Saturday, 5 April 2014

Insert witty title here:

Hello Dear Peeps!

This week has been a bit up-and-down, especially food/diet-wise. I was happy to have lost another 1kg, which makes it 5 kg since Christmas, but I have found fasting difficult. I'm working away from home more at the moment, and I feel slightly concerned about getting very hungry, as I go slightly woozy. If I'm at home all day that doesn't matter, but if I'm driving when woozy I think that's less good! So I'm "semi-fasting" on three days a week: that is, I'm eating less than on the other days. Egg-on-toast, soup & fruit for lunch, then a 300 calorie dinner. On other days I allow myself a biscuit with lunch and some chocolate after my evening meal (OR a glass of wine!) Still, if I keep losing weight then that's all good. 

I wore my "aspirational jeans" all day yesterday - these are jeans which I haven't been able to wear since we moved here in 2005, but which I kept because they were in such good condition! They were a little bit tight, and by the end of the day my belly had red "jeans marks" but they weren't what one would term uncomfortably tight. Other jeans that I bought last year are now falling down without a belt, and I have needed to buy a new belt as well!

It's not quite this bad...but getting there!

Last week's menus got swopped about a bit, so we're having the Spanish omelette tonight (which is good as a friend gave us 10 very fresh eggs from their chickens yesterday) and last night I made a quick chicken-and-mushroom pie with one small chicken breast, some wrinkly mushrooms and some chopped chorizo, with a topping of filo pastry from the freezer, which had crumbled into flakes! Still tasty though!

We're going to the UK next week - to see our Mums, but also to go to an Elbow concert in Liverpool on Saturday evening. Very excited, happy dance. We last saw them in Paris in November 2011 in a small club . This time: the Echo Arena in Liverpool - slightly different size! My brother & sister will come and meet us on Sunday in a pub that is sort-of equi-distant between Leicester, Stokesley and Liverpool. Mike booked it & it looks good:

Mr FD has already perused the menu online and is looking forward to Lambs liver, black pudding & smoked bacon mash, with onion gravy. He adores liver, but the very thought makes me shudder!!

So my menu plans this week are just up to Tuesday:

Pesto cod, mini roasties, more veg 

This is from the Woman recipe book - you could win the app for this. Please enter the Giveaway competition - otherwise I will look a numpty!

(semi fasting)
Mediterranean Vegetable Chilli - again from the recipe book.(see, it's full of yummy recipes!!)  I'm going to prep this on Sunday though, as I don't get home on Monday evening till late and nor does Mr FD. (Though that may change - his new job is not working out at all well for various reasons, so he might be giving it up. If you're of the praying nature, please pray that he makes the right decision...)

which we'll have with rice & salad.

Then it's off early on Wednesday to drive to Calais...

 As usual, thank you so much for your comments...

MONIQUE: Sorry you can't (don't want to..) enter the giveaway - I do understand why app's no good without anything to put it on to!! If you want to try the recipes, I do recommend buying the book...I think it's good value and I would be tempted (if I hadn't been given a free one. Big smile!)...and truly, I'm not just saying that!!

KEZZIE: I hope you do enter - I'm like you with apps though. On my tablet I rarely use them (I forget I have them, to be honest!) except to catch up with The Guardian online.  The flatbreads were delicious (and so easy!) and I will definitely be making them again!!

POMPOM: Are you going to enter the Giveaway? I'm extending the deadline... I love the way you always try to identify the breed of cat in my pictures! What about this one?!

JEAN So sorry to hear about losing your kitties. That is not good. I hope you enjoy the random cat pictures I throw into my this one:

 Anyway - I must get to the bank before it closes...cheques to put in!

See you in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Yummy Food Again!

I do hope some of you will enter my Giveaway - otherwise I'm going to look very daft!! Go on...there's some great recipes on there, even if you're NOT following the 5:2 eating plan!


Yesterday our friend Richard came for a curry-and-film night. Richard is vegetarian, so we had home made onion bhajis, which were okay...but I didn't cook them for long enough,so the inside was still stodgey and undercooked. I made dhal, and a vegetable madras (just using a sauce from Noz!) with home made flat breads. They were good - and easy! Again Mr FD thought they might have needed a little longer cooking, but I'm not sure about that.

 We finished with a baked cheesecake and raspberry coulis. I wasn't convinced by this dessert - it seemed a bit too stodgey: I think I prefer a no-bake cheesecake. 

We watched the Coen brothers film "Inside Llewyn Davis" which I quite enjoyed. It wasn't quite my cup of tea, but it was watchable. Mr FD is a Coen brothers fan.
The cat was my favourite character!

In an attempt to be organised, I now have my month's menu plans on the computer...all very organised...I wonder how long it will last! 
SUNDAY Wild boar from the freezer, garlic mash and cabbage.

MONDAY: (semi fasting): Vegetarian shepherd's pie, with a bit of the mash from yesterday. It's not really fasting food, but it's an attempt to reduce calories!!

