Sunday, April 21, 2013

12wbt now up to preseason task 3. Fennel & Walnut couscous

Ok so I have signed up to the 12 week body transformation challenge. I needed something to give me a kick start, some motivation and accountability and some new inspiration. Technically the challenge starts in 3 weeks, but we're already been set some challenges and tasks to get started, as part of the 'warm up' and 'pre-season'. And to be fair some of it whilst being very basic, they are helpful.

Today was the 3rd preparation task to 'Gear up'... well as I already train I have this sorted. But I did find the previous task helpful- setting goals (1 month, 3 months, 6 months & 12 months).

The one before that was listing all the excuses you can or have made and writing them down and the solution... so next time you go to use it, the solution is there in print. So as you can imagine my fridge is becoming quite full!

The warm up challenges were basic changes, to get you focused and I guess so the challenge isn't such a shock to the system... as # 1 was make one small change. The others involved planning meals, writing down what you eat, exercising every day, cutting down on non water fluids... guess all the stuff we know we should be doing anyway.

So back to today. For lunch today I have left overs from the weekend BBQ feast! So thought I would share my walnut and fennel couscous recipe... as I love it!

Boil kettle, pour dried couscous into a mixing bowl. Add an equal amount of hot water (once boiled) and cover with lid, or cling film (glad wrap). Leave for at least 5 minutes.

Then in a hot pan heat through some cumin and fennel seeds, then break down in pestle and mortar and set aside.

Add tsp oil to pan, sauté 1 finely sliced fennel bulb, 2 celery sticks and an onion.

Once soft add 1 juice and rind of 1 lemon, bunch fresh parsley 75g walnuts to a blender and pulse. Then add olive oil, the sautéed vegetables and ground seeds. And pulse until mixed.

Uncover and separate couscous with a fork, mix through other ingredients.

Reintroducing myself and my new challenge

Its quite strange reading back over all the previous posts. I have now tried to re-label them into some kind of order. So I have listed by general subject at the top and for recipes, by category at the side. For many of my recipes I had already listed key ingredients so if you were to search those you should be able to find recipes too. So if you had cheese and eggs, you should be able to find some inspiration.

It's been quite some time since I blogged on here regularly. At the time it had been a year, since I had reached my goal weight. And we were living in suburbia attempting to grow our own. Proving what could be done. Since then we have actually moved onto a small acerage (almost 2 years now). And we are taking thsi lifestyle a little further.  I have been blogging about this, and really enjoying the process it is part of the reason I am returning to this one.
Weight wise it has not all been plain sailing. My weight has fluctuated a bit. But I have been able to identify when I was losing control and address the issue. Moving house was actually a challenge. I think a combination of setting up new habits, change of routine (especially exercise) and alot of comfort eating (and drinking) lead to my weight once again creeping up. 
So last year I set about regaining control, undertaking a 3 month fitness/ "diet" challenge along with my other half. It was pretty successful- Max's Muscle Challenge. The first 8 weeks seemed to be sensible eating and training, something I could easily follow. The latter stages I admith the "diet" became unsustainable and not something I finished. But the exercise component was interesting, and somethign we had kept up (more or less). I learned new training techniques, such as cross fit. And actually had some guidence with weight training. Weight training is something I usually get board with... I find it repetitive. But no longer being a member of a gym, as we are 'out of town' we had set up some equipment in the shed.
So following 6 weeks of Christmas visitors and a fwe injury niggles, I find myself once again a few kilos over goal. But with new goals and a new challenge ahead I fel it was time to start blogging again.

So 12wbt should be an experience. I do like challenges that offer group support, as well as training plans and new recipes. Whilst I enjoyed the training for the Maxx challenge. I felt the shakes were almost cheeting. Even though they were only supplementry to the food. I am hoping to get back on track. Guess weight loss will always be a permenant challenge for me. But the key is acknowledging when you need help.
So we have a few weeks til 'kick off'. But so far we have been given warm up and pre-seson challenges and advise. SO I chall share these as I go.

