Butternut squash curry

buternut1

When someone mentions curry to me I often think of a big pot simmering for hours, full of complex spices and hard-to-make sauces. This butternut squash curry is the exact opposite of that…yes, you’ll need a large pot, but there’s nothing complex about this recipe.

You will need:
– 1 large butternut squash (peeled and diced)
– 2 chicken breasts (diced)
– 1 x red onion (chopped)
– 1 x pepper (chopped)
– Baby corn
– Courgette
– Aubergine
– Handful of coriander
– 1 x tin of coconut milk (full fat!)
– 1 red chili (chopped)
– 2 tsp madras curry paste
– 1 tsp cumin seeds

buternut 2

To make:
– Start by placing your diced butternut squash into a microwaveable container with a little water in. Put the container into the microwave and microwave for a few minutes until it starts to soften.
– In a large wok or frying pan, add a little coconut oil and fry off the onion, cumin seeds, chili and madras curry paste before adding the diced chicken breast.
– Once the chicken is cooked, add the vegetables and the butternut squash before pouring in the coconut milk.
– Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in some fresh coriander before serving and remember to save a little bit to garnish the dish with!
– Serve piping hot with either plain rice or cauliflower rice.

There you have it, a super simple, cheap and easy to make curry that takes less than 30 minutes. Of course, it’s healthy too.

Enjoy 🙂

A brief training update & tips to maximise your training time

While I don’t like to start with an apology, I feel this post needs one. So firstly, I apologise for the lack of posts recently. In the last two months I’ve moved to a new city and started a new job – life has been hectic to say the least! With the love of a new job to keep me occupied, I’ve found that my priorities have shifted and as a result, training has taken a back seat.

I’ve been more than happy with this, much to my surprise, but with a marathon on the horizon and the drive to hit a new PB, I’m having to adapt my training slightly and make the most of the sessions I can do.

When you’re following a structured or dedicated training plan, it’s inevitable that aspects of life such as your job, house or a family, may mean sticking to that plan isn’t always possible. I thought I’d use this post to give you a quick training update and list a few of my top time saving tips to help you fit training in and make the most of training time.

squats

At the minute, my strength training programme is pretty much the same every week, for four weeks. I’m incredibly lucky that I have Dane to write me a new strength programme every month. At the minute I’m doing two strength sessions a week and I love knowing what I’m going to be doing every time I walk into the gym, for me it just means I get on with it instead of faffing about! The first session is made up of squats, rows, split squats, core exercises, calf work and stiff leg deadlifts. The second session involves sumo deadlifts, dumbbell step ups, more core work,calf work and hip thrusts. At the end of every session I do a glute circuit, which I’ll blog for you with some videos at some point.

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Now on to the running! The road to London Marathon is a long one, so I’m mindful of pacing myself. I’ve been doing a speed session once a week (last week I did 800m repeats with a 200m walking rest period in between) and then a couple of recovery runs, one longer one and a tempo one.

track

As I mentioned earlier though, if something comes up at work or with my friends/family, then that schedule can change. Some people train with the mindset that it’s NEVER ok to miss training but personally I think that’s an unhealthy attitude to have. My training for the Berlin marathon definitely taught me the importance of balance!

So here’s a couple of my top tips on how to maximise your training time and fit it in to a busy schedule:

