Color Run and the Veggie bar

Seems like all I’ve done lately is post about food! That’s because I haven’t been running.

By the way, I ended up having a bone scan and a stress fracture has been confirmed. I’m seeing the physio again tomorrow morning to discuss a return to running plan.

Anyhow, I hadn’t run. But as you can guess from my title, I did run a bit yesterday.

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waiting for the tram

Way back in June I signed myself, Gary, and my sisters up for the Melbourne color run.

We drove to Melbourne on Saturday and picked up our race packets from the stalls in Southbank. The weather was drizzly and we had to walk from the parking spot to the stalls in the rain but I didn’t mind – sisters weren’t too happy though! Once we grabbed our gear we did a little shopping (I visited Lush and brought a few needs) and then headed to our hotel to check in and change.

We then headed out to veggie bar in Fitzroy. Oh my gosh. It was exciting to go to a restaurant that only makes vegetarian or vegan food. Having so much choice was great. Lisa took a little encouragement to try something but she was a good sport and ordered the mee goreng under the promise that we would eat her tofu if she didn’t want it.

I had a raw pad Thai and it was amazing!

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A great big plate of rice noodles, zucchini “noodles”, carrot, snow peas, a bazillion sprouts, cashews, spring onion, mint, coriander, with a bit of lime-y sauce. The sauce wasn’t quite what I expected (pretty much nothing like the cooked version that I make with tamarind paste) but it was delicious, fresh, and I felt amazing after having it.

I also had kombucha with it – I’ve never had kombucha before but I liked it. Fizzy, with a bit of tang, and definitely not what if call sweet. It was great.

Then came dessert. Oh my. Lisa and I split two desserts so we could both try them. I forgot to take photos until after we split and started eating them.

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vegan strawberry and mango cheesecake

And…

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vegan chocolate royale

They were both so amazing. I can’t even describe. The chocolate cake was so rich and moist, and the cheesecake was smooth, with a coconut flake base.

Mmmmmm…

After dinner we all conked out early due to the long day of driving and wandering about Melbourne. Then it was up early Sunday to get ready and leave the motel at 7:30. Luckily they let me leave my car there so we were taking the free public transport offer that came with our entry to the color run.

We have trams in Melbourne, and I quite enjoy them. They’re easy to navigate and I find then pleasant to ride in.

So we turn up, collecting more and more people along the route till there’s no room left in the tram. Turns out there’s 22000 people at this years colour run, and there was a strong encouragement to take public transport. All in all I think it worked out well.

So we rock up, have a wander about then join the 30 minute queue for the toilets (not even joking).

Then we join the people in the starting chute and make our way up to the start.

We all began jogging slowly when we could as it was crowded. All in all we probably ran about half of the 5km distance. I had planned to walk it anyway with my non-running sister but we managed to encourage her to run small sections, walk for rest, then run again. I was also pretty aware of my ankle so took it easy.

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looking back to the orange station

They had a few new features this year. The first station was actually blue liquid, being thrown from cups and shot out of water pistols.

There was also a bubble section.

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you can’t see the bubbles well but they are there!

My sisters and I wore white capes for the run. I stopped for a “heroic pose” moment after the blue station and a few randoms photo bombed me. I think it turned out great!

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Kate, Lisa and I linked arms and skipped over the finish line. Gary couldn’t help himself and sprinted ahead of us at about the halfway point – but hey, the Color run is all about fun and sprinting around flemington racetrack is his kind of fun.

He also took his shoes off pretty quickly and ran most of it barefoot.

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All in all it was fun, and messy. When we went into the finish festival area and got our colour packets, we made it even messier.

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The thing I love about the color run is that it’s not about competing. You can run it. You can walk it. You can dance, crawl, or wheelchair it. Elderly people and 3 year olds do it. For everyone, it’s just a fun time. And it’s a good excuse to make your sisters entire face purple.

There’s been a local run announced for next year (no date confirmed yet) and I really hope I can drum up a good few people from work to do it because it’s probably the most fun big event I’ve been to.

If you ever get the opportunity to do one, get onto it!

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before

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after

Strawberry cheesecake

Apparently yesterday (nov 1) was world vegan day. I didn’t know. So please consider today’s post as a nod to yesterday.

