This Weekend In Pictures

July 5, 2009

Hi guys!

Did you miss me?! I just got back from Devon, where I had such a lovely weekend. I hope you all had a fantastic few days too, especially everyone who celebrated July 4th.

I’m absolutely shattered, so I’m heading to bed in a few minutes. But here’s a sneak peek at what I got up to while I was away.

There was a beach…

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A lot of relaxing…

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Family…

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A picnic…

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A barbecue…

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Vegetarian options…

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Lots of fresh produce…

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A delicious and healthy dinner…

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Lots of berries…

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And even a farm shop…

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Good food, good company and good weather – what more could I have asked for? I even got the chance to go berry picking and potato digging! I’ll go into that in more detail tomorrow because I think it deserves a post of its own (I’ve got some great pictures!)  I was in complete heaven all weekend with all the fresh and delicious food left, right and centre. But now I need my sleep, so I’ll ‘see’ you all in the morning. Night night!

What did you all get up to this weekend? How did you celebrate July 4th?

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Rocky Road Gorgeousness

July 3, 2009

Disclaimer: absolutely NOTHING about the below is healthy in any way, shape or form. Boy does it taste good though!

Disclaimer #2: if you’re some sort of baking conasuir, it’s probably going to seem really lame and unimpressive!

We’re having a charity bake sale at work today, so last night I took over the kitchen and got baking! Well, I say baking…does Rocky Road count as baking? Probably not. But I wanted something that would be difficult to mess up!

I followed this recipe, but I used rich tea biscuits instead of crushed peanuts. And most of the chocolate I used was the fruit and nut variety instead of plain…I thought it would jazz the recipe up a bit.

The ingredients:

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Step One: break up the chocolate and heat it over a saucepan of boiling water…

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…until it looks like this:

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Step two: pour half of the melted chocolate into a baking tin and scatter cherries, marshmellows and biscuits on top:

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Step three: pour the rest of the chocolate on top, and stick the whole thing in the fridge for a few hours:

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Step four: cut into pieces, stand back and admire!

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I may or may not have eaten two of these myself (in my defence, one was broken so I couldn’t sell it anyway!) They’re so good. Rocky Road isn’t as popular over here as it is in the US, so this is only about the third time I’ve ever tried it. I’ll definitely be making it again – this is the level of baking I can cope with! I also might have snacked on some marshmellows and biscuits while the chocolate was melting…oops.

The bake sale is at 10am today…I hope these get snapped up! There are going to be dozens of different cakes on sale so I’ll have to choose my favourites carefully rather than having one of everything. Rumour has it there’s going to be a cappuchino cake – if that’s the case, the others don’t really stand a chance!

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend and that all the Americans out there have a fantastic July 4th. I’ve got a full day of work ahead of me, but then I’m off to Devon for a couple of days by the beach. ‘See’ you all on Monday!

What’s your favourite cake? What do you tend to make for bake sales?


Spaghetti & non-meat balls, and a blogging hiatus

July 2, 2009

Three simple steps to Green Monster perfection:

1. Put a banana, mango, spinach, natural yoghurt and milk into a blender.

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2. Blitz.

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3. Transfer into cup of your choice, and enjoy.

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Breakfast perfection!

I seriously can’t get enough of Green Monsters in this weather. I’m thinking of buying some kale next time I’m in the store and trying that instead of spinach. I’d love to see my parents’ reaction to that – they find spinach smoothies disgusting enough!

Mid-morning snacks included an apple and a handful of nuts and dried fruit. Lunch was another hummus and salad wrap, and mid-afternoon snack was a couple of apricots. I was wondering earlier, would you guys rather see pictures of all my meals, or just the interesting ones? If I post a picture of a sandwich or a wrap every day I have a feeling you’re going to get very bored! But here’s today’s (pre-wrapping) anyway…

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Dinner was interesting enough to warrent some pictures! Since it’s the end of the week, it was the case of scrounging around the fridge to see what needed using up. I had pepper, onion, broccoli and falafel, so I decided to mix it the pasta to make spaghetti and meat falafel balls.

