Recipe: Low Carb Lasagna

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Well have I got a tasty surprise for all of you! If there was ever a dish that I was forced to choose to eat everyday for the rest of my life, this would be the dish I would choose. I give you my version of low carb lasagna which I lollipopped without any of the guilt I usually have when eating normal lasagna.

Now as some of you may have already perceived, I am quite a low maintenance cook. What I mean by that, is that I try to make things as easy as possible for myself. I won’t, for example, include high end ingredients in my food that came from super high end health food shops because lets be realistic here, it’s a) downright expensive to do that on a daily basis and b) I neither have the time or the energy to be slaving away in the kitchen following long winded recipes.

So bearing that all in mind I can gladly inform you all that this recipe was made from cheap and tasty ingredients coming from my favourite grocery store: Aldi. Nothing in this dish is too complicated to make or too expensive to buy, I am just not that kind of cook. Also if I’m going to the effort of healthy eating, it has to be something that’s easily achieved in my books anyways!

I have researched so many different variations of low carb lasagna, but there was none that I outright liked. Instead I decided to create my own recipe that suited my taste buds. Most lasagna’s do have a white sauce at the top of the dish, however most low carb versions feature this as a Greek yogurt or cottage cheese creation and neither appealed to me. As a result I decided to use a firm cupboard favourite in its place: Basil Pesto. I’m one of those that thinks pesto makes anything taste better! So what better ingredient to use as an alternative to the heavy in carbs white sauce then this green goodness!

I used my own family recipe for the bolognese sauce but feel free to play around with your own sauce as I know very well, that everyone has their favourite sauce. That’s the beauty of this recipe, anyone can play around with it to suit their own particular taste. Please find below a step by step guide to the recipe with pictures also to demonstrate just how simple this recipe is.

Also if you have any queries or comments please contact me below or on my social media pages.

Enjoy!

The Busiest Bee. 🙂

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Recipe: Low carb Lasagna.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

Bolognese Sauce

900 grams of Mince Meat (whatever meat you prefer e.g. beef, turkey etc.)

One onion

4 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons of Olive oil

One red pepper and one green pepper

3 tins of chopped tomatoes (you can also get low sugar tins in some grocery shops)

salt and pepper

Teaspoon of cinnamon

3 teaspoons Sugar substitute (usually I would put in a spoon of sugar for each can of tomatoes but with the low carb diet this obviously can’t be done so use a sugar substitute instead)

herbs (again whichever you prefer, I used oregano and mint)

Jar of basil pesto.

2 packets of buffalo mozzarella (ball form)

Grilled Courgettes

4 large courgettes sliced

salt and pepper

Olive Oil drizzled over them.

 

Method:

1) Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a good sized pot. Then add the chopped onions and crushed garlic and saute on a medium heat stirring constantly until onions are soft.

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2) Add the meat to the pot, ensuring that all the clumps of mince are broken up and tossed around in the oil/onion/garlic juice.

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3) Add your seasoning, salt, pepper and herbs, I use a good bit of herbs as you will see in the picture but again this is to your own taste what you would prefer.

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4) Once the meat has been tossed around in the herbs and seasoning, allow to brown completely on a low/medium heat, stirring every so often.

5) Add the cans of tomatoes to the mixture and turn the heat up to bring the mixture to a boil but reduce heat again once it has.

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6) Once the tomatoes are stirred into the meat, more seasoning will be required such as salt, pepper, sugar and the cinnamon. Leave the mixture to simmer away on a low enough heat for about ten minutes.

7) Add the peppers and leave to simmer further for twenty minutes mixing every few minutes. It will be done when the peppers are soft.

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8) For the grilled courgettes, slice 4 large courgettes at least 1 cm thick as seen in the picture below. Place on a baking tray and drizzle them with Olive oil, a lot of oil is needed but don’t panic at this because you will be wiping it all off again once courgettes are grilled. Once covered in oil, season with salt and pepper and place in a pre-heated oven @ 200*c (mine is a fan oven, I turn it up high but when they are in oven I turn it down to 180*c).

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9) It is important to check your courgettes every few minutes and turn them over regularly as they can burn quite easily. By slicing them thick, it will ensure they do not break apart when cooked.

10) While waiting for courgettes and sauce to cook, slice your two balls of mozzarella.

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11) Once courgettes are done, place them in a bowl that is covered in kitchen paper. The kitchen paper will soak up unnecessary oil and you can dab at the rest on top with more kitchen paper.

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12) Once sauce is done, you can begin layering your lasagna in a oven dish. One layer meat, one layer courgette, another layer of meat, another layer of courgette. On the top layer you spread out the jar of green pesto. Over this place the slices of Mozzarella. Place in oven and cook for about 10 minutes @ 180*c or until cheese has fully melted.

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13) Once ready leave to the side to cool and set for 10 minutes and then you’re good to go.

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WARNING: This dish will not be as firm to serve as normal lasagna so beware it will be sloppy but the good kind of sloppy

**Top Tip**: Throughout the cooking of the meat sauce, you may find some of the fat off the meat will melt to the surface of the sauce. This can be easily skimmed off with a spoon.

