#MotivationMonday: Guilt-free Summer Berry Cake

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The past couple of weekends have been totally all about birthday celebrations and filled with delicious food, birthday cake and far too many bottles of prosseco and pitchers of cocktails! After all of these constant naughty treats, me and my housemates have developed a huge appetite and seem to be constantly hungry and constantly snacking on all the left over naughties in the house! Probably because we’re starting to truly feel the hangover…

Knowing and watching me fail at trying to complete my New Year’s Resolution to learn how to cook, one of my gifts from the girls was a recipe book by Amber Rose filled with healthy baking ideas for tasty sweat treats like cakes, tarts, jams, custard and puddings. Flicking through this Love Bake Nourish book, we have already bookmarked probably every page to try at some point! Our mouths were watering just looking at all the beautiful pictures!

Now that the celebrations of me turning the big 20 are over, we thought we’d give one of the recipes a go so we could munch on something healthier than our naughty stash of crisps and chocolate.

But of course it still needs to be tasty! So for my first go at attempting a recipe from the book, I chose the Summer Berry cake to use up all of our strawberries. Anything with fruit always makes me feel like i’m nourishing my body and doing it some kind of good.

Ingredients

Cake mix:

  • 160g wholewheat spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 20g cornflour
  • 180g unsalted butterIMG_1944
  • 180g maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest of half a lemon

Topping:

  • 180g fat-free greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp light honey
  • Punnet of strawberries/blueberries/raspberries

The steps in this recipe are so simple to follow without needing loads of equipment – exactly what I need!

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees and grease a cake or loaf tin, whichever shape you’d prefer the cake to turn out like.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter until pale and fluffy, before slowing sifting in the flour a little bit at a time and beating in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Fold in the rest of the flour, baking powder and cornflour before adding the syrup, vanilla and lemon zest.

Top tip: If you think your mixture is too stiff just add a couple of tablespoons of milk.

     4. Pour your delicious-smelling mixture into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes. The cake will start to look golden brown and smell amazing!

Top tip: Make sure you leave it cool for at least a good 40 minutes before you decorate with your topping.

     5. For the fruity topping, just mix the yogurt and honey in a bowl and spread on the cake as you wish before covering it with as many strawberries as desired. So simple but soooo tasty!

And wholla you have a tasty, refined-sugar free healthier cake for your family and friends to munch on! Delicious with your afternoon cup of tea.

I’d never used spelt flour before, I don’t think I actually even knew it existed! But in the book it’s a very popular ingredient in the recipes and Amber Rose highly recommends it for its texture and nourishing goodness.  I did a bit of research into the benefits of this type of flour and the reason it’s healthy is because it provides a number of nutrients including several B vitamins, lots of fibre for improving digestion and its lower in calories than wheat. Yay we can bake healthy!

And another health benefit that makes this recipe refined sugar-free is the alternative sources of sweetness by using maple syrup and honey. Maple syrup contains minerals, especially manganese and zinc, and at least 24 different antioxidants, helping your body with things like keeping bones strong and improving your metabolism. And honey is apparently good for improving athletic performance, whilst cotnaing antioxidants which help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease.
So could even be a pre-workout treat! Still best to eat both sweetners in moderation though! 🙂

Hope you give it a go at home and enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Love Leeanna xo

Summertime Healthy Dinner Inspiration

I’ve mentioned it a few times on my blog and am gradually fulfilling my New Years’ resolution to learn how to cook. Well i’ve recently made substantial progress and finally cooked my first ever meal for my family so I thought I ‘just have to blog about this’ huge step of my life! They were very wary to start with but gave me a chance and left the kitchen to me.

I decided to make a few different dishes- something everyone can pick at and food that’s healthy. Well really I thought if anything goes wrong, at least there might be one good dish still standing haha! It’s so nice that the evenings are light again and being at home is great because we have a lovely garden to sit outside and eat together. So I went for a BBQ-esque summer time meal- food that can be cooked on the barbecue or just as well in the oven (gotta be prepared for the English summertime weather!)

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On the menu:

  • Soy sauce and honey marinated chicken
  • Light Halloumi cheese, cherry tomato and mixed pepper skewers coated in lemon, olive oil, chili and mixed herbs
  •  Roasted sweet potatoes drizzled with olive oil, rosemary and lots of black pepper (bake for a good half hour/45 mins to get them crispy)
  • Grilled asparagus wrapped in parma ham- so easy to chuck on the BBQ on hot days
  • Tomato and cucumber salad tossed in lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning- Tasted lush with the chicken!

I even made a garlic mayo to go with the sweet potato wedges! So easy to do- I just mixed 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise with 1 crushed garlic clove, a squeeze of lemon juice and some black pepper. It tasted sooo good with the sweet potato!

