My Foodie Secret Is Out!

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been a bit quiet recently, so I think it’s time I let you into a little secret… The Grizzly Bear Perth has decided to join forces with Coco to bring you the best of our two foodie worlds in one place. We’re hoping to launch our new food loving blog at the end of July, early August 2014. We hope to give you the best foodie reviews, recipes and experiences we have to offer, whilst offering them all with a little personal twist. So to tantalise and tease you, here’s a little insight and sneak-peak into our new blog – Coco & The Grizzly Bear.

I hope that you’ll continue to enjoy and support my work, and I look forward to continue to offer you the best foodie-ness I have to offer.

Our Story
Our food affair began when we were introduced to each other one afternoon. What started of as a ‘hi’ turned into a pint which then quickly turned into some burgers. How were we to know that over the next few years both our friendship and love of food would continue to grow to the point we started co-hosting regular dinner parties which quickly became a hit among our friends. So after countless dim-sum brunches, and terrible foodie photos sent from all over the world to each other we thought we’d join forces to bring you the best of our foodie worlds. In recent times we’ve found ourselves playing a little bit of good-chef, bad-chef, and so we’re hoping to bring you our blog with that little twist, offering reviews and recipes that give you both the options of full-flavoured enjoyment, and health conscious eating.

The Grizzly Bear
Born into a Polish family I was brought up on my mothers freshly cooked wholesome meals, which kick started my love of food and cooking. The more people I’ve met and families I’ve come into contact with throughout my life, the more I’ve learnt about different varieties of food and different styles of cooking. From BBQ’d steaks to vegan terrines, I’m always open to trying and learning about new wholesome food.

My love of food has gone hand in hand with my passion for travelling, having tasted many of the amazing flavours this world has to offer. But even having travelled the world and tasting some of the most thrilling restaurant and home-cooked dishes, I’ve always found that there’s simply no better place to explore and enjoy food then in my home town of Perth, Australia… The city I love.

Coco
My love and appreciation of food didn’t truly begin until I was ten years old. My family spent a year in Provence (how clichéd!) and I was thrown headlong into a heady world of sights, scents, tastes and textures I’d never known possible. My aunts and uncles cooked “à la paysang” with fresh vegetables picked from their own fields and meat from their own (massive) backyards. Simple meals with few ingredients – and a whopping flavour that packed a punch unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I missed it when I returned to Australia – but the experience never left me.

Come eighteen years old I left Perth to live in Avignon, then London, then Paris for a short while – and ten years on I can now say that my love of food has come full circle. My experience of food through travel and experimentation has left me non-discriminatory; be the cuisine vegetarian, vegan, meat-heavy or balanced and ‘omnivorous’, I like to say that one can tell many things about somebody by having them cook or prepare food for you – and I hope you will agree. Read (and eat) on!

Microwave Egg White Scramble (With Tomato And Spinach)

I’ve been working on making some life-style changes. I’ve been training hard and trying to improve the quality of my meals. Having tasty, healthy food at work can be tough, especially when everyone around you is tucking into all sorts of filth including cakes, muffins, sausage rolls and chocolate bars. Kicking off the day with a delicious, healthy and satisfying meal is definitely over-looked by a lot of officer workers, yet it can be the key to walking past the free cupcake at morning tea. Because I start early, I eat breakfast at work once I’ve had the time to drink some water and tea, but finding a work-friendly breakfast that was healthy, tasty and satisfying has been my biggest challenge. Porridge (oatmeal) was boring and a carbohydrate feast, whilst a fruit salad was (though natural) a sugar spike, and with all my training, I’ve been looking to find a more protein filled work-place breakfast, though still low in calories… and I’ve finally found it.

Why It’s Great

It’s super quick and easy to prepare and cook. It can be prepared the night before. It’s full of protein. It’s low in calories. Ingredients can be modified easily. People in the jealous will be jealous that you’re not having cereal for breakfast.

This recipe makes 1 serving.

