Monday, 5 December 2022

Monday, 05-12-22: Christmas Challenge day five

Good morning to you!
Sadly, I am full of the joys of a bad cold and yesterday was an awful crash come the evening - food galore found its way down my throat.  The cold is a reason for feeling low, of course, not an excuse for pigging out!
Back on it today although I'm feeling very disinclined to eat much at all because of a sore throat.
Yes, I am whinging!  Time to cheer up, I think.
Ten healthy habits for Christmas
5.  consider a plant based meal
Making one vegan meal a week is a great way of adding more fibre rich food - such as beans, nuts and legumes - to your diet.  It'll give your digestion a break from heavy meat consumption at Chriostmas, too.  for plant based recipe inspiration, go to

(given how much meat I have to use up, both ham and turkey, I can't follow this for a few days but it's not bad advice generally to build more plant based meals into ones week)
Yesterday's meal photos:
Breakfast was just an apple, an easy peeler and some grapes - no photo.  The evening was a disaster.  So I have just one photo . . .

This was really very nice indeed.  Slow roast turkey leg, roast potatoes and parsnips, done in Nellie with one little piggy in a blanket (quality testing the ones I made for Christmas Dinner, you understand) carrots, cauliflower and sprouts with some ham and a crumbled chestnut (nice bit maybe not worth the extra fuss) and some hm cranberry sauce.

The cranberry sauce tastes different, of course, made with some sweetener, sharper that the real kind, but it's quite nice.  I added a bit of orange zest to the mix.

The turkey leg was tasty and also has given me a lovely, good, jellied stock which I think I am going to use as the base for the Christmas gravy.  I'll freeze it and get it out the day before when I also have the stock from the giblets and make the gravy then.

Today's plans:

B:  right now, I don't feel up to eating much breakfast but I have fruit and yogurt so will have that, if wanted.
SW:  half a syn for yogurt

L:  leek, broccoli and butterbean soup
I made this yesterday and never had it so I've just boiled it up and it will be good for an easy to swallow lunch - although, to be fair, I hope swallowing will be much easier by then).  I have ham, turkey and some cauliflower that I can chop up and add, if wanted and, as it is quite thick, I will slacken it with some milk
SW:  half a healthy extra A for some milk

D:  cheesy turkey and cranberry toastie; yogurt
. . . or it might be more soup - I will just see how I feel when it gets to it.
SW:  if I have a toastie, it will use the rest of my healthy extra A and my healthy extra B, if it's soup, I've already counted the milk and the yogurt will be half a syn

Exercise:  It's supposed to be circuits today.  I'm going to join online and do what I can.

up to two healthy extra As
maybe one healthy extra B
one syn

The Christmas Challenge is to have at least one meal each day with a Christmas Festive vibe to it while staying within the Slimming World Plan.
Please feel free to copy/use anything you see and like.  

Sunday, 4 December 2022

Sunday, 04-2-22: Christmas Challenge day four

Good morning to you!
We're well into Advent, today being the second Sunday in Advent and the * Christmas Challenge is off to a good start.  My Christmas tree went up yesterday and I'm feeling the festive vibe good and proper.  Hopefully, my meal choices are reflecting this as well as being Slimming World friendly.
Ten Healthy Habits for Christmas
No 4.  Get moving
Whether it's a walk, gym class or simply some stretching in front of the TV, be sure to exercise daily.  With the colder weather, it's easier than ever to get cooped up, but movement is so important for maintaining energy, relieving stress and supporting mental well-being.
Yesterday's meal photos:
Yesterday, of course, was not on plan in the evening but it was jolly good all the same.

Breakfast was leftovers of the kedgeree and I did a poached egg which was pretty successful (They aren't always which is why I rarely make poached eggs).

I didn't plan a lunch because of the evening but I did snatch a few grapes when I set them out!

These next two photos are the best of a bad lot.  

