Asian Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten free)

This is one of my all time favourite lunch box meals! It is the perfect combination of fresh yet filling and thanks to some ginger and a delicious dressing is surprisingly warming for those winter months.

Over the past few months I have been trying to incorporate quinoa into my daily diet (throughout the weekdays anyway) as it makes hitting all of those essential amino acids extremely easy! I have also increased my intake of walnuts as they have a great omega 3:6 ratio – this dish easily incorporates the two!

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Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1c dry quinoa, boiled and left to cool
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pack of stir frying vegetables (I used this as I wanted a mixture of red cabbage/peppers/onions/carrots but feel free to use whatever veg you like)
  • 1 can chickpeas, washed and drained
  • 2 small handfuls of walnuts
  • 1/3 small knob ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

Method:

  • Once you have cooked a cooled the quinoa, simply add all of your salad ingredients to a large bowl and stir in the quinoa.
  • In a small bowl mix together your dressing ingredients, pour over the salad and mix thoroughly.

Easy! This dish makes preparing lunches super quick; let’s face it nobody wants to spend hours slaving away on their lunch boxes!

Enjoy!

Emma xx

 

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Superpower Soup (Vegan, Gluten free)

Superpowers include anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-oxidant...not to mention warming you from the inside out! I love making a big batch of this soup on a cold autumn evening or after a long wet run. Soups like this are great for long-distance running as often it can be hard to stomach particular foods, yet it is important to get in plenty of carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes and immunity boosting nutrients.

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Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small knob ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 medium stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 400g tinned chopped tomato
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 1.25c frozen peas
  • 1/2 savoy cabbage (or another green such as kale), sliced finely
  • 3 large carrots, sliced into 1cm pieces
  • 1 small turnip, sliced into 1cm pieces
  • 1 large parsnip, sliced into 1cm pieces
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 veggie stock cube (made into 1 litre of hot water)
  • 400ml full fat coconut milk (I used rebel kitchen whole mylk)

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Method:

  • In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic, ginger and celery for 5 minutes. Add the spices and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the root vegetables along with the chopped tomatoes and veggie stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the savoy cabbage, coconut milk, peas and chickpeas and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the root vegetables are tender.

 

For another similar take on this recipe, try out my creamy coconut stew a few posts back! Stay warm!

Emma xx

Yoga For Runners

Yoga has been a huge part of my life over the past 3-4 years; it has taught me so much mentally and physically. Same goes for running, may not as consistently but when I’ve needed it, it’s been there. However, it wasn’t until recently I discovered the benefits of combining the two.

Runners, particularly long distance, often suffer tightness is the IT band, hip flexors, hamstrings, quads and calves; all of which yoga can help to prevent and cure.

Yoga not only helps improve flexibility but can also be a great method of building strength and combating any muscle imbalances (crucial for preventing injuries!).

The best part about it is that you don’t have to be a ‘yogi’ to seek the benefits.  A simple yoga sequence before and/or a deep stretching session after can be hugely beneficial to your recovery.

 

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Let’s start with before…

Pre run you want to prime the muscles that are going to be in use and to do that we need to get them moving. Starting with a dynamic sequence will get them warmed up and ready for the movement ahead. An example of a sequence may include:

  • sun salutations
  • warrior 1, 2 and 3
  • high or low lunges
  • standing side stretch

Combine the above into a flow and your set! Alternatively there are plenty of pre run yoga videos online.

After a run is a great time to slow it down and give those hard-worked muscles some love and care. As mentioned above, runners tend to have a few vulnerable areas, all of which can be loosened by these stretching poses:

  • standing quad stretch
  • low lunge
  • seated forward bend
  • thread the needle
  • pigeon pose and reclining pigeon
  • eagle pose
  • legs up the wall

I like to include at least 10 minutes of each before and after a run to prevent injuries and promote recovery.

Happy running!

Emma xx

Creamy Coconut Stew For Under £1 (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Whether you’re a student or not who doesn’t love to save a bit of cash?! Especially when it results in an unbelievably delicious, warming and filling dinner.

This stew has fast become a staple in my house, particularly on these cold autumn evenings and is a perfect recipe for using up seasonal produce.

I’ll start with the recipe first and then share how I got it for under £1!

