Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Current Loves! :)

Hi there awesome people!

I was going through the mountain of pictures on my phone trying to come up with a post and because it was just a random assortment of (mainly) food and some other things I LOVE, I decided to create a post on the current things I've been loving lately.

Let's go!

1. roasted brussels sprouts and broccolini:
 Currently I've been on the roasted greens train; particularly the roasted brussels and broccolini and mate; so should you! It is so gosh darn delicious; roasted brussels sprouts taste very little the same as steamed brussels sprouts; they take on this new, rich, buttery sweet, nutty flavour and are utterly define. And broccolini? So sweet and delicious; extremely good lightly roasted in some extra virgin olive oil too!
 I first had it as a side for home-made pizza on top of a rye flatbread and then a few nights later as a side for some roasted pumpkin and a 'cheese' (lots of hommus!) and tomato toastie:
 (The broccolini in this shot was quickly blanched instead of roasted (i just wanted that truly naturally sweetness and crunch of the fresh broccolini!)
So very delicious!
2. This lunch:
 Friends; try this:
Cold, cooked cheesy pumpkin spaghetti.
Simply cook up some spaghetti (I used high fibre spaghetti), steam some pumpkin. Mash the pumpkin with some hummus, add some frozen peas and corn and spinach to the pot of boiling pasta 2 mins prior to draining- drain. Drain and rinse some mixed four beans- stir all together, place in tupperware; pack for lunch later on!
So good.
4. Persimmons:
The other day when I was out grocery shopping they had the nicest selection of huge, beautifully orange in colour persimmons and so I just had to pick up three (there was no price label on them, which is probably the reason behind me buying three!!) and they did not disappoint!
When you get a perfectly ripe, crisp, sweet persimmon, life is good my friends, life is good!
This picture featured another beautifully ripe, sweet, crisp brown pear alongside the magical persimmon :D.

Feeling like this after a run:
You know friends, I'm always one to keep it real on this blog and I have had quite the plenty of not-so-fabulous runs. Not every run is grand and exciting and energising. Nope, sometimes they suck. Big time. Sometimes your legs are tired, heavy, your breathing shallow, your head focussed way too much on the pain that the run is merely about completing a circuit and returning home (presumably for food :P) rather than the joy that is running.

But when you get that good run- that run where you feel invincible. The one where you run and run and don't even realise how far/long you've been running for because you just could run forever. That's the runs I live for and that keep me coming back again and again (because the bad ones make the good oh so good!).

2. Finally seeing some small gains in the arms department!!
Look, I know it seems a little superficial etc. etc. And trust me that's not what all this strength training is about (though I do appreciate the added bonus of tone-ness) rather i want to feel strong and be strong in my life. But seeing my arms take on muscle definition- it really does put a smile on the dial!

4. Breakfast after morning workouts:
You all know I love to workout in the morning bright and early (that whole thing about the brain not being awake enough to register the insanity of it all... yep, I get that :P) and I also generally like to workout without anything in my belly (too often I feel heavy and sick if I've eaten before a sweaty workout... which leaves me with the condition I like to call; MUST-EAT-BREAKFAST-NOW!!-itis.
 And i don't mind it one bit! As you can see by this pic, after a heavy weight sesh a mug of thick, gooey, rich, chocolatey protein oats with nut butter dolloped throughout is out-of-this-world on its own. Add in the fact that you haven't eaten from the night previous- a little taste of magic in your mouth (especially that very first bite!!)
 I hold it like a trophy, see ^^
 Always be mine!
I mean, does this just make perfect sense, or what? I love, love, love this quote because it is so incredibly true and I believe it with all my heart. Food is so incredible and yet so destructive too; so let's use food to its incredible capabilities and experience the unbelievably wonderful benefits!!

This one was just too cute, I had to save it and its just so powerful and important too. This isn't about changing who you are to fit in/ please someone, this is about believing you are so much stronger and as a result the strength within you will naturally shine (you might just be surprised just how strong and capable you are!)

