The Hunt Life

The Hunt Life: August 2015

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Lemon and Asparagus Risotto

One of my favourite things about being Vegan is that I get to chow down on as much risotto as I can handle (which happens to be alot). I am obsessed with risotto's, if I was on death row, the last meal I would eat would be a perfectly cooked risotto. I like to think I have risotto cooking down, its a labour of love for this meal but if you put the time and love into it, it will always taste amazing.

Below is my standard GO TO risotto recipe that is easy to make and tastes amazing.

  • 500g Arborio Rice
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Shallots
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pepper to season
1. In a large sauce pan heat the vegetable stock over a low to medium heat.

2. In a large pan add the olive oil, bay leaf, crushed garlic and diced shallots and stir until fragrant and the shallots are starting to brown.

3. Add the rice and stir for around 2 minutes or until all the excess oil has been absorbed then turn the pan down to a medium heat.

4. Add the white wine and stir for a minute whilst the alcohol cooks down.

5. Add the juice of both lemons and the rind into the rice mixture and stir.

6. Begin to add the heated stock into the rice mixture one ladle at a time ensuring that you continuously stir the rice, when you can drag your spoon through the rice and it doesn't immediately slide back together it is time to add another ladle of stock.

7. Continue slowly adding the stock until the rice has released its starch and become quite creamy, if you bite a grain it should still be slightly Al dente but not hard.

8. Add the diced asparagus and stir for 2 minutes then season with pepper.

9. Divide evenly between 2, garnish with extra lemon rind and enjoy.

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Monthly Book Review - August

"She read's books as one would breathe air,
to fill up and live"
- Annie Dillard

Well its offically the last Tueday of August, I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. I feel like as soon as I write a book club review I am getting ready to write the next one straight away.

For August the book club listed Landline by Rainbow Rowell and Trokia by Adam Pelzam, lets start with Landline shall we since Rainbow Rowell has been all the rage lately.
*Please be aware possible spoilers ahead!*

I was excited to read Landline because Rainbow Rowell has had such success with Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, everywhere I read people where raving about Landline so I thought I would pick it for August. I have to say I was quite disappointed, now don't go hating me just yet but I just couldn't get past the fact that they never explained why the yellow landline was a portal to her past and the characters seemed to annoy me most of the time, I could not relate to Georgie (even though we have the same name) because I know that if I was in her position I would likely have done the complete opposite if it was my family on the line.

I am not saying that I didn't enjoy the book because it was actually quite a quick light hearted and easy to read book I just couldn't stand the characters and felt that certain aspects could have been left out whilst other area's could have used a deeper explanation.

Georgie McCool (I hate the fact that her name is McCool straight off the bat) is a career driven television comedy writer married to Neal and mother to 2 girls Alice and Naomi (nick name Noomi for most of the book which I think is adorable). Georgie is one half of a comedy writing duo with her best friend Seth whom she met at college, the duo have just been given the green light to write a pilot episode and another 5 episodes of their own show, the only chat they have a 2 week period to write them which happens to fall over Christmas and Georgie's family have already organised to spend Christmas with Neil's mother in Omaha.

Georgie and Neil's marriage has been slowly dying, he is not going to deny the girls a white Christmas with his mother, so he get on the plane leaving Georgie confused and devastated whilst trying to write the sitcom. Georgie cannot face the long drive from work back to her empty house so opts to stay at her mothers house where her family constantly bombard her with the idea that her marriage has ended (this annoyed me again, I felt that they where putting questions into Georgie's head), to try and fix her marriage she calls Neil from her old room with her old yellow rotary phone which for some unexplained reason transports the call back to 1998 when Neil broke their relationship off the first time.

Georgie spends the next few day's talking to 1998 Neil and deciding whether its worth changing her past and letting Neil go or continue to lie to Neil telling him it will get better when she knows that it never did. Can she and should she change her past to better her future?

