Mind the greenfly!

Last night was fab! We went into London to see Flight of the Conchords and they were super! They did so many songs and it was so impressive that they played them all live, sang live and chatted in between. The two of them are so funny, the songs are funny so it was a great evening. A late night for a Sunday though.

Well my legs were feeling tired today (that 11 miles on Saturday was super hard work), so I decided to have a short run after work to ease the stiffness. I had a look at a new route on www.mapometer.com , and found a nice route along a fairly flat, tree-lined road. I had fuelled my run with a small Berry Cheeky bar (so tasty) and plenty of water. It was nice to get out although I was totally covered in greenfly- ew! There were so many on my t-shirt when I got home and one went in my eye- next time I think I will wear sunglasses; I didn’t today because it was sort of cloudy and I feel silly running in them in the cloud- but I don’t want flies in my eyes. My run was 2.7 miles and I managed it in 27 minutes so for me it is a good speed, ten minute miles are my absolute fastest speed so I was pretty pleased.

Once home I made some pizza dough, showered and then made a super tasty pizza. I had to use up the goats cheese from Saturday, so I spread the base with some veggie red pesto, sprinkled on chopped red pepper, crumbled goats cheese, and some basil. Baked in the oven and served with a massive salad. Delicious (although not the most protein-packed meal ever it was exactly what I fancied).

I have been making my eyes square working away this evening- don’t you just hate those weeks when the work seems endless? I have some weeks where I have a good work-life balance, and others where work is so busy, so I am sure it all balances out in the end, but its not so good in those busy weeks.
Anyway, am of to watch 24 now (missed it last night) and to have some Alpro with granola bear nibbles. Delish!

Oat and Raisin cookies

Yesterday evening after dinner (bean burger, salad, tomatoes, sweet potato =yum) I tried out another recipe. This one was for oat and raisin cookies from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook . I love oatmeal raisin cookies but have never managed to find a recipe as good as the ones I have eaten on holiday- they always end up too crunchy like hob-nobs. A tip I have picked up (can’t remember where from) is to soak the raisins first, normally in water (but could be other liquid) to plump them up. This seems to do two things; they are lovely and moist, and they don’t burn in the oven.

So after soaking the raisins I mixed up the dough- I halved the recipe again (so in theory should have made 10 cookies) but in fact made 18 pretty generous sized cookies! I used half normal flour and half wholegrain spelt flour and I am loving this flavour in cookies- subtly nutty- it really went with the oats and cinnamon. I also used those vanilla oats which made them smell amazing!

They needed to cook for longer than stated, and once cooled I could not resist. The verdict? Pretty good. Scrumptious in fact, the texture was just right, nice and chewy, not crunchy, the raisins were sweet, you could taste the subtle cinnamon (cinnamon makes everything taste better) and the oats added a nice texture.

I will be making these again. Next time I might try an oatmeal raisin peanut combo, maybe use some PB instead of the butter (well I used olive spread but it’s the same).

Today I have been pottering around in the garden and I was most excited to see berries on my blackcurrant bush! They are little green berries, but there are loads of bunches! Compared to last year where I only had a handful (possibly 7, I can’t remember the exact number but it was hardly any) I will have a decent harvest!

I had to pot on yet more courgette plants (I have a recipe for courgette muffins which look like they would be amazing with soup for lunch)- once it all starts producing I am going to be busy in the kitchen.

I also planted some carrot seeds (some from the gardeners world dig in campaign and some that I had in the garage), some salad leaves and more sweetcorn seeds. I really need this weather to warm up so I can put everything outside, I am running out of space on all the windows!

I am off to London later to see Flight of the Conchords, which is going to be hilarious I am sure.

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

Close encounters of the bird kind (more on that story later)…..

So today I had breakfast (hooray I remembered a banana this week) and then made some dough for later. I had planned a new route which I really enjoyed (although I was nervous about getting lost silly me). The route was half of my old loop, then back near my house, off in the other direction to some lakes (where my race for life will be), a figure of 8 around the lakes, then back home. Just over 11 miles in 2 hours, so I was pretty slow going today. I felt tired and as it was hotter than it has been I took it easy and didn’t push myself. I decided that completing the distance was my goal. The Nike+ worked well (and I now have a medal on the profile as I did 6 runs in 2 weeks) but when I looked at the end my speed massively dropped! I was so tired and heading into the wind so not a good combo!

So the birds. Well running around lakes full of geese is maybe on reflection not such a good idea when they all have goslings! I was running around the lake and it was deserted, except for 3 geese and a gaggle of goslings. They were making their way across the path and out of my way, so I slowed down, but then they turned and went back on the path. I slowed down even more but then they started coming towards me, I even pointed to say “I want to go that way” but that didn’t help either! In the end I ran right off the path nearly into the bushes (it was either that or the lake) and managed to avoid them- phew.

I had some Nak’d Pineapple raisins on my run for a little sugar boost about half an hour from the end. They were tasty too, they did taste of pineapple, not quite like dried pineapple and were a welcome refreshing taste after all the running.

When I got home I tried some coconut water; I saw it in Holland and Barrett last week, according to the packet it has more potassium than sports drinks, plus electrolytes and things. It didn’t really taste like coconut though! I suppose for 19 cals per 100ml it would not have much flavour, but I did expect a hint. Anyway it did help to hydrate me, but the dreaded headache came back, although that could be to do with sitting at the computer all afternoon writing reports.

