Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Numbers Going Up

No, I am not talking about weight (although I am certain that those numbers have gone up this week as well...)  I am talking about age. 

Yes, It is THAT day of the year.

Now, normally I love birthdays.  I spend the whole month of December telling everyone I am about to have one, how old I will be, and what fabulous plans I have for the day.  The beatuty of having a birthday on New Years Eve is that I don't have to plan a party to go to one, there are always choices.

But not this year....

I have been trying to work out what is different this year.  It is not one of the "big ones".  Just a regular late 30's birthday.  And I think in the last few days I have worked out what the problem is.  For the first time since becoming a "grown up" I have actually felt my age.  Physically.  Emotionally.  Spiritually.  In fact, I feel older than 37.  Much older.  This year has left it's mark on me. 

So no parties for me today.  The Mum's are coming over for lunch, but that's it.  We are spending tonight, the final evening of 2009, home alone together.  We just want the year to finish quietly and peacefully.

I have finalised my list of 10 goals for 2010 which I will talk about tomorrow.

Until then I would like to wish you all a very happy New Year.  I hope that 2010 sees all your hopes and dreams come true.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Good Friends, Good Food

This week has been a week of dinner with friends, which has been amazing.  And there is more to come on Friday. 

Last night was dinner with L & W who are only in town for a week.  L is one of my absolute best friends in the world.  We were 2 single gals together after our divorces, and spent a lot of time together.  She met W about 6 months or so before I met Ross.  We have both been amazingly lucky this time around and married incredible men.  W is in the military so they have been in Queensland for the last 4 years.  They are now on their way to WA for a 4 year stint, and are passing through lil' ole SA on their way through.

It was absolutely incredible to see them.  Dinner was Cheese & Mushroom Quiche.  It was delish.  I have made a quiche before, with a lot of help from Mum, but this was the first time I made it on my own.

After dinner we just talked and talked.  They had to leave eventually, and as always happens when they head off, I had a few tears.  But at least Perth is easier to get to than the top end, and I have other friends over there as well who I have wanted to visit for years.  The last time I was there was January 1995.  It is definitely time for another trip me thinks.

I am trying to just chill and relax for the remainder of my holidays, so the rest of today is just hanging out with Ross until I need to got for my run tonight. 


Monday, December 28, 2009

First run

Tonight I went for my first walk/run in approximately 8 months.  I was very nervous about it.  I have gained so much weight and I was worried about my knees holding up.  I was also concerned that I had absolutely no fitness left.

So we headed off.  Ross came with me.  We went to the parklands over the road.  It is usually quite crowded, but there are lots of sections, and ovals and parks.  We were lucky enough to find a section that was empty.  The plan was for a 30 minute walk and I decided I was going to attempt 2-3 running intervals, hopefully in the 30-45 second range.  Not alot, I know, but a start.

First interval, 39 seconds.  Pretty good.  I felt ok.  My legs fatigued before my lungs gave out, which I thought was a good sign.  Second interval, 46 seconds.  Third interval, 60 seconds.  By now I was feeling it.  After a few laps to recover I decided to try one last interval.  70 seconds.  Very impressive. :o)  Ok, so I wasnt running very fast.  More like a fast shuffle.  Ross was doing a fast walk/slow jog to keep up with me, so it was definitely slow, but who cares.  I an really happy with how I did.

When I got home I used our new Body Shop Massage Roller on my legs.  The backs of my legs and my calves feel a little tight, so I got Ross to give them a roll.  Felt great.

I am inpressed with my effort.  No pain in my knees or ankles.  And I enjoyed it.  Next run in Wednesday.  I am actually looking forward to it.


Week 1 Training Plans & More Cooking

Week 1 of my 8 week training plan is over.  I did okay.  I did all my walking sessions, although one was moved to a different day and slightly shorter than planned.  I did miss one cycling session.  It was 42 degrees so I figure that was okay.  The 2 sessions I did were great.  My AHR was high and I felt strong after.  One was in a wicked head wind, but it still felt good.  Today I do the first walk with jogging intervals.  I am extremely nervous about it.  I haven't decided if I will do it later this morning or wait until tonight.  Ross is going to come with me which will be nice.

Last night we had friends come over for dinner.  We always have a great time when R & M come over.  We pretty much just talk and talk and talk...  I tried a couple of new recipes as well.

I made Tomato Pasta Bake, which I thought was a little bit dry, but still yum.

I served it with a garden salad and warm Creamed Mushrooms, which I thought were delicious.

