Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Wonderful Wednesday

Everything about today feels wonderful. It was one of those days that as soon as I opened my eyes I just felt happy, so I wanted to share with you 5 things that are making my Wednesday so Wonderful.

1. Delicious Food
I am sure you all already know, I love food, and at the moment, all I want is the sweet stuff! (Very unusual for me.) Last night, the BF and I sat up in bed together and ate vanilla ice cream straight from the tub. It felt so decadent, I loved it.

2. Autumn is Around the Corner
As much as I love summer and all the fantastic things summer brings with it, this year I am so very excited about Autumn, and this morning I felt like it was just around the corner. Stepping out of the house, the air was crisp and fresh and my cheeks turned a pretty pink colour. I can't wait until it is cold enough for my big wooly coat to come out of the closet.

3. Road-tripping
 Because the BF and I are madly saving at the moment, we haven't planned a summer getaway this year which makes my heart ache a little (I LOVE to travel...), and as a treat we have decided to extend our already long weekend (August Bank Holiday) and road trip down South to Bournemouth and Plymouth. We will be staying with extended family (yippee!) but plan on having lots of time to ourselves. I love our road trips, we do a lot of mad singing and seat dancing together.

4. Home-made Beauty Treats
This excited me today because not only do I love to treat myself (who doesn't...!) I love it even more when it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I found a fantastic recipe for 'Home-made Body Scrub' over at Inspirations by D and can't wait to try it out. Brown sugar, almond oil and vanilla, YUM, whats not to love about this delicious body treat?

5. The BF
This gorgeous man makes me feel wonderful every day. He can make me laugh with just one look, treats me to hot chocolates in bed, surprises me with flowers at work (and they were BEAUTIFUL), knows what to say when I am feeling blue, and doesn't give in to my whining when I'm looking for sympathy!(Somehow that always snaps me back to reality and I stop whining pretty quickly, surely a good thing?!)
And I think he is mega cute.

Are YOU having a Wonderful Wednesday? What is making it so great? Do you have exciting weekend plans?
Half way through the week now, I hope the second half of your week goes swimmingly...x

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A Run in the Sun

What a beautiful morning for my first run! A cool breeze blowing, not a cloud in the sky and the warm sun on my skin.
I haven't run in months. Normally I decide to go for a run, sprint to the end of the road, stop, feel like I am about to pass out from a lack of oxegyn, turn around and stumble back home. My pathetic experience means I usually don't run again for another couple of months at least and then by the time I think I'll give it a go again, I am back at square one and struggling for breath.
I love the idea of running - packing my running shoes when I go on holiday, or joining friends for a gentle run on a Sunday afternoon, and I would LOVE to run a race, a half marathon idealy. But the reality is, I just dont like running all that much.

Until now...

After reading about CurlyJ's running programme that she is following, From Couch to 5km, on her blog Running from Cupcakes, I decided to have a look at the programme and see if I could motivate myself to put my running shoes on and have a go. I found a fantastic free podcast at the iTunes store by a guy called Robert Ullrey which takes you through the programme, week by week. The aim is to be running 5kms after 9 weeks of training and the idea is to run 3 times a week, using interval training to build your fitness up.

My run was fantastic. Okay, so I didn't run solidly for the 30mins I was out for, but I worked really hard and being able to listen to instructions on when to walk and when to run on my iPod was really helpful. By the end of the 30mins I had worked up quite a sweat and was pretty pooped! But whats more, I was excited about the idea of going out again next week!

A big thank you to CurlyJ, and Robert Ullrey for getting me up off my seat and out into the sunshine.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

A Birthday in the City of Love it isn't acutally my birthday, that was a few weeks ago. And really, that isn't even the birthday I want to talk about, its the one before that, 2009, my 21st.

My 21st birthday was perfect. 3 days in Paris with the BF, and my parents (who had flown over from NZ!). Croissants and Pain au Chocolat for breakfast, Crepes avec Beurre et Sucre for lunch, a gorgeous meal at Le Petit Bofinger for dinner, followed by a walk up La Tour Eiffel at midnight. It was my dream come true.

I love France and all things french. The food, the language, the cities, the people, I just can't get enough of it! My love of all things french began when I was about 11 and has continued to grow the more I have studied the language and culture. My goal one day is to become fluent and live in a beautiful french village for a couple of years, and eat pastries for breakfast and drink delicious french wine in my garden in the warm summer evenings.

So you can see why I was so thrilled with my Parisian birthday, especially as my parents were there to enjoy it with me (I hadn't seen my Dad in 18months and my Mum in a year!), not to mention the BF had never been before. It really was the most amazing birthday.