Ingredients

  • 5 x-large egg-whites = 100 calories
    • Protein and Potassium, as well as folate, selenium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
  • ½ a medium tomato = 11 calories
    • Vitamin A, C and lycopene
  • 1 cup of baby spinach = 7 calories
    • Vitamin A, K, as well as folate, E, C, B, calcium, iron and magnesium.
  • ¼ of a small onion = 7 calories
    • Fibre, vitamin B6, as well as C, calcium and folate.
  • 1 tsp of mixed Italian herbs (can be modified to your tastes)
  • ½ tsp of paprika
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Modifications

  • Experiment with different herb combinations to change the flavour of your eggs and keep your breakfast interesting.
  • To add a low calorie cheesy flavour, add a Tbsp of parmesan cheese for 22 calories.

To add texture and carbohydrates, serve with whole grain toast for 80-100 calories per small slice.

IMAG1010

Recipe

The night before, or in the morning:

  1. Separate 5 extra-large egg whites into an airtight container.
  2. Dice your tomato and add to the egg whites along with all your other ingredients.
    - Tip: Crack each egg into a small cup one at a time before putting them into the container. This ensures if you do accidentally break a yolk, you haven’t spoilt the whole batch of egg whites (though this is not essential for this recipe).
    - Tip: The egg yolks can be used for egg wash or other dishes later, so they’re worth keeping.

At work:

  1. Poor your mixture into a large/tall bowl.
    - Tip: This is essential as the eggs rise as they cook.
  2. Microwave on high for 45-60 seconds.
    - Tip: This will differ depending on the power of your microwave.
    - Tip: What you are looking for is cooked egg to begin to rise in the bowl.
  3. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl thoroughly.
    - Tip: The eggs will likely be partially cooked, with completely uncooked egg as well.
  4. Microwave for a further 30 seconds, or until the egg is cooked through.
  5. Stir.
  6. Enjoy!

IMAG1013

After you make eggs in the microwave once or twice you will begin to get a feeling for the cooking time required.

The Witch’s Cauldron, Subiaco

IMG_20140516_191706Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of eating at the Witch’s Cauldron. I still remember the first time I tasted their Garlic prawns with garlic and chilli ($26.80 entrée). They were so plump, juicy and full of flavour I remember using the bread to soak up every last bit of butter in the dish, and I’ve been ordering it since. On this occasion, I was attending a work dinner on a Friday night.

Service:
Upon entering, friendly staff members were waiting to take me to my seat and the pleasant service continued throughout the evening with prompt waitresses to take orders, food coming out reasonably quickly and wine and water being topped up regularly.

Food: The food hasn’t changed much in 40 years, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s always been consistent whilst I’ve been going there, and according to my work colleagues – who have in fact been eating at the Witch’s Cauldron since it opened- it’s been constantly good since they’ve been visiting too.

IMG_20140516_195638On the table to share we had  garlic bread $5.80, fresh bread with butter or virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar ($4.80), and for mains a garden salad with mixed greens, avocado, snow peas, asparagus, nuts & vinaigrette ($14.50).

I ordered the garlic prawns with garlic and chilli ($26.80) as an entree and the chicken filled with mushroom duxelle, on risotto & a port jus for mains ($32.90). The garlic prawns were just how I remembered them, juicy, buttery, and so tasty that I used handfuls of bread from the table to soak up every last bit of sauce left in the dish. The mains followed suit with the juiciest, most tender chicken breast I’d had in a long time.

IMAG2893My colleagues ordered a variety of dishes including black angus steaks ($44.00-$46.60), duck breast with marmalade glaze & bok choy served with pilaf rice ($42.10) and gnocchi with beef, basil & Persian feta ($30.00). I would say it’s safe to assume everyone enjoyed their dishes as much as I did as silence fell upon our normally chatty group as we tucked into our mains.

IMG_20140516_204124The portions at the Witch’s Cauldron are medium, with quality definitely valued over quantity here. After a fabulous meal I couldn’t help but polish my meal off with an affogato, whilst others at the table had a variety of coffees.  I don’t know if the affogato is even on the menu as I ordered it off the top of my head, but it came out looking gorgeous. It was served in a martini glass with an extra shot of coffee on the side, and tasted sensational, as a good coffee should.

