Friday, 15 January 2016

Best ever tasty blueberry muffins...

Try these super tasty blueberry muffins for a yummy breakfast snack or wholesome treat with your coffee. They aren't as bad for you as the coffee shop version with lower sugar count due to the honey and wholemeal flour, pack with blueberries for a great fruit hit.

1/2 cup butter or 1⁄2 cup margarine, at room temp
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 cups wholemeal self raising flour
1⁄2 cup milk
2 1⁄2 cups fresh blueberries

(For topping) 1 tablespoon brown sugar, mixed with
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Heat oven to 190° fan assisted.
Grease 16 regular-size muffin cases (or 10 large size muffins).
In bowl, mix butter until creamy. Add honey and beat until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.
Beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt.
With spoon, fold in half of flour then half of milk into batter; repeat.
Fold in blueberries.
Spoon into muffin cases and sprinkle topping onto each muffin.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and springy to touch.

Leave to cool completely for best flavour, even better if left over night and eaten as a quick breakfast snack.

Homemade wholemeal pizza...

OK so it's pizza, so never the healthiest choice, but if your cravings for take away, try this instead...

A healthier wholemeal version of tea time faves, one that the kiddie winks can't complain about too...

500g strong wholemeal bread flour
1 x 7g yeast sachet
650ml luke warm water
Teaspoon of caster sugar and salt.

Mix into a dough, roll into 2/3 balls (depending on how big you like your pizza) rest for 45 min with a damp tea towel covering it.

Roll out into pizza bases, if you don't want to use it all now the bases can be frozen

Add your toppings, I use passata with a tablespoon per pizza of tomato puree, sprinkle with oregano and a bit of mixed herbs, then decorate with toppings of your choice.

My version here is using cooked herb chicken, red onion, pepper and cherry tomatoes.


Super easy healthier banana pancakes

Want a healthier alternative breakfast for the kiddies (or indeed you) this winter? These quick and easy banana pancakes tick all the boxes 

1 medium banana
2 medium eggs
(yes that's really it)

Heat a little oil in a pan. Mash or blend ingredients and add mixture to pan. Mix should make about 6 small pancakes. Double recipe for requirements....

Mix it up with added Ingredients:
Chopped nuts or seeds
Dessicated coconut 
Dried or fresh fruit 
Natural yoghurt and honey
And if your like me and not overly fond of the slight banana taste add a drop of vanilla.
Or any ingredients you like...

Super scrummy, light and fluffy and coming in around 350 calories for all six a much healthier alternative to traditional pancakes. These pancakes are also gluten and milk free so give them a try you won't be disappointed 

#yummy #bananapancakes #healthy #breakfast

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Baked sweet potato 'fries'

A hit with the whole family, these baked sweet potato fries are a great alternative to potato on any night of the week and super easy to prepare. Full of vitamin A and a healthier source of carbohydrate than their cousin chose this to dish to add flavour and colour to your meals.

Serves 4

These can be served, skin on or off. The recipe here is with the potatoes peeled...

2 large sweet potatoes roughly peeled and sliced into 'chunky chip's'
2 x tablespoons of olive oil for drizzling
A pinch of Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 tablespoon Cinnamon

Heat oven to 195°C, fan 185°C. Add sweet potatoes to a large over proof dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper, paprika and cinnamon and shake the potatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil and shake again.

Pop in oven and  cook for around 20 - 25 min or until sweet potatoes are soft. Serve with sweet chilli or mayonnaise dip or try with this burger recipe.

Apricot & Pork Burgers

Enjoy this tasty burger recipe with a salad, sweet potato fries

Serves 2
1 sweet potato (300 g), cut into wedges
Calorie controlled cooking spray
Sea salt
125 g lean (5% fat) pork mince
35 g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped finely
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
15 g toasted pine nuts, chopped roughly
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve
2 medium soft brown rolls (50 g each),
toasted lightly
1 tablespoon 0% fat natural Greek yogurt
Fresh salad leaves and slices of tomato
  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200ºC/fan oven 180ºC. Lay the sweet potato wedges on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and roast for 30 minutes, turning once, until soft and golden.
  3. Meanwhile, put the mince in a large bowl and combine with the apricots, thyme and pine nuts. Season well, then shape into 2 patties.
  4. Drizzle a non-stick frying or griddle pan with olive oil and heat until hot.
  5. Cook the burgers for 8–10 minutes, turning once, until cooked through and golden.
  6. Place a burger in each of the soft rolls along with a dollop of yogurt, some salad leaves and tomato slices.
  7. Serve with sweet potato chips on the side.

