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Changing my blog site.

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Forgive me for not posting in a while but I discovered that to be able to continue blogging I had to change quite a lot of things, and restart from scratch on a different platform.

I’ve been a chef all my life and my computer skills were just about checking my mails, finding information and buying things so this is a massive step for me. I didn’t want to lose my first posts which are the foundation of my blog so I just republished them there to carry on. Please forgive me the display and the time it takes me to learn new things and I promise you I will do my best to deliver to you the best I can give you on what really matters. 🙂

On that thank you and see you next time on www.grapefruitandpineapple.com

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Recipes

Vegan Mushroom and Seitan Stroganoff with Buckwheat and Dill Pickles.

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Sometimes I just need comfort food.

My husband being Russian/Belarussian I got to discover since I met him the joy of Eastern European cuisine. And to me, a mainly French, Mediterranean cuisine brought up up girl, it just opened to me a new door of different ingredients and flavor combinations I didn’t know about before. For some reason when people think about Russian cuisine, they think about caviar, blinis and Stroganoff all washed with a few shots of vodka. As the stereotype goes that was actually one of the first Russian meals I learned how to cook for my husband and I found out that it is usually served with buckwheat and not with rice as it is usually served with here. Buckwheat is an amazing grain full of nutrients that tastes great as well. It goes with pretty much everything like rice does but it is much more healthy and it’s nutty taste goes particularly well with mushrooms. I usually cook half a cup of buckwheat in a pan with a cup of water and a pinch of salt, covered until the water is absorbed, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then I’ve got one and a half cup of grains to be enough for about three of my meals. It keeps well in the fridge for three days and it is a great addition to anything.

For those who know what a Stroganoff is you probably wonder how it can be made low calorie and also vegan. Well when you think about it the only things to substitute really are the meat and the sour cream. That’s where my tofu sour cream comes in handy ( see my Russian inspired salad recipe for more on this ), and the meat is just replaced by seitan. You could do the recipe just with mushrooms and it would taste great as well but the seitan adds the protein that you need, a great texture and also tastes great in this dish. You can buy seitan pre-made in health food shops, or there are tons of recipes out there how to make it. It is usually made with gluten flour, broth and spices and is steamed or cooked in water. I usually make mine as it’s cheaper and I can always freeze the rest and only use what I need. If you are gluten intolerant you can replace it with tofu or even chickpeas if you wish, and you should be fine, ( the buckwheat is already gluten free, yeah! )

For the rest it’s just a big bulk of nutritious low calorie ingredients and a bit of spice and here you have it, a vegan stroganoff meal for under 300 calories.

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You see you too can have comfort food…

 

Vegan Mushroom and Seitan Stroganoff with Buckwheat and Dill Pickles.

  • Servings: one
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A warming Russian style comforting diner for just 289 calories.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked roasted buckwheat ( 78 cal )
  • 60g blended silken tofu ( 45 cal )
  • 1 tsp lemon juice ( 1 cal )
  • 1/4 tsp olive oil ( 10 cal )
  • 50g sliced yellow onion ( 20 cal )
  • 50g seitan, sliced into thin strips ( 75 cal )
  • 300g chopped chestnut or button mushrooms ( 39 cal )
  • 100g dill pickles ( 11 cal )
  • 1/2 tbsp sweet or smoked paprika ( 10 cal )
  • salt and pepper.

Directions

  1. Mix your blended tofu with the lemon juice and set aside. This will be your sour cream.
  2. In a non stick frying pan heat your olive oil on medium high then fry the onion and the seitan strips together, mixing from time to time, until they get a nice golden brown color, about 10 min.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the pan with a bit of salt and continue frying until they release their water and also get a nice golden brown color for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime reheat your buckwheat however you see fit, in a saucepan on low or in a microwave for 2 minutes, then put on your serving plate.
  5. Sprinkle with the paprika and plenty ( as much as you dare ) of pepper on top of the stroganoff in the pan and mix, add your tofu sour cream and mix again, taste for salt then pour over or on the side of your buckwheat.
  6. Add the pickles to your plate, sprinkle with a bit more paprika if you wish and serve.

