Better late than never

I actually breathed a sigh of bliss after yesterday’s (failed) challenge whilst eating my granola-topped choco-banana oatmeal this morning. Aaaah…DSC06053

Seriously, never again. And I think every commenter agreed with me: oats are an essential. Fact of life.

***

Today was a BodyPump day. I knew this. I knew what time my class was. And yet if the class hadn’t been running late anyway, I would have been seriously late.

Because I am a late person. I live by this philosophy:better%20late%20than%20never%20detail

(Source)

I leave everything (and I mean everything!) to the last minute. I also procrastinate by:

  • Baking, even when I know I don’t have the time to, and then the all-important ‘taste-testing’…
  • Watching TV (Criminal Minds and Gilmore Girls=addictive)
  • Reading magazines or recipe books
  • Blog stalking and Twittering <—–BIGGEST CULPRIT!

And I totally did all these things today before BodyPump.

I baked:

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Chewy protein granola bars

 

I watched TV:DSC04977

I read:DSC06076

And I blog stalked just about everyone in the world who has a blog.

Then I realised I had left myself 3 minutes to change, pack my bag, and get out of the house…yeah that just didn’t happen! But 15 minutes later and I was out!DSC06064

I was the creepy girl with the camera who tried to subtlely  take a photo of the class without anyone noticing, but got caught.

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That is one helluva death stare I'm getting!!

Note to self: strangers do not appreciate having their photo taken without their permission…

Oh, and these chewy protein granola bars are amazing, if I do say so myself! 😛 Made these ones with canned pumpkin, dates, apricots and sultanas. Holy yum.DSC06056

I cut them into squares this time, and so far today have eaten six. And I’m proud of it too! Winking smile

So are you an always-late person like me, or are you an early bird?

What do you do to procrastinate? Eating is another big procrastination of mine! I love spending time making something in the kitchen, and will usually do this rather than senisbly grabbing a snack bar to-go!

FRIDAY tomorrow! Have a great one friends!!

Chewy protein granola bars

Hello friends! Open-mouthed smile

Do I have an awesome recipe to share with you guys today or what?!

Y’all know that I love granola. And I love healthy energy bars. And I love chewiness. As in chewy cookies. Mmm… So anyway, I combined all these things in my baking today to produce this beauty:DSC05832

Chewy protein granola bars (based on this recipe from Allrecipes.com)

Makes approx 12 large bars.

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (Note: I found this quite little sweet (even for me!) so I would recommend trying 1/2 cup, but it’s up to you)
  • 1/2 cup protein powder (optional- add 1/2 cup wheat germ, wheat bran, etc. otherwise)
  • 1 cup spelt flour (or flour of your choice- any will work)
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup dried fruits (I used 1/4 cup sultanas, 1/4 cup dried blueberries, 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1/2 large banana,  beaten
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce (Note: this makes it very applesauce-y. I love applesauce, so this is a good thing for me, but you can reduce it to 1/2 cup for a slightly crunchier texture, or use 1/2 applesauce+ 1/2 oil)
  • 2 tsp vanilla/other extract (I used 1t vanilla+1t almond)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/175C. Grease a 9×13 inch pan well.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients (oats, sugar, wheat germ, protein powder, flour, cinnamon, salt and dried fruits).
  3. Make a well in the centre of the mix, and pour in all the wet ingredients (all the remainding ones), and mix well.
  4. Bake for approx 25-30 mins until the bars turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 mins, then cut into bars straight away for easy cutting. Enjoy! Smile

Gather all the dry ingredients into a bowl, and try not to eat too much dried fruit as you go like I did! Smile with tongue outDSC05807

Add the wet and mix well!

