Tub on the Run


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Bread, Brownies and Bella

I find that I easily get frustrated on the weekends if I don’t feel like I have achieved anything.  This annoys Matt a bit, as he is of the opinion that sometimes you don’t need to do anything and the best thing to do is relax.  This was a pretty good weekend for relaxing I think.

Yesterday, I nipped over to my mum’s house, as I hadn’t seen or spoken to her much in the last week, which is quite unusual.  We’ve both been really busy, so it was nice to catch up and natter.  The winds were howling and the rain came down so hard that it looked like Mum’s car was actually steaming at one point.  I think Bella had the right idea curling up behind the sofa, next to the radiator.

Bella

I also started the next Game of Thrones book – A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold.  I am nearly up to where Season 3 of the HBO series ends and 4 starts.  I want to get to the end of this book so that I am ahead of the TV series.  It isn’t one of those books that I find easy to read, but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Game of Thrones

Matt and I also started watching the Winter Olympics.  It’s probably the first time in my 28 years in this world that I have actually sat and watched any of the snow sports.  It hasn’t really been anything I have been interested in before – being Devonian born and bred, it isn’t like we get much in the way of snow here, and my experience of ice skating has been limited to being chaperoned at an incredibly slow speed by my more competent friends in either Plymouth or at Don Valley in Sheffield.  In fact, if you want a quick way to find out the southerners from the northerners, put them all in an ice rink – those born north of the Midlands will be able to lace up their boots and belt around at a good lick.  The southern softies, like my good self, will be easily spotted by their inability to leave the side, or by the fact they’ll have fallen over as soon as they stepped on to the ice…  Anyway, all things considered, while I don’t understand half of what is going on, I am quite enjoying what I have seen so far.

Today has been all about washing and baking.  I never seem to be able to keep up with the washing, but as I am out and about a lot over the coming week, I thought it best to try and get as much laundry done as I possibly can.  More importantly, I decided it would be great to bake.  I haven’t baked in an extremely long time, and my memory fails me as to what it was I baked last.  I go through spells of baking, but the problem is that I make quite a lot of mess, and the clean up operation takes the joy out of it.  Especially as one of the first times I baked in our kitchen, I managed to get icing sugar EVERYWHERE.  Everything was sticky for months.

Earlier in the week, while I was catching up on some of my favourite blogs, I saw that Maria over at Running Cupcake posted two recipes – sweet potato chilli and peanut butter brownies.  I need to do the chilli at some point (maybe next week, when I am home a bit more), as that really does look delicious.  It is a Jamie Oliver recipe, and there isn’t a recipe of his that I haven’t liked yet.  I loved the idea of the brownies – peanut butter and chocolate?  What’s not to love?!  I adapted the recipe ever so slightly and used honey instead of golden syrup just because I don’t have any syrup in the house.  I also didn’t do the white chocolate peanut butter icing, as I personally do not like white chocolate.  The taste test results are in, and they’re winners!

Brownie

I’ve made quite a lot, so I have boxed them up to take to work tomorrow to share out.  I am not usually a fan of my own baking, but these really are quite good – the peanut butter makes them!  They also get brownie points (har har) for being low mess.  My kitchen isn’t a sugary fog of baking aftermath!  I now have bread going in the bread maker – get me!

I will now take my smugness back out to the kitchen and pop the kettle on!

Happy Sunday!


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Foodie Penpals – June 2013

Another month has flown by, another month of exchanging food parcels on the Foodie Penpals scheme, set up by This Is Rock Salt for the UK, and the Lean Green Bean for the USA.

This month, I was paired with Kate (to send to), and Steph at Steph Loves Cake (sending to me).  I think I can safely say that this scheme has given me the most contact with people who share the same name as me (two months on the run, I’ve been paired with Stephs).  Anyway, I digress.

Kate doesn’t have a blog, and for a change, I was actually organised enough to take a couple of photos of what I sent.

