Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Fitbit - One Year Later

So, I'm still using it. I've worn it almost every day since I got it.

Last year I walked 3,577,694 steps which works out at 9,801 steps a day. I'd set myself a goal of 10k steps a day so I almost made it. I'm aiming to beat that this year and have a daily average of over 10k.

I walked a total of 1,534 miles which is 4.2 miles a day. Not bad for a fat lass, eh?

I recently got the Great Barrier Reef achievement which is for walking the length of the GBR 1,600 miles.

I still enjoy doing a lot of walking and I often invent reasons to go out so I can get extra steps.

Another thing I want to beat this year is my Best in a Day steps which is 30,000. Next stop 35,000 steps!

Lately with work I've had less time for walking in the countryside but I'm hoping to get started again soon on my days off. I miss the trail.

I'd write more but I've got to go get some more steps. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 68: BBQ Burger

Last week we had my sister Sally and her boyfriend Steve over for a barbecue so it was a perfect time to try the BBQ burger. Not that we haven't all tried them a few times already in our lives. It needs doing though since it's in the book as a sandwich.

 Here we are all set up for burgers. You might spot this crafty muffin tray hack in a future blog post! :D

Here it is, the glorious burger. This one with cheese and sweet onion relish. My personal favourite is with blue cheese and lettuce.

To make the ratings a bit more interesting we made some burgers ourselves and also bought some from Asda to compare them.

Ratings: Homemade - JD 3, Emma 4, Sally 4, Steve 5, Leigh didn't have a homemade one, Erin had chicken burgers

Ratings: Shop Bought - JD 3, Emma 3, Sally 2.5, Steve 2, Leigh 3

JD and I didn't notice much difference between homemade and shop bought but Sally and Steve much preferred the homemade ones. Steve said the shop ones were a bit dry while the homemade ones were juicy. He could just have been a polite guest complimenting us though! I suspect JD ate two shop bought ones since he rated them both the same. ^_^

Either way, burgers are great. Especially when you can change the taste a lot depending on what condiments or extras you eat with it.

Coming Next Saturday - Monte Cristo

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 67: Barros Luco

Ramon Barros Luco was president of Chile many years ago and this was his favourite sandwich.

Ingredients: steak, salt, pepper, bread roll, cumin, garlic, chilli and swiss cheese

 Season the steak with salt & pepper then cook it in a frying pan to your preferred done-ness.

Rub the bread roll halves with a garlic clove. Put the steak in the roll and dust with cumin. Then add some sliced chilli and swiss cheese.

 Toast the whole sandwich in the frying pan on both sides.

It's often true that sometimes the simplest sandwiches are the best. This one tastes fantastic! It was really difficult to eat (we had to use a knife and fork) and next time we'll use much thinner steaks but apart from that it's just amazing. The cumin on the steak seems to bring out it's flavour and while I'm usually not one for too much spice the chillis added a perfect zing whenever I got a bite. The cheese could've been a bit more melted (maybe under the grill before you toast it in the pan) but the sharp taste really went well in the sandwich. Delicious, I urge you to try one :)

Ratings: JD - 4, Emma - 5

Coming up next Saturday - BBQ Burgers

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Whittling in the Woods

A month or so ago I bought this book. Since then we've all been looking through it and talking about which things in it we'd like to try. Me and JD are up for trying most of them and the kids have marked in it which ones they want to do.

First up since we all wanted to try it is whittling. After a quick visit to Amazon for some knives we were ready to go. Leigh had a better offer at the last minute so just JD, Erin and I this time.

Before we went I looked up knife laws and some safety tips. https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives

We walked into some woods near where we live so we'd be away from people and set down a blanket so we'd be static when whittling.

Just to get used to using the knives we started with stripping bark from large twigs we found on the ground.

Making sure to use the knife away from your body at all times. As demonstrated by JD.

Whittling is hard work so Erin had a phone break to find us some good whittling music. She started off with the soundtrack to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Haha. Notice she is wearing gloves, which is another safety tip for kids doing whittling or anyone worried about cuts and nicks to their hands.

After stripping bark we had a go at making pointy sticks and then had fun stabbing leaves.

 Here's mine and below JD's shorter shiv type pointy stick.

Next I had a go at shaping a face from a stripped twig. Some say it looks like Bart Simpson. :D

It's harder than it looks, alright!

Erin and JD had moved on to stripping some of the bark (but not all, that would be mean) from a tree.

