Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Foodie ideas

I love to cook and try new recipes. The dozens of Meal Planning Monday posts (which have fallen by the wayside somewhat recently) are a testament to my sad planning nature. But when I was writing those I always tried to include something new once a week (most evident during the Great Green Bean Glut of 2011).

I've been compiling another list, one of recipes or foods I want my family to try this year.

Pizza Bianco
Simply, pizza without tomato sauce as a base. My son just does not like pizza, at all. He gags at tomatoes bless him, so I guess they are his "thing". But he does like pizza-style garlic bread, so perhaps he might like this. I'm thinking of a base with garlic butter, broccoli, and cheese on top, all things he loves :) (Or maybe a green bean pizza later in the year!)

Having established last year that my children will eat mildly spicy food (eg, Thai curry or Moroccan spiced lamb) I'm fairly confident that they will at least try this. As my son loses more and more of his teeth, he's been finding eating quite tricky. I made him a vegetable and lentil soup a few weeks ago and he loved it, so he has no excuses! I just need to convince my husband, who has promised to leave me if I ever make him eat lentils.

The best pie
Oh we do love a pie in our house. I saw this recipe months ago on Mrs M's blog and I'm desperate to try it. I can't see my children eating much of it though so it might have to be saved for a day when I'm entertaining.

I blogged a few weeks ago about quinoa. I quite like it, and I think I could get the family to eat it too, if I prepare it in a way they'll like. I really fancy this recipe for spicy laksa, which might work for the family if I used korma paste. I also fancy making something based on this stew recipe, but without so much spice or fruit, since no-one but me willingly eats fruit in dinners. My children have already decided they like couscous and risotto, so I should have no problems persuading them to eat quinoa!

I get annoyed at my children sometimes for their inability to eat food that is all mixed together. For example, spaghetti bolognaise must be plain pasta, sauce next to it, and a bit of cheese on the side. It bugs me so much! And the moaning when I produce a casserole. Anyway, they both now eat risotto and pasta bake (as long as there are no tomatoes in the sauce...), so I think paella could be a great option for a family dinner. Especially because I can create my own version based on the vegetables and meat or fish they like.

I try to include fish in our family dinners at least twice a week. My son loves what he calls "fishcake", which is actually cod roe from a tin (it sounds disgusting and I won't eat it!). My daughter is not so keen, but she does like tuna, salmon, and white fish. She also likes my homemade meatballs, burgers, and kofta kebabs, so I think homemade fishcakes could be a good way to get everyone eating fish in a different way.

Cinnamon bread
I've had this recipe saved in my Twitter favourites for a few months now. It looks delicious and perfect as a treat for my family, who love their cakes. We've got into baking bread recently, using ready-to-bake packs from the shop (just add water!). The kids love kneading the dough and watching it rise. I suspect this might be a lot of fun for us all to make together one wet weekend or on a day in the holidays when we're a bit bored.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Things I Hate While I'm Running

I like making lists. Although they're usually very dull and revolve around planning stuff (shopping, present ideas, chores). My "Things I Hate While I'm Running" list is an exception (although it could still be very dull).

1) Dogs

I really don't like dogs. I'm frightened of them after being jumped on by several when I was little, and then I was bitten a few years ago by a Jack Russell (which according to its owner "doesn't bite, only chews"). Yeah, tell that to my bleeding hand.

Dogs aren't too bad when I'm running if they're on a lead and the owner is paying attention. I can handle a bit of woofing or restricted-by-a-lead jumping up. But I can't stand crazy dogs that run around my feet and try to trip me up, or those that jump up at me because they're "very friendly, sorry" and rip my running gear.

But the worse part about dogs is running past one that's taking or just taken a dump in the grass and all you can smell for a minute after passing it is steaming dog crap. *gag*

2) People who smoke

You know when you're trying to breathe?

There is nothing more disgusting than running (or walking) past someone just as they exhale a big cloud of toxic smoke in your face. I expect some smokers might even do it on purpose, as a joke or something. I suppose they need something to laugh about.

Oh I know, I'll probably die before all you smokers from being run over while running, yeah, irony.

3) Organised walking groups 

I like walking and admire anyone who gets off their arse and does something outdoorsy. But I'm not very keen on enthusiastic old women with sticks who walk four abreast and TALK VERY LOUDLY. And tut at runners and cyclists as they squeeze past them on the grass verge or in the mud.

4) Inattentive people

This is a broad-ranging group and includes people daydreaming while walking (I include myself in this group), children, people on their phone (also me), and people stopping for a chat at inappropriate places (see number 3 also).

So that's the list, at present. I saw all of them on my run today. My legs were giving up yet, at 12 miles, I had to sprint past two groups of 10 walkers (one lot were Cubs, who fancied trying to race me) before I got stuck behind them at a kissing gate.