This was the cocktail - nothing too fancy but it was lovely.  Peach puree, a splash of bitters, a splash of peach schnapps (not Archers but a cheaper version!) and topped up with prosecco.

Apologies for this - my camera didn't like the lighting.
It was delicious and, to my delights, there is precious little left.  There's some ham, a bit of salad
and some fruit.  The rest all got eaten.
I was pleased that the veggie sausage rolls were well up to their usual standard and as for the mince pie - mmmmm.  I just had one and so did Alex and I won't be ashamed of bringing them to the table later on this month.

It was all lovely but it's also great to be getting straight back on track today.

Today's plans:

B:  fruit
I'm really not feeling at all hungry at the moment so I think fruit will be my best bet - I have pineapple, melon, grapes, apples, oranges, bananas, raspberries and blueberries so I should be able to make a nice picky fruit bowl out of that lot.
SW:  speed and free, no syns

L:  slow roast turkey dinner - turkey, cranberry sauce, roasties and veg
I got a leg and thigh pack in Morrisons, not all that expensive, this week.  The thigh is in the freezer and I am going to slow roast the leg for dinner today, jazzing it up with one little pig in a blanket, some roasties and some sprouts with bacon and chestnut - I've never had that last before but everyone says it is lovely so I'll give it a try!
The remaining meat off the turkey drumstick (which is HUGE) should give me a few good meals more this week, not to mention the stock.
SW:  OK - I'm counting three syns for the piggie, one for a chestnut, the cranberry sauce is hm and free (I don't syn cooked fruit) and I think the rest is all speed/free

D:  leek, broccoli and butterbean soup; yogurt
I boiled a small ham yesterday and, for once, the stock has come out very tasty (it doesn't always) so I'm using half in this soup and half goes in the freezer for another time.  I have the end of a leek and a couple of broccoli stalks (the best bit in terms of flavour, I think) amd some butterbeans brings the whole thing together and gives it a sort of cohesion.
I'll probably add some shreds of ham and turkey to the finished soup for more protein and texture.  Lovely!
SW:  half a syn for the yogurt but the rest should be syn free

Exercise:  Some Lindsey given exercise today - I need to move as I'm full of cold and it would be too easy to just sit and mope!  

No healthy extras, unless I grated some cheese for the soup
four and a half syns

* The Christmas Challenge is to have at least one meal each day with a Christmas Festive vibe to it while staying within the Slimming World Plan.
Please feel free to copy/use anything you see and like.  

Saturday, 3 December 2022

Saturday, 03-12-22: Christmas challenge day 3

Good morning to you!  
I was so pleased with half a pound off at Group yesterday - lots of us lost half a pound and we reminded each other that slow and steady wins the race.  The third day of my Christmas Challenge* and I have some likely looking recipes to try over the challenge.

Having said that, today is tricky because it is our Christmas Tree Day and Beth and Alex will be over to celebrate it with me.  We're having a nice celebratory buffet.  The good thing is, Alex is also eating healthily and has requested nothing too 'naughty' so that should help.  The less good thing is the alcohol so today's healthy habit, below, is perfectly timed!
Ten Healthy Habits for Christmas
No 3.  Try non-alcoholic drinks
To easily manage the quantity of alcohol you are consuming, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.  There are so many great zero alcohol beers, wines, vodkas and gins out there, or try one of our mocktails 
Yesterday's meal photos:
Breakfast was just fruit and I didn't take any photos.

You can't lose with a toastie, can you.  This was delicious - chicken, cheddar cheese and hm cranberry sauce plus a salad on the side.
The SW kedgeree recipe was surprisingly delicious but, as with all SW recipes, huge.  I quartered the recipe and still have loads for breakfast.  I can pretend I am upper class as I enjoy my breakfast kedgeree, perhaps with a poached egg!!
I knew it would be a big one (they always are) so didn't bother with adding any egg.
It was a more complicated recipe in that it had several stages to it and used a number of pans but none of the stages were tricky in the slightest.

No dessert.

