Food Prep

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“Fail to prepare or prepare to go hungry!!”

20170801_093019.jpgWell that’s my motto in life anyway! Of course you won’t starve as there are shops, cafes and restaurants in abundance only ready to soothe your hunger but also deplete your wallet.

Every day can be tough when living on a budget, travelling frequently, juggling a hectic schedule or just trying to make improved food choices for you and your family. This is where planning and preparation come into play. We plan and prepare ourselves everyday for a variety of tasks and activities. Sometimes to the outside world we can display ourselves as extremely organised but behind closed doors and particularly in the kitchen it can be chaos.

This is normal life for many and can be easily altered by following my top tips for each mealtime of the day.

Breakfast

I love breakfast and kind of can’t understand how people can leave the house without something eaten or a meal packed to eat on the commute. My favourite breakfast options can all be prepared in advance and take only minutes.

Top my homemade granola with some yoghurt and fresh fruit. Prepare an overnight oats pot the night before to grab and go in the morning. Freeze a batch of cupcake quiches for a quick protein hit in the morning. Blend a colourful juice or smoothie to get your day off to a colourful start. Overnight oats, bircher muesli, meal prep, Delalicious

Lunch

Depending on the time of year and my plans for the day my go-to lunch options are leftover dinner, salads and soups. Soup is a great option as it can be frozen in batches and defrosted quickly in the microwave. Have the soup on it’s own or add a slice of oat bread on the side. Salads can be eaten everyday, all you need to do is rotate your fillings. Store your salad contents in a jam jar to stop it going to mush with the more delicate items like salad leaves on top and the juicer contents like beetroot and tomato on the bottom. Here are my favourite combinations:

Dinner

You arrive in late from work, starving and don’t have the energy to cook, this is where your freezer becomes your best friend! Batch cook a big curry, lentil stew or risotto at the weekend, then simple portion and freeze. All you need to do is allow it to defrost in the fridge during the day or when you get home in the microwave. Revitalise this dish by adding some fresh leafy vegetables or adding a grilled protein source to a vegetable dish. Tinned fish is another great protein option to add to a frozen vegetable dinner. Here are some of my tried and tested batch cooking options:

Snacks

My mother used to describe me as a “grazer” at home and unfortunately I haven’t changed. Snacking is important for everyone but ensure you are eating correct portions.

Nuts are such an easy option, pop a bag in your car, handbag or desk drawer to always have them on hand. A whole bag of nuts can disappear before you know it so check out this great infographic for nut portions.

Vegetable sticks and hummus I find are great for travelling. Snacking before exercise, I tend to eat a plain banana or some of my Banana & Nut Bites made ahead. Homemade muffins baked in advance, frozen and defrosted are perfect for outdoor adventures.Nuts, snack, meal prep, DelaliciousAs you can see, there are plenty of recipe options for each and every mealtime. Now it’s over to you. I challenge you to make one thing on this list and freeze or store it for later. Schedule some time during the next week or month to plan what meals you need to prepare in advance, what you would like to cook and the ingredients you need to purchase. By writing these things down, you formulate a plan and consciously make decisions about your mealtimes.

Before you know it, a healthy habit will be formed. Not only will this habit reward you with a full belly but also save time and money, keep you well nourished and in control of your mealtimes!

Keep an eye on my Instagram story where I often share the contents of my lunchbox.

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Delalicious & Sportswomen.ie 

Let's Talk Food & Sport With...., Uncategorized

Delighted to announce I’m teaming up with Sportswomen.ie. to provide recipes, foodie tips and my “Let’s Talk Food & Sport With…” interview series. 

Sportswomen.ie Keep an eye out every Saturday morning for a new post. First up is my interview with Tipperary Ladies Footballer Samantha Lambert discussing all things food and sport.

Check out the interview in full here.

Food & sport interview Samantha Lambert

Let’s Talk Food & Sport with … Gráinne Dwyer

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As the Basketball Ireland Women’s Superleague comes to a close this weekend with Ambassador UCC Glanmire facing off against Courtyard Liffey Celtics, I caught up with Glanmire star Gráinne Dwyer about all things food and sport.20170329_191207-01Fellow Tipperary woman Gráinne hails from Thurles and first showed her class by lighting up the Irish school’s basketball scene whilst representing Presentation Thurles. Based in Cork, she competes in the national super league and cup with Glanmire winning four senior cup titles and two MVP awards in previous finals. Glanmire are also vying for their fourth consecutive super league title this weekend in a repeat of this years cup final against Liffey Celtics. On the international scene, Gráinne has competed with the traditional 5v5 team at both underage and senior level and in 2014 on the 3v3 team alongside her sister Niamh qualifying for the European Olympic finals.

