Slow Cooked Chicken Chilli

So, I have to admit that with winter making itself comfortable, one of the last things I feel like doing when I get home in the evenings is cooking. Don't get me wrong, I love cooking. But when its cold and dark [seriously what is with 5pm darkness in winter? boo!] sometimes curling up on the couch with a good book or an episode of Masterchef is far more appealing. So I have been hunting for slow cooker recipes. Until this year, I had never cooked with a slowcooker [I know right... Crazy] so I am definitely still learning. I have found a bunch of recipes, but most of which don't fit to my style of eating, so I just try to adapt them as I go and hope for the best. So far. So good. And this chicken chilli is no different. The original recipe was full of beans and canned tomatoes and tomato paste which just wasn't going to work for me, so I improvised.  I posted it over on my instagram early last week and a couple of folks got in touch and asked for the recipe... So of course, here it is. This will definitely be being made in my house again, I actually can't wait.

What you will need:
3 Chicken thighs (no bones)
1 onion
1/2 green capsicum sliced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup of coconut cream
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup of roast capsicum puree
Chilli [use desired amount for your palette]
Garlic to taste [1-2tsp]
Herbs and Spices to season [I used thyme, rosemary, oregano and paprika]
1 tbsp almond flour
Salt + Pepper

How you make it:
1. In the centre of your slow cooker add the butter.
2. Add your sliced onion and capsicum
3. Chuck in your chicken thighs. I sliced mine in half.
4. Sprinkle the almond flour over the chicken.
5. Add your stock, coconut cream and puree and garlic. Cover in herbs, spices, salt and pepper.
6. Put the lid on, turn your slow cooker to low and leave for 6-8 hours.
7. Once cooked, use a fork to separate out the chicken. Mine basically fell apart.
8. Stir and leave for 10 minutes before you serve.
9. Top with avocado and a bit of sour cream if you are feeling cheeky.

It Starts With You

The other night I was having a conversation with a very dear friend who is going through a really crappy time at the moment. We were talking about a lot of stuff, and then she said something that broke my heart into a bunch of pieces. "I just need to figure out how to go about loving myself again." It actually took me a bit off guard. Let me explain. This girl, is amazing. She is kind and funny and so intelligent. She is hard working and honest, and has this zest for life that is contagious. She is creative and artistic and honestly I am so lucky to have her in my life. If iron sharpens iron, she is the kind of soul that I want in my life. So even though her circumstances are far from ideal at the moment when those words popped up in my private message feed, my heart just sunk.

As the conversation continued we started to talk about my weight loss journey. Like me, she is looking to change her story, and get herself back to health. We talked about what I have been doing, about the results that I have seen, and how over the last 5 weeks my emotions and my spirit has hugely shifted. Then she said something that hit me so hard in the face I actually had to take a step back and take a breath. "I want to succeed in losing weight like you in order to feel confident in being me, to be successful would enforce to me that I am powerful and strong enough to get through this crap" In that moment I wanted to reach through my computer and give her the biggest hug in the world. I wanted to give her one moment of seeing herself the way that I saw her. [it also made me wonder how many people thought this about me] What got me the most was two little words... Like You. An instant comparison between our journeys. We are in such different places, and while we may share similarities we are definitely two different people with two different journeys ahead of us. We talked more, and then we realised how late it was and I signed off and got into bed. I woke up thinking about it, and I had this awful sinking feeling. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I am pretty sure I had said something similar to myself when I first attempted this whole weight loss thing many moons ago. I should mention that I didn't lose any weight that time I tried it... or the time after that... or the time after that.

You see, I realised something after that conversation. That hating our bodies is not the answer. I get it, I get not being happy with the way that you look. Get me alone in a room with a mirror, and I could tell you all the things that is wrong with my body. This bit is too wobbly, that bit doesn't fit nicely into clothes, this bit sags and that bit is just plain ugly. I have blamed my body for my unhappiness. I did that. But the actually reality of it, in the cold harsh light of day is that there is nothing physically wrong with my body, and hating my body is not going to change that or help me achieve the things that I want to. And neither is comparing my body to your body, or to the girl who has already lost 30kgs or to the one who has 50kgs to loose [Seriously, Comparison is such a killjoy.] This idea that because one person has done something that works, it will work for you, and then if you can't do it you are an inherent failure is so whack. Seriously whack. We are all different. We all have different bodies. We are all bloody beautiful. I don't want to get into the discussion about body image or the "healthy at every size" movement. [If you want to read a great opinion piece on this topic go and look here] but what I really want to talk about it love. We give it out pretty freely, we are kind to strangers, we are kind to people we love, but why the hell is it so damn hard for us to love ourselves. To accept who we are, and then if we want to make changes, make them. But out of love. Not because we loathe ourselves so much that we can no longer bare to look ourselves in the mirror.

