Gingerbread Man Recipe

It is really Christmas if you haven’t tucked into some delicious homemade gingerbread men? We think not! Ever since we were little it has been a tradition to make them and every year they taste just as good.

We use the same recipe year in year out as it has never let us down, they are rich and spicy and just so dam tasty. Everyone we know has tried them and they always ask for the recipe, so we thought we would publish it on our blog.

We are going away for the weekend to Bath with some of our school friends so these will definitely be coming along for the ride (if they make it that far).

Recipe
275g Flour (plain or you can use spelt flour)
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Cinnamon
2tsp Ginger
100g Coconut Sugar
75g Unsalted Butter
1 large egg
50g Maple Syrup
50ml Milk

Method

  1. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and Ginger into a large mixing bowl
    Add the Coconut Sugar and stir until combined
  3. Chop the butter into small segments and add to the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to rub the ingredients together, continue to do so until the ingredients look like bread crumbs
  4. In a measuring just whisk an egg and add the maple syrup and milk
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and poor the egg mixture in
    Stir until all the ingredients come together and form a dough
  6. Wrap the ingredients in cling film and leave in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes
    While the dough is in the oven preheat the oven to 160oc
  7. Flour a kitchen worktop and roll out the Dough to about a 1/4 inch thick. cut out gingerbread men (we did trees as well this time) with a cutter
  8. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Allow to fully cool before eating and decorating if you wish to do so

Chicken Mac and Cheese

We recently saw the Body Coach post a recipe on all his social media channels and it just looked so delicious that we had to make it. As you may or may not be aware one of us has to follow a a special diet due to severe IBS. This means no onion, garlic and a reduced amount of some types of dairy and also wheat.
Thankfully hard cheeses, such as cheddar can still be eaten.

We hope you enjoy this as much as us, we will definitely be making it again soon.

Ingredients
25g dairy free butter
25g gluten free flour
300-400ml almond milk
grated cheese
black pepper
200g gluten free pasta
251g chicken
coconut oil
paprika

Method
1) Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
2) Bring a pan of water to the boil
3) Melt the butter in a separate pan
4) add the flour to the butter and stir and cook for a couple of minutes
5) slowly add the milk stiring as you go, a whisk may be useful to reduce lumps and bring to the boil. Then simmer for about 8 minutes
6) Whilst your cheese sauce is simmering, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook as per instructions
7) In a separate pan, add the coconut oil and fry the chicken until cooked. Then add the paprika.
8) Stir in a handful of grated cheese to the pan that had been simmering and allow it to melt, taste and add more cheese if you want
9) Drain the pasta and then pour into a large baking dish.
10) Toss the cooked chicken in followed by the cheese sauce and mix together
11) Sprinkle on bread crumbs and grated cheese and cook for 20-30 minutes

5 Ways to get a better night sleep 

Sleeping plays a vital role in your health and well being, ensuring you get enough sleep can help your physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can result in poor thinking, reacting, learning and working all of which are skills we need to use on a daily basis.

Having a busy schedule can sometimes result in not getting enough good quality sleep. We have started to incorporate the below into our lives to ensure we are getting the best quality sleep we possibly can.

sleep

Cut the caffeine- Each person’s tolerance to caffeine is different, but it is a known fact caffeine gets your body geared up for activity and leaves you feeling energised. We tend to stop drinking caffeine after lunch time unless we are really struggling to stay awake. Drinking caffeine too late in the day will more than likely disrupt your night’s sleep. If you are used to drinking caffeine in the evening why not try swapping it for a decaf coffee or a herbal tea.

Put down the Technology- This one can be really tough especially if you are so used to getting into bed and catching up on social media etc. Checking your phone or watching TV is probably part of your night time routine but studies have shown that the light emitted from electoral devices can disturb our sleep. Try and put your phone down 30 minutes before going to sleep and make sure you don’t sleep with your phone too close to you.

