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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Fancy a curry night

19th April 2018
Don’t get side-tracked by people who aren’t on track.
It’s almost the weekend again, that’s come round quick, got the coffee morning to look forward to this Saturday, raising lots of money for the Stroke Association, a truly good cause both my parents suffered from strokes, I remember dad had a few and mom has had a couple of mini strokes which added to her Alzheimer’s, they’ve come a long way with research though, so let’s raise them more money for more studies.   Of course the best way to help prevent a stroke is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol.  

I’ve found a few recipes in this month’s Co-op magazine that’ll help us eat a healthy diet, whilst still having a Friday night curry night, they’re all below.

I myself am having pizza for my Friday night fakeaway tea, the M&S ones that are low in points compared to others.  I’ve got leftover chicken in the fridge, might make that thing with a can of white kidney beans and the juice, then add a bit of garlic paste, soy sauce and a chicken stock cube, it was really good the last time I had it.  Although the forecast for today is hot, so maybe a chicken salad or sandwiches.  We’ll see, not good that I don’t have a plan on a Thursday though….

Right here’s to getting on with my day, chicken and rice, there sorted and quick and easy too, eggs for breakfast, I know some say they get fed up of eating chicken and eggs, which is what we’re looking at in meetings this week, but I like chicken and eggs and they’re not the only thing I eat, it’s all about variety.

Butter chicken and rice
Feeds 4, 9SP per serving, ready in 45 minutes

1 tbsp vegetable oil (4SP)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3cm ginger, grated
2 tbsp tomato purée (1SP)
400g can chopped tomatoes
4 chicken breasts, chopped
15g unsalted butter (6SP)
2 tbsp 0% fat Greek style natural yogurt
240g white basmati rice (24SP)
Chilli and lime slices (optional)
Small handful coriander leaves

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion with 1 tbsp water on a medium heat for 6 mins, until starting to turn golden. Stir in the chilli powder, cinnamon and cumin and another 1 tbsp water, and cook for 1-2 mins. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.

Add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and 200ml water. Stir, then cover and simmer over a low heat for 10 mins.

Stir in the chicken and simmer for 10 mins more. Add the butter and stir in as it melts. Turn the heat off and stir in the yogurt.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the pack instructions. Serve the rice with the curry, scatter with the coriander, and garnish with chilli and lime slices, if you like.

Cauliflower pakoras (V)
Made with a moreish, spicy batter, these low-fat nuggets are baked rather than fried.

Feeds 4, 4SP per serving, ready in 35 minutes

1 Co-op British cauliflower, cut into florets 
2 Co-op British free range eggs
2 tsp turmeric
4 tsp curry powder (3SP)
1 tsp chilli powder
6 tbsp Co-op 0% fat Greek style natural yogurt
100g breadcrumbs (10SP)
1 tbsp sunflower oil (4SP)
Sliced red chilli (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/Gas 7 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Cook the cauliflower florets in a pan of boiling water for 2 mins. Drain and refresh under cold water. 

In a bowl, beat the eggs, stir in the turmeric, curry powder, chilli powder and yogurt, then season. Add the cauliflower florets and toss until coated. 

Put the breadcrumbs on a plate and roll the florets in them to coat. Arrange on the baking tray, drizzle with the oil and bake for 18-20 mins, until golden. Garnish with slices of red chilli, if using.

Frying pan naan breads (V)
Four ingredients and 15 minutes — yep, that’s really all it takes to make these second-to-naan breads.

Makes 4, 8SP per serving, ready in 15 minutes,

100g Co-op 0% fat Greek style natural yogurt 
½ tsp salt
250g Co-op wholemeal self-raising flour (25SP)
15g Co-op unsalted butter, melted (6SP)

Put the yogurt and salt in a bowl and mix with 100ml water. Add the flour and stir in with a knife until the mixture looks crumbly. Briefly knead to form a smooth dough.
Cut into 4 pieces and roll out each one with a rolling pin, until about ½ cm thick, shaping into ovals. 
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and dry fry the naans in batches. Cook for 1-2 mins on each side, turning when golden, until they are puffed up and cooked inside.
Serve brushed with the melted butter.

Beef samosas

These tasty parcels of crisp filo are filled with spicy British mince.
MAKES 8, 4SP per samosa, ready in 1 hour

1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp sunflower oil, plus 2 tsp for brushing (6SP)
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tbsp medium curry powder (2SP)
100g Co-op 5% fat British lean beef steak mince (2SP)
100g Co-op Jersey Royals, diced (2SP)
50g Co-op frozen peas
4 sheets filo pastry (15SP)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6. Fry the onion in the oil with 1 tbsp water for 5 mins. Stir in the garlic, curry powder and 1 tbsp water and cook for 1-2 mins more.

Add the mince and brown. Stir in the veg and 100ml water, cover and simmer for 10 mins, until the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool. 

Cut a sheet of filo in half to make 2 squares, then cut each square in half again to make 4 rectangles. Repeat with the other filo sheets. 

Spoon an eighth of the mixture into the bottom-left corner of one rectangle, then fold the bottom-left corner over to the centre on the right-hand side. Next, fold the bottom-right corner up to the top-right corner. Finally, fold the bottom-right corner up to the top-left corner to make a triangle, then brush with oil to seal. Put the triangle on another rectangle of pastry, fold up and seal again. 

Brush with oil and place on a tray, then repeat to make 8 parcels. Bake for 15 mins, until golden, then serve.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Restart - Reset - Reboot - Be Smarter

18th April 2018
It always seems impossible until it is done.

