Monday, 31 October 2011

Pumpkin & goat's cheese risotto

Total Time: 55 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 1 large leek (white part only), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g pumpkin, peeled, diced into 1cm pieces
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbs chopped thyme leaves
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 900ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 250g arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup (60g) frozen peas
  • 100g soft goat's cheese, crumbled
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds and Parmesan 

  1. Melt butter in a deep frypan over low heat. Cook leek for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add garlic, pumpkin, half the zest and half the thyme, then stir to coat. Add wine, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until pumpkin is almost cooked.
  2. Meanwhile, bring stock to the boil in a pan. Reduce heat to very low and simmer.
  3. Add the rice to pumpkin mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes to coat the grains. Add stock 1 ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue for 12 minutes, stirring constantly, until stock is absorbed and rice is cooked but firm to the bite. Season to taste. Stir in peas and half the cheese.
  4. Serve topped with the remaining zest, thyme, cheese and pumpkin seeds. Plus a little bit parmesan cheese.
  • We used roasted pumpkin for this recipe, and gorgonzola in place of the goat's cheese. While you make the risotto, toss the pumpkin and 4 unpeeled garlic cloves in a little olive oil and roast for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 180°C. Add the roasted pumpkin and peeled garlic cloves to the risotto with the peas and cheese.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Halloween and yoga

You don' t have a idea for Halloween costume yet?  Do you want to try something different this year? Why not yoga poses :)

Try on a yoga Halloween costume and see how it makes you look and feel. You don't need cosmetics, a mask, or a wig. A simple relaxed attitude and a few minutes of your time is all that it takes. 

This Halloween put on a costume that will leave you feeling fitter and more flexible than you have in years. There are hundreds of yoga costumes to choose from so disguise yourself as a Bengal tiger, C
obra, Eagle, Tree, Rabbit, Camel, Tortoise,  

You may even find that if you give these yoga costumes a try that you just might want to stay in disguise. Treat yourself to a new lifestyle and try on a yoga Halloween costume this year.

And if you don' t want a costume - be a savasana or half moon or any other great pose ;)

Friday, 21 October 2011

Cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns
Makes about 16 large buns

450 g all-purpose flour (about 750 ml or 3 cups)
85 g caster sugar (100 ml)
1.5 tsp ground cardamom pods
0.5 tsp salt
1 packet of fast-action dried yeast (about 11 g)
250 ml lukewarm milk (1 cup)
1 egg (divided)
75 g butter, softened

50 g butter, softened
4 Tbsp caster sugar

pearl sugar (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, mix most of the flour, sugar, cardamom, salt and yeast. Stir in the milk and about half of the egg (leave some for brushing the buns before baking). Knead in the softened butter and the rest of the flour, if necessary. Knead until you've got a soft and pliable dough that releases from the sides of the bowl. Cover with clingfilm or a clean towel and leave to prove for about 45-60 minutes, until doubled in size. (The place for proving should be warm and draught-free). 
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured table, knead gently couple of times. Roll into a reclangle sized 30x60 cm. Spread soft butter over the dough, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up tightly, starting from the long side, leaving the "seam" under the roll.

Now use a sharp knife to cut into buns, following the scheme here. The buns should be about 2 cm wide on the narrow end and 5 cm on the wide end. 

Transfer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, placing them upright. Using your thumbs or a large pencil, press a dent into the middle of each bun, just like this:

Cover with a kitchen towel and leave to raise for another 30 minutes in a warm place. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 225 C/450 F. 

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until the buns and golden brown.

Take the baking sheet out of the oven, and cover the buns with a kitchen towel and let them cool (a little) - this way they remain nice and soft. 

Awkward Pose - Utkatasana

This strength posture depends on the precise alignment of the feet to deliver the benefits. While in posture, the legs and feet are realigned helping to decrease back-pain. Essentially, the pose works almost like an orthotic. The muscles of the upper body are also profoundly strengthened by the back-bending and positioning of the arms helping with toning.

Awkward pose – waking up those legs!

Part I

There are three parts to Awkward pose. The first part works the thighs by holding a deep squat and strengthens the lower back by arching the upper spine backwards.

Try to arch the upper spine and shoulders back like you’re trying to straighten it against a wall, but keep the knees bent, thighs parallel to the floor. Make sure the toes, heels, knees and hands stay six inches apart and keep the shoulders down and away from the ears.

