Monthly Archives: July 2011

Carrot cake oatmeal

Cake-taste for breakfast

A new oatmeal. This is not so good post-running as it doesn’t have the casein protein that helps keep me full, and I thought could help fat loss if ingested after exercise., but now I find this unsubstantiated in the literature. Anyway, this oatmeal was created when I woke up on Saturday and really wanted to go to iHop for pancakes for breakfast, but am trying to stickk to my ‘only eating out twice a week’ rule. I wanted something decadent, and healthy. It did well.

1/2 cup pre cooked oats oats in water
1/2 cup milk – I used 1%
1 cup grated carrot (10 baby carrots)
1/4 cup egg whites (makes it creamier)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
Sweetenerof your choice – e.g. 1 tbsp sugar / brown sugar OR agave OR 1 tsp splenda

Fill the pan with the oats and carrot, but sort of half and half so the carrot is on one side and the oats on the other (as above)
Pour the milk on the carrots
Simmer over a low heat for 5 mins (don’t worry if the ingredients mix a bit)
Take off the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients
When well mixed return to the heat and cook until the egg white is thoroughly cooked

Optional toppings: pecans; flax seed (my choice); cottage cheese blended with sweetener and cinnamon

More appealing in taste than sight.

Indulge, guilt free 🙂 (Disclaimer: food should not come with guilt blah blah blah).

266 calories – 3.8g fat / 42.3g carbs / 14.75g protein

Beating ‘runners’ hunger’.

Post- 3.5K breakfast

So… I am getting back into running. Walter helps, as does the fact I strongly believe in its health and body-aesthetic improvement virtues. Running’s powers for this latter may be more than slightly diminished (in fact, fully reversed) if you (like me) suffered from an intense hunger any day you ran. The ‘oh, I ran, I can eat what I like’ paradigm doesn’t ring true to me as I estimate that on my 3.5K I will burn 242 calories, when for those 23 minutes, I would have burned about 42 calories anyway,.. leaving me a net calorie burn of ~200. This is not even my Friday wine amount 🙂 While I don’t *fully* subscribe to the calories-in calories-our paradigm; it serves as a good marker. Therefore, the hunger that was following me all day and lead to: 2 extra apples (100 calories), an extra square of dark chocolate (60) and some milky coffee (40) + potential other ‘healthy snacks’ throughout the day made the weight loss benefit much diminished (if we don’t count any questionable rise in metabolic rate then indeed… undone).

So… I developed a breakfast to knock post running hunger on the head. It required:

-Fast absorbing carbs as immediate sugar / a sweet taste helps me feel fuller
-Slow absorbing carbs to keep me satiated longer
-Casein and whey protein (for a sustaining combination of quick and slow digesting protein)
-MUFAs, for their insulin modifying and oft-reported but unsubstantiated appetite satiating abilities
-Caffeine to reduce tiredness, and there is some evidence that being tired contributes to hunger

So, to satisfy that my breakfast of choice at the moment is:

-32 oz water
-1/4 cup steel-cut oatmeal made with water
-Cottage cheese (1%) and 1/2 cup of 1% milk
-2 tbsp flax-seed
-Coffee (with the milk)

350 calories; 10g fat, 42.5g carbs & 25.5g protein.

The Science of this is unproven… my ‘fast carbs’ may well not be quickly absorbed with all the fat and protein (which lowers GI)… MUFAs magical health abilities over other sources of fat do remain in question… but it passes the ultimate N=1 non-Science test: I don’t need to eat until 12 🙂

Chicken Provençal and Zucchini pancakes

Chicken Provencale. So tasty I ate most of it before I took the picture...

OK, 2 recipes for you. One quick and easy, the other… not so much. So, my new resolution only allows me to eat out twice a week. Meaning quick and easy dinners are necessary for when I get back from the gym and 7.45 and still have to take Walter for a pee. Thus, I developed:

Chicken Provençal

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 chicken breasts
1 small chopped onion
1 can canellini beans
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 sticks celery
1 can chopped tomatoes
handful torn basil
2 chopped garlic cloves
pinch of savory

Literally just throw it all in the slow cooker and put it on low for 7 hours. Go to work, workout, and come home to the most amazing smell 🙂 This is also great for Meatless Monday without the chicken – very filling.

