Baking bonanza!

I fancied a day of baking today. I have already made some roasted vegetable pasta sauce (basically roast peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, little bit of olive oil and oregano, then blend it up once they are all caramelised- I freeze it in tubs so it lasts for ages), and some cranberry and orange bread that was on the side of a packet of Dove’s farm wholemeal bread flour. The bread is rising at the moment ready to go into the oven in a little while. It says that it can be frozen so I made it into two smaller loaves, and will pop one in the freezer as we won’t have it tomorrow.

This morning I was having a look at recipes on here: and took a shine to the spiced parsnip muffins;

.Except I really do not like parsnips! They are one vegetable I do not eat; even the thought of them to me is horrible. If they are in soup (even if they are the last ingredient in a lovely sounding sweet potato soup or something) I won’t eat it. Anyway so I have adapted the recipe slightly; I used carrots instead of parsnips, added some orange rind, orange juice instead of milk (because I had used the orange rind so had the juice spare), and wholegrain spelt flour because it’s my fave flour at the moment! Plus I had no ginger so I added a bit of mixed spice along with the cinnamon and ginger.

They have just come out of the oven and they smell so good! I am looking forward to one as an afternoon snack later on!

Gosh after my run yesterday I was wiped out for the evening! I didn’t do much at all (although I did manage to plant the potatoes) except watch TV. I did email Sainsbury’s about the palm oil in their peanut butter, but of course I haven’t heard back yet (well only one of the automated email messages).

To add to my baking bonanza I am going to make something for breakfast, either breakfast bars or some muesli. I do love a good baking day.

EDIT after a trip to the garden centre and some weeding I had a cup of tea (chai of course) with a carrot and apple muffin and I must say it was delicious! Maybe a bit too moist (but that could be down to converting from cups to grams) so next time I would have a little less liquid, but it was so tasty and also very filling- probably due to the dates, apples, carrots and wholegrain flour. Yum.

Nakd -fuelled run

After breakfast of cornflakes and a little Dorset spelt muesli (they didn’t have the simply delicious one so I tried this one- quite nice but not my fave), I made some dough and then headed out on my run. I felt fairly tired part the way through (and spent a lot of time thinking about the half marathon in 2 weeks’ time, not sure how well I will fare on that day), but on the whole I did enjoy it. Listening to music, seeing all the scenery (lots of goslings and cygnets at the lakes again, including two geese with their goslings this time right on the narrow path- cue unexpected interval training!), getting out in the fresh air is not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. I had taken with me a packet of Nakd Cherry Raisins and had them after about an hour and a half, to give me the sugar boost for the last few miles. They are super tasty; the cherry flavour is pretty strong, more like cherry sweets than actual cherries, but they were just what I fancied. Much better than jelly beans I am sure!

Once I got home I had a banana and a Nakd (gluten free) Cocoa orange bar. These are amazing! Dates, raisins, cashews and cocoa and mooshed together into one wonderful bar of chocolaty soft chewy yumminess.

After my shower I finished making the bread. This time I used half white flour and half wholemeal flour, and topped it with red pesto, sliced tomatoes and the left over mozzarella (only a small amount), baked for 15 minutes and served with spicy bean soup. Yum. The bread was so good, I am looking forward to when I can use some of my basil on top (it is growing away on the windowsill but still not quite big enough to use the leaves yet).

After that I fancied something sweet so shared a box of Graze rocky mountain mix (pecans, cranberries and dark chocolate buttons)- it is so tasty! Along with some cinnamon chai, delish.

I have been watching the grand prix and pottering about on the internet, later on I might go and plant some potatoes. I got the seed potatoes for cheap last week and it said on the pack they can be planted April and May, and today is still May so I am hoping they will be ok (only got the compost yesterday so couldn’t plant them any sooner).

Later on I shall be having a bean burger with salad and sweet potato and watching 24, and isn’t it great that tomorrow is a bank holiday? Long weekends are just great!

Peanut butter raisin chocolate cookies

Yesterday evening I decided to do some baking and fancied half peanut butter cookie, and half oatmeal raisin. So I have combined and changed my fave recipes to make a brand new one!

Here it is: Peanut butter, chocolate and raisin cookies.

Put 100g raisins in a cup and soak in water while you make the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 170C.

In a bowl mix 110g butter (or spread) with 100g golden caster sugar and 100g soft brown sugar, beat together until creamy.

Add one egg, 1tsp vanilla extract and 120g crunchy peanut butter. Beat together.

Then sift in 175g wholegrain spelt flour (I love this in cookies), 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda and mix well.

Then mix in 75g chopped dark chocolate (optional but so tasty) and the raisins (drain the water off first).

Put blobs of the mixture on a baking tray (I like to put on greaseproof paper first)- this recipe makes around 20 cookies.

Then bake in the oven for about 13-15 minutes until they are starting to go brown.

The paler they are the chewier they will be once cooled.

Leave them on the tray for a couple of minutes, then gently move to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies are so yummy- they went well with a cup of tea after a walk yesterday evening.

