Thursday, 16 April 2015

My Top 10 Smoothie Add Ins

Top 10 Smoothie Add Ins | The Road to Less Cake


Spring has well and truly sprung and I for one am absolutely loving it! Hello, sunshiney days, good bye cold winter days! My bowls of porridge for breakfast have been turning into jars of smoothies.

I'm so happy the warmer weather is here. I've even been hitting the gym before work on a morning with a friend and whipping myself up a smoothie the night before to drink after my workout. I've had a few strange looks and comments from my colleagues about my breakfast. Just wait until I take a green one into work!

In light of my new found love for smoothies again I thought I would share my top 10 smoothie add ins. I've included a few Amazon Associates affiliate links to some of the products and brands I like to use in case you want to check them out.

1. Ground/milled Flaxseed - Flaxseed was the first 'superfood' that I tried and I picked it because of its omega-3s to help my eczema. I also love its yummy nutty taste. Linwoods is my favourite brand. They have plain milled flaxseed, as well as a few flavoured flax blends.

2. Nut Butters - I try to add protein to my smoothies to keep me fuller for longer, which I try to keep natural like in the creamy, dreamy Date Oat and Almond Smoothie and the fruity Cherry Bakewell Protein Smoothie. I love how creamy nut butters make smoothies. My favourite is almond butter, which I often buy in bulk or a big tub, but I also love peanut butter.

3. Chia Seeds - Like flaxseed, I love chia seeds for their omega-3s, but one of my main reasons for adding them to my smoothies is that they thicken them. I'm a big fan of smoothies I have to eat with a spoon. I'm not so keen on thin smoothies, I'd rather have a fresh juice

4. Hemp Protein Powder - My go to protein powder is hemp, which I also bake with and make banana bread as well as smoothies. I have a unflavoured bag from My Protein and recently I have been loving the GOOD Hemp Nutrition Strawberry Flavour

5. Maca Powder - Made from a Peruvian root vegetable, I find maca helps to clear my eczema, making it less inflamed and dry once I started taking it. I think is is because maca decreases sensitivity, and my skin is very sensitive, and is is said to reduce stress, which is a trigger for my eczema. My two favourite brands of maca are Naturya and Organic Burst.

6. Raw Cocao Powder - Sometimes I want a chocolatey smoothie because who doesn't? Usually I blend it up with some peanut butter not only for the protein kick but because it is super yummy. I use raw cocao powder over cocoa powder because it contains magnesium, which has an anti-inflammatory property. As some who suffers from both eczema where my skin gets inflamed and hyper-mobility where my joints are too flexible and things can get inflamed, I try to get enough magnesium in m diet. And if that comes in a delicious chocolatey powder then that is good by me. This is my favourite brand of cocao powder.

7. Spirulina - This is the latest add in that I have been trying on the recommendation of my nutritional therapist. You'll probably have gathered a theme by now but most of the smoothie add ins I choose are to help my dry skin and eczema and research has shown that spirulina can help with itching (source) and as you can probably gather, having eczema means I can get itchy and I will happily try things that will reduce my need to scratch.

8. Goji Berries - So this more of a topper than an add in. Besides making the top of my smoothies look pretty, I like the bittersweet taste of goji berries and it doesn't go a miss that they are full of those lovely little antioxidants.

8. Cocao Nibs - I love sprinkling cocao nibs on top of my smoothies because they add crunch. And like the raw cocao powder them full of magnesium. As well as sprinkling them on top, you could stir or quickly blend the nibs into a smoothie so they are more like chocolate chips. 

10. Avocado - As I've already said, I love thick smoothies and avocados are a super easy way to thicken a smoothie, plus they're full of lots of healthy fats to help keep me full and give my skin and body the monounsaturated fats it needs.

What are you favourite smoothie add ins? 
Tell me below.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

My Favourite Youtube Yogis

Happy Easter weekend everyone!

Hands up if you've got a long weekend because it's Easter? Now hands up if you don't have a long weekend and have to work it? *Puts hands up!* For some reason it seems like a lot of Scottish companies, well certainly the ones J and I work for, don't do public holidays. So we've just got the usual Saturday and Sunday off instead of a four day weekend. But we get extra annual leave days instead, so we're taking some time off next week to go down to England to see family and friends.

