Almond and chocolate heaven

Hey peeps

Yesterday I was perusing the internet and I saw that Marijke made some almond chocolate fudgy bars. They sounded amazing and I had all the ingredients to hand, so I went for it!

First I roasted some almonds (took about 15 mins in a low oven- shaking the tray every now and then).

And then I whizzed them up in the food processor.

Along with some dark chocolate.

I used Waitrose soft dates (these are soooooo yummy) and dark chocolate dreams instead of regular nut butter- thought it would go.

Then out came the nuts, in went the dates and pb, then after it was whizzed for a bit, the nuts went back in again. Yum.

Dollop it onto a lined brownie pan.

Then smooth down and refrigerate.

Then cut into bars and enjoy 🙂

I had one last night and it was delish- the crunch from the almonds is lovely and they are so rich and fudgy.

The rest are wrapped in cling film for another day.

On holiday I bought some of these (excuse the awful photo!)

Dark chocolate covered almonds (from Disney!) and they are lovely! So after eating the packet (and not being able to get any in the UK) I decided to attempt my own.

Roasted almonds in a bowl (one cup), dark chocolate melted in the microwave (probably around 40g?).

Mix it all up in a bowl.

Spread out on a baking tray and leave to set.

Put into a jar and try to make them last longer than a day! 🙂 Mine are not as shiny as the shop bought ones, but are in big chunks and taste so good!

I never used to like almonds, but at the moment I think they are my favourite nut! And with chocolate they are amazing.

What combinations do you like?

This morning I did a 10 mile run- it took me 1 hr 49, which I was pleased with as I think on my GSR entry form I put my estimated finish time as 1hr50. I made sure I started off really slow, and that helped as I was more consistent for the whole run. Plus my batteries lasted on the mp3 for the whole run- phew.

I made a lovely almond chai latte- heated some almond milk, used my tea strainer thing filled with Whitards cinnamon chai (which is just spices, no tea) and then enjoyed.

Yum! It went very frothy and was delicious. Mmmmmm. 🙂


Evening all!

I am super excited because it is half term! Yes! A massive bonus of the profession! But also I have had some exciting deliveries!

A squash box!!!! I kept seeing these on blogs and loving the look of them. Then, while I was looking online at various veg box places (for my budget challenge) I found that Riverford do squash boxes! Plus you can order one-off boxes, and other things too. So to try them I ordered a squash box and a fruit bag (great idea, 3 types of fruit for 2 people- Andy only likes bananas really, so it would be down to me to eat everything in the normal fruit boxes which might be a challenge!).

I got some apples (I think they are russet apples?) pears and oranges- lovely.Plus I just noticed I made a hidden Mickey with the orange and apples! Now I cannot wait to make lots of soup, roasted squash things, baked apple desserts and other bits this week- yay! All recipe ideas gratefully received!

I also got a prize! I won a prize from Jemma at Celery and Cupcakes– so exciting! I have not had a gingerbread nakd bar for so long- really looking forward to that one! Thanks Jemma/ nakd people.

I also got an order from planet organic. I always used to order bits from them, but have not for ages. Then when I did the review of those Ecomil desserts I asked them where to get them from (I have not seen them in any shops) and they told me Planet Organic. So I also got some hazelnut milk (how amazing does that sound?), white almond butter and almond and dark chocolate spread (love Carley’s Organic range), figs, cherries and mixed peel (for Christmas cake making) and some conscious chocolate. Yum.

Wednesday I got home late (work has been really busy this week) so only did a 3.6 mile run (I was originally planning for a 5 mile run) but I managed it in 36 mins so pleased I could keep up that fast pace for that long- think I am getting back to my best! Body pump last night was brilliant- I decided to go even heavier on the squats – 17.5kg (my heaviest ever)- my legs were fine but I was so worried that I would not get the bar back off my shoulders at the end! I also chose heavier weights (slightly) for the shoulders track. Nearly didn’t make it through the triceps track though- seemed harder than last week, not sure why.

