Woo Hoo it’s Friday

Does anyone else get that Friday feeling?  I love my job but I also love my weekends!  Not having to walk the dogs just after 5 am!  Don’t get me wrong, they will still expect it, but as long as I put them out into the garden to do their business, I can persuade them to go back to bed!

Friday is the one day I really don’t like working from home!  Well if I did how would I get that feeling when I walk into the lift at 4.30 pm if I was at home!

So back to the shopping I did last Sunday and how I continue to make good healthy meals on a budget.

Breakfast

Back to my favourite overnight oats!   Fat free yoghurt topped with 40g of oats and chopped apples.  I do love it.

Lunch

As its the end of the week I hate waste!  I had plenty of salad items left even though my husband had it every day!   Today I had Romaine Hearts, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, chopped beef slices, 2 boiled eggs and pickled onions and gherkins to nibble on.  I do love pickled vegetables.

Lunch Frid

During the day I also snacked on a banana and apple. Its always good to have fruit on hand to stop you reaching for the usual biscuit tin or sweet jar.  Even worse the ‘birthday’ goodies that get brought in!

Dinner

Last night I told you my good old slow cooker was out.  I really don’t know what I would do without mine.

I added 500g of less than 5% beef mince, chopped pepper, diced carrot and onion with a carton of passata, beef stock cube, chilli and black beans.  I prefer black beans to kidney beans as they have a meatier flavour.  I first tried them in Antigua in 2001 in a rice dish, I’ve been hooked since!  They are a good source of protein and fibre too!

I turned it on at 5 am and walked into the house tonight to the amazing smell.  I added rice for a really warming meal.  It was so nice hubby went back for seconds!  I even have enough left for another meal.  I will freeze it for one night next week.

I really hope this week has helped you see that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to eat healthily.  None of my meals take long to prepare.  Obviously there is a lot more you can do with the ingredients I bought such as lasagne, currys etc.  I just wanted to show you time doesn’t need to be a barrier either.

If you have any other questions, then please email me at slimminginspirations4u@yahoo.com.  I will be happy to help you

Thursday’s Meals

Well we are now over half way through the week and I still have food in my fridge for meals.  I hope I am really showing you that you can make good healthy meals without spending a fortune.

Breakfast

Last night I prepared both my breakfast and lunch for today.  I find doing it then helps me be more organised and eat healthily.  As you know I have a very early start already with my 2 beautiful dogs.  If I then had to come back from walking them and preparing my breakfast and lunch as well as getting ready for work, I’m not sure I would be as careful about what went into my mini coolbag!

Today was one of my favourites and regulars!  Overnight oats!  Whilst I have it a lot, you can still add variety by swapping quark with different flavoured yoghurts, different types of fruit etc.

Today I had a vanilla cheesecake flavoured fat free yoghurt.  I topped it with 40g of oats from my HEB allowance.  Fruit today was blueberries and a chopped apple.  Leaving it overnight means the flavours and juices are absorbed into the oats.  I absolutely love it!

Lunch

I’ve been having a lot of omelettes this week so far but today I decided to go for something a bit lighter so I made myself a lovely salad.  I chopped up some Romaine Hearts.  I would usually have iceberg which is a bit cheaper but it was sold out by the time I got to Lidl this week!  I added to this, chopped radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and ham together with the rest of the pot of cottage cheese.

As it was cold today I also decided to have a Mug Shot.  They used to be free food on Slimming World but have now been changed to 1 syn.  As I very rarely use my syns, I don’t feel this is too much of an issue for me.  Todays’ flavour was Sweet and Sour.  If you buy the Mug Shots, look for the 1% or less fat ones to try and get the lowest syns.  As a snack I had a banana.

Lunch Thurs

Dinner

Do you remember the left over Diet Coke Sauce from Tuesday?  I always make too much for later in the week as its a really good way to save time.  It can also be frozen if you know you won’t use it within a couple of days.

Tonight I chopped up a variety of vegetables again to dry roast in my fabulous roasting pan.  To add a different texture to previous nights I make the chunks quite large.  Tonight we had carrots, radishes, peppers, leeks, red onion and sweet potato.  I keep the skin on for extra fibre!

