New Start – again!

So I bit the bullet and went back to my slimming world class (St Marys In Templeogue).
I was dreading the weigh in but I decided to start over, no history. New card.
I was 1lbs lighter than when I last weighed in at end of May so that was a happy start.

Welcome back hugs and such warmth from the members I knew reassured me I had made the right decision.

So, I am keeping food diaries for the first 4 weeks to hand into my leader Noeleen and so far so good.

Although, I baked this cake for a client yesterday, imagine the temptation, the day after signing up again to Slimming World

So I admit I made a test layer as it was gluten free and I needed to be sure it was ok (although recipe came from my friend Anna and can be viewed HEREe

I may have eaten my days syns allowance testing tiny slices. Every time I passed it.

Here’s the cake – chocolate gluten free sponge with chocolate ganache for a student in Maynooth College who’s daddy wanted to send her a birthday surprise!

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Lentils??? Yes!!

IMG_8753I was lounging about feeling miserable yesterday, sore throat, sore head, sore everywhere. And I flicked onto Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals on the GoodFood channel.

He was making Spiced Chicken, Bacon, Asparagus and Spinach Lentils. Himself (husbag) was beside me, he said “That looks lovely, will you make that” so I said, ok, I’l try!

Now, i’ve never been a big fan of lentils, but i’m being converted, i’ve even started sneaking them into curries, bolonaise and (shock!!) my famous Taco Fries!! Half the calories of meat and just as filling – yes please!

I’ve changed a few little bits from the original recipe in Jamie’s Book, and I used dried red lentils as Tesco across the road had no tinned puy, but I would like to try it again with the correct lentils!

As usual with a meal with so many flavours, it reheats beautifully and leftovers today were so good!!

I used streaky Bacon, but you could substitute with trimmed lean bacon to keep it free on SW plan, apart from that it’s Syn free.

Husband strongly approved of this meal, said he would keep me a bit longer, I think he wants the same again tonight but beans on toast is my limit today 🙂

ps. This took me slightly longer than 15 minutes to prepare and cook!!

 

Spicy Chicken with Bacon, Asparagus and Spinach Lentils 

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

Lentils: 

1 onion

2 carrots (original recipe uses 1)

2 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves removed)

120g dried red lentils (or as per original recipe, 2 x 400g tins puy lentils)

2 ripe tomatoes

150g baby spinach

1 tsp red wine vinegar (I used white)

4 heaped tbsp fat free natural yoghurt (optional)

Chicken:

4 skinless, chicken breasts

1 tsp cayenne pepper

4 cloves garlic

1 handful fresh thyme, rosemary and/or bay leaf (I used 1 tsp dried thyme, fresh rosemary and 2 dried crumbled bay leaves)

6 rashers of streaky bacon  (jamie’s original recipe calls for 4 rashers of smoked pancetta)

1 bunch of asparagus  (I used 2 packs of asparagus spears, I love asparagus)

 

Method:

– If you are using dried lentils, bring them to the boil  and simmer for 10 mins until just softened, then drain and remove from the heat. If you are using tinned, just open the tins!

– Peel and quarter the onion and carrot and blitz in processor with the rosemary leaves until fine.

– put in the pan with (spray oil) olive oil and toss regularly

– on a sheet of clingfilm or greaseproof, sprinkle the chicken with the cayenne, salt and pepper, then fold over the clingfilm and take out some aggression on it, very satisfying, until 1.5 cm (ish) thick

– put this into a warmed frying pan with (spray) olive oil,  the unpeeled garlic cloves and the handfuls of herbs, and turn every 3-4 mins until cooked through and gold in colour. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm

– add the lentils to the onion and carrot along with the tomatoes (chopped roughly) and put the lid on. Finely chop the spinach and add to the mix, along with the vinegar, stir and heat through until the spinach is wilted. Season to taste.

– add the asparagus and bacon to the frying pan and fry until crispy and golden (the 2 extra slices of streaky bacon are to test, to make sure it’s ok and crispy enough).

