Roast Tomato & Aubergine Salad

A friend of mine grows all kind of fruit and veg and always surprises us with his amazing produce. This time we got a variety of tomatoes and aubergine, I wish flavour-gram was invented already because the flavour of the tomatoes was so luscious. Seriously they tasted like sweets and I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes usually but I nearly ate them all straight off the chopping board.

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I decided I would make a roast salad to bring out the flavour and after two weddings this week I was craving a simple healthy salad for dinner!

This week I also received a delivery from the lovely lads at Newgrange Gold who sent me a bottle of their new Camelina “Wild Flax” Oil to try and if there was ever a perfect recipe to try it, it was definitely this one.

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What is Camelina?

Camelina contains high levels of Omega 3 oils in comparison to other vegetable oils. It also contains antioxidants (Vitamin E) which helps the oil to remain stable, and avoid oxidation, and rancidity. In comparison to flax oil, which contains up to 60% Omega 3; Camelina contains over 30% Omega 3 oils. Although the Omega 3 content is less in Camelina, it is suitable for cooking with (flax oil is not), which makes it easier to include in your daily diet. You can add it to salads and smoothies also!

There’s not a lot of ingredients to this so like the many of my recipes can be made in less than 30 mins for a speedy dinner.

Ingredients:

  • A variety of in season tomatoes cut in quarters
  • 1 small aubergine cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic diced
  • A good splash of Camelina oil/olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 1 (16 ounce) package fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 70g packet of wild rocket leaves, rinsed and dried
  • Himalayan sea salt/fresh black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. In a roasting tray add the aubergine with a splash of oil and half of the garlic, roast for about 10/15 mins.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the tray with the rest of the garlic and a little more oil, roast for a further 15 mins until the tomatoes begin to caramelize and are wrinkled. Allow to cool slightly so the heat doesn’t wilt the leaves.
  4. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the oil and balsamic, you can make a dressing with the two and pour over or serve on the side.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and serve with some homemade garlic bread.

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Body Dysmorphia And Me

While getting ready to go to dinner last week I looked in mirror and felt great, I loved my dress, my make up and my hair. It’s crazy to me that there was a time where I could barely face looking in the mirror and when I did, I hated everything that glanced back. Changing an outfit 75 times wouldn’t be uncommon.

Why was it that all I could see was my “flaws”, all the bits that I didn’t like? In those moments, I had a lightbulb moment -if I was skinner my life will be perfect! Genius right? This led me to obsess about everything I ate and as I lost weight did my life magically transform? No, if anything it made me worse, I was full of hate towards myself for not being “perfect”.

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Speaking Up

I felt so guilty all the time. I had a great upbringing, full of love and support so I hated that I felt the way I did about myself. I knew there were people with much bigger problems. My parents separated 3 years previously (when I was 14) so I guess that affected me more than I believed. There’s a lot of uncertainty that surrounds you when a family breaks down. As a teenager you’re dealing with so many changes as it is, throw a separation into the mix and you are bound to retaliate in some way . I don’t dwell on those times though, I’m a stronger person because of it today, and I’m grateful to still have my family close to me.

I’ve read stories of Body Dysmorphia sufferers, that they can become very introverted and uncomfortable leaving the house. I was singing in bands at the time, so I believe this played a great part in building my confidence up (though it took me years to realise this) and I had a great circle of friends who supported me. I remember one of my friends telling me to write a daily journal of my emotions (way before its time, right?) I’d let him read it and we would talk about it! I would advise anyone feeling this way to be vocal, there is no shame in these things!

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I know age is a big factor in this. I turned 30 this year, so I naturally felt more confident than 18 year old Aimee. I have the most supportive “partner in crime” who stands by every decision I make and constantly pushes me to give my all, whether that be in my day job or training/fitness.

I’ve said it many times but immersing myself into the world of health and fitness played a big part. Lifting weights was a huge breakthrough for me. It allowed me to celebrate the great things my body can do! It helped me see myself in a different light. I no longer focused on shape or size, I just wanted the numbers on the barbell to rise. Crossfit and Weightlifting gave me the confidence I spent years searching for.

My best advice; find something you love, something that makes you feel alive and repeat it. That dance class you loved as a kid or surprise yourself with something you never had the confidence to try. Just do things that make YOU happy!

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Moving Forward

People comment on my positivity a lot, and I feel when you’ve had dark days in your life, it’s not a negative, they don’t define you, they’re just life lessons. It’s important to look back and appreciate the journey you’ve had. The steps that have taken you to the present.

There are days when self doubt may try to worm its way in and that’s OK, it doesn’t mean you’re back to square one. When it happens treat yourself to something nice, show yourself some self-appreciation.

