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food

Getting ready to start the much-needed seasonal detox doesn’t mean that you have to forget all about your favourite comfort food.

In fact, we have rounded up some delicious recipes that will help you stick to any healthy 2017 plans while still filling you up and keeping hunger at bay.

1. Healthy potato mash

Dairy-free but not taste-free, this mashed sweet potato recipe is even better than the real stuff, with added nutritional value too.

2. Chicken goujons

This ultimate weeknight comfort food CAN be part of a healthy diet: just make it yourself instead of buying it ready-made in the shop!

3. Potato chips

If you want to cut down the calories, don’t fry your chips: bake them. With this delicious seasoning, you won’t miss the greasy stuff from the chipper.

4. Shepherd's pie

While it might not be just as good as your mam’s recipe, this shepherd’s pie will give you a taste of home without causing any damage to your waistline.

5. Spaghetti Bolognese

This classic Italian dish doesn’t have to make you feel guilty. With a few small changes to the original recipes, you can enjoy it as often as you want. To make it even healthier, use spiralised courgettes instead of pasta.

6. Thai curry

An easy weeknight dinner, curry is a great way to introduce more vegetables into your diet. Rich in plant protein to keep you fuller for longer, this delicious recipe won’t make you miss your Asian takeaway.

7. Ice-cream

Don’t feel bad about indulging with this dairy-free ice-cream, only made of good and healthy stuff. Ben & Jerry who?

8. Cheesecake

A traditional cheesecake is probably one of the worst things that can happen to your diet. But if you use low-fat dairy, it can turn into an acceptably clean January pre-workout treat.

9. Raw millionaire shortbreads

Raw, full of good fats and natural sugars, this delicacy will satisfy your craving for sweet while providing you with loads of nutrients.

10. Mini-pizza bites

Easy to make, vegetarian, low in carbs but high in flavour, these aubergine-based pizzas are a great healthy recipe to make whenever you feel like giving a call to your friends in Dominos

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Living in Dublin city takes its toll on our wallets and while politicians are completely failing us at handling the housing crisis, we are left with two options: playing the Euromillions, or learning ways to make the most with what is left in our bank account after rent is paid.

Some expenses are hard to minimise – i.e. transport, electricity, health – but you can make a big difference on the state of your finances if you get smart with your food.

With a few simple tips, you could end up saving hundreds if not thousands of Euro a year. 

1. Eat at home as often as possible…

It goes without saying, but eating out is expensive and without even going crazy, one dinner out a week can cost you a minimum of 100 Euro a month. 

2…. and we don't mean takeaways

When we say eat at home, we mean make your own dinner.

A takeaway might seem reasonable once in a while – hungover Sundays for instance – but a tenner here and a tenner there seriously add up.

3. Yes, it goes for lunch as well

We know, making lunch every day is a commitment but it is a smart way to a) save money and b) eat healthier.

No need to make life complicated: make a big batch of pasta or quinoa at the beginning of the week and have fun with some cheap toppings: cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, avocado, corn, beans, leftover roasted veggies, boiled eggs, tuna, leftover chicken, pine nuts, sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs, cheese…  

4. Buy what is in season / on offer

Every shop has weekly offers on specific foods.

Have a look at what you can buy from the cheap shelf before you start your shopping.

5. Don't buy too much at once

Buying in bulk might seem like a good idea at first, but if you end up binning half of it, it remains a big waste of money.

Buy in bulks foods that have a long shelf life, like cans of tuna, pasta or beans, and avoid it for fresh food. 

6. Eat less animal protein

Animal protein like meat, fish and cheese come at a price, and we would recommend reducing the amount you buy and prioritise the quality.

Meanwhile, make seasonal vegetables and carbs (such as pasta, potatoes, rice, beans) the base of your diet. Eggs are a healthy and cheap option to get your protein too. 

7. Refuse to waste food

To make sure your food doesn't end up in the bin, only buy the food you need (or that keeps for a long time) and only go shopping if you REALLY need to. 

