Category Archives: Food

The Nommiest Slimming World Recipe Ever (and it’s super simple to make).

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February is always a frugal month for me. Not only am I getting over Christmas and the costs incurred there but it’s my Mum’s birthday, my sister-in-laws birthday, nearly Mothers Day and the month in which I start thinking of putting a deposit down on a holiday.

For all of those reasons, my beauty buying becomes a bit limited and so does my food shopping. It’s always a big struggle on Slimming World trying to find recipes that are tasty but don’t break the bank, as well as being relatively simple to cook as I am a busy, busy bee through the week and never have time when I get home to become a slave in the kitchen.

This is one of those long standing recipes that I always return to because it takes 5 minutes to prepare, is low in syns and tastes delicious. I’ve calculated that the whole batch of this costs me about £3.55 to make (that makes 4 portions!). I’ve used branded ingredients in there too, so you could probably cut a quarter off it by buying own brand or budget items and of course you can switch the main meat (I’ve used sausages) to make it cheaper again, completely syn free or vegetarian!!

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Sausage & Bean Casserole

  • Any meat cubed(I’ve used 8 sausages at 1.5 syns each)
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tin of kidney beans
  • 1 tin sliced carrots
  • 1 tin baked beans in tomato sauce
  • 1 pork stock cube (or whatever matches your meat)
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic or garlic granules
  • smoked paprika, 2 tbsp
  • paprika, 1 tbsn
  • cayenne pepper, 1/2 tbsp

Throw in a casserole dish and mix well. Heat in oven at 180’c for an hour.

Voila.

Serve alone, with a selection of veg or crusty bread.

You could also use a completely different selection of herbs and spices to match it to your taste!

 

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A Diet update: 13.5lbs lighter in 3 weeks :)

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I announced a few weeks ago my intentions to watch my diet in an attempt to get a beach ready body for my Thailand trip in May. As usual, I had decided to do Slimming World as I know the diet well and feel comfortable doing it but also because I’m a bit if a heifer and SW allows for a lot of food intake. I really struggle with hunger on diets and it’s at those moments that I end up having a bar of chocolate or fast food that isn’t good for me!

For those of you who don’t know, Slimming World is essentially a calorie controlled diet but I like it because large parts of your menu can be eaten without having to be weighed or counted. There are lists of “Superfree” and “Free” foods that can be eaten without limit and then you top up your daily diet with “Healthy Extras” (fibre and calcium) and Syns. Syns, as they sound, are foods which have to be measured and controlled as you only get 105 syns per week. To give you a general idea:

  • Superfree foods include most fruits and vegetables.
  • Free foods include most meat without fat, fish, eggs, quorn, beans and lentils and some vegetables such as potatoes and parsnips.
  • Syns include stuff you’d expect to have to keep an eye on like sweets, crisps, cheese, bread, alcohol, fat.
  • Healthy Extra A’s provide you with your daily calcium intake: 250ml of semi-skimmed milk or 30g of cheese…
  • Healthy Extra B’s provide you with your daily fibre intake: 30g of cereal, 2 small slices of bread….

These lists aren’t exhaustive! Just a little way of explaining SW to you without getting technical.

So anyway, rather than go to a Slimming World group, which costs about £5 per week and a start up fee of £15, I decided to contact all of my friends and family and have a weekly weigh-in group for 12 of us. As a joke, we named it F.A.R.T (Fight Against Restrictive Trousers) and we have Ferocious F.A.R.Ter of the week, Inspirational F.A.R.Ter of the Month, 1/2 stone stickers and 1 stone stickers. We all pay a weekly fee of £1 and at the end of the year, when we all look like extras from a Destiny’s Child video, we will be using out £50 savings to go on a club night out. So it’s healthy and good fun!!

SW is a the best diet in my opinion for people who really enjoy cooking and food prep. It doesn’t lend itself well to pre-prepared food as all fats, oils etc are counted as syns. As an example, a homemade chicken Kiev will set you back about 8 syns (and believe me it’s really tasty), whereas a shop bought fresh or frozen Kiev will set you back about 18 syns. It’s not really worth it, is it?

