I love a good carbonara.

But since my weight-loss mission it’s been off the table. It’s not that I restrict foods, it’s just I want to find ways to make them healthier. I’ve been using courgette to create healthier recipes and it took a while to perfect but I think I got it spot on.

With all my recipes I try to then out multiple times. This took around three goes because courgettes let out a lot of water. Due to my idleness I try to cut out as many steps as possible and I didn’t want to have to drain the courgettes. So, this is the easiest way I’ve found to make this scrummy Cheats Courgetti Spaghetti Carbonara.

Cheats Courgetti Spaghetti Carbonara

Put in your trolley

Serves two hangry people

2 egg yolks

200g of chestnut mushrooms

1 clove of garlic (crushed.)

200g of bacon (I’m using Campbell’s from their breakfast box.)

400g of courgette (spiralized into strips)

25g of low fat cream cheese (to add creaminess.)

Step One

Cut up the mushrooms and bacon into similar sized pieces. Pop into a large frying pan and heat over a medium heat until golden.  Stir in the garlic and fry for another minute. Add courgettes and fry for 5 minutes until softened.

Step Two

In a cup whisk the egg yolks and add a little water. Season well now. Stir the mixture through the courgette  and cook for a minute. Just before it’s ready stir through the cream cheese for extra creaminess.

Step Three

Serve immediately. If you have you can sprinkle with parmesan and herbs for extra pzazz.

Numbers (if you’re bothered.)

This works out to about 350 calories if you add everything in (bar the parmesan.) It’s also really good if you’re trying to cut out refined carbs or attempting a low cal diet.

Recommended Reading

This is quite a light but filling dish and I think it deserves a book that’s the same. I think I’ll suggest The Post Office by Charles Bukowski. It’s the perfect mix of humour, self-hatred, and reckless living. The writing is deep and filling but Henry is a very shallow character. He barely gives a crap but lives life to the full. Perfect.

Cheats Courgetti Spaghetti Carbonara

Cheats Courgetti Spaghetti Carbonara

I’ve moved on from having 49568492044 risotto recipes and moved onto soup recipes. I love soup. It’s been one of the big things that’s helped me lose over 23lbs over the last year. Yes 23. Apparently that is equavilent to the amount of pizza an average American eats in a year.

Just to clarify

The amount of pizza an American eats in a year!

I’ve been relying on soup because it’s warm, homey and you can make 45639594 different variations. Today is a spicy cauliflower and carrot soup. Enjoy

Slow-cooked Cauliflower and Carrot Soup

Put in Your Trolley

650grms of cauliflower

500grms of carrots

500grms of potato (peeled and chopped.)

1L of stock (chicken or vegetable are best.)

800grms of tomatoes

200grms of onion

2tbsp of smoked paprika, hot chili pepper and curry powder

2 birds eye chili’s to your taste.

^ And that’s it!

Step One

Chop up everything. The potatoes, the cauliflower, the onion. Try and keep them as closely matched in size as possible. (Although it does get blended at the end.)

Step Two

Fry the onions and chili until they have browned a little. They add all the spices and fry for another minute. Add all the vegetables and coat with the spices. Then add to the slow cooker. Click on high.

Step Three

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Leave for as long as you can. You could do this in a big pan but I like how the house smells of the soup. (Lol.)

Step Four

Blend once fully cooked. Spoon into bowls and serve with tzatziki and white sour dough bread. Waitrose do the best one.

Numbers if you’re bothered

This made 3.4kg of soup and about 8 portions that work out at 200 calories a portion. Serve with a good hunk of bread and you’re sitting pretty at 400ish. Perfect.

Recommended Reading

I suggest reading WAVE AT HANGING ROCK by Gregg Dunnett. Can see my review here!

Slow-cooked Cauliflower and Carrot Soup

Slow-cooked Cauliflower and Carrot Soup

I’ve always been teased on my pronunciation of beetroot. I pronounce the T harsher than I should. Or miss it out completely. It’s a bit odd. But I love beetroot. I will never forget the look T gave me when I turned round, mouth dripping with red juice. Might have been eating the beetroot like an apple. Classy bird.

