2017 in Review, 2018 at a Glance

Let me just start by saying THANK YOU! Thank you for reading, thank you for supporting and thank you for being loyal to this wee blog of mine. As 2017 comes to a close, I'm reflecting on goals met, lessons learnt and setting new goals for 2018. If you were hoping for a New Year, New me speech; I'm sorry to disappoint but that's a speech I never give. One of the goals I made at the very beginning of 2017 was to exercise a lot more and looking at my exercise routine now, I've definitely kicked it up a notch. I took up Running this year, never did I think that I'd be running 4km three times a weeks. It's also helped with keeping my IBS under control which is extremely important because as you know, University can get stressful. Stress causes IBS to flare up which isn't ideal. I plan on carrying this on into 2018 along with a balanced diet, consistency and motivation. Health truly is the new wealth so here's to thriving for top notch mental well-being in 2018 and for years to come. 

Thai Mint Chicken Wings

Now that Christmas is over and done with, there's one more thing to look forward to. Yes, I'm talking about New Year's Eve and it's just 3 days away. Whether you're planning on dancing the night away or a nice night in, a few chicken wings are sure to put you in a cheery mood. I think chicken is the one type of meat I consume more than any other. Chicken is undoubtedly versatile, easy to cook and well, when marinated/seasoned right, it can be the ultimate get together treat. It's also a very good source of protein but are also high in saturated fats (the skin). I usually make any sort of chicken without the skin but sometimes you just deserve a treat otherwise we would all lose our minds. Chicken is far better steamed (renders fat out), grilled or oven roasted instead of deep fat frying. Just because you're enjoying the festivities does not mean your health should be out the window. From frozen, I oven roasted these chicken wings to achieve a crispy exterior. These Thai mint chicken wings are quick and darn right tasty so here is the recipe on how you can make these delightful little numbers. Trust me, it's not rocket science.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Happy Christmas Eve! I'd love to sit here and tell you that I've spent the day in my onesie, eating ice cream and watching Netflix but that would be a lie. Still that does sound like my kind of day, sigh. Thanks to always leaving everything to the last minute, I've been out all day gift shopping. Yes, I only went and got everyone's gifts the day before Christmas. What can I say, I like living life on the edge. My other half is actually more organised than me when it comes to things like this, he was done at the beginning of December but he still offered to help. I've come to the conclusion that shopping like this is exhausting! On the bright side, I'm spending Christmas with my boyfriend's family this year so hiss mum will be spoiling me with some delicious Filipino food and a Turkey I guess, she makes it every year. My point here is I actually have the chance to get stuffed and relax, phew. As expected, town was packed and I sure am glad it is done. We also managed to fit in a quick meal at one of our favourite places to eat, Zizzi. This was most certainly the best part of my day, simple, great tasting Italian food.

Banana, Apple and Kiwi Smoothie Bowl

Before heading out for my jog each morning, I turn to my blender for a nice, refreshing smoothie. Packed with chia seeds, a hint of granola and bananas, this smoothie makes for a quick and nutritious breakfast. This unusual combination of ingredients works well and tastes delightful, with a dash of yogurt adding some much needed creaminess. So, why is it important to eat before exercise? Your body needs fuel! Research conducted at the University of Surrey suggests that untrained women are better off eating before exercise whereas untrained men are better off eating after exercise (Collins 2016). Intrigued as to why men are better off eating after exercise? Read more on the study here. I don't know about you but I definitely need something to get me going. It would be best to eat an hour before your workout as this allows time for digestion to take place. Understandably, I'm not talking about a heavy breakfast here; something light like a smoothie, some energy balls maybe, whole grain toast with almond/peanut butter or even just a banana will do. So, why not try the recipe below, it's definitely one of my favourite go-to smoothies.

Grilled Curried Mackerel

Mackerel is one of the most consumed fish all over the world and just so happens to be one of the healthiest when baked, steamed or grilled. It's an excellent source of protein, essential omega-3-fatty acids and lowers risk of diabetes. Mackerel contains healthy fats including monounsaturated fatty acids which play a role in controlling blood sugar levels. These are just some of Mackerel's health benefits but I can promise you there's more. I follow lots of Dietitian blogs (ie The real life RD , Nutrition Unplugged , Nic's Nutrition) to keep up with the latest research and of course great recipes. They provide evidence based nutrition information and an insight into food science, yes it's definitely a big ol' world. Anyway, here's an interesting fact for you; it was my mother who taught me this recipe so I really hope you love it as much as I do. 

A personal note: How I am learning to love myself

For many years, I've questioned whether I am happy with who I am & for many years, the answer has been no. I am that girl who hid behind make up for years. Yes I am that girl who couldn't bear to look in the mirror, was unable to meet up with friends or leave the house without it but not anymore. How could I become so dependent on it, it's as if we had morphed into one. Don't get me wrong, I think make up is an incredible thing but no one should feel that they aren't good enough without it, that's just not healthy. Hell yes I will still wear make up but I just refuse to be dependent on it so here I am bare-faced. You come to realise that its a confidence thing and as I grew older, I also realised that no one really cares whether you are wearing make up or not. Its all YOU! This is not just about the make up alone, it is about me as a person, my thoughts and how I've viewed myself for so long. The mind is truly a powerful thing but transformation begins with your inner self. Self love and self care are so important, they are the basis to a happier you and an even a happier life. 