The run was good, I'd planned 10 miles but failed to run 5 miles on Saturday, mainly due to me drinking too much during the day and then eating late. (I don't have my reputation for nothing you know, it's carefully nurtured.) 15 miles run (I forgot to start my watch and I never start it near where I live because there are some weird folk out there), no stopping for a walk (except to take a photo), and no massive pain. OK, some massive pain. Left knee was sore from the off, right hip ached after a few miles, then my left groin, and then both my hips! I felt like I was running sideways at one point and had to keep looking down at my legs to check.

Cold bath when I got home has helped calm my legs down, although my feet and toes were hurting so much for about an hour after I got home, not sure what I should do about that. I think my toes are beyond saving though.

Current training plan is to get myself up to 18 miles by July 15th, which is the date of the Fairlands Valley Challenge. I'm not entered, and I don't plan to enter! I just wanted to have something to work towards. And if stuff works out then I might enter. (I won't, but I might.)  I want to get to the point at which 13 miles is a comfortable distance to run. Currently I feel 10 miles is comfortable. Just. A long way to go yet before the marathon in October, but I think slowly building up at the weekend like this is the best way. I hope. And lots of hill training and intervals :)

Taken on my run, near Willian

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Oat and lemon cookies

This afternoon I've been experimenting in the kitchen. I wanted to make some dairy-free biscuits so the kids could give some to their friend who's allergic to cows' milk. I searched online and found a recipe for Oat and coconut cookies. Being impatient and not wanting to venture to the shops for dessicated coconut, I decided to adapt the recipe and make them into Oat and lemon cookies.

After the first attempt we had these! They actually tasted OK, despite looking like very thin flapjacks.

 Second time lucky (actually, the third time!), and we had this recipe:

Oat and lemon cookies

250 g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (slightly heaped)
0.75 tsp salt (just under level)
200 g granulated sugar
150 g soft brown sugar
200 g porridge oats (I probably used 220 g in the end, keep adding until you can make balls from the mixture)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
175 ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
ground ginger (I added 1 tsp but can't taste it, so probably need 2 or more)

Stir together the flour, sugars, bicarb of soda, salt, oats, ginger, and lemon zest. Make a well in the centre and add the oil, lemon juice, and eggs. Mix together and form into a dough. Break off small (walnut size) pieces and roll into balls, place on a greased tray and press down slightly with a fork or your fingers. Leave a good gap between each ball because the cookies will spread a lot.

Bake for 15 minutes at 180C (that's the time and temp I eventually settled on for my fan oven. You might need to adjust).

Before baking

The finished cookies :)

They taste "OK" (they need more ginger for my tastes), my kids love them, the husband has snaffled several of the more experimental ones. Hope my friend and her family like them now!

Any other taste testers are very welcome to pop round for a cuppa :)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Some sort of running post

I've not blogged in ages, and I've not blogged about running since my slightly mental post about stuff I saw on a long run in Blackpool back in March. So anyway, updates...

1000 miles

I kind of forgot (how could I forget?!), but I set myself a goal back in January to run 1000 miles in 2012. I've been logging all my runs on, which is a running forum. It's a great resource for analysing your run stats (sadly I love analysing run stats). So, anyway, I'm currently a third through the year, so I should have run *does maths* 333 and a bit miles (is that right?). Stats coming up:

January     88 miles
February     95 miles
March      83 miles
April     88 miles

Which is 358 miles to the end of April. So I'm on target!


I've run 4 races so far this year.

NHRR First Saturday 5K (January)     25:00
NHRR First Saturday 5K (February)     23:32 (PB)
Baldock Beast half marathon (March)     1:53:40
Flitwick 10K (April)     48:16 (PB)

Really pleased to have finally got a time for a 5K, and that PB was set on a very frosty Saturday morning when it was minus 8! Flitwick was HARD, as was Baldock, two races that seemed like they were uphill all the way round.

Races coming up include the Greenway Challenge this weekend (half marathon), Marston Forest 5K in June, possibly the Hitchin Hard Half marathon in July (if I get husband's permission!), possibly another Baldock Beast half in September, Standalone 10K in October, and der der der derrrrr, Preston Guild Marathon on October 28th! Eeek, a marathon!

Club stuff

Very exciting times at Stotfold Runners at the moment too. A beginners group starts next week, with intermediates after. Lots of new people hopefully coming, so I'll be helping out with beginners run/walks. Really great to be able to give something back to the club after they got me where I am today. I was remembering my first ever run tonight, and how I gradually kept adding distance until I could run 10K. What a feeling!

Right, that's enough wittering. Feel free to leave a comment if you like, or comment on FB or Twitter. Thanks for reading :)
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