Sunday, 25 April 2010

Seafood Risotto & Pan Fried Scallops

After the #i8this challenge, I felt the need for a little treat. One of my favourite dishes is risotto and every time I make it I like to make little changes. Whatever I did this time, made this dish the best I ever had! It was so good I just had to share! Happy cooking!

1l Fish stock
50g Butter
1-2 Shallots, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Leek diced
250g Risotto rice, I use arborio
75ml Dry white wine
100g Prawns
3-4 Squid
85g Marscapone cheese
50g Parmesan
Parsley to dress

Make up the stock as per instructions. If using your own stock, warm on the stove, but do not boil. Wash the prawns and squid, then chop the squid into rings and set aside.

Sweat the shallots, 1 clove garlic and leek in 30g butter over a medium heat - do not colour. 

Lower the heat then add the rice and coat in the butter. Add the wine, stir through and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the stock, a ladel at a time, waiting until all the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladel. Keep going until the rice is cooked, but not too soft. 

To cook the scallops, add the remaining butter to a separate pan with 1 clove garlic. Once the butter is hot add the scallops cooking once each side until slightly brown.

This is the bit where things get tricky. Have the mascarpone and Parmesan ready as you'll need to add them quickly! Add the prawns and then the squid, followed by the mascarpone & parmesan. Season with freshly ground black pepper stir through and leave on the heat until the prawns and squid are cooked. Be careful as you want your seafood just cooked and you do not want your squid to turn into rubber bands! It should just take a few minutes to cook, then serve straight away.

Dress with the parsley, add the scallops to the side, serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

#i8this Challenge - Day Four

Today I was very, very good and I was only a little bad... I love the good things about this challenge, I'm drinking more water (3l today woohoo!), I'm eating more veg and leafy greens (at least one leafy portion a day) and I'm still getting all my yummy fruit in. I've been trying to use the fruit to replace all my indulgent snacks i.e. chocolates and biscuits. Especially raisins as they are just like sweets! lol. But this is the area where I struggle, today someone lovely soul in the office brought in sweets, not those little packets of sweets, but the big tubs you find in the sweetie store. But I was as good as I could be, there were mushroom and pencils and I only had two of each, I could have quite easily have had a handful of both! My only other discretion was to eat three custard creams after hitting the gym tonight, but after 3 hours of working out I think I deserved it!

Yummiest part of today was this amazing discovery; I recently stocked up on a few Linda McCartney meals. Being a vege it's sometimes hard to pick ready meals and I end up doing lots of cooking at home, but when you get in late from training like I did tonight you want something quick, easy and healthy to eat, with very little fuss. This did it and it tastes great! Chicken style pieces tasted like chicken, hot and spicy and full of veg pieces - 2 of your 5 a day apparently! And it was full of lentils, and I hate lentils, but I ate every last one! Yummy, might even add lentils to my shopping list now...

Monday, 19 April 2010

#i8this Challenge - Day Two & Three

Okay, I'm going to be honest the last two days have been a failure. I've gone the good stuff, drunk lots of water and added in my leafy greens everyday. But cutting out the sweet stuff has been very hard, add in an argument with the bf and I may have had a minor binge fest on chocolate... And yes the fest lasted much longer than the argument or my anger did oops! Point is I've now finished all the sugary snacks in the house, so I'm ready to go out tomorrow and get back in the saddle! Wish me luck!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

#i8this Challenge - Day One

So I've made it through the first day, that's the hardest part right? Well today was a little crazy, I work up at 06:30, but decided that was way too early to get up on a Saturday morning. I woke again at 08:00 and text the bf to tell him I was up (he's working nights), I got up and went back to sleep quite a few times, always doing something in between, making a call, responding to emails etc. But I didn't actually really leave my bed until 15:30, when I got a text from the bf asking me to meet him in town for a coffee. I guess he was up early and as we hadn't seen each other for a while he decided he'd like to spend the afternoon with me. Which was actually really sweet, especially as it was a lovely day outside and way I was going I would have missed it entirely!