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Spread evenly into your pan, and pat down. I found that this didn’t fill my 9×13 pan without thinning out too much (I like thick bars!), so I left a couple of inches at the end.DSC05815

Bake away! It only took 22 mins at 165C in my fan-assisted oven.DSC05817

After 5 mins of cooling, cut into bars or smaller squares, your call.DSC05827

I chose large bars of course! Smile

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And enjoy! I certainly did! Open-mouthed smileSO delicious, and filling! Full of protein, fibre, fruit and energy!DSC05832

I cling-filmed the bars to keep them fresh. Perfect for slipping into my bag for some energy and protein pre or post workout!DSC05837

The best thing about this recipe is that it is totally customisable! For example, you could try:

  • Adding in nuts/cacao nibs for a slight crunch in the texture
  • Using a variety of other dried fruits, or even chocolate chips!
  • Adding canned pumpkin (and reducing applesauce accordingly)
  • Making them more crunchy by reducing the applesauce to 1/2 cup
  • Adding 1/4 cup of nut butter (and reducing applesauce by 1/4 cup)

I can’t wait to try out some of these other subs! I’m thinking a PB and chocolate chip crunchy granola bar? Open-mouthed smile

So what are you- a chewy or a crunchy person? I am definitely a chewy person mostly! Cookies come to mind- I’ll take a soft chewy cookie over a crunchy one any day! The only exception I can think of is in fact granola, but I prefer chewy bars to crunchy ones, hence this recipe! I’m going to try a crunchy version too though to compare Smile

And what is your favourite dried fruit, or are you not a dried fruit person? I love love LOVE dried fruit!! I love them all, but my favourite has to be dried apricots I think!

P.S. Going along with my healthy bar theme today, I thought you should all know that the lovely Freya is hosting an amazing Nakd giveaway! Haha this is actually the third time running I’ve promoted someone’s giveaway! Loving the giveaways!!

P.P.S. Because of the sudden surge in blogger giveaways here in England (not complaining- I think it’s really really great!!), I’m going to be putting off my own one for a bit to spread them out! But never fear, it will come! I’ll just leave you in suspense for a little longer! Smile with tongue out

Love you all! Have a great week! Open-mouthed smile

Attack of the Snack Monster and FAQ’s!

Hello friends! Smile

I just got back from another BodyPump class! Love them!DSC05472

The results you get are very noticeable too- I’ve only been going once/twice a week for less than a month and I’m already lifting heavier weights and seeing a real difference! Open-mouthed smileCan’t wait to start my Tone Up challenge on Monday too, and it’s not too late to join me if you like! Smile

Breakfast was applesauce oatmeal (a new combo!)…DSC05671

…topped with granola (duh!):DSC05677

I love how oatmeal is so changeable! And I’ve almost finished my huge jar of PB, so I can’t wait for OIAJ! Open-mouthed smile 

The Snack Monster seriously attacked me today.

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Grilled large mushrooms filled with red pepper houmous

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Rice cakes, one topped with red pepper houmous, the other almond butter.

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Delicious Raw apricot and almond snack bar

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Honeydew melon and grapes

Cereal and coconut milk

So I fed him! Winking smile Nothing would satisfy the Snack Monster though…but everything tasted goood! You know, someone said to me today that it was a “good thing I exercised, otherwise I’d be so fat”! Not sure whether that was a compliment or not…!

Of course, I still had room for dinner though! I made a curried lentil and potato dish.DSC05668

Lentils are awesome! High in fibre, iron and protein! Open-mouthed smilePerfect post-workout food! As is this…

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Soya yoghurt and GRANOLA

 

Seriously, somebody stop me! Or at the very least check me into a Granola rehab! They surely must exist for ‘special’ people like me…!

Announcement: One of my ‘reader’s requests’ was a FAQ page. Now I feel a little…self-conscious/vain/egotistical(?) about making one, but it was a request, and I do love reading other’s FAQ pages, so please send me your questions! You can leave a comment below or email me your questions. I’ll answer (almost!) anything!

