Friday, 18 April 2014

Raspberry&Coconut Raw Chocolate Disks

Some of my favourite things have happened today, I’ve been out enjoying the sunshine, I’ve done a little shopping and I’ve had some chocolate. I am definitely winning!

I know it would appear crazy to some that I’m posting a chocolate recipe today as most people are experiencing chocolate overload right now, but what about those wanting something free from processed sugars and additives?


Fear not I’m here with a healthy solution for those resisting Easter egg’s, but not wanting to miss out..


When I saw these *here* I fell in love with the combination of chocolate, raspberry and coconut and therefore it won’t come as a surprise that I whipped them up the very same evening. These lasted all of 3 days in my household; mainly because my fella isn't that interested in raw chocolate and the fact I have no resistant or resistance. Call me crazy but when I placed these in my fridge (this is the best place to store raw chocolate) I strategically placed them in a visible spot so I knew I’d have a treat in store after a long day.

Raspberry&Coconut Raw Chocolate Disks
*Makes 10 disks

For the raspberry and coconut layer

30g  Raspberries
30g Coconut oil
1 Tablespoon argave nectar

For the raw chocolate layer

30g Coconut oil
30g Cacaco butter
25g Lumca powder
2 Tablespoons agrave nectar
A slash of vanilla essence
1 Heaped tablespoon of coco powder

Method

For the raw chocolate

Firstly you need to make the raw chocolate, set aside some room in your fridge and 10 small/average sized paper cupcake cases.

Place the coconut oil and the cacaco butter in a heat proof bowl and microwave (this will take around 5 minutes for it to fully melt and turn back into the oil form) please note this will be very hot so do take care. Now add in your agrave and lumca, at this point you need to be patient and stir around 100 times to ensure it’s fully mixed, once you’ve done this add the vanilla and stir again. Finally add the cocopowder and again around 50 stirs will have this fully combined. At this point, grab a tablespoon and  spoon the mix into each cupcake case and place in the freezer for just over a hour.

Once your chocolate is set, leave them in the freezer for a littler longer whilst you whip up the coconut and raspberry layer.

For the raspberry and coconut layer

Blend your raspberry’s and place to one side (I like mine quite chunky so did not blend very thoroughly) and place the coconut oil in the microwave for a few minutes to melt. Once your coconut oil is melted, stir in the argave nectar and raspberrys until the mix is thoroughly combined.

Remove the raw chocolate disks from the freezer and top with the raspberry and coconut mix, return to the freezer for another hour and then enjoy!

Have you ever made or tried raw chocolate before? It’s been a life saver for me since becoming free from processed sugar. On the other hand, I will let you into a little secret I did enjoy a Cadbury Crème egg yesterday, I limit myself to one a year because everyone needs a treat!

Have a good weekend.

Katie
x





Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Cool Girl


I felt I needed to talk about something different today; something closer to heart because I think that sometimes the wider picture is missed.

My post’s this week have disappointed me, not because I publicly shared my insecurities but due to the fact I’ve let my insecurities affect my week. The online world means that if we so wish we can create this amazing persona, tell people that our lives are brilliant and only post careful pictures of us looking perfect to fit with the ‘I’m beautiful, intelligent, sexy and popular’ persona.

Personally I think the same applies with sport, everyone wants to be the girl who is first, the girl who never trips up her own feet and can wear tiny booty shorts without them riding up to show the world her peaches. Or the girl who can lift more than her man, then sprint 5km without breaking a sweat and complete that yoga move to warm down in total perfection. That girl also wear’s luluemon, lot’s and lots of perfectly coordinated lululemon and her hair is never out of place.

I questioned myself on why I was losing my mind on a tiny error. The fact I could not run for a week was not going to turn me into a hippopotamus over night but they way I wrote implied I followed that trail of thought. As I lay in bed last night restless, over thinking and cursing myself I wondered if I was advising myself what would I say?

I’d tell myself not to waste time worrying, I’d tell myself if my body need’s a lb or two more then that won’t make any difference. I’d tell myself not to be insecure and that maybe I was looking at situations the wrong way, I’d tell myself things happen for a reason and if something bad happens then something good will happen after.

