Monthly Archives: October 2009

Full Freezer

Last week (while I was MIA!) we had a freezer disaster! The door was left slightly open overnight which resulted in everything defrosting and water all over the floor! You can guess how happy I was that morning 😦

So we ended up chucking a lot of food out that day and as I went through the drawers I was amazed by what I found! All sorts of odds and ends were lurking at the back and I had no idea they were there! On Saturday I spent the afternoon properly defrosting and cleaning the freezer so that I could shop again for freezer staples on Sunday morning.

I stocked up on frozen veggies, frozen fruits (great for smoothies or breakfasts!), bagels (easy to toast from the freezer), fish, chicken and ice cream! It cost a small fortune but at least my freezer is now full of nutritious and usable foods that I can use to create quick but yummy meals!

From next week I plan to do some batch cooking and freeze portions of some of our favourites like chilli and soups so we can have yummy home-made meals on days that I don’t have time to cook!

What staples do you always keep in your freezer?

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Getting Back On Track

Sorry for yet another unplanned absence from the blogosphere! A family member has been in hospital for a few days and that has meant that normal life (and blogging!) needed to go on the back burner.

But everything is looking up now and we are back to normal (or as normal as things ever get in my world!).

We have a few things to look forward to this week including delivery of our wedding gifts on Thursday! We need to get busy this week and make some space for them.

Back On Track Month

I’ve been inspired by Caitlin’s Back On Track Month challenge and have decided to jump on the wagon and run my own version. Thanks for the great idea Caitlin!

Current situation:

  • My house is messy
  • I’m not cooking enough
  • Too many treats in my diet
  • Exercise is almost non existent

Goals for November:

  • Exercise 3x per week
  • Eat out a maximum of once per week
  • Focus on ‘clean’ foods in my diet
  • De-clutter and sort the house

Stay tuned for updates but I am confident that with the blog to keep me accountable I will be able to turn things around during November!

As I have mentioned before, I am a list maker and am motivated by crossing things off lists! So to kick off Back on Track Month (from now on BOTM!) I sat down this evening to create a to-do list.

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Now comes the hard work… 🙂

Working Wednesday

Sorry for the unplanned absence this week. I’ve been really busy since Sunday never quite found the time or energy to get online. Consequently my Google Reader has shot back up over 100 and I need to crack on and make a dent in that!

My week so far…Sunday was spent with family and we had a great day which included a brilliant roast dinner. I started the day with a light breakfast

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Leftover smoothie from Saturday morning. I’ve never tried keeping homemade smoothies in the fridge before (thanks to Angela for confirming on Twitter that it would keep ok!).

Monday was back to work and I was super organised with my food….

Breakfast:

DSC02166 Greek Yogurt, strawberries, raspberries, Special K and Cinnamon squares.

Lunch:

DSC02164 Leftover Tomato, Blue Cheese and Quorn Pasta from Friday

Snacks:

DSC02169Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, 2 small sausage rolls and a small slice of coffee cake (the last two were sent home with us from my in laws at the weekend & need eating up!)

I took pretty much the same on Tuesday and today too (with a tuna sandwich instead of the leftover pasta for lunch).

Straight from work I headed out into town where we met with some friends for the cinema. We went to see the new Pixar film – Up – in 3D. I loved the film (as with all the Pixar movies) but be warned it’s a really emotional film. I was in tears in a few places! But it also has some big laughs too and some really funny characters. This was the first time I had seen a film in 3D (except for some shorts at theme parks) and I was quite surprised at how good it was!

This weekend we are staying with my parents for the weekend in Kent which I am really excited about!

Panini Idea

I want to share with you this great idea for a quick and easy lunch or supper. I threw this together on Saturday night using leftovers in the fridge and it worked a treat.

Brie, Spinach and Salsa Panini

Ingredients:

  • Panini Roll
  • Sliced Brie
  • Baby Spinach
  • 1tbsp Salsa

Simply make a sandwich using all the ingredients above and toast on a Panini grill until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted, and then serve!

