Fast Day 66: food = small but tasty!

Tues 18 Feb 2014
 
Break – 6.15am – total 118c
  • Tamar Valley Greek yog – passionfruit = 84c
  • 50g red grapes = 34c
Lunch – beany salsa soup – total 204
  • 63g Woolworths Select Salsa – medium spice = 29c
  • 95g cooked black beans = 125c
  • 18g spring onion = 5c
  • 5g chilli = 2c
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock (had to look up average cals of homemade stock) = 86c
  • 7g frozen corn = 5c
  • 7g garlic = 10c
  • 5g pork fat (used butter cals) = 35c
297 / 2 portions = 148c
  • 1 x ryvita = 40c
  • 85g cherry toms = 16c

EXERCISE:  1 hr 25 min walk

Dinner – risotto – total 170c
  • 15ml tableS canola = 122c
  • 1.5 cups (265g) arborio rice = 1113c
  • 192g lemon chicken sausages (had to look up chicken sausage ave cals) = 330c
  • 2 cups chicken stock with 1.5L water = 172c
  • 189g broccoli = 64c
  • 65g zucchini = 10c
  • 144g red pepper = 44c
  • 186g carrot = 59c
  • 27g spring onion = 8c
  • 5g red chilli = 2c
  • 17g garlic = 25c
  • 33g South Cape  Camembert = 99c
2048 / 12 portions = 170c
  • Diet coke 250ml = 1c

Fast Day 66 total = 493c

 11am
Tasty foods today but smallish portions, so hopefully I’ll survive the day.  Lunch and dinner should be quite satisfying though as it’s not like it’s just lettuce leaves or anything like that, so should be alright- will just have to make sure to eat slowly and consciously enjoy each bite!
I made chicken stock on Sunday.  The boyfriend surprised me on Friday with an indoor picnic for Valentines Day and had bought us a few tasty treats including one of those roast chickens you can buy from the supermarket- super yummy, and I was quite pleased to have a night off from the cooking tbh!  Meal plan/not spending money be damned!! 😛  Anyways, so on Sunday I used the chicken carcass to make a stock.  I had my bag of veg scraps in the freezer designated for “stock” (containing carrot, onion, celery, some sage) so I added them to the mix with some bay leaves and a few peppercorns (5 to be precise)- very thrifty!  Simmered away for about 3 hours.  It wasn’t the whole “crystal clear amber liquid” they tell you is the holy grail of stock making- was a bit cloudy, but as it’s only stock to go in stuff I’m really not fussed about that.  It jellified overnight, which a good stock is supposed to do, so I count that as a success!  Haha, the first time I ever made stock this happened and I was like “wtf did I do wrong!?”  I might even have chucked out the jellified goodness not realising that was how it’s supposed to be.  Did not make that mistake this time!  Used my stock for the soup and for the risotto, which kinda used it all up- risotto uses a lotta stock- but that’s ok cos there’s not much room left in the freezer so prob wouldn’t have had anywhere to put it anyway!  We are working our way through freezer food to try and combat this problem…. though to be fair we don’t have a v big freezer so it fills up quick! 😦  Not that I need encouragement to put more stuff in our freezer, but if you have some bones but not enough to make stock with there n then, you can freeze the bones until you accumulate enough to use.  I only discovered this at the weekend when I did a bit of stock-making research- handy tip to know!
2.20pm
Lunch was delicious, and I was right- the filling satisfyingness of the soup more than made up for quantity.  Anyways, it had beans in so it was actually filling too!  I think the homemade stock made all the difference! 😛
Anyways, also on Sunday I managed to rescue 2 rather sorry looking banana’s and made banana bread with sultana’s and cashews- yum!  Note to self though- if it calls for yogurt and you’ve been told you can substitute buttermilk, but you’re out of actual milk, don’t then substitute it with powdered milk… is a step too far removed!  Very tasty still but it did give the outside a slightly rubbery texture!!! 😛
Sadly we did not eat all the polenta muffins in time-  its been v humid here this last week and when we went to have a few on Friday we discovered they were growing mould, so we had to chuck about 6 in the bin.  Very upsetting after all the effort I’ve been going through to improve thriftiness and money-saving! 😦  There was no room in the freezer, but they should have been put in the fridge at least- booooooooooooo- lesson learnt!
Evening
Usually try and swim Tuesday evenings, but me n my mate went for a walk in the National Park near my house instead and it was so nice, really enjoyed it, walking and chatting and watching out for water dragons!  Ended up walking for an hour n 25 mins, so that was pretty good- would definitely do this again! 🙂

