Chicken & Lentil Soup

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This soup is delicious and I love it  served with a slice of my freshly baked brown bread or protein oat bread.  Or if I am on a low carb day it is still very satisfying on its own without the bread as the lentils are a great way to fill you up.   It is full of goodness and tastes delicious.  It can be left to cook away in a slow cooker if you have one, as this really releases all the flavours.  Like with all soups it is great to always have some in the freezer for emergencies!!

Ingredients

4 large chicken fillets ( For this soup I leave the fillets whole and then shred them when cooked)

1 shallot, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 garlic gloves, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

100g lentils, I used the red split lentils from Lidl.

600ml chicken stock

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp coconut oil

Method

Heat coconut oil in a large pot and fry off the shallots and garlic.  Add in the chicken fillets and the spices.  Fry off for a minute or so, ensuring the chicken is coated well with the spices.  (If using a slow cooker, transfer your ingredients now.)

Add in the chicken stock , veg and lentils, bring to boil then leave to simmer for 2 hours.

When the soup is ready, shred the chicken.

Nutritional Information

This soup will serve 4 , each serving is equal to 305 calories, carbs 24g, fat 5g, protein 42g.

 

Enjoy xx

Jen.

 

 

Turkey Chilli

 

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This turkey chilli is very versatile and can be used to make chilli cheese fries, served with some wholemeal basmati rice, or even served in lettuce tacos with guacamole & salsa on the side or how about a topping for baked sweet potato.  You could make up a large batch and freeze it in case of emergencies!

Ingredients

400g Turkey Mince

1 Onion, chopped

3 Cloves of Garlic, crushed

1 Chilli, chopped (optional, I like it hot!)

1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes ( I use the one from Aldi with added chilli)

1 Tin of Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed

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1 tsp. Smoked Paprika

1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp. Chilli Powder

1 tsp. Ground Cumin

1 tsp. Ground Coriander

2 tbsp. Worchester Sauce

2 tbsp. Tomato Puree

Coconut Spray Oil

 

Method

In a large pot heat up the oil on a medium heat and fry off the onion, garlic and chilli.  Add the mince and brown it off.

Next step is to add in all your spices and make sure to mix them around to coat the mince.

Add in the tomatoes, stock, Worchester sauce and tomato puree. Stir.

Bring to the boil then leave to simmer for at least 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse.

Give it a taste test, if you like it hot add some crushed chilli flakes . Also add in the kidney beans and leave it to simmer for a further 15 minutes.

I served mine with sweet potato fries and topped it with some grated cheese, jalapeños and fresh coriander.

Just chop a sweet potato and spray it with some coconut oil, season with cumin, paprika and chilli powder and pop into a pre heated oven for 15 minutes at 200c.

Nutritional Information

This is just for the turkey chilli.  It makes 4 servings , each one is equal to 221 calories, carbs 19g, fat 2.5g, protein 30g.

You will need to add in the extra calories etc. for sweet potato, rice or what ever way you are choosing to serve it!

Most importantly, enjoy!

Much love,

Jen xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kale Pesto

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Yes it’s green so it must be good for you!  This quick and easy pesto is delicious and so handy to have in the fridge to mix in with pasta, courgetti or even top some fish or salad with it.

Ingredients

2 cups of kale (take the stems off and make sure to squeeze as much of the kale into the cup!).

30g Parmesan, grated.

50g Pine Nuts.

3 Cloves of Garlic.

2-3 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Walnut Oil is also delicious.)

Juice of Half a Lemon.

1/4 tsp. Himalayan Pink Rock Salt.

Method

First step is to toast off the pine nuts, either in the oven or a quick flash in the pan.

Then just blend all ingredients together in the Nutribullet. Simple as that.

Store in an air tight container or recycle your nut butter jars and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutritional Information

This recipe makes 12 tablespoon servings.  Each tablespoon is equal to 65 calories, carbs 2g, fat 6g, protein 1.7g, sugar 0.4g, sodium 48.4g.

