Paprika roasted tinned new potatoes

pots
Served with griddled asparagus (46 cals), 60g roasted red onion (22 cals), 140g of roasted carrots (54 cals), Schwartz feef gravy (21 cals) and 2 slices of Tesco topside of beef (35 cals per slice).  Total = 366 calories.

Fast Days don’t need to be all about fancy food and lots of preparation.

Today I tried something I’ve spotted being touted around on the 2:5 facebook page I am a member of.

 

 

 

Paprika roasted tinned new potatoes! Love ’em!

175g with spray oil and sprinkling of paprika, 125 calories!

Served with griddled asparagus (46 cals) and roasted onion (60g, 22 cals) and roasted carrots (140g, 54 cals), Schwartz beef gravy (21 cals) and Tesco sliced topside of beef, 2 slices, 35cals a slice. TOTAL: 366 Calories.  FAST in the bag!

Very easy to prepare.

One tin of new potatoes, drained.  Lay out on a piece of kitchen roll to thoroughly dry.  Place into a baking tray and sprinkle over with half a teaspoon of paprika.  Spray with one calorie oil – I use Groovy Virgin Coconut Spray – which is only 1 calorie per spray.  No need to be too stingy!

Bake in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees) for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring half way through the cooking time.

Try them – you won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

King prawn, fennel and pink grapefruit salad

prawns

80g of king prawns, red onion, mint and pink grapefruit with a little red chilli

82 calories!

It took ages to munch through and was really refreshing.  We will be enjoying this again and I think it would be perfect to enjoy in the garden on a hot summers day.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: N/A
Serves: 2
Calories per serving: 82.5
King Prawns, Cooked & Peeled 160g
Fennel, Bulb, 80g
Pink Grapefruit, Flesh Only 50g
Mint, Fresh 1g
Red Chilli Peppers 5g
Red Onion 10g

Method

Slice the fennel and the red onion finely, using a mandolin or a very sharp knife.

Peel, segment and cut the grapefruit into small bite sized pieces and remove any pith.

Wash and finely dice the mint and chilli pepper.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients. Leave for about an hour in the fridge allowing the flavours to infuse.

Season well and serve.

Fasting, weight loss and understanding why 5:2 alone may not always work for everyone!!

Let me introduce a fictional friend to you, I’ll call her “Samantha”.

Samantha is aged 45, has a sedentary lifestyle (little or no exercise, desk job). She’s 5ft 6 inches tall and weighs 12 stone. TDEE = 1,709 calories. BMR is 1,424 calories. BMI is 27.1 For more explanation on TDEE, BMI, BMR see the link to the TDEE calculator https://thefastdiet.co.uk/how-many-calories-on-a-non-fast-day

Many people seemed to get disheartened about small losses, staying the same or… re-gaining weight lost following a Fasting day a day later! In order to lose 1lb in weight, you need to create an approximate deficit in your calorie intake (so over the TOTAL calorie intake or total TDEE calorie total for the week) of 3,000 calories.

Clearly, there are other things that will affect this figure – how active you are, age, etc. Fasting (2 days per week @ 500/600 calories) will create a deficit. Using Samantha’s TDEE, she’d need to eat 11,963 calories a week to maintain her weight. Because she’s reducing the calorie intake on 2 days a week (2 x 500 = 1,000) she has created a 1,209 deficit on one fasting days – or 2,418 calories over 2 days. If she eats up to her TDEE on the remaining 5 days (5 x 1,709 calories) she’s consuming just 9,545 calories in a week – 3,418 calories BELOW her TDEE for the week (11,963 – 9,545 = 2,418).

BUT if Samantha completes two successful 500 day fasts and on the remaining days eats OVER her TDEE, then she’ll soon start eating into the 2,418 calories she’s “saved” through her fasts. She may just have a couple of things that take her over her TDEE on each non-fasting day – half a bottle of white wine at 635 cals and a Magnum (280 cals) = 915 calories! She may not do this every day…. But if she did, then potentially she may have completely negated the fasting days. Over 5 days, her wine and Magnum have totalled 4,575 calories!!! She’s actually eaten 2,157 calories OVER her TDEE. She probably believes that she’s doing ok, as she has absolutely no idea of how many calories are in a Magnum (she doesn’t count calories on non-fast days) and alcohol – well, there aren’t many calories in it are there? It was only half a bottle (she used to drink a whole bottle before 5:2) and…. it’s a non-fast day so she’s not counting calories…..