New running kit + palm oil free peanut butter

Today I was originally going to go on an 11 mile run (my longest before my next half marathon), but the weather was forecast to be raining and I didn’t fancy a 2 hour run in the rain, so I have put it back to tomorrow. When I woke up it hadn’t started raining so I had a 2.5 mile run before breakfast. I have not done a pre-breakfast run for ages, and had forgotten how much I like them (as long as they are short). Running when the world is waking up is a nice feeling, plus getting home, having a shower and having a breakfast before most people are up watching TV in their PJ’s is so satisfying. Plus you get that post-exercise feeling all day. Great!

I managed it in just under 26 minutes (partly due to there being no traffic about so I didn’t have to stop at all, and probably partly due to the hungry feeling getting bigger!) plus it didn’t rain until I was back home-bonus! I also got to try out my new running top- it’s a Nike vest from here: and it was fab! I like sleeveless tops and the ones I have are getting a bit stiff from all the washing now, so I have been replacing them. I normally buy one, and then get another one if I like the fit, but the last one I found that I liked (a Ron hill one) went out of stock once I had the first one- so annoying! I am a bit fussy with running tops; I like sleeveless ones, but I don’t like high necks, halter necks or funny racer back styles, or v-necks (so basically normal scoop vest tops) and also I do like proper fabric and not cotton. Anyway as soon as I had tried it I went to order another one and guess what…. They are already out of blue in my size, so I ordered a pink one instead. It’s not a colour I would usually choose for running in (clashes with my red face!) but I can match everyone else at the Race for Life.

I have been working most of the rest of the day, plus reading loads of other blogs as distractions (seriously writing reports is such a boring thing to do!). I saw chocolate covered Katie has been again raving about coconut butter here; and she is even giving away some of it. It looks so amazing, I have been searching for it online but can’t find it for UK delivery (I found a few and they turned out to be coconut body butter- not edible!). I am not sure what looks nicer, the normal coconut or the one with added chocolate. Maybe the normal one looks more versatile (would add nice flavour to plain yoghurt) but the chocolate one looks so good, it is all ready to be spread on hot toast or crumpets.

Speaking of crumpets I had a nice lunch today; 2 crumpets each with a dollop of almond butter (ah meridian I have missed your products recently) and a little blob of cherry spread- sort of like bakewell flavour! I love PB and cherry spread, and decided to try the almond butter instead. Result- a new combo that I will be having again.

I also had a pear sprinkled with cinnamon which is also super tasty.

After that I popped to the shops, one of the items I needed was peanut butter (love that healthy fat) but I was disappointed to see that Sainsbury’s own brand normal stuff has palm oil in it. Palm oil production has been credited for a lot of rainforest destruction, and so I try to only buy it in products which list they are from sustainable plantations (such as in Nairn’s oatcakes as oppose to most own brand oat cakes). The Tesco’s stuff has sunflower oil instead, and my fave stuff is Meridian peanut butter as it has only peanuts and a sprinkle of salt (they also do a no added salt one which is just peanuts), no oil added at all. The only trouble is that it is hard to get hold of (usually order online or get it from Holland and Barrett but I don’t go there that often, and don’t like paying for postage so I tend to save up items and order a big bunch of stuff all at once. Also Whole Earth only use palm oil from sustainable sources so that is another brand I am ok with. Anyway I am glad I read the ingredients as I don’t like wasting food but I would not have been pleased to have bought it. Especially as Sainsbury’s are increasing their things like Fairtrade products I would have expected them to make ethical food choices for all their products. I think I might contact them to see what they have to say about it.

For dinner this evening I have made a pizza, (basic dough) spread with red pesto, then sprinkled on chopped yellow pepper, sliced courgette and some light mozzarella. It is in the oven now and I can’t wait because I am starving! It will be served with a huge salad, complete with balsamic dressing and flax oil (another healthy fat). Yum.

I am trying to drink more water again this evening, and will have a nice walk later if it stops raining.

My ode to quinoa

I had a nice dinner this evening. In a pan I cooked a third of a red onion, half a red pepper, half a small courgette, added in about 150g tinned tomatoes, 40g rinsed quinoa and cooked for about 15 minutes (until it had thickened and the quinoa had started looking all squiggly). I had it with some Cauldron butternut squash falafel. It was super tasty.
Just wanted to share that! I got my new copy of Women’s Running mag and I think because it’s national veggie week they have a few articles in there about being a healthy veggie, plus they had an article on quinoa. I do use it occasionally (often make a batch for lunch in the winter), but should use it more as it is a complete protein. Usually veggies need to combine foods (e.g. wholegrain + pulses or wholegrain + nuts) to get complete protein (which occurs naturally in meat). But this grain has it all!

Then it was off to body pump, good as usual although my shoulders are killing me now!
I am going to treat myself to one of the cookies (which by the way were a success, I now have 11 people sponsoring me, which is loads more than before- the bribery is working!).
Then it’s the bank holiday weekend hooray! May is such a great month.