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Adventures in Cooking: I Made Risotto!

1511637_10152925359442160_3608120173924848687_n At our recent Slimming World taster evening, one of the ladies made the risotto out of the August Slimming World magazine. It was delicious, and it was the first time I had ever had risotto. I just don’t like rice a whole lot so I don’t eat it often and I rarely make it. Even when we have a Chinese or Indian takeaway, it’s a struggle to eat the rice (even though it’s a fabulous free food!). When I got home, I mentioned this recipe to Tim and he asked if I would try it……ah, the things we do for love.

The original recipe was called (I think) Butternut Squash Risotto. Naturally, it called for a butternut squash. Which I didn’t have. But I did have something called an “onion squash” (called that, I’m guessing because it looked like a giant orange onion) I bought at Waitrose a few weeks ago, so I decided to use that. Cutting into it was tough…so tough my big knife slipped and took a slice out of my knuckle. Ow. Disaster #1. I decided to pull out some pumpkin puree from the freezer instead. I also decided to add some chicken to the recipe, as that’s how we had it at group and it was really good. The recipe also called for onion and garlic (which I omit always due to allergies) and a red chili…which I didn’t have, but I had some dried red chili flakes, so those would have to do.

After cooking the chicken and the veg, the next step is adding the risotto rice and BOILING HOT STOCK one ladleful at a time. The dish has to be kept constantly stirred and the idea is you add a ladle of stock, stir, let it absorb, and repeat until you have one last ladleful of stock to put in. So, ladle in one hand and wooden spoon in the other I began. After 2-3 ladlefuls, my wooden spoon slipped and >SPLAT< a spoonful of boiling hot stock and rice landed on my hand. Ow. I dropped the spoon into the dish and ran my hand under cold water. Disaster #2. I carried on, though I only used 700ml of stock when the recipe called for a full Litre. I can only assume this is because I used pureed pumpkin instead of chunks of squash. Since it looked awfully goey, I took it off the heat, didn't bother adding the last of the stock and stuck a lid on it for 3 minutes.

As I was dishing it out I discovered that when I stopped stirring it to tend to my burnt hand it caused some of the rice to stick to the bottom of my cast iron dutch oven. Disaster #3.

But the risotto was yummy, and Tim even went back for seconds!

I decided the best way to try to clean this would be to add some water to the pot, squirt in some Fairy Platinum, and boil it for 20 minutes to hopefully loosen the stuck on rice. After 20 minutes I took the pot off the heat, grabbed a scrubber and started scraping....and splashed my other hand with boiling hot water. Disaster #4. Fortunately, I was able to shift all the cooked on rice and have rescued my pot. Would I make this again? Sure! But I think I'll be more careful....maybe wear some gloves.

Would you like the recipe?

You will need:

Diced chicken breast (I used one, but you could buy a pack of pre-diced)
250g pumpkin puree
275g risotto rice
700ml boiling hot vegetable stock
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Fry light
Salt & pepper

heavy pot with lid

1. Spray the bottom of a heavy pot with fry light and add the chicken and cook until the chicken is browned on all sides.
2. Add pumpkin puree and the pinch of red pepper flakes.
3. Add risotto rice and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add a ladle of stock, and cook for 2 minutes (or until stock is absorbed), stirring constantly.
5. continue to add stock in two minute intervals and continually stir.
6. About 15 minutes later, you should be on the last ladleful. Remove pot from heat, stir in the last ladle of stock, season with salt and pepper, and cover for 3 minutes.

Enjoy!

(and if you're on Slimming World, this Risotto is free on EE!)

***

Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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My Visa Journey Part 3: Citizenship

invitation I became eligible for my UK citizenship in January 2013 after three years of residency, but we did not submit my application until September 2014. At the time I submitted my application, I was quoted as it taking 3-6 months to process, but closer to six….so imagine my surprise on Saturday when I got my acceptance letter! Total time from application being submitted to letter arriving on my doorstep was 6 weeks and 6 days!

The application itself is pretty straight forward. You download it off the gov.uk website. Don’t forget to download the guide and booklet to filling out the application as well as the payment form*! The current fee is £906, but this usually increases every 6-12 months, so it’s a good idea for you to double check with the website. I think the most frustrating part for me was finding the application online as UKBA used to have it’s own separate website and sometime between getting my ILR in 2012 and now, they moved all their files over to gov.uk. Google to the rescue!

You can either send your application in on your own (and send all your original documents) or you can pay £50 to your local council for a Nationality Checking Service. At this appointment, they will photocopy all of your documents and send those so you will not need to send in your originals.

Before you start to fill out the application, you need to get your photograph taken. I went to Snappy Snaps and had 4 photos done for £10. I’ve since used one for my provisional driver’s license and will use the remaining two when I apply for my British passport. You also could use one of those £5 machines in Tesco, Asda, etc. but every time we tried to get mine done the machine seemed to be down. I also preferred having mine done by a person and not a machine, because this ensured my photograph met the exact standards. Photos in hand, I was ready for the second important part of my application: your references.

