Monday, 15 January 2018

Low-carb January – 15 days in


Hi readers,

How are you all today? Are you well? Have you survived Monday and made it out the other side, a stronger yet more wearied soul?

I hope you’re not too wearied, readers! I’m feeling a little rough myself. Was hit by a sudden, quite intense cold over the weekend (literally – it felt like I’d been hit in the right side of my face!) and I’m still trying to get back to normal. Resting and drinking much water.

These last few days, I’ve been relishing long, warm showers. And my book – I’m currently reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Liz Gilbert, and enjoy her thoughts on the topic. Also, I keep listening to Want Your Feeling by Jessie Ware, and Erase/Rewind by The Cardigans. These songs are on my mind.

And I’m almost half way through low-carb January – hurray!! Taking stock of how I’m finding things so far, in case you’re interested in trying out a low-carb diet yourself, I’ve had a go at noting down my main ups and downs with it so far…

The ups:

·      I’m often full – it’s rare that I’ve been feeling hungry. I just eat at mealtimes and if I’m flagging / feeling lightheaded otherwise.

·      I’m saving money on alcohol – it only takes one glass of wine to give me rosy cheeks at the moment, two and I’m tipsy.

·      I’m excited to try new recipes and meals and ingredients – it’s introducing fresh ideas in the kitchen and different flavours to my plate.

·      I really appreciate treats – whether it be a few squares of dark chocolate, a mug of hot chocolate, a chocolate mousse, a few spoons of peanut butter… I’m very grateful for these now.

The downs:

·      I’m not really up to high intensity exercise – running and any exercise classes involving jumping up and down have my heart soon racing.

·      I’m finding it hard to adjust to buying the ‘full fat’ version of foods, as I never have since I began buying my own foods.

·      It’s not a diet everyone’s on top of – friends and family range from bemused to bewildered and, so far, only my mum has offered to try and feed me.

·      I’m burning money on fruit – berries and avocados aren’t exactly the cheapest fresh produce, but my diet would be sad without them.

·      My complexion’s taken a hit – I immediately broke out in spots when I changed my diet and this is only just calming down now. I’ve had them literally everywhere.

I’ll be interested to see how things have changed by the end of the month! Will I have more ups or downs in the end?? 


I can tell you one thing fo sho – I will CERTAINLY be ready for a cheat day on the 1st Feb with cereal, orange juice, a banana, pizza and peanut M&Ms. Cannot cannot wait.

In the meanwhile, readers, I can link you to a few dazzlingly low-carb recipes I tried out over the weekend, as I had friends visiting me in Sheffield. For this special occasion, and in a bid to wow them with the wonders of low-carb dieting, I took on some proper recipes.

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RECIPE TIME

For dinner on Saturday night we enjoyed a Keto goat cheese and mushroom frittata…





Click HERE for the recipe.

… then, for dessert, we tucked into Low-carb coconut and chocolate puddings!


Click HERE for the recipe.

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And I would recommend both recipes, readers. I managed to prepare both in advance, so everything was breezy on the night. I was just setting the table, dressing salad, and pouring wine, as the frittata reheated.

Then I served my puddings with a blob of crème fraiche on the top, and a little grated dark choc. Which worked a treat. I’d initially been a little disappointed when I poured the pudding mix out into ramekins, as it doesn’t look like that much. But, really, it’s such a rich dessert you couldn’t eat much more. And that’s coming from me – a certifiable chocaholic.


I really like how, on the Diet Doctor website, you can easily adjust the recipe to display either English or US ingredient measurements, and you can set the quantities for exactly how many people you’re feeding. This doesn’t always work out – you might get 1 ¼ eggs! – but it often does and it saves cooking more than you’ll need.

The one thing I would say, when it comes to the frittata, is mine needed longer in the oven than the recipe specified and then still wasn’t quite set in the middle. This could be how it’s meant to be. And it could be due to the fact I was using a deep cake tin rather than a skillet.


 But, if you’re the kind of human that likes a frittata to be 100% set all the way through, I’d leave yourself a little extra oven time just in case and skewer in the middle before removing from the oven. If your skewer comes out clean and dry – then you’re good to go!

What do you think, readers? Would you give these recipes a try at your next dinner party? Do you think your guests would enjoy? Would YOU enjoy, most importantly? I hope you have a dinner party occasion soon, readers. It’s fun to host!


 I’ll leave you to tackle the week ahead, readers. Should you have any low-carb inspiration for me – please fire away! I have 16 more days to go until February. And if you have a song or a book you’re living by at the moment, please do share. It’s interesting to hear what gets us all through January.

Take care, lovely readers.

And skewer safely,


Hayley



Thursday, 11 January 2018

Low-carb January - 11 days in

Recipe of the week...
...Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients: 200g spinach leaves (from fresh or frozen), 6 large eggs, 100-150g cheddar cheese, a pack of Quorn Spinach and Red Pepper Slices, and butter/marg for greasing

Time taken: 25 mins prep and 25 mins in the oven

Serves: Approx. 10 muffins


Hi readers,

How are you all today? Are you well, and getting on okay back at work? Surviving the January Blues, if you’ve come down with them? And whatever cold / flu you probably have, on top?

Hang in there, readers! That’s my main message in this post today. If you’re ill, if you’re dieting, if you’re sick of it being cold and dark, if you’re going through a break up or divorce (as it would seem most people are), if you’re eleven days into the new year and already fed up of your job / house / prospects… FEAR NOT.