Foodie Penpals June 2013

Kate let me know that she is vegetarian, so I made sure that there were no hidden meaty things in what I sent.  She’s also a fan of baking, and is getting into cooking Japanese food at home.  Having popped my Yo! Sushi cherry last month, I thought I’d share the sushi love and also sent a recipe card for a vegetarian sushi (courtesy of Channel 4’s recipe site).  The Wasabi was in keeping with the Japanese, but I have realised that I sent quite a sweet based parcel.  In my defence, I wanted to share a new love of Reese’s Nutrageous (introduced by Alena in last month’s Foodie Penpals).  I saw the pop corn kernels, and thought they were interesting (I don’t think they’re sweet though).  Kate emailed me back to say:

Thank you so much for my foodie parcel – it arrived on Friday and provided a nice distraction from the stresses of work. The nutrageous didn’t last long (I can’t believe I’d never tried one before – peanut butter and extra peanuts in a bar is definitely a winning combination) but I managed to exercise restraint and stash the other chocolate at the back of my drawer for future bad days. We also opened the wasabi (several of my colleagues who are big fans of things with wasabi flavouring were keen to try the paste by itself and succeeded in making their eyes water).

I spent all of this weekend unpacking and arranging my kitchen and am looking forward to being able to cook again. Now that everything is sorted out I think next weekend may be the time to embark on project ‘cook Japanese food’ and, as the weather looks set to be even hotter, the sushi recipe you sent sounds very appealing. I think the biggest challenges will be cooking the rice correctly so that it will hold together when rolled!

The cupcake liners are lovely and I’m thinking of filling them with cakes in some sort of rose/pistachio or possibly rose/white chocolate combination to take in to the office to celebrate my birthday later this month.

Thank you once again for a lovely stash of foodie supplies and for providing me with a further nudge to bite the bullet and attempt home-made sushi.

Steph sent me an amazing package – a package of two halves.

First up - snacks and treats

First up – snacks and treats

First up is the snacks and treats part.  As we all know, I have a love of peanut butter, but I have never branched out into other nut butters.  Well, no excuses now – I have cashew butter and almond butter to try out!  I’ve seen the Popchips advertised, but never bitten the bullet and bought them.  I’ve actually just finished them (shared with M), and they remind me of (much less greasy) Pombars.  I was quite impressed with them, especially with a syn value of 4.5 for the 23g pack.  Definitely ones for the shopping basket in the future.  Snack-a-Jacks I’m also a fan of, and to date, I haven’t found a flavour I don’t like.  As for Munchy Seeds – I was remarkably well restrained at the County Show this year, as the Munchy Seeds man is always in the food tent, and I have always bought from him in the past (love the chilli seeds, and snaffled most of the pot of vanilla pumpkin seeds in one sitting last year), so needless to say, I will definitely enjoy these honey seeds, though having just looked up their syn value (7 syns for 25g, so a quarter of the pack), these will be reserved for my low syn days (and M will have to ration them out!).  Lastly, in this first half, is the tea – mint and spearmint tea (smells amazing!) and Numi Tea’s Chocolate Pu•Erh.  This is one of the best things about Foodie Penpals – I would never have bought a big bag of chocolate tea bags as I didn’t know if I’d like them, so getting these in my parcel means I could try them out without committing to 40 teabags worth.  After getting dressed, I popped the kettle on and made a cup of chocolate tea.  It smelled gorgeous – smooth, chocolatey (in a dark chocolate kind of way) with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and orange.  Taste wise, it was really subtle – I really enjoyed this.

For the next half?  Let’s travel to Mexico!

My Mexican half

My Mexican half

I really like Mexican food.  It’s quick, easy and social.  M and I have chilli on a regular basis, so I’m keen to use this spice mix from Spice N Tice.  Chilli, for me, is one of those “go to” foods that I’ll do when I want something filling but quite quick, and for Slimming Worlders, can be pretty much free on syn values.  Anyway, the other thing I love is fajitas – it’s so social – bung all the plates with fillings on the table, then load up.  We haven’t had fajitas for a long time actually, so I will use the Spice N Tice fajita spice mix when we next make fajitas.  The corn tortillas are interesting – it looks like you can turn them into nachos or tostadas.  You fry or bake them (having brushed them with oil).  Last, but not least, are the chipotles – a rub and a paste.  I can’t remember having chipotle before, but I know it’s spicy, so I’ll be taking it easy (or making sure there’s plenty of sour cream on side!).

