30 August 2012

When life gives you crumbles...

Lunchtime usually means crackers and cheese spread for me. I pair it with a handful of cherry tomatoes or a bowl of grapes, but it mostly comes down to two crackers and some cheese spread. And some cracked black pepper, if I'm feeling fancy. This is mostly because I'm too lazy to fix something else for lunch, and since I'm the only one in this house that actually eats lunch (the birds don't count), there's not much in the house in ways of lunch-appropriate goods, anyway.

So what happens when I open the pack of crackers and the last two crackers come tumbling out.. well.. as shown above?

Swearing, for one. Because who the hell stepped on my crackers?! Followed by a frantic search in the cupboards and fridge for something else to eat because really, try spreading some cheese spread on crumbles. It's a challenge, I can tell you that. And not one I'm in the mood for when I'm hungry and cranky.

I managed to fish a bunch of cherry tomatoes from my fridge and a package of leftover mini-mozzarella bulbs (they're so cute and tiny! And great to use as a topping on your pizza.), so those crumbles...

Got turned into croutons! Paired with some fresh basil from my balcony garden and a simple olive oil dressing with some salt, pepper and Italian herbs, I saved my lunch! And in a delicious, delicious way, I might add.

24 August 2012

Face/Off! Well, not literally, of course.

I posted a picture of myself on my blog the other day and showed it to my mother (I was actually showing her a picture of my luscious balcony garden because I was a proud gardener, and we scrolled past it) and she couldn't get over how much my face had changed already. In her words: I had a puffy face before. It made me feel a bit weird: proud, because hey, she could see change in my face! Hurray! But it also made me feel uncomfortable because really, was my face that bloated and puffy?

So here's a little comparison with the picture I took earlier this week, and a picture I took roughly 2 years ago, from the same angle. Pardon the weird hair in the old picture. I was feeling fluffy, apparently.
I guess... I can see some difference. I mean, my face is less round, I think. And my chin is already less double, if you know what I mean. The biggest difference seems to be found near my glasses, though, they look like they're less close to my face than in the picture on the right. 
But hey, I can indeed see change! Change is good!

In other news, I can proudly say that I survived a weekend of bad habits and bad food, because I came back from a music festival and had gained less than a kilo. I was expecting a rise, since I completely screwed up my eating habits (try eating regularly and healthy when the temperatures rise above 38 degrees. I don't know about you, but that usually royally screws up my appetite.). I wouldn't eat much at all during the day, and as soon as we could sit down and grab something to drink and eat, I was elbow-deep in the bag of crisps and chugging down cold, sugary fruit drinks, and after the sun went down it felt like I would try to eat the entire day's worth of food in one sitting. I don't think it was actually that bad, but I did fear a big setback in my weight because of it. Fortunately, it wasn't that bad at all,  and I'm already back on the same weight I was last week before we left!

In other, other news: my PT is letting me run again! I already tried it out a few times and since I was getting good results (or rather, not getting crappy results) so he gave me the green light to start working on a running schedule! Right now, it looks as follows:
- warming up, walk for 5 minutes at 5.5km/h
- interval, walk for 40 seconds at 5.5km/h, run for 20 seconds at 8.0km/h, repeat 5 times
- cooling down, walk for 5 minutes at 5.5km/h
I can slowly build up the amount of repeats in the interval section until I'm at 10 repeats and 20 minutes total, and then I can start increasing the length of the interval.
I'm so excited, you guys! Can't wait to get up on the treadmill and run again. I think, but I haven't really kept track of stats, that I'm already improving a bit, but I'm going to keep track of heart rates, speed, distance and calories so I can really see improvement. Exciting stuff!

21 August 2012

I bet nobody looked this hot in the Fifties

But I bet those people all had some form of air conditioning. That was already a thing in the Fifties, wasn't it?

Anyway. I just got back from a festival! Yay! My eighth Lowlands. I love that festival so hard. One of my favourite events of the year. Unfortunately, the organisation has a habit of making bad decisions since the festival is so popular, so last year they raised the ticket prices by a whopping 20 bucks instead of the usual 5-10 because of increased taxes. There have been complaints. Lots of them, in fact. Other festivals were quick to announce that they were not going to raise the prices because they felt it was unfair to their audience. Not that the organisation of Lowlands cared. They sold out the festival in about 20 minutes anyway. We decided that we weren't going to go since we had no idea of the line-up yet (nothing had been confirmed at the time of the ticket sale) and with me being in an uncertain financial situation, we didn't want to spend that much money on tickets anyway.