Coming up tomorrow is some baking, which I haven’t done in a few days, and so am getting withdrawal symptoms from (typical signs include constantly reading cookbooks, stockpiling ingredients, stalking food blogs, etc.)! There are some great recipes I have to try out! What is on your To-Make/Bake list? Mine is literally a mile-long and mostly recipes from other bloggers like Mama Pea and Oh She Glows! Smile with tongue out

TGIF tomorrow! I’m exhausted, don’t know about you! Bring on the weekend! Open-mouthed smile

Goodnight lovely readers, and don’t forget to ask away!

Caught red handed…

You got me.DSC05664

That’s what happens when you eat your body weight in ridiculously addictive Wild Berry granola right from the packet.DSC05624

Granola is like crack to me. Seriously, if I ever get my hands on dark chocolate granola, I think I may have to be admitted to rehab.

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Lizi's Belgian Chocolate granola!!

Yes, I did Google that!  And now I know exactly where to buy it… Winking smile

Top News Story Of The Day: I tried almond butter for the first time!!

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Lovin' that ingredients list!

The all important tasting session…straight from the spoon…

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....hmmmm....

Side note: You may be wondering why I have a scarf wrapped round my head. Well this is why…

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Bad hair day.

 I. Love. Almond. Butter!! Dare I say…possibly even more than peanut butter? Surprised smileI also had almond butter on toast, and then on this rye bread from The Haul:DSC05647

The bread’s quite nice, but very strange tasting to someone who has never had rye bread before! It definitely grew on me though SmileDSC05651

I tried to get in a treadmill interval sesh in my lunch break. But every single one was taken. So I did 30 mins of intervals on the elliptical instead whilst watching + waiting to pounce, but the Treadmill Hoggers didn’t budge! To be honest, I can’t complain, because I’m usually one of them! Smile with tongue out So I gave up, and ended up doing a windy, rainy hilly 3 miler later on in the dark. I got some Tweet motivation from the lovely Freya, so I set out positive!DSC05657

I was fairly happy with my average 8.08 min/mile pace, especially given the conditions! Smile

Post-run snackage included soya yoghurt with granola

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…with a side of 2 big bowlfuls of more granola! Addiction sure ain’t pretty, but it tastes darn good!

You know, I think I can fit a fair bit of quality time with my granola tomorrow before, after and possibly even during BodyPump…! Open-mouthed smile

Something that you are addicted to? Other than granola obviously, dark chocolate is a biggie, followed by baking and buying magazines…  And do you have a Thursday Workout? Mine is Pump, and possibly a run if I can get that in too! Smile

Have a great Thursday lovelies!!

I’m not ashamed to admit…

Hello friends! Open-mouthed smile

Firstly, a huge congratulations to one of my blogging inspirations Tina @ Faith, Fitness, Fun who gave birth to baby Braedon last night, AND blogged about it! Love this girl, and her baby is beautiful! I want him!!

This morning’s sweat fest was truly awesome. Seriously. I had a great spin class, (although the music wasn’t as good today) with an amazing instructor, who had already taught BodyPump and Aerobics by that point! And still fresh as a daisy…sickening really! Smile with tongue out I followed this up with 35 mins on the elliptical whilst reading Runner’s World to pass the time.

Sadly, a big feature (see here for the discussion on this topic) in Runner’s World today…

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49 greatest weight-loss tips.

Other than that though, it has some very useful stuff, including the Ultimate Race Guide 2011!DSC05643                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

It featured quite a few of the races I’m looking at doing this year. However, I’ve decided to limit the number that I would otherwise do, because entry fees aren’t cheap! This is my definite race though (other than the trial in March):royalparkslogo

The Royal Parks half! It’s supposed to be a good one, is close to me, and is a mostly flat course so a speedy time potential! Open-mouthed smile It’s very popular though, so I’ll have to sign up fast when it opens!!

