The No Sugar Cookie

Unfortunately baby Rose has inherited his sweet tooth from his mother. There’s nothing he loves more than something he shouldn’t be having; the cry of ‘mallow’ can often be heard at 7am. Of course we don’t give him marshmallows for breakfast, but I have been a tad concerned recently that we’re giving him a little too much sugar. In a bid to combat the constant cry for chocolate buttons, I stumbled across these ‘no sugar’ cookies. Technically they do have sugar in them, it’s just that this sugar is honey – which although doesn’t make them completely healthy, is one step towards being better for him.

The recipe is a Thermomix one, but it’s easily adapted for those without the most wizards amazing gadget ever! The original recipe can be found here. Teeny teddies are apparently all the rage in Australia. I can see why: they’re gorgeous!

 

Ingredients

60g of butter cut into cubes
140g honey
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
170g plain flour
65g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda


Method

  1. Put the butter, honey and vanilla bean paste into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until melted.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add all the other ingredients. It is quite a wet and sticky dough.
  3. Place dough on a silicone mat to cool slightly.
  4. Once dough is cooled slightly but still warm and pliable, roll out into a rectangle about 2mm in thickness.
  5. Using a small teddy cutter cut the shapes out of the dough (do not underestimate how much time this takes. My arms were killing me by the end!)
  6. Place on a tray and bake for 4 minutes (or until golden brown) in a 180°c oven.

The original recipe says that they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. So far mine have lasted 4 days and they have already lost their snap. I’m going to put the rest in the freezer and bring them out as and when. Considering I made 270 of them it’ll take even the sweetest of tooth a long time to munch through them. Baby Rose is having a good go though!

If you try it, let me know.

Happy healthy baking

Around the Corner Fitness.

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The Running Thought Process

Let’s face it, I have a love-hate relationship with running. I love it one month, I hate it the next; I love it one day, I hate it the next; I love it one minute, I hate it the next! I can go out on a run all pumped up and ready to go, and then want to give in and turn around before I’ve even reached the end of the road. Surely I’m not the only one who feels like this? My thought process when on a run goes pretty much like this:

Start: I really need to go for a run. I’ve eaten all that *insert bad food here* today and really need to burn it off.

2 minutes in: I’m pretty much a porkier version of Paula Radcliffe. I really enjoyed the last run I went on. I’m going to get a PB today.

5 minutes in: I feel like I can run for miles. I never want to stop. I love this song. I love running. The world is such a beautiful place. Ooh, look at those pretty flowers.

7 minutes in: I’m bored now.

10 minutes in: I really want to stop. I didn’t really eat that much *insert bad food here* today. Surely 10 minutes of running has burned off at least 600 calories.

15 minutes in: Wow, I’m getting into my groove now. This rhythm feels really good. I’m still on for that PB. I wonder what 5K time you need for the Olympics. These new trainers/leggings/expensive top that I didn’t need were totally worth it.

20 minutes in: Surely it’s nearly ended now. Looks at watch and groans.

25 minutes in: I’m super fit and healthy now. I’ve run for so long I’m practically a size 8 (dreams of all the dresses I’ll look fabulous in and all the people that I’ll bump into). They’ll think ‘wow, she looks beautiful’.

30 minutes in: I’m dying. This was such a bad idea. Is it nearly over? I’m never doing this again.

End: That was totally worth it. When can I go again?
Even though there’s always at least one point on every run when I want to give up and throw my trainers away, I always go out for the next one. There’s just something about getting out and feeling a sense of accomplishment at the end. The aftermath is always worth the pain!
Happy healthy running,

Around the Corner Fitness

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‘What I Eat in a Day’ by Niomi Smart – Hit or Miss?

In a bid to spice things up in the kitchen (recipe variety wise) I’ve found myself buying a few new cookbooks of late. One of which has been ‘Eat Smart’ by Niomi Smart the clean eating, almost-vegan YouTube sensation. I follow Niomi on YouTube and, although not vegan myself, I found myself trying out a couple of the recipes she’s suggested in her videos; her hummus has been a staple in my lunchbox for a good few months now. When she mentioned that she was releasing a cookbook, her video hadn’t finished before I was pre-ordering a copy.

I’ve made a few things from the book now and mostly they’ve gone down very well. In addition to the ones below, the Mexican Chilli Bowl on page 99 deserves a special mention. It’s absolutely delicious with a dollop of sour cream and a few cheeky nachos!


Mauritian Masala with Coconut and Coriander Rice (p.106)

The first time I made this curry I had to strip down to my bra to eat it. Sweat was coming out of all orifices; I followed the recipe to the letter and it was way too hot for a northern girl like me. The second time I made it I was wary and so underdid the spices. By the third time I think I just about got it right. Of course, I’m much lazier than Niomi and opted for garlic paste and ginger paste rather than crushing/grating my own.

Ingredients

  • 200g brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon of mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 200g of butternut squash (sweet potato works equally well)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 small courgette (cut up into pieces)
  • 1 red pepper (cut up into pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut

 

Method

  1. Cook rice according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and add the onion. Let it cook for approx. 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and stir. Add the spices and stir to coat the onion.
  4. Add the squash and thyme leaves with 1/2 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add the courgette and pepper with 1 cup of water. Simmer for approx. 20 minutes depending on how thin/thick you want your sauce to be. Cook until squash is tender.
  6. Once the rice is cooked, drain it and mix in the chopped coriander and coconut.
  7. Serve the curry with a sprinkling of fresh coriander on top (if you’re a bit poncy like me!)

