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

Monday 28 November 2022

Monday, 28-11-22

Good morning to you!
New week and I lit the first advent candle as yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent.  I am terribly tempted to use it as an excuse to start using my Christmas china instead of waiting until Thursday.  You know what - I think I will!

Yesterday's meal photos:

This was really nice.  I was pleased to see that there are a few more fillets in the freezer that ought to be used up reasonably soon.
Kedgeree, anyone?  I've found a SW recipe!

I really love a roast dinner - and so does Alex.
I didn't do apple sauce as my onion and cranberry chutney has a sweet vibe and seems to go with just about everything.  Alex seemed to agree - he took a great big spoonful of it and I can see I am going to have to make some more soon - which means a stinky old house for several days.  Oh, well, it is what it is and the pong goes eventually.

Later on in the afternoon, I had an easy peeler and a few grapes - well, maybe more than a few.

This was all leftovers, a lovely big bowl of goodness and deliciousness and the leftover pork definitely added to it in a good way.

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

B:  Protein World gingerbread porridge, fruit, yogurt
This is what I was really looking for when I went onto the Protein World site; the pancake powder was an impulse additional buy!
As with the pancakes, it's not listed on the SW site so I will sent off the details they need but, to be honest, I will look at the calories per portion and count six of them as a B because - well, oats!  Extra calories will be counted as 20 to one syn.
You can make it up with water so that's what I intend to do, as I did with the pancake.
SW:  one healthy extra B plus four syns and maybe half a syn for the yogurt, depending on what yogurt I use.

L:  aloo gobi; fruit
This is one of the SW ready meals I got from Iceland last week.  I've got to start using them up, haven't I?  I was hoping to add some leftover pork but there wasn't any - maybe I have something in the freezer or I could have it as it comes, of course.
As with all SW ready meals, the recipe will be on the packaging somewhere - I think that's so helpful.
SW:  as with most SW meals, this is syn free

D:  Italian sausages with lentils and spinach; yogurt
This is from the November edition of Olive and it sounds tasty as well as worthy!  I will use chicken Italia chipolatas and I have cans of lentils that aren't getting used so - today they are!  I might skip the spinach as it's not a particular favourite and swap in some broccoli , perhaps.  I will also add my favourites, mushrooms and pepper, just because . . .
Providing I use spray oil, this recipe will be syn free which is nice.
Sorry, the recipe doesn't seem to be online
SW:  half a syn for yogurt

Exercise:  circuits class today

no healthy extra As - hmmm, I've missed as few of those recently.  
one healthy extra B
five syns (or 11, if you think I am being naughty with the porridge!)

Sunday 27 November 2022

Sunday, 27-11-22

 Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday's meals:

Breakfast was the Protein World pancake - half the recommended portion.  I was pleasantly surprised - the cooked pancake was pretty chocolatey and pretty filling, especially when it was only half a portion.

I've sent the details off to SW so it should appear in their data base in a week or so but I suspect they will say it all needs to be synned, despite the high protein.  That's what they did for the konjac protein rice/noodles.

Anyway, I will look forward to having it again and, if I need to syns it, so be it.

I always love a fruit platter and this was scrummy!

A bit of a disaster for dinner.  I started the on the hob steamer off, beans in water in the bottom and broccoli in the upper part.  Ten minutes later there was a scorching smell.  I checked my candles, I even went outside to see if it was an external thing and then realised I hadn't put any water in the bottom of the steamer.  Ooops.
The beans were beyond redemption and the broccoli had taken on the charred smell so both went in the bin.  Luckily I had a bit of corn left over from the other day so that's what I had with the butter chicken.

Today's meal plans:

B:  smoked haddock, tomatoes and mushrooms
I don't usually have smoked fish - or any kind of fish - for breakfast but, in the words of our group consultant, 'if it swims, it slims' (how corny is that) and I just fancied it when I was thinking about what I had in the old freezer.
SW:  syn free.

