Monday, 30 June 2014 - 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : Mornflake Gold Oatbran Granola with Nuts & Seeds


I've spent the last couple of weeks searching for the 'perfect granola'.
By this, I mean; the right amount of clusters, nuttiness, seeds, sweetness (without too much added sugar), low salt and general toasty yumminess.

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Most commercial and even homemade granolas seem to work out to similar propoint/kcal values-around 3pp/120kcal for a 25g serving. So then you need to look carefully at the ingredients to see where they differ and sample a few until you find the perfect match for your tastebuds/personal requirements.

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This Mornflake Gold Oatbran Granola with nuts and seeds is the one for me.
If you like lots of raisins/dried fruit in your granola, you may want to do your own search as this doesn't contain any.


The packaging is easy to tear open and reseals well, so no need for storage jars.
Rather than their suggested 45g serving at 6pp/213kcal, I like to use
25g for 3pp/approx.120kcal
 as a delicious, crunchy topping for mixed berries and a sliced banana. As it's not overly sweet, I sprinkle it over a
WeightWatchers fromage frais
(1pp/48kcal per serving)
This means that the granola goes further, lasts longer and is more economical on propoints/calories too.

This combination makes the most delicious and filling breakfast or dessert.

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This brand ticks all the boxes for me and also carries an endorsement from Heart UK, a cholesterol charity. As you may know, this is a topic close to my own heart as my husband had a heart attack aged 50 and this is what prompted him to take responsibility for his weight and general health.
(This is why all my Slice-of-Slim recipes are healthy-heart friendly and low-salt as well as low in fat).

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Little clusters of deliciousness.
Sunday, 22 June 2014 - , , 0 comments

CUPBOARD LOVE : New York Bakery Mini Bagels


I'm really loving these little guys at the moment. Often, 'mini' versions of something can be disappointing but these are great! They are quite chunky in their own way.
They have a really authentic chewy sweetness-just how true bagels should be, and are dusted with polenta-a lovely detail.

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They come in 3 varieties;
plain, cinnamon/raisin and 50/50 wholemeal.

All range from 115kcal-119kcal per mini bagel.
This makes them 3pp each or two for 6pp.

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The bagels freeze beautifully.
You can reheat them on a low-medium temperature for 10 minutes straight from the freezer where they become slightly crisp on the outside and decadently hot, steamy and chewy on the inside.

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Bagelmania
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 - , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Macaroni Cheese


I've had a few requests for a macaroni cheese recipe recently...my favourite one even asked for the right squelching "tch-tch" sound you get when you put the serving spoon into it!
I thought long and hard about this recipe before making the most low fat but traditional version I could. I didn't want to pad it out with vegetables, or add yoghurt to the bechamel sauce...I wanted to bring you the most luscious, creamy version I could muster up with a lovely crispy breadcrumbed topping.
For this reason, it's not the lowest of low in terms of propoints/calories per portion, but it gives you all the right textures and sensations and is spectacular served with a simple green salad, especially in the Summer months. During the Winter, you could have a large portion of roasted veggies on the side to pad it out a little.

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My macaroni cheese serves 6 people at 8pp/approx.350kcal per portion
or
4 generous portions at 12pp/approx.500kcal per portion.

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YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 6 average or 4 large portions)

250g dried macaroni
500ml unsweetened soya/skimmed milk
(skimmed mik is 2pp more but this doesn't affect the overall propoints)
4 tablespoons cornflour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
100g lightest Philadelphia
30g mature cheddar

For the topping:

2 crumpets
(the thin ones at 2pp each)
15g mature cheddar

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Cook the macaroni according to the packaging. Rinse in cold water to prevent it sticking together.


Measure the milk, then add the cornflour and seasoning. Stir well to blend in the cornflour. Heat on high in a microwave in one minute bursts, whisking or stirring well in between until it boils and thickens. Alternatively, heat on the hob and whisk gently until thickened.


Beat in the lightest philadelphia to further thicken and enrich the bechamel sauce.


Grate 30g of mature cheddar into the sauce and mix well. Taste and season if needed. It should be quite bland but with a lovely mild cheesy flavour. I find using a little strong regular cheese works out better than more reduced fat cheese which tends to have less flavour.


Add the sauce to the cooked macaroni and stir well until you have a lovely creamy mixture.


Pour the mixture into an oven-proof dish. I find a loaf tin works really well for this as the depth of it gives you lots of creamy macaroni cheese with a little crispy topping once served.


Make the breadcrumb topping by blitzing the crumpets with 15g grated mature cheddar. You could use 2-3 slices of reduced calorie bread if you prefer.


Spread the cheesy breadcrumbs in an even layer over the macaroni mixture. Mist lightly with Frylight oil.


