She Cooks She Cleans

27 June 2015 – She Cooks, She Cleans, She Snacks

It has been a long, LONG time since I wrote a She Cooks, She Cleans blog. Sozzzzz! 

As the high performance athletes that you are all becoming, you need to be constantly fuelling your performance. This fuel should not just limited to your three main meals of the day… What do your snacks look like? An apple or piece of fruit with your coffee? Or even worse… one of those biscuits from your office canteen or a croissant from the closest café??

One of the most challenging aspects of following a balanced nutrition plan is finding a way to have good snacks. Often, when we’re feeling a bit peckish, we grab whatever is closest, quickest, and most convenient for us to quell our hunger during our busy days. And that often means eating food that not only isn’t good for us, but is actually not going to keep us feeling full for very much longer!

So, what should you eat for snacks?! This is the most common question Phil and I get from our nutrition programming clients, and to help you guys out, I have put together a short list of potential nibbles, ranging from Beginner (the easiest and quickest to prepare), to Intermediate (slightly more complicated but tastier) and Advanced (the most labour-intensive, but also the most bang for your buck!)

Have another idea for a go-to snack not listed below? Let your fellow athletes know about it in comments!

Snack time

Beginner

Try to avoid things like Pulsin bars, nak’d bars, trek bars etc. Although there are definitely worse things you can snack on, these guys still have sugar lurking in them.

Instead try:

Naked Ape
A very tasty, perfect pre-workout snack of biltong, nuts and dried fruit. The more expensive option of our Beginner Snacks, but definitely the most convenient and the most portable. Buy these at the gym from the guys at Parkour, or buy them in bulk on the Naked Ape website.

Paleo Granola
You can either buy RAWnola from the gym to have at the ready whenever you’re feeling hungry, or you can make your own paleo granola following one of the MANY recipes available. Just be careful… paleo granola is incredibly more-ish!

Pret’s Protein Pot
There are Prets EVERYWHERE and at Pret they have a beautiful thing called Pret’s Protein Pot, one egg with a handful of fresh spinach. Throw some almonds in there and you’ve got the perfect snack! Can’t stomach paying £2 for a boiled egg and some spinach? Follow our star Fay’s lead and make your own at home!

Parma ham wrapped asparagus
This can be as easy as steaming some asparagus and wrapping it in parma ham, or as sophisticated as the recipe in the link above, completely up to you and your patience level!

Kale and prosciutto chips
Sometimes with snacks it’s more the texture than the actual food you’re eating that makes you feel fuller. Kale and/or prosciutto chips satiate my craving for something crispy, crunchy or salty that crisps once filled many moons ago.

Ants on a log
Oh yes, the childhood favourite is making a comeback! Take a celery stick, top with nut butter, decorate with raisins. Sit on the swings and share with your BFF.

Intermediate & Advanced

These are the recipes that require a bit more 'hands-on' time and a few more ingredients, slightly more culinary skill (although still not loads!) and, in some cases, require a knife and a fork (Advanced tools), but they also deliver much more bang for your buck! Most of these, I normally use as side dishes for dinners, and make extra to have as snacks for the rest of the week. 

Sweet potato biscuits
I know I've shared this recipe multiple times, but I can't get enough of it!

Sweet potato, apple and avocado salad
Perfect for summertime snacking!

Frittata egg cups
Frittata egg cups are border-line advanced. Getting the prosciutto situated in the muffin cups is a bit fiddly and it does require some additional prep (sauté-ing the mushrooms and spinach). But after that, it's a 'throw it all in a bowl and mix' recipe, so I'm still calling in Intermediate! These are great hot or cold and very portable. 

Butternut Squash Frittata
You gotta love a frittata! This recipe suggests squash and sausage, but feel free to be your own artist. Try bacon and squash with sage, leftover roast chicken and fresh thyme with broccoli, salmon and dill with asparagus.... Oh the possibilities!

Stuffed mushrooms
You'll definitely need a fork and knife for this one...

Hope this gave you all some good ideas and feel free to share any snacks that you enjoy in comments!


WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Deadlifts: 6 x 3

B) 3 rounds for time:
Run 800 m
5 Handstand Push-ups
10 Pistols, alternating legs
15 Knees to elbows

08 Apr 2015 – She Cooks, She Cleans, She's breaking the rules

Normally with 'She Cooks, She Cleans', I seek out clean, paleo-inspired, easy to cook, yet tasty and impressive-looking-on-the-plate recipes to share with my fellow athletes. But this blog is something different. Because this blog is for....

Coach Phil's Birthday!

And for his birthday, Coach Phil has requested his favourite meal, Steak with Stout Pan Sauce, a meal that combines the best meat (steak) with the best beverage (dark beer) in to one beautiful plate of food.

Warning: This is NOT in any way, shape or form a 'clean-eating' recipe. But it's a special occasion, so live a little!

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Steak with Stout Pan Sauce

Lovingly borrowed from Bon Appetit

What you'll need...

  • 5 teaspoons dijon mustard, divided
  • 2 x 350 g (or more) bavette steak (or cut of your liking)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup Meantime London Stout
  • 1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Now get started...

  • Massssssssssage 2 tsp of dijon mustard into steaks, then sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. 
  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Meanwhile, mash butter and flour in a small bowl until combined and set aside.
  • Once your pan is hot, cook meat about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Move the steak to a plate, tent with foil and let rest while you finish the sauce.
  • Important: Wipe out – don't wash – skillet, but be careful not to burn yourself!
  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add garlic and sauté until fragant, about 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Add broth and bring to boil. Then, whisk in stout, brown sugar, soy sauce, 3 teaspoons mustard, and butter mixture.
  • Pour the remainder of the stout into a glass, claim Chef's Privileges, and enjoy the beer as the sauce continues to boil until reduced to 2/3 cup, 2 to 3 minutes. (This is why I specified Meantime instead of something less tasty like Guinness.)
  • Thinly slice your steak. 
  • Drizzle the sauce over, garnish with fresh parsley or minced chives and get stuck in!

Happy Happy Birthday Coach Phil!


WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Gymnastics Skill Development: Handstand Push-Ups (HSPU)

B) Gymnastics EMOM

B1) Alternating EMOM x 6:
Odd minute : 12 x 10m Shuttle sprint
Even minute: 40 seconds, max HSPU (or Wall walks)

B2) Alternating EMOM x 6:
Odd minute: 20 KB Swings 24/16kg
Even minute: 40 seconds, max HSPU (or Wall walks)

B3) Alternating EMOM x 6:
Odd minute: 7 Forward rolls
Even minute: 7 Candlestick rolls to squat/pistol

B4) Alternating EMOM x 6:
Odd: 17/15 Calorie row
Even: 30 Double unders

23 Feb 2015 – A She cooks, she cleans special: What your coaches are eating this week

At long last, the “What your coaches are eating this week” series continues with “What your Coaches are eating this week… For Breakfast”


Some people say that breakfast is the trickiest meal to adapt for a paleo or clean eating nutrition plan. We’re so used to grabbing the quick-and-easy cereal, porridge or pastry option that actually COOKING a breakfast seems like a massive effort… well, below are a few recipes that are well worth the few minutes of extra time in the kitchen!

Let’s start your day off right, shall we?!

PS With each of these recipes, I make enough to have for breakfast for a few days.
PSS Click on each meal for a link to the recipe

Monday & Tuesday

Paleo Frittata Muffins, Nom Nom Paleo
(make on Sunday night)

So portable, so tasty and finally a new use for your muffin tin! These also make great snacks during the day and are good hot or cold. Word to the wise: Be careful not to fill up the muffin tin too full… they do expand as they bake!

Wednesday & Thursday

Hash with smoked salmon, fried eggs and spinach
(shred the potatoes for the hash on Tuesday night)

I try to do all my potato shredding the night before (enough for two breakfasts). Sprinkle a good portion of salt on the potato (soaks up any excess water) and pop it in the fridge until the next morning. When you’re ready, all you need to do is melt some butter in a pan, add some seasoning to the sweet potato (I use garlic granules and sage), fry the sweet potato hash until it changes from bright orange to more of a rusty colour, add in your smoked salmon (or meat of choice), and the spinach and cook until wilted. Fry or scramble your eggs and enjoy a solid start to your day!

