Tag Archives: food

It’s not easy being green

24 Sep

20130924-200752.jpgSo sang Kermit many years ago.

I was thinking of this song as I made my green…very green…breakfast smoothie this morning.

If you hadn’t noticed, green smoothies are the new black, so to speak. Everyone is drinking green smoothies these days – these smoothies are apparently brimming with anti-oxidants, good fats, lots of vitamins and minerals and guaranteed to have you glowing with great health.

So I wanted in on this new craze, just to see what it was like and whether it was worth the effort. I have to admit that I’m not usually a smoothie person, particularly when it comes to meals. I like some substance, crunch, snap, crackle and pop for my brekkie, not a beverage. To me, drinking my meal rather than eating it doesn’t feel as satisfying.

So there I was after my gym session (weights day today) tossing in to my blender the following ingredients – coconut water, avocado, mint leaves, baby spinach leaves, lime juice, SuperGreens powder, eye of newt, dash of mandrake…ok I did make up the last 2 ingredients!

My smoothie was looking very, very green.

As I switched off the blender and took off the lid the mixture was still bubbling, similar to what I imagine a swamp affected by blue-green algae would look like. Hardly conducive to drinking you might think.

And thank goodness Mr CJ wasn’t around to see it – I can just imagine the sort of comments I would’ve got from him. Put it this way, they wouldn’t have been very complimentary.

But actually my green smoothie was tasty and filling…for a while. Well until around 10ish in the morning when the hunger pangs started and I had to have something to eat.

So I’ve tried the latest craze. I will have it again, or variations on a theme. But the green smoothie won’t replace my usual brekkie food. I still prefer to eat my meals, rather than drink them.

Injury update
This evening I received a phone call from my physio. Seems he’s been talking to my sports doctor today about my ultrasound scan and problems with my hip and he (sports doc) wants to see me tomorrow afternoon. So fingers crossed… 🙂


Sunny Sunday

25 Aug

I can almost smell spring time…it’s on it’s way!!! The blossoms are just starting to open and soon there’ll be an explosion of colour and wonderful scents once spring kicks into high gear. Spring in the capital also means variable weather – one day gorgeous, the next day abysmal. And the wind – cold, gusty, straight off the alps. But when the sky is blue, the wind is calm, it’s a lovely time to be outdoors.
Sunday walk
I decided a change of scenery was in order so I decided to walk one of my old running routes which takes my up the back of Hawker, a suburb in Belconnen. It’s a bush walk and there were a few hills which I managed to hobble up. The view over to the ranges is spectacular and I never tire of it. There were quite a few mountain bike cyclists out on the trails, one that flew by me without warning. There were also mobs of kangaroos out, always alert for the slightest hint of danger.

Sunday breakfast
We went out to Braddon, an inner city suburb, for breakfast this morning. This was payment for doing Mr CJs tax return (I had already been taken out for breakfast by sons #1 and #2 respectively in previous weeks). We decided to have breakfast at Delissio’s mainly because it was the quietest and we were guaranteed of getting a table. Elk & Pea, our first choice, was packed and meant waiting around for a table. I had hash browns with avocado, bacon and roasted tomato with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce. Unfortunately the hash browns were the pre-packaged, McDonald’s type of hash browns whereas I had been hoping for the handmade sort. The rest of the dish was delicious and the coffee was great.

Sunday cooking
This afternoon was spent food prepping for the week: roasting sweet potatoes, pumpkin and beetroot. Par steaming broccoli. The roasted sweet potato and pumpkin were then puréed, portioned into glad bags and frozen. Beetroot was quartered and also frozen. Same with the broccoli.

Made an awesome 45sec chocolate and salted caramel pudding tonight for dessert using this recipe from the Drizzle & Dip blog. However the caramel disappeared into the pudding as it cooked. So next time (and there will be a next time!) I’ll add more caramels.

