How do you define progress? #5TTT

Hi all,

Progress. Now that’s an interesting topic!

It is a word that is often surrounded by a cloud – well in our own minds especially. We can see others progress as clear as day, shining brightly and often making us feel slightly inferior (in all honesty!). But our own? We have to peer through a dark cloud of our own judgement, was it enough? The comparison trap, ‘yes I progressed BUT BUT BUT’… always followed by more BUTS!

So if we struggle so much to see our own progress, how can we define it? How can we look ourselves in the mirror and see our own successes, truly believing that we are doing well?

For this weeks ‘5 Top Tips on a Tuesday’ I give you five action steps to look at in order to define your own progress. Whether that be in your personal life, your career, sport, hobbies or interests – trying viewing your progress differently and reveal its wonder from that dark cloud!How do you define progress? Chase the Red Grape

The purpose

How can you work out if you have progressed if you don’t know your ‘why’? Why did you start in the first place? What motivated you? If I use my example of CrossFit – why did I start? To become stronger physically and mentally. Did this happen? 100% yes. Sometimes going back to the basics of why we started is enough for us to see our progression. It can be as simple as this.

Emotion

Emotions surround our progress and our view of it. The best way to release that emotion is to look at your progress from another’s eyes. If your friend achieved what you have done, would that have been enough? Do you think they have progressed? You may be disappointed that you were overlooked for promotion at work, but have you progressed? Surely even to be considered for a promotion means you are close to it?

Freedom

Sometimes the art to progression is simply to release the clamp it holds around you. I want to be a better CrossFitter, I want to PR. But when I put that pressure on myself to see progress I am often hindered by it. I stall, go backwards or lose that sense of enjoyment. You will see progress when you least expect it – if you don’t expect it all the time.

Release negativity

Back to the ‘yes BUT BUT BUT’. I am so bad for saying ‘yes I managed to progress but I didn’t do as well as I had hoped/ as X did/ as I should be doing’. I even said this sentence to David this morning. And what did he have me do? Release the negativity from the situation. Take away the ‘BUT’. Once I did that it dawned on me that I did achieve something today – I progressed, period. And isn’t that something to be pleased about!?

Focus on the future

Sometimes we forget we have progressed simply because its a part of a bigger picture. But we need to celebrate these small steps and achievements on our way to our overall goal. I meditated today – I have wanted to do so all week but time slipped away. But I progressed because I did it – I cannot meditate everyday without starting with day one.

Don’t let your definition of progress be clouded by your own personal judgement. We are our own worst critic, but I rather think it’s time for us to be our own cheerleader and supporter from now on.

How do you define progress?

Tell me something you have been working on?

Are you your own worst critic?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Currently – May

Hi all,

Just like having summer in December, having winter being in May is really confusing. My body knows there is something not quite right but doesn’t know what to do about it. Moving to a different hemisphere is hard folks. I know my body will adjust over time but I am already wishing the winter away and hoping September/ October rolls around quickly (however I’m sure the majority of you will be thinking the opposite!).

Not that the cooler temperatures will stop us from doing anything – we have our holiday in Melbourne to look forward to, my birthday in July and our anniversary (both wedding and Australia-versary) in August and there is never a dull moment here – always something to see or do. So I’m sure winter will pass in no time… and in the mean time, I can drink lots of HOT coffee and maybe a cheeky mulled wine every now and again. Double win!currently - chase the red grape

So lets dive into May’s edition of ‘Currently’ – checking out what is rocking my world this month! Linking up with Amanda @RunningWithSpoons and ‘Thinking Out Loud’ – sharing is caring!

Current…

Book – Harry Potter and The Goblet of FireHarry Potter - Chase the Red Grape

Still making my way through the series – only managing about 1 chapter a day but those 20 minutes before bed when I sit with my peppermint tea, bowl of cereal and read a chapter are just perfection.

Obsession – My ‘Eat to Perform’ Coaches Course

You guys I am loving everything I am learning! From performance enhancing nutrition through to the science behind building muscle, I just can’t get enough. Going to be so sad when I have finished but it has certainly opened up a whole new area for me in terms of interest and figuring out exactly what our bodies need in order to live a healthy life – which is my constant quest for knowledge!

