10K: Running because I’m rubbish at it and Chicken and Chorizo Paella as I’m quite good at it.

I thought that tennis and Crossfit isn’t enough an I need to start running as well  🙂 Actually, I do need some kind of a plan for summer holidays, as we going to Estonia for 3 weeks and I need something to keep me motivated nad moving. Also my tennis sessions stop for nearly 10 weeks as well. So I decided to sign up for the 10K race in September. (UPDATE! they have just cancelled the race I picked, so need to find anothere one for September)

I can’t remember, when I last run as long distance, maybe never. I done 5K few times, so I needed new challenge. I picked beginners 12 week  training plan from the Running Bug  webpage. I run 3 times a week and still do 3 -4 Crossfit sessions a week (not at the moment though as I spend lot’s of time driving my too active children around, which puts my needs ont o the hold) When I’m on holiday I will do only running.

The two first runs have been relatively easy for me –  4 x 5 min run with 2 min walk between. The first run I took Lonni with me. She was bit confused about it all. Usually she runs around woods and disappears to the bushes and I don’t see her for a while. Seeing me running, she didn’t trust to let me out of her sight, maybe she thought I just gallop away – as if 🙂 So she run straight behind me and tried really hard to drip me over. Unfortunately this didn’t work to slow me down so she thought it would be good idea to choke herself to death with a stick. This did make me stop and I got actually really worried about her. Luckily she managed to make herself sick and got rid of whatever was making her choke and running could continue. Next time, when she won’t come, when called I just might try running, seems that this resolves all the recall issues 🙂

   

Mu next run was supposed to be on Sunday -3 x min, 2 min walk between the runs but I got dragged into the “car washing project”, which took over our day and also I have a huge project of decluttering our house going on. So I decided start with the plan again this week as there is still time to fit my 12 week training in.

I think I did right, picking beginners plan – I’m rubbish at running and usually I try to get out of it or moan beforehand, when I know there is running in Crossfit workout. At the moment I actually have been enjoining those runs and I think I had reasonable speed (comparing to the slow-mo speed I use to run) 🙂

No idea how fast I actually run, or what my heart rate was. Not planning to waste money on any expensive devices at the moment, so will run as fast as I feel comfortable and try to challenge myself a bit as well.

I also dragged my daughter into it , who said she’ll come to the race with me. She has become quite athletic young lady after starting Crossfit over 2 years ago.

I think it’s the good place to jot down one paella recipe so I don’t have to look for piece of paper with the recipe, every time I need it. I have been cooking this for crowds (100 people)  past 2 years. Not many people will need recipe for 100 people so this one here is for 8.

CHICKEN AND CHORIZO PAELLA

800g chicken meat – I love chicken thighs and wings with skin on. It’s so much tastier and juicer, but any parts of chicken is ok for this paella.

800g Paella rice – you should be ok t find it for 8 people, but for 100 people I usually have to go 3 different supermarkets to get the required quantity! I should be more organised and order it online beforehand!

200 g diced cooking chorizo, I used a mixture of regular one and spicy one

250g chopped green beans

1 tin (400g) of chopped tomatoes

1.8 l boiling chicken stock (I have been using Knorr stock pots, here you would need 3-4 pots)

pinch of saffron

1tsp of Sweet Paprika ( I found it from Waitrose)

1 Red pepper sliced and preferably roasted, it will give such delicious taste to your paella, I have roasted it in the oven

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Salt

Fresh Rosemary  Sprigs

1 lemon (cut into wedges) for decoration

for extra lush finish use fresh asparagus, sautéed in the olive oil or you can steam it –  but you don’t have to use it  🙂

  1. Usually I prepare everything before hand and store ingredients resealable bags or boxes, so I’m ready to go – it’s necessary if cooking for crowds.
  2. Cut the chicken to suitable size pieces or if using drumsticks and wings, I just leave them as they are. I don’t cut the breast pieces too small or they lose their juicienes.
  3. Remove the “skin” from chorizo and dice it to small pieces.
  4. Chop the beans, I usually cut them to 3
  5. Make  the stock ready – mix the stockpot with boiling water add pinch of saffron and let it infuse.
  6. Wash the pepper and de-seed. Slice it and lay evenly on to the oven tray. Roast it for about 15-20 minutes around 220C. check occasionally and tak it out from the oven just before it starts to turn black
  7. Peel and chop the onion.
  8. NOW THE COOKING BEGINS! Heat some olive oil in your paella pan and cook the chicken pieces sprinkled with some salt, until they browned all around. Half way through, add chorizo and mix it all well so the chorizo flavour gets into the chicken pieces. When done, push the chicken and chorizo outside of the pan
  9. Now you need to make “Sofrito”, it’s what gives your paella “right” taste. First “sweat” onions on slow temprature on middle of the paella pan until soft. Then add chopped tomatoes and cook on the medium heat. Keep stirring. When the mixture reduces down and thickens and turns dark red colour – you have your perfect “sofrito”
  10. Bring the chicken and chorizo back to the middle and mix it woth sofrito. Add sweet paprika and half of the roasted peppers. Mix everything and keep fryinf for the few minutes.
  11. Add the hot stock and deglaze the pan until everything mixed well. Taste for seasoning.
  12. Now add the chopped beans, mix well and keep boiling around 5 minutes.
  13. Add the rice and mix it gently. Try to get the rice to even layer to the pan so all of it will be covered with the stock. Don’t mix it after that and keep the heat low. After about 10 minutes the rice should be appear through the liquid, turn the heat really low and keep cooking another 10 minutes. If the rice drys out unevenly you can move the rice around carefully.
  14. When the rice is dried out, taste a bit from the top layer, it should be “al dente”. Cover the pan with foil and turn up the heat. You might hear popping sound as the paella “caramellaising”. Covering pan also helps finishing off the cooking of the top layer of the rice.
  15. Turn off the heat. Decorate with lemon wedges, rest of the roasted peppers and prepared asparagus. I also pop some rosmary sprigs on the pan and recover it with the foil. Leave it at least for 15 minutes or more.
  16. Remove the foil and serve, not forgetting to scrape the caramellise bits from the pan
  17. When cooking larger quantities, the timings will be longer, sometimes MUCH longer! I learned it from my first time, when cooking for 100.                                                             ENJOY!!!

