Sunday, 26 January 2014

Menus for Next Week

Hello, my little Kittens! I hope you are well! How lovely that in the space of 24 hours my number of Followers has risen to 89. Thank you to Vicki and her Grow Your Blog event.

So, without more ado, let me give a big Fat Dormouse welcome to:
If you are here for the Grow Your Blog party, you might want to pop over to this post, which is my official post for this event. You can enter the Giveaway there. There is also my other blog, with another Giveaway, over at the View from the Teapot
I hope to see you there!

On this post I am, as usual, writing about my planned menus for this week. I'm following the 5:2 diet, which basically means that two days a week I "fast", attempting to eat 500 calories only. The rest of the time we eat more normally, but I'm using recipes from my two favourite dieter guys, the Hairy Dieters (This is a link to their "Diet Club" page. I'm not a member, but it does tell you a bit about their weight loss story. It's quite interesting!)

So...You can click on the links to find the recipes...
Hairy Dieter's Lamb Tagine  I had planned to make double and freeze half, but the meat was so expensive that I decided against it! We'll have this with a smidgeon of cous cous and green beans as well as the vegetables in the tagine itself

Today I work away from home, teaching in Clermont Ferrand. I often need to take a pain killer for my back, so it's good to have something in my stomach. I try to eat light through the day though, restricting the carbs and having as little fat as I can manage. So, I have  scrambled egg for breakfast; lunch is a green salad + a bit of protein (tomorrow about 60 cals worth of emmenthal cheese); dinner: Vegetable Strudel (182 cals a serving) and salad 


Pan fried pork with balsamic lentils... except I bought a pack of prepared quinoa and lentil mix, so I will probably use that instead of the lentils in the recipe. We'll also have broccoli with this, as well as the spinach (frozen not fresh!). 

Mr FD's cooking day as I'm out at work until 7 pm. I was really pleased to find smoked haddock for sale, so he can make the recipe properly: Hairy Dieter's Cod & Prawn Gratin (except we have a different white fish - can't remember what!)  We'll probably use green beans in the recipe rather than frozen peas - or maybe tinned peas instead.

I don't work away from home on Thursday (I do on Monday) so on this fast day I try to survive on nothing but drinks until dinner. If desperate I make a veggie soup with 80g frozen soup vegetables, some veggie stock and a tiny squeeze of harissa paste.
Dinner today is a Ham & leek sweet potato covered pie  I don't have a recipe for this, but I'm going to adapt the Hairy Dieters white sauce from yesterday. Or maybe use a tomato based sauce. It may end up as more than 500 calories, but it shouldn't be much over!

We'll have the remainder of the fish gratin tonight, as it serves four. OR I might freeze it and have something a bit naughtier. I'm thinking that the Merguez and lamb that we had a couple of weeks back might be nice...or maybe I'd be better to try the Hairy Dieter's Lamb doner kebabs
I go shopping on Friday so I can decide then what to buy.

I don't know!! As Saturday is 1st February, I need to have my new month's food planning done - and I haven't started yet! What I do know is that there will be plenty of recipes from the new Hairy Dieter's book

I hope that these menu plans give you some inspiration & maybe some new recipes to try out over the next few weeks. Come back next weekend to find out what we're having on Saturday!!

Thank you so much to everyone who has visited & commented! It's lovely!!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Grow Your Blog 2014 - + a Giveaway!

Hello, BonjourBienvenue and welcome!

I'm hoping that I'm welcoming people over from The Teapot, as well as others from the Wonderful Vicki's Grow Your Blog event. 
  I hope that you'll also go and visit lots of other craftily inclined blogs throughout the Internet. This is an opportunity to see what talented peeps there are around the world and to admire their work.