I love cooking, nothing difficult, but one pot wonders and 20 minute meals are really my thing. I’ve found that almost every recipe in my recipe books can be adapted to SW, recent ventures include a Jamie Oliver Beef Tagine and a Delia Jambalaya that worked out only 3-4 syns per portion and where absolutely DIVINE!!!! Meat, fish, Quorn, Lentils and tofu are all free on SW so it doesn’t matter if you are a veggie or a hardened carnivore, there is always something for you.

So I’ve been sticking to it for three weeks and seen some pretty impressive results:

  • In week one I stuffed myself and lost 4lbs.
  • In week two I went on a pretty rowdy night out where I ate/drank 110 syns on one night and still lost 1.5lbs
  • In week three I tried to control the aftermath of the heavy night out so only had 49 syns all week, but still stuffed myself with low-carb meals and lost a whopping 8lbs!!

In the 23 days I’ve been dieting I haven’t eaten a single bar of chocolate, packet of crisps or bag of sweets (a personal best), so all of my syns have come from “luxury” ingredients like cream cheese and breadcrumbs. My meals, although all home made, have been super tasty and because of that I honestly don’t feel like I’m on any sort of diet!

My favourite meals so far have been:

  1. Greek meatballs, salad, cous cous and hummus (4 syns in tbsp of hummus, rest free).
  2. Luxury fish pie with a carrot & swede topping (8 syns in entire pie: serves 2-4)
  3. Home-made chicken kiev, jacket potato and veg (6 syns in kiev, 1.5 syns for splodge of extra light spread on potato).
  4. Sausage & Super Mash (sweet potato, carrot & swede, turnip, parsnip & spring onion) with gravy. (2.5 syns per sausage, 1.5 syns in 100mls gravy)
  5. Any traditional roast meat with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, root mash, veg selection and gravy, cauliflower cheese. (1.5 syns per 100mls of gravy, 3.5 syns in cauliflower cheese, the rest is free!)
  6. Fat-free Big Breakfast (toast, bacon, egg & mushrooms) (1.5 syns for a bit of extra light spread on the toast).
  7. Beef Tagine (6 syns in entire batch).
  8. Jambalaya (12 syns in entire batch- serves 4-6!)

So as you can see I’ve been eating very well and still the weight has fallen off me. Add to this the other two meals a day I’m having plus snacks and I’ve felt very satisfied from start to end!

I don’t want to bore anyone with the details of my diet but will post the occasional update for no better purpose than keeping myself on track. If anyone is interested in any of these SW friendly recipes please let me know and I will post them!

 

Summer Cookin’: Lamb Souvlaki

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It’s one of those days today where it’s just too hot to do anything. Even the dog, usually keen to play or walk or rip something to bits is passed out in the coolest room of the house, deathly still like a crocodile.

So, keen to enjoy a nice meal on such a glorious day that didn’t require an over-exertion of effort, we took inspiration from our favourite Greek restaurant (which we visited just last night, incidentally) and decided on a nommy Lamb Souvlaki served with salad (refreshing), pitta and dips (easy).

We’ve marinaded our diced lamb shoulder in the following concoction for a few hours:

  • 1 glass red wine
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • juice (and some zest) of 2 lemons
  • 1 tspn oregano
  • sprinkling of rosemary

And all we will do is skewer the meat and grill for 10-12 minutes. All of our dips (hummus, tzatziki, taramasoulata) are shop bought (lazy!), so besides chopping the salad and toasting the pitta, we are good to go!! We deliberately chose NOT to add olive oil to the marinade as I thought with the pitta and the dips I was being naughty enough (all of this can be counted as syns though, the majority of the dips we bought are from low-fat ranges).

I’m also trying out some stuffed vine leaves that I bought a while back from a foreign food specialist store. This is jarred in olive oil and have a long-life sell by date, so I doubt they will be as nice as a restaurant version!! Still, it’s a nice little addition and if they are nice then I’ll add them to future home-cooked Meze’s. Life is too short to stuff a vine leaf, after all 🙂

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Dinner was absolutely divine! The lamb was beautiful, compliments to the chef, really tender and tasty. The sides were refreshing yet filling and my vine leaves were nice enough given that they required no effort whatsoever!! I will definitely try them again 🙂

Om nom nom nom- a night out in my favourite restaurant :)

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Me and Hubby had a very civilised night last night in our favourite restaurant, the Retsina in Liverpool. We were in great company and didn’t get too sloshed- although the 2 ouzo’s we had to open and close the meal had an affect on me at about midnigh *hiccup*.

