Archive for Food & Health

 

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Fitness: How I Keep Motivated and Active

23 May 2016

Running

This past week, my fitness mojo has been struggling. It’s a real, begrudging, constantly-hitting-snooze kind of struggle.

The weather is now cold, wet and rainy… and the LAST thing I want to do is take off my 3 layers of warm, snuggly clothing, put on my running shorts and go outside – oh god!

But it turned out that my various pseudo-motivation techniques won out and I did manage to get a few workouts done haha.

I’m not a fitness guru, or model, or celebrity, or anyone who has to work out and look good as part of their job.

I’m just a regular, suburban mother of 3 kids… I genuinely love the feeling I get when I exercise, I love when I feel fit and strong, I love being out and about, I love pushing myself, I love the dialogue in my head when I exercise, I love the post-exercise feeling and I love my body being the shape it is.

So here are some ways I keep myself motivated and active!

 

1) Have fitness buddies.

I don’t actually exercise with them! I just have a few fitness-keen friends, who I chat to over Whatsapp or Messenger… we shoot each other messages now and then, saying “Been to yoga recently?” or “Did you run on the weekend?” or “My bum hurts from my workout!!”

Fortunately for me, I have 2 very keen fitness crazy sons (aged 13 and 11) and they like to keep fit for their sports. So they are always nagging me to go for a run, do a round of workouts, do some weights. It’s awesome.

 

2) Mix it up.

Yes I get hell bored when I do the same thing over and over.

I always try to mix my fitness up: Yoga. Running. Sprinting. Boxing. Weights. Pilates. Workout routines. High intensity interval training workouts from Youtube.

 

3) Be flexible.

If I make too many goals or plans, I often break them and feel really annoyed at myself.

So I don’t have a structured routine. I tend to be very flexible with what I do each week.

 

4) Try something completely new.

I’m about to start Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide, (not so much because I want rock hard abs like the girls on Instagram) I just want some new routines and a more structured workout.

Rock hard abs maaaaay be a nice side effect, but I doubt it, because I eat too much chocolate and instant noodles.

 

5) Try a drop in class 

To find new activities and to add a bit of fun and adventure in my life… I’ve been popping into places which offer a free trail.

I tried Hot Yoga class (38C) the other day aaaaand…. it’s not for me. I didn’t really like the sweating and the intense heat. I felt that I could get an equally effective workout doing a regular yoga class or a HIIT workout.

I’m keen to try a barre class, a proper boxing class and do a bit more rock climbing?

 

6) Buy in bulk.

Buy a pack of 10 class passes to save money.

I’m not a fan of gyms anymore, as they don’t suit my fitness interest, lifestyle and the fact that I get bored easily.

But I appreciate they suit of lot of other people. And I know that “Not Wasting Money” is a good motivator!

Hence if I buy a pack of 10 passes, you can be sure that I’ll be going to all 10 classes dammit.

 

7) Exercise at night

My kids go to bed around 8-8:30pm. My husband and I will usually head over to the lounge room to relax, chat about our day, turn on the TV or hop on our computers.

I will usually set up my yoga mat and start doing some gentle stretches (because it feels really good at the end of the day)… soon my body warms up and I’ll start to do harder stuff (like crunches), then I’ll get annoyed that I’m doing a workout in my jeans, so I’ll change into my fitness gear and start doing a full workout.

I usually do this every evening. And I feel absolutely fantastic after!

 

8) Get nice activewear.

Yep I’m pretty vain. I like the nice stuff. I like the quality. I looooove the feeling of amazing tights against my skin. No more Target or Kmart stuff for me.

I get the good stuff so I can make an excuse to wear them every day!

 

Yep, I think that’s about all the motivational stuff that actually keeps me going.

Hope you find it useful!

Have an amazing week!

xxx


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My Kid’s Favourite Banana Smoothie

11 May 2016

Banana Smoothie

I don’t really like banana smoothies, but I often make them because my kids love them.

It’s also good way to use up bananas, either fresh or frozen. Plus it’s a great way for the kids to get some extra calcium and protein in their diets.

Truth is, I’m writing the recipe here because my kids can now make smoothies for themselves.

So this way I can just tell them to look up the recipe on my blog and I don’t have to shout out the recipe from another room, haha!

I’ve found that the simplest recipe is always the best.

Simple Banana Smoothie (Makes about 2 cups)

1 large banana
1 cup milk
1 cup crushed ice
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of plain yogurt (or vanilla ice cream if you’re feeling naughty)

Enjoy!


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An After-Holiday Fitness Update

9 May 2016

15k Run
Hi everyone!

It was Mother’s Day yesterday… and my husband and kids asked me what I wanted as my Mother’s Day Treat.

I said, “I’d like 2 free hours so I can have a run!”

So after a morning of pancakes and presents, my wonderful husband took all three kids to the city for the day, just so I could have my run. Yay!

I ran around the Swan River, around the 3 Perth Bridges (The Narrows Bridge, the Causeway and the Graham Farmer Freeway).

I think I ran 12km (at a 6:30min/k pace) and walked 3kms, totalling a distance of 15km. I was pretty happy with that. I felt great after. A bit sore and tired though.

I haven’t had a big run in aaaages. The last time I ran 12kms was two months ago. Since then I’ve been doing short 2 – 6 km runs here and there. Then I picked up swimming. Then work got busy. Then I went on holiday.

I’ve slowly started to fill my week:
Sunday – Long Run
Monday – Rest, evening yoga at home
Tuesday – High intensity training workout
Wednesday – Yoga
Thursday – EMS session (I did a review here)
Friday – Yoga
Saturday – Light stretching in the evening

It’s been so nice to get back into the fitness groove again!


