Tag Archives: food

My Fantasy Food Team

I stepped on the scales this morning – I actually don’t do this very often, as I find it can sometimes have a detrimental effect on how you behave for the rest of the day/week/month if you don’t like what you see. According to my (cheap, old, not very accurate) scales, I now weigh in at 139.5lbs. The half pound is very important because that makes me UNDER 10 stone, that is NINE STONE something. A loss of OVER five stone. Good times.

Anywho, I’ve noticed recently, that a lot of people I know are passing comment on my weightloss (something that actually creeps me out a bit!) & then asking how I’ve done it. Well, there’s no special secret, trick or magic spell. The answer is simple:

Eat better. Move more.

You’ll notice that I’ve said “eat better“, not “eat less“. Whilst limiting calories is an age-old, time-tested way to certainly reduce weight, it is actually more important to make sure that you are eating the right things first. For example, you could calorie count a 1500kcal diet & eat low fat crisps, low fat cheese, and sugar-free sweets till the cal counter tells you you’re done. You’ll have sunk your daily intake, but likely feel hungry, tired, a bit crabby as you are being ‘punished’ on your diet. You’ll also be far more likely to crave more food & make further poor choices.

I’m a huge advocate of snacking. Little healthier snacks between meals will stop you from sugar-crashing & craving a quick fix, like chocolate. Choose things that are full of either proteins or complex carbs, as these will help you to feel fuller for longer.

By eating better – choosing fruits, vegetables, healthy snacks AND the odd treat, you will find that you will not be so hungry, nor as likely to delve in to a huge bar of chocolate. You won’t feel so ‘punished’ if you are full. You won’t feel so terrible if you actually allow yourself an occasional treat*

*a giant bar of chocolate, giant bag of crisps, 3 bottles of wine isn’t a treat – try a small bar of chocolate, a bag of baked crisps or a glass (maybe 2) of wine.

I thought I’d share my food staples with you. These are foods that I eat at least 2/3 times a week. Foods that help me to feel full and that feel like a treat in themselves, when really, they’re all pretty healthy! They might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but give some of them a go:

