better.