Stick to a routine- Try to give yourself a ‘bed time’, we all set alarms to wake up in the morning so why don’t we give ourselves a time to go to bed. Our bodies love routine and sticking to a similar routine each night should help you wind down. We love getting into bed early but we do find it a lot easier in the winter months, we try and get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night.

Avoid drinking too much before bed- There is nothing cosier than sitting in front of the fire on a cold autumnal evening, sipping on a hot beverage. Although it may be lush at the time you may not thank yourself when you are woken for the toilet on several occasions. We would suggest having your hot evening drink a little bit earlier to reduce the risk of this happening.

Limit napping- Daytime naps might be tempting (if you have the time) but they can make it harder for you to go to sleep at night. We would suggest limiting your naps to 15 minutes and setting an alarm so you don’t sleep any longer.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Chocolate brownies are one of our go to bakes, we love them and so do our family and friends. We have created the most delicious chocolate brownie recipe but unfortunately like most indulgent treats they are incredibly unhealthy.
We wanted to create a recipe we could enjoy on the regular without getting a sugar carb hangover the next day. We did quite a bit of research on ingredients that would work best and eventually decided on sweet potato.
We got family members to try the baked goods to see if they could guess what they were made of and not one got it right. They were all shocked when we said it was sweet potato and you literally cannot taste it at all.
Sweet potato brownies.png
Makes 12 large brownies or more if you cute them smaller! 
Ingredients 
3 medium sweet potatoes (roughly 700g)
15 pitted dates
4 tbsp raw cacao
120g ground almonds (we just blended ours)
100g oat flour or you could use a flour of your choice
30ml milk of your choice we used oat milk
5 tbsp maple syrup
Method 
Preheat the oven to 180oc
Line a baking dish
Peal the sweet potato and cut them into chunks
Place sweet potato into a steamer and cook until they are soft this took about 15 minutes
Once the sweet potato is really soft add them to the food processed along with the dates and blend until combined
Combine the ground almonds, raw cacao and oat flour before adding the sweet potato mixture, maple syrup and milk
Place mixture into the lined baking dish and cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes
Remove from the oven and let the brownies cool before cutting them
Let us know if you have experimented with any other ingredients as we would love to know!

Healthy eating on a budget

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Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t have to shop in Whole Foods and you certainly don’t have to spend more money. So many people think convenient fast foods are cheaper than fresh wholesome foods.  We want to put this myth to bed and help people maintain a healthy diet whilst eating on a budget.

If you have any other tips and tricks then please share them with us!

healthy eating 1

Buy in Bulk- We would suggest purchasing your food in bulk for example buying bigger bags of rice, oats and pasta will be cheaper and these are as good go to staples to have in the cupboard.  You should also think about purchasing your meat in bulk there are several established websites that sell meat such as Muscle Foods.  Compare pre packed fruit and veg to loose fruit and veg. Check the price per kg some brands will make loose more expensive where as others will bump the prices up on pre packed goods as its more convenient.

Cook in bulk and from fresh- If you don’t enjoy cooking and it feels like a chore this is probably the last thing you are going to want to spend your evening doing. It will definitely be worth it and your bank balance will thank you for it. If you cook in bulk then you can freeze meals or eat them the next day for lunch or dinner, that way it will limit your cooking time in the long run.

Limit eating out/ ordering take away – Eating out can be expensive, why not eat out when you are celebrating something or as a treat when you want to catch up with family or friends. Don’t just eat out because you cannot be bothered to cook or wash up the dinner plates. Eating out is not only expensive it is likely you will end up eating a less nutritional meal.

Buy frozen fruit- We love purchasing frozen fruit and Tesco have recently introduced single fruit bags e.g. kiwi or mango. These are so much cheaper than fresh fruit and have a longer sell by date. We like having frozen fruit in our porridge for breakfast or enjoyed in the evening as a snack with some yoghurt.

Shop online/write a list- Ever been to the super market and ended up purchasing items you really don’t need? Yes we have all been there! When ordering food online it is unlikely you will purchase foods you do not need especially if you are following a shopping list.

