Google+ Forget dieting forever: November 2011

If you love cooking and experimenting with new recipes - you've come to the right place! Not only do we have delicious recipes - we also share our SUCCESSFUL WEIGHT LOSS story.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wednesday weight

Our weigh in comes round so fast.... especially when you are studying!  I've had to focus on an essay, and find this has been helpful - as it takes my mind off food. 

We have both lost another 1/2 lb this week.  I can see the difference around my waistline and know there is more to come.  Keep chipping away, like we do, and overall the weightloss should follow. 

I checked my BMI this morning and it is down 0.2, since my last reading a week or so ago.  It's slowly going down, and I'm getting closer to my healthy BMI.  I'm quite excited, and especially when I look back over the past 11 months. 

Yesterday I had a sandwich for lunch followed by or favourite "good" meal - a skinless 200g chicken breast, sweetcorn cob, dressed salad and new potatoes.  I didn't get to sneak in a walk, so hopefully we'll do that today?

Today we are going to have a chicken casserole, cooked in tarragon, with carrots, peas, new potatoes and dumplings.  Lunch will be a sandwich again.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday is for relaxing with...

Slow roast shoulder of lamb!  Perfect for us as we can go out without having to think too much about the lamb roasting away.  We've put the lamb into a dimpled top oval roasting tin.  It's sitting on a bed of vegetables, some rosemary and thyme, and a little water. 

We're going to serve this with roast potatoes, cauli, carrots, brussel sprouts and peas.  We love our Sunday roast, as it helps lift our metabolism which seems to help our long term weight loss. 

It was interesting talking to a friend in the pub on Friday.  He seems to have understood our method for losing weight, and was explaining how well he was doing following our method.  Curiously though, he hadn't quite understood about eating properly at meal times.  He explained how he ate a special 'calorie counted' slimming meal.  He then said that these meals didn't really fill him up.  So we showed him our typical daily meals, and he was shocked.  "You eat ALL of that" he said.  Yes we do.  He was amazed at the size of our meals and in particular the Sunday roast.  "But you've lost so much weight" he continued.  It seems that he, and thousands of others think that the only way to lose weight is to go on a restrictive diet and eat special packets of diet foods.  Not so for us!  We asked him if he felt like snacking and he said yes.  We suggested he tried filling his plate with nutritious meals, and I showed him a few pictures stored on my iphone.  He couldn't argue, as he could see we have lost over 5 stone between us.  We stick by our rule - eat plenty at mealtimes, of good nutritious food, fill up enough so you DON'T snack.  It's the snacks that add up in the end. 

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Saturday menu

We walked to the pub last night and realised both our belts needed to be tightened another notch.  What constantly surprises us is the way the weight is disappearing.  It follows the same pattern.  The body seems to swing wildly by as much as 3 lbs over a couple of weeks.  Our weight hovers, then suddenly drops quite a large amount.  Then there is a period where the weight stays the same, while the body seems to change shape.   So at the moment, we are busy changing shape!  For both of us it is around the belly area again - which is brilliant.

For today we're going to start off with some porridge for breakfast.  I make this with full fat milk and pour over some syrup.  This is a great start to the day and will fill us up.

Lunch is probably going to be bacon and eggs, with tomatoes, beans and toast.  I say "probably", because we want to go for a long walk (around an hour) and this lunch will replenish the salt and nutrients our body seems to crave after exercise.  We aim to eat no more than 700 calories.

Dinner is going to be a bit of a treat, and I'll have the camera ready.  We are going to have scallops on cauliflower puree, followed by sea bass with fennel.  We're busy looking up recipes, which we'll then adapt to make our own version.  I've never cooked fennel before, and really fancy this for some reason.  The total calories for both courses will come to no more than around 800 calories.

With the walk using up around 300 calories, and today being one of our full calorie days (2000 for me and 2500 for my other half) we have pleny of room for a snack/dessert and a glass or two of good wine.  What better way is there to lose weight!!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Faggots!!!

Well here we are, eating faggots, mash and peas with some wonderful onion gravy.  Sorry but it is fantastic and the mash (made with King Edwards) was just about the best - with a little bit of butter.  The King Ted, as it is known, is fabulous for mash in particular, as it is so fluffy.

We have no idea about the calorie count, but we've been working all day in the house and burning some calories, so we suspect we might just come out OK.  Calories - we would anticipate about 600 because it involves boiled potatoes (mash), boiled peas, and some offal/pork with onion gravy.  I believe it would equate to no more than a good stew, so 600 calories will be over estimating if anything!

