Egg wraps

Egg wraps are a great option for breakfast lunch and dinner; you get to replace your standard wrap which is made with grains and chemicals with something that is just protein and healthy fats. 

I love eggs because they are so versatile and these wraps just reinforce how versatile they can be. 

Egg wraps ready for eating
Egg wraps ready for eating

The key to good egg wraps is using a flat non-stick pan, I have a crepe pan that I use to make my wraps, but any good quality non-stick frying pan will do. 

Egg wrap recipe

Egg wraps ingredient
Egg wraps ingredient

Ingredients

1 egg per wrap

The key to good egg wraps is using a flat non-stick pan, I have a crepe pan that I use to make my wraps, but any good quality non-stick frying pan will do.

Lightly oil the bottom of the pan and preheat the pan over a low to medium heat.

Lightly oil the bottom of the pan and preheat the pan over a low to medium heat.
Lightly oil the bottom of the pan and preheat the pan over a low to medium heat.

In a bowl, whisk your egg with a fork until the egg is smooth.

In a bowl, whisk your egg with a fork until the egg is smooth.
In a bowl, whisk your egg with a fork until the egg is smooth.

Pour the egg into the centre of your pan and use the back of your fork to distribute the egg evenly in the pan. You want the egg as thin as possible without creating holes.

Pour the egg into the centre of your pan
Pour the egg into the centre of your pan 
You want the egg as thin as possible without creating holes.
You want the egg as thin as possible without creating holes.
When the edges of the wrap start to lift, use a spatula to turn the wrap over.
When the edges of the wrap start to lift, use a spatula to turn the wrap over.

When the edges of the wrap start to lift, use a spatula to turn the wrap over.

When the edges of the wrap start to lift, use a spatula to turn the wrap over.
When the edges of the wrap start to lift, use a spatula to turn the wrap over.

Cook for about 45 seconds on the other side.

Cook for about 45 seconds on the other side.
Cook for about 45 seconds on the other side.

That is it; just repeat those steps for each wrap.

That is it; just repeat those steps for each wrap.
That is it; just repeat those steps for each wrap.
Place the wrap on a flat surface
Place the wrap on a flat surface
Add the filling
Add the filling
Wrap and eat
Wrap and eat

Egg wraps

  • Servings: 1
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

Egg wraps are an amazing low carb option that are quick and easy to make



Credit: Cath @ easycleaneats

Ingredients

  • 1 egg per wrap

Directions

  1. Instructions
  2. The key to good egg wraps is using a flat non-stick pan, I have a crepe pan that I use to make my wraps, but any good quality non-stick frying pan will do.
  3. Lightly oil the bottom of the pan and preheat the pan over a low to medium heat.
  4. In a bowl, whisk your egg with a fork until the egg is smooth.
  5. Pour the egg into the centre of your pan and use the back of your fork to distribute the egg evenly in the pan. You want the egg as thin as possible without creating holes.
  6. When the edges of the wrap start to lift, use a spatula to turn the wrap over.
  7. Cook for about 45 seconds on the other side.
  8. That is it; just repeat those steps for each wrap.That is it; just repeat those steps for each wrap.

Nutrition

Per Serving: 72 calories; 4.8 g fat; 0.4 g carbohydrates; 6.3 g protein

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Frying pan
  • Spatula  

Nutritional disclaimer

Nutrition information is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients used and available in my area (New Zealand). The nutritional information is here to help you understand the recipe; I use MyFitnessPal to generate my estimates. For more accurate nutritional information, please use a nutritional calculator with the ingredients in your area.


A pepper

Working with peppers

Working with peppers doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t need to spend your time scraping seeds from the inside of the peppers.  Here is the best method I have found for preparing peppers 

Equipment  

A pepper
A pepper
  • A chopping board
  • A sharp knife 
  • A pepper 

What to do 

Firstly, cut off the top of the pepper
Firstly, cut off the top of the pepper

Firstly, cut off the top of the pepper, I recommend you slice about 1-2 cm below the stalk of the pepper. 

Put the top of the pepper to one side.
Put the top of the pepper to one side. 

