Posts tagged meal
I get groceries delivered to my home regularly. I find shopping in a supermarket very stressful, and so I avoid it if possible. But even I can manage to survive Tesco or Sainsburys when I need just a couple of bits. So when the Tesco man came to my door last Monday evening I felt the need to explain that I wouldn’t normally have him come round for just one bag of chips; they’d been ordered by a PR company to try out. Honest.
The chips in question are these McCain Home Chips – Straight Cut, which are new to the range. They are “authentic chips”; crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and are cooked in the oven.
Oven chips aren’t all that bad for you really. It’s obviously better to make your own (or not eat chips at all!), but it’s always useful to have a bag of oven chips in the freezer – they’re an easy, quickly cooked meal accompaniment (and you just can’t beat ham, egg and chips sometimes!). On the front of the packet it says these contain 265 calories per 135g of chips when cooked. Not bad, I thought. Then I weighed them out – it’s barely a handful. I knew my portion control was a bit wonky, but I’d want at least double that… eek! Chips are never going to be health food are they?
What makes these chips very good is that they are coated in a batter type mixture to give them a properly crispy shell when cooked. And it works. After 20 minutes in a hot oven I had a portion (or two) of evenly cooked crispy yet fluffy chips that had a very nice flavour. They tasted just as chips should. The chunky straight cut gives a nice bite, and will hold a lot of ketchup or whatever you like to have on yours. I can see me choosing these over my usual choice when it comes to buying another bag.
McCain actually called this the chip challenge… I’m not sure that serving them up with leftover roast beef and some peppers really counts, so I’ll have a think and come up with something more exciting soon (feel free to comment with your frozen chip recipe suggestions!).
I’ve been following the Weight Watchers Pro Points plan for a week now. I have been doing my best to keep within my daily points allowance, keeping those weekly points for extra things like treats and eating out. It worked just about ok – even with a couple of meals out (when I really didn’t watch what I ate!) I didn’t go over the combined total of my daily and weekly Pro Points, in fact I had three left over.
In addition to that I earned 23 Activity Pro Points during the week – it was nice to have time to get out and about for some decent length walks up hills and along the beach.
And I lost 3lb.
I’m pretty happy with that. Actually I’m very happy. I know that the first week of a diet is the easiest – you are motivated, it’s a new challenge, changes in eating habits have more of an effect – but I’ll take 3lb. And that’s including scoffing (in a very ladylike manner) chicken burger and chips at a pub by the sea, and a generous helping of chicken korma, pilau rice, garlic naan and vegetable bhaji. Oh I love eating!
Having said that, and apart from those two meals out, the reason for my success is probably down to having the time and energy to cook properly. I tried three new-to-me recipes from the Weight Watchers cook book I was given when I agreed to be a Blog Ambassador, and thoroughly enjoyed them. I also had time to properly prepare nice lunches full of salad and fruit, and sit and eat them in the comfort of my own living room. My week was relaxed, I was happy, and healthy eating and exercise fitted in nicely to that.
This week will be different. I’m back at work, where I sit a desk in an office where there is always a plethora of sweets and cake to be tempted by. The building I’m in has gained a lovely coffee shop serving Starbucks coffee and locally made cupcakes over the Christmas break. And let’s face it, when I am at work sitting at my desk it’s so very easy to give into temptation and snack, snack, snack. I managed to avoid everything on offer yesterday except a small piece of Thornton’s Special Toffee which I made last ages. Today I haven’t been so good – it’s impossible when there is lemon curd Swiss roll on offer, even the pineapple chunks, apple, grapes and bolognaise leftovers for lunch couldn’t stop me. It was delicious.
This week’s Blogger Ambassador challenge is to start a once-a-week menu planning habit. Last week I mentioned that I had started to do that again, so I am one step ahead this time, and last night I sat down to plan out what we would be eating this week. Being back at work and actually with a very busy week ahead, I’ve not got time to labour over new recipes, butt I have planned week night meals that are pretty ok and should keep me on track. Having said that as I write this there are oven chips cooking for LincsGeek to have with his fish – one or two won’t hurt will they?! Ok I’ve totally planned to have a small number with my meal. Oh and of course going back to work means my time for achieving Activity Pro Points by walking miles and miles is very limited. I could cycle to work. Maybe another time.
I go on holiday on Sunday for a week so I am hereby announcing that I will be suspending my diet so I don’t have to think about (or track) my food intake whilst away. I am skiing so there will be plenty of exercise done, but even so it’s too miserable to be dieting when on holiday. I will stop tracking on Sunday and start again the following weekend, meaning there will two weeks before my next weigh in and therefore my next Weight Watchers post. I don’t intend to go nuts or anything, but I shan’t be replacing chips with salad every day. I assume other people suspend their diets when on holiday? Diets are for pre and post holidays right?!
