Cooking, Renovations and Fun Stuff

Monday, February 28, 2011

End of Week 8

Start: 63.5kg
End of week 1: 62.6
End of week 2: 62.1 (TOM)
End of week 3: 61.9
End of week 4: 61.9
End of week 5: 61.3
End of week 6: 61.9 (TOM)
End of week 7: 60.8
End of week 8: 61.2

Weight still hovering around the 61 mark. I did less cardio than usual this week (see below) so not really surprised.

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I trialled the gym across the road last week. It doesn't open until 6am so I've been playing with my workout schedule a bit to try and fit everything in. I did enjoy training there so I joined up this morning. I'll alternate weight-training days and cardio days for the next five weeks while I'm still working a long way from home. Once I start working from home again I'll have a couple of extra hours up my sleeve each day so will amp things up more then.

This morning I did upper body then took TJ out for a walk.

Food so far
- breakfast: crushed Weetbix and Allbran mixed with sultanas and yoghurt
- lunch: Burgen bread with roast beef, pickle, alfalfa sprouts, avocado and cos lettuce; yoghurt and fresh figs

To come
- peach, brazil nuts
- barramundi, warm roast vege salad
- cocoa (milk)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lose Weight While Eating Yummy Food

I don't believe that you have to eat boring food when you are trying to lose weight. Life is too short to eat things you don't enjoy. For example, if you have to ask, 'how can I make this tuna in springwater taste better?', perhaps what you should really be asking yourself is, 'why am I eating tuna in springwater if I don't like it? What can I eat instead?'

How long can you maintain a 'diet' where you eat food you don't like?

I hope that by posting my menus, recipes and food pics I can show that it's possible to lose weight while eating yummy food.

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I felt a bit 'flat' this morning at the gym, so I trained back (it needs the least amount of work of all my body parts) and did an easy cycle.

Food so far:
Breakfast: oats cooked with milk and topped with peaches in mango & banana puree and yoghurt
Lunch: egg and lettuce sandwich on Burgen bread; yoghurt, pear

To come:
Snack: almonds, apple gluten-free chocolate, raspberry and hazelnut cake
Dinner: salmon, veggies

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Currently Reading


The CSIRO Healthy Heart Program

Snippets I've found interesting so far:

'Allowing yourself a large range of foods at each meal encourages overeating. Our volunteers say that eating similar foods at the same meal most days reduces the temptation to go for second helpings or extra-large servings. Eating similar breakfasts, morning teas and lunches on weekdays will take your focus away from food and eating. Variety is important when it comes to fruit and vegetables, but research shows that increasing the variety of meal options can encourage overeating.' (p20)

'Your [weight loss] strategies should not be so extreme, however, that it is impossible to adhere to them. There is no value in committing to restraint that verges on starvation and is not only impossible to maintain long term but also dangerous. Research shows that people who are successful at maintaining weight loss are those who reduce, rather than eliminate, their intake of high-fat and high-sugar foods, including fast food. These people are described as having 'flexible control' of their eating behaviour and studies indicate that flexible control is critical to maintaining a sensible weight successfully.' (p52)

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No problems with my shoulders after yesterday's workout, but my legs (from Tuesday's workout) are killing me! Just did a light session in the gym this morning - arms and a hill walk - plus a walk with TJ.

Food so far today:
postworkout: Weetbix and All Bran with yoghurt, sultanas and banana
mid morning: skinny flat white
lunch: Burgen bread with turkey, cranberry sauce, avocado, tomato and cos lettuce; pear, yoghurt

To come:
snack: cashews, peach
dinner: steak, mashed cauliflower, mushrooms

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ABCs

I have a nice case of DOMs today: chest from Monday's workout, and glutes and hamstrings from yesterday's workout. After doing shoulders (and bike intervals) this morning, I'll be surprised if I can lift my arms tomorrow.

Food so far today:
postworkout: Healtheries apple and raisin bircher muesli with yoghurt and grated apple
mid morning: skinny flat white
lunch: Burgen bread with smoked trout, avocado, red onion and cos lettuce; peach, yoghurt

To come:
snack: macadamias, peach
dinner: pork and cashew stir-fry

ABCs
I saw Julie (aka Peanut Butter Fingers) post the ABCs of PBF and thought it might be fun to give it a go myself.

