Lucy’s November Challenge – Week 2

Happy Monday readers. After my gloating post last night, I think it’s time to move straight on to my Week 2 exercise plan.

Lucy’s November Challenge

WEEK 2

Monday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins) and Abs (10 mins)

Tuesday – Fitness Blender Arms and Cardio Workout (40 mins)

Wednesday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins) and Butt and Thigh (10 mins)

Thursday – Fitness Blender 1000 calorie intense Workout (90 mins)

Friday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins)

Saturday/Sunday – Over the period of the weekend: Jog (30 mins) and Abs (10 mins)

And I also wanted to leave you with a sneak peak of some of the more impressive meals I have had over the last week. Onwards and upwards.

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Above is my all-time favourite breakfast: Carrot cake oatmeal. On this occasion I topped it with gorgeous slightly-sweetened nuts. Read about me discovering Carrot-cake oatmeal for the first time here.

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On Monday night last week, I was on my solely-fruit day. I made this incredible fruit salad bowl, which filled me up beautifully in the evening. It included gala melon, granny smith apple, conference pear, red grapes, mango and kiwi. Delicious, and certainly something I’m going to do again this evening! I know there is a lot written about sugar at the moment, and how even sugar in fruit needs to carefully monitored… However, I think every now and then, a bowl like this is a great idea. The sheer amount of vitamins and  minerals you get from this is incredible  – I feel giddy even just looking at it.

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Now this meal was a large effort but 100% worth it. It is a recipe from one of my favourite bloggers: Deliciously Ella. You can find the recipe for this stuffed butternut squash here, and I made a big pot of ratatouille to go with it. Recipe for that is coming soon.

Spinach Cake

There’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. It’s been printed off the internet and sat on my desk for a few months, and I just haven’t got round to it, which is silly, because it is very simple.

After a heavy Saturday night drinking this weekend, I felt like I needed something last night which would do me a lot of good, so I finally made this Spinach Cake. As a pre-cursor to the recipe, it is meant to be put in a loaf tin, or something of the sort, so it ends up as a long flat slab which can be cut up. I couldn’t find my loaf tin, or a suitable baking dish, so I put the mixture into muffin cases!! This worked quite well.

Ingredients:

200g Spinach

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Handful of pine nuts

1 clove garlic

1 egg, whisked

Handful of raisins or currants

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1. Wilt the spinach in a large covered saucepan over low hear for about 5 minutes (until all is cooked lightly). Then drain it and allow it to cool for a bit.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, saute the pine nuts in the olive oil and garlic until they are just brown. Careful with your timings here, as pine nuts burn very easily. Better to have them a little on the paler side than the darker side at this point.

3. In a bowl, combine the pine nuts mixture, spinach, whisked egg and raisins. Add a sprinkling of salt.

4. Bake in greased muffin cases or loaf dish for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius.

5. Enjoy!

I then finished my night off with some lemon-drizzled Kale chips. (Obviously, I was a little hungover, and there were lots of rice cakes and popcorn around all this health… I wouldn’t want to lie to you.)

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Good for you VS Not bad for you

I’ve got a new obsession (haven’t I always?) At the moment it’s these things – Sakata Rice Crackers:

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My flatmate tried one the other day and also fell hopelessly in love, her infatuation growing even deeper when I told her they were good for her too. She then made the excellent distinction between, “Are they actually good for me, or are they just not bad for me?” In this case, they’re just not bad for you. But they are good for you in so much as they stop you having things that are bad for you. My flatmates question was apt though, and it’s true that they themselves are not adding any nutritional value to my life. They are not like my Lucy Salads, or my Cauliflower Egg-fried Rice, or my other obsession (Nakd bars and Bounce balls).

However, these “not bad for you” snacks should still be considered really great snacks for the “modern-foodie-trying-to-lose-weight”. They often feel indulgent (this specific example feels to me like eating crisps) but they’re not doing you any harm. They are sort of neutral. Enjoy them and be happy.

P.S. I also count my healthy beetroot cake as “Not bad for you”. I made it for my family this week and it turned out particularly well. Please still try it even you are a beetroot hater – there is no beetroot taste once the cake has been cooked. It is just pure goopy-indulgent-feeling, a-little-bit-good-for-you-because-beetroot-is-amazing and not-really-bad-for-you-because-there’s-no-refined-sugar-or-flour happiness in a cake. I leave you with this image:

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Another “healthy cake”

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This one is half beetroot.

Literally half of the mix is shredded beetroot.

After successfully baking my chocolate zucchini cake last weekend, and seeing how beautifully moist vegetables make cake, I was eager to try a different veggie-bake. I read a few blogs and heard beetroot-and-chocolate as a combination crop up a lot, so I settled for making that. What I didn’t really compute until I was halfway through making this particular recipe is that it avoids all the typically “nasty” ingredients. As well as being half vegetable, there is no sugar, no butter and no flour. Hard to believe. Honey is used to sweeten, cocoa powder provides the dry substance and coconut oil (my favourite!) acts as fat. And yet the end product is gorgeously rich, goopy and sinful-seeming. My flatmate and her boyfriend returned home just in time to sample some straight from the oven and on tasting it they emitted sounds I only thought I’d ever hear coming through the bedroom wall…

In short, it was a marvellous success and very easy to make. Click on the above picture to be taken to the original recipe page.  I promise to stop talking about cakes for a few weeks now.

P.S. Forgive me father for I have sinned. I created a “healthy” cake, and then made it part of a very unhealthy cake. A good friend of mine, Eric, moved home to America today and he had a leaving dinner last night. I promised to take something sweet to eat. I wanted to send Eric home in style (and I’ve been watching a lot of The Great British Bake-off) so I was inspired to do something crazy. What I made was a double layered cake – carrot cake on the bottom, chocolate-beet cake on the top, enough buttercream frosting to drown a small village in the middle, and enough rich dark chocolate icing to smother a sumo wrestler above. I put 5 small carrot sticks right on the top though, so that rectifies the situation right…? Here is my creation:

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The “Healthy Cake”

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Even very well behaved healthy types like me have cakey days. This weekend I had to bake for a friend’s dinner party. Firstly, I made old school cookie dough, which I took raw to the dinner party (delighting most of the guests). But I also took this incredible discovery – A Chocolate Zucchini cake with glazed Pistachio Nuts. The response to it was brilliant. Everyone enjoyed it thoroughly and most commented on the fact that they thought it was a chocolate fudge cake, so gooey and gorgeously thick was the texture. However, I can verify, having made it myself, that half of the mixture was grated courgette. If that isn’t a way to make cake healthy I don’t know what is! It also uses yogurt to minimise on the butter, and whole-wheat flour. Glorious.

Click on the picture to go to the recipe website (and see much more glamorous pictures of the cake!)