Tell us about your first or favourite sporting memory?

Winning the 2013 cup final against UL Huskies in overtime.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring athlete in your sport?

Work hard! You are not entitled to anything, you have to earn it.20170329_191128
What advice would you give to someone who was dealing with a tough time in their life or a setback in their sport?
I find sport a way to escape from reality and  it helps that I love and enjoy it. Sport is my happy place in life.
As we all know research has shown loads of benefits from sport both physically and mentally. I think someone dealing with a tough time should find their happy place and have a good support system around them. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

What emphasis do you put on food and diet relating to your performance or do you think food and diet has any importance for your performance?

In the last few years I definitely have begun to watch what I eat a lot more. Monday to Saturday I’m usually pretty good, eating as healthily as possible but once we play on a Saturday evening I like to eat what I want. I have see an noticeable change in my energy levels since making small changes to my diet.

How do you find the time to plan and prepare meals or do you eat out every day whilst juggling a career in banking and playing with one of the top ranked basketball teams in Ireland?

Food prep is a killer for me ( I always forget to defrost my meat from the freezer!!). However, I try to bring my dinner to work everyday . When preparing meals, I usually prep for two days at a time. I’m not the best cook in the world so what I eat is very basic and would be similar to your typical Irish dinner of meat, chicken or fish, vegetables with sweet potatoes substituted for regular potatoes.
I find it can be quite difficult at times finding time to prep food as I could leave the house at 9:30am and not get home till 11:00pm. Starting is the highest part but once you do it only takes 30 minutes to get sorted and it’s so beneficial to your health and performance.20170329_191150
 Give us some insight into your typical match day food?
I like to eat light on match days, I feel there is nothing worse than feeling like lead playing a game. I eat 4-5 hours before my games and I tend to eat scrambled eggs with avocado, tomatoes and salmon. If we are on the road travelling to a game, I eat the same for my brunch and just have a snack like some fruit, a banana or orange.

What is your favourite type of food to eat or dish to cook?

I love a good burger you just can’t beat it! If I was to cook something nice for myself it would have to be fillet steak, homemade chips, fried mushrooms and onions with a pepper or mushroom sauce.

When travelling abroad to represent Ireland in competitions, is there any food you miss?

I love my food and I’m not overly picky so when we travel away I don’t really miss anything. Our meals are nearly always provided and are largely pasta based with an option of meat, fish or vegetables, so I’m usually pretty happy.20170329_191048
 What are your favourite places to eat out in Ireland?
I live in Cork so when I eat out I love to go to Quinlan’s seafood bar on Prince’s street. I was also a big fan of the tapas menu that used to be on offer in Il Padrino. I’m also a big fan of the set menu in Napoli, Monkstown – an Italian style delicatessen that’s really cool and the food is unreal. Places like Sober Lane, SoHo and Son of a Bun are great for pub grub and a pint.

#exerciseforlent – The Ups and Downs of Life

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#exerciseforlent, illness and injury

With any challenge, goal or quest in life there is always going to be conflicting times due to barriers some within our control and other times completely outside our control. One such barrier can be injury and illness. Nobody likes to be sick or injured. Initially, one or two days off work or school is nice but then the boredom sets in and if your in pain or physical discomfort there is nothing nice at all about this time.

My goal for Lent was to set myself a challenge. Instead of giving up, I was going to take up something and in my case get back strengthening my body whilst I travel the world. My aim was to complete three High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions per week in my #exerciseforlent campaign.

Like all good intentions, the first week was full of vigour and enthusiasm. The second week was a bit tougher as it clashed with a four day Lost City trek but I still managed to squeeze in the sessions before and after the trek. Week three and I was back on track, fitting in sessions daily if not every second day until week four. I had just landed in San Gil, a market town nestled in the mountainous regions of Santander state and otherwise known as Colombia’s adventure capital. I was all set to try some extreme sports and thankfully got to try rappelling and rafting until trouble struck. I got sick, no need to get into details but extreme tummy trouble should suffice. I was flat lined, no energy, no appetite and obviously a HIIT sessions was out.

