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A whole(some) lot of love!

Yup it’s that time of year again. Card factory is rammed full of the typical demographic – panicked men who rush to get a last minute 79p card and some cheesy ‘best girlfriend ever’ teddy bear or mug that gets stored in a drawer for a year before makeing it to the loft to serve it’s death row sentence when it gets chucked into the boot fair pile and sold for 10p to 10 year old Alfie who has a crush on little Alice sitting next to him in class. Ah don’t we love it!? πŸ™‚

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Why do we partake in such commercialised shenanigans!? It’s actually quite oxymoronic don’t you think? Millennial minded youths will raise their arms in outrage at companies only thinking about squeezing every last penny out of consumers to boost profit margins. ‘Shouldn’t we appreciate our loved ones everyday of the year? I don’t need chocolates or flowers to confirm my selfworth’. Or so you think…

Unfortunately, Disney fairytales and Hollywood hits have made us a little tooo ambitious. We all long for that happily ever after, the Prince charming to sweep us off our feet. This ideal combined and packaged with a boom in consumer spending has led to materialistic artefacts.

Let’s take a step back, what we long for, that romantic ending to that Oscar hit, is that Β moment, to feel special, to feel loved, to feel like nothing else matters than the two of you under the street lamp, under the fake snow machine with the magical kiss and that leg raised up.

Have you actually ever seen that happen in real life? And what would you think if you did see it? Err PDA alarm bells would be ringing – get a room!

You can get all of the above, everyday, without spending a penny. Wholesome love comes in many forms but starts with the basic three forms: love yourself, love wholly, love with your head and heart.

Love yourself

Ok so this is afterall a food and fitness blog and I could write posts upon posts on the steps to take to love yourself but in a nutshell – how can you expect someone to love you if you don’t love yourself? Or equally, how can you love someone else if you don’t love yourself? This has been one of the biggest journeys of my life so far, reaching a point where I can truly begin to accept the things I perhaps dislike about myself and truly appreciate my attributes. I say begin as it is an ongoing struggle.

Everyday I go to bed listing 5 things I am grateful for. This really helps me to stay grounded and makes me appreciate myself, my life and take steps to loving even my hamster cheeks πŸ˜‰

Love Wholly

This always reminds me of the BastilleΒ  song ‘Flaws’ – ‘you have always worn your faults upon your sleeve…’. Don’t swipe right and accept the guy who conveniently lives a few roads down from you, is in a well respected job and earns a decent income to take you out for dinner but who you also investΒ so much time in trying to morph him into who you want or think you want. Love unconditionally, accept the whole person.

I don’t actually agree with the expression ‘no one is perfect’. This implies that perfection exists when it doesn’t. It is an idealised construct. Who gets to decide what’s perfect and what isn’t? If you take a step back and focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t, you will figure out you have so much more than you think. Likewise take a step back and appreciate the petrol station flowers – it was so thoughtful!

Love with your head and heartΒ 

We all have a rational and irrational part to our brain. Some call the irrational part the chimp brain or the chatterbox. In layman’s terms sometimes we let passion, lust, emotions in their rawest form take over without rationalising the situation. All humans are selfish we think about numero 1 first and foremostly. We don’t think about the wider picture. I like to use the following example to picture this:

Your boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t buy your that bag/those shoes/that ring/that <insert materialistic good> and you think he never listens to you as he didn’t ‘pick up the hints’ CHIMP BRAIN. In their shoes you have mentioned it so much that they wanted to get you a surprise and not something you asked for.

You get the picture right… the good old saying put yourself in someone else’s shoes is so true and we don’t spend enough time doing it. There are always 2 sides to every story.

This post has turned out a lot longer than I was anticipating πŸ˜‰ sorry about that! But now onto the recipe for today! Lovely Raspberry Oat Breakfast Bars. They are wholesomely scrummy and can be whipped up in minutes. So for your act of love for Valentine’s this year why don’t you show you care by bringing them breakfast in bed πŸ˜‰ (again totally not an idealised construct right!? πŸ˜‰ I mean crumbs in bed!?)

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Lovely Raspberry Oat Breakfast Bars.

IngredientsΒ 

  • 200g Rolled Oats
  • 2 Mashed Bananas
  • Dash of soya milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla powder/extract
  • 400g Fresh Raspberries
  • 6 tbsps of chia seeds
  • Flaked almonds

MethodΒ 

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4
  2. Place raspberries and chia seeds together in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a spoon to mash up the raspberries and leave for 5-10minutes stirring occasionally until the raspberries have broken down and the chia seeds have plumped up.
  3. Whilst the raspberries and chia seeds are over the hob, mash up the bananas in a bowl and then stir in the oats, baking powder, plant-based milk and vanilla powder.
  4. Press this mixture into a lined baking tin.
  5. Once the jam is ready layer this on top, sprinkle more oats over the jam and sprinkle flaked almonds on also.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20mins.
  7. Enjoy!

