Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Fuelling with 9 Bar.

Since starting marathon training, although I'm still following weight watchers I've tried to encorporate more "goodness" foods, foods that are going to fuel my runs, refuel me afterwards, making healthier snack choices.

These last few weeks have been tough to do this as I've been working nights, but reading on twitter and have previously heard good things about 9 Bars I thought I'd give them a go. 

I popped to my local tesco express and was pleased to see that the bars were on offer at 2 boxes for £2.80 and at £2.00 each what a bargain, although they did only have the original flavour - I'd quite like to try some of the other ones! 

My first experience of the bars was for breakfast - fuelling for a run - broken up with a muller light yogurt. The bars work out about 6propoints each; which may seem quite high but in terms of a snack it's the same as a chocolate bar! 

The bar with yogurt tasted yummy - but slightly overpowering nutty flavour - I'm not a massive fan of nuts (with the exception of almonds; I could eat them until the cows come home!) but I soon got used to it and found it very yummy. In terms of fuelling for my run I found that it sustained my energy - probably because it's so full of goodness!

I also tried these bars post run - when I want to devour everything in sight! It was only a 5 mile run so wasn't that ravenous but the bar satisfied all cravings I had.

Trying to stay healthy whilst working nights is a balance I'm yet to find! But wanted to try my best to eat healthier snacks, so armed with a 9 bar I embarked on my first night shift of the week. Usually I eat some over night oats and snacks throughout a nightshift. Whether it's because I  was so rushed off my feet or because the 9 Bar is so full of goodness it filled me up & was the only thing I ate! I didn't feel hungry, but it gave me plenty of energy for the night and kept me satisfied till morning! I will definitely be taking them to work from now on instead of being tempted by the vending machine. 

Do you have any other ideas of what to do with a 9 bar, I'd love to hear them - or any flavours to try out! 

But overall I will absolutely be including 9 bars in my weekly shop from now on! 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Chickpea, Chorizo & Spinach soup/stew

I have an undying love for Chorizo, although it is quite high in points in terms of Weight Watchers, you don't actually need that much as it has such a strong flavour.

I'm back working nights this weekend and really wanted to make something I could take that would warm me up, give me energy and not break the bank in terms of points (I'm currently on -10 for the week, need to go to the gym!)

So although I called this a soup I guess it's actually more of a stew as I didn't blend it as I thought that would be a bit rank!

Ingredients (for about 6 portions)

100g Chorizo - sliced, but not too thinly!
200g Chickpeas - drained
400g Chopped Tomatoes
1 red onion - finely sliced
2 red peppers - chopped
3 garlic cloves - crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp chilies - I cheated and used dried crushed ones.
3 large handfuls of spinach


1) Spray a saucepan with frylight (make sure you use one big enough to hold all the ingredients, I made this mistake!!) Add the onions, pepper and garlic & cook for 4-5 minutes until the onions have browned.

2) Add the sliced Chorizo and cook for a further 2-3 minutes to let the flavour of the Chorizo out.

3) Add in the drained chickpeas and cook again for a further 2-3 minutes

4) Add in the chopped tomatoes, chilies, bay leaf and about half a cup of water. Cover & simmer for 20 minutes.

5) Add in the spinach until wilted & serve.

I've worked it out if it serves 6 then it's 2 ProPoints per serving! Winning!

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Hope you enjoy this if you give it a go and please let me know how you like it:)


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Chicken & Chorizo Stew

I really wish I could post smells over the internet, If you follow me over on twitter or instagram you'll have seen last night that I was raving about my dinner. I actually went to bed smiling at how delicious it was!

I was so excited as it had smelt yummy in the slow cooker all day and was really easy to make.

Ingredients - for 2 large portions

Fry light
2 chicken breast - whole
125g chorizo - sliced
1 red onion - finely chopped
2 peppers - chopped
1/2 courgette - sliced
2 garlic cloves
400g passatta ( you could use chopped tomatoes if you prefer)
100ml vegetable stock (or chicken)
ground black pepper


1) Brown the chicken breast for 2-3 minutes, remove from the pan and fry the chorizo for about 3 minutes. Set aside
2) Soften the onion & add the pepper, courgette & garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the passatta and the stock and bring to the boil.
3) Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours.

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I served with rice, but to be honest you could have eaten it on it's own it was so filling.
Weight Watchers points it worked out at 9 propoints for the stew and I had 4 propoints of brown rice. So delicious.

The boy said it was the best thing I'd ever cooked (winning) and it will definatley be on the menu again.

If you give it a go, please let me know how you like it:)


Monday, 17 February 2014

Pinto Bean Chilli

If you are at alllike me you'll love putting your slow cooker on in the morning, coming home after a long day at work and dinner is ready. It really is the best feeling ever.

That was the plan for this dish, as I was working night last week, I was going to put dinner on in the morning when I went to bed and it would be ready for me and the mr at dinner time. However I fell straight asleep and forgot! Luckily my slow cooker recipe book also gives me the traditional way of cooking things. Winner! 

So pinto bean chilli, I discovered pinto beans a few weeks ago in another recipe. They can be a bit of a nightmare as cooking them requires you to soak them over night and then cook them for 45-50minutes. However I found that Asda stocks them already cooked - what a difference this will make to my cooking! 