Today's plans:

B:  kedgeree, heated up from yesterday
I'm really looking forward to this - I might poach an egg to go on top.
SW:  syn free

L:  Nothing.  I don't have breakfast until around eleven and it will be very filling,  Then the buffet will probably be earlier than I usually eat so there really is no need for lunch.  If I do get peckish, I can have an apple.

D:  Christmas Tree Day buffet
So looking forward to this.  I'm planning . . .
  • hm mushroom pate with hm melba toast (Beth loves my mushroom pate and it is so easy in Thermione)
  • ham (I need to cook the ham this morning - it is a Sainsbury's Be Good To Yourself ham so lovely and lean)
  • hummus with veggie dippers and tortilla chips (Alex's request)
  • veggie sausage rolls (there are NOT SW friendly but it is a family traditional thing)
  • a nice mixed salad
  • and for afters, a fruit platter and, if wanted, a mince pie (but I won't get any mince pies from the freezer until Beth and Alex get here and I can ask them how many)
And Bellini cocktails - ooops!  But I do have plenty of soft, sugar free drinks too.
SW:  unknown

Exercise:  putting up and decorating the Christmas Tree - harder work than you would think.

unknown today but I will try to be careful.

*The Christmas Challenge is to have at least one meal each day with a Christmas Festive vibe to it while staying within the Slimming World Plan.
Please feel free to copy/use anything you see and like.  

Friday, 2 December 2022

Friday, 02-12-22: Christmas challenge day 2

 Good morning to you!

It's Friday so time for Slimming World group and the weekly weigh-in.  I don't hold out great hopes for this week after Tuesday's (I think it was Tuesday) little slip up but a maintain would be great.  

Tomorrow it Christmas Day in this home and Beth and Al are coming over.  We decorate the tree, clear up afterwards, have a nice buffet and watch Christmas movies.  I'm planning a rather more healthy effort than previous years.  Not totally healthy but  . . . well, you get the idea, I am sure.  Any suggestions gratefully received.

Ten healthy habits for Christmas
2.  Stay hydrated
You're more likely to become dehydrated with all the extra booze, fizzy drinks, teas and coffee on offer at this time of year.  Even mild dehydration can lead to a headache, especially combined with diuretic effects of alcohol.  Aim for about eight glasses of water a day

Yesterday's meal photos:

Before the online SET class, I had an orange for energy.

These baked oats were so good.  In a blender, 40g oats, one egg, almost a small pot's worth of 2% yogurt and some seasonal skinny syrup and when that was all blended, I added one level tbsp mincemeat.
It baked in Nellie, 170 for ten to twelve minutes and the choccy sauce was an afterthought for another syn.
So, so delicious!

Another scrummy meal.  I will do this again; it was so easy.

I softened onion, red pepper and mushroom in spray oil and added garlic granules and fajita spice - not much of either.

I tipped that into a small, over proof dish.  I laid slices of chicken over (I bought a pack of cooked chicken but leftovers would work really well here, as will turkey) and over the chicken I spread one level tbsp onion chutney.  It was supposed to be cranberries but by the time I got in from shopping and cleared everything away, I just couldn't be bothered.  That's another half syn.

Finally, I sprinkled over some grated cheddar and popped the lot in Nellie for five minutes at 200, air fry.
So good!

I had a couple of easy peelers later in the afternoon.

Dinner was the SW chicken tikka lasagne.  Was it good?  Frankly, no, it really wasn't at all nice and, sadly, over three quarters of it went into the food recycling bin.  You live and learn but what a waste, eh?
Never again.

The Mullerlight I had for dessert was very nice indeed and, fortunately, I'm not feeling particularly hungry.

