Itsu tasty

I popped into my Sainsbury’s local and lunchtime and always like to have a look which healthy treats they have on offer.

Their healthy snacking range is certainly growing for a busy village and a few products by a company called Itsu really stood out to me – especially the dark chocolate covered edamames. I however opted for something a little lower in calories and went for the Wasabi flavoured Crispy Seaweed Thins (£1)

These were a perfect little treat for a mid afternoon slump – although I was expecting the seaweed to be slightly saltier – which is one of the reasons I purchased as I effectively had a salty carb craving!

Instead they did taste a little fishy with a hint of wasabi but after the first thin they went down a treat and I would eat again – although I would probably keep an eye out for them being on offer as £1 is a little on the steep side for 5 pieces of seaweed.

The brand however got me a intrigued so I did a little research on them and it would appear that they have some restaurants / shops in London that sell healthy meal options with an Asian influence so expect plenty of noodles, soups and interesting ingredients and flavourings. So if you are London pop by… if you are from Itsu, get opening up North (specifically Yorkshire)!

Additionally they have an online store where you can purchase various goodies – you can also purchase a mixed box which includes the snacking range, seaweed, miso soup and rice cakes. Additionally the prices are reasonable for a health food range with thai noodle pots retailing at £12 for a pack of 6 and with decent nutritional stats they certainly are worth investigating!

Additionally you can purchase Itsu products from Sainsburys, Waitrose, Whole Foods, Patridges and Revital so I will keep an eye out

Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins

Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins

A roundup of 2013 & what to expect in 2014!

So 2014 is here… honestly 2013 I blinked and practically missed it! What a hectic but incredible year!

Firstly I completed my CAM Diploma in Marketing Communications – whilst thinking I may go slightly mad! We had a wonderful family holiday in Egypt, I got to travel to some amazing places for work (Chicago and Bangkok) and topped it off by creating an amazing new extension on the house that included a brand new kitchen (can you believe my husband almost made me keep the old one)! There’s a few pictures at the bottom of the post so you can have a nosey!

The downside to the latter half of 2013 is that my healthy eating and regular exercise took a massive hit – we had no kitchen for the best part of two months and my husband was also doing a lot of work himself on the house which meant I couldn’t get to my regular gym classes or do exercise at home as I had the kids to take care of and when we had free time it was to plan for the renovations or sleep. This was topped off with my husband getting made redundant at the beginning of December and us just thinking sod it let’s enjoy Christmas before we embark on the chaos of 2014!

We certainly enjoyed it – although my waistline certainly hasn’t and the last quarter of 2013 really ripped apart all my hard work that I had done with my diet (healthy eating) and ‘regular’ exercise.

As of now I weigh 64.8kg – at my lightest in 2013 (back in June) I was 60kg! I honestly cannot believe I have put almost 5kg (11lbs) on in that time!

Getting back into the swing of things has already started – I’ve already been to the gym 4 times this year and I start personal training tomorrow! Be sure to follow my blog to get some hints and tips if you are planning on beginning a fitness regime! The diet since the 2nd January is already much better (check MyFitnessPal), the amount of protein being consumed has increased whilst the fat and carbs has decreased (along with the alcohol)! So I am sure in no time at all things will be back to the way they were and more! I’m actually struggling with eating enough right now and trying to keep my macros and micros in check – if anyone has any input they can give on this it would be much appreciated!

Generally with a New Year come resolutions – I don’t tend to make them, I guess mine is the same each year… ‘try and be a better me’ that way I can focus on what I have achieved rather than what I haven’t. I feel that it is a much more positive way to think as it keeps you away from focusing on the negatives. If you have to set goals set smaller, more realistic ones that can be achieved slowly over time and gradually increase them.

My overall goal will be achieved through getting back into the swing of it eating and exercise wise and additionally I have signed up to complete a further CAM diploma – this time in Digital Marketing with a focus on Metrics and Analysis. I just love putting myself under pressure! BUT I’ve done it before and I can do it again and interestingly I came across a book called Spark that highlights the benefits of exercising whilst studying in order to retain information – it might explain why I got an A on my last and final assignment of my previous diploma!

The husband will also have a new job (yet to be confirmed where) but it is likely that he will need to undertake commuting which will be a big change for all of us – I expect we’ll get cranky with each other whilst we adjust, but we’ve been through much worse so this will be nothing in comparison!

