Tag Archives: banana

Breakfast Party for One

I spend a lot of time on my own when I’m in Brighton.

Now that university is on hold for another summer, I find myself short on cash and long on time, which means taking up my old job back in Kent as a clinical assistant/receptionist in an independent optician.

Which means revisiting the 9-5 lifestyle.

Which means moving back in with my parents.

Which means sharing a room with my sister. Sharing meal times. Sharing the TV, stories of each others’ days. Sharing a house with people (ie. my parents) who are more morally qualified to get their own way than I am when it comes to running said house. You see, at uni, my housemates and I assume an equal level of responsibility and entitlement when it comes to household matters, because we all arrived at the same time, we all pay the same rent, and are all the same age with similar lifestyles, commitments and incomes. At home, my parents pay the mortgage, the bills; I was born of them and regardless of the fact that I am 21 and am perfectly capable of looking after my own finance, health and cleanliness, when I live under their roof, I must do as I am told. That’s fine, I get it. They built this family, they should be the ones in charge. They love my brother, my sister and I and they look after us admirably. Family life just all gets a bit much every now and then.

Which is when I escape to my Brighton hideaway.

Gareth has Wednesdays off, so if I’m not working, we travel down to Brighton and spend Tuesday night together. He goes home Wednesday evening in time for work at 7am on Thursday, and I stay for another day or two teaching cello lessons, and having the silent alone time that I come to crave so desperately after living in what feels like such a crowded house. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. I love spending time with them; it’s lively and fun, there are four other lifestyles to learn about – the mechanics, the fireman, the nursery nurse, the student. The teenager, the young woman, the married couple. I thrive, but I get stressed with the compromise this vibrancy entails. I can’t live my life in the way I have become used to living it.

My kitchen in Brighton has it all. I have white flours, brown flours, rye flour, gluten-free flours. I have flaxseed, chia seed, pumpkin seeds, pecans, macadamias, walnuts. I have rice, pasta, lentils, quinoa, oats. I have prunes and raisins and dried sour cherries. I have edamame beans in the freezer. I have dark chocolate hidden away in the door of the fridge, should I feel the need. I have two round pizza trays. I have kitchen foil, cling film, greaseproof paper. I have cardamom pods, vanilla extract, caraway seed, dark brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda. I have agave nectar and maple syrup. I never run out of peanut butter or garlic. This is a list of all the culinary things I feel I need to conduct my activities, the absence of which I find it hard to overcome when trying to cook in my family home. I am a kitchen prima donna, I know. But I can’t help it. Cooking is my hobby, and I am very particular.

I rent this house despite not having much time to enjoy it this summer. My money goes into my bank account and straight back out again. The opticians gives me numbers in exchange for my time, presence and good manners. The letting agent, the phone and the energy companies take away my numbers. Different combinations of numbers and the absence or presence of a minus sign dictates how many pairs of silver, high-waisted leggings or second-hand American Apparel wrap dresses I can buy at any given time. Numbers go up at the pump. The dial goes up in my car’s petrol gauge. The dial goes down in my car’s petrol gauge. I impart what knowledge I have gained from my 13 years of playing the cello to a charming autistic 12-year old in exchange for paper that represents some other numbers, but that doesn’t really represent anything because the bank made too many I.O.Us and that’s why spinach has gone up from £1 a bag to £1.75, and why I now buy kale, which still costs £1 in my local supermarket. Who cares, it’s just numbers on a screen, false promises on paper, needles on a gauge, and one day we’re all gonna die.

What matters is that I made gluten-free pancakes for breakfast (adapted from Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef).

First, make sure you are fresh out of bed. You must retain cockatoo bed hair, and the pancakes will taste better if all you are wearing is your bed t-shirt and knickers. After all, everyone’s gone home for the summer. Get a cafetiere on the go, this is true me-time. You can see your friends later.

Eat the pancakes in bed.

Maybe stick on some crap TV…

… around this point was where I started to feel full.

… fuller still…

… but I finished them all anyway.

