Stuffed Peppers

I remember the first time I ever came across stuffed peppers was on a back-packing trip around the Greek islands back in 2003!. My wife and I spied all the other tables being served up a fabulous stuffed pepper dish and we vowed to make our own when we got home. Years later I perfected my own version - it's been tweaked along the way (the latest variation being Braggs seasoning which is a new discovery for me to replace the high-sodium soy sauce I previously used). It's one my all time favourite 'comfort food' recipes, and it comes together quicker than you'd think!


  • 1/2 cup whole grain rice
  • 2 Red bell peppers
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 2 Rashers streaky smoked bacon, finely chopped for a wicked flavour
  • 4 green onions including stems finely chopped
  • 1 Chilli finely chopped
  • Big handful of mushrooms chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (home grown is awesome! ;-) - my wifes recipe for freezer canning our homegrown tomatoes is here)
  • Grated Cheddar cheese
  • Braggs Seasoning & Worcestershire Sauce

  1. Cook rice according to packet instructions.
  2. Cut pepper in half lengthways (leave stalks in or the mixture will fall out), remove seeds and briefly grill inside first, then turn over and 'fast' grill skin side until skin starts to blister and blacken.
  3. Meanwhile, in a wok lightly fry garlic, chilli, bacon, spring onions & mushrooms. Add to wok ingredients; chopped tomatoes, and Braggs seasoning and Worcestershire sauce to taste. I like to add plenty of black pepper at this point. (To keep it moist add pure tomato juice)
  4. Once rice is cooked add to wok and stir all ingredients together. Taste and amend seasonings as required.
  5. Carefully spoon mixture into peppers and cover with grated cheese. Put under grill until cheese browns.

Old Year’s resolutions!

Six useful tips to make sure 2013 is the year you really change your fitness for ever…

Start Early
Why wait until the New Year; there’s still two weeks of December left and that is a serious head start! Some good reasons here… 
  • You’ll be ahead of the game and over the initial aches come Jan 2nd when everyone else is just starting. 
  • You can ‘indulge’ more over the holidays because you’re already working toward a fitter you. This will also have the secondary benefit of making you less likely to go overboard while all around you are letting go until the New Year.
  • You will have far more attention from the trainers, due to the fact that most people will wait until January when the gym staff will be swamped. This will have the roll on effect of them knowing you early and will probably take more interest in you later on.

Start slowly
The biggest mistake most people make when they start a new fitness drive is to go too hard too soon! There’s a reason why most New Year’s ‘fitness’ resolutions fail and this is because people set themselves unrealistic goals. They stop eating anything ‘bad’ and train until near exhaustion every day – right from day one! And yes, they may feel awesome for the first week, month or even longer, but there is a point where it is natural for the body to level out and feel like the improvements have died off. This is precisely the point where most people decide it’s just too much hard work for too little gain and so they go back to their old ways – and stay there. The sure fire trick is to take ‘small steps for big gains’; if you enjoyed burgers and fries before you started out, then there’s a good chance you’ll still enjoy them for a good while to come yet. The same with a lazy day on the sofa… and if this is you, then keep doing it and enjoy it, don’t beat yourself up about it! As long as you’re still making small steps in the right direction you’re far more likely to succeed. Remember – all things in moderation, including moderation…
Coach yourself
Ask yourself these questions;
  • Why did this not work last time I tried it and what can I do different to succeed this time?
  • Am I just looking for a quick fix or do I really intend to change my life for the better here on in? (Hint – only one of these works…) 
  • What happens if I give up this time?
  • If not now, then when?

Set yourself realistic goals
Decide on what you really want to achieve and by when; state your intentions for one month’s time, three months and six months time. Don’t just say something without really thinking about it; ask yourself “can I achieve this in the given time?” It’s a much overused idea but actually visualize your success – how you will look and how you will feel. Save the money you spend on junk food or put a dollar away ever time you workout, and then use that money to treat yourself when you achieve each goal.

