Nutty about nut butters!

I have always been a fan of peanut butter- still love it in sandwiches, wraps, baking, spread on an apple….

But over the last few years I have branched out and tried all different types of nut butters, so here are a few that I have tried:

Carley’s Organic Rainforest Nut Butter

I found this in my health food shop, but I have seen it online (possible at planet organic). It is made from (organic) brazils, cashews and macadamias, with no added salt or oil or anything. It does not look that appetising- it is quite pale in colour, but it has a lovely subtle, creamy taste. I like the jar because as well as the usual calories and fat it also lists the amount of omega 9 (3.9g) and omega 6 (2.3) oils, calcium (18.1mg), zinc (0.6mg) and selenium (184 micrograms) in a 15g serving. Useful info indeed. And seriously, this stuff is delicious!!!

10/10 cherries

Meridian Almond Butter

This is made of roasted almonds (99.5%) and salt (0.5%), no added oil or anything else. This is very “bitty”- you can see the tiny pieces of almond in it, but is is also quite runny and easy to spread. I think it goes really well on wholemeal toast, or spread on an apple. It is not my favourite flavour, but it is delicious. The oil seperates out quite easily but it does mix back in.

8/10 cherries

Meridian Hazelnut Butter

This stuff is amazing! It is quite thick and hard to spread, but it tastes so good. Hazelnuts go so well with sweet things, and this is no exception.

9/10 cherries

Meridian Cashew Butter

I first got this in Sainbury’s but since then I have only seen almond butter in their stores. It is in Holland and Barrett, other health food shops and online so easy enough to get hold of.

It is really thick and quite hard to spread thinly, so I always end up with a blob of it instead of a smooth spread. But it tastes amazing, very creamy (as raw cashew nuts do). If it was easier to spread it would be perfect.

9/10 cherries

Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams

This is a treat for sure! It is made up of peanuts, cane juice, cocoa powder and butter, oil, vanilla and salt, so not as pure as the other nut butters. I waa glad when I checked their website that their palm oil is from sustainable plantations, as I am trying to make sure I am thinking about making ethical food choices. I got it from www.americansweets.co.uk along with some pumpkin puree and a few other bits. It is lovely- chocolate and peanut butter are such a good combo- I have had it in a pitta bread with some sliced banana and that was so good. It would also be amazing on ice cream! I am making the jar last as long as possible! It is very runny so you don’t need much to spread around.

I may attempt at making my own once it has run out as it was expensive to order and probably I could add some cocoa powder and maybe agave (to make it more runny) to some smooth PB.

10/10 cherries

Whole Earth Smooth Original Peanut Butter with no added sugar

This only has peanuts, palm oil (from RSPO member) and salt as ingredients.

I wish it didnt have the salt though. I find the crunchy whole earth really salty, but this is not as bad. It is smooth, but you can see little flecks of dark in it (like when you have vanilla ice cream with bits of pod in it)- shows it is made from real peanuts. It is much less oily than some other brands, nice and thick for a smooth spread.

9/10 cherries (it would get 10/10 if it was free from salt)

Whole Earth Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

Nutella has nothing on this!  Imagine Nutella, but with lovely chunks of hazelnut throughout and you end up with this! Again not the healthiest, but lovely for a treat, plus the palm oil at least is more ethical.

9/10 cherries

Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter

This is very chunky indeed- the chunkiest ever peanut butter! It is very thick- the oil seperates out naturally and can be stirred back in, and I find it quite hard to spread on toast or bread. I tend to use this if I am baking because it adds a lovely chunky texture to cookies. Real peanut flavour too. I like that is has no sugar and no added salt (again why it is good in sweet things).

9/10 cherries

Busy baking

Hello all!
Today I managed two walks, both missing the rain showers which I was pretty pleased with.
I also have attempted to tie my pumpkin up with some string as the wind was blowing it all over the place and I would be very upset if it fell off the plant.

Today I had friends over so I was busy baking and getting things ready. I made some foccacia bread (from The I Diet ) which I think cooked for too long as it was a little crunchy!

I also iced the carrot cake cupcakes with lime cream cheese icing- I used the Hummingbird recipe and added in some lime juice and zest. Also sprinkled some with cinnamon.

I also made a few more chocolate cornflakes cakes (gluten free).


We had a lovely spread of nibbles like crudites, hummous, fresh fruit, and one of my friends made whoopie pies! They were a bit like two mini brownie/cookie things sandwiches with frosting. Pretty tasty.