Every step forward starts with self-belief. In this digital age we can easily compare ourselves to others and feel less worthy, but that needs to stop. Have you ever looked back and reminded yourself of all the great experiences you’ve had, great times with family and friends? All that can be forgotten about when you constantly compare yourself to others.

When you grow to accept yourself (warts and all) there is a beautiful sense of peace that comes with it. It takes time, love and nourishment. It’s important not to chase the finish line, take baby steps daily and remember to breathe.

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One of my most honest musings I hope you enjoyed, if you ever want to talk to me on this subject I’m always available on any of my pages or pop me an email: primalpiggy@gmail.com.

Ultimate Unfried Chicken

The clean meal that feels like a treat meal, yes you found it! You’ll notice I never use the words “Cheat Meal” anymore. I’m not on a diet and even if I was, I shouldn’t feel guilty for “cheating” on said diet. Growing up the word “cheat” always meant bad, so why bring negatives emotions to food choices (there’s already enough stigma out there)just enjoy your food for gods sake! I now say “Treat Meals”, when you work hard you deserve to be treated! Be mindful about your choices but enjoy your life without guilty feelings!

There’s nothing fancy or expensive about this recipe and the macros are great too. Whip them up for lunch or dinner anytime you crave fast food! It’s also a great recipe if you’re bored of eating plain chicken fillets.

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If you have time to spare you can soak the fillets in milk (and seasoning) as it softens the meat making it more juicy and tender. I didn’t this time as I was starving (story of my life lol) but it was still absolutely delicious!

You could really go fancy by filling the chicken fillet with garlic butter before coating for a healthy chicken kiev.

Ingredients

  • 2- 4 chicken fillets
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 1 cup of gluten-free oats
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 cups of milk (optional)
  • 2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano
  • A mix of any herbs/spices (I used paprika, some chilli flakes, and dried basil)

Method

  1. Set the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Prepare all your coating so add the eggs to a bowl, the arrowroot to another and keep another for the oat coating. Now you have a chicken breading station all set up.
  3. In a nutribullet/blender combine the oats,cheese and herbs/spices and pour into a bowl.
  4. Take the chicken fillets one by one and coat in the arrowroot, then eggs and finally the oat mix ensuring it’s evenly coated.
  5. Bake for 15/20 mins until golden and crispy.
  6. To make pesto dressing; in a jar combine 1-2 tbsp pesto with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, shake and pour.

Hope you enjoy, what’s your favourite “treat meal” let me know in the comments and I’ll try to make a healthier version of it!

Namaste❤

Are You Ready To Get Your Hands Dirty?

Competitions are a scary thing no matter what sport you are involved in! People fear the unknown or worry that they might bomb, it happens to us all. My advice for anyone who feels like this? Get involved in a team comp! How does a team comp differ to an individual? You can work to your strengths and have a constant support group but remember competitions are not supposed to be easy, it’s about getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself past your expectations.

I’ve watched the Filthy grow over the last few years and my god, has it grown! I competed in 2014 in Crossfit Swords with my legends from Ronin Crossfit. Team training is amazing as you rely on each other so much and the same goes for when you’re on the floor and they’re shouting your name, it sends your adrenaline through the roof. You’ll never want to let your teammates down either so will push yourself more than you ever have before.

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Last year we were registered to go again but one of our teammates got injured and we were out of the game! I still wanted to be part of the action so I volunteered and was on the scoring team! My first thoughts walking up to the new venue was “Holy S*** it was gigantic”, my second feeling was “How I wish I was competing”. You could feel the adrenaline as soon as you walked inside with competitors eyeing up the competition. I could go on and give my best David Attenborough impression now but I think you get the picture!

It still amazes me how much Crossfit has evolved in the last 6 years from small in-house competitions to a jam packed stadium, people came from all over the country to see what this “crossfit thing” was all about and I’m sure they were running (for time of course) back to their local box to sign up after the weekend because it was that exciting!

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My two experiences of the Filthy were very different but equally as exhausting. Groups of people put themselves forward as volunteers to be part of the action and help in anyway possible. Hats off to the judges especially; the concentration, the confrontations, the screaming- these guys give 110% every time, so remember to give them as much kudos as they give you!

It’s not long until 2016’s event and I cannot wait! My training has been very different this year as I’ve focused more on weightlifting and bodybuilding with Wods thrown in every now and again for good measure! I’m loving it and I know these team competitions mean I can work to my strengths. I reckon I’ll only compete in this category for the time being as I find the experience much more enjoyable than an individual competition.

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If you haven’t competed before then a team competition is a great way to start, it’s better when you can share the nerves and as the clock is counting down and your buddies hand is on your shoulder there really is no better feeling!

For now it’s time to dig deep and get your hands dirty, train hard and I’ll see you all in September.