Put the top of the pepper to one side. 

Using your fingers pull out the clump of seeds out of the centre of the pepper.
Using your fingers pull out the clump of seeds out of the centre of the pepper.

Using your fingers pull out the clump of seeds out of the centre of the pepper. 

Take the top of the pepper and push out the stem using your thumbs, this way you don’t waste any of the pepper. 

Pepper cut in half
Pepper cut in half

Slice as you wish 

Slice as you wish
Slice as you wish 

Strips, cubes, finely diced, rings 


Curry chicken wraps

Family favourite

‘Who wants lettuce wraps for dinner?’ is a question I have asked on many an occasion, there have never been any occasions I can think of when the answer from the family is ‘me please’. 

Not long ago, I was working on this recipe. I mixed up a batch of the curried chicken ready for the wraps when a not so little head popped around my elbow and asked ‘what’s that? It smells nice’. One taste test later and I have an extra person ready to eat curried chicken wraps for dinner. Before the end of the day, I had three people on board for eating them again. The next weekend when I asked the question ‘what do we want for dinner?’ I got two requests for ‘that salad we had last week’. That has been the greatest endorsement of a recipe if you ask me.

Curried chicken wraps

Big portions

This recipe is big on flavour and portions. This recipe can feed eight people comfortably; if you have small eaters, you can probably get even more portions out of it. The curried chicken has a creamy coating with a satisfying amount of crunch from the carrots and celery. The mass amount of protein in this recipe may seem a bit much at first glance. I can assure you it isn’t really. The big portion of protein is there to help you feel fuller faster. 

Let the flavours mingle

Whenever I make a batch of the curried chicken for the wraps I like to make it in advance and allow it to sit in the fridge for at least three hours; this lets the flavours hang out and mingle. The mix doesn’t need to be made in advance, but it does make a difference to the taste. If you have fussy eaters that aren’t big fans of spice you can leave out the chilli flakes and use mild curry powder.  

Curried chicken wraps

Curried chicken wraps ingredients

Ingredients

  • 800g chicken breast, cooked 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 3/4 cup easy mayo
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cos lettuce
In a bowl add the honey, lime juice, curry powder, chilli powder, salt and pepper.
Add the mayo.
Whisk everything together.
Add the celery, onion, spring onions and carrots to a large bowl.
Add the cooked chicken to the bowl.
Mix well.
Add the curry sauce to the chicken and vegetables.
Mix well.

Curried chicken wraps

  • Servings: 8
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

Not long ago, I was working on this recipe. I mixed up a batch of the curried chicken ready for the wraps when a not so little head popped around my elbow and asked 'What's that? It smells nice'


Credit: Cath @ easycleaneats

Ingredients

  • 800g chicken breast, cooked
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Curry powder
  • 3/4 cup easy mayo
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tbsp. Lime juice
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Chilli flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cos lettuce

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the chicken, onion, carrots, spring onions and celery.
  2. In another bowl whisk together the mayo, honey, lime juice, curry powder, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the sauce to the bowl with the chicken and vegetables and mix well.
  4. Wash each of the cos lettuces and take off the leaves and drain them.
  5. Plate up the leaves and then add the chicken mixture into the centre each leaf.
  6. Serve.

Nutrition

Per Serving: 208 calories; 9 g fat; 12 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein.

Equipment 

  • Knife 
  • Chopping board 
  • Mixing bowl x2 
  • Fork 
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Scales

Nutritional disclaimer

Nutrition information is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients used and available in my area (New Zealand). The nutritional information is here to help you understand the recipe; I use MyFitnessPal to generate my estimates. For more accurate nutritional information, please use a nutritional calculator with the ingredients in your area.


How to Care for a Chopping Board

Wooden chopping board
Wooden chopping board

Basic kitchen skills caring for a chopping board

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking to learn new skills that make life easy in the kitchen. Sharing is caring so I’m sharing my little tips, tricks and hacks with you.

While taking good care of your knives is important, taking good care of your chopping boards and surfaces are just as important. 