Find an accountability buddy
Don’t go it alone! Find someone who will support you through this change, but not someone in your situation! Why not? Because although that person will be a great support while all is going well, what happens when either of you start to fade, where is the support then? Choose someone who is already fit and healthy, the fitter the better! Why? Because they are what you are inspiring to become, they are already there and will be there for you however tough it becomes. They won’t let you down and they won’t let you give up! If you have a ‘super athletic’ boss or senior, tell them your plans and imagine how you’d feel if you later have to tell them that you’ve given up! Virtually all super fit people love to encourage others to be more like them and no, they won’t belittle or patronize you - consider it free coaching!
State your intentions in the comments section below and I promise to support you through thick and thin…
You can do anything for twenty minutes!
Still not sure you can do it? Make a list of ten things, (seriously, any ten things!) you’ve achieved in your life so far. Now compare any one of those achievements with a twenty minute workout, doesn’t seem so tough now does it…?

I leave you with one last thought;
In a year from now, will you wish you’d started today???

Almond & Apple Overnight Oats

I've been loving the ease and simplicity of all these overnight oats recipes and have tried out a few that I'd seen on Pinterest. For this I just went with what I know and love and concocted something myself (besides we still have about 40lbs of apples in our garage!)
It's totally delicious either warm or cold.
Ingredients (makes around 7 servings - 1 cup each)
  • 1.5 cups steel cut oats
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2.5 cups Almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2.5 cups unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
Soak the oats and chia seeds overnight in the milk in the fridge. Next morning add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Store ready to eat in an airtight container in the fridge.
Adjust the maple syrup and applesauce for your sweetness preference - we used homemade applesauce made with Honey Crisp apples (and nothing else) - they are quite a sweet variety - but then I've got a sweet tooth!
My wife and I are creatures of habit, especially when it comes to breakfast, so after having smoothies to start our day for the last 4 years this was pretty ground-breaking stuff to be switching to something new - This packs 13g of protein so it's a great filling start to your day!
*Nutition data calculated using All figures are approximate

FREE Tele-class on 20th January!

EDITED: 8th January 2013 - We're very sorry but the January 20th webinar tele-class is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. We will be rescheduling some time in the near future. Please accept our apologies.

I'm exicited to be guest speaking for a Tele-class to be held on 20th January 2013. Lori Black of Healthy Nutrition Healthy Life is presenting a class about 'How to release weight and feel great by eating the right kinds of foods'. I'll be talking to the class a
bout the importance of integrating exercise into our lives for our health and wellbeing.

Did I mention this class is FREE and you can listen in from the comfort of your own home!

To reserve your spot in this FREE tele-class just send an email with Jan 20th in the subject line to


Christmas Survival Guide - simple tips for a stress free Christmas

Healthy eating & nutrition
  • It may sound obvious but eat as healthy as you can most of the time. Have your normal meals at home or before the guests arrive; save the‘bad stuff’ for those special events. Remember the 90/10 rule.
  • Eat a good wholesome meal before you head out to parties. The benefits are two fold; eating healthy before will reduce the temptation to eat junk food, and you’ll be less hungry in the first place. Nutritious food relieves hunger, junk wrong food produces it!
  • Put your snacks on a plate; this lets you see just how much you’re eating. Picking from the table as you go can hide just how much you’re getting through.
Keeping active
  • Sitting in the house a day eating, drinking and watching repeats on TV is the perfect antidote to being active; not only does it stop you taking exercise, but it also has the effect of then not wanting to exercise.
  • Try ‘sneaking’ out of the house early in the morning before the family gets up and the mayhem starts. No one will miss you for an hour so take a walk, get some fresh air and calm your mind before the day begins in earnest.
  • Later in the day, suggest an outside activity; you might be surprised how many people ‘almost’ want some fresh air, just not quite enough to suggest it themselves. And who knows who will take you up on the offer; this may be the perfect time to get to really chat to the aunt you only see once a year, or get to bond with an in law.
  • If at all possible, put the time in on the lead up to the holidays and get caught up with work beforeyou take off. Don’t imagine you’ll suddenly have plenty of spare time to catch up at home – it doesn’t happen. Then use any spare time you do have to think open-mindedly about the following year or coming months. Brainstorm yourself so you go back to work in the new year full of enthusiasm and ideas on how to do things more efficiently/effectively.
  • Ah, the big one, the one that has the power to bring everything down, the biggest cause of stress during the season of ‘goodwill’! You may be spending time with people you wouldn’t normally choose to, or people you actively dislike. Is it really worth the added stress to be awkward? Even if you think it’s their fault, be the bigger person – smile and say something nice, you may be pleasantly surprised. Welcome them to your home, thank them for the invite, prepare a question or two that isn’t just polite small talk, ask about something you know they are interested in. even if the other person knows you’re ‘faking it’, they may appreciate the gesture and commit to doing the same. Who knows, you may even both see the irony of the situation and things will only go better from there. Most importantly – avoid at all costs, topics or subjects that you know you won’t agree on.
  • And as for the people you’re closest to; make the big effort as things start to get tense, to defuse any potential situation before it gets out of hand. Remind each other before hand and constantly as you go, that this will be tough for both of you and that you both need to work together for the better good. The key word here – communicate!
  • An easy one for many people as after all, for most people this time of year originated as a religious celebration. But what if you’re not religious, where does spirituality fit into things? Peace, quiet, serenity…again, go out into nature alone, appreciate the good in your life. Take yourself off to a quiet room and meditate or practice yoga. Take a bath or just read a book for a while; anything to quiet your mind and revitalize the real you. Then go back out and enjoy it some more!
However you celebrate this time of year, whatever your beliefs and whatever you get up to – have a great Christmas and all the very best for the New Year…


