Comfort food heaven

Isn’t it lovely that it’s the weekend? First ‘proper’ week done and dusted, Christmas just a blissful memory now. One of my highlights of this week? My dad falling asleep in a meeting at work [I work at the same company as him – though we rarely work together]. And my dad snores so loudly like you wouldn’t believe so it was pretty noticeable. It was quite funny. In his defence, the room was quite warm and the meeting wasn’t exactly what you’d call scintillating. As my dad is part of the top management team he sort of gets away with it, but it didn’t stop people giggling haha (me including).

Speaking of my dad actually, he is trying to get healthy this year. He’s got some weight to lose and is doing something about it! We have a teeny tiny gym at work:


Basically two bikes, one treadmill, one elliptical machine, and one rower. But he went and did 20 minutes on the treadmill at lunch! I was so proud. And he’s being more mindful about what he’s eating. I just hope he keeps it up!

So the weekend started with my new favourite meal on Friday night. I based it on THIS recipe.


Easy Chicken Paprika (serves 1)

  • 1 medium sweet potato (really depends on how hungry you are – I was very hungry)
  • Chicken breast, cubed
  • Small onion, diced
  • Approx. 1 cup vegetable/chicken stock
  • 1 tbs. cream cheese (I used light)
  • 2 tbs. paprika

[I didn’t have any cayenne pepper so I used a few herbs (thyme & rosemary) just to add some depth.]

Grate the sweet potato (I didn’t bother peeling).

– Sauté the onion in a bit of oil until soft, then add the sweet potato. Let the potato soften for a bit.

– Add the chicken and paprika.

– After about 5 mins, add the stock and turn down the heat a bit.

– When the liquid has been absorbed, add the cream cheese and stir it all up until nice and creamy and hot.

– Add herbs then serve!

It was really filling and deliciously comforting. The original recipe calls for sour cream but I only had Philadelphia cream cheese so I thought it wouldn’t matter too much. It was so good. Definitely a keeper.

Saturday morning I got up, walked Alfie, then went for a 6 mile run.


I’m gradually increasing the length of these longer runs each weekend and it’s going well. I quite enjoy them because the ones in the week are tempos, or intervals, or speed runs. So there’s a lot of focus on actual running while you’re running that’s needed and they’re quite intense and tiring runs. But even though the weekend run is longer, it’s a lot more relaxed. I can let my mind drift and just run. I do look at my Garmin to make sure I’m not slacking of completely though and try and maintain an 8min/mile speed as it’s a comfortable but still hard pace. I’m just scared about getting to the 8 mile plus runs as there the runs I haven’t done much of at all…

Then I showered, ate breakfast (standard oatmeal) and hopped off to Pilates. It’s starting to get tougher now that we know the basics. Lots of repetitions and harder movements that really give a burn to my muscles. And this morning (Sunday) I woke up feeling very sore.

Ben and me then took Alfie for a lovely walk enjoying the fabulous January weather.


Absolutely tipping it down. It was cold, wet and miserable.

But lunch was warming and comforting! Butternut squash soup with chickpeas.


I also added some coconut milk to it to add some pa-zazz. I had cunningly frozen some coconut milk as I didn’t get through the tin last week. I used an ice cube tray which was great as it meant just popping a load of these bad boys out and dropping them into my sizzling soup.


However, just ‘popping’ them out proved to be a bit of an issue as they seriously weren’t happy about coming out. In the end I used a knife to ping each cube out. And there ensued cubes of coconut milk being pinged straight up to the ceiling and flying back down. Hilarious.


Anyway I dropped the cubes into the soup and they melted away. I then blended it all up and put half a can of chickpeas in and heated it through. Perfect!

After lunch we went to town to buy a few bits and bobs and enjoyed a lovely Costa as well. Heaven knows why I chose an iced cappuccino…

IMG_3446 And we bumped into my parents and my niece, Ellie, which was lovely. So we joined them for a shoe shopping session for Ellie.


Though to be honest, shoes were the last thing on her mind. Everything else on every single shelf in the universe was where her attention was.

For our last purchase, I realised I needed a potato for dinner so we popped into M&S.