That’s the thing about bouncing back and forth between abodes; you never get a decent food shop in. The best thing about a giant, extravagant breakfast is knowing there’s no food in for lunch.

Banana Maple Pecan Pancakes (gluten-free, dairy-free)

You need:

70g sweet brown rice flour

30g tapioca flour

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon baking powder

A pinch of salt

A dash of cinnamon

100ml of buttermilk (or milk/soy milk with a few drops of lemon juice, left to stand)

A drop of vanilla extract

A tablespoon of mild olive oil/vegetable oil

Method:

Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients. Combine.

Heat frying pan with oil. Make pancakes.

Top with delicious morsels; I used maple syrup, banana and chopped pecans.

Eat pancakes.

This would probably serve 2. It served me just fine. Pig.

I spend a lot of time on my own when I’m in Brighton. But don’t worry, I like it.

Amy x

A Message from my Coma

Posted on

Monday: 8am: wake up. Tea. 1 hour of yoga. 50g of porridge made with water; mixed seeds; agave syrup. Essay. 1pm: cycle in to town for 3 hours of health and safety training for volunteering at Boomtown Fair festival with Oxfam this summer. 5pm: cycle home. Apple. Banana. Hot chocolate. 1/2 a homemade pizza. The Emperor’s New Groove. Bed.

Tuesday: 8am: wake up. 50g of porridge made with water; banana; agave syrup. 10 mile run. 3 medjool dates, hot chocolate. 80g of green lentils; 1/2 an avocado; watercress; roasted red onion/cherry tomatoes. Cycle to uni. Apple. Essay. Composition. Lecture. Cycle home. Tea. Make/eat tofu lasagne. Pub. Glass of red. Home. The Nightmare Before Christmas. Bed.

Wednesday: 9am: wake up. Pillow talk. 1/2 an avocado, chocolate soy smoothie. Leftover lasagne. Apple. Walk into town. Shopping. Cinema. Walk home. Banana. Vegan linguine carbonara. TV. Bed.

Thursday: 8am: wake up. 35 minute run. 3 medjool dates. Soy yoghurt; banana; agave syrup. Cycle to uni. Lecture. Cycle to supermarket. Cycle home. Tea. 1 1/2 hours of yoga. Lasagne. Cello. Tea. Apple. Extended sleep. Linguine carbonara; steamed spinach. Cello. Banana sorbet; dark chocolate chips; agave syrup.

Which brings us to now.

I’ve spent the latter part of today lying on my bed, watching sitcoms online that I’ve seen a hundred times, too tired to move. Falling in and out of sleep with my music on. It’s been quite nice, except for I’m cross. For no apparent reason.

I’m exhausted. I’m irritable. I haven’t eaten a dairy product in 11 days. I’m simultaneously starving and have lost my appetite entirely.

I’ve been Facebook-stalking myself (does anyone else ever do this ?). A particular set of pictures from August last year has caught my attention. Being in the state in which I find myself recently, I find the fact that I have even noticed this at all rather distressing.

I look so happy…

… and yet I was at least a stone heavier last August, than I am now.

Looking through the series of pictures and seeing my laughing face in each one just sends an entirely surreal feeling through me. Like it’s starkly obvious how miserable I’ve become, comparing my current mood to how carefree I seem in these pictures. And I remember that day; we drank gin and lemonade out of a plastic bottle and ate chips on the beach – I wasn’t demon-free then but I did these things nonetheless, and I obviously enjoyed myself.

I saw a skinny girl in the cinema eating popcorn and it troubled me for at least 5 minutes how she could possibly allow herself to eat that and still be so slim, when I myself had just passed on a soy cappuccino because I just could not be bothered with the calories. Even though I’ve not been counting, and I feel okay with that. But I got ratty because I had to rearrange my running schedule. Then I got sad that I was ratty about something so ridiculous. I cried on my boyfriend about the same old thing; I’m scared of eating. I make stupid food rules for myself that I cannot allow myself to break. It’s turning me into a bitch.

