Thursday, 30 August 2012

Seafood and dill omelette.

Here is another lovely recipe I found in an old Slimming World recipe book of mine. I was flicking through it last night and spotted this. So I popped to the supermarket today and bought the ingredients so I could make it for myself for lunch. The original recipe serves 4, but I altered the recipe so it just serves 1. It originally includes Worcestershire sauce but I didn't include it as I don't have the money to buy a whole bottle of it, just to use 1/2 a tbsp of it.. Also the dill is suppose to be fresh, but I use dried dill as I use it quite often and fresh dill, although it tastes better, seems to go off too quickly for my liking. I purchased my raw seafood from the fish counter at the supermarket - it was pretty cheap.. Cheaper than I was expecting anyway (£1.44 for 120g). The dish, as made below - which serves 1, is approx. 264kcal! Filling and delicious - great for all you seafood lovers. ;)

- 120g mixed seafood/fish pie mix
- lemon juice
- 15g red onion, chopped
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites
- sprinkle of dill
- fry light


1. Unless it's already cooked, season the seafood and fry with frylight until cooked through. Then place the seafood in a bowl with the lemon juice, spring onions and red onion, and toss to mix well.

2. Place the 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites into a bowl and lightly beat. Sprinkle in the dill and season. Spray a frying pan with fry light and place over a medium heat. Pour in the eggs and swirl to evenly coat the pan.

3. Sprinkle the seafood mixture onto the surface and reduce the heat. Cover and cook gently for 8-10 minutes or until the omelette is just set and the base is golden.

4. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with some salad. Enjoy! ;)

P.S. Don't let your masterpiece end up like mine.. Please remember to turn the heat down and cover, as I completely forgot that step and mine ended up crumbling into a million pieces when I tried to pick it up, haha. Still tasted great but would have probably been a bit more moist and flavoursome and would've looked a lot more appetising all in one piece.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Creamy stuffed conchiglie.

This is a gorgeous dish that I found the recipe for in an old Slimming World recipe book of mine. Since I first bought this book I've always wanted to try this recipe, but I never actually got 'round to doing anything. So I thought it was about time I did! I have altered the recipe a bit for the purpose of making it more calorie-friendly. This recipe originally served 4 people, but the way I made it serves 3. Also the original recipe included bacon, but I used salmon for my Mum and I, and lean ham for my sister. There was 3 clean plates after this meal and I got compliments on it for being so tasty, filling and well presented - by using 6 pasta shells pointing to the center, it can be made to look like petals on a flower. I definitely want to make this meal again! Please give this recipe a bash, it's absolutely delicious - a must-try!

The meal made with the recipe below serves 3 and, without the salmon is 332kcal per serving and with the salmon is 427kcal per serving.

- 18 dried giant pasta shells
- 125g spinach
- 176g extra light Philidelphia
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 30g lighter Cathedral City cheddar cheese
- 114g salmon
- fry light
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 213g passata

1. Cook the pasta shells according to the packet instructions, about 8-10 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Cook the salmon on the grill with fry light, making sure it's cooked right through. Set aside. When cool, flake the salmon and place into a bowl. (Alternatively you can use other meat/fish/vegetarian filling other than salmon. My sister had ham with hers, as she isn't a fish lover. I just chopped the pre-cooked ham up into small pieces and placed into a bowl).
2. Wash and dry the spinach leaves and place in a large pan over a low heat. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until the leave wilt and turn bright green. Drain in a colander, pressing down with a saucer to squeeze out any water. Chop the spinach and add to the salmon.
3. Stir in the Philidelphia and herbs and season to taste. Spoon the salmon and spinach mixture into the pasta shells and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Place under a preheated grill for 3 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through.
4. To make the tomato sauce; spray a saucepan with Fry Light, add the onion and garlic and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes until golden. Stir in the passata and simmer for 10 minutes. To serve, divide the sauce between three plates and place the pasta shells on top.

Monday, 27 August 2012

TIP! Perfect portions.

I don't know about you guys, but I find that one of the hardest things to do when trying to lose weight is serving myself/others correct portion sizes. At my biggest, my portion sizes were HUGE. I probably had enough food for on my plate to feed at least 2-3 people!

Portion sizes are tricky.. But I have learnt, instead of packing your plate up high "just incase", just take a normal portions worth and eat what you have. And if you are still hungry afterwards, you can always go back for a little more. Having too much food on your plate will make you feel obliged to eat it.. Eating the correct portion sizes (correct portion sizes are often suggested on the side of food packages) are key for stomach shrinking and successful weight loss!

My Mum suggested that, when I have a spare 20-30 minutes, I prepare portion sizes in advance so we can just grab and go instead of fussing around with the scales and things - which will be especially handy when in a rush. I thought it was an absolutely amazing idea - couldn't believe I didn't think of it myself!

