FFCreations #7 Peanut Butter Cups

If you have a Reeses addiction like me then these peanut butter cups are a delicious guilt free alternative… kind of…

I say kind of, because they are quite high in calories due to the amount of fat from the oil and peanut butter. 

However, all of the ingredients used to make these are all natural and organic and not highly processed like actual Reeses which makes them a lot better in terms of their nutritional value. The recipe is by Roz Purcell aka NATURAL BORN FEEDER.

It’s so simple to make these and requires so little effort that I didn’t even bother weighing oit ingredients or anything.

Be sure to put the baking case onto a flat try that will fit into the fridge before filling up. Otherwise it is very tricky to pick them up while hot.

Ingredients:

Coconut oil

Maple syrup

Raw chocolate powder

Peanut butter

Method:

Simply melt equal quantities of the coconut oil and maple syrup in a small pan.

Mix in the chocolate powder until it incorporates to a smooth rich syrup.

Put the backing on a flat tray and fill up halfway.

Put them into the fridge for 10-15 mins.

Take the tray out and fill with peanut butter.

Top off with the remaining melted chocolate and chill them for at least 1 hour.

If the chocolate in the lan starts to go hard, put it back on the heat for a few minutes and it will begin to loosen up. Of not add more of the oil.

FFCreations #6 Eating our way around Dublin

As of lately both Carol (my girlfriend) and I have been working a lot weekends. Saturday was the first in many that we had off, and planned on spending it together with not much in mind except going to the cinema later that night. 

We agreed during the week, that the main focus during the day was to go into the city in order to buy new clothes for an event hosted by the company Carol works for.

On this particular day things just played out without any prior plans and we went along without giving a second thought, we came, we saw, we ate and we had fun!!

It all started as a result of not wanting to get out of bed in time for the gym so we decided to make the most of the morning and go for breakfast at Gourmet Food Parlor in Malahide.

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Cinnamon sugar (left) Salted Caramel & Pistachio (right)

Wondering around town for about and hour in need of a coffee when the smell hit our noses. 

Established back in the 70’s The Rolling Donut is located in a small kiosk on O Connell street.

Traditionally their ring donuts are served in paper bags either plain, coated with sugar or dunked in melted chocolate. 

It is only until recently that they have opened a store 5 minutes away on bachelor’s walk. 

In this store the standard of deep fried sugar dough is on a different level compared to the little kiosk and a totally different mouth watering experience.

Donuts are neatly assembled in batches and displayed in the front window that catch the eye as the smell of these fantastic creations draw you in closer.

The dounuts are bigger than the original store, plus they have a wide range of different flavours to choose from. 

There are also a few seats inside and an espresso machine serving very finest Coffee Culture has to offer. 

Not being able to settle on any particular flavour I narrowed them down to a cinnamon sugar and a salted caramel & pistachio while Carol opted for chocolate.

Plain yogurt, hot kinder bueno & berries (left) Chocolate yogurt, hot kinder bueno & flaked chocolate (right)

The adventure continued as our journey took the two of us across the city in the direction of MOOCH. Located on Dawson Street this frozen yogurt cafe is our little go to when visiting that side of town anyway so calling in for froyo was bound to happen.

Order from the menu or create your own small, medium or large tub. My choice of course was the chocolate on chocolate on chocolate!!… Chocolate yogurt and Hot kinder bueno…medium size only… keeping room for the cinema that night.

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Arriving home from the city early that evening we had over an hour until the cinema started. Plenty of time for tea and cake!!

I made these chocolate and peanut cups for our date because I love how they taste when mixed in with the salty buttered popcorn but couldn’t resist having one beforehand. 

The original recipe is NOT my own. Inspiration taken from ‘Natural Born Feeder’ which can be found in the next blog post (FFCreations #7)

To be continued…

FFCreations #5 Cajun Caesar

Traditionally a Caesar salad dressing is made with ingredients that combine together to create a rich creamy saltiness that I personally cannot get enough of. I love the damn stuff!! 

But all of the ingredients that go into making a good caser dressing come with a hefty price to both my shopping bill and waistline. 

The following remake of an old classic not only tastes great but costs half the price and effort to make than its predecessor because of the minimum amount of ingredients used.

This alternative is much lighter due to the high protein, low carbs/fat content unlike the original, a 1970’s style heavy dressed salad with parmesan shavings and garlic butter croutons.

For a healthier touch and convenience this method will use garlic and Cajun spice mixed with a splash of water. 

Tesco stock these amazing new flat breads which are perfect for the croutons when lightly toasted.