Berry & Banana Bread

The perfect treat at any time, whether you like it toasted, buttered, with nut butter or served warm with some Greek yoghurt. Banana bread is a popular choice and the options are endless.  You can add chopped walnuts or even add some dark sugar free chocolate chips! In this recipe the mixed berries add that little something extra. It’s moist and perfectly sweet and the bursting berries make it look so good.  No refined sugar at all so you can enjoy it even more.

Ingredients

4 medium bananas

3 eggs

300g ground almonds

3 tbsp. maple syrup or honey

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

60ml Melted Coconut Oil

100g mixed berries ( I used the frozen ones from Aldi)

Method

Preheat oven to 180c (fan)

In a mixing bowl mash the bananas with a fork, then add the maple syrup (or honey), coconut oil, vanilla extract, eggs and mix well.

In a separate bowl mix the ground almonds, baking powder, cinnamon and mix. Then add it to the wet ingredients.

Fold in the berries and pour into a lined loaf tin.

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until golden and crispy on top.  To make sure it is cooked through, stick a knife or skewer into the centre, if it comes out wet, keep baking!

Nutritional Information

This loaf makes 16 slices.  Each slice is equal to 209 calories, carbs 12g, fat 15g, protein 6.5g.

Enjoy!

Jen xxx

Jen’s Brown Bread

 

This bread is so quick and easy to make.  I always make use of the oven if I’m cooking a roast dinner and whip up a batch of this bread too. No kneading or waiting on yeast to rise with this recipe.

Ingredients

200g plain flour

200g wholemeal flour

2 tbsp. brown linseeds ( I get mine in Tesco)

1 tbsp. bread soda/ bicarbonate of soda, sifted

1 tbsp. oil ( I used rapeseed oil)

1 tbsp. treacle

1 tsp Himalayan pink rock salt

350ml buttermilk

Method

Preheat oven to 180c (Fan).

In a large  bowl mix the plain flour, wholemeal flour, bread soda, linseeds and salt.

Make a well in the centre and add the oil and treacle.

Gradually add the milk and mix well.

Pour into a lined bread tin and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

When cooked the base should make a hollow sound if tapped or just use a skewer to test if it’s ready!

Nutritional Information

This loaf makes 15 slices. Each slice is equal to 122 calories, carbs 21g, fat 2.3g, protein 4.5g.

Enjoy!

Jen xxx

 

Butternut Squash & Red Lentil Coconut Curry

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This meat free curry is a delicious alternative for a change.  Being a meat lover I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it without meat!  It is really filling and comforting especially on a cold day like it is today.  The rich aroma of the spices is enough to satisfy any appetite. I served it with steamed kale and wholegrain basmati rice, so important to get those green veggies in!!  It is so easy to make, the only real difficulty being the peeling and chopping of the butternut squash, a workout in itself!

Ingredients

1 butternut squash (peeled & chopped into bite size pieces)

1 shallot (peeled & chopped)

4 gloves of garlic

Fresh ginger (roughly 2 inch piece, all down to personal preference)

100g red split lentils

1 red chilli pepper (chopped)

1 400ml tin of coconut milk (light one if your watching the calories and fat content)

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. coconut sugar ( or brown sugar )

1 tbsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. ground mustard seed

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

Coconut oil ( or frylite)

 

Method

Heat up a teaspoon of oil in a large wok on a medium heat and fry off the cumin seeds for 1 minute.

Add in the shallot, garlic, ginger and chilli, fry for another minute to release all the flavour.

Next add in the butternut squash and the remaining spices.  Fry off for a minute or so ensuring the butternut squash is coated with the spices.

Add in the coconut milk, rice wine vinegar and the red lentils.  You can add a small drop of water if the mixture is too thick.  Stir to combine all the ingredients, finally add the sugar, stir and cover and leave to simmer for at least an hour.  The longer you leave it to cook the better the flavour!  Make sure you give the lentils enough time to cook.