(Photograph – Samantha Linsell, samanthalinsell.com)

Feels like a Friday

9 Aug

I’ve had a few rest days this week for a variety of reasons but this morning it was time to bite the bullet, so to speak, and get out there and do my walk training. Of course it was another frosty morning (I know how to pick them) but I was warmly dressed and only the tips of my fingers got cold. It was a 7km walk this morning and I managed a sub 9 min/km pace for the walk so I’m happy with that.

I also had my regular physio visit on Wednesday but there’s nothing to report. I think he was hoping I had managed at least one of the couch to 5km run sessions but sadly I had to inform him that I couldn’t even run a couple of steps. So it’s a case of wait and see what the specialist says. I see him in a month’s time. In the meantime, the physio wants me to attempt another run in a week or so. Fingers crossed I can do better than I did last weekend.

I went for another brisk walk at lunchtime over to the Canberra Centre where I sampled a vanilla flavoured espresso at Nespresso, perused the yarns at Lincraft as I have more baby clothes to knit, and then browsed the shelves at Dymocks – I love a proper book store and I hope they don’t eventually all disappear. While it’s handy to be able to download books on to my ipad to read, I still love going into a bookstore, picking up a real book and turning the pages.

And what is planned for my weekend? Well, now that you ask…I have a 10km walk tomorrow, bright and early, before brekkie with son #2 at Black Pepper café, followed by my regular monthly massage a bit later in the morning. Cooking-wise, it’s currently Matt Preston Saturdays which means I cook up a couple of his recipes for dinner Saturday night. On the menu this week is Death Dish Risotto with Braised Mushrooms & Hazelnuts followed by Angelic cheat’s cake with devilish chilli lime syrup. Will let you know how that goes. On Sunday I have a 16km walk to do, probably in the afternoon as I have my regular weekly Sunday sleep in! And somewhere among all that I hope to do some knitting. I will never die from boredom!


Ho hum…same old, same old

5 Aug

Sometimes I really wish I could write something that’s a bit different, a little bit out there, but my life is pretty boring.

This morning was no different from any other Monday morning in that I was up early for my walk. However, the walk today was extended by a kilometre – from 6km to 7km. Other than that, there was nothing out of the ordinary to report.

Weather-wise, there was no frost and I did warm up relatively quickly. No frost though does not translate to no layers – I was still wearing several layers plus gloves plus my big woolly jacket.

My hammy was a little sore from yesterday’s attempted run and walking uphill is not easy at the moment. The hammy hates hills. The walk was followed by a circuit of pushups, dips and ab exercises at home.

And that’s pretty much my Monday exercise done and dusted.

Breakfast: it was apple ricotta toast. I love apple, I love ricotta and I love toast so obviously this is one of my faves. 🙂
Lunch: I had leftover lentils in the fridge which really needed to be used (I hate waste) so I oven roasted some beetroots over the weekend and then made lentil and beetroot salad with ricotta for work. Combined with baby spinach, fresh mint (from the garden) and drizzled with a mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this is a delicious meal.
Dinner: I love salmon and so for dinner tonight I had ginger salmon stir-fry with broccolini.
Snacks: apple with almond spread: corn thins with avocado and tomato.

And just to round out Monday, the following article was reported in the media last week. It grabbed my attention…

Healthy diet won’t stop menopause weight gain</strong>

Being a healthy eater will not stop women gaining weight once they hit middle age, Australian researchers have found.

A study of more than 7000 Australian women found once they hit their late 40s they were likely to gain weight irrespective of how closely they followed the Australian Dietary Guidelines for healthy eating.
“Women, on average, will gain two kilograms over the menopause years and the only women who resist that are women who put either extra focus on their diet or extra focus on physical activity or both,” the study’s chief investigator, Clare Collins, said.
The study followed healthy women aged 48 to 56 for six years, and found those who ate the most healthy foods gained just as much weight over that time as those who ate the least healthy foods – about 1.7 kilograms.
“Our earlier research had found people who had a higher diet quality score also consumed more calories, because if you have a greater frequency and variety of healthy foods you also consume more energy,” she said. “So the good news is we showed they don’t gain [more] weight.”
Professor Collins said analysis did seem to be finding a link between high fruit and vegetable intake and less weight gain, which she suspected was due to switching from unhealthy foods.

