Yaduna Cook off

Did you know that Heart disease is the number one killer of women? Well I did not know this fact up until Thursday.

Yaduna Women’s Heart Health Center is a medical center founded the former First Lady of Lebanon, HE Mrs. Wafaa Sleiman. It is dedicated for screening and preventing heart disease.

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Although I am actively a part of an NGO; I believe that the world is connected and we live in a place where everything is interrelated and dependent; therefore helping people, supporting NGOs and spreading awareness is one of the simplest forms in which we can help one another.

So, you always hear people talking about a balanced diet and living a healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition is one of the fundamental factors that prevents not only heart disease but also many other diseases.

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Therefore, Yaduna organized a very innovative event on June 2nd that involved a healthy cooking session held at Kitchen Lab – Gemmayzeh.

Lead by a chef, we were split into two teams. We cooked a full quick meal that was made up of a salad, 2 main dish (chicken and fish), and a light desert. After all the mess we made in the kitchen, we ended our fun activity by tasting our master pieces.

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Love Light & F***ing Bright Yoga Retreat

On Saturday May 28, I attended the last day of the Love Light & F***ing bright yoga retreat organized by Trainstation Studio and lead by the beautiful international yoga teacher Dee. The retreat was a 3 day relaxing retreat held at Zenotel Wellness Retreat – Bekfaya.

The day first started with a morning Pranayama and Yin yoga class that I absolutely loved. It was my first time practicing this genre of yoga (I usually practice vinyasa yoga). The poses in yin yoga are usually held for longer periods of time so that the stretches are deep. The class was a gentle and slow class that focuses on stretches and breathing techniques.

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Dee explained every movement in details first, showing us the posture and the variations available for making it more or less challenging as well as slowly guiding us throughout the flows. What I liked about the class is that Dee placed a lot of emphasis on posture and alignment and was concerned about every single person attending the class.

After the class, we had a ginger tea and fresh fruits break. The socializing time was followed by an intense and challenging “yang” style yoga class that is a part of the vinyasa flow. We explored arm balances, sun salutations, and inversions as well as Mantras and Mudras.

After the relaxing and challenging classes, the retreat ended with a vegetarian lunch at the hotel’s earth restaurant.

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I can’t wait for Dee’s next workshop in Lebanon, check out Dee’s instagram page here to stay up to date!

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Bent el Sultan Restaurant

F&B state owners of Set El Hosn, Beit Ward, and Breadberry celebrated the opening of their latest cuisine, an Authentic Lebanese fusion restaurant located in Verdun on May 17, 2018.

A concept inspired by the sultanates era, the restaurant exhibited a beautiful architectural interior as well as many oriental details. Bent El Sultan is not your typical Lebanese restaurant so don’t go with the intention of ordering the same traditional dishes we always have. Although I prefer staying in my comfort zone and ordering the usual; I attempted to try a bit of everything.

Dinner first began with pumpkin soup, beautifully placed inside the pumpkin and served by the waiter. The pumpkin soup was simple and savory.

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Pumpkin Soup

The hummus and baba ghannouj came afterwards, each having a very beautiful and unique design. Their hummus was excellent, just delicious.  I’m known for having a hummus obsession; my family sometimes calls me “Imm Hummus” which means mother of Hummus!

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Hummus

Salads came next, you might be thinking about Tabbouleh and Fattouch. Well no, we had everything but that. We had kale & pomegranate salad, quinoa salad, and Sultan salad. The Kale salad was my favorite, it is served with parsley and rocket leaves.

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Quinoa Salad and fresh pineapple juice

Every dish that was placed on the table came with a detailed explanation by the waiter, informing us about the name of the dish and what it included. This detail made the dining experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

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Kale Salad

More cold mezze kept coming our way such as fried cauliflower with yogurt, yes the combination sounds weird, but it was pretty good. The cauliflower was spicy and dipped in Greek yogurt with homemade butter and spices.

When it comes to the hot appetizers my favorites were the Fatirat Al Kaisar and the Hassan Basha.

The Caesar Pie (Fatirat Al Kaisar) is a pie stuffed with meat and pine similar to Lahim b 3ajeen. The meat was very juicy and the 3ajeen was super soft.