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For most people, during the week, breakfast is usually a bowl of porridge or a bit of toast quickly gobbled up on the way to work/college. 

At the weekend, especially if we had *a few* on Friday or Saturday night, we usually crave something a little heartier… 

Try the essential brunch recipes and go for a nap. Everything will be fine. 

1. Eggs Benedict

2. Spicy egg ham scramble

3. Chocolate chip pancakes

4. Big breakfast rostis

5. Avocado toast

6. Banana and blueberry French toast

7. Breakfast tacos

 

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Colourful, tasty and (pretty) healthy: what's not to like about Mexican food?

While we have to admit a slight addiction to fajitas, guacamole and nachos, there is more to Mexican food than these delicious staples.  

To mix things up a little, we have gathered some super tasty recipe you will absolutely love!

1. Easy chilli con carne

2. Arroz con pollo

3. Chicken quesadillas

4. Mexican salad

5. Shredded beef tacos

 

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When you picture a French dessert, you already imagine the hours spent in the kitchen, the crazy mess and a disappointing result that looks nothing like what Julia Child promised you. 

Or you just imagine popping into a French bakery during your next getaway in the City of Light. 

That might surprise you, but French recipes aren't all complicated and time-consuming – nor require a trip to France.

With these easy and pretty ideas, you are guaranteed to create some delicious treats.

Et voilà!

1. Classic crème caramel

2. Chocolate macarons

3. Millefeuille of summer berries

4. Chocolate marquise

5. Light raspberry soufflé

6. 2-ingredient chocolate mousse

7. Easy strawberry charlotte

8. Fruit and almond clafoutis

 

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Cereal is one of our ultimate meals and there's so much choice to be had.

To be honest, we are lazy AF, so pouring a bowl of cereal is perfectly acceptable as dinner.  

But could our addiction to cereal be more about the sugar content, rather than the convenience? 

An experiment conducted by Behind the Label revealed that we aren't actually pouring ourselves the 30g serving of cereal like we are suppose to.

In fact, we are doubling or tripling our portion sizes without even realising. – So put down the cereal box and take note.

The study asked participants to pour their regular breakfast bowl of cereal into either a small (standard soup) sized bowl or a larger dinner bowl.

And the results are pretty shocking. 

The average portion of sweetened diet cereal was three times (93g) the recommended portion size, which meant bowl came in at 351 calories and a staggering 14g of sugar.

To put that into human terms, that's more sugar than a glazed doughnut, which contains 12.6g of the sweet stuff.

The standard Crunchy Cornflakes poured was double the guided portion size (78g), but the kicker came with the sugar content.

Hold onto your spoons as it came in at 27.46g of sugar, which adds up to two and half glazed doughnuts worth of sugar.  

Granola isn't weighing up so fabulously either, participants helped themselves to portions almost double to what we are suppose to be having, which means they wolfed down 389 calories and 21.84g of sugar. 

And finally, a Muesil brand was the best of a bad bunch with people having a double helping which equates to four grams of the white stuff and 308 calories.

The eye-opening results shows that we are overindulging in cereals and the labels aren't much to go by.

As we tuck into a bowl, we think we are being good and keeping it within a certain amount of calories, when we are actually blowing our wonderful intentions out of the water.

So put down the spoon, put the away the milk and go buy a weighing scales, if you really want accuracy.

Or alternatively, just be mindful that you're consuming more than you think and adjust accordingly.

Even though the results are shocking, our love of cereal wil be a hard one to break up with. 

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We have tried quite a few brands and recipes of chocolate chip cookies, and we have a statement to make: the recipe below is simply the easiest and tastiest you can ever make.

No complicated ingredient or technique involved in this recipe, you literally cannot bottle it. 

One piece of advice: double up the ingredients and freeze half of the batch so you always have cookie dough on hand! 

