Friday, 31 October 2014

Strawberry Greek Yoghurt Cheesecake #TryTotal

I am obsessed with cheesecake. It's my absolute fave and I can never say no to it! So for my next Total recipe, I decided to make a healthier version of my favourite pudding. It's free from refined sugar as it's sweetened with natural honey and fresh strawberries, and the cacao nibs gives the base a yummy chocolatey taste - all the flavour without the guilt!


Serves 12
BASE

125g pecans
45g desiccated coconut
70g cacao nibs
185g pitted dates
3tbsp coconut oil (melted, at room temp)

For the base I used the same recipe from "The Art of Eating Well"s Avocado Lime Cheesecake.
Toast the pecans & coconut for about 8minutes in a preheated oven (150c), then pop them in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and blend until the mixture is crumbly and sticks together when pinched. Stop before it gets too smooth! Press the mixture into the bottom of a lined springform tin. 


FILLING

1.5 cups Full fat Fage Total Greek yoghurt
200g cream cheese
125g strawberries
1/2 cup natural honey
1/4 cup lemon juice
1tsp vanilla extract

This part couldn't be easier - whisk all of the ingredients together, pour on top of the base and allow to set in the fridge overnight. Decorate with fresh chopped strawberries and enjoy!
I actually blended my filling which made it far too smooth. I popped it in the freezer overnight so it did set in the end but I had to eat it really quickly before it melted... that's my excuse anyway ;)


The classic version of Total Greek Yoghurt is perfectly creamy so was ideal for this kind of dessert. It's still high in protein with 9g of protein per 100g and only 5g of fat - told you it was guilt free! There's less cream cheese than in your typical cheesecake as I've replaced some of it with extra yoghurt for extra goodness.


Let me know how it sets when whisked!

Christy xx

Monday, 27 October 2014

another weekend... in the gym #31

Another Weekend Without Make-up is no more! For a while I've felt the name was a bit of a tongue twister and didn't really give any clues as to what I actually blog about, After much deliberation we are now "Dinner Stories"! It had to be something food related really, didn't it? It's all official with our very own domain name and everything, please spread the word! Welcome to dinnerstories.co.uk...

FOOD


Well, other than that exciting news, not much has changed! Still sticking to plan... I'm finding it easier every week as I'm getting more familiar with the routine - I don't have to refer to the recipes so often now. I had a few treats at the weekend again as I was off but hey that's life. Still having some issues with my clothes. I guess I'm only just coming to terms with the fact that an extra stone of muscle will change my shape and the way things fit! Keeping the faith though - if I stay on plan then I will cut fat! And then I could always just buy a whole new wardrobe! Any excuse ;)

EXERCISE


Monday - Recovery day!
Tuesday - Kettlebells & metafit.
Wednesday - Weights.
Thursday - Weights.
Friday - Rest day.
Saturday - Weights.
Sunday - Weights & 1/2 mile swim.

My PT advised me to train in the gym more often so this week I skipped my usual Insanity class & hit the weights instead. I've been absolutely knackered all week - I'm blaming doing Survival last Sunday, not getting to bed early enough all week and the change in the weather! S.A.D anyone? After forcing myself to train all week I took Friday as my rest day for a night out in Aberdeen. We made use of the hotel's gym in the morning but it didn't have all the equipment I normally use so was a bit of a pathetic sesh. This Saturday I have a hen night so I'll be training hard & eating well all week so I can enjoy myself at the weekend! Fingers crossed the clock changing helps with my sleep pattern too.

Hope you had a good week?

Christy xx

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Men's Health Survival of the Fittest

Men's Health Survival of the Fittest, Edinburgh... in a word? Epic! 


My second ever obstacle race was a tough one but I loved it. The 10k course was actually 12.5k and felt like it went on forever. We ran up and down so many hills and stairs that I lost count - including the Royal Mile, Jacob's Ladder, Calton Hill & even Arthur's Seat which was an absolute killer! We were treated to some amazing sights of Edinburgh along the course though. At one point we were climbing Arthur's Seat, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining, we had a view right across the city with a rainbow above it, which made it more than worth the pain!



Maybe we'd of ran even faster if this guy had been behind us...


The obstacles were well spaced out and pretty intense. As hard as they are, it's kind of nice to break up the running! There was hay bales, monkey bars, cargo nets, a slide, a maze, a tyre squeeze, cones & sand bags that we had to carry on our backs, freezing cold water up to our waists, lots and lots of ridiculously high walls... There was no soft landing on the other side either, just an 8ft drop! My poor knees were knackered by the end of it.


