Coffee and Laptops

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So it’s a Tuesday morning and it’s pouring buckets of rain.  It’s been the same for 3 days now…kinda reminds me of the good ole days in Prince Rupert and Vancouver where I spent my childhood and then university life before making the trek to Asia the first time.  I’m sitting in a cozy coffee shop, except it isn’t that cozy as in Hong Kong when it rains, it doesn’t mean it’s cold outside.  It’s only slightly cooler, but still sweaty and humid out so when you’re inside anywhere, the air conditioner is usually blasting.  So now what to write?

Since I started Mutu, I’ve been pretty good about cutting down on my sugar intake.  So previously, I’d order a milky (soy milk) latte sometimes a flavoured one that is probably full of sugar.  Now, when I order, I usually order an Americano and I’ll add full cream and a few sprinkles of cinnamon and it smells and tastes pretty yum.  I don’t really miss my flavoured coffee drinks anymore.  And I’ve also been working on cooking and making more of our own foods.  My latest cooking and creating experiments include granola dust (thanks Jamie Oliver), elderberry extract for boosting immunity and helping with combating flu symptoms (thanks WellnessMama).  I’ve also been using Sophie Guidolin’s recipes for making our own salad dressings.  She even shows you how to make tomato sauce (ketchup), bbq sauce, etc.

Now that I’ve completed the 12 week program, the challenge is maintaining fitness.  I have to say this week has been a bit of a fail already.  The weather not being helpful but just running around with the kids has made it a bit more challenging to fit in any workouts.  I will say that MuTu is great though.  Learning about one’s body, fitness and eating better has all been positives from joining MuTu.  This not only helps me but it will help my whole family to see exercise and eating right as part of a happy life.

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School Has Officially started for Both Kiddies

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So today, my youngest started school at his new kindy/kindergarten.  I think mommy was more nervous about it than little “A”.   Technically, today was the second day but due to sickness he didn’t make it yesterday.  “A” was very excited and since he had gone to his orientation a couple months ago, he sort of knew where he was going so he was directing me and his auntie to his new school.  It was really sweet.  When we arrived, I think he was just a tiny bit nervous so he asked me to take him to his classroom which I did.  His teachers were very welcoming and we were early so he could pick an activity to do.  Once he was playing I told him it was time for me to leave.  He hesitated for a couple minutes but he was okay and he said goodbye to me.  No tears!  What a victory!  I still remember the previous year where I sat in the parent area for over a month before I could leave his sight.

I guess he’s really grown up in the past few months and it’s crazy to know that I just completed the online applications for his primary school that he’ll enter next year!  Yikes!

I’m just hoping he’ll have a great year!  I already think it’s started out pretty great.  At pick up, he was super happy and he told me he made a new friend.  We celebrated with a visit to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and then now a movie night since tomorrow is a statutory holiday for us in Hong Kong.

I know some of you haven’t quite started school yet but I know it’s coming so have a great year everyone!

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Review: Float On Hong Kong

IMG_0928Have you heard of “floating”?  It has nothing to do with any drugs or jumping out of airplanes.  It’s the newest rage and it’s pretty amazing.  It’s all to do with taking a time out and relaxing in a sensory deprivation tank or “dreampod”, where you get to float in a tank filled with epsom salts and magnesium in water.  We often get caught up in the busy-ness of life and where we live that we forget to take some quiet time for ourselves and just reflect and relax.

So, on Tuesday, I was given the opportunity to try out a session at Hong Kong’s first sensory deprivation centre, Float On HK  It’s located on 89 Caine Road, just a 5 min walk from the midlevel escalators.  As soon as you walk in, you can feel a calmness.  You take your shoes off at the door and leave the busy-ness there and sit in the comfy beanbags or the beautiful rug that reminds you of the ocean.  After filling out a simple waiver, Dee showed me the pod room.  First, you undress, then put in earplugs, shower with the soap provided, dry off your face and hop right into the pod.  I chose to float for 45min.  You can also do 60min.  I know I have a hard time relaxing and meditating so I wanted to ease into it.  For the first 8 min you hear relaxing ocean sounds and then it’s quiet.  The pod is also lit with a soothing light.

This was my first float experience so I didn’t know what to expect.  So I just let myself relax and float which was really easy to do.  I tried to let my body melt into the water and it was beautiful.  Your body is perfectly cradled in the water.  I started with the pod closed and that was fine, not claustrophobic at all. After about 10min, I did feel a bit warm though and cracked open the pod a little.  There’s a little facecloth inside for you to wipe your face off and a little spray bottle to spritz your face.  There’s also a cut pool noodle also available if you need to rest your neck.

I was ok for about another 10-15min but then the unexpected happened.  I started to feel a little seasick and a bit nauseous.  I sat up for a bit and tried to cool down a bit with the spray bottle and opening up the pod.  I tried to float a little longer, but I couldn’t ignore it anymore so I got out of the pod and showered off.  I got dressed and went back in the waiting room to have some water.  I think the reason why I started to feel sick was that I failed to read the guidelines on the website which recommended a light meal or snack before floating and my last meal before floating was 4.5 hours before so my stomach was probably too empty.  It’s also recommended not to drink coffee before floating.

