Monday, July 21, 2014

Veggie Crisper Stew



Prettiness isn't this stew's job, deliciousness is!


We've all been there before: You look in the fridge and there's not much to eat other than a hunk of old cheese, an empty takeaway container (why?!) and a few veggies still showing signs of life. You have to eat but need something healthy, hearty and nourishing....but be quick because you are seconds from starvation. Never fear! Veggie Crisper Stew is here!

When there's not much kicking around in the fridge,pantry staples can save your tummy from hardcore grumbles. You'll need:

1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock (or water or just a stock cube)
Big tin of tomatoes (makes it soupy-ish, you could easily use a 400g tin)
Mixed chopped veg* (whatever is rolling around at the bottom of the crisper will do). If you are planning ahead and have heaps of veggie, then the more the merrier! I used carrots, capsicum, silverbeet, zucchini and chinese brocolli- about 200g of each
Onion finely chopped
2 Garlic gloves, crushed
2 Chillis, chopped fine
Herbs (dried or fresh)

Place some oil in a heavy based saucepan and fry off your garlic, chilli and onion (all diced finely, I just whack these three in a mini chopper and the work is done for me!). Add a cup of stock, the veg and the tomatoes. Leave to simmer down and stir occasionally. It'll help if the veg is chopped roughly all the same size, any leaves (such as spinach/bok choy) can be left till the end and added at the last 1-2 minutes of cooking. 15-18 minutes and it's done.This dish is best served with poached chicken and .  your carb of choice- rice/sweet potatoes/pasta/quinoa! Vegetarians can sprinkle fetta over the top and/or add a few chickpeas to bump up the protein content.
 
*organic veg is sooooo much better in this recipe but use what's available to you



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Winter Fitness Fashion Essential's



Don't fight it, winter is here! You aren't seriously going to let your butt droop and your fitness dwindle, are you? OF COURSE NOT. Let's rug up and keep those bodies moving, you sexy thing!

Here are 8 of my winter fashion faves. 

Starting with a vital component to a chilly winter's morning, especially for my New Outlook Fitness girls and their early morning sessions, The Hoodie: 

Clockwise from left 









I often struggle to find a decent looking long sleeve top, there are so many daggy ones! Thankfully the following didn't let me down. The thing I also love about these tops is you can easily take them with a pair of black leggings and head out to coffee after your workout.

Clockwise from left:

1. Blue Signal mezzo Long Sleeve, Nike 

2. Swiftly tech Long Sleeve Scoop Lululemon (I'll forgive them for their "Fat girls shouldn't wear our tights" comment!)

3. Love Dolman Crew, Running Bare

4. Paisley Judo Long Sleeve, The Upside


So, what's your favourite? Have you purchased any good buys for winter, share them below!


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Monday, July 7, 2014

Perfect Pasta Bake


Now, to be honest, the last time I ate or made a pasta bake was YEARS ago! Quite shocking really!

Yes, it's gluten filled and can be somewhat stodgy but isn't that the whole reason for pasta bake? I believe so! To be fair, this turned out very delicious and as long as you limit your intake (i.e have appropriate sized slices, then you are fine, grrrrrl).

It's totes easy to prepare too!

Side note: Although I may seem late to the party, I recently purchased a mini blender/chopper thing (just from Woolies, approx $15! And NO! I will not be joining in on the hype of Thermomixing crowd). So my onions and garlic now just get thrown (chopped) into the mini blender and all the chopping/dicing is done in seconds. It's actually such a good little kitchen gadget and it's not bulky nor is it hard to clean.




Perfect Pasta Bake

400g ground beef
300g (ish) pasta shells (I actually didn't go GF with these ones, just normal)
2 tubs of tomato paste (low salt)
2 onions, 1 garlic, 3 green chillis (chopped in awesome mini blender!)
Shake of Italian dried herbs
2 cups of Cheese: pecorino and parmesan (shredded)
Pure Cream to drizzle each layer

Whack your pasta on to cook. A little less than al dente is the goal. It will cook a little more when you ovenify it later.

