Let’s talk about food

Hey, hey, hey. So I know it’s been a lot about running lately. So I thought I’d talk about one of my other loves (no, not cake today). FOOD.

So I thought I’d join in with WIAW this week to liven things up (check Jenn’s blog out for more info).

I’ve been really loving using my slow cooker lately. OK yes it does involve a little forethought and preparation to get things going but once you’ve mastered the planning, it’s a dream. I love coming in at night from work and smelling a meal already on the way.

Bless Ben, I love him to be bits, but he doesn’t cook (beyond scrambled eggs or pasta with ready-made sauce). I don’t mind at all because I love cooking and, though I hate the term ‘housewife’, I love the idea that I’m fulfilling an ancient wifely duty of making a meal for my man. Plus I can bribe Ben with meals 😉

First up is a meal which is a firm favourite.

Slow cooker salsa chicken  

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken (Serves 2)

  • Two chicken breasts
  • One jar of salsa (I used Discovery)
  • Tin of adzuki beans (I’ve also used borlotti as well – any works)
  • Extra seasoning and spices
  • Optional toppings: cheese, sliced avocado, crumbled tortilla chips

– Put everything in the slow cooker.

– Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.

Yep that’s it. Embarrassingly easy really. I suppose you could make your own salsa but this is simply an easy weekday meal if you know you’re going to be rushed. As you can see, I served mine with roast butternut squash and, er, a lot of broad beans. Ben grated cheddar over his.

My next successful slow cooker meal that I’ve recently tried was also very simple (why make things complicated on a weekday?)

Slow cooker turkey leg

Slow Cooker Tandoori Turkey (Serves 2)

  • One turkey leg (remove skin if desired)
  • One white onion, chopped (not diced)
  • Tandoori spice blend (I used the one in the photo but you can use any or THIS recipe)
  • Juice from a lemon

– I removed the turkey’s skin as we’re not fans. Mix the lemon juice with your tandoori spice blend so it becomes a paste that you can spread evenly over the turkey.

– Put the onions at the bottom of the slow cooker, place the turkey on top. This helps it stop sticking and you get some lovely juicy onions to go with your turkey.

– Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.

**Word of warning: don’t then go to your personal training appointment (at 6.15am) straight afterwards. You will smell of Indian spices. It takes a while to stop smelling that way!**

– Remove turkey when done and basically the meat should fall off the bone. Remove any small bones.

Ben had his with onion rings and vegetables, while I threw mine in a monster salad.

Turkey leg saladThe photo is dreadful. I’m sorry. It’s also in a salad bowl if you can’t tell. *Hangs blogger head in shame*

Side note: can you believe I ate an entire turkey leg on our honeymoon?


Though not something particularly to be proud of…I do see this as an achievement.

And on a non-cooking note…The other week my work friends and I went out at lunch for Thai food. I went for fisherman’s soup to start (which was basically like a broth with seafood in it) and a spicy beef salad with crackers for my main.

Spicy Thai foodWell, the soup blew my head off. It was so spicy. My mouth was on fire and my eyes started to run. But I persevered!

Then the main came. My poor taste buds were inflamed once again. This meal was literally the hottest meal I’ve ever had. My mouth was burning. My eyes were running. I was sweating. I had to order a glass of milk. I kid you not. I felt sick by the end. It was nice, in a perverse “I’ll never taste anything again” way but seriously, 10 minutes later and I was still suffering. Everyone thought it was oh so hilarious.

Snacking-wise both Ben and I have been loving the Cocofina coconut and date bars that I won from lovely Lauren’s blog.

Cocofina coconut and date bars When I get that drop in energy mid-afternoon at work I have one of these bad boys and it helps perk me up. Very tasty.

This weekend, after Reading half, can you guess where we’re going to eat? My favourite restaurant of all time…Jamie’s Italian. And can you guess what I’m going to have? I’m so predictable. I swear if they don’t have the Turkey Milanese I will cry. It’s the best meal in the world (in my humble opinion). Happy days.

What’s your favourite restaurant? And favourite meal?

What have you been snacking on lately?

Do you use a slow cooker?

Let there be cake… #WIAW

Hello, you fabulous people.

The weekend gone was amazing. My mother-in-law, who I get on so well with, had the brilliant idea of hosting an afternoon tea party at her house on Saturday. Obviously this is the best idea in the entire world to me. So I thought I’d get involved with What I ate Wednesday!

