Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Oh my. Thank goodness she's cute!! It's been 3 weeks already! I can't beleive how the time has flown by! (why didn't it move this quick when we were waiting for her to come home?!). She is a treasure (most of the time). And when she's not being a treasure she has that beautiful doe-eyed cutie face that luckily (for her!) melts our hearts. She has taken a fondness to my patio plants - I've lost 2 pepper plants already which Mummy was NOT happy about, and she's got an obsession for bark and gravel - eating it - and she's so damn quick with it the little tike.

She has been great with her crate - it's been making house training so much easier for us. And she's quite content right through the night. We have such varying schedules these days. With me working part time at different jobs, plus my early morning runs (distance varying) our 'get-up' times in the mornings vary from 4.30 - 7.30am. She's been a star fitting into our household and really doesn't cry in the mornings until she hears us moving around. (work that bladder control girlfriend - work it!!)

Chris left last Friday for his bike trip to NorCal so it's single parenthood for me. It's exhausting watching her constantly. I want her to have as much time out of the crate as possible but that literally means following her around all.the.time. She's LOVING her walks - we're out around 1.5 - 2 hours a day, broken into either 2 or 3 walks . We have crown land right at the back of the house with no leash restrictions (other than common sense) so she's free to roam. She's awesome at staying close and coming when called (because there are treats involved and she knows it!). She's quite the neighbourhood 'hit' with everyone we meet out walking - I've lost count of the number of times I've small-talked her sex, name and age!! (I guess that's what people do with babies!) - oh and breed (for dogs only you hope!)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pizza Dough

I started making our own pizzas at home around a year ago. And the dough was fine. Just fine. We loved that the pizza was from scratch and we knew exactly what was in it, and could make informed decisions on how healthy it was. I've actually found that pizza our way is pretty healthy - I roll out the dough to near paper thin, and then go light on the cheese but heavy on the fresh veggies. Often I skip the tomato sauce base too, going with a thin spread of pesto instead. We love em'.

Along the way I've tried numerous dough recipes. Originally I used a lot of whole wheat flour and sadly that just wasn't working well for me - too heavy, and very little rising. I also tried going light on the salt which resulted in very bland tasteless crusts. I've tried instant yeast, and active yeast, and recipes that called for rising overnight and others that just needed an hour. Not only did we want a good tasty crust but it also needed to be a simple and quick enough process to 'knock up' some dough so pizza could still be a option without thinking too far in advance.

So finally, after reading lots of various recipes, trying things out, trying different flours and seasoning amounts THIS is how we like it (for now!);

  • 2.25 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.25 tsbp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 - 2.5 cups white unbleached flour (I'll save my whole wheat grains for another time!)
In a large bowl combine first 4 ingredients to proof. When yeast has started 'bubbling' (around 5 mins) add 2 cups of flour and mix to pick up all loose flour. Empty onto floured work surface and add additional flour as required as you are kneading. Knead for around 5 mins until dough is smooth and elastic. Return to lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave to rise for minimum 1 hour. 

Pizza Baking
We use a pizza stone warmed in a 480F degree oven. I prep the pizza on a sheet of parchment then transfer direct to the stone in the oven and cook for around 8-10 minutes. Our pizzas are VERY thin crust - we get 4 pizzas out of a batch of dough (each pizza is around 10-12"). This gives a nice light crispy crust that bubbles a little. Spare dough can be kept for arouond 1 week in a lightly oiled ziplock bag in the fridge.

(The main reason for blogging this recipe is that I've tried so many different variations of so many different recipes I never remember which was 'the one' so now I'm recording it once and for all so I've got a safe place to keep it and refer back to!!)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Running & Recovery (part 2)

Following on from last weeks Fitness Friday post I am also working on better techniques and food to aid recovery. I am always utterly gimped after a long run, and it's typically on a weekend morning so I'm pretty lousy company for the rest of the day. Not cool. As well as the general achiness I'm so, so tired. With my longer runs this year I'm working hard to try as many different recovery techniques as possible! 

First of all food and drink. As soon as I walk in the door I'm getting to slug a big glass of chocolate milk (with it's perfect 3:1 ratio of carbs and protein). Then within the hour I also have a wholewheat muffin and nut butter (and a little homemade jam just to sweeten it up). The rest of the day I try and eat well and often and LOTS of water. That side of things I'm not too bad at.

This weekend I also started trying some other things to ease my weary body. Namely 'The Ice Bath'. OMG!! Chris ran a 8" bath of cold water, which was enough to cover my legs and up to my hips when sat down, to which we added a few ice cubes. I admit - not that many for my first time, but it could have been all the ice in the Artic for what it felt like. I'm surprised I didn't give myself a heart attack. Really. I shivered uncontrollably for the first 3 minutes. Around minute 10 my legs and feet went numb and a strangely warming sensation took over. When I got out after 15 minutes I had Chris help as I seriously doubted the ability of my feet to hold me up - there was no feeling left anymore. I don't know how these people tough these out on a regular basis. Like I said I only had a couple of trays of ice added to my bath water. Once showered, I also applied Arnica gel around my knees. However unpleasant the ice bath was I think it might actually have helped. Generally I felt less achy later in the day. I also added a 45 minute afternoon nap into the mix. Overall results of this weekends experiments in recovery are encouraging!