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Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 600-700g root veggies (I like to use carrots, parsnips and turnip), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 red onions, sliced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 small knob of ginger (optional), chopped finely
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 can butter beans, drained
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 veggie stock cube
  • 7-8 stalks of thyme
  • 5-6 sage leaves
  • 2 small red chills, sliced finely and de-seeded

Method: 

  • In a large pot saute the onions, garlic and ginger for 4-5 minutes. Add the spices and herbs and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes while you chop the veggies.
  • Add 1/2c water to the pan with 1 stock cube and simmer for 2-3 minutes before adding all the vegetables.
  • Add enough boiling water so that it is almost at the line of the vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring regularly
  • Add the butter beans and coconut milk and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft.

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Cost Breakdown: 

These ingredients made 3 good-sized portions for approx. £3.

  • 600-700g root veggies (I like to use carrots, parsnips and turnip), chopped into bite-sized pieces – I bought a root veg bumper back including the onions for £1
  • 2 red onions, sliced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed – approx. 10p
  • 1/2 small knob of ginger (optional), chopped finely – 6p
  • 1 can of coconut milk – £1
  • 1 can butter beans, drained – 35p
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika – approx. 20p for all spices used 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 veggie stock cube – 20p 
  • 7-8 stalks of thyme – from my garden
  • 5-6 sage leaves – from my garden
  • 2 small red chills, sliced finely and de-seeded –  from a friend (but don’t cost much!) 

That comes out at approx. 2.91 which when divided by 3 portions is 97p!! Not bad a for a tasty winter warmer.

Enjoy!

Emma xx

 

 

Can we do it all?

The university/school year is now underway and whether you have been off for summer or are returning from a placement year the first week can be a very overwhelming time. We are often bombarded with all the dates/tests/exams/assessments in the first few days of the new term and I for one definitely find this overwhelming! Furthermore, many of us have other commitments outside of uni such as part-time work, other courses, sports clubs etc which can take up a significant amount of time and energy. On top of that we are constantly bombarded with messages about eating super healthy fancy nutritious meals throughout the day…the question is can we do it all? how do we do it all? and why do we do it all?

Can we do it all? 

This very much depends on how much you are trying to fit into your schedule. There are 24 hours in the day and when productivity sets in this is a lot of time to work with. However, there is such thing has taking on too much, running ourselves into the ground and inevitably something has to give! The trick here is finding the line and this line will be different for everybody as different people need different amounts of down time, different university courses require varying degrees of work etc. In the next section I will cover HOW to do all that you need to get done.

How do we do it all? 

The simple answer here is ORGANISATION and lots of it. Personally I like to use Google Calendar on my phone and laptop, but any form of diary or planner will work.

  • Start by writing in your class schedule, your part-time work, extra circular courses/classes (basically anything that there is an exact time for)…
  • Next you can add in your library time, any exercise you want to do etc
  • Then I like to add in jobs I need to do as reminders, for example putting a wash on or preparing lunches

All this planning is great however, I also find it critical to prioritize sleep, good food and some relaxation time so I also like to plan these into my day/week.

I briefly mentioned eating well above however I feel this topic may require a blog in its own right. There is a lot to be said for not only preparing meals in advance but also doing a big food shop so you have food on hand (see future post for more details).

Why do we do it all?

This is possibly the most important question and the one that is going to get you through those long tiring days. It is also something that is going to be totally personal to you and your goals but keeping this WHY at the forefront of your brain is essential.

Take something as simple as the exercise you choose to do. Why do you do it? There are many reasons such as it makes you feel good, it keeps your heart health, it’s good for bone health, it helps you to maintain a healthy weight…

This same principle can be applied to whatever you are trying to fit into your schedule. Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and if it isn’t clear then maybe that’s something you can drop from your schedule.

Take home messages!

Decide what activities/events are important to you and why

Organise/Plan your days around timed events (such as classes/work schedule)

Schedule in things that are important to you (such as exercise and sleep)

 

Let me know in the comments below what you prioritize on busy days and why.

Emma xx

Super Simple Spiced Quinoa (Vegan, Gluten Free)

The start of the school year has come round again and with that in mind I have suddenly become very conscious that meal prep season is upon us! Next week I begin final year of uni, whilst also maintaining a part-time waitressing job AND doing my 200hr YTT course…all of this meaning I will be out of the house (at least) 8am-6pm 7 days a week!! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared but also excited. One thing I know is essential during this time is preparing meals in advance, not only to have something to eat but to give myself the energy and good nutrition to fuel myself through the long days.