Craving – PB & JPB AND J - Chase The Red Grape

It may come as a surprise to many of you, but back in the UK, PB & J isn’t a ‘thing’. You either have peanut butter or jam, but not both. Thanks to an influx of American films/TV and bloggers in my life, I have come to realise it’s true wonder! I did take peanuts out of my diet for a while and then slowly reintroduced them with no issues – hooray! And combined with my ‘just fruit’ fancy delicious jam I am in heaven. I have it mixed through oats, yogurt or smeared on rice cakes… have yet to try it as a sandwich though!

Food – YoghurtYoghurt - Chase the Red Grape

I love yoghurt and usually stick to plain or greek and add in my own toppings – no nasties for me! But I adore this range of yoghurt’s from our local supermarket which is simply sweetened with fruit juice and flavoured with REAL vanilla and REAL coffee. (Don’t ask me what is up with their yoghurt spelling – I know the way us Brits spell it is different to the rest of you but this is just odd!)

Drink – Kombuchakombucha - chase the red grape

Week in, week out I brew a batch of kombucha. Actually the batches we are brewing right now are the best tasting ones, I think because it is a little cooler and it doesn’t make it overly strong. I call it my daily medicine and, touch wood, I have yet to have a cold/flu and it keeps my tummy in good working order!

Procrastination – BuzzFeed

Yup, back to this old chestnut. Time goes to another dimension when I am on here – at least with snapchat (chaseredgrape) you can only look at so much, buzzfeed can go on and on… unless you are viewing buzzfeed on snapchat… that’s a whole new can of worms!

Blessing – Skype

Mum - Chase the Red Grape

Mum rocking her swimsuit when they visited over Christmas/New Year

Being on the other side of the world but still being able to have my weekly chats with my mum is just so precious to me. I think our chats are lasting longer and longer but time just flies when we talk about anything and everything. Last week my brother was home so I got to chat with him too – honestly the random things we talk about… always leaves me smiling!

Excitement – Melbournemelbourne- chase the red grape

Next Friday David and I jump on a plane to Melbourne! I just cannot wait! A holiday, time with David, good food and coffee and being able to explore more of Australia (when we haven’t been further than 2 hours north of Perth!) just can’t come soon enough! I will be snapchatting to the max so come follow me for the highlights at ChaseRedGrape!

Bane of my existence – Not having a poochiePuppies - Chase the Red Grape

Our coach has a new puppy, Astrid. Isn’t she adorable? It makes David and I pang for a doggie of our own so much but it just isn’t an option right now (no dogs allowed in our apartment complex, even though I maintain that kids are just as messy and noisy as dogs… just sayin’). So for now we will just have to make do with CrossFit doggie cuddles!

TV show – The West Wing

And it will be The West Wing until we finish watching the entire series. Even at the weekends when David asks ‘do you want to watch a movie?’, my answer is always ‘NO! WEST WING!’ – I am addicted…

Mood – Perky!

After 2 cups of coffee and writing this post I am feeling pretty perky right now! Bring on the rest of Thursday!

No ‘Friday Favourites’ tomorrow, see above for all the answers!, but I will be back next week with ‘5 Top Tips on a Tuesday’! Have a fab weekend.

Are you looking forward to the next few months ahead?

What’s your opinion on PB & J?

Do you have a pet or really really want one?

Take control of your finances – how to be a savvy banker #5TTT

Hi all,

Do you ever find yourself living from pay check to pay check? Never being able to save or don’t know how? Asking yourself ‘where did all my money go?’. Or simply wish you could have a bit more structure/ organisation with your banking? If so, this post is for you!

We are all our own banker nowadays. Online banking has made it simple and easy for the individual to be in control of their finances. See your balance at any time of the day, move money around, pay bills without the need of a cheque book – it could not be more straightforward. (If you haven’t signed up for online banking yet I highly encourage you to do so – the steps below will be incredibly easy with it).