 

 

 

Recipe: Lemon Water

Imagine this, a sweltering hot day outside and you are stuck in a badly air conditioned fully packed room for a conference. This is exactly what happened to me recently at a conference I was attending. Stuck inside on a beautiful day is generally not anyone’s cup of tea and needless to say the experience is not one I would like to repeat anytime soon.

However this horrible experience was saved by a rather large jug of iced lemon water that was placed on the table I was sitting at. My mind was blown. I’m an avid water drinker, I drink two litres plus every single day, but I am quite picky when it comes to water. I regularly turn my nose up to tap water, instead spending a small fortune on the bottled variety. Yet this glistening jug of iced lemon water saved the whole day for me. The condensation dripping down the side of the jug was enough to cause my mouth to water. However this was tap water in the jug, I couldn’t possibly like it.

I was wrong. As I mentioned above my mind was blown. Regularly when I dine out at fancy restaurants I usually try to have at least one glass of the tap water given to me in jugs at the table, usually with one measly slice of lemon in it so I wasn’t aware of the true genius of its addition to tap water. Fast forward to last week where this lonely iced lemon jug of water sat on my table, filled with at least 10 slices of lemon. I just had to try it out. Mind blown!

Since this fateful day, lemon water has become a staple part of my daily drinking routine. So long to the bottles of iced water, there’s a lemon in town! Each night I drink about a litre of water in pint glasses with half a lemon in the them. I always take the time to squeeze a few of the slices of lemon also to give the lemon water a super kick!

Not only is lemon water extremely refreshing, but it has loads and I mean loads of added healthy benefits. Did you know lemon water can curb your food cravings? I certainly didn’t and usually I’m always nibbling on something in the evening but since beginning to drink lemon water, not a craving have I had! Honestly!

Lemon water also is a magnificent detoxer full to the brim with antioxidants and various vitamins including the old reliable vitamin c, wonderful for healthy skin and general well being. Lemon water also is extremely good for your liver and its function to get rid of all those pesky toxins in our bodies. Have a sore throat? look no further! With lemon water you will be adding anti inflammatories to aid those irritating sore throats. I could go on to tell you its aided benefits for cancer fighting, toothaches and heartburn but I would assume you are all getting the idea that this stuff is amazing and I need not say anymore!

Go ahead and give this juice of the Gods a try! It’s the perfect refreshing beverage to take a liking to coming up to this warm summer months. Also just a reminder I use half a lemon in a pint of water and top up the pint glass until I’ve had a litre or so of water, it might sound daunting but believe me you’ll be slurping this drink as fast as you’ll be pouring it!

As always if you have any queries leave a comment below or contact me on my social media sites.

Enjoy!

The Busiest Bee 🙂

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Recipe Alert: Low Carb Grilled Aubergines

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Lately I have become obsessed with grilled vegetables, which is lucky since the low carb health kick I’m on calls for them on a daily basis. They are super easy to make, and super quick too! My boyfriend who used to be a veg hater, is wolfing them down so it really is a miracle!

I oven grill these aubergines using olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it, no more ingredients necessary. Just ensure they are thoroughly coated in oil, I usually coat the bottom of the tray in the oil and then place the aubergines on it before flipping them over to ensure that both sides are covered in oil. For those on an even more super health kick then me, I would advise a different type of oil, perhaps coconut oil or rapeseed oil depending on your own personal preference.

Once oven grilled on a baking tray for 20 minutes, you should achieve a lovely golden brown colour to your aubergines. Once I take them out of the oven I place them on kitchen paper to soak off all the oil, because there really is nothing worse then biting into a grilled vegetable and getting a mouthful of oil! By dabbing them with kitchen paper, carefully so as not to burn yourself, you will be rewarded with deliciously flavoursome grilled aubergines!

Anyway below I have included the full method and ingredients list to achieve this wonderful side dish for any low carb dinner or even as a snack, whichever you prefer.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Any comments or queries do not hesitate to contact me by commenting below or on any of my social media pages.

The Busiest Bee 🙂

Ingredients:

One whole Aubergine (does about 12 thick slices-6 per person)

Olive Oil (or oil of choice)

Salt and pepper to season.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200*c (mine is a fan oven)
  2. Cover bottom of baking tray with the oil, enough to cover all 12 slices of aubergine.
  3. Place aubergines onto oil, then gently flick over to coat the opposite sides of the slices.
  4. Place baking tray into oven once it is preheated.
  5. After ten minutes take out aubergines and flip them over gently to ensure cooking on both sides.
  6. After 20 minutes check aubergines again, if they are slightly golden in colour and soft to touch with a fork, then proceed to remove them from the oven.
  7. Place the grilled aubergines onto a good few pieces of kitchen paper and dab them to remove excess oil.
  8. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Low sugar/carb berry smoothie.

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So yesterday I had a cheat day, it was impossible not to. First of all I attended a conference in a hotel that had a carvery for lunch so I treated myself to roast beef with gravy, cabbage and a medley of vegetables, it was delicious! However after the conference I decided to pop in and visit my aunt who lives near enough to the hotel where the conference was on. I of course ended up staying for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed a carb hearty feast of Chicken, leak and mushroom pie with pastry and roast potatoes galore! I wolfed it down to say the least.

