Friday, 7 July 2017

Rach Eats Lunch: Small Steps Every Day


Oof, this past week. It's been quite a ride. I know I mentioned last week about my body deciding it didn't want to play ball, and I had to deal with extreme fatigue, dizziness and that fizzy-Coke-can-forehead-feeling. (If anyone else can describe it in a better way, let me know!) I also had to deal with an immense case of trying to psych myself up for something potentially exciting when my head nor my heart wouldn't play ball. Believe me, I've been trying really hard. There's been lists of bullet points and reminiscence and memories, just to try and get me worked up in a state of "YAAAAASSSS I CAN DO THIS!!!" But if this fatigue just cleared off for five minutes, I think we'd get there. By about now, if this was a self-help blog, and I was a motivational speaker, I would probably rattle off something about "Faking it till you make it," and "You know before you know." You know? But I'm not, no matter how much I think I'd make a great agony aunt. And I damn well would.

I'm also chuffed to say that after last week's woes with maintaining rather than losing, I have actually, whisper it now... lost 3lb! (American friends, you might think I've lost loads, but we measure in imperial over here...) I've started a little walking routine now - I might not be able to do the full 1.71 miles around the woods like I used to - to the lodge and back - but I've found a smaller, half a mile route that I can manage, and I like it. Plus, there's a few paths I've not explored before and they're pretty sweet. I get days off walking on Tuesdays and Thursdays while my family walk the three miler all the way around, which means more time resting up. But I'm getting out of the house and attempting gentle exercise, and there's certainly more life out there than you can ever imagine from behind the blinds. It certainly makes for great photos... and videos! (I'm teaching myself videography at the moment and hope to start vlogging some of my adventures soon - personally, I'm loving the Adobe Clip app for editing phone videos... so easy to use!)

This week's recipes are anything but random. In fact, as you might have noticed, they often revolve around the same usual ingredients. Have you ever opened a cookbook up and been asked to make a recipe that involves stuff you've never heard of before? Like Eye of Newt or Toe of Frog? And it's only ever available in Waitrose? This so does not happen in my kitchen. Nope, I'm a user upper. A user upper of ingredients. If you can't get it in Lidl, you won't see it here. And if it features more than once over an average week, you know it's being used up. No food waste here. Nope. None at all. Right, enough of me ranting on... Let's get on with our recipes, guys!


Miss Awesome's Meze Picky Plate

SW Slimming World friendly budget friendly easy meze plate with homemade hummus recipe

So, this Monday is a bit different to other Mondays. I actually had to be out the door pretty early and home by lunchtime. Which obviously requires forward planning - I mean, I'm actually writing this on the previous Friday before the post gets published! (Don't worry, there will be tweaks) Same goes for today's lunch. This is a meze plate, which is a huge mixture of all the good stuff. Us Brits tend to call it a picky plate though, which normally comes out at parties with a buffet. You know the ones, the ones with the cold, crinkly chipolatas, a load of peanuts and the unidentifable, hard-to-tell-what-flavour crisps-in-a-bowl. But we are not going there this time. No. This time, we are making our own hummus. And all the trimmings to dip into it, of course

Take one tin of chickpeas and drain with a sieve, rinsing the chickpeas under the tap. Put it into a blender, along with a tablespoon of lemon juice, paprika, olive oil, and a good sprinkle of salt. Pop the lid on and blend it all up until it's smooth and relatively runny. You can add a bit more lemon juice and the tiniest bit of oil to loosen it up. You might like it thick and lumpy, that's okay too! You can then transfer to a sealable container and keep it in the fridge until you need it.

On a plate, arrange handfuls of the following: mixed leaf salad, cucumber and carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, long crackers ready for dipping (big up Jacobs crackers for their multigrain variety), grapes, apple slices, toasted pitta bread or tiger bread if you fancy it. Basically, you can go mad at this point: veg, fruit, protein, leftover roast dinner - just do it. Arrange it around the outside ready to put the main attraction, the hummus, in the middle. And that you should do. Take it out of the fridge, let it come to, and then spoon into the middle of the plate. Eat it straight away and boldly remember that time you went to a party where there was a hot buffet with sausages and chips.


Watermelon and Mozzarella Salad

Easy budget SW Slimming World recipe watermelon and mozzarella salad

Sometimes, a salad comes along and you're like, "Say whaaat?!" This is one of them. Have you ever seen watermelon in a salad before? No? Well, I guess there's a first time for everything! Anyways, watermelon just screams summer to me, like cherries and strawberries do. They're quite the unassuming fruit, if I'm honest: beneath their big green stripey exterior is a sweet, ruby red, almost watery flesh. Combined with the gentle tang of mozzarella cheese, the peppery bitterness from the mixed leaves, a hint of tomato and the cool, watery flavour of the cucumber, this salad is the absolute best for mega-hot days where all you want to do is chill under a brolly with a book - or for rainy, dull days where you're praying for some sunshine to come through. Just like today. (Please don't ask about what happened to the washing on the line. #soaked) Make sure you chill the watermelon in the fridge beforehand for maximum I'm-On-Holiday! effect. Also, it's a piece of cake to put together. This recipe could fit into a tweet, you know! But it's not, because I like to write, innit.

Add a big portion of mixed leaves to a plate. Next, chop some chilled watermelon into chunks, slice up some cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and arrange them on top. Finally, add 30g of halved reduced fat mini mozzarella balls. Season the mozzarella with pepper if desired. Eat straight away, while dreaming of that hot weather.

