Day 3: on the move with crunchy nutella

As we’ve started the topic about healthy lifestyle, it’s impossible to discuss healthy living without a bit of exercise. But before I start sounding like a fitness-obsessed nut, I should tell you that I couldn’t be more far away from it.

I used to say that sports and me go like water and oil, we don’t mix, and we didn’t for most of the years.

Sure I had gym subscriptions and it pains me to think of the amounts that were thrown out for it over the years (I’m sure the actual amount would make anyone cry). There were times when I would sign up to gym getting all enthusiastic that “now, I will finally start doing sport” but after a few weeks when my busy schedule would catch up with me, I’d drop it, until I’d come back a few months later being again all exited about going to do sports “seriously” which would be dropped again a few weeks later. Anything sounds familiar?

Needless to say, after a few such attempts the coaches at the sport club would look at me like a desperate case, and they were right. I always stopped going there because I didn’t like and frankly I still hate going there today.

So if you’re not exited reading about the necessity of the exercise, I know we’re you’re coming from.

However, the reason behind this post and whole healthy approach to living is that no matter how healthy you will eat or try to, if you’ll sit on your derriere all day long without even moving a little, all the healthy eating won’t matter.

 When I talk about exercise, I don’t mean that you have to jump and go to work out in gym for 2 hours from tomorrow onwards. There are so many other things besides regular working out.

If you absolutely loath exercise there is always walking. Just you know regularly going for a walk, the longer the better.

Going to gyms never really appealed to me, but one morning about a year ago, I’ve got up at 5.30 am and felt like going for a run. My husband thought I went mad (I thought so myself), but I went anyway, and loved it. I loved that there were no people, the tranquillity of the hour and started running regularly after that, getting up at 5.30 to run before work.

I never run mad distances, just anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes few times a week. Some weeks it can be 5 times, some it can  2 and some weeks I don’t run at all.

I quit gyms altogether, so when I don’t run or sometimes in combination with running I do yoga or other exercises. There are so many apps nowadays, that can cater to any taste and believe me, even 10 -15 minutes  a day, can make a difference and it’s easier to fit them into agenda when you don’t have to go anywhere. I can share my favourite workout apps if you’re interested.

The thing about sport, and for me running in particular, is that once you find what works for you it becomes addictive and you feel so much better in the long run. I’m not just talking about shrinking waist lines, but having more energy to climb stairs  (or managing to run through a long airport).

More technically speaking, exercise, speeds up metabolism and helps to control blood sugar levels. What does it mean for you?

Quicker metabolism means your body will burn calories faster (which is why people with high metabolism can eat anything) and more stable blood sugar levels mean less cravings.


Right, enough rambling about the importance of exercise and onto discussing my favourite post work out treat – a super healthy smoothie. I was  thinking about it all the time running through pouring rain this morning, and it’s the best way to kick of the day.

Unfortunately this smoothie never made it to the photo as the weather had been completely uncooperative (changing from dark to light every few minutes) and it’s a sort of smoothie you have to drink soon, otherwise with all the healthy and expanding seeds in there it’ll turn into a thick dessert. But it does look exactly like in the original post, so you can see the recipe and how it looks here.

Accompanying the breakfast power smoothie is chocolate granola otherwise known as crunchy nutella, as it has sort of resembling taste especially when you mix it with milk or yogurt. I’ve made enough here to last for breakfast for 3 days and for snacks in between as it happens to be perfection for soothing cravings when they arise.

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Crunchy nutella
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A granola that tastes like crunchy nutella and is healthy!
Recipe type: breakfast
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 tablespoons coconu
  • ¼ cup light coffee or water
  • ¼ cup cacao powdert oil
  • 3½ cups oats
  • 2 cups hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped
  • 4-6 tablespoons honey
  1. Heat the oven to 160C/320F and line a tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large pan heat coconut oil and add the oats.
  3. Stirring all the time let it cook for 2-3 minutes then add chopped nuts.
  4. Continue to cook for 2 minutes more then stir in cocoa powder to coat everything and pour over the coffee (this helps for oats to absorb cacao powder).
  5. Finally, stir in the honey coating everything and pour granola onto a baking tray, lined with parchement.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, the granola should be dried out.
  7. If it is still too moist, set the oven on 75C/167F and leave till it's dry and crunchy.


A few words on a lunch in the Netherlands: as you know, each culture has a lunch tradition of it’s own. In France and Italy, you could get a few hours off to enjoy a delectable lunch with lots of possibilities to choose from and in the Netherlands we have sandwiches (and tomato soup).