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Meal Prepping with Vegetables

14 April 2016

Veggie Meal Prep

Because I like a bit of order and efficiency in my life, I’ve been trying to prepare my daytime meals.

Yes it’s a great way to maintain my weight and a healthy eating regime. Yes it really helps me NOT eat crappy food.

But it’s not easy to stick to.

It comes and goes. I’ll do it for 4 days, then skip 2 days, then back at it for 5-6 days, then stop for 7 days, then back for 5 days… etc.

LIFE HAPPENS and it’s OK really.

Sometimes I go out for lunch. Sometimes I have delicious dinner leftovers in my fridge (hello beef rendang!).

Sometimes I eat such a large breakfast that I skip lunch, then find myself impossibly hungry at the end of the afternoon, and I eat everything in sight!

The truth is, I like food and I get bored eating the same thing every day.

So typical meal prepping doesn’t really work for me.

However these last few weeks… I have found a nice compromise.

I spend Sunday making FIVE simple salads, as shown above. After I took the photo above, I actually added a large handful of spinach to the containers. So there was a bit more to my salad than pictured. It’s not pretty. I just shove as much as I can into a 250ml container.

Then: Every day I eat something proteiny with my salad… like grilled chicken, a slice of fish, can of tuna, two boiled eggs, a scoop of leftover beef rendang, steamed tofu, or a slice of sourdough bread that I made the day before, or soba noodles.

That way, I know I fill up on a nice yummy salad for most days of the week.

The variety makes it much easier to stick to!

(Having said that, I have been known to have a piece of KFC chicken with my salad haha!)


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Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Butter Cream

13 April 2016

Chocolate Cupcakes

I recently invited a few girlfriends over for an afternoon tea and catch up. And since it was after Easter, I used up the last of my chocolate eggs as cute cupcake decorations. They looked so pretty!

I used a recipe based on Donna Hay’s Chocolate Cupcake recipe, but I just used less sugar.

It’s a pretty good basic chocolate cupcake recipe. I would have liked it to be a bit more moist, but it has a nice chocolatey taste.

Donna Hay’s Chocolate Cupcake
(Makes about 16)

125g butter, softened
½ cup milk
¾ cup caster sugar (I used ½ cup)
100g dark chocolate, melted
2 eggs
1¼ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
12 small chunks of dark chocolate, extra

Chocolate Butter Cream Icing
250g butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar mixture, sifted
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs and beat well after each addition. Sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoa and beat until combined. Fold through the milk and stir in the melted chocolate.

Place a piece of the extra chocolate in the base of each cupcake case. Spoon the cupcake mixture into the cases and bake for 20–25 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool.

To make the chocolate butter cream icing, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6–8 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar mixture, cocoa powder and milk and beat for a further 6 minutes or until light and creamy. Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes using a star-shaped nozzle, decorate and serve. Makes 16.

Enjoy!


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Flora and Fauna Cafe, Northbridge

6 April 2016

Flora and Fauna Cafe, Northbridge

I have been stalking Flora and Fauna Cafe on Instagram for months now.

Their food creations and floral decorations are such a delight to look at – that my heart goes into an excited flutter every time I see one of their photos pop up onto my feed!

Anyway, I finally popped in with a girlfriend to try it out and it was just lovely. They specialise in super healthy, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free breakfast/brunch/lunch dishes.

Flora and Fauna Cafe, Northbridge

We ordered two dishes to share, plus a coffee for me and a juice for my friend.

First dish was a Green Tea Granola ($20), which they make themselves.

The serving was huge, topped with a variety of fresh fruit, flowers and served with your choice of milk (I chose almond).

It was delicious, crunchy, and fresh. I could taste the green tea, and all the glorious seeds and nuts. But there was a strong flavour of almond essence or organic syrup (I’m not sure!) it was just a touch over-powering because I don’t usually like almond essence.

Nonetheless I happily gobbled up my share. The fruits were so yummy!

Flora and Fauna Cafe, Northbridge

Our second dish was the Heirloom Bruschetta ($19) featuring 3 kinds of tomatoes, gluten free bread, avocado, greens and a sprinkle of feta.

The tomatoes were just lovely, sweet and mellow (not too sour, not too tangy or acidic).

I was absolutely blown away by how delicious this dish was. It was truly bursting with flavour!

I would order this again. In fact, I would take someone special (like my husband) to this cafe and order this for him.

I’ll definitely be back :)

Great: Amazing food, styling, gorgeous cafe decoration, great coffee.

Not-so-great: Price (this cost us $50 exactly), limited seating, no bookings, most of the tables were outside.

 

Flora & Fauna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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My New Love: Yoga

2 April 2016

Yoga Love

Hi everyone! Hope you all had an amazing weekend :)

I want to share my new love… yoga.

Now I feel like I’m 10 years late in the game. But it’s better late than never!

I’ve been to lots of yoga classes over the years and I’ve never really loved it.

I went to classes at general fitness gyms, community centres, specialised yoga studios, a beachside yoga place, hipster/organic/uber cool studios.

They were nice. They were ok. The workout was meh. It was nothing great. I’d rather do a pilates class. Or a Body Pump class. Or hey, I’d rather just go for a run, because that’s much cheaper!

However I’ve recently joined a yoga class in Perth called Bodyscape Yoga and my mind was blown.

I tried out a few classes… and whenever I did a class, the next day I would wake up feeling freaking AMAZING.

Now, I don’t seem to wake up with an aching back, stiffness and soreness in my muscles and joints.

I seriously feel younger and more energetic. I bounce happily out of bed in the mornings!

It’s a crazy feeling and I love it!

