It’s so typical of the great British weather! It’s absolutely gorgeous all week. Come the weekend and the sun decides to take a break too!
This weekend was no different. All week it was beautiful. Friday I worked at home. Temperatures reached 25 degrees. Did I go outside and enjoy it? No! Why? Well firstly I had work to do, but secondly, I thought I’d have plenty of time in the sun at the weekend.
We had 4 friends coming to stay and had planned outdoor activities!
Firstly breakfast on the patio followed by a lovely walk around Stratford-upon-Avon. It was the river festival. Bands would be playing and a few little stalls selling a variety of goods. As it is held on the banks of the River Avon, it was going to be a lovely few hours relaxing!
Well that was the plan! What wasn’t planned was the rain! Not to be put off we all still ventured out to Stratford, after eating breakfast indoors !!
Dinner was going to be a braai! We had the biggest piece of meat to cook!
Just as we thought the rain was going to stop, it started up again! The Gazebo it was then. Rain was not going to stop 3 South African men from doing what they do best!
As we 3 ladies watched them through the lounge widows sipping our Gin and Tonic, you can’t help but laugh at the body language of the men!
One of them checks the heat of the fire using the hand test! Then another checks it! Wait for it, yep, the third one has to check it too! Just in case one of them got it wrong !
The meat was a big beast and a challenge to cook. The fire to hot, the outside would burn but the inside would be raw. The fire too low and it would never cook. So, as with the 3 bears, it has to be just right!
After a couple of hours it was done. Absolutely gorgeous!
Sadly we had to eat indoors again!
My ice cream cake was probably the only thing that was pleased about the change in weather!
You know, the weather may have not been in our favour but it didn’t matter. We still had fun!
It doesn’t matter how much you plan things in life, something always goes wrong! Take it as an opportunity not a disaster!
Don’t put things on hold. Adapt and have fun!
Here is the video to my weekend:
This week the weather is going to be unpredictable. Don’t let that stop you enjoying life! Embrace it!
Wow, what great weather we had this weekend! So who has a Braai? Ok BBQ? Yep it has the be done.
We went the whole hog and had 2! First one Friday night and another last night. You have to love eating outside.
Last nights Braai was all about using the leftovers. It’s amazing what you can create with a bit of imagination.
Saturday temperatures reached over 34 degrees for us! Not that I sat out in it myself! Oh no! We had friends round on the evening so first things first I needed to catch up on the housework! It has to be done especially with 2 malting dogs!
Talking of malting dogs, they do struggle when it’s so warm! Fido thankfully knows how to cool down. He stands in the shower waiting for someone to turn the taps in for him!!
Anyway, back to the friends coming for dinner. As it was going to be such a lovely day I decided the menu needed to reflect that.
Hubby offered to make his prawn soup! It’s light but very tasty. Perfect for a hot summer evening.
For main, I opted for pineapple and salmon kebabs with Jerk seasoning, with home grown new potatoes and a pomegranate and feta salad. As a salad dressing I made a Dijon mustard dressing. So far all free on Slimming World, but still tasty.
Now, this is where it got interesting. For dessert, I decided on an ice cream cake. Well why wouldn’t you!
The cake requires 2 layers of ice cream and a raspberry coulis, topped with a ginger biscuit layer! Sounds fab doesn’t it! And it was apparently (I made a syn free version for me).
The problem I had was the weather! I mean, when it’s over 34 degrees outside, how are you supposed to stop the layers melting while constructing them!
It was a case of moving very quickly and having a hubby on hand to open freezer doors for you!
I published a video of it here!
I had to laugh when I watched it back. I looked quite fresh at the start of it! By the end I was definitely wilting !!
The main thing is the food went down a treat! Note to myself though! Don’t try it again unless it’s about 10 degrees cooler!
I’m not complaining though! I love it when it’s hot hot hot !
Do you ever read a magazine or see something on TV that gets your creative juices going? Over the years I have!
In previous years it’s been Jamie’s 15 minute meals, The Hairy Bikers and of course not forgetting, Ready Steady Cook.
My current favourite has to be The Pioneer Women. I’m totally hooked. I’ve even series linked all her episodes.