Five Fab Youtube Yogis | The Road to Less Cake
[Source]
I've been practicing yoga for a few years now after I got into it through a friend who is an avid yogi. Although I've been doing yoga for about three years, I am no means am I an expert, I'm more of a wannabe yogi. Sometimes I just fly solo and do a few sun salutations or stretches but most of the time I follow a routine.

I started doing Pilates before diving into yoga as my mum had taken a few classes and I decided to join her and really enjoyed them. And although I do Pilates every now and again, and once, sometimes twice, a week I got to a body balance class, which is a mix of yoga and Pilates, I have found yoga more beneficial for me.

Yoga has helped me recover after a car accident. It helps to keep me flexible and stretches me out. It opens my body and mind. I've found it is a great stress relief and helps me after I've finished work because I've been sat a desk all day. And probably one of the most important things, it has taught me to be kind with myself.

So today I'm sharing some of the fab YouTube yogis whose routines I get my downward dog on to.

1. Tara Stiles

My yogi friend recommended I check out some of Tara Stiles videos and ever since then I have become a huge fan of the 'yoga rebel' . I love how she makes yoga approachable for everyone. I follow her Youtube routines, have some of her DVDs and her new book. She also has videos on the Be Fit and Livestrong Woman YouTube channels as well as her own. Tara is probably the yogi I always go back to.


2. Sarah Beth Yoga

What I like about Sarah Beth is she had some great routines targeted to stretching and/or toning specific areas. As I have super tight hips after my car accident, I love her hip opening routines. What I also like about Sarah Beth is that she has routines of different lengths whether you want a 10, 20 or 30 minute flow.


3. Yoga by Candace

I found Candace when I was looking for a flow to do at my desk during my lunch break and I like that she has routines that you can do at work or after travelling.



4. Yoga With Adriene

Adriene is the latest yogi I've been following on Youtibe, If you're wanting a longer flow then Adriene is your girl. She has some great routines that are an hour long. Adriene also has some shorter routines, as well as ones for your specific needs and wants - weight loss, detox, morning yoga.


5. Pysche Truth


The Pysche Truth channel has a number of videos from massage techniques to work outs and yoga routines. They post new videos every day and have several yoga instructors who share routines. They have a real range of yoga videos and if you're a beginner they have lots of routines for you to chose from. 




All these five accounts are awesome. I typically change it up during the week between whose videos I am getting my flow on to depending on my wants, needs and time schedule. 

Who are your favourite Youtube yogis? 

Is there an awesome channel that I should be subscribed to that I'm not?

What are you favourite YouTube fitness channels?

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Slices

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Slices. Crunchy, chocolatey slices with a hint of PB and only using four ingredients | The Road to Less Cake

Hello, lovely Internet friends. It's nearly Easter, so today I'm comin' atcha with a naughty but nice chocolaty recipe.

When I was a little girl Mum and I would often make crispy cakes for Easter or for me to take to bake sales at school...and today, I've gone one step further and added peanut butter. Oh, yeah!

Is there any better combination that chocolate and peanut butter? Maple and pecan? Date and walnut? Cranberry and orange?

I digress. Chocolate and PB is always a winning combo and it is delish in a crispy cake...a little hint of PB with the regular chocolatey, crunchy goodness of those slices I used love as a kid. Ummm....yes. please.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Slices. Crunchy, chocolatey slices with a hint of PB and only using four ingredients | The Road to Less Cake

You know how listening to a song can bring back memories? You hear it on the radio, you start singing (and maybe dancing a little too if you're anything like me) and whoosh and you're suddenly transported back to a happy time. Well, I think food does that too.

Certain foods remind me of certain times. Not only does this recipe remind me of baking with my mama, it reminds me of my first year of uni and how my housemates and I bonded and made friends.

It was in our first few weeks at uni, it might have been been the first week, and instead of going out one night we decided to stay in, watch a movie and get to know each other. Someone had the great idea of making snacks while we watched the movie. Being put in a house with people you don't know is strange and a bit daunting...but chocolate totally breaks the ice!

It then became a thing and we went through a phase of making crispy cakes to munch on while huddled round one of our laptops to watch a movie.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Slices. Crunchy, chocolatey slices with a hint of PB and only using four ingredients | The Road to Less Cake

These crispy slices are so ridiculously easy to make.

All you need is four ingredients - chocolate, peanut butter, honey (or agave if you want to make the recipe vegan friendly) and puffed rice cereal.

All you do is melt the chocolate, swirl in the peanut butter and honey or agave, take the mixture off the heat, mix in the cereal, pour into a traybake tin and pop it in the fridge to set. That simple!