I am posting this, as someone who started off with logging food and calorie counting – 5:2 hadn’t been heard of in 2012….

At 50 years old, I weighed 14 stone. Was a size 24 and am just 4ft 9 and very sedentary because of a physical disability which severely impacts on my mobility. I use an electric wheelchair outside of the house.

It took me 3.5 years to reach my goal weight of 9st 7lb. During the second part of my weight loss journey, I used (and still use) 5:2 as a “tool”. I have during the whole of that time continued to log all the food I eat.

I’m posting this, because it may be that some people do need to “number crunch” and look a bit more closely at what they eat on non-fasting day – particularly the calorie count. Examining some of the calories in food (especially high calorie foods and alcohol) enables you to start making better food choices… “Is that 400 calorie slice of cake really worth it?”

You will also need to develop huge willpower to resist temptation! That lovely crisp warm sausage roll may smell nice and taste delicious! However, is eating it knowing that it may mean that you don’t see a loss at the end of the week really worth it? The feeling that you have “failed” stays with you much longer than a few moments and the more you experience that feeling of “failure”, the more likely you are to give up altogether.

The TDEE comes down as you lose weight, so it’s important that you regularly check your TDEE calories. Yes, the beauty of this way of life is that it’s easy, it’s sustainable and for many, it works successfully. BUT sometimes it may be helpful to study exactly what a non-fasting day looks like and work out if this might be contributing to the lack of movement on the scales….. I am hoping that if you’ve made it this far in my post – it’s been helpful! 🙂

More than anything, stay strong…. it’s not a race. You can get there in the end, and it will be sooooo worth it!

Fasting, weight loss and understanding why 5:2 alone may not always work for everyone!!

Let me introduce a fictional friend to you, I’ll call her “Samantha”.

Samantha is aged 45, has a sedentary lifestyle (little or no exercise, desk job). She’s 5ft 6 inches tall and weighs 12 stone. TDEE = 1,709 calories. BMR is 1,424 calories. BMI is 27.1

For more explanation on TDEE, BMI, BMR see the link to the TDEE calculator.

Many people seem to get disheartened about small losses, staying the same or… re-gaining weight lost following a Fasting day a day later!

In order to lose 1lb in weight, you need to create an approximate deficit in your calorie intake (so over the TOTAL calorie intake or total TDEE calorie total for the week) of 3,000 calories. Clearly, there are other things that will affect this figure – how active you are, age, etc. Fasting (2 days per week @ 500/600 calories) will create a deficit.

Using Samantha’s TDEE, she’d need to eat 11,963 calories a week to maintain her weight. Because she’s reducing the calorie intake on 2 days a week (2 x 500 = 1,000) she has created a 1,209 deficit on one fasting days – or 2,418 calories over 2 days. If she eats up to her TDEE on the remaining 5 days (5 x 1,709 calories) she’s consuming just 9,545 calories in a week – 2,418 calories BELOW her TDEE for the week (11,963 – 9,545 = 2,418).

 

BUT if Samantha completes two successful 500 day fasts and on the remaining days eats OVER her TDEE, then she’ll soon start eating into the 2,418 calories she’s “saved” through her fasts. She may just have a couple of things that take her over her TDEE on each non-fasting day – half a bottle of white wine at 635 cals and a Magnum (280 cals) = 915 calories! She may not do this every day…. But if she did, then potentially she may have completely negated the fasting days. Over 5 days, her wine and Magnum have totalled 4,575 calories!!! She’s actually eaten 2,157 calories OVER her TDEE.She probably believes that she’s doing ok, as she has absolutely no idea of how many calories are in a Magnum (she doesn’t count calories on non-fast days) and alcohol – well, there aren’t many calories in it are there? It was only half a bottle (she used to drink a whole bottle before 5:2) and…. it’s a non-fast day so she’s not counting calories…..

I am posting this, a

beforeafter
2.5 years and 4.5 stone….

s someone who started off with logging food and calorie counting – 5:2 hadn’t been heard of in 2012…. At 50 years old, I weighed 14 stone. Was a size 24 and am just 4ft 9 and very sedentary because of a physical disability which severely impacts on my mobility. I use an electric wheelchair outside of the house.

It took me 3.5 years to reach my goal weight of 9st 7lb. During the second part of my weight loss journey, I used (and still use) 5:2 as a “tool”.