  • Nakd & Trek Bars – I’ve mentioned these in a previous post. They are still delicious, sweet & sticky – perfect for sweet cravings. They have also just released a Christmas Pud flavour & it is out of this world.
  • Quest Bars – These aren’t for everyone. I spend quite a bit of time doing exercise, both cardio & weights. I am aiming to build strength, build muscle. These delicious protein bars come in heaps of different flavours and feel like a real treat. They are low in carbs, low in cals and high in protein. They are a bit on the £££ side of the snack world, but for me, they are totally worth it & they are a MILLION times better than a yucky protein shake!
  • Yoghurts – Either plain, fat free greek yoghurt (I like fage total the best), or, Danio fruit minis, or Liberte fruit layers. All low in fat and low in cals, but thick & creamy, so quite filling.
  • Fruit – I eat heaps of fruit. If I’m feeling lazy (and likely to reach for something worse), I’ll get the pre-prep packs from the shops, but most of the time, I’ll prepare it myself. Try freezing grapes as a great sub for sweets. Eat alongside other foods to make it go further & fill you up even more. Grab up a sack of clementines – seasonal & the perfect size for snacking on. A good ol’ banana is a powerhouse!
  • Marks and Spencer’s Guilt-Free Snack Range – The crisps that these guys sell are great, mostly around or under 100kcals per pack. Huge range of flavours. My faves are the sour cream and chilli lentil curls & the little bacon lentil tubes. Also a great pesto chickpea shell flavour available too. Perfect substitute for ‘normal’ crisps.
  • Popcorn – Amazing stuff. My fave brands are metcalfes (the sweet & salt and the  heat & sweet are to die for). Also try portlebay – the lemon sherbert flavour is unbelievable! Popcorn is relatively low in cals and the flavoured varieties make it feel like a special treat.
  • Rice-cakes – These are a bit of a new revelation for me. My faves at the mo are made by Kallo. There is a great kiddy range that are strawberry yoghurt & come pre-packed in 2s. Also give their dark choc and orange flavour a go!
  • Quorn – low fat, low cal, protein source & really reasonably priced. The family ‘chicken’ roast is so good & ridiculously good value!
  • Ryvita – great source of fibre, low in fat, low in cals and perfect for topping with delicious stuff. My fave topping is cottage cheese, ham, fig and basil.
  • Warburtons Wholemeal Pitta Halves – I don’t eat much bread, but these are high in fibre and relatively low cal. Great to eat with soup.
  • Low Fat Cottage cheese – great source of protein and low in fat & cals. Great as a topping, or as a replacement for mayo. Chuck in on crackers, mix in to tuna, blob it on soup, spread on ham and add a gherkin for a roll-up snack, use it in cooking & baking too.
  • Protein powders – these are great for whipping up great snacks. I’ve got the protein powder cookbook & the banana bread & vanilla blueberry muffins are super delicious and quick to make. Most of the recipes are low carb, low fat, high protein & made with great stuff like coconut flour.
  • Oats – I eat these mostly as porridge (made with skimmed milk), but also use them in lots of recipes
  • Soup – the days are getting colder and darker & soup is great for lunch. Make your own where possible, but for those of you with limited time or without the inclination to make it, there are some very good pre-prepped stuff in supermarkets now. Just try to avoid aby that have cheese or bacon/chorizo in, as these will be higher in fat and therefore, higher in cals too.
  • Vegetables – A bit of a no-brainer, but eating loads of veg will help to fill you up. Eat it raw, steamed, boiled, roasted. As a quick side dish, I like to chop loads of crunchy veggies up and chuck in a spoon of plain greek yoghurt, some lemon juice and some herbs & seasoning – perfect speedy sort-of coleslaw!
  • Veg chips – some days only chips will do – unless you can make veg chips! I like to make veg chips using carrot, parsnip, sweet potato and sometimes bog-standard normal potatoes. A teeny bit of oil, a good non-stick baking tray, hot hot hot oven and a great seasoning mix (I use semolina, for crunch, a little sea salt and some paprika and cumin). So good, give them a try!
  • Hognuts Nutbutters – A relatively new find for me. So delicious, loads of gorgeous flavours of nut butter – all hand blended & high in protein. Great toast topper, awesome stirred in to oats, or baked in to a protein cookie!

This isn’t an exhaustive list, by any means, but they are certainly favourites of mine. I try to avoid full fat cheeses and fatty meats such as salami or sausages. I don’t eat very much bread or pasta, but when I do, I eat wholemeal, where possible. I limit my alcohol intake and don’t drink at all during the week. I generally have a day of ‘relaxed’ eating at the weekend, especially if there’s a birthday or if friends are over. I do still put everything in to myfitnesspal though – even if it is wayyyyyyy over what I should have had – I find that by doing this, it does make you think & ask yourself whether you should really have that extra slice of cake or not – the answer is usually not! 😉

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What’s in Helen’s Cupboard?

I so so love looking through your cupboards, it is so nice to feel that you’re not alone – to see that other people make constant conscious decisions about what to keep as great cupboard stand-bys. Come and join in, show us your kitchen cupboards – share your best recommendations with us!

Next up on ‘in your cupboard’, we take a look through Helen’s cupboards. I’ve known Helen, online, for a good few years now – not only is she super talented at cakes and sugar flowers (Helen made some gorgeous sugar poppies for my daughter’s naming day cake), but she also blogs over at everydaybride. I’ll hand over to Helen now, so she can guide you through her cupboard & her recommendations for your next shopping trip!