Today's plans:

B:  fruit salad with Christmas spiced yogurt
I might use home made spice or I might be lazy and use a skinny syrup to spice up the yogurt
SW: half a syn if I use 2% Greek yogurt

L:  cheesy chicken toastie, salad sticks; fruit
I was going to use some turkey nut I have cooked chicken to ue up and that will be just as good.  I will add a bit of my onion chutney if I don't get round to making anything cranberry-ish.
SW:  one healthy extra B, probably one and a half healthy extra Bs, half a syn for one tbsp of the chutney, if I have it.  A cranberry thing will be free as I will use Sugarly

D:  kedgeree, maybe some side veg; yogurt
The kedgeree is a SW recipe, link here if you have access to the site.
It says to use 350g rice (for four) so I am guessing the portions are quite large so I might cut it down even more so I can have some broccoli on the side.
SW:  the recipe says it is free and it will be half a syn for the yogurt


around one and a half healthy extra As
one healthy extra B
one and a half syns

The Christmas Challenge is to have at least one meal each day with a Christmas Festive vibe to it while staying within the Slimming World Plan.
Please feel free to copy/use anything you see and like.  

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Thursday, 01-12-22: Christmas Challenge day 1

Good morning to you!
I was sorting out some old Christmas magazines from previous years and just tearing out anything I wanted to keep when I came across an article in BBC Good Food entitled Ten Healthy Habits for Christmas.
I don't necessarily go along with everything it says but there's some good, sound common sense that I think is worth sharing.
I've searched for it online and couldn't find it so I thought I'd share them with you, one at a time.  So here we go . . .

1.  Up your veg
With so many festive dishes often emphasizing carbs and proteins, it's easy to push aside the greens.
Instead, fill your plate with vegetables of your choice to stay properly nourished.

Next one tomorrow.
So, it's the start of my personal Christmas challenge.  I posted the details yesterday so do go back and look, if you didn't see it.

Yesterday's meal photos:

The porridge and orange went down a treat.  

Rather a messy plate but it tasted so good.  Just leftovers from the night before plus tomatoes and mushroom.
Afters was an apple.

Before I went off to my early evening meeting, I opened a small can of tuna, added some mayo (one syn) and that plugged the gap.
By the time I got in from my meeting, I was cold and tired, it was late, and I couldn't be bothered to do anything other than simply cook the salmon.  It was an enormous portion and very tasty indeed.
Will I buy it again?  No but only because the recipe is dead easy and it will be a lot cheaper home made.

A yogurt finished the day off nicely.
Today's plans:

B:  mince pie baked oats.
The usual baked oats recipe of 40g oats, one egg, most of a Mullerlight or equivalent yogurt and a good pinch baking powder.
Today I am adding some Christmas spice and a tbsp mincemeat for two syns.
SW:  one healthy extra B, two syns for the mincemeat and half a syn for yogurt

L:  cheesy cranberry chicken bake, salad; fruit
It's a bit sort of hunters chicken-y with a Christmas slant but without the bbq vibe and I will use cooked chicken to make it all simpler
SW:  one healthy extra A and I'm not synning the cranberries as they will have been sweetened with Sugarly.

D:  SW chicken tikka lasagne; yogurt
I have no idea, I've never tried it, but everyone says it is really nice so I'll give it a go and we will see.
These things often tend to be low on the old cheese so I might very well add 30g grated cheddar to it.
SW:  half a syn for the yogurt and a healthy extra A

Exercise:  SET (Strike, Energise, Tone) - I'm joining one of Lindsey's ad hoc classes to try it out.

two healthy extra As
one healthy extra B
three syns

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Wednesday, 30-11-22 - Christmas Challenge, The Day Before!

Do you remember that last year I did a Christmas Challenge where I challenged myself to make something with a festive vibe each day through December until Christmas Eve evening?

It did help, even though things went a bit haywire at the end so I'm going to do it again.

What constitutes 'festive'? Well, I decided . . .
anything from a Christmas Special magazine
anything categorised as 'Christmas' on recipe sites
anything from a Christmas recipe book
anything 'party-ish) - canap├ęs and the like
anything containing cranberries, chestnuts, turkey, ham, smoked salmon . . .

You get the idea, I am sure.

