Sunday, 16 August 2015

Cheese and Onion Pie and Eton Mess

FC United of Manchester had their first game of the season yesterday. My husband takes Joseph every home game, and requests a hale and hearty tea for when they come home. He requested cheese and onion pie. 

The thing about food is that there is a time for all foods. Most of the time I eat a very healthy diet now, but that shouldn't preclude the odd meal that is a little outside what I would normally eat. I played around with my usual cheese and onion pie recipe to lighten it up and I was very pleased with the result.

Firstly, the pastry. I stuck to my regular ready rolled puff pastry. As an Aussie pies are usually puff/flaky pastry so I decided not to pursue a low fat pastry recipe and go with what I like. The filling was delicious, you can substitute normal onions but try this as it is really lovely.

Cheese and Onion Pie
1 teaspoon of good quality butter
2 medium brown onions
5 long shallots
3 large bulbous spring onions
2 egg yolks
250 grams quark
75 grams crumbly Lancashire cheese (crumbled)
75 grams good quality cheddar cheese (grated)
1 packet of ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg

Set your oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease your pie dish. I use a cake tin. Line it with pastry, you may need to re roll your scraps to make the lid. 
Melt the butter in a small frying pan then add your three types of onions, you do not want them to brown, just simmer gently until soft over a medium heat.
Allow to cool in a bowl then add quark, the cheeses and the egg yolks and stir until combined. I also added black pepper and fresh sage here.
Pour into the pie dish and add your lid, having first moistened the edges with water. Glaze with a beaten egg and bake for approximately 30 minutes. I allow mine to come to room temperature or near enough before serving, if serving hot allow to sit at least ten minutes.

I served the husband's with chips and baked beans, I had steamed vegetables.

Eton Mess
Eton Mess hardly needs a recipe so I shall just tell you how I did it. I used the two egg whites I had left over from the pie to make meringues with 100 grams of caster sugar.
Once cool I broke them into pieces.
I melted 100 grams of white chocolate in a bowl over boiling water then mixed in 250 grams of quark and beat until smooth. I then added the meringues and 2 punnets of organic raspberries and placed in the fridge to cool.

It was lovely, the quark stopped it from being too sweet and the chocolate combined beautifully to give it a cream like consistency.

I've found Slimpod has really changed my relationship with food. I enjoy preparing food more than ever, and am able to have the odd treat meal in a healthy way without it becoming an issue or derailing me. I was straight back out exercising this morning and have eaten my new normal all day.

I really cannot recommend Slimpod enough and I'll give you all an update later in the week as to how I am doing. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

A Letter from Zara

I met Zara and her mummy Ije on my travels, and found out that Ije has started a petition on an issue close to my heart. Please read and support if you can.

Hello my name is Zara

I was born very early on the 5th January 2015, 3 months early. I should have been born on the 6th April.

My mummy had to start her maternity leave straight away, as soon as I was born. 3 months working is a long time, she would have had more chance to save and prepare financially, but straight away she had to leave work and start her new job.

Having me in the neonatal unit was like a job. My mummy was my most important nurse and caregiver. She had to make my milk, make lots of decisions, say lots of prayers, and take care of the wider family who came over from Nigeria to help.

Those months in hospital were really hard, no one really knew whether I would be ok, but mummy, daddy, me and the Lord had an idea all would be well but it didn’t stop it from being very stressful.

So now I am home and I am a well and happy baby. When I go to Neomates at the hospital everyone says how beautiful and lovely I am. But I am still very young. I should have been born on the 6th April and its only July now, and mummy has to go back to work.

I still have oxygen at night, I still need my mummy lots and lots to feed me and take care of me and teach me things. I am not ready for mummy to go back to work.

And my mummy isn’t ready either. My lovely, kind, strong mummy wishes with all her heart she didn’t have to finish her maternity leave now, but when it should have ended, 9 months after my due date.

Mummy is working hard to raise awareness of this issue so that other babies don’t have to see their mummy’s go off to work when they still need them very much at home.

You can see me here, and sign my mummy’s petition. It may not help us, but no baby or mummy should be put in this position



Monday, 29 June 2015

Club Kylie with Thinking Slimmer

Whenever I tried to lose weight my only goal was to lose weight. I didn't do specific goal setting. The 12 week focus group made me realise three things.

There is power in setting specific goals

Writing down when you have stuck to them and what results you have seen is amazing.

Sharing that with others, the successes and the challenges makes it so much easier and more rewarding.

So here is Club Kylie.

You will set some specific goals for the next twelve weeks and you will write them down. You can do this on the Slimpod Club post on the private Facebook group. You will break these up into weekly goals.

You will write down your positives every day, sharing them when you want to. If you have your own blog you can share them there.

You will choose a theme song for your 12 weeks, this is mine!

And you will share a piece of clothing you would like to wear at the end of the 12 weeks!

So how does that sound?

Welcome to Club Kylie

I will do my Club Kylie post tonight see you there!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Slimpod 12 week challenge Phase 2 Week 2

So I have come to the end of my second week of my own Slimpod 12 week challenge. Meh.