So who is The Pioneer Women? Ree Drummond! I love her nick name Ree. Her real name is Ann Marie. My own name is Maria but have always been known as Marie to my family. As a kid my nickname was Me Me. My nieces still call me it. Ree is such a great nickname for Marie!
Ree seems to have an amazing life, living on a ranch in Oklahoma in America. She is married to a real cowboy – Ladd – and has 4 children. How romantic does that sound?
Her cooking is every day cooking from dinners to desserts, to things that keep the kids happy!
She always starts the programme with the phrase ‘welcome to my frontier’.
Ree started off blogging about her time on the ranch back in 2006. Her blogs have even won awards.
In 2011 The Food Network awarded her her own Series called what else – The Pioneer Women!
She prepares every day meals from chicken pie, pork ribs, chicken dinner, pork chops to easy desserts and cakes in her lodge. I think she is now up to series 20!
What I love about her is that she showcases her food in such a way that you can easily transfer that to your own kitchen. She doesn’t use fancy gadgets, just everyday pots and pans like we have.
You have to sometimes translate some of the ingredients as we call some things a different name here in the UK.
I love sitting down in the evening and catching up on an episode. Last night she did a beef stroganoff. I haven’t done one for ages. It’s definitely something I’m planning for next week now.
Now when I say she inspires me, that is exactly what she does. I wouldn’t cook her meals exactly to her recipe as she uses ingredients I wouldn’t, because I’m on Slimming World. Don’t get me wrong, her cooking is amazing and my hubby would eat them just as they are. I just need to shift a few pounds as you know, so a tweak would be needed for me.
She uses cream, butter, oil and salt. All things I wouldn’t use. This is where the inspiration comes in! I look at what she makes and try to work out how I can do it for me on Slimming World. Most things can of course be changed. There are some things she makes though that you definately wouldn’t want to mess with, like her chocolate episode! Marshmallows covered in chocolate and cookie pieces! I think my nieces would have a great time making those.
On the whole though, her recipes easily transfer into syn free versions. This is what I love about cooking. Taking great ideas and making them your own.
I’d love to cook alongside Ree and create great meals together that taste good but work for Slimming World too. Obviously that isn’t her cooking style or requirement. I should image with the work they do on the ranch, they soon burn off any calories.
Ree is such a natural presenter. It’s like a friend showing you how they cooked dinner tonight. She is so easy to watch and I’m also loving following her life on the ranch. Watching her children growing up and going off to college!
If you haven’t seen her programme before, go along to The Food Network and check her out! Maybe she will inspire you to get into the kitchen too!
So today I’d planned the topic of my blog out! It was supposed to be titled ‘The Sun is out, the sky is blue!’. Well the sun is definitely not out and the sky is a grubby shade of grey!
The weather reports have been promising us a heatwave. Europe is steeped in temperatures in the 40’s. We were not going to get those type of temperatures, but in the 20’s is still good for me!
Yesterday was a horrible day. It did start off around 18 degrees and humid, but oh boy did it rain. I really considered not taking the dogs out, but then that wouldn’t be fair. Being Border Collies they have so much energy. If you don’t exercise them you know about it! Especially Lola who is currently going through the terrible 2’s!
So I popped on a pair of shorts and raincoat. Yes you heard right, shorts. I figured that wet legs would be more comfortable than wet trousers or jeans! And I was right!
By the time we got back the 3 of us were dripping wet. I was able to jump into the hot shower but the dogs had to settle for a rub-a-dub-dub! In normal speak, a towel dry!
The downside to wet dogs is that smell! Eek! Lots of Scentsy wax warmers were needed. I tried opening windows but the rain was just heavy!
Thankfully it finally stopped late afternoon, but not before it had dropped around 50mm of rain! I know that as I bought my hubby a weather station for Christmas. It’s great for keeping a check on what the weather really did in our area.
Working at home yesterday meant I had time to be creative in the kitchen last night. I do love having that extra hour our so. I’ve posted one of my videos from that session here:
Tomorrow I will publish my gorgeous breakfast cakes.
After an amazing dinner it was time to relax, in anticipation of the heatwave today!
I woke up all excited this morning. I dressed in shorts and a fleece!
As I stepped out of the house it dawned on me. Instead of sun it was raining. That was not forecast!
We had a drizzly walk. Quite cool too! I’m not loving this.
It’s nearly July and I can count on 1 hand the sunny days we have had this year! I’m so disappointed.