Surviving first term at University Top Tips

Its the season to be jolly and I sure am jolly because today was the last day of university term one. It feels like Freshers week was literally seconds ago and now 3 months later, the term is over. Where has the time gone? New friendships made and knowledge gained. Worthwhile? It was. It has been a hectic, fast paced term but I've never been happier. Looking back at everything I've ever done work wise, it feels so good to finally be taking the right steps towards a career I'm passionate about. Dietetics is something I had wanted to do for a very long time; no one said it was going to be easy, no one said it was impossible either so no complaints here. The course is undoubtedly intense, there's so much information to take in but I'm determined to make it work. I worked so hard to get here, every single person on my course worked hard to get where they are too; what makes you think we are about to stop now? No chance. Because we are such a small Dietetics group, we've formed good friendships and even made time to head out for a nice Christmas meal three weeks ago (photos below). Below, I'm also going to share some tips on what I found most useful this term, basically, how I survived. So, here's to a well deserved break; one filled with lots of laughter, joy and of course revision, that exam in January is not going to write itself. 

Cherry Tomato & Thyme Noodles with Cream Sauce

This is undoubtedly the most comforting meal to sit down and tuck into on a dreary, wet day. Coated in tasty, creamy yogurt sauce, this is one dish that will keep you going back for more. It just goes to show that meat is not what 'makes' a meal, it is the rich flavours and textures. Deliciously simple? It is. Are the noodles versatile? They sure are. There are various ways to enjoy noodles but this one is right at the top of my list. At just 135kcal per serving (please find the full nutritional breakdown below), this is a healthy, cost effective dish that tastes great too. 

Oatmeal Porridge with Frozen Berries

I recently discovered the joys of frozen berries, yes life just got easier in that aspect at least. I've been so set in my 'fresh fruit and veg' ways that I never actually noticed frozen produce until a few months ago. Frozen fruit is not nutritionally compromised in any way, they are actually just as nutritious as fresh fruit so don't be afraid to use them. Frozen produce is usually cheaper and of course convenient, a great way to incorporate some fruit as well as vegetables into your diet. Time is not a factor as they are an easy alternative. Fruits and vegetables are beneficial to health which is why '5 a day' is the talk of the town. The Department of Health and the World Health Organisation recommend that we consume at least 5 portion of varied fruits and vegetables a day, equating to a third of our daily food intake (Bond, British Dietetic Association 2017). There is evidence to suggest that the risk of developing stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity is lowered by the consumption of a sufficient amount of fruit and vegetables. Have a I convinced you yet? The BDA has a great Food Fact Sheet on how you can meet your 5 a day, read it here. Health facts aside, a nice bowl of porridge is so warming, comforting and satisfying first thing in the morning. I don't know about you but I'm not exactly fond of the cold.

Bill's Cardiff Review

Eating out is alien to me, I love cooking which is why I rarely ever eat out but after making my very first trip to Bill's, I have taken it upon myself to try out as many restaurants in Cardiff as possible in 2018. I will not be venturing on this quest alone of course, my boyfriend has kindly volunteered to take this on with me.  Our goal is to dine at 3 different restaurants a month which totals up to 36 restaurants to be visited in 2018. Earlier this year I actually started a new category on this blog called 'Cardiff Food Guide'. There, you can read my reviews on some of the restaurants I've recently been to. It's basically a chance to see what Cardiff has to offer. Bill's presents beautiful surroundings, a modern interior and a buzzing atmosphere, one that allows you to start off your day on a high note. The staff were friendly, greeted with a smile when we arrived and they extremely helpful, lending a hand whenever they could. First opened in 2012, Bills has become an exclusive dining destination, one that seems to be packed to the brim day in, day out. Now, I finally understand why.

Grilled Curry Chicken Drumsticks

As you've probably guessed by now; I'm an avid fan of chicken but it can get boring which is why I tend to explore different ingredients and flavouring to keep everything just that little bit more interesting. I've been eating curried foods for as long as I can remember, partially because my mother has always loved Indian food to the point where she learnt how to make some of their dishes at home. That's how this recipe came about, keeping things simple. This is one of the easiest things you'll ever make. These curried chicken drumsticks are delicious; they are juicy and flavour-packed which can only make them a winner in my book. Here is how you can master these aromatic, drool worthy grilled curry chicken drumsticks. 

Pick me up Breakfast

 Happy Saturday! We made it through another busy week and I'm feeling rather grateful for all the good things in my life. After cowering away from running for years, I finally joined a running team in University and completed my first 5K run in Bute Park that very same day. Needless to say, I felt absolutely incredible afterwards, it is quite the achievement for me. I then went on to complete an 8K run on Thursday evening and a 3.5K run yesterday, phew. I've ran so much the past three days mainly because I'm getting a kick out of it, really enjoying myself. The fact that my running route is absolutely beautiful is a bonus.

