A good day to stay indoors

A mile in the pouring rain this morning…

…and then I immediately went straight back out to get my walk done for my online game so that I wouldn’t have to go out again after my shower. I’m really appreciating being inside in the warmth this afternoon!

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m taking my day off today, so I’m just getting a bit of daily admin done and then will be videogaming for the rest of the day.

Pasta al forno
Pasta al forno, ready to go in the oven tonight. Perfect comfort food for a cold wet day – I foresee making a lot of this over the autumn.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes – ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’
Sacre – ‘The London Marathon’

Out on the hunt

It was another practical run this morning…

…because I needed to visit nine shops before I was able to find any pasta, and so I thought I might as well get my run in as part of the search! Our wee Sainsbury’s Local had a few packs of macaroni left. It transpired that they’re now limiting them to two per customer, which is probably why!

I also (miraculously) managed to find some toilet roll in a pound shop that I never normally go into. Everyone in there was being really great about only taking one pack. I now feel confident that Geth and I have enough to keep us going, even if it takes a couple of weeks before I manage to find some again.

I spent the rest of the day working on a paper for a client – I’m very grateful to have some work at the moment. I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend, including a ‘non-parkrun’ tomorrow and a ‘not nearly as long as in marathon training’ long run on Sunday.

Upscaled pixels
Being in the house means I’m running out of stuff to take photos of, so I made this slightly existential upscaled pixel art self-portrait.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
Badly Drawn Boy – ‘Once Around The Block’
The Beatles – ‘Michelle’

Empty shelves

Just a quick recovery run this morning…

…and then I went with Geth to the nearby Sainsbury’s Local, hopeful that we would be able to find some of the supplies that weren’t in stock earlier this week. ‘Some’ being the operative word.

Supplies we actually found:

  • Face wipes! I can now take my makeup off again without having to scrub with soap and water.
  • Milk – semi-skimmed rather than our preferred skimmed stuff, but it’s milk.
  • Quorn mince and chicken style pieces. As a veggie I absolutely rely on these in cooking, and I managed to find a couple of bags that were well hidden on the top shelf of the freezer section.
  • Pesto… well, the last jar in the shop, anyway.
  • Biscuits. We really shouldn’t be eating these, but they are definitely not in short supply.

Supplies that we are still lacking:

  • Toilet roll. I wonder if that particular shelf will ever be stocked again.
  • Every type of pasta that isn’t lasagne sheets. I’m a pasta obsessive (I literally eat it every day) and this is extremely worrying to me. I’m certainly going to be making a lot of lasagne this week.
  • Rice. We drew the line at buying the manky microwaveable stuff.
  • Passata and chopped tomatoes. Basically, you can forget about anything tinned right now, which means I’ll be making meals with jars of Dolmio and the like instead (which is not as healthy, but unfortunately we have to make do).
  • Fresh fruit and veg. We managed to find workable alternatives in the fridge section, but it’s alarming how low the stocks were today.

As such, I’m going to be venturing out into the wastelands of larger supermarkets tomorrow to see if my luck is better.

On a positive note, work is finally coming in again, which suggests that academics are starting to get comfy working from home and writing their papers. Hope we can all make the best of a bad situation and have a productive few months.

Pasta
My current complete pasta stock, which is worryingly low by my standards.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Rolling Stones – ‘Ruby Tuesday’
Demi Lovato – ‘Confident’
Badly Drawn Boy – ‘Once Around The Block’
Duran Duran – ‘First Impression’

Great North Weekend

I’ve spent all day doing editing work for clients and sorting out my to-do list, but I’m finally done and Great North Weekend is here! It won’t be as intense as it usually is as there’s no CityGames athletics to watch on the Quayside this year (they’ve moved the event to Stockton-on-Tees for some reason), but I’m still looking forward to a shakeout parkrun tomorrow morning, eating all the pasta (may have started already) and watching the Strictly launch show before getting an early night ready for the race on Sunday.

In the meantime, it’s another evening of escaping into my videogames. I’m finding that it’s really helping me to relax at the moment.

