Thursday, 28 February 2013

IF

I know it's not real healthy for someone who's underweight to IF (or fast at all for that matter), but I'd forgotten my lunch and I was going to the library at lunch to work anyway (and I've got a photoshoot on Sunday) so I thought that maybe I should just see how I go, and this way I wouldn't be too stressed about it.

IF (intermittent fasting) is a paleo concept where you fast for a period of time to let your body sorta catch up with what you've eaten, clear the digestive system a bit, and something to do with the muscles growing. I'm not quite sure. I haven't done much reading on it because I've been trying to eat as much as possible, but I'd read enough to know that you can fast healthily and that it's nothing to worry about if it's once in a blue moon like it is.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Brussels Sprouts Craving

My food choices have been pretty weird lately. I haven’t been inspired by anything, and I’ve been getting interesting change-of-season produce for an attempt at a pick-me-up. All last week I had exciting foods, and now I’m starting to stress because I can’t come up with anything.

Tonight’s dinner was using up what we had – thawed chicken breast – and Brussels sprouts to add some green veggies into my diet that wasn’t cucumber or broccoli. I wanted a stir fry thing (which is what I basically always have when my last resort is chicken breast) so I boiled my Brussels sprouts in slightly salty water (because salt levels go down when you’re stressed, and with two exams up my sleeve I’m not the calmest person around!), coated my chopped chicken breast in Fijian curry powder and fried it up in some bacon fat.

I’d read somewhere that Brussels sprouts and butter was a good mix, so I decided to give it a go. Once my chicken was out of the pan, I chopped the sprouts up a bit (1/6ths) and added them to about 2 tbsp butter. Then I added another tbsp as I swirled them around the medium-high heat pan, let them caramelise/sauté in the buttery juices and put them on my plate once they looked alright. And put about another tbsp of butter on top of that.

Well what can I say. My taste buds are excited after a drought of slightly boring and tongue-burning food! These sprouts were amazing and they were the main part of my plate. They satiated me so well (the glorious buttery fat is to thank for that) that I didn’t want to go all caveman on my brother’s leftover chicken wings like I have been doing for the last three days. And that’s saying something.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Otai - Nature's Energy Drink

Mālō e lelei! (that's Tongan for 'hello' :) )

Today's recipe comes from the wonderful world of Facebook. I was scrolling the other day and I came across a picture that had someone completely obliterating a watermelon, a muscly guy carving out coconut, and a glass with all this glorious stuff in it. I thought it looked pretty delish. It looked it up to see if it was as amazing as it seemed.

The wonderful world wide web told me that this lovely drink was called otai, and is a traditional Tongan and other-Polynesian-island drink. You 'grate' watermelon and/or other tropical fruits like mango or pineapple, add fresh coconut, coconut water, coconut milk or coconut cream, some more water, then pour it into a whole coconut shell - that has a hole in the top - and leave it in cold water or behind a waterfall to let it cool for a few hours (my favourite bit!)


Doesn't that sound like the absolute most annoying drink to make? You have to grate the watermelon, which isn't too hard, but it would take a while, crush up some other fruit, get the meat out of the coconut, pour it into another coconut with a whole in the top and let it cool for a few hours?? Are you kidding? Obviously that stuff has gotta have a load of calories in it for that kind of work! I think that if you made this drink like they do in Tonga, you'd definitely deserve that sugar from the fruit and fat from the coconut more than anything else.

Wikipedia also told me that it's traditionally, traditionally made with ambarella and fresh coconut, and that watermelon, mango and pineapple was introduced, so the Samoans only call ambarella otai 'otai' and every other fruit has its own drink name.

So, once again, my 'traditional' recipe isn't so authentic as it should be.

And then I go one step further.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Mistakes I've Made - Whipped Avocado Cream

Have you ever seen those paleo (or vegan) cream recipes that use 'whipped coconut cream' instead of dairy cream?

I wanted to try it out, so I got my last can of (what I thought was) coconut cream, put it in the fridge and got the beaters out ready to whip me up some fatty cream.

