Friday, 29 June 2012

Project scrapbook.

I've decided I'm going to make a personal thinspiration scrapbook! It's going to be filled with lots of old photos of myself (to remind me of what I don't want to ever look like again), current photos of myself, my weight-loss goals and reasons for doing it, healthy foods, personal photos, magazine cuttings, inspirational quotes/pictures, clothes/things I want and celeb body-crushes. Every now and again I might even scan in a page from the scrapbook to share with all of you. :)

It's hopefully going to kick start me back to how I was, as I'm starting to slack a little bit.. And also it'll give me something to do throughout the summer on my days off work, as I've now completed my first year at college and have been unsuccessful in the extra-job hunting so far.. :( I recommend anyone in the same situation(s) should give this a go! Scrapbooks are great fun and are great for getting you back in touch with your creative side! They can be found very cheap. I bought mine, which is filled completely with black paper, for about £1 - if that, in In-Excess.

Updates on this soon! :)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Lunchbox idea #1.

Here's one of my healthy lunchbox ideas! I took this one to work today. I didn't follow any recipes or anything.. This is simply just made up from vegetables in the fridge that need to be eaten soon. It's a potato, beetroot & mushroom salad with chilli-mayo sauce. It's approx. 229 kcal for the whole meal, including the sauce.

All I did was microwave about 130g of jersey royal potatoes for about 7-8 mins. I then made a bed of spinach in the lunchbox and added 100g of chopped beetroot, the jersey royal potatoes, chopped and then seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper and mixed it all up together. I then added some chopped, fried (with fry-light) closed-cup mushrooms onto the top. And voila, you have the salad! 

I made the chilli-mayo dip by just getting 30g of lighter-than-light Hellmanns mayonnaise and adding a sprinkle of crushed chilli and some salt and freshly ground pepper and just mix it all up. I felt the salad needed a little bit of sauce, mainly for the potatoes.

 I'm hoping to make lots more lunchbox idea posts! This is #1 of, hopefully, many! I hope you enjoyed this post and keep an eye out for more! :)

UPDATE ABOUT ME: (sorry for combining this update into the lunchbox post, it's just I'm sure no one wants to hear this little update on a separate post). I have not been dieting very good as of the last week or so. Although I did lose 2lb this week, somehow. A lot has been going very wrong for me lately.. I have virtually no money and can't get any overtime at work as they're no longer offering any. I got let go on a temporary job and I'm having a lot of trouble trying to get my wages for the hours I worked, and a few others things too.. I've been very stressed and very depressive lately.. It's horrible. :( But a long side my slight chocolate craving (which normally happens when I get into this state) I'm trying to eat healthy main meals and snacking on fruit to balance it out a little. Hopefully this mood won't last much longer, as I don't know how much more of it I can take. :( Although eating chocolate sounds fun, I don't enjoy it.. Hardly ever. I just feel worse in the long run. I just really need something to go right for me for once.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Fiery veggies!

If you love tomato and/or love hot food, you should love this! This dish is just something I threw together with all the random veggies in our fridge that needs to be eaten, and it actually tasted pretty good!

I fried (with "fry-light") button mushrooms and mini sweet peppers in a pan, and I cooked up some spinach. I then stuck it all together in a sauce pan with about 200g of passata, salt and freshly ground pepper and some crushed chilli, and heated it all up together (smells lovely by the way)! I then served it up in a bowl and stuck some cooked tomatoes on top. It only serves 1, and is VERY low kcal - it's only approx. 93 kcal for the whole bowl!

I know it's a lot of random foods just bunged together, but I really enjoyed it. Sometimes the weirdest things can taste so good together! So don't be afraid to experiment! For example, I like to have peanut butter with spinach in my sandwiches that I take in my packed lunch for college - sounds revolting but, in my opinion, it tastes lush! Yum yum! :)

Know of any peculiar food/drink combinations that taste rather amazing together? I would love to hear all about them & maybe even give some of them a go!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Chocolate and beetroot brownie.