So I showered, shaved (my legs - summer dress weather!), dressed, grabbed a bottle of water and headed into town to meet him. We ended up having lunch at Pret, which was good as it meant I got my leafy greens in in the form of a crayfish & avocado salad (my fav!)

Dinner was cooked for me, which is a good thing as he cooks a lot healthier than I do! We had grilled sea bass, roast potatoes, a medley of mixed veg; broccoli, cauliflower, carrots & cherry tomatoes. Snacks today were mainly light mini babybel & Clementines. I brought lots of fruit while we were out shopping, but not all of it is ripe yet :-(. 

Christine put up a post today about Love On Some Fruit. Now this really caught my attention and it looked like a really interesting exercise to do. Take time out to show your appreciation for your fruit, prepare it with love and enjoy every mouthful. My midnight snack was my yummy raisins and this is how I showed them I loved them!

I think I've managed 1l of water today, so on that part I've failed miserably, but I have had lots of fruit & veg and I've stayed away from the chocolate and other sweet snacks, so I am retiring to my bed today feeling very good about myself! Oh yeah, I even managed a Yakult too (they were giving them away in the mall), so my tummy is happy too!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

#i8this - Spring Clean Living

This is an idea that came to me from a friend Donna (@donna_de) after a discussion about my poor eating habits and a suggestion from a male runner friend of mine who advised me that I needed to loose two stones... He meant it in the best possible way; he has great aspirations for my running that I don't share. I'd be happy to finish a 5k race with a 25:xx time, he wants me to look at 23:00mins... Loosing two stone would get me there (so he says). Honestly though I do wish I was a little lighter a stone maybe, but realistically I am NOT overweight. I think I need to be clear that I do recognise that, what I should be working on is my body fat %, I know its high, I can clearly see it high, so I guess my goals here should feed into that. 

To give credit where credit is due this idea (the #i8this hastag on Twitter) was started by Christine Lynch (@holisticguru). I don't claim to know Christine, but I have enjoyed reading through her blog and she is someone I would like to get to know through this challenge. 

Generally, my diet is not horrendously bad; I'm a vegetarian, although I do eat fish, I get my five a day, I don't drink coffee or smoke and I am teetotal. My only vice is my high sugar intake and that is all in the form of sugary treats -I don't even add sugar to my tea! I expect reducing this will have a significant impact on my body fat. I really want two things from this; my objectives are to a) make it achievable & b) make it beneficial, on that note here are my goals... 

My Goals - 7 days
  • Drink at least 2l of water per day - I often forget to drink and I am used to being dehydrated. As an athlete (I used that term loosely) this is not a good thing, I've been on short runs recently as part of my recovery and the first thing I noticed is that 5 steps out of my door I was dying of thirst! Had I been drinking enough through the day, this wouldn't have been a problem and I need to find a way to make it a habit...
  • Cut out crisps and chocolates - This is gonna hurt - I've been living on crisps and chocs the last few weeks. Missing my endorphin rush from running, chocolate has been my substitute.
  • Add in the right stuff - I do get my five a day most days, I eat 50g of raisins as a snack which is two, then there's my usual pink apples, clementines and a banana for breakfast. And I haven't started on the veg as I miss a 'full' portion some days. What I will do is plan to have at least one meal a day including leafy greens in addition to my fruit fetish!
In addition I will keep a food diary; I have a great app on my iPhone already for this (DailyBurn), which I have been using. And I may even dip my toe in the pool of mediation... Wish me luck and if you're not already following me on Twitter please do: @LilMsSweets I'll be tweeting with everyone else throughout this challenge!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Back Up & Running!

I feel good! Denenenenene. I knew that I would. Denenenenene. I feeeeeel good! Denenenenene. I knew that I would. Denenenenene. So good! Dun dun. So good! Dun dun, cos I can run. Dun dun dun dun...

