Sunday, 29 March 2015

ALMOND MILK

just for a change


There are various reasons why people forgo drinking cow’s milk: a person may be lactose intolerant; you may simply dislike the taste of milk; vegans eliminate dairy products from their diet; and some folk believe that cow’s milk should only be consumed by……well…..cows! Me, I enjoy drinking cow’s milk just for the taste, the nutritional benefit is the bonus; I have it with my breakfast cereals, add it to smoothies and sometimes simply have it as a refreshing drink with my snack. However, for those people who cannot or choose not to drink cow’s milk, there are plenty of milk alternatives from soya milk and oat milk, to specific dairy-free milks and nut milks -  the latter being the subject of this post.


As well as cow’s milk, I’m also quite partial to nut milks, particularly almond milk, however I find the unsweetened ready-made boxed versions a little insipid. Some versions are quite tasty but the sacrifice is that they often contain added sugar, so when it comes to nut milks I tend to have home-made almond milk, which means I can make it to suit my discerning taste: I add a dash of nutmeg and vanilla to excite my palate and I make it as deliciously creamy as possible. Of course, this type of milk is not suitable for people with nut allergies and although almond milk is a source of vitamin E (nuts are rich in the antioxidant vitamin E), be mindful that it can lack some of the nutritive qualities of cow’s milk (e.g. protein and calcium), however a balanced and varied diet should account for this.



What I used
3 cups of Water
1 cup of Almonds (blanched or unblanched works equally well I feel)
Nutmeg (or cinnamon)
Vanilla essence
Cheesecloth
Sweetener (optional)


What I did
It’s so simple, albeit a little messy!

Soak the almonds in a bowl of water for at least 6 hours. They say the longer you leave the nuts to soak, the creamier the milk.

Blend the drained nuts together with fresh water (I used my NutriBullet for this), vanilla essence and nutmeg. You can alter the volume of water depending on your preferred consistency.


Strain the milk using the cheesecloth so you’re left with a smooth and creamy milk -  this is when it can get a bit messy if you’re not careful because you have to squeeze the liquid out……just like milking a cow.

Put the strained milk in your mason jar (okay it doesn’t have to be a mason jar), pop it in the fridge and serve once chilled.

It’s a shame to discard the nutrient- dense pulp left in the cheesecloth, and I’m still looking for delicious recipes that’ll show me how I can make use of this filtered goodness.






Later x

Sunday, 1 March 2015

TOMATO & BASIL SPAGHETTI

but not with the spiralizer this time

Spirali from Amazon
Okay I've done it, I've succumbed....…..I've upgraded my mini, inconspicuous handheld spiralizer gadget to a larger, sturdier, ‘can’t find any space to put it’ gadget. As you’re probably aware, spiralizers are great for cutting various fruit and vegetables into spaghetti-shaped spirals; in fact the finished product has become somewhat of a social media sensation with vegetarian food bloggers, raw food advocates and low carb enthusiasts photographing and posting their freshly prepared coodles/courgetti dishes where they have substituted, what typically would be, wheat-based spaghetti or noodles for courgettes and other vegetables.

I don't have an allergy or intolerance to wheat or gluten, I'm not a raw food vegetarian, and I’m against people generally cutting out all carbohydrates from their diet for reasons I have discussed previously, however, for me the Spirali is a useful gadget for making alternative, and might I add pretty, dishes when I feel like a change from the norm. Despite my recent purchase, I made a quick and simple lunchtime dish this weekend - Tomato and Basil Spaghetti, which can also be made with vegetable spirals using the spiralizer, however I didn't have the vegetables I needed, so this time I've made it with whole-wheat spaghetti. Wholewheat pasta provides a good portion of wholegrains and evidence is growing that eating wholegrains regularly as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle may help to reduce the risk of many common diseases such as heart disease and bowel cancer.


What I used:
Whole-wheat pasta or vegetable spirals (e.g. courgette spirals)
Plum tomatoes
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Honey
Basil
Pine nuts
Feta cheese


What I did:
  • Mix up a small amount of basil-oil dressing by tearing approximately 5-6 basil leaves and grinding it with enough extra-virgin olive oil to cover the leaves
  • Slice the tomatoes in half and drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes with a sprinkle of salt (add pepper too if you like - I hate pepper!) and then put them in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes. Half way through, throw in some pine nuts (these were an afterthought whilst cooking)
  • Meanwhile, cook your spaghetti as instructed on the packet and make some extra dressing to drizzle over the pasta
  • The extra dressing is made in the same way as the basil-oil dressing above except this time add extra basil and oil, and also add the juice of half a lemon for that zesty kick and a teaspoon of honey
  • Once your pasta is cooked, transfer to your favourite bowl, drizzle the dressing over the pasta being sure to expose every spaghetti strand possible to the dressing, then pour over your roasted tomatoes and pine nuts and top with feta cheese.