Felt a bit silly just buying a potato but what can you do!

Then Ben and me went home. We were shattered by this point and just wanted to be warm and snug inside. And I wanted to wear my new PJ bottoms!


Oh so comfy and soft!

Then I chilled out on the sofa while Ben played on his XBox and I did some reading.



Then it was dinner! I decided to make cottage pie. A two-toned cottage pie! I vaguely followed THIS recipe (but didn’t use ramekins). I used beef mince (this is a shocker as I rarely ever eat beef – I’m just not a fan, it’s a bit tough and dense for me if that makes sense?). I also didn’t have mushrooms and used regular flour instead of potato starch (I’m not even sure what that is). But basically I followed the recipe.


After browning the mince, onion etc. and getting things lovely and tasty I threw it all into a casserole dish. Now, at this point I veered off the beaten path of the recipe. There’s no way in hell I can get Ben to eat cauliflower mash. I mean seriously he won’t. So I peeled, chopped and boiled the above M&S potato while also making my usual cauliflower mash with a goat’s cheese Babybel mixed in as I’d run out of proper goat’s cheese. Then I mashed both sets of, er, mash and covered one half with potato and one half with cauliflower. Then put it in the oven for about 15mins.


Ben’s half was on the left, mine the right. Looks quite funky.


Then proceeded to eat a MAMMONTH portion. But with cauliflower rather than potato I wasn’t over-stuffed by the end but comfortable full (remember, I’m a greedy girl!).

Then the evening was spent chilling with blog reading and internet surfing while Ben played a crazy game…Geometry Wars? Anyone heard of it? It’s quite stressful to watch. Lots of shapes flying about the place and colours exploding. It’s so fast paced, I found it quite gripping to watch haha.


See, even Alfie was mesmerised by the craziness.

And that was our evening! Oh there might have been some chocolates…obviously Winking smile

What have you been up to this weekend?

What’s your favourite comfort food?

Getting organised and Christmassy – WIAW

Not including today, there are only two Wednesdays left before Christmas. TWO. Very exciting! Starting to feel extremely Christmassy. You just can’t avoid it really at this point. It’s on the radio, the TV… Sparkling and colourful trees are popping up left right and centre around us – everyone’s uploading their tree to Facebook to proudly show off their work of art. And yes, I am guilty of doing the same. #noshame

So it’s WIAW again. This is when I get to show you guys the exciting food I’ve been eating. Thanks to Jenn for hosting. And it’s a Christmas themed WIAW!


This weekend I enjoyed some great eats, though not necessarily very Christmassy… Saturday morning I had my favourite oats and coconut flour mix:


I’m still loving this breakfast. My coconut flour is slowly running out which is quite upsetting considering how expensive it is and I can only get it online.

After this I dashed off to Pilates. I feel like I’ve got the hang of Pilates now. The breathing and neutral spine malarkey was a bit tough to get right to begin with but I feel much more confident with it now. I’m glad for all the strength training I’ve done because it means I can do a lot of the exercises quite easily in terms of execution. Its a nice small class as well with about six of us in total so it has a nice community feel to it. I’ll definitely be continuing with this class!

After Pilates I then had to race back home, shower and get dressed to then zoom off to my parent’s house with Ben. In the car I had a black coffee as I needed caffeine having not had any in the morning.


I love this coffee carrier! I might have stole in from my mum when I was round their house Thursday without her realising… Hey, it was dusty in their cupboard so I figured it wasn’t used that much…

My mum, sister and me then went to Chichester to enjoy a spot of lunch and shopping while my dad, Ben, and my brother-in-law had an XBox afternoon. A win-win situation for everyone I think you’ll agree.

We went to our favourite restaurant, Trents.


[Me, my sister and my mum]

We went there the last time we went to Chichester – before I got married!!

For starter I had a bit of a piggy portion of hummus dips and olives…


It was meant to be a sharing platter but no one would share it with me and it was the same price as a normal starter so I went for it anyway… It was beetroot hummus, watercress pesto and olives (I ate it all but all of the bread as it was quite a lot!)