Friday

Lamb and apricot stew from Williams Sonoma
(Thursday's dinner)

I know what you’re thinking…. Maria, this isn’t breakfast, this is obviously dinner! But who said that you can’t have dinner for breakfast? Because everyone knows that you can have breakfast for dinner! (aka Brinner). This lamb and apricot stew has become one of my go-to, make-ahead, slow cooker meals. Have for dinner one night and have the leftovers for breakfast the next day. All you need to do is reheat, Easy Peasy.

PS Omit the chickpeas for a completely Paleo meal

Saturday & Sunday

Sweet Potato Biscuits with bacon and chives from PaleOMG
(Make on Saturday morning)

I absolutely love these sweet potato biscuits (biscuits in the American-sense of the word) and just like the frittata muffins, they are portable and just as good cold as they are straight from the oven. I’m not going to tell you that they taste even better with cream cheese, because that’s not Paleo….


WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Beginner
A1) Back squat: 6 x 3 
*Add load as technique allows
A2) Vertical pull

A) Intermediate & Advanced
A1) Back squat: 2-3 reps @ 85-95%, totalling 14-18 reps
A2) Vertical pull

B) All Athletes
12 x 30 seconds on : 30 seconds off
Ring push-up (add load as needed)
Ring row, feet elevated
Single leg step-up (add load as needed)


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REGISTER HERE....

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20 Jan 2015 – A She Cooks, She Cleans Special: What your coaches are eating this week...

It's the first week of the Whole Life Challenge! So instead of giving you just one recipe for this instalment of She Cooks, She Cleans, I'm providing you with a whopping SIX tasty meals that I found online as part of an ongoing series: What your coaches are eating this week... for Dinner

You all know the old adage, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail", so every Sunday, Phil and I sit down and plan our meals for the week. Planning your meals is a crucial step towards healthy and balanced nutrition because you're more likely to eat something healthy if you already have your ingredients at the ready. Planning ahead also gives you the chance to search out and try new recipes. New recipes means you're less likely to get bored. Not being bored means you're more likely to stick to your nutrition plan... Sticking to your nutrition plan means.... Winning!

Before going on, you'll see a few trends with this:

  1. Phil and I eat, ALOT. We also eat a lot of sweet potatoes, so you'll see these often with our meals.
  2. We are doing the Whole Life Challenge at the Performance level, so some of the meals might be a bit more strict than you need for your level.
  3. We live on leftovers. To ensure we eat enough during the day, and enough of the right stuff, we typically just double the meat that we buy for each of these meals so we have enough left over from dinner to have for lunch as well. 

Hope this is helpful in your planning, let me know which meals you tried or what you had for dinner this week! * Click on each meal for a link to the recipe

Monday

PaleOMG's Sausage and Butternut Squash Hash
Sautéed spinach

Monday's can be tough and what better way to make them more manageable than Brinner? That's breakfast for dinner, obvs. This is one of our favourite meals.... It's easy to make, easy to double and versatile (don't want sausage, try it with ham. Don't want squash? Easily add in sweet potatoes instead. Out of sage? Season with rosemary and thyme). When choosing your sausage, be sure to check that it is free of any nasties, such as breadcrumbs and rusk. Most store-bought sausages, burgers, meatballs have rusk in them, which is not WLC-friendly!

Kitchen hacks

We often only need to use half an onion for our recipes, so, when I have extra time, I chop an entire onion, use whatever I need for the recipe, wrap the rest tightly in cling film and pop it in the freezer. Whenever I need onion again later in the week, I have it chopped and ready, so all I need to do is pull it from the freezer and throw it in my pan!

Tuesday

Zenbelly's Chicken and Gammon with apples
Sweet potato mash
Steamed broccoli

This is just the right mixture of sweet and savoury, and it's a 'pop in the oven and leave it' recipe, double bonus. Also, it calls for chicken thighs which means it's budget! To make this WLC-friendly, I substitute chicken stock and a splash of balsamic vinegar for the wine, and gammon for the bacon.

