In The Kitchen: Banana, Chocolate and Apple Muffins

 

At the moment I’m meal planning based on what random ingredients are in the back of the fridge or hiding in the depths of the tin cupboard. Seems like a logical idea right, surely nothing can go wrong with an idea like this…hmmm, only time will tell!

The logic behind this is that I keep buying new ingredients instead of using those that I already have – so it makes financial sense and it’s also certainly made meals more interesting recently. So far we’ve ended up with a chicken and leek lasagna, (which was insanely good) and next up we’re having a go at bean burgers. Both of which I’ve been meaning to make for ages but for some reason I’ve found myself ignoring the new recipes in favour of well-known recipes like tuna pasta, salads or chicken and ham pie.

Another recipe that I’ve been reminded of, thanks to this new cupboard clearing mentality, is Betsy’s delicious Banana, Chocolate and Apple Muffins. I first made these near the end of last year and instantly adored them. They’re soft and buttery and chocolatey and fruity too. Just perfect! As soon as I found a half full jar of apple sauce at the back of the fridge I was dead set on making these muffins again. After all they are most definitely a legitimate breakfast food on the weekends – there’s TWO types of fruit in them don’t you know!

 

8 tbs (1 stick) butter
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chunks

  1. Throw the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in to your biggest mixing bowl
  2. In a separate bowl,whisk the softened butter, eggs, bananas and apple sauce together
  3. Add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine
  4. Add the vanilla extract and chocolate chunks and stir
  5. Fill your cupcake/muffin cases 3/4 full. I made 15 muffins
  6. Bake on 180 oC for 35 minutes until a skewer or knife comes out clean.

So tell me, have you ever made fruity muffins, what’s your favourite flavour combo?

In the Kitchen: The Egg-Free Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mug Cake

 

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mug Cake - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

As per my promise a few weeks back, today I’m sharing one of my favourite pudding recipes – the chocolate and peanut butter mug cake. It’s everything you need in a cake and bonus it’s ready in mere minutes, so a perfect treat after a particularly rubbish day. Plus, because I barely ever have eggs in the cupboard, unless I plan on baking, it doesn’t include eggs. So it’s just perfect when you haven’t been shopping for ages or can’t bear popping to the corner shop. Genius alert!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Mug Cake - In the Kitchen - This and That Blog

This is an amalgamation of a couple of recipes from this book and it really is one of the best and quickiest quick cakey snack around – simply follow these six books and enjoy!

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a mug in the microwave
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa and beat with a fork
  3. Add 2 tablespoons milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons light soft brown sugar and beat until smooth
  4. Add 4 tablespoons self-raising flour, 1 tbsp chopped chocolate and stir
  5. Add another tbsp chopped chocolate and 1 tbsp of peanut butter  to the top – don’t mix
  6. Pop in the microwave for 90 seconds and eat when slightly cooled

And one final bit of advice, just for you, serve this with cold custard. It’s sublime, you won’t regret it. Yummy!

– Fi xx

All Things Fitness: Half Marathon Countdown

In just over one week I will be taking on my second half marathon with my two sisters. We’ve been training since the start of the year, our longest training run is done and now there’s just 5 more runs to go until the BIG day.

So how am I feeling about it?

Prepared – I’ve done my training and I know what to expect. That’s the great thing about having done this length of race before. It’s not unknown, I know exactly what I’m letting myself in for. I can do the distance. I can certainly run for 2 plus hours. I know that if I want to walk, I can. I know when I’ll hit a wall and how to push myself through it. I understand that the preparation is 50% running training and 50% mental training.

Calm – This time last year, before my first half marathon, I was panicking. Now because I know what to expect and because I’m prepared I’m a whole lot of calm. Which is excellent as honestly there’s so much other stuff to be worrying about right now, that I can’t waste it on this run!

Excited – Yep, you read that correctly. I’m excited to run. To spend time with my sister’s, to chat and laugh and enjoy ourselves. Becca hasn’t done a race like this before and I’ve been trying to tell her how fun it will be. The atmosphere, with the crowd is amazing and it really helps to spur you on. I’m also excited to get my hand on the medal. I really love the design of it this year. Is it possibly better than last year’s? I’m not sure.