For main I went for smoked salmon and king prawn Caesar salad with anchovies and an egg:


I decided to have the dressing on the side as I hate it when the salad is drenched. I’m not a massive dressing fan but this was actually really tasty. It was hands down the best salad I’ve had in ages (and considering I eat a lot of salads, that’s saying something!) I’m desperate to recreate this. The salmon was perfect. Ahh I want this again!

After lunch we quickly headed off to shop as it was already 3pm by this point.


Chichester is so beautiful with lots of high-street and independent shops. I love it. It was really Christmassy as well.Chichester

I did really well with my Christmas shopping. I got everything on my list. And I bought a different outfit for our work’s Christmas do…I had bought a lovely outfit from John Lewis but had a change of heart. It’s a jumpsuit but I got cold feet as I’m scared I can’t pull it off. So I got a beautiful dress from Monsoon for the same price. Fabulous!

I also saw lots of beautiful things that I wanted…and have explicitly told hinted to Ben of what I might like for Christmas.


I am loving the scarves that are around at the moment. So fingers crossed!

We had a lovely time mooching around and shopped until the shops closed.


Then we had to dash off to meet with our wedding photographer to finally see the professional photos. More on that another time Smile

After getting back quite late I whipped up a lovely filling and warm soup.


Sweet potato and butternut squash coconut chickpea soup (whew what a name) – large dinner portion for one (or two smaller portions)

  • 1 tbs. oil/coconut oil
  • Small onion, diced
  • Very small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • Cup of butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup hot vegetable stock
  • Little less than 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup of chickpeas
  • Garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • Pepper

– Heat the oil in the pan, then fry the onion until soft (5mins), then add the squash and sweet potato and cook until soft (8-10mins). Add the spices, garlic and pepper (no salt due to the stock) and fry for another minute.

– Add the stock and coconut milk and allow to bubble for a few mins. Then turn off heat and cool to blend with a hand-blender/food processor until smooth.

– Add chickpeas and simmer for 5-10mins.

(You could make larger portions to save for another meal but I was limited by the volume of ingredients I had).

I guess you can make it as thick or thin as you like but adjusting the amount of stock you use, but I loved it being thick. And I like soup with bits in as it’s a bit more exciting. Yes, I said exciting.

Then Sunday we got our Christmas decorations up. We don’t have a huge amount of decorations as of yet as we’ve only been living together for just over a year but we’re slowly building it up.


Quite pleased with how it looks! Nothing massively fancy, but enough Smile

So that was the weekend! Busy busy but got lots ticked off my to-do list so I feel quite happy and content. Though I still have the Christmas cake to bake…next weekend!

And lastly, Monday’s run. I brought my stuff in to work but by 11am I had pretty much decided to not run as I honestly could not be bothered. But then the running group said they were going and I got roped in. This is another good reason why I love running in a group. You instantly feel motivated when others are going running. And it was a great run! So I’m so pleased I went.


I ran with the 6 min/mile guy again and honestly it was like having a personal trainer. He motivated me to run faster and do some intervals, and then some extra loops to meet up with the slower paced guys.

I really felt it on Tuesday morning though!!

And it looks like I’ll be in Reading until Christmas now which I have mixed feelings about (i.e. the commute sucks – one morning it took 2 hours and half) but it means I get to carry on running with these guys so there’s a silver lining!

Have a great Wednesday!

Are you feeling Christmassy? Are your decorations up?

What’s your favourite soup?

Turn back? Never!

Dear Britain, please stop raining. It messes with everything. The commute is longer and more dangerous…


[Took photo while in stand-still traffic!]

…choosing an outfit (and shoes!) requires more thought [real-world issues here], Alfie has to stay in the kitchen longer after going outside… It makes for a very grumpy Anna. I wouldn’t mind if it’s really cold and dry. Rain is just so miserable. We don’t have it nearly as badly as others around the UK but it still sucks.