A. Age: 37
B. Bed size: King (to fit me, Rob and TJ)
C. Chore you hate: Dusting. It makes me sneeze
D. Dogs: great company and an (almost) compulsory source of exercise
E. Essential start to your day: saying hello to the two boys in bed with me
F. Favorite color: dark red (burgundy), blue
G. Gold or silver: gold
H. Height: 5'6" (167cm)
I. Instruments you play: violin (but not for a long time)
J. Job title: Freelance Proofreader
K. Kids: None
L. Live: Melbourne, Australia
M. Mom's name: Louise
N. Nicknames: C, Char, Charlie
O. Overnight hospital stays: To have my appendix out
P. Pet peeve: When people use tea towels to wipe dirty kitchen benches or dry their hands on - tea towels are for drying clean dishes!!!
Q. Quote from a movie: usually something Star Wars related
R. Righty or Lefty: Righty.
S. Siblings: One younger sister, Natasha.
T. Time you wake up: 5:45 a.m. on weekdays, later on weekends.
U. Underwear: depends on what's clean!
V. Vegetables you dislike: zucchini (I'll eat them if they're disguised in something but don't really like them on their own)
W. What makes you run late: thinking I have plenty of time to do things then suddenly realizing that time is nearly up!
X. X-rays you've had: mostly teeth (several extractions)
Y. Yummy food you make: tandoori chicken, rack of lamb, gluten-free hot cross buns (can't believe they're selling hot-cross buns in the supermarkets already!)
Z. Zoo animal favorite: too many to choose from!

Feel like playing along? I'd love to learn more about you!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bigger is Better

Having bigger meals during the day yesterday definitely helped with my evening munchies last night. I arrived home at 6.30pm and didn't need dinner until 7.30pm - and it was fish and veges instead of cereal. I'm basically having four biggish meals a day at the moment:
Breakfast (postworkout)
Lunch
Snack
Dinner
plus a milk coffee thrown in there somewhere as well (am back to drinking it but only have one a day)

I slept really well last night, woke up before my alarm and hit the gym again this morning to do legs and a hill walk, then headed home to walk TJ. I'm still trying to get my timing right with my new routine. Picking the little apples off our tree and grating them for breakfast is taking too much time in the morning so will try and do it the evening before instead. A squeeze of lemon juice should stop the grated apple going brown.

Food so far today:
postworkout: Healtheries apple and raisin bircher muesli with yoghurt and grated apple
mid morning: skinny flat white

To come:
lunch: Burgen bread with smoked trout, avocado, red onion and cos lettuce; peach
snack: vanilla yoghurt, macadamias, apricots
dinner: tandoori chicken, veggies

Monday, February 21, 2011

Food Waste

This morning as I was walking TJ we went past the loading bay of our local supermarket. A member of staff was throwing dozens of loaves of bread into a large rubbish bin. I thought of hungry people who might like the bread, so this morning I contacted Second Bite to let them know there was edible food going to waste.

Here is the response I had:

'Thanks so much Charlotte.  We do get calls from Bakeries every day, they all "overbake".  In fact, all the agencies have plenty of bread and do not require any more.  I appreciate you contacting us to check.'

Why do bakeries waste so much food? When I worked in the kitchen of a restaurant we recorded the number of each item we sold each day - usually less at the start of the week and more at the end of the week. We used these figures to work out how much of each item to prepare each day, so there was minimal waste.  Do bakeries do this? It seems not. My husband recently went to a Queensland Bakers Delight with his mother at the end of the day and collected eight sacks of leftover bread for charity. At least theirs went to charity. It seem such a waste to see it go in the bin. Surely someone would appreciate it, no matter what the 'agencies' say.

If anyone is game to go bin diving in Craigieburn, they'll find plenty of bread!

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In other news, I went to the gym this morning for the first time in about six months. Since moving I've mostly done bodyweight and band exercises (and cardio) at home. I figured that after my little meltdown last week I needed to change things up a bit. Luckily there is a gym almost across the road from our house so I gave it a trial run this morning, doing chest and some bike intervals. I enjoyed it! The casual rates are cheap ($3.95) so I'll give it a go for the rest of the week and if it works out OK I'll investigate a membership.