2014 is also a significant year for us as it marks our son’s 10th birthday. I honestly can’t believe 10 years have passed since we lost him part way through my pregnancy so this year I want to do all I can to raise awareness as to babyloss along with raising funds for my chosen charity, Tommy’s! My husband will also be taking part in a ‘ScumRun‘ in May across Europe of which the beneficiary for the whole event is Tommy’s! So if you are a brand aimed at men who fancy providing some products to pop in some goodie bags or are interested in sponsoring the car please get in touch. Otherwise, if you are a reader of my blog and fancy sponsoring my husbands team it would be very much appreciated!! You can find the link here!

So here’s to 2014, I’m looking forward to taking you on!

kitchenKatrina Room

Katrina Beams

Katrina Room 2

 

 

Powdered Peanut Butter (PPB) Review

I was recently sent some samples of Powdered Peanut Butter to try – I have been wanting to try Powdered Peanut Butter for a good while but it is just something I never got round to. So when Hale Naturals – the company behind PPB® got in touch to ask if I would like to try their products I jumped at the chance!

Hale Naturals Powdered Peanut Butter

A lot of you are probably aware of PB2 – a US Version that has pretty much dominated the market when it comes to Powdered Peanut Butter – but now with Hale Naturals, we have our very own UK product, which is based in none other than the fabulous Yorkshire!

Hale Naturals offer three different versions of the PPB®. All priced at £6.50.

So why opt for Powdered Peanut Butter?

As we know Peanut Butter although high in protein is also quite high in fat (good fats mind!) so it means that we can only enjoy in very small quantities. Also the Peanut Butter brands that you are likely to pick up from supermarkets have added oils, salt, sugar and other nasties – I now buy Peanut Butter that is made from 100% Peanuts and nothing else and the taste is sensational!

BUT – having come across PPB® it now means I can enjoy a little more peanut goodness!

PPB® is made from ground roasted peanuts, with nearly all of the oil removed.. aka ‘a low fat powdered peanut butter’! PPB® is much lower in calories and fat than peanuts or peanut butter, yet it is higher in protein. This is great news for people trying to lose weight as protein helps people to feel fuller for longer and promotes the maintenance of lean muscle mass.

PPB® is very versatile. It can be used to add flavour to baked goods such as cookies and pancakes, as well as in marinades, sauces and dressings.

PPB® is naturally gluten free and it is good source of vitamin E, folate, fibre, niacin, magnesium and phosphorus. PPB® is low in carbohydrates which means that when blended with other flours, is perfect for making lower carb baked goods. PPB® is also a natural thickener and can be added to smoothies, stews, sauces and gravy.

To make peanut butter from PPB® simply mix 2 tbsp of peanut flour with 1 tbsp of either milk or water and mix. It tastes delicious on it’s on or with a dash of cinnamon, stevia or cocoa. PPB® plus milk or water doesn’t taste exactly like peanut butter but it’s pretty close, and some people actually PREFER the taste! Adding milk/water to PPB® also means that you are in control of how thick/creamy you make the consistency.

What does this mean in terms of nutritional value?

  • 100g of 100% Peanut Butter: 564 calories, 25.6g protein, 46.4g fat (8.2g saturated fat)
  • 100g of ‘Brand’ Peanut Butter: 614 calories, 25g protein, 48.9g fat (9.4g saturated Fat)
  • 100g of PPB: 445 calories, 41.9g protein, 13.6g fat (1.6g saturated fat) – flavour dependent

So as you can see PPB® comes out pretty well in the stats!

The only thing to consider is that the process has removed 70% of the oils (specifically good oils i.e. Vitamin E) and that small amounts of salt and sugar have been added. However, PPB® is a fabulous source of protein and is low in calories – so I say everything in moderation!

Round up

I was a little concerned to see salt and oil listed within the ingredients list after converting to 100% natural peanut butter (I have an avid dislike for unnecessary salt in foods) but after weighing up against eating far too much fat or having as a replacement product within cooking, PPB® does really come up trumps. I will still continue to use my regular 100% PB within my protein shakes as I love the crunchy texture which is what PPB® lacks and I want to ensure I am getting essential fats, but I will use PPB® when it comes to any recipes that require the addition of peanut butter in order to keep the overall fat content down.

Where can you buy PPB®?

You can PPB® either buy direct from the Hale Naturals website or alternatively from Amazon.

So how did I use it?

Well today I made some of the deserts listed on the Hale Naturals website.

I started with the Soft Protein Cookies – unfortunately mine looked nothing like the image on the Hale Naturals website and didn’t taste that great either but this could be down to the fact I used ground almonds instead of flaxseed as that is all I had.

PPB Protein Cookies

I shall try again!