 

About losing weight

Life…no more Lovefilm.

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What a pity.

Soon, the 31st of October to be precise, Lovefilm will stop running its DVD rentals for good. They say that with streaming services they no longer fit into today’s needs.

I beg to differ in the way that this service allowed me to try workout DVDs for years, which I can’t find any equivalent in any streaming service anywhere. I understand that there is YouTube, but you never get what you get when actually buying a DVD. This service actually helped me so much during my weight loss journey and beyond because I could actually try out so many different workouts. It made me discover trainers I’ve never heard of before, it made me find out what worked or not for me, the ones I really liked I ended up buying a copy of and most importantly it made me exercise…just for the sake of trying them out. I’m so sad right now. I understand that they are a business but for me it was so good. Anyway I wish them well and maybe, who knows, someone will be able and willing one day to create a fitness video streaming service that would include all workout and wellbeing videos out there……A girl can dream.

On that, thank you Lovefilm, you helped me a lot on my weight loss journey and for that I will be forever grateful.

Recipes

Pesto Pasta with roasted Baby Plum Tomatoes.

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Who doesn’t love pesto pasta?

The problem is that if you are on a diet and still want to have the real thing, I’m afraid that it’s not gonna be a good idea. And how good it tastes will never be up to how you are gonna regret about it later. Luckily I think I found a good compromise, and for less than 300 calories it’s a pretty good deal.

I’m sure you’ve already heard of konjac pasta. You can find it pre-packed in health food stores and sometimes in supermarkets. The main brand you see everywhere calls itself SlimPasta. I have to say it’s not cheap but I always find a buy one get one free offer somewhere and when I do I stock up for when I crave pasta. It is very easy to use, you just need to drain the little bag, ( don’t be put off by the fishy smell that comes out, it goes when you rinse it ), reheat it, and there you have pasta! It’s got pretty much the same consistency, it will taste like the sauce you add to it, and at 18 calories a portion ( versus 400 calories for about the same quantity of durum wheat pasta ) to me that is a no brainer. And don’t judge a pre-packed food by it’s cover, it is super healthy too!  It’s just made with konjac root starch, a plant from Asia, and water, and it provides the benefits of being rich in fiber to aid digestion, and makes you feel full so you will be satisfied.

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( I know I forgot the garlic…oh well. )

With that in mind, it’s all gonna be about the sauce and the side to it. You are gonna have roasted baby plums with balsamic vinegar, basil, fragrant garlic, olive oil, lots of pine nuts and even a bit of creamy tahini with it… It nearly feels like christmas!

On that I hope you are gonna like it. Try it and see you next time.

 

Pesto Pasta with roasted Baby Plum Tomatoes.

  • Servings: one
  • Print

A comforting dinner to fill your pesto pasta craving for just 286 calories.

Ingredients

  • one pack of konjac penne pasta, drained and rinsed ( 18 cal )
  • 500g baby plum tomatoes, if possible on the vine ( 90 cal )
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves ( 8 cal )
  • 15g toasted pine nuts ( 101 cal )
  • 2 tsp tahini ( 20 cal )
  • 1 tsp olive oil ( 40 cal )
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced ( 4 cal )
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar ( 5 cal )
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Lay your baby tomatoes on a baking tray with salt and pepper and roast at 200°C for 15 to 20min until they caramelise in their own juices.
  2. Meanwhile blend the basil leaves with half the pine nuts, tahini, salt and pepper until you get a paste, you can add a tablespoon of water if it helps with the blending. The time it will take depends solely on your blender.
  3. Put one teaspoon of olive oil in a pan, add your garlic and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add your pasta and mix to reheat and to coat, add your pesto and heat everything until piping hot.
  4. Put your pesto pasta in your plate, add your roasted baby plums to it, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar and top with the remaining pine nuts. Enjoy.

 

 

Recipes

Italian inspired Skinny Salad with Artichoke hearts, Tofu and Pine nuts.