The first step in caring for your chopping board is to wash it regularly, wash it with soap and water after every use, it does not matter what your board is made of, you should not need to soak your chopping board in water. 

Different chopping boards will require different care; it will all depend on what your board is made of. 

Here’s what you need to know for each type of cutting surface: 

Wooden cutting boards and butcher blocks 

Clean after every use with dish soap and water. Once a month you can give the board a deeper clean with lemon and salt, or baking soda and water. 

Cut a lemon in half and add some salt to the lemon and scrub the board, rinse with hot water and let it dry. 

Lemon

Or 

Clean the board with hot water then scrub the board with baking soda then rinse it again. 

To keep your board in top condition you can rub it down with a fine grit sandpaper to remove any nicks or deeper cuts on the board. 

Plastic chopping boards 

Plastic chopping board
Plastic chopping board

Generally, plastic boards don’t require special care, a good clean after every use with soap and hot water. 

When you have used the board to chop strongly flavoured foods (like onion or garlic) or foods that stain (like beetroot) you can scrub the board down and let it dry. 

Lots of plastic boards are dishwasher safe so you can put your board in the dishwasher to sanitise it, be sure to check your board has the safe washer mark first. 

Glass, marble and other hard surfaces 

Firstly I will say that glass and marble surfaces are very hard on your knives so I would not recommend them as chopping boards. 

If you do have a marble, glass, or other hard cutting surfaces, then soap and hot water will do the trick, and a bleach solution (1% bleach) to sanitise. 

No matter what chopping board or surface you have it should not take long to clean, regular cleaning will keep it in good condition for years. 


Food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities

This is an issue I have strong feelings about so I thought it was time to say something about it.

Food allergy

I sit in camp one; I have an allergy to nuts. This wonderful allergy means that I was have always been very good at reading the back on packets. Always looking to see if what I wanted to buy contained nuts or had traces of nuts. It sucks, really it does, I have to go so far as to read what my shampoo, soap and deodorant contains. Believe me that almond oil in shampoo isn’t good. I will be honest allergies can be problematic at times. I know there are far worse things to have allergies to so I won’t complain … well, I will but not too much.

Not the only one

We got a great surprise in 2015 when we discovered the little man in our family (my stepson) appears to have developed a sensitivity to nuts. As I have no input to his genetic make-up I can’t be blamed on this one. I have to admit I was intrigued that he developed sensitivity all of a sudden; he had never been interested in or liked nuts but never had any issue with them. As far as we know there are no other family members with nut allergies, so the fact he had eaten them then had a reaction was odd. I decided to find out what can trigger a reaction, so I did some reading.

The basics

I know and understand the basic science around sensitivities and allergies. The body attacks the item of food the same way it does a foreign bacteria or a virus. The bodies reaction is what is dangerous; the best case scenario is hives and generalised swelling. The worst-case scenario is an anaphylactic reaction that will land you in hospital or dead. In my experience, there is not a lot of understanding of how serious a food allergy is. A big issue I find is that people think your allergy is a lifestyle choice, like people who say they can’t eat gluten but are not diagnosed Celiac. Knowing what a food allergy means is important.

Understanding the difference

So what is the difference between food sensitivity, intolerances, and allergies? Here is a simple breakdown.

Food allergy

We can start with an allergy, this is an immune reaction to a food, this is similar to how the body fights infection it’s just that the body uses its defences to attack food. An allergic reaction could be something mild like itching or hives; on the other hand, it could be something as severe as anaphylaxis which causes swelling of the throat and tongue, trouble breathing and dizziness. The more you are exposed to an allergen the more severe a reaction can become. Most people start with the itching and hive, but you can have an anaphylactic reaction the first time to eat something.

Food intolerance

Food intolerance is when your body is missing a vital enzyme needed to process a specific food. There are symptoms associated with food intolerance. Usually, some form of gastric distress or inflammation, prolonged exposure to foods you cannot process can lead to intestinal damage, but it cannot trigger anaphylaxis.