I know, its complex, I really do understand that. But one of the biggest things that I have learnt lately, is that getting skinny is going to make me healthier, it is going to make shopping easier, and its probably going to make running around the block a whole lot easier, but it is not going to make me happy, and it is not going to make me love myself more than I already do. The thing is, when we pin all our potential happiness on getting slim, we are setting ourselves up to fail. Just like when we look to someone else's story to find the answer. The reality of it all is that if there isn't that happiness in your soul prior to the weightloss I am really not sure it will be there after. Being thin won't make me happy. It make me happier, but if that first instance of love isn't there, I'm almost certain that it won't magically appear when my ass fits into a size 12 pair of jeans.

I realised about half way through May that the reasons I hadn't reached my goals in the past could be boiled down to the fact that I felt like changing my diet, and having to exercise were punishment, punishment for letting myself get to the weight that I had, because I hated how heavy I was, and as a result, I hated that body so much.The thing is. Hate breeds hate. I don't care what anyone else says, I truly and deeply believe that. I carried shame for being overweight, and I hated the foods that did that 'to me'. So when I wasn't "successful" with loosing the weight, whatever that success looked like in my mind, I hated myself a little bit more. I told myself I was useless and that I couldn't do it so I should just accept it and be fat. And then the binge occurred, and I hated myself more because I failed even more. It was this nasty, hateful and destructive cycle, that makes me feel sad that I allowed myself to be like that.

This time around however it shifting. This time around I have a different vision of it all. I am being kind to myself, I am not setting myself up to fail, in fact I have removed the idea of failing all together. I just realise that different foods have different consequences, and that I have goals that I want to achieve. I ate a burger yesterday. It wasn't even that great. I ate it and I felt those feelings of guilt and hate creep in. Then I told them to piss right off because they weren't welcome. I woke up this morning and I have my eyes on the prize. Not your prize, not that other persons prize. My prize. But most of all I woke up and realised that it is ok to love myself just the way I am right this very minute. That I deserve that, because I am beautiful, and funny, and deserving. [I'm also humble too. Clearly] loving myself doesn't mean I don't strive for change. I do. It's just fuelled from a much healthier and kinder place than it was with all those unsuccessful attempts.

I suggested to my friend, the one up the top of this article, that she get herself a journal, and each day she writes one thing she loves about herself. I thought about this a little bit more, and I decided that I would do it too. So far I have written 3 things down. And every day, I am going to write down another. Because I deserve to love myself. And so do you.

Infographic care of Zen Pencils. You can check out the whole infographic here

The Brunch Diaries Five

Over the weekend we went to Code Black Coffee in Brunswick. This is such a rad little cafe, we have been here a bunch but I wanted to include it in The Brunch Diaries because if you are ever in my neck of the woods, you probably should visit it. One of the things that I love about Code Black is that they roast their own coffee out the back of the cafe. You can sit there, eat your eggs and smell the amazing coffee as it is going through its process. Totally neat for any of your coffee geeks out there.

The cafe was suprisingly empty for a Sunday mid morning, so we scored one of my favourite spots down the back near the roastery. Greg ordered a flat white and I had a chai latte [I know, milk. but whatever] And then it was time for food. I love their menu, its so delicious but a lot of it is not keto friendly, so I stuck to the old faithful, poached eggs, smashed avocado and mushrooms. [Sorry no food photos this time around...  I left my phone at home and I was totally ok with that... I even survived.] Greg ordered the salted caramel brioche french toast. Holy. I was jealous. The only thing that was a little disappointing was that they weren't accommodating of the menu change, so I had to pay for eggs on toast, even though I didn't have the toast. Ah well thems are the breaks. Greg found that his coffee wasn't quite hot enough but he did forget to order it extra hot but honestly everything else was lovely. They play great music, the staff are awesome and I just love this little cafe.

Service: 4 out of 5
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5
Coffee: 4 out of 5
Food: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

Whats in Your Trolley This Week?