What did you think of the book?
Did you feel that Georgie made the right decision to stay in LA?
What did you think of Neil's reaction? Did you think he should have called her to talk things through when he got to Omaha?
What where your feelings about the magic phone? Did you wish they had explained it more?
When did you start thinking that perhaps her past had been changed by the phone call she made and that was why Neil proposed?

The monthly book review for Trokia by Adam Pelzam will be updated shortly.

Did you read these books?
Do you have any book suggestions?

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Monday, 24 August 2015

Choosing the right blog name

As you can tell by the lack of blog posts last week, I had a pretty busy work and social life. 

It has been a while since I posted my Monday blog advice posts but I think its time to bring them back as I did have great feedback on them so there here to stay, today's topic is all about choosing the best blog name.


William Shakespeare once wrote "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet", this may work for a rose Bill but not for a blog!

The first thing you do when starting a blog is of course think up the title, this however can be tricky. The very first blog that I started was all over the place design wise but it also had a pretty horrible blog name wish I had rushed into and began to hate fairly quickly.

Thankfully as I learnt how to use code and played around more with blogger I was to play around with blog names and blog title images until I finally developed and created the blog you are currently reading. I noticed that once I changed my title from Trials and Tribulations of Gi (a lifestyle blog) to The Hunt Life (a lifestyle / vegan / advice blog) I noticed a large increase in new blog followers and daily page views.

The following are some tips that I picked up when re branding my blog.......

Lets be honest here, no one likes a ridiculously long title, especially when the title is the same as the domain name (which it should be to help to brand your blog more) which when typed in iphone browsers make it harder to check what you have posted. Having a blog domain hosted by blogger which adds on a makes it even longer again.

I would suggest buying your own domain so you have full control over it, I purchased mine from Godaddy,  but am waiting for the 60 days to hurry up and finish already so I can change it over, I can't wait for it to be exclusively, having a domain listing the same as your blog title makes it far easier for people and google to find your page.

Consider what you post about, do you specifically write about recipes, fitness, blog advice, lifestyle, family, DIY or a mix of a few different subjects. You don't want to pick a blog name like Mother Helper and then post blog advice, as the majority of your readership will be heading on over assuming you have a blog about motherly life. 

Make sure your title reflects what you wish to post about, I like to put myself in the lifestyle category because I post a little bit of everything so I created The Hunt Life title because that's my name which gives a more personal feel and because it allows me to post whatever I like as its all related to my life somehow. This also means that if I wish to over hall my blog content I am not confined to posting certain topics.

Blogging fads come and go so titling your blog after a fad of the moment is of course always a bad idea. The same principal can be held with sayings, imagine if blogs had been around in the eighties I don't imagine the blog title "Its hip to be square" would still have the same charm that it may have had then, just like YOLO might seem like a fun and exciting blog name right now because your a fun-live-in-the-moment-regret-nothing-try-everything-once kind of girl but will you always be that? 

Your title needs to have staying power, who knows how long blog will last but imagine if you would still be happy with your title 10 years from now?  

Say it out loud and discuss the name with friends. If you don't tend to discuss your blog name with people you may not know exactly how you feel about when it is read at once by someone other than yourself.

If try discuss the name with friends but find yourself editing what you say or notice people immediately asking you what its about then take a step back and think if this is how the title is discussed then surely it will be far more complicated when browsing and googling blogs by title.

Play around with the font and style you wish to use for your blog title, when I first changed my blog to The Hunt Life I failed to notice how distracting and hard to read the cursive became when there was a lower case f in the title, of course after I started playing around with design I soon picked up on the issue and completely changed the style of font to ensure it was easier to read.

Above are just a few examples of how different font titles can completely change the feel the blog, I wanted a sleek and sophisticated title with a little bit of flare so I pared a clean font with a bold cursive font which I think makes the title easier to read but emphasis Hunt. I am sure you will find that most of your favourite bloggers have sleek easy to read titles that draw your attention when you first view the page but do not distract you whilst you start reading.