You need to have two references. Both references need to have known you for at least three years. One needs to fit some very specific criteria** such as being a business owner, and the other reference needs to hold a valid British passport. Your first reference does not necessarily need to be British, by the way and neither referee can be related to you, even by marriage. Fortunately for me, I have been friends with the owner of MediVisas (BTW, an excellent source of advice!) for well over three years and I used one of our local 16mm members who I have known since I was first a visitor in 2008.

application

Before you sit down to fill out your application, you should first make sure you fit the residency criteria. As the spouse of a British citizen, I was eligible after three years of residency. Even though I waited longer, they are only interested in the past three years. You must have been in the country (not travelling) on the date exactly three years before the date of your application, and in the past three years you must not have been out of the UK for more than a total of 270 days and no more than 90 in the past 12 months. You also will need to know the exact dates you were out of the country (if you didn’t keep track, just go back through your passport stamps). Days spent partially in the UK (date you left and date you returned) do not count. You will need to enter the dates (for the past three years only if applying as a spouse) on page 7. If you run out of space, you can add additional details on page 13.

In addition to needing to know when you were out of the country, you need to list all of your UK addresses for the past 5 (three as a spouse) years. This can prove difficult for people who have moved multiple times. If you are reading this now with an eye to gaining citizenship, start keeping track of your addresses!

If you didn’t need to take the Life in the UK test for your ILR, you will need to take this test before you can apply for citizenship. If you are not from an English speaking country, you also will need to take an English language tests. Details for both of these can be found on the website. Hopefully, you kept hold of your LitUK test result paper, because you will need to send it with your application. If you don’t have it, you will need to take the test again, as they do not re-issue pass certificates.

You also will need to know your parents full names (including maiden for mother), birth date, nationality, and birth place, as well as all of this information for your spouse.

If you book a Nationality Checking Service appointment, you will need to bring:

-Your current passport and your passport with your current visa (if it’s in an expired passport)
-Your expired passport if it shows dates you were out of the country in the past 3 years***
-Your birth certificate
-Spouse’s current passport
-Spouse’s birth certificate
-Marriage certificate (the certified one, not the pretty one)
-Life in the UK Test pass certificate
-English language test results (if applicable)
-Proof of current address+
-Any other documents showing a change in identity (examples: adoption certificates for you or your spouse, divorce papers if either of you were previously married)
-Any other travel documents as issued by the Home Office. If you have a biometric card, bring it (I don’t have one).
-£50 to pay for the Nationality Checking Service (My council only accepted cash)
-Completed Application
-Payment slip for citizenship plus payment (No cash accepted. Card or Cheque only)

Please note that if any of your documents are in a language other than English, you will need to get them translated.

My Nationality Checking Service appointment was on a Wednesday morning. I did not need to bring my spouse along with me, but I did need to bring his documents. My appointment took about 15 minutes because I had organized everything ahead of time in a document folio in the exact order it would be needed. The woman who did my review praised my organisation….I couldn’t imagine doing these things without keeping my paperwork organised! As we went through my application, she had a checklist of documents and after we made the stack, she left the room to photocopy everything and returned all of my original documents to me. If you do not use the checking service, you cannot send copies and would need to send your originals.

fee

At the appointment, I was told I would hear from them in about 2 weeks letting me know the payment had been taken, and then I wouldn’t hear again for 6 months as that was how long it was taking to process applications. Well, I must be lucky as my letter arrived this weekend — what a perfect fifth anniversary present for us!

First thing Monday morning (today!) is ringing up the county council office to schedule my citizenship ceremony! Unfortunately, I can’t apply for my British passport right away as I am travelling to the US in January and I do not think I would have my passport back in time, but at least I will have my new passport before my trip to the US in May! (and yes, I will keep my blue US one too! I get to be a dual citizen!)

***

*When I went to my appointment, they had copies of the payment form, but to be on the safe side I would print one out.
**The guide claims there is a “list on our website”, but I could never find it. However, the full list if acceptable referees can be found here.
***If you have travelled to a country that is part of the CTA (such as Ireland) it’s a good idea if you have copies of your boarding cards if you flew or took a ferry to show the dates you entered and left. I’m not sure if this was a requirement, but I submitted the information as I listed Ireland on my dates out of the UK.
+This is not listed as a requirement, however I was asked for this at my appointment. Fortunately, I had with me the letter I recieved with my ILR that listed my current address, although she did tell me it would have been okay if I didn’t.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Recipe] Pumpkin Pie Tarts [Slimming World Friendly]

pies My Slimming World group had a taster evening right before Halloween and I decided to bring an American-style treat. I knew I wanted to make something with pumpkin, since it’s the season for pumpkin everything in the US, and so I came up with these tarts based on my mince pie tarts from Christmas. Because pumpkin is a vegetable, it’s free no matter what you do to it so you only need to syn the pastry, in this case two of these little tarts come in at 1.5 Syns. The filling and pastry are egg-free, and I’m sure you could substitute in gluten free flour (but please recalculate your syns!) to make a gluten free treat.

[DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.]

