Monday, 30 March 2009

Cupcakes and workouts

Here's some cupcakes I made for my cousin's birthdays they both visited this weekend, so any excuse to get baking! They're the basic chocolate recipe from every vegans cupcake bible, vegan cupcakes take over the world, they seemed to go down well I didn't have one cause I didn't really like the frosting, my dad said it was good but I thought it tasted fatty.. Maybe the shortening I used wasn't right, I used Trex any UKer's use trex and have good/bad results? It's the first time I've used it..

Trudy likes the sun!

A Few Workouts I've done since I last posted
Jogged to uni 1 mile
15 50m sprints with 50m jogs in between each sprint
jogged home

Strength Work
I did the nightmare workout again!! This time I kept it closer to the original and it was maybe even more horrible than last time but I felt great when I completed it, I did 5 rounds with 2 6kg dumb-bells.
-Bent Row
-Upright Row
-Military Press
-Split Squat (left/right)
-Straight-Legged Deadlift

I did a few other strength based workouts too but they weren't terribly exciting, I've been really tired lately and I've been finding the strength stuff harder than usual.. I've started a pull-up programme and a push-up programme so I'm hoping my numbers for each exercise will begin to improve soon, I'll keep you all posted!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Baking galore!

Wow this post was promised aaages ago wasn't it! I hope it was worth the wait! How's everyones week been? I had a better week, busy with uni work and I have a clarinet exam on Saturday so I'm feeling a bit stressed, I'm prepared for it but I always feel I could do more, it's always the case though, a bit more time probably wouldn't change a thing! Anyway on to the food! That's what you're here for right?

Maple cupcakes with sugared cashews (instead of walnuts) from VCTOW
These were really good actually, I didn't think I would like the sugared cashews but they turned out really nice. I also made a frosting based on the one in VCTOW but I don't really like cooking with fat, I always sub apple sauce for oil and don't often do proper frostings unless they're for other people.. So my frosting recipe, basically it was soy protein powder added to maple syrup until the consistency felt right and it tasted right, i.e. not too protein-y! It needs some work, it tastes great but it doesn't stay on the cupcakes so they don't look too pretty!! Maybe some powdered sugar would help but I think that might make it too sweet.. If anyone tries this let me know how it turns out for you!

Next up, another modified VCTOW recipe.. The cake recipe is the Almond version of the Hazlenut cupcakes, the first set is topped with a chocolate ganache and vegan crunchie (honeycomb - recipe below) unfortunately the crunchie pieces melted into the ganache but I'm assured by my Gran who I baked them for, that the taste still shone through, in fact I know it did because I didn't tell her what it was and she knew! The second lot are topped with a lemon cream cheese frosting leftover from the carrot cakes shown below. I had also made a blueberry compote to go with the lemon ones, recipe in VCTOW but my gran forgot to serve it with the cupcakes so my grandad will be getting a treat with his breakfast!

Mother's day Carrot cake cupcakes from VCTOW
As you may remember from earlier posts my mum loves carrotcake so what better to make her for mother's day? I had the bright idea of spelling out Happy Mother's Day in marzipan carrots, it took aaaaaaages but she loved it so it was worth it, she did point out I'd missed the apostrophe out though cheeky mum!

Vegan Crunchie/Honeycomb
These were sooo yummy! I'm kinda scared to make them again for fear of eating them all!! I'm failing to find where I got the recipe from so I'm sorry to the person I'm not crediting, I did modify it though... I used one cup of sugar and half a cup of water and I think 1 tbs of baking soda. In a deep pan heat the sugar and water to hard crack stage, with a thermometer around 300° F– 150° C I actually took it off before it reached that heat as it smelt like it was burning and it still worked well, once off the heat add the baking soda it will fizz up a lot (that's why you need a deep pan!) then chill the honeycomb until it's hard, it didn't take long at all for me. I then broke it up and coated it in melted dark chocolate yum yum!

Soda Bread
My Gran saved me a recipe for soda bread in the Daily Telegraph Magazine, it was not vegan but I made some changes and it turned out great!
500g wholemeal flour
10g salt
15g baking soda
150g oat flakes
1 tbsp molasses
500ml oat milk plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

mix the oat milk and vinegar so it has time to curdle
preheat the oven to 200°C
line a baking sheet
mix all the dry ingredients
add in the wet ingredients
shape the dough into a loaf with floured hands and mark the top with a knife
bake on the top shelf for 45mins until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped
transfer to a wire rack to cool, the recipe suggests draping a damp cloth over the loaf to help it stay moist but I like a really crunchy crust so I omitted this stage. (Sorry for the bad lighting!)

