Is there such thing like healthy cake???

 You just can’t beat cake, which includes butter, sugar, cream and nice quality plain flour. Like this!

vastlakukkel

It’s “semla” in Swedish or “vastlakukkel” in Estonian and we eat it at Shrove Tuesday, but as I was busy as hell in February I made them on lovely Sunday afternoon and they tasted as nice 🙂

I just had recipe, I needed to try as the secret for the best “vastlakukkel” is the nice soft bun. So I have planned to try Olgas recipe for a while now, but there was always reason to postpone it – no time or missing ingredients like kefir (fermented milk from Caucasus mountains) Estonians have been grown up with it but as it all the graze in healthy food industry lots of shops ask ridiculous price for it. Sainsbury had 0.3ml bottle for 1.65!! For this money you can find 1 liter bottle at Polish food sections at Tescos and other supermarkets and in London there are probably even more choices of Eastern European food supermarkets. 

My first try was unsuccessful, the jar of the dried yeast has been open for a while and the dough just didn’t rise. So last weekend I went forward with the new batch and the dough worked well. I still need to learn how long it takes to knead the dough with my superstar Kenwood and how to check, that I have done enough kneading. I also try to shorten the baking time as I think I kept them in oven few minutes too long.  So I think I will do few more test batches. Idea is to make lots of them next year and maybe sell them as they are as popular amongst Estonians and Scandinavians  and those are always hunted in Facebook on Shrove Tuesday. 

Why I’m writing this, while my aim to loose weight? Because I haven’t come across with the “healthy” cake, which I truly enjoy and would like to bake again and again. I have had OK low calorie cakes, which doesn’t include sugar and flour, but they are not ones I would mark with the “post-it” note and the star in my cookbooks (that, what I do  to keep track on brilliant recipes I have tried and enjoyed 😉 )I always test so called guilt free cake recipes I come a cross in the blogs. There are some OK ones, but mostly I feel disappointed with the end result. So I think, if I will  have a cake, I have something I really enjoy.

It does only apply to cakes. I love healthy meals – all the veggies, porridges, smoothies, seeds, grains, fish, lean meat, eggs, nuts, healthy oils – you name it! I can find lots of pictures taken delicious healthy meals in my phone:

…but I can’t find and healthy cakes 🙁 Only lovely creamy, buttery mouth melting ones 🙂

 I have no trouble to swap ice cream to creamed frozen banana – I enjoy it as much! Or have a Greek yogurt with berries and drizzle of honey. 

IT’S JUST CAKES!!

Oeh! No wonder it’s bloody complicated to loose weight here!

But I’m still doing it, just in a hard way 🙂

 

Easter Holiday – No CrossFit for few weeks :(

The Easter Holiday is over and I’m back in reality of the everyday life 🙁

I managed to extend my holiday to the week and I can’t remember, when I last could take time off to just be at home and spend time with my children, without the need to rush somewhere or actually going to the holiday. It was lovely! I slept 9 hours and more! We went to the local swimming pool, went to the cinema to see “Power Rangers”, which I actually enjoyed and almost cried!!?? We went shopping for some necessities, like school shoes and more socks – boring stuff and had lunch in Nandos. So I did nothing special but it was so enjoyable. I even had haircut! I haven’t been at hairdressers over a year now and my hair looked really sad.

New haircut

Haven’t had so many compliments very long time.

We did go away on Good Friday to have a mini holiday at the Kent coast.

cousins at seaside

We had walks at seaside, met up with family and had a good laugh, visited Margate, which was big surprise. I haven’t been there since children were small and I kind of remember it being quite run down place with the nice beach. For my surprise it was lovely, great seaside atmosphere, nice antique and retro shops, lots cafes and pubs, it was especially nice on the pier. We even found one Scandinavian café and had compulsory Cinnamon bun.

Margate

Only negative side of the holiday was – I haven’t been able to do CrossFit for almost 2 weeks. I have done something to my “good” leg/knee few weeks ago and I can’t train properly. I did try carry on and even managed to PB my back squat, but decided not to do CrossFit for few weeks in order to get back to it quicker. It seems I got tendonitis after doing workout, which included over parallete burpees and I was actually quite proud myself doing so well. But following day I felt pain in my knee/around the knee and actually my another”bad” knee become suddenly the “good” one. “Oeh!” old people problems 🙂

I felt quite down because of it. CrossFit is my therapy and it keeps me happy or exhausted so I don’t care about s**t and not many things can annoy me then 🙂  But looking to the bright side, I had week off from work and spent lots of time with my children and I was quite active other ways. My leg feels much better now and I have planned to go back to the training tonight. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very good with doing some mobility at home so my knee feels still bit stiff. I just find really hard to take 20 minutes at home to do it, I usually have to choose either doing exercise or getting full 7 hours sleep.

