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?

WIAW #6–Hello September

Hi lovely readers! I can’t believe it’s September. It’s just crazy how quickly it’s come around. September for me (and many others I’m sure) is a month of new beginnings or changes. School, college and university always started this month. And I loved that feeling of “what would this year bring me” and how I could make it better than the last year. Then when I left university it was when I started my first ‘proper’ job. Then it was (well, supposed to be) when Ben and I were to move out. Unfortunately the house wasn’t ready and we had to wait a bit, but it still felt like the start of something new.

But I also find September a little bit of a sad month. The summer is coming to an end. The nights are drawing in. It’s getting colder (in the morning especially). It’s dark when I get up. It’s fairly depressing. It’s only going to get worse…But let’s keep positive, people, summer hasn’t actually finished yet! It was boiling yesterday so fingers crossed it stays nice…at least until after 22nd September Winking smile

On to WIAW. Thank you Jenn for hosting! And our first one for September! And the theme is ‘Good Habits’. I like this theme.

Soo breakfast…I’ve got a little bit of a problem…I’m slightly addicted to pancakes. I can’t stop eating them. The problem is though that they’re a bit fiddly to make during the week when I’m trying to get off to work quickly (bad times). But at the weekend they’re amazing. And as per my usual standard, I added a tsp of wheatgrass. Perfect green little pancakes!

Green pancake 3.09

I just love how fluffy they are and the blackberries just make them perfect.

3.09 pancake

And it’s not complete without a drizzle (a hefty drizzle) of PB2:

3.09 p

They’re not quite as filling as my usual hot oatmeal breakfast but they taste so darn good I’ll let them off.

And for lunch I’ve been cooking big batches of chilli at the weekend and then taking it into to work with me. I love cold chilli. Is that strange?

Lunch 4.09

It’s always an ad hoc collection of veggies, like bell peppers, mushrooms, courgettes…anything really. And then quorn mince for protein.

Lunch 2 4.09

I sprinkle nutritional yeast all over it and devour. Then I have a couple of Baby Bells afterwards and an apple. Really filling!

This was dinner last night. And it was sooo good. I was inspired by Meg’s recipe here.

2.09 p

I used 5 egg whites, half a sweet potato, sliced courgettes and mushrooms (they’re hiding) and a tbs of almond butter mixed with some almond milk to make a sauce. It’s a more healthy, but still very filling, version of pizza (I did previously try the cauliflower pizza but it took ages and this was a lot more simple).


It honestly rocked my world. I’m definitely having this again! Though you should have seen Ben’s face when he saw my dinner. *Sighs* He just doesn’t get the almond butter thing…or the sweet potato thing… Instead, I made him a tortilla pizza (safer ground for him) which he said he could “eat every single day”. I’m happy with that result!

I’ve also been using my brand new water bottle, which I love:

Water bottle

It’s got it’s own in built filter, how cool is that??

Moving on to fitness. I mentioned in my last post that I didn’t really enjoy my long run at the weekend. Now that I’ve changed to shorter, faster runs it’s just harder, mentally, to keep going. But at the moment I’m happy to be working on my speed and my strength training. I’m definitely seeing progress – I feel stronger, I think I look more toned. And, what I was most concerned about (and this will sound so silly), but I haven’t gained any weight. I haven’t changed my diet at all so I was concerned that by not running so much I might gain a bit of weight. But I haven’t. So I’m chuffed! Happier all round Smile

And here’s what I’m wearing today. Nothing amazing. Just nice and simple Smile


Cardigan is from Asda, plain white strappy top is from New Look, jeans from Top Shop.

Happy WIAW! Anyone else love trying different, healthified pizza variations?

Are you happy it’s September? Or sad summer is coming to an end?

WIAW #4 – and the beginning of a change?

Happy WIAW! Wow these things come around so quickly, don’t they?