I’m praying now that this is just a blip! Tomorrow I’m going to be swamped in that heatwave.
If you are a member of Slimming World you will know there are so many recipe books out there. I think I have most of them.
Every so often, if you buy a 12 week countdown you get one for free!
I must be honest, recently I’ve been a little bit negative about them producing another book. What else could they come up with. I mean, they have the BBQ, Soups, One Pot, Meals for One, meals using 5 ingredients, desserts, the list goes on!
The recent one is called SP Sensations. I received mine as part of a 12 week countdown a few weeks ago!
I took it home expecting it to go into my recipe book cupboard, never to see the light of day!
That evening as I ate dinner I flicked through. Suddenly I found myself leaving markers of things I liked! Oh wow, this book truly was different and amazing.
Suddenly I had an increased urge to be more creative in the kitchen. I got my groceries app out and started my weekly shopping list!
Turkey with Chorizo, Tuna Niscose are my first dishes. Hubby tasted them and was amazed at the flavours!
Another dish was cinnamon prawns! I think I actually got ‘you have excelled yourself’ from hubby on this one!
Even where I haven’t used the recipe exactly, it’s inspired other dishes.
The other night I made the Gong Bao Chicken. The recipe is for 4. As I only needed it for 2 I still made up the oyster sauce mix for 4, so I could use the left over to create a dish last night. Which I have to say was amazing. I will be posting that dish on my YouTube channel on Friday!
Suddenly dinner times are exciting again. I’m no longer tired or bored of having to think of meals every night to cook. I can’t wait to get home and produce something amazing.
When you have only 2 hours every evening to cook, prepare breakfast and lunch for the next day, eat and do everything else that you need to do before going to bed to start the day again the next day, it’s easy to get into a rut. This new book has completely reenergised me!
So if you are able, go get this book. If you can’t, then make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel to see my creations, as I share them with you!
As with most things in life, if you do something long enough you can get into a rut!
I have been on Slimming World now for over 2 years, and food is no exception to that. Don’t get me wrong, just joining Slimming World opened up a whole new array of goods. Who knew about quark before Slimming World? I didn’t. And now I have it every day. I absolutely love it! It is fair to say, I think it has transformed my life. I use it for breakfast, sauces, desserts, dips etc. You name it, I’ve probably used it for something. Its also a free food on the plan. Bonus!
Another new food for me was Grapenuts. Great to add into yoghurts and are a HEB. That was 2 years ago, and I have since kept to the same sort of food groups. Don’t get me wrong, I am very good at making different recipes up, and being creative as my Youtube Channel will show, but as my weight has sort of settled down, I wanted to try and see if I could find other food items out there!
The best place to find new things is certainly by staying to group, but also social media is a good place to look.
The last 2 months, I decided to start pushing myself to try something new every few weeks.
The first one was by complete accident. My mum bought a health bar but didn’t want it, so gave it to me. It had been sitting in my bag for a few weeks! With SW you can have up to 15 syns a day, but I always try to avoid syns. The only time I really allow myself to have them is at the weekend for my @slimlinewine. At 3.5 syns for 125 ml, I can enjoy a good quality wine, and still protect my weight!
I had been looking at this bar in my bag but too nervous to eat it! It was going to be so high in syns wasn’t it! I was hungry one day at work, but was avoiding the biscuits and chocolate. I decided to have a look on the SW App to see the syns of this bar. It was 11 syns! I decided I should go for it. It sounded a lot, but it was in my syns so why not! I’m so glad I did, as it was absolutely delicious. Packed full of nuts, it really filled me up for the rest of the day until dinner!
It got me thinking about what other snacks were out there that would fill me up, but not break the syns bank. 11 syns is very high for me, but surely there must be other foods out there not so high that I could enjoy.
I was looking through Facebook the other day and came across an advert for Missfits. @Missfitsnutrition they sell protein snacks and shakes, which are also suitable for vegans. I decided to have a look on their site. They were formed in 2016 by a group of ladies who felt there wasn’t much out there for ladies looking for protein items.
They were offering a taster pack for £3 from £11.99. I thought this was too good an opportunity not to explore. I looked on the SW App for their syns, but couldn’t find them. I decided to buy them anyway. I could work out the syns when I get them!