And finally, this one doesn't have a category, so we're going to call this love miscellaneous:

1. This bowl I picked up from Target:
 I am in love. The shape, design, colour... gah- it's so awesome!
 I also got a light pink one with the word: Seconds? Written in silver (same shape) and it's just the perfect size for my big smoothie bowls/ banana nice-cream like this one shown here:
 This was simply 2 frozen bananas, 1 handful frozen zucchini chunks, spinach, kale, choc protein powder, raw cacao powder, crunchy peanut butter, cinnamon and greek yoghurt- NOM!
 I have definitely become a lot more into homewares and food styling props recently and so I'm sure you'll be seeing a few more different bowls/ plates/ cups around the blog in the future (and food just tastes better in a special bowl, am I right?

Your turn:
What have you been loving lately?
Fav food/ meal of the past week?
Fav workout that just makes you feel amazing??

I hope you enjoyed this post, it was quite fun indeed to write and I hope you also realise all the wonderful things you love in life. Life's pretty great, no? Relax, be kind, love others and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Chocolate Ice Cream Bowl... For Breakfast!

Hidy-ho there friendly friends!

Now have I got a treat for you! Both literally and figuratively I guess (well, if you decide to make whatever is to follow immediately that is..)

The other day I woke up.

Clap, clap Steph. Here is your medal.

Yes, I woke up- hurrah! Then I chucked on the usually workout attire, did some Blogilates vids (a little bit of everything really; some legs, obliques, abs, cardio etc.) followed by some quick boxing and skipping to get the heart rate up and then it hit.

It was the realisation that I needed brekky. And fast.

You see, I always work out fasted. That is, I haven't eaten since dinner the night before (definitely feel it in the morning when I had a small dinner previously!!) and as such, following a workout.. I'm usually pretty ready to EATTT!

And I know that on this particular morning I was in the mood for a real delicious brekky to kick start my day!

Enter this guy:
That my friends is a bowl of exactly what it says; Delicious-ness
A big bowl of rich, chocolate, creamy 'ice-cream' topped off with warm, freshly baked, crunchy, nutty granola. Oh yes. Oh yes.
And by the way my friends, it tasted better than it looks!

Alright, alright, I shall put you out of your misery with all these photos of the bowl that tasted like the sweet nectar of happiness (wow. Just wow.) by handing over to you the awesome-ness that is this oh-so-simple-recipe-it-should-not-even-be-considered-a-recipe  recipe!
Choc 'ice cream':
2 ripe frozen bananas
1 large handful of chopped, frozen zucchini
1 heaped teaspoon raw cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 big scoops greek yoghurt (optional; gives the ice-cream a more cheese-cake-y taste :P)
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 large handful wholegrain cheerios
2 tablespoons nut butter of choice
1/3 cup almond milk/ milk of choice

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper
2.Place all the ingredients for the ice cream into a blender and whaz until smooth and creamy delicious!
3. Transfer ice cream to bowl and place in freezer until required
4. Place the nut butter and almond milk in a small microwaveable container (or heat on stove until milk starts to bubble) and microwave until warmed through
5. Add to bowl of oats and cheerios and mix together until combined (should be kind of sticky)
6. Spread onto baking tray and bake in oven for around 15-20 mins until golden brown and crunchy (it will also smell amazing too!)
7. Leave to cool, then top ice cream off with granola and EAT!
Of course there was a heck of a lot more granola than the above pictures reveal because that would not keep a hungry Steph satisfied for very long and thus here is the true image of my breakfast:
Hello handsome!
There's just something about that smooth, creamy, sweet ice cream..
Paired with the crunchy, fudge-y nut butter granola...
That just makes my heart cry out with joy and my mouth instantly salivate (even though it is around dinner time right now and I should be thinking about dinner foods, not breakfast foods. Although... a smoothie bowl does sound pretty appropriate right now... :P Life of a hungry teen!
But seriously guys, do yourself a favour and whip up this marvellous bowl of delicious-ness because it will most definitely be one of the major highlights of your day (well, it was for me, but I'm doing year 12 so that's not too hard!)
And of course enjoy your extra granola on the side or plonked straight on top of your smoothie bowl; all depends on whether or not you want that chic Instagram shot :P.
Happy, happy days!

