Delicious Risotto

Spring Chicken & Vegetable Risotto


Often risottos are full of cream, butter and cheese, making them less desirable when you are changing your food options to match your new Life Journey.


I adore this particular recipe for a couple of reasons,

  • firstly, it contains asparagus, which I really enjoy in springtime
  • secondly, it only has 6g of fat, up to 19g less than standard risottos
  • thirdly, it is < 600 calories for a serve (actually 590!)


risotto 600 calories

Borrowed from


We made this recipe last week, however I forgot to take a photograph, so I’ve found one and borrowed it just for this blog. It’s very similar to the final recipe, except we grate parmesan over the top when we serve.


To serve 2 people


  • olive oil spray
  • 150g chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 115g frozen peas
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed (woody ends trimmed off) and cut into 3cm lengths
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1T water
  • 750ml (3 cups) chicken stock
  • 63ml (1/4 cup) white wine
  • 220g (1 cup) arborio rice
  • 1T fresh thyme (1/2 tsp dried)
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 10g (1/8 cup) finely grated parmesan cheese



  1. Heat a non-stick frying pan, medium heat, spray with olive oil spray. Add the chicken and cook for 4 – 6 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the chicken onto foil and fold to keep in the juices and heat.
  2. In the non-stick frying pan, add the onion, garlic and water, cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes, until the onion softens.
  3. Meanwhile, put the stock and wine into a saucepan and heat until just coming to the boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low to hold at a gentle simmer.
  4. Add the rice to the onions and stir until well combined.  Add a ladleful of stock to the rice mixture and stir constantly with a wooden spoon unitl the liquid is completely absorbed.  Continue to add liquid and stirring until the liquid is absorbed, and repeating this until approximately 1 – 2 ladefuls are remaining.  Add the asparagus and peas to the stock to cook for 2 – 3 minutes.  In the last few ladefuls the asparagus and peas will be added to the rice mix. Cook the rice until it is just tender but firm to bite and the risotto is creamy (approximately 20 minutes).
  5. Add the chicken and 1/2 the fresh thyme (if using dried thyme, add it all to the chicken stock when you add the asparagus and peas), stir to combine.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon into bowls and serve with the parmesan and remaining fresh thyme.



Criticism or Appreciation?

What do you hear every day?

What do you give out every day?

Appreciation or criticism?

Listening to Dale Carnegie today on my travels led to me thinking about the conversations we have around us and within us on a daily basis.

Criticism appears to result in justification of why an action occurred, or a result happened. Stop and think about your language you are using with your partner, your children, your work colleagues and your sub-ordinates. Are you using critical language?

Critical language does not have to be a full on telling off, it could be as simple as a sigh, a furrowing of the brow, or a sad smile. When you’re looking at an outcome, remember that the person has tried their best to do the job in hand (even if it is cleaning their room!).

Instead of expressing your disappointment or critique of the job as it’s completed, take the time to see what can be genuinely appreciated.

Appreciation addresses one of the core human needs that we crave, and that is of significance. We all wish to know we’re significant to others in our lives.

Imagine if you asked your partner to set out 6 things they wished for you to change in order for you to be a better partner. What would you like as answer?

Six problematic behaviours to change?

Or an answer that says I appreciate you and love you for the person you are?

I’m sure the second answer would be appreciated more, and lead to a strengthening of your relationship!

Make sure the appreciation you do give is genuine. We all have internal bull**** meters!!

Now, what about starting the day changing the language you speak to yourself? Could you imagine how wonderfully joyous your day would become if you give yourself genuine praise for the behaviours you have, for what you see around you and for how you approach everything you do today?

How much easier your day will seem if you are not criticising your every move and doing the merry dance of justification in your head as your day progresses!!

Salad Season Begins!

What to do, invited to a BBQ, and asked to bring along something for the BBQ and a salad.  I don’t know about you, but when I’m invited to something like this, I like to try out something a bit different than the standard lettuce salad!


So, I decided to set myself a task of making a salad I’d never attempted before. Couscous has been popping up in my life a lot lately, so I wanted to make a couscous salad. I also wanted a salad that I knew had health benefits for myself and my friends too and utilised the herbs I had growing in my garden.


I started out by doing a simple google search for Couscous Salads and found several options that all looked tempting and inspiring.  Me, being me, I couldn’t follow the recipe, so I developed my own.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did and enjoy the fact that it is balanced with herbs, vegetables and couscous (fibre and carbohydrates), as well as being approximately 126 calories per serve.


I love having salads that combine with an easy to prepare protein to create a meal with 400 – 600 calories.  This salad went very well with Tandori chicken breasts or with grilled salmon steaks.


Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad



  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups couscous
  • 0.5 cup cracked bulgar wheat
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp turmeric
  • 4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 0.25 cup of mixed fresh herbs (I used coriander, parsley & sage), finely chopped
  • 4 T lemon juice (for dressing)
  • 1 roasted pepper
  • 0.5 cup toasted pine nuts (do this in a dry pan, take care as they toast very quickly)
  • 0.5 cup cranberries
  • 1 T olive oil



  1. Bring the vegetable stock to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the couscous and cracked wheat, stir into the stock, cover and set to one side for 5 minutes. Once all the liquid is absorbed, fluff up with a fork. Let cool.
  2. Toast the pine nuts in a pan. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
  3. In the same pan (keep the dishes down!), add the olive oil, heat gently then add the onions, stir for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic (crushed), cumin, cinnamon and turmeric, cook, with stirring, for 30 seconds, or until fragrant – smells divine!
  5. Add the chopped tomato, pine nuts and pepper. Cook, with stirring, for 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  6. When cooled, I left for about 0.5 hour, mix together in a bowl the couscous, chopped herbs and cooked onion/tomato/pinenuts/pepper/spices mix.  Add the lemon juice as a dressing.  Taste and season as required with pepper.

I think this was better preparing it the day before it was needed, but you decide!




Gratitudes Daily

My Daily Gratitude Journal is growing – every day, 10 more, every day, more joy!

Sandra Venables

As many of you know, I write out at least 10 things every day that I am grateful for having in my life, or having seen, or experienced during my day.

Initially, when I start,  the pen can sit poised for several moments as it can take time to put into place those things that I  have been grateful for experiencing during the day.  Interestingly, by the end of the 10, there comes a waterfall of many different things that I am extremely grateful for experiencing and I want to continue writing and writing!

It’s the beginning that seems to be the momental part for most people in any Life Journey, whether it’s beginning to write down what you are grateful for in your life, or whether it’s something more life changing such as losing weight or beginning a health journey.  The first step is usually the hardest – such a well quoted sentence, by so many too!  Try googling this phrase and everyone and their father is quoted as saying this within a sentence!  There are lots of photos of steps too, so I wanted to share my Life Journey series instead.

Where are your routines taking you?

Taking the steps

What lead me to speak more about gratitudes today though, was a link sent through to me on email, truly an inspiring video that helps you see what there is to be grateful for on a daily basis. It doesn’t need to be big, earth shattering things, it can be something as simple as turning on the tap this morning and drinkable water flowed – how grateful would you be for that experience if you had never had a tap, let alone a tap that flowed clean, drinkable water – there are millions in the world today that do not have this luxury!

Watch this video with an open heart and an open mind, and your ability to begin your gratitudes at the end of any given day will be so easy that you will be writing out many more every night!

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on or blame. The gift of life is yours; it is an amazing journey; and you alone are responsible for the quality of it” Dan Zadra

Secrets to Avoiding Acid Reflux

Just a very quick post today as I slip out of the clinic.


I was reading this wonderful email about using 5 home remedies to treat acid reflux and thought you might like to try them out!

My favourites are


  • apple cider vinegar
  • lemon juice (I love starting my day with fresh lemon juice in water)


The remaining 3 home remedies can be found here.

Enjoy the read and let me know if you have used them before

Secrets to Building the Bikini Body!!

“This time last year, I was fair, fat & forty”

 – Sandra Venables

Well, okay, so I was older than forty, and I am not blonde – but you get the picture!!  Actually here is the picture if you’ve missed it in the past

Weight loss

Jul – Dec 2013

We are almost about to step into Spring in Australia and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, whereas it’s time to reflect on a Summer almost past if you’re living in the Northern Hemisphere – so you’re either anticipating a bikini body, or reflecting on not losing your current bikini body (okay, so maybe some of you are reflecting on NOT having obtained a bikini body in the first place!!).


Now is the time to begin Springing into Summer, or preparing to never again have a Summer like you just experienced.  Either way, it’s time to begin the easy process of a Life Journey that will allow you to feel comfortable in your skin again.


I wanted to discuss measuring the progress of your Life Journey today.  WAY too many people measure progress based on the numbers on the scales!

Weight loss

If you are going to be a “scale watcher”, then here are some tips for when to measure yourself on the scales.

  1. weigh yourself first thing in the morning, prior to breakfast
  2. weigh yourself either once a week or, preferably, once a month
  3. never weigh yourself daily, this does not allow for  your body to show your changes
  4. remember, scales measure muscle gain as well as fat loss!!


A more accurate way to measure yourself is to use a good, old fashioned, measuring tape!

