No pain no gain … and no coffee!

Oh my goodness. I am sore in places I didn’t know I had! But I’m not whining about it – it’s good! It means the garden work I did yesterday does count as proper exercise :).


I pulled, dug, planted, painted (sheds), tidied but it wasn’t enough. I have more to do tomorrow. It’s definitely a good way to lose track of time too. I went in to make a cup of coffee for myself, thinking it was about 11am but it was 1.30pm!!  Not a dish was washed, nor a bed made, never mind my leisurely menu planning. I made a quick sandwich, guzzled a pint of water and opened How to Love Food and Lose Weight (aka “the first book”) at the pasta section and realised I’d never made the Chilli Lemon Tuna and Broccoli Spaghetti! It looked easy, quick and delicious and therefore ticked all the boxes for shopping and cooking as I didn’t have the time or energy left to luxuriate in choices and creating.

My version
As presented by me last night in Mullan Towers
The photo in the book
As presented by the professionals in How to Love Food and Lose Weight

I substituted the tuna with 2 large flat chestnut mushrooms and prepared them in the same way I did David’s tuna steak, except I cooked them longer.  I was delighted with my dish looking almost exactly like the recipe book photograph :D.  Better than that – it was delicious! Maybe I wouldn’t bother with the mushrooms next time, they didn’t add anything to the meal – the spaghetti with the crunchy broccoli and cherry tomatoes with parsely, lemon and chilli oil was enough and satisfied me after a day’s hard graft. David loved his tuna version.

lemon spag mush
And my mushroom version

I’ve just flicked through the whole book again and my mouth is watering. I can’t decide about tonight. Love the idea of the Fennel and Orange Salad with Harissa Dressing but I’d need to serve it with something substantial like a jacket potato. It would also mean making two completely different meals – the kids and David wouldn’t entertain the fennel and orange combo. I think fajitas will go down well with all of us. But I will definitely make the salad for my lunch soon as a treat.

Almost forgot the numbers …


I got through just under 1400 calories yesterday, despite my best efforts at eating toast with a cup of green tea before bed! I thought it would be a lot more as I did seem to be eating lots.


No weight loss this week but I have a plan!

I’ve been avoiding posting here. I am so frustrated/confused/cross or maybe I’m just missing something, but after a week when I reduced my calorie intake because I was unable to exercise (try exercising when your nose resembles a burst water main or your head feels like it’s found that safe place you hid the cotton balls from the kittens), I lost no weight at all. Nothing. In fact, worse than nothing – I gained. A whole half a pound.

Doesn’t sound like the end of the world and it isn’t, but what is going on? I must be consuming at least half the calories I was before the diet began. And most of the food I ate last week was high fibre – I craved fruit and ate oranges, apples and pears daily.  Not bananas, I read somewhere that they don’t help a runny nose. 

Ah well, it happened. Nothing I can do about it now but learn from it. Or that’s the idea – but what have I learned? Eating low-fat, high fibre and vitamin-packed food doesn’t help you lose weight? That couldn’t be it. Drinking copious amounts of green tea and water makes you heavier? Not likely. So is it the lack of formal exercise? Maybe.

I didn’t exactly lie in bed all day. I still shopped, cooked, cleaned the kitchen, changed the beds, was mum-taxi and did 63 lengths of the bungalow every night chasing Sam back into bed.

The good news is, as of 7pm today, I am starting to feel better. I was surprised myself – 7pm is a very exact time but I was in the kitchen finishing the dishes when I suddenly noticed I hadn’t used a tissue in a whole 10 minutes! I haven’t, 2 hours later, needed one since! 

I’ve got it – the cure for the common cold – eureka! It’s my homemade wheaten bread! Instead of baking the HB skinny lemon cupcakes with drizzly icing I baked a wheaten loaf. A recipe I learned 20 years ago and which hasn’t let me down yet. 

I must get it patented as a medical breakthrough!

If you want my recipe, I will let you have it – it’s simple, quick and very tasty. No yeast required, so it doesn’t need to prove or rest.  I sprinkled black onion seeds on this loaf but I have been known to use poppy seeds, sesame seeds and left it plain. All of them lovely. But be warned, the entire loaf has about 2300 calories! But it’s up to you to decide how thick to cut it – 191 calories in a nice chunky piece (if you divide the loaf into 12 slices).Image

I have a very colourful curry to show you – my Saturday evening meal. As you have probably read already, I don’t “do” quorn so I skipped that particular recipe on my plan and made the Hairy Bikers Fiery Madras. In the book, it’s made with beef. On Saturday night it was made with a variety of fresh veg – sweet potato, red pepper and spinach. And, if I do say so myself, it looked lovely. It was hot though! Unfortunately, just before I started cooking I lost my sense of taste and smell. Very sad when I had such a lovely meal to look forward to. I have saved a portion to enjoy another day when I am fully functional again.Image

After the disastrous weigh-in this morning, I dusted myself down, collected my groceries and started preparing the meals for this week.

