Spiced tuna and Tomato Pasta

Tuna pasta dishes are wonderful. They are effortless to make, require very little preparation, and rich in protein. Also all of the ingredients (apart from the fresh tomatoes) were kitchen cupboard essentials  – in my kitchen at least (!) I came up with this particular recipe on Saturday after losing track of time painting and realising that as it was 9.55pm, there was no way I could get to a shop to buy some dinner  before the closing time of 10pm. The problems of being an artist and getting lost in art!

Anyway, with an empty fridge, a broken oven, and a hungry stomach, I needed to come up with something quickly. So, to the cupboard I went! Canned tuna and tomatoes are perfect in situations like that. The recipe for the pasta dish is below. If you have fresh carrots you could add them too for some additional goodness. Also, if unlike me, you’re not waiting for an oven to be fixed, you could bake in the oven for 20mins rather than on the hob. You could even top with a little cheese for additional tastiness.

This recipe makes a generous portion for 1 but could also be split into two smaller meals for lunch etc. The tuna contains about 27g protein so this is a great post-work out dish especially after a muscle focussed session.

Ingredients

Pasta 

1 portion dried Fusilli pasta (wholewheat is healthiest but I used white as it cooks slightly quicker)

Sauce

1 small can tuna chunks
1/2 can sweet corn
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tin good quality tomatoes
Handful cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
Pinch ground turmeric
Ground black pepper

Method:

For the pasta:

  • Cook pasta according to packaging instructions.
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For the sauce:

  • Add everything except the tuna, sweetcorn and black pepper
  • Cook for 10 mins
  • Drain tuna and stir in
  • Leave to summer for 20minutes on a low heat
  • Add in sweetcorn
  • Leave for another few minutes
  • Taste and season with black pepper if desired
  • Toss in the drained pasta and stir
  • Serve

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Finished pasta

Optional: Top with fresh parsley to serve

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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

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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.

Clean Pizza (Omelette Pizza)

Who likes pizza?! Ok, so this may not be traditional pizza but then this blog is a healthy living blog, and unfortunately, pizzas are not the healthiest of things! This, however, is a recipe for a pizza-type dish that you can enjoy as often as you like without feeling in the slightest bit guilty about eating. (Not that you need feel guilty for eating pizza but if you’re eating it regularly, especially take-away ones, then it’s not going to be doing your body much good.) I made this last night for a quick, late dinner as I realised it had gotten to 10pm and I hadn’t eaten anything proper all evening. The clocks went forward this weekend in the UK so I blame that for messing me up with regards to an evening meal routine! Still, it’s nice to think it’s British Summer Time now. Unfortunately, the message doesn’t seem to have reached the sun itself yet…

Anyway, back to food. This pizza omelette is really easy and versatile to make. You can add whatever toppings you like and it is naturally gluten free as the base is made from eggs rather than flour like a traditional pizza. I made mine vegetarian but you could easily top with cooked lean meat, omega-3 rich fish, or even meat-free substitutes like tofu. It’s clean and lean and can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is packed with protein and also has chia seeds which are surprisingly filling and high in fibre.


 Recipe for Clean Pizza

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Base:

  • 3 large free range organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

To cook:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or other healthy oil

Suggested topping:Photo

  • Quartered cherry tomatoes
  • Chopped green pepper
  • Feta cheese (optional)

NOTE: If you are using meat or fish as a topping, then to make sure they are re-heated to being piping hot, it would be best to use an oven-proof or grill-proof pan and pop into the oven / grill once you add the topping and heat until the meat / fish is hot throughout.


Method:

Beat the eggs and add the rest of the ingredients               Photo

Place the oil in a pan and heat until hot

Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook slowly – it should be about 3/4 cm thick

Once the top is beginning to set add your toppings and continue to cook making sure the bottom of the base is not getting overcooked (keep the gas low)

Once the topping is cooked, serve.

TIP: Once the top is just about set, flip the omelette in the pan and top with tomato puree. Then add your toppings on top.

(Optional: Add some feta cheese to make it more pizza-ey!)

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Serve on it’s own or with a baby kale and rocket salad.

