Archives for the month of: March, 2014

Saturdays are supposed to be quite indulgent, aren’t they? Mine are usually filled with the things I love. Here’s my Maroubra Saturday.

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6:30am – 16km city run with a couple of my running group gals

8:30am – recovery brekkie… flavoured milk with pancakes (of course) or smashed avocado on sour dough bread with a little lemon or balsamic vinegar, and if all else fails peanut butter on toast with a Powerade Zero (in any case protein and carbs are always high on the list)

10:00am – stroll along the beach (camera in hand), taking in the smell of the ocean and the ‘cruisey-ness’ of the surfers and the coffee sippers. And if the temperature is obliging a dip in the ocean

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12:30pm – a cheeky Vietnamese chicken roll from the bakery around the corner (hold the chilli and extra coriander please)

2:00pm – the catchup: papers, magazines and blogs and all while the Happy Runner plays ‘Stavros’ in his growing garden

4:00pm – Skype to Coffs Harbour – Hello ‘Miss Bean’ and ‘Ryles’

5:00pm – maybe another trip to the beach (the rock pools at South Maroubra come alive at this time), the cinema if I can convince the Happy Runner (it’s hard to get him to sit still for that long), or maybe a sneaky epi of ‘Breaking Bad’.

6:30pm – to be honest I love a Saturday night in… a Nanna at heart!

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While they’re probably the least sexy food or ingredient, legumes have to be one of the most versatile. Whether in salads, casseroles, soups or stir-frys they always add so much… ahhh yes and sometimes they can keep on giving long after your meal too!

However they have to be one of my favourite carbs, I love adding them to as many meals as I can, unless the Happy Runner is carb loading… high fibre meals and endurance running don’t really mix if you know what I mean.

Anyway here’s a recipe that I love because it’s a dessert, the key ingredient is chickpeas and my mum gave it to me.

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I could eat these straight from the can

Ingredients:

  • 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Grated rind and juice from 1 orange (approx 50-100ml of juice)
  • Cinnamon sugar (2 tbsp caster sugar and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon mixed) for sprinkling
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Chickpeas… aka ‘Garbanzo Beans’

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Skins just slide off when you rub the chickpeas between your palms or your fingertips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  2. Grease or line a 450g loaf baking tin
  3. Drain and rinse chickpeas throughly, then rub them between the palms of your hands to loosen and remove the skins
  4. Put the de-skinned chickpeas in a food processor and blend until smooth
  5. Combine pureed chickpeas, eggs, caster sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, orange juice and rind in a mixing bowl (this is a moist cake so the mixture will be quiet runny)
  6. Pour the cake mixture into the loaf tin
  7. Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours, or until skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
  8. Remove from oven and let stand in tin for 10 minutes, then remove from tin
  9. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with yoghurt and fresh fruit
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Dusted with cinnamon sugar

This recipe makes around 11 serves or slices and it’s also gluten free. Here’s the nutrition data if you’re interested.

Nutrition Information (per slice):

  • Energy – 640kJ
  • Protein – 4.8g
  • Total Fat – 2.3g
  • Sat Fat – 0.6g
  • Carbs – 26.6g
  • Sugar – 20.0g
  • Fibre – 2.4g
  • Sodium – 273mg
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Similar texture to a Christmas cake

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Goes so well with yoghurt and a mag to flick through

If you’re a runner like me you’ll probably agree that the idea of taking a yoga class is nothing short of terrifying! When touching your toes is as likely to happen as coming home to find your husband cleaning the bathroom, attempting downward dog in front of 30 strangers who seem to have elastic limbs and joints as flexible as Barbie is not likely to be a great start to the day.

Despite all the reasons not to I accepted the challenge from a friend to try an early morning yoga class this week. While a 6am start has its obvious downsides I was pleasantly relieved when I realised it also meant the first half of the class was more or less completed in the dark (I love daylight savings for so many reasons!).

