Pesto Pasta

I am back!  I took a break from writing blogs and posting much on instagram to focus on my exams. Now exams are over I have exciting things planned fo KHS Nutrition and a recipe list to get through!

I decided my first blog/meal back should be dedicated to a revision fuel classic, pesto pasta! This meal is a staple for me at uni, it’s quick, easy and cheap (but not forgetting super tasty). I created my first instagram time-lapspe making this so head to my instagram (khs_nutrition) to check out how i made it.

Serves 3. – These ingredients are just a guide. Any vegetables will fit with this dish, last month I added sun-dried tomatoes (see below), don’t be afraid to explore different tastes!

Ingredients:

  • 3 portions of pasta (I use gluten free due to being ceoliac, but you can use any).
  • 500g Quorn chicken pieces
  • 1 Onion
  • 6 Mushroom
  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 Pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Oil (any)
  • Salt/pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Pesto
  • Cheese

 How to cook it: 

  1. Start by boiling the pasta and Quorn in two separate pans. When the pasta is on start cutting the vegetables into small cubes.
  2. 5-10 minutes before the pasta is ready fry the vegetables on a medium heat until they soften slightly. Make sure you don’t over cook them as you still want them a little crunchy.
  3. After 10 minutes of boiling the Quorn, drain the water away and add to the vegetables. Once added, sprinkle salt and pepper into the pan. (I also like to add a bit of paprika too).
  4. Keep stirring the vegetable so they don’t burn and turn them onto a lower heat whilst waiting for the pasta.
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain the water away and add to the vegetables. Mix it together so the vegetables are evenly spread.
  6. Add 2 table spoons of pesto and mix so the pesto is evenly spread across the pasta.
  7. Then serve the pasta into bowls and sprinkle cheese of your choice on top, i like either cheddar or parmesan.
  8. Enjoy!

This meal is so versatile, it is a perfect summer tea time meal but also satisfying revision fuel. Don’t worry if you make too much, it makes a tasty cold lunch!

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Quorn Chilli

Cooking for one can often be tricky but even more so when you’re on a budget. I find being a student it’s easy to fall into a trap of eating the same things over and over again. My way of combating this is by cooking in bulk. I often cook in bulk, so instead of making one meal, I will make three or four and freeze them for another week. This way I have a variety of meals ready to eat in the freezer!

Chilli is one of my favourite things to cook, it’s perfect to make in bulk and it goes with so many different things. The obvious is to have it with rice but I also like it with a jacket potato or pasta! It’s something that very rarely gets boring and isn’t expensive to make – what more could you want!

Below are the ingredients and how to make it. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 6-7 medium sized mushrooms
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsps. tomato puree
  • 1 tin of kidney beans
  • 2 tbsps. chilli powder
  • 250g Quorn mince
  • 1 garlic clove (diced)
  • 1 mug of hot water

How to cook:

Add the coconut oil to a large saucepan and put on a medium heat until the oil is hot. Then add the diced onion and sliced mushrooms to the pan and stir until they become soft.

Next add the rest of the ingredients; tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans, Quorn mince, chilli powder, a garlic clove and water. Then leave to simmer for around 20 minutes (until it thickens), make sure you keep stirring every now and then so it doesn’t stick to the pan!

Serve with any side dish of your choice and freeze the leftovers for another day!

Savvy Snacking

I would definitely describe myself as a ‘snacker’, I love them. Whether I’m on the go, at uni or just watching TV, I love to snack.

At this point in the term especially, I need snacks to get me through my never ending uni work. I find having snacks on hand helps me concentrate and focus on what I’m doing. As an experienced snacker, I understand that having the same thing all the time can become boring and just make you feel more hungry. So I’ve put together a list of my favourite things to snack on which are healthy and tasty to help satisfy your hunger, hope it helps!

  • Hummus

Hummus is one of my go to favourite snacks. It goes with so many different foods and is full of healthy fats that our bodies needs. I love to dip cucumber or carrot sticks into hummus as it’s easy and quick to prepare. This snack is also a winner as it’s a tasty way to get 1 of your 5 a day.  Other things you can put with hummus include; celery sticks, wholemeal pitta bread, crackers, peppers, tomatoes, bread sticks, rice cakes.. the list is endless.

  • Rice cakes

Rice cakes are also up there with the best as they are also so versatile. You can get lots of different types of rice cakes from the supermarket, ranging from plain to salt and vinegar to barbecue. My favourites are the salt and vinegar ones, but remember to not over indulge on the flavoured ones as often they contain lots of salt or sugar.

Don’t under-estimate the plain rice cakes! They are a great base for different foods like peanut butter, banana or hummus. I am unfortunately one of the very few people who doesn’t like peanut butter, but many people do and it’s a perfect snack to have peanut butter on a rice cake!

