Absence from blogging


Just thought I’d touch base to say I haven’t forgotten about this blog but I have recently been tied up with other projects and commitments so haven’t been able to post very regularly. I’ll hopefully be able to get back to blogging more regularly soon and am continually developing recipes just not having time to type them up properly. I doubt anyone wants to see photos uploaded of scrawly, rushed, hand-written recipes with water splashes on them etc!

Anyway, in the meantime, I am still posting my daily Tip of the Day on Twitter and also trying to continue posting my ‘meal diary’ on Instagram.

You can also find me on Facebook here

Bye for now,

Helen x


Kiwi and apple refresher smoothie

Helen's healthy living dream cuisine

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  • 2 kiwis (peeled)
  • 1 apple (I prefer peeled but you can leave the skin on if you want!)
  • 1 stick of celery
  • Water (the volume depends on how thick/thin you like smoothies to be – I used about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup)

1. Finish preparing the ingredients by slicing the kiwis, chopping the apple and cutting the celery into small enough pieces they can be blended easily.

2. Add all ingredients, including some of the water, to a blender and blend until fully combined together and smooth. Then add some more water if you’d like it to be a thinner consistency.

3. Serve and enjoy!

P.S If it’s a lovely sunny day or if you just prefer ice cool drinks, add some ice cubes at the start or serve over ice-cubes at the end for a cooler drink.

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Remember I’d love to see photos of the result…

View original post 26 more words

8 Healthy no-cook Canapé Ideas


So it is that time of year once again, New Year’s Eve. It is a time of celebration, reflecting happy memories, and making new memories with family and friends as the preparing for the clock to strike midnight. Here is a selection of simple, healthy, no cook canapé ideas which are ideal for NYE parties, or New Year’s Day snacks and appetisers. Happy celebrating!

 1. Melon and parma ham

Wrap the parma ham around chunks of melon. Use both cantaloupe and honeydew melon for variety.

 2. Quirky crackers and cheese

Crackers are a great ready-prepared snack on there own but can be a bit bland if just served plain. To make a fun canapé, cut slices of cheese and then use a cookie cutter to cut stars or circles, or anything NYE related, to top the cracker.

Optional: Add some chutney or a sun-dried tomato to finish it off.

 3. Smoked salmon and low-fat cream cheese pinwheels

Spread a generous layer of cream cheese over a slice of smoked salmon, sprinkle with a twist of ground black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Then carefully roll up into a swiss roll type shape. Wrap in cling film and chill for 15-30mins. Finally, carefully slice into bite-sized slices (pin wheels).

 4. Whipped goats cheese-topped bread

Cut star shapes out of herby or olive bakery bread and top with whipped goats cheese and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.

 5. Chocolate swirled strawberries

Melt some high cocoa content dark chocolate (70 to 90% cocoa) and swirl over fresh strawberries.

 6. Tropical fruit kebabs

Alternate cubed fresh mango, papaya, and pineapple on a kebab stick.

Optional: Drizzle with melted dark chocolate

 7. Stuffed cherry tomatoes

Remove the flesh from the tomatoes and stuff with a small basil leave, one drop of balsamic glaze, and a cube of feta cheese.

Go on, try them!

Helen x

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Top 5 Healthy Foods to Snack On


Tempted to pick up a handful of crisps, sweets, or pop to the nearest coffee shop to buy a triple chocolate muffin?! Try these healthy options instead. All require no, or virtually no, preparation making them perfect for work breaks and study snacks.

1. Grapes


  • They are lower in sugar than other fruit such as bananas.
  • They are easy to eat, no sticky fingers or juice going everywhere (a nightmare if you’re busy working away in an office – no one likes sticky keys on a keyboard!)
  • They require virtually no preparation – just be sure to buy the seedless variety for minimal effort.

2. Half an Avocado


  • It is a power-house of goodness it is good if you’re in both a savoury or sweet mood
  • It can be eaten easily just with a spoon it is filling.
  • Here’s a quick little recipe for a sweet serving idea. 

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3. Nuts


  • There is no preparation – providing you buy ones already shelled.
  • They are a good source of minerals, vitamins and protein. Although, the high fat content in some nuts can worry people, the fats in the nutritional make-up of nuts are good fats rather than bad. [1]
  • There are many types to choose from including almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts. My favourite are pecans and fresh coconut.