Today I completed the British Heart Foundation London Jog Trilogy; Part 1 Hyde Park. I had this in my diary as a planned last 10km race before the London Marathon. But that was before my injury of course. The jogs are actually well thought out in order to appeal to all walks of people. You can do anything from 1km on some races to 10km. Hyde Park today offered a choice of 5km or 10km and they didn't care what you did. Which actually worked well for me, had I not been injured I would have really enjoyed it. Actually who am I kidding? Had I not been injured it would have annoyed the hell out of me! It was a jog; most people were walking or meandering along which is fine and exactly what I needed today, but had I been really training hard I would have pushed to the front at the start in order to avoid the walkers and been really annoyed if I'd ended up behind any of them! The whole race would have been me weaving in and out trying to run around people lol. I noticed the people that were doing just that!

I decided part way down the course to only do 5km. My ankle felt ok, but I didn't think ok was good enough and my fitness levels have really plummeted. I knew I could go 10k if I wanted to, but I also knew it would still be a gentle 10km jog, rather than a great race. So at the 5km point where runners were being directed to go around again for a second lap I turned right and run to the finish to collect my medal, water, stretch and check my bags were still in the unmanned, dump it all here bag area!

It's scary to think how my fitness levels have completely dropped since being injured. I guess I should have been swimming a lot more to fill in, but I couldn't swim the first two weeks as me ankle was strapped up and in the last week I knew I was only days away from running so didn't bother! I guess 10km would be about my max run at the moment, with 5km being a fair distance to build from. So for me from here it's gonna be back to basics. I think London is out of the window from this point, I still have another six half marathons to run in 2010 and I'll add another full marathon in at the end of the year, when hopefully my ankle will be more up for it!

I now have an appointment booked in with a specialist to look at my ankle; at the very least I think I'll need to be fitted with orthontics as my right ankle joint seems to fall inwards as I run  in the area where my ligaments are damaged and I'm not having that problem on my left ankle. The specialist wanted to remove my steel plate and give me an MRI scan last time, but decided not to so I could run the marathon, or maybe just so he didn't have another patient in his list. The funny this is one session of physio with Zoe and she said "it (the joint) feels very creaky", exactly the problem I'd been to the specialist with. My ankle had been 'clicking' in and out of place for years, but running, no wearing high heels after running heightened the problem. I once walked around gingerly all day, as my joint had slipped out of place and I just couldn't get it to go back as much as I tried - normally I flex my ankle and it goes 'pop'; job done. My appointment is in 4 weeks which gives me some time to start training again and getting back into a pattern, especially as it will be two days after my next half marathon! Before that though I have the second part of the BHF London Jog Trilogy - Tower Of London where I'm hoping to get 10km down. Right now though I'm just taking one day at a time and one run at a time. I need to get my fitness levels back up, with less focus on the running and maybe spending more time spinning, swimming or out on my bike. One day at a time, one run at a time here I go; back up and running!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Test Run

It has been 19 days since my last run, and I have felt every second of it. Ask anyone, I've been grumpy, moody, sad, tearful; you name it I've done it. Today I have had the day from hell, I expected to be busy and went in early to prepare for it. Only it seemed I wasn't the only one with that idea. When I arrived my manager was already there and so was another visiting manager who really gets on my nerves. So my day started with me not being able to get into my parking space because this other manager, we'll call her Marge for the sake of this blog, had parked her car and left her door wide open preventing me from driving in without taking it off. Yes I thought about it... When I did let everyone into the office (it's still before 09:00) Marge decided to let a visitor in and guide them to my office for me to deal with! Now we have a certain level of security at the office and no one should be let in without an appointment and ID and certainly not before we open our doors! I sent him back to reception and continued to set up... She then brought the post in and put on my desk and told e she need me to unlock certain doors so she could do whatever. I quite firmly told her that she would have to wait until I sorted myself out. The plan had been to get in early check my emails and have breakfast before having to deal with all these people, but no, my rare moments of solitude were interrupted. Needless to say my day continued in that vein with engineers not running up when expected, then suddenly appearing and not being able to do the job that I expected them to do and taking the network down for 3, yes 3, hours in the middle of the day and not at the end of the day as planned, which meant my part timer couldn't get anything done in the 4 hours she works! I then had my appraisal today, which actually went quite well, none of the things on my to do list got done, but i was glad to get my year end finalised and all the paperwork for 3 offices in the post at 16:00. Phew! I could chill for 30mins then go home! Oh no, boss lady wanted us to have a 'quick' impromptu meeting about managing contractors. Oh great joy! The quick meeting lasted an hour and it was 17:15 before I was out the door. Not Impressed At All! To add insult to injury I left the office with a monstrous headache and was seriously doubting my run tonight...

