Chocolate hazelnut cupcakes


So after my lack of run yesterday I was missing the lake, so I went for a nice walk around the lakes this morning, but it was so hot! I tried to do some gardening but in the midday sun there is no shade- all I managed to do was pot on a new strawberry plant, plant some beans (something has eaten the other ones I planted) and pick some strawberries.
So today I have been inside, watching the grand prix, the football (yes it was a goal but Germany were the better team so I am not moaning!) and making some cupcakes. It has been ages since I made some, so I had a look in the Hummingbird Bakery book and decided to try out the chocolate hazelnut ones. Basically they are chocolate cupcakes, with icing made with nutella (or generic chocolate hazelnut spread). They are so good! I decorated them with some hazelnuts too, and tried to make the icing look all swirly. Took them around for family tea and they were enjoyed by all so I would recommend this recipe, yum.

I also made some more fake frozen yoghurt; this time I used 80g frozen mango chunks and mixed with a small pot of mango yoghurt- so yummy! It looks like frozen yoghurt and has the lovely thick texture of it. I think that vanilla soya desserts would also be good to mix in instead of yoghurt, so I might try that soon.

Bad bad run, fun food shopping

Apologies for not being around this week. It was going to be fab- I was going to have a short run after work Monday, aerobics after a late meeting on Tuesday, get up early for a run Wednesday before work (so I could leave and watch the second half of the England match- then out for celebration meal with work in the evening), body pump Thursday and a rest on Friday. What actually happened was this: Monday break-time we all got called into the staffroom- Ofsted were on their way for Wednesday and Thursday. Cue being at work from 7am, not leaving til 7pm, plus lots to do at home too. (As an aside this is not because our plans etc are rubbish, but Ofsted expect perfection- they may only observe for 10 minutes but in that 10 minutes expect to see everything!- also I usually have PPA time (time out the class for planning etc) but this was taken away so the children had continuity of teachers- so more lessons to plan for than usual. Plus I get everything ready in advance instead of leaving some things until the morning just in case!). That was a long bracket! So anyway all the runs and classes went out the window, and the week was full of work, worry and little else!

So this morning I was really looking forward to a run. I had breakfast as usual, a big drink of water and headed out. After ten minutes I had to stop to cross a road and felt so dizzy all of a sudden I had to hold on to the push the button post thing. Not good, but it went away so I carried on. Five minutes later I got to the park and felt so bad I sat on a low fence. I was feeling more and more dizzy and in the end sat on the grass for 5 minutes, drinking more water and trying to get the normal feeling back into my legs. At that point I knew I had to cut my run short, there was no way I was going any further. I then did a combo of walking/ slow jogging/ stopping until I got home. It really was the most awful run I have ever had. I think it must have been a combination of being a little dehydrated (it was so hot at work and although I have been drinking more water than usual it is maybe not quite enough), plus the stress of the past week. When I got home I was all clammy and had to sit with my head between my legs for a while. I had some coconut water as I thought it would do me good as it’s good for re-hydration, and then a cool shower. All day I have still been feeling dizzy, I have drunk so much water today and tried to take it easy, so fingers crossed I will feel better tomorrow.

On the plus side I have finally added the photos from the last few weeks (although not sure how to get the ones off my phone so may take some more next time I make bread).

I also popped to the shops and had a spending spree on healthy food! A post-ofsted treat! Holland and Barrett were doing buy one get one half price so I stocked up on coconut water (including some flavoured ones- mango and peach, and pineapple).

I also tried out a new health food shop (http://www.naturalhealthwelwyn.co.uk/store/ ) and got a few treats including rainforest nut butter (brazil, cashew and some other nut- have seen it on the net but never in a shop). I was impressed with the shop; from the outside it looked like a supplement shop, which normally puts me off, but inside it had a big selection of groceries; cereals, cooking things like maple syrup, agave, pesto etc, snacks and treats, all the gluten free nak’d bars (hooray! including gingerbread so I got a couple!!), and even a fridge and freezer section. They also sold tempeh which I have been reading about (it’s a soya protein but higher in protein than tofu), I think I will look up some recipes before I buy it though. Although when I paid the lady asked if I had a loyalty card and I said no. I am not wondering how you get one and maybe I should have asked! Silly me!

This evening I have made some peanut butter and white chocolate cookies (with some agave instead of caster sugar)- they are very gooey at the moment but I love chewy cookies so am hoping they will be ok. I also got very hot in the kitchen making a vegetable quinoa bake for the freezer (onion, pepper, courgette, spinach, tomato, quinoa, black beans, sundried tomato, herbs- all mixed up in a pan and simmered) so I had a walk too to cool down . Fingers crossed I am back to normal tomorrow!

Sneaky short one before breakfast

I woke up early this morning and straight away the thought of a short run crossed my mind. I did try to go back to sleep, but then I decided that I would fit just a short run in. I had a lot of water, changed and then headed out. By that time it was about 8.15am and I was surprised as to how many people I saw; it was lovely though because there wasn’t much traffic about so I didn’t have to stop at all when crossing roads (well of course I slow to look for traffic but no pushing the button or what-not). I decided to go quite fast, and according to my Nike+ I was just faster than 9 minute miles which is speedy for me. I did 2.65 miles and was home before the alarm went off! Result! It’s a great feeling to have a run right at the start of the day.