Bake for around 20 minutes at 200C/400F/Gas6 until the sauce is bubbling hot and the top is golden and crispy. Cover with foil if the top browns too quickly.


Allow to cool slightly before serving. This way, you will find it easier to divide into equal portions and serve neatly from the tin. You'll need a cake slice and a large spoon...enjoy the "squelch"!


Serve with a drizzle of tomato ketchup.
(You can have up to 1 tablespoon for 0pp)
This is real comfort food at its best.

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Mouthwateringly macaroniliscious.

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Sunday, 8 June 2014 - , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : Mushroom, Spinach, Pesto & Chilli Pasta Sauce


This tasty pasta sauce has very few ingredients but they combine to create the most delicious, delectable flavours on earth. It's a very simple recipe-great to throw together in a few minutes at the end of a busy day or if you want a quick, tasty lunch.
You can make it in the time it takes for the pasta to cook!

Chilli and garlic give a kick to this mushroom and spinach dish, swiftly followed by robust pesto...then if you wish you can make it creamy with some lightest Philadelphia.
(It works beautifully with or without)

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The sauce works out to 2pp/approx.130kcal per portion, then you'll need to add the propoints/calories for your desired amount/type of pasta.

Add 1pp/30kcal per portion if you include the cream cheese.

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YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 2)

1 large clove garlic
1/2 medium hot red chilli
300g mushrooms
1-2 tablespoons water


2 tablespoons pesto sauce
(I use Sacla)

200g fresh spinach
black pepper

Optional:
60g lightest Philadelphia

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Mist a frying pan with Frylight oil. Crush the garlic and chop the chilli finely. Fry gently for a few minutes.


Slice the mushrooms quite finely then add to the pan. Fry until they start to colour. The smell is divine!


If the pan is very dry, add a little water- 1 or 2 tablespoons. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are softening. They will also release a little water.


A few minutes before serving, add the pesto sauce and stir well. Keep the heat low.


Pile the spinach on top. It looks like a huge amount but will wilt right down.


Stir gently over the heat until the spinach has reduced and lightly cooked. Season with black pepper.
You can serve the sauce at this stage.


If you want to soften the spiciness of the chilli, add some lightest Philadelphia at this stage. Allow it to melt into the sauce and stir well. This also reduces the wetness and thickens the sauce slightly.


Whether you decide to use cream cheese or not, divide the sauce into two portions, then add the amount of cooked pasta you desire to each portion. Coat well with the sauce before serving.


Finish off with a sprig of basil and a grind of black pepper.

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Wow!

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Monday, 2 June 2014 - , , , , , , 0 comments

RECIPE : D.I.Y. Guacamole


I adore avocado and I love guacamole!
I don't eat it as much as I would like to because although it is very healthy, avocado is quite high in propoints so I tend to avoid buying it, then I forget all about it!
I've had a couple of requests for a guacamole recipe recently, so I've rekindled my love for this beautiful fruit and found a great way to pad out the dish to make the propoints go a little further.

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My holy guacamole is a delicious, fragrant combination of spring onion, tomato & coriander salsa with a light chilli kick, lime-drenched avocado and a dollop of natural yoghurt. So, you can take tastes of each component to pop onto veggies, tortillas or crackers, or give it all a little mix with a spoon for a D.I.Y Guacamole!

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My recipe works out to 6pp/approx.250kcal for the lot.
It serves four people at 1pp/approx.60kcal per portion

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YOU WILL NEED: (Serves 4 as a small appetiser)

1 spring onion
8 cherry tomatoes
Small bunch fresh coriander
1/4 red chilli (optional)

1 medium avocado, peeled and de-stoned
(the one I used yielded 90g of flesh for 5pp-if yours is larger you may need to recalculate)
Juice of 1 lime
Black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons 0% fat Total yoghurt


Dice the spring onion, tomato, coriander and chilli very finely and mix together.


Share equally between 4 ramekin dishes. Add 1 tablespoon Total 0% fat yoghurt to each dish.


Roll the lime on a work top before squeezing the juice into a bowl. This helps to release as much juice as possible.


Chop the avocado flesh roughly and mix quickly into the lime juice to stop it discolouring.


Mash roughly with a fork to your desired consistency. I like it quite chunky but you can make it very smooth if you wish.


Season well with black pepper, taste until you are happy with the flavour. I used a lemon pepper mix-delicious!


Weigh the avocado mixture. 


Divide equally between the four ramekins and garnish with a small coriander leaf.


Mix together just before tucking in!

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SERVING SUGGESTIONS 


Delicious served with a packet of melba toast for 2pp/72kcal...

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...or try with my homemade paprika tortillas! 
(Click HERE for recipe)

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Alternatively, for 0pp, try dipping some cucumber and carrot sticks into your guacamole.

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Guacasalsamole!

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