Where is the rain?

I am not complaining, but rain was forecast for today. So I had lined up a queue of rainy day activities. It was a rest day for me anyway after my long run yesterday, and I was feeling quite stiff.

After breakfast it still wasn’t raining so I went out on a nice hour long walk, you know, making the most of the nice weather.

Then I had some jobs to do (pop to opticians to get glasses adjusted, pop to shops to get a few bits, get some jam jars) so I got on and did those bits. Still wasn’t raining!

My boyfriend went into the garden to mow the lawn (you know the saying “mow the lawn while the sun shines” or something like that!) and I popped out too- got another courgette, a few potatoes, tomatoes and a lonely blueberry. My blueberry bush didn’t do so well this year and it turns out I should have pruned it in the winter time. I will know next time. Its leaves go a beautiful pinky red colour now so it still looks fab.

Anyway, then I made some jam! Poppy47 on WLR sent me a recipe for plum and cinnamon jam, as I was given a massive bag of plums and could not decide what to do with them. I have never made jam before (well not since I was little and my Mum did, and that doesn’t really count!), but I followed the recipe and used a sugar thermometer; it smells so good with the cinnamon and it is in the jars now. Scones have been requested so will have to make some in the next couple of days. (Still not raining either! Not that I am complaining but have to go to the airport to pick some people up at midnight and I imagine it is going to pour just as I am driving).

While the football was on I spent some time looking back over blogs from the past few days, and I saw that the lovely Alison from http://runningfromrunningto.blogspot.com/ has nominated my blog as one that she reads. To join in with this I need to

  • Thank the person who gave you the award
  • Share seven things about yourself.
  • Nominate fifteen newly discovered blogs.
  • Let your nominees know about the award.
  • So, thanks Alison for reading (and your comments!).

    Here are seven things about me:

    1- I have been a vegetarian since I was around 15. I just never liked meat, and I really dont like the idea of dead things.

    2- I didn’t learn to drive until I was 21 as I was totally terrified of it. Now I don’t mind driving at all, but I do not like parking on steep roads.

    3-I am totally terrified of big black hairy spiders, and I do not like going up high buildings or steep things. 

    4- I am on the waiting list for an allottment but at the moment am making do in a little corner of my garden.

    5-I have been with my boyfriend since I was 17 (and now I am 29), gosh where does the time go?

    6-I bake every week for my boyfriend’s family as we usually go there for Sunday dinner.

    7- I was never christened and was raised in a non-religious household.

    Gosh nominating 15 blogs is tricky because I am not sure I even follow 15 blogs!

    Below are the ones I read pretty regularly:













    I also quite like




    Phew, 15 in all!

    So there you go- I will pop some links on comments pages, and if you haven’t already been nominated then here you go- I nominate you 🙂

    Now off for a bean burger, salad and sweet potato dinner, yum.

    A good clear out

    Well I was without t’internet for most of yesterday and was so busy I didn’t post! Went to work, collected my glasses (they are not as big as I thought, but my eyes are taking time getting used to them), did the shopping and housework. Plus I used a courgette from the garden to make some courgette bread from my Bake book. It is much like a banana bread recipe, with lots of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves- it smelled delicious and I had a slice as my post body-pump snack and it was delicious. I used half wholemeal flour, loads of spices and it was yum!

    Today I have been busy again- we have people over tonight and I am making some pizzas and bread (all on the go at the mo). Earlier I made brownies (my oldest recipe which makes them all chewy and sticky- yum). I also decided to make bread for lunch (was in a bread-baking mood) so I added some cranberries, cinnamon and flaked almonds to my normal bread= delicious!

    I had one little slice with cream cheese, and one little slice with rainforest nut butter- delish!

    Before my run today I tried a new snack (sent to me by the kind folks at www.seedstacked.com). It was a seedy flapjack bar, and I think it may replace the 9bar as my fave seedy snack. The ingredients are honey, oats, seeds, nutmeg and vanilla extract. No oil or anything else to bind it together. In a 50g bar you get just under 200 calories, nearly 6g protein, 5g fibre and about 28g carbs. Pretty good stuff, not to mention all the goodness from the seeds. It tasted lovely too- you could taste the nutmeg, it gave it a nice spicy hint. The texture was lovely, not too seedy, nice and chewy. Altogether fab (10/10 cherries for me).

