Saturday, 28 July 2012 - , , , , , 0 comments

SMASH & GRAB : Crumpets with Peanut Butter


When I first started Weight Watchers, I never imagined that I would still be able to eat one of my favourite breakfasts - hot toasted crumpets with peanut butter....but on this plan, anything is possible!

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The trick is to be vigilant with the ingredients you buy. These are thin crumpets from Sainsbury's - eight to a pack, and work out to 2pp/95kcal each. There are so many different brands and types of crumpets so it's important to check the propoint values on the pack you buy. These ones are great because 2 crumpets are still 4pp - they don't 'round-up' to 5pp for two, which is sometimes the case.


My second little nifty plan is that I only ever buy reduced fat peanut butter, so a 20g portion (plenty for two crumpets) is 3pp/109kcal.
PLEASE WEIGH ACCURATELY THOUGH 
- guessing is NO substitute for weighing!

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So, a delicious, comforting breakfast of 2 hot toasted crumpets with a generous dollop of rich, melting peanut butter for 7pp/approx 300kcal...without feeling like you are missing out on anything.

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Thursday, 26 July 2012 - , , 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : Sugar Free Marshmallows


I've mentioned these a few times in some of my recipes...(S'mores, banana splits etc).
These sugar free marshmallows are really worth keeping in the larder for those gorgeous squidgy snacky moments.

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I have only ever seen them for sale in Sainsbury's.
(They are Sainsbury's own brand).
You can have 6 for 1pp or they are 5kcal each.
Even though they are smaller than average marshmallows, they react to heat sources in exactly the same way, so will puff up in the microwave and toast (with care) over the barbie.
Monday, 23 July 2012 - , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE: Mushroom & Halloumi Burgers with Onion Relish


This dish is a fabulous one this time of year as you can fling it on the barbie on a hot day and eat it 'al fresco'.
For 5pp/approx.250 kcal, I think this is a pretty spectacular use of propoints. It's really filling and tasty. The toasted creaminess of the halloumi, accompanied by the sweet stickiness of the onion relish and 'meaty' mushrooms is just a wonderfully mouth-watering combination of flavours and textures...real happy food!

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You will need:

FOR THE BURGER (per portion)

2 large Portobello mushrooms
Low salt soy sauce
Dried Italian Herbs
45g (Two 22.5g)slices of
Light(30%less fat)Halloumi Cheese
Half a Warburtons Square-ish wrap
(Or bread equivalent for 2pp/80kcal)
Frylight Sunflower Oil
Extra light mayo

Iceberg Lettuce to garnish

FOR THE ONION RELISH (Serves 2-3)

2 onions
2 cloves garlic
Fresh basil
1/4 jar passata
Cup of water
2 teaspoons artificial sweetener
Black pepper

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One of the joys of this dish is that you can pretty much cook everything at the same time.
Start by char-grilling the mushrooms in a griddle pan. Slosh a little low salt soy sauce and sprinkle a few dried herbs on them as they cook-this really enhances the flavour.


Slice the onions and garlic and fry in some Frylight Sunflower oil and artificial sweetener. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to 'steam' the onions. Once they start to sweat and soften, add the passata and freshly torn basil and allow them to cook until you have a chutney/relish-type texture. You may need to add a little more water if it gets too thick. Season with freshly ground black pepper. This doesn't have to be piping hot to serve, so once cooked, leave to cool slightly.


Cut the light halloumi into even slices and weigh accurately. (The 225g block will cut into 10 slices at approx 22-22.5g each).
Chargrill on both sides in a griddle pan until beautifully browned. Try not to overcook as the texture will go 'squeaky'.

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As everything is nearing completion, cut the half wrap in two and lightly toast it on one side leaving the other side warm and 'bready'.(You can do this by popping the two pieces together in one side of the toaster so that only the outer side toasts).


Stack the burgers up (2 per person)....toasted wrap on the base, then layer a whole mushroom, a large dollop of onion relish and a slice of halloumi on each one.
Garnish with shredded iceberg lettuce and a tiny squiggle (1 teaspoon) of extra light mayo.

***

Tuck in and enjoy!

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING : Courgette Salad with Garlic & Lime Juice


Sometimes the simplest foods are the best.
Raw courgette is pretty bland and flavourless, but with the addition of some citrus juices and garlic flavours, it transforms into a fabulous salad than will blow your socks off! This zero propointed salad
literally takes 5 minutes to prepare and is a robust, filling and delicious accompaniment to any grilled meat or fish.

