Saturday, 26 March 2016

HDYGG? // Hyacinths + Lots of buds


I had to get out to the garden this weekend and show you how the hyacinths I potted in October are blooming. I am so proud! There's also lots going on with the shrubs in the border and my plum tree is budding again - so exciting! I love the anticipation of a bud that's ready to burst into shapes and colours.













It's lovely to take a break from studying to wander around the garden, pondering the way you plant an ugly oniony looking bulb in the ground and a few months later a beautiful flower pops up to say hello.

How does your garden grow?

Amy xx



Monday, 21 March 2016

Meal Planning Monday - 21st March


Hi everyone, hoping my MPM is better late than never! I had an assignment due this morning and - me being as last minute as I am - I was working on it over the weekend and didn't have time to blog - boooo!

I am definitely sticking with my oaty breakfast bowls this week, they are delicious and fill me up til lunchtime. I make them with:

2 tbsp oats
125g ish of Alpro soya yoghurt - I tried the almond one last week and it was SO GOOD
A couple of pieces of fruit - usually 1/2 a banana and a few strawberries, blueberries or nectarine. 
A sprinkling of dried fruits - cranberries are a firm favourite at the mo
1 tsp of chia seeds
1 tsp of flax seeds
And maybe a dash of Choc Shot if I'm feeling fancy 


The salads were not a huge hit last week, everything tasted a bit bitter to me, but I might try them again this week and have some soup too. 

Snacks will be carrot and cucumber sticks, pitta, houmous, fruit and nuts. I didn't miss crisps, chocolate or breakfast bars last week and I think these tasty snacks helped, along with copious amounts of water.

My parents are coming to stay for Easter weekend and that means we'll probably decide what we're eating on the day as they usually like to go out. 

Monday: Stir fry with sweet and sour sauce

Tuesday: Pasta with spicy tomato sauce and veg

Wednesday: Spaghetti bolognese 

Thursday: Veggie sausages and roasted butternut squash, red onions and carrots (one of our favourites ever!)

Friday: Decide on the day

Saturday: Decide on the day

Sunday: Out for a roast dinner with my parents. I am also planning on making a chocolate cake for Easter Sunday using a Betty Crocker cake mix and a can of pop to replace the eggs - it really works!! And makes it vegan ;-) 

I hope you all have a lovely, relaxing Easter! See you on the other side :-)

What are you eating this week?

Amy xx

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Weight-Loss Diaries: Week 1 Weigh-In



I have completed the first week of my weight loss journey and I have lost 6 lbs! I am so happy! I can't remember ever losing that much in a week before, it must have really needed to shift. Wahoo!

What I've eaten

Nick and I wrote a meal plan for this week and stuck to it (hooray!)

My breakfast has been variants of the same thing every day - oats, yoghurt, fruit, chia and flax seeds. I have LOVED it and it's filled me up til lunch time. Dried cranberries were a favourite topping this week. I am going to stick with this for breakfast next week too coz it's lovely!



We thought we'd make quinoa for lunch this week but it was all out of stock at the supermarket. Instead we had salad for a couple of days, soup for a couple (Aldi tinned veg soup) and one day of roasted veg and lentils. Nick also sent me to work with plenty of fruit, carrot and cucumber sticks with houmous and a little tub of cashews and almonds. He is very good to me.

I also loved all of the dinners Nick made this week, but I think my favourite was a potato and lentil stew with rosemary and red onion vegan sausages (Linda McCartney). The recipe was from a vegan slow cooker book I bought last year but never used and was so hearty and delicious, and cheap come to think of it.

I usually want something sweet after dinner and we hadn't really planned for that, some evenings I had yoghurt and fruit again which was nice but felt like breakfast. We treated ourselves to hot choc and veggie marshmallows on a couple of nights but the BEST treat was pitted dates dipped in natural peanut butter. Omg it was divine!


If you reeeaaaalllly want to see what I eat every day, I am taking pics to keep a track and uploading them on my weight loss account on Instagram @muddlingfit - see what I did there? ;-)

I have also managed to drink at least 2 litres of water every day and I think that has been key in keeping my hunger at bay.


Exercise

I have done hardly any exercise this week as I made a decision to concentrate on sorting out my food. I walked about two and a half miles one day whilst at work, but other than that it's been a 'normal' week for me. I bought a pedometer today and from MondayI'm going to challenge myself to take 10,000 steps for 30 days.

Weirdly, I am beginning to look forward to exercising regularly, I think the success of this week is helping me to change my mindset and it feels good to be making these healthy decisions for myself.