I stir-fried the onion, pepper and broccoli in some olive oil. While that was browning, I cooked up some pasta (I didn’t have much left, so I resorted to breaking up some spinach lasagna sheets to bulk it up a bit!) and the falafel.

Once the pasta was done, I added it to the veg and poured in a carton of chopped tomatoes:

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Then I topped with the falafel balls and some cottage cheese:

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I was pretty impressive, even if I do say so myself. This is the most creative meal I’ve made for ages. The falafels obviously didn’t taste much like meatballs, but they look the part!

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In other news… I’m afraid I’m going to be taking a bit of a hiatus in the next few weeks. Don’t worry, I’m not bored of blogging already! I’ve just got a few vacations coming up. Tomorrow evening I’m heading down to Devon with my parents and sister to stay with my aunt and cousin for the weekend. They live in a small beachside village, which is one of my favourite places in the whole wide world.

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I’m not taking my laptop, so won’t be posting on Saturday or Sunday. But…I’ve got a great baking post planned for tomorrow before I leave (any rocky road fans out there?) And I’ll be back on Monday to fill you in on the weekend’s fun, games and food. I have a feeling there’ll be lots of treats consumed!

Next Thursday I’m off to Thailand for two weeks to visit one of my best friends from college. She’s travelling round the world, and I haven’t seen her for months. I miss her! We’re going to be island-hopping and staying in hostels, so taking the laptop isn’t really practical. I’m hoping to get some guest posts lined up though, and will be doing a fantastic giveaway when I get back. So please don’t desert me while I’m away!

Do you guys all blog on vacation? Or do you prefer to have a complete break and time away from the computer?

PS – thank you for all the lovely and supportive messages on my post this morning. The blogging community is so fantastic, I’m so proud to be a part of it. Positive thinking isn’t always easy (trust me, I know) but it makes such a difference.


The Power of Positive Thinking

July 2, 2009

 

I did end up going for a run last night, and I’m so glad I did. I obviously had a lot on my mind, because as soon as I got out the door I started thinking about my life, my problems and my attitudes. I’ve always had a nasty habit of being a glass-half-empty kind of person, and I’m constantly putting myself down and thinking negative thoughts.

Why? All it does is make me miserable. I have so many things to be thankful for, and yet I waste so much time wishing I was a few pounds lighter or a few pounds richer.

So for every negative thought that crossed my mind, I thought of a positive alternative. Read the bits below in bold, and you’ll probably get the impression that my life pretty much sucks. Read the rest, and I’ll probably come across as being incredibly lucky and fortunate. It just goes to show how powerful positive thinking is.

  • I don’t have the best body in the world, but nor am I overweight. In fact I’m not even close to being overweight. I really need to remind myself of that more often.
  • I don’t have my own flat, but I’m lucky enough to still be able to live at home with my parents while I’m saving up.
  • I haven’t got the best or the most well-paid job in the world, but I have a job, and in the current climate that’s something I should be grateful for. I have a fair and understanding boss, colleagues I get on with and I rarely have days where I dread going into the office.
  • I can’t run for miles and miles, in fact some days I struggle to even run one. But at least I can run. I’m young and healthy, whereas so many people in the world are suffering from illnesses.
  • I’m not the best writer in the world, but I try my best. And I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to write and get paid for it.
  • I’m not out there chasing all my dreams, but at least I have dreams.
  • I don’t have a boyfriend and I’m not the most popular person in the world, but I have good friends and a family who love me.
  • I’m not travelling around the world, but I’m off to Thailand in a week. The rest of the world will still be there if, and when, I decide to take the plunge.
  • I’m not rich, but nor am I poor. I have enough money not to have to worry about every single penny all the time, and for that I’m so thankful. So many people are living in poverty and don’t even have enough money to eat.
  • I’m not perfect, but I’m a nice person. I’m loyal, hardworking, trustworthy and I care about others.
  • I’m not completely happy or content, but I’m working on it. And that’s enough for now.