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.

I studied Picasso for A level and didn’t “get” his work but I do get his wise words above.
The eating plan for the week, now that I have studied it in great detail, is actually very simple. The fridge and cupboard are packed with everything I need to achieve my goal. My body is agreeing with me, finally, that it’s time to start exercising properly and my clothes are telling me that all this is worth it.
Frustrated/confused/cross?  Me? Don’t be daft – I’m looking forward to 7am next Monday, the scales will get a shock!

A beautiful rainbow of colours on a plate on a dull miserable winter’s day

Was having a happy dream about goodness knows what (my dreams are very surreal but I got the feeling I was smiling!) when I got a rude awakening by our 10 year old son who was excited about something the kittens had done. It was 5am! I didn’t open my eyes, it was David’s turn to chase Corrado back to bed. Eventually, after about 4 or 5 more similar interruptions hubby got up and made breakfast. I had my “usual” – crumpets, banana and honey with a cup of green tea. I’m going to have to break that habit, there are much more delicious suggestions on the plan. But it does guarantee that I need no more than a small piece of fruit (and a coffee of course!) to see me through until lunch. How many breakfasts can do that?

We took ourselves out for the day and went to visit Granny and Granda Mullan, via Ballymena, where we stopped for a treat and had lunch at M&S. Sam begged us to go to Subway, he’d live in Subway and eat tuna sandwiches all day everyday, if he was allowed. But he cheered up when he remembered M&S = pasta bolognese. His other favourite! (He has so many!). He ate his own and half of Corrado’s. The boy was hungry.

I was very disappointed with the range of lunches today. The only low-cal sandwiches had ham and chicken and there were no salads without meat or bread either! I settled for an almost harmless egg and cress which was a shocking 340 calories for so little. But I suppose it was lunch and I wasn’t grabbing a bag of crisps or a slice of cake to enjoy after it. My bucket of Americano kept me busy and my hands away from the two giant chocolate chip cookies the 8 and 10 year old child-bins were enjoying.

I resisted a slice of lemon cake and a cherry bakewell at the inlaws’. Wasn’t I being strong?? 😀

I was looking forward to tonight’s dinner, “Vegetable Quorn Stack”. As regulars to this blog know, I don’t eat Quorn. The whole reason for giving up meat in the first place was the texture and taste. Especially chicken, the texture gives me the willies!!  So at the supermarket yesterday I browsed the aisles for an alternative to suggest itself. Halloumi made the first bid for my attention, so into the basket it went.

Vegetables and halloumi stacked and ready for the tomato sauce and feta
The finished meal. Within minutes the plate was empty!

The range of vegetables in the dish sounded lovely – all firm favourites. Sweet potato, aubergine, courgette, red pepper. They were to be cooked in a tomato sauce and the ingredients stacked on the plate with a crumble or two of low-fat feta on top. But, I couldn’t resist changing that around a bit. I chargrilled each circle of the vegetables and stacked it all in a baking dish, starting with aubergine, then sweet potato, courgette and finally the red peppers with the thinly sliced halloumi in between the pepper halves. (Halloumi has twice the calories as Quorn so half the quantity was used, hence “thinly sliced”). The tomato sauce was poured over it and it was baked for a good 15-20 minutes (wasn’t paying attention). The feta (again half the quantity because I couldn’t find a low-fat version) was sprinkled over the top for the last five minutes of cooking.

I enjoyed eating every mouthful of that meal. Nearly licked the plate!

A feast for the eyes – Corrado’s beautiful fruit salad, artfully arranged but less artfully polished off by the three of us (Sam doesn’t do fruit).

And the best bit? Corrado’s wee happy face as he proudly made a beautiful fruit salad for dessert. Such a variety in that bowl – he takes after me and enjoys a variety of colour on a plate. I feel healthier already 😀

Weigh in tomorrow. Groan What will be revealed? My lack of exercise over the last few days is bound to have made an impact but I have been very loyal to my daily calorie count. One day I went 43 calories over, but that shouldn’t matter, should it?

I’ll know tomorrow …