I also made a weight loss journal which has really helped me to keep motivated, I bought some more stickers today to make it pretty (I know, it's sad, I don't care).  I think I will dedicate another post to it some time.

I am off to make my second vlog now, you can subscribe to my channel on YouTube if you would like to see me awkwardly talking into a camera lens. But if not, see you next time!

Amy x


Monday, 14 March 2016

Meal Planning Monday - 14th March


Breakfast this week will be overnight oats - a jar of oats (I usually use 2 tbsp / 30g ish), some Alpro vanilla yoghurt, a teaspoon of chia seeds and some fresh or frozen berries and half a banana shaken up in a jar and refrigerated over night. This is quite a big breakfast but it should see me through til lunchtime.

We'll probably make up a batch of quinoa with veg to have with salad for lunches at work this week

Snacks will be carrot, cucumber and pepper sticks, houmous, fruit and nuts. Avoiding crisps, sweets and chocolate this week (and all that other delicious but bad stuff).

Monday: Stir fry 

Tuesday: Pasta with tomato sauce and veg

Wednesday: Chilli non carne and rice

Thursday: Jacket potatoes with leftover chilli (or beans if we eat it all!)

Friday: Something sausagey (poss. roast veg or a casserole)

Saturday: Will probably decide on the day but it's between fajitas or home made curry at the mo

Sunday: Veggie roast dinner 

I'm also taking part in a 30 day water challenge from tomorrow because I haven't been drinking much lately, and this week marks the start of weight-loss journalling which I plan to share in another post soon.

What are you eating this week?

Amy xx

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Start of Something


Last night I discovered Amy and her YouTube channel, She Cooks She Eats and OMG - I seriously think I have found my spiritual doppelganger.

Amy has worked really bloody hard over the last 24 months to lose weight and she documents her journey with a weekly weight-loss vlog. She is so honest and lovely and I feel like I have finally found someone online who suffers the same struggles as me to do with dieting and motivation and confidence. I have been inspired not only because she has lost weight but because one way or another she keeps going and one of her main goals is to treat herself better and get healthy - physically and emotionally.

I have been seeking inspiration for ages and running out of places to look, but I can't tell you how happy I am that I typed 'weight loss diaries' into YouTube yesterday and found Amy's channel. I have been utterly inspired and I've decided to start my own weight-loss vlog. This is the first time I've ever appeared on YouTube and it's a bit daunting, especially as I'm publishing my weight and such on there, but I feel it necessary at this point to commit to myself and this seems like the next natural step to take as I dabble in the bloggerverse at the moment anyway.

I've put together an action plan for success (at least, I think it should work!) so in no particular order I am going to...

1. Write a meal plan and stick to it - A blogger friend of mine Nelly's Cupcakes has a 'Meal Planning Monday' feature on her blog which I am going to steal and use to take over the world. Or at least plan what to eat each week, much of a muchness.

2. Record what I am doing and how I am feeling - By keeping a weight-loss journal! I have a lovely notebook and some ideas I pinched from this video so I will update you with my thing of wonder when it has been created. I also saw a tip to take lots of progress photos so I will defo be doing this as whilst I think I will hate them to begin with I know it will be good to see before photos when the time comes.

3. Set small goals- I think, given the rate I lose weight, my goals should be in 3lb intervals, but I'll have to see how I get on! And that brings us to...

4. Exercise. As much as I hate to admit it. - I have signed up to do a 5K Colour Run in June to raise money for the charity I work for - this is a good fitness goal that is achievable as long as I exercise regularly. This is going to be very difficult for me as I really don't enjoy exercise and am very bad at motivating myself to do it! I feel awful for saying it but seeing Amy struggle with her running so much in the beginning was actually quite a comfort to me as I thought I was the only one who hated it! But it was also great to see she did start to feel good about it. Eventually. Nick has wanted us to join in with the Margate Park Run for ages now and I am considering starting the NHS Couch to 5k plan BUT I am going to concentrate on food first coz that's my biggest problem at the mo. I am giving myself til the 1st of April before I torture myself with exercise.

5. Weigh myself weekly ONLY - I am highly likely to become despondent if the scales don't show a loss every.time.I.weigh. And let's be honest - that definitely isn't going to happen if I weigh in every day! When on a diet I tend to focus so heavily on what the scales say I give up pretty quickly when I don't get to goal by day 7. This is stupid because a) slowly forwards is better than staying still and b) I have PCOS and weight loss will always be slow. Weekly weigh ins are enough.