It is definitely something I am adding to my overall fitness activities :)

xxx


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Fitness Update: Running Essentials

30 March 2016

Run

A few of my running essentials: Water, tunes, running watch and running fuel. I tend to drive to a nice running spot, so I can leave all my bits and pieces in my car. Adidas Originals Sneakers from here.

Monday: Nothing!

Tuesday: 6km run

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: Nothing!

Friday: Practice yoga at home

Saturday: 30 minute HIIT workout at home

Sunday: Practice yoga at home

 


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Nachos for Dinner

21 March 2016

Nachos

This is what we do with our left over spaghetti bolognese sauce!

We eat it with corn chips and salad.

Easiest dinner ever :)


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Fitness Update: With a bit of swimming

20 March 2016

Swimming

Here’s an update of my fitness activities from last week.

I haven’t been as active as usual, but hey, whatever.

Monday – Played a game of netball

Tuesday – Went Swimming!

For the first time in forever, I headed over to my local swimming pool to do some laps! I did 10 laps, which is 500m, but I struggled with the last 2 laps and had to stop midway to catch my breath. I was completely exhausted but I felt awesome :)

Wednesday – Yoga

Thursday – Ran 2km in the evening.

Friday – Camping with my family (Swimming, paddling, walking along the beach, sand boarding and climbing sand dunes)

Saturday – Camping

Sunday – Camping


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My No Fitness Update

6 March 2016

Chips

We had a kids party last weekend and I ate waaaay too much crappy, party food.

So I came down with a bit of food poisoning (actually it was just diarrhoea SORRY TOO MUCH INFO!!), I felt totally drained and tired all week and I did pretty much NOTHING exercisey.

Sunday: Prepping for a kids party all day. The running around after 10 kids! No actual exercising though.

Monday: Felt bad all day. I played a netball game in the evening. The other team had only 5 players against our 7, so we won 33 to 4 points. Terrible game. No one tried very hard. I hardly worked up a sweat. So after the game I went to a local sports field and tried to do a standard 5km run. I could only handle 2kms of slow, weak plodding because I felt so bad/drained. I felt angry, pissed off and SO frustrated with my body. I even had a bit of a cry because I felt so crappy!

Tuesday: Nothing

Wednesday: Nothing

Thursday: Nothing

Friday: Nothing

Saturday: Nothing

Sunday (today): Nothing!

On the up side, my weight went down haha! There’s nothing like a bit of gastro to flush out my system :P

Time to reset my eating then ease back into the fitness.


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Marumo Japanese Fine Dining, Nedlands

2 March 2016

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of eating at the elusive Marumo in Nedlands.

According to all the online and offline chatter, Marumo seems to be one of Perth’s most sought after and best value restaurants for Japanese fine dining.

Apparently they are fully booked out for several months in advanced; and to manage the overwhelming demand, they now release a month’s worth of online reservations (two months out) on a first come first serve basis. I’ve also heard those bookings sell out so quickly (minutes!) that slow mouse-clickers are often disappointed.

For me, I was invited to join someone else’s dinner booking, a friend of a friend, who couldn’t make it at the last minute.

Anyway despite all the fanfare, I arrived and there was absolutely no sense of a pretentious, pompous, self congratulating “We are SO highly sought after, therefore YOU should be SO lucky to dine here” vibe.

The atmosphere was humble, simple, minimal and modern.

Marumo Japanese Fine Dining

Marumo offers a 7-course Omakase menu, which means you leave everything up to the chef and he carefully selects and showcases his loving creations in a set menu, based on the freshest seasonal produce.

You turn up at 7pm and the whole sitting takes about 3 hours.

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE that idea. I have no special dietary requirements, only that I want to eat really good food. I like to try a bit of everything and most times I don’t know what to choose… so I am absolutely happy to trust the chef and eat whatever he creates.

For $60 per person and BYO alcohol, I’ve never heard of a place that does anything similar.

First up was a Pickled Squid Salad thing (that’s right, I’m not a pro food critic, so I am completely happy to call dishes a “salad thing”).

It was light, tangy, salty and bursting with flavour. It was a great start to the evening and I wanted to eat more!

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Chilled Edamame Soup

At first, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a cream soup to start. I don’t usually like heavy, creamy soups. I have a slight intolerance to milk and cream, which leaves me feeling a bit full and bloated. I probably should have mentioned this to the chef?

But it was actually lovely. The flavours were fresh and light, the consistency was smooth, but not TOO smooth. The surprise sat at the bottom of the soup, I think it was a small pile of crab flesh or prawn? I forgot to ask. Its mellow, salty seafood flavour, complimented the soup so well. It was heavenly to eat.

I’d say this was one of my favourite dishes of the night!

A real surprise for me!

Marumo Japanese Fine Dining

Beef, Mushroom and Bamboo Shoot

When the next dish arrived, I rubbed my hands together… YES this was exactly what I was craving! Bring on the Japanese seared meats!

The beef was soft, tender, gorgeously succulent, perfectly seared and drenched with the clear sauce, which was not too salty or overpowering. It was a tasty dish and really well done.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Soft Shell Crab and Watermelon

This was my lucky day. I’m also a huge fan of soft shell crab. The textural contrast of crunchy and soft, borders on the rapturous pleasure of crispy fried chicken. I’ve never eaten it with watermelon before though.

I adore watermelon and grilled halloumi, so I’m no stranger to an interesting mix of sweet and salty flavours. But this dish didn’t quite have the WOW factor for me, as the last three dishes did.

Having said that, the crab was indeed crispy, crunchy on the outside and full of flavour and juicy on the inside; and the watermelon was a refreshing contrast for my palate. I ate them separately, but very happily.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Chef’s Selection of Sashimi

I was so so pleased with the sashimi.

It had lovely flavour and perfect texture, it was beautifully cut, faultlessly fresh and sitting on a sheet of ice.