Until then, though, I will be continuing to track my food and attempt to keep within the numbers of Pro Points. I need to find ways of getting into good habits at work; I have already discovered it’s going to take more than having lots of fruit ready to eat.
It’s 1st January 2013 and so the start of a brand new year. You already know my New Year’s resolution is about being true to myself. Part of that will absolutely be about being more healthy – eating better, exercising more, you know the sort of thing. So the fact that I’m a Weight Watchers Blog Ambassador starting this very day will come in quite handy!
As I mentioned in this post back in December, I have been given a three month subscription to the Weight Watchers website, including the iPhone/iPad app, so I can give the new approach to Pro Points a go. I have input all my details and have started tracking my weight and food. It should be interesting to say the least!!
Part of being a Weight Watchers Blog Ambassador involves weekly challenges that should help keep me motivated, and this week we have been asked to sort out our fridges. As soon as I got the email yesterday I opened my fridge and took a snap of what was inside… not bad I don’t think. There are apples and grapes, vegetables and salad, no sugar drinks, water, semi-skimmed milk, low fat bits and bobs, left over turkey and gammon (now all gone). It’s not exactly full – it is the end of Christmas week after all – but it could have been a lot worse. Phew.
Well, it’s not bad if you ignore the cheese – soft, goats, mature cheddar, Wensleydale; the Double Barrel Lincolnshire Poacher is particularly excellent. Mmmmm I love cheese. It is suggested that I put our cheese in an opaque container and hide them at the back of the fridge, but it’s ok, I can resist the temptation. I’m not the sort of person who will open the fridge and cut herself a lump of cheese just to nibble on. I might have some for lunch but I don’t just snack on it. And anyway, I’m not about to start hiding things – I know out of sight is out of mind and all that, and it certainly does help if you can’t see things – but I want to change my life and my habits not just temporarily forget them. So the cheese stays in the fridge door, I just have to learn to be good!
Apart from checking my fridge I’ve also been through all my food cupboards, chucked away anything that was out of date (which was an awful lot actually, shame on me), and so now I know exactly what I’ve got. I’ve made a shopping list full of healthy bits and bobs like yogurts and jellies and fruit, and worked out how many Pro Points there are in that stash of chocolate I have left over from Christmas… three chunks of Dairy Milk with Oreo is two points, I can work with that. Actually there is some help on the Weight Watchers website if you want to sort out your cupboards and fridge with healthier eating in mind – I’ve not been completely true to the list but it helped.
I’ve also planned my menu for the week. This is something I used to do all the time but laziness got in the way and I haven’t for a while now. I sat and looked through a Weight Watchers recipe book and picked out some things to try. Tonight I used up my slow cooked gammon in a risotto (no cream, no butter, lots of veg, I’ve worked it out as being worth 10 Pro Points per portion, mainly made up of the basmati rice). I am still planning on enjoying my food, especially the curry I shall eat on Saturday night, but I will track everything I eat and hopefully learn how to keep those calories down.
I should say that although I do need to lose a couple of stone to be my “ideal” weight, weight loss is not what this is all about. It’s about feeling good about myself, eating right and hopefully losing a couple of inches from my belly and butt. I have no intention of posting my weight here on my blog, but I will let you know how I’m getting on and post regularly with those challenges.
If you’re planning on sorting out your eating habits as one of your New Year resolutions then good luck!
It’s a good job Sainsburys came round with a grocery delivery this evening. We had hardly anything left to eat!
Actually that’s not quite true. The freezers are pretty full (when we moved in to our new home we gained a freezer as there is one built into this kitchen, so naturally I keep both filled up!), and the cupboards are full of ingredients that I probably could have done something with. But there’s also a small selection of jars… cook-in and stir-in sauces that are designed to make life really easy for busy people.
It’s a good job they exist, I say. Thanks to the Honey and Mustard Chicken Tonight sauce I had in the cupboard, this evening we dined on a much less boring chicken breast with steamed rice and sweetcorn. And it was really yummy. I enjoyed every mouthful (I was very hungry actually – I ate my lunch at 10.30am because I just couldn’t wait any longer!). There is nothing wrong with using a jar of sauce. Is there?
Well apart from the amount of salt they probably contain, and the preservatives I wouldn’t consume if I cooked the meal properly myself, no, there probably isn’t anything wrong with ready made sauces.
But I have to admit I probably use jars a lot more than is necessary. I mean, they are used in this house more than when I’ve either got nothing fresh left (due to bad planning) or no time (getting too late in the day to start being a chef). For example, I use the Pataks Korma sauce because we really like it. We look forward to having a Pataks Korma! And Dolmio gives a great base to a Spaghetti Bolognaise. They’re not just there “just in case”, they are there on purpose because we enjoy them.