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I’d only tried the Cypriot cheese for the first time on Friday so I think my family were very impressed that I actually manged to cook a good dish with it! Everything went down a treat which made me happy! I can actually cook, yay!

If you’re like me and not quite the Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson just yet, surprise your family and friends with these dishes this Summer. Light, easy and very tasty.

Happy cooking!

Love Leeanna xo

Exclusive Book Review: Farfetch curates food

I am very excited to share with you my first ever book review. As much as I love to read I just never get the time to finish any book off… unless i’m on holiday then I can read a marathon of books because I actually have the time while i’m sunbathing and relaxing in bliss! But I couldn’t resist getting stuck straight into this book from Farfetch and was delighted to be offered an exclusive look at it because it is right up my street!

FarFetch

Farfetch Curates Food is the first in the series of books which look into the creative fields that are synergistic with fashion. The grand alliance between fashion boutique market Farfetch and publishers Prosper and Martine Assuline brings a book with a unique twist. Fashion and food is brought together through the exploration of all things trendy in the modern edible world with distinctive viewpoints and recommendations from both the fashion-trained and tastemakers.

Just browse through your social media sites and you can see exactly how food and drink has become such a huge trend. Just scrolling down my instagram feed this morning, amongst the cringe mirror selfies and beach hot dog legs, I saw all these artfully styled stacks of pancakes, plates of huge hangover breakfasts and healthy smoothie creations.

IMG_1603I love how this book mirrors this popular ‘foodstagramming’ phenomenon with the bright, bold eye-grabbing pictures of delicately styled dishes of cuisine from around the world. Not only does it make you want to devour the book with a knife and fork, it looks as if all these food shots could adorn the walls of an art gallery.

I’ve never been the best cook- it’s something i’m trying to work on but I have always loved to eat! So reading this book did make me rather hungry and also quite inspired to be more creative and inventive with my cooking. Hey who knows… I may even host my own dinner party and serve my guests some of Tommy’s margaritas.

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It’s always an awesome feeling when you find a new favourite restaurant close to home, somewhere you least expect or where none of your friends have heard of. It means you have a regular hot spot where you know you can get good food and a special place to take your friends or to celebrate special occasions. Well what I love about this book is that it has gone out and found all the best restaurants to visit across the globe to save us from trying any bad ones first.

Throughout the book, charismatic enthusiasts from all over the world share their own distinctive viewpoints on food, offering recommendations of restaurants to try around the world, what to order and what to wear when you make your visit! I have picked out the top meals they have now tempted me to want to try!

For breakfast…

I’ve been to Spain soooo many times and I am still yet to try the famous Churros Con Chocolat. I’m a chocoholic AND I can speak the lingo (I think I got it right) so I really don’t know how I haven’t eaten any.

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Well… thanks to Alejandro Gutierrez, the PR manager and buyer at Elite, I am now even more excited to visit Marbella this year and will definitely be stopping off at the recommended hot spot for the sweet treats! Great to know they are the perfect hangover cure to!

The well-known shopping destination for Marbella’s cosmopolitan crowd, was one of the first multibrand department stores and offers some gorgeous goods from Victoria Beckham sunnies to statement retro clutches.

And for lunch…

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The high-street blogger and food enthusiast, Man Repeller, has given me a great insight for when I achieve my dream of living in New York City. Now I know exactly where to grab a healthy lunch in the big apple whilst following her recommended dress code. My god I wish I had this fashionista’s amazing life! I will be sure to follow her tips and wear my fanciest sunnies while i’m eating my oatmeal in The Butcher’s Daughter.

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If you’re going to eat cake you have to do it properly and have it in Paris. Oh my god I remember walking down the streets of the gorgeous city two years ago and just drooling at the windows of all of the patisseries. The chefs over there really do help the city live up to its name as the ‘world’s pastry capital’. Their eclairs and strawberry tarts are divine!

Reading what some of the pastry chefs of the capital have to say is fascinating and the way it’s written in the book gives you so much detail of what these culinary enthusiasts are like- in a real journalistic way.

From reading this book I have learnt some very important things…

For those dreaded Monday mornings- everyone should take note of The steps to the perfect cup of coffee.

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I will also take away this message with me: There is no better way to explore a new geographic environment and get a sense of different cultures than to taste the traditional cuisines.

I will definitely take this on board when I go jet-setting around the globe and hopefully end up in some of the spots recommended by top fashionistas and chefs… but I think I will still stray from tasting any fried scorpions or insects no matter what the country’s delicacies are!

There is so much more to learn from this book and I really do recommend giving it a read especially if you like to jet set around the globe, try the latest trends and like to be inspired by arty and foodie pictures.

