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!

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.

My ode to quinoa

I had a nice dinner this evening. In a pan I cooked a third of a red onion, half a red pepper, half a small courgette, added in about 150g tinned tomatoes, 40g rinsed quinoa and cooked for about 15 minutes (until it had thickened and the quinoa had started looking all squiggly). I had it with some Cauldron butternut squash falafel. It was super tasty.
Just wanted to share that! I got my new copy of Women’s Running mag and I think because it’s national veggie week they have a few articles in there about being a healthy veggie, plus they had an article on quinoa. I do use it occasionally (often make a batch for lunch in the winter), but should use it more as it is a complete protein. Usually veggies need to combine foods (e.g. wholegrain + pulses or wholegrain + nuts) to get complete protein (which occurs naturally in meat). But this grain has it all!

Then it was off to body pump, good as usual although my shoulders are killing me now!
I am going to treat myself to one of the cookies (which by the way were a success, I now have 11 people sponsoring me, which is loads more than before- the bribery is working!).
Then it’s the bank holiday weekend hooray! May is such a great month.

National Vegetarian Week

Last night after work (well, really yesterday afternoon) after a little berry cheeky bar I had a quick run to stretch the legs. As I have my race on Sunday I didn’t want to be doing a long run on Saturday morning, plus after body pump they were a bit stiff and needed a stretch. I had the same new route that I did on Monday, which was mostly in the shade so good for a sunny warm day. I felt quite springy and managed the run a shade quicker than Monday. I was rather warm when I got home so I sprayed my legs with the cold shower. I have read that is good to stop the aches (I think horses get hosed down with cold water after a race)- the idea is that the cold water constricts the blood flow, and then once you warm up after the blood vessels dilate again and bring new blood to the muscles to help repair them. I like it in the heat to cool me down too.

I had a tasty dinner (Rachel Allen’s Sausage bake without the sausage and with added veggies- not such a catchy title!) and some home-made bread. I have had some rye flour for a while and have not been that successful whenever I have used it. I was looking up recipes online and reading the pack and it seems that rye is low in gluten, so not so good for springy loaves. So I did half rye flour and half normal bread flour, a little olive oil and then tried that. The dough did rise, not massively, but it is supposed to be a denser bread than usual. I also tried out home-made tiger bread (it seems to be a secret but I think the topping is maybe sesame) so I put some tahini on top before it cooked. The bread was tasty, nice and dense, but the tahini on top was a bit squidgy though. I think next time I will add the tahini to the dough (instead of the olive oil maybe) to bind it together and get the flavour going through the bread.

After that it was still such a nice evening so we went on a nice long walk (for nearly an hour) and then went to water the garden.

This morning we have been planting out all our plants in the new veg patch that was dug earlier in the week. We got some canes to tie the pumpkin plant to (it has already grown some tendrils for climbing), planted the sweetcorn, courgettes (some already have flowers), butternut squash and red onions (they didn’t look too healthy though). It looks pretty, much better than the paving stones that used to be there. Fingers crossed something will grow from it.

OK so next week I think I am right in saying is National Vegetarian week. So I am going to explain how I came to be a veggie (no preaching I promise).

Basically I have never liked meat or fish. When I was younger I would eat meat if it was chopped up and covered in sauce, but I never liked the texture or flavour. My Mum would never let me as she thought it was not possible to get all the proper nutrients from a veggie diet. But as I became a teenager I became more fussy as I just didn’t like the idea of eating something that was dead (and probably my diet was awful as I just omitted meat when I could instead of having a replacement). Once as a family we were walking and came across a dead sheep, all rotting with flies feeding on it. The image of that really disturbed me and made me even more determined not to eat meat. When doing Home Economics GCSE I had to do a project on a vegetarian diet, and I think this proved to my Mum that I could still be healthy. So since then (since I was about 15 I think) I have been vegetarian (and that means no fish, no fish oil capsules, no gelatine, no animal rennet, no wines made with animal by-products). As I have got older my diet has become much healthier. At first I ate a lot of carbs (pasta with tomato sauce was one of my staple dinners), whereas now I eat a lot more protein in the form of beans, some quorn, nuts, yoghurt, lentils, quinoa….I never used to like beans on toast!

I find it hard when on holiday (especially in Europe where they don’t understand it- like the royal family “what about wafer thin ham?), and I don’t like going for dinner at other people’s houses as I don’t want to be the fussy awkward one (plus I panic about what might go in- at one persons’ house they were making food and a bit bottle of Worcestershire sauce was by the oven and I didn’t know how to get it into the conversation that it contains fish and that I would not eat it- luckily it came up and I said I didn’t like spicy foods so it didn’t get added!). Plus I get annoyed in restaurants when they claim a dish is vegetarian but then it has parmesan (one of the few cheeses that is always made with animal rennet).

I don’t mind other people eating meat, my boyfriend eats meat and we cook it at home, so I never try to stop anyone eating meat. But to me the idea of something dead getting into me is quite gross, so we would always cook meat and my things in separate pots/ dishes as I don’t want any of the meat “juice” leaking into my food.

I do eat eggs (free range eggs or ones from my Mum’s chickens), and I have milk and yoghurt (organic because I don’t want loads of antibiotics in my system and the animals are cared for better). It does not cause many problems because now I know which products are veggie friendly (and lots of companies are happy to help- I recently had some goats cheese which didn’t say either way, so I emailed them and they replied to say they only even used veggie rennet)- the hardest ones are yoghurt because of the gelatine and also the cochineal. At the mo I am loving Rachel’s Organic Yoghurts as they are all veggie friendly, organic and super tasty!

So there you go.

Now I am off to do some baking to take into work in exchange for sponsorship to my Race for Life, and I am also going to be drinking lots of water ahead of my 10k tomorrow. The weather says it is going to be hot hot hot!

Recovering from body pump

Last night after body pump I was super tired (after a week off I am sure it is harder). Plus it was so warm in there. After work I came home and was very good- sat down at the computer and worked up until dinner (hopefully I can do stuff in the garden this weekend if I have less work to do then). I have a 10k race on Sunday and the weather says it is going to be hot- uh oh!

Anyway after body pump I had a 9bar with Flax and carob. Again it was nice, I think the nutty one was nicer than this one, but still filling and tasty with all those seeds. I only have one of my trial pack left now.

That is all as am off to work now- Friday woo!