Wednesday, 12th September-Recipe

Butternut squash soup

You just can’t go wrong with soup.  Whilst it seems intimidating to make, it couldn’t be more simple to throw together.  Even better, you can make a large amounts and freeze or store in the fridge for a few days, ensuring that you have a nutritious, low fat lunch choice close to hand.  Take it to work with you in a hot flask or freeze for an easy Sunday night supper.

Soup is very satisfying whilst being low in fat, provided that you don’t add too much high fat dairy to it.  

Butternut squash soup is a great recipe and what better time to make it than right now in Autumn!

This recipe is considered vegan and gluten free, add a slice or good quality bread to it for a great meal after a workout.

This soup is based on a Dreena Burton recipe.  Probably one of the greatest vegan home cooks around.

*Top Tip – Slowly building up your spice rack is a wonderful investment if you are serious about home cooking.  Whilst I have listed a lot of spices here, you can omit many of them and just add a tablespoon or two of mild/medium or hot curry powder and it will still turn out great.  Always experiment with your own flavour combinations, there are not hard or fast rules with home cooking!  Always taste as you go along to ensure you are happy with the flavours.

Serves 4 – 5

1-2 tablespoon water

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks

1 white onion, sliced

2 stalks of celery, sliced

Pinch of pure sea salt (optional)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds 

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 mug of red lentils, rinsed

2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

4 mugs of water

Lemon/lime wedges for serving

  1. Heat the water in a large stockpot over a medium/medium high heat.  Add the chopped onion, celery, sea salt, cumin seeds, ground cumin, cinnamon, allspice and pepper.  Stir, cover and cook for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding extra water if needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the butternut squash, lentils, garlic and 4 mugs of water.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, until the lentils have cooked through and are softened.
  3. Using a hand held blender or a normal blender/food processor, puree the soup until completely smooth.  Add extra water if you find the consistency too thick for your liking.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon or lime.  Enjoy!

Nicola.

Wednesday, 12th September

Cozying up for Autumn

Hello to everyone, brand new and old regulars at the gym. I hope everyone is well and feeling good heading towards Autumn. I’ve not written a nutrition email for a while as I’ve been busily experimenting with my own eating habits and trying out recipes that are both nutritious and great for energy whilst maintaining satisfaction in the taste department.

Autumn is a great time of year as nature naturally sheds the carnival of colours from summer and the process of quieting down begins in preparation for the winter months.

This is the same for us. Autumn and Winter are naturally a time for us to begin looking within and start the process of quieten down for Winter.

The body will naturally begin to crave lovely soothing and warm foods at this time of year. Soups, stews, casseroles are the order of the day!

Delicious warm and inviting hot drinks such as homemade hot cocoa ease us into the colder months and can be made without any additional additives or preservatives.

These types of meals are naturally high in vegetables and are bursting with nutrients and vitamins as it’s very easy to get hold of good quality seasonal produce from the local area.

So look within yourself. Are there times during the day when you feel like you need to slow down and be present? Take the time this week to sit down and saviour a warm bowl of homemade soup and watch the beautiful changes of Autumn unfold in front of your very eyes.

Take inspiration from the following recipe which showcases the type of flavours from this season’s bounty.

Enjoy the rest of the day,

Nicola.

Monday, 10th September

horoughly enjoyed everyone’s company today, morning and evening sessions. The new programme is great to teach too, but it helps heck of a lot with such a great attitude coming from all of you.

Thanks for your feedback, thanks for your honesty and thanks for your blood, sweat and tears.

Together, we all help get our minds right and a state of mind where we have endless opportunities in our lives.

By sticking with us, and the tough programmes, you have proved to us and to yourself that if you can stick this out, then you can use this toughness in the rest of your life too.

Do me a favour and chase down opportunities, chase down the things that make you truly happy and don’t stop until you get them. New horizons await, new situations are waiting for you to show your talents, and you have proved you have the grit and determination to succeed in anything you put your mind to.

Take full responsibility for your decisions, actions and who you let into your life.

I have seen many people get to the top in a lot of fields in life and the ONLY major constant in that rise is that they NEVER gave up no matter how many times they got kicked down.

Dust off your knock backs and get back up there to show everyone what you have to offer, and keep chasing and hustling until you reach your own personal summit, whatever that may be.