When preparing food in advance I like to cook components that can be put together in different ways to create different meals and this quinoa recipe is one of them. I love adding it to raw veggies for a filling lunch salad or serving it with a stew/curry for a hearty evening meal.

Serves: 2 (side dish) – feel free to multiply

Ingredients:

  • 1/2c dry quinoa
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method:

  • Start by washing your dry quinoa, then add to a pot or rice cooker, along with all the spices and 1-1.5c water (I like to use triple the water to grain when cooking quinoa).
  • Simmer for approx. 12 minutes. The quinoa will be cooked when all the water is absorbed.

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For this buddha bowl I served the quinoa with fresh spinach, tomato, cucumber, chickpeas, crispy kale, spiced roast sweet potato (garlic powder, salt, smoked paprika baked at 250c for 30 minutes) and avocado.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and good luck to anyone about to start a new school year!

Emma xx

My Favourite GF Products + Recipes

Since being diagnosed coeliac at the age of 12, the world of GF products has come on a lot! I remember clearly trying to make sandwiches out of bread that had huge holes in the middle of it, or trying to swallow a horribly dry scone. 10 years on, thankfully things have improved and there is a much greater range of products available. That being said I do think a vast range in quality remains.

Without a doubt my favourite brand for GF products is Schar, they have a wonderful selection of breads, rolls and even pizza bases!

In this blog I will share with you my favourite Schar products and a few things I like to make with them.

  1. Schar Deli Style Bread – this is a relatively new product but is definitely my favourite one! I love this bread because unlike most GF bread the slices are actually a good size. It is perfect for making sandwiches; topping with avocado, banana & PB or jam; or even making french toast with.

 

2. Schar Ciabatta Rolls –  I’m a big fan of these little rolls, particularly the seeded ones. You simply bake them in the oven for a few minutes and there you have warm fresh rolls. I love to top them with avocado or hummus and serve with soup, stew or tofu scramble.

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3. Schar Pizza Bases  – I’ve never been a fan of store-bought pizzas so I was very sceptical about trying these, however, after making myself a quick dinner using one of these bases, tomato paste, veggies and tofu I was pleasantly surprised; in my opinion it beats many of the restaurant GF bases out there!!

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Those are my top 3 favourite GF products out there. I do mainly eat a plant-based diet however thoroughly enjoy some avocado toast or dunking warm rolls in soup from time to time.

Emma xx

Running: Preventing Injury

It’s very rare to talk to a runner that hasn’t experienced some kind of pain or injury. This may last anywhere from a few days to a few years, either way injuries are incredibly demoralising and frustrating.

In this blog I am going to run you through (pun intended) my top tips for preventing injuries whether you are just starting up or you’re an experienced runner.

Tip 1 – Don’t run too much to soon!

This is very easily done, particularly at the beginning. You get out there, you’re having a good time and get carried away with how far you can go. Despite feeling accomplished with how far you’ve been able to run this often leads to overuse injuries such as runners knee. You will be hard pushed to find a runner that hasn’t experienced injury due to this but it can be avoided by taking your time to slowly increase your mileage. Personally, when trying to increase my distance I aim for an extra 1-1.5km each week.

Same goes with the number of times you choose to run each week. This will differ for everyone but personally I find I need plenty of recovery time between runs and will only do 2-3 runs per week, whilst others might find they can run every other day. Again, this will also differ depending on the mileage you like to do, as for myself I would rather do 2 longer runs than 3-4 shorter ones.

Tip 2 – Dynamic stretching pre-run & Static stretching post-run

Dynamic stretches work to warm up and prepare your joints and muscles for the coming run. It helps to activate the joints prior to movement and helps to prevent stiffness or injury. My favourite dynamic stretches are leg swings, lunges (forward, backwards and side) and toe jumps.

Static stretching is also critical to avoiding injuries. After each run I stretch for at least 10 minutes, followed by a gentle yoga session later in the day. Some great post run static stretches are standing quad stretch, pigeon, half split (ardha hanumanasana), thread the needle (parsva balasana) and cow face pose (gomukasana).

Tip 3 – Shoes!!