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I loved this combination of flavours. I have never put brie and salsa together but the freshness of the salsa really cut through the strong cheese flavour. And spinach is a bonus in any sandwich!

Enjoy!

Eggs for breakfast

So I guessed right last night… there was alcohol on the way. Hubby and I shared this bottle of Cornish Orchard Organic Cider that we picked up at the Cider tasting.  DSC02154

My portion was just over 200mls which was enough for me – this stuff was strong but tasty! Hubby suggested we pair it with a sample of these chocolate chip cookies that my in-laws brought us back from Yorkshire.

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I had 2, with my drink while we watched Benidorm and Peep Show. I think these have to be some of the funniest shows on tv!

This morning started early with a fab weekend breakfast. I had 2 eggs scrambled with a little skimmed milk, salt & pepper. I served this on top of a leftover bread roll from hubbies lunches this week which I toasted under the grill – it worked really well! On the side I had a mango smoothie which I made with frozen mango, frozen banana, skimmed milk, a little greek yogurt and a splash of honey. I was hoping to come up with a smoothie recipe that the hubby would like as I really want to encourage him to eat more fruit.

DSC02156 But guess what – it didn’t work 😦 Apparently the smoothie had a strange aftertaste that he couldn’t get past. I loved it though. While blitzing it up I hadn’t put enough liquid in and it started to turn into a sort of mango/banana soft serve which is an awesome idea! I’ll try that again for a desert, but for breakfast today I needed a drink so added more milk to get a smoothie consistency.

This mornings project was more wedding thank you cards. Look at the state of my kitchen table while I worked!

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To keep me going I had another half glass of the smoothie left over from breakfast. In fact, there is another glass full in the fridge which may make an appearance tonight or tomorrow (I got my measurements completely wrong!). I’ve never made smoothies and kept them in the fridge so I’ll be interested to see how it tastes after a day. Does anyone know if it will be ok?DSC02158

I managed to get another 6 written including 2 of the hardest ones, my parents in-law and sister-in-law (a bridesmaid). It was so hard to say all I wanted to in one card! Just about 30 to go now! 🙂

Then we made a start on one of the items from my to-do list – clearing out the ‘wedding paperwork drawer’. This was where all leaflets, magazine cut-outs, ideas, samples and booking information made its way to. It used to be organised and tidy but in the last couple of months leading up to the wedding it went downhill! We managed to get rid of a mountain of papers and leaflets for recycling and now have an almost empty drawer – success!

To celebrate we decided to settle down and watch Fringe with a cuppa before heading off to the Rugby match. Mind blowing episode – does anyone else watch? I had this Pukka tea – cinnamon, cardamom and ginger.

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Then it was time to head off to the rugby. As hubby’s company sponsors some players we got treated to a 3 course meal before the match. It was ok but not great – soup, lamb rump with sweet potato mash and veggies, and a chocolate and raspberry tart.

Just arrived home (the less said about the match the better – although we did win!) and settled down write/read blogs. No plans for this evening except tv and ironing! Its the first live show of X-factor tonight and Harry Hill is back too – gosh I sound tv obsessed!

If you’re lucky you may even see a quick snack idea from me later – watch this space!

Getting Organised

I need to get organised.

Since our wedding in September I have felt so disorganised (maybe it’s a reaction against having to be so organised in the run up to the day!).

Confession time… my house is a mess – the spare room looks like its been hit by a wedding whirlwind (I guess it was.. 🙂 ), the spare bed still has the remains of the honeymoon on it and I’ve neglected writing my thank you cards 😦

I spent an hour last night using Google Tasks to put together a to-do list broken down into manageable chunks for the next week. Look how organised I am!

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I love writing to-do lists and checking things off as I do it! It’s a great solution when you have a million things swimming around in your head!

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Friday Recap…

Its been an interesting week at work with a lot of speculation on some big changes that are happening for us all. But in truth we don’t know much more than we did at the start of the week and I find all the speculation really frustrating! That was the main reason that I am happy the working week is over.

