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Back in Melbourne, Hot Weather and Bacon Burgers

On Friday we made it back to Melbourne safely after our amazing holiday in the US and we were welcomed with some seriously hot weather! After experiencing an American Football game in -4 C weather Melbourne is feeling rather warm. Warm weather means BBQ’s for us so that’s exactly what we have been doing since we got home. BBQ’s are great for making simple and healthy meals, and also great for making really unhealthy meals if you feel so inclined. Beef burgers with balsamic bacon and red onion jam was our BBQ meal of choice yesterday.

This recipe is adapted from Ourlifeinfood.com

Ingredients

Jam

  • 4 rashers bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Salt and pepper

Burgers

(the original recipe had 2 rashers of bacon mixed into the burgers but we skipped this bit)

  • 500g Lean beef mince (preferably grass fed)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tps Dijon mustard
  • Plenty of pepper and salt

Directions

  1. Mix the mince with the remaining ingredients and mash it all together with your hands. Form the burger mix into desired number of patties and set aside. If you’re using a BBQ get it started so its hot when your want to start cooking
  2. Heat a large fry pan and add the chopped bacon. Cook until browned and crispy. Set aside bacon but keep the bacon fat in the fry pan
  3. Add the sliced onion to pan with the bacon fat, and continue to stir the onion so it doesn’t burn. Once the onion has softened place a lid on the fry pan and leave the onion for approx 10 mins to get really soft
  4. At this point you can start cooking your burgers on the BBQ. Place the burger patties on the hot plate and flatten with a spatula. Cook on each side for approx 5 mins or until browned half  way through
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar, mustard, water and salt and pepper in with the onions. Give it a good stir and then add the cooked bacon. Place the cover on the pan again and let it simmer until it thickens
  6. Just before serving remove the cover from the frying pan and let the jam simmer down a little
  7. Serve the burgers with a big salad or in a bun if you prefer it that way. Top the burgers with your cheese of choice and then add the bacon jam on top

Get the BBQ nice and hot and make sure you have some healthy oil to cook them with

Cook that bacon!

Remove the bacon and cook the onion

Place the patties on the hot plate and flatten them out

Be sure to get your cat to help out in the kitchen..

Add the remaining ingredients and bacon to the onion jam

Remove the cooked burgers from the hot plate

Serve and enjoy!

 

Got any questions about these delicious burgers? Ask me in the comments below.

Kyle and I have a huge line up for you this summer, including tips on how to keep fit and healthy over the holidays so make sure you sign up to our email updates so you don’t miss out!

Quick Sticks: A 30 Minute Holiday Workout

Today was the first workout I had done in 7 days. It was quite an experience so I thought I would share it with you.

We headed out into the crisp, -1° Celcius morning to find a place to do our workout. The cool air seemed to find its way into every exposed crevice, feeling kind of like you were sniffing up small shards of ice.

Seeing as we hadn’t done any formal exercise since we left – other then a whole heap of walking and some exercise of the mouth in the form of tasty eating – we decided that we would keep this workout simple.

The Workout – Quick Sticks

Warm up with a jog to a nice flat area for sprinting along. Follow up with some mobility exercises and dynamic stretches.

Complete five rounds:

  • 40m Sprint immediately followed by…
  • 10× Squats
  • Then walk 40m
  • 10× Push Ups
  • Rest for around 30-40 seconds.

Walk back home and have a good stretch. This should take around 30 minutes total.

Below are some lovely pictures of our training location at the lake near my Auntie and Uncle’s house in Ames, Iowa.

Confessions of a Barefoot Shoe-aholic. Your barefoot shoe questions answered.

A have a problem. I like to buy shoes.

Not just any shoes though, I like to buy shoes that allow for as close to a barefoot experience as possible. That statement alone seems ridiculous right? Why wear ‘barefoot’ shoes when you can just go barefoot for free?

Like I said, I have a problem. Let me tell you why a like them and why you might too.

To be fair, some of these are Zoe’s

What are barefoot shoes?

Like I said above, barefoot shoes are designed to emulate barefoot movement while still protecting your feet from weather, gravel, glass and other terrain issues.

