Low & slow!

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Low and slow is probably one of my favourite ways to cook. A few minutes preparation and a long stint in the oven is a sure fire way to have a relaxed meal. I picked up some delicious meaty lamb shanks in my local butcher last weekend and they were a steal at 1.50 each. Lamb shanks are the perfect example of a cut of meat that needs to be slowly cooked so that the full flavour is developed and the fat broken down. When cooked slowly the meat becomes almost butter like and falls of the bone with ease. Delicious!

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This is the recipe that I used and whilst frying off the carrots, celery etc I added 250g of chorizo to the pan. I also cooked the shanks for longer than the recommended time, I put them in the oven at 11am and removed them at 5:30pm. They were devoured by 5:32pm, ;-) .

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/408/heavenly-lamb-shanks.aspx

Most definitely comfort food at its best, just in time for those cold winter evenings.

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Why don’t you just do it?


At mile 20 I thought I was dead.

At mile 22 I wished I was dead.

At mile 24 I knew I was dead.

At mile 26.2 I realised I had become too tough to kill.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote this blogpost about why I had decided to not run the Dublin Marathon. I had reached week 18 of a 22 week plan and I just felt burnt out. I was full of self doubt, worry, wondering why the hell I wanted to do something that I didn’t feel I was capable of and all these combined made me throw in the towel.

I can’t believe I almost missed out on the chance to participate in one of the most amazing experiences of my life. As I slowly walked into town with my husband at 7am on Monday morning I was too busy lamenting my forgotten running hat than the worry of the task that was ahead of me. As we strolled around soaking up the atmosphere I was mesmerised with the sheer volume of participants who had this mammoth run ahead of them and I was one of them. As 9am approached my stomach was somersaulting and I just wanted to get going. My hair band had snapped and my running watch couldn’t pick up a satellite all of which seemed catastrophes at the time but in comparison to the road ahead they were minor.

I started to run and as I passed the start line I was already struck by the amount of supporters that were already lining the streets. It was 9am on a bank holiday Monday morning and all these people had got out of bed and travelled into the city centre to cheer us on. The volumes in certain areas were unbelievable and made me feel so emotional. A few people stick out in my mind, a colleague who spotted me and shouted my name at the Phoenix Park (thanks Sandra), an elderly couple in Castleknock who caught my eye and told me how well I was doing, a woman in Kimmage who looked directly at me and told me I was amazing, a high five from my friend Chelle’s husband whom I had never met in person, a high five from Des Bishop on the home straight and lastly hearing my husband shout my name and see his beaming face in the crowd was a huge lift!  The roars of the crowd from Ballsbridge the whole way to the finish line will stay with me forever and honestly helped to carry me over the line. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling, I had just completed a marathon. I had ran, jogged and walked to get there and I felt like I had just reached the top of Everest.

So why you may ask did I change my mind, it was just something my husband had said………’Why don’t you just do it?’ and do you know what I did? I DID IT!

Huge thanks to all who helped us prepare for the big day by minding our children so we could both participate! We have amazing friends and family who without we would not have passed the start line!  Our lovely neighbours were outside our door with banners, balloons and champagne to throw over us when we returned home and didn’t even look bored as we talked and talked about the events of the day! Forever grateful!

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Marathon training: Week 18 of 22…….

IMG_3673Week 18 of my 22 week marathon plan dawned on Sunday morning. I woke early and headed downstairs to fuel up before another 18/19 mile run. Two obligatory weetabix and wholegrain toast washed down with a cup of joe (when did we start calling coffee joe?) was my breakfast of champions. I gathered my gels together, made up my energy drink and packed up my running belt and started with dread to climb the stairs to get ready. Surely this is not how I should be feeling so close to race day.

I have been finding recently that I have not been looking forward to my runs, delaying them if possible and looking for any excuse not to run. The joy of a simple run in the countryside was replaced with an attitude of I need to get this over and done with. So on Sunday after 18 weeks of training I decided that marathon running was not for me. I am 35 years of age, I work part time until 11pm three evenings a week, I run my own business, have three children and a husband to look after and am wondering what in the name of god I was thinking of!

I spent Sunday bringing the children to the park, cooking a delicious roast chicken and relaxing on the sofa. Since making my decision I have ran 2 5k country runs which were absolute bliss and faster than anything I have ran in months! I am writing this post so that in years to come when I am wondering why I gave up my marathon dream I can read back on this and realise that despite not completing the marathon I came pretty damn close. I have ran 18 miles without stopping which I never dreamed I would be able to do. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can now get back to running for joy! Bring on the endorphins.

Best of luck to all participants in the Dublin Marathon, I will be there supporting you all and giving you a big cheer!

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September Sundays!

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When I met my husband many years ago I wondered why his eyes lit up when he heard I was from the North Strand. It wasn’t long till I realised the reason why…..it is only ten minutes walk to Croke Park. As a proud Tipperary man even back then he could see the advantages of marrying into the Whelan clan, a lovely Sunday dinner and a free car parking space guaranteed for every match that he wished to go to!

I think it was in 1997 that I first experienced a GAA match, I had lived under the shadow of Croke Park for all of my life but until that gorgeous sunny Sunday I had never been. Thus followed a love of the game, cold days in Portlaoise, rainy days in Cork, sunny days in Thurles all became part of life. Yesterday however was definitely the best game of hurling I had ever witnessed, right from the first tap of the hurley to the final heartbreaking missed point, amazing skill and speed shown by both sides!

Since those early days times have changed and children have come along. My two sons are now the ones that mostly accompany their Dad to all the matches and sometimes even the baby of the house is the one to be heard shouting “Up Tipp”! Dressed in all their Tipperary finery they headed off yesterday after a Sunday dinner fit for kings (can’t beat a mammy dinner) to watch the team they love play their hearts out. They came home relieved not to have been beaten and looking forward to another day out!

It was such a beautiful day yesterday and my mother’s garden is looking amazing. She is 80 years of age and has the energy of a young one. She commented yesterday on how much duller her life would be if she didn’t have her little garden to look after and admire from the kitchen window. It has inspired me to inject some much needed brightness into my own garden, nice little project for the Autumn to keep me busy!!

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Isn’t nature wonderful!

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Teacher said…..

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‘Teacher said that I can go back again tomorrow, can I go back again tomorrow Mammy?”

The first words out of little Miss Halle’s mouth as I took her hand and gave her a big kiss. On any normal day three hours absolutely flies but this morning I felt every single second. I had a coffee with my husband, I hung out some washing, I went for a run (past the school in case there was an ambulance or a police car outside) and I had a shower sans interruptions which hasn’t happened for the longest time. I was trying to think of all the positives as the baby of the house ventures out on her first exciting steps into education and I realised that there are no negatives apart from one massive one. I miss her.

 

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