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Thursday, 30 November 2017

A morning to myself

30th November 2017
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

Yesterday was the first weekday I’ve had for a long time with a morning to spare and I took full advantage of it, it was lovely.  I enjoyed a mooch round TK Maxx then Sainsbury’s spent too much money and it was great, then I had a couple of hours in the kitchen and wow was I glad.  I said I’d learn to enjoy beans and lentils if it killed me and I am.  Using kidney beans yesterday I made spicy bean burgers, they worked out at 2sp each, they’d have been lovely on a burger bun with lettuce and mint yogurt - recipe at end of blog.  The real tasty was the curried lentil bake, which was really good.  It is delicious straight out of the oven, but also tasty cold, cut into pieces you could pop it in your lunch box and take it to work, ideal for when you don’t want sandwiches ‘again’, plus it’s helping massively towards getting your 5 a day.  I have to say the sweet potato when cubed and fried was delicious on its own and worth the 4sp, I’d definitely cook them on their own to have with a dinner and I’m not a sweet potato fan!  The whole thing was 12sp and the baking tray I used was a 10" x 7.5", so roughly 1sp per 2.5” square piece – bargain points!  Recipe also at the end of blog. 
I do love spending time in the kitchen especially when the food ends up tasting good, I know I won’t have to today though because my lovely sister has made me a turkey breast mince cottage pie – result!  I’ll be glad of that with how busy Thursday’s are.  My next day off is Sunday now as I’m working all day Saturday after my meeting I’ve got the area meeting.
Oh I almost forgot, my breakfast was delicious yesterday too, had those courgette and egg roll ups (1sp) from yesterday’s blog, mmm.   Lunch was the bean burger (2sp)with butternut squash roasted wedges and my tea was a good old fashioned egg and chip butty for 9sp, using McCains microwave chips.  I had some of the bake too, probably about 4sp worth maximum as I kept picking at it.

The only down side to yesterday was mom wasn’t very well when I got home, hoping she’s feeling better this morning, it’s not easy talking the stubborn one into going to the doctors if she isn’t well!

Flex continues to be liked in my meetings, members are saying they prefer it for so many reasons, it’s great to hear, what’s also good to hear is members saying they’re not giving up because ‘it’s Christmas’, we all know what damage can be done in December if we completely think ‘oh I’ll start again in January’!  Healthy and happy is for life not just for Christmas, it’s okay to have some treats just don’t go ridiculous, it isn’t what you do in the few days over Christmas that causes the weight problems, it’s what you do from New year’s day to Christmas eve!

It’s the 1st of December tomorrow, you know what that means – advent calendars, Christmas is in sight!  If you have one and want to Smart Point it, just look for the weight on the back, work out the total of the chocolate in the box and split it 25 way.

Enjoy your day, make wise food choices, don’t forget to drink your liquids, I know it’s colder and easier to drink less water but make an effort like I’m about too as we still need to be hydrated. 

Happy Thursday BeYOUtiful.

Curried Lentil Bake – 12sp total, roughly 2.5” square pieces = 1sp
Lentils cooked with vegetables, egg and sweet potato to make a perfect baby and kid friendly bake. Cut into finger size pieces and pack any left overs into a lunch box.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

1 tbsp oil (4sp)
1 onion (finely chopped)
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic (you could use jar garlic puree for quickness)
1 celery stalk (finely chopped)
2 medium carrots (finely chopped)
1 tbsp curry powder
175g red split lentils
580ml (580ml) vegetable stock
240g sweet potato (cut into approx. 1 cm cubes) (8sp)
70g frozen peas
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
1.    Pre heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas4
2.    Heat a pan over a medium heat, using spray light add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots then reduce the heat to low and cook for roughly 10 minutes (until softened.)
3.    Add the curry powder and cook for a further minute
4.    Add the lentils & stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer until cooked, soft and stock absorbed (approx. 20 mins)
5.    Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and fry the sweet potato cubes, on a low heat, for about 10min.
6.    Once lentils are cooked, allow to cool slightly and then add the potato, egg and peas. Stir until combined.
7.    Place the mixture in a greased, ovenproof dish and bake in the oven until set and golden (about 30-40 minutes).
8.    Slice and serve.

Spicy bean burgers
This meal is cheap as chips, you can buy a tin of kidney beans for 30p in Asda

1 tbsp vegetable oil (4sp)
Spray light
1 small onion (80g), chopped
1 tsp (2g) ground cumin
1 tsp (2g) paprika
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400g tin kidney beans
Breadcrumbs made from 1 slice of white bread (40g = 3sp)
Pinch of salt (1g)
Grind of pepper (1g)
1 tomato, sliced

Heat   frying pan, using spray light gently fry the onion until soft and golden, use a little water if needed. Add the cumin, paprika and garlic and fry for a couple more minutes but don’t let the garlic brown.