I have during the whole of that time continued to log all the food I eat.

I’m posting this, because it may be that some people do need to “number crunch” and look a bit more closely at what they eat on non-fasting day – particularly the calorie count. Examining some of the calories in food (especially high calorie foods and alcohol) enables you to start making better food choices… “Is that 400 calorie slice of cake really worth it?”

You will also need to develop huge willpower to resist temptation! That lovely crisp warm sausage roll may smell nice and taste delicious! However, is eating it knowing that it may mean that you don’t see a loss at the end of the week really worth it? The feeling that you have “failed” stays with you much longer than a few moments and the more you experience that feeling of “failure”, the more likely you are to give up altogether.

The TDEE comes down as you lose weight, so it’s important that you regularly check your TDEE calories. Yes, the beauty of this way of life is that it’s easy, it’s sustainable and for many, it works successfully. BUT sometimes it may be helpful to study exactly what a non-fasting day looks like and work out if this might be contributing to the lack of movement on the scales…..

I am hoping that if you’ve made it this far in my post – it’s been helpful! 🙂

More than anything, stay strong…. it’s not a race. You can get there in the end, and it will be sooooo worth it!

Butternut Squash Galette with Roasted Garlic and Thyme – 328 calories

So what is a galette? I hear you ask…  A galette is a rustic tart with hand-folded edges… it can be sweet or savoury.

I absolutely LOVE butternut squash and have found many, many ways to enjoy this versatile vegetable.  But I have never cooked it in a galette.  In fact, I have never attempted a galette.

Today was the day!

2016-05-19 13.14.17Serves 6
Preparation time:  1 hour

Cooking time:  30 minutes

Ingredients

Plain Flour                                                             –      110g
Ground Semolina                                                –      40g
Salt                                                                           –      ½ Tsp/2.5g
Freshly ground black pepper                           –      ½ Tsp/1g
Butter                                                                      –      85g
Tap Water (cold)                                                  –      60ml
Butternut Squash                                                 –      400g
Extra Virgin One Calorie Spray, Fry Light    –      30 Sprays/6ml
Fresh Thyme                                                         –      2 Tsps/2g
Ricotta Cheese                                                      –      115g
Gouda Cheese, Grated                                        –      115g
Garlic                                                                       –      10 Cloves/30g
Parmesan Cheese, Grated                                 –      1½ Tbsps/15g

Method

First, make the dough. Add the flour, semolina and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it forms a crumbly mix.

Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time (between 2 – 4 tblsp), until the dough sticks together and forms a ball (don’t make it too moist).

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it into a ball with your hands.  Cover it with plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the butter harden.  You can leave it in the fridge for up to a day; if you want to make the dough in the morning, you can complete your galette later in the day.

Next prepare the filling.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Spray two baking sheets with 15 squirts of the spray oil.

Peel and cut the butternut squash into two halves, and cut each half into thin (5mm) slices.

In a large bowl, combine 1 clove of the peeled and chopped garlic and chopped thyme and stir. Add the squash slices and 15 squirts of the spray oil and toss to ensure that the slices are completely coated. Spread the slices onto one of the baking sheets. Scatter the remaining garlic cloves (whole and unpeeled) in between the slices. Put the baking sheets into the oven and bake until the garlic and butternut squash are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool.

While that’s baking, get your galette dough ready. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a large circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer this disk to parchment paper-lined baking sheet and put it in the fridge until ready to use.

2016-05-19 13.10.19
Roll out the pastry on non-stick baking parchment

Once the garlic is cooled, peel and put in the reserved bowl. Mash the garlic until it is a smooth paste, then stir in the ricotta cheese.

Now, we put the galette together. Pull your dough disk from the fridge. Spread the garlic-cheese mixture over the top, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges (this is what will be folded over).

2016-05-19 13.12.02
Spread the garlic infused Ricotta over, leaving a 1 inch border

Arrange your slices of squash over the garlic-cheese mixture. While you don’t have to make it pretty, it’s fun to do so and you can arrange the squash in a lovely spiralling circle. Just don’t let the slices overlap too much. Too thick, and it’ll be too heavy for the galette crust and it’ll break when you serve it later.

2016-05-19 13.14.17
Arrange the baked butternut squash slices being careful not to overlap too much

 

2016-05-19 13.15.21
Sprinkle over the Gouda cheese

Sprinkle the Gouda cheese over the top.