 

p.s. Apologies for the previous draft submission of this post- technical issues πŸ™

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Happy Healthy Pancake Day! (Vegan, Gluten free, refined sugar free)

Ah Pancake Day! I have always loved it, and always will! I do, however, find it hard to believe that I only ever used to eat pancakes on Pancake Day! I mean, for some irrational reason, I used to think that it was somewhat illegal to eat pancakes on any other day. When travelling to other countries I used to be horrified that people would be eating crΓͺpes willy nilly or gaufres like they are going out of fashion! Not me – na na na! I was always a goodie two shoes – but boy did I fill my boots when this day came around.

It is actually quite nonsensical when you think about it, there are so many decisions to make in just one day: Savoury or Sweet?, Thick or Thin? Should I eat dinner before eating pancakes or dive straight in? Do I want to squeeze in another one and risk being sick or do I wait a WHOLE year before eating another pancake? This simple answer to this, just don’t wait 24 years before figuring out that you CAN in face eat pancakes on any other day of the year πŸ™‚

That having been said the answers are always: Both, depends on topping, DIVE IN – PANCAKES ARE DINNER and always another, its worth the risk πŸ˜‰

Since I embarked on my fitness journey I have definitely embraced with open arms (and the knife and fork poised ready) the Protein Pancake stack. So deliciously simple. If you are after the recipe then check out my YouTube video here.

If you are looking for some flavour inspirations then check out just some of the few mouth-watering muses below.

I will pop the basic recipe down below so get ready to get creative!

But now onto a different type of pancake for today, the Sorghum, Raspberry, Date and Yogurt Pancake – say whaaaat!? :O Yup it is a bit of a mouthful – quite literally. Firstly, what is Sorghum? Sorghum flour is in fact the fifth most important crop around the world. It has a sweet and mild taste which makes it perfect for baking and it is 100% gluten free. If you want to know more, look here.

Sorghum flour has been my go to baking flour recently and I am just loving how my recipes are turning out! Coconut yogurt is full of healthy bacteria which is so important for the gut. I have been experiencing a lot of bloating recently so am trying to chuck in coconut yogurt where possible. Date paste is deliciously sweet and is so simple to make. Blend up medjool dates with water and almond butter and you are good to go! I always have a tub ready in the fridge to put on pancakes, porridge or just to smoother on some fresh toast/cake πŸ˜‰ Raspberries need no introduction. They are jam packed full of vitamins and are so sweet. Lastly, flaked almonds are perfect for additional healthy fats. 

So try a new recipe for today’s pancake day and get experimenting! Please tag @hopscoff #hopscoff if you do use this recipe and let me know how you get on! 

Happy Healthy Pancake Day Pancake! (Vegan, Gluten free, refined sugar free)

(83g carbs, 9g fat, 16g protein)

Ingredients

3/4 cup Sorghum Flour

3/4 cup ground almonds

1 banana

2 tbps flaxseeds (soaked in 4 tbsps of water)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

dash of soya milk (or any other plant based milk)

 

Toppings 

Date Paste

Coconut Yogurt

Raspberries

Flaked Almonds

Method:
1) Blend all pancake ingredients
2) heat pan with coconut oil
3) scoop out 3 pancakes into the pan and cook on either side for 6ish minutes
4) layer with date paste, coconut yogurt, raspberries and flaked almonds
5) enjoy!

 

 


Vegan Protein Pancake Recipe

Macros: Carbs 99g | Fat 12g | Protein 31g | Cals 644

(based on the toppings below!)

Ingredients:

60g MyProtein gluten free rolled oats
25g Active Women Vegan Blend Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 Banana
1tsp Baking powder
125ml Almond Milk

Toppings

1/2 Banana
Maple Syrup
Peanut Butter Powder (2 tbsps mixed with 2-3 tbsps water)
Cacao Nibs

Method:

1) Blend all pancake ingredients and leave to rest for 10 minutes
2) heat pan with coconut oil
3) scoop out 3 pancakes into the pan and cook on either side for 6ish minutes
4) drizzle with peanut butter, maple syrup and cacoa nibs
5) enjoy!

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Brownie Batter OatsΒ 

Good Afternoon all and happy Sunday/Happy New Years Eve!

Has anyone else got that funny inbetween Christmas and New Year feeling – you don’t really know if you are coming or going, what day of the week it is, and what you want for breakfast! If you saw my Instagram post yesterday you would have seen that I opted for a 2 course extravaganza as I was feeling particularly indecisive πŸ™‚

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That’s right for first course I opted for Smashed Avocado on Toast with Marmite! I know it sounds weird but it really is a match made in heaven. To finish off I had banana and peanut butter with agave syrup. You know what the worst part was? I wasn’t even full up after this, I went back for another peanut butter slice :O

Since I started weight training I have definitely noticed my appetite increasing exponentially.