Ingredients

  • 250g flour
  • 125g melted butter
  • 100g white sugar
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150g chocolate, chopped (milk, dark or white)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder

 Method

1. Preheat the oven to 165°C. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.

2. Add the beaten egg and melted butter, mix well, then stir in chocolate and combine. 

3. Form 12 balls and place on a lined baking tray, 6 at a time. Bake for 10 minutes (even if the cookies are still soft, then are cooked) then take out of the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy!
 

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Microwaves are our best friend and our worst enemy. Handy to reheat some leftovers, it is also said to strip food from its nutrients so should be used sparingly. 

Yet, this noisy, often ugly and space consuming appliance can help busy girls save some precious time in the kitchen. 

*Warning: these hacks are not for purists, just an easy to cut down some cooking time when you are in a rush.

1. Scrambled eggs

To make scrambled eggs for one, break two eggs in a small heatproof bowl, whisk, add a dash of milk, then microwave for 1 minute. Scramble, then if there are raw bits left, microwave for 30 more seconds. Scramble one last time, add a small knob of butter and enjoy!

2. Caramel sauce

Place a tablespoon of butter in a small bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds or until melted. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of cream, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, and microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir again and finally microwave for 20 seconds. Stir and serve or store in a jar in the fridge.

3. Mug cakes

This one is already quite famous but let's not forget that one of the best uses of a microwave (or so we believe) is to deliver some super tasty cakes in about a minute, with only a few simple ingredients.

4. Bacon

Now this one might be a bit controversial, but the microwave can be a hassle-free option to cook your bacon.

Lay two paper towels on the plate, then spread the bacon out in a single layer and lay another paper towel over the top. Cook on high power for about 5 minutes to get a nicely crispy rasher. 

5. Bring honey back to life

When your honey is cristallised, you can bring it back to a liquid state if you carefully microwave it.

Using burst of 30 seconds, place in the microwave on medium power and microwave until the honey is nice and melted. Be careful when removing it from the microwave though as the container might be very hot.

6. Baked potatoes

Save LOADS of time by "baking" your potatoes in the microwave.

Scrub the potato and prick several time with a fork. Place on a plate and cook on high power for 5 minutes. Turn over and cook for a further 5 minutes.

When the potato is soft, remove from the microwave, cut in half and add desired toppings (cream, cheese, bacon, herbs…).

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Sneezing, coughing and nose-blowing season has officially started and it is time to bring out the hand sanitiser to try and not catch your beloved friends/colleagues' germs. 

In order to keep the doctor away, an apple a day is a good start, but if you add certain foods to your diet, you could get a real immunity boost. 

And here are just five!

1. Citrus fruits

Essential for fighting infections, vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells. Unfortunately, your body cannot store it, so you need to make sure vitamin C is on the menu every day. 

While vitamin C tablets might come in handy, you can get your daily dose of ascorbic acid (the scientific name of the molecule) from oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes or clementines. 

2. Kiwis

For the very same reason, kiwis are your friends during the winter. In fact, two kiwis contain enough vitamin C to cover your recommended daily dose of the immunity-boosting nutrient.

On top of that, kiwis are also a good source of vitamin K, copper and fibre.

3. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (a powerful antioxidant) and a mere cup of cooked sweet potatoes provides more than 200% of the recommended daily intake.

Antioxidants are essential for immune system support as they help your body fight off infection. Sweet potatoes are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. 

4. Broccoli

A real nutrition powerhouse, one cup of cooked broccoli is enough to cover your daily needs in vitamin K and vitamin C. It is also a very good source of chromium, folate, fibre, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. 

To make sure you get the most of the benefits, steam them instead of boiling them as this aggressive cooking process destroys most of the vitamins.

5. Spinach

While we always love to learn about new superfoods, some of our cupboard/fridge staples can also claim the title. Take spinach for example; not only do they taste great as a salad base, they are also a true food hero. 

