Sunday, 25 December 2016

What I Ate Christmas!!

Hidy ho friendly friends and happy Boxing Day!!

Yes, I am one of the millions of crazy people hitting up those boxing day sales today, but alas, I do not think I will be staying for very long- those crowds really do put me on edge!

Firstly, before I put myself through that... excitement, I thought I'd do a WIAW- this time; the Christmas edition!!

Unlike a lot of people, I pretty much eat the same kind of stuff because that's what I truly crave, but I did make sure all the meals I did eat yesterday were in fact what my body was truly craving!!

So here we go!!

My morning started bright and early with the sun blasting through the slit in my curtains and my body naturally waking up with the sun and so I rolled around in bed for a bit knowing my day would start verrrry early if I got up and ready then and eventually jumped out of bed- CHRISTMASSSS!

After toileting and drinking some water and all the other usual stuff that happens first thing in the morning I hopped downstairs and got my iPad to do a quick Blogilates workout (Extreme abs 3) for my active rest day and then jumped back down the stairs for brekkkyyy!!
After checking my emails and Facebook and the like (lno ones up yet so I have to entertain myself somehow!!) I was in the kitchen with the powerful Vitamix to whip up a delicious (and huge!!) chocolate green smoothie!
When I say huge, I mean literally another whole smoothie left in the blender after I filled this jar!!

 To make this bad boy I placed 1 large handful frozen zucchini, 2 frozen bananas, 4 chunks frozen spinach, 3 spoons greek yoghurt, 2 teaspoons raw cacao powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2-3/4 cup water into the Vitamix and blended on high until smooth and creamy dreamy!
 Oh, and thick enough to be eaten with a spoon of course-just the way I like it!
 Straining to get the smoothie up through the straw really makes it last a long time and it just tastes so delicious! Sweet, rich, chocolatey, creamy- the perfect breakfast (not to mention crammed with untraceable veggies!!)

The grandparents arrived around 10am after my mum, dad and I headed out for our annual beach swim and then walk (super perfect day as well!!) and my sister 11am and then it was present time!
So much love and laughter and giving, it was really such an awesome time!!
Whilst mum set out all the fixings for our typical hot Aussie Christmas lunch (cold roasted meats, a big veggie salad- roast veg, raw veg, walnuts, feta etc., boiled eggs, buns, salad, cheese...) I got my oven roasted veg (pumpkin, parsnip, beetroot, swede, sweet potato, regular potato, roasted in extra virgin olive oil and thyme for about an hour) out of the oven and popped it in a bowl with some drained and rinsed lentils:

 Utterly delicious (anyone else obsessed with roasted thyme- sweet and crunchy and herby goodness??)

We were all in a food coma for a while follwoing lunch so we played some games around the table and then I started cutting up the desserts (my job for Chrissy- baking the sweets!) which included a big baked chocolate cheesecake with oreo crust and ganache topping and a pineapple upside-down cake both served with ice cream/ cream and also some choc coated caramels I made a few days a go, leftover from a Christmas party :)

By 3:20pm after games, sweet, a bike ride with mum and a little relaxing, I was starving once again and enjoyed a big handful of mixed nuts (cashews, almonds, brazil nuts) and a mug of soy milk- hit. the spot.

You know when you just need extra protein?? My body was just kind of screaming for it! Yes, sir!

After my snack the family played a few more games together, I showered, got into comfy PJ'S and then threw together one of my favourite, easy, no-thinking meals:
 Hi-fibre spaghetti with peas, wilted spinach and mixed four beans, stirred together with vegan cheese (hommus, nutritional yeast and some water mixed together until smooth and combined)
So easy and so delicious!

After dinner I snacked on 4 dates (they were huuuggeee) from my grandfathers cheese platter that he brought along (biggest and most impressive cheese platter I have ever seen!) and then I was done for the day- teeth brushed and settling in for our favourite Christmas movie; Love Actually :) :D

Aaaand that's what I ate Christmas!!

What about you?
What was on the Christmas menu for you this year?
Did you have a Christmas breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Favourite Christmas time food?

I hope you all have a lovely and restful break, sopend time with friends and family, share love, laughter and happiness, make memories and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D :D 

Monday, 19 December 2016

The Steph Life

If you've ever wanted to live exactly like me- do exactly what I do, eat exactly what I eat, be the identical replication of me- STEPH- then look no further! This is the post for you!!

Ok, ok just kidding, but I did want to share with you a post that does kind of detail the way in which I do live my life and thus the way of life that is known as; The Steph Life!