Being organised can and does save cash

Develop yoru own tick and flick-
Start by going through your cupbaords, fridge and freezer and listing what you have in categories. Not just food, general use items, toiletries etc too. Now I list the most used items on my tick sheet. This lives on my fridge, so the whole house can mark off when something is low or run out. I also use this to scour the weekly specials. I can then compare, on the spot and know where to buy what.

This may sound like an effort, but it can make a great amount of difference. Just because it has a sticker on it, does mean its the best price. These are common techniques used to lure customers into making uneccesary purchases. Items that we use regularly, like toilet roll or higher priced items- such as good coffee I buy in bulk or stock up when thier on special.

Go to your green grocer, local baker, farm shop/markets and butcher first. Cutting out the middle man can save you money and it will be a fresher product. As you know we do raise our own meat, but this is not always enough. Especially as we are getting started. And we do not have the room to rear all our own meat supply. So we still buy from different sources. Local producers (such as a piggery), local butcher- and you can usually buy in bulk or half a beast, if you have the storage space and are prepared to put in the work. This can be very cost effective.
If we do buy from supermarkets, we do try to buy free range- Chicken, Pork, eggs (not that I've bought any of those for some time). This is a conciencoius discission, I would personally rather eat less than buy factory farmed, but that's me. And I do take full advantage of reduced to clear meats, getting close to thier best before date. These only apply when its fresh, they will freeze and keep just as well as any other meat.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Back into Cross fit

As I have mentioned I am no PT, but I thought I would post about my training, as it may or may not be of interest to some. As I do not have any more triathlons this year; well this weekend is the Corporate and we do not have a team, so am responsible for coordinating the marshalls. And the last event is an off road dualthon- I don’t do off road, I am dangerous enough on road! So I thought it was time to up my running and gym work for the summer months. I figure being 10k run fit through summer, with the heat and humidity puts me in good prep for next year- I am hoping to complete the Olympic distance triathlon in better form than this year (which is possibly being moved to April) and maybe the local half marathon in June. The gym work will hopefully get my strength up, work on my core and maybe tone up a few bits here and there. My core work is vital as I suffer with back issues- and when I let the core stuff go, I know about it. So last night we went for a 20 minute warm up run (since it wasn’t raining at that very moment) followed by my first cross fit work out in a few months. Now I’ve read various mixed opinions on crossfit. But the version I am following was part of the Maxx’s muscle challenge we followed earlier this year. It involves mixing cardio and weight/strength training. The first time I did this, it took about 20 minutes to do the full set and my heart rate monitor was going mad… the sweat! So this routine involves 10 reps of the dumbbell clean and jerk squat, followed immediately by 10 push up, then 10 burpies (and don’t forget the jump), than a plank. Rest for 1-2mins then repeat. The aim is to build to 6 over all sets, with full press ups and 1 minute planks and eventually little to no rest. This youtube vid was taken my my OH of me doing this clean and jerk- so I apologise now for the angle it was taken from- MEN! But if you’re not sure how this is done, least it will give you the gist. Last night I did managed 5 sets with 30 second planks. The last I could barely make the clean and jerk squats- I couldn’t have pushed out another set if I wanted too. I only did one girly set of press ups, quite impressed with myself… Especially with the dog trying so hard to lick my face!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Welcome back! Food for fuel? Food for thought? Or a ‘fat tax’

Ok, so it has been quite some time since I posted on this blog. It’s been quite a journey since my last entry. This blog had always been about facing life as a post weight-loss success. But this time my motivations are a little different. It about achieving a better lifestyle and better all around health. I am not just hoping to discuss my culinary ‘cheats’, providing recipes that I use to keep the weight down. But techniques as to how I plan my meals and source food.

