Google+ Forget dieting forever: January 2012

If you love cooking and experimenting with new recipes - you've come to the right place! Not only do we have delicious recipes - we also share our SUCCESSFUL WEIGHT LOSS story.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Fast food

As Tuesday speeds along, there is only time for fast food today!  That's a full fat greek yoghurt with coconut and fruit for breakfast, followed by beans on toast for lunch.  It may not be the best option - but it is so much better than nipping to the chip shop!

With very little time to prepare anything, we will be having a jacket potato tonight, with a bag of prepared salad and some cheese or prawns.  It's not so much the food that takes time to prepare - it's thinking about what to have.  Now we have some idea - we are less likely to panic and overeat on something not quite as healthy.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Beef done two ways

Here is what our beef dish looked like.  We served this with a selection of hot vegetables.  It was delicious - see previous posts for recipe.  We just want to show that we are eating normal foods while losing weight.

There was a small amount of fillet steak with a mushroom/onion mix on top.  Then there was slow cooked shin of beef on top of a celeriac puree, some mini roast potatoes and shallots.  I think the meal would come to no more than 800 calories.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Saturday menu

We have been for a refreshing walk and are now preparing the dinner for this evening.  We've decided to have beef done two ways.  A couple of weeks ago, we made a slow cooked beef shin dish, with celeriac puree and spinach/cheese ravioli.  There was a couple of small portions left over, which we froze - along with the delicious gravy/sauce.  So -- they are coming out of the freezer tonight.  Instead of having this with the ravioli, we've decided to go for a meatier dish.  We'll be having a small piece of fillet steak and serving this with celeriac puree, shallots and crisp roasted potatoes.  I'll take a picture and post it later.

Today we get to eat a normal full calorie intake.  This meal will cost between 700 and 800 calories and we can easily accommodate it into our day's allowance. We're not afraid of eating food we love, we are just AWARE of how much we can eat.  It's all about making the choice!  Earlier today I fancied some chocolate, but only had a small amount, because I was saving myself for this meal.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


We know the formula works - that is eat a little bit less, exercise a little bit more and weightloss will follow.  Over the last week, we have been looking at what we are eating - just a little bit closer than normal.  We've realised we are still nibbling on leftover Christmas goodies - which is not a good thing.  Over the last couple of days we have paid more attention to our calorie intake. This has worked for us, because we are both down in weight.  My partner is 1 lb lighter and I am 1/2 lb lighter.  This proves to us that our weightloss method is still working.

If you have been following this blog, you'll know we had a takeaway last Friday, and as is usual for us, we had 3 days of eating a normal calorie allowance.  We eat whatever we want to eat.  So the weightloss - to us at least - is quite an achievement.  In the past when we've followed some ready made diets which are restricted in some way, we would probably have lost the same amount but been craving whatever it is we were not allowed to eat.

As it is, we are happy, content with our food intake, don't crave anything and feel great that what we are doing WORKS and more importantly is still working after one whole year. 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Friday's takeaway

We had nothing prepared - so we decided to treat ourselves to a takeaway.  This was our first takeaway of this style for some time.  At the pub we drank our usual amount, so hunger wasn't down to drink. So we were surprised to find ourselves able to continue eating through the takeaway.  We seemed able to consume a lot more than what we would consider as normal intake.  The next day, we could still taste the salt - our mouths were really dry. 

So what was going on?  When we have cooked food from scratch - even if it is fairly high in fat - we find we stop eating naturally when we are full.  We think by eating the natural fat in food, we feel fuller and stop eating much sooner. 

With the takeaway, we didn't get the same 'full' signals.  We wonder if it was down to MSG, which maybe raises the salt level of the food.  Does this substance fool our body into eating more than normal?  Because we eat freshly prepared food most of the time, it was more noticeable to us that we ate so much.  We know there was something in the takeaway that made us eat more than we normally would.  We CHOSE to eat the takeaway, and that may not be the healthiest option - but you can see from our pictures, we usually eat our own prepared food.

