January 29, 2012

Healthy Bites: Munch...Munch

Who said healthy has to be borning & tasteless? If you are really managing your diet and getiing into that "healthy groove", especially in the sit-sleep-eat-sleep again lifesyle of KSA you have a number of options.

1.) You can cook healthy, low calorie food for yourself and keep a check.

2.) You can order pre-cooked, monitered and exact calorie meals at your door step.

Personally I prefer option number One. I love to cook and I like to come up with new yummy healthy recipes all the time. There are times when I am keeping a check and dont want to eat heavy I just get a sandwich or grab something light from one of the diet shops and I like their stuff, it is tasty and guilt-free! But generally I love home cooked meals.

But if you are not fond of cooking and find it a hassle to cook separately for yourself and your family. Also if you are not sure how many calories are going in your mouth then you should opt for option number Two. Hassle free, ready made, diet food, home delivered :)

Below I will cover few options in Riyadh:

(I have not personally tried any but few friends have and gotten good results.)

"Diet World" (Click here to go the website directly)

Diet world is a renowned name and people swear by it. Many have lost and managed with it. They have free consultations to check which diet is best for You. Their food is delicious. The Home Meal Program is a remarkably effective food program based on the well known Zone Diet. They promise & offer freshly cooked, low-fat, calorie-measured meals punctually delivered to your door daily.


1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner, 2 Salads, 2 Soups, and 1 Desert arrive at your doorstep, seven days a week. One full day of food is delivered in your meal box. They have a 28-day cycle of gourmet food assuring you of variety.

Delivery: Diet World is available to deliver freshly prepared meals to your doorstep seven days a week, 365 days a year at any time you prefer.

The meals are placed in microwave-safe aluminum disposable containers. Heating instructions are simple, just place container 3 to 5 minutes in the microwave on high, or 10 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees.

You can get the contact details etc from their comprehensive website.

Diet Centre: (click here to go to the website directly)

Diet centre is one of the famous diet shops in Riyadh.Founded in Lebanon in 1990 by dedicated specialists, the Nutrition and Diet Center is the first dedicated diet and weight loss health center in the Middle East.

Their Services Include:

a. Nutritional consultations.
b. Design nutrition & diet programs.
c. Produce and market a variety of light and great-tasting foods.
d. Implement healthy lifestyle principles through education and support.
e. caf├ęs, outside catering and take-out shops and pastry houses.

Their food is also well packed, tasty and home delievered. Catered according to your needs.

Other Diet/Healthy Eating options in Riyadh:
(Now you don't have an excuse to have junk/fast food when eating out!)

From Nature- Riyadh Gallery.

Du Salad
- Panorama Mall

Subway- You can choose brown bread, no soda and no chips.

You can always opt & choose healthy option when eating at home or eating out. Just be careful of your portions. Eating healthy does NOT mean 'starving'.

Hope this helped all you ladies who are motivated with the weight loss story! :)

All of you who would prefer to cook at home, will be putting up a few healthy quick ideas that fit in our lifestyle.

If you also know of any other diet/healthy eating outs or have tried & tested any of the above, your comments are most welcome.

Stay healthy-Stay happy.

January 22, 2012

Cookies, Frosting & Donuts: My Postpartum Weight Loss Story.

Note: Be warned! This is a pretty long read! Snacks and frequent breaks recommended...

You can also enjoy this long post with popcorn (no butter please) & a glass of lemonade (no sodas!) Enjoy! :)

I had been planning to do this blogpost since a long time now but one thing or the other has come up and I tend to forget about it. Now that a number of friends are expecting their babies and others are already trying to lose their postpartum weight I thought let's do this now!

How it all started:

It's been quite a few years now but I still remember clearly when I stepped on the (dreaded) weighing machine after coming home from the hospital. I was in a haze after so many meds, a hard labour and a tiny baby to look after.

But the momemt I saw the numbers on the machine...it was one of those scenes from cartoons when those little stars start to spin around top of the head!

I guess most girls who are having their first babies at a young age and especially who dont have their families around tend to think the weight will just magically disappear once the baby arrives...well....it's not entirely false. I have seen some lucky young women losing their pregnancy weight in two,three months...but some unlucky ones like 'moi' are not so lucky in the get fat-diet-lose-weight department.

