Monthly Archives: January 2012

Ups and Downs

It’s been an eventful few days hence the lack of bloggage.  I’ve wanted to blog so many times and just not found the right words!

Last week was the boychild’s seventh birthday.  He had a brilliant day; we picked him up from school and took him to Toys R Us to pick what he wanted within a budget.  We did it this way because he likes to know the value of things, and he did really well – he picked a load of things then worked out what they all cost and how he could get as many things as possible within his budget.  Then he changed it all completely and went for the biggest box of Lego you’ve ever seen!

We then took him out for pizza but when we got home it all went wrong.  First I was really sick then I had a huge row with my father which unfortunately acted as a trigger and I ended up cutting my arm to ribbons with a razor blade.  Not my finest moment, and I’m embarrassed by the state of my arm although I’m being honest and open with everyone who asks about it, because I don’t want to feel ashamed – I know that when it happens I’m not in control and I do it because the pain of the cut takes my mind away from the emotional pain.  I have since spoken through things with my mum but I still haven’t spoken to my dad.  This all stemmed from the fact that my mum is going for her heart surgery on Friday which of course is worrying us all.

The weekend was quiet and relaxed and we spent most of it at home just being with each other.  But we ate out both nights with family and friends so the diet hasn’t gone well.

Monday was an interesting day… I haven’t blogged about Grumpy Colleague since before Christmas, a few things have happened both good and bad but I’ve had my eyes opened to her in a number of different ways and my patience towards her has pretty much run out, although I’m always pleasant and civil (because I’m not like her!).  Anyway, on Monday… she resigned.  And left immediately.  And I breathed a sigh of relief.  I tried to make myself shed a tear when she said goodbye but I just couldn’t.  All I felt was a weight lifted off my shoulders, as harsh as that sounds.  The office has felt like such a different place since!

Today I have become campaign manaager for the office fundraising events for the year which start next Thursday with a 24 hour spinning challenge.  Today I arranged for the local press to come in to report on the event, set up the live streaming for our website, wrote a press release and lobbyed local companies to provide us with food and refreshments during the event in return for some free publicity.  I never knew I had it in me!  I am enjoying myself though and we’re all psyched up about it at the moment which also helps.

It’s the husband’s birthday today, he has now joined me in the nearly 40 club, although I only have 5 months and obviously he has a year.  But I will keep reminding him as he has been doing to me!  A quiet night in with nice food, wine and birthday cake.

Not much else going on this week; I’m hoping for a small weight loss at weigh-in tomorrow… fingers crossed that all the exercise I’ve done will counteract all the eating I’ve done!

Meal Planning Monday

This week isn’t a good week as far as planning meals and eating healthily goes!

On Saturday and Sunday we went out for dinner with family and friends, to celebrate both the husband’s and the boychild’s birthdays.  As a result we didn’t do any food shopping until today, and then we bought a lot of easy foods to get us through the week.

Tonight I made Philly Meatball Pasta.  Very quick and easy to make, and absolutely delicious – I highly recommend it.  If you use the extra light version of the cheese and use reduced fat sausages, it doesn’t work out too bad Pro Points wise either.

On Tuesday we’re having Chicken Kiev and Chips.  Good old fashioned fayre.  I make the chicken kievs to a recipe from an old Weight Watchers recipe book, and the chips are bog standard oven chips!  I will have some salad veg with mine but the husband thinks all salad veg is garnish and is there for decoration not for eating!

Wednesday is the husband’s birthday.  As we don’t have much money, I have bought him a Marks & Spencer’s Dine for £10 meal consisting of a Steak and Ale Pie, mash and cabbage medley, and a Jam Roly Poly with custard for dessert.  Not very WW friendly but it’s better than getting a takeaway or going out for dinner!

On Thursday I’m doing an easy favourite, Chilli con Carne, the same as last week.

Friday is freezer night again, and will be Scampi and Chips.

Very simple this week!  Visit Mrs M to see more entries!

On One

The one good thing about being the size I am, if I can get anything positive out of it, is that when I exercise I earn a LOT of activity points.  I’ve had two personal training sessions in as many days and have earned 38 points!

Last night’s session was my private one with the trainer we have weekly at work.  She comes to the office and we do the session in the hallway outside our suite, because the rest of the building is empty.  Last night we did boxing and boy she worked me hard.  Then this morning, she was back to do the group session that my boss pays for, and we did a whole hour of kettlebells.  My arms hurt so much this evening!  But I’m on a mission this week, RAWR!