What makes it better is that I'm not running on my own, it's becoming more of a social thing which is great for the mind. Keeping fit with friends, my idea of a great afternoon or evening. I have found something I truly enjoy. Now lets talk breakfast, oats topped with fruits and seeds is the ultimate breakfast combination. This easy bowl is packed with nutrients, will keep you energised and gets you fueled up for the day ahead. As well as being delicious and absolutely good for you, these kinds of breakfasts are so easy to make. Looking for convenience, this one's for you.

Mushroom & Courgette Pasta Stir Fry

Quick, effortless and nutritious, this stir fry is a great way to get in Micronutrients; you know the body's miniscule helpers that rarely ever come up in conversation. I'm talking Vitamins, Minerals, trace elements like Riboflavin, Zinc, Copper, Phosphorous, shall I go on? Just because they are small and are not spoken of nearly as much as macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Fats, Protein) does not mean they are unimportant. Society seems so focused on macronutrients but what about the little guys? Micronutrients are the essential building blocks of a healthy body, mind and bones, fruits and vegetables are excellent sources. They are essential because the human body cannot produce them and so they can be obtained through diet. Even though they are required in very small amounts, their complete absence would have some serious effects. For all the metabolic processes to take place successfully within the body, Micronutrients are needed. Fancy indulging in the little guys more often? This stir fry might just be what you're looking for.

Seafood Shack, Cardiff Review

A restaurant whose main focus is offering a wide variety of seafood, FINALLY! Say hello to the Seafood Shack, a venue that launched June 2017. I'm not exactly seafood's biggest fan but after contemplating a visit for a while, I took the plunge. Well, I'd be lying if I said it was my idea. My boyfriend is a huge 'sea foodie' and so it was only inevitable that I'd end up walking through its doors with seven other people. The quality as well as the food choice was excellent, all offered with a burst of flavour and style. With its gorgeous decor, an open kitchen so you can see how meticulous the chefs are, good portion sizes and relaxed atmosphere, Seafood Shack is a restaurant that's definitely worth a visit. If like me, you're not a seafood fan, they have other options on offer like Steak and beef burgers, you're definitely not limited when it comes to choice. But as with anything, there were some bad points that I will discuss in more detail.

Grape, Apple and Mini Marshmallows Oatmeal Bowl

Who knew mini marshmallows would make a brilliant extra topping for my Oats breakfast bowl? When you work so hard, you deserve a treat every now and then; in my case marshmallows suffice. This has made it as one of my all time favourites because of all the colours, it's amazing how we eat with our eyes before our mouths. Surely its a crime for there to also be so much nutritional goodness in one bowl *phew*. Oats have been my go to breakfast for years (sometimes I feel like that's all I eat) mainly because of their high fiber content and of course, they are very convenient. A breakfast that takes just under 5 minutes to prepare in this day and age is a winner in my book. Since this bowl contains lots of apples, let's talk about the apple. Apples are actually my favourite fruit, their crunchiness wins me over every time. They are rich in flavanoids, important antioxidants and dietary fiber. Research conducted by Havard back in 2016 showed that increasing your intake of foods like apples and blueberries can help with weight control. The research was published in the British Medical Journal and you can read it here. Good ol' apples are an easy go-to snack and since they are about 85% water, they help fill you up with little calories. Say goodbye to that chocolate bar, grab an apple instead.

*Apple & Raisin Oatbran Porridge

Happy November! I'm kicking off this new month with some breakfast inspiration in collaboration with Rachel's Organic. It's grey, its cold and so it only seems right to start the day with a nice, warm bowl of porridge. Apart from being versatile; Oat bran is a great source of Dietary Fibre, an essential nutrient that enables the gut to function normally. Dietary Fibre includes carbohydrates called Oligosaccharides (a carbohydrate whose molecules are composed of up to 10 monomer units), Polysaccharides (a carbohydrate whose molecules are composed of many monosaccharide units) and Lignin. According to the British Dietetic Association (2016), the average adult in the UK only consumes 60% (18g) of their daily recommended fibre intake which should be 30g/day. It's important to try and reach that intake of 30g/day as part of your balanced diet and foods like oat bran, potatoes with skin, pasta, brown rice, whole grain bread etc are excellent choices for fiber. This apple and raising oat bran porridge offers a nutritious breakfast that keeps you going until lunchtime. No more snacking, just a great tasting, fibre rich breakfast.

Gluten Free, Egg Free Blueberry Muffins

These blueberry loaded, amazingly fluffy gluten free muffins are so easy to make! I've been slacking the past few weeks when it comes to Gluten and so I've had to battle the bloat that little bit harder the past few days, which has been unpleasant to say the least. Gluten is one of my worst triggers and I tend to consume it in very small portions to avoid abdominal pain, nausea and bloating. All you IBSers know what I'm talking about. So, I'm starting a new week as I mean to go on with these Gluten free, Egg free Blueberry muffins. We have lots of blueberries in the fridge so I might as well put them to good use. These muffins are soft and tender on the inside, nutritious & 100% drool worthy.

