Friday, 29 May 2015

The big race... and a smoothie ;)

 Hip-hip for the weekend!!

Hi friends, how are we going? Good? Good!
As promised in my last post, I'm going to do a little recap of the big interschool cross country race that I have been training for, for a few weeks now (refer to posts here, here and here) how it went etc. So grab your green smoothies, get comfy and enjoy the story....

But wait. What green smoothie?
 This green smoothie!
 Seriously though, this bad boy is sitting in front of me as we speak and oh my it is goood! Perfect re-fueling after an easy-paced 7km run this brisk morning! (I'm still in ma running gear and the heat of exercise is starting to wear off!!)

Super creamy, cake-batter-y, nut buttery goodness!
Step 1. Place around 1/3 cup rolled oats in a bowl with enough milk (I used almond milk) to cover:
 Leave to sit for around 15 mins
Step 2. Into a blender chuck 1 chopped frozen banana, a big handful of kale, the soaked oats, 3 big spoons of greek yoghurt, a handful of spinach, 1/2 chopped frozen avocado, 1 tablespoon nut butter and a splash of water to get things rolling!
Step 3. Blend and blend and blend until smooth!
 This was a super thicky guys! Just the way I like it (spoon is on stand by ;)
 Super filling, tasty and packed full of goodness- what are you waiting for?
 Alrighty, now that everyone is settled with a big jar of green smoothie, let's talk about the race!

So it was on Thursday and because I was running in the open girls division (U/19 both year 11's and 12's- yep that did freak me out) our race wasn't until 12:35pm, so I opted to stay at school for the first two periods (hello, exams coming up!) and meet the team there with two other girls in my race.

Of course I was nervous all morning and concentrating on school work was getting quite difficult, so when we arrived at perry Lakes Reserve I was buzzing! There were sooooo many schools there, so many athletic kids, warming up, running around, stretching and just eyeing up the competition... it was intimidating!

We finally managed to find our school's tent, got our numbers drawn on us and changed into our school's running tank top. 15 minutes later and we were off to marshaling to get our number for our shirts which also held a little chip inside to time us as we crossed the finish line.

Thankfully this year they had changed the course from last year, that resulted in an extreme bottle neck right at the beginning, meaning if you didn't sprint to the front, you would be walking trying to squeeze through. This time, we all just ran! I tried not to look around and get psyched out but I could see in the corner of my eyes a few girls tripping over and no one stopping to help them up. It was literally a stampeded of runners.

I didn't want to look at anyone else. I had to get in the zone and run my own race. So I ran. I ran to a pace that felt good. I will admit I noticed I was getting closer and closer to the front but I couldn't seem to push myself that little bit harder. There was a pack ahead that were the very front of our race and I so wanted to join them but I think my mind just accepted that wouldn't happen maybe? I don't know. i kept up my pace and when we turned the corner into the finishing 100m sprint, I went for it, passing someone at the very end.

I flicked my eyes to the clock and saw 12 mins flat! That beat my PB by 1 min 30 seconds!! Although the 3km course we run at school as a steady incline the entire 1.5km back to school, so I guess that's why. Any-who I was stoked! I did feel a little disappointing because I could tell there was more in me- I could've pushed harder, gotten closer to the front.

But after looking up my position and time on the Interschool cross country website, my face lit up as I saw I came 37th out of the 279 girls in my race and better yet- 200th out of 1571 girls running the entire day!

After the race the girls I'd come in later with and I headed back to school, each grinning with our success and a little wobbly in the legs from a fast run!

Overall it was a great race, I felt good and I could tell all the training at school really paid off. As soon as we got back to school I missed cross country already! Missed the trainings and being part of the team. This is another moment where I wish I lived in America so I could be part of a track team that trained on a continued basis! Ahh well, I guess I'll just have to go back to my solo running until next year! :)

What about you?
Were/ are you part of a running team?
Do you find you do better when training with others?
Ever won a big race?

That's it from me today folks- lots of studying scheduled for this weekend!! (3-days until exams start!) I hope you all have a fabulous day, eat something delicious and usual and give someone a hug, trust me, it'll brighten both of your days!! Bye friends! :D

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Thinking Out Loud- The randomness of the week!

Hello, hello there friends, how are we all today?
 (I always feel a little strange asking how everyone feels from behind a computer screen, but I just imagine everyone reading that and unconsciously answering the question with how they're feeling... because that's what I do... and that makes me feel better! ;)

And if you thought that was a random intro, just wait until we get into this weeks Thinking Out Loud Thursday, hosted by the awesome Amanda, from Running with Spoons, who week-in week-out continues to supply us with a healthy dose of random and inspire us to do the same!!

