Cookie HIIT Workout

We are so proud to have built a community of friends from all over the UK who are just as passionate about healthy lifestyle and yummy foods as we are! 

In this blog post we want to introduce you to a fantastic NATALIE CROSSLEY who is a qualified personal trainer with a background in gymnastics, crossfit and wellbeing. She will tell you how you can squeeze a workout while your Cookies are baking! 

Sometimes it can be a struggle to fit everything in, but when you can combine baking your favourite snack from Superfood Bakery with your workout it’s a win/win!

I have created a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout that can be done whilst your Superfood Bakery cookies are in the oven (just be sure to warm up and cool down before and after!).

Why HIIT? It is an excellent type of workout to perform in a short space of time, the intervals mean the body works at a high intensity for a burst, then rests. This method of training helps to keep your body’s metabolism boosted for hours after exercise, so you burn more calories at rest as well as during your workout! It is a great way to help strengthen your cardiovascular system and also work your endurance. Not only that, but it allows you to combine cardio and strength training for efficient use of your time.

So, here we go…

The movements:

Press ups with raised arms – you can use the kitchen countertop, so start by putting your hands on the edges, around shoulder width apart, walk the feet back until you’re in a good, straight diagonal position. Then bend the elbows squeezing the arms into the side and the shoulder blades together, as if there was a coin in between them. Keep the back nice and straight throughout and push up through the heel of the hands to straighten the arms – don’t let the hips drop or the bottom lift too high. 

Press up  

Press up 

Tricep dips – this time with your back to the countertop and hands pointing out resting on the top, about shoulder width apart walk the feet out in front (you can rest on the heels), slowly bend the arms to lower the body down keeping the bottom close to the unit and squeezing the elbows in as if there was a football between the two. Again, push through the heel of the hands to lift back up.

 Tricep Dips

 

 

Mountain climbers – in a plank position with the body in a straight line and the shoulder over the hands, lift one knee up towards the same arm. Lower it back and swap legs, continue the movement almost as if in a run. Don’t let the bottom lift too high or the back arch.

 Mountain climbers

 

Squat jumps – perform an air squat by bending the knees, pushing the bottom back, keep the weight through the heels and the chest high until you reach around a 90 degree bend in the knees (or as far as you can, maintaining the correct form – don’t worry if it’s not this deep), push through the feet and explode up into a jump. As you land, bend the knees and go into the next squat.

Squat jumps 

Squat jumps 

 

Walking lunges – with the hands on the hips take a long step forward and bend both knees into a 90 degree angle, push off the back leg and either step the feet together and lift again for the next lunge step or move the foot straight from behind to in front of the body in one movement for more of a challenge (ie don’t stop in the middle by bringing the feet together). Keep the midline tight throughout the lunges (this will also help with balance) and the chest lifted. The legs should remain hip-width apart throughout, think about the feet following two parallel train tracks.

 Walking Lunges

Plank knee taps – starting in a straight plank shape, lift one hand up, reach it through under the body, lifting the bottom up to the sky and tap the opposite knee. Return to the plank shape, being careful not to let the hips drop too low, and repeat lifting the other hand.

Plank knee taps 

 

Burpees - start in a straight plank shape, keep the midline tight as you jump the feet in towards the hands, bending the knees. From that position explode upwards into a jump. As you land, bend the knees to return to the tuck shape with the hands on the floor in front of the feet and push through the hands as you jump the feet back out to the straight plank shape.  Feet can be apart throughout and hands should be shoulder width apart, To increase the challenge you can do a tuck jump - rather than keeping the legs straight, bend them in towards the chest.

 Burpees

 

Courtesy lunge – start with feet hip-width apart, the hands can either be on the hips or in front of the body (as shown in the photo). Lift one leg and step it behind and across the body, bend both knees until the legs are at a 90-degree angle keeping the chest lifted. Bring the foot back to standing and extend the body so the hips are open and then repeat on the other leg. To increase the challenge, instead of straightening up between each repetition keep the knees bent and do a squat in the middle.

Courtesy lunge 

The workout:

20 seconds of work (you should be working hard!), followed by 10 seconds of rest

Complete all movements in this order, then repeat the whole lot 4 times – you can rest for 30-45 seconds between each full round.

