Spicy Baked Eggs

It was too rainy to leave the house this morning BUT  it was a bank holiday (WOOP WOOP!) so I had lots of free time to make our own brunch and also managed to keep it under 300 calories! This dish is dead easy to make, it has all the taste with half the calories and it looks beautiful on the kitchen table!

Ingredients:

Serves 2

baked eggs ingred

4 eggs, keep them at room temperature before making this recipe.

1 medium red onion

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 medium bell pepper

30g of feta cheese

100g rocket

10 cherry tomatoes, halved.

salt and pepper

chilli flakes/fresh chilli

2 crushed cloves of garlic

*Note: your frying pan must fit into your grill oven*

Method:

fried onion

  • Finely chop the red onion and add to a non-stick frying pan (or use a low kcal spray oil) with the crushed garlic cloves – keep on a medium heat until the onion becomes slightly translucent

onion and tomato

  • Next add the tin of chopped tomatoes with a generous helping of ground pepper and keep on the medium heat for 4-5minutes

ALL the tomatos

  • Once the tomato mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and add the cherry tomatoes.

baked eggs

  • Add the chopped peppers to your mixture and then using your spatula, one at a time, create four small holes in your mixture and crack an egg into each hole. It doesn’t have to be perfect, don’t worry! The eggs will sink to the bottom of the mixture anyway and will form proper shapes as they cook.

baked eggs under grill

  • Once the egg whites have turned opaque, crumble the feta on top and place your pan under the grill for 3-5minutes. Keep watching your pan as it can burn very quickly.

baked eggs done

  • You know the recipe is ready to serve when the eggs have cooked on top, there should be no clear egg white left and it shouldn’t be very wobbly, you can then remove the pan and sprinkle the rocket and chilli flakes/fresh chilli on top.
  • I love serving this recipe straight from the pan but be careful as it can be very hot after being in the grill. This recipe is best served immediately, with a side salad and some sweet potato wedges!

happy roomate

*Pictured above: A very happy roommate!*

berforeafter

Nutritional information per serving :

275kcal, 20g protein, 14g fat, 16g carbohydrate, 6g fibre.

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Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Bake

I looovvvvveeeeee burritos and this recipe is like a cross between a burrito bowl and a healthy chicken enchilada. You can make this on a Sunday and then freeze the extra portions and use throughout the week! Tastes like burrito but without all the calories.

Ingredients:

Makes 6 servings

ingred

3 chicken breasts (with all visible fat removed)

1 can of black beans drained (approx 290g)

1 cup of homemade enchilada sauce (approx 240ml)

1 Tbsp chilli powder

half a jar of jalapeños

1 small red onion, finely chopped

170g quinoa (dry) and 1 tsp olive oil

50g low fat cheddar

50g feta cheese

2 sprays of frylight or a similar low kcal cooking spray

Methods:

Preheat a fan oven to 180°C.

First of all you will need to get all of your ingredients ready so you can ultimately combine them all:

INGRED 2

Homemade enchilada sauce: Click here for my homemade enchilada sauce. You can also buy an enchilada sauce, look out for brands that are low sodium and low sugar.

Onion and jalapeños: Finely chop and set aside

Black beans: drain, rinse and set aside.

Chicken: You can cook grill, bake poach or fry your chicken. I baked my chicken at 180 degrees celsius for 25mins. Once cooked, I cut it into cubes and set aside.

IMG_1693IMG_1701IMG_1702Quinoa: Over a medium heat, add 1 tsp of olive oil to a pan and then add your 170g dry quinoa. Stir the quinoa until it has absorbed the olive oil and then add 320ml boiling water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Once it starts to boil, lower heat to the lowest setting and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set aside.

all in the pan

sauce in the pan

Once all your ingredients are ready add your onions to a medium heat frying pan and cook until translucent.

Add all the rest of your ingredients to the pan, combine and cook on medium heat for about 5minutes until sauce reduces.

ready for the oven

cheese

Once sauce has reduced, add mixture to baking tray and cover with feta cheese and low fat cheddar cheese.

Bake in oven at 180°C for 10-15minutes and serve with salad and avocado.

Nutritional Information per serving (with quarter of an avocado):
335kcal; 26g protein; 30g carbohydrates; 12g fat

time to eat

Protein Pancakes

One of my favorite things about the weekend is that I have lots of free time to make brunch, the most important meal of the day!!

I usually head to the gym on Saturday mornings so protein pancakes are exactly what I need. Most of the blogs I read use whey protein powder for their pancakes and that’s absolutely fine but you can also get a cheaper, very easily absorbed, high quality protein from your diet. If you don’t use whey protein, these pancakes are perfect for your post-gym brunch!

The protein in these pancakes comes from egg whites and cottage cheese – don’t knock them till you try them!

