Yesterday was a very special day. I went for my very first real bike ride! I was anticipating it so much that I could hardly sleep the night before. Everyone was asking about my Canada day plans, and while I did have plans in the evening, my main goal was my bike ride. Rehab is such a consuming task, and I am very single minded about it! I rode from my house up into the Seymour Demonstration Forest, and it was thrilling. Sometimes with rehab you have to push yourself. Because you have pain with all activity, it’s hard to know what you should do and what your body can handle. I have been biking on my trainer and biking at the gym, but honestly, it felt soulless. It is so boring to bike indoors that I found myself becoming disheartened with biking. I was so bored on the trainer that all I could think about was the pain I was feeling. So I finally decided to just go out for a bike ride! It couldn’t have gone better. Before my injury I would bike all the time, and now i’m almost back to being able to do that. I am so so excited. It finally feels like all my hard work is paying off.
I have always been a great little lightweight cardio/endurance person. During my bike ride my cardio felt fine during the hill climbs, and my muscles held up really well. I’m dealing with a lot of adductor irritation because of my lack of glut/hip/quad/hamstring strength, but it felt okay on the bike, which is great. At physio on Thursday I had a revelation. The last couple weeks I have been feeling like i’ve really plateaued with rehab. I just felt like I wasn’t building strength, and was dealing with the same nagging pain. I realized that I need to push myself harder and push into the pain to build more muscle, as my adductors won’t feel better until I build my other muscle. What happens when certain muscle groups are underdeveloped is that others compensate for their lack of strength. To push and build my underdeveloped muscle groups more, my physio suggested I use weights with my squats, and I told her I would prefer to do more reps. Aha! Caught. More reps increases endurance, but not strength. To build muscle mass we need to lift heavier. I am so not used to the idea of building mass, but that’s exactly what I need to do for my leg. So the plan is to up my strength exercises, bike more, and use the leg press at the gym. So far, it is going well! I even went into the co-ed part of Club 16 to use the leg press, but I quickly ran out of there after I was done to go into the women’s part. I don’t feel like my tough athletic self, and am sooooooo much more comfortable in a women’s only gym. For me, the gym, itself, is an uncomfortable place i’d rather not be…being in a women’s only area makes it a lot more tolerable!
After my bike ride on Canada day, I went for a hike too! It was so beautiful. My friends were planning on having a BBQ, but it ended up being later than I thought and I fell asleep on the couch and missed it. A day of intense rehab is so so so tiring. Your muscles are working three times are hard as developed muscles, so you are toast by the end of the day- mentally and physically. Gym plus bike plus hike was awesome, but exhausting!! But to think that last July I couldn’t walk because of knee pain, and to compare that to now, is rewarding. I can be very hard on myself and critical of how I feel my rehab is going. To see how far I came from a year ago really puts things in a positive perspective for me. I had to build from the ground up!
Other than working my tiny butt off in the gym and the woods, I’ve obviouslllyyyyyy been baking A LOT. Besides perfecting pie, i’ve made cupcakes and a tart tatin! A tart tatin is an like an upside down cake, but with puff pastry!
Baking is such a meditative activity for me. It’s also hard! I’ve been so used to being in school all the time, that having time off was a challenge. To put some of my smarts into perfecting baking and experimenting in the kitchen is an amazing outlet for me when i’m not doing rehab!
Now! Onto pie. I believe I made the best pie I have ever made for our neighbourhood block party. It features blueberries, cherries and lemon. It has the perfect balance between sweet and tart, with a crispy pastry and perfectly cooked bottom crust. I think it’s one of my masterpieces, and i’d love to share it here.
Blueberry Cherry Lemon Pie
- 2 1/2 cups (350g) plain/pastry flour
- 1 cup (250g) butter (I like salted)
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 3/4 cup ground almonds
- 1 tsp salt
- 6-8 tbsp cold water
- 1 egg for brushing on crust
- 2 bags frozen blueberries
- 1 bag frozen cherries
- lemons (for zest and juice)
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
* I have a really big pie plate, so you may not be able to fit all this fruit in, maybe only two bags! Just keep an eye on things. This makes a big pie.
1.) In a large bowl, or a food processor, combine flour, icing sugar, ground almonds and salt. I like to use a food processor for the next stage, as it makes assembling the pastry a lot easier.
2.) Add the cup of butter in chunks. Pulse the butter into the flour mixture with your food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. The reason I like the food processor so much is that it really rubs the butter into the flour well. You want this because the fat actually prevents the flour from forming strands of gluten, which makes a pastry tough.
3.) Add the cold water 2 tbsp at a time, we want to add as little as possible, and we want the dough to just come together. Pulse water into the dough until it just comes together. A food processor quickly brings things together, I find it really hard to knead water into flour well with a spoon or my hands.
4.) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a ball. Cut dough in half and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
5.) Preheat your oven to 375 to prepare to blind bake your crust and prepare your filling! Put cherries and blueberries into a large saucepan. Add the zest and juice of two lemons, vanilla, cornstarch, and sugar and mix together.
6.) Cook over medium heat until the cornstarch is cooked in and the mixture is thickened. It should sort of resemble a chunky jam. It’s such a beautiful deep purple at this stage.
7.) Let the mixture cool a bit and take out half your dough from the fridge. Place a piece of lightly floured parchment paper on the counter and roll out the dough into a circle. Flip parchment upside down over your pie plate and peel off. This is honestly the easiest way to not have your dough stick to the counter, and easily get it into your pie plate without it breaking!
8.) Poke holes into the bottom of the crust and place parchment over your pie crust and fill with rice and baking beans. Blind bake your crust for 20 mins, and bake in the bottom of the oven to ensure a cooked bottom crust. After 20 mins, take out the parchment paper, brush bottom with a beaten egg, and return to the oven for 10 mins. Take out the other half of your pie tough and prepare the top. Either roll into a circle, cut strips for a lattice, or use cookie cutters for a pretty topping!
9.) Once crust is done, take it out of the oven and pour in the filling. Place top crust on and brush with the remaining egg, sprinkling on extra sugar. Place in the oven. I bake on the bottom rack for 20 mins to ensure the bottom gets cooked, and for the last 10-15 mins I move it to the middle/top rack to ensure the top browns and cooks! Your pie should be bubbling and have a slightly browned crust.
10.) Cool completely before you eat and ENJOY! ❤