Tag Archives: food

Getting the balance right with Diets, Fitness & Health

17 Jan

Reading an article in the Irish Times this morning made me rethink the chats I’ve had with friends and customers over the last few weeks pre and post Christmas about health, fitness and weight loss. Everyone has gone gym-crazy and is back to the grindstone, drinking green tea and not having treats, not drinking for two weeks or three weeks then back on it again in a few days.

Where is the balance though?

I think that when people say they don’t have the time or the energy, it’s all down to lack of motivation, and that lack of motivation isn’t helped by processed foods, which are loaded with salt, sugar and additives and are not exactly mood-boosting. SO in an effort to start on the best foot forward and not detox myself silly, I think I’m going to look at my general health overall and start from there from this year forward.

I did kettlebells and resistance training in Barcelona for a few years and found it great for my overall strength and fitness. It made me not want to eat crap food, sounds like a joke but it’s true, Your body doesn’t want bad food if you treat it properly. Treats yes, but constant sugar and salt fixes just make you look and feel..well…sick. So maybe that’s the trick make yourself feel strong and start there.

I try and do a mix of exercises each morning- setting the clock 30 minutes early- and do a mix of crunches, leg-lifts, gentle arm exercises with dumb bells, lunges, squats with weights and some stretches or basic yoga moves. I didn’t do this last week and can really feel the difference in my motivation levels overall. I find it’s also good to write down what you have done each day or week to see a pattern in mood change and energy levels.

This evening I’ll go for a light run and again once before the weekend, but not for too long and not too high-impact yet. I think if you start too hard, the next step feels like too much of an effort. Build up the resistance slowly and you’ll start to feel like you need to work harder. There’s no point in doing the same class every week if you don’t put yourself into it. You might as well be sitting on the sofa to be honest if you are not pushing yourself a little further each week.

Zumba with my mate Ciara starts next Monday too so I won’t do any morning exercises Monday as I want to save my energy for the class that evening. In the mean time, I’ll try avoid any extra chocolate or sweets or sugar in my food and opt for something with a little more protein and iron and vitamin b which is great for when you need that extra spark. Not going overboard just everything in moderation. Oh and it’s good to grab a buddy when you go exercise as it’s makes it more silly and fun and easier to be motivated.

I’m not saying what I do is right, but it is healthy and I don’t advocate that everyone should look a certain way by any means, but I do know that you can’t cheat your body – it knows you and you know it, and only you really know when you have that ‘I feel great’ feeling in your tummy. To me, that’s healthy.

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recipe #12 perfect fluffy american pancakes

9 Oct

need:

3 large eggs

120g flour

150ml milk

1 tsp baking powder

teeny pinch of salt

make:

separate the eggs, put whites in one bowl and yolks in the other

add the flour, baking powder and milk and mix together to make a really smooth batter

in the other bowl whisk the whites with the pinch of salt until they form peaks

fold the egg whites into the batter mix and whisk together

heat a pan to medium, grease with some butter

pour in some of the pancake mixture and heat for a few minutes

when it’s almost golden, add whatever mixture you want, chocolate, bananas etc..

cook until golden…

(note: the ones i made in the pictures were a little lighter than the recipe above)

Best of Barcelona, ssh! it’s a secret…

21 Sep

Sightseeing in Barcelona


So you have the guidebook, so you know what you need to see…Well here’s my best of  if you are stuck for time in Barcelona, in no particular order….

Parc del Laberint d’Horta
This is as the name suggests, a giant labyrinth. Made me feel like I was in a lovely film, running around trying not to get lost. Beautiful gardens, crumbling Arabic mansion, and no city sounds…wonderful. p.s. I’ve lived in Barcelona for 4 years and I just discovered this beauty last weekend. It’s a weirdly not-rounded-up €2.17.

The Magic Fountain
This is a must see, but make sure to check the website before you make the journey. It’s roaring classical music meets lights, lasers and romance. Oh and it doesn’t cost a thing.

Mar Bella Beach
Forget the dirty touristic beach that sits on the end of the promenade. Go a little further, and meet the real 20 somethings of Barcelona. Great music, cleaner water and lots of bronzed bodies.

Walks

Gaudi
Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, Fountains in Parc De la Cuitadella, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo…they are all in the guidebook for for good reasons.

El Gothic
Windy streets, lots of tourists, roman ruins, big squares, lots of cafes and bars, souvenir shops, shady characters, cheap raybans, hippy clothes will all leave you with the distinct feeling you’ve just been on holiday…Check out Plaza Trippy for some cosy but crazy nightlife.

La Rambla
It even has it’s own wiki page.

El Raval
Twisty, dirty streets, full of chaos, loud noises, large families, great museums, pickpocketers, lots of great bars, a huge mix of expats from all over the world..oh and lots of men offering cerveza beer and a whole concoction of other things. weird, a little smelly in places. But very Barcelona.

Gracia
This is real Barcelona, full of 20 somethings, always up for a good time, with fresh food markets, little quirky vintage boutiques and cosy little bars with great prices.

Camp Nou

One of the most famous reasons to visit Barcelona. This stadium is HUGE, and to be honest any ticket you get guarantees a good view of the guys in action.
Get your tickets here: Football Tickets Barcelona
These guys speak English, French, Spanish and German and have been doing this for years.

Bars

Timeline
Owned by the lovely Carla and Nina-both bilingual- this bar is sure to please. Decorated cleverly in, well, a timeline of clocks, vintage furniture, old school books as menus, delicious cocktails served in generous jam jars, oh and the most yummy patatas bravas you will find in Gracia..this is a great location to meet new friends, kick back, relax and watch the time go by..