Anyway, just a short post tonight as it’s already nearly 11pm and I’ve had three nights where I haven’t gone to sleep before 1am – I just can’t put my latest Kindle book down.  I have to read a bit tonight, just because, but I also MUST get a decent few hours sleep!

I promise a better post, maybe one that doesn’t involve food or exercise, tomorrow.  Although to be fair, I’m so focussed on those two subjects at the moment my mood is lifted and there’s not much else to tell you about!

Meal Planning Monday

Last week’s meal planning was a huge success and saved us quite a bit of money, so I’ve done it again this week.  We had our food delivery on Friday evening as it was cheaper than a weekend delivery, but my meal planning week still started on Saturday.

I’m focussing a lot on Weight Watchers recipes again this week because I stayed the same at my weigh-in last week and I intend to put that right with a nice healthy loss this week!

Saturday was Spicy Thai Meatballs.  These were absolutely delicious!  I made the whole recipe and have frozen half the meatballs.  The meatballs come out quite large, so three was plenty with the noodles.  I didn’t buy pak choi as we had set ourselves a specific spending budget this week and I had to lose a couple of items to make sure we were under our target, but I wish I hadn’t.  The meatballs are very spicy and the recipe calls for 5 stalks of lemongrass.  My delivery only included 3, and this was very overpowering, so I’d suggest only using 2 stalks!  I think the pak choi would have helped with the heat a bit.

Sunday was the same Shepherd’s Pie as last week, except this week I used veggie mince!  Don’t tell the husband, who didn’t notice!

Tonight, is Pork Bolognaise.  It was in the booklet I was given at Weight Watchers last week.  It’s really very simple, pork mince with garlic, onion, carrot, celery, chopped tomatoes and flavoured with rosemary and thyme, and served with wholemeal spaghetti.  All for a very reasonable 11 points.  It’s currently on the stove.

Chilli con Carne is on the menu for Tuesday.  Quick and easy, using beef mince and a jar of Weight Watchers Chilli sauce, and served with brown rice which I now prefer over white.  I think it has a much nicer, nuttier flavour.

On Wednesday I’m making Chicken & Sausage Gumbo.  I am really looking forward to it.

Thursday is M’s birthday and we’re going to Pizza Hut – but not till after my weigh-in!

Last but not least, Friday will be curry night.  Turkey Passanda to be exact.  I have a Patak’s Passanda sauce and some diced turkey in the freezer, plus poppadoms and pilau rice.  Very excited about this.

So what’s on your menu this week?

Visit Mrs M to see more Meal Planning Monday entries or to enter yourself!

Coq au Vin

Since I mentioned this recipe in my post last week, several people have asked for the recipe so I thought I’d publish it here.  It was originally published in a Weight Watchers recipe book from 2002 but as all of my cookbooks are still boxed up following our house move (only 3 months ago!), I found it online here.

Ingredients

  • 75 g streaky bacon
  • 450 g boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 225 g shallots
  • 225 g baby button mushrooms
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp plain white flour
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (to garnish)

Directions

  • Dry fry bacon for approx five minutes until the bacon turns crispy.
  • Add the chicken thighs and shallots to the pan and cook for five minutes, sealing the chicken on all sides.
  • Add the mushrooms, stock, wine, bay leaves, tomato puree and seasoning.
  • Stir well and bring to the boil.
  • Either simmer for approx 1.5hrs on a low heat if cooking on the hob; cover and bake at approx 150c for 1.5hrs if using the oven, or cook in the crock pot on low for approx 8-10hrs.
  • Sift the flour into the pan and stir well until the sauce thickens slightly.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serves 4. 7 Pro Points per serving.

I serve it with mashed potatoes and green beans.

My only advice would be to monitor the liquid content of the dish if you cook it on the hob like I usually do, as it dries out quite quickly.  I have used chicken breasts instead of thighs on one occasion (because my supermarket had run out) and it wasn’t as nice, although it was less points!  The thighs have a much better flavour in my opinion.

Photo credit

Best Laid Plans

In a slight change to the published schedule, last night I made beef enchiladas.  Not very low-fat, granted, but I only ate two weetabix yesterday morning and nothing for lunch, so it worked out OK for me.  Plus we had a whole week of actually eating stuff we had bought in the weekly shop or already in the cupboards, whereas normally we’d have at least one takeaway.  This is monumental in this household.

