Wednesday, 13 December 2017

I'm not a morning runner but...

... I've run two mornings in a row at 06h00.

Earlier this year I enjoyed a number of weekly evening runs with my neighbour, Andrew. Then I got busy, he got busy with a lot of work travel and then both of us went through bouts of coughing and chest infections. We got out of the groove.

The other day, one of our parkrun friends suggests that we get together during the holidays to all run together - Gerhard, Andrew and me. We set up a whatsapp group. I add Sarel, who lives up the road and runs lots too. Gerhard adds Rob, who moved to town a few months ago and started coming to parkrun. Rob is a wily old runner.

Yesterday morning the five of us hit the road at 06h00 for a 12km run to the airfield and back.

This morning four of us ran through the golf estate (Sarel is out of town).

We're running again tomorrow morning (but not Friday, I think).

Early mornings have never been my strong point and they are less desirable because I am a night owl, favouring the quiet and still hours after 21h00 to work, especially if I have writing to do. I rarely go to bed before midnight and more often, these past months, I go to bed after 01h30. This makes it very hard to get up before my usual 07h00 / 07h30 alarm.

I made an effort to go to bed early (21h30 is early for me!) the past two nights and waking up wasn't a problem. Our meeting point is a quick jog from home and then off we go.

What I have especially enjoyed these past two mornings is getting home to a quiet, fast-asleep house, and sitting with Rusty outside in the garden. She still has a sore paw so she can't come with me. I felt awful leaving her at home yesterday morning but better today as she didn't even get out of her bed to see me off (but she was waiting and watching at the glass door for my return). Rusty is limited to walks still until her sore toe has properly healed - the vet thinks it is an injured tendon or ligament - no broken bones).

I'm definitely going to make a determined effort to join the guys for these morning runs over the next three weeks. Work isn't quite winding down yet but pressure is easing so getting to bed earlier is feasible now and over the holidays.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Friday nights are burger nights (8 veggie burgers)

I love these birds-eye view, two-minute videos that show you how to prepare some kind of meal/s whether savoury of sweet, baked goods. They're neat, tidy and efficient videos and usually offer quick and tasty cooking ideas.

My mom shared a video with me yesterday (she sends me lots of great content) that promised eight veggie burger recipes. I was hooked from the first and immediately decided to work my way through most of the recipes over the next few days.

In my home, Friday nights are burger nights. These are usually just patties (no buns) but sometimes we have a full deal complete with sliced tomato, fried onions, grated cheese and sauces - all in a bun.
For the patties - I experiment. I've done chicken breasts, home-made mince patties (many variations thereof, including with ground sunflower seeds, mashed butter beans or chickpeas), baby marrow versions, lentil patties, black bean patties and other combinations.

I've been in the mood for tasty veggie patties so getting these recipes was well timed.

Tonight I made the black bean burger. While the recipe calls for roasted red peppers, I just pan-fried chopped green pepper with an onion. I loved the combination of garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper and also the use of cornmeal (mielie meal) too. I served the patties with a dollop of plain yoghurt. I also tried mine with a bit of cream cheese - delicious! And served with a salad.

close up of the patties
Tomorrow night I'm going to try the sweet potato chickpea burger.

Here is the link to the video from Tasy Vegetarian (on Facebook) and this is a link to the recipes for the eight burger patties on Buzzfeed.

Let me know how your burgers come out.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Divine one-group-only campsite just outside of Parys

Friends who live just outside of Parys have set up a special campsite (Klipdas Boskamp) and trail on their property.

Karen, my mom and I went along on Friday evening - with our dogs - to walk the trail.

Rocksy and Rusty on the track

Karen and Jeanne-Marie disappearing ahead
It's about 3km in distance, runnable and mountain bikeable, and with lovely views of the Vaal River from the top of the hill.

The campsite (for a single group only) is too divine: waterless toilet and a donkey shower. Enjoy the scenery while you shower.

Campsite. A lovely fire area is to the right (out of photo)

'Donkey' for the shower. They salvaged an old geyser that washed up from the river, got a guy to weld it and used it to make this donkey.

Campsite kitchen

Waterless loo. Cunning!

Bush shower - with a view
If you appreciate nature, bird-watching, river and tranquility, this is a spot you'll love. And it is dog-friendly.

Rusty looking at the Vaal River
Kayakers, you can see Gatsien from the river's edge and it is a quick-and-easy paddle upstream to get to the rapid.

15 mins from Parys. Day visitors welcome too (on appointment only). Contact Jeanne-Marie directly 072 877 6153

If you'd like something more substantial over your head than the canvas of a tent, then Otters Haunt is the place for you. Also dog friendly  Rusty loves it here. On the river, lovely property and island to walk around and a number of accommodation options. Good old-fashioned fun to be had here in the form of being outdoors and enjoying nature.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Canine cookie marketing that worked on me

My Rusty girl is on a weight loss nutrition programme because she has a few kilos to lose (she came to me a bit heavy and gained another kilo on the first food we got). She isn't a big fat dog but as my running companion, it really isn't good for her joints to be heavier than she should be (just as carrying extra isn't good for humans either).

Of course, I love to give my special girl treats. She gets a tablespoon of leftover sauce/gravy with her special diet crunchies, if I have any on hand. She loves Beanos, even the Lite ones. She gets one or two a day. She especially loves the chicken liver dog biscuits that I bake for her, which I haven't done for about three months because of her diet. Any snack she has means a few grams less of her next meal.

She has been doing really well on her weight-loss programme. After being on a plateau for weeks, she is losing and is down 1.6kg. She has another 4kg to go to get to her goal weight of 17kg.

Today I went to the shops and a new box of Beano Lite was on my list. Next to the Beanos I saw this...

So, Beano Lite that tastes and smells bland but has a good crunch to it. Or this? Who can resist 'Superfood Biscuits'? Not me!

They look rough, they smell decent, they're crunchy and Rusty likes them (then again, Rusty likes pretty much anything). And they are similarly priced to a box of Beano.

What caught me was the whole superfood thing as well as the packaging. The styling is much like that of human sports nutritional supplements and products. It works for a sporty person like me who has a sporty dog.

Well done Canine Cuisine.

Rusty will be limited to one of these gems each day so they should last her a while.