So without further ado- a look into the week that was and all the things that made me think... out loud!

1. Do you remember this post I did a little while back where I talked about how awesome these odd-bunch veggies are that my grocery store is now selling for cheaper prices just because they look a little funny?
 And how they didn't even look all that different to the regular produce? Well I got another bag of those odd-bunch carrots and was a lot more pleased and the crazy shaped carrots in my bag!
For example, this guy:
Thank you for making my dinner more enjoyable :)
It's hiding in there somewhere!!
2. On the topic of dinners (yes, we were on that topic, see dinner picture above :) Segue master!) I just want to mention this one... because it was epic:
Pasta, roasted eggplant + zucchini + mushrooms + capsicum rubbed with garlic, spinach, corn and a chunky tomato pasta sauce.
However it's not the tastiness of this dish that I want to discuss (but just know that it was awesome!) it's the pasta. See I bought a bag of this high protein lower carb pasta (not in the intentions of lowering carb intake, purely for the fact that one serve boasts over 10g of fiber!) and was cooking it up like regular pasta. After about 8 mins (the usual time for my pasta) I tested a piece and it was pretty solid. I let it simmer for another 5 mins, tested again.. still pretty hard!  Another 5 mins- sort of getting there. I went to the packet, looked at the cooking instructions and saw that this pasta requires 18-20mins cooking. Right. Well, the pasta was a little later than the other components, but that's fine :)
3. If you need extra convincing that my carb intake is still in full swing, then check out this epic lunch:
Cold roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes with spinach, cherry tomatoes, capsicum and a torn-up curry veggie patty. This was so, so good and seriously filled me up! Wasn't hungry for ages after this container of yum!
And of course... nothing beats cold roasted potatoes. Nothing.

4. One thing that doesn't fill me up- normal salads:
Carrot, cucumber, beetroot, bean sprouts, spinach, capsicum, tomato and chickpeas
No matter how much salad I make, I'm still hungry a couple hours later. I was still really craving all the fresh veggies though, so this lunch was also delightful!

5.  Whilst cross country practice is still in full swing, I not only have to pack delightful lunches (see above) but also portable breakfasts and my breakfast of choice for the first few weeks seemed to be choc protein overnight oats- super simple, tasty and filling!

However it wasn't long before I got sick of them. Then I made some truffles- in the freezer overnight and then defrosted in my bag while I trained. Also- so delicious and filling!

To change things up yet again I thought I would make some baked granola bars and they turned out great!! I was so set to post a little recap/ recipe of them however when I was scrolling through my photos, this was the only photo I managed to take:
Yep, I know you're salivating over that alfoil!
So instead here's my pre-cross country training breakfast:
Chopped up banana stirred with greek yoghurt... just what I need for a grueling workout!! (beach running wrecks me!)

6. On the cross country note- I'll have a recap of the big race today soon- I am pretty stoked! (no I didn't win!! ;)

I feel like this post is getting lengthier than planned so I'm going to end the random here. If you still want more, head on over to Spoons to see what everyone else is Thinking about!Bye friends!! :D




Wednesday, 27 May 2015

WIAW #58 Weird but yum!

Hi there friendly friends! Yup, it's Wednesday again (I can barely believe it!) and I'm currently gearing up for my Semester 1 exams (totally just wrote eggs instead of exams.. anyone else think my brain is fried... like an egg?) which are taking place next week!!

So with a brain filled with facts and trigonometric functions and the names of arteries and veins surrounding the heart and the structural formulas of hydrocarbons... I bring the simplicity and comforting vibes of food, WIAW style! As always thanks to Peas and Crayons for hosting this awesome link-up!

Now let's take a look at everything that found its way into my belly on yesterday!
Pre-breakfast: 5;45 am
I had a cross country meeting early this morning instead of training but I still wanted to get a run in before the big race on Thursday, so it was a bright and early start for me Tuesday morning.
On the food note- I had two dates before a 30 min treadmill run. :)

