How to Use Incense Cones

Incense Cones

Incense cones can be used as an air freshener, combined in aroma therapy practice, yoga, meditation or just as an atmosphere setter. That is a unique characteristic of incense as a whole; they can be used for relaxation as well as energizing.

A great way to refresh a house before any occasion, make sure to close all doors & windows while the incense does the work. Wait 30 minutes and wooallah, every room is breathtaking!


Incense cones

Tray burner



#1 All specialty stores usually carry cone tray burners that can be purchased for under $20.In case no special burner is available or the store is closed and the cones have been collecting dust on the table, not to worry. Use a shallow, metal or ceramic bowl at least four inches in diameter, to allow proper air circulation which will prevent cones going out mid way.

#2 Add sand to the tray burner and flatten it out by moving it side-to-side.

#3 Place the cone in the middle of a heat proof container pointing straight up.

#4 Using a lighter, matches or a candle, light the tip of the cone. Containers can get very hot; make sure the burner is on a heat insulated surface and not glass or wood table top.

#5 Wait 5-10 seconds to let the flame burn the tip just a little bit. To start the smudging process, lightly blow the flame out, so the ashes don’t blow away. Feather or a piece of paper both can be gently fanned to extinguish the fire. Red glow will start showing through the tip of burned ash and smoke will be lifting of the top of the cone, twirling in the air while releasing the pleasant fragrance of fine oils.


Caution, do not use aluminum or copper bowls as they contain traces of toxic elements! Never leave cones burning unattended. Many dangerous things are waiting to happen especially if small children, cat or dogs are present in the house; wind is another strong factor of accidents.


When the cone had burned all the way through, leave it to cool of till the next day or for a few hours if need to be used again. Before disposing the remains of the cone make sure the burner and ashes are not hot to the touch. Do not necessarily touch them; just hover the hands over to feel the heat. If the cone keeps going out there might be a few reasons why: not all cones are made of equal quality, the cones might have been exposed to moisture or burner is not allowing enough oxygen to keep the cone smudging.

Storing tip: Keep cones in a cool, dry, dark place.  This can be an airtight container or a wooden box, glass jar, even some plastic containers will work as long as it has tightly sealed lid.

Prepare Fresh Fruit Salad With Pictures


This is my all time favorite recipe for any occasion! Having a BBQ with a few friends, no problem this salad will go great as an appetizer on a hot summer day or serve it as a desert with some yogurt added. Or make it a fun day at a local farm picking fruit with your kids and later on have them help you make the salad.

The best thing about this recipe is that you cannot make it wrong! Add more or less fruit depending on your liking. Any fruits available will do. I often use: Grapes, cherries, mangoes, apricots, plums, cantaloupe, pineapple, peaches, berries of any sort, even canned fruits will do.

This recipe makes enough to fill up a 3 qt bowl and will feed about 4-5 people.


Watermelon, only one disc was used.

Apple (1)

Pear (1)

Strawberries (5-6)

Banana (2)

Kiwi (1)


  • #1 Gather all the fruits and give them a good rinse.
  • #2 Peel and pit apple, pear and kiwis and shop them up in cubes of any size you like 😉 Place in a mixing bowl.
  • #3 Discard the skin of bananas and cut them in rings.
  • #4 Cut the end of strawberries and chop them in cubes as well. Add to the rest of the fruits.
  • #5 Slice the watermelon in half, get the seeds out if not seedless, cut a small disk and lay it flat on the cutting board. Cut the skin of the slice in a circle and chop up in bite size pieces.
  • #6 Combine all the ingredients, mix well, and make sure not to squash the fruit. Leave it in a fridge for an hour to let the flavors combine and you are DONE!


  • To keep the salad from turning brown squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top. Bananas usually turn brown very quickly, so if you plan on eating in a day or two add bananas right before serving.
  • Be as creative as you can: add regular or flavored yogurt with some nuts or get strawberry dressing from any groceries store, ice cream with some chocolate shell to pore over the top is always great too!
  • Try adding brown sugar or honey if there is not enough sweet fruits in the salad or if the fruits are out of season.
  • If your goal is to lose weight try staying away from: canned fruits, bananas and dates (50g). They are all pack with over 100 calories per piece!

Make a Paper Christmas Tree


Wanna spruce up an ordinary boring night and make something fun? It is very easy, here is what you need: a couple of good friends, paper, preferably green, scissors, scotch tape or glue dots, a piece of wire (an old metal hanger works well) a few beers and a CD with Christmas songs to keep the spirit going lol =) Although by now you are probably tired of hearing Christmas songs as they accompany you on every corner, in that case any good music or a movie will work!

Let’s get Started.

  • #1 Draw two circles on construction paper using a bowl and a cup, divide the circle in half, then in quarters and each quarter into three sections. Total of 12 sections. Make sure to cut the next circle a bit smaller than the previous one and reduce the number of sections every so often so that the tree takes a shape of a triangle.


  • #2 Cut the circle out and slit each section to where the small circle begins.


  • #3 Bring the corners towards you and fold one end over the other. Using glue dots from the inside glue the ends together.


  • #4 Repeat until it resembles a star and flip it over.


