Wednesday, 29 February 2012

WIAW - lots of broccoli with peanut sauce

Hello! Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

Thanks Jenn for keeping things interesting - you're definitely inspiring me to eat more veggies! :)

This week's WIAW is based on Monday - I seem to always be quite motivated on Mondays to a) get back on track after the weekend and b) take photos of everything.

Monday morning started with a new-to-me granola - well Lidl's version of granola anyway - spiced orange and cranberry. Plus coconut yoghurt and the few blueberries that Toby would "let" me eat = breakfast...

I really liked the cereal. It had a nice orange flavour to it and lots of big crunchy clumps! :)

Lunch was very green, and an example of me seemingly having a teeny tiny bit of self-control left in me! I'd had a couple of wraps for dinner on Sunday night and started getting full as soon as I started eating the 2nd wrap. I did continue eating the first half of it, but saved the last half for Monday's lunch. Normally I keep eating until my plate is clean, no matter what, so I was quite impressed with myself! It made lunch super easy too - half a tub of Waitrose celeriac, spinach and creme fraiche soup and half a Philadelphia, basil tofu and spinach wrap...

The soup was nice, but I couldn't really pick out any individual flavours - I kept forgetting what soup it was that I was eating to be honest! I did like it though - it felt good for me and, well, green!

My camera would have me believe that I didn't eat any snacks on Monday, but I'm sure that can't be true. I seem to remember several cups of tea and a small piece of flapjack.

Dinner was amazing! I cooked a risotto for the others but I didn't fancy that, so I had a whole head of broccoli with peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce
(serves 1)
  • 30g crunchy peanut butter
  • 5ml soy sauce
  • half tsp ground ginger
  • 15g peanut flour
  • 65g basil tofu, chopped really really finely (optional)
  • enough boiling water to thin to your desired consistency
Add all the ingredients, except the tofu, to a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until combined. Add the tofu, mix, pour over steamed broccoli, and eat!

You could use crushed peanuts instead of tofu, or just leave it out. I had it sitting in my fridge so decided to use it up, but it didn't add anything to the flavour, just gave a different texture.

I loved this! I had broccoli with peanut sauce when I went out for a meal at a Thai restaurant, and whilst this wasn't exactly the same, it was definitely delicious and really filling too!

Even though I was really satisfied after this meal, my sweet tooth started calling out a while later. So I finished the day off with a vanilla soy dessert and a few chocolate chips:

Well, as this is the last "love your veggies" you ever just eat a big plate of veggies? There is no way that Liam would have eaten a plate of broccoli like I did. Even with the sauce, he wouldn't have considered it a "proper" meal, and he also just doesn't like eating that much veg with his meals. The veg is definitely the least important part for him! I love vegetables though. I also love eating sweet potatoes with asparagus (and a bit of houmous), lots of asparagus with a couple of poached eggs, a big plate of roast veg (peppers, onions, courgette etc) with houmous etc etc. Sometimes a big plate of vegetables is just what I fancy! Plus that way I can tell myself that I "need" the carbs the form of a sugary treat of's all about balance!! ;-)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Sunny Weekend

Hello! Have you all had a lovely weekend?

My weekend started with more Mississippi Mud Pie...

I was channelling memories of our honeymoon with this chocolate and cherry breakfast!

I was worried the rest of the day wouldn't be able to live up to this lovely start, but it did pretty well! ;)

My Dad was visiting for the weekend, and took the children to my Grandparents' for lunch. Liam and I made the most of the peace and quiet by going out for lunch ourselves. I started with a latte...

and then had goats cheese and caramelised onion on toasted sundried tomato bread...

and some chips to share with Liam...

This lunch was tasty, but I was a little annoyed. The goats cheese dish was the only thing on the menu that was vegetarian, it was marked as vegetarian on the menu, but when it came out it was drizzled with pesto that wasn't mentioned on the menu. And let's face it, in the little town I live in, the pesto probably wasn't vegetarian. I still ate it - the pesto was mainly on the tomatoes which I don't eat anyway - but I did mention it to the waiter when he collected our plates. Mainly so that they could either change their menu, or just not put the pesto drizzle on the next time. He said he'd check in the kitchen and came back into the room - but not up to our table - and just kind of shouted at me "you're ok" with a thumbs up sign. That annoyed me. I didn't make a huge deal about it or anything, but it just felt like he was really dismissive. Meh. We still had a nice lunch, it just irritated me a bit.

