Go For It – Let’s Make Bread

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Malted Walnut Seed Loaf

Hello! This post is so late going up today, the whole clocks going forward thing has really messed me up it feels like I’ve been chasing my tail all day! But here it is: This weeks Go For It Post is making bread. Not exactly ground breaking is it? But for people who maybe don’t spend too much time in the kitchen (which can easily be anyone if your schedule is busy enough) bread is a simple, satisfying and quick way to try your hand a baking and build up a bit of confidence. There is something really satisfying about kneading and crafting a dough and there is plenty of room for adding your own interpretation of a bread recipe to create your own customized loaf. I’ve never made bread before so this has been something that I’ve been meaning to try. Today I picked up a couple of ingredients in the local wholefoods shop (not that I couldn’t have gotten most of the stuff in a large supermarket, but there you go), and decided to get cracking. I found a great recipe on the BBC Good Food website for a Malted Walnut Seed Loaf. I have a couple of recipe books here at home but find the BBC Good Food website is a brilliant online resource for whatever you are planning to cook and I use it quite a bit. The only substitution that I made to this recipe was to use coconut oil instead of sunflower oil because, well, I just really like using it! Walnuts are packed with Vitamin E which is great for your brain and your skin as well as having antioxidants to combat free radicals. This recipe is also full of healthy seeds which is why I chose it, but of course there are lots of other bread options for allergy sufferers if this isn’t your cup of tea (or loaf of bread…).

I really enjoyed making bread for the first time and also took great pleasure in eating it too. Not only did it taste awesome, but the lovely bread-smells from the oven mean that the flat smells freakin’ amazing! Bread can be as simple or as complicated as you like so why not give it a try? I recommend it!

Thanks for reading!

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All the Yummy Walnuts
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The bread mix

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Yes here I am, making bread

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Park Life

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On Saturday I treated myself to a camera. I know, I know, bloggers with cameras; yawn what’s new? To be fair though I have been saving up for this since long before I ever considered blogging, would you believe I have actually been sitting on this camera money since August! But now I have it and I am so pleased.

I went for a trek around Linn Park on Saturday to give it a test run. The weather was stunning, not a cloud in the sky! I know that I keep mentioning Linn Park in my posts and I want to show you what a great spot it is. It’s a beautiful sprawling place teeming with wildlife and fantastic walks. Parks are great places for anyone who is interested in getting outside more to explore and get some fresh air and exercise. For me, the slightly wild ones (like this one) are the best. My hope is that with more practice (and possibly more equipment) I can get some pictures of the birds and squirrels around the park as well as some of the adorable dogs that I keep meeting there!

Here are some of the pictures that I took of this beautiful place.

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Go For It: Peanut Butter + Comedy = Happiness

A big part of having a healthier lifestyle is being open to new things. I mean, you’re not going to get too far with your goals if you are stuck doing the same old thing all of the time are you? This has lead me to think about a series of posts that I could write to encourage breaking out of your comfort zone from time to time or just looking at something everyday in a different way. Sometimes I can be quite bad for sticking to the same routines and it can be pretty boring and also quite discouraging. So I am going to start a weekly post called Go For It, where I will talk about a thing or activity that I recommend trying out because it pushes the boundaries a bit, or it’s something that I’ve tried and tested before or just because it’s really, really fun. The only parameters for Go For It posts are that it should relate in some way to a healthy lifestyle. These posts are not necessarily aimed at spending money as I am really against the idea that money should be a necessity for living well. This is is about doing or trying something that is achievable, fun and worth a try, so here we go!

I had peanut butter and banana with my pancakes this morning and it was really good
I had peanut butter and banana with my pancakes this morning and it was really good

Peanut Butter 

I know that this one can be divisive but I am a self confessed peanut butter addict. I absolutely love the stuff! It’s sweet but not overly so and I am particularly partial to the crunchy varieties. Aside from that, as someone who exercises regularly, I find that peanut butter is fantastic both as a precursor and a recovery tool when excising. Along with it’s nutritional value, peanut butter is a brilliant way to leave you feeling full without being stuffed before a workout. It’s also great with a bit of dark chocolate to build up your body afterward exercise. Peanut butter contains vitamin E; monounsaturated fats which reduce bad cholesterol; magnesium (for healthy bones), and some good old vitamin B6 which is boosts your immune system. The great thing about peanut butter is that a little goes a long way, you don’t need more than a spoon or two to reap the benefits. Of course, if you have a nut allergy peanut butter is not an option for you, but you might find some healthy alternatives here. If you are looking for more foods which contain monounsaturated fats, you can find them in: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil and also sesame oil.

