2016 Will be a good Year. I can Tell.

Oops. Life has got in the way of me posting!

Not that it has been filled with “too much fun!” as little Drew would say, but work has been mental, and we have been doing lots of house stuff, mixed with a couple of trips away.

To fill you in…

Our house wasn’t affected by the flooding, but our commute was!

Luckily, I was allowed to leave early and work from home one day, but we couldn’t resist stopping at a trail (in daylight for once!) to do a wee run in the snow, before continuing on to do some work!

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(Kyle was so excited he mooned)

On New Year’s Eve, I was unfortunately ill. That meant the night was spent watching Jackie Bird and prodding Kyle to wake up for the bells.

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(so Happy New Year to me…)

While we were partying it up over new year being old and boring, Mum was off in New York getting married and stuff 🙂

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(view from their hotel room – you can see the ball if you look closely!)

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(The only pic I have of them right now, but mum wore a lovely dress and Keith was in his kilt. Celebrations to come!)

In order to get better as quick as possible, hot chocolates were had, soup was consumed daily, and too-many-to-count cookies were baked:

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(yes, we made our soup and bread ourselves. we are sooo totally country now! 😉    )

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(these were INCREDIBLE if I do say so myself. Recipe here!)

I did manage some running (on the treadmill due to flooding)…

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Swimming was done at our local Alford pool because I couldn’t get into Aberdeen…

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(Alford’s new “community campus” – it has a 4 lane 25m pool so that did the trick in the wet weather!)

I caught up on lots of TV I’d missed over Christmas

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(I ❤ Amy and Sheldon)

Aqua Sphere sent me some AMAZING kit to try out this season, which cheered me up, got me better almost immediately, and made me feel like it was Christmas all over again!

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So far I have tried out the K180+ goggles which were commented on a good few times at a camp I was at last weekend (more on that later!), the ergo flex paddles which made my arms hurt so good in a pull set, and the micro fins which fit really well and will hopefully improve my ankle flexibility and strength and re-teach me how to kick powerfully in the water again!

Furthermore, super speedy runner Tammy kindly gave me some cream to help the scar on my knee calm down (amongst a billion other things for the house which was FAR too kind of her!). Her husband swears by it after concealing a scar on his forehead (that I for one had never noticed!), so I hope it works on me! Thank you!

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(It is looking MUCH better already, yes? Please agree to make me feel better! PS yes they are Ironman pjs. Thanks, Santa!)

While we’re throwing our legs in the air, does anyone know what the lump in my foot is? It is getting to the point that I can’t wear trainers for too long because it hurts. Sorry, folks. Scroll past this next pic if you are about to eat.

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(Taken after a night race with Callum and Kyle. How ugly is that bump?!)

Next I shall tell you all about my 1st training weekend in Stirling for the Girls for Gold Coast squad. It was so much fun! But super snowy so we couldn’t do too much!

For now, wish Kyle all the best for his talk with the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce this week!

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(My hero!)

Over ‘n’ out!


How was your NYE? Do you celebrate it?

Were you affected by the bad weather?

Is it snowing where you are?

Treadmill or tough it out?

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Alford Fireworks are Amazeballs, Kyle wins again, and Beer post workout is perfect recovery food.

Hi folks!

Apologies for not being on this too much…new house plus work plus a new commute (50ish miles a day!) has left me with less time to talk to you guys! Fear not, I shall continue blogging all my stories whether you like it or not, albeit a little less than before…

Ok so last weekend marked our new local fireworks display. The Alford Scouts put on a spectacular performance and their fireworks/bonfire display was arguably better than the Ironman ones, and might even be as long as the Disney ones (but one can never compare to Disney fireworks!)! Muuuuch better than last year in Kemnay 🙂

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Ooo it ALSO marked completing my 1st running session since the lung issues!! Wheezing and lack of fitness has caused me to stop half way through sets (if I even get there) but I have an inhaler for a trial period and managed 8x1km with a minute recovery on the old railway line in Alford. Note that is the flattest part we have found in the area and it certainly was not flat 😦

To celebrate, she didn’t even have a shower before opening her prize:

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(a nice ale to warm me up after a cold, dark run!)

Oh and this:

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…although I can’t seem to find them anywhere now. Was it for Autumn time only?!