Ready for roasting
Making the extra dressing
adding the pine nuts to roast with the tomatoes
Gobbling it all up!
Later x

Sunday, 22 February 2015

SEVENTIES FASHION FOR SS15

Get out the flares girlfriend




As I started to photograph my delicious, home-made, healthy pancakes to present to you on this blog, I had a timely reminder that we were in the midst of fashion week and that it had been a while since I shared an outfit post with y’all, so here it is: my OOTD - me in my flares and the ever ubiquitous camel coat.

Despite me enjoying scrolling through the latest #NYFW and #LFW posts on Instagram to discover the emerging talent and trends adorning the catwalks, I don’t consider myself an avid trend follower, although I do dabble in buying trend pieces as some of you will know; from those ugly sliders I bought in the summer to the popular sports luxe Stan Smiths I bought a few months ago, but generally I buy what suits me (and what I can afford!) rather than what I see the fash-pack wear. However, you can’t deny that smug feeling when you have a style piece in your wardrobe which you've had for many years, in my case these flares, and then realise it has been forecast to be next season’s fashion trend (my mum always reminds me of all the clothes and shoes she wished she had kept for me from the 70s). Yep, that’s right, seventies fashion is returning for SS15, which means I have even more excuse to don my favourite cut of jeans – bye bye skinny-fit (although I’m sure they’ll never really retire from the high-street) and hello figure-flattering flares……… ooooh, and I’ll be sure to hold on to my floppy hats too!




 Camel coat - ASOS
Flares - Warehouse (old)
Bag - Mulberry Lilli
Booties - Kurt Geiger

Later x

Sunday, 15 February 2015

BIRMINGHAM PARKRUN - PERRY HALL PARK

at a park near you!




You may recall a previous post where I reported that I was not a big fan of running outside when it’s freezing cold, and consequently I look for alternative ways to get my recommended 150 minutes of physical activity into my week. I bought a treadmill a couple of years ago, which often comes in handy, however, having used my treadmill more frequently recently (due to the weather) I've succumbed to the belief that nothing really beats working out in the great outdoors -  better scenery, fresh air for my sweat to evaporate into and a chance to meet new people.


Parkrun UK is a not-for-profit organisation that organises free, weekly, 5km timed runs in pleasant parkland surroundings on weekend mornings. They welcome all ages and abilities, from those running for the first time to those at more trained levels, even Olympic level!

 I went along to my first Parkrun this weekend and I'd highly recommend it: a beautiful parkland setting; friendly fellow runners; encouraging support staff (who are volunteers); and, as you leave, a feeling of motivation to beat your time the following week. The history of Parkrun can be found here  but if you have been contemplating starting, increasing or changing your exercise regime, Parkrun is definitely something to consider – but don’t wear your best trainers or Net-a-Sporter attire because they’re likely to get quite grubby as you stomp your way through the parkland. Don’t think this is just a Birmingham or UK event either; Parkrun organise these events all over the world, so why not look out for your local Parkrun.





Later x

Sunday, 8 February 2015

HATS OFF TO ME!

I've done a bit of DIY for my beloved hats



It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me at work, which has resulted in very little ‘me’ time, but it’s all good because I've had this weekend to look forward to; a weekend where I had no work, no friends/family commitments and no domestic duties -  a weekend planned just for me! With days like these I like to experiment in the kitchen, spend time in the great outdoors, catch up on television programmes I've missed and do a little bit of playful DIY, the latter being the subject of this post.






During one of my tedious train journeys I read about a DIY project on making a hanging copper hat rack. You know I love hats……………I currently have all my many hats hanging on a coat stand one on top of the other and therefore thought it would be entertaining (for me) to try my hand at making a hat rack that was a little quirkier and showed off my hat collection a little more than the existing one. According to the instructions, all I needed was a copper pipe, pegs and some rope (although I only had string), so I got to work and voila! I’m not sure if I’m going to keep it yet, I’ll probably try it again using thicker rope and more attractive pegs, and I’m curious to see whether I’m left with peg marks on my hats -  that’s a definite no no – and where am I going to put all my other hats?