Coconut photo

4. Sliced red pepper, carrot batons, celery and hummus dip


  • It’s a colourful snack filled with nutrients and easy to eat.
  • Celery, red pepper and carrots are all low-calorie making it a light snack.
  • Celery aids digestion and lowers blood pressure, red peppers are full of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, while carrots give a source of beta-carotene, promoting eye health.

This requires some prep. but works great for preparing in the morning to take to work as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. The different vegetables vary in colour and taste making them appealing to both eyes and tastebuds. This snack got me through many an essay break at university! I used to buy pre-cut carrot batons (lazy, I know) and store-bought hummus too – serving idea [here].

5. Apple and cheese


  • Apples are a good source of Vitamin C while cheese is a source of protein.
  • It is sweet and savoury – perfect if you can’t decide what mood you’re in (tastebud-wise!)

The snack I had as a child when other kids were eating fries / crisps / sweets etc. My parents have always encouraged a healthy diet. I did love it as a child and I think that’s why I still enjoy it now. Simply chop up an apple and cheese into similar sized cubes and serve as is in a bowl or, if taking to work, place in a sealed snack box with a squeeze of lemon over the apple to stop it from going brown due to oxidisation. To me, it’s the perfect sweet and savoury snack.

  • TIP (from my childhood): Try to end on a piece of cheese as cheese will help get some of the fruity acidity off of your teeth.

Apple and cheese


Helen x

For more foodie content, check out our Facebook page and Instagram. Any questions, feel free to pop me a Tweet, or comment below!

[1] http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-nuts





Satisfying Starters 1: Prosciutto and Melon Salad


I have recently been having lots of cravings for prosciutto. It must be something to do with this time of year, as I remember this time last year, I bought a huge Continental meats festive platter, crackers and melon to have as a late night study snack after spending all of daylight hours in the library and much evening hours working on my dissertation! The platter was clearly put together with the intention that it would form some of the food at a Christmas party but I had it all myself. Greedy, I know… Anyway, back to the present [clearly I can’t get Christmas off my mind…] I whipped up this salad to serve as a not-too-filling starter earlier this week but, equally, it could be served as a light lunch. Or with some rustic bread, or a bowl of soup, for a more substantial lunch. The saltiness of the prosciutto is nicely contrasted with the refreshing iceberg lettuce and sweetness of the melon.

 Prosciutto and melon salad


Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1/4 to 1/2 melon (depending on size) cut into chunks (honeydew and cantaloupe works well)
  • 2 handfuls of shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 6 slices of prosciutto (I used prosciutto de Parma i.e. Parma ham)
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Optional: Bread, to serve Scatter one handful of the lettuce on each plate.


  1. Arrange half of the melon on top of each the lettuce on each plate.
  2. Create ‘prosciutto roses’ by rolling the prosciutto up while pinching the middle section, until it resembles a rose. I hope that makes some sense but it is difficult to explain. Here is a picture to try to illustrate my point: Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 21.56.59
  3. Place 3 roses on top of each salad.
  4. Finally, drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  5. Serve on its own or with fresh rustic bread or baguette, if desired.


For more healthy recipes, tips, and foodie goodness, you can follow the blog on Twitter, Facebook, PinInterest and Instagram.

Helen x

Copyright ©Hldcblog 2014

Top 10 Festive Ingredients

Top 10 festive ingredients graphic

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We are now well and truly into Advent and since I have gotten my university graduation week out of the way, I am going to try to blog more regularly. This time of year is definitely one of my favourites. There is a wonderful festive atmosphere greeting me if I go into shops, switch on the TV, walk through the High Street after sunset, or indeed, read fellow bloggers posts. Unfortunately, for the past several years during which I was in full time education, I have had the displeasure of having the festive period dampened due to exams looming over my head or, latterly, a 12 000 word dissertation deadline. Therefore, this is the first year in many that I can fully embrace Advent and the countdown to Christmas. As the focus of this blog is food, I thought I’d list my Top 10 festive ingredients. These are the fridge and store cupboard ingredients that I think on their own, or when combined with others, epitomise festive cuisine. The list has not been compiled in any particular order with the exception of no. 1. which, for me, I guess, conjures up thoughts of the divinely gorgeous scents of Christmas cooking. Although, I realise that if you are a vegetarian this won’t be featuring anywhere in your own list – apologies for this!