The reason for the change in scheduling was because yesterday morning, 20 minutes before my  counsellor was due to turn up, M’s school called to say he had the runs.  She used a “deaf vagina voice” as it has now become known.

The phrase “deaf vagina voice” was coined the day in November when I met mumof4 for lunch.  I was explaining that my mother can’t bring herself to say certain words, like “vagina” or “lesbian”.  Oh God, just think of the hits I’ll get now.  Anyway, when she does say these words she kind of half says them, and then sounds like she’s deaf.  You know the voice I mean.  The school secretary said “the runs” in that voice!

Not being able to get hold of the husband, I called the CMH team and left a message for the counsellor to say that I would have to cancel (luckily they’re based in a building about 2 minutes away from my house) and explaining the reasons, and collected my small, tearful, pale little boy.  Amazing how he can look and act so grown up one minute and then be my little baby again the next.  Sigh.

The original plan for the day had been to see my counsellor then jump on the bus and head into Manchester for a team afternoon out, one of our incentive things for hitting our targets.  We were supposed to be going wine tasting.  The boss was very understanding when I explained I wouldn’t be able to come and I did tell her that they should all just enjoy themselves and drink my share of the wine too!  But an hour or so later she sent me a message to say that the venue had made a mistake and thought we were going next week anyway so I will still get to go, which is awesome.

Of course M was absolutely fine once he got home, and wolfed down his packed lunch and then dinner last night.  I think the school were worried as it’s norovirus time of year and the last thing they want is a whole school coming down with it, personally I think he just got caught short.  Sorry if you’re eating.

This morning the husband has had to go to work because of some kind of IT crisis (the printer out of paper again?  Quick, call IT, it’s only Saturday) and he’s taken the boy with him who loves going there.  So I have spent the last hour epilating, exfoliating, moisturising, plucking etc etc and really pampered myself in the blissful silence.  It’s not the greatest weather outside but I have a window open in every room to air the place (and it’s a bit breezy so it’s definitely getting an airing) and now I have my feet up, music playing and a nice strong cup of tea. I still ache from Thursday’s boot camp but they’re good aches.  Worked out muscle aches, not painful ones.

Today feels like a good day.

Back On It

Sorry for the short interlude; I went self-hosted last week and transferred everything over from my WordPress blog to my new host but their service was so appalling I transferred it back to one I used to use and demanded a refund.  Don’t know why I didn’t just use them in the first place really.  Anyway, the night it went live with the new host, there was a huge network issue that put them and several other providers offline for about 12 hours!  So all in all, not a great week for the blog!  Anyway, it’s all back now (I think) and is a lot faster and more stable.

So, it was back to work for me on Tuesday.  Tuesday was a weird day – the boss was still on holiday and it was a bit of a demotivating day for everyone.  Yesterday was better; I think we were all back to our routines and everybody was in the office.

Today was personal trainer day and we were totally beasted!  Today’s session was a bootcamp called One Thousand Reps, which consisted of ten exercises each of which you do ten times, then you do the whole thing ten times over, therefore you do 1,000 reps.  The exercises don’t sound too bad when you list them, but just try a few and you’ll understand that we were in pain!

  • Get ups:  Lie face down on the floor.  In one move, and without using your knees, get into a press-up position. Bring one foot forward and tap the floor, return then repeat with the other foot.  Lie back down on the floor.
  • High knees with skipping arms:  Jog on the spot doing high knee raises, whilst moving your arms as though you were skipping.  One rep is counted as a left knee raise followed by a right knee raise.
  • Double crunches:  Sit on the floor with your feet off the floor and your knees pulled in to your chest.  Lean back slightly and extend your legs out straight then back again.  Don’t put your hands on the floor.
  • Press-ups.
  • Side plank, left side: Get into side plank position leaning on left arm.  Lift right arm straight up in the air and look at your hand.  Lower your right arm and pass it underneath your chest and then back up.
  • Bridge with leg raises:  Get into bridge position (balance on elbows with forearms on the floor and up on your toes with your back straight).  Lift your right leg (keep straight) then lower, then your left.
  • Side plank, right side:  As before but on the other side.
  • Double squat jumps: Stand straight.  Bend over and squat so you touch the floor with your hands.  In one move, straighten up and jump forward with your hands above your head.  Repeat whole move but jump backwards.
  • Tricep dips with leg raises:  Sit on the floor with your hands facing forward on the floor by your bottom and your feet out in front of you with legs bent.  Lift your bottom off the floor.  Bend your arms to let your bottom lower whilst lifting one leg in front of you.  Straighten your arms and raise your bum as you bring your leg back down.  Repeat with other leg.
  • Mountain climbers:  Get into a press-up position so you’re balanced on your hands and your toes with your body straight.  Bring one foot forward and tap the floor, return then repeat with the other foot.