Part II

The second part is about balance, so breath and focus is important. We stand high on the tippiest of tippy toes, and sit down half way, trying to get the thighs parallel to the floor. When you think you’re about to fall, lift your lower belly in and up, press into the big and second toes to lift the heels higher… then engage your abs again to lift up and out of the hips.

Try not to lean forward and stick the bottom back, we want a straight spine with knees, feet and hands six inches apart.

Part III

The third part is about balance and strength. We rise up on the toes just a little, then squeeze the knees and inner thighs together.
The knees bend to lower down to a slooooow count of ten, coming down so low that the hips prop just above the heels. The spine stays straight by engaging the abs, keeping a strong focus, and keeping the arms active.

Abdominal Muscles
Tones muscles of the legs



Helps to realign the legs to prevent lower-back pain
Tones the arms, getting rid fat deposits from under the arms
Helps to align the meniscus in the knee
Reduces flat feet, bunions and bowed legs
Helps with lumbago
Relieves menstrual cramps
Relieves sciatica
Reduces fat under buttocks
Good for arthritic conditions in knees and hips
Relieves joint pain
Helps to release anger and frustration
Helps with chronically cold feet

Awkward from Sara Curry on Vimeo.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Why Professional Athletes, Show Business Stars and Politicians Choose Bikram Yoga?

Many acclaimed sportsmen, actors, musicians and other strong-minded and successful people, politicians among them, have included Bikram yoga in their training program. The major advantage of this yoga is that everyone can practice it regardless of age, gender and fitness level.

Bikram yoga is an integral part of the trainings of many NHL hockey players, USA NFL soccer players, professional tennis players and athletes. Regular Bikram yoga exercises improve their professional performance, help to heal sports injuries faster and grant numerous psychological health benefits. „Bikram yoga helps students cultivate faith in one self, develops self-control and determination, improves concentration & patience and it shows in their professional performance,” explains the developer of Bikram yoga – Bikram Choudhury.

One of the first professional sportsmen among those who started practicing Bikram yoga and acknowledged its positive impact is the legendary NBA basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Even though he is more than 50 years old now and retired from his professional career, he still continues to practice yoga every day. His almost 80 year old father has witnessed impressive health improvements from practicing Bikram yoga as well.

Bikram yoga is practiced by tennis players Andy Murray, Serena Williams and John Patrick McEnroe, one of the best defenders in the NBA, former San Antonio „Spurs” star Bruce Bowen and many others.

Bikram has taught yoga to the USA presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. „President Nixon was my first student in the USA,” reveals Bikram Choudhury. The next were the undisputed king of Rock 'n' Roll, - Elvis Presley, the lead guitarist of "The Beatles" George Harrison, pop music legend Michael Jackson, basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and American football star Dan Marino.

Bikram yoga raises hope in people. „When everything goes wrong in life, people give up. You don’t have to give up,” says Bikram Choudhury. Through the years, he has conducted yoga classes for hundreds of show business representatives. Actors George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moor can be named among the devoted yoga practitioners. The pop divas Madonna, Beyonce and Jessica Simpson are in great shape thanks to Bikram yoga. „Most Hollywood celebrities who take up yoga do so because they’ve already tried fitness classes and therapies which haven’t worked as expected,” Choudhury explains the popularity of Bikram yoga.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Best Yoga Mat for Bikram Yoga

Thick and Padded for Cushioning
A yoga mat that is thick and padded enough to withstand the rigors of a Bikram yoga class is best. A thin mat will wear out too quickly and will not provide the cushioning you will want for poses such as rabbit pose, when you place your head onto your mat. For most people, that will mean a mat that is at least one-half inch in thickness.

Durability: Rubber, Bamboo
Eco-friendly yoga mats made from natural rubber or bamboo or other plant-based materials are excellent choices for Bikram yoga. A rubber mat will wear well from the standing poses found in Bikram yoga. Those made from bamboo are surprisingly durable and lighter in weight than rubber.

Traction to Prevent Sliding
It might be possible to practice some types of yoga on bare wood floor, but Bikram yoga is not one of them. The heated room and no-nonsense succession of poses will quickly produce a sweaty practice that requires a yoga mat that will not slip or slide. For that reason, selecting a yoga mat made with a patterned surface to provide traction on carpet or hard flooring is a good idea. It is not uncommon to see people practice Bikram yoga in bathing suits as the session produces that much heat.