You may need to add some water in the process as it can become quite thick as the lentils are cooking.

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Serve with a portion of wholegrain basmati and kale. Please feel free to tag me in pictures of any of my recipes that you post. Jensgymlife on Facebook or Twitter, @jenb01 on Instagram!

Nutritional Information

This curry will serve 4, calories per portion 248, carbs 34g, fat 9g, protein 8.5g.

Rice per 100g (cooked weight) 118 calories, carbs 24g, fat 1g, protein 3g.

Enjoy!

Jen xx

Protein Pancakes

These pancakes are definitely a favourite of mine.  They are so quick and easy to make and you can have them for breakfast, dessert or as a healthy snack.  You can top them with Greek yoghurt, berries or a nut butter or even add a good quality cacao powder, the options are endless!

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Ingredients

50g porridge oats

2 eggs

1 banana

1 scoop of whey protein powder ( this is optional, I use it because of the training I’m doing!)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

Few sprays of coconut oil ( or 1/2 tsp if using the solid one)

Method

Just blend all ingredients together! Simple.  Then heat up the coconut oil  and ladle a spoonful of mixture into the pan.

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You can add whatever toppings you like or keep it simple with a drizzle of maple syrup. This recipe makes 6 pancakes. They can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days so you could  double up on the ingredients and have a batch on hand for emergencies!

Nutrional Information

Each pancake workouts out at 90 calories, carbs 10g, protein 6.3g (if you have used the whey protein), fat 2.4g. Toppings will add extra calories and change the macros.

 

Enjoy!

Jen xxx

 

Getting Motivated to Live a Healthier Lifestyle

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So many people make it their New Year’s resolution to get in shape and start out with a lot of enthusiasm and energy in the beginning only to fall back into their old ways and give up. Fad diets, detox teas and shakes are advertised everywhere you look, or some magic diet pill that promises you a new body in 2 weeks!  I’m sorry to burst your bubble but none of these will work in the long term.  Achieving that desired physique will only come with a healthier, balanced lifestyle.

The first thing you need to do is to concentrate on what your fitness goals are.  Are you skinny and wanting to bulk up or are you overweight and wanting to lose fat as well as build muscle mass at the same time?  Maybe you just want to get lean or you want to run your first 5 km. Whatever your goal is, once you know specifically what you want to accomplish you can then follow a workout and nutrition plan specifically tailored to you to achieve your goal.  Once these are in place you can follow them on a long term basis and it makes life a lot easier.  Personally I find setting my own little goals with each workout a great way to motivate me to do better each time.  For example knocking a few seconds off my previous run or lifting a heavier weight or even just getting that extra rep in.

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Measuring your progress is also so important. Two things you should do is ditch the scales and take selfies.  Not the pouted version but taking pictures of your body from all sides!  Yes its okay to weigh yourself from time to time but please do not get obsessed with numbers on a scale. There are so many reasons why you could be up a pound or two one day and down 3 the next!   Progress is not always noticeable especially when it is gradual so you might get demotivated more easily than if you were tracking your progress. If your taking pictures regularly you will start to see changes in your body.   A measuring tape is a MUST.  Know how to take your measurements: waist, chest, arms etc , any gym instructor or personal trainer will help you with this and track these numbers as you go along.  You will be surprised at how much progress you are making that you might not have noticed in the mirror or on the scales.

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It’s really up to you, if you really want to achieve a particular fitness or life goal you will be successful.  Being fit and healthy is a choice only you can make and self motivation is the most important factor determining success in all aspects of life.  Yes we all have bad days, but the important thing is to forget about it and start fresh the next day.  There will be days where you don’t want to train and yes I have had to drag myself around to gym on many occasions but once your there you will feel so much better when your done.  Always turn the negative thoughts into positive ones, if you have that bar of chocolate or that pizza, just move on and get back on track with the next meal.

