Gardening= workout


So this morning I got on with one of my fave holiday activities- a run in the morning.

During term time I generally go out after work- I can run about 3 miles before breakfast, but then with the shower and stuff after it means getting up very early- I would rather take my time after work and run a little further. Anyway, I have been getting the feeling lately that I have really slowed down- perhaps it is the warmer weather and also that I have been tired from work. Anyway, today I decided I was going to push myself and see what I was capable of. It was a hard run, but I kept an eye on my Nike+ and generally my pace was between 9.40ish and 10.15 per mile- good for me. At one point it said 17 and then 24, so I think it lost the signal for a bit. Anyway, in the end I did 5.8 miles in 59 mins, which is much closer to my recent 10K time. I was feeling like I was back to the speed when I first started running (10K in 70 mins) but with this, baring in mind I had to cross roads and things, it was closer to my pb of 61.30.

I had a delicious smoothie in a bowl to cool down when I got back

A frozen banana, raspberries, cocoa powder and Kara coconut milk.

Sprinkled with coconut as I love that at the moment.

I made a lovely lunch- cooked some quinoa with a tin of tomatoes, spinach and some pesto, and added it to roasted peppers, courgette, beetroot and cherry tomatoes. I made a big batch so I can have it for other days too. Topped with food doctor roasted bean mix.

After that I headed up to our allotment for some weeding action. It was more overgrown than I remembered!

There is bind-weed everywhere!!

At one point I got very freaked out as I went to chop the bottom of a massive thistle, and nearly squashed a frog- gross! Luckily it hopped out of the way, but I may or may not have screamed, then shouted “sh*t” (this is very rare for me to swear) and then panicked about people seeing me! Anyway, I weeded for over 2 hours. I must have moved 7 or 8 big piles of weeds to the enormous compost heap. Mistake number 1 by me was to only take a small trowel and hand fork- next time I will bring the proper tools!

Please tell me you can see a difference!

We have to leave the potato plants as apparently the lady might come and dig them up!

We do have some raspberry canes, and a blackcurrant bush which I hope will get left for us- I gave those a massive weed too.

Once home (this was a good two and a half hours later) I was starving so decided to replenish my blood sugar with a lovely Eat Natural bar. Mm. I then went to Habitat in the hope of getting some bargains, but alas, too late (despite the signs still being up) they have closed! Ah well.

Instead I got some more dried mango, and made some chocolate covered mango, being inspired by Nicky.

Some with coconut, to add to the tropical theme! I love Divine dark chocolate mango, but had never thought of making it myself until I saw it on her blog– genius 🙂

I was still hungry, so then I had some more Rude Health Oaty things, with pb, raspberry spread, and some Earl Grey tea. That gardening has made me shattered! What a good workout!

I am off to zonk out now! My question- what activity do you find subs as a workout?

Let’s “chai” these cupcakes

Hello all!

So yesterday I decided to make some chai tea cupcakes. I was inspired by Lucy doing some chai baking, and ever since I made the Earl Grey cupcakes from my new Hummingbird book I was keen to adapt the recipe with chai teabags instead.

So that is what I did.

I only made 6 this time, as I know there will only be 6 of us at Sunday tea, and I had more success with the icing as I made it in my food processor.

Can you see where I poured in the teabag-infused milk??

Anyway, I had loads of icing left, as per usual, so I again took inspiration from Lucy and made a variation of her chai bites. I used 75g brazils, 75g dates, 30g coconut, a splash of date syrup, some vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom. This was blitzed up in the food processor, and then baked for 8 mins in a small tray.

Then I covered them in the icing, and had 2 for dessert last night- delish. The only thing was that the icing was butter icing (well, pure spread) but I find that too rich. I was planning on making it with cream cheese, but I could not find it in the fridge. Anyway, I think this would be amazing topped with some kind of chocolate/ coconut butter or peanut butter topping (like the one on the chewy rice squares). Love the idea thanks Lucy! 🙂

I managed to resist ordering more teapigs chai, but I did stock up on muesli as it was 3 for 2.

I love the crispy muesli, and decided to try another one- I like raisins but this one sounded nice too!

So that was breakfast this morning:

I love this, so summery! A chopped apple, muesli and milk. After that, exciting news people!!!!!!

We walked up to our allotment today! Yes, that is right! After being on the waiting list for 3 years, we have been offered a plot! It is perfect, about a 5 min walk from home, and the plot (apparently a “small” one) is the size of our current garden! It even has raspberry canes and potatoes growing in it! I am so excited! I was supposed to be meeting up with a friend tomorrow, but she cancelled as she is ill, so guess what- I will be doing some weeding! I am very excited about this as you can tell! So, gardeners- anything I can plant now? Apparently spinach? Although I think we may leave anything until we get back from our holiday so we can actually water it all.