The only problem is - the dish is not photogenic enough to put on my blog!  Sorry, but the picture doesn't do justice to the phenominal taste. It's one of those dishes you either love or hate.  We love it of course. If I receive any requests for a pic, then of course, we will put it on the blog. 

Lunch ....

It's always good to be back home eating the fresh food.  We enjoyed our break but find that when we are busy shopping and sight seeing, we prefer to eat on the go.  This often means a quick break with a sandwich - which is processed.  So to get back to simple, fresh and tasty food is great.  Here's a typical salad for us.  We would usually eat our salads with new potatoes and a little butter, as this is the most filling.  If we don't have new potatoes, then we will have a good chunk of fresh bread (rather than sliced processed bread).

We thoroughly enjoyed this salad, which cost around 400 calories.  We shared a large tin of tuna, there was a little hard boiled egg and a small amount of grated cheese.  So filling and delicious.

As we both have a day off today, we are working around the house and garden (burning calories), so we may not go for a walk.  If we do walk, it will more than likely be to the pub.  Our walking increases the amount we can eat, or, increases weightloss.

After a few days away!

It's the Wednesday weigh in again.  My partner is down 3/4 lb and I have stayed the same.  This is a great result as it is all in the right direction.  In fact my partner can honestly say he has occasionally stayed the same weight but usually lost weight EVERY week.  We've been away for a couple of fantastic days and eating a lot more processed food again.  We're also experiencing larger swings in weight during the week, as often happens when our body decides to finally let go of a weight 'range' it recognises.  I also think processed food makes me hold more water than usual, and notice this moreso after going away, when we don't have access to our own kitchen. 

I'm convinced our weight loss will slowly but surely keep going down, because of the way we have decided to eat.  I've even bought a pair of jeans that are a bit smaller than I need, to give me an added focus to aim for by Christmas.  I'm looking forward to wearing them. 

So to get back to less processed food, we're going to eat the following today:

Porridge with syrup for breakfast
Tuna salad with buttered new potatoes and a little grated cheese for lunch
Faggots, peas and mash with onion gravy for dinner

If you've never had faggots before they are pretty interesting.  Made up of pig's offal and meat with herbs.  We've bought ours from the butcher and will be making our own gravy.  It's a wonderful winter warmer, and I can't remember the last time we had them. 

I'll take some pictures later. 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Wow, our steak meal tonight!!

We cooked the battered onion rings for the first time, using tempura batter.  Following an internet recipe or two, we decided upon our ingredients and went for it.  I liked the idea of adding cornflour to self raising flour, which we did.  But our first batch of onion rings turned out sadly lacking enough batter, as it had fallen off:
So, what we did was add a little more flour, actually about 35g in total.  This made the batter stick to the food so much better.  And what a taste it was.  So light and delicious!  Here is our finished dish:

So there you have it.  A meal that cost us around 600 calories, was brimming full of flavour and... more to the point, we couldn't finish because we were so full.  The battered onion rings were fabulous.  More to the point, we eat what we enjoy and because of that, we don't need to pick or snack because we've denied ourselves anything.  To some this meal fails as it has no chips, but to be honest, we much prefer the fresh taste of the new potatoes to chips.  So, whatever takes your fancy, please eat and enjoy.  Just know what your are eating, how many calories are in your food, and choose to eat it or not. 

Our Saturday

We went for a nice walk today, to clear the cobwebs and enjoy the sunshine.  Both of us sporting new low weights and feeling quite positive.  We began our day with porridge smothered in syrup.  This set us up nicely for our walk and gave us lots of energy.

Lunch was a simple affair.  Bacon, eggs and baked beans with toast.  We knew we needed the salt after the walk, because the beans tasted OK (normally they are quite salty).  The lunch was "free" as we had just clocked up enough calories from the walk, which was admittedly longer than we intended.  Remember today we get to eat a full calorie allowance too.