If you want to achieve you will!

Jen xx

Cauliflower Fried Rice

 

As it’s the weekend I decided to post up this ‘fakeaway’ cauliflower fried rice recipe. It is healthy, so quick and easy to make that you will never miss a Chinese takeaway fried rice!  Using the cauliflower as a low carb option instead of the rice you will be shocked at how good it tastes.(You can always use rice though if you prefer).  You can add whatever source of protein you like, chicken, turkey or even prawns.  Adding a little bacon gives it that traditional fried rice taste too. In this recipe I use turkey mince.

Ingredients

300g turkey mince

1 half pack of bacon pieces

50g frozen peas

4 garlic gloves (chopped)

1 red pepper (chopped)

Bunch of spring onions (chopped)

Fresh ginger (according to your own taste, I used a piece roughly 2 inches in size)

1 red chilli (chopped, seeds and all as I like it hot!)

1 head of cauliflower (blitz in a food processor or even just grating it works too)

2 eggs (beaten)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium one or liquid aminos if you have it)

Ground white pepper to season

Fresh coriander to serve

Method

Heat a large wok over a medium heat.  Fry off the bacon pieces until brown and crispy.  Remove bacon from the pan and set aside.

Add the toasted sesame oil to the wok and let it heat up.  Turn the heat to high and add the garlic, chilli, ginger, turkey mince and cook until mince is brown all over.

Add in the spring onion, red pepper ( or whatever vegetables you are using) and give it a good stir.

Add the bacon back into the wok and make a well in the centre, add the egg and let it cook for a minute or so before you start to mix it into the other ingredients.

Now add in the cauliflower rice and peas.  Toss well for a minute or two until everything is warmed through.

Add in the soy sauce and season with the white pepper and give it a good mix. Finally add some chopped coriander, serve and most importantly enjoy without feeling guilty!

Nutritional Value is for this recipe using the turkey mince, so it will change slightly if using chicken or prawns!

This serves 2 people, total calories per serving 439, protein 43g, carbs 18g, fat 22.5g.

 

 

Jen’s mexican style chicken stew

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I love this recipe it is tasty and comforting on a cold day like it is today. It can be a great way to use up vegetables before stocking up on fresh ones. So easy to make and cheap!  I use the chicken drumsticks that you can get in Aldi that cost less than 3 euros. I batch cook at lot of my food and this can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days or just freeze it.  Preparation is vital and my fridge always contains plastic lunch boxes with food so that I stick to ‘clean eating’.   As with all my recipes you can adjust to your own taste, especially where there is chilli involved.  You could add kidney beans or chickpeas too if you have them.  The ingredients I have listed where just what I had left and I make up a lot of my recipes as I go along, all depending what I have in the press and fridge!!

Ingredients

8 chicken drumsticks (remove skin)

1 onion (chopped)

1 red pepper (chopped)

4 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 fresh red chilli (chopped)

230g sweet potato (cubed)

250ml chicken stock

400g tinned tomatoes or passata

2 cups spinach

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp turmeric

Frylite oil or 1 tsp of coconut oil

Method

In a large pot or pan heat up the oil and fry off the cumin seeds for 1 min to release the flavour.  Add in the onion, garlic, chilli and chicken drumsticks and cook for 1-2 minutes to seal the chicken.

Add in the red pepper and all the spices and fry off for a further minute.

Add in the tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to the boil then leave to simmer for 20 -25 minutes.

Add in the sweet potato (and chickpeas or kidney beans if using them) and cook until soft, should only take 10 -15 mins.

Just before serving add in the spinach leaves.

Serve with wholegrain basmati rice.  I normally use the Tilda brand and 60g uncooked is a single portion!

Nutritional Value

The stew serves 4:  287  calories per serving, carbs 26g, protein 24g, fat 9.3g.

1 portion of the Tilda wholegrain rice  cooked is 180g : 144 calories, carbs 28g, protein 5g, fat 1.5g.