Rather than spend money on dessert, we walked home and had (another) big slice of mud pie. This stuff is so good! This was my piece which, admittedly, is rather huge...but Liam's was even bigger! I'm jealous of his ability to eat anything and everything without gaining any weight! ;-)

The children both had a nap when they got back from spending time with my Dad, so Liam and I got to sit down with our chocolate cake and watch a whole DVD in peace...bliss.

For dinner, I was lacking energy and inspiration so Liam went to Waitrose and bought some ready meal curries. They didn't have my usual cauliflower curry or lentil daal so Liam got me some aloo gobi saag (potato, cauliflower and spinach) plus the usual rice and naan. He did also get me chana masala but I gave that to the children - I don't do beans or chickpeas unless they are mashed/blended!

Yellow but tasty!


Today has been mainly spent outside. We did a quick shop in Waitrose as soon as it opened, and then Liam to Izzy swimming while I stayed at home with Toby. I'd planned to take him for a little walk, but he was mega tired/grumpy, so he went for a nap and I got to spend time in our sunny back garden painting my toe nails! Bliss - definitely appreciating the child-free moments this weekend!!!

Once Liam and Izzy got home, we had lunch. I'd been looking forward to these for a while - crisps & dips!

Toby didn't quite manage to wait for the others to get back before he got stuck in...!!

His favourite was the sour cream dip, Izzy and I love the guacamole and Liam had no choice loves the salsa - perfect!

After lunch we headed back outside for a walk - it was too sunny not to really! Izzy took her scooter...

Rare photo of me for no real reason...

Playing down by the river...

We didn't walk too far as we'd chosen not to take Toby's pushchair, but it was nice to get out and stretch our legs.

Now we are all having a sit down before thinking about cooking dinner, getting everyone ready for the week ahead etc. This weekend has gone slower than most, but the two days still always go by too quickly!

What have you done this weekend? Is it spring yet where you are? Hopefully I'm not going to bring the bad weather back by saying it, but I wore flip flops today, yey! Definitely a sign that summer is on it's way to me! :)

Friday, 24 February 2012

All Things Chocolate

I'm not really that much of a chocolate person. I would never choose a chocolate dessert in a restaurant, or chocolate ice cream...there is usually a flavour that sounds more interesting to me than chocolate.

The last few days, however, I can't get enough of it.

Chocolate granola...

Lizi's chocolate granola, coconut yoghurt and raspberries

Chocolate porridge...

Well, grey-looking blueberry porridge in an almost-empty Nutella jar!

Chocolate milk...

With a few drops of peppermint extract...I'm loving chocolate-mint at the moment.

And chocolate mud pie...

Oh yes. Believe it or not, I don't think I'd ever actually had Mississippi Mud Pie before. I remember many years ago I used to have a Mississippi Mud Pie flavoured lipbalm (from Body Shop I think?) but I'd never actually tasted the real thing.

3 different layers of chocolate is really hard to photograph!

Well, today I changed that. This recipe was super easy to make, and the result was fantastic.

When I first peeled the parchment away, I was a bit concerned as the edges looked a lot drier than I'd expect from a mud pie. But not to worry, that was just the biscuit crust. The inside was deliciously gooey. If I'm going to eat chocolate desserts, they have to be fudgy. Dry chocolate cake = a big no no!

Have you ever had Mississippi Mud Pie before? What are your favourite chocolatey desserts, or ways to eat chocolate? As I've said, I would never order a chocolate dessert in a restaurant (I can always try Liam's anyway as that's all he orders!) but I do like homemade gooey chocolate desserts such as brownies or chocolate frosted traybake. I can add Mississippi Mud Pie to that list now! I'd still normally choose to have a non-chocolate dessert though. Or a few squares of good quality dark chocolate. That normally satisfies any chocolate cravings!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

WIAW - Finally Some Vegetables!

Hello! Happy What I Ate Wednesday! This is the first time I've been able to take part this month - I've actually been eating my veggies!! Thanks Jenn for the extra motivation :)


This morning started with some veggies...after all the pancakes yesterday I woke up fancying a smoothie. Luckily the children agreed!