As August drew nearer and nearer I began to get that itch, that 'it's almost time for Lowlands!' itch, and I tried telling myself that it was never going to be as fun as last time, and that there weren't really any bands I was dying to see. But the itch, you guys, it didn't stop! I was very happy when they announced that they were going to broadcast it all on Youtube, but that didn't satisfy the itch either! I started searching for other ways to get in anyway, even though it was all sold out, participated in just about every single giveaway and contest I could find... And then, last week on Tuesday, they put up another couple of tickets for sale (tickets that were kept for promotion purposes, probably), and the BF got us tickets! He had recognised the itch. In fact, I'm pretty sure he had the same itch, only he hides it better than me.

So off we went, to what turned out to be the hottest edition of the festival ever. And I mean hot, as in, 38 degrees on Saturday hot. Record-breaking temperatures, hot. We used up 125.000 litres of water an hour on Saturday, hot. Granted, most of that probably ended up in water balloons and squirt guns because we have had some crazy water fights. But it was great! I had so much fun! I didn't get any sleep at all so now I am absolutely pooped, and my feet are still killing me (they're also covered in band-aids, it looks really pathetic), but I had a great time. The itch got scratched good.

I don't do really well in sweltering heat, so I was happy being out in the open air this weekend where I was never without someone splashing me with cold water (I don't think I've ever fully appreciated water balloons before, but damn it, I do now) or a good, old-fashioned paper fan nearby, but now we're back in our little sauna on the top floor of our building and I am in dire need of some form of refreshment while I fuss about with a metric ton of laundry and stuff to clean. The Fifties-style headscarf is today's solution to floaty, fluffy, tickly hairs in my face and neck because damn it, that's a type of itch that I really can't deal with in this heat. I actually kind of like the look! Not that I'd take it out on the streets, I'm not that brave. I even used a tutorial to tie it properly, by the lovely Keiko Lynn. She wears it muuuuch better than me, though.

Last but not least, before I go back to the regularly scheduled humdrum of everyday life and work, let me show you some things that have done amazingly well in the heat:

Look at my pretties! Eh.. and please pay no mind to the store-bought basil in the back, as I'm afraid it did not survive the weekend... But look at the rest! Look at the tomato plant, I mean, holy shit! and the herb box is almost overflowing! This made me very happy when I got home yesterday afternoon, because I was afraid that they wouldn't survive. Even the Moroccan mint is growing like nobody's business. Yay! You know what this means? That there are mojitos in my near future, people, and that I am going to enjoy this summer while it lasts.

13 August 2012

Well, that was quite the intermission.

Can I blame it on the summer? I can't, can I. Well, damn.

I don't know why, but these past few months have been really lacking in creative outbursts or food-related revelations. I haven't been blogging, simply because there was nothing to blog about! I mean, I could of course tell you all about my latest fitness- and weightloss-related escapades but that's hardly fair since I am already blogging about that. More active than I am blogging over here, I'm afraid to say. I've also been rather busy with preparations first and actual work since the beginning of August for my new job! Yay! I'm a junior developer now, you guys! And I'm slightly nervous about it still because holy crap, talk about a steep learning curve, but it's exciting at the same time. It just left little time for any crafting...

I did get my green fingers out this summer though, even though I'm afraid I was ever so slightly late with the whole planting and potting and growing of my 'garden'.

I'm afraid I haven't fixed the paint job on my balcony yet, though. We thought they would fix that last year with the floors on all our balconies, but it turned out to not be included in the package deal so we need to do that ourselves. Still. And we might still, but for now, think of the rust as rustic, okay?
I bought a herb crate a few months ago and finally got round to setting it up and planting seeds a month and a half ago. There's 5 different types of herbs in there, but I'm afraid the basil and parsley have taken over completely. In the round grey pot, there's more herbs, where once again the basil and in this case the coriander have taken over the available space, leaving the chives to try and grow in what little space there was left. In the rectangular grey pot, I planted some lettuce and tomatoes. The tomatoes are growing like a weed! It's really cool to see. And finally in the two hanging pots, I've got more basil (I know, I foresee a lot of pesto in my future if all these plants are going to grow) and Moroccan mint.

After going aaaages without any crafting, I got the bug again last week and wanted to make... something, anything, really. I grabbed some yarn from my stash and got to work on, what else, a shawl, in the same pattern as the chevron scarf I made for mother's day this year, only in a thicker yarn. It's a combination of linen, cotton and bamboo, so it's weird, to say the least, and I have no idea what I am going to do with it once it's done.  I'm already working on ball number 3 in this photo, though, so it might not even make it to full-blown shawl. If not, I'll turn it into a cowl, I guess, but it's nice to make something again.