I was merely 50 kilos at 22, when I conceievd Bubba Rayyan. That day when I came home with my new pre-term 2 kilo bundle of joy my weight was the last thing I wanted to worry about, but the number 78 looking back at me mockingly was enough to depress me further! And here I was thinking my baby would carry (if not all) atleast Most of my weight but he was tiny and I was huge...

My mom was visiting to help us with the new baby. She is a doctor and a total fitness freak when it comes to her daughters. She almost fainted when she saw me!

Thank God for mothers...I owe it all to her that I was able to lose those pesky pounds with home cooked meals, healthy diet plan & exercise time. I could not have done it, alone without her help. I owe you once again mom! Miss you...Love you *sniff sniff*

Okay! Coming back to my weight loss...Let's begin with the Weight Gain.

My pregnancy did not start off too well with nausea and too many vomits a day. As most of you readers must have read (if you havent you can read about my Nausea)

And once that nausea and frequent throwing up subsided at around four months, as most pregnant women I started to eat like anything!

I loved to have Krispy kremes, Baskin Robbins Milkshakes, fried eggas & sausages, fries, coleslaw, bars of chocolates and munched on packets of Lays and Pringles!

With the society nowadays, media hype and the pressure on young girls to be thin, women know how we spend all our lives dieting and avoiding foods that we love. Being a foody that I am, I felt that for the first time in my life I could eat all that I wanted and not feel guilty but little did I know that how hard it would be AFTER I had the baby. How hard would it actually be to lose all those pounds.

The weight gain also caused many problems. I was on high risk of GD, had SPD because of my enormous weight (Click SPD to Read More.)

I had put on my 5'3 frame in hardly three to four months! I could not walk, I used to waddle. I used to lay and eat and watch tv ALL day and I blame it all on my unhealthy food intake and lack of being active throughout my pregnancy.

I would suggest all my friends, family and readers who are pregnant or are planning: "not" to gain too much weight. It is NOT healthy at all for the mother nor for the baby. Check out Baby Centre's Pregnancy Weight Gain Guide to read more.

How To Lose it:

But all those who have already gained those pounds and are willing to lose them. The number one step to your goal weight is Motivation: You can not lose even an inch if you are not motivated. You have to keep a realistic goal in your mind, do not be in a hurry or in a rush, take it slow but keep trying. There are NO quick fixes, no yo-yo's. You have to choose a healthy lifestyle for yourself & your family. Remember slow & steady wins the race! :)

Back to "How I lost those kilos". Here are a few tips & tricks I followed; hope they would help you too.

(Please check with your doctor/physician before doing any vigorous exercises or diets-I did not breastfeed my baby so few things MIGHT NOT apply on you.)

A confident woman is always beautiful. Women always tend to over analyze themselves. We must NEVER lose our self confidence. Whether thin/fat/curvy/skinny you must always remember YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL in your own skin. If you are COMFORTABLE with your body, there is nothing better than that. These tips are just ideas and stuff I did to lose some weight. You can use them to tone up or lose the last few pounds.

Make healthier choices. Choose Wisely. You are what you eat. Switch white bread with brown, full fat with skimmed, fried with baked, grilled & sauted. Especially when you eat out. Always choose wisely.

Eat Healthy.

You are what You eat. Yes! What you put in your mouth is what actually sits & settles in your fat cells. You might be one of those few genetically lucky ones who can eat whatever they want but the rest of us HAVE to count calories. Because there IS a connection. I don't believe in: "I don't eat anything still gain weight" (unless ofcourse there is an underlying medical issue.)

You will have Mood swings. It's normal to get a little moody and easily triggered when you are making changes in your diet. But soon your body will get used to it. So whenever you feel a little edgy just relax, drink water, take a long relaxing shower or better yet 'Jog' :)

Ditch the SUGAR. Yes, folks! That is exactly what I did. People who know me won't believe that (rofl) but yes I did ditch the sugar box for quite some time. I chose Fruit over candy and water over sodas. I removed everything with the word sugar in it. I only allowed myself a few nibbles of my favourite dessert once in two weeks or an occasional indulgence over the weekend when I was eating out. But that was about it. No daily chocolate bars, no milkshakes, no fizzy drinks, no pizzas, fries, cookies, blah blah!

