Warm Cajun Chicken Salad

Header Graphic by HCRHere in Scotland, there has been a remarkable run of sunny days since around Easter Weekend. This has made me more in the mood for salads and maintaining a good, clean, diet. Clear blue skies and sun from sunrise to sunset have been making me feel like it’s summer already! It is mainly during summer that I have loads of salads and less hot, cooked, meals as I seem to go off hot food and also don’t require so many calories to keep me warm due to the warmer climate. This salad is served warm so is perfect as an evening meal at this time of year when, despite the sun, there is a distinctive drop in temperature by early evening from moderately warm to noticeably cool. Serving a warm salad is thus in the middle, not too hot and not too cold! (Writing that sentence has just reminded me of the children’s story, Goldilocks and The Three Bears)

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Recipe for my ‘Warm Cajun Chicken Salad’

Ingredients

To make 1 portion:

  • 1 chicken breast (cut into chunks or diced)
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Coconut oil
  • Two mini sweet peppers (try and go for two different colours) A plateful of mixed salad leaves (spinach, watercress, lambs lettuce, and radaccio is great)
  • Black pepper
  • Balsamic glaze

Method:

In a frying pan, heat the coconut oil and add the seasoning. Add the chicken and cook until piping hot throughout and no pink remains. Spread the salad leaves on a plate. Cut the peppers lengthways, remove the middle, and quarter. Arrange on salad leaves. Top with the cooked chicken and glaze with the balsamic.

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Image 2 Warm Cajun Salad

Warm Cajun Salad image 1

Serve with garlic pitta bread or on its own.

Tip: For extra protein, add mixed beans or cooked lentils.

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Enjoy,

Helen x


©Copyright HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2015.
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Smoothie 4: Good Morning Smoothie

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Tired? Half-asleep? Keep reading and try the recipe that follows.

Here is a refreshing smoothie that is made using a combination of store cupboard tinned fruit and fresh fruit. It is free from added sugar, thickener or anything else, just pure fruit and water. The sweetness of the smoothie will depend upon the sweetness of the fruit and so if you’d like a sharper smoothie use a green rather than red apple. Also, using an unripe green kiwi rather than a golden one will give a sharper result. I prefer just a hint of sharpness so tend to just stick with the broken grapefruit for that.

It is entirely up to your personal preference, though. Have a go at experimenting with different combinations and find your favourite! It’s fun coming up with various tasting ones.

Good Morning Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 golden kiwi
  • 2 slices of pineapple (I used unsweetened tinned pineapple as I didn’t have fresh)
  • 1 tbsp of broken grapefruit (tinned)
  • Water

Method:

1. Peel, core, and cut apple into chunks.

2. Scoop flesh out of kiwi.

3. Add the fruit into a blender with a little water and blend.

4. Add more water to thin if desired.

NOTE: I use golden kiwis as they tend to be much sweeter than green kiwis. They are easier to get hold of in the summer rather than winter, so if making in the winter then you can substitute a green kiwi for the golden one.

This is the 4th smoothie recipe from a series of posts I’ve been doing since last week. For the earlier recipes see:

1. Creamy Green Energy Machine

2. Tropical Dream,

3. Breakfast Smoothie With a Kick.

For more healthy recipes, meal ideas, and tips, you can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Helen x


Copyright©HLDCblog2015

Ideas for a Healthy Savoury Breakfast

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A while back I posted a list of ideas for healthy sweet breakfasts (read here) and then completely to post this sister-post. I think it is by now certainly time to post this long over due content! This list of suggestions is great if you fancy something savoury rather than sweet. These ideas provide different nutritional benefits so if using them to create a meal plan for the week, remember that variety is key! Obviously there are many other healthy, savoury options but these are my top 5 and the ones which I personally have most often.

• Also, a new smoothie recipe will be coming tomorrow, thought I’d take a break from smoothies today! Here’s one from the archives if you’re currently in the mood for one – it’s a refresher smoothie (recipe here). •

Now, let’s get back to breakfast.

Here is the list:

1. Omelette (2 or 3 eggs)

A plain omelette seasoned only with black pepper is an option, but why not spice it up by adding a variety of herbs /or cayenne pepper (I LOVE this stuff for adding a spicy kick to foods) /or chilli powder etc. Add these ingredients to the egg as you whisk it up.