Aside from that I have been busy seeing family, not much else to report. Bye!

Perfect running weather

I think I am back to normal which is fab! This morning after breakfast I went out on a run. I didn’t want to do a super long run, (last time I did 9 miles on the Saturday following the half and it really knocked me out for the day!) but I wanted to feel like I had got a proper workout in. I went up to the lakes, around both lakes (no geese this time), around the park for a bit and then back around one lake. It was nearly 7 miles so a nice run, in 71 minutes, so I am still managing to keep up my new slightly speedier running. Running around the park was really enjoyable, it was nice to be away from the traffic although I did have to keep my eye out for rabbit holes and mole hills! It was cloudy and overcast but good weather for running as it kept me cool. I had on some new Capri pants from Nike, and they were pretty good. Although the site I ordered them from (she active) doesn’t have a size guide, so I went for medium but it turns out that is 12-14 which meant they were a little on the baggy side. They are supposed to be compression ones but hey-ho, at least they didn’t fall down. The downside is that they have no pockets (I was so sure they had a back zipped pocket and I spent about 5 minutes checking!) and I do like to fill my pockets with tissues, my mp3 player, raisins and other assorted items! Anyway my water bottle holder has a zipped pocket so the mp3 player went in there. I listened to the Lilo and Stitch soundtrack which was fab, very summery with a good measure of Elvis thrown in.

I have been out on a walk too, and also pottering about in the garden for a bit. I got very excited today, first of all because I picked my first strawberries of the year (including one being eaten by a baby slug eww- the joys of organic gardening!), and secondly because two, yes, two of my courgette plants have baby courgettes growing on them. Including some yellow ones! I have only ever had yellow courgettes (zucchini) in America before, and when I saw the seeds I decided to have a go at growing them. After my courgette jungle at home I was not sure which plant was which when they finally went outside. So I am so excited to see that they are growing! My pumpkin plant has grown loads too, I keep tying it to the canes but it seems to have finally worked out how to hold on for itself- the tendrils have wrapped around the canes too, and it has a few flowers growing too. The apples on the tree are getting bigger than golf balls now, and my potato plants are getting big. It’s all so exciting!

I was having a look online for some inrpiration for baking (it had to be something that could fit in my top oven as the big oven is broken. The top oven is smaller so cookies were out, or so I thought..). Anyhoo I came across a recipe for Oatmeal raisin bars on Carrots’n’cake (http://carrotsncake.com/2008/08/oatmeal-raisin-bars.html ), and they looked tasty (score) plus they cooked in a small glass dish (this would fit in my top oven, double score!).

I have changed the recipe a little (I like to weigh stuff out) into chocolate chip cookie bars.

In a bowl I mixed 120g oats, 50g wholegrain spelt flour, 60g brown sugar, 23g sunflower oil, 50g apple sauce, 1 egg, 1tsp vanilla extract, 1tsp cinnamon and some chocolate chips. I mixed it all up and put it into the dish which I lined with baking paper. This went in at 180C for about 30 minutes. I cut it into 10 bars once cool and it is yummy! One bar is about 140 calories and makes a pretty good treat!

I have also been looking into independent shops nearby and have found a nice looking “health-food” store which I will be popping to fairly soon. It is always nice to go somewhere new to get inspiration, plus it stocks a lot of delicious looking things that I normally order online.

Tomorrow I am having a super busy day (2 lots of family to visit for father’s day plus a surprise party shhhhh) so I am sure I will not be doing any baking. But someone is coming to fix the oven on Monday so hopefully I will be back to normal soon!

More recovery

Yay I got out for a run today! All day at work I was looking forward to it. When I woke up this morning my legs were still a teeny bit stiff, but not sore, so I knew I would be ok and a run would help. After work I had a yummy Trek peanut bar, and then headed home to change. I could not decide how far to go so thought I would see how my legs felt. My mind was wandering and then I realised I had already run past the furthest point on my shortest run. So I carried on down to the lake. Even though the sun was shining there was quite a strong breeze so I stayed quite cool (or I didn’t overheat!). Going around the lake was lovely, although I didn’t see much wildlife and got a rather sarcastic-sounding whistle from a bunch of guys packing up their fishing stuff. I like to ignore it and then think of replies in my head (my choice today was “I bet you couldn’t run a half marathon”- topical!). Once home I did quite a few stretches outside, then came in and had an apple sprinkled with cinnamon. Super tasty! More stretches before and after the shower just to be on the safe side!

There was almost a disaster then because half way through dinner the oven stopped working. Somehow it had tripped the fuse, so luckily dinner was saved! It was my rainbow dinner too- not sure how many veggies were in it- spinach, courgette, red onion, red pepper, tomato, basil, lentils, quinoa, served with green beans, butternut squash and beetroot! Woah!

I also had a peanut butter blondie (the ones made with apple sauce and agave) to top up my reserves!

I had a look at the photos today from the half marathon. It’s the first time I have seen any- other races have never photographed me before (or it never shows up in the searches) but this time there were loads of me- all in the last 5 minutes so I was looking rather pained in some. I was pleased though as there are a couple of action shots (yes I am actually running) plus my face is nowhere near as red as I thought it looks after a run- super impressive as these pics were taken after over 2 hours of running!