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10 Ingredients You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen

Eating healthy shouldn’t be a chore and it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive. I believe it only get’s expensive when you start buying all the Gucci stuff. I remember buying all the ingredients in the world just to make some paleo treats but it’s not necessary. We don’t have to over-complicate recipes, less is more sometimes! It’s taken me quite a while to register that and to be honest I follow a simpler way of eating now. There’s no secret we know what’s good for us and what’s not, if you’re hungry, eat and if you’re not, Don’t!

With some basic ingredients, you will always have the framework for healthy meals or snacks reducing the cravings for any junk food. It’s not a definitive list but I always keep these 10 ingredients fully stocked, everything else can chop and change but these are staple foods.

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#1 Avocado

Because it literally goes with EVERYTHING! Mashed on toast, soulmate of eggs, smashed with squeezed lime, salt, pepper and chili flakes for a super speedy guac and did I say everything?

#2 Eggs

NEVER allow yourself to run out of eggs they’re a life saver for all meals and are a great natural source of protein (and they wonderful of course). Without eggs there would be no pancakes, breakfast would be unsatisfying and avocado toast would be very sad.

#3 Sweet potato

Mashed, grated, baked, fried so many great ways to add to any meal for a healthy source of carbs. The great thing is they cook pretty quick so perfect for post training fuel. If you fancy something sweet you can even try sweet potato brownies!

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#4 Spinach 

If it’s good enough for Popeye? Adding something green to every meal ensures you get all the great nutrients that come with it! The base for your salad, work well with eggs and add to smoothies for those extra gains!

#5 Oats

Fuelling beefcakes since the 1900’s! The ultimate pre/post training food, you only have to scroll through your Instagram feed and you’ll see a zillion bowls of the stuff. An essential ingredient for energy balls, protein pancakes, healthy bread and makes a great coating for breaded fish/chicken.

#6 Almond milk

Even though I do take dairy milk occasionally, I always buy almond milk. I prefer it in my porridge or in my smoothies.There’s no saturated fat in almond milk, It’s low in sodium and high in healthy fats. Get all the great benefits by making your own, as some shop bought versions only have about 7% almonds in it!

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#7 Greek yogurt

I actually don’t think I could function without my daily injection of Greek yogurt. It’s the perfect food and works in sweet and savory meals. My go to snack is yogurt mixed with protein, usually before bed. I always add it to my smoothies, overnight oats, a replacement for cream and even in hot curries! My favourite brands include Fage, Glenisk and SKYR. (not an #ad)

#8 Bananas

It’s very rare that I ever run out of bananas, they are a life saver when you need something sweet or as a handy snack. Bananas are made to be eaten with peanut butter, my go-to snack is simply bananas cut into coins and spread with peanut butter. Freeze them, and you have ice cream, I mean anything that you can turn into ice cream is good with me!

#9 Peanut/Almond butter

Do I really need to explain this? Nut butter is food from the gods. I actually had to wean myself off eating tubs of the stuff! I add nut butter to all my energy balls, gorge with greek yogurt, on toast with banana or as we know straight from the jar.

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#10 Raspberries/Blueberries

Not just because they’re full of antioxidants but they are so bloody tasty. As you can see with this list of ingredients most work great together. Oats are no longer boring when topped with fresh berries, greek yogurt turns into a dashing dessert with berries and what are pancakes without berries?

Some miscellaneous items I always have too: Protein, coconut oil, maple syrup, Kerrygold butter, pink Himalayan salt.

Let me know what ingredients you can’t live without in the comments below!

One For The Weekend: Healthy Waffles

Did you hear? Waffles are the new pancakes…NOT! They’re both great in different ways.   I was so excited when my waffle iron arrived in the post, especially after watching an episode of Chef Steps where they go on a waffle frenzy (things like mac and cheese and gyoza). If you have not checked them out on YouTube then I recommend you do so immediately, it’s my fave show at the minute. I got the waffle iron to change things up and I know you’re thinking that it’s a bit of a gimmick (and it probably is) but after watching Chef Steps, they prove there’s a multitude of ways to use this appliance. It brought me happiness anyway and sure that’s all that matters, right?

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Of course the first recipe I had to try was a clean waffle recipe (even though Christy always tells me to practice the normal way first, I’m not very good at listening in that way!) I used a recipe similar to the 3 ingredient pancake recipe as I know it works. Just a little tip-waffle batter should be similar to pancake batter but thicker.

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This recipe is only enough for one person (2 waffles) so multiply accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or water)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 eggs (or egg white)

Method:

  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. In a nutribullet blend the oats until you get a flour-like consistency.
  3. Add in all the other ingredients except for the milk, blend for 1 min then add in the milk/water for another 1 minute. Leave aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
  4. Grease the waffle iron with grassfed butter or coconut oil.
  5. Pour the mixture over 2 of the segments until covered, it’s ok if it’s not 100% covered but try cover the majority.
  6. Close the lid for 2 minutes, no peeping let it cook through.
  7. Carefully remove and plate up with any toppings of your choice, I chose Nobo ice cream and frozen berries and it was perfect!

