Not WIAW

Hey peeps, hope everyone is OK. We really need some sunshine now!

I used to do the WIAW posts (what I ate Wednesday) but I just have not done that for months, but I still like reading other peoples’ ones, and keep meaning to do them. I think I started off taking photos, and then forgot, so they are not all on the same day, hence why it is not WIAW.

Breakfast:

Every week day is porridge- this day was with a chopped pear, soya milk, and a little pb drizzled on top once cooked. I soak my porridge the night before, then cook it in the microwave in the morning, this way the oats soak up loads of liquid and I find it very filling.

I also have a mint tea and some water.

Lunch:

Andy made me a pb&j ūüôā The cute owl box had assorted chopped fruit- apple and persimmon I think. The nakd bar is for a morning snack, and the mint tea is for lunch time. My favourite lunch at the moment is ryvita with hummus (sometimes caramelised onion yummy), carrot sticks to dip, and fruit.

If I go on a run I would often have a snack in the afternoon too, but of course I didn’t take any photos of them.

Dinner:

This may not be of the same day! This was a speedy dinner for when we were in a hurry- we cooked some tomato soup, and then made a quesadilla to go alongside it- wholemeal wrap heated up in a pan, topped with grated cheese and chopped pepper, then another wrap on top. This, sliced and dipped into soup was lovely. Sometimes I add spinach in there too as I love wilted spinach and cheese.

Snack:

I normally have some kind of evening snack- this was fab- yoghurt, persimmon and chocolate marzipan hearts left over from Christmas.

Urgh, the weather. Blah blah. You can fill in the gaps. I went on a run on Monday but it was so cold, etc etc, so I nearly wimped out, and then just went on a short one because I basically thought I am not training for anything right now, and running for fun, and running in this cold is not that fun. Weirdly the pavements were not gritted, but the ice had mainly cleared, but it is still all on the grass and houses. Blah.

What are your Easter weekend plans? Let’s look forward to something good!

Another lemon cake recipe, this time with blueberries

So, at the moment I am having a real obsession with lemon cake.

Last week I bought some blueberries with the plan of adding them to my weekend pancakes, but then I didn’t end up having any. After I made the lemon cake with the Seedburst, I still had some lemons left, so I decided to make a lemon and blueberry cake for Sunday tea.

I found this recipe for lemon traybake, and I was just going to add the blueberries to it, but the batter seemed very thick and almost dry, so I added the juice of one lemon, and a good splash of soya milk to it. I then added 150g blueberries to the mix, and once I had poured it into the brownie pan, I sprinkled some more over the top.

I love how the blueberries burst when they cook and go all jammy.

Once it was cool I poured over the icing (juice and zest of one lemon, plus icing sugar). Then I left that to set before I sliced it.

The cake seems to be super moist as I think a lot of the lemon juice from the icing has soaked in to it- when I opened the tin to take the photo I was hit by a burst of the tangy lemon smell- I am really looking forward to a piece later!

This morning I pottered about for ages while the snow was still coming down (I really thought when I first looked out the window that I had imagined the snow from yesterday), but after an hour or so I headed outside.

I think the snow was still drifting, as when I headed home my footprints were covered, plus some patches were clear, but then where there was a break in the trees the path would be snowy again. I found this patch of clear-ish pavement about half a mile from home and so ran up and down about 6 times I think. Once I got going it was OK- I took it slowly with small gentle steps, (really don’t want to injure myself) and in the end did just over 3 miles. When I turned to head into the wind it was horrible as the snow was coming down in those tiny balls that are more like hail- they really stung my face.

Pancakes for a warming breakfast! I used up the last of the blueberries, some in the pancakes and some with a chopped apple and fig cooked on the hob.

Yum cooked blueberries are just fabulous!

Pancakes plus tea while watching the Grand Prix= a good start to Sunday.

Clover Seedburst recipe- Earl grey and lemon seeded loaf

Hey peeps, I hope you are all not too annoyed with the snow. Now when the snow is coming down, an afternoon baking at home is always very tempting. A while ago I was asked if I would like to try a new spread, Clover Seedburst. As soon as I saw it I decided that I would try it in a lemon cake recipe, as I love lemon and poppyseed loaf, so I thought the other seeds in it (a blend of 7 seeds) would go really well. I was browsing different recipe books, and came across a Lemon and Thyme loaf in the Hummingbird Cake Days book which sounded fab. But I am having a bit of an Earl Grey obsession at the moment, and lemon + Early Grey is such a lovely combination so I have adapted the recipe.

