New faces and new tea :)

Well, today was back to work after my lovely long summer! It was great to see everyone, and we had loads of new staff starting, so loads of new faces (and names) to get to know.

But on to last night first of all. It has been feeling so autumnal lately, and I had a load of apples from my parents tree, so I decided to make my own version of an apple crumble (in my clean oven 🙂  )

First, I cored the apples and stuffed some blackberries into the holes. I had some blackberries left over so I put them in the parcels with the apples. Then I added a little squirt of agave, and sprinkled with cinnamon.

I baked them in the oven for about 25 minutes (low-ish heat)- they were still quite firm but had that lovely cooked apple taste. If you like them squishy then keep on baking!

Then I put one in a bowl with some caramel alpro (instead of custard) and a sprinkle of bear granola (that was the crumble bit). It was heaven! Autumnal heaven in a bowl. This was perfect after our walk in the evening as it had got a little chilly by that time. The blackberries had almost melted into a sort of jam in the core. yum yum yum!

Then at work we had fun- it was mostly art today, lots of sketching, and look what I made!

It was some kind of printing with ink- with tissue paper, looks pretty impressive but not sure how easy it will be with 5 year olds!

Anyway, when  I got home I was so excited to find this on my doorstep:

While looking for chai tea (can only normally get it in Whitards) on the net I came across Tea pigs (what a cute name!). They offered to send me some samples to try in exchange for some reviews- and I am always happy to try tea 🙂

Look at pretty chai tea mmmm

The tea bags are pretty pale nets, biodegradable and very delicate looking.

I decided to try some rooibos creme caramel  (don’t want caffiene before body pump!) :

An attempt at a close up of the pretty tea bag and all the bits inside. Proper tea, not just brown dust 🙂

And lastly brewing in my cup 🙂

Oh my, this stuff tastes amazing! I have had plain rooibos tea before, and I could never decide if I liked it or not as it seemed very “earthy”. Well, this stuff is soooooo good. I tried it first without milk, then it was a bit hot (and the site recommended adding milk) so I added some milk to the last half of the cup. Good both ways!

It tastes sweet, really like drinking warm caramel, soooooo good!  10/10 for me and as it is caffiene free would be a good drink later in the evening. Look here for the info. It could easily replace hot chocolate as a comforting winter drink.

I am off to body pump later (yay) and have another training day at work tomorrow so am being broken in gently!

Looking forward to aerobics!

I am looking forward to that tonight- to leaping around the room to cheesy tunes!

I had to go to the doctors this morning, which I hate. I get very nervous going there, and always have very high blood pressure readings, which then makes me worry more in case I actually have high BP. Anyway, luckily the appointment was on time so I didn’t have to sit in the waiting room getting nervous for too long. I now have a special sheet of paper to record my own BP readings at home. Fingers crossed it will be fine!

After that I had to do shopping (last food shop before I go back to work and we can get it delivered again!)- but at that time it was nice and quiet.

I made some pasta sauce (basically it is roasted vegetables- this time various coloured peppers, tomatoes, red onion, with garlic, oregano and a little bit of olive oil)- which I will then put into little tubs and freeze- easy peasy work night dinner

🙂

I was supposed to be having people over this afternoon, so I made some cute little dark chocolate cookies from Hummingbird . But they keep dropping out so I may well have the radio for company instead!

I adapted the recipe to make half, and it still made 15 mini cookies:

Preheat oven to 170C/ 325F).

Gently melt together 100g dark chocolate and 25g butter (I used clover light).

In a seperate bowl mix one egg, 85g brown sugar and 1tsp vanilla and whisk together. Slowly add melted chocolate mix.

Then stir in 45g flour (I used wholegrain spelt from Dove’s Farm), 1tsp baking powder and gently mix. Then add in 50g chopped dark choc.

Spoon onto baking trays and bake in the oven for 10-15 mins. Mine only took ten mins as I like them chewy, and they will continue baking on the trays for a little bit.

Then transfer to a cooling rack once they have cooled a little.

I worked out the cals as 95 cals per cookie, so not bad for a little treat.

(Here is the pasta saue before I blend it up!)

I also had a look on healthy living blogs today. It is a new website, sort of a directory of all different blogs. If you want your blog to be on there, then you email them- details here:

To be included in the blog listings, simply send an email with the following information to healthylivingblogs@gmail.com:

  • Email subject line: MEMBERS
  • Your name (please let me know if you prefer to go by first name, first and last, or however you prefer to be known on the Internet)
  • Your blog name and URL
  • Your twitter username, if you have it
  • Your location (if you prefer not to disclose this information for privacy’s sake, that is completely understandable. We’ll simply include your blog listing in the a-z listing, not by location, too)
  • Any specific labels (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, weight loss, running, etc.)