I think I could eat this everyday for lunch for the rest of my life thanks.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Tasmanian Salmon Belly Sushi

This was my second favourite dish for the night!

I’m usually very bored with sushi, because (please forgive me) I buy quick-and-easy, “chicken teriyaki” sushi from takeaway shops all the time, so I try not to choose it at restaurants.

However, when I took my first bite of this sushi, I think my eyes rolled to the back of my head… hello foodgasm, it was amazing!

The seared, fatty salmon belly combined with the salty bursts of salmon roe was absolutely delicious. Then mixed with the soft rice and the super crispy outer shell of the tempura prawn, it all just filled my mouth with the most ecstatic combination of creamy, crunchy, popping, salty, seaweedy textures and flavours.

The lovely staff told me that I was supposed to put the WHOLE thing in my mouth to enjoy ALL the flavours at once. It sounded good in theory.

But alas, I’m a dainty eater and I struggled with fitting each piece in my mouth… so I made a bit of a mess on my first two attempts, ha!

Marumo Japanese Fine Dining

Duck, Apricot and Parsnip

The duck arrived and it was a handsome and impressive looking dish. The duck meat was tender, with warming flavours that were delicate, mellow and sweet. The puree brought it all together nicely.

I was quite full at this point and struggled to finish it, but that in no way reflected how it tasted.

Marumo Japanese Restaurant

Dark Chocolate, Peach and Yuzu

Thankfully the dessert arrived, signalling the last of the courses. I was so full, but I always have room for dessert!

It was gorgeous. Sweet, subtle and simple. I wished that I could make such amazing chocolates.

It was such a delightful and satisfying meal.

My girlfriend told me about Chef Moe’s humble beginnings; how he arrived in Australia with almost no money; how he worked hard as a kitchen hand, doing odd jobs; his 13 years of cooking experience preparing Japanese cuisine; how Marumo first started as a tiny shop in the Southern suburbs of Perth, serving fish and chip by day and Japanese fine dining by night; the growth of his business and reputation solely through word of mouth; his dedication to quality and his passion for creating traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern twist.

It seems like all the hard work is paying off for Chef Moe and his wife, Marie. I wish them all the best!

Yep, I would go back in a snap and and would love to share the experience with my friends and family.

Who knows, hopefully I’ll be successful with the online reservations and cross my fingers that I’ll nab a booking four months from now for my birthday!


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Fitness Update For The Week

27 February 2016

Running Gear

I’ve been doing pretty well with my fitness activities this week!

Sunday: Ran 12km, 6:39 min/km

Monday: Netball Game and Body Weight Exercises

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: Bootcamp

Thursday: Ran 5km, 5:49min/km (ouch!)

Friday: Pilates

Saturday: Rest day!

(I do my bodyweight exercises, yoga and pilates at home… so apart from my bootcamp sessions and netball, all my exercises have been free!)

Pictured: Nike Free 5.0 Sneakers (on sale), Lululemon Sports Bra, Nike Running Shorts (or similar here)

 


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Increasing My Pace with 30 Second Sprint Training

17 February 2016

Perth River Run, 12km Clockwise

On the weekend, I ran 12km at my fastest pace yet — 6:12 minutes/km.

I’m a bit proud of myself!

I have been running at a pace of 6:30min/km for a really long time now.

Admittedly, it’s pretty slow. It’s OK. I don’t push myself too hard. I don’t want to hurt myself.

I know I can run a distance of 12km or longer at that pace… and I am still able to function perfectly well for the rest of the day – this is quite important to me. I don’t have time to take a nap in the middle of the day!

But I seemed to be stuck at that pace. Which annoyed me.

So I decided to try out some interval training, where you run for a bit and walk for a bit. Most people advised me to start slow and easy. 2 minute run, 1 minute walk. Or 5 minute run, 2 minute walk.

However, I decided to try 30 second sprint training instead.

(Because it seemed like more fun haha!)

It’s a bit intense. And they say that you should consult your doctor before you try.

I thought I’d be fine. I do lots of sprinting when I play indoor netball. And I run around until I can’t breathe and my face is red and pounding and I want to throw up. I’m used to doing a few sprints here and there.

So I did this sprint training a few times this week and it was sooooooo much fun!

I enjoyed it so much because it was such a thrill to move my whole body so quickly.

It was also humbling because I realised how quickly my legs just gave up.

I can sprint really fast ONCE, then my next sprint is slower, then each sprint after that is slower still, then I’m a quivering wreck because I’m so tired.

I can’t do it for very long. I can only do about 6 – 8 sprints.

But I think it’s really improved my running. And my netball too.

The flow on results have been really impressive for me.

Can’t wait to try more :)


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Watermelon Crush for Summer

12 February 2016

Watermelon Drinks

This is one of the juices/smoothies that I love to make for my kids after school.

Sometimes I’ll use lemonade (instead of coconut water) if I have some leftover from a dinner party, otherwise there’s more than enough sweetness in the fruit.

It’s their favourite flavour and such a hit in summer!

Watermelon Crush

2 cups of watermelon (no seeds)
1 slice of pineapple
1 tablespoon of frozen raspberries or strawberries
4 cubes of ice
250mL of coconut water
1 leaf of mint

Throw everything into a high powered blender, whizz up, then serve in pretty glasses :)

Enjoy!

xxx


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Do More Running

6 February 2016

Run: 1 Feb 2016Hi everyone!

Yep, one of my goals for the year was to: do more running.

I’m not trying to focus on any distances or speed; I just want to simply get back into it and try to find the love again.

So.

I did three runs this week, yay!

1) A short 2.5km run at my usual pace of 6:30 min/km.