Lemon and Earl Grey seeded loaf

Ingredients:

190g Seedburst

190g plain flour

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

190g caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

2 Earl Grey teabags

For syrup to pour over:

40g caster sugar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Reserved liquid from the tea

Begin by preheating the oven to 170C. Our new oven is taking some getting used to, so I think I started it lower because it is much stronger than our old one, but I ended up having to turn it up a bit.

Line a loaf pan.

Make the tea (you only need a small amount of liquid, so a small cup with the teabags in will do). Cream together the spread, sugar and lemon zest (this helps to release the oils more). Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat to combine. Add the lemon juice, and around 25mls of the tea.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, and mix gently. Then pour into the loaf tin. Bake for 40-50 mins, until a skewer comes out clean.

While it is cooking, make the syrup. Heat together the caster sugar, 40ml of the tea, the lemon juice and zest. Boil it and then let it reduce slightly.

When the cake comes out of the oven, pierce the loaf, then pour the syrup all over. Leave it to cool a little, then remove and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

I am looking forward to when I can take photos in natural light again!

The lemon juice sinks in, and the caster sugar gives it a sweet topping.

It was delicious. There was a slight hint of tea flavour which went well with the zingy lemon, and the seeds were lovely as they stayed evenly spread throughout the cake.

I don’t tend to have spread on anything- if I make a sandwich I just have the filling, and the same if I have toast I go right for the pb/ jam/ lemon curd etc, but Andy had some of the Seedburst on some french bread and really enjoyed the different texture- we often choose grained bread or seeded bread, so if you like that, then give the Seedburst a try. I am sure I will use the rest of it in something else- maybe some nutty cookies as I think the flavour will work really well.

I was compensated for the cost of the Seedburst and the baking ingredients, but of course the opinions are my own.

Are you a lemon cake fan? It is usually my cake of choice in a tea room now, I love it!

Guest post- from the therapy lounge

Hi everyone- I am so glad Friday is here! I enjoyed the Wednesday night run (with my brother in tow too) although I found it really hard- I suppose the very late night on Tuesday combined with running Saturday, Sunday and Monday did not help. At least it wasn’t raining, and we tackled “the hill” route which is nearly 4 miles long- I still managed it in sub 10 min miles, I think I need to learn that that can be my normal speed. Last night we went into London again, this time to see Louis CK in Hammersmith. It was a funny show, and thankfully did not finish too late as there was a second show later on in the evening. Two nights out in one week = a very tired Friday though!

Today I have a guest post all about the links with anxiety and food- I found it really interesting, let me know what you think:

Food For Thought¬†‚ÄstControlling Anxiety with Diet¬†and Hypnotherapy¬†

You are what you eat, a cliché pedalled out by every nutritionist in the media maybe, but true nonetheless. Our mind and bodies interact and the importance food and drink consumption has on our mood and general well being can’t be underestimated. When they are extremely anxious or worried about something it is common for some people to lose their appetite and survive on a diet of coffee and chocolate bars, whereas others turn to food for comfort, overeating and craving junk food to medicate their feelings. The mental health charity MIND carried out a study on food and mood and found that food can have mental as well as physical effects. This is a very simplified version but food can basically be divided into two groups: those that affect anxiety and those that support recovery. According to MIND foods that can aggravate symptoms of anxiety include wheat, caffeine, sugar, alcohol and dairy products. Foods that can have a positive effect on mood include whole grains, fruit, vegetables, omega 3 rich oily fish, protein and very importantly adequate intake of water.

The way food affects mood could be due to an individual’s sensitivity to the ingredients or certain foods could cause allergies that manifest as mood depression rather than physical symptoms such as skin rashes. It may be worth keeping a food diary to see if what you are eating is contributing to the way you are feeling. If you discover a particular food is clearly having a negative effect-it may be time to make a change. Even whilst receiving other treatment for your anxiety, diet plays an important role in the recovery process.