Note to myself – I need to find better version of veggie paella as omitting the meat from this, doesn’t relly measure up – at least I don’t think so.

Two weeks of Paleo – Oven Roast Chicken with Vegetables

It has been 2 weeks since I started following Paleo rules. So I thought it’s time to write down, what has changed for me so in future, when I feel like stuff my face mindlessly with sweets, alcohol and white bread, I might think again.

  • I feel energized, I don’t feel like falling to sleep 2pm at my desk.
  • Not eating sugar stopped me crave for sugars. I eat fruit, dried fruit and honey, which are sweet, but they don’t make me feel like I need chocolate or bag of sweets every other hour.
  • I don’t have this stuffed feeling after meals, maybe i’st because I don’t eat any grains or maybe I just eat as much I need as I know that I can have something as soon I feel hungry again. It’s not a diet, it’s lifestyle and suits me well as there is no limit how much you eat just what you eat.
  • I think I lost a bit of weight, I’m not sure, as I stopped weighing myself about 5 month ago. Weighing is bit pointless, as I know, when I put some weight on, my clothes get tighter. It’s so liberating not to worry about numbers on the scale. I rather look in a mirror and try to like, what I see.
  • Huge part of starting to be more healthy, was my troubles with my knees. That’s the price you pay if you do all your young life competitive sports and suddenly when you get older you are not able to choose, what you doing. I haven’t played volleyball quite a few years now. I’m scared that if I go and jump again, I end up with another injury and have to stop all physical exercise all together. At the moment I still have bit of a pain in my knees, but mostly I ignore it and still go my new found passion -tennis trainings. They are better, much better than they were few weeks ago, when walking downstairs made me shout swear words. So, fingers cross, after another few weeks I don’t need heat patch myself for trainings anymore.
  • No alcohol rule have given me early starts on weekends, more energy and no hangovers, simple. And probably stopped cravings – usually with wine I want something sweet.
  • Saves me money –  it’s difficult to get paleo stuff in our deli ( any deli really) so I take my lunch with me to the office.

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This recipe is simple and tastes delicious. I had some chicken thighs. I put different vegetables to the oiled roasting pan – quartered fennel, sliced courgettes, halved mushrooms, pak choi leaves, you can use any veg, which needs using up. Sprinkled with lemon juice, chopped chilli, sea salt and dried fenkol. I placed chicken thighs over the vegetables,  sprinkled some more sea salt and pepper over the meat and cooked in the oven about  an hour on Gas Mark 6. The beautiful green colour fades away after an hour in the oven, but taste is still good – chicken and fennel is pair made in heaven in my opinion.

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33 day of Paleo and being good, I mean getting healthier again.

Today I started my 33 days of Paleo aka “being healthy and getting back on the track!” I did it last year. Main reason being, getting my scalp psoriasis under the control, but what happened was, my psoriasis got worse but my weight dropped and my knees felt like new. I have been struggling with my knees past month, not that I stop myself doing sport and moving around, but getting downstairs at the work is real pain and companied with lots of swearing. I hate it and I really have to do something about it and I definitely don’t want to stop my tennis trainings.

I have already stopped all sugary stuff and alcohol since 19th of March, when lent started, with few exception as we Estonians celebrate our independence day on 24th and this year it included 3 celebrations with free booze and food so I decided to not put too much pressure on myself. 🙂

So from today:

– no sugars (honey is aloud)

– no alcohol

– no bread, pasta, rice, or any other grains

– no milk based products (maybe occasional cream on my 1 cup of coffee / a day)

– no ready meals or anything what includes ingredients I don’t know or are not natural

– no potatoes, beans

– no vegetable oils or groundnut oil ( will have olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or any nuts oil)

I will eat lots of vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds, meat, fish and seafood, nut and olive oils, herbs and spices.

My healthy month started with this chicken roast and homemade mayonnaise.