Chill the F out, readers. There’s plenty of time for things to turn around. Just think – 354 days of 2018 to go! Who knows what could happen in that time! For sure, it won’t stay cold and dark for the entirety (though, maybe the majority). It’s unlikely you’ll feel ill on all of those days. The diet will break / work before you know it. And so on.

Plus, I have some GLORIOUS tips for those of you in the break up / divorce team, for how to engineer human contact. What do I mean? What does she mean??

Well. You know when you become single, readers, have you noticed how you stop making contact with other humans? You see humans, probably every day. Same as before. But you just never touch them. And nobody touches you. Like – all those humans could actually be holograms and you wouldn’t know.

It’s saddening. SO I’ve been brainstorming the rare instances in which I do actually make contact with other humans (please see below) and I’m thinking, if you’re feeling down about things, maybe it might cheer you up to sort of engineer one of these to happen? Human contact! Works wonders for the single soul, I hear.  

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Here we have it...

Ten instances of human contact for the single person (read: me) 

  • If I accidentally bump into someone or someone accidentally bumps into me 

  • If someone is handing me something and our hands brush

  • The occasional handshake in a work meeting

  • If I'm holding a baby or holding a child's hand near a road 

  • If I'm sat very close to someone (e.g. theatre, public transport, footy game) and our sides are touching

  • If I'm stepping up or down, or crossing a river? And a friend lends me a hand for safety

  • If my yoga teacher is helping me correct a pose

  • If I fall over in the street or in a nightclub and someone hoists me back up again

  • If we line up for a night out pic at pre-drinks and my friends put their arms round me

  • If a friend or relative gets drunk or emotional and hugs me (or vice versa, if I'm drunk/emotional and hug them)

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See! I bet there were a few in there you hadn’t thought of. I hope this comes in handy, readers, and you’re feeling better soon. Just think – this summer you’re going to be spending the money you would have spent on their birthday present, on fruity cocktails instead. To sip by the sea somewhere exotic. You’re winning, right? YES YOU ARE… you’re winning!

And it will feel like it very soon, I promise.

Also – in the spirit of cheering you up, if needed – I have a recipe of the week for you, readers! This one came recommended to me by one of the besties, who has been following my progress with low-carb eating in January and recommended me a recipe that she herself has been using for a spot of healthy January eating, as you do.



This recipe, readers, is for Breakfast Muffins. And really – there’s not much of a recipe to it! As you’ll see shortly, these muffins are very easy to prepare, in just a few simple steps. And you can chuck anything in them that you like really – there’s no need to stick with the ingredients I’ve used in my muffins. Free style to your heart’s desire!

I was only using Quorn Spinach and Red Pepper Slices because I found them on offer in the shop. Although they're very tasty - so I do recommend! Here’s a vague idea of the recipe in just ten simple steps…

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Recipe: Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients: 200g spinach leaves (from fresh or frozen), 6 large eggs, 100-150g cheddar cheese, a pack of Quorn Spinach and Red Pepper Slices, and butter/marg for greasing

1.     To start off, you need to prep your ingredients. I did this the night before to maximise my time in bed in the morning, but you could sprint out of bed and sort this in the morning no problem.

2.     First off, begin by finding a pan with a lid and heating it over a low temperature. Fill the pan with spinach leaves (just leaves - no water required), then keep checking back every few minutes to stir the leaves around and add more to the pan, as the leaves begin to wilt and reduce in size.

3.     While your spinach is wilting, grate your cheddar cheese and dice your slices of Quorn into small pieces.

4.     Once all your spinach has wilted, drain in a colander and then press between squares of kitchen roll, to remove moisture from the spinach – so you don’t end up with soggy muffins!

ChefBeHere Top Tip: If you’ve begun prepping the night before, you can leave it here. Store your cheese, Quorn and spinach in the fridge overnight, and pick this up in the morning.

5.     Next, heat your oven to 200C and get out a large mixing bowl.

6.     Crack six large eggs into the bowl and season with salt and pepper.

7.     Add your cheese, wilted spinach and Quorn to the bowl, and give everything a good stir together.

8.     Grease the holes of a muffin tray with butter or marg, and then spoon your eggy mix into the holes, filling them almost to the top.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: I filled ten muffins holes, but your mix might make more or less depending on how much you’ve made. Don’t fret! Just keep filling almost to the top.

9.     Carefully transport your tray into the oven, and leave the muffins to bake for around 25 minutes.

10.  Once your muffins are golden brown on top and firm to touch, you can safely remove them from the oven and switch this off. Your muffins should easily come out of their holes in the tray – leave to cool for a few minutes and then you can tuck in!

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What do you think, readers? Are you tempted by this recipe? Have you made similar breakfast muffins before? I must say – I have never tried anything of the kind, didn’t know this was a thing! And I’ve always been on the fence about whether or not I like egg and cheese paired together.

But, readers, these muffins came out well and they taste so good! I’m over the moon with them! Honestly, it’s been a good thing I’ve not been working from home today or I fear I would have snacked my way through the lot. I can confirm they can be eaten warm or cold, tasting just as good cold as warm, as there has been SOME snacking since I got home.



I originally made these muffins for breakfast this morning, before setting off to work, and they put me in such a good mood today! A warm, filling, tasty, low-carb breakfast – the dream! And a break from the monotony of yoghurt, seeds and berries, which has been my staple low-carb breakfast for ten or more days now. Far too long.

I shall be saying a BIG thank you to my friend when I see her this weekend, for recommending the recipe, and I’ll definitely be making these breakfast muffins again soon! How about you, readers? Do you think you might give these a go? Let me know what you think – I’m interested to see whether everyone raves about them as much as me! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Until next time, readers. Take care.

And wilt safely,


Hayley