This murky brown smoothie was a banana, lots of spinach, frozen pineapple, frozen blueberries and milk. No need for any extra sweetness - this was delicious as it was. The children had theirs in bowls with desiccated coconut...

and I had mine in a glass...

x3...this made lots!

This morning Toby and I went to toddler group. I had a cup of tea but managed to resist the biscuits. I did treat myself when I got home instead though - a spiced chai latte with a few white chocolate strawberry hearts - both new-to-me purchases.

Love these chocolates! They were reduced post-Valentine's Day and had bits of dried strawberries running through them. The chai latte was really nice too - I've had the vanilla version before but the spiced version made a nice change. A bit too much sugar for every day consumption, but a nice treat.

Lunch was an easy dose of veggies with a shop bought salad.

This included bulgar wheat, quinoa, spinach, peas, pea shoots and green lentils, with a lemon creme fraiche dressing.

I really enjoyed this. Sometimes I find with shop-bought salads that the dressing is too overpowering, but with this one you added the salad dressing yourself, so I only used about two-thirds of the pot and it was perfect. I should try to recreate this myself next time!

After school today Izzy had swimming. She's moved up to the next class so it isn't until 5pm now, meaning that we don't get home until 6pm. I knew time was going to be tight to make dinner after swimming, so I made lasagne beforehand instead. I decided to try something different this time, and use up the veggies I had lurking in the fridge. Root vegetable lasagne instead of roast vegetable. This was roasted butternut squash, roasted parsnips, caramelised onions, white sauce, crumbled goats cheese and green lasagne sheets.

I was very glad to have this just needing to be popped into the oven when I got home! It was ready just as Liam got home, and I was too busy serving everyone to tell him exactly was what was in it when I first gave him a plate. He thought it looked like it had pineapple and leftover pancake mix in, so he was quite relieved when I set him straight!!

This was tasty, but not quite perfect enough to post the recipe. I didn't really fancy tomato sauce today, but because there was less sauce than normal some of the top layer of pasta didn't cook properly. It was still nice so long as we ate around the hard bits though! Toby's reaction to this did make me laugh - he'll happily eat green smoothies, but green pasta? Nope. He ate the parsnip instead as he thought that was the pasta part!

Children in bed, I sat down to write this post with a little snack plate. I had a serious chocolate craving but managed to get a bit of fruit in there too!

The last of my Green & Black's cherry chocolate, some fresh cherries, a few more little white chocolate hearts and my favourite dried pineapple. A great end to the day!

As this month's WIAW theme is loving your veggies, what is your favourite way of getting more veg into your diet? I always find that if I start with a good breakfast, the rest of the day goes so much better. Getting some spinach into a smoothie is a bonus, but even starting with a bowl of fruity porridge gives me a good start on making better eating choices. When I'm not having major chocolate cravings, I like to have snack plates during the day of raw veggies with dips, but today the chocolate was needed more!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pancake Day 2012 - eleven pancakes in one day!

Have you all celebrated? I think I've actually ended up eating more pancakes than I did last year!

Unlike my Mum, I wasn't organised enough to make pancakes before the school run. The children were happy with shop-bought Scotch pancakes with golden syrup (for Izzy only - too messy for Toby!!) and strawberries:

Once I got back home, I ate two batches of raspberry, lime and coconut pancakes... batch #1 may have been a bit of a fail presentation wise, but it was still tasty:

Batch #2 was even better! My tummy insisted that I waited a little while between batches, so these ended up being breakfast and lunch!

Dinner was more pancakes - butternut squash and goats cheese pancakes with asparagus and salad...

I doubled the recipe thinking that there wouldn't have been enough otherwise. Big mistake. These were delicious but so dense - almost as if they were made of potato. Toby had one, Izzy had two, I had three and Liam had four...and we could have probably all done with having had one pancake less! There's still some mix leftover too!!

I loved these, but then with goats cheese and butternut squash in the title, I kind of knew I would. The great thing was that Liam loved them too! When I first told him we were having butternut squash for pancakes...he wasn't too impressed. I think his response was "no, I don't think I'll like that, pancakes should only be sweet!" He really enjoyed them though, phew!

