Fast Day 64: much easier than Friday!

Tues 11 Feb 2014

Break – 6.15am – total 44c

  • 50g banana (about half a banana) = 44c

Lunch – 12.50pm- lentil patties – total 184c

  • 300g red lentils = 888c
  • 120g carrot = 38c
  • 100g Woolies Homebrand sweetcorn (from can) = 80c
  • 56g celery = 8c
  • 3g garlic = 4c
  • 53g onion = 15c
  • 14g pork fat (calories from butter) = 103c
  • 20ml balsamic vinegar = 17c
  • teaS dried rosemary = 0
  • 50g rice flour = 176c
  • 20ml canola oil = 162c
  • 1 egg = 69c
  • 41g Woolies Homebrand Light Tasty cheddar, grated = 138c
  • 33g Geoff Jones Marinated feta = 172c

1870 / 23 patties = 81c each.

  • 2 x lentil patties = 162c
  • 1 carrot – 71g = 22c

Dinner – creamy pasta – total 271c

  • 80g can sweetcorn = 64c
  • can HB kidney beans = 266c
  • 39g celery = 5c
  • 156g zucchini = 24c
  • 145g carrot = 46c
  • 208g broccoli = 70c
  • 44g spring onion = 14c
  • 3g red chilli = 1c
  • 3 clove garlic – 20g = 29c
  • 250g Le Matassine egg pasta = 937c
  • 2/3 cup – 180g ‘cream of’ soup mix = 585c
  • 239g chicken breast = 262c
  • 20ml canola oil = 162c
  • 100 ml white wine = 83c
  • 25g Woolies Select Wholegrain mustard = 36c
  • tableS cornflour- 12g = 42c
  • 3/4 cup grated Light Tasty cheddar cheese – 40g = 134c

2760 / 12 portions = 230c

  • 60g grapes = 41c

Fast Day 64 total = 449c

And the recipe for the ‘cream of’ soup mix is as follows:

  • 4 cups non-fat powdered milk = 460g = 1656c
  • 1.5 cups cornflour = 200g = 712c
  • 1/2 cup veggie stock = 100g = 254c
  • 4 tableS dried onion flakes = 40g = 0
  • 2 teaS dried thyme = 2g = 0c
  • 2 teaS dried basil = 2g = 0c
  • 1 teaS pepper = 2g = 0c

806g = 2622c

1g = 3.25c

Use 1/3 cup (90g = 292c) to 1.25 cups water.

2/3 cup = 180g = 585c.

When a recipe calls for a cream of soup can, or evaporated milk, you can substitute this mix instead.  Typically I use 2/3 cup powder (and the 2.5 cup water) to replace a can, as 1/3 cup doesn’t ever seem like enough liquid- the cornflour thickens it up a lot.  You could just add more water instead of you’d prefer that to using 2/3 cup powder!  This is very handy to have in the cupboard as the base for a sauce if you don’t seem to have much else- make it Thai or creamy Indian by adding curry paste, add peanut butter with a bit of sweet chilli too, to make it satay (did that the other week- yum!!)- it’s versatile!  Ha, or even have it as a plain old cup-a-soup minus all the nasties! 🙂

This Fast Day was alright, wasn’t very hungry, think cos I probably ate too much at the weekend.  Went swimming, but didn’t get a lot of swimming done as kids were playing in the swimming lanes which was really annoying!

Have to cook some food for tomorrow in a minute- that might be hard cos it’s gonna be cajun chicken n okra and it’s gonna be tasty- will be hard not to eat any want to eat some now!!  It was meant to go in some paella, the chicken, but the creamy pasta made more dinners worth than I was expecting, and it wouldn’t keep long enough to go in the paella, so tomorrow for lunch it is- don’t usually have meat for lunch, almost seems extravagant! 😛

Fast Day 63: Not gonna lie!