L:  roast pork, roasted parsnip and potato, carrots and other veg; fruit
Alex is round for lunch so I will do loads of veg which we both like.
SW:  should be syn-free

D:  pork, bean and veg casserole; yogurt
I'll dig out the bean and pasta stew from last week and add the left over pork.  It should be really nice.
SW:  half a syn for the yogurt

Exercise:   a You Tube 'class', perhaps one of the walking ones

no healthy extra As
no healthy extra Bs
half a syn

Saturday 26 November 2022

A week in meals

  A summary of the meals starting Saturday, 19-11-22 .  As always, the photos are the mains only (usually) and there are other things, like yogurts/fruit that don't get photo-ed.

baked oats
leek, broccoli and butterbean soup
steak, chips and corn

waffle, bacon, egg and mushrooms
no lunch
roast chicken dinner

sweet omelette with fruit and yogurt
cheese and cranberry toastie
one pan smoky beans and sausage meatballs

baked oats (apple and cinnamon)
bean and veg stew/soup
sticky mango-roasted salmon with green beans and broccoli

fruit platter
cheesy marmite toast
chorizo and black bean loaded sweet potato boats

B:  fruit
L:  cheesy bean quesadillas
D:  totally forgot to photo the cottage and bean pie with sweet potato topping

no photos of the fruit for breakfast and lunch but I snapped the dinner table.

And that was this last week.  All tasty and two pounds off.  

Saturday, 26-11-22

 Good morning, everyone.

I was so pleased yesterday.  Two pounds off, I was the Slimmer of the Month and I won the raffle which was a tea light Advent calendar.  So nice.
So I'm ten and a half pounds down from my restart at the beginning of November.  Very pleased with that!
Mind you, after last night's Indian feast, I'm glad it's six days before the next weigh in.

A short while ago, I bought some 'Protein World' products.  Over the last month or so, most of the weight loss vlogs I follow, either SW, Calorie counting or whatever, have been doing reviews of their products after being sent freebies.  With discount codes all over the place, I decided to give a few things a try but, unfortunately, up t0 now, SW hasn't synned the products so I will need to do a bit of estimating.
Where the porridge is concerned, I think I can safely call it a healthy extra B plus a few syns but the pancake mix is a different matter.  If my syns look a bit higher sometimes in  the next few weeks, that will be why.
Yesterday's meals:

I stuck mostly to fruit yesterday and didn't take any photos but here's a very bad photo of the dinner table.
The curries were delicious.  One was a Spice Tailor butter chicken kit and the other a Simply Cook rogan josh kit.  Both were easy, both made loads and I have a good portion of each left over, one for tonight and one for the freezer.

Today's meal plans:

B:  pancakes, fruit and yogurt
The first sampling of the Protein World pancakes - I will make half portion amounts and have yogurt and fruit to enjoy with however many they make.  I'll be making them up with water rather than milk this first time and next time I will use milk and see what the differences are.
SW:  five syns plus half a syn for some yogurt

L:  fruit platter
I have grapes, melon and pineapple (the first and last were bought for last night) so it should be very tasty.
SW:  syn free

D:  butter chicken, rice, maybe some veg; yogurt
There's about a quarter of this left so I've looked it up and vaguely worked out the syns with a bit more added in case.
SW:  six syns plus half a syn for yogurt

Exercise:  Assuming my head stops aching (alcohol last night!), some Lindsey homework, I think

no healthy extras today (to try and balance out the extra calories a bit)
twelve syns

Today is not straight down the line SW Plan what with leftovers and a new product to try, it's more a vague sort of calorie counting.  Tomorrow will be definitely back to normal, I promise.

Friday 25 November 2022

Friday, 25-11-22

 Good morning, everyone.

SW group and weigh in this morning.  My fingers are, as always on Friday mornings, crossed in hope!

After that, the rest of the day won't be to plan very much at all as Dave and Anna are over for dinner.  It isn't even going to be flexible syns so I'm going to try to stick to fruit all day until the evening to keep the calories as down as possible before the feast.
AT least the meal is home cooked, not takeaway, (mostly home cooked, anyway) so I can control the amount of oil/fat added.
Yesterday's meals:

After loads of prepping in the kitchen for this evening, I really didn't fancy a cooked breakfast so I went for what I really wanted which was fruit and yogurt and very nice it was too.
The cheesy refried bean quesadilla were really tasty but needed a little more salt.  My fault, I didn't check.