It is nearly the end of the year.  I am looking forward to this year finishing.  It has been a tough one.  I am in the process of setting my goals for the new year.  I don't do Resolutions as such, but I like to set some goals in place.  Since it is 2010 I am working on a list of 10 goals that I will share on January 1.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Xmas Wrap Up

Ross & I have had a great Xmas.  It started Thursday night.  We decided to spend Xmas Eve over at Ross's Mum's house.  It has only been 2 months since his Dad passed so we did not want her waking up alone on Xmas morning.  We had a lovely evening together.  Xmas morning we woke early and I made pancakes for Ross & his Mum.  Ross went to pick up his Grandad (91 years old and still going strong) while Di & I made salads to take to lunch.  We did pressies when Ross & Grandad got back, and yes we got spoiled.  :o)

Off to lunch at my sisters.  My sister invited Ross's family to join ours for Xmas lunch which was so generous of her.  So for lunch there was us 4, my sister and her partner & 2 kids, my brother and his wife & 2 kids, and my Mum.  It was great.  We all brought food, and believe me, we did not go short!

Ross & I got home about 5pm and unpacked all the spoils of the day.  One of the best things was my Mum got us a whole heap of dried beans and legumes, and some cool containers to store them in.  I got out the label maker and put the beans straight into the containers.

I also got my very own rolling pin and wire cooling racks!  On my cookie weekend I borrowed them from my Mother in Law, so she decided I need my own. 

We were SO very full from lunch, so no dinner for us, but we did go for a walk.  Then we sat in front of the TV and both did some drawing.  I finished a drawing I have been working on for a while.  I can see so many problems with it, which is good because it means I can see where I am going wrong, but overall I am happy with it.  Six months ago I couldn't draw at all, so I am really pleased that this even resembles what it is meant to.

Today was a day of rest.  I pretty much did nothing, and I had a ball!  Dinner was something new again.  We decided to have kebabs and baby roast potatos.  I did the kebabs with tofu, mushroom, red & green capsicum and snow peas.  Then I put a mixture of sweet chilli sauce & hoi sin sauce on it and put it in the grill.  So delicious!

I also put the last of Xmas prawns onto skewers with the sauce mix and grilled them for Ross.  He loved it.

Tomorrow we have friends coming for dinner.  I have a bike ride planned for the morning, and other than cooking I am planning on another relaxing day.

I hope that everyone's Xmas was as relaxing as ours.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I just want to take a moment to wish everyone the happiest of holiday seasons.  Whatever you believe, whatever you celebrate, I truly hope it is joyous and filled with love, laughter, good food, and great friends.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Herb Garden and new Pets

Before we moved out of our old place last month, we had started a really nice garden.  It probably would have been starting to bear vegies now.  Of course, we lost all that when we moved out.  We do not have a yard here at the new place, so there is nowhere to have a garden.

However I did not want to lose everything, so yesterday we set up a herb garden.  The window in our kitchen gets quite a lot of light, so we decided to start an ice cream container herb garden.  We have chives, garlic chives, parsley, basil and coriander, which are the herbs I seem to use the most.  So far they are all quite small.

I am hoping to be able to use them fairly soon though.  :o)

The other thing we have been missing since moving here is having pets.  We have 3 cats.  They are currently living with my mother inlaw.  And being spoiled so badly I am not sure we will ever get them to behave again.  But they are happy.

So today we went and got some new pets.  5 fish! 

Their names are Billy Bob,

Billy Sue,

Billy John.

Billy Joe,

and Billy Ray 

We will get more in a few weeks, but they guy at the aquarium centre said to start with just 5 while we get the tank set up.  I love fish.  And I am so glad to have pets again.  :o)


Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Cooking

Mum came over for dinner tonight.,  So out came the recipe books so I could make something flashy for her.  She loves vegetarian food, so I was hoping to dazzle.

We had Mushroom Strudel

And Roast Baby Potatoes with Parsley

Followed by my Chocolate Hazelnut tart with icecream and strawberries...

What an absolutely delicious meal!  Everything went down a treat and Mum was suitably impressed.


Friendship Cards

This year, instead of Xmas cards, Ross & I decided to send out Cards of Friendship to our closest friends.  2009 has been a year filled with challenges for us, including (but not limited to) severe illness, loss of jobs, being forced to move, mental illness, death of a family member, death of several friends, to name but a few...

The many and varied events of the year have made us both take a good long hard look at our lives, our friendships, and the things that are important to us.  What has come through all of this is that our lives were too complicated, and we need to step back and make things easier on ourselves.

While I love Christmas, I hate how commercial it has become.  Christmas cards are a waste.  They are expensive and they tend to end up in the bin by January 1.  You feel obliged to send them to everyone you have ever known, even if the last contact you had with some of these people was last years Xmas card.  Australia Post makes a fortune on your postage requirements, and the card companies are rubbing their hands together with glee and the money rolling in...  I did not want to be a part of that.

