New Year = Not So New Me

As it’s New Year’s Eve and everyone’s starting to think about New Year’s resolutions, I’ve been trying to think of a couple to also go with my December Resolution. I am wary of making too many big resolutions as I know statistically most are broken by the 6 month mark (that’s if you even make it past January) so I’m not going for a brand new me in 2016, just a slightly tweaked version. It also helps that the nature of some of my Christmas presents aid my new resolutions.

Christmas Goodies

I’ve tried to think of just a few that will be achievable but also slightly stretching. There’s a fine line between inspiring and daunting in my eyes so I’ve tried to find the balance. This means I only really have 4 including my original resolution.

    1. Get back to a place where I feel confident in myself – through eating the foods that make me feel good and also working out as nothing beats those post workout endorphins.
    2. Run a 10k – I already have my eye on one that I think would be good fun for the middle of the year. I would never have considered even running a 5k two years ago so I’m hoping this won’t be too much of a stretch.
    3. Try at least 1 new recipe a week, whether it be cooking or baking – given I got a whole host of new cookbooks for Christmas and an ice cream maker this should be fairly easy.
    4. Be more mindful and more present – I have found that when I was going to Pilates not only was I more flexible but I was also more aware of things such as my posture so I started to notice when my back would hurt from not sitting straight or how out of alignment my hips are when I’m standing in a queue. Since for one reason or another I haven’t been going more recently, these things seem to be slipping, so I’m going to get back into Pilates but I have also started reading up on Mindfulness and being more present in situations, responding rather than reacting, which should also help me stick with resolution No.1 as well.

Mindfulness Book

I think that all of these go rather nicely together so should help me be able to tick them all of at the end of the year.

What are your resolutions for the New Year?

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December Resolution

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I always seem to be someone to start things at the least appropriate time. For those of you who have read the ‘About Me’ page will know that when I first decided to get healthy it was around 2 weeks before Christmas 2013. Well here I am again.

I’ve spent months not being 100%, with issues from stomach cramps to constant dizziness, it’s really thrown me off my normal gym routine. Alongside this, I seem to have lost all willpower. Before I found it relatively easy to stick with my diet plan, thinking nothing of sticking to set calorie amount, eating certain types of food and having one ‘treat’ meal a week (granted this slowly turned into a general treat day, but I could still stick with it). And I managed to do this for the best part of 18 months, with just the brief occasional wobble (birthdays and Christmas being the main issues). Yet in the last 3 to 4 months it’s changed. I’ve started to binge eat a lot more, there’s a complete disregard for what I know is good for me, I eat things that I know will cause me issues with sleeping, lack of concentration and generally feeling poor within myself. I have a feeling that eating this way is hindering my recovery rather than helping it as well.

Pair this with my lack of exercise due to the light headiness and the results are less than inspiring. But my biggest concern is actually how I feel within and about myself. Although since I originally started my journey, I am down 50lbs (3.6 stone for those of you in the UK), I have gained 16lbs in the last few months and with it has been a massive decline in self-esteem and self-worth. I used to feel really confident going into meetings and presenting in front of people but I find I want to do that less and less at the moment. I have started to notice that the work trousers I was considering buying in a smaller size due to how baggy they were and now a bit uncomfortably tight, the shorts I loved…now not so much, all the party dresses for this festive period I was so excited to wear I don’t really want to put on right now. But for me, the biggest change I’ve noticed in how I feel is in regards to my thighs. I’ve spent years and years having to constantly wear tights no matter how warm it is outside due to my thighs rubbing together and it being really uncomfortable, even painful sometimes if I don’t. It was so liberating this year to be able to go about within having to put tights on all the time and just melt over the course of the day. Well this has started to come back again and it’s not welcome in the slightest.

Aware that we are now 10 days to go until Christmas, yet again I have decided that I need to get a grip, I refuse to keep going into the depths of self-pity and feeling that I don’t deserve to feel good in myself. I know you’re probably thinking I could just wait, enjoy the festive period and with a ‘new year, new me’ motto, but frankly, if I can start to pick myself up over this tricky period, the New Year will be a breeze, surely? I’ve done it once before, I know I’m capable of it, so I can do it again.

Gluten Free and Gluten Full Mince Pies

With Christmas now being less than 2 weeks away, I decided it was about time I actually made some mince pies! I know they aren’t the best thing for you, but I always feel more comfortable eating one or two (granted high calorie) homemade ones as I know not only the ingredients that have gone in but also the quality of them. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with the occassional indulgent treat. So with numerous work fuddles and events happening I thought it was the perfect excuse to make some goodies. There are some people at work with various food intolerances so it gives me another reason to keep testing gluten free baking (particularly as my partner isn’t too keen on GF so always requests where possible gluten full).

I admit that I am still slightly tweaking the recipe for Gluten Free but these did turn out really well, it just took a little more patience that the other ones, but nevertheless stick with it and they will turn out ok (well at least in my humble opinion). I will update once I’ll played around with the recipe a bit more but I was rather happy at my first attempt at gluten free mince pies so I couldn’t just leave it.

The recipe is essentially the same just swap plain flour for Gluten Free plain of the same ratio. There’s just a slight tweak to the method towards the end for the Gluten Free ones, so rather than repeat myself, I’ll just shout up where to change what you do slightly differently.

All you need for this is a mixing bowl and a metal muffin tin.

Ingredients
350g Plain Flour (GF if needs be)
200g Icing Sugar + extra for dusting
225g Cold Unsalted Butter (it’s important that it’s cold but cut it into cubes to make it easier to work with)
410g Mincemeat (the size of a normal jar)

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Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180°c, rub together the flour, sugar and butter . As the butter is cold this will take a while and it will seem like it’s really crumbly and not working but stick with it, it will all of a sudden come into a ball that you can work with.

2. Once it’s come together into a ball, knead briefly until smooth.

3. Separate off 2/3 of the dough, this will be your bottoms.  Split into 12 small balls and flatten into the bottom and sides of the muffin tin, aim to make the pastry level so it will cook equally.

4. Fill with the mincemeat; I like a generous portion so it uses the whole jar!

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5. Take the remaining dough and again split into 12, flatten these down so it cover the top of the mince pies and press into the sides so it’s all flush. Put a couple of holes in the lid to allow a bit of steam to come out.

6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

7. Leave in the tray to cool then remove and put on a cooling rack. For the Gluten Free Mince Pies leave overnight so the butter can completely cool, they are incredibly brittle at this stage even once the tin itself it cool. You can remove them gently from the tin, I found the best was by pressing a skewer down each side until you feel it move ever so slightly then tip the tin upside down. But they are incredibly brittle and can just crumble in your hand. If you manage to get them out then leave them to cool overnight and they are a lot firmer, I would recommend leaving in the tin for a good few hours to thoroughly cool before removing.

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8. Once cooled, dust with icing sugar and enjoy

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Nutritional Information
Serves 12
410 Calories
3.2g Protein
59.5g Carbohydrates
0.8g Fibre
38.5g Sugar
17.1g Fat ( 9.9g are Saturated Fats)