Festive Healthy Treat – Mincemeat!

Hi all,

Happy Hump Day!

I know I probably didn’t need to mention this but just in case you weren’t aware – Christmas Day is this time next week! Yee ha! (I don’t think I have ever used ‘yee ha’ before in my life ever, it just seemed to call for it!).

Today I bring to you a new festive recipe – Mincemeat!

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If you are not familiar with this; please do not think it is made of meat! Traditionally yes, today no way! Instead it is a delicious mix of dried fruit, spices, zest and other goodies, marinated and used in a variety of ways.

It can be quite unhealthy at times, mixed with sugar, sugar and more sugar! However I have made a lightened version that’s paleo friendly! It also doesn’t include suet which means it is suitable for vegetarians too. And you can sub out the alcohol for orange or apple juice if you want to make it suitable for children.

So what do you do with the mincemeat?

Well, most commonly, it is baked with pastry to create a ‘mince pie’. I have included a recipe below for a grain free pastry that you can use to make tasty gluten free, paleo and a lot healthier mince pie! A healthy festive treat…? Yes please!

But there are so many other uses for it!

  • Over greek yoghurt with some nuts sprinkled on top
  • Mixed with oats for breakfast
  • Used as a chutney with cold meats and cheeses
  • On top of eggs (seriously, try it!)
  • On top of rice cakes etc
  • Mixed with chunks of apple or pear, heated in the microwave for 1 minute
  • Just as a snack on its own, out of the jar… yes I have done this… a lot!

And here is the recipe – mincemeat first and then for the pastry if you want to go for mincepies!

Mincemeat

Ingredients

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700g of dried fruit (I went for raisins, sultanas, currants and mixed peel. However, you could also use cranberries, chopped figs, dates, cherries etc)

1 tsp of cinnamon

1tsp of nutmeg

1tsp of mixed spice (all spice)

Zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange

2 ½ tbsp of apple puree

1 tsp honey

1 tsp coconut oil

1 cup of sherry (you could also use brandy, rum, whisky, orange or apple juice)

Method

  • Put all fruit in a bowl and mix
  • Add the spices to the fruit and stir through to coat

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  • In a small pan put the zest, apple puree, honey, oil and sherry.
  • Stir on a low heat until the oil and honey has melted
  • Add to fruit and stir

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  • Let it cool
  • Once cool, cover and leave for at least 24 hours to marinate. The longer left, the more infused the fruit will be. Try and stir at least twice during the 24 hours.

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Grain free/ Paleo pastry (makes 10 pies approx) 

Ingredients

1 cup of almond flour (ground almonds)

1 egg beaten

Coconut flour (enough to bring the mix to a pastry like consistency)

Method

  • Mix the almond flour and eggs
  • Add coconut flour, a small amount at a time, to dry out the dough until it is no longer sticky.

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  • Roll out with a rolling pin and cut out round shapes.
  • Place in cupcake/pie tin with 1 heaped teaspoon of the mincemeat on top.

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  • Bake in oven for 20 minutes at 160C. Check often.

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(Note- the texture of the pastry will be different to ‘usual flour’ pastry. However this pastry is full of almond/coconut flavour and I think it’s a lot nicer, yum! It also is so much lighter than normal pastry).

So there you have it! Why not give it a try, it is so easy to make and keeps for at least a few weeks in a sealed container. Or make and give as a lovely gift!

(And thanks to Jen over at @peasandcrayons  for the WIAW link up!)

Breakfast Time!

Hi all,

Hope you are well and have had a fantastic weekend!

I am currently away on a wee holiday with my wonderful husband, so right now I hope I am chilling out, snuggled up in a lovely cottage in front of a log fire! (Daydreaming about this while writing it on Friday afternoon…!).

I thought I would write a post about our breakfasts. As I have mentioned previously, both David and I have been trying to get away from grains but were struggling to end our dependence on cereal in the morning! But we have succeeded and it was so much easier than expected, mostly because our new breakfasts are so tasty – cereal just can’t compete!

The only grain we have once a week is oats. However this is at least gluten and wheat free and we have found that it doesn’t have an impact on our stomachs/digestion like other grains do. Therefore it was a keeper!

