Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 27 February 2012

Here we are again! (People will start to talk, you know).

Last week's meal plan, designed to get the kids eating a broader variety of food, was a considered success. My 9 year old is definitely less fussy than he was a year ago, so that's something. I made them eat at least 3 bites before telling me they didn't like it. The bolognaise sauce was a bit rich for them (I made it the way I like it - really hearty and with passata) so I will make a weaker version using tinned tomatoes for the sausuage and pasta dish this week. I didn't make toad in the hole for some reason.

Sausage and pasta bake, sweetcorn & carrots
cottage pie with butternut and cauliflower mash
chicken kiev, new potatoes, peas & carrots
crockpot chicken cordon bleu *
Chicken & stir fry veg
Battered fish (again by request)
left overs

*From Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama's meal plan last week

Remember to check out Mrs M's Linky for more Monday  (or Tuesday) meal plans.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Slimpod - Week 2

Week 2 of You're Sweet Enough

Halfway through week 2 I weighed myself to find I'd lost 2lbs. I was very happy. Unfortunately weighing myself today - 5 days later - I seem to have regained it. I think I will leave the scales for another fortnight. I have taken a detailed series of measurements and will revisit these in a fortnight as well.

My goals last week were to do 3 x 5km and work out what my motivation for losing weight was. I only managed 2 x 5km, but I really pushed myself harder than I have done in weeks, achieving a satisfying if unattractive shade of puce. As for my motivation... that seems to be the pleasure in seeing the scales and inches drop. I realised this when the scales showed a loss and I had a real leap of elation. That's what I am going to focus on to help when making choices.

Good things this week:
  1. reignited my motivation
  2. am eating noticeably less sweet things, and feeling satisfied with less - sometimes even half a biscuit (it's a very strange thing)
  3. I feel really positive and more focused again.
This week's goals are to do a 3rd exercise session, even if it's not a 5km, and to try and get my 5km time down. I'm 2 minutes off my personal best at the moment. Oh, and drink more water- a glass before every meal and before a cup of tea or coffee.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Blondie Biscuits

This morning I discovered an empty biscuit tin when I went to pack lunches. Apparently we have a very large and dexterous mouse adept at opening lids, as everyone denied all knowledge of eating the last of them.
Feeling all Stepford Wife at 7.30am (though would a Stepford have let it get in that state in the first place? ) I found a quick recipe using ingredients I already had. It's a recipe for Blondies, but I made it in a larger tin, thereby making them more biscuit-like.

half cup melted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar (I only had light brown, so I added a tablespoon of treacle)
1 cup self raising flour (or plain with 1tsp baking powder)
1 beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 175C.
  2. Grease and line tin. Mine is 9.5in x 12.5in. If you used an 8in x 8in tin they would be more like blondies.
  3. stir sugar into melted butter until smooth
  4. add egg and vanilla and mix well
  5. add flour
  6. add any extras. I had half a bag of choc chips so I put those in, but you can use nuts or just leave them plain
  7. Pour into tin. Don't worry if it doesn't all reach the corners. It will spread when cooking.
  8. Cook 25 minutes or so. Allow to cool in tin and slice.

It makes around 15 lovely chewy biscuits.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 20 February 2012

Last week I didn't post a menu plan because, quite frankly, I couldn't be bothered planning one. I was struck by a strong wave of apathy and as a result our meals were a mixed bag of nothing to write home about.

This week my apathy has been replaced by a of guilt about how restricted I've allowed my kids diets to become. Their evening meals really are quite limited, so this week is about getting them to eat better. I've asked for their input in the meal plan and this is what we've come up with.

Fajita wraps, with them making the wrap if we have time.
Homemade chicken nuggets
Spaghetti bolognaise with hidden vegetables
Battered fish, chips and peas
pastry pinwheels - with ham and um... ham? (they don't like cheese)
Honey soy chicken with rice
Toad in the Hole

And as treats:

There aren't any recipes for these. I make my fish batter using fizzy mineral water or beer.

If you like this menu then share it around. Be sure to check out Mrs M's linky for more inspiration.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Random Likings - All Things Bright and Beautiful

I am feeling very spring-like with all these beautiful colours everywhere.

This is not my cake, but I honestly can't remember where the picture came from. I will credit it when I find a link. It's amazing, isn't it.

Green jeans from Mango. I suspect these would look terrible on me, but the colour is gorgeous.

And what would spring be without the Easter Bunny?
This site cracked me up: http://www.hotguysandbabyanimals.com/.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Condensed Milk Ice-Cream

If you're not already aware of my love of condensed milk, let me tell you that I absolutey adore it. It's been a life-long affair - though normally a long distance one as I am well aware of how bad it is for me. Absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder and I relish its silky sweetness when we get together.

When I saw this recipe on Tifsong I knew I had to make it. I'm an occasional ice-cream eater. I enjoy it as a treat but it's normally something I can take or leave. This one called to me for its simplicity, but mainly due to it the condensed milk. You don't need an ice cream maker. I don't have one.
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • 1 large pot double cream (I used 2 small pots of Weight Watchers reduced fat stuff and it was still lovely and creamy)
  • 1tsp vanilla
Mix and freeze for several hours. Take out and give it a good whisk, then return until frozen. I added choc chips and chopped marshmallows at this point to make it like Rocky Road. It's best to leave any additions until this point as most things will just sink if you add them before its semi-freddo (get me and my culinary terms).

