Friday, 30 September 2011

A More Structured Day

After posting about my snacky day on Wednesday, I thought I would show you that sometimes I do eat in a more structured way! These are my eats from yesterday - one of my better food days for a while (although I still ate too much and gained weight, but I'm ignoring that!!) Recently, even when I have stuck to regular meals, a lots of snacks have crept in - both during the day and then in the evening in a major way. Yesterday was better in this respect.

I started the day with porridge. For the last couple of mornings, I've been following Maria's lead and making my porridge the night before, ready to heat up in the morning. Whilst this doesn't save loads of time, it does take the decision making out of breakfast - my porridge is already made up so I end up eating it before the school run, rather than making excuses/running out of time and then getting super hungry later. Yesterday's porridge was made with oats, mashed banana, milk, peanut flour and freeze-dried strawberries, and then I topped it with agave nectar and Justin's chocolate peanut butter in the morning.

I'd actually planned to top the porridge with a Alpro pudding (aka Emma's favourite breakfast!) but between thinking of that late on Thursday night, and actually making the porridge Friday morning, I'd forgotten. My memory has been atrocious lately - I blame lack of sleep! This still tasted really good - banana + peanut butter + chocolate will always be a winner!

One of my friends came round with her daughter yesterday morning - for the children to play and us to catch up - so I had an unpictured cup of tea (sweetened with vanilla stevia drops) mid-morning. I then couldn't resist sleeping when Toby had his nap - I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open - so lunch ended up being a late one.

To stave off the hunger whilst lunch was cooking, I had a large iced coffee. I usually make my iced coffees using leftover coffee from my coffee machine, but as I hadn't made a pot yesterday, I quickly made up an "espresso shot" using a bit of hot water and a large tsp of instant coffee. Then poured a large glass of milk with lots of ice in it, and added the coffee and stevia. A quick version of how they make iced lattes in Costa! I enjoyed this in the sunshine in the garden - I'm absolutely loving the current weather, a nice treat before winter starts!

Lunch was well worth the wait. We'd had lentil daal for dinner on Wednesday, so I decided to use some of the leftovers to make a lunch inspired by my last trip to Herbies. I roasted a pepper and a couple of courgettes at 180C for about 20 minutes (although I actually only ended up using about 1 courgette for lunch)...

I couldn't decide which shape to cut the courgettes into!

I then made up a wrap with leftover (warmed) lentil daal and the roasted veggies...

I was going to make tahini carrot salad to go with it, but like I memory is rapidly disappearing! It was still delicious though, I love making a bit of extra effort with lunch, so worth it!

I then managed to resist snacking all afternoon - I was super hungry by the time dinner rolled round! Not necessarily a bad thing though - I'm getting a bit fed up of never really being hungry for my meals as I'm constantly grazing whenever I go into the kitchen. I kept dinner simple (and quick!) by cooking wholewheat spaghetti served with a sauce of simmered passata, garlic, frozen peas, leftover roasted courgette and basil tofu, with some pesto stirred in at the end. I also had a little grated cheddar on top. Blurry photo, but tasty dinner!

After dinner, I was still quite hungry. I waited until I'd put the children to bed, and when I was still hungry I decided to eat something else. I figured that was better than an evening full of snacking! I was going to have something like fruit with yoghurt, but in the end tiredness won out and I grabbed the nearest thing - Graze cinnamon apple flapjack...

This was lovely. I've had the honeycomb flapjack before and adored it, but I'm not sure that I'd had this flavour before. So soft - definitely much better than shop bought flapjacks!

So there we go - 3 meals + 1 snack + a couple of non-water drinks = a pretty good day in my book. It was a bit depressing when I plugged it into the calorie counting site I use and realised it was still more calories than I "should" be eating, but it was a lot less than I've eaten in a long time - my eating has been a bit out of control lately!

Do you find that sticking to the structure of 3 meals + a few snacks helps you to stay in control of your eating? Do you plan your meals in advance? I usually, at the very least, plan our dinners a week or two at a time - it helps to avoid that 5pm panic of "aaargh, I don't know what to cook and my mind has gone blank" moment - but my breakfasts and lunches are a bit more relaxed. It's easier to eat what I feel like eating for meals that I only have to cook for myself! I'm liking the idea of making my porridge the night before though - starting the day with a good breakfast does seem to help the day to go in the right direction.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Wedding Photos - Evening Reception

Happy Thursday! Not long until the weekend! :) I never used to count down until the weekends as Liam worked Sundays anyway. But now he is working Monday-Friday, and is out the house for so much longer, I definitely welcome Saturday and Sunday so that I get a couple of days when I'm not alone dealing with the children and the house!