Well, here it is! It’s a bit of a mish-mash in there to be honest. You’ll spot a large jar of Nutella – I hate it but my boys love it on toast! There’s also a selection of pasta, rice, bread sticks, chocolate chip brioche and wraps in there. With three growing sons we go through a LOT of carbohydrate based food! helen

The last few months have led me to reassess what we eat as a family. I’ve discovered a couple of new food based triggers for my asthma so there’s an added incentive to change how we eat. In an attempt to lose weight I don’t want my boys to see a mum who’s always on a diet. I’ve done Weightwatchers and Slimming World before and although they produced results, I was miserable the whole time! I want to change small things that will help me be healthier.

I still have weight to lose after having my third son last year, but currently I’m running twice and doing two karate classes a week and you can’t do that on an empty stomach! I’ve been searching for changes that fit in with that and a busy family life. I’ve struggled with anemia and asthma flare ups since Christmas and with them both finally under control it’s about making changes to help prevent them returning.

So my cupboard contains lots of herbs and spices and tins of tomatoes. I make a lot of slow cooker food. It’s my secret weapon! Casseroles, stews, curry, pasta sauce, all sorts of things. It’s great to know by 10am that dinner is organised and it prevents the last minute give up and order takeaway! Also the boys can eat as and when they’re hungry meaning I can eat with my husband when he’s home from work. I know exactly what’s in the meal and I can sneak veg in there too! I’m changing other things as well so there’s a bag of wholemeal pasta in there and the wraps are half and half ones in an attempt to get away from the ‘white’ versions. Let’s see if they notice!

This week a box of Nakd bars went in my shopping trolley after seeing them on this blog. It’s a change away from a Kitkat so hopefully they’ll be good and give me a boost! I struggle most in the day after the school run when the boys are eating everything in sight! That’s a real test of will-power.

I think my main recommendation is fizzy water! I drink a lot of it. Not the fancy stuff, just own brand but I think a lot of the time I’m thirsty and not hungry. And I cannot get away from sugar in my tea, so if I don’t drink it I don’t have the extra sugar! Oh but the lemon olive oil is good too – makes boiled new potatoes a fabulous treat with a teaspoon drizzled over them.

I’m trying small changes here. A big drink of water when I feel hungry. A step towards more wholegrain. More and more homecooked food. Sneaking veg into everything. A handful of salad with lunch. A peach instead of a biscuit. Less tea. And then a Nakd bar when I’m desperate.

I hope it works!

This is fab, Helen, thanks so much for sharing. A totally sensible approach to food and nutrition – I think that Helen has the key here – little changes, nothing too drastic, no fixed ‘diet’ as it were. So important not to pass ‘food fears’ on to little guys (and girls). Haha, I’m sure that eveyone has a jar of nutella – I can’t stick it either, but there are two other hungry mouths in my house that seem to love it – gimme marmite any day!
I also love the way that Helen is trying to use diet to help control some health issues like asthma, I think that this is really important too.

Big thumbs up on the running and karate!

What do you guys think about Helen’s cupboard? Leave a comment below, or catch me on twitter or facebook – don’t forget to go check out Helen’s blog too!

Want to join in & show us your cupboard? Drop me a contact form (on the about page), or mail me at: info@cherrypielane.co.uk and I’ll get you linked up!

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What’s in Halina’s Cupboard?

*hangs head in shame* I know, I know, this post should have been up on Tuesday, but the Fathers’ Day orders have been keeping me chained to the Cherry Pie Lane desk for most of the week!

Anywho, here we are, better late than never & this week’s post is awesome. The cupboard we are going to rummage through this week belongs to Halina, who has her own food blog at kitchenchoufleur.

