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Monday, 15 October 2018

Here's to another week...

15th October 2018
What you tell yourself every day will either life you up or tear you down.

I’m so glad I’ve done nothing all weekend, I’m actually starting to feel human again, my voice isn’t 100% yet but hopefully after another day of quiet, I’ll be ready to go to work this week and hopefully not lose it again!

I sat and crocheted and watched tv all day yesterday, found me an Amazon prime series and watched 8 of the 10 of Dietland, plan to finish it today, it’s a bit weird, a lot wonderful and quite thought provoking if you bother to think and not just watch it at face value.  It’s a dark comedy that’s addressing all those issues of the diet industry, objectification, fat shaming, terrorism and feminist rage!  There was one part where she’s taken to have all the procedures needed to make her ‘bangable’, I’m sorry but there’s no way on earth I’d be putting myself through all that pain for vanity, you can all wax, pluck, inject, bleach, buy all the products to make you ‘beautiful’ and do whatever floats your boat but I’m not playing the game, I’m happy looking the way I do and being this version of me.  If you’re a woman, watch it, see if you agree, if you’re a man, watch it and learn a thing or two.

Anyway, I bought a chicken, I couldn’t eat another piece of salmon yesterday, I hadn’t had chicken in over a week, even Alfie looked excited when I popped it in the oven, we both enjoyed ripping it apart when it came back out 90 minutes later, he was grateful for all the skin, gristle and bit of chicken, the cats enjoy a bit too, mom had a sarnie with hers and I enjoyed chicken, chips, gravy and peas – lush.  Yeah I bought a whoopsie tray of chips, couldn’t resist.   I’m going to have to do a little shop, I need vegetables, although I do have a bag of mixed frozen I can use first.  Need to make me a list of what I do need, then decide where to shop, decisions, decisions.

I’ve defrosted a pizza ball again, now to decide what to do with it as I have not toppings except tomato puree.  Mmm I could defrost some salmon and use the dough as a case, have a ‘en croute’ or a calzone style thing, mmm maybe, with phili light which I have still in fridge and I can buy a bag of spinach.  Ooo interesting, yeah I need to shop, I want mushrooms, I haven’t eaten mushrooms in a week, this is bizarre, actually missing staple ingredients that I have in my cupboards all the time. 

This last couple of weeks have really made me see food differently again and value it for what it is, to appreciate how lucky I am to be able to afford to have a full fridge all the time.  I’m still working through the freezer and the bits in the cupboards but I need fresh vegetables for sure, I’ll buy just what I need today from the Co-op because I still ain’t 100% and don’t want to spend time shopping.

Oooo just looked at today’s coaching card, now this is POWERFUL!

If you do not make any changes to your behaviours in the next 3 years, how do you feel about who you will be then?

Now, there’s a question…

I’m not putting my answer in here, actually yeah I will, I think as long as my behaviours don’t get any worse, I’ll be okay, but if they do then I know I won’t be happy which is telling me I need to start thinking about what I’m eating and ensure I don’t gain any more weight, to try and lose some and continue to try and be the best version of myself.  I live for today, with mom’s condition, I can’t bear to think about the future and what might be, it’s too painful.

Right let’s live for today, damn raining again, crazy weather but at least we’re not having the floods they’re having elsewhere.  Have a very, great Monday BeYOUtiful, appreciate yourself as you are now for who you are and work on being the best version of yourself you want to be.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Craving chicken - yeah really!

14th October 2018
What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.  It also depends on what sort of person you are.  

I slept till gone 7 and that was without Night Nurse, I’d run out of it!  I still sound ridiculous but hopefully it’ll get better over the weekend, I’m going to rest up, the only thing I have to do is walk Alfie.  I am considering buying a chicken this morning though and having a chicken dinner, I haven’t eaten chicken in over a week and I am truly craving it, plus a dinner is gonna be better for me than a KFC bucket which is the other option.  It’ll feed Alfie too as the fridge is bare of everything but a few cheese squares, milk and a tiny amount of spread, it’s time to get a few things in there I think, I’ve noticed my sister has bought milk a couple of times this week, there are a couple of cartons in the cupboard but I think she’s missed them.

Looking in my freezer last night, I’m working through it, had a Young’s fish crumble from it last night for 8SP, it’s the kind of meal mom would enjoy but I wouldn’t buy them for me again.  Anyway I counted the whoopsie salmon, there’s 15 packets, if I have fish 2 or 3 times a week they’re going to keep me going for over a month, I will empty that freezer.  No big shop until it is empty, minimal essentials only. 

Oooo we need a coaching card, hold on…

If your life were a book or a film, which one would it be?