I hope you enjoy the pictures below of my new breakfasts. Some of them are simple, others have an easy, quick recipe to them and I will share these with you over the next wee while. Hopefully it will give you some new ideas even just to spruce up your morning fuel choice – after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Good old Banana ScrambleClick for link to recipe

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–          Will always be a favourite of ours. Quick and easy, bulk up or down, eat hot or cold.

Eggs with Sausages/ Bacon – side of apple purée

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–          Classic match made in heaven. Do try the sausage/egg/apple combo, it’s so good!

Zucchini Patties

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–          So versatile and can be matched with anything, sweet or savoury. In the picture we have it will cottage cheese and apple. Recipe and other ideas on what to have with them to be posted later on this week.

Eggs with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

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–          I have had this both with scrambled eggs at the side and scrambled eggs mixed through it. Both were delicious but I think I preferred it mixed through, spreading the flavour.

Oats

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–          As I mentioned above, David and I do have oats once or sometimes twice a week. We cook the oats in the microwave with water, and then make our additions. My favourite at the moment is a ripe, mashed banana mixed through the oats, with some chopped dates at the side.  We also tried overnight oats the other day, what a hit!

Pumpkin Pancakes

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–          Ok, so David and I technically had these for the first time at dinner on his birthday, but we are having them for breakfast next week on holiday. They would be perfect morning fuel and would keep you going until lunch for sure.

Eggs with Red Cabbage and Chicken

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–          Oh boy was this fantastic – the colours of the red cabbage made it look so appetising and the hint of spice throughout it all, fantastic. Recipe to come soon, promise!

Granolaclick for link to recipe

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–          Made with oats and using a microwave, it was easy to whip this up in a morning and serve with Greek yoghurt.

Of course then there are the many many egg options you could go for – especially with omelettes and scrambles. Just use whatever veggies/ meat you have lying around. Add cheese, salsa or just some seasoning/ herbs/ spices to make it your own. The list for them would be endless!

Will keep you all posted on our breakfast journey and if we have any new creations I will let you know!

What are your favourite breakfasts?

Day One of London!

Hi all!

Hope you are well and have had a good week and weekend. Sorry I was so quiet last week but my week’s holiday just flew by, don’t know where the days went – time sure does fly when you are having fun!

David and I were spending a week down in London, staying with family I have down there and we had lots of activities planned! We drove down from Glasgow last Saturday and had a really fun road trip – lots of tasty healthy snacks packed for the journey and a backload of podcasts to listen to (although David and I often have so much to discuss when listening to a podcast, it takes us twice, even three times as long to listen to them!).

Our first full day in London was to be spent with my brother Paul, who moved down to London earlier on this year – I love this picture of the three of us on the underground, big smiles!

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We headed off to Spitalfields market – a huge market that runs all week but becomes even larger on a Sunday! Wow what a buzz! They had a mix of everything – vintage and new clothing, jewellery of all kinds, food, drink, knick knacks, bags, scarfs etc. My brother got the most amazing ring made from an old teaspoon! Recycling at its best!  It was so nice to see so many people enjoying the market on a Sunday, whether looking around the stalls, having coffee or brunch, just chilling out with friends or family.

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We also found an African food stand where they had the most delightful food. Paul and David drank the water from freshly cut open coconuts, so refreshing. We also had some of their handmade snacks, we nicknamed them energy bars because of their ingredients. Simply what is listed below. They reminded us of the nakd bars that we have here in the UK, simple ingredients, normally date and almond based with no nasties (I think the American comparison would be a Lara bar). But these were so much better – fresh, nutritious and full of flavour. Oh how I wish we could get them all the time, however we are going to try and make some at home. They really were the perfect sustaining mid morning snack! Oh and yes, we did try all four of them (spread over a few days of course! We had to restrain ourselves!). My favourite was the beetroot one!

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After looking around some more of the market stalls we decided it was time for a spot of lunch. David and I had always wanted to try Leon and my brother was quite happy to go there too. Leon has fab principals and aims with regards to food – fast food that tastes good, is full of goodness with fresh seasonal ingredients. They really focus on low GI foods and so many of the dishes on their menu are gluten free – result! I went for the thai green chicken curry lunchbox and David had the meatball lunchbox. Both came with salad and brown rice and were just delicious! The perfect size portion and kept us going all afternoon. Oh boy do I hope they expand and open branches in Scotland!

