Eat: Watermelon Salad

Summer is officially over in NZ.  We’re in Autumn now, but the watermelons are still available at the markets and grocery stores.

I’m big into eating as much fruit as I can throughout the summer and I’m also big on eating light, fresh, filling meals.

So I made a watermelon salad and wanted to share.

Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad

Anyway its super simple to make and is ready in under 15 minutes, depending on how quick

you are in the kitchen I guess.

Watermelon Salad

  • 1 watermelon cut up into bite size cubes
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled I like the crumbly greek style kind but choose your favourite. Also add more or less cheese dependent upon your tastes or preferences
  • 1 bag baby spinach (or any mix of greens you prefer)
  • 1 small to medium red onion, cut in half and super skinny
  • 1 bunch of mint, now you can choose to leave it as full leaves or slice them into threads
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • and a glug of olive oil, or any oil you prefer

Toss it all together and this is what you get, a delicious, easy, yummy, summer salad, that you even enjoy on those warm autumn nights.

If when you chop up the watermelon, you feel like you have too much for salad, here are my ideas on what to do with the extra.

  1. eat the extra as a sweet snack
  2. put the excess in a blender, it’ll turn into watermelon juice and drink up.
  3. or if you’re not into having a fresh glass of juice, then put them into popsicle moulds and freeze for a treat.
  4. freeze the cubes to add to a smoothie
Another picture of our salad

Another picture of our salad

SUP yoga summer goals

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I did yoga on a stand up paddle board and I loved it.  I went again this weekend and I’ve come up with two goals for the board.

By March 26 2014 I want to be able to successfully do a headstand and crane (or crow) pose whilst on the board.

Practicing headstand and crane on the beach, prepping to transfer to the board

Practicing headstand and crane on the beach, prepping to transfer to the board

I don’t have a paddle board and I’ve only done two yoga classes on a board, but I really want to get this sussed on the board. I hope I can crush this goal this summer.

If you don’t know anything about headstands or crane pose here is a quick heads up.

Headstands – also known as Shirshasana is considered a fountain of youth pose, along with all inversions. Your blood rushes to your head, your skin is hanging in the opposite direction, essentially you’re going against the flow of gravity.  The longer you hold a headstand, the stronger your core becomes.  I’m pretty new to headstand and can hold it 5-8 breaths. I’d like to get up to 10 breaths. Personally I also find doing a headstand helps if I feel a headache coming on, and usually if I’m feeling low on energy, headstands make me feel more energetic.

Crane or Crow  – also known as Bakasana is another inversion as your head is dipped below your heart. This pose is amazing for your entire yoga practice. It’s a really good pose to become more mindful as I set my gaze, calm my mind and focus on my breathe. I also find that crane is a great pose that gets me to think more mindfully about the muscles I’m using. Crane can be considered a difficult pose and it’s the same pose that makes me smile every time I lift off.

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

Here we are in St. Mary's Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Here we are in St. Mary’s Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Last week I tried Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga for the first time and I loved it!

I wanted to try something new on my birthday, because I think its important to spend your birthday that way.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and drove across the Auckland Harbour bridge to get to the class and I was looking forward to it, and was apprehensive too.

I had been wanting to try SUP yoga for a little while and had not had the opportunity, but to be fair, I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity earlier.  I had it in my head that I wasn’t good enough to do it.

I’m not sure what gave me the impression. It wasn’t a sense of self worth that I was missing, but it was the actual physical strength that I thought I lacked.  I had put it into my head I had to be either good at yoga or at paddle boarding or both. I didn’t realize that had gotten in my own way, until I was presented with the opportunity to SUP yoga for my birthday.  I immediately said yes, and then all the excuses came bubbling up to the surface to make me doubt my decision. However, I had already made the decision to commit and I really wanted to do something new and challenging for my birthday.

So I went and I did it and if you forgot what I wrote above, I loved it.

Getting out the anchor point was a bit of a challenge, because I had only paddled boarded once, in March, and didn’t really remember any of the technique and tips. I had already made the decision that while I didn’t want to fall in, that I would be OK if I did and it would contribute to a memorable experience. Sidebar: I definitely prescribe to the idea that if you’re not falling you’re not having fun or pushing yourself; although sometimes I forget that when I take a particularly nasty fall.

Our instructor, Katrina,  had gotten a gauge of how comfortable on paddle boards we were, and also how comfortable we were doing yoga. She lead the session according to our abilities and offered modifications to poses to make them easier or harder, as suited for each individual.

It didn’t take long for me to realize the best way for me to enjoy myself on the board, stay with my breath, focus, listen to my body and find my stability, and stay with it.

The best part of doing it was the fact that I got out of my own way. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have realized just how much I enjoyed it.

If you are in Auckland, I would highly recommend coming out for a SUP yoga session. Katrina teaches every Wednesday at 6pm and every Saturday at 8am. Contact Flux to book your spot

Trying out gardening

So i wouldn’t ever claim to be a gardener.  I love seeing other people’s garden, and I love learning about what someone has planted in their garden.  I also love the idea of having a garden.  However, I move so much, about every six months, that is up until January.  This is the longest I think I’ve held an address in about 9 years. So, it’s only natural as the weather starts to turn to summer, that I want to try my hand at gardening, thankfully the husband, is also keen to have a go.

