GIVEAWAY WINNER and a failed challenge

Hey friends! Open-mouthed smile

You know I love you all. But you also know that only one person can win the giveaway, much as I would love for you all to get 10 boxes of this amazing stuff!

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Okay, so the giveaway winner!!

(I’m afraid I have absolutely no idea how to insert the Random Number Generator I used into this post, despite many attempts, so you’ll just have to trust me!)

It was…NUMBER 22!! Which is…………………..Cosmic!!!

Cosmic
Submitted on 2011/01/24 at 7:33 pm

“You’re giveaway and lovely bloggy infectious presence excites me(thanks lovely Emma:) Ignore any negativity(it’s not real or true:). I’m subscribed to your blog. ”

Aww what a lovely comment Cosmic! YOU are lovely! 10 boxes of Alara Goji Berries and Pineapple muesli will be on their way to you soon! Smile

***

I have to admit to another food obsession. This one is slightly more normal.

Oats.Rolled-Oats

I have it every day for breakfast in some form or another. Every. Single. Day. Don’t believe me?

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Yesterday's breakfast: banana oatmeal with dates

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Yesterday's afternoon snack: banana oatmeal with blueberries

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Monday's breakfast: choco-banana oatmeal

Even my weekend ‘shakin things up’ breakfasts had oats in them!

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Sunday's breakfast: chocolate oatmeal pancakes

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Saturday's breakfast: Oaty breakfast cake

But this morning, I threw caution to the wind.

A personal challenge: A day without oats.

“To hell with oats!” I cried, and instead, threw cereal into my bowl.

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Optimum cinnamon and blueberry cereal with coconut milk and strawberries

Now don’t get me wrong, I love cereal, and this was delicious, but usually have it as a snack. Or at least have oatmeal later in the day. But I was determined. Determined to go just one day without oats, just to see if I could.

I failed. All I could think about all day was oats. So I caved. As soon as I got back home, I made a recipe I’ve had bookmarked since The Dawn Of Time.DSC06036

Averie’s Microwave Banana Oat Cakes. That woman is an absolute genius. I literally have bookmarked almost all of her amazing recipes. And this did not disappoint.

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#2 Topped with peanut butter

I’m so glad I gave in to myself. I think it was beneficial to my mental health. And never again will I ever utter or even think the blasphemous words “to hell with oats!”.

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So tell me, what is one food you don’t think you could go a day without having? For me, that’s obviously oats. And Dates. And dark choccie. So that’s three really, but I’m allowed to cheat! Smile with tongue out

And please share with me a recipe or something that you are dying to make! I had wanted to make those oat cakes for ages, and Averie’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls are totally calling out to me too! I also came up with a great idea for how to make a killer vegan chocolate torte, so I’ll have to test that out soon, and hopefully it’ll work! Open-mouthed smile

Have a great rest of the week lovelies!

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Welcoming the food baby

So today was basically sweet food after sweet food, and I am sitting here feeling extremely bloated and slightly sick, but very happy. Happy, not just because of the sugar rush, but because, for what is the first time I can remember, I know I have eaten a ton of unhealthy food, but I am not feeling guilty and remorseful. I know this is just ‘one of those days’, and I’m not feeling angry at myself for over-indulging. I’m most certainly not planning to restrict my intake of food in the upcoming days to ‘make up for it’, which I definitely would have done just a few months ago! I feel like this is a huge breakthrough with me, as this was the part of my disordered eating that I struggled with the most, and I’m really starting to feel that I’ve broken free of that binge-starve cycle! Open-mouthed smile

Excuse the long speech! Breakfast was Oats In A Leftover Yoghurt Pot, as I so inventively call it! Smile with tongue out

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A cup of oats, the remainders of the soya yoghurt (about 1/4 pot) and a handful of raisins, topped with half a scuffin:

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With an apple on the side. Such a quick, yummy and filling breakfast! Love it! Smile 

Today we celebrated my dad’s birthday. It wasn’t actually today, but his real birthday coincided with the death of my uncle (thanks for your consolations on that by the wat!, so we decided to celebrate it today instead. So I of course stepped up to make the requested chocolate birthday cake. What a chore! Smile with tongue out But I have a shocking confession to make. I was all set to make the cake, had my pans greased and lined, oven preheating etc when I started to assemble my ingredients, and I realised something. I had no flour and no sugar! What kind of baker has no flour or sugar in their house?! Embarrassed smile One who bakes too often, that’s who! Smile with tongue out So I ran down to my local corner shop to get some, but all they had was this:

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So yes, I made a cake from a cake mix. But I did add my own twists to make it a little better! Instead of eggs, I used flax eggs, instead of oil, I used melted Clover Light (margarine) and instead of buying ‘Betty Crocker icing’ for frosting it I made my own. Smile So not all bad! Also, my sandwich tins were far smaller than the ones required to make the layer cake shown in the picture, so I made a traybake-type cake in my 13×9 inch pan and frosted the top. And covered it with pretty sugar stars, which was admittedly a little girly for my dad, but I got a little carried away and he didn’t complain!DSC03675

It was delicious actually- far better than I thought it would be! Very moist! Still I think I would make it properly in the future! Smile with tongue out After we had had a few slices:DSC03676

I also made him his favourite dessert. Guess what this is…DSC03658

If you guessed lemon tart, you’re right! Open-mouthed smile Dad loves it (as do I!), so we all dug in:DSC03659

I served his with double cream (it is his birthday after all!) and blueberries (his favourite fruit). At his little party, there was also more cakes, my scuffins (a favourite of my dad’s!), cupcakes, cookies and brownies. I basically had some of everything Smile with tongue out Hence the food baby!