You might be surprised to see that I have roasted radishes the last couple of days.  I know that most people only use them raw in salads, which I did today also, but they are much more versatile!  Radishes are a good sources of fibre, calcium, vitamin C and B.

When they had softened I added half a bag of fresh spinach.

To a frying pan I added 2 cod fillets.  My pans are non stick so I didn’t need any oil.  When they started to cook through I added the Diet Coke Sauce.  I flaked the cod through it and left it until the sauce was bubbling.

cod dinnerI think the sauce tastes better a couple of days later.

Whilst I was waiting for this to cook I also prepared tomorrows breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  Tune in tomorrow to see what I cooked!

It was extremely filling so I’m happy to be relaxing on the sofa watching Blue Planet II.

Wednesday’s meals – Challenges of Working at Home

So today I worked from home.  Whilst I didn’t need to prepare anything last night for today to eat, I still didn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking.  My’ working at home days’ are usually days where I can catch up with my work without interruptions.

I’m still up at the same time with the dogs.  Even if I had any ideas to have a lie in they would tell me different, so i’m at my computer by 7 am.

The challenge when you work from home is to make sure you eat good filling meals so you are not tempted to pick during the day!  My husband has a very sweet tooth so there are always lots to tempt me.  Thankfully I’m pretty good most of the time, but if i’m hungry that’s a different thing!  As I said I don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing food so I can concentrate on working, so its so easy to go for ready made snacks such as biscuits, chocolates etc if i’m hungry and between meals.

Today is also my Slimming World Group, so not only am I going to get weighed I am also going to be eating later than usual!  Planning is the key here!

The positive of working at home is that your food can be prepared fresh, so you can vary it from what you usually take to work.  I love bananas but obviously they don’t keep well if you chop them up the night before for the next day.

Breakfast

Today I had a fat free yoghurt topped with a banana, fresh blueberries and 20g of Grape Nuts.  40g of Grape Nuts are your HEB.   They are high in fibre and protein so great for filling you up! I only had half so that I could save the other half for an Alpen Light to take to group, to keep me going until dinner.

Bananas are high in vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium. It also contains some fibre and protein.  Blueberries are also high in fibre and vitimin C, so this is a really healthy filling breakfast.  This week Slimming World announced that blueberries were now speed food so if you are doing a speed day you can include them.

Keeping hydrated is also a good way to kerb hunger.  I ensure I drink plenty of cups of Green Tea and water with a drop of sugar free cordial in.  Green Tea is an acquired taste.  I got into it thanks to my mum.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012.  My mum had read that it helped to prevent cancer.  Green tea contains substances called polyphenols, which scientists think contribute to its anti-canceractivity.  I thought I had nothing to lose so gave it a go.  Apart from the odd peppermint tea its all I drink these days.

Green Tea has grown in popularity over the years and you can now get it in lots of different flavours.  My favourites are lemon, jasmine or mango.

If you are thinking of trying it, my advice would be to start with a flavoured one and make sure you drink all 40 cups in the pack! Obviously not in one go but over the week!  It takes a while to get used to the flavour so don’t give in too quickly!

Lunch

Well I got through to lunch without picking except for an apple, which is absolutely allowed.  My youngest dog was extremely happy at my choice of snack as she loves apples.  You have to watch the seeds as they can be poisonous to dogs, but having spoken to my vets the little amount she may consume shouldn’t harm her.

As you will know from my previous blogs, I’m a big fan of omelettes.  They are really filling and you can vary the fillings so much that you don’t need to get bored of them.  Keeping to my theme of cooking food without spending too much time, at home I like to use my omelette maker.   If you don’t have one then my usual cup method in the microwave is just as good.

I love my omelette maker as I can put the mixture in and just leave it to cook for about 10-15 minutes depending on the fillings I use.  I also use it to make Slimming World friendly pasties.  I will share this with you in future blogs when I talk about recipes.

Amazon sell  omelette makers for around £10 so they are inexpensive.  This one is one of their best sellers at the moment and sells for £9.99. http://amzn.to/2rn3tzy

Today I put 80g of cottage cheese, 3 eggs, two large handfuls of fresh spinach, the last of the chicken that I cooked on Monday, and a good serving of left over broccoli into a bowl and mixed it all together before putting it into the omelette maker.  I servedit with the left over baked beans from Sunday’s lunch preparation and another 70g of cottage cheese.  The pot is 300g so I still have half left which I will use for another lunch or possibly a cheese sauce!

