Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Two

My second week of 2015 was a complete relaxation indulgence. I was so lucky to have an extra week of holidays and to be able to spend it just nesting inside our house experimenting with food, doing some writing and reading, catching up on blog stuff, going for long walks and runs along the waterfront, and cleaning up the house ready for my step back into the real world on Monday. Nourishing for mind, body, and soul. I just feel so completely whole after this week – a good start to 2015 for sure. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Two:

Cupcakes for chris

Monday: Chris went back to work today. The house was lonely without him. After a workout I went out to pamper myself with some sales shopping. Though it is definitely shallow I had a great time trying on pretty things and buying a few new clothes for work and play. I was grateful for some selfish girly time and that I got to come home and make Chris a delicious dinner after his first day back.

Tuesday: Today I found out that Medibank’s BeMagazine featured another one of my recipes! I am grateful to their social media team for featuring Thoroughly Nourished Life’s recipes. I was also grateful to break out my new Christmas present – my KitchenAid! I whipped up a batch of cupcakes for Chris to take to work. I love my new mixer. I just need to find a perfect name for her (yes, I am an appliance namer. My laptop’s name is Ralph).

medibank featureWednesday: After a lazy morning making a start on my USA history reading list (gotta be prepared for our trip this year!) I went for a run (gotta be prepared for my upcoming race on 1st Feb) and then spent the rest of the day in the kitchen. I was grateful that my soft boiled eggs turned out for the photographs, and for the yummy lunch after I had finished.

eggs and salad

Thursday: I had a deliciously active day with a 30 minute interval workout in the morning and a long walk along the water in the afternoon. I was grateful to break a sweat because I spent the remainder of the day curled up with movies and some writing ideas. When Chris came home from work he brought me beautiful flowers and my favourite chocolate too. I am grateful for this man’s sweet gestures.

flowers from chris

Friday: Today I spent a pleasant walk to start the day and then got to work trialling a new cupcake recipe! I have finally created a fluffy, moist gluten free vanilla cupcake that uses all wholegrain flours! Then I enjoyed my sampler cupcake while I watched Frasier and planned blog stuff. Tonight Chris and I enjoyed a ‘Stay-cation Date’ with our favourite take-away choices (yay, sushi!) and more West Wing. My last day official day of holidays was lazy but I am grateful for the downtime before another busy year of work.

vanilla cupcakes

Saturday: First market trip for the year! Mum, Jess and I had a long catch up and I filled our refrigerator with lots of healthy, yummy seasonal fruits and vegetables. After the markets I went for an 11km run (long training run, yay!) and this afternoon Chris and I took in an afternoon session of ‘The Imitation Game‘. This movie, the man and the truth behind the story, fascinate me. The sad societal truths around the time that lead to the sad ending of Alan Turing’s life makes me so grateful to be able to love who I love, and pursue a relationship without being persecuted.

Sunday: Every weekend I take a walk along the bay on Sunday morning. I am so grateful for the opportunity to live in such a beautiful location while we are waiting for our home to be built. I am grateful for the scenery, and for watching the storms roll in and out over the water. A nice, slow, sky-watching end to my holiday.

Also this week:

  • Back-to-work quick breakfasts and snacks are easy, delicious and healthy with my latest muffin recipe
  • My latest nourished life bowl is filled with brown rice, summer vegetables, and rich soft-boiled eggs
  • BeMagazine featured my Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing!

Tell me, friends, what are you grateful for this week? Any exciting happenings this weekend?

Reflections on 2014 and Goals for 2015

We are firmly within the New Year now and I am taking some time to reflect on the year past and to dream about the next 363 days ahead.

2014 in review

Reflections

Every year brings different gifts. Sometimes these gift are hard to see because we need time and patience to unwrap them and appreciate what they have brought to our life. With some distance, and the date marker on my calender now firmly sitting in 2015, I can reflect on the gift that 2014 brought: self-awareness.

Self-awareness is something that I will continue to work on for the rest of my life, but 2014 brought many opportunities to learn that I need to listen to myself – my body, and my heart. I started the year having my body breakdown on me, and going through having my gallbladder removed has made me super aware of what is going on with my body, and learning to take heed if things don’t feel quite right, or take things up a notch if I am feeling great! Earlier this year I also made the decision to leave university with my graduate diploma (I graduated in December) rather than pressure myself to complete my Master’s thesis while also trying to work. Once the decision was made I felt lighter, freer, happier and I have been able to devote myself to my other passions (like my blog) and watch them grow.