    When I got back from my run (5 mile run which I listened to the rest of the marathon talk podcast- good stuff, although it is so muggy out there I was dripping when I got back urgh!) I had some coconut water (cocowell- got it from the health food shop)- tasted lovely and I added in a little bit of mango smoothie. Yum.

    I also spent a good hour today in the garage clearing out junk which we then took to the tip- I love a good clear-out, so theraputic isn’t it?

    Anyway, back to the dough-making now!

    Walk in the woods

    I have been having my delicious bircher muesli for breakfast, and today I added a few chopped brazil nuts as a topping. It was super tasty! I love the fact that it is so versatile (like porridge really) and can be topped with all sorts. I also made with with cherry yoghurt and that made a nice change too.

    Then we went for a walk in the woods (Bill Bryson style only no danger of bears) at a National Trust house in Bucks. On the way we stopped to pick up lunch- I had a lovely sandwich with philadelphia, roasted peppers, spinach and a chipotle relish (smokey, not too spicy, just how I like it).

    It was so nice to spend a few hours walking outside in the fresh air, luckily the weather held out until we had to come home. We often go for walks in the evening but only by our house, so seeing different scenery (plus no cars) makes it much more refreshing.

    Once home I made some cinnamon chai, and had a slice of the gone-wrong banana bread. This time I spread it with dark chocolate PB and it was amazing! The banana-PB-dark choc triangle has to be one of my fave flavour combos, and the banana bread has a lovely dense texture so it is quite a filling snack too.

    After that I went in the garden and did some weeding, dug up the potatoes (a much better harvest than last year), cut some more courgettes (not sure what I am going to make with them yet- need to look through my recipes) and moved the strawberry runners. I have one strawb plant that is kicking out loads of runners- they are settling in my lettuce bed which is fab because I dont seem to be able to grow lettuce, so it is going to be turned into a strawb bed!

    I am glad I got out there when I did because now it is raining again, honestly what is wrong with the summer?

    We are off out this evening for a birthday celebration.


    Downpour and decisions

    Gosh it just absolutely tipped it down! I went to aerobics and was chatting to my friend outside when all of a sudden it chucked it down! Had to drive home very slowly as the roads were saturated, plus even the wipers on the highest speed were not clearing the rain fast enough.

    Before aerobics I tried an oatmeal raisin walnut Clif bar- that thing was tasty! I found it in the health food shop, and decided to try them, as I have seen them on wiggle but only in big bulk buy boxes. It tasted like an oatmeal raisin cookie- really delicious and moist. The bar was 50g, and for that you get 189 cals, 31.5g carbs (perfect for before aerobics) and 7.5g protein (it has some soya in it). It also has loads of added vitamins and minerals (unclusing 23% RDA calcium and 13% iron), so in fact would have been ideal for me to take on holiday too. I have 2 other flavours; chocolate chip and peanut butter and am now expecting amazing things!

    On to decisions- I had my opticians appointment today and as someone who is not good at making decisions it is so difficult! To begin with you have the actual eye test where they keep showing you “one, or two, which is clearer?” and you have to choose between the lenses. That is hard enough, but then when it comes to actually choosing new frames for the glasses it is even harder! They never have the frames from last time, so I then have to spend ages looking at all the types to find ones that are similar. Trouble is, as I wear them all the time I have to feel comfortable in them, whereas I think if I had them just for reading or just for driving then I could go for a more funky pair. Anyway, after ages of deliberating I have chosen them, and now comes the waiting game, where in my head I can’t remember what they look like and convince myself that they don’t suit me.

    Hmm- you can tell I am not keen on the opticians!

    Anyway, not much else to report really. I had to wait in for the post today so spent time updating the review bit on here (the section “Stuff I love”)- even with some fancy links in- hope they work!

    I had some delicious rye bread for lunch with sunflower seeds in it, with some cream cheese, tomatoes and green pesto, plus an apple and a slice of the gone-wrong-banana bread.

    That’s all folks!

    Vegetarian Abroad!

    Veggie holidays:

    I have been vegetarian for many years, since I was a teenager, and I absolutely love holidays. Holidays are what I save up for (no expensive handbags for me). So I have travelled around a fair bit, and while in Switzerland I have been really impressed with the amount of vegetarian food available. Not only that, but it is often clearly marked on the menus as well. Now it’s not a totally fair comparison, because some holidays I have had almost ten years ago, and even in England things have moved on in ten years.