The same situation applies not just with my body but with work, despite news papers advising we are on our way out of the recession here in the UK, my line of business has been hit hard. On a daily basis there is a team of us broking, advising and working harder than before for less income generation and more time; sometimes it’s impossible not to doubt oneself.

Wait up...can we just go back to the start and talk about the cool girl for a moment?


The cool girl will appear in everyone’s life at some point, there are ‘cool girl’ bloggers I love and envy and ‘cool girls’ in real life that I also really like and envy a tiny bit..

Being a Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth while somehow maintaining size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind,  I’m the Cool Girl. Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl.

I’m going to be honest, I know the cool girl well because I’m old enough, honest enough and real enough to admit that I was once portraying that girl. If we would hang out and you where male I’d stuff a burger and diet (or worry) for the rest of the day, I’d flirt with you because I knew it would get a reaction – Men love flattery and if they think you’re a tiny bit interested (even if your not) then you’ve formed a Harlem. Once I turned up at a venue after a busy day at work, I was not wearing a mini skirt or killer heels but a demure feminine dress with girly sandals and a natural face. I tell no lie when I type that a queue of men formed to give me a hello hug (Note:Partly as a comedy moment) but my confidence soared as I was ‘The Cool Girl’, I often had a guy with a cool car ready to take me on a date, people happy to let me climb with them, regular friend requests and a mega watt smile.

Back to reality, I’m an average looking girl, with a normal figure and a heart of gold but whilst I was trying to be ‘The Cool Girl’ and cracking dirty jokes whilst trying to live off 1,000 calories a day I was the most unhappy I’d ever been. I wish I could go back and tell the old me that I never had to do that, I never had to layer on the charm, layer on the make up or spend ages fussing about what I would wear...I should have just been me and let people accept me for that.


Self confidence and acceptance is not something we can just nip down to Tesco’s and buy...

Sometimes I don’t push my blog link on others as I don’t want to appear ‘pushy’ or ‘just looking for views’. I don’t post a rubbish run because I felt slow and ‘hopeless’ and I’ll climb something I know I won’t enjoy because I need to prove a point that I can physically capable rather than be comfortable in my own private ability.

‘You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it’s got you nowhere. Try accepting yourself and see where that get’s you’

Following that if I was going to give myself more advice I’d say to remember that if someone is not accepting of who I am, then that’s fine because there’s always someone else who is. Even if that ‘someone else’ is me; I should take care of my body and mind as it’s the only place I have to live.

If you have had a similar experience or story please link me up because I’d love to hear? Otherwise please share your views with me, I know I’ve covered a lot of scenario’s here but I know I’m not alone and we should rejoice in that fact!

Katie

x

*Pictures taken from Google - If you own or would like these removed please let me know

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

WIAW #12

I have two minor frustrations this week..

Number one:
I miss the freedom and relaxation of being outside at 6am, listening to my breathing and the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. I also miss being distracted by the occasional cat playing in a box, whenever I see a cat playing in the street I always run close by to check if it’s wearing a badge saying ‘Adopt me Katie, I need a home’.
*Note – I don’t intend on stealing peoples cat’s.

Number two:
This is partly a vanity driven comment, so you’ll have to give me a free pass here to use my space on the internet to have a little moan. I’m having one of those weeks (or couple of weeks) when I don’t feel at all comfortable with my body, I’m bloated and just feel bleh. In many way’s having  break from running etc will give me a chance to slow down, recover and make peace with silly head games.

I feel furious with myself when I think like this, there are so many really serious and terrible situations in this world and I’m moaning about not being able to run and having a less than wash board stomach.

Shall we share a little love? Tell me one thing you really like about yourself? I like my kind nature, even when I get old, I can’t run and I no longer have a 26inch waist I’ll always have my kindness.

Let’s talk about what I ate yesterday..

Breakfast

A pile of vanilla protein pancakes, with a good drizzle of date syrup (it tastes like caramel) and strawberries.