They usually offer no support (unlike a traditional runner), have very thin soles and a slightly larger toe capsule to allow some movement in the toes while wearing.

But, aren’t shoes supposed to give me support and padding?

High heels no, runners yes.

But why do you need all of that support? Have thousands of years of evolution failed our bodies so much that we really need a supportive shoe to run and walk? Is not running and walking a basic function of the human body? It’s hard to imagine how we got around before Nike came along.

Excuse the sarcasm in my writing but there are some things in life that we don’t question that we really should.

Ok, no need to be an asshole about it. So what is so good about barefoot shoes?

That’s good, you are starting to rethink why you wear runners, well let me lay down for you what are so good about barefoot shoes.

During summer I love to just go barefoot although wearing shoes all my life has left me with rather delicate soles. Wearing barefoot shoes rather than going plain barefoot allows me to give my feet a rest and also stops me from looking like a bogan. Although my Vibram Five-Fingers do still attract some strange looks.

Barefoot shoes also make my feet and ankles strong. I meet a lot of active people in my passion and rolled ankles, flat feet and sore knees are all way too common. Barefoot shoes force me to use my entire foot when I walk and run. The lack of cushy padding and stability has also increased my ankle strength and balance.

I suffered my first knee injury at 11 years old. A chronic overuse injury that baffled the doctors caused by a combination of soccer and athletics. I had to stop both or else I would wind up with my left knee inflating to twice the size of my right.

From then on every time I would run or even go for a long hike there was a 50-50 chance I would be nursing a swollen knee for the next few months.

Correct weight training as a young adult improved this condition a lot. But since I ditched my runners, adapted to bare feet and changed my running style my knee hasn’t so much as given me a twinge. I went from pretty much guaranteed knee arthroscopy in my 30′s to no problems at all in 6 months. This is a big deal for someone who makes their living being active.

Wearing an oversupportive runner that encourages bad running and exercise technique is like putting on a full head helmet everytime you leave the house. It’s bulky and unnecessary.

I wear orthotics, can I use them?

I’ll let the guys at Vibram answer this question.

Vibram FiveFingers® are designed to promote better foot mechanics—naturally. As such, they’re meant to be worn directly against the sole of your foot, allowing your foot to move as if barefoot. An orthotic is an assistive device to support your foot’s function and help you compensate for any biological aberrations. Attempting to utilize an orthotic with Vibram FiveFingers® would defeat their purpose. If you have an extremely flat foot, you will need to work into wearing your Vibram FiveFingers® gradually, as your muscles will need time to adapt and strengthen.

My advice – and this is just advice that in no way constitutes as medical advice. I am not a doctor or medically trained so you should take my advice with a grain of salt – would be to do two things. And this only applies if your condition is not structural. Strengthen your feet rather then use a crutch (Would you keep using crutches for a broken leg after getting the cast off?) and possibly lose some weight. Both of these things will put you in a much better position for long term healthy feet.

But why so many shoes?

Ah, back to hassling me about my problem again. There are lots of different brands out there, I like to try them out and see which ones are right for me. As a result, I can give you a little advice if you are planning on getting some.

Vibram Five Fingers – Great if you like a bit of attention. Also the only shoe that will give you use of your toes when training. You will be amazed at how much your toes can improve your balance and performance.

Merrell Barefoot Gloves – My favourites. These shoes really hug your feet (like a glove) giving you excellent control.

Vivo Barefoot – These guys make the best looking casual shoes so you can go barefoot to dinner without looking like a hobo (no shoes), a freak (Vibrams) or like you are about to go for a run (Merrells). They also make nice running shoes with loser fit.

No funny looks when I wear these with jeans

I’ve heard about these shoes that aren’t quite as supportive as a runner but aren’t as minimalist as a barefoot shoe. Should I get them first?

Short answer. No.

In the time it would take you to wear through a pair of these, you could have well and truly adapted to a pair of barefoot shoes. To be honest, this is just the big shoe companies trying to get you to buy another shoe from them before you leave them forever. It’s like buying a sugar-free energy drink rather than just stopping drinking the damn things.