Press Ups
Squat Jumps
Plank Knee Taps
Lunge Walks
Tricep Dips
Burpees
Courtesy Lunge
Mountain Climbers

 

Check the cookies after round 3! 

As your cookies are cooling you can do a gentle cool down and some stretches then sit back and enjoy!

If you enjoyed this please check out my eBook – click here for more information- and follow me on instagram as a.balanced.life

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6 Food Photography Styling Secrets

In collaboration with our friends from Farmdrop

Hate it when bad lighting lets down a beautifully poached egg? Throw a tantrum when you can’t find that bowl to set-off your homemade soup? Sounds like you’re ready to take your food photography and styling to the next level. Designer and food stylist Georgie Nash shares her tips and tricks to help you get the most from the camera on your phone and snap some awe-inspiring food images for Instagram.

Shoot in natural daylight

Natural light is something that is freely available to all of us. You don’t need expensive photography lighting for people to comment ‘Can I like this twice?’.

Take advantage of the great British weather and its unpredictability. A bright, sunny day will lend a clean, crisp atmosphere to your food photography. Or shoot on a dreary, rainy day for more of a moody shot that casts dramatic shadows. There may be lights on when shooting indoors but there’s no need to shine a spotlight on your food or use your built-in flash.

You wouldn’t take your avocado or sourdough to bed with you…or would you? The best natural lighting may be in your bedroom, so utilise the space you have.

Keep your food photography real

If you’re cooking with great quality seasonal ingredients, the food should speak for itself. Many commercial brands use techniques and materials that are unnatural, to the point where the dish is inedible after photography.

At a time when waste from households makes up 71% of the UK’s total food waste, no matter how many likes you have on ‘that’ shot, make sure you can eat it afterwards.

By all means, there’s nothing wrong with a little edible enhancement. If your meat is looking a bit dry, glaze it with extra dressing, a brush of oil, or cooking juices or add a mist of water to a limp looking salad. Food can start to wilt or congeal quickly when left out during a shoot, so make sure to take your photo as soon as possible once cooked or assembled.

Play with angles and perspectives

Overhead shots may work for some dishes and side profile shots may work for others. Try taking shots from multiple angles to see which one works best. Just think how many selfies you would have to take to get the perfect shot (if that’s your thing), it might just be the same for your food.

Think about the height of the food to work out which shot works best. For example, a slice of pizza is relatively flat, so an overhead shot would work well. However, when shooting a burger, a side profile would help you capture those gorgeous, juicy layers of bun and patty.

Don’t feel obliged to centre your dish right in the middle of your frame. Cutting off the edge of a plate in the frame could make for a much more interesting shot (also great if you’ve burnt that section of pie). Try placing cutlery in various places in and around the dish – you could wrap your spaghetti around a fork or use your cake slice in situ for a more natural composition.

If you find your shot needs some extra bite, add fresh ingredients from the dish, i.e. scattered herbs, or half a squeezed lemon- this will help add some colour to the story of your dish.

Collect props and backdrops

Props should always complement a dish, not distract from it. In this case, less is more. We know how much you love your new earthenware plates, copper cutlery, linen tablecloth, recycled wine glasses and olive wood board… But you don’t have to put them all into one shot; the food is the showstopper.

If you have a limited number of props, start with natural colours. Over time you can build up some more interesting pieces. Charity shops, eBay, Etsy, vintage and flea markets are a great place to start. Try mixing vintage cutlery with modern tableware or use old fabrics as backdrops. You’ll be amazed at how much you can find – we always find ourselves scouting out pieces of old wood to use as backdrops. Another great tip is to use tile samples for backdrops. A whole sheet of marble would cost a fortune but a couple of large tiles could come to less than £30. Mix it up a bit and try using different settings for different dishes to keep your viewers interested and engaged.

Great food photography needs an edit

There are hundreds of photo editing tools out there making it hard to know where to start. Editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are excellent tools but can be pricey. You could download a 30 day trial which is completely free and gives you time to get a feel for the software.