But when your salary comes in, what is your next move after that? Are you organised beyond knowing that ‘you will have enough’? Through trial and error I have developed an easy way to ensure that a) my bills are paid b) we top up our savings each month and c) we still have enough money left to last us until pay day.

How to be a savvy banker - Chase the Red Grape

Follow my 5 steps below for this weeks ‘5 Top Tips on a Tuesday’ and you too can feel confident, savvy and in control with your banking!

Work out your totals

Before we begin you really need to know exactly what is coming in and out of your account. If you have 2 salaries going in/ multiple jobs, figure out your total income for the family. You also need to look at all your bill payments. How much in total do you need in order to pay the bills? Include everything from mortgage, phone bills, utilities, magazine subscriptions, gym membership, credit card payments etc.

Create 3 accounts

You need 3 accounts – bills, savings and everyday accounts. If you wish, bills and savings can be online accounts only, then you do not need to worry about having too many cards. Have your salary come into the everyday account and payments coming from the bills account. Separation of these accounts is crucial in the simplicity and organisation of your finances – knowing what is ‘usable’ money and what needs to be kept aside.

Keep track with a monthly diary

In order to understand fully what you spend everyday, week in, week out, keep a spend diary. Break the month down into weeks and write down everything you buy. Receipts make this really easy to do – just keep hold of them and at the end of the day jot down what and where you have spent money. You only need to do this for one month if you wish, but it will really show you exactly how you spend your everyday money and where.

Assess your weekly spend

Once you have completed the diary you will see exactly where your money goes. Do you spend more than you thought? Has that coffee habit become a $$$ problem? Sit down with your partner and go through where you could save some money. Often seeing the hard truth in front of you is all the motivation you need to change! That $$$ coffee problem could be $$$ towards a holiday!

From this you will be able to figure out a weekly spend budget – this means that each week has an allocation of X amount of money. Try to stick within that budget. Doing this will ensure that week one and week four of each month has the same amount of money to spend – knowing that even the week before pay day will be a breeze – satisfaction indeed!

Also take a look at what goes out of your account in terms of bills. Did you realise your utilities were so high? Maybe time to change provider?

Income comes in – now divide

So, your total income arrives safely in the everyday account – what next? First you take out the amount required for payments and transfer into the bills account. Look at what is left – it is up to you to decide whether you want to put X amount into savings and leave the rest to divide up as a weekly budget or vice versa. For me, I have a weekly budget amount, I take that away from the total and whatever is left I transfer into our savings account.

See, it can be easy to be a savvy banker and know exactly what is going on with your finances! It takes me 5-10 minutes each month to divide the money into the 3 different accounts and then I don’t need to worry. And if you don’t have online banking, why not pop into your local branch to sign up – it really is a life game changer!

Do you feel organised with your banking?

Have you ever done a monthly spend diary?

Any other good tips you would add?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Friday Favourites – May 20

Hi all,

Have you ever had something where you just thought to yourself – ‘it’s time to let go’ – and just before you do, bam, something makes you think otherwise?

That’s how I feel right now about my herb garden. How do they cope with the seasons here!? My mint, which thrived from the insanely dry heat of the summer with little to no watering, has now wilted so badly that I just don’t know how it could come back. Then again, that’s exactly what I thought about my tomato and basil plant, which have suddenly gained a new lease of life. I hate seeing dead plants but don’t want to be too premature. Major cool points to rosemary and oregano though – you guys have stayed solid throughout.Friday - chase the red grape

So for now, I think I will leave it be. Maybe hide it behind a chair or something. Whatever made me think I could keep them alive when I don’t even know what to expect from the weather here is beyond me. Also I have the opposite of a green thumb – that’s why we live in an apartment!

Please say a prayer for my poor mint plant…. you never know….

Anyhoo, time now for some Friday Favourites! Let’s get to it!

Favourite… Moment – Iron Maiden ConcertIron Maiden - chase the red grape

One of my favourite bands, rocking a stage better than folk half their age! I did not want this night to end! Next time I might go for a standing ticket instead of seated – not for the view, but so I can dance – avoiding ‘the pit’ of course. Haha!

