I Blame Pinterest!

19 Jul

my pantry is very organised right now 😉

I don’t know about you but I am my own worst enemy. Over-thinking and procrastination leave me static and stagnant more often than I’d like to admit. Pinterest has become my latest outlet. Under the guise of ‘searching for inspiration’, I have amassed 117 pins across 10 boards in only a week, it is addictive. Quotes are one of my favourite categories to scroll through. I had to laugh at myself as I re-pinned quote after inspirational quote about taking action though. Maybe I should take my own advice.

I don’t know what is more inspirational, the quote or the pretty design 😉

You can check out my other pins on Pinterest here:

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Friday Food: Thai Red Chicken Curry

7 Jul

A dinner party staple, this Thai Red Chicken Curry recipe is super easy to make and has just a hint of exotic which adds to my bluff as a whiz in the kitchen. Inspired by the recipe on the jar of red curry paste, I couldn’t just leave it as is, I had to put my own spin on it (in typical Kate fashion). I have to admit, flavour is my slave rather than authenticity and this recipe is no exception. The creamy coconut milk and potatoes contrast nicely with crunchy green beans and the fresh citrusy flavours of lemon grass and basil. A mellow flavour explosion…if that is possible. Check out my version of Thai Red Chicken Curry below.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 – 3 tbs Thai Red Curry Paste (I use Valcom brand)
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (definitely not authentic but adds colour and intensifies the flavour a bit without making it too spicy, not a necessity)
  • 1 tbs fish sauce (or to taste)
  • 6-8 kaffir lime leaves (I use dried ones from the spice aisle but they also come sliced in a jar or fresh in the vegetable section. They can be hard to find at times but if all else fails, try an Asian grocery store. Don’t try to substitute though, this is a key ingredient)
  • 1 red onion, sliced into wedges
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced into 2cm (ish) cubes
  • 3 potatoes, diced into 2cm (ish) cubes
  • 1 big handful of green beans, topped and tailed then cut in half
  • small handful of basil leaves, roughly shredded

Directions

  1. On a low to medium heat, cook the red curry paste with some olive oil until it is aromatic
  2. Add chicken and onions, bring heat to high. Stir until just cooked
  3. stir in coconut milk, fish sauce and curry powder and bring to boil
  4. Put sweet potato and normal potato in and let simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender
  5. throw in green beans and cook for a further 5 minutes
  6. take off the heat and stir in basil
  7. Serve with jasmine rice, a wedge of lime and toasted turkish bread

*Please excuse the below average photography – I’ll get there one day 🙂

 

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Day 37…?

2 Jul

The big race has been and gone already. Thanks for travelling the distance with me. Here is how it all went down:

  • 7:00pm (day 34): carbo loading…leftovers
  • 9:30pm: should be in bed…not
  • 11:00pm: finally get to bed and set alarm for 5:45am
  • 11:05pm: lie awake thinking about the race. Suddenly realize I haven’t shaved my legs. Reset alarm for 5:30am
  • 5:01-5:27am (day 35) check clock repeatedly while willing my body back to sleep
  • 5:30am: alarm goes off. I spring out of bed ready for action…not
  • 6:30am: should be leaving…not
  • 7:30am: should be at starting line with rest of the stroller group…not (stuck in traffic trying to feed porridge to a screaming baby. At least my husband is driving)

    Our stroller group decided to unite with matching pink shirts instead of strollers just for the day. I was there in spirit only at this point

  • 7:45am: get dropped off and rush straight to the starting line, I’m not even the last one there!
  • 8:00am: race begins, all else fades away

    Not exactly off to a flying start with this crowd

  • 8:05am: feeling surprisingly good
  • 8:07am: not so good anymore
  • 8:22ish am: Pass 4Km marker, STILL 1.7 to go! Notice 40K marker (for marathon runners), reality check, better pick up the pace
  • 8:30:55am: cross finish line but no time to celebrate…where’s the bathroom?

    I look like I’m going for a casual stroll but this was actually my sprint finish!