Other topping ideas:

  • Olives, anchovies, and sundried tomatoes
  • Cooked chicken breast pieces, red onions, feta, and finely chopped fresh sage
  • Feta, tomatoes, basil, and spinach
  • Baby kale, avocado, and tomato
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Apologies for all the low-lighting in the photos – I took them at night and the lights in my kitchen are atrocious at the minute!!

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Copyright©HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2015.

 

 

Tasty Side Dish

This is a quick post passing on a recipe I have just discovered saved in the ‘notes’  in my phone from a while ago. I clearly forgot to ever actually upload this recipe of mine! Anyway, thought I would share this now before I forget again or delete the note by mistake.

Ingredients (serves 2)

A couple of handfuls of:

  • Mushrooms
  • Sliced courgettes
  • Red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Black pepper

Optional:

  • Rocket, to serve

Method:

Saute sliced mushrooms and courgettes in olive oil. Add rosemary and thyme and a generous twist of ground black pepper. Continue to cook until the mushrooms and courgettes are beginning to soften. Add in some chopped red pepper and stir for a little longer until the rest of the vegetables are cooked through.

Serve while the red pepper is still quite crisp.

Serving tip:

This is a great accompaniment for turkey.

It can be plated with rocket added too.

Enjoy,

Helen x

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Copyright©HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2015.

 

Herb Chicken and Puy Lentil Salad

It is now officially the season of spring and what better lunch to have on a sunny day than a tasty salad? (I may be a bit biased, of course, as this is my own recipe…) This salad is packed full of protein and will leave you feeling like you have had a proper lunch not just some leaves as some people seem to think is the sole constituent of a salad! Chicken breast provides lovely lean protein and Puy lentils provide plenty of fibre as well as plant-based protein. The salad also has baby kale which is my new addiction. I love traditional kale, too, but the baby variety is perfect for salads. The addition of pepper adds some sweet crunch to the salad. The salad is quick to assemble but the chicken will have to be cooked in advance. I had chicken curry on Sunday and while I was cooking the curry on the hob, the chicken for the salad was cooking in the oven. This made it perfect for knocking up this quick salad for lunch on Monday. You could easily have this salad for dinner too.

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Recipe (serves 1):

For the chicken:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil

Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken, drizzle with oil and wrap the chicken in foil.

Bake the chicken in the foil for 25-35mins at 200C. (Make sure it is white throughout and piping hot in the centre.)

Leave to cool and then refrigerate

For the salad:

1 serving of baby kale

1/4 of an orange pepper (cubed)

80g Puy Lentils (I often use pre-cooked lentils for quickness but the dried lentils are cheaper and can easily be cooked up and used to make a salad for a couple of days, just store it in the fridge.)

Herb chicken breast (sliced)

Dressing:

Extra Virgin Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Assemble the salad on a plate loosely layering the baby kale and lentils before topping with the chicken and pepper.

For the dressing, simply combine equal amounts of the oil and vinegar to make a simple vinaigrette. You can omit the dressing if you wish.

TIP: If cooking lentils from scratch, cook the lentils in vegetable stock rather than plain water to add extra flavour. Add a bay leaf too as it adds great flavour.

Hopefully the sun is out when you make it so you can enjoy it with the sun streaming down on you as you eat it like I did

image_zpski7kzxmkHave a great day,

Helen x


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Copyright©HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2015.

Wondering what to have for dinner? Read this


Everyone has days when they don’t have a clue what to buy for dinner, let alone what to cook for dinner. I’ve even gone to a shop with the intention of buying something for dinner but ended up with a conglomeration of random foods, none of which had the potential to be put together to form a decent meal! That’s why it is never a good idea to go shopping after a day of revision and exams… Ah, university life! Way before I started this blog, I used Instagram as a platform for sharing many of my daily meals and culinary creations in the hope of inspiring others to eat healthily, and I still do. Now I have this blog, though, I thought it would be good to do a post, or perhaps a series of posts, of some pictorial inspiration for meals. As I’m a very visual person, I feel pictorial inspiration is the most effective and I hope it encourages each person who reads this to try something different for their evening meal.