Onto the review:

Monday- a run which I nearly talked myself out of!

Tuesday- nothing- was at work so knew I would miss aerobics.

Wednesday- audiofuel run- again nearly talked myself out of it but felt much better when I got home.

Thursday- good old body pump

Friday- rest day

Saturday- 10 mile run, little walk in the evening

Sunday- Yoga before breakfast, walk up to the allotments 🙂

I kind of eased off a bit this week, as work was busy again, plus I was getting tired. Next week should be better because I am off  and so will have more time, plus I can go out in the mornings which I much prefer. Yay!

Right, off for Sunday tea in a bit- I am looking forward to a cupcake 🙂

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend too.

EDIT- Hey- the cupcakes were lovely! And I have updated my Running Calendar pace, in case anyone is interested! I put in links to my race reports, and also the races I have planned. So check it out here if you fancy having a look.

What I listen to when I run

Afternoon all

So yesterday was a little sad really, as it always is on the last day of term- it is weird really because I look forward to the summer holidays, but also by the end of the year it is sad to say goodbye to the lovely children (and their lovely parents).

I was given these sweet pea flowers in the morning by a child in my class- his mum said he had been growing them for weeks and had decided they were for me on the last day of term- how sweet. He even whispered to me “the butterfly is not real“- love it! What a lovely final day anyway. They smell so amazing and the scent is still filling the living room today. 🙂

To celebrate I met up with a couple of friends from other schools- we met in Starbucks where I had a chai tea (not a latte, just a tea) and a cinnamon swirl- yum. The perfect start to the holidays!

After that we had a picnic dinner at home;

I got some walnut and rye bread (amazing), and finished the Wensleydale and cranberry cheese, and an easy peasy “salad” of lettuce, grapes and pink righteous dressing. Love that dressing.

Anyway, what I wanted to say about today was what I listen to when I run. When I first started out, I did not listen to anything. I was following a walk/run plan, and I used my mobile phone to time each section as I did not have a watch or anything! But once I realised I liked it, Andy got for me a little mp3 player which was light enough to stick in my pocket. I used to listen to music- I still have a long list on there which includes A, Ash, Hard Fi, High School Musical (yeah I like the cheesy stuff too), Kasabian, Lilo and Stitch (my fave Disney movie and with Elvis tracks, what’s not to love??), Maroon 5, Muse, Radiohead, The Killers, Weezer and Foo Fighters. I love upbeat music generally, and I did used to sometimes find myself singing along! Luckily I was generally alone! What I did find was that I would try to run to the beat, so that I would pick up my speed in faster songs, and really slow down during slower ones. I was recommended talking podcasts as a way to keep a steady speed, and it seems to help me.

So now I tend to listen to podcasts. You all know my love for marathon talk– I think it is lighthearted but also interesting- a range of chat, interviews and news. I also load up from the bbc podcasts website:

The Food Programme– this sometimes looks at companies, or a specific food, or sometimes food in a certain country.

Friday Night Comedy– I prefer the news quiz, but now it is “The now show” which I think can be hit and miss, but often funny enough.

Americana– the topics on this range each week- they had a special about the space programme, they look at things like green issues, the death penalty and things like that.

Excess Baggage– this is a travel programme from a different slant. A few weeks ago they had a really interesting show about cycling- they had someone who had cycled all over the world, and another person (Matt Carroll) who has written a book about cycle rides in the UK.

The Infinite Monkey Cage-This is a sort of science show, but funny and presented by Prof. Brian Cox. 🙂

I have also listened to things like the Ricky Gervais podcasts (from when he was on XFM) or the Adam and Joe show, but they are so funny that I sometimes laugh too much and it stops me running!

So, what do you listen to when you run?

Onto today, after breakfast and some jobs I went out for a run. I was pleased as I managed my furthest ever since the marathon- 10 miles. It was hard work, and I had some twinges in my legs (but I could not decide if I was imagining them as I was a bit tired)- took me 1hr48, which I am alright with. I think I have slowed down a lot, but then in a couple of weeks I have a holiday, and I am hoping that the break will do me good and I will be able to improve on that time before the Great South run in October.

After my run I had my last bloggie swap clif bar- chocolate chip peanut crunch- which I loved! It was like the pb ones we get over here, but with added chocolate chips, and maybe a slight saltier flavour- always good after a run. Plus some coconut water with passion fruit to help rehydrate- this was tasty too.

