Friday, 18 March 2011

Diet food... a journey!

So February finally saw me convincing Ian to help me lose weight for the wedding.  He's always semi-supportive, but loves to cook unhealthy things and I love to eat them - so hammering home how unhappy I was with myself wasn't fun, but we've been looking for healthier things since, and it's been an interesting journey.  We've had some good meals, and we've had some bad - but we've generally stuck with it.  So far, I'm 10lbs down.  I'm really pleased with the turn around, and I'm going to let you see some of the things we've tried - and I'm also happy to take any suggested recipes for us to try.  

We started off just by trying to modify some of our existing meals. First we tried putting grated carrot into our meatballs - it lacked flavour and was a bit mushy, I ate it, Ian got takeaway.  We swapped the cheese in  our   fajitas for guacamole, but the avocados wouldn't ripen - it was still good, but there wasn't very much of it.  Also, Ian doesn't understand the concept of guacamole being cooling, and added lots of chilli to it!

We then decided that we'd spend some time on Sundays going through my food magazines looking for healthy recipes so that we could learn to enjoy some new things instead of stressing over changing our existing meals.

Here's the photographic evidence from week one!

This was a smoked paprika mackerel - it was quite tasty, but I wasn't so keen on the smokiness.  The saute potatoes were nice though, and added more flavour to the meal (I usually just have my new potatoes boiled - slightly healthier than Ian's version, but pretty boring).  We bought the fish whole so Ian got to learn how to gut a fish and I got to take photos of the heads to scare my friend with!

This lasagne was made using ricotta instead of cheese sauce and mushrooms in place of meat.  It wasn't bad but the ricotta didn't melt very nicely and so it was all gloopy.  Probably wouldn't have this one again.

We used a tikka masalla curry paste to make this prawn, pea and tomato curry.  The best bits were the chunks of tomatoes but there weren't many of those cos they all disintegrated.  I think I'd prefer this more if we used chicken (mainly because I think the prawn flavour isn't strong enough to come through once you add the curry paste).


Ian made this chicken and mushroom stir fry.  It was pretty good, but I was having a nice nap and Ian woke me up when this was ready so I wasn't really awake and the mangetout was quite squeaky and hurt my head!

 This was indian spiced potatoes, but we left out the ginger and onion, and it was super garlicky.  I think it would have been better in a smaller portion with something else as opposed to an entire plateful of just this.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Owl old are you?

It was my birthday in January, and I finally decided to make the owl cupcakes that I'd been planning for a long long time.  I saw them here and because of my love of owls, I couldn't resist.  Unfortunately, the oreos were a disaster to work with - I had to try and get them in half cleanly to use for the eyes.  It was 8am in the morning, and I'd had enough - I didn't want to be fussing over these on my birthday.  

So... I made one, that looked like an owl, and I ditched the decoration on the others. I think American oreos are better made than English ones.  Either that or whoever made these cupcakes had far more patience than I did!

The best part of the day was that I got to use my cupcake stand - and it really made the whole thing feel that much more special!

I also hosted a nacho party - because I love nachos, and I love spending time with friends.  Last year, my birthday seemed to go by without any sort of celebration so my main aim for this year was to make sure I had some photos.  So, here is one - showing off my fabulous lazy susan that I've had for about 3 years and never used!

Monday, 14 March 2011

I'm back!

I've been quiet for a little while, no good reason really, I can only apologise and hope that you all haven't lost interest.

The longer you stay away from a blog, the harder it is to come back - you start feeling overwhelmed by all the things you've been doing that you want to blog about, and it's easier to go and do new things instead, but then you're just adding to the blog backlog and then there's guilt.  

Making the first post after a while is really hard - what do you write about to welcome back your blog - do you try and put all the things you've done in chronological order so it makes sense? Or do you pick your best topic and blog about that?

I'm going for both!

Back in January, our friend PG turned 30 and we used this as an excuse to do some extreme cake construction. We'd been looking for more things to do as a group at weekends, so making a bridge out of cake seemed like a good opportunity. 

We even drew out a plan for it, that's how geeky we are.   
Don't worry - the avocado was for something else!
Ian and I went shopping for supplies with my mum on the Saturday, I got up nice and early to bake the cakes and then we all got together in my dining room/kitchen to construct the bridge. 

We thought it best not to attempt to make a specific bridge, pulling it off well would be too difficult. We instead went for a 'cake bridge', where all bits were either cake or sweets. We had Swiss rolls for the uprights, strawberry pencils for the supports, cupcakes for the tops of the towers, melted chocolate for the road, with mini marshmallow white lines. The main part of the cake was to sit on a board, that was then supported above a larger board using cadburys mini rolls. 

We added extra little details -  a green bus and some cars to the road, lollipop street lights, and even little haribo people and a monkey that we pretended was king kong at the top of a cupcake tower. 

The bridge was a bit wobbly, but it looked pretty epic, and our friend was speechless when he saw it, I think it was kind of a crazy thing to find waiting for you at a tea break at work!