18. Leek, Onion & Potato Soup

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Ingredients:

1 red onion

1 white onion

2 Leeks

As many potatoes as you like

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

Chicken stock cubes

Method:

Chop onions and Leeks and sweat them in a saucepan with the oil, then season with salt and pepper.

Make up the chicken stock with boiling water and add it to the saucepan.

Dice the potatoes and add them to the mix. Boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 15mins.

 

Garnish with parsley and serve with spelt bread and salad.

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Easy to make: 10/10 (Jonathan made it!)

Taste: 11/10 Best eaten after a 20k walk/run! Had mine with Honey & Spelt Bread that Ramona got in Supervalu.

Toddler Friendly: 7/10 Depends on your toddler…add cheese on top it helps!

 

Image courtesy of http://www.abakershouse.com

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17. Rachael’s (got) Protein Balls

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Had a great day today, highlight was teaching office yoga in a room with stunning 5th floor views of Dublin and one wall papered as above.

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Enjoyed a sugar-free Latte after teaching office yoga in town and realised I don’t need sugar in coffee anymore, though probably will go back to it after Lent is over, only 4 days to go!

And the biggest highlight, apart from my Mam and Aunt visiting and babysitting, was that my chickenpox-covered kid returned home from the UK with his Dad and was full of hugs, aww 😉

As for the Protein Balls….

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These were interesting. Felt like a Lent snack, i.e. completely sugarless and wishing for my Easter Egg to hurry up and arrive already!

Jonathan said they need another ingredient, either beetroot or courgette, something to make them a bit more-ish.

Must confess, I did some trickery on the ingredients, which may have caused the dry, tasteless result. In keeping with Lent, I didn’t want to use chocolate chips, so used 1/2 cup of bournville cocoa powder instead. So yet again I failed to follow the guidelines… and surprise surprise got a failed result!

I managed to fully eat one by heating it up in the microwave, while smothered in maple syrup.

When Lent is over, I’ll be trying this recipe with dark chocolate chips included, it looks good: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-protein-balls/

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Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (165 grams) natural peanut butter
1/4 cup (80 grams) honey (agave would be amazing too!)
1 teaspoon baking powder*
a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
1/2 cup (90 grams) chocolate chips

* If you need grain-free baking powder, you can use 1 part cream of tartar + 1 part baking soda + 2 parts arrowroot.

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350°F / 175°C.

Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.

Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.

With wet hands, form into 1 1/2″ balls. Place onto a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t do much rising. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Yields about fourteen 1 1/2″ cookie dough balls.

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Easy to make: 10/10

Taste: 2/10

Toddler friendly: Haven’t tried yet, but highly doubt it!

Enjoy….

 

 

 

 

“What is Fish good for?!”

…said a client in class today.

Indeed what is Matsyasana good for and why include it in your Yoga practice?

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Fish Pose, supported variation:

Rest your head on a block in its highest position and your mid-upper back on a block at its middle height. Bend knees, and place the soles of your feet on the floor. Relax your shoulder blades, and breathe for 1-3 minutes.

Pronounced “mot-see-AHS-anna”, Matsyasana* is good for relieving stress, as a back bend it is uplifiting and brings energy to the body.

BENEFITS of practising this pose include:

  • In a traditional text Matsyasana is listed as the “destroyer of all diseases.”
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles (intercostals) between the ribs
  • Stretches and stimulates the muscles of the belly and front of the neck
  • Stretches and stimulates the organs of the belly and throat
  • Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck
  • Improves posture
ImageMatsyasana is good for relieving:

HOW TO DO IT:

 Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Inhale, lift your pelvis slightly off the floor, and slide your hands, palms down, below your buttocks. Then rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands, and keep them on your hands as you perform this pose. Hug your forearms and elbows in to the sides of your torso.

 Inhale and press your forearms and elbows firmly against the floor. Next press your scapulas into your back and, with an inhale, lift your upper torso and head away from the floor. Then release your head back onto the floor. Depending on how high you arch your back and lift your chest, either the back of your head or its crown will rest on the floor. There should be a minimal amount of weight on your head to avoid crunching your neck.

 You can keep your knees bent or straighten your legs out onto the floor. If you do the latter, keep your thighs active, and press out through the pads of the feet.

 Stay for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing smoothly. With an exhalation lift the head slightly and then slide it out on the floor, lowering your torso at the same time. Draw your knees up to your chest and squeeze, rock and roll to release out your lower back.

ANATOMICAL FOCUS:

Tummy, chest, spine, shoulders and neck.

 

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS

Om Shanti Peace, Namaste.

 

* Images and info courtesy of http://www.yogajournal.com