This evening we are having a sirloin steak, new potatoes and a salad.  If my other half gets time, we will have some home made battered onion rings........... we'll see.  But first, we are going to enjoy home made ravioli, with sage butter.  Basically it's butternut squash soup but thicker.  We added some ameretti, bread crumbs, crushed fennel and some ground almonds.  We fiddled around with the recipe which I'm going to have to post at some point.  Again, I have to say WOW.  What an explosion of flavour.  We treated ourselves to just 3 of these little pockets and added the sage butter, which surprised me, as the sage was lovely and crispy, the butter infused.  The topping was just a little grated parmesan, and the dish was PERFECT.  Here it is before I added the parmesan and a little pepper:


I think 3 ravioli was just right, as I am now waiting for the steak.  I made the sauce, which is creamy mushroom.  I fried some garlic and onions, added 2 tablespoons of brandy and just 90ml of stock (you could use half a stock cube).  I had quite a few mushrooms in the fridge, so decided to finely chop us around 8 of them and add to the pan.  After around 15 minutes of cooking, I sieved the mixture.  The liquid was then reduced to about 2 tablespoons.  I then added the remaining sliced mushrooms (about 6) to the pan and cooked for around 3 minutes.  This is the prep.  When we want to heat the sauce, we will simply add a good dollop of double cream and heat through.  Simple.

The steak will be served with the mushroom sauce, new potatoes and a side salad/parmesan shavings.  This is the first time we will have eaten the large onion rings in tempura batter and if they turn out OK we'll post a piccy so you can see what they turned out like. 

The steak meal will come to around 500 calories, and if the onion rings turn out they will add around another 100 calories.  We are hoping to "boost" our metabolism every weekend by eating our maximum allowance.  We've found this helps our weight loss continue slowly but steadily downwards, eating whatever we want.  Both myself and my partner agreed today that we would never have imagined losing so much weight this way!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wednesday's results

Just as we suspected, our bodies are going through some sort of fat shift.  This has happened, it's almost as if the body refuses to let go of the fat for some reason.  Well our weigh in today has taken us both to new low weights and we are so pleased.  On average my partner has lost 1 lb per week, and I have lost a little less, but overall, we are still going DOWN in weight.

Today I have lost 1 1/4 lb - which, for a change is higher than my other half.  My partner is down 1 lb today.  We knew the weight loss was coming, as we could "feel" a difference in our bodies. 

Meals are simple from Monday to Thursday.  Today will be as follows:

Porridge with syrup for breakfast
Cheese and mushroom omelette with a good side salad
Sausages, beans and mash for a change

We aim to eat 200 cals for breakfast, 500 for lunch and 600 at our evening meal.  With a few cups of tea/coffee and maybe snacks up to 200 calories, I will hit around 1500-1600 calories.  I aim for 1500 calories over these 4 days.  Add to that a short walk around 40 minutes, which could be two 20 minute walks, I can burn off 200 calories and bring my calories down.  Small tweaks here and there have resulted in our dramatic weight loss over the last 10 months.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A beautiful walk on Sunday

As the weather was absolutely gorgeous, we went for a walk in the autumn sunshine.  The views were perfect, and the exercise was welcome.  We went for a walk in a place where I have many childhood memories.

Here is a folly dating back to 1766:


We also saw some beautiful cottages around the same era, here's one of them - I love the chimney pots and dove cote!


Our Sunday meal is pork chop with a variety of veggies.  Just what we need.  All the veg is steamed too so very healthy for us.  We were pleasantly surprised at just how good this dish tasted, as we don't usually buy pork chops.  The meal was no more than 500 calories too.  This is good old fashioned eating - fresh ingredients and cheap too.  Couldn't wait to eat it, so the pic is a bit fuzzy.  A lot less calories than your typical Sunday roast with all those roasters.



Portion size

It struck me how I blindly followed the instructions on the pack when making up some porridge.  I then found it difficult to eat the whole bowlful.  I've now adjusted the quantities, taking control, and saved myself a few calories, and a few pence too.

45g of porridge oats has now become 35g, and this is the perfect portion for me.  A saving of almost 20% of the calories is a bonus, and I no longer find the last few spoonfuls difficult to eat. 

These small adjustments to your diet will pay dividends in the end.  It's easy to follow the manufacturers recommendations, but we all have different needs.  In fact you may find 45g of porridge doesn't fill you up, so change it.  The point of eating breakfast is to feel satisfied enough which then helps eliminate the need for snacks later. 

Ready meals

We popped into the supermarket yesterday for some last minute vegetables.  Still unsure what we were going to cook for our evening meal, we looked for some inspiration.  We spotted the indian ready meals, and there was a large boxed meal for two, supermarket's own brand.  It sounded inviting, and contained naan bread, rice for two, a couple of onion bhajis, 2 small curry dishes.  But what stared out at us quite clearly was the number of calories.  Each person would consume just under 1300 calories! 