This gift of self-awareness has also made me pay attention to how I react when I am in a overly-anxious, highly-stressed, or uncertain state. I have learned that when I feel this way I need to step back, take a breath, take a break, go for a walk, take a nap – do something kind for myself and restful for my brain. I need to just leave the situation and come back down to normal. The personal journey of this year has also made me aware of how I feel about my relationship with Chris: I am so lucky. 2014 has made me aware that I am lucky to have found someone who makes me a better version of myself, someone who is my friend as well as my partner.

2014 has brought me the gift of self-awareness and I am grateful.

self awareness

Goals from 2014

At the beginning of 2014 I set myself three goals to achieve:

  1. Run the Cadbury Half Marathon
  2. Finish my Master’s thesis (get that cap and gown ready)
  3. Move into our own home with Chris (time to find our own little cottage)

Unlike other years where I have set myself long, long lists of goals, I actually achieved all of these (with some minor adjustments). I ran the Cadbury Half Marathon in January in 2:21:38. I was super happy with that time. I finished university with my Graduate Diploma, and Chris and I bought a house! Tick, tick, tick. I am so happy that I was able to achieve these.

2015

Goals for 2015

I’ll be honest, I had no resolutions or goals ready for the New Year when the clock struck 12 and the fireworks started. In fact, I was already tucked cosily into my bed and slept straight through the merriment. So, I have given myself the last two days to have a think about what I would like to achieve over the next 12 months. At the risk of exposing myself too much, here for the whole internet to see, here are my goals for this blessed year 2015:

  1. Travel to the USA with Chris
  2. Submit a manuscript for a book
  3. Complete the Atlas Multisport 10km race series
  4. Move into our own home

For now, I’m going to put my feet up and get to planning how I am going to achieve these goals.

Have you set yourself any goals for 2015? How did you go with your goals from 2014?

Pool day

 

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Fifty-One

This Gratitude List is coming to you a little late because today is my first official day of holidays! So last night, I stayed up late reading until my eyes hurt, slept in a little, and went for a run before I sat down to reflect on the week past. Can you believe that Christmas is here already? I am excited to spend time with my family and Chris’s family, to go to the beach for a couple of days, and to relax and unwind after a big 2014. Here is my reflection about the past week in my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Fifty-One:

cookies

Monday: Today was marked by a tragedy in Sydney, which didn’t end until the small hours of Tuesday morning. I was grateful to come home to Chris and talk to my family, grateful that they were safe and sound. My heart goes out to the families of the victims, and to the survivors.

 

Tuesday: Today was my Dad’s birthday! I am so grateful to have this wonderful man as my father. He has taught me so many lessons about love, patience, hard work, having fun, seeking challenges, being creative, and believing in myself. I love you Dada, and I am incredibly grateful for all the sacrifices you and Mum have made over the years so that Jess and I have had the best lives possible. I was grateful to gather together with our family after work and celebrate this wonderful man.

Dad's birthday cake

Wednesday: This morning I kept my healthy holiday promise to myself and got up early for a run along the bay. We are in for a long hot summer this year, but I was grateful to feel the heat on my skin and the ocean breeze as I started my day in the best way possible.

sunrise run

Thursday: Today was an amazing day at work. We started the day with a morning tea gathering where we all brought plates to share and thanked each other for the year of hard work. I was grateful to gather and share a moment of Christmas cheer with my colleagues. This afternoon I finished the last report of the year, and sent it off right on time with no problems or extra re-work. I was grateful for the help of everyone to get it finished, and kind of proud of myself too. I ended my day with a holiday dinner with friends where we ate way too much pasta and ice cream and had a grand old time doing so!

chocolate cupcakes

Friday: Today my friend Jess and I went for our usual Christmas lunch and sat out in the sunshine talking about our plans for the holidays – she and her husband Bruno are in Burma as we speak! I am grateful to have a friend like Jess at work, and grateful that we have become friends outside work too. This afternoon I left work an hour early (it was only three of us and the crickets at the end anyway) and took the extra time to go for a big walk along the bay and let the stress of the year melt away.