Sunday roast lamb

With the steam rising from one of our favourite Sunday roasts - I wasn't going to hang around and wait to take another picture! The lamb shoulder was slowly cooked with thyme and rosemary for about 4 hours.  Slow cooking helps draw out the fat from the meat, while retaining all the flavour of the meat. We went for a leisurely walk around the countryside and returned to the wonderful aroma.  A few roasters, some spring greens, cauliflower and carrots made for a tasty roast dinner.  The fat was removed from the gravy, and if it hadn't been for the roast potatoes, the meal itself would have been fairly low in calories. 

No monosodiumglutamate in sight.  The gravy was made using only meat and vegetable juices.  The clean yet rich flavours were worth waiting for. 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Blackberry duck

This was our meal this evening. 

The colours just don't do this dish justice.  It was really tasty and that surprised us because we used a couple of duck breasts that had been in the freezer for a very long time!

A blackberry sauce was whipped up by using 200mls red wine, 25mls port, a chopped shallot (or small onion), one clove of garlic, half dozen blackberries and 200mls chicken stock. Reduce to about half then pass through a sieve and return to the pan and season to taste. We found it was too sour, so we added some redcurrant jelly - I suppose you could just add sugar or honey if that was the case.  The sauce was then reduced again until it was a syrup like texture and a knob of butter was added.  The rest of the blackberries were added at this stage. 

Now for the celeriac.  Beautiful.  After cooking in milk, we mashed it and seasoned with salt and pepper.  If you wish to make this richer, add butter or cream. 

The little balls of roasted potato completed the dish.  The plate was served up as you see it, but, we were so full that we couldn't finish it and left around a third of the dish.  That may sound cruel, but we just listened to our bodies and realised we had served too large a portion.  It was a fantastic meal and we think the dish would come to around 700 calories. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Wednesday food

We had trout salad with warm potato and spring onion salad.  I was quite hungry so had a small slice of bread with it too.  Our dinner was leftover chicken curry (using our low fat homemade curry sauce recipe - see turkey curry).

Wednesday weight

We have revisited our energy allowance - that's calories to you and me.  Recognising we have both lost over 5 stone together, we checked if our calorie intake needed adjusting.  It did.  So on Monday, we started to eat our new allowance.  It was only about 100 calories lower than we thought, but that's enough to slow the weight loss (effectively by 700 calories per week).  We are still in the fat-loss stage, so need to eat below our daily allowance and we do this 4 days per week. 

Standing on the scales today, we are both now 1/2 lb lighter - which is pleasing.  So the weight is still coming off, even though we have now been doing this for one whole year.  I think the part-time reduction in calories (while still eating whatever we want - ie no faddy foods) is the key, together with a bit of walking.  If I can continue to lose on average 1/2 lb week doing this I will be at my goal weight soon enough. When you see what we eat, that's pretty impressive.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Hint of things to come...

Our shin of beef was slow cooked tastes fabulous already.  We're half way there with our meal tonight.  We removed all the undesirable bits from the meat, and sprinkled it with salt - this will help the binding process. 
We rolled the meat up to the size of our metal cooking rings. It will it in the fridge this afternoon, when we will cut it into four portions - 125g per person.  It is SO rich, having been slow-cooked in red wine & stock/veg.  For the sauce, we sieved the cooking liquor before reducing it down and seasoning with salt and pepper.  We prepared hand made ricotta & spinach ravioli to go with the dish.  Obviously this will be just as good with some creamy mash, but we've chosen to eat ours with pasta.

It will be served on a bed of buttered leeks, and drizzled with the reduced cooking stock, where the fat has been removed - which believe me, tastes delicious, rich and yummy.  Can't wait.  Recipe and calories to follow!

Saturday ideas

There's a beautiful frost outside, so we're going to head for a park which overlooks the whole of Bristol.  This walk will give us some breathtaking views and a little gentle exercise.  Walking has made us fitter and contributed to our weightloss.

For lunch we will probably have a sausage sandwich, as it's simple and quick to make.  We believe butchers sausages beat the supermarket for taste and quality every time.  The meat content is so much higher too.

