Tag Archives: gym

Finding food inspiration online and beyond

I made this the other night as a last stitch effort to break the boring chicken and veg dinners that I mostly eat during the week, that if I’m honest don’t make it onto the Instagram stories (after all who wants to see a repeat of the same shit over and over again). The dish itself is is nothing special but that’s the beauty of it – hear me out. Having decided I wanted to change things up and inject some excitement I had a quick look at what was available in the house and ended up having one of the nicest meals in a  long time. Throughout the week people have been asking me how I think of new dishes and make them look so appealing.

The answer…. frankly I don’t know because as I said there is nothing special about this dish. Look at it! It is literally a breast of chicken, a tortilla wrap and some veggies with a tablespoon of chipotle sauce from the bottle. That is why I think it is so great. Simple ingredients that are available in all stores and most likely already sitting in the fridge in your house right now. I had gotten the idea to make this from a random post on Instagram earlier that day which happened to catch my attention.

I get by with  a little help from my friends…. online

Find your tribe and do what they do. When it comes to creating new recipes I always try to take inspiration from whoever I can without completely ripping them off. Instagram a great platform for getting new ideas and is widely used by some of the best foodies out there to promote their own creations. Even better is there are plenty of “normal” people who are also great cooks that post pictures of food that actually look like it hasn’t been painted onto the screen. Further more, chances are that their ingredients and cooking methods are more applicable and easier to relate to because they cook as a side gig, on a budget, in a small kitchen with basic equipment. The added benefit of food finding food inspiration online is that you don’t always need an exact recipe to recreate it. In saying that sometimes a recipe is required especially when baking or cooking large quantities of food over long periods of time. But most of the time all you really need is a picture and Boooom there it is an idea for something different.

I’ll use the featured image as an example. So say you’re scrolling through Instagram and you come across the picture above. Straight away you can see what it involves: chicken, tortillas, peppers, red onions, tomatoes, spinach and jalapenos. Again all of which are very easy to source. Next is the caption “chipotle”chicken. Even if you have no idea what this is – Google it and in less then 5 seconds you’ll have an idea of what chipotle is, where it comes from, what its made from, where you can buy it and even how to make it if you really want to go that extra step. The point being is that not all recipes require the exact ingredients. Simply by looking at a picture is more than suffice as you can tweak it overtime to make it look or taste better.

Going beyond the shackles of the screens bright light

Unfortunately there is a downside to finding inspiration for food online because the inability to taste what you see. Yep, food that is appealing to look at will always generate an interest at first glance. However, taste is King and is far more powerful on the senses than sight. Besides being social and having fun, eating out is an amazing experience. Fortunately living in Dublin has allowed me to visit many of the restaurants, deli’s, cafes, coffee shops, smoke houses and burger joints around the city. I recommend wherever you live to try sample different places and draw inspiration from how they do things.

Roughly 5 years ago when I was still working in kitchens my life was completely taken over by food and how to improve. Back then I was on a whole different level compared to now. Eager to watch, taste, eat and understand why people where cooking the way they did was an obsession. I was eating all around me eager to know. At restaurants after having a 3 course meal I would order another dessert, not because I was hungry but merely intrigued by the menu that I had to know how it was made and how it tasted. I was a sucker for it. Luckily back then I was a lot younger and my metabolism burned like a house on fire. As the years went on, I moved on of kitchens, no longer a chef I became less active began to see the weight pilling on.

So I  cut back on the amount if food being consumed, eating more at home and to some extent everything in moderation. But still, to this day I am a sucker for seeing something on a menu and wanting to have it. That obsession still lurks in the background but I suppose I have become more aware of it and want to control it. I guess its jut the excitement of eating out that leads to eyes-bigger-than-bellyitus. When there’s something on the menu that’s a “must have” I just make sure to only order the one and not five.

On a final note, they way in which I cook is heavily influenced by many different factors ranging from budget, diet, time frames, work – life balance to name a few. Most nights I”ll eat the same food just because its economical and efficient and then when I have some free time I’ll usually try something new. It doesn’t always work out .Cooking is a skill, therefore anyone can learn how to do it. At times it can be really frustrating because of how consuming it becomes and the end result doesn’t always meet what we expected. But that’s okay because if that happens at least you know what NOT to do the next time. Just give it a little tweak and try again in a few days. Stick with it and practice the same recipes one or twice a week and overtime you will begin to notice ways of improving it. Keep a diary of any changes in the ingredients or methods and before you know it it becomes a staple of your weekly breakfast/lunch/dinner and then its time to find the next one. Remember, one dish at a time. Try it, improve it, master it and then move on.

