Meal Planning Monday w/c 30th January

It's Monday, so its Meal Planning Monday with at Home with Mrs M. My homage to being organised and my one stop shop to staying on track with Slimming World, because planning is the key to success!

No shopping list for me this week, because its all about the freezer! I have a chest freezer which lives in the shed in the garden. It's a horrible place just recently because my son is in charge of keeping it tidy (whoever thought that would be a good idea should be shot) and you can't actually step inside any more. It's not pleasant leaning over all the crap to get it open and then peer inside with the rain coming down. However the freezer is full to capacity, so thought I should at least take a look and see what meals I could plan out of it. Suffice it to say, I have all of this weeks, and probably most of next!

So here we go!

Slow cooker spicy beef (Syn free)
Faggots, mash and vegetables (about 6 Syns)
Sausage casserole (4 syns)
Carrot and coriander soup (Syn free)
Home made fish cakes, slimming world chips and mushy peas (Syn free)
Homemade burgers and wedges
Roast chicken, potatoes and vegetables (1 syn for the gravy)

Not bad! And on the weight loss front I managed to lose 1lb from last's weeks menu. It's slowing down, but all I need is a steady 4 lbs a month to reach my target this year.

There's mine, if you'd like to see more, get yourself over to At Home with Mrs M for more meal planners!

Reasons to be Cheerful Week 4 #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
Week 4 and the time of the week to look back on the great things which have happened, however on reflection its been a slog. My #brokenbum seems to be getting worse (or is it all in my mind) and there's a possibility I may have a problem with my gall bladder. Both conditions are painful and cause nausea, but looking on the brighter side of life, there's a lot worse things which could happen at sea!

So this is why I enjoy joining up with Michelle at Mummy from the Heart as it 'makes' me look back and find the nuggets. Which leads me onto my first reason:

I'm a winner! Thanks to Michelle I shall soon be the proud owner of my very own Silver Mai Tui Ava Style Bag! Very excited, I love handbags and bags in general and have a feeling this one is going to get a lot of use! Well done to all the winners, and another big thank you to Michelle for the opportunity to be in with a chance.

I spent the day on Tuesday at my company's yearly conference, which this year was themed around Britain's Got Talent. I really appreciate the time, effort and lets face it, the money my employer invests in events like this. It makes me feel proud to be part of the company. I got to spend a large portion of the day chatting to colleagues I haven't seen in person since the last conference or putting faces to voices/e-mails of new colleagues. So much time that I totally lost my voice on Wednesday. I'm sure if MrC were to join in Reasons to be Cheerful then this would have made his list!

My subscription to Slimming World was coming to end, and I've been undecided as whether I should renew or not. But when I got up this morning and weighed in, it just didn't feel right to not record and go and check the website out! So the decision has been made, to resubscribe for another year! And for my last reason this week, I've managed to lose another 1lb, which brings my total loss this year to 1 stone!

Long may the weight loss (no matter how slowly) continue!

Shopping List w/c 23rd of January

I've got some 'naughty' things on my shopping list this week to accompany My Meal Planning Monday. But in my defence, Slimming World teaches you to eat what you want in moderation, which is why there are a couple of chocolate items on the list this week. So please remember that (and try not to judge me....... :) )

Screen wash (£1.97)
Pepsi x 2 (£3)
Surf washing fluid (£4)
Classic coffee 400 g (£2.49)
Semi Skimmed Milk x 12 pints (£3.44)
Full fat milk x 6 pints (£1.74) 
4 packs of meat (Mince, bacon and stewing beef) (£10)
Tinned tomatoes x 2 (£0.82)
Value baked beans x 5 (£0.34 each)
Bag of salad leaves (£1.74)
Bag of crisp salad leaves (£0.99) 
2kg bag of potatoes (£1.45)
Stew pack of vegetables (£1.50)
2kg bag of parsnips (£1.50) 
Pack of courgettes (£1.64)
2 tubes of toothpaste (£0.70 each)
Butternut squash (£1.12)
Reduced pack of scones (£1.19)
Bag of value peppers (£1.25)
Soap (£1.50)
2 bags of sprouts (£1) BOGOF
Cucumber (£0.80)
Cadbury Buttons and bag of cadbury raisins (£3)
Cheerios (£2.75)
Cereal Bars x 4 bogof (£2.28 in total)
Wholemeal bread x 2 (£0.69 each)
Eggs (£1.45)