I always try to come up with different meal ideas and I try rarely repeat a meal on Instagram. I love the variety that comes with creating new dishes and serving ideas. Now that I’m in my early 20s I find I’m happy to eat the majority of foods and certainly wouldn’t say I’m too fussy about food, providing it’s reasonably healthy and not full of chemicals! I used to really dislike olives, for example, but now will happily eat them. The reason for my initial dislike was that many years ago when I was at a childhood friend’s party, I mistook a bowl of olives for a bowl of grapes. Olives could not be more different in taste to grapes and so the hatred of olives was born! That is, until I tried them again a few years ago, the first time since the childhood incident, and discovered they are actually quite nice so long as you aren’t hoping to bite into a nice plump, sweet, juicy grape.

Digressions on olives aside, the following meal ideas consist of various sources of protein and a range of sides. Hopefully they will give you some idea as to what you would like to have for dinner:

1. Salmon with pea and lemon risotto 

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Basic method:

Salmon

Simply bake salmon, seasoned how you like it, wrapped in foil for 18-20 minutes at 180C in a fan oven.

Side 1

Bake tomatoes and yellow peppers too, with a little olive oil, in either the same or a separate foil parcel. Use a separate parcel if you’d like the side to have more bite and bake in the oven 10mins before the salmon is ready.

Side 2 (makes two sensibly-sized portions)

For the risotto, make up a quantity of stock from one low-salt organic vegetable stock cube (follow instructions on packet or use about 500ml of homemade stock). Then fry arborio rice in unsalted butter for a few minutes before adding the stock one cup at a time. Each time you add the stock stir well until it is all absorbed in the rice. Once nearing the end of the stock add a handful of frozen peas and the juice from a wedge of lemon (or more depending on your preferences). Stir in the remaining stock and add a little more lemon to taste. Finish by seasoning with freshly ground black pepper.


2. Ballotine of chicken breast 

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 Basic method:

Chicken

There are many ways to fill a ballotine of chicken breast. Some suggestions are as follows:

  • caramelised onions and goat’s cheese
  • asparagus and parma ham
  • sun blush tomatoes, basil, and reduced fat mozzarella

Here is one of my recipes for ballotine of chicken breast with the full method of cooking: click here

Rice

Boiled white rice or, the healthier option, brown rice.

Baked peppers and tomatoes 

Same as Dish 1. You can also add some balsamic vinegar before baking.  Can you tell I like having that side? It is just so wonderfully simple yet scrummy and quick.


3. One pot clean-eat creamy veggie bulgar wheat

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This dish is great on its own as a vegetarian dish or can be used as a ‘bed’ on which to serve a turkey breast steak or chicken breast. It would also be a nice accompaniment for a fillet of pork.

The full method and recipe for this can be found in one of my earlier blog posts: click here

NOTE: This dish can easily be made gluten free by using quinoa instead of bulgar wheat.


 

4. Duck with deliciousness!

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Basic method:

Score the skin of the duck in a criss-cross pattern. Pan-fry the duck and keep draining the fat off (for timing see the packaging of the duck you buy, it varies with size – approx. 6-8mins). Transfer the duck to an ovenproof dish skin-side down and cook for to your preference of rare or medium or well-done. (Again consult the packaging of the duck for timings.)

Sides:

Steamed fine green beans, boiled blend of puy lentils and quinoa, and salad leaves (including rocket and red chard). The salad and blend of grains was dressed with a simple honey and mustard dressing.


  5. Tuna salad

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This is ideal if you have under 5 minutes to prepare something to eat. It is very quick and really nutritious making it a perfect pit stop dinner in a hurry. It also contains 2 of your 5 a day.

Basic method:

The salad consists of a combination of a tin of tuna chunks, 1 portion of cooked pre-cooked quinoa (use a microwaveable packet or cook in advance), 1 portion of sweetcorn, 1 portion of peas, a tbsp dried cranberries, and homemade lemon juice, black pepper and natural yoghurt dressing. If you’d like less sweetcorn and peas half each quantity. Note: This will mean you only have 1 of your 5 a day rather than 2.


 6. Three Bean Chilli

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This is a really good nutritious meal packed with plant-based protein. It contains 4 of your 5 a day too. It can be as hot as you like or can easily be made milder by adding just a dash of chilli or excluding it completely and using smoked paprika instead of chilli for a rich smoky tomato and pepper flavour.

Note: If you like a lot of heat, why not add some tobacco sauce.