  1. Schedule training in the same way as you would with a dinner date. Drafting in a training buddy is beneficial in so many ways but if you use training time as a way to catch up with someone at the same time then you’re more likely to make sure you fit it in. The other evening, Dane and I wanted to see each other, but I also needed to train and eat so we ran to a restaurant!
  2. Utilise your lunch hour. I get 30 minutes at lunch which isn’t enough time to get a run in and eat, but it’s definitely long enough to get outside and stretch my legs. Getting some fresh air will not only rejuvinate you for the afternoon but can help fire you up for training later in the day. On the other hand, if you don’t get time to train, at least you’ve been out at lunch to stretch your legs and will feel far less sluggish in the afternoon.
  3. Make your quality sessions count. On days where you can afford to do a good session, find the motivation to do it. This is beneficial not only physically but provides you with some mental relief from the pressure of a structured training schedule. If you finish early one day at work for example, or don’t start until later, then make that the day of the week when you’ll do your biggest session. If the rest of the week doesn’t go to plan then at least you’ve got one of your main sessions done.
  4. Be as prepped as you can possibly be. It’s such a simple thing but having your food prepped, clothes laid out and gym bags packed saves so much time and just takes that hassle out of getting ready for the gym or thinking you need to go home to get your stuff or worrying about when you’re going to eat. Having your food prepped too will also help to fuel training.food prep 1
  5. Mix up your training. Similar to booking in a date with a training buddy, booking on to a boxing, spin or another fitness class will make sure you get a good workout in using a structured time period. I find that a spin class is perfect for this. It’s 45 minutes of solid hard work and forces you to work hard throughout.
  6. If you’re worried that you won’t have time to train at all, firstly, try not to worry! If you’re really pushed for time but eager to get something done, do one or two tabata sets. Burpees, kettlebell swings and even body-weight squats are all absolute killers! Equally though, if you don’t have time to train at all, don’t worry, just look ahead to the rest of the week.

What are your time saving tips when it comes to training? Tweet me @HannahBryan or use #hannahshappypace on Instagram. Follow me on Instagram @hbryan91

🙂

How to make the perfect egg scramble 

  
If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you’ll know just how often I eat egg scrambles – I love them! 

Not only are they super tasty but they’re also seriously nutritious and a great way to brighten up your breakfast. 

Here are just some of the reasons why you should consider whipping up a scramble for breakfast…

  •  Eggs are an inexpensive protein source which will help you to feel fuller for longer. The egg white is also full of minerals including zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B12.  
  • If you’re following a low carb plan or opting for a low carb breakfast on a rest day for example, then an egg scramble is perfect. 
  • You can add anything! Egg scrambles are a fantastic way to get your vegetables in early and therefore make a highly nutritious breakfast, packed full of fibre and vitamins. 
  • They’re easy and quick to make with very little washing up! 
  • You can turn it in to a breakfast burrito for a delicious post workout meal of a balance of carbs, protein and fats. 

I could go on and on but instead I’ll let you rustle one up for yourself. 

  
You will need: 

1 tsp coconut oil 

– 2 eggs (for 1 person) 

– ALL the veggies! Throw anything in! Some of my favourites include asparagus, kale,  leeks and sundried tomatoes. 

– Cracked black pepper for seasoning and a dollop of Meridian’s PB to finish – optional but highly recommended!

To make: 

– On a medium to high heat, melt the coconut oil in a non stick frying pan. 

– Roughly chop your chosen vegetables and add them to the pan to soften slightly. 

– In a bowl, beat your eggs with a fork and then add them to the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon until cooked. 

There you have it, an egg scramble rusted up in no more than 10 minutes! 

What do you like to add to yours? Tweet me your creations @HannahBryan91 or tag me on Instagram using #Hannahshappypace

Egg scramble breakfast burrito topped with PB

Crystal light balancing therapy at The Sanctuary of Healing

Before my visit to The Sanctuary of Healing I had no idea what a chakra was or whether mine were aligned. All I knew was that I was eager for some relaxation time and to try something different. 

  

The Sanctuary, near Blackburn, believes that our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies need to be able to flow freely through our body in order for them to be able to work together to heal the body. 

Spiritual healing is never something I’ve learnt about before or even believed in so I was excited to try one of the treatments and experience something different. 

My friend Liana and I opted for the crystal light therapy treatment which lasted for 30 minutes, although you can opt for a one hour treatment.

The Sanctuary told us that crystal light therapy ‘combines natural healing frequencies with the use of precious gem stones to bring balance and harmony’ to both body and mind. 

A treatment is said to help correct imbalances in the body which can manifest as an illness; in particular IBS, joint pain and sciatica to name a few. It also claims to help with Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and asthma. 