Love Leeanna xo

#MotivationalMonday: Healthy snacking

Sometimes I just get those days where I feel really hungry all day- often it can be because of a sheer lack of boredom or because I’ve done lots of exercise and not re-fueled. But trying to snack on something that isn’t really unhealthy like biscuits and crisps or foods that aren’t so boring like an apple or grapes can be very difficult!

So I’ve been experimenting with some recipes and found a couple of snack ideas to satisfy your cravings and give an energy re-boost whether it’s for your elevenses, a post-work out treat or an afternoon pick me up.

These healthy snacks are completely guilt-free and SO easy to make!

Coconut Macaroon Balls

These tasty treats are free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar, making them a perfect mid-morning or afternoon snack! Me and my housemates loved enjoying these with a cup of tea and snuggling up on the sofa on Sunday evening.

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Heat up the the almond milk in a saucepan and then mix the agave, honey, vanilla, salt, chia seeds and cinnamon together on a low heat.
  2. Take it off the heat and fold in the desiccated coconut and coconut flour until fully combined.
  3. Roll them into balls and place them onto a greased baking tray or dish lined with baking paper.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then let cool. DELISH!

This recipe makes 12 macaroons which can be kept in an air-tight container. My mum and sister are coming down to stay with me tomorrow so i’m very excited to show off my new-found culinary skills and give them these healthy treats to taste!

Raspberry Cocoa Energy Bites

These are super quick and easy to make and are yummy yummy yummy if you are a bit of a sweet tooth like me and can’t get enough of chocolate.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp of almond butter (or any other nut butter you’rd prefer)
  • 1 tbsp of cacao
  • Frozen raspberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt the coconut oil
  2. Then just mix all the ingredients together and shape them into balls

It’s that simple! I topped mine with some desiccated coconut just to make it extra sweeeeet.

I hope you enjoy these guilt-free recipes. Happy snacking!

Love Leeanna xo

#MotivationalMonday: How to make sugar free flapjacks

I have such a big sweet tooth like I literally could eat cake for breakfast, biscuits for lunch and chocolate for T- I just never seem to get cravings for anything savoury! So i’ve been trying to find some inspiration for mid-day snacks and desserts I can have that don’t contain all the nasty sugar.image

I love a good cereal bar as an afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of tea or as a quick on-the-go breakfast but the sad thing is all of these bars that claim to be ‘healthy’ are actually packed full of sugar… probably why I pick them up for that quick boost of energy.

I’ve created a recipe for flapjacks which is completely refined sugar-free and can be made gluten-free or dairy-free.

Ingredients (makes about 8 flapjacks):

1 cup of gluten-free oats or traditional rolled oats

3 tbsp of butter or coconut oil

1 mashed banana

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/4 cup of raisins

1/4 cup of designated coconut

1 1/12 tbsp of agave nectar

Simple steps:

  1. Honestly this recipe is just so easy to do and not very messy at all! Firstly melt the butter in a saucepan with the mashed banana, agave nectar and vanilla extract until runny.
  2. Take the mixture off the heat and pour in the oats, raisins and coconut and combine all of this together.
  3. Pour the mixture into a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes (until they start to look a little golden on top.

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You can always replace the coconut or raisins with any other alternative like cranberries, apricots, seeds or nuts. Get experimenting! These tasty treats are great with a cuppa for pick-me-up snack or as an on-the-go breakfast.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a great start to the week!

Love Leeanna xo

Healthy lunch box idea: Homemade vegetable couscous

I do love watching the show Come Dine With Me whenever i’m having a lazy day and I’ve always thought to myself- what an earth would I make for dinner guests. And all that came to mind was ‘I can make a banging dish of bean on toast’.

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Well I’ve been brave and got a bit adventurous by having a go at making my own vegetable couscous from scratch. I know it’s not very adventurous really- as I figured out it’s SO easy to make! But it’s a nicer way to be able to choose your own ingredients and spend less money on pots from the supermarket which might have hidden nasties! And it’s a great and simple meal to prep on a Sunday night to last you throughout the week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g couscous
  • 500 ml of boiling water mixed with vegetable stock
  • Half a cup of peas boiled
  • 1 Tbs of butter
  • All spice seasoning
  • Mixed herbs
  • Salt and black pepper

Steps

  1. Get chopping! Peel and chop up the veg- cutting the tomatoes and onions into quarter chunks. Add these to a roasting tin with the garlic cloves peeled but whole and drizzle over the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook in a pre-heated oven for 45-50 minutes until soft- checking them and giving them a stir throughout.
  3. Meanwhile, put the couscous into a bowl and pour over the stock (or just boiling water if you’d prefer). Cover and leave for 5 minutes to allow the grains to soak up the water. This was the fun bit- taking the foil off to see it had all expanded and using a fork to make it all fluffy!
  4. While fluffing it up, stir in the butter, mixed herbs and all-spice seasoning to taste and then add your roasted veggies and peas.