We climbed, jumped and crawled our way around the course. Although we signed up as a big team, I hadn't planned to run the race with anyone in particular. Some of my team mates caught up with me early on and I stayed with them for the rest of the race... it was the best thing that could of happened! The support and encouragement you get from a team is invaluable and I couldn't of done it without these guys! My mind would of given up half way through the never ending tunnel if it wasn't for them. The obstacles themselves were much harder than I'd expected - at the Beast Race I found them more uncomfortable than actually difficult! - but the Survival course is seriously challenging. Luckily my team mates were always on hand to push and pull each other over the obstacles - totally deserving of the Team Epic name, thanks guys!


I was so relieved to see the finish line! We completed it in 1 hour 44 minutes 58 seconds. I'd predicted 1 hour 30 minutes so seeing as there was an extra 2.5k and some really tough hills I'm pretty chuffed with that time. If you get the chance to compete in Survival of the Fittest, take it! Each entrant receives a medal, an event t-shirt and a goody bag full of healthy treats, copies of Men's/Women's Health and, erm, lube... maybe it's good for chaffing? It was so much fun (the race, not the lube!) and you get a seriously smug feeling of accomplishment when you cross that line. 


Even smugger when you get that well deserved drink afterwards...


Have you ever competed in Survival of the Fittest? Would you?

Christy xx

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

another weekend... in the gym #30


FOOD

Finally had my weigh in - I've lost 2.6% body fat and gained 2.6lb of muscle... Pretty pleased with that, everything is going in the right direction! I actually feel bigger right now but I'm putting it down to muscle & hoping I'll start to notice the fat loss soon. My ultimate goal is really just to have a flat (or at least not pregnant looking) stomach so I think I'm just expecting too much too soon. I'm not going to have visible abs after a month!! It's progress though, I'm a step closer to my goals and feeling motivated to stick with the plan... Slow & steady wins the race!

EXERCISE

Monday - Boxercise & yoga
Tuesday - Kettlebells & metafit
Wednesday - Weights
Thursday - Personal training
Friday - Rest day
Saturday - Rest day
Sunday - Survived at Men's Health Survival of the Fittest in Edinburgh! More on that soon ;)

How was your week? Have you reached any goals lately?

Christy xx

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Benefits of Yoga

I've only recently taken up yoga and am still getting the hang of it. I'm no expert and I think it'll be a while before I feel comfortable enough practising it on my own but I'm really enjoying my Monday night classes. It's not for everyone but I find it helps me to relax and unwind, and I always leave class with a smile on my face. There's so many benefits to yoga that I thought I'd share a few that I've experienced...

  • Relieves Stress - Maybe it's down to focusing on your breath or maybe it's just switching off from your phone/TV/laptop/world for an hour? I don't know, but it works.
  • Stretches Sore Muscles - I love a good stretch to lengthen out my muscles when they're tight and sore from training.
  • Improves Flexibility - The more you practise, the more you'll be able to bend and flow easily. Your muscles will get used to the poses and you'll get deeper into them every time.
  • Aids Digestion (!) - When my belly feels sore and bloated, I make sure I don't skip yoga! Your abdominal organs are stimulated by loads of yoga poses, but twists especially give everything a good squeeze and massage your abdomen to get everything working. Less stress also means less tummy problems so I guess it all links together! 
  • Relieves Back Pain (!) - The biggest benefit for me! I noticed a difference from my very first class. Lower back pain is something I've struggled with for a while, particularly during core exercises and sometimes even just after a long day on my feet at work. I can be struggling with it all day, go to a yoga class, and leave pain free! 
  • Helps You Relax and Rest - I always sleep better after a class :)
Why do you love yoga?

Christy xx

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

another weekend... in the gym #29

FOOD

This week I stuck to my plan with just a couple of treats at the weekend! I'm back in my own house and in my normal routine so I had no excuse not to. They say it takes 4 weeks for you to see a difference in your body, 8 weeks for your friends & family to notice, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world... It's just over 10 weeks until Christmas so hopefully I'll start seeing it by then! I had a wedding dance at the weekend. I'd planned to wear the same dress I wore last month but I couldn't get my arms into it!! Ended up changing at the last minute but had issues getting my ass into the next dress! In the end I had to rip the lining to make it more comfortable... Really hoping it's all down to muscle gain but it's hard not to be negative and feel like a massive heffer after that!


EXERCISE

Monday - Rest day.
Tuesday - Kettlebells & metafit.
Wednesday - Weights.
Thursday - Insanity.
Friday - Rest day.
Saturday - Rest day.
Sunday - 5k run & weights.