Hmmm, guess I’ll just have to put extra focus on my physical activity. 🙂


Savouring Saturday

3 Aug

After a very frustrating walk yesterday morning I wasn’t really looking forward to my 10km walk this morning. Also, last night it was really windy and cold, and I think there might have even been some rain. So I didn’t have high expectations for this morning, weather-wise.

However the walk wasn’t too bad and my pace was better than it has been all week. After last Saturday’s sub-zero temperatures I was well prepared for this morning and was wearing about 4 layers of clothing. This worked – I actually was starting to feel quite warm near the end of my walk! However, admittedly, it wasn’t frosty this morning and I had started a little later than usual so the sun was up. There was a chilly breeze blowing but even so it was far more pleasant than last weekend when I felt like a human ice block.

So I had walked up an appetite before my breakfast with son #1. This was payment for doing his tax return and for getting a very generous refund. Yeah I know, I’m cheap but it’s also a good way of getting some one-on-one time with him and enjoying a good meal at the same time. I had green eggs and ham, which was avocado and herbed scrambled eggs with bacon, tomato jam and yoghurt, and gluten free toast. Delicious and filling. Son #1 had bacon and scrambled eggs with mushrooms and kransky.

Then for dinner tonight I used two of Matt Preston’s recipes from a Masterchef Masterclass. I have to admit – I am totally sold on his style of cooking and recipes. His recipes are generally pretty easy but very, very tasty. Tonight we had lamb, walnut and pineapple braise, served with buttered noodles (in my defence, there was the brown rice option but Mr CJ was having nothing of that), and for dessert, passionfruit sponge with berry coulis and whipped cream. First the lamb braise. This is so tasty – full of flavour and just melts in the mouth. Its one of those dishes where you put it all in the casserole dish (after browning the diced meat), stick it in the oven and leave it to weave its magic for a couple of hours. Fortunately we have plenty left over for tomorrow night as well. As for dessert, the sponge cake, once whisked and poured into individual ramekins, is then cooked for 45 seconds in the microwave. The berry coulis takes a few minutes on the stove, and whipped cream…well, that doesn’t take long either. So you can have a delicious dessert on the table in about 5 minutes. How cool is that!

I must check out his recipe book, Matt Preston’s 100 Best Recipes for more ideas.

Tomorrow I attempt some running…again. Week 1 of the Couch to 5km program…again. Let’s hope I have better luck than last time I attempted this.

Stay tuned…

I know I can

Cutting some slack

1 Aug

I wagged gym today. OooohwH! That takes me back to when We were kids – that’s how we’d respond if one of us had done something naughty!

But, do I feel bad? No.

We..e…ell okay briefly, I did beat myself up with the guilts. Then sensible, no-nonsense CJ took over, berated the over anxious, perfectionist, pain in the arse CJ for being so rigid and inflexible and then went back to bed.

Actually there was a reason. I’ve been battling something for about a month now and just haven’t been functioning at 100%. Some days are better than others. The last couple of days the-whatever-it-is has resurfaced and I feel like crap…again. So, even though I had my gym gear ready the night before and had my program organised, when I got up this morning the last thing I felt like doing was going anywhere, let alone to a gym. My head hurt, my body ached, and I was tired. For once though I actually listened to my body, decided to skip the gym session and go back to bed for another hour. Sometimes I just have to go with the flow and not stress about doing everything.

So yes, I cut myself some slack today.

