Baby Stuffed Pumpkin

Hello!

So last night I had one of my cute munchin pumpkins for dinner. I enjoyed the pumpkin tofu pasta so much the other week, that I made a variation on that. Thanks to Alison (I think) for the nifty tip of putting the pumpkin in the microwave to soften it- then I took the top off, scooped out the seeds and baked it for maybe 30 mins while I got the other bits ready.

I whizzed up 80g pumpkin puree with 1/4 pack solken tofu (using up all the leftovers) and then added a couple of sundried tomatoes.

Then I cooked up 50g quinoa (in fact managed to spill some all over the place) and added a little tomato puree. I added some spinach to the quinoa and started to wilt it a little. Then in a dish I layered up the quinoa, the pumpkin tofu, and added some chunks of courgettes too. I kept on adding to it until it was all in the dish. Kind of like lasagne! Then I topped it with some goats cheese (still have some to use up) and baked it for about 20 mins. Then I put some in the pumpkin, and the rest on my plate. It made a massive tea!

It was sooooo good- I love the pumpkin and silken tofu mix- the sundried tomatoes really go with the other flavours. The spinach was yum, the quinoa was yum, the courgettes were tasty. It was totally stuffed!

You can’t see from the picture very well but it went a lovely bright orange colour, the flesh from the mini pumpkin was cooked really well and was just right- not too mushy.

I am undecided as to how to have the second munchin pumpkin- I am thinking I might try pumpkin wedges or something? Any ideas feel free to let me know! 🙂

Huh? Hunza?

Hello! Today is the first proper day of half term hooray!

I actually went into work this morning, but I was super efficient and got loads of jobs done super quick- it is amazing how much you can get done without the children!

I was planning on running after lunch, but as I was so quick I came home, had a snack;

A Hunza nut (huh?) Mule bar. I had to google it and apparently in the Hunza Valley of Northern Pakistan, the apricot is referred to as Hunza Gold, hence the name Hunza nut (it’s main ingredient is apricot and it tastes very apricotey). I loaded by water bottle up with nuun and headed out into the frost. It was so cold in the shade! And warm in the sunshine- tricky temperature to run in. I was prettry speedy and managed 5.8 miles in 55 minutes. I need to focus on these runs as I have a tendancy to slow down to my long run pace, whereas really I need to be keeping to a 10 min mile pace or quicker. It was hard to judge speed today as it was so windy, but I had bags of energy and even the big hill near the end where I normally slow and plod up, I actually ran up at a fair pace. There are traffic lights at the top and normally I get to stop for 30 seconds to catch my breath- no such luck today haha!

Anyway, I have been getting on with jobs at home this afternoon, along with making a few tasty morsels as I have friends coming over tomorrow. I have made some chocolate cornflake cakes (this time I tried with white chocolate- not sure how that will go), and I might make some more cookies as they are always popular.

I also tried my next nakd bar

Excuse my rubbish photo- I think I need to go back to the plates! It was tasty, very sweet, very similar to the berry cheeky ones which I love. It had tiny bits of pink (raspberries) all the way through it. MM. I can’t decide what flavour to order- my tin of cereal bars is very low on nakd bars and they are great for a break time snack at work. I wanted to order this week as you have to sign for them and I am more likely to be here. Decisions decisions!

Right, off now, enjoy this lovely sunny evening. What is your favourite day off treat? I am looking forward to getting my hair cut and catching up with friends. I may also make our Christmas cake (so exciting!). I am also making the most of runs during the daytime as our evenings are getting darker!

Calzone recipe

Evening all

I have been busy socialising today (what fun)- also went on a walk in the sunshine. Last night I made calzone (and took loads of pics!), so here is the recipe;

Makes 3 pretty good sized calzones.

To make the dough, put 250g wholegrain strong bread flour in a bowl with 1tsp yeast, pinch salt and 1tsp sugar. Add in 150ml warm water and mix roughly. Then turn onto a surface (I don’t add any more flour) and knead, stretch and knead some more. Then leave in an oiled bowl covered with a cloth for an hour for it to rise.

Meanwhile roast some veggies (I did courgettes and peppers, but on other occasions I have had aubergine, red onions etc)- chopped into chunks with some spray oil and oregano and balsamic. Once roasted mix with reduced passatta (or bolognaise sauce) and more herbs- can’t have enough herbs.

Then punch the dough into the bowl, tip out onto a board and divide the dough into 3 balls and flatten them into circles (shock- this time I used a rolling pin which worked really well). Put a little of the filling in the middle of the circle and add some cubes of mozzerella (at this stage you can add spinach leaves- nice with goats cheese). You can also spread pesto on the base at this point (red pesto is lovely), or basically whatever filling you like.

Then fold the dough over and kind of pinch and fold the sides together- make sure the seams are nice and tight. Then repeat with the other 2 dough balls. If you have any of the veggie mix left over don’t worry- we have plans for it later!

 Put on an oiled baking tray, (optional-sprinkle with dried basil) and leave until you want to cook. Heat the oven to 220C and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is cooked. Keep your fingers crossed that none of the mixture leaked out!

