Hi guys, errrrm how is it 21st November? I’ve been married now almost two months. That is mind-blowing!
I’ve really being feeling Christmassy. I love Christmas – it’s my favourite time of year. I love how everyone has that Christmas feeling; that expectation and excitement. I love the music and the decorations. And, obviously, I love the food.
What I hate about Christmas is this sudden fear of the dreaded holiday weight-gain. All these articles start appearing about “How to avoid the Christmas bulge” and “What foods to avoid at a Christmas buffet” etc. It sort of takes the fun out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to throw myself into a giant-sized box of Celebration chocolates with abandon. But I’m not going to sit here and deny myself the treats that I so look forward to. Mince pies? Yes please. A slice of stollen? Ohhh yes. I just wish the media could tone things down a bit and stop making people feel so damn guilty about eating the food of the season. Come on people, let’s relax a little shall we?
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working at the customer site at the moment. It’s quite a good team we have; there’s only seven of us and it’s nice and relaxed. The work is tough as the system that’s being developed is fairly complicated but we’ve got a good atmosphere. However. Outside our little bubble the normal business-as-usual life of the customer is working around us. And I don’t think they like us. They practically growl at us when we laugh. Raise their eyebrows when we have moderately loud conversations. And the worst part? They have the radio on. And it’s the same station. All. Day. Long. If I hear Skyfall ONE MORE TIME I might cry. Whew, sorry about that. Got that outta my system.
Right, so it’s What I Ate Wednesday – though this is Sunday’s eats. Let’s get started, shall we? Thanks to Jenn as usual!
Breakfast: I’ve been experimenting with breakfast. OK, still my usual porridge/oatmeal. But I’ve jazzed it up with my new favourite ingredient: coconut flour.
OK, it doesn’t look any different. But let me assure you, this has a heaped tbsp. of coconut flour added to it. It adds a lovely subtle coconut taste and makes it very thick and stodgy. Perfect porridge consistency in my books. And it’s added a lovely smooth texture to it now. So with this at 7am I’m good to go until midday (with coffee as well, obviously).
Lunch: during the week I either have a mixed bean chilli or a salad, but at the weekend I can be a bit more exciting. Usually in the form of something eggy. As enticing as that sounds…
I whipped up three eggs, some chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped onions and half a cup of pumpkin puree. The pumpkin was a great add. Really thickened it up. And made the eggs a lovely, er, colour And I’m obsessed with Brussels’s sprouts at the moment. Might need to tone that down before I overdo it before Christmas – and what’s Christmas without sprouts??
Dinner: I decided to try a Thai-style coconut curry. Unfortunately I didn’t have any coconut milk but I thought with my new favourite ingredient I could attempt it anyway. I didn’t really follow any recipe. I just threw things together.
Coconut Chicken Curry(serves 2)
Blob of coconut oil
Clove garlic, diced
Inch of fresh garlic, grated
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 cup of frozen mixed veg
1 white onion, diced
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp. chilli powder
1.5 tsp. dried coriander
– Heat a pan with the oil, then add the onion and fry until the onion is golden. Add the mushrooms and fry for 1 minute before adding the garlic.
– Add chicken and brown.
– Add the yogurt and mixed veg. Cook for 3-4 mins.
– Add the coconut, herbs and spices.
– Once the chicken is cooked and the sauce has thickened up serve.
It was really tasty. The coconut flour helps to thicken it up and the yogurt makes it very creamy. Perfect. You can add other spices to make it more interesting if you fancy – I was just using what I had to hand.
Snacks: yeah…I might have had some Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Brownie Frozen Yogurt. My favourite flavour and it was brilliant to have alongside watching Erin Brockovich. Anyone else love Julia Roberts? Brilliant film!
Fitness: I ran on Monday and though it went really well in terms of speed it really didn’t agree with me.
I finished the run feeling like I was going to be sick. It really wasn’t fun. I wasn’t sick, thankfully. I think it was a mix of pushing myself a bit too hard and I’m thinking the ice cream the night before didn’t help things.
