New Ventures, Projects, and Love

Hello all!

If there is anyone listening out there anymore. It certainly has been a while.

What have I been doing in this time? Not cooking much, I will admit. The art of cooking gave way to the art of art, and that is where my energy is focussed. So I apologize if this is a blatant attempt to gain publicity for my online art store, because that’s exactly what it is. Little watercolours, sketches, and mixed-media paintings, collected here together on Etsy, my store, ArtByCatJ.

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So please, if you were hoping for a recipe and have been disappointed, go on to one of the wonderful inspiring cooking blogs that I’ve listed over on the right-hand side of this screen. And if you’re pleasantly surprised by what you see in my art store, please, share the love, share the link, and hell, treat yourself to something bright on your wall.

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Until next time,

Cat x

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Fitness Without Obsession

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t updated Cat’s Kitchen in some time. Over the past 12 months, my life took turns that gave other things higher priority. Recently however, I was emailed about a guest post by Joanne. Aside from being flattered that my blog inspired contribution, I think she shares some valuable advice. So here you go, the first post in a year, compliments of Joanne.

As an aspiring writer, I’m pretty much the perfect picture of someone who’s posted up at her computer all day. And if you’re anything like me, chances are you have run across the sedentary lifestyle articles like this one at WebMD that help you with becoming active and counter-acting all that time spent sitting still. As a result, I’ve made consistent exercise a part of my daily routine, but only for health reasons.

Like Cat herself, I have taken on and abandoned New Year’s Resolutions to lose a specific amount of weight because, well, it’s not worth obsessing over something like that. You can be perfectly healthy and fit without needing to reach a particular waist size that, to be honest, can be completely unattainable. Not to get all preachy here, but we’re not all meant to be stick figure-like slim and accepting that fact is an important step toward appreciating yourself more.

That being said, exercise is still important, especially if you live that sedentary life like I described earlier. But it’s important to find a middle ground for yourself and your daily routine so as not to completely disrupt other parts of yourself lifestyle. And there are ways that you can do this without it becoming an all-out obsession. According to this guide from Verizon, fitness trainers with a more intensive regimen have looked to items such as wireless activity trackers. They essentially cover your every move, from how many calories you have burned while exercising to how many calories you have consumed throughout this day. This is helpful if you’re looking to reach a specific fitness goal, for example, and honestly, you’re going to want to set those when you start out.

If you don’t allow yourself to come up with reasonable and achievable goals, you are going to stop exercising; it’s as simple as that. That means you should never get ahead of yourself or allow yourself to start breaking down each and every aspect of your day. Counting calories can obviously help if you do have, say, a medical need to drop some pounds, but you can also easily take it too far and perhaps even lose sight of your goal. That’s especially true if you keep checking every hour of the day, because that’s an impulse that can make your goal of being more healthy, well, unhealthy.

What’s especially important to remember when setting goals is to make them something you actually want to meet. Let’s say that you enjoy running now that you have been doing it every day (or other day) for the past few weeks or months. Why not make it a goal to enter some kind of local race? If you’re not a competitive person, that’s totally understandable, but these events can help in adding a fun element to your exercise. Not only that, but you can introduce yourself to and possibly become friends with fellow runners who could exercise with you. If that’s not exactly your thing, you can reward yourself in other ways like having a meal that’s more indulgent once a week (or month). You could also work it into a savings plan for yourself that puts extra spending money aside.

Basically it’s all up to you—and that includes getting started in the first place. Just remember that if and when you do kick off your fitness routine, make sure you don’t overdo it. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up failing or calling it quits before you know it. Good luck!

While I completely agree with Joanne’s approach, I’d like to add two strategies for consistent exercise that work for me. The first is to do something I actually enjoy, and change for something new when I get bored of it. That’s seen me do everything from karate and swimming to pole dancing and yoga, and so long as it’s fresh and I love it, it never feels like a chore. The other option, which I resort to if time or money are stopping me from doing something more interesting, is setting micro-goals. Such as, I will put on my joggers and do something active each day, even if it’s just a ten minute walk. Usually I end up doing a lot more once I’ve gone to the effort of getting up, but there are times when I’ve actually done something short and easy. It works because it builds the daily habit of being active, while I know that if I really don’t feel like it, I’m not going to force myself to do much. That said, Joanne’s suggestions have all worked for me as well, and I agree that whatever you do, better to take it easy and start, than settle for nothing leas than perfection and never get off the couch!

Cat x

Sustainability, Hunger and Consumerism: The Quinoa Debate

Quinoa

Recently in the media and blogosphere, debate has been raging over the negative impact Western demand for quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) has had on populations in countries where it is a staple food. Much of the blame has been dumped on vegans and vegetarians, for everything from malnutrition to soil erosion and property disputes. While many concerns raised are valid, and this isn’t an issue to be taken lightly, it seems to me as though we’re crying over a scratch while ignoring the bullethole. And fingers are being pointed in the wrong direction. Continue reading

Why I Threw Out My New Year’s Resolution

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When I’m dying, there are a few regrets that I expect to have. That I missed being part of my younger siblings’ lives as they grew up. That I did not get see and experience as much as I’d hoped to. But there is one thing I very much doubt that I will regret – that I didn’t lose ‘the last 5kgs’. Continue reading

Eggplant rollatini with kickass tomato sauce

I cooked this meal a while ago for Ash’s mum. I started out to make these eggplant ‘rollatini’s but personally I prefer a tomato sauce with more kick(ass), so the recipe I actually write up here is what I plan on doing next time. And I doubled the spinach (from memory). Continue reading

“I want to eat spaghetti bolognaise, and not feel bad about it for days and days and days”

perfect camping food

They’re Lily Allen’s words – but I know what she means.

I find if I eat spaghetti bolognaise, I enjoy it because it’s hearty, tasty, filling and very much a comfort-food. But it leaves me feeling like I’ve eaten a cow, and that if I make a habit of eating it, I will look like a cow. Continue reading

Scratch and catch

That’s what easy make-your-own dinner night was called in our house. This isn’t quite make-your-own but it falls into the same general easy dinner category, along with toasties, toad-in-the-hole and tuna pasta. I should name it something starting with the letter ‘t’. Like Totallllllly dumplings and greens. Haha no. Continue reading

Secret sauce…

It sounds like something naughty doesn’t it.

It’s so secret, mainly because I don’t remember the exact mix of ingredients or the measurements. But I’ve made it a few times so I have a general idea of what goes in, and each time it seems to taste the same. Next time I’ll measure it, I promise. Continue reading