Gardening and Body Pump

Wow wasn’t the weather yesterday lovely? I spent time in the garden, digging up weeds (so many dandelions), planting new plants and tying up ones that are growing- my pumpkin plant is getting really tall now, it needs tying up every week.

I had my home-made muesli for breakfast too (with an apple and the last of the honey yoghurt) and it was super tasty. It is fairly “soft” in texture- perfect for a bircher style muesli, and with the yoghurt it was a lovely combo. I think I would add more cinnamon as every now and then I got a little taste but would like it stronger.

Body pump last night was good as usual (but so hot). My face-pulling during the biceps track was giving everyone else much amusement!

When I got home I had my last 9 bar- this one was a pumpkin one. It has not got carob on top, and I was more apprehensive, but actually it was really tasty. The honey flavour (honey and a little vegetable oil holds the seeds together) came through much more, whereas with the carob ones it just tastes sweet. The pumpkin seeds were lovely (they make up 20% of the bar); I will look out for these bars. Yesterday I picked up a 3 pack of the original bars (3 for 99p what a bargain!) from Sainsbury’s, will have to go to Morrison’s I think to get the other flavours.

Off on a day trip now how exciting- enjoy the sunshine!

I made my own muesli!

I love the holidays!! This morning after some cornflakes I headed out on a run. I went up to the lakes and around both lakes. When I was near to the first one I was relieved to see one lot of geese and goslings on the river and not on the path, so I went past them no problems (I did almost get a massive stick thrown in my face as a man walking his dog didn’t see me coming! I am a blur when I run!!). Further around the other lot of geese were sat right by the lake so I gave them a wide berth and they did look at me but no hissing or anything. Phew. It was such a lovely sunny day, and I did get hot but as it is quite shaded by the lakes it was really nice. I also saw a rabbit very close to the path. I do love rabbits!

The run was just under 6 miles and it took me 61 minutes, so not the speediest (not my slowest either) and I did have aerobics last night so didn’t want to go crazy.

Once I got home I had a lovely carrot and apple muffin and then got on with work. But good news; I have finished all my work so I actually have the rest of the week off hooray! Lunch was the other part of the orange cranberry bread (reaping the benefits of my baking the other day) along with pear and yoghurt.

This afternoon I have tried my hand at making my own muesli. All the recipes I looked at were more like granolas, where the oats are coated in a mixture of oil and syrup and then baked. So I went freestyle!

I could have used them raw, but I decided that lightly toasted flakes are the way to go.

So on a baking tray I put 150g oats, 100g millet flakes and 100g quinoa flakes (I either got them from ethical superstore or planet organic, can’t remember) and sprinkled with cinnamon. I toasted them for about 15 minutes on a low heat (I kept on checking as I didn’t want them to catch).

Meanwhile I mixed together 50g cranberries, 60g raisins, 30g desiccated coconut, 25g almonds and 25g hazelnuts (I kept them whole as I prefer that).

Once the flakes were toasted I mixed them all together in a jar- I added the dried fruit mix slowly and mixed loads so the raisins didn’t form big clumps- and put the lid on ready for tomorrow morning!

The whole mix made 510g- probably the grains lost water when being toasted so they weigh less, plus I did manage to spill some on the work surface! But still that’s a good amount to make (nearly the size of a pack of Dorset muesli) and should last me a while as usually I have 30-40g along with an apple and yoghurt.

Tee hee making my own muesli I am a “proper” veggie now!!!!

Oh I tried Rachel’s pouring yoghurt with honey this week and I will not be buying it again. I love the natural pouring yoghurt, and the strawberry stuff was delish too. But the honey flavour is so sweet, not good for breakfast. I will finish it but will be looking out for the other flavours from now on.

I was thinking today about exercising inside or outside, and what I prefer. A few years ago I used to go swimming a lot, and so I joined the local gym as swimming was included so it worked out cheaper for me to join. I then had to had the gym induction, and had “phase” where I went to the gym after work and at the weekends. It was ok; you could watch TV while on the machines, but each machine had a 15 minute time limit so would be no good for running or anything. Then the gym built a studio and classes were included- result! So I began aerobics and loved it (down to the instructor, as when she has been off it has not been anywhere near as good). Later on I tried body pump and loved that too. I had also taken up running, and so was running out of time to go to the gym, and had found that running outside was so much better than plodding away on the machines. The fresh air (even strong winds!), sunlight, rain, everything made me feel awake and invigorated. The convenience of being able to come home, change and head out the door within ten minutes also won be over. Having to drive to the gym, find a parking space, change and then hope that the machines I wanted were free was losing it’s appeal. So I cancelled my membership and go to the classes each week, and supplement that with running outside. Usually it has been fine. Normally at the weekend I do one long run so I tend to watch the weather and choose the best day (unless I am busy one day and then it’s tough on me!). I have 2 classes a week indoor so I know that whatever the weather I will get some exercise done. Unless the rain is torrential I don’t really mind it- it is cooling, plus when I get home I’ll have a shower so I will get wet then anyway. The only time I fancied running on a treadmill was during all the snow this year. I did try to go on a couple of runs, but by me the pavements were not cleared of the snow; it just melted and re-froze all lumpy- just waiting to break someone’s ankle. I tried running on the grass verges but there were so many patches where there was pavement (no verge) and I slipped quite a lot so I decided that I didn’t want to break a bone and would wait the weather out. The thing is my local gym had the 15 minute time limit on all cardio machines (although some people conveniently “forget” this and hog them for an hour) so I wouldn’t have managed much anyway. Plus the treadmills are always the busiest so you always have to wait for a bit to get one.