Also, add a little ground turmeric which will enhance the yellow colour of the egg but, more importantly, is a great spice that has surprisingly bountiful health benefits including its anti-flammitory properties and being a powerful antioxidant.

As for fillings, red pepper, sliced courgettes, finely chopped onions, half cherry tomatoes, low-salt cheese, spinach, parma ham, turkey bacon, and kale are all possible options.

Here are some combinations to try:

  • tomato, parma ham, and cheese
  • spinach, tomato, basil, and mozzarella
  • red pepper, spinach and turkey bacon
  • courgettes, mushrooms and red peppers (as seen in the picture below)
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Cooking an omelette

Serve with salad leaves /or rocket or on its own.

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Serving suggestion

Nutrition: This breakfast provides a source of protein from the egg (filling too depending on your choice), benefits from spices, if used, and vitamins from the fillings.


2. Wholemeal toast (2 slices)

Toppings:

  • Avocado (spread a ripe avocado over the toast for a butter-like topping that is full of nutrients)
  • Scrambled egg and smoked salmon or flaked smoked mackerel (a breakfast classic!)
  • Low-fat cream cheese
  • Sliced tomatoes and a twist of cracked black pepper (a refreshing topping)
  • A poached egg (as seen in the photo below)
Egg photo

Poached egg

Or you could use a wholemeal pitta bread if desired.

Nutrition: Wholemeal bread provides a source of fibre while the toppings provide protein, and various nutrients such as omega 3 (salmon) or vitamin E (avocado).


3. Cottage cheese

If in a hurry this requires least preparation and no cooking.

Eat this with:

  • chopped fresh tomatoes
  • fresh finely chopped chives
  • celery
  • peppers
  • pineapple

Nutrition: Cottage cheese is a good low-fat source of protein and is much healthier than hard full-fat cheese. Adding fruit or vegetables adds a source of vitamins


4. A ‘grill-up’’

This is a healthy alternative to a ‘fry-up’ which is grilled rather than fried (obviously), and has healthier substitutes.

Try a combination of grilled turkey bacon (a leaner and healthier alternative to pork bacon), tomatoes, mushrooms and a scrambled egg. If vegetarian, substitute a vegetarian sausage for the bacon. You could also add sweet potato and / or reduced-salt baked beans.

Nutrition: This option provides a protein-rich breakfast.


5. Porridge

Make with just oats and water for a simple healthy breakfast or, alternatively, do what the Romans did (trust me, I have a history degree(!)), and season with herbs.

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Porridge

 

Nutrition: Oats are a great source of slow-release energy and help to lower cholesterol making them a great way to start your day.


For more meal ideas, recipes, and tips follow us Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Have a great day,

Helen x


Disclaimer: Nutritional information has been gained from personal study over the years. I am a graduate of a subject which is not nutrition-based.
Copyright©HLDCblog2015

6 Salad Ideas

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This collection of salads can be used as individually plated starters or in a larger serving bowl and dish from which guests can help themselves. I have not included quantities or methods because I think for salads it varies from person to person how much of each item we enjoy most in salads so I’ve given some suggestions of things that go together well but you can decide with what quantities you’d like to go with. For me, creating any dish with food is about experimenting and I stopped following recipes years ago (I’m only in my 20s but have been cooking since I was in primary school!) There used to be a TV show here in the UK called Ready, Steady, Cook which inspired me greatly as the chefs would have a limited time to prepare dishes based on ingredients they only got to see a couple of minutes prior to beginning cooking. Who else was inspired by this programme? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below or tweet me @hldcblog! I found the methodology of the show to be a brilliant way to inspire ideas and hence, I often like to do the same – find 5 or 6 ingredients and give myself limited time to see what I can make them into! Back to salads, however, here is my selection of ideas. If I was in charge of creating a salad menu for a food establishment, these would most probably feature! Quite a few of these salads are gluten free.

TIP: If you are looking for festive salads, the last two ideas will probably suit best.


1. Mango, rocket, bulgar wheat and avocados with balsamic glaze

• The sweetness of the mango is offset by the peppery rocket, while the avocado and bulgar wheat add contrasting textures and the balsamic glaze finishing it off by adding an acidic sweetness.


2. Prawns, cucumber, avocado, served on a large romaine lettuce leave Lemon juice dressing

• This is quite a classic salad style although brought up to date with the avocado, which is certainly and rightly so, in my opinion, a popular fruit at the moment. (Gluten Free)

• A recipe for a similar salad can be found here.


