Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dessert Lovers Rejoyce!

Fit Sugar
Dessert is my favourite part of any meal. The main course? I can take it or leave it, as long as there's something sweet coming after. And in winter, I don't think there's anything better than stewed fruit – because as well as being piping hot and just completely delicious, it's also not that bad for you health-wise. So when I found this delicious recipe for baked pears with maple yoghurt, I thought it would be a huge disservice if I didn't pass it along...

Baked Pears with Maple Greek Yogurt and Granola

You'll need...
  • 2 firm pears (Bartlett or Anjou)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 16 ounce container plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup granola
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

What to do...
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Cut the pears in half lengthwise, and remove cores with a spoon. Place in an 8x8-inch baking pan, cut-sides down.
3. Pour apple juice and water over pears, and drizzle with honey. Cover pan loosely with foil and bake about 35 minutes or until tender.
4. When pears are done, pour the leftover baking liquid into a small saucepan and reduce over medium heat until about 1/4 cup of syrup remains; set aside to cool.
5. Open the container of Greek yogurt and stir in the maple syrup. Divide yogurt into four bowls. Place a half of the warm pear in each bowl, cut side up. Top with granola and walnuts, and drizzle with syrup you set aside.

Confession: Before I saw this recipe, I had no idea there was more than one type of pear. I mean Bartlett or Anjou, who knew?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Girl Crush: Christina Hendricks

Daily Mail

Because I will use just about any excuse to post pics of Christina Hendricks, I couldn't resist sharing this little quote from the divine Mad Men actress about her body confidence.

"If there’s anything to be learned from me it’s that I’m learning to celebrate what I was born with, even though it’s sometimes been inconvenient. Having larger breasts has made it harder for me to shop throughout the years, but I’ve learnt to love it."

It's hard to believe that she could ever not love that figure, which threw even the size-zero fashion world into a tailspin several seasons ago, but there you have it. Body love isn't something you achieve when you get the perfect body, it's something you learn. And it's something we all have to keep working on – even Christina.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On The Soapbox: Celebrity Diets.

Flat Tummy Fast! by James Duigan

I was recently reading a 14-day eating plan designed by celebrity trainer James Duigan (it's amazing how the words "Flat Tummy Fast" never fail to get me clicking) and I caught myself in a frown. Not because what he was suggesting didn't sound delicious – it absolutely did – but it was all just a bit, well, hard.

What normal, working woman has time to prepare "baked bass fillet" in their lunch break or "a grilled haddock fillet with roasted peppers and courgettes" before work for breakfast – I mean, what the hell is haddock, anyway?! Just googling the ingredients would take up more than the time allotted for breakfast preparation.

James says they are "simple" recipes, but I still think my oats and sultanas are simpler. Oh, how I long for a celebrity trainer to do a basic eating plan that includes, oh I don't know... things that people actual eat. Not haddock and turkey for every second meal.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Organ Donation Is Important, Y'all.

And here's why. Mirtala Garcia's husband died of a brain hemorrhage at age 38. She decided to donate his organs and amazingly, it meant eight people desperately needing transplants could live. I urge you to read Mirtala's story. It's touching and makes you think: What do you want to happen to your organs when you no longer need them? 

It's worth thinking about. You might decide to donate, you might not, but at the very least, you should make the decision, because when your time does come to kick the bucket (and I hope it's no time soon), you won't be the one talking to the docs when they want someone to make a call – your loved ones will. So if you want them to respect your wishes, talk it over with them. Like now.

A (Really Very Easy) Risotto.


It doesn't matter how many episodes of Masterchef I watch or how much I fantasise about being on Ready Steady Cook with Manu, the truth is, I cannot do tricky in the kitchen. I can do recipes that feature the words "simple" and "quick" and "easy". So this Easy Chicken Risotto really hits the mark. And it even got me a compliment I'm not used to hearing in the kitchen: "Sensational".

Easy Chicken Risotto

You'll need...
  • 500-600g chicken, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas, cooked
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1L chicken stock
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • Pepper to taste
What to do...
1. Fry chicken in a little oil until golden and set aside.
2. Heat oil, add onion and garlic, and saute.
3. Add carrots, mushrooms, peas, chicken and rice, and stir for one minute, ensuring rice is coated in oil.
4. Add chicken stock and pepper, bring to the boil.
5. Cover and bake at 200C for 20-25 minutes.
6. Stand for 2-3 minutes with the lid on, then add parsley and parmesan and stir through.
7. Serve with parmesan on top.