So unfortunately, my first session was shortened, but I do look forward to trying it again. When I was floating and not feeling sick, I did feel like my body was getting lightly massaged by the water.  Right now, they have a special introductory offer and you can get a 3 float pack for $1350 (3-60min floats).  You can call and book your float at +852 25482844

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Post-MuTu 12 week system

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Hello all!  Here’s my latest photo from doing the MuTu system.  I’ve completed the 12 weeks, but I’ve decided to keep up with the workouts, but also add in some running.  I went for a run on Wednesday, 25min total of running and walking.  I woke up on Thursday with a bit of soreness, but nothing unmanageable.  Yesterday and today, I did the intensives and felt pretty good.  I’m keeping up with the daily core workouts too.  I think the only thing that I haven’t been the greatest at is the food.  I’ve made some changes, but working on making more changes.  I think the main thing is getting the right food during my shops so planning is key!

Hope those of you that have decided on trying out MuTu are feeling and seeing some progress.  It’s very motivating when you can see and feel some difference!

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Back to School: Here goes another year!

I can’t believe how quick the time flies by!  It’s that time of year again where we set an alarm;  pack school lunches and rush to catch school buses.  This year, my daughter, S started year 2 on Monday which is equivalent to grade 1 in Canada.  My son will start K2 which is like junior kindergarten in Canada.  He will start at a different school this fall so he can get a little more structure to prepare for when he needs to start primary next year.  Eek, my babies are growing up!  S is at school from 830-245 and A will be at school from 930-1230.  Full day school involves school lunches and some days are easier than others to decide what to pack for lunch.

My daughter won’t eat sandwiches so we have to pack hot lunches.  So far, we make some pasta with pesto sauce, meatballs, chicken soup and leftover lasagna.  This weekend, we will try a few new recipes.  I came across a couple posts with some lunchbox ideas so I will post the successful ones.  We made some Beef, Quinoa and Mushroom meatballs and you can find the recipe here.  They weren’t quite a hit on their own, but I was able to cook them and mix them up into a lasagna sauce.  The recipe makes loads so we cooked and froze some and left half raw so they can be easily cooked into a sauce.

Thankfully, my son doesn’t need lunch yet, but I think I need to create an box of recipes that work so I have an arsenal of food ideas.  I just purchased and downloaded the cookbooks by Sophie Guidolin.  Once I start tackling her ideas, I will post ones that work for us.

Hope everyone has a great year!

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The Magic of Cold Brew Coffee

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What is a cold brewed coffee?   I wondered this after my friend served me some at her house.  You can read her awesome blog here.  She’s taught me a lot over the last couple years that we’ve been friends.  So I went to google and read about it but at first it seemed a bit overwhelming and labour intensive.

With summer in Hong Kong being so hot and humid though, a hot coffee can even be more sweat inducing so after a month of just thinking about it, another post came up on my facebook feed from Jamie Oliver so I checked it out and decided to finally give it a try.  I was in the shops yesterday and bought a fido jar to brew the coffee in.  The recipe and method seemed easy enough so I went for it.  Here’s what you need:

Coarse ground coffee (the coarser the easier to filter out later)

A glass container (I bought a 1.5 liter one)

Cold (filtered) water

The ratio is 1:8 (so I filled my measuring cup with coffee to 150mL) then added 8 x 150mL of cold water.  Then stirred the coffee in the water so that its well-mixed.  I closed the lid and then stuck in the fridge.  The method on Jamie Oliver’s site recommends 18-24 hours but I guess it depends how strong you want your coffee.

Once brewed, you need to pour over a strainer into a big bowl.  Put the grounds in a bowl (to add to our little garden as compost), then did that a few times.  I rinsed out the jar after the 3rd time and then put a nut bag into the jar to strain the rest of the grinds out of the coffee.  This is probably the most time consuming part and you might need an extra hand here to hold the strainer as you pour.  Since making this, my friend showed me where to buy a jug that has a built in filter so once I have one of those, I’ll share some pics with you!

For this first time, I made the coffee around noon yesterday and had it this morning with some coconut cream and ice around 8am today.  It was lovely.  Very smooth and no iced coffee acid-y taste.  Cold brewed coffee isn’t magic but it sure is a lovely beverage for those summery hot days!

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Making a Healthy Snack: Cereal bars

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Today, I tackled a new snack using Mango Menu’s recipe.  She has some great recipes!  For this Back to school recipe, click here.  I didn’t add the cherries as I know my kids will not eat them.  I combined the maple syrup with the honey I had in the cupboard.  I used dessicated coconut as I didn’t have plain shredded coconut.  I think if I were to make these for my daughter to take to school, I could substitute the peanut butter with almond butter, but I didn’t have any on hand and need her to taste test these ones first when she gets home from school.  My son helped me with these today by pressing the buttons on the food processor and pouring and mixing the ingredients together.  They’re pretty easy to make and didn’t take much time at all!