Favourite…Feeling – Nervously excited

I have a inter box CrossFit competition tomorrow, yeah now the feeling makes sense! I am excited but also nervous. I’m not the fastest, and I’m certainly not the strongest so probably wont make it beyond the first 4 inclusive WOD’s – but hey a) you never know and b) I just want to have fun with the folk at my box. Need to stop putting myself down with this one!

Favourite… Purchase – Gig T-shirtsIron Maiden tshirts - chase the red grape

Ah the gig T – so expensive yet 100% worth it. Also they last forever = winning!

Favourite… Food/Drink – Chobani Chilli Lime Ranch Dipchobani dip - chase the red grape

Whenever a new dip range comes out, I always check it out ingredients wise and I was stoked when I read this one and found no gunk. Some of the others in the range have canola oil in it which I avoid but this one is a ok with me and most importantly, tastes great! Oh and being yoghurt based means a tonne of protein – I like it even more!

Favourite… Link – 5 steps to focus on when planning a trip & BuzzFeed5 steps to focus on when planning a trip - chase the red grape

I loved writing this post which went up on Tuesday as a part of my ‘5 Top Tips on a Tuesday’ series. Check it out for inspiration and ideas on how to plan your trip this season – long or short.

And one for the BuzzFeed/ OCD lovers out there – these pictures left me feeling so satisfied… it’s liked the stars aligned with some of these – 29 Photos That Will Make You Breathe Easy

Favourite… Workout – Farmers Carries

I love a good old farmers carry, and loved their inclusion in our training this week. 2 x 16kg kettle bells, 400m… go! I only stopped once to readjust my grip and clocked in at 4 minutes 33. Next time will go for 2 x 20kg bells I think. Isn’t it funny when we don’t know why we love something, we just do?

Weekend Plans – Saturday – CrossFit competition… and food. Sunday – Pancakes and papers, beach if the weather permits and a general chill out!

Hope you have a fab weekend folks!

Linking up with Heather @LifeinLeggings

Name something you love but you don’t know why.

Have you ever bought a gig t-shirt?

You have to bring a dip to a party, what’s your ‘go-to’?

5 steps to focus on when planning a trip #5TTT

Hi all,

No matter where you are in the world, northern or southern hemisphere, chances are you are currently thinking about planning a trip. For those in the north, summer is coming and the chance to take a break, celebrate public holidays or have some fun in the sun is just too good to pass. For those in the south, we may be prepping for winter, but we also need something to break up those long months ahead (at least back in Scotland, winter = Christmas!).

It could be simply a long weekend away, a city break, a week at the beach or a jaunt to the other side of the world – whatever your holiday entails, it always requires a bit of planning beforehand. For many, this can be quite overwhelming – Where to start? What if I forget something? I don’t have much time! But stick to the basics and it will all come together nicely – making your trip stress free.

For this weeks ‘5 Top Tips on a Tuesday’ I bring to you 5 simple and easy steps to focus on when planning a trip. Grab a pen, paper and lets get to it!trip - chase the red grape

Step 1 – Work out a budget

Before you do anything else, figure out what your budget is for the entire trip. Sticking within the parameters of what you can afford will also make the trip more fun – knowing you aren’t returning to debt (or unmanageable debt) when you return. Talk to those involved on the trip and make sure you are on the same wavelength – including your partner.

Step 2 – Arrange travel and accommodation

2 big factors but a lot easier to work out when you have a budget in mind. Think specifics when it comes to travel – do you simply require a plane ticket or do you need a car when you arrive? If you are going on a road trip, make sure your car is ready for the journey (tyre pressure, oil, screen wash etc).

With accommodation, try and think out with the box – do you always stay at a hotel or do you fancy going self catering this time? How about camping or a bed and breakfast? Or you could even try AirBnB. If you are spending a lot of time out with the accommodation, what do you actually ‘need’ – is there any point in paying for extras if you won’t use them?

Step 3 – What are your top 3 ‘must do’s’ – make them a priority

Why are you going on this trip? Is the beach the main draw? Then focus your time around that. Are you going to visit family? Make sure you schedule in time so you aren’t rushed off your feet. Do you have a particular attraction you want to see? Check opening times to make sure your visit will be possible (so many attractions, for example, are closed on a Monday).

