Monday, 29 April 2013

All in a day's work

Good evening, all. I hope your Monday has treated you well. I'm feeling all refreshed and revitalised after a relaxing and productive weekend. I kept it low key, got some stuff done around the house that had been niggling me and made a life plan... I feel calm and in control, even after a day in London today!

Talking of being productive, I made up a new recipe on Saturday which I just have to share - it even has The Boy's seal of approval!

I fancied homemade burgers, but a twist on the usual parsley, garlic, onion mix, so I made...

Thai-inspired Homemade Beef Burgers

I used:

1 lb of steak mince, which made us two burgers each. I put the mince in a bowl, after bringing it to room temperature for an hour.

I added a tablespoon of chopped coriander,
a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger,
a birdseye chilli, deseeded and chopped,
a squeeze of lime juice
a crushed clove of garlic and
four finely chopped spring onions.

I mixed it all together well with my hands then split in to four and made patties. Spritzed each side with a bit of olive oil and stuck under a hot grill for a few minutes each side until cooked through.

These were so good - not too overpowering, just a fragrant hint of tastes mingling. Try them! Served with a random selection of steamed spring greens and red cabbage and roasted sweet potato and parsnip slices. Someone ordered two bags of parsnips instead of two parsnips. Oops! Oh well, they are tasty...

We just chilled for the rest of Saturday evening as we both wanted to get started early on Sunday morning. After devouring my roast chicken frittata, I got down to cleaning, ironing and doing a bit of work while Andy ran 15 miles. No biggie.

We were on a tight schedule because we were meeting my Mum and friends at The Tenth Hole at 1pm for lunch. A fitting reward, methinks. I went fot the lardon salad. It was immense. Crispy bacon and new potatoes with soft boiled egg. Like a breakfast salad! I must point out that white potatoes aren't strictly Whole 30. Nutritionally they're fine but are banned because of their association in our heads with chips, mashed potato etc. Well, I never eat chips anyway, and there wasn't much Whole 30-friendly food on the menu, so I went for it. And loved it.

After a lovely lunch and catch up, The Boy and I went to get ice cream. Well, he had one, I needed a picture of one for a work project. We were both happy.

Then, having got everything done bright and early, we relaxed the afternoon away. Bliss.
Come early evening I had my usual Sunday set-up cooking marathon - dinner, breakfast, lunches and roast veggies for the week's frittatas. Dinner was light and easy - my usual salmon broth.

An early night was in order ready for a 5.30am start today. All packed and ready to go with my frittata and flask of tea by 6.30am.

Breakfast time! Nom nom nom salmon frittatatatata!
Before I could tuck in to lunch I had the small matter of interviewing two of our country CEOs for our internal newspaper to attend to... No biggie.
I was nervous, but it went pretty well! Phew!
Salmon salad was a welcome celebratory treat after that.
As was a wander over to Tower Bridge in the (on/off) sunshine.

That's The Shard below, to the right.

Wire mesh animal sculptures... pretty impressive.

There's something about being in Town that just makes me want to consume. So I treated myself to a black vanilla chai tea from Pret A Manger. Why not. It was good, too. Gratuitous shot of The Gherkin in the background.

And so my day in the capital ended, I scooted home, caught up on social media and the papers on the train and set to making dinner when I got in.
'Fish and chip' supper. Pan-fried haddock rubbed with almond flour and olive oil, served with roasted sweet potato and parsnips and steamed green beans, purple sprouting brocolli and samphire.
Now it's time to relax and watch a film.
Happy Monday.
What did you treat yourself to today?

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Good afternoon all. I'm in a reflective mood today. On my morning walk, something inspired me to think ahead and get a bit more organised about my goals. I'm not sure what prompted this today...

Could we blame it on the sunshine?

Or maybe the blossom on the trees...
Or simply too much caffeine?

(Actually, it was a decaff - I was just craving the taste of it).
Who knows, but I've decided to write down some tangible goals for the next few years, rather than having a load of ideas jumbled in my head. A big goal this year is getting my house how I want it to be. It's a work in progress, but my home environment is so important to my wellbeing, I know I need to put some effort in here.
Health and fitness-wise, I just want to maintain the good balance I have now, and figure out how to eat and drink mainly Whole 30 with some fun stuff thrown in. Easier said than done. I jotted a few other goals down on my phone earlier while sipping my coffee at the bookshop, and plan on writing them up in my diary properly later. To me it still ain't real if it ain't done with pen and paper.
So, what else has been up? Wednesday's dinner was grilled pork chops with a rainbow of vegetables - steamed carrot, red cabbage and spring greens. Baked sweet potato slices were added after this picture was taken - I'd forgotten them in the oven! The horror!
I then went out for a cup of tea or two with a friend, which was lovely. I had mango, then cinnamon. It's a cafe called The Garage Lounge which opens until late - a nice place to spend an evening without needing to drink.
Hello Thursday frittata! What's that you got piled on top of ya? Salmon? Good times.

I met my friend BC for lunch. I am hearting Albacore tuna right now. It is sooooooo much better than the usual canned tuna. Love yourself. Pay the extra. Giant green olives were the perfect complement. Then we went for a nice stroll. I wanted a picture of the ducklings, but they left.