Lunch

Now this is not a visually appealing lunch, I am fully aware that no one in my office looked over with envious glances but it is so filling and full of flavour. I had a bowl of lentils, pea’s, tomatoes, courgette and a little chicken. On the side I had a slice of wholemeal seeded bread topped with ham.  


Afternoon Snacks

Firstly I had 4 prunes – I absolutely love prunes, they are so sweet and far healthier than reaching for a cereal bar, chocolate or sweeties.

Later on in the afternoon/early eve I ate a crumbled mess of a coconut flour pancake, I was trying a new recipe and it went terribly wrong but I still soldiered on by testing the mix. In the end I gave up on pancakes and turned the mix into a mini 'tray bake/cake' and well it's not a thing of beauty but at least the ingredients where not wasted (I despise waste). 


Evening Meal 

I ate a huge bowl of broccoli, carrots, leeks, courgette, chicken and sweet potato, I'm wholeheartedly addicted to sweet potatoes this week. 

Desert/Evening Snack

Wanting to soothe my sweet tooth  I ate half a 'Chocolate protein bar' (recipe on my facebook page) and a few little squares of raw chocolate (home made).

Later on I nibbled on some fresh pineapple and grapes, these two fruits compliment each other perfectly and it's been months since I last enjoyed the sweet/sharp pineapple taste.




As always many thanks to Jen for hosting this marvelous foodie event - Feel free to link me up to your day of eat's.

Katie
x



Monday, 14 April 2014

Staying sane without peanut butter or running..

I like to think of myself as a reasonably ladylike individual; when required I can dress and speak well, I’m not so keen on drinking pints and I rarely swear.


This is me attempting to be thoughtful, lady like, I'm wearing eyeliner and pearls..are you convinced?

Yet on Friday morning, around 6.45am to be precise, I turned a corner a little too sharply whilst running and was left hobbling on one foot with a mix of shock and pain screaming ‘F*%6’, ‘F3@8’ ‘Ooooh F&*K’.

I honestly did not care that I was screaming obscenities first thing on Friday morning, alone, with a red sweaty face, in a very public place.  

Initially my focus was getting home, but my thoughts then turned to running ‘Will I have to stop running all weekend?’, ‘Have I caused serious damage?’, ‘What am I going to do?’. Once I was home my ankle felt considerably better and thankfully we had a ‘mufti’ day at work so I could easy my weary feet into some converse and spend the day in comfort.

Fast forward a few days and I can happily weight bare on my foot, I’ve spent the weekend resting and wearing flat shoes and hope that with some patience I’ll be comfortable and running again in no time. On the other hand I’m very frustrated, I miss my workouts and I miss running but the fear of making it worse (and G) is encouraging me, means I'm going to have a more restful week.

I’ll be living with no running and only slow careful workouts like weights (for upper body) and gentle pilates (with slight revisions to some moves) which will mean I’m going to have to watch my diet. One thing I despise is when bloggers imply they have a dream body with little or no effort and claim a few ‘light pilates classes’ make them look like Victoria’s Secret models.

My lifestyle is normally very active so I eat intuitively and can be very heavy handed with peanut butter, I don’t fear fat and I most certainly don’t shy away from carbs. None of this will change long term but for a week of lighter activity I’ve got to make a few light adaptions’s that’ll keep me nourished, happy and healthy.

Here’s the changes I’m making:

Peanut Butter – I normally eat at least two tablespoons a day, normally on dried fruit or crackers so I’m going to cut this out for a week.
Bread – I eat this 5 day’s a week with my lunch time soup, rather than cut this I’m cutting down to one piece or swapping for ryvita.
Afternoon vegetable snack box – Hold the dip, these vegetables taste just as good plain.
Protein pancakes – I’m still going to eat these but without all the added extra’s, which would include around 60g greek yogurt (I’m not entirely sure the diary is suiting me), peanut butter, 20g oat’s added to the mix and topped with berries and argave. I won’t be skipping my berries and a little argave mind (self torture is not part of the plan)  
Protein Shakes – I won’t be enjoying my long runs or kettlebell sessions so no shakes for me this week.
Desert – I won’t skip desert but instead of having a treat when I come in and healthy but fulfilling desert I’ll have half the portion or some berries and raw chocolate.