Saturday: This morning I met up with Mum and Jess (sister this time) for breakfast at the markets. There were so many people out and about this morning! We stuck together, fought our way through the crowds and had a great time firming up plans for Christmas Eve. After the markets I went for a great run, and then Chris and I headed to Mum and Dad’s place to spend the night in the company of friends at our annual ‘Family Christmas Dinner’. I got to catch up with dear friends and neighbours and eat a feast too! Chris and I were the last to leave and I was grateful that we had a wonderful night filled with laughter and big love. And puppy cuddles too.

Molly and me

Sunday: I woke to an overcast Christmas weekend morning and spent some time padding around and writing up a post for the blog before I headed to the cinema for a date with Mum, Mormor, and Jess to see ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. it was such a great start to the holidays and really got me in the Christmas spirit. We had a spot of lunch after the film and I was grateful for time with some of my favourite ladies. When I got home I curled up in bed and had a really long nap: a perfectly indulgent end to the weekend.

Also this week:

  • If you are in need of an indulgent Christmas dessert, or even a host/hostess present my Frosted Peppermint Brownies (gluten free) are the perfect treat
  • You can indulge and still fit into your jeans in the New Year, check out my Healthy Holiday tips!
  • My favourite holiday recipe, and one of my favourite cookie recipes is my Mum’s Mixed Spice Cookies (gluten free) you should make them this holiday week!

Tell me, dear reader, what are you grateful for this week?

Have a Healthy Holiday

You can have a healthy holiday season! I love to indulge over Christmas – there is just so much good stuff to try! But I also love knowing that my New Year’s Day isn’t going to be filled with regret and too-tight skinny jeans. This holiday season I am striving for balance. Balancing cookies with smoothies; nights on the couch with hot yoga or massive walking sessions with my sister; and long ‘to do’ lists with periods of stillness.

Let’s all have a happy, healthy holiday this Christmas 2014 and get 2015 off to a nourished start!

smoothie ingredients

Keep it healthy when you can: FOOD! Glorious FOOD! It is everywhere at this time of year, and you just know that I love me cookies of all kinds, candy canes, whipped cream on pretty much everything, and big scoops of ice cream to help beat the heat. From the office to the shopping centre to parties and everywhere in between this time of year is all about the food. I am okay with that. When I can though I keep it super healthy: yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, big salads for lunch and dinners when we are at home, and minimal snacking. That way when I do indulge I can enjoy it and know that I am going to be back on track at the next meal.

Make it about something other than food: I know what I just said above, but sometimes all the FOOD gets to me and I need to remember that there are so many other things to enjoy about this season: time with family, visiting people’s Christmas displays, more time for reading, seeing friends – there are so many other things to focus on other than the food. Put in some quality time with the ones you love and leave the cookies alone for a while if you need to.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Let yourself indulge: When you do indulge, absolve yourself of guilt. Don’t even let it in the door. The best way to ruin a Christmas get together with friends and family is to worry about how many calories you are going to eat, and how you are going to burn them off. Trust me – I’ve been there, and worrying about food is the best way to trigger a binge and suck all the fun out of the indulgence of the season. Take a deep breath. Let yourself enjoy the yummy things your friends and family have created to enjoy with you. Eat your favourites, try something new and delicious, and rest assured that you can indulge without getting off the rails.

run christmas

Get a Quick Fix: I love long walks on the beach while I’m away, but I also need to work up a bigger sweat sometimes in between cookie, wine, or cheese consumption. HIIT is the perfect answer for holiday workouts that really deliver results. For an at-home workout I write down a list of 10 exercises – a  mix of weighted exercises (like squats with shoulder press) and cardio (skipping or step-ups onto a sturdy chair) and then run through it for 15 minutes without stopping. Rest for a minute and repeat. 30 minutes later I am sweaty and happy!

Try something new! I love trying out new types of exercise with my sister. We are both totally uncoordinated and willing to laugh at ourselves (and each other) so working up a sweat becomes a laughing session as well – it must burn some extra calories! We just finished up a free trial of some gym classes and this summer we are going to work on our balance with some hot yoga classes. Hilarity shall ensue. Find a friend, find a class that you haven’t tried and work up a seasonal sweat! You’ll be ahead of the game when the new year comes around – and you might have just found an exercise buddy to keep you motivated well after January 31st.

walks with storm and Jess

Check yourself before you wreck yourself: I am the queen of stress, the empress of loading myself down with way too many things to accomplish. I have learned (with a lot of help from Chris) that I need to check in with myself and ask myself whether all the things on my ‘to do’ list are necessary. Will people be disappointed because I only baked cupcakes and didn’t get time to do the cookies? Or am I better off making the cupcakes and enjoying myself, and leaving time to watch ‘West Wing’ with Chris? I’m learning that I cannot do it all, and that’s okay. So take a red pen to that ‘To Do’ list and cross out the overload.