In total around £60.52 I've got a few bits and pieces to use from the freezer this week, but I feel that's not a bad shop

To get back to the meal planning, click here

Meal Planning Monday w/c 23rd of January

Last week was a success in the meal planning front as I think we've eaten everything planned bar one. Sausage casserole turned into sausage sandwiches, but they were lovely!

Another success was I lost a pound, which brings my total this year to 13, another 2 lbs and I will have lost my Christmas weight! 

Onto this week, all Slimming World friendly, so low fat and sugar. In no particular order:

Beef Stew (no Syns if I don't have dumplings)
Roasted Chicken with garlic roasted vegetables (Syn Free)
Garlic Roasted Vegetable Soup (Syn free and a great way to use leftovers!)
Faggots, Mash and Veg (About 8 Syns for 2 faggots)
Homemade Burger, Slimming World Chips and Colslaw (about 2 Syns for the coleslaw)
Baked Potato with Leeks and Smoked Haddock (Syn free)

I'm working away at least one day this week, so the boys will make do with beef stew leftovers with lots of bread, it always tastes better the second day anyway! 

Don't forget to take a look over At Home With Mrs M for more inspirational meal planners, for all tastes, budgets and waistlines! 

And you if you want to see my shopping list, click here!

Listography - Top 5 Biscuits


My beautifully crafted post has disappeared! The blogging gremlin has struck!

Will go hunting and fix it tonight

Please pop back later


Spicy Beef and Red Pepper Stew

This recipe is so easy and tasty and one I will definitely make again. I found it in Jan/Feb 2012 edition of the Slimming World Magazine.

Serves 4
Ready in about 2 hours 30 minutes

800g of stewing steak with all visible fat removed and cut into cubes
3 crushed garlic cloves
2cm piece of fresh root ginger peeled and grated (I used powered)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp of medium curry powder
4 large red peppers deseeded and cut into large bite sized pieces
2 large onions cut into wedges
400g of passata
800ml of beef stock
1 cinnamon sticks (am sure powdered would work as well)
2 cloves (I didn't have any, so didn't use them)
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed (I had these, yay!)
Salt and pepper to season
Finely chopped fresh coriander

The easy version is to put all the ingredients into a large heavy based saucepan. Season well and bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 to 2.5 hours or until the beef is tender.

Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves (if you used them), stir in the coriander and serve! 

Syn Value - free on extra easy

I told you it was easy. I served mine with couscous to soak up the lovely rich gravy. Am sure this can be easily adapted for a slow cooker, by removing a lot of the stock.

Enjoy and let me know how you get on with it! 

Reasons to be Cheerful Week 3 #R2BC

Better late than never as I always say! It's that time of the week (well 3 days late!) to look back and record the great things which have happened. Don't forget to check back at Michelle's site, Mummy from the Heart to see other people's reasons.

Without further ado......

Work is extremely busy (one reason for the late post) because I was out of the office for three days on a course. However I am now a proud owner of a first aid at work certificate. This isn't the certificate, that will be coming in the post and I've managed to lose the badge already (!!!?) but hey ho.

I also only managed to kill the instructor twice (I didn't know you should not lay people flat who were having heart attacks or strokes!! But I do now!) 

Is it wrong I am almost waiting for someone to ill so I can practise??

I have also managed to lose another pound in weight, which takes the total this year to 13. Another 2 and I will have lost my Christmas weight, which means I only (only....!?) have 3 stones to lose this year to reach my target. But more of that I'm sure as the year progresses.