Food sensitivities

So that leaves food sensitivities, these are a little more board, you can have an unpleasant reaction to food like reflux brought on my spicy foods, headaches or bloating. Sensitivities are not fun, but they are not life-threatening. Sensitivities can be the start of the journey to a food allergy, but most of the time they are not a big issue.

Here in New Zealand

Recently here in New Zealand, there have been some incidents of hospitalisation due to food allergies and even the tragic death of a teenager. It has been good to see that food safety is being taken seriously, but prevention is preferable to apologies.

In some cases, I think New Zealand is pretty good when it comes to food allergies. A school-based survey in 2013 that found over 8% of school kids reported they had an allergy to one or more food. I know that schools here in New Zealand are taking steps to minimise the risks to their students by banning some foods from lunchboxes because so many children have allergies and sensitivities. While this is a step in the right direction, it isn’t enough. Understanding is the key.

What are people allergic to?

While trooping around the interweb, I found a heap of people talking about their reactions to food and the reactions their children were having to things like;

  • Lactose
  • Wheat
  • Gluten
  • Rice
  • Egg
  • Sugar
  • Nuts
  • Yeast
  • Soy

These are just the most commonly mentioned foods; the full list is much longer.

Seems to be more allergies

I have to admit I was shocked at how many people are developing food allergies and intolerances. Now I know that in some cases people are self-diagnosed, so the exact numbers may never be known, but there seems to be an increase of instances. From everything I’ve read, no one knows why we are seeing this increase in food allergies and sensitivities. There are plenty of theories about potential causes but nothing that would suggest a way to reduce the number of people developing allergies or prevent us from developing them in the first place. I don’t have any answers, but I do hope that one day someone can help those of us who have allergies and sensitivities.

Prevention

So if we aren’t able to prevent people from developing sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies what can we do? I think a key difference we can make is educating people. Those of us who live with these things every day understand the consequences of eating the wrong things, so we avoid them at all costs. Not everyone understands how serious the consequences can be.

Proper education

One of the major concerns I have is the lack of understanding of those who do not suffer from food allergies. I am especially concerned with those who are responsible for serving food. I believe that there should be more information about how dangerous allergies are and how their actions can put those of us who have allergies in harm’s way. While little signs keep popping up on counters in cafes and restaurants about advising servers about allergies they don’t mean much. Last time I did disclose an allergy I was promptly told that you recommended I didn’t order any food. Hardly what you want to hear at brunch.

Standards might not be right

It is all well putting up signs that warn customers that there are allergens in food, but it doesn’t resolve the real issue – poor food service and handling practices. Don’t get me wrong I am not bashing individuals; I am bashing the system. A few years ago I completed the Basic Food Handling course that food service/manufacturing staff in New Zealand are supposed to attend. I was surprised there was very little information included about food allergies, what they are, what you should do and how to prevent cross-contact of foods.

Cross-contact

I’m talking about cross-contact, not to be confused with cross contamination. Cross-contamination when foods are mixed, like raw meat with cooked meat. For anyone who cooks knows the fundaments to prevent cross-contamination, if you mix raw with cooked someone will get sick. The Basic Food Handling course explains the reasons why cross contamination is bad and clear step on how to prevent it. Cross-contact, on the other hand, is not explained, and it is not highlighted how dangerous it can be.

What is it?

Cross-contact happens when one food comes into contact with another food and their proteins mix. When that happens, each food then contains a small amount of the other food. What people don’t always understand is that even this tiny amount of food that is transferred can cause reactions in people with food allergies. Unlike cross-contamination, cooking food does not remove allergens; the only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid any food that has come into contact with an allergen source.

Most cross contact is accidental, using the same thongs to pick up a piece of cake that was used to pick up a nut and seed slice or using the same spatula to flip a cheeseburger as you use for a hamburger. I want to think that this kind of cross contact is rare, sadly it isn’t. I can also say that from experience when you flag that something like that had occurred the response is never good.

What would I do?

With the rise of food allergies, we need to make some changes. I think that information about cross-contact should be included as part of the food safety training. It is just as important as knowing about cross-contamination and can have serious consequences. Teach people about safe food handling and preparation in a broader context. It isn’t hard to keep people safe and prevent cross contact with allergens. Some simple things can be done to avoid cross-contact and to make it safer for those with allergies to eat out.