Take some time to breathe: Further to my point above – take some time out of the shopping, baking, wrapping, visiting – and just spend some time on yourself! Find the quiet corner of a cafe, order a seasonal beverage and let yourself get lost in a book; schedule a massage and let the therapist work out the seasonal tension from your body; line up your favourite snacks along the side of the couch, make yourself a cup of tea, pop in a Christmas movie, and settle in for the slow down; pop in your headphones, turn up the Mariah Christmas album (you have it, everyone does) and walk until you have zoned out. Just find an activity that makes you feel nourished inside, away from the hustle and bustle and unnecessary pressure.

Pool day

Take time to enjoy the moment: The most important part of the season is family and friends. Stop, look around, and realise how many hearts touch yours and how many people you have to be grateful for in your life. Be in the moment with those loved ones, and carry that gratitude in your heart all year long.

Okay folks, these are my tips for a healthy Thoroughly Nourished Life holiday season! What are your tips for staying healthy and happy over the festive season?

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Nine

Dear Week Forty-Nine 2014, you were very intense, let’s not do that for a while, m’kay? Still, you contained a lot of good things too, and coming to the end of the year there is so much to be grateful for. While I eat a massive bowl of watermelon (yay summer!) and watch a documentary on sharks, let’s take some time to reflect on what happened and all there was to be grateful for in my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Nine.

wall hanging

Monday: The first day of the month! I was grateful for a reminder from Leonie Dawson that we still have a month left of 2014 and the chance to make it a perfect one. Not perfect as in everything will go right and all events tied with a big red holiday bow, but perfect for  practicing gratitude and trying to spend more time with family and friends.

Tuesday: Today I was grateful to wake up early for a workout. I always feel better when I start my day with my heart beating loud and summer sweat dripping off my face. It makes sitting in an office for 9 hours a lot more tolerable too!

run happy

Wednesday: Today was a long one at work. 13.5 hours long to be exact. When I got home from work I was grateful to see Chris. I was also incredibly grateful that he got dinner for me, and tucked me into bed when I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I am grateful for this man who steps up to the mark when work demands are high.

Thursday: Another long day that I won’t bore you with, but I was grateful for my colleagues today. One of the guys in the logistics department treated me to a cup of coffee for helping out their team, and one of the other ladies in the office stayed behind to help me to get out some files that were rushed last minute at the end of the day.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFriday: When I woke up this morning I just didn’t feel right, and after two days of hard work my body just needed a rest. I was grateful for a day of pottering around the kitchen, feeling the spirit of the season starting to come to life.

linzertorte

Saturday: Today I joined Mum and Jess at the markets for breakfast and fitted in an intense run before heading to lunch with my family to celebrate my Mormor’s 80th birthday! I am grateful to still have her in my life, and to be able to learn from and listen to stories from her life in Denmark, as a newcomer to Australia, and as a single mother to three little girls in the 60s and 70s. She has taught me so much about being a person in the world and striving for the best you can do, but enjoying what you have while you are working hard for your dreams.

Sunday: This morning Mum and I finished making Christmas cards, Dad finished decorating the outside of the house, and I snuck a slice of Linzer Torte for breakfast. I was grateful for a Christmas filled morning with Mum before visiting the gym and snuggling inside the house to finish decorating our Christmas tree with Chris.

Christmas treeAlso this week:

  • This week got off to a sweet and spicy start with my gluten free Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
  • I adapted my Mum’s family recipe for Linzer Torte to a gluten free friendly version and we were all second-slice happy with the results.
  • Christmas calls for some time with my favourite authors, including Nora Roberts, I stole, ahem, borrowed The Witness from Mum and I am really enjoying it.

Tell me dear readers, what are you grateful for this week? How are your Christmas or holiday decorations and plans coming along? 