I've also taken delivery of this!

My coccyx cushion! So my #brokenbum is a lot more comfortable at work! 

And talking about work, my last reason to be cheerful was following an email exchange, from a manager who I have never met, saying he enjoyed reading my blog. What more could a girl ask for! I'm famous! Or is that infamous.......

Anyway, don't forget to check out Michelle's Reasons to be Cheerful and why not join in too! I promise, it will make you feel better as there is always something which has lightened the week, no matter how dark it feels

Shopping List - 16th January

My shopping list from the first Meal Planning Monday seemed to go down well, so have decided to give it another go. As usual I have shopped at Tesco. Where possible, I try not to go mad and usually choose the value or own brand options.

5 kg of potatoes (£1.69)
12 pints of semi-skimmed milk (£3.48)
12 pints of full fat milk (£3.48)
dishwasher tablets x 60 (£6)
Luncheon meat £0.75)
Lamb kidneys( £1.28)
Lamb livers (£1.15)
Cottage cheese with chives (£0.69)
Packet sauce mix (£0.49)
Tomato Ketchup (£1.69)
Value low fat yogurts pack of four x 2 (£0.66)
Beef Casserole Steak x 2
Thick cut bacon - 3 packs of meat for( £10)
Low fat sausages (£1.98)
Low fat soft cheese (£1.07)
Cheerios (£2.75)
Rocket salad leaves (£1)
Butter beans tinned (£0.98)
Baked beans x 2 (£0.68)
400 g coffee (£2.15)
Tinned mixed bean salad (£0.92)
Sandwich tomato's pack of 4 (£0.80)
Passata x 2 (£0.92)
Oxo Cubes 12 pack (didn't have any bigger packs grrrr) (£0.75)
Ground rice (£0.99)
Flaked rice (£0.69)
Gala apples (£1)
2 kg pack of fresh tomatoes (£2)
Cereal bars for Mr C x 4 (£2.28)
MU lighter cheddar cheese (£3.50)
Mixed bag of peppers (£1.65)
Cabbage (£1)
Macaroni pasta (£1.40)
2kg bag of carrots (£0.89)
Tiny pasta bows (£0.75)
Brussel sprouts (£1)
Pack of onions (£1.05)
Fresh basil plant (£1.25)
2 loaves of bread(£1)
Notebook (£1.10)
18 value eggs (£1.45)

Total bill was £73.21 (or round about that!) 

So for that, we have gotten food, drinks and householder cleaning stuff for the week. To get yourself back to the Meal Planning Monday, click here

Meal Planning Monday w/c 16th January

Feel really bad that I missed last week's meal planner. Only the second one of the year and I missed it. But if I am being honest, it would have looked like this
I am away working all week, the boys will be eating tinned stuff and I will be stuffing myself from restaurants and hotel menu's
Boring really, but what I could have told you was following my first week back on Slimming World and I lost 9.5 pounds! And last week, even though I ate out nearly every night I managed to lose 2.5 pounds. Go me! 12 pounds in two weeks and everything going in the right direction!
As promised I have also blogged the recipes for the Butter Bean and Cumin Soup and Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Risotto
The best way for me to stay on track is to plan, plan and plan and Mrs M's Meal Planning Monday is ideal. Get yourself over there for more meal planning, but if Slimming World is your bag, I'm your girl

So onto this week, in no particular order so I can move things around a bit depending on how I feel and workload:-

*Tomato and Basil Risotto (syn free)
*Liver and Onions, with Mash and Cabbage (syn free)
Sausage Casserole (4 syns)
*Macaroni Cheese (3 syns)
*Spicy Beef and Red Pepper Stew (syn free)
Homemade burgers and Coleslaw (syn free)
*Cheese and Onion Pie (4 syns)                                                                                                                                                                    

Lunches will be salads with couscous or pasta, left-overs or soups. And breakfast is going to be good old beans on toast. It's really helped me keep on track for the day.
There are a few new recipes on there for me (marked with a *) Will blog them if they work out.

