Don’t fall over!

Back to work today- boo! (I love the holidays – I can occupy myself for hours pottering around). I had lunch at work (including a lovely Rachel’s Organic yoghurt- the one I had today was from the garden fruits selection and it was soo tasty. I always get organic milk but for some reason, mainly cost, I haven’t started getting organic yoghurts yet. But these were on offer in Sainsbury’s and are suitable for veggies- so many yoghurts have either gelatine or cochineal – so I decided to give them a try and I am very glad I did).

As it was only a half day I got home at half 3 and decided to go on a run (then I can go to the cinema on orange Wednesday- normally that’s my midweek run day!). I had half a Trek peanut and oat bar (yum) and lots of water. It looked like it was about to rain, so I took my rain jacket with me, but the weather was fine so I ended up running with it tied around my waist. I find it so hard at this time of year to decide what to wear; in the winter it’s easy- as many layers as possible! In the summer its sun-cream and as little as possible, but now the weather is still quite changeable; a breeze can pick up and suddenly get quite cold.
My run was ok but felt quite hard; I had stiff calves and also kept getting a little stitch which got quite annoying after a while. By the fifth mile I had to slow down as I noticed I kept dragging my feet on the ground. Last summer I fell over while running (I think I was tired; I tripped on flat pavement- nothing was there to trip me up)- I ended up going to hospital to have it cleaned and bandaged as I had scraped a lot of skin off my wrist due to me holding my water bottle. I still have scars now! So I didn’t want that to happen again. I didn’t beat my beat time but it was over in 65 minutes (including some stopping to cross the roads etc) so it wasn’t my worst time either.

I had the rest of my Trek bar and then had a lovely warm shower (plus lots of stretching- I don’t think I always stretch enough) and am off out to Zizzi’s tonight for dinner for some yummy pasta.

Peanut butter blondies

After seeing Rachel Allen make peanut butter blondies on her Bake show the other day I decided to make some to take to work on Monday. They are like brownies, but made with white chocolate. They are so tasty, and are better when left for a day or two before eating. The recipe I use is from Rachel Allen “Bake”, but I have adapted the method a bit. I make it more like a traditional brownie recipe; put the butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in a pan and heat gently. Sometimes I add some of the white chocolate in this part. Leave to cool (this is when I weigh out the other ingredients, chop the chocolate and line the baking tray with baking paper). Once a little cool I beat in the egg and vanilla extract, stir in the flour and pour into the tray. Then I sprinkle the chopped white chocolate over the top (you can add it in before but I find it melts and this way it is evenly dispersed throughout the cake). It then goes straight into a warm oven for around 25 minutes. I also leave it to cool for a bit in the tin, then onto a wire rack, and then leave to cool completely (even overnight) before slicing.

They have a delicious chewy texture and you can really taste the peanut butter (heaven), perfect with a cup of chai (or normal) tea. It does suggest serving them with ice cream, which I think would be lovely, like a dessert in a restaurant, but a bit too much for normal.

9 miles in the sunshine

This morning I had 9 miles planned and woke up to lovely sunshine- hooray! But recently I have been getting headaches after my runs so I made sure I had a lot of water to drink before I left. I had my breakfast and then made some foccacia dough. I bought a book called “The I diet” (I for Italian) recently and have made a few things from it. It has quite a few veggie recipes and the veggie chilli and pizza recipe ( I leave off the ham) are really tasty. But it always takes ages to make bread (well, to wait for it to rise) so I started first thing.

On my run I took a bottle of water with me, but it felt like such hard work, plus by the end I could feel all the water sloshing around in my stomach- not so good! Also half way I had to stop and loosen my laces because my feet had gone numb- I think perhaps that feet swell a bit in the heat and so they had made my shoes too tight.

When I got home I was starving so I had the other half of a banana (had half on my cereal) and a Nak’d gingerbread bar (amazing- have not had one for ages).

After my shower I finished making the foccacia- in the recipe book you basically make a pizza dough, cook it in the oven then top with cherry tomatoes and basil. But I didn’t have any tomatoes (I thought I did) so instead I took it out the oven 5 minutes early, spread it with some sundried tomato paste, a little basil puree, and some chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and then warmed it through for another 5 minutes. It tasted so lovely (just what I fancied after my run) and went well with Covent Garden Plum Tomato and Mascarpone soup (I do normally make my own soup but it was on offer!). Delicious!

Gardening on my rest day

Today was a planned rest day, as am doing my long run (another 9 miles I hope) tomorrow and I always struggle if I have even a short run the day before a long one. It was so sunny when I woke up so decided to walk to the garden centre and have a look. It’s a 4 mile round-trip so lovely to stretch the legs and get out in the fresh air (I can get very antsy if I don’t get outside at all during the day). I had a lovely time browsing the “kitchen garden” section and was very tempted by all the different raspberry/ blackberry/ loganberry fruit canes. But as I was walking there was no way I could carry them home!

We are seeing friends tomorrow so after lunch I attempted some peanut toffee brittle from Rachel Allen’s “Home Cooking”; it is setting in the fridge at the moment, although I am not sure how well it went. I did make sure the temperature was correct on the sugar thermometer but it has not set as well as I expected it would. If all else fails I’ll put it in the freezer! Am sure it will make a lovely ice cream topping.

Later on I had a lovely time pottering about in the garden; digging up dead plants (the snow killed quite a few), potting some herbs, planting beetroot seeds and putting my courgette seedlings into bigger pots. I am hoping to grow a few more vegetables and fruits this year. I had a try last year and was quite successful with strawberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, tomatoes and courgettes. I have already started off some courgette seedlings (including some yellow courgettes which I am very excited about as I have only ever eaten them on holiday) and sweetcorn seedlings. I am going to attempt carrots as well so hopefully I can use these in my baking. Last year I made a courgette chocolate cake which turned out quite tasty, and I love carrot cake so fingers crossed!
I am trying to follow the advice from my favourite gardening book (Carol Kleins’ “Grow Your Own Veg”) and will keep you posted.

Now I am taking it easy after dinner and am going to make sure I drink loads as I often get a headache after my long runs. I am thinking that it might be to do with being dehydrated so am going to make sure I have had enough water the night before too.

Summer Earphones

I was really looking forward to my run today. I had a lovely breakfast (half cornflakes and half Dorset delicious muesli) and let it go down while I pottered about. Then I headed on out for a 10k. I always listen to my mp3 player as I run and during the winter I have been using normal earphones as I wear a head/ ear-band thing to keep my ears warm (and it holds the normal ear plugs into my ears). It was been getting warmer so I have swapped the in-ear ones for some special sports ones (Sennheiser ones). They are great because they stay on even with the up and down movement of running, plus the sound is clear (I only have them on quiet as I like to hear what is going on around me as well).

My run was lovely; the sun was shining, there was a nice breeze to try and cool me down, and there were tulips out everywhere. My legs did feel stiff at times (but yesterday I spent about 4 hours driving so could be down to that) but in fact when I got home I had beaten my best time (one hour and three minutes). My 10K in May is getting closer and I am hoping to be as close to an hour as possible. It is making me feel more confident that I could actually do it.

When I got home I had a lovely Trek peanut and oat bar. Eleven grams of protein in a bar (great for veggies like me), the texture is lovely and it tastes amazing. I took a picture and I urge you to try one.

I have spent the rest of the day pottering around, doing the shopping etc, it is so nice outside that I may have a walk after dinner. No baking today although I did watch a re-run of Rachel Allens’ “Bake” show where she made peanut butter blondies. The idea is in my head now so I may make some to take to work next week.