BBB Christmas Countdown – Oh Christmas Tree

Training: Run 5km After a week or so ‘rest’ after the Canberra Half Ironman, which was as much to rest my body as it was to rest my mind, Mr BBB and I laced up our sneakers and hit up our local running path. We followed our "usual" 5km course, which is an ‘out and back’ track from our house, and after 6 months of living away from our suburb, it was nice to be back on home turf. I arrived home hungry and immediately set about making dinner. After all, today’s Christmas ‘task’ was not going to be a time consuming one and I knew that it could be done after dinner. On the menu this evening, chilli chicken salad! I started by making a chilli dressing, using chilli sauce, fish sauce and lime juice. IMG_3318 IMG_3321 Combined with a finely chopped red chilli, chopped coriander and a splash of olive oil. IMG_3323 IMG_3326 To the dressing I added a couple small cooked chicken breasts, shredded. IMG_3327 And stirred until well combined. Meanwhile, I made a salad with all the trimmings.  IMG_3313 Cucumber, mushrooms, snow peas, cherry tomatoes and mesculin. IMG_3330 Divided into bowls. IMG_3331 And topped with the chicken mixture.  IMG_3332 Plus a sprinkle of chopped cashews.  IMG_3338 And an extra wedge of lime.  IMG_3334 IMG_3335 IMG_3336 A light and fragrant dinner – packed with heat! IMG_3333 But there was no time to rest after dinner, as it was time for the next Christmas task! The Christmas Countdown so far…

  1. How to plan a perfect Christmas Menu
  2. How to be a stress-free host
  3. It’s a wrap
  4. Getting Crafty

Although quite late in the month to be doing so, this evening we set up our Christmas tree! IMG_3304 IMG_3339  IMG_3372 We have an artificial tree, and although it is a little sparse… IMG_3285 IMG_3286  It is nothing that some sparkly tinsel and lights can’t fix. IMG_3346 IMG_3348 IMG_3369 There is just something so festive about having a Christmas tree in the living room! IMG_3371 It really is now beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! Happy Baking 🙂

8 reasons I love weekends…

1. Starting each day with a big cup of coffee! IMG_2106 2. Having extra time to make a warm breakfast in the morning. IMG_2092  IMG_2109 3. Finding a winning rice paper roll / sushi combination for lunch.   IMG_2095 4. Heading out in the sun for a training ride. PB130004 PB130009 5. Being able to train along some gorgeous country roads. PB130005 PB130007 With wonderful country views. PB130008  PB130027 6. Being able to check out our new house lights… IMG_2110 And new garage door 😉 IMG_2112 7. Spending a rainy Sunday afternoon watching DVDs. IMG_2117 8. Creating a new salad recipe!   IMG_2098  A tamari rice salad! IMG_2102 Fresh and healthy – and full of flavour. IMG_2103   Tamari Rice Salad

  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 100g snow peas, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 – 1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1tbs sesame oil
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 1tsp minced ginger
  1. Combine rice, chickpeas and vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. In a jar, mix sesame oil, tamari and ginger.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and stir until well combined. Season to taste.

What about you? What was the highlight of your weekend? Happy Baking 🙂

Cakes and BBQs

(Edit: Yesterday was a super long day – so much so that I forgot to hit “publish” on this post last night!!! ) Training: Swim / Run I had another swim / run combo on the cards today, fitting in a 2km swim before work, and a 6km run at  lunchtime. I was actually a little surprised when I saw that my training program ‘only’ called for a 6km run, but hey – I was not complaining. After the longer runs I have been doing lately, it was actually kinda nice to hit the pavement for 36 minutes, and have plenty of time remaining in my lunch break to shower and have lunch without being too rushed. The rest of my day, however, was quite busy! We are heading to the coast for Mr BBB’s niece’s wedding this weekend (boy that came around fast…), and tonight we were invited to his sister’s place for a pre-wedding BBQ. But not before I got the first batch of GF cakes in the oven (which will be made into cupcakes and iced on Saturday). IMG_1264 And not before I made a couple salads to take along to the BBQ. Starting with a brown rice and chickpea salad with tamari dressing. IMG_1255 Followed by a good ol’ coleslaw – healthified of course. IMG_1258 Instead of mayonnaise, I made the dressing with greek yoghurt, dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and dill. IMG_1260 We had a wonderful time at the BBQ. IMG_1267 - Copy  The weather was perfect, IMG_1284 - Copy The wine was flowing, IMG_1287 The food was tasty, IMG_1297 IMG_1293 IMG_1294 And the celebrations continued well into the evening. IMG_1291 Which would have been no problem except that I had to come home and…. You guessed it…. IMG_1261 More cake baking! IMG_1262   And let me just say, as soon as the last cake was done, I crawled into bed and (probably with the help of the few glasses of wine I had at the BBQ) I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow. It was great to catch up with some old friends this evening, and meet some new friends from as far away as Perth, New Zealand and America!! I have a suspicion that there will be many laughs and good times over the wedding weekend. Happy Baking 🙂