We are attempting a NEW recipe today.  Braised SHIN of beef with a twist.  We'll put the recipe up later.  All I'll say is the beef is a cheap cut - costing around £2.00 per pound.  This has been slowly braised overnight in red wine and stock/veg.  It smells delicious.  The slow cooking is the first part of the process.  Once it's cool enough to handle, we'll remove all the tough bits and roll the meat into a sausage shape (using clingfilm) and place in the fridge until we're ready.  This will make a great dinner party meal, as half the prep is done ahead of time.  I can't help loving the fact that the entire dish will cost us less than £2 per person - and - if we pull it off - will look spectacular!!  So excited.  I'll work out the calories in this later as I'm curious to know.  I suspect it's not going to be that high in calories. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


We are both back to our pre-Christmas weight and feeling positive about the months to come.  It was a good sign - not putting on lots of weight over the festive period, but I'm not going to get too complacent!  I've just been to the shops to try on some clothes, and find I can now get into sizes I used to dream about.  However, standing in front of a triple mirror only helped remind me of the rest of the fat that needs to go.  Despite losing a lot of weight already, it is clear that there is more to go.  I wonder where all the weight I have lost has disappeared from!  Obviously it has gone, as I am now able to wear clothes 2 sizes smaller.

Because the way we eat is sustainable, we are going to continue.  Our 'healthy' BMI is just over one point away, and I can't wait to get there.  At the moment, we are experiencing those large swings in weight again.  We used to find this happened when we were about to consolidate a new weight - so it's quite exciting really.  It's as if the body is re-distributing its fat around too.  We both know our shapes have changed quite dramatically these last month as waistlines are disappearing - yet the scales haven't seemed to register it yet.  This will follow, in time, so we are not too concerned.  We are just happy to be losing weight - slowly but surely - without any faddy diet or deprivation.  It's great to feel positive about losing weight.  Diets are always so negative - can't have this, mustn't eat that, shouldn't really...but.  Each day we ask ourselves - what do we fancy eating.  Then we eat it.  It's like being kind to yourself every day, which surely we all deserve. We just control how much we eat, and know what it is going to do to our overall calorie intake. It's worked so far!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Monday's kick start....

As we all know, calories count and Monday starts with a spicy hit.  I enjoyed lunch as I haven't had corned beef in a long time.  Our 450 calorie salad was so tasty, with some cheese and new potatoes covered in just a little butter!  Simple and delicious.

I did my usual trick of choosing the furthest parking slot from the shop, and this way I clocked up 0.6m on my pedometer.  That's about 60 calories to you and me. 

Dinner was easy too.  We had half a chicken left over, and I took off the skin, and marinated it in tandoori paste mixed with a bit of lemon juice.  I left this for around 4 hours before cooking.  It was absolutely succulent and delicious, low in calories and we had just a small amount of homemade oven chips and a sweetcorn salad.  I'd say the dinner came to around 650 calories. 

I've now got a few spare calories to either eat/drink this evening, or store up for later in the week!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Spicy thai tuna steak

The reason for our choice of menu tonight was because I actually fancied a chinese takeaway.  We thought about the last takeaway which cost over £20 and decided we could improve on that, and get our oriental fix another way.  With a two course meal costing less than a fiver each, we have exceeded our expectations, and enjoyed a taste explosion.  We simply marinated the fresh tuna, then lightly cooked it and served with cold thai noodles and sugar snap peas.

At around 600 calories per person, this is going to fill us up, with room to spare for other treats.  That's 300 calories for the tuna steak, 170 calories for the noodles (if I ate all of them, which I didn't), 100 calories for the dressing and 30 calories for the peas  Here's the recipe:

Marinade for the tuna steak (we marinated this for around 2 hours):

Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 clove garlic - pureed
Dash of honey

Ingredients for EGG Noodle dressing (to serve 4 people):

1 fresh chilli diced finely (add seeds if you want more heat)
10g of sesame seeds which you could dry fry if you want to add a toasted flavour and have time to do that
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
10g demarera sugar, use white sugar if you don't have this
1 tablespoon of lime juice - fresh if you have it, or the bottled stuff

Mix all the above ingredients together, and finally add some chopped CORIANDER if you have any, its a lovely smell, and is the classic for thai dishes. We prepared this dressing in the afternoon to save having to do too much later. We also cooked some noodles and let them cool before adding the thai dressing.

This was our first attempt at this particular tuna dish, and although the tuna was lovely, I'll be honest and say, I would have preferred some potato rather than the cold noodles.  I may have had new potatoes or even a small amount of dauphinoise? 
CALORIES have been calculated using 80g of cooked egg noodles per person, one portion of the noodle dressing with 170g of tuna steak and 50g sugar snap peas.