I introduced myself over at The Teapot, but as the Wibsite is still playing silly b*g*e*s and refusing to upload photos, I'm going to show some here. They are not foodie photos, so I hope that Food lovers will bear with me (Menus for next week will be posted tomorrow)

So, here are the real Management in the Dormousehold:
Meet Pomme, the CEO, here overseeing some of my crafting activities from the comfort of one of my storage boxes. Er, thanks, Pomme, I needed that! We adopted her from a refuge in Roanne in 2005, when she was about 2 1/2 years old.
Here we have the Middle Management team, George and Millie. They are brother and sister, born in 2010. Often found curled up together, they enjoy playing with The Red Dot of Doom (a laser pen)
Here is a Lolcats (which I've used before) which sums up their attitude

And finally, we have the Office Junior, Bib, rescued from certain death in 2012:

She considers her role in life is to make George's life a misery (while hiding from Scary Millie) and to eat as much as possible. Knitting is an impossibility when she is around, as she tries to eat the wool - although, to be honest, George can be as much trouble. He has an uncanny ability to smell wool, and he loves nothing more than carrying out a lightening raid on my knitting bag and carrying off a ball of wool!

I enjoy cooking, and while I'm not very experimental, I do have a vast number of recipe books. As I'm trying to lose weight, using a mixture of the 5:2 diet and sensible Hairy Dieter inspired eating the rest of the time, I do tend to stick to my trusty Hairy Dieters books and my 5:2 recipe book at the moment. Do come back another time if you'd like to know what we eat and how you can try the delicious food too! You can even become a Follower here, as the lovely Keith did, recently.

I know that this blog isn't quite the Crafty People blog that the Teapot tries to be, but I do enjoy making cards too. Here are some of my cards:

Made for an 80th birthday
with an example of my calligraphy inside
Trying out stamping
A snowboarder, drawn for a boy's birthday
The full card

And recently I have discovered Zentangling, which I have started to use in some of my cards

My giveaway for this blog is 5 handmade cards with this image of a cat, which I have Zentangled. (& maybe a few other goodies too!)
 It's an image I created for the charity Spanish Stray Cats, but I'm sure they won't mind if I use it once just for you dear people. Just leave a comment here, and I will enter you for the tirage. I really hope that if you are a cat lover, you will go to the Facebook page of Spanish Stray Cats (follow the link) and at least "Like" their page. Maybe you will be moved to do more to help these lovely people who are trying to make life better for the numerous stray cats in their area. I knit rather wobbly blankets for the cats to keep them warm in the cold Spanish winters & made some cards for them to sell

My giveaway for The Teapot is
5 handmade cards. I can provide cards for special occassions, or just five general ones. I will also throw in a handmade bookmark,  Plus also a card with a short quotation (chosen by you, bien sur!), calligraphed by me (Do you know, I don’t think that there is such a verb!) It will have to be short, as my hands are becoming artritic and I find it difficult calligraphing for too long!!

To be eligible to win that, you'll need to leave a comment over on the Grow Your Blog post

I hope that you have enjoyed looking at some of my crafting, and meeting the Management team. If you haven't been over to the View from the Teapot, you can find out a little more about me over there. I am looking forward to spending some time visiting the over 300 talented people who have signed up for Vicki's Grow Your Blog event, and I hope that you will also try to visit some as well. 

Thank you to Vicki for organising this, and thank you to you for visiting me - wherever you're from!


Growing: it's a good thing!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

"Ask not what you can do for your country...

...ask what's for lunch"  (Orson Welles)

That seems a suitable quotation for a post about meal plans for the week!!

There is a thread on Ship of Fools at the moment, entitled "What are we going to eat tonight?" where people talk about how they plan (or don't plan!) their meals. so far, nobody, except me, has admitted to planning their meals for the month ahead, as I do. I know there is the possibility of not really fancying what has been planned, but I'm not so rigid that I can't change what we're having, if that's the case. Point to prove this: last Tuesday I'd planned Thai Red Lentil curry, but in the end this didn't appeal, so I pulled a couple of chicken thighs out of the freezer, marinaded them in a sticky marinade and we had them with salad. How do you guys decide what you're having for dinner? Is it planned or are you madly spontaneous?


My plans for this week are as follows:

SUNDAY (today)
I'd planned steak in mushroom sauce, but we've been invited out for lunch today. I'm mostly abandoning my "diet" (although I've not had breakfast) so I'm not going to worry about how much wine I'm drinking, etc. However, I may try to be circumspect over amounts eaten. Or maybe not.