Fri 7 Feb 2014

Break – 6.15am – total 84c

  • Tamar Valley Greek yogurt pot – Mango = 84c

Lunch – 1pm – total 248c

  • Woolies fresh veg soup 300g pot- Beef and vegetable = 156c
  • 10g Geoff Jones marinated feta = 52c
  • 70g cucumber = 10c
  • 100g watermelon = 30c

Dinner – 7pm – total 168c

  • Can diet coke = 2c
  • Leftover portion of my beany pearl barley broth soup = 166c

Fast Day 63 Total = 500c

I’m not gonna lie, today was HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, more specifically, the evening was hard!  Work had been stressful, but was fine, was busy, didn’t really get much chance to think about food, but the evening?  The boyfriend was busy with work and skyping his boss who’s in the UK at the minute, and I was a bit bored, and wanted some wine and some chocolate or toast or icecream or something to cheer me up a a bit!  Dinner was hugely filling, really hearty, but I had some serious cravings to contend with all evening, was evil, almost just went to bed early to try and stop myself eating anything.  Bit my lip to death instead- obviously I needed to chew on something….. it’s sore now! 😦

Bit of a soup-a-licious day today.  Was out Thurs night seeing a friend so by the time I got in I couldn’t be bothered to figure it all out or put any effort into making anything, so I grabbed 2 soups I had in the freezer which was handy- one home made and one shop bought.  Both tasty, esp cos the lunchtime one has some meat in which kept me full for the afternoon.  The diet coke tided me over till dinner…. barely, almost succumbed to the lure of treats, but I knew how p*ssed off with myself I’d have been if I wrecked this fast day!  Proud of myself for sticking with it today!

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! 🙂

Watermelon Rind Jam

Watermelon Rind Jam

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Pretty huh?  That’s the watermelon rind all cut up into small bit, ready to be made into jam!  The recipe I followed said to keep a little bit of pink on- fine by me cos that made it easier to chop up, and am sure will add to the tastiness of the jam!

Ok, here’s my version of the recipe:

  • rind from 1/4 watermelon – roughly 3 cups = 391g
  • 375g sugar
  • half teaS allspice- optional
  • teaS orange zest- optional.
  1. Chop up rind small, leaving a bit of the pink.  All green bits go in the bin still am afraid!
  2. Put in saucepan, cover with the sugar, and leave overnight covered in clingfilm- this brings all the juices out, so in the morning you’ll have sugary goop.
  3. Bring to boil, add orange zest (or some lemon slices as the original recipe suggested) if using, and some allspice (if using)- simmer/boil for about 1 hours, till reduced and jam like- a splodge on a cold plate should be set and stay as a blob rather than collapses.
  4. Enjoy however you like to eat your jam!

Post Jam-Making – Wed morning

Ok, well, kind of successful and kind of not.  Basically I overcooked it and it ended up being a rock solid crystally mess.  I tried the blob on a cold plate thing, but it still seemed runny so I kept cooking it.  What I now know is that some of it is always going to spread a bit on the plate, but if there’s some wrinkly tension to it still then you’re done.  Jam making is tricky man!!  I saved it a bit by putting the jars in a hot water bath and pouring some boiled water from the kettle into the jam and mashing it all up- this morning it was spreadable so I had a bit on toast, although the rinds themselves were more like crystalised candy….  Oh well, at least its edible, and does taste quite nice, despite being a bit crunchy still!

Next time I shall cook for MUCH LESS TIME, and I think I will chop up my watermelon even smaller, probably food process it, cos the rind holds its shape, so can fall off your toast as they’re big pieces even when cut small.

Fast Day 62: not too shabby!

Tues 4 Feb 2014

 
Break- 6.15am – total 225c
  • 20g oat bran = 74c
  • 200ml skim = 70c
  • 2 dried apricots – 19g = 59c
  • 5g chia seeds = 22c
 