It was the RSPCA cupcake morning tea today. Omg, the quantity and quality of the cupcakes was amazing. It was so good to see so many people baking for this worthy fundraiser and there was definitely no shortage of people wanting to buy them. I had made gluten free lemon surprise cupcakes – a vanilla cupcake with a lemon curd filling and cream cheese frosting. From all accounts these were delicious – I haven’t had one yet. Instead I had a gluten free carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting, which was really, really, really delicious. Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since having a cupcake! (Since I wrote this post, I have had one of the ones I baked – one word.amazing!)

On the plus side, and it’s a huge plus, I am wearing a pair of work pants today that I haven’t worn for a couple of years and they fit comfortably. The best thing is they were a favourite pair of mine so I’m really happy about this. We are reunited! Lately I’ve had people comment on my weight loss so it must be noticeable now. I don’t really notice it – it’s only when I go to put on something I haven’t worn for a while and it actually fits and there’s no straining at the seams.

Finally, it’s no longer my clothes that are shrinking, it’s me!


The final week

29 Jul

As they say, all good things must come to an end and so it is with Round 2 of the 12WBT program. This is the start of week 12, the final week.

So what have I been up to and what are my plans for the week?

Walking training for the NY marathon is coming along. I am currently working on improving my walking pace. This is an area that definitely needs improving because quite honestly I suck at walking. However, I have been given some useful tips on improving my walking (thank you Sharon!) and I’m applying them, or at least trying to. I guess I am moving into race walking mode and there is definitely a technique to doing this. I can’t quite get the hip thing going because of the hammy. However I am noticing a difference in my gait and an increase in my pace. Even yesterday, before I started adopting some changes to the way I walk, I actually managed a walking PB for 6km. This walk was done mid-afternoon so it was a lot warmer than very early in the morning! By the time I finished I was definitely feeling very warm. My pace for this 6km was 8:48min/km. Previously my best pace for 6km was a whisker over 9min/km. So a PB!!!! Then this morning I incorporated some of the tips I’ve been given and my time for 6km was quicker than it has been for any of my early morning walks. I’m not sure what my pace was because someone left their Garmin on overnight and it was totally dead this morning! Ooops.

Last week’s total walking distance: 44.9km! That’s a few hours of walking. I don’t think I’ve ever clocked up those sorts of distances for walking…like, ever.

Tomorrow and on Thursday it’s my regular gym session and I’m to try incorporating some lower body exercises with very low weights again and see how my hammy likes it. I’m also including walks at lunchtimes on these days so fingers crossed we have decent weather. I think rain is forecast. Oh, and fingers crossed that work doesn’t get too crazy and I don’t manage to get outside (it happened last week).

I have finally booked our San Francisco accommodation for November. We are staying there for 6 nights. I’ve chosen a hotel in Union Square. Now I only have the Hawaii accommodation to book. Yay!

I’m still to finish knitting the baby layette. It’s on my to do list but lately I just never seem to get around to it. Now she’s been born I really need to get a move on or she’ll have grown out of it!

I have a series of Saturday brunches starting this coming Saturday. This is my payment for doing the tax returns for sons #1 and #2 and Mr CJ. I’m cheap! Besides it’s a nice way of getting some one on one time with my boys. This means that I will be doing my long walks later in the day rather than very early in the morning. At least it should be a lot warmer! I don’t think I could do another Saturday bone chiller again (see last Saturday’s post).

This morning I tried delicious homemade gluten free muesli made from a recipe given to me by a work colleague. It’s a combination of chia seeds, linseeds, walnuts, slivered almonds, goji berries, pepitas and sunflower seeds. I also added quinoa flakes. So instead of the Breakfast Banana Smoothie which was on the program for this morning I had Breakfast Banana Muesli instead. I’m not one for drinks as meals – they never seem to satisfy me for long. So I had the muesli soaked in a little milk, then added sliced banana, Chobani natural fat free yoghurt and cinnamon. Yummo. It was both delicious and filling.