Step 4 – Keep space in your schedule for the unknown

Some tourists are planners, others like to go with the flow. But whichever category you fall into just make sure you schedule some time for the unknown. If you are going somewhere new, you never know what you might find and want to go visit, or opportunities you might be given. Even if you are simply going to visit family, keep a little extra time aside – you might just want to use it for rest!

Step 5 – Think of those little extras

So you have your budget, booked your travel and accommodation and know the 3 main things you want to do, see, visit on your trip. Now it’s time to think of those little extra details – most of them can be dealt with in the run up to the trip. My ‘little extras’ I always think about are; insurance (am I covered, do I need extra, is medical included?), transfers (how do I get to and from the airport?), weather (aka what clothes do I need to pack?), currency (if applicable) and checking to make sure passports, ID etc are all up to date. Take note of what your little extras are so that each time you plan a trip you have a checklist to go through.

Planning a trip doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Just stick to the basics and you will be fine… time to start daydreaming about the fun to come!

Are you a holiday planner?

Do you set yourself a budget?

What are some of your ‘little extras’?5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Week In Review – May 16

Hi all,

Well, I can add another item to my ‘life’s little adventures’ list. You know, that list we all have, consisting of ‘achievements’ of sorts… the ‘achievements’ that maybe we never really wished to experience in the first place but ended up surviving. Like secondary school, missing the last bus home, a monster hangover, getting locked out of your house/car etc.

This weekend, David and I got stuck in a lift (or elevator for my North American friends). We had done our weekly shop on Saturday, got in the lift with our goodies, pressed the third floor, went up and… the door wouldn’t open. We went back down and back up again… the door still wouldn’t open. We called the lift services, pressed more buttons, and still it wouldn’t open. The guy on the intercom told us it would be around an hour for an engineer to come out… but he would check in every 10 mins…Lift - chase the red grape

I don’t even know what was running through my mind. I wasn’t scared, but it wasn’t pleasant either. I think I was just happy that I wasn’t in their on my own. Some other residents who had heard us from the other side went to get staff members from our building to help. And to cut a long story short, 45 minutes later we walked out, the staff member having reset the lift which got it working again. (I am however slightly concerned that resetting the lift may not have actually been the best thing to do with people in there… I would have preferred the engineer…. but hey, we got out and that’s the main thing!).

So, here’s to another one of life’s little adventures! Ha!

And speaking of adventures, let’s check out what else has been going on in my world. Time to get listing, the highs, lows, the big and small, all the achievements from the past week in ‘Week in Review’ – thanks Meg for bringing us all together in the link up!week in review - chase the red grape

Sorted out the monthly finances/ banking

Did the weekly shop, mid week shop and whizz around the farmers market for fruit, veg, milk and eggs

Took time out to read – I think it helps when Harry Potter is so addicting!Harry Potter - Chase the Red Grape

Made breakfast, lunch and dinner for David and I all week – meal planning and food prepping at the weekend.

Did the washing and the ironing – mostly sports wear this week which equals hardly any ironing! Hooray! (David does his own shirts and work trousers)

Wrote 3 blog posts and responded to all commentscook - chase the red grape

Whipped up a batch of kombucha and started the next brew

Helped David with backgrounds for his work presentation

Submitted an article for the GreenGoodnessCo blog

Studied for my ETP coaches coursesnack - chase the red grape

Trained 4 times in the week – and achieved more PR’s!

Bought a radiator – for the apartment when it gets super chilly

Screamed and sang my heart out at Saturday nights Iron Maiden gig – it was outstanding!Iron Maiden - chase the red grape

Submitted my article for June’s edition of The Australian Times – An online publication and I write for the ‘Health’ magazine (Click here to subscribe, it’s free).

And finally, I got David hooked on ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ – Pinot Noir will ever be stuck in his head!

Have a fab week everybody!

Have you ever been stuck in a lift?

Name one of your ‘life’s little adventures’ that was awful at the time but you are glad you can brag about it now?

Tell me something you achieved last week?