That’s a toughie, mmm I don’t know, anyone got any suggestions.  I’m reading that as if it’s a film that already exists, but I’d rather have a book based on my family, all of our lives and the normality of us but in reality, we all have our stories, nothing more interesting and unbelievable than real life, my brother Terry can tell you more tales than most I know, I’ve had my share of drama and adventure.  Mom, well her story is something else, 7 children, 2 died and that’s just the facts, yeah our family would make for great viewing especially the dementia years!

What would we call it?  Simple – The Longsdens.

 I finished my latest crochet project yesterday, it’s my most favourite yet but I can’t show it you until I’ve passed it on, only taken me a week too, I’m thinking I might be doing more like it, but first I have some chenille to do a big v pattern blanket in pink and grey that I think I’ll raffle for charity, we’ll see.  I like to complete them then decide what to do with them, that way if I get bored half way through, I don’t have to finish it.  I pulled a project back the other day, I wasn’t enjoying it and at 48 life is too short to do anything you don’t have to, if you’re not enjoying it.

WELL speaking of being 48, it’s official, I’ve hit that age and I’m not ashamed to say it, this week, I have been coughing a lot and I realised I needed to join the Tena lady gang, yep better safe than sorry!  And you know what, I love that about me too, I am lucky enough to have got to the age of 48, so many don’t and if one of the prices to pay is a weak bladder – I’ll take that, along with the wrinkles and the fact that when I look in the mirror these days, I see my big sister ;)

I’ve not got a soup recipe today but I did catch a Nigella recipe on the tv yesterday that looked incredible, it’s from her latest book “At my table”, I’m a huge Nigella cook book fan, might need to treat myself, I’ll think about it first.  I have too many books I never open and there are so many recipes in the new WW Comfort Cookbook has for me to try first.  You can find a video of her making it on this website

Nigella Lawson’s Chicken and Pea Traybake
Author Notes: Nigella Lawson—domestic goddess and champion of home cooks—has for years been a supporter of the laziest form of sheet pan dinner, or traybake. The most influential ingredient here is frozen peas—quite a lot of them, still completely frozen. As she explains, “The steam they produce as they bake makes the chicken beautifully tender, its skin crackly and crisp on top.” Adapted slightly from At My Table (Flatiron Books, 2018).
Serves: 4 Prep time: 30 min Cook time: 1 hrs 30 min
  • 7 cups frozen petit pois (about 2 pounds)
  • 5 medium to large leeks (about 14 ounces trimmed weight), cut into 1-inch slices (note: if the light green part of the leek looks dirty in between the outer rings, remove the outermost layers and rinse them well)
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes or kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 small bunch dill, torn into pieces
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • To serve: steamed or boiled baby potatoes, mashed potatoes, or rice or other grains (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 400° F and clatter the frozen peas into a large roasting pan (Nigella says not to go smaller—measuring inside from inside rim to inside rim—than about 15 by 11 inches, and a little larger is fine), followed by the leeks, garlic, vermouth, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt, and most of the dill. Turn everything together in the pan—breaking up any large clumps of the frozen peas—until well mixed. I advise you to wear CSI gloves for this, just to stop you from getting frostbite, though you still will feel the cold.
  2. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on top, then drizzle them with a little olive oil and give them a good sprinkling of salt, before roasting in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, give the peas a small stir or tamp down, so that the few that are sitting on the surface and drying out a little are submerged in the liquid. Don’t so the same to the leeks, however, as the bits that are peeking out will become desirably caramelized in the heat. Put back in the oven for a further 30 minutes, by which time the peas and leeks will be soft, and the chicken tender and cooked through, its skin golden and crisp.
  3. Tear off the remaining dill fronds, and scatter over the top on serving, perhaps with some simply steamed baby potatoes to soak up the pea and chicken juices.

You can make this recipe lower in Smart Points by changing the thighs for breasts, use less oil.  The choice is yours.  It does look incredible as a treat though!

Right I’m going to go get moms papers, it’s raining so I’m actually going to get in the car, feel too yakky to get wet!

Enjoy your day, whatever you’re up too, I’m mostly going to chill.  

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Soup, glorious Soup!

13th October 2018
Life is like a cup of tea - to be filled to the brim and enjoyed with friends.

Well yesterday was quiet in my world, obviously the voice thing or lack thereof guaranteed the volume but I had a quiet day to try and recover.  The estate was also a sombre place when I walked the dog because we’d all woke up to find out there’d been a murder on the estate and three men arrested on suspicion of murder.  I realised how close to home it was when I went to drive out of my street and I couldn’t turn right, the road was blocked.  I found out later that the man murdered actually lived in my street, I’ve watched him go to work most mornings, 3 kids left without their daddy!   More proof that life is precious and can be taken from you in the blink of an eye.

Today’s coaching card is very apt, “What would you like people to say about your at the end of your life?  How would you like to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered with a smile, as someone who made people laugh and feel good about themselves, but if I’m honest, I don’t care if I’m remembered or not I don’t think, I won’t be here, if I’m not remembered, then no one has to be sad for the loss of me.  Grief is so difficult to handle so if I can spare people that, great, it will be my last good deed.