Nitrates and nitrites

As you can see, this recipe originally calls for bacon, but I am using gammon instead. On the Performance level, you are not allowed nitrates and nitrites, found in most cured and deli meats, such as packaged ham, chorizo, and bacon. You can find nitrate-free bacon at stores such as Whole Foods, but it's not quite as tasty and nitrate-free gammon is relatively easy to find and more wallet-friendly.

Wednesday

Williams Sonoma's Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette Salmon
Steamed asparagus
Avocado and tomato salad

Williams Sonoma's online recipe catalogue was one of my favourite things to browse pre-CrossFit days. But just because I gave up the stodgy pasta, bread and cheese, doesn't mean I had to give up on Williams Sonoma! I have found quite a few recipes that are already clean and some that just need a few tweaks here and there. This is one, which, if you make extra veg, doubles as a great salad for lunch. 

Where do you get your fish?

Friday

Primal Palates Steak with Chimichurri
PaleOMG's Sweet Potato Fries (I'd leave out the dill with the chimichurri)
Steamed green beans

Mmmmm steak. We happen to have been lucky enough to receive a meat hamper for a Christmas present (thanks Rick and Deenah!) and find some additional steak on sale, so we get to treat ourselves with a Friday night steak dinner (we're so rock 'n roll).

Kitchen Hack

Check out this video for tips on how to make steak that doesn't have a bull's eye (yeah the guy is a bit annoying, but the info is good!)

Saturday

Nom Nom Paleo's Weeknight Roast Chicken with roast broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
Roast sweet potatoes

Ahh the weekend! With that little extra time, I can make some proper comfort food roast dinners. As always, I make this with the aim of making enough to have loads of leftovers (which is a challenge, given that I live with a man that has a black hole for a stomach). 

Sunday

PaleOMG's Blackberry Glazed Pork Chops
Sweet potato mash
Mixed greens salad

I don't know why fruit and pork chops go so well together, but I can't seem to find a pork recipe I love that doesn't involve fruit of some sort. 

Coming up next time..... What your coaches are eating this week... for Breakfast.


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WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Beginner

A1) Front squat: 5 x 5 *Add load as technique allows
A2) Vertical Pull

A) Intermediate & Advanced
A1) Front squat with 2 second pause: 2-4 reps @ 80-90% totalling 16-20 reps
A2) Vertical Pull

B) All Athletes
Fancy trying one of the Athlete Games Workouts that Maria smashed this past weekend?

4 rounds for time of:

"Skill"
10 Front squats (70/47.5 kg)
15 Toes-to-bar
Run 200m

"Fitness"
10 Weighted squats, as technique allows (Front/Back/Goblet)
15 Sit-ups
Run 200m

*Time cap: 12 minutes

WLC Lounge WOD:
10 Air squats
15 Sit-ups
20 Burpees

4 Dec 2014 – She Cooks, She Cleans and WOD

She cooks, she cleans, she has a thing for chocolate... bordering on obsession...

There is nothing in this world quite as satisfying as dark chocolate. A bold statement, but it’s true. Nothing makes me happier than a square or two of that 70-85% dark gold after a long day. So, when I came across this recipe from my favourite cooking website, nom nom paleo, I absolutely had to give it a go. And true to form, it didn’t disappoint. 

Enjoy my fellow chocolate addicts!

Yes I know, my food photography is sub par.

Raw Graham Cracker Crust Chocolate Pie

Borrowed from Nom Nom Paleo, which she borrowed from Kelly Brozyna, which I then borrowed to make for our Grand Opening Party…

What you’ll need for the crust:

100 g walnut pieces
¼ cup (approx. 4) soft, pitted Medjool dates
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

What you’ll need for the filling:

1 cup coconut cream (about 4 tins, use the solid-ish stuff at the top of the tin)
1/2 cup (approx 8) soft pitted Medjool dates
3 oz dark chocolate, melted
¼ cup melted coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

A few notes before we proceed…

- I wouldn’t go any darker than 70% for the chocolate. Any darker and the melted chocolate ends up a bit grainy.
- Do you know how to melt chocolate? Let’s ask Delia….
I normally double the filling ingredients because I like a thicker pie. Completely up to you guys! 