  • Fruit

Fruit is the obvious snack, I often enjoy fruit when I am craving something sweet. Again, by having fruit as a snack it will satisfy your hunger and add to your 5 a day, perfect! If you fancy something a bit bigger maybe try adding natural yoghurt to your fruit. My favourite combinations include; strawberries and yoghurt or grapes and yoghurt. I find the fruit brings the flavour to the yoghurt with all natural sugars.

Dried fruit is also a great snack for when you’re on the go. Dried apricots are perfect to pop a packet in your bag when you leave the house. They’re also good to nibble on when you crave a sugary snack!

  • Cereal bars

Cereal bars are great but can contain lots of sneaky added sugar. However everything in moderation, they’re perfect for a busy day when you need something to grab and go. My go to cereal bar is any flavour ‘naked’ bars, they’re so tasty and made out of all natural ingredients. The downside being they are on the pricey side so I rarely get them (unless I’m at home and dads paying)!

  • Popcorn

Finally popcorn, I personally love it! Popcorn is a great light snack instead of reaching for a bag of crisps. I buy them in multi-packs, so I can pop it into my bag when I’m on the go. They come in so many different flavours, but again don’t go over board on the sugary flavours!

Getting your goals

Today I’m going to talk about something a bit different from food. One of my other passions. Fitness!

From a young age I’ve always been a very sporty person, I did everything;  netball, hockey, swimming, horse riding, gymnastics, the list is never ending. It wasn’t until the age of 16 that I started going to the gym. At first I went there to lose some weight so it’s no surprise that I would go everyday for a month and then not go at all for 3 months. I soon realised I needed to change my goal, I needed to go for a different reason; to get stronger and fitter.

Ever since I’ve been going to the gym one of my goals has been to continuously beat my 5km running time. Even though I am a sporty person, I am not a runner. In fact, I really really dislike running. I envy the people who enjoy running for miles on end, but that’s just not me. For some people running 5k is a walk in the park, for others it’s like running a marathon. It’s so important to set goals that are right for you, that you can achieve, there is no better feeling than beating you personal best or reaching your goal.

It’s no secret that staying motivated to achieve your goals is hard. When I first ran 5k I think my time was something like 40 minutes, I had to keep stopping, I found it so hard! After I’d done my first run I started training to get a better time. I’d do things like interval training, 2.5km runs or bike sessions. I saw my time was getting better the more training I put into it.

For a long time now I’ve been trying to run 5k under 30 minutes,  maybe for about 2 years. There have been times where I trained so hard but equally times where I didn’t touch the treadmill for weeks. Last summer I got my time down to 30.24. I look back now and I don’t know why I stopped. I tried so hard to get that time but it seems I got so far and just gave up. Obviously life gets in the way, I went abroad for 6 weeks last summer, I did so many amazing things. Then I came back to uni and was busy settling back in, I guess I just forgot about it.

It wasn’t until yesterday, I’d been working all morning, doing uni work all afternoon and I just felt sluggish. I very nearly didn’t go to the gym, but I had to remind myself how I’d feel after I’d been. When I got there I went to the treadmill and decided to try attempt a 5km run. It had been quite a while since my last one so I expected a terrible time, I thought Id have to keep stopping but it was a start.

I managed to get complete the run in 31.22(!!!!!) I put my all into the run, my motivation through-out was how I would feel after I did it. I felt great. Not only had I just done a 5k but I got an amazing time (for me). It reminded me, just because I haven’t been on top of my goals lately doesn’t mean I should just forget about them altogether. Our bodies are amazing, they’re capable of so much more than we think. Having the time off training for it let my body reset, it allowed me to not put pressure on myself to reach a great time, so I just went for it. I’m now more motivated than ever to get my time under 30 minutes.

Setting yourself goals it such a good way to keep track of your training and build your confidence. It reminds you how far you’ve come and what you’re capable of. It’s normal to not be motivated everyday, but it’s important to keep going and believe in yourself.

Veggie Hot Pot

Since I’ve been at uni veggie hot pot has been one of my go too meals when I’m full of cold, which as a student is very often! It’s packed full of veg giving my body lot’s of goodness to get better. What’s so great about this meal is that you can use whatever you have in your cupboards/fridge. The ingredients list I have included isn’t a must have list; it’s just what I had in at the time I made it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. of oil
  • 1 carrot (diced)
  • 1/2  onion (diced)
  • 1/2 courgette (diced)
  • 4-5 small broccoli florets (the tree- like bits)
  • 4-5 small cauliflower florets (the tree-like bits)
  • 1 handful of frozen peas
  • 1 handful of sweetcorn
  • 1 small can of chickpeas
  • 1 veg stock cube
  • 500ml of hot water

Instructions:

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat, then add the carrot, onion, courgette, broccoli and cauliflower to the pan. Mix gently until the veg become soft – this takes around 5-10 minutes but keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn!

