Friday, 31 October 2008

Blood Soup and Worm Cake

Happy Halloween!

I'm just back from my kitchen, having rustled up Blood Soup and Worm Cake for tonight's Halloween party. Blood soup is really carrot, beetroot and leek soup from this month's SW magazine - I'll have to get back to you on how it tastes because it's still cooking. Worm cake is of course cake with worms! And green vanilla flavoured icing, and jelly pumpkins and ghosts.

One of those dishes is a healthy choice.

I'm happy to be fully back on plan so far this week. I am of course partying tonight, and there will be many more dishes than just my blood and worms. I chose to do the soup so that I have some kind of control over what I can eat but I'm not going to be sitting po faced and pious at a party where everyone else will be eating doughnuts suspended from the ceiling with their hands tied behind their backs (it's the doughnuts that will be suspended - there will be children present ;) ) I will try to maintain a semblance of control though.

This week I've shaken it up a bit and done a couple of "Red" days. I never do red days because I crave carbs too strongly, but I really wanted to try something different, I think it helps to keep focussed! I said in a previous entry that I thought my dieting mojo was lurking within the pages of a recipe book, and I do still think that's true. I definitely stay on track better when I have new recipes to try, and 100% better if I have some healthy food already prepared and ready for when the munchies hit!

So on Wednesday I made a Beef Goulash, also from this month's SW magazine, and very nice it was too. Expensive to make though, compared to veggie food! But to be fair, it made 4 very hearty portions, and it was much, much tastier on day 2! So in future I will make it a day ahead of time to give the flavour chance to develop.

I'm off to check out the Blood Soup now - exciting!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Dieter In Weight Gain Shock!

Week 42

Weight: 17st 8lb
Gain this week: 4.5lb
Total lost: 73.5lb

Well not a shock, but I'm still very cross with myself. I've set myself back weeks! It's so much harder to lose than to gain,if I totally starved myself I'd be unlikely to lose 4.5lbs! I felt so embarrassed to have done that as well - everyone else in class had really good losses this week and then there's me with all that weight piled back on! F for effort this week for me!

Oh well, line drawn, clean page opened, etc!

I'm tired and cold and I've got to go to work in a few minutes so I'm running away from my failure leaving you with a very short blog entry!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

I Can Resist Anything....

...Except temptation!

I'm facing a gain this week I'm afraid. I need it to be Monday night ASAP so I can get onto my clean sheet. Yes I know it is in my power to make a clean sheet right here and now, but I seem to be having a problem with that. I was stood in the kitchen earlier wrestling with myself over a prawn cocktail that was in the fridge. I had a very convincing argument for not eating it. I firmly and wholeheartedly believed that I didn't want or need a prawn cocktail, and that what I really wanted and needed was to lose weight. I felt very serene and in control. Then I grabbed a teaspoon and headed for the fridge. The prawn cocktail is no more *sigh*

So what has brought about this downfall? Well it began with a bit of a binge on Monday night to be horribly honest. For a start I couldn't stay to my SW class, and time after time I prove to myself that I do much better if I do actually stay to class, although I have no clear idea why. Anyway, I decided to have a little tipple, and that led to the munchies and a total loss of anything approaching control. Then on Tuesday I was in Manchester on the first of 2 days of tests, following my recent course. The morning was hellishly hard, and I thought I was doing really really badly by lunchtime (The first test paper was 15 questions, which we had 45 minutes to answer. People started handing their papers in while I was on question 3! I glanced at my watch in horror and 30 minutes had already passed :( I finished, but in a terrible rush). Lunch was lush, so I comfort ate. I discovered in the afternoon session that I hadn't done really badly at all, in fact I did fine. But the damage was done by then.

Wednesday I tried to regain control but wasn't 100% successful to be honest. Thursday I was fine, praise be! But Friday was Rebecca's 7th birthday and involved taking her and a friend to Pizza Hut and then to see High School Musical 3. I had 2 1/2 slices of pizza and some salad, and then some maltesers in the cinema, and then some birthday cake, oh, and then we had prawn baguettes for tea. But I'm not going to beat myself up about enjoying a special day, that isn't what this is about. If only that was all I had done wrong! So bring on Monday when I know the battle will be over and I will be a few pounds heavier than last week, and I can work on losing them again. No matter what I tell myself between now and then, I know I'm going to be fighting a tough battle to stay on track until I stand on the scales.

And now an appeal. If you are anywhere near the New Forest, please please could you keep an eye out for Meg, a lost greyhound? She has been gone 24 hours now and everyone is worried about her :( (not my dog btw, but from the same rescue)

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

"I Love Your Blog" Award!

A big Thank You to Kate at School Gate Chic for this lovely award! My first award ever, I'm chuffed to pieces :-)

Now I have to award it to 7 other people and the rules are as follows:
1. The nominated is allowed to put the picture on their blogs.
2. Link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate seven other people and link to them.
4. Leave a message on those people's blog to make them aware that they're nominated.

I choose:

1: Kath at There's a Me Hidden Somewhere
2: Brhyer at Bryher's Blog
3: Spence at Siren Voices
4: Loth at The Gym Isn't Working
5: Shauna at The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl!
6: Sharon at Sharon's Blog
7: Jeanette at Pasta Queen

So many blogs, so hard to choose only 7!

Monday, 20 October 2008


Week 41

Weight: 17st 3.5lb
Loss this week: 1.5lb
Total lost: 78lb

Yaaay I got a shiny! And that's 4 consecutive weeks with a loss now, I am truly on a roll!

Guess what I did on Saturday night? Go on, have a guess and then I'll tell you!

OK, I only went rollerskating!

Since last November I have sat on a bench, or often the floor, at the side of a hall in the leisure centre every Saturday night watching Rebecca skating. That whole time I have longed to join in. I even went as far as getting some skates for myself from Freecycle, but I could never do it. First of all the skates didn't fit because my ankles were too fat, and second of all I'm a great big cowardy custard! To be fair the last time I skated was when I was 9 years old, and I broke my arm that time so my fear isn't entirely unfounded. But still.

But on Saturday I was riding the crest of a joyful wave, after my Cinderella experience, and I vowed that this would be the day that I would skate. Rebecca argued very strongly against it, and I had to promise that no one would ever know she was with me before she caved in with a resigned sigh and agreed that it would be OK if I gave it a try.

I'd given my skates away by now so I had to hire skates from the skater dudes. I elected for the kind with a wheel at each corner rather than inline skates because I really wanted to minimise the "making a total arse of myself and breaking my collar bone" opportunities. Rebecca kindly reminded me that she was advised to learn on inline skates because the wheels are slower. Damn, that left me open to the terrifying prospect of flying into orbit with no way of stopping until I hit a wall. Or a small child. Or, as nearly happened, a show-off skater dude who got right in front of me then proceeded to do a series of jumps and spins. Nice and impressive and all, but I would have killed him if I'd hit him at speed!

So when I first wobbled to my feet, my legs were like jelly with fear. But I have watched kids learning for nearly a year so I know what you have to do! I put into action the lessons I have been absorbing and teetered round the hall, grabbing the wall and praying no one got in my way.

An hour and a half later my legs were like jelly from the sheer physical exertion of skating for all that time. I was loving it! I had my balance, I was skating relatively confidently, I had released the wall to those in greater need, I'd had only a small handful of collisions, none of them fatal, and I think I had somehow annoyed my daughter because she had been sitting down and demanding to be taken home for about half an hour. Sorry baby, no dice. I sat on that bench for 11 months. Now I'm off it I'm staying on the skates!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

A Cinderella Moment.

I was just sat here browsing online clothes shops, and bemoaning the fact that I can't buy skirts and dresses for winter because I can't get boots to fit my fat legs. And I love dresses with opaque tights and long boots.

Then I had a little lightbulb moment. If I'm a size 18/20, it's inconceivable that I have the fattest legs in the kingdom anymore, surely. And Evans makes boots for the chunkier of calf. They used to be too small, but now?

And then lightbulb moment number 2. Somewhere in my cupboard lurks an old pair of black high heeled knee length boots, from my younger slimmer days. So I found them. And tried them on, more in hope than expectation. It was almost a Cinderella moment. I slipped in my foot. It went easily. I grasped the top of the boot and tugged on the zip. Up it went,up and up! And they were on, and fastened, and enough room in the boot for an extra arm!!

I can get BOOTS!

(I swore a tiny bit but didn't think it added anything to the story so left it out!)

Friday, 17 October 2008

Utterly Gratuitous Post!

Indulge me if you please! I just thought I'd share some photos of my beautiful greyhounds (plus a couple of my gappy toothed daughter!)

Click on the thumbnail to view :-)

View this montage created at One True Media
Greyhound Montage

Monday, 13 October 2008

I Love Chickpeas, I Do!

Week 40

Weight: 17st 5lb
Loss this week: 1.5lb
Total lost: 76.5lb

Hurray for another loss. I think that's 3 consecutive weeks with a loss now, which is my best run since July. There's no way I can break a good run like that by failing to lose this week, plus I still need that flipping 5 1/2st sticker that I really really thought I'd got in the bag this week. Damn my hopelessly inaccurate home scales!

Right so how am I going to make sure I get that loss this week? I think carry on doing what I've been doing is the best answer - it ain't broke, nothing to fix here! I like the whole "try a new recipe every week" idea, and it certainly paid dividends for me a couple of weeks ago. I did it over this last week too (sweet potato curry), so to stick to the theme on I'm the lookout for a good new recipe. Something that uses that butternut squash that's in my fridge would be good.

I've been browsing cookbooks in Waterstones - so many books, so little time! The trouble with most of them though is that a hefty proportion of each book contains recipes that I just wouldn't be able to modify to fit into the SW plan. Probably because I choose to do the green plan, ruling out so many tasty meat dishes, not to mention the puddings! I've got a nice veggie cookbook here - Vegetarian Express by Rose Elliot. There's loads of quick and tasty dishes in there. I'm thinking Fusilli with tomato sauce and chickpeas has got promise. I'm loving chickpeas at the moment.

If you'd have told me 12 months ago that I would type the phrase "I'm loving chickpeas..." I'd have laughed and told you that could never happen. Funny how tastes change!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

When the Inner Voice is Wrong...

Last winter I was without a warm winter coat. I found one I liked, warm, comfortable and a good fit in a size 28. But I didn't want to spend £80 on a coat that I said would only do me for one season, since I had no intention of being a size 28 for very much longer. So I put it back on the rail, didn't buy it and made do with what I had. But my little inner voice was saying "yeah yeah, heard it all before. Next winter you'll be back here looking at the size 28s again."

So I just want to tell my inner voice that it was oh so very wrong. In fact I have just purchased a winter coat for this season. But I didn't want to spend a fortune because I don't plan on staying this size for very much longer either. So I've just splashed out an amazing £15 on Asda's Little Black Coat. In a size 20. What a bargain! And this year my little inner voice knows it's place!

Funny how 1lb, or even 2 or 3lbs, doesn't sound like very much. Some weeks I've even felt a but fed up when I've "only lost 1lb". But just look how it adds up! I'm thinking in January I will be about half way to my ultimate target. Not that I've set a target yet, but I'm starting to feel vaguely halfway there. And it feels good.

Monday, 6 October 2008

The post with no name.

Week 39

Weight: 17st 6.5lb
Loss this week: 3.5lb & Joint Slimmer of the Week!
Total lost: 75lb

This has been a really top week for me. I've been really fired up and enthusiastic. I've enjoyed some great food, and I've felt at the top of my game where healthy eating is concerned. My Syn intake has been through the floor, and I've never felt hungry or craved anything other than seconds of healthy foods.

That all by itself is kind of interesting actually because this morning my period crept up on me, and usually I would know it was coming, in spades! Normally I get cravings and insatiable hunger pre-menstrually, as well as being a bit of a moody cow (no, really!) So is it possible that the kind of food I've eaten heartily this week has actually had benefits beyond weight loss? Pulses, grains, vegetables, spices mainly. It may be worth me noting a lack of pasta in my diet this week, where normally I eat quite a lot. Hmmmmmmm. I've always known that I have a bit of a problem with bread and wheat based cereals (you know the one I mean!) in that they cause me to get heartburn and feel very bloated. Pasta doesn't have that effect on me, but maybe it is something I should keep an eye on, for future reference.

I already have a raft of wonderful meals planned for this week, and my fridge is chock full of beautiful fresh fruit and veggies. So I am aiming high and looking to get a shiny sticker next week :-)

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Recipe Post.

As promised, for Kath and Shauna.

Both recipes are taken from Slimming World publications and modified in some small way by me. Hoping I don't get in copyright trouble for posting them here! If I disappear, will anyone visit me in prison? ;)

Carrot & Lentil Soup

About 10 medium carrots peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
85g red lentils
85g pearl barley
2 pints of stock (I use chicken bovril)
salt & pepper to season

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil, simmer for about 90 mins, checking regularly and adding water if necessary (Tip: Don't walk the dogs while you do this!)

Blend, season, enjoy.

I likes my recipes simple, I do!

Quorn Curry

1 onion
1" piece fresh root ginger
2 garlic cloves
Small handful fresh coriander
2 Green chillis
Bag of Chicken Style Quorn Pieces
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Fry Light
1 tsp each ground cumin and coriander
1/2 tsp crushed cardamom seeds
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp each ground cinnamon and paprika
1 tbsp mild or medium curry powder
1/4 tsp turmuric
400g can chopped tomatoes
1/2 pint stock (chicken Bovril, natch!)

1] Prepare the ingredients: finely chop the onion, grate the ginger, crush the garlic, chop the coriander, deseed and slice the chillis. (The recipe says season the chicken but I'm not sure applies to chunks of frozen Quorn....)

2] Fry the onion in Fry Light for 5-6 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic, cumin, ground coriander, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, paprika, curry powder and turmeric, and cook for 1-2 minutes.

3] Add the Quorn and cook for a few mins. Then add the tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 mins, stirring occasionally.

4] Remove from heat, season to taste, and serve garnished with freshly chopped coriander and sliced green chillies.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Rolling Rolling Rolling!

There's a bandwagon in town and I've jumped right on!

Cooking. I'd forgotten I'd learned to love this thing! OK it's early days and by tomorrow I might be saying "toast for tea!" but right now I'm fired up and cooking!

I haven't made the 3 bean chilli yet because I got distracted by the Curry booklet that came with the SW magazine. So yesterday I went to Sainsbury's and loaded my trolley with every conceivable spice, went home and made Quorn curry. OK the recipe was for chicken curry but since I don't do red days and need a load of carbs before I feel like I've eaten it had to be Quorn. I was nervous. Very nervous. I wasn't at all sure how this wild combination of spices could end well. In fact I wondered if it might be better eaten at the end of a night out with a pint of lager! But you know what? It was bloody gorgeous! If I had any Quorn in I would have made it again tonight! I have never made any kind of curry from scratch before because long lists of ingredients scare me quite a lot! But this long list was just all the spices.

As I type there is a pan of carrot and lentil soup simmering on the stove. There's a bit of improvisation in this recipe since I didn't have all the ingredients, but I can't see why it wouldn't work out just fine.

Did anyone watch Jamie Oliver's new programme - Ministry of Food? I wish someone like him had come to Cheshire and taught me this stuff years ago. It's pretty shocking seeing how badly people eat, and feed their kids. It made me stop and wonder why I didn't really have great cooking skills, since my mum was actually a pretty fine cook in her day. The reason is this: she used to make it seem horribly hard work. She'd be hot, bothered, stressed. She'd be in the kitchen for hours, and dishes I now know are pretty simple would seem to require a bewildering array of pots and pans and complicated processes (she used to leave the shepherds pie outside for some reason!) Certainly she never wanted her kids under her feet trying to learn how to cook. So I grew up with the idea that being in a kitchen was a form of hell. Therefore I consider it my duty to make my daughter think cooking is fun, and to this end she has just peeled and chopped all the carrots for the soup, and she helped me with all the spices for the curry.

Yes, that's it, I'm facilitating her learning. Not using her as slave labour at all ;)