We had a great time catching up with each other, and even managed to fit in some games too.
🙂

I didn’t get a run today, am hoping for one tomorrow before breakfast as there is a lot of rain forecast all day, plus I have a lot of other bits to be doing. Over on WLR someone was talking about their fave running routes, and it made me think. I always like the bit in runners world where someone comments on their favourite place to run, but it is normally somewhere exotic and scenic. My fave run is up to Stanborough Lakes in Welwyn. There are two lakes for boating and sailing and things, with a figure of 8 path around both lakes. They are set in a bigger park, so I can run around both lakes, then back through the park for a bit. I always see loads of people fishing, cycling, running, walking, plus often in the evening I see herons and rabbits ( I love rabbits).

I do love running in the countryside, but near me most of the roads don’t have pavements, and people go at silly speeds down them and I don’t feel safe, I do envy people near to forest paths to run through, although on the plus side even in the dark there are street lights (I do have a high-viz jacket to wear) so I can still run in the winter and feel relatively safe as there are people about.

I would love to live near a flat bit of coastline, as I think a run by the sea would be very invigorating, plus lovely scenery to keep you going.

So, fave running routes/ ideal running routes?

OK, here is the rain!

Well as predicted it rained loads on the way too and from the airport last night, not good as a lot of the journey is country roads. But all was fine, although I only managed about 5 hours sleep!

I popped into work this morning, and then went to Starbucks with some buddies- along with my usual chai tea (I love their chai tea, so spicy) I had a cinnamon roll. My, that was delicious.

After that I had to do a few jobs, and once I got home I decided to have my run before lunch. I was aiming for a shorter, faster run today, and was hoping that the cooler weather would help that.  So I headed out on the 3.7 mile course (this time with music for a change as I think I run faster to music). After 7 minutes it started raining, which was gentle at first, so cool and refreshing. I even passed a few other runners as the rain got heavier, and they were all very friendly and cheerful. I do think that when the weather is worse, runners are a more friendly bunch- we are all thinking “arent we crazy to be out in this?”.

By the end the rain was very heavy- the water was running in my eyes and I was regretting not wearing my tennis visor, plus I got a little worried that my top may start to go see-through (thankfully it hadn’t) and I am sure that helped me to speed up as I managed the route in 34 minutes. I am sure last time I did it, it was 37 minutes, and according to my Nike+ I did the first mile in 8.48 (wow), then 9.24 (still good and had a little stitch) and then 9.12. So a much faster pace than I am used to, but it is good for me to do this as I would like to speed up a little bit. I need to remember to take advantage of the cooler weather as I am much better in it.

Anyway, tomorrow I have friends over so guess what-

Yes folks, that means baking!

I made some carrot cakes (still yet to ice and may even take a pic tomorrow)- from the Hummingbird Bakery book. The recipe is for one big cake, so I did 1/3 of the recipe (as it was 300g this, 300ml that, 3 eggs etc), and made 8 cupcakes. Looking good so far.

Now one friend is a coeliac, so I have made some gluten free cornflake bites with G-F chocolate, plus some Nature’s Path flakes. I have baked for her in the past but it makes me so nervous in case there is a shred of flour left from previous baking, so making something like that was easier.

Anyone else worry about that? It would be similar I suppose to cooking for someone with a severe allergy, and although I do clean, put stuff through the dishwasher etc, the flour is so fine it gets anywhere. Anyway hopefully she will like them 🙂

I am off for some more spice imperial tea (black tea with vanilla, orange, cloves and cinnamon) – yum.

Thanks for all the comments too, I really appreciate them

🙂

Where is the rain?

I am not complaining, but rain was forecast for today. So I had lined up a queue of rainy day activities. It was a rest day for me anyway after my long run yesterday, and I was feeling quite stiff.

After breakfast it still wasn’t raining so I went out on a nice hour long walk, you know, making the most of the nice weather.

Then I had some jobs to do (pop to opticians to get glasses adjusted, pop to shops to get a few bits, get some jam jars) so I got on and did those bits. Still wasn’t raining!

My boyfriend went into the garden to mow the lawn (you know the saying “mow the lawn while the sun shines” or something like that!) and I popped out too- got another courgette, a few potatoes, tomatoes and a lonely blueberry. My blueberry bush didn’t do so well this year and it turns out I should have pruned it in the winter time. I will know next time. Its leaves go a beautiful pinky red colour now so it still looks fab.

