Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Phil and I love a drop of prosecco. We normally have a bottle or two of our favourite from Sainsbury's stashed away, but I haven't seen it on offer for a while.
We were given this bottle by my dad, who'd picked it up on Morrison's. It's currently on offer, at £7 down from a tenner.
I wasn't expecting it to be any good, but it surprised us in being quite delicate and very light. Some of the cheaper proseccos can often taste harsh and even bitter. It's been a very, very long time since I did any wine tasting, so I won't pretend I could taste the different notes in there - particularly because we're suffering with colds!
This is definitely one I'll be adding to our list of wines 'we' like.
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Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Monday, 23 November 2015
Unfortunately I haven't done this during an easy 12 weeks of life. Right in the first month we went on honeymoon - where there was no way I was going to stress myself out trying to food optimise in Rome, then at least 5 out of the 12 weeks we've existed on an average of 3 hours broken sleep a night, because of teething, sickness, snoring....
Excuses, excuses - I know.
I suppose, having already been doing Slimming World for what seems like an eternity, there was no way I was going to get those great weight losses you do in the first few weeks. But I fully expected to lose around 2Ibs a week, food optimising and going to the gym.
But I didn't. I yoyo-ed, up and down, and up and down, and up and down. My consultant told me I didn't lose a decent amount of weight because I didn't stop to group all the time. I did stop to at least 8 out of the 12 sessions though - and looking back my weight losses weren't any better the week after I'd stayed to group. I make no secret of the fact that I don't enjoy the group part of the session - if I'm completely honest I find it utterly tedious. It felt like an hour and a half waste of my life every week.
So at the end of the 12 weeks I've made the decision I won't return to Slimming World. I will follow the plan at home though, over the year I've found quite a few 'Slimming World' meals that we will all eat - I don't find eating as a family as stressful now. My only problem is not having easy access to scales. We don't have any in the house - it's all too easy to become obsessed with hopping on and off them. My nearest Boots is either Leeds or York, and I don't go weekly to either. I'm telling myself that I'll weigh monthly, so we'll see how I get on with that. I suspect not weighing every week my motivation will drop off.
So the going to the Slimming World classes side of the scheme - not so good.
HOWEVER, the going to the gym element I have absolutely loved. I look forward to going, especially on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Having somewhere to go to get out of the house a few times a week and be on my own, or with a friend - has been wonderful for my mental health - particularly during the non-sleeping weeks. My confidence is slowly building in there, and I'm even running on the treadmill now, and not caring if other people are there to see. From what I've gathered so far, nobody pays the blindest bit of attention to what anyone else is doing. Well, apart from me when I'm trying to listen to someone else's conversation that sounds interesting.
Going to the gym has given me a new found happiness, and best of all - that's where the results of the 12 weeks can be seen.
The scales show I've only lost 6Ib in 12 weeks (pitiful) but the tape measure shows much more positive results.
I'm going to sign up to be a member, and I'm even going to try out a few classes - I felt too fat and unfit to go to any before, but I'm going to give a couple a try and hopefully will be OK. Perhaps not spinning just yet though, the memory of that hell is all too real still....
Although the gym side of things has pleased me, I will admit to feeling like I've failed on the losing weight side. I desperately want to break into that next stone barrier - so I've just got to keep trying. And stop eating malteasers...
Friday, 20 November 2015
4 pork loins, cut into strips
1 carrot, cubed
Half a packet of green beans
450ml chicken stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 bay leaf
2 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp ground cumin
Stir fry the pork for five minutes, with the bay leaf, Chinese five spice and bay leaf.
Add the rice, vegetables, soy sauce and chicken stock.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, put a lid on and leave to simmer for 15 mins.
Turn the heat off after 15 mins but leave the pan, with the lid still on, for another 15 mins to absorb all the liquid.
Serve after the 15 mins standing time.
Monday, 9 November 2015
At the beginning of October I had a meal at Sonali - no photo, sorry - our local Indian restaurant. I had vegetable samosas to start - surprisingly spicy, and Lamb Multani - which came with melted cheese on top. I've never had a curry before with melted cheese on top, but I really enjoyed it. Sonali is very popular locally, I've always found the food to be good, and portion sizes generous.
I popped up to Newcastle to meet my friend and her little girl during half term - we ate at Prezzo, but sadly the food wasn't great, and the service was terrible. I did think the children's menu was good value though; it's only saving grace.
