Friday, 30 August 2013 - , , , , 2 comments

SMASH & GRAB : Frozen Fruit 'Sweeties'



If you're looking for long-lasting, damage-free snack look no further! I've featured these pre-prepared frozen fruits before for using in my recipes, but I've just discovered that the mango and cherry in particular make fabulous frozen 'sweeties' to suck on.
(They're also extremely effective on sore throats).


Just pop a few pieces into a small bowl and suck on them slowly until they defrost gradually in your mouth, releasing their wonderful natural flavours and textures.

***

A fabulous additive and propoint-free treat that tastes really decadent!

***

Fabulously Frozen.
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 - , , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Megatastic Triple-Decker Club Sarnie


Don't let anyone ever tell you that if you follow a healthy eating plan it's a cycle of deprivation and a long life sentence!
When I tried to lose weight on my own for many years, I would cut out bread, carbs and many of my favourite foods because I thought I knew how to do it.
How wrong I was!
WeightWatchers has taught me how to eat and enjoy all the foods I love, just tailor-make them to fit in with the plan.
It works, it really does!

***

Sometimes, a big chompy sandwich is all that's needed to satisfy a deli-style craving. My toasted, triple-decker, filling-laden, mouth-watering stack of deliciousness will answer all your prayers!

A typical club sandwich seems to range from 19pp/approx.800kcal up to a tremendous 35pp/approx.1500kcal in some restaurants!
My megatastic low fat version contains meat, cheese, mustard, mayo, salad, pickles etc., and comes in at an amazingly low 7pp/approx.300kcal!

This works for a Filling & Healthy day if you charge 1pp for the mayo, or replace with Quark.

***


YOU WILL NEED : (Per portion)

3 slices WeightWatchers white Danish sliced bread (or equivalent adding up to 4pp/200kcal)
40g wafer thin ham/chicken/pastrami/Quorn equivalent
1 slice reduced fat cheese
(I used the WeightWatchers brand at 1pp/45kcal per slice
2 tablespoons Lighter than Light mayo
(I used Hellmans at 1pp/20kcal for 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1/2 a fresh tomato
1 pickled gherkin/sliced cucumber
A few salad leaves
Black pepper

Optional
2 slices jalepĂȘno pepper

***


Start by lightly toasting the three slices of bread. Lay the first one on your chopping board.


Add a squiggle of mayo from the 2 tablespoon allowance.


Layer up the whole amount of wafer thin meat/Quorn of your choice. I fold mine like this so that it bulks up the layer of the sandwich.


Spread the wholegrain mustard onto the next piece of toast. Place it mustard-side-down onto the meat layer.


Squiggle some more mayo onto the second side of the toast.


Add the sliced cheese.


Arrange slices of tomato and pickled cucumber/gherkin on top of the cheese. Add jalĂȘpinos if you want a hot kick.


Layer some salad leaves on top. This covers the wetness of the tomato and cucumber preventing any sogginess onto the top layer of toast.


Squiggle the final 1/3 of the mayo onto the third piece of toast.



Season with black pepper, then place the final piece of toast, mayo-side-down, onto the top.


To serve in spectacular, Scooby-snack-style splendour, slice through the sarnie diagonally. Pop onto the serving plate. Use a cocktail stick to secure the layers.


Thread the second half onto the cocktail stick so that it holds together as a high stack.
Secure the top sandwich with a second cocktail stick.


If you're feeling really showy, make a couple of flags out of washi tape and cocktail sticks to pop in the top.


Finally, tuck into this succulent, tasty, toasty stack of joy!

***

PRINT RECIPE HERE

***

TIP

For an extra 1pp/30kcal, griddle one slice of Parma ham until crisp and brittle. Cut into two halves then pop on top of the meat/Quorn. It will add another tasty flavour and texture dimension to this already spectacular sandwich.
Friday, 23 August 2013 - , , , 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : WeightWatchers Greek Style Fromage Frais in Coconut & Vanilla flavours


I am completely in love with this new product!
I've always been a fan of WeightWatchers yoghurts and Fromage Frais as they pack so much flavour into 1pp/57kcal, but if you are looking for a change from fruity flavours, these are gorgeous. I have one on my fruit salad every night at the moment.



The coconut one adds a real Caribbean hint-especially to mango, melon, papaya or pineapple-based fruit combos.



The vanilla is sweet, creamy and authentic-divine!
Sometimes, I add either flavour into my frozen banana 'ice-cream' from my Slicecream Parlour recipes to add depth and richness to the desserts.

Click HERE for link to the Slicecream Parlour.

***

I buy mine in Sainsburys. According to the official website, you should be able to find them in Morrissons and Tescos too but I've never found them in my local Tescos!

