Running in the rain

So the weather this week has been more…. English? On Wednesday it threatened to rain all day- it was so humid and muggy. I headed up to Sweatshop and was so hot and sticky by the time I got there (and it’s about .75 miles away, so not far). I was hoping we would choose a short-ish and shaded route as I didn’t feel like putting in a max effort! Then it turned out that someone had invented a new route, which actually was going on the fields, then across sort of cross country fields to add on another mile. At one point I was running through knee high grass, and couldn’t see the runners ahead of me as there were lots of trees around. By the time I got back to the shop we had run 3.85 (fast) miles, and I still had to run home. Tough!

Thursday at pump we had the new release- I am not a fan so far. Tough on the legs, no music I really knew/ liked, and the abs track is just weird and hurt my neck.

On Friday after work I went on a short (2 mile) run to try to ease the aches in my legs, and was back just before it poured! Later on it brightened up so we headed to the allotment after dinner for some weeding, and I picked my first lot of strawberries!

This morning I went on a run before breakfast- I was going to try to avoid the rain but that just seemed impossible so I put on my tennis visor and went for it. The first mile was gently uphill but right into the wind so my glasses were covered! I was really cold and wished I had worn gloves. But then later on the sun came out and it was suddenly baking. In the end I did 5 miles which I was pleased with- we are going skiing later so need to save some energy! I was going to have pancakes, and had made the batter the night before (spelt + peanut flour, chia seeds, almond extract, baking powder) but decided to bake it instead while I showered. (I had the coconut water when I got home)

I put sliced apricots on the bottom with a little coconut oil to stop it sticking (should have put that on the sides too) and then some blueberries on the top. I also topped it with a little coconut/ chocolate butter.

I had it with a mint black tea, and some strawberries from the allotment which taste amazing. It baked for 30 mins at 160C, but I think I could have left it for a little longer to firm up more. Baked apricots are always a winner in my book anyway.

I don’t mind running in the rain, unless it is torrential as I hate soggy shoes. Plus once I was out running and it rained so hard that the water filled up my eyes (so weird) and I actually couldn’t see. That was not good! And lightning makes me a bit nervous. I think the thought of running in the rain is worse than the actual act- if I am at home and it’s raining I might do some prevaricating to put it off a bit, but if I am out there and it rains I don’t really mind, as I think I will be having a shower when I get home anyway.

Do you mind running in the rain? Are you growing any of your own fruits or veggies this year? Favourite baked fruit?

Super summery breakfast

Hey! My word it is so muggy here today.

A while ago I ordered some acai powder from i-herb (and then later found out Ocado now stock it)- anyway, it came last week so on Sunday I decided to try to recreate our favourite holiday breakfast from last summer.

Into the blender went a big cup of frozen cherries, some frozen raspberries (about half a cup- only had a few left), some soya milk and a mini scoop of acai powder.

I whizzed it up for maybe 30 seconds, and scooped it into bowls.

Then I added blueberries and a sprinkling of muesli.

This was the perfect summery breakfast- as I used frozen fruit it was nice and cooling, and very filling too. It does not look like the one from Vintage Island Coffee but it tasted pretty good.

I save these sorts of breakfasts for the weekend as it is a bit of a faff to clean the blender, plus we have breakfast at different times in the week as I go to work earlier, whereas at the weekend we tend to have them at the same time. Even though it is quick to prepare, all the washing up etc puts me off having it in the week too- I look forward to pancakes or something else at the weekend that is a bit more time consuming.

Do you have special weekend breakfasts? Or breakfasts for different seasons?

Baking with Tea India

Hey peeps,

I hope you are all OK and have been having a good week.

A while ago I was sent some lovely Tea India teas to try – you can see my review here. I loved them, especially the cardamom chai, so I was very excited when they contacted me again to try some different teas.

The masala chai was wonderful- the flavour of the strong spices comes through really well.

Good with breakfast pancakes 🙂

I have also used it in an iced chai latte- brew some lovely chai tea and leave to cool, then add to almond milk and a splash of chai syrup.

The black tea is lovely too- Andy loves strong breakfast tea so this is right up his street. But Tea India also sent me some recipe cards, so I did a spot of baking with the tea too. First up I tried this recipe for a simple tea loaf, which worked wonderfully.

It was delicious- nice and sticky.

I will be making it again for sure, but probably use less sugar as the dried fruit keeps it nice and sweet.

One of the recipe cards sent to me was for Spicy Black Tea Cookies, so I had to give them a go!

Simple ingredients:

125g butter (I used Pure spread)

100g soft brown sugar (I used half Sainsbury’s cinnamon sugar)

2 tea bags, leaves only

70g self raising flour

120g oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp mixed spice

First up, cream together the butter and sugar. Then add in the tea leaves, oats, flour and spices. Mix until combined. Preheat the oven to 160C.

Shape into a log and refrigerate to firm up, then slice into even sized pieces. The recipe said it would make 12, but mine made 15 I think.

Place on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes. I placed mine spaced well apart but they spread a lot, so I would say use 2 trays and leave them with big gaps between.

Leave to cool on the tray and then enjoy.

I always love it when my baking looks like the photo! Plus they are delicious- proper crunchy biscuits that go really well with a cup of tea. Funny that!

Do you love baking with tea (or coffee? I don’t like coffee cake!)- I love cupcakes flavoured with Earl grey or chai tea.

Parkrun and pondering

Hey peeps! How are we all doing? This week has dragged for some reason, but I am feeling totally recovered from the half marathon last week so that is good.

On Wednesday I went to Sweatshop as usual, and we went around the fields. When I left home it was drizzling, but by the time I got there the rain had turned very heavy (I had to go to the toilets to clean the rain off my glasses). It stopped for the start of our run, but half way around it started again. It was windy, and I started off slowly as I wasn’t sure how I would manage, but I picked up speed at the end and felt OK.

