GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “scotland”

Oats!

Hi there!

Warning: I will use oats and porridge interchangeably.

I’ve already done a post on Stoats, which is a great porridge company based in Scotland. I love their oats and recommend trying their flavours to mix breakfast up! However, if you prefer making your own delicious oats, I’ve made a list of easy toppings that you can cook into the porridge (just cook the toppings with th oats) or throw on after cooking. I usually cook my oats in the microwave also a make it slightly drier.

  • Banana; very simple. If you microwave your oats the banana disappears and creates a delicious and creamy mix.
  • Banana and honey; bit sweeter.
  • Pineapple; this becomes insanely hot in the microwave, but it’s a great sweet and sour flavour. Add some dried/fresh coconut to make a tropical breakfast.
  • Dried fruit; cranberries, raisins, sultanas, apricots, dried coconut, the list goes on! Bananas and raisins are also delicious.
  • Cinnamon; powdered cinnamon is brilliant, throw it in with bananas, apples, raisins for even more flavour.
  • Apples; cook them with the porridge too for delicious, hot breakfast.
  • Berries; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Again, add these on top or cook into the porridge. Cooking them creates a lovely compote.
  • Peanut butter; on its own, with cinnamon, bananas or apples.
  • Jam; a bit more fruit (and a bit more sugar).
  • Peanut Butter and Jam; watch the portions here, but it’s a delicious treat.
  • Dark chocolate; a couple of squares, great if you’re craving some chocolate.
  • Cocoa powder; not as tasty as dark chocolate but better if you’re watching your calories.
  • Yoghurt; I really enjoy cooking up a nice, hot bowl of porridge and adding a tablespoon of low-fat natural or fruit flavoured yoghurt.
  • Granola; top your bowl with a modest amount of granola for a lovely crunch.
  • Almonds; adds a nice crunch and delicious flavour. Best add these in and cook for the final 20 seconds or crush them into your porridge.
  • Protein Powder; I recommend mixing up the protein and milk in your shaker then adding that to the oats before cooking to make sure the protein dissolves well.

You can also make porridge savoury, but I’ve never tried this (yet) but here’s a list of recipes from Shape to try if sweet porridge is not your thing!

If hot porridge is not your thing then try mixing your oats (typical 40g portion) with yoghurt in an airtight container (I use Weight Watchers individual pots, one per breakfast, great flavours), throw in some toppings listed above  and leave it overnight. Next morning you’ll have delicious cold oats, they must be left overnight however to ensure the oats soften. I’ve already mentioned overnight oats before with a recipe for Bircher’s Muesli that my mum makes.

IMPORTANT; porridge doesn’t need to be just for breakfast. Porridge can be a brilliant recovery food. Over the Christmas holidays I enjoyed cold, overnight oats post-run. You can get a great balance of carbohydrates and proteins and some sugars to help your body recover.

I’m a huge fan of porridge in case no one noticed.

Gym Bug

Pickled In Scotland

Pickled In Scotland

Hi there!

Today is a post about another excellent Scottish company called ‘Pickled In Scotland’ who are based in Edinburgh. They produce vegan friendly preserves, free from artificial preservatives, colours or flavour enhancers. They also never use concentrates.

They have a great selection of cordials, fruit drinks and fruit cheeses to try. What’s fruit cheese I hear you ask? It’s a way of preserving ripe fruit with sugar and forming a ‘cheese’ round that’s then left to mature. It was used in the past when there was no fresh fruit around. Typically, they were eaten with dairy products like cheese, but I reckon they’d be brilliant on oatcakes or some toast too!

Pickled In Scotland use Scottish fruits, so you’ll find delicious rhubarb, gooseberries, quince, raspberries, strawberries and more! A delicious way to get your fruit.

I’m not going to lie I don’t have a lot of experience with their range, I sampled some of their fruit cheeses once however, and they are amazing. They were so fruity and natural; there was nothing artificial or fake about them. They’d be a great new way to get more fruit into your diet. Their cordials are also really fresh and refreshing.

I recommend checking out their website and trying a few of their products. I’d love to be able to sample more of what they’ve got so I’ll be poking around their website too and hopefully I’ll spot them at a local place one day too!

Fruit cheese could be a great addition to any Christmas cheese platter or an interesting addition to Christmas breakfast? Cordials are great in cheeky cocktails too. Or even buy them as presents!

This is a great shot taken from the homepage of their website. I do not own this image.

Just beware not to get your recommended dose of fruit and veg purely from fruit, it does contain sugar!

Gym Bug

Winter Running; Don’t Get Caught Out In The Cold

Hi there!

So, today marks the 3 week countdown until I’m finally home. This also means 3 weeks until I’m back running in less than warm temperatures. Here are some useful tips if you’re like me and will be keeping the Santa weight off by outdoor, winter running!