Last night’s run wasn’t particularly fast or long. In fact, I probably didn’t even cover three miles. And I ended up walking bits of it. But I did the whole thing with a smile on my face. And that the end of the day, isn’t that what’s important?

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Are you generally quite a positive or a negative person? What are you thankful for?


Tennis, tuna and my first Kashi experience

July 1, 2009

 

Have any of you guys been following Wimbledon? I just watched the quarter final match between Andy Roddick and Lleyton hewitt – it was such an exciting and tense match! It’s weird, tennis is one of those games I hardly every play yet I love to watch. Especially when Wimbledon is on – the whole country goes crazy for it! Good weather plus good tennis makes me a very happy blogger indeed.

Annoyingly, I forget to take my camera to work today. But luckily I’d snapped most of the days eats before I left the house. Breakfast was (of course) a bowl of Kashi Go Lean. The picture below shows the cereal as I took it to work – now imagine it with skimmed milk and chopped apricots and you’ll have some idea as to what the final meal looked like!

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I had the apple as a mid-morning snack, along with some rice crackers and a cappachino. My thoughts on my first Kashi experience? I loved the cereal, but I didn’t find it very filling at all – my stomach was rumbling about two hours after I ate. I had about a cup full – how much do you all usually have? Next time I have this I’ll probably add yoghurt and some nuts to bulk it out a bit. And have a bigger bowl!

Luckily lunch was quite early as I had a meeting at one. Seriously, who schedules two-and-a-half-hour meetings for lunchtime?!

I made this wrap before I left the house this morning. In it I put hummus, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber and yellow pepper.

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All wrapped up and ready to take to work…

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I always find it so hard to get wraps to stay together – it took me about three attempts to wrap this up!

I treated myself to a cookie during the meeting (not the healthiest choice I know, but it was free and I was hungry!) After it was finished I was still starving. Fortunately I had this lovely fruit salad waiting for me in the fridge. I can’t get enough of fruit salad at the moment, so expect to see another one tomorrow! This time I had strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and grapes. It was divine!

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Tuna steak was on the menu for dinner tonight. I was going to just have it grilled, but then decided to make some salsa to jazz it up a bit. So I chopped up some red onion, cherry tomatoes and yellow pepper and stir-fried them in a bit of olive oil.

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The finished product…

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The tuna was grilled on the George Foreman (I don’t know what I’d do without one of those things!) and I steamed some broccoli to add some greenery to the place. You can’t really see the tuna under all that salsa, but I assure you it’s there!

It’s about 8.30pm here at the moment and I’m debating whether or not to go for a run. I’m tempted to just have a lazy night in to be honest – I feel so drained of energy in this heat. Apparently June was the hottest month we’ve had in this country for three years.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining – I’m just not used to it!

Question of the day: What’s your favourite sport to watch? I love tennis and football (soccer).


Transporting a Green Monster and a Package from the States

June 30, 2009

Glad you all enjoyed seeing the contents of my fridge. I’d like to say it’s that tidy all the time, but in all honestly I lined things up nicely for the photo! I’ll definitely do a store cupboard post at some point. It was really interesting hearing what foods you all buy regularly, too.

As I said earlier, I decided to bring a Green Monster into work for breakfast this morning. In this heat, I thought a nice cold breakfast would be perfect. So early this morning I blended together spinach, fat-free natural yoghurt, semi-skimmed milk, a banana and some frozen mango. Then I put it in this:

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You can’t tell from this picture, but the jug actually has a slit in the lid. Great for drinking out of, not so great for transporting it. I ended up holding the jug between my legs while driving up the motorway for an hour! Probably not easiest way of carrying it, but it worked. I got to work without so much as the tiniest spillage. What’s more, the drink stayed cold until I got hungry around 9am.