Make the dressing:

20g lighter than light mayonnaise

5g of Cajun spice

1 tbsp of cold water

1 garlic clove

Pinch of salt & pepper

Make the salad:

125g of cooked chicken breast

20g of feta cheese

2 lean bacon medallions

1 flatbread (Tesco)

50g (handfull) of baby spinach & lettuce

1 spring onion

Method:

Firstly, heat up a skillet or griddle pan and cool the bacon without using any oil. 

You can also toast the flatbread on the pan too if there is enough room.

Let these cool.

In the meantime begin the Cajun dressing by mixing the mayonnaise with crushed garlic, Cajun spice, water and the salt & pepper.

Roughly chop up the chicken, bacon, flat breads and salad leaves.

Put them into a big bowl and toss them in the dressing

Lastly crumble the gets cheese over the top.

That’s it, easy peasy.

This salad is so handy to make and can be made the day before which is really convenient for anyone who does not have much time in the morning.

More importantly it costs less than €10 per portion to make enough for two people for the week.


Staying sharp without cutting a hole in your pocket #3 Casual but ready for action

30 years on the go and still in fasion. It was one of those sleepless nights into the early hours of the morning in Mid July, laying full stretch in the bed…..total darkness with the TV emitting just enough of a glow that enabled me to see the only window in the bedroom was pushed open all of the way. – the air is too thick to get comfortable and I kicked the blankets off sometime around midnight.
A few doors down a house party in full swing is momentarily interrupted by flashing lights for the second time tonight. A breeze begins to creep in from the the outside, although faint, it is more than welcome.

In order to regulate some normal airflow I need to open the door just a few feet away. I ignore the commotion outside and adjust my position upright leaning across the bed I stretch out with the tips of my fingers as I manage to grip the door handle just long enough for the lock to disengage with a loud snap…..  applying enough force to ensure momentum will do the rest.

She lays on her front beside me, head sandwiched between two pillows in order to drown out the noise. Clever girl!!

As the air cools around me, voices and other noises outside echo through the night. I increase the volume of the TV as Eddie Murphy famously chuckles like a dog gasping for air. I laugh a little, having heard it many times before from her. This old girl is getting on, she’s been my pal for a long time.

Its just after 2:30am and Beverly Hills cop is on Sky +1. She must feel the cool air now, because she’s awake and moving. Probably in search of more comfortable surroundings….most likely downstairs to lay on the kitchen tiles.

More room for me as I take advantage of the extra space slouching back into my previous position. I’m a sucker for old movies and begin to focus on what’s happening onscreen.

About halfway through the film at this point when I begin to relax I notice a scene from the movie that suddenly grabs my attenion. 

There is a scene in BHC Axel and Co. under the cover of darkness illegally break into a building I’m order evidence against a suspect criminals and save the day.

During this scene the camera pans down to ground level and zooms closer in order to capture each mans feet as they tiptoe in silence so as not to be caught by guards (and create some of that 80’s dramatic effect).

It is at this moment I notice that Foley is wearing a pair of New Balance trainers. Although a different colour, the shape and style along with the logo are the exact same as the trainers being sold today.

He is wearing them with a pair of skinny jeans that are tappered (not cuffed) at the ankle and an American college football jacket.

The look is casual but ready for action…..moving forward 30 years, the style is still casual but now has a retro feel going on too.

Retro clothing seems to be fashionable for some time now. Hence the reason New Balance have made a huge comeback into the mainstream.

Many people have taken retro to new extremes to the point were they just look like whiteboy rappers.

I contemplated getting a new jacket but decided that was to far in the direction of the white rapper. I wanted to keep it up-to-date and with an urban edge.

So i opt for a light coloured loose fitted top to go with the darker jeans and a pair of trainers and try create an urban-sportswear outfit with a retro feel going on aka casual but ready for action.

New Balance trainers – having gone a year wearing them at almost every opportunity they are still in good nick and hold the same shape (even the underneath grips have some teeth left).

Not only are they light enough to feel as though walking on air, but sturdy enough so that splashing through puddles left by the rain on the way to college and keeping my cold toes dry 

They have also withstood gruelling gym sessions, hikes both up & down the sugar loaf mountain, walks on howth hill, running across hard and uneven terrains, sweaty bare feet during long summer days, the occasional night out & dropping a pot of scalding homemade curry. Splash damage was not critical but certainly to close for comfort and they still survived.

Given the mass production and very short lifespan of trainers these days I am genuinely impressed they have withstood the abuse bestowed upon them.

Not an endorsement of any brands, just my own thoughts.