 Check out Jenn’s blog for more details

But before I get to the good stuff…I had a really good workout in the morning. Obviously I would have much prefered to be out Pakrunning (do I say this every week? I think I do) but this was a second best. I went to spin and endured that torture for 45minutes before then going and doing my own strength routine afterwards. I like Saturdays at the gym because I don’t have to rush off straight after the class or worry about time like I do in the week. Though Saturdays are heaving with people furiously running on the treadmills (don’t they know about Parkruns??), using machines or doing personal trainer group sessions.

I did a similar routine to my Winter Workout but I missed off the single leg squats and added instead:

  • Russian twists with 8kg kettle bells
  • Planks
  • Lateral pull-downs
  • Kettle bell single arm presses
  • One arm rows

Ahh I fear that the days of my 5 minute planks are gone…I didn’t attempt a lengthy one, I tried to vary it up by moving each leg out and in while maintaining the same core position. And that was tough. Use or lose it!

In the end I was at the gym for two hours. Seriously. I am that sad. But it felt good to take my time and get what I needed to done. I didn’t want to go to the gym Sunday so it was then or never.

Back to cake.

My MIL had done herself proud 🙂

Let there be cake

There were sandwiches (ham, prawn, coronation chicken, cucumber and salmon with crème cheese), home-made Victoria sponge, home-made lemon drizzle, éclairs, little biscuits, scones (with raisins & plain)…a feast!

MIL Afternoon tea

Well, I pretty much had everything. Obviously.

A few sandwiches (I see it as a necessary ‘lining of the stomach).

Afternoon tea sandwiches

The coronation chicken was my favourite. I went back for a few more of those!

Then a lovely slice of Victoria Sponge. Positively scrumptious.

Victoria sponge

A cheeky slice of lemon drizzle.


And obviously a raisin scone with jam and clotted cream (no photo. I can only assume I was too concerned with stuffing my face and floating in cake heaven).


Mmm. Though I must say I was quite stuffed. This was Ben and my late lunch…and dinner as it turned out. We were so full! (How does that surprise me? Three cakes and a platter of sandwiches??)

Sunday was just a blissful day of nothing. I took Alfie on three lovely long walks though as I did get a bit cabin fevery. Sometimes I just have to be outside…I listened to Marathon Talk on two of the walks and walked with Ben on the other one. We were spying on some potential houses that we would love to buy…Fingers crossed maybe to moving out this year!

What would be on  your menu for afternoon tea? I’m not a fan of éclairs at all but my dad loves them. Victoria sponge is always a winner for me. And cucumber sandwiches.

Does it annoy you when the gym is busy? Thankfully our gym is quite big so there’s never a queue for machines or weights.

Have you been Parkrunning lately? I have such withdrawal symptoms!! 

Snack Monster

The heating is on. The big fluffy socks are out. The winter coat is being embraced. My early morning walks with Alfie are becoming very chilly. And when I say chilly, I mean COLD. I don’t understand dogs really. Alfie never looks cold. He never grumbles about going out in the cold or rain. He gets so excited regardless of what outside is like. I think we all need a bit of that relentless joy in our lives.

So I’m joining the fun with What I Ate Wednesday today:

Hosted by the lovely Jenn (check her blog for more info)

Honestly, I have become a hungry beast. Runger is going crazy in these parts. I am a snack MACHINE. At work my drawer is full of different snacks.

Snack drawer

Yes that is a salt shaker there; it’s for my popcorn Winking smile

Some relatively healthy (dried fruit, olives, pumpkin seeds) and some not so healthy (cranberry cookie, chocolates and sweets). This isn’t one day’s worth of snacks though! Usually in the day I’ll have my first snack about an hour or so after lunch, then another snack an hour before going home. Then I’ll have an evening snack after dinner.

There are lots of opinions as to whether snacking is healthy or not. For me at the moment, snacking is what I need. I haven’t vastly changed what I’ve been eating for my actual meals since training for the marathon but I have bumped up my snacks. I hate feeling so full and bloated after lunch or diner so I make sure my extra calories come from snacks around those meals. Plus I love food, so more time eating different food is a win in my eyes.

I recently got a Groupon voucher for Flavourly which is kind of a more elaborate foodie Graze. They send a box of assorted treats to you every month. So I tried it out.

**I have not been compensated for this review or been contacted by Flavourly, these are just my opinions**


I got loads of different items, such a curry kit, salad dressing, aubergine and basil paste (you should have seen Ben’s face with this one)… I’m not sure I’ll carry on my subscription only because it’s quite expensive but I enjoyed it as a once off. So many different things I’d never tried before.

