Greek yoghurt pancakes

Pancakes and parkrun go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or some other excellent combo. Today was a parkrun day for me.

I was sent a lovely breakfast hamper recently from Streamline, and then found this amazing looking recipe for using greek yoghurt in pancakes.

The granola has been delicious on its own, and my friends and I enjoyed some of the jam on scones for an afternoon tea.

But I saved the greek yoghurt for the pancakes, and today was the perfect day to try them out. I could not decide about parkrun as I had a late night last night, but I woke up early so decided to head on out. Once I got home, I showered and then got on with breakfast.

The batter was easy to make- I whisked up the egg a lot before I stirred in the yoghurt. I added some freeze dried raspberry powder and a few frozen ones to the mix too. I used the buckwheat pancake mix instead of plain flour and baking powder, but I have found loads of recipes on-line just like that one and all sorts of flour seems to be OK.

The batter was very thick, but seemed to cook OK- slow was the way to go.

They still had a pink tint but it didn’t come out in the photo very well!

The recipe made 9 little pancakes, plenty to fill me up, and I added a splodge of yoghurt with some of the reduced sugar jam, plus some almond butter as I think that goes well with raspberries.

These turned out really well, especially for a first go. While I was eating them the parkrun text came through- 27.12 was my official time, the third time I have run that exact time! At least I am fairly consistent I suppose. Plus it was a royal flush negative split (yes easier to achieve on a shorter course, but still impressive that I kept on speeding up the whole time).

The breakfast gave me loads of energy to power through a lot of housework, then we popped out to the shops to look at a new laptop and some paint tester pots, before getting home at about half 3 and realising I was hungry. They did me well!

The Streamline website has some lovely looking recipes on there, I quite fancy trying the strawberry breakfast bars at some point.

Any other good recipes that use jam?

Give running a try

Hey peeps, I hope you are all doing well. I have been away for a couple of days- once I have some photos I shall do a little recap (probably….) but for now I have some pondering for you.

If you don’t run, why don’t you give running a try?

About to take on the Great North Run. This was after I had to have a break from running as I was awaiting an operation, so re-started the run/walk programme in about May, and did the half marathon in September.

I think this post might turn out to be a little evangelical, but I really do think you should give it a go. Now, if you have not been reading my blog for long, or in fact if you read it from the start, you might not realise that I have not always loved running.

When I was at school I liked being active- I liked cycling and I liked playing hockey, but most sports were not my thing, and for sports day I was usually given whatever was left. I cycled when I was at uni too (I didn’t learn to drive until my final year) and kept active, but didn’t think I was built for running.

After I had been working for a few years (way back in 2008) one of the teachers mentioned that she was doing a local Race for Life and wanted to get a school team going. I had not even heard of them, but she was going to walk it and so I signed up. Whilst walking the course I felt very inspired to see so many people of all shapes, ages and sizes running the 5K course, and really felt like I should have been able to run it.

The following year I signed up to my local one, but didn’t tell anyone for ages. I looked on the internet for training guides but they were all so complicated (run 1 min, walk 90 seconds, run 3 mins, walk 45 seconds etc)- no way could I remember that! Then I found in a magazine the most simple run/walk programme ever. I cannot remember what it was from, possible Zest magazine, but it was super easy to remember what to do, so I started following it, using the clock on my phone to time each section. It was also easy as you did each run 3 times in a week, so it was more of a routine. What I do remember is that I didn’t have any special running kit (apart from a sports bra)- I had old skechers trainers, some old khaki capri combat trouser things, and just old cotton t-shirts. At least now there are plenty of websites (including Millet Sports) who can provide affordable exercise gear.

I still remember each week thinking that I would never manage the first run, finding the second run OK as I knew I could do it, and then on the third run wondering how I would manage the step up next week. In case you are interested I will put it at the bottom of the post.

I honestly thought that I would train, run the race, and then stop running. I did manage to run it (it was my first time of running non stop too, as in my training I had a walk break after 15 minutes), but at some point I realised that I actually enjoyed it. I think partly I enjoyed achieving something that I didn’t think was possible, but I also love being outside in the fresh air, and found it rather therapeutic to be outside just running.