The work-in-progress me

25 Jul

I was reading an article by Craig Harper today titled ‘I’m a F**kwit sometimes’ and it resonated with me. There are so many self-help ‘gurus’ trying to sell their message to us that we should be awesome, amazing, living life to our maximum potential, achieving our dreams, and being super positive people all the time.

But you know, in real life yes, sometimes I am simply amazing (and believe me, you’ll hear about it) but sometimes I can be so ordinary, super boring, so utterly predictable, half arsed, lazy, well I could go on and on. I can’t be totally switched on, 110% positive, brimming with enthusiasm, and totally embracing life all the time.

And you know, that’s ok.

As Craig says, I am (we all are) a work in progress – totally human, fallible and imperfect. We can have our off days when things just don’t go to plan, as we can have our super awesome days, and every shade in between.

Anyway I was running late for the gym this morning. I had so much gear to organise for the gym, the shower afterwards, the walk at lunchtime (which didn’t happen) – all this so I could get to work early as I was meeting a friend for breakfast. Honestly, the things I do for good coffee, food and company!

And it was so cold. I made the mistake of having a peek at the weather report before getting out of bed. It was minus 5 degrees but apparently felt like minus 10. WTF! No way! Thank goodness I wasn’t walking this morning. Even so I had to tip warm water over my car windscreen, passenger windows and doors, as they had frozen shut.

Once at the gym it was a case of lots of shoulder presses, upright rows, triceps dips and bicep curls, with the odd set of push ups in there just to mix things up. Result? Jelly arms!

The planned 5km walk at lunchtime never happened today because of work pressures – it’s always the way. However I plan on doing the walk tomorrow lunchtime regardless. I’m sure they can do without me for about 50 minutes.

And I’ve been hungry today. Lunch never hit the sides (leftover Tandoori chicken) and my teensy mandarin certainly wasn’t going to hit the mark. Fortunately a work colleague gave me a kiwi fruit and an orange which helped fill me up. Then a little later I had an apple and some almonds. And tonight there’s been some snacking while preparing dinner and getting tomorrow’s lunch organised. Oops :0

So the work-in-progress me has had some hits and some misses today. But that’s ok. That’s life.


Weigh in Wednesday

24 Jul

200g to go, 200g to go! I’m almost at my goal weight though to be honest my weight is really not an issue anymore. As I’ve said previously, I am fitting into my clothes, some which I haven’t been able to fit into for a couple of years, and I feel so much better (chocolate over-indulgences aside). It’s amazing though how losing a couple of kilos can make such a huge difference. It’s taken me 11 weeks to lose 2.8kg so it’s certainly not been a speedy process. But the fact that the food on the program is still holding my interest says a lot as I’m easily bored and need variety. And when I get bored is when I start snacking and more often. This program offers variety in bucket loads, not only in meal choices (vegetarian, regular, and weight loss or weight maintenance) but also with exercise choices. The weights program changes every fortnight, as does the cardio component. I can choose from gym machines, gym classes, outdoors or at home options. In fact it really becomes a lifestyle rather than a diet per se and that’s what I like about it. I can see myself continuing to follow the program and eat the meals because they are so damn tasty and easy to prepare. I have all the recipes in 2 Kikki K recipe folders and these would have to be the 2 recipe books that get the most use in my house. I have used many of the recipes at some point (over 300 recipes), so that’s not bad! And now that I’m on the maintenance program I get to eat so much more food with each meal.

It was very frosty this morning when I went for my early morning 6km walk and despite all my layers and gloves I still felt the cold today. I did a fartlek walk in that I sped up for a certain number of lamp posts and then walked at a steady pace between others. It helps pass the time.

So far this week I have clocked up 17km of walking, probably the most I’ve ever walked!

I met up for lunch with friends at the Blue Olive café today. I haven’t been to this café in years and even then it was ever only for breakfast. I’d never been there for lunch before. Wow, what a revelation. They cater very well for people who have to eat gluten free. I had the pumpkin soup with a side of gluten free toast but I could have chosen from a large range of sandwiches or rolls. They also have salads plus some mains. I didn’t even look at the cake/slice display! Best not to put temptation in my way! So Ruth and Liz, I think we might have to try out this café for breakfast sometime soon!

