Monday, 21 October 2013

Oops, I did it again...

I got a book out of the library and had to return it before it was finished.  Even worse, this time I didn't even start the book!  Ugh.  Sometimes I'm not very good at managing my time to fit in all the things.  This isn't to say that I haven't read anything at all.  I recently finished Summer Knight by Jim Butcher (not to mention half a statistics text book and all the online reading for my two papers) but I don't have the time to read everything I want to read.  A common problem for many, I'm sure.  My reading list grows longer by the day!  (Most recent additions, the two books written by Eleanor Catton - congrats to her for winning this year's Man Booker prize with The Luminaries!!).  I would say 'roll on Christmas holidays' because this often means lots of relaxation time and therefore more reading/knitting time, but I'm doing another paper over summer so there won't be quite as much as usual.  Oh well, we all make sacrifices ;)

My weekend was a pretty good one.  We got a new oven (thanks landlords!), I made that apple butter (it's yum), turned some of it into apple cinnamon peanut butter which was delicious on wholegrain toast with sliced banana,  I squished in two runs (a long-ish one and a short one), went to knitting, and ate lots of yummy food.

I enjoyed a 15km run on Saturday, heading out at around 9.30am.  It was already pretty warm by then, reminding me of why I started running early mornings again.  Still, it was nice to get out.  I did a reverse of the 15km loop that took in Ayr Street, instead choosing to have the killer hill (Hepburn Street) at the beginning to get it over and done with.

Which meant I got to traipse happily down Ayr Street instead of up it.  Much easier!  This did of course mean I had to run up Shore Road and Orakei Road instead.  Thankfully, they're not as brutal ;)  Nothing particularly noteworthy about that run although there was some nice scenery to take in, but I didn't stop to snap any pics.  Perhaps next time.

My Sunday run was only 5km and I had a wee break in the middle of it - the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year exhibition is on display in Wynyard Quarter so I stopped for a while and took in some amazing photography.  Beautiful pictures.  If you're in Auckland Central, be sure to stop by and have a look, it's worth it.  The exhibition is on until 13th November:

Later in the day during my walk to knitting at Mezze, I partook in some more visual delights, this time in the form of the Love Your City display in Lorne Street across from the public library.  Some really neat candid snaps from around the Central Auckland area by amateur photographers, uploaded to Instagram with a specific hashtag.  Which has now made me want to sign up to Instagram.  Like I need another time suck app...

In foodie news - I'm trying to figure out a fail-safe baked oatmeal recipe base that I can adjust depending on what additional ingredients I have on hand.  I started out with steel-cut oats (with mashed banana and fresh strawberry for the first batch, and medjool dates and strawberries for the second batch), but now I've run out and have reverted to normal rolled oats.  Not surprisingly, the bake went much quicker and turned out better (the third batch had dried cranberries and apricots, and some sliced almonds).  I'll get some more steel-cut oats soon, but the likelihood of me making more baked oatmeal in the near future is pretty slim since the weather is quickly getting more summery.  Hmm, might be time to get into the overnight oats...  Oats are a great source of iron and protein, particularly when paired with enriched soy milk.  Perhaps one of the reasons why I enjoy eating them so much.  I find you often eat what it is your body needs (if you're paying attention and listening to it that is.  And of course ignore the part of your brain that screams SUGAR!!!  Or maybe that's just me...)  Deane's starting to get a bit pissy about the protein and amino acids I could potentially be missing out on by not eating meat.  I'll be sure to keep an eye out for signs of deficiencies.  But for now I feel great, and have stopped calorie counting and over-analysing my nutritional intake.  I'll just continue eating a well-balanced (mostly plant-based) diet, and maybe up the tofu.

I've been trying out different tofu products, to see which I prefer.  They all vary in consistency, texture and flavour, which makes for some interesting outcomes.  I bought some Soy Works tofu the other week, and was pleased to find that it was entirely a New Zealand product.  The soy beans are grown in New Zealand, and the tofu is manufactured here as well.  Sadly, I found the tofu to have a rather strange burnt taste to it, and it was too dry for my liking.  I made some protein fries with it and they turned into chewy, rubbery sticks that weren't terribly pleasant to eat.  Perhaps if I'd cooked them for half the time they may have been okay.  I believe the other dish I made with this tofu was fine (the crumbed tofu if I remember correctly), but that's when I first noticed the burnt flavour.  Don't think I'll be buying this brand again, much as I'd love to support a wholly New Zealand business.

I made a spinach avocado and tofu salad with some Bean Supreme organic tofu, and again some protein fries (love those things!) - I was happy with both.  Yum!  The texture of the tofu was better than that of the Soy Works tofu, and it wasn't overly dry.

Next on the list is Tonzu organic tofu.  I'm not a fan of their soy yogurt - its fine to have in a smoothie or something, but on its own the consistency is a little lumpy.  Tastes fine, just looks a little dodgy ;)  However their tofu is fabu!  I had some for lunch today, simply fried in a light spray of olive oil and drizzled with a little tamari sauce.  Yum!  And for dinner I made the remainder of the block into sour cream to have on a baked potato.  Omnomnom!  I would happily buy this one again.

If I can be bothered going slightly out of the way or if I remember while I'm passing by, I usually just go to one of the Asian markets in the area and buy non-brand-specific tofu because you get a lot more and it is much cheaper.  I haven't had any problems with quality so far.  But if I'm being lazy, it's supermarket tofu :)

Knitting-wise, I'm making good progress on my versio hoodie - I'm mostly done with the body now, having passed the waist shaping.  Now I just have to knit until I'm happy with the length and do the bottom hem.  After that is the sleeves and hood, and I'm done.  Still no pics... (lazy, I know).

As for running, I read a couple of fellow Auckland runners' blogs this morning (Run to the Mountains and run kiwi run!), and they were both talking about the upcoming half marathon that we're all competing in.  It would appear that we're all in the same boat - nerves are starting to kick in, and we're obsessing about nutrition and hydration, timing (getting to the race on time), pacing (what speed to run at/what race time to aim for), what to wear etc etc.  Coincidentally, both these ladies ran an 18km over the weekend, which makes me wonder if I tapered too early?  My 18km was two weeks ago!  ::Trying not to hyperventilate...::  I guess I just have to be confident in the knowledge that I have run this distance several times over so I know I can do it.  I'd like to beat my North Shore half marathon time of 1:49:55 but I'm not sure I'm up to that pace at the moment.  I guess I'll start behind the 1 hour 50 pacer and see how I go.  If I feel like I won't be able to keep it up, I'll fall back.  This time I'm planning on wearing my hydration pack so I don't have to worry about pile ups at the water stations, although I'm not sure whether I should take Dextro tabs or sport beans.  I haven't had sport beans recently, but I remember they didn't cause any problems when I tried them back in January.  Bit of a gamble perhaps...  maybe I should stick to the Dextro tabs for now.  Decisions, decisions.

Right, time to go do something else - I've been staring at this computer screen all day working on my assignment.  My eyes need a break!  Have a great week people, I'll see you later ;)

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