Healthy March Challenge – Becoming Lighter Series

5 Fruit and Veg daily
No processed food
No or Little alcohol
Exercise min. half hour (pref hour)

#HealthyMarch

#BecomingLighter

The aim is to become fitter, leaner and healthier this month by following the above challenge.  Are you in?

Breakfast and lunches can incorporate plenty of fruit with some green veggies such as spinach (breakfast) and lettuce (salad lunch).  Suggest eggs for breakfast because they are filling and salads with protein (fish, chicken or eggs) plus a potato or couscous. A healthy evening meal such as a meat or fish stew is always tasty and can be eaten for the following two or three days, if necessary.

It is a good idea to keep an eye on sugar intake because it is hidden in tomato sauces, fizzy drinks and processed foods.  So obviously it is better to not have processed foods and enjoy cooking your own food.

The odd glass of wine is OK, but not too many.  I find this tricky as it interferes with a social life. However, we must give it a try. Oh, and don’t forget to drink about 6 glasses of water every day.

Oddly enough, for me, exercise is the easier part.  Suggestions for this includes gym, running, walking (city and country), swimming or whatever you enjoy most.

I will update progress and any comments below (with your blog links) are welcomed.

Cheers,

Andy Frances xx

design

Dinner and #BoardCooking

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Sunday, 8 Jan – Well, after a socialable day yesterday, woke up feeling a bit flat today. Luckily, the family felt the same and suggested we go out for a posh sandwich and a wander around the old part of town nearby.

Must say after the usual problems of parking (now can’t park on the single yellow line), we rebelliously parked out of town and walked in thus saving paying to park on a Sunday. Not surprised people shop online. Not for me though.

Anyway, it was great to get out and about and chat with family and wander around the shops. Popped into a new pub/restaurant and had a quick drink too. Surprisingly, we’ve had a few new establishments arrive locally, which, as so many pubs are closing down, is encouraging.

This evening I decided to finish up yesterday’s leftovers. Bought some seabass so chopped up courgettes, mushrooms, onions and garlic. Also, added herbs, paprika, cream cheese and wine. Cooked the fish and removed the skin, then cooked the veggie mix, added cheese and wine and after a few minutes threw in the spaghetti.

Have to say, although it looks a mess, it was delicious and I’ve managed to get rid of a few leftovers. Called it board cooking because all the ingredients are prepared on a board and then tossed in a pan. Easy, quick and yummy.

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Cooking with love….


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Today we invited family over. Family we haven’t seen for a while. This is a great excuse to do some cooking and so I decided to cook a lamb roast with apple pie for pudding. Also, some carrot cakes for tea.

So, we could have eaten out, but I like cooking and spent an hour the day before making my fairy cakes and apple pie.  Once you get going, it is fun. This is a great excuse to do some cooking and it won’t take long.  Put some fun tunes on, get all the ingredients out, pour a glass of something and off you go.

For the apple pie… Pastry – 1oz lard / 1oz butter and 40z plain flour plus a little milk – Filling – Cooking apples and sugar (and splash of milk to put on pastry and a little more sugar)

Lard, butter and plain flour, rub it until it’s like breadcrumbs, then add a little milk and roll until a ball, then throw some flour down and roll into a circle. Meanwhile, peel apples, slice into a bowl, sugar in top and shove into the microwave for about 6 mins.  Well, this isn’t healthy, but you are entertaining. When the apples are soft take out and cool.  Later put the pastry on, smooth a dab of milk and oh dear, more sugar.  Well, it is calorific but oh well.  I cooked the apple pie the next day, before popping the roast in.

The cakes are just a fairy cake/cup cake mix, but with brown sugar plus a carrot, grated, chopped walnuts and a dash of cinnamon.

The roast went in at 11am with a mixture of cream cheese, butter and fresh rosemary on the leg of lamb. Some wine was poured into the tin and covered with foil. The lamb cooked in the wine steam and produced some glorious gravy.

Peel some small potatoes and parsnips and put the potatoes in at midday.  They were dabbed with a little butter and rosemary. Parsnips were added about 12.30. The broccoli and carrots were boiled at 1pm and our guests arrived.

The gravy was decanted from the meat. Everything was put in dishes for and taken to the table. The meal was enjoyed with some wine. Really liked cooking, eating and catching up on the family news.

Don’t forget to lay the table so it looks super. Plates, vegetable bowls and when you have the evening tea, use teapots, cups and saucers.  Cook and present the food and drink, with love.  It is fun and your guests will appreciate the effort.