#exerciseforlent, Delalicious, HIITSo after five days out from exercising, I feel like I should be pushing myself to do a session but just walking around is enough for me. I have two major treks planned in the next two weeks so they are my priority to be well enough to complete them. I’m not the kind of person to walk away from a challenge but right now I need to listen to my body for the long run. This is tough for me as I’m not used to being sick or not exercising in some way. The lack of positive effects on my mental well being from exercising daily is also beginning to kick in.

I am confident that with a few days more recuperation, I’ll be back to full steam but this is the thing about goals and setbacks. Goals never go from start to finish smoothly, they are more likely to match a roller coaster ride and the knocks, setbacks and tests along the way will make the result all the sweeter. Returning from injury and illness is just the same. No two individuals are the same and therefore their recovery can never be compared. All you can do is listen to your body and the professionals treating and guiding you.#exerciseforlent, #Delalicious It’s never too late to get moving yourself and join me on my #exerciseforlent campaign.

#exerciseforlent

TheTaste.ie March Issue

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After the great success of my two recipes that were featured in February‘s issue of TheTaste.ie. I was asked to contribute on a regular basis to the monthly food and drink magazine. Here are my two recipes that featured in this month’s issue:

Roast Butternut Squash & Carrot Spiced Soup – soup never goes out of fashion and is one of my favourite things to make. wp-image-333789580jpg.jpg

Sweet & Savoury Tapioca Crepes – inspired by my recent travels to Brazil, Tapioca crepes are naturally gluten-free and a great way to use up leftovers as fillings.Tapioca Crepe.1.jpg

 

Exercise For Lent

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As I’m hoping most of you feasted on some pancakes yesterday, I’m sure many of you pondered the question “So what am I going to give up for Lent?”. The usual answer is sweets, chocolate, drink etc. Then the next 40 days and nights are spent trying to avoid these items and feeling bad when you do succumb to temptation. To be honest I don’t like the whole notion and concept of giving up something or banning something from your diet so I normally try to take up something.

This Lent I’m taking up exercise! Yes very simple and something you probably might think I get enough of but since I’ve started travelling in December my regular exercise routine has disappeared. In work I’m normally on my feet all day treating patients as a Physiotherapist before going to football training or gym sessions. All my fitness and strength training is planned by my coaches so I really don’t have to think about any of it, just follow the plan and push myself as hard as possible at training.

Now I’ve no routine, no scheduled training sessions or gym membership. Sure I’m doing walking and cycling tours, dancing until the sun comes up and some hiking but no strength training and to be honest I’m beginning to see the deconditioning. You can eat all the healthy food in the world but you need to exercise too!Our bodies are majority bone and muscle, which both require continuous strengthening for maintenance and development. This doesn’t mean lifting heavy weights and walking around looking like a bodybuilder. This just means working yourself a little harder than normal and most importantly working up a sweat and feeling a bit out of breath. HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is basically body weight exercises performed repeatedly for a short duration in a circuit format and are perfect for strengthening. They require no equipment just you, some space, a stopwatch and plenty of determination. Add in an exercise mat for comfort and a chair to make some exercises harder. The range of exercises you can do are endless so just Google “bodyweight exercises”, “HIIT exercises” or complete a program suggested by your Physiotherapist, personal trainer or favourite social media fitness person. Just remember if you are completely new to exercise or carrying some injuries it is worth getting advice from a professional and I am obviously going to recommend a chartered Physiotherapist.

When starting any new exercise program, your body will take time to adapt to it, the next morning you will more than likely feel some muscle soreness. Stretching and a proper warm-up and cool-down are essential to prevent muscle soreness. Stretching is also paramount to prevent injury and increase flexibility. Physiotherapist and yoga instructor Orla Crosse has some great stretching advice so check out her website and social media accounts.Our health is really our wealth. But how many of us now spend the majority of days in sedentary positions? How many of us de-prioritise our health and fitness for long hours in the office or time spent looking after others when really we should be looking after ourselves and our health. One of the best ways to maintain any new skill or commitment is consistent practice and repetition until it becomes a habit. Exercise is a habit, it is a lifestyle option and a really positive one not just for you but for your friends, family and colleagues. As more than likely you will begin to exercise together or simply walk up the stairs to that meeting or go for a weekend hike together. Having an exercise buddy is great, it makes you accountable to someone, you won’t want to let them down by missing a session and likewise they’ll feel the same. A group environment has also proven benefits for motivation, socialisation and participation levels.

