Birthday surprises! And make your own birthday cake.

Well I have had a lovely birthday today. I was most excited to be given a Nike+ sports band (pink one!) to complement my running. This may see an end to my notebooks with lists of runs and times. Or maybe I will still keep them just in case the computer loses the info.

The weather was not that great (wind and rain is not a good mix for a day out) so we have postponed until tomorrow. So instead I made myself a birthday cake (carrot cake from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook). I cooked it in 2 tins instead of 3 (only have 2 that are the same size) so it needed longer. Also it said to use double the amount of cream cheese frosting but one lot seemed plenty. You can tell this is an American recipe book! Yet again I forgot about using the electric whisk for the icing, so used it for the cake batter and then got all hot and bothered making the icing by hand. I think next time I would make normal cream cheese icing (cream cheese plus icing sugar) instead of their recipe (which also has butter in it). The finishing touch was to sprinkle it with cinnamon, which would also be good to hide any lumps in the icing! Let’s face it, cinnamon makes most things taste even better.

The two of us went into the garden while the rain had stopped and managed to plant all the purchases from yesterday. The wind had battered the garden a bit though and a lot of the tulips had been blown over. Once that was done we came inside for a cup of tea (and a slice of yummy carrot cake) to warm up because it was freezing outside.

I also made some flapjacks to take to work (from Rachel’s Food for Living book)- they seemed to turn out really well. Sometimes when I make flapjacks they are too gooey and they all stick in the tin, or they are too crumbly and turn into granola when I slice them. I would definitely use the recipe again; at the bottom of the page there were ideas to make other flavour ones (ginger ones sound nice) so it’s a recipe that can be adapted.

I was also given a book about women’s running, some chai tea from Whitards (I had chocolate chai for Christmas which was yummy, am looking forward to seeing what they one is like- it’s chai tea but without black tea so just cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and a few other spices), some pretty butterfly and dragonfly sculpture things for the garden, and a lovely pink cake stand. Watch this space for my creations being displayed on a pretty cake stand instead of a plate (or the lid of a tub).

I am hoping that tomorrow I will have enough energy after my day trip that I squeeze in a run so I can try out my new toy, it’s all so exciting!!!

What to eat after a run

Well looks like my order to the weatherman worked! After my breakfast I made some dough for bread later on, and then went out on a ten mile run. Sun cream-check! Sunglasses- check! Raincoat- I got it ready but decided to leave it behind. I was pretty pleased with my time of 105 minutes, but by the end I was really flagging; I had run out of water and I was so hot, and yet again I have had a headache all day. I think I am going to investigate proper hydration drinks instead of water as I think it may be due to dehydration. My run was lovely; I saw so many wild flowers growing (cornflowers, tulips, bluebells) and the weather held out the entire time.

Once home I had the other half of my banana and a Trek Cocoa Brownie Bar. One word; yum! It is similar to the Nak’d cocoa bars but I think it seems more dense. With 11g protein it seems a good choice for veggies, and the soya crispies give it a bit of a different texture. I have seen on other blogs people putting them in the microwave for a little to heat them up, so next time I might try that.

After a shower I finished making the bread. I used the recipe for foccacia bread from The Italian Dietbook, but I made 1/3 of it (so 150g flour, yeast, salt,1tbs olive oil and 100ml warm water for the dough), and changed the topping to some red pesto (the veggie stuff I got in Morrison’s the other day), tomatoes and sun blush tomatoes. It was tasty! I also shared a punnet of Graze rocky mountain mix (one of my faves- pecans, cranberries and dark chocolate buttons).

I spent the afternoon going round the garden centre and am very pleased with my purchases. I have a few plants for the garden (lavender, geranium, clematis) and then more food plants; pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow cherry tomatoes, sweet pepper, another strawberry plant (in my opinion you can never have too many strawberry plants!), and a thornless blackberry bush (for an extremely bargainous £2.99!!!). It is basically a twig with leaves on it at the moment, so not sure if I will get any fruit from it this year, but my blackcurrant bush started out as a twig (it actually arrived in the post in a jiffy bag- someone had sent off to Ribena for me and I nearly threw it away!!) and last year I got a little bit of fruit, and this year it has a lot of flowers on it. So I will be patient with my blackberries.