Now get started…

  • Put all the crust ingredients in your food processor and blitz until crumbly.
  • Press the crust ingredients in to the bottom of a spring form pan or a pie tin.
  • Put the crust-lined pan in the fridge while you make the filling.
  • Rinse your food processor bowl (you’ll be using this again for the filling…).
  • In a small saucepan, gently warm your coconut cream.
  • Put your heated coconut cream and all the remaining filling ingredients in your food processor bowl (make sure not to overfill it though! Very messy Rookie mistake). Blitz until smooth.
  • Pour filling into your crust-lined springform pan.
  • Lick the food processor bowl clean (don’t worry, no one is looking…)
  • Put the springform pan back in the fridge to set, ideally overnight.

Oh emm gee chocolate is tasty.

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Barbell skills: Power snatch development

B) 'Karabel'

10 rounds:
3 Power snatch (60/40 kg)
15 Wall balls  (9/6 kg)

15 Nov 2014 - She Cooks, She Cleans, She's Cold. Really Cold. (and the WOD)

Alright, alright.

I give up.

Summer is a distant memory, autumn was lovely but short-lived, and winter – not the beautiful, crisp white winter you see in the movies, but the gray, dreary and rainy UK winter – is upon us. Long sleeves and hoodies are no longer going to cut it. It's winter coat and gloves time. And at this moment, I am soaked to my very bones from a sudden torrential winter downpour on my way back home. BLEURGH.

In my experience, there is only one thing that can save me from this wet winter dreariness. 

A spontaneous holiday to the Caribbean!

And if I can't book my flight to the Caribbean, the second best option is a massive, warming bowl of soup. 

Just in case you guys are feeling the same as I am and you also got stuck in a torrential downpour, today I'm giving you a great recipe I've found for Sweet Potato Soup, which I like to pair with a pomegranate and pear spinach salad. 

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Soup with Pomegranate, Pear and Spinach Salad

What you'll need for the soup:

1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 leek, white portion only, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 Tbs. dried sage (optional)

What you'll need for the salad:

1/3 cup walnut pieces
3 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Baby spinach
2 ripe pears, cored and sliced
100 g pomegranate seeds

Now get started with the soup...

  • In a large stockpot or saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat.
  • Once the butter is melted and foaming, throw in the thinly sliced leeks and chopped celery and sauté for just a few minutes until translucent. 
  • Add in your sweet potatoes and stock, stir to mix everything around, and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and let simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft (this could take up to 30 minutes).
  • While the sweet potatoes are boiling, do your mobility homework.
  • When the sweet potatoes are soft, uncover and let cool (trust me, you don't want to put hot liquid into a blender.... it's messy).
  • Pureé the sweet potato mixture until smooth, ideally with an immersion blender, but a food processor will do the trick as well. 

* If you are making this soup ahead of time (well done, you keen bean!), put it in the fridge until about 30 minutes before you would like to serve it. If you are making this to be eaten ASAP, move on to the next step...

  • Add the dried sage and bring the soup back to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. 

While the soup is reheating, get started on your salad...

  • Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat until very warm
  • Add the walnuts to the frying pan and toast them (don't add any butter or fat to the pan) until they are fragrant, flipping them in the pan regularly. Set aside.
  • Mix the spinach, pomegranates, toasted walnuts, and sliced pears in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, and dijon mustard until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and add to the salad.
  • Top your salad with bacon or grilled chicken and serve alongside your now piping hot soup.

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

Nice front rack position, Rose.

A) Power Clean: 5 x 5
After all that time working on power clean skills, it's time to get some weight on the bar!

B) "Sham"
7 rounds for time
11 deadlifts @BW
100 m sprint

Air Force Staff Sgt. David “Sham” Wieger, 28, of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, a special agent for the Air Force of Special Investigations, Detachment 303, Travis Air Force Base, California, died Nov. 1, 2007, near Balad Air Base, Iraq, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device that struck his vehicle. Wieger is survived by his parents, Michael and Loreene; brother, Michael; sister-in-law, Brenda; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

 

29 Oct 2014 - It's all about Cleans (and Cooking)

WORKOUT OF THE DAY

A) Barbell Skills: Power Clean

B) All Athletes:

For time:
10-1: Power clean
1-10: Toes to bar

- Do 10 power cleans, 1 toes to bar
- Then 9 power cleans, 2 toes to bar
- Then 8 power cleans, 3 toes to bar... you get the picture...