Breakfast: 6:30 am
After my run (which felt pretty good, caught up on a few blogs too!) I quickly put together my favourite breakfast sandwich with my home-made spelt bread, peanut and coconut butter and sliced banana, toasted in a sandwich press:
Warm, gooey and filling, just the way I like it!
Eaten quite quickly as I didn't factor in my shower time/ getting ready for school after my run.
P.S. It was still pitch-black outside!!
Snack: 11:00am
After running around going to the meeting and then my period 0 (period before school starts) and then my next two periods... I was ready for some fooood!
And as usual my little pot of peas did not disappoint.
Lunch: 1:40 pm
Two more periods down (and a heck of a lot of studying- did I mention how much I love exam time?) the lunch bell finally rang and my stomach jumped for joy:
Lunch prepared the night before: rice plus (rice, buckwheat, wild rice, black sesame seeds and quinoa) with some oven roasted beans and lentils, oven roasted capsicum, mushrooms and zucchini seasoned with pepper.
There was also some spinach at the bottom of this severely squished down container of yum!
Snack: 4:00 pm
Usually snack time is just before I have to rush off to my flute lesson but today I knew I had waaay too much study to do and opted to stay in and put my head down! After I had a snack first of course ;)
A delicious plate of fruit (persimmon and red grapes) with a sunshine yellow mug of soy milk. I love the colour yellow, so happy ;)
Dinner: 6:45 pm
Dinner was a mix-matched of random foods to satisfy all of my wants! In other words; perfection!
2 poached eggs over spinach and sliced avocado, topped with hommus with a side of crispy (slightly burnt ;) roasted potatoes and white sweet potato and a small bowl of plain greek yoghurt. Completely random, completely didn't work together... but separately it was pretty tasty!!
Of course I left the potatoes til' last. Best part of the meal!
After dinner I was still not completely satisfied and so warmed up a mug of almond milk until it was nice and warm, sipping on the sweet, creamy milk whilst I let my brain have a day dream after the day of strenuous exercise (in the form of study)

Aaaand that's what I ate. I will admit I probably needed a bit more fuel but I just didn't have the time/ energy/ mental capacity and all in all I was happy after all the delicious foods I nom-ed on this fine Tuesday!

Your turn:
Were you/ are you a studier? I know I am and I guess in reality that's a good thing!
Do you ever leave the best part of your meal until last? I literally didn't touch the potatoes until everything else was gone. I just wanted to savour them!
Ever like a warm mug of milk to end the day? Bring back childhood memories for me.

That's it from me today, I hope you all ate/ are eating something truly delicious and don't forget to head over to Peas and Crayons if you want to see what everyone else is nom-ing on! Bye!! :D


Monday, 25 May 2015

How competition has reignited the running bug!

 Hello everybody!

Around a month ago I wrote a post about how my running was suffering. Or, more accurately, how I was suffering because of my running. I was running ridiculous distances for a ridiculous amount of time and as a result was starting to feel.. ridiculous. I could tell I was become obsessive, addicted, needy to having to run these looong runs every second day.

At first I felt great. My body was coping fine and this shocked me! I remember my injury from last year after running 6km distances- being told that was too far (and it was, at the time) and thinking; 'Psshh, look what I can run now!'

And then life caught up with me. I couldn't outrun the fatigue, the muscle tiredness, the general dreading of going to bed early to wake up before the sun had even considered rising for the day.It became harder and harder to pull myself from my bed, lace up my shoes and then continue to run. And run. And run!

So I stopped.

Well that's not entirely true. I took a short break and then decreased my mileage significantly in preparation for the cross country race (only 3km) that was coming up for school (did I mention I got Champion girl? I'm sorry, I just can't get over this!!)

And then....

MAGIC! My love for running returned!! HAZAAAA

I was running much shorter distances for training (Tuesday and Friday mornings) however the entire hour of those trainings kicked. my. but! They were so intense. Sprint exercises, beach runs, longer runs, intervals etc. It was challenging... but awesome! I enjoyed waking up bright and early (or, dark and early, as was the case) and looked forward to training and sweating and crying and dying and... haha ok, I'm definitely exaggerating here. Slightly. ;)

I don't know what it is but there is something about a little competition flowing through my veins that pumps up my heart, takes over my legs and brings back that feeling of flying that only running can give me.

It sort of reminds me of my dance concerts. After a year of practicing and practicing the same routines over and over again and doing the same tireless exercises, I felt like stopping dancing for good. Then the end of year concert rolled round, I had the time of my life and my love of dance returned!

These events in my life make me realise and distinguish between when I'm doing the things I'm doing because I love them, or when I'm doing the things I'm doing just to... do them? Running has given me so much, but also taken so much from me and I feel like that has to stop. I want to make a promise to myslef that I will keep- I want to promise myself that if I'm ever at the stage again when I literally dread going out there and pounding the pavement, that I won't because from past experience I know this does me no good!

Right now however? I'm lovin' it! The big interschool cross country carnival is coming up this Thursday and the nerves/ excitement are leaving me with a huge grin plastered across my face. In a team with a bunch of awesome girls, running competitively to represent our school... the running bug is back BABY!

What about you?
Do you have periods in your life when running just isn't happening?
Do you take a break in these periods?
Does competition make things 10000X more awesome/ exciting for you?

