Eating a Pomegranate

So for the first time I ate pomegranate!

I’ve always wondered what pomegranate tasted like, my mother told me once it was her favourite fruits but has never had the chance to show me how to eat one.

So, as I’m trying to eat healthier I decided that I’d try new things and there I was stood in Lidl and there was a pomegranate sitting there. Into my basket it went.

Have to admit I was a little nervous, what if it tasted horrible? What if I’d wasted my money?

So, I typed in ‘how to eat a pomegranate’ and clicked on the first video that came up – This one. It was fairly simple to do in the end.

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Firstly I cut out a cone from the top of the pomegranate.  As you can see I wasn’t as neat and nicked a couple of the seeds with my knife – if your knife skills are better than mine you shouldn’t get that red staining. I also sliced off the bottom

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Score along the ridges of the pomegranate, but not too deep of your pomegranate is going to bleed!

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Teacherwashere SMASH!

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How beautiful are these little gems?

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I ate them with the seeds in and the taste was unexpected! A very sharp almost cranberry taste. Really good for a tiny acidic fruit hit and surprisingly theraputic picking out the seeds.

Until next time!

Fifth week (fifth weigh in) 8.4.17

So, in case you’re wondering you’ve not gone mad and I can count. Last week I did not weigh in as I was away for the weekend.

I was determined –  DETERMINED to not gain and also to hit the stone mark. Well, it was hard work but I managed it! I’ve lost just over a stone (I lost 4.5 Lb) those who have been counting will know how much I’ve lost.

Alas, over the weekend the boys came over and what can I say, I rather spoilt myself Saturday and over ate! That did mean I managed to put 2lb on over one day.

Now one of my interim targets was to weigh less than 23stone so that I could finally play/exercise on my WII fit. I am really enjoying playing on it again although I think it’ll be a while before I am back up to doing the levels I used to.

This week I’d like to lose some more and keep heading over to my club 10% target we shall see!

Third week (Fourth weigh in) 25.03.17

I have had a bad week last week, I ate a lot of awfully ‘synful’ stuff. I can’t say I regret it (except the awful burger at the NEC  Weatherspoons – ultimate burger my pineapple!)

To say I wasn’t looking forward to getting to weigh in is a slight understatement. I was hoping to maintain or at least to have put only a little on. I lost 3lb! Very happy with that.

That brings my total up to 12, meaning I only have to lose another 2lb to have lost a stone of weight. Next weekend I can’t make my normal weigh in and because I’m so busy every other evening and daytime I can’t go to any others….so holiday time! With the 12 weeks free I get with my deal with the council I get 12 weeks for free at slimming world and also 2 holidays to use.

So, one holiday put in and now I can focus losing those few pounds.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about upping my physical activity. I tried doing more walking and running before and I was doing well but I kinda trailed off…

So, this morning I’ve downloaded zombies, run! 5k (a couch to 5k program) I’ve used the Zombies, Run! App before (which is free to download) but I decided I need to actually work up to running rather than just ‘walking with purpose’. I also realised I don’t own a pair of trainers so gave myself a small budget to get some running shoes an socks. At least now I have some decent footwear, well appropriate anyway. I also stopped by some charity shops in the local area and went tennis racket shopping. Less than £4 later I am the proud owner of two lightly used tennis rackets 😀 Alas most charity shops don’t have tennis balls due to people who have dogs buying them (apparently). The tennis balls cost me more than the darn rackets! I live walking distance from a  park with a tennis court so now all I have to do is kidna…..*persuade* my partner/other person to come play tennis with me!

Sounds doable right?

Second week (third weigh in) 18.03.17

Yeah, I know it’s Thursday the 23rd but I’ve had a bit of a hectic week, this is just a quick update! My third weigh in went a lot better than I expected. Friday was a bit of a bust, I bought a doughnut at the school I worked in (it was for charity!) – totally not worth it. Seriously if you’re going to spend the syns on a Jam doughnut get them fresh from Morrisons. Other places may do nicer other types of doughnut but Morrisons is IT for Jam ones.

Also, my poor partner brought home pizza and cheesy garlic bread which, to be fair, they didn’t bring me any. I just happened to eat half the cheesy garlic bread pizza at 16 syns a slice. So yeah, over 60 syns on Friday I wasn’t expecting good results for weight in Saturday.

I lost 2lb.

Craaaaaaaaazy.

