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.

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.

Garden excitement

I had my usual pre-run breakfast of cornflakes and raisins, and headed out at about half ten. I wasn’t sure how far I would go, because it has been so warm and it was heading towards midday. But in fact there was a strong breeze which helped keep me cool. I headed up to the lakes, ran around them both, then up in a loop around the park and back around one of the lakes. At one point I have to cross a narrow bridge and when I got to it there was a big white goose there, but I was going too fast so I ran past it with my arms high up (it seems nearly as tall as me- at least it could get my fingers) and luckily it didn’t seem bothered. In the end I did just under 7 miles in 67 minutes and I really enjoyed it. Although I liked training for the half marathon, at the moment I really enjoy 6-8 mile runs, as they feel like I have done some “proper” exercise, but not so far that they wipe me out for the rest of the day.

Once home and stretched I had some Graze Bounty Hunter mix, which is coconut cubes, cranberries and chocolate drops. I had a shower but I was still hungry so I had a delicious lunch; a carrot and apple muffin (made these back in May and froze some) which I warmed in the microwave and spread with smooth peanut butter, a massive bowl of strawberries, raspberries, yoghurt and a sprinkle of treacle granola, some hazelnuts and a glass of coconut water with pineapple. A very fruity lunch indeed!

I also had a walk and was surprised how warm it was even thoiugh the breeze has really picked up and dark clouds were blowing over.

I made some cupcakes for tea later- Black bottom cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery . These are a dark chocolate cupcake marbled with a vanilla cream cheese chocolate chip cheesecake mix, and they were so good! I had one after tea today- delish. The chocolate cupcake is very dark and rich, which is a good contrast to the sweet cheesecake swirl. A fab post-run treat.

I have also been so excited about my garden. I went out there this evening and have collected my first “wave” of blackcurrants. Seriously, last year I got 6 or 7, but this year it has got massive and there are loads of bunches hanging from it. Now I need to decide what to do with them- any ideas?

I have also found some tiny green tomatoes on the tomato plants, some tassles on the sweetcorn, and a few more little courgettes. The pumpkin plant has grown all over the other plants (I did tie it to some canes but it has gone crazy) so I have tied it up some more, and also tied up the butternut squash plants as they are getting tendrils so they seem to be climbers too.
It is looking great out there at the moment; all this sunshine has been doing them the world of good.

More frozen fruit madness!

Today was my schools’ summer fayre so I was up early and out for a run before it got too hot. I had a massive drink of water before I got ready! I went out at about 8.45 am, and the parts of my run in the shade were lovely, The last half mile was right in the sun though so I was boiling by the time I got home. I did 2.7 miles in 26 minutes, a good pace for me in the heat (and before breakfast). After a shower I had an old fave for breakfast; a pink lady apple choppped up, sprinkled with dorset deliciuous museli and some milk, yum. Then it was time to get ready for the fayre- I was helping out in the drinks tent which was doing a roaring trade on pimms and cider. We were so lucky with the weather as earlier in the week showers were predicted. It was really busy and all the children were having a great time so all was well. Although I had to pop to the shops on the way home and didn’t get home til about half 3, by which time I was ravenous as I didn’t have any lunch! I was going to pack a nak’d bar but I forgot- oops. So I had a wholemeal muffin with some peanut butter. I have recently re-discovered smooth peanut butter. I have always been a crunchy girl but for some reason last week on a whim I got some smooth stuff and I must say it is a nice change. I also made some more amazing fake frozen yoghurt- I blended 80g sainsburys frozen dark sweet cherries with a pot of alpro dark chocolate dessert- hey presto! Cherry chocolate fake ice cream. It really was amazing– it might be the best combination yet. If you like black forest gateau/ cherry chocolate combo then try it- the cherry flavour does come through the chocolate and made it really refreshing.

I am going to try and sort of my review seciton too- I have been asked by a few companies (nak’d, trek, 9bar) to review their items, which I have done, but as I have gone along, so watch this space for a more organised approach.

For the family meet up tomorrow I have made some cookies from The Hummingbird Bakery book . I made the chocolate chip ones, and added some ginger and cinnamon to the mix for a warm and spicy flavour.

While I was baking I was pondering my now rather extensive flour collection! I even took some photos. For making bread I have normal strong white flour, wholemeal flour (nice for a pizza base), rye flour (have yet to be totally successful with this) and my fave for bread, malthouse flour. For baking other items I have normalt white flour (for cupcakes and things) and wholegrain spelt flour, which is amazing in cookies; nutty and wholesome but not too heavy like normal wholemeal flour can be. I would recommend the spelt flour for replacing all the normalt flour in cookies, and in things like brownies and cupcakes I have used half and half and it has worked fine. I did used to have some normal wholemeal flour which was delicious in banana bread, but at the moment I have none “in stock”!