There you go, my meal planner. Get yourself over to Meal Planning Monday from at Home with Mrs M for more inspiration.

And if you'd like to see the shopping list for this week, click here

Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Risotto

I love a risotto, they are quick and easy to make, creamy and tasty. The texture as the food moves over the taste-buds is delightful! Another recipe I saw in a diabetic cook book, which I've adapted. The squashes make a beautiful creamy nutty flavour which compliments the rice beautifully

Serves 4

1 cal spray
1 lb 2oz of cubed pumpkin or butternut squash or mix of the two
1 chopped onion
1 cloves of garlic
8 oz of risotto rice
1/4 pint of dry white wine
1.4 pints of vegetable stock
salt and pepper
4 tsp of Parmesan cheese
fresh parsley, chopped

Spray saucepan with 1 cal and saute the pumpkin and/or butternut squash for 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute for another 5 minutes
Stir in the rice and white wine
Simmer gently until the wine is absorbed
In the meantime, make up your vegetable stock and keep it warm in another saucepan
Add the stock a ladle at a time until all the stock is used and the rice is tender.
Check the taste and season if needed. Stir in the parsley and Parmesan and  serve on warmed plates.

Syn Value - about 3 per serving

The Syns come from the white wine and Parmesan cheese, it can be made without both ingredients and become Syn free. I think the added Syns are worth it for the taste though!


Butter Bean & Cumin Soup

I saw this recipe in a diabetic cook book, as my mum has recently been diagnosed and adapted it slightly to reduce the Syns. It's wonderfully warming, tasty and was great with a big green salad and wholemeal roll

Serves 4

8oz of dried butter beans
1 cal spray 
1 large chopped onion
2 large chopped carrots
2 pints of vegetable stock
1 tsp of ground cumin
fat free natural yogurt
salt and pepper

Syn Value - big fat zero 0 for the soup. 

Rinse the beans and put in a large bowl. Cover with water and leave to soak for at least 12 hours. I did mine overnight. I am sure tinned butter beans would work too and no need to soak but I was watching the pennies! 
In a large saucepan, spray the 1 cal and gentle 'fry' the onions and carrots for 5 minutes until the are soft.
Add the beans, stock and cumin. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat, simmer for an hour until the beans are tender
Once cooked and cooled slightly whizz in the food processor (or in my case a handheld whizzer!) Season and then return to the pan to warm through.
Once spooned into the bowls, put a swirl of yogurt in the soup and serve.

The soup is thick and has a velvety texture on the tongue. Next time I do this, I am going to experiment and replace the cumin with chillie. 

Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC Week 2

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Wow, what a week! Been so busy, I've not know whether I have been coming or going. However at the same time its been a great one, for lots of reasons. 

Firstly, thank you so much to Michelle for recommending me on her post this week, very unexpected. I certainly don't feel I'm inspirational, I'm just trying to get through and enjoy my life with as little fuss and drama as possible. When things go wrong, which happens to us all, I turn things around to see the brighter side. I find once accepted, I can move on and deal with it better. Don't get me wrong, it's not easy to do, but ultimately I feel better for it. So my fight last year wasn't pleasant, but I've met some wonderful people because of it.

Onto my second great news, I've been awarded a liebster by @Funky_wellies I wasn't having the best evening when I read it, and it made my night! Really cheered my up, so thank you. I'm now thinking about my acceptance/thank you post!

The week has been busy because I spent 4 nights away working, which although hard for the diet (more on that shortly) meant I got to meet more of my wonderful colleagues. I work for a brilliant company, full of talented people and whenever I get out and about, they truly energise me. Our team meeting, the first this year, with lots of new people, felt so comfortable and like we'd been working together for months, not the first time we'd collectively met. The dinner at Tylney Hall was amazing, I think I will blog that another time! 