I’ll hand you over to Halina to explain the contents of her cupboard and what she absolutely cannot live without:

halina

So I have included for you a photo of not just my main ingredients cupboard, but the surrounding area as well. I have too many herbs, spices, and various other ingredients/tins/crap to fit in just one easily-accessible cupboard.
I’m currently trying to lose a lot of weight for my wedding in December, so eating and cooking to a Slimming World-friendly plan is a big part of that. However, I have always cooked from fresh and enjoyed creating and exploring new recipes, hence the over-abundance of jars, pots and packets etc. My “every-day” herbs and spices are kept in the rolling spice rack you can see on the side, and the cupboard houses the more rarely-used, but also incredibly important items.
My Must-Haves include:
  • Oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, cumin, paprika, chilli powder – the basic everyday herbs & spices that go into almost everything I cook
  • FryLight – a low-fat diet unfortunately means very little oil, however this stuff is a brilliant substitute
  • Truvia – a sweetener that isn’t a disgustingly fake pot full of Evil, instead being made from a plant. Only the tiniest amount is needed to give a lovely sweet taste to any food.
  • Strong wholemeal flour – I make all my own bread, both white (for the toddler) and wholemeal. It’s SO much tastier and fills my house with that gorgeous fresh bread smell.
  • Stock cubes – the way to get anything to taste good. Anything. I promise.
  • Worcester sauce – the best way to add depth and body to any meal. Plus it’s gorgeous on cheese on toast.
My Favourites (as well as all of the above):
  • Saffron – this stuff is expensive, but one little jar from the supermarket can last so, so long. I bought mine over one year ago and there is still a tiny bit left. A small pinch gives the most delicious honeyed flavour to anything, and is especially good in tagines and stews.
  • Rajah (other brands are available!) packet spices – these can be found in supermarkets the same as the tiny jars of spices, but are ridiculously cheaper for a far larger amount. I make a lot of curries, all low in fat, and these are the best thing ever for that purpose.
  • Passata – I bloody love passata. I buy these cheapie cardboard boxes of it from Aldi. They last ages, they make amazing sauces without fail, and they can be used for anything. For example, I often make a weekend breakfast of spring onions, chillies, red peppers, ham and cherry tomatoes, all finely diced and scrambled with eggs and a few tablespoons of passata. Delicious.

Looking at the above, none of it seems particularly original or like a wonder-product…it’s all just simple, honest, delicious stuff that makes simple, honest, delicious food, from scratch, to low-fat requirements. These are the basic gists of my blog, really, along with budgeting, meal-planning, and slow cooking.

Thanks so much for sharing your cupboard with us Halina – what a great stash of kitchen essentials. Massive hats off to you for making all your own bread, I LOVE that smell! I totally agree with the little cartons of passata, I get through heaps of those too! There are a few things in thsi cupboard that I’ve never tried, like Frylight & Truvia – I’ve also not tried any of the slimming world plans, but I know lots of people that have had massive success using them.

What do you guys think about Halina’s cupboard? Go and check out her blog too for loads of great recipes and ideas on budgeting your meals.

Are you in to healthy eating and or fitness? Trying to lose weight? Do you have anything hiding in your kitchen cupboards that you’d like to share? Drop me a message though the ‘about’ page or mail me at: info@cherrypielane.co.uk & I’ll get your cupboards linked up!

 

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New Series: In Your Cupboard

Welcome to the new series, all about the secrets that are hidden in everyone’s cupboards.

First, I’ll share what I have hiding behind the cupboard doors in my kitchen – letting you in on all my super buys, must haves, ‘can’t live withouts’ and recommendations – then, we’ll take a look through your cupboards… if you want to share, that is!

I’ve already got a few awesome people lined up to share what they stash in their kitchens. I can’t wait to show them to you. If you are someone that enjoys keeping fit or is trying to lose weight and you’d like to get involved, just drop me a message through the contact form on the ‘about‘ page & we’ll get you linked up!