The treatment uses chakra crystals and colour which are said to radiate energy to each chakra in our body. We had seven lights pointing to the main seven chakras in our body. Chakras are basically  the energy centres in our body according to ancient Indian medicine. 

They are: 
1) The root chakra at the base of your spine.
2) The sacral chakra in your lower abdomen. 
3) The solar plexus chakra in the upper abdomen. 
4) The heart chakra just above your heart. 
5) The throat chakra in your throat. 
6) The third eye chakra in your forehead between your eyes. 
7) The crown chakra at the top of your head. 

So basically what we did was lie on a bed with a ridiculously comfy pillow while one of the therapists adjusted the lights accordingly to align with our chakras. We then had the option of having the lights dimmed or not and whether we wanted soft music on. I opted for both. Then it’s time to relax for 30 minutes and it’s up to you whether you stay awake and watch the lights or go to sleep and let the crystals do the work.

Afterwards people are said to feel more energised, enjoy a better nights sleep, feel less stressed and more relaxed. I can definitely say that I felt more relaxed but I’m dubious as to whether the crystals had anything to do with that but all in all it was a lovely, relaxing and peaceful afternoon. 

Before our treatment we enjoyed some lunch in the cafĂ© which was delicious! We had one of the chefs special pulled chicken and crispy pancetta salads which included a soft boiled egg, coleslaw, shredded carrot, yellow tomatoes and mung beans. In keeping with the treatments at the Sanctuary the menu is of course full of healthy yet delicious options with some delicious looking desserts too. 
The staff we met during our visit were incredibly helpful and answered any questions we had about the food and the treatments and even gave us a guided tour of the meditation facilities on offer. 

  
  
One thing I did take away from the experience was the importance of relaxation. These days even when we think we are relaxing, before we go to sleep for example, we’re actually not. There’s always something distracting us, from phones to our other halves! I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to relax properly before bed to ensure I get the best possible nights sleep, ignoring my phone and maybe putting on some of that soft soothing music! 

Have you tried crystal light therapy or are you a fan of healing? Let me know your experiences. You can Tweet me @HannahBryan91 or email me at hbryan91@gmail.com 

🙂 

Berlin marathon training – one week to go!

“I’ve learned that it’s what you do with the miles, rather than how many you’ve run.” – Rod DeHaven 

Fast forward a week today and I will have landed in Berlin, checked into my hotel for the weekend and picked up my race number from the expo.

Even though the marathon is just over a week away it still doesn’t feel like it’s really approaching! Maybe I’m in denial due to how unprepared I am for this race! I say unprepared in the sense that I’m no where near where I wanted to be in terms of training but I’ve only got myself to blame for that. Still, I’m making the most of what I’ve done and can only hope to get through it injury free! The main aim of course is to enjoy running one of the most iconic marathons in the world and to savour every moment of the weekend. It will be amazing to run through the streets of Berlin alongside so many other amazing athletes.

Speaking of amazing athletes, I’m also planning to meet some other runners for pre marathon coffee and cake and post race victory beers which will be fantastic. We’ve created a group chat on Twitter where we’ve unleashed our maranoia on each other. Running is such a fantastic community and an amazing way of bringing like minded people together.

Anyway, back to the training I’ve been doing. I recently completed a fantastic 18 mile trail run which was lovely on the legs although it felt as though I was moving for hours! My legs definitely thanked me for completing it off road though. The weekend before that I did another 18 mile run with 12 miles on the road and six on trail which felt really good. I haven’t however managed to hit the 20 mile mark yet which I would’ve really liked to have done for both my legs and for a mental boost as well. People aren’t exaggerating when they say the race really begins at mile 20! That said, I’ll just have to dig deep and use my grit and determination to kick on towards the end, Mo Farah style! #onemomile

Aside from running I’ve been keeping up with my strength sessions as best as I can thanks to a specific programme from Dane. Here’s a snippet of just one section of my latest programme:

  • Barbell hip thrusts  with a band around your knees 3 heavy sets of 15 reps (I did 70kg)
  • Superset with lateral banded side steps 10 each side (feel those glutes burn!)
  • Incline bench YTWs 5 rounds (1 round is a y, t and w) with a light weight if you can.