I wasn’t pleased with the “Project 30” development beginning of the months, so after complaining over it in the last post lovely Lindsay from LJL Coaching urged me back to join her FB group and record all activities/food/moods over the next 2 weeks and this really have helped me so the weight goes in right direction again. Thank you, I really needed that! Only the few days away from home and indulging with some ice cream and chocolate eggs hasn’t been kind to me and I got a bit of a shock on the scale this morning, but I’m back on tracking my food today and feeling determined again so hopefully I will see more pleasing result from now on 🙂

 

1st month of “Project 30”, thoughts about diets and Spicy Carrot Soup.

January is over and very soon February will be over too and I thought I write down few things from the first month of trying to lose some weight for the journey sake.

Overall good start: I was 3.4 kg lighter on 3/02/17, which makes it average loss 0.85kg/week. My plan is to loose 0.5kg a week so I can be pleased with myself. Actually I lost it all during 2 first weeks and next 2 weeks my weight was stationary, which annoyed me bit, but to look on the bright side I didn’t put any weight back on. I’m most pleased about 7cm loss on my waste line – that what really matters. I had few PB-s at CrossFit and couple of brilliant tennis sessions. I’m happy!

I came across following article about diets and science behind them  and I’m so glad that it backs up what conclusion I have come over the years trying out different diets. 

Few years ago I tried Paleo diet and I think it has great ideas and you can find lot’s of wonderful recipes. I lost weight, felt great but after few months I got really bored, not that there is shortage of ideas, but I didn’t really have any reasons do avoid milk and grains. I don’t use lot’s of milk products every day, but I love cheese, quark, cream, even I don’t eat them daily. Mentally I didn’t want to feel guilty, when having them occasionally.

I also found that I ended up eating huge amounts of nuts. Nothing wrong with eating nuts, but if you love baking and everything is replaced with nut flours, it’s bit limiting to your options and … whatever the peanuts done to anyone?? You can’t have peanut butter in Paleo diet, have to opt to more expensive nut butters!

Saying that, my meals are still quite paleo friendly without following any meal plans. I love veg and meats and fish and eggs. Saying that, I also like some rice, seeded bread, buckwheat, quinoa, potatoes and there is no real reason not to eat them times to times.

So, now I don’t really follow any diet or clean eating plan just trying to use knowledge what suits me best and what makes me feel happy.

I love cooking, I love process of the cooking, I love cookbooks (and I have 100s of them) and I always love to try new things.

  • I’m using the MyFitnessPal at the moment to keep my portions under the control as it’s too easy to overeat with snacking and extra helpings on mealtimes. It also helps me keep my macros on track, so I get right amount protein, carbs and fat. I use it on weekdays as I’m glued to the computer anyway. I try to use my common sense 🙂 on weekends. Tracking, what you eating over some periods of time is a good way to get your habits under the control again.
  • I try to stick with 3 meal times and 2 fruit snacks between. Breakfasts are simple usually including 2 eggs, sometimes avocado, with some seeded or rye toast, some salad and coffee with cream.( I only have one big cup of coffee a day)
  • I take lunch with me to work, either I have prepared it specially but more often it’s leftover from last night.
  • I haven’t forbidden anything to myself but if I had slice of bread for breakfast I won’t have it with my lunch or dinner. If I have some pasta at lunch I won’t have any with my dinner. When I have pasta or rice with my meal it’s just a little bit. I just don’t want to cut anything out totally and I found if it’s not off the limit, I quite often choose not to have it, when rest of the family have theirs. I just have meat or fish with veg.
  • I eat until I start to feel full, trying to take slowly and really listen my body. Even if it’s my favorite food I really try  not to stuff myself. 70% of time it is successful.
  • 2 pieces of fruit a day
  • I have a slice of cake if someone makes extra effort to bake it, but say no to bought sweets and biscuits if someone brings them in the office (ok, not always, but most of the time) and I forbid myself to buy any snacks from work vending machines or deli bar. I do bring some chocolate from home if I decide have any.
  • Some weekends I bake and then I have a slice of cake (who I’m kidding – quite few slices, but it doesn’t happen every weekend)
  • I have couple of glass of wine on the weekend but not always, depends how I feel and I won’t, if I train on Saturday morning – most Saturdays I do.
  • I try to get 7 hours a sleep everyday – it makes huge difference and really should be top of the list. I used to be night person and never go to bed before midnight, since starting the CrossFit I have really changed my habits. I try to get bed by 10pm (which is not easy if your children are not ready for bed by 10pm) , it’s especially important when I train at 6am
  • I also have been part of the LJL Coaching Facebook group, which my friend runs. She helps with healthy eating plan, fitness and personal training and it has been great motivator.

