Review: WooGo Juice – California Smoothies

Anyone who knows anything about me can tell you what a huge fan I am of a proper smoothie!  Sweet, thick, creamy – it’s all the joy of an ice cream but infinitely more refreshing and better for you!  For this reason, I was so excited to hear about the opening of WooGo Juice, a California style smoothie bar, just minutes from Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT.

IMG_8438Tucked away in an alley behind Ming Yao department store, the place was hard to miss with its big purple sign and distinctive surfboard menu.
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Inside, the space is small, clean, friendly and (mercifully!) strongly air conditioned.  There’s free wifi access and a few seating areas, so its a nice place to grab a refreshing afternoon pick me up and catch up with emails.

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The menu is available in Chinese and English and boasts a wide range of options.  They’re all blended with frozen fruit, nonfat froyo and fruit sorbet, which gives them a deliciously thick and creamy consistency – just how I like it! They’re very reasonably priced too, with 400ml (medium) costing around 75NTD and 600ml (x-large) around 105NTD.

I tried the Berry Puff Girl and Raspberry Mojito, both of which were delicious.  The first is your classic berry smoothie whilst the Mojito was zinger and sharper thanks to the addition of the fresh mint.

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They also serve a wide range of bagels and cream cheeses (the two together costing 65NTD) if you’re looking for a more substantial snack

I really like the WooGo cup – its biodegradable and just a lot of fun to read!  Also when I saw the following….IMG_8450

I knew I must be a true WooGo drinker.

Even better, I recently discovered that WooGo is less than one street from Taiwan’s coolest new fitness class, SpaceCycle.  (Asia’s answer to my love, SoulCycle).  If you’re in the Zhongxiao Dunhua area, be sure to head up to the 13th Floor of Ming Yao Department store (above Uniqlo) and try it out – first one for free! And of course, there’s only one place to go for a post-workout protein pick me up …..

WOOGO JUICE: No. 42, Lane 233, DunHua S. Road, Sec. 1, (02) 2778-0182

My day on a plate

Hello!

Sorry for the lack of posts recently – I’ve had a rather hectic two months at uni!  Here’s an overview of me & my foodie friends’ kitchen adventures from this term:

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I was recently asked on Instagram to do a ‘day on the plate’ style post, so here goes!

My diet varies depending on where I am.  At uni, it’s all about convenience; we don’t have the greatest cooking facilities, so I have to get creative with my blender (lifesaver!), a tiny hotplate and the college microwave. Here’s a general idea:

At uni….
Pre-rowing: a sachet of Oats-so-Simple made with almond milk, egg white and cinnamon.
Post-rowing: a smoothie.  My usual uni recipe is almond milk, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, banana, steamed beetroot (pre-cooked from Sainsburys), cacao powder & flaxseeds. No freezers and student budgets mean that my beloved frozen berry extravaganza shakes have to wait until the holidays!

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Mid-morning snack: an Eat Natural or Nakd bar.
Lunch: usually a massive salad and hummus (my uni diet essential)!  I either make this myself or grab something from the uni canteen or a nearby cafe ( I love Pret, M&S and The Urban Shed).
Afternoon snack : Another bar (keeping Eat Natural in business here!) or a smoothie, if i didn’t have one for breakfast. Coffee!
Dinner: If I’m not eating at the uni canteen (which usually serves veggies/vegans some kind of vegetable stew and salad), I’ll make another salad, or my go-to microwavable feast sweet potato, poached eggs, grated carrot, steamed veggies and loads of seeds.
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uni canteen fare – not too bad for £2.11!
Desert: I always have desert, no exception! My favourites are hot chocolate & a Nakd bar, or some homemade protein balls, or banana and almond butter on rice cakes….. (the list goes on 🙂 )
My holiday/at home diet follows a pretty similar layout, but access to an oven/Vitamix/juicer/Magimix means I can get much more creative with meals – yay!
At home:
Pre-gym breakfast: 1/2 bowl bran flakes and almond milk.  Just enough to power me through 90mins cardio/weights without weighing me down.
Post gym: a HUGE smoothie (i’m talking half-a-Vitamix worth) . My favourite at the moment is the Red Velvet (cacao, berries, beetroot, almond milk), although you can never go wrong with the Classic Super Green combo 🙂
Mid morning snack : Coffee, and some kind of home baked treat which I made the might before. At the moment, it’s cacao chia cookies.
IMG_6402Lunch: Roast sweet potato chips (I can literally eat these at every meal) & salad or soup.
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Afternoon snack: a bar, or a few homemade protein balls
Dinner: I love dinner! I try and get creative with recipes here, which means I usually end up eating a lot (a lot of taste testing goes on when I’m cooking!). This was my most recent one  – quinoa crust pizza with roast veggies.
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Whilst I’m not 100% vegan myself, I mainly cook vegan recipes, particularly from Deliciously Ella and Oh She Glows.  They just tend to make me feel better than meat/dairy-laden meals, and they’re cheaper!