I have been doing more cycling at the weekends now that I never see daylight during the week…on the odd weeknight (if I man up and embrace the freezing garage) you will find me here:

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(yep…THAT cold)

But usually after an early rise, long commute, and lunchtime workout, baking usually takes priority. These were UNBELIEVABLE if I do say so myself:

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(Apple fritter glazed donuts: recipe here)

One cycle I did I had a “screw it let’s see what the fuss is about moment” about 30minutes in: A 10 minute climb up the Suie.

  1. This moment occured while on a TT bike
  2. I chose to go up the hill on the steepest side
  3. Going into a headwind

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(a nice wee 12 percenter to start the day!)

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(this photo doesn’t do it justice!)

I can’t believe all this is right on our doorstep! I felt like I was on holiday!

I ALSO felt like I was back in Switzerland with the steepness of the climb! Glad it was only 10 minutes and not 5 hours like in Davos!

Speaking of Switzerland, I noticed Daniela Fyf (Ironman World Champion!) found it hard too when she attempted the Fluela!

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On the non-sporting side, we have had a lot of help with the house! Between both sides of the family, we are getting there! We do appreciate the help, but sometimes we have to stand back and laugh:

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(half of Keith in the utility room)

We have been SOOO fortunate to have family & friends helping us!

Ok and THIS weekend KYLE WON ANOTHER RACE!! Fraserburgh Half Marathon champ in a time of 70.19!! A couple minutes off of his PB but he annihilated the field, winning by 7 minutes! My hero!

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 (Kyle with the lead bike)

Not only that, but in a team effort (Callum you are a dreamboat!), they snuck me some cakes from the MASSIVE spread at the finish line!

 Capterwerure

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(PLEASE don’t tell the Broch running club 😉 … Thanks boys! Ignore the pjs)

Kyle’s parents slept over (our FIRST sleepover!) and went with him on Sunday, while I had a pre-arranged shopping/eating trip with Mummy!

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(man, Starbucks is dark)

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(preparing for my sugar overload later!)

That being said, Christmas shopping has commenced! I bought more stuff for me than anyone else (has anyone SEEN the Lancome counter recently!?) but it’s a start.

Ooo before I forget, I may have forgot to mention that you need to enter the Balmoral Races soon! I am only going to do it if bubblewrapped (2 years ago I ended up in A&E and on crutches, last year I was hit by a car…who knows what could happen next year!) but Kyle and I were kindly invited to the launch party!

Run Balmoral Launch
Run Balmoral Launch

You can enter here!

Ok that’s enough from me for now! Hope you’ve had a fun week and I’ll try not to be too long next time! 🙂

Chocolate & Cherry Gluten Free Cookies

So the conversation I had with myself last night went a little bit like this:

“aahhh bliss – afternoon off after an awesome recovery day and a productive day at work – let’s bake cookies”

“no Debster you are meant to be an athlete”

“but I love cookies and deserve them”

“how about we compromise and you try out some gluten free ones or protein ones or something the running magazines all rave about”

“let’s do both”

Please pretend I didn’t say that and that I am not a psycho, m’kay?

So I heard cherries are great for recovery:

  • Faster recovery: Marathon runners who drank tart cherry juice five days before, the day of and two days after running experienced a faster recovery of strength compared to those who drank a different beverage. Read more on this study here.
    • Similarly, in another study tart cherry juice helped improve the recovery time after intensive exercise compared to the placebo beverage that was used. Read more on this study here.
  • Decreases muscle pain: Runners in an annual 196-mile relay race in Oregon reported significantly less muscle pain after the race if they drank tart cherry juice twice a day the week before and on the day of the long-distance race. Read more on this study here.
  • Less muscle damage: tart cherry juice decreased some of the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage following strength training. Strength loss after exercise averaged over four days was only 4 percent, compared to 22 percent among those who drank another beverage.

I don’t tend to stock cherry juice in the house (!), but I DID have some dried tart cherries I bought from Costco the other day, and I searched for a “healthy recipe” for cookies containing these:

CHOCOLATE & CHERRY GLUTEN FREE COOKIES

Summary

Total Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 6 to 8 minutes
Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used coconut flour, but you could use whole wheat or gluten free if wanting to stay healthyish!)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (i used some posh one I got as a present that didn’t have sugar in it)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I had some gluten free bp in my pantry for some reason so I used that, but it can also be omitted)
  • 3/4 cup refined coconut oil (I used regular coconut oil I got from Costco)
  • 11/4 cups unrefined sugar (I left this out and it still tasted great!)
  • 1/4 cup honey (I used a teeny bit more since I omitted the sugar!)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips (can be omitted, but I kept them in because Debbie doesn’t make cookies without choc chips)

Directions

Preheat the oven 350 degrees F/170 C. and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the coconut oil.