Biking, birds and butter…

Now now – where did I leave off?? I was a tad sore after Saturday’s run – but Mr BBB and I wasted no time on Sunday in jumping on our bikes for a 30km ride. PA100556 Our destination??? PA100555 Stromlo Park to watch the Scott 24hr Mountain Bike Race / Solo World Championships! PA100551 This Annual event runs from midday Saturday to midday Sunday – and riders (either in a team or solo) must complete as many laps of the mountain bike course within 24 hours. Crazy right!!!  IMG_0985 We arrived around 10.00am on Sunday – and despite there being only 2 hours left to race, there were plenty of riders out on the course looking super strong. IMG_0990 Perhaps next year BBB could make an appearance? Side note: I was going to refrain from recounting the crazy psycho magpie swooping that the ever-chivalrous Mr BBB protected me from on the ride home. But let’s just say it involved Mr BBB’s shouting "he’s on me – he’s on me – go Lisa – hurry up and ride" to which I responded by pedalling frantically while hyperventilating…..down a busy Hindmarsh Drive…..with loads of cars next to me. So, if you happened to be driving down Hindmarsh Drive yesterday afternoon and witnessed this little circus, filled with tears and swearing, yes that was me. Does anyone else think that I seriously need to get this bird fear under control??? But I digress…. Today was technically a ‘rest day’, but having cut my ride short yesterday, Mr BBB joined me for a 5km run after work.  Have I mentioned recently that I am loving daylight savings? hehe yes just once or twice??!! Dinner With a weekend filled with training and take away, I was keep to get back into the kitchen tonight to indulge in my other love….cooking! Inspired by the Mystery Box of course…. IMG_0997 - Copy Tarragon! IMG_1003 Did you know? Tarragon, also known as ‘dragon’s wort’, is a perennial herb. While it is often used in French cooking,  it is actually native to Siberia and Western Asia. Tarragon has a mild aniseed flavour, and pairs well with chicken, fish and eggs. It is also, of course,  the star ingredient in béarnaise sauce. After doing a little research, I came across a recipe for Tarragon chicken with pumpkin and walnut salad here. It looked so wonderfully fresh and light, and immediately I was sold. Even if my attempts to find both endive and witlof ended up being quite the arduous shopping mission. I had great hopes for this vibrant salad – served with chicken that had been cooked with tarragon and butter. IMG_1029 Sadly, I mustn’t have prepared the endive properly as it was super gritty! IMG_1017 The remaining flavours did, however, work wonderfully – particularly the pumpkin and walnuts. IMG_1020 And the tarragon + chicken were a winning combination.  IMG_1025    What about you? How do you like to use tarragon? Happy Baking 🙂