I plan on running this lunch time with Mr Ego so we’ll see how that goes. He’s toned down a bit now which is nice. We motivate each other but I’m still finding the runs a bit too easy as his pace is slower. But you know, I’m not too bothered as it’s just good to get out. I like to have the company and it’s so refreshing to get out of the office. Though we tend to chat about work while we run which isn’t so good!
Important question: too soon?
Oh, also – check out Ffion’s blog (Chocolate and Respberries) for a great Christmas-themed giveaway! Delicious Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar 🙂 Hotel Chocolat do amazing chocolates…toss up between them and Lindt for my favourite.
Well, it was meant to be my day off today but work got too critical and I had to come in. If I’m honest I’m not too annoyed as work is really interesting at the moment (how sad do I sound??). But it’s Friday so weekend soon!
This week in the UK the Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 premier happened in London and it was Twihard mania. I mean seriously, over 5,000 people waited for over 32 hours in Leicester Square to see the cast. Unbelievable. My dad was in Leicester Square the day before and girls were camped out ready.
Jeeze. I work with an older guy (let’s call him Fred) who really isn’t in touch with current happenings in terms of new music, films, trivial celebrity happenings etc. Fred’s super smart and has an immense knowledge in history and things like that, but ask him about a TV programme or a film and he knows nothing – we’re talking, no knowledge of the X-Factor or Harry Potter.
So, it was around this time last year when the premier for Part 1 was going on when Fred was at our current customer’s London site (Leicester Square) and (I won’t say who I customer is) but they often interview famous people. Anyway, Fred only got into an elevator with Robert Pattinson and Kirsten Stewart. He had absolutely no idea who they were and clearly was nonplussed with sharing such a small space with them. And (this is an absolutely true story) R-Patz turned to him and said “You have no idea who she is, do you?” and Fred replied “No, sorry I don’t work here”. He was dutifully informed of who they were when he got out of the elevator though by another one of my co-workers who was gobsmacked by who he was stood next to.
How funny is that? I love that Fred literally had no idea who they were. I mean it must have been a reality shock for them that someone in the whole universe didn’t know them. Don’t get me wrong, I love Twilight and R-Patz is a hottie but I like it when celebs get their egos shaken a bit.
Now, this might surprise you but I love my salads. I know, I know, this is crazy talk. OK, well no it really isn’t. But I thought I’d do a post focused on my beloved salads as I have them so often, but mix it up with different variations.
I always start with a simple base of some standard veggies:
Lettuce, chopped cucumber, sliced tomatoes, chopped mushrooms and diced beets. Simple, cheap, easy flavours that go well together and are cheap.
Then I always have some protein. This is usually in the form of a cheese (goat’s cheese, mozzarella, halloumi or feta).
If I’m feeling really hungry or the cheese isn’t that calorie dense, I’ll add either chicken, egg, hummus or chickpeas to make more of a proper meal.
And I’ll always have some kind of fruit chopped up in there as well for sweetness, like plumb, peach, mango, figs, pomegranate, or peer.
Sometimes I’ll drizzle balsamic vinegar onto the salad, sometimes I’ll sprinkle nutritional yeast, or some toasted pumpkin seeds.
This might sound like a boring meal but I honestly love it and I never get bored because I can switch up the ingredients to whatever I fancy. Like randomly adding roasted pumpkin!
It’s great for using up food. My salads are usually fairly massive and they fill me up nicely without making me feel uncomfortable, which is great for the evening when I get in at around 7ish after work and don’t actually eat until 8. I tend to go lighter on the carbs at dinner just because I don’t think I need it. I need my carbs in the morning to get myself going.
I’m always on the look out for new flavour combos, so I’m open to new suggestions
Wow the week has gone quickly. I must say this all the time but seriously. This week has been fairly tough. We’re working on the customer site at the moment and this adds an extra 30 mins on to my already one hour commute. And it’s half term at the moment which means traffic is amazing. Next week is just going to be terrible. I’m here for another five weeks!!
Right, moan over. As I said in my last post I had meant to post on Monday but it just didn’t happen. Sleep was chosen instead. Sorry I’m not sorry.
I wanted to do a quick mention of the mammoth task that was cooking my pumpkin. I was devastated when I’d used up my one and only tin of pumpkin puree that I’d got from America on my honeymoon. I almost bought a million a few more tins but decided I should try making my own.