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After a look round the rest of the stalls and other quirky shops surrounding the area, we headed to Covent Garden for a look at some of the street theatre. There were mime artists, clowns, jugglers, magicians and all types of singers including an amazing opera singer. When the rain began though we quickly headed for coffee!

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Our day ended with a trip to Whole Foods (of course) in Piccadilly Circus to pick up a cold food box for our dinner on the train – a mix of salad with eggs, salmon, tofu and other veggies – yum!

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More on my holiday escapades tomorrow!

Fun, Fantastic Weekend

Hi all,

Happy Monday! And the week begins again…!

So I thought today I would give you a recap of my weekend of fun, mostly in pictures as I know they are fab to set the scene!

Saturday began as all Saturdays do in the Fotheringham household, with a good bowl o’ porridge (oats), the newspaper (from the day before but never mind!) and cartoons! I went for old faithful, plain oats with a dollop of local strawberry jam in the middle as a treat and David went for his favourite, pecan nuts and maple syrup. Both of us enjoying our choice and I partnered mine with a cup of peppermint tea, a great start to the day!

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We were both really looking forward to some visitors who were coming to see us for the day – David’s mum Carmel and his sister Clare. It had been a wee while since we had caught up with them both and they hadn’t been to see us since we have moved to Glasgow, so we really wanted them to come up so we could show them some of the sights! I say some, there are too many to see in one day!

They arrived mid morning and came straight to the apartment for a much needed coffee after the train journey up from England. After a quick tour of the apartment and a coffee pit stop, we headed out into town for lunch, destination – The Mussel Inn.

I’m sure some of you will have seen the picture of my lunch that I posted yesterday but for those who didn’t, please see below. I love posting this picture again, even just to emphasise how tasty and delicious it was. I love it so much when restaurants take local, seasonal ingredients and don’t mess around with them, keeping the food simple and letting the produce shine through. And that’s exactly what they did here – cooked in their natural juices, with some chillies, garlic and spices and served with a plain side salad, I couldn’t have asked for a better prepared meal. The staff and service were also excellent and really made the meal perfect. They were knowledgeable on the produce, friendly and attentive. Everyone loved and raved about their meal and David and I can’t wait to go back!

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From there we headed to Blythswood Square – one of David and I’s favourite places in Glasgow. Please see my anniversary blog post here for more information. And so we spent the rest of the afternoon here, with a lovely cocktail and just catching up and reminiscing about stories past, as you always do with family. It really was lovely.

David with his mum and sister

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My cocktail – The Duchess (yes I had this one before but it is my favourite!)

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David and I

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Clare and I in one of the alcoves at the entrance to the hotel

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We then took them both to the station to catch the train home. A wonderful time had by all with an emphasis that we must do it again soon!

On our way home we picked up some bits and bobs for dinner – tonight’s menu – stir fry veg, sautéed with chillies and garlic and then we added fish sauce and lime juice to taste. Served with individual lettuce cups and sprinkled with sunflower seeds. A fab Thai inspired dish with a real hot and sour flavour. Be making that again soon!

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Sunday was another great day which began the way we like it – with a killer home work out!

Inspired by the work out posted by Heather, guest poster over @fruitandfitness (normally run by the fab Nicole), just with a few alterations. And yes, it included burpees – I am determined to keep doing them until I love them (practice makes perfect!) and yes, I still hate them with a passion!

(Oh David and I use the sweeties as counters to keep track of how many rounds we have done, well we weren’t eating them so they might as well come in handy for something!).

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We then had my favourite breakfast of the week – banana scramble! David has his with peanut butter and mine is the one with the almond butter and the slightly more caramalised eggs (I like to crispen up and brown those banana-ry bits!).  David has his with a side of oats and I have a small bowl of cereal (again not happy with this part so it doesn’t get the satisfaction of a picture!).

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After our delicious and much needed breakfast, we headed out to a farmers and artisan craft market that was happening locally at a Charles Rennie Macintosh designed gallery – House for an Art Lover. We had never been there before and it was stunning! Can’t wait to go back to actually do a tour around the house and extensive gardens which are full of the most amazing sculptures.