And wholla you’ve got yummy couscous for the week! It makes so much that I froze half of the mix for another week. It goes great with curry as an alternative to rice and is the perfect chicken or fish salad accompaniment for your weekday lunch boxes- or just great in a bowl on it’s own!

I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Love Leeanna xo

How to make homemade healthy granola

One of my new year’s resolutions is to learn how to cook and actually follow a recipe! Two weeks into 2015 and I have my first accomplishment which was easy, healthy and delicious!

Breakfast is my absolute favourite meal of the day and something I really enjoy is yogurt topped with granola but I find most granola in the supermarket is either really unhealthy (because it is full of sugar) or really pricey!

IMG_0811 So I thought I would be brave and have a go at making my own. The best thing is you can add all the ingredients you like most like your favoutite nuts or dried fruit without adding all the naughty bits. With the help from a great recipe over on Elizabeth Rider, I got creative and got cooking. Mix together:

  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts. You can choose from your favourites and they can be as chunky as you like. I only roughly chopped mine to give my granola a bit of crunch.

IMG_0802 I chose to use cashews, macadamia nuts and walnuts, firstly because they were in my cupboard but also because I love the taste of them even as a yummy snack.

  • 1/4 cup of seeds– Sunflower or pumpkin seeds are great because they are super good for you and super tasty!
  • 1/2 cup of dried fruit. Again you chop it up or just throw it in. I went for raisins and dried cranberries for my mix.
  • 2 tbsp of honey– I actually used this great healthier alternative called Agave Nectar which is also a tasty addition to sweeten up your porridge.

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  • 2 tbsp of melted coconut oil–  This is where it gets a bit sticky but it’s also the fun part if your don’t mind getting a bit messy!
  • Mix everything together with your hands.
  • Pour onto a baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes until it is looking slightly golden.

IMG_0810 And there you have it your very own homemade granola! Delicious on top of yogurt, smothered in milk (I love it with unsweetened almond milk) or even just on it’s own!

I have such a big sweet tooth and always have to have a cheeky pudding so I tried to incorporate the granola into a tasty dessert. I came up with a berry granola cheesecake mess!

Mix fat free cream cheese and your favourite fruit or warmed berries and top with your very own granola. Delish!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and are sticking to your new year’s resolutions too!

Love Leeanna xo

Valentines Cookies <3

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So everyone says ‘food is the key to a man’s heart’ and for my boyfriend I think that is definitely the case.

I know how much he loves cookies so I thought as an extra treat to go with his valentines gifts I would make love heart cookies with a personal touch of the love heart sweets-style.

They are so easy to make and I think they are very cute!

Ingredients:

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175g plain flour

100g chilled butter

85g caster sugar

1tsp vanilla extract                                                                              

1 egg yolk

For decorating:

Icing tubes (colors of your choice)

Icing sugar mixed with water

Step 1:

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Put the flour, butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk in a food processor. Dribble in 1 tbsp water and blitz until the mixture comes together to form a dough. Tip onto a work surface and knead briefly to bring together. Make sure you put flour on the surface otherwise things may get pretty sticky! Then wrap in cling film and chill for 20 mins.

Step 2:

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin. If you have a heart cutter to stamp out heart shapes that’s great! But if not you can just as easily make your own heart shapes by cutting them out with a knife. Make as many hearts as you want from the dough of sizes you would like. Put the hearts on 2 baking trays and bake for 12 mins, swapping the trays over halfway through, until pale golden and crisp. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

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Step 3:

Once the cookies have completely cooled it’s time to get decorating! I used the theme of Love Heart sweets to decide how to top my cookies. Firstly pour icing sugar into a bowl to fill about half of it and then gradually add water until it is a thick consistency and a very white color. Then spread this on each cookie to give it a white background. I chose pink and purple sparkly icing tubes for writing and drawing a heart outline of my cookies- you can choose whatever you like. I copied the Love Heart sweets and iced the cookies with phrases such as ‘I ❤ U’, ‘Hug me’, ‘Kiss me’ etc. But you can write whatever you like!

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And there you have it your own personalised Love Heart cookies, perfect for Valentines!

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Tasty stocking filler!!

Oh wow. I have just discovered what I will be putting on my christmas list this year for a stocking filler- a white Terry’s chocolate orange. Actually make that 3!

You read it right, there are white Terry’s chocolate oranges currently circulating our supermarkets. This discovery came as a huge excitement for my friend and I tonight,  and we just could not resist buying one to munch on in our girlie movie night in.

We are both confessed chocoholics so we weren’t too surprised when we’d demolished the whole thing. But we are slightly concerned about the waistline….

Go on treat yourself! 

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