There are some great free apps with all the basic tools you need for photo editing. Our favourites are VSCO and Foodie. These apps allow you to make some simple edits that can completely transform your photo. Try cropping your shot to improve the composition. Exposure gives light and contrast gives depth – increasing these on shots that are looking a bit dull or flat can bring them to life. Just as per your props, don’t overdo it. Curly kale without curls would just look weird as would an airbrushed steak. Remember, a relatable shot always works best. If you can get the viewer to think “hmm, I could do that” or “I want to eat that” then you’re onto a winner.

Sell the story

When you (ah, finally) come to posting your shot, think about how you talk about it. Let the viewer know your inspiration for the recipe, or where the food has come from and how delicious it tasted. Importantly, keep hashtags relevant to your posts. We think it’s best to be as specific as possible so people in the foodie community can find your images. Find like-minded accounts and build a relationship by liking and commenting on their photos.

And don’t forget to take some step-by-step shots as you cook. Instagram lets users publish multiple pictures per post, so including a few methods from the recipe adds to the story of the dish (because a picture paints a thousand words and Instagram has a character limit!)

This article originally appeared on Farmdrop on the 2nd of May 2017. 

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Not All Pancake Mixes Are Created Equal

A baking mix is an excellent way to save time, money and reduce waste while creating a delicious stack of pancakes/a batch of cookies/a tin of cake in no time at home. Baking mixes have been around for ages, and it's been a rarely questioned category. 

Betty Crocker mixes have been around since 1921 and are a firm favorite of the US consumers. The image of Betty Crocker has survived several generations, enduring political, societal and economic changes. 

Read the label at the back of their pancake mix more carefully, and you'll see that it contains palm fat and dextrose.

Palm fat is, essentially, palm oil, which recently found its way into many packaged foods as manufacturers look for low-cost oils to replace trans fats. Highly saturated fats turn rancid more slowly, so food companies often use them to help preserve taste and texture. Lately, palm oil was found to increase certain heart disease risk factors in some people. 

Dextrose, on the other hand, is even more misleading. It is a common type of sugar that isn't called sugar! Dextrose is a form of glucose derived from starches. It is one of the most commonly used ingredients in packaged foods because of its affordability and ability to extend shelf life. One study showed that Americans on average get about 15 percent of their calories from added sugars, such as the dextrose in processed foods, and those who consume the most added sugars have twice the risk of developing heart disease! 

When creating our Morning Dreamers Pancake Mix, we firmly stood against any added nasties or hidden sugars. We believe that a mix should contain only natural ingredients, contain no refined sugar and provide nutritional benefits such as protein and fiber.

 

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Superfood Bakery x QNOLA

What could be better than a warm, cinnamon-y, delicious smell of a freshly made stack of pancakes in the morning? That's right, hardly anything. 
We love finding new delicious ways to serve our mixes (like this one or this one). That's why we teamed up with Qnola this month - they make delicious nutritionally enhanced breakfast products. You should definitely try their wholesome granola (the beetroot and pistachio one disappeared after a few breakfasts)! Yum! 
So! To make a few delicious stacks, you will need: 

Eggs 3

Milk 255ml

Qnola Vanilla & Almond 50g

 

Pancake Mix

Method

Preheat the pan on medium heat, add some vegetable or coconut oil. Whisk together milk and 3 eggs, add Morning Dreamers Pancake mix and mix until well-combined. Add Qnola into the mix, or sprinkle on top at the end!

Pancake Mix
Use a ladle or a large spoon to scoop the mix and put in the pan. Fry your pancake on one side until the top appears dry, then flip. Once cooked. place on the plate and repeat.
Pancake Mix
Sprinkle on top and ENJOY!
Pancake Mix
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Video: The Sexiest Pancakes We've Ever Seen

Did we mention how much we love meeting fellow foodies? This is one of the best parts of our job! A few months ago we've met Ali (aka Baliboosta) - a blogger whom you should start following, like, right now.

When we first saw her blog baliboosta.com, we immediately fell in love! Ali creates delicious, easy to cook and beautiful spreads - a great inspiration for when you have guests over and need to wow them (without much effort). 

A few weeks ago Ali has created a video recipe for Chunky Monkey Dreamers Pancakes using our pancake mix... and OMG (we didn't know our pancakes could look that sexy)! 

Enjoy! 

 

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