That's it. Simple and delicious.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Shrove Tuesday

Via Wikipedia.org
I love Pancake Tuesday. Fortunately for me, my children don't like pancakes so I tend to eat them for dinner and then for dessert (with different fillings). Shrove Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday, traditionally in order to use up indulgent foods which were forbidden during Lent. This year it's on Tues 21 February.

I am not fussy when it comes to pancakes. I like thin crepe and fluffy Americna style ones. Here are my favourite recipes for them.

I always let my batter sit for around 30 minutes. A decent saucepan is a must for pancakes. The best I have ever used is my Pampered Chef sautee pan, with a little melted butter. They never stick to this.

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml milk
  • 125ml water (or 250ml milk if you are too lazy to measure twice)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
Method: whisk flour and eggs. Gradually add salt, milk & water, continuing to whisk. Mix in melted butter.

Crepes are can be either savoury or sweet or both, if you go the lemon juice and sugar route. I like to fill them with chicken and mushroom, or ham and cheese, and roll them up like a fajita. If eating them sweet then they are gorgeous served warm spread with Nutella and folded into triangles.

American pancakes (I use Nigella's recipe, more or less)
  • 225g SR flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 30g butter, melted and cooled
  • 300ml milk
Method: sift and mix dry ingredients, then mix in wet ingredients. You can also add extra ingredients to these pancakes, like chopped pecans, blueberries, or chocolate chips. I like mine plain with honey, or maple or golden syrup. I sometimes cook them for breakfast and serve them with raspberries, blackberries and blueberries (frozen are fine if defrosted) and sprinkled with sifted icing sugar.

Similar to, but smaller than, American pancakes are Scotch pancakes (or pikelets in Australia) and they are something I'd cook a lot more often if both of my kids ate them as they are quick easy and filling snacks, even just spread with butter.

Pikelets/Scotch Pancakes
200g plain flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 large egg
300ml milk
1 tsp cinnamon - optional

Method: Put dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Whisk in milk and egg to make batter. Heat oil in pan and spoon in a ladle full per pikelet. Cook both sides as per crepes & American Pancakes. Spread with your choice of topping such as butter, jam or golden syrup.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Slimpod - You're Sweet Enough

I started using Thinking Slimmer's Drop 2 Dress Sizes Slimpod back at the end of Oct. I blogged about the first 6 weeks, but then things stabilised a lot and I even put back on the weight I had lost, which I found quite disappointing despite being able to recognise the positive changes that have stayed. I am healthier but my body shape has not changed and, at a size 12-14 there is definitely room for improvement. I could stand losing another 20lbs (having lost 20lb in the first half of 2011 on Slimming World).

It was exciting to be offered the chance to trial a new Slimpod  - You're Sweet Enough. I noticed that cake had started featuring prominently in my diet again. Not as much as before October, but often enough. I started using the You're Sweet Enough Slimpod alongside the Lose Two Dress Sizes Slimpod a week ago.

Though I have been listening to my Slimpod faithfully for the past 3 months, I've started afresh with new goals and a new daily journal.

I haven't lost any weight this first week, but 3 positive things have been:
  1. I am leaving food at meal time again, and am feeling satisfied with less food
  2. I am eating less between meals, and snacks are healthier 
  3. I am choosing savoury over sweet more often (eg: peanut butter on toast instead of chocolate spread)
Where I am struggling is finding motivation for making the right choices. My goals this week are to run 5km at least 3 times, and consciously think about what motivates me to slim. It must be there or I wouldn't be doing this, but I just can't put my finger on it yet. 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Random Likings for Valentine's Day.

Asda's 7p Valentine's Card... shortly followed by Smart Price couples counselling

William Curley Deluxe Hamper

Cartier Trinity ring

Bvlgari Pour Femme - my favourite. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Books You May Not Have Heard Of (and for good reason)

Last week, whilst searching for stockists of Russian Valentine's Day cards (don't ask... ) I stumbled across a book that made me sit up and take notice. I don't read as much these days as I'd like, but surely I'd have to make time for this literary gem:

If Google's Russian is to be trusted (and it's got to be better than mine) it's called How Conquer The Man Himself and Appetising Meals to File. What more could you want from a book? The secrets of dominating men and a plethora of pirozhki recipes. Did you dominate the man with the dumpling, or eat it afterwards?

Unfortunately it turned out to be a collection of love stories rather than a handbook for a happy life, but it set me searching for other books that may not have received the recognition they so richly deserve such as:

If there are any books you feel were unjustly denied Bestseller status, just let me know and I will right a bibliophilic wrong.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 6 February 2012

Paprika Pork with sautee potatoes
Quorn stir fry with rice noodles
Baked Fried chicken
Pot roast beef

I didn't get around to making the turkey meatballs or baked fried chicken from last week's meal plan. I just couldn't be bothered faffing about with meatballs, so made meatloaf instead (which was supposed to be on this week's menu). The Salisbury steak was ok but not something I'll bother with again. The apricot and coconut chicken was a success. It was really easy and definitely one I'll repeat. The taco pie was really nice but very filling and I was acutely aware of how unhealthy it was so I am not sure if I will make that on a normal week again.

I made the cinnamon roll cake twice. It's really nice. I halved the amount of butter used in the cinnamon topping the 2nd time, and reduced the sugar, and it was much better. I found it really oily the first time. It's nice and moist. 

Check out the linky on Mrs M's blog for more Meal Planning Monday inspiration.

If you like any of these please feel free to share via Twitter, or my new Facebook page.