When I planned for all this, I had a wacky idea that I thought I should try, just because I already had the beaters out and dirty. I grabbed the half avocado I had and had a go at making that into whipped cream as well.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Bio Excursion

I've come to realise that being a senior means that you have to be in more places more often, learn heaps more in these more places, and you need to have a responsibility about getting there, leaving there, and anything that may happen in between (eg your bus overheats two minutes down the road from your school and you have to wait 45 minutes for a new bus).

Today we had our biology excursion and, although I learnt so much from the park ranger woman who... collected fat in a pretty strange way... I also got to contemplate a lot. I was very contemplative today. I came up with a million and one interesting ideas for food experimentation, some of them including:
- Using that machine that normal people lay with bread and fill with baked beans, press together and cook (not gonna do THAT ever again), I thought you could either use thin chicken breast slabs, or parcooked (steamed and patted dry), massive spinach or kale leaves in a few layers, and fill the inside with pumpkin/starchy veggie mash with either meat or leaves, depending on what you didn't put on the outside, and lay more chicken/leaves on top, press and cook away. Little parcels of fun!
- bacon for paleos, or slices of cheese for primals, laid on the underside of a cupcake tin and baked/roasted (with another cupcake tin pressed on top if needed) until cooked, for little savoury yum cups. Sorta like those cookie cups you may have seen, but BETTER (obviously - I mean, it's bacon, guys).
- do the same thing with tomatoes, but take their insides out and make sure they're nice and squished.
No one steal my ideas please! These are now copyright because I've put a © here. Don't even think about being too lazy to think for ideas. They are mine.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Lonely Love Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Hope you all had a lovely day (see what I did there?). I should've really prepared for today but it didn't work out so I had no valentine at all :( but one of my gorgeous friends was handing out valentine carrots (she'd bought a bag of carrots and wrote 'Happy Valentine's Day' on them) and I got one. I felt loved then.

I've been playing with food ideas for the day of romance, so for breakfast I wanted to curl my bacon strips into a heart but, in my house, when we freeze bacon, it's cut into little square bits for ease of use. So a curly heart was not going to happen. I got out my heart shaped cookie cutter to try that before and after the bacon pieces had cooked, and I eventually gave up when I ended up with globby shapes of nothingness (delicious globs at that).


Monday, 11 February 2013

Destressing is too stressful!

Hey guys! Just want you to all know that I'm not dead as of yet... I know I haven't been updating AT ALL in the last however-long, but I thought I should get up to speed with my life at the moment.

Just quickly as a bit of an intro, I'm finally down to my last spoonfuls of protein powder. Yay! Once that rice protein and rice milk (nearly finished that, not long to go) is gone, I can clean up my act and start going fully, FULLY grainless. That's not to say that the powder didn't teach me anything. I realised that protein powders don't make me gain weight (or lose weight) or get stronger or anything, and I learnt what powders act and may taste like. I've also learned to love smoothies, and how to add extra calories and nutrients into something without being able to taste it or drink a whole heap more. But most of all, smoothies have given me my post workout snack(y-thing). Before I had smoothies, I worked out, and that was it. So I bid farewell to my starchy smoothies and make way for new ones with paleo proteins, like raw yolks and raw grated liver (and bacon on occasion :) ). But one of the smoothies I really wanted to be weird and try out was a broccoli smoothie. It sounded ultra rich in protein and low in sugar, and I hadn't found any idea of it anywhere so I tried it this morning. The verdict? It sucked. It tasted incredibly bland, and no matter how much lemon juice I squeezed into it, it still didn't pick up any flavour, and my throat was sore and scratchy afterwards, even though I boiled the broccoli before. Another lesson: don't eat a whole cupful of broccoli at one time (if you get scratchy throats like me).