Anyway, today I just want to be able to be heard for a couple of hours, then get back to doing my crochet project, might be able to finish it this weekend as I recover from my lurgy.  I enjoying watching the Black Panther yesterday, I do love a superhero film, pure escapism for a couple of hours.

I also enjoyed Lemon and Dill salmon with rice and veggies, oh the best dinner I’ve had all week, really was tasty.

Anyway I’ve found a couple more soup recipes this morning,

Zero Leek & Celeriac Soup
Serves 4
1 x Celeriac  
3 x Leeks, Sliced
1 x Vegetable Stock Cube
White Pepper
Fresh Chives, Snipped
Cut off the outside of the celeriac and dice.
Slice the leeks and add all the ingredients, along with 1 litre of boiling water to a pan.
Bring to the boil, simmer for 30 minutes, let cool for 10 minutes, blitz and serve with chopped chives on top.
Carrot and Leek Soup
Serves 4
1SP per serving  
500g Carrots, chopped
500g Leeks, chopped
150g Potatoes, cubed
1 Oxo Vegetable Stock Cube 1 tsp Curry Powder (0)
Salt and Pepper  
Add carrots and leeks to a large pan and sweat them off.
Add the potatoes and curry powder and sweat this off too for a few more minutes.
Add about 1200-1400ml of boiling water with a veg oxo cube and salt and pepper.
Simmer for about 30 mins til veg soft then blitz with hand blender for a thick smooth soup.

Zero Spicy Tomato and Red Pepper Soup
Serves 4
1 Onion, diced  
2 Red Peppers, diced  
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed  
600g Tomatoes, quartered
1 tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 OXO Vegetable Stock Cube  
Fresh Basil
Salt & Pepper  
1 tsp Crushed Chillies  
Heat the olive oil/frylight in a large saucepan.
Add the chopped onion, chopped peppers, and crushed garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the fresh tomatoes and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes and 1 litre of stock.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
Blend in a food processor or with a hand-held blender. Strain through a coarse sieve (if desired).
Add the crushed chillies and reheat.
Serve and garnish with basil.
This would also make a lovely tomato sauce to serve with Pork or Chicken too.

Zero Golden Vegetable Soup
Large Butternut Squash, cubed  
4 Carrots, sliced
1 Onion, Diced
2 Clove Garlic
1 Oxo Vegetable Cube
Chives, snipped
Spray frylight in large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for 10 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
Add butternut squash and carrots. Pour over 1 litre boiled water and crumble the stock cube on top and bring to the boil.
Simmer for 20 minutes until tender.
Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
Blend with a stick blender until smooth. Reheat and season with black pepper.
Serve with snipped chives.

Lentil & Bacon Soup
1SP per serving, Serves 4
Spray light
2 onions, finely chopped
140g Bacon Medallions, diced
6 Carrots, grated
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Crushed Chillies
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
250g Red Lentils, rinsed
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the bacon, onion and carrots.
Cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the cumin, turmeric, crushed chillies and garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Add 1.3 litres of boiling water, crumble stock cube and add the lentils and bring to a simmer and cook for 50 minutes, occasionally stirring to ensure the lentils aren’t sticking.

Butternut Squash, Red Pepper and Soft Cheese Soup
Serves 4-6
0sp per serving without cheese/1sp per serving with cheese  
Fry light
1 Large Onion, diced
1 Butternut Squash, peeled (some don’t peel it but I prefer it peeled), deseeded and cubed
2 Red Peppers, diced
1 Vegetable Stock Pot made up with 1 litre of hot water
Salt and Pepper
100g Extra Light Philadelphia
Handful of Chives, chopped
Spray a large saucepan with fry light
Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes until soft
Add the butternut squash, red pepper and vegetable stock and heat until simmering.
Partially cover and cook gently for about 25 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Let cool and then blend. If you are using Extra Light Philadelphia then add it now. Return saucepan to heat and add 1/2 the chopped chives and season to taste.
Serve with the rest of the chives to garnish

Creamy Celery Soup
Serves 3
1SP per serving
1 bunch of celery, chopped (at least 6 large sticks)
1 large onion, diced
1 Vegetable Stock Pot/cube (made up with 1000ml hot water)
50g ELF Philadelphia
Spray a large pan with frylight and fry the celery and onion until softened.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the stock, bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes
Turn heat off and allow to cool before blending.
Add the Philadelphia and stir over a low heat until melted.

Right that’s me done, off to get ready for my ‘workshop’ and enjoy the morning with my members, here’s to a very, great weekend BeYOUtiful.  Spend it being remembered whilst you’re alive because once you’re not it won’t really matter…