  • Using utensils, cutting boards and pans that have been thoroughly washed with soap and water when working with allergens.
  • Have separate utensils such as thongs for each of the foods being served
  • Using separate utensils and dishes for making and serving safe foods. Some families choose a different colour like red for preparation of foods with allergens.
  • If you are making several foods, cook the allergy-safe foods first.
  • Keep the safe foods covered and away from other foods that may splatter.
  • If food has come into contact with an allergen, make it clear that the food may cause a reaction.
  • Clearly label foods and state any allergens on the menu
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before touching anything else if you have handled a food allergen. Soap and water or commercial wipes will remove a food allergen.
  • Scrub down counters and tables with soap and water after making meals.

Until the foodservice and manufacturing industries make some changes, those of us with food allergies will have to remain vigilant when it comes to buying foods and eating out. It doesn’t make life fun, but it could be worse.

Remember – The world is full of things that can kill you, but no one wants to be killed by their dinner.


Kombucha tea

Kombucha

I don’t profess to know the origins of Kombucha, there any many theories about who came up with it. To be honest, I don’t mind who invented it, I’m just interested in the benefits it offers.

So you may be asking yourself, what is Kombucha?

The basic answer is Kombucha is fermented tea, don’t worry; it is not as gross as it sounds. 

Kombucha

Here is the bro science explanation.

To make kombucha, you need sweetened black or green tea and a SCOBY. SCOBY short for symbiotic ‘colony’ of bacteria and yeast, is a jellyfish looking thing that you put in the tea. The bacteria and yeast munch on the sugar in the tea which causes the fermentation of the tea. It’s similar to making beer but with better health benefits. The sugar in the tea is there only to feed the SCOBY. Some commercial brands of Kombucha are high in sugar; this is usually to mask the sour taste of the finished Kombucha.

Many people claim Kombucha is a cure-all. I don’t really buy into these claims, what I do buy into is that Kombucha is full of probiotics and these are great for you.

Probiotics

We all know that antibiotics are important when you have an infection. They don’t just wipe out the bacteria that cause infections, they wipe out all of the good bacteria in your gut. We all have good bacteria in our gut, and it’s crucial for a healthy immune system. 

I have to say that Kombucha has done wonders for the immune systems in our house, even the kids slam down a glass. 

I will be honest, Kombucha is an acquired taste, but it’s a taste worth acquiring. It’s tart and fizzy, once you get past the smell which is far stronger than the taste you will be sold on it.

One major drawback of Kombucha is the cost when buying it; a litre can set you back as much as $15. If everyone in the family grabs a glass daily it quickly becomes very expensive.

Make your own

There is a much cheaper way to have kombucha, and that is by brewing your own, don’t worry it is not as complicated as you might think. The key to brewing your own is a good SCOBY and a starter. (you can get one here)

Equipment needed is minimal.

  • A saucepan or stock pot
  • A jar large enough to hold the kombucha
  • Cheesecloth or clean tea towel
  • Rubber bands

That’s it

In a large stock pot bring 2-4 litres of water to the boil.
In a large stock pot bring 2-4 litres of water to the boil.
2 litres use 4-6 tea bags or 4 litres use 8-12 tea bags
2 litres use 4-6 tea bags or 4 litres use 8-12 tea bags
When the sugar has dissolved add in your tea bags
When the sugar has dissolved add in your tea bags
When the tea bags have been added leave the tea to cool to room temperature
When the tea bags have been added leave the tea to cool to room temperature
When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container
When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container
When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container
When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container
Add the scoby to the jar with approximately 250ml of the kombucha starter.
Add the scoby to the jar with approximately 250ml of the kombucha starter.
Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.
Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.
Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.
Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.
New scabby on the kombucha brew
New scabby on the kombucha brew
Kombucha ready to bottle
Kombucha ready to bottle

So here is what to do.

How to make kombucha

The brew

In a large stock pot bring 2-4 litres of water to the boil.