It also makes for very wet and muddy runs! I ummed and arr’ed about going for a run at lunchtime on Monday. I had brought in my stuff but I kept looking anxiously out of the window and watching the on-and-off rain. Also I knew the woman who had originally invited me to run with her group wasn’t in the office. So it would mean running with a bunch of guys I didn’t know as well…

In the end I sucked it up and went. The guys were still up for running despite the weather and sheer amount of rain we’d had over the weekend (“Rain? Pah! We are men!”). This time I’d decided to wear my shorts rather than leggings because my leggings just got covered in so much mud that it made more sense that my legs just got covered in mud instead and that I could wash them in the shower.

It began with a lot of slipping and sliding in lots of mud, then sploshing through fields with lots of surface water…and then we got to the path that runs parallel to the local canal. Well, where it should have been. Normal people would have seen the sheer amount of water and flooding and would have turned around. Nope. We continued on – thigh deep in freezing water. Still running!

To be honest, it was good fun. It made for a rather interesting (albeit wet) run. My feet and legs were numb, very pink, wet and muddy by the end.Muddy run

But it was great! And 6 miles, which I was so chuffed with as I haven’t run that distance in a while. My Garmin died of battery though which really annoyed me.


But all the guys had their Garmins on so at least I knew in the end it was about 6 miles (we were all beeping away on the run it was quite funny).

Anyway, it’s Wednesday! So here’s my WIAW (thanks, Jenn. Check out her blog to see what it’s all about).

I’ve got a bit of a mix of meals from different days as I’ve been changing things up a bit lately.

Breakfast: On Saturday I tried my hand at some coconut and oat pancakes. *Sighs* Disaster. My first one was promising…

Coconut pancake

But then it got progressively worse. They just all crumbled. So I just gave up and threw it all into a bowl.Coconut pancake 2

Despite how it looks, it tasted pretty good once I’d jazzed it up with some toppings:

Coconut pancake 4

I added some frozen berries that I’d microwaved with some cinnamon and then a dollop of Greek yogurt. Not too shabby for a disaster! If anyone has tips for coconut flour pancakes, please let me know! I used 1 tbs. oats, 3 tbs. coconut flour, 2 egg whites, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and a splash of almond milk.

I also made some rather delicious coffee that we haven’t been able to try until now. We got it in America but thought it was just instant rather than ‘proper coffee’. And we didn’t have a coffee machine or a cafetiere so we couldn’t try it when we got home! But we got one the other weekend purely to try this coffee.

Coffee 24.11 (2)

French Vanilla…and it tasted fabulous. Not like donuts as I think Ben was secretly hoping Winking smile

Lunch: I loved the sound of Laura’s cauliflower coconut soup so I made a variation for lunch for Saturday and Sunday.


I fried a diced white onion in coconut oil, then added some diced garlic and then several large florets of cauliflower. Once that had cooked for about 5 mins, I added 1.5 cups veg stock, mixed herbs, then 1 cup full-fat coconut milk and 3 tbs. Greek yogurt. I cooked it for 5-6 mins and then whizzed it up using a hand blender. Really yummy!

Alongside this on Saturday I made some cornbread using Kelly’s recipe.


A really quick recipe using the microwave. It was lovely and light and great for dunking. I used a funny mug hence the weird shape.

And then Sunday I had the soup with some butternut squash roasted in coconut oil on the side.


These were great to dunk into the soup. Nom nom nom.

Dinner: I’ve still be clinging to my salads despite the weather, but I’ve been adding in some ‘warmer’ ingredients.

With our usual feta salad, I added more of the roasted butternut squash.

Halloumi and bsquash

And added some roasted sweet potato to our halloumi salad…

Halloumi and sweet potatoe

And then a range of roasted veggies to it another night…

Halloumi and r.veg

One night I also had some smoked mackerel that had been sat in the freezer for too long. So I added some Greek yogurt, some spices, garlic, lemon juice and whizzed it up to make a very yummy pate:

Mackarel pate

Absolutely heavenly! And so easy Smile

Snacks: well, obviously banana bread from the weekend has been picked at…


Very yummy. Definitely need to make more breads I think. Devine.

And more of these very nice yogurts:


Basically, I’ve really had some great days of nice food (perhaps not the best looking food: pancakes, I’m looking at you) but food nonetheless.

