Raise your hand if you love muffins! Keep your hand up if you hate how bad they can be for you! Seriously, these things can be lethal for your diet if you aren’t careful. For instance, Starbucks Blueberry Muffin comes in at 350 calories, which isn’t too bad, but also packs in 29g of sugar! Ouch. It’s easy to just look at caloric content of food and forget to take notice of sugars. Granted, in some foods sugars are naturally occurring and aren’t as bad. Still though, we have to be careful to keep the sugar intake in check whether it is natural or not. Now don’t feel like I am picking on poor Starbucks here, you know I love them. I only used them as an example as I really had to channel my self control over a blueberry muffin the last time I was in store grabbing a latte.
Since then I have been craving blueberry muffins. I tweaked my trusted basic muffin recipe to cut back on the calories and sugar. Okay, there is a catch in that these aren’t the massive muffins you get from most high street bakers. However, they are moist and delicious. The fresh blueberries add a lovely tang and sweetness, not to mention gorgeous colour! These can be eaten as a dessert or a breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt. I mean, I consider muffins as more of a cake but it has fruit so treat yourself! These bad boys clock in at only 127 calories and 3.3g of sugar. Go on, get your mixing bowl out and get baking!
I remember as a kid growing up in California my grandparents would take my brother and I out to dinner on many occasions. One that sticks out in my mind is Mrs Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant at Knotts Berry Farm. Every time we went I always ordered chicken and dumplings. Thick chunks of chicken and vegetables with big spongy dumplings, oh my days. As you can imagine, this isn’t a waist friendly dish. I wrote it off for so long because I figured there was no way for it to be healthy. Oh how was I wrong! In my defence, I never really looked at the ins and outs of the basic recipe before. I know that most have huge carby dumplings and heavy cream which instantly is a no-no. I really had a craving for it a few months ago so I decided to sit down and do my homework. I read over quite a few traditional recipes and created my own.
Not only is this under 500 calories, but it’s also cooked in the slow cooker so you can throw it in and leave it. Easy and comforting? Yes please! I don’t feel like this skips anything, you still get delicious dumplings and plenty of veg and chicken. The recipe itself takes 6 hours to cook and probably about a half hour of prep split between the stages of cooking. I have in the past, however, prepped everything the night before in the slow cooker and left it cooking while I was at work. I would suggest if you do cook it longer, add some more water to ensure it doesn’t dry out while you’re gone.
What do you do when you have leftover chorizo and a bag of sweet potatoes? Make a delicious and healthy breakfast! There’s something about eating a cooked breakfast on a Sunday morning that is cozy and comforting. For us it used to be a fry up or a sausage sandwich. Both lovely breakfasts, but not healthy in the slightest. They can both get a bit samey as well. I always try to eat my breakfast with the mister on the weekends and on Sunday’s this means waiting until he wakes up as it is his lie in day. Naomi got me up at twenty past six this morning, so I had plenty of time to think of something to make for breakfast. Now, I would love to eat breakfast with Naomi and we used to when she woke up later in the morning. However, I just can’t eat that early in the morning anymore and she can’t wait to eat til later. This sort of works out as I can make breakfast a bit more adventurous for the adults since I know I don’t have to battle with a picky palette.
I fancied eggs this morning, but I didn’t just want scrambled eggs or an omelette. Rather, I wanted eggs to accompany something else. I had a look through the fridge and cupboards to see what needed using up when I got the idea for hash. Typically hash is made from potatoes but after I lost my weight I try to stay away from potatoes when I can. I love you potatoes, don’t get me wrong, but you’re bad for my waist line. I had a bag of 4 small sweet potatoes, 1/4 bag of fresh kale, leftover chorizo from last nights Spanish Style Chicken Bake and half an avocado from the other day. All of these needed to be eaten up pronto and were perfect to create a sweet potato hash! I paired these with a few other ingredients and bam – sweet potato and chorizo hash for under 400 calories! Now this recipe is high in fat, but don’t go running for the hills. There is such a big misconception about fat and that it’s bad for you. Wrong! Our bodies need fat and it’s important to eat the right fats in our diet. Where this has around 19g of fat, they are good fats from the avocado, egg and coconut oil.