These may seem like small changes and that’s because they are, and often that’s all you need to make.  If you are eating a balanced diet and being lightly active you really can maintain a healthy weight without stress, depriving or calorie counting.

Following on from my calorie counting comment I will say, whilst I no longer count calories, I did a little ‘totting up’ exercise and found that I average between 2,200 and 2,500 calories to provide enough fuel to exercise frequently and maintain my current weight.  Therefore by making these tiny tweaks I’ll be cutting a few hundred calories from my day (just by the peanut butter alone!) without any weighing, points systems or strenuous exercise.

As you can imagine with all this extra time I’ll drafting and sharing some gorgeous recipes and feel free to link up your blog in the comments as I’ll be on the look out for new reading material.

Have a beautiful Monday all..

Katie

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Secretly Healthy Sticky Toffee No Bake Cheesecake


Normally at around 4pm on a Friday afternoon I start day dreaming about deserts. 

I drop down a rabbit hole into the deep dark depths of my imagination and start creating idea's and recipes in my head whilst completing the day's work. Once you have a few 'healthy' recipes and bakes under your belt it's easy to keep creating more, it's kind to your waist line and allow's a few moments of peace to unwind in the kitchen with only thoughts of a terrific desert to keep you company. 


I could never understand why my mother found such joy in baking, for me it was time consuming and frustrating. I understand that life is about evolving but I thought the baking and creative side would never happen for me. 

I was wrong..so very wrong...


My sweet tooth beg's for constant attention and my body need's beautiful and uncomplicated fuel to nourish me and support my active lifestyle. The idea for these no bake 'cheesecakes' came to me after a delivery from 'My Protein', whilst I eagerly unwrapped the packing I knew I had the ingredients to whip up a version of the classic without the biscuits, butter, cheese and cream but without lacking any flavor. 

As a matter of fact, I think this would even make a acceptable and very indulgent breakfast...Cheesecake for breakfast...Now there's a prospect I do like to think about...

Secretly Healthy Sticky Toffee No Bake Cheesecake

This is a very straightforward recipe, the only time consuming part's are waiting for the base and topping to chill. For me this served 3 small portions or two large portions 

For the base:

*1 and a half tablespoons of cocopowder
*1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
*1 tablespoon of agrave nectar (or honey if you prefer)
*1 tablespoon of nut milk (or normal cow’s milk if you prefer)
*5 Medium dates

For the topping:

*1 Scoop of protein powder (this is normally around 30G) – I used ‘My Protein - Sticky Toffee Pudding’
*100g of thick greek yogurt
*1 Tablespoon date syrup

Method for the base:

Firstly I should mention that the oats I used where very finely blended to a powder and if you are using standard porridge oats I recommend a few pulses in the processor to blend to a finer texture. Then add in your cocoa and pulse so that the two are blended, now add in your dates and pulse again and complete with the peanut butter, argave and milk and process until a dough forms.

Note: if your dough feels too wet then add a few more oats/coca to thicken the mix up.

Remove your dough and press into two (or three) ramekins and place these in the freezer to set for at least 30 minutes.

Method for the topping:

In a standard sized bowl whip your yogurt, protein powder and syrup until smooth and well combined. Then place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the topping to firm up (you can skip this part if your in a hurry but it does make a difference). 

One more step for cheesecake:

Take your bases from the freezer, smooth on the creamy topping and leave in the fridge for a hour before serving (again you can skip this step but not recommend) and feel free to top with berries, sprinkles or chocolate chips.

Talk to me - Are you a fan of cheesecake? What would your favorite topping be? Strangely I used to think it was a rather 'grown up' desert when I was younger..

Katie 
x

Disclaimer
My protein very kindly sent me the protein oats, the dreamy peanut butter and protein powder, however I was already an existing customer as I absolutely love the quality (and price) of their products. As always I only use/write about products I genuinely like and would buy myself. 