***

TIP

Little word of warning...as with many WeightWatchers products, one of these is 1pp but two are 3pp.
If you're confused, here's my link which explains propoint maths;

Click HERE for link
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 - , , , , , 2 comments

SLICECREAM PARLOUR : #12 Rich Vanilla 'Ice-cream' with Peanut Butter & Chocolate Drops


Every week throughout the Summer, I have been revealing a new flavour of delicious 'icecream' using a frozen banana base to create an array of delicious, low-fat and exciting recipes.
This is the last one for now, but there are 12 delicious ideas to choose from in the archive, and many adaptations you can make to any of the recipes for unlimited options!

The Slicecream Parlour will reopen again next Summer and I'm sure a few Winter/Christmassy ideas will creep in if I can't resist sharing them with you!

***

 This week, my chosen flavour is a vanilla 'ice-cream' using the banana base with some cream cheese and vanilla mixed in to give a deep richness to the flavour and texture.
I've also made some little piped peanut butter and chocolate drops to add in as you go. If you like the whole salted caramel concept, you'll love the peanutty saltiness that contrasts with the silky chocolate in these little frozen drops -it's heavenly!

***

This recipe makes 2 average portions of 'ice-cream'.

It requires a little pre-preparation for the peanut butter and chocolate drops to freeze. (At least 2 hours)

 It works out to
3pp/approx.220kcal per portion


***

You Will Need:
(For 2 average portions)



20g reduced fat peanut butter
30g (one mini pot) Chocolate Philadelphia


1 batch of frozen banana 'icecream' base using 2 medium or large frozen bananas.
(Click HERE for recipe)

70g Lightest Philadelphia
(two 35g mini pots)


1 teaspoon vanilla paste

***


Start by making the peanut butter and chocolate drops. Weigh out the reduced fat peanut butter accurately. Pop into an icing bag. Add the chocolate Philadelphia to the icing bag.


Using a tiny star nozzle, pipe as many teeny little drops as you can onto some baking parchment.
(I managed approx. 50-60 drops).


You will find that the first ones are pure peanut butter, the middle ones will be mixed with chocolate Philly and the last ones will be just chocolate.
Save any remaining mixture from the icing bag and nozzle as you can add it to the 'ice-cream' base later.
Pop into the freezer to harden up for at least 2 hours. They won't freeze solid but will be firm enough to handle.

The drops are a little bit fiddly to make, so if you don't have an icing bag, or can't be bothered, just make tiny 'nibs' of the mixture with a teaspoon and push off onto the baking parchment with your finger before freezing.

***


When you are ready to serve the dessert, make a batch of banana 'ice-cream' base.


Add the plain, lightest cream cheese, vanilla paste and any remaining peanut/chocolate mixture from the icing bag that would otherwise go to waste. Mix thoroughly.


Divide into two equal portions and pop into your chosen serving dish. I recycled these corner yoghurt pots so that I could serve the peanut butter and chocolate drops separately, but you could mix some in gently and sprinkle the rest over the top of the finished dish.


Make sure each serving gets a fair distribution of peanut, chocolate and mixed drops!


Dig in and enjoy.
Vanillapeanutchoccyliscious!
Friday, 16 August 2013 - , , 0 comments

Hot off The Press NEWS : Veronica's Snacks




"Hi Janey,
I hope you’re well, I’m just contacting you as we’re a new little Irish company, producing baked, low fat, gluten free crisps".

As a blogger, it's always interesting to receive emails like this one. It's hard to keep up with every new low fat product out there, so I'm only too happy for companies to let me know what they are up to-especially if they have something good to share!

***

Veronica is a mum from Cork in Ireland, who wanted to develop healthy snacks for her kids. The aim was to produce something low in salt, low in fat (they are 60% less fat compared to fried crisps), and containing no trans fats or MSG/GMO. They are also gluten free.

At the moment, they are mostly on sale in Ireland. However, they are on trial at Harvey Nichols in the UK and you can buy them on Amazon. As soon as I have news of a wider distribution in the UK,(talks are taking place with a leading retailer), I will let you know.



The people at Veronica's Snacks very kindly sent me this calico bag stuffed full of goodies to try.


The individual 23g bags contain 96 kcal and work out to 3pp for a bag.
(You can have two bags for 5pp).

They also produce large, family-size bags.


There are two types;
Organic Potato Crisps and Veggie Crisps.

The Organic Potato Crisps come in two flavours;
Barbecue and Sour Cream & Onion.

The texture is very light-almost like a cross between a wafer and a Pringle!
Considering they are low salt and contain no MSG, I was surprised at how strong the flavours were. The Barbecue variety had a really smoky taste and the Sour Cream had a very good, authentic flavour.