OK I realise pumpkin might be a bit old news now as Halloween is over and October is finished but this was quite an arduous process and I just want to at least document it as, honestly, a fair amount of effort went into it and I’m chuffed at my achievement (yes, achievement). I followed THESE instructions. In the end I got a hefty amount of pumpkin puree, and I saved a quarter for roasting, and got a handful of pumpkin seeds. Fabulous. Stocked up for a few years at least!
So I’ve been using pumpkin everywhere as you can imagine. I wanted to make some relatively healthy pumpkin cookies for Halloween and this recipe was really quite easy.
Pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies (recipe adapted from HERE)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups flour (you could use whole wheat here I guess but I only had normal white flour)
3 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar (I actually subbed this for Stevia and went on taste just to make it a bit healthier)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
– Combine pumpkin, eggs and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, add flour, oats, sugar/Stevia, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Combine wet and dry ingredients until mixed. The dough is very thick and fairly dry, I added a few splashes of almond milk.
– Drop onto a greased baking sheet. I did 18 fairly chunky cookies, though you could easily make them smaller to make more. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.
They were crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. Lovely! You could probably add chocolate chips or nuts in there as well but I wanted to keep things simple.
I also threw some roasted pumpkin to a feta salad. This was great. I love salads with hot ingredients.
And I added pumpkin puree to porridge:
I’ve got to say, I didn’t notice any difference apart from it being slightly more creamy. I’m a big fan of more stodgy porridge/oatmeal so this didn’t blow me away if I’m honest. But some extra nutrients in the morning is always good I guess!
This weekend we have nothing planned. Hurrah! So I’m hoping to get a long run in tomorrow morning (we’ll see) and the usual chores. We’re loving Grey’s Anatomy (season 6) at the moment so Saturday night will probably be a fair few episodes of that with maybe a cheeky gin & tonic. Bliss.
What are you up to this weekend?
Have you gotten over the pumpkin craze or is still living strong?
Hi guys! Hope your week is going well. Mine is sailing along. Work is good, home is good, Ben is great and Alfie still needs a hair cut. Well, you can’t have everything. He’s a lucky pooch at the moment for escaping this particular event. But soon…just wait, he will be smartened up whether he likes it or not!
Why I do believe it’s Wednesday! Soooo another WIAW post if you don’t mind. And I’m finally matching the Halloween theme for this month!
I love getting involved in this because it really makes me conscious that I need to eat less boring food and make things exciting, for fear of boring the hell out of you. Well, you might still find it boring but I’ve put some effort into my eats this week…so prepare yourself.
This is what I ate Sunday.
Breakfast: I thought I’d throw something new out there (new for me, not for the nine billion other bloggers who have done and dusted this a million times before).
Pumpkin pancakes! These were undeniably delicious. Ben looked at me in disgust when I told him what I was having for breakfast. I ignored him; he just doesn’t understand the pumpkin craze. I used this recipe from Ashley’s blog. OK it’s meant to be a waffle but I don’t have a waffle maker…yet. [Mother, if you are reading this –> IDEAL CHRISTMAS PRESENT]. I also didn’t have any chocolate chips but didn’t really fancy any so it worked out nicely.
I then jazzed them up with some raspberries and peanut butter sauce.
I was stuffed. I wasn’t hungry for hours! And they were so simple to make.
For lunch I wanted to use my little munchkin to make a quick soup. I roasted up the chopped munchkin (sounds a bit harsh doesn’t it?) and a couple of carrots while slowly sweating some diced onion in a pan with some garlic. Then I threw the roasted veg in with the onion.
I added some vegetable stock and some spices (cumin, a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, lots of pepper). I simmered until it all smelt yummy and the veg was completely soft. Then I whizzed it up with a hand-held blender.
I sprinkled some pumpkin seeds on top but I hadn’t roasted them yet so they look a bit feeble to be honest. But the soup was very tasty. Warm and filling! Ideally I would have liked to have had a chunky slice of rye bread alongside but realised I didn’t have any (bad planning) so had to do with three rice cakes but added some Philadelphia to make them taste less like cardboard.