Fitness: obviously my off-road runs have been great! And what perfect timing with the weather haha. I hope to do three of those a week with the group but it really depends on how busy work is. And Pilates on Saturday was brilliant. I’ve also switched up my strength training a bit so I’ll do an update on that soon!

Do you enjoy running off-road?

What’s your favourite pancake variation? Have you tried coconut flour?

Have a lovely Wednesday Smile

Starbucks, banana bread and a very muddy run

Hurrah for the weekend! What’s everyone up to?

Work has been crazy lately. Looks like I’ll be in Reading for longer than expected. This is a bit of a pain as the commute is so long. But I’m loving what I’m doing so I can’t complain too much. I just get sick of the same roads and the same traffic. Anyone have a helicopter I can borrow for a few months…? No? Damn.

Friday was a pretty good day. My dad and me work together so we’re sharing the commute to Reading (take that as a plus and a minus Winking smile) and I persuaded him to stop at Starbucks just before we got to the office. He treated me to a hazelnut syrup Americano and a HUGE mince pie. First one of the season, wheeee!

It brought some light amusement of watching my dad drip coffee all over himself as I drove the last mile and a half back to work. This was just ten minutes after him telling me he had put his newly washed beige chinos to look smart…whoops Winking smile


The mince pie was deeeelicious. I was chuffed for this as my Graze box didn’t arrive (*sobs*) and I needed something to fuel my run at lunchtime.

Speaking of my run, though in my last post I mentioned I was a bit dubious about it as it’s always weird running with people you don’t really know – and work with. Anyway, it was great! There were five of us in total and they took me on a great 4.5 mile route around some lakes and fields. We got covered in mud and at times it was more splashing than running but I thoroughly enjoyed it.


There was a range of running ability and this was great. One guy was super speedy – we’re talking 6 minutes a mile at his best! I started off fairly easy going running with the woman I knew and then I ventured out to run with a guy who ran at my usual pace (not the 6min a mile guy!!). This really pushed me to keep up. With the rough terrine and the speed of the run, I was pooped by the end!IMG_2957It’s funny because after showering and basically inhaling my lunch afterwards, I went to stand up and my calves were aching already! I’m guessing this was the crazy terrine as I’m used to plain old roads. Anyone else find this?

Saturday morning I had my Pilates class.


I thoroughly enjoyed this. It’s not a class to get sweaty and out of breath in but you definitely feel it in your muscle the next day. The class was quite small with a total of six of us. But it was a lovely friendly atmosphere and instructor is so attentive and ‘hands-on’. That sounds weird, but it really helps if she sort of guides your leg or foot or whatever to the right position as it can be quite complicated.

The rest of the day was filled with chores and looking after an unwell Ben. He does not have a simple cold, oh no. Nor is it flu. How foolish to think it would be something quite so simple. He has…Man Flu. Full on, at death’s door, incapacitated, can’t do anything Man Flu… He is currently a pathetic human being. We’re talking blankets, Lemsips, and constant sofa attachment. I am trying to be the caring and loving wife but it’s tricky as I’m not naturally sympathetic and, ladies, we all know about this Man Flu business. It’s a cold. Joking aside though, I am looking after him and he does have a waiver for all chores. Fun for me.

I did a bout of baking as well. Apparently one of Ben’s work friends finds the idea of banana bread crazy and Ben has enlisted me to change his mind. I mean, who doesn’t like banana bread??

24.11 Banana bread

It got rid of some dying bananas as well and it was fairly easy to whip up.

Banana bread (based on THIS recipe)

  • 75g (1/3 cup) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 125g (1 heaped cup) plain flour
  • 100g (1 level cup) wholemeal flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. mixed spice

– Preheat oven to 180C.

– Combine butter, sugar, eggs and mashed bananas.

– Sift flours, baking powder and spices together. Then fold into the banana bread and stir until combined.

– Bake in a loaf tin for 50 mins (until a tooth pick comes out clean).


My little loaf tin struggled to contain all the loaf so I had to make mini banana loaf muffins as well. What a shame Winking smile


Then we headed to Ben’s mum for dinner. We brought along Alfie as well (which is always a bit worrying as Alfie is Alfie and Ben’s mum’s house is pristine).