The next one is not such a quick and easy ‘throw together’

Veggie pancakes


Basic pancake mix:
2 large eggs
1/3 cup low-fat milk
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Veggies; I used:
Kernels from 1 ear sweet corn (about 3/4 cup)
1 zucchini, grated (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup chopped onion
Zest of 1 lemon

oil for frying

Put all the basic pancake mix ingredients in a bowl beat with an electric whisk. Stir in the veggies. Heat the oil in a pan. Fry like small pancakes over a medium heat, flipping 1/2 way through. Serve as a side:

Wes' with his steak; I had mine with salmon as I am trying to cut down on red meat.

Not amazing, but a different way to get your veggies in. Tastes great with sour cream / Greek yoghurt on the side, and kept well in the fridge making a tasty snack.

Thank you to Whole Foods for the recipe

My first official 5K

It rained, but here we are after some restorative Jim N Nicks 🙂

Back in the Uk I was quite the jogger. Every 2 weeks I would run a half marathon. Perhaps it is not therefore surprising that with no knowledge of pre- and post- race nutrition, nor the importance of rest, nor of not overdoing it, I killed my knees, hammies and all sorts. Hence really I gave up running. Until this week, when last Friday I decided to run 2 miles. On Saturday I picked up Walter and so did the same Sunday and Tuesday with him. On Thursday I heard about a 5K (3.1 miles), the ‘retro run’ and randomly signed up. I didn’t know anyone going, except Gabe who invited me, but it was one of my ‘I need to get out and do more random things’ moments.

Come Saturday I was starting to sorely regret this decision, and panicked about being able to complete it having not run that far in a long time, and having really only had a week’s preparation, and to be honest, struggling with my 2 mile runs each morning. BUT…. I did it! I bit the bullet, pulled on an outfit vaguely reminiscent of the 70s, grabbed Walter and went for it. I walked for 3 stretches, but made a pretty respectable 31.5 minutes (6 mph…. respectable for not having trained).

More importantly, I had a fantastic time. It’s one of the great things of living in a small city: events that are cheap and accessible and fun. I chatted to loads of people and met a lot of Gabe’s friends. Plus, Walter loved it! Seeing everyone made him want to go at full belting pace, not a trot, but alas, I could not do that at all. So… next time one is on in Birmingham – give me a call please 🙂 Walt and I will be your running buddies…

Introducing Walter!

So, last weekend we went and got this precious little boy. A 15 lb Italian Greyhound. He is an angel, after crying the first night (I slept on the floor next to him) he will now sleep in his crate all night, meaning the house is accident-free and nice and quiet.

Crated dogs = easier dogs

He walks well, and is learning ‘heel’ and ‘stay’ reasonably – lovely though he is, there is a touch of ‘the lights are on but no one is home’. Bless his heart. He runs like the wind, and absolute joy to watch (and something I only got to see a few walks in, when he relaxed more). What else? Well, he is an absolute attention hound, demanding to sit next to Mum all the time, unless Dad should pet one of our other animals when he runs over to get love there. He is become quite social though, being cuddled by others when they are over. He is terrified of the cats (mainly because they hiss and swat at him all the time, I think)

Bobby has now become a cuddle bug and is determined to show Walter that Mummy loves him most

and loves playing with Donna’s dog Spire. Today is his first 5K – it is ‘retro’ themed and I am wondering if I can get him an outfit 🙂 He’s an absolute angel and is he a baby substitute? 100% yes 🙂

My favourite expression of Walter’s

June 2011

OK, I missed a couple of months, but catching up, This month I:

Got married!… Got to see my beloved godmother + her husband and my best friend Clio… got to meet my best friend’s boyfriend properly (and discovered he was lovely)… went on honeymoon… went tubing… got my little turtles… went to my first baseball game and so tailgated for the first time… visited and stayed in Villa Rica, GA and went antiques shopping… went to San Diego thanks to my travel award…

San Diego sunset

Cherry and lentil salad

Another meatless Monday (even though I think it was Tuesday).

Breakfast: Today started with 2 plums and some berries with Greek yoghurt and flax

Favourite breakfast!

Lunch: My Cherry and lentil salad

Serves 2

1 cup green lentils
2 cups water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 handfuls of cherries – halved and pitted
1 handful of basil – torn

Boil the lentils for 20 mins, and during this time mix the oil and vinegar in a cup. When the lentils are done, drain, and while still warm combine the lentils, cherries and oil-vinegar mix in a bowl. Throw basil on top. Marvel at the pretty colours ans devour 🙂

Too pretty not to eat

Makes a great bagged lunch.

Snack: carrots and hummus, an apple with peanut butter

Dinner:Vegetarian chilli with a little sweet potato (Recipe to follow). Blueberries and sour cream, 72% dark chocolate

Exercise: 2 mile run with Walter in the morning, and an ace 50 minute kickboxing session in the evening. Yeah!