Lamb & Aubergine meatballs

Lamb & Aubergine Meatballs

Great served with some butternut spaghetti or regular pasta spaghetti. Alternatively serve with a green salad. 

Serves 4

1 aubergine, cut into large chunks
A small lug of olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
A small bunch of chopped fresh parsley,to serve

For the meatballs
40 g bulgur wheat
350 g lean (less than 16% fat) lamb mince
½ diced onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
A handful of chopped fresh parsley

For the sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
400 g can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato purée
​250 ml vegetable stock 

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200ºC/fan oven 180ºC. Put the aubergine on a baking tray and mist with the cooking spray. Roast for 20 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, cover the bulgur wheat with boiling water and leave to absorb for 5 minutes. Put all the remaining meatball ingredients into a bowl, season and knead together. Drain the bulgur wheat, add to the bowl and mix well. Next, take golf ball-sized portions of the mixture and roll into 16 meatballs. Chill on a plate for 30 minutes.
  3. To make the sauce, fry the onion in the oil until lightly coloured. Add the garlic and continue to fry. Next, add the herbs and tomatoes, followed by the tomato purée and vegetable stock. Bring the sauce to the boil and season.
  4. Brown the meatballs in a frying pan misted with cooking spray before adding them to the sauce and simmering for 30 minutes. Stir in the aubergine 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Just before serving, add the chopped parsley.
This recipe has been adapted from a weight watchers recipe.

Butternut, Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne

A veggie, vitamin loaded evening meal 
Butternut, spinach & ricotta lasagne

Butternut, spinach & ricotta make this a tasty bake from BW Fitness

Serves 4 - 6
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 10 min fry, 40 min bake.

1/2 butternut, 1/2 courgette, 1 onion, 1 carrot,
1 stick celery, 2 garlic cloves
4 x roughly chopped salad tomatoes
1 tin chopped tomatoes
4-6 sheets of lasagne pasta.
1 lug of olive oil, Salt and pepper to season
250g ricotta, 200g spinach, 1 egg 30ml milk (semi or full)

Dice onion, garlic, celery, carrot and butternut, add to pan along with olive oil. Fry until soft for 10 - 12 min.
Dice courgette, add to pan with chopped salad tomatoes and tin of tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 8 minutes.
In a second pan add the ricotta, egg and spinach, cook on medium heat stirring often, once softened, add milk and cook for a further few minutes.
Remove both pans from heat and add a generous amount of the butternut mix to a lasagne dish until the bottom is covered. Layer the lasagne sheets, then a layer of the spinach and ricotta mix, repeat layers until mix is used, finish with spinach and ricotta mix on top. 

Cook in oven on 190° fan assisted, 200° conventional oven for around 40 minutes.

Find out more about BW Fitness or follow my blog for more recipes

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Veg loaded Moussaka

Veg loaded Mousakka

Want a quick and easy yet tasty evening meal good enough for the whole family? 

Then why not try this vegetable loaded Moussaka from BW Fitness?

Serves 4 - 6
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 55 min 

1 courgette, 1 aubergine, 1 onion, 1 carrot,
1 green or red pepper, 1 stick celery, 2 garlic cloves
handful fresh basil, handful fresh parsley,
1 tin chopped tomato, 500g lean beef mince
1 lug of olive oil, Salt and pepper to season
50g grated cheese, 50g soft cheese, 50ml milk (semi or full)

Dice onion, garlic, celery and pepper. Chop aubergine and courgette into thin slices.
Add olive oil to pan, add beef mince and chopped onion, fry on med heat for 5 –7 min.
Add garlic, pepper, celery to pan, allow to soften. Grate carrot, add to pan.
Chop basil and parsley add to pan with the chopped tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add a generous amount to a lasagne dish until the bottom is covered. Layer the sliced aubergine on top, layer again with mince then repeat with courgette, repeat both layers.

For the top: Mix grated cheese, soft cheese and milk together. Spread on top of the mixture until all vegetables are covered.

Cook in oven on 180° fan assisted, 190° conventional oven for 40—45 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Top tip: for a veggy option, replace beef mince with Quorn or double mince mix veg

Monday, 4 January 2016

A sum up of 2015 and the year ahead...