Chicken and Sprouts Stir Fry

Having submitted my first Dietetics assignment yesterday, I'm finally starting to feel like I'm getting into the swing of things. Even though my social life seems to be fading away, I'm thoroughly enjoying the course, taking in as much information as possible and getting to know new people. So, here's to me surviving my first month as a Dietetics student! Now lets focus on what's important, this Chicken and Sprout Stir Fry. I eat with my eyes before my mouth which is one of the main reasons why I make such  colourful dishes; with the acceptance of my fondness for vegetables of course. This is super easy, effortless and quick to make. This stir fry is low in saturated fats and sugars, with a medium amount of salt. The funny thing is there is actually no added salt used in this recipe, just herbs and spices. This just goes to show how unnecessary it is to add salt into food. I'm just a simple girl who likes easy, straight-forward recipes so when you're tired, stir-fry. Why not start by trying this one?

Spinach & Cucumber Breakfast Smoothie

A quick and easy way to get in essential Minerals and Vitamins is by whipping up this refreshing, filling Spinach and Cucumber Smoothie. Spinach is number one on my list of vital vegetables and this because it's high in Vitamins A, C and K, as well as B vitamins.  Cucumbers on the other hand are an excellent source of vitamin K and Pantothenic acid. I presented pantothenic acid in bold to emphasise just how important it is. As well as playing a role in the break down of carbohydrates and fats for energy, pantothenic acid aids in the manufacture of red blood cells. Cucumbers are also a good source of copper, vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, biotin and Thiamine or Vitamin B1. This green nutrient powerhouse is one of the best ways to start off the day. However, juicing has a downside and it awakens the Dental Nurse in me, yes that's my day time job. Juicing is really bad for your teeth and this is due to the presence of Fructose in just about every fruit out there. The high acid content causes the enamel on your teeth to soften and erode and this often leads to the formation of cavities and tooth decay. Top tip: use a straw to drink your green juices as this allows the acid to bypass your teeth. It's about creating a balance, that contact with your teeth can be detrimental. 

*Coedffranc primary community family room// Aviva Community Fund

In association with Aviva Community Fund 2017

Wouldn't it be nice if every school in the UK offered a place for parents to receive advice, support and information that contributed to their well-being? The Aviva Community Fund which launched on the 12th of September can help make this possible. If there is a project in your local community that you are extremely passionate about, why not try and secure funding to put towards that important cause, following in the footsteps of Coedffranc Primary School. Over the last year, Coedffranc primary school has been running a family room after being awarded funding through the Aviva Community Fund in 2016. This buzzing hub of engagement, education and activity has become an important part of life for the entire school community and families. The funding helped the school to purchase everyday objects that help in the running of these classes making an extraordinary difference. So what exactly is the Family room? The family room is a free program run by members of staff providing a variety of courses including Cookery and Healthy Eating, Food Safety, Parent Nurture Programmes, Paediatric First Aid, Butterfly Project and Childcare Level one to parents and children. Even something as simple as Family learning together sessions are offered which gives the children and their families a chance to explore and grow together by visiting different places like Margam Park. These different courses are crucial to health, for example Food Safety. It is important for parents and children to understand how their behavior, hygiene and handling during food preparation affects the safety of their food as well as gaining confidence in the kitchen. These things may seem fairly obvious to some but when the education is there at your disposal, why not take it? We all know that we need to eat a balanced diet but how many of us actually know what that means? This is where Coedffranc Primary School's healthy eating classes come in. These classes allow children and their parents to put the nutrition education they learn in class to the test in real life situations. This also encourages the children to make better food choices as they grow up and this education leads far beyond the classroom.

Rye Bread in Two Ways

Who loves breakfast? I do! In today's society, a lot of people tend to skip breakfast because of  their busy lives, time doesn't seem to be on anyone's side. Still, I believe breakfast should not be skipped. When you have breakfast, it will keep you going until lunchtime and you are less likely to snack on those good looking biscuits stirring at you from the corner of the office. The EatWell guide was updated this year and it shows the different types of foods and drinks we should consume as well as the proportions so as to have a healthy, balanced diet. Maybe print out a copy and stick it on your fridge. Its a great way for the whole family to get acquainted with The EatWell guide. Anyway, I've gotten extremely fond of Rye Bread lately and so I've been getting experimental as always. Sweet and Savoury is my favourite breakfast combination ans so today, these two little numbers are gracing my plate. Simple and quick to prepare, not to mention nutritious, these can easily become a grab & a go breakfast.