For lunch I had tasty flatbread with caramelised onion chutney and goats cheese- this week I cooked it for a little less time (17 instead of the 20 minutes) and I much preferred it- the bread stayed softer and less crunchy. I also had pouring yoghurt and apple topped with some pecan and treacle granola- SO tasty! I am loving the combo of yoghurt with some sort of crunchy topping, and so much better for you than a muller corner (those things are packed with sugar!). Plus miles tastier.

Mid-afternoon I had an Organic 9bar which was lovely! The thing is because I am having them all far apart from each other I can’t decide on my fave. This bar was also chewy, the carob topping was tasty (I cant tell it apart from chocolate) and the seeds make me feel virtuous! I had it with………

Cinnamon Chai! One of my birthday prezzies and the first time I tried it! It is so delicious! Like drinking cinnamon (surprise there), quite a sweet aftertaste but lovely and spicy. I love cinnamon!

I have spent the afternoon working, and am going to make some oatmeal raisin cookies now as my treat to myself, so I will put the photos and reviews on later or tomorrow.

Healthy fats

Healthy fats;

I was reading on another blog (www.chocolatecoveredKatie.com – she makes some tasty looking recipes) about celebrating healthy fats during her so-called “hug-a-fat” month. So I have decided to rave about one of my favourite healthy fats…..you guessed it- peanut butter!

Peanut butter does contain fat, but the huge majority (80%) is unsaturated and it has no trans fat at all! Some research has shown that the fats in peanut butter also help to lower blood cholesterol levels.

As well as all those good fats which are great for skin, hair, nails, it also contains Vitamin E, folic acid and niacin. As vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin it only appears in fats, and needs fat to be absorbed by your body. So it is a win-win situation!

Now although I love PB as it is healthy, I mainly love it because it tastes so good! I love it in cookies (replace butter with PB for delicious cookies- see my previous review on the best recipe), I love it in PB&J sandwiches (or wraps), I love it on a crumpet (maybe with a dollop of cherry spread too), I love it in Trek peanut butter bars, I love it in home-made cereal bars, I love it spread on a pink lady apple….

I love peanut butter!

So there is me hugging (well, raving about) my favourite fat! Hooray for hug-a-fat month!

Coincidentally (actually not quite) I had for lunch hazelnut butter on wholemeal bread (also some good fat so it links that way!).

I am so glad it is Friday, I have an 11 mile run planned tomorrow, but the route I did last week I didn’t really like so am going to be getting on www.mapometer.com to plan a new one.

Randomly I was sent a coupon (for my birthday) from Alpro soya. I have no idea how they knew it was my birthday, I must have signed up to something before. Anyhoo, I got some of those dessert pots (like custard really) as I have tried the yoghurts before and am not keen on the weird flavour- can’t put my finger on it but they tasted strange. So I have a new fave dessert; one pot of dark chocolate Alpro, 80g blueberries (on reflection cherries would be nicer but I had blueberries) and half a pack of Bear Granola Nibbles- Cocoa Cherry Pie flavour. It was so delicious, the granola added the perfect crunch, chewy bits of cherry added a nice chewiness and sweetness. I also have the apple crunch flavour which I think would be lovely with the caramel dessert, and maybe a cooked apple too.

My plans for the weekend (once I have done my work) include more planting, a trip to London and maybe some oatmeal raisin cookies.

Veggie friendly foods

Hooray! My order from ethical superstore turned up today; the millet and quinoa flakes look good- plus lots of protein = veggie friendly. I was thinking of making a muesli blend, but they can also be used warm as a rice-pudding style dessert. Definitely one to try! I also got some cacao nibs (am really looking forward to trying them) and some Divine chocolate covered mango. I have had this already so I know how delicious it is! In addition I had some Meridian Morello Cherry spread (it’s like jam but no sugar, only fruit cooked in apple juice); this is my favourite addition to a PB&J sandwich/ wrap/ crumpet. One blob of peanut butter and one blob of cherry spread on whatever you want! Seriously try it, it’s amazing (incidentally this was my lunch today in a little tortilla wrap, along with cinnamon pears and a yoghurt).

After work I went to get my hair cut (no body pump tonight as the instructor is away- boo), whoops I had not had it cut in months and months! After that I popped to Waitrose to get a few bits. I love their frozen butternut squash- I know it’s lazy to not chop it up myself, but seriously how do people do it? I would quite like an electric carving knife for pumpkins alone, as I always feel like I am about to be on casualty and chop my hand off. I have read to stab them a few times and then microwave to soften the skin. Well that would be OK if I could actually pierce the skin!

So the frozen ready peeled stuff it is for me!

I also got a few other tasty nibbles (pink lady apples were on offer- yay), some boxes of granola bear nibbles (have only got these in Boots before) and some treacle and pecan granola which looks amazing- this will be a post-run snack I feel.

I got home pretty late so have been updating the photos on here (takes me a while to add them to my recipes) and pottering about.

I really do need this weather to warm up; my courgette plants are huge- the window sills all look like jungles and need to get outside into some space! I have heard that the weather this weekend is going to be nicer so hopefully summer is around the corner.

I was reading that soon it is going to be National Vegetarian week, and I often get asked (well usually as soon as people find out I am veggie) why I am vegetarian. I also get offered fish a lot, and no that would mean I would be a pescatarian. It is a bit late now to explain it all, but I will later. I will say that I am not interested in “converting” anyone else, so don’t worry I am not going to become all preachy.

Friday tomorrow yeah!