Tag Archives: Cystic Fibrosis

A back-to-work meal plan

Well, by now I have survived my first week back at work.  And of course, because it’s the new year, I had grand plans to bring lunch, eat well, save money, all the rest of it.

For the first week at least, I think I did ok.  I had a couple of quiet days at home before I had to go back to work, and I used them to prepare some food and get all set for the week.  I also managed to make a big batch of lamb tagine to freeze for when I’m feeling lazy later on.

I also received a couple of recipe books for Christmas, so I wanted to try them out.

If you’re following this meal plan, the main things you need to do on the weekend are make the quinoa salad (recipe to follow next week) and the zucchini bites – they’ll both keep all week without any problem.  If you feel up to it, put on a pot of chicken stock for the soup as well.

Back-to-work meal plan


Smoothies, plus toast and muesli.


Tess: quinoa salad and papaya salsa.  Lachie: Salami and cheese sandwiches


Tess: zucchini bites. Lachie: zucchini bites and pistachio couscous.


Saturday – Lamb, pumpkin and chickpea tagine

  • I love this recipe, and it’s great for freezing.  Yoghurt and extra nuts are great additions to up the fat content.  I made a couple of extra batches of the couscous as well and put them aside for later in the week.

Sunday  – Pistachio crusted tuna with papaya salsa and broccoli

  • This was a recipe from one of the cookbooks I received, and it was amazing.  I only made half the tuna because there were only two of us, but I made a full batch of the salsa and had the rest of it through the week. (I also saved some of the ground pistachios and mixed them with the leftover couscous and some feta)

Monday – Honey soy chicken

Tuesday – Prawn stir-fry with edamame, asparagus and spinach

Wednesday – Chicken enchiladas

  • This is one of the first recipes I posted on CF Kitchen, and it’s a really great one for loading up the calories.

Thursday – Leek and white bean soup

  • This is another recipe from a cookbook I got at Christmas.  I made a side salad (mostly for me), and cheesy croutons (for Lachie) to go with it.

We went out on Friday.  We deserved it.


A CF-Kitchen smoothie

Welcome back!

Since my last blog post (almost a year ago), I’ve had quite an eventful year.  We had a hospitalisation, I went travelling around Europe for six weeks, and (the biggest news of all) … Lachie and I got engaged.

With all of this happening, I let the blog slip by the wayside a bit.  But now that it’s the new year, I’ve decided to relaunch.  And with an upcoming wedding (not until the end of the year), I have even more incentive than before to keep Lachie healthy, and to look my best for the wedding.

So with that in mind, here are my smoothie recipes.  I make one of these smoothies most mornings (it’s about the only way I can actually make myself eat breakfast), pour out half the mixture for myself, and then mix through a few spoonfuls of protein powder for Lachie’s smoothie.  We have hospital-grade Sustagen, but just use the recommended amount of whatever protein powder you prefer.

It’s quick, easy, portable, and gives us both some fibre and probiotics to help with digestion as well.  My Thermomix has built in scales which makes it really easy, but if your blender doesn’t have that you can pre-measure everything.


Berry Smoothie

  • 200g frozen mixed berries (I use half raspberries and half blueberries)
  • 50g rolled oats
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 200g milk
  • 3 scoops of Sustagen

Mix all ingredients except the Sustagen in a blender for about 3 minutes (use Speed 7 on the Thermomix), or until smooth.  Pour out half the mixture then add Sustagen.  Mix for another minute and then pour the remaining mixture into a separate glass.

Mango spinach

  • 200g frozen mango
  • 50g baby spinach (optional, but you won’t be able to taste it at all).
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 200g milk
  • 40g shredded coconut

Mix all ingredients except the coconut in a blender for about 3 minutes (use Speed 7 on the Thermomix), or until smooth.  Pour out half the mixture then add coconut.  Mix for another minute and then pour the remaining mixture into a separate glass. (You can add a bit of coconut into the non-CF smoothie as well if you like.)

What’s your go-to breakfast?  And for the people with CF, what do you do to make supplements taste better?




Thai beef salad


Here’s another light, easy salad for those lazy summer days. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe for the coriander and chilli dressing, but changed all the vegetables in the salad (taking out the red onions because I don’t like them very much, throwing in various things that I wanted to use up, adding some mixed lettuce and bean sprouts for the vitamins). The dressing was totally overwhelming when I tasted it straight, but very good in the salad.

The next timeI made it, I tried to add some extra fat into the recipe by mixing coconut milk powder into the dressing.  It was so good I practically drank it. I’d also recommend the coconut milk version for anyone who doesn’t like too much chilli.


For dressing

  • 2 fresh red thai chillies, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 stick lemongrass, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 bunch fresh coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk powder

For salad

  • Canola oil spray
  • 400g been rump steak
  • 100g mixed lettuce leaves
  • 2 large handfuls bean sprouts
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 a red capsicum, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup thai basil leaves
  1. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients except the dressing in a blender and process until smooth. It will be necessary to stop every ten or twenty seconds to scrape down the sides.
  2. To make the coconut dressing, combine about half the chilli paste with the coconut milk powder, and stir until the coconut has dissolved. Add 1tbsp of boiling water to make into a runny dressing.
  3. Spray the canola onto a hot frypan, and fry the beef for three minutes on each side or until well done.  Remove and allow to rest for five minutes before slicing finely.
  4. To serve, toss the beef with all other salad ingredients in a large bowl. Divide between bowls and serve with the two dressings in different bowls.