Today is my mother's birthday! And tomorrow's my sister's! So all during the night, from 1:30am until about 6am, without them knowing, I baked, not one, but TWO cakes - can't have a birthday without cake! One was a chocolate sponge cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing and the other was this lovely little treat - chocolate and beetroot brownie! I shall not go into any detail of the chocolate sponge cake as it's just too naughty and fattening to mention! But the brownies are amazing. You wouldn't expect beetroot and chocolate to taste good together, but trust me, they REALLY do! They taste absolutely gorgeous! By far the best brownie I have ever had eveerrr! Super gooey and super chocolatey - exactly what every brownie should be. Mmmmm! WARNING: This is a very very messy recipe.. So if you do try it, be prepared for lots of pinky purple marks everywhere (especially your hands) and lots of washing up! Try not to get any beetroot on your clothes or any material, as it stains - so remember to wear rubbishy clothes whilst making this! I cut this brownie into 30 little squares, and each square is approx. 109 kcal. I found this recipe on page 59 in the local magazine, SalisburyLife (click here for, what should be, the e-mag). So here's what I did:

- 500g fresh beetroot (you can use pre-cooked if you prefer, but it may not be so satisfying!) - (I only used about 450g in mine..)
- 100g butter - (I used Lurpack spreadable lightest.)
- 200g dark chocolate
- 5ml vanilla essence
- 250g caster sugar - (I used mainly golden caster sugar with a little bit of white, as that's all we had in the house..)
- 3 eggs
-25g cocoa powder
- 100g plain flour

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
2. Peel and chop beetroot, add a splash of water and microwave in a clingfilmed bowl for 12 minutes until cooked.
3. Butter and line a 20x30cm tin.
4. Chop up chocolate and butter and then blend with the drained, cooked beetroot (smart cookies will recogise this as the potentially messy part!).
5. Put vanilla, sugar and eggs into a bowl and whisk until pale and foamy (about 2 minutes).
6. Fold in the beetroot mix, retaining the air as much as possible, then sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold these in gently too.
7. Pour into a tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until it just quivers a little in the centre.
8. Cool and cut into squares, optionally decorating with a little melted white chocolate. (White chocolate topping is not included in the approx. calories per square).

Peanut butter & chocolate mug cake.

If you're feeling like having a naughty treat today, but don't want to go too over-the-top with it, this little gem is perfect! I originally found this recipe (which is actually called '"the one" chocolate mug cake') on the blog, BudgetBytes, but I've changed the recipe up a bit to make it less calorific. It's super tasty, super gooey but not super naughty (although it tastes very naughty!) - yay! :D It's approx. 293 kcal for one mug cake! Great to have as a cheeky snack before bed! Yum yum!

Here's how it's made (these are the ingredients for the low-kcal version I've put together, the normal, higher-kcal version can be found on BudgetBytes):

- 1 tbsp smooth reduced fat peanut butter
- 2 tsp granulated sweetener (e.g. Splenda)
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp reduced fat cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- a pinch of salt

1. Put all of the dry ingredients into a mug and mix it all together.
2. Add the oil and almond milk into the mug and stir until it's smooth.
3. Place the peanut butter into the centre of the mixture and push it down.
4. Now microwave it for 1 minute. Some may need 5-10 seconds longer than this, as microwave's powers can vary.
5. Enjoy! ;)

Alternatively, you could use chocolate spread or nutella for an even chocolate-ier cake, or you could just take the peanut butter out completely to make to make it even less calories (it saves you about 85 kcal)!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Banana dessert!

Whilst on my break from redecorating our living room, I thought up a way of making banana and custard much less calorific! It's so much sweeter than normal banana & custard too - bonus!

Chop the banana into slices and put them into a little bowl (the smaller the bowl, the more food it will make you look like you have). And then just simply swap the custard for 1 Petit Filous little dessert pots. I used the vanilla one, but there is also a chocolate one, for the chocoholics (both flavours have the same amount of calories)! Yum!