I bought a beetroot and mint dip from Co-op and couldn’t believe how delicious it was. Obviously, I then went and created my own. The recipe below makes four (or two greedy) portions. The flatbread I conjured up on a morning where I was working from home. I was proofreading a bit of content and decided I needed a pick-me-up.

Speedy Mint Sausage and Beetroot Flatbreads

Put in your trolley

250g vacuum-packed beetroot

½ tsp ground cumin

2 tsp chopped mint (plus a few leaves for sprinkling ie Insta.)

squeeze of lemon juice

3 tbsp half-fat crème fraiche

Flatbread Assembly

1 Flatbread (I bought these low-cal ones from Sainsbury’s.)

2 Sausages (of your choice. Could be veggie/gluten free etc.)

100g Mushrooms

An Egg (free range obvs.)

Low Cal Cooking Spray

 

Step 1

Pop the beetroot and the cumin in the food processor, season and blend. Tip into a bowl, add the mint and lemon juice. Carefully stir through the crème fraiche to get a raspberry ripple effect. (Perfect for that Instagram theme.- Sprinkle over the remaining mint leaves.

Step 2

Cook the sausages (in the oven) till almost done. Heat a small non-stick cooking pan and fry the mushrooms. Once almost done crack in the egg and fry. Keep the egg runny or slightly more done depending on your preference.

Step 3

Toast the flatbread in a toaster. Spread on the beetroot dip and cut the sausages in half. Layer with the mushrooms, top with the egg and season. C A R E F U L L Y slide the two halves together and demolish. I also added chilli sauce. It was incredible.

SSpeedy Mint Sausage and Beetroot Flatbreads

Numbers (if you’re bothered.)

This came to around 350 cals which is the perfect breakfast sandwich. It kept me full till way past lunch. Helpful as the day didn’t quite go to plan.

Book Recommendation

I recommend something light. The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide would work perfectly. You can see my review here. Enjoy!

(PS. I do apologise for the shoddy photography. It was messy. I tried really hard.)

Speedy Mint Sausage and Beetroot Flatbreads

^ Also look at the colour of that dip. Bloody fantastic.

I want to pretend that I’m writing this post whilst sipping on a delicious fruit smoothie made from ten different vegetables. I’m not – but I could make a chocolate style mousse/nice-cream in my new Nutri Bullet. Plus My Fitness Pal might not go OMG YOU”VE EATEN ALL THE CALORIES. Definitely planning a shop trip after this. Back to the post – I have been reaaaaly, realllly trying to lose weight recently. I’m only a tiny 5ft 3 and yet I could probably devour triple the calories I’m supposed to. To attempt to stop myself, Mumma B bought me a number of calorie counting books that might help me stop ordering a Dominoes as soon as ANYTHING goes wrong. Today I’m going to tell why I bloody love this one.

Blurb

QUICK AND EASY WITHOUT THE CALORIES takes all the hassle out of eating your favourite meals, the low-cal way. In this series, bestselling recipe writer Justine Pattison’s 1-2-3 approach provides an easy-to-follow plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and pudding!) To keep those calorie numbers low but still have you loving what you eat. Each recipe has a quadruple-tested calorie count, provides tips and ideas to enhance your low-cal cooking experience, plus additional nutritional information to suit any diet regime.

From quick pancakes, roasts and cheesecakes, her clever combinations will make losing weight as easy as 1-2-3!

My Review

So, why will this spend more time on your kitchen counter than on your bookshelf collecting dust. When I go on a diet immediately a number of dishes just go out the window. Sticky cheesy pasta bake, creamy rich curries and carby noodle dishes with lots of heavy sauces. But honestly with this book you can make these things without the naughtiness. The author finds incredibly simple ways of a making delicious things healthier. Like using desiccated coconut and slow cooking rather than using coconut milk is one example. Or using stock and cornflower rather than cream.

This is the first book in the series so it has lots of different dishes. Curries, pastas, soups, meat dishes, vegetarian dishes, side dishes and even puddings. I’ve made at least 15-20 recipes in the book (so far.) Favourites include the quick calzone, martini chicken and the mexican breakfast.  I love this book for cooking for dinners for guests or for larger dining parties. You can still have fun and eat hella loads without putting on a pound or ten.

