Something about grapes/great

I can’t think of a title, so feel free to help out. Something like “It’s grape”. You get it.

The grape jelly was very nice (great/grape)- but very sweet. I just heated grape juice and sprinkled on the agar (as per instructions), then stirred in and left to cool, poured over fruit. I think next time I would have 1/2 grape juice and 1/2 water.

I also added a little to my overnight muesli in place of some of the milk- that was refreshing too.

On Monday I had a run after work and it was so hot. I saw 3 rabbits, which get a smiley face, but I also saw 2 rats, which totally counteract the rabbits. I must have looked rather crazy as I ran along clapping as loudly as I could to make the rats run off the path. When I got back I was in need of rehydration- I think I probably looked like a dried cranberry from some trail mix (covered in salt from the peanuts)- really I needed to be soaked in water. Anyway, ramble aside, I tried some of the Sainsbury’s coconut water. Now, I am not really a fan. It tastes so sweet- it reminded me of the “juice drink” cartons you get, or maybe like strong squash, and I never even drink weak squash. I suppose if it was diluted with water it would be OK. Also it didn’t taste of coconut water- the first one one tasted of orange squash, and the second one (pineapple flavour- I had it today after my Sweatshop run) was OK- a bit nicer as I prefer the pineapple flavour, but not great. It is a shame because it is much cheaper, but I suppose that is why.

On Tuesday I had a rest day (I did have a run on Sunday after the cinema too), and had a lovely easy dinner. I found these beetroot and goats cheese roasts in asda- they had a pretty good ingredients list so I decided to try them. It was nice- like something you might have for a pub lunch if that makes sense. Anyway, easiest ever dinner served with roasted veggies, cucumber, tomatoes and more beetroot. Not too much goats cheese either as although I love it, sometimes it can be overpowering.

To cool down I had a fruity iced tea- I poured hot water on an orange and coconut teabag, left it to cool, and then added the liquid to a glass with some rose grape juice, ice and lemon slices. This was lovely. I do like the grape juice on its own, but it is very sweet, so I prefer it watered down a bit.

I also decided to make some fruity cakes for work- I used a recipe for light fruit cake from the Home Bake book, and soaked the fruit in grape juice first. If I make anything with dried fruit I always soak it first, as I find then it plumps up and also does not burn in the oven. I topped them with a little lemon icing (lemon juice+icing sugar), and they turned out really well. I used wholegrain spelt flour too, which I love in baking.

My Sweatshop run today was good too- although again it was so hot and I was baking by the time I had jogged up there- not a good sign. I qualified for my free t-shirt today (it is a technical one and everything) but I was too sweaty to try them on, so will have to get it next week- haha.

But- exciting news- from Tuesday (at 5.30pm) they are starting a run/walk for beginners- starting at 2 miles. I really cannot rave about it enough, so if you are tempted then check out your local store to see if they have one.

Anyone tempted? 🙂 Anyone else tried the Sainsbury’s coconut water, or discovered anything else new?

High Five! (Snapshots from Saturday)


Porridge with some oats (going cheap from Sainsbury’s) with dried apple and hazelnuts.

5 mile run! Well, 5.2 miles (and I did stop for a few mins for a chat on the way back too as I bumped into Bronagh)- my average pace was more like 11.30 miles (I thought the pace at the bottom of the watch was average but I think it might be current pace instead). I decided to go a little further as I have been running longer on my Sweatshop runs (as I run there and back as well)- so I went up to the lakes which I have not done for ages- it was fab- virtual high five!!  🙂

Yummy coconut water to rehydrate. I have’t been taking water with me on my runs as they are quite short (plus it has not been that warm) but I get such a dry mouth- I think I might have to again soon.

(This is actually from Friday night- we went into London to see Pointless being filmed, and then went to dinner, and on our way back did our food shop. I was very excited to see that Sainsbury’s make their own coconut water now, although it does contain sucralose- it can’t be sweetened too much because the cartons are something like 30 cals, but anyway it is about half the price of vita coco etc so worth a try I thought).

Then I sorted out my training plan, popping to the shops, pottered around, did some baking (hooray! I was getting withdrawal symptoms) and watched a film. 🙂

This morning started out with a real treat- I asked Andy what he fancied me baking this weekend, and he requested cinnamon rolls. I used the same recipe from Christmas, (this time I made 1/4 of the recipe) only I had no cranberries, so I used coconut instead. I also used coconut sugar to replace the regular sugar, and coconut oil to replace the butter in the filling. They seriously are so easy- the dough takes about 5 mins to make- you hardly need to knead it, then you leave it to rise, again it takes 5 mins to roll it out and spread on the filling, and then you just leave them in the fridge overnight. In the morning they only need 15 mins to cook. Delicious 🙂

I also managed to pick up some agar flakes yesterday, and have made some fruity grape jelly for a refreshing dessert. I was sent some Welch’s grape juice to review, and I mentioned I had loads to my Mum (I thought they would send a few mini cartons but they sent a massive box full) and she said grape juice is great for jelly. I also found a recipe for iced green tea, where you add grape juice instead of water, which I thought sounded lovely. And I found a recipe for blueberry muffins which used grape juice, so I might have a go at something similar to take to work this week.

