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Remember when sweet potatoes weren't really part of your diet?

Yes, us neither because the orange vegetable has been on the menu pretty much everywhere for the past two years. 

And the reasons are obvious: on top of fact that they taste divine, sweet potatoes are a nutrition powerhouse. 

They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, potassium and dietary fibre. We love them baked, stuffed, roasted or fried, basically in every way possible.

Since the Internet is all about #cleaneating and #foodporn at the same time, Instagram is the place to be if you are looking for inspiration on what to make with sweet potatoes. 

Pancakes

Looks like a great lunch to bring to the office.
 

 

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Between My daughters birthday and Easter I indulged a little too much so off to a new start and will be sure to try and get in some evening runs this week. Today's lunch is sweet potato and zucchini pancakes over arugula with roasted chickpeas, tomatoes, avocado and olives topped with a little lemon juice, hemp seeds and gomasio. Have a great day!To make the sweet potato and zucchini pancakes grate half a medium zucchini in a bowl and place on thick layer of paper towels. Press out as much of the juice as possible through a strainer or with dry paper towels. Squeezing out all the juice prevents the pancakes from falling apart while cooking. Add zucchini back into the bowl and grate half a sweet potato. Add in 1 @handsomebrookfarm pasture raised egg or egg substitute equivalent, 2 chopped scallions and salt and pepper to taste and blend well. Add 1 to 3 Tbsp. @bobsredmill gluten free flour to help bind any excess juice. Heat 1 tbsp. @harvestbay extra virgin coconut oil on medium high heat. Add heaps of mixture to pan and shape into pancakes. Cook on both sides until golden and transfer to paper towels to remove any excess oil. Makes about 8 pancakes. Serve with Greek yogurt or applesauce!

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Spiralised hashbrown

Courgettes are not the only vegetables that can get the spiralising treatment.

 

Waffles

Bacon, maple syrup, guacamole, crumbed feta; it's all about the topping you add to your waffle.

 

An alternative to toasts or bagels for breakfast

There is no way we are ever quitting carbs, but it is all about getting the right ones.

 

Todays breakfast

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A smoothie

Bring a lot of creaminess and sweetness to your morning smoothie by adding some cooked sweet potatoes

 

A muffin

If carrot cakes are so delicious, we can imagine sweet potatoes in muffins must taste divine.

 

Actual toasts

Gluten-free toasts straight from Mother Earth! 

 

Thursdays with mum #sweetpotatotoasts #organics #mum #breakydate #chefjenny

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Loaded nachos

The perfect dinner when all you want is Netflix and chill.

We put out a call for the best Food Influencer of the last 12 months, and you guys couldn't wait to share your thoughts on the subject.

Whether a health food junkie or fast food fanatic, this person's page pops, their enthusiasm motivates and their love of food always, always, always engages.

And as a nation of food and drink lovers, it's no surprise we are fascinated by food influencers and the effort they put it into their passion.

So, without further ado, here are your five finalist for our Food Influencer of the Year award.

Yummy Dublin

Amanda Holtz, the face behind the uber-popular Yummy Dublin, is on a mission to connect some of Dublin's tastiest establishments with her legions of loyal followers.

She may say she's 'just a girl and her fork eating (and drinking) her way through Dublin', but Amanda's keen eye for detail and ability to tap into her followers' interest on the gastronomy scene has earned her a very well-deserved place on our shortlist.

Cocu

Founded by Emilia Rowan, Cocu has become a firm favourite with foodies in Ireland.

Taking inspiration from far-flung lands while giving more than a passing nod to the important of local produce, the folk behind Cocu never fail to inspire, influence and invigorate.

French Foodie in Dublin

Ketty Elisabeth, the face of French Foodie in Dublin, started her blog in 2012 and has watched it grow in popularity over the past five years.

Authentic, passionate and utterly charming, if you want a unique look at the capital's gastronomy scene, French Foodie in Dublin has you covered.

The Happy Pear

When it comes to enthusiasm, these two guys have it in absolute spades.

Dave and Steve, the siblings behind The Happy Pear, are pros at communicating the importance of fresh food, the significance of simple recipes and the value of creating wholesome produce.

Gastro Gays

Russell James Alford and Patrick Hanlon established their blog back in 2013 and initially intended to review Dublin restaurants, but life got in the way and they ultimately found themselves in London where they really found their voice.

Their enthusiasm, warmth and passion for home cooking makes them two of the most relatable Food Influencers in the industry.

 

This year's Galway Food Festival is on the horizon, and it looks like it's set to be a delicious feast for culinary connoisseurs and food fans alike. 