However I did want to take the time to thank those people who have been there for us and stood by us through everything that has happened.  So we decided to send out Friendship Cards.  I have been making my own cards for a while using my photos, so this morning I made up a whole pile of them and I will send them out this week.  I am hoping they won't end up in the bin...  :o)

I hope that this little gesture from us to our friends will show them that we are grateful to thave them in our lives, and will bring a smile to their faces.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Relay for Life 2010

For the last 5 year I have captained a team in the SA Cancer Council’s annual Relay for Life. It is often quite a lot of work to get the team organised, get all the fundraising done and money banked, get costumes, team banners, theme related stuff organised, do a walking chart for the event itself, make sure everyone has everything…

After last years event I said – no more. I needed a break. Then the events of this year began to unfold and there was absolutely no way I could have even imagined captaining another team. A friend of mine was going to pick up the reigns and take over, but his year has been chaotic as mine, so ended up not having the time to do anything either.

For the last week or so I have been thinking a lot about it. I love Relay. Despite the work in the lead up, the event itself is absolutely awesome. I called S and asked if he was still going to captain a team. No, but he would help if I did.

We have been the Pink Angels for the last 4 years, but the costumes are in storage and are in need of repair. So a change of name and theme was needed.

Chaos Inc was born.

The event is the last weekend in March and I am hoping to be able to run a few laps. Last year, just walking, I walked 26.4kms. This year I am aiming for 30kms over the 19 hours. The Cancer Council has now set up online registrations and fundraising as well, which makes the whole process so much easier.

Our team goal is to raise $1000. Even though I don’t actually have a full team yet… I am sure I will get enough people though. If anyone reading this would like to sponsor Chaos Inc, please go to our fundraising page here.

Now that the team is registered I am excited and can’t wait.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Back to Training

A few weeks ago I attempted to start the training program from Nicole Cooke's Cycle for Life book.  Due to Xmas festivities and illness, that went kaplooey.  I had made a decision to restart come January 4 2010, and to also incorporate a program to start running, doing the cycling and running on alternate days.

As I was riding to work this morning - in the lovely rain that we so desperately need - I wondered why I was waiting two and a half weeks to start this, when I could start now.  I have no festivities after work at all next week, then I have a whole week off.  Let's get this show on the road!

So I have worked out a training plan (will post spreadsheets in the sidebar at some point) that gives me 2 clear goals.

I want to be able to ride 50kms again.  I don't care how long it takes, I just want the endurance to do it.  I have based my training loosely around the one set out by Nicole Cooke, but modified it so I will get to where I want to be.  I am not starting from zero fitness level here.  I can comfortably do 10kms in half an hour.  I can still ride over 25 kms in a day.  So it is just a matter of building on that.  For the most part my cycling will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

I am using the word running instread of jogging (although it will probably be more of a shuffle) because running is what I want to ultimately do, so I am going to start using the word.  My first goal is to be able to run 1km without a break.  Yes, this may seem like a small goal, but I can not run at all right now, so I figure 8 weeks to get me there should be do-able.  I need to be careful.  I am still carrying SO much extra weight and I do not want to risk injuring myself, so I am starting small.  For the most part I will be walking/running on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

Fridays will be my day off.  I am also going to try and put some swimming and yoga DVD's in there as well, just to round out what I am doing. 

I do have a major fitness goal in mind that will take quite a long time to prepare for.  It is not something I am prepared to share right now.  But let's just say that this is the first step towards this larger goal.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Walking Tall

I walked to work today.  It's not that far, about 3kms.  But I didn't sleep well as my back has been giving me grief (seeing the Chiropractor tonight - yay!) so I was sluggish this morning.  Since Ross is picking me up to go to the Chiropractor, I had to walk.

I headed off, running a bit late, kinda clomping down the street, feeling sorry for myself for no particular reason other than I didn't feel like walking.  After about 200 metres I realised this was going to be a looooong walk if I didn't do something about it.

So I threw my shoulders back, put my head up, and walked tall.  The weird thing, in less than 50m I was no longer tired and sluggish, and I had a GREAT walk!

There must be something to this.  I just finished reading 'Born to Run' and there is a whole chapter in there about our breathing in relation to posture and running technique.  I found it really interesting but didn't see the relevance to enjoyment until I actually tried it.  As soon as I stood tall and opened up my airways, I enjoyed my walk.

Try it.  You'll see.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Baking

Another day of baking.  The smells in my house are simply divine.  I only did 2 lots of cookies today, but they were a bit more complicated.

I started with Almond Biscotti

Then made Chocolate Shortbread which were deliciously iced.

There are so many cookies in my freezer, we will defintely not be running out in a hurry.  The weird thing about this whole cooking thing, is that I am not a huge biscuit fan.  Maybe that is why I have been able to nake so many and not eat them.  Ross is loving them though.  In saying that, I have loved all of these, but I am happy with just one here and there.

