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Let mom have a well-earned rest this weekend as you cook up a lovely Mother’s Day Sunday lunch! Here is a delicious yet easy to put together menu for you to share on Sunday!

Menu:

Starter: Asparagus & Ham packages

Main: Delicious Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

Dessert: Raspberry Tiramisu

Asparagus & Ham Packages:

Havarti cheese, asparagus and red peppers make these “packages” ideal for a starter. They are easy to make but the small touches such as using fresh chives to tie them together is what really makes this a special starter!

Ingredients:

16 trimmed fresh asparagus spears

1 medium sweet red pepper cut into 16 strips

226 grams of Havarti cheese cut into 16 strips

8 thin slices deli ham or prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

16 whole chives

Combine the following:

1)      In a large pan, bring about 3 cm of water to the boil.

2)      Add the asparagus, cover and cook for 3 minutes.

3)      Drain and immediately place asparagus in ice water.

4)      Drain again and pat dry.

5)      Place 1 asparagus spear, 1 red pepper strip and 1 cheese strip on each slice of ham.

6)      Roll up tightly and tie together with a chive.

7)      Refrigerate until serving. (makes 16)

Delicious Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach

These appealing pork chops make for the perfect main and will come across really thought out and professionally prepared with a pleasant stuffing.

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

6 diced sun-dried tomatoes

1 bag of frozen spinach (+-284 grams), thawed and excess water squeezed out.

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ cup goats cheese

1/3 cup low-fat cream cheese

4 centre-cut pork chops (113 grams each)

1 ½ cups chicken broth

½ lemon, zested

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Combine the following:

1)      Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over a medium heat.

2)      Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).

3)      Add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook until these are combined (about 2 more minutes).

4)      Transfer the mixture into a medium bowl. Add the goats cheese and cream cheese. Stir to combine and set aside.

5)      Using a sharp knife carefully cut a pocket into the thickest portion of the pork chop.

6)      Stuff each pocket with ¼ of the spinach and sun-dried tomato mixture and close the pork around the stuffing. Season the outside of the pork with salt and pepper.

7)      In a small bowl combine the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and mustard.

8)      Warm the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over a medium to high heat. When the pan is hot add the pork.

9)      Cook until golden brown and cooked through (about 4 minutes per side).

10)  Transfer the pork to a side dish and tent with foil to keep warm.

11)  Add the chicken broth mixture to the pan over a medium-high heat.

12)  Scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the chicken broth simmers. Reduce the broth to half to make a light sauce (about 8 minutes). Spoon some of the sauce over the pork before serving.

Raspberry Tiramisu:

Tiramisu, which literally means “pick me up,” is a popular Italian dessert and the perfect way to make mom smile on Mother’s day! This variation, which features raspberries rather than coffee and chocolate, is what make this dessert memorable.

Ingredients:

2 packets of fat-free cream cheese (227 grams), softened.

¼ cup of sugar (or 6 packets of sweetener/ sugar substitute)

2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup of water + ¼ cup water

1 packet of sugar-free lemon flavoured gelatin (4-serving size)

2 cups of thawed frozen, fat-free, non-dairy whipped topping

½ cup red raspberry preserves

2 packets of ladyfingers (biscuits)

500 grams of fresh raspberries or thawed frozen raspberries.

Combine the following:

1)      Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl.

2)      Beat with an electric mixer at a high speed until smooth and set aside.

3)      Combine water and gelatin in a small, microwaveable bowl and microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until water is boiling and gelatin has dissolved. Cool slightly.

4)      Add gelatin mixture to cheese mixture and beat for 1 minute. Add the whipped topping and beat another minute, scraping the side of the bowl. Set aside.

5)      Now whisk together preserves and water in a small bowl until well blended.

6)      Reserve 2 tablespoons of preserves mixture and set aside.

7)      Spread 1/3 cup of the preserves mixture evenly over the bottom of a 28 x 18 cm glass baking dish.

8)      Split the ladyfingers in half and place in the bottom of the dish.

9)      Spread half of the cheese mixture evenly over the ladyfingers and sprinkle 1 cup of raspberries evenly over this mixture. Top with the remaining ladyfingers and spread the remaining preserves over this.

10)  Finally top with the remaining cheese mixture.

11)  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

12)  Drizzle with the reserved 2 tablespoons of preserves mixture and sprinkle with the remaining raspberries before serving.

Don’t you think your Mother will just LOVE this menu?

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A recent survey shows that women prefer wines they know to be more expensive.

According to research by the Stockholm School of Economics and Harvard University women attach more value to pricey bottles of wine than the actual taste.

Research showed that disclosing the price of the wine before it was tasted generally resulted in much higher wine ratings.

During the study conducted by Johan Almenberg of Harvard University, 266 volunteers in Boston, US were asked to taste one of two Portuguese red wines, one costing five US dollars (R40) while the other cost US40 (R300).