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Fatirat Al Kaisar

The Hassan Basha is a mouthwatering oven-roasted kafta balls with potato, tomato sauce, and cheese.

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Hassan Basha

After tasting all these, the main course arrived. We tried the Shish Taouk and the Shish Fish. Surprisingly, the shish taouk was not the usual chicken breast pieces; on the contrary it was chicken thigh pieces which make it juicier, softer, fattier, and yummier.

It was a lovely meal with intricate tastes and delicate twists on Lebanese favorites. The ambiance was set for a sultan as its name implies and the fabulous company made for a memorable evening.

I don’t want to be SKINNY!

I want to be HEALTHY and HAPPY!

Arab women have always been known for having the beautiful curvy body with focus on the thighs.  However, mainstream media have continuously carved the image of females as being tall, extremely thin, having the tiniest waist line, long legs and perfect skin and hair – changing the perception of the “ideal woman look”. Seeing the perception of women change makes me so sad.

Many people suffer and aim to become this so called “living Barbie”. We live in a world where many people do not appreciate themselves and the lives they live. Many eating disorders have emerged in the pursuit of reaching this unrealistic image that DOES NOT EXIST. But is media purely the one to blame? Definitely not! Media has a great impact in one’s life but personality, attitude, and self confidence are what define you. With the advancement of technology several editing programs such as Photoshop which have excellent features for photography and graphic designers also have the power to make someone look skinnier and flawless.

The aim is not to have a perfect body. I don’t work out to lose weight; I work out to feel healthy, strong, and lean.

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Aiming for perfection is aiming for something unreal. We all have flaws and learning to embrace them and be comfortable with them is the challenge. I have some stretch marks and a few traces of cellulite on my thighs but these imperfections are what make me human. Every human being is beautiful in his/her way and the most beautiful part is how they express their love to their self in front of the world.

When I look around me, I see how blessed I am to have such a beautiful family by my side and most importantly for having good health. Be thankful for what you have, life is a surprising game that can change when we least expect it to. Eat healthy, exercise and be the best version of yourself.

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Chicken Quinoa Salad Recipe

I like my Quinoa salad simple yet flavorful. You can either cut the chicken into cubes and include it in the salad or cook the chicken breast as a whole and have it on the side with the quinoa salad.

Ingredients:

1 cup of Quinoa                                                                     ½ chicken breast

½ avocado                                                                              Black Pepper

2 cucumbers                                                                          Paprika

2 spring onions                                                                     Cumin

Handful of dried cranberries                                            1 clove of Garlic

Handful of walnuts and/or almonds                               2 spoons of Teriyaki

1 small Lemon

1 spoon of olive oil

Salt

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Procedure:

First of all, marinate the chicken. Whether you decide to make chicken cubes or cook the chicken breast as a whole, the seasoning I used is the same. Grate a clove of garlic. Add 2 spoons of teriyaki sauce, some salt, a dash of cumin, lots of black pepper and paprika to the chicken. When it comes to the spices I think it’s relative, so increase the dose of the spice that you prefer.

Keep the chicken in a bowl for it to soak in the marination. Then, place 1/2 cup of white quinoa with 1½ cup of water in a pan and cook for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and cut the 2 cucumbers and ½ the avocado into small cubes and place in a bowl. For those of you who like a touch of sweet with their food, add a handful of dried cranberries. Cut 2 spring onions into small pieces and add to the bowl.

While waiting for the quinoa to cool down, place pan spray vegetable oil on the pan so the chicken won’t stick and cook the chicken. Be careful, the outer layer of the chicken gets cooked easily so lower the intensity of the flame and let the chicken cook slowly.

Once the chicken is cooked, mix the quinoa with the ingredients that were chopped earlier. Add the chicken and some nuts such as almonds and walnuts to give a little texture to the salad. I’m not a vinegar person, my favorite dressing is lemon oil. So, squeeze a small lemon, add some salt, and finally a spoon of olive oil.

Sahtein!

Christine’s Favorite Outfits: yApparel

I’ve always had an inclination towards fashion…actually I think every woman just has it in her blood. Through the Beirut Fitness blog, people constantly ask me what my favorite active wear or sportswear brand is, and what brands I prefer over others.

