Mrssavageangel Slimming World – Week 5

Well howdy and hello!

Another week down (yeees!!!) And what a week. It’s been such a mixed bag of the mundane all the way to the down right emotional. A roller-coaster, if you will.

The week started well, but on Friday I attended a course to learn about the Autism Spectrum Condition PDA (or Pathological Demand Avoidance). It was as draining as it sounds and extremely emotional for me. But then I find all the times I have Oscar’s Autism held up for me to examine face to face draining. More so than actually living with him! Anyway, the course was catered, which I knew, but I assumed as this was a local authority course it would be very healthy eating focussed (or at least have some god damn fruit!) Nope not a bit of it. Sandwiches thick with butter and packets of crisps and whole chocolate bars. It was my first unplanned challenge and considering my state of mind, I think I did pretty well to just have a few sandwiches and bag of crisps. On the way home I stopped off at M&S as I decided I needed chocolate. I took two tiny bites and then stopped myself. This wasn’t making the day any better or easier to deal with, so what the hell was I doing? And I didn’t eat any more! I know, I’m amazed too! And pretty freaking proud.

Because you see I could have ruined the whole week because of that one day. I could have, but I chose not too. It wasn’t easy believe me. There were days I just wanted to eat and eat and days when I seriously wanted chocolate (and crappy weather and period pains don’t help a mood like that). I tried to keep to ‘speed’ foods where I could and where I just couldn’t face them, ‘free’ foods. I know I had more syns every day than I have had in previous weeks and some days I couldn’t count them all (such as Friday). But I’m pretty sure (other than Friday) that I stayed under the 15. The worst day was probably Tuesday. I could have happily snaffled one or even two pancakes while I was at Dylan’s, but I’d made the decision not to bother with pancake day this year (with the support of the wonderful Mr S!). But I did have terrible lady pains and craaaaaaaved cake all day long. Then I went to my first ever Yoga class. And let me tell you, Yoga is nothing like Pilates. Oh my life, the sweat was literally running in my eyes! And I aaaaaccche like a… well a very achey thing today, but do you know, I came home from that class tired, a bit sore and barely hungry at all! It was extraordinary! And I slept like the dead!

So I wasn’t really sure how I’d fair this week and was pleasantly surprised with this:

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2lb off! Not too shabby at all. That takes me to 10.5lb lost in 5 weeks. Which is nice.

As last night was our group’s Free Food Feb taster session, and as several of you told me you’re enjoying the recipes, I thought I’d share the Crustless Quiche I made. It’s much easier than having to faff about with pastry and was really nice. The recipe is based on one I found on Slimming World’s Lifeline Online. It would be great for a party or a summery dinner with a jacket potato and salad! And no pastry means gluten free, although not sure I could get the boy to eat this just yet. But he did help make it and that’s a start šŸ˜‰

Roasted Mediterranean Crustless Quiche

  • Low calorie cooking spray
  • 2 onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large courgette, thinly sliced
  • 2 red peppers, de seeded and cut in half
  • A bunch (min 16) of fine asparagus
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree (Optional. I did add this to mine, but in hindsight I’m not sure it was needed)
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 80g reduced fat Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4.
  2. Spray a large frying pan with FryLight and fry the onions over a medium-low heat for around 15 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer to a wide bowl to cool and set aside.
  3. Stirfry the courgette on medium heat for around 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and add to the onions.
  4. While the courgettes are cooking, spray the red pepper with FryLight and grill with the inside facing up until soft. Turn skin side up and grill until lightly charred. Chop into small chunks and set aside.
  5. Put the asparagus in a shallow dish with a few tbsp of water. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Transfer them to the now empty frying pan on a high heat and lightly char on all sides. Set aside separately.
  6. Beat the eggs with the garlic, tomato puree (if using), dried herbs and three quarters of the cheese. Season well.
  7. Lightly spray a flan dish with FryLight.
  8. Put the onions, courgettes and red peppers in the prepared dish and pour over the egg mixture. Arrange the asparagus spears on the top of the egg and gently press down.
  9. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until almost set.
  10. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top and just set.
  11. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.
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Roasted Mediterranean Crustless Quiche

Serves 8 at 2 syns per slice (unless you’re using the cheese as a HEA). This recipe is easily doubled (although you don’t need to increase the asparagus) to make a more substantial dish. Don’t forget to also double the syns if you double the recipe!