  • #5 Use a needle, a bobby pin or a toothpick to poke a hole in the center. It is better to stick a peace of tape on the inside so that the paper wont tear when the hole is punched ;


  • #6 Fold one end of the wire into a loop so that it may stand up.


  • #7 Slip each star on the wire to form a Christmas tree.


– Try using different colored paper, for example make three Christmas trees. The biggest one from a green paper, middle one from red paper and the smallest one can be white.

Combat Stress with These Five Effective Meditation and Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation Techniques

You have no doubt heard about mediation. Perhaps you thought it was only for reclusive monks high up in the Himalayas, or maybe you figured you don’t have any time to incorporate it into your frantic life. Whatever you thought about meditation before, it is time to reassess this increasingly popular stress-relieving and relaxing practice.

Stress is unavoidable in everyday life, and some of us suffer more than others. Too much stress can have devastating effects on our long-term health. There are many scientific reasons to begin practicing meditation, of which the ability to wipe away the day’s stress is but one.

There are several meditation and relaxation techniques available; from rhythmic exercises to deep breathing. The trick is to choose one or two that fits in nicely with your lifestyle and practice them regularly. Before long you will begin to feel that “inner peace” that followers of Buddhism like to rave about.

Deep Breathing

In stressful situations, our body’s automatic reaction causes breathing to become shallow and rapid. When that happens, the supply of air to cells in our body is lessened and in turn, triggers a greater stress response. The antidote to this stress response is deep, slow breathing. This technique is one of the easiest to learn and the most convenient to do.

Deep breathing is the foundation for many relaxation exercises and, you can practice it just about anywhere: At the office, in a park, or while lying in bed. All you need is a quiet, comfortable spot.

Place a hand on your stomach, just below the rib cage, breath in slowly and deliberately through your nose feeling the rising of your stomach and the expansion of your rib cage. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth, emptying your lungs completely. Repeat this process for several minutes until you feel the relaxation kicking in.

The deep breathing technique can be practiced multiple times per day to keep your body in a positively stress-free state.


Meditation first became popular in Asia after the Buddha began teaching, and practicing, the ancient art of mind-body connection. In recent years, however, there has been growing interest in meditation in the Western world. Thanks in large part to a growing number of positive scientific studies, more people are taking up meditation in an effort to combat stress and improve their wellbeing.

Meditation works by focusing attention and diffusing streams of thought. With practice and experience, you will ultimately be able to change how you react to thoughts and emotions; thus gaining the ability to control the effects of stress on your body.

Some added benefits of regular meditation include anxiety reduction, relief from pain associated with chronic illnesses, and better sleep.

There are two foundational types of meditation – concentrative and mindfulness. From these two types sprout numerous other forms including transcendental meditation, awareness meditation, and vipassana meditation. Some forms are more advanced than others and may or may not require you to sit in the lotus style for hours on end.

If you are an amateur mediator it’s probably best to start out lightly and work your way up the levels of mediation to suit your comfort levels and, of course, lifestyle.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

While mediation deals with the mental side of stress, PMR addresses the physical side. Developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson, this technique aims to relieve the muscular tension that accompanies stress. Jacobson figured that the negative feelings of stress could be combated by learning how to relax and relieve muscular tensions.

It is not as difficult as it sounds. The basic premise is to alternately tense and relax your muscles in a concentrated and deliberate fashion. Deep breathing is also a key feature of this relaxation technique and you can practice in any quiet comfortable location, and by either sitting or laying down

Once in a comfortable position, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Then, begin at the top of your body and work your way down, tensing and releasing each muscle group as you go. So, for example, with the head area, you would squeeze your eyes tightly together, tense you jaw and lip muscles for several seconds, then release and breath and relax the muscles.

Move on to the shoulders, arms, back etc. If you don’t have a lot of time you can do one or two muscle groups at a time.

Yoga Tai Chi

Yoga and tai chi are both forms of movement meditation. Their health benefits and ability to alleviate stress is clear and conclusive. Yoga requires a little more effort than tai chi, but for most people, once they get the hang of it, yoga becomes a great way to combine exercise with stretching and stress-relieving meditation.

Tai chi is great for people of all ages. The slow, flowing body movements emphasize concentration and conscious circulation of energy throughout the body. Tai chi has its roots in martial arts, but today it is used as a non-competitive practice of calming the mind, reducing stress, and conditioning the body.

To begin with, you will probably benefit from a professional guide: an instructor at your local gym or a video. However, once you understand the basics you can begin practicing either of these techniques on your own.

Yoga Tai Chi

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy really needs no introduction. Most people are aware of the relaxation and stress-relieving power of a professional massage. In fact, even a non-professional massage from a partner or a friend can do wonders for bringing down those stress levels. A massage can help to ease muscle tension, relieve pain, and alleviate insomnia.

If you thought you couldn’t get the benefits of massage because you don’t have the time or money to get regular professional massages, you would be wrong. Self-massage can also yield much of the same results, is free, and can be done at your convenience.

Of course, you can’t give yourself an all-over, full body massage, but you can easily massage your shoulder, face, and legs while sitting at your desk, relaxing on the couch, or in bed. Combine self-massage with deep breathing or meditation and you can truly rid your body of stress and enter an otherworldly state of relaxation.

