Update #16

It’s the month of May- how did that come around so quickly?!

I’ll admit, the past few weeks have been hard for me. I won’t go into details, but it always seems to be the case that when your life is looking up, it’s going to come down at some point. I’m at the down point currently, but I’ve had the comfort of my family and friends and I know what I need to do to move forward. My blog definitely helps me in this respect, as I can look back on what I’ve achieved and how I’m developing as a person.

April saw the end of lent, which meant that I could start eating meat again! I have enjoyed being back on the carnivorous diet, but I continue to opt for vegetarian options when I fancy it or when it sounds particularly tasty (I had a spinach, cheddar and butternut squash tart this weekend, which was so good!). As per tradition (for the past two years), I had bacon in a hot cross bun for breakfast on Easter Sunday and then a lamb roast dinner in the evening.

Before the end of lent I made two vegetarian quiches which worked out rather well. One was spinach and ricotta and the other was made with Mediterranean vegetables. Since starting my new job I’ve not had as much time to cook in the evenings, but hopefully I’ll be creative one night (or during the weekends) and make something new to post on my blog. I like to maintain the foodie aspect of my blog all year round, not just around lent.

Last month I signed up for the Leicester half marathon. On Sunday 15th October I will be running 21km (13 miles) around Leicester, which will be my biggest fitness challenge yet. I need to go out long distance running at some point, since 5 months will soon whizz by before I know it!

I ran my fifteenth parkrun in April. It wasn’t my personal best but it was nice to run on a beautiful Saturday morning.

I’ve just thought of this target- it would be nice to be able to complete a parkrun in 30 minutes by the end of this year. I think that’s an achievable target, considering that my personal best so far has been 32 minutes and 19 seconds. All I need to do is run 2 minutes and 19 seconds faster then I will finish 5km in 30 minutes- I can do it!

The feminist front has been quiet for me last month, but I like to keep myself updated with what’s going on in the movement towards gender equality. I follow many feminist pages on Facebook, such as Women’s Rights News, My Favourite F Word is Feminismย and Feminists United. Generally there is a lot of positivity and empowering posts which make my day.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear ๐Ÿ™‚

Poclaretry- You are what you eat

As many of you know, I have a separate blog for my poetry. It’s been a while since I last posted on there, but the creative juices have been flowing again in my brain and I’m glad to have written a poem today!

I thought I’d share the link for it on here since it is linked to the foodie aspect of my main blog:ย https://poclaretry.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/you-are-what-you-eat/

The poem, You are what you eat, is about the societal pressures of seasonal treats and body image. It also incorporates how food shops and marketing play a big role in this ‘dog eat dog’ world of people being tempted to buy treats earlier than they really need to and how people should be looking after their body image by avoiding treats. It’s a double edged sword.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear

parkrun #15

It was glorious this morning, so I couldn’t possibly miss out on doing a parkrun today. The sun was out and the sky was completely blue. It’s been a while since I last ran at the Braunstone parkrun (almost a month), and I feel better for running this morning.

The last parkrun ย I did was my personal best at 32 minutes and 1 second. This was the week after I ran 15km at the Resolution Run, which was also at Braunstone Park. I felt pumped because I managed to complete the distance equivalent to 3 parkruns, which helped me to achieve my personal best so far.

Today I finished my 15th parkrun in 33 minutes and 14 seconds, so I didn’t meet or beat my best time. I still feel happy about it though, because I hadn’t been out running for a while, and I’ve not been able to get to the gym either.

Since starting my new job three weeks ago, I have been walking (most days) 5 miles a day. I walk quite fast on my own so it’s a good form of exercise. I’d like to fit in the gym, which I can. I’ve just got to get my act together and wake up a bit earlier in the morning on work days. The gym I go to is on my way to work which is very convenient.

Now that the British spring is in full swing and the summer is on its way, I’d like to try running at more parkruns on Saturdays. I can’t next Saturday as I’m away for the weekend, but maybe the Saturday after that. When the weather is nice it does motivate me more to run. It’s nice to see lots of runners ready to run 5km; generally the better the weather, the more parkrunners.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear ๐Ÿ™‚

No turning back

I’ve gone and done it… I’ve just signed up and paid for my entry for the Leicester half marathon!