TUESDAY: Veggie bean burgers, SW chips, salad, coleslaw. This is the Hairy Dieter's recipe, and I'll be making the full amount and freezing half for later in the month.

WEDNESDAY: Vegetable bolognaise. This is from the WOMAN recipe book that you could win the app for!  It looks tasty and good-for-you! We may have it with a bit extra pasta, as it's only 250 calories per portion - half the mix is destined for the freezer again!
THURSDAY:(semi fasting)  Hairy Dieter's Chicken Proven├žale - This is a similar recipe, but it uses a bit more oil, and the Hairy Dieter's use more veggies (a yellow pepper as well as the red, more courgettes) to bulk it out. I cooked this last Sunday, so Mr FD will only have to pull it out and stick it in the oven.

FRIDAY: More like proper fasting Simple Spanish omelette (from the WOMAN book) with some salad

SATURDAY: Meat lasagne from the 5:2 Recipe book... a white sauce made from ricotta cheese and eggs, with a 5%mince + lots of veggies sauce.  I'll probably make two and again put one in the freezer...with three evenings when I don't get home till 7 pm and another when I'm working at home until 6.30 I don't think I have the time to start cooking from scratch. Sunday afternoons are looking like they're going to be my batch-cooking time.

So today I have to prepare extra mashed potatoes, and the vegetable bolognaise sauce, together with a soup to keep us going through the week. That's not too bad...I may bake some biscuits too from the Super Simple Recipe on the 40Acts site:

275g plain flour
175g grease
75g sugar
Vanilla/cinnamon/fruit/nuts/chocolate (to taste)
METHOD: Mix everything together. Bake in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes until golden.

Thank you again for your comments. I love reading them, & do try to answer.

SANDRA: You should try to eat better! But I think you know that! Look after yourself, dear friend!

JANE&CHRIS: I won't deny that your lovely looking pizza put the thought in my head! And while the one we had was nice, I bet yours was even more delicious!

POMPOM: Here's another Lolcat for you. Can you identify this breed of cat?! 

 And here is a table that I can't seem to delete!!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Officially Excited!

Oh, oh! I am really pleased - I feel I have "made it" as a Blogger!!!


Well, I was contacted by IPC Magazines to see if I wanted to review their 5:2 app for the i-Phone/i-pad. Unfortunately I don't have an i-Pad/i-Phone, but when I told Emma, my contact this, she offered to send me the "real" book. I generously bit her arm off - I much prefer books in the kitchen, anyway - and last Wednesday I received the 500 Calorie Diet Complete Meal Planner book.
I spent Wednesday evening salivating over the recipes, and I am planning to use several in next week's meal planning (another post for that)

There are recipes with 100 calories & under, which are breakfast orientated, recipes with 200 calories & under and recipes with 300 calories & under. I generally prefer to fast all day and enjoy a larger meal in the evening, but the recipes look so tempting that I may change my method! I'm also planning on using the recipes for our non-fast days (but - of course! - in bigger quantities). 

One recipe I have tried already is Manchego and chorizo quesadillas. Because I wasn't on a fast day I ate the whole lot myself, instead of dividing it into four, as suggested in the book - it was delicious, but I think I would find it really tricky to eat just a quarter of it! 

There are also some useful tips about how the 5:2 diet works, some "real life" stories and celebrity stories too. I'm not as interested in those as the recipes, but the calorie counter is useful, as is the round up of snacks. There are also some "rapid cook" recipes for those days when you want to fast but really, really can't be bothered cooking much. Another helpful tip is how to adapt the meals for non-dieters

One of the recipes I'm planning on using next week is Pesto Cod and Veggie parcels- 
but not on a fast day - so I'll use the extra advice on how to make some yummy sounding garlic mash to go with it, and have extra vegetables too. 

For me, the one downside is that some of the recipes use ready prepared ingredients that aren't available here in France...however, I can either find equivalents, or, with a bit of ingenuity, either find an alternative or put my own version together. Otherwise I can see that this is a recipe book I'm going to be turning to again and again.

BUT, that's not all! Emma has given me 5 apps to offer to my lovely, lovely Followers! So you too can take advantage of this really rather helpful & inspirational book.

FREE  5:2 meal planner app up for grabs
  Woman magazine are giving you the chance to try this app, for FREE.  I have 5  x 5:2 meal planner apps to be won. All you have to do is become a Follower of my blog, Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner, and tell me ( in no more than 50 words - or so!), why you want to try it.   Please make sure that I have a way of contacting you if you win. Do note that I'm doing this in association with WOMAN magazine and make sure you check the terms & conditions below.
If you’re not lucky enough to win, you can download a copy on your iPhone or iPad :
Terms and conditions: There are 5 prizes to be won, the prizes are in the form of FREE codes to download the app via iPhone of iPad.  The competition is live from today, Saturday 29th March to Saturday 6th April. The 5 winners will be chosen  at random and the decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.  Once winners have been picked, they will be informed on how to redeem their prize with Woman magazine. Woman magazine will use the winners data to contact them to fulfil the prizes. Prizes will be fulfilled within 28 days of winner notification. Subject to availability. IPC Media standard competition terms and conditions apply.  Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash.
 I am absolutely thrilled to be able to offer you this app - because I can happily say that this will become one of my go-to resources when I'm menu planning - both on Fast Days and on other days too!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