"I don't want to blow it again..."

How many times have we though this when it comes to a new year?

So if you are anything like me, the thoughts you had at the end of 2015 were the same as at the end of 2014, and probably 2013, etc...  I'm really good at setting goals for myself and just not following through. But that's OK, we're all human after all.

This years seems to be the first Christmas where I have let myself take time off with the family and properly chilled out. Even if it has meant that the sofa now has an imprint of my bum in it and I now feel a little bit like I might develop agoraphobia. I've had a nice time, it's been relaxing.

But now it's time to wipe away the mince pie crumbs, find my running trainers and get back on it. Those miles aren't going to run themselves. Looking at my calendar I have at least 12 events planned and I am sure that will have doubled by the end of the year. This is what I do now. It's what defines me and at the start of this New Year I have to take a moment to reflect back.

2015 was a fantastic year for me, there were many mud races, half marathon's, marathons, many 10k's and one Ultra. But it wasn't without it's challenges. I learnt a lot last year...

My first proper break down mid-race.

Yorkshire Marathon this year for me was the toughest run I have ever faced. Full of a six week steaming cold, wiped out and under trained I was advised against it but stubbornness prevailed. Mile 5 saw me wanting to quit, and this was the theme for the rest of the race. If it wasn't for my super human most fabulous group of running friends formed from the York Rose Runners I would have bailed. But what did I learn; that I'm stronger than I think, and if others believe in you it's much easier to believe in yourself.

My first Ultra marathon

Well that was fun, no actually it was. 31.5 Walkers crisp munching, ice cream licking miles of the beautiful North Yorkshire coast line and all to support Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue - heros that they are! Yes it was hard. But it's another thing ticked off that ever growing bucket list and one more thing that I thought I would never achieve!

Two races in one day...

Vale of York Half marathon, a flat and fast paced half followed by what can only be descirbed as runnning insanity. After finishing the Half Marathon we hot footed it over to Huddersfield with an hour to spare where we changed at the side of the road into Wonder woman (appropriate!) to complete Wineathlon - a 9 mile wine fueled trail run, preferably in fancy dress. The four of us donned our mini skirts and tiara's and went for it. Never before have I been passed at mile 4 by a very inebriated Elvis in Nike running trainers. Lesson learnt - Running and Alcohol. Never one to mix, but hilarious fun and signed up again this year!

So from a few firsts to setting no firsts for 2016... I am setting myself no goals for 2016 apart from to enjoy my year of fitness. Every year since I lost the weight I've tried to achieve something new, and  in some respects, prove a point. This year is just about enjoying myself and the friends I have made through this fab sport. I'm sure at some point through the year I'll get bored and decide I need a challenge to sink my teeth into but for now I am just enjoying what the year has in store...

So see you in 2016, good luck with whatever your challenge may be...

Run Streak time!

Time to push myself with a run streak... 

218 days of running, can I do it?

Anyone who knows me that for all I appear to be quite driven, I'm actually quite lazy. Sometimes putting the minimal effort in to achieve something. So when I completed the 50 mile December challenge  it was a sure bet that my mileage would only just tip over the scales. And at roughly 53 miles, it did.

So this year I'm trying to be better. I'm not going to set myself unobtainable New Year resolutions like giving up alcohol, chocolate and coffee, with a small child and a busy lifestyle these are all things that help me get through the day. 

What I will do is commit to running at least 2 miles every day until August when we head to South Africa for three weeks. I'm 5 days into a streak and we head out on the 5th August. That's 213 days away and gives me a streak of 218. This kind of psychology works for me. I know if I don't do it every day I've failed, rather than cramming it all in at the end this makes me commit and works with my stubbornness... 

This Runners World article goes into the Run Streak in more detail. Not only is it good motivation, an average calorie burn of around 100 calories for me per mile would see me burning up at least an extra 43,600 calories. If I changed nothing else at all this could equate to a 12 pound weight loss for me, did I mention I like chocolate?

But it's not about the pounds, its about the commitment. I'm committing to a more dedicated me in 2016 and this is just the start.

Now the only logistic I have to overcome is our Half Term Ski holiday in France, our lodge is on a mountain surrounded by snow. There will be nowhere to run. So I'm thinking if I ski every day, it still counts? Doesn't it? or maybe laps up and down the stairs?

Wish me luck everyone! and if you fancy joining me on a run, please do. I'll need the company!

Find out more about BW-Fitness...