The counsellor that I saw a few months ago (and who was the reason I decided to quit voluntary counselling after one session because he was so irritating) stopped me as I traversed campus and offered me a promotional stress ball with the university counselling services contact information on it. I wonder if he recognised me. Probably not.

I had this weird dream where I was doing my A levels (I already did them 3 years ago and got all Bs…) but I didn’t know when any of my exams were except that they were definitely all that day, and everyone was naked, and they told me to get naked so I did but then suddenly no one was naked anymore and I was the only one who was naked, and then I got my exam timetable and my performance recital was in 10 minutes and I hadn’t practiced with my duet partner. Running my hands over my body all I could feel was skin and bones and it was terrifying and I was disgusted. Then I was running around my neighbourhood but the floor wouldn’t stay still.

Is this too angst-ridden ? Yeah.

What have we learned ? That my friends and I have excellent taste in films. And that I need to sort my life out.

When the sun comes out I’m going to the seafront with the first person who will accompany me, and we’re going to buy a huge portion of chips and eat it on the beach and I’m not going to give a monkey’s how it may or may not affect my figure.

Who’s up for it ?

Amy x

Things I eat after a run

BECAUSE I RAN THE BRIGHTON MARATHON, BABY.

Free chocolate milk and getting a leg massage in my space blanket was totally worth running 26.2 miles for

It took me 4 hours, 56 minutes and 41 seconds. Not enviable, but I finished, and I finished running. And I’m going to do it again next year. Faster. Thank you to everyone who believed in and supported me with love and donations, you are all awesome.

I currently have the body of a 90-year-old. Stairs are my nemesis. But I feel amazing. Everyone should run a marathon, seriously.

So you know that post-workout feeling. Exhausted. Hot. Sweaty. Your legs feel like jelly, your hands are shaking like milk and all you can think about is getting that clammy running kit off and some good hydration and nutrition in.

…at least this is what exercise does to me.

Needless to say, a lot of energy is spent during cardiovascular exercise, which, if you’re training for fitness and endurance, needs to be replaced as quickly as possible after a workout to re-stock your glycogen levels and enable muscle repair.

To replenish your glycogen stores after a heavy workout (to avoid post-run head-rushes, headaches and lethargy) you need something with a high glycemic index. High GI foods – things like refined grains and sweets (see this post for more info) – are usually the ones to be avoided, as their quick sugar-release is more readily stored as fat if munched mindlessly. But in this instance, they are allowed, nay, encouraged, shock horror, because your body will be in desperate need of some energy !

In terms of GI, foods are allocated a sort of rating on a scale between 1 and 100 according to how quickly their carbohydrate energy is released into your system – the higher the number, the higher the glycemic index and the faster its energy is released when you eat them. Some exercise plans tell you to eat high GI foods post-workout such as jelly beans (80), sports drink (90 – 100), and white bread (70), but all of these make me feel sick and I prefer a more natural fix such as an over-ripe banana (50-70 depending on ripeness), a few slices of watermelon (80), or medjool dates (60) (which, if you’ve never eaten them, are DIVINE and I cannot get enough of them at the moment. The thought of them fuels my running).

(Find the GI numbers of your favourite foods here.)

Fruits or vegetables are important after a run, and not just to replace carbs. Along with the water you lose as you sweat, you also lose minerals, which you can find in fruit and veg. I also use these fizzy mineral replacement tabs dissolved in about a pint of water which have no calories, only super-hydration.

You also need protein to repair your muscles and help them to retain the strength you build into them by training. Yoghurt, peanut butter and milk are examples of quick protein fixes (ie. you don’t have to cook them). You see, after you finish training, you have a 15 minute window in which consuming these kinds of things is most beneficial for workout recovery – its when your body needs them most. But who can cook a meal in under 15 minutes after a 16 mile run ? As I said, I can barely spread peanut butter on a bagel.

So I decided that something easily made, consumed and digested was the way forward.

AND THUS WAS BORN THE MOST WONDROUS AND DELICIOUS SMOOTHIE THAT EVER EXISTED.

Okay, so I didn’t invent this, I’m sure. But you won’t care once you taste it.