What you need:

1 cup of oats (I just used regular quick cooking oats)

½ cup shredded coconut

½ cup dried cherries (left these out)

¼ cup pitted dates (I used medjool dates)

1/3 cup maple syrup/honey or a combination

¼ cup peanut butter/sunbutter

Handful cacao nibs

Butter to grease the tray (just used baking paper to line the baking tray)

Method:

Blend your dates in the food processor until they form a paste.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl: dates, cherries, oats, coconut and cacao nibs.

Combine the honey/maple syrup and peanut butter in a small saucepan and warm it on the hob until it’s runny.

Fold the dry ingredients into the pan of honey/maple syrup and peanut butter, and mix well.

Spoon the whole mixture onto the baking tray and flatten it down with a spoon. It should be about 1cm high.

Refrigerate for an hour then cut into bars. They are soft and gooey so best kept in the fridge. If you like a crunchier cereal bar, bake them at 190c for 10-15 minutes, then cut into bars and store in an airtight container.

Makes around 10 bars.

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OH my Gosh, I made it to Week 12

Whoohoo!  I’m in the middle of my last week of MuTu.  I can’t believe how quickly it has gone by.  I only repeated one of the weeks once (week 8) due to holidays, but otherwise, I’ve been really good with the workouts. Today I did my third intensive and still doing my core workouts everyday.  My walks are not the greatest…more incidental like doing the shopping or taking the kids out.

On the food front, I need to do a bit more work, but I did make some improvements.  I’ve cut down on my bread intake by a lot.  I was having toast almost every morning.  Instead, I usually make a fruit smoothie with my handy //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=theadven08-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00C6MWPNK&asins=B00C6MWPNK&linkId=X4GBECGNVXPPC3AW&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>Vitamix (in Hong Kong, where I live you can purchase a Vitamix from Citysuper and Wing On).  I then have an omelette (with some vegetables and coriander) for breakfast.  I have about one coffee a day–made with a French press.  Usually add a bit of milk, some cinnamon and sometimes a bit of ghee.  No more 3 in 1 coffees and I rarely get a latte anymore when out.  If I do treat myself, it’s an Americano so no extra sugar.  I’m a little more relaxed for my lunch (carb-wise) and then for dinner I try to cut down on my carb intake most of the week.

Since school holidays started, I was able to keep up with the workouts but the walking has really suffered.  However, I’m ok with this as I’ll keep up with the MuTu system by purchasing the MuTu app and just continuing with the system diet suggestions.

My goal after week 12 is to continue with my alignment focus, doing the intensives and cores and then as the weather cools down, I really want to add in a couple runs a week to boost my cardio workouts.

When I purchased MuTu, I was hoping to become fitter and stronger and I’ve definitely achieved that.  I want to continue on with these goals.  If you are feeling like you are in a rut and want to feel stronger and better about yourself, check out the MuTu system.  I think it was a great investment to myself!  Click here for more info!

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MuTu Week 11!

Wow, the time really has gone by fast.  My focus has been working out with some diet modifications.  Mostly just improving my food intake but not really focusing on it so I haven’t really lost any weight, but I can tell I’m toning my muscles.  I can see it and feel it for sure, thanks to all of those squats and lunges in my intensive workouts.  Today we tried the Intensive #4 workout and it went ok.  Also mixed a bit of the core workouts first.  My walks aren’t very good either.  It’s a little more difficult with both of my kids at home for their summer holidays and they are being extra needy these days.

Last week, I tried a couple new recipes–one for me and one for the kids.  I tried Nom Nom Paleo’s Spicy Tuna Cakes.  They were easy to make and delicious to eat.  I didn’t have ghee the first time, so substituted with coconut oil which was fine.  Then I did it with the ghee and it was ok too.  Then for the kids I tried Beef, Quinoa and Mushroom Meatballs.  Click here for the recipe.  My daughter didn’t love them as I didn’t season as much as I should have.  I had forgotten as the recipe didn’t call for it so I would recommend a bit more salt and pepper when you make them.  They were super easy to make and it makes a lot so make sure you have some freezer space.  Today for my lasagna sauce, I added about a dozen of the meatballs to the sauce to make it a meaty sauce and the kids loved it.

I think one of the great things about the MuTu system is that it’s motivating to try new things in kitchen and to eat better.  I’ve been drinking coffee with only milk in it and also not really having lattes out as much either and trying not to have too many sugary drinks.  My weakness is snacks though so trying not to have too many chips, but I’ll let myself have a bit of dark chocolate and a glass of wine here and there:!

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Week 10 on MuTu, Staying Accountable

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So, here I am at week 10, only repeating one of the weeks once (week 8) due to holidays.  I’m still pretty happy with where I am in my progress.  There isn’t too much change in appearance.  However, I haven’t been very diligent with my walks.  This week, we are amping up to 5 intensive workouts and a new core workout.  My diet could also improve, but still doing well with no sugar in my coffee.  Eating more salads  as been achieved and also eating less bread.  It’s a bit tougher with kids at home from school, but my daughter has actually joined in on some workouts which makes me very happy.

Over the weekend, I purchased my first pair of “barefoot” sandals.  I picked up a pair of Sanuk Yoga Sling sandals which I love!  They are super comfy and are made from yoga mats.  Wish me luck for this week!

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