I remember the first working day in the Netherlands when I went for lunch with colleagues and I was desperately looking for regular lunch items I was used to, but instead there were mostly sandwiches there. Years later, this whole sandwich concept is still as foreign as it was the first day , but we do adapt with busy lifestyle, so one of the lunches consist of a few sandwiches, while the other is a quick mostly spinach and broccoli salad.

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Serrano ham and eggplant sandwich on sourdough bread
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Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: 1
  • 4-6 pieces sourdough bread
  • few slices if ham
  • grilled eggplant (from set aside from the making the salad night before)
  • ½ tomato
  • few grilled eggplant slices
  • butter, as needed
  • freshly grounded pepper
  1. Spread butter according to your taste on bread, top with eggplant, ham and tomato and sandwich with another slice of bread.

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Spinach broccoli salad
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 2
  • Few handfuls of spinach
  • ½ broccoli head
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly grounded pepper
  1. Bring 1 ½ - 2 litres of water to boil in a medium sauce pan,
  2. Cut the broccoli into similar size florets and boil for 4 minutes, then drain.
  3. Peel and core avocado and dice it.
  4. To make vinaigrette, whisk together mustard, honey, salt and both vinegars, then stir in the oil and season with pepper.
  5. Toss the spinach, broccoli and avocado, scatter seeds on top and drizzle with vinaigrette.


Couscous has been a weak spot of mine since I’ve discovered it some years ago. It’s so versatile, it’s difficult not to love it and mine by far favorite way of serving it is in salads such as these.

I’ve grilled zucchini and eggplant here as well as including a few handfuls of spinach, but you could serve it with anything you’d like and here possibilities are literally endless.

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Couscous salad
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Recipe type: main, salad
Serves: 2
  • ⅔ cup couscous
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 zucchini, (a few slices set aside for lunch)
  • 1 eggplant
  • a handful of dried apricots, dices
  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • Dressing
  • 1 orange zest and juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • salt
  • freshly grounded pepper
  1. Pour over boiling stock on top of couscous and set aside to steep.
  2. Thinly slice zucchini and eggplant and grill using a griddle pan, until just charred. Set aside a few pieces of zucchini for tomorrow’s lunch.
  3. For the dressing, mix all ingredients, taste, adjust seasoning if needed and set aside.
  4. Using your finger tips, break down the couscous until fine, then mix with spinach, grilled vegetables and apricots, spoon over the dressing and serve.

10 thoughts on “Day 3: on the move with crunchy nutella

  1. I used to run, but my knees won’t let me anymore. Walk, I do – my wife and I walk at least an hour every day, and an hour and a half (or the equivalent on a bike) is more like it. Plus push ups. Yuck! But they’re good for one. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. 😉

  2. My goodness you’ve been busy!! I have had gym memberships, a personal trainer 4 times a week, a bicycle and at our old house we had a dedicated gym and swim spa – but for me nothing beats walking on the beach every afternoon with the dog. He loves chasing the ball and he makes me laugh.

    Now if I had all these plates in front of me now, which one would I choose? Tough one. :)

  3. I don’t know what I like more, your crunchy Nutella or couscous salad. I’ll take both, for different reasons :). I’m with you, I don’t like gyms but I love going for long walks. It’s a great way to clear one’s mind!

  4. I have found the more consistent I am with exercise, the more I enjoy it because it becomes easier to move and less soreness afterward. With all we have had going on recently, it’s been 2 weeks since my last workout — getting back on track today! Great post, beautiful food, good reminder. :)

  5. If all sandwiches looked like yours, I’d eat one every day for lunch, too! I’m enjoying your series tremendously, Gourmantine. Now it’s time for a walk…

  6. It appears that the crunchy nutella recipe steps do not line up with the ingredient list. This looks divine and I want to try to make it!

    • Thanks for pointing out the mistake (I should really stop editing late at night), I’ve corrected the instructions and it’s all coherent now. Cheers :)

      • of course, I had to make it! Healthy cocoa powder without excess of sugar? I am in! This recipe is amazing. I make granola periodically, now its going to be a while until I won’t add cocoa!

  7. Look at all of this delicious food! What great rewards for all of the exercise! I was an avid exerciser most of my life and when I got busy with work and life, I missed it. However, I was lucky that my work was close to home so I could at least walk to work everyday. What a great way to start and end the day! Nice post!

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