Today at lunchtime my head+stomach were telling me “Green Monster, Green Monster, GREEN MONSTER!!”. So of course, I gladly obliged.DSC05623

It had been way too long. Today’s GM: 3 handfuls spinach, 1 big banana, 1 cup milk, cereal, ice, protein powder, xanthan gum and soya yoghurt, topped with some Wild Berry granola that made up yesterday’s haul. DSC05618

This stuff is so so good! Granola is my love…

I am not ashamed to admit that later I dove straight back into that packet and munched away happily until I was satisfied.DSC05624

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a cookie dough monster, and that this is my refuel food of choice.DSC05630

I am not ashamed to admit that I do have baking failures, especially with my tendency for blindness that lead to adding a ton more agave nectar than the recipe called for, and ending up with chocolate chip scuffins rather than cookies.

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Tasted darn good anyway!

I am not ashamed to admit that I now keep a spoon by this jar for emergencies:DSC05572

Make me feel better by telling me one thing you’re not ashamed of. And are you signing up for any races this year? If so, do you have any specific ones/distances in mind? I’m definitely doing that half, as well as the 5k trial in March, and there are tons of other possibles on my list! Exciting times! Open-mouthed smile

Hope you are having great week! Smile

Vegan double gingerbread cookies

So yesterday, I made a ton of delicious gingerbread cookies! And guess what? There isn’t a single one left this evening! Surprised smile That’s 39 cookies eaten in less than 24 hours, for your information! My family and I decimate all baked goods. Fact. I’ll get to the recipe in a moment. The rest of my day first! Smile

Today I didn’t have oatmeal for breakfast! I can hear your incredulous gasps of disbelief, but it is true! I opted for a apple-cinnamon yoghurt parfait  instead!DSC04726

Simply a chopped apple, sprinkled with cinnamon, covered with soya yoghurt which was topped with my yummy Bodymatter granola.DSC04727

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While this was delicious, it wasn’t as filling as my oatmeal, so a mid-morning snack of this followed:DSC04734

A Bounce almond protein ball! The 12g of protein kept me satisfied for ages while I hit the shops for yet more Christmas shopping! I had lunch whilst rushing round the shops, which was a houmous and falafel wrap:DSC04116

All I’ve got left to get now is my brother’s Christmas card, and that’s it! Just have to keep my fingers crossed for that Amazon delivery now! Smile

Before I left for my shopping trip, I remembered that I’d seen a gym attached to the shopping centre last time, so I packed some clothes and took some time out from my shopping to hit the gym for a quick 45 min workout! And I was super excited when I got there to find that this gym was so posh! Well actually it was probably quite average, but my local gym has very ‘vintage’ (circa 19th Century probably!) machines, so these seemed amazing to me! A treadmill with a TV?!DSC04730

Wow. I loved it! Must do this whole shopping+working out thing again! Open-mouthed smile In my post-workout shopping I picked up this Trek bar and munched happily away…DSC04736

So how is your Christmas shopping going? Got everything yet? Oh, and have you regulars noticed the blog theme change? Like it? I do! I think it’s much more ‘me’ than the last one! On that note, there are going to be a more few minor blog changes coming up soon, just so ya know! Smile

Anyway, back to the cookies!

Vegan double gingerbread cookies (adapted from here)

  • 140g vegan spread (or unsalted butter)
  • 100g molasses sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (or molasses, golden syrup etc.)
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda 
  • 2 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 balls stem ginger from a jar, chopped finely <—-hence the double gingerness of the cookies, for Maria who asked! Smile
  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Melt spread, sugar and syrup in a pan until a smooth liquid forms. Mix the flour, soda and spices together in a bowl. Stir in the liquid and chopped ginger to make a stiff-ish dough.
  2. If necessary, wait until cool enough to handle, then roll out dough to about 5mm thick. Stamp out shapes using cookie cutters, re-rolling and pressing the trimmings back together and rolling again. Lift onto baking sheets. Bake for approx 8-12 mins (depending on the size of your cookies and on your oven) until golden. Cool 10 mins on the sheets, then lift onto cooling racks. Once fully cooled, ice/decorate if desired. Enjoy! Open-mouthed smile

First, assemble your ingredients for melting (spread, sugar and syrup):DSC04689

Melt away!DSC04700

Panic because you realise you didn’t check first to see if you had any ground ginger. Toss everything out of your cupboards until you finally find some, and try not to faint with relief.DSC04690

Or you can just be organised and check beforehand. Up to you really!