Hoping to get back to yoga to chill out and get a good stretch this week. I have a PT sesh coming up too so will finally find out if there's been any change to my muscle/body fat - fingers crossed. I'm also taking part in Bodyism's #50daysoffitness Instagram challenge which started yesterday. There's still time to get involved & get yourself fit for Christmas! All you have to do is upload an image of something fitness/health related that you've done every day for 50 days. It's 72 days til Christmas! Don't forget to tag me (@xchristybx) in your posts so I don't miss them :)

5 days til Survival of the Fittest!

Christy xx

Monday, 13 October 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Protein Pudding #TryTotal


Another  Fage healthy recipe today! This one is so easy you could make it with your eyes closed. It's great for getting your fill of protein while staying on plan and satisfying your sweet tooth at the same time. Total 0% Greek yoghurt, as the name suggests, is completely fat free and packs in 10.3g protein per 100g. With the added whey protein and peanut butter that's a grand total of 49.3g of protein per portion! If you're somebody who craves something sweet after dinner then this is ideal!


(Serves 1)
200g Total 0% Greek Yoghurt
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Multipower's Double Chocolate Whey & More Protein)
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
Granola of your choice (optional)

Simply mix the yoghurt, protein powder and peanut butter together, top with granola and there you go! Here I've used a dark Rocky Road granola topper that I stole from my Dad's Graze box (Shh)! When I'm not adding granola I like to use crunchy peanut butter for a bit of texture :)


Enjoy!

Christy xx

Friday, 10 October 2014

Fage #TryTotal Healthy Recipe Challenge


Gizzi Erskine recently said that certain faddy health foods can't taste good. Admitedly her beef is mainly with the infamous chia seed, but I'm on a mission to prove her wrong. My pals at Fage have gotten on board and very kindly sent me some of their Total Greek Yoghurt to help. I go through at least 2 tubs of this stuff a week, usually mixed with fruit or as a soured cream alternative with chilli - I like to pile on the jalapenos but can't actually handle the heat!

I'm setting myself a challenge to find more uses for my favourite Greek yoghurt, incorporating Gizzi's dreaded chia seed as much as possible and proving that healthy food can in fact taste good! I'll be sharing the results with you here on the blog.


My first recipe in this series is admittedly a bit of a cheat as the main part isn't my own. It's a genius creation of my favourite sisters - the Hemsley + Hemsley healthy eating goddesses. The girls are well known for creating healthy versions of classic comfort foods and their quinoa scone recipe falls right into that category. It's easy to follow and is available on the Vogue website here.

I follow the scone recipe to a T but make my strawberry chia jam slightly differently. First I mash the strawberries with a fork, then add 1 tbsp of chia seeds, 1 tbsp of water, 1 tbsp of maple syrup and mixing together. Allow it to set in the fridge overnight.


My little Total twist comes in at the cream stage. The girls recommend clotted cream, butter or COYO but I prefer to reduce the fat and up the protein. Enter Total 2% Greek Yoghurt. It contains only 2g of fat per 100g and an impressive 9.9g of protein! Simply mix 1 cup of yoghurt with a tsp of vanilla extract for a delicious cream alternative!


Have you ever tried Total Greek Yoghurt? What do you eat yours with?

Christy xx

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Taming the Beast


10k with obstacles? I can handle that. I've ran 10k before, I can jump, I can climb, other people can help me if I'm too short... That's about all the thought that went into it when I agreed to sign up for the Prime Four Beast Race. Little did I know there was a bit more to it than running and climbing!


We climbed over hay bales, ran up hills, through bogs and trees, jumped over & ducked under ropes, crawled on our bellies through mud, slid down steep chutes, commando crawled through pitch black tunnels and under barbed wire, dove head first into clay pits, trekked through rivers, scaled 12 ft walls and even swam in the loch, dipping under and over pontoons and barrels! Hows that for a weekend workout? It sounds (and was) absolutely horrendous yet I can honestly say it was one of the most fun days I've ever had. That feeling of accomplishment as you sprint over the finish line, freezing, soaking and covered in god knows what, to be greeted by cheers and handed a medal? Epic!



The event was really well organised - the silent disco warm up was one of my favourite parts! There was plenty facilities on site - toilets, showers, indoor cafe, food vans - they had everything covered. All the staff were friendly and happy to help at any moment, making sure everybody was kept safe at each obstacle. £5 from each entry went towards Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland - a charity that even helped to save a woman's life when she suffered a heart attack at the event. Proving that they're a very worthy cause!!  I'm super chuffed with the unusual wooden medal and goody bags, the only thing I'd like to see next year is a t-shirt included in the entry price!