As the veg is softening measure out 500ml of water into a measuring jug and add the stock cube. Stir until the stock cube has dissolved then add it to the veg and mix together.

Once you have added the stock (mixed with water) you can add the rest of the ingredients; chickpeas, frozen sweetcorn and frozen peas. Leave it too simmer for around 10-15 minutes, then it is ready too eat – although be careful as it will be very hot!

P.S I like to add brown rice too mine to mix up the texture and space it out into 2 meals! Enjoy!

 

Marvellous Micros

When planning your diet it’s so easy to fall into the trap of only thinking about macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat). Admittedly, they are pretty great, they fuel our bodies giving us energy so we can get up and go every morning. But we mustn’t forget about the under dogs, the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). There are lots of different micronutrients that help keep our bodies healthy on the inside.

Following a vegetarian or vegan diet can sometimes lead to being deficient in micros. In this post I have highlighted some key vitamins and minerals that you should keep your eye on too ensure they’re making an appearance in your diet!

Calcium

Calcium has many roles in the body, it keeps your teeth, bones and immune system healthy and helps maintain muscle function. Food sources include dairy products, soya products, leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds. It’s important you have enough calcium in your diet, but it is equally important to have enough vitamin D too!

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for the regulation and absorption of calcium in our bodies. You can get vitamin D in two ways, one being sunlight exposure. However it is very well known that here in the UK we don’t see much sun, so we need to get vitamin D from somewhere else. An alternative way to get vitamin D from out diet is via food sources, these include fish liver oils, fatty fish, eggs and red meat. As you can see, even though these are very good sources, they are not vegetarian or vegan friendly. Other sources include fat spreads, breakfast cereals (with added vitamin D), soya drinks (with added vitamin D) or vitamin D supplements.

Iron

Iron is a very important micronutrient, it is vital for red blood cells (equivalent to VIPS, but in our bodies)! If there is not enough iron coming from the diet it can put you at risk of becoming anaemic. Anaemia is one of the leading nutritional disorders in the world, so iron is a common micro that gets missed out. Getting enough iron in your diet whilst following a vegetarian diet isn’t hard, however plant based foods containing iron doesn’t get digested and absorbed as efficiently as animal products, therefore veggies can be at risk of becoming deficient. Some animal products containing lots of iron include fish, meat, poultry, cheese, eggs and milk. Some plant based sources of iron include green leafy veg, legumes (beans, lentils etc) and corn flour.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 keeps our blood and nervous system happy and healthy. If we become deficient in vitamin B12 it puts us at risk of becoming anaemic. Sources of vitamin B12 are, again, very animal based (fish, meat, eggs, cheeses and yoghurt). If you follow a vegan diet sources include fortified products where vitamin B12 has been added. Things like breakfast cereals, soya drinks and yeast extracts (marmite).

I hope you found this blog post useful and thank you for reading! Don’t forget to follow my Instagram (khs_nutrition) for all things food!

References:

Mann, J. & Truswell, S, A. (2007). Essentials of Human Nutrition.

NHS choices – The Vegan diet: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Vegetarianhealth/Pages/Vegandiets.aspx

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

With temperatures reaching -6 in the UK this week, it’s safe to say I won’t be leaving the confines of my cosy house anytime soon. Instead I’ve got the perfect way to add a bit of colour to this gloomy February day. ‘Beat the beast from the east’ with this hearty curry, perfect for a cosy night in front of Netflix.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry…

Ingredients: Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

  • 1 tbsp. of oil
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 1 glove of garlic (diced)
  • 1 sweet potato (cut into cubes)
  • 1 tbsp. of curry paste
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 veg stock cube
  • 1 mug of hot water
  • 1 small tin of chickpeas
  • 3 tbsps. of sultanas

How to cook it:

  1. Add the oil to a saucepan on medium heat. Once the oil has heated up add the onion, garlic and sweet potato to the pan.
  2. Once the garlic, onion and sweet potato begins to soften, add 1 tablespoon of curry paste and mix all together for about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  3. Then, add the chopped tomatoes, hot water, (crumbled) stock cube, sultanas and chickpeas and stir it all together until it is evenly mixed.
  4. Leave to simmer for approximately 20 – 25 minutes, until the curry thickens up.
  5. Add the curry to whatever you wish to serve it with, (see suggested servings), and put the rest in a container for later in the week!

Suggested servings:

I personally love mine with brown rice and spinach, but this dish goes perfectly with so much things. Maybe a jacket potato? or even a salad. It’s even yummy by itself for quick healthy lunch!