Calf work has also been programmed as well as plenty of core work and I have to say I am feeling really good after these sessions. I feel stronger and, touch wood, it’s injury proofing me! Really hope that hasn’t jinxed it now!

,


Away from the roads, tracks and the gym I’ve also found some time to get in some fun rest day movement with Dane.

Last weekend we headed to Brimham Rocks, near Harrogate, for some rock scrambling and a picnic in the sunshine. Rock scrambling quickly turned in to hill sprints, pull ups on trees and even some strong man work from Dane! See the video evidence on his Instagram – @danemitch.

It was so nice to be outside moving in the sunshine and to see other people doing the same too. Seeing people outside enjoying themselves makes me happy!

Here’s a few snaps of what we got up to..


      

So that’s pretty much all of my random training updates for now! The plan from now until the marathon is to look after myself and keep well for the start line- oh and locate my passport! I’ve also joined periscope so you can follow my Berlin journey live throughout the weekend. My user name is the same as my  Instagram @hbryan91 so make sure you follow me!

🙂

Delicious low carb tortilla pizzas

No stodge, healthy pizzas – yes you heard me! 

pizza

Oh pizza! You can be a calzone, a deep dish or a crispy thin creation and I’ll still love you no matter what. However you’re served up you’ll always hold a special place in my heart!

So as you can probably tell, I love pizza! In my quest to be able to eat them a couple of times a week I’ve come up with this recipe. This pizza is low carb and you can make it as healthy as you desire. We’ve all been there when we’re looking at a menu in a restaurant and like the toppings on one but want to add some from another but with this recipe you can! You’re in control of what you want to throw on there so go ahead and chuck on whatever toppings your heart desires! That said, these are meant to be healthy pizzas so you are in control of how healthy you make them as well.

These actually feel as though you’re eating a “real” pizza with a delicious thin and crispy base topped with plenty of tasty offerings; you forget you’re not tucking into the real thing. Another plus is that they take no time at all to make and bake.

You will need:
– Wholemeal tortilla wraps
– Tomato purĂ©e
– Buffalo mozzarella
– Basically any toppings you want! I topped mine with chicken, olives, sundried tomatoes and loads of veggies.

To make:
– Pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees.
– Get a wrap and spread the tomato purĂ©e all over one side of it followed by a few slices of mozzarella. – Add the rest of your toppings.
– Pop the wrap on a foil covered baking tray (this just lets it slide off and on to your plate more easily) and bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until the wrap has begun to crisp up and the cheese has melted.

VoilĂ , that’s literally it! Enjoy your pizza and let me know what you like to top yours with!

Tag me in your creations on Twitter and Instagram using #hannahshappypace

Healthy pancakes with blueberries

Pancakes make the perfect Sunday brunch or weekend breakfast…

pancakes

They also make the perfect post-work out snack if you add some protein powder to them, making them the perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates. If you top them with some honey or golden syrup you’re making the most of that recovery window where it’ll go straight into your muscles to refuel rather than to be stored as fat!

You will need: 
– 1/2 cup of coconut flour
– 1 tbsp oats
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup of milk
– any fruit you want in there
– 1 tbsp of natural honey or golden syrup if you want to sweeten them

To make:
– Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender or by using a hand blender.
– Put a dollop of your chosen oil ( I use coconut oil) into a pan on a low heat and when the oil has melted add a spoonful of the mixture to the pan.
– Flip the pancakes when you see the surface begin to ‘set’/bubble. Stack them up and then add whatever toppings you fancied.
– I like to top mine with honey, blueberries and peanut butter!

Tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace and let me know what you top yours with.

🙂

 

Paleo mini muffins with peanut butter frosting

Peanut butter muffins that aren’t bad for me…I’ll take 10 please!

IMG_0043

 

I love baking and I also love turning my favourite treats in to clean bakes. However baking is not my forte, especially clean baking but these were a huge success!