As I’m sure many of you can relate, ideal race preparation is rarely the reality. I am very proud to say that, despite the less-than-perfect preceding 13 hours, I did it! I was aiming for 33 minutes and I did it in 30:55, two minutes less than my goal time! Maybe it was because I didn’t have time to overthink it. Maybe it was the momentum and excitement of the race. Maybe it was a fluke. Just maybe though, even though the day didn’t exactly go to plan, the 34 days of discipline I had already put in paid their dues and came through for me in the end.

My biggest supporter

People think running is a solitary sport but the team atmosphere at the Gold Coast Marathon was tangible. Groups of people in matching shirts supporting a cause, strangers cheering each other on, fellow racers stopping for a fallen contestant; we’d all been part of something, together.

People think running is a boring sport but the air around the event was literally charged with energy and enthusiasm. During the race I jogged alongside colourful characters like Santa and a smurf and there was live music at numerous stations. We’d all enjoyed something, together.

People think running is purely about beating the clock or scales but what I saw was motivated people from all walks of life proving a point. Mums like me proving they are more than their job description, cancer survivors proving their bodies’ ability to heal, families proving they are doing life together. We’d all achieved something, together.

As I took it all in, I realized that instead of being exhausted, I was energized and instead of being glad it was over, I was hungry for more. So now, instead of resting on my laurels, I’m embracing this healthy way of life and looking for my next challenge. Any ideas?

Back to a new kind of reality

Day 30: Eyes on the Prize

25 Jun

Only yesterday I was reminiscing and feeling pretty proud of myself. I’ve come a long way in thirty days. Recently a frazzled, fledgling mum, this challenge has helped me feel so much more confident and in control (relatively). I’ve worked hard to be disciplined and I’ve set up solid measures of accountability to make sure I keep at it. I’ve been consistent with my runs to the point that I can run 5.7 Km without stopping and I would go as far as to say that I’m feeling pretty fit these days. I have to admit that, although running is not my first (or even second) exercise love, I am really enjoying the training. I started thinking that maybe this is good enough; do I really need to run in a race…do I really have anything left to prove?

I’ve always thought there was a lot of wisdom in the idea that life is more about the journey than the destination. After all, it is along the journey that we face adventures, experience trials and develop character. But, as I tried to justify this notion in my slightly overactive mind, cracks started to appear. The whole point of a journey is not to wander around in circles it is to travel towards somewhere in particular, to have an end target. For me, in this challenge, it is the 5.7Km race in the Gold Coast Marathon.

I woke up this morning, reinvigorated, eyes on the prize. I’m going to race. Not just to finish, but to finish in a way that displays the heart of this challenge – with discipline, accountability and just a touch of good old-fashioned competitive spirit. Wish me luck!

The destination is pretty important too

On reading this back, it sounds like a good theory for a race but maybe even more so for life…hmmm

Friday Food Fight: Chicken Enchiladas

22 Jun

Chicken, fresh-diced veggies, melting cheese and tangy seasoning; this meal could easily be a taco or burrito but the crunch of a toasted tortilla makes the enchilada option hard to pass up.

Enchilada? Yes Please!

I first encountered this meal years ago on a trip to Hawaii. Not your traditional Hawaiian fare but it has lasted the distance to become a staple in my kitchen. My friend was babysitting and made this up for the kids. I held my breath because they are fussy eaters but lo-and-behold, they ate it right up. I learned then and there the art of disguising vegetables and goodness to make a healthy, kid-friendly meal. This recipe is very versatile and really the sauce is the only key ingredient; make it up with whatever veggies you have in the kitchen or even cheat and use the frozen variety, my friend actually made it with ground turkey so try that too.

It comes in a glass jar in Australia but this is the brand to use

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ½ head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ cup corn kernels
  • ½ red capsicum, diced
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 jar Enchilada sauce (you could use taco sauce or salsa but the enchilada sauce has a tangy sweetness that really makes it for me)
  • 10 tortillas
  • Grated cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to medium hot (200 degrees Celsius)
  2. Cut vegetables and chicken so it is all ready to go.
  3. Brown chicken with some olive oil, salt and pepper on a high heat in a large saucepan
  4. Add onion after 2 mins or so and cook till transparent.
  5. Mix in all the other vegetables
  6. Stir in taco seasoning. I don’t add water because you don’t want excess liquid and I don’t want to overcook the vegetables any more than necessary by letting it reduce.
  7. Pour in 1/3 jar of enchilada sauce and combine.
  8. Prepare a cookie tray with baking paper (to avoid the mess and clean up) and heat tortillas for 1 minute in the microwave so they soften and don’t crack during filling).
  9. Fill each tortilla with some of the mixture and top with cheese. Roll up and put on tray, seam down.