 

Hope this post provides some insight when looking for some food inspo. The beauty of social media is that there is a surplus of supply out there. The same goes for eating out as any reputable food joint worth visiting is sure to have a  social media presence. Its just a matter of finding like minded folks and following in their footsteps.

 

Have a good weekend – happy eating

Shane

 

FFCreations # 12 Heuvos Mexicanos

Like spicey food?… Then you definitely need to have these. The ingredients are simple because I have yet to go food shopping so I literally just reached for what I could from the press.

Traditional Mexican eggs are filled with rice, fried beans and guacamole along with a while host of veggies and meat.

Seeing as I did not have most of the ingredients above didn’t matter, just improvise instead with what you have ensuring the main ingredients are eggs & chilli. Just make it is spicy AF 🔥

Under the ingredients list is the name of the brand & store that I purchased them in. Once again the macros are uploaded onto Myfitnesspal, just search for the heading under feastfoodcreations.

Ingredients

3 medium free range eggs (Kerrigans butchers)

1 wholemeal tortilla wrap (Tesco)

30g light creme fraiche (Tesco light choices)

25g grated mozzarella cheese (Ardagh, Aldi)

50g El Paso Mild Cunky Salsa.

2 lean smoked bacon medallions (Brannans, Aldi)

5g coconut oil (coco loco, Aldi)

50g red onikns, peppers & jalapenos.

 Method:

Basically just scrambled eggs.

  1. Pace the tortillas on a griddle pan and let them slowly toast away (alternatively just put the oven or microwave until soft).
  2. Roughly chop the veggies & Bacon & fry in the cover oil in a pan for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a bowl with some salt/pepper.
  4. Veggies are soft add in the eggs and turn down the heat slightly stirring until the eggs begin to scramble.
  5. Add in the cheese & mix.
  6. Lay out the tortilla flat nd start with the salsa on the bottom, then the eggs.
  7. Top it off with the creme fraiche & crushed chilli flakes.

(Tip: soft goats cheese goes really nice and adds a creamy texture if that’s your things. If not, enjoy as is)

 

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.

Stronger than before #2 getting back on track

Nearly a week since trying to back into a normal routine has had its ups and downs. I had the gym program and a fridge full of food so the focus of the week was to:

  • Prepare ALL meals in advance
  • Gym at least four times
  • Count marcos
  • Daily 2.2 litres of water 
  • Sleep 7+ each night

The reality with work and studying for an exam in August looming things got a little shook up.

The reality:

  • Meals prep only lasted me until Friday (5/7 days is good for the first week back)
  • Gym will only be 3 times this week ( with 1 or 2 low sessions of low intensity walking in the fresh air)
  • Went over on my macros on Friday (blame Star Trek)
  • Plenty of water
  • Lots of sleep

All in all I’m happy with how the week went.

I wasnt expecting to pick up exactly were I left off. Mostly because I knew:

  1. The first week back is always hard. 
  2. That too much at once will most likely result in failure and leave me feeling miserable.
  3. We are all human and therefore mistakes are made.
  4. Regimented routines and restrictions suck  (enjoy what you do, live in the moment and adjust to suit your needs)

My main focus was a guideline of what I wanted to achieve during the week. Regardless of success or failure I would accept what happens and move on.

I gave it my best and stuck to about 75% of my original focus. Most importantly it was an enjoyable (even post leg day) and productive week and it didn’t feel as if  there where any restrictions in terms of food. 

Sunday will consist of going the gym, food shopping, cooking and making a plan and a new focus for the week ahead. Then head out for the rest of the day and get some fresh air by the coast. 

By aiming to improve on what I started at the beginning of this week the result is to become stronger than before by getting back on track one step at a time and not over complicating the process.

Shane.

Stronger than before #1 press reset

This time three weeks ago we swam in the Caribbean and drank like pirates. At the same time soaking up all of the sunshine that we could get.