Monday, 7 April 2014

I ran a virtual half marathon and I loved it!

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try”

Last month I made a choice; to stop beating myself up about my running times when I ‘raced’ as the more time I spent fretting the worse my times would be. I thought well I may be the person who set’s a personal best whilst out on a Sunday run or wake’s up on a Tuesday with strong enough leg’s to set a great 5km time and that’s just fine with me.

In celebration of my new outlook towards entering races I entered my first ever ‘Virtual Race’ and ran a very enjoyable 5km in 26.53. I could complain and say it was 1min 55second slower than my current PB but that’s not the sprit – What’s 1min 55 seconds between me, happy legs and a stress free medal?



At 3.30pm on Friday afternoon my dad called and asked if I fancied a run on Saturday morning as he’d just returned from a 6 week ski trip. I agreed and suggested a lovely reservoir as our location; it’s reasonably flat, around 6.6 miles around and very popular with local runners and cyclists. He then said we should run it twice, without giving myself any chance to worry think I agreed and then let the prospect of running 13miles settle in.

I’d love to say at this point I carried on my day in a relaxed mood; however I dived head first into blind panic..

‘I’ve not trained’ – ‘I’m not sure I can run 13 miles’ – ‘I only tend to run up to 10miles and I’ve got to bolt on 3 more’ – ‘I last ran 13 miles in 2009’ – ‘What do I eat?’

With a blast of steely determination, driven by the prospect of carb loading I went onto ‘Virtual Runner’ paid my £5.00 and entered a virtual half marathon. I was going to do it, I would not give up, I would cover the distance without training, I would stuff my face and I will tweet about it so I felt under more pressure to complete it.

I went home and googled various paces for the times I had in mind, I then ate an awful lot of peanut butter and drank a lot of water. Thanks to ‘#UKRUNCHAT’ I smiled at the suggestion that in my mind I could split my run into 4 5kms or two 10kms (plus a little more).  I laid out my kit with military precession, choosing the most comfortable socks, carpi’s and vest I owned, plus my rugged salomon trainers as the terrain can get muddy in places.

In the morning I bounced out of bed, demolished cereal and toast (I like food and I cannot lie) and whizzed off to run my half marathon. Slightly off topic but I went past the turning (ooops) and then a bunny ran out in front of me, which fortunately I missed but this sent my heart rate rocketing and I’m not sure that helped calm my nerves.

Once we started running the first 6.5miles flew by and I felt really good up until mile 10, so at mile 11 I made the choice to slow down a little and recover my leg’s and end on a faster note. My body had a different idea, at 11 miles I got a seriously painful side stitch and had to stop to take a moment and try recover. I then continued with a few steady jog but the pain was persistent and I kept having to stop and I was starting to get frustrated, emotional and I really wanted to just give up.

I had 3 choices – 1) Give up, 2) Walk the remainder, 3) girl up and walk/run the best I could and I went for option number 3. I would love to write that I ended the run feeling strong, content and in my goal time but I finished the run holding onto my side, slightly bent over and moving at a very steady pace.

On the journey back I started to feel elated; I’d ran my virtual half marathon, I CAN run 13.1 miles without having a complete melt down. Also whilst I hadn't hit my first target time (2.05) and considering when I last ran the full 13.1 it had taken me 2.25 I was absolutely thrilled!

My mind is now buzzing with the prospect of including more long run’s into my week and setting another half marathon PB within the next 6 weeks – I’m pretty confident looking at my split’s that had I not got the stitch that I may have managed my 2.05 aim and I enjoyed the distance so much more than I expected.


I firmly recommend trying a ‘Virtual Race’ with ‘Virtual Runner’ as they are only £5.00, no stress, you can run where and when you wish and chose a distance to suit you and you even get a medal – Hurrah! 

Tell me - Have you ever joined a virtual race before? Have you run a half marathon? Isn't refueling with a wonderful meal after a long run absolutely amazing? 

Katie 

x