Sunday, April 22, 2018

Smoothies: Pineapple Passion

I'm excited about this one, I love pineapple!


 Ingredients:

1 cup of pineapple chunks
1 cup of yoghurt
6 ice cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Blend until well combined.


This is my favourite so far, I can see me making this often. It's delicious!! It's light and tastes like summer in a glass.

Pineapple is another food that's great for you. Especially if like me you have arthritis. Pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain which is a strong anti-inflammatory. Pineapple boosts your immunity, it speeds up wound healing, prevents cancer, aids digestion and soothes symptoms of the common cold. The list goes on.

Read more here.

Perfect for after some exercise to aid any inflammation.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Boxing




I've always been a fan of boxing. I used to watch boxing with my Dad when I was a kid. I've loved boxing films like Rocky, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby etc.

So I was really excited to move onto Boxing for my next exercise.

The H Hour Boxing Gym is just a 10 minute walk from our house, we've passed it dozens of times and thought about giving it a go. Finally, we did.

After a short email exchange with Rob, the owner, we were all set for our first session on a Thursday night. The first session is free to everyone and then just £5 pay as you go. Bargain!

As we walked to the gym I was nervous about what it'd be like. As usual not knowing what to expect had me worrying I wouldn't be able to keep up. When we opened the door that first night I was hit by the atmosphere in there. It was sweaty, hot and packed full of people. It was a bit intimidating! The juniors session was in progress so the entry area was full of mums ready to pick up kids and also people getting ready for the seniors session. Putting on boxing boots and wrapping their hands ready to box. We felt like such newbs!

We battled our way through to the office. It was a cheerful bedlam in there with Rob holding court. He cleared everyone out and gave us the lowdown on his gym. He has boxing credentials as long as your arm (if you have really long arms) and obviously knows his stuff.

It's really impressive that the gym is non-profit. Rob's clearly passionate about the place and all dues go back to improving the gym.

As the senior session started, JD and I were shown 'hands and feet'. Adam, one of the coaches, showed us how to stand and move forward and backwards, then how to hold our hands up in defense. There's a lot more to it than you'd think. After about 40 minutes we joined in with the group who were racing from one side of the gym to the other, doing squats, situps and pairing up to punch each other in the stomach. It was great.

I came out of the session absolutely soaked in sweat, the cold night air never felt so good.

The next week we got to spar with each other in the boxing ring. It was the best thing ever!!! I've always wanted to have a go in one. Just climbing in between the ropes was great, haha. When no-one was looking we tried rebounding off the ropes too. We hit each other so much that second week that our arms and shoulders were sore for days.

The gym has a round timer going as you box so you feel aware of how long a boxing round is. Rob uses the break between rounds to explain what we're doing next then shouts 'BOX' as the next round starts. A round feels like a long time when you're working hard.

Look how pleased I look.

There was lots to love about the boxing but here's my top 3:

1 - Awesome rock music playing while you box.

2 - Rob's banter with everyone, he's pretty funny.

3 - Getting to punch JD. (Except, he also punches me!)

There was a lot of variation in each session so we felt like we were learning a lot. The only drawback was that in working in a group some of the time we didn't know if we were doing it right. I think we'd have benefited from more coaching. But we left each session exhausted and feeling like we'd been worked hard.

I'd love to learn more about boxing so I'll be adding it to my (already long) shortlist of things to do more of.

JD and I with Rob.
I didn't know what to expect being a fat woman walking into a boxing gym but it couldn't be more inclusive. Turns out boxing is for anyone and I'd recommend it if you want to learn a new sport, get fit and feel like a badass. :D

H Hour Boxing Gym, Harrogate

Previously on Emma's Exercise Experiments:

Gym 

Yoga

Bootcamp

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Smoothies: Superwoman

I'm not sure if this is the smoothie that Superwoman actually drinks or if it's for all women who are each a Superwoman in their own way. I accept no responsibility for what would happen if a man drank this!

Ingredients:

2 bananas
2 cups spinach
1 cup apple juice


This is another smoothie with a great colour. A proper green smoothie at last. It was lovely and frothy with a nice flavour from the apple juice. I really liked this one.


Spinach is great, we already eat it as salad leaves or in our breakfast eggs. It's really good for you in so many ways too.

15 Impressive Spinach Benefits

Apple juice has vitamin C, antioxidants and helps slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Nice :)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Book Review: The Savvy Shopper's Cookbook


A book by Amy Sheppard aiming to reduce the cost of your weekly shop. It's full of recipes based on ingredients you can easily find in cheap supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl. There's also tips for shopping in those supermarkets which seem quite useful. There are no costings in the book (probably due to changing prices) so I'm going to see how much each recipe costs as a test of it's savviness.

JD and I love baked beans so we were keen to try the Boston Beans.