So really I am happy running outside and am glad I am not a member of the gym any more. I think it is good for some people but I love the freedom of running, of trying new routes and of getting straight home and into my shower!

Now I have finished all my work I am going to pop over to see my Mum and Dad, before dinner. Enjoy this fab weather while it lasts!

Palm oil reply

So I got my reply from Sainsbury’s today (about the palm oil). I was quite impressed really, they say they are going to be palm oil free (or only get it from sustainable plantations) by 2014, so a few years to go but I know these things take time. They said that in 2002 they met with WWF, Unilever and some palm oil growers to discuss how they could make it ethical (as it is much needed income for those areas too). They also have said they don’t hide it under the name “vegetable oil” on the ingredients and do list it as palm oil so at least customers can make the choice themselves. Plus the sustainable palm oil is now used in their fish fingers, soaps and some biscuits.

So I am glad they took the time to reply so quickly, and I am glad they are sorting it out, I suppose it takes time.

Other things from today; due to the rain I stayed in and worked (maybe a day out later on this week if the weather gets better).

I met some friends for a relaxing lunch (had a yummy flatbread with roasted veggies and basil), and am off to aerobics in a little while. I love having lunch out, it is such a treat and something that I never get to do during term time. Going out for dinner is nice but then it’s a late night, whereas after lunch you can sit and chat all afternoon and it doesn’t matter. Pus you can have dinner out after work but lunch out is a total holiday pastime. It was so nice to catch up with them, some of them I had not seen for a few months, a couple of them had their children with them which is always good for some entertainment. A lovely relaxing time.

Also I know a few people have had trouble leaving comments on here, and I have been getting loads of spam comments (so annoying, all about cars and whatnot) but I think it is now fixed so hopefully you can leave comments without any problems.

Baking bonanza!

I fancied a day of baking today. I have already made some roasted vegetable pasta sauce (basically roast peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, little bit of olive oil and oregano, then blend it up once they are all caramelised- I freeze it in tubs so it lasts for ages), and some cranberry and orange bread that was on the side of a packet of Dove’s farm wholemeal bread flour. The bread is rising at the moment ready to go into the oven in a little while. It says that it can be frozen so I made it into two smaller loaves, and will pop one in the freezer as we won’t have it tomorrow.

This morning I was having a look at recipes on here: http://britchickruns.wordpress.com/ and took a shine to the spiced parsnip muffins; http://britchickruns.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/muffin-magic/

.Except I really do not like parsnips! They are one vegetable I do not eat; even the thought of them to me is horrible. If they are in soup (even if they are the last ingredient in a lovely sounding sweet potato soup or something) I won’t eat it. Anyway so I have adapted the recipe slightly; I used carrots instead of parsnips, added some orange rind, orange juice instead of milk (because I had used the orange rind so had the juice spare), and wholegrain spelt flour because it’s my fave flour at the moment! Plus I had no ginger so I added a bit of mixed spice along with the cinnamon and ginger.

They have just come out of the oven and they smell so good! I am looking forward to one as an afternoon snack later on!

Gosh after my run yesterday I was wiped out for the evening! I didn’t do much at all (although I did manage to plant the potatoes) except watch TV. I did email Sainsbury’s about the palm oil in their peanut butter, but of course I haven’t heard back yet (well only one of the automated email messages).

To add to my baking bonanza I am going to make something for breakfast, either breakfast bars or some muesli. I do love a good baking day.

EDIT after a trip to the garden centre and some weeding I had a cup of tea (chai of course) with a carrot and apple muffin and I must say it was delicious! Maybe a bit too moist (but that could be down to converting from cups to grams) so next time I would have a little less liquid, but it was so tasty and also very filling- probably due to the dates, apples, carrots and wholegrain flour. Yum.

Nakd -fuelled run

After breakfast of cornflakes and a little Dorset spelt muesli (they didn’t have the simply delicious one so I tried this one- quite nice but not my fave), I made some dough and then headed out on my run. I felt fairly tired part the way through (and spent a lot of time thinking about the half marathon in 2 weeks’ time, not sure how well I will fare on that day), but on the whole I did enjoy it. Listening to music, seeing all the scenery (lots of goslings and cygnets at the lakes again, including two geese with their goslings this time right on the narrow path- cue unexpected interval training!), getting out in the fresh air is not a bad way to spend a couple of hours. I had taken with me a packet of Nakd Cherry Raisins and had them after about an hour and a half, to give me the sugar boost for the last few miles. They are super tasty; the cherry flavour is pretty strong, more like cherry sweets than actual cherries, but they were just what I fancied. Much better than jelly beans I am sure!

Once I got home I had a banana and a Nakd (gluten free) Cocoa orange bar. These are amazing! Dates, raisins, cashews and cocoa and mooshed together into one wonderful bar of chocolaty soft chewy yumminess.

After my shower I finished making the bread. This time I used half white flour and half wholemeal flour, and topped it with red pesto, sliced tomatoes and the left over mozzarella (only a small amount), baked for 15 minutes and served with spicy bean soup. Yum. The bread was so good, I am looking forward to when I can use some of my basil on top (it is growing away on the windowsill but still not quite big enough to use the leaves yet).

After that I fancied something sweet so shared a box of Graze rocky mountain mix (pecans, cranberries and dark chocolate buttons)- it is so tasty! Along with some cinnamon chai, delish.

I have been watching the grand prix and pottering about on the internet, later on I might go and plant some potatoes. I got the seed potatoes for cheap last week and it said on the pack they can be planted April and May, and today is still May so I am hoping they will be ok (only got the compost yesterday so couldn’t plant them any sooner).

Later on I shall be having a bean burger with salad and sweet potato and watching 24, and isn’t it great that tomorrow is a bank holiday? Long weekends are just great!