Advanced aim is 60/40kg power cleans
Intermediate aim is 50/35kg power cleans
Beginner aim is 40/30kg power cleans

She Cooks, She Cleans, She Found a Bargain at Billingsgate

After many failed attempts, I finally made it to Billingsgate Market. This MAHOOSIVE fish market is just around the corner from our box – about 3 stops on the 277 bus, or a 15 minute walk – and is a paleo-ish cook and athlete's dream come true. Phil and I try to eat a good amount of fish (important to get that Omega 3), but, with the amount of food we eat, going to your standard grocery store to get fish either results in bankrupting this poor girl or worse, forcing me to cook sub-par seafood!

Then Billingsgate Market entered my life. Ten wild salmon fillets for £14? Yes please. One kilo of decent-sized prawns for £10? Get in.  

In celebration of Billingsgate Market and all the great seafood I will be purchasing there, today's recipe is... you guessed it... fish. 

Lemon Thyme Cod wrapped in Pancetta

What you'll need:

4 cod loins
Fresh lemon thyme, leaves removed (approx. 1 tbls)
8 slices pancetta
1 tbls lemon-infused olive oil

Now get started:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
  • Arrange the cod in a roasting dish
  • Sprinkle the lemon thyme over top
  • Wrap 2 pieces of pancetta around each cod loin
  • Drizzle the olive oil over top the cod
  • Pop it in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until the cod is opaque throughout and flakes easily

I like to serve this with roasted vegetables (courgettes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower) and roasted tomatoes. Enjoy!

PS A couple things learned from my many failed attempts to get to Billingsgate Market...

  • Just because the signs SAY the market is open until 9.30 am, doesn't necessarily MEAN that it is. Try and get there as early as possible. I've found that it typically closes up completely at 8.30 am
  • Bring cash. They're not impressed with a sheepish smile and 'I only have a card, is that ok?'

She Cooks, She Cleans, She's giving veg the respect it deserves

The other day, a friend and I were sitting at the café in Queenstown Road station, savouring our coffees and lamenting vegetables. Yes, you read correctly. We were discussing our vegetable woes. As that ol’ CrossFit chestnut goes:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar....

So, Greg Glassman said it. Your mum said it. It’s probably right. You need to eat your veg. However, what my friend and I were lamenting was the treatment that we give our veg. It’s often the last thing we cook when we’re preparing our meals and thus, we give it the least amount of TLC. We both agreed that by the time we get around to making the veg after cooking all of the other dishes, all we typically ended up doing was steaming it and eating it plain. Sad Face. To be honest, there have been many occasions where I’ve completely forgotten to cook any veg until the very last minute and ended up just throwing some raw spinach on to my plate and hoping for the best. I am currently hanging my head in shame.

Considering all of the great things veg does for you and your body, why do we treat it with such disrespect??!!

So for my recipe today, I wanted to start celebrating veg, Asparagus with Balsamic-Shallot Butter Sauce to be specific. This recipe doesn’t take much more time than just steaming the asparagus, but the results are SO much more impressive. 

Asparagus with Balsamic-Shallot Butter Sauce

What you’ll need:

½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 large shallots, finely chopped
350 g asparagus (the thicker the better)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons water
½ tsp salt 

Now get started:

  • Combine vinegar and shallots in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil and let cook over medium heat until almost all of the vinegar has reduced, leaving about 1 tablespoon of liquid. This should take around 5 minutes.
  • While the vinegar is reducing, put the asparagus, butter, water and salt in a skillet (make sure you have a lid for your chosen skillet first!). 
  • Cover and cook until the asparagus is just about tender (approx. 3 minutes), then uncover and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 more minutes.
  • Add the reduced balsamic-shallot mixture and toss to coat.
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve alongside the other beautiful dishes you have created. 