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Using a julienne peeler, julienne raw courgettes into thin strips. Only slice down to the seeds, but try not to waste the centres-retain them for soups or stews. Add freshly pressed garlic and the juice of lime, lemon or both. Mix well (I use my hands- much easier to coat everything thoroughly). Tons of freshly ground black pepper and you're ready to go!

***

TIP

The acidity in the lime or lemon juice will 'cook' or soften the raw courgette, so don't add the juice until a few minutes before serving, or it will go soggy.
Friday, 20 July 2012 - , 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : Fish Free King Prawns


Sometimes, vegetarian 'alternatives' for meat or fish dishes can be really disappointing, but I'm really excited about this new product.
They are Fish-Free King Prawns made by Linda McCartney. They are around £2.50 for a 250g bag which is much cheaper than the equivalent in real king prawns. The texture and flavour is spot on...I was really amazed when I tried them!
Prawns are very low in fat anyway, but this WHOLE bag works out to 5pp/approx.150kcal.
Half the bag is 2pp/75kcal which is plenty for a portion.


You cook them from frozen and then they can be used in both hot and cold dishes- paellas, pastas, prawn cocktails etc.

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I stir-fried some in Frylight Sunflower oil with loads of garlic, and had them with 'courgetti spaghetti' (julienned courgette strips), for 2pp/approx 90kcal...a delicious and filling meal for such low propoints!

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Something Fishy-free must be going on!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012 - , , , , , , , , 0 comments

SOMETHING FOR NOTHING : Melon 'Bowls' with Blueberries


It's easy to pick up a piece of fruit without thinking, a few chomps whilst doing something else, and all of a sudden, it's gone. We hardly even notice we've eaten it.

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Even though all fruits are zero propoints on the Weight Watchers plan, it's a good idea to try and stay mindful of how much fruit we are eating and, indeed, how we actually eat it. I make a large bowl of mixed fruit salad as a dessert pretty much every evening. For me, the ritual of preparing the fruit makes it so much more enjoyable to eat because of the effort I've put in.
If I've eaten a banana during the day, I wouldn't add another one to my fruit salad that day, as I know they are really high in fruit sugars.

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The dish above makes a lovely light breakfast, dessert or snack in-between meals. Because it takes a couple of minutes to prepare and it looks so pretty, it's easier to treat it with the respect it deserves....cut, scoop out the seeds, fill with blueberries, garnish with mint, admire, sit down and eat it consciously!
By leaving the melon in its skin, it takes longer to scoop out and eat and is therefore more filling, because we have to work that little bit harder to retrieve the fruit.
I also love popping out into my garden to pick a fresh sprig of mint to garnish the top, inhale the herby fragrance and be with nature for a few seconds.
It's just about 'stopping to smell the roses' sometimes and appreciate the simple things in life.

***

Basic stuff but well worth thinking about.
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 - , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Warm Sumac Salmon with Rocket, Sweet Pickled Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad


This stunningly beautiful dish is an exotic and exciting fusion of flavours, textures and visual delights. The soft tones of pink and green compliment each other to the extent that it really has to be appreciated before consumption!
The soft, warm, citrusy salmon sits on a bed of sweet, crunchy pickled cucumber and peppery rocket, whilst the pomegranate seeds pop on the roof of your mouth releasing a sweet, tangy juice.
At 6 propoints/approx.350kcal, its a lovely lunch or light supper dish.


***


You will need:(per portion)


One 130g salmon fillet
Sumac (see post; CUPBOARD LOVE:SUMAC)
Fresh rocket leaves
Pickled cucumber(See post; RECIPE:Pickled Vegetables served with Chargrilled Beef)
Half a fresh pomegranate
Chopped fresh herbs- parsley, chives etc
Black Pepper
Lime juice


***




 Place some greaseproof paper onto a piece of foil and spray with a little Frylight sunflower oil. Pop the salmon fillet on the paper and sprinkle liberally with sumac and freshly chopped parsley, or any seasoning of your choice. Finish with some freshly ground black pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.
Wrap the salmon in the foil making a secure parcel. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 190 degrees centigrade.