  • Get decent shoes. You don’t want slush from snow or horrible rain making it’s way into your shoes and making your feet ice blocks. This will make it hard to warm-up and can be incredibly uncomfortable! Shoes with very little mesh are better. Also, socks designed to get rid of moisture but keep your feet warm may be a good investment, for example, SealSkinz.
  • Dress to impress. You don’t want to go out looking like Eskimo, because sweating heavy will cause you to get a chill. Best to do is to dress as if it’s warmer outsider than it actually is, you should be a little bit cool to begin with, that’s alright. You will heat up on your run, just make sure you’re not going out there in shorts and a vest top, because you could catch a chill before  getting the opportunity to warm up. Clothes that vent when you heat up are perfect for this. Also, wear a hat and gloves if it’s particularly chilly.
  • Get bright. Visibility and daylight are more limited in the winter. Invest in a hi-vis vest or a headtorch or any reflective material to help vehicles and other people see you.
  • Prerun Warmup. Best do this inside your house without ending up dripping in sweat. Do some jumping jacks, run up and down the stairs, anything to get the heartrate going with minimal sweating. You want your body to be prepared for a run.
  • Quick post-run change. Change out of damp clothes as soon as possible. A warm shower will be great as well if you can. Try get a hot drink too. Just try get warm again as soon as possible because you start to cool down the second you stop running. If you’re running in a place where you need to drive home, take a flask of tea/hot chocolate/coffee/hot water to have when you get back in.
  • It can be too cold to run. It’s best to gauge this yourself, but a rule of thumb for me is if I can’t go outside and walk without fear of slipping, I’m not going to manage a run. Also, if the cold makes breathing harder/painful, it’s not going to happen. I’d rather do a H.I.I.T session inside instead!
  • Running with a cold. If you just have a case of the sniffles, “I have a cold” isn’t a super solid excuse not to go. However, if you have a fever or these symptoms spread to below the neck (chesty coughs, bad throats etc) it’s probably best to take a rest day!

That’s it! A few tips I’ll be using when I return home and endure the wonderful weather Scotland has to offer! Hope this is helpful to a few people out there who will be running through the cold too!

Have a great day!

Gym Bug

Stoats; Fuelling you with Scottish greatness

Hi there!

Now, I’m a huge fan of porridge. I think it’s a super kick start to your day; excellent source of energy, filling, warm and low GI. For me, porridge ticks all the boxes and it’s NOT BORING. You can add fruit, sauces, chocolate, peanut butter; the list is endless with a good old bowl of oats! I eat a variety of brands of porridge but my all-time favourite has to be good old Stoats. It was my dad that picked up a box a while ago because it was on special in the supermarket. He came home with Apricot and Sultana, and the box didn’t last the week (my dad and I especially partial to this flavour).
The oats are Scottish (waving the flag here, you go Stoats) and they use all natural ingredients like fruits and seeds (always a huge bonus).
Here’s a run-down of what they’ve got;

  • Apricot & Sultana Porridge;
    Stoats get their proportion of fruit to oats spot on here. Juicy sultanas and dried apricots bring the occasional bite of sweetness without it being too much. You don’t even need to add anything; it’s delicious on its own.
  • Sunflower & Poppy Seed Porridge;
    My twin loves this one. I definitely prefer the apricot one but this always made a nice break. The subtle crunch of the seeds gave a nice, subtle flavour. I’ll admit, my sister adds peanut butter, but it’s a very good porridge with or without it (given my obsession with peanut butter, it’s very good with it).
  • Apple & Cinnamon;
    A tummy hug. Best way to describe it. I am not a huge fan of cinnamon, but they’ve again got the balance spot on. The apples compliment the cinnamon perfectly so rather than being overwhelmed and feeling like you’ve done the Cinnamon Challenge you’re left with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your tummy. This is excellent on a cold morning.
  • Original Oats;
    We usually have a box in the house as back-up in case we run out of the others. I chop through banana, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, apple, raisins etc (maybe some peanut butter) to give it a bit more flavour. But these oats are very filling and perfect to get you up and going.
  • Quick Pots;
    These are one portioned sized boxes of porridge for on the go dining. As a snack or as a breakfast these are great for chucking in your bag and going. Like most oats, you can make it with hot water, so you don’t even need to worry about heating up milk. They come in 3 flavours; Apple & Cinnamon, Original and Cranberry & Blueberry. They DON’T offer the Cranberry & Blueberry in large boxes only in porridge pot form, but I recommend giving it a try, nice tangy berries always make a great start to the morning.
  • Porridge Bars;
    Energy packed bars for snacking or a quick breakfast. They come in 6 flavours; Apple & Cinnamon, Apricot & Sultana, Blueberry & Honey, Fig & Date, Raspberry & Honey and White Choc & Hazelnut. I’m a fan of Apple & Cinnamon as well as their Raspberry & Honey. But I can tell you, they’re all delicious and filling.
  • Oatcakes;
    I didn’t actually know they produced these. I learned this by checking out their website. I’m a fan of oatcakes (and cheese, anybody?), so I’m sure their amazing.
Taken from their Pinterest page

Taken from their Pinterest page, look at that range!

What’s also great is how much they care about customer feedback. My dad e-mailed them to let them know we’re huge fans and to ask a question about production. They responded with a really kind e-mail and then SENT US STOATS GOODIES. Now, I’m a sucker for freebies so that sends them from 0 to hero in my book. It shows a different level of customer commitment.  They were also incredibly helpful in making sure I got all my information correct for you readers out there!
I would like to point out the box of goodies event occurred months ago and Stoats is not sponsoring this post, the onset of winter and the finishing of my only box of Stoats here in Madrid prompted this post.

Something that’s also great is that they’re not necessarily for breakfast. My dad enjoys a bowl of Stoats to fuel him for his long-distance runs.

You can purchase their products on their online store or keep an eye for their oats, bars and pots in Asda, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and lots of independent deli’s, cafes and farm shops! They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (some great recipes).

Stoats of Scotland, woot woot! If you’re looking for a great meal (breakfast is the most important meals of the day) then go for Stoats. You won’t regret it.

Gym Bug

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