When the water is at a rolling boil turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 1 cup of white sugar.

If you want sweet kombucha use 1 cup per 2 litres, for less sweet kombucha add 1/2 cup per 2 litres.

When the sugar has dissolved add in your tea bags

  • 2 litres use 4-6 tea bags
  • 4 litres use 8-12 tea bags

You can use plain black tea or a mixture of black and green tea bags.

When the tea bags have been added leave the tea to cool to room temperature (I usually leave the tea overnight to cool in the stock pot with the lid on).

The ferment

When the tea is at room temperature pour it into a jar or container, I recommend using a large glass jar with a tap on it (like the one below).

Add the scoby to the jar with approximately 250ml of the kombucha starter.

Be warned every scoby has a mind of its own, some float, some sink, some sit sideways. You will grow a new scoby every time you brew and that will have a mind of its own as well.

Cover the top of the jar with a clean cloth and secure the cloth with some string or an elastic band.

Put the jar is a warm place but away from direct sunlight.

Leave the tea for about a week how long it takes to brew will depend on how warm your house is.

A good indicator that your tea is close to ready is that you have a new scoby forming on the top of the tea. The new scoby will look like patches of jelly to start, then it will look like a film on the top of your tea, then it will look like a skinny version of your scoby. At this point you can start to taste the tea.

When you get the tang you want it is ready to bottle, put it in a sterilised bottle and store it in the fridge.

Make sure you save 250ml as a starter for your next batch and make sure you leave some liquid for the scoby to live in. The scoby will use the liquid to get bigger even when you are not brewing kombucha, check on it regularly to make sure it does not dry out.

Carbonation

If you want a fizzy kombucha you can carbonate it.

If you do want to carbonate you will need to use a plastic bottle to make it easier to check the carbonation level.

Fill the bottles as much as possible, when filled, seal the bottles and put them out of direct sunlight at room temperature. It will take a few days for carbonation to get started.

Don’t carbonate your kombucha unless you are home to check them twice a day they will explode and make your house smell funky.

When you use a plastic bottle it is easy to check for carbonation, check the bottle twice a day, when the bottle becomes hard it is carbonated.

As soon as the kombucha is carbonated put all of the bottles in the fridge.

The bigger your scoby gets the more natural carbonation you will get without having to do the additional step.


2018 goals

Happy New Year!!!!

Another year over and a new one underway. I hope you had a great break and enjoyed time with friends and family.  We had a year with lots of ups and downs, so it was nice to finish the year with a positive experience.  We took a lovely family holiday in Northland, the kids went camping for the first time, and we all enjoyed a lovely time in the sunshine.

I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions as they usually get broken by the end of January. Instead each year I prefer to set myself goals for the year, I like having something to work towards, and the start of a new year brings the time to set my goals.

2017 goals and achievements

Here is my usual check back on how I did against the goals I set last year, 

  • Stay injury free for the year – Achieved
  • Set a personal record for back squat – aiming for 80kg – Achieved – smashed this out the park as I managed a PR of 90kg!!!
  • Set a personal record for deadlift – aiming for 100kg – Failed – unfortunately, the best I could do was 90kg 
  • Set a personal record for plank – aim for 2 minutes- Failed – my PR was only 1 minute 30 seconds
  • Set a personal record for pull-ups – aim for unassisted pull-ups- Failed –  some inconsistencies in my training mean this was not a 2017 achievement
  • Attend one yoga class a week to improve flexibility – 50/50 – I managed to do this for eight months before the wheels fell off and other things in life took priority
  • Reduce my resting heart rate to 40 bpm- Failed – again this failure was down to inconsistencies in my training, the best I managed was 45 bpm
  • Reduce my body fat to 16%- Failed – epic fail would be a more accurate description of this goal. Lesson learned for the year; you can not work 10 hour days, work out each night and drop body fat when you only eat once and drink lots of coffee.
  • Work out at least once a day- Failed –  I managed to do this for eight months before the wheels fell off and other things in life took priority

So on reflection 2017 was not the best year, some failures were outside of my control, some of them were because of choices I made (usually food choices).  I believe that even when we fail, it isn’t a failure because you have an opportunity to learn from the experience and make success possible next time around. 