Apart from an accident on the carpet he was good as gold (this was mainly our fault anyway as we hadn’t let him outside before going out as it was raining so much so we weren’t angry at him).


How could I be mad at that furry face? And Alfie too Winking smile

The meal was so good. We had honey smoked mackerel to start (apologies, no photo I was too busy gobbling it up). And then we had roast chicken for main with a whole host of veggies and stuffing:


Definitely a winner! Made up for enviously drooling seeing all those delicious Thanksgiving meals on many blogs this week.

And then fruit salad for pudding. Again no photo, but imagine a HUGE bowl of pineapple, melons, grapes, blueberries and strawberries. I love having meals at Ben’s mum’s house as she and I have similar tastes (big fruit & veggie fans). It was a lovely and relaxed evening.

So now it’s Sunday and I’m just watching the world go by while looking after the poorly husband. Well, as much as I can do while he plays on the XBox…

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend and for my fellow Britains, I hope the rain stops soon!!

Running with the enemy

Hi guys, and to all those who are enjoying/have enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving, I hope you’ve had a great day!

In light of this event, I thought I’d have a think about what I’m thankful for. So I’m linking up with Jessie‘s Thankful Thursday post. Seems appropriate, even though I’m not American, to get involved!

It’s easy to dash through day-to-day life without stopping and taking stock of what you’ve got. It’s often the case that is when something happens that you realise how much you really appreciate something. For instance, you’re car breaking down. It’s an absolute nightmare situation – how do you get to work? How do you get to the shop to buy food for the week? You forget how easy a car makes your life.

Definitely my family is top of my list of what I’m thankful for. I know that whatever happens they’ll be there for me. Ben consistently supports me in anything I do and I always know he’s there if something goes wrong.


The great thing about Ben is he is so selfless. He would drop anything and everything if I needed him. I can’t be thankful enough for him. He’s teaching me to be a less selfish person – it’s baby steps!

Obviously I’m also thankful for my parents and close family. I’ve been extremely lucky to have had a great childhood and a good upbringing.


Both my sister and me are polite and well-educated and this is largely due to my parents hard work with guiding us through life (sorry this sounds a bit sappy I know).


And the best mum in the world. I’ll let her off for sending me to school with a broken arm (oh did I mention she was a nurse…?) The heart the size of the country, a wardrobe the size of a small planet. Luckily we have the same size feet and the same love for Accessorize Smile

I’m also thankful for my health and fitness. There are so many people in the world not blessed with the ability to even walk, so I’m thankful for having a complete working body.

I’m thankful for my job as I know a lot of people are unemployed and are struggling at the moment. So I’m thankful for both Ben and my income that has allowed us to live in our little house and start building towards a lovely life.

There are so many other things I’m thankful for and I could write all day, but I’ll leave it there.

So today I will be running with the enemy, aka our current customer. No I am joking, they are lovey. It’s just I’m a little nervous as I’m just used to being in meetings with them and having arguments professional disputes with them regarding different factors. There’s quite a few of them and they invited me out this lunchtime and honestly I’m scared. I don’t know how fast they are. I don’t know if we will chat…or if it’s purely running. It was easy with the guy I was running with before as he was on my team and we laugh and joke all the time in the office. Well, I’ll keep you informed!

Speaking of my last run (Wednesday lunchtime), I got drenched and muddy. Lovely. Perfect for half-way through a working day. I did shower but I don’t wash my hair after a lunchtime run so it wasn’t the best look I’ve had for the afternoon. But it was a good run and though I grumbled and complained when he persuaded me to run (I had originally looked out the window and said “hell no” because of the weather), I’m glad I went. I didn’t take a photo of my Garmin, but we ran 3 miles in 26 mins. Not too bad.

This weekend is the start of my Pilates class on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to this as I had a couple of one-to-ones and loved it. And then Saturday night we’re off to Ben’s mums for a nice meal. Sunday I’m hoping to do a run but we’ll see how Saturday night goes I guess hehe.

What are you up to this weekend?

What are you thankful for?