 

 

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Seven

This post is coming to you a little later than usual because my weekend was packed! I was ‘Out to Live’ and I have come back feeling nourished: mind, body, and soul. The time away from the screen was worth it because I feel refreshed and ready to launch into some seasonal celebrations and share some delicious recipes with you all. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List Week Forty-Seven:

roasted nuts

Monday: I love it when Monday nights end with a sweat session with my sister and tonight we headed to a Body Pump class together after work. I was grateful for the activity after sitting in my office chair all day and grateful to have Jess to giggle with (we are both so uncoordinated) and support each other when we challenged ourselves with heavier weights, or the harder moves.

Tuesday: I am going through some major long run withdrawals at the moment and I’m not doing the Cadbury Half Marathon again until 2016, so today I started having a look to see if there were some shorter races closer to home that had something a little different about them. I have found a race series on the coast that looks amazing, and 10km will be a good distance to work up to again and concentrate on getting faster! I am grateful that I have a strong, healthy body (once my iron levels are up again) and the opportunity to have fun with running.

Wednesday: this afternoon the skies turned black. After a long, muggy day the storm was coming in. Bolts of lightening struck the airfields across from my office and the streets quickly became rivers. I was grateful to make it home safely to Chris, and to spend the night listening to the rain.

blue skies

Thursday: today after work I got to pick up two very important parcels from the airport – Mum and Dad!! After nearly three weeks in New Zealand they made their way back home and I was so happy to see them! I was so grateful to see them and to hear that they had a wonderful holiday. The photos that I have seen have made it clear that Chris and I need to get to New Zealand soon!

Friday: this morning while I was out for my run I came around the last corner and tripped over on the pavement. I skinned my knees, bloodied my hands, and jarred my elbows but I was so lucky that my injuries are just external. I was grateful that Mum and Dad bandaged me up and made me some breakfast and that I had an easy morning at work. Tonight I was grateful to spend a night with Mum and Dad looking at some of their photos and watching a movie.

fall

Saturday: Mum, Jess, and I made our return to the markets this morning. I was grateful for a creamy cappuccino and stocking up on lots of fresh produce to fuel Chris and I through the week. Then I came home and got to experimenting with some seasonal treats that will be perfect as homemade gifts this Christmas! I was grateful for a long afternoon walk to make up for all the taste testing 🙂 Also, Chris bought me the cutest Christmas decoration because he’s just that sweet!

rudy

Sunday: today is the reason this post is coming to you a little late! I woke up and got out for my run this morning and two dogs ran through traffic when they saw me. Luckily a car stopped to help me and the gentleman got out and called the number on one of the dog’s collars and they were,swiftly returned to their owner. I was grateful for the kindness of strangers. Then Chris and I made our way to the other side of town to celebrate my brother in law’s birthday – Happy Birthday Trent! In the afternoon all the girls gathered for some tea, treats, and linen party shopping. I was grateful to catch up with so many of my friends, new and old, and to get a good lot of my Christmas shopping done. A very lovely, soul nourishing Sunday afternoon.

run harbour

Also this week:

  • I shared my first attempt at gluten free pastry, and a perfect early summer supper.
  • I can’t help myself, the holiday season is here to stay in our house already!

Tell me dear reader, what are you grateful for this week?

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Seven

This week has been full of precious moments with friends old and new, and time with my family. I have also been thinking about taking opportunities when they come knocking. Sometimes you have to take the leap, you have to chance the fall in the hope that you might fly. The comfort of staying the same, of continuing to loop in the same behaviour pattern is a strong draw, but somewhere underneath that anaesthesia lies the temptation of dancing to a new tune and being rewarded with success. What do you think, dear reader?

manly waterfront

Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Seven:

Monday: I started this week with a day full of activity. An early morning Jillian Michaels’ workout and an afternoon run. I was grateful to sleep well tonight, and grateful for this body that carries me through each and every day.

Tuesday: Today I had a text message cartoon conversation with Caroline about grammar. I am so grateful for these tiny points of connection to the important people in my life in the simplest of ways, and for the laughter and smiles they bring.

Wednesday: Today I wasn’t feeling the best, and when I came home this evening I was grateful to just rest and recharge with Chris. We even made it out of the house for an evening run along the water.

stuffed capsicums

Thursday: Today I had a bad low blood pressure day. They happen once in a while, and while I relaxed and concentrated on getting my stress levels down (one of my biggest triggers) I realised that I was grateful for the chance to step back for a moment, and grateful that my body has ways of telling me to slow down and look around at the wonderful things in my life that I have to be grateful for.