FFCreations #4 Salted caramel protein cheese cake

Much easier than making one big gigantic cheese cake with the added benefit of when its gone its gone. No temptations to sneak downstairs at night for leftovers.

It’s easy and quick to make. Note that other flavours can be used instead of salted caramel. It just happens to be the only flavour I have right now. 

Other favours that work well are vanilla, chocolate, chocolate orange, chocolate mint, strawberry, banana and so on you get the idea – anything with chocolate and your grand!!

[I think the amount of coconut oil used is a bit much and could probably use half the amount next time]

Ingredients: makes 2

250g quark cheese

50g ground almonds

40g salted caramel protein powder 

30g melted coconut oil

20g raw chocolate powder

Additional condiments:

Raspberries & strawberries

Flaked almonds

85% Dark chocolate

Method:

Divide the coconut oil into two portions (15g each) and melt both in the microwave.

Toast the ground almonds in a pan on a low heat until golden brown (texture like Sun) and let them cool then mix in one half (15g) of the coconut oil.

Next up, mix the quark and protein powder.

In a glass or jar, spread the almonds on the bottom and press together with a spoon until compact.

Lay the raspberries on top.

Spoon over the quark.

Lay the strawberries on top.

Mix the remaining coconut oil with the chocolate powder and then spoon it over the top.

Smash up the dark chocolate and sprinkle on top along with some flaked almonds.

Leave in the fridge until ready to devour.

Stronger than before #4 feel the burn

[Photo source: the journal.ie]

That moment when the pre workout kicks in ⤴ 

All jokes aside everyone in the local community is devastated this has happened to Flyefit Coolock.

Located in an industrial estate in a rough borough of north Dublin this 24/7 gym was something to be proud of in terms of new businesses opening in the vicinity, creating a positive atmosphere that everyone can enjoy.

I was a member in Flyefit before yhe Coolock branch opened. I travelled into the city (Macken Street) in the early hours before college or work to beat the morning rush.

Anyway – for the two months Coolock was up and running it was busy but it was a huge warehouse with plenty of equipment. Until (as the reports suggested) somebody drove a car right smack bang into the front door, poured petrol and set it on fire.

Fortunately nobody was hurt as it happened in the very early hours of the morning. 

Unfortunately for now, many people including myself have to travel roughly 30 minutes by car to another branch in order to workout.

Although the 30 minute commute sucks, it’s not the worst part of having to travel to another branch. 

Gyms located in the city centre are always packed, therefore getting in early (5:30am) in order to get a machine, weights or treadmill is a must. 

You can forget about going between 5pm-7pm unless you have a class booked or willing to ignore the que of tight spandex and nipples glaring at you to hurry up.

My routine, although only more than two weeks old has been interrupted. Instead of heading home after a morning session to get food ready etc. it means that I have to lug around an extra bag of clothes and lunchboxes (the tupp life isn’t for all of us)  for the day ahead.

But whatever about that. It’s been a week since “our” gym was taken away from the community and I genuinely miss the convenience of having a gym on my doorstep. Get in, get done, feel the burn, go home.

You only really appreciate what you have until it has been taken away. 

Hopefully last week’s incident does not deter the owners from reopening, sooner rather than later is the general consensus.

At a glance, it seems like a lot of damage and with no sign of renovations being mentioned for anytime soon the wait goes on.

Stronger than before #3 no secret formula

Hard work and good nutrition. For me thats all that’s too it. I’m not a PT with any qualifications of the sort.

The only experience I have is a background cooking in a professional kitchen combined with an interest in staying fit and active.

I tend not to follow fad diets like paleo or vegan and remain open to every kind of food. The main thing for me is to hit my daily protein, carbohydrates, fats while also being flexible enough to enjoy something nice too.

When it comes to information regarding diets, training and nutrition I usually try and find sources from those in the fitness industry that have been academically approved (Rather than some celebrity toe rag opinion who’s only interested in the money and fame).

Although the information obtained from books and online is very valuable YouTube and podcasts are also aslo great ways to learn more and pick up new ideas. 

No fancy supplements, fat burners or weight gains. Just solid consistent graft with a healthy balanced diet, keeping everything in moderation which suits my lifestyle and level of activity.

In addition, remembering that it’s not a one size fits all,vat times programs and food intake need to be individually tailored is important in order to be flexible.

Simplicity is key in order for me to stay on track with nutrition. Training and eating real food should improve a persons life, not become a hindrance. 

Personally I find when my activity levels decline my sleep, mood, appetite, motivation all go to shite. So I try to keep it consistent which means keeping it simple and not getting to caught up in the finer details. 

As the saying goes – trust the process.

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