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Eat Your Favourite Dishes And Cook ONCE A Week With These Healthy Recipes.
Thought being a vegetarian was boring? Think again. queen of all things green Natasha Corrett, has the alternatives to all your favourite comfort foods.
Going green isn’t the easiest of tasks, mainly because most of us would probably rather have a burger than a plate of salad.
What if we said that you could be healthy and still eat your favourite dishes?
Chef, Natasha Corett's new book 'Honestly Healthy In A Hurry' is the ultimate lazy girl's guide to eating healthy, with a bundle of easy vegetarian dishes that will save you time, money and more importantly...CALORIES.
Her ethos of being healthy 70 percent of the week, and enjoying yourself for the remaining 30 percent, means you can maintain a healthy lifestyle without depriving yourself of the foods you crave (yes, there IS a healthy Sticky Toffee Pudding!) plus, Natasha's batch-cooking meal prep means you only have to cook ONCE a week!
It might sound too good to be true but Natasha sat down for a chat with Heart, and let's just say... we've been converted!
You've been leading a healthy way of living for 8 years. Do you still crave anything you shouldn’t?
I’ve never been able to accept the fact that I can’t have something. So when I was told by doctors that I shouldn’t be eating wheat, diary, gluten and un-refined sugar I just found other ways around it. I still have curries, I still have sticky toffee pudding, so anyone following my recipes will never feel as though they’re depriving themselves.
Some people have the perception that veggie meals aren't substantial enough. How can we make sure we’re getting a hearty meal and not rabbit food?
Being a vegetarian isn’t all about having a carrot and a salad bowl full of iceberg lettuce. Trust me, I have a 6 ft 4 husband, and I make proper man food for him! For me, a delicious meal is curries and stews, I even make a lentil bolognaise that weirdly tastes like meat! Because it’s packed with vegetables and wholegrain it’s SO healthy.
Is it a myth that you’ll start to shed the pounds if you go veggie?
You can’t just cut out meat and expect to lose weight, because you might end up eating a lot of cheese, pizza and pasta, you need to learn how to supplement that with fruit and veg.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when starting a diet?
I think the most common mistake people make is trying to start a diet full stop! It’s not sustainable; you start it on a Monday and cave by Wednesday. The key to getting healthy is preparation. So make your meals for the week on a Sunday afternoon, that way you have lots of meals in your fridge that only need warming up in the evenings.
Don’t ever wait until you’re starving to eat, that’s when you’re likely to make silly decisions and reach for the crisps, or chocolate instead of having a proper meal.
What are your cupboard staples?
If you love your carbs then it’s good to have rice pasta in your cupboard so you can make a quick pesto pasta. My top tip is making pesto and freezing it into ice cube trays so that you can pop them in your pot from frozen while your cooking. Brown Rice, Quinoa are also a must-have for carb-lovers.
Vegetables aren't that cheap nowadays, how can you make veggie meals more cost effective?
Try and buy seasonal as it’s much more cost-effective, and I always urge people to find their local farmers market. Also by getting into the habit of batch cooking your meals all at once and freezing portions, you are saving vegetables from going off in the back of your fridge.
How do I stick to the plan when I'm out for dinner?
If you’re going out say, three times a week you can use that as your 30% treats for the week and enjoy it. However if you find yourself eating out more often then ordering lots of little sides is a great shout as they are normally full of vegetables. Remember, you don't have to be a full-time vegetarian, you can eat green five days of the week and then maybe just eat meat at the weekends.
What about children, how can you encourage them to eat right and make food more exciting?
Definitely get them in the kitchen cooking with you, so they can see the preparation and learn about where vegetables come from and how meals are made. If you have fussy kids it’s so easy to hide veg, for example my sweet potato muffins and cauliflower brownies are a great start. I also find referring to the vegetables as colours and allowing them to choose which colours they want to see in their food, is a great way to see them tuck into their meals.
Make Her Meals At Home and Try These Recipes!
MIDDLE EASTERN POTATO SALAD
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
250g (9oz) goats’ or sheeps’ milk yoghurt
First make the dressing by mixing the cinnamon, cumin, pinch of salt and yoghurt together.
Arrange the cooled sweet potato on a platter, pour the dressing over it and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve with a salad or as a side dish, garnished with the pomegranate seeds if you like.
Take a look at her gorgeous recipe for SWEET POTATO PORRIDGE
This is a wonderfully filling and nourishing quick breakfast that you can make with leftover roast potatoes too. A great healthy energy giver, it is perfect for a post-workout meal.