Later on, I had a easy peeler

And I totally forgot to photo dinner.  It was very nice - mince and black beans with a topping of mashed sweet potato with some primula light melted in plus some sweet corn, leftover from yesterday, on the side.
I didn't want anything else so no yogurt.

Today's meal plans:

B:  fruit

L:  fruit

D:  < takes deep breath >  rogan josh, butter chicken (although no butter was harmed in the making thereof - yet!), basmati rice, naan bread, pappadums, onion bhajis, samosas, pakoras, yogurt and mango chutney . . .  not that I will be having all that lot but that's what will be on the table.
Oh, and pavlova and wine.  Eeeek.
Really looking forward to dinner with two of my favourite people.

Back on it tomorrow straight away!

Exercise:  A walk and plenty of rushing around getting things ready!

< hysterical laughter >

Thursday 24 November 2022

Thursday, 24-11-22

 Good morning, everyone.
Things seem to be going well this week.  I've kept to planning pretty much and what I have changed has worked too.  I wish I knew why sometimes I am so happily motivated and sometimes it all just crashes.  I could bottle it and make a fortune.
However, I don't so I can't; all I can do is make the best of things however I'm feeling and hope . . .  

Yesterday's meals:

A nice fresh fruit platter for breakfast.
Later on I had a banana as Personal Training was just before lunch and I know I do better if I've had a healthy snack of some sort beforehand.
Lunch was intensely savoury - I love a deep umami flavour and this was just lovely!

Later on, I had an easy peeler.
I really enjoyed this chorizo and black bean loaded sweet potato boats for dinner (link in previous entry).  Very tasty and filling and definitely one to do again, for sure.
I finished off with a Mullerlight.

Today's meal plans:

B:  bacon, egg, tomatoes and mushrooms
SW:  no syns

L:  cheesy black bean and onion quesadillas, salad; fruit
I have quite a lot of black beans to use up so I will fry some chopped onion, add the black beans with some fajita spice (probably) and mash it all down to spread on a wrap with cheese and turn into quesadillas.  Should be really nice.
SW:  one healthy extra A, one healthy extra B

D:  mince and black bean bake, corn; yogurt
The idea is to use a portion of basic cooked mince, jazz it up with some veg and more of the left over black beans, top with thin slices of sweet potato, sprinkle cheese on top and bake until the sweet potato is soft.  It shouldn't take that long in Nellie.
I'll let you know!
SW:  one healthy extra A, half a syn

Exercise:  Some Lindsey exercises

two healthy extra As
one healthy extra B
half a syn

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Wednesday, 23-11-22

 Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday's meals:

Cinnamon apple baked oats for breakfast and it was so delicious.  Another syn for the choccy sauce.
I now put everything together (oats, egg, small pinch baking powder and yogurt) and blend them all up so the batter is quite smooth - it makes for a more cakey texture.  Not real cake but much closer than keeping the oats whole.
Lunch was supposed to be a soup but it came out much thicker so was more like a vegetable and bean stew.  It had onion, sweet potato, squash, carrot, cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes, pasta, stock and seasonings.
It was so good.

There's some left over and I think it will be nice next week with some meat added - chicken, sausages, meatballs - whatever I have.
Dinner was OK.  Nothing special but very acceptable and salmon is always tasty.  I don't think I will do this particular one again.

I finished off with a yogurt and then an apple because I fancied one!  The apples in the shops are good at the moment, I am finding.

Today's meal plans:

B:  fruit and yogurt
I have melon, kiwi, easy peelers, banana and apple so I should be able to have a nice selection of fruit.
SW:  half a syn

L:  cheese, marmite and onion toast, fruit
I will toast the bread with some spray oil to make it go crunchy before spreading marmite, onion chutney and cheese and melting the cheese under the grill
SW:  one healthy extra A, one healthy extra B and half a syn for the chutney

D:  chorizo and black bean loaded sweet potato boats, salad; yogurt
I found this recipe in a Sainsbury's magazine.  It's actually plant based but I will use real chorizo,  garlic granules and primula cheese - not the same but it will do.
Here's the recipe.
SW:  the chorizo will be about four syns (I will weigh it properly when I get it out of the freezer), the soft cheese will be within a healthy extra A and the yogurt is half a syn

Exercise:  personal training

up to two healthy extra As
one healthy extra B
around five and a half syns

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Tuesday, 22-11-22

 Good morning, everyone.