I had a very mini family gathering tonight. I invited my brother and his wife over for dinner and then my sister Kate asked to stay for the night too. Gary was heading off to a school reunion so his dinner is still sitting in the microwave waiting for him as I write this post.

I made my lentil walnut loaf with mash potato (mashed with tofutti sour cream and chives), chard/mushroom sauté and vegan gravy.

Unfortunately neither Lotta or I remembered to take a photo of the main dish. But we did get a photo of dessert!

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Strawberry cheesecake! I used this recipe, with the slight change of using limes instead of lemons as I had no lemons left. I doubled the recipe as I only had a large tin to make it in.

What did I learn? The cashews probably need to be soaked a bit longer than just half an hour. It was still pretty grainy. Also the base needs to be thinner than what is in my photo – straight out of the freezer it was hard to get through. But it was pretty delicious!

On another note, I saw an echidna today!

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He was heading across the road so I slowed to let him pass then pulled over. These guys can be pretty quick to hide when they want to so by the time I grabbed my phone and got out of the car he had climbed into the grass and squished himself down. One of their defenses is to basically burrow down into the ground so that all that shows is their spines.

This one was pretty big – the biggest one I’ve seen. Hope he had a nice rest of the day!

We’ve also been keeping an eye on our Silvanberries. They are starting to get some red in them. Apparently they will be ripe about December – not too far off though by the looks of these guys.

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We’ve also got apples on the way!

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So spending the day cooking with Kate, catching up with Scott and Lotta, having a lovely meal and watching some Community – it’s been a good day!

Obligatory Mother’s Day post

The title of this post is more a nod to the fact that I’ve already seen quite a few Mother’s Day posts and I’m jumping on the bandwagon, rather than the reluctance to post that it might imply.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in Australia. Or as my little brother put it in a text to mum, “mature aged lady with offspring day”.

We started with an outing to the Mother’s Day classic, a 5km run/walk around the lake at Sumsion Gardens in Wodonga. Kate, Gary and I ran. Mum and Lisa walked. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

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myself, mum, Lisa and Kate. We all got these shirts… Although mum had to do some convincing for my sisters to wear them

The course was pretty straight forward – around the lake with one extra bit on the first lap to make the distance. According to my Garmin the course was 4.6kms not 5kms but since its a fun run to raise funds for breast cancer research nobody really minded.

Gary raced with some kid and they two of them finished first. The kid was desperate to “win” (we were told in the run briefing that it was not a competition and Gary laughed) and he did cross the line first. I was finishing my first lap and as I went past I saw the kid on the ground and Gary looking like he was asking if he was ok. Gary runs pretty fast (he did it in about 18mins) so I applaud anyone who can keep up with him (or beat him).

I did the course in 28mins. I did walk a few sections as my stomach wasn’t feeling well, so I probably could have beaten my PR for a 5km if that hadn’t happened. I’m still happy with my time though. Even walking I was completing my kms at a normal pace for me, so I was obviously running faster than normal.

My calves were pretty tight afterwards though so I think I need to work more on stretching and strengthening them. I’ve also started yoga this week so hopefully that will help to get more flexibility and loosen off some of the muscles a bit more.

Then it was off to Spotlight, with mum having confirmed what presents she wanted. I got her some quilting templates. Then lunch, and I went over to mums house for a lovely BBQ, joined by Scott and Lotta.

The girls made dessert.

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these teddies are supposed to be racing. But since some of the card had cracks and there were a few broken limbs amongst the teddies, they arranged them as though they had a crash.

Mum took some more photos of us girls with our shirts.

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So, in closing, we had a great Mother’s Day, being active in the morning as a family and then spending time around he BBQ in the afternoon. I do appreciate my mum. She’s done a pretty good job with what she’s had to work with (all of us kids can be little shots sometimes) and she still has a great sense of humor.

Makes me appreciate it so much more too seeing mothers who won’t, or can’t be mothers through my work. There’s been plenty of women in my life who at one time or another have stood up to support me and care for me. Plenty of women who show me the strength that a mother can have. Im lucky enough to have a stepmother who has made the space for me in her life and cares about me.

