Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tuesday, 19-02-19

Good morning.

Yesterday's photo diary:
Breakfast was yogurt and an easy peeler.

Lunch:  SW tomato soup with a dollop of natural yogurt.  Tasty but not artistic in the least!

Dinner:  fully loaded wedges; no room for a side salad as this satisfied perfectly well.

It's nice to be back home and in charge of my own supplies again for a while.  Yesterday I had the fun making my first Magazine Meal and it was lovely.  I also had a go at making my yogurt in the instant pot rather than in my yogurt maker and it worked well too.  I've done separate posts about both of these.

Today's plans:
B:  yogurt and fruit
Back to my natural yogurt again and very thankful that all the Mullerlight freebies have been used.  I wasn't going to waste them but I did get rather tired of the two flavours after a while.
SW:  free

L:  soup, smoked salmon dip and vegetable batons, fruit
It may sound lavish but actually it's using up leftovers.  The soup was left from yesterday while the ingredients for the dip were left over from last week so really do need using up.  I'm off for a jolly to Hyde Hall so it will be a sort of picnic, hopefully.
SW:  free

D:  pasta with salmon and peas (BBC Good Food, Feb, p108) and a side salad
This is a simple Magazine recipe, optimised from the 'use up leftovers' page.  I won't be using up leftovers, I will cook salmon and peas from fresh but that's OK.  I could use tuna instead, I suppose, but I fancy salmon.  I'll let you know how it goes
SW:  one healthy extra A for the pasta sauce

Ss:  a choccy-milky drink for the other A and two syns, Beck's blues for two syns each and I have to find a healthy extra B from somewhere.  Maybe I will take some bread with me on my picnic.

And I've just realised there's a salmon overload again but tough - I'm sure I will survive!  I just think it's great that I can have such delicious food and not worry about weight gain.

Finally, I took a screen shot of my list of meals from the magazines I looked through and here it is.  Plenty of choice, as you can see.  I'm just ticking them off as I give them a whirl.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Instant Pot: making yogurt

I have a perfectly good yogurt maker that gets plenty of use but I thought I'd give the yogurt function a go in the IP (using initials is quicker than typing it all out each time).

There's plenty of advice out there about making yogurt from 'raw' milk, yogurt cultures, gelatine, goodness knows what.  However, I just wanted the simplest way, the way I usually make it.

So . . .
a litre carton of semi skimmed, long life milk
a couple of heaped tablespoonfuls of your last lot of yogurt
. . . is all you need.

A word about the yogurt.  You can use any natural yogurt but I do find that the flavour is different depending on what you use.
I rather dislike the flavour of the cheapest 'savers'-type yogurt and when I used it to make my own, I didn't like the results much either.
My really favourite natural yogurt is Liberte Greek style 0% fat natural yogurt.  I think it's lovely.  Unfortunately, it really isn't cheap.
However, using some to make your own with Aldi's long life semi skimmed takes it down into the pretty frugal banding and the resulting yogurt is just gorgeous (I think).  It's creamy and, if you strain it for a short time, it becomes lovely and thick and so, so good.
(can you guess I rather like it)

Back to the IP
I tipped the milk into the IP bowl,  added the yogurt and stirred it around a bit.  Then I put the bowl into the IP, pressed the 'yogurt' button, added one more hour to be safe (the default is eight hours), put the lid on (no need to pressure seal the lid but I decided to buy an accessory - a glass lid that is fine for anything but pressure cooking).
Then I just left it to work its magic - hopefully.

Certainly, nearly 30 minutes in . . .

. . . it had come up to heat nicely.  The thing counts up, not down

Eight hours down the track (the extra hour wasn't needed) and a half hour strain later and I have two pots of thick, deliciously creamy, mild-flavoured natural yogurt.  If I'd wanted it to be more tangy, I could have given it longer.

Definitely a winner.

I think the big advantage of using the IP over the yogurt maker is that you can make larger amounts of yogurt.  As I get through quite a lot, that's an advantage.
A disadvantage is that it does tie your IP up for long periods of time so you would have to choose your time carefully.  Overnight should be fine though.

As far as SW is concerned, natural, fat free yogurt is free.  It doesn't officially count as a healthy extra A but I'm afraid I do count it as such when it suits me because that's all it is - milk.  I checked and yogurt is still a good source of calcium which is what As are supposed to be all about so I'm guilt free over this (but don't tell Jennifer).

Recipe: fully loaded wedges

. . . or, as it turned out, fully loaded wedges with extra cheese, extra veg, fresh tomatoes instead of canned and some chips because I forgot to cut all of the potato as wedges.

From Mar/Apr Slimming World magazine, p 16 - adapted a fair bit to work with what I had in!

What I did.
I cooked the wedges the SW way; par-boiling them for five minutes, then spraying with oil and roasting.

The sauce was as follows
Fry some chopped onion, pepper, mushroom and a couple of old, rather wizened baby corn in fry light until softened.  Then add some fresh tomatoes, quartered (I had some old ones and some freebies from last week's raffle).  Add a squidge of garlic puree, some tomato puree, some Lea and Perrins and a touch of salt and pepper, cover and simmer on very low for about ten minutes or so until everything is soft.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Then add some cooked and shredded chicken and mix it in well.