Inexpensive Effective Home Remedies for Cellulite


If you want to reduce the appearance of cellulite but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on lasers and high-tech creams (that may not be so effective anyway), we’ve got you covered with these home remedies for cellulite. There’s plenty you can do on your own to look better and increase your body confidence.

Some basic things include staying out of the sun (as UV rays damage collagen, making cellulite more noticeable), not smoking (as smoking not only floods your body with toxins, it also damages collagen), exercising (which improves blood flow and helps tighten the body for a sleeker look) and eating an anti-cellulite diet (which you can read more about here.)

Other things you can do include using natural and inexpensive ingredients. Here are four of the most effective home remedies for cellulite.

Homemade Coffee Scrubs to Stop Cellulite

Have you ever wondered what to do you with your used coffee grounds? Now you have an answer – use it to combat cellulite!

Coffee is a common ingredient of cellulite creams and lotions due to its high caffeine concentration. You may know that caffeine can dehydrate you; well, it does the same with cells, too. When it’s in contact with cellulite, it actually draws water out of those cells temporarily, making them shrink and making your skin look smoother and less dimpled.

Coffee body scrubs won’t actually make your cellulite go away, but they can make it look a lot better, especially if you use a caffeine treatment regularly. Here are some recipes for homemade scrubs that are inexpensive and will do the trick.

Simplest Coffee Body Scrub

¼ cup of coffee grounds

3 tbsp. olive oil

Coffee and Coconut Body Scrub

Here you get the benefits of coffee plus the amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil as well.

¼ cup of coffee grounds

3 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. coconut oil

Mix together (you may need to warm up the coconut oil if it’s solid) and scrub on the body, focusing on cellulite-prone areas. Leave the coffee mixture in contact with the problem areas for at least a few minutes, then rinse off.

Dry Skin Brushing

This home remedy for fighting cellulite takes just a few minutes every day and one inexpensive tool. That tool is the dry skin brush.

Dry skin brushing is what it sounds like: brushing the skin while it’s dry (as opposed to wet in the shower or bath). It improves circulation by getting blood flowing and it revs up the lymphatic system, helping your body in its natural detoxifying process. Many people believe that cellulite accumulates due to a buildup of toxins in the body, so ridding the body of toxins may help.

Find a dry skin brush online or from many beauty stores; you can get a good one for under $10. Start at your feet and brush in short, firm strokes upwards towards your heart, moving up through the calves, thighs, stomach, buttocks, and back. Focus on areas with cellulite to break up the fatty deposits that give that characteristic “orange peel” look. Once you reach your heart, start on your arms, working from the hands in towards your shoulders. It takes just a few minutes but will leave you feeling invigorated and your skin smooth.

You’ll get the best results if you do this on dry skin, so don’t put on oils or lotions first. It’s a great morning habit to get into, especially before exercising or showering, and it takes just a few minutes.

Detoxifying Baths

If you believe in the toxin theory of cellulite, then you’ll definitely want to take a couple detoxifying baths every month. The great part is that a detox bath recipe can be really personal, incorporating your favorite essential oils for their fragrance or health properties. Here are two basic recipes:

Salt Detox Bath Recipe

¼ cup apple cider vinegar OR baking soda

¼ cup of Sea salt

¼ cup of Epsom salt

essential oils (as desired)

Add each ingredient separately into your bath and relax for at least 15 minutes.

How does the salt work to detoxify? It’s believed that the different concentrations of minerals inside and outside your body cause reverse osmosis, where salts come out of your body into the bathwater, bringing heavy metals and other toxins along with them. At the same time, the minerals in the salts and the vinegar, like magnesium and potassium, nourish your skin.

Essential oils believed to be especially helpful for detoxifying the body include juniper oil, peppermint oil, laurel oil, and mandarin oil.

Seaweed-Salt Detox Bath Recipe

½ cup Seaweed Powder (you can order online or find in a health food store)

½ cup Sea Salt

essential oils (as desired)

Seaweed is valued as a cellulite fighter because it contains iodine, which helps raise the metabolism and burn more fat, and other minerals that improve lymph and blood flow.

Seaweed Salt

Self Massage

Massage focusing on your thighs, buttocks, and other areas with cellulite increases blood flow, helping detoxify and letting your body heal. By using certain techniques that target the fatty deposits beneath the skin, you can “spread out” the fat cells, so they don’t bulge together through the skin.

It’s as simple as grabbing some high-quality oil (good oils for cellulite massage include coconut, almond, and olive) and taking 5-10 minutes for a self-massage. One massage technique involves pinching and squeezing the sections of skin where cellulite is noticeable. Another uses a hand-wringing motion to physically break up the fat under the skin.

As with the detox bath, you can add essential oils to your base massage oil to customize it. In addition to the detoxifying essential oils listed above, consider adding some that help with circulation and blood flow, like eucalyptus and black pepper.

