Savoury Cake – Broccoli, feta, red onion and pine nut cake – 257.5 calories a portion

IMG_1351A few weeks ago, on the weight loss site I use to log food, there was a suggestion of savoury cake as something to make and portion up for packed lunches.

I tried this recipe today and whilst it is quite a bit of fiddling around, it was absolutely delicious!

For anyone concerned about the broccoli, the flavours that are the strongest are the cheese and onion – the broccoli added a nice bite.

We ate our warm from the oven. The remainder will be portioned up and go into the freezer.

Preparation Time:30 mins

Cooking Time:40 mins

Serves:8

Calories per serving:257.5

Ingredients

Broccoli, Raw -200g

Red Onions -2 Sm/180g

Olive Oil, Olive -1 Tbsp/15ml

Rosemary, Fresh-1 Tbsp/1.7g

Thyme, Fresh -1 Tbsp/4g

Sundried Tomato – 4 or 40g

Eggs, Medium -4 Eggs/236g

Plain Flour, (white or wholemeal) -120g

Baking Powder -1½ Tsps/3g

Mature Cheddar Cheese -50g

Feta Cheese -2 Servings/200g

Pine Nuts -30g

Salt -1 Pinch/0.1g

Pepper, Freshly Ground -2 Pinchs/0.4g

Preparation: Cut the broccoli into smallish, manageable sized florets. Chop the rosemary leaves. Grate the cheddar, crumble the feta. Chop the sun dried tomatoes into small bite sized pieces. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs.

Method

1 Boil the broccoli in plenty of water for around 4-6 minutes, or until tender. Alternatively cook/steam in the microwave in a lidded dish with about 30ml of water on full power for 4 minutes.

2 Peel the onions and take 2 decent-sized rings, 2-3mm thick each, and reserve for the top of the cake. Finely dice the remainder of the onion.

3 Heat the oil in a pan over a moderate heat. Sweat the onions until soft and translucent. Add the rosemary and thyme towards the end of the cooking time and mix well. Leave to cool.

4 Grease a 25cm round springform cake tin and line with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the flour, baking powder, grated cheese, crumbled feta, salt and pepper.

5 Add the cooked onion and herbs to the mix. Lastly, add the broccoli and mix to combine.

6 Add the finished mix to the cake tin and arrange the onion rings (reserving the pine nuts). Bake for 25 minutes, then sprinkle the pine nuts on top (before this and they will burn). Cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the cake is firm and golden in parts on top.

You can eat this cake warm or cold and it transports really well for packed lunches.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 257.5

Carbohydrate (g) 14.3

Fat (g) 16.5

Fibre (g) 1.8

Fruit & Veg 0.7

Protein (g) 12.8

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Confessions of a habitual weigher

I was once a habitual weigher.

Until I discovered calorie counting!

The great thing about logging all my food is I know whether I can expect a loss each week – or whether the scales will be going in an upwards direction.

If I have had a week of going over my calories, I know what the end result will be! If I’ve been away on holiday or for a weekend and not bothered logging food or making less than sensible choices – I know I’ll see a gain. If I have stuck stringently to my calorie allowance (which is set to half a pound weight loss) I know that I should enjoy a loss!

I used to go to Slimming World and Weight Watchers and think that just going to the weigh in and listening to the class leader was all I needed to do! I would hate the idea that I was not going to lose weight and the sorts of excuses I was forced to make as to why that was.

I love the calorie counting way – it’s about being accountable and honest with myself. Nothing is forbidden. No food is “free”. I can check the calories the food contains and it is me who makes the choice about whether I want to eat it or not.

I won’t say it all falls into place just like that, but once you can get your head around the simple fact that less calories in vs more calories out = weight loss, it becomes a whole lot easier!

As a sedentary (disabled) very short woman, I know that I have to be more stringent than others who are active or more mobile, taller or younger!! 

