Last day of freedom

Is that a bit too dramatic? It is after all only the last day of half term, except for the weekend which I have anyway. Half term has been brilliant- really relaxing. I have had work to do (parents evenings next week so getting ready for those) but also had fun projects like making Christmas cakes.

Exercise has been good- I realised I have not done a Sunday recap for ages so I will do one now.

Saturday- 10 mile run

Sunday- walk to shops (rest day)

Monday- 6 mile run

Tuesday- yoga, Shred level 1 and 2

Wednesday- 3.6 mile run

Thursday- walk to shops, Body pump (and I kept the heavy weights for squats and heavier shoulders as of last week, and added a little to the lunges).

Friday- 4 mile run

Tomorrow will be a rest day (and I will be going shopping while Andy goes to the football) and then the Great South Run on Sunday! Getting excited now!

I had a delicious lunch today.

Roasted a little squash (a harlequin which is the smaller yellow one with the dents on it).

Mashed up half on a little wholewheat tortilla, crumbled on some herby goats cheese (thanks Delamere) and baked it for 5 mins.


Yesterday I had another delicious lunch.

Carrot pancakes! This time I used 35g spelt flour, 1 grated carrot, 1 tbs pumpkin puree and some milk (50ml?). With tahini and maple syrup yum 🙂

Also shhhhhhhh:

I may have bought some more tea. How cute are the piglets? I wanted to try the lemon ginger tea so getting a 2 pack is perfect. The chilli chai is for Andy for Christmas you see, plus he thinks we have enough tea at home already. You can never have enough tea.

I also popped to the shops today and could not resist a baby pumpkin (munchkin pumpkin)- for photos and also for eating later on! I also got some giant cous cous as I keep seeing it raved about- thought I would give it a try for lunch at some point. Plus some coconut water (this was a new brand on offer so I thought I would give it a go) and many tins of pumpkin. Although some are for a friend from work- yup I am branching out to pumpkin dealer.

Plus I have been practising with my icing! I decorated the mini Christmas cakes (the ones I made in the little loaf cases). I took photos as I went along, so at some point will post the how-to.

Cute 🙂 Well I think so anyway.

And my first i-herb order arrived (I have been going to and from the website for ages)! After trying several Luna bar flavours, I have decided that the peppermint one is the best. I also got some mini ones to make up the weight (they are teeny and only 80 cals so good for when you fancy a sweet snack I think and come in variety packs) plus a free peppermint lip balm and some scary green powder. Not sure what to do with the powder?? Also you can get $5 off your first order by using code QOC914.

Also I got my rejection email today from the London 2012 Olympic run ballot- did anyone get in?

Any exciting weekend plans?

What do you like to do on your days off from work?

Pumpkin pie cheesecake

Well sort of.

I really really really fancied pumpkin pie this weekend.

Andy’s family were coming over so the perfect excuse (or reason) to make one. But I am not really a fan of pastry, so decided to make a sort of cheesecake pie instead- based on the Hummingbird recipe. Here goes! I made one big pie and 6 cupcakes with the mixture as it does make a lot. So line the pan you are going to use/ get out cupcake cases etc.

Then make the base.

Whizz 300g gingernut biscuits in a food processor (or bash with a rolling pin) then mix in 150g melted butter ( I used pure spread).

Then press it into the case/ pie dish etc.

Preheat the oven to 170C and make the filling.

In a bowl whisk up 1 tin (425g) pumpkin puree, 1 egg, 230ml evaporated milk, 220g caster sugar, 1 tbs plain flour, and the spices you love. I chose 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves and some grated nutmeg. You could also use ginger/ mixed spice.

Carefully spoon onto base and then  bake in the oven.

The little ones took about 20 mins, and the bigger one took about 40 mins. It should not wobble when it is cooked. Then put on a plate and take a beautiful photo of it outside with some autumn leaves. I skipped that step.

Yum! The ginger base was a lovely addition and complemented the spices in the pie mix.

The only problem is that the cupcake cases have stained the pie blue! Not so good! Oh, and we have lots to eat now, although it was popular last night it does make a big pie! Do you think this would freeze? I might try a couple and see.

I also made pumpkin pancakes for breakfast.

These did not go so well! I used spelt flour, baking powder, kara coconut milk, molasses, vanilla and pumpkin puree, but the batter was too runny and the first lot had to be binned. The second lot tasted amazing but still not very photogenic! I served it with some whole earth chocolate caramel spread (love this- my weekend treat!) and some apple/pumpkin sauce- I basically chopped 2 apples (from the fruit bag) with a little water, tsp agave, cinnamon, and a tbs pumpkin puree (actually because I could not fit the rest of the tin into the plastic tub for the fridge, what a happy accident) until the apples softened a little. This was yum!

I had the rest of the apple pumpkin sauce for lunch with some rice pudding- 30g flaked rice and 150ml kara coconut milk and a tbs maple syrup all cooked in the microwave. Sooooo yummy and autumnal 🙂

Aaaaaand I have started on the squash box! The photo above was a clue!

I went for the red onion squash and it is currently roasting in the oven with some rosemary-mmmm.  Am going to make some kind of stew- chickpeas will be involved. Possibly with a baked sweet potato. We shall see. I feel my fingers turning orange as we speak!

And the most exciting news of all!

I have started on project Christmas cake 2011. My fave half term project! In that bowl is a lot of dried fruit- raisins, sultanas, mixed peel, cranberries, cherries, dates, figs, chopped crystallised ginger, and also a big glug of some kind of alcohol. The recipe says it needs to soak for 2 hours, but I am thinking the longer the better, so it is going to soak overnight. Just the smell makes me cough! 🙂

Pumpkin pie- yay or nay?

Fave pumpkin recipe?

Pie crust or cheesecake base? Or another suggestion?

It is too early to mention Christmas? 🙂

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?