Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Training Day - 1

So today I officially began my half marathon training.  That gives me about 13.5 weeks to train for this one, about the same length of time I trained for my last HM.  However, as I've said before I'd really like to improve on my time and that means more runs, longer runs, and sprinting to increase my speed.  Over the past few weeks I've found it really difficult to stay motivated or even to get out of bed in the morning - I'm really hoping that by blogging about my runs I can keep up some level of motivation so that I can increase my endurance.

I really do like running.  During some of my best runs I feel that I almost get into a meditative state and I can really push myself.  This weekend I'm going to try to use the virtual runner tool on my running watch to try and increase my pace a little bit.  10k this Saturday - hope all goes well!

My Birthday Present!

It was my birthday about a week ago and all my super-awesome friends in Singapore decided to pool together and get me a gift card for Tangs (the equivalent of the Bay or Sears but in Asia).  After much hemming and hawing I decided that I would finally splurge on my very first FOOD PROCESSOR!

My husband came with me to the store and was quite surprised that this is what I decided to purchase with my gift card and asked "What can you do with it?"  After showing him the brochure he realized that you can actually do a whole lot of things with it - shortcrust pastry, juicing, chopping, slicing, purees, pestos, etc.

I am so excited to just rip the box open and start playing with it - and as you can see I've already bought a tart pan so that means lemon tart and quiche coming up soon!  But alas, tonight we're taking a new Canadian expat out for dinner at Wine Connection, which I imagine will also be delicious but not quite as adventurous.  Well, more recipes to come soon hopefully!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I really enjoy spending Friday nights at home.  I'm so tired from the week that it's nice to have a warm, comforting home cooked meal and a bottle of wine.  I found this Chicken Pot Pie recipe that worked out really well.  It took a lot longer than I expected, but overall was quite easy.  This blog has tons of good recipes on it if you want to check out a pro.

Coupling this with a bottle of Oyster Bay Sauv Blanc and season 6 of 2 1/2 men and I had myself a nice night at home.  Now looking forward to a Sunday meal out - maybe Thai Food??

Thursday, August 25, 2011


All right, so I had some leftover pizza dough in the fridge from the other night - and some leftovers from tacos as well so I thought I'd make a leftover pizza!  It was really good actually; salsa for the base and the taco beef and veggies with a nice topping of cheese on the top.  Very satisfying!

I've also updated my running schedule - and I can't believe how quickly the time has passed!  I'm only about 14 weeks until my next HM and only about 6 weeks until my 10k - I need to get training!!!  So I've put myself on a 4 day/week running schedule with a mix of repeats, sprints, and longer runs.  I'm really hoping to improve my time - and the 10k will be a good benchmark for me to see if the new schedule helps at all - or if I need to pick up to 5 days/week.  It all starts this weekend - and actually, I'm sort of looking forward to it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Last night I made these snickerdoodles and the recipe turned out really well!  I was impressed at how my cookies looked almost identical to the ones in the pictures on this blog.  Normally in Singapore, with the heat and humidity being so high and my oven been quite small I often suffer with burnt or underdone cookies.  I will definitely use this recipe again.

This morning while eating my breakfast I decided to flip through my copy of "Jamie's Dinners" and found a whole bunch of great stuff to make with puff pastry.  I'm going to keep that in mind over the next few weeks, that's for sure.

My running schedule will be posted soon, I promise!  With my 10k coming up in about 6 weeks I need to get my speedwork up as well as my endurance.  I am looking into getting a hydration belt or pack soon - the "Fuel Belt" brand seems great, but is about a 60% mark-up in Singapore!!  I tried to see if I could order them online but no-can-do....oh well I might have to shell out the cash in order to stay properly hydrated.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Home Made Pizza!!

Ok, everyone has probably heard this before, but making your own pizza dough is one of the easiest things to do.  You can find a basic dough recipe on almost any website but it pretty much just involves:

Adding 1 tsp sugar to 1 cup warm water - add 1 pkg yeast and allow to sit until foamy.
Add a splash of olive oil and some salt
stir in about 2 1/4 cups flour

roll the dough around on a floured surface until it becomes "more dough like" - stretchy and elastic.  Then allow it to sit and rise in a covered bowl for about 45 minutes.  After that time, push it down a bit so most of the air comes out and let it rise for another 30ish minutes.  After that just stretch it out onto a baking tray or pizza stone and you have yourself a dough!!

Just keep in mind that if you use a baking tray you will need to cook the pizza for around 20 minutes at about 200 C in order for it to get crispy enough - stretch it out really thin because it will continue to rise more in the oven!

One of my favourite topping combos:

Mix some store-bought pizza sauce with some red pesto and spread as the base of your crust
Add about 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
Add red onion, mushrooms, bell peppers and baby spinach
Top with goat's cheese or buffalo mozzarella and bake
Once finished, add some chopped fresh basil

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's my birthday!!