Chicken & Green Bean Curry

It seems I'm so busy lately I barely have anytime to unwind and so I turned my focus to cooking this evening for a change. There is nothing quite like a delicious chicken curry to get your mood up after a long day of schooling. The British Heart Foundation publish some awesome, nutritious recipes on their website and yes you've guessed it; that's where I found this little gem. I'm more than willing to cook up anything curry related, the flavour and aroma keeps me going back for more. I did tweak the recipe a little but this is because of my fussy palate. This chicken & green bean curry is absolutely delightful; a heart warming dish that the whole family can enjoy.

*Taymount Clinic '50 Foods in 7 days' Challenge

A couple of weeks back I was contacted by the great team at Taymount Clinicthe world’s first faecal microbiota transplant clinic and experts in digestive health. They challenged me to eat 50 different foods in 7 days and this is mainly because The Taymount Clinic recommend that to maintain diversity in your gut, you also need to have diversity in your diet. Of course, I jumped at the chance to learn more about my own gut health, I received a chart to record all the foods consumed during the 7 days. Doesn't sound like much of a challenge right? Wrong. Duplicates were not allowed, so things like buns, pizza, bagels etc did not count as different things; you guessed it, they are all wheat. That for me is what made the challenge tricky but on the bright side, oils, spices, vinegars and spices did count as individuals. I have never appreciated my love for spices and herbs as well as my kitchen cupboard more than I have the past 7 days. I was also sent a basket with different healthy foods to help get me on my way. 
Being an IBS sufferer means planning ahead when it comes to your food, it also means you are already quite limited food wise so this was a really tough challenge to complete. However, I did manage to finish at a surprising 58 different foods in 7 days, if that's not impressive, I don't know what is. This regime worked well for me, my abdominal pain has lessened, bloating has pretty stopped and my stomach is feeling a lot more 'normal' than it has the past 8 years. I have learnt so much about my own gut and how diversity on the plate really does lead to diversity in the gut flora. 

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

I was recently snapped sashaying around Cardiff City Centre by Style Wall, an independent online destination showcasing street style in South Wales. Wouldn't you agree that they captured such a gorgeous shot? I sure think so. The 22nd of September marked the autumnal equinox, which as you may have guessed officially marks the end of summer. I can't say I'm going to miss it as I'm very fond of autumn and winter. The fashion is so much better, I'm talking a whole new wardrobe; scarves, wooly jumpers, cute berets, structured coats. Also, the true beauty of nature shows during autumn, the colours are magnificent. Of course these two seasons are a great a excuse to indulge in hearty stews, soups, hotpots etc and drinks endless amounts of tea and hot chocolates. The season also brings with it a variety of new vegetables including butternut squash and pumpkins. Of course, pumpkins and Halloween go together; its a night we get to act like children again by dressing up, eating lots of sweets and watching spooky films, should I go on?

Baked Crispy Chilli Chicken Drumsticks

Hello earthlings, yes, I survived my first week of University *woo*. I met lots of new people from all kinds of backgrounds and made some new friends. From university tours to meeting the team, I think I'm going to love being a Human Nutrition and Dietetics student. After all, this has always been the only career I can see myself having and truly enjoying. Last night I whipped up this batch of Crispy chilli chicken drumsticks which turned out to be quite a treat. All you need is eight minutes for preparation, lots of chilli and an appetite. Flavourful, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, the definition of a perfectly baked batch of drumsticks. Oh, did I mention it's gluten free and paleo.

Spinach and Beef Quinoa Stir Fry

It's official, I'm a BSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics student *woo* and I'll be starting University in a week. I've wanted to do this for such a long time that sometimes I smile to myself just thinking about it. Who in this world doesn't want to build a career around their passion. Anyway, let's talk about this spinach and beef quinoa stir fry that's been giving me all kinds of feels. Spinach has become a staple in our house; we have it with pretty much everything and that's not only because of it's nutritional benefits. When spinach is cooked right, it makes one tasty side. It's also great to throw into stir fries adding some much needed colour. This is a tasty and simple stir fry that will have you coming back for seconds, a recipe that's purely a result of my cravings.

Blueberry and Apricot Breakfast Bowl

Not all my breakfast bowls make it to my blog but all do make it to my INSTAGRAM so why not give me a follow so you never have to miss a post again. We are half way through the week so good morning and happy Wednesday! I'm starting the day with this Blueberry and Apricot bowl. I had never tried apricot until a few days ago which is such a shame because I've definitely been missing out. Thanks to my food-loving boyfriend, I'm trying lots of different foods everyday, seafood included and we all know I've never really been a fan. The fruit kingdom is so vast and I won't rest until just about every single fruit in the world has been a topping in one of my bowls at least once. Challenge accepted! So what are the health benefit of apricots? Apart from being oh so sweet and oh so golden, apricots are packed with ample doses of essential vitamins, plenty of fiber, potassium and of course low fat content. Even though they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, apricots are particularly rich in soluble fiber which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and blood glucose. Vitamin A which apricots are a great source of, is important for proper immune system function, normal vision and maintaining a healthy soft tissue, teeth and skin. Need I say more?

