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29 Oct 2017

What is Pumpkin Spice?


October is a chilly time in more ways than one. Whether it’s the cold weather or the eerie mood of scary Halloween vibes, you can beat the autumn melancholia with a flavour that is bound to warm up your senses: pumpkin spice.

It was initially called pumpkin pie spice as it was explicitly meant for flavouring pumpkin pies. Now, this autumn ingredient fills up homes as a spray scent, candle, tasty meals and so many desserts.

Funnily enough, the spice is just a great mixture of traditional fall spice flavours infused together but includes no pumpkin. The vegetable’s presence comes from the fact that all these spices have been associated with pumpkin cooking.


Here’s how to make it:

•    3 tbsps. ground cinnamon
•    2 tbsps. ground ginger
•    2 tbsps. ground nutmeg
•    1 ½ tbsp. ground allspice
•    1 ½ tbsp. ground cloves

Pumpkin spice ingredients all placed on a marble top kitchen table.
 
Place all ingredients in a coffee grinder, add it into a small jar, and there you have it. The mixture could stay fresh for 2-3 years if it is stored well in a sealed container. It’s as easy as that.

So when you’re done making it, use it to make a spiced latte, butter, frozen yoghurt or a pie. The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can use pumpkin spice for. The warmth of cinnamon, the spice of ginger, the punch of nutmeg, the sweetness of cloves and the fragrance of allspice make it a great ingredient to make any bland recipe vivacious.  

A homemade pumpkin spice latte surrounded with autumn leave cookies and scattered all spice.


Here’s a quick recipe for a pumpkin spice latte to get you started:

•    1 cup milk
•    2 tbsps. pure pumpkin puree
•    1 tbsp. sugar
•    1/2 tbsp. pumpkin spice, plus more for sprinkling
•    1/4 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
•    1/4 cup hot espresso or strong brewed coffee
•    Sweetened whipped cream, for serving


Step 1:

Start by combining the milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice and vanilla in a safe microwave bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap that has a small hole in it for venting the vapour out. Microwave for 2 minutes.

Step 2:

Take the mixture out and whisk the milk vigorously for about 30 seconds until it is foamy. Pour the coffee or espresso into your mug and add the foamed milk.

Step 3:

Decorate with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice.


What will you use pumpkin spice for next?



 
03 Oct 2017

Guilt Free Snacks

No one said achieving a perfect Greek physique or a healthier lifestyle means you should stop snacking. In fact, snacks are a great opportunity for you to fuel your body between your main meals while you’re out and about. However, in a world full of indulgences, it can be challenging to control your snacks.

So, we decided to gather a few power combos, with filling yet healthy ingredients for you to prepare from items you can easily find lying around in your pantry. Eating with no ‘food guilt’ involved sounds like the perfect recipe to us!

 

Caprese with an Oriental Twist

Ingredients:

•    Sliced tomatoes
•    Dried basil
•    Dried oregano (optional)
•    Sea salt and pepper
•    White cheese (or mozzarella for a milder taste)
•    Balsamic vinegar
•    Olive oil
•    Pomegranate molasses (debs el remman)

This recipe fuses the Greek Caprese salad with the delicious Egyptian ‘gebna bel tamatim’ and the Lebanese touch of pomegranate molasses "debs el remman". Get your tomatoes and slice them evenly. Using a spoon, add dollops of white cheese (salted or neutral) onto the tomatoes generously, depending on how creamy you want the dish to be.

Sprinkle a bit of dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to get those Mediterranean smells and flavours running through the earthy greens. This easy-to-make, low-calorie snack will instantly fill you up for hours on end, and it only takes a minute to make. If your taste buds can tolerate it, try to avoid the salt completely. Drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinegar, pomegranate molasses and olive oil to add a pungent, sweet taste to it all, glossing up the tomatoes with flavour.

You can have this before starting your day, or serve it to your friends for brunch.

Low-calorie oriental Caprese snack: tomatoes with cheese and herbs


Another go-to snack you could take everywhere with you is honey-glazed nuts. Nuts are filled with Omega-3 and Vitamin E. In other words, they are the snacks to have when you’re trying to cut down a few pounds. To satisfy that sweet-tooth of yours, we’ve added a little twist to make healthy more appealing.

 

Honey-glazed Nuts

Ingredients:

•    A handful of unflavored mixed nuts
•    Honey
•    Vanilla sugar

In a bowl, mix some honey with vanilla sugar until they're perfectly combined together. Honey regulates your blood sugar levels, increasing athletic performance, acts a probiotic and is the ideal alternative for sugar. Add in a handful of mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts) and mix it in with the honey until all the nuts are coated. If you want to add a little tanginess to the nutty sweetness of the snack, add some dried apricots or cranberries. Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour at the very latest, and it’s ready to go! For every handful of nuts, drizzle no more than a teaspoon of honey to cut down on the calories. Pack it up in a mason jar with a small spoon, and you've got the ideal snack to carry around.