Hint: It involves lots of veggies, good delicious foods, exercise, sun and randomly bursting into cartwheels, handstands, bend backs and random dance moves at any time of the day/night.

So I decided to share with you a typical day (yesterday) whereby the Steph-life was in full swing and I was living life just the way I wanted to!

It started out with an early morning.

Yep, most of my mornings start out around 5-5:30am because in all honesty- that's when I feel most energised! I don't generally go to bed too late, so around this time is when I hit the 7-8 hours of sleep mark and my body is wiiiiiidddeeee awake and ready to go go go!

Zat be why I exercise first thing in the morning. Even before breakfast. *Gasp*
Just a nice little pic of my legs post-beach run... seriously guys, soft sand running is like a HIIT workout- gets your heart rate up soooo high! And those legs were a-burning!!

I know a lot of people can't understand this because they can't even fathom breaking a sweat with nothing in the tank, but I've either a) Gotten used to it from doing it for a few years now, or b) am one of those types of people who function better on an empty stomach (food in ma belly makes me feel heavy and weighed down- not the best feeling when working out!!)
 Post-run head shot- sweaty, messy hair, tired legs and super pumped with all those good endorphins- plus that Summer sun! Love, love, love working out with the sun on me!!!!

Recently I've started working out less with higher intensity and seeing better results! Again, just listening to the body and doing what I love- happy days!
 This is the workbook I use to write down all my workouts (because I'm a creative soul and like to make up my own :P) and so this guy contains an array of arm, leg, ab etc. workouts to keep things changing, different, interesting, challenging  and always fun!!
 I also love coming up with the random-est names- if you can see in the picture, one of them is called Ab Craze, another; I Can't Feel My Legs and finally, one of my favourites; Arnold Arms :P :D

Now, when I say I prefer and actually feel better working out on a fasted stomach, I do generally feel the hanger quite soon after finishing up my workout and thus breakfast within the next 30 mins is a must!!
 And this breakfast did not disappoint- in fact, I think I said on my Instagram (@steph2chef) this was one of my favourites in a while!!
 Featuring, rich, warm, crunchy, straight-from-the-oven cacao granola on top of plain greek yoghurt with some creamy, sweet frozen banana and a splash of soy milk- honestly; best. combo. ever.
 Eaten first and then one of the first (and best) mangoes of the season afterwards (because I wanted to enjoy that mango all on it's own!)
 Nice and filling, refueling from the run and ready to tackle the day!!
 So good :D
 Throughout the morning of yesterday I did a bunch of errands with mum, visited my grandparents (and brought them fresh scones from my work and some cream we whipped up), finished up the Chrissy shopping, there was probably some dancing and singing thrown in there for LOLS and before I knew it, it was lunch!
 This is the water bottle I drink from (and crazily carry with me) throughout the day to ensure I'm drinking enough water. No, I do not finish it everyday. Heck, I don't even think I've ever finished the whole thing, but it's one of those ones with the times down the side and it's just a great reminder for me to drink more often. Also, carrying it around is a great arm workout. Trust me. :P
 Lunch yesterday was a cracker (just like brekky... it was a good day for food!!)
 A toasted cape seed roll (also from work- wholemeal with9 grains and seeds!) spread with lots of hommus, topped with spinach, grilled eggplant, portobello mushroom, capsicum, zucchini and some fresh tomato slices- toasted off in a sandiwch press for a few mins until golden brown on top- NOM!
 So. Much. Yum.
I was rather hungry for this guys following the big morning of errands and so this efiniteyl hit the spot. I'm always one for listening to the body and my body was telling me to fuel up!

After lunch was a few more errands, finishing wrapping Christmas presents, drinking water (Haha) and then doing one of my other all-time favourite things; reading.

Reading is definitely a calmer for me and I love to just go out into the sun and walk around with a big hat on reading a good book. I don't really like sitting at all, so only do so when I have to (ie. it is very hard to stand in a moving vehicle etc.) and really enjoy just wandering around reading my book for an hour or so.

By then it was about 3:00pm when I decided to come back in and work on my handstands (getting pretty good at them folks- almost getting to the stage where I can hold them indefinitely- before the blood rush gets too much!!) and then mum and I worked on the Christmas menu (I'm on desserts!! Yay!)

Following that- at around 3:30pm- I was in need of a snack (lunch and dinner are just too far apart!!) and so cut myself up a pink lady apple and poured me a glass of soy milk and then I watched some Youtube videos for a while before heading upstairs for a shower and then into my jammies.

If I have a day off and don't need to go anywhere, I love getting into my pajamas nice and early (like 4:30pm) and then just mooching around the house relaxing (like I said, most energised in the morning, slowly dwindling come evening!)