Fast foward a few hours and you're left with a delicious, chocolaty, crunchy treat that you made in no more than 10 to 15 minutes.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Slices. Crunchy, chocolatey slices with a hint of PB and only using four ingredients | The Road to Less Cake
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Slices. Crunchy, chocolatey slices with a hint of PB and only using four ingredients | The Road to Less Cake

This is a recipe you're gonna want to share with everyone around you because it is so good. I mean sure, it'd be tempting to squirrel them away and munch them all by yourself, but everyone will want to be your friend if you whip a batch of these no-bake slices.

I love cooking and baking for others and it is one of my favourite things about becoming a food blogger. I not only get to share my recipes with my loved ones, I get to share them with the whole world and make awesome new Internet friends who live all across the planet.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Slices. Crunchy, chocolatey slices with a hint of PB and only using four ingredients | The Road to Less Cake


You could totally mix things up with these no-bake slices. If you didn't want to use puffed recipe cereal you could use cornflakes or shredded wheat. My uni friends and I often used to use shredded wheat when we made crunchy cakes. It turns them into more of a flaky bark than a crispy cake or slice. But the're still really good.  

I used dark chocolate, but you could use any chocolate you want. I'm actually tempted to try adding a little white chocolate to the recipe. What do you think? Is that something you'd like to see?

If you're not a peanut butter kinda gal or guy then use any nut butter you love. I think almond butter would be fab. I used smooth PB, but you could use crunchy PB to add more bite. And if you don't want to add any nut butter then go down the classic chocolate crispy route or maybe throw in a handful of raisins or other dried fruit?

I made my crispy slices in a traybake tin for ease but you could easily make them in cupcake cases for a cute little Easter treat for your friends and family.

And with that said...have fun and go make a batch. 

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Slices. Crunchy, chocolatey slices with a hint of PB and only using four ingredients | The Road to Less Cake

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Slices

by Nikki Mitchell
Prep Time: 10 - 15 mins
Cook Time: No Bake
Keywords: refrigerate no bake snack dessert diary-free gluten-free oil-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat-free chocolate peanut butter rice cereal

Ingredients (20 Slices)
  • 300g (10.5oz) dark chocolate
  • 3/4 cup (190g) smooth peanut butter
  • 4 cups (160g) wholegrain puffed recipe cereal
  • 1/3 cup honey (110g) or agave
Instructions
  • Over a pan of hot water melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl on a light heat.
  • Once the chocolate is melted, add the peanut butter and honey to the bowl and melt them with the chocolate.
  • Take the bowl of the heat, pour in the puffed rice cereal and mix so the cereal is evenly coated.
  • Pour the mixture into a greased 12" x 9" tray bake tin or line it with baking parchment.
  • Leave the crispy cake to cool. Then place it in the fridge to firm up for at least an hour. I usually make it the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight.
  • Carefully remove the crispy cake from the tin and cut into 20 slices.
  • The crispy slices will last a few days stored in the fridge.
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What recipes bring back happy memories for you?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Moroccan Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I have a confession to make. Ok, that makes it sound really bad and it's not. It's more of an insight into my inner workings than a confession. When I'm cooking or cleaning I put my music on and sing and dance.

I wish I could say it was some amazing classical or jazz music that I listen to, but it is usually the latest pop release as that's usually what I download for when I'm working out. I needs me a good beat for the gym.

James often laughs at me for singing at the top of my voice with my headphones on. And when I was in uni my housemates often used to walk into the kitchen to me busting a few moves and singing away.

But seriously Katy Perry makes cleaning the bathroom go so much faster and makes it so much more fun. And Taylor Swift is the perfect accompaniment to cooking. I think my neighbours must think I'm barmy as I'm often bopping and twirling away in the kitchen while I whip something up or wash the dishes.

I'm all about sharing this week. If you didn't catch Tuesday's post, I shared some more facts about me.

So, anyone else agree that music makes cooking and cleaning more fun?

Please tell me someone else does this. Someone else agree? Please.


Sweet and spicy stuffed peppers with warm Moroccan spices. They're gluten-free, vegetarian and can be made vegan | The Road to Less Cake

Hello, sweet and spicy stuffed peppers.

These are one of my favourite weeknight meals to cook. They're super simple to make and are filled with lots of flavourful ingredients - fluffy quinoa, kidney beans, juicy sultanas and crunchy flaked almonds with warm Moroccan spices like cinnamon and paprika. Nom!