12 things I learned from #12monthsofgoals


Last year, rather than setting any new year’s resolutions, I set my sights a bit smaller – January resolutions. And then at the end of the month, having knocked almost all of those goals over, I started again. Setting new goals every month was really valuable for me, and this is what I learnt:

1) Concrete goals, flexible path

For me, goals worked best when I was working to something definite, but the way to get there wasn’t set in stone. One of my first goals was to complete one of those ‘couch to 5k’ programs, which meant I had to do 12 runs of increasing difficulty over the course of the month. If I slacked off one week (and I did), that meant I had more to do the next week. If instead I had been aiming to run three times every week, slacking off one week would have meant that I’d missed my chance to meet the goal at all, and made it easy to justify giving up.

2) Focus on forming habits

I think a month is a good period of time for setting goals, because it’s not long enough to really be intimidating, but it is long enough to form a habit. Once you’ve been doing something for a month, you’ll likely to keep going. For instance, I didn’t commit to making my bed every day for ever and ever, I just committed to doing it for a month. And since then, I may not do it every day, but I definitely do it most days, and I’m happier because of it. (Seriously, when I get into a freshly made bed at night, it’s basically a gift from past Tess.)

3) Find the projects that will make life better

Forming habits is good, but sorting out things that were bugging you once and for all is even better. One month I resolved that I would finally sort out the living room. We’d more or less put the furniture down wherever it would go when we first moved in, and had been putting off sorting it out again ever since. Once I made the living room one of my goals we actually did it, and now it is a much cosier, more attractive space.

4) Some things aren’t right for me

There have been a few times when I’ve set goals, tried them, and then given up mid-month because they weren’t making me happier, or helping me achieve anything I wanted. One of the big ones was writing daily ‘gratitude’ posts on Facebook, which I tried more than once last year. And in the end, it just didn’t work for me. I always felt as though I was bragging, or would find that the things I was most grateful for on any given day felt too private to put on Facebook. Or I felt the need to come up with new, interesting things every day, rather than the most honest thing. Eventually, I started writing down things I was grateful for in a little notebook that no one else would see, and that was a much better fit for me.

5) I don’t always know what I want

I’m glad I didn’t set resolutions for the whole year, because over the year, I found three big new things to get excited about and give my energy to. I started this blog, I got involved in the local CF charity, and I booked a 6-week trip to Europe. If I’d set annual resolutions, I would have had to set the resolutions aside to pursue new things, or I wouldn’t have done the new things. As it was, I was able to come up with goals each month that reflected my new priorities.

6) Sometimes it just isn’t your month (but 30 days isn’t long enough to slip too far)

I had one month where a few bad things happened to me, and I came unstuck to some extent. I don’t think I achieved any of my goals that month. Setting monthly goals meant that when the end of the month came around, I could simply re-set, figure out where I had slipped the most, and focus my energies there. And in the scheme of things, not exercising enough/eating badly/just about anything else for one month won’t really have any lasting detrimental effects.

7) Partial success is still success (aka, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take)

One of the biggest themes throughout the year was trying to exercise more (from a baseline of approximately zero). In different months, I had different targets, like completing a running program, exercising a certain number of times per week, doing specific classes at the gym, and so on. The truth is, I almost never met my monthly exercise-related goals. On the other hand, I substantially increased the amount of exercise I do, and that is entirely because I was setting myself specific goals in this area.

8) Priorities will (and should) change throughout the year

Making goals monthly means I was able to change my goals to fit with  the ebbs and flows of my life. At a time when I knew I was going to be busy at work, my goals were mostly focused on self-care. In the lead up to Christmas, one of my big projects was making Christmas cards for everyone. As the weather gets warmer, I’d make goals that were focused on actually enjoying the summer.

9) Buy nothing new for a month

No, seriously, try it, it’s easier than you think.  And it makes you think more about what you actually need.

10) Accountability helps

I used to post my goals on Facebook every month, and include a bit on how I’d gone the previous month.  That accountability really made me focus on my goals, and being able to say that I’d had a ‘good’ month always made me feel fantastic.

11) Don’t forget about the fun

I know what makes me happy. The problem is, they sort of get lost between the things I have to do, and the easy distractions. I try to make some of these things actual monthly goals as well, so that I actually do them. Sometimes its little things, like going to the beach more, sometimes it’s bigger things, like throwing a party, or attempting some kind of cooking challenge. But for me, monthly goals are about what will make me happy, not just self-improvement for its own sake, and the fun goals are part of that.

12) Direction matters

I liked the monthly goals, but I had something of a scattergun approach in setting them, and I didn’t always think about why I was doing them.  This year I’m taking a hybrid approach – I started thinking about the big picture in terms of what I want from the year, and then tried to come up with monthly goals that will move me in that direction. So, here’s hoping that works out for me.