3. Strawberries, rocket, balsamic glaze, and fresh basil leaves

• Surprisingly enough balsamic vinegar complements strawberries a lot, and the addition of rocket gives another flavour while the fragrant basil leaves finish off the dish creating a wonderful journey for your tastebuds! (Gluten Free)


4. Goats cheese, beetroot, spinach, balsamic, tomatoes

• Goats cheese is my favourite cheese at the moment and it features heavily as a protein source in salads I make for myself. The other ingredients I suggest combining it with go really well with the creaminess of the cheese, giving contrasting textures and flavours. (Gluten Free)


5. Festive side salad

• Dried cranberries, wensleydale, apple, pecans, rocket, watercress, lemon and balsamic vinegar dressing

•  This is a selection of sweet and sour, nutty and savoury ingredients which creates a pleasing festive salad perfect for adding a healthy supplement to Holiday dinners! (Gluten Free)


6. Cous cous, pomegranate seeds, apricots, butternut squash, rocket, and an orange-balsamic dressing

• Again, this is quite a festive salad although a somewhat alternative one as the ingredients are non-traditional. Pomegranate seeds with their deep ruby colour however can be likened to little jewels and add a festive touch. This salad would go particularly well with duck.


For more ideas, recipes and tips, follow Hldcblog on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and PinInterest.

Helen x


Copyright ©Hldcblog 2014

 

Winter-Spiced Apples

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Here is a satisfying recipe for a tasty fruity treat that is perfect for tucking into while curled up on the sofa in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter’s evening. The cinnamon evokes a festive scent which is lovely for getting in the Christmas spirit. It can be served on its own or with a variety of foods.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pink lady apple (cored and cut into slices) [Note: Because we are using an eating, rather than cooking, apple there is no need for the abundance of sugar, or indeed any sugar, to be added as is often the case when cooking with apples]
  • A small amount of coconut oil or low-fat unsalted butter
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

1. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan and add the apple

2. Add the cinnamon

3. Stir, while cooking on a medium heat, until the apple is softened and golden. (Tip: The apple is also really nice while it still has a little crisp to it, so cook for a shorter time if you’d like it that way.)

4. Serve immediately

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve as a topping for granola or porridge
  • Serve as an accompaniment to a mugcake (many healthy mugcake recipes available in my older blog posts) (e.g. my Choco-banana Mugcake)
  • Serve with some Greek yoghurt for a pleasing contrast in temperatures and textures. Serve on its own
Serving suggestion

Serving suggestion


 

For recipes, food pics, and health tips subscribe or follow on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

©Hdlcblog2014

 

Choco-banana Mugcake

This is a wonderfully sweet, tasty treat that is as equally good for dessert as it is for breakfast. There are many recipes for mugcakes that are terribly high in sugar, oil (yuck), and general unhealthy ingredients but this recipe is a lighter, lower calorie alternative without substituting the most important thing, taste!

Note: This won’t taste exactly like cake but it’s a delicious clean alternative!


Choco-banana Mugcake

Serves 1

Ready in 4 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 mashed ripe banana
  • 1 egg 30g oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 6 tbsps water

Method:

  1. Add everything to a large microwaveable mug or bowl
  2. Stir well Microwave for 2 mins
  3. Stand for 1 min. Serve and enjoy!

Serving ideas:

  • Melt some delicious dark chocolate and pour over for a decadent dessert
  • Plate with some Greek yoghurt

Helen x


Follow me on  –  Instagram: @HCRinstacam   Twitter: @Hldcblog

©Hdlcblog2014 

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

Baked salmon with lemon and dill

Baked salmon with lemon and dill served with roasted vegetables

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This is a great weekday evening meal after a busy day at work. It is quick to prepare, quick to cook and requires minimal washing up at the end (always a plus point in my book!)

Ingredients:

For the salmon:

  • Juice from a quarter of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dill (or enough to lightly dust the top of the salmon)
  • Black pepper
  • Balsamic glaze
  • 1 salmon fillet

For the vegetables:

  • 4 or 5 medium sized mushrooms or a handful of button mushrooms
  • 1 large plum tomato cut into wedges
  • 1/2 a red pepper sliced
  • Olive oil

To serve:

  • New potatoes
  • Salad leaves

Method:

1.Pre-heat a fan oven to 180 degrees.