In a saucepan, place your chopped onion, chilli and garlic to fry with some olive oil. Once the onions become translucent add your beef. Brown slightly then add tomato paste (you can also use passata if you prefer.) I refilled the two tomato paste containers with water just to add a little more volume to the sauce. Stir occasionally and turn down to a simmer. The sauce can be left till the pasta is ready. Essentially is a bolognese!

Drain your pasta and place to one side. Remember, make sure there is bite to your pasta- you definitely don't want it mushy. In a large baking dish (a rectangle pyrex is good) so layering: Meat, pasta, drizzle of cream and cheese then repeat. I think I ended up with 3 layers.

Place in a pre heated oven on 180-200c (depending on your oven) for 45 minutes. A golden top and ozzing/bubblingness is what you are looking for.

I probably don't need to tell you that this is delicious the day after. Serve with a side salad and enjoy!

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

How NOT To Get Fat On Holiday

Getting fat on holiday! Paaaaaaleaseeee, who has time for that? 

I've been to a few different cities in my time and tout myself as a bit of holiday connoisseur. I'm up to 21 countries so far and counting. There's nothing better than packing a bag to go exploring in a new land. Enjoy my tips for getting the best out of your body when your are on holiday.









1. I aim to adjust to the time zone of the location I'm visiting as soon as possible.

2. Excessive alcohol onboard is a no no for me (I know,what a shock!). Aim to drink a lot of water (hopefully you have an aisle seat!) at regular intervals. 200-300ml every 30mins. I'm also not a fan of sleeping tablets (been there once and it's not for me). Sleeping tablets can cause excess fluid retention- I prefer to ride out the long haul flights with small naps and lots and lots of onboard flight entertainment. 

3. I find a few pieces of fruit onboard is also great for a vitamin boost and gives you a bit more fibre to get things moving in the digestion department. Flying can really slow down your digestion and bloating is no ones friend, especially when you've got to slip into a bikini at the other end. 

4. Get up and about at regular intervals also (every 1-2 hrs for a stretch). If you are sleeping try not to stay in the same position for too long. Long haul flights usually have enough room up near the toilets to perform some standing stretches (quads, calves, lower back, upper back and chest). Don't worry if you think people are staring just do it and then go sit back down. If I don't stretch I pay for it later on the ground. Stretching and movement is key!

5. On the ground, get out in the sunlight if it's the right time and aim to have a little exposed sunlight time. Jump in the hotel pool and treat yourself to a massage if possible. Don't forget to book one in your return city (i.e when you get back home). Massage can really help settle jet lag.

6. Go easy on the booze till you feel relived of any jet lag symptoms (tiredness, lethargy, feeling wired). Hydration is everything- guzzle that water!

7. Eat fresh, clean food! The processed food you get on the plane and then in some hotels should be avoided. Salads, grilled meats/chicken/fish and some hearty carbs are all available in EVERY country if you look for them.

8. Don't turn into a lazy potato on holiday- EXERCISE! You don't have to go hardcore but something light everyday means you can indulge in those culinary delights. It's rare you'll find me vegging out on holidays, I like to explore, swim, shop (hello!) and get out there. A sun lounger is great but really what's the point of being cooped up in a hotel- the world is at your feet!  

9. Where you can book apartments rather than hotels. These can be a real money saver (airbnb.com has great options) and it means you can prepare some meals in your apartment. Shop for fresh, local and in season produce and you'll feel like a local. 

10. Live in the moment & stress less! You are on a freaking holiday!

5 Simple Recipes To Boost Your Family’s Immune System: Brenda Janschek



Brenda Janschek, supporting and guiding busy mums to raise happy, healthy families. Brenda is a certified health coach and my guest blogger! I cant wait for her to share some immunity building recipes with you- Just in time for Winter!



The suggestion of whipping up an immunity-boosting delight can sound difficult enough to some to send them running for the nearest overpriced Acai shake. But it's really not that difficult! 

Here are five examples of how easy it can be to give your taste buds and your body equal servings of pleasure.