Friday Favourites – May 13

Hi all,

So I think I am finally getting to grips with seasons and the weather around here.

Last week I was frozen and it was tough! Then I remembered what happened when we first arrived back in August (mid winter). The houses and apartments here have zero insulation – why would you when 6 months out of the year you want it as cold as possible inside! Therefore when the temps lower during the night, it never really gets warm again indoors.

So this week, I have been getting outside/ opening the windows… life changer! It seems crazy to open the windows during the winter to heat your home – but hey, since when has Australia been anything but odd! I have actually left home with my jacket and scarf and not even half way down the street had to take them off as I was so warm. One day I will fully understand you Australia!

I sure do hope you all have a sunny weekend ahead of you, regardless of where you are in the world. No matter how tough a week you may have had, some sunshine is always the cure!Friday - chase the red grape

Time now for some Friday Favourites – with one new item (replacing the recipe section) – my favourite link of the week!

Favourite…Moment – Reading timeHarry Potter - Chase the Red Grape

This week I have really been trying to get some more time in to rest and read. That half an hour just before David comes home seems to be the perfect time to wind down, have a cup of tea and read. On to the 4th Harry Potter now (The Goblet of Fire) – I swear these books surprise me every time I read them and I have read them so many times!

Favourite…Feeling – Excitement!

Tomorrow David and I are going to see Iron Maiden and I am so excited! I saw them back in 2011 and it was incredible – what a show. I know this one will be bigger and better!

Favourite…Purchase – New Converse chucks!Converse - Chase the Red Grape

So our shopping trip last Saturday was a success. I got my much needed jeans and had been looking around for a pair of shoes for the winter (remember it doesn’t really rain much here). I wasn’t expecting to spend a chunk of money but David knew I loved these shoes and that they would last so made me try them on! I adore them!

Favourite…Food/Drink – Pic Peanut ButterPic PB - Chase the Red Grape

There are so many more choices of natural (no junk) PB’s over here in Australia, it’s great. We have tried many but have found a firm favourite in Pic. A little more than the others in terms of cost but the quality is outstanding. And I think I have finally realised I am a smooth over chunky gal – used to be the other way around!

Favourite…Link – ‘We need to talk about what the fuck happened to generation Y’

As a member of generation Y, this BuzzFeed article cracked me up! Why on earth have we been suddenly lumped in with ‘millennials’?!

Favourite…Workout – DT vs Karen

This week was heavy and hard – but it was great!

Today we had a heavy and intense session with DT (5 rounds – 12 deadlifts, 9 hang power cleans, 6 push jerks) combined in with Karen (150 wall balls). But I was surprised as I managed to do it faster than my single DT and Karen times combined – how I don’t know, maybe tactical pacing, maybe I am just stronger than I was when I last did those WODs. But I was very happy with my time!

Weekend Plans – Saturday – Farmers market, weekly shop, watching CrossFit regionals and Iron Maiden! Sunday – Pancakes, maybe the beach…. but definitely more regionals!

Linking up with Heather over @LifeinLeggings

What book are you reading right now?

What was the last gig you went to/ have coming up?

Do you have a favourite PB/ nut butter?

What I ate Wednesday – May 11

Hi all,

How do you feel when you plate up your food? Do you spend time making it look pretty? Do you section everything out or mix it all up? Do you even take presentation into account?

I was thinking about this yesterday as I took photos of my food for ‘What I ate Wednesday’. I didn’t do anything special, popped everything on the plate as I would have normally, snapped a picture and happily went and ate.WIAW- chase the red grape

What you see here is as it is and always would be if you came by to stay. With the exception of my pre dinner raisin toast… no one needs to see half charred (just how I like it) bread slathered in butter.

Linking up with @PeasandCrayons and giving a massive high five to the host of today’s party. Here are my eats from yesterday, a training day in Jen land.

Pre training – Unpictured hot water and lemon (every day like clockwork)

Post training – Protein shake and dates x 4shake - chase the red grape

Please note that a) we were going through a tunnel, hence the shades in the dark and b) no I am not driving, in Australia (and in the UK) the driver is on the right.