We got engaged in this restaurant (totally by accident- hubby blames the Ouzo for that too) in 2010 so the staff are always great with us and the food is always superb.

From top right, that’s my best friend Katie with her Kleftico, to her left is Skordo Stoumbi (a lamb and garlic stew) served with rice and salad, my hubby’s Sea Bass in garlic sauce and a couple of my meze courses- Kalamari and Prawns Skaras. I also had Halloumi & Lountza and Keftedes but I was too hungry to take photos of them.

We washed everything down with Mythos and Keo (Keo always takes me back to a beach in Cyprus!). All in all, the food was lovely and the company was divine 🙂

Disclaimer: I’m not Greek so I apologise if I’ve spelt the dishes wrong- I’m working from my ouzo-fuddled memory here 🙂

Quick & Easy Seafood Risotto

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I wish I’d taken a photo of this before I shovelled it down my mouth!! This took 20 minutes from start to finish and was really refreshing on a hot summers day such as this. PLUS, It’s totally Slimming World friendly- although you may have to add some extra Superfree veg if you are doing EE.

Ingredients

  • 300g risotto rice (I used Arborio)
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 2 whitefish fillets
  • 500g king prawns
  • 800 ml chicken stock
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • handful frozen peas
  • handful frozen babycorn
  • handful froze green beans
  • 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. Fry the onions and garlic until golden brown. To keep the recipe SW friendly I used Fry Light instead of oil.
  2. Add a tiny amount of stock to the pan then add the rice. Stir until the rice is coated in the stock then add the remainder of the stock and stir well. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon 1/4 of the lemon zest. Keep the pan on a medium heat and occasionally stir to stop the rice from sticking.
  3. After 10 minutes, add the fish fillets. I keep them whole then gently break them up as they cook but that’s because I’m lazy. If you prefer to dice them, dice them!
  4. After a further 5 minutes add the frozen veg and the prawns then leave to simmer for 5 more minutes or until the rice is cooked to your liking.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. As there are no herbs in this recipe, I tend to go heavy on the pepper (which compliments the lemon!).

It’s a super easy recipe that is ready to eat in 25 minutes! Enjoy.

Last Day of Naughty Eating

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….before the pre-wedding diet starts!!!

Being British, there is only 1 way to spend your Sunday and that is 1) cooking and 2) eating a roast. Seen as I’ve now got 3 months of healthy eating ahead of me, I thought I may aswell do this properly.

I’m a massive fan of Greek cuisine and for a while have followed Evelyn’s Recipe book on Food.com. Her recipes are fantastic and lots of them are super easy to cook. I’ve been eyeing up her Greek Lamb for months and when I saw some on offer in my local supermarket yesterday thought there is no time like the present! You can check out the recipe here: http://greek.food.com/recipe/greek-roast-leg-of-lamb-with-potatoes-59940

So they’ve marinaded overnight in a garlic-heavy marinade and I’ve just drained off the excess and whacked it in the oven. At the moment, it looks like this:

And it smells divine! According to the recipe, I cook the potatoes in with the meat after it’s roasted for and hour and a half.

We’re having roasted parsnips, carrot & swede and broccoli with this which are NOT recommended by Evelyn but are kind of necessary for a proper Sunday roast!

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So..we’ve just eaten and it was absolutely divine! I don’t know where the recipe would stand with Slimming World- 1/3 of my plate was certainly superfree and I went out of my way to avoid stuffing and Yorkshire’s, but then the meat was marinaded in oil for 12 hours (not cooked in it though) and I had enough gravy to drown in. On the plus side, I’m too full to even contemplate dessert.

My other half moaned the whole time I cooked this that 2hrs 15 was too long to cook a half leg of lamb (he would normally have his lamb medium-rare) but I told him to have faith! Evelyn specifically comments in the recipe that in Greece lamb would only be served well done and this was definitely well done. The outside was lovely and crisp whilst the meat remained moist and juicy. Couldn’t taste the lemon or the mustard in the recipe,  i’m sure they served some purpose,  and the garlic was nowhere near as overpowering as I expected. Absolutely loved it, can’t wait to be able to eat it again 🙂