Follow what your heart says and pick a name. At the end of the day the name is only one part of your blog, the most important part is content so as long as you are creating content that you believe in and that you enjoy writing and reading then your readership will improve.

I hope that has given you a few helpful tips for creating a blog name.

What is your best tip for creating a great blog title?
Have you changed you blog title before and noticed a increase in readers?

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Friday, 14 August 2015

Thank Goodness Its Friday

Whelp another long week is over, I am really glad that it is finally Friday it seems like it has been a week of sadness for a lot of people. I am looking forward to getting some serious reading done this weekend.
1 // Charlie //
My littlest sister Charlie came and stayed with me for a few days this week, she is only 20 and was recently diagnosed with the same kidney disease that I have so she comes and works as my assistant 2 days a week now which is nice, I don't get to see her very often so it's nice she's coming down to work with me. We are both so similar and I hope that I can help her deal with her kidney disease as I've already been through the it so I can give her advice and guide her through it all.

2 // Looking for Beds //
Dylan and I have been looking for a new bed recently, we have had our current bed for around 4 years now and while its still a nice bed its only a queen and we seem to have fights in our sleep with anther over space. We have started taking pictures of each other whilst we sleep to prove who is the bigger bed hog, its all in fun but it is time we started looking for a king bed. I have had a dream of a certain scenario in my head forever of me, my husband and my future children all curled up watching movies together in a bed but I just can't seem to find the bed I imagine. Its really frustrating and nothing I see is good enough either, I hope I find it soon.

3 // Yoga //
I spoke last Friday about how well my yoga practice had been going and of course I had to go ahead and jinx myself. I have been so busy and flustered this week that I haven't gone once! Oh well here's to hoping next week is better.

4 // August Step to the Beat Challenge //
How is everyone's August step the beat challenge going, I am currently sitting at 105,853 steps but I still have 5,876 steps until I reach 10,000 for the day so wish me luck. I will be at home watching movies whilst on the treadmill to get the rest of today's done.

5 // Vegan fact of the week //
It takes 16 pounds of grain to feed cattle enough to produce 1 pound of beef. The grain that goes to feed livestock could end world hunger.

How was this week for you?
Did you link up with Oh Hey Friday?

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Thursday, 13 August 2015

PMS Survival Guide

It is Thursday morning and I am battling a pretty serious case of PMS! 

The last thing I felt like doing this morning was getting up and going to work but no matter how much I whinge to myself I cannot take the day off and I don't want anyone to realize its that time, so out comes my trusted and true survival guide.

Lets pull out the guide shall we....

Get your cramping under control!!!

Wheat packs are everything, especially the ones with lavender in them. I always keep a couple wheat packs on hand at home and a couple in the office at work as well. If anyone asks why I am using them I normally say that I pulled my back out, works every time.

Why are wheat bags so helpful in easing cramping you ask?

Well the heat helps the blood vessels dilate which increases the flow of oxygenated blood to the sore area, the increased oxygenated blood allows the lower abdomen and uterine muscles to relax. Heat also acts as a pain reliever by stimulating the the specialized pain receptors within your skin which decreases the frequency of pain messages that are sent to your brain. 

So in fewer words heat makes everything better!

Exercise gives you endorphin's, Endorphin's make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't!

Exercise sucks, especially when you are on your period! However doing light exercise like a gentle walk or some Hatha yoga will help to release endorphin's which will help to calm and relax you plus it takes your mind off whats going on down stairs.

One of my favourite things to do is head down to the beach with Dylan take our shoes off and walk in the water to help relax me, sometimes getting up and out the house can completely fix the worst mood swings.

Eat all the foods!!

Okay maybe not all the foods, it can be hard to deal with craving during TOM but you are better off avoiding or swapping out certain foods. 

