Thursday, 11 December 2014

Back at fat club

I've been back at Slimming World about 6 weeks now, but I've only lost 4ib. I've really sruggled to stay on plan - meals are fine, but the snacking is ruining me.

I've joined a few slimming world groups on Facebook and saw the 777 challenge on there.

7 glasses of water
7 superspeed foods
7 syns a day

You do this over 7 days and are meant to see great results.

I started today full of positivity - then I read my book - super speed not super free! Oops, i'd not understood why it was such a challenge  when I first looked at it.

Super free foods are most fruit and veg, super speed form a tiny amount of those - I didn't have a single superspeed fruit in the house, so had to send phil to Tesco for berries and melon on the way home from work.

Today I've had:

Breakfast - two weetabix, kiwifruit and grapes. 1 pint of water.

Lunch - beans on 1 slice of best of both bread (4.5 syns). 1 pint of water.

Snack - banana. Half pint of water.

Tea - 2 quorn sausages (2 syns) jacket potato with cottage cheese, peas. 1 pint water.

Then I went and ruined things and had two low fat sausages (4 syns).

I'm taking my pints of water as counting as two normal glasses, so had the 7. Plus 2 decaf teas and 2 coffees - so that's one achieved.

Superspeed foods, I've managed 2. I should have had melon and berries to bring me up to 7, but I'm just not hungry.

Syns - 10.5, because I'm greedy and ate the low fat sausages just because they were there.

Not a great start! I'll be over with syns tomorrow because I'm going out for tea. Same with Saturday, having a Christmas dinner and drinks, but that leaves sunday-weds to try and do this challenge!

Monday, 8 December 2014

spicy red onion marmalade

5 red onions
1 red chili (or 2 if you have a mild variety)
150ml balsamic vinegar
250ml red wine
100ml boiling water
Fresh thyme
120g light muscovado sugar

Steralise 3 or 4 jars, depending on their size. I get jars donated through the year to use so I always have a good stock to choose from.

I used one red chilli, from our homegrown batch - they are very spicy. I used it straight from the freezer, which makes it easier to chop.

Peel and slice the onions, my slices weren't especially thin, I like my chutney/marmalade to be quite chunky.

Chop the chilli, seeds included, then add to a large pan with olive oil, and a generous amount of garlic. Add the sliced onions and the boiling water.  Put the lid on the pan and leave to cook for 20 mins, stirring every 5 mins.

Add the sugar, wine and vinegar to the pan then bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat to summer and then summer the marmalade until it reaches a sticky consistency, with the liquid evaporated.

You'll know its done if you run your spoon through the mixture and a trail of liquid isn't left.

Spoon into your sterilised jars and pop the lids on.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

chocolate orange buns

We're having a relaxed weekend of baking, Christmas crafts and watching films.  Both baby and toddler are under the weather, so keeping warm and cosy is essential.

I had to pop out to the post office to send a Christmas card abroad, so called into our local supermarket for baking supplies. I came home with cocoa powder, vanilla essence, chocolate chips and chocolate orange segments.  I decided to whip up some buns for us, and Phil iced them for me.

2 large eggs
Self raising flour
Caster sugar
Cocoa powder
Juice of a satsuma

To decorate:
Chocolate orange segments
Cocoa powder
Icing sugar

Place bun cases in your bun tin, ready for the mixture. Set the oven to 180.

Weigh your eggs - whatever they weigh (in my case 150g) then use the same amount of stork and caster sugar. Use 2/3 of the weight self raising flour and 1/3 cocoa powder
 (So 100g self raising and 50g cocoa powder).

Cream the sugar and stork then add the eggs one at a time, with a little flour with each egg addition. Combine the remaining flour, add the cocoa and the juice of one satsuma. Stir to bring it all together, but not too much.

Spoon dollops of the mixture into your bun cases until all are filled. Bake for 22 mins until the buns are firm and springy to touch.  Cool on a wire wrack.

To decorate make up some buttercream, phil usually just does this by adding icing sugar and cocoa powder to stork until it reaches the right consistency, ensuring it isn't too stiff.  Place the mixture in a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe onto your buns. Finish with a chocolate orange segment.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Pinche Pinche review

Disclaimer: this meal was free
I don't often do reviews nowadays, I've turned down that many over the last two years that I've stopped getting invitations. But when an invite popped into my inbox from Pinche Pinche I had to come out of hibernation. If anyone asks me for recommendations of where to eat in Chapel Allerton Pinche Pinche is always where I point them.
My friend Fi and I went along on Wednesday this week to try their new menu. They've moved away from the safety of fajitas and are introducing the diners of Leeds to Antojitos - Mexican tapas.
We opted to put our trust in the chef be sent out a selection of what he wanted to showcase to us.
Please excuse my terrible photos, my phone is great taking pics outside, but useless indoors - and there's no way I'm taking a camera to a restaurant.
We had the guacamole:

Esquites  (stripped corn on the cob):

Plantain Empanada:

Prawn and cod ceviche:

Slow cooked lamb Sope:

Tacos - we got sent a selection of cod, pork, spicy beef and surf & turf

Pomegranate salad:

We were stuffed after eating all those - sadly no room for Churros. I enjoyed trying each of the dishes, the only one I wasn't so keen on was the esquites, it got a bit samey after a while, we both decided if we were making it at home that we'd add a little lime to freshen it up.
My favourite dish was the slow cooked lamb Sope. The stew was delicious, and I loved the sweet potato basket.  I might have to try and replicate them at home. The tacos were great too, my photo doesn't do their size justice. I enjoyed the beef one the most.
I really enjoyed the pomegranate salad too, I would never have ordered it myself so it was a great one to try.
I love the new concept, but I'm a massive tapas fan so I would. I'll definitely be going back to try the spicy cheese balls and cactus. If you aren't a tapas fan then there's still Enchiladas and Burritos to be had, we were nosying at other tables that had ordered these and they looked fantastic too - and very big!
I was pleased to see how busy the restaurant was too, it being a Wednesday I was expecting it to be quiet - it was when we arrived at 7, but when we left at 8:30 it was absolutely packed, with a mix of clientele - families with young children, older families, couples and a few tables of friends catching up. A lively, happy atmosphere.
I hope the new menu is a great success, it certainly deserves to be. Thank you for inviting me.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

creamy chicken and broccoli pasta

3 chicken breasts
Half a head of broccoli
100g light soft cheese
Fresh thyme

I chopped the chicken into chunks then started to fry on a low heat, in a fry lite'd pan.

While the chicken was cooking I chopped some florets from a head of broccoli, using about half the broccoli.

I popped the broccoli in boiling water and cooked until tender, drained then set aside.

Once that was done I popped on a pan of pasta.

When the chicken was almost cooked I added some torn fresh thyme then the soft cheese into the pan to melt. I managed to smash my pyrex measuring jug the other day (glass everywhere, hours to clean) so I just guessed with the amount of milk - adding enough to create a small amount of sauce, enough to coat the pasta.

I added the cooked broccoli to the pan, then drained the pasta and added that, giving a good stir to coat the pasta in the sauce.

I served mine with roasted veg to get my super free.

I think this would be 2.5 syns for the soft cheese, with this serving 4, if the milk was from your healthy extra milk allowance.

I'm loving using this sauce, cheese sauces are one of my downfalls, I really missed them last time I did slimming world. Thankfully this seems to be a work around that the family will all eat - phew!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Broccoli and potato bake

I made this over a month ago, in an attempt to get us eating more veg.

Couple of potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
Half pint milk
Tbsp flour
Tbsp butter
Cheese, I used mature cheddar

Turn the oven onto 200 to heat up.  You'll need a medium pan, small pan, an oven dish and handheld blender out.

Chop the broccoli into small florets then boil in the medium pan until tender. (Or steam if you prefer). Drain then add a few of the small florets to your oven dish. Set aside the remaining broccoli for blending.

Make the cheese sauce as you would any normal cheese sauce; tablespoon of butter melted in the small pan with a tablespoon of flour added, stirred to absorb all the butter and then cooked for one minute, milk then added in small quantities with vigorous stirring to avoid lumps, then adding the cheese at the end to melt.

Arrange the sliced potato in the dish with the broccoli florets.  Add the reserved broccoli to the cheese sauce and blend until smooth, turning the sauce a delicious green.  Pour the sauce over the potato slices and broccoli then bake in the oven for an hour, extra cheese could be added to the top for more of a treat.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Toddler friendly chicken and tomato pasta

My style of cooking has changed a lot since becoming a Mum. I don't often have the luxury of time, the same money to spend on ingredients, and I have a lot more mouths to feed!  I struggle to come up with new recipes that we'll all eat.  On my own I would have a mostly vegetarian diet, but sadly meat is king in this house, and vegetables the sworn enemy...

Daisy has only just started eating pasta again. I have nursery to thank for that, seeing her friends eat it has made Daisy give pasta another go.

This weekend we dog sat for my parents, I raided their fridge and cupboards and threw together an easy, tasty pasta dish.


1 large chicken breast, diced into small pieces
1 small (home grown) onion, chopped into tiny pieces
1 red pepper, chopped into tiny pieces
1 tin of tomatoes
1 tbsp low fat soft cheese
Small bunch of fresh basil leaves
Penne pasta


In order to get Daisy to eat the vegetables I chopped them very, very small.

I browned the small pieces of chicken in garlic flavoured fry lite,then added the veg. I let that cook for a few mins to soften then added the tinned tomatoes.  After that all cooked for about 5 mins I stirred in the soft cheese and lastly chopped up and threw in the basil leaves.

While all that was cooking I had the pasta on to cook, I drained that then added plated up.  We finished with some grated cheese on top.

I left Daisy's pasta plain, but she actually preferred it with the sauce on, and ate my pasta but her own chicken...

Do you have any quick, toddler friendly meals to share?