An example day’s diet that supports recovery would look something like this:

Breakfast: Porridge with berries

Lunch: Hummus with vegetable crudités and pitta bread

Dinner: Salad Nicoise

Snacks: Fresh fruit, nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, oatcakes

Drinks: Water

There is evidence to suggest that ditching¬†the junk can help you manage¬†your¬†symptoms;¬†researchers in London¬†found that eating a diet of processed and fatty foods increases the risk of depression and the associated anxiety. They reported¬†that those who ate processed meat etc. had a 58% higher rate of suffering than those who ate whole foods.¬†It can be hard to make time for regular meals during times of stress¬†but¬†something as simple as following the¬†recommended¬†‚Äė5 A Day‚Äô¬†and drinking more water¬†could help you because not only will you increase your consumption of essential vitamins and nutrients¬†and avoid¬†anxiety aggravating dehydration,¬†but if you are eating¬†your¬†5 a day¬†and drinking 2 litres of water¬†you simply won‚Äôt have the room to consume as much junk!

Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? The problem however is that the low mood of anxiety sufferers can prevent them thinking they are worth it, or they may simply not have the motivation and energy to shop and cook for themselves so they become trapped in a cycle of feeling low, eating unhealthily, feeling worse. The cycle of bingeing on unhealthy food and then quickly feeling hungry again only serves to add to feelings of low self esteem and low mood often felt by anxiety sufferers. Controlling anxiety symptoms with a healthy diet is only one step on the journey to recovery. It can possibly prevent some anxiety symptoms worsening but without dealing with the underlying problems, that is the actual cause of the anxiety, the cycle is unlikely to be broken.

Advice from the NHS suggests that if you are suffering with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) your anxiety can intensify when you do not know what the triggers are because it leads you to worry that there will be no solution. Identifying the source of your anxiety is the key to recovery. You don’t have to go it alone however, there are many treatments available for anxiety and one clinically proven treatment for those seeking alternatives to drugs or psychotherapy is hypnotherapy. It can help you build more useful responses to life’s stresses that don’t involve reaching for the stimulants or junk food. Anxiety could even manifest itself as an eating phobia, in which case professional help will be most certainly be needed. At the therapy lounge hypnotherapy is one of several treatments successfully used to teach people how to change negative and undermining thinking and make choices that boost a healthy lifestyle. Hypnosis empowers people to let go of past habits and deal with the subconscious issues at the root of their problem. When you recognise and address the triggers of your anxiety head on you can stop it in its tracks and as a result stop punishing your body and mind even further with an inadequate diet. You can find out more about the role hypnotherapy can play in helping you beat anxiety and live a happier, healthier life at http://www.thetherapylounge.com/hypnotherapy/overcoming-anxiety.

What do you think about the links between diet and stress? I agree that you can easily get into a sort of downward spiral with unhealthier foods- and when you eat healthily you feel loads better, but then sometimes when you are stressed it is much easier to eat a biscuit than to chop up some fruit or something.

Tomorrow I might go to the parkrun again, depending on the weather as it seems a lot of snow might fall, but if not I have plenty of work to keep me busy!

Any exciting weekend plans? 

Rest day

Hey peeps- good news- today is where the days get longer than the nights!

I bought myself some more tulips last week, they are so bright and cheerful.

After work on Monday I went for a little run, in the rain- I didn’t look at my pace at all as I knew I would be slow. At first I found it fine, but after 2 miles I had to stop and walk for a bit as my legs were getting sore. Ah well.

I had a lovely dinner after- baked sweet potato with almond butter, and a salad with avocado, rocket, and cherry tomatoes that I roasted a little in some basil oil. Delicious.

Tuesday was a rest day as we were going in to London after work to see Bug with Adam Buxton (from The Adam and Joe show etc). it was a bit of a rush to get there- we had to get to the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, but at least we knew we had booked our seats. I had never been to that cinema before, but I can’t see how it was much different to a normal one- I am not sure I would pay to see a film there. The seats were a rather interesting leopard print too.

Anyway, it turned out we had loads of time, so got to watch the preview (the countdown on the screen), and then a video of Adam cycling (helmet cam) through Norwich. The show was great- very funny, and included a live interview with Edgar Wright (who directs films, Shaun of the Dead, Spaced, stuff like that). We even got a sneak preview of the new Marvel film called Ant-man, although I thought that was a joke?

Anyway, it was fab, but finished so late (half 11!)- I was tired this morning! I am not used to going out on a school night.

I was excited that my order of Trek bars arrived- they were selling them off at a discount and they put on their facebook page a sneak peak of the new packaging- including what looks like a coconut bar- exciting!

I have also been sent some grape juice drinks to try, although I feel like the weather needs to warm up before I have cold drinks!

Plus I have managed to persuade my brother to come to the Sweatshop run with me tonight- should be fine and hopefully we can keep each other company on the run as I think we run at a similar pace.