I've looked back to last year's blog entries, made lists, printed out recipes and I'm ready to go, starting tomorrow.  Exciting!
Yesterday's meal photos:

Breakfast was fruit and yogurt, eaten in dribs and drabs throughout the morning so not terribly satisfactory and no photo.  Sometimes days are just like that!

Lunch was soup and marmite toast and I enjoyed it all very, very much indeed.
Afters was a nice, big, juicy orange.  Lovely!

Dinner worked really well - I put the thigh joint on to roast for a while, then added sweet potato, parsnip and onion with spray oil and some fajita spice.  After a while I added some red pepper and some mushroom and popped it back for a bit longer.
The chicken was really big so I had the thigh part and will have the drumstick for lunch today with what's left of the roasted veg.
I finished off with a yogurt.

And that would have been fine, had I not decided to sample some spiced damson gin I am making.  I really should know better as it triggered more eating - cheese and some flaked almonds (not together).  Oh well, moving on . . .

Today's meal plans:

B:  gingerbread porridge with fruit and yogurt
I need something quick and this fits the bill nicely.
SW:  one healthy extra B and four syns plus half a syn for yogurt

L:  chicken and roasted veg with tomatoes and mushrooms
I will speed this up with the tomatoes and mushrooms and I'm really looking forward to it.
SW:  should be syn free

D:  teriyaki salmon, salad; yogurt
I have to have something quick as I'll be eating later than usual, annoyingly.  This is another of the SW ready meals I bought last week.
SW:  half a syn for the yogurt

E:  personal training

no healthy extra As (but after yesterday, I'm not that concerned)
one healthy extra B
five syns

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Tuesday, 29-11-22

Good morning everyone!

Yesterday's meal photos:

My first try of the gingerbread protein porridge.  It was quite nice although perhaps a bit too sweet for my taste.  The natural yogurt on top helped with that.
Did it keep me more full than 'normal' porridge would?  Maybe it did, it didn't feel significantly so but I was still feeling satisfied (but not full) when it was time for lunch and I'd had an energetic circuits session between the two.
Also, usually I want (and have) a piece of fruit late afternoon but I didn't want one yesterday.  Interesting.
Will I buy another pack once this one runs out?  I'm not sure, it's too early to say really.

The first of the SW meals I bought from Iceland, the aloo gobi, for lunch.
The potato was flavoursome (it's not always in ready meals), the cauliflower was cooked but not soggy and it was nice and spicy but it was spoiled for me by too much leaf coriander.  I am one of those unfortunates for whom coriander tastes like soap.
Will I buy it again?  No.  Will I use the accompanying recipe to make it - yes, I might very well as I can just ignore the coriander and add what I fancy.
Dessert was an easy peeler.
This was lovely - much, much nicer than it looks.  I found a pot of cooked lentils in the freezer so I didn't have to open a tin and have leftovers.
To the recipe, I added onion, peppers, baby corn and mushrooms and then crumbled a couple of chestnuts over for two more syns.  Yummy.
I guess it would have been even nicer with proper Italian sausages but I was happy with my Heck ones.

Dessert was a yogurt.

Today's plans:

B:  fruit and yogurt
This morning is going to be tricky.  I have Groove first thing so must eat a piece of fruit before going.  Then I have a meeting at school with a very short window of time to eat.  So fruit and yogurt seems to fit the bill nicely.
SW:  half a syn

L:  tomato and roasted red pepper soup with marmite toast; fruit
Just what it says.  The soup is from the freezer.
SW:  one healthy extra B

D:  chicken and vegetable traybake, yogurt  
It's a case of bung it in Nellie and let it roast/bake until done.  Nice and simple.
I have a leg joint in the freezer which I can use and I will take the skin off but keep it on the bone.  
SW:  half a syn for the yogurt but I'm hoping the rest is all free

Exercise:  Groove aerobics class today.

no healthy extra As - ooops
one healthy extra B
one syn, I think