Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ironic - Raw



These are the two words that I choose to describe today.  I had no idea that it was World Mental Health Awareness Day until I clicked on Facebook and saw all the banners and posts on my News Feed. Mind, Time to Change, Newsbeat, Blurt. Not to mention some of my fellow friends who are trying their best to raise awareness.


It’s IRONIC because tomorrow after pushing it away for many months I am facing the shame that I feel and going back to the doctors to talk about my Mental Health.  


RAW because that’s how I feel most of the time. VulnerablePitiful, Pathetic.  Because that’s generally how depression makes you feel.


‘There is nothing to be ashamed about’


‘Be strong’


You ok?’


‘I’m ok’


Define ok? Do you really want me to tell you how it feels?


Not wanting to wash your hair for days


Not moving from the sofa for hours, feeling jumpy when anyone comes home


Crying yourself to sleep, crying yourself awake


Worrying that your partner will leave you


Waves of anxiety attacks


Lonely, no-one wants a needy friend


Pleasing everyone


Rapid weight gain through eating too much crap


Drinking too much to make the pain go away


Not answering the phone or the door


Feeling not quite there…


Did I mention the guilt? AND the perpetual tiredness AND the totally consuming negativity???


Picture perfect huh?


IT feels shit. 



So, I guess that World Mental Health Day is quite timely.


This is my Mental Health Day, be brave, tomorrow can be different. 

Tomorrow will be different.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ice Cream Obsession - Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream

I have become obsessed with home-made ice cream after being given an Ice cream maker attachment for my kitchen aid.  I just had it share this recipe that I came across on David Lebovitz's blog. It is quite simply scrummy!  I am looking forward to trying out the recipes in his 'Perfect Scoop' book if this one is anything to go by! I dare you to give it a go....

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/04/salted-butter-c/ 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hairy Dieters: Quick Chicken Cordon Bleu

I made this for the whole family with a small amount of mash and seasonal vegetables. It was a big hit.  You would have never have known that it was a reduced fat recipe!

Taste: 10/10 Easy to make :10/10 Make again? Yes


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hairy Dieters: Fresh Fruit Compote With Home-Made Granola

I made this for breakfast this morning, but instead of making the fruit compote, I used frozen summer fruits that I heated gently in the microwave, I also added a sprinkle of granulated sweetener. Served with 0% fat Greek Yoghurt it was delish!! 

Taste: 9/10 Easy to make :10/10 (I did cheat on the fruit though!) Make again? Yes
(Note: Jumbo oats were difficult to find in the local supermarkets.)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Haven't blogged for a while... Let's start off gently with a good quote!


“A smart person knows what to say, a wise person knows whether or not to say it!”


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

OREO CUPCAKES

Makes about 14 - 16


For the Cupcakes

Ingredients

50g Cocoa
240ml Boiling water
175g Plain flour
2tsp Baking powder
A good pinch of salt
115g Unsalted butter
200g Caster suger
2 Large free range eggs
2tsp Vanilla Extract
Mini Oreo’s

Method

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (190 degrees Celsius/375 Degrees Fahrenheit )

Start by sieving the cocoa into a small bowl and stirring in the boiling water until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk or by hand until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time beating between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.

Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix gently. Finally add the cooled cocoa and water and mix the cake batter until smooth.

Line a 12 bun muffin tin with cupcake/muffin cases and put a mini Oreo into the bottom of each case. Fill the cases about two thirds full with the cake batter. (Obviously you will have to make these cakes in two batches.)

Pop into the oven for 20 minutes at Gas Mark 5 (190 degrees Celsius/375 Degrees Fahrenheit ) – They should be well risen and an inserted skewer should come out clean.

Leave to cool before icing.

For the Icing

Ingredients

150g Unsalted butter
325g Sieved icing sugar
3 Tbsp milk
One and a half tsp vanilla extract
12 Fullsize Oreo cookies, finely crumbed in a food processor
Mini Oreo’s to decorate.

Method

The best way to make this icing is to put all the ingredients into a food processor and mix until fully incorporated.

Finally, ice the cupcakes and decorate with a mini Oreo! Yummy!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Red Onion Gravy - Perfect for your posh sausages!

Ingredients
75g butter
3 large red onions, sliced
1tbsp plain flour
100ml red wine
400ml beef stock
1 tsp Worcester sauce
2 tsp English mustard
salt and black pepper

Method
1. Melt the butter in a pan and cook the onions over a medium heat for about 10 mins, turn the heat right down, put a lid on and cook the onions until they are caramalised. (30 mins)

2. Add the flour and stir in, then add the wine, stock, Worcester sauce and mustard, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes stirring from time to time.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

serves 4

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In it for the long haul

Today is day 87 of my diet. So far I have lost 34.4lbs, dropped over 5 points off my BMI and gone down approx 2 to 3 dress sizes. (most of these stats I have taken from my weight tracker app on my iPhone, I may be anal about dieting, but I'm not that anal!) I am loving the way that losing weight has made me feel.  it's a very strange feeling having carried so much extra weight for so long.  I am asking myself why I haven't done it sooner?  I feel healthier, happier and definitely more confident.  I am able to run around with my kids more as I have tons of energy, who wouldn't want that?