Your turn:
Favourite breakfast of all time?
Best smoothie bowl ingredients?
What was the best breakfast you had this week?

I hope you enjoyed this post and also have a fabulous rest of your day. As always; look after yourself, be kind to others, enjoy the simpler things in life and EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends!! :D

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Why I Run...

Hi there folks!

Whilst out on my long run this past weekend I started to wonder what each person driving past me pounding the pavement was thinking as their car sidled past.

Of course, I already knew the obvious; 'Wow, she is the most powerful amazing runner I've ever seen!' 'What great pace!' 'Brilliant form!'
(Just kidding)

But what were they thinking after they were so inspired by my majestic springing from foot to foot?

'Why the heck do people go out there and torture themselves for long periods of time?'
'How can someone run? It's so boring and pointless?'
'Running is the devils form of exercise. Any exercise is better than running!'
'This girl is crazy.'

Now, this is probably the kind of stuff majority of people are thinking, whether subconsciously or very much consciously and I know this because whenever i talk to anyone about how I'm a long distance runner, these are the kind of statements I'm hit with. Face to face. So I'm going to assume the likelihood of people thinking them in their own head is fairly high.

Now, this was quite the lengthy of runs, so I had a good amount of time to ponder on with these thoughts and I came up with the question to myself; 'Why do I run, Steph?'

It made me stop (not literally, I was keeping a good pace and stopping would make me realise how tired my legs were!) mentally and really backtrack through my mind, forcing my brain to think of the reasons I lace up those shoes time and time again and simply... run.

At first I was perplexed. Why do I run? For vanity reasons? To look good? So I can brag to people about how far I ran before school? Well I know those aren't the reasons, because they're some of the things I actually dislike about the sport. Sure running keeps you in shape, but I want to be toned and strong and to be honest, when I go through my phases of longer distances more often, I really start to lean out and have to ensure I'm eating a bucket load of food to keep up with my already fast teenage metabolism. Running doesn't give me those desired curves/ softness in all the right places that society deems 'attractive'. Running reveals definition and power instead. So vanity and looks are off the table.  And bragging to others? It's just a little embarrassing really. Telling someone I ran over 12km before the sun had even risen just makes me feel a bit... boastful? I run for myself, not for the distances I run or the praise I receive as a result.


I brought it right back to the very beginning of my running journey. Back to my 14 year-old year 9 self who was in her darkest days she's ever experienced in her life. Underweight, extremely fatigued, plagued with insomnia, riddled with anxiety and the darkness of depression. I have a picture of my year 9 school photo versus my year 12 school photo to reveal just what I mean:

So this is me now; year 12, happy, well nourished, healthy and truly living life:
And this is me in year 9...
The loss of colour in the face, the exhausted, fatigued look in my eyes, the slimness of my face... this is not a face of the happiness I always exhibited throughout my life.

I was scrolling through old pictures too and found this one around the same time:
It's amazing how much a smile can hide. But to me it's the eyes that reveal the truth of a person and there is no happiness in those eyes and my body was just too frail to function.

Now, I've written posts on what I think was going on during this time etc. but if we bring it back to this whole running thing, it sort of begins to make sense.

I remember sitting in the doctors office, the young doctor looking down at me sympathetically as I could feel tears starting to swell up behind my eyes as I revealed how I simply could not sleep, was so worried all the time, so cold, so lost. He was kind and sympathetic but just didn't get it. Insomnia I think is something you have to truly experience night in night out to truly understand the scary darkness of it all.

One thing he did tell me to do was up my exercise (a little strange for a girl who had recently lost a dangerous around 7-10kg without any knowledge of how it happened?) because through this I would be so exhausted I would have to sleep!