This week I’m feeling really good. Really positive and happy. Things with the wedding are ticking along nicely. I’ve not woken up in a cold sweat worrying or struggled to get to sleep for ages. Everything seems to be in hand. Hurrah! I’ve got my hen do to look forward to [dread?] and then the weekends aren’t as jam-packed as they previously were. Whew.

It’s my fourth WIAW (my little blog is getting a bit older!).

I love being involved in this, it feels like one massive community. During my lunch breaks at work (and maybe a few times through the day sneakily if I feel my concentration waning) I love perusing other blogs that I don’t usually read or just checking out people’s food. It always makes me think I eat such boring food and I’m always inspired to change things up a bit or try a new recipe. So thank you Jenn!


15.08 breakfast

My porridge made with oats and hazelnut milk and a tsp of wheatgrass. It looks like sludge, I know. It’s the mix of wheatgrass and the brown hazelnut milk. Still tasted good though (I promise!).

Lunchtime (at the weekend) was a bit samey I’m sorry, but I’m really enjoying my salads right now (*desperately clings on to the last dregs of our British summer*):

8.08 dinner

Chicken fried in a Moroccan spice blend, mozzarella, cashew nuts sliced pear, beets, tomatoes, cucumber and leaves. Whew! Quite a variety I guess. I love meals like that though where you just bung everything in them. It’s great that every forkful is slightly different. [Although Ben, the strange guy that he is, leaves all his mozzarella to the end – apparently he likes to get through the ‘boring’ healthy stuff and leave the good stuff until the end *sighs*]

And dinner last night was my favourite meal of the week.

9.08 dinner

In comparison to lunch, this is obviously a lot less varied. However, I love love this meal right now. Crunchy no-added sugar peanut butter, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and broad beans. Usually I have carrots alongside this but I forgot. I was a little bit devastated when I sat down and realised my mistake. I almost ran back to the kitchen in a deranged panic. But then calmed myself down and convinced myself it was fine without. But carrots and sweet potato are a match made in heaven… Sad smile

Snack-wise I have been loving my smoothies (still).

Smoothie at desk

I take my green monster smoothie to work with me and drink it surreptitiously, hoping no one will see. Though sometimes when I make the smoothie too thick it’s really hard to sneakily drink it. It has the consistency of sludge, meaning I have to tilt back my head so far to drink the damn thing…It’s cool, no one’s noticed. All is fine. *Looks round furtively*

And in the evening I’ve been experimenting with different chocolatey-style smoothies:

Smoothie 13.08

This one contained a handful of frozen berries, 100g (1/2 cup) of Alpro Soya yogurt, 1tbs P2B and 1 tsp carob powder and a little splash of hazelnut milk.

Smoothie2 13.08

I ate it straight out of my blender container to save washing up (yep, presentation score of 10/10). Yum! I always need a snack in the evening. Even if I’m not hungry (a cardinal sin, I know). I just have to have something. I can’t bare to think that dinner is my last meal before breakfast (that’s hours away!! I’ll die of starvation in my sleep!)

And for fitness side of things. My usual running.

13.08 run

I love running (you might have guessed) but I’ve started to have a think. Nothing dramatic as of yet, but I’ve been reading quite a few blogs and the benefits of doing more strength training. I enjoy using weights as you really feel the burn the next day. The thought of reducing my running down makes me nervous (I’ve always done something cardio-based) and I couldn’t not run. I love the feeling, the effort of pushing yourself (OK maybe I enjoy that afterwards) and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a long run. But something keeps niggling me at the back of my mind that running isn’t everything. Reading Meg’s blog and Sara’s blog and hearing them reap the benefits just makes me think. I’m a fairly healthy person, I’m a fairly fit person, but I (like all girls) I know there are some improvements I could make (call me a perfectionist, I know). A bit more toning maybe. And running just doesn’t seem to help. My thoughts are all over the place at the moment, but I’m starting to wonder if I should give it a one week trial of doing less running and more weight training…

Oh I’m in such a quandary! Any advice would be much appreciated!!

P.S. I just had to upload this photo of Alfie:

Alfie TV

He just loves Smallville!