A few other tips- purchase all nuts in the world food sections of the supermarket they are always half the price, Purchase produce when they are in season and don’t throw away leftovers eat them the next day or freeze them.

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Fitbit Fans

Two Christmas ago (2015) we both asked for Fitbits, previously we had been tracking our daily step count on the Health app which comes free with the IPhone 6. The health app wasn’t a great way of tracking as it meant you had to have your phone on your 24/7 and it wasn’t able to track any exercise. Before our Fitbits we were using the Nike Running App to track our runs which is another great app.

Fitbit 2

We have office jobs so for 8 hours of the day we are mostly sat down, when we started to use the Health app we realised how little steps one would do if not completing any additional exercise during the day. It’s no wonder people start piling on the pounds as soon as they start an office job, we all know how busy our lives become and exercise can sometimes take a back seat.

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It is so true that motivation is what gets you started but habit is what keeps you going. Living a healthy and balanced life has become part of our everyday routine. We love going to the gym and working out and nourishing out body with wholesome foods. Although we also know that moderation is key, don’t deprive yourself of yummy treats every once in a while. We are avid bakers and we certainly like to enjoy the goodies we bake!

Fitbit offers a two year warranty which is brilliant, we have each spoken to different customer service reps for different reasons and they have all offered great customer service. You only have to look at Fitbit on twitter to see that everyone else agrees.

The Fitbit app is also really good, you can sync your Fitbit daily and it will update your activity. You can also sync the Fitbit to other apps such as my fitness pal. See below what we think about our fitbits and the qualities they have!

fitbit 1

HR Charge
The HR Charge is currently £70 on Amazon
Sizes: Small, large and extra large
Colours: there are a range of colours (Black, Blue, Purple)
The HR Charge tracks steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, heart rate, hourly activity and stationary time.

You can also monitor your sleep on the HR Chardge and the Alta (See below). We have only tracked our sleep a couple of times but it tells you the amount of times you woke up in the night and how many times you were restless. It’s a good feature if you don’t think you get much sleep at night.

Battery Life- the battery life is great on the HR charge it last ups to 5 days.

Alta
The Fitbit Alta is currently £80 on Amazon
Sizes: Small, large and extra large
Colours: there are a range of colours (blue, purple, black and there are a coupld of special editions) and you can even change the straps on the Fitbit Alta.
All day activity tracker, which you can tap to the screen to display.
Long battery life- lasts up to 5 days

Go and order a Fitbit, you won’t regret it! 🙂

What’s In Our Gym Bag 

gym

We really enjoy watching ‘What’s in my bag’ YouTube videos so decided to write a ‘what’s in my gym bag’ blog post. Whether you are popping to the gym or heading to work we always like to carry some essentials with us as you never know when you might need them! Some of the items below we wouldn’t carry to the gym if we didn’t have any plans pre or post workout, instead we would go home and get ready for the day.

At the moment the gym bag Annie is currently using is a black Adidas rucksack and Rachel has a limited edition Cath Kidston Mickey Mouse bag. These rucksacks literally come everywhere with us, they are the perfect size and comfortable to wear.

gym-2

Sweat Towel- One of the Boutique gyms we go to actually provides sweat towels which is great as you don’t have to pack your own, if your gym doesn’t provide sweat towels we would suggest bringing your own! There is something worse than using the blue paper towels some gyms provide.

Headphones- When working out alone whether this is running or the gym headphones are essential! Whether you use them to catch up on Youtube when on the treadmill or listen to music when lifting weights. When we work out together we don’t wear headphones as we have each other to talk to.

Water Bottle- It is so important to stay hydrated at the gym. Your ability to perform well will decline if you are dehydrated. Drinking water is essential if you want to get most out of your workout and feel good while you’re doing it. If you don’t drink enough water when working out you may experience dizziness, tiredness and muscle cramps.

