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Archive for the ‘Health and Fitness’ Category

 

Thai Dragon Soup

Don’t ask me why it’s called Thai Dragon Soup. I couldn’t find any information on the background of it. But the soup was a warm saviour on a freezing cold night. I bet you there is no easier soup recipe than this. No blending, adding cream, no separate preparations yadi yadi da….All that is too much work.

But this Soup my friends is one of the easiest ones I have made. Sumptuous, nutritious and fulfilling. While browsing for ideas for quick dinner I came across a Thai Dragon Bowl Soup (http://gourmeh.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/499/) which is the original version and inspiration to my making this soup. My Thai Dragon Soup was an adaptation of that recipe as my fridge wasn’t as well stocked for a proper dinner that night.

Ingredients:

2 Capsicums sliced thinly;
2 Onions sliced thinly;
8-10 White Button mushrooms (any mushroom will do) sliced thinly;
8-10 Green Beans cut into 2-3 pieces each (longer the better);
100 gm Rice Noodle (Thick flat type);
6-7 cloves of Garlic crushed;
1 knob of Ginger peeled and crushed;
2 stalks of Bruised Lemon grass stalks;
2 Green Chillies slit;
Lemon Juice;
Worcester sauce;
6-8 cups of Water;
Salt & Pepper for seasoning;

I had no stock and I thought to myself if I dunk all veggies onto water with a bit of salt and pepper, my stock’s ready. So that’s exactly what I did.

Boil water in a deep saucepan. Throw in crushed garlic, ginger, lemon grass stalks & all the veggies and let it boil. Season with salt and very little pepper as we have added the chillies already. So mind the heat!

Once the colour of the water starts changing, add a small splash of Worcester sauce. It would roughly take about 15-20 minutes tops for the veggies to get cooked. When the water reaches a boil and the colour of the liquid turns a darker brown add the rice noodles. The stock would start to thicken after adding the rice noodle due to its starch. Boil until the noodles are soft and cooked through. Do not overcook as the noodle will absorb most of the stock which is why the noodle is added towards the end and is on the heat for just a little while. Once you remove the soup off the hob and let it rest for about a minute or so and splash in few drops of lemon juice which zests up the soup and takes it to a whole new level.

Yummy soup

Garnish with some coriander for that fresh flavour.

There you go!!! Hot Thai Dragon Soup to keep you warm and give you the comfort food feeling.

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You come back after a long tiring day at work sapped of energy, too tired to even think of what’s going to be on tonight’s menu.  The one thing you need is something that can give you a fresh lease of energy and quickly at that.

Orange juice with Mint

I don’t have anything jazzy to suggest. But trust me this is old-fashioned and works wonders for me.

I am talking about our plain old Orange Juice.  Just cut up  2 juicy oranges and squeeze fresh juice. Tear up some mint leaves, add to the orange juice and Sip…..!! Ahhhh, that cool sweet and tangy liquid with just a hint of the minty freshness works magic, zips through your system with zest and sends an instant charge of energy. And its good for you too unlike the good for nothing caffeinated  energy drinks.

Nothing can beat that freshness and I tell you, you will feel as good as new after that shot.  Believe me! And that’s what I call refreshing!!!

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Zumba - Ditch the Workout & Join the Party

There I was, trudging along without any previous knowledge of what on earth Zumba was……Until one day…

Scene – Lunch room at work. Am watching the instant noodles bubble away in the microwave which was my boring-out-of-ideas on what to bring for lunch answer. Couple of my colleagues having their lunches in the room. Then suddenly the door swings open loudly and erupts into the lunch room is a colleague of mine, a mom of 2 kids who makes a beeline to one of my colleagues having lunch who never has to watch what she eats. The mother of 2 started discussing something excitedly. I could just make out the words “Awesome”, “Toning sticks”, “Can feel it”, “Energetic”,”Losing weight” & “Zumba”.

My antennae magically sharpened to tune into the conversation because I heard the words “Losing weight”. I had become so pudgy, overweight and nauseous to my core that I let my weight get out of control and hating myself for that, any technique or idea that could achieve quick weight loss for me was very welcome. On top of it all, I was still so unmotivated to do anything about it.

I brought my steaming noodles to the table and sat across the two who were discussing about losing weight. And the mom of two said to the other colleague -“Hey did you order it for me yet? I am just having to rely on YouTube Zumba videos to get me through.” There it was that word again -“Zumba”. My mind started pondering on what that word was! I made the most obvious assumption relating to that topic, that it either was a diet supplement or an exercise.

And I looked at the mother of 2 and observed that she had indeed lost weight and she seemed more active actually. And I told her so. She said that she was trying out Zumba and she thought that it was working for her. I said -“Good for you”. And she told me that I ought to try it too.

I just smiled not knowing what I was agreeing to and nodded my head and still hesitated on asking what that was. I then came back home. I was flicking through the  TV channels when suddenly I saw some latin dancing advertisement. I thought it might be a dance studio or gym promoting classes and was about to change it. Then came on-screen the words flashing “ZUMBA – Ditch the workout, Join the Party”. I sat upright. I saw the infomercial about Zumba. I was intrigued. All the more because I have a passion for dancing. I had taken Salsa classes during weekdays after work once a week.

And the more I watched, the more I wanted to try. I immediately went online and found some Zumba videos on YouTube. And I tried just a couple of videos. First thing that struck me was, that I sweated profusely. In New Zealand, the climate is such you don’t sweat even if you want to. And it felt different and good. Secondly, the burn out of calories was high. I have done my time at the gym back in the days, doing circuit training, a combination of cardio, weights, crunches and squats. But maybe after 1 hour of that I could get the amount of burn factor. But these 2 videos put together was just for 16 minutes. And I thought to myself, “WOW”, the same amount of sweat but in a shorter time but with more intensity. I thought could this be the answer to my prayers. And that too in this day and age, with barely any extra time to catch up on the ever-growing To-Do list, this would be perfect for a quick work out.

Zumba burns a higher amount of calories quickly than any other work out form and in a short time. Doing Zumba  works up a good sweat and enhances your mood, because the song selections are so upbeat and trendy. It is energy-boosting and makes us flexible. I noticed that after few days of Zumba, that bending down to pick something up was never an issue. And I was shocked to realise that I had been struggling to bend over and pick things up and I had not even paid attention to that fact. On top of all of this, you will be using muscles that you haven’t used in a long time, and use muscles you didn’t know existed in the first place.

Today, though I don’t do Zumba everyday, I do it once in a while to improve my mood and if I felt like dancing or flexing. The original Zumba package by Beto teaches a variety of dance moves including the likes of Belly Dancing and Flamenco. So if you are looking at spicing up your body and becoming more flexible,  and true to its tagline Ditch the Workout and Join the Party, Zumba is the way to go!!!

Afternote – Below are the 2 links for the Zumba videos that I used at home. But for those if you are hooked into it, I would recommend you buy the original package. This includes targeted exercises for Abs, Glutes, Cardio, Express Workout for 20 minutes and so on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf0q6qtThF4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm7DyRjtWRc

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