The Veggie Crisps have the identical texture to the potato ones but come in an array of beautiful pastel colours as they contain carrot, beetroot, spinach and broccoli.
They also come in two flavours;
Roast Tomato & Spanish Paprika
and
Roast Garlic & Mixed Herbs.

The paprika ones have a lovely flavour. I adored the colours of the Roast Garlic ones (pale orange, green and cream), but was a little disappointed with the flavour of these as they were quite bland. Perhaps more suitable for young children for this reason.

***

If you want to find out more, they have a great website, click on the link below.



Wednesday, 14 August 2013 - , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Fakeaway Sweet & Sour Chicken


This is a really delicious recipe- very low fat and extremely low in propoints, leaving you lots of flexibility as to how you serve it. It is also extremely simple to make!

***

Typically, a portion of sweet and sour chicken from a restaurant is 13pp/approx.920kcal per portion. My FAKEAWAY recipe works out to 5pp/approx.250kcal for the WHOLE amount, or 2pp/approx.125kcal per portion if shared between two people!

*** 

YOU WILL NEED :
(For 1 large or 2 average portions)

165g chicken breast
(or vegetarian equivalent)

1 crushed garlic clove
3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons artificial sweetener
1/2 large jar smooth tomato passata
1/4 fresh pineapple, diced
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon low salt soy sauce
White pepper to taste

***

Cut the chicken breast into an equal number of cubes. This makes apportioning the portions so much easier when you serve between two people, as you can share them evenly.

Put all the ingredients together in a saucepan. Make sure that the cornflour is mixed in well.
Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked. This should take around 15-20 minutes. Because the chicken is cooked in the sauce, it remains lovely and moist.

***


Depending on how many extra propoints you wish to use for your accompaniments, you could serve this Chinese dish traditionally with a 60g portion of rice for 6pp/215kcal.
For zero propoints, try my egg-fried cauliflower 'rice'...
(Click HERE for link)


...or pop into halved peppers like I did and bake for 30-40 minutes until the peppers are roasted.

***

Fake, fab and fruity!

***

TIP

You could substitute the chicken breast (4pp) for prawns or a vegetarian equivalent. You could also add onions and green pepper to the sauce to bulk it out further and add interest. Fry the onion and pepper first in a few sprays of Frylight oil to soften a little before adding the remaining ingredients.

***

USEFUL STUFF : Yonanas Frozen Fruit 'Ice-cream' Machine


After much consideration, I have finally succumbed to a Yonanas frozen dessert maker!
I decided that, having dedicated so much time this Summer to my Slicecream Parlour, creating some amazing 'ice-creams' from frozen banana, my poor food processor needed a break!


I'm not one for buying unnecessary kitchen gadgets, there are so many possibilities - a gadget for virtually any job - and storing them can be a problem...but this little machine really does 'what it says on the tin'. It takes up very little standing and storage space too, which is a big plus in my book.


 It's basically an electric motor and a feeding tube for the frozen fruit. This houses the clever patented blades that do all the hard work.


The bananas can be peeled before freezing, or frozen in their skins.
(Even though the Yonanas instructions say to peel them before freezing, it's very easy to cut the skin off with a knife prior to popping in the machine, especially if left for ten minutes as advised).
Any other frozen fruits you use should also be left for around ten minutes before being put through the machine.


What would take around ten minutes in a regular food processor takes literally seconds in the Yonanas machine. As you feed the fruit in, out comes perfectly-textured 'ice-cream'.
It reminded me of my Playdoh machine I had as a child, which I also loved!

***

 The wonderful thing for people following the WeightWatchers plan, is that these desserts made with pure fruit are zero propoints.
It's a really healthy and fun way for children to enjoy fruit too. I reckon this is probably paradise for babies and parents alike at those terrible teething times, as the 'ice-cream' is not 'screamingly' cold and has a texture like perfect soft-scoop ice-cream, lovely and soothing for sore gums. 


You can add flavours (such as squares of chocolate) into the feeding chute with frozen banana, to produce chocolate chip 'ice-cream', or stir cocoa or drinking chocolate, cinnamon or other flavours of your choice into the processed banana afterwards.
The permutations are endless!


One of the machine's best qualities, apart from being brilliant at what it's designed to do, is that it's incredibly easy to clean afterwards, and is dishwasher proof.
Once you take it apart, there is always a bonus build up of 'ice-cream' lurking in the shoot and behind the white cone that houses the blades. I would then advise that you give all the parts a quick rinse immediately after use, as dried banana is a nightmare to wash off. Even if you are going to put it in the dishwasher, give it a thorough rinse first.

***

If you decide to buy one, you should find it for around £49.99. I bought mine from Robert Dyas, but Amazon and some of the TV shopping channels sell it here in the UK too.

***


If you're looking for recipe inspiration, here's a link to all my Slicecream Parlour ideas.
(Click HERE for link and scroll through).

***