Today I'm going to post the last set of wedding photos. I can't believe they're all done! We'll have been married for 3 months on Sunday, it seems to have gone so quickly. Here are the other wedding photo posts in case you've missed them:
And now this one. They're all linked under my Wedding Tab as well. I might keep adding to the tab if we go out for meals for anniversaries etc - I'm not quite ready to let all the wedding stuff go quite yet!!

After we'd had the drinks reception outside, everyone went inside and downstairs for the evening. We stayed outside with the photographer for a few minutes to take a few more photos and so we could have a "grand entrance" - I'm not quite sure if I like these photos or not!

Once we were inside, we sat at the top table with our parents, Izzy and Toby, Liam's brother/best man Sean, and my sister/bridesmaid Olivia.

My Dad did his speech first...

His speech was really nice (thankfully, I was a bit worried beforehand!) but he must've been saying something *interesting* to get some of these reactions, the photos made me laugh!

Haha, my Mum's reaction makes me laugh the most!! What was Dad saying?!

Next it was Liam's turn to do a speech. He hadn't been looking forward to this at all, and he did miss a few bits out, but it was still a good speech.

He told me how beautiful I looked which was the main thing not to miss out!! ;) He also did a few toasts...

I can't remember exactly who he made toasts to, but presumably the bridesmaids...

and the boys...

and hopefully everyone else who helped to make our day so wonderful!

The final speech was by Liam's brother and best man, Sean...

He told a few jokes, but nothing too embarrassing for Liam - I was hoping to learn some new stories!!

After the speeches were over, it was time to eat. I detailed the meal that we had in my Wedding Photos post about the food, so I'll skip over it now (*gasp*, I know!) and move on to the dancing. The first dance was the part of the day that I was least looking forward to. I'm not the greatest dancer at the best of times, let alone when everyone else is just standing around watching us. As I expected...awkward...

Luckily, after a minute or so my Mum sent Izzy on to the dance floor to help take some of the attention off us!

After our first dance, I danced with my Dad and Liam danced with his Mum (whilst everyone else was dancing as well thankfully!)...

and it seems that Izzy made the most of both her parents being busy to "dance" with one of her friends!

After the first few dances, the photographer suggested that we went outside for a few more photos - "mantelpiece shots" as he called them - as the light was better. I think I like this one - I'm always super critical of photos of myself!

Izzy also played outside for a bit - she was getting tired by this point!

At 9 o'clock we 'cut the cake' (although everyone actually ate cupcakes - the top cake is sitting in my Mum's freezer!)

and then there was a bit more dancing before we called it a night.

Izzy and Toby left a little bit before us (they were staying with my Mother-In-Law for the night) and Izzy got a bit upset about the thought of not seeing us for a week - she was so tired by this point and had worked herself up! Luckily we saw them again when we met up with some of the guests for lunch the next day, so we had a chance to say goodbye to Izzy properly in slightly calmer surroundings! And, of course, she had a fantastic week with all her Grandparents while we were on honeymoon.

So there we go, the last post about our wedding. I hope I haven't bored you all with this series! I've had such fun looking back at all the photos, it was such a great day. And as we still haven't found time to sort out our wedding album yet, hopefully these posts will give us a head-start on which photos are album-worthy - there are so many to choose from!!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

WIAW - A Super Snacky Day!

Morning everyone! (actually it might be afternoon by the time I finish writing this post, but it will be morning somewhere!) I hope you're all having great days - it's such gorgeous weather out there today! I plan to make the most of it some more once Toby has had his nap - he's worn himself out after toddler group this morning! Today is also, of course, What I Ate Wednesday - thanks as always to the lovely Jenn for organising everything!