 

 

 

6 Fun Facts About Me…

Usually within about 20 minutes of meeting me, I nearly always hear the words “You’re mad” I guess being an Aquarian there is a wacky eccentricity to my personality and I wouldn’t change it for the world! Blogs can sometimes be one sided, yeah I lift weights, make healthy food but there’s so much more that happens in life that we don’t get to talk about! I put together some fun facts to show you a different side to my usual shenanigans……

#1 Glasto Veteran

I attended Glastonbury festival 6 years in a row (2004-2010, it wasn’t on in 2006) Yes, 6 years of muddy festival madness and still no other festival has come close to the awesome-ness of Glasto! I have so many great memories like that first year I almost turned Hare Krishna (long story), secret Radiohead gigs, Bjork, strawberry cider, 4am raves and so much more. I’m yet to make a come back, though I feel I could only commit to it with a camper van, really showing my age now lol! I reckon everyone needs to experience this amazing place at least once in a lifetime.When are the tickets on sale again?

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#2 Tan Virgin

Up until last year I was a fake tan virgin! I’ve always been quite the tomboy so didn’t trust myself to actually apply it properly. I’m lucky to be quite sallow, well when I actually see the sunshine (which is quite rare) I get a great tan! We all know how great you feel when you have a color so last year before a friends hen party I decided to get a spray tan. I was hooked immediately, the colour was so close to my natural tone and gave me that “señorita” look, I knew it wouldn’t be the last time I got one. Now that the summer is here it’s time to get the legs out, I mean why do all that training if you can’t show them off? Spray tans will definitely be part of my summer regime this year. There’s still no way I’ll do it myself, I love tigers but I don’t want to look like one!

#3 The Sound Of Music

Coming from a musical family it’s no surprise that I got involved myself! I started singing/performing arts at the age of 11 (Back in my Britney days!) and I actively sang right up until I was 24, although most nights out usually end up with me belting out a few tunes. I was also a dancer-mostly hip hop from the age of 12 and competed in national competitions winning a few in the process. I was even part of the Dublin All Star Marching Band, I was on the pom poms. Discovering rock music meant leaving my dancing shoes behind as I felt is was no longer “cool”  but I progressed into a band with friends in school. I believe these lessons are still relevant today, when I competed in my first weightlifting competition I was able to block out the people watching, just like my past performances, resulting in less nerves!

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#4 Aimee Rainbows

A bit Cringe! But this was a nickname of mine for years, there was different variations e.g Mimi Rainbows, Little Rainbows, Rainbow Girl the list went on. The background? I used to wear some pretty wacky clothes, every colour and pattern you could imagine, in fact I didn’t even own any black clothes until I was 22 and that was because I got a job in BT2. Prior to that I worked in Georges St Arcade for 3 years and I guess embracing a unique style was part of the resume there. My first tattoo was a crayon style rainbow, to always remind me of this time in my life and just to always remember to embrace your creative side.

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#5 All The Ink

Following from that last point, I have seven tattoos in total (and no intention of stopping there!) My tattoos include the rainbow on my left foot (meaning above), on my right foot I have a blue bird with a line from “Somewhere over the rainbow” in memory of my nana-I should add this was by far the most painful! Others include an owl on my arm and a wolf/skull on my calf- to mark my five year anniversary with Christy, small designs on each wrist and a Thai design done with bamboo on a trip to Thailand. I would love a half sleeve but would only choose an artist I love for this, I’m very picky so this could take a while! I want my body to represent my life, exciting moments, adventures etc it’s how I express myself. When people ask me “But, what will you look like when you’re 70?” I always say I will look 70 with tattoos? I’ll still be Aimee and it’s my choice anyway! Some girls love shoes, I love tattoos!

#6 Fashion Blogger

Despite the fact that my wardrobe is 98% gym gear I did have great fashion sense once upon a time! As a teenager I loved to express myself through fashion and music, I didn’t care much what people thought of me and my main objective was to never look like anyone else. I remember one time my brother refusing to give me a lift because my outfit was too “out there!” I never pursued this passion until about 5 years ago I set up a Tumblr account and decided to start a fashion blog! It turned out that fire had long gone out as I didn’t feel it represented my current goals. This led me to pursue my passion for health, fitness and recipe making- thus Primal Piggy was born a year later. You never know how things can turn out, you have to take risks. Remember failing is not permanent, it’s a lesson learned! So if you believe in something keep pushing forward, work hard and dreams will become reality….

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