Saturday food

We're thinking of eating some fish later this evening, so we will call in to the fishmonger while we're out.  My partner quite fancies cooking some tuna - slightly rare, with an oriental twist.  I fancy crevettes cooked in breadcrumbs.  We'll see what's on offer! 

Lunch will probably be our own, frozen, ravioli. My partner made some butternut squash ravioli before Christmas and froze some of it.  We're interested to see if it still tastes just as good.  He has only just started experimenting with making his own pasta, and the ravioli was so delicious.  I've never tasted pasta that good!  Yes it does take a bit of time and effort, but the result is worth it.

For tomorrow we have a small leg of pork - Gloucester Old Spot.  This was on offer, and we want to see if it tastes any different, being that it is a special breed.  Hopefully the weather will be good, so we can leave the cooking to its own devices while we go for a walk.  There's nothing quite like the smell of a good old Sunday roast, and a few golden roast potatoes, to greet us on our return. 

Friday, 6 January 2012

Friday already

For the next 3 days we get to eat a normal calorie allowance.  Great, that just means more good food.  I recall the days when I used to go on diets, eating meagre calorie counted foods and starving! We definitely don't starve now. I can remember too, having so few calories at any one meal, that I was forever hungry - which is not good, as snacking would generally follow and defeat the objective.

Lunch was a bagel with 2 slices of smoked bacon and some scrambled egg.  It was really tasty and filling at around 600 calories.  As we're off to the pub tonight, we'll have a small bite to eat first, and return to the other half of our fab lasagne.  Eating and drinking more at the weekend will boost our metabolism again, and we think this helps shed the fat. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Investing time on a recipe for success

The 'sandwich lunch' was replaced with this fantastic home made lasagne.  I can have a sandwich later.

This is one of our favourite recipes and today, I've decided to make up the twice the quantity and freeze some.  We've enjoyed this meat lasagne at around just 400 calories for a very large portion (quarter of the recipe) and costs around £1 each.  The thing is, it can be cooked, cooled, reheated and enjoyed all over again.  In fact, I've decided to make this as we can have half today and half tomorrow when we return from the pub.  It's delicious, and my sneaky white sauce works a treat - so easy too.  Sometimes I'll add a separate layer of courgettes or beefy mushrooms, to ring the changes.  Add whatever you fancy.  It's tastier than the (often slippery) supermarket version, and it freezes perfectly. 

If you have a spare hour, and like us, want to invest time in yourself and your weightloss, here's the recipe:

Ingredients for Lasagne to serve 4 large or 6 smaller portions:

6 sheets of pre-cooked lasagna (104g) 360 cals
450g good beef mince (fat poured off) 837 cals
160g onions 67 cals
120g mushrooms 26 cals
Tablespoon tomato puree 14 cals
Tin chopped tomatoes 88 cals
15g cornflour 60 cals
250ml semi skimmed milk 125 cals
20g parmesan/cheddar mix for the top 80 cals
Mixed herbs to taste
Salt & pepper

One oblong baking dish 20 x 30cm - you can use a square dish, or anything that accommodates the length of the pasta sheet (18cm) to avoid having to break it up.

Fry the mince and pour off the fat. Fry the onions in a little oil until soft then add as much garlic as you like and add to the mince. Stir in some dried provencal herbs and pep this up with some of your own herbs if you have any. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. At this stage you could add any odd bits of left over red or white wine to give the dish a bit of oompfhhh (no, I haven't drunk any yet).

Now layer the ingredients. Bottom layer is the mince, then 3 sheets of dry lasagne, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a layer of UNCOOKED sliced mushrooms. Why bother cooking the mushrooms and soaking up lots of fat? They stay quite chunky if you add them raw, and cook through nicely in the oven. Put another layer of mince on top of the mushrooms. Repeat and finish with a layer of mince.

Put this half done dish into the oven once it has been covered with FOIL. This will steam/bake and soften all the ingredients. The pasta especially. I cooked it for around half an hour on 180 degrees. During this time I made the white sauce.