The tastiest foods are healthy foods. We feel that Healthy means "bad tasting", "bland", "boring. BUT it does not have to be boring! A steamed fish fillet with lemon, rosemary & thyme. Grilled chicken with baby tomatoes, lentil soups, vegetable salads, fruit salads, eggs with a whole-grain toast and fruit, Salad with tuna, chickpeas and a small amount of olive oil dressing, A bowl of oatmeal made with skim milk, topped with a handful of walnuts, Low-fat cottage cheese with almonds and sliced fruit, carrot sticks with hummus dip are just a FEW ideas I tried and they are so NOT boring. Introduce healthy foods in your lifestyle and you will love it! Not only will you loom good, you will feel good.

Count your calories at www.CalorieCount.com.

Keep a FOOD Diary. I made a food journal. I know it is tedious and tiring and time taking but it is definitely worth it. Once you start writing down everything that goes in your mouth you will know what the culprits are. But No cheating! You have to write each and everything you eat or drink or nibble all day everyday. It will be like a secrret diary with your secrets in it ;)

Don't expect to lose weight like the celebs. They have private chefs, gyms, instructors and food made according to their body types and demands. Take your time, stay motivated and don't lose hope. Be patient. Don't aim to lose lots of weight over a short period of time. A goal of one half to one pound a week is best for long-term weight loss and maintenance.

I prefer the word 'healthy eating' over 'dieting' but that also can never work alone. You 'HAVE' to exercise. You can choose to run, jog, swim,, do pilates, yoga, aerobics or even zumba. Anything that works for you. I used to walk 20-30 minutes a day and then jog 20 minutes more every alternate day on the treadmill. Work it, sweat it. Take it slow I started with 15 minutes a day and went upto 40 minutes a day, also run a little, power jog. Be active!

My motto was less salt, less sugar, less oil. I stopped bringing home chocolates, chips, crisps or anything that I ate when I was pregnant (lol). If it is in your fridge you are bound to eat it. My diet included lots of water, fruits, vegetables, fresh juices & lean meat.

Do not be obssessed with weighing yourself. Do not weigh yourself everyday. Let it be once a week or perhaps twice but not everyday. It gets depressing and disappointing to keep count of each and every kilo. Eat healthy, exercise and then weigh yourself empty stomach, first thing in the morning, once a week.

Below are few options of what I ate from my Food journal from one of those days:

Ideas for Breakfast:

Oatmeal with skimmed milk and apples.
3 egg white, vegetable- (no oil) omelette with fresh orange juice.
Fruit Salad.
Cereal with skimmed milk.
Egg sandwich

Ideas For Lunch:

Vegetable salad
Lentil soup
grilled chicken
black bean & chickepea salad


carrot sticks with hummus dip
cucumber sticks
a bowl of fresh fruit
corn chips
fruit and nuts

Have a light early dinner.

Walk regularly 30-40 minutes a day. Drink 8-12 glasses of water.

Eliminate fizzy drinks, sodas, fried foods, oily stuff, sugary, syrupy & salty foods.

Best Of Luck! :)

Hope you enjoyed the post. Do share your experiences and tips to lose weight.

January 21, 2012

Beauty Grabs This Week- Bath & Body Works

I still remember the day Bath & Body Works opened in Riyadh...how excited everyone (including me) was and how women waited to go inside the store. And now there's SALES going on B&BW and ladies are going crazy (literally!) The store is Full and overloaded, no space to walk...they even had to close the shutters to stop more customers from entering so you can imagine the love for B&BW in Riyadh! :)

Personally I just love using lotions, scrubs, creams and shower gels. Especially vanilla, citrus, nutty scents (ahem...Do I have to remind you all again how big a foody Iam? Hence my scent favourites are also mostly related to food!)

I always feel like a little 'kid in a candystore' whenever I enter my favourite stores.

The Body Shop and Victoria's Secret being my favourites now Bath & Body Works is on top of my list.

So let's start with what I got this week & what I love about it :)

Here's My Goody Bag...Yayyyy! Now let's see what's in it...! :)

As I said I just lovvve fruity scents. They revive and refresh you after a long tirng day or even early in the morning. This one is a peachy-orangy , totally fruity tangy scented Body Scrub (super exfoliant). It's not over drying, leaves the skin refreshed. Will be foamy when applied and smells like zesty lemonish-orangish-peachish...ahhhh Sweeet!! :)

When I shop for body stuff I have to grab something that has 'Vanilla'. Vanilla candles, body mists, scrubs, gels, lotions, creams you name it, I have it. I love vanilla-cant say that enough!