Continuing my #FitnessFashionFriday posts that are posted regularly on Instagram giving fit fashion tips as well as outfit inspirations by brands of my choice; I have decided to start a series of “Christine’s Favorite Outfits”.

This series of blog posts will dive you deeper into my closet. It will introduce you to the brands I wear, what colors I prefer and how I style my outfits to always look fashionably fit.

Those who know me understand my love, appreciation, and addiction for leggings. In fact, I wear most of my workout clothes on day to day basis even when I am not working out. They are the perfect and most comfortable way to go to university, for running errands, and hanging out with friends.

I am a fan of colors…and specially printed leggings.

I will start off this series showing you some of my favorite outfits from yApparel.

yApparel is a yoga and fitness apparel store located in Dubai. I discovered them through Instagram and the best part is that they sell online and ship worldwide! They sell brands such as Brasil Fit, Tonic, Dharma bums and many more. The brands mentioned are the ones that I have tried. These outfits are made for yoga use primarily however, I feel very comfortable working out in them.

I’m not very picky when it comes to choosing what outfit to wear as in going to the active section or running section. As long as the fit is tight (showing the curves) and the legging/short is stretchy then I’m more than happy with that.

Check out my outfits below and don’t forget to check www.yapparel.com

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Brand: Brasil Fit

 

 

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Brand: Dharma Bums

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Brand: Tonic

All photos are taken by my lovely and talented mother Jackie!

Beef stuffed Artichokes Recipe

It’s Artichoke season so let’s start cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 12 small artichokes
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking spray
  • ½ kilo ground beef
  • ½ lemon
  • Pine nuts
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Pepper

Procedure:

Chop the onion into little cubes and cook in 1 spoon of vegetable oil (or cooking spray) in a pan. Fry them for about 5 minutes, until they become translucent and add the ground beef. Season with half a teaspoon of cinnamon; add salt and pepper to taste, and a handful of pine nuts.

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Seasoned Ground Beef Filling

Remove half of the artichoke leaves (before cooking them) leaving only the inside smaller ones around the artichoke hearts. Cook the hearts in water for about 20 minutes. Once they are cooked remove all the leaves and leave only the base.

(Otherwise use canned artichoke hearts).
Place some vegetable oil or spray pan onto the Pyrex that is going to go into the oven.

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Place the artichoke bases in the Pyrex and add the seasoned ground beef on each. Place the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes. Before removing them, squeeze a bit of lemon on each to add a touch of flavor towards the end.

Enjoy and Sahtein!

 

Visiting the Budweiser Budvar Brewery

During the short Easter break, my mom, my best friend Gaelle, her mom Claudette and I decided to explore some of Europe. We enjoyed a quick Euro trip that included Budapest, Vienna, and Prague.

While in the Czech Republic, we decided to tour the Budweiser Budvar Brewery and learn more about this delicious beer. We had booked a private tour to the city of Ceske Krumlov and to end the journey right, we decided to have some beer.

Dating back to the 15th century, Budweiser Budvar exports to over 60 countries (YES! Lebanon is one of them) around the world.

It has 6 main types of beer:
1. Budweiser Budvar original 5% alcohol
2. Budweiser Premium Budvar Dark Lager 4.6% alcohol
3. Budweiser Budvar Classic 4% alcohol
4. Budweiser Budvar free 0.5% alcohol
5. Budweiser Budvar Strong 7.6% alcohol

And 3 types of Pardal beer, a more bitter type of beer

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But wait, isn’t Budweiser American? Well according to the Czech, the name “Budweiser” was taken by the Americans long time ago. Immediate branding was made, making the brand very popular; and a trademark dispute over the use of the name “Budweiser” is still ongoing between the two. However, the recipe used by them is completely different.

The brewing process includes 4 ingredients: mold, hop cones, yeast, air and water. It takes approximately 10 hours and includes 3 stages:

  1. Mashing
  2. Straining
  3. Boiling of the wort (this creates the bitter taste)

Usually Czech breweries make the beer in one month. However, they repeat the entire process 3 times, so it actually takes Budweiser a total of 3 months to make a barrel of beer.

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Explanation of the Brewing Process

The longer the period of fermentation, the more alcohol it has, and the stronger the taste of the beer.

