Three Ingredient ‘Cookies’

There are lots of recipes around for these cookies, so I have just taken a ‘mean’ of them all and have come up with this one that seems to work. The three ingredients are always available in my house, and these can be thrown together and baked in 20 minutes. 

Really they are more like an oat cake than a cookie – but I suppose if you made them smaller and squashed them down they could be more cookie-like. I prefer the larger version. 

They are especially great for those of us who do a fair bit of exercise, oats and bananas having excellent variable energy releasing properties – to keep you going through a hard workout or for some instant energy pre-workout. The chocolate element just makes you happy throughout!!

Ingredients

160g Porridge Oats

90g Plain chocolate, chopped into small (or chunky) pieces or choc chips, or milk   chocolate or in fact any chocolate you have lying around!

200g (peeled weight) ripe bananas, mashed

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Method

Mash the bananas, add the oats and mix well, add the chocolate pieces and mix. 

Make 9 equal balls of mix and press onto a parchment lined baking sheet

Bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC. Cool on cooling rack. Eat immediately or at your leisure!

Each cookie – approximately 140 calories, 22g carbs and 2.6g protein. 

Enjoy

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Black Bean Soup

There’s nothing like a warming bowl of soup for lunch on a cold, wet, drab winter’s day. With it’s mixture of spices and nourishing legumes, this soup will certainly take away the chill.

Black beans are very good for you with their high protein and fibre content – so not only does this taste delicious, it also has health benefits!

Ingredients

300g Dried (no-need-to-soak) Black Turtle Beans (700g when cooked)
2 Small red onions, chopped (approx 180g)
2 Carrots, diced (approx 230g)
2 Sticks celery, finely chopped (approx 60g)
1 Tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 Chicken stock cube**
1 Beef Oxo cube**
1 tin Chopped tomatoes
1tsp Ground Cumin
1tsp Ground Coriander
1tsp Mild Chilli powder
1tsp Crushed chillies
1tsp Garlic granules
1.5 litres of water for the black beans
1 litre of boiling water for the chicken stock
Salt and ground black pepper

Method

1. Add 1.5 litres of cold water to a large pan along with the beans and bring to the boil.
Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour – making
sure to check that the pan does not boil dry. (Alternatively follow the instructions on
the pack or use 700g (drained) tinned beans).
2. In a large pan, heat the oil and sauté the vegetables until they start softening.
3. Add all the spices and cook through for a minute or two.
4. Add three quarters of the beans and the stock plus some salt and ground black pepper
and simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Use a hand held blender and whizz up the soup to the consistency that you prefer.
6. Sprinkle on the Oxo cube and mix thoroughly.
7. Add the remainder of the beans and simmer for a further 10 mins.
8. Adjust the consistency with water if you would like a thinner soup.
9. Serve with some crusty bread and butter.

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If you’re interested, a 300g bowl of this soup is approximately 150 calories! Enjoy!

**(This can be made vegan if the stock cubes are substituted)

Chocolate Date Bars

I have just found this recipe in an old book of Dave’s – it’s the 1989 ‘Good Housekeeping – Complete Book of Home Baking’,  which he bought when he was making a lovely loaf of bread every weekend. Back in the day when we only had one small baby to feed, and a loaf of homemade bread lasted longer than ten minutes!! I wish I had seen this recipe before as it is a perfect carb hit for the runner/cyclist.

This bar uses dates which are very sweet, so I am sure it could be made with less sugar. Also, the butter, hmm… well that’s why they are so delicious, however I’m sure you could substitute with coconut oil if you were so inclined.

This version makes 12 pretty large slices, which are approximately 310 calories per slice and 38g carbs.

Ingredients

175g stoned dates, chopped
10ml (2 level tsp) plain flour
100g plain chocolate
100g self-raising flour
150g rolled oats
100g light brown soft sugar
175g unsalted butter

Method

  1. Grease a shallow 18cm (7″) square tin (loose-bottomed is preferable) and line base with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the dates, plain flour, chocolates and 150ml water in a small saucepan and cook gently for 5  minutes until the chocolate has melted and the mixture thickened slightly. Leave to cool
  3. Mix together the self-raising flour, oats and sugar and rub in the butter. Spread half of this mixture over the base of the prepared tin, pressing down well. Cover with the cooled date and chocolate mixture, then the remainder of the oat mixture. Press down slightly.
  4. Bake in the oven at 180ºC for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then mark 12 fingers. Allow to cool completely in the tin before slicing.

Wotton parkrun – half birthday celebrations

I’ve been busy lately – I have been a little involved with Wotton parkrun! Well that is a slight understatement, and although I don’t like to think parkrun has taken over my life, it has just a bit!! Last Saturday we held our half-birthday run. It’s hard to believe that a whole 6-months has passed since Wotton parkrun #1, and what a great 6-months of parkrunning and volunteering we have experienced. 

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Tetbury Dolphins Running Club supported our half birthday event. Photo:Dave Fitzjohn

We decided to celebrate this milestone run with fancy dress and many runners turned up in an amazing array of costumes. We also held a cake sale in aid of Wotton Community Parc (where we hold our parkrun). We had a great turnout of 130 runners who were very generous when buying the cakes afterwards. 

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The cake sale was very popular.