I also won slimmer of the week. (which included among other things a bag of misc syn free food. This is a lot

Whaaaaaaaat?!

That means I only need to lose 5 more to have lost a stone. I will admit this week has been slightly off the rails so far but I’ll write about that another day!

cowboy hotpot 12.03.17

As I mentioned in a previous post I bought a couple of cookbooks from the Slimming world group I go to.

On Saturday I decided that this week we’re really going to try to cook meals from these two books and with some help from my partner put together a meal plan for the week.

As my partner is away for a course I was trying to find something that was easy too cook for me, and on page 32 of Family meals on a budget I found: Cowboy hotpot!

I won’t go through the ingredients and how to make it as I don’t want to get in trouble for copywrite and it’s not available for non-members on the website… but let me tell you it’s delicious and herby, tomatoey and full of beans. It was also my first experience with the slimming world sausages. I don’t think they’re as nice as the butchers own sausages that are my preferred from Tesco, but as they’re syn free I think I’ll cope in this.

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What did surprise me is that it’s meant to be for 4 people with a side salad. You could quite easily feed 8 people with this I feel!  I’ve been a little greedy and I ate a rather large portion (not pictured above) to myself which would have probably fed two people but I didn’t have the salad. I did also eat the contents of the dish to the right for lunch today, but with a side salad it would have done two adults quite nicely. The dish on the left is going to go into the freezer for a day when I can’t be bothered anymore (or am broke)

Cost wise, I make it about £4.12 from Tesco for the ingredients and £3.00 for the six sausages. Divided by 8 that’s less than a pound per serving. I’d also like to point out here that part of that cost was a large bag of potatoes which didn’t all go into this dish, so it was probably cheaper than that.

The only change I made to the recipe was in regards to the sausages, I changed it from slicing them each into three to slicing them into about half cm slices. This meant I could enjoy more protein per bite.

Anyway, Cowboy hotpot – Delicious, filling and syn free! I recommend it!

(Excuse the pale potatoes, I was really hungry by this point and didn’t want to ‘brown them’ in the grill!)

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OOF Sunday treat

Today is Sunday and my partner is off down south for a course. ‘Let’s go out for Sunday dinner before I go’ they say.

Now, they did want to go to the local pub but I looked at the menu and there were a lot of ‘honey glazed’ this and ‘deep fried’ that with ‘mashed’ other. Now I could sit down and work out every syn for every part and to be quite frank with you I couldn’t be bothered today.

So instead I asked if we could go to the Toby Carvery nearby, there was a slightly grumpyness at this but *shrugs*

Anyways I had the king size and trimmings, should point out at this point I gave one of my Yorkshire puddings and the sausages to my partner though so don’t stress out about that!

sunday lunch

So according to my working:

Carrots = free (speedfood)

Cabbage (red and normal) = Free (speedfood)

Peas = Free

All meat had the fat trimmed off – pork,beef,turkey = free.

Gravy 1 portion = 1syn

Onion in gravy = 0.5 syn

Yorkshire pudding (I gave one to partner) = 4.5 syns

Roast potatoes x 3 = 2 syn per potato so 6 syns.

and a nice pepsie max (0 syn) so all in all 12 syns.

Doable if you’re on 15 syns a day, I think I’d be tempted next time to splash out and have another yorkshire pudding and some mashed potato but I’m pleased that I am under syns for the day. I have something nice planned for dinner and nothing else with syns planned for the day so we’ll see how it goes.

 

 

 

First week (second weigh in) 11.03.17

Today was my second weigh in, or rather my first if you discount the initial one last week.

I’d tracked my food, counted my syns and still as I walked to the group session I felt panicked. I had to stop half way there, my breathing was labored – I couldn’t catch my breath and the edges of my vision went grey. The hell? I thought to myself as I leant against a handy bus stop. After breathing through my nose and managing to fill my lungs that way and a rather stern talking to (internally – don’t want people to think I’m mad as a box of frogs) I set off again.

As I got nearer to where the group meets I joined the people walking towards the 8:30am session and chatted to people. This made me feel better and breathing was better – so, armed with my leeks for the slimmer of the week basket (What? I like leeks!)  I headed in.

I was slightly early at 8:20 but after a couple of minutes and popping their head in from where they were inducting a new member the consultant let us start getting weighed in early. I was pleased to see the woman who started last week with me giving me a wave across the room and chatted to a couple of people in the line as we waited to get weighed.

