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Risotto is one of the most versatile dishes, you can basically put anything in it. I used to think it was a really difficult dish where you had to balance the liquid adding it ladle full at a time- but it works just as well this way!we tend to have it as a pot luck dish and always have a bit of pancetta in the freezer and Sweet Potato is now in season. You can equally make delicious vegetarian (pea, asparagus butter nut squash, Jerusalem artichoke all work well) risotto or leftover roast chicken, lamb or beef works well too. The base for us always stays the same.

 

Ingredients: (serves 4)

300g Risotto Rice (I normally use Arborio Rice)

1 litre of Liquid (normally use 700-800 mls of bone broth and the rest crisp white wine and the juice of half a lemon)

2 tbs olive oil

1 onion finely cut

1 clove garlic

1 thumbnail size grated ginger

10g Pecarino cheese (optional)

Salt and pepper

1 Sweet potato peeled and cubed

50g Pancetta cubed (we usually buy the end bits from the Deli and keep them in the Freezer)

Asparagus to serve

 

Put the Sweet Potato into an oven proof dish and cover with the olive oil and salt and pepper. cook in the oven at 200 for 15-20 mins until soft.

Meanwhile, fry off pancetta and add onion garlic and ginger. Add rice and fry for 1 min. Add liquid and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer stirring frequently until starting to thicken. This can take any time between 20 and 40 mins depending on if you have Gas or Halogen in my experience!. When liquid almost disappeared add roasted Sweet Potato and pecarino. salt and pepper to taste. Steam Asparagus and plate up!

If you have leftovers, out in the fridge. The next day ball them up, flour them and fry them in some coconut oil and have risotto balls for lunch or snack- also great finger food for kids!

 

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Before I start I am a fully trained Personal trainer and have been doing circuits for over a decade. If you are not used to exercise or unsure, always consult a professional first or join a class

Circuits are one of the keys to training. Whether you are looking to lose weight, gain weight, sculpt, balance muscle groups, exercise pre-natal, post natal, sport specific or looking to rehabilitate from injury a circuit can fit into your training programme. They are fun to do, are hard work and can fit around any lifestyle or time constraint. It’s what most popular programmes are based on right now (see Crossfit, Body Rock tv etc- (short high intensity workouts to speed up results) and they work. Why- because they fatigue the muscles, they work across all 3 planes of motions and switch up cardio and strength to keep our body guessing.

Functional fitness is another buzz word- basically meaning fitness for specific function. So a squat though useful and done on a regular basis through normal daily movements- doing a squat with rotation is far more functional as it replicates most normal movements. For example a forward lunge is great to build quads however when running you need forward movement whilst rotating and also moving side to side- so a wide lunge with rotation is more of a functional movement, team that with making it a walking lunge and a foot roll and it basically replicates a runners perfect gait.

To design a circuit the world is your oyster- it totally depends;

  1. On what your goal is
  2. The exercises you chose
  3. The order you do them in ( one area of the body at a time or switching areas with each exercise)
  4. Which areas of the body you are targeting (upper body, lower body, back, core, cardio etc)
  5. Switching up cardio and strength
  6. How long you do each exercise
  7. How long you rest between each exercise or set of exercises (if you rest at all!)
  8. How many times you do each exercise or set of exercises (in one go or over the day)
  9. How intensely you do each (body weight or added weights/bands/kettle bells/ machines/ cables etc)
  10. On one plane of motion or alternating between all. (front to back, side to side and rotation)
  11. Using all push movements, or pull movements or alternating both
  12. Doing the exercises normal speed, holding poses, slow motion or quickly.

There’s no right or wrong way and there are so many options!

Here’s an example:
Standard circuit (lower body, upper body, core, cardio exercise)
Squat, push up, plank, burpee

Can be changed like this (there are so many multiples of this I will only give 4 ways of changing it)
1st option doing each exercise for a minute with no rest in between each exercise and repeating that 3-5 times

2nd option holding each exercise for a minute with a minute of burpees inbetween each one. Repeating that with a min rest between each set- to fatigue

3rd way do 3 sets of each exercise for one min with a 30 second rest in between each exercise (so do 1 min of squats with a 30 sec rest in between 3 times before moving onto 1 min of push ups with 30 sec rest 3 times and so on)

4th way- taking each exercise in all planes if motion- (so sumo squat, rotating squat and standard squat over the minute alternating plane with each squat) with 30 secs between each body area.

Even with 4 basic exercises and 4 different ways of doing them in a circuit you will have 4 very different body responses and results!

