Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Work gets in the way of life!

Don't you just hate it when you are in the middle of a perfectly good weekend, being productive, having a great time and then WHAM! It's Monday morning the alarm is blaring away and you are left wondering how the weekend ended so quickly.

I feel like every weekend I get busier and busier. Anyway this weekend was no exception and I didn't win the euro millions so I am back at work. Thankfully I have 5 days in Barcelona to look forward to this weekend, so it's not all bad really.

I have been growing spinach and my husband has been saying that I have to pick it to keep it growing. I didn't believe him but I tried it anyway and man was he right. The first time I went out to pick some for a salad I had a smallish handful, then like 5 days later I had enough to serve us both at dinner as one of our veggies

As you can see I also had a great haul on the rhubarb. I was going to make a crumble, but then realised I needed something to bribe my niece into watching the cats for us when we are away so felt I had better save these for her.

So not a bad haul for such bad weather. We were very excited and ate the spinach steamed with dinner. Delish.

Look at the color of that rhubarb. Beautiful. Ah, here I sound like a proud parent.

Exercise on Sunday was limited to long walks and gardening as I felt I needed a rest. Today is a sunny day, so I am going to take advantage and get out for a run today. I need to get in as much exercise as possible this week ahead of our trip. Hubby has banned running shoes on the trip. Killjoy! I think it's really because he can't run at the moment, he doesn't want me to either, but I think we will end up walking so much while we are away that I will get plenty of exercise.

I have some recipes to post later today, so I'll be back in a while.


Saturday, 23 June 2012

Healthy and not so healthy

Ok so in following the 80/20 rule of life I have one healthy recipe and one slightly less healthy recipe.

I read a quote by Jillian Michaels where she said 80/20 is the best way to balance life. She stressed that eating clean as much as you can and cut out all preservatives and junk in the foods that you choose.

No this isn't rocket science, I am aware but it's refreshing to hear such good sense from a fitness guru.

For dinner tonight I made tomato sauce and meatballs. I served mine over zucchini "pasta" and regular pasta for the hubby.


400g ground beef (normal size packet of ground beef)
2 chorizo sausages (chopped up finely) with casing removed
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tsp dried oregano (I used Greek oregano)
3 black garlic cloves chopped
2 free range eggs (you can probably get away with 1 if preferred)
1 tsp black pepper (or good sprinkling)
1  T tomato puree/paste

Mix all ingredients by hand and make into 12 golf ball sized meatballs.

Cook at 180c/350f for approximately 30 minutes. I cooked mine on greaseproof paper over a baking tray to soak up some of the excess fat.

Tomato Sauce

1 chorizo sausage, casing removed and finely chopped
1/2 sweet onion finely chopped
1 T tomato puree/paste
1 T oregano
2 400g cans of italian tomatoes
5 roasted fresh tomatoes
1 tsp garlic puree
10 button mushrooms chopped up
3 T sun dried tomato paste
1/2 tsp sea salt
Ground pepper
Handful of fresh basil
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp coconut oil

Roast the fresh tomatoes with 1 tsp rapeseed oil in the oven at 180C/350F for approximately 30 minutes or until lightly golden and well cooked. Set to one side.

In a saucepan melt coconut oil. Add chorizo and cook for several minutes and then add onion. Once the onion is soft add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute.

Next add all other ingredients including the roasted tomatoes and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Serve sauce with the meatballs over pasta or over julienned zucchini/courgette.

It was really tasty and filling. I have no appetite now for the ice cream sadly but it's there just in case. I did go for a run and a long walk today.

Vanilla chia seed protein ice cream

1.5 cups of plain greek yoghurt
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (or flavour of choice)
2 pinches xanthan gum (optional)
8 drops liquid vanilla stevia or 2 tsp of sweetner of choice. Maple agave would be nice here. Taste as you add sweetner to ensure it's to your taste.
4 drops butter flavouring (optional)
1/2 tsp natural almond extract* (or flavouring of choice)
1 heaped teaspoon chia seeds

Mix yoghurt and protein powder and then add flavourings tasting as you add each. Add xanthan gum and mix well. Then add sweetener to taste. Finally stir in chia seeds and then put mix in the freezer.

This mix needs only a couple of hours to set. Stir well halfway through. This makes 2 good sized servings. If you freeze for longer and it freezes solid, just remove from freezer about 30 minutes before serving and give it a good stir. I like to serve mine with chia jam. My latest batch is raspberry which is a lovely mix. You can also melt sole coconut oil and drizzle over. It will reharden and give it a lovely taste.

* One word of note, almond extract is very powerful, so use sparingly.


Friday, 22 June 2012

Spinach and hummus

In true British weather fashion, the first day of summer arrives and immediately we need sweatshirts! ha.

I will not let that damper my enthusiasm in the garden. Here is my first spinach haul.

Ok, so I say haul, it was really 1 serving, but it was the first spinach I have ever grown and it was lovely to have fresh organic spinach that wasn't sitting in my fridge for days on end. Allegedly I have dino kale growing as well, but I haven't seen much evidence of it.

I have 4 different types of squash and millions of tomatoes and chillies planted as well. I was about to take a photo to post but the monsoon started up again.

On the exercise front, I am back in the saddle. 2 runs this week and one 18K MTB ride. I am aiming to run 3 times a week with cycling and zumba thrown in for good measure. Next week's going to be tricky with work and going to Barcelona for a long weekend, but I will persevere. No chance of working from home either. Ah well, no excuses, and I am sure I will walk miles and miles once we get to Barcelona, AND.....it's hot and sunny there, woo hoo!

I made some killer hummus this week as well, no photo as it was ugly as sin, but it was awesome.


400g can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 T olive oil
1 T rapeseed oil
3 T sunflower butter
1 T PB2
2-3 cloves of black garlic (I used 3)
pinch of sea salt (I used maldon, local and lovely)
pepper to taste

Blend all of this up in a food processor until desired consistency. You may need to use 2-3 T of water if you use PB2 to get a better consistency. I like mine chunky. I did use a handblender for this which was a really poor way to blend, and messy. I would advise a food processor over a blender if at all possible or if you like really chunky, mash with a potato masher and mix by hand.

It has a lovely savoury taste. I have had mine with grilled chicken, and on some rice cakes.

As I said in my last post, I will be changing hosting soon, and moving my blog to wordpress. I have just been on a wordpress course so I am armed and dangerous!

Have a good day!