One day I am sure I’ll have kidlets of my own (but don’t panic – I’m not having them yet. Gary hasn’t agreed to the name Optimus Danger so I’m not producing children until he does*) and I hope I can take the things I’ve learned from these people and put it into practice.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, surrogate or biological, soon to be or future mothers, the ones that aren’t mothers anymore, and the ones who can’t be mothers. Keep in mind though that although I’m probably a bit biased, my mum is the best there is. My shirt reads true. I do love my mum.

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P.S my sister Kate is ticklish.

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*I’m joking about this being a condition…… Or am I?

Too much broccoli and too many turnips.

So I’ve spent the weekend spring cleaning and in between dealing with the end of our harvest for some veggies. Amongst that I’ve also visited the local farmers market with Scott and Lotta, and watched me little brother Dave’s team lose the Div 3 hockey grand final. It was an amazingly stressful and exciting game to watch, ending up with a controversial goal from the opposition which lead to a draw at full time. Enter Golden Goal mode – 10 minutes play, then swap ends without a break and another 10 minutes. First to score wins. As it was still a draw at the end of that time, they then play off with penalty shots (5 for each team) and basically it’s the best out of 5. If at the end of the 5 penalty shots each it is still a draw then they continue having shots until someone wins. So we all crowded around the end of the field…. waited with bated breath as each player taking the shots and the goalies lined up. The stress was almost too much. in the end, they got more flicks in then we did, and they took the flag. With all the extra time and commiserations after the game, it was too late to go home and cook a roast chook for dinner, so we went past Carvin’ it up – basically it’s a takeaway, but the takeaways are roast meals with all the trimmings, and the most amazing pork crackle I have ever tasted.

So our roast chook is going to be cooked today, for lunch and for lunches through the week.

I snapped the last of the broccoli off the plants yesterday. The stems I pickled, the tops I blanched and froze. As there were a lot of secondary shoots and broccolini, the stems were pretty small – just in case anyone is wondering about the photo.

Pickled broccoli recipe (I used a combination of ideas from a few recipes, so here’s what I ended up with) :

Broccoli Stems
garlic
1/2 water 1/2 rice vinegar (enough to cover stems and fill jar)
Honey (1 tablespoon per cup of liquid)
sprinkle of chili flakes.

I peeled and sliced the stems into chunks. I peeled and thinly sliced 2 cloves of garlic and mixed it through the broccoli chunks. There was enough to fill a 500ml (ish) cliptop jar so I then made up a pickling soloution with 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 cup hot water, and 1 tablespoon honey. I threw a splash of Mirin in there but it probably wasn’t necessary as the honey was in there. I also added a sprinkle of my superhot dried chilies.

Then I brought the pickling mixture to the boil and boiled the chunks and garlic very briefly (About a minute and a half). I then poured it into the washed and sterilised jar, and sealed it. I’m waiting for it to cool and I will probably store it in the fridge. I’ll give it a week and then open it and see how my experiment went.

Turnip greens and the tops of some Beetroots were lightly steamed, cooled, and packed in Ziplock bags, labeled, and frozen. I handed a bunch of turnips over to the neighbours and Scott and Lotta came to get some as well. It’s great growing so much so cheaply and being able to share the goodness of organic home grown vegetables.

Sunday’s projects were Pickling some turnips, roasting a chook, and making orange marmalade with the oranges that mysteriously appeared on our doorstep. I believe they came from Gary’s side of the family.

I used this recipe for the turnips (they are dyed the beautiful colour by pickling it with some beetroot, which was also from our garden)….

Pickled stems and the beautifully coloured pickled turnips.

…and this recipe for the marmalade. It hasn’t set properly, because I got impatient by the end of the day and didn’t get it to setting point before bottling it, but that’s easily fixed by tipping it into the pot and boiling it some more. It tastes pretty awesome though.

I want to put this on so many things..

So that was my weekend of cooking.

For future reference, my chicken was cooked in the BBQ – I pierced a lemon all over and placed it inside the chicken with some basil (thawed from the freezer). Outside I rubbed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and more basil. The lemon gives it a nice flavour and the juice keeps it moist – delicious! I dished it up with a bake of layers sliced potato, turnip, and sweet potato, with onion, garlic and bacon scattered throughout. I poured a mix of 1/2 light sour cream and 1/2 chicken stock over, covered it in foil and baked in the BBQ. I finished it by melting some cheese over it.