I am loving having a weekend at home- I have been cooking my lunches for the week, and half watching the Grand Prix, then we are off to the cinema, then I will do a short run (got to stick to my plan now) and will probably watch some of the football later.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend too.

Any grape juice recipes to share with me?


Hey peeps

I hope you are all having a lovely day- nearly the weekend now woohoo! (I am just really looking forward to a weekend at home for a change).

Sweatshop running was great again yesterday- I think I will rave about it each week until you all go and join in with it too. Everyone set off together on a sort of new route (I had done it before in reverse so got a bit confused at one point!) , but it was not long before the speedy-gonzales had raced off ahead. I kept it quite steady, and even managed to speed up a bit at the end (getting under 10 min mile pace 🙂 ), plus I jogged up there, and ran faster home so I think in all I did nearly 5 miles. Getting better. And, how exciting, next time I go I get a free t-shirt. I love freebies.

Once home I wanted a quick dinner, so I popped a sweet potato into the microwave, and put some veggies in the oven to roast, and had it with spinach, tomatoes, and some almond/peanut butter. Peanut butter on a sweet potato tastes like dessert- yum. I only had some before there was hardly any almond butter left in the jar.

Today (and yesterday) I enjoyed some leftovers for lunch.

OK does not look that appetising but it was tasty!

On Tuesday evening I cooked up some lentils (now I know how to cook dried ones ha ha so much cheaper) and stirred some red pesto into them. While that was going on I roasted some courgette, red and yellow peppers in some balsamic vinegar, and added some artichokes (from a tin of them in water- super easy) for the last few minutes. It had to be eaten with some spinach and hemp sprinkles. I would have added hummus but I have run out! I fancied making some sort of lentil patty/burgers, but I could not work out how to do it, so maybe next time.

Anyway, having leftovers for lunch is the best because I don’t have to get much ready in the evenings. Although tomorrow I need a sandwich as we are going on a school trip- how exciting!

I have been having a few random snacks- the other week I saw (by the dried mango)- mango flavoured with coconut. It sounded lovely (although contains milk powder and sugar)- good for a little sugar boost. Anyway, I thought they would look like strips of dried mango, but they look like corn pops!

They are tasty anyway.

Today I cracked open more of my last i-herb order.

Almond thins (I also ordered some pecan thins, mainly because they weigh so little so didn’t add to my postage costs). They were not as I expected- they are more like cracker/crisps, than cracker/biscuits if that makes sense. They are also very salty, and a lot like those rice crackers you can get. I could not really taste much nuttiness going on, but they are nice with some pb and jam. Oh, and a few slices of chocolate marzipan.

What sort of things do you have for your lunch? What are your favourite leftovers?


Hello- more on chocolate later.

A fancy style photo from me 🙂

But first, the running has been going OK. I feel like my routine has been totally out of routine- it seems for ages we have had things at the weekend, or in the week that have stopped me doing my routine. At the moment I am planning to do 4 runs per week, and one body pump class. I don’t fancy the jigging of aerobics just yet, plus our staff meeting night is the same day and I am often not home in time at the moment either. But what with one trip and another, I have not quite managed that (and last week the instructor was away so no body pump anyway).

I have been loving this chocolate, from i-herb. It is dark chocolate with roasted and salted almonds in it, and it is amazing– and this is from someone who doesn’t like Lindt seasalt chocolate. 

But this week so far has been OK- I did a run on Thursday, and then on Sunday when I got home I went out in the early evening. I was going to do 2 miles as I was so tired (and stiff from driving too), but I was listening to marathon talk and they said that basically 30 mins is the minimum to have an impact on training, so I had a minute walk break and then did an extra little loop to get it over 30 mins and over 3 miles.

With my Sweatshop shoes I got a free membership (for so many weeks anyway) to Full Potential, which is a training website. I had to enter information such as the race I was training for, my PB’s for all distances (or not known), and current fitness levels. They then took a couple of days to devise a plan for me. It looks good, but it is all in minutes, and I much prefer to have a plan of how many miles to run, so I think I will use it but adapt it a bit (that is a weekend job). Anyway, I needed to go a bit further, and did just over 4 miles. It does not sound like much, but I just needed to get myself going a bit further.