So now I have found another aspect of cooking that I love.  This is awesome!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baking Day

Today was baking day.  Well, actually this weekend is baking weekend, today was day 1.  I got all the ingredients out and put them on the freezer so they would be handy.

I started with Honey Oat cookies. 

Next up was Fudgey Macadamia Cookies.

Finishing up the day with Mega Choc Chunk Cookies - the best choc chip cookies ever made!

Two more recipes tomorrow.  I can't wait!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Tonight was another quick and easy dinner. Thanks to Caleb & Elizabeth I made the easiest and yummiest Nachos ever! I got the recipe several weeks ago, but hadn't got around to trying it until tonight. I made a few little changes to the original recipe, just to tweak it to my tastes. But it really was delicious. I say that a lot, I am aware of that, but it's just how it is.

Add a beautiful Clare Valley Shiraz, candle light, and my wonderful hubby, and this quick dinner was fabulous!

You can find the recipe here.

For the first time I used red kidney beans that were NOT from a can. I used the beans I bought at Gaganis last week and soaked them overnight. I actually preferred them like this. I like the flavour of kidney beans in a can, but have always struggled with the texture. I just find it a bit 'wrong'. But when you prepare your own beans the texture is completely different. And the flavour is a bit richer too. I will definitely keep a supply of the dry beans from now on.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Recipe Link

Hi Everyone!

I have set up a recipe link where I will put the recipes of all the meals I post. Saves you all asking for them. :o) You can find all the recipes I have put up so far here.

I have put the link in the side bar so you can check in any time. I will try and have each recipe up within a few hours of posting the pictures.

This weekend is a baking weekend, so prepare for lots of cookie recipes from the Betty Crocker Cookie Recipe book I picked up from the library yesterday!


Five Rules for Life

About a month ago I shared with you my Five Rules for Life. I am very excited that my 5 Rules are featured on the Five Rules for Life Blog at the moment! There are many other great contributions on this blog, and it makes you really think about the things that are important to you. I urge you all to check it out.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Cycling Challenge – Week One

Hmmm… Well, what can I say. Tuesday I went for my planned ride and felt great. I did 10.37kms in the 35 minute ride. I had the gears cranked up so I focused on resistance rather than speed. My AHR was 77% of my max.

Thursday I was unwell. Not too sick to work, but too sick to be pushing it on a bike with no available toilets nearby. If you get my drift….

Then the weekend was just insane with birthday festivities, and Xmas parties.

This week I have Xmas functions every evening.

So I believe that starting this challenge in December was perhaps not the wisest thing to do. However, next week is looking reasonable clear, so I will start week 1 again next Monday and see how things go.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna

Another new recipe. That is 2 this week. I made a spinach & mushroom lasagna. It was great, although it took a long time to cook. I made the sauce from scratch, something I had never done before, and it took over an hour to reduce enough. It was worth it though. We had friends over for dinner who seemed to like it too, which was good. I am always nervous when other people try my food.

I served it with a garden salad and some sweet potato wedges that I got out of my Vegie Food book. I didn't actually like the wedges. They were way too oily. I will try them again, but with a lot less oil.

Despite how long this took to prepare, I actually really enjoyed it. I spent half the afternoon in the kitchen, chopping, and stirring, and measuring, and tasting. It was a wonderful way to spend the day.

Shopping Day

This morning we went back to Gaganis Bros Warehouse. We made a tip there last weekend with Mum, but just had to go back when we had more time. I only needed some red kidney beans for a chili I want to make, but I thought we could spend some more time looking through the kitchenware side. Oh if only I had an endless supply of money and a massive kitchen in which to store everything...

I finally bought myself a little garlic press, which is going to make things so much easier, as I seem to be making quite a few recipes with garlic lately. We bought more wine glasses and a few other bits and pieces. But my favourite things are...

A mortar & pestle. I love them and have always wanted one. But as I never really cooked before I never saw the need. But now I am sure I can make use of one.

And a red baking tray. I am making a spinach lasagna tonight and while I do have a dish I can use, the red one is so much better!

We got home and decided to sit down to a cup of herbal tea...

And some delicious chocolate that we got from Bracegirdles last night. Anyone who lives in Adelaide who has not yet visited this amazing house of chocolate, needs to get there asap.

The is Fairy Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Mint Smash. Yummo.

Tonight we have friends coming over for Ross birthday (although is birthday was actually yesterday). I am looking forward to trying new recipes again.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fun Cooking Challenge

I have decided to set myself a fun little challenge to cook 1 new recipe a week, every week, for 3 months. That comes to 13 new recipes over the next few months. Since it is the first week in December, I am starting now.