It went down a treat at the taster session (I assume. There was none left by the end which is always a good sign), but like I say I’m not sure it needed the tomato puree. Try it and see what you think!

This coming week is definitely going to be another one of those ‘challenge’ weeks (erm, Lisa, aren’t they all a challenge? Well yes, but shhhh, I’m talking). This Saturday I’m out for a Galentine’s Lunch with the lovely Bethany and then we’re having friends over for dinner. And of course Sunday is Valentine’s Day. I’ve got a very special dinner planned for me and the hubster, so look out for that next week! My plan is (as always, when there’s an event on the horizon) to up the speed and keep the syns down. But to be fair, I’d be amazed happy with a maintain.

Have a wonderful week and tell your loved ones they are loved!

love

 

Lisa

xx

 

Mrssavageangel Slimming World – Week 3

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!

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Burns Night. It was just so much fun sitting round a huge table to all eat together.

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
  • Frylight
  • 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.

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Look how creamy that mash is – and not a drop of butter used!

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.

Sexy Cottage Pie with Cavalo Nero and Garlic Mash. Bloody lovely!

Sexy Cottage Pie with Cavolo Nero and Garlic Mash. Bloody lovely!

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 šŸ™‚

Have a super week

love

Lisa

xxxx

*well maybe not ever ever!

Slimming World Mrssavageangel – Week 2

Second week down the road. Two weeks into my journey already. On that first day it seemed like every step was taking so long and there was just so far to go. And don’t get me wrong, there is, but all of a sudden I’m two weeks down. And before you know it’ll be a month and then two months….. Jeez if I need any reminder of that I should just look at my nearly FOUR year old son! Oscar will be four in just 10 weeks! How is that even possible? Time takes no shit, she doesn’t slow down for anyone.

Well that was deep! Just a little thought that struck me this morning as I sit here writing this and sipping my Americano with skimmed milk (from my HEA) and sugar free caramel syrup. A syn free celebration of last night’s loss of 0.5lb. image

I have to admit when I got on the scales and they flickered back and forth between a 2lb loss and a 0.5lb loss, and settled on the 0.5lb, My initial reaction was disappointment. I think my exact words were “oh no”! And then my brain kicked in and a I realised that I HAD LOST. I was forgetting my own advice, to celebrate every loss no matter how big or small. And by the time I got back to my chair I was feeling better. But it’s interesting how my gut, non thinking reaction was still negative. I think, for me, positivity as a second nature, is always going to be a work in progress.

And do you know what, regardless of what the scales say, I feel like I’ve lost more than 5lb. Physically in my clothes and emotionally in myself. And that’s what this is all about. I’m not saying I’m in any old clothes or anything yet, I just feel more comfortable, less like I’m about to pop! And that’s a great start. I do want to wear my Fat Face Jeggings again, but slowly slowly catchy monkey. And I can catch a monkey ?

This weeks favourite food has been grated courgette. I’ve been having stir fry most lunch times and I love the flavour stir fry gives, what can be a rather bland vegetable. Similarly with sprouts! I know, but seriously, slice raw sprouts finely and stirfry them bad boys. Delicious! My least favourite food this week has to be Jerusalm Artichokes. Not tried them? It’s these

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They look like nobbly potatoes, but they are actually a tuber and related to sunflowers. Ben has wanted to try them for ages, so we decided to give them a shot this week. I wish I hadn’t bothered. Firstly they were a bugger to peel. And messy. I followed a very simple Jamie Oliver recipe to cook them and I don’t know what I did but I burnt and undercooked them at the same time. Nightmare. I could only eat half of the ones I had done for myself. Which was probably a good thing as they had rather a dramatic and unpleasant effective on my digestion. Reading up about that I found they contain a substance called inulin, a synthesised version of which can be used for constipation! Yeah, if Ben wants to have them again, he’s more than welcome, but I won’t be joining him! Yowser!

I’ve also tried two new flavours of Muller Light Yogurts this week. Key Lime Pie and Peanut Caramel. I was most excited about the Peanut Caramel one, but whilst it did taste a bit nutty it was the slightly bitter flavour of raw peanuts and wasn’t actually that nice. Still, it was syn free, unlike the Key Lime Pie flavour, which whilst nice was 1 syn a pot. I’m sorry but I think there are nicer syn free flavours out there. I always feel aggrieved spending my allowance on something I could get elsewhere for free. If you know what I mean!