  Egg for breakfast, green salad + a bit of protein for lunch, Chickpea & Chorizo stew for dinner. The recipe is for butterbeans, but Mr FD doesn't like butterbeans, so I'm substituting chickpeas. I may do some cous cous as well...the recipe is only 183 calories per person, so I think I've got some calories to play with!


 Mushroom & spinach stroganoff - the recipe is just for mushroom stroganoff. I'm adding the spinach, to up the vegetable content. For lunch I'll have soup, 1 slice of bread with some pork, a brownie and fruit. The soup is Curried Carrot.


This is Mr FD's cooking day, but as he is usually knackered when he gets in, I try to make it an easy one for him. I'd planned a Hairy Dieter's Roasted Cod recipe, but in Carrefour last week there were Two for One sustainably fished prepared-and-ready-to-roast white fish (hake?haddock?) in trays. So I bought two, and popped them in the freezer. So Mr FD will have to prepare some  vegetables for roasting too, and stick everything in the oven. Not too onerous, I hope.

Not fasting today

I'm not fasting today, as the organisation that I do a little work for, CIFOR (  Chambre de Commerce & Industrie Formation), are having a get together which includes a buffet lunch. I don't want to find myself being madly tempted and feeling I'm missing out, so I'm going to just "be careful" and have soup for dinner. I will cook pasta and mushroom/pesto sauce for Mr FD.


Every other Friday I teach until 7.00 so I don't get home till 7.45. Mr FD is in charge of cooking again those evenings. He's not so knackered either, as he hasn't been on his IT course on Friday. He's going to be cooking Chicken & Spinach curry from the 5:2 recipe book, which we'll have with some rice. 
We eat a lot of spinach as I always have a bag of frozen spinach in the freezer. It's really easy to pull out a few blocks, defrost them in the microwave and toss into a sauce/soup for extra greens. And as spinach is great to help to avoid macular degeneration (which my mum has) it's good to try to add it to the diet wherever possible!!


I think we might treat ourselves to the Hairy Dieter's steak and mushroom sauce from last Sunday's planning. 


The Hairy Dieter's are providing today's recipe as well: Lamb Tagine which I'll serve with some cous cous and maybe some green beans from the freezer. 

Source: MyfoodMyway

Thank you all so much for your comments! It's lovely to read them all.

Pompom: I hope that your no-wheat-or-dairy does help your sinuses. Is this something you've tried before? Mr FD sufferes a bit from sinusitis, especially after a cold, so I'd be interested to know what you find.

Trish: Apparently plateauing is a recognised part of the dieting "timeline" - although very disspiriting, I know! Keep on going, and don't give up. Or, maybe, give up for a week and then surprise your body into dieting again. That might wrk (and even if it doesn't, you've had a nice week of "letting go"!)

Angela: Sorry to be the Tempter! Though at only 130 calories, those brownies aren't that bad! You could make the pieces even smaller and then they'd be even fewer calories!!

Andrea: The Brownies are yummy! So much so (Angela - don't read on!!) that  I just had to have a second one!!

Jane and Chris: Like you, cat cartoons (and lolCats) are always a winner with me. Our favourite game with the cats at the moment is playing with a tiny laser. It gives a red dot of light which they adore chasing. Now Bib and George have learned that if they sit in front of the TV so we can't see it, we'll get the laser out to tempt them down! Bib even recognises the little metallic chink of the key-ring attached, so her ears swivel round and she perks up immediately.

Kezzie: Five litter trays = four cats. Advice is that you should always have one more litter tray than you have cats, so that no cat is "terrorised" out of using a tray. Mind you, our horrors seem to imagine that the cellar floor is one giant litter tray. Sorry, that might have been too much information!

Finally, here is a Zentangle cat I designed. If I made cards out of it, would people be willing to buy some to support the charity Spanish Stray Cats I guess the price would be the equivalent of 2,50€ each + p&p.

Please let me know via the comments if you'd be interested.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Nom nom, chocklit brownies!