Tonight I made Texan Tacos. Although I didn't have taco shells, so I made them like burritos using tortilla wraps. They were delicious. The taco part was made with Sanitarium Casserole Mince, which is 'minced wheat gluten in gravy', with onion and red kidney beans. I really like red kidney beans, but I hate the texture. So I used my Tupperware happy chopper and chopped them up. Mixed in with taco seasoning and a can of chopped tomato's, and you have vegetarian taco filling.

We started with lettuce, piled on the taco mix, then topped it with tomato's, cheese, avocado and taco sauce.

They were absolutely divine. Incredibly filling, but not heavy like burritos normally feel to me. This is yet another thing that will definitely be made in our house again.

Now to find a new recipe for next week. This is fun!


Supplement Update

I went to the chemist and got some Iron supplements. I got something I haven't seen before called 'Bio Iron' by Blackmores. It is meant to give you the iron you need without the constipation. Dose is 1 tablet 3 times a day. I'll start with 1 a day and see how I go.

I went to get some Iodine but they don't sell it on its own anymore. So I got Betadine, which contains Iodine, and will see how I go with that.



The last week or so I have been feeling quite tired. Last night I sat down to go over what has been going on to see if I can come up with a solution. I jumped on the Net (my source of all things information-related) and did a look up of fatigue relating to a vegetarian diet, just in case I am missing something. Here is what I came up with.

Sleep - I have been getting a reasonable amount of sleep, for me. Anything over 6 hours with 3 hours uninterrupted sleep (I have lots of night time toilet stops) is good for me. I have actually been getting about 8 hours with a couple of 3 hour stretches, so that is good.

Vitamin D - I am confident my Vit D levels are returning to normal. I have been taking my supplements (due again next week) and have been getting actual sun on my skin without sunscreen (in moderation) and without long sleeves.

Protein - This could be a problem. I do not think I have been getting enough protein in the last couple of weeks. So I need to increase my intake of eggs and legumes. On days when I don't have these I need to have a protein bar or shake. While this is not my preferred source of protein, it will do in a pinch. It is grocery shopping this weekend, so I will stock up on eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes, and I will then make sure I cook them as often as possible!

Iron - I have always struggled with borderline low iron levels, ever since I stopped eating red meat coming up on 20 years ago. I never actually made a decision to stop eating red meat, it's more that I was quite ill for a couple of years with Glandular Fever and after I recovered meat made me feel sick, so I stopped eating it except in very small amounts. Over the years I have trialled every iron supplement there is, including kids doses, and they all result in the same thing - constipation. :o( But.... I think I will try again. I figure if I take half a dose every second day it will have some impact on my iron levels, and hopefully have no impact on the *other issue*.

Iodine - This is a tricky one, but one I know I can self test on, as I have had a naturopath do it before. Just get some iodine and put it on your skin in an area where the skin is soft (crook of the elbow or sole of the feet is best). If in a couple of hours there is no stain from the iodine you are low (as your body has sucked it all in). If the iodine is still evident your levels are okay. The good news is if you are low you can continue to put iodine on the skin to absorb it that way.

B12 - I need to start taking my supplements again. Along with my multi vitamin. I have put a reminder in my phone and I am taking todays dose mow.

I have also decided that after the end of my 3 month trial if I decide to become a vegetarian, I will go to the doctors and have everything checked, just to make sure I am doing okay.

On to slightly other, but related news, Ross & I have enrolled in an exotic vegetarian cooking class next year. It is a 4 week class and you learn vegetarian recipes from all over the world. I am really looking forward to it!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cycle for Life - 8 Week Training Plan

I have noticed recently that my fitness level has dropped dramatically this year. I guess it is understandable. I really haven't been focused at all on my fitness or my cycling. At the beginning of November I got Nicole Cooke's book - Cycle for Life. I have decided that now is the time to make a start on the training programs within.

It actually embarrasses me to admit that I need to start on the beginners one, my fitness has dropped so much. The aim of the first 8 week Training Plan is to get your cycling up to a solid 4 hours a week. I am starting this week, and Tuesday (today) is the first session. I am not including commuting in the 4 hours a week I am working towards. Using my bike as transport is still just that - transport. This is dedicated cycling hours.

Today's session is 35 minutes constant cycling in the "Green Zone". The green zone is with your HR between 60-75% of your max. The hard part is finding places to ride where I can do a constant 35 minutes, as there are traffic lights absolutely everywhere near my home and work. In the 3km commute to work I go through 4 sets of lights, and I use back streets for the last km to avoid more. However between work and home is the park lands. There is a bike path through them and there is a stretch of about 4kms where you do not need to stop and cross roads. I am going to loop that section. Yes, it will be a little boring, but it is the best I can do right now.