This will make 38 tarts. If you follow this recipe exactly, your Syn value is .75 per tart, or two tarts for 1.5 Syns.

[Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.]

You will need:

For the pastry:
225g wholemeal flour (I used Alinson’s)
100g Flora light (blue container)
pinch of salt
water
(if you prefer a sweeter base, add some sugar substitute)

For the filling:
400-500g pureed pumpkin (you also can use tinned pumpkin)
1/4C sugar substitute (I used Truvia)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp mixed spice

tart pans
biscuit cutter
fry light

1. Combine flour and salt and rub Flora until crumbs are formed.
2. Add a little water until dough sticks together and form into a ball.
3. Refrigerate pastry for 30 minutes.
4. While the pastry chills, combine all filling ingredients and set aside and pre-heat the oven to 180C.
5. Roll out your pastry as thinly as possible and use the middle-sided biscuit cutter to cut out 38 rounds.
6. Spray a tart pan and gently press the rounds of pastry into the cups, shaping it up the sides. Fill with approximately 1TBS pumpkin filling. (I eyeballed it)
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until tart bases are firm and slightly browning. Filling will not be solid.
8. Turn out onto a cooling rack for about 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

I can’t wait to make these for Ex-pat Thanksgiving!

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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Recipe: Squash Stoup [Slimming World Friendly]

stew
[DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.]

Last week I was on the Slimming World website, when I spotted a recipe for Squash, Potato, and Bacon stew. It looked like a great idea, but I wasn’t a fan of several of the ingredients. So, like I tend to — I changed up the recipe to fit my own likes/needs and what I had in the kitchen. It turned out more like a cross between a stew and a soup – a stoup, really. It was really good, but I think next time I might chop up the squash a little bit smaller so it’s easier to eat with a spoon. This recipe is Syn free on the Extra Easy (Orange) plan. You could omit the bacon to make it free on Green. If you follow Red, you will need to work out your Syn values.

[Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.]

This recipe will take about an hour and half from prep to finish, though steps one and two can be prepared ahead of time and the squash and potato stored in the fridge for up to a day.

You Will Need:

2 small squash, or 1 butternut squash. I took advantage of the season (and the fact that I love squash!) and picked up two random looking squashes – one orange (looked like a mini pumpkin) and one with yellow stripes. Both were about the size of a softball.
1 sweet potato (mine was huge, so I actually only used half)
1 pack of bacon medallions (There are either 8 or 10 in the pack, depending on the brand or just use regular bacon with the fat trimmed off. My husband wondered if we could use chicken or pork instead next time and I don’t see why not)
1 pint of vegetable broth (made with bouillon, could probably use chicken if that’s all you have)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
200g frozen peas
6 Tablespoons tomato passata
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 Tablespoon each of Sage and Thyme
Fry Light

1 – Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
2 – First, you will need to roast your squash and potato. Cut your squash in half lengthways and scoop out all the seeds, then lay cut side up on a baking tray sprayed with frylight. Cut the sweet potato in half lengthways and add it to the tray cut side up. Spray the tops with Fry Light and roast for 45 minutes. If your squash was large, it might take longer. Poke your squash with a fork and if it feels tender, it’s done. Take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly. (optional: peel the skin off while it’s still hot if you don’t want or like the skin. I left mine on). Once you are able to handle the squash and potato, cut them into chunks (size is up to you).
3 – Chop up the bacon and spray the bottom of a deep stove-top safe casserole dish with fry light (I used my Le Cruset dutch oven for this, but a large saucepan will do). Add the bacon to the pan and lightly fry. You don’t need the bacon to go crispy (unless you like it that way!).
4 – Once the bacon is cooked, add the tinned tomato, vegetable broth, passata, and herbs and bring to a boil. Add in your chopped squash and sweet potato and simmer for about 20 minutes.
5 – Add the frozen peas and cook until the peas are done (about 10 minutes).

I might try this in my crock pot sometime. If I do that, I won’t pre-roast the squash or potato, but I will still pre-fry the bacon.

Enjoy!

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Recipe] Tuna Casserole [Slimming World Friendly]

tuna

Firstly, please excuse any typos I don’t catch. I’m on our wireless keyboard, and it has problems with the letters h, j, and k.

[DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.]

For reasons unknown, today I really wanted my mom’s Tuna Noodle Casserole. It was a staple of growing up and probably my second favourite tuna based casserole (the first one is Captain’s Casserole, a recipe I’m sure I’ll Slimming World-ize at some point). So I asked my mom to send it to me and I took a look at it. Butter, flour, and milk were going to shoot the Syn value pretty high, but then I remembered a recipe for a white sauce in the little book of sauces, so out it came for research purposes.

Now, I didn’t ave any noodles, so I used whole grain pasta. You can use noodles or pasta, whatever you happen to have on hand. We also never measure out the noodles, just cooked a few handfuls!

[Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only.]