While out running I realised that I have not been putting in the walk breaks for the past few weeks, and I have been running non-stop. When I first started running, I did a race for life, and then kept doing the 3 mile runs, 3 times a week, as I really enjoyed them. I then decided to (secretly) enter a 10K race, and for my training I increased one run each week. But, I kept in the walk breaks, so I would run for 20 mins, walk for 1 min, then run another 20 mins. Each week my run time would increase, but I kept the 1 min walk break in there. Then I was reading something (I think it was a Paula Radcliffe interview) and she said that so much of running is psychological, and that you have to force your legs to keep going, because they are more capable than you realise. So one weekend I just decided to try it out- I told myself I would run after 25 mins, then when I got to that time I told myself I would keep on running for 5 more, and 5 more, until I got home! I was so elated about not needing the walk break, and I feel almost the same now. I think it is nice to catch my breath when crossing a road or something, but actually I think I have been keeping them in for my mind more than for my legs or lungs.

Anyway, tomorrow I will go on the Sweatshop run (and I really cannot rave about them enough- I really love them although I do get nervous before I go), and the Thursday will be body pump. Friday we are off to London straight after work, but then we have a weekend at home (which will be bliss) so I am hoping to sort out my training plan, and do a short run one day, and one a little longer on the other day.

Right, onto chocolate. I have been taking photos of snacks here and there for ages and so I am just going to have a bit of a chocolate themed post right now. Sounds good to me.

The lovely Lucy sent me a surprise birthday parcel, and in it were some lovely raw chocolate pies. I enjoyed the ginger one (spicy) with some tea- in fact I think I had half and saved the rest for another time as it was very rich. Totally delicious though, and a fab treat. Plus the website has free delivery if you spend over £5, so I keep getting very tempted.

Ages ago I also made some little chocolate peanut butter cups (melt chocolate, coat mini cake cases with it, add in peanut butter, top with more chocolate and leave to harden) and also some mint truffles. I had made some ganache (I think for the macaroon fillings?) with melted chocolate and alpro cream (in vaguely equal amounts) and I had some left over. I mixed in some peppermint extract, and then used this to fill some other cases (again by adding in the melted chocolate first to make the case). Both were delicious (and of course if you use the right chocolate, vegan).

Yesterday I made some crispy cakes using hen weekend left-overs! There was a jar of peanut butter than no-one else wanted to take home (what????), some mini packs of cereal, and little chocolates. I used a recipe from a new book by Jo Wheatley (she won the Great British Bake off- the one I saw at the cake decorating show) – it is only on sale in Sainsbury’s and I bought it last week. Anyway, she had a recipe for chocolate peanut cornflake cakes, which I thought sounded genius. I love adding something like peanut butter (or chocolate spread) to melted chocolate, as it stops it going solid again, and this was a basic cornflake cake recipe with added peanut butter. I used dark chocolate, and replaced the cornflakes with rice crispies, and also some soya crispies. Delicious, as it turns out. The crisp stuff is good too- a 20g serving has 16g protein which seems pretty impressive, and they taste nice- I have had them on cereals too.

We just had to wait for them to harden up in the fridge before we could enjoy them!

I love taking photos in the daylight- everything looks so much nicer.

Have you ever had to get over a mental barrier? How did you overcome it?


Weekend by the seaside

Hey peeps

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend- the weather seemed better than expected. The hen weekend was a good one (no fires which is always a bonus haha)- nice and relaxed in a massive farmhouse near Southwold.

We had games on Friday night, then a pub lunch on Saturday. In the afternoon some girls were having treatments at a spa, so some of us went into Southwold to have a look, and I am so glad I did- it was so pretty.

The beach huts were so pretty- but we saw one in the estate agents for £45,000, and another for £70,000! Mental!

We walked along the pier and it was so windy!

But so pretty too- no tacky rides or doughnut stalls here! The shop on the pier sold Emma Bridgewater stuff

There was a clock on the pier too- built out of metal and things, and it had water flowing through it, and when the bath was full the water tipped out and a gong went off.  You can see the wind blowing the water out sideways at the top.

One view from the pier.

And the other side. We wandered around the town, went for a cup of tea, and walked again by the sea.

Anyway, Saturday evening we headed back to the house, had some wine and cheese tasting (or grape eating for me haha!) food, and the best thing- a DVD of Mr and Mrs- the bridemaids had asked the groom questions and filmed his answers (and the bride-to-be has to guess his answers)- I have played it before but it has always been with answers written down. It was so sweet seeing him answer the questions.

Anyway, it was another late night, but luckily there was no rush to leave, and our drive back was not too bad. I think I am going to have a little run in a bit- I feel like the last 2 weeks I have lost my routine totally, and I need to get back on track.

Anyway- have you ever been to Southwold? I had not even heard of it but it seems like loads of people go there.

Hope you all had a good weekend. 🙂