Protein Meringue

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The other evening I made a healthy high-protein, low-carb evening snack. This meringue is super easy to make and you only need 4 ingredients! If you prefer a stickier version you can fry the batter in a bit of coconut oil for 2-3 minutes.

Servings: Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 5 min Ready in: 10 min

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 scoop of protein powder (I used vanilla flavored whey powder)
  • pinch of vanilla powder
  • 1 dl raspberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Whisk egg whites until fluffy.
  3. In a bowl combine other ingredients.
  4. Add egg whites and fold together using a wire whisk or spatula. 
  5. Spread out on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes in 200 degrees.

Enjoy!

Protein waffles

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If you have a waffle maker, you need to try these protein waffles. They’re full of protein and good carbs. Don’t have a waffle maker? Don’t worry, just fry the mixture like you’re making pancakes.  

You can store leftover waffles in the freezer. When you want to re-heat them, just pop them in the toaster. Feel free to top this gluten-free variation with for example berries, fruit, unsweetened jam, nut butter, yogurt or quark.

Servings: 8 waffles Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 15 min Ready in: 20 min

Ingredients:

  • 4 dl oat flakes
  • 1 1/2 dl protein powder (flavoured or unflavoured)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 dl skimmed milk (or milk of choice…oat, coconut, almond milk)
  • coconut oil (for the waffle iron)

Instructions:

  1. Grind oat flakes using a hand mixer or food processor into flour.
  2. Add dry ingredients.
  3. Add milk and egg whites.
  4. Mix until combined.
  5. Pour approximately 1 dl of the mixture onto preheated and greased waffle iron.
  6. Spread evenly and close.
  7. Let cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!

Christmas: Plan your eating & training

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During holidays we tend to eat more and exercise less, so it’s a good idea to map out a strategy fro Christmas. Make sure that the days leading to the holiday are full of activity, healthy eating and lots of water. Limit the amount of treats since you’ll most likely have enough of them during the upcoming days.

Make a plan for your training before going on holiday. Note the days when it won’t be easy to train and implement strategies to balance food, alcohol and training. Avoid reaching a point with holidaying where you don’t have the motivation to train and you’re back at square one when returning from your holiday. As always, something is better than nothing, so aim for what is realistic and feels right for you!

IDEAS FOR MANAGING PARTIES AND SOCIAL OCCASIONS

  • Eat before you go out.
  • Bring your own plate of savouries or healthy treats.
  • Check if there’s a substantial food item being served rather than small snacks.
  • Choose veggies, protein and low-fat foods and try to avoid sugar. Your body won’t crave sweets as much if you’re eating healthy, so you’ll be less tempted to hover near the dessert table.
  • Move away from the food table. If the food is right in front of you and it looks good, you’re more likely to eat more than you should.
  • Avoid sweet cocktails.
  • Add lemon and lime to sweeten drinks if necessary.
  • Have a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink.
  • Don’t feel pressured to eat or drink more than you want to.
  • Enjoy being social, don’t limit yourself to staying at home because you’re afraid of eating too much or having unhealthy food.

Happy Mindful Christmas Eating!

Christmas markets in Cologne & Aachen

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Christmas markets are one of my favourite things this time of the year. I had heard nice things about the Christmas markets in Cologne and Aachen, and since my in-laws were here last weekend we decided to go for a road trip.

In Cologne we started with the smaller market “Markt der Engel” on Neumarkt. A perfectly nice Christmas market, but we quickly forgot about it after seeing the bigger market at “Heimat der Heinzel” on Heumarkt . It was just spectacular! Especially in the evening when all the lights were on. We wandered around the small booths, tried some mulled wine and admired the Christmas decorations and the ice skating rink. It wasn’t too crowded despite it being a Friday evening.

We rented an apartment through Airbnb and it might have been the coldest place I’ve spent the night in. Including a tent in the middle of the forest in Finland. In February. Good thing I had packed my pyjama and cashmere bed socks. Yes, I get cold easily despite being used to cold winters.

We had decided to stop in Aachen on our way back to Brussels. We started with a big breakfast at Bagels & Beans (I love their gluten free bagels!) before exploring the old town and its Christmas market. Aachen was just as festively decorated as Cologne, but it was simply too many people. Once we tried to cross the market aisle, but it was impossible. What we did instead? Oh, I spent a lovely afternoon with my mother-in-law, picking out Christmas tree decorations at Galeria Kaufhof, shopping and having coffee while the fiancé and my father-in-law visited Centre Charlemagne. Perfect planning.

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Brunch at La Mercerie

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Last Sunday I had brunch at La Mercerie in Brussels. This elegant tea room is located close to Place Flagey and is the perfect stop before heading to the weekend market. La Mercerie is beautifully decorated and the place is perfect for breakfast, lunch, brunch and tea time.

The menu offers two options for brunch, one salty and one sweet. We opted for the sweet one and weren’t disappointed. We had scones, yogurt with homemade granola and apple compote, fruit salad, croissant and a wide selection of different jams and marmalades. Lovely.