When I’ve previously tried to create some ‘clean’ cakes I’ve used coconut flour and found that it’s a pretty hard ingredient and consistency to work with often leaving the cake too dry and crumbly. Never fear though for I have found the perfect ingredient to make your clean bakes as light and fluffy as a ‘regular’ cake should be! All hail almond flour.

Almond flour is a little more expensive than coconut flour but I’d say it’s definitely worth it if you’re someone who does a lot of baking and will use it regularly.

These muffins are possibly my biggest clean baking success yet and I’m putting it down to the almond flour.

IMG_0036

You will need: (makes 12 muffins)
For the muffins…
– 2 cups of almond flour
– 20 dates, chopped
– 6 eggs
– 4 tbsp maple syrup or natural honey
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the frosting…
– 4 heaped tbsp of smooth peanut butter – I used Meridian’s which I find is best for this icing
– 4 tbsp of icing sugar
– 1 tbsp maple syrup or natural honey
– raw cacao nibs for decorating

To make:
– Start by pre-heating the oven to 250 degrees. Then either using a hand blender or a smoothie maker mix the almond flour, chopped dates, eggs and maple syrup/honey together.
– Once the muffin batter is thoroughly mixed transfer to some muffin cases and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 12 minutes. NOTE: check on them after about six minutes as mine cooked super quickly!
– Take the muffins out of the oven when cooked and leave to cool. To check if the muffins are ready insert a knife in to one and if it comes out clean then they are cooked.
– To make the frosting put the peanut butter, icing sugar and maple syrup/honey in a bowl and mix together. You may need to add more peanut butter or icing sugar if it isn’t the same consistency that regular frosting would be.
– Once the muffins have cooled spread the frosting on top and decorate with a few raw cacao nibs and enjoy!

Let me know if you make these and tag me in your creations on Twitter and Instagram using #hannahshappypace. My Twitter is @hannahbryan91

🙂

Race review: York 10K and some extra miles…

There’s nothing like running on home turf is there!

York 10k 1

 

York is such a beautiful city and even though I’ve lived here for a couple of years now I don’t think running past York Minster or along the river will ever fail to make me smile.

The Asda foundation York 10K started at the racecourse which is about a 1.5 mile walk from my house which is handy as there is no designated race parking. I walked to the start with my friend and house-mate Carley who was running her first 10K race.

We arrived in plenty of time and there was a small race village set up on the racecourse with some food and drink stands, charity stands, bag drop and of course, toilets.

We were crammed into our start pens by 9.15am and were off on time at 9.30am. Although Carley and I stood in the same start pen we split up once we crossed the line and agreed to meet at the finish as I was planning to use the race as part of a longer 16 mile run for Berlin Marathon training.

The course was great. It took in some of the city’s best landmarks and nicest streets and there were crowds cheering at every part of the course which was fantastic to see. The only downside was that I found myself weaving in and out of the other runners and having to slow down at parts to find a space to dash through but I guess this is to be expected in such a popular race.

At two parts of the race you come back on yourself which I always find mentally tough but before I knew it the finish line was in sight and I was grabbing a bottle of water and a raspberry flavoured sports drink, provided by Asda.

Runners moved through the finish line quickly which was good and after grabbing a drink you could collect your finisher’s goody bag.

In the bag there was a finishers medal, a tech t-shirt which I was really impressed with and a highly welcomed Mars bar.

Carley's victory snapchat!

Carley’s victory snapchat!

After collecting my bag I went back to meet Carley who absolutely smashed it, finishing her first 10K in 61 minutes. We had a super quick race debrief before I set off for another 10 miles agreeing to meet her back at home and head out for a well deserved lunch.

Those 10 miles were hard. In fact I actually didn’t run 10 miles at all but nine instead which took me to 15 miles in total. I’d finished the 10K in just under 47 minutes at a comfortable pace but I think had I not stopped after the race I would’ve found it easier. Basically my lungs felt fine but my legs were tired and I was paying for neglecting my long runs. Luckily though I’ve recovered well and I went on a 30 minute easy pace recovery run yesterday.

