Two months ago I didn’t have a clue if the World Cup was about soccer, footie, rugby or sailing. Now I can recognise a famous player or two and sit through, even enjoy, a few plays in front of the television, before I wander off to read a book or edit. How’s that for progress? Not only that, but I even played the betting game. Someone signed me up for an online betting site. It didn’t cost me anything and I found it entertaining to guess scores in a game I knew literally nothing about. At first I asked those in the know for some assistance. Then I turned to strangers on the train, which was not only fun for me, but for everyone listening in. Then I knew enough to guess on my own. My theory was that a team was either good at defence or offense so I could just guess based on previous scores. I made it to number 2 in the rankings. Then I missed betting on a game because the internet was very slow and I was in a hurry. I topped that miss with going out of town and not betting on several games in a row. That brought me back down to a deflated ranking of number 22. Boo. No way to catch up from that. Good thing I’m not really a betting sort of girl. I don’t think there was a pay-out anyway; it was just for fun.
One time I went to the York races and had a small wad of cash to throw away on entertainment. I walked down by the track and watched the horses take their turn on the pre-race track. I watched the eyes. If I sensed a horse was energized, I noted the horse’s name. The first race I did this and placed my bet. I didn’t care about odds, I just wanted my horse to win. I went to the stands and cheered my horse on, triumphant when we won! I skipped over to the window to collect my winnings. I told the guy the horse and handed over my ticket. He looked at me in disbelief. Instead of betting on the number of the horse, I had somehow put my money on the wrong horse. It had something to do with the odds, not the number of the horse. What a dimwit. I went back to the stands to explain my blunder. I noticed two men nearby who looked rather serious about the whole process. They fretted over the sheets and discussed which ones were due a win. I went back down to the track-side to watch the horses run by for the pre-race line-up. I chose my horse, by the look in the eyes. This time I got the betting process (by actually paying attention to what I was doing). Again, I cheered my horse on and we won! I was getting into the whole jumping up and cheering thing. This time when I went to the window, I told the (same) guy not to tell me I had picked the wrong number. He couldn’t believe I won again. I laughed all the way back to the stands and repeated the process. Only the next time I went to bet, one of the two guys who were seriously betting nearby came up and wanted to know who I was betting on in the next race. I had no idea. My horse came in third. So much for my winning streak.
All the sports excitement with tennis, Tour de France and the World Cup meant general partying and left three extra pounds on me. This is not the right direction at all. I admit I have fallen off course and indulged more than anyone in diet-mode should. But what to do? What to do? A couple of sessions of long walks and some heavy lawn mowing has me back down to just one or two pounds more than I was before all the fun began. Oh, and I was pleased we didn’t need the fire extinguisher during the cookout the Tour de France weekend!
More fruit, more veg, more exercise – that’s the ticket. The real problem is sugar. I have been eating sweets. The reality of it is that I can maintain my weight, but not lose pounds if I eat sweets or in between snacks. I haven’t admitted failure yet, but I’m going to have to bump up the radar and just say no to sugar or I won’t make my goal of one stone by the end of August. I will remind myself to drink a variety of drinks throughout the day, eat wholesome food three times a day, and have a low calorie day at least once a week. Wish me luck.
This week I’ll share a dish that I usually have with left-over fish. I bet they would like this in Brazil. Rio looks amazing. I’d love to go on a diving trip there someday. Some people won’t eat leftover fish or seafood. I’ve never had a problem, but I don’t let it hang around long either.
World Cup Wind-down – Fish Tacos with Avocado Dressing – Week 20
By Rachael Ray in Express Lane Meals (A 30 Minute Meal Cookbook)
Serves 4 (or probably 3)
I tend to use this with leftover fish and make large wraps. You can roll in leftover rice as well. Left-over Parmesan – Romano Tilapia is excellent in a wrap.
9 TBSP EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) (separated or to be used into 2 TBSP and 2 TBSP and 5 TBSP)
1 tsp chili powder (1/3 palmful) (or substitute green chilis or your favourite hot sauce)
2 limes, zest and juice
4 halibut steaks or fillets, fresh, 6-8 oz each (white fish or salmon are good. Prawns are nice too)
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (or your favourite pepper or hot sauce)
1 10 oz frozen corn kernels (or leftovers)
½ cup chicken stock
1 romain heart, shredded
¼ cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaes, generous handful coasely chopped
2 ripe avocados (Haas or whatever is available)
3 TBSP red wine vinegar (2 splashes – eyeball it)
Couple shakes of hot sauce (optional)
12 6-inch soft flour tortillas (or 3-4 larger tortillas, warmed by spraying a large pan and warming each side of the tortillas slightly)
Mushrooms, diced courgettes (zucchini), tomato, leftover cooked rice, etc., either cooked or raw (I’m not wild about corn so I typically substitute most anything)
Marinate fish in 2 TBSP EVOO, chili powder, juice of 1 lime and a little salt.
Preheat large skillet over medium heat with 2 TBSP EVOO (pour twice around the pan). Add chopped onions, garlic, jalapeno, salt, pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Add frozen corn (and optional ingredients), chicken stock, bring to bubble, then continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add romaine and coriander into a salad bowl. Transfer the heated mixture into the salad, mixing them together so the heat from the corn mixture wilts the romaine. Wipe the skillet clean and return to cooker with 2 TBSP EVOO. Cook halibut 4-5 minutes on each side and flake into chunks with a fork, then add to salad bowl with corn mixture and romaine.
While fish is cooking, make avocado dressing:
Cut all around the ripe avocados down to the pit. Twist and remove pit by popping it out. Either slice the meat of the halved fruit or scoop out into the food processor. (I just mash this because I don’t have a food processor.) Add zest of 2 limes and juice of one lime. Add red wine vinegar and salt. Stream in remaining 3 TBSP EVOO and couple shakes of hot sauce into food processor. Adjust to taste by adding salt, pepper, hot sauce.
Wipe out skillet and place over high heat. Blister tortillas over high heat in dry pan for a few seconds on each side. (I spray the dry frying pan with oil and cook a few seconds on each side.) Wrap in barely damp kitchen towel to keep warm and supple.
Assemble by arranging pile of fish-corn mix- romain mix on a warm tortilla. Top with spoonful of avocado dressing, wrap and roll. Eat and enjoy.