Ratatouille Bake

Made my ratatouille bake Wednesday night, and it was sooooo tasty, will definitely be cooking it again for sure!  In addition it was thrifty because we only had to purchase 2 extra items to do it (onion, red pepper), and it’ll definitely last more than 2 nights worth of dinners cos it turned out to be massive and very filling!
Note- this version is not low fat, but it is healthy fats in that it’s olive and canola oil, so I am not stressing about the fat content as it’s a pretty healthy dish to make!
Ratatouille Bake
  • 1 x aubergine
  • 1 x red pepper, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 3 x carrots, chopped thinly/thinish
  • 2 x celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 x onion
  • red chilli – to your tastes
  • 2 x garlic cloves
  • 1 x can chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml red wine
  • 2 x can chickpeas
  • 50g lentils
  • 4 table spoons of olive/canola oil (I used up some canola leftover from a jar of marinated feta, so it added extra tastiness to the recipe!)
  • 2 teaS sweet paprika
  • 2 teaS hot paprika
  • teaS dried basil
  • 200g goats cheese – or however much you have- I had the remainder of a pot of marinated goats feta that needed using so I didn’t bother to weigh how much mine was am afraid.
  • Couple of teaS cornflour, if required.

Crumble

  • 300g breadcrumbs (wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much- I only used half in the end!)
  • 1 tableS pesto
  • 1 TableS olive/canola oil
  • 1 teaS dried parsley, basil, sage, rosemary (or whatever herbs you happen to have in your cupboard!)
  1. Cut aubergine up into roughly inch-thick slices, place in colander over a bowl and sprinkle each slice with salt, cover with a plate and leave for half hour (or an hour- I did half hour and this was fine) – this reduces bitterness and draws out water from them.
  2. When they’re done, pat off the water with kitchen roll, and chop into cubes.
  3. With 3 tableS oil in a big casserole pot, fry onion, garlic and chilli for 10 mins.
  4. Add the rest of the veg and stirfry for another 10 mins.  By this time it was sticking a little as aubergine sucks up oil, so here is where I added the 4th tableS of oil.
  5. Add 100ml red wine and simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Add chopped tom, chickpeas, paprika, lentils and a cup or 2 of boiled water from the kettle to make sure there’s enough liquid for the lentils.
  7. Simmer covered for 25 mins, then uncover and simmer for 5 mins or so to reduce water and thicken.
  8. Add cornflour if necessary.  I used 2 teaspoons (mix with cold water before adding so it doesn’t clump!) – pour in, stirring the whole time.
  9. Take off heat and pour into a large ovenproof dish.
  10. Stir in the goats cheese and basil.
  11. Make the crumble- this can be done whilst your aubergines are being salted if you’d prefer.
  12. Mix the breadcrumbs (mine were a combo of bread, oatmeal, crumbled up cornflakes and wheatabix) with the pesto, oil and herbs.  Season, then top your ratatouille with the breadcrumbs.
  13. Bake at 190C for 25-30 mins till breadcumbs are golden brown.
  14. Enjoy!
I’ve never been a huge fan of home-cooked aubergine to be honest but this dinner was absolutely delicious and I can say with 100% certainty that I will be cooking this dish again!  Whenever I’ve cooked aubergine before they’ve never tasted that great- probably because I’d never done the salting thing before now.  I really recommend that you do this and don’t skip it- it’s not much of a faff to do cos you just chop the rest of your veg whilst you wait for them to be done, and it definitely made the taste and texture of the aubergine much better, so if you’re not usually keen on them give em a go with this method and you may change your mind!
Annoyingly the recipe called for LOADS of breadcrumbs, way more than I ended up needing, so I’ve ended up with even more breadcrumbs in the freezer than I had before- I had been so pleased they were gonna be used up as well!!!  But it’s ok, cos I now have the right amount leftover for the next time I do this dish, and it’s all seasoned/pesto’d/oiled up too, so it’s literally ready to take out and sprinkle on next time I make this! 🙂

One seriously productive day! :-)

Today I have made a feast of food, but not like the pork belly feast I did the other week- this is more an economical feast as it was very thrifty and used up things I had in the cupboard!