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience with this little hurdle of my life and if you have had the same experience/ have an tips/ comments- feel free to leave them below!! Have a fabulous day friends- do something you love :) Bye !! :D

Sunday, 24 May 2015

EGGS

Hidy-ho folks!

If you were to ask me two years ago what my favourite way of eating eggs was, I would hands down reply with fried. a crispy, sunny-side up fried egg. Usually paired with a frozen lentil patty and baked beans. Because that's what I lived off for around 6 months when I first became vegetarian. #Healthyliving. ;)

I didn't mind boiled eggs (hello, toast soldiers?) but would not even consider scrambling my eggs (still not the biggest fan) or whatever the heck poaching was. (I was a naive child!)

If you were to ask me right this second what my favourite way of eating eggs is... it would be poaching all the way (followed closely by boiling, because- TOAST SOLDIERS!).

Yes, like every other person who has never made a poached egg before, I was terrified when I made my first one. The whole prospect of sliding a fragile little cracked egg into hot water and expecting it to stay together just seemed way too good to be true. Alas, I cracked it in to the pot of simmering water, held my breath and watched as the magic began to happen before my eyes.

The transparent blob around the yolk turned into the distinguishable white of an egg, creating a protective blanket around the golden treasure inside, keeping the egg together, coagulating the protein, forming a solid body.

I'm not going to lie, I was impressed and pretty much hooked.... with the cooking side. After years of frying my eggs, poached eggs (like many other things poached compared to their fried friends) just seemed dull and flavourless. But because I was hooked with cooking poached eggs, I consequently ended up eating many poached eggs (generally topping them with salsa/ hommus for flavour (or even popping them in a sandwich.. ;)
 ^Eggs topped with hommus ^
^Egg sandwich ^
After a magical number of times of eating poached eggs... they really started to grow on me. It came to the stage where I hadn't eaten a fried egg in maybe a year?! As I also chose poached eggs- for the fun cooking part and the taste! Now? Now I love to eat hm plain Jane too, enjoying the flavour of the egg. It always surprises me how much taste buds can change!

Anywho, the point of this post was, as of a reader request, to share how I make my version of poached eggs (and it's a heck of a lot easier than you may think!)

I remember my Foods teacher telling us once to crack the egg into a bowl lined with cling wrap, wrap it up and twist the top and then drop it into the boiling water. For some reason this method didn't seem to like me too much and we won't go into the details. Instead, here's my method:

You will need:
1 or 2 eggs (or 3 or 4... depending on how many eggs you want!)
A small bowl
A small saucepan (bigger if cooking more eggs) filled halfway with water.

What you need to do:
1. Bring the water in the saucepan to the boil:
2. Turn down the heat slightly so the water is simmering (don't wanna break the yolk!)
3. Crack your egg into the small bowl:

4. Gently slide the egg out of the bowl into the saucepan (not from a height! Close to the water)
5. Add the other eggs and then wait for the water to return to simmering before turning off the heat, replacing the lid and leaving to sit for 4 minutes (runny yolk) or longer (harder yolk)
6. Using a slotted spoon carefully remove eggs from water and place on paper towel:
Et voila! Poached eggs!
Ofcourse you can do the swirling technique where you use a spoon to swirl the water, creating a whirlpool in the saucepan so your poached eggs form a more boiled egg shape, but I prefer a flatter poached egg to top of bowls of food/ plonk on toast.

I enjoyed these eggs atop some brown rice, roasted eggplant and sweet potato with cumin and some avocado:
Yum!

What about you?
What's your favourte way to eat an egg?
What was your favourite way to eat eggs as a kid?
Any toast soldier fans out there?

Well that's it from me today folks, I hope you all have a lovely day, eat something delicious, maybe try out poaching an egg if you haven't before and... just smile! Bye friends!! :D

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Sunday Link-a-licious

Hello folks! Happy, happy, happy Sunday (three happy's because Sunday's are nice :)
I hope you have something lovely planned for today (or absolutely nothing planned which makes today lovely!)
As for me, the past few days have left me with a funny back (hello spasms, you guys are fun. Especially when I have no clue when you'll hit!) and was told to rest until the cross country carnival on Thursday. However I woke up this morning and just felt stiff... but not in bad pain... and my body was telling me that a run would feel good.

Now I was pretty apprehensive about this, don't get me wrong. I have in the past made myself exercise just because I think I should (even when my body thinks I shouldn't) so I went about putting on my running gear nice and slowly and stretching up for a bit. Then I decided to just give it a little go, stepped onto the treadmill with my trusty iPad full of good blog reads I'd missed from my hectic school week and took it slow.