Botox Dangers: Protect Your Skin


Botox has become the norm in the world of cosmetic enhancements. But there is also a worrying trend of users getting younger and younger. Are you thinking about trying Botox, or are you dead set against it? Either way, we all need to be aware of the Botox dangers. Read on as we explore recent developments in the world of Botox=based cosmetic enhancements

What is Botox?

Botox is a brand name for Botulinum Toxin Type A, effectively a toxin that can be used to counteract the pull of facial muscles and thereby leave you with a smoother complexion. But what are the Botox dangers?

Of all inject able treatments, Botox is the most widely known. Botox can be highly effective and is very safe – as long as it is administered by someone who is experienced and properly qualified to inject it. Under the current regulations, Botox must be prescribed by a doctor, dentist or nurse prescribe only but legally, anyone can give a Botox injection if directed by the prescribe to do so. This means that those wishing to undertake Botox treatment should be extra careful.

There is worrying talk of everyday beauty therapists, with no real medical knowledge, wanting the right to carry out this specialized procedure. Even more ludicrously, some trumpet ‘Botox parties’ as a brilliant idea, as if a mixture of alcohol-fueled fun and unregulated cosmetic procedures would ever be a wise move. Bad Botox can result in drooping eyes, ‘frozen’ faces and other unpleasant side effects, but with an unqualified person, who is to say what they are injecting you with?

Always play safe with cosmetic procedures and always choose a registered medical professional who will happily advise and assist as required.

Who Injects Botox?

Some of the main Botox dangers occur when the treatment is in the wrong hands. All good medical practitioners are aware of the importance of only carrying out cosmetic procedures that are necessary for and beneficial to their patients. They rightly view it as a professional and moral obligation that they should ensure that those seeking treatment be given the appropriate advice during consultation. The majority of surgeons behave in this way, but there is evidence that a small proportion of disreputable Botox injectors in many cases not surgeons – are straying from giving such sound advice.

The United Kingdom is currently the fastest-growing market for cosmetic procedures in the whole of Europe. Industry estimates state that in 2011 there were 669,711 surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures carried out throughout the UK. The British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons’, or BAAPS’, own figures state that 43,172 surgical procedures were carried out by BAAPS members in that year.

The Botox Market

Within the UK non-surgical market, injections of Botulinum Toxin Type A, or Botox, are a significant and widely recognised element. The non-surgical sector, of which Botox treatments forms the major part, had a value of £205 million in 2010. Looking at the largest cosmetic surgery and cosmetic procedure market, the United States, the most popular non-surgical procedure was also injections of Botulinum Toxin Type A (including Botox and Dysport). There were 8.5 million non-invasive cosmetic procedures during 2012, an increase of over 10%. Non-surgical procedures represented 83% of the total number of procedures performed.

Botox Dangers: Younger and Younger…

Botox dangers also lie in the targeting of ever-younger clients. In recent years, it has come to light in the media that young women in their late teens and early twenties are being offered Botox as a ‘preventative solution’. They are being told that they should ‘start young’ or being advised ‘the younger the better’, as if undergoing the procedures will prevent them ever developing lines and wrinkles in future.

Young women are believing this information in their droves, with some cosmetic surgery companies reporting a rises of over 50% in young adults under 25 requesting Botox. Some call this the TOWIE effect, as the popular Essex-based reality show influences viewers’ perceptions of what is normal in terms of physical appearance and maintenance.

The ‘preventative’ approach is wrong on a number of levels. Medically, it is far from proven that Botox administered to women this age is beneficial in the long term. In the short term it may simply alter rather improve their appearance, in a way that suggests those actively encouraging the young to go this route are putting profits before their ethics.

Moreover starting Botox treatments too young could have a negative effect as they enter old age. One of the results of using Botox over a very long period of time can be muscle atrophy, i.e. facial muscles starting to waste away due to lack of use. It should not be a major issue if someone starts to have Botox treatments at forty-five, but begin at 18 and the result could be a far older looking face in retirement than otherwise.

If young people are made aware of the full facts and possibilities before they decide whether to pursue Botox, they may be encouraged to avoid possible Botox dangers and make the best choices for their longer term well-being, as well as their looks.

Botox Dangers

Still Want Botox? Top Tips

  1. Only every seek advice form a reputable, registered clinician – give the beauty therapists a miss on this occasion: Botox may be commonplace, but it is still based upon the administration of a toxin.
  2. Beware the gimmicky and faddish offers that can sometimes be associated with this aesthetic treatment. Give 2-for-1s, Botox Nights and money-off promotions a wide berth. These are one of the major botox dangers. You only have one body, one face however deep you may feel your lines are, never hand your looks over to sometime who just want to make a quick buck.
  3. Don’t over-do it. Don’t be tempted to try to have sessions of too many Botox treatments: another one of the Botox dangers. A real doctor will not let you put yourself in harm’s way, which is why you are far better off sticking to a real pro.
  4. Give yourself a cooling-off period in which to check out the botox dangers. You may think you are desperate for Botox. But just in case, take time out before committing to a course of treatments. Always remember: beauty really is just skin deep and health and happiness count above all else!

Hot Buzz: Healthy Ginger Recipes


A super foods go, ginger, or ginger root, has been on our radar for a long time. But outside of cakes and biscuits, what can you do with it that tastes really good, gives a burst of heat in winter AND packs a real super food punch to your diet? Easy, just take a look at Qooton’s brilliantly healthy ginger recipes.