Live Comedy

Okaaay, so what does live comedy have to do with a healthy lifestyle I hear you ask? Well, it won’t make you fitter (unless you walk to the venue), but it will make you happy and it’s bloody fun! Friday was the International Day of Happiness, and although there seems to be a day devoted to every little thing, I reckon that your happiness is a pretty important thing to consider at least once a year!  And who are the happiest people in the world? Well comedians of course (bloggers are the most sarcastic). Seriously though looking at the funny side of things is a great way of brightening your mood. Chris and I decided to check out the live comedy at Yesbar on Friday night and it was brilliant. For less than a tenner each we saw four great acts and I have to say every one of them had me in stitches at one point if not the whole way through. We sat at the back because we were a bit scared of getting picked on. In typical me fashion though, the host asked the couple in front of us a question and of course I answered and dragged poor Chris into the joke, but it was a good laugh and not as scary as you might think. The Glasgow International Comedy Festival is on at the moment, but if you don’t live here check out what’s going on in your area, live comedy is something that everyone should try at least once!

They are my suggestions to go for this week. Do you have an alternative to peanut butter that you would recommend? Or had a recent experience with live comedy? I’d love to hear about it, just drop me a comment.

Feeling Fine

Hello, and welcome to A Venturing Girl!

How are you feeling? It’s a question that we don’t often answer truthfully. Saying I’m fine is a simple and welcome answer to a question that is rarely has much intent behind it. If I’m honest, talking about how I feel is often the last thing that I want to do (to the relief of a lot of people I’m sure), let’s have a laugh or go out and do something instead! “Fine” is such a funny thing. Fine is light and bright, but also thin, narrow and fragile. So by it’s very definition your “fine” feeling is at a constant risk of damage. Yet we all manage to persistently feel fine and never drop over the edge into the “not so fine” zone, whatever that is, eh?

How have I been feeling? Honestly, I think I’ve been in a bit of a funk over the last while. Between bouts of sickness with some subsequent feeling sorry for myself, it’s been a bit of a bad patch. But this week, I just felt a difference. The sun was out, I had a restful weekend and I just felt more like me again! I realised that after being in a bit of a funk, I’m getting away from it. On Monday night I got my lunches and soup ready for the week, Tuesday saw some sneaky pints for St. Patrick’s day (full of Iron though!), Wednesday and Thursday I was out for a 4 and 3 mile run respectively with some sprint work on Thursday which was a great workout and challenge. I’ve been up earlier and enjoying more breakfasts on the brighter mornings and it’s making such a difference to my day! Plus Chris and I booked a long awaited trip to New York in September for which I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am!

So if you’ve been a little bit un-fine, maybe you’re a bit sick of it too but don’t want to moan too much. If it’s a run in the park, listening to something extremely cheesy, talking it all over with a friend you feel comfortable with or all or none of the above, I hope that this weekend you can get some “fine time” all to yourself to help break the funk. If you have been feeling like me over the past while and it takes a while for it to completely go away, don’t feel bad; believe me, it too shall pass.

Feeling more like me
Feeling more like me

A Sunday Post: Venturing Out With Mum

Hello!

I have seen a lot of lovely things written on social media by people about their mother’s this Mother’s Day. There is always a worry about the narcissism that social media breeds (this blog possibly being a prime example) but to see so many expressions of plain and simple love and gratitude all over the feeds today has given me a bit of hope. I haven’t posted anything today because, well, my mum doesn’t use social media! I don’t get to see my mum very often because I live in a different country now, but she came to visit me yesterday, just for the day and we had Mother’s Day a day early. We had a great catch up lots of tea, an impromptu tour of the Mitchell Library, I treated her to a nice dinner and we also watched the Rugby (this just has to happen when we are together), but I’m from Ireland and I shall say no more about that particular black cloud!

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful, hilarious and kind mother who I am very close to, and I miss her, but that’s not something to dwell on here. Coming from a farming background, one thing that she has instilled in me is a love of the great outdoors and nature, so of course we took a long trek yesterday through Linn Park (which is like a mini national park with trails and everything!). It was lovely to be out in the fresh air chatting away and enjoying our surroundings and I am so glad that we had the good weather to enjoy it.

I actually made a surprise discovery yesterday. Because her flight was delayed I figured I’d just sit and get a coffee and read a magazine while I waited. I picked up a copy of Country Living which isn’t a magazine that I would normally buy, but figured that I could have a flick through and then give it to her to read on her flight home that evening. But I have to say, I loved it!

Sitting With my Coffee right in the heart of the city centre, readying up on Country Living
Sitting With my Coffee right in the heart of the city centre, readying up on Country Living

They have pieces about seasonal food and baking, simple crafts and just generally interesting stuff as well have having some beautiful photography which is rather inspiring for a girl with a new home. I did give it to her in the end but it’s another good resource for anyone looking for some clean living, healthy lifestyle and food inspiration!

Today has been a very relaxed affair. Our internet was installed on Friday (thank God!) so I am catching up on blogging in my little office which I love!

My desk
My desk
Very Pleased with my little space!
Very Pleased with my little space!

I’m going out for a 10k run this evening, just to run the distance more than anything so I want to get it in under an hour but that’s my only constraint really.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I will catch up with you during the week!