I was right guys! I didn't go fast, or push myself too hard, but it was what my body seemed to need to stretch out the little aches and stiffness that had resulted from me being cautious because of the spasms. 30 minutes at a slow pace, reading some great blog posts- that's what I call a great start to Sunday! It also made me realise how in tune we can be with our bodies- and that truly excites me! :)

Almost as much as a great breakfast!
I picked up this bad boy out grocery shopping yesterday because I'd heard mixed review about carob, but wanted to give it a shot (compare it to cacao etc.)
I was kind of hesitant when I smelled it after opening because it smelled pretty sweet and strange.. but mixed into rolled oats with a sliced banana, cinnamon and some almond milk and then at the end some greek yoghurt and I was one happy camper!
Served in an almost empty jar of peanut butter for extra awesome-ness!
It definitely didn't taste like the rich darkness of raw cacao powder but I must say raw carob powder is pretty good :)

And because it's Sunday I have some links for you- posts/ recipes/ sights that have intrigued me over the week and hopefully will intrigue you too!

Food:
My Cantaloupe Fro-yo!!

No bake peanut butter cocoa puff fudge marshmallow protein treats

Healthy No Bake Triple Peanut Butter Bars



Fitness:

Learn to Breathe Better While Running




15 of the best things that can happen to you during a run

Learn to breathe better while running

Learn to Breathe Better While Running
Learn to Breathe Better While Running
Learn to Breathe Better While Running
Fun/Good/ Insightful reads:

WIAW: do what matters

5 Healthy Foods to Eat Every Day

Giving Up Exercise: The Science

Easy Healthy travel snacks
 
If Disney Princesses Swapped Hairstyles- Ahh, this one made me laugh so much :)

Well that's it from me today- again I hope you have a wonderful day filled with wonderful things, eat something delicious, and just take a moment to take in life currently- I really need to work on being in the moment!! Bye friends! :D

Friday, 22 May 2015

CANTALOUPEEE!!

I LOVE SATURDAYS!
As you may or may not have already guessed. I get the feeling that I start most of my Saturday posts out like that ^.
Any who, I love them and I hope you do too!

One of the main reasons I've come to have a deep, loving and real relationship with Saturday (seriously, we're like start-crossed lovers.... star crossed because a person can never truly be with a day... alas we are dooooomed! Ok, back to reality ;) is the long and luxurious morning to make something for breakfast and not be rushed to whip it up and scoff it down. To spend time with my belly in deciding what it feels like eating and then taking my own sweet time to create it.

This morning? The lemon/oatmeal combo just sounded too good once again! So into the saucepan went around 1/3 cup oat bran + 1/2 banana + 3/4 cup almond milk + 1/4 cup water + 1/2 lemon rind + 1 teaspoon lemon juice + 1/4 vanilla bean seeds scraped (sub in a drop of vanilla essence)
With some crunchy peanut butter on the bottom, in the middle and on top for even coverage!
But that wasn't all folks! Ohhhh no!
I was mindlessly peering into the freezer for some inspiration for this morning's fro-yo (tummy wanted yoghurt!) and noticed the snap lock bag with some beautifully ripe chunks of cantaloupe inside. Oh yes.

Into my mini food processor went a few chunks + the other half of banana:
Whazzed up slightly before adding in 3 big scoops of greek yoghurt and whazzing until smooth:
I made this before the oat bran so it could  set slightly in the freezer while the lemon-y oats cooked.

My super-super delicious breakfast:

Seriously though, my tummy was fairly impressed- good job Saturday morning, good  job.
That was one of the better aspects of the morning (not that the morning was bad in any means!) but I did have a chiropractic appointment to work out some of these funny back spasms I've been getting lately (Chiro thinks it's the beach running with cross country training at school- I agree!!) and then mum and I spent a ridiculous amount of time at the bank waiting to transfer some actual cash into my bank account (soo many people!)

But this cantaloupe fro-yo made up for all of that (even before all of that happened!)
Creamy, smooth, flavoursome, delicious!
And lemon oat bran is where it's at now-a-days:
Happy Days!

What about you?
Did your Saturday start with something delicious? What was it?
Do you prefer Saturdays or Sundays? For some reason I'm more of a Saturday fan... maybe because Sunday is closer to Monday? ;)
Ever put frozen cantaloupe in something?

That's it from me today folks. I hope everyone has a fabulous day- do something you love doing, enjoy yourself, smile and tell someone a compliment- it just might make their day! Bye friends!! :D

Just another picture of the cantaloupe fro-yo for your enjoyment :)
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