Later x

Sunday, 18 January 2015

JANUARY TRADITIONS

 Two things I won't do



There are two January traditions I don’t engage in: detoxing and shopping in the sales. With respect to the latter, it’s not that I don’t like a good discount, I most certainly do, but there is something about post-Christmas shopping trips that just don’t evoke the same level of passion and excitement I usually feel at other times of the year; it’s almost like I need a detox from retail stores, which stands to reason given the amount of time I spend in them in the lead up to Christmas, trying to decipher what to buy family and friends – I kind of just need a break from it all. Boxing Day saw all the savvy bargain hunters rummaging through mounds of discounted items whilst I was sat at home in my pyjamas, curled up by the fire, eating leftovers and watching Planet Of The Apes.

With respect to detoxing, I’m guessing every qualified nutritionist/dietitian is currently at their wits end with reading and hearing about special detox diets. Detoxing is the basis of many people’s diet-related resolutions in a bid to rid their body of the toxins that have built up over Christmas and lose weight – it’s all a load of ole’ balderdash.  If toxins did build up in a way that our bodies could not excrete, we’d be in need of serious medical intervention or even dead. The healthy body has kidneys, a liver and skin which are more than capable of carrying out the detoxifying process on a daily basis without having to resort to restrictive, tedious and in some cases dangerous detox diets, which claim to ‘cleanse’ organs. Despite this, I wouldn't say to abandon all plans for a January light on alcohol and chocolate and heavy on kale and juices because this might just be the opportunity to reassess your eating habits and give you the kick start you need to get on track to a healthy lifestyle.

Now I’m off to massage some kale in lemon juice, olive oil, omega seeds and Granny Smith apple chunks -  yes there is such a recipe as massaged kale - massaging the kale is supposed to transform the green from being bitter and tough, to soft and sweet.




Later x

Sunday, 11 January 2015

DIET & STYLE PROFILE

The first in a series


As a Nutritionist I have a professional interest in people’s diet and lifestyle, and as a fashion and style enthusiast, I enjoy exploring new trends and checking out how different people interpret fashion through their own personal style. I follow fashion bloggers and food & health bloggers/experts as a pastime and am always inspired by what they do or have to say. For this reason, I decided to create the 'Style and Diet Profile' (essentially a diet and style questionnaire, you know, similar to those spotlight questions the magazines ask celebrities - I love them!); something that gives me an excuse to be nosy and delve into the lifestyles of some of my ‘favourite’ people, and what better person to start this ‘Diet and Style Profile’ series with than me.


Name: Colleen Campbell

Age or age category: 20 - 40 years (ha!)

Where do you call home? Birmingham, England

What is your Occupation? Chiefly, a Registered Nutritionist

What are your hobbies/interests? Blogging, recipe testing, working out, eating out, reading health/nutrition-related books/journals, travelling when possible and I’d like to get more in to photography.

Favourite Quote: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”

Guilty pleasure: Reality TV



HEALTH & NUTRITION

What's a typical day's diet for you?

Breakfast: On a working day I typically opt for muesli with semi skimmed milk or Granola with Greek yoghurt and berries or Jordans porridge. I prefer Jordans because their jumbo oats make the porridge thicker, creamier and more filling. At the weekend I like to have scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on wholemeal toast or sourdough bread. Regardless of the breakfast, I’ll have a small glass of fruit juice.


Lunch: Sometimes I will just have leftovers from dinner the night before if there is somewhere to heat the food at work, if not I just make myself a wholemeal sandwich or wrap, usually filled with salad and cheese or chicken and take it to work with me in a cool bag. I cook from recipe books at the weekend.

Dinner: This varies considerably but generally my plate contains some protein (chicken, red meat, fish, lentils), a carbohydrate (potatoes, pasta, rice, quinoa) and a large side of steamed or sautéed vegetables or salad. My favourite homemade meals at the moment are Thai green turkey curry with spinach and basmati rice, the traditional Caribbean Sunday dinner of brown rice and peas with chicken, and, believe it or not, spaghetti bolognese with lots of olive oil drizzled over the spaghetti.

Snacks: I typically snack a lot on fruit; I drink an Actimel probiotic drink or eat a plain Greek yoghurt mid-morning; and I eat a handful of nuts every afternoon. Sometimes I’ll have a homemade smoothie made in my NutriBullet. I tend to drink water (still or sparkling) throughout the day.