Last week I went to the Homage2Fromage cheese cafe pop up in the Merrion Centre. The Yorkshire Rarebit was fantastic - I'll go back just for that. But my pizza wasn't quite as cheesy as I thought it would be - but still a decent pizza, and good value at £8. It's an interesting concept and something different for Leeds. And pulled pork burger free... I would have liked to have had a slice of cheesecake for dessert, or even a piece of fruitcake with some Wenesleydale cheese - but maybe cheesecake is a bit too pedestrian. The only criticism I have is the price of the cheeseboard, it seems overly expensive - but I didn't see one made up, so perhaps the extra items on the board make up the cost. The staff coped very well with four children though, and were very gracious about the mess created. I managed to get up as much as I could, but I really do need to take out a mini dustpan and brush for eating out with my girls!
When we arrived at the restaurant we were five minutes early for opening, and weren't allowed in, so we popped up to The Chilli Shop; I picked up a Really Nice Food Company sweet chilli dip, which is amazing. There's lots of samples to try in the shop; I'll be heading back up there for something to add to my parents Christmas hamper I'm sure.
Monday, 19 October 2015
Monday, 12 October 2015
Monday - pea and ham soup
Tuesday - tuna pasta bake
Wednesday - SW burger and salad
Thursday - sausages (pasta/rice/potatoes - who knows)
Friday - homemade pizza swirls/ stir fry
Saturday - bolognese
Sunday - roast chicken
Last week we popped into Iceland and I bought some of the Slimming World burgers - I couldn't bring myself to get the sausages, but I did make the mistake of picking up some Linda McCartney veggie sausages (they tasted as awful as quorn ones do). I wasn't keen on the burgers, and would rather just syn some ones from the butchers instead.
This week we're due to get a meat pack from our local butchers, so I'll be getting a medium chicken, 1Ib mince, 1Ib sausages, some pork loins and some stewing beef. I'll use the pork and stewing beef next week, and the roast chicken we have on Sunday will stretch into two meals next week too. Love leftovers.
Yesterday we had a gammon joint, Phil will be using some of the leftovers for his butties, and i'll use a small amount in some pea and ham soup, which the girls will hopefully eat too. They both like soup, the toddler especially likes to dip things at the moment, so soup and sandwiches is always a winner. The baby just likes to be covered in green mess, and if she can get plenty of it on everything else then she'll be excessively happy.
We went to Rome for our honeymoon at the beginning of the month - we ate so much pizza that I don't think I'll be ready to have it again until next year. Whilst we were there I had a fantastic bolognese dish - with gnocchi - not sure why it's never occured to me to put them together before, but I really liked it. If I remember to pick some up this week then we'll have that, but if not we have plenty of pasta in the storecupboards. Whilst we were away I've fallen back in love with red wine and prosecco - I still think white wine has a vendetta against me though. I don't tend to drink at home very often, if at all, because we cosleep with the baby from the early hours every night, so it was nice to be able to have a few glasses of wine together.
Sunday, 11 October 2015
This is about as easy as it gets - well without microwaving I suppose...
1 tin of tuna
half a carton of passata
dried pasta (enough to fill whatever dish you're going to use)
herbs of your choice
Heat oven to 200.
Cook the pasta, drain the water and set aside in the pan.
Grate the cheese - it's hard to put an amount to use, I tend to grate some then eat a bit of it, give some to whichever child is in the vicinity and then end up grating more at the end...
Pour the passata into the pan, drain your tin of tuna and then add that into the pan with the passata and the pasta.
Add whichever herbs you like - I added basil, rosemary and a bit of thyme. Give it a good mix and then pour into a baking dish.
Throw in a few cherry tomatoes - I have some homegrown ones in varying levels of ripeness so grabbed a few of these and dotted them about.
Sprinkle over the cheese (grate more if you don't get enough coverage).
Bake in the oven for around 20 mins, or until you smell the cheese starting to burn.
Serve with green beans and salad.
Monday, 14 September 2015
Monday - Tomato soup (using some of our meagre crop of homegrown tomatoes)
Tuesday - Sausage pasta
Wednesday - Tuna fishcakes
Thursday - Chicken curry and rice
Friday - Homemade fish fingers (phil & the girls), jacket potato and beans for me
Saturday - Slow cooker chilli and rice
Sunday - Slow cooker chicken, bacon and potato stew
I need to pop to our local butcher for the mince and bacon, and will be getting 6 chicken breasts for £6 at Tadcaster market.
We've had an unexpected expense this month so are having to cut back on our shopping spend to try and stay afloat, I'm trying to use up as much of what we have in the cupboards and freezer and make use of deals on meat to get through to pay day. I have one large frozen fish fillet left in the freezer, which will become the fish fingers, and we have some sausages left over from the last time I bought them in bulk from the butcher that goes to Tad market. We always have lots of dried pasta in the cupboards and usually a tin of tuna in there.
I'll be looking out for the usual MPM post on At home with Mrs M to link up with the other meal planners.