This GoPro video will give you a better insight into the horror we went through.... ;)


Thanks to the race organisers and all my team mates for a brilliant day out and well done to everyone who completed the race! I'm proud to say I tamed the beast and will definitely be back next year. Now bring on Survival!

Christy xx

Monday, 6 October 2014

another weekend... in the gym #28

FOOD


Still enjoying my meal plan! I haven't stuck to it 100% this week just due to personal circumstances and certain situations making it a little more difficult to prep etc. That doesn't mean I've eaten loads of crap though - most of the alternatives were still clean & healthy, just not on the plan! I did have a bit of a biscuit binge on Friday night but 1 night of the week, compared to 7 nights? It's an improvement! Hopefully I'll get weighed in a couple of weeks so I'll find out for sure what effect the whole thing is having on my body. I feel better anyway so staying positive and motivated!

EXERCISE


Monday - Rest day.
Tuesday - Kettlebells & metafit.
Wednesday - Rest day.
Thursday - Weights.
Friday - Rest day.
Saturday - Kettlebells & metafit - tried the new Kettlercise Genesis program which was tough!!
Sunday - HIIT & Weights.

My trainer was sick this week so I took advantage of it and had a bit of a recovery week myself. I'm housesitting at the moment so out of my usual routine and everythings just a bit mad so I think I needed it. On Friday I officially signed up to enter the Men's Health Survival of the Fittest in Edinburgh! It's only 2 weeks away so I'll be training hard to prepare myself for the race - can't wait!

How have you trained this week?

Christy xx

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Chocolate Bar - Ellon

Next dress // Dune boots // Primark bag // Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses

While shopping with my sister I picked up this little navy dress in Next. I had no intentions of buying it, expecting it to be about £40, so when I saw the £24 price tag I couldn't resist! It's a simple easy to wear classic shift. The ribbed material is comfy and casual but I always think a little zip detail gives clothes more of a luxe look. I've worn it with heels & a Chanel bag for a night out with the girls but it looks just as good dressed down! For a stroll around Ellon the other week I styled it down with black tights and boots... anybody else rocking tights already? It's getting chilly guys!


We'd headed to Ellon in the hope of catching the farmers market. We didn't. (I think I got the wrong day!) Instead we strolled along the riverside and had a potter about the shops before stopping for a cuppa to heat us up. Neither of us is that familiar with Ellon but having seen Laura post a yummy looking white hot chocolate photo on her Instagram, we followed suit and headed to The Chocolate Bar...


On the day I started my new diet plan! Who does that? I stayed strong though and just ordered myself a green tea. Gordon on the otherhand had one of those white hot chocolates (as good as it looks apparently!) and the most amazing looking super chocolatey chocolate brownie. Who's drooling on their screen right now?


I resisted those tiny little chocolate buttons on my saucer... but I might of licked the brownie fork.


Have you ever been to Ellon?

Christy xx

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Ladies Who Lunch

I passed my theory test! Driving is something that's never really interested me but I know it's about time I got my finger out and got on with it, so a few weeks ago I sat my theory test for the first time and passed - thank God! My sister Laura had taken me through to Aberdeen for it so afterwards we treated ourselves to a celebratory ladies lunch...


It was my first visit to Cafe 52 down on the Green and I loved it. The restaurant has a bit of a French bistro feel to it with dark furniture, curtains lining the walls and a gorgeous checkered floor that reminds me of my wedding venue! The outdoor seating area is quite pretty with all the flowers and definitely somewhere I'd choose to sit in the warmer weather.


As I was trying to be good I opted for the hot smoked mackerel with a minted pea and feta salad. I was a little worried about the salad as I'm not a huge fan of mint but the flavouring was subtle and I really enjoyed it. We shared some delicious honey flavoured sweet potato chips and Laura had an amazing looking vegetarian lasagne full of kale and blue cheese. I think I'd actually choose this next time!

F+F top // Mango leather skirt // River Island boots // Primark jacket

After a wee mooch around the shops it was time for round 2... dessert!


We stopped off at Cocoa Ooze on Belmont Street for some chocolatey treats. Another first time visit for me but unfortunately this time I wasn't so enamoured. Laura enjoyed a caramel hot chocolate and I had a green tea with a chocolate crunch slice. There was nothing wrong with it, it was just average and unimpressive. Nothing to write home about. Perhaps the afternoon teas or chocolate making sessions are worth a visit, but if you're just after a cuppa and fine piece I'd head to Cup instead girls!


Have you tried anywhere new recently?

Christy xx
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