Anyway, then I made some jam! Poppy47 on WLR sent me a recipe for plum and cinnamon jam, as I was given a massive bag of plums and could not decide what to do with them. I have never made jam before (well not since I was little and my Mum did, and that doesn’t really count!), but I followed the recipe and used a sugar thermometer; it smells so good with the cinnamon and it is in the jars now. Scones have been requested so will have to make some in the next couple of days. (Still not raining either! Not that I am complaining but have to go to the airport to pick some people up at midnight and I imagine it is going to pour just as I am driving).

While the football was on I spent some time looking back over blogs from the past few days, and I saw that the lovely Alison from http://runningfromrunningto.blogspot.com/ has nominated my blog as one that she reads. To join in with this I need to

  • Thank the person who gave you the award
  • Share seven things about yourself.
  • Nominate fifteen newly discovered blogs.
  • Let your nominees know about the award.
  • So, thanks Alison for reading (and your comments!).

    Here are seven things about me:

    1- I have been a vegetarian since I was around 15. I just never liked meat, and I really dont like the idea of dead things.

    2- I didn’t learn to drive until I was 21 as I was totally terrified of it. Now I don’t mind driving at all, but I do not like parking on steep roads.

    3-I am totally terrified of big black hairy spiders, and I do not like going up high buildings or steep things. 

    4- I am on the waiting list for an allottment but at the moment am making do in a little corner of my garden.

    5-I have been with my boyfriend since I was 17 (and now I am 29), gosh where does the time go?

    6-I bake every week for my boyfriend’s family as we usually go there for Sunday dinner.

    7- I was never christened and was raised in a non-religious household.

    Gosh nominating 15 blogs is tricky because I am not sure I even follow 15 blogs!

    Below are the ones I read pretty regularly:

    http://carrotsncake.com/

    http://britchickruns.wordpress.com/

    http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/

    http://happyherbivore.com/blog/

    http://www.jagsfitnessblog.com/

    http://jaimeruns.com/

    http://meganerdruns.com/

    http://www.nomeatathlete.com/

    http://ohsheglows.com/

    http://doasyourdadsays.blogspot.com/

    http://runningfromrunningto.blogspot.com/

    http://www.runnerskitchen.com/

    I also quite like

    http://iheartkatiecakes.blogspot.com/

    http://www.mueslilover.com/

    http://www.thegoodmoodfoodblog.com/

    Phew, 15 in all!

    So there you go- I will pop some links on comments pages, and if you haven’t already been nominated then here you go- I nominate you 🙂

    Now off for a bean burger, salad and sweet potato dinner, yum.

    Running vest dilemma

    Well, I was supposed to be doing down to the south coast for the day, and then I was going to do a long run tomorrow. But in the end I didn’t go down, and tomorrow it is supposed to tip with rain, so went out today. I had some bircher museli for breakfast, and pottered about as per usual. I loaded up my mp3 player with the newest marathon talk podcast, and got ready. For some reason I had no running tops left (all in the wash whoops) so had to make do with an old “workout” vest that is actually made of cotton. Not good. (It was that or wear one out the dirty wash basket which I could not face- what would you do?).

    Anyway my run was ok, it was very muggy again today, and after 40 minutes the sun came out and it was baking- I had to stop and walk in the shade for a minute to cool down. I ran around the lakes and then a double loop through the park (had to stop again and sort my sock out which was rubbing on my toe). In the end I did 8 miles which is my longest run since before holiday (and possibly since my half marathon, not sure). I think I was pretty consistent, although the Nike+ shows some slower miles (due to me stopping I think)- my fastest was 8.48, and my slowest was 11.28 (which was when I stopped for a bit), and altogether was bang on 80 minutes.

    When I got home I had some chocolate nesquick (yum, had forgotten how good that is) and after my shower I realised it was lunch time! I had a slice of sunflower seed rye bread with goats cheese, and then cooked up some spinach and cherry tomatoes, and added some basil pesto. Delish. I was still hungry so went for blueberries, yoghurt, blob of plum compote and a sprinkle of fru-grains. Yum.

    I sat here and did some work, and realised I was getting stiff, so decided to have a walk. I went about 2 miles, plus a little wander around the shops (I treated myself to some new tea- teabags and loose leaf tea “Imperial Spice” which is black tea with orange and spices). When I got home I had a cup of spice tea (verdict- delish as always well done Whitards), plus some banana bread with choc PB.

    Since then I have done a little more work, plus updated the “about me” page, and added a list of the blogs I follow.

    🙂