Archive | March, 2011

Learning to Ride

30 Mar

I love it! So far I’ve done a fair amount of off road practice in a little lot near our place. From that I have put together a little list of 10 things I have found useful so far:

So, is there any tread left on the tires? Or at this point would it be like throwing a hot dog down a hallway?

1. Pick a bike to learn on that you aren’t afraid of and look forward to riding.
2. Try shorter but more frequent practice sessions when starting out.
3. Practice what you are “bad” at (seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many people avoid what they struggle with).
4. Stay relaxed and present. This makes a huge difference!!!
5. Be okay with making a few ridiculous mistakes.
6. Ask lots of questions!
7. Look where you want to go…it seems pretty much impossible to mess up with this tip.
8. Practice.
9. If you don’t understand something get someone to give you a quick demo or go online to see if you can find a video.
10. You really can’t accidentally change more than 1 gear so don’t worry that you’ve overshifted or undershifted.

Easy Lunch – Kale and Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Sausage Soup

28 Mar

Lunch is probably my least favourite meal…because I usually pack such a crappy lunch when I get a call out. So I’m trying to think of a few things that are quick and easy but also non crappy. Here’s one of my favourite soup recipes so far, it can of course be eaten for dinner too!

Kale and Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Sausage Soup

Kale and Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Sausage Soup

1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion – chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic – minced
4 turkey sausages (I like the Sun-Dried Tomato ones I can get at our farm market) – chopped up
1 bunch of kale – chopped
1 tomato – chopped
1 carton of chicken broth (~900 mL)
2 cans white kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
seasoning (I usually use a bit of oregano, garlic powder, salt)

Assembly instructions:

1. Brown turkey sausage
2. Add onion and garlic and cook till transparent
3. Add kale, tomato, beans, chicken broth and seasoning
4. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 min

If you like a saucier soup then add a bit more broth or water and blend one can of the beans in a food processor (or mash with a potato masher) and then add to soup mixture.

Mind over Mornings and Mondays

28 Mar

Interesting how if you decide to have a good morning or Monday or whatever you usually do! Funny how that works. It is such an amazing time of year…if for whatever reason you aren’t able to get outside and enjoy all the beauty of spring make sure you bring some of it inside. I find even having a simple arrangement of flowers from the garden in your workspace makes a huge difference.

Something beautiful amongst the chaos of the desk

It is funny too how so many people wait for others to get them flowers…if you love getting flowers make sure you get some for yourself! And your man – I know many men who appreciate flowers so make sure you brighten their day too!

Buying My First Bike…All the signs seemed to say DON’T DO IT!

26 Mar

I really want to go on a motorbike trip. I’ve been watching the Long Way Round and am totally in love. Naturally the first step is learning how to ride. I have decided that rather than take lessons (for the time being anyhow) I will buy a bike and practice with the help of my partner in crime.

I spent a few weeks watching the posts on craigslist in Victoria and Vancouver and checked out a few bikes. After seeing what was out there in my price range (which is pretty budget right now!) I decided to find a Honda CBR 125R. Right away I knew it was the perfect bike because I wasn’t afraid of it. I know many people would think it is too small even to learn on but I figure I can become very confident on this and then upgrade.

Smile!

We went over to Vancouver for a weekend and decided to check a few out. Found one I liked and then holy hell did difficulty ensue. There were a few DON’T DO IT signs:

1. I had a huge runaround with Scotiabank trying to get enough cash out on a Sunday – their computer system was ‘locked up’, their customer service staff used way too many I statements (I know you must be frustrated, I understand how you feel, I love bikes, I….), lots of time spent on hold and going into my least favourite parking lot in all of Vancouver to visit a Scotiabank ATM. It probably took about 4 hours with no luck.

2. The poor guy selling the bike to me thought I was the sketchiest person he had ever met – with offers of paying half today, half tomorrow, going to Superstore on a busy Sunday afternoon to purchase Kinder Surprises and get cash back to pay him.

3. Finally cash in hand we did the whole registration and insurance thing.Next step helmet so my coadventurer can ride it away. Where to on a Sunday afternoon at 4:30 – Cambodian Tire. This one is 4 levels and smells like some kind of toxic death…I don’t understand how people can work in there all day without throwing up. It’s just filled with VOCs.

4. Helmet now to go pick up the bike and put on the plates and get back to my parents. Did I mention it’s February and cold…and my coadventurer insists he doesn’t need gloves?!

5. Back tire is a bit flat. Try to find a gas station that actually has air…since when do gas stations not have air?! After the third station success.