Which leads me onto the diet healthy eating plan!. Eating out technically isn't hard, there are a lot of healthy choices, however I can be easily led! Truth be known, I wasn't looking forward to it!  But this week, I kept at it, enjoyed what was on offer, ate well (as in healthily) but didn't feel hard done by. And it paid off with a 2.5 lb loss. That's 12 lb this year, how could I top that as a reason to be cheerful?

Well I can, with a trip into London on Monday, to have dinner with my daughter Amy. I spotted her through the crowd at Waterloo Station and it struck me how much she had changed in the short time she'd been there following the move in September. She looked confident as she strode through the concourse, dodging people as she went. Being small has it's advantages! She is just so happy and although its not a bed of roses, she's making choices and decisions to improve things. I'm proud of her and it was wonderful to see Amy in her own, new environment. My little girl, is now a woman! My job is now complete .......... (if you know what I mean!) She has her own blog Marvelous Adventures of a Devon Girl, go and take a look and see what you think.

Don't forget to check out Michelle's post and the other people who take the time to link up each week. 
And remember, it takes more energy to frown that it does to smile, plus it feels better!

Reasons to be Cheerful Week 1 #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
Happy New Year! There has got to be date when you don't say that to anyone anymore, do you know when that is??

I love this meme, I have no idea why I fell by the wayside in December, but here I am back, all shiny and new. And that is how I feel about this time of year. I used to find the New Year, the celebration itself very depressing. I felt there was a lot of pressure to have a good time, meet with friends and celebrate the start of the new year. But as soon as I realised, I was the one putting the pressure onto myself, the holidays became mine again. Something to enjoy and savour my way. So I spent it with MrC, quietly at home but looking forward, in both senses of the word, to the new year.

So onto my reasons this week!

I'm back onto the healthy eating plan this week (another thing which fell my the wayside) Weighed in today and have lost a brilliant 9.5 lbs!!! So pleased with myself. I know next week it will be a more modest loss, but what a great way to start back??

My kids are great at the moment. Spent time with Amy over Christmas, I'm pleased to see how happy she is and how she's coping with everything London life is throwing at her. James is knuckling down and working for his exams. He's playing hard too! But hey, you are only young once.

Am crocheting more and enjoying the results! Not only do I (hopefully) get a lovely scarf or hat at the end of it, it stops me eating! You can't crochet and eat at the same time, FACT! I'm not one to follow a pattern, find them hard to understand, but with perseverance, I am getting there. Here is my latest project, a ruffle scarf. We won't mention it looks a bit like a High Court Judge's wig!!!

I'm back at the gym, following the gammy foot episode and have decided to train for the 26 mile St Luke's Hospice Midnight Walk. I've managed the 13 miles a couple of times now, but decided the extra challenge (26 miles!! Am I mad???!) will spur me on and help with the losing weight

Don't forget to get yourself over to Michelle at Mummy from the Heart to read the other R2BC

All in all, I am a very happy bunny, long may it continue. But then if I have anything to do with it, it will. I am choosing my attitude and today's is happy and optimistic

Shopping List 2nd January

Thought I would write up my weekly shopping list to go with my Monday Meal Planner. Maybe something I do regularly but will have to see how that goes!
I try and be frugal with my groceries and use all the fresh things up through the week. However I do have a very bad habit of buying up a lot store cupboard stuff. I think this stems from my need to keep cupboards stocked for emergencies. I remember many years ago and before I married, I had a cash flow problem. I basically had no money to eat and had to eat out of the cupboard for a couple of weeks. I nearly starved! That will never happen to me again! 