The first week consists of 2 x 35 minutes Green Zone sessions and 1 x 45 minute Green Zone session. looks relatively easy on paper, but it has been a long time since I did cycling without breaks for lights. I'll report in at the end of the week. Wish me luck!


Monday, November 30, 2009

Living with someone with Mental Illness

This is not a usual topic of discussion for me, but it is something that I feel the need to write about. I want to talk about those people who live with people with a mental illness. So much discussion is around about the person who has the mental illness, and what it is like to actual live with a mental illness of your own. And that is great. It is something that should be talked about and discussed so that the horrible stigma attached to mental illness may someday be removed entirely.

But what about the people that live with the person who is living with the mental illness? Their parents, or spouses, or siblings, or friends. There is very little by way of help available to these people.

I believe there needs to be more support available to the people who are providing the support. Beyond Blue has some literature, but to the best of my knowledge that is it. Doctors are so time strapped that they have time for the person suffering, but not for those around them. How do you know what is the right thing to say? Or do? Is what you are doing helping? Or making the situation worse? It is a slippery slope.

I would love to hear from others who live with people with mental illness. Whether it be depression, or bi-polar, or schizophrenia… Whatever the illness. The support providers need to start to communicate and share.

If you do live with someone or care for someone with a mental illness, I want to say a huge thank you and well done. It is a thankless task, but one you do because you love the person involved, and wouldn’t dream of doing anything else.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

One month trial over

At the end of today my one month trial of eating meat-free will be over. It has gone by so fast. To be honest, I didn't think I would be able to get through the first week without finding it all too hard. But quite the opposite was true. It has been fun coming up with alternatives to meat. Finding new recipes and trying them out in my new kitchen. Trying lots of different foods to try and experiment with.

So, I have decided to extend the trial to 3 months. Which could be difficult as it takes me right through Xmas, my husbands birthday, and my birthday. But I am really not ready to go back to eating meat just yet. I am also not quite ready to swear it off completely. So the result of that is, extended trial.

So yesterday I went to a place called Gaganis Bros which is a food and kitchenware wholesaler. The warehouse is massive! Everything is available in bulk and is wickedly cheap. We spent heaps and stocked up on plenty. Most of it Mum is going to give us as part of our Xmas hamper this year. We got lentils, red kidney beans, white beans, chickpeas, soup mix, spices, herbs, honey, cheeses, chocolate, coffee, storage containers, some fancy bowls, sundried tomatos, olives, oil... There was just so much to choose from! Our cupboard will be so well stocked come Xmas. And I will have no excuses not to eat well.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

All you need is a Pencil and a sheet of Paper

Now that I don't have all my Facebook games to play, I find myself with spare time of an evening. I have a few TV shows I like to watch, but I am really not one to sit and watch TV mindlessly. I need to be doing something with my hands.

Earlier this year I took some Drawing classes. I really enjoyed them as I have always wanted to draw. After the classes finished I started drawing by copying from photos. Which was fun, but not really where I want to go with my drawing.

So last night I picked up my sketch book, my "B" pencil, and my eraser, and I sat down. I have never just sat and drawn before, with no picture to copy, and no idea of what I actually wanted to achieve. So it was weird. My fascination with drawing always leads me to fairy drawings. So I decided to give it a go.

I started with the wings (I know they look more like butterfly wings, but it is a start :o) ), and the picture came from there. It took a few hours. The proportions are way off. And it is really just a sketch, but the finished product, for my first shot at freehand drawing, is something I am proud of.

I haven't drawn for a few months. I haven't really had the time. So it was fantastic to just sit down with a pencil and a piece of paper and draw. And I loved that I didn't copy anything, didn't get concerned about the proportions, I just drew my picture.

I can't wait to see what I draw next!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rustic Greek Pie

I forgot to take a pic of last nights dinner. We had Spinach & Leek Fritters. It was pretty good. Very good actually. We didn't cut the spinach small enough, and should have used egg rings like the recipe said, but they were yum.

Tonight we had Rustic Greek Pie. I wasn't going to post the photos, as on the surface it looks like a failure. And to be honest, when I pulled it out of the oven I thought it was a failure. The pastry didn't hold on one side and some of the egg mixture poured out as you can see in the photo.

Obviously I decided to take a photo anyway. It smelled divine, and once it was cut up, it looked pretty good too.

Outcome? It was Delicious! So was the glass of wine I had with it. And that does not happen very often. Yet another meal I thoroughly enjoyed cooking, and thoroughly enjoyed eating. Next time I will make it in a quiche dish so the sides can't bust. Other than that, perfect!

The 50 Things Project - The Final List

I am pleased to announce the completion of this years round of the 50 Things Project. I have gotten rid of 50 things in the last few months, and believe me, it feels great! There are a lot of little things that are not on this list, things that were so inconsequential they got thrown without second thought. But this is the big list.