Price: With entrees ranging from $3.60 for an oyster, $17.70 for soup of the day and going up to $46.60 for the Black Angus peppered fillet (250g) and $48.80 for garlic prawns with steamed rice mains. The Witch’s Cauldron is not the kind of place you go to gorge yourself on large quantities of cheap pasta or pizza. In my opinion, you get what you pay for here, quality food at a price that suits.

Atmosphere: The Witch’s Cauldron has many section of the restaurant that can be enjoyed. From booths to large tables, the restaurant has a front, back and upstairs area that can be enjoyed depending on the occasion. The restaurant is clean, and the atmosphere –though differing in various parts of the restaurant- seems to have a slight classic, nostalgic feeling about it. The best way to explain it would be to say it’s nice, but not so nice that it could be seen as luxurious.

Summary: Everyone I know seems to have nostalgic memories of the Witch’s Cauldron and I’m not surprised. Every time I’ve gone I’ve had nothing but good service, good food and a good time. I’d go as far as to say that in my opinion, the Witch’s Cauldron may be the most consistently good restaurant in Perth. The Witch’s is nice, without being luxurious. The food is good and the prices are reasonable, meaning that just about anyone can have the pleasure of coming by to enjoy the Witch’s offerings. I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking to take your parents out for a nice family dinner or if you’re looking for a place last minute place to entertain business clients.

The Witch's Cauldron on Urbanspoon

88 Noodle Bar – Burswood

After watching the UFC at the Carbon Sports bar, I convinced by two friends to go to lunch in an attempt to help balance out the breakfast beverages we’d just had. We were a little pressed for time so we decided to eat somewhere at Crown. As we had a fussy eater with us we decided the 88 Noodle Bar would be perfect as we could all select dishes we enjoyed and at a reasonable cost. Boy did we end up regretting that decision.

Service: Whilst there was no cue outside we were made to wait more than 10 minutes to be seated. It then took another 20 or so minutes to flag down a waiter -which was lucky as IMAG0934we were about to get up and leave- only to wait more than 30 minutes to get our food. During this 30 minutes I watched our food – along with another dozen or so dishes- sit under the heat lamp for a substantial portion of this time. It was very clear during our time at 88 Noodle Bar that the place was extremely understaffed. The couple waiters that were there were trying to seat people, take orders, hand out food, clear tables and take payments all whilst trying to ignore all the people trying to get their attention.

Food and Price: After waiting so long to be served and watching my food sit under a heat lamp for a good 15-20 minutes, I could help but question whether it was the hungry or the actual flavour of the dish that caused me to I enjoy my meal so much. I ordered the prawn wonton with fresh egg noodles, forest mushroom and Chinese cabbage ($16.80), IMAG0928whilst my friends ordered the honey soy pork with capsicum and onion, served with rice ($16.80) as well as the Thai red chicken curry with baby corn, eggplant, basil and lemongrass, served with rice ($15.80). The flavours, textures and portions of each of our dishes were quite good, especially when you factor is the price. Ordering similar dishes in Perth I would not be surprised to be charged at least an extra 25%. However, once factoring the waiting time and the reality that there are a good handful of great Asian places (if you know where to look) that will serve you the same food, at the same quality at the same price, but in a timely manner, it just didn’t seem worth it.

IMAG0929Atmosphere: The atmosphere is nice, striking a good balance between smart-casual dining, a trendy café/restaurant atmosphere and a modern twist on an Asian theme. Due to the layout, 88 does feel overly constricting or crowded even at capacity, which is nice when you only want to focus on your table and those at it.

Summary: All and all the 88 Noodle Bar puts up good, inexpensive Asian food. The variety is nice and means everyone from the fussiest plain eater to a flavour loving foodie will find something on the menu they enjoy, but I don’t know whether that can excuse the poor service. If you have the time –or get lucky enough to go at a time where the place isn’t understaffed, or the cue isn’t a good few metres deep- I highly recommend the 88 Noodle Bar for a good feed. But if like me you value your time highly in respect to monetary value, I would recommend considering elsewhere.