She Cooks, She Cleans, She's got a new go-to

I have a new go-to recipe for my weeknight meals!

I have go-to weeknight meals that I rotate through every week, just like I rotate through my wardrobe (and I know we all do it. We ALL have seven outfits that we rotate through during the week. We might not always wear them on the same day every week, but you do wear each one at least once, EVERY single week). The meals in my 'go-to arsenal' have included, but are not limited to, Blackberry Grilled Porkchops, Lime Drizzle Salmon, Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash, and everyone's favourite, Steak with Mushroom Gravy. And now, joining these distinguished ranks is my new favourite, Herb and Mustard-Crusted Chicken. The tanginess of the mustard is cut by the crispness of the herbs and, speaking of crispy, who doesn't love chicken with crispy skin that is ready in 20 minutes?!

Now, as much as I love this meal – the flavours, the textures, the rapidity at which it can be prepared – Bros, be warned. There is one drawback... This recipe calls for you to broil (or grill. Whatevs.) the chicken, which means that, unless you are the very lucky owner of two ovens, your oven is out of service for anything but the chicken for this meal. Sweet potato mash, anyone? Yes? Ok, problem solved!

Enjoy my new Wednesday (sometimes Tuesday) night staple!

HERB AND MUSTARD-CRUSTED CHICKEN

What you'll need:

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or thighs
5 tbs. dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbs. chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper to taste

Get started:

  • Preheat your gril and line a baking tray (with rack) with foil.
  • Sprinkle both sides of your chicken with salt and place skin-side down on the rack of your baking tray.
  • Grill until the chicken begins to turn golden brown, approx. 10 minutes. 
  • Whilst the chicken is in the oven, combine the mustard, garlic, tarragon and chives in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Once the chicken is golden brown, remove from oven and flip over with tongs so that the skin is now facing up.
  • Spread the mustard and herb mixture evenly across the chicken skin (don't go too thick or it tastes gross)
  • Put back under the grill for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. 

Easy peasy.

She Cooks, She Cleans, She's making a list of the different ways you can cook sweet potatoes

The sweet potato is a legend. This most colourful, most versatile tuber can be cooked in a number of ways: roasted, fried, boiled, microwaved, mashed, grated for a hash, etc., etc., ad infinitum. This is great news because Phil and I eat LOADS of sweet potatoes. And if it weren't for the mind-boggling number of options that the humble sweet potato presented us with, we might just get bored. Phew!

To celebrate this diversity, today, I am posting an oldie-but-goodie recipe, Bacon and Chive Sweet Potato Biscuits (yes, the sweet potato can even be made into a tasty biscuit!).

Enjoy and let us know in comments if you liked the recipe and/or if you have any other good ways to make your sweet potatoes!

Bacon and Chive Sweet Potato Biscuits

Adapted from Paleomg.com

What you'll need:

4-5 sweet potatoes, mashed (I usually nuke these in the microwave for about 7 minutes, remove the skin and then mash, but you can also peel, cube and boil until they are soft). You should end up with approx. 2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes.
3 tablespoons coconut flour
2 eggs, beaten
77 g pancetta or bacon lardons or, if you're being strict, thickly-sliced, nitrate-free bacon, cubed
3-4 tablespoons fresh chives, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste


Get started:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  • Prep your sweet potato mash however you like and set aside
  • Fry your bacon or pancetta until crispy. Pour off the rendered fat and set aside (you will use this in your biscuit batter later).
  • Add your pre-whisked eggs to your mashed sweet potato and mix well. Then add the reserved fat and mix.
  • Next, add your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper). Stir to combine.
  • Finally, fold in the crispy pancetta and the chives
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper – to prevent the biscuits sticking and also annoying post-cooking clean-up – and spoon the biscuit batter onto the pan. I normally use a heaping spoonful of batter for each biscuit. Don't be tempted to make them too big because, 1) Greed never got anyone anywhere and 2) They won't cook evenly. 
  • Bake in your preheated oven for approx 20 minutes or until done (spongy not squishy to the touch)