Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Giveaway: A Right Couple of Mugs and a sappy post.

Valentines day is just peeking its pink sparkly face around the corner and so I thought I would treat my lovely readers to a cheeky little giveaway.

Valentines for me has never been a big deal, we are not ones for grand gestures or schmaltz on February 14th. My opinion is pretty much that if you are only allowed to be loving one day a year, the world would be a sad old place to be.

Plus, our anniversary is in March so we save all of our pennies for a day when we are likely to get a table at our favorite restaurant, not surrounded by other loved up couples making grand gestures.

Now onto the sappy bit, so feel free to skip to the end if you like...

Hoss, my delightful other half (also known as Paulie) has been my boyfriend, best friend, chief recipe-tester, feet warmer, cheerleader, cheerer-uperer, and all round good guy for the past 7 years.

His constant support and encouragement has made this blog what it is, I have not always been the most confident person and when it comes to self promotion I am terrible. I am pretty much your typical self deprecating Brit. So, having that person in your corner, telling you they believe in you or that they are proud of your accomplishments is essential. That person for me used to be my Mum, and since she died I have really struggled. Having Paulie and his wonderful family has helped beyond words.

I guess I wanted this post to be a big soppy thank you to him. I couldn't have done it without you Bumder-face! (yea, we do pet names... what of it?!)...

So, back to the giveaway. The lovely people at T G Greens have offered up a set of these lovely Cornishware mugs, personalised with yours and your significant others name. Of course it doesn't have to be for a couple, you could get your children's names, days of the week, work or home... Whatever you want really! Simply complete the rafflecopter widget below to enter.

UK ONLY - Sorry to my international buds but this ones only for the UK.

Competition ends on Friday 1st February.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T G Green's provided me with these mugs free of charge, to review and run this fantastic giveaway, so this is a sponsored post.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Healthy Carbonara

Eating out is always a bit of a mine field when it comes to Weight Watchers, there are a few general guidelines but without actually going into the kitchen with a set of scales and harassing the chef (they do not like this) it is pretty much a guessing game.

One of the guidelines when eating pasta is to avoid anything creamy, opt for a tomato based sauce instead. This is sound advice generally as even the most novice of weight watchers knows cream beats tomato in a game of propoint top trumps. However, does this mean I can never again experience the delights of a nice Carbonara?

NOT ON MY WATCH!

I really do love a good carbonara, heck, I even love a bad carbonara. There is just something about the creamy saucy pasta mixed with the salty bacon that speaks to my soul. So, I set about creating a Weight Watchers version I could easily make at home...

And here it is...

print recipe
Healthy Weight Watcher's Friendly Carbonara.
I'm not going to pretend it is as good as real carbonara, but it still delicious!
Ingredients
  • 160g Spaghetti
  • 2 rashers Bacon (fat trimmed)
  • 100g Creme Fraiche (Half fat)
  • 1 Chicken Stock Cube
  • 1-2 pints Water
Instructions
Cut the bacon in small pieces and fry until the desired crispness. I like mine quite crispy.Pop the water and stock cube in a pan and bring to the boil.Cook the pasta in the stock until tender.Once the pasta is cooked, drain away most of the stock, leaving a small amount in the pan with the pasta.Stir in the creme fraiche and sprinkle in the bacon.Heat gently until all combined and desired consistancyServe in a glutenous heap, maybe sprinkle some Parmesan over the top if feeling particularly decadent.
Details
Total Propoints: 20 Number of Servings: 2 Pro Points per serving: 10

The stock is really just there to take away the slight yoghurt-y flavour of the creme fraiche. You could go without, but in my opinion its what makes this dish!

You could also throw all sorts of vegetables in with this, I have made it with mushrooms instead of bacon and it is lovely! Just go wild, it is very versatile.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Meal Planning Monday - 21st January.

Meal Planning, meal planning, meal planning... How I love thee...

Well, last week started out brilliant! I stuck to the plan, tracked all my pro points like pro. Then an unexpected invitation happened on Friday night, nearly a whole bottle of wine later and I am shoveling crackers into my face at remarkable speed.

I tried to get back on the straight and narrow but a nice big roast dinner and a few gin and tonics probably tipped me over the edge. I definitely need to do better in social situations.