You Will Need:
Noodles (or pasta)
2 tins of tuna fish in brine/water
125ml skim milk
100g fat free fromage frais (US friends: I recently discovered you can substitute greek yogurt as fromage frais is hard to find!)
1 tsp cornflour
1/4 tsp mustard powder (I used Coleman’s)
1 slice of whole grain bread from a 400g loaf
100g peas (optional)
salt & pepper

1. cook pasta according to directions on package and pre-heat the oven to 175C.
2. While the pasta is cooking, make your sauce by gently heating the milk and cornflour, removing it from the heat just before it starts to boil, and whisking in the fromage frais, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Add both tins of drained tuna to the sauce mixture.
3. Spray a casserole dish with frylight and begin layering your casserole with a layer of pasta, some peas, then the tuna mixture. Repeat layers, making sure the tuna is the final layer.
4. You have two options with your bread. You can either cut it into cubes and put the cubes on top, or blitz it in a blender to top with breadcrumbs.
5. Give the layer of bread a squirt of frylight and bake for 25-30 minutes until thoroughly heated and the breadcrumbs/cubes are golden.

Total Syns in this recipe: 6 Syns for the whole thing. It makes plenty for 2 or 3, and probably enough for 4 if you have lots of sides with it.

This version wasn’t as saucy as what my mom would make, but you could always make more sauce (but remember to recalculate your Syns if you add extra milk or cornflour).

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Recipe] Black & Blue Pasta [Slimming World Friendly]

blackandblue [DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.]

A few years ago, Tim and I were planning on celebrating our birthdays (they’re only three days apart) at our favourite Italian American restaurant here in the UK. Due to Tim’s work schedule, we went out for Lunch instead of Dinner, and got the chance to order off the Lunch menu. Tim ordered something called “black and blue pasta”. He loved it and has been disappointed that it’s not a Dinner option at the restaurant. I kept saying I would try to re-create it at home, but I’m really picky about my blue cheeses and I worried it wouldn’t melt very well and it would be swimming in fat. A few weeks ago, we were talking at my local Slimming World group (Consultant Rebecca Stones!) about melting Laughing Cow wedges. Now, I had melted the regular ones to make a poor woman’s mac n cheese, but hadn’t tried it with the flavoured ones, so an experiment was conducted, and Tim tells me it tastes just as good (better!) than what we could get at Frankie and Benny’s!

I’m posting this recipe because two of my friends saw my Instagram picture on Facebook and couldn’t believe this was “diet food”!!

Black and Blue pasta (serves one)

Syn Values: FREE if counting the cheese as your HEA, otherwise one serving is 6 Syns (each triangle is 1.5 Syns)

[Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.]

You Will Need:

1 Chicken breast, cut up into bite sized pieces
1 TBS Cajun or Jerk spice (optional. Add more for extra spice!)
4 Laughing Cow Light Cheese Triangles with Blue Cheese
1 TBS Fat Free Fromage Frais
Pasta (As much as you want)
Frylight

1. Pre-heat a griddle pan (or frying pan) over high heat, sprayed with Frylight. While the pan is pre-heating, start cooking your pasta according to the package directions in a separate pot (I always pre-boil the water in the kettle to give it a head start to cut down on cooking time).
2. Toss the chicken with the spices and add to the griddle pan. Cook on high for about 5 minutes, then turn over and cook for an additional 5. continue to turn the bites of chicken until they are cooked through and browned (starting to char a little!).
3. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot. Add the 4 blue cheese triangles and the fromage frais and mix over low heat and keep stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth.
4. Serve with a salad or vegetables of your choosing (I made a dressing with Fromage Frais and herbs).

This is so good, I want to make it again tonight…..

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Recipe] Chocolate Flapjack

flapjack When I first moved to the UK and I would hear the word “flapjack”, I would automatically think of a pancake and I kept being confused as to why bakeries, tea shops, and coffee shops would offer a pancake with your cuppa. Well, I finally found out that a flapjack in the UK is a sweet oaty bar….kind of like a granola bar, but not quite so wholesome. The primary ingredients are oats, butter, and sugar. I did enjoy the few times I tried flapjack, but I had never tackled baking my own, until today.

And since I’m on Slimming World, I of course had to create my own version of a flapjack that come in at 4.5 Syns per square (if it’s divided into 18).

[Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only.]

You Will Need:

225g Quaker Rolled Oats
100g Flora Lightest (purple container)
40g Splenda
4 tsp The Groovy Food Company agave
100g Dr Öatker plain chocolate chips

Pre-heat your oven to 180C. I mixed these up in the same tray I baked them in, which was a small glass roasting tray. All you need to do is smoosh all the ingredients together in your dish (the girl who hates getting her hands dirty sprayed her hands with Frylight and squished it together by hand!) and bake for 25 minutes! You can score them before they go in to make it easier to cut apart, or cut them once they are cool. I made two horizontal cuts (to make three long strips of flapjack) and then cut each strip into 6 squares.

Not only is this Slimming World friendly, but it’s also safer for diabetics!

***

[DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.]