Pudding: Something from this lovely list here, or here 🙂

As you can see, I never go hungry! In my view, food is fuel and fuelling up with the right foods is essential for powering you through your workouts/days/life. I normaly eat between 1900 and 2200 calories day, although it’ll be more if i’m rowing or running intensely.  But calories aren’t my main focus – I’m much more concerned about the nutrients I’m getting through my food!  Focus on the good stuff – an analogy for eating, and for life !

🙂

The Classic Green Smoothie

Hello:)
I’m so sorry for the lack of recipe posts recently! I’m back on the road again – but this time not for a holiday.  My job as a PA = erratic working schedules, long hours and being permanently on call (ie. not the best conditions for blogging!)
As a result – the recipe I’m going to share today is perfect for those days where you genuinely do not have time to eat well.  I’m usually skeptical when people say they ‘don’t have time’ to do things (we all got the same number of hours in the day, honey!) but at time-pushed moments, taking care of yourself can fall to the bottom of the priority pile.  This recipe is here to fix that and give you an energy boost when you need it most! So here we go: a super healthy and nutritionally balanced glass of vitamins, veggies and volume to keep you full in less than the time it takes to make a cup of tea:
THE CLASSIC GREEN SMOOTHIE
Ingredients:
  • 1 large ripe banana, peeled and frozen
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 dates, pitted
  • 1 scp vanilla protein powder (easily subbed with 2tbsp soy yoghurt/greek yoghurt)
  • as much spinach as you can fit in the blender
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Method:
  1. Put all ingredients in blender.
  2. Blend
  3. Enjoy 🙂
Quick, easy, nutritious, but most of all delicious!  I usually sip this from a to-go cup as I dash out the door in the morning, eyes still half closed, shoes untied and hair awry ! It’s the perfect on the go breakfast to keep you full for hours and set your day off to a great start.
 Enjoy 🙂
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Take it anywhere!

Sweet Potato Ice Cream Sundae

Hello!

I haven’t been posting much recently (sorry!) because of my travels; I’ve been away from both my kitchen and a reliable internet source.

Nevertheless, I have a really fantastic recipe saved up that I can’t wait to share! It’s the perfect summer treat – sweet, cool, indulgent and icy, with very little hands-on kitchen time required.

This recipe was created in collaboration with the lovely folk over at Sweet Freedom.  They sent me a bottle of their low GI, all natural liquid sweetener as a thank you for sharing my Chocolate Fudge Sundae recipe, which can be found here.  I’m loving their range of sweeteners and sauces – if you haven’t tried them already, I’d definitely recommend! I’ve managed to drizzle their famous Choc Shot over 95% of my food this summer….

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The holy trinity
 
 
Anyhow, back to business. Take a look……..
 
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Not only is this Sweet Potato Sundae really photogenic, its also delicious, packed with health benefits and ridiculously easy to make.  Here’s how…
 
Ingredients
– 1 large sweet potato (peeled, steamed until super soft & frozen)
– a squeeze of Sweet Freedom
– 1 large ripe frozen banana
– 1/2 scp vegan vanilla protein powder (can be omitted or subbed with soy/Greek yoghurt)
 
Method
The day before
Chop the steamed sweet potato flesh and banana into chunks and place in a ziplock bag. Freeze overnight
The day of
1) blend all the ingredients in a food processor.  Keep blending until you have an ice-cream like consistency
2) scoop into a bowl and allow to harden in the freezer for 30 minutes.
3) top with all your favourite yummies and enjoy!
 
Some topping ideas….
-Choc Shot (essential! so yummy)
-mulberries
-chopped nuts
-cacao nibs
-goji berries
-coconut flakes
-almond butter
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The consistency of this is incredible – sweet potatoes are naturally smooth and sweet so they make a perfect base for this creamy desert.  They’re also packed with beta carotene and vitamin A so they’re brilliant for your skin.  By eating this ice-cream, you’re getting two of your five a day, 213% of your Vitamin A AND and a serious complexion boost.  Now how many puddings can you say that about?!
 
So there you have it : vegan, veggie-filled ice cream that can be whipped up in seconds from whole, natural ingredients from your local produce aisle. The versatility of vegetables never fails to amaze me – who’d have thought you could create such an amazing sweet treat from a potato?? I urge you to try this one; it’ll change the way you view ice cream forever!
 
Enjoy,
 
Charley

The 2 ingredient, 100% natural pancake recipe

Hello !

This morning I wanted to share with you the easiest, healthiest and tastiest pancake recipe in the world.

