Bike Bars

So tomorrow we cycle to cornwall EEK. After weeks of waiting, hard work (for some…) and excitement the time has finally come! Chelmsford to Cornwall in 5 days. Some call us crazy, others say we have been brain washed by cycling aliens, I agree with them all. But we are certainly ready for an adventure!

So prepare for a week of lycra filled pictures, dodgy bikers tans and possibly a few grazes. Prepare for stories of singing cyclists, crying cyclists, lost cyclists and sleepy cyclists. Prepare like I have prepared for this ride… (I have not.) But I did prepare in the food department! Yes fatty over here may not care about the size of her muscles, but she does care about the happiness of her tummy; behold bike bars.

They are dead easy to make, lowfat, high energy, and perfect to enjoy after walking the dog in the park, or with a cup of tea when the weather gets more British.  I hope I have room for a few in my rucksack.

Flapjack

You will need:

  • 397g tin of condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 300g of your favourite muesli- if you are on a budget Lidl’s own is great
  • 50g mixed seeds
  • 150g mixed dried fruit

. Set the oven to 150C and line a tin with baking parchment, the smaller it is the thicker the bars

. Heat the condensed milk and golden syrup in a heavy based saucepan for around 7 minutes. Then add the muesli, seeds, and dried fruit

. Stir the mix together so it forms a thick paste and the condensed milk has coated all the ingredients

. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray and place on the middle shelf of your oven for around 30 mins until slightly chewey but golden on top. The longer you bake them, the crunchier they become.

Wish us luck and check back here tomorrow to see how our first day went!

Flapjack

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Lunch on the go

I have always been a pack lunch luncher. At school, at university, wherever; I hate having to buy a soggy over priced sandwich (unless there is a Marks and Spencers around..) And if the sandwich fridge isn’t full of cheap ham, it’s full of cold cheese, which I hate. Sounds strange but I am sure a few of you can relate, cheese is not nice unless it is melted!

The problem is, taking a good packed lunch is a commitment. It is that extra 15 minutes you loose in bed and that extra space you need in your bag. On the other hand, it is so much healthier and cheaper. So here are my top tips on making a lunch on the go easy, healthy and worry free.

Happy lunching!

1) Shop wisely

If you know you have a busy week ahead, think about what you want to eat. Section your list into “things for lunch” and “things for meals” as this will also save you money!

If you are really trying to watch what you eat, don’t stock up on sticky snacks and pretend you will resist them, when monday morning comes and you are running late you will just grab that bag of biscuits and go.

Stock up on snacks like fruit, nuts, natural cereal bars and yohurts; and remember to check the sell by date! You dont want to have run out of munch come thursday and be back on the jam sandwiches.

On the other hand, don’t under buy! For example, if you plan on going for a run on thursday, make sure you get something for a good balanced lunch and don’t skip on the carbs. Try a brown rice salad with tuna, green beans and chilli.

2) Prepare ahead!

Sunday nights are your new best friend! Get chopping, cooking and boxing up everthing you need for the week ahead, then pop it in the fridge or freezer. For example, you could roast up a whole pan of veg which you can pop into a salad and make it instantly tasty, or throw in a wrap with a big dollop of hommous. If you are a meat eater, cook up a whole chicken to put in a sandwhich or salad instead. Chop up a huge basic salad and put it in a box for you to use all week, boil up a big batch of couscous, make up a batch of soup and freeze it in portions to take into work and heat up with rye crackers or bread. Maybe even cook a big quiche and take that with you with a salad through the week.The world is your oyster! Just get all the tricky bits out the way there and then.

3) Buy a good lunch box

No, I’m not trying to make you buy a 90’s pink plastic spice girls lunch box (although if you want one, please go ahead and show me) It is important you invest in a box which won’t leak all over your bag and is the perfect size for your type of lunch! There is nothing worse than tuna juice papers because your lunch leaked on them all. You may even want to look into some sort of cool bag lunch box. While you’re at it, you could also buy some smaller containers for snacks like fruit or yoghurt. It may sound simple, but having a good container makes life so much easier.

4) Love your leftovers!

You’ve made too much lasagne, halloumi stew or salmon fillets? Perfect!! You can take it for lunch the next day. Most meals can be downsized and turned into a healthy yummy lunch. In fact I recommend over cooking on purpose.

4) Know what’s good on the street

So sometimes it is just one of those days when you have forgotton to put on your make up, let alone pack a lunch. Pennies need to be spent, but don’t just run into your nearest costa, have a look at what else there is to offer! A lot of indian restaurants to amazing lunch buffet options, which are both different and cheap.

Look for places which are independently run, like acanteen where I work. Supporting places like this means you are supporting the local community, and they often source their meat, veg and eggs locally and organically. These always taste so much better and mean the animals are treated how they should, so it is well worth spending the money there!

A posh fishfinger sandwhich which I did splash out for for lunch… I was on holiday in plymouth for the week and went out with my girls to an amazing place on the barbican called “Monty’s.” These had fresh fish-finger goujons and the most amazing chunky chips!! Plus it was only about £6!

Caramelised pineapple, goats cheese and roasted veg salad: Sexy salad series

DON’T “ew” at me, you have pineapple on pizza, pineapple and cheese sticks, yes? So trust me this one works! It’s sweet, warm, cheesey, gooey, squishy, yummy. Oh and pretty healthy.

Caramelised pineapple doesn’t have to be teamed with goats cheese. You can have it with cheddar and ham in a toasty, pop it on top of jerk chicken, this recipe puts it in a quesadilla, but I think as a vegaquarium, my recipe hit the spot pretty well…!

I have to give my mum credit for these particular roasted veggies though! My pa and brother were out this evening so we put together a joint effort sexy salad, and ate it on the deck in the sun. Sorted.

YOU WILL NEED:

For the pineapple:

  • Pineapple (shocker)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 150 g Soft goats cheese

For the salad:

  • Selection of veg to roast, I used courgette, aubergine, carrots, olives, beetroot, red onion and garlic
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • Tin of tomatoes
  • couscous

1) Set your oven to 200 degrees fan, chop up all your veg and throw it in a pan with some olive oil and the thyme. Set a timer for 40 mins.

2) After the 40 minutes, stir in a tin of tomatos and put the pan back in the oven while you prepare some couscous and the pineapple.

3) Put as much couscous as you need in a bowl with some salt and pepper, then pour enough boiling water to submerge the couscous by an inch. Put a tea towel over the bowl and leave for 10 mins. Stir through half the chunks of the goats cheese once all the water has been absorbed to make it extra gooey.

4) Chop up your pinapple into chunks and fry them in a pan with the oil, salt and cinnamon until they are slightly charred and softened.

5) Dice up the rest of the goats cheese then take the pineapple off the heat and place it on top to melt. If you want it really melted you could put it under the grill for 4 minutes.

6) Serve up your roasted veg, couscous and then place the cheesy pineapple on top. Enjoy!

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