Not nearly as exciting but not too shabby actually. Dipped in the soup it worked out quite well. So a bit excessive on the pumpkin front, but tasty none-the-less.
Basically it’s sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, chicken, goat’s cheese and a splash of olive oil. In the oven for 30mins (or until the chicken is cooked through).
I served mine up with a corn on the cob that I got from the farm shop.
And for Ben I made some garlic bread (as we’d run out of our usual stash from the freezer).
Granted, it does just look like dry toast with bits on it. But I soaked the bread in some butter that I’d ‘infused’ with garlic and then oven baked. He said it tasted amazing and that’s all I care about!
Snack-wise was usual. An apple, a banana, another apple, Snack a Jacks, maybe another apple (who’s counting anyway??).
For my fitness I’ve changed my routine. Shocking news, I know. It’s just too damn difficult to get up half-way through the night at 5.30am. I’ve moved my runs to lunchtime. This actually came about because a woman at work who knows I run and wanted to start running at lunchtime and invited me along. I wasn’t too sure but thought I’d give it a try. I still do my strength training in the morning (three times a week) but I can start half an hour later because I’m not running the morning. Woohoo! And believe me, there is a BIG difference between getting up at 5.30am and getting up at 6am.
Anyway I was ready to run but unfortunately she was suffering from a cold. So I thought I’d still go and ‘check the scene’ you know – the lay of the land and find a route and see how it went. It went amazingly! I got a personal best time for 3 miles – 22mins 30secs!! Despite the fact that the hills around where I work are a NIGHTMARE.
OK, it doesn’t look so bad in the photo. But let me tell you, IT KILLED ME. Anyway, the next day I was aching like crazy – which I haven’t done after a run in ages.
The shower at work is, er, adequate…
Not too bad I suppose! So the verdict is, I prefer now to run during work. It’s so nice to get out in the fresh air at lunch time. It makes me feel less bitter and grumpy at the world in the morning – I’m in a less dark and twisty place And gone are my slug dodging mornings.
The change in routine is working out really well. I do three sets of strength training a week (more to come on that in another post), two runs a week at work, one at home (so I can push Ben out of bed and come with me) and then Pilates at the weekend. Whew.
So good food, good runs, happy Anna!
When do you work out? Morning? Evening? During work?
Do you ever have it when you can’t stop craving a certain type of food? I’m guessing this isn’t an uncommon thing. I know it happens to me a lo [I used to eat carrot and coriander soup like every day]. I just get a type of food in my head and I just want to eat it with every meal. Eggs are my current obsession.
I just think they’re amazing. Powerhouses of nutrition within their own little package. And very versatile. You can cook them in so many different ways. But my two favourites are scrambled and fried. Personally, I think you just can’t beat a runny yolk. And with scrambled egg, pretty much anything goes with what you can throw in with it. I love scrambled egg and tuna, and onion is always a must! Maybe a few cheeky cherry tomatoes as well. Or salmon (smoked or tinned) goes amazingly as well. Ahh bliss.
But lately, my favourite salad du jour is this:
I promise you, there is feta and salad underneath that beasty egg. I made a mega egg by adding an egg white to one egg.
Within this salad there’s feta, beets, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber, lettuce, errrm yep that’s it. It might seem like a weird combo having egg and feta but it really goes! Or at least, I’ve convinced myself it goes…
I’ve also been eating an egg white alongside my morning breakfast oatmeal to increase my protein intake. Nothing fancy, just an egg white that I zap in the microwave for like 50 seconds and have after my oats. I’m thinking of adding it actually to my oats but I quite like just eating it on its own. Makes it feel like an extension to my normal meal! There are many reason I’m not a vegan, but not being able to eat eggs is a strong argument against it. Not that I have anything against being a vegan, I fully respect anyone who is a vegan, but personally for me it would be too hard. The only foods I don’t eat are ones that I don’t like the taste of (yes, cheddar, that is YOU). But I digress.
I also wanted to share my crazy flip-flops:
I won’t show you me wearing them up close as, seriously, feet are gross and I hate mine especially. But I love these shoes, they’re a bit crazy, I love the colours! And the feathers!
What are your favourite foods that you just can’t get enough of right now?