First up, was what we’re having for dinner tonight, which is effectively pork, beans n rice, but that’s just literally what it is, and doesn’t in any way describe the tastiness or thriftiness of this big pot of goodness that I made!  The pork was scotch fillet (x 2) that I had in the freezer, and I roasted them in a foil pouch for 1 1/2 hours at 200c, then opened the pouch to brown them for 15 mins.  The meat was falling apart delicious all on it’s lonesome- could have gobbled it right there, and will definitely be doing this combo again!  I’d put them in the pouch with some olive oil, garlic cloves, seasoned with pepper, and my secret ingredient- pomegranate balsamic vinegar I had in the cupboard from when we went to the Hunter.  The sweetness of the fruity balsamic works really well with pork, so it gave it a lovely fruity taste and with the browning at the end a slight caramelisation.  So, whilst that was cooking in the oven, I made the bean part.  Well, the bean part began Friday morning when I put black beans in a big tub of water to soak.  Friday night when I got in from work I rinsed them in cold water, then in fresh water brought them to boil and simmered them away for about 3 hours till tender.  Apparently a small amount of bicarb helps make them tender, so I might try that next time to see if it’ll reduce cooking time.  Dried beans mean big savings so I am going to try and use them more and rely less on canned beans.  Oh, when I boiled my beans I put in a dollop of my pork belly fat I saved from last weekend- this is my secret ingredient for the beans, to give them a delicious seasoning.  Anyways, setting beans aside, I sweated chopped carrot, celery and onion (literally all that was in our fridge!!) in some olive oil for about 10 mins.  Then added some dried sage, chopped garlic (2 cloves), and 2 bay leaves and cooked for a further 2 minutes.  THEN, and this is my super thrifty tip- when I was looking up how to cook dried beans (yes I know, bit sad I actually had to look this up!), everyone said to keep your ‘bean broth’ that they were cooked in cos you’re throwing taste/nutrients down the drain otherwise, and to use them in place of stock- so I did just that- used my bean broth in place of 250ml stock, and then simmered the whole thing inc the beans (1 can of butterbeans from the cupboard and the equivalent weight of my black beans as the recipe I took this from said 2 x cans butterbeans) for 20 minutes till done.  Added in my shredded pork once it was finished in the oven, and some brown rice I’d done, and tadahhhhhhhhhh- a dinner that I am really quite proud of! 🙂  Even without the pork, rice and beans makes a complete protein, so if money is tight and/or you’re a vegetarian, this is a good thing to remember! 🙂

Next was soda bread!  Two loaves- one savoury with seeds and a dollop of basil pesto in, and the other was like a fruit loaf, I added some cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger and dried fruits (sultana’s, apricots, some mixed citrus peel leftover from Christmas cake).  These soda breads are to save us money on bread products, which the boyfriend eats a mountain of- is way cheaper to DIY, esp when you make soda bread compared to yeasty bread, as it saves you time t00- no kneading, no raising, no waiting required!  This picture below is my fruit loaf, which I can’t wait to have toasted with butter, or with some jam or marmalade for breakfast!  The recipe I base mine on is the River Cottage one- http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/classic-soda-bread/  For buttermilk, use regular milk and per cup (250ml) add 2 x teaspoons of vinegar, so to make this, 400ml, you use 4 teaspoons of vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes before use.  Oh, and I use half whole meal, half white.  Do this for all my cakes or anything that requires flour, to make them that bit better for you.  I reckon this would work ok with full wholemeal though too.

SAM_6794

By the time they were ready was lunchtime, so I had my lunch – homemade pastryless quiche frittata type thing (lunch leftovers- made Thurs night) with a couple of slices of my pesto soda bread, and watched an episode of the Walking Dead cos it’s awesome- oh man, 9th Feb cannot come soon enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then looked up thrifty tips on Simple Savings and other foodie websites.  Discovered you can make jam out of watermelon rind (minus the green bit, that still goes in the bin am afraid), which, since I have watermelon in the fridge that I bought Friday is excellent news- I am trying to cut back on food waste and making something (hopefully) yummy with it at the same time, so this sounds perfect.  So once I’ve eaten the melon I’ll let you know how the jam goes! 🙂