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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What Fast Forward Has Taught Me

1610111_10152489688127160_3799572187157379018_n
My two weeks on Fast Forward are done! This week, I lost 2 pounds on it, bringing my Fast Forward two week total to 7 pounds. I now have to go off Fast Forward and forget about it for a few weeks before I am allowed to go on it again (if I need/want). I’m also incredibly closer to a personal goal I had set and am now only 3 1/2 pounds away from it, 4 pounds away from my three stone award, and 8 and a half pounds away from the first target I set for Slimming World! I am prepared that this week I might have a little gain as my body comes off the restricted diet and back onto regular eating, but that’s okay. I really think that doing Fast Forward has given me the kick in the pants I needed!

I’ve learned a few things while doing Fast Forward, and I thought I would share those things with you:

  • I learned that measuring is KEY. Looking back on my eating habits for the past 8 weeks, I can see where I might not have actually measured out my HEA. I would use milk in my tea/coffee and then at the end of the day say that the milk was my HEA even though I didn’t measure it out at the beginning to find out if I used all of it or more than it.
  • I learned how important Super Free food really is. Fast Forward has you eating one salad every day, and I really started looking forward to my salads. And now that I’m off Fast Forward, I can start to put other veggies like radishes and peppers into my salad that weren’t on my list. I think one of my goals coming off of Fast Forward is going to be to still have at least one salad each day.
  • I learned drinking plenty of water is really important! 1.5L each day (or 500ml morning, afternoon, and evening) should be the bare minimum. And if you don’t like plain water, you can add a drop of squash or add a slice of lemon. I find a slice of lemon, a slice of cucumber, and a few springs of mint is quite refreshing.
  • I learned to listen to my body. I actually felt better and fuller longer when I was eating 5-6 small meals each day instead of three “big” meals. Having a light breakfast when I woke up, and then a breakfast-y type snack a few hours later, followed by a sandwich or salad for Lunch and then a few hours later I’d have the other half (salad or sandwich)…I’d have a filling dinner, but then have a snack about an hour or two before bed. This might be hard to keep up with depending on my schedule, but it seemed to work better for me.
  • I learned how to get creative. No, really. Plain cottage cheese with a cut up apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon and a pinch of splenda. YUM. Plain yogurt topped with sliced strawberries and plums. Adding strawberries to a salad. Making a herby mayonnaise to go on a chicken sandwich. So many creative things that I never really would have thought about before if I hadn’t been on such a restricted diet.
  • I really like Greek salad!
  • Never give up

I’m sure there are more, but that’s all I can remember since WordPress ate my post!

***
[DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.]

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Slimming World Fast Forward Weekly Diary

[DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.]

Wow, so here we go. This is a transcript of my paper journal I kept these past 7 days….

Day One

Trips to the Loo: 20
Drinks: 2L Water, 1.5L still lemonade, 2 cups coffee, 2 cups green tea

0930: Coooofffeeeeeeeee! Skim milk is gross. Sweetener. Lots of sweetener.
Hmm, I do like crumpets. Time to get out my cool drinking cup. It holds 710ML, so if I fill it at lest 2 and a bit times I’ll drink the required amount. Hmm. Gotta pee. Again. And again. and again. OMG when will I stop needing the loo?!
1145: Hungry. but it’s too early for Lunch. More water! (and peeing!)
1250: greeksalad
Lunch, finally.
1405: You know, a digestive biscuit never tasted so good!
1420: All that rain is making me need the loo again…..
1450: Can I start planning dinner yet? I planned on Salmon, but I’m not sure I want that. Anyway, time to do some work….
1835: OK, time for dinner. Skipping the salad and saving it for a later snack sounds like a good idea to me.
2020: strawberrysalad
Mmmm. Adding strawberries to salad? Brilliant.
2200: Bedtime.

Day 2
I stopped tracking my trips to the loo. I only did it yesterday for giggles.
0730: Awake. Ugh. Water & an apple to keep me going for now….
0920: Gave in and made coffee. Still don’t like skim milk.
1100: Visit to the in-laws for a cuppa….black tea. Bletch.
1230: Greek salad again. I’m supposed to have variety on this plan, but the greek salad option is just so good! This eating plan isn’t so bad….yet. Although I feel like I’m eating a lot of carbs. Wholegrain bread, pita bread, crumpets….that’s a lot of carbs. But, I’m still feeling positive!
1800: Dinnertime.
1900: I still have room for some snacks. Really want some biscuits, so going to have to go shopping for some Rich Tea or Morning Coffee biscuits. I’ve never had either, but I’m willing to try them.
2020: Having a diet Root Beer for a treat. I wonder if I could freeze some natural yoghurt and make a root beer float?
2215: I wonder how a hilight mixed into a cup of coffee would taste? The answer is JUST LIKE A MOCHA. Yummmmm
Midnight: Crap. Hungry. Hmmm. Maybe some Ryvita with cream cheese will satisfy me?