This is clean eating at it’s finest – there’s absolutely no processed ingredients in here.  No refined flour, no sugar, no butter, no weird stabilising agents.  It’s just two ingredients, both of which are readily available from a Tesco near you 🙂 Want to know?

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs

That’s it!  Now for the method, which is as wonderfully simple as the ingredients list.

1) Mash the banana into a bowl with the eggs

IMG_34572) Smush with a fork until smooth

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3) (OPTIONAL) Add any other flavourings/spices that take your fancy.  Cinnamon is always good

4) Heat 1tsp coconut oil on a flat griddle pan.  Spoon the pancake mix onto the pan and cook on a low heat until golden brown (c. 30-40 seconds on each side)

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5) Flip and repeat

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6) DONE!

You can eat them as they are or jazz them up with delicious toppings.  Almond butter and berries is my favourite combination, but try them with maple syrup, cacao nibs, chopped nuts, berries, mango, seeds – the list is endless!

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The two ingredient recipe makes a really light, airy pancake with a fluffy texture.  However, if you like your pancakes thicker & denser (like Scotch pancakes), sub one of the eggs for a scoop of vegan protein powder – Arbonne’s vanilla blend works brilliantly. This is my favourite way of making them

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Healthified scotch pancakes

The nutritional profile of these is pretty amazing! Less than 250 cals and almost 14g of protein (17g if you use the protein powder) in the entire recipe.

So there you have it.  Gluten-free, dairy-free, high protein, super simple, 100% natural, no refined sugar and absolutely delicious pancakes from just two ingredients. This one’s definitely a keeper 😉

Why I’m boycotting ice cubes…..

Hello world! This week I’ve been interning at Cosmopolitan, which has been a really great experience and so much fun

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hard at work…

Luckily for me, the office is a three minute walk from Whole Foods and a whole host of other health foodie hangouts 😀 😀 I was like a kid in a candy shop! Because of heat, I was drawn mostly to smoothies and juices in all their vibrant colours and flavours. Kale and pepper?  Acai and pitaya? Mango passionfruit kiwi? It all had me salivating and willing to exchange exorbitant amounts of money for 500ml of liquid goodness

But these shop-bought smoothies were often be a disappointment.  They tasted good, but the texture was  sometimes a bit, well, meh.

After pondering on it a while, I figured out the culprit….

ICE CUBES!

Too many of ’em! Although they’re great for speedy cool downs and can be epeceially refreshing come summer – they are no friend to a creamy smoothie.  I like mine almost ice cream consistency, so I really resent it when juice baristas (?) fill half your £4.99 juice with frozen water.

So how to fix this problem at home?

Freeze yo’ fruit.  And yo’ veggies.

I urge you all to embrace the frozen fruit and veg trend!  It’s the best way to get a thick, creamy, fruity consistency that stays icy where the weather’s hot.  And when it does melt?  You have a creamy, nutrient packed drink that retains taste and teture much longer than ice blended drinks.

With that in mind,  here are my favourite candidates for the ice-cube upgrade….

 

1) Cauliflower

My absolute fave. It has literally zero taste when frozen and blitzed into smoothies, but just 120g of it packs  73% of your daily Vitamin C (in 120g)  and 20% of your Vitamin K.     A++

2) Spinach and leafy greens

Hail the kale.  Freeze your greens for an improved texture but unaltered taste

3) Beetroot

This is all you need for an Instagrammable smoothie – it turns everything a gorgeous deep pink! Make sure you peel and chop the beetroot into small chunks BEFORE you free it though; trying to cut a spherical, rock solid, ice-cold beet is no-one’s idea of fun

4) Watermelon

Seeing as watermelon is 91% water, this makes a natural choice. Best for sorbets and refresher style iced drinks, try blending with lime, coconut water and berries for an instant cooler.

5) Berries

The mainstay of my breakfast smoothies, berries are packed with antioxidants which are essential for skin and heart health.  Stock up on big bags of frozen berries- it’s significantly cheaper than getting them fresh.

 

By combining a fruit and veggie cubes in your smoothie,  it’s easy to pack in well over 6 varieties of fruit and veg in your morning drink.  This morning , I consumed the equivalent of a large salad  (banana, blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, kale and cauliflower) all before 9am. Nay bad.

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Salad to go

You can also make ice cubes out of almond milk or coffee to prevent the dreaded dilution.  Disclaimer: this one’s only for the steady handed – the clumsier ones amongst us have a tendency to spill it all over the floor on the walk to the freezer…

Experiment with different fruit + veggie combinations until you find the one that works for you.  If you have any suggestions for freezable veggie candidates that I’ve missed, please share in the comments! I’d love to try some of your combinations too!

 

Have a great day,

 

Charley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BEST chocolate-fudge-almond butter sundae smoothie (that’s vegan and good for you!)

