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.

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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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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Gluten Free Recipes with BFree Foods

I use Bfree products regularly, especially the pitta breads and the chia wraps. The macros on the wraps are really good and are lighter than regular wraps which appeals to me, so I was delighted when BFree sent me some products to sample. I wanted to get as creative as possible because let’s face it, there’s not an awful lot you can do with wraps, is there? Here’s a few fun recipes I made using the products, I hope you enjoy!

Fajita Wraps

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I usually wouldn’t buy this type of box as I always make my own from scratch. It was fun to  try it and the instructions were super easy, perfect for busy families. The box comes with wraps, seasoning and salsa and all you need to add is chicken (or chickpeas for veggies) peppers and a red onion.

The taste was lovely but I found the seasoning a little on the sweet side and this is probably down to sugar being the first ingredient on the list. Hopefully that could be altered in the future. They have a lovely smokey flavor which I love and they went down really well in this house!

Tortilla Chips

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This is my go to snack recipe if I’m watching a movie or craving something savory! It’s super easy to make (I say that a lot don’t I) But it’s true it can be made within 5-6 mins max!

Ingredients:

  • 1 BFree wrap cut into triangles
  • olive oil
  • paprika
  • salt/pepper

Method:

  1. Brush the triangles with oil.
  2. Season with the paprika and salt/pepper, rub on both sides.
  3. Bake for 4-5 mins until brown and crispy.
  4. Leave aside to crisp and serve up with guac or hummus!

Cinnamon French Toast Wrap

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This was a fun idea that just popped into my head. French toast was my ultimate weekend food when I was younger, I just loved it! Even now when I see it on a menu my inner child jumps out of her seat. It’s also not the healthiest foods on the planet so I figured this would be a lighter version! You could say it’s like a french toast/pancake hybrid so two of the best brunch options.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bfree wrap per person
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Optional topping and fillings; banana, strawberries, blueberries, maple syrup, nut butter, shredded coconut and chia jam-Get creative!

Method

  1. Heat a large pan (I use a crepe pan) over medium.
  2. Whisk eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup together in a large bowl.
  3. Dip the wrap in the mixture, ensuring it is completely covered.
  4. Melt some coconut oil/butter in the pan. Then cook the wrap for about 2-4 minutes on each side.
  5. Get creative with the toppings/fillings.Roll up your wrap and cut in half, if desired.
  6. I made some blueberry chia jam for the topping and added shredded coconut and bee pollen.

Breakfast/Snack Sushi

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It’s the perfect snack for the kids (or big kids!) it can be added to their lunch box for a nutritious snack. For you fitness fanatics it makes a great pre/post workout snack or it can be a good excuse to practice your chopsticks skills!

Ingredients:

  • 1 BFree wrap
  • 1 banana
  • 1-2 tbsp peanut butter
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup for dipping

Method

  1. Spread peanut butter over one side of the wrap.
  2. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  3. Place the banana at one end of the wrap and roll the tortilla over and over again until you have a tight circular shape.
  4. It’s ok if the banana doesn’t go right to the end of the wrap, cut off the ends and you can eat them as you go!
  5. Slice the wrap using a very sharp knife into even sized pieces.
  6. Dip in maple syrup and enjoy.

Review: Mash Direct Foods

Some days there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day! Working, training, cooking, cleaning and some of you have kids to add to the mix aswell! If we cut corners every so often, it can give us some time to relax and thanks to brands like Mash Direct, lunch and dinner time can be prepped super quick, with minimal cleaning too!

I was delighted to receive a package of their veggie delights to review in January. It was perfect timing after the madness of Christmas and definitely helped kickstart my healthy habits again!

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What I tested:  Carrot and parsnip, carrot, parsnip and turnip, red cabbage and beetroot, and the new gluten free veggie burgers.

I absolutely loved the carrot and parsnip option, made with only butter and seasoning, there’s no hidden nasties. It’s so creamy and delicious, I served it with slow cooked brisket and it was a perfect match. But there’s nothing it won’t go with; chicken, steak etc you can’t go wrong with it!

The carrot, parsnip and turnip has more of an earthy flavour. I’m not a huge fan of turnip usually but it was more palatable mixed with the carrot and parsnip. It’s a great way to get more veggies in and just like the other option it’s only blended with butter and seasoning, making is super clean and tasty!

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It was great to try something different like the beetroot and red cabbage, a side dish packed full of antioxidants! It made a yummy addition to the Sunday dinner and if I’m honest I wasn’t sure at first but then I couldn’t stop eating it, it definitely doesn’t lack flavour! I will definitely pick this up again!

