Saturday, 27 June 2009

Homeward bound

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Thanks everyone for your really kind thoughts. Things are still not going well here but today I did get some exciting news so hopefully life starts brightening up soon.

Anyway, I've been staying at my parents' place for the last couple of days so have finally been able to have some decent meals. I think Mum secretly likes it when my brother and I come over 'cause it gives her an excuse to cook up a storm!

She made my favourite sweet and sour tofu (with peanut butter too this time so I guess that sort of makes it a sweet and sour satay tofu!!) the other night which is always delicious.

I had leftovers on a bagel for breakfast the next day...perfect fuel before a long run around the neighbourhood a couple of hours later. Near the end the sky opened up and I got completely drenched but it was so good to be outside and running...clears my head and gives me space from the chaos.

Mum even made dessert...stewed apple and rhubarb crumble. The rhubarb is straight from her vege garden.

Last night I was home really late so I picked up some kind of curried tofu pie from the health food store for dinner which I had with salad and potatoes Mum had made for their dinner. Quick and tasty.

Then this morning for a bit of fun Mum and I decided to make green smoothies since everyone seems to be making these! Naturally the thought of putting spinach in a smoothie seemed a little on the scary side so I added quite a few berries which ended up making it, well, not green...but you get the idea.

This had a frozen banana, baby spinach, almond butter, frozen mixed berries and soy milk. The mixture was a bit thick so we actually ended up eating them with spoons but it tasted SO good! I'll definitely make these more often.

Feeling a little at a loose end this afternoon I made molasses muesli bars. They are kind of (in a very round about way) based on
this recipe.

They were very sweet so next time there will be even more serious adaption, but a nice change from store-bought bars.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Remembering to breathe...

Everyone talked about food, all day and all night! No sooner had lunch been finished and cleared away, than supper would be discussed and a shopping list drawn up for the second meal of the day.

- from
Viva l'Italia by Julie Biuso

Sometimes you just need a change of scene, some time to yourself, a break. Life has been incredibly difficult lately. I’ve never been that good with change, coping when things don’t go to plan. Everything suddenly feels so much harder and food tends to get pushed lower down the list and when it does get eaten it tends to be very basic - cereal, toast, muesli bars...

So about the middle of last week I jetted off down to Queenstown to stay at our fancy work apartments with the most amazing view (see the photo below) and a feeling of lightness inside for the first time in a while...

I got picked up from the airport by a good friend and workmate who promptly took me on a tour of the local supermarket and
Mediteranian Markets where I well and truly stocked up on enough food to feed me (and a small army) for the week! It was fun as she took me round her favourite places to shop and pointed out some of her favourite things at the Mediteranian Market.

There was no way I was going to get through all this food but I hadn't even thought about what I needed and what I was going to cook so made sure I had plenty of choice. Some of it is coming back with me in my suitcase since I didn't have a chance to use it (hopefully I'm not was close on the way down as I had all my art gear packed too).

Despite the fact that it's winter, the idea of salad seemed highly appealing since minimal effort is required (hmmm, I'm sounding really lazy about now). Salads are not something I’ve had that often but if they are good they can be the best thing in the world.

This one was SO good. I should totally do this more often.

Queenstown has quite a cool little health food store,
Destination Organic, which I always check out when I come here.

I picked up this prune and linseed bar there which was pretty good - tasted very healthy but I won't hold that against it! It was perfect fuel for my run that day which took me right up into the snow!

Of course, a trip to Queenstown is not complete without a visit to
Patagonia Chocolates.

I got 71% dark chocolate with mixed peel and nuts, dark chocolate coconut and dark chocolate ginger...SO delicious.

When I got lazy (or tired) I resorted to simple food...

...a wholemeal bagel with almond butter and blackberry jam...

...and more salad.

One of my favourite quick meals to make used to be nachos but even the thought of cooking that seemed rather daunting. Too much chopping, too much cooking, too much work...but the stove here is seriously awesome...I wish it was mine!

I had leftover tofu which I chucked in for a change and tried to use up as many of the vegetables I had as possible so I didn't waste anything.

It made enough for 3 large servings which meant I didn't have to cook something each night! Not as spicy as I'd usually make it but you make do with what you have.

We had snow yesterday which was pretty cool but sent the temperatures plummeting. Here's the view out my window yesterday morning...quite a change from when I first arrived!

So here I am, about to leave for the airport and head back up to Auckland, to the place I apparently call home and the real world but I think I'm a bit more ready to deal with it now...we'll see.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Land of O

'If I'd been as bad as you, I'd have been a whole lot worse. Better at it than you've ever dreamed of.'
- Granny Weatherwax from
Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

No food today...instead, not that I suspect anyone is probably interested, I thought I would give you a small glimpse into my favourite pass time, orienteering...

This last weekend was our last long weekend until the end of October and as usual it was spent orienteering, the
Queen's Birthday Orienteering Competition (I've always found it weird that Queen's Birthday doesn't even fall on the same day each year let alone on the actually Queen's birthday but I get an extra day off so it's all good!) which was held down in the Waikato region (a couple of hours south of Auckland).

The theme of the weekend was mud, mud and more mud. Rinsing out all my clothes last night it took forever until the water even started to run vaguely clear and I had to attack my shoes with a scrubbing brush!

On Saturday night there was, well, a night race across the same farmland we had covered in the daylight. It was still pouring with rain so the ground had turned to a mud bath. One of the hills I ended up sliding halfway down on my arse!

The rain stopped in time for Sunday's race but instead of muddy paddocks we had to deal with deep marshes and unpredictable rivers (unpredictable in that you never knew just how deep they were at any given point until you, well, got wet).

I ended up waist-deep crossing a marsh on Sunday's race which I thought was pretty bad...only to end up chest-deep in another one on Monday and I hadn't even got to my first control! I don't think I've ever had to cross so many marshes and fight my way across so much mud...ever!

I'm guessing a lot of you don't really know what orienteering is all about. Yes, you have a compass (I have
this one). You also have what's called a Sport Ident or E Card (it'll look something like this) which you wear on your finger. This will electronically record when you get to each control. You'll also have a map which has your course marked on it and basically you have to find the best, fastest way round that course. Easier said than done!

If you want to see what an orienteering map looks like I've posted some here and here and all the maps and courses for big events in New Zealand are posted on Route Gadget where we can draw out the routes we took to get to each control and compare with others (see, I told you I'm an orienteering geek). Splits and results can be compared at Winsplits.

This is what a control looks like when you get to it. There will be a number on it that will correspond to the number you've been given (so you know you've come to the right control).

The little red box you can see on the top of the control is where you insert your Sport Ident so that your splits are recorded.

Did that make any sense? Did I bore everyone to death?! I could talk about it till the cows come home! But if for some reason you were actually interested, check out the IOF website.

Yes, I will be back next time with food...I promise!