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healthy eating for healthy life



Will an apple a day keep the doctor away? Is saturated fat really bad for you? How about those new breakfast cereal bars? They look pretty OK?

We are constantly bombarded with images and views of what we should be eating, overloading our already busy lives with more and more decisions to be made, until we're a quivering mess, unable to decide between an orange and a banana.

When did it all get so complicated?

My aim with this blog is to provide clear and easy to use healthy eating tips and recipes. If you'd like to be the first to receive the latest blog posts and recipes, straight to your inbox, sign up here. Otherwise, for these and other tips, follow me on facebook

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Smoked Mackerel Pate

Posted by food hugs on October 22, 2019 at 8:20 AM

Oh me oh my, you make me cry, you're such a good looking lunch!

I love a lunch that sings to my senses and ticks a number of boxes at once. This is one of them; healthy fats from smoked mackerel pate, good bacteria boost from homemade sauerkraut, curry salad dressing made with kefir and organic leaves from McNally Farm. 

Smoked mackerel is available from all supermarkets, and is less than €1.50 per packet from the likes of Lidl and Aldi. This recipe is super quick and easy. I've used Dijon mustard instead of the traditional horseradish sauce, as we're more mustard type people. But you can use either. Gorgeous on crackers or sourdough toast, with some sliced avocado.

For the pate, just mash together;

1 fillet smoked mackerel (take the skin off!)

1 spring onion (chopped)

1 tbsp Greek yogurt

1/2-1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

Sprinkling of black pepper


Quick Dinner; Tuna Pasta

Posted by food hugs on October 22, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Busier days call for a quicker dinner and this is one of ours.

Usually served with pasta or buttered spaghetti, I thought potatoes would be a nice change (peeled, chopped, onto an oiled tray, salt, cook for 40 mins at 200C. Throw some cooked peas on about 5 minutes from the end).


The tuna sauce is dead easy;

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 apple, peeled and grated
  • 3 tomatoes (or 10 large cherry ones), plunged in boiling water for 10 seconds to allow easy peeling
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tins of tuna


  • Heat up a pan on the hob, medium heat.
  • Add the oil, onion and garlic. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes
  • Add the grated apple and about 50ml hot water (to prevent sticking). Cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes (peeled and chopped), tomato paste and tuna.
  • Mix, lower heat, put on a lid and cook for 10 minutes. .

Et voila. 

Enjoyed by all!

Easy Oat Bread

Posted by food hugs on October 9, 2019 at 9:45 AM

This recipe is a regular one in our house on Monday's when the oven is generally on for roast chicken or the like.

It's super easy to make and bake and is easy to make gluten free by choosing gluten free oats and baking powder.


1 large tub of low fat natural yogurt (500ml)

2 tubs of fine porridge oats (mill them in a food processor, nutribullet or coffee grinder)

2 tsp bread soda

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp ground chia seeds

2 tbsp milled hemp

2 tbsp ground pumpkin, sunflower and flaxseed mix

(or alternatively, just use 6 tbsp of a ground flaxseed mix from Aldi/Lidl)



  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a standard 2lb/900g loaf tin.
  • Place the yogurt in a mixing bowl.
  • Wash out the container and dry. Use this tub to measure our the oats, grind them, and add to the bowl.
  • Add in the salt, bread soda and seeds.
  • Mix thoroughly. Place in the tin and flatten.
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. after this time, remove for the tin and cook for an additional 10 minutes. 
  • Once cooked, tip out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.


Healthy Hazelnut Chocolate Spread....yum, yum

Posted by food hugs on November 28, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Here's a recipe I hadn't made in a long time.

Amidst all the shiny recipe books and scraps of paper, I find myself rediscovering old recipes that are now novel again. Hurray. There's a nice sense of renewal, rather than always looking for something new. 

This is a great one for a little treat. Plus as a way of incorporating some healthy fats from nuts and coconut oil and minerals from raw cacao into the diet.

This does have a little bit of sugar in it, which you can play around with, gradually adding less and less. Even as it is, though, it's a gazillion times better than what you buy in the supermarket....and delicious too. Needless to say, the kids have been polishing it off, given half a chance.

A little bit goes a very long way, on wholewheat toast with a little bit of banana or sliced apple.


1 jar hazelnut butter (Meridian = 170g, €4.95 at

30g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids, Lindt, or Tesco Finest 72% = no palm oil in either)

1 tbsp coconut oil (try Cocowell from Spar or Dunnes)

1.5 tbsp raw cacao (try or from

1.5 tbsp dark brown muscovado sugar, rapadura or maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt


Boil about an inch of water in a pot on the hob. When bubbling, place a glass bowl on top (try to have the base of the bowl hovering above the water) and turn the heat down low. Add the dark chocolate and coconut oil to melt them. When a bit liquidy, add the cacao, vanilla and salt. Mix well & take off the heat.

Put the hazelnut butter in a blender. Add the chocolate mixture and blitz. That's it. Store in a glass jar in the fridge. Yum.

(Adapted from a recipe on

Dairy Free Healthy Wellington Squares

Posted by food hugs on November 15, 2018 at 10:50 AM

This recipe was written by Michelle Hunt of the Peachy Palate, devised for the Happy Pear, a whopping 5 years ago! Doesn't time fly.

I'm always returning to old favourites, because I'm a total creature of habit. This recipe in particular has such a nice combination of nuts and sweetness to deliver that feeling of a treat, without worrying about the hangover from a massive sugar high. Perfect as a post run snack, or a little bite on a dreary afternoon with a cup of herbal tea. 



• 1.5 cups (150g) whole oats – gluten free

• ½ cup (60g) raw whole almonds

• 1 cup (180g) Medjool dates pitted (or normal dates)

• 1 tsp vanilla extract

• 2 – 3 tbsp water


• 60g (1/4 cup) 100% no oil added almond butter

• 135g (3/4 cup) Medjool dates pitted

• 80ml (1/3 cup) unsweetened almond milk


• 100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

• 2 tbsp melted coconut oil (14g)


1. Blend dates for the base in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of water to form a thick paste.

2. Remove and process almonds and oats to coarse crumb. Add back in date paste with vanilla extract and process until the mixture is nicely combined. Add in water and process until the mix comes together in a clump.

3. Place in a non stick or lined 8 inch square baking tray (I used a silicon one to make it easier to remove them once set in the fridge). Spread out evenly using your hands. 

4. For the filling, blend together dates, almond butter and almond milk. Spread over the base and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to harden. 

5. Melt chocolate and coconut oil together in a the microwave (three 30 second blasts stirring after each one). Stir well to ensure it’s melted and combined before pouring over the base layers quickly spreading and returning to the fridge to set for an hour before serving. Allow to soften a little at room temperature before slicing to avoid cracks in the chocolate…clearly I couldn’t wait!!!