It is really easy to double or triple the ingredients in this and re-heat it the next day or you could serve it cold as a filling in a tortilla with some raw baby spinach leaves for lunch.

I have blogged the recipe for this dish in the past which you can see by clicking here.


 

7. Salad Nicoise style dish

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Basic method:

The photo of this meal is pretty self-explanatory. I used flaked cooked salmon for this and served it with:

  • 1 sliced boiled egg
  • a handful of spinach
  • approx. a 1/3 cup sweetcorn (either use frozen cooked then cooled or tinned that has no, or minimal, salt/or sugar added)
  • 1/4 sweet red pepper sliced
  • 2 medium-sized cold sliced new potatoes

Seasoning:

Black pepper and lemon juice over the salmon and pepper on the potatoes.


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Have a great day,

Helen x


 

Copyright©HLDCblog // Helen Redman 2015.

Recipe for a Colourful Smoothie

Header As well as being a passionate foodie and advocate for healthy living, I am also an artist. This means I love, like, really love, colour! Shades, hues, and tones are all awesome to me. (I actually own a book which consists solely of annotated swatch-like squares of colour…) A new series of paintings on which I’m currently working, involves a lot of ochre pigments, specifically yellow and golden. So, I think the fact that ochre is currently on my mind is perhaps why my mind gravitated towards creating this smoothie today as the finished drink gives a somewhat light ochre’y finish! I had it as part of my breakfast.

It goes lovely with a big bowl of muesli. The fact my muesli contains a variety of dried fruit – pineapple, papya, raisins, and banana – in combination with the ingredients of the smoothie resulted in a breakfast with a pretty tropical feel. Always good to brighten up an overcast Scottish morning!

Let’s push the grey clouds away with this sunny smoothie.

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Here’s the recipe:

Mango-Coconut Smoothie                                                                                                  Photo

  • 1/2 a fresh mango
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1cm root ginger
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Put everything in a blender and whizz till smooth.

It’s so simple yet packed with goodness and super scrumptious and sweet.

If you like a thick smoothie, chill for a while before serving as the chia seeds and flaxseed will naturally thicken the smoothie.

P.S If you’d like to take a look at some of my art, you can find my art profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter. The first painting from my new, aforementioned series will be revealed soon so keep checking back to those profiles, or give me a follow and you can find my art adding some creativity to your newsfeed!

Also, as usual, you can find me Tweeting, Facebooking, and Instagramming on behalf of this blog too. Links below:

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 Copyright©HLDCblog2015.

My perfect light and fluffy pancake recipe

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Ok, so I have made quite a lot of American-style pancakes in the past but each time I made them I used a recipe from cookery websites or bloggers. Since I have had my own blog I have been thinking I need to create my own healthy recipe for pancakes which I could share with you. This recipe was intended, originally, to merely be an experimental first attempt which would, hopefully, improve with trial and error. BUT, it actually proved to be a success the first time around with no altering needed! I think I’m going to have to give my genes some credit as my Scottish grandmother was apparently fantastic at making Scotch pancakes (a Scottish equivalent of American pancakes but smaller in size.) Hence, I’m thinking that I may have inherited some of her natural baking ability as she never used recipe books but cooked from scratch to great effect nonetheless.

I just love pancakes so I’m going to very much enjoy using this recipe a lot myself! Also, as a student, there was a cafe I used to frequent mainly for the fact they cooked the best pancakes in town. (Those who have studied at The University of St Andrews like me will know the one to which I’m referring!) Now that I have mastered how to make my own pancakes I don’t have to leave the comfort of my home to enjoy a lovely plate of pancakes!!

One last thing, before I get to the recipe, I know that this blog is focussed on healthy eating and inspiring healthy living and pancakes are not traditionally seen as very healthy at all, everyone needs a treat every so often. These pancakes are also a reasonably healthy recipe without things such as melted butter, oil, lots of refined white sugar etc. They are sweetened minimally with maple syrup, a healthy natural low-sugar content sweetener.

Right, without anymore delay – here is the recipe!

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Perfect pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (add more if you’d like them sweeter)
  • 1 egg

Method:

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl

2. Beat the egg and combine with the liquid ingredients

3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine. Do not over mix, you do not want an entirely smooth batter, but a thick, slightly lumpy one.

