9 months on…

So, Martha is 9 months old…

Where did that go?

I always promised myself I wouldn’t rush back onto a diet…I wanted, needed, time to recover and enjoy being a Mummy for the third time. But after Christmas I realised that I had maybe been a little to friendly with the good old naughty treats…and all the weight I had managed to lose before having Martha had actually crept back on again.

So I made a pact with myself.

I ordered a subscription to Slimming World magazine – after all it was Slimming World who helped me lose all the weight before meaning my blood sugars were controlled enough so I could have Martha – and I promised myself that the day it landed on the doormat would mark the last week of my naughty ways…the very next Monday would be the start of my new Slimming World journey!

So, guess what has just landed on my doormat?

Hello Slimming World!

It seems we will be back together from next week :)

Diet and Diabetes…

Being diabetic is having an ever increasing effect on my lifestyle. Let’s face it, I know the risks of having diabetes, so the need for losing weight has become more important to me… I want to be here to see the kids grow up and would hate to think they will end up looking after me because I couldn’t look after myself.

A great source of information had been Diabetes UK – and it is something I read on there which has inspired this post!

As I am on slimming world, I have certain limitations as to my diet and which foods I eat when, but having diabetes too means I have to think more broadly to make sure I am eating well for my blood sugar levels. So, here are my top 5 tips for combining the 2 – a diet and diabetes:  Continue reading

#SnackingSunday – Make room for the mushrooms!

Ok – so its 4pm on a Sunday afternoon and I am HUNGRY!!! The kids are eating a cake and I am TRYING to be good on my Slimming World plan…. so need something tasty and filling, and tempting too! Time for being creative…with mushrooms, seeing as I seem to have quite a few in the fridge! So here is my recipe for a good speedy snack:

Garlic Mushrooms: Chop a handful of chestnut mushrooms and slice 2 BIG flat mushrooms (though ANY mushrooms really would do!). Spray a pan with frylight and put the mushrooms in on top, with another spray of frylight to cover! Add 2-4 cloves of garlic which have been crushed, salt and pepper and then gently fry, turning constantly, until soft and cooked. And there you have it – Slimming World Garlic Mushrooms, a quick, tasty and warming snack! 

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Enough to keep the cake at bay for today at least!

Enjoy xXx

#SavingsSaturday – a quick, cheap and tasty lunch!

Lunch time loomed today… and I got creative! Following the Slimming World diet (apart from the Halloween cupcake I ate earlier!) I always try and stick to easy, ‘free’ food lunches and today came up with this! We all LOVED it – even the boys… so here is the recipe!

Quick Savoury Rice: 

Boil your rice in a saucepan in the usual way… but add 2 chicken stock cubes to the water before it boils! (You just cook as much rice as you need for however many servings you need to make… I used a mug full for a family of 4!).

5 minutes before the rice is ready, add a couple of handfuls of frozen peas, a couple of handfuls of frozen sweetcorn and a couple of handfuls of frozen peppers. You could add frozen chopped onions too! Bring it back to the boil and simmer until the rice and veg are cooked (should be another 5 minutes!).

And… that is it! Drain and serve and season to taste:

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My savoury rice – a Slimming World Free Food, and a quick, cheap and tasty lunch! Would be good cold too as a different packed lunch! 

Enjoy xXx

 

Getting creative in the kitchen thanks to Gousto!

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I love cooking and preparing meals from scratch – in fact, following the Slimming World diet that is all I seem to do! 

So when I was offered the chance to try Gousto Simply Cook, I simply couldn’t say no! 

Gousto

Gousto is an online subscription which allows you to choose recipes, and then the ingredients are delivered in the right proportions direct to your door. You can choose how many meals a week to subscribe to, and for how many people, and this alters the cost accordingly! Delivery is made every Wednesday between 6 and 10pm if you are London based, and on a Thursday between 9am and 5pm nationwide! 

So how does it work?

You log on each week and choose your individual recipies – they need to be chosen by Sunday night for the weekly delivery! New recipes are added weekly making a wide selection of recipes to choose from. There is no minimum duration – and you can put your subscription on hold at any time, at no extra cost, giving you the flexibility to choose the weeks where you do not want to receive a parcel!

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There are 2 boxes available:

The Gourmet box is great for foodies, families and everyone hungry for great meals without time to shop, with plenty of meat, fish and veggie options. You’ll get to eat the freshest seasonal produce from the UK, together with nice ingredients from around the world.

The Veggie box, combining the countryside’s best vegetables with food nations’ greatest treats, strives on taste and creativity! Whether you like it fancy (saffron, scamorza, truffle) or well balanced and healthy (tofu, haloumi, pulses), there will be something on the menu that suits you…and don’t worry, you’ll get all the proteins you need!

Prices range from £28(V)/£30(G) for 2 meals a week for 2 people, to £108(V)/£132(G) a week for 4 meals for 6 people! 

We were sent a 2 meal Gourmet box for 2 people, at the price of £30, and as we live outside of London it was delivered on a Thursday in a special wool insulated box with added extra cooling elements – perfect for keeping the food fresh until it goes in the fridge! 

The outer box was well sealed and clearly labelled to ensure it stayed the right way up! Inside an envelope contained the recipe cards which you need to cook your meals, and under this there is a special wool insulated lining, which surrounds all the contents and keeps it all nicely snug together. The ingredients inside were all sealed in different plastic bags, with the chilled items being packed with special ice blocks to keep them extra cool. I was really impressed with the way the box was packaged… and all the ingredients had arrived in perfect condition! 