So let’s get moving and #exerciseforlent! I’ll be sharing my exercise locations via my Instagram story. My aim is to do a minimum of 3 HIIT sessions a week so if you catch me slacking be sure to call me out!! Any questions on this type of exercise or advice on injuries just get in touch. #exerciseforlent

Who Doesn’t Love Pancakes!!

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I love, love, love pancakes!! They are made for any meal of the day and are great as a sweet or savoury option. You can have them thin, thick, dripping in melted chocolate or my favourite filled with natural yoghurt and berries!!

Here are a few of my favourite recipes:

  • Banana Pancakes – great for pre/post exercise or as a lazy brunch option.
  • Buckwheat Pancakes – made for savoury options. Layer with mashed avocado, smoked salmon and a drizzle of creme fraiche.
  • Zesty Banana & Oat Pancakes: I recently made shared the recipe for these on my Instagram story and they were a real hit!! Great for anyone who isn’t the biggest fan of banana too as the orange zest helps to disguise the taste.
    Serves 1.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp oat flour or milled linseed
  • zest of half an orange
  • coconut oil
  • Toppings: natural yoghurt, orange segments, nuts, seeds
  1. In a bowl or measuring jug, whisk the egg and banana together.
  2. Add the milk and oat flour and whisk again.
  3. Grate in the orange zest and whisk once more.
  4. Ideally allow to sit in the fridge for as long as you can wait to allow the mix firm a little.
  5. Place a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and melt 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the mixture on the pan and swirl around to create an even layer.
  7. Allow to cook for 1 minute on one side and flip over.
  8. Allow to cook through on the opposite side and remove from pan.
  9. Complete with remaining mixture, you should make 3 pancakes.
  10. To serve: stack them up with yoghurt and orange segments. Sprinkle some nuts and seeds of your preference over the top.

Happy Valentine’s & Blog Birthday Day

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Need a bit of passion in your Valentine’s Day?? Then simply top natural yoghurt with some passion fruit! 

The blog is also the big 2 today, that was a very fast two years. Thanks a million to everyone who has supported the blog so far, I really appreciate it and here’s to even more Delalicious delights for the next year!

Happy Valentine’s Day💖

The Taste.ie Features Delalicious 

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2017 is a year for me of new beginnings as I embarked just before Christmas on a year away from work as a chartered Physiotherapist and from the football field with both club and county. As I travel the globe, I am getting the opportunity to explore cuisines from many different cultures and countries. I am also afforded the time to concentrate a little more on my blog and really tackle some goals of mine to spread my recipes near and far. 

One such goal was to have some of my recipes featured on TheTaste.ie. If you haven’t subscribed yet to their newsletters you need to. They not only share with you some really generous offers for luxury getaways to Michelin starred restaurants all on your doorstep in Ireland but also showcase all that’s good about Irish food and hospitality. They give you rare insights into chefs and hotel staffs careers, inspiration and dreams. They also provide their readers with recipes from some of the most talented chefs in Ireland whilst also featuring Irish food bloggers

To be featured on their website was one of my goals for 2017 and in their February issue this was achieved. So enough waffle, follow the links below to two of my favourite recipes to add a little colour, life and taste to your day as we approach Spring time. 

Spring Bircher Muesli:

Broccoli, Baby Gem & Vegetable Crisp Salad:

Christmas Dinner Recipes

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I’ve decided to help take the hassle out of your Christmas dinner by sharing some of my favourite recipes for the day. The secret to cooking for a large number or just cooking a lot of dishes for one meal is preparation. My top tips would be:

  1. Prepare all the vegetables the night before and store in ziploc bags in the fridge.
  2. Most desserts can be made in advance and stored in the fridge or frozen.
  3. Ask for help in the kitchen, having someone on hand to do wash-up is a Godsend.
  4. Breathe and enjoy the occasion, sometimes you can get caught up in trying to make everything perfect that you miss out on enjoying having all your favourite people around.

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Dinner Starters
IMG_4644Honey and Cider Roasted Sproutsimg_7302

Roast Hasselback Potatoesimg_7310

Christmas Dinner TrimmingsIMG_4687

Christmas Dinner Dessertscheesecake