When I got home the first thing I did was pull my clothes off and slide into bed. Luckily my bff called me and kept me awake. I told her about my day and she decided I needed a night out on the tiles to cheer me up! Yes Please!! I chilled for a bit after getting off the phone and though about running tonight. Is was simple, it was either gonna go one of two ways; a) I'd have a great run and everything would be fine, b) my day would continue as it started and my run would be a great big flop, I'd be in serious pain, I'd do more harm than good and my life as I know it would be over (I'm known for my amateur dramatics, roll with it). I nearly cried there and then just thinking about it and considered waiting till tomorrow to give it a try, but luckily for me a) I'm impatient and b) I knew the only thing that was gonna make me feel better was to get out there and run. So I did...

I didn't think too much about my outfit; 3/4 pants, team shirt and light jacket as it wasn't that warm out and I wasn't sure I would be exerting myself enough to work up a sweat. I had been wearing my ankle support all day so I didn't even bother to change my socks, just put on my sports bra, HRM, outfit, Garmin and my new Adidas AdiZero Bostons. I started wearing them in a while ago, using them at the gym and I've been wearing them to work all week, so this would be a good time to start running in them too. 
Once outside I stretched, while my Garmin did it's thing and found the sats. The plan was to run 40 mins max as directed by Zoe, my physio. I wasn't planning to break any records, I didn't expect it would be easy, but I wanted to get it done! I was so worried starting out that I forgot to to start my iPod for the for the first 0.5km! I once read somewhere that however long it took you to get fit in the first place is how long it will take you to loose that fitness. They lied, and it was a big fat mother of a lie! Less than 1km in I wondered if I was gonna make it the whole way. I suddenly realise how dehydrated I was I had been so busy at work I had barely had anything to drink and well I never take water out with me on short runs, but boy did I need it then! Never mind I kept going and counted the miles down. I kept thinking if I can get 4 miles in I'll be good. Go for 6-7 tomorrow and see how I feel... There's a tiny little hill on the route and I knew I had to go up and down it a few times to see how my ankle handled it. I kept focussed by thinking, this is easy for you; 13.1 is your standard run, just to the km, just to the next mile... I felt like a fat blob, but I kept running. I got to the hill and ran it four times and I kept going I hit the park where I normally loop to finish my 5km and I went round 3 times. I hit 4 miles before I got back home at just over 40 mins I kept going; I'll do 45 mins then! At 44:30 I did a quick sprint home and hit the stop button; Done! WOOP WOOOP!!! The best bit after 3miles there was no pain, the little niggle that I had felt had gone, I guess my ankle warmed up and the ligaments eased up, but my last mile was pain free. Looking forward to tomorrow when I can run on it again and see what I can really do! My fitness has gone, but at least I can run; I can build my fitness up again. So I won't be running London at my best, but at least I will be there and I will be able to run it!

So how do I feel? Brilliant, Amazing, Fantastic,  In Love! Great! The drought is over I'm back! 

My Heart

And my heart, my heart hurts,
As though it's essence has dissolved and nothing remains in it's place
My whole, my whole is no longer,
I am merely a fragment of the parts I once used to possess
For my love, my love, my love is no more
I have loved and I've lost and I am but a beggar at loves door

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Two Weeks No Run :-(

Let me start with some bare faced honesty; I'm not happy, far from it. It's been over two weeks since my last run and I'm feeling it. I've lost my high. I'm grouchy, I'm moody, I shout at kids and I've made my 7 year old brother cry; I'm miserable and doesn't the world know it! (p.s. he cried because I told him he couldn't come back to my house after he flooded my bathroom for the second time!)