That's my ‘Wholesome Winter Warming' soup!
  • Large glass of wine – to drink while preparing
  • Half a large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red pepper including seeds
  • Quarter of a red cabbage
  • 2 large carrots
  • Large handful of broccoli
  • Half a cup of lentils (soaked overnight*)
  • Half a cup of barley (soaked overnight*)
  • 2 cups of beans (soaked overnight*)
  • 2 cups of chopped tomatoes – mine were frozen and had herbs in them
  • Large handful of quartered mushrooms – I used crimini as white ones tend to steal flavor
  • A cup or two of quality stock
  • 1 cup of tomato juice
  • 1 glass or so of red wine (this time actually in the soup!)
  • Water to preferred consistency – less for a thicker soup
  • Season to taste with Salt & Pepper, chili flakes, Turmeric, Worcestershire sauce
  • Fry the onion and garlic in your favourite oil until it starts to brown
  • Chop the veg to size – large enough to have substance but small enough to be able to get a nice mix on your spoon
  • Top up your glass
  • Chuck it all in a large pot and bring to the boil
  • Stir occasionally – because stirring is therapeutic
  • Simmer until your patience runs out
  • Serve, (with wine) and eat quickly before anyone else wants any!
  • Use red wine to cleanse the pallet afterwards
Keeps good for days as long as you boil it once a day, and obviously feel free to add any other ingredients that take your fancy! I added some left over homemade turkey meatballs on the second day.I have no idea, nor do I really care about the calorific value but it sure tastes good…;-)
* Soaking grains overnight help to release and reduce Phytic acid. Phytic acid clings to certain minerals like Zinc, Calcium, and Magnesium and prohibits their absorption.

Give the gift of time this Christmas

Are you getting overwhelmed with the amount of unnecessary‘stuff’ in your life? Perhaps you’re feeling the financial pinch this year? Or maybe you just don’t know what to buy your loved one for Christmas? How about giving them your time…

Seriously? Yes seriously! There can be so much pressure to give the perfect gift, (or more commonly, gifts!) that we overspend our budget to ‘prove’ our love. As if there isn’t enough money already flying out of our wallets with all the other costs of the season. So how about this for an idea (and naturally it might be best to get your S/O onside here to save any awkward Christmas morning moments when you are hidden under a pile of wrapping paper while all he/she has is a bunch of envelopes!); 

Give the gift of your time;
  • How about pledge to be her servant for a day; she gets to relax all day while you do everything, and I mean everything. From making the bed in the morning, to cooking, cleaning up, making coffee etc.
  • What about a voucher for a massage for him?
  • Cook her favourite meal
  • Promise to get the kids ready for school for a week
  • Wash and polish his car
  • Breakfast in bed for a week
  • Get creative and make something
You get the picture… all it needs is a little imagination and the joy of giving can last much longer than that one whirlwind hour of opening and piling up (unnecessary?) gifts.

It’s fun, it involves real effort and it can save a fortune. And if you really decide it didn’t work, then don’t do it next year. What have you got to lose, apart from an over sized credit card bill in January…?!
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