Enjoy Christmas without overdoing it!

I hope that all your shopping and planning for Christmas is going well with just a week to go.

I know that however organised I try to be there is always something that I am rushing round to do in the final few days.

That is why I am attaching my Weight Away Christmas special which has some hints and tips to help you over the Christmas period and some recipe and drink suggestions that will help you not to go over the top

weight away xmas special 2017

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Comfort food for the Christmas Snow

I think it has been lovely to actually see some proper snow this year but hopefully it will disappear again for the working week.

The one thing that cold weather does though is make you want comfort food so why not get into the habit of making some nice stews and casseroles that are great for these cold nights and also freeze well if you make enough for another meal.

You can throw in all sorts of veg and only a little meat so it will be cheap, healthy and nutritious.  With the added bonus of keeping you warm. Here is great recipe which you also add dumplings to.

BEEF STEW AND DUMPLINGS

Serves 4                                                       395 calories per serving

15 minutes to prepare                             2 hours 20 minutes to cook

Ingredients

420g lean stewing beef                          420mls stock

2 tsp cornflour                                         2 sticks celery

120g leeks                                                 240g parsnips

420g mixture of (kohlrabi, swede, carrot, turnip and artichoke)

2 tsps vinegar                                             1 bay leaf

Salt and black pepper                            105g self-raising flour

¼ tsp baking powder                               ½ tsp mixed herbs

2 tbsp Olive Oil spread.

To Prepare

Season and coat the beef cubes with cornflour and quickly brown to seal in a saucepan or flameproof casserole.

Add the stock and stir well then add the sliced leeks, celery, Cube all the other vegetables and add along with the vinegar, bay leaf and salt and pepper.

Cook at 160º 140ºFan Gas Mark 3 for 2 hours or cook in slow cooker according to the cookers instructions.  If you are cooking the stew in a saucepan, stir occasionally.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the herbs and rub in the olive oil spread.  Mix cold water into the flour to form soft dough.  Divide into 8 pieces and shape into balls.  Add the dumplings to the stew when cooked and cook for a further 20 minutes.  Serve with green vegetables if you wish.

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Snowy garden !

Getting ready for Xmas

I know that as we approach Christmas there is a lot to do particularly if you have family with you and you are preparing the meal and that’s after you have done all your present shopping.

This is the time of year when we regret having not lost the weight we promised we would do at the start of the year.

But that can often mean that we just don’t have the time or the inclination to eat healthily during the run up to Christmas.  This isn’t helped by sweets and chocolates being at your place of work and of course the Christmas parties.

One thing you can do to mitigate all of this is try to have some healthy soups to keep you going so when you do give in to temptation you won’t be overdoing it. There is a tasty recipe below for you try

I will be offering special offers in January to help with new year resolutions so if you want to know more just contact me.

SPICY TOMATO & BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Serves 6                                                       40 calories per serving

Takes about 50 minutes to cook

Ingredients

6 Large tomatoes                           1 butternut squash

2 red onions                                      1 red pepper

1 stick celery                                    1 large carrot

4 cloves of garlic                             1 red chilli

To prepare

Chop the vegetables into chunks and finely diced the garlic and chilli.  Place on a tray and roast for about 45 minutes turning regularly.

Blitz in a food processor with 500 ml of water till smooth then pass through a sieve into a large pan then add another 500ml of water and bring to the boil.

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Challenge yourself to lose half a stone for Xmas

Here we are at the beginning of November and I have exciting news for you all.  This week I am launching a challenge for anyone who would love to lose weight on the run up to Christmas.

If you lose weight at a rate of a pound a week then you could lose 7lbs.  If however you are losing weight at 2lb a week this is a stone.  A whole dress or trouser size!

So set yourself a challenge and make a written pledge to yourself.  Using the template below.

If you want help anyone who signs up now at Weight Away will receive their January plan free of charge.

So make your pledge and have a look at the recipe this week which is about making your own muesli as a great breakfast

MAKE YOUR OWN MUESLI

Makes 10  servings  (30g each)  at just 125 calories per serving

15 minutes to make and stores in an air tight container

Add a piece of fruit of your choice and skimmed milk for a breakfast

Ingredients

120g porridge oats

3 tsps unsalted sunflower seeds

120g unsweetened wheat or bran flakes

60g wheat germ

15g blanched almonds chopped.

To Prepare

Preheat your grill to medium. Scatter the porridge oats and sunflower seed onto a baking sheet.  Grill them for about 5 minutes until golden

Lightly crush the wheat/bran flakes and add the wheat germ, almonds and toasted porridge oats and sunflower seeds.  Mix well together

Transfer to an airtight container and you now have the basis for 10 breakfast which you just need to add a piece of fruit and skimmed milk which will take you just a couple of minutes.