To the melted coconut oil, add the sugar, honey, vanilla and eggs and stir until well combined. Let sit for 5 minutes to let the sugar dissolve

Add the dry mix to the wet and stir until well combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips and dried tart cherries.

Roll into 24, 1 1/4 -inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Press the balls down with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until the cookies appear set in the middle. Do not over bake!

Let the cookies cool for two minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

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(the finished article – I promise they tasted better than they looked! so chewy!)

These tasted ace! Well worth the Googling – they tasted posh – I think because of the quality of the cocoa powder?? I couldn’t believe there was no butter/sugar in it! Kyle is pretty much a cookie conisseur and he LOVED them!! And Lucy was also over (she eats super healthy 90% of the time) and said they were AMAZING for paleo style baking!!! Yay!!!


Questions for you:

Favourite cookie recipe?

Favourite “healthy alternative” recipe?

Favourite all time whocaresaboutcalorie recipe?

Best Halloween Weekend Ever (and another bike crash…) !

I have never been one to celebrate Halloween but this year we all thought why not!? It was so much fun!!!

Warning: lots of pics to follow!

Friday:

Kyle was off work so, after meeting me for a run at lunch, he went to buy ingredients to make a romantic/Halloween dinner (how the two combine I have no idea)

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(blood wine glasses)

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(nibbles to start – this was when Happy was still alive 😦 )

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(doesn’t he make a great house husband?!)

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(butternut squash soup with pine nuts and pancetta)

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(filo pastry pie with shallots, balsamic, white wine and goats cheese)

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(white chocolate creme brulee)

…AWESOME NIGHT!!

Saturday:

WENDY’S HALLOWEEN PARTY!

While Kyle was WINNING another race (!!!), I made these to bring:

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(burnt severed fingers: recipe here)

And on to the party:

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(zombie Mr & Mrs Claus)

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(Santa you have had too many cocktails. That is not me)

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What a fun night!

Sunday:

Well, Sunday I fell off my bike nearly 50km from my flat. Good job I had 6 strapping young men with me to help!! My chain broke and my back wheel came off, and apparently I need a new chain, derailer and hanger. Bummer. I’m ok though – it was just a massive fright! I felt like I was rocking the ride too – it was a great day and all the sugar from the Halloween party must have been great carbo-loading (I didn’t drink as I knew I wouldn’t function well after 5 hours sleep never mind if alcohol was involved, so I resorted to sugar!)

My knight in shining armour zombie Mr Claus luckily hadn’t started his 20 miler yet, so he came and got me! Thanks Kyle!! I was really mad at the situation, so I made him take me running too! We went to Hill of Fayre and only managed 7.5 miles (his Achilles was bothering him, and my legs were goosed) so we went to play in the pool instead. I did 1km easy while he foam rolled.

Oh, and more bad news. Happy died.

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(poor Happy)

Then we treated ourselves to afternoon tea at the Carmelite

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After the day I had I felt we deserved it!

Thanks to Ian, Kev, Andy, Doug, Die Hard and Ewan for helping me yesterday!!

Also, well done to all you NYC marathoners!!


Questions for you:

What did you get up to at the weekend?

Are you a fan of Halloween? 

1 month blog anniversary!

Hope you all had a boo-tiful Halloween! See what I did there?

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Sooooo many sweets! Our work held a bake sale for charity (and raised >£1,000!) and THIS was the spread:

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(£5 for the most accurate calorie count of all these cakes)

You just put in a donation and filled up your plate with whatever you wanted:

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(this was taken AFTER I already demolished 2xcookies, a flapjack and a viennese whirl with my Starbucks…)

They even held a silent auction for these bad boys:

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(these cakes would be wasted on me. i just care if they taste nice)

Hopefully I will train lots over the weekend to make up for this (note: i know athletes don’t exercise to burn off food, and instead eat for performance, but we’ll make this an exception, m’kay?)!

PLUS I’m sure I was told Halloween, Birthdays and Christmas were the 3 days out of the year when food contains zero calories, right??

Tonight we will be continuing Halloween celebrations by attending Wendy’s annual Halloween bash (I am actually terrified because she always goes all out with her parties!), so lots of pics to follow!!

On a separate note, HAPPY 1 MONTH ANNIVERSARY TO ME!!!!!!! My blog has been going a month now, and apparently I have had nearly 1,200 DIFFERENT visitors from across the globe and just under 3 THOUSAND views! Yay! And they weren’t all me! 🙂

Hopefully if you readers keep telling your friends/bigging me up, and the papers keep writing awesome articles like this one, I will be taking over the world in no time!! Seriously, tell your friends.

And since this is a SPORTING blog, can we please talk about Rita Jeptoo testing positive for a banned substance?? Although I found her technique very strange, I always admired how consistent she seemed to be, rocking marathon after marathon. It’s sad to see that this is still going on in sport 😦


Questions for you:

Are you milking Halloween weekend? 

Any Halloween themed races you are doing?

Charity Day: Simeon Care Home

Yesterday was so much fun!

I volunteered to partake in a community day at a care home for the eldery, where I would be doing “some gardening”. With the weather in Aberdeen in October, this was a risky choice! But it was for charity after all so I sucked it up and put my name down!

Luckily, the weather was great!! It was cold, but the sun was shining and there was no wind/rain, so we couldn’t complain!

After swimming in the morning (4.5km), I went into work, checked emails etc then headed to Bieldside to visit the residents and start working hard!

We got an introduction to the Camphill Community (I’ll definitely be visiting Newton Dee’s gift shop!) More information about it here.

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(weathered old chairs)

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(after sanding and oiling)

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(painting the shed)

I loved that we made a difference! And what we did had an immediate effect, which was great! Fiona and I were asked to sand down old chairs that had been weathered from over a decade outside, then oil them. After that we helped Sara and Meriel move firewood, and then we painted a shed!

In between each, the residents were sure to say thank you in their homebakes!! So many flapjacks, ginger snaps, brownies, scones….mmmm!!!! All fresh that day! It was lovely seeing how happy they were that we were helping them!

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(after shifting the logs)

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(moving them is a great ab workout by the way!)

Another way they said thank you was by showing us how to make Christmas Wreaths! I am so excited to gather the materials and do this myself!!

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(Sara’s was slightly better than Meriel’s attempt!)

I had the best time and we all put in a shift, so by the time I was dropped back off at work I was looking forward to rolling running down the hill back to my flat and having a nice shower to get rid of the smoke smell (the boys were burning things!)

Weirdly, like Forrest Gump, I just kept running. Past my flat. I ran past the university, along the beach, up Broadhill and back up to the flat. So 8.5 miles. And at a pretty decent pace. This NEVER happens! I felt like I could run forever! (Must have been the homebakes).

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THEN I had my long warm shower, lots of nice food and was forced to watch watched the Walking Dead until I was resembling the walking dead and needed bed!

GOOD LUCK TO ALL RUNNERS DOING NYC THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!! xxxx


Questions for you:

Have you done charity work before? What kind?

Have you ever run feeling like you don’t want to stop?

Are you doing NYC? Anyone you know?! If so – good luck!!

Healthy Granola!

Wow 2 recipes in just a few days…I am turning into the right homemaker!

I do love baking but I have done it too often in the past and, as well as being a “feeder”, I am also an “eater” which doesn’t bode well for the waistline!

No reason to feel bad for eating a couple bowls of this stuff though! It’s a slight adaptation from my Mummy’s homemade granola (I’ll get her to do a guest post soon with her favourite bakes – she is awesome!), for example, she uses apple juice instead of coconut oil, but I’ll go with mine for now!

Preheat the oven on the highest it goes (this will make the granola nice and crispy! Just make sure you don’t let it burn!)

Take a half cup peanut butter

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And mix it with a cup of coconut oil

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Mix up 2 cups oats

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Add a large sprinkle of ground flax seed

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Add a cup of hemp seed

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And a cup of flaked almonds

And another sprinkle of protein powder (I used flavourless but vanilla would be nice a sweet!) – it can also be omitted!

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Other seeds can be an optional additional too – such as chia!

Make sure everything is covered in the coconut oil/peanut butter mixture and spread it around a baking tray. I used a lasagne dish! Then bake for 5 mins. After that, take the dish out and add any berries of your choice. I used dried blueberries, dried cranberries, gogi berries and raisins (all from Costco!). I have also poured a small amount (maybe a tablespoon) of maple syrup over the tray with the berries. Mix this all up again and put it back in the over for a further 5 minutes.

