Stretching My Skills with Sally

I had another AJ day and it was as wonderful as ever. My only problem is definitely a first world problem!

Exercise:

I yet again couldn’t sleep in, so I was up in plenty of time for my run with Dennis. He picked me up and we went to Burnaby Lake Park with the plan to run the end of the Central Valley Greenway which runs from the lake to a very busy road. This bike path does carry on, but only on roads so I vetoed going further.

I had warned Dennis this morning that I wouldn’t be able to run fast as I was concentrating on weight loss right now (read being very careful with my calories) and I had heard on a podcast that if you’re concentrating on weight loss you can’t expect speed.

Well my run started slowly, but then the next four kilometers were all very close to 6:00 kilometers. At the end, I was five seconds off of my fastest five km ever and boy was I kicking myself for that slow start.

This path would be a great place to try for a 5km record as it’s 2.48km out and it is about as flat as it gets around here.

This evening I also did 28 minutes of yoga. When I was at the library I took pictures of a yoga sequence in a magazine and decided to try it out as I know I need to do more stretching. The sequence was okay, but I ended up adding a whole bunch of other moves to it. I really need to sit down and make a list of yoga moves as when I’m doing them, I can’t think of any!

Reading:

I hit the library to return a book today and though I was not supposed to get any more books, I of course came home with four more. I plan to go curl up in bed and read as soon as I get this post up!

Cooking:

I knew I had no choice but to get at least one of my Fresh Prep meals cooked up today. I decided on the Veggie Machine Tahini Bowl. This recipe said it would take 25 minutes, however it took me 40 minutes. You start by roasting sweet potato and chickpeas and cooking rice. You then marinate kale and red cabbage and make a tahini dressing. You layer these ingredients and top with cilantro and avocado.

There was nothing difficult about this recipe and it did have a good kick of spice to it. Fresh Prep did forget to include the rice spice, but they have given me a credit for it, so that was kind of them and I didn’t notice it’s absence. I would definitely get this one again, but also feel that it would be quite easy to alter at home according to personal taste.

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. Most of the people in my life asked why I was doing this, thankfully there are people like Abbey! I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For February, the challenge was Perfect Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting. I have to admit that I had no idea what this frosting was as I hadn’t heard of it. After making it, it reminds me of the frosting on a DQ ice cream cake and that used to be one of my favourite parts of that cake, so I’m glad I made it.

The recipe only takes five ingredients- egg whites, sugar, butter, vanilla and salt. I was doing really well with the egg whites and sugar and I did get stiff peaks, however, once I added the butter and vanilla, my frosting was quite runny. I put it in the fridge like Sally suggests for this problem, but it never recovered.

The recipe didn’t seem super tough, but maybe I shouldn’t say that as I wasn’t particularly successful. One thing I would say about this recipe- I wouldn’t attempt it without a really good stand mixer!!!

These are my poor cupcakes which I will force upon my running buddies tomorrow.

Thanks Abbey for taking on this challenge with me:)

Knitting:

All the rest of my day has been taken up with knitting (oh and a little stitching so I have something to show for the SAL next week).

I seem to be averaging a Hat a day, so today’s hat is he Kitimat – another free pattern on Ravelry. This is actually named after the city North of me by many hours. The pattern page shows it in gray and white which I loved, but I also really liked it in my purple and white worsted weight. The pattern was really simple to follow, though I did find it a bit long. I also learned that I may use my Michael’s gift card for a Pom Pom market!

Finally I also made another small headband which got me to my stash goal. Every skein used now is just gravy!

That is my big problem- I want to make a sweater, but there are so many I want to make that I just can’t decide. It has gone past fun to debilitating. I am wondering how everyone else chooses what they are going to knit next?????

Well my books are calling me… right

Have fun!

AJ

No Plans Changed

Yesterday morning when I was with Lyndsay, she asked what I was doing this weekend and all I had planned was a run on each morning. Well that sure changed…

Exercise:

I slept in this morning and then had to rush to be ready for my run with Dennis. It was pouring out again so it was a good thing that I was meeting him. We ended up doing 6.52km. It felt fast and when we were on the way back I looked at my watch and saw it was at 4.67km and I could possibly set a new PR for 5km, so I tried to step up the pace. It worked! My old PR was 31:45 and now I’m at 31:18. My goal is 30 minutes (fast for me but slow for everyone else). I was very happy to be finished and change into dry clothes!

Socializing:

I met up with Dennis and his wife Martha for coffee and couldn’t believe how loud and noisy Starbucks was!

Later in the afternoon, Michelle who is Life of a Canadian Girl texted to see if I wanted to go for coffee. She asked if I had anywhere new on my radar and I told her the o my two I had were about an hour away. She had nothing else going on, so agreed to try one out. (Yes she just shot to friend #1!).

We headed out to The Polly Fox. It was a very cute spot- white furniture, exposed brick wall, and natural wood tables. The small fridge case was slightly bare as we were there later in the day, but it all looked very yummy! They also had a full blackboard of drinks ( including four non dairy alternative milk), and two page breakfast and lunch menu. I got a chai latte and a cinnamon bun to eat and they were both wonderful. It took me a few mouthfuls to identify that the strong flavour in the cinnamon bun was coconut, but it was definitely not a deterrent. Michelle had a London fog and a vegan cashew bar that she finished and said was good.

What I enjoyed most about this cafe and bakery was that it was quiet and the tables were spread out so you didn’t have to eavesdrop. It was a lovely change from Starbucks!

Baking (Stretching My Skills with Sally):

Last year I tried a few of Sally’s Baking Challenge items and quite enjoyed the challenge of trying new things. I was talking with Abbey of Three Cats and a Girl and we decided to both try these challenges and then link up to talk about our results, so please check out her attempts too. I was really interested in doing this because I knew she would be doing the recipes as called for while I would need to convert them to gluten free and dairy free. I should say that I change as little as possible and just sub in gf and df ingredients to see if the recipe will still work.

For January the challenge was artisan bread. It was a very simple recipe of flour, salt, yeast and cool water that was left to rise for two- three hours and then you were encouraged to leave it for up to three days to build air bubbles in it.

I actually ended up making this recipe twice. I made it on Monday night and couldn’t leave it any longer than the two hours. I liked how this bread looked as it was a lovely browned dome, but unfortunately it didn’t rise a lot and it ended up being undervalued:(. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of this one, but I cut off a thin slice from all four sides and then threw the rest away.

On Thursday night this week, I gave the recipe a second try. I had made the dough, using Bob’s Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (the recipe calls for bread flour but I don’t know if any gf bread flour) on Wednesday night and after leaving it to rise for the full three hours, I covered it and put it in the fridge. I have to admit that once again, it didn’t rise much in those three hours. On Thursday, I shapes it into two long loaves and then baked it. They only took about 18 minutes to cook rather than the 20-25. This time they were fully cooked, but it was a very hard and chewy bread. I ate all of it because even bad homemade bread is better than store bought, but I don’t think this is a recipe I will come back to again.

Thanks Abbey for taking on this challenge with me:)

I’m so grateful that my boring day at home turned into a fun day out with a friend:)

Have fun!

AJ