A Word About Ginger Power…

Ginger is the underground stem of the Zingiber official plant. Thia gnarled root has been used for millennia in natural medicine to calm the digestion, reduce inflammation, quash nausea including morning sickness and cease diarrhea, ease sore muscles, relieve upper respiratory infections, restore hair loss, and soothe burns—among st other things.

In fact, in one study, ginger was shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used drug for motion sickness. Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating. Moreover, some believe that certain key antioxidants that are present in fresh root ginger could also be instrumental in slowing the growth of cancer cells.

So: how should this zingy, zesty super food be cooked? Ginger recipes are best when they embrace the root’s natural flavour and ginger is wonderful, in terms of both flavour and health benefits, in combination with a high-protein meat, like the ginger chicken recipe, or with flash-fried ingredients, for example in a traditional Chinese stir-fry. However you want to roll, try out some of these healthy ginger recipes which deliver a tasty pep-up and a true health boost at the same time.

Top Ginger Recipes: A True Tonic

This time-honored tonic is great for colds. One of those super-easy healthy ginger recipes which is a really soothing pick-me-up.


1-inch piece ginger root (or more, to taste), peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 whole organic lemon

1 teaspoon honey, or to taste

1 oz whiskey (optional)


In a small pot over medium heat, heat the water, ginger, lemon juice, and honey. Strain the mixture into a mug and add the shot of whiskey, if using.

Zinger Ginger Rice

This tasty zesty rice makes a great vegetarian main, or a side dish with a difference. One of those healthy ginger recipes that you will keep using time and again.


2 cups brown rice

4 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped

1 large handful of spinach

1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets

3 carrots, in medium batons

A large handful of mange tout

3 eggs

3-4 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

4 tablespoons soy sauce


  1. Cook all the brown rice according to package instructions and set aside.
  2. Heat some of the oil in a pan and scramble the eggs, and set aside.
  3. Once you have cooked both eggs and rice heat oil the remaining over a medium heat in a large pot or skillet. When the oil is nice and hot, just before the point of shimmering, add ginger.
  4. Leave the ginger to sizzle for about a minute until it becomes fragrant and then add all the chopped vegetables. Sautée until they are cooked through and tender, but still retain a bit of bite.
  5. Now add the reserved cooked brown rice and scrambled eggs to the ginger and vegetable mixture and stir well to combine.
  6. Season the whole dish with rice vinegar and soy sauce, and then mix thoroughly.

Ginger-Infused Kale Soup

This is a great, ginger-infused soup is healthy but filling and delicious – and so simple to make!


200g kale, chopped

50g courgette, roughly sliced

50g broccoli

500ml organic stock

2 garlic cloves, sliced

A large piece ginger, sliced

½ tsp ground coriander

Small piece of fresh turmeric root, peeled and grated, or ½ tsp ground turmeric

A pinch of salt

1 lime, zest and juice

A bunch of parsley, roughly chopped (some to garnish)

A tbsp sunflower oil


Put the oil in a saucepan, add the garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric and salt, fry for 2 mins.

  1. Add 3 tbsp water and the courgette; make sure you coat the slices, then add most of the stock and leave to simmer for 3 mins.
  2. Add the broccoli, kale and lime juice with the rest of the stock and cook again for another 3-4 mins until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Sprinkle with parsley, take off the heat. Pour into a blender and put on high speed until it is a gorgeous green.
  4. Garnish with lime zest and the parsley, then serve, with a wholemeal roll on the side.

Healthy Pork and Ginger Stir Fry

This is one of those beautiful healthy ginger recipes that takes zingy Asian flavours and turns them into a brilliant midweek supper.


2 nests medium egg noodle

2 tsp cornflour

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp sunflower oil

250g/9oz pork tenderloin, cut into bite-sized pieces

thumb-sized piece ginger, finely chopped

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced

100g mange tout

1 tsp sesame seed


Boil a good-sized pan of salted water and cook the noodles according to the pack instructions. Meanwhile, mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp water. Stir in the soy sauce and honey, and then set the mixture aside.

Next, heat the oil in a wok over a high temperature. Add the pork and sauté for 2 mins until browned all over. Add the ginger, garlic, pepper and mangetout, and cook for 2 more mins until just starting to meld their flavours.

Turn down the heat and then add the soy sauce and honey mixture, stirring and cooking until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Share the drained noodles between 2 dinner bowls. Top each bowl with a generous serving of pork and veg, then scatter over the sesame seeds. Hey preston, ginger heaven!

Ginger Lassi

A ginger lassi is of the most delicious traditional healthy ginger recipes; both warming and refreshing, at any time of year.

Ginger Lassi


200ml natural yoghurt

200ml cold water

A handful of ice

1 heaped tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

A pinch of ground cardamom

A pinch of brown sugar


Blend everything in a liquidizer and serve in tall glasses.