Try it with our favourite exercises write down your circuit and share it with us….

Most of all enjoy and have fun with it.

Examples of Exercises to use (by no means a conclusive list- any movement is an exercise) If in doubt always consult a professional before doing any exercise.

Upper Body:

Press up- wide hands, narrow hands, one hand in front of the other, with rotation, tricep push ups, clapping push ups, one arm push ups, in box position, on knees, on toes, on one toe, on a ball, on a bench, against the wall, hands higher than feet, feet higher than hands, on a wobble board, held, staggered- ie halfway, down, half way up, slowly down- quick up and the reverse

Pull up- On a overhead bar, handles, horizontal pulling to the bar on the squat rack

Lat Pull down- with cable, band, dumbells

Over head press- with bar bell, band, dumbbells

Chest press-band, bar bell, dumbbell, uni laterally, bi laterlly, incline, decline, on a ball, on a bench, with rotation

Lower body:

Squat- Sumo (stepping out to the side), narrow, wide, with rotation, with one foot in fron of the other, half squat, quick drop squat, toes in toes out, holding a ball, weights, with a band, with kettle bells (squat swing)

Lunge- round the clack, side lunge, forwards, backwards, one foot higer, toe pinting in, toe pointing out, walking, lunge into leg balance, wide, narrow, with arms up, reaching forward, holding a ball. with a swing, slow up, slow down, jumping alternate leg.

Clean- with dumbbells, barbell

Deadlifts- wide, narrow, with rotation, half way, full, alternate arm, straight leg, with dummbells, with bar, with band.

Bridges- Heels on a ball, back on a ball, single leg, Heels on a bench, on a wobble board, against the wall

Core:

Plank- on knees, on toes, on ones toe, long arm, with rotation, on side, single arm, with knee rotation, reverse plank, with leg to the side, one arm one leg, bringing elbow to knee.

Vsit- explosive, with feet on floor with arms up, with legs straight, with rotation,moving, held,

leg cycles- armpit to knee, slow motion, quick quick fast, held to one side, with a ball, toes pointed, heels flexed, arms wide

Cardio

Burpees

Hops- on one leg, side to side, with foot rotation, in a circle, compass points, onto a step, forward and backwards, in a line, between cones

Shuttle runs forwards, backwards, sideways

High knees

High heels

Mountain climbers

Skipping rope

Squat jumps

 

 

I have been finding out about my home country in the past few month, my new and old friends have made me aware of places I have never been before. Recently my great friend Angela took me to one of her favourite places and now also one of mine!!! I saw this recipe before and so needed the donut pan to make it. I found them in Shanghai St- Thanks Angela xx

I have adapted this recipe to make it Gluten/dairy free. The pumpkin makes it incredibly moist unlike some of the really dense gluten free bread I have been making previously. You could probably also use sweet potato, but I like pumpkin as it is now in season. I have used canned but its even more tasty when you cook up the pumpkin yourself and puree it. Let it cool and its ready for the recipe.

1 cup all purpose gluten free flour
3/4 cup almond flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1tsp xanthum gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oatmilk

Preheat oven to 200c. Butter a donut pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together, and set aside.

In a large bowl, or a the bowl of a kenwood mixer, fitted with the beater, whisk oil, coconut sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and oat milk until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the mixture- I did it spoon by spoon and stir until just combined, do not over mix batter.

Using a pastry bag, fill each donut cup with the batter. Nice circle, not too full as they will rise up a bit. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until donuts spring back when gently pressed. Turn donuts onto a wire each and allow to cool for a few minutes.

for coating:

2 tbs coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/2  tablespoon cinnamon

While the donuts are cooling, put the coconut oil in one bowl, and combine the sugar and cinnamon in anther. While donuts are still warm, brush each donut with oil and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve immediately. I refilled the piping bag and clamped both ends and put in the fridge to make another 6 tomorrow and the next day!!

**You can bake these a day ahead of time, and store in an airtight container. Do not coat them in the butter/ cinnamon-sugar mixture until just before served or they will get soggy- but if you are anything like me- if they are made they are eaten!! I like them warm and fresh**

Today I ran further and I ran harder. I had been giving myself a lot of excuses lately about not reaching my goals- the result was a dejected, unsatisfied sluggish me. So I pushed myself- I basically put my running shoes on with my pj’s (not quite but let’s face it in Hk no-one would notice!) and off I went.

It was such a gorgeous morning I kept going- on the way back on up hill 1 (of 3) my right hip and glute started grumbling- good chance to slow down (no real choice there-it was getting tough) and work on my drills- leading with the left leg, arm driving, forward knees and high heels! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other to the goal- home!