Day 3
0130: It’s 1:30 in the morning, so let’s replan my week’s menu….
1030: Wow, woke up later than I had expected. Oh well, time for breakfast. Wow, that’s a lot of strawberries:
yogurtberries
1300: Need some more food. Time for a trip to Waitrose.
1500: Why does Waitrose have to smell like bacon? :( Hungry! Having a peppermint tea in the cafe before I head home. Bought some Rich Tea fingers. I wonder if anyone would notice if I sneak into my bag to open them? Nope! Hey, these are pretty good. Taste like animal crackers from when I was a kid.
1800: Dinnertime
2100: Hmm. Someone online has told me I’m not following the plan right. Well, I hate to say it, but they don’t control me. If I’m doing this wrong, Rebecca will tell me. She saw my week’s plan and didn’t say anything about it. Besides, isn’t it all about what works for you? I’m actually discovering (yes, only three days in) that I actually prefer having lots of little meals throughout the day instead of three main ones. The proof will be in my weigh-in…..
2130: Cinnamon is a spice, right? Cottage cheese, apples, and cinnamon sound like a nice bedtime snack.

Day 4
0745: Up early. Breakfast. Hope I don’t get too hungry later.
1500: Ok, today is HARD! I’m just so hungry :( And tomorrow is going to be a challenge since we are spending the day out at the Butterley Garden Railway.FORWARD PLANNING….right? I’m hungry. I ate Lunch at 1400 but I’m still hungry. Wishing for some diet soda….

Day 5
We spent the day out. I had a sensible Breakfast and packed a sensible Lunch, but we wound up out much later than we had hoped and needed to stop for Dinner. I made the best of it with a jacket spud, omelette, and salad….hope that will be good enough! Tonight would have been weigh-in day, but since we were out so late, I’m going to go to a different group tomorrow.

Day 6
I had a sneaky peek on the Wii to see where I was at and it’s said I’ve lost weight — yay!
I decided to have a jacket potato with tuna for Lunch. I hated opening a whole tin of corn just for a few Tablespoons, so I hope I can use it up before it goes bad. I also added some olives for flavour.

Day 7
Well….I did it. I lost FIVE POUNDS. AAAND, I got a shiny 2.5 Stone certificate too:
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I also had a look on my Wii Fit history, and from back in 2011 when we first got our Wii until now, I have lost 4 Stone. That makes me feel incredible.

Bring on Week 2 of Fast Forward…..5.5 pounds to go until I hit my interim target…..can I do it by next week?

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Slimming World Fast Forward

10176138_10152476891312160_2430514579182104496_n [DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.]

Last week at Slimming World, I gained a half pound. This might not sound like much to anyone, but the week before I had lost 4 pounds, but the week before that I had GAINED 4….and going back in my weight loss chart, last Wednesday I weighed the same that I had at the beginning of March. My log looked like this:

+1
0
-2.5
-.5
+1.5
-2.5
+1.5
-.5
+4
-4
+.5

Now, in there somewhere I did have knee surgery and a very stressful few weeks of not only surgery recovery but also taking over my role as Company Secretary for the Association of 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers (more on that in another post!) a few weeks earlier than planned. But to have not gotten anywhere after all those weeks? Gut-wrenching. I broke down in tears during Image Therapy, got a few hugs from my friends, and talked with my consultant, Rebecca Stones. Rebecca suggested that I give Fast Forward a go.

You hear horror stories about Fast Forward. A lot of people say not to do it, and it really does look scary when you first think about the fact that it’s a very restrictive eating plan, whereas the usual Slimming World plans (Extra Easy, Green, and Original/Red) are all based on eating anything you want with moderation (with loads of Free and Super Free foods you can eat unlimited quantities of depending on which plan you follow, plenty of Healthy As and Bs to choose from, and up to 15 Syns per day to spend on whatever you want). But Fast Forward has been an effective tool for people who are having a hard time keeping themselves on track, or they are really close to their goal and need an extra boost. Me, I’m in both boats. I have 10lbs to go until I hit a crucial interim goal of mine as well as flip flopping all over the place weight-wise recently. So I told Rebecca I would take a look at the packet and give it some thought, but if I really thought it wasn’t for me I wouldn’t force myself to do it. She didn’t have the packet on her as another member had it, so I had to wait for it to be sent to me (the fast forward packet is on loan from your consultant while you’re on it).

Because the fast forward plan is so restrictive, you are only allowed to be on it for a maximum of two weeks at a time (though I’m not sure how many weeks in between going on it you are allowed) and you must give the packet back to your consultant when you are done. This plan is not publicized on their website, and we are asked not to share it. So this blog post will not discuss the details on how to follow Fast Forward, just my experience on it. Consultants have a booklet that helps them calculate how many “units” you are allowed to eat per day based on your weight. I was given 21 units. The booklet has a page full of meals that are worth 5 units, a page of meals that are 8, a page of 1 unit snacks, and a page of 2 unit snacks. That’s it. You also have to drink at least 500ml of water three times per day (1.5L total), eat at least 1 salad (or other listed veggie) each day in addition to your units, and you can have unlimited black tea & coffee, sugar free squash, low-calorie soda, and certain condiments. You also have to pre-plan your week’s menu (though mine changed several times!) and send it off to your consultant so they can make sure you understand the plan. I spent all day Thursday working on my menu plan trying to get it just right, and then out shopping on Friday. I had a LOOOONG shopping list, so I went to Lidl, where I managed to get nearly everything I needed for under £35. (I still needed to top up with Tesco (and my husband needed food!), but we only spent £30. If I had ordered everything from Tesco, the bill would have been over £80. I checked. Every little helps!)