For the white sauce, mix the cornflour (which I prefer to ordinary plain flour as it is less likely to go lumpy, and has a cleaner taste in my opinion) with a little of the cold milk. Then add a little oil - about 2 teaspoons. Put on cooking ring and DO NOT LEAVE THIS TO IT'S OWN DEVICES or it will turn into superglue and ruin the day. Keep stirring all the time, and slowly add the rest of the milk. Once you have a quite runny yet thick mixture and it has gently simmered for a few minutes, add some seasoning (and a little bit of grated cheese if you fancy). Pour sauce over the dish and finish with the 20g of grated parmesan/cheddar or whatever strong cheese you want. Then put back in the oven, uncovered until brown - for about another half an hour.


The days when I'm undecided about what to eat, are the most difficult.  Today is going to be a busy day too, so I think we will have a sandwich for lunch.  If I'm out, and want to grab a sandwich, I can.

Sandwiches can vary, from around 300 to 800 calories, making what may seem an innocent food, potentially calorie loaded.  When buying a sandwich, look at the calorie content - you may just be surprised. Watch out if you fancy crisps too, as these can be very high in calories.  There are some lower calorie crispy alternatives out there, so choose wisely. 

Just become wise to what you are eating, and how that relates to the total number of calories you have decided to allow yourself for the day.  With 2,000 to play with, a sandwich may just fit in nicely, so have it.  But, there could be tastier things out there that are more filling, have a look around.  A high calorie sandwich and large bag of crisps could be replaced with a full hot meal.  A hot takeaway is an option.  I've noticed some well known fast food establishments are now displaying their calories on the internet, so take a look. Only then can you make an informed choice, and know what to spend your calories on.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Evening meal

We've marinated just HALF a chicken in our favourite peri-peri seasoning mixed with a little olive oil.  If you have a favourite marinade, then use that instead, or simply sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. The cost of this meal is around £1.50 per person using half a chicken (for 2 people). 
Our salad is rocket and parmesan, lightly coated with olive oil and seasoned.  There's a corn cob on the side and some buttered new potatoes.  We have a spoonful of coleslaw too.  The total cals for this meal is under 600.  We only have a rough count of the calories because we don't want it to take over our lives.  Keeping a mental total of the calories as we go through the day comes naturally for us now.  We work on the principle that if we are wrong, then our weight doesn't go down.  Fortunately, we have usually had a good guess at calories, and our weight has dropped.

If you don't have time, there is always the supermarket hot chicken, but it will cost more.  Add a bag of prepared salad and you're half way there.  I use frozen corn cobs when they are out of season.  The thing is, eat tasty food and hopefully you will feel satisfied.  I can remember some boring diets that restricted eating the crispy chicken skin.  Not for us, the bits that were crispy were eaten, and we thoroughly enjoyed it too.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

I fancy chips tonight!

This is what I fancy tonight - my own home made oven chips!  These are delicious if you want carbs with attitude.  Simply cut up some potatoes, coat in a good olive oil and place on a greased baking tray. I think these are great, as they do not contain any additives etc, just REAL potato and oil.  Sprinkle with a little salt and bake in a moderately hot oven.  I cook ours for around 30-40 mins. 

Here's what a 250g portion looks like. Heavenly. The calories are quite low - just 250 cals for the potatoes and using 2 teaspoons of olive oil at 80 calories, that's 330 cals total.  It's about using fresh ingredients and these really are full of flavour.  Add a fried or poached egg and maybe some beans, or mushrooms.  Cheap and tasty. 

Sunday, 1 January 2012


Happy New Year to you all.  We were out celebrating until the early hours! I hope all your resolutions work out.  One of our resolutions is to finish what we started last year - to complete our weightloss and get down to a healthy BMI.  We're nearly there, and it's great to begin the year with over 5 stone weightloss between us so far!

Starting as we mean to go on, we got up and went for a walk - to clear our heads!  We clocked up 260 calories, and can use these to offset some of the festive nibbles.  On return we toasted a fresh bagel and had cream cheese, a little smoked salmon and some really tasty watercress.  The combination was so delicious and it was very filling, none of the ingredients were low fat or 'diet' alternatives.  We believe we need filling up with good nutritious food, and more importantly, food that we actually enjoy and love to eat. Our philosophy is simple: eat what you enjoy to eliminate any cravings.  Eat within your calorie allowance, and get to know what calories are in the foods you love to eat.  This lunch came to around 400 calories.  This leaves plenty of calories for later!

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