It’s weird, I really do feel free-er (is that a word?) after finishing this. It’s like - by getting rid of the old I have given myself permission to start with the new.

So here it is, the final list…

Already on the list:
1) Brown cabinet (old TV cabinet) -hard rubbish
2) Old clothes that are too big/don't wear anymore - Goodwill
3) Old craft magazines that have been stored and not used in over 10 years - bin
4) Dried and half used paints - bin
5) Textas/crayons from when I was at TAFE - going to R's friend who has an intellectually disabled daughter who loves to colour in
6) Left over miscellaneous craft things from Garage sale - bin
7) Kids books - will give to friends who have kids
8) Old posters/wall hangings that have been in storage since I moved to SA - bin
9) White cupboard that is falling apart - Hard rubbish
10) White wardrobe no longer use - back to Mum's
11) Metal computer table – Hard rubbish
12) Unused craft stuff (things I haven't used in over 5 years) - bin
13) Taped videos - bin (I no longer own a video player so no point keeping these)
14) Excess sheets/towels - Goodwill
15) Excess coffee mugs, dinner plates - Goodwill
16) Spare TV cabinet – Hard rubbish
17) Spare wooden desk – Hard rubbish
18) Futon - Megan
19) Spare wooden drawers - hard rubbish
20) Fabric - Sent to Mums to add to her stash
21) Spare computer monitors and cases - hard rubbish
22) Old Uni assignments (have held on to for nearly 20 years) - bin
23) Books no longer want – Book exchange
24) Grey carpet mat - Hard rubbish
25) Radio Gramophone – Hard rubbish
26) Old tent - hard rubbish
26) Pappasans - hard rubbish or to my MIL's
27) Spare computer chair - dump
28) Old costumes (mostly falling apart) - bin
29) Bits & pieces I used to use in my previous volunteer work - bin
30) Plastic hall runners - hard rubbish
31) Exercise bike - to be sold
32) 2nd fridge - to be sold
33) Plastic outdoor chairs (broken ones) - hard rubbish
34) Small (stained) outdoor table - hard rubbish

The list continues…
35) Black rug – bin
36) Old car (yes car) – sold to an auto wrecker
37) Overlocker – Ebay
38) DVD’s we don’t watch – Ebay
39) Gym set – Ebay
40) Punching bag – sold to Megan
41) Lawn mower – Grandad
42) Oil heater – hard rubbish
43) Air conditioner that doesn’t work – hard rubbish
44) Plants and pots – to my Mother in Law
45) White bookshelves – hard rubbish
46) Black drawers – hard rubbish
47) 2 x hallway shelf units – hard rubbish
48) Massive ceramic pot – bin
49) Guitar (not used in 5 years) – to be sold
50) Wooden hand drum – to be sold

Ross told me last night he was feeling really good about the amount of culling we have done, and he can’t wait to get stuck into the things in storage so we can get rid of a whole lot more. This is a real positive step for him as he has always been such a hoarder. I guess this means that next year we can do another list! YAY!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

A weekend of Good Food and Hard Work

I have had a really good weekend. It started Friday night with a trip to the markets. Now that we live relatively close to the city we decided to meet after work at the markets on the bikes. It was a great way to get in there, but I am sure we looked pretty funny riding home with spinach and leeks sticking out of the side bags on the pannier!

First stop was the food hall for some food. I have to say I was a bit concerned about finding something vegetarian to eat. The Food Hall we usually go into is all Asian food, and I have never seen non-meat food in there, although to be honest, I haven't looked. As we were walking through we saw a sign to a 2nd food hall. We decided to check it out. Imagine my delight when I found this lovely shop!

Of course this was where I decided to stop and eat. I was pleasantly surprised that Ross decided to eat there too. There prices were great, and the food yummy.

I got some rice, with stir fry tofu, steamed broccoli & cauliflower, and something called sweet & sour gluten, which they said was a soy based product. It came with a glass of soy milk, all for $7.90. It was delish, and very very filling. I was only able to eat just over half of my meal. Ross ate all of his and half of what was left of mine! And he's the skinny one. :o)

Saturday was a day of hard work. We went back to the old house that we moved out of last weekend to clean up the outside, the shed and the outside rumpus room. We started around 9.30am. Despite how much we had already thrown away we took 2 more heaped trailer loads to the dump. A little bit more into storage, a bit more to the unit. Then there was the vacuuming, sweeping and cleaning the verandah area, weeding the last of the flower beds, and pulling apart the last of the things in the shed. We returned the trailer to our friends, and got home about 8pm. No cooking last night, cheese sandwiches and straight to bed.