Anyway, leaving that behind I am looking forward to this week and getting back on track.

Monday
Breakfast: Porridge with fresh peach. 5pp
Lunch: Boots Shaper wrap and snack a jacks 11pp
Dinner: Philli toped chicken breast with roast sweet potato, brocolli and asparagus - 9pp

Tuesday
Breakfast: Porridge with fresh peach. 5pp
Lunch: Subway 6" turkey and ham with salad and sweet onion dressing 8pp
Dinner: Roast veggie pasta with fresh mozzarella - 11pp

Wednesday
Breakfast: Porridge with banana. 5pp
Lunch: leftover pasta with fresh fruit salad - 9pp
Dinner: Turkey chilli with brown rice - 13pp

Thursday
Breakfast: Porridge with banana. 5pp
Lunch: Weight Watchers Ready Meal - 9pp
Dinner: Leftover chilli and rice stuffed peppers - 14pp

Friday
Breakfast: Porridge. 5pp
Lunch: Weight Watchers Ready Meal - 9pp
Dinner: Steak and baked potato with roast veggies - 15pp

I am trying to utilize more leftovers and create different meals so as not to get bored. Lets hope I am a bit more disciplined this week.

Although I don't think one bad weekend is such a big deal as I have lost 12lb so far! Onwards and downwards etc...

I will be tweeting and instagramming my meals using the #WWfooddiary hashtag, as will my fellow ambassadors, so if you need a bit of inspiration, check it out.

I have entered my meal plan into Mrs M's linky.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Meal Planning Monday - 14th January.

I have been stupidly organised this week! I don't know if its the fact that because I am a Weight Watchers ambassador I feel I have to do well, and in order to do well I need to plan... Or if I am just having one of those rare moments of organisation that usually disappears as quick as it arrives.

Whatever is causing this rare bit of forward thinking, I am jumping on it before I revert back to form. So here is my meal plan for the week commencing 14th January.

Following feedback from a few I have decided to add back the breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do let me know which you prefer!

Monday
Breakfast: Porridge with passion fruit and banana. 4pp
Lunch: Soup and a Salad (either Ham and Egg or Tuna) 8pp
Dinner: Gammon steak with mustard mash and green beans - 10pp

Tuesday
Breakfast: Porridge with passion fruit and banana. 4pp
Lunch: Subway 6" turkey and ham with salad and sweet onion dressing 8pp
Dinner: Spicy prawn pasta bake with salad - 8pp

Wednesday
Breakfast: Porridge with peaches. 4pp
Lunch: Weight Watchers Ready Meal - 9pp
Dinner: Left over pasta bake - 8pp

Thursday
Breakfast: Porridge with peaches. 4pp
Lunch: Weight Watchers Ready Meal - 9pp
Dinner: Either a turkey mince cottage pie, or chilli with rice - 11-15pp

Friday
Breakfast: Porridge with peaches. 4pp
Lunch: Weight Watchers Ready Meal - 9pp
Dinner: Chicken breast stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon, with boiled potatoes and veggies - 14pp

Now anyone with a basic grasp of maths can see that this does not add up to my full allowance of 39pp per day, but I will use this as a basic outline and add snack and treat where and when I feel. This meal plan allows me to establish a routine and feel in control, so when I do snack or treat myself I know where it will fit into my plan!

Also FYI the ready meals I am having for lunches are the chilled ones which are currently only £1.50 each in Asda!

I will be tweeting and instagramming my meals using the #WWfooddiary hashtag, as will my fellow ambassadors, so if you need a bit of inspiration, check it out.

I have entered my meal plan into Mrs M's linky.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Carrot Cake Cupcakes.

I may be on a healthy eating plan, but my love of baking has not dwindled. Almost on a daily basis I get requests from the boyfriend to make cakes for his co-workers. Since they got me a lovely bottle of wine as a "thank you for all the cake" at Christmas, I thought I would bake them something yummy and sort of healthy-ish.

I settled on Carrot Cake Cupcakes. I mean it is one of your 5 a day!

