Challenge update – weeks 1 & 2

It is definitely about time that I gave an update on how my ten-week challenge is going. But first let me explain why it has been a while since I last blogged.

You may remember from my last blog that I’d had a pretty intense time while in uni revising, a few days before my EU law exam?  I’d felt God speaking to me about various issues, giving me encouragement and direction, catching my heart on fire.  Well, the very next day I injured a tendon in my right wrist, meaning I couldn’t write or type and so wasn’t able to do the exam.  I now have to sit it in August, with the knowledge that we are not even going to be in the EU any more. Sigh. I’m still too upset about the referendum result to write about it (which I’m sure you will be pleased to be spared from!)

Anyway – onwards and upwards. I have been true to my word and have challenged myself to trying new recipes and activities, but I started a week later.  So here is an update on weeks 1 and 2.  I’m in week 3 now and will update that soon. 20160619_204658 (1)

Week 1 Recipe:  Red Lentil & Spinach Lasagne

I love red lentils.  They’re a fantastic protein, really cheap and easy to cook because they don’t need any soaking or boiling for hours on end.  So I was excited to find a new recipe for them in Keep It Vegan by Aine Carlin.   To be honest I think I’ve got a bit of a crush on Aine Carlin.  She’s very gorgeous and cool.  Here’s a link to her stuff.

Right confession over, how did I get on with the lasagne?  Hmm well I’m not a natural cook.  And though I am surprising myself with how much I am enjoying it, I really don’t seem to have any common sense when it comes to cooking.  

For example,20160619_204637 (1) you had to part-cook the lasagne sheets in boiling water before using them. I remembered to put a bit of olive oil in the pan to stop them sticking (so far so good) but then laid them on a plate to cool off.  And of course they stuck together.  Not one to give up without a fight, I spent ages peeling them apart the best I could.  What’s wrong with lumpy lasagne anyway?

I also didn’t have spinach, so used spring greens instead which worked really well hurrah! Oh and the white sauce cooked from scratch was also lumpy (bit of a theme going on here) but tasted good.  Overall I enjoyed the dish and it was very filling.  But when I make it again I think I will either get wholewheat lasagne sheets to make it even tastier and healthier, or those fresh pre-cooked ones to make it easier.

Week 1 Activity:  Sh’Bam 

I’m not going to write much about this particular activity.  It is a dance class from Les Mills website which I did at home.  I enjoyed it despite the instructors being a bit irritating and the streaming being a bit slow.  The best thing about it was that it reminded me how much I LOVE to dance.  Really love it.  In fact I love all the exercising I’m doing at the moment and my attitude towards my body is starting to change (more about that in a separate blog post).

Week 2 Recipe:  Macaro-NOcheese

But the best bit about mac n cheese IS the cheese I hear you cry!  Well no, it isn’t.  Now don’t get me wrong I’m partial to a bit of decent strong cheese, but in reality how much can you actually taste the cheese in mac n cheese?  Isn’t it the creaminess and richness that makes it yummy? 20160702_200039

This is another recipe from Keep It Vegan.  And is definitely one I will be cooking again and again.  It’s genius.  You cut a butternut squash in half, bake it for an hour in the oven, then scoop out the flesh and puree it with coconut milk and a few splashes and pinches of other things.  Voila! A creamy yummy sauce, much tastier and better for you than a cheese one.  Then to top it off, crispy kale baked in the oven with sea salt.

I had a lovely friend round to eat this with me and we both enjoyed it, but thought that the salty crispy kale really made the dish.


Week 2 Activity:  Freestyle Dance Class

Did I tell you that I’ve joined a health club?  Well I have!  I joined the one that my personal trainer Jennie took me to for our swimming lesson.  It’s huge and the facilities are great, massive gym floor, loads of classes, lovely pool (with no deep end hurrah) and good showers and changing rooms.

This is a big step for me too.  I had to fight through feelings of inferiority and self-consciousness.  I was intimidated at first by all the beautiful fit people doing amazing stuff, but people have been so friendly and lovely to me.  In fact that has been a bit overwhelming in itself.  Perhaps I am not so out of place there after all?  Perhaps some people recognise my hunger and desire to get fitter and more confident with my body because they feel it too for themselves?  I’ve realised that the only person judging me negatively and holding me back from things is me.  All I’ve felt from people I’ve met at the gym is welcomed, supported and encouraged.  I am ashamed to say that I had been the judgmental one and for that I am truly sorry. download

So – back to freestyle dance.  It was Jennie who told me about the class and I thought it sounded fun, so she invited me to it with her.  I was not disappointed, it was great!  Very different to the Sh’Bam class I did at home last week.  The music was more up to date, and included some ‘grindy’ tunes to get down to.  I had a smile on my face pretty much throughout it and so did everyone else, especially the instructor who was definitely enjoying teaching the class.  I didn’t get all the choreography right, far from it, but that’s the beauty of it – you can freestyle!  It really didn’t matter as long as you were moving.

At first I was very aware of being larger than other people in the class.  I often wonder if anyone else looks around to check if they are the biggest/tallest/smallest/shortest,etc.  I also wonder why I do that.  What does it matter?  But anyway, at first I felt like I stood out like a hippo in a group of giraffes.  But then the music and dance took over and at some point I completely forgot about that stuff and just enjoyed myself.  I still might have looked like a hippo but at least I was a dancing one!   I shall definitely be doing more of these classes.

I’ve got loads more to say (of course I have!) but that’s it for this one.  Now that I can type again I do have some catching up to do and will be writing every week.  If you have any ideas for recipes (vegetarian) and activities for me to try please let me know.

Thanks and big love

L x


3 thoughts on “Challenge update – weeks 1 & 2

  1. realalefanatic says:

    Tip for the lasagne! Lasagne sheets are always, always a massive pain to precook, no matter how careful you are. I find it easier to add extra water to the recipe, add the sheets uncooked and increase the cooking time by about 15-20 mins 🙂


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