It doesn’t look attractive uncooked but is delicious.  Cottage cheese seems to take on a completely different taste when its been cooked.  I was absolutely stuffed afterwards.  Its also very warming on a cold day!

Dinner

True to my word I took an Alpen Light bar to eat during my Slimming World group.  Obviously I didn’t eat it until I had been weighed!  Every ounce counts right!  Do any of you also weigh the clothes you are going to wear to group to make sure they are the same each week!!  Mine has to be 0.3kg or I don’t wear it!

Wednesday nights I usually have something in the slow cooker so I can eat the minute I come in but tonight I thought I would do something when I got home.  Nothing that would mean we ate very late though.  Tonights choice was pork medallions.  I served it with a selection of vegetables (leeks, yellow pepper, carrots and radishes) which I dry roasted in my amazing roasting tin.  Towards the end of the cooking I added in half a bag of fresh spinach to wilt down.

The pork was cooked in one of my pans with the lid on.  When they were cooked I set them aside.  I added some boiling water to the pan to pick up the juices from the base of the pan together with 5 light cheese triangles which are my HEA.  I whisked in on a low heat until the cheese had melted.  OMG the sauce was absolutely amazing. The whole meal took only 35 minutes to make too!

You will notice that so far this week apart from Sunday there are no carbs in my meals.  This is because my husband follows the banting diet Monday to Friday.  He is South African and its big over there.  It means he can’t eat any carbs or sugars but can eat full fat everything.

Having two people in the house doing different meal concepts could be difficult but I have been able to mix the two.  If I want carbs I just add them.  He will have fat and skin on his meat and has full fat options to my fat free options such as yoghurt etc.  I never cook 2 meals, I just vary one or he has the same as me.  For instance, whilst I will have the light cheese triangles in my leeks, I would separate his off and add cream.  Its win win for both of us.

I hadn’t had any syns today so I thought I would treat myself to a couple of my new favourite drink – Rhubarb Gin with slimline tonic at only 3 syns each!

Another day on plan and all using my Lidl shop.

Tuesday Meals courtesy of my Lidl shop – SW on a budget

I hope you are enjoying seeing what I am serving up based on my Lidl shop on Sunday.

I really want to be able to show you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat well.

On Sunday I made my breakfast of overnight oats and my cupomelette for Monday and today.  For recipes see my post on ‘What I did with my Lidl Shop’ – https://slimminginspirations4udotcom.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/so-what-did-i-do-with-my-lidl-shop/

Both were really filling so I didn’t feel the need to snack, although temptation was put in my way today!  One of my team had just returned from a holiday around the Caribbean.  He brought in a large box of Maynards Wine Gums.  If it was chocolate I would easily have ignored it, but Wine Gums!  Seriously they are delicious and one of my biggest weaknesses.   I had a yoghurt and banana in my bag so to try to overcome the urge I had them mid afternoon.

I will admit I was still tempted so by 3.30 pm I decided to give in.  2 wine gums are only 1 1/2 syns.  I hadn’t had any syns all day out of my 5-15 syn allowance a day, so I could treat myself to them.  Thankfully I stopped at just the 2, but then I do leave the office at 4.30 pm so if I had been there longer who knows!

Tonight’s Dinner

Last night I showed you the sauce I had put together in my slow cooker ready for today.  (https://slimminginspirations4udotcom.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/mondays-meals-courtesy-of-lidl-sw-on-a-budget-continued/).   I turned it on at 5.30 am just before I left to take my dogs for their walk.   I still love coming home from a long day at work, from the cold to the smell of dinner cooking in the slow cooker.

The sauce was my take on ‘Diet Coke Chicken’ except there was no chicken just the sauce.  By not putting in any type of meat, it allows me to use it as a sauce for other dishes.

Tonight I used the left over breast from last nights chicken, with the skin removed.  I placed it in a pan to heat through with the lid on, turning it half way through.  I didn’t use any oil as my pans don’t need it.  When it had been on for approximately 10 minutes I added half of the sauce mixture which was still hot from the slow cooker and left it to simmer for  a few minutes.