My favourite meal this week was a chicken soup I made from scratch. Syn free and so, so filling. It’s a tinkered with version of a Slimming World one I found online.

Syn Free Chicken Soup for Miserable Days

  • 8 chicken thighs and drumsticks, skinned
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped plus another 1 peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 leeks roughly chopped plus 1 finely sliced
  • Small bunch of fresh parsley stalks
  • 1.2 litres boiling chicken stock
  • Couple of handfuls of yellow split peas
  • Salt and pepper

Top Tip: To skin a chicken drumstick, peel away a little skin from the thick end and pull it off over the bony end (use kitchen paper to help you get a good grip).

  1. Put the chicken in a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat and skim off any scum from the surface.
  2. Add the celery, onions, roughly chopped carrots and leeks, parsley stalks and stock. Season with pepper, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the yellow spilt peas according to the packet instructions. I didn’t soak mine, just washed them and cooked in water for about an hour along with the stock. Check they’re soft enough for you and keep warm.
  4. Remove the chicken from the stock. Pick the meat off the bones, roughly shred and keep warm.
  5. Strain the soup through a fine sieve, discarding the veg and bones
  6. Return the soup to the pan, add the finely chopped carrot and sliced leek and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  7. Stir the shredded chicken and split peas into the soup.
  8. Season and serve.

The peas mean no need for bread and make the soup both comforting and filling (due to the protein content). Perfect if you are doing an SP day or if you’ve just had a crappy day and you need a hug (hence the name!)

It supposed to serve 4, and there was a lot of it, but somehow we managed to finish the pan between the two of us. It probably was a bit much to be honest and next time I think I’ll box the remains up for lunch the next day!

So this coming week is posing the biggest challenge so far on this new journey. We’re out for dinner on Saturday, a Burns Night celebration no less. I checked out haggis and at 7 syns for 100g I think I might eschew the meat version and try the veggie option (4 syns for 100g) but it’s not the food I’m thinking about. It’s the wine. Just cos I know once I have a glass my rational head goes on holiday and my cheeky mischievous head comes in to cover. My way of dealing with this is to accept it. It’s the way it is. I don’t go out often, I don’t drink at home often, so my plan is to enjoy myself. And adjust my week accordingly. More speed foods. Limited syns. Minimise the damage as t’were. And this week I’d be happy with a maintain.

Have you got any exciting plans this weekend? Have a super week either way!

love

Lisa

xxx

 

 

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Layered Flag Dip Recipe

We don’t have a summer holiday the way the Americans do. Our weather is so unpredictable, even in the summer, that BBQs tend to be last minute things, with no planning involved. So when my American friend Bethany suggested we have a Summer BBQ months ago it was actually really exciting to plan. Weather be damned! And when she suggested having it on 4th July, to celebrate Independance Day, well, I hit the Pinterest with a vengeance.

Having used Pinterest for Oscar’s birthday party recently, I was aware how bonkers they go for party theming stateside, so was unsurprised to see how many ideas there were for a 4th July shindig. I found a red, white and blue version of everything you could possibly need or want at your patriotic BBQ, some of it really awesome looking, some incredibly tacky. Then I saw this recipe for a layered dip. Designed to look like the American flag! It was just so, well, American. I knew straight away I had to make it as a centrepiece for my first all American cookout.

Tex Mex Layered Dip. Flag decoration optional!

Tex Mex Layered Dip. Flag decoration optional!

It was actually incredibly easy to make, but looked amazing and tasted fantastic.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can Refried Beans
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 1 pot salsa
  • 1 pot olives (about 100g)
  • Half an iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 bag of grated cheese (I used Monterey Jack, but any mild cheddar would do)
  • 1 large tub of Philidelphia
  • 1 large pot of sour cream
  • 1 large/beef tomato

If you want to do the flag decoration then also:

  • Handful of Blue Tortilla chips
  • 2/3 slices of mozerella or other pale coloured cheese
Blue Tortilla Chips. Not dyed, but made from actual blue corn. I got these from Ocado but you can find them in many large supermarkets.

Blue Tortilla Chips. Not dyed, but made from actual blue corn. I got these from Ocado but you can find them in many large supermarkets.