In The Twisted Swede’s Cupboards…

Charlie's CupboardSo, I have cupboards that are rammed with stuff. Some normal, some not so normal. Some delicious, some not so delicious…

I really love cooking, it gives me headspace. The basis of my cupboard contents is trying to have a good selection of healthy foods, things that can be used as a basis or an addition to something bigger. I ALWAYS have berocca, chia seeds, a selection of nuts and seeds, crackers, flax seed, peanut butter, honey & dried mushrooms in the cupboard – these are what sit along side other cupboard staples such as decent olive oil, vinegars, salt and pepper, soy sauce etc. I’ve got powders such as sprirulina and wheatgrass to add to smoothies and yoghurts too (though, if I’m honest, I use these because I know they are good for me, not because of the way they taste!!). I try to buy lots of organic and raw items that are kept in the cupboard, these usually last pretty well, so won’t get chucked out straight away when I’ve forgotten to use them! Amongst other things to try, you should all get some virgin coconut oil, some crystallized coconut (awesome sugar sub) and a whole bunch of medjool dates *drool*.

cupboard4cupboardI have a heap of spices – too many to fit in the cupboard, possible spice buying problem… I just love spices. I have no idea how people can cook without them. These two pics, probably show half my spice collection, but I don’t want you to think I’m totally nuts! If you are a spice virgin, then you should definitely have cinnamon, cumin, corriander, smoked paprika, nutmeg and a few herbs kicking about – if you don’t have these, go buy them now, your tastebuds will LOVE you for it. Also, please go and invest in some sea salt & throw away the table salt – that stuff is only good for sprinkling on an icy footpath! If you are a seasoned (HA!) spice buyer and user, then you should definitely try to source dried mango powder (so sweet and delicious), furikake (a sesame and seaweed based seasoning), and DEFINITELY go and hit up ‘the spice shop’ in Brighton – honest to god, I had a real kid-in-a-sweet-shop- moment in this place. I have never seen so many amazing spices, I could have spent all day (and all my money) in there, but I reservedly bought 4 blends – with the cute yellow tins – and then dreamt about the rest of the shop all the way home!

cupboard3The other bit of my stock pile, though, not strictly a cupboard, more of a snack basket, is rammed with deliciousness. I have a heap of protein bars and balls. I’ve got seed bars, flapjacks, tonnes of nakd bars and quest bars. THIS basket is what stops me from reaching for crisps, sweets, wine, chocolate. There is nothing wrong with snacking, just make sure that the snack has some worth to it. Where I would once have reached for a bag of pick n mix when I felt like a snack and then hit the sugar crash later, I now look for something that will provide me with some nutrition, whilst being filling and a good source of energy.

So there you, go, those are my cupboards – or a snapshot of them at least. I do also have the usual stuff like baked beans, marmite, tinned tuna and dried pasta, but that is not quite as exciting!

So, do you have what it takes to throw open the cupboard doors and let us have a good rummage? Send me your pics, your staples, your must haves and your recommendations & show us all how you eat.

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Best produce EVER!

And, the award for the best produce ever, goes to…

photo 5Sainburys, for their Tomberries.

Have you been under a rock and not noticed these amazing little guys? I first found them last year and was distraught that they are only about for what seems like 5minutes. This is a definite piece of total tomato genius.

The tomberry is a teeny tiny little tomato with teeny tiny little seeds inside. They are perfect for salads, snacks, dropping into cous cous, pasta, soups. I’ve found that a 3year old also thinks that they are “really cute” and will gobble them up faster than the speed of light. The real advantage of a tomberry over, say, a diced tomato, is that it doesn’t make everything wet.

You know when you make a great bean salad, but it gets a bit too juicy at the bottom as the chopped bits of tomato spill their juice over everything? Well, problem solved with these guys. Having a complete skin means no leaking of tomato juice and no soggy salads.

My personal favourite thing to do with these teeny delights, is to drop them in to a hot bowl of soup. They are small enough to just warm through and then ‘pop’ when you eat them. So good, like little jewels.

Mr Sainburys, I beg of you, please please find a way to keep these in stock all year round, they are just totally perfect!

*This is not a sponsored post, I just really really love them!*

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