I had quite a busy morning today. In fact we both did.

 Mr FD popped to ShCarrefour to buy a light bulb for the kitchen light, plus some frozen spinach. He then washed, cleaned and renewed five cat litter trays (my Hero!)and found a way to botch a temporary repair on a loose thingy that makes a bit of a juddery noise when the car stops.

Me, I made litres of curried carrot soup (2kg bag of carrots at Lidl for 0,99€) I boiled & roasted a kind of gammon joint - to be sliced and frozen for meals/sandwiches in the future. The joint itself was an impulse buy but they were reduced at Carrefour so I bought one. I also made some wicked chocolate brownies, which are just over 130 calories each. They are delicious!


4.5 oz plain flour
2 oz unsweetedned cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz butter
2 oz dark chocolate
4 oz granulated sugar
6 cl semi skimmed milk
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
10 walnuts chopped
2 oz dark choc chips (you could miss out these last two if you wished & reduce the calorie count a little)

Preheat oven to 200°C. Prepare a 8" baking tin (or whatever you have around that size) I lined mine, you might grease yours.
Melt the chocolate & butter together in 15 sec bursts in microwave. Stir between bursts. Leave to cool a little.
Sift flour cocoa & salt together.
Add the sugar, milk, vanilla & eggs to the chocolate-butter mix. Mix to make a batter.
Add walnuts & choc chips, if using.
Pour into prepared tin. Bake for about 15-20 mins until a knife comes out clean.
Cut into 20 pieces.

This week I've lost 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs) I'm quite pleased.


Tuesday, 14 January 2014


It arrived yesterday and I'm already looking forward to sharing some of the recipes! I've actually planned my menus until the end of January but I'm being tempted to have a rethink!!

Lots of yummy makeovers for fattening food plus helpful tips. I do like these boys!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Wagons Roll!

I'm doing okay on my healthy eating (less than a week in so far, so quite frankly, it's not that much of a surprise!) and I'm pleased with myself...Though I did slip up yesterday. I was in Carrefour doing my weekly shop, and I noticed that they were selling Galettes des Rois

These are deliciously buttery flaky pastry around frangipane, served traditionally this time of year, to celebrate the visit of the Magi to Christ. Inside the Galette there is a féve - a bean (though now it is a little plastic figure from whichever film is most popular. This year it's The Hobbit) - and whoever gets the piece with the bean either chokes and dies a horrible death, or is the "King" of the day/evening/whatever. Usually the Galettes are sold with a crown, as you can see in the photo, which the lucky winner can wear.

So, there I was in Carrefour, and I wandered over to the stand, hoping that they were selling mini-galettes, just enough for 2 people, and found that there was a plate full of pieces of still warm, just-out-of-the-oven Galette, obviously hoping to tempt shoppers.
"One morsel won't hurt," I thought, popping one in my mouth. It was delicious!
A furtive glance over my shoulder, and...
"No-one's more!" In it went. I went to look at the fish counter, and on my way back to the cat food I had to pass the Galette stand...Yes, you've guessed it. In the immortal words of Oscar Wilde "I can resist everything except temptation"! After that, I made sure that I diverted myself away from the Galette stand! And no, they didn't have mini-Galettes: they were all for 6 or 8 portions.

Generally, I've succeeded in decreasing the size of my lunch, increasing the amount of fruit and veg that I eat, and eschewing alcohol completely. (6 days and counting...!) One sweet treat (lowish calorie muffin) and one chocolate (eating the leftovers from Christmas!) a day. It's not strict calorie counting, but I'm being more careful than I was, which is the aim.

Mr FD has just come upstairs, and on his way up he said in lugubrious tones
"I've got bad news for you..."
I had a moment of panic, but guessed he wasn't being serious. Just before he started to speak again, I guessed
"You've put the bike on the rollers!" Yes, he's set up my bike so it can be used as an exercise bike. Dammit. Now I've got no excuse to avoid exercise.
There's an idea - blogging and exercising at the same time!!