We all have meh weeks from time to time and this was mine. Meh.

Weight 17 stone 0 pounds. No change. Meh.
But really I shouldn't feel meh as I had lost 5 pounds the week before which is unheard of and I haven't put any on, so that was a real loss, not water weight etc. So I will just steal 2 pounds from there and average it out! So weight is the same, however my body fat percentage did drop so it's all good.

Exercise Meh. I feel like I haven't done a great job this week. So let's have a look at the step count
Saturday      19 251
Sunday        15 951
Monday       14 591
Tuesday       11 763
Wednesday  13 189
Thursday        8 807
Friday          12 495

I am falling into perfectionism and setting my self unattainable standards. I have been well over 10 000 steps every day bar one, and that was still a very good day. So well done me.

Al in all it's been a great week. Sunday was father's day and we had a pub lunch, I made good choices but ate loads. I also had a meal out with a friend and had chocolate cake.

I am being way too tough on myself. I am continuing to listen to my slimpod I think I might need to listen to chillpod a few times this week in order to remember to be kind to myself and give myself a bit of a break.

This Monday I am starting Club Kylie in conjunction with Thinking Slimmer and invite all of you to participate! Join me tomorrow to find out more!

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Two Year Triathlon Plan

Yesterday I wrote about how I would love to do a triathlon, partly for my dad, but also for Joseph. He is enjoying getting more active with me, and he definitely does plenty of exercise to balance out his screen time, and I know he will love training with me as he gets older. Perhaps we can even do triathlons together if we get the taste for it.

So here is the plan.

Fat Loss - The biggest barrier to my triathlon success is the amount of stored energy I carry around. So part of my triathlon plan is to just keep doing what I'm doing, maintain good nutrition and exercise regularly and get that down. As my stored energy diminishes further opportunities will become available to me. This is what slimpod does! Makes you feel much more positive about your journey, and reframes it into positive steps.

Running - I don't run currently. I am concentrating for the next 6 months on walking distance. I want to get really comfortable with 5k and slowly increase my time. I do a lot of climbing hills to build my cardiovascular strength rather than speed. I will start adding running in but at the moment it's dangerous. I carry a lot of weight and whilst I still have decent joint health I think running will seriously test them. By the end of the year I will start to add more running intervals. Minimising injury risk is important as I have two years to train to do this thing, but I don't want lay offs for injury if I can help it.

Swimming - We have our holiday coming up in 4 weeks so I am going to make sure I do some serious swimming then and on return I will start swimming a few times a week, building up to every day in winter when walking will be less appealing. I will start with pool swimming then next May will start outdoor swimming when the season starts so I will have a few months of outdoor swimming training and practice under my belt. I would love to try outdoor swimming now but I very much doubt I will get a wetsuit to fit and will feel better if I have less stored energy on my body when I am in a wetsuit.

Cycling - Currently my weakest point  biggest area for development and success, I don't ride at all at the moment. My husband has already talked about buying me a bike and getting Ursula (our car) fitted with a bike rack. We have oodles of off road cycle paths near our house, so I know I have everything I need to start cycling and build proficiency before July 2017.

I plan to join a triathlon club to get some support and advice and maybe meet some other people who are total novices, after all we all have to start somewhere, even if we are the wrong side of 40 and slightly out of shape!

I will at some point invest in some personal training as well, but at the moment I am happy just to chip away at the stored energy, look at investing in my bike and enjoy swimming.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Tri for Dad

This was the last moment I saw my father. My mum and Joseph had already gone to the car ready to drive us to the airport. Dad was so excited to be having a selfie. I kissed him goodbye, knowing this would be the last time I saw him. We had already discussed that I wouldn't return for his funeral. 

When dad died in January it wasn't a shock or surprise. But it was and is devastating. My dad was always there for me. It was him that gave me a lot of my strength, certainly my humour and I think my love for children comes from him too.

Just the day after he died I had my regular doctor's appointment and that appointment I told the doctor I wanted to work on my weight. You see dad had type 2 diabetes, mum does too, and neither of them are or have ever been morbidly obese. Dad died at 89 after having a reasonably healthy life although with some serious co morbidities.

The doctor wanted to refer me for bariatric surgery and my brain and heart screamed no. I know for some it's the right thing, but I was seriously worried if I didn't work on my reasons for being fat I would cheat the surgery. I used to be a very bad comfort eater. My meals have always been healthy, I've always been fairly active, but medicating my feelings with sugar got me into this mess, and even with surgery I could still have resorted to that.

I begged my GP to give me six months. Kate from Striking Mums saw my struggles on social media and recommended I apply for the Thinking Slimmer 12 week focus group. Finally after a few listens, my comfort eating was in check and my confidence in my ability slowly started rising,

Which brings us to the point of this post. Here I am around 12, with mum, dad and Kang, one of our dear Malaysian host students. Kiat and Kang were like brothers to me. I am delighted to still be in touch with Kiat through the magic of Facebook.