2016-05-19 13.16.33
Carefully pleat in the edges

Next, fold the edges toward the centre of the galette. Remember the tips I gave you above, if you’re having any trouble getting the crust to fold nicely.

Sprinkle the edges of the crust with the parmesan cheese.

2016-05-19 13.17.40
Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the edges

Place your galette in the oven and bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.


Let cool slightly before slicing and serve it up warm. Yum!

Citrus blackened Cajun chicken breast fillet with a green bean and garlic salad and roasted celeriac

2016-05-13 16.31.37Healthy food doesn’t all have to be prepared from scratch.  I have found a number of ready-prepared dishes that regularly feature on the menu.  Today is a Tesco Healthy Living Citrus blackened Cajun chicken breast fillet – only 25 minutes to cook (remove lid from foil dish, pop into pre-heated oven for 25 minutes…)  It’s pretty decent quality chicken, and only 171 calories.

13-05-16 Wrapper
Now, before anyone gets too concerned, the beauty with these little beauties is that they can be frozen!

I’ve enjoyed this chicken with salad and other vegetables, but today I prepared a fine green bean and garlic salad (55 calories per serving) , and roasted celeriac (60 calories).  This provided a great tasting and filling meal for just 286 calories.
Here’s the recipe for the green bean salad.
Green bean and garlic salad = 55 calories per serving

Recipe makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
270g fine green beans
1 clove of garlic
1 x roasted red pepper in brine (comes in a jar)
50g of finely diced red onion
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Trim ends from beans and cut into 3cm pieces. Peel and finely dice red onion and garlic clove. Drain red pepper from brine and chop into fine pieces.

Cook green beans in a pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove to a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry with paper towels then place in a serving bowl.

Toss with remaining ingredients. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature, at least 30 minutes.
Roasted celeriac = 79 calories per serving

Recipe makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

750g celeriac
Virgin Coconut one calorie spray oil

Method

Peel the celeriac and cut into 1.5cm cubes. Spread over a baking tray. Spray with the spray oil.

Cook for 35 – 45 minutes in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees), stirring half way through so that the cubes are evenly browned.

Great with fish and can be used to replace potatoes!

Easter baking….

2016-03-28 13.08.14

Easter probably comes a close second to Christmas when it comes to over indulgence and food.

To keep my self from eating it, I tend to busy myself with cooking it!

Today I’ve adapted a recipe I found on-line to make this scrumptious looking butternut squash, feta and kale pie.  It’s flavoured with nutmeg, red onion and toasted pumpkin and pine nut seeds with poppy seeds sprinkled on top.

One thing about attempting to lose weight is that pastry tends not to feature too often on the menu.  However, filo allows you to indulge in a little pastry consumption!

The recipe serves 8 and is around 282 calories a slice.  Perfect for a vegetarian menu and to provide a dinner party centre piece, which can be prepared well in advance.

I’ll need to add some pictures when I’ve cut into it, but as it’s not for consumption today, you’ll have to wait!

Butternut squash, feta and kale filo pie

Preparation Time: 1 hr
Cooking Time: 40 mins
Serves: 8
Calories per serving: 282.5
Garlic, Raw 1 Clove/3g
Nutmeg, Ground ½ Tsp/1.5g
Filo Pastry 6 Sheets/270g
Onions, Red 80g
Sunflower Oil 5ml
Pumpkin Seeds 2 Tbsps/20g
Pine Nuts 20g
Poppy Seeds 1 Tbsp/8.8g
Butter 30g
Butternut Squash, Raw 720g
Feta Cheese 2 Servings/200g
Kale 60g
Eggs, Medium 2 Eggs/116g

Method

Preparation:

Peel and de-seed the butternut squash and cut into 1.5cm cubes. Spread onto a baking sheet and spray with the one calorie spray oil.

Peel and finely dice the red onion and the garlic. Roughly chop the kale into bite sized pieces. Cut the feta cheese into 1cm cubes.

Beat the two eggs in a mixing bowl.

Method:

(1) Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

(2) Once the oven has reached the right temperature, put the butternut squash in to cook for 30 minutes, turning half way through cooking time. The butternut squash should be soft and just starting to turn brown on the edges.

(3) One the butternut squash is cooked, lower the heat to 180 degrees.