I especially enjoyed these:

Bacon popcorn

Maple syrup and bacon popcorn. You know I love my popcorn but this rocked my world. SO tasty. Kind of salty and sweet. Don’t be scared of the bacon!!

I also enjoyed these dried apple crisps:

Apple crisps

Because I don’t eat enough apples I thought I better have these to up my intake Winking smile I was impressed that they were literally just apple slices. Nothing else in there.

And yes, I have been very much indulging in less than stellar snacks as well. You need a balance.


These were the special chocolates I paid a fortune for bought the other week. Unfortunately I’d forgotten what they all were, so it was a magical mystery tour of chocolates. I’m one of those people who spend ages looking at the chocolate flavours before trying one – no Russian roulette for me in the chocolate world.

And, for evening meals, I’m still loving my slow cooker.

Bean, squash and lentil stew

Bean, lentil and butternut squash stew

I used THIS recipe. I had to switch the chickpeas with cannellini beans though as I’d run out. This was so filling, hearty and tasty. Ben didn’t like it as much…apparently there were “a lot of vegetables”. Pft! He’s not on-board with the obsession with squash or lentils…

So after my first ever 17 mile run on Sunday I decided it would be sensible to not go to spin Monday morning. I definitely needed that day off! I slept for like 10 hours straight Sunday night. On reflection I’m changing my marathon training plan so that Mondays are my day off instead of Wednesday. Seems wise. My body thanked me for it. My hamstrings were so tight!

What’s your opinion on snacking? As much as I can Winking smile

What are your favourite snacks? Apples.

How many rest days do you take in a week? I have at least one rest day a week where I do nothing except walk Alfie.

Slow Cooker Obsessed

Why did it take me so long to get the slow cooker out of the back of my car?? It is amazing. Not only does it hugely help when we have a busy evening but it is so nice to come from work and smell dinner. And so far, everything has been delicious!


All it takes is a bit of forward planning and minor prep in the morning. And I’m nothing if not lover of planning. And looking up loads of recipes on Pinterest or my favourite blogs. Always fun!

So for a bit of WIAW fun, here are my latest meals thanks to my slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Disassembled Cottage Pie:

Slow cooker cottage pie

This was very simple. The night before I chopped a white onion and fried it with garlic ready for the morning. Then in the morning I added that to the slow cooker with 400g/~1lb lean beef mince. I added a few tablespoons of tomato paste, herbs and crumbled a couple of beef stock cubes and gave it a good mix. Then I popped it on low and went on my merry way to work. It probably cooked for 8-9 hours.

My intention had been to pop it into a casserole dish with mash sweet potato on it and cook it for another 20mins but in the end I couldn’t be bothered. So Ben got his with garlic bread and I whizzed up some cheesey cauliflower mash for me. Done.

I’d suggest it could probably serve 4 with potato but for me and my monster appetite (and only having cauliflower mash) I finished off half and felt very satisfied. Ben struggled with his half!

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken:

I used THIS recipe for this meal. It was unbelievably easy. Just chicken, a tub of cream cheese (I used medium fat), a tin of condensed chicken soup (I used Campbell’s), lots of Italian herbs and 1/2 cup of water. Mix and put on low for 6-8 hours.

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken:

Again, another simple chicken meal. I chopped up an onion and added it to the slow cooker with lots of garlic and herbs, then placed a whole chicken on top. 6 hours on low (until the juices in the chicken ran clear).

I then served the chicken with a bit of the drained roasted onion and lots of roasted squash (which I did in the normal oven) and vegetables. And half a bottle of BBQ sauce… You know it makes sense.

Squash Soup with Chickpeas:

Ingeniously I did all the prep for this the weekend before. I chopped up an onion, a delicata squash, a butternut squash and a sweet potato and popped it all into a freezer bag.

I popped the bag into the fridge ready. Then a couple of days later I in the morning I added the contents of the bag to the slow cooker, added some spices (I like cumin, paprika and a bit of curry powder), a crumbled vegetable stock cube, half a tin of coconut milk and a cup(ish) of water and stirred. Again, 6-8 hours on low.

When I got in from a run all I had to do was whizz it all up using a hand blender and then added a tin of chickpeas. I left it on high while I showered (20 minutes?) and then dinner was ready!

So I’m pretty chuffed with the slow cooker. It has really helped when we’re working late or I’m out running in the evening. It just means one less thing to worry about and a beautifully tasty meal! Also it means less washing up.