The calories in each dish are really obviously documented. I am a fan of calorie counting and find it the easiest way to lose weight. I know some people are not. That’s fine – but it’s not hidden away at the bottom of the page. When I’m losing weight I tend to be a little strict with how I eat and how many calories breakfast/lunch/dinner I’m having. I then alternate my workouts to this and it really helps. I can’t lie – sometimes I look at recipe books and think god that’s a heavy calorie dish. Justine’s books find ways of cutting uneccesarry calories.  Mainly by packing in more veggies and using SIMPLE alternatives to keep the calories down. I mean her mac n cheese is under 400 calories a portion – perfect. She also has a list of essential extras to serve with the recipes (at the back of the book) and free vegetables helping to add bulk to your meal without the calories.

Final Thoughts

The book is a brilliant collection of recipes and tips  to make your favourite dishes healthier or if you want to make it a little more naughty but without breaking the diet bank so to speak. It also tells you how you can freeze the dishes or how long you can keep them for which is reaaaally helpful! If you’re want to lose a couple of pounds without losing your favourite foods this is the book for you.

Amazon – Author Website – Goodreads

Feel like a broken record at the moment for book reviews – it’s another cook book! This time with the impossibly popular Joe Wicks – LEAN IN 15. When I started trying to lose weight I thought about signing up to the three-month plan. A hefty £150. I talked it through with mumma b and she wisely suggested I got the book first, saw whether I liked it and then reassess. I’m glad I did because oddly I struggled with this. I’ve seen lots of others also struggling with the recipes and the plan in general. Here are my two pennies.

Lean in 15, Joe Wicks Review

Blurb

THE RECORD-BREAKING NO.1 BESTSELLER

EAT MORE. EXERCISE LESS. LOSE FAT.

In his first book, Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, reveals how to shift your body fat by eating more and exercising less.

Lean in 15 features a hundred recipes for nutritious, quick-to-prepare meals and guides you through Joe’s signature HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) home workouts. Joe reveals how to combine food and exercise to ignite intense fat-burning.

My Review

Like lots of people I first encountered the lean in fifteen motto through Facebook videos. Before Joe got hugely successful I believe this is where he started sharing his fitness techniques and thought it looked like fun. The recipes looked really easy, quick and huge. He seemed to have genuine enthusiasm for losing weight and being healthy. Plus you didn’t need you to do hours at the gym doing cardio. Something at the time I really didn’t want to do.

I bought the book from Amazon so didn’t have a chance to read through it otherwise. Well, I probably wouldn’t have bought it. The problem? No carbohydrates. The Facebook recipes all contained good healthy carbs, but once I came to the book I found that meals prior to exercise meant carbs are pretty much non-existent. This is mentioned in the book at the beginning as to how it helps your body adjust and you start fueling your workouts. The problem for me is that my body didn’t adjust to the lack of carbohydrates. I was tired, I had constant headaches and I felt rubbish when it came to meal times. I just want to add, there’s also no difference for the meals in terms of men and women which meant if following with a partner there’s no real way of adjusting this.

A lot of the recipes take a lot longer than 15 minutes and although you can ‘prep like a boss’ it takes forever. Multiple days I thought stuff this. The amount of washing up, pots, pans, utensils. Frustrating. The price is also an issue for me. The number things I needed to buy to create the dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. The amount of meat and eggs I was supposed to buy and consume. I just ended up with a terrible, terrible headache.

I want to be positive about this because I have used the book.  Just not in the way that Joe probably wanted it to be used. I’ve made the build me up bagel which is amazing and I’ve made a lot of the recipes. Just might have added more carbs to them and haven’t strictly followed the plan that he suggests. I’m not meal prepping because it took the fun out of cooking and eating and I struggled to be so strict with myself. Some of the combinations in the books are also odd- the curries with a side of broccoli rather than rice. It’s not something I would do and with my weight-loss plan I wanted something I could keep up full time.

Lean in 15, Joe Wicks Review

Final Thoughts

I think if you’re thinking of taking up the £150.00 plan that Joe creates this book would be really helpful. If you’re not a carbaholic, and you’ve got a huge fridge and freezer for all the meats and eggs go for it. The recipes have given me a lot of inspiration and I’ve found myself using it for different breakfast ideas but for a diet plan. I just didn’t get along with this.

Amazon, Goodreads