Method

Mix the taco seasoning with the Refried beans and spread the mixture over the base of a large rectangular dish

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Cover the beans with the salsa, cut the olives in half and sprinkle over the salsa.

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Top with the shredded iceberg lettuce and the cheese

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Mix together the Philadelphia with the sour cream.

If you’re going to make this into a flag, then use a small amount of the cream cheese mix to make a small square in the the top left hand corner of the dish.

Blitz the blue corn chips in the food processor (or otherwise crush). Sprinkle the crumbs onto the square of cream cheese mix.

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Then put the rest of the cream cheese mix in a freezer bag or a piping bag (depending on how fancy you are šŸ˜‰ ), snip the end off and pipe stripes across the dish.

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Chop the tomato finely and fill the gaps inbetween the cream cheese mix.

I had a tiny star cutter (thank you the boy’s playdoh box) but you could just use a straw a make dots in place of stars. Cut them out of the mozerella (the sheet slices, not the fresh stuff) and pop them on the blue chip crumbs.

Et voila!

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Serve with the remainder of the blue corn chips or any other tortilla chips you like. Or a fork. It’s that good!

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Bethany takes an inaugural dip!

Obviously, we would have less need for a dip that looks like an American flag, in the UK, but I totally urge you just to make a stripy one instead. Or if you’re the crafty type, how about a Union Flag?

Let me know if you have a go at this. I’d love to hear if you like it as much as I, and my guests, did.

xx

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The Boy Makes… Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies

The hottest day of the year yesterday and today? Pah. Gloomy, murky, rainy! What the dickens is going on? It’s July for goodness sake. Well there really was little else for it we needed to bake today and something comforting on this warm/cold/murky/grey July day. Happy British Summertime.

Like many of our forays into the kitchen I looked in the cupboards, saw what we had, and googled the ingredients for inspiration. That’s when I found this recipe over at the awesomely name Yammie’s Noshery. The beautiful photos won me over and I just had to give them a go.

So I got the bowls out, called Oscar over and told him to get get a chair to stand on. And he did! Lets just take a moment there to marvel at that fact. Ahhhhhh. Right, so anyway the cookies, yes?

Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies

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These were great to make with the boy as unlike recent attempts in the kitchen they required no melting or hob work. Perfect for little hands who just love to dump stuff in a bowl and mix.

Ingredients

The original has these in cups, but I’ve converted to grams, cos I’m super nice like that. I’ve also made a few tweaks, including using gluten freeĀ flourĀ as usual. Should you prefer standard flour then just omit the Xanthan Gum

  • 130g peanut butter (I used crunchy which I think works amazingly, but smooth would be good too, particularly if these are for small children)
  • 50g softened unsalted butter
  • 220g soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 200g gluten free plainĀ flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon bakingĀ powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar for rolling (I used caster, but any kind would be good)

Apologies for the lack of photos of the boy helping me. I promise you he did, but I’d left my phone in the other room and you know how they are once they start something!

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c or Gas Mark 5.
  2. Mix the peanut butter, butter and sugar together.
  3. Mash the banana. Add to the butter mix along with the vanilla extract and stirĀ well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined into an easy to work dough.
  5. Take walnut size pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball in the granulated sugar and place on a baking sheet covered in baking parchment.
  6. Press lightly with the prongs of a fork to make the chequered pattern. The cookies will spread, so don’t put too many on a tray or too close together. I used two baking sheets to make 19 cookies.
  7. Bake for around 10-15 minutes or until golden.
  8. Leave to cool on cooling racks before snaffling greedily behind the kitchen door so the children don’t see you.
Press lightly with the back of a fork this way and that to get the criss cross pattern.

Press lightly in to the uncooked dough with the back of a fork this way and that to get the criss cross pattern.

I am totally going to have to make these again (not that the waistband on my jeans wants me too – they’re so good). The boy loved mixing the ingredients and the mixture is so tactile. Rather like very soft play dough. And so quick. From ingredient to grateful munchingĀ in around 20 minutes. I can see them being really good with added cinnamon and rolled in demerara sugar closer to Christmas.

So next time you have a friends coming over and there’s a gluten free eater among them, whip up a batch of these. Everyone will be grateful you did.

Delicious Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Banana cookies. Great with a coffee!

Delicious Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Banana cookies. Great with a coffee!

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