    Past holidays:

    When I think back to past holidays (in Europe or America) I did used to find it much harder, especially in France. Once in Paris I went in a bakery and got a cheese filled roll, only to find it had ham in it once I had taken a bite! Ten years ago I went to Boston with my parents, and had a few problems, including being given vegetable soup (so, vegetarian then) which had massive chunks of beef floating in it. These experiences early on led me to be very “safe” on holiday, opting for plain bread, margherita pizza, or pasta with tomato sauce. All nice options, but not particularly great to be eating constantly on a 2 week holiday. Luckily things have moved on, and for the last 5 years maybe it has been much easier.

    Veggie in Europe:


    When in Spain we were recommended a restaurant called Fresco (I think) which was the same as Sweet Tomatoes in the USA- a big salad buffet, and then help yourself to the hot items such as jacket potatoes, pizzas and pastas. It is a chain as we have been to it in Barcelona and Madrid, and a very good option for a veggie on holiday.

    A while ago we went to Lisbon in Portugal, and that proved harder, because of the language more than anything. We stuck to the usual faves (Italian restaurants) as there were plenty of those to choose from.

    In Switzerland most of the menus we looked at have had veggie options marked clearly. I had a nice veggie burger the other night- it tasted a bit like falafel and I think it was made with chickpeas. I have seen veggie fajitas, including one which was cooked with kidney beans (some veggie protein- I will get to that point later) as opposed to just vegetables. There are lots of cheese fondues, plus raclette’s (baked/ boiled potatoes with melted cheese and gherkins/ pickles) and rosti’s (lots topped with cheese or cheese and mushroom/tomato). I had some nice spaghetti with tomato sauce and fresh basil, and the same place also did ravioli stuffed with mushrooms in a pesto sauce. In another place (I mentioned previously) I saw both seitan and tofu mentioned on menus, and I think people generally understand the “no meat” concept, whereas before it was not understood. A little like the royal family clip of the grandma saying “she’s a vegetarian, maybe just wafer thin ham then?” or something to that effect!

    Before Christmas we went to Denmark (Copenhagen) for a few days, and that proved difficult. Their diet is lots of fish (I don’t eat fish) and meat, and there were not too many un-Danish places. In the guidebook there was a veggie restaurant mentioned, but we couldn’t find it. So it was Hard Rock one night, and then a picnic of bread and cheese from the local shops on the other day.

    I have not been to France for ages, in fact the last time was a trip to Disneyland Paris, which was not great! One of the children’s items was veggie (it might have been tomato pasta or something) and they would not sell it to me because I didn’t have a child with me! There were a few options around but I cant remember what now. A few French holidays have been self-catering, which is always easy because you can buy so much fresh produce from the supermarkets- I love walking into the fruit/veg section- normally they smell of nectarines-mmm.

    Italy seems like a fab place for veggies (especially as I love pasta)- one of the places we went to has a local speciality of ravioli stuffed with pumpkin, which sounds amazing. I kept an eye out for it but didn’t see it anywhere-boo. I did have some lovely pesto (only made with basil, garlic and pine nuts- the parmesan was optional to be added at the table so I didn’t have any). There is lots of pasta, gnocchi and pizzas with veggie options too, plus the panini’s and salads etc. I had a lot of pasta with tomato sauce and basil, some nice pizzas including one with artichoke. As it is all made fresh they seem happy to amend things too. A while ago we went to Rome and we had no trouble choosing a place to eat. In Milan the rough guide recommended an ice cream shop with organic ingredients called “Grom”, and while in the queue I noticed that it had a list by the door of all the flavours, whether they were vegan (lots of the places did fruit “ice cream” which had no dairy at all- the mango flavour was delicious- like pureed frozen mango), whether they had eggs, nuts etc in them too. Pretty good. Also all the little spoon things were biodegradable. Plus the hazelnut ice cream was amazing.

    A long time ago (maybe ten years!) I went to Turkey with my family, and it was the only time we did a half board holiday. The breakfast was fine, and the dinners were lots of salads, veggie rice dishes and loads of watermelon. All I remember having for lunches were grilled cheese sandwiches (but back then I had not tried hummus or falafel or anything like that)- I would imagine there would be a lot of choice.