Go Vegetarian for a Week: Dinner Recipes


Love meat? You and several billion of us, but nonetheless there are plenty of compelling reasons why even the most ardent carnivore should at least consider giving the meat a rest, if only for a few days. From a health perspective, although lean protein is great, it is never a bad idea to feed your system with primarily high-fibre, nutrient-rich, water-packed treats for a while, which is far easier on a vegetarian diet.

Also, the environmental impact of eating meat has been much discussed in the past few years. According to studies quoted in The Guardian, when compared to potatoes, wheat, rice and other staples the environmental impact of beef per calorie is significantly extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing 11 times more greenhouse gases, a shocking statistic.

Finally, it may be worth entertaining the thought that giving up meat, even just for a few days, could be fun! Just think: no more slabs of meat and two veg for a while – you can feast on quinoa and halloumi, or buttery spinach, or butternut squash with chilli oil drizzle instead.

Willing to give it a go and go vegetarian for a week? Here are a few dinner recipes that have been inspired by BBC Good Food. They are sure to see you through in style.

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

This mild and warming curry contains earthy chickpeas and sweet golden squash that complement each other beautifully.


200g brown basmati rice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 butternut squash, diced

1 red onion, diced

2 tbsp mild curry paste

300ml vegetable stock

4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt

Small handful coriander, chopped


Cook the rice in boiling salted water, as per pack instructions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the butternut squash for 2-3 mins until lightly browned. Add the onion and the curry paste and fry for 3-4 mins more.

Pour over the stock, then cover and simmer for 15-20 mins, or until the squash is tender. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas, then gently cook for 3-4 mins, until the tomatoes slightly soften.

Take off the heat and stir through the yogurt and coriander. Serve with the rice and a couple of wholemeal chapattis.

Vegetarian Casserole

Enjoy these delicious fresh ingredients when you go vegetarian for a week, in this simple, hearty, high-fibre casserole.


250g cooked lentil

250ml vegetable stock

2 x 400g tins tomatoes

1 tbsp dried thyme

3 medium carrots, sliced

2 medium sticks celery, finely sliced

1 red pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

2 courgette, sliced thickly

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic clove, sliced

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp cumin

1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil


Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the onions and cook gently for 5 – 10 mins until softened.

Add the garlic, spices, dried thyme, carrots, celery and peppers and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, stock, courgettes and fresh thyme and cook for 20 25 minutes.

Take out the thyme sprigs. Stir in the lentils and bring back to a simmer. Serve with wild and white basmati rice or quinoa.

Mushroom and Camembert Hotpot

This hotpot offers all the earthy savoury goodness of delectable vegetarian cheese melded with mushrooms. Great on colder days when you are trying to go vegetarian for a week.


3 leek, trimmed, washed and roughly sliced

large knob butter

½ small Savoy cabbage, shredded

8 chestnut mushroom, sliced

4 tbsp crème fraîche

3 medium potato, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small vegetarian Camembert or other rinded soft cheese, sliced with the rind on

1 tbsp thyme leaf


In a shallow microwavable dish toss the leeks in half the butter and cook on High for 5 mins until they begin to soften. Stir in the cabbage and mushrooms and add the crème fraîche. Lay the potato slices over the vegetables pressing them down with a fish slice.

Dot the potatoes with the remaining butter and microwave, uncovered, for 15-20 mins on High until they are done. Scatter over the cheese and thyme, and either microwave on high to melt for 2 mins, or grill until crisp and brown. Leave to stand for a few mins and serve straight from the dish.

Vegetable Chilli

1 large onion, chopped

2 courgette, diced

1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped

1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped

1 tbsp chilli powder

100g red lentils, washed and drained

1 tbsp tomato purée

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

195g can sweetcorn, drained

420g can butter beans, drained

400g can kidney beans in water, drained


Heat the oil in a large pan. Cook the garlic, ginger, onion, courgettes and peppers for about 5 mins until starting to soften. Add the chilli powder and cook for 1 min more.

Stir in the lentils, tomato purée, tomatoes and 250ml water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15-20 mins.

Add the sweetcorn and beans, and cook for a further 10 mins.

Mediterranean Eggs

A colourful carnival of a dish that is very versatile when you go vegetarian for a week you could eat it for dinner, lunch or breakfast… or all three if you fancy!

Mediterranean Eggs


1 tbsp olive oil

2 or 3 courgettes, chopped into small chunks

200g/7oz pack cherry tomatoes, halved

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 eggs

A few basil leaves, to serve


Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, then add the courgettes. Fry for 5 mins, stirring every so often until they start to soften, add the tomatoes and garlic, then cook for a few mins more. Stir in a little seasoning, then make two gaps in the mix and crack in the eggs. Cover the pan with a lid or a sheet of alumnium foil and then cook for 2-3 mins until the eggs are done to your liking. Scatter over a few basil leaves and serve with warm and crusty wholemeal bread.

Better Coffee In 2016 The Five Best Brewing Methods


Coffee is a staple in the diet of many westerners. However, few of us take the time to brew and enjoy a better cup of coffee, much to the dismay of Italians. If you want to experience coffee at its best then, as any coffee connoisseur will profess, you need to brew it fresh.

There are several ways to brew coffee these days; from traditional manual techniques to hi-tech automated processes. The method you use will have an impact on the flavor and quality of your coffee. So, it is a good idea to understand the various techniques and the results they each yield.