Ingredients:

This recipe serves 2 – Makes 5 pancakes

PP Start

3 eggs

45g rolled oats

200g cottage cheese

2 Tablespoons of reduced fat milk (or any other milk you use)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Pinch of salt

Optional toppings

  • Yoghurt
  • Mango
  • Mixed berries
  • Banana and strawberries

Method:

  • PP addAdd all the ingredients to your blender and blend until you get a batter, it should be as thick as yoghurt.mix
  • Add a little oil to a pan (you can a teaspoon of olive oil, light fry spray or whatever oil you usually use).
  • Heat your pan and once you can feel heat over the pan add your batter.
  • When you start to see little air bubbles in the batter, see picture below, flip the pancake and cook until light brown on both sides.

PP flipped

  • PP bubblesThis batter is very light and so take care when flipping each pancake for the first time as they may collapse in on themselves. Both sides of the pancake should be nicely browned. I usually heat the oven and put each pancake in until they are all cooked, this way they won’t be cold when you sit down to eat.
  • Serve immediately with your toppings of choice. I’ve used half a mango and some coconut yoghurt for mine. You can also wrap 2 and a half pancakes (one serving) in tinfoil or cling film and reheat the next day for breakfast but they are best served fresh.

PP final

Nutritional information per serving (with yoghurt&half a mango):

250kcal; 29g carbs; 4g fat; 21g protein; dietary fibre 3g.

This recipe is low fat, high protein and is a good source of potassium and vitamin C (when mango is added).

Chocolate Overnight Oats

CHOCOLATE for breakfast!!!

This is a recipe that I make every week. I can’t ever see myself getting bored of it as there are endless variations that you can experiment with. If you have never heard of overnight oats, the recipe is basically a thicker, fluffier and more satisfying version of porridge. The base for this recipe is oats and milk but they are soaked overnight in the fridge. Because you prepare this the night before, it is the absolute perfect recipe if you’re running out the door in the morning and need something healthy and satisfying to grab on the go. A serving of this always keeps me going until lunchtime!

The very basic recipe is, as I said above, your average porridge oats (40g) soaked in your favourite milk (150-200ml) overnight. However, I’m not going to start with the basic recipe. I’m going to start with Chocolate Overnight Oats because it’s January, it’s cold, dark and miserable and this is exactly what I need to get me out of bed in the morning!

start

Ingredients:

This recipe serves 2

150ml milk (I used Avonmore Slimline Milk but you can use soya, almond or whatever else is in your cupboard)

80g porridge oats

22g of cocoa powder (unsweetened cocoa powder is best but I used Options Belgian hot chocolate powder)

1 medium banana

2 tbsp of chia seeds (If you don’t have these in your press you can just leave them out of the recipe)

Method:

  • Add all of your dry ingredients into a bowl or jar (this will go into the fridge overnight so it’s better to be able to cover it with a lid or cling film)

banana and mix

  • Mash up your banana and add to dry ingredients along with the milk

mix 1mix 1

  • Give your oats a good mix and then pop into the fridge overnight, or for at least 4 hours. Remember that this recipe serves 2 so if you want you can split it before it goes into the fridge or split it in the next day, whatever suits!
  • Serve in the morning, hot or cold!

fin 1fin 2

Nutritional information per serving:

300kcal, 11g protein, 6g fat, 51g carbohydrate, 10g fibre,

Introduction to the Irish Healthy Eating Guidelines

new year, new meNearly half of Irish people plan to make a New Year’s resolution with health, weight loss and well-being top of their list of aspirations, according to a new Ipsos MRBI poll undertaken on behalf of Motivation Weight Management (MWM). Listening to the talk around the office this week I can see that statistic in action. The buzz words in the canteen are “paleo”, juicing, “carb free”, dairy free and gluten free.

Paleojuicing

 

 

 

 

While it is absolutely fantastic to have health at the top of your agenda, I think first and foremost you need to understand what it is to eat healthy so that you can then feel empowered to make healthier choices for yourself rather than relying on a temporary diet for guidance. Instead of reading magazines and becoming an expert on fad diets, why not have a look at what the healthy eating guidelines are and become an expert at maintaining a well balanced diet combined with an active lifestyle. Once you have done that there should be no need for you to banish food groups, take nutritional supplements or to drink a vat of lemon water every morning with a spoonful of cider vinegar to “kick start your metabolism”.

I am not condemning a gluten or dairy free diet if that is what suits you, or of course if it is medically indicated. I am rather advocating a sustainable, inclusive diet that does not risk nutrient inadequacies by excluding food groups or does not require you to spend extortionate amounts of money on gluten-free foods, organic foods or food alternatives. If you are on a weight loss diet you might be interested to know that in future blog posts I will go into the scientific evidence for the different weight loss/health diets that are popular in the media and the benefits or disadvantages of each.

Healthy eating guidelines are developed to explain how to get all of the essential nutrients such as fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals in the correct amount to maintain optimum health. In Ireland, the Food Pyramid is used to communicate the healthy eating guidelines developed for the healthy Irish population, with the most up to date version published by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) in 2012. Following the Food Pyramid as a guide will help you get the right balance of nutritious foods within an appropriate calorie range for your age, gender and physical activity level.

The Food Pyramid

Screenshot_08_01_2015_22_58

How many calories do you need a day?