I had previously selected the recipes… and must say I found this a challenge as everything looked SOOOO tasty! It is great that each recipe gives you an overview of its difficulty, prep time and nutritional information as well as letting you know which country the dish originates from and what special equipment, if any, you are likely to need. That way you can choose the recipes that are right for you! I managed to use all this information to choose 2 recipes which I felt would fit in with my Slimming World diet. They were  Lamb and Rosemary Linguine with Artichoke and Giant Couscous and Feta filled Romano Peppers, both of which looked and sounded delicious! 

So… this just left the cooking!!!

Lamb and Rosemary Linguine with Artichoke: 

I was really intruiged to try this recipe – it sounded so simple, but I have never had artichokes before, so it was going to be a new taste for me! 

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The recipe card included was really easy to follow – and all the ingredients were previously weighed and measured making it just a follow and throw in style cooking session – perfect for a late night after a long day at work! 

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The use by date for the ingredients was clearly stated on the front of the recipe card, making it easy to plan the day to make the meal! On the back, the instructions were laid out in a step-by-step style, making them easy to follow and simple too! 

I followed the recipe to the letter – apart from the oil I used! Instead of using olive oil, I used frylight, which meant on Slimming World the whole meal was syn free! And I don’t think it made any difference to the dish at all either! 

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To start I chopped the onion, peeled the garlic and washed the rosemary… then I chopped the lamb. The lamb was a really good quality piece of meat, really thick and tender with only a little fat that needed to be removed. 

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Then, following the recipe card, I fried the garlic in the hot pan (which had been sprayed with frylight), added the onion for a few minutes and then added the lamb. The recipe card gives you exact timings for how long things should be cooked for, which is great… and really easy to keep to with a timer to hand! 

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The 1/2 stock cube was added, along with the rosemary and water, then simmered to cook. Meanwhile I got my first chance to come up close and personal with artichokes – washing them first then chopping them into bitesize pieces! 

Whilst the meat was cooking, I added the linguine to a pan of salted boiling water to cook and added the artichokes to the lamb mixture. 

When it was all cooked, I simply drained the pasta, added it to the lamb mixture, tossed it to combine and served….

A delicious and different meal, prepared with ease! 

Giant Couscous and Feta filled Romano Peppers

This is a dish i would probably never think to cook. We do eat vegetarian meals but not usually like this…. and I must admit I was a little worried that the hubby wouldn’t like it! But how wrong could I be! 

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Once again the recipe card was easy to follow, even though this had a medium difficulty level (I think because there were quite a few steps to follow!). I, however, found it easy to cook! 

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I did have a few minor problems with this one though because, as I cooked it on the use by date itself, the coriander had unfortunatly already seen better days so was almost unuseable. I did manage to salvage a little bit… but not enough for the recipe! There was also not enough stock cube left for the meal – I was sent 1 stock cube in total, with the linguine needing 1/2 a cube and the recipe needing a whole one! Not a disaster, but still something which needs to be right! 

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To make this one I firstly cut the tomatoes into quarters and cut the romano peppers in half. these then went on a greased baking tray in the oven to begin cooking. Again, the timer came in really handy! 

Then it was time to cook the giant couscous in the stock.

Whilst this was cooking I chopped the feta cheese into smallish cubes. 

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The couscous, tomatoes, feta and spices were then combined…

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and stuffed into the peppers which were then put back in the oven to cook through.

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Whilst all this was going on, the potatoes had been simmering in a pan of water ready to serve with the peppers, which were finally sprinkled with a little chopped coriander! 

Et voila…

We LOVED it – it was so tasty and something completely different for us. I would never have cooked this off my own back! 

So what did we think? 

Well, firstly the recipies were easy to follow. The step by step instructions were simple and fool proof… and detailed enough to ensure you were doing what you should! The ingredients were all there in the right proportions, which made it really easy to throw the things together, and the preparation was almost minimal, so little work for a really great tasting meal! It was a shame that the coriander was past its best, and maybe it needs to be ensured that the ingredients will last until the use-by date stated. And the artichokes??? Well, we loved them! A really different taste that worked really well in this linguine dish! Thanks Gousto!!! 

Overall I am really impressed with the service. The menu selections are great, the idea is fab and it is brilliant to fit in with a busy working lifestyle, making sure you still have the time to cook quality home meals from scratch. The delivery was perfect, keeping the ingredients fresh and chilled… and it arrived well on time too! The only thing which would put me off is the price… and I think this is only because of the fact that we are a family living on the bread line as I am sure many other families are. For me it is a bit of a luxuary i couldn’t afford… in fact for £30 I could probably feed the family of 4 for 3 or 4 days! But I can REALLY see the appeal for others and think it is a brilliant concept. Maybe in the future it will be something I can subscribe to… who knows! 

In fact – I have checked out this weeks recipes already… and I really do fancy the Pork Fillet with Italian-Style Butterbeans and Potatoes, and the Stuffed Mozzeralla Chicken with Fresh Corn Polenta and Tomatoes – so if you fancy sending them over Gousto, I would be more than happy to test them out!!! 

My advice? Gousto is well worth a go! It may just inspire something different!