Heliogabal
This is a gem if you are a big fan of little intimate bars with good music and cheap beer and vino. The crowd is a good mix of locals, and expats, usually only too happy to strike up conversation.

El Chatelet
This is one of my favs, they do great cocktails, there is always a good crowd and the atmosphere is second to none. The crowd is kind of trendy, but relaxed and chatty. Mostly locals.

Tapas

I think I should be on commission for Bitacora. Every time we have guests over, this is the one place that we always want to show off in. Fabulous tapas, served in a grungy FC Barcelona supporters bar. Rude writing on the bathroom walls, dirty napkin filled floors, but some of the most delicious food I have EVER tasted. eh..did I mention I think this place is pretty awesome??

Museums
Quirky, in the heart of Raval, surrounded by skaterboys and girls, is Macba, tattoos, kitch bars, and stark white surroundings, this is the heartbeat of the art scene in Barcelona. Keep an eye out for some great photography exhibits in the gallery there.

recipe#10 chocolate bread and butter pudding

4 Sep

need:

10 slices of one day old white sliced bread

200g of dark chocolate-over 75% cocoa

80g butter

450 ml whipping cream

130g caster sugar

3 medium eggs

pinch of cinnamon

Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding

make:

remove crusts from bread

cut into four triangles

gently heat chocolate, cream, sugar, butter and cinnamon until dissolved

stir all ingredients together

in another bowl, whisk eggs, then pour eggs over chocolate mix

pour half the chocolate and egg mix into greased ovenproof bowl

place half the bread triangles side by side over chocolate

pour almost all other half of chocolate on top of bread

add more bread again and finish off with more chocolate

press mix with fork to make sure all bread is coated and soggy

cover and leave to cool in fridge for up to 48 hours

when ready to cook, remove cover, preheat oven to 190 celsius

cook in middle shelf for about 30 mins

stand for ten mins to cool

dollop of whipped cream and a big cup of tea

recipe#9 spaghetti bolognese a la moi

28 Jul

need:

500g sirloin mince

1 chopped onion

3/4 garlic cloves crushed

tin chopped tomatoes

few tblsp passata

glass full-bodied red wine

few mushrooms chopped

two handfuls of cherry tomatoes

handful of ripped basil

chopped aubergine

make:

fry the mince in a heated pan on low heat with olive oil

when meat is frying for a few minutes, add red wine

chop garlic and onions and add to pan

add aubergine, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes

add tin of tomatoes and passata

leave to simmer for about an hour, longer if possible

boil the water, add oil and salt, then pasta

serve the meat sauce on a bed of pasta

sprinkle some ripped basil on top

serve with some fresh warm crusty bread

oh and a huge glass of nice red wine

enjoy 🙂

recipe #8 white chocolate & raspberry cheesecake

14 Jul

need:

200g crushed digestive biccies or ginger nuts

55g  melted butter

420g philadelphia cream cheese

55g caster sugar

1/2 lemon with zest and juice

350g chopped white chocolate

300ml whipped cream

250-300g raspberries

 

 

make:

crush biccies

stir in melted butter and press mixture into a greased cake tin

chill in fridge for 15 mins

whisk cheese, sugar, lemon zest and juice together

melt chocolate  and add to beated ingredients and fold in the cream

put some raspberries onto the base and pour half of the filling on top

repeat until filling is all used up and smooth the surface of the cake with a spoon

leave to chill overnight if possible

serve with fresh cream and raspberries and decorate with some lemon zest and a sprig of mint


 

recipe #7 yummy breakfast smoothie

6 Jul

need:

half can of low fat coconut milk

spoonful of good honey

half a glass of ice

handful of strawberries

half a banana

passionfruit

tablespoon of wheatgerm

 

 


make:

blend until smooth and enjoy

 

recipe #6 dippy guacamole

20 Jun

need:

2 kind of brown avocados

1 big clove of garlic

few slices of spring onion

juice of one lime

juicy bits of one vine tomato

half a handful of corriander

warm fresh ripped bread or

slices of cucumber or peppers to dip

make:

chop garlic, spring onions, corriander

slice avocados and remove seeds

half a tomato and squeeze out the juice

slice and juice lime

mash up avocado

mix lime and tomato juice

add garlic, onions and sprinkle the corriander

recipe #5 chewy no bake granola bars

8 Jun

need:

2 cups rice crispies
1 1/2 cups porridge
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup coconut, shredded
1/2 cup blueberries chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup organic honey
teaspoon vanilla essence

 

make:

mix together cereal, porridge, nuts, seeds, coconut and blueberries
heat the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in a small sauce pan
pour the  warm mixture over the cereal mixture and  mix well
pour mixture into a 9×13 container
press the mixture down firmly with moist finger tips
sprinkle the chocolate chips and press firmly
cover with cling film
leave to cool
cut into 24 little bars

recipe #4 lovely drunk chicken

1 Jun

need:

1 large chicken for roasting

1 large bottle of good white wine

rice

green bell peppers or some brocolli florets

sprig parsley

 

make:

preheat oven to 180 celsius.

place cleaned out naked chicken in a large roasting tin

pour in the bottle of wine

cover with tin foil loosely

put into oven for just under two hours

skewer and see when juices run clear

whack rice on to boil

remove tin foil and leave skin to crisp for ten minutes

add peppers to rice when cooked and some of the lovely juicy chicken wine goo

sprig of chopped parsley

and that’s how you make lovely drunk chicken