***




While the salmon is baking, make up the salad. Arrange a generous handful of rocket into the serving bowl. Slice the pickled cucumber into slender chunks and de-seed the pomegranate.
I always use Nigella's method; Cut the pomegranate in half. Put the cut side of the fruit into the palm of your hand and hit the outside of the fruit quite firmly with a wooden spoon over a bowl. The seeds fall through your fingers into the bowl leaving the inedible parts in your hand to be discarded.


***




Once cooked, remove the salmon from the oven and allow to cool a little. Gently break the salmon by hand into large, chunky flakes on top of the salad. Sprinkle on some more sumac (the flavour is more pungent uncooked).
Dress the salad with some of the sweet pickled cucumber marinade. Add some more freshly chopped herbs and top with the pomegranate seeds. 


***


Simply divine.


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HANDY TIP


If you don't have any homemade pickled cucumber, don't be tempted to use shop-bought ones as they are far too strong and acidic. Just slice or julienne some fresh cucumber and toss in some chinese rice wine vinegar sweetened with some artificial sweetener and seasoned with white pepper.




PRINT RECIPE HERE
Friday, 13 July 2012 - , 0 comments

HOLIDAY HOT TIPS : The Infamous Buffet


So....before I launch back into some yummy new recipes and my usual tips and tricks, I thought I would share with you the methods I used to manage my food and weight before, during and after my recent 7 day holiday.
This post is very 'Weight Watchers-based' so forgive me, any of you calorie-counters or other slimming clubs peeps out there....but I feel sure you will catch my drift and be able to adapt some of my tips to suit whichever style of weight management you follow.

***

I had plenty of notice that I was going on holiday. I booked it back in March or April, so  it was no surprise that I would want to look my best for the beach in July.
As you know, I'm maintaining my 62lb weight loss now, and have been for some time.
I usually eat 27-28 daily propoints on maintenance, and ALL of my weekly 49 extras.

I also track religiously-it's now a habit I will use for ever, as I find it very difficult to gauge my natural 'full-up' feeling and, being naturally greedy, tracking is my 'security blanket'-it tells me when to STOP!

So....as I track using the Weight Watchers iphone app which uses an internet connection, I had to have a few strategies up my sleeve as I couldn't guarantee a reliable connection while away, so knew I probably wouldn't be able to track.


Also, I wanted to enjoy myself and my food on holiday and not be too obsessed about it....but without going totally crazy, undoing all my good work, and falling off the proverbial band-wagon!

***

PRE-HOLIDAY STRATEGY

Even though I was at a good maintenance weight, I put myself onto 26 daily propoints, (plus ALL my Weekly 49 Extras), for 2 weeks BEFORE my holiday.
This ensured that I was at my optimum low weight and felt as confident as I will ever feel in my swimwear!

***

ON HOLIDAY

We booked a holiday on a half-board basis. The breakfast and the evening meals were always a vast and beautiful buffet....plenty to tempt but also loads of filling and healthy zero propointed foods too!


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So, this is what I did....

I put my propoints allowance up to 35 Dailies for maintenance, PLUS my 49 weeklies.
By dividing my weeklies into 7 extra per day, this gave me a DAILY total of 42 propoints to work with on holiday.

As I could only 'guesstimate', I roughly allowed myself 15 propoints for breakfast, 12 for lunch and 15 for dinner, but I was flexible and if I really fancied a pizza, cappuccino or an ice-cream occasionally, I had it-just not EVERY day.


I'm sure some days I went well over the allowance I'd set.


***


THE INFAMOUS BUFFET




I ate 3 courses each evening. For the first course, I took a large plate and filled it with as many zero-propointed salad veggies as I could-before I even looked at all the amazing dishes on offer. I dressed the salad with Balsamic vinegar. Then, I would add small
portions of some of the higher-pointed ingredients such as guacamole, coleslaw and tortillas. If there were fried foods, I'd just take a little taster here and there. The salad took quite a while to eat and was really filling.



For the second course, I always took a small plate (like a side plate) and had a good look around for the food I really wanted instead of falling into the buffet trap of 'a little bit of everything'.
Sometimes I would have a small pasta with Bolognese, or Pesto sauce. The photo above is chili con carne.




Finally, for the dessert course, I would fill my plate with fresh fruit before I even looked at all the amazing cakes and desserts on offer...Then, again, I would select carefully and often ended up with a small scoop of chocolate ice cream and some chocolate drops. The photo shows that on this particular evening, there was a chocolate fountain, so I took a couple of pieces of cake and fruit and dipped them in.
It gave me the treat and the chocolate 'fix' I was looking for.