As most of you know I was a veggie for 10 years so I’ve eaten my fair share of veggie burgers! The mash direct version are made with freshly steam cooked potato, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, spring cabbage & parsnip coated in a golden gluten free coating. They were absolutely delicious, so full of natural flavours and one burger was really filling. I cooked them for lunch and it made a nice change to what I usually have!

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When I used to eat a paleo diet, I would always try to only make EVERYTHING myself! This would lead to stressful moments of staying up late just to make food for the following day, or finding myself stuck in situations where I need to fuel up before I head to training! Most of the time I over consumed food like nuts or nut butters as that was all I had available!

I don’t eat a paleo diet anymore but thanks to companies like Mash Direct who make clean food with no crap added. It’s a convenient food that you can grab on the way home from the gym/work etc and be comfortable knowing you are getting clean whole foods into the diet!

All the products are available in most supermarkets, so pick some up on your next shopping trip and save yourself time in the kitchen!

Primal Piggy: Highlights And Memories 2015

As we come to the end of the year, I love to look back at all the great things that happened throughout the year! When I complied a list last year, it was done with a heavy heart as I lost my Na-Na only weeks before. Something I said last year was: My Na-Na told me I can achieve anything I want and to aways believe in myself. This will be my mantra for 2015 and I dedicate all my future achievements to her! I kept this memory close and great things happened, read on to find out the biggest change I made this year!

  • Interview For FSM RX’d– Being interviewed and training alongside some of my favourite fitness ladies was awesome! I still feel bad for Stephen having to put up with us crazies laughing and screaming at him for hours! Surrounding yourself with strong positive people who inspire you, motivate you and push you to achieve your goals is the true key to success! Thanks for the memory guys!

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  • The Waterford Throwdown– I know I put this down last year but it was a highlight for me this year again! It was a real test to see how far I progressed from the previous year and I was delighted with my efforts. This year I could actually do pull ups, my weightlifting had come on heaps and I saw a massive difference in my overall fitness! I love this competition as you get to hang out with amazing people with the same passion.. I’m excited to do it again this year!

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  • 80kg Clean– This was definitely one of my favourite moments of 2015. If you saw the video of this achievement you can tell how “happy” I am (ok I lost it!!). It was a number I never thought I would actually hit and has given me a real hunger to compete in a weightlifting competition in the New Year.

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  • New Tattoo– Last month me and Mr.PP celebrated our 5 year anniversary by getting tattoos in Berlin (one of our fave cities). We went back to the insanely talented artist Valentin Hirsch and he designed tattoos for us using animals that we felt represented each other- I got a wolf and he got a lioness (blush…)

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  • Hello Auntie Aimee– Becoming an auntie again was obviously a huge highlight for me. Mr Finley came into out lives in August and he made everything shine a little brighter. He is our little hero and hopefully one day I can show him how to lift some weights 🙂

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  • Social Media Success– This has to be the biggest change in my life and one that I feel I need to pinch myself every so often! It was the biggest risk I’ve ever taken and as someone who has been working from the 17, pretty daunting! In August I left my secure admin job and started an unpaid internship in social media. It’s an industry I am so passionate about and for me this was my stepping stone to get involved! It was the hardest few months of my life as I delved into a completely new world with my only previous experience in SM being this blog! It took a lot of hard-work and I won’t lie even tears, but last month I was asked to join the team, I can happily say I am now a full time social media specialist and am so excited to see what 2016 brings me in this new adventure!

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  • Brand Ambassador– I have been engaging with the guys at Love Life Supplements for a quite a while now and I am a huge fan of the products. They work hard to bring us the cleanest, most natural supplements out there and deserve every bit of success for doing so! This year I was over the moon when they took me on board as their first brand ambassador, unlike a lot of companies they really look after me, making sure I am fuelled for training and any competitions. If you haven’t heard about them go check them out, the Primal Protein is fantastic and I have reports from friends who couldn’t tolerate whey, having no trouble with this stuff!

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  • Overcoming fears– Even as a kid who spend most of her teenage years doing performing arts, public speaking terrifies me! If I had to sing on front of people? No problem at all but ask me to talk and I crumble! This was something I really wanted to get over so when I was asked by the lovely Kelly Donegan to be part of a fitness panel for a charity event I said yes straight away. It was pretty scary the place was packed with bloggers, presenters, models etc but it was the best place to just go for it, every was lovely and the relaxed setting definitely helped! My second chance was for the Irish Health Bloggers meet up thanks to Fab Giovanetti and this was slightly more scary, I had no panel it was just me and my story. I stood on front of a room of brands and bloggers and made it happen! Watch this space in 2016!

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I could keep adding to this list because there was so many highlights this year! But as I close off I want to thank every single person that continues to support me online and in my personal life, it means so much and gives me the drive to constantly do better! As for 2016…. let’s be having ya!!