That could take a little while, so to shorten your research time we will highlight the five best brewing methods currently in use.


Invented by genius German inventor Peter Schlumbohm in 1941, the Chemex coffee brewer is considered by many to be the “perfect coffee maker.” It is a manual, pour-over drip brewer with special filters that are specifically made by Chemex. This unassuming looking brewer comes up on top of many ‘best brewer’ lists for several key reasons.

Firstly, it can keep the coffee-water mixture at the perfect temperature (195-205 Fahrenheit) from the start of the infusion. A difficult feat for many other top quality auto-drip makers.

A second reason is that the Chemex’s design allows you to have some control over the infusion time. Your pouring technique and coffee grind size will have an influence on the overall infusion time, which in turn varies the flavor and richness of the brew.

And lastly, it is super easy to keep a Chemex coffee brewer clean. Over time, many other similar coffee brewing systems become rancid with a build-up of coffee residue. This will ultimately lead to a decline in the flavor of the brews, which is not ideal. The Chemex has a hassle-free cleaning design to help prevent residue build up.


The Technivorm KBT741 could be mistaken for a standard electric drip brewer. It’s not. Where most drip brewers have an 800-watt heating element, the Technivorm comes with a 1400-watt warmer. This extra wattage enables the brewer to reach the ideal brewing temperature (~199F) fast. Thus reducing the time needed to brew a full carafe.

The Technivorm comes equipped with an insulated metal carafe with a pourable screw cap. This helps to keep the coffee warmer and fresher for a longer period than traditional glass carafes.

And, for those instances where you have to brew while not quite awake, there is a contact switch at the base of the tower where the carafe sits. No carafe, no brew. This feature will reduce mishaps and potentially arduous clean ups.


The Aeropress is a great pour-over coffee brewer. It was invented in 2005 by Alan Adler, president of Aerobie. It is a quick brew option that can produce a single cup in under a minute, depending on the coffee grind size used and how strong you want the flavor to be.

The Aeropress is made up of two copolyester cylinders, one of which has a rubber plunger. This plunger fits inside the slightly larger cylinder similar to a syringe.

To brew the coffee, you place a microfilter at the bottom of the larger cylinder. Place the coffee grinds on the filter, and pour hot water over the grounds. Stir for a few seconds and then use the plunger to force the water through the filter into the waiting mug.

Some of the benefits of using this method include the disposable paper filter that removes most, if not all, of the coffee solids, and, as mentioned before, the brew time is super short.

One downside is the need to heat the water in a separate vessel. It might slow things down a bit, but probably not enough to completely counteract the short brew time.

French Press

The French Press is similar to the Aeropress in that it utilizes a plunger-type action. There are a couple of key differences between the devices, though. Where the Aeropress is designed to force the water through the grounds sitting on the filter, the French press works by forcing the grounds to the bottom of the carafe with the plunger acting as the filter.

One of the great things about both the French press and the Aeropress is that the grounds are completely saturated with the water. This allows for full dispersion of all the flavor into each cup of coffee brewed.

Despite the convenience of the compact design, the French press is not without its drawbacks. The biggest one is that it requires a coarser grind as the finer grinds might seep through the filter into the brew.

French Press

Coffee Cone

Coffee cones are fairly self-explanatory. They are a type of filter shaped like a cone. Why does this make a difference? It has more to do with the dispersion of the water through the grounds.

The standard basket filter is a flat-bottomed paper filter. They can be purchased in large quantities at not much cost. The problem with those filters is that when grounds are placed in the filter, they either pile in the center or are spread evenly around the bottom of the filter. Most coffee brewers have a shower arm that puts the water at, or near the center of the filter. With a flat bottomed filter, this may result in a lower saturation of the grounds, with some possibly not being used at all.

With a cone filter, while still made of paper, the coffee grounds are funneled into a point at the bottom of the filter. This allows the water to come in contact with more of the grounds, making them more efficient and resulting in a fuller flavored cup of Joe.

Brewing a fresh cup of coffee is not as difficult as you might think. Not with great little brewing devices such as the ones mentioned here. Everyone deserves a better coffee. Make 2016 the year that you start enjoying this awesome beverage in all its freshly brewed glory. Be warned, though, once you start drinking freshly brewed coffee, you will never be able to go back.

Diet 2016: Back to Basics with Calories


Diets can be tricky: it can be confusing when deciding the best way to lose weight. There are many different methods, all of which can work well, but regardless of more exotic approaches, if you understand the calorie principle then you will be several steps nearer to controlling your weight for good. Calories have been speculated over in all kinds of ways, but in reality it is very simple. As time passes, we eat a lot of food and at the same time we burn calories every day. We must also remember that the drinks we drink can also be very high in calories. Alcohol is calorific and even if you’re enjoying a Dry January, your waistline will not thank you for drinking a ton of full-fat milkshakes.

So, taking into account everything, food and drink alike, whether we gain or lose weight is all simply a question of balance. If we consume more calories than we need it will definitely lead to weight gain. If we consume fewer calories than we burn, then we will lose weight. Here’s more detail about how to win the calorie war.

