Slimming World from a sarcastic stressed-out Mummy's point of view!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Recipe- Chicken Tikka-ish

Being a Mum you sometime (aka always) have to be sneaky creative when getting your kids to eat decent food. My eldest boy will eat pretty much everything, so I know if he tells me he doesn't like something he really means it. However the middle child is a fusspot. I have to bribe, coerce, force feed and use one of those funnel things they fatten up geese for foie gras with to get him to eat. He eats fruit and veg fine, he's one of those kids who skips to the dinner table singing "I can smell broccoli" in delight, but dish up a lovely spag bol, pasta bake or hearty stew and the funnel has to come out. And for God's sake don't give him a baked bean. After Bean-gate 2014 (I made him try one and he immediately vomited all over his plate) even the sight of a baked bean has him heaving. But, one thing he will eat is curry thanks to a trip to Costco last year. We were hungry and broke, and so headed to Costco in the hopes we could go round a few times and get enough samples to class as lunch. They had lentil curry being dished out in tiny cups by a woman whose make-up was as orange as the turmeric in the curry, so we took a cup each. It was actually pretty good, and surprisingly Master J agreed. I recreated the curry a few weeks later and again, eaten with gusto and "mental curry" was ranked as a favourite. Now, everytime I make a curry we tell him it's mental curry and most of the time he eats it. It's tikka-ish I'm not sure the sauce is a tikka sauce, but I like it saucy *winkwinknodnod*. This recipe can be adjusted to suit your tastes and how spicy you like it, I usually fling a bit more yogurt and a squirt of ketchup in at the end for the kids, and another SW friendly meal the whole family will eat. Hashtag winning.

To make Chicken Tikka-ish for 4 people you will need:

  • 500g skinless and boneless chicken thighs - or use breast if you prefer
  • 4 big tablespoons of fat free natural yogurt
  • squirt of lemon or lime juice (I use a bottle of lime juice and just shake in a dash or two, probably half a fruit's worth)
  • 4 tablespoons tikka spice mix
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder (or whatever curry powder you like, just have tp in the fridge if necessary)
  • small pack baby corn
  • extra yogurt to serve
  • don't forget the frylight!
Chop your chook into cubes and fling in a bowl with the yogurt, tikka powder and lime juice and stir it all around. Leave in the fridge for as long as you can but if you're pressed for time half an hour will do. When you're ready to cook, spray a deep frying pan or wok with oil spray and get it nice and hot, before putting the chicken and yogurt in and cooking it through. Set aside, and in the same pan soften the onion and garlic. Now, I blend the sauce the get it nice and smooth so just roughly chopped the onion and garlic and threw it in, but if you don't have a blender or cba to wash it up after chop as fine as you can. Once softened add the curry powder and cook a few minutes more before throwing the tinned tomatoes in and bringing it all to the boil. If you're going to blend transfer it to the blender or use one of those stick things and blend blend blend until it's nice and smooth, before returning it to the pan. I microwaved the baby corn for a minute or two to soften them up but you don't have to, you can just throw them in the pan at this point along with the yogurty chicken and cook for a few minutes more. Serve with a boob of rice, a drizzle more yogurt and extra speed veg if you wish. Chicken Tikka-ish. Done.


Friday, 19 August 2016

Recipe- 5-a-day Turkey Bolognese

Now while this recipe alone wont give you your five a day in one meal, it contains 6 different veg so it'll get you on your way. It's healthy, tasty, something the whole family can eat, and it's cheap. I quite often think that Slimming World think we're made of money - if you were to follow one of their weekly eating plans from the mag or website you'd either need to remortgage or sell a kidney. And I'm quite fond of my kidneys. It makes a big old pan of hearty bolognese for around a fiver, can't say fairer than that. Ok, so it doesn't contain the 3 tins of caviar, 17 lobsters and half a lamb that you may be accustomed to if you like a SW recipe, but I guarantee it's a lot more tasty. And I couldn't get my kids to eat lobster anyway...

To make Recipe- 5-a-day Turkey Bolognese for 6-8 people (depending on how much you eat yourself while it's cooking...) you will need (count the veggies with me! Can you tell I'm a mum?!):

  • 500g turkey mince (less than 5% fat)
  • 1 large onion (1)
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 courgette (2)
  • a big pepper, or couple of handfulls of frozen peppers (3)
  • 1 big carrot or a couple of small ones (4)
  • around 8 mushrooms (5)
  • 500g carton of passata (6)
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • dash of worcestershire sauce
  • dash of balsamic vinegar
  • dried Italian herbs - I used basil and oregano
  • salt and pepper
Throw your mince into a large pan and break up with a wooden spoon. While the mince is browning chop your onion, garlic, peppers and mushrooms. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and soften, before adding the tomato puree and cooking a few minutes more. Grate your courgette and carrot straight into the pan and combine it all together. At this point chuck everything else in - and fill the passata carton half full with water, swill it around to get every last bit, and add that too. Season with plenty of pepper, but check the salt - you might not need it as the stock cube and worcestershire sauce are quite salty. Let it all simmer for around half an hour and serve with your choice of pasta or, if you must, courgetti *shudders*

This makes a huge pan - plenty to feed my brood plus enough for 2 adult lunches the next day. It's a good job too because I came downstairs after settling the baby for the twelfth time this evening to find the cat helping herself to my plate. I'm not fussy usually, but she licks her arse and I've seen what comes out of it. Anyway, you can use the bolognese for lasagne too - use fat free cottage cheese for the white sauce and your healthy a of what ever cheese you like on top. Yum!


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Recipe- Fish pie-cakes

Everyone loves a fish pie, don't they? Well apart from my kids, they'd only eat it if it came in a red cardboard box with a pair of golden arches emblazoned across it. But, fish pie isn't exactly slimming friendly with its creamy sauce and ton of cheese on top. Of course you could make a slimming version, probably using quark and a toffee mullerlight or something (they always use a toffee mullerlight), but it's never quite the same is it? It's like the infamous slimming world cheeseburger in a bowl - it's just mince and salad at the end of the day. Just have a proper burger! I digress, these fishcakes use a fish pie mix, which makes them full of fish pie flavour, but without the syns. And my kids will eat them. Bonus!

To make 8 big Fish pie-cakes you will need:

  • 350g pack of fish pie mix,
  • 4 large baking potatoes,
  • 1 tsp salt,
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • plenty of pepper
  • frylight, or your preferred oil spray
  • one small egg (optional, see recipe!)
Peel and dice the potatoes so they're fairly small - the smaller they are the easier they are to mash! And they cook quicker too. Boil them in salted water until tender (ie forget about them until they're falling apart). While the potatoes are boiling, put your fish pie mix onto a plate and season well. Microwave for 4-5 minutes until it's just cooked. You don't want it tough and rubbery, especially as you'll be cooking again. Once the potatoes are boiled to death, drain them really well, add a tsp of salt and mash to within an inch of their lives. Because you're not adding any milk/butter/cream/cheese you want a really smooth mash. Add your cooked fish and the parsley to the mash and stir it through. The fish will break up while your stirring so don't break it up any smaller first. Check the seasoning - you shouldn't need more salt but a bit more pepper probably wont hurt! At this point you should be able to tell if your mash is going to hold together in a patty, or if it's too dry and crumbly. If it's the latter, chuck an egg in to bind. I used a large cookie cutter to shape my fish cakes, just by putting it on a chopping board and filling it up, but you could just shape using your hands. Leave the top a little rugged so you get crispy bits! At this point I chucked them in the freezer (on the chopping board) for half an hour to firm up, but you don't have to. Spray a baking tray with frylight/oil spray, pop on your fishcakes and then spray the top with more frylight. Bake at 200/gas 6 for 20-30 minutes until golden and crispy. Serve with salad or veggies, or whatever speed food tickles your pickle - ooh pickles!

These freeze well, in fact I made up half of the mix in large fishcakes for me and Mr MGAMT, made the rest into smaller ones for the offspring and froze half. Just increase the cooking time by 5 or 10 minutes if cooking from frozen. If you're a real heathen, you could even use *LeGasp* instant mash (check the SW website for a syn free version, if you're that bothered). Syn free on EE, and handy to have in the freezer, too. Tuck in.


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

My Slimming World week in review #1

In case you were wondering-

What I've eaten:

Syns used:
  • 88 1/2

Exercise done:
  • 2k walk along the River Ouse in Bedford
Where I've shopped
  • Aldi
  • Tesco
Total Speed Foods eaten:
  • 21

And finally, weight lost:
  • 1 1/2 pounds
Bringing my total weight loss so far to:

  • 1 stone 8 1/2 pounds
  • 22 1/2 pounds
  • 10.2 kilos
  • two average house cats plus half a guinea pig
  • half a pound off 10% grrrrrrr!
How have you done this week?


Monday, 15 August 2016

Recipe- White Chocolate and Strawberry Baked Oats

Yep, you read that right. Chocolate. You can eat chocolate on the Slimming World plan, that's what your syns are for! Some people use their syns on booze, some prefer crisps or takeaways, but I keep sane with a chocolatey treat most days. Now, that's not to say you can have a family sized bar of Galaxy and a tub of Roses every day, but there are a few low-syn chocolates that can be enjoyed guilt free. This includes some low calorie hot chocolate powders, and they come in lots of different flavours including white choc which just happens to be my weakness. It's surprisingly satisfying, too. Don't go mixing it into quark or microwaving it with an egg to try and make a cake, because all you're heading for there is powdery disappointment. But with a bit of planning you can make something actually edible, chocolatey and good for you. What more do you want? A half naked man to feed it to you? I'll see what I can do.

To make White Chocolate and Strawberry Baked Oats for one you will need:

  • 35g of any old porridge oats (HEB)
  • 1 egg
  • 100g strawberries (1 1/2 syns since they will be cooked)
  • 1 sachet Options white hot chocolate powder (2 syns)
  • 90g vanilla mullerlight (about half a pot) or any syn-free vanilla yogurt you like
  • Tablespoon sweetener of your choice.
Whip the tops off the strawberries and chop up into smallish pieces - I cut each berry into 8. Combine all the ingredients and give them a good stir. Pop it all into a small oven proof dish and bake at 200/gas 6 for about half an hour, until the middle is set and it's golden on top. Serve with more strawberries and the rest of your yogurt, and pretend you're noshing on a Milkybar.

This isn't something I'd have everyday - at 3 1/2 syns it's quite indulgent for a breakfast, especially when you can have a full on Slimming World style fry up for free. If you're that bothered you can swap the strawberries for raspberries and save yourself a whole half a syn. 

Well, I'm off to find that half naked man to see if he fancies taking the bin out for me...


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Recipe- Lunchtime Feta Salad

I struggle with lunch sometimes. Somedays I'm ready to dive face first into the fridge by about 10.30, other days I'm not hungry until 3. I try to eat lunch with my little girl, but although she's not a fussy eater (yet) we can't always have the same thing. If I don't want to use my Healthy B a sandwich/something on toast is out of the question and anything else just requires more enthusiasm than I am prepared to give. I have a few staples that I batch cook and eat for a few days, and when it turns colder again I'll be whipping up some soups, but today I wanted something different therefore this salad was born! I made it while little Miss had her morning nap, which gave the veg time to get to room temperature and take on some of the flavours of the dressing, and served with Aldi tomato and garlic cous cous, which is half a syn for the whole packet and doesn't require anything more taxing than pouring hot water on it. If you're doing SP, just add some leaves and grass on the side.

To make Lunchtime Feta Salad for one you will need:

  • 45g feta cheese (Healthy Extra A choice - or if you buy a 'light' version you can have 65g)
  • 1-2 salad tomatoes, or a handful of cherry toms*,
  • a few inches of cucumber
  • a spring onion
  • a few fresh basil leaves, or dried oregano if you don't have fresh basil (dried oregano is nicer than dried basil, which resembles dandruff)
  • a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Cube or crumble your feta into a bowl. Chop your tomatoes and cucumber into chunks and the spring onion into, um, smaller bits of spring onion. Chuck it into the bowl with the feta and grab a few fresh basil leave. Chop it, tear it, snip it, rip it up with your teeth, whatever you feel comfortable with, and throw it in with the rest of the stuff. I was sensible and snipped with scissors. If dried oregano is what you're gong with, about half a teaspoon should do. Add some salt and pepper (careful with the salt as the feta is quite salty, but the tomatoes need it) and the balsamic and give it a stir. Now taste it! If you want more basil, go for it. More balsamic, be my guest. Too much salt, don't say I didn't warn you. I probably left it about half an hour before serving, but you don't have to it just gives it a chance for the acid in the vinegar to get everything nice and tasty. If you've got syns to spare, and you want to waste them on olives, you can add 8 black olives for a syn.

I don't often use fresh herbs in my recipes, but I currently have a mint and basil plant sat on the side in my kitchen that I'm trying desperately not to kill, and they do taste good. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and didn't even miss the olive oil with the balsamic and crusty bread to mop up the left over dressing afterwards. Ok, maybe that's pushing it...


*If you're thinking hang on, she clarted on about being allergic to tomatoes the other day, I am. But big flavourless supermarket salad tomatoes affect me the least and I'll be paying for it with a sore tongue for a few days. Worth it.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Recipe- Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus, a taster night fave

Every now and then at most Slimming World groups they have what they call a taster night (or morning if you go to a morning group. Who doesn't love a bit of diet coke chicken at 10am?) Everyone (or those who can be bothered) makes a Slimming World friendly dish and brings it along for everyone to try, along with the recipe. Everyone is so hungry after starving themselves in anticipation of weigh in the food gets inhaled within seconds, and everyone declares how good it was. You then go home and try to recreate it, but find out it was only nice because you were so hungry and actually you'd rather have a ryvita. I don't always bring something along but since the biggest two offspring were staying at their Nan's a few days this week I had time to whip up some hummus in between sitting up the baby umpteen times because she gets onto her tummy and can't get back up again. Oh, my life is just go go go. Anyway, this hummus was actually bloody lovely, nothing like proper hummus but a good substitution and syn free so good to have in the fridge for when you just neeeed something. I've been looking for a good hummus recipe, and kind of mashed a couple together here and I was pretty happy with the result. I used cottage cheese because I've found in the past that yogurt or fromage frais it a little bit tart, cottage cheese gives the creaminess without the sourness. If you are of the opinion that hummus is just mashed chickpeas without tahini, I respect your opinion. Add a tablespoon of tahini paste for 4 1/2 syns.

To make Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus you will need:

  • 1 medium/large sweet potato
  • 400g tin of chickpeas
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or more if you're single)
  • 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese
  • salt and pepper
Roast the sweet potato in it's skin for about an hour and then leave to cool. Drain the chickpeas, but keep the water. Crush the garlic. Once it's cool enough the sweet potato skin should just slide off and you'll be left with the mushy flesh. Chuck everything except chickpea water in a blender and blend to a smooth paste. If you find the hummus is too thick, add a bit of the chickpea water until you get the consistency you like. I think I added about 6 tablespoons to mine. You can also add some fresh coriander if you like it, but I think it's foul so have a word with yourself. Serve with crudites (raw veg dear) or toast/pitta from your HEB. It also makes a great topping for a jacket spud, or is lovely in a sarnie with some warm roast veg.

I dished this up at a taster morning on Tuesday and everyone lapped it up (not literally, that would be a little bit inappropriate. I know us fatties can't control ourselves but we're usually ok in public) and said it was lovely. Maybe they were just being polite, but I liked it.


Friday, 12 August 2016

Recipe- Go-with-anything Roasted Veg


Roasted veg may be a bit of a no brainer but it's something I often over look in favour of yet another salad. I know Slimming World say you should have 1/3 of your plate with speed food, but sometimes you just want to chuck something in the oven and forget about it until the smoke alarm goes off (just me?) and not faff about with ricing a cauliflower or spiralising the contents of your veg rack. This is perfect for that. You can use pretty much any veg you like, cook a massive tray of it and save what you don't eat in the fridge, reheat or eat it cold and even use it in other dishes. Easy.

To make Go-with-anything Roasted Veg you will need:

  • Vegetables - I would suggest onion and peppers as a minimum but then you can add anything you like. I used a red onion, a big courgette, couple of handfuls of frozen peppers, half a butternut squash, and a few baby leeks because that was what I had sat wilting miserably in the bottom of the fridge but you could add aubergine, cherry tomatoes, sweet potato, carrot, cauliflower, parsnip, asparagus, baby corn, celeriac, fennel, marrow, mushrooms - if it's a vegetable throw it in and see what happens. 
  • Fry light or spray oil, or syn some olive oil.
  • Balsamic vinegar.
  • Dried oregano, basil, rosemary or thyme - or any other hard herb you like.
  • Salt and pepper
You can also chuck a few cloves of garlic in, but I find it makes it bitter. Not sure why, but I just can't get garlic right so I leave it out. 

Just chop all your veg so they're roughly all the same size. It's going to be impossible to get a cauliflower floret the same size as an asparagus spear so don't go whittling them down, just get them roughly similar. Chuck it all into an oven dish and add a splash of balsamic, a sprinkle of your herb of choice and salt and pepper. Then spray it all with fry light until your finger hurts. Give it a mix around and bung it in the oven for about half an hour-45 minutes, giving it a wiggle around halfway through.

I chucked a frozen fish filet on top about 10 minutes before the end for a light lunch (perfect for SP if you've not used sweet potato or parsnip), but you can serve it with whatever you like - chicken, pork chops, sausages, or mix it into some cous cous, chuck it in a crustless quiche or add some passata for a quick speed-packed pasta sauce.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Recipe- Sticky Chicken

If you like your chicken sticky, you've come to the right place! This is a family favourite (although not for the baby, as it contains honey and babies under one can't have it) and it's worth a few syns for the honey - sometimes carcinogens aspartame just wont do. It's quick, easy and goes with pretty much anything - rice, chips, couscous, potatoes. You can add veg in to make it more like a stir fry or get your speed on the side. I served it here with green beans, cauliflower and a boob of rice (just put some rice in a wee ramekin and turned it out onto the plate, I'm fancy like that. And it helps with portion control). The recipe serves four and comes in at 2 syns per serving. It's good cold on salad too. Sold it enough? Better give you the recipe then...

To make Sticky Chicken for four you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts (one per person),
  • 3 tablespoons of honey (1 tbsp is 2 1/2 syns, so 7 1/2 syns for the whole recipe. I rounded up to 2 syns a portion because I don't want you crying to me when you go over your syns and getting your jeans on turns into 30 minutes of cardio)
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
Chop your chook into cubes and fling them with joyful abandon into a receptacle. Put everything else in and give them a stir, then leave to marinade in the fridge for at least half an hour. Chuck the chicken and marinade into a hot pan sprayed with frylight and cook until the chicken is done and the marinade has reduced right down and it's sticky - 10ish minutes. Serve with whatever you fancy, you indulgent bugger you.

You can even thread the chicken onto skewers and barbecue them, basting with any remaining marinade as you go, if that's your thing. Winner winner chicken dinner, as my 6 year old would say.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Salad days

A couple of years ago, I developed an allergy to tomatoes, which, in my world, is devastating. I love and adore tomatoes, in all shapes and sizes and various forms. I was practically weaned on tomatoes and usually grow my own in the summer (although this year's monsoon weather put paid to that). Now, if I eat them, it makes my mouth really sore and my chest tight  which is just a bit scary.

To me, a salad isn't a salad without a tomato. Or it used to be. This recent allergy has made me look at the way I see salads. A salad is a dieter's friend, but it can soon get rather boring if you're eating lettuce, tomato and cucumber at every meal... So I've been coming up with some ways to spice up your salad.

Chose your leaves

Are you an iceberg fan, or do you favour a little gem? The leaf is usually the basis for a good salad, and there are so many available now there's no reason not to vary them. I like to buy bags of pre-washed salad leaves, for convenience mostly, but also because of the variety. Our favourite is a babyleaf salad, but you can try rocket, spinach, beetroot leaves, watercress. Whatever takes your fancy. A good old round lettuce can be a nice change from the more "exotic" too!

Once you've got your leaves, what goes on top. I often find myself piling everything remotely salad-like on top, but you really don't have to. Chose three or four "toppings", such as:

  • cucumber
  • tomato *sob*
  • peppers
  • carrot (grated, cubed, thinly sliced with a speed peeler or get the flipping spiraliser out if you must)
  • olives (8 for a syn)
  • herbs (I like basil or mint)
  • beetroot
  • mushrooms
  • radish
  • celery
  • onions
Know your onions

A good onion can add a sharp kick to your salad, but again you can vary them. Spring or salad onions are quick and convenient (snip them with scissors) but try red onion, spanish onion or even a couple of pickled onions for variety.

Pickle it

Talking of pickled onions, pickled beetroot, gherkins or cauliflower can also be a great addition to a salad. Add a blob of sweet pickle to turn your salad into a ploughmans (check the syns though).

Fruity twist

Still missing that tomato? I've been experimenting with adding fruit to my salad. Grapes, strawberries (great with balsamic dressing), melon, mango, apple or raisins will make a great addition to a good salad.

Protein power

Now you've got your basics, add the protein you need to make this a meal. Chicken salad will get boring really quick if you have it regularly, but combine it with bacon and a mustard dressing, or with mango and a curried mayonaise and it's a completely different meal. Other great protein sources for salad are:

  • lean ham
  • prawns
  • tuna
  • boiled eggs
  • cottage cheese
  • chorizo (quite fatty but a little goes a long way!)
  • lean bacon or turkey bacon
  • crab sticks
  • omlette
  • reduced fat cheese (try feta or mozzarella)
  • quiche (crustless quiche recipe coming soon!)

Dress it up

Now here's a stumbling block - the dressing. You don't want to add a load of calories at the last minute, so chose wisely. I like to use balsamic vinegar, but raspberry vinegar is nice too. If you're buying a shop bought dressing, go for one that contains less than 50 calories per 100mls or is marketed as a lighter choice (my current favourite is honey and mustard). If you're a fan of mayonnaise or salad cream, chose on that's "extra light" or "lighter than light" and try mixing it with fat free fromage frais to make it go further. Or water down some fat free natural yoghurt and add some finely chopped mint, for a dressing that feels really creamy and indulgent, without all the fat.

Things to avoid

This may sound obvious, but if you're trying to keep your salad healthy there are some things to avoid:

  • croutons
  • full fat cheese
  • crispy onions
  • crispy bacon
  • creamy or oily dressings
  • chips on the side!
And here's a bit of a contentious one - avocado and nuts. Both of which are insanely healthy (in moderation, I'm not talking about a giant pack of dry roasted) but are very high in syns, so use them wisely. To be honest, I'd avoid slimy green bastard avocado completely. Yuk.

I enjoy salads, and I always have, but it can get boring, very quickly. I hope I've given you some ideas and inspiration to spice up your salad! Let me know your suggestions too.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Wuh-wuh-wuh-weigh in!

Tuesday is my weigh in day, and as I go to a morning group the agony is usually over by 10am and I can have a coffee and some food before passing out. I used to weigh in of an evening and spend the day taking tiny bird-like sips of water and eating crumbs in a desperate bid to lose that extra half a pound by the time it came to stepping on the scales, but all that led to is dehydration and anger. But when you weigh in the morning you can skip your morning coffee, go to the toilet 15 times and wear your lightest outfit for an hour or two and then go back to normal for the rest of the day. So much easier.

Anyway, I probably wont update every Tuesday with what I've lost/gained etc, but I might make a separate tab documenting my weekly progress as a record, So far I've been on plan for 8 weeks and with today's 2 1/2 pound loss I have lost a grand total of 1 1/2 stone, 21 pounds, or 4 and a quarter chihuahuas*. Wow.

I just need to lose 2 pounds to have lost 10% of my starting weight, which apparently has huge health benefits and will make my doctor smile (good luck with that). Hopefully I'll get there this week...


*No chihuahuas were harmed in the writing of this blog post. But if you're a chihuahua owner, get a proper dog. Chihuahua.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Recipe- Speedy and Saintly Chicken Stir Fry

This meal is a bit of an unappetising looking bugger, but it is packed with flavour and amazingly saintly. It's also ready in just minutes which is great if your 8 year old has developed a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush, your 6 year old has crapped himself 3 times, the baby had a meltdown because you wouldn't let her empty the bin and play with the contents or if it's generally just been a long day. AAAND it's 75% speed food, perfect for EE:SP if you're that way inclined (more on that another time), and so will definitely compensate for earlier when the spoon jumped into the nutella jar and straight into your mouth. Twice.

To make Speedy and Saintly Chicken Stir Fry you will need:

  • One chicken breast
  • One small onion
  • One garlic clove
  • One small courgette
  • One small carrot
  • Half a small cauliflower (or half a tub pre-prepared cauli rice)
  • Soy sauce
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (or more if you're brave and have toilet paper on standby in the fridge)
First of all, unless you've cheated and bought pre-prepared cauli rice, you're going to need to either blitz your cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles couscous, or grate it (messy, very messy!). Once that's done, spray a wok or large frying pan with frylight and get it hot while you slice your chicken and onion, and mince or finely chop the garlic. Once the wok is hot chuck in the chook until browned all over, then add the onion and garlic. Let that cook while you go at your courgette and carrot with a speed peeler to get nice long ribbons. You could use a spiraliser if you haven't lost it at the back of a cupboard somewhere like I definitely haven't done. Well, maybe I might have. Anyway, chuck the veg in the pan with a good glug of soy and a pinch of chilli, and stir fry until the chicken is done. Add your cauli rice and cook for 4 minutes more, serve and polish your halo.

The recipe serves one very generously, so just increase the quantities or add whatever veg you like to increase the volume. You could chuck in a stir fry pack, chop up some peppers, add beansprouts, mange tout, green beans, cabbage, brussels. Really fart it up.


Friday, 5 August 2016

Recipe- Baked oats and a bit about Slimming World


Firstly, I must just point out that I am not and never have been, nor do I have any desire currently to be a Slimming World consultant. Please check recipes/syns values/ healthy extras/that I'm not poisoning you yourself if you don't trust me (I wouldn't). Or join a lovely Slimming World group for lots of happy-clappy support and encouragement. Super.

That said, I have followed the plan for many years and have seen it go through lots of changes in that time, so I like to think I know it pretty well. The plan is split into three basic components - free food, healthy extras, and -dun, dun, dun- syns. Free food is split further into free and speed food. Free food is your meat, fish, eggs, fat free dairy, potatoes, pasta, rice, beans and pulses and some other grains (quinoa if you live in Shoreditch). Speed food is most fruits and vegetables, and your meals should consist of at least 1/3 speed (and not the kind you stick up your nose). Healthy extras you have an A (milk, cheese and calcium rich goodies) and a B (bread, cereal and fibre rich stuff) and -dun, dun, dun- syns cover pretty much everything else. Free food you can eat as much of as you like. Really go to town. Pile your plate high with it and shove your face in, Vicar of Dibley with the chocolate fountain style. Then each day you also get one of each healthy extra and 5-15 syns (unless you're a real porker, or male, in which case you get more syns at the discretion of your consultant). There are caveats, anomalies and exceptions to these which I'll point out if we come to them, but that's the general proviso.

It really is a great plan in all seriousness. Unlike calorie controlled diets, or points based systems *cough*weightwatchers*cough* there is always something you can eat on those days when you just can't fill yourself up. Keep your fruit bowl piled high and the mullerlights piled higher and you'll never go hungry. Not as satisfying as eating a whole tube of pringles in one sitting, but it's the better option. Yawn.

Anyway, onto the recipe. Baked oats seem to be everywhere at the moment, every slimming blog, website and facebook page you look at seems to be extolling their virtues so I thought it would be a good place to start. One of the anomalies of the plan is that fruit isn't free if it's cooked or pureed so if you want to polish your diet halo this recipe contains one syn for the cooked raspberries, plus either your healthy b choice or 6 syns for the oats. If you choose not to syn the cooked fruit, on your head be it. I wont tell, but don't come crying to me when your knickers don't fit.

To make Baked Oats you will need:

  • 35g porridge oats (any old ones will do!) (HEB)
  • 1 egg
  • 90g plain fat free yogurt, or roughly half a mullerlight (whatever flavour your heart desires, as long as it's a syn free one)
  • 100g raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tablespoons sweetener of your choice
  • dash of vanilla or almond essence, if you're feeling fancy
  • frylight
Chuck all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up good. Spray a small ovenproof dish with frylight and dollop the mix in. Bake at 200ish (gas 5/6) for half an hour or so, then serve with more speedy fruit and a blob of yogurt, or the rest of your muller. Eat and revel in the yum. The picture actually only shows half a serving (recipe serves one), so you could save the other half to eat cold like some kind of sad cake substitute with your afternoon milk free, sugar free, joy free coffee.

This is definitely a weekend breakfast, or for when you've got more time and patience than it takes to shove some shreddies in a bowl, but if you can wait half an hour for your breakfast in the morning, it is a yummy alternative to normal porridge. You can change up the flavours by adding different fruit (just check the syns), different yogurts, spices etc. You could even experiment with chocolate (Options hot chocolates are 2 syns a serving). The possibilities are endless!

My eldest brat son just told me if I got on a diving board I'd probably break it because I'm too fat (don't you just love the school holidays) so I'm off to cry into the washing up.


Thursday, 4 August 2016

MGAMT is born

Well, hey there! Welcome to Mummy's Got a Muffin Top, a blog I am starting to ramble, whine, celebrate and hopefully laugh about my life, loves and weight loss journey. Actually, I hate the phrase "weight loss journey" - I'm not going anywhere, except hopefully to Primark when my knickers start falling down...

Anyway, I hope this will be a place I can share my thoughts, feelings and hopefully a recipe or two. Don't worry, there wont be a million bloody pictures of every morsel I've shoved in my cakehole everyday - if you're the kind of person who wants to see that there are plenty of instagram and snapchat accounts that will cater to your odd food fetish every desire.

Let me introduced myself and my brood - I'm Helen, Helly, H, Boo, or most often MUUUUUUUUUUM shouted at 11tybillion decibels. I've been with my partner for 14 godforsaken years (we aren't married, we're modern like that. Or lazy. Or broke.) and we have three sproglets, Master O who is 8, Master J who is 6 and Miss T who is 8 1/2 months. I have never really been what you would consider slim, but I didn't make any conscious effort to lose weight until after I had the first boy. I joined slimming world and lost 3 stone in just under 6 months, and actually felt great. I then went on holiday and lost a bit more when I got back, before getting knocked up again and putting all the weight back on, and then some.

Also, in that time we moved house and my Slimming World group was too far away for me to commit to anymore, so when Master J was about 1 I went to the dark side and joined Weight Watchers. Again, I lost about 3 stone, but I was huuuuungry all the time and for me hungry = miserable. I really am a cranky bitch when I can't eat. If you look in the dictionary for the definition of "Hangry" you see a picture of me with cartoon steam coming out of all my orifices. So I went it alone for a while, then rejoined Slimming World and battled through health issues and fertility woes, managing to get to the lowest weight I'd ever been in my adult life at the beginning of last year.

Now, even my lowest weight evah is still substantially overweight, especially for someone knee high to a grasshopper like me. I was 12 stone 7lbs when I found out I was pregnant with Miss T, and the healthy BMI range (which is a load of bollocks, but that is perhaps a post for another day) for my height tops out at 10 stone. So I had a way to go. I got back to Slimming World when she was about 7 months old and stepped on the scale to find I had gained half a pound shy of four stone. Four fucking stone! Back to the beginning again!

That was 7 weeks ago and in that time the scales have stopped saying "one at a time please" when I step on and I've lost 1 stone 4 1/2 pounds. Secretly, I'm a little bit proud of that. But, it is hard! So hard, anyone that's ever tried to lose weight knows how hard it is and so this lighthearted, funny and occasionally NSFW blog was born.

Well, that was a bit of a bore-fest so I'll leave you to cry into your diet sugar free low calorie water and hopefully tomorrow I'll be back with a recipe: dust salad!