2) An interval run – 30 second sprint and 30 second walk, for 10 minutes. I was absolutely shattered after that!

3) A long 12.5km run at my usual pace of 6:30 min/km. No stopping, except to drink some water!

The days have been really hot, so I have been waking up at 5:30 – 6am to go for a run, or waiting until 7pm when the heat has subsided. The fact that I can drag my ass out of bed in the morning, says a lot about how much I’m loving the feeling of being fit and strong again.

I’ve also been following yoga, pilates and workout videos at home, in the evenings, which has been – surprisingly – lots of fun.

I definitely have my fitness mojo back and I’m making the most of it!

Mango, Cucumber and Spinach Smoothie

This is my very horribly coloured, but delicious fruit smoothie with mango, pineapple, cucumber, mint and coconut water!

 


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Perth City Bridges Run: Thunderstorm

30 January 2016

Perth City Bridges Run Jan 2016

This weekend, I scheduled a run on a day the forecast was: 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms.

I guess I was hoping that the weathermen got it wrong!

I woke up bright and early at 5:30am, met up with my brother-in-law at 7am and we ran/walked a distance of 15km around the river, bridges and city.

I probably ran about 12km and walked 3km. My pace averaged around 6:30min/km.

I felt great after! I wasn’t drained or exhausted or suffering any pains.

I think I’ll work on some interval running to increase my speed and strength.

But overall I’m happy with doing regular 12km distances and I’ll stick with that for a bit. I might even be able to hit the 21km half marathon mark earlier than I thought!

Anyway, turns out that we started so early that we missed all the rain and thundery action. We didn’t get wet at all.

We even managed to squeeze in a coffee and chat later. Brilliant start to the weekend!

 


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Juicy Awesomeness from Pure Glow Cleanse

29 January 2016

Let me say one thing: I’m not a big fan of juice cleanses!

Personally, I don’t like the idea of drinking only juice for 3 or 5 days.

BUT…

I love drinking juices and smoothies as part of a healthy daily diet and lifestyle.

For me, I make myself a juice or smoothie every one/two/three days.

And when I DO drink one, it replaces a meal – usually lunch.

I have a big breakfast in the morning, a juice/smoothie in the afternoon, I eat healthy snacks, then my dinner is usually at 6pm.

My thinking: If I drink a big cup of yummy, low-sugar, green juice and feel full… I probably won’t be tempted to reach for a quick muffin / pie / ham and cheese croissant when I walk past some at the shops haha!

Pure Glow Cleanse

So, the lovely team at Pure Glow Cleanse sent me a 6 pack of their juices to try out.

I’ve known of Annette, one of the founders, for a number of years, when she used to write as a health and wellness writer. She had a very down-to-earth, not-hardcore, real-life kind of voice in her writings and I enjoyed reading her stuff. So when she launched Pure Glow Cleanse, I took notice of it and I liked that her juices contained no added sugars, no weird herbs, no laxatives, no vitamin extracts, and no protein powders.

How it works: You can select a 1 day, 3 day or 5 day cleanse and choose a pre-set selection of juices to be delivered to your door.

Or you can create your own 6 pack from a menu of their juices, which is what I did.

They were SO YUMMY!!

I have to tell the truth, I felt a bit irritated, because I thought I was quite good at making smoothies and juices… and tasting these juices made me sigh, because they were just amazing… and now I feel that mine are quite ordinary and mediocre in comparison.

Sooo… I take my hat off to the team! These juices are absolutely superior in quality and taste.

They tasted so clean, fresh, rich and smooth. No grittiness. No chunks. Well mixed. Lovely combinations.

Pure Glow Cleanse

Yes they are super expensive though!

They work out to be something like $10 a bottle. Which yep, makes me wince and raise my eyebrows. One of the juices was simply watermelon, cucumber and lime! Ok it was absolutely delicious, but $10?

However, on the other hand, if you wanted to create 18 juices (for 3 days), you’d have to buy heaps of ingredients (cos lettuce, kale, avocado, apples, pears, lemons, limes, watermelon, beetroot, carrots, ginger, dates, almonds, etc etc etc) wash them, store them, make the juices…. then have heaps of leftover vegetables that would probably go off?

And if you want to have less wastage, you’d have to buy less ingredients, which means you’ll just have a smaller variety of juices, so you’d probably get bored of them? And then be less inclined to make them?

So there definitely is a market for time-poor people, who don’t want the hassles of making their own juices!

As for my favourite juices :

The Matcha Milk was simply amazing. Made from matcha (green tea), spirulina (seaweed), almonds, cashews, basil nuts, dates and vanilla… omg its taste made my toes curl from sheer pleasure!

The Cafe Au Late was a close second, it was soooo delicious! It had cold drip coffee, almond, cashews, brazil nuts, dates and vanilla.

Good Karma (the Orange one) was made from carrots, grapefruit, green apple, ginger, turmeric and lemon.

Green Guru (green juice) had kale, cos, cucumber, celery, been apple, mint and lemon.

Anyway, if you are looking for some high quality juices to try, or try a juice cleanse, do check these guys out!

Have an amazing weekend!

xxx


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My Running Watch: Garmin Forerunner 15

28 January 2016

Garmin Forerunner 15 Watch

I picked up a new toy for my run this weekend – a running watch!

It’s a Garmin Forerunner 15 (AUD$249) which I bought off eBay at an absolute BARGAIN price – hardly used and in perfect condition.

It’s a slightly older model and apparently a good entry level running watch. The top level Forerunner is something like AUD$699. Ouch! I bought the small sized watch and they only came in three “sporty” colour choices – bleh.

I resisted buying a running watch for years, because I didn’t want my runs to focus so much on gear and gadgets.