 

I did it a few days ago and my blog is now on there 🙂 and I have already had a nose around other people’s blogs, so it’s a good source if you are looking for specific blogs too.

In other news I have got confirmation that I am signed up to the Hers 10K, on the 11th October, so that is good as it is my first race since the St Albans Half marathon. I did the race last year, so I am hoping to beat my time, and as I know the course a little better I should be able to pace myself. Here’s to hoping anyway.

The only thing that annoys me is that the entry fee includes a T-shirt, but it is a baggy cotton one, which I would never wear. There is no option for not getting the t-shirt (which would be better as then the extra amount could go to charity). Or perhaps they could do a more expensive entry fee that included a technical t-shirt instead? The two of us are starting to get a drawer full, as we both did the Herts 10k last year and the St Albans Half had a free t-shirt at the end too.

My fave end of course must is a medal (coz I deserve it) and a banana (coz I need it!). I have never got anything amazing in a goody bag- a few trial packs of muesli, cereal bars, energy drinks and stuff seem to be the norm.

So any fave race mementos? Or any end of race goody-bag wishes?

🙂

Garden delight

Hope everyone had a lovely bank holiday 🙂
First things first- it was a 26 minute run today- about 2.8 miles in all. My speed was up and down, not sure why. I did have breakfast before, and let it go down while doing some cleaning and stuff. It was very windy out there so that could be why I suppose.
Once home it was onto the shred- my second time of doing it so I knew what was coming. I did enjoy it, although I am thinking that the same motivational comments may get annoying after a while- it needs to be like those football games where the commentary changes with each game, so you never know what comments you will get.  Anyway, I did manage it and am thinking that on some of the moves I need to use my heavier hand weights in order to make sure I am pushing myself.  But it was good 🙂

After that it was a raisin oatmeal clif bar. I think I may order a box from wiggle as they are so delicious, and it is cheaper to buy in bulk.

After that it was time for some garden centre wandering. I had some vouchers to spend, so we headed off to Crews Hill (a road with loads of garden centres all along it). Our fave nursery was having a half price sale, so in the end we only spent about £10 but got a massive pack of tulip bulbs, a lavendar plant, 2 other little shrubs, and this beautiful (hardy) hibiscus. So pretty. I am keeping it inside for a bit as there are so many buds. Each flower must be 4 inches across. 🙂

I also spent my vouchers on a pretty plant (agapanthus- not sure how you spell it- tropical looking) and a little strawb plant with loads of runners!

I planted a few of them when I got back, and have also attempted to put a net around the pumpkin, we shall see if it works.

This evening it was bean wraps for dinner (yum) and a little walk in the freezing cold air! Honestly it is autumn already!

Happy bank holiday and yay for the short working week!

Baking sunday

In the sense of the cooking not the weather!

So today I decided first of all to make some carrot cake cookies. Partly because I had some carrot, and some icing left over from making carrot cakes the other day. Also I had a delish one at downtown Disney a while back, and have been looking for a recipe for ages. Well, in the end I made my own! I adapted a recipe from Bake that was for oatmeal raisin cookies.

So here is my very own recipe:

It made about 30 mini cookies, and I have frozen about half as it made so many!

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

Put 50g raisins in a cup/ small bowl and soak with hot water/ orange juice.

Cream together 50g butter and 60g apple sauce, then add 200g soft brown sugar, beat until light and fluffy.

Add one egg and some vanilla extract, beat together.

Then add in 250g oats, and 110g flour (I used wholegrain spelt plus a tsp baking powder).

Then stir in 100g grated carrot and the raisins (minus the water) and mix gently together.

Put blobs of dough on a baking sheet (no need to grease or line) and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Leave to cool on the racks before moving to a wire rack to cool.

Optional- ice with cream cheese icing (this stuff had orange juice in it).

They taste kind of like flapjacks, and are not quite like the one I had, but they are very tasty. 🙂

I also used my ice cream maker for the first time since Christmas (have to wait til there is space in the freezer for it) to make some chocolate peanut butter ice cream from the Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream book!  I love PB ice cream but I never see it in the UK so I was pretty excited! I am not keen on making real custard with eggs and such, so I used the sweet cream base, which was condensed milk and single cream. You also had to melt a little bit of chocolate with some milk, whisk it all up, and then stir in a little smooth PB at the end. My, it was amazing! Almost as good as thr stuff from the B&J shops in USA, or so I was told! It even looked like real ice cream too!

