Happy Spring!

So today is the first day of Spring here in Sydney and not only was the weather amazing today but I was reminded in my yoga class this morning that Spring is a time of new beginnings and a time to remember the past but move forward into the future.  Quite a fitting statement for my first Australian Fathers Day since my Dad died.   Spring is a time of rejuvenation and rebirth and Father’s Day- whether your father is here or not is a time of recognition and reflection on memories and love that you share.

It’s been quite a good day- surprisingly no tears.  I’ve been quite reflective but also recharging my batteries and getting ready for the year ahead.   A few weeks ago I started mulling over the idea of doing 30 day challenges between now and the wedding next year.  It’s a pretty stupid idea really considering I have the willpower of a… (I’m not really sure what analogy to use)..let’s just say I can relate to Oscar Wilde’s quote, “I can resist anything except temptation”.   Since we’ve moved to our new apartment, temptation has pretty much come in the form of cakes from Kurtosh, ice cream from Cold Rock and Banofee Pie Tarts from The Sweet Spot Patisserie– basically, The Spot  I love you but your delicious food is ruining my hopes of being a size 2 ever again!  No matter how much yoga I do in a week, it’s not really counteracting the cookies and cream cheesecake that you can order by weight….seriously, it’s a thing and it’s yum!

So, I’ve decided today is also the start of my beginning a series of 30 day challenges! For the next 11 months (give or take), I’m going to undertake a different challenge for 30 days.  I will allow myself to have a cheat day (or two) here and there but I’m going to try to be on the straight and narrow and stick to my 30 days of depriving myself of something.  (I wish I could say I came up with this totally on my own, but  I didn’t.  30 day challenges are a thing- read here– and a website!)

I’m starting today with 30 days of Gluten Free eating.  I’ve done it before so I know I can do it again, but still, it’s hard to think about 30 days of no pasta, no bread, no cookies, no cake, etc.  It sounds easy, but resistance is futile in the face of Kurtosh– but I’m going to be strong and make it 30 days.  

Some of the other challenges will be 30 days dairy free, 30 days no alcohol (the toughest one ever), 30 days vegan before 6 (apparently its Mark Bittman’s new thing- see article here), 30 days no dessert (not even ice cream), and more.  I’m open to any suggestions as well!

So here we go, the first day of spring, the first day of a new me!   Let’s do this!  And on the bright side only 29 days to go before I can tuck into a big bowl of pasta and garlic bread and cake!


Mission accomplished!

Yay! I am triumphant this week!

Not only have I finished Les Miserables but I’ve also done yoga and exercised 6 days in a row!

I have to say Les Mis is what I imagine childbirth to be like, overly long, a bit boring and very painful but quite rewarding at the end. And like childbirth, I couldn’t (or didn’t) just stop in the middle and move on to something else. I’m quite pleased that it is done, huge sigh of relief! I can now watch the movie with the smug satisfaction of someone who has read the book, but I doubt I will notice if anything is really that different!

Phew! Very happy that’s over! Now then, does anyone have suggestions for my next read? Preferably something under 1000 pages and written in the last hundred years!

The goal for this week: Finish the Book and Do Yoga

So as we all know (if you read the blog), life is not the most exciting at the moment- I’m on a detox and reading a book that I hate.  Life is good otherwise, even in my ice cream-less, wine-less state, but reading a bad book is bringing me down.  That’s why, I have promised myself that I have to finish it this week.  Given that I’ve been thinking of any excuse not to read it, including developing a slightly worrying addictive to SongPop and Words with Friends on my phone, I’m a bit concerned that this goal might be a bit ambitious.

But, I’m drawing a line in the sand.  I have to, I’m tired of the book, I want to see the movie and I want to read something else.  I don’t know what it’s going to take, but I’m going to get it done.  And to spur myself on and kick off my week of reading, I made Chicken Marengo for dinner tonight…..  

Now before I get into Chicken Marengo and how it relates to Les Mis, I have to tell you that I’m a bit sad.  I’ve had to put Sunday night dinners are on hold for the next few weeks due to our yoga challenge– which actually I’m quite enjoying.  I think yoga could make me a better person- not sure how but it feels like something that has the potential to.  Anyway, we do a 5pm class on Sunday, which means it’s virtually impossible to have people over for dinner and go to yoga class.   It’s a bit of a shame, because I enjoy the class, but can’t do both, clearly something to figure out long term, but in the short term, Sunday Dinner is on hold.  They’ll be back on March 31st with a pre-birthday, post detox, Easter extravaganza…. or something.   I still cook on Sundays, but it’s too hectic to have people over, and do yoga, and cook.  Anyway, slight digression….