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When you take it out, leave it to cool for approximately 7.3 seconds then grab a spoon and eat away!

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You can then vary the granolas by putting some in a jar containing chocolate chips, or add more raisins, but I find adding some rice krispies also adds a nice crunch when the mixture has cooled!

And serve with greek yoghurt, ice cream, fresh berries etc etc….DELICIOUS! and NUTRITIOUS!


Questions for you:

Favourite additions to granola?

What was your workout today?

Healthier Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Hello peeps!

Just a quick post on a recipe I tried last night! I didn’t take too many pics but the end result was awesome so I thought I should share!

Those who know me know I LOVE FOOD. All kinds.

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I have a massive sweet tooth, but I also realise that, although I eat tons of the good stuff, I probably eat too much of the bad stuff (but I would say you should have bad stuff now and again!)

So I went on the hunt for a recipe for one of my favourites: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Recipe:

For the filling

1 cup peanut butter (no added sugar). I used this:

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1 cup icing sugar. I used this:

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You will probably need to melt the PB a little. I did that in the microwave and stirred in the icing sugar.

Then roll them into little balls (whatever you would call a serving. No judgement.)

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(not my preferred size of serving, but I went with it)

Put these in the freezer while you make the chocolate coating.

2 big blobs (yes that’s an accredited measurement) coconut oil melted. Maybe around 3 tablespoons. I used this:

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(this is what 2 big blobs looks like melted)

Add 2 teaspoons of raw cacao powder. Hot chocolate mix would also work! I used this:

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You don’t need too much of it because it’s got a very strong flavour.

Stir the coconut oil and cacao powder together before it sets, then leave for about 5 minutes. The coconut oil will begin to harden again.

When it gets to the consistency like melted chocolate (around the 5 minutes), take the filling out of the freezer and roll the balls in the chocolatey coating.

If you have the will power, put them in the fridge until the chocolate hardens. This won’t take too long! Then enjoy!

I don’t have a picture of the end product because I forgot/ate too many to compare to the pre-covered ones, so let’s pretend they looked like this, m’kay?:

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If you’re mouth isn’t watering enough, have a look at ways you can incorporate these pb treats into OTHER desserts:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/oliviaroat/21-glorious-reeses-filled-recipes-ehzv

I love buzzfeed.


Questions for you:

Do you have any healthy recipes you can share?

Do you like peanut butter? I think Americans like it more than in the UK?

Have you ever tried to create your own recipe/altered another person’s recipe?

Engagement Dinner & Breathtaking Loch Tay

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Hope y’all had a spectacular weekend! Mine was AWESOME!

Kicked it off by Mum & Keith’s engagement dinner… we brought an even better version (!!) of the salted caramel apple pie and brownies along with some champers, moscato and asti (LOVE fizz!) but we got trumped when they brought out the BIGGEST bottle of Prosecco you’ve ever seen (gotta love Costco!) Note: no photo because it was downed too quickly…

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The next morning, we left Mum’s early to head to a race (yes it happened again…great athletes…). Kyle had a Scottish champs hill race up Ben Lawers by Loch Tay so I came to support take advantage of one of Scotland’s most beautiful places (only joking of course I was head cheerleader!)!

He came 2nd (woohooooo!!) and ran just short of 6 miles in 50 mins (how someone can run 6 miles up and down a MUNRO in 50 mins baffles me!) while I did 8 miles on a (non-hilly) route around the nature reserve in around an hour – it was gorgeous!!!

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After prize giving – he got to choose whatever he wanted out of a big pile of Salomon goodies!! – we took a drive and went for a walk up a wee trail that had waterfalls and a cave (pretty sure it was haunted 😦 ), making it down to Loch Tay in time for one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen!

20141011_173403 20141011_173651   (think warm thoughts)

20141011_172415  (that cave terrified me)

20141011_174042 20141011_173944   (freezing in a hidden waterfall!) 20141011_181818 20141011_182022  20141011_182049 20141011_184039  (even an abandoned garage was pretty!)

20141011_182637  (the sunset was magical!!)

20141011_195151 (perfect end to a perfect Saturday!!)

Sunday = not so good, but let’s talk about that another time!


Questions for you:

How was your weekend? What did you do?

How pretty is Loch Tay?? Recommendations on where to stay??!