Today I spent at the new place trying to finish unpacking. I got 90% of it done. All of my clothes are away (or bagged up to go to the charity bin). The kitchen & laundry and completely finished. And most of the dining room is done. The bookcase we brought with us basically fell apart, so we have to go and get our other one out of storage, so the books are still in boxes. A few of Ross's things are still in boxes, but we cleared away enough so that we could actually set up the dining room table and eat dinner in there, which was lovely.

Dinner tonight was mushroom risotto. I have never cooked a risotto before. In fact, I have only eaten it once or twice. But can I just say - WOW! This was the absolute yummiest meal. Yes, I know I say that all the time, but it truly was. I know risotto is not the lowest calorie meal, but since it takes an hour and a half to prepare and cook, it is not something I will have all the time. The recipe said it served 4, but we had fairly generous helpings and there are 3 serves left.

Tonight I am spending the evening watching Bones with Ross. It is nice to be able to relax, knowing that there is nothing left to do at the old house (final inspection in tomorrow) and that there is also very little left to do here.

A new week begins tomorrow. Work, Guides, all the normal stuff. I can't wait to see what comes my way!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Cutting back on uselessness

OMG… I am having heart palpitations. I just removed my 4 games from my Facebook Applications. What am I going to do with my life now????

I worked out I spend about 2-3 hours a day farming (Farmville), feeding fish (Fishville), attacking dwarves and dragons (Age of Castles), and fighting gangsters (Mafia Wars). That’s 2-3 hours – EVERY DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I get to work early, turn on the computer, and spend an hour or so doing what needs to be done in the games. I spend my lunch break at my computer, doing more. The I spend 1-2 hours of an evening, most evenings, finishing the harvesting, fighting, feeding etc.

I honestly did not realise how much time I spent on them until I sat down today to try and work it out. And I am stunned…

I want to write a book. No wonder I never have time to write. I am making a couple of knitted rugs, no wonder they are taking so long. I love photography, but I haven’t been out with the camera for ages. So as part of my effort to de-clutter and simplify things, I have deleted the games. I just KNOW I will have withdrawal symptoms. It will be hard. But what a complete waste of my life.

Now when I get home from work I don’t HAVE to turn the computer on to harvest, or feed fish. I can do other things. I can write, or knit, or cook, or even clean. I can go out for a ride, read a book, go for a walk, talk to my husband. This is scary and hard. Next step, turn the TV off… No, one thing at a time!


Dreams of Running

I want to run... I dream of being able to run, to fly through bushes, using just my own legs for strength. I have always wanted to run, but I have never been able to...

I bought the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall this week. It was an impulse purchase. I was in the book store looking for vegetarian books, but this one drew me towards it. It is about a runner who goes in search of a lost tribe in Mexico. All of the tribe members are natural runners, doing ultra marathon distances week after week. The astonishing thing is that they never get injured.

I am only up to about chapter 7 or 8. But I am loving it so far. It is very well written, and it is awakening this desire within me to get out there and run.

Here's the thing. At my size, running HURTS! and it hurts badly. So if I seriously want to do this, I need to start thinking about my weight again. I am pretty sure I am sticking with the Vegetarian lifestyle. I enjoy the food, and I feel good. But vegetarian does not necessarily mean low fat or healthy. There are lots of high calorie options when going vego. :o)

We are approaching the silly season. The month of December also includes my birthday, my husbands birthday, my brothers birthday, and the birthdays of several close friends. So let's just get through these next 6 weeks as best we can. But then it is all systems go again. If I want to run, I need to lose weight. And believe me, this book is inspiring me to want to run.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tasty Tofu

I spent all afternoon at work thinking about getting home to cook. I should probably preface this by stating that until earlier this year, not only did I hate cooking, I really wasn't very good at it. I could do the basics (grill some meat, steam some veggies, boil an egg etc). I could follow a basic recipe. But that is about it. But this year I have been reading, and practicing, and experimenting. And today I actually looked forward to it.

I had a block of tofu in the fridge that I wanted to cook. I have only ever used tofu in stir fry's so this was all new to me. But I decided to give it a shot. I read a lot of blogs and read one a few weeks ago (I have just tried to find the entry and can't I'm sorry) that showed a fairly simple way to cook it which I decided to adapt.

I melted some butter and lightly sauteed some crushed garlic and spring onion. I cooked some mushrooms and two slices of organic tofu in the butter, garlic and spring onions, laid it on a bed of baby spinach, and served it with some steamed broccoli.

The whole thing, from beginning to end, took under 20 minutes to prepare and cook. And it was delicious! I was so apprehensive about the tofu. I didn't cook any for Ross (he had a meat meal tonight) but he was eyeing it off. I let him try some and he declared that 'next time' he is eating with me!

If I can find some more quick and tasty meat-free meals like this, I really can't see myself going back to eating meat. This was quick, easy, tasty, and quite cheap! And I feel good after eating it. What more can I ask.