Drying Towel- We tend to go to the gym before work and during our lunch break so it’s important we remember to pack a drying towel.

Spare Clothes- Spare clothes are essential if you go to the gym before work or if you have plans post workout.

Wash bag & Make up- Remember to pack make up remover and face wash so you can wash your face pre workout, there is nothing worse than sweating off your make up you have been wearing all day. Other items we like to pack in our wash bag are: Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower gel, Moisturiser and our makeup bag.

Protein Shaker- We like to carry a protein shaker in our bag so we can refuel. This isn’t something we carry in our bag all the time. We would have a protein shake after the gym if we have a while to wait for our next meal e.g. on the way to work pre breakfast.

Refined sugar free banana bread

We really wanted to bake some banana bread one Sunday afternoon when we were browsing the fruit and vegetable isles in the supermarket. Most supermarkets bag up banana that are about to go out of date and sell them for about 20p bargain!

Banana bread is great because you can eat it at any time of the day! Well you can with this banana bread because it is sugar free and still tastes so delicious! The bananas are sweet enough and become even sweeter once cooked so you wont even notice the lack of sugar.

banana 1.png

Ingredients
3 ripe bananas
200G oat flour (we just blend oats that we already have in the cupboard)
30g chopped walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml milk of your choice
1tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
5g Oats

Method
Pre heat your oven to 180oc
Line your loaf tin and grease with some melted coconut oil
Blend the oats until they are fine and resemble flour
Mush 2 of the bananas in a mixing bowl
Slice the remaning banana
In a separate bowl mix your oat flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and walnuts
Once combined add the mashed banana and half of the slices banana and stir
Pour in the milk and stir
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin
Place the remaining sliced on top of the mixutre
Sprinkle the handful (5g) oats and coconut sugar on top
Bake the banana loaf for 30 minutes until cooked throughout
When cooked let cool and enjoy

banana-2

Banana bread baked porridge

We absolutely love experimenting with oats, especially when we are making our porridge (also known as oatmeal in the USA). Porridge is the perfect winter warmer on a cold February morning helping us to refuel after a morning workout.

We love banana bread so we decided to make our very own banana bread baked porridge. This recipe is absolutely delicious and we would recommend making it as soon as you can. We do put nuts in this recipe but if you have an allergy then it still tastes delicious without.

banana-baked-porridge

Ingredients
50g Oats
1 ripe banana
50ml milk of your choice
30ml water
3 walnuts chopped

Method
Pre heat the oven to 180oc
Mash your banana in mixing bowl
Add in the oats and walnuts and then stir until combined
Pour in the water and milk and continue to mix
Place in the oven for 25/30 minutes until the oats are cooked and the colour is golden brown.

Let us know if you decide to make the porridge and please send us photos as we love to see them!

Chickpea Cookie Dough Balls

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Who doesn’t love cookie dough? Sometimes when we make cookies we make extra just so we can eat the mixture but shh don’t tell anyone. We decided we wanted to make slightly healthier cookie dough balls and thought chick peas would be the perfect ingredient.

These delicious cookie dough balls taste delicious hot out the oven, they are all gooey with melted chocolate oozing out its hard to stop after eating just one. They also taste just as good once cooled. We would suggest serving them with some homemade ‘nice cream’ or even treat yourself to some proper ice cream after all these cookie dough balls are healthy!

Ingredients
2 Cans of chickpeas
200g Peanut butter
5tbsp Honey or maple syrup
1tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Vanilla essence
150g 85% Dark chocolate

Method
Pre heat the oven 180oc and line a baking tray with grease proof paper
Drain and rinse the chick peas
Dry the chickpeas well
Blend all ingredients minus the dark chocolate in a food processor (we would suggest taste testing before adding the chocolate to ensue the mixture is sweet enough if not add some more honey/maple syrup)
Break the chocolate into small chunks and stir into the mixture
Take small handfuls of mixture and roll into a ball
Place on the lined baking tray
Cook in the oven for 11 minutes