Cranberry & Mandarin Wholemeal “Muppins”

28 Mar

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My son calls these “muppins”. So muppins they are.

And they’re gooooood. Especially if you bake them with fruit from your own tree.

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If you can’t lay your hands on mandarins, oranges also work fine.

This recipe makes 8-10 muffins.

Ingredients:

4.7 dl (2.5 cups) wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1.5 dl (2/3 cups) fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons maple syrup
4 tbsp honey
4 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil
1.5 dl (2/3 cups) mandarins – peeled, pitted and chopped
1.7 dl (4/4 cups) cranberries – thawed, if frozen

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (or 350ºF).

2. Mix the flour and baking power in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the chopped mandarin, olive oil, honey, syrup and orange juice.

4. Pour in the wet ingredients and cranberries and mix until smooth.

6. Spoon mixture into muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes.

Yum!

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When Motherhood Hurts: Feldenkrais, Anyone?

11 Mar
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© PitiKukkua.com

Hands up. How many of you’ve had physical problems after pregnancy?

Not everybody bounces back after having a baby, and that was definitely the case for me. 

Pregnancy consequences

After a tricky nine months, I was over the moon to give birth to a healthy baby boy. But the unwelcome maternity “side effects” were really taxing – severe anemia, painful hips and an umbilical hernia.

For over a year after giving birth, I felt about 90 years old.

Where doesn’t it hurt?

Since I became a mum, I’ve met many other women with maternity-related problems: carpal tunnel syndrome, backaches, painful feet, weakened stomach muscles and a variety of pelvic problems. 

But it can be really hard to find the time (or work up the energy) to sort out these issues, and I found physiotherapy slow and expensive.

So what options are out there?

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© PitiKukkua.com

Felden-what?

Some time after I’d finally had the repair surgery on my hernia, I met Stella. We bumped into each other at a business-networking event and she told me about a method she teaches, called Feldenkrais. I’d never heard of it before, so Stella invited me to try out a class.

My first experience with Feldenkreiss

During my first Feldenkrais lesson, Stella talked us through one movement, first using the right leg and then, towards the latter part of the 60-minute class, the left one.

The instruction was gentle, and being used to aerobics and spinning classes, I found it suspiciously slow – until we stood up at the end. I was gobsmacked to find that during one class, my alignment and posture had become noticeably more natural and easy, and my feet felt more rooted to the ground.

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© PitiKukkua.com

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© PitiKukkua.com

So what exactly is Feldenkrais?

Feldenkrais was invented by a Ukrainian engineer and physicist called Moshe Feldenkrais. His method is perhaps best described as a way of re-educating the body. There are two different ways to do this, either in a group class, or during one-to-one sessions.

The point of Feldenkrais is to teach people how to move “more efficiently”. Through guided movements, we slowly become aware of subconscious tensions or ways in which we hold back or restrain our bodies or limbs. This in turn re-trains the nervous system and leads to better ways of coordinating our muscles during everyday tasks and movements like picking up a child, unscrewing a light bulb or driving the car – or during sports and fitness training.

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© PitiKukkua.com

What about relaxation and exercise?

Relaxation can be a byproduct of Feldenkrais, and the method  combines perfectly with any other physical activity. But Stella reiterates that the principle of Feldenkrais is “efficient movement”.

When we move “inefficiently”, our muscles are not coordinating well and our bodies become physically stressed. Therefore the main purpose of Feldenkrais is not to exercise or relax us, but to find new ways to move. This in turn changes old tension patterns and relieves pain, which can be relaxing and help when practicing sport.

Having said all this, for me, the Feldenkreis class, apart from having an immediate and obvious effect on my posture, was a deeply relaxing experience.

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© PitiKukkua.com

Who can benefit?

Feldenkrais is a method that anybody can use to his or her advantage, and it also works really well alongside any kind of sport of fitness activity.

In fact, many musicians, golfers and other expert professionals use Feldekrais to help them with their work.

New mothers can also gain much from the method, before, during and after pregnancy – just think about making labour, breastfeeding and lifting a child that much easier and efficient, and you’ll quickly see the point.