While I was figuring out my meals for the week, some of the items really struck me as funny. Crumpets? Olives? Biscuits? Ice Lollies? These are only a few of the choices you can make while on Fast Forward. As I said, some of them do feel a little weird, since crumpets are 4 Syns, Olives have Syns, Biscuits have Syns, Ice Lollies have Syns….but then it eliminates unlimited pasta, potatoes, rice, meat, veggies, and fruits. Some days I think I might have gone over 15 Syns if I was following Extra Easy, but because this is Fast Forward, it was okay. I had to tell myself to forget about thinking about the Syn values of items and just eat to my plan. Stick to my plan was my mantra.

I kept a paper day-by-day journal, which I will share with you all tomorrow.

Until then….

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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[Recipe] Slimming World Fakeaway Fried Chicken

2014-05-06 20.30.13 When the Fakeaway book came out I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to get it. It seemed silly, when there are loads of changes you can make to existing recipes to make them Slimming World friendly, but at the same time I thought it might be useful for some new ideas. Last week, I bought it, and the first thing I did was tab off all the recipes I wanted to try….and I tabbed 24 of them!

So this week, I plan on trying FIVE new recipes out of the Fakeaway book. Of course, I always have to add my own flair to the recipes and I never use things as written in the books, so if I modify a recipe enough that it is different from the recipe in the cookbook, I will share them with you all.

Flipping through the book, one of the first things that caught my eye was the fake KFC. My husband likes KFC, but it’s so greasy I swear it leaves a lump in your stomach. Fortunately, the crew at Slimming World have developed a non-greasy, SW friendly version, so here is my version of KFC style chicken fingers. If you make the full dozen, each finger is 1/2 Syn.

[Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only.]

You will need:

150ml Passata
2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp celery salt
1 TBS mixed herbs
pepper grinder (I used rainbow pepper)
1 egg, separated and yolk discarded (save it for an omelette!)
60g wholegrain bread (2-3 slices. It’s best to measure this out to make sure you don’t go over or under 60g), blitzed into breadcrumbs
12 chicken breast mini fillets
Fry Light

1 – Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment (or just spray with Fry Light)
2 – beat the egg white separately until it forms stiff peaks
3 – in a separate bowl (big enough to dip your chicken in) combine passata, chilli powder, celery salt, herbs, and a few grinds of the pepper mill. Fold in the egg white.
4 – Dip chicken fillets in tomato/egg mixture and then dredge in breadcrumbs. Spray tops with Fry Light
5 – bake 30-35 minutes.

If you start preparing your potato wedges/chips while the oven is pre-heating, you should be able to put both chips and chicken in at the same time and if you’ve pre-boiled the potatoes, they will take about the same amount of time as the chicken. I took the chicken out and raised the temperature on the chips for 5-10 minutes to crisp them up.

UK KFC is different from the KFC in the USA. There are no biscuits or mashed potatoes and gravy. Instead, you can get your chicken served with baked beans, chips (fries), and corn on the cob. Beans, potatoes, and corn are all FREE on Extra Easy (and on Green too, I think). For a dipping sauce, I took some Fromage Frais (also FREE) and added some dried chives (FREE) to make a mock sour cream & chives, or you could make Slimming World BBQ sauce.

My dinner tonight cost me 3 Syns, and that was including the ketchup for my chips! Quite tasty, and my husband said it did taste similar to KFC.

***
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Slimming World: A Week in the Life

1911353_10152275381477160_591973515_o Last night I got my 2 Stone Award!!

A few of my friends have asked me what I eat since I tend to have consistent weight loss, and when I do have a wobble, I usually know what the cause was. I lose on average 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 pounds per week, which for me isn’t bad! So since I decided to start tracking my food again this week, I thought I would post a typical week. I’ll add recipes at the bottom.

For those of you not on Slimming World, Slimming World has 5 categories for food. Free and Super Free (mostly fruit, vegetables, and other food that fill you up – things like pasta, rice, lean meats, etc.), Syns, Healthy Extra As (something with calcium), and Healthy Extra Bs (something with Fiber). Additional As and Bs can be had, but you count them as Syns. The booklet you get when you join has hundreds of Syn values, and you can find the values for everything else online (or with the ap). If the Syns aren’t listed, you can use the Syn calculator. If an item has Syns, the number is indicated in parenthesis. Slimming World has three eating plans, Original, Green, and Extra Easy. I tend to follow Extra Easy. Unless otherwise stated, the coffee I drink is fresh brewed, sweetened with saccharine tablets and my tea is Tetley “best of both” blend. Mayonnaise used is Hellman’s Lightest, Ketchup is always Heinz Reduced Sugar and Salt, Bread is usually from a 400g loaf of Warburton’s, Squash is no added sugar Robinsons.

