Lucy’s November Challenge – Week 2

Happy Monday readers. After my gloating post last night, I think it’s time to move straight on to my Week 2 exercise plan.

Lucy’s November Challenge

WEEK 2

Monday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins) and Abs (10 mins)

Tuesday – Fitness Blender Arms and Cardio Workout (40 mins)

Wednesday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins) and Butt and Thigh (10 mins)

Thursday – Fitness Blender 1000 calorie intense Workout (90 mins)

Friday – Bikram Yoga (90 mins)

Saturday/Sunday – Over the period of the weekend: Jog (30 mins) and Abs (10 mins)

And I also wanted to leave you with a sneak peak of some of the more impressive meals I have had over the last week. Onwards and upwards.

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Above is my all-time favourite breakfast: Carrot cake oatmeal. On this occasion I topped it with gorgeous slightly-sweetened nuts. Read about me discovering Carrot-cake oatmeal for the first time here.

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On Monday night last week, I was on my solely-fruit day. I made this incredible fruit salad bowl, which filled me up beautifully in the evening. It included gala melon, granny smith apple, conference pear, red grapes, mango and kiwi. Delicious, and certainly something I’m going to do again this evening! I know there is a lot written about sugar at the moment, and how even sugar in fruit needs to carefully monitored… However, I think every now and then, a bowl like this is a great idea. The sheer amount of vitamins and  minerals you get from this is incredible  – I feel giddy even just looking at it.

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Now this meal was a large effort but 100% worth it. It is a recipe from one of my favourite bloggers: Deliciously Ella. You can find the recipe for this stuffed butternut squash here, and I made a big pot of ratatouille to go with it. Recipe for that is coming soon.

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Claud’s Cauliflower Couscous

It’s August and I am back in the Hamptons, living with my “second family” – a family whose 3 children I have tutored for the last 2 and a half years. Going away on a tutoring job abroad is always an odd experience. Even when tutoring at home, there is an odd dynamic – you are invited into a family’s home and become a fly on the wall; you are trusted and embraced, and yet you are still an employee and so there is a divide. When you go abroad on such a job, the lines are even more blurred – There are times when life is incredibly stressful, and times when I am insanely bored! Generally though, the trip is a wonderful experience and with a family like this one, who I care about so much, the pros definitely outway the cons.

One of the best things I remember from last summer, and which I anticipated with great relish in the lead-up to my trip this year, was the absolutely delicious food. Two chefs, Claudia and Jack, take over the kitchen for the duration of the summer and prepare all meals for the inhabitants of the house. These guys are seriously talented makers of scrumptious food and the quantities I consume can hit a rather extreme level, even for me.

So for the remainder of the month, my blog entries will be “guest recipes” of Claudia and Jack’s. They cook such a wonderful array of very fresh, healthy meals and I think they deserve to be shared with you. The recipe today reminded me of my Cauliflower Egg-Fried Rice, and is a great summer version of that. It’s a perfect side-dish for a bbq, and is astoundingly filling, despite being comprised of just raw vegetables!

 

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Claudia’s Cauliflower Couscous Salad

1 cauliflower head (grated)

Cherry tomatos

Red onion

Chick peas

Fresh coriander

Fresh mint

Olive Oil

Lemon

Cayenne pepper

Cumin powder

 

I haven’t added amounts to the above ingredients list, just because it’s up to you! Who am I to tell you how many cherry tomatoes are enough, or whether the salad is minty enough. Add or remove ingredients as you wish.

Firstly douse the chickpeas in olive oil, cumin powder and cayenne pepper and roast them until they are a nice brown colour. Then mix the grated cauliflower, chopped cherry toms, chopped red onion, chick-peas and chopped herbs in a big bowl. Dress it with olive oil and lemon (again adding sufficient amounts to please your palate).