Munch on on-the-go honey-glazed nuts


Our next recipe is a biscuit without the dough. Shying away from all the dangerous “whites” (flour, caster sugar, sea salt), these apple peanut butter cookies harmonise the glory of crisp, pungent, fruity and intense flavours.


Apple Peanut Butter Biscuits

Ingredients:

•    Sliced apples of your choice
•    Peanut butter
•    Dark chocolate chips
•    Raisins and nuts of your choice (optional)

Grab yourself a few apples and slice them up into circular biscuits, and evenly spread no more than a tablespoon of peanut butter on each slice. Sprinkle a few raisins, a handful of chocolate chips, your choice of nuts on top and you’re done! The dark chocolate is great for when you’re feeling blue and need to stabilize blood pressure and sugar levels.

We suggest having these for breakfast as an alternative to caffeine-filled coffee as the peanut butter and chocolate will energise you, while the carbohydrates in the apples will give you an instant boost of energy.

Deliciously sweet with nutritious benefits. Who said biscuits can’t be healthy?

Peanut butter apple ‘biscuits’ with nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth


Chia Pudding with Fruit

Ingredients:

•    ½ to ¾ cup of chia seeds
•    3 cups almond milk
•    1-3 tablespoons of honey

Suggested toppings:

•    Granola
•    Fresh fruit (berries, apple slices, pineapples, peaches, and kiwi)
•    Coconut flakes
•    Pure maple syrup
•    Cinnamon
•    Nuts and seeds

A very underestimated power food packed with omega 3 and fibres. The chia seed is nutrient-dense and carries a huge load of energy-boosting power, hence it meaning “strength” in the Mayan language. It promotes healthy skin, supports the heart and digestive system, and reduces signs of ageing. Chia pudding is a perfect snack you can create in no time, and even top off with any juicy fruit.

Mix the almond milk with a few tablespoons of honey until they’re blended evenly. Add the chia seeds into the mixture. Pour the chia seeds and milk evenly into mason jars, and mix it after 10-15 minutes to avoid clumping. Let the flavours in the pudding sit in a fridge for 3 hours (or preferably overnight) until a pudding-like consistency is observed. Cut up gorgeous chunks of fruits or other toppings to have with the pudding.

Try a healthy twist to your chia seed pudding


Baked Sweet Potato Sticks

Ingredients:

•    5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
•    Olive oil
•    Rosemary

House seasoning:

•    1 cup sea salt
•    ¼ cup pepper
•    ½ teaspoon paprika
•    ¼ cup garlic powder

It says guilt-free all over. Treat sweet potatoes the same way you would treat fried potatoes for a lighter, sweet & salty snack that works with yogurt or hummus dips.
Season them with rosemary and sea salt for more tang and freshness.

Line a sheet tray with parchment. In a large bowl, add olive oil and the house seasoning, and mix them evenly. Toss in the slices of sweet potatoes, and coat them evenly. Then, spread the sweet potatoes equally and bake them for 20 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown.

Substitute French-fries with freshly baked sweet potato fries

 
06 Feb 2017

Horoscope Of The Month: Pisces

Trying to analyze the people around us, our relationships with them and ourselves by reading about horoscopes has become second nature. We simply can’t get enough of them. Get to know more about the horoscope of the month, Pisces, to find out if there’s anything “fishy” about someone you know!

A water sign that is known to be ruled by the planet Neptune, Pisces are compassionate, intuitive, gentle, wise and musical. follow their hearts and always attempt to push beyond their limitations to be amazing individuals. Extremely friendly due to how selfless they can be, Pisces are one of the most likeable in the horoscope family amongst people.  


PISCES FRIENDS

They are probably the best friends that could exist due to their compassionate and loyal natures. As water signs, they can always sense if something is wrong, relieving their friends from having to explain why they feel a certain way. They are a great source of motivation and energy, as they view life through rose-colored glasses, fueled by a magical sense of positivity with life.

PISCES CAREER

As creative beings, Pisces always thrive in positions where creative skills are needed. They are loyal to their work, dedicated and reliable. As great problem solvers, they make great vets, social workers, architects and attorneys as well.


PISCES LOVE

A Pisces, due to their honest and loving nature, will manage to bring out the best in you. They have a natural ability to capture your hearts with their loyalty and care. But never mistake their kindness for naivety; Pisces are extremely insightful and intelligent beings. Your Pisces partner is most likely to be honest and express themselves truly, regardless of the circumstances.