– Roughly stir the yoghurt through the lentils (or serve on the side if you prefer), top the lentils with the asparagus sliced chicken, 1 fillet per person and a slice of bacon, cut in half. (Jamie serves all of this on a platter)

– It is suggested to serve this with crusty bread, warmed through in the oven.

 

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Weekly weight and injuries

My second weekly weigh in and I’m 2lbs down. So that’s 5lbs off since my new leaf, it’s getting easier than ever to not give in to the temptation of standing up on the scales every day!!

A long way to go to get back to even the weight I was this time last year (a stone less than now!!) but I feel positive and encouraged by my new found determination.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to go to my workouts at Crossfit because I fell over during a workout 3 weeks and ended up with an avulsion fracture on my right ankle 😦
It’s been frustrating to be injured again but after 3 weeks now I’m back walking again properly (albeit very slowly and not without considerable lain) and seeing a physio but I’ve a few more weeks wait before I can work out again!

In the meantime I’ve been shopping for clothes that fit me now, that I feel good in, got my hair redone and freshened up and have been doing lots of cooking and baking with the little men.

I’l leave you today with this gorgeous recipe and helpful tutorial for a simple, easy but sooo tasty lemon and orange cake. Tutorial is by my friend, the lovley Soraya over at Coze Di Roze
Check out the site for great quality and affordable clothes, some of which are also fair trade, not to mention easy to wear and look great!

Click here for recipe:
St Clements Drizzle Cake

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New Slimming World Fakeaway Book

So a new recipe book has been launched “Fakeaways”

I love it, lots of new recipes to try based on favourite Takeaway or fast food meals.

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I tried the “Burger in a Bowl” the other day and it was nicer than I expected! I served it with mixed raw stir fry veggies but I think they over powered the flavours and next time I would use iceberg as recommended

The super sauce that goes with it it to die for and next time I will make double!

If you see this book at your meetings or online on Slimming World official website, pick up a copy, I don’t think you will be disappointed 🙂

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Juice “Diet” Day 2….

First things first. Weigh myself. At 7.30am. After the loo, with no clothes on. Down 1lb since yesterday. Excellent. Only a million left to go.

Cycle to school with the kid. I feel so amazing and empowered by my 1lb loss that I even add an extra cycle on after the drop off. Feel amazing. Fabulous.

9.00am. Have sunrise orange/carrot juice.

10.00am. Starving. But Have been online all morning sorting out new website (check it out http://www.elegantflowers.ie)

11.00am. Get a text, passport applications for kids are missing vital things, namely my own passport, and No.1’s birthcert. I need to go to the Passport office 45 mins away today

Continue to work away, facebook, twitter and website are very effective at distracting me from the hunger.

I intend to have soup at lunch with friend and be super good and strong.

1.45pm. In cafe.

Waitress: What will you have

Me: I’l have the soup

Waitress: do you want bread with that?

Me: no thank you, just the soup

Waitress: If you get a wrap or sandwich and spend €6.95 the kid (No.2) eats free

Me: Ok, i’l have a BLT

So I ate the BLT (but no crusts) and 5 of the kids fries and decide that’s the only meal I’l have today, I will remain strong and positive for the rest of the day. They forgot to give me my soup. I ask for it when I pay and take it in a carton.

3.30pm. Went to SW Class to distract myself. I hadn’t been in 2 weeks as was away last week with the husband. I was down 1lb. Hurrah!

5.30pm Cook dinner for the kids. Chicken curry and rice is requested. God this is torture.

6.00pm Feed the kids. Have my evening juice, the beetroot one, it’s ok if I have LOADS of ice in it.

8.00pm. Feel miserable, tired and cold. I have the soup I didn’t have at lunch and feel better.

10.00pm. In bed, wrecked, head hits pillow and out. I better be thinner tomorrow.

Did I mention we launched our new website? It’s http://www.elegantflowers.ie

Also started a blog there yesterday, first entry is up 🙂

Feel free to like us on Facebook too!! https://www.facebook.com/ElegantFlowersDublin?ref=hl

Risotto

I love risotto, but all that stirring – hard work!