In the meantime I cooked some broccoli.  You will find that I use a lot of broccoli.  Its full of fibre, vitamin C and folic acid, and I love it!  I like it so its just cooked, with a little crunch.

As the sauce was full of vegetables I didn’t need anything else with it.  A really tasty meal again and I still have lots of extra sauce which when cooled I will put it in a container in the fridge for later in the week.

Dinner - Tuesday - Copy

I’m working at home tomorrow so I don’t need to prepare anything for me to eat in advance.

I’m aware that the last 2 days I have had very little in the way of syns so I may treat myself to a 3 syn Alpen Light Jaffa Bar later!

Tune in tomorrow to see what I serve up.

Monday’s Meals – Courtesy of Lidl – SW on a budget continued.

So if you read my previous blog you will know I had overnight oats for breakfast and an omelette for lunch.  I’ve named my omelette a Cupomelette as its all make in a cup!  Both were very filling and I didn’t even have to eat the banana and apple I took to work with me for a snack.

I also prepared part of tonights’ dinner.    I put a whole chicken into my slow cooker along with some lemons, which I switched on when I took the dogs for a walk just after 5 am this morning.  I didn’t add anything else as the chicken lets off its own juices.  Along with the lemons there is plenty of liquid to help it cook, which also makes a beautiful sauce which my husband really likes.

Don’t worry about over cooking the chicken, you can’t if you do it this way.  There is so much moisture in the slow cooker it doesn’t dry out or burn.  Mine is usually on for up to 14 hours on low before I dish it up.

You cannot beat the smell when you walk in the door from work in the evening to the smell of lemon chicken.  I feel sorry for my poor dogs who have to spend all day smelling it cooking!

Cooking the chicken this way makes is so so juicy.  My husband and I love it.   As I always remove the skin to keep it syn free, it doesn’t matter than it isn’t crispy.

The whole chicken cost just £2.58.  Tonight my husband and I had a leg each.  The wings I put in the oven to crisp up to go into my husband’s lunch for tomorrow.  That leaves the breast for tomorrow night.  If you are working on a budget this is really cost effective as it will provide 2 people with 2.5 meals.  I will come on later to what I have planned to do tomorrow with the breasts.

To go with the chicken I roasted a selection of vegetables.  I have an amazing roasting tin which was a bit of a treat – £99 from http://www.berghoffgb.com.  It normally sells for £225 but if you go to country shows or fairs where they have a stand they usually have them on offer.   It seems to perform miracles on whatever I roast in it.  Its very versatile too as the large part can be used as a roasting tin and the griddle part as a lid or vice versa.  It doesn’t need any fat either so a bonus, although I sometimes use a little frylight to add flavour.  I also have the saucepan and frying pan set which are equally amazing.

Roasting Tin

I vary what I roast depending on what is in the fridge or needs using up.  Tonight, I had some left over broccoli from last night, Kale that needed using up, 2 carrots, 1 1/2 peppers, 1 red onion and 1 leek.

raw veg - Copy

I chop all the veg up into nice sized chunks.  All the veg gets thrown into the roasting tin except the kale and broccili.  I roast it on 200 degrees with just a couple of sprays of frylight for about 15-20 minutes.  After about 10 minutes I added 50 g of chorizo  It adds 6 syns to the whole meal but as I haven’t had any syns today I can afford 3 syns!  It also adds a really nice taste to the veg.  When it all starts to brown I add the kale and broccili and roast for a further 10 minutes.

I drain the juice off the chicken and boil it down a bit to make a nice gravy for my husband.  I prefer it without the sauce which saves me further syns as I am sure there will be some fat in and amongst the juice.

Its a really healthy, low cost meal.  The photo below doesn’t do it justice but believe me its yummy!

chicken dinner - Copy (2)

With the left over chicken (breast), I can now start to prepare what I want to do for tomorrow nights dinner.  Again my slow cooker is my time saver.  The chicken breast will go into the fridge until tomorrow while I prepare a nice sauce to go with it.