Typically start making dinner at 5:30-5:45pm whilst reading blog posts on my iPad (portability :) and last night, once again, was truly delicious:
 Simply, creamy, delicious- steamed veg (pumpkin, parsnip, swede, white sweet potato, beetroot) with drained and rinsed blackbeans, mixed together with 1/2 a mashed avocado mixed with 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast- honestly so delicious (probably sounds kind of weird!)
And I hardly ever go a night without a little something for dessert after dinner :D

Yesterday it was two squares of 90% Lindt dark choc which truly just melts in your mouth and has such a rich, dark, decadent flavour- LOVE!

Brush teeth, close curtains in room, turn down bed and then head out to watch some telly (on the floor- because I guess I'm just not really a fan of furniture in general- I think when I move out all my furniture is going to be those Bohemian/ Indian style floor cushions!) until I inevitably doze off and then wake up and slowly plop down into bed, ready for a nice, rejuvenating sleep :).

And that's The Steph Life!

Your turn:
What would be the characteristics of The (enter your name here) Life?
Favourite breakfast of recently?
Are you a fan of sitting?

I hope you enjoyed this post, I always love reading about other people's lives so I thought I'd share a bit more about mine.

I hope you all have a lovely day, be with loved ones, give lots of hugs and happiness, spread joy, dance like a lunatic and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

Thursday, 15 December 2016

An Ode to Oatmeal!

Hidy-ho there friendly friends and welcome to a post I have decided to dedicate entirely to a long-time love of mine.

You've heard about my love affairs before... so this is nothing new, but of recently the oatmeal has just been stuck in my mind, day-in-day-out. I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't think. Well, just kidding- I can definitely eat and yeah, I'm sleeping too and in all honesty, my big mugs of oatmeal a probably helping the ol' noggin to get a-thinkin anyway!!

But alas, I am obsessed and one might think; 'But don't you get bored of eating the same thing numerous times a week??'

My answer to that- are you caraaazzzyyy?? The amount of different add-ins, flavours and textures you can manipulate your bowl of warm/ hot/ creamy/ sweet/ savoury/ rich/ decadent/ tangy/ anything else you can think of- leaves little room for boredom!
And so, I have taken it upon myself to share with you some of the recent favourites I've been enjoying and hpefully inspire your next bowl/ mug/ cup/ saucepan (we've all done it :P) full of oats!!

Let's go!
Pictured above is one of my all-time down-right, no-questions-asked favourite oat combos. My cherry cheesecake oats!
I enjoyed these after a long run because cherries are known to help with recovery for runners... and mainly because they taste utterly amazing!!

Into the saucepan goes 3/4 cup rolled oats, 1 sliced banana, small handful frozen/ fresh cherries (fresh is mighty expensive here in Aus) 3/4 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup water- bubble away on medium, stirring occasionally until thickened to your liking- stir through a big spoon or two of greek yoghurt (or any yoghurt) and nom!
Of course, here is the evidence for you of my layering skills of nut butter- ensuring the perfect bite every single time! Myavers Food mixed nut and seed butter on the bottom and top and crunchy PB (shown above) in the middle- melty, warm, gooey- DELICIOUS!

Cherry Cheesecake Oats:
One of my other long-time favourites is my beloved vanilla protein banana oats:
The newest/ latest addition to these bad boys being zucchini! Zoats are actually so, so good and give my regular oatmeal mugs a different texture, whilst not even being tasted at all- instead absorbing all the yummy flavours I've added to the oats- it also adds more volume for a lot less- meaning I can eat more oats- WIN WIN!!
This bad boy was made by grating up 1/2 cup zucchini, into a saucepan with 1/2 heaped cup rolled oats, 3/4 sliced banana (rest for topping), 1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder, 3/4 cup almond milk and 1/4 cup water- stirring every now and then until thickened and liquid absorbed- again topped and spread throughout with nut butter for that ultimate enjoyment!
Adding fresh bananas to the top of oats again just adds another different element and texture, keeps things interesting and come on, who doesn't love a big spoonful of fresh, sweet, creamy banana with some sweet, warm oats and some decadent nut butter- a winning combination!!

Diggin' in:
Happy, happy days!