 So here goes,

My Top 10 Festive Ingredients:

1. Turkey

This provides the BIG EVENT for a lot of us on Christmas Day and is a great lean and healthy meat if not smothered in an abundance of fat and butter to roast! The fact it is lean is one of the reasons I eat it throughout the year, usually in the form of turkey breast steaks which I can season in a variety of ways depending on my mood. I’ll be posting some ideas on various ways to use leftover turkey closer to Christmas.

 2. Cheese

Wensleydale with cranberries cheese

Wensleydale with cranberries is my personal favourite for a festive cheese but of course there is an almost never-ending list of seasonal cheeses or year-round varieties that make for a good cheeseboard. Cheeses are not only for the after-dinner cheeseboard, however, they are also great served in cubes as appetisers, melted in a fondue, or as something with which to stuff red peppers or make heavenly smoked salmon pinwheels. (Cream cheese works best for this.) In addition, baked Camembert be used for a super easy starter. Other great cheeses are Stilton, Brie, Arran cheddar cheese (a favourite of mine), gruyere, chèvre,  and soft cheese seasoned with herbs and garlic (e.g. Boursin).

 3. Cinnamon

This is one of the key ingredients in the Christmas staple drink of mulled wine, as well as, festive hot milky drinks e.g. lattes, like my hot banana latte. Cinnamon is also a nice addition to Christmas biscuits (cookies for those in the USA) as it adds a festive flavour. And if you are a regular reader of my blog or if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m actually a huge fan of cinnamon year-round! TIP: For a very easy winter warming drink simply heat up some milk in a saucepan or in a microwavable mug with cinnamon and sweeten with honey. This is all natural and much healthier than ‘instant’ drinks in packets which have an assortment of artificial ingredients added.

 4. Berries

Think fruits of the forest blackberries, black cherries, red currants, and cranberries. They can be used to make an array of festive jellies, desserts, winter fruit salads, and, moreover, make an attractive table decoration. Cranberries are key. Cranberry sauce is a must for serving with roast turkey on Christmas Day and in Boxing Day sandwiches. TIP: Here is a recipe of mine for a blueberry sauce, but if you substitute the blueberries with frozen fruits of the forest, you’ll get a lovely festive sauce. Blend with a hand-blender for a perfectly smooth sauce or strain it through a sieve to get a fruit coulis.

 5. Chocolate

Now I’m not talking bog standard, chocolate, I’m talking fine dark luxury chocolate as it’s Christmas, which means the extra special varieties of foods come into play and it’s the season in which everyone deserves a treat. Give it, as it is, as an often fail-proof gift, or use it to make a luxury chocolate parfait, a rich chocolate cake, fondue or fondant cakes. It is also nice to melt some chocolate and make your own chocolate covered nuts and raisins as Christmas party snacks or accompaniments to desserts. TIP: See my post on Make-it-yourself Foodie-themed Christmas gifts for a great chocolate gift idea [COMING SOON!] Perfect for chocoholics’ palates, young and old.

 6. Apples

A selection of varieties of apples: Pink Lady, British Cox’s, and Royal Galas. Yes, apples are popular in my household!

These are perfect for making Christmas chutneys as gifts or my winter-spiced apples [my recipe here] TIP: Thinly slice and bake in the oven to make apples crisps – add some cinnamon before baking so a festive smell is wafted through your home!

 7. Cold meats (prosciutto, parma ham, black forest ham)

Parma Ham

These make perfect appetisers for dinner party guests, cheeky snacks for whoever has the task of doing the cooking (!), salads for starters [like this parma ham salad I made], and fancy ‘pigs in blankets’ (sausages usually wrapped in bacon but these are cleaner alternatives as they should be nitrate free). If buying prosciutto, make sure to buy a genuine Italian product which should be dry-cured with salt only and thus is free of artificial nitrates which have been linked to migraines as a trigger [1]. (From my own experience I can attest to this). Personally, Parma ham is my favourite prosciutto (Italian dry-cured ham). They never use nitrates or artificial products (see here).

 8. Sage

One word: stuffing. Need I say more? But, seriously, sage is a crucial ingredient in many recipes for stuffing and adds a great flavour. It is also a herb which is an antioxidant and provides a great source of Vitamin K.