It’s now less than seven weeks until the marathon and yes, I’m trying not to panic when I think about how little time that leaves including the taper, but I’ve got another long run planned for this weekend.

On Saturday morning I’ll be doing this… 2 miles easy pace, 2 x 10 min at threshold pace with 2 minutes rest in-between, 10 miles at an easy pace, 15 minutes at threshold pace and then 2 miles easy pace. PHEW I’m tired just reading that but it’s ok because straight after that I’m heading to London with Dane to watch two of his athletes compete in the London Triathlon on Sunday.

Happy running all 🙂

#hannahshappypace

Training on holiday & the Berlin Marathon countdown

Thanks to the fabulous running community on Twitter I’ve been reminded that it’s less than 10 weeks until the Berlin Marathon! 

Run 4

10 weeks though! Seriously, where has the time gone?! I’m already at that ‘can’t stop thinking about it marathon stage’ and constantly drifting off into day dreams of running a 3.15 marathon (yeah right, Han!) and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve already planned the outfit I’m flying in! God help whoever has to put up with me for the next 10 weeks, I apologise now.

As you may have spotted from a previous a post, I’ve been in Italy on a bit of a tour across the country. When we booked the holiday I knew I wouldn’t be following my set marathon training plan for a number of reasons; 1) there’s gelato to be eaten 2) the heat and 3) I booked a holiday to relax, sightsee and have a break.

So with that accepted I settled on trying to get a few runs and some bodyweight exercises in now and again, it is part of my happy pace after all! Still, it was hard not running. I worried about getting behind, worried about the extra pizza weighing me down and worried that I ‘d be too unfit to get back on track.

The reality is that it’s two weeks and I actually exercised most days. Granted most days it was walking but when sightseeing in Venice and Rome we averaged 8 miles of walking a day! Never forget to pack your Garmin on holiday, even if you’re not going to be running!

If you’ve got an autumn marathon booked and a holiday coming up as well then check out these tips on how to maintain a training routine while away.

Sightseeing – Grab a guidebook and go on a walking tour. Lonely Planet books are amazing for this. Not only will you see the sights and plenty of hidden gems along the way but you’ll also be banking some miles in the legs. Think of it as another version of steady state cardio. Another amazing way to see the sights of where you’re staying and to explore an area is to get up and run! Run early in the morning before the heat hits and use it as a way to explore the area and see some sights before everyone else is awake. It’s like your own personal private tour and a chance to get up close and personal with the city.

Run 2 Run 1

Use your surroundings – If there are some steps down to the beach do stair runs up and down them or sprints along the beach. Think of the feeling of jumping into the sea after a hot and sweaty workout! Also, use the sea or a swimming pool if your hotel has one to get some swimming in. It’s a great cross training activity and gives your knees a break from road running or pounding the treadmill. Not to mention it’ll cool you down!

Run 3

Move the furniture- Make space in your hotel room/find the space to do a bodyweight workout. This can be as little as a tabata workout or an hour long strength session if you wanted it to be. Check out Dane’s blog where he’s posted what we did as well as some more challenging hotel workouts. Make sure you look around and see what you can make use of. It might be a step for calf raises or a chair for Bulgarian split squats for example. A good bodyweight workout can go a long way! You can burpee, hip thrust, or squat jump just about anywhere! If you’ve got some bands pack those in your suitcase too to use when you get there.

Run 5 Run 6

Running past the colosseum, along the Venetian canals and by the harbour in Ischia was amazing and I feel so lucky to say I’ve done that. I’m excited to get stuck in to Berlin training once again now though as well as my new programme for the gym designed by Dane. You can check out my previous programme in an earlier post here.

Run 7

In other marathon news I’ve only gone and got myself a good for age place in next year’s London Marathon! 😀 YES!

LDN mara 1

I’ll be keeping you up to date with how my trainings going over the next 10 weeks as well as posting plenty about Italy and the new recipes I’m going to rustle up inspired by the food I’ve eaten in Italy.

Ciao!