I forgot to mention last time that slimmers world has gone digital with a membership card that contains all your details on it. Mine now says I have 10 sessions left, ten sessions to decide if I can afford to continue :-/ However, I’m not worrying about that yet.

You’re probably all wondering by now how I did on my weigh in? Well I’m pleased to say that I had lost 7lb (just over 3kg in new money). I was/am pleased but I’m not getting over excited because I know my weight goes up and down like a yoyo.

Had a wonder into the book section and bought myself a couple of the SW cook books ‘Family feasts on a budget‘ and ‘free & easy‘. I just need some inspiration to flick through when I’m meal planning (yes I’m aware I can get them online but it’s not the same!) Pleasantly surprised that both books came to under £10! I’ve added links to buy them from amazon but they’re not as cheap online as at your local club. So, at this point I realised that  I hadn’t gotten any raffle tickets (see last weeks post) turns out I’d misunderstood last week – you actually have to buy the raffle tickets. Ah well, I can’t really afford to be buying raffle tickets on top of everything else!

The meeting afterwards was nice, I can see how some people would not like it – it can be a little ‘give everyone a  round of applause’ but I like it and find it encouraging and leaves me enthused for the coming week. I also got my first certificate! 1/2 stone! The lady who joined last week also did really well and lost 1/2 a stone – however neither of us won slimmer of the week *boo* what can I say, those leeks did look tasty 😀

I also heard from across the room someone saying about ‘club 10’ – turns out this is when you lose 10% of your body weight. I have 27lb before I can join that particular club. Ah well.

My fave recipes from this week are as follows (please note if they won’t load up it may be because you have to log on):

Tangy grilled chicken Dijon style – Loved this, so simple and easy! red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, chicken. Wham together, grill in the oven. I had it with some pasta and some cold for lunch the next day. May add less red wine vinegar next time as it was a bit runny and I want more of a paste. The taste wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be which is nice as both red wine vinegar and dijon mustard are quite strong usually!

Adrakhwala chops (spiced pork chops) – I have to admit I left it to my partner to cook this. They and I agree that next time we’d not add the water and possibly grill rather than stew in the casserole dish to intensify the flavour. My partner also fried some shallots in frylite and made a carrot and cumin crush (like mash but no butter/milk etc) to go with it. I love pork chops so couldn’t really complain.

This week I have synned heavily on some days…there were roast potatoes on the Sunday, a rather nice cookie on Thursday and…a delicious cheeseburger on Friday. However, I never spent all of my 25 syns so I haven’t been that bad.  One of the things I did struggle with this week was snacking and lack of sweet things. So I bought some of the hi-fi lite bars (Salted caramel pack and also a rocky road pack) They came to £3.90 for two boxes of 6 at group and are 3 syns each or you can have 2 as a healthy extra B. I would have added amazon links again but they’re retailing for about £10 a box on there and to be frank that’s ridiculous!

This week I’ve got meals planned, my partner is away for part of the week so I’m cooking for myself. Good practice for when they’re away at sea I suppose.

Well, until next time!

 

New Start. 05.03.17

So, those who read this may have noticed a distinct lack of supply teaching posts from me recently.

This is mainly because I haven’t been getting up! I’ve had exactly 0 days work since January, the only time I got offered any was for a day they know I can’t work. *grumpy face*

Anyway, yesterday I went to a Slimmers world group for the first time since I was about 11. My mother used to take me when I was that age as I haven’t exactly been the slimmest person ever.

The council my home falls under runs a remedial weight loss program where if your BMI is over a certain amount then they will give you vouchers for 12 weeks membership for either weight watchers or Slimmers world. As the nurse actually has to  manually work out my BMI as I’m off the chart I figured I’d be eligible and after procrastinating for a while I took the plunge. Good job! After April the council are changing their policy/way of supporting obese people so I got in just in time.

So, I figured if I was going to go, I’d go on a Saturday morning, then at least it’d also have the advantage of getting me out of bed first thing on a weekend and I’d have the rest of the day to do things.

I wasn’t massively nervous about going, but I was a bit surprised how busy the very early session (8:30am) was! Must have been about 30-50 people coming through whilst I was there. Another lady was starting at the same time using the same program the council offer. We were popped into a room and brought a cuppa whilst the lady who runs the class cam to talk us through everything. There are a couple of changes from when I was younger, a lack of red and green days which is nice because I am a pasta fiend.