And THEN I made some citrus curd- was supposed to be just lemon and lime, but discovered an orange that looked a bit past its best for eating, but perfect for curd, hence citrus rather than just lemon n lime curd.  I also have some coconut sugar that came in a roll and I had to grate (tried processing it and broke my little food processor in the process….)- suffice to say, it’s still a bit chunky, so I can’t use it in cakes or anything like that, but anywhere that calls for melting sugar I can use it, so I used it for this curd.  It kinda looks like brown sugar, so it is gonna affect the taste, prob will taste more caramelly, but hopefully it won’t overpower the citrus too much.  Either way, am sure it’ll taste good, so it’s not a problem if one batch of curd is a bit different to normal- as long as it tastes good is the main thing.  Is still in the process of cooling so can’t assess the taste completely now, but I did have a little dip of a spoon and yeah, it’s pretty good!  Is also super easy, so here’s how to do it:

Citrus Curd

  • 3/4 cup citrus juice
  • 1 cup sugar- c. 180g
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 125g butter, cubed
  1. Put juice, sugar and eggs in a saucepan on low and stir for a good 10 mins or so till it’s thickened slightly and sugar all dissolved.
  2. Add butter, a couple of cubes at a time, stirring the whole time until curd has thickened.
  3. Your curd will still be liquidy, but it will set once cool and in the fridge.  It is also likely to have some small eggy bits that didn’t get blended in properly- this is not a problem.  Just pour your curd through a sieve or cheesecloth when you put it into your jars!
  4. Cool on the side, then put in the fridge, and you’re done!
  5. Eat once fully cold, on toast, on yogurt- as I discovered over Christmas, it’s especially delish on pancakes!

SAM_6796Mine looks darker in this instance because of the coconut sugar, but usually it’s a beautiful light lemon yellow colour!  PS.  This would be an awesome gift for someone, in a nice jar (label removed of course!!!), tied with a pretty ribbon, v thrifty, and also, one jar spare for you to enjoy too! 🙂  The one with the label on the jar was originally a jar of storebought passionfruit curd actually, and I reckon this recipe would work with passionfruit too (strain the pulp through a sieve to get just the juice), so that might be a good one to try when they’re in season!  It wouldn’t even have to be all passionfruit (cos you’d need to buy a lot of passionfruit for 3/4 a cup), just a couple n the rest lemon/lime would be good.

Oh, and for good measure I zested up all the lemons n limes using the small side of the grater and put it in a baggy in the fridge, so now I’ve got some to add to recipes whenever I want.  And I put my carrot tops and celery ends in a ziplock in the freezer too- once full I’m gonna make some stock from it.  Edible bits of veg scraps go in a separate freezer bag, which when full will be whizzed up and turned into soup- it’s almost like free food! 🙂

I know this post isn’t regarding 5:2, but it is about food, and reducing waste and getting creative with food, which is one of my aims this year.  I want to stop throwing money in the bin.  I want to eat good wholesome and healthy foods- stuff that I know exactly what’s in it, not full of additives or colours- homemade is where it’s at!

To meal plan or not to meal plan?

I am bored of veg sticks on my fast days.

 

Am also fed up with spending a fortune at the super market and then worrying that we won’t eat everything before it goes bad.  Money is not abundant at the minute and we need to really cut back on the grocery bills because we spend a ridiculous amount of money on food considering we’re a 2 person household that is minus kids and minus pets!!  That said, the boyfriend is a distance runner and does eat enough food for 2 people all by himself…  But the weird thing is, I don’t think we do go particularly crazy at the super market, we’re not buying tonnes of extra crap every week, we buy most stuff the supermarket’s own brand- food prices are just high at the minute and it’s killing us, I mean, $3 for a mango, $1.50+ for a red pepper, really Woolworths!?!

 

 

So I don’t know how to cut back on what we buy- no more yogurts, meat or cheese?  We barely buy meat, I buy much less yogurt than I used to because of 5:2, and no cheese just sounds rubbish!  I know I sound like a bit of a princess here, but how do you stop cutting back turning into “feeling deprived”?  Such a middle class problem- we could cut our weekly food bill in half and that would still be WAY more money than a lot of people have.  1.2 billion people have to live on less than $1.25 USD (c. $2 AUD) a day (http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview and https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/ for more info), and here I am wondering how the hell to cut down to spending only $100 a week?  Kinda gross isn’t it, and yes I am ashamed.