After a visit to the new Iceland yesterday evening (10% off for Slimming World members), I now have a small selection of SW ready meals to slot in over the coming weeks.  Not this week because I have that planned, but maybe starting on Saturday.
Yesterday's meals:

This is a lovely breakfast for before an energetic circuits session - plenty of protein and energy from the fruit.

And this is just as good afterwards.  Tasty and dead easy to make.

A while after that I had an apple.
For something so simple, this was absolutely delicious.
When I make it again, I could increase the meatballs by mixing the sausage meat with some low fat pork mince and I would add some veg - mushroom and pepper probably - but I so enjoyed this.

See the pasta.  It's the Christmas pasta I bought the other week and it was really very tasty.  If I don't start it now, I'll still be cooking it come the summer.  

These are the four shapes you get.  Aren't they cute.

Today's meal plans:

B:  cinnamon apple baked oats
I so enjoyed the baked oats I had a few days ago, I'm doing it again, this time with an apple and cinnamon vibe.  40g oats, one egg, a cinnamon bun flavoured Mullerlight, some chopped apple (which I am NOT going to syn) and sugar cinnamon topping (a bit of demerara sugar and a bit of cinnamon, mixed together and sprinkled over - it's nice.
SW:  one healthy extra B, half a syn or the Mullerlight and half a syn for sugar

L:  bean and veg soup, grated cheese; fruit
I have some cannellini beans left over from yesterday so a bean and veg soup will help to use them up.
SW:  one healthy extra A for the grated cheese but the rest should be speed/free

D:  sticky mango roasted salmon; yogurt
This is a BBC Good Food recipe and, as always, I will use spray oil.  Here it is.
It looks nice, doesn't it?
SW:  one and a half syns for a tbsp mango chutney and half a syn for the yogurt

Exercise:  Groove

one healthy extra A
one healthy extra B
three syns

Monday 21 November 2022

Monday, 21-11-22

Good morning, everyone.
I've been watching through some of the Hairy Bikers' Christmas programmes and in one they made spinach pasta and meatballs.  The pasta was just flour and spinach and it intrigues me - has anyone reading this made the pasta?  Is it good?

I don't have fresh spinach in but I do have frozen and given that shop bought fresh pasta is SW free, I think I'd be safe to count the hm version as 'free' too, don't you?
Yesterday's meals:

This was breakfast.  Under the bacon and egg there's a potato waffle and the whole thing was very delicious and surprisingly filling.

I got stuck into cupboard tidying and kitchen work - Christmas puddings, pigs in blankets and veggie sausage rolls (all in the freezer now) and totally lost count at time.  I glanced at the clock and was shocked that it was half past four so I decided to just have a couple of easy peelers and have the roast chicken as an evening meal.
And here it is.  No ovens were harmed in the making of this dinner, just the hob.  The chicken took half an hour in Nellie and the parsnips twenty minutes.
It was absolutely lovely.
Dessert was one of the cinnamon bun Mullerlights and it was really tasty.

So yesterday turned out to be a two meal day.

Today's meal plans:

B:  sweet omelette, fruit and yogurt
Just what it says . . .
SW:  half a syn for some 2% Greek yogurt

L:  cheese and cranberry toastie, salad; fruit
I didn't have the toastie yesterday so I thought I'd have it today instead.  I ate up all the chicken but that's OK, cheese and cranberry sauce will be delicious, I am sure.
SW:  one and a half healthy extra As, one healthy extra B

D:  one pan smoky beans and sausage meatballs, maybe pasta; yogurt
I found this in an old BBC Good Food magazine that I was flicking through before hand on.  I can sub spray oil for the real oil and the rest looks pretty SW friendly and healthy too.
I'll make it earlier and see how much it is before deciding whether to have pasta or rice s well.
Here's the recipe:
SW:  three syns for one sausage and half a syn for a bit of sugar (the recipe says) and another half syn for a yogurt

Exercise:  circuits with Lindsey

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