Last week I did a review of Joe Wicks Lean In 15 followed by me trialing 3 different recipes. This week, I will be doing my review of the Hairy Bikers: Hairy Dieters Book 1. I could not wait to dig my little claws into this book as I absolutely ADORE the Hairy Bikers. I drove my husband mad when I was pregnant as they were pretty much all I would watch. I think this contributed to my daughters mad giggles when she sees them on TV, sorry not sorry.
The first recipe I chose to make was the Spanish Style Chicken Bake. This made my belly rumble when I read the recipe because not only does it include my favourite meat but also chorizo. I haven’t cooked with chorizo since I moved to the UK nearly 6 years ago, partly out of fear that it wouldn’t taste the same as it did back in America. After making this, I don’t care if it doesn’t taste the same. Welcome back to my palette, chorizo! Aside from that, for only 370 calories per serving including potatoes you genuinely cannot go wrong.
Cornflakes, a family favourite for years. I tried to get Naomi to eat cornflakes from a young age and she would outright refuse. I put it down to them being too crunchy as she is very much a texture child. I put this down to my fear of her choking and having her on purees until she was nearly 9 months old. Bad mommy. The other week we realised she LOVES chocolate cornflake cakes. Of course she does, it’s chocolate. Ian was picking her up from nursery a few weeks ago and they must have made a batch that day. He was holding Naomi as he was talking with one of the nursery workers. While he was distracted, she reached over and grabbed the cake and shoved half of it in her gob. Cheeky little mare.
When we were going through our cupboards before our weekly shop this week, we noticed we needed some more cornflakes. Ian suggested we used what was left in the box to make the cornflake cakes. Brilliant idea, go daddy. I thought what a good idea this was since Naomi and I both weren’t feeling our best. I loved baking and cooking growing up and I want to instill this love into Naomi as well. We did attempt to make fishcakes together a few weeks ago which did not go to plan. Still fun though and great memories were made. No doubt making the chocolate cornflake cakes would be a bigger hit with her because, well, chocolate.
After our holiday, we wanted easy healthy meals to eat this week. Ian came up with the idea of enchiladas which I was perfectly fine with. We both love Mexican food, so yes enchiladas! I skimmed through a few recipes trying to find a simple one that was still healthy. After some thinking and tweaking, I came up with the kale and veggie version.
Totally forgot the cheese in this photo! My bad. How colourful is all this!?
Yes I know, kale and enchiladas sounds weird. Just go with it, I promise it tastes great. Traditional enchiladas are saturated in cheese and sauce. Definitely not waist-line friendly but man do they taste great. Sometimes I will give in to a cheeky home cooked meal that bends my rules, but not this week. I know from adapting my chili recipe that chickpeas make a great substitute for meat. Turkey mince is my usual go-to healthier ingredient swap, but something about a veggie meal feels so guiltless and healthy.
This adaptation is not only under 350 calories but its extremely filling without any extras needed. By all means, feel free to accompany with a small salad or some Mexican style rice. To be honest though, we were full after 2 enchiladas. Only downside is this meal isn’t low carb, but it is high in protein so it evens out.
This past week I came to an epiphany – I eat boring work food. It’s the same things, day in and day out. Mind you, I do enjoy the foods I eat. However, it gets samey for you and samey for my body. We both need a bit of variety. I’m not saying I’m never going to have porridge with peanut butter and bananas at work again because lets face it, that is my crack. However, what it does mean is lots of experimenting over the weekends for me. My family is happy with this because it usually ends in lovely things for them to munch on.
This weekend I focused on my breakfasts. Breakfast at work is always either porridge or muesli. Both require only a bowl, spoon, milk and a microwave. I don’t really have time to make a nice breakfast to take with me to work for two reasons. Firstly, I wake up at 5am and that is early enough. I don’t want to wake up a half hour earlier just to make food. Secondly, by the time I eat breakfast (which is 10am) it probably wouldn’t be any better than something I made over the weekend and warmed up again. The first point is also why I don’t eat breakfast before work. I would be hangry by the time 10am rolled around and lunch isn’t until 1pm. Yeah, I could have a snack at 10am but this is just introducing more food into my day which is added calories which turns into stress for me, so I’m steering clear of that path.