One-third of the volunteers were told the price before the tasting while other volunteers learned the price afterwards.

Women appeared to give far higher ratings when they were told that what they were about to drink was expensive.

Men did not seem that affected by the price, they appeared to go more on taste. But women certainly seemed affected by the price – and this impacted on their wine rating.

Interestingly enough though, in a blind tasting both sexes gave higher ratings for the cheaper wine than for the more expensive wine.

Almenberg said the impact of pricing on women could be “something evolutionary”.

“If you look for what women find attractive in a man, the pay cheque is probably not that important for either sex, but a lot of women attach more importance to that than men do,” he said.

Source: food24.com

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Forget punishing gym regimes and endless salads. The key to keeping trim could be cracking open the red wines.

Women who enjoy a glass or two of wine a day put on less weight than those who stick to mineral water or soft drinks, research shows – with red wine particularly forgiving.

The finding, from a long-term study of almost 20,000 women, suggests that the body processes the calories in alcohol differently to those in food.

And that puts it at odds with the general assumption among dieters that alcohol is fattening.

The conclusion could explain why French and Italian women seem to avoid piling on the pounds despite routinely drinking wine with meals.

For the latest study, 19,200 American women aged 39 and over were asked about their drinking habits. Their weight- gain was then recorded for the next 13 years.

Perhaps not surprisingly, all of the women tended to gain weight.

However, the four in ten who said they were teetotal gained the most inches, the Archives of Internal Medicine reports.

The fewest inches were gained by those who drank ‘moderate’ amounts – perhaps a glass or two of wine a day.

Read more …

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The festive season is famous for bringing family and friends together. This will undoubtedly result in more social eating and of course drinking. Here are some principles to apply this season:

Know your limits:

Safe and healthy alcohol intake levels are 30g/day for men and 20g/day for women (women generally have less of the enzyme that helps break down alcohol in the body).

This means that one unit of alcohol a day is considered safe and healthy for an adult female and two units for a male. One unit = 340ml beer, tot (25ml) spirits, 50ml port, sherry or muscadel or 120ml wine.

Moderation is the  key:

Spread your weekly alcohol allowance as evenly as possible over seven days. Infrequent bingeing on alcohol can bring on attacks of gout or pancreatitis, and may cause abnormalities in heart rhythms and increases your risk of cancer.

Stretch your intake:

Use plenty of ice, water or soda water in spirit drinks or white wine (to make a spritzer); this dilutes the alcohol while increasing the volume so you drink less. Ensure your first drink is some other liquid e.g. a mineral water or a cooldrink – your alcoholic beverage should not be used as a thirst quencher.

Arrive alive:

On average it will take the liver about an hour to break down one unit of alcohol. So even after a night’s sleep, if you have had six cans of beer or two bottles of wine, you could still be over the legal limit the next day. Remember that, when driving.

Being fitter makes no difference to the rate of absorption. But, the absence or presence of food and the type of fluid that accompanies the alcohol does. Alcohol consumed on an empty stomach is more rapidly absorbed. Water and fruit juices mixed with alcohol slow the absorption process, whereas carbonated drinks (because of the carbon dioxide) will speed it up. Warm alcohol is absorbed quicker than cold alcohol.

Weight gain:

The calorie content of alcoholic beverages (which depends on the percentage of alcohol, the type of beverage and the type of mixture) plus the behaviour associated with drinking all have their part to play in the effect it will have on your weight.

When drinking alcohol, you tend to snack more, especially on the high fat foods, often available in social drinking environments. Eating high in fat take-away food (e.g. pies or burgers) late at night is another typical problem which arises after drinking, especially in students and young adults.

If you are watching your waistline, consider that one unit of alcohol is roughly equivalent to a slice of bread. It is then prudent to occasionally substitute a carbohydrate during the day to compensate for a drink or two that night.

Apply the 24 hour rule for training:

Avoid alcohol in the 24 hours prior to exercise. After exercise, once you have rehydrated and refuelled with carbohydrates, enjoy alcohol (and here I must include the ‘in moderation’). However, if you have any soft tissue injuries or bruising, abstain from alcohol for another 24 hours.

Fake it:

My personal favourite – a Rock Shandy (soda water, angostura bitters, ice and a slice of lemon) gives the impression of being an alcoholic drink, but hardly contains alcohol and calories – a sneaky option when friends continuously want to buy you a drink when they spot you standing empty handed.

Did you know?

Using thinner, taller glasses (especially wine glasses) can help you reduce your consumption. Research shows that people consume more alcohol when drinking out of shorter, wider glasses.

This article was written by dietician Karlien Smit. Read more on iafrica.com

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The holiday looms, and so does Christmas. All you want to do is chill out after what’s been a hard year. But that’s not always the easiest thing to do – you know the bit about life being “the thing that happens while you’re making other plans”.