Tetris
Not an OOTD: Geth has found a version of Tetris on the Switch that has the best upbeat dance version of the classic theme tune. Can’t watch the screen, though, ’cause I just keep getting frustrated by his placement choices!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Michael Land – Woodtick
Arcadia – The Flame

Another successful Great North Saturday!

Great North Weekend properly got started today, much the same as it did last year, with a parkrun volunteering session.  There were a lot of people volunteering due to the GNR, but luckily Geth, Ed, and I managed to snag the gate 2 spot, which meant we didn’t have to hang about for too long.  Great atmosphere at parkrun though – it’s always good on Great North Weekend.

After parkrun, Geth and I went for breakfast at Costa, and then home to collect a few things before heading into town for the Pasta Party and the Great North CityGames.

We got off at Gateshead and headed for lunch at the Pasta Party first, as the queues just get worse throughout the day.  As we’re both running this year, and I’m on my second year of membership, we had a ridiculous number (six) of pasta vouchers:

Pasta party
So much pasta. I ended up eating most of it, ’cause Geth doesn’t have the stamina for pasta-eating that I do.

We then headed over the Millennium Bridge (bumping into Ed again halfway across!) to catch the CityGames long jump, where I took the obligatory blurry photos of Greg Rutherford and Jazmin Sawyers:

Greg Rutherford and Jazmin Sawyers
People that I usually just see on the TV!

It was Greg Rutherford’s last ever competitive long jump event, so it was pretty special to get to see him.  We then went back to the Gateshead side of the Quayside to watch the sprint distance events from the seated area.  Despite the rain, it was quite comfy!

Sadly the CityGames is moving to Stockton-on-Tees from next year, so it won’t be part of our Great North Weekend again for the foreseeable future.  I’m guessing the Pasta Party will remain in Gateshead though.

A quiet evening in after that, with the BBC coverage of the CityGames, the Strictly Come Dancing launch show, some triathlon on iPlayer, and yet more pasta.  I could not be any more carb-loaded after the last three days.  Hopefully it will give me the requisite energy for tomorrow’s Great North Run!

OOTD 8th September 2018
OOTD: rain? What rain? Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), hoodie Uneek Classic for Mesh (2016), t-shirt Puma for Great North 5K (2015).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Kim Wilde – You Came

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Baltimora – Tarzan Boy

(A short list today, partly due to spending most of the day surrounded by actual music, but mainly because after Geth woke me up for the second time by loudly singing Tarzan Boy, that became my earworm for the rest of the day too!)

 

Waiting for that full row to disappear

As hoped, I managed to get a good day’s worth of house stuff done today.  This mainly involved unpacking boxes and Tetrising the contents about, so it sort of feels like I’ve not made much headway, but I know I have really.  It will be more apparent after I unpack the other half of the boxes on Monday (assuming I don’t have work) and am able to start getting some things into their finalised places.  Exciting!

Geth is watching triathlon TV at the moment to mark the start of Great North Weekend, which will take up the rest of our time until Sunday evening.  I’ve got a bit of work and a bit of admin to get on with, before an early night in preparation for parkrun volunteering tomorrow.

Pasta and pesto
I’m still eating ALL THE PASTA. One more day of carb-loading to go!

Really looking forward to the CityGames tomorrow!

OOTD 7th September 2018
OOTD: ghostface selfie featuring comfy house-sorting outfit. Jumper Faber (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2018), jeans Vivid (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Rod Stewart – Baby Jane
The Wanted – Walks Like Rihanna
Nik Kershaw – I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Brother Beyond – The Harder I Try
Charli XCX – Boys
George Michael – Careless Whisper
Eurythmics – Here Comes The Rain Again
Howard Jones – New Song

Recipe Wednesday: pasta bolognaise

Veggie pasta bolognaise is one of my longstanding favourites, but I don’t make it as often as I used to, largely because I’ve developed so many other favourites that have become go-tos as well.

Fusilli bolognaise
Fusilli bolognaise – the latest version (I’ve tweaked the way I make it a lot over the years, most recently to make it more Slimming World friendly).