So how have I done it?

By eating only three meals a day that are very low fat. Eating my five a day. Reducing my bread intake on most days to two slices.  Mostly cutting out alcohol and increasing the amount of exercise that I do. (not gym bunnie stylie, just more walking, gardening etc...)  It may be boring, but it works!

I haven't finished yet.  I still want and need to lose more!  My aim is not psycho, it's just to get my BMI into the 'healthy' range.  (This is also one of my life list goals.)

The problem is that I am coming up against the diet wall.

For the Good Food Channel ‘Man v. Food’ addicts, the wall is similar to what Adam faces, only the other way around. Right now I would love to be experiencing a ‘Man v. Food’ wall, preferably a donut related one, I can but dream! However my food challenge is low-fat food and I also have a lack of inspiration that seems to engulf many dieters when trying to come up with interesting and inspiring menu’s.

So my typical day goes something like this:

Low Sugar Alpen and Banana for Breakfast

Granary Bread Sandwich and Fruit for Lunch

Chicken or Fish with Salad/Veg and Cous Cous for dinner

NO SNACKS – This is a military operation!!!

Dinner variations include: Low Fat Chilli and Brown Rice, Stir fries, Pasta and Tomato based sauce, roast dinner with no roasties or Yorkshires.

Really cannot take eating another ham and pickle sarnie for lunch anymore.... I need inspiration and I need it fast!  Maybe I should ask myself...What would Adam do?

I would really appreciate any exciting low fat recipes that anyone has tucked away to help me get to my goal. (the more the merrier please!!!!)

In the meantime, how about some Man v. Food porn?

For those of you who haven't seen the genius that is Adam Rickman....Enjoy!  You will be chanting soon!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blackberries are in season

My lovely neighbour has just given me a big jug full of juicy blackberries from her garden.  I am going to put these to good use and make a Blackberry and Apple Loaf for Ben, Holly and Josh. (sneaky way to get to your 5 a day recipe, taken from the Good Food website.)

I also found these great verse about blackberries that sums up their appeal...

O, blackberry tart, with berries as big as your thumb, purple and black, and thick with juice, and a crust to endear them that will go to cream in your mouth, and both passing down with such a taste that will make you close your eyes and wish you might live forever in the wideness of that rich moment. (An extract from How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn)

Blackberry and Apple Loaf











Ingredients

250g self-raising flour
175g butter
175g light muscovado sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2 rounded tbsp demerara sugar
1 small eating apple , such as Cox's, quartered (not cored or peeled)
2 large eggs , beaten
1 orange , finely grated zest
1 tsp baking powder
225g blackberries

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C. Butter and line the bottom of a 1.7 litre loaf tin (see tip below). In a large bowl, rub the flour, butter and muscovado sugar together with your fingers to make fine crumbs. Measure out 5 level tbsp of this mixture into a small bowl for the topping, and mix in to it the cinnamon and demerara sugar. Set aside.

2.Coarsely grate the apple down to the core and mix in with the eggs and the zest. Stir the baking powder into the rubbed-in mixture in the large bowl, then quickly and lightly stir in the egg mixture until it drops lightly from the spoon. Don't overmix.

3.Gently fold in three quarters of the berries with a metal spoon, trying not to break them up. Spoon into the tin and level. Scatter the rest of the berries on top. Sprinkle over the topping and bake for 1¼ -1 hour 20 minutes. Check after 50 minutes and cover loosely with foil if it is browning too much. When done the cake will feel firm, but test with a skewer.

4.Leave in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out, then cool on a wire rack. Peel off the paper before cutting. Will keep wrapped in foil or in a tin for up to 2 days.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Have your cake and eat it! Apricot and Ginger Tea Bread

Can this be true? A cake (ok, tea bread) without sugar or fat???  It must be a joke right?

I have just made an Apricot and Ginger Tea Bread (recipe from Splenda) that replaces all the sugar for sweetener, it's cooling as I write.  I have made the cake for a relative who has just been diagnosed with Diabetes and who loves cake!  The last time I tasted a diabetic cake, it was vile and needed a bucket of tea just to get it to go down.  I am hoping that this cake is a little less heavy and 'orrible. 

Anyway, here is the recipe for those that want to give it a try. (the true test will be if my kids eat it!!!)

Apricot and Ginger Tea Bread










Ingredients

200g 'no soak' dried apricots, chopped
2 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped
50g raisins
300ml orange juice
225g self raising flour
8 level tbsp Splenda granular (I am sure that other granulated sweeteners would work just as well)
2 eggs, beaten

Method

Mix together the apricots, stem ginger, raisins and orange juice and leave for 30 minutes

Grease and line the base of a 900g/2lb loaf tin

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/gas mark 4

Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the Splenda

Beat the eggs into the apricot mixture.  Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the apricot mixture gradually, beating to make a batter

Pour into the tin and bake for 45 minutes until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. (note: I had to bake mine for over an hour until it was ready)

Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before cooling on a wire rack

Serve in slices. (suppose to serve 12)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Seriously?