The price is higher than other places in the area, but the quality of the food is excellent, the staff lovely and you never feel hurried out the door. If you like discovering new places you should definitely visit La Mercerie next time you’re in Brussels.

La Mercerie
Rue de Vergnies, 2
1050 Brussels
tel: +32 (0)2 644 21 40

Low carb Chicken quiche

paj

My parents-in-law are on their way to Brussels this evening to spend the weekend with us. Due to some cancelled flights, they arrived later than expected, which gave me time to prepare a savory quiche. I served the quiche with a lemon yogurt sauce and a salad made with spinach, rucola, persimmon, apple and cucumber.

You can store the quiche in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Baked quiche freezes very well, up to 2 months.

Servings: 4-6 Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 45 min Ready in: 65 min

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 dl skimmed milk (or oat, coconut, almond milk…)

Filling:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • coconut oil
  • 1 dl broccoli, cooked
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • olives
  • 1 tbsp basil

Egg mixture:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 dl skimmed milk (or oat, coconut, almond milk…)
  • salt and black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

 

  • 1 dl mozzarella

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Combine eggs and milk and place into a pie dish.
  3. Pre-bake the crust for 20 minutes.
  4. While the crust is baking, fry chopped chicken breasts in coconut oil on medium heat until chicken is just done.
  5. Chop broccoli, onion and bell pepper.
  6. Combine eggs, milk and spices and stir until it is mixed well.
  7. Remove the crust from the oven and spread chicken, broccoli, bell pepper, olives and basil on top.
  8. Pour the egg mixture into the crust and add mozzarella.
  9. Bake the quiche for 25 minutes or until the top of the crust is golden brown and the filling is set.
  10. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Enjoy!

The Ardennes & Luxembourg

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After our lovely stay in Champagne we decided to drive towards the Ardennes. We had heard nice things about the Château du Facon situated in the French Ardennes, close to the riverside village of Donchery. The location, one hour by car from Reims and Luxembourg, and two hours from Brussels, is great.

At the end of a narrow poplar-lined drive, the family-run chateau sits on 28 hectares of park. The manor dates back to the 17th century and has been carefully renovated and outfitted in a modern style with traditional influence. The main building and surrounding gardens were beautiful, and there were lots of outdoor terraces that offer places to relax.

The extensive grounds have a big lake with geese and bridges, tennis court and mini-golf, paddocks and full stabling services with twenty-eight boxes. Guests can enjoy rides around the grounds or exclusive schooling. Calèche trips can be arranged around the park and the hotel even organize hunting parties.

We stayed in the newer extension, which initially was a bit disappointing, as the chateau is just beautiful. However, the rooms were spacious and had very stylish modern furniture, extremely comfortable beds, a separate sitting area, very well equipped bathrooms with spa baths and own terraces. And of course – Nuxe toiletries.

This grand chateau is home to a fine-dining restaurant, La Cotterie, where chef Christophe Quentin offers seasonal and regional cuisine. The dining room was classically French and formally laid out, but the guest dress code seemed to be very relaxed. The service standards were quite formal, with only the maître d’, engaging in conversation. The younger members of the staff made the experience a bit more interesting though, and I suspect there still might be one waiter trying to locate the lounge bar for us (there isn’t a separate bar at the chateau).

The delicious sounding dishes on the menu were making it hard to choose, but when we spotted the Menu Faucon, highlighting the local produce, the choice was made. My starter with rabbit and lobster served with a vinaigrette of autumn vegetables was heavenly. The others enjoyed creamy porcino mushroom soup served with duck paté and smoked eel in cream sauce with saffron. For mains  two of us opted for pork fillet with Iberian ham risotto, Daniel chose the perfectly cooked monkfish served with Lardo di Colonnata and the fiancé opted for veal tongue in spicy sauce, served with pickled cabbage and caper berries.

We finished the dinner with a divine crispy chocolate dessert with walnut jam from Périgord. It was an excellent gourmet dinner and we ended the evening with a drink in the lounge area.

The next morning I was looking forward to the breakfast. It was served in the same dining hall as the dinner. The cheeses, fresh juices, breads, pastries, fruit salads and local yogurts were prefect. How could you not have a great day when you start it in such a grand and stylish space?

All I can say is that we were extremely pleased to have found Château du Facon and we’ll be coming back, for the location, the rooms and the food.

Since we still had some time to spend before heading back to Brussels we decided to drive to the city of Luxembourg. We spent a lovely afternoon there, having lunch, strolling around the old town ad ending our visit at the Chocolate House located opposite to the Grand Ducal Palace. The Chocolate House offers a large selection of homemade cakes, pralines, 60 different flavours of hot chocolate spoons and all kinds of chocolate spreads. We tried the hot chocolate spoons where you simply pop the spoon into a cup of hot milk and stir until the chocolate melts. Since the portions looked enormous we decided to share a piece of the Caramel Noix cake. It turned out to be more than enough for four people.

After this we started the drive back to Brussels with a feeling that there’s so much left to discover. Both in Champagne and the surrounding area.