Food so far today:
preworkout: apricot
postworkout: Healtheries apple and raisin bircher muesli with yoghurt and grated apple
mid morning: skinny flat white

To come:
lunch: cape seed roll with roast beef, pickle and rocket; peach
snack: vanilla yoghurt, macadamias, apricot
dinner: barramundi, veges (not sure what yet)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

End of Week 7

Start: 63.5kg
End of week 1: 62.6
End of week 2: 62.1 (TOM)
End of week 3: 61.9
End of week 4: 61.9
End of week 5: 61.3
End of week 6: 61.9 (TOM)
End of week 7: 60.8

Finally into the 60s, yay! And I'm completely bamboozled about how I did it. I've had a break from training and 'healthy eating' since Wednesday. I've slept more, and eaten cereal for dinner, except on Friday, when I had fish and chips and a Magnum. There's also been a jam doughnut and a packet of Twisties in there somewhere.

I don't think I've been eating enough during the day, so by the time I get home from work I'm starving (hence the cereal for dinner). The last couple of days I've had bigger meals during the day and felt much less like eating the contents of the pantry in the evening. Will see if it continues to work during the week next week.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Visiting the Kitchen Designer

Hello!

Big thanks to Kek, Magda and Liz for commenting on my last post. I'll try and make my posts a bit more personal, starting with this one!

This morning I had an appointment with Karen at Better Bathrooms & Kitchens. I chose them because the layout of one of the kitchens on their website really appealed to me (see below), and because they are on the same train line as us, so it made it easy for me to visit them.

pic from Better Bathrooms & Kitchens


After listening to what I had in mind, Karen estimated that it would probably cost about $5K more than what I had budgeted for. Most of my budget would be taken up by taking out two walls (one of which is probably load bearing) and tidying up the floors and ceilings once the walls had been removed, then adding benchtops, cabinetry and appliances. Then there would be plumbing and electrical work, as well as the cost of the cabinets for the laundry.

I decided to go ahead with getting a more detailed quote anyway. I thought I'd rather save for a bit longer and get exactly what I want instead of spending less and not being happy with the end result.

At that stage I got out my measurements and we tried to work out the best layout for the new kitchen, given the fact that two walls would be missing, another wall has a huge window in it and the fourth wall is quite short.

Karen's kitchen design experience became apparent when she was sketching and making suggestions about what to put where. Her sketches were in perspective so it made it feel as if you were in the kitchen and could 'feel' the space. I wish I could show you the sketch we ended up with but it's with her so she can make up the quote.

To give you a rough idea, the layout will be a bit like the pic below, with a bar fridge, dishwasher, sink, pot drawers and a corner cupboard all under the long window. The oven will be in the same position, but to the right of the oven there will only be room for pull-out cupboard for oil and spices, and a single fridge. The pantry will have to stay over near the laundry.

pic from Better Bathrooms & Kitchens

Under the island bench there will be drawers for plates and cutlery, and the microwave will probably go there too, like this

pic from Better Bathrooms & Kitchens

I'm still keen on the ivory benchtops and wooden cabinets, like this


pic from Great Interior Design

but the type of 'wood' will make a big difference in the price. Laminex is cheapest but I think it will look 'fake' against the wooden floorboards. Timber veneer would look nicer but won't be as durable as the Laminex. Solid timber would be lovely but I think it's completely out of our price range. I've brought home some Laminex samples to see what they look like against the flooboards. Karen is going to quote me on the Laminex and also on timber veneer in 'Tasmanian Blackwood'
pic from Tesrol

Hopefully we can have the grain running horizontally along the cabinets, parallel to the floorboards, like this:



For benchtops I've brought home a couple of Caesarstone samples:

Ivory (a classic neutral shade consisting of a finely textured pattern on a warm creamy base)

Raw Silk (with a warm and natural appearance, is characterized by a fine, delicate texture)

I'm leaving them on the kitchen bench for now to see how much glare they give off in the early-morning sun.

Hopefully I'll have a quote in the next week or so.

Thought I'd leave you with this pic of TJ. It's a bit humid here today and usually he takes refuge in the bathroom when he's hot. It's the first time I've seen him in the shower though!