Your daily calorie requirement will depend on your age, body size, gender and the intensity of activity that you do each day. For example, men will generally need more calories than women, taller/bigger people will require more calories than smaller people and of course younger people will also need more calories and nutrients than older people, especially during growth spurts. Have a look at the table below to find out what calorie range you are in.

calories

active

sedentary

NOTE: If you are looking to lose weight, you should include at least 60-75 minutes of moderate activity every day. I will write about weight loss in the coming weeks.

Following the Food Pyramid serving recommendations will help you to eat within your calorie range as well as providing you with the correct amount of nutrients (this excludes those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or who are sick). Have a look at the table below to see how many servings/day of each food group you require:

Serving sizesDaily serving sizes

butter

For reduced fat spreads and oils, the recommended portion size is a single serving size that you would be given in a café. Use one packet for two slices of bread.

200ml cup

The FSAI recommend the use of a 200ml disposable plastic cup to guide you in the serving sizes, examples of servings below use this 200ml cup as a measure. There is no harm in having one of these in your kitchen to help you measure out your servings.

palm of hand

For meats, fish and poultry, it is recommended to use the palm of your hand, excluding finders and thumb, to guide you in a serving size for the day. Most of this sizing should be used as your main meal, with the remainder for your light meal.

 

teaspoon

A regular 5ml teaspoon should be used as a serving size for jams, marmalade, peanut butter or honey.

 

 

The Food Pyramid Groups

  • High fat, high sugar foods: Foods in this group are your sweets, cakes and biscuits. We all know that we should limit consuming from this category as these foods are high in calories, fat, salt and sugar. Excessive consumption of these foods can contribute to cardiovascular disease, overweight and obesity along with the associated consequences.
  • Reduced fat spreads and oils: Fats are necessary in the diet in small amounts. All types of fats and oils are very high in calories. While it is true that some fats and oils help to protect against heart disease, they are just as high in calories as other more harmful fats and oils. Choose reduced fat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated spreads and when cooking boil, bake, steam or grill your foods.
  • Protein: Protein is needed to maintain the body and support growth. Lean red meat and poultry and oily fish are the best options. Oily fish is a rich source of vitamin D and is the only food that provides two special Omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA protects against heart disease. DHA is also important during pregnancy for the baby’s brain and eye development. The best types of oily fish are salmon, mackerel, herring and trout.

Screenshot_09_01_2015_00_27

  • Dairy: Milk, yoghurt and cheese provide protein and calcium which is needed alongside vitamin D for good bone health. As products from this group can be quite high in saturated fat, it is better to choose low fat varieties of milk, cheeses and yoghurts, with no added sugar.

Screenshot_09_01_2015_00_11

  • Fruits and vegetables: these are nutritious low-fat, low-calorie foods and eating more helps to achieve the nutrient intakes within the calorie goals. This is the one group where MORE is better!

Screenshot_09_01_2015_00_46

  • Carbohydrates: These foods should provide the main source of calories and carbohydrates in the daily diet. It is recommended that 45 to 65% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. Brown is best – Choose wholemeal where possible. High fibre foods help protect against bowel diseases such as colon cancer.

Carbohydrates

General tips for Eating Healthy:

  • keep-calm-and-eat-healthy-22Portion sizes – watch that you are not overeating. Use the portion size reference given above for the different food groups as a guide.
  • Variety makes things interesting so make sure you have lots of choice of foods from the five groups.
  • Plain wholemeal breads, cereals, pasta, potatoes and rice provide the best calories for a healthy weight. Base your meals on these with plenty of fruit, vegetables and salad.
  • Eat plenty of coloured fruit, salad and vegetables – Aim for at least 5 a day.
  • Choose lean meat and poultry including fish (oily fish is best). Remember, peas, beans lentils are a good alternative source of protein
  • Read your food labels – I will post on this next week so you can easily read food labels and understand what you are putting in your shopping basket
  • Don’t be distracted while you are eating, e.g. watching TV, pay attention to when you are full. You don’t HAVE to clear the plate.
  • Drink plenty of water, 8-10 200ml cups of per day (1.5-2Litres of water today) and more if you are exercising. This will keep you hydrated and ensure that your body does not think it is hungry when it is just thirsty.
  • Be physically active! Find something that you love to do – walking your dog, swimming, a team sport.
  • Always have breakfast – Those who eat breakfast regularly are more likely to snack less throughout the day and are more likely be a healthy weight.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation! I will write a post on what ‘moderate alcohol consumption’ is very soon.

In the next few weeks I will be following up this post with advice on calorie consumption, portion control, how to read food labels, exercise recommendations, sports nutrition and I will also start a specific page on weight loss. The healthy eating guidelines and serving sizes above are suitable for everyone including those who are overweight.

Hopefully you found this introduction to healthy eating helpful! If you are interested in reading more of more posts pop your email address in the bar below to receive a notification when a new post is published on à la Maude.

References:

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/losing-weight-is-big-new-years-resolution-for-2015-30869478.html

Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) 2011: Scientific Recommendations for healthy Eating Guidelines in Irealand.

https://www.indi.ie/news/108-new-national-healthy-eating-guidelines.html

Healthy Eating and Active Living for Adults, Teenagers and Children over 5 Years– A Food Guide for Health Professionals and Catering Services