6. Look after myself in other ways, too - Paint my nails. have a bath, do my hair, wear nice make up, dress up - doing these things helps me to feel good and despite what I tell myself on the bad days, I am still good enough as a fat person to wear nice clothes. Also smoothing my hair out and putting eyeliner on helps an untold amount with being able to face the world.

7. Continue to see my counsellor - this is something that I can't really afford but does me good. My emotional well-being has a massive impact on how I feel about myself and how I treat my body and I think it would  be short-sighted to stop seeing my counsellor at this stage. Also I think she may be able to help me to stay focused in some way, so I will ask her about that.

8. Sleep more - Nick always laughs when I say I feel like my natural bedtime is around 10pm because I stay up til the early hours more than I care to admit, usually binge-watching YouTube videos or documentaries or reading blogz. Functioning at life on 2hrs sleep is crapola.

9. Motivate myself every day because nobody is going to do it for me. - I have put this little list together for this:

I am doing this because I want to...
...get my face back
...buy nice clothes
...make my own clothes  - believe it or not most standard patterns stop at size 18 - FML!
...enjoy the good things in my life
...stop feeling bad about myself
...stop comparing myself to others
...avoid diabetes
...get my periods back

10. Treat myself - I have no problem with this one, I love shopping! Haha!

So there you go - alls that's left to do is all that stuff and I'll be there before I know it (!)

Until next time, check out my shiny new YouTube channel and let me know what you think of my first vlog!

Lots of love
Amy xx




Thursday, 3 March 2016

Arancini balls + Parmigiana Sauce


Mmm... fried risotto balls... *Homer Simpson style gargle*

A few weeks ago, my Lemon and Blueberry Loaf was featured over on Only Taste Matters, alongside this delicious-looking gluten free arancini dish by Swirls and Spice.

In a state of sheer food envy, I attempted to make a vegan friendly version of my own and adapted these simple arancini and parmagiana sauce recipes to what I had in the cupboards.

These were delicious and although a bit time consuming, quite simple to make at home. You'll make a simple risotto and allow it to cool completely, then take spoonfuls of the rice and roll them into balls, coat them with gram flour and gently fry off.

Whilst the risotto cools, you'll make the parmigiana sauce which just goes perfectly with arancini balls - so all in all you'll need a few hours before serving them up, but that's mainly due to waiting for the risotto cool.

The perfect scenario would be to save leftover risotto next time you have it for tea and make these for lunch the next day!

You have probably already noticed that I use measuring cups quite a bit - this is mainly because I find lots of recipes online which use them and they're really quick to use and a bit less washing up than scales, too.

For the arancini balls, you will need:

1 tbsp sunflower oil, for cooking with
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic, or if you're lazy like me - 1 tsp of Lazy Garlic (it's already chopped!)
2 cups of Arborio risotto rice
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
6 cups (1.5ltrs) of vegetable stock - I made mine with 2 vegetable OXO cubes
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup of gram flour
Oil and a frying pan for shallow frying the arancini balls

For the parmigiana sauce, you will need:

1tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed (or again, 1 tsp Lazy Garlic)
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Approx. 1/2 cup of hot water

Method

1) Heat the 1tbsp of oil in a large saucepan and when hot, gently fry the onions until soft. Add the garlic and cook for approx. a minute.

2) Add the Arborio rice and herbs and cook whilst stirring for approx. 3 minutes.

3) Gradually add the stock, a cup at a time or so, and wait for it to be absorbed before adding the next cup. Stir all the while. Once all the stock has been added, continue stirring until the rice is soft and the risotto has a lovely oozy consistency.

4) Allow the rice to cool and meanwhile, make the parmigiana sauce.

5) Heat the sunflower oil in another, smaller saucepan. Add the chopped onion and fry until softened. Add the garlic and herbs and cook for approx. 3 mins. Pour in the tin of chopped tomatoes, give it all a good stir and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and allow to simmer very gently for around 20 minutes. Add some hot water if you think the sauce is a little thick, I added around 1/2 a cup.

6) Sprinkle the gram flour onto a plate. Once the risotto is cool, stir in the plain flour and wet your hands before rolling the risotto into balls and then roll them into the gram flour and set aside.

7) In a heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat a couple of inches of oil until very hot. You can test the heat by dropping a small amount of the risotto into it, it should fry very quickly, bubble and golden.

8) Once the oil is hot enough, carefully place each of the balls into the oil a couple at a time and fry them for a minute or so on each side until crispy and golden all over. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.

9) Serve with your hot parmigiana sauce and enjoy!

 
I've added this recipe to the Meat Free Mondays linky on Tinned Tomatoes









Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Think it Over - The Harvey Averne Dozen

My favourite song at the mo... hope you enjoy it too!