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Friday, 2 October 2015

Mmm comfort food...

2nd October 2015
Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the unacceptable.
A little of what you fancy does you good and I've been craving chippy shop chips for weeks now so yesterday after my morning meeting mom and I drove round the corner and shared a bag in the car.  There we sat at the side of the road enjoying eating without having Alfie grovelling, that's not an experience we get often and it was fabulous.  To some it might have been just lunch to me it was making memories with my mom, we sat chatting, listening to the news and both not having a clue what was going on with all this political stuff.  The chips were epic though and that's out of my system for a good while now, it's all about the balance.  And you know what the icing on the cake was, I ordered a salad pitta and it reminded me that I actually really enjoy salad!  So I'm going to be buying some and making me up a batch to have in the fridge so I can have a handful with every meal because it will already be prepared.

I had the most lovely card from one of my BeYOUtiful members yesterday too, really made me tearful but happy tears, it's so nice to be appreciated but it's even better to see the proof that Weight Watchers really does make a difference to people's lives, that focusing on the healthy and happy really is important and that I have the best job in the world!

I won't share the contents of the card with you because it was personal from Gemma but I can share that she was a very poorly lady earlier in the year because that isn't any secret, the one line from the card says, "I strongly believe that coming to your meetings and the healthy eating you promote have stabilised my condition and I can live life without the steroids now" now that's what it's all about, that's why it's important to eat well.  I've just read the card again and there are more happy tears in my eyes now which makes it difficult to see through these new reading glasses you know.  They're taking some getting used to!  They're constantly smudged because I'm a toucher and a messer.  I laughed when they steamed up when I opened the oven the other day, it made me giggle so much I went and did it again -  yeah still a big kid!

So today I'm off to a training day, they're gonna teach me to be a leader ;) not really, well actually a little, we get continually topped up with knowledge to improve our skills and make us better leaders, I really enjoy them, plus I get to spend the day with my bestie and catch up with colleagues I don't get to see that often. 

I'm looking forward to my weekend I have to admit, after all that gardening last week, I'm just planning to chill this weekend, I fancy cooking something with lamb, because I keep seeing it everywhere and I haven't had it in forever, might just have me a couple of chops with a dinner.

Now I'm a huge Nigella fan and she's got a new book coming out this month, although I'll wait for the price to drop, she also has a TV series starting in November which I'll enjoy.  My helper has bought me the You magazine the last couple of weeks and there's a lovely lamb recipe in there, but there's also this macaroni cheese one that I think I need to try.  As you know she's incredibly indulgent with her dishes and now and again that's okay in our eating plan.  The recipe serves 4 at 22pp but I'm sure I could stretch it to  more portions, if I had 1/6th of it for 15pp we could have a huge side salad to fill us up.  It's gotta be done....



500g sweet potatoes (13pp)
300g pennette or other small short pasta (28pp)
4 x 15ml tablespoons (60g) soft unsalted butter (13pp)
3 x 15ml tablespoons plain flour (6pp)
500ml full-fat milk (9pp)
1 teaspoon English mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika, plus ¼ teaspoon to sprinkle on top
75g feta cheese (5pp)
125g mature Cheddar, grated, plus 25g to sprinkle on top (14pp)
4 fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste

1 Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Put on a large-ish pan of water to boil, with the lid on to make it come to the boil faster.

2 Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them roughly into 2-3cm pieces. When the water’s boiling, add salt to taste, and then the sweet potato pieces, and cook them for about 10 minutes or until they are soft. Scoop them out of the water into a bowl – using a ‘spider’ or slotted spoon – and lightly mash with a fork, without turning them into a purée. Don’t get rid of this water, as you will need it to cook your pasta in later.

3 In another saucepan, gently melt the butter and add the flour, whisking to form a roux, then take the pan of the heat, slowly whisk in the milk and, when it’s all combined and smooth, put back on the heat. Exchange your whisk for a wooden spoon, and continue to stir until your gently bubbling sauce has lost any floury taste and has thickened. Add the mustard and the ¼ teaspoon of paprika. Season to taste, but do remember that you will be adding Cheddar and salty feta later, so underdo it for now.

4 Cook the pennette in the sweet-potato water, starting to check 2 minutes earlier than packet instructions dictate, as you want to make sure it doesn’t lose its bite entirely. Drain (reserving some of the pasta cooking water first) and then add the pennette to the mashed sweet potato, and fold in to combine; the heat of the pasta will make the mash easier to mix in.

5 Add the feta cheese to the sweet potato and pasta mixture, crumbling it in so that it is easier to disperse evenly, then fold in the white sauce, adding the 125g grated Cheddar as you go. Add some of the pasta cooking water, should you feel it needs loosening up at all.

6 Check for seasoning again, then, when you’re happy, spoon the brightly sauced macaroni cheese into 4 small ovenproof dishes of approx 375-425ml capacity (or 1 large rectangular dish measuring approx 30 x 20 x 5cm deep and 1.6 litre capacity). Sprinkle the remaining Cheddar over each one, dust with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of paprika, then shred the sage leaves and scatter the skinny green ribbons over the top, too.

7 Put the pots on a baking tray, pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes (or, if you’re making this in a larger dish, bake for 30-35 minutes), by which time they will be piping hot and bubbling, and begging you to eat them.

Right I'm off to get ready for my day, big mug of tea needed first and a bit of paperwork before I can leave the house.  Ma'an I love this rock and roll lifestyle!

Have a great day BeYOUtiful.

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