 JD carved our initials in a heart, aww ^_^

All in all it was quite enjoyable to be in the woods being all survivor style with knives. It's good to know we could make weapons if we needed to...as long as we already have a knife...which is technically a weapon anyway...hmm ok not that impressive. It is fun though.

Stay tuned to see which Family Adventure we try next. :)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 66: The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich

This is quite a claim. The Ultimate chicken sandwich. Well, we'll be the judge of that! :D

Ingredients: chicken, garlic, olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, eggs, salad leaves, sourdough bread, bay leaves and thyme.

Stuff the chicken with lemon slices, 2 bay leaves and some sprigs of thyme. The astute among you might notice that we used rosemary instead because we found it growing in a pot in the garden and we forgot to get thyme. Cover the chicken liberally with salt & pepper. Place the garlic cloves all around the chicken in the dish (two whole bulbs broken into cloves) and pour over 1 cup of olive oil. Roast the chicken as you usually would in the oven.

When the chicken is roasted and cooled a bit take all the meat off, remove the garlic cloves to a bowl and drain the olive oil. Make mayonnaise by beating two egg yolks then slowly adding the garlic infused olive oil until it thickens to your liking.

 Chop the chicken into small bite-sized pieces and mix with the mayo.

 Squeeze the roasted soft garlic out of their skins and then spread on slices of the sourdough bread.

 Pile the chicken mayo mix on top of the garlic and finish with some salad leaves.

This was a pretty nice chicken sandwich. The home-made mayonnaise was the best part since it's the first time we've made our own and we didn't realise how easy it was. We're not altogether keen on sourdough bread, it's a bit too chewy and hard to eat and I think we'd prefer softer bread for this sandwich. The sandwich doesn't really have a very strong taste of garlic which is bizarre considering the amount of garlic used in the whole thing. The chicken in mayo was delicious and we have enough left for more sandwiches tomorrow which is great.

So a pretty good sandwich but definitely not the ultimate chicken sandwich for us.

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 3

Coming up next Saturday - Barros Luco

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 65: Tunisian Fricassee Sandwich

This sandwich looks great but has tons of ingredients and you have to make the bread rolls too since it uses freshly fried bread rolls. So that's maybe why we've only just gotten around to making this one. But made it we have!

Here's the recipe if you want to try it --> http://metro.co.uk/2013/10/23/how-to-make-a-tunisian-fricassee-sandwich-4156224/

This is the Israeli salad with the tuna mixed into it

 The freshly fried bread rolls

As we were making this sandwich I was thinking to myself that this sandwich would have to be great after all this effort. It was pretty good but maybe not quite worth it. We did learn a couple of things in the making of it. Harissa is delicious, I can see us eating it on almost all our sandwiches from now on. I should have faith in our bread roll making abilities because I felt sure these wouldn't work out. It's a tasty sandwich but is also very similar to a tuna salad sandwich. Which we also enjoy. The fried bread was great, lovely and crisp on the outside and surprisingly soft on the inside. We had more sandwiches later in the fried bread and they were great too.

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 3

Coming up next Saturday - The Ultimate Chicken Sandwich

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Our Treasure Trail Adventure

One weekend JD and I had nothing planned while the kids were with their Dad for the day so we decided to leave it up to chance to decide what we did. Five envelopes with five destinations for the day.

JD picked out B which was doing a Treasure Trail in Pateley Bridge.

At £7 per trail from http://www.treasuretrails.co.uk/ they're a way to explore somewhere whilst solving a mystery by working out clues to solve a puzzle. They use landmarks and plaques around the town they're set in. It's pretty fun.

We've previously done the Harrogate and Knaresborough ones near us and one of the best parts of the Treasure Trails is that they take you into parts of an area you might not have seen before. We've been to Pateley Bridge many times but never seen some of the places we visited today.

 The start of a surprisingly steep climb that led to some lovely views of the countryside around.

 JD spotted this cat with a spoon in it's mouth (not part of the trail :D)

The view from St Mary's Churchyard

 St Mary's Church, built into the hill but without a roof now.

 JD and I in matching Roy Orbison-esque sunglasses.

 JD's new friend.

I really enjoy doing the Treasure Trails, they're right up my street. I love working out puzzles. I'd like to see some harder ones for adults as these are all aimed at families. It's a nice way to get some exercise and spend time looking around local areas. I'd recommend them to anyone who enjoys clues and puzzles.
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