One cup of cooked spinach contains a tremendous amount of vitamin K, while it is also an good source of vitamin A, manganese, folate and magnesium, to name a few. Just like broccoli, the least you cook it, the better!

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One of our favourite pastimes has to be ordering a takeaway for dinner.

I mean, when you are on a first-name basis with the Deliveroo guy, it says a lot.  

In fairness, after a big day at work or in college, all we want is basically Netflix and chill, and it can get hard to find the motivation to get cooking.

But your wallet and your waistline might suffer from this habit, which is why we have gathered these tasty and easy recipes so you can get all the flavours of a great Asian takeaway, only much cheaper and healthier!.

1. Salmon poke bowl

2. Five-spice noodles with mixed vegetables

3. Vegetarian pad thai

4. Classic sweet and sour chicken

5. Chilli beef and pepper stir fry

6. Teriyaki salmon

7. Asian chicken salad

 

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Freezers are a busy girl's best friend – and not only because an ice-cream binge is all we need after a hard day sometimes. 

Vegetables, meat and certain fish keep really well in the freezer and can help us improvise healthy meals in minutes.

But there are plenty of other items that are freezer-friendly. 

Here are some foods you probably didn't know you could store in the freezer and which can save yourself LOADS of time and money. 

1. Bread

Freezing bread is an easy way to ensure your loaf doesn't get off before you finish it. Keep it in the freezer and pop a couple of slices in the toaster when you need it: it will be just as good as if it was fresh.

2. Eggs

You can crack eggs in an ice-tray to freeze them easily. Also, if a recipe tells you to only use egg yolks for example, don’t be afraid to freeze the egg whites for the next time you want to make a meringue. 

3. Cheese

Cheese won’t lose its taste or texture if you freeze it, especially hard cheeses such as cheddar, gruyere or grated. 

4. Butter

Made mostly of fat, butter can survive for months, if not years, in a freezer. 

5. Fruits

Bananas, mangos and kiwis freeze really well, especially if you peel and dice them first. Use them to make a delicious banana-based ice-cream or as fresh and tasty toppings on your porridge or salad. Same goes for berries: simply wash and dry them before.

6. Cooked rice and pasta

If you have cooked too much rice or pasta, do not throw it away. Keep it in small freezable bags and simply let it unfreeze in the fridge for a few hours before you need. Perfect for the base of a healthy and filling lunch! 

7. Soup

Another easy way to make sure you always have a healthy lunch at hand: make soup in big batches and freeze it in small containers. 

8. Cookie dough

No store-bought cookie tastes as good as a homemade one (especially if you give our recipe a try). Roll your cookie dough into a sausage shape and wrap it in cling film. That way, you can cut a few slices of cookie dough and place them directly on a lined baking tray. Cook for 15 minutes and it’s ready!

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We can't really think of a breakfast that is as easy to make and highly nutritious as porridge.

Oats are a great source of fibre and energy that keep us fuller for longer, and mixing things up with the toppings prevents it from ever getting boring!  

To make the base of a porridge for one person, place one scoop of oats and 3 scoops of liquid (water, milk, almond milk…) in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirring halfway.

Once you have mastered this base, you can play around with toppings!

1. Cinnamon + chia seeds + peanut butter

Add the cinnamon and chia seeds to the oats before you place your bowl in the microwave, and drizzle with peanut butter before serving.

2. Goji berries + coconut flakes + milled linseeds

Once your porridge is ready, add about a tablespoon of each topping.

3. Cinnamon + raisins + almond butter

Add the cinnamon and raisins to the oats before you cook them so the raisins get re-hydrated. Add a teaspoon of almond butter before serving.

4. Turmeric + banana + almond butter

Add a pinch of turmeric to the oats before you cook them, them add about 1/2 sliced banana and a teaspoon almond butter. 

5. Cacao powder + strawberries + almond flakes

Add the cacao powder before cooking the oats, then add sliced strawberry and scatter with almond flakes. 

So, which one will you be trying? 

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