A measuring tape will measure the physical changes much better than a scale can measure the overall change.  Use the two in conjunction and you can work out your overall body fat ratio.


Now, how to measure yourself, where to measure and how often?

  1. HOW – wear tight fitting clothing, note what clothing you wear for when you measure next time
  2. WHERE – upper arm, chest, waist, buttocks and upper thigh
  3. Upper arm, around the bicep (easier to find if you flex your arm)
  4. Chest, keep the tape horizontal, measure around the torso/body, along the nipple line
  5. Waist, keep the tape horizontal, measure around the torso/body at the narrowest part of your waist, this is generally 1/2 inch (approx 2cm) above the belly button
  6. Buttocks, keep the tape horizontal, measure around the widest part of the hips
  7. Upper thigh, place your foot on a chair, find half way between the front of the knee and the point where your leg inserts into your body, at the half way point, measure the circumference of your thigh
  8. FREQUENCY – once a week, always at the same time and day, e.g., 7am on a Tuesday.


It’s usually easier if you have someone take your measurements for you.  A couple of step by step guides for how to take the measurements are shown in a video, or on a website for more information.


I’ve developed a spreadsheet for you to use to monitor your weight and you can then calculate your progress more easily over your Life Journey.  You can download it here.


Lastly, remember to monitor your progress visually!

Take before and after photos.  Just before you measure yourself each week, take a photo. This is one of the most impactful ways of monitoring your progress, seeing the changes week after week are incredible.  Personally, I took photos and measurements monthly (as regular followers here can verify) and found that they were truly inspiring when I calcuated the progress.


I would recommend following any Life Journey for a minimum of 90 days. This is because your red blood cells typically have a life cycle of 90 days, so I believe it will take this amount of time to show good progress on your journey, at least 30 days of this journey will be in you changing your lifestyle habits, getting into routines and settling into your new Life Journey.


I am personally mentoring people in their new Life Journey to enable them to Spring Into Summerright now!

Be quick, there are limited places!!!! 


Take your new Life Journey with me for free mentoring, meal planning tips and inspirational tips along the way.


Weight Loss

Come on a Life Journey


Contact me now to be personally mentored into your Bikini Body this Summer, WITH EASE!!!

I’ve been living under a rock

Had to smile this morning, according to the Huffington Post I have been living under a rock this last week.


Well, I do agree that I was offline for most of the week last week, but in this day of internet information, that may well have been ‘forever’!


There is a new craze running around the internet where people are dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads for charity and to raise awareness for a disease called ALS, (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), or otherwise known as MND (Motor Neurone Disease).


My mentor has just done this very challenge, and she looked like she was having fun, check out Jen’s effort on her FB page!!




The Wonders of My World

Today I was out walking when I decided to utilise the powers of the Universe again and see if they were still working (as if they wouldn’t be, but hey, you’ve just got to check them out every so often!)


My walk today was to a rainforest area that I really love, it’s main attraction is a waterfall (which you have all seen many times!).  I always hear a lot of birds but don’t often see Pademelons here, they appear to be few in this area and they are usually very flighty.  Well, today I asked if I could see one in this area again.


To my joy we walked around a corner and BAM, there was a beautiful one sitting in the middle of the path.  It just looked up at us and didn’t move.  I very slowly retrieved my phone for a photo, and it still just wandered, well, okay, hopped, a few feet, but close enough for this wonderful photo – so much better than the one I posted on my Facebook page the other week.


Life Journey

Pademelon in Rainforest


As we continued our walk in the rainforest, and our conversation about the bats that moved, the pademelons, the beautiful creek and mini waterfall into a pool, it was mentioned about my conversation with the Universe on the appearance of a pademelon.  The conversation then changed to, “oh, is that why we’ve not seen any noisy Pitta’s today?”


So, as you can imagine, the conversation in my head to the Universe then changed to wanting to see a noisy pitta.


On our walk back out of the rainforest, BAM, we saw a beautiful, and almost still noisy Pitta – how amazing, it wasn’t hopping all over the place, not flying off, but just sitting there, waiting for me to again retrieve my phone slowly, and get a photo of this beautifully coloured bird.


Life Journey

Noisy Pitta in the Rainforest


Wow, what a wonderful morning to be out walking, thinking that I was so grateful for all that the Universe had delivered to me for today, it was now time to continue on my walk and go back home to my fun filled day ahead.



Here was a pademelon in front of me, and how awesome, with it’s little joey!!!! I’ve never, ever seen a joey of this beautiful little creature before (in the 5 years we’ve been walking here) and here was the cutest little one!! I stopped and watched it hop over to it’s mum and climb into it’s pouch – sorry, no photos here.  Boy, was I ever grateful to the Universe for that ‘extra’.