88 Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Day 5: The Final Countdown

*From Friday, 09 May – https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/blogs/7432

I woke up to day 5 I was exhausted, but keen as a mung bean to get this last day going. All I could think about was that moment that was finally approaching, that moment when the clock would trick midnight and I could gorge myself on everything insight. I had packed a good amount of food for the day and I went into work really excited. People were keen to chat and see how I was going. At this point I was really exhausted physically. Unlike the previous two days were I could just lay in bed and get that extra hour or two of sleep I couldn’t today.

But none the less I was still smiling because I knew it was almost over. The smell of toast from the staff kitchen was amazing, and I could feel myself salivating. It made me think that it would be wonderful to have a fresh loaf of sourdough bread at midnight, and I knew just where I could get one from… only it would involve going to one of the best bakeries in town. That’s when another light blub went off in my tired head… What if I make these last few hours all about really challenging myself. And that was that.

When a colleague brought in my favourite Polish wafers to work ‘prince polo’ to work that day I happily took one and put it aside… I wasn’t even tempted. When my boss mentioned craving hot chips, I decided to use the opportunity to go with him, buy my bread from the bakery and walk with him back from the shops with those hot chips. He ate them next to me and the smell wafted through my area of the office… And I was still going strong.

I’d had my pear and oats for the morning, but the next time I looked up from my keyboard it was into the afternoon and a little headache started sneaking in. I’d realised about 1:30pm that instead of splitting my lunch into two meals as I’d planned, I had already missed my first meal. The headache kept getting worse so I decided to have one of my lunches. Unfortunately that didn’t help, and the headache only got worse. I didn’t know if it was from staring at a screen all day without a break or just from being exhausted and wanting to sleep desperately but I wasn’t feeling too well. On the bright side I’d managed to rustle up a couple more donations from work colleagues which did help my think it was all worth it.

As I headed home from work I decided to try the one thing I’d tried avoiding all week, heading to the supermarket. As I walked into my local supermarket I couldn’t help but smile because I knew that anything I bought I was going to be able to eat in several hours. This is when the strangest thing happened to me.  Normally when I enter that supermarket I B-line it to the bakery section and pick up my favourite cookies or pastries, but today as I walked through the bakery section nothing really took my fancy. The same thing happened when I walked through the chocolate isle, the freezer section… nothing. The one thing that did however cross my eye was a man reducing freshly made curries and pastas for the end of the day. I snapped up some various curries, some spinach and ricotta cannelloni, some veggie lasagne and some creamy pasta with the intention of waiting until 11:30pm at night and selecting the ones I was craving the most to have with my crusty sourdough bread. I don’t know if it was a week without sugar and caffeine, but the fact that chocolate, cookies, sweets and fried foods weren’t tempting me was something that I hadn’t experienced in a long time. It did make me wonder though, when did my everyday diet get so bad? And how was it possible that LBL was the thing that put it back in check.

Now for anyone that’s done LBL you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say, the best part of the whole experience was this… 11:45pm. 15 minutes before I could gorge myself on whatever I wanted. I had a massive selection of treats, sweets, cakes, curries, pastas and so much more to choose from. I made my choice – spinach and ricotta cannelloni, veggie lasagne, creamy carbonara, my crusty sourdough bread, some of mums homemade plum cake, a bowl of cereal and a teaspoon of Nutella. At 11:59pm I was standing there, food ready to go, a piece of bread with butter in one hand and a spoon in the other and I was staring at the clock. I was so excited. My heart was pounding, my eyes were going in and out of focus on the numbers and I was fidgeting like no tomorrow. My dad was sitting on the couch smiling at the whole ordeal and I couldn’t believe that I was more excited counting down the seconds for it to turn midnight than I could remember being at any New Years. The moment had come… 12:00am! The buttered bread went into my mouth and I had barely finished shallowing it when I started shovelling cereal with cold milk into my mouth. It was all so satisfying and then it came time to tuck into the rest. But rather than standing around the kitchen table, grabbing at food left right and centre like a mad man I decided to do it properly and eat like a King… I did deserve it after all. So I sat down in front of the tv, turned on survivor, pulled a blanket over my lap and over the course of the hour long episode, each meal slowly disappeared. And I couldn’t have been happier. I’d raised $452, gone through an emotional roller-coaster and come out a little better on the other end.