Other famous Pisces people:
Albert Einstein, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Adam Levine, George Washington, Drew Barrymore

 
04 Feb 2017

A Different Mother’s Day

Mother's Day is just around the corner and we think it's about time to buy or do something different other than buy chocolate, generic gifts and take her out for dinner. Here is s a list of things you could do on the special day:

Put together an appreciation video

Gather all your family in a WhatsApp group and ask them to send in a short one-minute video telling your Mother why she is so important to you. With some basic editing, compile the videos together and on Mother's Day, share it with her or show it to her first thing in the morning.

Take her out for karaoke
All Mothers were jealous from the likes of Cher and Madonna. Take her out for a nice night of karaoke to show her that you believe in her untapped potential.

Buy her something she actually needs
There's no harm in materialistic gifts as long as they are useful. Disregard the price tag and focus on buying her something that would be valuable to her. It could be as simple as a dress she was always too shy to wear or a unique cutting board.

Personalized Gift
It could be a laser cut rolling pin, a birthstone necklace, an artwork that you feel represents her or even an engraved iPad. Whatever it is, just make sure it isn’t just a store-bought item that doesn’t have her touch.

Pampering Day
She won't go to the spa unless you take her there. Book a rejuvenating massage and treatment for all her aches and sores. Force her to relax and soothe her mind and soul on a day that celebrates her. If she’s not into massages and tropical oils, take her for a nail treatment or a simple mani at a nail boutique.

Have a Series Marathon
Pack up on the popcorn and tissues (if needed) and watch a new series with her by downloading all the episodes and spend hours analyzing characters and relating them to your real-life relatives. Anything from Friends to Gilmore Girls will do!

Social Media crash course
Although this gift may come back to haunt you, your Mother will always appreciate a helping hand in how to be up to date with the coolest slang, the newest shortcuts and the useful apps that only you know how to use. It could be as easy as teaching her how to text with two thumbs instead of one finger. Trust us, she will love it.

Mom for a Week
Decide to switch roles with your Mother. Promise to handle all her chores and duties for a week while she relaxes and focuses on herself instead of the family. Pretty impossible for her to do, but your helping hand will be great use to her, even if she doesn’t admit it.

A Coordinate Bracelet
Get a bracelet engraved with the coordinates of a special place between you and your Mother. It could be the place you were born, your first home or her home town. You could wear one too!

Memory Book

Create a book filled with your Mother’s favorite people. Circulate the book around and have everyone write a small message with a memory or something they’d like to tell her. Add pictures as well!



 
03 Feb 2017

Spring Detox

Now spring is here and it’s time to clear out our wardrobes, lives and most importantly jump start our bodies with a detox.

We absorb all kinds of toxins, waste, preservatives, stimulants through what we eat and the environment around us. Our bodies produce toxins as well (metabolic waste products) that occur from natural processes like digestion and respiration. Don’t worry though, your digestive, endocrine and circulatory systems eliminate these toxins.

Problem is, our bodies are so overwhelmed with the other toxins from processed foods, sugars, caffeine and lack of exercise, making it hard for it to eliminate them all. That’s where detoxes come in to remove the bad and fill us with the good!

There’s no ideal detox. The internet is filled with different variations for different purposes, making their duration last from three days to a full month.

Here are the basic guidelines that most of them have in common:

Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars and saturated fats
These are usually unhealthy and hard to digest and will overwhelm your bodily systems while the detox tries to do the opposite.

Sip filtered water
Whenever you get the chance to, drink water to flush out your toxins and clear your liver. Add some limes, raspberries or lemons to give it an extra fresh feel. Increasing your fluid intake is important since you’re increasing your fiber intake with veggies and fruits.

Sweat sweat sweat
Go to a sauna and let your body cry its sins away. If you have no time, take a hot bath with Epson  salt and sweat out the waste

Exercise for an hour a day
Pilates or some ashtanga yoga for an hour will do. The more you sweat and the more you move, the more active your body will feel and get.

Meditate and Breathe
Clearing your mind is just as important as clearing your body. Taking everything in and processing it helps alleviate your soul and heart from all your daily difficulties. Try breathing deeply by breathing in for several seconds, holding it in, and exhaling it over a course of eight seconds.

Minimize chemical based care products
 Switch to natural alternatives. Use coconut oil as toothpaste or natural oils instead of hair creams.

Find the right balance of healthy food and spread them throughout your day.
Stick to leafy greens, healthy fruits, pressed juices, whole grain foods, protein. Contact your nutritionist to create a mix that works for you and your body type!

Let your body do its job
Stay away from the laxatives and the pills. Your bodily organs can detoxify well enough. A detox is just helping the process happen without replacing their function.

These small steps with a healthy mindset and food program will make a world of a difference. With time, you could begin to incorporate these guidelines in your everyday life, minimizing the toxins you take in and unleashing your body’s full potential. The moment you become aware of the toxins you take in and consciously try to avoid them is when your detox will really show the fruits of your labor.



 
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