There was a fantastic atmosphere, everyone ‘enjoyed’ their run and luckily we had sunny (if a little chilly) weather. Wotton parkrun seems to be enjoyed by all who attempt it, whether local or all the way from South Africa or Australia. It has been challenging over the winter months with some very muddy days, but now it’s dry and the Community Parc is looking green and beautiful. 

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Winter running at Wotton parkrun. Great fun!!
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The Community Parc is looking fabulous

As I mentioned in a previous blog post (parkrun comes to Wotton), Wotton parkrun is an off-road course with a mixture of grass, grassy tumps, muddy puddles (in winter) and a couple of gravel tracks. It’s a very interesting course and has been referred to by some as the Wotton ‘butterfly’ due to the nature of the route. In honour of the Wotton butterfly, I made a parkrun celebration cake. 

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Wotton ‘butterfly’ – well you can see it if you squint and maybe turn it upside-down!

I volunteer almost every week at the parkrun, and a couple of weeks ago I joined the 25 volunteer club – to celebrate I ran as tail runner and made cakes for all the volunteers! My husband also reached the 25 volunteer club on the same day, so it was a double celebration. Any excuse for cake!!

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Cake!

Cinnamon cashew nut butter

I’ve just made a batch of cinnamon cashew nut butter. This was based on the ingredients list for the previous contents of this jar! Really easy to make (in my Vitamix) and very few ingredients.

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Ingredients

200g unsalted cashew nuts
20g honey
20g melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
0.5 teaspoon salt (optional)

Method

Add cashews to Vitamix (or other powerful food processor), blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix to a butter-like consistency. You can add more or less coconut oil, depending on what consistency you prefer.

Perfect on porridge after a long Sunday run!!

Chocolate coconut energy bites

Why buy expensive over the counter ‘energy-balls’ when it is so easy to make your own. I made these for the first time this evening and they are absolutely delicious.

The recipe is one from Cycling Weekly magazine and adapted slightly (of course).

Ingredients
(makes 16 bite size balls)

150g oats
100g dates
75g coconut oil
60g honey
30g almond butter
25g desiccated coconut
20g cocoa powder
1 medium egg
1 tbsp peanut powder (optional)
pinch of salt

Method

1. Chop the dates into tiny pieces or whizz up in a food processor
2. In a saucepan melt together the honey, almond butter and coconut oil (you can also melt in a bowl in the microwave)
3. Stir in the cocoa powder and coconut
4. In the food processor/mixer or just a normal bowl, mix together the dates, the beaten egg, the saucepan contents and the oats (+pinch of salt) until thoroughly bound.
5. Shape into 1″ balls (approx 31g each) and place on a baking tray – on a sheet of baking parchment or greaseproof paper. 
6. Bake at 180ºC/170ºC fan for 15 minutes.
7. Allow to cool then taste one 🙂
8. Wrap individually in cling film ready to take on a long bike ride or run.

Nutritional value per bite (approximate)
kcalories 102
Carbohydrates 18g
Protein 3g
Fat 8g

Enjoy!

parkrun comes to Wotton

On Saturday I volunteered as Tail Runner at the 4th Wotton parkrun. Our new parkrun started in October and has been very well supported from the beginning. This is essentially a cross-country course, mostly on grass with a couple of gravel tracks.  It is about as rustic and rural as they come! I have only ever run off-road on one previous occasion – and that was at last weeks parkrun!! I treated myself to some trail running shoes because I was conscious that I would need more traction especially in muddy and icy conditions. These trainers were definitely needed today as it was 1ºC when we got up this morning and we had both mud and ice.

Three people, six trainers
My new runners

Volunteers are the key to parkrun and a trusty band of new and regular volunteers began to turn up around 08:30. The parkrun course takes in two laps of the Wotton Community Parc and the furthest corners take quite a while for the volunteers to reach, so when setting up all hands are very welcome.

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Volunteers briefing

The air was pretty cold and the grass was covered in frost. The scene looked beautiful actually and as I happened to have my camera with me I took some rather moody photographs.

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Frosty morning at Wotton Community Parc

As 9am approached runners started to arrive. Those who had not done a parkrun before and those who were new to Wotton listened to a new runners briefing – this explains the course, the timing procedure (using barcodes) and lets people know about any problems on the run such as mud and ice (we had plenty of that this week). We also welcomed representatives from Wotton Lions Club who were presenting us with the new defibrillator that they have kindly donated. Lets hope we never have to use it – it’s great to have this piece of invaluable equipment available for all who use the Community Parc. 

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The AED donated to Wotton Community Parc by the Wotton-under-Edge Lions Club

As Tail Runner it is my job to run at the back (or walk as necessary) and keep behind or with (and chat to) the last person taking part. I enjoy this volunteer role because I still get to run but it is usually at a nice leisurely pace and I get to meet interesting people. This week I was running for a while with a dad and his 5-year old son who was really enjoying his run, and was determined to get to the end for his sausage buttie treat. Then I ran with a lovely lady who was doing her first Wotton parkrun, but not her last I suspect, as she was local to the area. Like me, she had lost a lot of weight through running and was determined to keep it off and stay fit and healthy. We finished in a very respectable 42 minutes. 

By 09:50 everything was cleared away and we were on our way back home for porridge.

I’m looking forward to next week already. 

Wotton parkrun