*Yutaka Vegetarian Ramen Review

I love love love Japanese food and so I was pretty excited when I was contacted by the lovely team at Mad as a March hare regarding trying out and reviewing Yutaka Noodles. I was intrigued as I had never heard of this brand; it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new and so I jumped at the chance. Its always interesting to see how different noodles compare in both taste and texture. The Yutaka range offers authentic Japanese food products. The name behind the Yutaka brand is Tazaki foods, a leading supplier to restaurants, food suppliers and hospitality industries in the UK. Yutaka means good harvest and after having my first taste of these noodles, I can safely say that this was an excellent harvest. One 260g packet conveniently serves 2 people meaning you don't have to enjoy such great food alone. The recipe on how to prepare the noodles is on the back of the packet  and is fairly simple and easy to follow. Unaccustomed to Asian cuisine but want to try it? This is the product for you. Ready in 3 minutes, flavoursome, MSG free, rather filling and delicious in their own right, these Yutaka noodles are sure to be a crowdpleaser.

Udon Miso Soup

Tasty, light and quick to make; it's fast food at its best. Oh how I love Udon noodles, their slightly chewy texture makes my taste buds tingle. That's always a good start when you know you've got a fussy palate. I make monthly trips to my local Asian grocery store, there's nothing more annoying than realising you've run out of a crucial ingredient half way through meal preparation. One staple I always have in my fridge is miso; it is basically fermented soy bean paste and is what makes miso soup flavourful. Feeling lazy? Why not make yourself this light Miso Soup, bacon is always optional. Next time I'm making it Vegan.

Oats, Granola & Greek Yogurt Bowl

Hello fellow earthlings, it's been seven days since my last post & it truly feels like a lifetime. The past couple of days have been some of the best I've had in a long time. The main reason behind my joy being the fact that my place to study BSc Human Nutrition and Dietetics this September was confirmed last Thursday morning. There are no words to describe how I feel, I'm just so happy. Little Nokhuthula is going to be a Dietitian; this has been my dream for a very long time and I worked so hard to get here. My boyfriend then whisked me away to London Saturday night for an early birthday treat (it's my birthday tomorrow), we arrived back late last night and I really need to catch up on some sleep. Of course, I have lots of photos and reviews to share over the next few days. 
Now, let's talk breakfast. Oats,  tropical fruit granola and greek yoghurt are a match made in heaven; the flavours compliment each other so well. Granola contains a high amount of sugar and  so no more than a 1/4 cup should be consumed at breakfast time. Greek yoghurt neutralises the sweetness of granola making it just that little bit more enjoyable. Oats are my go to breakfast most of the time and I find myself more and more inspired to jazz them up up a bit.

Quinoa & Spinach Salad

This colourful quinoa salad makes a tremendous summer dish. What would I do without quinoa. Fast fact: Unlike most grains, Quinoa contains all nine of the essential amino acids and so it is a complete Protein. Gym enthusiasts; this grain should be your best friend for muscle growth and repair. Quinoa also offers a good amount of fiber which helps moves stool down the digestive tract and iron which is an important constituent of haemoglobin. With just 222 calories/cup, cooked quinoa is worth eating.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate my new Tivoli Melamine Bowl from Lakeland's picnic range. It looks heavy right? Well it's actually as light as a feather, durable and is very pretty. I'm constantly exploring greens, the dressings and what toppings I use to keep the flavours interesting. The quinoa got coated around the spinach easily and rather quickly making this salad just that little bit more appealing. I'm currently cutting down on my meat intake and so chicken breast is sitting this one out. Eggs are a great substitute and good source of protein. Packed with different textures, this salad makes a great light lunch or dinner during these gorgeous summer months.

Toasted Avocado Bagels Two Ways

If you enjoy a cheeky bagel, this one is a delightful protein-packed breakfast treat. While they have a high fat content, avocados add a richness and creaminess to anything and are also omega 3 fatty acids, the good kind of fat, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid. After indulging in oat & smoothie bowls for breakfast most of the time; a change was definitely needed. A lot of people on my instagram were a bit surprised with the avocado & banana combo. Yes, it is an unusual combo but my goodness its tasty. These bagels are super easy to prepare & are perfect to eat at any time of the day.

Frozen Banana Dark Chocolate Lollies

As if I don't eat enough bananas as it is, I've only gone and made a snack that's completely centered around them. Whether you're using bananas that are past their best days or using fresh bananas, these lollies are a healthy, refreshing snack the kids are sure to love this summer. This is another way of getting them to eat more fruit. Let's not stop there, apart from me of I know a few adults that over-indulge in these delicious little numbers when that chocolate craving kicks in. But remember, once they are ready and out of the freezer, do not leave them standing too long as they start to 'sweat' very quickly. With how tasty they are, I guarantee they will be gone in a matter of minutes.