I'm sure if you wanted this, you could juggle your daily allowance to include it.  Most takeaways are high in calories, so we steer clear generally.  If we do fancy a curry, we have it, but not that often these days.  It's all about choice, and we love so many kinds of food, that there always seems to be better things to choose from. 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Our Saturday experiment

Well here it is, all cooked and looking good, I've left off the pepper and parmesan, as I want to taste it first:



Wow.  You have to make this stock, it makes all the difference!  The flavour is so intense and could really be used on its own as a sauce for any pasta.  Yet, it compliments the ravioli and enhances the filling.  You could even add more breadcrumbs to the filling mix, as the sauce is the key to the whole dish (not the filling).  I tried one piece with grated parmesan and found the cheese simply overpowered the delicate yet intense fish flavour.  We are so pleased - and the pasta is perfect. A good chunk of fresh bread completed the dish, and our hunger pangs were driven away. 

How nice is this?  To enjoy such fantastic food, costing so little, using a bit of imagination (and willingness to attempt something new) is fantastic.  Forget dieting forever.  Have whatever you want to eat.  We do, and our weight is coming off.  Just KNOW what it is you are eating and make a choice to either to eat or not.  We've done our exercise today, which will take care of the wine we are having with our meal.  It's simple.  Nothing is free.  You have to be in control, and the weight loss will follow.

Fresh pasta recipe!

This is our first attempt at fresh ravioli using our new pasta machine.  We're just a couple of foodies who love to experiment.  We generally eat fairly easy food, but on weekends we like to try something new or complex (when we have time).
We had some frozen langoustines which we bought a while ago at a budget supermarket.  The whole box contained 24 pieces and cost just £6.  By the time we've finished we will have made 4 meals (for two).


Recipe for the ravioli filling:

6 frozen langoustines - or you could use prawns
vegetable stock
half a lemon - zested
juice of half a lemon
make 50g of fresh breadcrumbs (we used some old freezer bread)

Begin by taking all the meat out of the langoustines.  Fiddly but good fun.  Put the shells in the vegetable stock and boil up, then simmer for at least 30 mins.  The longer you simmer, the stronger the flavour.  Whizz together - langoustine meat, the zest of half a lemon plus HALF of the juice from half of the lemon, and the breadcrumbs. 
Sieve the simmered stock, and reduce to a quarter.  Take some of this and ADD to the langoustine/breadcrumb mix.  Keep adding until you get a consistency of a thick mayonaisse.  You will have some left over, which will go into making the sauce to go on the ravioli
The rest of the stock will be used for the sauce.  Just add a little double cream and season to taste.
As this is our first real attempt, we'll report back later with a picture of the finished dish, together with our assessment.  I sort of enjoy this kind of torture, especially when I am starving hungry.

Losing weight eating the food we love!
REMEMBER: We all have a calorie allowance - and we like to post our main meals to show you what we are eating. You won’t find us posting every last morsel though – but we hope this gives you an idea of how far calories can go!
Read about OUR UNIQUE METHOD of weight loss and find out how we have lost weight eating the food we love.
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Our weekend meal plan

We are going to eat well over the weekend, especially as we are going to some exercise of some sort.  We've really missed going for the longer walks recently, and it's as if the body recognises this too.  It's important to eat well and take in all the nutrients necessary for exercise, as we have found it actually helps improve our performance. 

Porridge for breakfast will give us enough fuel to get us going.  After exercising, we'll grab lunch which will include some salty food, and we suspect we'll eat out, so we're not sure what it will be.  When we eat out, we do a rough calculation about the calories, and don't worry too much about what we do eat.  Our evening meal will be new potatoes, salad and some meat of some sort.  Possibly pork chops? 

We're not going to eat a typical Sunday lunch tomorrow, and the menu will be very similar to today's. 

Interestingly, we watched a programme during the week about how eating can cure ailments.  Having watched the programme it appears the way we eat includes many of the foods recommended. It could explain why we are usually greeted by friends saying just how healthy we look.  Unlike some people who lose lots of weight through various "silly" diets which omit foodgroups and can leave them looking drawn and unhealthy.  We eat everything.

A busy week

Our weigh in last week saw both of us maintaining our weight, with no weight loss.  This was interesting, because we had sneaked in some good exercise.  What we are both experiencing once more is a large fluctuation in weight.  We both hit a new low, then bounce back to a higher weight.  This is settling down slightly now, and we suspect the weight loss will continue on its downward spiral.  When this has happened before, we tend to hover at a weight, then all of a sudden it disappears.  It's as if our bodies are not used to the new low weight.  It's not a problem for us, as there are signs that it is all disappearing nicely and I can certainly see the belly fat changing shape, so the fat is redistributing itself somehow.