And of course that makes me feel quite guilty. I’m a cheat. I love good food, I enjoy cooking, but more often than not I just can’t be bothered to spend hours marinating meats in a variety of meticulously measured out spices, or preparing creamy sauces or pastes from scratch. I feel guilty because when I actually do pretend to be a chef it I really enjoy it, I find it really satisfying to serve up a meal I’ve carefully prepared by following a recipe (or making it up as I go along!).
Jars appeal to the lazy cook in me. We live in a world of convenience and these are just another one of those things I use to make my life easier. They are a doddle to use and you know you’re going to get a nice dinner. But I know should cook from scratch much more often. Far more than once or twice a week. And I want to. Sometimes I do. Just not often enough. Better get all those recipe books out for a browse and start menu planning again like I used to!
So why am I telling you this? Well I guess I’m looking for some sort of confirmation that I am, in fact, normal. On an average week how many ready-made elements will you use in your meals? I’m talking jars, packets, pots, ready to cook things like pies or kievs from the freezer, and so on. Do you live in this world of convenience too? No doubt you’ll all tell me you always have a supply of lovely fresh ingredients (I would so love one of those veg boxes delivered each week, that would be lovely) and actually paid attention to your mum when she was teaching you how to do the basics?! Go on… put me to shame!
It’s the end of week two of my Jenny Craig experiment and I am half happy to report that I’ve had a 1lb loss. Not brilliant. But a loss.
Halloween means there is massive temptation to eat sweets in the office as well as at home. I’ve not had as many as I would have done if I wasn’t on Jenny Craig (I do love sweets), but I shouldn’t have had any at all. It’s so hard not to have one of your favourite things, that’s deprivation, which just makes me miserable. So I had a few things here and there, and enjoyed them very much. Oops. I also went out for two meals, and had deserts both times, and haven’t done anywhere near as much exercise as I should have. I also gave into a slice of chocolate cake for a friend’s birthday on Wednesday too. So not great. Sorry!
Following my last post about this diet programme Jenny Craig got in touch about that lasagne. I will spare you a repeat of that photo but you can see it here. Like me, they thought it looked horrible and were keen to investigate what happened – the fact it was a sealed packet worried them too. So they’ve traced the batch number from their records and are looking into it for me; it is likely there was a teeny pin prick that broke the seal, which I wouldn’t have noticed but would have made the meal go mouldy. They also sent me a replacement lasagne to try, which I had that very evening (I ignored the recommendation not to mess the menus around) and enjoyed. Thanks Jenny Craig, I’m impressed with your customer service.
So here goes the third week of four and I really need to make this one count. I’ve been and stocked up on fresh vegetables and fruit again and have sorted out my meals so I know what I’ll be eating when. My diary is clear except lunch with some colleagues on Wednesday (fish finger sandwiches are ok, yes?), and so I hope for good things when it comes to my weigh in next Monday morning.
I am a BzzAgent and this is a Bzz Review…
I was recently invited to take part in a new Bzz campaign for Knorr Stock Pots – I was sent a selection of the Stock Pots to try at home along with some vouchers to share with friends.
Like many people, I don’t have time to faff about making my own stock, I rely on instant stocks – my choice is generally Oxo stock cubes and I keep a selection of flavours in the cupboard. They are an every day item and get used in risottos, curries, soups, casseroles and stews, and many other dishes. Stick the kettle on, break up the cube, pour over boiling water and stir. Easy peasy.
Knorr Stock Pots are little pots of concentrated jelly that dissolves when you add boiling water or melt when you put it in a warm pan. One thing I noticed was when dissolving them to make a stock they were so much easier to mix than a stock cube. They’re also very easy to use directly in the pan, such as melting in with some coconut milk, where as I would always make stock from a cube in a jug away from the pan as they take quite a bit of stirring.
Over the last few weeks I have used the Vegetable, Beef and Chicken Stock Pots I was sent in a variety of dishes. Just the usual sorts of things, nothing unusual or out of the ordinary, just normal mid-week dinners.
Apart from finding them easy to use, I am also impressed with the flavour. In a risotto I would normally add an additional cube to the water to bump up the flavour a bit, but found there was no need with these. The recommended ratio of Stock Pot to water was ideal, and flavoured the rice really well. I didn’t find them salty (I stopped using supermarket own-brand stock cubes due to the incredible amount of salt I could taste), which was pleasing.
Am I sold? Yes I do believe I am. I have already started buying Knorr Stock Pots instead of the Oxo cubes I have always bought before now. They are a little more expensive but money well spent as far as I am concerned. I am pleased I was a part of this Bzz campaign because I have genuinely found an every day product I prefer to my usual. So my Splodz Blogz verdict is definitely try them.