Breakfast – Eggs with ketchup, Oats with PB & J (followed by lashings of almond milk), tea and waterbreakfast - chase the red grape

Mid morning snack at the library – Coffee, corn cakes and pistachiossnack - chase the red grape

Lunch – Stir fry time! Chopped kangaroo burgers, cauli rice, squash and peaslunch - chase the red grape

Late afternoon snack – ½ of this delicious Lindt coconut bar along with a glass of kombucha and a small glass of milk… drunk separately of course!Lindt - chase the red grape

David needed to do some chicken grilling tonight for dinner… we do have an awesome view!grilling - chase the red grape

Dinner – Grilled chicken, sweet potato mash, beets and feta (sorry for the bad lighting… it was pitch black outside!)dinner - chase the red grape

Pre bed – As mentioned, 2 slices of this bread covered in butter… looked terrible, tasted amazing!pure bred - chase the red grape

Want more ideas and inspiration? Check out my post from yesterday on ‘How to be a good cook’!

Do you take much notice of how your food is presented?

What is your favourite thing to grill?

What snack do you pack if you are heading out?

How to be a good cook #5TTT

Hi all,

Now I’m not one to toot my own horn, in fact I find it rather difficult. But there are a few things in this world I know I can do – and one of them is cook.

I could never be a chef, and you wont see me doing MasterChef or My Kitchen Rules on the TV anytime soon but I know how flavours work and how to whip up a tasty, nutritious, yummy plate of food.

I’m not a recipe creator and tend to let quality ingredients speak for themselves, hence why you don’t see any recipes (or very few) up on this blog, they would all be too simple!

But I adore being in the kitchen and cooking, even if it is everyday food for David and I.

How did I get to this point? It wasn’t a talent inherited/ taught to me by my mum (sorry mum but I’m sure you will agree with me!) and I had plenty of university meal fails, living off instant noodles or beans on toast. Instead I went on a journey with food and I keep learning to this day.cook - chase the red grape

For this weeks 5 top tips on a Tuesday, I take my experience on becoming a good cook and break it down into simple, easy steps anyone can do.  We can all be good cooks!

Get in the kitchen

Get to know your workspace and surround yourself with the tools needed to make good food – a non stick pan and a good sharp knife. There may be many other things you will find you need/ want but many dishes can be made from these two things. Learn how to work your oven/ stove/ microwave/ grill – do this in advance before you start cooking, otherwise it could lead to unnecessary stress.

Read, watch and learn

Now be a sponge and absorb! Read recipe blogs, cookbooks and magazines. Watch your favourite cooking programmes. Pick up hints and tips on how to use ingredients, how to prep them, temperatures for cooking different foods, what pairs well with what. You don’t need to make these recipes specifically – just look for ideas.

Experiment

Start cooking! You will never learn how to cook without trying. Experiment with different meats, veggies, herbs, spices. Throw some bits you have in your refrigerator in a pan and see if it works. Take some free time to experiment – and don’t try this when stressed, it will reflect in your food! Learn from your triumphs and mistakes.

Release expectation and cook from the heart

It doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact most things I cook aren’t ‘perfect’. Let go of that sense of expectation – you may find your dish looks exactly like it does in the book but what if it doesn’t? Who cares! Just cook from the heart and see what the outcome is. Some of my food looks random, but tastes amazing and for me, that’s the main thing.

Keep it simple

As much as we would all love to be able to create amazing French Patisserie, for the majority of us, this ain’t gonna happen, not without a lot of training! Stick to the basics, especially at the beginning. Want to bake? Try a traybake or some granola bars to start rather than a 3 tier masterpiece. Cooking a brunch? try making a fritatta or casserole rather than eggs Benedict. People will always appreciate simplicity done well rather than complexity – including when cooking for yourself!

It won’t happen overnight but keep the above in mind and you will soon find yourself whipping up delicious meals in no time. There is hope for us all, including my mum!5 top tips on a tuesday - chase the red grape

Are you a good cook?

What was your best/ worst experiment in the kitchen?

What is your favourite simple meal? (For me, it’s eggs)

Friday Favourites – May 06

Hi all,

It is officially cold here. Ok so ‘cold’ in Perth is still 20C (68F) but when you have been used to temperatures that are double that for the past 6 months, this is cold.