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We enjoyed a very informative tour around the brewery that included detailed explanations of the different steps as well as a beer tasting towards the end, where we only got the chance to taste the Budweiser Budvar Original. The entire tour was about 60 minutes. Although I am not a beer fan per say, I enjoyed the bitter taste of the beer.

Now that summer is approaching, I am looking forward to lazy beach days, enjoying a nice ice cold beer. Cheers!

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Pouring some Budweiser Budvar Original for tasting

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Cheers!

Craving Pure Coconut Water

Although I am not a fan of coconut when it comes to sweets or when used as garnish; one of my favorite things is drinking coconut water right out of a fresh coconut.

The best coconuts I’ve ever had are from Ecuador (located in Latin America) especially while at the beach. God, they are delicious; big brown mature coconuts. The man would wait for me to finish sipping the juice so he could cut it open with the machete and remove the pure and soft white edible coconut pieces (This I do like, it’s the processed dry coconut that I don’t).

However, unless you are on a beach in a tropical country, fresh coconuts are not easily available.

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As a substitute, I have been undergoing a difficult process, searching the supermarkets and specialty food stores for pure coconut water, in a can or other form. I found many products that included lots of sugars, and other additives that completely ruined the taste of the coconut water! However, this all changed when Power Goodness contacted me informing me about their product and sending me samples. They were just in time to satisfy my long lasting craving.

According to Body & Soul, benefits of coconut water include that it is cholesterol free. It is also a low-fat natural health drink that has the same effects of energy drinks but contains no chemicals and only natural sugars. Coconut water can also help improve blood circulation, and contain minerals and nutrients such as calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium.

Power Goodness Ice coconut water is a refreshing cold drink. The fresh coconut juice is extracted from the youngest green coconuts in South East Asia and bottled few minutes after extraction. The Coconut water includes ZERO additives, NO artificial flavors, NO added water, NO added sugar, and NO coloring.

To be honest, I have not tried green coconut water; I have only tried coconut water right from brown mature coconuts. But I found Power Goodness’s iced coconut water to be pretty tasty and refreshing. Make sure the can is refrigerated and very cold. The colder it is, the better it tastes.

Enjoy 😀

Reviving an Old Habit: Coloring

Colors bring life, or at least to me, they do!
Summer and vibrant colors are my favorite, I actually feel depressed when it’s not sunny.
Anyways back to the main point, I have always been a fan of coloring however, as I grew older and started spending less time at home, my coloring habits started decreasing.

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Although I took a few art classes in school, I never learned how to draw or properly color using paint or water colors. Therefore, this still remains an ambition I hope to achieve one day.

Today, adult coloring has become increasingly popular.

Few months back, my best friend Gaelle told me about this little bar she went to in Tabaris that offers you coloring pencils, markers and different coloring sheets. I loved the idea, so we decided to go to Joon on the Moon on a rainy Sunday. What better than sitting in a cozy little place with your best friend, coloring and listening to the sound of the rain pouring.

They say that colors reflect your mood, and here is my first painting, the one I colored at Joon on the moon where the colors show my happy mood.

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When it comes to coloring supplies, Sharpie is what I use. Since childhood they have been my all time favorite markers. I remember buying their jumbo multicolored pack from Costco around 4 years ago and have not used them much. What’s nice about this brand is that as soon as I used them, this year, it felt as if I was opening them for the first time. They were moist and not dry, not one bit!

According to research, it has been proven that coloring releases stress, relaxes your body and soul, and boosts your mood. While I was coloring, I was unconsciously more than consciously solely focusing on the drawing, the colors I wanted to use, how I wanted to color… So you end up zoning out of the world and find yourself in a peaceful little place.

Ever since that day, I printed few mandalas from Google and started coloring during my free time or even at times when I was down.

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Owl Mandala image found on Google, I absolutely enjoyed coloring this image!

I attended another coloring event held at minus 1 where I decided to upgrade and paint the wooden, bigger sized, Mandala (supplied by Aryan Art Collectors) shown below.

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Adult wooden Mandala

If you haven’t tried coloring, it’s never too late to try! It will help you remember the child in you. Self reflection and relaxation are key elements for a happy and healthy soul. If you share the same hobby, feel free to share a picture in the comment below 🙂