The festival will run over the Easter weekend, from Thursday April 13 to Monday April 17.

"Galway is home to many different communities, both local and international. In an age of increased migration, we are witness to so many new people arriving in Galway bringing with them their own food culture."

"It is central that we marry these global cultures with our own in order a secure a brighter future for food," said the festival organisers. 

 

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Some of Galway's finest eateries are taking part in the foodie feast. 

Biteclub, Wa Cafe, Cava Bodega, Il Vicola and Anair will all be taking part.

A number of the city's cafes are also on board, including the ever-popular Coffeewerk + Press and Caprice. 

Over 100 food-based events will be happening over the weekend, all focused on the theme of food and community. 

“Community and food are so closely linked as every culture and community forms a large part of their identity through food whether during celebration, through tradition and history or simply daily dining rituals," said owner of Builín Blasta Café and Bakery in Spiddal, Heather Flaherty.

 

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There will also be wonderful food tours through the cobbled streets, discussing some of the city's finest home grown eateries and ingredients. 

It's always worth a road trip to Galway, and this festival is a little added incentive to head west for the Easter weekend. 

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

We’ve always been a nation of food lovers, but the birth of Instagram has definitely taken it to the next level.

Whether you've drooled over this foodie’s uploads or taken inspiration from their recipes, you decided to pay tribute to their culinary creativity last month, and ultimately landed them in our shortlist!

Thousands of votes poured in from you guys, and we now present to you your five finalists for Foodie of the Year.

Time to get voting, folks!

Roz Purcell

The face behind Natural Born Feeder, Roz Purcell's impact on the health food scene in recent years is undeniable.

Combining delicious meals with guilt-free treats, Roz taps into the nation's desire to learn about food and nutrition without depriving themselves.

The Little Green Spoon

When it comes to mouthwatering recipes, Indy Power has it absolutely nailed.

With an Instagram account just bursting with stunning snaps and a cookbook heaving with delicious recipes, Indy's star is only in ascension.

The Wonky Spatula

Nicola Halloran, the gal behind the uber-popular Wonky Spatula, reminds her followers that healthy eating does not have to be boring.

From fakeways to pancake porn, The Wonky Spatula is a a firm favourite among you guys.

The Healthy Tart

If you're determined to embrace healthy eating, but fear the unknown, The Healthy Tart is alwaya on hand to guide you.

And with photos that pop and recipes that hit the spot, it's no surprise this foodie is in the running.

Derval O’Rourke

This three-time Olympian and bestselling author is our last finalist for Foodie of the Year.

So, if Derval's stunning recipes and snack ideas regularly inspire you, it's time to crown her!

 

 

Bringing your lunch to work or to college is the best way to eat well and save money.

We mean, who needs a sausage roll from the shop when you can whip up a delicious and nutritious meal in no time?

We asked Emilia Rowan, founder of Cocu, to share three recipes that are both easy and tasty! (You can thank us later)

Egg muffins

For 4 portions:
5 eggs
40g feta, crumbled
30g sundried tomato, chopped finely
1 small handful spinach, chopped finely
Oil for moulds

Preheat oven to 160˚c. Beat eggs in a bowl, Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir gently.

Line the silicone moulds with a little oil and pour the mixture into each one evenly. Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm in the centre.

Eat immediately or allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Butterbean hummus

2 tins butterbeans (drained and rinsed)
3 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon cayenne
3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until creamy in texture. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Wholemeal Dipping Chips

Wholemeal wraps
Rapeseed oil
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Cut the wraps into 8 wedges (like a pizza) and brush with rapeseed oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and toast in the oven for 8 minutes, until crisp. 

Allow to cool fully and can be stored in a airtight container for 3 days.

 

Thai veggie salad with sesame and soy dressing

Serves 2

For the dressing:
⅓ cup rapeseed oil    
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
a squeeze of lime juice
2 tablespoons boiling water

For the salad:
150g frozen shelled edamame
2 cups baby kale
1 large carrots
1 red pepper
Handful of coriander 
1 spring onion
Small handful cashews

With a hand blender, blend all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge. (nb: there is extra dressing so you can keep it for another salad).

Steam the edamame lightly for 2 minutes, in a pot of boiling water. Drain and allow to cool. 

Meanwhile prepare the vegetables. You can chop the vegetables any way you like, spiralise or finely slice. You can leave the edamame and the cashews whole for extra crunch, or pulse them in a food processor for a different texture. 

Toss all together and dress when you are ready to eat. 