The sauce is a variation on the one from the ‘Diet Coke Chicken’ recipe.

ingredients diet coke sauce - Copy

To the slow cooker I add a chopped aubergine, pepper, onion and 2 cloves of garlic together with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 4 tablespoons of Worcester sauce, a can of diet coke, a carton of passata, 2 large teaspoons of dried herbs and 4 tablespoons of tomato puree.  Make sure its not an oil based one.  This is then mixed together.  I will switch the slow cooker on tomorrow morning before I go to work so it will cook all day and be ready for when I get home.

sauce in sc

Tomorrow, I will show you how this sauce turns out and what I have with it!

I already have my breakfast and lunch in fridge for tomorrow as I made double on Sunday night.  Another great time saver.

I hope this is starting to inspire you.

So What did I do with my Lidl Shop?

So once again i’ve been to Lidl to do my weekly shop.   My mistake this week was I waited until it was only an hour from closing on a Sunday!  The shelves were very empty and I struggled to get what I wanted.  Not to worry I still managed to get enough food for the week with extra to freeze.

This weeks shopping cost me £44.70 however I put a lot of it into the freezer ready for next week.  In particular I bought a 21 day aged joint of beef or £6.96.  I cut the joint in half and froze one half for next Sunday.  If you compare what you would pay for a Sunday lunch in a pub or restaurant, this is a really affordable meal!

I know it seems I have less than last week, but I have a lot of products here that compliment what I bought last week and some will go forward to next week.

When looking at your food budget you need to budget over a few weeks to get a good average weekly shop.

This blog will look at what I’ve now done with these and some of my store cupboards products to help inspire you in the kitchen.

As I said before, I work full time and have 2 dogs who need  lot of walks so time is a premium for me. I therefore look for meals that don’t take too long to prepare.

Sunday

Weekends mean a late start so I often only have a brunch and a roast dinner.

Usually I would do a cooked breakfast.  I did do this for my husband but I myself fancied something lighter.  I therefore made myself 40 g of Grape Nuts, chopped banana, quark and topped with a teaspoon of Sweet Freedom Coconut chocolate at 1/2 syn.  This was so filling and delicious.

breakfast today.JPG

We have a regular roast dinner every Sunday.  My husband isn’t on Slimming World so whilst we both have a roast I do his in oil, mine in fry light.  Can you tell the difference?

The correct answer is the green plate is mine – Slimming World friendly,  the other is cooked normally for my husband.  I think you agree that there isn’t much of a difference visually and certainly not by taste.

How did I create it?

 I have an amazing roasting tin which doesn’t require any fat adding so the meat is cooked in its own juice.  Roast potatoes were part boiled then roasted in frylight.  The same goes for the carrots.  Broccoli is boiled.  As for the Yorkshire Pudding, its an Aunt Bessie mix .  My husbands was cooked in hot fat, whereas mine was frylight.  I can’t taste or see the difference.  It just goes to show you can still enjoy your favourite meals without all the calories.

Breakfast 

I wake up just after 5 am to take my dogs out for a walk.  I come home, shower and have a nice cup of Green Tea before I leave at 7 am to catch my train.  I don’t feel like eating breakfast at this time so always make something to eat when I get to work – around 8.30 am.  My favourite is overnight oats.

I put into a pot 40g of oats, 3 large tablespoons of Quark topped with frozen fruit, usually berries.  I leave this in the fridge overnight.  To save time I make a few days up at a time.  It keeps very well in the fridge.

overnight oat.JPG

Lunch

When I’m in the office I like to vary what I have. At the moment I am really enjoying my omelettes.   I tend to go to the gym every lunchtime so only have around 10 minutes to actually eat lunch.

My quick and easy lunch is to pre-cook my omelette in a microwavable mug at home, top with baked beans and cheese (Healthy Extra A).  I then warm it for a couple of minutes it the microwave when I’m back from the gym.  Quick and easy and very filling.

Again I try and make lunch for a couple of days at the same time.

lunch.PNG

The next 2 days I have an omelette made from 3 eggs, ham, tomatoes, and kale.  I cook them in 2 mugs in  microwave for 4 minutes.  When cool I add a third of a tin of baked beans to each and top with 30g of cheese.

I put them into the fridge until i’m ready to pack my lunch box for work.

As I have said before planning is the key to helping you keep on plan.  You can make tasty meals without too much effort.

I have already put a chicken into the slow cooker with chopped lemons ready to turn on in the morning for tomorrows dinner.

Tune in again tomorrow to see what I do next!