Ingredients:

2 cans baked beans
150g bacon lardons
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup


We forgot to add an onion to this but despite that mistake these beans were fantastic. Probably the best beans we've had. My only complaint is that it's listed as a main meal that serves 4 people and two cans of beans between four people just isn't enough for a meal. Not in our house anyway. We had ours with sausages and they were great together. We also had some homemade bread with it.

The cost of our meal (including 94p for the sausages) was £3.43. Pretty cheap for 4 people.


Next, we tried making the Sweetcorn Soup.

Ingredients:

1 onion
1 baking potato
200g sweetcorn
1 litre chicken stock
50ml single cream
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme


This soup was lovely. We left ours a bit thicker than the recipe suggests and left out the herbs as we didn't have them in (fresh herbs can be pricey). It made enough for either 4 small cups or 2 decent bowl portions.

It cost £2.40.

JD and I were keen to try the Chilli Beef Canneloni recipe, so one Saturday when the kids were away we made it. Feeds 6? We'll see about that, haha.

Ingredients:

5 tortilla wraps
200g cream cheese
3 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp cumin
150g grated cheese
1 onion
500g minced beef
1 tsp sugar
1 can kidney beans
500g passata

It's hard to see in our picture, but this dish is made up of folded over tortilla wraps covered in chilli. It was great, unlike anything we'd eaten before. Almost like a Mexican lasagna. We loved it.

You mix the cream cheese with the chilli powder and half the cheese and spread it over the wraps. Fold them up and put on the bottom of an oven tray. Use the other ingredients to make up the chilli part then pour that over the wraps. Sprinkle with cheese and then bake for 20 minutes on 200.C

The ingredients cost about £5.20 which is reasonable for quite a hearty dish. It's hard to cost up a few teaspoons of chilli powder or other items you already have in stock.


It's a decent cookbook, the recipes I've tried have all worked out well. The portion sizings, again, are a little on the small size. (I'm starting to think it's just us!) I think the costings were good, most of the recipes are made up of ingredients that can be bought cheaply using the supermarket savers lines rather than brands.

Next on the list to try is a recipe for Roasted Lettuce! Sounds weird to me but I can try it and include it in my next Veg Update :)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Smoothies: Avocado and Strawberry

Avocado is one of those ingredients that I know is good for me but I can't quite bring myself to try it properly. It looks slimy and weird. Luckily with a smoothie it just all gets mixed in together.

Ingredients:

1 avocado
handful of strawberries
1 cup of milk
1 tablespoon honey
dash of lemon juice



It was a pretty nice smoothie, even with the avocado in it. I should really change my thinking about avocados, I just looked up the health benefits and there's too many to list. Instead, here's a link to the wonders of avocados ---> https://www.well-beingsecrets.com/health-benefits-of-avocado/

Apparently they can even heal wounds in rats. I'm sure Dorothy and Florence, our pet rats, feel reassured that I have this information. :D

Next up - Superwoman Smoothie

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Cheeky Burger! 11: Chicken with Goat's Cheese

Another offering from my burger book, this time it's a chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto. I'm already sold on this one!

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

4 slices prosciutto
5oz goats cheese


Season the chicken breasts with salt & pepper then wrap the ham around them. Fry in oil until the ham is starting to crisp up. Transfer to an oven tray and top each chicken breast with a couple of slices of goats cheese. Bake for 20 minutes on about 200C. Serve in a toasted bread bun.


This was really tasty but a little dry. The goats cheese was lovely and creamy which went well with the salty ham and chicken. Leigh and Erin both enjoyed the chicken with prosciutto wrapped around it but avoided the goats cheese. The best thing about this burger is that my picture of it makes it look like a face!

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 3

Monday, April 2, 2018

Do We Know Our Crisps?

Erin is the biggest eater of crisps in our family (closely followed by Leigh) and she often brags that she'd know our regular crisps (Morrisons) from other brands.

So we decided to test her!

We got 6 different brands/types of Ready Salted crisps and taste tested them.


We had:

Asda 85p for 6
Aldi 85p for 6
Morrisons 77p for 6
Walkers £1.50 for 6
Asda Value 66p for 12
Walkers Light £1.50 for 6


After much crisp eating we found out the following things:

JD and I chose Walkers as our favourite.

Leigh and Erin picked Aldi as the best.

Erin correctly picked which were our regular Morrisons crisps.

We each seemed to like varying degrees of saltiness and crunch. Erin thought the Walkers were too salty and guessed they were the cheapest from Asda's value range. There really wasn't that much difference between the crisps. We enjoyed all of them and decided it wasn't worth paying extra for the Walkers crisps because the Morrisons, Aldi and Asda were all pretty decent crisps.

Erin is feeling like a crisp expert now. :D