Plus a Food Doctor pitta (thanks to Leigh for pointing out that Tescos have them on offer for 49p so we have rather a lot of them!!!) with lovely pb, apple and pear. Mmmmm.

This afternoon I have been baking and doing more jobs around the house, so more photos tomorrow I think! That is enough for now!

Bye 🙂

Rude Health Oaty Thins!

First of all, that is what I am excited about! When I got home from work today I tried a couple of them, and I love them! They are similar to rice cakes, in that they are big and sort of puffy, but without the weird stick-to-your-tongue texture that rice cakes have, plus they feel a bit more substantial.

One with pb&co maple peanut butter (not much of this left now!) and one with coconut butter and meridian raspberry spread, after this combo was recommended. I must say, it was lovely 🙂 I have never eaten coconut butter raw before, only used it in cooking, but it was nice to have that hint of coconut flavour to the snack. I also had my final Teapigs chai tea 🙁 Until my tea cupboard gets a bit emptier (remember my hoarding confessional post?) I cannot order any more.  Although they do sell it on Ocado and I am about to do a shop……..

Anyway, I love those oaty thins and I kind of wish I had bought the multigrain ones too, just to try them. Once these have been eaten that will be my next stop I think.

I have body pump later so I made a pudding to have when I get home;

All my ingredients ready (well nearly, I forgot the xanthan gum). Mash banana, add cocoa powder and pb (Sainsburys pb with chocolate chips, which is nice but not as good as dark chocolate dreams), then pour on coconut milk, sprinkle on xanthan gum and whisk, then add chia seeds.

The bowl gets so messy from all the stirring but I am not putting it in a clean bowl just for the photo I am afraid! This is thickening up in the fridge as I type.

Also I have been reading everyone’s “What I eat Wednesday” posts and feel left out! I keep thinking I should join in, and then the week goes by and before I know it I am reading them all over again, thinking “whoops, I should have done it”. Next week I am off, so I might even get around to doing it (but then after that I will be away for loads of Wednesdays). Anyone else not jumped on that bandwagon yet?

Right, off to body pump and then, hooray, the last day of the summer term 🙂

Vegan Moussaka recipe

Evening all

I had a delicious dinner today so I am going to share the recipe. It was for a moussaka but I am not a fan of creamy sauces, so I subbed in some silken tofu instead. And I left out potatoes because I don’t like them, but for a real one you could add in a layer.

First up, slice and griddle an aubergine.

Then in a pan cook a tin of tomatoes, a tin of drained lentils, a packet of spinach, some tomato puree, garlic paste and basil.

Meanwhile blend some silken tofu with some sundried tomato pesto (but you could use any pesto you like, I like this red one at the moment). This was about 3/4 of a pack of silken tofu, as I had already used the other 1/4 in the brownies.

Then layer up 🙂 I put the aubergine on the bottom, then the tomato sauce and then the tofu sauce on top.

Then bake 200C for 25 mins. Excuse the blurry photos! But it is lovely- the pesto in the tofu is my fave way to liven up tofu sauce now, and this was lovely and thick and creamy and tomatoey. I would have added other veg too, but I didn’t have any. Anyway, this was lovely and I am pleased I have 2 other portions to go in the freezer (since we defrosted it the other week I am having to re-fill it again).

Today I had a run after work- I really was not feeling like it at all as the children at work are getting more and more hyped up, and there are so many end of term jobs to do. Anyway, on my way home I was again bargaining with myself about doing a short gentle run, as I had had a sort of headache all day. But in the end I decided just to try with Audiofuel, and in the end it was fine. Hard work, and it rained at the end (gently, which I appreciated), but my headache was gone and I felt loads better. 🙂

I tried one of those Waitrose grain bars today. It was quite nice- it was quite sweet as it had concentrated apple juice, and dried apricot, and the texture was quite chewy and chunky. It reminded me of a cereal bar I had once, which I got in Sainsbury’s and was aimed at children, but was made of oats, dried fruit and maybe apple juice. They had bright packaging and stuff but I cannot remember the name. Sorry. Anyway, I did not like them as much as regular nak’d bars, but still it was nice and made a change. When I showed them to Andy his words were “I am so glad you bought 3 boxes of cereal bars, because we do not have enough already”. Hmm. In my defence I eat one every day for a snack at work, and often have one as a pre run/ exercise snack too!

Potatoes- yes or no? I only like jacket potatoes really, as boiled, roast and mash are not my cup of tea at all, to be polite! And after about 2 chips I wonder what the fuss was about (and really chips are just a vehicle for vinegar!)