I’m looking forward to try out different soups, BBQ ribs (*swoon*), chilli…the possibilities are endless! Any suggestions are more than welcome too 🙂

What’s your favourite slow cooker meal? So far mine is the creamy chicken. Ben was a big fan of this one too (surprise, surprise…)

What are your time-saving tips for cooking in the week?

 Do you do a lot of food preparation at the weekend? I try to but sometimes the weekends are so  busy, just getting the normal stuff done is tight!

A spot of afternoon tea

Hello! It’s Wednesday – half way there! Not that I’m living for the weekend or anything… Winking smile

This week I’m joining the blogging link-up What I Ate Wednesday and share the delightful treats and meals I’ve been loving lately. Pop over to Jenn’s blog to see what’s going down Smile


So here’s a recap of Saturday’s eats as they were pretty damn good. As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t run Parkrun on Saturday. This was really hard and sad for me. Without sounding overly dramatic, it sucked. Ben went but I went to spin instead. I could have volunteered but I wanted to get the endorphins going and to be honest I was in a bad mood.

And let me tell you, spin was hard core. The usual person was sick apparently so we had a stand-by person do it. I assumed it would be a cop-out session. Ha. Usually we have little breaks between songs but not this time. It was just non-stop. And then the instructor goes “right, time for a 5 minute sprint”. Seriously?! It was 30 seconds of sprints, with about 10 seconds recovery, over 5 minutes. I was a sweaty mess.

After this I had my usual breakfast:


Same old same old. Porridge (oatmeal), almond milk and chia seeds.

Then after getting ready and usual house stuff, Ben and me headed to my parent’s where I dropped Ben off for some ‘man-time’ with my dad to watch the football and play Xbox. I picked my mum up and we headed off for a lovely spot of afternoon tea for lunch.

Besides from getting immensely stressed out trying to find a car park in the world’s smallest village square and ending up giving up and parking in a ditch, we arrived at Lilly’s Tearoom in Wickham in one piece (not always guaranteed when I drive).

We ordered soup to start because we weren’t sure afternoon tea would be an adequate lunch (rookie error right there).


Delicious pea and ham soup

I loved how beautiful all the crockery was. In fact, the whole tearoom was beautifully decorated and the service was fabulous.

Tea at Lillys

Obviously we had tea Smile

And then our ‘main’…

Afternoon tea

Heaven! We had the choice of so many different cakes (carrot, chocolate, lemon drizzle, coffee and walnut, rocky road, millionaire shortbread or Victoria sponge). Well, my mum and me both adore Victoria sponge so we both went for a slice of that. It also came with crustless chicken sandwiches and crustless cucumber sandwiches (but of course!) and scones with clotted cream and jam.

Yeah so we clearly did not need that soup!! We were both quite full by the end, only leaving a couple of the sandwiches (choose your battles I say – cakes all the way). It was perfect.

And then we looked round the little square at all the lovely little shops. And lo and behold I found the most amazing chocolate shop.

Chocolate shop Wickham

Because after so much cake, surely this makes sense??

So many beautiful and tasty looking chocolates! Well, I pushed the boat out and went crazy. I bought Ben and me a box to share.

Box of chocolates

I forgot to take a photo of inside, but I will share soon as it’s pretty impressive

The shopkeeper thought it was hilarious that I was buying this for just Ben and me to eat ourselves. How terribly indulgent, I know Winking smile

Well, dinner wasn’t needed for quite a long time afterwards! Luckily Ben had had a pub lunch so we were both happy to have a nice late dinner.

Roast sausages and veg

I kept it simple and had roasted vegetables and sausages. I threw in a chopped cooking apple as well (because I don’t eat enough apples – it’s something I’m trying to work on Winking smile). I threw some herbs on it (rosemary and thyme) and then drizzled it with some oil and balsamic vinegar. LOVED this. Definitely happening again. And so easy – everything just went in a casserole dish and then in the oven for 20ish minutes.

And that’s that!

Last night I went for an easy 8 mile run and it felt pretty good. No pain, no major discomfort. Just a bit of aching but I was more concerned with the raging thunderstorm going around me! But more on that another day.

Have you ever had afternoon tea? I think it’s pretty much the best thing in the world. OK I’m easily swayed by anything cake-related.

What treats do you like to buy? A box of chocolates is fairly extravagant for us, but I just couldn’t help myself. Usually it’s Cadbury’s chocolate or Lindt!

What’s your favourite filling in a sandwich? I am a bit turkey or chicken fan, with loads of salad. And cranberry sauce.