I had an overkill of gear and gadgets from my cycling days…. and what I love about running is the fact that I can do it while being so light and free.

Anyway, in the past, when I first started to run, I opted to just run with my smart phone to track my distance and speed.

However, I found that my sweat/body heat fogged up the camera lens and all my photos turned out weird. So I stopped using my phone and started using a Jawbone UP24, which was a gift. But that’s just a simple pedometer which tracks steps and sleep. The distance and times were not very accurate.

So! I’ve finally made the switch to a running watch to keep track of my times and distances.

It came with a heart rate tracker, which I’ve been told by my hardcore running friends, is very useful and steps up my running to a whole new level… but eeep, I don’t think I’ll go there yet!

I want to keep my runs sweet and simple!

Looking forward to another long run this weekend. Hope you all manage to get out and about too!

xxx


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Kickstarting My Fitness

20 January 2016

Road Running

Ha this photo made me crack up! I’m matchy matchy with the road! But I don’t know if it’s funny, lame… or possibly dangerous?

Whatever the case, I don’t actually run on the road, as I get super paranoid about being hit by a car.

A Fitness Update :

1) I’ve been running once a week, doing 3 – 4kms. Now I’ve increased it to twice a week, doing 5 – 6km distances.

I’m hoping to do longer distances (12 – 14kms) on the weekends.

2) I’ve also been going hard at my fitness workout program (just a series of exercises I made up for myself), twice a week.

3) Healthy eating has resumed. I’m slowly getting my portion sizes under control too.

4) I’ve started to do a bit more exercise with my boys too. They have expressed a desire to get fit before school starts, so I’m leading them through a few training exercises.

I really enjoy teasing them and the sarcastic banter between us, because at the moment I’m fitter than they are, and I have more stamina. But I’m sure they’ll overtake me really soon then I’ll be left far behind!

I’m feeling so much better these days.

All the endorphins, the dull ache of my muscles, the feeling of building strength in my body and the good sleep that comes after… all makes me feel very happy and satisfied. It’s so good for my mental state!


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James Parker Sushi and Sake Bar, Northbridge

13 January 2016

After weeks of drooling over other people’s Instragram photos, I went out with a bunch of girlfriends for dinner at James Parker Sushi and Sake Bar in Northbridge.

In fact, I like it so much that I went a second time, with a different group of girlfriends.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

I really liked the spacey woodwork entrance of the restaurant. It felt a bit 2001: Space Odyssey.

The service was fantastic. The wait person helped us with ordering, making sure we didn’t order too much, and she was very patient with our indecision.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

My absolute favourite dish was the Fresh Tuna Aburi ($21).

It was served on a bed of spinach, and topped with other condiments and a lovely ponzu sauce. The tuna was deep pink, wonderfully fresh, and the sear was done perfectly.

The flavours, the textures, the freshness… it was orgasmic!

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

I also enjoyed the Wagyu Beef Tataki with ponzu sauce jelly ($20).

The beef slices were delicious. However I felt that there was a bit too much ponzu jelly with each slice, which overpowered each mouthful with an intense sourness that I didn’t like. I had to scrape off some of the jelly to enjoy it.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

Next up, we had the Assorted Sashimi of JP ($52).

I winced at the price of this dish. But I guess with sashimi, you usually get what you pay for.

This assorted plate was lovely, fresh and I enjoyed it. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but I felt it was good value.

We also had a few sushi rolls, not pictured (Eel Dragon Roll $20, Soft Shell Crab Spider Roll $20, and our favourite, the Aburi Wagu Roll $20) and they were very delicious too.

James Parker Sushi, Northbridge

The let down for me was the Soft Shell Crab ($18) as it was a bit soggy and too salty. I think I should have chosen the Chicken Karaage instead.

Would I go again? I think yes.

I like that it offers a simple, easy, fresh sushi menu, in a cosy, yet modern setting.

The location is central, with lots of late night cafes and bars to move on to after dinner. The service is great and lots of parking options available nearby.

James Parker Sushi and Sake Bar
182 James St, Northbridge
(Corner of James and Parker Street in Northbridge)
www.james-parker.com.au

James Parker Sushi X Sake Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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Truth: I run, so I can eat fried chicken

2 January 2016

Run 2016

Haha isn’t this so clichéd?

It’s 2 days after the new year and I’ve decided to start to run more regularly!

Actually what really happened… was that I went shopping with my 12 year old son to buy school supplies and we were both craving KFC chicken spicy wings.

So we bought, we ate (omg it was soooo good!) and we totally regretted it after.

I felt really gross after that, so I had to go for a run late in the evening.

I smashed out 5km and I was pretty happy with that.

But maybe next time I can just go without the fried chicken? Ha not likely!

(Adidas Originals ZX Flux – approximately US$70)


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Spiced Vanilla Christmas Cookies

18 December 2015

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

I made a huge batch of delicious Spiced Vanilla Christmas Cookies for my neighbours and friends!

I made about 80 biscuits in total, then I was sooo over it and refused to make any more. However they were SO YUMMY that my kids (and myself) ended up eating about 20 (over a week) and so we only ended up giving away 12 packets (4-5 biscuits in each) away.

Next time I think I’ll make stars, or round shapes, because my Christmas tree and Christmas men shapes were much too big and a gift bag of 4 biscuits looked really inadequate. I think 8 stars would look much nicer.

The recipe that I used is a variation on Jamie Oliver’s Ginger Bread People recipe, because I don’t really like ginger flavoured biscuits, plus I discovered that my ground ginger was out of date by 6 years haha!

The cinnamon and nutmeg add a gorgeous, subtle flavour to the sweetness of the biscuits, so it doesn’t taste like a boring butter cookie. I only used 1/4 teaspoon of the spices (instead of 1/2 teaspoons), because I don’t like super-spicy biscuits.