Beware of sweets, refined sugar actually causes inflammation which is really the last thing you want considering how much inflammation you are already dealing with so try avoiding or limiting chocolate. I do like to make a nice big bowl of either strawberry or chocolate nice cream and devour the bowl whilst watching a soppy movie!

You might want to slow down on anything too salty as well, salt helps to retain water and your probably already bloated enough for one life time so I suggest switching the take away hot chips for oven baked sweet potato chips seasoned with garlic and or onion powder. Its also lower on the calories which is a plus in itself.

Tea is always a good idea.

Caffeine has been shown to increase cramping pain and of course can aggravate a bad mood and can make it harder for you to fall asleep so its best to switch to tea if your not already a avid tea drinker.

Chamomile has a relaxing properties that can help to ease cramping and help lull you off to sleep whilst peppermint aids in digestion and soothing a upset stomach. Some brands like Yogi have blends specifically for PMS and I personally find Tea2 has all sorts of relaxing teas.

Be prepared

I like to use the app Period Diary on my phone so I always have a rough estimate of when Aunt Flow is going to arrive which means I always have some stuff on hand and can avoid embarrassing moments and unfortunate stains.  There are millions of apps out there so I am sure you can find one that suits you, mine does list the days that it calculates I am fertile and I have heard that some women will use this as birth control but it is just a estimate and I would never leave something so important down to a free app!!!

It also means that Dylan knows when to cool it on some of his more annoying jokes so that I don't bite his head off, start asking for a divorce or burst into tears in a public place (that has happened before but never again).

You do you!

Finally if your feeling sick just take the day off work, lay in bed all day watching sappy movies and cry. Its your body do what feels right for it, almost all women have to go through this during their lives, its nothing you should be afraid or embarrassed about and its about time that we de-stigmatize something that is completely natural.

.......and of course if all else fails there is always wine and Taylor Swift!

What are your PMS Survival Guide Tips?
What is your favourite thing you do to relax?

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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

What I ate Wednesday - 12th August

Another Wednesday done and dusted, I feel that Wednesday's are normally the slowest days of the week so its always nice once they are over. Plus the days seem to go much faster once Wednesday is over.

// Breakfast // 
I actually managed to get up early on Wednesday and eat something that wasn't a liquid breakfast, wow shock horror that is really a big achievement for me as my general life motto is "why get up and make breakfast when you can sleep in that little bit longer". I know, I know I am going to go places in life with that one!! Okay so back to breakfast, I just had 2 slices of toast with half a avocado, sliced tomato and pepper. I actually have a bit of a avocado addiction at the moment, they are sooooo good that I am going through them like crazy which isn't too great on the ol' waste or the ol' purse strings.

Avocado Toast

// Morning Snack //
Of course no morning is complete with out a large soy chai latte, I really need to get a hold of myself. I managed to kick my morning coffee's but it seems like I have now just replaced them with warm soy milk and sugar!!! Oh well I am not ready to break this vice just yet.

// Lunch // 
So the local health food shop makes these amazing raw vegan cranberry oat fudge bars, they are absolutely the most amazing thing I have ever eat. I have no idea how they make them and I really want to learn because they are super expensive and tiny however I don't want to learn how to make them at the same time because I know they are full of coconut and I know I would make them and eat them far to often.

// Dinner //
I came home from work and I was feeling super tired and just run down. The last thing I felt like doing was standing in the kitchen for ages cooking dinner, plus Dylan was out at indoor soccer so I was the only one eating. I decided to be super lazy and super endulgent so I made a big bowl of chocolate nice cream. I will be posting a recipe really soon, its super easy to make just frozen banana's, cocoa powder and Tbsp of vanilla flavoured soy milk. A easy dinner which feed my sweetness cravings.

Well that was all for Wednesday, I did eat a few vitamin C tablets in bed whilst reading, I am slightly addicted to vitamin C tablets there just so tasty. 

What was your WIAW like?
Do you have any suggestions?

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