As a part time vegan and full time health junkie,  people often assume that diet my consists solely of limp lettuce and tofu.  ‘How do you survive without chocolate/pudding/food that actually tastes good?’ they cry in horror, before giving me a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and walking away.

But the truth is, I enjoy chocolate-fudge-almond-butter sundaes on a regular basis – at least 5 times a week  –  often for breakfast  By getting creative with vegetables and switching out unhealthy nasties like refined sugar and dairy for Mother Nature’s goodness, it’s easy to enjoy a delicious fudgey chocolate treat that your body, as well as your tastebuds, will thank you for.

Unlike regular sundaes, which can contain over half your RDA of saturated fat and up to 700 calories(!!!),  my vegan healthified version contains less than 350 cals and three of your five a day, two of which are vegetables.  Depending on how much almond milk you add, this creates either a bowl of delicious vegan ‘ice-cream’ or a super thick smoothie.  I’m a fan of the smoothie as its easy to drink on the go, but both are delish. Here be the recipe…..

INGREDIENTS:

  •  1 large ripe frozen banana
  •  1/2 a roasted sweet potato, skin removed*
  •  a small handful of spinach
  •  a few frozen cauliflower florets (I promise you don’t taste them!)
  • 5 ice cubes
  •  1tsp cacao powder
  •  1 scp chocolate vegan protein powder.  I like Arbonne’s pea/cranberry chocolate blend.
  •  10 (or so) almonds
  • 1 cup almond milk.  Use more if you want a smoothie consistency, less for an ice-cream-y one

TOPPING IDEAS:

  • almonds
  • mulberries
  • cacao nibs
  • carob chips
  • maca powder
  • chopped dates
  • flaked coconut
  • Choc Shot
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Spot the veggies! Oh yeah, you can’t!

METHOD:

Put all the ingredients except almonds in a food processor (for ice cream) or a blender (for a smoothie).  Turn on and blitz until until smooth.  You might need to keep adding splashes of almond milk to keep it moving.  Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, add the almonds and pulse for a few seconds until broken up.  Feel free to put it in the freezer for half an hour or so to achieve an ice cream like consistency.  Top with whatever your heart desires and enjoy 🙂

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Topped with carob flakes, mulberries, coconut, cacao nibs and maca powder (hidden under the heap of mulberries!)

 

*NOTE ON SWEET POTATO PREP For skin removal sans a peeler (+ really tasty crispy sweet potato skins!), follow these steps

  1. wash & dry sweet potatoes
  2. slather in 1tsp coconut oil
  3. sprinkle on a pinch of salt
  4. bake in oven for 1hr at a medium heat.  Roasting them for a long time at low-ish temperatures WITHOUT cutting the skin allows them to steam slightly from the inside, making for easy skin removal.  To test if they’re ready, slice them down the middle and try peeling a way a bit of the skin; it’ll come away easily once they’re done.    Eat the skin – it’s really tasty and packed with nutrients!
  5. remove the skin and put the flesh in an air-tight container, which can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

 

The Ultimate Berry Breakfast Smoothie

For my first post up on the blog,  I thought it would be fitting to share the recipe for my absolute favourite breakfast smoothie.  I have this most mornings (and on quite a few afternoons and evenings too!) – it’s absolutely delicious and is packed with the goodness and energy to power me through till lunchtime.  Plus, it’s pretty cool to have got in 4 of your 5 a day by 9am!  This is the basic outline of my daily smoothie – the exact quantities and ingredients vary depending on what’s in the fridge.  But to be honest, the beauty of whole fruit & veggie smoothies is that you can pack the blender full of whatever you fancy – once it’s all blitzed up it will taste so good that you won’t even notice the, erm, unusual! variety of veggies in there.

    INGREDIENTS (serves 1)

    • 1 large ripe banana – peeled, chopped into chunks and frozen the night before
    • 1 very large handful of frozen mixed berries
    • 1 cup (250 mls – ish) almond milk
    • a few ice cubes
    • 1 small handful of frozen cauliflower (yes, really!) florets
    • 1 handful spinach
    • 1 scp vanilla vegan protein power. (If you don’t have any, a couple of medjool dates does the same thickening/sweetening job and a scoop of hemp seeds or almond butter can give a comparable protein hit)
    • water, to help it blend

    OPTIONAL BUT DELICIOUS:

    • 1 tsp maca powder
    • 1 tbsp cacao nibs

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    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Put all ingredients (except cacao nibs) in a high powered blender + blend. You might have to stop a few times and give it a shake – this makes a really thick, almost sorbet consistency, smoothie. If you need to, add water to help the blender along. Add the cacao nibs at the end and give them a short burst on the blender – you don’t want to totally obliterate them because their crunchy texture is the best bit!

    Et voila – a nutritional powerhouse breakfast to go in under 5 minutes

    Drink and enjoy!