Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup

A really tasty, warming and soothing soup – packed with anti-oxidants.

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 red pepper, de-seeded and roughly chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped

1 red chilli – de-seeded and sliced in half

2 cloves garlic

olive oil

750ml vegetable stock

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 (fan)

Put the butternut squash, red pepper, onion and red chilli on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season, then roast for around 40 mins.

Once the veg and soft and slightly browned, remove from the oven.

Heat some olive oil in a large pan and gently fry the chopped garlic for a minute or two before adding the roasted vegetables and the stock.

Simmer for 5 mins or so then blend.

That’s it!

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons

It’s a classic isn’t it! Probably doesn’t need much of an introduction. You can of course use vegetable stock instead of beef if you don’t eat meat.

Ingredients:

5 white or brown onions (peeled and finely sliced)

50g butter

tblsp olive oil

1 tsp sugar

3 cloves garlic

2 tblsp plain flour

250ml white wine

1 litre beef or vegetable stock

a few baguette slices

Grated gruyere cheese

Method:

Melt the butter and oil in a large pan then add the onion and soften for 5-10 mins

Add the sugar and cook on low, stirring occasionally for 20 mins

Once it’s REALLY soft, add the garlic for a couple more minutes then stir in the flour

Gradually add the wine whilst stirring, then add the stock

Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes

Meanwhile pre-heat a grill and toast the baguette with the grated gruyere on top and serve on top of the soup.

Courgette, Spinach and Potato Soup

It always feels good to eat something green!

This is a really delicious blend of health and comfort and is another easy one to make. The addition of the cheese makes it taste amazing!

Ingredients:

4 medium sized potatoes (peeled and chopped)

2 large courgettes (top and tailed and chopped)

4 spring onions (roughly chopped)

couple of handfuls of washed spinach

2 vegetable stock cubes

cheddar cheese (grated)

Method:

Pop the chopped potatoes in a large pan, cover with water, crumble in the stock cubes and simmer for 5 minutes

Add the courgette and cook for another 5 minutes

Add the spring onions and washed spinach for another 5 minutes

Once the potatoes are soft, turn off the heat and blend

Top with grated cheese

It’s that simple!

Gazpacho

This just tastes of summer and is a perfect soup on warmer days. There is zero cooking involved so energy saving too! Full of antioxidants and s(o)uper tasty!

Ingredients:

8 large ripe tomatoes

1 green pepper (de-seeded)

1/2 a white or brown onion (peeled)

1/2 a cucumber (peeled)

1 garlic cloves

dash of vinegar (white wine, red wine or sherry vinegar)

salt

60ml olive oil

Method:

Wash and chop all the veg then add to a blender and blend to desired consistency (I like it smooth).

add a pinch of salt and the vinegar and blend again.

Finally slowly drizzle in the oil as you keep blending.

Put in the fridge as you want this super cold.

I served it with chopped cucumber and a drizzle of extra oil. It’s also really nice with a boiled egg hidden in the bowl!

Lentil, Bacon and Vegetable Soup

This is a ‘use what you have’ kind of soup. The ingredients can be switched with what you have available and of course, leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock if you are not eating meat. 

Ingredients (don’t need to be exact):

tblsp olive oil

1 onion (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)

2 sticks celery (chopped)

2 carrots (scrubbed and chopped)

1 red pepper (de-seeded and chopped)

4-6 slices lean bacon (chopped)

A couple of handfuls of dried red lentils (rinsed)

sprinkle of dried chilli flakes (to taste)

750ml vegetable or chicken stock

Method:

Heat the oil and add the chopped vegetables until they start to soften.

Turn up the heat and add the bacon  – stir until it looks cooked through and starting to brown.

Add the lentils and chilli flakes and stir through for about a minute.

Add the stock , simmer for 15 – 20 mins until the lentils are soft.

Serve and enjoy!

Cauliflower Cream Cheese Soup

This is a deliciously creamy soup that packs a load of heart and hormone healthy cauliflower into you whilst feeling comforting and soothing. I used to really dislike cauliflower but have discovered so many new and delicious ways to enjoy it recently. Fabulous in autumn and winter months. (credit to Jo Pratt)

Ingredients:

50g butter

1 onion (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (peeled and chopped)

1 bay leaf

1 large cauliflower broken into florets

1 large potato peeled and chopped

500ml milk

750ml vegetable stock

200g cream cheese

1tsp mustard

salt and pepper

nigella seeds

For the onion topping:

4 large onions, peeled and cut into wedges

olive oil

butter

thyme

Method:

Heat the oven to 200 degrees

Put the onions into a roasting tin, drizzle with oil, add small knobs of butter and thyme sprigs and roast for 30-40mins

For the soup:

Melt the butter and add the chopped onion until it starts to soften.

Stir in the bay leaf, garlic, cauliflower and potato and cook covered on a low heat for around 15 mins giving it an occasional stir.

Add the stock and the milk, simmer for 15mins until the veg are soft.

Mix the cream cheese and mustard together, then stir it into the soup.

Remove the bay leaf, turn off the heat and blitz ’til smooth.

Serve with the sticky onions and nigella seeds on top.

Enjoy!

3 Simple Releases for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

17 April 2020

3 Simple Releases for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, sometimes experienced in pregnancy and the postnatal period and indeed way beyond can often cause issues at the wrist. Whether it’s difficulty in weight-bearing through the wrist, numbness, tingling or pain, the following video demonstrates three techniques which might help to alleviate symptoms.

Huge thanks to Burrell Education for the ongoing learning and inspiration.

Wrist and forearm release exercises from Kate Smart on Vimeo.

Kneeling releases for the diaphragm

28 March 2020

Kneeling releases for the diaphragm

This video is about kneeling releases for the diaphragm

Kneeling release exercises from Kate Smart on Vimeo.

Wall Angels Exercise

28 March 2020

Wall Angels Exercise

A simple movement to open the front of the shoulders and chest, addressing a common postnatal posture issue.

Explaining wall angels exercise from Kate Smart on Vimeo.

Why I tell you to ‘Exhale on Exertion’

28 March 2020

Why I tell you to ‘Exhale on Exertion’

Working with post-natal women, in fact women in general it is absolutely paramount for me to be ensuring that every single move that they make is going to help and not hinder (or worse, be detrimental to) the integrity and function of their deepest core muscles and pelvic floor.

Every time we put pressure through our body, whether that comes from formal exercise (lifting weights, even just our body weight, jumping and moving) or in daily activity (bags, babies, toddlers, 6 bottle prosecco holders), we need to be protecting our core ESPECIALLY if our core is recovering from pregnancy and childbirth (6 weeks, months, years even after the event!)

In short, if you are holding your breath, or bearing down (and sometimes this can come involuntarily through dodgy breathing patterns) in any of these activities, pressure is being created which isn’t a great thing for the soft tissues of your tummy (especially if you have a diastasis) and pelvic floor (hence the sometimes leaky run, star jump, laugh, sneeze etc).

Jenny Burrell has created a neat little moving image to show how your breathing is linked to movement in your core. Take a look below. As you inhale, there is a depression in the diaphragm and pelvic floor and the tummy relaxes. Exhale and the system lifts and pressure decreases….

breath-cycle-for-pf-and-diaphragm

In addition, I have made a short little video explaining it too.

Explaining the breath and pelvic floor from Kate Smart on Vimeo.

Please rest assured that during every session or class you take with me, this principle will be used as a matter of course. If you need to dig deeper I recommend you take a look at the Holistic Core Restore® courses, especially if your tummy or pelvic floor are giving you bother.

And from here on, make ‘exhale as you lift’ your mantra as you go about your daily life.