It’s nice and simple, just like all the pasta dishes I do.  Put some chopped carrots on to boil for twenty-five minutes; ten minutes in, start boiling some pasta in another pot.  Meanwhile, start frying some chopped onions and tomatoes in Fry Light.  Once the onions and tomatoes have reduced down sufficiently, add a bag of Quorn mince to the frying pan, and stir-fry until it’s browned.

For the sauce, I make my standard pasta sauce: passata, tomato puree, lemon juice, ground black pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, hot chili powder and Very Lazy chopped garlic, all to taste.

Once everything’s cooked, drain the pasta and carrots and mix them with the onions, tomatoes, Quorn mince and passata sauce in a large pot.  Shower with grated parmesan (30g per person for a Slimming World Healthy Extra A) to serve.

Recipe Wednesday: ‘chicken’ pesto

Back doing Recipe Wednesdays again – ’cause I’m hungry, and I can’t cook tea until Geth’s done the dishes.  Sadly I’m not making ‘chicken’ pesto tonight ’cause I don’t have enough syns left before weigh-in tomorrow, but I thought I’d share this recipe anyway.

'Chicken' pesto
‘Chicken’ pesto, or spirali alla genovese if I’m being fancy.

It’s another super-simple pasta recipe.  Boil some pasta for fifteen minutes, and five minutes in, start boiling another pot of chopped mangetout, chopped green beans and garden peas (make sure there’s plenty of the first two if you’re doing Slimming World).  Meanwhile, fry some Quorn chicken style pieces (or you could use real chicken if you’re not veggie) in Fry Light until it’s nice and crispy.

Once everything’s cooked, mix it all together in a giant pan then stir in a jar of supermarket pesto* (12 syns a jar, so 6 syns per person if you’re cooking for two like I am).  Shower with parmesan (30g for a Healthy Extra A) and serve.

This is a longtime favourite of Geth’s, so I make it at least once a week if I’ve got the syns going spare!

*I’ve tried making my own syn-free pesto but it never tastes right!

Recipe Wednesday: potato ‘n’ carrot pasta

It’s still emphatically winter (I was too busy with work to leave the house today, but Geth informs me that it was snowing again) and so I thought I’d start my weekly food series with my most stodgy, wintry pasta dish.

Potato 'n' carrot pasta
It’s stodgy, ridiculously carb-heavy, and one of my favourites, especially at this time of year.

I’m a lazy cook, so like everything I make, it’s ridiculously easy.  Boil chopped peeled potatoes, chopped carrots and chickpeas for 25 mins (no measuring free foods on Slimming World – I just make sure that the carrots constitute a third of the total food I’m eating); with 15 mins to go, start boiling some pasta in another pan.

While everything is boiling, I make up my pasta sauce (passata, tomato puree to thicken it up, lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, hot chili powder and the lifesaver that is Very Lazy chopped garlic, all to taste) and grate some parmesan (30g for me as my Slimming World Healthy Extra A, lots for Geth).

Once the 25 mins are up, I drain everything, mix it all together, mix in the sauce, and serve with the grated parmesan.  Highly comforting on winter evenings!

Pasta

One of my favourite things about the Slimming World plan – and I don’t think I’d have been so successful on it if this hadn’t been the case – is that pasta is a ‘free food’, so you can eat as much of it as you like (within reason – I have been cutting down on my portion sizes as I’ve got closer and closer to target – but I still eat pasta nearly every day):

Pasta and pesto
Pasta and red pesto, my all-time favourite. Used to be a regular meal but now just a ‘treat’ – I need to add lots of veg and use my ‘syns’ to make it Slimming World friendly!

My favourites are Quorn bolognaise, Quorn chicken pesto (after months of unsuccessful attempts to make my own syn-free basil pesto, I gave up and went back to using the stuff in jars for 3 syns per tablespoon), Quorn lasagne (did you guess I’m vegetarian yet?) and, when I’m in a super stodgy high-carb mood, pasta with potatoes, carrots and chickpeas.  I love carbs and I’m so thrilled I’ve found a way to lose weight without having to cut down on them too much.

One of my ambitions for this year is to try and find more pasta favourites.  I’ll keep you posted!