Saying all that, I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me throughout LBL 2014. Your kind words, care, patience and donations over the last 5 days have really meant the world to me. I couldn’t have done it without you. A special thank-you has to go out to mum and dad for putting up with my terribly snappy attitude during LBL, my boss for not eating at his desk (until I said he could go ahead with the chips), that IT guy for entertaining me with a good daily dose of torture at work and Phil for kick starting my journey by giving me the most awesome donation ever! Because of you, there will be a whole lot of young people in East Timor a lot better off, and for that I can’t thank-you enough.

xx Eva.

LBL Day 5

Day 3 & 4: LBL And Dinners With Dad

*From Thursday, 08 May – https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/blogs/6897

The last two day’s we’re very similar in may ways. I was lucky enough to have these days be non-working days, meaning that instead of throwing myself out of bed to go to work in the wee hours of the morning I made the executive decision to sleep in, miss my uni classes and throw myself into my uni assignments instead. As it turns out, sitting at home and staring at a computer screen in isolation actually lends itself to the challenge. There are no distractions or people that might effect any emotions you may be having. This was wonderful because I’d noticed though I felt quite good the lingering hunger that was now quite permanent was making me easy to be irritated. At this point I should thank mum and dad for taking the brunt of it over the last week.

My other favourite benefits of becoming a home-hermit during the challenge is that you don’t need to use a lot of energy, and best of all, all your food is right there in the kitchen for when you want it. That had to be my favourite thing about the past two days. I could take my time and cook up delicious meals when I was hungry, and I didn’t have to bother thinking about making sure I had everything I would need for the day -something that I was clearly not very good at. I’d come up with some wonderful recipes over the past few days.

I’d decided to have sit down dinners with my family from day 3 onwards, and on night 3 I sat down to my parents enjoying a meal of steamed carrot and cauliflower, beef stroganoff, schnitzels and steamed buns. This is when the most amazing moment of my entire LBL challenge occurred. As I was finishing up making potato chips and carrot/cauliflower puree my dad turned to me and told me to eat a schnitzel. I didn’t know if he was just trying to push my buttons so I responded with ‘I can’t’. But he was adamant and kept pushing for me to eat the schnitzel, going on about how he really didn’t want it and wanted more stroganoff instead. At this point I’d put my plate of very different food on the table right next to him but he persisted, and I continued to respond with ‘are you serious?’ and ‘I would if I could but I can’t.’ Mum and I both looked at each other with the most dumbfounded faces. It took a while but eventually it hit him, I was right in the middle of LBL.

This was the first time I had tried making this puree along with sliced potato chips with Italian herbs. I was so impressed with the flavour I gave mum and dad a little taste. Turns out it was so good that my dad decided to help himself to some when I’d turned away. My mum gave out a little shriek and couldn’t believe my dad would take food from his own hungry child.

Recipe #1: Carrot and Cauliflower Puree This was a favourite of mine so much so that I will be continuing to make it long after the challenge is over. All you need to do to make this recipe is cut 2 carrots and ¼ – 1/3 of your cauliflower into pieces and steam them. Once steamed, add the carrot and cauliflower into a food processor with a little chili and some Italian herbs to taste and blend. Check on the consistency and slowly add some water until you get a smooth texture. Voila! Delicious and nutritious.
Recipe #2: Potato chips This one’s easy, just remember to keep your eyes on the oven. Simple slice your potatoes into thin slices, place them on a baking tray, sprinkle with Italian herbs and bake in the oven on high until golden brown on one side. Flip them over, continue baking until this side is golden brown and you’ve got crispy chips. These chips so really well with the carrot and cauliflower puree because of the difference in texture.

Day 4 was very similar to day 3 in that I decided to stay home for most of the day and focus on my numerous uni assignments. The biggest difference with day 4 was that I woke up with enough energy in the morning to go to a bodypump class. This was a great treat as I hadn’t been to the gym all week due to participating in LBL. Needless to say it got me pumped up for the rest of the day. I had toasted oats for breakfast, pasta with beans, tomato paste, chili and Italian herbs for lunch and my favourite carrot and cauliflower puree with chips for dinner.

