Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Mean Green Cucumber

It is time to turn my attention to getting my body back into better shape. Is this possible she asks herself, taking into account age and current state of the body?
I have read that it is never too late to improve strength and reduce BMI, but I need to take everything into consideration including, motivation, courage and limitations due to injuries sustained dancing and playing sport in earlier years.
My weekly exercise program is 1.5 hrs of Pilates, 30 minutes Aerobic Dance Class and 1 or 2 Weight Classes per week and I am trying to walk on days when I am not at the gym. I'm willing to try a personal training session every month to keep me on track.  I have allowed myself 12 months to achieve this. If you hear the grunts and the groans along the way stay with me, it's only my way of attracting attention!!

Continuing with two fasts per week, (that is only consuming up to 500 calories on two days per week) I am eating normally on the other 5 days. Dropping back alcoholic drinks to weekends only and special occasions and reviewing food portion sizes, I can still eat fantastic food.  I will NOT stop eating the food I love, but I will be re-testing recipes to find healthier options and hoping eating smaller portions will do the trick. Cream and chocolate will appear less, but will still be included because there is a definite place for both in my life.

One of my friends has thrown me a cucumber challenge this week. It seems she has a trillion growing in her garden and needs help to use them in an interesting and yummy way. I really like cucumbers, hot day, cold, crunchy mouth watering cucumbers and so low calorie. The first few eaten straight from the fridge would be great but then I suppose the novelty would wear off. So I am posting a few recipes for you all to try. I hope you like them. The bonus is they are all healthy and low in calories, so no excuses!

Creamy Cucumber and Avocado Soup

I am starting with this one because you can serve it warm or cold, depending on your weather conditions. So if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and a cold soup doesn't appeal, try it warm!
I must admit this is one of my favourite recipes because it is so creamy and has a little zing to it. Don't shrug it off because it is made from cucumbers, you may be very, very surprised.


4 Cups peeled, deseeded cucumbers
2 Cloves garlic
1 Small onion diced finely
1 tbls Olive Oil
1 Ripe avocado peeled and diced
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper 
1 tbls Lemon juice
Few sprigs mint chopped
11/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup Plain yoghurt
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped

Place oil in a large frypan with garlic and cook until soft but not brown, 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook for a few seconds before you add cucumber (save a few fine rounds for garnishing), stock, cayenne pepper, mint. Cook on low heat until cucumber is soft, this takes about 10 - 1 minutes. Parsley and avocado should be added now with a small pinch salt.
Using a stick blender, a blender or a food processor, puree until you are happy with the consistency.
If you are going to eat this immediately add the yoghurt and parsley and stir this in. If you are eating it cold then cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

If you want to save this and reheat it later in the day, don't add the yoghurt now but wait until you have reheated it and then stir in the yoghurt just before serving. To serve, garnish with a round of cucumber and a mint leaf. Grab a bagel, slice it into 4 rounds and lightly toast. If you have 1 slice with a small bowl of soup it is approx 219 calories. Brilliant!


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