Then again, it’s your money and your feet. So if you feel like you need to take a two step to get to bare feet, I’d rather see you do that then just stick with your runners.

Disclaimer: Adapting to bare feet and barefoot shoes after a lifetime of other shoes will take time. Play it smart buy slowly integrating them into your life. Remember, your feet and legs will be working harder than normal to begin with so they need time to recover before they can handle hours upon hours of use.

Got some more questions on barefoot shoes? Ask me in the comments below.

Zoe and I have a huge line up for you this summer, including a series on how to keep fit on long holidays so make sure you sign up to our email updates so you don’t miss out!

Bacon Sweet Potato (cakes) with Rocket

This recipe was meant to make sweet potato cakes, but we ended up using a little too much sweet potato so it turned into a kind of sweet potato/bacon/onion fried mash. All the same, it tasted very yummy. If you want to make sweet potato cakes just add an extra egg, or try first grating the sweet potato very finely. It would probably be easiest if you have a food processor grater for the sweet potato, but our mandolin grater worked fine. We served this delectable dish on a bed of rocket and little diced natural Nimbin cheese.

This recipe is adapted from this site.

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, grated
  • 4 bacon rashers, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 onion, diced (or 4 shallots sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tbs Cajun spice
  • Coconut oil, for frying
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  • In a hot pan fry the bacon until crispy, then chop it up and set aside
  • Peel and grate the sweet potato and place in a large bowl
  • Add the bacon, onion, garlic, parsley and Cajun spice
  • Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the mix with the 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • Add some salt and lots of pepper and then stir it all together with your hands or a spoon
  • Heat the coconut oil in a pan, and once hot add the cakes to the pan
  • Cook for 5 minutes each side, or until golden brown
  • If it ends up like ours did you can just turn the mix every few minutes until its cooked through
  • Enjoy!

If you want more great recipes like this, make sure you sign up to our email list or like our Facebook Page to get them all!

The Easiest Recipe Ever – Grilled Vegetable Omelette

It’s been a while since my last recipe post! I’ve been a bit of a slacker here on the blog since we moved house, but I’m well and truly settled in now so I have no excuse not to have new recipes for you to try. Moving house was way more epic than I thought it’d be, being the first time I have actually had to move an entire house (not just my bedroom) and I totally understand now why people say it’s so stressful.

Moving house is definitely one of those times when eating mostly unhealthy take-away food seems like the easiest thing to do, but you can still make healthy easy meals in minimal time and with very few ingredients. We ate a LOT of bacon and eggs when we first moved in, firstly because we weren’t very good at grocery shopping after moving (the local supermarket isn’t awesome), and secondly because bacon and eggs are delicious!

This recipe is great for those crazy times like when your moving house and need to get rid of all the stuff in your fridge, or just busy days when it’s difficult to take the time to cook anything too complicated, or just ’cause its yummy and super healthy.

It takes all of about of about 10 minutes to make, and you can add any vegetables or extra ingredients you like.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs (add or take away eggs depending on how many people)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup tasty cheese or cheese of choice (plus some extra for top)
  • 3-4 slices of bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 a red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • Salt and pepper

You can add pretty much any ingredients you like to an omelette – use your imagination. Or keep it simple and just have a bacon and cheese omelette. Yummm…

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No More Sit Ups: Five Less-Conformative Ideas For Training Abs

If I told you to go train your abs, what would you do?

Some sit ups, or crunches or maybe some fancy machine at the gym that makes your legs go one way and your head go the other?

You wouldn’t be wrong, you would indeed be training your abs, just not as effectively and safely as you might think.

First, we need to understand our abdominals

To get strong abs or a correctly functioning core (ie. a midsection that stabilises and supports your lower spine) you need to train your abs the way they were designed to be used.

Your abdominals consist of four main muscles, your internal and external obliques, your transverse abdominis (or TVA for short) and your rectus abdominis. Of course, other muscles in your lower back and pelvic floor play a part in keeping your midsection stable too.

The easiest way to picture your abs function is to think of straight parallel lines drawn on a piece of paper. Oblique muscle lines are going diagonally, rectus abs lines are going up and down and TVA lines are goining horizontally.