It’s really odd to wear a jumper and socks again. I never thought I would see the day where vest tops, sandals and shorts would be the norm for me – and I do miss it so much. Although it’s nice to sleep under a duvet again – that is a really comforting cosiness!

Want to hear something odd? The one time I don’t feel the cold is first thing in the morning (when Perth really is at it’s chilliest). I head to CrossFit at 5.30am in shorts and a tshirt and don’t feel the chill at all, compared to my training buds who are donning jumpers and trousers until we warm up. Strange but an oddity that is quite good to have!Friday - chase the red grape

Well folks here we are at Friday again and I’m ready to rock with some of my favourites from this week – lets get the party started!

Favourite… Moment – The Jungle Book

So last Saturday we went to see The Jungle Book. I literally had no expectations – I love the 1967 Disney but was curious and a little worried about this live action remake. Well, it was absolutely fantastic! The graphics were so good but not ‘too good’ so that they were gimmicky, like so many of these types of films have been. The telling of the story was perfect and more accurate to Kipling’s original story. I would recommend anyone to see it, the perfect tale for all ages. (Oh and we just saw it in simple 2D, I wouldn’t have imagined it would have been any better in 3D).

Favourite… Feeling – Hiking Posthike.trail walk - chase the red grape

For this weeks ‘5 Top Tips on a Tuesday’ I brought to you 5 tips on hiking/ trail walking and I just loved writing this post! I really do love being outdoors and exploring – my passion is only increasing since we have moved to Australia. And if it encourages any of you to get outdoors and breathe in some fresh air then even better!

Favourite… Purchase – New jeans?

I am going to pre-empt this one… I have finally admitted that I cannot live in shorts no more so therefore I need trousers. If you know me, you know I don’t have many clothes and don’t really enjoy shopping for myself (or spending money) so this is a big one. Being a 6ft 1 CrossFitter doesn’t help either – it will be like finding Cinderella’s glass slipper with this one!

Favourite… Food/Drink – New Lindt Coconut BarLindt - chase the red grape

Lindt dark chocolate is food of the gods – my favourite is definitely the dark chocolate and hazelnut bar (the chunky not thin one) but I always enjoy trying the new flavours. This one has just been released over here and you can get it in ball or bar format. This is definitely a health food that’s ‘good for the soul’ – so delicious!

Favourite… Recipe – Eating the same

Nothing in the blogsphere really jumped out recipe wise this week – don’t get me wrong, there were plenty killer eats out there, especially for Cinco de Mayo, but nothing I ‘must make now’.

To be honest, we pretty much eat the same week in and out and it works so well for us! Variety but repetition. Let me give you an example of my weekly breakfasts

Monday – thai omlette, brussel sprouts and rice

Tuesday – eggs and oats with PB&Jeggs and oats - chase the red grape

Wednesday – eggs, asparagus, toast with jam

Thursday – same as Monday

Friday – same as Tuesday

Saturday – eggs, turkey, greens, toast and jam

Sunday – pancakes

So I get variety, but because it’s planned out I don’t even need to think about it!

Favourite… Workout – Deadlifts

I got a new 5RM PR this week on my deadlift – but that’s not why it was my favourite aspect of training this week. What I loved is the fact that I have finally found a technique that works for me, keeps my back locked out solid and therefore keeps great form. Doing deadlifts and having long legs don’t really mix (unless you are doing sumo deadlifts) so after some study from my coach, a few tweaks and boom, we have found it! I will spare you the specifics but let me know if you want more info!coffee - chase the red grape

(Post WOD iced coffee this morning)

Weekend Plans – Saturday – farmers market, weekly shop and then some dreaded clothes shopping… glad David will be there to keep me going! A much needed shop but already exhausted from the sound of it… Sunday – pancakes, papers, beach and chill!

Linking up with Heather over @LifeinLeggings

Have a great weekend everyone!

Do you feel warm or cold first thing in the morning?

How do you view clothes shopping – love or hate?

What is your favourite Lindt flavour?