So tonight, I made Chicken Marengo, because I’m going to finish Les Mis this week, I hope.  I’m 85% of the way through, and fingers crossed, it will be done by this time next week.  Chicken Marengo is supposedly what Napoleon ate after the Battle of Marengo.  According to Wikipedia, (and tradition),  “Napoleon demanded a quick meal after the battle and his chef Dunand was forced to work with the meager results of a forage: a chicken (and some eggs), tomatoesonionsgarlic, herbs, olive oil, and crayfish. The chef cut up the chicken (reportedly with a sabre) and fried it in olive oil, made a sauce from the tomatoes, garlic and onions (plus a bit of cognac from Napoleon’s flask), cooked the crayfish, fried the eggs and served them as a garnish, with some of the soldier’s bread ration on the side. Napoleon reportedly liked the dish and (having won the battle) considered it lucky. He refused to have the ingredients altered on future occasions even when his chef tried to omit the crayfish.”  

So- the connection is that Les Miserables is from 19th century France, and so is this dish.  Yes, it’s a tenuous connection at best but, hopefully it will be the inspiration I need to power through the last few hundred pages (sigh!).  One little known fact about Chicken Marengo, I made it at Summer Camp one year, don’t ask me what year, but it was when I went to a Summer Language Camp (because that’s the sort of thing that you do when you’re grow up in DC- slightly pretentious, but very educational!)  I think I was pretty young, and to be honest, I remember making Chicken Marengo more than anything else about the camp (sorry Mom!)  Well, enough procrastinating, I have Les Mis to finish… but just in case you’re wondering- Chicken Marengo is very tasty.  It’s basically Chicken with onion, mushrooms, tomato, and brandy, it’s gluten free-  unlike the homemade bagel I wolfed down this morning!  (shhhhhhh, it was a special occasion!)Image



..how can you go wrong??  It was super tasty!



Detox Week 1: Will someone please get me some chocolate ice cream?????

So I’m done with my first week of detoxing, and to be honest I haven’t done that badly.  Only three glasses of wine (I’m allowed four) and pretty much no wheat or cow’s milk consumed by yours truly which is pretty good.

I’ve been exercising and feeling really good, I’ve taken up yoga– well the Runner and I both have really as part of a 4 week Yoga Challenge with his Triathlon club.  We’ve been to two sessions this weekend and we’re both loving it– especially nap time at the end.

The food side has been pretty easy, it’s one of those things where the thought of going wheat and dairy free is really worse than the reality of it.  It takes a bit of willpower and a bit of planning, but really it’s not so bad. I’ve eaten out– and that hasn’t been too bad, Japanese, Mexican and Vietnamese.  Ten, the Japanese place we go to in Randwick, actually has gluten free options including soy and teriyaki sauce which was a bonus! I will admit to having Mad Mex’s Naked Burrito twice this week!  It’s pretty good, and totally on my detox plan especially if you skip the cheese and the rice!    Mexican’s my favourite cuisine anyway, so even if it wasn’t on my plan, I’d find a way to put it there.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right??

Most definitely!  The one thing I have been struggling with is my other favourite cuisine- Ice Cream…. and shut up, Ice Cream does count as a cuisine.  It’s almost impossible to find dairy free, gluten free, no extra sugar ice cream.  Wait, I said ALMOST.  Last weekend, in Jervis Bay, I found the Holy Grail. Ice Cream that’s on my detox! It’s a brand called So Delicious from the States (http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/) and they make Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Sugar Free Ice Cream.  What the what????  I know!  It was actually pretty good, because of course I had to get a tub when I saw it in Jervis Bay.  Even at $11 a pint, I couldn’t resist.  Cookies and Cream Almond Milk Ice Cream.  Ok, so they won’t put Haagen Dazs or Ben and Jerry’s out of business any time soon, but it was pretty tasty and given my present detoxified state, it was just what the doctor ordered.   Any port in a storm right???   Except for one thing, I want more.  I’ve been craving Ice Cream all week, literally salivating at the thought of it.  Ideally, it would be a big bowl of Ben and Jerry’s mint cookie (my absolute favourite) or even a big bowl of chocolate ice cream, and I can’t have it…. and I don’t know where to find more So Delicious.  It’s nowhere in Coogee.  And the store finder on their website, only works in the States. If I were in DC, I’d go to Whole Foods in Silver Spring, or Yes Organic on Georgia Ave, but it’s a bit tougher to nail it down in Sydney.  Even Uncle Google is letting me down in terms of finding a place to buy it in Sydney.


“Why don’t I just go back and get it where I did last weekend?”  I hear you ask….well, there’s a pretty good reason.  It’s nearly a three hour drive away.  Fail. Big Fat Fail.  

I’ve been looking for somewhere to order it from online but it’s ice cream….not exactly practical to home deliver ice cream when it’s the middle of summer in Sydney.  So I’m stuck with a conundrum, do I cheat on my detox and give into temptation or do I stay strong and stay the course????

Who was it that said, “I can resist anything, except temptation”?  Oh yes, Oscar Wilde, you were a VERY wise man!