Though unthinkable, when dinner came around my father once again forgot I was doing LBL and kept telling me to eat the ruske pierogi that were on the table. Apparently there was too much food for him to handle -sigh. For anyone who doesn’t know what ruske pierogi are, they are cheese and potato filled Polish dumplings, pan fried in butter and they smell and taste AMAZING! Not only are ruske pierogi one of my favourite dishes in the world but the smell of them was turning my stomach in knots. My dad wanted me to do his dishes but needless to say, it wasn’t going to happen.

I decided to use my day 4 dinner to use up all my left over ingredients and cook for the following day so I’d have everything I needed for both work dinner and wouldn’t have to think about anything but counting every second until my midnight binge. I made two servings of carrot and cauliflower puree (one for night 4 dinner and one for day 5 lunch), potato chips (for day 4 dinner) and of course, everything else that was left went into a giant pot and got turned into a stew to be mixed in the pasta (for day 5 lunch and dinner). The stew comprised of onions, carrots, potatoes, Italian herb mix, chili, beans and water. Right at the end I mixed in the pasta and ended up with a large hearty pot of delicious-ness that I was looking forward to enjoying the following day. As a storm had just come through I was really looking forward to the stew in particular. The idea of tucking into a warm and hearty dish sounded perfect.
Recipe #3: Hearty pasta and stew. Brown some onions in a pan. Throw in all your left overs… In my case diced potato, carrots, Italian herb mix, chili, beans and tomato paste. Add water, bring to the boil, turn down on low and let it stew until everything in that pot is tender and the sauce is thick. Cook some pasta, drain and add to the stew once it’s finished cooking.

Whilst doing the rest of my cooking, I decided to toast off all my remaining oats so they’d be ready to go. Unfortunately I whilst I was distracted with my other cooking, I burnt a large portion of oats. The kitchen was smoky but I wasn’t going to waste my food, so I meticulously picked out as many of the burnt oats as a could in an attempt to salvage day 5s breakfast. I find it quite humorous just how desperate and protective us LBLs can get when it comes to our food. We’ll count ever grain of rice, pick up every crumb we drop and refuse to throw anything away. It was at this point I realised I hadn’t had my daily piece of fruit. And because I had salvaged enough oats, I managed to make something so good that I should have been eating for breakfast the whole time, toasted oats with grated apple.

Recipe #4: Toasted oats with apple. Toast oats under in the over, grate apple into a bowl, mix in the toasted oats. Simple, tasty and another dish I’ll continue to make long after LBL is over.

So another day came and went, another $2 was well spent. I used myself and cooked ahead and then I headed off to bed. –Terrible I know, but who can blame me, it’s day 4 and I can see the light on the horizon… and it looks a whole lot like lasange and sourdough.

LBL 3 4

Day 2: Another Day, Another 2 Dollars

*From Tuesday, 06 May – https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/blogs/5386

Even though I exhausted on Monday night I was up quite late, so I went to bed with the idea that I’d be taking the Tuesday off work. As it turned out, after a bit of a sleep in, a whole lot of water and taking the morning slow, I felt quite good. Remembering how terrible the previous day had been I tried my best to take a little bit of extra time in the kitchen. I cut up some carrots (to snack on), toasted some oats (for porridge with flavour or to pick at during the day), toasted some chickpeas with Italian herb mix and chili (for some protein) which I now have to add were darn good and my favourite thing I’ve eaten so far, and grabbed a pear (for a quick yet tasty start to the day). The thought behind this selection of food was that even though it wasn’t necessarily a large quality of food, snacking throughout the day would help keep my blood sugar level steady. I made a big effort during the day to drink plenty of water since I had forgotten to account for all the tea and coffee I would normally drink the previous day.