The Leicester marathon takes place on Sunday 15th October and there’s the option to do the half marathon. I’m definitely not fit enough to do the full 26 miles, but I’m in the process of training to run 13 miles.

Now that I’ve signed up, this will make me feel even more motivated. Running a half marathon is the next step and biggest challenge in my fitness journey so far. I’ve managed to run 15km, which was at the Resolution Run a month ago. I need to run 15km a few more times and then I will step up my game to 17.5km. Then I will run 21km, aka 13 miles. Ideally I’d like to run the distance of a half marathon before the 15th October.

I would also like to raise money for charity. I’m still in the process of choosing which charity to support, but I will reveal the details probably during the summer when my training is really in full swing.

With just under 6 months to go (it sounds like a long time but it’ll soon whiz by) I better get cracking with my running!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

Hope you’re all having a nice Easter, whether you’re spending time with loved 0nes, gone away somewhere for the Easter break or stuffing your face full of chocolate!

Today I’m stuffing my face with meat! Easter Sunday marks the end of lent and for the third year running, I have given up meat. This morning, as I did last year, I had two hot cross with streaky bacon for breakfast. The fruity and sweet flavours from a hot cross bun works nicely with bacon.

Streaky bacon in hot cross buns!

While I enjoy the challenge of abstaining from meat during lent, I couldn’t give up meat completely and become a full time vegetarian. I love the taste of bacon in the morning and lamb for a Sunday roast. I also like pulled pork in BBQ sauce on a beef burger. I could go on with what meats I like, but I do enjoy vegetarian options.

I think that next year I should try something different for lent, since I’ve given up meat for three years. Maybe I could give up bread or diet coke, as I do like my bread and drinking diet coke when I’m at home. I’ll think about it when the time comes next year. For now though I’m going to have a relaxing Easter Sunday and enjoy a lamb roast dinner with roasted vegetables later today!

Lamb roast dinner

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear ๐Ÿ™‚

Run round up

It only occured to me recently how many t-shirts I have from participating in runs. I like to wear these t-shirts when I’m out running or working out. On the odd occasion I’ve seen people wearing the same t-shirt as me at the gym or at the Braunstone parkrun. One example is the t-shirt from the 15km Resolution Run which I completed last month, and on the following Saturday at the Braunstone parkrun there were parkrunners wearing their Resolution Run t-shirt.

The t-shirts, along with the medals, also remind me of my achievements so far fitness wise. As a child and through my teenage years I never thought I would be able to run 15km or even be training for my first half marathon in the present day. Growing up and being told by bullies that you’re a “fat cow”, a “fat bitch”, a “fatso” etc meant that it put me off thinking that I could achieve amazing things with my body.

However, I came to realise when I started running about 2 years ago that size doesn’t matter. I remember being surprised at my first Race for Life that people much thinner than me finished after I did. What matters with running is being able to control your breathing. I was also pleasantly surprised when I started training to run 10km because I didn’t feel breathless. At school there was the perception that if you were “fat”, you wouldn’t be able to run very far because you would become breathless quickly, or almost immediately. This perception wasn’t just viewed by children, the teachers seemed to hold that view as well. I don’t know what it’s like for children at school now, but I hope physical education is a much more positive experience now.

T-shirts and medals

Starting from the left, the pink t-shirt is one I’ve worn for three Race for Lifes, the first was I walked 5km and the other two I ran 10km. The t-shirt says “Cancer, we’re coming to get you.” I received a medal after the 5km Race for Life, and a dog tag from both 10km runs (I like to wear the dog tags with my casual clothes). The orange t-shirt is my Braunstone parkrun t-shirt. I decided to buy it last year; I love it when I see people wearing this t-shirt as it makes a good conversation starter.

The most recent addition to my collection of running t-shirts is the purple Stroke Association one. Purple is one of my favourite colours, so I quite often like to wear this one. I also got a medal for completing 15km at Resolution Run, which has been my biggest challenge so far. On the far right are two t-shirts together, both from the Iron Run in October last year. The very colourful t-shirt was designed by a colleague I used to work with, and a group of us wore these t-shirts on the day. After completing a very muddy and phyiscally challenging 6km course, we were all given a meal and an Iron Run t-shirt.

I forgot to include the t-shirt from the Color Run! This is because I don’t wear this t-shirt very often, the reason being that it’s quite see through. It’s a white t-shirt which means that the colour stands out a lot more for when you get covered in coloured powder.

