Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Lunchbox idea #4.

I haven't posted a lunchbox idea in a while, so I thought it was about time I did. So here it is:

This is a little twist on the classic sandwich filling, egg and cress - only difference is pretty much just using the egg whites instead of the whole egg and I've added in a sausage! Egg and cress tastes lovely on it's own but the sausage just gives it that extra smokey-tasting something-something. ;)

To make this, just make 3 hard-boiled eggs, boiling them in water for about 10 minutes, and meanwhile cook a Quorn sausage (doesn't have to be Quorn) in the grill for 10-12 minutes. Once the eggs are done, peel them and separate the egg whites from the yolks, throwing the yolks away. Chop up the egg whites into little bits and mix them with about 1 tbsp of low-fat mayonnaise. Then add in some fresh salad cress and mix it all together again. Once the sausage is cooked, cut it into small slices/pieces and stir it all into the egg and cress mix. Season, to taste, with freshly ground salt and pepper. And voila - it's done. Simple as that. :)

Now add it into whatever you want, such as a wrap, a salad, a sandwich, a pitta bread, a bagel, etc. All super tasty!

Leaving the egg yolks out reduces each egg's calories by about 55kcal. It takes out a lot of the protein from the egg, but then you also get protein from the sausage, which is less calories than the 3 egg yolks put together! So all together this filling is approx. 135kcal (using a Quorn sausage). Then just add the calories of whatever you put it in (I used a Weight Watcher's wrap, so I'll have to add 107kcal). Yum yum!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Homemade pumpkin & apple soup.

Lately I have been dying to try cooking with pumpkin, simply for the fact everywhere is selling them and I've never tried one before. I spent quite a while deciding what I wanted to make with my pumpkin - a pie, a cake, a soup, a salad - so many to choose from! I finally decided to make a soup as veggie soups are normally pretty healthy, everyone loves a good soup and today is definitely "soup weather" (cold and rainy).

This is the first soup I have ever made from scratch (with some help from my lovely boyfriend - thank yooou!). I always thought soup would be hard to make, but it was surprisingly easy. This soup was so delicious! The cider really gave it that kick. Such a unique taste - really hard to explain.. But trust me, it is amazing - even my boyfriend loved it!

This recipe serves 4 people and only has approx. 177kcal per serving!

- 1 small pumpkin, peeled, de-seeded and cubed
- 3 small/medium apples, peeled and chopped
- 1 small/medium brown onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 500ml (1 pint) of vegetable stock
- 250ml (1/2 pint) of dry cider
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- freshly ground salt and pepper

(If you aren't happy with using cider, you can always substitute it with 250ml (1/2 pint) of not-from-concentrate apple juice).


1. Get a large saucepan and heat up the oil. Cook the onions and garlic in the pan for 2-4 minutes, until the onions are slightly translucent.

2. Now add in the pumpkin, apple and season to taste. Cook for another 2-4 minutes.

3. Pour in the cider, and cook for 1 minute. Then add in the vegetable stock. Bring everything to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes.

4. After it's finished simmering, pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.

5. Now pour it back into the saucepan and heat it back up, so it's nice and hot when served.

6. Spread evenly into 4 servings and serve immediately. Serve alone, or add some cream/milk into it, or even enjoy it with some fresh baker's bread (such as a slice of cottage loaf - yum!).

P.S. I'm pretty sure this soup can be kept in a sealed box to be heated up the next day, or even frozen to enjoy on a later date - I can't see why not. :)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Low-kcal pizza - yes there is such a thing!

I'm not going to lie.. I adore pizza! I use to enjoy late pizza nights with my boyfriend faaar too often (occasionally we still do, but very rarely compared to before). But pizza makes my waste line suffer. I thought I'd have to sacrifice my love for pizza to be able to lose weight.. That was until I saw a pizza recipe in the magazine, Healthy Food Guide (September 2012's issue, page 41). I was also bought a recipe book, called "100 Pizzas From 1 Easy Recipe" - it was a gift from my Nan. It's a book full of lots of different pizza topping ideas. So I decided to have a go at making one.

I took the recipe for the pizza base and pizza sauce from my magazine's recipe. I chose a pizza topping idea from my recipe book, which is called "Neapolitan Pizza" - a cheese-less, but still super tasty topping! I mix and matched my recipe from both sources as the base and sauce in the magazine was lower kcal than the book, but the topping in the book was lower kcal than the one in the magazine. But I also altered the recipe slightly by using granulated sweetener, rather than actual sugar.

This recipe makes 2 very yummy, light, fluffy based pizzas, at approx. 290kcal per 1/2 pizza! Much better calorie-wise compared to a takeaway pizza - can't go wrong with that! :)

(For pizza dough)
- 275g plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1 tsp granulated Splenda sweetener
- 1 medium egg, beaten

(For pizza sauce)
- 250g passata
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp granulated sweetener
- small handful of chopped basil

(For pizza topping)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried Italian herb seasoning
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- fresh basil leaves, roughly torn, to garnish

1. For the base, put the flour, yeast and 1 tsp of sweetener in a large bowl. Mix the egg with 125ml of warm water and pour it into the dry ingredients. Mix well and knead lightly to make a soft dough, adding more water if needed. Divide in two and roll out onto a flat surface, dusted with flour, to make 2 x 20cm diameter circles. Transfer to baking trays, lined with baking paper, and cover with cling film. Leave in a warm place (such as an airing cupboard) for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°c/fan 180°c/gas 6. For the pizza sauce, heat the passata, oregano and 1 tsp of sweetener in a saucepan for 5 minutes until it thickens. Add in the chopped basil.

3. For the topping, divide the pizza sauce between the two pizza bases, spreading almost to the edges. Scatter over, evenly, the garlic, sliced tomatoes and the herb seasoning and drizzle over a little oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for around 15-25 minutes, or until the base is crisp underneath and the crusts are golden. Garnish with the torn basil leaves and serve immanently. Enjoy either on it's own or with a little side salad! :)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Been a naughty girl..

I'm sorry for not posting as often as I usually do.. This last week has been a hard one! I've slipped up, pretty badly.. Working so much lately (had a 13.5 hour shift Saturday), a friend's 21st birthday party (involving a lot of alcohol and a massive hangover), 2 days at Alton Towers theme park (with a 4 hour drive each way) and a night at a hotel - sticking within my calories for each day has been pretty much unrealistic.

Normally I kind of enjoy having a naughty meal/snack or two for a change from all the healthy eating.. But for some reason I haven't enjoyed any of it really. After eating all this rubbish, I have been really desperate to just dig into loads and loads of healthy veggies! I feel so fat, bloated and tired after eating so badly for just under a week.. But now I'm home, with nothing but work in my way, and I can eat absolutely anything I want - yaaay!

I am expecting to put on about half a stone from all the rubbish I've ate - a fish burger, vegetable crisps, munchies, a cookie, chips, pizza/pasta/salad buffet, alcohol (lots of it), a sandwich, etc.! Very ashamed of myself and very anxious about weighing myself tomorrow. But I'm only human and can't beat myself up too much about it. What's done is done - I've got to face the consequences and guilt of my bad choices, suck it up and start a fresh. Next week I will lose whatever weight I've put on this week, for sure! :)