We had to leave a little room for dessert - no Pancake Day would be complete without a couple of pancakes with lemon juice and sugar...

Eleven pancakes. Done and most definitely done.

What is your favourite type of pancake? We all like different types in this house - my favourite are small American-style fruity ones like this morning's, Liam loves the large (fill a whole pan when he makes them!) American pancake with chocolate chips, and Izzy prefers crepes with lemon juice and sugar. We all like all of them really though! I'd never actually made American pancakes before I started reading blogs. It's weird how some things so quickly become "normal". I'm glad to have the extra variety in my pancake life now!! ;-)

When I was younger, my Mum would make pancakes before school for my sisters and I, and then again in the evening when my Dad was home. My record for number of pancakes eaten before school was (I think) eight...which my littlest sister Olivia equalled this morning! I don't remember having pancakes very often the rest of the year though, whereas we probably have pancakes as a weekend breakfast 1-2 times a month. Pancake Day will  still always be worth the extra them! :-D

Raspberry, Lime & Coconut Pancakes {recipe}

Happy Shrove Tuesday! Do you remember last year when I ate pancakes for every meal? I wasn't planning to eat that many again this year, but I've eaten 2 batches of these pancakes so far as the first batch was too thin/spread all over the pan into a, still tasty, mess. Just for you (!), I changed the recipe and made them again...and I'm so glad I did as the 2nd batch was perfect! More pancakes this evening, which I'll come back and tell you about later, but for now - go make these!

Raspberry, Lime and Coconut Pancakes
(serves 1 - makes 3 pancakes)
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 15g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 15g oil (or melted butter)
  • juice of half a lime
  • 30-35ml milk
  • 12 raspberries
1. Place a small amount of oil in a frying pan and place on a low-medium heat.
2. First combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, coconut and sugar) in a bowl.
3. Add the egg, oil and lime juice and mix.
4. Add the milk slowly - you want enough milk to "wet" all your flour etc, but you want the batter to still be quite thick.
5. Place the batter into the pan in three sections. Put 4 raspberries on top of each pancake and press down gently.
6. Cook the pancakes until they start bubbling. This will take a few minutes - be patient! Cooking the pancakes slowly gives a nice fluffy inside without a burnt outside.
7. When the pancakes start bubbling, gently flip them over and cook on the other side for another minute or two until golden brown.
8. Serve with more raspberries and coconut, and syrup if you'd like. Enjoy!

I'm not having much luck with my pancakes so far today. As I said above, the first batch I made spread all over the pan - the batter was way too runny so I ended up with 1 giant pancake mess! I adjusted the ratios for the second batch and these were perfect, but only 2 of them successfully survived the flip. Oh well, they tasted amazing. I'm not overly happy with any of the photos I took but they'll have to do - I'm way too full to consider eating any more pancakes until Izzy gets home!!

I suppose the third pancake wasn't too ugly - looking at these photos, they all seem to be rather misshapen anyway! Haha, taste over appearance, right?!! ;-)

These tasted perfect - all fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. They reminded me more of biscuits than breakfast! The tang of the raspberries and lime juice cuts through the sweetness though - delicious. They were loosely based on my strawberry and coconut pancakes but I didn't want oats in these so I changed the recipe around a bit. That's where I went wrong with the first batch really - oats seemingly absorb a lot more liquid than flour so I had to increase the flour and decrease the liquid in second batch. These are great now though, and you could change up the flavours with different fruits etc. My go-to pancake recipe when I'm only cooking for myself now I think! :-)

Have you had any pancakes yet today? Or are you planning to? I've already had texts from a couple of family members this morning - my littlest sister ate 8 crepes before going to school and my Dad had American pancakes with bacon and maple syrup in a cafe. I didn't have time to make the children pancakes before school (I don't know how my Mum does it!) so I just gave them shop-bought Scotch pancakes and will make "proper" ones later. Izzy's having pancakes for pudding with her school lunch today too...we'll all be pancaked-out by the end of today...just how it should be!! ;-)

Saturday, 18 February 2012

First Time At Body Pump...

