Oh haaai! How’s it been? Good, good. Me? I’m fine; you? Lovely. On with the show, yes?
Saturday was my biggest challenge since restarting Slimming World and as I discussed last week, there was nothing for it but to go with the flow. Friends of ours were holding a Burns Night meal and I knew there was no way to do that in any kind of ‘food optimised’ way. There just wasn’t, and quite frankly there will always be times in life like that. Times when you have to take a different approach. And so that’s what I did. I drank wine (although I managed not to get involved with the Beer Pong. Sweet jeez, I have THE worst aim and I’d end up drinking the whole table. Last summer I even set a record for being the only player ever* to score an own goal!) and ate the delicious sausage, mash, mashed swede (not syn free but a revelation!) and creamed leeks. I did try a tiny bit of haggis, but found it wasn’t my fave so gave the rest to Ben, who loved it. I even had dessert, although afterwards I did think I probably could have passed on that. But it was sticky toffee pudding with whisky and caramel sauce! What’s a girl to do? We had such a fab time and can I just take a minute to high five Natalie for cooking a sit down meal for 15 people ??. Shamazing!
So what do you do when you know you’ve got a meal like that in a week? Well, you can avoid it entirely. Seriously, you can. I have done in the past. Or you can look at in isolation. Say, OK, it’s one meal. What can I do either side to get some balance? And because I had the luxury of knowing it was coming up (planning, planning, planning ?) I kept my syns to a minimum both before and after, and increased the amount of speed foods I was eating through the week. And do you know what? It worked.
I was super proud of myself this week, because yeah I had a big Saturday, but I worked really hard either side to minimise it’s effects. I was a little bit surprised with how much I lost, seriously I would have been happy with a maintain. But a loss it was, meaning in January I have lost 6.5lb. Not a bad start, by anyone’s standards ?
Other than mashed swede, what new foods have I been eating this week? Mmm, ooo I know, Cavolo Nero. I’ve tried to like Kale in the past and yeah it’s OK, but the bags you can get from the supermarkets tend to already be chopped and I find the stems just a bit too tough for my liking. However, this week I’ve found Cavolo Nero, Kale’s darker, sexier cousin, in whole leaf form. And while it’s stems are more tender, I still prefer to cut them out, which its much easier to do from a whole leaf. So this week I put a whole bag of Cavolo Nero in my Cottage Pie and man alive was it good!
Sexy Cottage Pie with Cavolo Nero and Garlic Mash
- 4 or 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut up
- 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 100ml skimmed milk
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 500g lean beef mince (5% fat or less)
- 200g Cavolo Nero, (stems removed and leaves chopped)
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 200g passata
- Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- Salt and Pepper
1. Put the potatoes and unpeeled garlic cloves in a large saucepan of lightly salted water for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
2. Drain, mash. Now, if you have a potato ricer you will get ridiculously smooth mash with little effort. If you don’t have one, you should get one! You can put the garlic cloves in a ricer without taking the skins off (the ricer will remove the smooth soft flesh for you). If you prefer a masher, then remove the garlic skins by squeezing the cloves and the flesh should pop out. Either way mash the potatoes and the garlic together. Add the skimmed milk and mix hard with a wooden spoon. Season to taste. Set aside.
3. Spray another pan with Frylight, add the onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the minced beef and cook for a few minutes until the beef is brown.
4. Stir in the Cavolo Nero, chopped tomatoes, passata, Worcestershire Sauce and herbs. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Season.
5. Spoon the beef mixture into an oven proof dish and spread the mash over the top. This can be done in advance and left until you’re ready to bake.
6. If you have the syns to spend, dot a couple of tsps of butter on the mash (2 syns per tsp). If you don’t, spray with Frylight.
7. Place into a hot oven (200c or Gas Mark 6) for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve with lots of vegetables of your choice.
So my goal for next week is to get my first half stone award, by losing 0.5lb. It sounds like such a small amount but just under half a stone down and I can already get back into clothes that were too tight a couple of weeks ago. Honestly, I haven’t been able to wear my moto jacket for weeks now and this weekend I could even get it done up. I mean I couldn’t breathe, but woop woop to me! It’s amazing how a relatively small loss is making such a huge difference and I’m definitely on the right path 🙂
Have a super week
*well maybe not ever ever!