The topping was natural yogurt with a bit of garlic puree and some of my cajun spice mixed in and it was lovely - I shall make that again as a dipping sauce for chips.  To think I almost didn't bother with it because of the cheese!

To put it all together, I put the cooked wedges around a dish with some sea salt, spooned in the hot sauce, sprinkled over 30g grated cheddar and drizzled over the yogurt topping.

And it was absolutely delicious.

SW:  one syn for the cheese

Monday, 18-02-19 (updated)

Good morning.

Magazine week starts but, silly me, as I'm still away, I don't have my meal planning with me and can't remember what today's magazine meal actually is.  I have a feeling it is lunch and dinner so will update this later once I get home.  Luckily, it is half term so I don't have to go to Knitter Knatter Club, or help out in FS and there's no tuition, meaning that there's plenty of time to make whatever it is I have planned.


B:  yogurt and fruit
As yesterday and it'll probably be a Mullerlight and that will be the last of the freebies.  Phew.  Looking forward to having more of my own, home made yogurt again, especially as I am told you can make yogurt in it - it certainly has a yogurt button.
SW:  one syn if I have a Mullerlight

L:  SW tomato soup and bread to dunk
From the freezer, made a few weeks ago
SW  one healthy extra B for the bread

D:  fully loaded wedges (SW magazine, March/April, p 16), small side salad maybe
The first of my Magazine meals, it needs cooked and shredded chicken which, of course, I have, after cooking those YS breasts in the instant pot last week.  Excellent.
I'll r5eport back.
SW:  the cheese will be one healthy extra A, the rest is free

Ss:  choccy-milky drink (2 syns and the other A), Beck's Blue (2 syns per bottle)

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Sunday, 17-02-19

Good morning!

B:  yogurt and fruit
It's very useful to suddenly have a liking for this as  still have a few of the Mullerlight freebies to finish off and they're only a few days from their use by date now - not that I particularly worry about that with yogurt anyway.
SW:  one syn for the yogurt

L:  Beany veg soup, bread for dunking, apple
I made a lovely big pot of soup yesterday for lunch and there's plenty left for today and there's likely to be enough to be able to freeze a couple of portions for Mum and Dad for later on in the week too.  This time, I zizzed and then seived a can of chopped tomatoes for the base of the soup and it ended up like a thicker minestrone sort of thing.
SW:  all that goodness and totally free

D:  roast pork, roast potatoes, apple sauce, carrots, maybe kale; fresh fruit and natural yogurt
I shall slow roast the pork - it's only a tiny mini-joint anyway - and I might roast the carrots too.
SW:  I've looked up apple sauce and I'm estimating between two and three syns.

Ss:  Cheese and a milky drink for two syns and two healthy extra As.

Magazine week starts tomorrow.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Magazine Week

(Well, four days and then the whole of the following week, starting on Monday).

This started because I was flicking through the new Slimming World magazine and thinking (as I always do) what a lovely lot of recipes there were and then realising that I always say that but rarely make many of them.  And that's plain stupid as they are designed specifically for the SW plan.
Also, being a bit of a foody mag addict, I sometimes see recipes that could easily be adapted (optimised is the word SW uses, I think) in other magazines too.  I usually get Good Food, Olive, Delicious, Easycook and sundry others and, while some generally have very fancy-pants recipes, there's usually something.

So I thought I'd rootle around the most recent magazines and base a week's eating around them.
Delicious and Olive were no good (but still good to read!).  I found a few in Good Food, loads in Easycook (which is another BBC mag) and most in one or other of the last three SW magazines.

So I set to and created a table listing all the recipes I wanted to try and where they could be found amd I got a whole page of them.  Plenty to choose from there!

The guidelines (not rules - you know what they say about rules)

No buying loads of one-use ingredients.  You know what I mean - those things that get used for one recipe and the rest ends up at the back of the cupboard/fridge/freezer, never to be used again!  I'll do what I always do and substitute, using what I already have.

A reasonably frugal ethos with the occasional splash out.  Just like now.

One meal a day to be a 'magazine meal'.  Maybe more than one, although the list is big on main meals and short on breakfasts and lunches.

Anything that's not a SW recipe will be 'optimised'.  In many cases, this mainly means using spray oil instead a great big glug of oil - how these magazines do love their oils!

And, of course, I will report back.

Saturday, 14-02-19

Good morning.

Today's plans
B:  natural yogurt and fruit
I'm using my own yogurt which is really nice and much better value than all but the very cheapest bought yogurt.
SW:  free

L:  veg soup, bread to dunk, apple
I'm not sure how to make the soup yet.  Probably I will use chopped tomatoes as a base and throw in all sorts of bits and bobs Dad has around.
SW:  healthy extra B for the bread.

D:  lamb, mash, kale and sprouts, Mullerlight
Lots of green veg in this meal and I slow cook the lamb so it is very tender and melt-in-the-mouth
SW:  one syn for the yogurt

Ss:  milky choccy drink and cheese to nibble - two syns and both my healthy extra As