    Why not stop here and make them tacos or burritos?

  10. Spoon some enchilada sauce on each roll and then top with cheese.
  11. Put in oven for 15 minutes or till cheese is melted to your taste.

    Enchiladas fresh out of the oven, ready to feed an army or two

  12. Serve with brown rice and green beans plus a dollop of sour cream or guacamole if you so desire.

This meal serves at least 4 adults. I always use the leftovers to make up lunches for my husband at work – score big brownie points there 🙂

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Day 25: Stinkin’ .7

20 Jun

I have been haunted by the desire to blog every night for the past week but I just haven’t been able to get to it before incoherency seeps in and sleep is the only option. Life has been getting in the way of my blogging! There is a certain irony in my dilemma because it needs to happen for me to have something to blog about…it would just be a lot more convenient if it happened between 9 and 5!

So anyway I’m back, and despite plenty of opportunity, I haven’t used my online absence as an excuse to become undisciplined on the running front. The weather has been pretty un-cooperative recently but I’m still steadily moving towards my goal of running the 5.7 Km in the Gold Coast Marathon in less than 2 weeks.

One thing I’ve taken up to spite the weather is cross training. Hill sprints, skipping and circuit training have now found a home in my weekly routine. My stroller group coach claims that runners can never do enough squats or lunges so I’ve been adding a fair few of those in as well.

I also came to the reluctant realisation that my standard run-for-time style of training was not really preparing me for this race. ‘Map My Run’ now has me sorted and I have a couple of routes planned out that are exactly 5.7 Km. Yesterday I tested it out and I can tell you that the last .7km was a killer – both physically and mentally! It doesn’t sound like a lot but I’ve decided it is like marketing something at $5.99 instead of $6. We all fall for that deceptive five in front. The extra squats had my legs protesting from the very beginning and gazing wistfully as I continued past my old turn-around point did nothing to keep my head in the game. I am realising how much mental preparation goes in to this running business. On the positive, I guess I am glad that I am facing this now rather than on race day. Maybe if I throw in a few 6K runs I’ll go back to falling for the five in front again.

Friday Food Fight: Thai Beef Salad

8 Jun

My top meal this week was Thai Beef Salad. So fresh and yummy, you won’t feel guilty going back for seconds…or thirds.

Thai Beef Salad – THE tastiest way to up your vegetable intake for the day

INGREDIENTS:

Marinade:

  • 500g steak strips (1 pound) (I often double the steak and marinade because everyone goes back for seconds)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup (ish) sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/4 cup (or a bit less) worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • splash / 1 tbs ish olive oil

Salad:

  • 1/2 wombok cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1 carrot, julienned (cut into thin matchsticks)
  • 1/2 capsicum (red pepper) finely sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, julienned (I spoon out the seeds and then cut into thin strips)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 handful bean shoots
  • 1 handful snowpeas, sliced finely lengthwise
  • 2 squares vermicelli rice noodles (I found that the boys were always looking for a carb component to fill them up so I add this in, feel free to omit)

Dressing: (these measurements are approximates, I just go by what it smells and tastes like. The salad is quite dry so double the dressing, it lasts forever so keep leftovers in the fridge for next time)

  • 1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tsp castor sugar
  • a bit of water if it is too thick

DIRECTIONS

  1. combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl or big ziplock bag. I only usually leave it for 30 mins to marinate but longer would probably be better
  2. Cut salad ingredients and put in large serving dish
  3. Put vermicelli noodles in boiling water for 5 mins. Use scissors to cut them when soft but still in water (this is so it combines nicely with the salad and doesn’t clump). Drain. Cool. Mix in with salad
  4. Cook steak strips on hot BBQ flat plate in small batches so it doesn’t stew. Alternatively cook in wok over high heat
  5. Serve with crushed peanuts, crispy noodles, a slice of lime and the dressing.

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