What is your perfect day?

This morning was supposed to be cooler, and when I woke up there was a bit of drizzle around, and it was overcast, so I thought that a run a bit later would be ok. I had breakfast (cornflakes and raisins) and waited a bit before heading out. I even wore my capri pants instead of the shorts I have been wearing lately as I thought it would be cooler. Boy was I wrong! It is so hot. The clouds blew away to leave the storng sun (luckily I had on sun cream, sunglasses and visor, and had put my bottle of water in the fridge overnight so it was nice and cold). I went up to the lakes and enjoyed spotting some of the wildlife (including a swan with 8 massive cygnets). I did not enjoy people letting their dogs on leads wander all over the path- honestly at places it is very narrow and I passed the same people twice. They had 3 little dogs on long leads wandering all over the path, and even when I said excuse me they just stared back and left me to try and dodge the dogs and nettles.

By the time I got home I was baking, and quite hungry, so I whipped up a smoothie. I really enjoyed the mango and peach flavoured coconut water, so I decided to make my own. To serve 2 I put in the blender one banana, 90g frozen mango chunks and a 330ml carton of coconut water. I whizzed it up, added a few ice cubes for good measure, and drank it up!

(I had already had a few sips when I took the photo!).

I had only a small lunch as we were going to family for an early tea- I had a carrot and apple muffin (http://runningcupcake.co.uk/2010/05/baking-bonanza/) warmed and spread with peanut butter, although after I though that cream cheese would have gone nicely. I also had an apple, nectarine, blob of yoghurt and some almonds.

Tea time and I got to taste the cheesecake- I think it was even better because the blackcurrants were fresh and grown from a little twig. If you haven’t read this already when I first moved I got sent a jiffy bag with a twig in it. Nearly threw it out, then read the piece of paper which said it was a blackcurrant plant from ribena- someone at work had sent off for me. So I planted it, several times nearly pulled it back out thinking it was a weed, last year got 6 or 7 blackcurrants, this year it has got huge (nearly as big as my little apple tree) and has bunches and bunches! 🙂

I was watching something on the tv the other day when someone mentioned her perfect day, so it got me to thinking what my perfect day would be. I have a few (depending on whether it is just me or other people involved). I would have breakfast, go on a run (maybe 6 miles), after a shower I would potter around in the garden before lunch. In the afternoon I would do some baking, then maybe have a walk somewhere nice and maybe stop off at a nice shop on the way home to get something special for dinner. Then in the evning after dinner I would see friends (maybe have them round so they could sample all the baking I had been doing). And maybe play singstar!

Thinking about it made me pleased though, because at the weekend I do make sure that I do things I enjoy, and often I get in most of my perfect day bits in.

I also love holidays so on holiday it would be sightseeing in the morning, and then maybe relaxing somewhere with a great view in the afternoon, and a walk somewhere pretty in the evening. So what would your perfect day involve?

Off to watch the rest of the football now- night night.

Garden excitement!

Well I knew it was going to be a hot one today, and was up early anyway so I went out for a shortish 2.7 mile run. I went a little slower than my last few runs (10 minute miles) and had a bit of energy at the end so I added on a little loop. All in all my run was 3.7 miles, which took me 37 minutes on the dot! I felt like when you are at the petrol station and try to get the money right on the dot! This time I took water with me, as on Wednesday by the time I was nearing home my throat had totally dried up. I had drank a cup of water when I woke up but I think that in the mornings I need to make sure I drink enough. I don’t normally take water with me on shorter runs but it is so hot at the moment that I think its only sensible. When I got home I found a breezy spot outside and did a good 5 minutes of stretching, trying to cool down. I am just glad that I went out at that time (was home by 9.15am) as it has only been getting hotter as that day has gone on.

After a shower I was starving, so had a mega breakfast to refuel. I had 110g of raspberries and strawberries, big dollop of Rachel’s organic rhubarb yoghurt, a sprinkle of fru grains and a scoop of home-made muesli. Yummmy yum yum!