Now I have to say, the service from start to finish has been absolutely excellent! When I put my order in, it wouldn’t allow me to put in my discount code (Taste3), so I was charged the full price. When I contacted them, they immediately refunded me the difference!
Their products have no refined sugar and all natural ingredients. Delivery was free and quick. The pack arrived yesterday and I was so excited to see what was in it.
I received: 2x Chocolate Vegan Protein Multitasker (25g), 2x Vanilla Vegan Protein Multitasker (25g), 2 x Cacao Orange Protein Wonderballs (35g), 2 x Coconut Protein Wonderballs (35g)
I was so excited to try them, but first of all checked out the syn value on the SW Syn Calculator. The shakes were 4 syns whilst the coconut wonderballs 6 and orange 5. I was really impressed.
Obviously it would be rude not to sample both flavours of wonderballs wouldn’t it! Wow, they were both delicious.
The orange flavour is a cross between a truffle and a chocolate orange, while the coconut tastes like one of my favourite childhood sweets, coconut mushrooms! I had to finish the opened bag of coconut ones last night! I was tempted to finish the orange bag too, but decided they are just too good to rush!
I haven’t tried the shakes yet, but I will be very soon. I’m planning to have them after a gym session one day!
They help you overcome your sugar craving without breaking the syn bank. Because they are high in protein, they fill you up longer too!
I was absolutely blown away by this product. If you are in the market for protein or vegan snacks or shakes, you seriously have to visit this website:
I’m not vegan, but these are still high on my list of must haves. I’m going to be ordering more. I’m especially interested in trying the salted caramel and cocoa ones.
I’m looking forward to getting home this evening to enjoy my orange wonderballs! I doubt the other 2 packs will be around by the end of next week. I am certainly hiding them from hubby! They are too nice to share!
So guys, for 5-6 syns you could have a really healthy, delicious, nutritious, high protein snack. Why would you use your syns on chocolate when you can have a bag of Missfits?
Give them a go with their taster pack and don’t forget to use the code to buy them for £3. You won’t regret it, I promise!
Well today, I have officially launched my Ready Steady Lets Cook Slim challenge.
Although I am a keen Slimming World member, and I will be looking to make dishes that fit that programme, I also want to be able to open it out to anyone who is looking to eat more healthily.
I’ve done Weight Watchers in the past, but don’t know how the points are done now. I anyone would like to send me anything to help me give them their points equivalent for Weight Watchers please to do so.
I want this challenge to be inclusive of everyone, whether you are vegetarian, vegan, dairy free etc also.
So what are the rules?
Each week, I will be inviting my followers on YouTube and my Blog to put forward virtual bags. Each virtual bag will have a maximum budget. I will pick at random each week 1 bag.
After I have chosen the virtual bag, I will go shopping for those ingredients. I will then create dishes based on those ingredients and store cupboard staples. So what will those store cupboard staples be?
Store Cupboard Staples
Anything from the Spice Rack
Vinegar – all varieties
Salt & Pepper
Stock cubes, bouillon powder or stock pots
Fat Free Dressings
Low Calorie Cooking Spray such as Frylight
Thai Fish Sauce
All other ingredients will need to be part of the bag.
The Virtual Bags
Budget Bag – Maximum Value £3.50
Classic Bag – Maximum Value £5.00
Bistro Bag – Maximum Value £7.50
Gourmet Bag – Maximum Value £10.00
What can you put into the virtual bags
You can put anything you like in the bags as long as it can be bought at most supermarkets.
If the value of your items doesn’t reach the maximum value and you want some additional ideas, you can give me the remaining balance as a wild card. This wild card will allow me to spend the remaining budget on any other ingredients I feel may enhance the dish.
You may tell me if you have any special dietary requirements for the dishes. You can also say if you are looking for specific meal time ideas such as dinner, lunch or breakfast or a mixture!
I will cook the dishes and publish them each week on my YouTube channel. I will let you know how they were made, how many they serve and anything else you might need to know to help you replicate it yourself at home!
To ensure I provide you with the best food options possible and have the chance to go shopping, I will be looking for the virtual bags by 5.00 pm on the Tuesday each week.
I’m really looking forward to this challenge and I hope you are too.
So start thinking about your virtual bags and leave a comment on my YouTube video here.