How Many Calories Should We Eat?

An average man needs around 2500 calories a day to maintain his weight. For an average woman, that figure is around 2000 calories a day. Many plans recommend that you reduce your intake by just 600 calories per day, others are stricter. It is not recommended that anyone drop below 1000 calories per day when trying to lose weight.

Why Try to Lose Weight?

Losing weight is well worth the effort and not just for looks. When we carry excess weight we are at far greater risk of a wide range of serious health problems. First, when we eat and drink more calories than we need, our bodies store the excess as body fat. Fat is not just unsightly, it can be very dangerous for our health, particularly the extra pounds of fat that so many of us can carry around our belly area. If this weight gain goes unchecked and continues over time then we will become overweight, and can even become obese.

Being overweight or obese causes an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Many adults in the West need to lose weight, and to do this they need to eat and drink fewer calories. Combining these changes with increased physical activity is the best way to achieve a healthier weight.

Remember, achieving a healthy weight is all about striking the right balance between the energy that you put into your body, and the energy that you use. To lose weight, you have to use more energy than you consume in food and drinks throughout the day.

Calorie Cutting: Low-fat Food

It makes sense to most people that if you don’t want to be fat, then you should probably eat less of it, right? This is common sense… but it is not the whole story by any stretch of the imagination. There are different types of fats and they act within your body in very different ways.

Everyone needs some fat as the body requires it to function properly. A small amount of healthy fat helps the body to function at optimum levels. But remember the calorie/ energy-burning balance.

Fat is very calorific every gram of fat contains 9 calories. Compare that to other macro-nutrients:

Protein: 1 gram = 4 calories

Carbohydrates: 1 gram = 4 calories

Alcohol: 1 gram = 7 calories

Eat too much fat and, at 9 calories per gram, it will obviously be fattening. However, not all fats stack up the same nutritionally and some fats are better for you than others.

All About Fats

These include both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats come from plants and include olive oil, corn oil, and avocadoes among others. If you are trying to lose weight you should really stick to this category of fat on your diet.

Saturated fats come from animal products, for example meat and dairy foods. They increase the risk of heart disease because they raise the “bad” LDL cholesterol in the body. Only 10% or less of your daily calories should be from saturated fats.

Trans Fats are the worst types of fats to eat and too many of them can impact hugely on our health. Trans fats can be found in products like margarines as well as in many unhealthy snacks such as processed foods including cookies, cakes, pies, ready meals and potato chips. Trans fats can actually raise your bad cholesterol and as such, many medical experts recommend that you avoid them altogether.

Why Low Fat, Low Cal Works

On a low-fat diet, you restrict your calorie intake through fat to a lower than normal percentage. For example, on a normal weight-loss diet of 1,200 calories, you will limit fats to only 20% of total daily intake. This basically means that you can have 240 calories, or 26 grams, of fat each day, with a maximum of 120 calories, or 13 grams, coming from saturated fat. That leaves you with nearly a full 1,000 calories to “spend” on protein and carbohydrates.

Most dieticians would still encourage the consumption of some low-fat dairy products. They are rich in calcium and vitamin D and these help preserve and build muscle mass during a diet. The higher the percentage of fat in your body and the less muscle, the worse your ability to burn calories. Conversely, having a good muscle mass is essential for maintaining a super-efficient metabolism.

The Thermogenic Factor

Certain foods have a very high thermogenic effect, so you literally torch away the calories as you eat on your diet. Other foods contain nutrients and compounds that add kindling to your metabolic fire. Feed your metabolism with these wonderful dietary additions.

Whole grains

When your body tries to break down whole foods your body burns twice as many calories. This is especially true when it comes to those foods which are rich in fibre, like oatmeal and brown rice. If you only consume processed foods, you lose this advantage, as well as lots of fibre and vital nutrients.

Whole grains

Lean meats

Lean protein really is the dieters’ friend and it has a very high thermogenic effect. Did you know that you burn about 30% of the calories the food contains during digestion? This means that a 300-calorie chicken breast requires about 90 calories to break it down.


One cup of lentils packs in an amazing 35% of your daily iron needs. This is fabulous news, since up to 20% of us are iron-deficient. When you lack a nutrient, your metabolism slows down because the body’s not getting everything that it needs to work efficiently and to lose weight, your body needs to be working as efficiently as possible.

Hot peppers

Want to add some real fire to your metabolism and burn calories to diet as efficiently as possible? Capsaicin, the compound that gives chilli peppers their heat, warms up your body, so that you burn off additional calories. You can get it by eating raw, cooked, dried, or powdered peppers.

Green tea

It is a proven fact that good green tea infusions can help you dramatically lose weight, more than any other drink (apart from water). Drinking four cups of green tea a day helped people shed more than six pounds in eight weeks, as it was reported following a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. There is a compound in the green tea called EGCG and it temporarily speeds metabolism after sipping it.

Fabulous fish

Salmon is high in protein and contains essential omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to regulate a vital body hormone called leptin, which is involved in the regulation of energy, causing an increased caloric burn. Tuna is also an excellent source of omega-3s and should freely be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.

Page 2 of 6