The introduction probably too about 30-40 minutes and due to the agreement you have with the council you have to attend the talk session afterwards too. As the introduction took the time we’d usually weigh in, we didn’t get weighed straight away but got ushered into some seat that had been kindly saved for us!

I was surprised to see a strip of raffle tickets on my seat. From what I can make out each week everyone brings a piece of syn free food(food that doesn’t cost you any of your ‘syn’ points) and they get put into a parcel for the slimmer of the week and the raffle winner. When you get weighed you get a strip of tickets and you get extra ones depending on how much you’ve lost.

The meeting (body image) session took over an hour and seems to be about people talking about what they’ve tried that week and what they’re going to do as well as generally giving people encouragement and congratulating people. We got introduced and clapped. It was nice to see a mixture of men and women there so I didn’t feel completely out-of-place! One bloke had his daughter happily playing on a tablet in the corner of the room whilst he attended.

At the end of the meeting the consultant gave out the slimmer of the week and also drew the raffle prize. I also did my weigh in, which was just over 24st (no surprise) and she asked me what I wanted to weigh. I think I surprised myself  and her by saying I’d like to weigh 12st. As I am so big she’s started me on 25syns a day (rather than 5-15) with an interim target of 23st – that’d be great as I can use my wifit again.

If you want to know how slimming world works (SW) I’d go along to a meeting or look at the website I’m far from an expert! However, I thought it’d be nice for me to keep track. Looking forward to sharing with you all how I’m doing at the end of the week.

Roast dinner 21.3.16

Some people think that because they’re by themselves, they can’t enjoy a nice roast dinner. I’m not talking about steak, or pork chop – I mean the whole chicken or pork joint roast.
Well, it’s difficult to go through the rigmarole of cooking a roast dinner for yourself, but if you look at it from the point of view that you’re actually saving yourself time and money later on, the whole process becomes easier.


 

The roasts.

I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to pork, literally a sprinkle of salt on the fat to get a crisp crackling, 30 mins at about 200 Celsius (uncovered) then 30min per 500g covered. Comes out crisp and juicy every time.

Chicken, now, to save yourself even more effort you can just buy a cook in the bag chicken. Lidl and Aldi seem to do a decent range in these chickens. Myself? I like to get a lemon, slit it (not cut it up) and fill the slits with thyme and stuff it inside the chicken. Then I like to mix some olive oil, more thyme and garlic (paste) and put that mixture mostly under the skin of the chicken, but rubbing it all over works too (don’t forget the legs!).

I like to make a big pan of rustic mashed potatoes. These are unpeeled potatoes (washed if needed) boiled till tender, butter, salt, pepper. Mash. Add a touch of milk to bind and you get a nice smooth mashed potato.

Vegetables. These are the one thing, that unless I know I’m going to eat later in the week I won’t bother buying lots. I hate wasting food and having half a pack of green beans quietly rotting in the fridge makes me sad. I usually buy a small pack of mixed vegetables, for example asparagus and broccoli that I can just throw in the pan. In fact, to save water and washing up I usually put them in the same pan as the potatoes if there’s room – obviously for not as long, but the last five minutes or so.

Yorkshire puddings. I’m from Yorkshire and was taught to love and make these from a young age. They’re easy to make, just make English pancake batter (I know what you Americans are like with your fluffy pancakes) so, two eggs, about the same amount of milk and add plain flour until it makes a runny batter. Add some fat or spray some oil into a hot metal cupcake tray or cake pan or if you want a really big one a roasting tray. Add batter, return to oven, and remove when on the pale side of golden brown. Don’t be upset if they don’t look like aunt Bessie’s, the three generations of Yorkshire ladies I grew up with didn’t have them like that either!


 

Leftovers

Yorkshire pudding batter:

Mini Yorkshire puddings: Use a metal (not silicone) muffin or cupcake tray, hot fat or oil and cook at the same time as you’re cooking your roasts. With a bit of leftover gravy these mini’s cold are a really nice, filling snack.

Yorkshire pudding….pudding: After making the savoury Yorkshires you want, mix some sugar into the remaining batter and cook as above. Serve warm with ice cream and syrups.

Pancakes: It’s the same batter, save it for the morning and you’ve got it ready to go and make pancakes! Cook in a frying pan rather than the oven and they’ll come out flat. I like to have these with lemon and sugar.

Mashed potato.