I think this is my favourite medal so far. #halfmarathon #running #surreyhalfmarathon .

A photo posted by @lau_evs on

Laura xx

p.s. if anyone fancies sponsoring me/us then we are raising money over here for the British Heart Foundation.

Thought of the Day: There is No Hurry

 

There is No Hurry - Thought of the Day - This and That Blog

I’m not known for my patience, it’s most definitely one of my flaws. But at the moment I’m trying to be patient and trust that things will get there eventually. Even if they aren’t happening now like I want them too, they are happening and I have to just wait some more. There is no hurry. After all if it’s meant to be, it will be.

Out and About: A Weekend Away

At the end of January I spent a lovely relaxing weekend away in the Midlands with my sisters. This is becoming a bit of a tradition now, each year we investigate somewhere new around the UK, we find a cosy cottage and indulge in lots of walking, eating and catching up. I always have such a fun time, and I really hope it’s something we continue with every year.

This year we booked a two bed converted barn near Newark and Lincoln for our stay. From here we had a blissful weekend. There were trips to Lincoln, the Sherwood Forest and Newark as well as a quick brunch stop in Nottingham. But it wasn’t all gallivanting around as we managed to fit in watching the first weekend of Six Nations matches and a couple of films; Taken 2 and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Weekend Away - Out and About - This and That Blog

 

A sister selfie

Weekend Away - Out and About - This and That Blog

 

The Big Oak

Weekend Away - Out and About - This and That Blog

A Trio of Wellies

Weekend Away - Out and About - This and That Blog

 

The sisterbeans

Weekend Away - Out and About - This and That Blog

 

Our garden for the weekend

Phew! All in only three days.

Aren’t sisters just the best? Who else absolutely loves a weekend away?

Laura xx

Wishlists: All the Things

Does anyone ever get totally bored of their wardrobe or is it just me? I swear some days I go to choose something to wear and I realise that my wardrobe is empty. Like, there’s nothing that works together, nothing looks good and all my clothes are just blah! That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that these thoughts have appeared while I’m on a slight spending ban. With the moving house plans coming together I gave myself a bit of a talking to about saving money. Not to be good with savings or anything but more to allow myself to spend on the new house once I’ve moved – good planning right?! But of course since then I’ve seen so much lovely stuff in all the shops. It happens every time.

 

All the Things - Wishlists - This and That Blog

One of my clothes mantras is ‘if all else fails, go with stripes’. So of course this top is crucial to all my wardrobe needs. One of my other mantras is ‘nothing beats polka dots’, so hello to this spotted top.

Isn’t this Kate Spade pendant just beautiful? A couple of outfits recently have called for a short pendant and I just don’t have any. Now I don’t know if these thoughts are a direct result of seeing this pendant or not (the answer is probably yes) but it definitely on the wish list at the moment.

Now it’s quite obvious that I don’t need another jumper. Firstly because I have at least 20 already, and secondly because my office is like a sauna and I can’t even wear the jumpers I do have! But it’s me and I love jumpers so I couldn’t create a wishlist without adding one. This pink waffle one is just perfect. The only slight issue is that I know that if I owned this I would certainly drop something down it as soon as I put it on. Actually the same goes for the cream hoodie, but it looks so warm and cosy that it has to be part of this wish list too.

 

wishlist2

 

My favourite pair of black heels have finally died – sad times. But yay for the fact that I can shop for some more. This pair from M&S look perfect, plus their shoes are always incredibly comfortable – perfect.

And finally on my list of wants is this floral skirt. Isn’t it dreamy? The colours are perfectly spring like and it would get worn numerous times at work.

What about you lovely people? Any payday dreaming happening. Do you have any favourite things in the shop that you’ve got your eye on?

Laura xxx

Thought of the Day: Life Requires Risk

Life Requires Risk - Thought of the Day - This and That Blog

 Luca Zanon via Unsplash

My friend messaged me with this quote early one morning and I knew immediately that it would be a thought of the day soon.

It’s hard sometimes to remember to step away from the safe place. To take that first step and to open ourselves up to something more, something new, or something different. But often times, when we do, amazing things happen. Life requires risk.