LBL Day 2
I settled into work and my boss was a little surprised to see me. As it turns out both of us had felt quite terrible the previous day and neither of us thought we’d be up to work. At this point I have to continue giving credit to my boss for keeping up with his decision to eat away from his desk. It’s truly been the sweetest gesture on his part and has made the challenge just that little bit easier. During the day more and more people took a moment during the day to ask how I was, how the challenge was going, and asked lots of questions about LBL. I received lots of props and encouragement and of course I heard pleanty of that infamous saying we all know too well, ‘I couldn’t do it’. I find it remarkable just how important the support from my office has been in getting me through this rollercoaster of a challenge so far, and it was one of the main reasons I got out of bed and came into work… as scared as I was to tackle yet another $2 day.

A couple hours into the day I received another anonymous donation for $20 which came with the message of “You’re doing a great thing – best wishes.” It was so nice to have that reinforcement again that the people I was doing this around really were behind me. One of the ladies in the office also mentioned that she’d read my previous post and how she found my food choices really interesting. I’ve found it really enjoyable discussing the challenge with people, and it seems the more they know about it the more they seem to be keen to support me in any way they can. It’s also now become clear that I am the only one doing LBL in the office, which is great because I’ve starting thinking I might have to do a little cupcake fundraiser on Friday to get a few extra dollars. I think making cupcakes when I can’t enjoy them myself should be entertaining as I’m sure they’ll be a few people in the office that will love the idea of me making, baking and drooling over cupcakes that I can’t have.

The coffee van came and left though I had barely noticed. It was a great change from the previous days pain and the IT boys weren’t overly bad either. Even though one of them continued on his mini rampage of delicious lunch talk, it was all in good fun and to be honest, I’ve really been enjoying the banter. Plus, the more I talk about food, and have all these delicious dishes brought to my attention, I’m really starting to enjoy thinking about all the wonderful things I’m going to be able to stuff in my face at midnight… because I don’t think I’ll make it to Saturday breakfast.

At this point the hardest part of the day was having a slightly lowered ability to focus, though it was much better than it had been the previous day. Instead of slicing my hand and tripping on myself I was only walking into doors and staring into space a little. Another challenging part of my day was not being able to go to the gym. Going to the gym is something I usually really enjoy doing, but I know that pushing my body physically during this challenge is not a good idea as it’s already being pushed in another way.

By the time 2:00pm came around, I felt a little delirious. So I increased my snacking and the strangest amount of focus kicked in. The next time I looked up from my screen it was just after 4:00pm and I decided to go for a walk to try and get my mind off not going home to a delicious home-cooked dinner after a long day of work on a cool and cloudy day. The walk made me feel calm, as I was noticing the colour of all the flowers on the street. It was quite beautiful and it hit me, I’d started appreciating the smaller things in life, but as soon as I came back into the office I noticed myself drifting off again and I had to put my earphones in because I could hear everyone talking about and eating chocolate. I find it really interesting to see just how much of a rollercoaster this challenge can be. One minute you’re okay and one minute you feel off balance. But I guess it’s all part of the experience.

By the time 6:00pm came around I was starting to feel a bit emotional. It made me realise that for the next three days I was going to need to plan out a substantial meal in the middle of the day to keep my emotions under check. The last thing I expected and wanted to see when I came home was a large pile of freshly cooked chicken schnitzels just sitting on the table, so I decided to get creative with a big bowl of pasta because I was starving. I used some pasta that I’d portioned out and added cauliflower, chickpeas, zucchini, tomato paste, Italian herb mix and chili. That pasta dinner was so very satisfying, and surprisingly delicious. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the fact that I knew people that’d be having much worse dinners, and they weren’t even doing the challenge. It seems like forcing myself to get creative in the kitchen has led me to discover some new, quick and easy go-to recipes. Recipes that I feel more than happy using once LBL is over.

With a belly full of food I couldn’t have been happier, and I portioned out all the food I had left for the next 3 days. It seemed I was being quite conservative with my food over the first two daysso I was looking forward to some substantial meals over the next 3 days. I finished off the evening with a handful of toasted oats and toasted oat porridge, which by this point I’d become addicted to. It was just how I felt about pop-corn, a tasty treat that once I started I couldn’t help but polish off the bowl. I can honestly say, that if nothing more comes out of this years LBL I won’t be surprised if toasted oats are something I continue eating long after the challenge is over