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

Spiced Vanilla Christmas Cookies
(Makes about 14-18 cookies)

125g unsalted butter
100g soft light brown sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
2. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a small pot on low heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Stir until well combined.
3. Mix flour, bicarb, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl and stir.
4. Pour the butter and sugar mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir well until it becomes a dough.
5. Cut the dough in half. Place each dough ball onto each baking paper paper. Flatten them out to 5mm and cut out with shapes directly on the paper.
6. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Decorate with icing and store in an air tight container. Mine were still delicious and crunchy after 7 days!

Enjoy!

Christmas Vanilla Spiced Biscuits

As for the decorating… I was VERY STRICT with my icing instructions, that my kids helped me for 10 minutes then left me alone haha! I did let them make silly biscuit men! And I promised that I’ll make another batch for them to decorate how ever they want – after Christmas.


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Fruit and Veggie Inspo

15 December 2015

Fruit Plate Inspiration

My kids are pretty good eaters and they enjoy their cut fruits and vegetables.

I wouldn’t say they love it, but they will happily eat through a mixed plate that I put in front of them.

Part of my push to get them to eat so much fruit and vegetables, is because I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I don’t pack a super-healthy lunch box for my kids.

They just want (1) a simple sandwich, usually vegemite or honey on wholemeal bread (2) some savoury, cheese biscuits and (3) half an apple. Not exactly great brain food.

Basically, they want to QUICKLY SHOVE the food into their mouths and run off to play. They don’t want to sit still long enough to eat.

So yep, they come home and they are starving.

In fact, they will INHALE ANYTHING edible that I lay out on the table within their reach – I figured I may as well put something healthy in front of them.

Anyway, here’s a few snaps of some fruit and veggie plates that I’ve put together in the last few months!

Fruit Plate Inspirationtplate02

Fruit Plate Inspiration

Fruit Plate Inspiration

Fruit Plate Inspiration


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Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes (Dairy Free)

8 December 2015

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

Again, before you judge me as being a crazy health freak, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it :)

Having a container of these in my freezer, has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced the amount of regular chocolate and ice cream I eat each week!

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

I prefer to make mini cheesecakes, instead of one large one.

This is because the cakes have to be frozen and when you want to eat them, you have to take them out and defrost them for 30 minutes. Much easier to defrost a couple of small cakes, than 1 large cake.

Plus they look hella cute.

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

This recipe is based on my Raw Coconut and Lime Cheesecake, but I dump the lime and add chocolate and more dates.

Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes

(Makes about 18)

Filling
1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight (or at least 4 hours!)
1 cup of pitted dates, chopped
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
½ cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Base
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup of dates, softened in water, drained and chopped (pitted dates are fine)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoon of cacao powder
pinch of salt

Decoration
½ cup of shredded coconut
½ cup of raspberries

1. Line a loaf tin (or a spring cake tin) with grease proof paper, or grease with coconut oil.

2. Base: Using a food processor, blend the almonds, dates, coconut, coconut oil, cacao powder and salt until it turns into an even grain.

3. Evenly spread and firmly press the mixture into the base of the tin. Pop into the freezer. You can do this the day before. I would cover the cake tin with cling wrap first.

4. Filling: You can either rinse out the food processor, or use a high-powered blender for this. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. You might want to adjust the taste by adding more lime juice or maple syrup. It’s supposed to have a limey punch!

5. Pour the filling over the base, smooth the top and pop into the freezer for at least 4 hours. I like to cover the tin with cling wrap to prevent it from drying out or absorbing any smells from my freezer.

6. Take out the cake to defrost for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Decorate with sliced limes, crushed nuts and shredded coconut.

Enjoy!

xxx


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Double Layer Chocolate Cake with Flowers

20 November 2015

So this is not really a recipe sharing post. As in, I’m not sharing the chocolate cake recipe that I used, because it wasn’t that good.

I was actually just practicing my cake decorating skills and seeing if I could bake two small cakes at the same time in my oven. Answer is: Yes!

Double Layer Chocolate Cake With Flowers

I snipped a bunch of pretty flowers from my mother’s garden and made sure that I washed them and patted them dry – because one time I found a whole lot of baby grasshoppers in them EEEEEEPP!! That’s because my mum doesn’t use any chemicals or pesticides on her roses!

Double Layer Chocolate Cake With Flowers

Then I made up a bowl of chocolate frosting.

Again I’m not going to share the recipe, because I don’t know the measurements of the ingredients.

I made it from leftover ganache (melted chocolate and cream) that someone gave to me and I added icing sugar to it until it was a good spreading consistency.

It tasted amazing – rich and creamy, yet still soft, buttery and fresh.

Double Layer Chocolate Cake With Flowers

I stacked the cakes up with a layer of chocolate frosting in between them.

I kept the whole thing looking messy and natural looking.

Double Layer Chocolate Cake With Flowers

Then I decorated it with slices of oranges, raspberries, blueberries, chopped walnuts, pepitas, roses and flower petals.

It looked so good! I was so happy with it!!

(Everyone said it tasted amazing, but I thought the cake was a bit dry and crumbly…)


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Cupcake and Cake Stand Gift

8 November 2015

Cupcakes For Curi

I had wanted to do this for the longest time!

So the other week, I wanted to say a great, big, heartfelt thanks to my hair stylists – a husband and wife team at Curi Hair in Subiaco.

I feel very thankful and grateful to them for supporting me and my blog. They have become my friends over the years and I love catching up with them each time I pop in.

So I made some chocolate cupcakes, iced them and decorated them with red roses from my garden, bought a lovely glass cake stand and presented the whole lot to them!