The sweetness of the peppers and little bursts of sultanas works beautifully with the spices. They're not blow your head off hot, like the curried sweet potato and carrot soup, they're midly spiced to add depth and flavour. But as always, you can tailor the recipe to suit you.

Sweet and spicy stuffed peppers with warm Moroccan spices. They're gluten-free, vegetarian and can be made vegan | The Road to Less Cake

Coincidentally, this week happens to be Meat Free Week. I didn't realise this when I had planned to share the recipe for these babies this week. I've just seen a lot of people Tweeting recipes under the hashtag #MeatFreeWeek.

So, although it wasn't intentional, this my wade in for MFW.

Although I'm not meatless anymore, I still eat a lot of vegetarian and vegan meals and this is one that the hubs-to-be and I both really enjoy it. Tbh, it is probably my favourite meat-free meal at the moment.

The recipe is vegetarian but can be made both vegan and dairy-free. It's also naturally gluten and wheat free.

Moroccan-Quinoa-Stuffed-Peppers

If you can resist gobbling these all up by yourself and want to share them with your loved ones they serve four to eight or two really hangry monsters.

If you want them as a main meal, I'd recommend at least two per person. For lunch with a nice, big green salad on the side one would be perfect. 

They'd also be great for a party or get together with friends.We like to have friends round for movie nights and a few drinkies and I usually like to serve some food that people can grab while watching films. I've totally turned into my mother in that sense. She loves to feed people who come to our house. Everytime we have a party or a gathering at my folk's house, Mum always says she's not going to put on much food, and everytime there is always lots of food. And do you know what that means? Leftovers for lunch the next day. Yay!

Back to these delicious stuffed peppers. If your watching a movie or even sports with friends, these would be great to serve for your nearest and dearest along with some salad and dips. They'll make their tummies happy. 

And FYI the peppers are fab with a dollop of hummus on the side to dunk mouthfuls in. Trust me.  

Sweet and spicy stuffed peppers with warm Moroccan spices. They're gluten-free, vegetarian and can be made vegan | The Road to Less Cake

They may not look it, but these beauties are really filling and contain about 6g per stuffed pepper half. So if you have two for your main mean that is 12g of protein. I think that is pretty good. Don't you? Not only do they leave my best buds tingling afterwards and they leave my belly nice and satiated. Win!

I like to crumble on some tangy feta, which ups to protein intake again. The slight saltiness of the feta sets off the sweetness of the peppers and the aromatic spices. You could top with any cheese you like or if you're vegan or dairy-free (I'm dairy-free but I can tolerate a little sheep and goat milk) then forgo the cheese and just dig in.

I also like to get a bit fancy pants and sprinkle on some freshly chopped herbs on top of them. It's not essential but I think it makes them look pretty. 

Sweet and spicy stuffed peppers with warm Moroccan spices. They're gluten-free, vegetarian and can be made vegan | The Road to Less Cake

Moroccan Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Sweet and spicy stuffed peppers with warm Moroccan spices. They're gluten-free, vegetarian and can be made vegan | The Road to Less Cake
by Nikki Mitchell
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 - 40 mins
Keywords: roast lunch dinner gluten-free diary-free low-sodium nut-free oil-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat-free pepper, kidney beans, quinoa
Ingredients (Serves 4 - 8)
  • 4 bell peppers
  • 2 cups (approx 370g) cooked quinoa
  • 1 can (400g/14oz) tinned kidney beans in water, drained
  • 6 spring onions (aka green onions, scallions)
  • 400g (14oz) passata or tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas or raisins
  • 2 tablespoons flaked/sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cayenne pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g feta cheese (Optional - skip to keep recipe vegan)
Instructions
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Chop the peppers in half, de-seed them and lay them on a baking tray.
  • Slice the spring onions.
  • Mix the cooked quinoa, drained kidney beans, spring onions, sultanas or raisins, flaked almonds, cinnamon, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic cloves together in a large bowl with the passata or chopped tomatoes.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly into the chopped peppers.
  • Crumble the feta on top. Skip this step to keep the recipe vegan.
  • Cook the peppers for 30 to 40 minutes until they start to soften and blacken.
  • Once cooked, top the peppers with chopped fresh herbs like coriander/cilantro or parsley and a crumble on a little extra feta if you fancy it.
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