Honestly- that zucchini though- you probably think I'm zucchini mad, what with putting handfuls of frozen zucchini in my smoothies and 'froyo' too, but it honestly goes by untraceable and if it means I can eat more and get in extra nutrients, vitamins, minerals and a serve of veggies at breakfast whilst thinking I'm eating a decadent dessert- so be it!
The obligatory spoon shots (how I reckon oatmeal looks it's most appealing)
Finally, yet another delicious favourite of mine:

The apple pie cheesecake oats!!
Again, so simple, so delicious, filled with so much goodness and tastes like your eating a truly scrumptious dessert for breakfast- so much happiness in one mug!
To make simply place 3/4-1 cup rolled oats in a saucepan with 3/4 chopped small apple (I just eat the rest whilst I'm cooking the oats), 1 small sliced banana, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- ginger, nutmeg, or any other warming spices you would usually add to an apple pie)- bubble away on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apple has softened slightly and liquid is absorbed- stir through some greek yoghurt (to taste really- I probably put in 2 spoons), et voila!!
A big mug filled with warm, gooey, sweet, apple-y goodness!!
Generous amounts of nut butter a must.

And there you have it folks!

Just a few of the many ways I like to enjoy oats on the regular! Of course, that's only three of them- I haven't even mentioned my deep, resounding love of thick, chocolate-y protein oats that taste like a warm, gooey, rich, fudge brownie, or my super-purple blueberry oats, not to mention overnight oats, or a simple mug of plain oats with some chopped dates that I have for an afternoon snack sometimes!!

Oats are endless and you should definitely not write them off because you think they are boring or flavourless- EXPERIMENT! Try out new combos and try to recreate your favourite desserts with them- I've seen carrot cake oats, red velvet oats, tiramisu oats, pina colada oats, caramel oats, cookies and cream oats- there are unlimited possibilities!

So, take a leaf from my book and go to town on your oats this week- you just might create the ultimate flavour combination that the world has to know about!!

Your turn:
Do you like oatmeal?
Favourite way to eat it? Cold, hot, in a mug, bowl, saucepan etc.
Favourite flavour combo for your oats??

I hope you all have a super Friday, do something you love, smile lots, laugh and love even more and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

Saturday, 10 December 2016

LIVE HEALTHY... for you!!

Hi there friendly friends and happy Sunday!

Rest, recovery and relaxation!

Well, maybe not for me this Sunday.. because as I have finished school (and WACE and anything else I have to do!!!) everyday could be Sunday for all I know- so this Sunday was still a pretty active day for me as my weeks have no real starting or end point now- rest days are so randomly selected and yet I absolutely love it- look at me, living on the edge!! :P ;)

Any who, I started this particular Sunday with a challenging 94 min Fitness Blender 1000 calorie workout as I had an awesome rest day yesterday where I was still plenty active but my mind and body wasn't in workout mode- just fun in the Summer sun mode! (think beach, walking around, doing hand stand etc.) and so had the rejuvenated energy and motivation to smash this one out!!

And let me tell you- the sweat was real my friends!!!

Breakfast eaten (see my Instagram for the low-down on my utterly delicious creamy apple-pie oats), shower taken (essential), lots of water consumed (again, essential) and now here I am with you guys, about to talk about a topic that took me way too long to realise and way too much unhappy eating to experience!!

It's healthy lving- eating in particular.

First off, I'll start off with a sentence that just might blow your mind (because it seemed to blow mine, even though it's just so, so obvious). Healthy living, in particular eating doesn't have to be bad. It doesn't have to be boring, or a chore, or a one-siz-fits-all, this-is-how-you-get-healthy type deal. Healthy living and eating is extremely flexible and can be shaped and molded into any form you wish it to take.

For too long I was chowing down on plain quinoa and vegetables I just couldn't seem to enjoy the taste of with the thoughts of health and healthy living circling throuhg my brain telling me it had to be done to live a healthy and prosperous life (see my post on orthorexia about that one).

Same goes for exercise. Each day I would wake up and tell myself I had to sweat it out hard doing either a big sesh of cardio or lifting heavy weights in order to be the healthiest, strongest and fittest version of myself possible.

But that is entirely not the case.

It wasn't until I started listening to me, to my body and what it truly wanted that I started to see the positive changes. It wasn't until I granted myself unplanned rest days and movement I craved rather than felt I 'should' do (ie. choosing a nice slow run over a crazy legday, or an armday over an ab day because my abs were sore- just giving myself that permission to change things up). It wasn't until I ate what I wanted that I knew would still make my body feel energetic, light and full of energy, ditching the plain quinoa and the tasteless veg for my favourite meals, packed full of all the good stuff and more importantly all the tasty stuff!!
 Hello there big veggie sandwich, slathered with hommus, topped with spinach, avo, grated carrot, tomato and cucumber on a delicious warmed up purple wheat panini!!
 Eating the foods I truly craved and made both my mind and body happy, left me feeling so much more satisfied (essential for someone who experiences extreme hanger from time to time... ok, daily.)
 I enjoyed my meals again and looked forward to them and guess what? They're all still filled with all the nutrients and good stuff my body needs, so why did I feel the need to eat something I simply did not enjoy??