 

 

I am thinking I might have to start meal planning each week….. sigh.  Does anyone else do this, is it good, does it work?  I have a number of concerns about doing this.  Firstly, how much of my time will meal planning suck up?  Going through every cupboard, writing down everything you have, and then the recipe books trying to figure out what to make with it…. it sounds like a gargantuan task!!!

 

 

Second, do you food plan for all 3 meals, or just lunch n dinner, or just dinner?

 

 

Third, how does meal planning fit in when one person is fasting and the other is not?  Cos it can be a struggle sometimes anyway!  Would it require figuring out all my fast day cals too at the start of the week whilst planning, weighing all the produce and splitting it up per meal and adding this info to the meal plan too?  Or just assign a meal, and hope on the day/day before when calculating cals that it’s not gonna be a hundred thousand calories or something, AND that it’ll be enough to feed me and the boyfriend?  OR do I plan 2 different dinners, 1 for me, 1 for the boyf?

 

 

How do other people save money on groceries?  Cos meal planning sounds hard and I am resisting even though I know I probably should do it!  Maybe I am over-thinking the whole thing.  Like, how hard is it to go “Monday lentil bolognese, Tuesday Leftover lentil bolognese, Wednesday falafels and salad, Thursday leftover falafel and salad, Friday veggie curry, Saturday leftover veggie curry, Sunday egg n beans on toast” or something like that?  Not very hard.  Hmmm, tricky.

Don’t forget the electrolytes!

Hi y’all, just wanted to say- when it’s hot and you’re fasting, don’t forget to take some rehydration/electrolyte sachets, some coconut water or something like that!  Was a hot day and night, didn’t sleep well it was so sticky, and when I got up this morning I had a bit of a funny turn – felt sick, weak, shakey, cold sweats – I’d drunk tonnes of water and tea yesterday but cos of not eating much food I obviously hadn’t got the electrolytes I needed!  After rehydration sachet, some magnesium and my breakfast am fine again now, but just wanted to let you know about this- if you live in a hot climate, make sure you’re properly hydrated when fasting!!

Coconut milk porridge!

Ran out of milk this morning but I still wanted porridge, so I made it with 200ml light coconut milk instead.  Was a bit of an experiment but it turned out great- really creamy and delicious!  More fat and cals than skimmed milk of course, but think there’s some healthy goodness in coconut milk too, so if you’re in a pinch like I was I’d recommend using coconut milk!

I plan to be the tortoise, not the hare.

Break – 6.15am- porridge:  20g oatbran, 14g chia, 200ml skim, tableS peanut butter all swirled in.

AM Snack – 10.20am:  4 dates and a few macadamia & brazil nuts

Lunch:  ½ avo on 2 x ryvita, with chilli flakes and a dash of lime.  1 x carrot and big chunk of cucumber.

PM Snack:  1 x naval orange.

Cocktail Hour -6pm:  American Honey bourbon & diet coke -ahhhhhh I needed this!

Dinner:  Lentil veggie Mexican spicy gumbo thing with sausage that the boyfriend cooked – very tasty!  With a little bit of rice, bread n butter, and a bottle of rose shared between us.

 

The way I am trying to think about this whole weight-loss thing is that I’m in this for the long run, and as I don’t have loads of weight to lose, it’s probably better that it’s gradual, otherwise it’ll just pile straight back on again.  I have like, 6 months till Jan/my 30th Birthday, which is my big deadline for my weight-loss.  By my 30th Birthday I want to look and feel at my most fabulous, so I do have a little while to do this, slow n steady like.

I dunno, maybe I’m trying to make myself feel better about not losing any weight this last two weeks, or trying to make myself feel better about my lack of restraint on my Feast Days, I don’t know.  But you have to enjoy life too I think, life can’t all be salads and grilled chicken can it?  If you cut out everything that you love that’s too extreme and you will fail- at least I know I would!

I think slow and steady is the way to go with changes in diet, and I think healthier eating on my Feast Days will come, I just have to give it time and try not to beat myself up everytime I eat something “bad.”  Tis just a bit embarrassing though when you have to write up everything you ate and it turns out you ate an entire mountain of food!!! 😛