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Middle Eastern Rice Pudding

ricepuddingThis is guaranteed to be the best rice pudding you’ve ever tried!

Ingredients:

– 1 cup pudding rice, washed and soaked in water for 15 minutes

– 3/4 cup caster sugar

– 5 mastic gum,  grinded in a mortar (this is not arabica gum and it can be found in Greek and Middle Eastern stores)

mastic

– 1/4 tsp salt

– 1 cup water

-2 cups of milk (I used Jersey milk, which is a rich, creamy milk from Jersey cows)

–  1 cup double cream

– 4 tbsp of butter

– 1 tsp vanilla essence

– 1/4 cup sultanas

– 1 stick of cinnamon

– A heat resistant bowl with lid

heatresistant

Pour the milk, cream, water, sugar, butter, salt, and mastic in a heat resistant bowl. Drain the rice and add to the mixture, mixing together with a spoon. Add sultanas to the and drop in the cinnamon stick. Place in oven at around 140-150 degrees for one hour. Remove the lid and mix it lightly with a spoon to ensure that all of the ingredients are mixed. Finally, cover with lid and leave for another hour. Ensure that the rice is cooked before serving. You can eat this hot, or cold! Delicious!

Pomegranate Bruschetta

pomegThis is super easy to do and super tasty!

Ingredients*:

– seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate

– goat’s cheese

-1 small baguette

-1 small onion (preferably red)

-olive oil

*The proportions rely on the amount of baguette you are using. The above are suitable for 1 small baguette.

If you have a grill, place the baguette in between the plates on a low heat setting so it gets thinner without burning. Alternatively, you can slice the baguette in two lengthways. In a pan, fry the onion in a bit of olive oil until golden. Scatter on top of the baguette and top with goat cheese slices. Place in the microwave on a high heat for just a few seconds until the cheese is hot and bubbling (make sure to watch the microwave to avoid over-bubbling and runny cheese!). Top with pomegranate seeds. Enjoy

Why Women Should Lift Weights

womanliftingThere seems to be a common belief that the best exercises ever developed for womankind is cardio (lots of it), squats, and lunges. In addition, heavy weight lifting will turn women into Arnolds. However, if you genuinely want to change your physique, you need to start lifting heavy. Women don’t have the ability to bulk up because they don’t have anything near as much testosterone as men. As well as that, women don’t consume enough calories or supplements and lift heavy on a regular basis.

 

Benefits:

  • Faster metabolism: A study found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. Also, your resting metabolism will be higher the leaner you are. If you want to slim down, combining cardio with weight training will help you get to where you want twice as fast compared to cardio on its own.
  • It actually creates definition. Doing cardio on its own will leave you feeling shapeless and undefined. You need muscles to sculpt your body.
  • Stronger: Research shows that moderate weight training can increase a woman’s strength by 30 to 50 percent. Increasing your strength can actually change how you perform your everyday activities, giving you more energy (because your muscles are working, rather than just momentum).
  • Decreased risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and arthritis
  • It puts you in a great mood!

Don’t be afraid of lifting heavy if you dramatically want to change your body! Our bodies are made to lift as well as to run! lifting

 

Why You May Be Not Getting Results…

DumbbellsA lot of people complain on why their workout regime is not bringing results. The following points are made to help you determine why:

  • Do you allow sufficient recovery time? For weight training, you need to rest every body part for at least 24 hours. This is so the muscle fibres repair and come back even stronger and bigger!
  • Are you putting your mind into the muscles you are working? The brain-muscle connection is key to really target a specific body part and for quicker results.
  • Do you create a challenge? Each time you do the workout, add extra reps or weights. This is absolutely crucial to getting results.
  • Do you change your workouts every 4-6 weeks? Muscles get bored too (just like us!) and do not respond efficiently if they are used to the routine. You must surprise your muscles and hit them at different angles.
  • Concentrate on good form. It’s not about the time you take, the amount you can lift or the number of sets you do. Focus on quality, not quantity.
  • Do not be afraid to lift heavy. If you think that the heaviest thing you can lift is a handbag, time will prove you wrong. You can carry beyond what you think if you give it time. In addition, lifting heavy is what really makes a difference to your physique.
  • Do you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night? Sleep is the time when your body starts recovering, building muscle mass and releasing growth hormones.
  • Remember that it’s 80% diet and 20% exercise. Food is what makes the exercise sculpt you in a specific way. You need to provide enough energy for your muscles by eating healthy carbs, plenty of protein and healthy fats. In addition, eating every 2-3 hours.
  • I recommend that after your workout, you take a good quality protein shake and 1 or 2 bananas so you have quick proteins and quick carbs.

Challenge: How about you don’t ‘check yourself out’ in the mirror for another week or two? Just do what you got to do, and don’t worry about the results yet! It’s a psychological thing, as when you look at yourself everyday, your eyes will try and look for little details and you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. If you completely forgot the mirror for another month, and you finally look in it, you will be surprised. Your eyes will notice the real new changes because you haven’t refreshed your memory for a long time.

Remember: Muscle fibres are like jigsaws. Every workout you do, inserts a new jigsaw over your existing muscles, to form a bigger picture. You don’t form a jigsaw in one second, but you gradually do it by time, adding more and more muscles to your body. So every little helps!

Why butter is good for you…

butterButter is always seen as the bad guy, due to the cholesterol, saturated fat and maybe the propaganda behind it! However, I don’t label foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. I think too much of anything, including the harmless, angelic water can be harmful. Moderation is key with food whether you’re eating carrots, apples, chicken, chocolate, ice-cream or anything else. In addition to that, I always support natural foods and butter is natural, being around for thousands of years and it’s a prime part of many cultures. Here are some of it’s benefits:

  • Full of minerals, including selenium (a powerful antioxidant). It has more selenium than whole wheat or garlic. In fact, it contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries.
  • Supplies your body with iodine and vitamin A, needed by the thyroid gland which helps the healthy functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system.
  • It contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), short and medium chain fatty acids which gives excellent protection against cancer
  • Contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
  • It is shown to help with growth and development, gastrointestinal health, arthritis, and helps protect the immune system.
  • Good dietary source cholesterol.

I noticed that most benefits noted above actually help with weight loss. Antioxidants, vitamins, medium chain fatty acids, all help to pump up your metabolism and of course, your overall health. Fat is not bad for you. Society is blaming natural food labelled as ‘fat’ for global obesity and poor heart function, when over-processed foods and lack of movement is the reason. However, the best butter you can eat is raw, organic butter from grass-fed animals because pasteurization destroys nutrients.

So please, have real butter instead of…
cantbelieve

‘Fake’ butter that can contain trans fats, additives and preservatives.

 

Sources and useful websites:

http://www.thankyourbody.com/butter-evil-good/

http://www.bulletproofexec.com/butter-is-better-for-your-brain-and-now-your-heart/

It’s even beneficial for children with ADHD: http://pennyarcos.hubpages.com/hub/butterforADHDbraindevelopment