Truth be told, it sort of seemed too good to be true to me, but I gave it a shot (the desperation I was up to at this time was pretty high!). And I ran. I started off slow. I started off just around the block. I started off huffing and puffing and coming home utterly spent.

Eventually I worked up to 30 minutes straight. In winter I would push out 30 minutes on the treadmill instead. I ran and I ran and I ran. And I think that's when I fell in love with it. I was getting noticeably fitter, I was increasing my speed, stamina, agility, length of running time. I ate A LOT because I was HUNGRY... no, RUNGRY! And I slept.

The miracle above all miracles. I was sleeping again. I was gaining fitness. I was gaining back the weight I had lost. I was eating a much wider variety plant based diet, filled with good fats and grains and protein. Most noticeably I was happy.

Running gave me that happiness. Running pulled me from that cold, dark embrace of depression and anxiety. Running saved me. And so I guess that's why I run/ ran?

Nowadays I run for how it makes me feel. It makes me feel strong and powerful. I can do long runs of up to 16km. I can do short tempo runs increasing my speed, even at the very end. I can do sprints and hills and HIIT training with running. I am so much more capable than I ever thought possible and this only resonates into my everyday life more and more. Running is tough. It requires perseverance, determination, some of the toughest mind frames there are. Add that to any situation in life and you've got a winning combo.

I run because of how it makes me feel, not how it makes me look, or how far I can run. And deep down I know I run because it was one of the greatest factors that saved me from the scariest time in my life.

Your turn:
Are you a runner- long distance, short distance, sprinter?
Has exercise ever played a significant role in your life?
Favourite quote to get you through tough times?

I hope you appreciated this post for what it is; open and raw and I hope you took something from it too. Sometimes exercise is more than just looking physically healthy, sometimes it is paramount in one's mental and hormonal and emotional states too.

Have yourself a fabulous day; do something you love and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

Sunday, 21 August 2016

My Thoughts On Bread :)

Hi there awesome folks!
I hope you've been having a superb day so far, whatever time of the day it is; morning to the folks waking up, afternoon to those browsing blogs in their lunch break and sleep-tight to those who are winding down before getting that beautiful shut-eye!

Alrighty, now that that intro is done- onto the post!!

And what a post it is!

It may just possibly be one of my favourite sources of whole-grain/ carbohydrate/ fibre goodness. It may just be one of the most comforting foods that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It may take any soup in the whole world to a whole new level. Finish off a burger to the crown-glory they are known for. The humble toasty to the crispy, crunchy, golden perfection we have come to know and love. Or even simply the perfect base to a simple spread of any flavour your heart desires.

Yes, it is bread my friends. Today I want to talk your ears off about bread. Specifically all the bad wrap bread gets and all the reasons why I eat bread All. The. Time.
This guy right here was my dinner^^ Yep, that's right; d.i.n.n.e.r. Like, past 6 o'clock and eating bread- *gasp*!
Grilled veg (steamed and then grilled on a hot plate (just as it is, wasn't in an oil-mood) and then placed on a pumpkin seed and purple wheat roll spread with almond butter, topped with spinach and the veg (pumpkin, swede, parsnip, potato, sweet potato) and flattened in a sandwich press until golden and crisp on the outside! NOM!
So, as a 17 year old girl living out her senior year at school, surrounded by a bunch of other 17 year-old girls day-in-day-out, it's safe to say I've heard the lot about eating (or perhaps the lack thereof), diets, losing weight, rules, restrictions and a general dissatisfied feeling with one's body. Half the time I'm not even part of the conversation, I just over hear these beautiful girls talking about the hatred of there body that often!

I've done posts on topics like this a number of times; like eating enough for your body, not restricting yourself, how skinny does not equate to happy etc. etc. But the other day I overheard a conversation going a little something like this:

'That's it, I've had it with my body. From now on I'm being tough on myself and I'm going to eat healthy and never eat bread again!'