Emilia was in our studio last night to cook these delicious recipes. You can watch her here:

 

Veganism has become pretty popular these days, with the number of vegans in the UK rising by 360 per cent in the last 10 years, according to a recent study by The Vegan Society.

With this in mind, we're sure there are plenty of Irish people willing to try the vegan lifestyle, which strictly prohibits the consumption of any animal by-products. 

Veganism has been cited to improve the health, aid weight loss and be better for the environment than a carnivorous diet according to its followers. 

Here are a few tips to get started if you want to give it a try: 

8. Watch a few documentaries.

There are plenty of documentaries out there about the reasons for going vegan, and plenty of videos about how to do it efficiently.

Films like Earthlings, Cowspiricy and Vegucated have been credited for turning many people on to the vegan lifestyle. 

A warning though, these flicks expose the grim realities of the meat and animal by-product business and may be a bit much for squeamish folk. 

7. Order PETA's free vegan guide

Animal rights organisation PETA is a huge promoter of the vegan lifestyle.

They have a free Vegan Starter Kit for those interested, all you have to do is head to the website and give your address, and the kit will be sent out to you anywhere in the world, completely free. 

6. Make small swaps

Making small steps like swapping cow's milk for soy or oat milk and switching crisp flavours can take your diet from carnivorous to vegan. 

There are tonnes of options to try when it comes to milk and cheese alternatives. 

5. Try new things

Speaking of these alternatives, don't be afraid to branch out of your comfort zone and try some new taste experiences.

While almond butter and hemp seeds may not sound the most appetising, trying vegan alternatives is so important in order to maintain a balanced plant-based diet. It's not just about eating salad!

 

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4. Consider why you're doing it.

There are people who move to veganism for ethical reasons, those who do it for health reasons and those who do it to lose weight.

Having a clear motive for your transition will make sticking to it so much easier. 

3. Ditch dairy. 

People cite the amazing benefits of minimising their dairy intake. 

Ditching dairy is a prerequisite for the vegan diet, but it can also help clear the skin and put an end to bloating. 

 

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2. Consider your non-food choices.

A lot of people who choose veganism for ethical reasons look further than their diet when it comes to incorporating the message into their everyday lives. 

Some avoid leather or products made at the expense of any animal, and actively avoid beauty products that test on animals or include animal by-products. 

1. Keep an eye on the carbs.

When going vegan or even vegetarian, it can be easy to rely on pure carbs to keep yourself going if you haven't taken the time to look into new food choices. 

This can leave your plates looking pretty beige, so make sure you're getting plenty of variety into your diet. 

Feature image: Instagram/ Vegan Food Spot/ Lumadeline

It’s rare a day passes when we’re not exposed to some form of narrative highlighting the dangers associated with excessive sugar consumption.

Whether it comes in the form of a medical study or via a clean eating blog post, society is becoming more and more aware of the dangers, and attempting to tailor their nutritional plans in accordance with guidelines.

And yet, curtailing sugar intake is often easier said than done, with various products positively heaving under the weight of hidden sugars.

With that in mind, it’s refreshing to know that Nestlé have spent two years researching and developing recipes which tap into the consumer’s concerns.

This week, Nestlé’s Rowntree’s unveiled brand new 30% less sugar versions of two of its best-selling products; Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles and Rowntree’s Randoms.

Offered alongside the existing, classic products, the new recipes contain less sugar and more fibre content in addition to remaining free of artificial flavours, colours and sweeteners.

Acknowledging the current narrative, CEO Fiona Kendrick said: “We are delighted that our innovation gives consumers the option of a significantly reduced sugar version of both Fruit Pastilles and Randoms.

"And, as consumers make the switch to the less sugar version, it can help deliver a reduction in the amount of sugar consumed overall.”

“Confectionery can play as much of a part in the efforts to reduce sugar and tackle obesity in the UK and Ireland as any other category and, as we’re demonstrating, we’ll take every opportunity to innovate and reformulate to improve our products.”

As we can’t imagine life without a sweet fix, this news is the stuff dreams are made of.

If you're still enduring a self-imposed chocolate ban in honour of Lent, you may want to look away now because this is almost too much to handle.

A cafe in Cork has proven itself the king of mochas by making use of Easter eggs in their preparation.

Union Grind Espresso Bar has sent its customers into a meltdown (see what we did there?) by sharing footage of their approach to our favourite coffee drink, and we're busy wiping drool from our sleeves right now.

Placing an Easter egg neatly inside a cup before adding that sweet, sweet java, the good folk behind the Union Grind show us all how it's done.

We mean, take a look at this.