One of the things that is key to my success in keeping on track is planning. I don’t care what anyone says, I honestly believe the old adage that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Now, I will be honest, I am not an extreme planner. I don’t precook a weeks worth of meals or pre chop my veges for the week. It works for some people, but I tend to enjoy cooking dinner in the evenings [for the most part] and I like the idea of the freshness. I know. I know. I could get over it, but for now, this is me. Take it or leave it.

My planning really starts by getting into the habit of writing a weekly dinner plan, and in turn; creating a weekly shopping list. This has resulted in three major things. 1. Less Wastage of food that I buy and then don't end up cooking, 2. Less crap in the cupboards for me to be tempted with and; 3. Less chance of me being able to claim I don’t know what I want to cook for dinner which then results in me getting lazy and giving up [aka getting some sort of fastfood]  Oh yeah, and I try to make enough so that I can take it for lunch the next day, which means that I don't have to spend money trying to find something that is on plan, or eating whatever crap I can find at the food court in my office block.

I know that every now and then I share what I ate throughout the week, in an aptly named feature What I Ate. But today, I thought I would share my dinner meal plan for this past week and my shopping list that went with it, because not only does it reflect the kind of food I eat during a regular week, but also shows that this whole eating healthy thing, does not have to be overly expensive.

So there is what we planned for this week. Delicious. Obviously there were things that we had in our pantry that we didn't have to buy, but to show you everything that I used this week, I thought I would do a little shopping list of everything that I used this week, and put a little star next to the things that I didn't have to buy because they are probably in your pantry already!

So there you have it. I think we spent about $65 this week. And this fed two of us and also included brekkie for us both. And most days there were leftovers so I could take something for lunch the next day. Now seriously, could you feed yourself for that with takeout and other crap? Maybe if you were super high carbed up with pasta for every meal, but nutritiously speaking, this is whopping cheap. I read this really great article once, that said when you shop at the supermarket you should be able to go in the front door, through the veges, along the outside fridges and freezer and then to the checkout, bypassing all the nasty processed goods in the middle. Apart from some spices and a few other bits and pieces, we basically do that every week. I love knowing that the things that I am putting in my body are nourishing and good for me. Huzzah!

30 days in May

So May is over. The last few months these round ups haven't been so positive. Learning curves and little wins but nothing that has left me feeling like I am moving towards my goals. May changed that. May has been a huge month for me. Thirty days doesn't sound like long time in the scheme of things. But this May has been a pivotal month for me. May was my month. Finally.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you've probably heard about my success that month. I have lost 10kgs [22pounds for you lovely Americans folks]. I have been part of an incredible little community that Hells out together as part of the May challenge. I stuck to my guns, I gave the sugar cravings the middle finger, and I pushed. I followed my eating plans, I introduced some exercise, and I pushed. I did that. Not anyone else. Myself. That's one of the biggest things that I learnt this month. I did this. Sure people gave me support, programmes gave me rules to follow, but at the end of the day I was the one who stuck to it, I was the one who made the decisions, and I was the one who earns my results.

One of the biggest things that I have learnt is that this is such a journey. Sound a given right? Everything is a journey, I knew there would be ups and downs and it not like I am new to this, I've been trying [maybe more wanting and waiting rather than giving it a real go] for a while. People who share their stories in a public arena often share all the good moments, the wins, because goods news is encouraging and inspiring and good news makes people happy. This isn't just for weightloss or health journeys, flick through your Instagram, I guarantee that 95% of the photos were manicured to look like things are awesome, even I am guilty of it. But sometimes all that good news can be overwhelming, and there can be that little voice in your head that constantly compares your successes and failures with everyone else's seemingly constant success.

But there is another side of this journey that sometimes doesn't get talked about. I have had big wins and I love to celebrate them, but I have also had really average days, and days even less than that. I've had food tantrums and cravings and days where staying in bed seems a hundred times better than getting up and making good food choices. I think those days also should get some air time. Those are the days that push us to continually make the right decisions, those are the days that make the wins feel so damn good. Those are the days that really make this journey what it is, and make the wins what they are. So for me part of this months real wins, is realising that, and taking that on, and the next time I have a food meltdown because I have a stupid metabolism, remembering that.

So what is next... What is June going to hold? Well there is no official June challenge. But I am going to carry on and have my own little one anyway. After a fast yesterday, I am back into my eating plans, I have a weekly meal plan on the fridge, I have a monthly goal for the gym, and a little weight goal as well. I am excited about another 30 days of victories, and maybe, just maybe those rough days will start to be smaller but you know, if they aren't, that's ok too. Because June, just like May, you are mine.

This week on instagram

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