P1010278This is one of my first recipes and to me it never gets old.

I just love mediterranean food. In any of the countries bordering the sea everything just feels good and healthy. There are fruits on every tree and the vegetables are full of sun.

We were lucky to visit some parts of Italy a few years back and I remember how good the food was. Salads, soups, pizza, pasta, antipasti..mmm.., the only think that put me off was the amount of olive oil that everything was drowning into. Don’t get me wrong, I love olive oil. It’s good for you and I’m beyond lucky to have parents that produce organic, extra virgin portuguese olive oil. So, I, myself, have been drown in it as well since I was born. I have to admit that I can’t live without it and have to have some everyday, but since I changed my lifestyle I had to considerably reduce the amount I was consuming, because unfortunately, I’m sure you know, it’s very very high in calories. Like with everything good, we have to remember that excess is not, especially when you are trying to be healthy and keep your weight down. So that’s how I got the idea to create a salad that doesn’t contain any. ( Just please don’t tell my mum that!! )

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You will all recognise the typical ingredients you will find so often in italian cooking. Tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, lemons, and the artichoke hearts and roasted peppers usually oily in antipasti. Then I added spring onions for taste, baby spinach for bulk, tofu for protein and dijon mustard just because I like it. After all I didn’t say I was making an Italian salad, I just said I was “inspired”.

So well, here it is, try it and I hope you are gonna like it as much as I do.

Italian inspired Skinny Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A nice refreshing salad with artichoke hearts, tofu and pine nuts, for only 300 calories.

Ingredients

  • 200g baby spinach ( 46 cal )
  • 500g chopped tomatoes ( 90 cal )
  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves ( 8 cal )
  • 200g jar of roasted peppers, in brine not oil, not drained yet ( 50 cal )
  • 240g artichoke hearts from a tin, in brine not oil, drained ( 105 cal )
  • 200g cubed tofu ( 152 cal )
  • 100g chopped spring onions ( 32 cal )
  • 5g, about 1 tsp of dijon mustard ( 14 cal )
  • 15g toasted pine nuts ( 101 cal )
  • juice of half a lemon ( 2 cal )
  • salt and pepper.

Directions

  1. Divide your 200g of washed baby spinach between two plates. Set aside.
  2. Take your roasted peppers out of your jar, chop them if they are too big for you and put them in a big mixing bowl, but keep some of the brine inside the jar, about 4 tbsp. Add the mustard, the lemon juice, some salt and pepper, close the lid and shake until the mustard is dissolved. Your dressing is done.
  3. To the mixing bowl where your peppers are add the tomatoes, basil leaves, artichoke hearts cut in half if you want, cubed tofu and spring onions. Pour your dressing on top and mix everything together, then divide between your two plates on top of the baby spinach.
  4. If you haven’t toasted your pine nuts yet, put them in the smallest pan you’ve got on medium heat then swirl them in the pan until they change colour and start smelling nice. It takes about 3 min. Don’t take your eyes out of them or they will burn. When they are a nice golden brown you can divide them between your two plates on top of the salad. Enjoy.

 

I made a video about this recipe some time ago, if you want to see how easy it is made have a look here : youtube video : italian inspired vegan skinny salad.

On that, take this salad outside, enjoy the sun and see you next time!

Workouts

RIPPED, Total Body Challenge, DVD workout review, 5 stars.

P1030901Another one I can’t live without….

This is a brilliant DVD and one of the best investments you’ll ever make. RIPPED not only means how you gonna look like after doing this workout but also stands for what you need to do to get there.. Resistance Intervals Power Plyometrics Endurance and Diet and nutrition. Whoever came up with that is a genius, and is probably very fit as well which is actually quite unfair…

Well, how do I start? The workout is divided into mini sections which are like this : Warm up : 6 min, Resistance : 7 min, Intervals 5 min, Power 10 min, Plyometrics 5 min, Endurance 10 min, ( obviously no exercise for Diet… except maybe cooking…), Cool down 5 min and a Bonus Abs section of 5 min. The whole workout is 48 min ( or 53 if you add the bonus section ). What is brilliant about this is that you get to chose how many mini sections you want to do depending on how much time you’ve got without breaking your workout. This is basically one of the best go to workouts for any time of the week.