Chicken-Paleo

For this dish you can use any vegetables you have left over at home or any your favourite ones. I had celeriac, parsnip, carrots, courgette, red onions, swede and lots of garlic. I brushed the roasting pan with olive oil and then placed all the veg on to the pan and mixed them, so they would be covered with bit of a oil. I cut one orange to slices and put it also on to the pan. I placed the medium roasting chicken stuffed with one whole lime, some garlic gloves and herbs ( I have rosemary and sage in my garden), top of the vegetables. All goes to the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes (depends of the size of the chicken) Gas mark 5. For rest of the family, I made some roast potatoes on the separate tray. The smell was divine, mixture of lime, garlic, rosemary and sage. Children were worried that it will taste lemony and they won’t like it, but they plates were cleared no time. Roast chicken is one meal, which gets finished to the last piece in our house. Children have legs, S has breast, I have wings and breast, cats get all leftover meat, dog gets skin and any soft bones and rest of it goes to making chicken stock. Everyone is happy.

For the mayonnaise I placed 1 fresh egg and salt and pepper and one garlic clove to the jug and whizzed it with blender. Then added slowly 200ml of oil. I used hazelnut oil. Olive oil gives bit too strong taste. I have tried also walnut oil, which was lovely. After 1 minute the mixture should thicken, and you have lovely homemade, no e-s or anything weird mayonnaise. Season with sea salt, pepper and lemon juice. I must say sometimes it bit of a mystery how you get the mayo thickened. Like today – I started as usual but after 3 minutes of vigorous whizzing the mixture was still runny. So I started new egg and beat it with salt and pepper for 1 minute and started to add avocado oil and it thickened almost immediately. I didn’t want to waste my first mixture so I poured it slowly in to the new mayonnaise and it all thickened nicely to the lovely creamy mayonnaise. So I have no idea what was going on. If anyone knows, what might have gone wrong, let me know, It has happened couple of times before, but most of the times I have no problem making beautiful mayonnaise at all.

Mayonnaise - paleo

What do you feed your children? Today it was Kung Pao Chicken!

I think it’s the question lot of parent ask daily bases from themselves. You want to feed them healthy fresh food, but most of children have totally different idea from you, what they need and want. With my first one I tried to follow books and follow them word by word, but she didn’t have any of it.  You could eat the veggie yourself and meal without fruit wasn’t going down very well and porridge – this grey stuff, which came out from HIPP box was only good enough to go straight to bin. Then the second child came around, veggies were welcoming addition to any meal. Fruit was flying around the kitchen and porridge filled him up to have good run around up until lunch. By age of 6 his favourite was bowl of mussels in some tasty, spicy dressing, which made him lot’s of admiring fans in our dinners at pubs.

Then I had period when I cooked things in two different saucepan – one for us and another one for children, using same ingredients but leaving out anything I thought would put them off their dinner. It was mission impossible as they had very different tastes – my daughter likes anything traditional and quite bland, my son loves spicy and well seasoned food.

Now, my children are almost 10 and 12 there is no more messing around they have to eat what I make to us, but they are aloud after tasting it to say that they don’t really like it and eat plain rice or whatever we having with our meal. No extra meals! Have to wait until next meal time and hope they will like it.

I’m just too lazy to have a argument with them and I deffinetly don’t like them develop unhealthy relationship with food.

I’m sure they have sometimes bit too much of sugar and maybe not enough veg, but I’m hoping that my passion to food will leave some kind of mark to their attitude to the food.

Kung Pao Chicken

Enough for 3-4 people

Around 500 grams of chicken breast, cut about 1cm pieces

1 tablespoon cornflower

2 tablespoon oil (I used walnut oil as I’m using just nut oils or olive oils only nowadays , but you can use vegetable oil)

3 spring onions

3 garlic cloves – I chopped it

dried chilli flakes – according to the taste, I didn’t’ use too much as my daughter not keen on too spicy food, but enough to get her used to more spicier food

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped

4 tablespoons of rice vinegar

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablspoons oyster sauce

4 teaspoon sugar ( you can reduce the qty, but I liked it like this)

dry roasted peanuts about 1/2 dl

I also added 1 medium courgette and 1 small aubergine, chopped

Cooked rice for serving

==========

1. Mix the chicken pieces with cornflower in the bowl.

2.Heat the oil in the wok or big frying pan

3. Add chicken and stir fry until cooked through – about 5-7 minutes

4. Remove the chicken from the pan an set aside

5. Add the veggies if using and add bit more oil, stir fry 2-3 minutes and then add ginger, garlic, spring onions and chilli flakes, stir fry another minute or two.

6. Remove from the heat

7. In a small bowl mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and oyster sauce. Stir well and add to the pan to the vegetables.

8. Return chicken to the pan and stir until chicken is coated with the sauce.

9. Add peanuts, heat through an mix well

10. Serve once with cooked rice.

Both my children eat all the chicken I put their plates . They did leave some vegetable bits and my daughter don’t like any nuts, but I think it went down well and one new thing in their list they have tried.

Mission successful!

Chicken