***


I wasn't a saint but I tried to stay mindful of what I was eating and I built in lots of treats and really enjoyed my food.
I'm not a drinker,
so that aspect was easy for me.
We also took some long brisk walks across the sand dunes where we were staying which was great for burning off some of those treats!


***


On my return, I'd gained 3 pounds, so I've gone straight back onto 26 dailies to 'knock it on the head' and it's already shifting after a couple of days...




These are the sunshine holiday-inspired brekkies I've been eating since my return..

 ***


So...for all of you going away or eating out at home, remember to enjoy yourselves but always be mindful of all that hard work you have put in to your weight loss...make wise choices where you can and build in some treats so you don't feel like you are missing out....and if all goes 'belly-up', remember Slice-of-Slim is ready and waiting for you to help you get back on track!


***
Monday, 2 July 2012 - 2 comments

FOOD FOR THOUGHT : How Many Suitcases ?


We are off on holiday for a few days....so I thought I would say; please excuse the lack of blogging for a week or so...perhaps use this time to catch up on some of the posts you may have missed, or try a new recipe from Slice-of-Slim. 
I promise I have loads of exciting ideas to blog on my return and, knowing me, I will pick up all sorts of delicious and colourful inspirations on my travels!

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I'm going to leave you with some food for thought whilst I'm away.
I don't have a mathematical mind, so am always intrigued when people come up with interesting comparisons, as I just don't think that way.
The other day, my husband and I were discussing our baggage allowance for our holiday. We are allowed one suitcase each, at 20kg per suitcase.
(That's pretty heavy when full).

***

After a few minutes, my husband said...

"Do you realise that between the two of us, we have lost THREE of those suitcases, full of FAT?"

YES.
We are 9 stone or 60kg lighter as a couple than we were. (We have lost exactly the same amount of weight, each).

***

We were the biggest foodies you can imagine, with some very bad over-eating and snacking habits.
It took a determined mindset and a few changes in our eating habits to have success with our weight loss.
We believed in the Weight Watchers plan and made it work for us. We weigh and track everything we eat but still adore food and retain the joy of eating, with no feeling of deprivation on a daily basis, or guilt if we have a treat.
We will continue to live this way for ever...because we never want to lug those 3 suitcases of fat around with us ever again!

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If we can do it you can too!
Sunday, 1 July 2012 - , , , , , , , 0 comments

SMASH & GRAB : 1 Minute Warm Chocolate Dipping Sauce


Those of us with a sweet tooth and a love of food who are trying to lose weight, or maintain a healthy one, know how difficult it can be to give up chocolate!
I have found that I have much more success by allowing myself the foods I love by building them into my daily eating plan. Then I never feel deprived of any food type.
The way I eat now is all about what I CAN have, rather than what I CAN'T!

***

The whole way along my weight loss journey and throughout the ongoing and permanent management of that weight loss, I have probably eaten some chocolate every day. I do track absolutely everything I eat though, even after over a year of maintenance, and will continue to do so for ever. Then I know I can not lose control of my intake of food. Tracking is now part of my daily routine. Ironically, this discipline puts ME back in control of what I eat and has restored my love and joy of food, but in a structured way.

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This little recipe is fantastic and literally takes 1 minute to make. It gives you the chocolate 'fix' you are looking for, for only 1 propoint/approx.49kcal!

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If you generally don't like Chocolate Philadelphia, please don't be put off by seeing it in this recipe. By the time the sauce is complete, you wouldn't know it was the main ingredient!

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How To Make:(Per Serving)


 Take one mini 30g pot Chocolate Philadelphia.


Put half the pot into a small ramekin dish.


In another ramekin, accurately measure 1/2 a teaspoon of cocoa powder.


Add a little boiled water to the cocoa powder from the kettle and stir until dissolved.


Add the cocoa mixture to the chocolate Philadelphia and mix until smooth and blended. Add a little more boiled water until it is a dipping consistency. The sauce needs to be able to coat a piece of fruit without being too runny, but is probably half the thickness of the original Philadelphia.
Pop into a clean, small 'dipping' sauce pot.


This is a rich, smooth luxurious dip with a deep chocolate flavour and velvety texture. Serve with a delicious selection of fresh fruit. If you want it to feel even more decadent, zap in the microwave for 10 seconds just before you eat it. There is something about the combination of warm chocolate and cold fruit that is toe-curlingly luscious!

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Heaven!