So before you knew it, I had set up a little work station in my living room, made up of a tray, digital scales and cheap food bags, plus whatever food I wanted to weigh. I decided to weigh out all of our cereals into the portion sizes suggested on the cereal boxes (most serving sizes were between 30g-40g), then putting them back into their boxes for easy storage. I also weighed out our uncooked fusilli pasta into 75g serving bags. So now we can just grab and go!

This has to be the best and most useful tip I've ever received and I shall definitely be keeping it up!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

BOOM Sportswear!

'BOOM Sportswear' is a new fitness clothing brand that a good friend of mine has started. It started up in June 2012, and in such a short space of time a lot has happened for him and I've heard that he's received some great news for the brand that will be happening in the near future! I've even spotted someone who came into work wearing one of his tops! So far it's been a big hit with his friends and people who work out with him at his gym - but he's eager to expand his sportswear to a much wider audience.

BOOM Sportswear started out by just selling shirts, but that got very popular very quickly. So he's now introduced vests and hoodies into the clothing range. And I'm sure many more different items of clothing will become available as it becomes more well known. BOOM Sportswear stock both men and women's clothing, in sizes S to 3XL.

I am now the proud owner of my very own pink BOOM Sportswear vest! Yay! :)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A healthy, filling brekkie!

Here is a small but yummy and very filling breakfast that I threw together very quickly one morning, before work. It's approx. 160 kcal for the 1 serving, so pretty low-kcal - bonus! :)

- 6-10g almonds, halved.
- 1 small banana, sliced.
- small handful of strawberries, halved/quartered.
- 1 tbsp Linwoods flaxseed.
- 50g low-fat natural yoghurt.

Throw the banana and strawberries together in a bowl. Then pour over the natural yoghurt. Sprinkle on the almonds and Linwoods flaxseed on top of it all and voila - it's done!

Quick, simple and delicious! :)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

An update on me!

I've noticed that I seem to write a lot of posts surrounding the food I make and recipes I do, and not very many posts actually talking about myself. So here's a small update on myself for you all, if anyone's interested:

My weight loss has been very slow lately.. For the last 3 weeks I have stayed exactly the same weight (which is currently 127lbs.. Yeah I know, I'm huge and it's bad that I'm still struggling to get back down to the weight I was before I went abroad in May... Shame on me. :( ). I have been eating healthily most meals but then I normally struggle at tea time or late in the evening.. I have somehow put my self under an unnecessary amount of stress (which does not help my eating one bit!), over something so small and I am not sleeping very well at all lately.. Getting an average of 5 hours of sleep a night, give or take a bit. Not good! Also I had the worst thing happened to me Sunday night.. I was looking in the mirror whilst removing my make-up and I looked up at myself and I seriously had a flashback to back when I was 176lbs - not even lying.. I didn't even know flashbacks were possible, but apparently they are. I could see it in my face. I looked like who I use to be, and not who I am. I burst out crying and barely slept, I just sat up in my bed, awake for hours. It was absolutely horrible and I hope it does not happen to often.. :(

But anyway, moving on..

The unnecessary stress is over something that has happened lately. And that is that my job hunting! It has been a success! As of yesterday, I am now a "partner" in Starbucks! Yaaaay! This is now my 2nd job, as I already work part-time in a supermarket. So I am now very busy throughout the week. The new job is fun, but very hectic and quite stressful, as I'm currently learning and trying to remember all the codes, drink names, sizes, how to make the drinks, etc. etc.. It's veeery different to the supermarket job. And as well as these 2 jobs, I'm hoping to go back to college in September to do the 2nd year of the Painting and Decorating course I did. Hopefully I'll cope okay, but if not I'll have to make a tough decision and drop something - no idea what it'll be though, but hopefully it won't come to that.

I'm going on holiday with my family and boyfriend on the 18th of this month! Exciting! We're not going abroad or anything.. We're going to Cornwall (I think) for a week in a big farm house. Which will be nice, and different! So don't expect any posts that week, as I'll be busy relaxing or going on a bike ride or something! Haha. :)

So yeah, there's a little update on my busy, busy life at the moment. I'm surprised I have even had the time write this post today. I've just finished a shift at Starbucks and I'm now just killing some time until my shift at the other job starts! *yawn*

Monday, 6 August 2012

Grilled summer fruit with hazelnuts.

Today, after Sunday dinner, I made a dessert for all the family. I made 'grilled summer fruit with hazelnuts' - it was sweet and very delicious! So fruity and fresh and there were 5 clear plates afterwards! I found this recipe in the magazine, 'Healthy Food Guide', the Summer 2012 issue (page 69). This recipe serves 4 (although I made it serve 5 easily). In the magazine it says it's 142 kcal per serving, if serving it between 4 people.. But I tried working it out as if you were serving it between 5, and I made it to be approx. 89 kcal. So it depends how many people you're serving it to, depends on the calories! The magazine's really good - I'm definitely buying the next issue! It's packed full of recipes, articles and advice! It also lets you know each recipes' nutritional information.. It says that this recipe is low-kcal, low-fat, low-saturates, low-salt, vegetarian friendly, gluten-free and two of your 5-a-day! :)

 Here's the recipe, if you want to give it a go:

- cooking oil spray
- 4 peaches, stoned and quartered
- 250g strawberries, halved, or quartered if large
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 20g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
- 150g low-fat vanilla yoghurt to serve

1. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Spray a medium ovenproof dish with a little oil and put the peaches and strawberries in the dish. Drizzle the fruit with the vanilla extract and sprinkle with the sugar.
2. Put the dish under the grill for 5-8 min until the fruit colours and the syrup is bubbling.
3. Sprinkle the hazelnuts and mint leaves over the top and serve with the yoghurt.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Pole dancing/fitness - love it!