HOWEVER...not only was I thoroughly spolied, and in my most favourite city of all time, but my parents gave me the most thoughtful, wonderful gift, a piece of art.
They wanted me to have something that I would love forever, that was timeless, and sentimental. They told me to take my time in looking for something and let them know if I had any ideas.
All I knew was that I wanted it to be a New Zealand artist and for it to represent the love I have for my country. The BF and I spent a lot of time looking while we were visiting NZ over the summer (Dec - Mar) and I finally found the piece that I wanted. Unfortunately, it wasn't for sale. Not willing to give up, I contacted the artist (Kathryn Furniss) to see if there was anything else she might have that was similar. We left NZ before we heard back from her but I still didn't give up, and got my lovely Mumma to look into it.

Yesterday I was sent a picture of a piece Kathryn had for sale that she had recently finished and I fell in love, it's called 'Where I come from'....

I am so so excited that this soon might be my first piece of art and I can't stop thinking about where it could go in the house that I don't even have yet! It's everything I dreamed it would be. It's 120cm x 20cm x 7cm, so a tall skinny block painting and I can't wait to hear from my Mumma more about it, and hopefully the great news that she bought it!

I'm too excited to sit still this morning, so am off to bake some Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins for the BFs brekkie. Yum!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The New Look

So you may have noticed a few...rather LARGE changes to my blog?
There are a few reasons behind this.
As much as I love food, and fitness, I also LOVE the following....

(And much, much more....)

And I felt that however wonderful the meals I cooked were, or how hard I worked out at the gym, it wasn't really a true portrayal of who I am. 
I wanted to be able to write about whatever took my fancy, whenever I wanted, whether it was a fantastic piece or art I had fallen in love with, or a film I had seen, or even something that had me rolling around on the floor in hysterical laughter. There will still be entries about food (I can't stop thinking about the stuff, and it's not likely I ever will!) and as I am still striving to get fit and healthy, I'm sure you will still hear about my accomplishments and obstacles, and aches and pains.

I hope this NEW LOOK doesn't dissapoint, as I am very excited about it, and I hope that you are too.

From Me. With Love...x

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Spoiled on a Sunday

A very lazy, day today. And to top it all off, my lovely boyfriend cooked up a fantastic Massaman Curry this evening, and I didn't have to lift a finger! I could smell those gorgeous flavours wafting under the kitchen door, and the curry did not disappoint. Although I didn't cook this curry myself, it was so delicious I just have to share it with you!

Chicken Massaman Curry

1-2tbsp Massaman curry paste (I get this from any good asian food store, but I think most supermarkets stock it as well)
1 400g Tin coconut milk
150g Small new potatoes, halved or quartered if large
1 Cinnamon stick
2 Cardamon pods, squashed
2 Chicken breasts, chopped
1tsp Brown sugar
2 Limes, 1 juiced and 1 quartered to serve
1tbsp Fish sauce
1tbsp Peanuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
Sliced red chilli, to serve
Coriander, to serve

  • Cook the massaman paste in the coconut milk for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant. Simmer for a minute.
  • Add the potatoes, cinnamon, cardamon, and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  • Add the chicken, sugar, lime and fish sauce and cook for 5 - 7 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
  • Serve the curry sprinkled with peanuts (if using), chilli and coriander.
Joe's Massaman Curry

What a way to finish off a lovely, relaxed weekend. I feel refreshed, body and soul and look forward to the week ahead. Fingers crossed we get a little more sunshine!

I hope you have all had great weekends and that the week approaching is filled with friends, fun, and fantastic food.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Not Quite According to Plan

So my Saturday didn't go quite how I thought it might.....
Alarm set early this morning (well early for a weekend!), about 7am, and I woke with a groan and hit the snooze, only to realise that the reason I had been woken so early, was to get to the gym for an hour of Spin class, followed by an hour of Body Pump. My body literally ached at the thought, and somehow, I felt more exhausted then, than I had on Friday night getting into bed! After moaning to Joe for 15 minutes about how tired I was and how little I wanted to get up, he suggested I miss my first class (Spin) and we could head into town together a little later on and I could go to Pump instead. Seeing this as a pretty fair compromise, I rolled out of bed, and opened the curtains, only to discover the blackest of clouds, and torrential rain. Nothing like putting off an already un-motivated, tired, slightly grumpy female, who happened to be in desperate need of a cup of tea. Needless to say, I stayed in my pijamas until nearly midday.

Feeling like I had let myself down a little, and as Joe was bracing the stormy weather for a football game, I donned my running shorts and comfy tee and gave myself an hour to have some sweaty fun on the Wii Fit. While I realise that an hour on a 'fitness' gaming console is hardley strenuous, it sure made me feel better about missing the gym. I like to think that doing a little amount of exercise is better than doing none at all, and I have to admit, the boxing workout sure did make me sweat!

Had a fantastic pizza experience this evening! Although again, not quite according to plan.
I made the pizza dough this afternoon and kneaded it like never before! (Perhaps I still felt a little guilty about skipping my classes....!) I used another of Annabel Langbeins recipes for the dough, as I trust her completely, I truly have never made a bad meal from one of her cook books. We decided to go for vegetarian pizza toppings this time, as we are trying to cut back on the amount of meat we are eating, and chose the following ingredients for our 2 pizzas...