Training and Tahini

Training: Bike 31km/ 1 hr 15 I am absolutely  loving my ‘bike to / from work’ days, and today was no exception! Not only do I get a heart pumping start the day, I also get to sweat out any lingering work stress on my ride home. Having spent the day with my head in a pile of paperwork today, however, I didn’t get the memo that it had turned into a beautiful Spring day outside! Let’s just say that my bike outfit (think leggings, thermal, jersey and vest) was a little too much for the warm evening ride home 😉 Dinner After showering I headed to the kitchen with one thing in mind. A huge cold green monster. IMG_0909 Spinach, soy milk, ICE and protein powder. This. hit. the. spot. Sufficiently hydrated, it was then time to get dinner started. And I must say that I was pretty excited about tonight’s Mystery Box ingredient… IMG_0820 Tahini! IMG_0906 Did you know? Tahini is a paste of ground unhulled sesame seeds, and is a major component of hummus and other Middle Eastern Foods. When I came across a recipe in my new favourite cookbook for a Quinoa salad with tahini dressing, I couldn’t help but think it sounded just perfect for a quick Spring dinner. IMG_0917 While I had a cup of quinoa cooking on the stove, I made the tahini dressing by blending tahini, tamari, olive oil, water and lemon juice until smooth. IMG_0921 Next I chopped a variety of salad veggies – carrot, capsicum, zucchini, mushrooms, spring onions and a handful of parsley. IMG_0914   Then it was simply a matter of throwing it all together. IMG_0935 Veggies, quinoa and tahini dressing. IMG_0924 Piled high on a plate… IMG_0923 And topped with oven baked tofu slices… IMG_0938 And drizzled with a little extra tahini dressing. IMG_0936  My oh my this was a fresh and delightful dish. The tahini dressing was full of flavour, a little nutty and a little salty, ah so wonderfully creamy. If you are looking for a super easy dish – this is certainly one to remember! What about you? How do you like to use tahini? I normally use it when making hummus, but I really must use it in dressings more often! Well – time to go pack. Between an early morning swim and a work trip to Brisbane, tomorrow is sure to be a big day! Happy Baking 🙂

Mustard musing…

Training This morning I crawled out of bed at 5.30am and headed to the pool for my before-work swim session. I increased the distance to 1.4km, and focused on breathing and technique, rather than speed (not that I am a very quick swimmer anyway!) The session actually passed quickly and soon it was time to shower and head to work. Tuesday brought with it a bounty of productiveness, as hoped, and I managed to tick quite a few things of the ‘to do’ list. I even finished work on time and was eager to head out for a run, but unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans and decided it would be a good time to ‘top up’ the dams. Lots of rain = no run this evening with my favourite running buddy, Mr BBB 🙁 Tomorrow night perhaps? Mystery Box Having an extra hour, however, did allow for a dinner creation inspired by the chosen Mystery Box ingredient: IMG_0349 Mustard! To say I was excited about tonight’s Mystery Box ingredient is an understatement. Did you know? Mustard is a condiment made from the seeds of a mustard plant, that have been mixed with water, vinegar or other liquids. Mustard often has a sharp, pungent flavour, as mixing the ground seed with  liquid causes the release of an enzyme  responsible for mustard’s characteristic heat. The temperature of the liquid used also plays a role in the "strength" of the mustard:  hotter liquids are more ‘hostile’ and will produce a milder mustard, while cold liquids are less ‘hostile’ and will produce a hotter mustard. I believe I inherited my love of mustard from my dad, who would thickly spread mustard (the hotter the better) on his sandwiches, omelettes, pies and anything really! I too am now fascinated by all the varieties of mustard on offer, and have been known to walk away from local markets with several jars in hand.  Be it spread on a sandwich, served with roast meat, or shaken into a homemade salad dressing, mustard is one versatile ingredient! Take this little jar of goodness, that I found sitting in the sale bin at our local grocer, for instance…. IMG_0364 When we drew “mustard” out of the Mystery Box, I knew that this particular variety would be perfect for tonight’s dinner –  warm vegetable salad with honey mustard dressing. To make the dressing, I combined honey, apple cider vinegar and of course, the mustard. IMG_0366 Then poured it over warm sweet potato, potato, eggplant, red onion and chickpeas, that I had roasted in the oven for about an hour, together with a few handfuls of rocket leaves. IMG_0371 With a sprinkle of fetta on top. IMG_0374 Oh my – this was comfort on a plate! Just perfect for a rainy day. IMG_0377 The chilli mustard added a sharp spicy flavour to the dressing, while the honey added a sweetness without being overpowering. IMG_0376 Combined with the warmed caramelised vegetables, and the creaminess of the feta, it was a delicious balance of flavours. Definitely a dressing that I will be making again (and again….). I suggest that you do too 😉 Honey Mustard Dressing

  • 2 tbs mustard
  • 2bs honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  1. Whisk together all ingredients and pour over your favourite salad.

What about you? Do you like mustard? What is your favourite kind? Mine would have to be seeded or dijon. Happy Baking 🙂