Consequently I awoke this morning intent on getting back to my normal routine starting with this yummy smoothie! This is one of the easiest smoothies to make in the world. It only contains 3 ingredients: Natural yogurt, frozen berries and coconut water.

That’s it! Simple right. I literally throw all of the ingredients into the blender and turn it on and a few seconds later I’m pouring myself a delicious, thick and tart smoothie. The sugar substitute I use in this smoothie, is the coconut water. Now yes guys the first few sips you have will be much more bitter than say if you were using honey to sweeten your smoothies, but you need to give your taste buds time to adjust. Once you give up sugar you begin to start noticing the natural sweetness in food, honestly it’s amazing! The coconut water is so natural and it gives the smoothie a wonderful flavour.

What is even better is the fact that all my ingredients are sourced from the cheap and cheerful supermarket Aldi. The frozen berries cost €1.89, the yogurt costs €0.55 and the coconut water costs €2.99 for a litre. The coconut water goes a long way so it is worth the cost in my opinion.

So there you have it, a quick, super easy, super cheap and nutritious snack that can be made in seconds with the simplest ingredients. Below I will leave the measurements I use of all the ingredients to create one glass of smoothie.

As always if you have any queries or comments to make please leave them below or contact me on my social media pages.

Enjoy!

The Busiest Bee 🙂

Smoothie Recipe

4 heaped tablespoons of frozen berries

3 heaped tablespoons of natural yogurt

small glass of coconut water

Method:

1) I usually begin by putting the berries in first

2) I pour the coconut water up to the top level of the berries (about a small glass worth)

3) Then the 3 tablespoons of yogurt goes in

4) Then you blitz the mixture for a few seconds and voila you will have a yummy berry low sugar/carb smoothie!

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To low carb? or not to low carb?

So since my boyfriend and I have returned from Orlando after a fantastic holiday over Easter, we decided that after all the over eating and drinking we’d done in the US, it was time to get ourselves back into good shape. Let me start by saying I’m not a great dieter, I hate dieting in fact! I love my food way too much to ever give up all the good things. However in my own opinion healthy diets are all about eating things in moderation, and obviously exercise, can’t escape that unfortunately! 😦

My aim really was just to cut back on all the goodies and introduce more healthy foods to my diet. I researched and researched until I finally found an eating plan that suited my needs and my lifestyle. I’ve completely cut back on carbs during the week as a result. No more spuds, no more pasta, no more white rice, only brown rice and only a tiny portion of it. At first I’m not going to lie, it was a daunting task, anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge pasta lover, so much so that I’m convinced I was Italian in a former life 😉

Despite all this I’ve found that I don’t miss the hearty carbs. I feel much more comfortable in my body. I used to go to bed every night with cramps from eating so many carbs, it used to keep me up at night but now I feels less bloated and within a week I started noticed a more toned aspect to my body. I’ve also increased the amount of proteins I eat a day so this probably helps. So basically  my day in a nutshell includes the following: I aim to eat regularly throughout the day, but small portions e.g. carrots and hummus for snacks, high protein soups for lunch with no bread just packed with lots of good vegetables, boiled eggs for snacks, I also nibble a lot on salami and ham and all this before a dinner that is packed full of vegetables such as green beans, grilled aubergines, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mangetout etc. as well as a grilled chicken breast or stewed mince or steak, or a dish of chili con carne with double the amount of kidney beans and just a small portion of brown rice.  It’s delicious.

Now I know some of you might be going yeah, yeah whatever lady! But this diet just suits my lifestyle so I would always recommend researching a lot and getting to know your body first before setting out on a new diet regime. I also like to add that at the weekend it is party time in regard to food, I eat what I want, when I want and there maybe bottles of wine involved 😉 I am only strict on what I eat during the week and this coupled with 5 days of dance workouts and ab workouts 3 days a week, mean that I take my weekends off to go eat wherever and whatever I want. Only this past weekend I went out for lunch and just had chocolate fondant and a glass of wine! Plus on Sunday I treated myself to an ice cream with the flake and all because the weather was so nice. When I do go out with friends for dinner at weekends I order burgers, pasta and rice dishes without even thinking about it. My weekends are fun!

The point I’m trying to get at, is that I don’t want to spread a message that dieting low carb is the way to go, I’m trying to show that everything can work in moderation. This eating plan just happens to work for me. I’ve also started thinking that I might start including some of the recipes I use, on this blog to show you all what kind of yummy low carb dinners/snacks etc. that I make and are so easy to do. Finally I’d like to point out that I do my weekly shopping in Aldi, which means I’m not one to be found at the expensive health food aisles of supermarkets or in health food shops searching for the latest dieting food. That is all just so impractical to me. Instead I just shop at my regular supermarket and just use whatever is available to me there.

I hope this blog post spreads a good message, this is just my personal journey with low carb foods, it might not suit everyone but it suits me at the moment. In a year I might be on to something else!

As always if anyone has any queries or comments, please comment below or contact me on my social media pages.

The Busiest Bee 🙂

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