Mexico was more than just a holiday. It was a D-load from life that allowed both my girlfriend and I to take a step back from reality and really appreciate a moment in time that we know will standout forever as paradise.

I had every intention of hitting the gym out there, but because it didn’t open until later in the day nothing ever developed and resulted in falling off the wagon (resuming old habits that involves indulging on anything not nailed down).

Since returning home the holiday continued as we hit up our favourite pizza and burger joints across Dublin (more on these in the future I promise) followed by a BBQ in the countryside over the weekend.

I have gained at least a stone in the last 3-4 weeks having just stepped back on the scales on Monday morning.

It is time to pickup the pieces and get back on track with the gym, food, study, work, life which is cool because I enjoy doing what I do. 

Falling off the wagon went on for longer than expected but it was totally worth it having gotten loads out of my system.

Although physically I may be below par, mentally I have comeback feeling stronger than before. I kept my finger on the reset button for just a little longer which I know will help me get in shape over the next couple of weeks.

During my time away I did keep my ear to the ground and researched a lot of training routines online which would suit my goal of shedding pounds and gaining muscle. In addition, something that was manageable and flexible that would allow for an easy transition so as not to become to overwhelmed. [Settled for Rob Lipsetts L/P/P routine which involves a combination of compound and isolated workouts for the special process of €9.99] Bargin!!

I recalculated my macros to give me more control of food portions and help plan meals for the week along with a huge food shop and a trip to the butchers.

All of this ensures that when the time came I was ready to hit the gym and with a bang.

Having everything ready to go we smashed a decent leg and core session in Flyefit Coolock on Monday evening. With temperatures of 30℃ in Dublin throughout the week it would be a shame not to do some cardio outside.

Instagram
feast_mode_irl

soceightnine

Thank you and stay tuned,

Shane.


FFCreations #2 How to burger

Continuing on from the first post is as follows, the nutritional information of the burger in the picture that I made during the week for dinner and how I made them can be found below.

So as not to in undo all of the hard work and exercise in one sitting I have put together a few simple ingredients to make a burger that is macro friendly, and tasty too. All of the ingredients can be found on myfitnesspal. The weekly shop for vegetables etc. are from Aldi and the meats are from Kerrigans in Malahide. Alternatively if Kerrigans don’t have the mince, then any lean mince from the butchers or Aldi’s less than 5% fat will do. 

Usually we buy Kerrigans pre made burgers that are 120g. Since both of us like them a bit bigger I mix them all up in a bowl and weigh them out again at 226g. Yes you could just save the hassle and eat two of the pre made burgers but that extra bit of meat doesn’t fit in the bun and gets a bit messy.

Macro Breakdown for one burger:

  • Calories – 595
  • Protein – 75.6g
  • Carbs – 29.5g
  • Fat – 18.5g

Ingredients used to make one burger.

  • 226g (1/2 pound) lean mined beef 
  • 2 lean bacon medallions 
  • 1 slice low fat cheese
  • 1 brioche bun
  • 15g lighter than light mayonnaise
  • 15g reduced sugar ketchup
  • 5g yellow mustard
  • Few slices of red onion 
  • Sliced pickle
  • Baby gem lettuce
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Rock salt

Method:

  1. Heat up a griddle pan (no oil is needed).
  2. Mix the meat up in a bowl with the salt & pepper.
  3. In your hands roll 226g of meat into a ball.
  4. Then shape into a paty by pressing it down and shape it until nice and round.
  5. Griddle pan should be hot, so place the burger in the pan & cook away on a medium/high heat on each side for a 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the bacon medallions and let them cool for a few minutes.
  7. Let the meats cook. In the mean time slice up some red onion, pickles and lettuce and get the buns and cheese ready.
  8. Place the cheese on the burger and let it melt.
  9. Toast the buns and then be ready to assemble (I toast them on the pan, as it gives a cool rustic look).
  10. To assemble:  bottom bun, mayo, lettuce, beef, onions, pickle, ketchup & mustard, top bun.

It seems like a lot of work but after making these once or twice then the pattern becomes more familiar and much easier in the future. Practice makes perfect eh?..

Over time you will take out and add ingredients to make it the way you like. Which is great because burgers are so versatile you can do whatever you want. I will be sure in the future to make a few variations using turkey mince. 

Most of all, enjoy what you eat.

Thanks,

Shane.