Americans are geniuses

For they created The Wilton Cookie Gun – given to me by my lovely office mate. So simple; throw the following ingredients into another great American invention; the stand mixer:


  •         3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •          1 teaspoon baking powder
  •          1 1/2 cups butter softened
  •          1 cup granulated sugar
  •          1 egg
  •          2 tablespoons milk
  •          1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  •          1/2 teaspoon no-color almond extract

Hit ‘mix’ and load up the gun……..

Choose a disc, slot into place and fire; out come (with a little practice) perfectly formed cookies:

About 5 minutes cookie shooting

which bake up nice and brown:

into crumbly, buttery tasty morsels of goodness. How easy is it? Seriously… I got a 6 year old to successfully do it last weekend (as well as her 8 and 11 year old brother and sister). One thing: don’t make the ‘heart shape’; Wesley couldn’t bring himself to eat it, even when it was the last one left, and the children were absolutely banned from using that disc

Hearts. According to Wilton.

Might be good for a hen / bachelorette though 😉


Baking instructions: bake for 8-12 ins (until lightly browned on the edges) at 375 degrees in a fully preheated oven.

Meatless Monday

OK, so the Master Cleanse was an utter disaster (although it did lead to my buddy emailing me asking how my colon was). Predictable, some people might say. But, none the less, I went into it with good intentions. To

(1) Clean out my body

(2) Precipitate a general cleaning up of my diet (less alcohol, more fruit and veg, less red meat,  more variety, less restaurant food as mine is always of the over processed cheaper take out variety and despite my best intentions I plow into the accompanying chips)


(3) sort out my general exhaustion and tiredness.

So, to this end, I have developed some new rules, to help me stick to them. I even joined Stickk a website where you pledge to stick to a goal and every week that you don’t, your money goes to a cause of your choice. You can choose a friend, a charity, or if you really want to motivate yourself an ‘anti-charity’ of your choice; so every week I fail, ManYoo football club gets 10 of my princely dollars (NOT happening). Stickk is awesome – join it and friend me if you like. So, my ‘guidelines are’:

-No more than 2 meals from restaurants / take-outs per week

-No diet coke in the week


-2 ‘meatless’ days per week. As I was inspired by this Johns Hopkins health initiative I call it Meatless Monday, even though it doesn’t actually have to be a Monday. So here, is the results of my first ‘meatless Monday’, which was actually a Wednesday. I ate:

Breakfast: scrambled egg white, watermelon and a peach.

Lunch: Ratatouille with chickpeas:



Ratatouille Recipe

1 eggplant / aubergine [see how multilingual I have become]

1 winter squash / zucchini / courgette

1 red onion

1 green pepper

2 cans crushed tomato

olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

fresh rosemary, dried savory & oregano


Roughly chop all your veg

Lightly saute them in a deep bottomed saucepan with the olive oil and chopped garlic

Add 2 cans of tomatoes, then half fill one of the cans with water and add the water to the pan

Add the herbs

Simmer on a  very low heat for 2 hours.

Done. The great thing is that you can keep the ratatouille for ages, and it is very versatile. I added 1/3 can of chickpeas and that was my lunch.


A load of my generous office mate Stella’s cherries and an organic lolly.


Pasta topping

I sauteed some mushrooms and chickpeas in Ragu canned sauce and garlic, and threw it on some spaghetti squash. Dessert: Chobani 0%  and berries. Late night: 2 squares of Escazu chipotle chili & vanilla 74% cocoa chocolate.

Exercise for the day: 1 zumba class, 1 salsa class.

And there it is: the first menu for a meatless Monday 🙂 I was surprised, I wasn’t hungry and felt great.

The cleanse – not quite so masterly.

Well, my cleanse hit a hiccough. Mainly a strong aversion to maple syrup. I managed to have some for the first day,until lunch, when I couldn’t face it. By the second day, even the smell of the syrup was making me gag. After consuming only salt water, laxative tea and lemon for 28 hours I got pretty sick. When I was dizzy and my hands were white, but my lips blue, it was time to pull the plug.

I still believe in the value of detoxes and cleanses – but this one isn’t for me. I went on The Master Cleanse to break my bad eating habits, break my daily wine habit and sort out the fact that I was perma-tired. I still need to do that, and am considering eating only fruit until dinner time for the 10 days, then for dinner having a healthy meal (little or no animal protein, lots of veg). Either way, I feel way better after a salad plate from our local health food shop and some fresh watermelon.