With that in mind, I have taken care setting my goals for the coming year.  I am breaking my goals out so that I have some big goals for the year and some interim goals 

2018 goal

Big goals

  • Stay injury free for the year 
  • Do something active or work out at least once a day
  • Reduce my body fat to 18%
  • Complete personal training qualification

Mid-year goals

  • Set a personal record for back squat – aiming for 95kg
  • Set a personal record for deadlift – aiming for 100kg
  • Set a personal record for pull-ups – aiming for unassisted pull-ups 

Workout disclaimer   

I share my workouts to show what I do, not to tell you what to do.  

I post my workouts with a percentage of my max rather than stating what weights or speeds I use. Everyone is different and has different levels of fitness and capability. Your body is yours alone if you want to start working out, I recommend spending some time with a personal trainer who can put you on the right path.  

When working out with weights, remember your one-rep max is yours alone, finding the weights that are right for you is important. If you decide to try out a workout, find out what weights you should be using first. 


2017 goals

Happy New Year!!!!

Another year over and a new one underway. I hope you had a great break and enjoyed time with friends and family.

I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions as they usually get broken by the end of January, I prefer to set myself goals for the year, I like having something to work towards, and the start of a new year brings the time to set my goals.

2016 the year that was

Here are the goals I set and how I did and which goals I managed to achieve.
Stay injury free for the year
I may not have managed to achieve this goal thanks to a small accident on my scooter, an impact injury to my knee put this goal off track.  Thankfully it didn’t take too long to recover so it wasn’t too much of a setback.
Improve my back squat, aim to squat 80kg
This goal was an epic fail, I worked hard to increase my back squat but only managed to get my back squat up to 65kg. It is disappointing not to reach this goal but there is always next year.

2017 goals

Attend one yoga class a week to improve flexibility
I can say this goal was smashed, I managed to attend two classes a week across the year and have managed to improve my flexibility and enjoyed the benefits of mindfulness that yoga brings.

Reduce my resting heart rate to 60bpm
This goal was another great success as I managed to reduce my resting heart rate to 48bpm.

Reduce my body fat to 20%
This has been the hardest goal to achieve but I can say I managed to achieve it, at the end of November I managed to get down to 19%. It took a lot of hard work and consistency across the year but I got there.

Work out at least once a day
This goal was another great success, I managed to do something every day.

So, with a New Year comes a new set of goals to achieve, here are the goals I intend to achieve in 2017

  • Stay injury free for the year 
  • Set a personal record for back squat – aiming for 80kg 
  • Set a personal record for deadlift – aiming for 100kg
  • Set a personal record for plank – aim for 2 minutes
  • Set a personal record for pull ups – aim for unassisted pull ups
  • Attend one yoga class a week to improve flexibility
  • Reduce my resting heart rate to 40bpm
  • Reduce my body fat to 16%
  • Work out at least once a day

Workout disclaimer   

I share my workouts to show what I do, not to tell you what to do.  

I post my workouts with a percentage of my max rather than stating what weights or speeds I use. Everyone is different and has different levels of fitness and capability. Your body is yours alone if you want to start working out, I recommend spending some time with a personal trainer who can put you on the right path.  

When working out with weights, remember your one-rep max is yours alone, finding the weights that are right for you is important. If you decide to try out a workout, find out what weights you should be using first. 


Can you live without a slow cooker?

Seriously can you live without a slow cooker?

I can honestly say my answer is no. My slow cooker is one of the key pieces of gear that I rely on and use every week without fail. I think that a slow cooker is a must-have item for anyone wanting to make real food a part of their life, here are my reasons why;

  • It saves you time
  • You do not need to keep watch while it cooks
  • It is versatile

These reasons may seem basic, and honestly, they are but let me explain my reasons why you need one.

