22 February 2013

Life, the Universe, and Everything. Or: 20 kg!

It's been a while since I posted anything about my weight loss and my health so I figured hey, what the heck. The most recent pictures I took were on January first, and they're kinda old news already, although I think you wouldn't be able to spot the difference between me there and me now so I'm not taking new ones yet. You see, today I found out that I crossed a new threshold: 20 kg! Holy crap!

I had a bad day the day I put the above image together but there's really no denying that I look a lot better in the new pictures. More in proportion, as a friend put it. Mind you, he was drunk at the time, but still. I'm still a long way off my goal weight too, so I wonder if that would put me in proportion even more. Remind me to get him drunk and ask him when that time comes.

Now, apart from just continuing what I have been doing for the past 8 months, all I have to do is work on my posture... Stop leaning forward, stop overextending my knees, stop pulling up my shoulders (see how lopsided I seem in the picture to the far left? I think I used to think that made me look less fat, or something), learn to relax my posture... It'll take a loooooot of work to fix years and years of standing wrong, but I'm determined now. If anything, it'll help me a lot in my workouts!

Speaking of... I started lifting weights in November, and am currently improving my techniques and posture, adding weights where I can but it's not my main focus and will only happen if I feel I have outgrown the current weight settings, eliminating exercises that are not working for me such as the Smith machine squat or the step-up (I could live with the fact that it made me feel like I was in an Eighties aerobics video, but it was taking its toll on my lower legs!), and above all that I'm working on my stamina by going running! I started another interval training schedule, beginning with intervals of 1 minute at a slow pace (8 km/u) and hopefully leading up to doing a full C25K-program when the weather gets better. Right now, it's going great and I feel like I'm progressing gradually to a point where I can extend my time running again! I'm also tracking my every move (at least the ones I make at the gym) with my heart rate monitor and through Fitocracy, making it very easy to spot if and where I go wrong.

Apart from that really, nothing has changed. Just more of the same. Apparently that works!

17 February 2013

FO: Hadley Hat

So, a week or so ago, when I posted the appetisers, I had the fullest of intentions to post about this FO as soon as I could. As it turns out, that is no sooner than today. Sorry for the wait! Here it is though: my Hadley hat! My first real finished (and worn) knitted hat! I learned a ton making this puppy, too. Things like jogless colour switching, and knitting on circular needles and finishing on DPNs. Ribbing, that too. And how easy it is to forget your stitch marker when you cast on so you have to start over again.

It was supposed to be a rather slouchy hat, and it's fine when it comes to circumference, but it could be a bit more slouchy to my liking. Right now, it's fine when I pull it down over my forehead and don't tuck in my hair in the back, but if I do it has a tendency to slip off the back of my head! I guess my head really is bigger than your average head. I need to learn how to make the proper measurements to ensure it's big enough to stay put!

It's unbelievably comfortable and soft, and keeps my head nice and toasty warm.Definitely better than my crocheted hat, that's for sure!

Bit of a shame, then, that it's probably going back into the closet for the next 10 months until the weather gets colder again! I'm sure I'll get a lot of use out of it then, though. Unless I make a new, better hat. Who knows, now that I know how to knit on circular needles, I might turn into a hat knitting machine!

9 February 2013

Chocolate Coffee Cake

Read that title again. Go on, I'll wait. Yes, that's right: Chocolate. Coffee. Cake. If that's not the perfect combination of ingredients I don't know what is. A week ago, Tim and I went to the city hall to get our marriage pre-registered, as is required in The Netherlands. While we were both a bit so-so about the whole thing our parents thought this called for celebration, and I jumped on the occasion to get my baking stuff out!

My mother made a special request, more on that in a later post, but because I knew it was a request that not everybody would enjoy, I made 2 cakes. This one was special. I had this thing in mind where I wanted to combine deep, intense, dark chocolate flavour with the bitter bite of coffee, but couldn't quite wrap my head around how to do it. I tried looking into instant coffee added to the batter, but the idea of the little coffee bits getting stuck between my teeth made it less appealing. And then I found this recipe on The Tart Tart for a chocolate coffee bundt cake, that called for freshly brewed coffee in stead of the raw deal.

There were (of course) a few adjustments made in the recipe because I can't leave well enough alone or because I ran out of ingredients (of course. I'm such a bad planner!). I originally thought I'd cover the top in melted dark chocolate, too, but the end result was so rich in flavour and had such wonderful hints of chocolatey coffee that lingered long after the crumbs had melted on our tongues, that I decided against it. It would be overkill. This one is perfect as it is.

Chocolate Coffee Bundt cake

Makes 1 standard-sized Bundt cake. (I didn't measure... But I think we got between 15 and 20 generous slices out of it!)

1+1/4 plus 1 tbsp cups of freshly brewed (strong) coffee.
1 cup cocoa (my carton of cocoa had a hiccup so I poured in more than the recipe called for. Happy accident, I assure you!)
2+1/4 cup white sugar
1+1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1+1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp milk
3/4 cup oil (I used walnut oil, and less than the recipe calls for, because I ran out!)
2+1/2 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees Celcius, and butter and flour your Bundt pan thoroughly.

Pour the fresh coffee into a pan and combine with the cocoa. While whisking frequently, bring to a boil. It will be quick, because your coffee is hot, so whisk until smooth and take it off the heat to cool down.

Mix the sugar, salt, baking powder, eggs and the egg yolk until it's creamy. Add the milk, oil and vanilla and mix again, for about 1 minute. Add the flour in batches, making sure the mixture is completely smooth before you dump in the next batch. Add the coffee mixture, and mix again until it's smooth. Then mix for about 5 minutes on an average speed or as fast as your hand can manage with your whisk (it's quite the work-out, I can assure you).
The batter will be very loose and liquid, but that's okay.

Pour your batter into the prepared cake-tin. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. My oven runs a bit cooler than it should and it took about 75 minutes before it was done.
Let the cake cool in the tin before you turn it out onto a cooling rack, cutting board or serving plate.

This cake is absolutely delicious freshly baked and served with a bit of whipped cream and fresh berries. It's actually even more delicious the next day (and even the day after that) because it becomes a bit more moist, and it keeps well in a sealed container, in case there's anything left after you serve it the first time, that is.

4 February 2013


Hey! That doesn't look like an appetiser!

Oh, you guys, I have been so busy it's unreal! First, there was work-related busy. Then, I was busy with wedding stuff. Then I got busy with the flu for a couple of days, followed by more wedding-related busy-being, then it was suddenly already February and I was busy with festival-related preparatory stuff. (The ticketsale for Lowlands 2013 began last Saturday. We spent the morning getting horribly stressed out because of the waiting line on the website, there was some stress involved in the actual purchasing of the first 4 tickets when we finally got through the waiting line, then we spent some time verifying with the others that were in that same digital waiting line that we indeed got all 12 tickets needed for this year, and then we went over to my parents' house to celebrate with everyone of our festival-group (brother, sister, mother, significant others, and a bunch of friends) that we all got tickets and that we were really going! Whoo!)

That sort of looks like food...

No excuse to neglect my poor little blog, of course. So please take this post as a kind of appetiser, with a handful of previews of stuff I made, am working on, have devoured with gusto, you get the idea, with some actual blog content to follow in the next few days!
Yep, that looks like actual food content. Hmmm... Food...

I promise I won't keep you waiting too long!