Reversible for Versatility
Fully reversible mats are also very practical for a Bikram yoga class. While many people will bring thick beach towels and lay them flat on top of their yoga mats, these can slide during practice. There are yoga mats that have a "sticky" side and on the other side is a terry towel side to soak up the perspiration from practice. You might try one to see whether it suits you. As all yogis know, you should choose the best yoga mat for your Bikram yoga class based on your direct experiences.

In our studio we sell Zenzation mats that are perfect for Bikram yoga. It has sealed edges that prevents fraying and tearing. Rounded corners which keeps the mat flat during your yoga practice.
  • 1/4"(6.5mm) x 24" x 68"
  • Sticky Mat
  • Easy to clean and long lasting
  • Extra thick for comfort
  • Made with PVC and cotton
(article from live strong)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

'Sin' foods that are healthy for you

If you're feeling sluggish or perhaps can't quite do up the top button of your pants, you can regain energy without depriving yourself of tasty, healthy foods, says a nutrition and weight loss guru.

Dr. Joey Shulman, author of "Healthy Sin Foods" (Penguin, 2011), says people can lose weight by learning how to swap out less nutritious choices for healthy ingredients.

Your body could still be remembering being fed high-sugar and high-fat foods over the holidays and may even have developed an addiction. Breaking the cycle of craving takes some getting used to.

A craving may indicate that blood sugar is off balance, not that a person is weak, says Shulman, a registered nutritionist who runs four weight-loss and nutrition counselling centres in the Toronto area. She previously worked as a chiropractor.
"So before we even attack that, we have to get clean. You can have naturally sweet foods. But you have to take all foods with added sugar out of the diet immediately. The first day or two, you might get a little bit of a headache or your cravings may intensify, but once you're past Day 3 you're done, it's over."

Protein will help you get rid of your cravings too, she added.
Shulman says that with most people it's sugars and carbohydrates that they're craving, not fat. "But the fats they've eaten over the holidays tend to be inflammatory so joints start to ache a little bit more. You just start to feel a little sluggish, digestion might slow down. It just makes you feel overall heavier even if you didn't gain weight, so all you have to do is switch to those good fats which your body needs for weight loss, for mood."

The book's title might sound like a contradiction -- how can you have decadent foods that still taste delicious and are good for you?

"I practise weight loss mostly and I see few hundred patients every year for weight loss. People were saying to me, 'Look, I don't want to eat bland broccoli and tasteless tofu to lose weight.' ... In fact, I would argue that the food you can eat to lose weight is even more delicious.

"So I was coming up with these recipes -- really yummy muffin recipes or faux pasta recipes -- and tricking my friends, tricking my neighbours and they were going, 'This is fabulous' and I was going 'Yes, this is like a healthy sin food. You wouldn't even know it. ...

"It was me just saying, 'Anything that we can do unhealthy, we can do healthy and make it just as yummy."
In the paperback version of the book that originally came out in 2009, there are 101 recipes, including "anything from a really hearty bruschetta that you can put on whole-grain bread, which is delicious, to creamy soups or cheesy vegetable dishes that are lower in fat. It's tricky because all the recipes that we made we opted for lower sugar, lower fat and you have to be aware of the substitutes or else the food is not going to taste good," she explains.

"I feel in weight loss if I keep you deprived, then 100 per cent I'm going to lose you. So I can't do that."
Here is Shulman's top five list of healthy sin foods:

1. Berries. These can include any kind -- raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries -- and can be fresh or frozen. Shulman suggests putting them in a morning smoothie. "They're naturally sweet foods that are going to satisfy and curb that sweet tooth."

2. Almonds, walnuts or pistachios. "I call them the peckish foods because when you're feeling really hungry, instead of grabbing the wrong thing that you'll overconsume, they'll fill you up and keep you satiated. They have a nice crunch to them too so they're satisfying," Shulman explains. A serving is 10 to 15 walnuts or almonds or 20 to 25 pistachios.
Nuts and an apple or nuts and berries are perfect "for that 3 p.m. blood sugar dip."

3. Plain yogurt. "I'm not actually so concerned with the fat content as long as it's plain yogurt," she says. "It's not what's making people heavier. The fruit-bottomed yogurts, the sugary yogurts, for sure no, but the plain yogurt, if it's a two per cent you enjoy, go for it." Add some fruit or ground flax seeds for additional benefits and flavour.