Friday: Recently I connected with bemagazine: an online magazine from Generation Better by Medibank and they are featuring two of my recipes over the next few weeks. Today they published the first recipe! I am so grateful for this opportunity to connect with an initiative that is supporting and rewarding people who are making healthy changes in their lives.

coriander salad

Saturday: Tonight Chris and I got all fancied up and went to my ten year high school reunion! I cannot believe it has been that long since I donned my uniform every day and spent my hours doing math problems, writing speeches in English, and huddling over a Bunsen burner with Caroline, Josie, and my other high school friends. Although it has been a long time, and time does leave some cobwebs over connections, I was grateful to see the people who shared some of the most important years of my younger life.

Sunday: This morning Chris and I went over to have morning tea with Mum and Dad. We sat and chatted and Dad and I washed my car. I was grateful to start a relaxing Sunday off with a quiet moment with my family and some hugs and kisses from my favourite malamute.

mum and molly

Also this week:

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Three

Right now I am curled up in bed extra warm and cosy and nearly ready to close my eyes and start another great week of food, fitness, family, friends and books. This week has been good to me, and I have been given cause lately to look around my own life and realise just how lucky I am, and how grateful I should be, to be in such a good place in my life. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Three:

Monday: Today Chris and I woke up and realised we didn’t have to go to work! The glory of a vacation Monday is not to be underestimated. My Monday started with a chair by the window, a book in my hand, and the sun streaming down on my back. After a lazy day and a great run, Chris took me to the movies! We saw Guardians of the Galaxy, and despite my loyalty to Captain America, I have to recommend it. A delightful superhero romp. I was grateful for my holiday Monday. I think a shot of this every now and again is the best thing to counteract the everyday type Mondays.

Monday breakfast in the sun

Tuesday: Today I woke up like I had jumping beans under my skin – we were off to SeaWorld! I felt like a little kid again and I couldn’t keep still until we finally arrived at the theme park gates. Mum joined Chris and I and acted as our expert tour guide and bag holder extraordinaire (thanks Mum!). We saw the polar bears, the penguins, and the sharks; Chris discovered a new talent in feeding sting rays (seriously they were charmed by him even when he didn’t have a fish to feed them); and on the way back home we decided to stop in at MovieWorld to ride the rollercoasters. I am so grateful that in the whole wide world I found Chris who loves rollercoasters just as much as I do. We whooped and yahooed like teenagers and felt our hearts leap in our chests with every loopy-de-loop. That night we had dinner at Mum and Dad’s place before falling into our bed exhausted by an adventure-filled day. I am grateful that Chris and I had the opportunity to buy year-long theme park passes, to spend a great day out with Mum and Chris, and see Dad and Molly that night. Such a happy day.

chris and I movieworld

Wednesday: Today was our last day of holidays (shh! Don’t let me know). I went for a relaxing walk/run along the bay in the morning and then sat in the sun to read my book. I pottered around, finished another book, and did some writing before Chris and I had dinner and watched a movie. I was grateful for our midweek Sunday and that there are only two days of work before we get a weekend.

French Lentil and Tomato Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Thursday: The first day back at work after a holiday is always extra-tiring and this evening when I got home I was not in the mood for the busy, people-filled, fluoro-lit gym so I decided to do an intense workout video at home instead. I am grateful to have this chance to move my body in a different way and laugh at myself while I am working out. I look ridiculous doing plyo push-ups!

Friday: Tonight I came home after a good Friday night run to find candles lit in the house. Chris and I had a great dinner and I made chocolate fudge for tomorrow night. We stayed up late reading and watching television and just enjoying a night in while the rain fell slowly outside our window. I was grateful for a night of relaxation and candlelight dinner with my best friend.

Saturday: Today we skipped the markets because Mum wasn’t feeling well. It gave me the opportunity to sleep in late and then have a lazy breakfast before heading to the gym for a hard and sweaty run. Then Chris and I got down to preparing for the first dinner party we have hosted in Nanny’s house. Jess and Trent, and my other (work) Jess and Bruno came over for dinner. I made roast chicken and vegetables; we ate cookies, fudge, and Jess’s (sister) to-die-for peanut brittle; and drank wine while we played boardgames and laughed late into the night. I am grateful to have such wonderful people who surround me and to find new combinations of friends to share Saturday nights with.

Sharks!