Remove from the heat and leave the onion, garlic and spices to cool a little before you add them to a food processor. Next add the drained kidney beans, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Blitz but not for too long – you want a fairly chunky texture. Shape by hand into four patties.

Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan and fry the burgers over a medium heat until cooked through and crispy on the outside. Turn them over gently to prevent crumbling.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Good morning world, it's a brand new day.

29th November 2017

Don’t wait, life goes faster than you think.

Oh my tea last night was lush, sun-dried tomato sausage and onion baguette, seriously it was just what I’d craved all day, I wanted carbs so much, maybe the weather, maybe the good old hormones, who knows but my body was screaming FEED ME and please make that food CARBS, to try and limit some of the damage I took out the middle of the roll and saved four points, I had chicken sausages to lower the Smart Points and of course I used spray light to fry the onions.

I also had butter beans on my lunch, they were okay, think next time I have them I’ll smash them as a mash and see how that works.

I have the middle of that roll left, I’m thinking a gratin of some kind with it, or meatloaf or patties, ooo I’m gonna get creative with it, could sundried tomato sausage meat and breadcrumbs mixed with smashed up chickpeas make them enjoyable!  Or maybe a spicy beanburger using kidney beans, let’s find out shall we, I’ve got an hour to spare today to have a play.

In my meeting yesterday morning some of my members bought tasters, one of which was Flex friendly oven baked onion bhaji’s with a mint dip, they were really tasty and here’s how to make them.

This recipe make 16 bhajis for a total of 3sp!  That’s 5 for 1sp, gotta be done, especially with party nights out are on the horizon, last night we were talking about getting home a bit worse for wear and having the munchies, if you had these ready and waiting you’d be happy, even the natural yogurt with mince sausage side is Zero on Flex.

2 tsp olive oil (3sp)

3 very large onions, as thinly sliced as you can make them

1 ½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin

1 ½ tsp ground coriander

1 ½ tsp chilli powder (I used spicy as we like them hot but if you don’t, go for mild)

1 ½ tsp ground ginger

100g chickpeas, drained and blended finely

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 egg, beaten

Pre heat your oven to 180c and line a baking tray with some baking paper.

Pop your olive oil in a large frying pan (the biggest you have, there are lots of onions to be fried!) and once hot add all the onions and turmeric. Cook for around 20 minutes until the onions are nice and soft and have taken on the colour of the turmeric. Add a little water to stop the onions sticking if required.

Take the onion mixture off the heat, pop into a large bowl and add all the dry ingredients including the chickpeas. Give a good mix and then add the tomato puree and egg. Mix again until well bound.

Take around a tablespoon of mixture and roll into a rough ball, then flatten slightly. Pop onto a baking tray.  This method should give you 16 bhajis.

Spray bhajis with fry light, season with salt and pepper and pop in the oven for 20 minutes (or until nicely browned).

While your bhajis are in the oven, mix 2 tablespoons of fat free natural yoghurt with a touch of mint sauce and some grated cucumber. Pop into a smaller bowl.

Remove bhajis from oven, leave to cool a little (they will also firm up) and serve in a bowl with your yoghurt on the side. You could even add some salad with a little red onion.

Yeah they’re definitely one to try maybe I’ll have a go at them today too, they’re a bit moreish though I have to say, I know I’ll probably eat the lot but at 3sp, that’s okay isn’t it.

Right my tea mug is empty, I need a refill, feeling good today, still got a bit of the cold lurking but it hasn’t been a bad one thankfully, not one that knocked me off my feet, this time last Wednesday I felt rough but Alfie soon told me to get a grip as he wanted walking.

I’ve got a couple of courgettes in the fridge, might make these this morning now eggs are zero

Egg and courgette roll ups – 1sp

2 eggs

½ courgette

Salt & pepper

Spray light

1/2tbsp parmesan cheese (1sp)

a bit of diced red onion or 1 spring onion

Pan liner – unless you have an amazing totally non-stick pan!  They also stop the pan getting mucky! (This is what the look like https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chytaii-Non-Stick-Cooking-Reusable-Resistant/dp/B074T8T8SJ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1511940094&sr=8-6&keywords=pan+liners)

Grate the courgette and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Whisk two eggs in a jug and season with salt and pepper.

Put your pan liner in frying pan over a medium-hot heat, I still spray it with spray light. When it is hot, pour in the eggs. Rotate the pan to create a large, even omelette & then lower the temperature slightly.

As soon as the liquid egg has set, add the grated courgette, parmesan and onion over the pancake.

Wait for the pancake to firm up, then slide out onto a plate and carefully roll it using your fingers & enjoy – so delicious!

Enjoy your day BeYOUtiful, I know I’m going to because I’m going to be cooking and eating, two of my favourite things.