Now when you look at just one set of these lines, you see alone they don’t do much. Therefore isolating and training them by themselves (like what sit ups and machines do) is fairly ineffective and can potentially cause imbalances. However, when you lay all of these lines on top of each other you are left with a wonderfully complex cross-hatching pattern.

Training your abdominals muscles together makes for a much stronger and balanced core.

So how do I do this?

I have four exercises here that will not only whip you into shape but will also give you a mad strong ab region.

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Best Ever Roast Vegetables with Haloumi

Friends of our’s put us onto this recipe, which originally comes from Nigella Lawson’s cookbook Nigella Bites. I added cauliflower at Kyle’s request. You can have this as a side dish with a roast, put it on a salad like we did, or just eat a big bowl on it’s own. Any way you have it, its awesome! Just be careful though, ’cause it’s hard to stop!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 potatoes diced into bite sized chunks
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced into large chunks (you want chop it big so it doesn’t cook too quickly)
  • 1 red capsicum, roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow capsicum, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, halved and then chopped into about 8 chunks
  • 4-5 pieces of garlic, separated with skin on
  • 1/2 head cauliflower roughly chopped
  • 200g haloumi, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Pepper

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5 Simple Steps for Delicious Creamy Porridge

If you like porridge, try it this way for brekky tomorrow. The overnight soaking makes for some seriously creamy and yummy porridge! It’s not exactly primal, but the soaking removes enzyme inhibitors which means you’re getting all the health benefits of oats. Make sure you eat your porridge with some good fat to stop your body processing it too quickly to avoid a morning sugar spike.

  1. Before you go to bed, place 1/2 cup of oats per person into a small pot and cover with water
  2. Add a tablespoon of yogurt and a pinch of salt to activate the enzymes and remove the phytates
  3. Place a lid on the pot and leave on the bench – go to bed
  4. In the morning when your ready for some awesome brekky, add some extra water or milk to your porridge mix and cook on the stove until its creamy and thick – about 10 mins.
  5. Spoon your desired amount into a bowl and add your choice of flavouring. I think the best mix is warmed raspberries, fresh cream and a teaspoon of coconut sugar.

Best porridge ever.

If you want more great breakfast recipes, make sure you sign up to our email list or like our Facebook Page to get them all!

Chicken and Ricotta Balls

When you scroll down and look at all the ingredients and instructions you might think “this looks too hard”, but believe me,  this was a very easy meal. No matter how busy you are, or how much work you have to do, there is always time to eat real, nutritious and delicious food.

All up I spent less the 45 mins preparing and cooking this dinner, and I was working slowly because I enjoy it. I really like putting my time and effort into a good meal, and even if I’m short on time I will still try to make something decent and healthy to fill me up, even if that is just a vegetable omelette (very easy to do in about 10 mins).

Monday is grocery shopping day for us, and that means planning out our meals for the week. This not only saves a lot of money by helping to avoid last minute shopping trips and take-away, but also means that even if we’re going to be really busy we can have meals prepared in advance. Try making meals on the weekend and freezing them, or just make way too much extra like we do and eat it for lunch/dinner on another day during the week.

Anyway, give this recipe a go and see how you like it. Meatballs are a perfect meal to store in the freezer as you can quickly and easily heat them up.

Makes approx 30 meatballs and serves 5-6. Simply add more zucchini for extra hungry hippos.

Ingredients

Chicken balls

  • Approx 500g minced chicken, or you can mince 3 chicken breast fillets (I got the butcher to mince it fresh)
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • Salt and pepper

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Beef Goulash

I don’t love the cold months of winter, but I do love the tummy warming yummy hot food I can eat without feeling like I’m suffering from heat stroke. Before this attempt, I had never even tried beef goulash. I didn’t think it was going to be that amazing because I accidentally burnt the paprika when I was cooking it, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that I LOVE this stew! Tuesday’s are my lazy days so I had time to let it simmer for a good 3 hours. As you can probably imagine, the beef was melty and amazing!

Thanks to Mark Sisson for the basis of this recipe.

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