Serve and enjoy. And think of us enjoying it over here!20140811_122957 20140811_123021

 

The Rainbow Salad

A couple of weeks ago I caught a virus. Let’s have some overshare time now – most viruses cause vomiting and diarrhea, but mine caused my whole body to just seize up. I had an appetite but anytime I ate anything my stomach would go into agonising cramps and swell up to pregnant size. It wasn’t a good look. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I spent 4 days solidly living off overcooked carrot and brocolli. That was all my body could handle. So now I’m out the other side, I’m craving that raw fibrous fruit and veg that I was deprived for that small period of time. 

So I’ve been making a lot of rainbow salads. Here’s how to do it:

In short… Pile as many different raw, brightly coloured vegetables on your plate as possible.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

If the colours don’t make your eyes hurt, you’ve not done it right!Image

In this photo, the salad is made up of a bed of spinach and kale, topped with tomatoes, white onion (I’m brave), grated carrot, chopped beetroot, raisins and fresh basil. I also always tend to garnish anything I make with chilli, because if you can top anything with ginger, garlic or chlili, you’re doing your body and your metabolism a favour.

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Now is the time to make a rainbow salad, while the sun is out and the heat is blazing. In winter, you won’t want this kind of thing, but right now it is easy to fill your body with this kind of goodness. So go raw, even just for a meal. “Thanks”, said your bod.

Gorging on Winter Side-Dishes

I’ve eaten a lot this evening. It’s been a binge day. But thanks to my rule of not buying any bread/potatoes/sweets/crisps for my own flat, the worst I could binge on was buttered rice cakes… and I certainly did that, after my celery dipped in salsa, oatcakes dipped in pesto and corn thins dipped in almond butter. However, the most delicious thing I ate were these wonderful bowls of vegetables, otherwise known as the “winter side-dishes” (even though they played the role of protagonist in my mealtimes today).

Firstly the spinach:

 

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I got the idea for this from my favourite food porn website. Firstly I fried a small handful of pine-nuts and a small handful of raisins in about a teaspoon of coconut oil. Then I steamed a whole 240g bag of spinach, drained it, chopped it up and added it to the pan. All the ingredients were sizzled around a little, salt and pepper was added, and voila. Delicious and nutritious.

 

The second dish was the hot mushroom and carrot dish:

ImageA large carrot was grated, and a box of mushroom were sliced. An onion was fried in a small dash of olive oil, and a chopped chilli pepper was added. Then the mushroom and carrot was added, along with a handful of cranberries (keeping it festive, and adding a bit of tang to the dish). A dash of worcester sauce and a slop of teriaki sauce joined the party, and finally a generous teaspoon of paprika was thrown on top. The bowl was garnished with some chopped coriander, and I was ready to go.

 

Kale time

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It’s time to talk about Kale.

 

IT’S INCREDIBLE!

 

Talk over.

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, fine we’ll discuss it a little more. I remember my infamous nutritionist friend Taylor once saying to me, “Kale is excellent because it devours the stomach” then suddenly having to clarify, “Not in a bad way! As in… it burns fat! It burns fat!” Safe in the knowledge that it wasn’t in fact going to give me ulcers on my insides, I started to introduce it into my diet as much as possible. This is easy, because even though it is technically a cabbage, it can be treated like a lettuce or salad. I will add it to almost any meal: Fill half my plate with raw kale, have a bowl of raw kale in a bowl with whatever I’m eating, add it raw to a smoothie (raw is certainly the way forward). If I’m eating it with other tasty stuff, I just drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on top. If I’m eating it by itself (when I get the craving to eat something but am not actually hungry), I’ll drizzle a little olive oil as well as vinegar, and top it off with salt and pepper.

Waitrose sell it in enormous bags. Just buy one and keep it in your fridge constantly. It will be sat there looking on, encouraging you to add that extra kick of health to each meal.

This website sums the benefits up pretty concisely. Have a read:

http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/5-top-health-benefits-of-kale/

At lunchtime today I paired my kale with a vegetable stew I made on Sunday night – carrots, onions, mushrooms, sweetcorn, spinach, green beans and lentils all left to boil in chicken stock and coconut oil for an hour. Turns into a beautiful “5 of your 5-a-day” mush by the end.

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