Running is my drug; I'm stressed; I run, I'm worried; I run, I'm annoyed; I run, I'm fed up, anxious, depressed, you got it; I run. Swimming doesn't do it for me, driving doesn't do it for me, it used, but it doesn't do it for me, even chocolate isn't hitting the spot right now! So let's just say I am loosing it slightly! The one thing that has given me any kind of pleasure is this diet; so far I have lost 6.2lbs and nearly 8"! I've been picking more healthy options, eating less in terms of portions and sizes and sticking to fruit to snacks in the day and limiting myself to one small chocolate bar in the evening. The key thing is that I seriously reduced my carb intake. Instead of having rice or pasta with meals I've piled on the veg. My lunch of a baguette and butter has been switched for soup, an omelette or poached eggs. Okay, I've had nights where I've eaten a whole Easter egg (tonight for instance), I sat at my desk stressed and devoured two packets of crisps back to back, but on the whole I've felt good about what I've eaten and not felt that I've been starving myself. I'm currently around 10st 5lbs, my ideal weight is about 9st 12-13lbs. If I could get there I'd be happy. There is a school of thought (or a few runners I've been talking to) that think I could go as low as 8st 7lbs... That doesn't sit right with me, if it happens through my training then it happens, but I don't feel comfortable aiming for that. I'm quite curvaceous and I like being curvaceous.

The real point is that I don't like dieting, I mean who does? I just knew that I couldn't not look at my diet whilst I was off my feet. I've done that know. I know I wasn't eating right, now I can see how to correct it and possibly maintain it (not quite so strictly) when I can start running again. And that is the ultimate question when can I start running again. In my heart I want to get out there now; today was a beautiful day I would have loved to go out for a nice long run, but I did a core workout instead. On Wednesday I'm at the physio, not the same physio I've been seeing but my tried and trusted physio Zoe, I'm hoping she has good news; my ankle doesn't feel strong; it feels weak, but I need to start strengthening it and the longer I stay off my feet the more worked up and stressed I'm going to get. I miss logging my training on dailymile, I miss going to the gym; I miss swim sessions with the team - I'm going back to those this week, I need to, but I really, really, really miss running!

Tomorrow, I'm baking more cupcakes, their not helping the diet, but who cares? They help my mood!

Current Stats
Weight: 66kg 10st 5.2lbs
Chest: 77.5cm 30.5"
Bust: 91.5cm 36"
Waist: 68.5cm 27"
Hips: 94cm 37"
Thighs: L 57cm 22.4" R 57cm 22.4"
Arms: L 29cm 11.5" R 28cm 11"

Monday, 5 April 2010

Cupcake Recipe No. 1 - Queen Cakes

In an effort to keep the kids entertained I baked cupcakes with them. I picked a recipe that I hadn't tried before, but looked interesting; Queen Cakes. Now I would have taken a photo of the cakes to show you, but they didn't stick around that long! I have to confess to eating four of them back to back whilst we watched a movie! Here's the recipe, please try them yourselves and let me know what you think. p.s best served hot! Yum!

115g softened butter of margarine
115g caster sugar
2 large eggs lightly beaten
4 tsp lemon juice
175g self-raising flour
115g currants

I was in charge of measuring, Mika'il had the electric whisk and Zane was appointed official recipe reader and bowl licker! 

Zane got all the ingredients (that he could reach) down from the fridge and cupboards to get us started and I preheated the oven to gas mark 5 (190c/375f) and got out all the utensils. Once all the ingredients were measured out Mika'il beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and I gave the eggs a quick once over with a whisk in a separate bowl. We then added the eggs in gradually so the mixture didn't curdle, followed by the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the flour. 

The balance of the flour needs to be folded in with a metal spoon so I took over at this point; Mika'il's not know for being delicate with his hands! I then added in the currants to finish it off and the mixture was ready for the cup cases! If it comes out too think you can add a little milk to get a soft dropping consistency.

I used large silicon cup cases and made 12 cupcakes, but if you are using paper cases you should get 15-18 cupcakes. they need to be baked in the oven for 15-20 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Eaten fresh from the oven they are very hot and absolutely delicious! Quick and easy to make these are sure to become a family favourite! I'm making them again this weekend for my nephews 1st birthday party!