What other techniques do you use? Any great food choices I should try? I have bought some Vega 'Recovery' drink powder. I'm skeptical and I'm cheap so I'm not sure I want to go down this route - I do like to find the fuel for my body from wholesome natural sources rather than easy-come powders and pills, but it was a sample sachet and I'm up for experimenting right now - it's kinda fun!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Running & Recovery

This week I did my longest ever run! 14 miles - just a notch over the 1/2 marathon distance, but until then the 1/2 was the longest I'd ever completed. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself!

With my marathon training this year these mileages will be creeping up by the week - I have 3 months to go till the race so I'm feeling OK about it - but man is it ever the commitment! What I am surprised about is that most training plans I've looked at only get you up to a 20 mile run. That seems terrifying to're telling me I'll have to run for an additional hour on top of my longest training run on race day?! Seriously?! I still maintain that I'm only doing this one marathon, get it out of my system, ticked off the bucket list and chalk it up to an experience, or something...!

What I do really plan to get out of this experience (apart from black toenails, sore knees and lack of social life on long run days) is improved fuelling and recovery techniques. With my previous half marathons these are 2 areas I know I've paid little attention to.

Fuel during Running
So far I've never fuelled on-the-go in any of my long runs in the past. I hydrate, sure but I've never taken in gels or even energy drinks etc, and it's obvious really that I should be. General consensus seems to be to fuel on runs more than 60-75 minutes, and to start taking on board that fuel around the 45-60 minute mark (and every 45 minutes thereafter). I am exceedingly nervous about my delicate stomach and accessibility of toilets on runs so I think that's always been half the reason to conveniently make do without. But I promised myself when I signed up for this marathon that this would be part of my training that I can take away and apply back to my half marathon training in the future. Don't be scared of the fuel, and test them out so I'm comfortable that my body will accept them and ultimately benefit from them.

This week I tried out a GU energy gel - vanilla bean flavour. Whilst I couldn't imagine vanilla being in a gel format it was surprisingly good. I also thought it could be messy if I didn't eat it in one go, I couldn't exactly pop it back in my pocket once opened - it would be a sticky gooey mess! (though they say you should down it in one anyway!) There was plenty in what looked like a small packet so I chugged it down over the course of 1/2 mile or so - it was a  Super easy to take down and very pleasant taste - they get the thumbs up from me and I'll be checking out some more of their flavours for sure (mmm - like chocolate mint!).

Later in the run I also had some GU chomps - big fat gummy chews. Firstly they were really sticky and had stuck themselves to the foil pouch and I had a heck of a job getting them out the packet. Then, and I know this sounds ridiculous, but I found them actually too big for my mouth! I tried the blueberry pomegranate flavour and they were also very tart! ick! - I definitely wouldn't bother with these again. I thought I really liked the idea of the gummy chews and I've had a couple of other brands over the last few weeks (Sharkies and Honey Stingers) so I will try others, but I won't go back for GU chomps. (Also if we're going to be vain here - I am - chomps were so flippin' bulky it looked like I had a growth in my abdomen as I carried them around in my sport skirt pocket!)

By the end of my 14 miler I still felt strong. My knees and joints were achy from the increase in distance but I didn't feel weary overall. After thinking I wasn't keen on the idea of using Gels I might have to do a complete about turn - it really was so tasty and palatable. And it's something to look forward as each 45 minutes pass! I'm actually excited to experiment more with my fuelling!

I'm linking up for the first time to 'Fitness Friday' hosted by Jill.

I'll be writing about my recovery next. It was quite the shock to the system!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Introducing Miss Meli!

Yesterday our little family grew. Little Miss Meli arrived in our home. We are beyond excited and happy to have her here. It's been a long 7 week wait for us since first finding her. She was just 2 weeks old when we heard about her and she was one of a litter of 11 from Pointblank Dogs in Ontario.

Yesterday she arrived in Kelowna after her long flight from Toronto. A bit poopy smelling after being stuck in her crate for 6+ hours but full of beans and very exicited! (She's so much smaller than we were expecting!!)

The name Meli is 'Honey' in Greek. Since we were married in Cyprus it seemed a perfect fit to have a Greek name, and she's already sweet as honey! She's a Hungarian Vizsla, and she'll grow to around 40-45lbs. Looking forward to lots of fun times with her.

We've already figured out what the 'Vizsla song' is all about, and our sleep was a little curtailed last night but so far so good. She's already awesome at playing fetch (like seriously awesome!), but the toilet training is going to take some dedication for sure - not sure if we're doing something wrong or if she's still so over-exicited! It's been less than 24 hours so I'll give her half a chance to buck her ideas up ;-) We will be crate training her and already she's perfectly content in her little den and it gives us some quiet time when she settles - phew - can see we'll be needing that!

We're totally in love!
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