 

Remember the last time you were advised to tuck into a cake before crunching like your life depended on it?

Yeah, us neither, but it looks like that’s all set to change as a new range of nutritious pre-workout treats hit shelves across Ireland.

The brainchild of Dublin-based bakers, Broderick’s Brothers, BC’ Before Cake’ are high in protein and fibre, low in calories, gluten and wheat-free, and include ingredients such as dried red apple, juicy sultanas, cinnamon, high quality cocoa, and roasted hazelnuts.

And they come highly recommended as well.

Having joined forces with World Champion and three time Olympian Derval O'Rourke, Broderick’s Brothers are keen to tap into Ireland’s current and ever-growing #FitFam trend.

“The Irish consumer is becoming increasingly health conscious and these products will allow them to maintain that ethos while enjoying a guilt free treat full of high quality ingredients,” they said.

"I am passionate about imparting the knowledge I have gained around nutrition and performance and the guys have taken it all on board and have included some really strong nutritional credentials in this range," Derval added.

With the help of  food technologists, sensory analysts, nutritional experts, the Broderick’s Brothers have created three nutritious snacks which speak to the priorities of today’s health-focussed generation.

“We have maintained the unrivalled quality of our products and married it with a guilt-free treat. We have not rushed this process, as it was so important to make sure the products were perfect,” they added.

Our pre-gym prep has just gotten a lot tastier, ladies.

At a time when the term 'clean eating' saturates our newsfeeds, it can feel like you're failing if you don't buy organic, cook from scratch or juggle avocados between TRX classes.

And life is complicated enough without forcing yourself into a corner when it comes to diet and nutrition, right?

So, sticking to five simple rules as often as possible is all you need to do to keep your physical health and emotional wellbeing in check.

1. Eat when you are hungry

And ONLY when you are hungry. If ever there was one rule to follow, it is this one.

Yes, it means forgetting all about this “finish your plate” plea you heard so much as a kid, but it is essential.

Basically, remember that your body isn’t a trash bin: don’t finish your plate if you are no longer hungry, and don’t say yes to the birthday cake in the office if you feel full already. 

2. Eat your fruits and veg first

The idea here is not to only eat fruits and veg, but to eat as much as you can.

Automatically, if you only eat when you are hungry, that will reduce the amount of junk you put in your mouth. 

3. Stay away from processed food

There are so many reasons to eat homemade food and to keep processed food at bay.

It is healthier, cheaper and most importantly, it tastes so much better!  

4. Do not waste food

Buying in bulks is a good idea for long shelf-life products (rice, pasta, canned food) but sometimes, good deals can end up costing you more if it all ends up in the bin.

Learn how to buy according to your needs and freeze your leftovers. 

5. Do not prevent yourself from enjoying social times

The one and only exception to the rule #1 is holidays and family reunions. That’s right, you should have a slice (or three) of cheesecake at your cousin’s communion if you feel like it, just keep it in mind during your next exercise session and push yourself that bit extra.

Depriving yourself from enjoying social times because you want to lose weight or be healthy is too much of a waste, and life is too short to be constantly dieting. 

 

Back in 6th class when you were considering your options for secondary school, the idea of whipping up cupcakes as part of your school day seemed an absolute dream, right?

Sure, you were only mad into cupcakes, and if making them helped you acquire points in the Leaving Cert, then who were you to turn down the chance?

Then you began Home Ec classes and got the rudest awakening of your life.

Yes, you made cakes every now and then, but you were also forced to memorise the components of a fridge, commit various biological functions to memory, and watch your friend's glasses steam up every time she went anywhere near the oven.

And here are just six things you know if Home Ec was the bane of your life.

1. You ALWAYS forgot to pre-heat the oven

No matter how fresh your ingredients or clean your workspace, something would always go wrong during your Home Ec practicals.

And invariably it came down to your inability to remember the oven needed to be turned on in order to actually go home with anything edible. 

"Oh my God, I did TURN it on. I'm SURE I did."

2. You never had the right containers

The night before a cookery class, you would trawl through your mother's impressive collection of Tupperware in order to find a container which would facilitate your finished product the following day.

And invariably, the container would be too small and you'd be forced to bung your cupcakes into a dirty cotton bag and bail before your teacher caught sight of you.

"Jaysus, just fling them in there and bounce."

3. You struggled with various smells

Cutting onions first thing in the morning, and then spending the rest of the day with the smell lingering on your hands was an absolute melter.

Even when you forced your partner to take the reins with the onion, the smell would still find its way onto your hands, and ruin your day.

"That smell isn't coming from me. Stop looking at me."