After work I had my second really hard military fitness session of the week. It wasn't any of our usual instructors, and I didn't really rate the substitute, but I got through it. He had us running up and down a very steep hill and doing push-ups etc inbetween. It was killer and I was sure my quads would kill for the next few days, but thankfully I think standing at work and lots of walking have prevented too much pain.
I've definitely kicked up a gear with my fitness this week - it's amazing what you can do when you try!
God did I need this dinner after, though. Quick and dirty microwaved frozen salmon and sweet potato and steamed spring greens and aparagus. Tasted like heaven. The Boy was out with work, busy drinking wine and not eating dinner. On a school night. You can all guess how that ended!

I woke up feeling fresh as a daisy on Friday, unlike some people (ahem) and very much enjoyed a slight break from tradition by adding some tasty king prawns to my frittata (from the dinner Andy was meant to eat!), plus some cheeky anchovies. Lovely!

A big project is getting to crunch time at work, so I worked from home to get stuck in early and avoid distractions. It worked and I felt far calmer, having been worried about getting it all done before I got to Greece next Thursday.
Here's some other things, apart from getting organised, that help me feel calm on a daily basis:

Flowers at the breakfast table.

This gorgeous coconut candle that smells of holidays (and was super cheap!).

Need I say more?

And, a Peace Lily that decided to bloom again after a couple of years.

Having my dinner defrosting also helps keep me feeling in control!
Another tin of that amazing tuna. This salad was the ish, with some asparagus in there for fun.
I went for a long lunchtime walk and worked through a bit late before prepping a Friday treat - roast chicken dinner. I could eat it every day! Roast sweet potatoes and parsnips and steamed red cabbage, carrot and broccoli, covered in chicken juices. I mean!

After dinner I went out to a friend's leaving drinks, but felt rather boring drinking tea and sparkling water while they bought jugs of (sickly) cocktails! It was a nice evening though, and I was glad to wake up with a clear head. It's been a busy Saturday!
First things first, frittata fuel stop. Added salmon.

Beach walk in the sun. I thought it would be peaceful getting out early, but there was some kind of race on. Bloody runners! Butchers, cleaning, sorting out the spare room...
Roast chicken and avocado salad for lunch. More anchovies. Amazing.

Trip to town to buy a bikini and cardigan. All my clothes shopping is officially done now! Trip to Lidl for cheap olive oil, balsamic vinegar, smoked fish and other bits... Home, blog... And who knows what the evening holds!
Do you have a life plan?
I've never had one, but I ain't getting any younger!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Quack, quack!

My highlight of the day? Seeing baby ducklings down by the lake on my lunchtime walk. Totally unexpected and totally adorable. Love, love, love!

Hello there, Peeps. We're almost over the hump and freewheelin' towards the weekend. I'm smack bang in the middle of a hectic week at home and work, but, I do always prefer to be busy (even if I do moan about it) and it's just over a week until holiday number one of two in May. Cause for celebration indeed, which is good as I'm meeting a friend for a cup of tea and a chat in a wee while to celebrate her promotion. Drinks all round!

So, what else has been going on? Well, I've been eating a LOT of salmon.

Exhibit A - Monday night's dinner - Jamie Oliver recipe and household favourite, pan-roasted salmon.

Not salmon, but an equally pretty hue to start Tuesday off right.

Ah, there it is, Exhibit B, salmon flaked on frittata.

And yet more, this time with avocado for lunch.

Do I need help? No sign of scales developing yet...
Real Military Fitness was brutal lastnight. Even the veterans were weeping by the end. We had a new, female instructor and she was hardcore. I regard her with a mixture of fear and fascination. If anyone's whipping me in to holiday readiness, it's this lady. Phew. The aching is starting to creep up on me now...
It was a beautiful, warm evening, and there were still people out with their ice creams as I strolled home. Hello, Summer!
After being royally whooped, I very much appreciated The Boy making dinner - chipolatas, baked (read: nuked) sweet potato and steamed green beans. Simple and satisfying.

Wednesday dawned and... wait... yep, more salmon! It's quick and easy to heat from frozen and I'm all about the quick easy protein at breakfast.

Lunch was a social affair, a buffet in fact, so I took a mackerel salad knowing it would all be 'brown' food.

And then the walk and the ducklings. A busy but satisfying day, and now it's time to whip off my apron from cooking and lunch-prepping and get ready to go see my friend.
What food could you eat every day?
Clearly, salmon, but also mackerel. I never tire of a mackerel salad!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Motoring Monday

Evening, all. And how are we? I have to say after a lovely, sun-filled and relaxing weekend, Monday has left me frazzled and tetchy!

Spending four hours in the car after a 5.30am wake-up call didn't help... It's scary how quickly that weekend feeling can evaporate... Quick, let's try to get it back!