I've been struggling to find time to post in the evenings recently, as with Liam's new job by the time he gets home, has dinner etc there isn't much time left to spend together as it is, without me blogging! So I'm trying to get back into the habit of writing posts when Toby has his morning nap instead, which means this WIAW post is based on Tuesday's food.
Yesterday ended up being such a snacky day! My Grandma was coming for coffee after the morning school run, so I didn't bother having breakfast so that I could have more of these delicious things...
Chocolate Covered Katie's Four-Minute Coconut Macaroons! These were a bit crumbly, but tasted delicious - I ended up eating 4 or 5 of these over the course of the morning. I also had one unpictured hot coffee, and two large iced coffees during the day, all sweetened with vanilla stevia. My Grandma likes me to make a pot of coffee when she comes round (indeed she even gave me money to buy a bag of ground coffee as coming here is a cheaper treat for her than going out for coffee!) but then she only drinks half a mug of coffee and I end up drinking the rest of the jug! I was feeling a bit jittery by the end of the day, oops!
Yesterday morning, a Graze box came through my door, which to be honest I'd forgotten I'd ordered! I used to get them ages ago, and they sent me an email offering me three boxes half price to get me to give them another try.
For lunch, Toby and I shared the cheddar and red onion focaccia...
and the fruity ploughman's bites...
Please excuse Toby's dirty fingernails - chocolate from the macaroons!
I also snacked on a few crispy bits that my Grandma brought round for us - she had them leftover from a bridge evening with her friends, so she'd just chucked them all together and gave them to us so they didn't go to waste.
I love the Japanese rice crackers and Toby liked the cheese sandwich biscuits.
I have a confession to make...yesterday morning I went to Lidl (mistake #1 - going to the supermarket with an empty stomach!) and I ended up buying these...
At first I looked at them and thought to myself "it's not even October yet!" but then I saw another woman pick some up, and next thing I knew I was buying them!! At least I only bought the things that I know I love from last year, but they're are also both things that Liam wont eat so, yeah, oops. I've managed to resist opening the gingerbread hearts yet, but I ate half the pack of mini stollen bites whilst preparing dinner!
Mmm, I love stollen. I used to buy a whole log of it, but as I'm the only one who eats it, it got a bit dry by the time I got to the end. These, however, seem to disappear much quicker! I might try to make my own this year - more marzipan would make them even better!
Dinner was the only actual 'proper' meal yesterday, but it was well worth the effort. I wanted to make sweet and sour tofu, and was going to make up a recipe for the sauce but decided to quickly check Mama Pea's blog first. Way back in December 2009 she posted the recipe, so I enjoyed reading the post too as I wasn't reading blogs back then. Here it is - Mama Pea's Sweet and Sour Tofu. I only used peppers and pineapple in the sauce, and then served it with egg fried rice with peas.
The photo doesn't do the meal justice as my kitchen was really dark, and I was really hungry. But it was delicious. Liam said it might even be better than a takeaway - praise indeed from him!! :)
That was the end of my eating yesterday - I felt pretty full after eating dinner, so didn't feel like snacking in the evening. Rare for me, but I'll take it, I think I did enough snacking yesterday anyway!

What was the best thing you've eaten recently? Do you make sure to eat 3 (or more?) proper meals each day or do you just go with it if you're feeling in a snacky mood? I do normally eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, but with Izzy being at school and Liam being out all day now, my meals have got a bit less structured. We still always eat a proper dinner though - sometimes the only chance we all get to sit down together so it's nice to have a quick catch-up!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Butternut Squash Enchiladas - Mini Dinner Party

On Saturday, it was carnival day! Liam and I met up with my Sister and my Grandpa to take the children to the fun fair. There were only a few rides that Izzy was old enough to go on, but she still had fun. First they went on a little train ride...

I'm glad I opted not to go on this as, as you can see in the first photo, the man running it had to pull the train back and then run forwards with it at least 5 times before it started properly! I don't know if that is the norm for that ride or it was having a bad day, but either way - bit worrying!

Izzy also went on a spinning tea cup ride with a couple of friends we bumped into, and my Grandpa bought her a huge candyfloss - lots of sugar!!

We then went home for me to start cooking - my Mum and her partner, Colin, came round on Saturday night for dinner and to watch the carnival. I fancied making butternut squash enchiladas so had a Google and ended up adapting Daily Garnish's Roasted Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas and Cordon Pink's Roasted Butternut Squash Enchiladas with Goats Cheese. My recipe is probably quite simplified, but it still tasted delicious - my Mum said quite wistfully afterwards that after my (*ahem* less adventurous) little sister leaves home, she'll be able to start cooking more vegetarian meals!