Restarting!  I heard that a few times yesterday, but how about instead of thinking of it as restarting we see it as resetting.  Anyone who has a SKY box has at some point had to reboot the system because it’s stopped working, any gardeners out there know that plants in pots needs repotting at some point or they become pot bound.  Nothing I can think of works perfectly all the time including us, so now and again we need to reset, reboot, whatever you want to call it.  Whatever you call it, don’t see it as a bad thing, it’s a positive because you care enough to have another go, you’re not giving up on yourself which means you’re awesome.

How?  What needs to be done to make that reset work?  Firstly evaluate your situation, assess both your past and your present situation, this is key to setting new goals that are personalised to you.  What’s worked before?  What didn’t?  What do you want to achieve?  What can you improve on?

Make sure your goals are SMARTER, most people have heard of the SMART system when it comes to goals but I like to be SMARTER;

S – Specific - If you’re specific about your goals you have a greater chance of achieving them.
M – Measureable - how much do you want to lose, how do you want to feel, how many dress sizes do you want to drop.
A – Achievable – what can you realistically lose, how can you achieve these goals.
R – Realistic – a stone in a day isn’t realistic, but a pound a week is.
T – Timely – what can you do this week, what can you do by next month.
E – Enthusiastically & Enjoyable – approach these goals with enthusiasm, enjoy the journey, you’re more likely to achieve them.
R – Reward, Re-evaluate, Reassess & Reassure – Reward yourself for every major milestone, not with food (you’re not a dog!) find ways to reward yourself that you enjoy that makes you realise there’s more to like that eating and drinking.  Rewarding yourself will help reinforce positive actions you’ve taken so you can continue doing it.  If you’re falling behind on your goal targets, re-evaluate, reassess and reassure yourself it’s all going to be okay.

Write it all down, your goals to get it clear in your mind what you want to achieve and keep a record of your journey, where weight loss is concerned, your tracker / journal / app really do help keep you focused.

Break it down, having stones to lose can be truly overwhelming, heck having half a stone to lose if you’re struggling can be intimidating, so break it down into small and management steps to overcome the overwhelm.   This for me right now would mean wanting to lose a couple of pounds a month, so I don’t have to lose every month.  I gained this week, 1.5lb, not surprised after my visitors and the chaos of last week, I’m still 1lb down on the month, I’ll take that, so if I can lose another pound and keep the two off over the month, that’ll do me and it doesn’t make me feel so overwhelmed about it all.

We all need to hold ourselves accountable by maintaining focus and discipline, this is where meetings become invaluable, get your backside to your meeting no matter what kind of week you’ve had.  Remember if the thought of stepping on the scales is really terrifying one week, you can tell your coach to put you through as a “No weigh in” so you still get the meeting discussion, just not the terror of the scales, but remember it’s just a tool that doesn’t measure your BeYOUtiful or Awesomeness. 

Develop good habits is key, it makes it easier for you to accomplish your goals on a regular basis, think about the habits that you already have, the ones you know would help.  Start with the bad habits you have, so I’ve started eating a couple of my mom’s biscuits at night, that needs to stop so I need to find another habit to replace it with!  Ah fruit, get me some cherries or grapes maybe, then have a bowl of them by the side of me.

Anyway, that’s me for today, I’ve got lots of bins to put out as it’s ‘all bins’ day, rock and roll lifestyle going on here.  I almost made it through my day yesterday, omelette for breakfast, chicken dinner, then 2 custard creams for tea!  Here’s to a better result today.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Have a great day, whatever comes your way

17th April 2018
Behave in a way that enables you to say you chose this life not settled for it.

Well I had a lovely day off, ran a few errands, including getting me a new bird table for the garden, hopefully they’ll return now.  I’ve used all the rocks I rescued from Terry’s garden makeover to hold the table down, they weren’t just any old rocks, they were all the rocks and stones my mom’s collected over time, some of which she made me carry miles when we were doing our coastal walks!   I also got 3 plastic shoe trays from IKEA to go underneath them and the gravel to hopefully stop the seed that falls from growing but even if it does, I’ll be able to pull it out before it gets its roots stuck in the earth.

I can sit in my summerhouse and watch the birds now

Got my hands on a couple of nice stone pots too, couldn’t find a bird bath I liked but I will, I did see a water feature I liked but there were plugs and wires involved and I don’t need all that hassle, maybe a solar one if I see one but I’ll probably settle for a bird bath.

Once I’d done all that and finished the washing up that mom started, I went and had me an hour in my summerhouse with my crochet and my audio book, yep I’m going to enjoy summer up there. 

Now to get back to focusing on my diet, I’ll start with eggs for breakfast I think, need to take some Salmon out of the freezer, eating fast food last week and having heartburn more than usual makes me realise why I eat healthier foods.  I haven’t thought about food much this last week which you would think is a good thing, but it isn’t because when I don’t think about it, I just grab anything and that’s not always the good stuff.

I’ve got another chicken in the fridge as I bought two for £7, so I’m thinking another chicken dinner this week, need to check the use by date, it might be today so that’ll solve dinner.  Once again I’ll shop just for necessities this week, save a few pennies after the money I’ve spent on the garden, I need to.

I’ve just read a post on Facebook that says;
If one million women buy their next item of clothing secondhand instead of new, we would save 6 million kg of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere.

I’ve going one step further this year and trying not to buy clothes if I can help it, I have enough dresses to last me a year easily, I decluttered my house, now we’ve decluttered my garden, now I’m doing the same in my wardrobe and everything I have.  Life is easier with less of everything, except love and patience – you can never have too much of that.  I needed to pull on reserves of both yesterday, she wasn’t in a great mood but looking out my kitchen window and seeing my lovely garden every time I went to make her a drink helped me take a deep breathe and stay calm and cope.

Right now to start the day with another glass of water and some breakfast.  Have a great day, whatever comes your way BeYOUtiful.