What were your new years resolutions? Are you still going with them? Why not try monthly goals? What is one thing you could do in February to move you closer to your  big-picture goals?

Welcome back (and a meal plan)

Hello everyone, it’s been a long time since I posted. I was busy with work, then busy with all the Christmas lead-up stuff, and then I went away.  But now that life has settled down, I’m going to start blogging again.

I’ve also decided to make a few changes to the blog. I’m going to move beyond just writing recipes to write some posts about life with CF (and life in general).

I’m also going to post weekly meal plans, to show how I balance my dietary needs with Lachie’s over the course of a week. As you can see, I don’t make two versions of every meal. Lunches, and the dinners where we don’t eat the same thing also play a big part in ensuring that we both eat the way we’re supposed to. If I make a light meal for dinner, the leftovers will become my lunches, and if it’s a heavier meal, the leftovers become his lunches.

Meal plan – Summer plan 1


  • Brunch – Toast with avocado, smoked salmon and saganaki. Lachie also had a mango smoothie.
  • Dinner – Barbecued salmon and green vegetables (recipe to follow soon)


  • Lunch – Tess: DIY instant soup pot (recipe to follow); Lachie: Rendang curry and rice.
  • Dinner – Thai beef salad with chilli garlic dressing (recipe to follow)


  • Lunch – Tess: Leftover beef salad; Lachie: Chicken korma and rice.
  • Snacks – hummus and carrot sticks
  • Dinner – French onion and lentil soup (recipe to follow) and radish salad


  • Lunch – DIY instant soup pot
  • Snacks – hummus and radish sticks
  • Dinner – Out


  • Lunch – Tess out; Lachie: Chicken korma and rice
  • Dinner – Honey soy chicken and red cabbage


  • Lunch – Tess: DIY instant soup pot; Lachie: Chicken korma and rice
  • Snacks – hummus and radish sticks
  • Dinner – Tess: Chinese omelette and stir-fried veggies. Lachie: Leftover honey soy chicken


  • Lunch – Tess: DIY instant soup pot; Lachie: Leftover onion soup with cheese.
  • Dinner – Out.

When the penny dropped

I thought I’d share something a bit personal for once. About two years ago, I’d just started going out with Lachie. I knew he had a disease called cystic fibrosis, and I knew he had to take a bunch of medicines every day. (I also knew that the need to do physio every night put something of a dampener on a new romance …) But that was all I knew. I didn’t realise how serious it was. That changed after his second clinic visit into the relationship. He’d been feeling unwell (more so than he’s let on to me), and his weight and lung function were down a bit, so he and his doctor had decided he should be hospitalised. I hadn’t realised that was a possibility, so when he called me to tell me this, I freaked. Even though he tried to make it sound like a routine thing, it didn’t feel that way to me. I didn’t know how worried to be, so I went for expecting the worst. When I got home that night, I handled the whole thing very maturely. I drank a bottle of wine and then started googling cystic fibrosis. Big mistake. As far as conversations with new partners go, ‘Wikipedia says you have ten years to live, and also can’t have children. Is that true?’ isn’t a fun one. Later I found out that the life expectancy figures were out of date. Still later someone explained that numbers like that were a lagging indicator, and Lachie would probably be better than that. Eventually I stopped stressing about every clinic, and started focusing on the stuff I could do to help. But that first night, when I was alone, and drunk, and first realising just how sick he was, was awful. I guess the point of all this is – I know it can be hard to talk about your illness. But sometimes it’s better if the people you care about learn about it from you.

Coconut pancakes with palm sugar syrup

IMG_1277.JPGA few months ago I was in Bali with my family, and it was absolutely gorgeous. The food there was fantastic as well. I even did a cooking class, which was one of the highlights of the trip (even if I’m yet to make anything from the class yet).

While I was there, one of the desserts that I loved was coconut pancakes – very thin, delicate ones, served in a martini glass with icecream and caramel.  This is my home-style version of that.

As a bonus, using coconut in the mixture increases the fat content of the pancakes, as well as making them delicious.  You can leave out or reduce the icecream for a lower fat version. If you can’t be bothered making palm sugar syrup, try using caramel sauce instead.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 100g palm sugar
  • Butter
  • Vanilla icecream
  1. Crack the egg into a 1 L measuring jug and beat lightly. (If you don’t have one use a mixing bowl, but making it in the jug makes life easier.) Add the flour, baking powder, milk and coconut and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In the meantime, combine the palm sugar with a cup of water in a small saucepan. Simmer until the sugar is completely disolved and reduced by about half (takes around twenty minutes).
  3. Put a large frying pan over medium heat and melt some of the butter (about a tablespoon). Once the butter is melted, pour enough of the mixture into the pan to make a thick layer. Cook the pancake until golden on both sides (about two minutes each side).
  4. Once the pancake is cooked, push the pancake into a small bowl, so that the bowl is effectively lined with the pancake. Add two or three scoops of icecream, and drizzle with the palm sugar syrup.
  5. Repeat steps three and four with the remaining mixture.