Pimp my porridge continues:

Cherry bakewell (ish?)- cherries, oats, almond milk, almond extract, mixed spice.

Tropical- dried mango, oats, dessicated coconut, oats, almond milk.

Peaches, oats, almond milk- which I then topped with flaked almonds. Yum.

We are still keeping our heating off too! It has been soooooo cold here- I have ordered some more thermal vests, and have been wearing thick gloves and scarves outside- it will be time for a hat soon! I feel we will have to give in this weekend though! Anyone else still keeping the heating off ? One of my friends does “the November challenge” and they do not have their heating on til November- I do not think I could last that long. One year (I could write a long moan about British Gas here but I won’t) our heating broke, and even though we had the British Gas people out every week, they would fix it then the next day it would break again- from October until January. We were freezing (and had no hot water for that time either!) but we did have an oil heater which we plugged in. I am going for the hot water bottles at the moment!

And what shall I make first with all my squashes and apples?

Enjoy the weekend folks 🙂

WIAW- cake decorating!!

That time of the week already- time to party! Thanks Jenn for hosting.

I chose Saturday as my day, which was super exciting as I went on a cake decorating course.


Soya yoghurt, rude health muesli, apple from my garden and a fig.

Snack– a small slice of marble cake at the decorating course- they were quite insistent on us eating!


Rye bread with pb, and DCD, and a pear from Andy’s parents garden. Loving the garden produce today.


Cocoa mint Lara bar from my blog swap with Errign. It was nice, but I think that our UK nakd bars are better. 🙂


Butternut squash and goats cheese wrap– this time I added chilli flakes when I cooked the squash, and also some spinach to the wrap.

It was super tasty 🙂


One of the cakes I decorated! Can you guess which one I ate?

(They were little fairy cakes just covered in a lot of icing).

I went for…

I did give Andy one of the roses though- super sweet! 🙂 I am going to choose it as my favourite even though I did not really want to eat it- I wanted to just look at it!

Have you ever been to a course like that before?

Also- added on final question- beyond dark have asked for flavour ideas on facebook- I said chocolate mint and peanut butter! Any other ideas?

Belated budget challenge

So the lovely Laura has set up a blogger budget challenge and I have (rather belatedly) decided to join in.

big budget buttonbig

I am quite happy with our general grocery budget, but there are a few things I want to improve upon- with Christmas (and a holiday) approaching I would like to be more mindful of my finances.

So here are my aims:

  • Cancel the milkman milk. (Simple- I like an easy one to start with- we got persuaded to sign up to the milkman ages ago, but it has been getting more expensive, and I prefer other milks so we don’t use that much any more. It is getting to the point that we will have to start throwing milk away as it goes out of date before we use it. Plus I don’t think it is organic).
  • Attempt my own almond milk (I am saving this project for half term)- it is my fave non dairy milk but it is expensive.
  • Check my on-line bank once per week (as I pay everything by direct debit I never have to go on for bills or anything).
  • Save money each month towards general, car stuff and holiday fund.
  • Start to buy Christmas presents now- I prefer to spread the cost of things like that over a few months.
  • Make some Christmas gifts instead of buying them all. I always make a Christmas cake for my parents and Andy’s, but I would like to make other gifts for other people too.
  • Look into getting a veg box delivered- I have only looked at one company and at the moment I can’t decide- I think I need to look at various other companies to make an informed decision.
  • Use all my travel sized skincare- I love Clinique skincare for their cleanser, toner, moisturiser and the intensive skin rescue cream (I get super dry skin in the winter) and when you buy them in Boots at bonus time you get freebies! I love mini things, and I love freebies, so together it is very exciting! I save them for when I travel, but I never finish a travel sized one before I get back home, so I have lots of half used ones. So I need to use up all the freebies before I buy new normal sized ones. I am not going to buy any over the next 2 months!
  • These are the main ones I use.
  • And all the travel sized mini freebies that I need to start using up!