Laura xxx

In the Kitchen: An Easy Winter Salad

I’m here today to share one of my all-time favourite (not to mention easiest) dinners. It’s the perfect thing to have when you’re in a ‘I should be healthier’ phase, want something quick and easy or just want something full of flavour. Honestly this meal ticks quite a few boxes, plus it’s one that can be easy adapted to what you like/have in the fridge. There’s just one condition, you have to add the smelliest cheese you can find in the world. That’s an essential!

This salad came about when we were trying to be good in the winter and eat more healthy. So limited cards, loads more veggies and protein galore. Salad was the obvious choice, but after a long day at work and with the wind and rain hammering on the windows it’s not always enough to prevent you reaching for the chocolate is it? Enter the winter salad of joy and problem solved. I defy you not to love it!

 

As with most salads its super easy to make:

* Chop up your veggies and salad. My go-to is avocado (always avocado), raw mushrooms, red pepper, spinach and tonnes of lettuce

* Next chop up 30g of really smelly stilton

* Cut a wrap into long thin strips and grill until crispy (a couple of minutes on each side)

* Cook some chicken. I use the George Foreman grill as it’s super fast and you don’t have to add any extra oil

* Bung it all into a bowl and eat.

* You can add salad dressing if you want but I don’t think it’s necessary with the strong cheese in there.

So there you go, my favourite winter salad. A scrumptious bowl of healthy food that’s just perfect for busy, cold or just lazy nights.  Enjoy.

– Fi x

All Things Fitness: Exploring Where I Live

 

 

Exploring Where I Live - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

When it comes to running I can get a little bit bored if I’m not running an interesting route. I need distractions. I need something to stop me from looking at the miles as they clock up. Without something interesting to look at I’m likely to run only a mile or two. So mixing up the running route is essential to me, especially when I’m half marathon training and need to up the miles each week. That’s where exploring where I live comes in.

Exploring Where I Live - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

Recently I was back at home and we decided to mix up the running route on a crisp Sunday morning exactly for the reasons mentioned above. And what a brilliant run it was. Two hours later I’d run across the common, alongside a field of bright veggies, past the Wisley greenhouse, through Wisley itself, through muddy woods, alongside an icy river, along the canal and passed (and nosed at) many a gorgeous house. And the best part, I definitely did not feel like I’d been out and about for two hours – maybe an hour max.

 

 

Exploring Where I Live - All Things Fitness - This and That Blog

So it’s definitely worth remembering this and breaking out of your comfort zone on a run. You never know what you might discover as you explore your surroundings. After all I had no idea John Donne had lived near where I grew up, let alone that his house (top photo) was still there. Just think what you might discover as you distract yourself and clock up the miles. Do it!

– Fi x

Life Lately: Recent Learnings

Recent Learnings - Life Lately - This and That Blog

Here are a few recent learnings from the last few days that I thought I’d share. You might find them intriguing too!

* 10 stripy jumpers/long-sleeved tops is enough for any one person to own

* Some people get confused by the words emancipated and emaciated. Yes really!

 

* New shoes, with added sparkly bits, and new (sale) jeans automatically give you more confidence. Sorry credit card

* An hour in the office before anyone else gets in is the equivalent to three hours in the afternoon. You can literally get all the things done

* Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup does work as a combination, despite my long-held reservations

 

* It’s perfectly possible to forget you’ve bought a coat if you did so right at the end of Winter and hid it away somewhere sensible

* Kale grows on a stalk. Who knew?!

 

* A swimming pool on Saturday morning is like hell. There are small people everywhere and slow swimmers in the fast lane. You need coffee to recover

* Turquoise, grey and white is a winning combination and might have to appear in any and all future homes I own

 

* I am very happy to spend 72 hours in a cottage with the sisters and I won’t get bored – the crazy sisters in question ^^^

* It’s impossible not to salivate over the recipes on How Sweet Eats. One day I will make something off the site.

* South West Trains have a sense of humour. On Valentine’s Day the signs looked a little something like the below. I also spotted Darling Dorking, Wonderful Woking, Rich (in love) mond and London Water-Love. Genius.

 

Have you made any discoveries or learnt anything new recently? Do share!