New Year - New Plans

I don't really "do" resolutions, because, like many of us, I think I am setting myself up to fail! But I am still determined to carry on my weight loss project, started, successfully I feel, last year. The one plan I do have this year is to use my slow cooker more.

I was talking to mum about recipe books and how I remember looking through them when I was younger. She has shelves of cookery books with books dating back to at least the 1960s, including a whole set of Cordon Bleu Cookery magazines

and this book
which I used to think was so sophisticated!! Every recipe used at least one can of Campbell's Condensed soup, and I felt deprived that we were never fed anything from the section "When the kids come home hungry". When I came home from school hungry, mum was usually asleep and I had to prepare my own snack. I thought this was so unfair - although in later life, I came to realise that, as a mum of three teenagers, holding down a fulltime job as a teacher and looking after a large 4 bedroom house, she probably needed a nap between getting home from work and dealing with us three!

As I reminisced, I remarked that I was thinking of buying a Slow Cooker recipe book, as I had decided to try to use mine more. Mum went to her shelves and produced this for me:
which dates from 1978. It doesn't have shiny photos, but I guess the recipes are still good today. The back reads:
It cost 95p (and in the Republic of Ireland, it cost more - £1.04½ p !) and was probably considered quite expensive then. So I am planning on trying to use this at least once a week, for meals on Wednesdays: this is the day when I leave for Roanne at 10.30 am, and get home at 7.00 pm. That will give me the early morning to prepare the meal and then it will be ready when I get home. I also bought a wide mouthed Thermos flask in the UK, so I can take hot soup with me on Wednesday for my rather rushed packed lunch. That will be better than extra sandwiches!
I have a new book for writing down my meal plans, and so we're ready to go!
TUESDAY: (yes, I know that was yesterday, but I thought I'd be nice and neat, and begin with 01/01/13) We had a chinese stir fry, from a special offer at Tesco in the UK. Buy a pack of vegetables, a sauce and a pack of fresh noodles for £3 - so we did! I chose sweet chilli sauce, and yesterday bought a pack of two steaks. I used one in the stir fry, and the other for...

WEDNESDAY: Steak chilli, with home made guacamole (as long as the avocado is good!), grated cheese and HM tortilla chips. I found three tortillas in the freezer, which had been there a little too long, and had a bit of freezer burn, so I thought I'd bake them with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper to make tortilla chips.

THURSDAY: We bought some black pudding in Tesco, and some bacon too. Now while we could save this for later on, I really thought we could have one last pig out before austerity measures kick in. So today we are having an all-day breakfast: sausages, bacon, black pudding, egg, mushrooms, chips and beans. Oh my giddy aunt! How delicious will that be!

FRIDAY: After yesterday's extravaganza of artery-clogging goodness, we return to my old friends, the Hairy Dieters

to have Salmon with chilli ginger sauce I do adapt this, as I don't have stem ginger to use, but I have ginger purée, and a bit of sugar, so that's okay! We'll have this with rice, purple sprouting broccoli and braised leeks. 

SATURDAY: I'm trying to ring the changes a bit more, rather than relying on just one recipe book, so I've gone back to an old Slimming World favourite  "Fast Food"
This has some really good recipes in, and I find the layout easy to use. So from here, we're having Aubergine and Pasta Gratin. I can't find a recipe to link to, but it's basically a sauce made with cooked pasta, mixed with aubergines, red onion, red peppers and chopped tomatoes (plus herbs/seasoning etc) with reduced calorie mozzarella on top and baked in the oven until the mozzarella has melted.

SUNDAY: The first outing for "Crockery Pot Cooking" gives us Lamb with Spinach & Yoghurt. 
INGREDIENTS: 1 kg lean lamb, 2 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp tomatopurée dissolved in 300 ml boiling water  (I'll probably use passata), 3 medium onions (chopped), dried herbs, 1 kg spinach leaves, 300 ml natural yoghurt
METHOD: Turn the cooker to HIGH for 20 minutes.
Trim the lamb, cut into cubes and fry in the oil. Remove from pan. I suspect I will use less oil for this step. 
Then soften the onions in the same pan & put them in the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the meat on top. Sprinkle herbs over the meat and then add the tomato purée mix/passata
Cover and cook at LOW for 8-10 hours/ HIGH for 4-5 hours
One hour before it is ready, add the spinach, pressing it down well. Cover & continue cooking on HIGH.
Season & stir before serving. Spoon yoghurt over to serve.

Looking at the recipe, I might be tempted to use some garlic, a little bit of strong stock and maybe a tad of Worcester sauce to give it a bit more "oomph". I suspect that several of the recipes might need a little bit more of something, as tastes have changed from the 70s, and garlic has become much more common and other flavourings have become more easily available. 
Our lunches/suppers (depending on when we eat the main meal - that depends on the days I'm working/out all day) will mostly be of the soup-and-a-sandwich variety, but I will probably make a broccoli, pepper and cheese quiche to have with salad on a couple of evenings.

And so there we are! I hope you might find some of the recipes/menu suggestions useful in your every day life. Do please let me know if you use any of them - it's nice to know if you've enjoyed them or not.

* * * * *
Nancy - did you make the Christmas cookies? I hope you liked them! I had to leave the tin of cookies for my friends in their letter box, without a note (they weren't in and I didn't have a pen in my bag) - I hope they guessed they were from me!

Kezzie: If you do go to Wagamamas, I'd definitely recommend the Chu Chee curry. And the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake...but perhaps the least said about that the better!!!


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