The awful weather conditions don’t help either – its been foggy, wet and windy all day. I guess winter is well and truly on its way 😦

Last weekend at my in-laws house we were sent away with the remains of a cheese platter we had broken into for tea. Its still staring at me in the fridge so I decided that dinner should be based on using some up!

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I selected the local Devon blue (top left) and used it as the inspiration for a Quorn and pasta dish.

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Tomato, Blue Cheese and Quorn Pasta

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Ingredients:

  • Wholemeal pasta
  • Quorn chicken style pieces
  • Tomato sauce
  • Baby spinach
  • Devon blue cheese (or any other blue cheese)
  • Spray oil
  • Black pepper

Method:

  • Put the pasta on to boil for 12 minutes or according to packet
  • Add a little spray oil to a pan and add the Quorn pieces. Fry for 4 minutes to colour.
  • Add the tomato sauce (with a little water if too thick) and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the baby spinach and allow to wilt.
  • Crumble in most of the blue cheese, add black pepper and the cooked, drained pasta. Stir until the pasta is evenly coated.
  • Serve in warmed bowls with the remaining blue cheese sprinkled on top

DSC02151This was really tasty & filling. I made quite a lot so there is another serving in the fridge for leftovers!

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Grocery Spending Challenge Update

With 12 days left until pay day, I’m really pleased to report that we are doing really well against our Grocery Challenge!

Total spent (22/09 – 21/10) £79.17

Now, what to do with the money we are saving?? 🙂

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Good TV night tonight – I’ll be watching Benidorm and Peep Show. Two of my favourite British comedies at the moment. Might sample some kind of alcoholic drink too! I’ll let you know tomorrow 🙂

We have some fun plans for the weekend involving a Rugby match and some family time! See you tomorrow…

What is healthy anyway?

I’ve been thinking for a while about the idea of what makes a healthy diet. My idea has changed dramatically over the last few years.

I lost the bulk of my weight through attending meetings at Weight Watchers and Slimming World. Each week the class leader would give a talk on meal ideas and new products that we could eat on the plan. This centred around low fat products (yogurts, crisps, ready meals) and most things were heavily processed. These types of products formed a large part of my diet and I did lose weight. To me, during this phase of weight loss, a ‘good’ week was one where I had used all the low fat/low cal alternatives and had not succumbed to a takeaway or meal out. My diet was low in nutrients, low in taste and low in enjoyment but lead to significant weight loss. I’m not blaming the weight loss companies – I did lose a lot of weight that I wouldn’t have done otherwise, but my diet was unhealthy.

I realised after a couple of years that despite losing the weight I didn’t feel particularly healthy in my new skin. I was tired and lacked the glow that I had assumed would come with weight loss. It was around this time that I started reading healthy living blogs. What struck me most about the gorgeous, glowing women I was reading about was that their diet was completely different to mine. I read and read posts on my favourite blogs and developed my own thinking about a healthy diet.

I believe in moderation in your diet but also that no foods should be banned. A little of what you fancy doesn’t do any harm! I would actually rather eat normal yogurts made with clean ingredients than a ‘diet’ or ‘light’ yogurt with an ingredient list I don’t recognise. Similarly with cheese – give me a small portion of a ‘real’ full flavoured cheese over a piece of rubbery, tasteless low fat cheese any day.

So back to my original question… what is healthy anyway?

Today at work I noticed what my colleague had brought for lunch and snacks. She had a diet yogurt, low fat crisps, low fat chocolate bar and a white bread sandwich with low fat cheese and low fat mayo (notice a trend here…?). She is not on a diet and has no weight to lose but this is very similar to the food I ate while losing weight.

On the other hand, I had some 2% Greek yogurt with granola, a whole grain sandwich with mature cheddar cheese, pickle and salad, and an apple & peach. This includes several items with lower fat alternatives (yogurt, granola, cheese etc) but in my mind is a good healthy option as its based on ‘real food’.

So

What does a healthy diet look like to you?