4. Your hair couldn't take the pressure

A school kitchen with 20 students slaving over hot stoves wreaked havoc on your barnet.

You may have arrived to school with poker-straight hair, but you could guarantee a steamy kitchen meant you'd be leaving with a 'do that resembled nothing like it did an hour earlier.

"I look like Monica when the humidity got to her."

5. Your finished product NEVER looked like the picture

You might have used all the right ingredients, but the item you gingerly removed from the oven rarely looked like the photo in your textbook.

And even if it tasted good, your presentation generally left a lot to be desired, right?

"What's a piping bag? And can I use this plastic bag instead?"

6. You were forever 'wasting' food apparently

While you assumed you were simply peeling fruit and veg, your teacher would insist you were leaving half the good stuff in the kitchen bin.

And you weren't beneath arranging the contents of your bin so as to conceal the amount of potato you had actually discarded either.

"What? Those peels aren't mine! They were there when the class started!"

Thankfully, the good folk at Siúcra have helped us to draw a line under our hellish experience of homebaking with the help of new brand ambassador Catherine Fulvio.

Reminding the public that home cooking doesn't have to dredge up memories of Home Ec classes, they said: "Food has an incredible ability to bring people together, so whether it’s a sharing plate or a mini dessert, Siúcra has the perfect recipes for both seasoned cooks and young enthusiasts to savour mini moments."

"With Catherine's infectious enthusiasm for food and no-fuss approach to cooking and baking, she was a natural choice for our brand," they added.

"I’m really excited about working with the range to develop easy-to-make recipes which will hopefully inspire people to experiment in the kitchen and enjoy the sense of achievement from creating something delicious for friends and family," Catherine enthused.

These guys might just rewrite history for us!

Healthy foods are trendier than ever, and we love the fact that being healthy doesn’t mean restricting our food intake or embarking on a crash diet as our less-informed teenage selves may have once believed.

On the downside, however, a food which is labelled as “healthy” can often make you think you can go all out and enjoy it unlimitedly.

Unfortunately, that isn't the case.

To be clear, we are not saying you should stop eating the following foods, but instead reminding you to enjoy them mindfully.

Almond butter

Lord, do we love it. Almond butter – and nut butters in general – are considered a healthy food and they are an ideal snack when teamed with an apple or a banana.

But let’s not forget that one single tablespoon contains 100kcal. So spread it sparingly. 

Avocado

Full of vitamins, minerals and good fatty acids, avocados have countless benefits and we adore them.

But with 160 calories for 100 grams, it is a good idea to control your intake and stick to no more than ½ avocado a day.  

Smoothies and juices

Fruit juices and smoothies are a delicious nutrient-packed beverage, but don’t drink them like water.

They are usually full of sugars and if you add nut butter, avocado or Greek yoghurt, they become real calorie bombs. 

Energy balls

Made mostly of dried fruits and nuts, energy balls are a good source of natural sugars and good fats, but then again, all these benefits don’t come calorie-free.

First, try and make them yourself so you know exactly what is in them (it is SO MUCH cheaper) and don't nibble them all at once. 

Gluten-free food

Or more precisely, gluten-free processed food. It might not contain gluten, but it doesn’t mean it is healthy.

A gluten-free muffin is still a muffin, and isn’t any better for you than a normal muffin (unless you are coeliac, of course). 

 

Sushi

Fish, and especially oily fish, should be a part of your diet, and sushi is a tasty way to enjoy their benefits.

However, sushi rolls can turn into real calorie bombs if you go for cream-cheese or mayo-filled versions. Stick to something simple – one salmon-avocado roll – and order a side salad.  

Rice cakes

And more specifically, those covered in chocolate.

Those seemingly light treats are about 90kcal for one, so if you have the whole pack (which is quite easy in fairness) you can end up eating the equivalent of a burger without even feeling full. 

Hummus
Again, we know hummus is delicious, full of healthy proteins and fats, but with about 170kcal per 100 grams, it’s not a reason to down a whole tub in one go. 

Granola

Made mostly of oats, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, granola is a nutritious topping to add to yoghurt or porridge for a tasty breakfast, but it can be VERY high in calories.

So before you go crazy on it, check the sugar content and keep the portion small.

Healthy baking

It is not because it is dairy-free, butter-free or added-sugar-free that it is calorie free! Coconut oil, dates, maple syrup, peanut butter and almond flour might be a healthier alternative to butter, sugar and flour, they are still heavy in calories.

Also, a small slice of a real cake once in a while doesn’t make you unhealthy or weak, but just human. #noguilt