It struck me that all it takes is a little concentration on one foot in front of the other. Keeping your mind on your goal, the bigger picture. Looking back a month ago not much has changed, but look back 6 months to a year and its astounding what you can achieve. Little steps make a big difference. Whatever it is you are wanting to change- what can you do today, right now that will get you there. Whether its changing an attitude, a relationship, an exercise or food habit take a step in the right direction.

If not- find a really good song and dance your way through to the end!!

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I love lasagna. My mum always made a good one and when I lived with my brother for a while we tried to make the perfect one. I’ve tried pre-cooking the pasta, always make the white sauce without milk so finding a good alternative was a struggle (mistaking sweetened soy was a fatal error!). However I have just with my hubby made my fifth PERFECT lasagna.

Here’s how we do it- in the slow cooker. I love the slow cooker, I got it when I had my first baby as making dinner was a constant struggle, she would always need constant feeding and holding from about 4pm. So making dinner during her morning nap was a constant godsend for me. Now it’s just great to enjoy the afternoon with the constant pressure of dinner over my head. The food has always been perfect. It was only recently I stumbled upon the idea of doing it in the slow cooker. Pinterest I love you.

Ingredients:
500g mince (a mix of chicken, beef and pork is really nice but not necessary)
Celery
Carrot
1 Onion
2 cloves Garlic
Thumbnail size of ginger
Basil, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf (preferably fresh any herbs are nice)
Tin of tomatoes
Tbs Tomato purée
Worcestershire sauce/fish sauce/ glass red wine/ white wine (optional add that extra Unami)
200ml Bone broth (stock)
40g Butter
40g Gluten free flour (rice, quinoa, chickpea- whatever you have- wheat flour is also fine)
400ml Oat milk (or leftover veg water- last nights asparagus and green beans)
10g cheese (usually pecorino as its sheeps cheese- optional)
(If no veg water a little Dijon mustard gives it some flavour)
Gluten free lasagna sheets (I get mine from great- waitrose for those in uk also do some)

Put onion, celery, carrot, ginger and garlic with fresh herbs (except bay leaf)into food processor. Blitz till all chopped. Heat some olive/coconut oil in a deep stockpot. Fry off and add meat. When browned add tinned tomatoes, stock, purée, and optional extras ie wine. Add bay leaf. It’s okay if it’s quite wet. You want that to cook down and reduce on low for at least an hour. Whilst this is cooking, melt butter in another saucepan. When melted add flour until you have a roux. Slowly add fluid (water/milk) stop and start continually mixing on a very low heat. Add cheese/mustard. Set aside. Turn crockpot onto low- add half mince- layer pasta- then white sauce- then pasta- then meat sauce- then white sauce with some extra cheese on top. Cook for 6 hours (I put mine on at 11am turn it to warm at 5pm and serve at 6.30. Serve with a colourful salad.

I love lemon curd- this is so easy to make- can’t believe I never made it before- its actually pretty healthy!!!

 

3 lemons (zest and juice so unwaxed organic if possible)

1 orange (zest and juice so unwaxed organic if possible)

thumbnail sized piece of ginger grated.

100g unsalted butter

100g coconut sugar

3 Organic eggs

Put all the ingredients in a heat proof bowl and whisk over a bain marie. Keep on low heat whisking continuously so the eggs don’t cook too quickly and scramble. Keep going till it thickly coats the back of a spoon and is glossy. Pour into large jar (makes about 500g) allow to let cool and then refrigerate. Will keep for a few weeks.

Saw this on pinterest and loved it. Whilst doing my running and trying to get a swim in which is harder now our pool downstairs is closed. I am trying to at least get one exercise in a day- this can be done in any clothes too so no more excuses. Also this week my goal is to find a Yoga class to go to that I can take my baby to also. Anyone know one at 1pm on a weekday?

http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/no-squats-belly-butt-thighs-workout

Lie on back with bum up against the wall, arms at sides, knees bent, and feet planted 3 to 4 feet up wall. Exhale, draw belly button in and peel lower and mid back off floor, keeping shoulder blades down, so body forms a nearly straight line from chest to knees. Hold for a deep inhale, then exhale and slowly roll back down. Ensure complete control in this experiment where on the wall your feet need to be for complete control.

MAKE IT HARDER
Cross right ankle over left knee so only left foot is on wall, then roll up, pause, and lower. Do the full number of reps, then switch feet.

MAKE IT EASIER
Don’t use the wall. Keep feet flat on floor as you lift into a bridge; pause and slowly lower.