No running today - not because it's my birthday but because I am still quite hungover from my wonderful party last night - I truly have some great friends over here in Singapore and I love how we all get together and do something nice for all holidays and celebrations.

We're going to head out for a nice lunch somewhere and then I'm going to make some delicious home-made pizza and finish the cupcakes in the fridge.  Should be a good day!  Next week my plan is to make my running schedule for the half marathon - hope I can follow through!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baking to Melt Away the Stress

Man, work can really take it all out of you!  I've only been back with the kiddies for 8 days and I'm already feeling emotional, worn out, and frustrated with "the system".  It's crazy how I let my job affect me so much in both a physical and emotional way.  Although the kids are a lot of fun, it can just be so difficult working with such a large department - too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak!!

Luckily I was able to get off work early and head to the store to pick up some ingredients for baking.  Although most cooks seem to strongly dislike baking because of how precise and "chemistry-like" it can be, I find it so relaxing.  Sometimes when I'm baking comfort food, like the zucchini muffins that are in the oven right now, I can imagine myself back in Canada on a crisp autumn day - the smell of cinnamon really helps this image.  I honestly do feel such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when I've baked something well.  I know that it will put a smile on my colleagues' faces tomorrow morning and that makes me feel really good.

Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe baking is the perfect way to de-stress my life.  By bringing something I love into a stressful environment I might be able to bring some of those warm fuzzy feelings to the workplace...hmmm....my first social experiment??

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm nothing new?!

Alright, day two and I'm still committed to my goal of following through with my goals - hurrah!  Last night I slept so well after getting my blog started that I might just make blogging a regular pre-sleep activity, it feels great to get some stuff off my mind.

When I decided to start my blog, which was actually a little while ago, I first decided that my blog needed a catchy and easy-to-search name.  With my goals of running and cooking in play, there were a lot of cliche phrases that came to mind; eat, sleep, run - run to eat - I can't even remember them all but the point I'm trying to make is that all of them were taken!  I realized quite quickly that my concept, interests and maybe even personality were nothing new...my ideas have been there and done that.

At first I found this idea somewhat depressing.  I quickly realized that I was not going to become a .com sensation and make a fortune blogging about my life - I was simply going to become one of many.  And those bloggers who have come before me have been around for a while, establishing territory, making a name for themselves, basically being the trailblazer that I have always hoped I would one day become.

I have decided that it doesn't matter.  No two people are the same.  My experience trying to stay healthy and cook good food in a place like Singapore is quite unique and my life as a teacher adds tons of unpredictability to my life.  I would have to say that no day is ever the same over here (except the weather) and I'm still pretty excited about my ideas.  I know that the largest obstacle that I still have to overcome is myself...can I actually commit to a long term relationship with my computer?

In terms of running, I woke up easily this morning and was able to complete 36 minutes of "half-mile sprints".  I'm just trying these for the first time and find the name somewhat confusing....I measure my distance in kilometers and don't know if my sprints were actually a half-mile since I can't quite do that conversion in my head while also sprinting.  I was pretty proud of myself for completing about 6k in that time though.

Tonight I improved upon a recipe I had found last week in an awesome magazine I picked up at the Brisbane Airport.  The recipe was for Pork Pho - a Vietnamese soup dish - which if you can find a good restaurant, may just be the best meal on earth.  My 30 minute version holds up pretty nice though....once I can figure out how to add links and such to my blog I will add the recipe.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Round 1

Ok, to be honest, it's actually round two.  I tried to start a blog a couple of years ago when I first moved to Singapore but I never followed through with it.  I think is managed 2 or 3 measly posts and then got caught up in another one of my crazy, random hobbies!
Nevertheless, I have decided to give blogging another try.  This is mostly to keep track of many things going on in my life; my photography (I'm just a beginner), my developing cooking skills, my running schedule, my life as a teacher, my life in Singapore...who knows where this blog will take me?  To be honest, I'm actually pretty excited this time, and I'm really, REALLY going to try to keep up with this one.

So what's going on in my life right now that is so special?? Well the beginning of a new school year of course!  I was just telling my students how I much prefer to begin my New Year's resolutions on the first day of school because for a teacher, that's when the new year begins!  I've been teaching my new classes for a week now, and all seems to be going well - the kids are still in the "honeymoon phase" so nothing too exciting has happened yet.

I've also signed up for my second half marathon - the Singapore Standard Chartered which is to be held in December.  Before that I have a 10k as well, and I'd like to improve my time for both distances.

Lastly, after a summer of relaxation, I have decided to become more committed in the kitchen.  I truly do love to cook but I often find myself repeating the same old easy recipes.  My hope is to find some new recipes that are just as easy that I can work into my routine, as well as experiment with some more interesting recipes on the weekends.

I'm looking forward to this new school year - new goals, ideas and plans.  I suppose I really only have one main goal though - to follow through on my goals!!!!