4-minute Oat Breakfast Bowl

It seems I'm turning into a bit of a breakfast criminal. From smoothie bowls and eggs omelettes to endless Oats bowls; I'm cruising through life one bowl at time. We made it through another week so Happy Friday! This is probably one of the simplest breakfast bowls I've done in a long time; it seems I'm getting sucked into the wonderful world of cosmic breakfasts. Breakfast is undoubtedly my favourite meal of the day and it is also the most important. When done right, it provides the body and brain with fuel and should ideally be a good source of essential nutrients. This is the reason why I tend to go for oats (a good source of fiber) usually topped with fruit (good source of vitamins and minerals) and at times, I throw in chia seeds, nuts, dried fruits as well as good ol' peanut butter. It seems that a lot people automatically deem peanut butter 'unhealthy'. However, I feel that its the whole package of nutrients that truly matter when it comes to food. Some of the healthiest foods contain saturated fats just like peanut butter does but when you really look into it; peanut butter contains 80% unsaturated fats which means unsaturated fats only make up 20%. The health benefits offered by peanut butter far outweigh the mere 20% of saturated fats. Peanut butter is also rich in fiber, some vitamins and minerals. And besides, I love it! We have become a species that overthinks all things nutrition; what happened to food being pleasurable? Surely just eating real food is enough.

Fish & Vegetable Soup with Vermicelli

When I'm in a hurry and in need of a quick, tasty meal; Vermicelli noodles are such a great option. It's been a busy couple of days and so I'm bringing back the soups. I'm an avid fan of Asian food, the creativity and range of dishes offered is absolutely mind-boggling; they are simple dishes that almost always tastes fantastic, now that is something to be excited about. My personal favorites range from the simple Cantonese Yang Chow Fried Rice to the Hunan Steam Chili Fish Head; not forgetting Steamed Dumplings. Right, I got a little bit carried away there; now let's talk Fish Noodle Soup. This Thai inspired dish is tasty, rather comforting and nutritious. Seasoned with lots of spices, this is just perfect for any season and anytime of the day. 

Banana, Melon & Kiwi Smoothie Bowl

Breakfast smoothies have been apart of my diet the past 4 years and ever since I started serving them in a bowl; they seem to taste even better. It's almost like having soup for breakfast. There's something so much more appealing about eating with a spoon than drinking the smoothie from a glass. The addition of toppings is the icing on cake; its satisfying and suddenly, the smoothie becomes so much more than just something you drink. It becomes a truly filling, absolutely delicious breakfast bowl. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I'm eating more smoothie bowls and experimenting with different flavours. The past 2 weeks have been all about Kiwis so lets get right to it.

Tenkaichi Sushi & Noodle Bar Cardiff Review

School's officially out for all and so we decided to head out for food to celebrate. Being the budding Scientists that we are, we decided to skip the usual steak for a change & go for a healthier option. Only one thing came to mind, Japanese food. They offer healthier, more nutritious options and so it was only inevitable we would end up at Tenkaichi Sushi and Noodle Bar. The authenticity of food from this independent, family run business differs greatly from that of a chain like Wagamama. Located at the bottom end of busy City road, it's the perfect place to kill time with good friends. We were greeted with a smile by the friendly staff and promptly seated. Just like the many other Japanese restaurants, Tenkaichi's interior decor is minimal consisting of bare walls, bright lighting and communal seating. This relaxed, informal seating can be uncomfortable if you're unlucky enough to be sitting in the middle. Having to get up numerous times for other guests to leave is rather unsettling. As for the food, you'll just have to read on to find out. 

Sautéed potatoes and vegetables *vegetarian friendly*

Sometimes all you need is simple dish after a long day, one that is comforting and wholesome. I'm probably rice's biggest fan but unfortunately it's one of my triggers and so I've had to cut down. Yes you got me, I am cheating on rice with potatoes. Being faithful to just one staple food is proving rather challenging, after all, it is said that variety is the spice of life. I've been studying recipe books a lot lately, trying to put together my own recipes that are IBS friendly with lots of flavour. In case you haven't noticed, I've got a really fussy palate. Potatoes are one of my favourite things to cook because of their versatility, a quick vegetable mash up.

Singaporean Fish Head Curry

When you're happy; make a good Curry! I've only gone and made my very first Singaporean fish head curry, yes you just read fish head. Let's focus on the nutritional value of this dish for just a moment. Fish offers high quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. Why do you need these nutrients? Protein is required by the body for repair and growth. Omega-3 fatty acids are not synthesised in the body, they can only be acquired from food. They are an important part of cell membranes throughout the body affecting the cell receptors. Just to name a few. omega-3 fatty acids regulate the contraction and relation of the artery walls as well as blood clotting; they are crucial! Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorous absorption in the body, it also helps maintain healthy teeth and bones. We wouldn't want those teeth falling out for no reason now would we?

This is something I would've never tried a year ago but thanks to my Seafood obsessed boyfriend, I'm now open to trying out different foods at least once. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? I'm aware that the whole point of a curry is to also enjoy the soup that comes with it but unfortunately I'm not really a soup kind of girl and so my plate always consists of mainly solids. The recipe I used is so easy to follow and the flavours in this dish go so well together. It will be making a regular appearance, don't knock it until you try it.