Finally I made some Frozen Chocolate, Banana & PPB® Bites – these turned out a little better and are delish – perfect for a little treat when the munchies hit. Mine worked out at 59 calories per bite. The only thing I would suggest is pouring chocolate over the bites as opposed to rolling them in the chocolate as after 2 it started to destroy the chocolate and I ended up having to spoon chocolate onto the top of the bites – which means although edible the presentation doesn’t look as good!

PPB Bites

They have plenty of other recipes on the site – tomorrow I plan to try the Prawn Stir-Fry – this was tomorrows meal anyway but I’m looking forward to trying with PPB®!

Muscle Food Review

I have been wanting to try MuscleFood products for a good while and upon my return from Bangkok I did just that.

I have a Protein Discount Card and one of the offers included a MuscleFood Super Lean Meat Bundle for £55 – usual price £85!

This included the following…

• 2kg-2.3kg Chicken Breasts (15-18 breasts)
• 4 x 6-7oz Irish Grass Fed Sirloin Steaks
• 6 x 6-7oz Hache Steaks
• 1 x 500g Extra Lean British Beef Mince
• 1 x 500g Diced Turkey Pure Breast
• 1 x 400g Diced Lean Great British Beef
• 4 x 100g Prime Pork Loin Steaks
• 1 x  Award Winning Corn Fed Chicken 1.3kg

I also got a free 1L carton of Egg Whites using Protein Cards unique discount code too! RRP £4 (you can pay this for a pack less than half the size!) and a free pack of Sweet Thai  Protein Crisps RRP £1.75.

MuscleFood Order

Of course, MuscleFood promise to beat the supermarkets when it comes to value, so I did a little costing up…

For all the items I got above I had a look to see how much this would cost me at ASDA. I was able to source everything aside from the Hache Steaks which are available to buy in Waitrose. The total cost of this shop came to £88.04! £3.04 more than it would have cost at MuscleFood had I have not got the discount. So I actually saved a lot more by only paying £55 for this bundle – over £33 in fact! This does not include the free items!

BUT there is more…

The meats that come from MuscleFood have no added salt or water and therefore what you see is what you get and it means the meat goes a long way when it comes to cooking for a family or batch cooking. The chicken breasts are huge for example!

Delivery

The delivery comes at a day to suit you and are delivered in a tough exterior box with an insulated inner box which also have hydrated ice blocks placed within the order. Mine was delivered early on in the day but it was later in the evening before I was unable to unpack and still the ice packs were cold and in most parts still frozen. Delivery is within 24 hours but the boxes are designed to stay cool for 72 hours – just in case of any issues (which I haven’t experienced).

The items are also delivered in vacuum sealed bags aside from the hache steaks, which results in much less room needed in the fridge / freezer and a lot less packaging waste which means ordering from MuscleFood is a great way to stock up and made even more savings!

MuscleFood Box

MuscleFood Inner Box

MuscleFood also offer free delivery when you spend over £75, therefore I added an extra carton of egg whites and some duck breasts.

So far we have tried the following…

Minced Beef

We have been having minced turkey in our lasagnes as we were finding that supermarket mince beef was gristly and chewy. I made up a lasagne using MuscleFood‘s minced beef and it was amazing – the husband can be quite fussy when it comes to meat, but no complaints – he had a double helping!

Hache Steaks

The order arrived upon my return from Bangkok and looking for something tasty, quick and nutritious to make I opted for these. Served with grilled mushrooms and sweet potato wedges! The steaks didn’t lose any size whilst cooking and were unbelievably tasty! They were actually huge and I could have settled for half of one!

Duck Breasts

Again, a great size, didn’t shrink whilst cooking and had I have not cooked it for too long I imagine it would have tasted a million times better! The husband is better at cooking things like duck breasts and steak so I have asked him for a lesson!

Corn Fed Chicken

I admit I felt a little hesitant when receiving the chicken. I have never purchased a corn fed chicken before so obviously the colour of it looks a little strange to what I expect as standard from a chicken and also the fact that it was vacuum packed made the chicken look a little squashed. Although it tasted perfectly edible I’m not sure I can get my head around the colour and I kept checking whilst eating to ensure it was cooked through. Also it’s a push to feed a family of 4 from the breast, so I think I’ll be sticking to all the other meats from MuscleFood.

Corn Fed Chicken

Protein Crisps

I wanted to really enjoy these but unfortunately didn’t. I felt that they were quite dry and to some extent left a powdery texture in the mouth. It was only when getting to the bottom of the pack (I was hungry) that the taste of the Sweet Thai started to come through. Unfortunately they won’t be on any future orders so I’ll be sticking with the meat!

Protein Crisps

Egg Whites

Today I made some protein pancakes and used the carton of egg whites! Just as good as another brand available in Sainsbury’s and Tesco and much better value!