After the nerves subsided and I realised the other participants were well and truly ‘in the moment’, and hadn’t noticed that my ‘cobra’ more closely resembled a typical garden slug, I started to relax and enjoy the class. In fact when I finally got the hang of the supported shoulder stand I subconsciously broke into cycling legs, just as we used to do as kids lying in front of the telly. Thankfully I didn’t break into a verse of ‘The Pushbike Song’. OK it was going through my mind…

“A-round, round, wheels goin’ round round round.
Down up pedals, down up down.
But I gotta get across to the other side of town,
Before the sun goes down. Hey, hey!”

It was then that I realised I too was ‘in the moment’. I was actually enjoying this now that I had also overcome the smell of the incense which was stifling my breathing and I am sure therefore also limiting my range of motion during the plow pose!

The class was definitely challenging and certainly left me feeling like I’d worked out, however while my usual focus at training is legs and glutes it’s no surprise I wasn’t able to wash my hair for the following two days.

I’m happy to admit, I was wrong it was a great start to the day. What’s more the fact the yoga studio looks over Coogee beach just topped it off it was so relaxing listening to the waves as they rolled onto the shore during the class and then afterwards watching the sunrise. No… perfect start to the day really! Think I’ll make this a regular Tuesday morning thing.

For those whose training also focuses on running here are a few yoga poses great for runners (thanks to the Happy Runner):

  • Pigeon Pose – Great for releasing and stretching tight hips and glutes
  • Warrior Pose – Good for leg strength and stability
  • Downward Dog – Stretches out calfs and hamstrings
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Salute to the sun

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Coogee by sunrise

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I wasn’t the only one that morning feeling like all eyes were on me

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Coogee life

Having missed an opportunity through the week, Shrove Tuesday (aka Pancake Day), to indulge in one of my favourite dishes I felt it only fair and also necessary that I go against tradition and whip up a batch of pancakes on Sunday… so I’m 5 days late, who’s counting!

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Pancakes taste better on Sundays!

After flicking through a number of my favourite picture books, aah I mean cookbooks, without much luck, I opted to go with the basics. In other words I couldn’t find a recipe I already had the ingredients for in the pantry.

So here is my very basic pancake batter. It only has three ingredients (I told you it was basic) making it really versatile.

What you need (ingredients):

  • 1 cup self-raisning flour (a mix of wholemeal and white flour if you want to include a little fibre)
  • 1 cup (250ml) of skim milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
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1 2 3… eggs. flour. milk.

How to get from ingredients to pancakes (method):

Add the flour, egg and half the milk to a large bowl and whisk together. Continue to add the rest of the milk gradually as you whisk. If you like your pancakes thick add a little more flour and if you like them thin or crepe like add a little more milk. Once you have a smooth batter you’re ready to go. Pour the batter into a flat pan over a medium heat, you can make your pancakes as big or little as you like by the amount of batter you add in one go.

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tsssss…

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Pancake production line.

The beauty about this recipe is you can add other ingredients into the batter. I usually add chunks of fresh bananas or berries, for sweetness and texture.

While I haven’t added any table sugar to the batter you can. I have a sweet tooth so I like to add the sweetness at the table with plain or flavoured yoghurt, fruit, maple syrup (to be honest I just can’t have pancakes without this delicious golden brown syrup), lemon juice and brown sugar, sprinkling of icing sugar and thinly sliced strawberries with crushed almonds on top, a little Nutella with raspberries… and I could go on.

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Ready to go with a side of passionfruit yoghurt and maple syrup.

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mmmmm…

What’s more you can also go savoury with this batter by including corn (fresh or canned) or by topping your pancakes with avocado and lemon juice, scrambled egg or smoked salmon and cream cheese.

I always have left over batter so I cook up pikelets for afternoon tea with jam or save them to take to work as snacks. They’re also great for lunchboxes with a little jam or honey.

Yummo!

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Pikelets with blackberry jam for afternoon tea.

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Leftovers make for yummy lunchboxes.

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With a dollop of blackberry jam between layers.

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