This afternoon I had my regular physio appointment. Since the last appointment I have only managed one running session and that was a dismal failure. Since then my hammy has been sore and I have not been tempted to even try running because I really don’t need another setback. So what was today’s verdict? Take another week off from attempting to run (this will make it 3 weeks) and then try again. In the meantime I can continue with lower body weights at the gym and the walking. Also it seems that I have Femoroacetabular impingement, a congenital condition exacerbated by particular activities. It presents as restricted range of hip motion ie hip flexion and internal rotation. And also explains my tendency to get hip and hammy injuries – because you name it, I’ve had it!


Toughen up Tuesday

23 Jul

Actually I think in the 12WBT program it’s known as Tighten up Tuesday but I prefer the term ‘toughen up’. The aim of the day is to tighten up the diet and exercise – no excuses, no cheating, and no slacking off. Hmmm….

So here goes….

An early morning weights session at the gym, focusing on back and chest since I can’t do any of the leg exercises…yet again. So there were the usual lat pull downs, low cable rows, lots of push ups and dumbbell chest presses. And some time on the xtrainer, just to mix things up. And there was no slacking off or opting for easier weights but I still don’t feel like I’m getting a proper workout because I can’t do any leg-based weights. Do I sound frustrated? Yes!

For breakfast I had apple muesli, dolloped with natural yoghurt. I use the Kuranda gluten free, fruit free muesli with quinoa and cacao nibs. It’s delicious. Topped with grated apple and milk, and then dolloped with chobani natural yoghurt it becomes very, very delicious!

Morning tea was some more natural yoghurt with oven roasted strawberries. If you’ve never tasted oven roasted strawberries, you are really missing out on a taste sensation. This method is particularly good for strawberries that aren’t fully ripe and tasty – oven roasting brings out the sweetness and intensifies it. All you need to do is hull them, halve them, and place them on a baking tray (cut side up so they don’t stick to the baking paper) and roast in a 150*c oven for around 30 minutes.

I went for a brisk 5km walk at lunchtime along the cycle path that takes me through Turner. Brisk because there was a rather chilly wind blowing. Normally I walk early in the morning and don’t see anyone but walking at lunchtime I was passed by lots of runners. Sigh. I do miss running. I was very envious of even the slowest plodder today because they can do something I can’t do at the moment – run. We always want what we can’t have.

Today for lunch I had left over potato, spinach and feta tortilla. Sometimes food always tastes better the day after it’s been made and today was no exception. To follow I had a small mandarin from our tree. It might be small in size but it packs a flavour punch that many shop bought mandarins lack.

To deal with the mid-afternoon munchies I snacked on soy, linseed and chia corn thins with cottage cheese. It may sound gross to some but this is actually one of my favourite snacks. To each their own, I always say. Having said that, every so often this afternoon my thoughts would stray to a packet of salt and vinegar chips. Don’t ask me why – this is not normally something I eat nor even usually crave. Maybe I’m lacking salt? Instead I had a licorice tea which actually is better in combating sweet cravings but it does seem to have helped marginally.

Tea tonight was lamb with beetroot puree and herbed peas with ricotta. I love ricotta in any dish. The beetroot puree was different. Gee its messy though – I had beetroot juice everywhere, especially when it came to peeling it once it had roasted, and then pureeing it. Fortunately I remembered to don some gloves for the peeling stage otherwise I’d have red hands now!

In summary I think it was a toughen up day. I came so close to succumbing to the salt & vinegar chips this afternoon. I added a walk at lunchtime, in addition to the weights session I did this morning.

And I’m thinking an early night might be on the cards. Though I do have to pull my finger out and finish off some baby clothes I’m knitting for a baby that has now arrived. And no, I’m not referring to the royal birth!