A simple solution for me was to find things that I could cook or bake over the weekend which would last a few days and still be delicious reheated. Yesterday I shared with you my recipe for my bacon and avocado crustless quiche. This was kind of a no-brainer as far as simple transportable food and as practical as it is, I get tired of eggs quite quickly. So I wanted to think of other things that I’ve either never tried before or I haven’t had in ages. Queue in the Banana & Flaxseed Loaf and Fruity Honey Tea Loaf! Each of these for only 136 and 146 calories per slice respectively and will last well into the week. Depending on your mood and hunger levels, these could be eaten for breakfast or lunch. On top of that, they were so simple to make.
Who doesn’t like fishcakes? My daughter apparently.
Trying to get Naomi to help put the salmon in the bowl. Clearly not interested at all.
Today is the start of my food experimenting bonanza! I’ve been trying to think of different foods that I can easily make over the weekend and take with me to work for breakfast or lunch. Also, things I can make that hopefully my picky daughter will eat. She eats really well at nursery, but for us she only eats select foods. I’m also going to try to cook with her this weekend and see if it helps!
I love eggs and often crave them for breakfast. My work only has a microwave, so I am rather limited on ways to make food that isn’t already cooked. I’ve done microwaved scrambled egg at work, but lets be honest it tastes crap that way. Something about being in a frying pan makes it taste better and come out much more fluffy. Then I thought quiche is a really versatile food that you can eat hot or cold. I can quickly shove it in my gob while making a cup of tea if I’m in between meetings or heat it up, sit down and enjoy it properly.
I used what was left over in our fridge before our weekly shop. Of course you can throw whatever you want in a quiche; this recipe is really flexible. If you do swap and change ingredients, just keep in mind that this will alter the nutritional macros. My bacon and avocado crustless quiche is delicious, filling and only 168 calories per slice! Not to mention it is low carb, high protein and full of good fats! You can’t go wrong with this dish.
My husband is a big fan of a Chinese takeaway. If he had the choice, I think he would eat it daily. This was one of the harder parts of us choosing to lead healthier lifestyles. I’d be a liar if I said we didn’t have takeaway still, because we do occasionally. We typically have one once a month, where as we used to have 3-4 a week. A WEEK. We would also order enough to feed a small family, no joke. Our normal order for the two of us was chicken chow mein, chicken fried rice, crispy wontons, chicken in black bean sauce, chips and prawn crackers (can you tell we like chicken?). No wonder we were tubby.
I wanted to do something to tell him thank you. He has done a lot for me lately and sacrificed so much for me to change my life and go on my weight loss journey. I know the way to his heart is through his stomach, so making one of his favourite dishes was an easy choice for me.
A normal chicken chow mein from the takeaway can be around 800 calories and over 40g of fat. My version halves this at 374 calories and 17g of fat. Guilt free eating with all the taste!
It’s Tuesday, do you know what that means? It’s Taco Tuesday! Tacos are one of my absolute favourite foods. I was lucky enough that my mom would spoil me with homemade authentic tacos – perks of her being Mexican! I miss her dearly and Taco Tuesdays make me feel closer to her. She would probably laugh at my recipe for tacos, but here’s to you anyway mom (everyone say Hi Gina!).
Tacos typically can be quite greasy, high in fat, high in calories and loaded with carbs. I have adapted my recipe to be relatively low calorie, low fat, low carb and high protein! My indulgent version is under 600 calories, but you could easily bring this under 400 calories by opting out on guacamole or cutting back on the tortillas. This recipe comes in 3 parts – cauliflower tortillas, homemade guacamole and the taco filling.
This recipe yields 4 chicken tacos with guacamole. You will notice the taco filling serves 2 and guac serves 1, that’s because my heathen of a husband has flour tortillas and no guacamole.