Banana-Date-Peanut-Butter-Post-Workout-Smoothie

Get:
Half a banana (I’ve usually eaten the other half before the run) – for carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals such as potassium
3 medjool dates, chopped and pitted – high GI for quick sugar release
150ml of milk – for protein
A tablespoon of peanut butter – for protein, carbohydrate and a little salt – OR a few tablespoons of chocolate-flavoured yoghurt

Do:
Blend all ingredients.
Snarf.
Recover like a boss and be the sexiest mo-fo’ on the mo-f’in’ beach.

Another taste sensation across which I stumbled during my treacherous training regime is:

No-bake Vegan Oat Energy Bars

Get: 5 tablespoons of oats
3 tablespoons seed/dried fruit mix
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

Do:
Mix all ingredients together until all combined. If the mixture is too dry and isn’t sticking, add more honey/agave.
Pack tightly into some kind of dish lined with baking paper and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

These are great for protein, but as honey and especially agave nectar are in fact low GI, eat it along with 2 or 3 dates or a slice of watermelon if you’re consuming post-workout. The slow-release energy in every ingredient makes them a perfect pre-run snack.

And some more ideas…

Yoghurt

Peanut butter and sliced banana on wholewheat toast

Tuna on rice-cakes

To put it simply, think protein and sugar. Bam.

Enjoy.

Amy x

Too Lazy to Type Pt. 2

Continuation of  the Home Alone Vlog Experiment:

1. Breakfast and beginning to bake the baguettes

 

2. More baking (and coffee)

 

3. Garlic bread and soup

Too Lazy to Type Pt. 1

Change of scenery… here’s my FACE.

Banana “ice-cream”

Baked apple (Lentil Pastry post)

I should probably get a life…

Banana “Ice-cream”

Do you want to know the most amazing thing about this recipe ?

The most amazing thing about this recipe is that it consists entirely of banana.

BUT

IT’S ICE-CREAM.

“How can I harness these powers for myself ?!” I hear you wail.

Well. This is how:

 

Get some bananas (good for when they start to go brown and you have too many to finish all at once – you don’t have to give in to stodge and bake ANOTHER batch of banana bread, exquisite though it is for the taste buds, not so much for the food baby, or often the wallet…)

Chop them up

Put them in a dish in the freezer for about a day

Take them out. They should be totally frozen

Blast them in a food processor. Yeah, awesome !

Then…

ABSOLUTE JOY. They turn into something that greatly resembles ice-cream in look, taste and texture. Okay, so it’s more like a sorbet. But due to the creamy nature of bananas when you blend them, you can definitely pretend it’s ice-cream. Wink.

At this point you can either be really angelic, and refreeze for whenever you fancy ice-cream but not so much any more girth to your love handles. Or you can add other ice-creamy items before you stick it back in the freezer to re-solidify. Items such as:

Nuts (macadamias, almonds, hazelnuts)

Peanut butter

Dried fruit (cranberries, strawberries, cherries, apple etc. These are my favourites of all the fruit that is dried)

Fresh fruit

Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)

Chocolate (syrup, chips, powder)

Hundreds-and-Thousands

Fudge

Cookie dough

Lard…

The list goes on. Bam, super-quick, tasty, junk-food-craving-busting dessert or snack that you can make as healthy or as unhealthy as you like, but is always going to be kinder to your waistline than real ice-cream (that’s why I put dark chocolate in my last batch).

Bananas are a perfect source of slow-release energy so you can stay chipper for longer between scoffs. They are also a source of resistant starch, which means good satiety levels after eating (less temptation to eat cake!). The potassium in them also apparently helps to control stress. Stress, if you’re like me, can lead to a phenomenon I have come to unimaginatively dub “Stress Eating.” Now I can eat ice-cream to drown my sorrows, BUT IT’S NOT FATTENING. YES. Everybody wins.

And because it’s based entirely on banana…

YOU CAN HAVE IT FOR BREAKFAST.

(It’s really tasty with porridge.)

There is NO LIMIT to my excitement for this !

More banana-related amazement.