I’ve found myself having this rice with everything – it’s delicious!
Having got to grips with some of the savoury recipes in the book I headed over to the back to sample the sweet treats. My favourite one so far is the Blueberry & Coconut Flapjack (so much so that the recipe book now opens itself to that page).

Blueberry & Coconut Flapjack (p.220).

I took these into work for a review and they were gone before lunchtime. One of my colleagues even asked for the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 300g rolled oats
  • 90g desiccated coconut
  • 150g blueberries
  • 90ml of coconut oil
  • 50g coconut sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°c. Line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mash the bananas with the back of a fork until smooth and set aside.
  3. Mix the oats and coconut in a large bowl and add the blueberries.
  4. Melt the coconut oil in a pan over a low heat, add the coconut sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the mashed bananas.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  6. Put the mixture in the baking tin and press down.
  7. Bake in the oven for approx. 30 minutes until golden.
  8. Slice into 12 squares whilst it’s still warm.

Overall I think Niomi’s book was a good investment for me. I bought it from Amazon on pre-order and it cost me £12. I do think that was a tad expensive seeing as I could get it cheaper now in the supermarket, but I have enjoyed the recipes and it’s one that I’ll keep on my bookshelf for a long time.

If you try any of the recipes please let me know.

Have a happy and healthy week.

Around the Corner Fitness.

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Sweet Potato and Chickpea Coconut Curry

After being stuck in a rut for a while I’ve been making good on my promise to try a few new recipes and branch out a little. I’ve tried a few from the recipe books recently (coming soon), but my favourite of the new ones has to be a sweet potato and chickpea coconut curry. I know I’ve been searching for recipes recently because this one popped up on my Pinterest feed – I didn’t even need to search for it, it just jumped into my lap!

The original recipe can be found here, a very interesting vegan based website focusing on health and wellbeing through food. As per usual I’ve tweaked and messed with it a little (the original website had parsley?!)

Serves two

Ingredients:
1 onion
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of coriander leaf
1 teaspoon of ginger paste
1 red chilli
400g of chopped tomatoes
400g can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 sweet potatoes (chopped into small chunks)
400g of coconut milk
1 bunch of fresh coriander
180g of brown rice
Method

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a large pan and add the onion. Cook for several minutes until softened and then add the garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, coriander leaf, ginger paste and chilli. Stir and allow to mingle together for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, sweet potato and coconut milk to the pan. Bring it to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. It will take approximately 30 minutes to thicken and reduce down.
  3. Whilst the curry is cooking, cook the rice according to the packet instructions.
  4. When the curry has reduced to your taste, add the chopped coriander.
  5. Serve.

At first tasting, it appears a little bland, but once you’ve had a few spoonfuls it’s delicious. The sweet potato really soaks up all the flavours and spices. Next time I’m going to add a sprinkle more cumin but that’s only because I bloody love it! I can feel it creeping into our weekly rota as I type.

If you try it let me know.

Happy healthy cooking.

Around the Corner Fitness.

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GOAL!

My initial fitness goal is up tomorrow; I will have squeezed myself into a dress for my brother’s wedding, no spanx required. Admittedly there was a choice of two dresses and I went for the slightly more forgiving and less slutty one, but even still – mission accomplished. The photos are still coming in, but when I find a more suitable one I’ll put one in.

Now thoughts turn to what is next. I’ve done the York 10k this year and have been consistently going to Treadfast classes, which incidentally I now completely LOVE (I’m going to really struggle to give up my gym membership in September). Surprisingly my favourite part of the PT course so far has been the nutrition side of things so I think something along this line is going to be my next goal along with the triathlon that I’m interested in.

Seeing as writing things down seems to be the best way to make me actually do things, here’s the list:

  • Start swimming consistently at least once a week. I’ve already made head-road into this insofar as I’ve bought a pair of goggles. I’ve had one ‘proper’ swim since my big purchase and alternated 2 lengths of breaststroke with 2 lengths of freestyle (or front-crawl as my mum calls it). I got to about 21 lengths and then I lost count. One of my next swimming purchases will be a length counter. I’m also finding I’m getting a big bored. I think I’m going to add an underwater MP3 player to my Christmas list.
  • Run twice a week. I’ve managed to go consistently once a week in the summer and I know that that isn’t enough to keep where I want to be. Now that my running buddy is back from her exotic travels I’m sure it’ll be easier.
  • Track my eating again. It’s been too easy to let it go in the summer without having a strict timescale to stick to. We’ve also been on holiday and baby Rose and I have consumed our body weight in ice-cream on the hot days. I’m trying to not beat myself up about this, but just focus on the next step. Seeing as I’ve enjoyed the nutrition side of the PT course I’m going to track what I’m eating and start tracking macros. I’ve not done this before so it’ll be an adventure into the unknown.
  • Try a wider variety of recipes. I’ve got stuck in the same 8 or so again. I need to have a flick through the recipe books to add in some extra ones.

I don’t want to split my attention between too many things, so that might have to do for now. Nevertheless, these four are achievable. We’ll see where we are with them in a month or two.

 

Happy healthy thinking.

Around the Corner Fitness.

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