4. Heat a pan and add a small amount of healthy cooking oil (such as coconut) or low-fat unsalted butter.

5. Add some batter (about a quarter cup per pancake) and cook the pancakes, turning each once when bubbles form on the top.

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TIP: The first pancake is often a write off, but don’t be disheartened by this. It is just because the oil is awkward the first time around heat-wise, if that makes any sense at all?! You should see what I mean, though.

NOTE: The cooked pancakes should be evenly browned on both sides and cooked through.

7. Serve and enjoy!

Serving idea (more serving suggestions below):

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More serving ideas:

  • Sliced bananas and Greek yoghurt
  • Strawberries, Sliced Kiwis and maple syrup
  • Fruits of the forest
  • Homemade blueberry sauce
  • Frozen yoghurt and flaked almonds
  • Melted high cocoa content dark chocolate and strawberries

Hope you enjoy the pancakes as much as I do!

Helen x

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Copyright©HLDCblog2015

 

Perfect Weekday Breakfast

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Extra early morning start? Make overnight oats the night before. Breakfast will be ready and waiting for you when you wake up! Overnight oats is a great alternative to porridge, and requires no cooking. The oats and chia seeds will swell and thicken overnight making a delicious filling breakfast dish. There are a number of recipes around but this is my one.

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Recipe: Berry Overnight Oats

They are ‘berry’ good!

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 heaped cup frozen berries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
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Step 1 before stirring

1. Add everything to a bowl or mason jar and stir

2. Cover with cling film or the mason jar lid and chill overnight

3. Remove cling film, stir once more, and eat!

(Note: All of my photos are from overnight oats I only left for around 3/4 of an hour (long story…) rather than overnight. Chilling overnight is recommended for a thicker result – hence the name ‘Overnight oats’  obviously!)

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Basic Nutrition:

This breakfast provides a great source of slow-release energy and iron from the oats, fibre and a number of other nutritional benefits from the chia seeds (a superfood tracing back to Aztec times), calcium in the milk, and vitamins from the berries.

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Disclaimer: Nutritional information is solely from personal research and general knowledge. I am not professionally qualified in nutrition. 
Copyright©HLDCblog//Helen Redman 2015.

Pina Colada Style Drink

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This is a superbly delicious drink which is made from only three ingredients and takes just a few minutes to prepare. It is cool, creamy, and sweet yet has a hint of heat from the stem ginger adding a subtle kick. As a non alcohol drinker, this is a great alternative.

I have seen a few pineapple and coconut ‘juice drinks’ sold in shops which consist of pineapple juice from concentrate, sugar, sweeteners, water, coconut ‘flavouring’, and sometimes even added colouring. Pineapple and coconut is, in my opinion, a match made in heaven so in creating this recipe, you can enjoy the taste of the two flavours combined, but in an entirely natural and wholesome way free from anything artificial.

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This is the sixth smoothie recipe in my January smoothie series aiming to help you kick off the new year in a healthy way. Links to the previous recipes can be found at the bottom of this page. Back to this post now.

Pina Colada Style Smoothie

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Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup chopped pineapple (either sweet fresh pineapple or drained unsweetened tinned pineapple)
  • 1 cup chilled coconut milk (I tend to use a coconut milk that is made like other nut-milks, such as almond, i.e. it has water added and is not the sometimes high fat tinned versions)
  • Approx. 1 1/2cm slice fresh stem ginger

NOTE: The amount of ginger varies depending on the size of the root, and of your liking of ginger – add more or less as desired)

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Method:

Add everything to a blender and blitz until thoroughly blended and smooth.

Garnish with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut and/or a wedge of pineapple.

Sit back and enjoy!

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Tips:

  • For an extra cool drink add 1/2 cup ice cubes before blending
  • If you would like an alcoholic version then add some rum

Here are the links, as promised earlier, for my previous smoothie recipes:

  1. Creamy Green Energy Machine
  2. Tropical Dream
  3. Breakfast Smoothie with a Kick
  4. Good Morning Smoothie
  5. Detox Green Smoothie

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Have a nice day,

Helen x


 Copyright©HLDCblog2015.