Slow cooker

Too busy for this

Cards on the table, I hate coming home from a busy day and knowing I have to walk into the kitchen at 7 pm, cook a full meal, and then clean up. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking, it gives me the joy to create a beautiful meal for my family. This is not the case when I have had an 8-hour day at work, an hour commute to the gym, and then a heavy workout. At this point I am usually borderline hangry, I want to get home, I want my food as fast as possible. 

This is where having a slow cooker comes into its own; I know that I can walk in and find a meal that is cooked, hot, and ready to serve. That means food is served as soon as we are willing to sit down, not 30 minutes later.

Life and time saver

With a little planning and preparation, you can put your meal in the slow cooker before you head out the door in the morning, time-saving and hangriness preventing.
Unlike other ways of cooking, you do not need to stand over the cooker and make sure that it does not burn/stick to the bottom/cooking evenly. You set the temperature, fill the pot, and put the on the lid. You do not need to stir, check that everything is covered with enough liquid, baste meat, or turn anything over. Worry-free cooking.

Get a big beast

I recently upgraded our slow cooker so now I have a little bit of a fancy one, it doubles as a sous vide cooker, which means my slow cooker can do two things. What you may not realise is a standard slow cooker is just as versatile, don’t believe me? Here are some of the things that I used our old slow cooker to make;

  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Curry
  • Slow roast pork
  • Roast lamb
  • Roast chicken
  • Meatballs
  • Roasted vegetables (sweet potatoes, peppers, etc.)
  • Bread
  • Sauces
  • Stocks

I do not really think there is an end to the things you can do with your slow cooker; you just have to give it a go.

Reasons to get a slow cooker

If you are not convinced already here are a few more reasons that slow cookers are great;

  • Most slow cookers are large enough that you can cook food for six people, if you are not feeding that many people at once you are in the perfect zone of ‘cook once, eat twice’ and have leftovers for the freezer.
  • Cheaper cuts of meat are usually a little tougher; these meats are perfect for the slow cooker, so they are good for your budget
    They make for an easy clean up; you have one pot to wash up which is always a bonus in my book.
  • You will never get a dry roast again; the slow cooker keeps in all the moisture when it is on, so you do not have to worry about your meat drying out.

If you are looking to buy a slow cooker here are a few that may interest you

Here are some options

Slow cooker meal

Budget range

  • Kensington TWKSL150R
  • Sheffield PL390

A little bit fancy range

  • Sunbeam HP8555
  • Sunbeam MU4000

Very nice range

  • Cuisinart 3 in 1 Multi Slow Cooker 6 Litre

If you want to find out more about some essential kitchen tools check out my post Kitchen items to invest in


2016 goals

Happy New Year!!!!

Hopefully, you all had a great break and enjoyed time with friends and family.
I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to set myself goals for the year, have something to work towards and start a new year by setting my goals.

2015 the year that was

Last year, I set myself many goals; I achieved all of the important ones but never accomplished the physical goals I set thanks to injuring my Achilles in August. I spent a total of two months rocking around with a cast and then had a moon boot on. Sadly that means that all of my hard work from the year that would have seen me reach my goals was mostly undone, and I spent the remainder of the year focusing on physiotherapy and regaining my strength and flexibility.
I’m still not fully recovered from my Achilles adventure (apparently, it’s a long road to recovery), so with that long layoff still fresh in my mind, I’m setting my goals and making sure I’m kinder to my body in the process.

2016 goals

Over the next 12 months, I want to:

  • Stay injury-free for the year, continue to recover from my injury and avoid surgery.
  • Improve my back squat aim to squat 80kg
  • Attend one yoga class a week to improve flexibility
  • Reduce my resting heart rate to 60bpm
  • Reduce my body fat to 20%
  • Work out at least once a day.

To make these goals achievable, I am going to break them down and give myself some milestones through the year to keep myself on track. Any goals that I reach before the end of the year will be ticked off, and I will set a new goal for myself. I want to make myself accountable for my progress, so I’ll check in each month and share my progress.

Starting point

Here are the January starting points

  • Starting weight on back squat 20kg
  • Starting resting heart rate 74bpm
  • Starting body fat percentage 29%

My first update will be February 5th 2016