Each of those exercises is one rep.  So you do ten reps of the exercise then move on to the next exercise until you’ve done all ten.  Then you do another set of all of them until you have done ten sets.  I managed six sets (600 reps) in 49 minutes before I had to go and be sick.  Try them and let me know how you get on!

Tomorrow I have another mental health assessment, this time at home with the Community team.  Bit apprehensive about it, but it’s another step in the right direction.

And then it’s the weekend and it can’t come quick enough.

Meal Planning Monday

I’ve seen this on a few other blogs and have decided to join in at last!  Go over to Mrs M to see more entries!

I do all my food shopping on a Saturday, usually online, so although it’s Meal Planning Monday, mine is going to include the weekend past.

This week the diet starts again with a vengeance, I think I lost 1lb over Christmas so I intend to carry on where I left off.  Also, we need to budget very carefully this month because I got paid 8 days early so January is going to be a very lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng month.

On Saturday night, as it was New Year’s Eve and on previous years we’ve had takeaway pizza, I decided to do a home version.  I cooked chicken goujons and made home made dipping sauces, then we had a garlic pizza bread to share then the husband and I shared a pepperoni pizza, which I had with salad and he had with some oven chips.  M had a small cheese and ham pizza of his own with some chips.  For dessert we all had a Cadbury mousse.  The whole meal came to 27 WeightWatchers points, which sounds a lot but I get 42 Pro Points a day and I had slept through breakfast and had low point soup for lunch.  If we’d had the same things from Dominos, it would have been at least double!

Last night (Sunday) I made Beef and Ale Stew in the slow cooker.  I changed the recipe slightly because I didn’t do dumplings but put potatoes in the stew instead, plus I added some button mushrooms just to increase the veg content.  The whole thing was Filling & Healthy on WeightWatchers and only came to 6 Pro Points each!  M didn’t eat it, as he refuses anything with gravy and there’s not much I can to stew to make it dry, so he had fishfingers, chips and a load of veg!

Tonight I am making Cottage Pie.  Yes, that link is for Shepherd’s Pie, but I’m using beef mince as I don’t like lamb mince.  It works out 13 Points whereas their version is 12.  Again, it’ll just be for me and the husband as the boy won’t eat it.  I’ll think about what to give him later.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) it’s back to work for me and the hub, so I am doing something quick and easy as the husband will going off to football.  I have some steak in the freezer and will grill it and serve it with a jacket potato and some veg.  M will be going to the childminder who gives him an evening meal so I don’t have to worry about what to feed him during the week, which is a great help.

On Wednesday we have Coq au Vin.  Surprisingly easy to make, and a WW recipe to boot.  You dry fry some streaky bacon in little strips, then add some skinless boneless chicken thighs (whole) to brown along with whole shallots, then you add chicken stock, a glass of red wine, a tablespoon of tomato purée and some button mushrooms and simmer it for about 90 minutes.  At the end you add a tablespoon of plain flour to thicken and serve sprinkled with fresh parsley and with mashed potato.  I’ve been making this recipe for years and it really is delicious.

Thursday is Spaghetti Bolognese, using up the rest of the beef mince from Monday.  I will grate carrots into it to bulk it out a bit (and to make the husband eat at least one portion of his five-a-day) and I prefer whole wheat spaghetti.  And I’ve just realised I’ve forgotten to buy chopped tomatoes.

Friday is freezer night.  It used to be takeaway night, but due to dieting and budgeting that has to change.  So it will most likely be scampi and chips, which I love.  It is quite high in points but not as high as an Indian, so it will have to do!

So that’s my first Meal Planning Monday.  I’d love to hear what you are planning this week – are you dieting, detoxing or eating what you darn well please?