I STILL weigh myself every morning, I know that the scales will fluctuate quite considerably (depending on whether I have eaten lots of carbs, exercised, eaten salty food, etc). The one weigh in that matters is the Friday morning weigh in – the one I log.

It’s not all plain sailing – life has to go on around weight loss – the birthday celebrations, Christmas, social gatherings. The choices I make on those occasions are completely up to me.

I don’t log when I am on holiday – and I used to just “let go” but I have learned during the course of my six year weight loss journey that I can’t afford to do that. So I now reign myself in. I will still face a gain on my return, but it’s never as huge as when I took a holiday from my healthy eating habits!

I’m showing you my weight loss chart so that you can see that I am far from perfect. But I know what to do.

It’s up to me what I choose to do.

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Sweet Potato and Chickpea Burgers – 150 calories

IMG_1261Sweet Potato & Chickpea Burgers

Preparation Time: 60 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Serves: 9

Calories per serving: 150 (each burger)

Ingredients

Porridge Oats, Rolled – 90g

Sweet Potato, Baked, Flesh Only – 635g

Chick Peas, one tin drained – 240g

Coriander, Ground – 1 Tsp/5g

Cumin, Ground – ½ Tsp/2.5g

Olive Oil – 1 Tsp/5ml

Onions, Red – 80g

Coriander, Fresh – 35g

Dried Chilli Pepper Flakes – 1 Pinch/0.1g

Olive Oil – 1 calorie spray (20 sprays)

Method

Spike the sweet potato all over and bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven (190 degrees) for about an hour until soft. Leave to cool.

Drain the chickpeas.

Peel and finely chop the red onion and garlic clove. Separate the stalks from the leaves of the coriander (but do not discard).

Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Add the diced onion and fry for about 3 – 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook for a further minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Cut the sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Add half to a large mixing bowl and the remainder to a food processor. Add the oats, chickpeas, chilli flakes, cumin and dried coriander. Roughly cut the coriander stalks and add to the food processor. Pulse several times. You may need to open the lid and scrape the edges into the middle of the processor so that you have a uniform consistency.

The aim is to retain several chunky pieces of chickpea, as these will give a lovely crunchy texture to the finished burger.

Combine everything into the mixing bowl, including the fried onion. Roughly chop the coriander leaves and add to the mixture. Stir again to combined.

Line two baking trays with non-stick baking parchment and spray over the top with the spray oil.

Using two tablespoons and your hands, make around 9 or 10 large balls with the mixture. Press into a pattie shape (leaving about 2cm thick) and place gently onto the greased and lined baking sheet. Ensure that the edges don’t touch.

Place the baking trays into a fridge for 30 minutes to allow the burgers to firm up.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Remove the burgers from the fridge, spray the tops of the burgers with the spray oil and place the baking tray in the oven for 25 minutes, turning the burgers once during cooking time.

These burgers are perfect for freezing – to cook from frozen, increase the cooking time by 5 minutes.

Serve the burgers in a bun or they are perfect with a salad. Tzatziki goes really well alongside the slight spice of the burger.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 149.6

Carbohydrate (g) 29.4

Fat (g) 2.2

Fibre (g) 4.3

Fruit & Veg 1.5

Protein (g) 3.7

Salmon, lemon and creme fraiche courgetti – 440 calories

IMG_1253Lovely quick recipe and very tasty! I have made a few variations of this dish – using smoked salmon, prawns or salmon flakes, as I have done here.

The cheese on the top is a token really – only 10g per person, but it’s not needed for the flavour, as there is already lots of flavour going on.

Many people say they’re not fond of courgetti, but I love combining it as I have here with whole wheat spaghetti.  Plenty of additional crunch for a whole lot less calories.