It was a year later that I signed up to a “proper” race, a local 10K- again I kept it a secret in case I didn’t manage it, but I did, and then I was well and truly bitten by the running bug. I really wish I had my blog back then, but I didn’t start it until 2010 when I was running regularly and had run a half marathon.

In 2011 I ran a marathon, and crossing that finish line was such an amazing moment, and such a proud achievement for me. But really it is up there with my first 5K, because I didn’t believe that I could do either of them, but for both of them I followed a plan, and did them slowly (I am a tortoise and not a hare), but I finished them, and proved the doubting section of my mind wrong. Of course when you look at them side by side, a marathon is much harder than a 5K, but my journey for achieving both was similar, and I think it has given me confidence in other areas of my life because I have achieved things that I didn’t think were possible.

I suppose my point to you is that I am not a natural runner, but I run, and I love it, and through running I have met wonderful people and had wonderful experiences. Also you never know unless you try. I really didn’t think I could run a 5k, and now running is just a part of me. When I was not allowed to run a few years ago, I was really fed up, and so I want to make the most of it now. I see senior people running races and I just think it is amazing, and I hope that I can continue to run for years and years to come.

So, if you run, when did you start and why?

If you don’t run, have I tempted you at all? Or if not, what would you be evangelical about? 

*Collaborative Post

In case I have tempted you the plan I followed was this:

Each week do 3 runs.
Week 1 Run for 1 min, walk for 90 seconds 8 times = 20 minutes
Week 2 Run for 2 minutes, walk for 90 seconds 7 times = 24.5 minutes
Week 3 Run for 3 minutes, walk for 90 seconds 6 times = 27 minutes
Week 4 Run for 5 minutes, walk for 90 seconds 4 times = 26 minutes
Week 5 Run for 5 minutes, walk for 1 minute 4 times = 24 minutes
Week 6 Run for 8 minutes, walk for 90 seconds 3 times = 28.5 minutes
Week 7 Run for 10 minutes, walk for 1 minute 3 times = 33 minutes
Week 8 Run for 15 minutes, walk for 1 minute 2 times = 23 minutes
Now you are ready to run a 5k race!!!

Hill repeats!

Oh my word! Those are tough!

Last week (I am so behind with blogging!) Sweatshop were doing hill repeats. I only just got there in time as I left work a bit later than usual, so had to run there a bit faster than usual. Then of course I was filled with joy at the prospect of running up the hill not once, but 6 times.

We jogged gently there, and then were told to run as hard as we could up the hill, then to jog gently back down as the recovery, and repeat.

We do have a route that takes in this hill, but of course we normally only run it once, so 6 times involved a mental battle too.

At first it was OK, but nearing the top the lactic acid builds, the energy disappears from my legs and it just feels so tough. Then running slowly down the hill seemed alien- normally I would try to pick up my pace on the down hill to make up for running slower up it, so I kept having to purposefully slow down.

After 4 goes I was not sure I would finish, but seeing the determined faces of the rest of the group helped to spur me on. It was good doing something where we were all together, although a couple of the speedy ones were finished before my 5th one I think!

After we had all finished we jogged slowly back to the shop- a couple of people managed a sprint finish to the shop, but I didn’t have the energy in my legs for that- it was all left on the hill!

Again, like the speed training, it is something that I would not do on my own- I said to my brother as we jogged back that if I did that by myself I would probably only manage 3 before I gave up- in my head I was thinking “I have had a busy day, I should just take it easy on the run tonight” etc, whereas in fact it was great to properly tire myself out.

Also, my Garmin elevation map had 6 perfect camel humps in the middle- love it!

I had a delicious pot of Booja Booja chocolate “ice-cream” (made with cashews)- this stuff is gorgeous and a perfect way to cool down!

Are you a fan of hills? I don’t mind them in races (so long as they are not too crazy) as I feel I can go up them at a steady pace and then recover and speed up on the downhills.