Morning all! I'm feeling really energised this morning! I went to Body Pump yesterday evening for the first time, and my body must have needed extra recovery time as I slept until 10am this morning!! That's unheard of for me - Liam and I take it in turns to give each other lie-ins at the weekend, but even on my lie-in day I normally only sleep until 8.30am latest! I'm glad I did get extra sleep though - my body is feeling pretty sore this morning!! :-D

Let's go back to yesterday though. I had a pre-exercise snack a few hours before Body Pump of a couple of slices of malt loaf with peanut butter and strawberries:

This was really tasty. I normally just eat malt loaf with butter, but I liked the new topping!

Then at 6.30pm my sister, her boyfriend and I headed off to Body Pump. I was looking forward to it, but didn't know what to expect. The instructor didn't arrive until just before the class started but luckily there were other people there who helped us set up.

I can't remember what weights I used for everything, but my warm-up weight was 2.5kg on each side, and I went down as light as 2kg on each side for shoulders (as I'd twinged my left shoulder at the end of the previous track so didn't want to do more damage - glad I did this anyway as I was getting tired by then!!) and up to 4.5kg on each side on one of the tracks - one of the legs tracks I assume. I saw someone had a little notebook to write down the details - I wish I'd done that as it'd be interesting to see how I improve - by the time we got back in the car my mind had gone blank!!

I really enjoyed Body Pump - my whole body was like jelly by the end but I kind of liked that - shows I've actually worked my muscles for once!! There's no way I'd have worked on weights for that long in the gym on my own so it was really good to focus on a different aspect of fitness - and I definitely needed the instructor to tell us there was only 4 more reps left to keep me going by the end of most some of the tracks!! This morning I feel stiff and achey - particularly my thighs and upper arms - but I can walk which is a relief - I was a bit worried as I was so sore last night and thought I'd stiffen up even more whilst I was sleeping!

When I got home from Body Pump I had an easy dinner of half a pack of fresh pasta (pumpkin and pine nut stuffed fiorelli from Waitrose) with salad.

I wanted some kind of sauce but couldn't think of what to put on it (and was too hungry to take time to make anything!) so I just added some ketchup and grated cheese after these photos. Slightly boring way to finish it off perhaps, but it still tasted really good.

I hadn't been planning to eat anything else as I ate dinner really late for me, but after I'd finished the pasta I fancied something sweet. An evening snack plate it was. This was Urban Fresh dried pineapple, almonds and a couple of squares of Lindt dark mint chocolate:

The dried pineapple was my favourite part of this plate. I sometimes find dried pineapple to be too dried and chewy, but this Urban Fresh version is the best I've ever tasted. Really soft and, well, fresh tasting. Yum! I just wish I could get it more easily than going to "big" Tesco half an hour away...think I might have to do an online order sometime soon!!

After my lovely night's sleep, I woke up this morning fancying a smoothie. When Liam went to Waitrose on Thursday evening he'd got a bit confused by my shopping list ("2 bags of salad, preferably not spinach" = 2 bags of salad + a bag of spinach?!!) so I had a green smoothie for the first time in ages. Well, kind of - adding spinach makes the smoothie lose it's pretty colour, and this one didn't even go green - just a kind of sludgy colour!

This was half a banana, a couple of large handfuls of spinach, frozen strawberries, milk and a tiny bit of agave nectar. I'd never had frozen strawberries before (another Tesco purchase that we can't get in our little town!) and was really pleased with how strong their flavour was. I was expecting to have to add a lot more sweetener than I did, but the strawberry flavour really shone through.

This smoothie made 2 big glasses, but I only got to drink 1.5 of them as the children took a liking to it! Izzy had a few mouthfuls but then Toby decided the rest was for him...!

After he'd finished it all, he tried to "cook" it in his toy oven, haha, he wasn't too impressed that it didn't produce more smoothie!!

Bless him, he's still at the age where the colour of something doesn't put him off. So long as it tastes good, he's more than happy to eat/drink it!!

Right, that's all from me for now - typing this is making my left arm ache worse!! Liam thinks I need to "man up" but he's never tried Body Pump...I'm hoping it's not just me that aches this bad!!

Have you ever done Body Pump? Were you quite stiff & sore after your first time? Does your body get quicker at recovering if you go regularly?!! I'm definitely glad I went to Body Pump on a Friday evening - I don't think I'd have been ready to do the whole getting the children ready & school run this morning!!
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