The whole bowl serves 1, is only approx. 172 kcal, and is super delicious! Great to have as a dessert or even as a little cheeky snack between meals!

Also, I'm not really sure on what to call this banana & petit filous mash-up, so if anybody can think of a better name, other than "banana dessert", please help me! I'll continue to try and think of one, but for now this is going to have to do..

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Watermelon and halloumi salad.

This is another recipe I have taken from a BodyFit magazine. It sounded so tasty, and tasted tasty too! This salad is very summery and super refreshing. It's surprisingly filling too! It serves 4 people. I shared this salad with my mum and sister - my mum loved it, but my sister wasn't overly keen.. I thought it was really delicious! I am a sucker for watermelon - it's one of my favourite fruits! I used our home-grown wild mint from the garden for the meal - it tastes so much better than what you can buy in supermarkets! I changed up the original recipe a little though.. I used 800g of already prepared watermelon, 1 tbsp mint, 240g chickpeas, 125g halloumi, 1 tbsp olive oil and only 15g of pumpkin seeds. I mainly switched it up a bit for the fact it'd be a bit less calories, and also because some of the ingredients we didn't have enough of to use the whole amount the recipe asked for.. Using the altered recipe I used, each serving is approx. 302 kcal.

- 1/2 watermelon, peeled & cut into large chunks
- 2 tbsp mint, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 16-20 black pitted olives
- 400g chickpeas, drained
- 200g reduced-fat halloumi
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 heaped tbsp pumpkin seeds
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- lemon wedges, to serve

1. Mix together the watermelon, the mint, red onion, the black pitted olives and the chickpeas into a large bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper.
2. Cut the halloumi into 4 slices (or dice it, like I did) and place it on a foil-lined grill pan. Drizzle the halloumi with the olive oil and add a little bit of pepper. Cook under a preheated grill for 3-4 minutes or until golden. Removed from the grill and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes.
3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the pumpkin seeds and dry-fry for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden.
4. Arrange the grilled halloumi on top of the salad. Scatter over the toasted pumpkin seeds. Drizzle over any remaining olive oil and serve immediately with the lemon wedges.

***This is NOT my recipe. I did not create this. I have copied this recipe directly from page 24 in Body Fit's free mini-magazine that came free in May 2012's issue.***

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Facebook page.

I have created a Facebook page for all my viewers out there who do not have a blogspot account (meaning they can't follow me). I thought, by creating a Facebook page and updating it regularly, more people can follow me, keep up to date with my blog and be informed when there are new posts up!

If you think this is a bad idea, please comment and let me know. Thank you!

Fennel and halloumi salad.

Here is a recipe I have found in my new magazine, Body Fit. I saw the photo in the mag and it looked soooo good. I rarely try recipes in magazines any more, so I thought I'd try a few from this to get back into it. This recipe is called 'Fennel and Halloumi Salad'. As soon as I read the word 'halloumi' I knew I just had to try this, because I absolutely adore halloumi! This recipe serves 2 people. I did alter the recipe slightly.. I used only 100g of fennel, 1 tbsp of olive oil and only 30g of dried cranberries.. But I only altered it because that's all I had of each thing. My altered way of making this makes each serving approx. 260 kcal. This salad is literally sooo nice that I ate it for lunch and the other half for dinner! I am definitely going to be making this again soon!

What you need:
- 150g fennel
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 100g halloumi cheese, cut into small dice
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 50g dried cranberries, soaked in warm water for 20 minutes and drained
- 15g dill, chopped

1. Finely slice the fennel into a serving bowl and toss it in the lemon juice.
2. Place a frying pan over a high heat, drizzle in the olive oil, then reduce the heat to medium. Add the diced halloumi and cook for about two minutes on each side, until golden.
3. Add the garlic to the fennel and stir. Next, add in the cranberries and dill. Mix well and top with the warm halloumi.

***This is NOT my recipe. I did not create this. I have copied this recipe directly from page 55 in Body Fit's magazine (July 2012 issue).***

Please please please try this recipe - it is delicious and so refreshing! Definitely a favourite!