The market was small but good – we picked up some locally made blackberry, apple and gin jam along with a cute chilli plant that we can grow on our windowsill. We love chillies so fingers crossed we can keep it alive!

The market

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Me outside House for an Art Lover – holding our new chilli plant!

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The walled garden

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The afternoon was spent chilled out with a nice coffee in Starbucks, I wrote while David phoned his Grandma for a chat. We get to visit her next week and I am so looking forward to it – she is a fantastic person who I could listen to for hours!

Dinner consisted of a quick, easy make, Sunday favourite – a fruit plate, making the most of the last of the summer fruit and 2 slices of Genius Gluten Free bread, one with PB on it, the other local heather honey. Yum! (Yes and as you can see from my toast, I like things crispy (or burnt as David says…!)).

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All tied up and enjoyed with a couple of episodes of Revenge before bed. This series is so good!

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Fab Friday!

Hi Everyone!

Well this is my first official day of posting ‘properly’ and it feels great! Lots of planning, thinking and research has been done to get everything set up and sorted and now I am finally at the moment of writing a real ‘what is my day all about and what do I do’ post!

First of all I must set the scene. It is a lovely day in the city centre of Glasgow Scotland! I say lovely, because it is toasty warm (well for Scotland anyway), the sun is out and everyone is smiling! Fab Friday!

Glasgow Sky

I started my day with breakfast with my husband David before he went off to work. I must admit, I am a breakfast-a-holic! I love breakfast and crave it every time when I wake up in the morning! Currently I tend to have, during the week, a bowl of cereal, a mix of all bran and organic corn flakes. I say currently as I am trying to work my way off wheat at the moment and move on to a gluten free diet. To be honest, this is probably the only wheat based product that I tend to eat so it I don’t have gluten throughout the rest of the day, however, on the days I don’t have cereal for breakfast, I do feel so much better! So I know it will be worth making the jump. Just need to find a filling, sustaining, easy to make breakfast for the morning that I can quickly do for David and I. Something that will give David the brain energy for heading to work and me the energy for heading to the gym!

 

And that’s what I did next, headed to the gym! I have been really lucky to find a great gym quite close by to where we live since moving here 3 months ago. It has everything I would want or need and has fun and friendly staff who always say hello and are always on hand if you had a question or problem. Something that I am sure you guys know, if you are a gym bunny like me, you don’t always find everywhere at every gym!

So, my workout currently consists of
• 30 minutes on the rowing machine.
– Love this thing! I love to row and the fact that it covers so many bases – a cardio workout to get your heart rate going and a total strength/ weight workout from what you are pulling. I am doing the same amount of time at each gym session to try and decrease my average time per 500 metres and increase the distance I am able to row in 30 minutes. So far, doing well on the old PR’s, will keep you up to speed on this one.
• Weight machines/ free weights
– I then move on to weight training. Apparently women are afraid to work on weights, well according to one of the trainers at the gym, but I don’t understand why, they make you strong! Always good in my book! Must note down the machines I use to let you know.
• Mat based exercises
– I then move on to the mats where I normally mix it up a bit. At the moment I enjoy doing a round of 50 squats, 50 core crunches, 50 mountain climbers and 50 step planks as I call them, probably totally wrong! But I mix things up a bit on here, depending on how I am feeling.
• Warm down
– I love a good warm down. Mixture of stretches, working with the foam roller to release some tension and some Pilates based stretches and breathing techniques. Always feel good, pumped and totally energised after this! Is it strange that I always feel glowing after a workout rather than exhausted? I guess it must be those endorphins you here about! Whatever it is, I love the feeling I get from working out, nothing beats it!

Then I came home for lunch. Today’s lunch consisted of…
• Salsa egg scramble with carrots, sugar snap peas and some shredded brussel sprouts through it with spinach and cucumber at the side.
• A pot of greek yoghurt – Total greek yoghurt is one of my favourite foods… oh if I could live on this!!!
• And a wee pot of grapes.
One word – YUM!

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My plan for the rest of today consists of doing some bits and bobs around the apartment and then the weekly food shop, but that’s my next post!

Some questions to get you thinking though…

What do you guys have for breakfast? I would love to know if you have any ideas for me.

If you are female, do you do weights at the gym or just cardio?

J x