2.  Place salmon fillet on a medium sized piece of foil.

3. Drizzle the lemon juice over the top then sprinkle the dill, some of the paprika, and black pepper over the top.

4. Add the vegetables to either side of the salmon fillet and drizzle some oil over the top (around 1-1 1/2 tsp).

5. Sprinkle on the remaining paprika and some black pepper. Add some balsamic glaze too.

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6. Wrap the foil around the salmon to make a parcel and place in the oven to cook for approx. 18mins.

7. While the salmon and vegetables are cooking cook the potatoes.

8. Serve with salad leaves or uncooked baby spinach.


Hope you enjoy this recipe. Feel free to tweet me @hldcblog or check out my Instagram (@HCRinstacam) which is updated daily with tastbud-tempting food pics prepared by myself!

Have a great day,

Helen x

Nutmeg and orange at mugcake

So for my second post I thought I’d share something brand new. I fancied a mugcake for breakfast this morning – yes a CAKE (don’t worry it’s healthy!) – and was also feeling in an experimental mood which resulted in me making this new version of an oat-based mugcake.

Oat-based mugcakes in general are not a new concept (Google and see) but this recipe was made entirely on-the-spot and I think it worked well! With oats, an egg and fruit juice, this has an ideal combination of nutrients to start your day the best way.

Also, it’s really, really quick and easy to make and is cooked in a microwave (no messy pans to wash – yay!) Just to warn you all, though, this mugcake is not like a conventional cake, not the same texture etc, but it is certainly tasty and as this blog is all about being healthy, it is exactly that – healthy!! As well as for breakfast, this works well as a snack, post work-out energy rejuvenator or dessert. Try it and see what you think!



Recipe: Nutmeg and orange oat mugcake 

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  • 1/3 cup oats (microwavable or ordinary)
  • 1 small egg
  • 3tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1tbsp maple syrup
  • 1tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (or a 1/4 if you’re not as big a fan of nutmeg as I am!)

Method:

Mix all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl (I use a cereal bowl). Cook for 1 min 30 secs in a 800W microwave. Leave to stand in the microwave for about 30secs and be very careful when lifting as the bowl will be hot. To serve either eat it out of the bowl or flip it out onto a plate as I have done in the above picture. Either way, it’s nice served with fresh natural yoghurt or Greek yoghurt and sliced banana.

Other topping ideas:

  • Other fruit e.g. Orange  segments
  • Frozen yoghurt
  • Melted high cocoa dark chocolate

Variances:

  • Add some dark chocolate chips to the mixture for a chocolate version
  • Use a different juice e.g. apple juice

Enjoy!

P.S. if you try this out, I’d love to see how it turns out so feel free to Tweet me a pic or show me via Instagram using the hashtag #hldcblog or tag me, @HCRinstacam.


 

 

First post!

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Ok, so I think I’m just going to jump right in and start sharing my passion for healthy food! I’ll leave telling you a bit about myself until future posts but for now, here is a recipe for a quick and simple breakfast dish. I first made this a few years ago and recently rediscovered it. It’s a great choice for breakfast at any time of year but I think it’s particularly refreshing on a warm summer morning!


Apple-oats

 Apple-oats


Recipe: 

  • 1 apple (grated)
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup milk (add more or less depending on how thick you want it)

Optional:

  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Chopped nuts (e.g. hazelnuts) or desiccated coconut (I just LOVE coconut!)

Method: Soak the oats in the milk for a few minutes to allow the oats to soften and thicken the milk. After that stir in the grated apple. (I like pink lady apples as I find them lovely and crisp with a delicate sweet flavour.) If you prepare in advance, the night before works well, then mix all ingredients together and chill in the fridge overnight. But, equally,  if you’re in a hurry then it works fine to mix all the ingredients and eat straight away. The oats will be drier but it still makes for a nutritious and healthy breakfast with vitamins and slow-release energy – what’s not to like?! Add any of the optional ingredients at any stage.

Variances: Instead of an apple a chopped pear works well too. If using a pear I find pecans go particularly well with it and adds some crunch to contrast with the soft pear.

Tips: 

  • If using honey then for extra quickness, use a squeezy bottle of honey rather than a jar.
  • When I make this with pears I find conference pears work particularly well.

Hope you enjoy!