That is quite a long list isn’t it?

They are quite random ones (can you see the Christmas theme creeping in too?) but they are what I will be aiming for. Having them on here will help me stick to them too 🙂

Plus a few random things- look at the size of my hummus carrot sandwich!


One carrot in a big pile! I am loving my food processor grating the carrot for me- so much quicker! And less mess!

I have been working my way through blog swap items;

Luna nutz over chocolate bar- tasty but I think peppermint stick is still the winner. Yesterday I did a short run- 2 miles (in the crazy wind) in 20 mins- I was super pleased to be that fast! 🙂

Chocolate chip clif bar for some pre-aerobics fuel. Looking forward to that tonight.

Apple crumble porridge (yes still pimping)- chopped garden apple sprinkled with cinnamon, oats, almond milk, raisins, left to soak overnight and then cooked and topped with flaked almonds and more cinnamon. Could have added some almond extract too.

And, look what came in the post!

The pack for the Great South Run! I love it! My name already on the number (which is good as the Cancer Research people sent me “Marie” instead which is not my name!!!! Some very fancy info, a magazine- now I can see why the cost of entry is so high! Less than 2 weeks to go now, how exciting!

Anyone else a big sucker for freebies like me?

Foggy running

Evening all

This was what greeted me this morning.

Right past the fence is a road, then a field, then some big buildings. It was so foggy I could not even see the other side of the road! This was around 9am too- normally the fields are misty but it clears quickly. It was also cold, and I could not decide what to wear for my run. In the end I went for a loose long sleeved top and running tights (first outing of the season!). Half way around the sun came out and it got hot, but only for about 5 mins, then it got cloudy and cold again. Think I played it just right.

The run was good- 8 miles was the plan and I managed it, although I set off too fast- 10.03 per mile for the first 5 miles. Whoops! Paid for it later- went down to 11.30’s for the next 2 (a lot of them are uphill, plus my mp3 ran out of battery so I had nothing to distract me from my breathing!)- the final mile went back to 10.03- think I was glad to be near home! Took me 1hr34, and some of that was stopping to cross roads etc, so I am pretty pleased with that. The plan is next weekend to try 10 miles, and to do some shorter faster (?) ones in between.

My post run snack (well, lunch sort of) was delicious! Sorry for the blurry photo- I had to take it with my left hand as I was pouring with my right!

I made a sort of chai latte! I heated up a carton of almond milk (it was sweetened but I normally have the unsweetened stuff) and then added some Christmas tea (which is from Whitards- black tea with orange and spices- soooo good). The latte was yummy. Plus a peanut toffee clif bar. Mmmm. The nest thing about running in this weather (well, as well as not getting too hot or dehydrated) is coming home to a nice warm drink.

I have also been practising my icing skills.

Yesterday I made some carrot cake cookies- I never usually use boxed mix but I found this in my cupboard(only 7 months past the best before date so must have had it for years!), and one of the suggestions was to add grated carrot. I used my food processor to grate the carrots- even though it took me ages to work out how to add the disk in to the mixer, it was so speedy! Much better than grating by hand, plus I do not have orange fingers!

Mix it all up- yum! I think they soak their raisins or something as they are super squidgy- yum.

And then today I made some cream cheese icing- I used cream cheese, a little honey (brought back from Romania by my parents), and icing sugar.

I have a lot of nozzles and I am not sure if I chose the right one?

Anyway I think the swirl looks nice- when I get some colours I might even attempt some mini carrots!

Also thanks to everyone who has sponsored me– I am nearly at the £200 mark now which is pretty brilliant! If you want to check out the giveaway post, click here. Exciting news is that I have another prize to add, from the lovely people at nuun.

2 more prizes to add! Each prize is a 4 pack of their rehydration tabs (which I use all the time) and a big bottle to mix them in. Cool. 🙂

So if you fancy winning these, or any of the other fab prizes that were donated, then please see my sponsorship post. The minimum amount is £2, and all those are adding up for a very good cause.