It’s so quick and easy to whip up a tasty little salsa and makes such a refreshing change to steamed veggies or a green salad. Don’t be restricted what I’ve used here – you can use what you’ve got in the fridge, some organic corn kernels would be nice here too. We enjoyed this with salmon but would be delicious with chicken or steak. It is the perfect accompaniment to my chicken schnitzel (recipe here). I had the leftovers with a little bit (1/2 cup) of brown rice and a tin of tuna for lunch the next day – was really yummy!
(serves 2-4 as a side dish)
What you will need:
- 1 Avocado diced
- 1 cucumber peeled and diced
- A handful of button mushrooms diced
- 1/2 red capsicum diced
- 1 green chilli (seeded) finely chopped
- 1 roma tomato or a few cherry tomatoes diced
- 1/4 red onion finely chopped
- About a 1/4 cup of fresh Coriander leaves (cilantro)
For the dressing:
- The juice of 1-2 limes (depending on your taste)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
How to pull it all together:
Shake or whisk all the dressing ingredents together. Combine the chopped up veggies into a bowl. Gently toss the veggies with the dressing and serve!
Here is a wonderful light and healthy salad/side dish. We have had this to accompany a barbecue or alongside a roast chicken instead of the usual roast veggies. It is simple and quick to prepare, tastes delicious and looks so beautiful!
Eggplant, Rocket (Arugula) and Pine Nut Salad with Yoghurt and Tahini Dressing
(serves 4 as a side dish)
What you will need:
- 2 eggplants (aubergines)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Sumac
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 crushed garlic clove (or 1 teaspoon good quality organic minced garlic)
- Sea salt and cracked pepper
- A few handfuls of baby rocket (arugula)
- 2 tablespoons parsley leaves (I use flat leaf parsley)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (toasted)
- 1/2 cup greek yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 3 tablespoons water
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (or more if you prefer)
- 1/2 teaspoon sumac
- salt and pepper
How to pull it together:
Slice the eggplants lengthwise about 1 cm (1/4 inch) thick. (I got about 4-5 per eggplant). Sprinkle liberally with some sea salt and let sit for about 10 minutes. You will see the salt will draw out the juices from the eggplant. Wipe the salt and these juices off with a paper towel.
With a sharp knife score the eggplant diagonally.
Mix together the sumac, olive oil, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Brush over the scored eggplant. Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 30-40 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
In the meantime, whisk or shake together the ingredients for the dressing.
Once the eggplant is cooked, lay the slices out on your serving platter. Top with rocket (arugula) and parsley and pour the dressing over. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve!
Those of you who know Andrew and I know how much we LOVE our training! Currently we both work out about 5-6 times a week with a mixture of cardio (running/walking), bootcamp and weights. We are both members of Step into Life which is an outdoor training programme and we work hard as a team to juggle our training around our kids and other commitments. We know how difficult it can be to fit it in (especially with the kids) but we understand how important our training is and we support each other so that we can both get it done.
When I was talking to Andrew about writing about exercise on The Shrinking Hubby he wanted me to emphasise how much he loves training in a group. Training in a group outdoors is social (we have met some GREAT people!!!), so effective and motivating, the class sizes are smaller than in the big gyms and you get a hearty dose of fresh air (did you know you burn more calories when you train outdoors?? BONUS!).
Weight loss is really about 90 percent nutrition and 10 percent exercise, however there is no underestimating how wonderful regular exercise is for your body and mind. As well as the scientific health benefits of regular exercise , I always find that exercise increases my energy levels, lifts my mood, gives me some release from day to day stress and and tones my body!!! If I am ever stewing over anything, there is nothing like taking myself for a run/walk to work over the issue and clear my head – it’s magic!
When Andrew started his weight loss journey there is NO WAY that I would have believed he would be 7 years later training with me for the Tough Mudder this September (oh yes we are both INSANE!!!!). I used to drag myself out of bed for early morning spin and boxing classes and he would roll over and keep snoring!!! What a shame that now that we have our 3 girls and can’t train together anymore we have to fight with each other for those precious 6am time slots! Training together now is a rare treat!
Here are 5 great tips to help you get started on an exercise plan …
1. Start gently – try walking/swimming and don’t underestimate it for it’s fat burning potential!
Walking is so great for weight loss. Yes you burn more calories when you do a high intensity work out, and the benefits of weights to tone up your body are amazing (muscle burns fat even when you aren’t training!). But when you are walking, you are in a ‘fat burning’ zone, so your body is using its fat stores as energy. Plus walking is so easy to start a training regime with, it’s free, it’s easy to fit into any schedule and it is very effective!
I can tell you that Andrew did not throw himself into a spin class at 150 plus kilos, or start running 10 km daily. He started with long walks and he swam laps at the local pool. He would set himself exercise goals at the beginning of each week – e.g. this week I will go for 3 walks and 2 swims and he had me to hold him accountable! Once he had lost a bit of weight he joined a gym. Initially he felt he wasn’t fit enough to even attempt a spin class but he sucked it up, got on a bike and after the first session he was hooked!!!
2.It is best to walk on an empty stomach so you are burning off fat rather than food! So first thing in the morning (before breakfast) is perfect!
3. If you can walk for at least 45 minutes you will get better results (as after 30 minutes you are in the fat burning zone and your body will be attacking those fat reserves). A brisk walk in the fresh air is such a lovely way to start the day and a great opportunity to get into a good head space.
4. Be committed!!! You know that you will feel amazing for it so don’t even let yourself talk your way out of it! (be aware that our minds can be very persuasive – ignore the negative thoughts – you CAN and WILL do it!!) I still write my regular training sessions in my diary each week. That way I am making a commitment to myself to attend. I have managed to train as soon as each of my babies was 6 weeks old, some mornings I train as early as 5.30 so that Andrew and I can both fit a session in before work. For those of you who have weight to lose, there are NO MORE excuses! The best thing you can do for you, your body and your sanity is to get moving! Trust me – it will be the best change you can make for yourself!
5. FINALLY , don’t be put off by a bit of hard work. I mean, training is not supposed to be EASY!!! Results come when you push yourself!!! I’ll never forget doing a bootcamp one day, it was really tough, I was pushed to my limits and absolutely finished! John, our trainer, said those magic words – ‘Ok we’re nearly done, just run to the end of the field and walk back, and let’s have a stretch!!!’ (Oh how I LOVE those words – let’s have a stretch!!!). I turned to a girl who had just started training with us who was struggling and said ‘THANK GOODNESS that’s over – wasn’t it awful?!’ She looked at me in surprise and told me that she thought I had been loving it and was feeling terrible because she was hating it! Oooooh nooooo, trust me, I hated every minute of that session, but the exhilaration I felt afterwards was worth every minute!!!
So get moving and enjoy those endorphins!!!