XMAS CHALLENGE

 I …………………..

Pledge to lose ………lbs

By Christmas 2017

Things that will help me

 1…………..

 2…………..

 3……………

And to sign up to Weight Away go to http://www.weight-away.org

Can you make sense of healthy eating advice?

I find now that there are so many different articles in the press and on TV about what we should and should not eat that it can become so very confusing.

Certainly the fact that we were told to avoid fat has lead to a large increase in sugar being added to foods and this now is being regarded as a much bigger problem

You can now find so many ‘diets’ that advocate cutting out carbs and this in itself will probably result in weight loss but is it sustainable.

My mantra, which I use when discussing healthy eating with my clients is to try to avoid processed foods and to cook fresh ingredients whenever possible.  Coupling this with a healthy balance of food which includes some carbohydrates, protein, fats and natural sugars.  Using olive oil and natural yoghurt for example when cooking.

The main key is portion sizes, regular meals and avoiding snacking which is so much easier to do when you are eating a balanced diet.

If you would like to discuss healthy eating with me I would love to hear from you!

Salad, Figs, Cheese, Goat Cheese

Stressful week!

I had a bad week this week having received a phone call from the police early on Thursday morning to say that my husband had been involved in an accident.

I was fearing the worst when they said he had been hit by a deer as he rides a motorbike and this is not a great combination. He was admitted to hospital and miraculously is only badly bruised and suffered concussion.  Sam can’t be said for the Stag which was killed and the bike which is likely to be written off.  But I am so relieved he survived!

I am late writing my blog this week as you can imagine but it did make think about how we cope with stress.  Some of us don’t eat and others just eat for comfort.  Normally I fall into the later category but on this occasion food was the last thing on my mind.

But if you do turn to food when you are stressed than I can help you

Picture from scene taken by the people who helped him who I am grateful to along with the Police and of course the wonderful West Midlands Ambulance service

 

Making the most of vegetables

One of the things I often hear people saying is that buying food to lose weight is expensive and that eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables is hard work.

Well one of the things that can counter this is making soups from vegetables in the winter.

They are great as a snack or can be part of your lunch or main meal.  They can be cheap to make at home from fresh vegetables that are in season, will freeze and can be made in bulk.

Just couldn’t resist posting a picture of my bargain buy this week which was a large fabulous cauliflower which only cost me 69p from my local greengrocers.

This will make soups, a vegetable to add to a meal and of course a cauliflower cheese.

I have a few great soup recipes you might want to try and a great way of making cauliflower cheese which does not overload the calories. So if you want to know more about healthy eating contact me but here are some soups to try

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PUMPKIN SOUP

Serves 4                                                                   30 calories per serving

30 minutes to prepare

Ingredients

120g pumpkin                                                         120g carrot

120g celeriac                                                          1 onion 1 courgette (optional)

450ml vegetable stock                                           Salt and pepper

To prepare

Roughly chop the all of the vegetables and place in a saucepan with the stock and season with salt and black pepper.  Bring to boil and simmer for about 25 minutes

Pour the vegetables and stock into a food processor or liquidiser to make into a smooth soup. Return to the pan and add the optional courgette at this point in small cubes heat through then serve.

BROCCOLI SOUP

Serves 4                                                                   105 calories per serving

30 minutes to prepare

Ingredients

4tsp olive oil spread                                                1 large onion chopped

480g broccoli                                                          Zest of a lemon

300ml vegetable stock                                           240ml skimmed milk

Juice of 1 lemon                                                     salt and pepper

2tbsp of single cream

To Prepare

Melt 2 teaspoons of the olive oil spread in a saucepan and add the onion and cook till soft. Add the remaining spread to the pan then add the broccoli florets and cook for a further 2-3 minutes

Add the lemon zest and stock to the pan and leave to simmer for 15 minutes.  Then pour into a food processor or liquidiser, and process to a puree.

Return to the pan and add the lemon juice and milk and season to taste.

Serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of single cream.

HEARTY WINTER SOUP

Serves 4                                                                   105 calories per serving

30 minutes to prepare

Ingredients

90g swede                                          90g turnip

90g carrot                                           90g celeriac

90g potato                                          120 g parsnip

1 medium onion                                  240g tinned tomatoes

30g split red lentils                               120g Brussel sprouts

½ tsp chilli powder                                        ¼ tsp oregano

450 ml vegetable stock                      1tsp olive oil

To Prepare

Cut all the vegetables into to chunks.  Chop the onion finely.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion soft then add all the vegetables, stock herbs and lentils except the Brussel sprouts.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes then cut the Brussel sprouts in halves or quarter and add for a further 8 minutes or so until all the vegetables and cooked.

Then serve in warmed bowls