Butternut Squash Enchiladas with Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onions
(serves 4-5 people)

  • 1.5 butternut squashes, chopped into half inch cubes (I got Liam to slice the remaining half butternut squash, which kept in a sealed bag in the fridge for a couple of days, for me to roast as today's lunch)
  • oil - enough to roast the butternut squash, plus 1 tbsp for the onions
  • 3x 500g cartons of passata
  • half tsp chilli powder
  • half tsp garlic powder
  • 3 red onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • sprinkle of caster sugar
  • 180g log of goats cheese, chopped into cubes
  • 9 tortilla wraps
  • cheddar cheese, grated (I think we used 200g which seems loads, but there you go - I only weighed it afterwards so just judged how much cheese I needed by eye)
  1. Start by roasting the butternut squash at 200C for about 30 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. I used olive oil spray to cover the squash, and stirred and re-sprayed half way through the cooking time.
I didn't want the squash overlapping so I used the two dishes I was going to cook the enchilladas in as well as my roasting tin, then quickly washed them up in between cooking stages!
2. I kept the tomato sauce for my enchilladas very simple by just simmering the three cartons of passata with the chilli powder and garlic powder. You could increase the amount of spice if you want, but I liked the mild kick it had. I simmered the sauce for about 30 minutes - make sure to use a pan with a lid as the passata 'spits'.

3. To make the caramelised onions, melt 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook gently, stirring occasionally. These took about 15 minutes to caramelise. I added a sprinkle of sugar half way through, although I have seen some recipes saying to use salt instead.

All the fillings ready to assemble
4. To make the enchilladas, spread a layer of tomato sauce on the base of each baking dish. I used two dishes to hold 9 enchilladas, but you could of course reduce the recipe if cooking for less people. Fill one wrap at a time - a couple of spoons of butternut squash, some caramelised onion and 3 or 4 cubes of goats cheese.

5. Wrap the enchilladas up and place them in the baking dishes - I did this burrito style (folding the ends) as otherwise they were too long to fit in the dish.

6. Once you have made all the enchilladas, cover with the remaining sauce...

7. ...and then cover with grated cheese and bake in the oven at 175C for 30 minutes.

Unfortunately the photos of my plate don't look that attractive as by then our guests had arrived, so you'll have to trust me that they tasted much more delicious than these photos suggest! This was my plate on Saturday night...

and this was the leftover enchillada I ate on Sunday - *ahem* at 10.30am - like I say it was delicious!

The onions weren't originally blue - they went like that after being in the fridge overnight!
On Saturday, I served the enchilladas with a simple salad made of a bag of mix lettuce (lazy!), a chopped avocado and a chopped red pepper, plus a ginger and mandarin salad dressing which was fantastic...

After we'd all filled ourselves up on enchilladas, we had a little break before dessert. I made a chocolate orange cheesecake, which is a recipe I came across on Mumsnet - on the first page of this thread (yes, I'm kind of thinking about Christmas already!!) It was so simple to make, and as I made it on Friday to chill in the fridge overnight, it was one less thing to worry about whilst making the enchilladas.

I served it with some blueberries and oranges as I was worried it would be a bit too sweet for some of us...

Izzy was so happy to be allowed to stay up late to eat with us - she wouldn't normally but as we wanted her to watch the carnival she got to stay up late!

The cheesecake was really good, but I think next time I'd make it with dark chocolate orange/dark orange flavoured chocolate for a slightly more "grown-up" taste.

After we'd finished eating, we went outside to watch the carnival. Izzy had some money ready to give to the carnival collectors...

I'm sure the carnival seemed shorter this year than previous years, but maybe it's just me getting older!!

I wore my new coat - nice and cosy, but it makes me look huge! Ah well, I love it still!!

There were a lot less 'big' floats than previous years - lots of walking ones instead.

Despite what it looks like, Colin did enjoy the carnival too - this was the most "smiley" photo I managed to take!!

Towards the end of the carnival, Izzy got quite tired, but luckily we had a little chair she could sit on!

She really enjoyed the carnival - it's the first year she's properly been able to to follow it and get excited about it. She had naps both Saturday and Sunday afternoons to make up for staying up a little bit later on Saturday night, but she was still super tired (and grumpy!) this morning. A one off though, so hopefully worth it!

How have all your weekends been? Any ideas for other vegetarian enchillada fillings? I make sweet potato and mashed kidney bean burritos which are really good, so I could translate those into enchilladas I guess. I don't really like the texture of whole beans though. The filling of these enchilladas were great - the butternut squash worked so well with the goats cheese, indeed as it does in my butternut squash and goats cheese risotto - it seems I like that combo!
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