Easy budget SW Slimming World recipe watermelon and mozzarella salad


Simple Tomato Pasta aka Hidden Veg for Grown Ups

SW Easy tomato pasta recipe Slimming World budget friendly recipe

Today's recipe is packed full of tomatoey goodness: the kind where you avoid wearing a white top while eating it. It's always the way, isn't it? One white t-shirt and a bowl of pasta and you're suddenly stripping off and shoving it in the wash. I know I can't be the only one with barely any co-ordination when it comes to these things. I'm exactly the same with gravy. And ice creams. Anyways, there's a lot of tomato in here. Tons of the stuff. I've also popped in some other random veggies to give my tummy an extra bit of love... oh, and extra nutrients, too! Think of it as the (almost) hidden vegetable sauce I've seen parents giving their kids, but with a grown up twist... Admittedly, it is a two pan operation so you'll want to double up the ingredients and get a trusty partner to join in with the cooking. Two spoons = double the love. Don't forget your aprons either!

Peel and slice one small carrot and a handful of sliced red and green peppers. Add 100g of pasta to a pan, along with the diced carrots and a handful of peas. Pour over boiling water and begin boiling the pasta until it's doubled in size and is extra soft. Same goes for those carrots and peppers - give them a check with a sharp knife to see how soft they are! In another pan, add 200g of tinned tomatoes and gently simmer the mixture. Add a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes and stir until the mixture is boiling hot. Add two teaspoons of low fat plain soya yoghurt, season with salt and pepper and stir until well combined. Drain the pasta and add the carrots and peppers to the tomato sauce mixture. Take the tomato sauce off the heat and whizz with a stick blender until smooth. I went for the chunky option (as in, I didn't bother blending) - I think you absolutely need to blend this mixture! Mix both the pasta and the tomato sauce together in a bowl, add 30g of grated cheese or reduced fat mozzarella balls to the top of the pasta, and serve.


All The Veg Risotto

SW Slimming World vegetable risotto recipe easy and budget friendly

The last time I had risotto was on holiday - it was our first night, I was shattered, and we headed to a seafood restaurant where there was swordfish as a special. Actual. Swordfish. My brother almost tried it and has regretted it ever since! Anyway, I had a hard dilemma - it was between salmon kedgeree and veggie risotto - and I literally had to flip a coin to decide the winner. People who know me well will tell you I'm one for experimenting and trying new things when it comes to food, even down to the sandwiches I pick in Boots. (Never the same one twice, friends - although Ham and Egg Club is my all-time favourite!) Risotto is totally the meal you have when you've got loads of time on your hands and desperately need comfort - it's meant to be made slowly and patiently, and it demands to be watched at all times. This recipe feeds two people easily, which I only discovered upon serving. I managed to eat all of it, and I was very brave to do so, because I felt like I'd swallowed a barrel afterwards, and I burnt my tongue. Was worth it, though.

Start off by grating one small carrot into strips, and slicing up five cherry tomatoes. Reserve for later. Put a large handful of diced sweet potato on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil or low fat cooking spray, and put in the oven for half an hour to forty five minutes at 180℃. Add a packet of microwaveable rice (250g) or the real thing, arborio rice, to a pan and a massive handful of peas. Boil 750ml of hot water and add to a jug. Put in a non-MSG vegetable stock cube and stir until dissolved. Add 100ml of the stock to the rice and stir on a medium-high heat until the liquid is soaked up into the rice. Wear an apron, as it might spit at you! Continue adding 100ml of stock, bit by bit, stirring the rice continuously. Towards the end, add in the carrot and tomato to the mixture. Double check that the rice is piping hot (over 75℃) and ready to eat, once this is right, add 15g of grated cheese and the baked sweet potato chunks. Stir it all up and serve immediately, adding another 15g of cheese as a topping. This dish definitely cannot be reheated once cooked.


Red, White and Green Noodles

Easy pesto noodle recipe SW Slimming world friendly budget friendly recipe

Easy pesto noodle recipe SW Slimming world friendly budget friendly recipe

(Love is a pesto-covered bowl... sod perfection!)

Noodles, eh? Potato waffles might claim they're waffly versatile, but I'm starting to think noodles are pretty nifty. Ba-doom-tish. I'm in love with noodles at the moment - we had a gorgeous chicken stir fry at the weekend and I still can't stop thinking about it. It was the best alternative Sunday lunch ever! (Although there was that one time we had a massive round of pancakes each but shh!) To continue spreading the love, and to use up the pesto, I'm making Italian-inspired noodles. There is no sauce sachet in sight. None, none at all. It's easy peasy to make in the microwave and takes only a matter of minutes to assemble. Literally - this dish puts me in my happy place: carbs, cheese, cherry tomatoes - what more could a girl want? Although waiting for the noodles to cool down is a bit of a pain. But never mind!

Break up a packet of instant noodles into a bowl. Boil 300ml of water and pour over the noodles. Do not add the sauce sachet! Cook as per packet instructions until the water is completely absorbed. While you wait, chop 30g of reduced-fat mini mozzarella balls in half and a huge handful of cherry tomatoes (about five). When the noodles are cooked, stir through two tablespoons of reduced-fat green pesto, add the tomatoes and mozzarella, season if desired with salt and pepper... and serve!

Well, that's another week over with - what was your favourite recipe this week? Did you know I'm also on Instagram - give me a follow for a few backstage (ha!) shenanigans! (@theawesomelady) #RachEatsLunch

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