The walk home was undertaken with a beautiful smile on my face, and a skip in my step – you know, even when things are looking a bit on the gloomy side, when we stop and ask to see the joy and beauty around us, the Universe will provide it for us, and with extra too.


Here’s is the final extra – it’s now Jasmine flowering time here on the Mountain – when I walked outside first thing I noticed was the aroma – how wonderful!!!!



Jasmine flowering in my Life Journey

Jasmine flowering on the Mountain


Wanting to know more about the ways of the Universe and how to harness that way via mentoring, contact me now!

Secrets of Procrastination

“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.”

– Charles Dickens, David Copperfield


I listened to a podcast recently on Procrastination, with the wonderful Jeffery Combs, and I started to realise that procrastination is a definite part of my life, so it was a quick decision to write about it as I’m sure there are many people who will want to read this.


Why read this?



  • it’s a reason to put off doing what you know you need to do,
  • you want to find out if you are a procrastinator, or
  • to see how you can change being a procrastinator!


Do you answer Yes to any of these questions?

  • did you, or do you, do your homework or study at the last minute?
  • do you only do your washing when you run out of clothes?
  • do you do your ironing when you are getting dressed in the mornings?
  • are your clothes in piles on the floor, waiting to be put away or stored or given away?
  • do you arrive late to appointments, parties, work…..?
  • do you undertake your preparation for meetings, presentations just before the event?
  • does TV stop you ‘doing’ things?
  • do you say “I need to….” or “I should….”?
  • do you love sitting down and reading a good novel, even when you have chores to be done?
  • do you ‘wing it’ in life, very ‘last minute’?


If you answered YES, you are a PROCRASTINATOR!!!

The next step then is how to change this?


  1. Make a committment to change
  2. Be objective and honest with yourself
  3. Follow systems, be organised


Make a Committment to Change

This is the first step on your daily Life Journey to change from being a procrastinator to becoming a producer!  Without making the decision to change, you will never make the change, your mind will continue to put off until tomorrow the steps you are to take to ensure your success in life.

Stop making excuses and start making decisions.  The energy given to the statement “I am….” is far higher than, “I should….”

Practice it, how does it feel to say each one, where do you feel the energy?


Be Objective & Honest With Yourself

How often do you say, “I don’t know why I……”?

YOU are the only person who really knows why you do what you do – be honest with why you are putting off until tomorrow what you could begin doing today.

What are you afraid of if you do complete a task? Is it fear of:-

  • failure?
  • being judged?
  • what will happen if the outcome is successful?
  • being disappointed if the outcome isn’t what you desire?

Procrastination is the effect of a cause, not the cause – it is a learned behaviour, not part of who you are.  Take the decision to change, then discover WHY you want to avoid a successful outcome.  Take the story out of the possible outcome, e.g., stop worrying about what might happen, and focus on being productive!


Follow Systems, Become Organised

Quite often procrastination is a result of being disorganised and becoming overwhelmed with that level of disorganisation.

A useful system to begin following is to divide your time up over your day, include in the planning

  • your family time,
  • your exercise time,
  • your meals,
  • your productive time and
  • your relaxation time


Ask yourself at the end of every day –

“How effective have I been today?” 

“Has my activity included some productivity?”

Utilise a gratitude diary at the end of every day also, include 10 things for which you are grateful for. These can begin as small steps, but always say thank you for the steps you have undertaken to reduce your procrastination, e.g., ‘I am grateful for establishing my diary planning today’



If you are looking to reduce your procrastination and wish to be mentored through this, contact me now!


S.M.A.R.T or D.U.M.B Goals

I often write about your Life Journey and how you take those steps forward each time.  A lot of where we get our drive and passion from for our Life Journey is from our goals.  Where we see ourselves in the future, what we’re striving for.


Typically when goals are mentioned, the acronym S.M.A.R.T comes to mind.

S.M.A.R.T. goals are what our society has been driven by for quite some time now.  And were spoken about by a great mentor I’ve tapped into, Zig Ziglar.  What do they mean?

S = specific

M= measureable

A = actionable

R = realistic

T = timely

The Secret and the discussions about the Law of Attraction guide us to setting these goals, we need to know what it is we want and when we want it by, remembering all along that the Universe is Abundant and will provide to you what you ask for.

While we understand the core message from The Secret, about the Law of Attraction, part of that message is to actually feel  like you have already achieved this goal!  Listen to the passion in the following video from Brendon Burchard, it is very inspiring and will help you feelthe passion of having achieved your goals!

Enjoy this video and think about what your goals are to you – exciting, or dull??