17 April 2014

Curried chickpea burgers

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There have been quite a few new meals coming out of the BBB Kitchen recently, but I am hopelessly behind in sharing them with you. 

This vegetarian meal, for example, was quite a delight indeed. And so simple to put together.

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Onion, garlic, zucchini and curry powder, cooked until tender.

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Then combined with processed chickpeas, breadcrumbs and coriander – and shaped to form 4 beautiful burger patties.

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It was at this point, that I couldn’t resist adding something a little extra to the meal. Namely – a couple potatoes that I had sliced into wedges, and drizzled with olive oil, chilli and garlic. Roasted for 45 minutes or so – until nice and golden.

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As for the burgers ….well they were pan-fried for 4 minutes or so on each side.

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And then all that was left to do was to build our burgers!

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Chickpea patty, tomato, cheese, spinach and tzatziki. With a side of “fries”!

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A winner of a weekday meal indeed.  And certainly a nice vegetarian alternative.

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What about you? Tried any yummy burger combinations recently?

15 April 2014

Canberra Half Marathon 2014

When preparing for a race, it is usually recommended that you have a steady training plan – with lots of rest and hydration in the few days before hand. And, on race day, the seasoned runners will always remind you that you shouldn't go out too fast.

Well, for this latest race, I failed on all three counts. My evening before the race was spent at a friends housewarming party – where champagne was in good supply, as was yummy desserts. And although I was running regularly – I can’t say I had any “plan” in place – well certainly not one that had more than one long run before race day.

But somehow, just somehow, I came out of the other side of the Canberra half marathon with a new PB.

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I’ve done this event (or its predecessor (?)  twice before…back in 2010 and 2011. A lot has changed since then…..and not just for me.

For the event now has a new start / finish area, and an awesome one-lap course. It is also now part of the Australian Running Festival – and I must say the organisation was flawless. We started on time, the communication was clear and the road closures were seamless.

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Race morning – was like most others. After a restless night’s sleep (I think I had a few nerves!), I was up bright and early and itching to get running. It was a beautifully clear Canberra morning, that turned into a even more beautiful day. A slight chill in the air, but one that disappeared as soon as the first km was run.

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I seeded myself somewhere between the 1:40 and 1:50 pacers – slightly amused at my eagerness – but still hopeful that I could pull off a good time. My ‘open’ aim was under 2 hours, but I secretly wished to beat my previous PB of 1:56 that I set at this same event back in 2010!

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When the gun went off, I ran my little heart out. Too quickly, by all accounts, when I realised I had completed my first kilometre in 4:52, a pace that is waaaaaay quicker than the comfortable 5:30 I normally run. But it felt good, for now, and the atmosphere of all the like-minded runners on the course – saw me keep up a 4:55 pace for the first half of the race.

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I was grateful when I passed the 11km flag, knowing that we were now into the second half of the course. And, surprisingly, I found myself making ground and keeping pace on the uphill sections (maybe due to all the hills I normally run around home!?)

However, no amount of positive talk could overcome the reality that everything was starting to hurt. My legs, my feet….sure-fire casualties of keeping up a quicker pace than normal.

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(The Parkes Way section…..aka my street of PAIN!)

I popped my headphones in around this time, thankful for the distraction of music.

12ks, 13ks, 14ks, 15ks….and I could feel my pace slipping. Not a huge amount…but certainly slipping.

In previous races, I’ve always felt a surge of energy when I reach the 18-19k mark. But in this instance, I was spent. And starting to focus on how much my legs hurt, and how much I wanted to be done. I was  briefly energised when I saw the 20k mark, and even then, the last 1.1km was rough.

But I looked down at my watch and saw that a 1:4-something time was possible – and that certainly carried me over the finish line.

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My fifth half marathon – done – and with a new PB of…

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1:48:03!

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And the best part? Having a little buddy to cuddle post-race (although I think she was more interested in the medal than her sweaty Mama!?)

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Lessons learned?

a. training is key, but anything is possible!

b. Running race = sore. Both during the race and certainly afterwards.

c. Running fast + long = an insatiable hunger for the days thereafter – which I realised too late was probably more likely to have been dehydration. Oh well – can’t say I’ve minded the extra indulgence these last few days!

d. I really love the half marathon distance – for racing. And I really just enjoy running!

e. I’m not sure that I’ll ever beat this PB – but it’s nice to have gone sub 1:50 just this once.

What about you? Run any fun races lately?

11 April 2014

5 things Friday

1. Happy Friday lovely people! I for one, am so happy to see the weekend arrive. And am officially counting down the days until I take a week’s leave later in the month. Bring. It. On!

2. Exciting news this week? Landscaping on the little mulch patch we call our front yard has officially begun – bad weather and all! It has been a long time coming so I can’t wait to see the end result.