This soup is easy to make, seasonal and very tasty

Spicy Carrot Soup with Quinoa and Feta

2tbsp olive oil

1 onion

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1kg carrots, grated coarsely

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 sp hot smoked paprika

1/4 tsp mild chilli powder

1 litre vegetable stock, fresh or made from cube

100 g quinoa

1-2tsp sherry vinegar

fresh mint

100 g crumbled feta cheese

  1. Heat the oil in the saucepan over the medium heat. Fry onion and garlic gently over the medium heat for few minutes. Add the grated carrots and spices and fry stirring occasionally for 5 minutes
  2.  add the stock and 500 ml boiling water, season well and simmer for 10 minutes
  3. Same time cook quinoa on the separate saucepan, drain and set aside.
  4.  Remove he soup from the heat and whizz in a blender with 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar, until smooth. Add a splash  of water if needed.
  5. Ladle into bowl, topping with the quinoa, mint and feta cheese. Drizzle with a splash more sherry vinegar before serving

 (Recipe from Waitrose calendar)

Back to the training

Last week was first week back to my normal training routine. Most of the time I train 5-6 days a week.

Mondays it’s early morning CrossFit from 6-7.30am. It’s hard to be ready for heavy weights and fast WODs so early, but I love the feeling, that I have done my workout in the morning and I can get on with the rest of the day.

Tuesday is a Cardio tennis in the evening. Tennis is the reason I ended up at CrossFit. My knee has been weak point after the ACL reconstruction back in March 2009. It held me back in tennis training and I had to use the heat patches to ease the pain. My competitive side hated to be unable to give 100% in the training and I decided I need to strengthen my muscles to give the support for my poor knee. And it had worked. I’m so much faster in the training and I haven’t used any painkillers since started the CrossFit. I was asked, which one I like more – tennis or CrossFit, I really can’t choose. My heart always belonged to the ball games but the CrossFit had taught me to push myself and test my limits and there are supportive community and such great people. The cardio tennis is fun, it’s for all levels and your technique and skills aren’t most important, you just had to run and try to hit the ball in different exercise routines. We have quite advanced group so the training ends up pretty challenging and competitive. Love it!

Wednesday is my tennis coaching session. I started tennis 2 years ago and I train twice a week but only on term time as our sessions are in school hall. I have come long way since I started. After my knee accident in volleyball match I dint’s think I can get back to the volleyball. When I tried once, I hurt my knee again and I decided it’s not worth it 🙁  I have always wanted to play tennis and as it doesn’t include so much jumping but it’s still ball and net, I thought it will be good substitute. I still miss the team around me thou 🙁

Thursday morning 6.30-7.30am CrossFit again, I usually try to catch up Wednesdays program, because I don’t want to miss out any weight lifting practice.

Friday morning 6-7.30am I’m at CrossFit.

Saturday 9-10.30am CrossFit again. It’s one my favourite sessions, as its team work. We are usually paired up and you have to go through the workout as a team. The WOD is usually more challenging and longer than the weekday workouts and you really end up pushing yourself, because you don’t want to let your partner down.

I also walk our lovely Labrador once or twice every day, depends how we share it with my other half and I try to fit in half an hour stretching sessions 3 times a week. Haven’t been consistent with those past months, so I decided to try make effort from January again as its essential, when you are over 40 and want to improve your results.

School holidays, when the tennis training is on the break, I end up doing extra CrossFit sessions.

For some people it sounds like awfully lot and I get asked quite often, how I find time for this. But exercise is part of my daily routine and it’s like going to work or walking my dog or cooking dinner. I don’t question myself can I be bothered, it’s what I love and it keeps me sane. I LOVE IT!!

And what not to love if you have this kind of support!!! 🙂 

 This is also the photo, which made me realize I need to loose weight and started the “Project 30”

Last week was successful 1.2kg down, 1.8kg total.

Very pleased!