Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Good Eat: Beef kabobs with yoghurt marinade and the blessings of a kitchen garden

Well it's almost holiday week-end and being pretty much grilling season I wanted to offer you all a little bit of grilling inspiration. I eat more seafood than I do meat and poultry once in a while I just like to eat some tender homemade brochettes! Lamb is my preferred meat but beef chunks are cheaper and more easily available so I am sharing below something you can cook on a budget and still have a diliiiiciouuus meal!!!
Everyone has their own way for making marinade or grilling etc so here's N'na's way!!!

It's so much fun to flavor dishes with fresh ingredients right there at my fingertips. The fresh herbs I selected here from my kitchen garden were thyme, oregano, rosemary and parsley. Read more about it the following link:

Some of my ingredients from the kitchen cupboard: Ground cumin, cayenne pepper, white vinegar, salt, oil, dried parsley flakes, dried oregano powder, Cajun spice. I prefer using Apple cider vinegar for cooking but since I was out of ACV I just used the white vinegar!

                                                                  Add some  Yogurt.
Mix it all together

Store in a Ziploc bag and shake well and
Let it marinate and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight.

Get your skewers ready, cut what the fruits or veggies you would use,
I used some tomatoes, onion and green pepper,
and make your brochettes
Time for the Grill!!!!

Remember to turn often!
To keep your meat from being dry mix a little bit of oil and crushed bouillon  cubes. I used something from West Africa called " Cube Maggi". Use a brush and brush the kabobs with the mixture.

Voila!!! Delicious brochettes!

It looks good doesn't it? It was delicious as well. We did serve them with rice and potatoes on that day but I enjoyed them just fine with nothing else!

Well have a nice week-end and hope this post gave you some new ideas for the next time you grill. If you haven't done it yet grow a kitchen garden and keep some potted herbs by your kitchen. They will always be useful and add some omp to your dishes!There is nothing like cooking or grilling with the flavor of fresh ingredients especially the ones you can have at your fingertips when you have a kitchen garden!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

The benefits of exercising: Stretching

I remember that as a child stretching had to be done at the beginning of every

dance,Tae kwondo or gymnastic sessions I participated in. 

 I did not continue in those activities but stretching is a huge part of my daily routine because I soon realized that my body does not feel right unless I make time to stretch at least 15 mns a day upon waking up and stretch as often as needed as the day goes by.

You have probably noticed that, a lot of athlete regardless of the sports they play put a great emphasis on stretching before they start a practice, a game, or a competition etc.
No matter the diversity of sports and activity, stretching is a fundamental practice.

Because people who stretch benefit from more flexibility, stretching is often called flexibility training.
You will agree it takes flexibility for all these...


  let's be honest how can we do this unless we have trained our muscles to stretch and be that flexible? It takes training to do this and stretching is practiced with great seriousness to get to this level of flexibility... flexibility training!

You are probably very familiar with the show "Dancing with the stars". Do you realize that it takes professional dancers great flexibility to move as they do? Stretching is the big ingredient to their success that we don't see often. A lot of times we see images and videos of rehearsals, and the amazing performances but we don't see how much emphasis is put in stretching.

 I think  Edgar Degas' art could serve as an hint:

You can tell it takes great flexibility for this: . Yes dancers invest a great amount of time in stretching but if you are not very familiar with dancers I know the following images come more easily to mind ...

 So you might not be an athlete but you might be a big fan of an athletic team, I am sure you have seen your basketball team do something like  this before their games. .

Have you ever asked yourself why stretching is so important? A lot of people do not think much about it and today I wanted to give you some very good reasons to think more about it and to do it more often....
You do not have to be a professional athlete and you don't even have to like exercising to benefit from stretching.

I am a strong believer in stretching regardless of either you are in sports or not.
I truly believe that stretching and walking are the two most important physical activities for our bodies. To me all other form of exercises are complementary. I also see stretching as a great way to get the blood flowing and offer relaxation to my body.

I think our bodies were made to stretch, because we just don't feel right when we don't! I think stretching is natural for us and the more we do it the better we feel.
I mean ask even those creatures  stretching just come naturally for them. Stretching feels so gooood. Before we stretch we feel all tensed and rusty and then as we do it we go like uuuummm...and we feel much better afterward don't we?
 I see my dog Cotton stretches very often and it's amusing to watch how he would stretch himself and keep doing it until he is satisfy. Even he knows how good it feels to stretch!!!
Anyway, back to us humans...

Stretching makes you flexible, allowing your joints the ability to move through a full range of motion.
 Ask any ballet dancers or anyone in Martial Art they would tell you how important stretching is to accomplishing a full range of motion.

Most athletes might agree that the top 2 benefits of stretching are probably
·         Improved performance and decrease risk of injury
·         Reduced muscle soreness

Since stretching improves your flexibility you can better move through a greater range of motion.  Stretching decreases resistance in tissue structure making you less likely to get injured by exceeding tissue extensibility during an activity.

Stretching before and after exercising is always recommended because it reduces muscle soreness.  I certainly appreciate a stretch before and after a cycling class, it's a good thing instructors always make time to guide the students through some stretch.

There is actually about 7 different types of stretching. The one called slow static stretching is the one most people are familiar with. It's a stretch that requires a slow, gradual and controlled elongation of the muscle through the full range of motion. The stretch is held for 15-60 seconds in the furthest comfortable position!
Static stretching is the most common kind of stretching.

Besides those two benefits that stretching could offer athletes or non athletes alike, stretching can benefit you daily by:
·         Improving your posture.
·         Reducing the risk of low back pain because stretching promotes muscular relaxation. Muscular relaxation will reduce the accumulations of toxins, prevent muscle tightening and reduce or relieve fatigue.
A detail to keep in mind is that flexibility from hamstring, hip flexors,
quadriceps and other muscles attached to the pelvic area reduce stress to the lower back.

Please watch the following short video for stretches that benefit your back's health!
You can add to those benefits that stretching will help you to better enjoy any physical activity. After all it's easier to enjoy something when you are not too sore afterward or when you do not injure yourself in the process! It's also great that you can perform very efficiently thanks to a good stretch.

But there's more to stretching that's beneficial regardless of the fact that one is in sport or not. Stretching is great and important because everyone can benefit from the way stretching relaxes both the mind and the body. I think it brings the mind to a heightened sense of well-being.
So as you can see, stretching is truly a key component not only to a successful and efficient fitness program but also to a better life and a better health the natural way.  Stretching comes naturally and without it we just don’t feel and move the best. Even if you do not exercise stretching should be part of your daily routine.

Other benefits of stretching in our daily lives:
Something very important to consider is that Stretching is important when you are traveling, as seating for long hours in a plane or car can provoke blood clotting which has been linked to some premature deaths. So whether you are traveling by plane or by car always make sure to get off your seat at least every 1-2 hours and stretch and move around some.

 The same advice is important for people working at their desks for long hours. The lack of energy flow and the muscle contractions you experience will leave your body tense, trap toxins which in turn will increase the risk for tension, back pain, strained eyes etc..

Stretching plays a big part in your overall health. Stretching provides many important benefits that cannot be achieved by any other exercise or activity. You might not be into sports and you might not even care about exercising but please by all means add stretching to you daily routine. Please