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3. Charlotte has been her regular cheeky self this week – with words and sentences coming thick and fast. Her latest request? A carrot and a cup of milk (in her ‘hoot hoot’ cup) each evening when it is reading time…..

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Ps is there anything more adorable than a toddler in flannelette PJS?!

4. A favourite meal this week? Chicken enchiladas!

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Spicy and packed with flavour & ultimate comfort food!

5.  Only two more sleeps until I take on my fifth (!!) half marathon – and I’m starting to feel a little nervous. I signed up completely last minute – hoping that my regular running (as opposed to a structured training program) will see me through the 21.1ks…… here goes nothing!

What about you? What are you up to this weekend?

10 April 2014

Sweet and sour fish & a Fitness First freebie

I think I mentioned it last week, but I am trying to have a ‘fish’ dinner one night each week. The only problem being that I am completely unconfident when it comes to cooking with seafood, so I find my self frequently turning to books and other sources for inspiration and ‘technical’ assistance.

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On this particular occasion, I found what appeared to be a relatively simple dish in a recipe book (I think it was a Women’s Weekly one). It called for a fish I’d not used before (Blue Eye Cod) – but my local fishmonger had plenty of lovely fillets to choose from.

While the fish fillets were simply pan-fried, the ‘accompaniments’ provided the big favours of the dish. Pineapple, capsicum and onion – grilled until soft – then added to a mixture of sugar, vinegar, soy, chilli and ginger – to create the sweet and sour flavour.

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Topped with the fish and a handful of sliced green onion – and this dish was actually quite lovely. The blue eye was tasty – but perhaps not my favourite fish – but it was still good to get out of my comfort zone and give something new a try.

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The sweet / sour salad was a nice touch too – and certainly packed with big flavours!

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Ps – This month at Fitness First – it is all about super charging your health and fitness.

And while I have a fun adventure planned (that I will share with you in a few weeks) I wanted to give you an initial heads up that in honour of Australian Fitness Week, Fitness First are offering a tonne of FREE activities and events across all Fitness First clubs Australia wide. 

This includes FREE entry to their gyms all week…..so be sure check out the website for more details!

09 April 2014

The little peach cake that wasn’t

I had high hopes for this little cake. Baked for a work morning tea – and using one of my favourite fruits of the season – peaches.

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A cake that would be baked upside down…

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With gloriously juicy peaches and brown sugar on the bottom…

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And a light luscious vanilla cake on the top.

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It came out of the oven – seemingly cooked to perfection. And when turned out onto a serving dish was quite a lovely cake to see.

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But sadly that was about it.

Perhaps I had been too cocky when changing up a few of the ingredients, or perhaps I was in a rush to get it on the table…..

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All I know is that when I went to slice it – it collapsed. Into a soggy peach mess.

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Thankfully I had also made a batch of rocky road – or my co-workers would have gone hungry with my little peach cake that wasn’t.

Next time peach cake….next time….

What about you? Had any kitchen flops recently?

08 April 2014

Chicken larb with thai pickle

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Always a favourite when we dine out at our local Thai restaurant, I was really keen to give a homemade chicken larb a go. And as far as dishes go, they don’t get much easier than this.

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Chicken mince, flavoured with stock, lime juice, garlic, soy and sugar – for that ever-lovely balance of salty, sweet and sour. Finished with an abundance of red chilli, seeds and all, and a good amount of shallots, mint and coriander.

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Served atop a bed of crunchy iceberg lettuce, with a ‘pickle’ served alongside.

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Simply – capsicum and cucumber, that I had mixed with vinegar, sugar, salt and water – and left to stand for 30 minutes.

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I really enjoyed the freshness of this dish – particularly with the little pops of heat from the chilli.

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Definitely a “keeper”!

What about you? Do you like larb?

07 April 2014

Nacho night

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

Ours was rather lovely – quiet, but lovely. Some work on Saturday, and time spent snuggling on the couch while the rain fell outside. A long run on Sunday (16ks!) – followed by a yum cha brunch and an afternoon massage. Can’t complain about that!

Another highlight? These nachos we indulged in on Friday night.

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We had originally planned on heading to the Stadium to watch our beloved Brumbies play – but the weather was terrible, and as C is just getting over being sick, we decided to watch the game from the comfort of our couch instead.

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I had some leftover ragu in the fridge, and a craving for “footy food” – and so these loaded nachos seemed to be a good solution on both fronts.

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Corn chips, ragu, cheese, cherry tomatoes and red onion. Baked until the cheese was golden brown – then topped with diced avocado and spring onions and finished with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

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Served communally – with a side salad – and our Friday night footy meal was complete! And our team won too – so it was a wonderful night all round Smile

What about you? How did you spend your Friday night?