Sunday, 13 September 2015
I used this BBC Good Food recipe, but opted to melt my butter on the hob, and also melt my chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Our microwave is unpredictable at best in it's desire to cook - so I don't trust it to melt chocolate in, back to the old school method for me.
I had a tiny piece of this as I cut my parents portion. It was OK - but lacked something. I thought maybe some pieces of honeycomb to add another texture to the chocolate topping. It was very rich, and a bit sickly really. I'm tempted to make it again, adding in some pears and ginger, and using ginger biscuits as the base.
Do you have a go to chocolate tart recipe?
Saturday, 12 September 2015
We'll be going on our honeymoon shortly, I can't wait to go to Rome. I'm going to be scouring the net for recommendations of off the tourist track places to eat, and we can't wait to do all that sight seeing.
Wednesday, 9 September 2015
I was sent a selection of lightly dried herbs to review; parsley, basil and coriander.
I usually have fresh basil, parsley, rosemary and mint growing at home, but for some reason I can never keep coriander alive - something to work on!
I'll admit that when I was sent these I didn't quite see the point to them. However, as I've been using these I've found the herbs just being in the fridge to be really useful and have made use of them more than I thought I would.
I always find I prefer to use fresh herbs, these lightly dried versions have provided a good alternative - and my inner lazy cook does quite appreciate not having to chop my fresh herbs up, or rescue the children from the garden whilst I'm cutting a few sprigs.
I also like the packets they're in. My herb and spice collection has taken up a whole shelf of a cupboard - I need one of those spice tree thingys with them all together. So just chucking these on the shelf of my fridge door was handy.
I've found the flavour, texture and smell of these to be good too - certainly better than my dried varieties that have been open a good few months.
If I saw these in the supermarket I would definitely buy - particularly the coriander!
Sunday, 23 August 2015
large bunch of fresh mint
Medium potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
Yellow split peas
Half a bag of frozen peas
1 litre vegetable stock
Put pan of water on to cook yellow split peas - I didn't weigh mine out but probably used a good handful. Rinse split peas then add to the pan of boiling water.
Spray another pan with fry lite and gently fry off the carrot and potato - regular readers of my blog will know that my Hub is onion phobic - I do normally use them in blended soups but on this occasion forget to buy any, if I was making this again then I'd add an onion!
Chop the fresh mint then add that to the pan with the vegetable stock when the potato and carrots have started to soften. Simmer until the veg is almost cooked then add the peas for the last four mins.
When the split peas are cooked drain the water and rinse again, set aside.
When all the veg is all cooked add the split peas to the pan and blend, blend, blend. If after finishing the blending your soup seems too thick then add more water - I made the mistake of thinking I could leave it thick the first time I made this soup and it ended up tasting like a bowl of minty mushypeas...
I like to add a teaspoon of mint sauce when serving, and can confirm the soup tastes great the next day with some shredded ham thrown in.
Monday, 27 July 2015
Meals are being kept simple this week, and I've even thought of what we'll be eating next week.
My favourite meal this week will be the beef curry, which I'll do in the slow cooker.
We'll need to pop in to our local butchers for some sausages, I've recently started getting a 5 day meat pack from them - which lasts us 2 weeks. You get a medium chicken (3 meals), some stewing beef, mince, sausages and then pork loins. I'll probably also get some tomato sausages from Tadcaster market on a Thursday, sausages being the toddlers favourite. Shopping this way saves us money, supports local shops and traders and gives us better quality meat.
Do you use a butcher? What are your favourite holiday meals?
Monday, 29 June 2015
Monday - quiche and salad
Tuesday - pork steaks and rice
Wednesday - mushroom pasta
Thursday - chilli and jackets
Friday - prawn risotto
Saturday - who knows!
Sunday - roast chicken
Baking - Jam tarts, fruit loaf and wholemeal breadcakes
Another simple week for us. I don't think the toddler will eat prawn risotto, she loved it until she hit two then decided it was yucky... I'll still offer her it, but also cook her a couple of homemade fish fingers just so she does eat something...
Linking up with Mrs M and the other meal planners.
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Wednesday - fish, potatoes, peas
Thursday - sausage pasta
Friday - roast chicken and salad
Saturday - pizzas
Sunday - egg, chips and beans
A simple meal plan for this week. I was trying to do at least one exciting meal a week (last week's was lamb Rogan josh) so I left Sunday blank and asked Phil what he'd like for his Fathers day tea - he wants egg, chips and beans!
I made some tarts with the toddler yesterday and I think we'll attempt another lemon meringue cake this weekend.
Sunday, 10 May 2015
Monday, 27 April 2015
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