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© PitiKukkua.com

About Stella

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© PitiKukkua.com

Stella Marcos is a qualified Feldenkrais practitioner.

She first studied the method for four years, and now has more than ten years of experience teaching.

Because Stella comes from a dance background, and has experienced a health issue herself recently, she understands Feldenkrais not only as an instructor, but as someone who benefits from the method personally and professionally.

When I asked Stella what she might tell people who are new to the method, she gave me a quote by Moshe Feldenkrais, “…make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant.”

Want to know more?

You can find out more about Feldenkrais classes in Fuengirola in southern Spain, by visiting the Centro Menadel website or Facebook page. Stella Marcos is the person in charge of body techniques, Feldenkrais and Pilates, and gives classes both in English and in Spanish.

For more information about the Feldenkrais method in Europe, visit the EU Accreditation Board website EuroTAB. In the UK, you’ll find information on the Feldenkrais Guild’s UK site and elsewhere in the world, on Feldenkrais.com.

 

Wholemeal Banana Bread

27 Feb

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I’m celebrating my new oven!

And what better than easy (and reasonably healthy) banana bread?

Ingredients:

2 eggs
130 g butter, melted
2.4 dl brown sugar
4.7 dl self-raising wholemeal flour
3 bananas, ripe
1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions: Continue reading

9 Unacceptable Toddler Behaviours – and Why You Should Be Joining In

4 Feb

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It’s a cliche, yet true. Our kids have much to teach us. This blog post is all about the questionable social behaviours my son engages in on a daily basis – and how we adults could benefit from adopting a few of them.

Honesty and openness

My toddler knows how to expresses every emotion.

When he sees a flower, a puddle or a dog doo, he gasps in awe and squats down to look at it. When he doesn’t like something, he’ll smash it with his fist.

This kind of honesty is enviable.

Below, I have listed some of the ways Continue reading

My Scandinavian Style Winter Fish Soup

19 Jan

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This recipe is my own version of a classic Scandinavian fish soup that my mother used to make.

Hearty yet light, and packed full of nutrients, it’s perfect for a winter lunch.

I’ve used cod, sweet potato and broccoli this time. Any other white fish or salmon work well too, and you can also throw in a few prawns or replace the broccoli with other seasonal vegetables.

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

1 litre water
generous pinch of ground sea salt
4 white peppers Continue reading

Refuse to be Homogenized—Beauty, Bullying and Media “Mean Girls”

10 Jan

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Yes, Kristen will never be a toothpick. 140 pounds in this picture and 5' 3" (technically overweight)

140 pounds (at 5’3″) in this picture and an “old” 35.

Last week I wrote two posts Brave New Bullying: Goodreads Gangs, Amazon Attacks—What Are Writers to Do? and Are Some Humans Born to Bully? Born to Be Victims? Can It Be Changed?. The first post was my own story of enduring hoards of Mean Girls and bullies in school (I switched schools 18 times).

Many people in the comments seemed perplexed as to WHY bullies acted the way they did and how to handle them. Thus, the second post offered even more tips and my Armchair Neuroscientist explanation as to what FEEDS bullies what they CRAVE (and tips to shut bullies down).

A Culture of Control

Since these two posts, I’ve received hundreds of comments and loads of messages and links shared on Facebook. This prompted me to speak a bit more on this topic. My opinion? I…

View original 1,763 more words

Christmas is a Rocky Old Road, Baby!

12 Dec

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This recipe isn’t mine, I stole it from the BBC.

But these Rocky Road crunch bars are SO TASTY and SO EASY to make that I’m plagiarising them without shame.

Optional lo-sugar ingredients are included below, and you can even make this recipe sugar-free.

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Ingredients:

300 g dark chocolate (or sugar-free dark chocolate )
125 g butter
3 tbsp golden syrup (or diabetic maple syrup)
200 g rich tea biscuits (or sugar-free ones)
100 g marshmallows (or substitute with your favourite glaced fruits and/or nuts)

Instructions:

1. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a small saucepan on very low heat. Add the butter and syrup. Continue reading

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