85g roasted sweet potato (125g raw sweet potato, roasted whole)
35g carrots, grated
100ml almond or other plant milk
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp agave syrup (optional)
for the garnish (optional)
agave syrup, to garnish
Mash the flesh of the roasted sweet potato with a fork.
In a saucepan, add the sweet potato mash, oats, grated carrots, almond milk, cinnamon and 275ml water and cook over a medium to high heat for 4 minutes.
Stir in the coconut oil and serve for a warming breakfast.
The porridge is naturally quite sweet, but if you would like that extra little edge of sweetness, add the agave syrup (date or coconut blossom syrup would also be delicious).
Garnish with blueberries, a dusting of cinnamon and agave if you wish.
PUFFED QUINOA AND BUCKWHEAT GRANOLA BITES
These are so delicious and perfect for a sweet treat. I like to keep them in the fridge or freezer for a rainy day so that I always have something to enjoy if I get a sweet craving.
Makes 12-15 bites
140g dates, stones removed
85g coconut oil, at room temperature
1 tbsp date syrup
¼ tsp vanilla extract
20g puffed quinoa
40g whole buckwheat groats
50g shelled pistachios
a generous pinch of Himalayan pink salt
Put the dates, coconut oil, date syrup and vanilla extract into a blender and blitz until it forms a nice thick paste – the mixture may separate, but don’t worry about this.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until really well combined.
Line a 20 × 30cm baking tray with baking parchment and press the mixture into it so it is about 3cm thick – it will hold its shape, so don’t worry if it doesn't fill the tray.
Put into the fridge to set for 1–2 hours. Remove from the fridge and cut into little bite-sized cubes. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or a month in the freezer.
OVEN-BAKED GLUTEN-FREE TACOS AND WRAPS
Crunchy and tasting just like the real deal, this tacos recipe is one not to miss. The tacos have become a staple in our home now and we bake them to order or in advance and have them all the time. The batter is so quick to make and you can also use it for a gluten-free wrap for the kids and big kids to take to work. In this case, don’t put the tacos in the oven – simply wrap around a salad for a healthy home-made lunch.
Makes 4-5 tacos
200g gluten-free plain flour
¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
sunflower oil, for frying
for the salsa:
345g vine tomatoes
juice of 1 lime
Himalayan pink salt
for the peppers:
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 red pepper, sliced
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
a pinch of cayenne pepper
for the black beans:
1 tbsp sunflower oil
¼ tsp ground cumin
240g black beans
a pinch of paprika
avocado slices, for serving
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3. Remove one of the wire shelves as you will need it to drape your tacos over the bars so they dry into that classic U-shape.
Put the flour and salt into a bowl. Make a well in the middle, pour in 250ml water and mix together. Beat the egg in a separate bowl and then add to the flour and water until you have a thick batter.
Heat a good non-stick pan (mine is 30cm) and heat a small amount of sunflower oil spreading it over the surface. Ladle some batter into the pan and very quickly spread it out thinly to the edges by tilting the pan. Leave to cook, and as soon as it starts to bubble, lift around the edges and is golden underneath, flip it over and cook the other side. This should take 2 minutes on each side. Repeat until you have used up all the batter.
Put the wire shelf back into the preheated oven so it is sticking out of the door. Hang each taco over two wires next to each other. Once they are all hanging, push them down on the top so that they form a nice fat edge and straighten the sides so they are not too wide apart.
Carefully push the shelf into the oven and bake the tacos for 20 minutes until crisp. Meanwhile, make your fillings.
To make the salsa, whizz the tomatoes and coriander in a food processor, or chop finely by hand. Mix in the lime juice and salt. Transfer to a serving bowl.
For the peppers, put the sunflower oil into a pan with the sliced red pepper, pomegranate molasses, apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Add 60ml water and leave to be absorbed for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
For the black beans, put the sunflower oil and cumin into a pan and leave on the heat for 1–2 minutes until the oil starts to sizzle. Add the beans and their liquid, then the paprika and stir for 2–3 minutes on a high heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Transfer to a serving bowl
Carefully lift the tacos off the oven shelf and place on a platter on the table. Take care, as the tacos are crisp and crack easily.
To assemble, spoon a little of all the different accompaniments into your taco and top with the avocado slices. Enjoy with a napkin to hand!
We'll see you in the kitchen!
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