Apart from this, I have been busy studying.  I've signed up for a new course and hadn't realised just how much work there is to do.  I am up to speed now, so everything should return to normal with my regular posts.

Today we plan to make the most of the dry weather and go for a good walk or cycle ride.  We have maintained our calorie allowance despite exercising less, which is partly due to bad weather and my new study course.  So no excuses today. 

Friday to Sunday we stoke up our metabolism and eat a full calorie allowance, and the additional calories from any form of exercise, will increase the chances of weight loss.  It's a simple equation after all.  We have sparked so much interest among our friends who continue to ask how on earth we are losing so much weight.  I did laugh to myself last night in the pub though - I overheard a group of friends, all burly rugby players chatting and one of them shouted "well how many calories were in that then".  Perhaps people really are taking in what we are doing after all. 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sunday lunch with all the trimmings

That's what we are having today.  Roast beef, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and lots of vegetables.   We've treated ourselves to a proper roasting joint, rather than a slow roast joint, because we want to have rare roast beef.  We're going to sit the beef on some onions, and use the onions (which should have caramalised nicely) in our gravy.  It's one of our full calorie days, and we thought we would indulge. I'm really looking forward to it, and will post a picture later.

We've been eating porridge for breakfast instead of full fat plain greek yoghurt.  I make the porridge with full fat milk and top it with syrup.  This fills me up so I don't snack.  Snacking is unnecessary if we eat enough for our meal.  When we do snack, it's because we really fancy something, rather really "need" to eat something. 

Butternut squash soup is on the menu next week, and we are going to make this later today too. 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Results

I have successfully lost 3/4 lb and my partner has lost 1/2 lb this week.  More importantly though, our appearance is changing due to plenty of walking and the odd cycle ride.  We are fitter and more toned, and it feels good.

Eating porridge for breakfast and soups for lunch will all add up in the long run.  I didn't get to make the smoked haddock chowder (cullen skink), and I'm quite fancying having the fish with poached eggs and spinach for lunch instead today.

One very pleasing comment came yesterday, when my brother called round to see us.  We hadn't seen him for a couple of months, not that long ago really, and we didn't think we had lost that much weight since last seeing him.  After what he said though, I think the walking has worked, adding muscle tone shaping us up too.  I opened the door was taken aback by what he said.  In very few words, he said something I had been waiting to hear from anyone.  He said "Wow" looking me up and down saying "you look... you look...  so thin".  I thought it was quite funny, but loved that word "thin".  Then, when he saw my partner he just said "Where's the other half of you then".

So there it is.  The proof that eating properly, and forgetting all about diets, really does work.  Eating all the food groups, just eating normally, but knowing what you are eating and most importantly, just being honest with yourself, is the answer.  We all know when we sneak some chocolate, we just have to be brave and admit it to ourselves, include it in the total number of calories we've allowed ourselves to eat that day.  Exercise means you can eat more, or lose more weight - your choice.   We find we exercise more if we know we've overeaten.

I'm going to enjoy my three days of eating a normal calorie allowance now, and we are going to keep on eating this way until we have reached our healthy BMI.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

120 calories per portion!! Yes. Soup with real flavour.

This has to be the easiest soup we have ever attempted.  We've just made over one whole litre of curried parsnip soup and blended it.  It is thick, creamy and very very moreish.  The parsnips cost 58p - last of the big spenders.  It was simplicity itself and took no effort at all.  I used just a small teaspoon of curry powder, and I feel that's enough for us - but it will all depend on what curry powder you use.  It's best to put less in to start with.

We are both very pleasantly surprised at the result.  The milk and water/stock was perfect ie 1 part milk to 2 parts water/stock.  It has blended perfectly, and tastes very very creamy.  I may add a bit more water to it tomorrow.  For us that's a bonus, we didn't need to use cream as some recipes suggest, and our weight loss will be quicker.  I think the soup will be well served with some toast - something crunchy to balance out the creamy texture, maybe croutons if you fancy. 

A ready made soup would set you back at least £3 for this amount of soup, whereas our homemade version is way under £1.  At 480 calories for the batch which makes 4 good portions - that's a very tasty 120 calories per portion, however, eat half of it (if you can) and that's 240 calories of low fat, nutritious warmth.


Because it was so low in calories, we added this topping to give it some texture.  Using fried onion and bacon, then a swirl of cream for good measure.  For two people I used half a red onion, thinly sliced, one very large shallot and one slice of bacon cut into very small pieces.  The topping might bring the whole dish to around 200 calories.  Simply fry the ingredients until crisp and sprinkle on the soup.  
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