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.
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?
And it’s Monday again! One week closer to Christmas…
This weekend was great. We didn’t really ‘do’ anything but we got a lot done, if that makes sense. Basically, we had no plans to go anywhere but we had a lot of chores to get on with. Mundane things like getting the car washed, then cleaning and vacuuming the inside, putting things up the loft, taking clothes to the Army and Navy… Yep, exciting stuff. I’m a married lady now, this is my life now! And I love it! It’s just nice to get all those niggling jobs done that have been driving me mad. I’m a bit of an obsessive cleaner so I’m in my element.
I saw my sister, brother-in-law and their little girl, Ellie. We gave her her present from Disney World (a Barbie Cinderella) and she was over the moon. Though I ended up having to speak for the Barbie in a ‘princess voice’ for longer than comfortable period of time. Though I think I got off lightly, Ben was her human climbing frame haha.
I also went to a local farm shop to buy a pumpkin. I could have bought so much veg but I refrained as I’m pretty sure Ben would get fed up eating squashes every night…
So I just bought a large pumpkin, a mini pumpkin (a munchkin!) and a corn on the cob. All for under a fiver. Bargain!
How cute is that little thing?? I just had to buy it. For 30p you can hardly not, right? I made a delicious soup with that little guy – which I will share for WIAW soon.
Last week we decided to have a bit of a different meal for Friday night. We tend to have more exciting meals on Friday and Saturday just because it’s the weekend. So I bought some chunky pork ribs from the butchers and a jar of BBQ sauce (I was feeling lazy – I know I could have easily made one myself…next time). So Friday morning I marinated the ribs in the sauce and put it in the fridge. I wasn’t too sure how to cook ribs to be honest so I Googled it as work. FIVE HOURS they said to cook it. Well, that isn’t going to happen for sure! So I found a ‘quick’ recipe for an hour and a half. OK, fair enough, ribs are probably better slow roasted but I’m a busy hungry girl and I really wanted them Friday night. You know when you just really fancy something? Anyway, that evening after roasting them for a ridiculously long time in the oven (almost 2 hours) they were done (or if they weren’t, I didn’t care by this point. It was either uncooked ribs or my own arm that I would have eaten at this point).
They were pretty yummy I have to say. We had one and a half ribs each. I had some veg on the side while Ben had some garlic bread. Thumbs up.
On a food-related side-tangent…I’ve been really enjoying my salads as of late as well. I tend to throw in whatever really, and usually a bit of fruit. Recently it’s plums or mainly figs but I’ve just bought a mango so I’m really looking forward to that.
Salads left-to-right: flaked tinned salmon, goat’s cheese with fig, fried egg, more figs and mozzarella, & homemade paprika hummus and two hard-boiled eggs.
On Saturday I went to my first Pilates class. It was a one-on-one so I get the basics before actually starting a class. It was brilliant. The instructor was very good. Really good at giving direction and clearly knew her stuff! We used the reformer machine [see below picture] as well, which I was so excited about.
My legs were in the air and everything. It was crazy. The hour whizzed by. I’m going again next Saturday and I’m so excited. I wanted a less intense exercise to strengthen and stretch my muscles, and this was perfect. The only tricky part was how technical it all was. Imprinting your spine, inhaling here, exhaling there, neutral position…a lot of technical jargon that I need to master. But it’ll come I guess.
So that was pretty much it! Here’s what I’m wearing.
Blazer and belt from New Look, top from Warehouse, jeans from Top Shop.
I’m loving the blazer look – stylish while warm! The best kind of outfits in my opinion.