Thursday I went to pump and I could tell I had missed 2 weeks of it! I didn’t do the jumps in the lunges track (at the moment there is a bit where you stand with your legs either side of the step, then squat, and jump up onto the step- super tough- although usually I just about manage it)- I knew my legs would not manage it.

My post pump snack was some lovely vanilla alpro with cocoa nibs and a little trail mix.

I also had a lovely hot chocolate.

Soya milk goes so frothy- love it!

Think that is the first time I used my new cup 🙂

On Friday after work I went on a run to help get rid of the aches- I went around the fields again- getting a bit addicted!

Photo: Fields run

But who could resist running when the weather was like that?

Although that is my least favourite path as most of it is twisty but this path seems to go on forever.

There are lovely patches of lupins to be seen (you can see the pink ones in front of that little tree, and there is a huge patch of purple ones too). We heard cuckoos again last week.

When I got home I had some of this mango coconut water. I really like this brand’s plain coconut, so thought I would give the mango variety a go, but I wasn’t so keen. It tasted more like orange squash than mango (but had no actual mango, just flavours). Think I will stick to the Vita coco mango and peach.

I saved the rest for Saturday, as I was off to Parkrun! Hooray! I normally like a long run on a Saturday morning, but I also have really enjoyed the Parkruns, and I think the shorter runs are helping me with my speed. I wasn’t sure how I would manage after last weekend, and I left a bit late so was a bit stressed by the time I got there. I just had time to say a quick “hi ” to the peeps from Sweatshop before the guy was counting us down- we didn’t start right on “go” as it started before the church bells. I felt like I was going fast, but I also had a good rhythm going with my breathing. Each time I glanced at my watch I could see 8.50 ish miles which I was pleased with, just not sure if I could hold it for the entire time. The run goes along a path, 3 laps of the lake, and then back along the path again. Of course the faster runners always lap the “normal” runners, but I was surprised to see when I finished my 3rd lap people heading off for theirs- it made me doubt myself for a second but the distance on my watch confirmed I was right! The last bit was tough but I kept going and tried to not get overtaken! As I was given my chip I felt a bit sick (but knew I couldn’t be sick seeing as I hadn’t had breakfast)- think I pushed pretty hard.

When I helped out the other week I realised how the chip system works, so actually looked at my number this week (number 153- think the first one I did there weren’t even that many runners) to have an idea of where I had finished. After a minute I felt totally fine though, and ready for some pancakes!

I made the batter on Friday night- 20g wholegrain spelt, 20g peanut flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 5g chia seeds, soya milk (100 ml or a little more) and a drop of almond extract. I added the blueberries in when they were cooking for nutty blueberry pancakes, plus melon and mango, and a tea.

In the afternoon we headed over to Ware as Sweatshop were having a clearance sale at a gym there. I got some capris and a headband for £5! They gave me the gloves because they were not matching- so kind of them. My winter gloves are coming apart at the seams a bit.

After a wander around the shops we came home for some lovely black bean and avocado wraps- we bought Wenslydale cheese especially for this as it goes so well, plus I added some cherry tomatoes to mine.

Then I found my Parkrun email. I think that is one of my favourite parts of the whole thing! It’s a bit like getting your official chip time from a race, and it is satisfying to see all the other people who ran, all their times, how many women ran etc etc. So, the boring bit! I was 153 out of 229 runners, I was 30 out of 77 women, and 10th in my age category. My time was 27.25- I am very pleased with that as my fastest is 27.12 so I was pretty close.

As for the pondering part, I have been thinking about another race. I have a 10K and a 5 mile coming up in the summer, and then a half marathon in October. There is a local 10 mile race the week after the half marathon, so I have been trying to see if I feel I could manage 10 miles this weekend, to gauge how I might feel. I think I would be fine- that Parkrun time shows me I was basically up to speed, so I think I am going to go for it.

What have you been up to this weekend?

Baking Mad post half-marathon

Hey peeps. I hope you are all doing OK? My legs have not quite recovered from Sunday yet- I felt OK when I finished but I have felt shattered these past couple of days. So no running today, but hopefully I will be OK for the Sweatshop run tomorrow- that is my plan anyway.

I was kindly sent some baking goodies from Baking Mad. I often use their website if I want to make something as it is packed with different recipes (check out the summer baking ideas and the cupcake recipe section). I wanted to make something to have after the half marathon so I had a browse.

I love their website as it is packed with recipes. I fancied a fruity cake, and came across this recipe for Fruit and Spice Tea loaf. It sounded good to me!

First up, soaking the fruit in strong tea (I used 2 Tea India teabags) with the marmalade (which I made ages ago and keep forgetting about). I used mixed dried fruit instead of just sultanas.

Then you added in the rest of the ingredients (flour, sugar, eggs,spices) and baked in a loaf pan. Very simple.

I used wholegrain spelt flour and it worked really well. I also used cinnamon sugar in place of some of the normal sugar, which added to the spicy smell.

I found I needed to bake it for longer than the recipe said, but I am still getting used to our new oven.

It smelled wonderful while it was cooking. I think next time I might add a little drop of almond extract as I think that flavour goes well with the fruit and spices.

It was wonderful. It has the texture of banana bread- quite moist and quite dense. There is no butter in there- it reminded me of Phil’s amazing tea bread recipe– so it is a cross between a cake and a loaf. I think it would be lovely toasted and topped with peanut butter (but then, what wouldn’t?). The top is quite sticky, due to the sugar I imagine. I think also you could easily reduce the amount of sugar as the dried fruit makes it quite sweet. But it was just what I fancied on Sunday after lunch.

 What would your post-race treat be?