Thanks http://www.prevention.com

Read more: http://www.prevention.com/fitness/strength-training/no-squats-belly-butt-thighs-workout#ixzz28PBfU5L6

My daughter’s kindy has a no nut policy for snack time. It makes sense, however suddenly I am lost as to what to give her other than fruit and cut vegies. Normally I will also have a pot of nuts or I make bars for her with nuts and seeds. However I found a recipe for flax crackers and have tweaked it a bit (although for her ones at school I will just make 100g flax half whole half ground). These have the perfect balance of carbohydrate, protein and essential fats. Can be for snacks or spread with nut butter for breakfast. Also go very well with my Lemon, ginger and orange curd.

80g flax seeds(half ground half whole)

20g ground almonds

1 medium (browned or extra ripe) banana.

Mash the banana with a spoon until its creamy with few lumps. Add the flax seeds, almonds and mix. Keep mixing till it completely combines. Let it sit for 20 mins.

Grease a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray, drop 1 Tsp drops and press flat.

Bake for 15-20 minutes on 300C or until the edges are brown and the tops are hard.

 

This was a question asked today and whilst I knew most ingredients- someone put it way better than me…

Here’s my very knowledgeable friends reply:

The question should be what isn’t in a vaccine! Most vaccines will contain at least a few from this list: disease causing agents that have been cultivated from monkey kidneys, chicken and duck embryos; dog, horse, rabbit, mouse and cow tissues, human tissue culture containing cells (notably from the uterine cancer of Henrietta Lack, an African American woman who died in the 1960’s, and whose cancer cells were laboratory-proliferated and now contaminate cell lines in research labs around the globe),

ALUMINUM: a neurotoxin which has been associated w/ Alzheimers, dis-ease, dementia and seizures; aluminum is carcinogenic in laboratory mice and added to vaccines to “promote antibody response.”,

THIRMERSOL: a sodium salt derived from the deadly poison mercury and used as a disinfectant and preservative; thirmersal has been linked to brain and kidney damage as well as immune and neurological dis-orders; it is a component of vaccines for

DPT, tetanus,hepatitius B and Hib,

FORMALDEHYDE: a major component of embalming fluid, which of course is pumped into dead people to keep them dead; a known cancer-causing chemical, this toxic substance is used to “inactivate” viruses and detoxify bacterial toxins; formaldehyde has also shown to be injurious to the liver and to trigger gene mutations,

CARBOLIC ACID (PHENOL): believed to cause gender mutation; a deadly poison used as a disinfectant, dye,

ANTI (AGAINST) BIOTICS (LIFE): Neomycin, Streptomycin and a variety of other drugs – to which increasing numbers of the population are demonstrating serious allergies and to which increasing numbers of microbes are developing genetically-transmitted tolerance,

ACETONE: used in fingernail polish remover and as a solvent,

GLYCERIN: a tri-atomic alcohol extracted from natural fats which are putrefied and decomposed; toxic effects damage the kidneys, liver, lungs and “pronounced local tissue damage, gastrointestinal damage and death”

and a fair few still contain MERCURY.

I amazed that we are told not to feed our babies eggs due to the allergenic properties of the egg white but doctors don’t advise mums that the vaccines being given to babies may contain egg white..

Oh and the MMR contains the cells of an aborted baby from the 70s that had rubella.

And that there is the truth that the Doctors don’t like to mention and most people try to forget….

Make sure you are 100% sure and 100% researched. Thanks Marta x

Also recently found this too- just in case you don’t believe us!

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Lots of people ask me what I have to hand for any situation here’s my first aid kit essential for natural health.

Homeopathic first aid kit- esp aconite, arnica, belladonna chamomila, sulphur, hepah sulphur, pulsatilla, passiflor co, silica,

Tissue salts- I have a full set of all of them and some of the combinations but mostly- pp, mp, silica, nat mur, ferr phos

Bach flower remedies all 38 but mostly rescue remedy night and day

Lavender
Calendula tincture and balm
Tea tree
camomile tea flowers
Rose hips
Tulsi tea and herbal holy basil capsules
Vit c sodium ascorbate
Probiotics multi strain and infantis
Vit d drops
Vit a drops
Ultra muscleze (mag, b vits)
Super greens
Lemon
Ginger
Manuka honey
Garlic
Oats
Epsom salts
Coconut oil/water
Homemade after sun (also an insect repellant)
Pure aloe vera
Homemade bone broth

If you want to know how and when  I use each item- let me know. If you use anything else, let me know