Sunday: Today I didn’t wake up until nearly midday! (Why do three glasses of wine when you 27 feel so much more deadly than three glasses of wine did when you were 20?) Chris and I got stuck into cleaning up the remaining dinner dishes (grateful for all the help from Jess and Jess on the night before to clear most things away) and then I relaxed in the sun with plump ripe strawberries for breakfast before ambling down to the waterfront to meet up with Caroline for a coffee and a long chat. It was a Sunday where I didn’t do much, but I feel so relaxed and nourished after this weekend. I am grateful to have this time with not too many responsibilities and to be able to just enjoy the time with people around me.

walk to coffee

Also this week:

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-One

We all have weeks that test our stamina and draw on our reserves of energy both mental and physical. This week was one of those weeks. However, instead of bemoaning by busyness (too much, sorry Chris) my reflection on this week has shown me all the things I have to be grateful for that nourish me even during a hard busy week. And, if that fails, I simply look at the sticky note taped to my office wall that reads ‘idle hands do the devil’s handiwork.’ That gets me moving. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-One:

Monday: I started the week off with a new book! I am so grateful that my reading appetite has come back. I have so many volumes that are yet to be read, and old favourite begging to be re-read. My brain is ready to soak in all the words and revel in the worlds that they reveal. Coming next week: my recent reads.

Soup and book

Tuesday: I really struggle on the weeks that we have multi-day meetings. Paying attention for hours on end has never been my strong suit, and these days really take it out of me (and everyone else I imagine) so when I got home tonight I was grateful that Chris greeted me at the door with a big warm hug, put a movie on for us to watch while eating dinner, and then snuggled me until I fell asleep. True peace and rest.

Wednesday: Another meeting day and I was not feeling like getting to the gym tonight. I was grateful when Chris suggested that we go for a walk along the water instead. Sometimes I need to reminder that it’s okay to slow down and listen to the demands of your body to recover from the day. We wandered along the shoreline and I showed him a new beach front. We walked and talked and listened to the waves lapping on the dark shores.

Thursday: Today the meetings finished early and Jess and I took the chance to go out into the beautiful midday winter sunshine and have some lunch at a local café. I was grateful to escape and unwind over an iced Americano before heading back for the afternoon.

Friday: Tonight Chris went out to see some friends so I had the whole evening to myself. Although I missed him I was grateful to have some time to just potter around the house, go for an extra long run at the gym, and watch a movie while lying in the middle of the bed. I think sometimes it is important for a couple to take an evening apart to do the things that they really enjoy. In this case: me lying in bed texting my Mum, reading my book and hiding away from the world after a busy week; while Chris was at the Irish Club enjoying a few pints and some loud Celtic music with his friends.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf_iphone

Saturday: This morning I woke in the cold morning air and made my way to my standing date with Mum and Jess at the farmers markets. Jess tested out my newest quick bread (and approved – recipe coming this week) and we caught up on the happenings of the week. After the markets I washed my car at Mum and Dad’s place and I was grateful to Dad for helping me wash and polish my car and for Chris taking care of the parts that I can’t eat. In the cool of the evening air as the sun was sinking below the horizon I went for a run along the water and watched the sunset get trapped in the tidal pools. Tonight Chris and I had a late night watching movies. I was grateful for a day where I got to spend quality time with some of my dearest.

Walk Run 2_8

Sunday: I didn’t make it to a trail run that I was planning on going to this morning, but I did end up going for a very slow run along the water again. This is one of my favourite places in the world and I am so grateful that we get to live in such a beautiful part of the world. My run was a good idea because later today I had high tea with Josie and Caroline to celebrate Josie’s birthday! We went to the Sofitel and 30 stories above Brisbane we enjoyed varied delicacies and each other’s company. I am grateful that my oldest friends and I are still in contact and get to share these adventures. When I got home Chris and I took a short walk along the foreshore. We watched the storm clouds gather on the horizon and I could smell the shadow of rain in the air.

Sofitel View

Also this week:

Now I am tucked in bed awaiting a bowl of warm veggies for dinner and anticipating the beginning of a new book. Happy Sunday night everyone.

Tell me dear reader, what are you grateful for this week?

Desktop Dining: An iPhone Ode to Lunch Hour and Tips!