Also I cooked a cabbage from the garden – lightly steamed then tossed with butter, salt and pepper. I would have taken a photo of the chicken as it was delicious and moist with crispy skin….. but it got eaten pretty quickly!

dinner guests and competitions…

So on friday last week I had a phone call as I was leaving work. My sister in law invited herself and my brother over for dinner. I happily accepted, then felt that panic you feel when you hang up from arranging dinner guests and suddenly realise your house is a mess. So I rushed to the supermarket for eggs, flour, mushroom and evaporated milk, then rushed home and cleaned what felt like a million dirty dishes in about 20 minutes. Scott and Lotta arrived as I was wiping down the (now) spotless bench. I then proceeded to dump a bunch of flour on it, crack some eggs, and get to making some pasta.

It was only halfway through the process that both Lotta and I realised nobody was taking photos so I told her where to find my camera and she got some action shots. She posted one from her phone onto her blog, for those interested.

Action shot!

Scott and I soldiered on, making two trays of pasta. I didn’t have anywhere to hang it so we tried to spread it out with plenty of flour so it didn’t stick.

For the record, the extra flour made the pasta a tad slimy when it was cooked, so I just rinsed it for a bit under hot running water to get the extra off.

I made up a carbonara sauce using eggs, evaporated milk, salt and pepper, and added that to a chunky mix of (free range) chicken, spring onion, asparagus and mushrooms. I cooked the chicken, then the veggies first, then just mixed the sauce in to warm it through.

A little fresh parsley, another crack of pepper, and some fresh grated parmesan cheese and my light homemade fettucini carbonara was served.

Then we had some great conversation before hooking into strawberries and yoghurt for dessert and watching some episodes of Community.

On Saturday Gary and I woke up early to get to Melbourne for a BJJ Competition.

Gary just before the fight

I don’t fully understand the way his sport works, but it can be fascinating to watch. I also like the atmosphere and the friendly nature of the people who are involved – that might seem a bit odd considering it’s a sport and technique seeming aimed at completely controlling someone and potentially breaking limbs – but it’s great.

We picked up a couple of the other boys from training and took them down too, and it certianly made the 5:30am wakeup call and 3 hour drive to Melbourne much more fun.

Anyway, he came away with a bronze – in his first comp as a purple belt. So yeah, my boyfriend’s pretty awesome. Also, if anyone tries to break into our house they get to deal with him.

YAY!

belated photos of Mum’s birthday

A little while ago I mentioned my Mother Dearest’s birthday, and promised photos. Well here are some. A few are blurry, I don’t think that really matters. What matters is that I think everyone had a really nice time, and my sister Kate dyed her hands painting a cake to look like a quilt top for mum. Also Woodfire pizzas. They are awesome. And I made the photo board.

A few photos from Pop’s garden

But first, here’s Pop cooking us all eggs and Bacon for breakfast.

Pop’s make the best breakfasts

Then on to the exciting garden photos.

Pop has always had a great garden. I remember spending hours with him one day, sitting out the back of his house in Goulburn shelling broad beans.

Beetroot, glorious beetroot.

check out this perfecly formed wonderfully crunchy looking cabbage

The best thing about early morning garden photos – the fact that the dew is still on the plants and everything looks wonderful and fresh.

See what I mean?

Pop is really good at growing things. As evidenced by this next photo.

Scott seems a bit confused by this GIGANTIC carrot!

We weighed this beast of a carrot. Apparently Pop’s secret is very sandy soil. When we tried to grow carrots they ended up being all twisted and stunted.

this thing was huge

The next door neighbour’s cats watched us wandering about the backyard from their sunny spot.

Before we left on Saturday, we got a few photos in. Here’s one of my favorites.

Lotta, Scott, Julie, Pop, Myself, and Gary

And I’ll leave you with this little gem. Last season we brought a mystery bucket of mixed daffodil bulbs. While Gary wasn’t looking, I planted them in a bunch of random places throughout the front garden. They sat and waited, under the mulch. He had no idea where I’d planted them. Then they started popping up like little happiness bombs. I love daffodils. They are so simple and bright and cheerful. This one is the first to pop up this year, down near out letterbox: