Saturday, 20 October 2012

#wwback2best Weight Watchers Recipes and Week 3 Update

BritMums - Back2best Challenge
Woohoo! I've lost four pounds this week. 

I mentioned in my previous post that I had been experimenting with Weight Watchers recipes. One of the ways that I have been using the recipes is by following the Weight Watchers recipe to the letter for myself and adding to that recipe to make it suitable for the rest of the family. Young children need more fat and energy for the whole purpose of growing and living than adults and certainly adults on a diet. Fats are vitally important to the brain, which is 70 percent fat. They are used for building the membranes around every cell in the body and also play a role in the formation of hormones. So last week I've cooked a variety of Weight Watchers low fat recipes that I've amended after removing my own portion to make them suitable for children. This week I cooked two zero ProPoints soups for lunch and made them kid friendly.


Mexican-Inspired Zero ProPoints Value Soup

Makes 12 servings
ProPoints® value | 0 per serving

Ingredients

  • 200g sugar snap beans, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 small courgettes, cubed
  • 120g tomatillos, chopped (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 25g green chilli
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1440ml vegetable stock
  • 2 roasted peppers, 
  • 1 Tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 25g fresh coriander, chopped

Instructions

  • Put sugar snap beans, garlic, courgettes, tomatillos, jalapeno, chopped tomatoes, green chilli, onion, green pepper, cumin, oregano and vegetable into a large soup pot. Puree roasted peppers with chipotle in adobo sauce in a blender or food processor, and add to soup. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, partly covered, for about 10 minutes.

    Stir in salt, lime juice and coriander. Serve.


We eat a lot of Mexican dishes in this house but if you have none of the Mexican ingredients use red peppers and pickled jalapeños or smoked paprika. To this, for the kids I added grated cheese, kidney beans and chopped chorizo. They ate with with tortilla chips, sour cream and guacamole. 



Italian-Inspired Zero ProPoints Value Soup

Makes 12 servings
ProPoints® value | 0 per serving

Ingredients

  • 40g chicory, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 160g onions, chopped
  • 30g baby spinach
  • 2 small courgettes, cubed
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1440ml vegetable stock
  • 800g canned chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 25g fresh parsley, chopped
  • 25g fresh basil

Instructions

  • Put the chicory, garlic, onions, spinach, courgette, red pepper, fennel bulb, vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, red pepper flakes, thyme and oregano into a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, partly covered, for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in salt, black pepper, parsley and basil. Serve.
Again I added pasta to this for the kids with parmesan and garlic bread. 





Monday, 15 October 2012

Happy Mondays - Giveaway Winners and Monday Half Term Mantra

Huge thanks to everyone who joined in with my latest giveaway. I hope you found the recipes inspiring. 

Chilli Papa's will be at the following Christmas Markets if you are around so you can scoop up some mixes while you're there and even check out their new Christmas Hampers!

10th November - Christmas Shopping Festival Glasgow
11th November - Christmas Shopping Festival Glasgow
15th November - Scottish Gas Edinburgh
29th November - North Queensferry Gala, Xmas Fayre
1st December - Sky Dunfermline
1st December - Pittencrieff Christmas Fayre
8th December - Christmas Shopping Festival - Edinburgh
9th December - Christmas Shopping Festival - Edinburgh
23rd December - Sky Dunfermline
24th December - Sky Dunfermline


Check out their Facebook page for updates and give them a like.

So...the winners of the Chilli Papa's Spice Mix Selections are...

Nelmilliken@...

KathleenHooper@...



Congratulations folks! I'll be in touch via email and Chilli Papa's will send you your goodies ASAP.

So here in Edinburgh it is officially half term. It kind of just crept up on us so we didn't make any plans to go away. 10 whole days with a two year old and a thirteen year old to occupy. Hmm...








Monday, 8 October 2012

Giveaway! National Curry Week. Low Fat and Utterly Delicious Curry!

Happy Ruby Murray week! 

Yes folks, it is National Curry Week this week so what better way to celebrate than to cook curry and enter my fabulous giveaway!



Regular readers of this blog (if there even is such a thing?!) may remember that I reviewed a delicious curry mix a while ago here on this blog made by a small Scottish company called Chilli Papas.

One of the things I really liked about the product when I last reviewed it was that it was a dry spice mix with no added fat and I am delighted that in light of my new Weight Watchers diet I have been given a brand new and exclusive spice mix from Chilli Papa's to taste test. Om...nom...nom! Chilli Papa's Mild Vindaloo!



This mix is not available to buy just yet and I cannot wait until I can buy it in the shops because it was absolutely delicious!

If you love the hot and sour taste of a vindaloo but could do without the heat then this is perfect for you. I will keep the review short as all of the Chilli Papas range has exactly the same cooking instructions and you can find my previous step by step reviews here and here. Oh my this was delicious! It had all of the punch of the previous Vindaloo but none of the heat. The vinegar that you add during cooking gave a sharp tang and the spice mix was incredibly aromatic. I added all of the ingredients and boiled the mixture so I had no need to add any oil to the pot. This method and using a dry spice mix instead of a sauce from a jar means that the flavour is soaked up by the meat which remains juicy and tender.

For all of you fellow Weight Watchers out there. What's more in addition to the (150g) curry I served this with raita (150g) that I made using 0% fat yoghurt, cucumber, cumin and lemon juice, lots of salad with lemon juice and no oil and 50grams of cooked basmati rice. (I kept away from the naan bread as I had had a big lunch) and my entire plate only amounted to 10 points! UNBELIEVABLE! It is easily amongst the best spice mixes I have ever tasted.


Now for the really exciting part...

Chilli Papas has teamed up with Oh Mammy! and we are offering two lucky readers the chance to win their choice of three spice mixes each! You can check out the mixes here on the website here

All you have to do to enter is to subscribe to this blog via email in the little box at the right hand side of this post. If you have already signed up for email updates then leave a comment and I will check that you're not telling porky pies. For additional entries you can pop over to my Facebook page to like me and post a comment or follow me on Twitter. Additional entries can be had for comments on this post or on any other post on my blog.

Competition closes at Midnight on Sunday the 14th of October 2013. Good luck!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

#wwback2best Week 1 Progress Update


I won't lie. I've found this week difficult. Difficult due to the fact that I have never dieted before and while in my original plan I had focused on the junk that I eat between meals, I hadn't really assessed what my overall diet was like. I also did my first before dieting photo of myself wearing my most revealing clothes. *Yes - Instagrammed it to soften the mental blow!



So this week I've being trying to get to grips with the whole points system. It's been a bit difficult to start with because other than the food I consume in cafes in restaurants, I make almost everything myself so the hours that I have spent this week calculating every single ingredient that goes into a breakfast, lunch and a dinner have been countless.

The app has been fantastic in helping me do this but I'm finding the information on it more suited to someone who eats prepacked food. It's great that I can save my recipes and meals but I do feel that looking back on my shopping receipt this week I have bought more prepackaged food because it makes counting simpler. One day this week where I had a big lunch (the serious hunger had set in) I found myself confined to a low point dinner. A dinner that really didn't have enough fat, protein and carbohydrates for this children so I bought frozen fish fingers and oven chips for the kids! Now I know I am not going to parenting jail for that but I felt bad and one of the things that we really enjoy is meal times and eating together. I found it a bit depressing sitting having different meals, an occasion usually only reserved for special occasions when their father and I are having something really, really scalding and spicy.

Over the week I have slowly gotten used to the Pro Points system and have been studying the app religiously checking out how good or bad my favourite items are. I'm still surprised by the high points value of some items like rice cakes (2 points per cake never mind a topping!) When you are restricted to 26 points in a day that is quite a lot. During a shopping trip this week I ate in a cafe and ordered a baked potato without butter with salad and a little cheese and was horrified to learn that I had used up 14 points during lunch!

I also didn't realise that I was eating an obscene amount of carbs! I love pasta, bread, crackers all of the things that accumulate the points easily. I nearly cried one day when I was allowed one slice of buttered toast for my breakfast! It tasted like ambrosia! I was all set for writing an ode to toast, the food of the Gods when I realised that diet maddness was setting in. I was allowed it on that particular day as I planned out the rest of the day and used a Weight Watchers recipe for dinner. This is what I'm finding it hard to cope with, not cutting out junk food. I will adjust, I suppose but really have no idea what I would do for a big chunk of sourdough bread with some oil and tapenade...

This hardship has been worth it though because in the space of seven days I lost 3 lbs! I'm still not very active as I'm recovering frustratingly slowly from a bad bout of Glandular fever.

                                           *Yes - that's my ACTUAL weight. This was what the app did when I inputted my weight. I felt like their should be at last a virtual thumbs up or something. Streamers. Applause...

What I'm really having fun with this week is following Weight Watchers recipes and then tweaking them to incorporate all of the fats and carbs and proteins that the children need. This allows us to eat at the same time and roughly the same meal. For example today I made a zero point soup for lunch but added after I had taken my portion out, chorizo, kidney beans, oil, cheese and bread to the meal for the kids.


Remember that if you would like to join me on my weight loss journey I have a special offer available to readers if you follow the following links. For only £1 you too can join in the Back 2 Best Challenge too and you can trial the brand new iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad app for free!

Silent Sunday - A New Hat! Present from Auntie in New Zealand.