For some, chilling out may mean booking a camping site 20 km from the nearest village a year in advance. Or going into a Trappist monastery until the festive season is over.

But most people will have a more sociable time – either at home, visiting relatives, or at the seaside somewhere. Who knows, you might need to get back to the office in January to get some rest. In order to get the most out of your break, try and avoid the following festive season stressors.

Guests galore. You have a big house, and over Christmas it fills up with aunties, grannies, nieces, uncles – you name it. Instead of looking after four people, you are now looking after twelve. This is no holiday for you, as you are the unofficial entertainment committee, the caterer, the conflict resolution specialist, and the local cleaner. If you live in a popular destination, you might have to put your foot down. Or at least put together a duty roster for the cooking and the cleaning. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t feel you have to be the unofficial tour guide. Take a day or two off and let the guests entertain themselves.

Feeding frenzy. Food, food, food. It’s all over during the Christmas season and it’s lying in wait for you everywhere, and we’re not talking about celery sticks either. It’s chips, cakes, cheese snacks, chocolates, to name but a few. And, after all, you’re on holiday. So why not? That’s fine, but just don’t get into a new habit. Most people end the festive season with quite a few kilos that were not there in November. Don’t become a festive season fatty.

Booze bonanza. From the office party to friends’ homes, to family barbecues – booze is no stranger to the festive season. And often, other people are paying for it. By all means have a beer or two, if you’re not driving, but don’t binge on booze. Drinking too much is something that carries its own punishment with it, a bit like eating that second helping of hot Indian curry. And do remember, that everyone likes you to have a drink or two, but nobody likes having a social embarrassment at their parties. Fall down drunk, or insult one of the other guests, and you can be sure you’ll be off the party list. Forever.

I’m so lonely. Some people wish everything could be a little quieter. Others wish for a break from the peace and quiet and they dream of the phone ringing or a horde of guests arriving. The secret is to arrange a few things in advance. Invite people for supper, get a friend to go with you to a movie, or organise a day or two away in a different place. Don’t wait until the festive season is upon you before doing something about your social calendar. It’s not going to happen by itself.

Exercise inertia. Most people give their exercise regimes a break during the festive season. It is, after all, the end of the year. Problem is, many people overindulge completely on the food front at the same time, and coupled with a fortnight of couch-potato-ism, your waistline might be expanding at the rate of knots. Go for a walk with the family, run along the beach, play volleyball. Do anything to burn up those extra calories. And get back into it early in the new year.

Credit card crisis. The last of the Big Spenders. If that describes you in the shopping centre with your Christmas bonus and your credit card, you’re obviously a sucker for all those Christmas ads. And you’re going to be stony broke in January, and depressed in February when the credit card statements start arriving. Point is that you can probably buy just as nice a present for R100 as you can for R200, or R400. You just need to plan it well. It’s the thought that counts, not the size of the present.

Sunburn stress. The sun in the southern hemisphere is vicious , and skin cancer is a real danger. And remember that the damage is cumulative. Burning yourself to a crisp or having a whimpering and sunburnt child on your hands, is no way to spend Christmas. Speak to your pharmacist and get a high-factor sunblock before you head for the beach. And speaking of the beach – watch out for bluebottles or pieces of broken glass in the sand.

Crowd control. Think of Christmas, and what many people see are teeming masses of people in a shopping centre, all of them with a mission, and accompanied by at least two unwilling and exhausted kids. It can be avoided – do your gift shopping in November and do a bulk grocery shop before 15 December. Milling crowds can be exhausting, and elicit everything but the Christmas spirit in you. In fact, it can bring on a bout of trolley rage.

Gift of the grab. Frantic last-minute gift-buying is a killer – not only don’t you get what you are looking for, you also spend a fortune on it. Rather than give unwanted and expensive presents, go for gift vouchers – at least people will appreciate them, even if they are not the most personal of offerings.

Family fest. Family. You get them, you don’t choose them. And never is it more obvious than at Christmas time when Uncle Freddy is holding forth on all his achievements, or Aunt Doris is slurring after her third beer. Or your cousin’s kids are running around screaming, chasing your poor cats. Then there are the endless questions about when you are going to tie the knot, have babies etc. Family get-togethers seldom do much for your self-esteem. Just repeat the mantra, “It will soon be over for another year.”

Source: women24.com

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Bill Cosby once said that men and women belong to different species, and communication between them is a science still in its infancy.

This cartoon shows that men and women think differently.

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According to new scientific studies it seems that moderate wine intake can lead to ‘successful ageing’.

New research suggests that middle-aged women who enjoy a couple of glasses of wine a day have a healthier old age. Scientists suggest that moderate drinking can lead to ‘successful ageing’, and cut the risk of stroke, reports the Daily Mail.

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