This really came from a Facebook post by a friend. He was discussing a report on how obesity is now Australia’s and the world biggest killer. Now affecting 2 out of 3 adults and 1 in five children 2 – 4 years.
And he was suggesting a ‘fat tax’ of sorts. Now I did point out the initial flaw in his use of the very rudimentary BMI scale as a marker upon which he was proposing the Medicare levy be based (Medicare being the Australian health system). I also caught part of a TV report, where a group was suggesting plan packaging and taxes on convenience or foods that were ‘bad’ for us.

Personally I can see the argument that the funds of many are paying toward the treatment of what in many cases are preventable health issues. But should be have to justify our lifestyles to receive treatment? As a recovering ‘obese’ person; whilst I appreciate the idea, I don’t think that is the answer. I do not see that these have in anyway been successful in reducing the use of cigarettes or alcohol- the numbers are coming down, but I believe this has been through education, societies shift in what is socially acceptable and availability of help and assistance.

As a society we already measure and judge this broad issue in such a simplified way. There are many varied definitions of being ‘fit’ or healthly’. I measure mine, not purely by a number on a scale (though this is something that I still aspire to… years of social brain washing), or by an ideal body shape. I measure mine by both personal ability, physical achievements and by the quality of my lifestyle. Health I believe is as much a mental issue that any given individual needs to be addressed, as it is a physical one.

I am not sure I ever really discussed the topic of my mental state when I blogged here in the past. It was predominantly food based. I guess in many respects my progression and appreciation of what it means to me to be ‘fit and healthy’ has taken time to develop. And hopefully will continue to do so. I am not here to lecture or offer a professional opinion, how could I? I am not a doctor, psychologist, personal trainer or nutrients. This is my own opinion (as it always has been), a record, an opportunity to share what has helped me get to this point, or hopefully a future point in my journey. Food and health through my eyes. I just hope someone will read this and be able to take something positive away. Or (fingers crossed) offer the benefit of their opinion or experience.

So welcome back… I think we have a lot to discuss :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zucchini Loaf

As I have a veggie garden and a few zucchini plants; each supplying 2-3 per week (each) I have quite a few to use! Good job I love them and add them to everything. But I thought I would share my zucchini loaf, that I made last night for this week's lunches. Great as a light meal warm or cold.

Zucchini Loaf- serves 6


400g grated zucchinis,
3 finely chopped spring onions
½ tsp nutmeg
½ cup plain flour
¼ cup fresh parsley
2 egg whites,
3 whole eggs
200g Low fat ricotta cheese
120g Low fat feta cheese
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper (optional)

I am not a salt lover so need this for balance, as cheese’s can also be salty

Pre-heat oven to 190°, spray loaf tin (about 250mm x 150m)- or line with baking paper if likely to stick.

Using clean cloth squeeze as much of the liquid out of the grated zucchini as possible, then fry off in pan with the spring onions- 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat.

In a bowl beat the whole eggs and add flour, nutmeg and parsley (and pepper if using), then crumble in the cheeses and combine. Add in and fold through the onions and zucchini.

In another bowl whip egg whites and salt to stiff peaks, then fold though the original mixture. Transfer to the oven dish and bake in pre-heated oven for 50-55 minutes, or golden.

Set aside to cool (about 10 minutes) slice and can be served warm or cold.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Creamy lemon tart

Cakes & Bakes Servings: 10

100 g ginger biscuit
25 g butter
405 g Skim Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 whole egg, lightly beaten
1 egg white
2 medium lemon, rind finely grated, plus juice
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the biscuits in a food processor and pulse until fine. Alternatively, place them in a plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin. Transfer to a bowl.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the biscuit crumbs and carefully press the mixture into the base of a 23cm cake tin. Refrigerate until required.
Place the condensed milk and eggs in a bowl. Beat until smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir well. The mixture will begin to thicken. Pour into the prepared base.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate until set.
Decorate with a slice of lemon just before serving.

Notes: For a different citrus flavour, try using the zest and juice of 2 juicy limes in place of the lemons