Remember that lamb stew bubbling away in the slow cooker on Saturday. Here it is ready for the feast. I am getting a wee bit obsessed with this slow-cooked lamb that literally falls apart and melts in your mouth... This time I put a shoulder of lamb in and surrounded it with carrot, red onion, a tin of chopped tomatoes and some chopped courgette. Slow cooked for 10 hours (!) and served with roasted sweet potato. Comfort on a plate. My friend BC came over to enjoy it with me, and another old friend dropped in to say hello, which was lovely.

After an evening catching up on all the gossip, I was famished again come Sunday morning, and tucked in to this veggie frittata with smoked mackerel in the morning sun.

Then it was time for a little walk.
Admiring the blossom. And the wall!

Saying hello to the horse.

Buying the Sunday paper, a candle that smells of coconut and a new vegetable peeler. Random!
Steps for the day done, I headed home. I enjoyed the tinned salmon so much on Saturday, I ordered a repeat, but without avocado this time

After a few hours of reading, relaxing and entertaining a colleague and her boyfriend and their new puppy, who came to socialise with the doggies, I got to prepping, what with the early start on Monday.
Breakfast frittata with ham - ready.

Mackerel salad for her and ham salad for him - ready.

Leftover roast sweet potatoes at the ready, too. I love cold roast sweet potato. Am I weird?

The reward? The Boy came over and we got Thai. I got their hottest dish, a Jungle Curry with beef. It was good but light on the beef, so I had to eat all those potatoes just to fill me up... I also roasted some green beans to go on the side. I'd seen it on Carrots and Cake and Run Eat Repeat and wanted to try. Yum! Just roast at 200 degrees c for 15 minutes in olive oil.

Then we settled down and watched Silver Linings Playbook. Eh, it was okay, but a bit try-hard for my liking. And very overrated. Also, not at all believable. But... it was watchable!
Today was just long and a bit stressy and non-stop. But, I did manage a nice seaside walk to hit my 10,000.
That's all folks!
Have you seen Silver Linings... What did you think? Seen any good films lately?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Blog with a view

Hey there, lovelies, a very happy Saturday to you all. Things are pretty sweet around here. I'm dogsitting at my Mum's beautiful house with a Mediterranean lamb stew bubbling away in the slow cooker for dinner with one of my besties.

I'm going to need that meaty goodness, because I've been a busy bee today...

Part two of the grand Spring shopping trip. Wardrobe overhaul is entering it's final phase - just a bikini and black cardigan to go!
It's been a stunning Spring day here, which made breakfast time's view all the sweeter this morning (also my current view while writing this):
Check out Max the labrador photo-bombing me.
Yeah, yeah, these two look all innocent, but trust me, Lola, the chihuahua, is a dirtbag.
So, I have to take y'all back to Friday real quick - bear with me. Check this baby out:
A THREE egg roast vegetable frittata with anchovies. As I didn't have much extra protein on hand, I added in the extra egg. This big boy was meaty! I  actually burned my mouth a bit in my haste to eat it. I have no shame, or patience, when it comes to food.
Here's a widescreen shot:
Yesterday was hectic at work - meetings, multiple deadlines... I'm so glad I'm feeling back on top health-wise, because work is really going to be kicking in to gear over the next six weeks, and with two trips abroad wedged in, I need to be on form.
This juicy n' bright mackerel salad with green olives was shovelled down at my desk around 12pm:
The afternoon raced by and I headed over for dog duty during my (late) lunch hour, then worked 'til around 6 before heading out to enjoy the evening sunshine and stock up on food for the weekend. Mother's house ain't Whole 30 friendly.
After stopping by two supermarkets to get all I needed, and dithering over what to have for dinner for, ooh, about an hour, I came home and pan-fried a duck breast, which I had with Chinese stir-fry vegetables, dressed with lime juice. Light and refreshing, it was nice to have duck for a change.
No chopsticks sadly, but you can't have it all.
So, after a nice, leisurely early start and breakfast today, I headed out to the shops for a few hours. By the time I got home I was more than ready to eat. I raided Mum's cupboards and found some tinned red salmon. It was really tasty on a baby leaf salad with avocado, tomato, carrots, red onion and  beetroot, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. I really enjoyed this. Tinned salmon is going on the shopping list.
After lunch I went out in the garden and snoozed on a sunlounger for about an hour. Blissful! What a wonderful day. I just had to take a picture of my Mum's beautiful magnolia tree for you, too...
Always a sign that there are sunny days ahead.
Whole 30 update
I really feel like I'm back on track since I cut out fruit last weekend, and I can't say I've really missed it. Getting back in to exercise has really helped, too.
I'm on day 20 and thoughts are already turning to what I do when it's over. I love the feeling of doing a Whole 30. After being ill my skin is starting to glow again and I feel good and comfortable in myself. However, I don't want to live this strictly all the time, but I know I need some boundaries.
The Whole 30 makes life easy because it takes away choice! Being an all or nothing type of gal, I work best with rigid guidelines. So I may need to create some ready for when I'm back in non-W30 world and heading off on holiday... That said, there's a Gu chocolate pot in the fridge that has my name on it come the first of May!
It's nearly Saturday night! What are your plans?
My friend BC is coming over for dinner, chat and maybe a DVD if we can squeeze it in between the gossip...