The recipe was to serve 4-6 so I halved it & there was still enough for me, the mr, me for lunch the next day and a bit left over!

What you'll need:

Frylight(the original recipe says oil but I changed it to make it weight watcher friendly) 
1 red onion chopped
1-2 garlic cloves
1-2 chillies
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cinnamon stick
Pinch of dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
200g chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp tomatoe purée
1/2 tsp artificial sweetener (the recipe said brown sugar, and as we don't have any 'proper' sugar in the house I improvised)
200g pinto beans
450ml vegetable stock

It's really simple to make the traditional way, and I'm looking forward to making it again in the slow cooker (if the mr agrees - he likes meat in his dinner!)

1) spray a saucepan with fry light & cook the onions until they start to brown, add in the garlic,  chillies, spices and herbs and cook for 2 minutes

2) add the vinegar, tomato purée, tomatoes, sugar, pinto beans and stock. Bring to the boil

3) simmer for 1-1.5 hours until thickened

I worked it out at 3pp per portion. I served it with rice for an extra 5pp.

I thought it was really yummy & was also delicious the next day warmed up. The mr wasn't so keen as he likes meat - he's very fussy!

 If you give it a go I hope you like it!!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Feeling the pressure

Yesterday I was due to run 10 miles. The marathon is just 8 weeks and 6 days away. 
If I'm honest I didn't go because I made up excuses. We had friends down for the weekend, it was gale force winds so I would go tomorrow. Tomorrow came and I just haven't got it in me. 
My head is telling me I can't. I know I can do this. My legs can. It's my mind holding me back.

I often get like this after I completed a half marathon, for me at the moment weekly mileage is in unknown territory for me. When you lose weight your body changes but it's hard for your mind to catch up. In my head I'm still the fat girl who won't be able to run a marathon. Even though I can feel my legs getting stronger, I just need my mind to get stronger. 

These next few weeks I'm working nights, which is also causing me to stress out as I'm concerned about how I will fit in running and sleeping. My friend suggested scheduling a time in the afternoon specifically for a run which I will try tomorrow.i shouldn't be moaning, people work nights and train all te time. I guess it's a fear of the unknown. 

The pressure is getting to me this week. The fact I'm running for a charity, so many people believe in me. I don't want to let them down. And after missing yesterday's run I just feel like I've taken a few steps backwards.

A kick up the bum is welcomed from anyone! 

Friday, 7 February 2014


As I woke up today something felt different, initially I couldn't remember quite what. As I was stood in the bathroom it dawned on me, I'd remembered my dream. I can't remember the last time I dreamt or remembered it at least. 

I can't help but think it's related to the fact I've been struggling to sleep for the last few months. But this week I've started to sleep all night. It could be related to the fact we now have a blackout blind in our room which massively helps as there is a light right outside our window, or the fact I had my first counselling session on Wednesday. 

It may only have been my first session but I instantly feel a sense of relief, that I'm getting help and things will get better.

Back to my dream it wasn't specific or related to what's going on- I dreamt that they brought out an extra large tub of my favourite coffee and it was on offer! Clearly my prioroties are right! 

I'd love to have my dreams analysed one day. Has anyone ever had this done? What was it like? 

Here's to dreaming a lot more 😊

Lots of love 


Sunday, 2 February 2014

90 Miles!

So training for the marathon is in full swing now. It is only a mere 10 weeks away. That is actually quite frightening, after today we are into single weekly figures countdown, and single figures is never good. 

January has been the first full month since my plan started ; back in November; that I've completed every run & every cross train session on it. I can feel myself getting stronger, and since introducing sprint intervals it is really helping my pace, which is all good for the 13th April! 

I won't lie it hasn't been easy, there's been days where I haven't wanted to get out and run, days where work has been rubbish and I've just wanted to curl up, days where my head has told me I'm the fat girl who can't run. But thanks to a lovely support group in the form of friends, family & twitter I've got out there. Even those bad runs have made me stronger. 

As we roll into February it leaves just 2 full months of training ahead. Mileage is really starting to pick up now. Starting with today's 13.1 miler. A half marathon. I can't quite believe I ran a half marathon distance, on my own, and didn't stop. I carried on. I hit a wall at 10 miles, which is strange, usually for me its 7-8 miles that I really struggle with. It's the mentality that once you've passed 8 you're on the homeward bound. But at 10 miles today my legs were heavy, I was at a good pace, but they were heavy. A few quick texts & a tweet later I had some motivation behind me to carry on. And the fact that the last 3 miles were all downhill!!! So 2 hrs and 15 minutes I was done. With a 10"22 pace, which at the moment for my long runs is good. Not my quickest half but not my slowest. I then finished the afternoon off by stuffing my face with fish & chips and a chocolate sundae...I'd worked my ass of for it though so it's OK. And I pointed it at a whooping 43 propoints. It was worth every mouthful.

After digressing I'll get round to the title of this post. My January mileage. As I added it up on Thursday I was surprised, so much so I added it up a few times just to make sure. But yes my legs had carried me 90 miles along the 31 days of January. And I'm just the fat girl who's trying to run! 

I can't wait to see what my mileage of February will be & after today's run I'm feeling positive about the training coming up.

Too all of you out there training for a race, whatever the distance, well done & keep going. You are amazing. 
There's always the few miles in a long run that you could easily stop at but push rough.
Running inspiration

Lots of love xxx