The afternoon was spent wandering around our local, beautiful park.  A great way to get some fresh air and exercise and work off some of the large dinner.  Followed by more cups of tea, salad and quiche and more family arriving. They seem to devour the cakes too! When our visitors left, we had a small glass of wine, but soon flopped into bed. Phew.

A great day and I have forgotten how much I love entertaining.  Oh and I didn’t put any weight on.  Fabulous.  Hope you are inspired to cook with love…

Tip alert..

– Use fresh ingredients

– Cook from scratch and with love

– Prepare a pudding and cakes the day before

– Prepare ingredients before you start

– Put on some jazzy, lively tunes

– Use your best crockery and accessories  (veg bowls, tea pots, table cloths)

– Enjoy the day and delegate (have a tea/coffee making monitor)

 

Thank you for reading and please, please don’t forget to follow

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Cambridge (Part 1)

A weekend, a break away.  Yes, another one. Hubby decided he needed his ancient hifi amp fixed so we ventured forth to Cambridge.  This apparently, is the only place where the experts can fix it…

Being the efficient person I am (ha ha), I booked a studio apartment. We arrived after many hours of moaning about the traffic and phoned the man to let us in said apartment. After much shouting over balconies, we were finally ushered in by a young polish chap who picked hubby’s bag up and left me to trail behind lugging my bag.

The studio apartment was stunning.  Thank goodness. It had everything. Beautiful bed, fully equipped kitchen, a comfortable seating area with the obligatory flat screen which I knew would not be used and green exotic plants so we could pretend we were not in Cambridge, but in some exotic land.

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After unpacking I suggested we go out and get some food because I like cooking and we have a fully equipped kitchen.  Oh yes!

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Off we toddled towards a shopping mall when husband realised he’d forgotten The Map. Back he scampered and then everything was fine.  We had the map and could locate Waitrose, the posh supermarket, and bought steaks for our heart attacks.

Returned home and set about cooking the steaks.  Made homemade chips, chopped tomatoes and mushrooms and grilled the steaks.  My husband asked if I had put on the fan.  I hadn’t bothered because I was trying to cope with the unfamiliar cooker and the fact that it wasn’t, em.. fully equipped.  There was one huge sharp knife and no potato peeler or small knives.  I just chopped up the potatoes, slung some butter and ground pepper on and shoved them in the oven.

The the smoke alarm went off.  Really piercing noise!!  As I opened the front door to let clean air in, a frantic man, with long grey hair, asked me if everything was ok and was I burning the dinner?  Me?  Burn food?  I don’t think so.  I told him through the noise, that I was just cooking my dinner and everything WILL BE FINE.  Eventually, I stopped the alarm by waving the bathroom towel under it.

The dinner was lovely and now you have a top tip on how to stop over zealous smoke alarms!  Needless to say, we frequented the local pub that evening, supped some beer, and laughed about the experience.  My husband cooked the breakfast in the morning and guess what?  Yes, it happened again!

Cheers!  Thank you for reading my blog.

Food for thought…

 

I am not a nutritionist, but like researching new diets and understanding how people eat. The problem is that we, as a modern community, like fatty food and sugar. But, our bodies do not. With copious amounts of healthy food (veggies/fruit) and exercise, it is fabulous to feel invigorated and happy.

However, it is very difficult to do this isn’t it? The answer is to almost cut out sugar and bad carbs such as white bread, red meat, chocolate (although partial to some dark chocolate) for most of the time.

What seems to work is to eat when hungry.  Devour lots of fresh vegetables, pulses, fish and chicken and the odd fillet steak and pint of beer for a treat.  Stop eating when nearly full and only eat when hungry.  Tricky with a family, but focus on the outcome and try the best you can.

Some people think eating a healthy diet is synonymous with being boring.  This is ostensibly a blocking method and not facing reality.  The food you eat does not have to be tasteless, in fact, far from it.  What can be tasteless is the same tedious meat and chips dinner, week after week.  Look on YouTube for inspiration and cook away.

This week’s lunches are pasta with chicken, vegetables or a boiled egg.  All packed up again.  This really stops the hunger and helps with the afternoon munches.  My other piece of wisdom is this.  Don’t follow recipes just go with the flow.  Do some research for creativity and vision, then go for it!

Chicken/Egg Pasta Lunch

Pasta, olive oil, ground pepper, herbs, lemon juice with veggies (onions, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, pepper)

 

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