Have just found out that on the 21st July it was National Junk Food Day in America.... Check out this website http://www.buddytv.com/articles/30-rock/its-national-junk-food-day-whi-41093.aspx.
Thought that it was some kind of joke!  Pass me the Pringles...

Low Fat Chilli

This is a great Low Fat Chilli recipe if you are trying to lose weight.  It cuts out a lot of the red meat (but not completely) therefore allowing the Chilli to still taste quite yummy!  This recipe was passed down to me my by mum.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 tsp oil (or a few sprays of oil from an oil spray)
1 large onion
2 green peppers
1 clove of garlic
4 - 8oz low fat beef mince (depending on how meaty you want it)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2tsp mixed herbs
chilli powder to taste (start with 1 tsp and work up!)
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
3oz dry weight bulgar wheat
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of kidney beans
2 beef stock cubes
salt and pepper to taste

Method

In a jug, measure the bulgar wheat and add 1 of the stock cubes and half a pint of boiling water.  Leave for 15 minutes.

Add the oil to a heavy based pan (or spray the oil in).  Allow to heat up then add the onions, garlic, beef mince, peppers, herbs and spices.  Cook until the vegetables have softened slightly and the meat is brown.

Add the rest of the ingredients (including the bulgar wheat) and let it bubble away for about half and hour, stirring from time to time. 

Serve with basmati rice.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Article on Bucket Lists

An interesting article on Bucket Lists with lots of food for thought.  A couple of interesting quotes...

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.

- Henry David Thoreau

'A hypothetical question: How many items on a typical bucket list would be deleted if someone were not allowed to talk about them to others?
A likely answer: Many of them.'

- Christopher Peterson

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-good-life/201102/bucket-lists-and-positive-psychology

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne with Pine Nuts














Serves 4-6

Ingredients

For the sauce:
1½ pints (850 ml) milk
2 oz (50 g) butter
2 oz (50 g) plain flour
1 bay leaf
2½ oz (60 g) Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), freshly grated
salt and freshly milled black pepper

For the lasagne:
1 lb 5 oz (600 g) young leaf spinach
8 oz (225 g) ricotta
12 fresh lasagne sheets (weighing about 9 oz/250 g)
2 oz (50 g) pine nuts
knob of butter
¼ whole nutmeg, grated
7 oz (200 g) Gorgonzola, Shropshire Blue or Cashel Blue cheese, crumbled
7 oz (200 g) Mozzarella, coarsely grated
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).

Equipment
You will also need an ovenproof dish measuring about 9 x 9 inches (23 x 23 cm), 2½ inches (6 cm) deep, well buttered.

Method
Begin this by making the sauce, which can be done using the all-in-one method. This means placing the milk, butter, flour and bay leaf together in a saucepan, giving it a good seasoning, then, over a medium heat, whisking the whole lot together continually until it comes to simmering point and has thickened. Now turn the heat down to its lowest possible setting and allow the sauce to cook gently for 5 minutes.

After that, stir in 2 oz (50 g) of the Parmesan, then remove it from the heat, discard the bay leaf and place some clingfilm over the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Now you need to deal with the spinach. First of all remove and discard the stalks, then wash the leaves really thoroughly in 2 or 3 changes of cold water and shake them dry. Next, take your largest saucepan, pop the knob of butter in it, then pile the spinach leaves in on top, sprinkling them with a little salt as you go. Now place the pan over a medium heat, put a lid on and cook the spinach for about 2 minutes, turning the leaves over halfway through. After that, the leaves will have collapsed down and become tender.

Next drain the spinach in a colander and, when it's cool enough to handle, squeeze it in your hands to get rid of every last drop of liquid. Then place it on a chopping board and chop it finely. Now put it into a bowl, add the ricotta, then approximately 5 fl oz (150 ml) of the sauce. Give it a good seasoning of salt and pepper and add the grated nutmeg. Then mix everything together really thoroughly and, finally, fold in the crumbled Gorgonzola. Now you need to place a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the pine nuts and dry-fry them for about 1 minute, tossing them around to get them nicely toasted but being careful that they don't burn. Then remove the pan from the heat and assemble the lasagne.

To do this, spread a quarter of the sauce into the bottom of the dish and, on top of that, a third of the spinach mixture, followed by a scattering of toasted pine nuts. Now place sheets of pasta on top of this – you may need to tear some of them in half with your hands to make them fit. Now repeat the whole process, this time adding a third of the grated Mozzarella along with the pine nuts, then the lasagne sheets. Repeat again, finishing with a layer of pasta, the rest of the sauce and the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella. When you are ready to cook the lasagne, place it on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbling. Then remove it from the oven and let it settle for about 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and Delia's Vegetarian Collection. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (Dairy Collection).