The cakes themselves are absolutely delicious with a ginger and cinnamon warmth to them, perfect for these cold January days. I topped mine with a cheeky cream cheese frosting and sprinkling of cinnamon. Although they would be perfectly lovely naked as little muffins....

print recipe
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
One of your 5 a day (Probably)
Ingredients
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 175ml Sunflower Oil
  • 2 Eggs
  • 225g Self Raising Flour
  • 3 Carrots (grated)
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 40g Cream Cheese (full fat)
  • A good pinch Cinnamon
  • A good pinch Ground Ginger
Instructions
Whisk the sugar and oil together.Add the eggs one at a time and whisk well.Stir in the dry ingredients until combined.Fold in the carrotsSpoon the mixture into 12 cupcake cases and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.For the Icing, Mix the cream cheese and icing sugar together (I use a mixer for this) until you have a creamy smooth icing.Put a thin layer of icing on top of each cake and liberally sprinkle with cinnamon.

Being a good little weight watcher that I am, I did calculate the propoints. Without icing they are 7pp each. With icing they are 8pp. Not bad really for a sneaky treat! I did send all twelve off to work with Paul, although I may have licked a spoon of icing.

Have you dont any healthy baking? Any success stories? Do share...

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Routines: Weight Watchers Friendly Lunches and recipe.

One of my biggest problems when trying to eat healthier is lunch, what to have for lunch?

I am not the most organised of people, it just doesn't come naturally to me. I wish i was one of those people who puts away laundry the second it is out of the tumble dryer, or does the washing up straight after dinner but I am just not, I accept this wholeheartedly.

However, when it comes to lunches I really need to buck my ideas up. Part of the new Weight Watchers programme is all to do with routines, setting up achievable routines which if you do enough will become second nature.

On the Weight Watchers website they offer members a routines tool, which suggests handy things for you to do everyday (you can pick the right ones for you), with the hope of them becoming routine. They give you a checklist tool which you can use to tick off when you do it, the app also gives you friendly reminders which is great for me and my fuzzy brain.

I actually really like this idea, so I have set myself the following routines;

  • Eat breakfast everyday - I am terrible for not doing this, and am always reaching for the biscuits by 10:30am.

  • Always have healthy snack to hand - I have a drawer stuffed with various 2pp biscuits, sweets and fruit to reach for on those hungry days.

  • Put down your fork between bites and sip water - I am always in such a hurry when eating, always the first to finish, and always the first to go for seconds. This allows me time to realise I am full and stops me going for seconds.

  • Another routine I am hoping to adopt is preparing a healthy lunch the night before, I am terrible for sleeping a little too long and having to run out of the house, so having something ready to just shove in my bag is ideal.

    Here are a few things I have made for lunch recently;

    1. Ham and Egg Salad - One of my favourite lunches recently thanks to Ros and her foolproof egg cooking advice! No more chalky yolks for me!

    2. I ate out once in my first week, and opted for a half pizza and salad. A great way to have what you fancy but not use up too many points!

    3. Homemade Butternut Squash Soup, so easy and filling, although I need to solve the issue of carrying homemade soup to work. Any suggestions?

    4. Roast Aubergine and Pomegranate Salad, a bit of an experiment which worked out well, although I do want to look into potential dressings in future.

    5. Weight Watchers ready meal, for those days when I am not very organised!

    6. Tin of Soup and Warburtons Danish bread, an easy lunch for a busy day, but not really filling enough for me if I am honest.

    Here is my ridiculously easy butternut squash soup recipe for you...

    print recipe
    Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
    A low PP lunch time treat.
    Ingredients
    • 1 medium Butternut Squash
    • Stock (enough to cover)
    • 2 medium Carrots
    • A pinch Cumin
    • A pinch Dried Chilli Flakes
    • A pinch Smoked Paprika
    • 3 Tablespoons Creme Fraiche
    Instructions
    Peel and chop the butternut squash and carrots into chunksPop in a large pan and cover with stock.Add spices and simmer for around 1 hour.Once the veggies are soft and the stock had reduced, tip into blender (or use a stick blender if you have one) and blend until smooth.Stir creme fraiche through the soup and eat with gusto!
    Details
    Total Propoints: 2 Per portion: 0

    Yield: 4-5 big bowls

    Do you have any routines? Or are there any you wish you had?

    Feel free to leave your favourite lunch ideas or blog posts in the comments below!