This shocked me entirely.

Never eat bread again? Like, ever?? What!?!

I tried to imagine a life where I could never eat bread again and I could feel the tears welling up hot behind my eyes... ok maybe that's a little over-dramatic, but I was definitely shocked and appalled by the statement heard above!

Hello beautiful home-made spelt and rye bread^^
Is there anything better smelling than the scent of freshly baked bread? I think not.

My innate response, my very first instinct, the one thing I just wanted to do in that second was spina round and scream at this girl that bread was not the enemy! Who was she to single out one of the single greatest food creations of all time? Why in the heck would she ever think giving up bread was the only option to losing weight (that was not needed to be lost, by the way).

However, upon reflection this does appear to come across a little confronting and, well, scary. It was probably the period before lunch and my hanger (hungry anger) was taking over :P.

My all-time favourite breakfast of a banana and nut butter (I used the choc Mayors nut butter for this one) toasted sandwich on my home-made spelt bread with a side of mango-zucchini fro-yo:
Simply 1 large handful frozen mango + 1 handful frozen zucchini + 2 big scoops greek yoghurt- whizzed until smooth and popped in the freezer to slightly harden for around 15mins.
Life would be a very sad place indeed without this breakfast in my life:

Happiness in a photograph:

Bread cannot be the guilty one in this equation of feeling 'unhealthy'. Unless of course you have coeliac's disease, in which case, the gluten in wheat/ spelt etc. bread may in fact be making you feel rather unhealthy.. however there are still gluten free breads out there!

No, bread is not the hinderance. In fact, bread could very much be the healthy helper one needs in order to live a happy, energetic, fulfilled life.

It should be noted that I am talking about the whole-grain/ whole-meal/ freshly-made/ limited processing as much as possible varieties. That packaged stuff that supermarkets can sell for $1 and that lasts over a week... that's the type of artificial drawbacks we should come to fear. If you can look at the back of the package and find numerous other strange, scientific/chemistry-induced names other than wheat flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water and oil, then put the 'bread' down.

But if you consume those natural, high-fibre, higher protein, wholesome, delicious breads as a frequent/ routine part of your diet you will only be noticing benefits, not burdens on your body.

All I had to do was simply type into Google: The benefits of bread and 40,100,000 results popped up with some reason or another as to why bread is in short: awesome.

Healthy bowels, reduced risk of heart disease, lower risk of weight gain, B-group vitamins, mental health.... look I could go on and on with listing the benefits and talking about them in further detail but to be fair, that has been done (see this site for some awesome info) and this isn't the main focus of this post.

This post is simply this:
There is no one bad food out there that is making you feel unhealthy, or look 'fat' (though you probably don't to other people), or throw you off the healthy train. Being healthy is a combination of factors, both physical, mental and emotional. When you get a good balance between these things, then your body will start to react in the way you desire.

A good mental state with adequate sleep, rest, recover, love, family, friends. A good emotional state with positive thinking, encouragement, relationships. A good physical state with exercise that feels good, moving for your body not against it, eating foods that fuel these workouts and your everyday activities that take a toll on the body too! Bread isn't going to be the cause of disaster. Health is so much bigger than that.

Bread is great fuel, our bodies preferred source, so eat up my friends and enjoy that gift of tastiness, comfort and fluffy, crusty goodness- your body will thank you for it!

Your turn:
What are your thoughts on bread?
Ever sworn off it?
Favourite way to eat bread? Sometimes, simply warming up a seedy sourdough roll to dip in creamy, spiced pumpkin soup is the ultimate meal for me!!

I hope you took something from this post and quite frankly, the message applies to any food/ meal you think will derail your entire healthy life goals! Healthy is bigger than one aspect of the physical state. And letting go of these unhealthy thoughts and associations with certain foods will ultimately result in a happier, healthier life.

Have a fabulous day, do something you love and as always; EAT SOMETHING DELICIOUS!! Bye for now friendly friends! :D

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