Now for some big news! I have finally decided what to do with the home-grown blackcurrants. After pondering for a while I hve decided that other people may wish to share in the delights of home-grown produce, so I made a cheesecake for Sunday tea tomorrow. I spent ages looking through my books and trawling the interent, but I could only find either baked cheesecake recipes (which I didn’t fancy) or ones which need gelatine (which I don’t eat and don’t have a veggie substitue for). So in the end I adapted my key lime pie recipe (which by the way is also amazing) and made my own.

So here is runningcupcakes’ blackcurrant cheesecake:

Melt 75g butter/ marg and mix with 150g crushed digestives and a tsp ground ginger. Press into a large round flan tin (ideally with a loose bottom) and chill in the fridge.

In a big bowl mix a tin of light condensed milk with 300g light cream cheese and whisk gently until combined. Not too much in case the cheese splits.

(Key lime pie- use 300g 0% greek yoghurt and slowly add zest and juice of 3-4 limes- whisk for several, maybe 10 minutes).

Pour mixture onto base and chill.

To make the sauce I put the blackcurrants in a small pan (maybe 250g? I didn’t weight them but was probably the size of a small punnet at least) with a splash of water and a tsb sugar. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and gently simmer for 5- 10 minutes. Add more sugar to taste if needed.

Let it cool for a bit and then spoon gently on top of the cheesecake- it mixed in a bit and gave a lovely marbled effect. Chill overnight and then slice and enjoy! I am looking forward to trying it tomorrow 🙂.

If you made key lime pie you could grate some lime zest over the top before serving.

I spent a few hours this afternoon reading in the garden- I put my chair in the shade and it was lovely. I also took some photos of all the things growing (the courgette plants have got so big that I am not sure if I will know when they have fruit on them ready for picking!). Also the tassles on the corn are massive and flopping over, but I have no idea what they will look like at thay turn into corn- all I know is that they are wind pollinated, and when the ends go brown I should look and see if they are ripe. I think I still have a while to wait!

Last night after a walk I tried one of the banana peanut butter muffins and they were delicious- very nutty, not too sweet, nice and chunky and very filling. They reminded me of the banana nut muffins you get a lot in the US (except maybe half the size!). With banana things sometimes they can be too squishy but in this recipe the ratio was just right, so they were moist but not soggy.

Exciting parcel in the post!

I was very excited to get a text this morning telling me that my parcel had arrived. I ordered some things from americansweets.co.uk the other day, and they have finally come! My most exciting purchases are a massive tin of pumpkin puree, and some chocolate peanut butter. Now I just have to choose from the array of pumpkin recipes and decide which one to make with it!

There has been a brown banana on the side for a few days now, so after work I tried out a new recipe, Banana and Peanut Butter Muffins from Rachel’s Favourite Food at Home (a book I got for my birthday to add to my collection of Rachel Allen books!). The recipe needed 2 bananas, 2 eggs, and made 12, so I halved it and made 6. It’s a simple recipe (like all muffins, mix dry ingredients together, mix wet together, mix briefly and bake)- it had oats in it which will add to the texture, plus crunchy PB-mmmm. I used half wholegrain spelt (my fave flour), but otherwise left it the same to see how it would turn out. The mixture made loads and they were nearly spilling out of the cupcake cases, and when they came out the oven they had risen up and flopped over the sides a bit. They smell awesome!

Gosh it has been so hot today. After dinner we went on a walk but it was still so warm out there. I went into the garden and I am so excited- I had to tie up the pumpkin and butternut squash plants yet again as they are trailing all over the place, and the tassles on the sweetcorn are now massive and popping up out of the leaves, whereas before you could only see them when looking down into the plant. I am keeping my fingers crossed still (and also watering them lots). I picked yet more blackcurrants, plus a few strawbs and blueberries (although my blueberry bush last year had loads more on it, not sure why its not producing many this year).

I think for Sunday tea I am going to make a blackcurrant cheesecake; need to find a recipe that doesn’t need baking, as I fancy a cold one (no gelatine obviously)- all my fruit cheesecakes are baked ones. Any suggestions welcome!