    N.B - I had my first weigh-in yesterday and lost 1lb in my first week! Very pleased with that. From previous experience I tend to do better with small but steady weight loss, it is much more realistic for me.

    Monday, 7 January 2013

    Meal Planning Monday - 7th January.

    Managed to sort of stick to my meal plan last week, but as it was my first week on Weight Watchers I did stray a little and experiment with things. I do like to allow myself flexibility from the plan, as sometimes you just don't fancy what you thought you would, or you get invited to a friends house, or you see a picture of someones dinner on twitter and get inspired! The point of this plan is to give me a guideline of what I have in the house, and what I can make out of it!

    This week I am back to just planning my evening meals, I'll be doing my usual porridge for breakfast, and then experimenting with different lunches, which I will blog about separately. So now onto the plan...

    Monday
    Chicken filo pie, veggies and gravy. 11pp

    Tuesday
    Cheeky carbonara. 10pp

    Wednesday
    I am off to a friends house so we are doing a "sort-yourself out" night. I will either eat out or make a quick veggie pasta.

    Thursday
    Chilli beef enchiladas and salad. 12pp

    Friday
    Sausages and mash with carrots and gravy. 11pp

    I will be tweeting and instagramming my meals using the #WWfooddiary hashtag, as will my fellow ambassadors, so if you need a bit of inspiration, check it out. I have entered my meal plan into Mrs M's linky.

    Thursday, 3 January 2013

    Turkey Enchiladas and sorting the post-christmas fridge.

    Firstly, thank you so much to everyone for their lovely tweets, emails, comments etc... It is so lovely to know that I have a lot of support AND a lot of people who will shout at me if I don't stick to this! Also, to those also following WW or any other healthy plans; best of luck and we can totally do this!

    OK, motivational speech over with, now onto my first challenge.

    As part of being a blog ambassador we will be set weekly challenges, I have no idea what to expect with these but the first one seems pretty straightforward; Sort your fridge.

    I started my New Year with having Tesco deliver on January 1st, I ordered lots of vegetables, fruit, lean meats and low point snacks. The fridge did still have some naughtiness in there, but the Dairy Milk was not mine! Honest! *wipes mouth suspiciously*

    I officially started weight watchers on the 1st of January, as I wasn't going to be at work and would more than likely be a little hungover, I knew I would be prone to sitting on the sofa with a pile of leftover Christmas goodies for company.

    So in the days leading up to the 1st I set about giving my fridge an overhaul, throwing out any food past its best and making healthy meals with the rest.

    Due to the HUGE turkey we had for Christmas we had a lot of meat which needed to be used up, so I set about creating a delicious WW friendly recipe. I also had soft tortillas which needed to be used, so settled on enchiladas...

    print recipe
    Turkey/Chicken Enchiladas
    A great, healthy way to use up leftover chicken or turkey.
    Ingredients
    • 4 Soft Tortillas (16pp)
    • 1 carton/jar Pasatta (0pp)
    • 300g Shreaded Turkey/Chicken (12pp)
    • 1 Sachet Old El Paso Spice for Chilli (3pp)
    • 80g Half fat Mozzarella (grated)(4pp)
    Instructions
    Shred the meat and stir in the pasatta and spice mix.Spoon the mixture onto each tortilla and roll, laying then seam side down in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Pour the remaining sauce/meat mixture over the top of the enchiladas and top with cheese.Bake at 200C for 25-35 minutes, until the top is golden and crisp.
    Details
    Total Propoints: 33 Per portion: 9

    Yield: 4

    If I was cooking this just for me, I would add a bucket load of peppers, onions and mushrooms but as the boyfriend doesn't eat vegetables I would serve with a salad or roast the vegetables separately.

    This is a very adaptable recipe, so you can stuff them with just about anything! You could even go without the cheese if you wanted to save a few more PP. We prefer the Old El Paso Chilli seasoning mix, it is smokey and subtly spicy without being overpowering, you could use your own spices if you prefer but I highly recommend this one.

    These are also lovely the next day warmed up for lunch.

    Did you do anything healthy with your leftovers? Feel free to share your tips/recipes/posts below.

    Wednesday, 2 January 2013

    Meal Planning Monday (ish) - 2nd January.