Lunch – 12.45pm – total 109c
  • Tamar Valley greek yog pot – Raspberry = 82c
  • 90g watermelon = 27c
Dinner – beany broth – total 166c
  • 1 cup bean broth (used calories from beef broth) = 17c
  • 10g pork fat I’d saved (used butter calories) = 73c
  • 100g cooked black beans = 132c
  • 100g pearl barley = 127c
  • 100g frozen sweetcorn kernals = 78c
  • 5g garlic = 7c
  • 2g chilli = 1c
  • 121g celery = 1c
  • 100g frozen veg mix = 46c
  • 2 cups water, 2 bay leaves, teaS rosemary, teaS mexican spice = 0
499 / 4 portions = 166c
Fast Day 62 total:  500c
Slightly odd lunch, but who says you gotta have sandwiches or play by the rules?  Food is food, and yogurt and fruit has lots of good nutrients so I don’t mind that my lunch was kinda weird today.  Savoury is prob best, but it filled me up so doesn’t matter too much!
Now, my beany broth soup I am especially proud of!  The only fresh veg we had was celery, 1/2 a red chilli, 1.5 lebanese cucumbers, an aubergine and some cherry tomatoes.  Well the cherry toms n cucumbers are for snacks, and I wasn’t sure what to do with the aubergine (or quite what possessed me to buy it Friday at the supermarket….) so I was basically working with celery here! Also in the fridge was 2 portions of black beans that I’d soaked/boiled up on Friday (1 portion went in the freezer for another day), and just under a cup of my beany stock too, so I decided to make a soup with them as they needed using up too!  Raided round the freezer for some frozen veg, and in the cupboard had some barley, so I made a very filling and nutritious soup with what originally seemed like nothing-  the portion sizes are quite large too!  Fried the chilli n garlic n veg for about 10 mins, added the spice/herbs and stirfried for a couple of mins more, then added my stock, extra water, beans n pearl barley and simmered away for about 30 mins- easy peasy. 🙂
After making this yesterday I decided to go through my recipe books to find something nice to use my aubergine in, as it’s not something we usually buy!  I think I originally bought it because I have a jar of tahini that I have no idea what to do with, and I do like baba ganoush…. so with some of the aubergine I might make a little pot of tasty dip.  But for most of it I am thinking a tomato-y ratatouille type bake with cheesy crispy breadcrumb topping.  Whilst scavenging for the soup I noticed a bag of bread crumbs I’d whizzed up n frozen and since we don’t really eat schnitzel type stuff didn’t know when on earth it was gonna get used- is just sitting there in the freezer hogging up space- so this is perfect!  One of the ratatouille type bake recipes I found had butterbeans in.  Which I don’t have.  But I DO have 2 cans of chickpeas.  For this dish I will have to purchase 2 items – 1 x red pepper and 1 x onion – which I think is not too shabby considering it’ll feed us for at least 2 nights worth of dinners and will use up loads of other foodstuffs in the kitchen!
AFTER THIS I chopped up watermelon for my snacks/lunch, and then chopped up the rind to start my watermelon rind jam.  After chopping up small you cover it with sugar and leaving it overnight in the fridge to go all goopy, and when I checked it this morning it had indeed gone goopy n liquidy.  Just finished dinner now, so let the jam-making begin!  I’ll let you know how it goes- the boyf will have to be the taste test guinea pig, which am sure he won’t mind! 😛

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!

Fast Day 61: almost caved again!

Thurs 30 Jan 2014

Break- 6.15am – total 152c

  • 16g blueberries = 9c
  • 100g Chobani 2% fat Greek yog = 69c
  • 20g oat bran = 74c

Lunch – 1.45pm – brushetta/salsa on ryvita – total 127c

  • 1 x ryvita = 40c
  • 4g spring onion = 1c
  • 89g cherry toms = 16c
  • 2g red chilli = 1c
  • 20g Red Rock Deli roasted red capsicum pecorino, cashew and basil dip = 69c

Dinner – 8.15pm – soup n cracker – total 218c

Pea n Pesto Soup

  • 375g frozen peas = 352c
  • 29g spring onion = 9c
  • 60g Leggo basil pesto = 147c
  • 1/2 teaS lime juice = 1c
  • 1/2 teaS salt =0
  • 750ml water = 0
  • 5g garlic = 7c
  • 92g celery = 13c

529 / 3 portions = 176

  • 1 x ryvita = 40c
  • can diet coke = 2c

Fast Day 61 Total = 497c

After yesterdays defeat I was determined to finish this fast day, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t feel hard!  When I got in I had to make (pastryless) quiche/frittatta type thing, and had some leftover dumpling wrappers, so I stirfried n whizzed up some veg and popped them in the oven after the quiche came out…. ah man the smell of the quiche…. so hard to resist!!  Green soup isn’t nearly so appealing as that, but I resisted, and the soup was actually quite tasty.

Feel better now I’ve had dinner too.  I prob left dinner a bit late cos I was looking at the other food I’d made and it was looking soooooooo tempting, but now I’ve eaten it’s all good.  The diet coke helped for when I got in from work- that’s one of my danger areas, and I knew something sweet would help tide me over and see me through the danger-zone!  It’s not ideal to be drinking fizzy drinks and all, but sometimes they can be useful!