Dips

Garlic packs its best infection-fighting punch in its raw state, and that’s why dips like hummus, baba ganoush, pesto and tzatziki are such awesome immune system-boosting foods.
Even better, studies show that kids are more likely to eat their vegetables when accompanied by a dip to dip into! And we all know that the vegetables themselves contain loads of vitamins and minerals as well.
Pesto
Throw some immune boosting greens like basil, parsley, rocket, baby spinach, coriander (or a mixture of them) into a food processor with some pepitas (full of zinc). Add parmesan, olive oil (anti oxidant), lemon (Vitamin C) and a clove or two of raw garlic, then blend and serve.
Tip - You can also add garlic raw to a salad dressing





Smoothies

There are so many ways you can add immune-boosters to your smoothies.

In winter I like to use a base of coconut milk (anti viral, anti bacterial) or almond milk which contains good oils because winter has a habit of drying out our skin and hair, and even our lungs, which can lead to a dry cough.

The oils in these milks keeps our immune system strong and our skin lubricated. In the summertime I gravitate toward coconut water because it’s lighter and more hydrating. Or, you can use a combination of the milk and coconut water for a medium texture.

Make sure you rotate the fruits you use to reflect the goodness and freshness of seasonality - pears and apples are seasonal in winter, while berries are naturally abundant in summer. I make lots of berry smoothies (anti-oxidants) and add some greens such as spinach or herbs for their anti-oxidants.

Immunity Smoothie

Mix some fruit, coconut milk or coconut water, baby spinach or mint, chia seeds, ginger, gelatin, cashews and dates into a blender for a minute and serve. In the summer you can add some ice.

Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa is high in immune-boosting properties such as protein and zinc, iron and fibre and it’s gluten-free. Buy your quinoa from Australia as there’s a sustainability problem in Peru.

Quinoa coconut porridge

 1cup quinoa well rinsed, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk, 2 tsp chia seeds, 1 teaspoon vanilla powder, 1 tsp coconut sugar, fresh seasonal fruit to serve. Place quinoa, cinnamon, vanilla and water and coconut milk in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally bring it to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for approx 15 mins until quinoa is cooked. Add chia seeds and stir well. Add more liquid (milk or water) until desired consistency has been reached. Serve with fruit, nuts and seeds and enjoy.

Bone Broth

One of the myriad benefits of bone broth is that it inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses, and fights inflammation.

Simmering the bones in water for long periods breaks them down and pulls out all the nutrients.

Chicken Stock

Pop approx 1kg bones (from a healthy animal), along with a few chicken feet into your slower cooker. Add some roughly chopped carrots, celery, onion and some herb stalks, a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (to extract the minerals from the bones)  and some sea salt and pepper into your slow cooker. Cook it for 12 hrs on low and it will be ready in the morning. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool, store in fridge or freezer. Use in soup, stews, sauces, to make rice or quinoa, can be replaced whenever water is called for in a recipe.


Tea




At the first sign of a cold my kids ask don’t ask for medicine, but clamour for their special ‘ginger tea’!

It’s not just ginger, though, but a mixture of ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, lemon, raw honey and coconut oil.

Each of the ingredients have natural medicinal qualities which combine to create a soothing tea that can relieve sore throats, colds and flus, and boost the immune system.

Ginger Tea

Fill a small saucepan on the stove with water, add grated ginger and turmeric and simmer for 5 mins. Strain into mugs and add raw honey, coconut oil, cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon. Serve 2-3 times a day at first sight of symptoms.


Other ingredients to boost your immune system

-        Air
-        Water
-        Exercise
-        Vitamin D
-        Sleep
-        Whole foods/ real foods (as opposed to processed, packaged and refined foods)
-        Dirt (a healthy exposure to germs helps our kids build their immune system)

Connect with Brenda here:




Monday, June 30, 2014

#50days200meals 50DaysNoSugar Challenge





To celebrate another year of the 50DaysNoSugar Challenge I'll be sharing 200 yummy approved meals (4 per day!) over 50 Days and I invite you to join on too! Just use the hashtag #50days200meals (Twitter/Instagram) and share your meals each day from the 1st July 2014. It's a great way to keep yourself accountable to living low sugar, healthy lifestyle. If you need inspiration for meals or recipes, the ebook is available at www.50daysnosugar.com.au and the extension of the program with more recipes is here
  Comment below if you are in for the challenge! #50daysnosugar and don't forget to invite your friends along too! 