Sugar free, no added fat almond choc chip cookies
I'm working on this recipe and a PB variation, it's not quite there yet but I promise I'll let you know as soon as I nail it!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Some workouts

I had a tough week last week so didn't really feel like posting. My hamster Missy died really suddenly and it was quite a shock, I miss her a lot she used to come out and play every night so it's strange without her.

I have quite a legnthy food post to come but I'm just going to do my last weeks workouts for now as I need to resize all the pics!

Workout 1
I think I did this last Friday.

Shadow boxing to warm up
Clean and Press 5 each arm, 9.5kg, 11kg, 13.5kg, 13.5kg
Bent over row 20kg reps 5 then 3
Assisted pull-ups and chin-ups reps 10-10-10-10
Push-ups reps 4-2-4-2
Hammer curls 8kg reps 8-8
Russian Twist 10kg reps 30-30

Workout 2

Jogged to uni, 1 mile
Suicides! as bad as the name suggests!
4 reps of 50m, 100m, 150m, 200m
6 75m sprints

Workout 3
today.. (i just mispellt workout, woe-out that's about right, todays workout was HORRIBLE!!)

It was based on a Randy Couture workout, a barbell complex, this is the original workout
-Bent Row
-Upright Row
-Military Press
-Good Morning
-Split Squat (left/right)
-Straight-Legged Deadlift

I had to change a few things, I used a set of dumbells for example as Mike used the barbell, here is the exercises I did for round one and one half round (I twisted my knee doing lunges so I had to change the workout) I had 6kg on each barbell, that sounds puny but it was actually so hard I wanted to cry! I did 5.5 rounds half a round cause I had to stop at the lunges on the second go cause I was in pain, think I've twisted my knee somehow. gahh.

-Bent Row
-Upright Row
-Military Press
-Good Morning (cut after second round cause I couldn't do it with dumbells)
-Split Squat (left/right) - I did lunges rounds 1-2, from round 3 onwards I did a benchpress
-Thruster (squat to push press) from round 3 onwards I did a benchpress, it took me ages!
-Straight-Legged Deadlift

This workout was really nasty but I'm so happy I managed to finish it by round 3 I really didn't think I would be able to!

Food pics in the next post... coming up soda bread, vegan crunchie chocolate, maple cupcakes with a high protein, low fat frosting, sugar free, fat free almond cookies... until I put the chocolate chips in that is!!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Interview and todays workout

We'll do the workout first, today I jogged a mile to uni then did 6x300m intervals followed by two 50m sprints cause I still had a bit of energy left! I ate half a banana before I went and it seemed to combat some of the sickness I felt last time. I've done a little bit of light strength work this evening, some push-ups, assisted pull-ups and some arm exercises with a light dumbbell (4kg)

We found some old pictures yesterday, here is one of my beautiful hamster Scarlett, we had three dwarf hamsters, Scarlett, Natalie and Winnie and sadly they all died last year, I really miss them.

Now I have an interview from Kiersten over at Full of Beans! The information to playalong is after it!

1) Of all the blogs you read, which one is your favorite? Why?
This is such a tough question, I love reading all the blogs I follow. I think if I had to pick just one it would be Susan V's Fat Free Vegan Kitchen I've chosen this one as it's probably the blog I've made the most recipes from so far and I don't like adding fat to food so it's given me a lot of ideas of alternatives to use.

2) What is your favorite vegetable? Your favorite way to eat it?
At the moment it would have to be kale in the form of kale chips, bake your kale in the oven sprinkled with a good amount of apple cider vinegar and sprinkled with salt, delicious! I wish I had some kale in my fridge!!

3) What would your ideal 3 course meal be?
This is such a good question! I think I would have to go for one of those sharing plate style starters that you can get from most chinese/thai restaurants, this would include spring rolls with tofu, tempura vegetables, seaweed (minus the icky dried fish of course!!) with sweet chilli dipping sauce. For mains I'm torn between black bean tofu and plain boiled rice and cashew tofu with noodles....... can I have half of each!! For dessert chocolate and caramel cheesecake, that's a dessert I haven't yet veganised so it's imaginary.. but I think it would be good!