Fancy trying Muscle Food?

Click on any of the MuscleFood referral links or enter Referral Code KC13301 and you can choose from the following for free…

  • x4 Chicken Breasts
  • x4 Protein Crisps
  • x1 Protein Ready Meal OR
  • x1 Protein Bread

Give them a go… you won’t be disappointed!

www.musclefood.com

Indian Koftas – Recipe

We’ve actually had summer in England – or rather 2 weeks of summer which means the BBQ has been out!

Keen to experiment these were first on the agenda!

You should, I would imagine, already have these ingredients to hand as they are pretty much kitchen staples!

  • 1 Small onion (I used red)
  • 600g Lamb Mince
  • 2 Tbsp. Curry Paste
  • 2 Tbsp. Total Greek Yoghurt 0% Fat Free

Firstly pre-soak your skewers if using wooden ones.

Roughly chop the onion and place in a food process until finely chopped.

Add the mince and briefly chop the mince further.

Add the curry paste and Total Greek Yoghurt and mix well.

Divide the mixture into equal portions – I managed to make 10 decent sized Koftas with this mix (if you have a large number of guests you could probably get away with making 15-20 from this mixture) – and press and shape into sausage shapes.

Push through the skewer, ensuring the mixture holds its shape.

Leave to chill for at least 30 minutes – I chilled mine for a good few hours.

Pop on the BBQ and enjoy!

Just as a note – these aren’t overly spicy so are perfect for kids and those who aren’t a fan of spice. I really enjoyed them but the husband thought they were a little bland. To give it a kick add some fresh chillies to the mixture or up the serving of curry paste, which for his I shall do next time… extra spicy! He may just eat his words in future!

Indian Koftas

Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of them once cooked as we were too busy eating and chatting!

I served mine with a side serving of Tzatziki made as follows

  • Few tablespoons of Total Greek Yoghurt
  • Half a cucumber – diced
  • Tablespoon of lemon juice

Nutritional Information

  • 152 Calories per Kofta
  • 10.4g Fat of which 2.8 Saturates
  • 3.3g Carbs
  • 11.4g Protein

I may try this recipe next time with minced Turkey – if you do this changes the values to 101 calories per serving, 4.9g Fat, 2.1g Carbs and 12.1g Protein.

If you try it this way let me know what you think!

Banana & Peanut Butter Protein Ice Cream

Well I promised the recipe for the Banana Protein Ice Cream using my new protein powder from The Protein Works, so here it is!

This is surprisingly easy to make and it’s likely you will already have all the ingredients required to make this tasty little treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana – I used a fairly large one
  • 85g Cottage Cheese (I used Sainsbury’s Be Good to Yourself)
  • 1x Scoop The Protein Works Banana Diet Whey
  • 2 tbsp. Peanut Butter (I used Smooth Organic)

The addition of peanut butter is optional so there will be no issue with the ice cream should you decide to leave out. For my next batch I plan to add coconut!

Overall this makes 3 smallish tubs of ice cream i.e. around 90g of ice cream per pot. Which in my opinion is just enough to satisfy a sweet craving!

Put all in a blender and whizz up until smooth then transfer into suitable freezer containers and leave for about an hour for a easy scoop option or leave a bit longer if you like you’re ice cream fairly hard.

This takes less than five minutes to whizz up so perfect if you are in a rush but fancy a protein packed treat on your return from the gym!

Don’t forget if you use referral code KC18322 in the registration page of The Protein Works they will gift you with a free 250g pouch of their Whey Protein 80 in whichever flavour you fancy!

Nutritional Information (per individual serving)

  • 153 Calories (without peanut butter = 90 calories, whole quantity with PB = 457 calories)
  • 6.5g Fat (of which 1.7 Saturates)
  • 13.8g Carbs
  • 12.1g Protein

Enjoy!

Banana-Protein-Ice-Cream

Sweet Chilli Turkey Breast

Keen to reduce my fat and carb intake by upping foods with high nutritional content, turkey is always high on my agenda. For some reason I just prefer it to chicken!

So just having to cook for myself as my husband is away on business I wanted a light meal that I could quickly make whilst the kids were keeping themselves occupied.

I popped a turkey breast under the grill turning once and then adding a teaspoon of Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli I left it under the grill to keep warm whilst cooking some mushrooms on the griddle. I use KTC coconut oil when frying foods now as the body does require fats in order to absorb nutrients into the body, you just have to be careful as to the types of fat you put in.

I pop the mushrooms in a bowl whilst I add some kale to the griddle – no oil here.