This one is a creamy scrub with very small sugar crystals(almost-not-even-there beads), combined with vitamin E & jojoba oil both perfect for Riyadh's dry weather. Beautifully scented with a warm blend of vanilla beans, soft caramel & comforting creamy musk. It is from the 'Signature collection'.

Next I got hold of this set: Butterfly Power. Sounds cute huh! A Shower gel, body lotion and a Hand cream. This is also from the 'signature collection'. The products contain Shea butter, Jojoba oil & vitamin E. The showere gel also has Aloe Vera. The products are soothing, moisturising & non-greasy. Butterfly Power is a vibrant frangrance inspired by nature & playful feminity of a butterfly garden in full bloom. Trust me it does have a scent of a fully bloomed garden!

Price tags for you!

As most of you know I love shimmers and glitter. This blue bottle caught my eye instantly!

Shimmer Eclat; is a shimmery mist also from the signature collection.

Very lightly shimmery when sprayed, non sticky and sweetly fragranced.

Again from the signature collection Orange Sapphire; shower gel and body cream. Both have smoothing ingredients. Shower gel has the scent of exclusive Orange Sapphire, an exotic blood orange fragrance inspired by the fiery passion and sunswept beaches of Brazil.

The body cream has conditioning milk proteins, rice oil, berry extract and it guarantees a to provide 24 hour moisture to the driest of skins. As we all know here in the desert many complain of dry patches of skin and dryness, tautness of skin. Do give it a try!

Price tag:

The dynamic duo! Sparkiling Berry Bliss Body scrub & Body cream. What does it remind me of...? Ahhh...yes Berries! The purple packaging caught my eye and when I saw "Berry" I just had to pick this one up & put it in my shopping cart. Once again from the signature collection.

The product has is creamy, a rich blend of juicy berries, red pomegranate & luscious plum!

Price Tag:

More amazing products I got my hands on and also available in the store (I'm not so sure after the weekend crowd there would be much left but give it a try!)

These Mentha Lip Balms are too good. Best for chappy dry lips.

Pretty Gift baskets, boxes and bags for your loved ones.

The store is in Kingdom and Sahara Mall.

What is your favourite product from BATH & BODY WORKS. Do share the products you shopped for & reviews....HAPPY SHOPPING!

January 20, 2012

Sweet Tooth: Thumbprint Jelly Cookies

Butter cookies always bring along fond memories of my past. As kids we used to get these butter cookies with jelly or chocolate on top, they smelled like butter & bakery. My sisters and I used to put these in small pink jars and have them with milk at night before bedtime. These cookies are a childhood favourite, I simply love them so does my son & DH. Now that I bake now & then I decided to cook a small batch at home once and they turned out delicious and really easy to make too!

I got this recipe from one of the cooking shows a few years ago. It is pretty simple and no-fail too! If you're a fan of butter & jelly cookies this one is for you. I made these with Strawberrey jam BUT you can also substitute with a chocolate, raspberry, cherry or peanut butter thumbprint filling!


1 egg yolk
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp strawberry jam (I used Smuckers)
1 cup all purpose flour
1-2 drops of strawberry essence

How To Make:

Mix all the ingredients one by one with hand/hand whisk/spatula.

Cover the dough & keep in the fridge to cool for few hours.

With hands make 8 balls from the dough.

Shape into small cookies by pressing lightly with the palm.

Press your thumb in the middle of the cookies.

Preheat the oven at 190C and bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes (do not over bake).

Cookies will be little cracked on the sides, that's normal.

Fill the thumbprint (Spoon or use a piping to pipe Jelly)

Serve Warm.

January 16, 2012

Beauty Review: Sparkle & Shine!

Do you love shimmers, sparkles, glitters and shiny stuff? Do you like sweetly fragranced body mists? Then this one's for you!

This beautiful Sparkler by The Body Shop is a holiday special. With all the glittery shiny stuff all around this is not a typical sparkler just in gold and silver its also available in a baby pink elegant old fashioned perfume bottle which I love. Just one press will bring out the shiny powder.