Tomorrow I was hoping for a day out as it’s my birthday, but as rain is forecast we may have to postpone. If not, I am planning on spending the day baking. I have carrot cake planned, and maybe some kind of flapjack (to take into work). So check back for recipe reviews tomorrow!

Supermarket sweep!

Later on last night I tried the 9Bar Original, and it was very tasty. It’s made up of different seeds (some sugar and oil to combine) and then coated in carob (which tastes like chocolate). It was very tasty, the seeds made it nice and chewy. I think the bar was around 280 calories, and was a lot more enjoyable than eating a pile of seeds! I am looking forward to trying the other flavours.

After hearing that they were on offer in Morrison’s I went there after work today to stock up. Alas they had none in stock (but a tempting sign saying that a 3 pack was around 80p- may have been 89p can’t remember). They did have a pretty impressive wholefoods sections so I stocked up! I think the girl at the checkout was a bit confused as to why I bought 20 mini nakd bars (but they were 24p! Bargain!). I also got some more agave nectar (have only bought it from the internet before), some good flax oil, some veggie red pesto and veggie green pesto, pistachios and a rather tasty looking bag of porridge oats with banana and vanilla.

After that I had an early dinner (nice spaghetti with peppers, courgettes and pesto) before heading off to body pump. The class was so busy this evening (sometimes there are only 5 of us); loads of new people. It was such hard work, perhaps partly due to the fact that the air conditioning wasn’t really on so it got very warm in there.

My arms are killing me now so typing is hard work, so am going to collapse on the sofa now!

Orange raisins?

Today my throat got better during the day, so after work I had a packet of Nak’d Orange Raisins. They are basically raisins infused with orange flavour, so they are like sweets! The pack was 75 cals so not bad for a bit of sugar for pre-run energy. They tasted really like orange ice lollies; quite a strong orangey flavour but tasty.

Then I changed and went out on a short run (just under 3 miles in 27 minutes) although it was muggy out there so I got much hotter than I thought I would!

When I got back I was hungry so I had a small 30g Nakd Berry Cheeky bar; this was really yummy. It is made of dates, oats, raisins, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, apple juice, raspberries and strawberries all “smooshed” together. It tastes sweet, but not overpowering, and I think that the addition of nuts means it isn’t giving your blood sugar levels a massive spike due to the dried fruit. I think you can get them in 4 packs so I will look out for them.

I am looking forward to reading my new Women’s Running magazine which arrived today. I am already looking forward to my long run on Saturday (is that sad of me?) but I have been told that rain is on the way-grrr! I don’t mind a bit of drizzle (helps cool me down) but I really do not want torrential rain- can I put my order in with the weatherman now please?

9 bar parcel!

Today has not been such a good day. Work was fine but I had a long meeting which went on and on and on….. so I got home rather later. I usually have aerobics but all of today my throat has been feeling sore, and getting worse, and when I got home I felt so tired (plus I only had about 10 minutes to change and no time for a snack to go down) I decided to have an easy evening instead. I want to have a 3 mile run tomorrow, plus body pump on Thursday so I decided that if I took it easy this evening I might make it to them later on.

My Trek Cocoa Brownie bar was going to be my pre-aerobics snack but as I didn’t go I will have to try it another day.

I was a bit excited as when I got home I had received a little box of goodies from the lovely folks at 9bar.co.uk. I will post reviews on here as I try them. I am looking forward to them; they are a little high in calories (around 230 cals per bar) but there are some days (like when I do my long runs) that even though I eat a lot I have loads of calories left over, and need to find healthy options to eat instead of just more chocolate.

I had a nice walk in the evening sunshine before dinner, and have spent the rest of the evening relaxing. I am hoping to finish the book I have been reading; “ Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down”. I found it in the library and it has made me chuckle so many times. It’s a bit silly really (even though I read bits out that make me giggle my boyfriend can’t see what’s so funny!) but light-hearted and an easy bed time read. I do like a nice cup of tea so all the chapters about tea etiquette, making tea for other people and so on has hit home! In fact I may have a cup of tea and a sit down right now!