Peanut Butter & Kiwi Breakfast Bowl

I strongly believe that preparation is the absolute key to a healthy lifestyle. Planning out your meals and workouts a few days in advance will help keep you motivated and on track. Your diet and workouts go hand in hand which is why it's important to allow plenty of time. A good breakfast is one that makes you feel amazing, one that's nutritious and keeps you going until lunchtime. Unhealthy snacking be gone! Oats are my go-to breakfast option most of the time and this is mainly because they are so easy to prepare and versatile. The list of toppings you can choose from is pretty much endless, it's all down to preference. Its a gorgeous, sunny day which calls for this peanut butter and kiwi breakfast bowl. 
It's been a while since I had the kiwifruit. There are a few health benefits associated with Kiwis and one of them like many other fruits and vegetables is Vitamin C. This vitamin is a crucial antioxidant and nutrient. Collagen (a hard and insoluble fibrous protein) which is the support system of the skin is reliant on Vitamin C. Kiwis have also been associated with better sleep in adults experiencing sleep problems (read the study Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition). The kiwifruit has high potassium content which can help reduce high blood pressure. Their taste is a cross between nectarines, strawberries and bananas; where else can you get that kind of mix?

*One less thing to worry about with Bidvine

In this modern world we live in, time is not something we have much of. Whether it's working life, family life or sport that takes up most of your days;  there comes a time when something goes wrong or you're in need of a professional. Getting something done may not be the issue but dedicating your time might be. That's where Bidvine comes in; what is it? Well, Bidvine is an online company that offers a variety of services and they are all in one place. Need a painter? Find one on bidvine. Want to get healthy for the summer? Get yourself a Nutritionist through Bidvine. Emergency move and in need of a man with a van? That's right, find the right van man through Bidvine. This is a fast, free and effective way to obtain quotes from professionals in your local area. 

Their mission: "We make hiring local, trusted service professionals ridiculously simple - and help people use the time saved to pursue their passions." All you need is 10 minutes and Bidvine does all the work for you. You just need to answer a few questions specific to the service required e.g. Fitness (personal training, nutritionist, yoga etc), Photography (wedding, family etc), Home (Handyman; interior painting etc), Learning (piano; spanish etc). If you have a budget, you can also enter it at this point and of course your postcode to ensure your quotes are from local professionals. 

Breakfast with Nutritional Benefits

I love a good breakfast bowl, my favourite being a steaming bowl of Oats topped with delicious summer fruits. This is the greatest way to start off a busy day ahead. Oats are extremely versatile and nutritious; they can be used in a variety of meals and snack. A few of my favourite oat-filled snacks include oatmeal Pancakes, strawberry oatmeal bars and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Let's talk about their nutritional benefits; Oats are packed with insoluble and soluble fibre. Insoluble fibre helps aid movement during digestion by reducing constipation and this is one of the main reasons why I eat oats everyday. As an IBS sufferer, constipation can be a daily struggle. It is unpleasant but with the help of insoluble fibres and of course Magnesium hydroxide which is prescribed to me on a regular basis; bowel movement does improve. 

Soluble fibre helps lower cholesterol through the formation of a viscous gel and also helps with stabilising glucose levels. Oats are also naturally gluten free, it's nice to not have to watch my gluten intake for a change. They also keep you fuller for longer meaning avoiding unhealthy snacking gets easier mid morning.  One cup of cooked oatmeal contains about 150 calories, 6g of protein and 4g of fiber, this makes for a nicely balanced breakfast. 

*Jamie's Italian Cardiff Super Lunch Menu Review

Gorgeous aroma; Italian-inspired, quirky interior decor and a buzzing, friendly atmosphere at first glance are just some of the makings of a great restaurant. Last week I received an email from the lovely people at Jamie's Italian asking if I would be interested in popping into my local Jamie's Italian to try out a few dishes on their Super Lunch Menu then review. Of course I jumped at the chance and my lovely boyfriend came along with me. This was my very first visit to the Jamie's Italian restaurant here in Cardiff and I had always wondered how it would compare to so many other popular restaurants. I've been so busy with my studies this year that I haven't had much opportunity to eat out as much as I'd like. Then again, I thoroughly enjoy cooking so no complaints there. Now that my studies are over for the summer; I'm delving back into blogging head first. 

When we walked in, we were greeted with a smile and seated at our table promptly. We had a nice table by the window and this was effective as I had lots of natural light for shooting my food photos. After being handed the menus, we schemed through & ordered our drinks. Our waitress (Megan) is probably one of the nicest people I've ever met; she was young and bubbly, extremely helpful & our conversation with her was free flowing which instantly made us feel comfortable. 

Perfectly situated in the city centre, Jamie's Italian offers delicious Italian food prepared with "fresh, carefully sourced, seasonal ingredients". Their super lunch menu offers gluten free, vegan and healthy options all at a very reasonable price. Jamie Oliver as we all know is a big brand and I'll be the first to admit that I was expecting their prices to be a lot higher than they actually are. Do I have your attention now? You know you want to read more 
© Pocketsized Cook. Design by Fearne.