So, when I came across this recipe on The Lovely Food Company’s Cookery Course page, I had to try it, with my usual tweaking!! (all the cookery course recipes are available on this site, well worth checking out!)

The original recipe calls for 200mls cream, 300mls milk, I changed this to 100ml cream, 100ml semi skimmed milk, and 100mls white wine. This is the easiest risotto i’ve ever made and the nicest! Of course, the creamier original version is to die for, feel free to try it out, but i’m trying to be good food wise 🙂

Please don’t skip on the fried sage leaves, they are the final touch and really make the dish! I added some grilled chicken, asparagus and butternut squash to my risotto just before serving, I was advised to cook additions seperately and toss over before serving for maximum flavour!

I have typed the recipe out exactly as I cooked it, but original recipe available through link in the first paragraph.

Creamy Pea Risotto with Flash Fried Sage

Ingredients:

Serves 4

225g Risotto Arborio Rice

100ml cream

100ml semi skimmed milk

100ml white wine

400ml hot water

1 small onion finely diced

1 Stock cube (vegetable or chicken)

Small bunch of fresh sage

60g peas

Salt & Pepper

Shaved Parmesan

1/2 butternut squash, cut into cubes (optional)

pack of asparagus spears, ends trimmed (optional)

cooked chicken, sliced (optional)

– Gently saute the onion until softened, add the wine and simmer for a few mins

– add the milk, stock cube and water, simmer on a medium heat for 10 mins

– stir well and add the cream and seasoning, simmer gently for 10 mins then add the peas

– leave on a low heat for about 5 mins, then taste, the rice should be cooked but have a slight bite

– while rice is cooking, steam or boil the butternut squash chunks until just cooked then toss in a little bit of oil and grill on a hot griddle or pan until coloured, add the asparagus and cook in the same way

– in a pan, heat some oil then add the sage leaves and fry until crisp, drain on kitchen paper

– to serve, scoop the risotton into bowls, top with the grilled vegetables, sliced chicken and shavings of parmesan and place the leaves on top.

 

Happy New Year!!

Hope everyone had a lovely good filled Christmas! I threw diets and healthy eating to the wind and enjoyed every bit of it, the cooking and drinking and eating! I did the Christmas dinner myself this year for my little family – full Turkey and all and it went perfect and was a lovely day!
Today is New Year’s Day and personally I think Wednesday is a bad day to be thinking about a diet – especially when one has a head cold 🙂

My New Years resolution is to try to relax about dieting and just enjoy food, love myself, eat well and healthily and do some more exercise and the rest will follow!

I’l leave you with this final note – last night himself and myself went for a (gorgoeus as always) meal to The Lovely Food Co. and as we were leaving I asked Margaret for a little of their delish sourdough loaf to bring home, oh, and some butter as I had used the last of ours baking with no.1 yesterday and wasn’t sure if the shop would be open today!
I left armed with a full baguette and half a pound of “real” butter – and I was a happy bunny this morning for breakfast!!

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Back Again :)

I’m returning after a 2 week sabbatical, Of which I enjoyed every minute!

In the first week I did some relief work in a busy florist shop over the Mothers’s Day rush and enjoyed every second of the non stop action! My foot needed to be iced every evening but I learned I can push myself physically more than I realised, I’ve been so afraid of the pain in my foot I’ve been holding back!

I brought my 2 boys home to my parents house as they were to mind them for us when myself and hubbie went to England for 6 whole child free days!!

We stayed in the Ibis blackfriars for 2 nights and I would recommend it to those considering a city break, great location and lovely new, spotlessly clean hotel with small but perfectly set out rooms and good food!

On our first full day we went to the West End to see The Book of Mormon which I would highly recommend, I literally had a pain in my cheeks from laughing so much – hilarious show!!

We ate in Baltic Restaurant which was 200 metres from our hotel with my cousin and his girlfriend who were Visiting from Italy, this place is well worth a visit – amazing food and we got to sample some of their home fermented vodkas – the Plum and Chilli was my favourite!