Onto my list

Semi skimmed milk 12 pints (£3.48)
Full fat milk 12 pints (£3.48) We go through this much milk every week and I don't use it! It's all MrC in his coffee and James with his cereal!
Tinned marrow fat peas (£0.24)
Baked beans x 6 (£0.28 each)
Tinned tomatoes x 4 (£0.38 each)
Tinned sweetcorn (£0.48)
Tinned bean salad x 2 (£0.66 each)
Mushy peas (£0.17)
Green Lentils (tinned) (£0.54)
Decaf coffee (£2.49)
Coffee (£1.99) married to a coffeeholic
Parmesan cheese dried (£1.74)
Passata x 2 (£0.39 each)
Lean minced beef x 3 (3 for £10, one for the freezer!)
Cous cous (for the cupboard) (£0.69)
Minced garlic (£1.59)
Pasta - Conchiglioni Rigati 500g (Finest Range for the cupboard. A bit of a treat) (£1.57)
Nail polish remover (for MrC to remove paint from his lead figures...honest!) (£1.12)
Pasta 500g - more conchiglie but the regular stuff (£1.19)
Bulgar wheat (£0.89)
Bachelor's savoury rice (for emergencies) (£0.65)
Risotto rice (£1.12)
Hair conditioner (£2.15)
Loads of throw away freezer containers (for left overs)(£6.06)
Pack of crumbed ham (for the boys)(£1)
Cucumber (£0.80)
Celery (£0.83)
Mini peppers (not really needed but were on offer and look really cute!)(£1)
Organic sweet peppers (£1.50)
Pack of 3 peppers x 2 (I love them!) (£1.65 each)
Bag of mixed leaves x 2 (an extravagance but I need to eat more salad!) (£1 each)
Squash (I wanted pumpkin but they didn't have any. Already had a butternut squash in the fridge) (£1.50)
Packet of mushrooms (£1.18
Bag of small apples x 2 (I will take one to work with me for snacks) (£0.71 each)
Bag of parsnips (£0.88)
Punnet of cherry tomatoes (am going to make up a box of salad to keep in the fridge, sliced tomatoes go soggy!) (£1)
Pack of onions (£1.05)
Leek x 4 (£2)
Brown bread x 2 (£1.15 each)

Came to £69.19

I am sure if I were to shop around and get my vegetables from a grocer I could get things cheaper but for me its the convenience of getting everything in one place. It's hard enough to work full time, do all the housework and cook as much from scratch as possible without also stressing myself out shopping around. I am not super woman!
But anyway, what do you think?

Meal Planning Monday (2nd January 2012)

Like most people at this time of year, I have decided today is the day I go back onto the Slimming World eating plan! I need to! I've put on nearly 20 lbs since I stopped following, and Christmas hasn't helped. I'm just thankful I gave my old 'fat' jeans away or I may have been tempted to carry on eating! Actually, no I wasn't tempted. This year I AM going to lose at least another 3 stone (on top of the 20 lbs which have crept on!) so I need to be committed to it.

The easiest thing for me is to meal plan and then link with Mrs M's brilliant Meal Planning Monday, to keep me on track (and makes sure I do it!) The first week I find is the hardest (all the more so because there are still too many Christmas goodies around the house) but here goes!

In no particular order we are having (because I don't cook anything different for the rest of the family)

*Butter Bean and Cumin Soup (syn free)
*Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Risotto (Think its about 4 syns, am adapting a recipe)
Spaghetti Bolognaise and salad (syn free)
Dry Fried Eggs,  Beans and Slimming World Chips (syn free)
Pasta Bake and vegetables (syn free)
Cottage Pie with plenty of vegetables (syn free)
Chickpea and Red Roasted Pepper Pilaf (syn free)

* will blog the recipe once I've tried them!

Am planning on having a lot of Slimming World Super Speed Soup for lunches at work to get my first week going really well! And breakfast's will be eggs or beans on toast. 

Bought a lot of throw away freezer containers for the left overs which I can then have on standby for when I don't want to cook from scratch

Have just done my weekly shop for this and it came to £69.19 which I didn't think was bad. Take a look here if you want to see the whole list! 

So there you go, my first week back on plan. Check back next week and see how much I have lost and if you want some inspiration for your own meal planner, don't forget to take a look at At Home with Mrs M!