    So Christmas was rather indulgent wasn't it? It's reached the point now where I am so tired of food, I would quite happily never eat again. However, it is essential to human existence and all that...

    Now I am all about the Weight Watchers my meal plans will include breakfast, lunch and dinner - including the propoint values. As my boyfriend is not strictly following the plan I will make adaptations to evening meals to suit us both...

    Wednesday
    Breakfast: Oats so simple porridge with skimmed milk and blueberries. 4pp
    Lunch: Tesco Light Choices Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup and WW danish bread. 6pp
    Dinner: Meal out at italian restaurant est; 20-25pp
    Snacks: WW Rich toffee bar, banana, 3 cups of tea - 6pp

    Total: 39pp

    Thursday
    Breakfast: Oats so simple porridge with skimmed milk and blueberries. 4pp
    Lunch: Jacket potato with cottage cheese and salad - 12pp
    Dinner: Healthy carbonara. 10pp
    Snacks: WW Rich toffee bar, satsuma, 3 cups of tea - 6pp

    Total: 32pp

    Friday
    Breakfast: Oats so simple porridge with skimmed milk and banana. 4pp
    Lunch: Ham and egg salad - 3pp
    Dinner: Aubergine Bake and 3 glasses of rose wine - 18pp
    Snacks: fruit, 3 cups of tea - 4pp

    Total: 29pp

    Saturday
    Breakfast: grilled bacon, scrambled eggs and mushrooms - 9pp
    Lunch: I tend to sleep in and have breakfast late, so no proper lunch, will snack on fruit and maybe two slices of toast for 5pp.
    Dinner: Steak with mash potato and fried mushrooms - 14pp
    Snacks: Dolce Gusto Latte (4pp)

    Total: 32pp

    Sunday
    Breakfast: Bacon and egg sandwich: 7pp
    Dinner: Roast chicken dinner with mashed potatoes, carrots, yorkshire puddings and gravy. 16pp
    I am going to try wither poached pears, or a oaty pear crumble for pudding. I estimate this to be 10-12pp depending on the recipe, will blog this once made.

    Total: 35pp

    I am allowed 39pp daily, so I have gone under everyday. I found the last time I did weight watchers my plan would be under each day to allow a little room for snacking or spontaneous plans which might crop up. I usually add this to my planner after the event.

    Considering how I do this I am wondering if I should make my meal plans retrospective? Perhaps team it up with my weigh-ins to help show how my week has effected my weight? What do you think?

    As the month goes on I will blog my recipes so you can see where the Propoint values come from and if you fancy, make them yourself! I will also be adding exercise gradually.

    I have entered my meal plan into Mrs M's linky.

    Tuesday, 1 January 2013

    Weight Watcher's Blog Ambassador.

    Happy January! I know the world and their dog are making promises to themselves and pledging to be happier and healthier in 2013. I usually scoff at such nonsense but this year I find myself jumping on the January bandwagon.

    I have been asked by Weight Watchers to be one of their blog ambassadors for 2013.

    I first started Weight Watchers back in 2010, and in just over 6 months I lost nearly 3 stone, I found their Propoints programme really worked for me. Unfortunately after the death of my Mum I struggled to stick to any sort of diet and pretty much baked and ate my way through my grief. While in hindsight I wish I hadn't I know that baking and getting lost in the kitchen really helped me through that difficult time.

    Now, I find myself back to square one, back to the exact weight I was when I began in 2010...

    My main reason for starting this Propoints programme is my health, I wish to improve my fitness and general overall health. I am not looking to be a size 8 or squeeze into skimpy clothing. I am a great believer in the fact that people can be healthy at any weight, I know people who are size 16-18 who run marathons, and people who are size 10 who eat junk and couldn't run to the end of the street! It is all about the individual and as long as I feel fit and healthy in myself, I'll be a happy bunny.

    So, now for the scary bit...

    My starting weight is: 17stone 8lbs
    My first goal is 5% so: 16st 9lbs

    So wish me luck, and look out for healthy recipes, challenges and the like in the near future. Do not fret, I am still planning on blogging non-diet recipes and treats on occasion.

    Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year!

    Disclaimer: As part of being a blog ambassador, Weight Watchers have given me a free 3 month membership and goody bag. All posts tagged with "weight watchers" are classed as sponsored

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