I feel that I’ve come a long way with my fitness since I started my blog just over two years ago. I hadn’t long started my training for my first 10km Race for Life when I decided to set up my blog. My blog has certainly helped me to keep track of my goals and fitness. I didn’t think two years ago that I would be where I am now- I feel fantastic!

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear ๐Ÿ™‚

Veggie quiche x 2

Sunday is the traditional day for a roast dinner in the UK. Last Sunday afternoon my parents invited some friends round for dinner. While they had an early Easter dinner of turkey (it felt more like Christmas day), I made myself a vegetarian quiche. My father had picked up some ricotta cheese and spinach, so I used those to make the quiche.

First off, I made some shortcrust pastry. I made 8oz of pastry using 8oz of plain flour and 4oz of butter. After rubbing the butter and flour together and adding a little drop of cold water to combine it altogether into a ball, I realised that I had made too much pastry. For a flan dish you only really need 6oz of pastry. I had realised this when I started rolling out the pastry and tried to fit it into the dish lined ready with grease.

Pastry lined dish with extra pastry on the side

After lining the flan dish with the pastry, I blind baked it for 15 minutes at gas mark 4. I used dry pasta as I don’t have ceramic baking beans for blind baking, but pasta works just as well. I then took off the pasta and glazed the pastry with egg wash, then baked for a further 5 minutes.

Ready for blind baking

For the filling, I used 250g of ricotta cheese, 3 eggs, 1/4 pint of milk, a dash of lemon juice, a sprinkle of nutmeg and I couldn’t tell you how much spinach I used. I loosely followed Delia Smith’s recipe for a spinach and cream cheese quiche from her bookย Complete Cookery Course. After washing the spinach I stirred it into the filling, then poured it into the flan dish.

Ready for baking

I initially cooked the quiche for 40 minutes at gas mark 4, but it took nearly an hour. I cooked it until the filling was set. I also used the knife test traditionally used for cakes, when you put the knife into the sponge and if the knife comes out clean, then it means it’s ready.

Spinach and ricotta quiche

I had a slice of the quiche with the roast turkey trimmings including roasted Mediterranean vegetables, roast parsnips and roast potatoes. I must admit, the turkey looked amazing on the table surrounded with pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon). My father cooks turkey beautifully so that’s it’s moist with bacon on top. Only a week to go until I can eat meat again!

A yummy slice of the veggie quiche

So you’re probably wondering, where’s the other quiche? You’ve titled the blog ‘Veggie quiche x 2’. There were a lot of Mediterranean vegetables leftover, so I decided to make a Mediterranean vegetable quiche. I made another 4oz of shortcrust pastry to use with the extra pastry I had made beforehand. The filling for this quiche also had 3 eggs and 1/4 pint of milk, but instead I added a sprinkle of seasoning and some grated Red Leicester cheese. The Mediterranean vegetables included red onion, courgette, butternut squash and mixed peppers.

Vegetable quiche ready for the oven

This quiche also took about an hour to cook. It looked more golden than the spinach and ricotta quiche, which was due to the added grated cheese.

Mediterranean quiche

I had a slice of the Mediterranean vegetable quiche for my lunch at work during the week. All of the vegetables worked well together, with the added sweetness from the butternut squash, as well as the red onion. There were many options for what could’ve been made with the leftover roasted vegetables, but since I had the extra shortcrust pastry from the first quiche, I thought I might as well make another one.

As I’ve already mentioned, there’s only one week left until lent is over on Easter Sunday! I’ve still not made a cannelloni yet and I don’t know if I will get time during the final week of abstaining for meat. However, I can always make it after lent. I sometimes opt for vegetarian options when I’m out and about, and also when I make my lunch even when it’s not lent.

Even though this is the third year I have given up meat for lent, I don’t think I could ever give it up entirely. I do enjoy a bacon sandwich, a roast dinner and pulled pork on a burger. I enjoy the challenge of thinking of alternatives to eat during lent and my body has a brief rest from eating meat. I have thought about making it even more challenging next year by omitting fish as well and finding other sources of protein. The biggest challenge for would be becoming vegan, which I don’t think I’d quite be able to manage.

 

Happy reading and blogging!

Clare Bear ๐Ÿ™‚