Trip to Brighton

So often on the May Bank holiday weekend we head off somewhere and make the most of the 3 day weekend. This year is has fallen very close to Easter, so we decided to have a day trip instead. We often visit Brighton, but for years we have only been down there in February or November! We decided that a spring time visit would be nice.

After breakfast at home we headed to the train station. For us the time taken to drive is about the same as the train takes (if there are no engineering works as sometimes the trains don’t go through London at the weekends) and this weekend the trains through London were slow, so it would take longer, but the parking is so expensive we decided to chill out on the train.

Photo: Sunny Brighton :)

After getting into Brighton we had a wander around the shops, and sat on the beach for a bit before heading to the lanes to find somewhere for lunch. I was hoping for Iydea but it was queued out of the door. We saw another place opposite (with a sort of Hawaiian name) but again it was jam packed- I have not seen Brighton this busy! We walked around for a bit before coming across another fab cafe (I can’t remember the name)- I was going to have an avocado salad, and Andy was going to have an avocado and chicken wrap, but then they came to tell us they had run out of avocado! Boo! So I had a vegetarian platter for one, which was huge, and big enough for two, with a lovely lentil salad, goats cheese, haloumi, hummus, a salad, spicy olives and bread. Even when I gave some to Andy we could not finish it! I had a teapigs rooibos creme caramel tea too, mmmm.

While I was paying Andy went to get a little ice cream in the place opposite, before we had a nice long walk along the seafront. We came across a food festival, but you had to pay to enter and seeing as we had just had a big lunch we didn’t think there was much point. So we walked for a bit more- I love walking by the sea and it was a gorgeous day, pretty sunny.

I was going to buy a coat that I had seen in Fat Face, but when we got there it was closed for refurbishment! Ah well. We went for tea and cake at Cafe Coho.

Photo: Belated birthday cake :)

This was a pistachio and orange blossom cake- so good.

Then we headed back to the train station. We had both put the radio 5 film podcast on our phones, so we settled back and both listened on the journey home- lovely and relaxing.

Do you love a day trip? I think Brighton is a great place to visit for the day, and it is just near enough for it to be manageable.

Okobay coconut water ice

I am very excited to tell you about this! I was contacted by the folks at Okobay who let me try some of their products.

This is what they say:

Coconut Water has been taking the world by storm. That super healthy liquid born out of baby green coconuts that’s virtually fat and cholesterol-free, low-calorie, super-hydrating, and naturally rich in electrolytes.

But if there’s one problem with coconut water…there’s just not enough of it. 6 or 7 gulps and its gone.

Then we had a brain wave – why not freeze it to prolong that coconut water experience? So after two years of head scratching and some serious brain freeze we finally perfected the Coconut Water Ice. Found in 2 flavours: Original Coconut Water Ice and Original & Pineapple Coconut Water Ice.

Oh my word they are amazing.

I bought them from my local Tesco (which is a large shop) – and currently they were on offer for £2 per box of 3. I could only find the original, but I shall be hunting down the pineapple flavour too.

They are packaged like those calypso lollies, which I like, as I eat slowly so “normal” lollies drip all over me as they melt.

First up, they are delicious and refreshing. If I am really hot I would usually prefer a lolly/sorbet over ice cream as it is more refreshing, but ice lollies are often very sugary. These have a delicate coconut flavour and as it melted it went a bit like sorbet (in a very good way).

The ingredients are minimal too- coconut water, water, lemon juice, natural flavouring and stabiliser. So they are dairy free, vegan, gluten free, soy free and have no artificial sweeteners, flavours or stabilisers. Plus because they are made from coconut water you are getting hydrated while you cool down. Wins all around.

These would be amazing as a post run cool down instead of refrigerated coconut water.

Also, rather excitingly, on their website they have “coming soon” coconut milk ice cream.

If you fancy trying them, their stockists are listed here, but Tesco and Wholefoods seem to be the biggest shops that stock them.

Do you like the sound of a coconut water lolly? Or the coconut milk ice cream?

I was refunded for the cost of the products.