I was feeling super indulgent this morning and had to go for these Protein Brownie Batter Oats for brekkie 😍 I thought I would get in one more blog post and recipe before the New Year so here it is…

Recipe:

  • 80g Rolled Oats
  • 35g Vegan Chocolate Protein powder (I used Tropeaka Boost)
  • 1 Tbsp of Raw Cacao Powder
  • 300ml Of Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp of Chia Seeds
  1. Mix all the above and place in the microwave until done, about 2 mins
  2. Top with whatever you like!! I used raspberries, flaked almonds, cacao nibs, agave syrup and crunchy peanut butter!

Macros…..

Carbs: 96g

Fats: 34g

Protein: 38g

Calories: 862

If you haven’t already done so then please subscribe to my You Tube Channel where you can also see this recipe in live action here! Also check out my newly vamped Hopscoff Shop. That’s right, I am now selling Vegan products such as….

 

If you have any designs you would like to see then please let me know. The Hopscoff design studio consists of me, myself and I :L!!

Have a brownielicious day and Happy New Year to you all!

Nat x

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‘Broaties’ – Breakfast Oat Brownies!Β 

Long time no see my fellow Hopscoff Friends! 

So let’s just address the elephant in the room (or on the web) first… yes I am well aware that apologies are coming in thick and thin from Hopscoff at the moment :/ But rest assured that blog posts will be flying in from now on! 
Let’s just say that Hopscoff and I have been on a journey of self discovery for a little while. 

If you have been following my Instagram @hopscoff (or my newly launched youtube channel) you would have noticed that there is less icing sugar and Bespoke cakes flying around and now instead you will find more baked protein goods and vegan recipes – why the change!? Well for the last year or so I have been adopting a plant based diet with the definitive decision to cut out all animal products back in June. Yes that means I am, in layman’s terms, Vegan. 

This having been said, no I do not go on activist protests, no I do not try to make you feel uncomfortable if you eat meat and also for the record no I do not eat honey. 

I do largely try to avoid labels as with an increase in ‘Flexitarians’ these days, I believe that everyone should be free to eat what they want when they want without having to conform to a label or feel subject to scrutiny. In additon to a plantbased diet I also try to reduce refined sugars and preservatives where possible, but I do still rustle up the odd fluffy and cesty Vegan lemon loaf that is full of sugar. As I said, I do try where possible! (recipe coming soon!). 

Right now that’s over with, on to quick update number 2. I have a goal for 2018, to get lean! This means building muscle, toning up and following a weight training exercise regime which is completely different to my previous heavy cardio running lifestyle. I am 6 weeks in and am feeling stronger everyday. I am adopting a long-term training plan which I am hoping will give me the results I want in a year’s time πŸ™‚ This has been a huge lifestyle shift for me and has mentally helped me overcome so much in the last few months. 

This is why Hopscoff has undergone a bit of a transformation recently. I am however feeling extremely positive about 2018 and Hopscoff’s new direction. You will shortly see some new Hopscoff products coming to Market soon which I am extremely excited about! Thank you all for your support thus far and in advance for all your continued support! πŸ™‚ 

Right enough of the boring explanations, now on to today’s Hopscoff recipe! The Sweet Potato Chocolate Oaty Breakfast ‘Brownie’! I have dubbed it the Broatie Bar πŸ˜‰ meh it kinda works! These are packed full of fibre, healthy fats, protein and antioxidants – a perfect way to start the day! 

Here is the recipe, feel free to top with whatever takes your fancy! 

Ingredients 

  • 500g Sweet Potato
  • 50g vanilla protein powder 
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsps apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsps coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsps chia seeds
  • 4 tbsps cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180/gas mark 4
  2. Mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. This will curdle instantly and will give you a ‘buttermilk’. Leave to one side.
  3. Peel and chop sweet potatos into chunks and either stem or boil until soft (about 40mins)
  4. Weigh out all your dry ingredients and place in a food processor.
  5. Once the sweet potatos are super soft drain the water (if you boiled them) and place them in the food processor along with the dry ingredients and ‘buttermilk’.
  6. Mix together until well combined.
  7. Place batter in a lined loaf tin and bake for about 1hour.
  8. Take out of the oven and leave to cool slightly. You can eat this straight away or leave to cool and then place in the fridge to enjoy later on πŸ™‚
  9. I topped mine with raspberries, pecans and a dollop of peanut butter!

    This recipe makes enough for 3 servings. The macros for each serving (without toppings) are as follows: 

    Carbs: 107.2g 

    Fats: 8.6g

    Protein: 25.9g

    Cals: 583

    Have a Beau-TEA-ful day!

    Nat