Here is a snapshot as to how our attempt is coming along. We’re not sure how much success we’ll have, but we’ve had a lot of fun so far, and some challenges, and also we’re learning a lot.

the wild of our gardens, complete with our cat that loves to stalk through it

the wild of our gardens, complete with our cat that loves to stalk through it

another thrilling look at a overgrown garden bed

another thrilling look at a overgrown garden bed

 

After all the hard work of weeding.

After all the hard work of weeding

After all the hard work of weeding the fun part began.  With a fresh canvas, we were able to start thinking about what it would look like.  We got some local sheep manure and mixed it with some soil from the garden centre and also started to do a weekly  watering with blood and bone.

I got ridiculously excited about all the different possibilities of what to plant, and thankfully, my husband was there to be a tether back to reality.

So we went with sweet 100’s tomatoes and basil as its companion plant. We also planted parsley, roly poly carrots, marigolds (or calendula), chillis for a bit of fun, capsicums (or bell peppers), cucumbers and coriander.

check out our burgeoning garden, once we decided what to plant.

check out our burgeoning garden, once we decided what to plant.

and directly across, the other garden bed.

and directly across, the other garden bed.

We also purchased a gorgeous bucket of lettuces, it already has four heads of lettuce planted in it, and you just pick it as needed. We went a bit crazy, so we left it alone for two weeks and its cranking again.

Still to plant, some catnip and sage.

I’ve loved the experience so far of gardening (with the exception of the slightly achey joints), its been amazing, how many lovely people have offered us sound advice and even gifted us with plants to start with. It’s so satisfying to see the unkempt garden made over and I’ve even enjoyed the investigative part of gardening, our basil was just being chomped through, and we finally figured out it was the hungry caterpillar.

However I think the best part has been trying out a new activity with my husband.  We both have a few activities that we do separately, and we have a few that we do together.

Taking an interest in the garden has been fun to do together.  As mentioned early, he’s been really great at grounding me with what we can achieve, considering our garden space isn’t the largest, however he’s also been awesome in having fun with what we plant. We aren’t big chilli eaters, but we both thought it would be fun to try out something a bit different, and agreed that they’d look fantastic too.  We’re sure we can find plenty of people to share our chilli’s with. It’s proved to be an activity that we both can get outside and enjoy together and it’s been fun planning and discussing the garden too. I’ve been able to be creative with what we’re planting and how to plant.  The husband didn’t know anything about companion planting, but it was something I was interested in trying out.

While the motivation to start gardening has been different for both us, it’s given us something new to do together, and that has made the process really worth it. Now let’s hope we get a few little something somethings from the garden.

Wanderlust Auckland

Recently added to the Wanderlust Auckland experience is the one day Yoga in the City event next year in March, held at Western Springs Park. 

My understanding is that there is going to be a big four day Wanderlust in NZ for 2015, and may be in the Taupo region, who knows.

I really enjoy yoga, but attending something like this is a bit out of my comfort zone; so of course, I’m trying to lean into the idea of attending.

At the very least, it couldn’t be a bad experience and at the very best it could be a very fascinating one.

Check out this video from the creators of Wanderlust as they talk about their NYC in the city event.

Make: Basil Pesto, I made my own, you can too

just some basil pesto i whipped up

Picture of the basil pesto I whipped up, I didn’t have any fancy bowls, so I just chucked it in plastic container. All class all the way.

I’m sort of, maybe addicted to all sorts of dips and spreads.  I think its totally acceptable to eat a dip as a meal.  So it was only a matter of time before I tried to make my own basil pesto.  After I made it, I realised that I should have made it sooner, for the following reasons:

1. It’s super easy to make and takes likes then 5 minutes.

2. It’s so satisfying making it yourself.

There are so many recipes out there, but if you stumbled across mine, hurrah!

Good old fashion pesto – your own way

3-4 cups of fresh basil – if for some reason you can’t get your hands on that much basil (or any), add some spinach or coriander or parsley or mint, a mixed herb spread would be delicious.

1/2 cup nuts, walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, why not try any other nut, if it’s your favourite

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped, more or less if you like

some sea salt

1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice, but really just do it, to your taste

1/3 cup of oil, your choice, i like a good olive oil and again add more or less depending on the texture you’re going for

Decide what kind of texture you want your pesto to be, it’ll be in your food processor so, shorter time means a grainier pesto, longer means a pureed pesto.  You choose.

Roast your nuts on the stove in a pan, it makes them taste nicer, but if you’re feeling lazy, then skip this step.

Chuck your (roasted) nuts, basil and garlic in a food processor. crack some salt on it. Turn it on and slowly add your oil. Add your lemon juice, give it a whirl in your food processor again, and your done.

I checked on mine a few times, to scrape down the sides and taste it.  Add more of anything that suits your taste buds.

If you don’t know how to enjoy pesto, here are a few ideas:

  • spread it on a sandwich or filled roll
  • stir it through pasta or roast veggies or a salad
  • spread it on crackers and top with cheese or tomatoes
  • use it as a sauce base for a pizza
  • and my fave is to make a grilled cheese sandwich with pesto

It’s the start of summer here in the southern hemisphere and I was lucky enough to buy some fresh basil at the farmer’s market. Stoked I tried to make my own, I’ll definitely do it again.