I think tomorrow I might take some pics of the garden as it is looking so fab at the moment. Now off for a cold drink!

Two days in one (again)

Well yesterday I had a normal day at work, and then I tried a Meridian Peanut Butter and Oat bar (I got it in the health food shop) which was very tasty. If you have had meridian peanut butter then you would recognise the texture- its very chunky with real lumps of peanut in it (their PB is just peanuts ground up, no oil or anything so it’s quite thick). It is made from peanut butter, oats, honey, molasses and maybe something else (wrapper in the bin now!) and was filling and tasty, although you could taste the molasses it wasn’t too overpowering. It was about 200 cals for a 50g bar, over 6g protein and some healthy fats in there too. Yum.

I was going to have a long run, but I was busy at work and had more to do at home, so I whizzed out for a speedy short run (the quick route in my quickest time yet, under 26 minutes) before dinner. I had fresh corn on the cob which was so tasty; I do hope that I get a cob from my garden but at the moment there are just tassles on the plants.

I did my work until half 9, so that was the day gone!

Today it’s been another busy one at work; I got to meet my new class today which was fun. I am off to the gym in a bit so hands up for guessing my post body-pump snack of choice (hello 9 bar).

I might make some more fake frozen yoghurt too- I am thinking of trying frozen raspberries with chocolate (don’t think I have tried this combo yet), should be good.

Hug a Fruit!

Well some of you may have noticed that a while back I posted about healthy fats, as part of chocolate-covered-Katie’s Hug-a-fat month. Well it’s back, this time it is all about hugging fruit.

Well this one is easy for me! We need no reminding as to why fruits are so good for us- fibre, water, vitamins, anti-oxidants and countless other micro-nutrition elements that have yet to be discovered. Plus they are amazing! Such variety, colours, textures, flavours that I defy anyone not to like any fruit.

Even listing my favourites takes ages; I love mangoes, pineapples and papayas for a tropical treat. I love blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and nectarines for a taste of summer. I love dark cherries for a total treat! I love kiwis for a filling addition to lunch. I love crisp crunchy apples for a refreshing change. Or an apple sliced and spread with some peanut butter (more fat lurve) or some other nut butter. I love pears (from a tin even) sprinkled with cinnamon. In the winter I love clementines- that orange smell is delicious. I didn’t even mention bananas- they are my staple on holiday when I am hungry! Plus they are so good in Rachel’s banana bread mmmmm. I love fruit as an addition to a sandwich- PB and apple or PB and banana are so good! Apple and cheese is a fab combo too.

I even like some dried fruit (although only the kind without sulphur in it)- raisins go so well in porridge, dried cranberries go so well in cookies with white chocolate, dried mango is so good. I like the graze boxes because you get a little punnet of dried fruit with nuts too, so it’s not a total sugar high like it can be on its’ own. (Plus if you go to www.graze.com and enter this code KKJX34JF you can get a free box- bonus!)

I love fruit on its’ own. I love fruit with yoghurt. I love to make fruit into a smoothie. I love an apple with muesli and milk. I am getting addicted to fake frozen yoghurt (whiz up frozen fruit with a choice of yoghurt, soya yoghurt or custard- in the photo it is frozen raspberries blended with chocolate soya). I love it in things like muffins, pancakes, sauces (for a treat though not every day!). Fruity cheesecakes are delish.

So there you go- hug some fruit! But be careful especially if it is an over-ripe banana as it might go a little squishy.

I am still deciding what to do with my blackcurrants. I am thinking some kind of cheesecake as something about the tartness of blackcurrants goes well with the creamy mixture. May make some kind of cheesecake mix and cook the currants a bit as a kind of sauce, maybe some granola instead of the base? I had better decide soon before they go funny!

Today this is the fruit I have had (to keep with the theme)- raisins and apple at breakfast (see pic above), raspberries, strawberries and nectarines at lunch and cherries in the evening (I spread the pics out to make it look pretty).

Beside the fruit I have been to aerobics which was nowhere near as hot as last week, been to work, and watched some football. Cool.