What is/are your healthy food staples?

Extra virgin olive oil; any type of fruit (granny smith apples, avocado and grapes are my favourite fruit); spinach and kale which I add to many meals and smoothies - you can't really taste them but they give your meals a great nutritious punch; and nuts and oily fish for my dose of healthy fats.

What is your food vice? 

Sweets, especially Haribos, and good quality chocolate like Leonidas and Godiva, so I don’t buy them. I love my mum's Caribbean fried dumplings. 

What is your favourite recipe? 

At the moment it's eggs with tomato and beans which I blogged about previously. There's no sophistication about it; it’s so easy to make, filling, healthy and tastes like comfort food. I’m also experimenting with quinoa and lentil recipes at present such as pizza bases made from lentils.


Can you describe your physical activity regime?

Once a week I go to the gym for an hour and a half; if the weather is okay I go road running and when the weather is rubbish I go on my treadmill for half an hour. I like to do basic toning exercises at home such as squats, lunges, plank positions, sit ups and press ups. I work out 4-5 times a week.


Where is your favourite place to eat?

In Birmingham it’s Browns for dinner or any Italian restaurant where they use fresh pasta. For lunch or brunch I’m enjoying the healthy options available at Boston Tea Party.

Can you offer any healthy lifestyle advice/tips?
  1. Follow an 80/20 eating regime so you’re not completely depriving yourself of certain foods you enjoy -  moderation over deprivation. 80% of the time I eat healthily/sensibly and 20% of the time I treat myself to a treat. My treat would be some chocolate or a good old portion of fish and chips.
  2. Don’t keep foods in the house that don’t fit in the 80% regime because if it’s there you’re more likely to eat it more often than you’d planned to.
  3. Decide on an exercise you enjoy and make time to fit it in. Be realistic about what you choose and how you fit it in to your life so that it is sustainable - don’t join a gym if you detest gyms!
  4.  If you live by yourself, cook in batches so your meals last you more than once and you don’t have to cook for one so often -  it’s great to just be able to reheat a meal I've cooked when I roll in at 8pm; it’s better than a supermarket ready meal!

Is there anyone you follow for health inspiration?

Currently I like what ‘Nutrition Stripped’ and ‘Hemsley and Hemsley’ and ‘Deliciously Ella’ have to offer in terms of food/recipes; I read their blogs and follow them on Instagram. I follow BrittneBabe  on Instagram for simple workout ideas that you can do in the comfort of your own home – her physique is out of this world.



FASHION & STYLE

How would you describe your personal style?

Depends where or what I’m doing. During the day, running errands or shopping it’s ‘casual comfort’: usually a pair of jeans with flats or trainers. If I’m going out in the evening to dinner or a wine bar it’s ‘casual chic’: a fitted pair of trousers or designer jeans with heels (always heels on a night out) and a blazer or fitted coat. I rarely wear dresses and skirts.

Do you have a wardrobe staple?

Jeans, of course. I love my boyfriend jeans from River Island and skinny fit jeans from Topshop. I also wear a lot of hats because I'm too lazy to style my hair every day.

Where do you like to shop?

High street: Topshop, River Island, Zara and Mango.

What has been one of your biggest fashion splurges?

My Mulberry bag/s, Anya Hindmarch bag and Sophie Hulme bag. I only really splurge on bags when it comes to fashion and try to keep to British brands, but I have found lately that I'm spending more on shoes too -  I love Kurt Geiger for shoes.



What piece of clothing or accessory are you saving up for?

An Aspinal of London trunk clutch -  I'm hoping it will go down in the sale by the end of the month.

Can you offer any style tips?

Don’t just wear something because it is fashionable, tailor a piece of clothing or an outfit to fit your individual personal style.

Is there a current fashion trend that you are rocking or would like to rock?

Wearing trainers with everyday clothes. I recently bought some Adidas Stan Smiths and historically would have only worn them with workout leggings or jogging bottoms but now I wear them with skirts and tailored, smart trousers



Who or what inspires you in terms of fashion and style?

I rarely get time to sit down with a good fashion glossy these days so I tend to get a lot of inspiration from blogs and Instagram. 5 Inch and Up was one of the first blogs I ever read and I’ve been following her style ever since. Celebrity wise, I’m afraid to say it’s the Kardashian sisters

 Later x