Friday, June 20, 2014

Daniel Churchill: The Healthy Cook


Daniel Churchill was a contestant in Masterchef 2013 (series 5), he has two books Dudefood and The Healthy Cook and is a passionate health advocate. Learn more in my quickie interview with Dan. 




Nat: You're a pretty buff dude, what's your food philosophy? 

Dan: Ha! Buff? Definitely wrong guy. My food philosophy is pretty simple. Number one: “Everything must taste delicious”. I never sacrifice making something healthier by losing flavour. Realistically I eat with plenty of colour on my plate and I love my meat so that is not hard to include. Although I am not gluten intolerant I do avoid it and probably stick to about 80% Paleo. I call it Paleo foundations where I take what they used and then incorporate every now and then brown rice and lentils etc. I also know the importance your hormones play in your health so when I eat you have to keep them satisfied too and this means cheating. So every now and then I have a bit more of a decadent meal. I do love pasta.

Nat:  Do you think the food culture in astral is changing? Are we becoming food snobs?

Dan: I do believe the food culture is changing and definitely for the better, but I don’t think we are becoming food snobs. I think as more relevant studies come out relating to the present and the holistic approach everyone is becoming more interested in what they can do with one vegetable and how good it is for your body. This revolution of food and health is amazing and its great that more and more people want to know what they are putting into their body’s. After all over the past 60 years we were drilled in that fats were bad for us and carbs were good, the fact that people are beginning to realise that this was completely incorrect the better it will be for our sustainability. There is nothing wrong with knowing what you are eating and what it is doing to your body.


Nat: What are your favourite sydney hot spots to eat or buy produce?

Dan: You can’t go pass the fish markets for seafood, I absolutely love that place, whether it be sashimi or whole fish it is absolutely awesome. There are no doubt plenty of whole food style cafes are popping up in and around Bondi so thats always an awesome place, but Manly is becoming its own food hub and continues to sprout cafes and casual food restaurants every 6 months. It's exciting. I can’t beat the local butcher for my grass fed meat. He knows exactly the way I like my cuts and sometimes wants some advice on his next roast (he probably already knows but is just testing me).


Nat:  What kind of workout schedule do you adhere to?

Dan: I definitely incorporate absolutely everything. I just finished a month of Crossfit and will move back into resistance whilst still incorporating big movements. I am actually in the US right now and they have  lot of classes at the gym, so I have been hitting yoga and this thing called Barre. Now it may be a ballet style class but it is friggin' hard! As I said I do everything. I love stand up paddle boarding, boxing and bar work. All in all I have 6 days on, 1 day off and those 6 days will vary between high and low days.

Nat: Can you give my girls some kitchen tips? Let's have your top three

Dan: To make a really quick sauce all you do as add chicken/veg/beef stock to say a dip and let it reduce down. Always simple and makes your dish taste that much better (my favourite is a sun dried tomato basil dip). To get a perfectly cooked fish with crispy skin, hot pan for about 2-3 minutes until it turns white up the sides, then turn the fish over and place the pan in the oven (at 180 degrees C.) for a further 2-3 minutes (time will vary with the size of the fillet, but test by inserting a knife into the centre and place it to your bottom lip and if it is cold, keep going, warm to hot that is perfect. Third tip try to cook with Pure olive oil or Macadamia oil as it has a high burning point and will prevent you from burning your food. Leave the extra virgin to your salads

Nat:  For those girls that usually come home to a piece of peanut butter toast instead of a good home cooked meal, what's your one of your fail safe recipes for them to try?

Dan: Seriously you can't beat a rocket, walnut and grape tomato salad. Mix it with olive oil pinch of salt and lemon juice and then this is where you can vary it. Either cook a fish fillet or chicken. For your meat, if you want something a bit more filling roast some sweet potato cubes and beetroot and add them. If you want something with a  bit of a creamy texture add feta and swap the lemon juice for balsamic vinegar. Either way you have a dish that honestly takes 9 minutes to prepare!