Also, there are more recipes I'll be trying out soon - hopefully this week! I have at least 3 more I'm desperate to make. So keep your eyes peeled for them! ;)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Cooked veggie wrap.

My lunch today was delicious! So delicious that I have to share it with you all! I just made it up with the vegetables that we had left in the fridge, that have to be eaten soon. I had fried aubergine (also know as eggplant in the US) and fried mini sweet peppers, both fried using the 1 kcal spray 'Fry Light'. And also some cooked spinach. And I stuck it all in a Weight Watchers wrap. The whole meal was approx. 138 kcal. It's very filling and I shall definitely be making it again! Just to warn you though, it is very messy and juicy! As soon as I picked up the wrap loads of juice fell out the end of it, haha. So having a knife and fork handy is probably a good idea!

I'm definitely having a thing about cooked aubergines lately - tastes sooo good! And very low-kcal! Here's some nutritional information about aubergines, just in case anybody is interested/curious: click here.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee weekend!

Happy Diamond Jubilee everybody! I hope you have all enjoyed the 4 day bank holiday weekend that the Queen has given us! Got the bunting up! ;)

I have been a very busy bee over the last few days. I've been rubbing down/prepping the walls in my Mum's living room, getting ready to decorate it! I've also gone to a jubilee tea party/get together which was lovely! Got fed lots of naughty foods though.. My favourite naughty food being tea and scones, of course! Yuuum! Last night I went to Hudson's Field with my boyfriend and best friend, where there was literally the biggest jubilee event celebration ever! Over 12,000 people passed through the gates! I got rather drunk though - much more drunk than I planned to get!

I've not been so good with the calorie counting the last few days.. As I was also taken to Pizza Hut earlier today by my boyfriend, where we tried the new crown-crust pizza (which was not as amazing as it looks or sounds by the way, so don't waste your money on it)! But I lost 4lb last week! So I guess being a little naughty won't hurt too much.. I hope, anyway. We're having a party tomorrow night and I've been invited to town on the weekend.. So the calories aren't going to be getting much better, by the sounds of it! But I guess every now and again you have to let your hair down a bit.. I'm just going to have to get off my lazy bum and exercise a bit more the next few days, and be more strict with my food next week to make up for all my naughtiness!

Anyway, I hope you've all enjoyed yourself and had a lovely jubilee bank holiday!

M&S scone (190 kcal each) & Tetley green tea.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Aubergine sandwich!

Today I discovered the deliciousness that is an aubergine sandwich (also known as "eggplant" in the US). We bought one yesterday in our weekly shop because I was desperate to try it. So glad I did! One sandwich, using Weight Watchers bread, Flora light butter, fry light and 100g of aubergine is approx. 140 kcal. So very diet friendly and very yummy too!

Here's what I did:

You'll need:
- 100g aubergine
- 2 slices of Weight Watchers Malted Danish
- Fry Light (1 Cal spray)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Flora light butter (optional)
- Ketchup (optional)

***Obviously you can use any type of bread, butter, ketchup, etc. that you'd like. This is just what I have used. I have used these specific ingredients for the purpose of keeping my meal as low-kcal as possible.***

Firstly slice approx. 100g of aubergine up into round slices and spray both sides of them and the frying pan with "fry light".

Now stick them on the pan and cook until both sides are well done (see first photo). Don't forget to season them with salt and freshly ground black pepper!

(This step is optional) - Stick 2 slices of Weight Watchers Malted Danish bread into the toaster and toast them to your liking. I like my toast just hot and on the verge of turning slightly brown.

Then if you'd like butter, butter the toast straight after it coming out the toaster, so it goes all nice and melty! I used flora light butter, which is 28 kcal for 10g.

Now stick the aubergines in the bread, and voila! You've got yourself a sandwich of deliciousy goodness!

Enjoy! ;)

P.S. this sandwich tastes really great with a tiny blob of ketchup! (Tesco ketchup is only 11 kcal per 10g).