So next week's menus look like this:
Porridge for brekkie, fruit (and maybe a green salad, no dressing) for lunch, and a "Tangle pie" for dinner, made with left over turkey and vegetables. A "Tangle pie" is the Hairy Dieters name for a pie made with a topping of a few sheets of crumpled filo pastry. We'll have this with lots of veggies.

Porridge - soup & 1 slice bread + slice of chicken for lunch - Dinner: Red Lentil Thai Curry and rice, except mine will be Malaysian, as that's the type of curry paste that I have. (Almost finished. Must remember to get more next time I'm in the UK!)

Porridge (or maybe an egg.) - usual lunch - Hairy Dieters Salmon with chilli ginger sauce.
However, I'm not using salmon, as I've read terrible statistics regarding the amount of anti biotics, and other nasties that are fed to the farmed salmon in Norway, and that is the only salmon I could find (though I didn't look in the Bio section...shall remember to do that next time!) So I bought trout. Raised in France, where apparently it's regulated more tightly (or so they say...)

Veggie soup (made with 80g frozen veg, and half a stock cube, + a squirt of harissa) + a crispbread with Marmite for lunch
Smoked salmon & spinach quiche, using the left over filo. I might make these as mini quiche, in my muffin tray, which will give better portion control. The smoked salmon in Scottish. Smallish baked potato and salad.

Quiche for lunch. Harissa stuffed peppers for dinner. With more salad. Except, thinking about it, I didn't buy any salad leaves when shopping. I'll have to remember to get some on Wednesday/Thursday.

Usual lunch. Dinner is Middle Eastern Moussagna - a hybrid mix of lasagna, moussaka and risotto! It uses the same filling as the stuffed peppers, so it should be quite quick and easy to make. Served with more salad. (which due to the fact I bought a 2 kg bag of carrots - only 0,99€! - will no doubt include grated carrot)

Usual gubbins for lunch. Hairy Dieters Peppered Steak with mushrooms for dinner. We'll probably have this with Slimming World chips (chipped potatoes, tossed in a tsp or so of oil & oven baked) 

I'm hoping to have yet more new recipes to try soon, as I've ordered the new Hairy Dieters book from Amazon. It's due to arrive on Tuesday. I do like their recipes as, for the main part, they are down-to-earth, hearty meals.

 The reviews that I've read have been very positive about this so I'll be happy to get it and peruse it! Maybe I'll try a Hairy Dieter's Challenge, like my River Cottage "Veg Every Day"  challenge last year, to try all the recipes in the book. I didn't manage it with River Cottage - and I don't use the ones I've tried that often now - but it will be good to get different tastes & meals, rather than just the old favourites. There are some recipes I've not tried just because they "look too complicated" or "I'm nt sure I fancy it", but like I did with River Cottage, I may well be pleasantly surprised!

Thank you for your comments.It's always lovely to read what you say.
TRISH: I'm glad you liked the salmon. I decided it wasn't a "keeper", but it's good if someone likes the recipes I link to! (and the pictures of David Tennant!! What's your view on Peter Capaldi as the next Doctor? I'm reserving judgement, but am hopeful.)
Well done on your weight loss. I'm hoping for greater losses this year than last, as I watch what I eat for the rest of the week!

KEZZIE: Thanks for the spinach and radish tip. I'm only just coming to like radishes, but bought some at Carrefour (only 0,99€ a bag!) so we'll try them in our salads this week.

POMPOM: I made some of the muffins from my recipe. They were good - tasty but they felt healthy!!! The amount of mixture made more than 12 muffins - BUT I did use smaller-than-muffin-size cake cases, so I got 18 buns at a lower calorie count for each (esp as I used less honey too)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Climbing reluctantly back on the Wagon!

The rheumatologist has told me firmly to lose weight; I know that I have gained as my skirt felt tighter than it should have done on Sunday - I meant to weigh myself this morning, so I had a starting point, but I forgot (psychological slip-of-the-mind, do you think?!). So here we go!