My dad taught a very frightened young girl to swim. In fact over the road in mum's best friend's backyard, and then pools and the beach. I am a confident, strong swimmer. Slow but good at distance. I love to swim anywhere and everywhere.

He taught me to ride a bike. This took ages. My balance and coordination aren't great. Nobody knows why, it was suspected I had some form of cerebral palsy when I was little I think nowadays I would be diagnosed with dyspraxia but no matter. I manage very well and eventually learnt to ride a bike. However I never got truly confident.

My plan is to do a traithlon. Not now in 2017. I want to be a healthy weight, I want to be strong, and I want to finish in the middle, not last. So that means some serious long term training. 

I would welcome any advice, especially on cycling, as I currently don't cycle and know that I need to start soon in order to build my confidence and ability in this area. 

So dad, your daughter will compete in her first triathlon in July 2017, hopefully either Llandudno or Chatsworth House.

How's that for a goal?

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Slimpod 12 week challenge Phase 2 Week 1

The week that was with Slimpod!

Let's start with the scales. So I went to my beloved Boots for weigh in yesterday. I jumped on the scales looked down and thought "really? no can't be right"

Weight: 17 stone 0 pounds 108 kg (I'm gonna ignore the 0.3 lol) I take two off for my GPs official weight as their scales are 2 kilos different. But 108 kilos. 12 kilos down from Christmas. That's an average of 2 kilos a month or 4 pounds. I am more than happy with that!

Exercise: I am so happy with my step count this week I will set it out here, so I can reflect on it and see where I can increase it a little this week.

Saturday        13 557
Sunday          25 746
Monday        20 618
Tuesday        14 223
Wednesday   15 678
Thursday       10 232
Friday           30 874

Friday included equivalent of 124 flights of stairs as I walked up Holcombe Hill.

I'm in a good routine with walking in the week. I do 5000 steps before work 2000-4000 at lunch time and usually a walk after work. As well weight loss I have noticed my stress management vastly improving and my general well being is much better. I have always had days where I walked a lot but now every day is a good day for walking.

Exercise goals: I have signed up for two races. The 5k Cancer Research UK in July and the 5k Elelectric Run in September. I really want to do Tough Mudder, but I have decided that's a goal for next year. The other thing I want to do is increase my swimming, but I am going to hold off until the weather gets revolting and replace my morning walks with a swim. I think that's sensible. I have also decided to ask Father Christmas for a bike so I can start bike riding next year. We can see where this is headed, wait for the blog post on that one!

Food: My nutribullet is now firmly part of my routine. I have a smoothie ever morning. Generally they consist of 30-40% veggies 30-40% fruit, some seeds and nuts and topped with non dairy milk. These keep me satisfied til lunch time and help fuel my exercise. I am not snacking mid morning at all. I am drinking water and herb or green teas during the day. Lunch is either a salad from home or crudities and a homemade dip, or I get a salad and soup from our friendly bicycle delivery lady at work who has recently started. I love her salads as they don't have dressing and they're really fresh. My dinners vary, but my portion sizes have vastly decreased. I no longer need something sweet after meals, and occasionally have chocolate in the evening especially if I notice I have exercised a lot and not eaten a great deal.

My diet is quite low carb. This isn't a conscious thing, I don't fancy bread at all at the moment, or pasta very often. I do have some grains but not loads, it's just a matter of listening to my body. I did have bread yesterday on my 20k walk day as my body asked for it. It's clearly working so I am just letting my body ask for what it wants. This is really new for me and exciting.

Food challenges this week: There was only one, a bring a plate lunch at the London office. I just totally relaxed about it, and found there was oodles of healthy choices. I had a small plate of salad and that was enough. However sweets were a challenge. My office is legendary for cakes and treats. I have decided in terms of sweets I am only eating homemade not commercial and only if something looks really appealing. There was a container of gulab jamun made by one of my colleague's Indian aunties. I couldn't say no, so I had it, enjoyed it, felt a huge sugar rush that scared me, and that was enough. It's really nice to be about to have a treat as a treat and not feel compelled to eat more just because it's there.

On Thursday one of my friends brought some Twirl sharing chocolate to work, and I said no. I felt really rude, but I'm not eating dairy at all really apart from the odd bit of cheese and I knew it wouldn't make me feel good, so I just said no. I am really proud as it's the first time that situation has happened and I dealt with it easily. One bit of Twirl isn't going to make a difference to anything, however it's the pattern of behaviour I need to change, and I have. And I'm really proud.

Non scale victories: I've got a huge pile of clothes that need to go to the charity shop. I tried on a dress for my upcoming holiday and it's a tent, so i am going to attempt a refashion into a skirt and top. I feel amazing about the changes. When I walked into the office in a loose size 18 dress everyone stopped and looked. I look different and I am proud of that.

I was nervous about losing my team of slimpodders, but I know I can do this and I have all of you supporting me for which I am so grateful. Charting my weightloss on Instagram has been amazing. I have so much support and love out there I know I will do this!

So a huge thank you to all of you.

Weight loss journey supported by Thinking Slimmer