Eating for health and for you is the true way to a healthy life in my opinion.
 I love, love, love big smoothies filled with so much fruit and veg and this is one of my ways of getting in atleast two servings of veg before the day has even really begun.
This bad boy featured 1 large frozen banana, 1 large handful frozen zucchini, 4 cubes frozen spinach, small handful frozen mango, 3 big spoons greek yoghurt, 3/4 cup rolled oats soaked in 1 cup almond milk for 15 mins, splash of water to get things rolling!
 This is something I love and so now-a-days do it often because it is what my body truly wants.
 This was such a great smoothie- made with 1 frozen banana, handful frozen zucchini, some frozen mango, pineapple and mixed berries, 2 big handfuls mixed salad greens, soaked oats (like above), 3 spoons greek yoghurt and water- so, so tasty!
 The amount of times I've read having a savoury breakfast is so much more beneficial for health and will diminish sugary cravings throughout the day and quell appetite and yet, my body LOVES sweet, decadent, sometimes creamy, sometimes chocolatey sometimes ooey gooey and delicious breakfasts. Very, very rarely savoury.
 So why should I make myself chow down on eggs on toast when what I really want is a big mug full of sweet, delicious oats with warm, melty nut butter??

 This was my favourite oat combo of the minute- my vegan vanilla protein zoats (zucchini oats) with nutbutter throughout and leftover banana slices on top.
 Into the saucepan goes 3/4 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup grated zucchini, 1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder, 1 sliced banana, 3/4 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup water- bubbling away over medium heat until thickened and absorbed, crunchy PB on bottom, middle and top for rich, melty nut butter in every spoonful!
 My mind, body and soul is so much more satisfied when I eat something I truly crave and with hidden veggies, wholegrain goodness, vitamins and minerals from the fruits and veggies, protein and dessert-like decadence, this truly is a perfect breakfast. For me!
 You might actually be the kind of person who craves a savoury meal upon waking, or some other form of brekky. You might be the person who prefers to workout after they've eaten their first meal of the day, or even their second or third (hello, night gym-junkies!!). You might be the person who cannot stand the thought of eating a big salad for lunch, or chowing down on steamed vegetables for dinner, and that is OK!
 Don't eat a sweet bowl of vanilla oats for brekky if you don't want to. Don't feel the need to eat poached eggs and avocado if you feel like a big fruity smoothie. Don't workout first thing in the morning if it makes you feel faint/ makes you dread your workout. Or do workout in the morning if it is when you are most energised and motivated.
 Whatever it is you choose to do, do it for your health. But understand that health is a very subjective word and one that is actually completely different to every single person on this planet.
 The magazines don't know what you eat, or how much exercise you do, or your height/ weight/ gender/ lifestyle etc. So how can they make any judgement of the exact way in which you should live for optimal health.
 The girl next to you on the treadmill has a completely different life to you, with different interactions, work, hobbies, tastes and preferences, body type, hunger, metabolism, etc. So how is her lifestyle going to work perfectly for you?
 The answer to those questions is they can't and it won't.
Living for optimal health is doing the things you love to do in a way that your body loves.

For me that means fasted workouts early in the morning. It meas big, sweet, dessert-tasting breakfasts. It means 3 bigger meals throughout the day and a snack in the arvo to hold me through til dinner. It means always having a little something to round out the day, even if I'm full from dinner because it makes me happy (Lindt 90% dark choc- you are life!!). It means understanding that I feel sluggish and tired in the afternoon so that's when I start to slow down and rest up. It means coming to terms with the fact that I dislike a lot of eggplant or cauliflower and that is O.K.

You do you and trust me, you will feel so much happier and healthier for it.

It wasn't until I started doing the things I actually wanted to do that my body truly responded in the most efficient and healthy way- my muscles that I've been working on for so long are finally starting to show up (with shorter, more intense/ different workouts) and eating the foods I want has left me with so much energy and happiness- this is health people and everyone's definition of health is different!!

Your turn:
Do you ever get sucked into thinking there's only one way to optimal health?
Worst thing you've done to get 'healthy'
Most hated 'health' food?

I hope this post was eye-opening for some of you, or just reinforcing what you already know so you stick to making the best decisions for your health every single day. Being kind to our bodies is so, so important and life should be enjoyed, not dreaded- life is such a beautiful, beautiful thing and you are such a beautiful, beautiful being!

So, listen to your body, you do you and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D
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