If you have a nice bit of food it makes you feel good

“If you can eat with mates or friends or family, I mean, it's such a brilliant thing isn't it? If you feel really rubbish and you have a nice bit of food it makes you feel good, you know?" (Jamie Oliver)

Not a particularly erudite quote but how right he is! We will be eating with friends tonight, and, I think sharing cake and champagne with other friends tomorrow.

The cake-and-champagne is because tomorrow we will be voting in the Mayoral elections here in France for the first time. We probably would not have got round to bothering to register, but our amazing friend Clare, who seems to fit 10 times as much as anyone else into her life, is on "the list" for one of the candidates and mobilised the English voters in the commune to register!

The Mayoral candidate presents a list of the same number of people as are on the Council; then, according to some complicated system that I don't fully understand people from one list, or the oppositions' lists are voted on the Council. There are only two candidates in our canton: the present mayor, who has done quite a good job, and another guy. Clare is supporting our current mayor, and I must say that, even without her presence on the List we would not be voting for the opposition, who is right wing, and appears quite hypocrtical in values stated and actual family situation...So we are going to celebrate our involvelment in village politics, if not Clare's election ontto the Council! And the cake? Well, today's 40 Acts is a cake making challenge, and I really want to try the recipe for Humming bird cake (from last week) so it's a no brainer: Hummingbird cake to share with friends.

We'll also be celebrating Mr FD's new job, which he starts on Tuesday!

I think the way I plan our meals, and what we eat, is going to have to change a little in the coming months: We think that Mr FD will be arriving home at 6.30-ish, and because of the increase in hours that I have (huzzah!) on three, or maybe four, days a week I won't get home until after 7.00. He won't necessarily want to start cooking from scratch (unless it's an easy meal) and I certainly won't want to!

So I think that when I do have time to cook properly (which looks like weekends and Tuesday) I will have to do more batch cooking and freezing than I have before, and our meals maybe won't be quite so varied. At the moment, I try not to repeat a meal during a month, but I'm thinking that will change. We will continue to fast, but I think it may become a "semi-fast" with an aim to eat under 1,000 calories two days a week, rather than the prescribed under 500 calories - I fear that if I'm teaching, and driving home lateish, the slightly wibbly feeling I get from fasting might not be a good idea!

Our meals this week look like this:
Out with friends

However, this will be light on lamb and heavy on vegetables, in the hope that I can get 4 servings out of it. So I will add some butternut squash (in place of the sweet potato), some ordinary potatoes, and some pepers. Then I will freeze 2 portions. I'm also planning to cook 4 portions of Hairy Dieters Chicken Proven├žale to freeze as well - the only problem with all this freezing is finding room in the freezer for it!

semi fasting

 This will have kidney beans rather than haricot beans (Mr FD prefers them) and again, I hope to be able to freeze some.

Hairy Dieter's salmon with chilli and ginger sauce, rice and vegetables from the freezer.

I have a rather tasty potato-duck-and green-bean mix in the freezer.We'll have this, with extra green beans &/or a green salad. Not very diet-y, but still - very nice!!

Just add green beans to the image!!

(semi fasting)
Chicken provencale, cooked last Sunday. Mr FD can plonk it in the oven. We won't have any starch with it.

Next week I hope to have some Happy news to share about Friday, but it will mean we get home late. I think this will be a quick fresh pasta and ready made sauce meal.

I have been involved in 40 Acts. Can I encourage you to go over to The View from the Teapot  to read what I've been doing, and especially to read Keith's guest post about the charity Lend With Care

As usual, thank you dear Readers for your comments.

ANGELA: At dinner parties/meals with friends we definitely serve both cheese and dessert, and, according to French tradition, we have cheese first and then the sweet stuff. It gives an opportunity to finish the wine, (or an excuse to open another bottle!!) before the sugar interferes with one's tastebuds. 


POMPOM: As you will have read, Mr FD did get the job! Huzzah for Him! Did you sort out your blip?

KEZZIE: The stir fry was good, but didn't look as pretty as the one in the photo!

DAWN: Thank you for saying the menus looked general they were! Although (don't tell anyone!) we had take out pizza last night, rather than the planned gnocchi. I just fancied a pizza!!!

LORI, KEZZIE & MICHELLE: Thank you for congratulations on the job news. We are both really rather chuffed!

KEITH: Thanks for your comment too - I'd love to meet for lunch, IF I CAN! Lunchtimes may become a sandwich-eaten-in-the-car if all the possible lessons happen on the same day! If you have plans to come to Clermont let me know, & we'll see.