Friday, February 18, 2011

What would you like to read about on my blog?

I haven't had a lot of time to blog lately, but thought that when I do blog I'd like it to be stuff you'd enjoy reading. So if you could please leave a comment about what you'd like to see, that would be great!

Some ideas to get you started:
- more about my daily life
- daily menus
- what exercise I'm doing
- photos of what I eat
- photos of what I'm up to
- health/food/fitness information
- cookbook reviews
- recipes

Anything else?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Alarm Clock or Alarm Conscience?

I use the alarm clock on my mobile phone to wake me up in the mornings. I put it in the wardrobe, so I have to get out of bed to turn it off - that way I'm more likely to stay up. I try to do it fairly quickly, so the noise doesn't wake Rob up.

Rob's away at the moment, so this morning I let the alarm go and go and go. And I didn't get out of bed. Oops.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kitchen Benches and Cabinets

Am now thinking of going for something like this:


Pic from Great Interior Design

The wooden cabinets are less likely to show marks if a wet/dirty dog walks past them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Satisfying Food Day

Pre-workout: banana

Post-workout: Vega protein shake

Breakfast: Uncle Toby's Plus Fibre with skim milk and banana

Snack: skinny flat white

Lunch: pastrami, cucumber and tomato sandwich

Snack: Nestle apricot yoghurt, peach, almonds


to come:

Dinner: marinated chicken, tomato and cucumber salad, pumpkin

Snack: Jarrah Chocolatte

Sunday, February 13, 2011

End of Week 6

Start: 63.5kg
End of week 1: 62.6
End of week 2: 62.1 (TOM)
End of week 3: 61.9
End of week 4: 61.9
End of week 5: 61.3
End of week 6: 61.9 (TOM)

I ate lot more than usual this week due to TOM, so no surprises about the weight gain. I'm back on track again now though.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Exciting Plans

Next weekend I'm going to talk to a kitchen designer about renovating our laundry and kitchen. To get between the outdoor area and the kitchen you currently have to walk through the laundry. The laundry is quite narrow so it doesn't make for a good passage way.

Our kitchen
Our laundry and kitchen


I'd like something a little more like this - with no wall between the kitchen and laundry (which is hidden behind the tall cupboards near the back door):

photo from Better Bathrooms & Kitchens


But in a softer colour, like this:

photo from Home Hound's Home Style section

I'm open to suggestions if anybody has any!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yummy Food Day

Pre-workout: nectarine

Post-workout: Vega protein shake

Breakfast: oats and oat bran cooked with skim milk and topped with peaches

Snack: skinny flat white

Lunch: ham, avocado and salad sandwich

Snack: Nestle Apple Crumble Custard yoghurt, canned pears, pecans


to come:

Dinner: Italian lamb casserole, broccoli, cauliflower

Snack: Jarrah Chocolatte

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rosemary & Garlic Rack of Lamb with Roasted Vegetables

This is my favourite (Sunday) dinner at the moment

serves 4

500g pumpkin, roughly chopped
2 carrots, cut into thick strips
2 zucchini, cut into large pieces
4 small brown onions, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
4 sprigs rosemary, leaves only, chopped
1/4 cup red wine
2 racks of lamb, approx 700g each

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Place pumpkin, carrot, zucchini and onions in a large, shallow baking dish, then add half the oil and toss to coat.

Mix the garlic, rosemary, red wine and remaining oil in a bowl. Place lamb fat-side down on top of vegetables (or on a wire rack set over the vegetables). Rub half of the garlic mixture over the meat, then turn fat-side up and rub the remaining mixture in. You can 'join' the racks together at this stage if you wish.

Roast, uncovered, for 50 minutes, or until lamb is cooked to your liking. Remove meat from oven, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 10 minutes before carving (you may need the resting time for the vegetables to finish cooking).

Serve lamb with roasted vegetables.

Creating a Good Journey

From the email newsletter of Nancy Georges

Have you ever spent your entire 12 week contest prep stressing and wondering if you were going to be in shape on time? When it comes to contest conditioning, sometimes we forget. We let our social norms tell us that it takes exactly 12 weeks, no matter what kind of shape we are in. We tell ourselves all we need to do is start 12 weeks out and we will be fine.