The gold one has Gold glitter and gives the most gorgeous, bronzy shimmer and it smells so nice too! When you spray there is a light glitter powder that is evenly dispersed over the desired area.

The Body Shop’s (Pink) is shimmering vintage pink bottle that has silky, shimmering powder you can mist on shoulders, face, or even on hair for a hint of sparkle.

It is available in most of The Body Shops in Riyadh and as you know sales are on this bottle is available for 80/90 SR. If you're into Sparkle, this is it!

Happy Shoppin! :)

January 14, 2012

Choco-nana Shake :)

Chocolate and Banana Shake:

‎Very simple, quick recipe. You need:

2 bananas,
2 tbsp condensed milk,
1 tbsp chocolate powder,
ice & blend.
Top off with chocolate whipped cream (spray can-Cool whip)

January 13, 2012

Perfetto Pasta!!

I love cooking & eating pasta. It is a perfect comfort food. There are thousands of recipes out there many use homemade sauces and others with ready to use ones which are equally good. My favourite pasta sauces I use in my lasagnas and pastas are the red and white sauces.

There are many kinds of sauces out there and you can try them out with different kinds of pasta.

Noodle - a ribbonlike strip of pasta

Orzo - pasta shaped like pearls of barley; frequently prepared with lamb in Greek cuisine

Spaghetti - pasta in the form of long strings

Tortellini - small ring-shaped stuffed pasta

Rigatoni - tubular pasta in short ribbed pieces

Fedelline - extremely fine pasta thinner than vermicelli

Linguine, linguini - pasta in long slender flat strips

Fettuccine, fettuccini - pasta in flat strips wider than linguine

Vermicelli - pasta in strings thinner than spaghetti

Macaroni - pasta in the form of slender tubes

Lasagna, lasagne - very wide flat strips of pasta

Penne - pasta in short tubes with diagonally cut ends

Cappelletti, ravioli - small circular or square cases of dough with savory fillings.

This is a quick fix will be doing a homemade pasta sauce very soon too, for now this is a very easy recipe for busy moms :)

"Perfetto Pasta"

Boil Pasta according to teh package instructions. I used thick spaghetti which works well with sauces.

In another pan stir fry chicken with spices & vegetables (optional). Layer the pasta in a serving dish, layer generously with white sauce (alfredo) or red sauce. Sprinkle black pepper. Layer with more pasta and repeat.

Put on top of the layered pasta the chicken and veggies mix. You can top with soysauce or chilli sauce if you like. You can also add mozarella cheese and bake the pasta for few minutes if you want a cheesy pasta.

Serve Hot :)

A Beautiful Friday Morning

It is good weather for the grass and flowers here in the desert, flowers are still blooming ... It was a lovely sunny morning and I plucked a beautiful fully bloomed big size pink rose from my garden. No cooking for the weekend ... only shopping & re-arranging the place. Few more yummy, easy recipes and beauty reviews coming up in the coming week :)

January 8, 2012

*Banana Cupcakes*

Cupcakes are everyones' favourites. They are light and yummy! If you dont want to eat a big slice of banana cake, loaded with calories you can always opt for a small cuppie cake with light frosting.

Today I'm going to blog about "Banana Cupcakes With Frosting:"

(I made a light/thin frosting but you can opt for only banana garnish on top or cream cheese/thick frostings with these cupcakes, too.)


1 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted melted butter
1 + 1/2 cups mashed bananas plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper cups. In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2.Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.

3.Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, approx. 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely before frosting. Spread with Frosting. Just before serving, peel and slice banana into rounds, and place one on each cupcake, if desired.


Combine 500g icing sugar + 5 tablespoon water, combine and whisk till smooth. Yellow food color can also be added.

----End Notes---

A few tips & tricks I follow for perfect cupcakes:

Never over-bake or overmix cupcakes they will become dry & chewy instead of moist & and spongy.

Use a good baking pan/muffin tray (if you're into baking, then you must invest in good kitchen utensils)

Bring all ingredients to room temperature before mixing your cupcake batter. Cold eggs & cold butter can never make good cakes.

Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean so keep close watch of teh oven temperature and time. It's all about the timing.

Hope you enjoy these with your family and I'm sure kids would love it! :)


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