And in the spirit of my other blog, I also crafted something useful! I like to bring my MP3-player along to the gym, especially when it's slightly crowded (really, people, I don't mind talking to you when I'm not on a machine, but can't you see I'm busy right now?!), but with nowhere to stuff that thing other than down the front of my bra, it always got icky and sweaty and gross! Not only that, but I think it was actually affecting the device... So I stopped bringing it, and have had to endure tacky Eighties- and really bad contemporary music ever since. I mean, come on, those guys must have other playlists than the crap that's been playing lately, right? I had to work out to Rick Astley the other day! And the neverending mix of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Shakira gets really old, really fast too. So I made a little pouch for my MP3-player out of an old wash cloth. Roomy enough for MP3-player and headphones, with a drawstring, and if I want to I can even stuff my membership card and locker key in there. Plus, the washcloth is nice and absorbent, and I can just chuck it in the washer afterwards.

So there you go, that's basically what my summer has been about! Worry about work, work, worry about diet and health and fitness, actually doing the fitness and diet and health things, and little to no crafting! And crafting-wise, I can honestly say that I can't wait for Autumn.

12 August 2012

I've passed the 10kg mark!


10 down, 20 to go for my first goal weight!

10 August 2012

Run, Stef, RUUUUN!

You guys! YOU GUYS! Big news y'all!

I had an appointment with my PT on Wednesday and he told me that I could slowly start trying out running again! He taped my leg up just to be sure (colour: bright blue war paint, or so says BF), and I still need to do a lot of stretching and exercises, but he said that if I wanted to, I could give it a go! So I went running today, you guys!

I was a bit nervous about it, since my leg started cramping up a bit yesterday and was behaving like a general pain in the behind. I'm guessing it's because I was a bit nervous about it. Yeah. I know. But my leg actually behaved today!

It was a short run on the treadmill, with 5 minutes of walking, followed by 5 repeats of 20 seconds of running and 40 seconds of walking, followed by 5 minutes of walking. So all in all it was a solid 100 seconds of running. So basically half a marathon, give or take a few minutes. Hours. I know, it's not impressive if you list it like that, but I don't care because my leg held up and I did not collapse in pain like I did the last time I went for a jog.

It's a bit sore now, though, and it's slightly worse when I have been sitting down for a while, so I'm going to pester the BF to give me a massage tonight otherwise I can't walk tomorrow. But holy crap you guys, this is progress! Can't wait for my workout on Monday, so I can go again!

4 August 2012


You know how every once in a while you get that craving? The unshakable urge to just indulge in a big pizza? I know you do. Everyone does. Right? I've only once heard of someone not liking pizza. We cut all ties after that. I can't live around someone who doesn't like pizza.

(I kid. A bit.)

Pizza has been a staple in this house for a while now, since we're both lazy and often can't be bothered to make a decent meal. Now, with my change in diet, I can't eat normal pizza of course. (in fact, I don't think I have had normal pizza for weeks!) Normal pizzas often clock in at 800 or 900 calories a piece! And don't even get me started on the so-called American pizzas, with their thick crusts and abundance of cheese and toppings.  But a low-calorie pizza? That's right up my alley!

I found this recipe in a diet book I've had lying around for years but never took the time to really look into. While the original called for blue cheese and roasted peppers as its toppings, two toppings I really do not care for at all, I liked the idea of using a simple tortilla as the base instead of a pizza crust. We kept the toppings simple and tasty, and kept the toppings on mine to a bare minimum and added some more for the BF's pizza. The wrap base turns into a very decent, albeit somewhat thin and flexible, base, with a very tasty and crunchy edge. So tasty, in fact, that the BF ate every single last crumb, whereas he normally would leave the edges because he doesn't like bread.
The pizza base, just the wrap and the tomato-pesto sauce, works great with almost any topping and I am definitely making a roast chicken pizza next time, and want to experiment with other kinds of cheese, lower calorie meats, maybe a veggie pizza... Think of the possibilities!
While the original recipe clocks in at about 450 calories, with the adjustments we made, in particular the regular mozzarella and the salami, but also the addition of the pine nuts, I think this one comes closer to 550, 600 calories. Still miles away from the 900 I would normally chow down, though!

Wrap pizza

-1 large wrap tortilla
- 1 carton of pureed tomatoes
- pesto
- mozzarella (you could go for light mozzarella, but the only one they sell in our supermarket tastes like rubber bands, so we went for the regular one)

- pine nuts
- thinly sliced salami
- pepper
- rocket/rucola lettuce

Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Mix your tomato puree and three teaspoons of pesto. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the mixture on a wrap. Slice your mozzarella reasonably thin. Top your pizza with a couple of slices of salami, some mozzarella, followed by a sprinkle of pine nuts and some pepper.
Bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the crust is crispy. Top before eating with a big handful (or two, if you're like me and eat it off your pizza before eating the actual pizza) of rocket lettuce.