Mix together your dry ingredients:DSC04691

I actually just threw in the spices (couldn’t find a teaspoon measurer- can you tell I’m slightly disorganised? Smile with tongue out), so I’m not sure exactly of the amounts I used, but it turned out fine anyway!

Finely chop your ginger (I used two stem ginger balls that were in syrup, drained well).DSC04694

Mix everything together until a dough is formed. Warning: this dough, like most cookie doughs, is highly addictive. Now, if you gorge yourself like I did, you can’t say I didn’t warn you! Winking smileDSC04701

And then comes the fun bit…rolling and cutting! As its Christmas, I used small angel and star cookie cutters…DSC04703

…and a few other random cutters for the scraps:DSC04705

I then added a bit of green icing (green=Xmas!) to some of them. I would have iced them completely, but I had less than 50g of icing sugar in the house, so I made do with what little I had! Smile with tongue out

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That’s for all you wonderful readers, who are all stars to me! Smile

On a cookie dough high!

Hello lovely readers! Smile I’m on a bit of a sugar high at the moment, from eating inordinate amounts of cookie dough, but you’ll see soon anyway…

This morning, I decided, with just 15 mins to go before I had to leave for church, to make and eat stovetop banana oatmeal. Go, Emma, Go!!DSC04669

I think I probably spent longer photographing it than I did eating it! Scarfing it down in a few seconds flat= burnt tongue. Worth it! Open-mouthed smile DSC04670

Still ended up being late because of the snow trek there. Possibly should have factored this in before leaving…

I also tried to run in the snow this morning. I made it to the end of my road (0.3 miles) but slipped and fell on my butt twice. Mission aborted. So Nell McAndrew kicked my butt instead for 45 mins!DSC03322

In the afternoon, I returned to my beloved farm shop! The farm shop is inside a huge garden centre, so lunch was eaten at a restaurant there. And the only vegan option there was a jacket potato with baked beans-boring!Jacket_potato

While I do like it normally, when I go out to eat I like to have something a little more special! But they did have a yummy granola bar that I ate afterwards to make up for it SmileDSC04674

There was so much yummy looking food in the farm shop!DSC04677

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With my budget, I had to resist though, especially as I’m planning another Whole Foods trip this week! Smile with tongue out But I did treat myself to this:

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Dark chocolate with blueberries! Can’t wait to try this! Open-mouthed smile

After I’d finished in the farm shop, I amused myself by looking around the rest of the garden centre, and stumbled upon…DSC04684

A giant teacup! How cool is that! I, of course, wandered around until I could find a normal teacup for a bit of size comparison…DSC04686

…and then pretended to drink out of the giant teacup. As you do! Winking smileDSC04683

I think people around me thought I was a little mad. I think they might be right…DSC04685

So what do you do when the weather is bad? I know what I do: I bake!DSC04703

That’s a picture of some of the millions of vegan double gingerbread cookies I baked this afternoon! They’re in the oven at the mo, but I’ll share the it tomorrow! And from what the dough tasted like (after ‘testing’ vast amounts…!), they’re gonna be good!

Also, if you have dietary requirements (i.e. you are vegetarian/vegan, gluten intolerant, etc.), do you find menu choices limited? I certainly find that in most places, there isn’t much, or sometimes any choice when it comes to eating vegan! 

Hope you’ve had a good weekend, and don’t forget, just 6 days to go till Christmas! Open-mouthed smile Have a great week everyone!!