I had a light lunch, which was a salad, consisting of couscous, a ton of kidney beans ( I love them!), butter beans, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, sweetcorn, etc:

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And dinner was vegetable chilli with brown rice:DSC03669

With birthday cake for dessert. And so, food baby! Open-mouthed smile

Tomorrow, something really exciting is happening….I am going to be performing (as part of an orchestra and a quartet) at the Royal Albert Hall!!! If you don’t know, it is one of the most famous and prestigious performing arts venues in the world! Open-mouthed smile800px-royal_albert_hall

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I can’t wait! It is going to be a very long day, with a rehearsal at 9am, then travelling there, a rehearsal at the venue and then the evening performance. I won’t be back till very late/very early the next morning, but I can’t wait! And hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in a quick run somewhere too! It’s going to be brilliant! I’m packing a lot of yummy food to last me the whole day, including a tofu salad and butternut squash falafels Smile Will share all afterwards!

Oh, and I ordered the Mizuno Windbreaker Performance Jacket, and that hopefully should be arriving tomorrow (although I won’t be there to get it if it does…) or the day after. So exciting times! Open-mouthed smile

So following on from my little update at the beginning of this post, what breakthroughs have you made recently? And what are you looking forward to in the near future?

Have a great evening! Smile

Pumpkin+oats=HEAVEN

So today started with a fail. A running fail. I woke up set to do an easy 3 miler before breakfast, but it was tipping down with rain! Absolutely pouring. I looked up the weather forecast, and it said that it would stop raining by 10am. Well it didn’t. BUT on the upside, I did have just about the best breakfast ever. Yep, as you probably guessed by the title, I had pumpkin oatmeal! Open-mouthed smile

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I know, it doesn’t look very appetising, but trust me- it tasted so good and kept me full for hours afterwards (rare for me!).

Basic Pumpkin Oatmeal (serves 1 hungry person!)

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1.5 cups milk (or 1 cup milk+ .5 cup water)
  • 0.5 cups canned pumpkin
  • 0.25 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 0.25 teaspoon cinnamon (I actually used about 1.5 teaspoon- I love cinnamon!)
  • Agave nectar/sugar to sweeten if desired
  • Any other add-inns! (I added 1 tbsp raisins)

Microwave milk/water and oats for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir in the canned pumpkin and spices. Heat again for 40-60 seconds, then sweeten and put in add-ins if desired. Then enjoy Smile

I then went out to lunch with my family in London. We ate at a cheap family pub called ‘The Fox on the Hill’. I always have doubts about eating out, because I often struggle with the menu. Finding good, filling healthy vegetarian meals that appeal is something I find quite difficult at many places, but surprisingly, not here!

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For my starter, I had organic tomato and basil soup, which was delicious, and Thai Noodles with a side of veggies for my main (forgot to photograph before diving in-sorry!), which didn’t disappoint either- the veggies were especially yummy!

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I was too full to even consider the desserts, but by the time we got back home, I had just about made room for some dark chocolate! In fact, quite a bit of  chocolate… Smile with tongue out

And typically, by lunchtime, the weather had brightened up considerably! The sun was shining for once! I hope it is for my postponed run tomorrow morning too! This was the view from where we were sitting at lunch:

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Of course I also had time to scrawl a quick Operation Beautiful note on a Post-It note (I carry them everywhere with me now!) to leave on the mirror in the restaurant toilets:

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When I got back, I looked at the pile of work on my desk that had to be done, and then I thought about what I really wanted to do. Responsibility or pleasure? Well of course, I went for the latter- baking time! As promised yesterday, I have a recipe to share! And of course, going back to the post title, guess what it mainly consisted of? If you guessed pumpkin and oats, then you are a genius Smile

Oaty Pumpkin Squares (vegan friendly)

Take a yummy pumpkin pie filling, and sandwich it in an oaty, crumble mixture, and you end up with a delicious, healthier treat that is quick and easy to make! Makes about 24 squares.

Preheat oven to 375F/190C/ (or 170C if you have a fan-assisted oven like me) and add 200g (1.5 cups) porridge oats, 150g (1.25 cups) flour in a bowl. (I used half wholemeal flour and half regular).DSC02807

Add 110g (3/4 cup) soft light brown sugar, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), 85g (3/4 cup) softened butter. (I used half sugar, half natural sweetener and vegan butter substitute.

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Mix it all in! I would recommend you make sure your butter is really soft, because I had some trouble mixing it in to begin with! Then press 2/3rds of this mixture into your baking tin and bake for 10 minutes.DSC02814

Meanwhile, put into a bowl 350ml (2 cups) pumpkin puree, 100ml (2/3 cup) milk, 50g (1/3 cup) soft brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp ground ginger, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground cloves. (I used unsweetened soya milk, 1.5 tsp cinnamon and half sugar half sweetener).  Yes it doesn’t look pretty at first:DSC02818

But then when you beat it all together, it looks (marginally) less disgusting.DSC02819

When it’s ready, remove base from oven, and pour over the mixture. (Sorry for the terrible pictures by the way- I was seriously struggling with the lighting in my kitchen at this point!)DSC02822

Then top with the remaining crumble mixture.

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Put back in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until set. Then cut into squares/bars, cool, and enjoy!

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If you are like me, enjoy 3 of them! You can store the rest in a airtight container in the fridge, until the next time hunger strikes, or your sweet tooth rages. Then you’ll know exactly where to head… Open-mouthed smileDSC02833

Oh yes, and don’t forget the *best* part of any baking/cooking adventure…DSC02825

…the clearing up!

Question: Do you have problems with the menu when eating out? How do you get around this?

Have a great evening everyone! Open-mouthed smile