On a completely different note now. Last night, I tried to catch up on sleep and get my rhythms and sleepiness back in order. I've been super tired lately and no matter how hard I've tried, I haven't been able to get to bed aaaand fall asleep at a reasonable time. I think I've always had a problem where I just think and think and think for like an hour before my brain eventually realises I'm meant to be restoring myself. So last night I made a list of stuff to do to wind myself down. That included:
- have a shower after all homework, instead of after dinner (gives me more time away from work)
- do some yoga that'll make me sleepy, on my bed
- have a mug of hot tea
- meditate
- continue my normal bedtime routine
- heat up heat packs for my knees (they've been hurting since I've been wearing foot coffins for school - I wonder why)
- go to bed with my door shut.
I was all on time with the showering business, but because I wanted my tea directly after yoga, and I didn't want to wait for any boiling or steeping or whatever, I had to prep my tea before and after my shower (I hadn't opened the packet and it was loose leaf and it just took forever. So I was late, leaving me stressful and made me decide to leave out the meditation. I had to boil the kettle twice because I got out a tablespoon of tea instead of a teaspoon, for one mug... So I had to brew up extra tea and I worried about it all through my yoga, which made me more stressed out. The fact that the yoga wasn't helping me feel better physically also wasn't doing my mind any favours. A bit cranky at my quick yoga that did nothing for me, I sorted my tea and drank that sitting on the edge of my bed in the dark. It had mint, licorice root, fennel and calendula leaves, and it was ah-mazing. That was the best part of the whole night. I discovered a new love for this tea, and sweet mint teas in general (the flowers made it beautifully, sugary sweet). When that was sadly over, I got up, raced around to fix up the rest of my tea and heat up my heat packs, and when I got back I realised I had to do the stuff I do every night, with the blaring lights on. So I crossed off the day on the calendar, wrote down what I'm grateful for, put lip balm and cuticle cream on, plugged in my charger, and made my way to bed. The whole night's procedures had taken me an hour to do, and I was still not sleepy. In fact, I was probably holding more stress and additional anger/crankiness than I was before. I went to bed and, I must admit, I did go to sleep quicker and I had a dream (a sure sign - for me at least - that I've had a deep sleep), but I still woke up with a yawn. I guess, overall, every little thing did its part, but instead of being peaceful and letting it all work to 100% of its capacity, I only let it work 60%. My knees feel better, but only slightly. Yoga before bed stretched me out, but didn't calm me down. The shower got me away from blue screen lights, but didn't make me sleepier.

The idea I got from this is that you don't need a thousand things to get you to sleep. Less is more. During now and the end of the hsc, I'll inevitably lose sleep, and wasting my time trying to fall asleep better is not going to work. I'll just have to pick what method of sleepiness I want to pick up that night.

Tonight, it's meditation and another mug of that cooling, calming, homely tea.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Mistakes I've Made - Mustard

So I found this recipe for a banana blossom stir fry, and at that time I'd never even heard of a banana blossom. But when I went to Tropical Fruit World, they were selling some and when I saw it, my eyes lit up like Joey's in Friends when he finds out that Monica and Chandler are going out, and I took one home excitedly, knowing exactly what to do with it.

I've always been a person of substitution in recipes. I remember one time, I was making poached pears, and I replaced everything BUT the pears. And obviously it turned out awful, and that kinda taught me to only cook a recipe if I actually have relevant ingredients.

This stir fry kinda reminded me of that.

They wanted coconut oil, I used the oil that was already in the pan from the T-bone I'd cooked to go with it.

They wanted a dry chilli and dry chilli powder, I used a fresh chilli and cayenne pepper. Which was a bad choice in itself.

They wanted jaggery powder, I initially left it out, until I tasted the chilli, to which I added coconut sugar.

They wanted tamarind paste, I used dried lime rind (to dry your own rind, just rind your citrus and lay it out to dry by itself. It has its own oils to keep it moist in that sort of way, and you can use it like fresh rind. It helps when you don't want to go out of your way to get a lemon JUST (italics) for the rind.

They wanted fresh coconut, I used desiccated, even though I had semi fresh stuff (my coco snow would've worked well in it).

They wanted mustard seeds, I used wholegrain mustard. Which, I found out, is a big no-no.