4) What is your favorite book?
I love Stephen King's Dark Tower series, I'm still reading the last book at the moment, when I get chance to break from uni work long enough to really get into it.. That's my favourite at the moment I think... I'm very indecisive!

5) If you were a superhero, what would your super power be?
Ooooh this is a toughy! So much to choose from (maybe the ability to make up my mind would be a good one to pick..)
I'm gonna go with....... flying! Sounds so cliche but imagine the freedom and the things you could see, all the places you could go.. it would be cool!

To play along:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me." If a few people want interviews, I will randomly pick 2.
2. I will respond by commenting on your blog with five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Yesterdays workout

I went running for the first time in about a year yesterday and today my legs are killing me haha, I jogged a mile to uni and then did some intervals on the field (at 6.30 am so no-one could see me hehe) I did 8x200m then walked home sweaty and dishevelled!! It wasn't too bad (ignoring the sore legs today) except for the fact I felt really sick the whole time, this often happens in work outs if they're conditioning based... other runners or cardio people what do you eat before a workout and how long before? I just can't seem to get it right!

After my workout I had a nice big mug of coffee, it's incredibly rare you get me to leave the house before having one so I was really looking forward to it when I got home, I also had a nice big bowl of high protein cereal and dried apples yummmmm

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Redwood co

is one company I will no longer be buying from. They make Cheatin' meats, VegiDeli, Cheezly and are behind the fabulous fudge company.

As always I bought a celebration roast for mine and Mike's christmas dinner, the date on it was til sometime in January so no worries about it going off right?? Wrong. It was mouldy before the christmas dinner so that threw a spanner in the works. I emailed the company on Jan 1st with pictures including the date on the packet, expecting at least a refund. The shop I bought it from were closed for refurb for a month over christmas so I couldn't take it back there and I wasn't keeping mouldy food in the fridge. I did not hear from redwoods.

2 weeks later I'm beginning to wonder why they haven't emailed me back so I send another, apparently the first never arrived.. that's a little odd, my email server confirms it was sent. After this I get asked my address, they will send a refund....

Fast forward another 2 weeks, the shop is back open so I mention it to someone who works there, he says he will ring them this is Feb 13th, I get an email back the same day, what is your address, we'll send you a refund.............. nothing arrives again!! On Monday I'm in the shop I bought it in again and Scott, the man who works in the shop enquires as to whether my refund has arrived, he says he will ring again, finally this morning my refund arrives. They have sent me a cheque for less than the celebration roast, I can't even be bothered to get the rest of the money off them. (they sell for £5.56 direct from them and they sent me a cheque for £5.00 what's that all about??)

Should it really be this much effort to get a refund for a faulty product. I really feel like they should have offered me more than the value of the product since they have messed me about so much, over 2 months and far too much effort to get that partial refund. I'm really fed up with this company. Thank goodness 'Frys' frozen vegetarian foods and Sheese cheese are far nicer than the Redwoods alternatives, I did enjoy buying their products fresh but I will not give them any more of my money. In a way it's good I have got so fed up with them because I hadn't tried the Frys veggie meats before so I didn't know I would actually prefer them, but still annoying!

Has anyone else had any problems with redwoods foods going off well before the date? It's the second time it's happened to me, a pack of chicken pieces went off well before the date but the shop I'd bought them from sorted that out for me so I didn't have to deal with all this time wasting!!

ETA, seems I'm not the only person who has had these problems, it seems to be their company policy to ignore complaints and hope they go away... scroll down about 2/3s of the page

Monday, 2 March 2009

todays work out

Again.. I've been neglecting the fitness part!!
Today I did;

Clean and Press, 5 each arm
8.5kg 9.5kg 12kg 12kg 12kg 12kg

Tabata pushups, 8 rounds

Squats 5 each time
17kg 17kg 17kg 22kg 22kg 22kg

After the workout it was pretty much time for tea so we had some good vegan comfort food, biona lucky stars, tofu and vegetable stars, mildly curry flavoured yummy! With those we had some rice cooked in stock, garlic and a bay leaf then mixed with sauteed green peppers, celery, mushroom, jalopenos, peas and sweetcorn and some tomato puree, pretty tasty, ohh and a bit of tabasco for some extra bite. I also made some oven wedges no extra flavours on these just plain ol' salt 'n' vinegar. There is also some homemade ketchup (from Bryanna's blog) on my plate and I had some wholemeal bread for a chip 'n' star butty! Here's some close ups, just cause..