6. Arrive at parents…poor coadventurer is a popsicle. Madly pack and find warmer clothes and gloves for coadventurer. Tell parents bike is for coadventurer so they don’t freak out.

7. Head out to catch the ferry back to Victoria before it’s pitch black.

8. Make the ferry with time to spare!

9. Get home in one piece : )

It probably is one of those you had to be there stories but it was quite the run around…or maybe I am just turning into a island person and can’t handle the running around that I used to do in Vancouver!!

Throughout this whole process I kept thinking is this a pain in the ass for a reason? Should I take this as a sign to NOT get a bike? I probably wouldn’t have survived all the craziness if it wasn’t for my surprisingly calm coadventurer (he has a very low tolerance for bullshit and running around much like myself). He asked at one point if I would be disappointed if I didn’t get it. I knew this wasn’t the only bike in the world but I get a bit fixated when I want to do something…so the answer to his question was yes, definitely yes.

It’s interesting the more I start paying attention to what appear to be signs from the universe the more I realize that I really need to keep checking in with myself to see what I want and not get thrown off by what appears to be signs telling me to go in the opposite direction. It’s difficult though because you don’t want to ignore such signs either…like everything in life I think it is a balance.

I know I made the right choice though – every time I see the bike parked in the driveway and everytime I get on it for a practice ride I get an absolutely huge grin on my face!

Friday Raw – Olive Tapenade, Flax Crackers, Everyday Raw Smoothies

26 Mar

So it’s March 26…and this post was supposed to be for March 11. Life can get a bit crazy as we all know…not going to go into the details now but definitely an interesting time in my life.

Down to business – the last day of the raw week involved using up a lot of leftovers! I couldn’t believe how much food the recipes made and how full (and awesome) I always felt. I don’t think I cooked half of the recipes that I set out too for that very reason!!!

I picked up a copy of Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney at the library to check out his style of raw cooking.

Decided to make a smoothie that combined some interesting flavours – The Muscle. It was pretty tasty but not something I would want to drink every morning it felt a bit heavy but there are lots of other smoothie recipes that look amazing. He has a great simple approach to raw cooking which beginners like me definitely appreciate.

For the final day I also put together an Olive Tapenade and Flax Cracker combination to compliment the leftovers. Both recipes were from The Best of Raw Food and both were great. I really enjoyed the olive tapenade it was so easy to make and had a really nice taste and texture.

These crackers were great - the fruit really evened the flavour

So in summary – raw is fabulous and I will most definitely be incorporating it into my regular diet!
Things I would like to have to better my raw kitchen – a Vitamix blender and food processor. My $50 dehydrator definitely stood the test but it would be interesting to see how a better model would perform. The other new tool I found super useful was a julienne peeler. All in all a very worthwhile experience : )

Raw Oatmeal! Who knew?!

10 Mar

I discovered an amazing breakfast this morning thanks to Raw Food Nation, raw oatmeal:

Fast, delicious and nutritious start to the day...and it's Raw!

Make sure you check out their site for the how to – so easy you’ll love it!

Hump Day’s Raw Events

10 Mar

So mid week raw yesterday and still feeling great. Woke up not particularly hungry so decided to scrap the planned meal and just make a green smoothie. It totally hit the spot. The lunch that was planned was also scrapped because there was so much left over from the night before! The nachos were still super tasty on the second day as were the wraps. I just left the ingredients unassembled until lunch so they didn’t go soggy!

Went for my hard spin class of the week and had the strongest workout I’ve had in a while – go go gadget energy from good food! Love it.

Ok so dinner I actually made something from the menu Raw Pizza from Rawmazing:

My modified version of raw pizza from Rawmazing

So so good! The recipe looked a bit intimidating but it was actually very simple to prepare. I didn’t preplan enough time to sprout the buckwheat so I made a tomato based crust from Ani Phyo’s cook book. I would love to try it again with the buckwheat though.

The marinated mushrooms and onions are fantastic! Like jizz in your pants good. I used portabella mushrooms which were very flavorful.

The marinara sauce I also modified a bit as I didn’t have sundried tomatoes on hand so I just used fresh tomatoes instead and threw in a orange pepper as well. With the moisture from the tomatoes I didn’t need to add any water.

The spinach walnut pesto blew my mind! Super easy to put together and very tasty. The cashew cheese was also great. I didn’t actually soak my cashews (again my timing was off) but added just a bit of water so they would blend better.

Oh yeah and I don’t have a food processor yet so I did it all in my blender (that’s why the pesto isn’t fully pesto like)….so I know it would be even better if I had the right equipment! Again we have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch and maybe then some!