Thursday, 5 May 2016

Wrap Star

So I have prepped my lunch for tomorrow to prevent the error of emergency eating something like: a noodle dish stored and served in a pot that turns out to be 9.5 syns and wrecks my daily count all because I failed to prepare ... hypothetically of course.

Filled it full of salad and Jalapeños just to add some warmth.

Can't wait to try it.

Slimming Pickings

I've just joined Slimming world with my girlfriend.
I started with her unofficially last week and found I have had some good results so went along this Wednesday to join.
The Leader/Coach is such a natural people person that I feel comfortable being there.
Even though the male statistics were quite low, there was a humorous older gentlemen who has hit his goal weight and a gentleman around my own age who had had a shaky week but took it in his stride with a clear idea of how he is going to move forward.

I did feel a little embarrassed about the group clapping part but I think that's part of the development.

It's also probably due to the anxiety based on being there because I need to lose weight.

I have stood in front of many people presenting and even selling.
I was even on stage at a local theatre when I was 19.

I guess age and a mental image of being a lesser version of myself created the embarrassment of being in a group of people, clapping others for not eating stuff they shouldn't, stuff that as adults we all know we shouldn't  binge on. (Exhibit A: one wholw pack of custard creams dunked in tea...oops) But then I remembered that everyone was there for the same reason. Even the people who had hit theri goal weight had been in my situation.

The nice thing about this group life/food coaching event, is that you stop paying once your goal weight is achieved.  As a business a company could quite easily keep charging and I guess I like the idea that this is a company that is trying to help others lose weight.

That brings me to the reason of this post.

I had a microwave meal made by slimming world which is sold in Iceland.

It was £3 but if bought with two other meals, you got six muller light yoghurts free.
Again great value for money.

Portion: I have had plenty of microwave meals in the past and I can say with confidence the portion size is twice that of your average meal costing £3.
I even hesitated  before eating and asked Hannah (GF) if I was allowed to eat it all.

Texture: This reasonably quick fix meal, although frozen and then cooked in a method I no longer normally choose as a method of cooking, was as good as eating freshly pan cooked pasta.
The vegetables tasted newly picked and sliced  as well.
The chicken didn't taste like cardboard as I would have usually expected  for a pre packed meal.
The cherry tomatoes added a good flavour, the courgettes and peppers were of a great consistency instead of being like goo.
More importantly, my 23 month old and my 3 year old hovered over me assisting me in eating it. They can be quite fussy eaters and the tomato and herb flavour which wasn't hidden in sugar like most processed sauces, didn't faze them on bit. I guess they are supporting in my efforts...

Lastly and brining this post back to value,
Not only do you get a frozen to fresh, filling meal, Slimming world give you the recipe and ingredients list on the back!

I can just imagine the board meeting when the products were being created.

Marketing Manager: "So you want to tell people how to make these meals themselves?" (Looks at the C.E.O's like he's being punked)

C.E.O (smiling calmly) "Yes"

Marketing Manager: (Looking for the hidden camera's and thinking he'll kill the boys in the office for this wind up) "But they won't need to buy these, (taps plate of slimming world meal with silver Parker pen, given last Christmas as a gift) again."

C.E.O (Smiles and Nods) "Exactly"

It looks like most of the meals have the ingredients and recipe for making them, on the back of the packaging.

That cements my belief this a company balancing their Help to Business ratio.

It's also great to know that if I'm peckish after a long day and eaten my set meals, I can have one of these meals because they are classed as Syn Free! (Syns are the alloted points for food you aren't really supposed to have. Things that don't grow on trees or flow in rivers) like packets of crisps or chocolate bars).

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Burger me !

So tonight I offered to cook tea.
After having an awesome burger on Friday from a restaurant, I decided to make my own  "Man Burger".
We have : A burger sauce, red pepper, onion, pickled Red Chilli, Beef Quarter Pounder,
Garlic Mayo, salad (for the ladies) and Pulled BBQ Pork.
I topped this with a toasted bun lid.
What's your favourite home made burger?












Monday, 13 April 2015

Cottage Pie



As a lover of all things Aldi, I wanted to show a little meal I made that is a family pleaser. This is no mean feat with six fussy kids. I have started to try and make meals that are fairly simple but incorporate plenty of the right ingredients to a healthy children’s diet.

Sometimes I wonder how I survived as a kid without chicken nuggets or pizza as a main staple. This is due to it being my kid’s main dinner time request.

I have bought all ingredients used from Aldi as I find the store the cheapest around (and no, I do not work for them).

I am cooking a cottage pie with an added ingredient of sweet potato. I know they are really good for you and I hope it will add a sweetness that will hook the kids.

 I purchased:
·         * 5 kg of Every day essential potatoes (plenty left over from making roasties for my Sunday dinner)
·         A pack of four wood farm mild onions. They last really well in the cupboard which is handy and I use them in all my cooking.

·         * 500 g Ashfield farm beef mince. This is so reasonable and again I use it for chilli which Is another favourite of mine. It’s also reduced in fat so I feel like I’m being really good…

·         * 1 kg wood farm sweet potatoes. Again I do not use the whole bag in one sitting, I used some with a Butternut squash to make a veggie curry.

·        * 1 packet of Bramwell’s Beef Casserole mix. As I am no chef, the gravy I make has fantastic flour complemented by this lovely mix.

I find the peeling and boiling of the potatoes takes the longer so I do this first and then cook the meat whilst they boil away. I keep the sweet and normal potatoes separate as I add them in separate layers.

I sliced and fried the onions in a little oil, before browning the mince in the same pan. Once the meat is cooked, I add the casserole mix which was dissolved in 450 ml of cold water (this is what the packet advises). I allowed this to simmer for a while to thicken the gravy. Once I was happy I poured the mince and gravy into a casserole dish. 



I mashed the sweet potato and covered the mince.



After this I mashed the potatoes and with a small amount of butter and milk (my preference) and added this final layer to the cottage pie.


I left this in the oven until the potato was golden brown.




I'm serving it with some kale with a hope the kids will eat some greens. 
I have started to enjoy eating curly kale, but don’t tell my mum, as she had years of forcing me to eat anything in the green spectrum.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Belly Busting Budget

OK, so I'm not looking for a standing roar of “Oh, no you’re not.” When I say what I am about to say. I'm not looking for sympathy or attention relating to sympathy (positive attention is most welcome). I'm going to be simply stating a fact. This is based on my Body Mass Index (BMI), the uncomfortably snug hugs my T-shirts give me and most importantly, (for me and many people), the way I feel and see myself.
So I'm going to say it. I'm FAT. I'm also very lazy and have zero will power. I have on many occasions joined a gym and not gone, I have bought a bike and several types of ball hitting bats that gather rust and dust.
I'm thirty two:


remembering myself a tenth of the size when I was sixteen:



and worrying if I will live to sixty four (see what I did with the maths?).

My partner and I have a family that consists of six children between us and this means the food budget isn't great.
The cost of healthy eating can often be expensive despite what some may believe. We have previously filled the freezer for a month for less than £80 but it has consisted of battered, breaded and processed food. This is definitely not healthy but has guaranteed survival in the bleakest of financial times.
I now need to try and incorporate healthier eating with a low budget. To do this we are going to have to be a lot more organised and a lot less impulsive in our shopping when out and about.
To start with we are going to try a one week food menu. This has been done to include breakfast, packed lunch for me and the kids and a different dinner every evening. I have recently fallen in love with the quality, pricing and service provided at Aldi (so much so I have considered asking for a job there) and will be basing our budget around a food menu mainly sourced at our local store.
I’m hoping to reduce portions on nights I know I’m not necessarily eating the healthiest of meals and start taking the dog for a walk and dare I say it using the bike that I have neglected.
Once I have purchased the items I will list our meals and see how we fare with the weight loss and overall cost. 

Monday, 9 February 2015

"The Sound of Silence" a poem by Sarah Callaway

The Sound of Silence

Left to rot in the darkest corner,
Dust falling while paint peels.
The sound of silence as time stagnates,
All still but the elements.

The site of disaster at the hands of humans?
The theme park at Pripyat or Chippewa Lake?

The surface, a ghost of its former life,
The last day when the bumper cars stopped
And the Ferris wheel froze.
Nature has reclaimed the iron skeleton.

Everything dies, even iron.
Even the fun that once was.

I stand and gaze at the scene behind the fences,
Six Flags, Nara Dreamland, Lake Shawnee.
It’s always the same.
My years are reflected in the broken glass on the ground,
And my sickness projected onto the collapsing scene.
Ageing, decaying and diminishing.

Nothing lasts forever.


(Image taken from google images.)

Friday, 6 February 2015

The cost of our Children.

My children are priceless. However, do we ever really know the cost in a life time for the children we
bring in to this world?

Today I finished work early to pick my Daughter Olivia (aged 10 ) up from school, I then headed to the school where my girlfriends kids go to pick them up (Llewys aged 10 Amelia aged 8).

I thought this in it's self was a good deed but I proceeded to make Faggots, cheesy mash, vedge and gravy for tea.

Once this was done I wallpapered one of the landing walls in what is now an almost finished project and then fitted the carpet on the landing and top three stairs.

This was whilst listening to Ben (aged 11, my eldest son......I had to edit this as Hannah reminded me he's no longer ten...) and Llewys talking absolute gibberish whilst playing some game I would myself have actually liked to be playing, instead of my poor attempt at carpet fitting, which would have taken a tenth of the time for a professional to fit. This I can only blame on my pride as I had stated it too expensive to pay some one to do the job.

I doubt a real fitter would have a two year old (Georgia) placing the scrap off cuts back on the landing every two minutes and passing me tools I didn't need with an angelic "Here you go Neo" (my daughter calls me this due to my step kids referring to me by my first name ....."sigh"

Anyway. I finished the stairs half way because it's getting late and the neighbours will retaliate to the banging of the bolster with loud TV through the night. Hannah made pâté on toast and I sat, now aching, trying to eat it when Michael (aged 8 months) decides he wants it.

I ask Hannah if she wants more to which she tactically asks "are you making it?" And I respond wearily and aching from my underestimated DIY,

"I suppose I'm making Tea as we'll despite cooking dinner, picking up the kids, wallpapering and almost fitting a carpet".

She looked at me for a brief moment ( I thought I may have over stepped the mark and now be in trouble ) and then says with a smile "I gave birth to your babies"

This is what I mean about the cost of my children. I think I may well be paying for them for many years to come. They and Hannah are worth every ache though....