Super Cheesy
  • Cheddar, Castello Blue, Mozzarella
Pure Vege
  • Spinach, Mushroom, Peppers, Cherry Tomato, Red Onion, Chillies, Cheese

They were delicious! The only slight problem.....when our super cheesy pizza leaked from the top of the pizza, all over the bottom of the oven. Smoke billowed, fire alarms went off, cheese ran everywhere. Moral of the story, there was a little too much cheese on that pizza. Delicious yes, very cheesy also yes.

I am now full to bursting, and most definitely looking forward to left over pizza for lunch tomorrow. Im hoping that tomorrow the weather will be a little more settled and I can get out and about for a walk or a bike ride.

Time for Shrek 3 in bed, then it's lights out.

Sweet dreams world. x

Delicious Pad Thai

Prawn Pad Thai. Yum!
We did it! Delicious meal number one, and it was truly scrumptious.
Such a quick easy dinner to make, and so full of flavour. I love to taste my food as I cook, mainly to make sure that its going to taste great, but also because I get too excited about eating it to wait until its all finished and yesterday I did a lot of tasting!

Last night, as Joe was pottering around laying the table, organising drinks etc, I tasted it and WOW, I dont think that I have ever plated a meal up so quickly. The prawns were juicy, the noodles just the right amount of spicy, and it instantly transported me back to Thailand where we had spent 2 weeks in March. I could see the sunset over the beach, and the palm trees swaying in the breeze as I closed my eyes. Divine.

A must try for anyone who loves a bit of a kick, with fresh, clean flavours.

"Pad Thai is perfect for a meal on the run - take some dried noodles, a couple of eggs, chicken or prawns, some fresh herbs and you're in business. Of all the recipes I have tried, this version of the Thai classic, which is loosely based on one by Rick Stein, is my favourite - neither too sweet nor too sloppy. Like all stir-fries, you need to prepare all the ingredients ready for cooking before you start." Annabel Langbein.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 8 - 10 mins
Serves 2

500g fresh rice noodles
3tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup thai sweet chilli sauce                                                   
2tsp peanut butter
3tbsp sunflower oil
3 cloves garlic
2 red chillies
10-12 large prawns
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 spring onions
100g bean sprouts
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 lime

  • Combine fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce & peanut butter. Set aside.
  • Heat oil and stir-fry garlic, chillies and prawns over high heat for 2 - 4 minutes until cooked.
  • Add beaten eggs and stir-fry until scrambled and just set.
  • Add fresh rice noodles to the pan and lower heat.
  • Add sauce mixture and toss for 1 - 2 minutes over high heat to fully coat.
  • Mix in most of the spring onions, beansprouts, coriander & peanuts (reserve some of each for a garnish). Toss over heat for a minute to combine.
  • Serve in bowls, topped with garnishes. Squeeze over lime juice.

When I made this meal, I added chopped green beans at the second stage, which worked fantastically and added another element to the meal.

Annabel Langbein is one of my favourite food writers, her meals are always nutritious and delicious and she writes about such a variery of flavours. I would recommend her recipe books to everyone, my favourites are Cooking to Impress Without Stress and Savour the Pacific.
Fancy a look at her website?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Friday Food Day!

What a fantastic day to start my new blog, my favourite day of the week! Friday's are always great, even if you have to work, every hour that ticks by, is an hour closer to two days of freedom, filled with gym classes, cooking, sleeping and eating. Pure bliss.

My weekend starts as soon as I leave my office, off to the supermarket to buy essential groceries, and straight home to my lovely boyfriend Joe, to start preparing dinner. Everytime I cook I get excited, it doesn't matter if its something I have cooked 100 times, or if its a brand new recipe I have never tried, I love it, and tonight is no exception.

Pad Thai with Tiger Prawns. My mouth is watering a little just thinking about it. I haven't used this particular recipe before and although there seem to be quite a few ingredients, it looks straight forward, which is definitely a good thing at the end of a busy week.

I love to cook with Joe, and I think he loves it too?! I find it a great way to spend time together, and we are both usually pretty relaxed in the kitchen. (We have had our moments, but nothing too bad to put us off!). Joe is great at experimenting and is perfectly happy to get stuck in with a few key ingredients and see what comes out (most of the time, delicious!) where as I am much more about following recipes, and only when I know a dish pretty well, will I venture into the realm of adding extras or using substitutes. I guess our kitchen differences balance each other out, I know for certain that he makes me much more relaxed when it comes to experimenting.

So my Friday evening is set, fingers crossed dinner is delicious, I will let you know how it goes =)
Happy Friday, and I hope you have fantastic weekends!  x
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