Realistically we know that is not the case. Here is a simple way of knowing whether or not you are going to be ready for your show on time. If you are stressing and counting the weeks wondering, hoping and praying that you are going to be ready, looking for that little secret quick fix, most likely you will not enjoy the outcome. My coach once told me: "How can you have a good ending to a bad journey?" This is so very true and when you realize you are on a bad journey something needs to change.

Creating A Good Journey!

Now you might very well be on a bad journey right now. If so, now is a great time to regroup, change your show date and get some of those affairs in order that are distracting you and making things difficult. I know we all wish we could go year round from one 12 week plan to the next without a break, but the reality is we need time to do other things, to focus on friends, family, careers, education, or whatever your other goals are. So think about your 2011 contest plan and ask yourself some questions.

Am I on a good journey? Are things going well? Is this diet easy? Are circumstances in my life making my diet and training easy? Am I in a good place with my job, my finances, my family, If not, you need to rethink you plan.

Second of all, let's get in shape ahead of time this year. So if you are doing a show in June, start now. Add 4 weeks to your contest prep time, instead of doing the standard 12 week prep, do a 16 week prep. Why should we do the bare minimum, we should be able to walk around in our shredded bodies for longer than a few days. This year, start 4 weeks early, and every show from now on, rather than a 12 week prep, do a 16 week prep. I don't mean take 4 weeks to wean yourself off of soda, pizza, beer and donuts, I mean a 16 week solid diet and training plan. You will certainly have a good journey then.

Another key in creating a good journey is to set some money aside every week that you will use for your competition. You won't have many expenses right now, only coaching, extra food and extra supplements, but when it gets about 4 weeks out you will be bombarded with expenses, such as tanning products, manicure, pedicure, hair, facials, waxing, swimsuit, jewelry, entry fees, NPC cards, show pictures, makeup, and more. Don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed, have a set amount that you set aside every week, that way when you expenses come around at about 4 weeks out, you have a reserve to be able to handle these expected expenses.

Having all your other affairs in order, an extended amout of show prep time, and money in the bank for your expenses, you will be sure to create a good journey for your next show. And a good journey, leads to a good outcome.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

End of week 5

Start: 63.5kg
End of week 1: 62.6
End of week 2: 62.1 (TOM)
End of week 3: 61.9
End of week 4: 61.9
End of week 5: 61.3

I'm pretty happy with this week's result, especially since I went to a pot-luck birthday dinner on Friday night and had wine before dinner and cake afterwards. So I will keep everything the same for next week and see where that gets me.

Friday, February 4, 2011

iPhone Freebies

With snow and freezing conditions – aka ‘snowmageddon’ – stranding people in the US and Canada, Lonely Planet has made 13 of its US & Canada iPhone City Guides free to travelers. That way, even if the snow has trapped you, you can at least explore the city you’re in – or use the guide to get practical info on the ground.

Click here

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Slight change of plan

I've been getting up at 5am and walking TJ, but neither of us likes walking in the dark, so in the last couple of days I've switched back to walking him after my training, at about 7am. We are both much happier about walking in the early-morning sunshine.

My new timetable:

5am: up, get dressed, lemon water, foam roll, banana smoothie, prepare breakfast and lunch

6am: dynamic warm-up, WOD, cardio, stretch

7am: walk TJ, protein shake, shower, dress, breakfast

8am: brush teeth, walk to train station, train ride

9am: change trains, train ride, walk to work, turn on computer, put lunch in fridge, get water

9.30am: start work

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How many steps should you take?

From GI News

According to a 2008 study on walking and maintaining a healthy weight, men ages 18–50 should take 12,000 steps a day. For men 50 and up, you'll need 11,000 steps a day. Women ages 18–40 need to take 12,000 steps a day, whereas women ages 40–50 should take 11,000 steps a day. Women in their 50s should take 10,000 steps a day, and women 60 and older should take 8000 steps a day. A rough estimate of how far you need to walk: depending on your stride, the average person takes about 1000 steps for every 0.8 kilometer (or about a half mile). To walk 11,000 steps is roughly equivalent to 8.8 km (5.5 miles).