The shoes you run in are absolutely critical to preventing injury and I 100% believe it is worth investing in a good pair. The number of injuries I have experienced in the past due to not running in the ‘right’ shoes is phenomenal and it is so easily avoided. It is important to remember that the right pair of shoes for one person will be very different from the right pair for another person. I highly recommend going to a good running shop and getting your gate analysed.

Whilst we’re talking about feet, I also want to mention the importance of a good pair of running socks to prevent blisters and toe injuries. Again you can find these at a good running shop.

Tip 4 – Incorporate cross training and rest

Cross training is great for increasing and maintaining aerobic fitness whilst giving your joints and muscles a rest for the movement of running. I like to walk a lot so I use this as a form of cross training however others might prefer to jump on a bike. I also find yoga to help a lot with recovery, personally I choose to practice yoga on a daily basis (aside from it being good for running) and have found it very beneficial to prevent stiffness whilst strengthening key muscles.

 

Overall, I believe it is incredibly important to listen to you body; the aches and pains are there for a reason. Be sensible and be aware of what it is trying to tell you. If you are getting regular injuries the likelihood is that something is wrong and could be as simple to fix as changing your shoes or taking a break for a week.

Happy running,

Emma xx

Peanut Tofu Casserole (Vegan, Gluten free)

A few weeks back, on a trip to Dublin, I visited Cornucopia (one of my favourite restaurants) where I had an amazing casserole. Ever since, I have been thinking about recreating it and earlier this week I finally got around to it.

This recipe is a real comfort dish and can be whipped up just using your store cupboard favourites (and at very little cost!!).

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Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 medium carrots, sliced approx. 1cm thick
  • 200g tofu (extra firm is best), cubed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter (smooth works best)
  • 2 medium vine tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Method:

  • In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Then add the spices and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (except the peanut butter) along with 1/2c water (or vegetable stock).
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the peanut butter and stir well.
  • Simmer for another 5 minutes (adding more liquid if necessary) until the carrots are soft and the peanut butter is well incorporated.

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I served mine with noodles and broccoli, however this dish would also be great with rice.

NOTE: feel free to use sweet potato instead of the carrots, it was my initial plan to use sweet potato but I had carrots on hand that needed used.

Enjoy,

Emma xx

Middle Eastern Nourish Bowl (Vegan, Gluten free)

I’ve always been a huge fan of middle eastern food; so many colours and flavours. I love the variety of dishes this cuisine has to offer, never mind the fact that it lends itself incredibly well to a vegan diet.

There are so many variations on this recipe you could try for example, you could add roast spiced chickpeas, hummus, Tabbouleh…

For this nourish bowl I have picked out a few of my favourite middle eastern inspired dishes and combined them into a tasty meal.

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Serves: 1

Smokey Roast Eggplant:

  • Start by slicing the eggplant down the middle, then using a knife scar the flesh of the eggplant (as shown above).
  • Drizzle a touch of olive oil onto the flesh, sprinkle smoked paprika and garlic salt and massage the oil and spices into the eggplant.
  • Transfer to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 250c.

Sweet Potato Wedges: 

  • Using a sharp knife cut your sweet potatoes into wedge sized pieces.
  • Transfer to a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 250c. (I put these on the same tray as the eggplant).
  • NOTE: feel free to add other spices to these wedges, I kept them simple as there were plenty of other flavours going on.

Crispy Spiced Tofu:

  • I choose to marinate the tofu for 3 hours previous however it can be prepared just before cooking.
  • Spice mix: 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic salt, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp chilli powder per 1/2 block of tofu (extra firm). 
  • Run the tofu under cold water, slice into strips and using your hands coat each strip of tofu in the spice mix.
  • Either set aside to marinate or transfer to a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 250c.

Sautéed Spinach:

  • Crush 1 garlic clove into a frying pan, sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add 100g fresh spinach and cook into wilted.

Roast Spiced Cauliflower: 

  • Cut half a cauliflower head into small bite-sized pieces. Boil or steam for 4-5 minutes.
  • Drain and transfer into a bowl. Add 2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and 1 tsp garlic salt to the bowl and mix well until each piece is coated.
  • Transfer to a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 250c. I also sliced a red onion and added it to this tray.

Once everything is finished cooking, transfer to a plate, sprinkle some fresh coriander and drizzle with tahini.

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This recipe is a bit more time-consuming than most of my recipes however it is super delicious and easy to prepare extra to keep in the fridge.

Enjoy,

Emma xx