I’m so happy with how it turned out!

(I bought the cake stand from Wheel&Barrow, but the model I bought is sold out now.)

 


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Atomic Cafe, Claremont

6 November 2015

The other day I took my 12 year old out for lunch, to spend some time with him, chat and just hang out.

We both love eating good food and talking about food, so he is an excellent eating companion! Would you believe he likes to take photos of food too?

You should have seen the both of us, mother and son with our smart phone cameras – HA how embarrassing!

We went to Claremont Quarter and sat in Atomic Cafe, which has a raised, open-air aspect, overlooking the central outside square. It was a lovely, spacious place to sit, with lots of natural light, and was not noisy or echoey at all.

Atomic Cafe, Claremont

I ordered the Chicken Bruschetta with grilled chicken, tomato, avocado, rocket, basil infused olive oil on ciabatta toast – $14.50

Yep it was a bit pricey, but it was really excellent!

The avocado and tomatoes were the perfect temperature, the chicken was delicious and marinated nicely (not too overpowering). I could not fault it, except the fact that I was hankering for a dollop of mayonnaise.

I had a soy flat white too, which was “just ok”.

Atomic Cafe, Claremont

My son had eyes bigger than his stomach…

He ordered a milkshake (can’t remember how much that cost, maybe $6?) with the Classic Burger, which had a beef patty, cheddar cheese, cos lettuce, tomato, Spanish onions, toasted bun with french fries – $17.50.

Ouch! Very expensive!

But again it was really delicious. I had to help him eat the fries.

Despite the high price, it was such a great place to sit for an afternoon meal, that I will definitely be back to try some other lunch offerings from the menu.


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My Favourite Hummus Recipe

3 November 2015

My Favourite Hummus Recipe

I love eating fresh hummus (or houmous) and so do my kids!

It’s a great way to gobble up a whole lot of raw vegetables.

It’s easy to make, there’s no cooking involved, I just have to whiz everything up in a food processor.

You don’t have to make it with tahini. Most times I use 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt.

I always like to throw in different ingredients, like a few pieces of sundried tomatoes, or grilled eggplant, or sautéed onions, or chives, coriander or parsley leaves.

My Favourite Hummus Recipe

400g can of chickpeas
1 tablespoon tahini (or 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt)
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put everything in a good food processor and whiz it all up till well combined! If the mixture is too chunky, add a bit more yoghurt or lemon juice or water – whatever your tastes prefer.

Optional – Sprinkle paprika or dukkah over the top (my favourite dukkah recipe here).

Enjoy!

xxx


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Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

1 November 2015

A few weeks back, my parents invited us out for dinner with extended family and some friends – there were about 18 of us altogether!

We went to a new Malaysian restaurant called, Mama Nyonya Kitchen, in Canning Vale (all the way down south of the river, at the Canning Vale Markets), specialising in Malaysian hawker food and Nyonya / Peranakan dishes.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

The place was clean and new, the decor was modern and fresh, and the staff were friendly and efficient. 

Since there were so many of us in our group, I expected to have to wait a looooong time for our food – so I armed myself with paper and pens for my kids, to play word/drawing/puzzle games.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

However the food arrived quickly. And my hungry hoard of children were very happy indeed.

We ordered Mixed Satay Sticks of 3 chicken and 3 beef satays for $13.80 and they arrived with onions, cucumbers and pineapple.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

Deep fried marinated chicken wings (in house special recipe), four pieces for $8.80.

My dad ordered these for the kids, but the adults nabbed them all because they were really tasty.

The fried skins were absolutely perfect – crispy and crunchy on the outside with soft tender meat on the inside.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

We decided to let our boys share meals, so we ordered a few familiar dishes for them to pick and choose from. The Hainanese Chicken Rice ($11.80) looked and smelled pretty good. I didn’t try it, but all my boys really enjoyed it.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

One of my boys requested the Nasi Lemak Special, which at $16.80 seemed quite expensive. It arrived and it was HUGE! It looked very impressive and it was pretty good.

They were very generous with the size of chicken rendang pieces; there was also sambal prawns, sambal ikan bilis (anchovies), acar, egg, fried anchovies, cucumber and roasted peanuts.

We probably should have ordered the slightly cheaper Nasi Lemak with Chicken Rendang ($14.80)… because the special version was just a bit too large for a hungry 10 year old boy, even though we did share.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

My husband chose the Beef Rendang $13.80, with rice on the side. He really enjoyed it.

The meat was lovely and tender, and the sauce was suitably fresh and tasty.

It had a real homestyle taste and texture to it, just like the way my mother makes beef rendang.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen, Canning Vale

My choice was the Bak Kuh Teh $29.80 (serves 2, only available on weekends). I shared this with my dad!

Bak Kuh Teh is a slow-cooked broth with pork ribs, pork belly, mushrooms, tofu and a whole lot of special Asian herbs and spices. It’s thick and soupy and you eat it with rice noodles.

Everything was fresh, the meats were succulent, the noodles were cooked perfectly – it was really good! I was very happy!

Overall, I’d say that the dinner serves were nice and large, the food was delicious, tasty, fresh and homey; the staff were friendly, they didn’t rush us out after we finished eating, the tableware were all new and clean, the atmosphere and layout in the restaurant was great for families and groups.

It did seem expensive, but I think I am happy to pay a bit more for the good service, relaxed atmosphere and positive dining experience with my family.

Mama Nyonya Kitchen
Canning Vale Markets
Shop 12, 280 Bannister Road
Canning Vale, Perth

You can check them at Mama Nyonya Kitchen (Facebook Page)

Or read reviews on TripAdvisor or Zomato.

Hope you enjoyed my photos! I’m hungry now!