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I drunk it straight out of the jug, and it was deliciously refreshing and filling. I’m definitely going to start doing this more often. Maybe I’ll invest in a better jug though (this one was free at my graduation)!

I had an apple around 11am, and then a hummus and spinach sandwich (again) for lunch. One day I’ll post three completely never-seen-before meals, I promise!

My afternoon snack was this beauty:

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I love fruit salad at the best of times, but it’s especially good in such hot weather. In here I’ve got strawberries, red grapes and blueberries. I also drunk about a million glasses of water today – at least this heat wave is probably going to do wonders for my skin!

Dinner was fairly simple and quick – a salmon fishcake with advocado, broccoli and green beans. Looking at today’s food, I seem to have eaten less than usual. I never feel like eating much when it’s so hot, but I need to make an effort to ensure I get enough food. I did have a few handfuls of berries after dinner. I’m addicted!

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In other news…when I got home from work today, this was waiting for me:

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My dad went to New York on business, so of course I had to put some food requests in! Kashi Go Lean is something I’ve seen on pretty much every food blog I read. I’ve been wanting to try some for months, so I’m ridiculously excited I’ve finally got my hands on some. It’s definitely going to feature for breakfast tomorrow!

My dad also picked up a couple of luna bars for me. I’ve never tried the s’mores flavour before, but I’ve heard good things. At times I wish I lived in the USA just for the food – I need a regular supply of Luna bars in my life!

Question of the day: Does the weather affect your appetite? I always find I eat way more in the winter.


Inside My Fridge

June 30, 2009

I love seeing what groceries other people buy, I find it really interesting! So I thought I’d give you all a peek into my fridge to see the kinds of foods I tend to buy every week, and what I use them for.

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I live at home with my parents at the moment, but I give them food and rent money, which means I get a say as to what we buy. Some weeks my mum does the shopping, and other weeks I do. These pictures were taken on Saturday, just after we’d been to the store. This food typically lasts until about Thursday, although we pick things up during the week if we run out. On Fridays, it’s usually a case of using up what’s left and raiding the cupboards to be able to make a decent meal!

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  • Strawberry and banana smoothie – as an on-the-go snack or to take into work
  • Natural yoghurt – for smoothies, with fruit and with cereal
  • Skimmed milk – I take this into work during the week to have with cereal
  • Cottage Cheese – for salads, on baked sweet potatoes
  • Activia yoghurts – These are my dad’s. I used to love them, but I’m trying to eat less of them because they’re full of artificial sweeteners
  • Falafel – in salads, in pitta, with hummus
  • Hummus – in sandwiches, to dip veggie sticks in, with pitta bread. I love hummus!
  • Berries – strawberries, raspberries and blueberries this week. Berries are in season over here at the moment, so we’ve got more than usual. To use on cereal, in fruit salad, with yoghurt, in salads, or just own their own

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  •  Apricots and grapes – to use in salads, with cereal, with yoghurt, or on their own. I could eat fruit all day long (in fact, I do more often than not!)
  • Chicken – we used this for a roast dinner on Sunday. We don’t have roasts every week, but there’s usually some sort of meat in the fridge (more for my parents than me)

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  •  Spinach – In sandwiches, in salads, in Green Monsters!
  • Apples – I eat at least an apple a day. They make such great transportable snacks

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  • Cherry tomatoes – in salads, on their own as a snack
  • Vegetables – I try to eat at least two different veg with my evening meals. This week we’ve got asparagus, green beans and broccoli. There’s also some baby corn hiding under there somewhere!

Let me know if any of you found this interesting. If you did, I’ll do a ‘what’s in my cupboards’ post as well.

In other news…I made a green smoothie and brought it into work for breakfast this morning. I’ll let you know later how well it survived the journey!

What’s in your fridge? What foods do you tend to buy every week?