This is what we had for dessert after Sunday tea, and it was good!

Aside from that I have not been up to much- went for a nice long walk, bought another cardi in gap (they are good for work), and spent most of the evening laughing and chatting with family- good times indeed!

Long run and short walk

But first, to last night. We went to Wagamamas for my bro’s b’day, and I must say-meh. It was alright- it was so crowded in there, we were squashed on benches between other people, and the food, well, not my style. I had something that claimed to be veggies (it listed loads like courgette, peppers, beansprouts, mange tout…) with wholewheat noodles, and fried tofu in a vegetable soup. What it actually was, was the most enourmous bowl ever, with vegetable water, noodles, hundreds of beansprouts and a few bits of veggies, plus some very soggy tofu. Anyway, it was a nice evening and my brother chose my carrot cakes over a dessert in the resturant so I was pleased!

Today it was long run day- YAY! Although yet again I had managed to not wash any of my running tops (well some I took out the machine this morning)- cue me drying my running clothes with the hairdryer!

My run was good, I took it nice and slow as I didn’t leave til nearly 11 and it was fairly hot out there. I did a few laps of the park, making myself go up some hills, and I averaged just over 10 minute miles. All in all it was 8ish miles listening to the marathon talk, and then some radio 4 podcasts. Good stuff. In the park I saw loads of mushrooms and so many fairy rings, even a few that were actually complete. Near our house there are a few but only horse-shoe shaped ones. It does show how autumnal the weather is when there are so many mushrooms growing already.

The marathon talk had an interview with a sports presenter (can’t remember her name) who used to run for her county, and they were discussing PE at school. It got me thinking about PE at my secondary school; the only thing I liked was hockey, because I was ok at it. All the other games (rounders/ netball= I can’t catch), athletics (no good at sprinting/ jumping/ throwing) I did not enjoy, and although I would never try to get out of a PE lesson (we had a load of girls who had notes from their “parents” each week) I did not enjoy them at all. I also hated swimming; my school had a swimming pool but we did it in the winter- wearing a swimming cossie was bad enough but then I would have sopping wet hair for the rest of the day- I have very thick hair- and wet hair on a cold day is not good. I was always active at home, but something about the obvious nature of finding something hard was really horrible. I am glad I have found activities I enjoy now, but I really do not have fond memories of school PE.  Anyone else enjoy/ dread school PE?

So, anyway, when I got home I was hungry so I had some nesquick and a chocolate chip clif bar. Ooooh that clif bar was goooooood. Massive chunks of chocolate, and the same chewyish texture as the other clif bars. Now if only we could combine the chocolate chip and the peanut one….

After a shower it was soup time- and this time delicious thick soup, not flavoured water (sorry but I don’t like that “broth” stuff).

Squash and carrots in a pan with some veg stock:

Plus I got a delivery from the flour bin (I have been waiting for ages but the folks were very good when I rang up – they were waiting for one item to come back into stock which they took off and then dispatched asap, so I am happy with the service)- I got some wheat gluten and chickpea flour for beanburgers and chickpea patties and things, and also some special french bread flour with a sourdough mix in it. MMmmm.

I didn’t have a recipe, so adapted one from the Dove’s farm book. Interestingly you had to put a bowl of water in the oven when you heated it up, and then bake the bread in the steamy oven. It seemed to work because lunch was delicious;

My boyfriend wanted to know where his bread was! (He was joking- We shared it- I am taking that as a compliment).

I have been in the garden for a bit- I peeled back some of the corn to see if it is ready, but it was still white so think I need to leave it for a little longer.

I have been watching some Man vs Food on the TV- anyone else love that show? It’s more like a travel show as he goes to different places in the USA< but he does find some crazy looking food (e.g. burgers the size of his head and so on!). I probably would not eat 95% of what he does, but I find it entertaining all the same!

Later in the afternoon it was time for some tea- this time Cinnamon Chai from whitards- I used loose leaf tea and it is lovely- basically a bag of cinnamon bark, cardamon pods, whole cloves and I think peppercorns. I have it with a normal tea bag in the pot too, and it is like extra special chai.

Plus a wholemeal scone with the plum jam. MMMM.

After the football finished (boyfriend was listening to it on the radio) we decided to have a walk. We took an umbrella, but then as we got around the corner we saw black sky in one direction, black sky in another, and we could see it was raining pretty hard in several places, so we decided to cut our losses and head home. So we only managed about 15 minutes, but about 5 mins after we got home it started pouring down, so I think we made the right decision!

I am looking forward to an evening in front of the TV now. Hope everyone else is enjoying their bank holiday weekend!