Yesterday was a fast day - I am not sticking very strictly to 500 calories a day, as I am cutting down every day, but Monday & Tursday are still my "leaner than usual" days. So I had an agg for breakfast, a salad with a small amount of chicken & no dressing at lunch, plus an orange and an apple, a veggie stir fry ( made with 1 leek, 1 onion, 1 courgette, 1 carrot, 200g mushrooms, 100g beansprouts, 75g duck breast, 75g egg noodles and a black bean sauce - shared about 40% me, 60% Mr FD ) and finally a banana.

 I tried a new breakfast - 20g porridge oats, a handful of dried cranberries and half a banana. It was okay, but I need a bit more liquid in the porridge. With a glass of half-and-half OJ & water, a coffee and a Danaol yoghurt this is my new breakfast for this week at least.

Lunch will be veggie soup (celery, leek and potato), a chicken breast-and-salad sandwich, fruit and a "sweet treat" (except I've not made any yet, so that might have to wait until later)
Dinner:  salmon spaghetti with green leaf sauce (You can see the recipe on this pdf file here)


Mr FD is cooking as he gets back from his course before I get back from teaching.  Usual breakfast, and lunch (I may need to make some more soup - which will be curried parsnip and sweet potato soup) 
Dinner: Mexican bean burgers with yoghurt dressing, salad, avocado and potato wedges (tossed in a tsp or so of olive oil + paprika) The recipe says use rolls, but we're not doing that!! I'm also going to substitute some of the kidney beans for chickpeas, left over from tonight's dinner.


Hopefuly nothing ( but possibly fruit )  until dinner. Which is Hairy Dieter's Easy Crispy Chicken plus a salad with a zingy yoghurt dressing. One thing I will have to do is try to find some interesting salad ingredients...mine are rather boringly of the lettuce-cucumber-tomato variety.

Breakfast & lunch as detailed above.
Dinner is Mr FD cooked again, due to another late return.
It's another Hairy Dieter's recipe, coconut prawn curry  with a smidgeon of rice (probably about 30g of raw rice each)

These are the Hairy Dieters; Dave Myers & Si King

Lunch is beans and poached egg on toast. Dinner is a veggie cottage pie which comes in at just over 200 calories a portion. Add lots of veggies as well - probably brocoli and carrots. There is a broccoli with zingy dressing at ther end of the linked recipe. I'll probably try that.


Lunch will be left over cottage pie - in the form of soup!! I'll zuzz it up with some vegetable stock and maybe a tin of tomatoes. I might scrape off the potato topping however, and make it into little patties served up with an egg on top.It depends on how much is left.

Dinner is turkey ragout - this was a great success when I made it before, so I'm looking forward to it again!

Pompom: The muffin recipe I use is this one or this one:

2 large eggs                   150 ml pot nat yoghurt              50ml rapeseed oil                100g apple sauce
1 ripe banana (mashed)  4 tbsp clear honey                    1 tsp vanilla extract            200g flour
50g rolled oats               1.5 tsp baking powder               1.5 tsp cinnamon                100g blueberries
2 tbsp mixed seeds (don't have - I'll omit these)

Heat oven to 180°C/ GM4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin
Mix eggs, yog,oil, applesauce, banana, honey & vanilla in a jug.
Put everything else (except seeds) in a bowl. Combine.
Pour wet ingredients over & mix till you have a smooth batter...Be careful not to overmix though.
Divide batter between uffin cases. Sprinkle with seeds (& some extra oats if desired)
Bake for 25-30 minutes
Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Can be kept for up to 3 days. 179 cals per muffin.

I got your email & will respond sometime soon.

Trish: I hope you liked the salmon dish. I was a bit unimpressed with it, but I didn't follow the recipe exactly (for various reasons) and I was in a grumpy mood, so it's possible I wouldn't have been impressed even if it had been served by David Tennant wearing nothing but a rose between his teeth. (Actually, I'm not sure how appealing a picture that is...especially if you're waiting for your dinner!)

Aside: I googled "David Tennant with rose" and got nothing but variations of this picture
No! That's the wrong kind of rose!!!

Mags & Fishcake Random: Thank you for your new year wishes. I hope 2014 is good for all of us.
Must rush! I've got a phone lesson to give!