The workout in itself is one the best out there. You will feel it working all over your body, it will make you sweat, give you adrenalin and will make you happy. All of the mini workouts are faultlessly explained, if you want you can start each one with a tutorial which will explain to you exactly how to do the moves so not to hurt yourself, during them everything goes smoothly to give you the best chances to follow correctly, the music is perfectly chosen and everything looks in place, even the comments and jokes or the camera focus on the guy that sings to the music while lifting weights..

This DVD is also perfectly made and I think a lot of workout videos out there should take it as an example. At the menu page you can chose to do the whole workout with or without tutorial, or you can chose any individual section including warm up and cool down separately, with or without tutorial, and if you chose any of them the video goes back to the menu after every single one, it doesn’t just carry on onto the following one like most videos…which means it’s easier to create your own workout on the go the way you want it without having to fiddle with the remote control for too long. It looks simple but believe me I haven’t seen this often and it’s so nice when it happens it makes you want to workout more… Really!

So here it is, one of the best workout DVD out there. The only criticism I would make is that they only made this one and only video and sometimes I wish they would have made thousands. ( That would cost me a lot of money and shelf space though… ) but I guess it must be hard to reach perfection!

If you want to see how I manage this workout in my tiny living room, have a look at a video I made some time ago here : youtube video : RIPPED, total body challenge, workout DVD review.

Now go and order it now!

Recipes

Quinoa Tabouleh with Avocado Dressing.

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It’s getting hot outside!

Mint is growing like crazy in my garden and I thought what could be nice and refreshing in this weather… I know.. a mojito could be nice!( that’s about 200 calories if you fancy one…) And after pausing for a moment I thought that a moroccan inspired tabouleh could be nice as well.

I had cooked quinoa in my fridge but if you want to cook some just know that to get one cup you need to boil in a pan 1/3 cup quinoa with 2/3cup of water for about 20min until all the water is absorbed and you can’t see anymore any white dot in the middle of the grains. Then you can use half for this recipe and keep the other half in your fridge for up to three days to use in another dish. Quinoa is a great protein and you should eat it often.

When I open an avocado I only take what I need and freeze the rest for another time, this way I’m not tempted to eat all of it. I know that it contains a lot of good fats and nutrients, that’s why I still eat it often, but like everything else in that category I think it should be eaten with care and moderation. Better a little bit often than too much in one go and suffer from it…we are trying to keep some weight off and be healthy in the end..

 

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I wanted to show you how all the ingredients look like separated and by the time I got everything ready including my camera my avocado got brown…should have mixed it with the lemon juice before doing anything else. Anyway.. don’t worry if it happens to you as well you will not see or taste the difference after it’s been blended into the salad, promise!

Other than that, just get some ice water with lots of mint and a straw ( 1 calorie!!) and enjoy.

 

Quinoa Tabouleh with Avocado Dressing.

  • Servings: just one
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A refreshing and healthy moroccan inspired tabouleh at just 256 calories.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa ( 111 cal )
  • 100g chopped cucumber ( 16 cal )
  • 50g chopped celery ( 8 cal )
  • 100g chopped radishes ( 16 cal )
  • 100g chopped red pepper ( 30 cal )
  • 30g chopped spring onions ( 7 cal )
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley ( 11 cal )
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint ( 8 cal )
  • 30g avocado ( 48 cal )
  • 1tbsp lemon juice ( 1 cal )
  • Salt and pepper.

Directions

  1. Blend or mash with a fork the avocado flesh, lemon juice, salt and pepper until you get a creamy consistency. That will be your avocado dressing.
  2. In a bowl mix the quinoa, fresh mint, fresh parsley and your avocado dressing until well blended then add all your chopped veg and mix again. Taste for seasoning and serve.