This week we are in the middle of some big meetings. Mostly, I am trying not to fall asleep, and to remember to keep everyone well fed so that they are amiable in the boardroom. Also, I count down the hours to lunch, which I think is most people’s favourite hour at work. At the moment I am trying to read some of my latest book during lunch, and I also like to take a little walk in the sunshine, just to warm my bones and remember what the beautiful midday winter sky looks like. Friday lunch hours are reserved for an outing to a local sushi place or coffee house for lunch with my friend Jess – best lunch of the week! On the other four days where I eat at my desk I try to pack something healthy and filling that will fuel my brain for the rest of the afternoon and fuel my body for an afternoon workout. Sometimes these lunches are leftovers from dinner salads and other times they are quickly thrown together creations from the night before. Today, I would like to share with you some inspiration for dining at your desk. No recipes, just simple suggestions for spicing up your lunch hour. Warning, there are a lot of photos coming up. Hope you’ve had your lunch!

Let’s start with leftovers from dinner:

A recent recipe from the blog – Moroccan Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad. Transports well and stays fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Moroccan Pumpkin Salad

I love fritters for an easy ‘breakfast for dinner’ recipe. Just add bacon for Chris and avocado for me. These are my Summer Vegetable, Herb, and Cheese Fritters. Still a common visitor at our dinner table.

Fritter bowl

This one is perfect for summer barbecues, and a favourite in my lunch box all year long: Quinoa, Chickpea, and Capsicum Salad with a Lime-Honey Dressing.

Quinoa, chickpea and corn salad

Soup is one of my favourites in winter, and on chilly air-conditioned days in the office too.

Nothing like leftovers from Mum’s Pumpkin Soup (recipe coming this winter!) with a cup of tea and a good old-fashioned murder mystery. Add some crackers or gluten free toast and you’ve got a feast for mind and body.

More book and soup

This kale, chickpea, and brown rice soup was a recent recipe trial and while it lacked enough flavour and pizzazz for me to share with you it did make a good solid lunch for a rainy Monday.

Soup and book

Next up: lunches that can be made from the leftovers of another meal:

This one is leftover roasted sweet potato with the last of some baby lettuce mix, a half can of chickpeas, and sprinkle of feta and olives. Add some balsamic, salt and pepper and say hello to savoury perfection.

Sweet potato and chickpea salad

One of my favourite roasted vegetables (beetroot) paired with nearly the same ingredients as the salad above, and some toasted almonds sprinkled on top for good measure.

Beetroot and feta salad

Let’s move on to lunch salads that can be made in a tiny office kitchenette with the help of a corner store visit or desperate morning fridge raid.

First up: the simplest of them all. Rice crackers that I always keep in my drawer enjoys the company of vegetable draw leftover avocado, half a punnet of tomatoes and the remains of the rocket and spinach mix that is omnipresent in our house.

Avocado thins with salad

The next level of convenience store dining: olives from the deli counter meet chickpeas, tomatoes, avocado and lettuce. One quick shop before work meant two days of easy lunches made in 5 minutes.

Pesto and antipasto salad

And some days you just need to do this: treat yourself. Take a book and order yourself a cold beverage. Just breathe.

Solo restaurant lunch

 Now, a few tips for a successful, healthy and yummy lunchtime:

  • Keep some staples in your desk drawer. I always have ‘fancy salt and pepper’ – I found a grinder at the supermarket that contained pink salt and black pepper and it has saved many, many lunches. I also have a packet of rice/corn crackers; tins of baked beans; a variety of tea; peanut butter; and vegemite just in case.
  • Stock up at the beginning of the week. On Sunday night put 10 pieces of fruit into a bag along with a few small tubs of yoghurt and some carrots – snacks for the whole week! Maybe add a box of healthy muesli bars too.
  • When you bake up some healthy muffins or quick bread at home, wrap some individually and then put them in the freezer at work. 30 seconds in the microwave and you’ll have the comfort of a freshly baked treat all over again. Bonus: the scent of sugar and spice (or cheese and herbs) wafting from your desk will make your co-workers very jealous.
  • Know where the healthy lunch spots are in your area. I work in an industrial estate so there are many trucker friendly options, but not so many good choices for a gluten free vegetarian lass like myself. However, a quick scout around and I located a sushi shop only 10 minutes away! Perfect for the days when I just want to escape for a little while.

I hope that this post was a little helpful or provided some inspiration. Tell me dear reader, what are your tips for a quick healthy and delicious lunch? Anyone favourite lunchtime treats?