4. Any green food, such as broccoli, kale, spinach and rappini. "If it's steamed or thrown into a chili, for example, because you don't feel like having a cold green this time of year, that's completely fine, but we need to get those antioxidants into the system," Shulman notes.

5. Cold-water fish, such as fresh salmon and black cod. Tilapia is also a good choice. Fish is a wonderful lean source of protein, Shulman says. "One, it's going to curb the cravings. Two, it's filled with omega-3 fatty acids which we need, especially this time of year for brain support, to be anti-inflammatory. Three, it fills you up."

In the book, Shulman includes descriptions of top 50 superfoods -- foods that pack a powerful nutritional punch and that haven't been refined, processed or preserved, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oil, protein and whole grains.

Shulman cautions against following fad diets such as the paleo (short for paleolithic), or caveman, plan, which is based on what our ancestors presumably ate prior to the development of agriculture. One of its main tenets is avoiding grain, but Shulman maintains that whole grains are fantastic for health.

"I can tell you clinically and from seeing hundreds of weight loss clients over the years, most people can't do grain-free long term. And so my rule for weight loss is whenever you're joining any program you have to ask yourself, 'Can I see myself following a version of this in five years?' And if the answer is no, don't do it."

The key with healthy eating and weight loss is to make your food plan sustainable.

"I worry about an all-or-nothing sort of approach. I think that just by incorporating those five foods in your diet, exercising more, making sure you're sharp with your supplements like fish oils and a multi-vitamin, making sure you're well hydrated -- and that can be with herbal teas or green teas at this time of year -- you'll start feeling a whole lot better and the healthier you feel, the more you want."

Shulman encourages people worried about failing in yet another weight loss plan to take baby steps. "Baby steps work."

Article from the Canadian press

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Cycling and Bikram Yoga - The Perfect Match

 Most people who take cycling seriously are die hard cyclists and can't wait for that time in the day to sneak out for a nice ride.  I describe avid cyclists as mentally strong people, very determined and goal-oriented.  Challenge is welcome in a cyclist's mind. As you know, going for a bike ride requires many hours including the cleaning of your bike with VeloShine wipes after every ride.  Then, it is time to shower and get on with the rest of life.  Is there time for stretching after such long and challenging rides?  No time.  So, here is where Bikram Yoga can help for that lack of stretch in our routines.

Bikram Yoga provides as all the other Yogas many valuable physical and mental benefits. But, Bikram Yoga is different, and it is the perfect match for diehard athletes like cyclists.  Athletes tend to have a strong and tight musculature and it is hard to get it to stretch well with a couple of regular exercises.  In a Bikram Yoga room, the room is so hot and humid that those tight muscle will warm up quickly and profoundly that it will be easier to get the stretching that will make a difference in your musculature and overall performance when you are on your bike. 

But besides the benefit of additional flexibility in your muscles, joints, and back, Bikram also helps significantly in your mental stamina and endurance.   Just the environment is challenging in and of itself.  To stay in a 105º F degrees at least 40% humidity for 90 minutes requires a mind-over-matter disposition to take over just stay in the room, never mind the 26 postures you have to do that you may think impossible to achieve in your first class.

In addition to the mental stamina and endurance you will acquire, Bikram Yoga has immense physiological benefits that will translate also in a better physical performance of your body overall and the quality of your daily life.

Here are some of the major benefits of practicing Bikram, Yoga on a regular basis as communicated by Dr. Joel Brame, speaker. author, cancer prevention consultant.
  • Reduces acidity in your body. In a toxic and stressful lifestyle, the body becomes highly acidic and Ph imbalances within the body is dangerous.
  • Re-oxygenates the body. Bikram breathing exercises at the beginning, during and at the end of practice have a deep and powerful impact on your health.
  • Remarkably detoxifies the body. The body has 5 major routes of naturaldetoxification.  The kidneys, the intestines, the lungs, the liver and the skin.  Bikram Yogaall these 5 major detoxification routes of the body are highly activated through a series of key poses completed throughout the practice with breathing exercises and other stimulant poses.
  • Boosts the immune system. As you may know, 75% of our immune system is found in our intestines.  Bikram Yoga stimulates the food passage through the digestive tract via a series of twisting poses, it helps it through the detoxification process we discussed above.
  • Re-connects the mind with the body. As with other yoga practices, Bikram helps connecting the mind with the body as one and not two separate, independent entities.  As you practice more, you will become more aware of your body changes because you are more tuned in with it.  
  • Helps reverse cancer.  It is not guaranteed, but Bikram Yoga certainly helps reverse many of the pathological processes that culminate in the disease called cancer.  To read more about this, we invite you to read this document by Dr. Joel Brame:

Another benefit of Bikram Yoga that I have experienced during my practices is helps you achieve moments of meditative states.  As you progress and achieve more control of your body poses, your mind starts to quiet down and submerge in the pose you are doing.  You start concentrating more on your breathing and in the pose while all thoughts averse to quieting your mind start going away.  You achieve a point in your practice when you mind starts staying in the room with your body.  It does not take many practices to achieve this early stage of moving meditation

When you come out of class, not only do you feel clean and de-stressed, but also your mind is "tamed" and your disposition and attitude toward your life is that of embracing it.  For cyclists, I consider Bikram a perfect match.  Cycling, besides the health benefits, it allows you to be in touch with nature during your rides, it gives you a sense of freedom and moments of contemplation, which can be complemented in unison with a Bikram Yoga practice.

Try it, you will love it!

Article by VeloShine, from facebook.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Hands to Feet - Pada-Hasthasana

Unlike traditional “touch-your-toes” hamstring-stretch taught in PE class, hands-to-feet pose the whole body. This is perfect example of how a pose can both work to strengthen and stretch your body. As you pull with your arms to increase flexibility, your spine, hips and legs are stretched in what Bikram calls a “360 degree stretching angle.” Completion of this pose after half-moon and backward-bending, means that the spine has been stretched in four directions, the circulatory and nervous systems have been invigorated to prepare the body for class.


  •           Biceps
  •           Deltoids
  •           Quadriceps
  •           Calves
  •           Rectus Abdominis
  •           Trapezius muscles

  •           Hamstrings
  •           Spine
  •           Sciatic nerve
  •           Tendons and ligaments of the legs
  •           Shoulders

  •           Pineal and pituitary glands
  •           Colon
  •           Pancreas
  •           Kidneys

  •           Firms and trims waistline, hips, abdomen, buttocks and thighs
  •            Good for frozen shoulder
  •           Relieves lower back pain
  •           Good for abdominal obesity
  •           Greatly enhances concentration
  •           Helps with sciatic problems
  •           Improves circulation to the brain and legs

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Dessert for Holiday weekend - Rasberry and Mascarpone Fluff

Yesterday I had an early Thanksgiving dinner with the people I usually have dinner parties with. It was my time to do a dessert. As I am Estonian we have this thing called Kama, that you can use in desserts or everyday cooking. Kama is an mixture of various roasted and ground grains & pulses - usually peas, barley, rye and wheat. You can read from here about it KAMA and a tasty dessert,

Here I have you a different fluff dessert with berries. 
I know, I know - what am I thinking about posting a recipe for summer fruit dessert in the middle of the Christmas season?? You see, I craved a fruity dessert the other day, and came across this recipe for a blackberry fluff in the October 2006 issue of the British food magazine Olive. Unfortunately, neither one of the two nearby grocery stores had frozen blackberries that day, so I had to settle for frozen Estonian raspberries instead. Not a bad choice, I think - they're still tart and sweet at the same time, plus I love the colour.

Note that the dessert has much more character when it's been given a few hours' rest in the fridge - you can taste the mascarpone again then. I didn't bother to sieve the fruit pulp, but please do, if you think the small seeds will bother you.

Supereasy and rather nice.

Raspberry and Mascarpone Fluff
Serves six to eight

300 g frozen raspberries
1 Tbsp sugar
250 g mascarpone, at room temperature
200 ml whipping cream (35% fat content)
1 tsp vanilla sugar or extract

Heat the berries (keeping a few aside for decorating) gently with the sugar for a couple of minutes or until they give off juice. Whizz in a food processor until smooth, then push through a fine sieve, if you want to get rid of the seeds. Cool.
Beat the mascarpone with a spoon until it is softened, then fold in the berry purée and the vanilla extract. Loosely whip the cream and fold it in.
Spoon into small dessert bowls, decorate with extra berries. Place in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

In my yesterdays recipe I used fried rye bread as a garnish - You can use crumbled ginger cookies! 

In my yesterdays recipe I used ricotta cheese instead of mascarpone cheese and I also added cinnamon!!!

Here is a picture of yesterdays dessert (sorry about the blurriness) and main course. Main course has our last week recipe of butternut squash!