 9. Nuts

These make a great Christmas party snack. There are so many to choose from and they are easy to serve. Which is your favourite? I’m most partial to pecans and coconut. Mmm…pecans! Almonds are the key ingredient for marzipan, so if you wish to make your own, you’d better stock up on a lot of almonds now! Marzipan is vital for Christmas cakes and other traditional festive foods. Christmas puddings, the traditional Christmas dessert, moreover, also contain a variety of nuts. Although, for me, neither Christmas cake or puddings make much of a showing in my Christmas dinner. *Gasp*. Too rich and heavy for me! TIP: Nut roast is a great alternative to roast turkey for vegetarians.

 10. Duck

An alternative to turkey for Christmas dinner, duck is a meat which a number of festive marinades can really compliment. Marinades and rubs for the duck really give the duck a festive taste and smell. So, for those who find turkey boring, or fancy a change this year, why not give duck a try?

There you go, that is my top 10. Feel free to reblog with a link to my post. The questions I’d love to ask you are – what is your top 10 or what do you think I should have included on my list that I haven’t? Comment below or tweet me @hldcblog.

For further festive updates from this blog subscribe on here, follow my account on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Have a great day,



Copyright ©Hldcblog2014

[1] http://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/guide/triggers-specific-foods

Holidays are coming!

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The days are duller, temperatures are colder, and the hours of darkness are increasing by the day. Yes, it’s winter in Scotland, UK! Yet, with this time of year also comes the continually expanding build-up to Christmas meaning the darkness is illuminated by Christmas lights and candles, AND, our sense of smell is tempted by the gorgeous scents of Christmas market food, home cooking and products in supermarkets. Also, our eyes are taunted by the visual delights of festive cooking on the TV. Unfortunately smell-o-visions do not yet exist but when it does, I will be first in line to purchase one! All the festivities cheer me up exponentially. Anyway, the point is that in the upcoming days and weeks I will be posting a variety of festive recipes, meal ideas, serving suggestions, and tips! Stay tuned!

And remember you can also follow me on Twitter: @hldcblog, and Instagram @hcrinstacam

Helen x

Turkey Steak with Creamy Qunioa and Bulger Wheat Stir Fry

This was a meal that I came up with spontaneously as I had a fridge with a random assortment of food that I needed to use up before going away for a few days and this was the result! It may sound a bit different but give it a try and see what you think. I certainly enjoyed it and hope you do too!

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Turkey Steak with Creamy Qunioa and Bulger Wheat Stir Fry

Forgot to take a picture with the turkey!

Forgot to take a picture with the turkey!

Serves 1

Preparation: Couple of minutes

Cooking time: under 20minutes


For the steak:

  • 1 turkey steak
  • Black pepper
  • Oil

For the stir-fry

  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 4-5 chesnut mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1/4 red pepper (diced or sliced)
  • Few leaves of spinach
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp marscapone
  • Paprika
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Greek Yoghurt
  • 20grams grated cheese
  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup cooked bulgar wheat


  1. Heat small amount of olive oil in a deep frying pan and sauté the onions and mushrooms until softened. In another pan start cooking the turkey steak brushed with a little oil and seasoned with some freshly cracked black pepper.
  2. While that is cooking add the red pepper and bulgar and qunioa to the mushrooms and onions and stir fry. Season with paprika and black pepper and stir fry for a few minutes.
  3. Turn the turkey steak.
  4. Stir in the marscapone to the other pan and also add the grated cheese. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes.
  5. The turkey steak should almost be cooked by now (follow timings on packaging)
  6. Add the greek yogurt and spinach to the stir fry mixture and stir.
  7. After checking the turkey is cooked through, place on a plate and add the juices to the other pan. Serve the stir fried accompaniment alongside the turkey or spread it out across place the turkey on top.

Hope you enjoy this recipe,
Helen x

Instagram: @HCRinstacam Twitter: @Hldcblog


Quick meals

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I’m going to start posting a series of recipes for dinner that can be cooked in 20 minutes or less – perfect for mid-week cooking and only slightly longer than terrible ready meals! They will all have the above design as a header. I find that most of my recipes as well as being quick and, of course healthy, don’t make a lot of washing up either. This again means they’re great for effortless cooking being quick to prepare, cook, and clean up!

Helen x

Instagram: @HCRinstacam   Twitter: @Hldcblog


Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I’ve not had my Macbook so couldn’t post!

Will be updating my blog with some more posts soon, though. My Instagram @HCRinstacam is where I post to most regularly so you can follow me there if you want and also my Twitter account, @hldcblog. Talking of Twitter, can anyone give me any tips for using it?! I only signed up recently and don’t really know how to use it effectively!!

Helen x