Preparation Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 20 mins

Serves: 2

Calories per serving: 461.8

Ingredients

Courgette, Raw, Average – 2 Courgettes/448g

Olive Oil -10ml

Lemon zest – 1 Tsp/2g

Lemon juice – 1 Tbsp/15ml

Creme Fraiche – 40g

Whole Wheat Spaghetti – 80g

Onions – 50g

Garlic – 1 Clove/3g

Salmon, Flakes, Honey Roasted – 100g

Cheddar Cheese – 20g

Parsley, Dried – ¼ Tsp/0.25g

Frozen peas, defrosted – 60g

Method

Julienne the courgette into fine strands. Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Zest the lemon and juice. Grate the cheese using a course grater.

Cook the spaghetti as per the instructions – drain and set aside keeping warm.

Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, cook for around 3 minutes until softening.

Add the garlic, courgette, lemon zest and fry for around 5-6 minutes until softened – but the courgette should retain a bit of crunch.

Add the peas, lemon juice, salmon and creme fraiche, dried parsley and continue to cook for one to two minutes until the salmon and sauce are warmed through.

Serve the spaghetti onto the plates first and then top with the salmon courgetti mixture. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 461.8

Carbohydrate (g) 36.2

Fat (g) 24

Fibre (g) 7.5

Fruit & Veg 3.9

Protein (g) 25

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Recovering from injury & pain

IMG_1415It may not have gone unnoticed that most of my posts recently have been about food rather than exercise!

Since returning from my holiday in March, I have been plagued by various problems – the main ones being lower back pain – which I think is the cause of my other problem – sciatic pain running down the back of my left leg and into the back of my knee.

This has hugely impacted on me both physically and emotionally.  Pain is so very tiring.  I feel EXHAUSTED and this isn’t helped in having disturbed nights tossing and turning trying to get comfortable.  I am someone who needs 8 – 9 hours of undisturbed sleep every night.

Thankfully I have lots of options to try and places to go to try and sort out this problem.  My wonderful masseur (who I see once a fortnight for an hour) has been quite shocked to see me in so much pain.  I’m probably in the worse pain she’s ever seen me in.  At our last session together, we devised a plan of action.

Pain relief isn’t a route I want to go down (yet).  My pain was preventing me from exercising and yet exercise was probably just what I need to get rid of the pain.

I booked in for a session on the Alter G treadmill.  I knew that if I needed to, I could increase the amount of support the machine would give me during my walk.  I could walk at a slower pace.  I could lengthen my stride to get in some of the stretching that is needed.

I am pleased to report that the one 30 minute session seems to have had a very good result.  I am also making sure I do just 20 minutes of seated stretches each morning – lower back, hamstrings, hip flexors, sit ups, various rotations of my spine and neck.

Another session is booked.

Exercise is good.  Exercise helps.  I must keep on moving!  An article I recently wrote reminded me of the importance of this:

www.getyourselfactive.org

Crunchy aubergine, firecracker rice and chickpea bake – 511 calories

collageI think this meal (made out of left-overs in the fridge and store cupboard items) was a huge success!

It was a little like a Biryani… I’ll be using the same principles to make more meals like this (perhaps incorporating chunks of fish or meat) as it was so quick, easy and filling. Only one dish to wash up too!

Crunchy aubergine, firecracker rice and chickpea bake

Preparation Time: 5 mins

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Serves: 2

Calories per serving:  511.2

Ingredients

Rice, Firecracker, Tilda – 1 Pack/250g

Chick Peas, in Salted Water, Canned – 170g

Tomatoes, Plum, Canned, roughly chopped – 170g

Spinach, Boiled or Steamed – 75g

Cheese, Cheddar, grated – 75g

Breadcrumbs, Panko – 1 Serving/30g

Aubergine, Grilled, chopped into small cubes – 100g

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.

Mix together all the ingredients in an oven proof shallow dish, except the grated cheese and panko breadcrumbs.

Level out, and top with the grated cheese and then the breadcrumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

Serve with a salad or vegetables.

(I had mine with mashed swede and carrot).

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal) 511.2

Carbohydrate (g) 51.2

Fat (g) 23.7

Fibre (g) 7.7

Fruit & Veg 3.5

Protein (g) 21.4