What doesn’t mashed potato go with? Okay, right, fair enough it’s not good with ice cream and other desserts – you got me.

But seriously, I like to just reheat it, mix in some peas, little bit of gravy – delicious.
Some people like to form it into little cakes and fry it off in a pan, go for it if you like that kind of thing.

Chicken and pork

Okay, I’ve put the chicken and pork in the same category, mainly because I do the same thing with them. However, I don’t usually get pork joints with bones so I don’t get to make pork stock often. What I’m talking about here is chicken stock. Any leftover chicken meat I also freeze, for some reason I never seem to have any pork left to freeze…

Chicken stock
– a really big pan
– a sieve
– A large jug
– A few hours spare
– Skin and bones from a leftover chicken
– Two brown onions
– Two sticks of celery
– A carrot
– salt and pepper
– 2 bay leaves

Optional
– Silicon muffin tray

Okay, chicken stock isn’t hard per-say but it does take a while to do. Luckily you don’t have to stand and watch it exactly. Add the bones and skin to the stock pot, slice the onions in half and add (don’t worry about peeling them), snap the celery and add, snap the carrot and add. Half fill the pan with hot water. Add the bay leaves and some salt and pepper. Bring the whole lot to a boil and then leave to simmer for two to three hours on a very low heat.

This gets all the flavour and fats out of the chicken and ingredients.

Carefully pour the contents into the sieve over the large jug. You should get a brownish yellow liquid. You don’t want anything other than liquid in the jug. When the sieve has stopped dripping put it somewhere to cool* (I usually put my sieve in the sink in case there are more drippings). Wash out your pan in case there are any bits lingering and then pour the stock back into the pan.

Taste, add any salt and pepper you think you need and then bring to the boil again and simmer until it’s reduced by half.

I usually then pour it back into the jug and leave it to cool. Then I pour it into the muffin tray and pop into the freezer. Then, I can use it whenever I want!

Chicken spaghetti soup. Take two ‘pucks’ of chicken stock (or six tablespoons), two glasses of water, boil a handful of pasta in the mixture until tender, add some sweetcorn and cooked chicken if you have it -perfect if you’re feeling coldy.

Fajitas: Chop your meat (chicken or pork) into strips and add to a hot oiled pan. Slice an onion into strips, and a red and yellow bell pepper. Add the onion to the pan with the meat until the meat is heated through and add fajita spice. I have a confession to make here…I don’t make my own fajita spice. I bought a MASSIVE jar from COSTCO about two years ago and am still using it, must have saved me a fortune in tiny packet mixes. Anyway. Mix in your chosen spices and then add the peppers. The peppers won’t need long as you still want the crunch, perhaps 5 minutes. Whilst that’s cooking zap some wraps for about 30 seconds in the microwave and prepare any extras like salsa or cheese etc you want. These are also great for lunch the next day; just make sure to pack the fajita mixture and wraps away from one another.

Stir fry: Cut your meat into bite size chunks and put to one side. I am so not above buying a packet of stir fry veg from the supermarket as it cuts down on prep time, but if you like to do your own there are lots of suggestions online. I have a wok that was given to my parents when they got married; no one else in my family eats stir fry so I ended up with it. So, keep your cooking implement of choice oiled and when it’s hot add the meat until it’s cooked through. I like to add the stir fry sauce here, usually I’ll buy one from the supermarket but sometimes a slug of soy sauce or sweet chilli sauce is all you really want. After the meats hot I add the veg. Keep everything moving or it will stick, you don’t want that! When you’re happy with how cooked the veg is (crunchy or not so crunchy, that is the question) add your noodles and heat until they’re cooked. This is also good cold for lunch the next day.

So, depending on what you wanted your Sunday roast could feed you for several extra meals (lunches and dinners).


Shopping list:

(for a Sunday roast chicken, stir fry, fajitas, soup)

– Large chicken    -Mashing potatoes    – Some green veg      -plain flour
-2 eggs                   – milk
– Celery                  – 4 onions                     – 1 carrot                    -bay leaves
– Stir fry vegetables     -stir fry sauce     -egg or rice noodles
– Fajita spices       – wraps                          -optional extras       -red and yellow bell pepper
– Tin of sweetcorn   – pasta

I hope you find this post useful it went on a bit longer than I intended! – any tips yourself? Please comment and say hi below.

*Try not to put hot things in the bin as it forms condensation in the bin that can encourage mold growth (ew)