Earlier this evening I went along to an hour long 'Pole Fitness' class. This was a very, very last minute decision. I literally decided I wanted to go and left my house about 15 minutes before the lesson was due to start!

I previously went to 'Pole Dancing' classes, back in late 2010/early 2011 (the photo is of me back then - I look very different..). But I had to quit going when they raised their prices up, as I couldn't afford it at the time.. I was gutted. With my Christmas money/my wages I purchased myself my own pole to put up in my house! But as I was no longer going to lessons, I ended up completely losing motivation and inspiration and not using it. So it eventually got taken down. I've been dying to go back to classes ever since!

So today was the day.. I borrowed £8 from my Mum (as I'm skint at the moment) and went along. It was held at a local school and it's run by Girls Love Fit. There wasn't as many people as I was expecting, but I think that was because there was a communication error between some people about where it was being held tonight. It was pretty daunting to begin with.. I think that was mainly because I didn't know anybody there. But I soon got comfortable and got into it. After a good warm-up, we learnt the beginning of a routine! The song we did it to was "El Tango de Roxanne" - Moulin Rouge - an unusual but amazing song to dance to! It's very different from the pole dancing class I went to before. The one before mainly focused on the tricks and moves rather than dancing/routines. I do prefer doing the routines though. My favourite move of the routine was the headstand against the pole.

My weekly schedule is due to change drastically as of this Monday (I will let you all know why in a post I am planning to write soon) so I'm worried I won't be able to continue the classes.. But I'm hoping things will work out in my favour and I'll be able to go again each week/most weeks and be able to afford it each time.. Fingers crossed! If I do get to go back I will try and get some photos, if I'm allowed to take them. :)

Pole fitness/dancing is such a fun, unique way of getting fit! Very different from the conventional ways of working out, such as going to the gym or work out DVDs.. It helps tone muscles, improve flexibility and core strength! And it also helps build self confidence. People normally associate pole dancing with strippers wearing next to nothing.. But it's not like that and it's not just for them - why let them have all the fun?! Anybody of any age, weight, height or sex can do it! If any of you get the opportunity to have a go, please take it - you will love it! And if you don't, atleast you can say you gave it a try! :)

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Sweet potato jackets.

I have tried sweet potatoes in the past, a very long time ago whilst I was attempting a strict, week long detox diet (which epically failed, by the way).. I really didn't like them though. But I recently decided to give them another go, and I actually love them! Such a unique, sweet (but not too sweet) flavour. Very delicious! I tried it in the form of a jacket potato. I really do not like jackets made with regular potatoes - they just taste too potato-y (sounds stupid, I know), but I was eager to try one made with sweet potatoes instead. And I was not disappointed! It's a good comfort food and is very filling! It's quite calorific though.. The way I made it below (including the cherry tomatoes) is approx. 558 kcal - faaaar too many calories for my liking. Next time I'd use a smaller potato and a less fattening filling.

All you do to make this is:
Pick a good sized sweet potato (the one I used was a bit too big and I ended up wasting some of it..). Prick the potato with a fork/knife lots of times - make sure you do it all the way around! Then put it into the microwave for about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size, until the potato is soft. Pick and, if necessary, prepare your favourite filling(s). I chose sundried tomatoes, green pesto, mozzarella and Linwoods flaxseed for my jacket. Once the microwave *dings* take out the potato, cut a line down the middle of the jacket, or slice a cross into it and squeeze it at the base to "pop" the top. Fill it with your chosen filling and serve! As a little side for my jacket, I cooked 4 cherry tomatoes still on the vine. They were lovely - sweet and slightly tangy.

Personally, I think the toppings I picked sound lovely, and alone they do taste great.. But if I were to use these exact fillings in a sweet potato jacket again, I would definitely leave out the mozzarella. It just didn't taste right with the sweet potato. They did not compliment eachother at all. And also it did not melt as much as I would have liked.. As it all starts cooling the mozzarella starts stiffening, so it doesn't mix in with the potato like the tomatoes and pesto did. But that's what experimenting is all about - working out what works and what doesn't. :)

Other filling ideas I have and really want to try are:
- baked beans
- low-fat cheddar
- low-fat butter
- tinned tuna with light mayonnaise, sweetcorn and red onion
- extra light philadelphia with herbs
- flaked steamed salmon with light mayonnaise
- salsa

If any of you think of or know of any other yummy filling ideas, please let me know!