Then serve with a salad, and warm through any of the veggie mix that was left over and serve with that.

(That is the extra sauce on top- this one did not leak at all yay!).

Sit back and enjoy a scrummy calzone 🙂

This was always something I enjoyed in restaurants but thought it was seemingly impossible to make at home. But I gave it a go and although I used to find making the dough quite daunting (you can always use pizza base mixes where you just add warm water if you didn’t have all the yeast and flout), now it is not too hard to make. The best part is, they look really impressive!

Any recipes that you used to shy away from making?

Half rest day

Evening all. By the way I appear to have gone photo crazy today- I will even save some for tomorrow as I took so many!

This morning I had a fab run. We went to some friends for dinner last night and got back very late, plus the weather forecast heavy rain, so I wasnt sure if I would run in the morning or afternoon. I woke up late (after 9am- must have been tired) to sunshine, so after porridge I set off. Last night I wore my ear-warmer on my run, but I felt it was a little warmer in the day so left it at home.  I took with me some nuun in my water bottle, and decided I would see how I felt on my run. In the end I did around 8.5 miles (my Nike+ said 9.5 but I think I have not callibrated it for a while so I don’t think that is quite right), and I felt good. After 70 minutes I felt a little tired and my legs got a bit heavier, but I pushed on and managed to finish pretty strong. Then to cool down I walked around the garden for a bit and picked some more apples. Then I tried my first US clif bar (I could not wait!);

It was delicious! It did taste similar to the peanut butter one, and it was massive! I had it with some chocolate milk, as by the time I got home from my run it was nearly 1pm and I was pretty hungry. I then had a shower and pottered about for ages, and in fact didn’t have lunch until about 3.30pm.

Home-made squash and carrot soup. Can you see the steam coming off it? I also had some toast with half PB and half chocolate and nut butter.

This stuff is so good. The best bit about it is that it doesn’t taste so nice right out of the jar (means I am not tempted for an extra teaspoon!), but on toast or bread it is scrummy.

By the way, look how orange my home-grown pumpkin is getting- I reckon I might be able to use it this week 🙂

Normally I would go out on Saturday afternoon, but I have all of half term to go to the shops and go on walks and stuff, and so I have been at home, making dough and roasting veggies for calzone later on, and catching up on TV. At about 5 I suddenly felt really tired (maybe that super late lunch was not such a good idea) so I had some teapigs chai and tried the nakd cocoa mint bar.

I was not overly impressed with my first bite, but then as I ate the rest it tasted nicer. The mint flavour was quite strong, but not too overpowering, and it did taste of chocolate mint. I can’t quite put my finger on what it reminded me of. It was not quite as good as the chocolate orange one, but still really tasty.

Then I perked up and made some peanut white chocolate cookies for sunday tea tomorrow. I use the Hummingbird recipe, but I only use half the ingredients as it makes so many, and Iused white choc, and wholegrain spelt flour.

In the oven and then the baking tray after;

And on the cooling rack- they look good!

I was listening to marathon talk on my run, and a listener had emailed in to warn people about to run the Abbingdon marathon that last year people got disqualified for wearing MP3 players as they ran. Although it was in the race rules, I suppose not everyone reads them in detail. Can you imagine how awful that would be if you entered and ran it, only to find to later that you had been disqualified. I had looked at this race a while back (with a view to maybe entering in 2011) but hearing this put me off. I always have music in when I race, but I have the volume down very low so I can hear other people talking, the marshalls, the cheering etc. Even when I ran the half marathon with my brother, I had music playing even though we talked virtually the whole race. It would put me off entering, as for me, running for 5 hours or more would be really hard without music to distract me from hearing my breathing, and helps the time to pass. I suppose some people have the music very loud, and maybe don’t hear warnings from the marshalls. So, what is your opinion on MP3 players during races?

Half term is here!

Hooray!

After a fun training day yesterday, I am officially on half term! It has been very busy at work so I am looking forward to recharging my batteries and catching up with friends etc.

I got home and had a mango mule bar

(Like my chocolate nail varnish?)- it was super tasty, very mango-ey. Mmm. I have made a little review page here for all the mule bars I have tried so far.

Then I went on a short run. My legs were not too bad from body pump, so I decided to try and do a short fast paced one, and managed to do 3.4 miles in 32 mins- according to the Nike+ my average page was 9.30 per mile, so not bad. By the end my legs were sore though! They feel fine today.

Then, when I got home, I had a package delivered;

Look at all the different flavours;

Ages ago I emailed Clif bars to say how much I loved them, and how I wished they did a bigger range of flavours in the UK. They emailed back to explain that it took a while to source ingredients, sort packaging and things, and then said they would send me some american ones. So so kind of them!

The flavours I have to try are cranberry apple cherry, black cherry almond, peanut toffee buzz, chocolate almond fudge and oatmeal raisin walnut. By the way, look at the size of them compared to the UK ones;

Baby UK oatmeal, between daddy peanut and mummy chocolate from the US!

OK, I have pottered about enough, time for my long run- later guys!