On Thursday we walked to Borough Market and I finally found Chipotle Chillies – at this stall I’ve been searching for a long time in Dublin with no luck so I was delighted and was given a tip to marinade a pork shoulder with it and Guinness….more on that in another entry!

We then travelled to St.Albans and I visited Jamie’s Italian to pick up a voucher for my friend, and while I was there felt I couldn’t leave without sampling so I treated myself to a dessert and a coffee – and a “Chocolate and Vin Santo pot” with hazelnut biscotti and zabaglione ice cream – divine is not the word!!

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More drinking (wine for me, beer for him), lunches out and fish n chips for tea and soon it was my friend’s Wedding Day!! I was honoured to be asked to be Bridesmaid and I enjoyed the day immensely, my friend looked beautiful and I felt good in my dress….although I wish I had gotten to goal first!!

So, back to class today and back on track food wise since Monday but for a change, I don’t feel guilty about a week off and I feel good in myself, I know I can loose whatever I may have gained in the last 2 weeks and get to goal when I can.

Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed my update and I’l finish with a picture from “My Bridesmaid Day” 🙂

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Weigh in 24 & Ziplock Steam Bag Review

So weigh class yesterday. I’m having an internal battle with how I feel about the class set up, lately it’s been queuing for ages to pay, queuing again to get weighed, So many people…although I suspect it’s more to to with my current mood than the actual class, but I’m working on that!

Anyway the good news is I was down 2lbs!

I’ve realised that since October I’ve only lost 5lbs, through gaining 1, loosing 1 or 2..yesterday was a breakthrough the 5lbs to a “new” weight so hopefully the start of a downward streak!!

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I promised a review of these Glad Ziplock and Steam Bags. I’ve been asked (by more than 1 person!) why not just use a bowl with a lid – very true! However, these are my new favourite cooking aid! So far I’ve cooked baby potatoes, brocolli and asparagus and as pictured above, cabbage and asparagus! Perfect results each time and no water needed, no bowls with lids needed just pop the veg in, microwave for a couple of minutes and perfect results!

Pictures above the bag is full to the brim with 2 sweetheart cabbages chopped, and a small pack of asparagus tips…I also added a tablespoon of butter and some salt and pepper

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4 minutes later.. Volume has gone down considerably and the cabbage and asparagus are cooked perfectly – slight bite but softened and very tasty!

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At almost €4 for 10 bags, il be watching out for deals and in the meantime – even though it dosen’t say on the box, I’ve rinsed and re-used them twice before discarding!

1/2 Syn Cake

This post is inspired by the 1/2 cake recipe posted by Gill at slimmingmum

1/2 Syn Cake.

My friend invited me to her place for dinner tonight. We are both following Slimming World and love to talk about (and eat) lots of lovely slimming world recipes.

So, we had a delicious free pasta dish for our main, with smoked bacon, onion, passatta, pepper and chilli, served with brocolli and cauliflower on the side to boost the super free.

S had told me she planned to make the 1/2 roulade cake. She had made it before and loved it..I will admit it, I was doubtful.

Roulade to me means cake or meringue rolled around too much fresh whipped cream and fruit and more cream on top, maybe a broken up flake sprinkled on top (and i’d have eaten all the pieces that were “too big”….this concoction of mere eggs and this strange quark stuff…I imagined scrambled egg like mush rolled up with yoghurt, I wondered how I would hide how much I disliked it and be polite and not upset my friend who had gone to so much effort.

She handed me the (quite alright looking) roulade that had been spread with a little sugar free strawberry Jam, filled a blend of quark and strawberry muller light and sliced fresh strawberries, with juicy blackberries on the side. I took a small spoon, put on my best brave face and tasted it…..

…and it was delicious!! I couldn’t believe how cake-like it tasted, and so light, and the filling was Delish and the fruit just worked! I cleared the whole slice and took some home for tomorrow…

..and I didn’t even miss the flake 🙂