So, thank you so much Steph – this is a really interesting parcel and I can’t wait to get stuck in!  Thank you too, to Carol Anne and her band of helpers this month for running the UK arm of Foodie Penpals,


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Foodie Penpals – May 2013 Reveal

This month’s Foodie Penpals went much better than last month (well, certainly from my perspective).  I felt much more confident buying produce this time round, having spoken more to my Foodie Penpal.  I was paired with Stephanie and Luke at Foodylicious (I sent to them), and Alena was the person sending me a parcel (Alena doesn’t have a blog for me to link to).

As I said, I found the sending experience much easier, having gained more information in the first place and I was able to time my shopping for this with the County Show.  The County Show provided the perfect setting to shop for local, independent produce.  You can see Stephanie and Luke’s post for this month here.

Alena asked me what I wanted, and I said a mix of good and naughty, and, what can I say?  She done good!

055

M was under strict instruction not to let me eat all of the bad stuff in one sitting.  There were a couple of things that I felt I had to try straight away.  The lime chilli chocolate was amazing.  I was a little bit apprehensive, as I am not 100% sold on chilli chocolate, and I can’t recall the last time I saw lime and chocolate together.  What have I been missing!  The chocolate was deliciously smooth, with a hint of lime.  It made me think of grown up chocolate limes.  I couldn’t taste the chilli at first, but after swallowing the chocolate, I felt a really lovely warmth.  It wasn’t a bitter chilli taste, but just a nice heat.  M tried a bit and wasn’t as convinced, but I will definitely be keeping my eye out for this in the future.

Alena had obviously done her research and kindly sent me two Nakd bars (that Kit at What a Peach had introduced me to last month).  Yeah, these didn’t last too long either, though they did make it to the car for our camping trip.  The Reese’s Nutrageous bar was interesting.  I am a huge fan of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (these lasted a remarkably long time for me!) and the whole peanuts in the bar gave it another texture.  It was nice, but I definitely couldn’t eat too many, as they’re very sweet.  However, I’m not complaining – my sweet tooth has been demanding indulgence.

I didn’t realise I like dried dates either.  I like dried fruit, but have tended to stay away from dates and figs.  It might be because of their size, I don’t know.  I have snacked on these since we came back from our camping trip (trying not to leave the stones lurking around, as the cats find them fun to play with).  I’ve yet to try to goji berries or nuts, but I’m sure they’ll be tasty.

Huge thanks to Alena for kindly putting together such a superb package – I have thoroughly enjoyed munching my way through the contents!  Also, thank you to Carol Anne at This is Rock Salt for organising the UK arm of this fab idea.

If you fancy getting involved in Foodie Penpals, check out the information for UK bloggers here, or here for those based in the States.

Roll on next month’s matches!


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What a day! Highs and Lows

Today has been one of my hardest days for battling the naughty foods.  I have only just resisted sloping off to a dark corner with a family share bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk, trying not to let the taste of tears taint the chocolate.  Sadly, I have the misfortune to work with some grade A muppets.  Though I do believe there is at least one in each workplace.  So that sorely tested my patience and resolve.

I did resist though, then got poked by M in the eye whilst he randomly threw an arm out, and, one eyed, I went out for a run.  I failed my run today.  Week 2, Run 3 just didn’t happen.  I managed to get probably half way round before I had to lean into the wind at a 45 degree angle whilst enduring a sandblasting/natural exfoliation.  It was horrible, and the sand hurt so much I did nearly cry.  I suspect I made a fairly pitiful sight.  I resorted to power walking (whilst using the wind as some sort of evil resistance training), and got home as quickly as I could.  I must find a less exposed run than the seafront, and will complete the next run perhaps tomorrow so I’m not off track with the plan.  But, if I don’t feel like it, I’ll just be one day behind.

Anyway, it all started getting much better when I got to fat club.  After a week of not really changing on the scales, I registered 3.5lbs off, thus hitting beyond my two stone mark, getting my Club 10, being 25% of the way there, getting into a new stone bracket AND being Slimmer of the Week!  Result!

A pretty sour day has turned much better!