I then plate up putting a scoop of Total 0% Fat Free Greek Yoghurt and topping the yoghurt with the mushrooms and hey presto! A quick, healthy low calorie dinner!

Right now I’m loving the various combinations British Turkey and Total Greek Yoghurt can offer whilst being healthy!

Ingredients and nutritional information at the end of this post!

Sweet Chilli Turkey

Ingredients

  • 1 Turkey Breast (125g)
  • 1 tsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 30g Chestnut Mushrooms
  • 50g Total 0% Fat Free Greek Yoghurt
  • 50g Kale

Nutritional Information

  • 272 Calories
  • 6g Fat
  • 7g Carbs
  • 45g Protein
  • Vit A – 33%
  • Vit C – 92%
  • Calcium – 15%

UV Saviour Smoothie

Well it won’t fully protect you like an SPF would, but it’s full of antioxidants known as lycopene which has been shown to help protect the skin from sunburn so there’s no harm in treating yourself to this delicious fruit smoothie!

So seen as though we have some fine English weather right now, why not whip one up?

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Mango (300g)
  • 1/2 Red Pepper(55g)
  • 1/2 Mandarin (I cheated and used 1/2 tin of mandarins as I couldn’t get hold of a fresh one)
  • 1/2 Carrot (mine were pretty small so I used a full one – 53g)
  • 2 Iceberg Lettuce Leaves (41g)
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • 200ml Water (I used water from my Brita filter jug)
  • I also added a shot of Teapigs Matcha to the individual servings to pack this full of even more antioxidants and to give myself an energy boost.

To make even cooler whilst you’re sitting in the sun add some crushed ice cubes!

Enjoy!

Serves 2

I know I try to avoid drinking calories where possible, but I find when the weather is nice I eat much lower calorie dishes, so no harm in drinking a few healthy calories – especially one that contains 3 of your 5 a day!

Nutritional Information

  • 185 Calories
  • Total Fat – 0.8g
  • Carbs – 43.6g
  • Dietry Fibre – 5.2g
  • Sugars – 35.1g
  • Protein 2.3g
  • Vit A – 88%
  • Vit C – 210.7%
  • Calcium – 0.2%
  • Iron – 2.7%

UV Smoothie

Danio – Finally a healthy yoghurt!

I came across Danio Yoghurts on the Nics Nutrition site after being completely lost in the world of yoghurts and which are / aren’t healthy for you!

Danio is a super thick, super tasty yogurt over a layer of delicious fruit on the bottom. The secret behind Danio‘s super thickness is that it’s made to Danone’s strained yogurt recipe which uses more milk than standard yogurts to make it amazingly thick and high in protein. Danio is produced by Danone’s yogurt experts in Poland.

Having popped into my Sainsbury’s Local I was delighted to see they were on a BOGOF deal although they only had the Blueberry variety – which isn’t a problem as I love Blueberries!

As soon as I got home I opened the pot. Thick, rich and creamy with a blueberry compote layer at the bottom which I soon mixed in with the rest of the yoghurt. The taste was divine and I certainly felt like I was eating something much naughtier than a high protein yoghurt!

The pot is a single serving of 160g which is just enough to be filling and not leave you wanting more – even though they do taste delicious! It really does fill a hole and reduces cravings for the bad stuff!

Danio offers a choice of six flavours including strawberry, blueberry, cherry, passion fruit, peach and raspberry with the strawberry pot starting at just 125 calories, the highest of which is Blueberry at 159 calories each containing 11.9g of protein per pot which is over double what other ‘healthy’ yoghurts in the market have to offer!

Danio are also offering a free pot just for tweeting #MakeMyBreak to @DanioUK. This is how I picked up my Strawberry pot which I had this morning! However I have just had a batch of Blueberry and Cherry delivered with my shopping this morning.

Can’t wait to try the Cherry flavour! Although I would love a honey option!

What do you think? Have any of you tried the other flavours? What flavours do you think they should add to the range?

Danio

Frozen Grapes

Now I have to admit, I pinched this recipe from Nic’s Nutrition.

On my quest for healthy eating I have come across some amazing blogs and tips, but this is one that is so simple to do and helps you boost your 5 a Day. Grab a bunch of grapes, red or green will do (I just prefer red) rinse with water, pop in a little tub and stick in the freezer. It’s as simple as that! On Nic’s site she also suggests adding a little sugar free jelly powder for extra flavour but I have tried without and they taste just as great – a little like a fruity ice lolly. You could also try sprinkling with a little cinnamon powder for extra goodness like these in the picture.

The serving pictured here is approx. 60g, the equivalent of 41 calories and a great way to add some Vitamins to your diet!

Enjoy!

Frozen Grapes