(4) Pour the sunflower oil into a small pan and cook the onions in the oil until soft and turning golden. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more. Transfer into a small dish.

(5) Add the seeds and nuts into the same frying pan and cook over a medium heat stirring frequently until the turn golden brown. Do not allow to burn! Immediately turn out into a small dish (so that they don’t continue to cook in the hot pan). When cool, add the nutmeg and stir through.

(6) Put the kale into a bowl and pour over boiling water. Leave to stand for about 5 minutes, and then drain in a colander, squeezing out excess water. Leave draining, as you want it to be as dry as possible.

(7) Melt the butter in a microwave or small pan. Use some of the melted butter to grease a non-stick loose-bottomed cake tin, about 20-22cm. Put the first sheet of filo in the tin and brush with the melted butter, letting the excess (around 7 – 10cm) hang over the sides. Keep going with the rest of the sheets, turning a little before adding each additional pastry sheet and brushing all over with the melted butter. It does not have to be neat! Retain any pieces of pastry that break off. Ensure that there are no gaps or splits in the base that will allow the filling to leak out.

(8) When all the pastry is used up, tip in the butternut squash cubes and arrange to evenly cover the bottom of the tin. Then add the kale, again, ensuring it’s evenly distributed. Add the fried onion/garlic and then the seeds/nuts.

(9) Pour over (evenly) about two-thirds of the beaten egg mixture, retaining the remainder to brush on the top of the pie.

(10) Fold over the excess pastry to cover, ensuring that the filling isn’t visible at all. You want to achieve a crumpled effect here, so add any of the broken sheets too. Brush the top with the remaining egg and sprinkle over the poppy seeds.

(11) Place the pie onto a baking sheet and then bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until the filo is crisp and golden. Leave for 5 minutes before turning out and cutting into wedges to serve.

Sweet potato pie crust

Have spotted a couple of links on a FaceBook page I frequent where I read about making pie or quiche crust from sweet potato!

Last week, I eventually gave this a go.

This is the recipe for the crust:

Sweet potato crust

Serves 4, Preparation 20 mins, calories per serving 192 calories

Flour, Rice 125g
Sweet Potato, Raw, Unprepared, Average 400g
Xanthan Gum, Allergycare 1 Tsp/5g
Baking Powder, Average 1 Tsp/2g
Salt, Average ½ Tsp/2.5g

Method

Cook the sweet potato by steaming, microwaving or boiling, then discard skin and mash it until smooth. Put it in a bowl and leave to cool

Put the rice flour, xanthan gum (which is a natural binder and gluten free) and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and stir them all together. Add them to the mashed sweet potato and mix thoroughly.

Spoon out mixture into an oiled pie or quiche dish and use a spoon to push up against the sides and onto the bottom, ensuring that it’s evenly spread and that there are no holes.

Bake the “shell” for about 15 minutes on 180 degrees before filling. Fill with a quiche filling, fruit or pie ingredients of your choice.

Baking time depends on the kind of pie but it’s usually around 40 minutes.

This could be rolled out like pastry but handling will be tricky! Would also make a perfect pizza base.

 

The filling was griddled asparagus with red onion and Gorgonzola cheese:

Gorgonzola, griddled asparagus and red onion quiche

Serves 4, 174 calories.  Takes 30 minutes to prepare

Cheese, Gorgonzola, Full Fat, Creamy, Semi Hard, Blue Veined, Tesco 80g
Eggs, Medium, Average, Weight with Shell 4 Eggs/232g
Asparagus, Fine, Raw, Sainsbury’s 100g
Onions, Red, Raw, Average 60g
Oil, Olive, Extra Virgin, Average 8ml

Method

This is a filling intended to add to a pre-cooked pastry base. Can be used with a sweet potato crust, which detailed above.

Prepare the asparagus. Take each stalk in both hands and bend and snap off the woody end.

Add the olive oil to a trying pan. Peel and finely slice the shallot and add to the oil on a medium heat. Add the asparagus spears. Lower heat and continue to cook the vegetables for about 20 minutes until soft and the shallot is translucent.

Arrange the spears and shallots into the pre-baked pastry case.

Next, beat the eggs together and add the grated Cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper, then pour this mixture over the asparagus. Finally, cut the gorgonzola into small pieces and sprinkle over the top.

Place the tart on the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees until the centre feels firm and the filling is golden brown and puffy.