Day 1
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk measured out and used in tea/coffee
Breakfast – BLTEP(*) wrap in a Weight Watcher’s Tortilla (5 Syns) with Mayonnaise (.5 Syns), banana, coffee with milk.
Morning Snack – grapes, a pear, 500ml squash, and a cup of tea with milk
Lunch – Leftover Stew(**), 60g sliced wholemeal bread (HEB) with Flora spread (.5 Syns), 500ml no added sugar lemon squash, cup of tea with milk
Afternoon Snack – WW mini cake (3 Syns), apple, cup of tea with milk
Dinner/Tea – Vegetarian Chilli(***), 500ml diet iced tea
Evening Snack – RitterSport chocolate (6 Syns), cup of tea with milk
Total Syns: 15

Day 2
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk measured out and used in tea/coffee
Breakfast – 3 egg omelette with 10g Reduced Fat Cheddar cheese (1.5 Syns), tomatoes, mushrooms, and 1 TBS Reduced Sugar and Salt Heinz Ketchup (.5 Syn), banana, coffee with milk, tea with milk
Morning Snack – Grapes and a plum, tea with milk, 500ml squash
Lunch – 3 Chicken Fingers(^) (3 Syns), seasoned potato wedges, cucumber salad(^^), Ranch dressing dip (made with powder and Greek yogurt) (.5 Syn), 1 TBS Reduced Sugar and Salt Heinz Ketchup (.5 Syn), 500ml diet iced tea
Afternoon Snack – apple and a pear with a cup of tea with milk
Dinner/Tea – I tried making mushy pea curry, but I didn’t like it, so I wound up with beans on toast (HEB), salad, and 500ml squash
Evening Snack – WW cake (3 Syns), tea with milk
Total Syns: 9

Day 3
Breakfast – BLTEP sandwich on wholegrain bread (HEB) with 1 TBS Lightest Mayo (.5 Syn), banana, Coffee with milk (.5 Syn)
Morning Snack – 500ml squash, tea with milk (.5 Syn), beans on toast (5 Syn)
Lunch – Pasta with Lightest Philadelphia Cream Cheese (HEA) stirred in and one Chicken finger(^) cut up (1 Syn), Cucumber salad(^^), apple, 500ml squash, tea with milk (.5)
Afternoon Snack – Pink N White (2.5 Syns), pear, tea with milk (.5)
Dinner/Tea – Pork steaks with mustard and agave(^^^) (1 Syn), sauteed potatoes, sprouts, salad, muller light yogurt, 500ml diet iced tea
Evening Snack – Options hot chocolate (2.5 Syns)
Total Syns: 14.5

Day 4
Breakfast – BLTEP* on wholegrain toast (HEB) with mayo (.5 Syn), coffee with milk (.5 syn), tea with milk (.5 syn), plum
Morning Snack – ASDA Vitality cereal bar (3.5 Syns), apple, coffee with milk (.5 Syn)
Lunch – Jacket Potato with reduced fat Cheddar cheese (HEA), Tuna mayo (1 Syn), and ketchup (.5 Syn), salad, pear, green tea, 500ml squash
Afternoon Snack – Pink N White (2.5 Syns), tea with milk (.5 syn), 500ml squash
Dinner/Tea – Fish and Chips(+) (2.5 Syns), mushy peas, salad, ketchup (.5 Syn), 500ml squash
Evening Snack – green tea
Total Syns: 13

Day 5
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk used in coffee and tea
Breakfast – BLETP on toast (HEB) with mayo (.5 Syn), coffee with milk, tea with milk
Morning Snack – 500ml diet iced tea (++) (.5 Syn), plum
Lunch – (I wasn’t feeling well) Scrambled eggs, 10g cheddar (1.5 Syns), wholegrain toast (rest of HEB), green tea
Afternoon Snack – Atkins Endulge Chocolate Coconut bar (6.5 Syns), 500ml diet iced tea (.5 Syn)
Dinner/Tea – Roast chicken, roast potatoes, mushy peas, sprouts, ketchup (.5 Syn), tea with milk
Evening Snack – Options Hot Chocolate (2.5 Syn) made up with water and the rest of my HEA milk
Total Syns: 12.5

Day 6
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk used in coffee and tea
Breakfast – Eggs over easy, Toast (HEB), lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise (.5 Syn), Apple, coffee with milk
Morning Snack – ASDA Vitality cereal bar (3.5 Syn), Pear, coffee with milk, 500ml squash
Lunch – Salad – lettuce, tomato, cucumber, chicken, corn, pasta, and dressing(^^), mullerlight yogurt, banana, 500ml squash
Afternoon Snack – 2 cups of tea with milk, no food as we were going out to dinner….
Dinner/Tea – Dinner out at the Fox and Hounds pub — baked sea bass with parsley, boiled new potatoes, salad, and cole slaw (counting 1 Syn for the mayo in the slaw), and then because I had some Syns left and I looked up on the Slimming World App that a basic Lemon Meringue was 8.5, I had that for desert, and 500ml sparkling water
Evening Snack – cup of green tea
Total Syns: I counted today at 15 since we went out to dinner. If the desert was 8.5, I had 14 Syns, but I am counting it as 15 to be safe, though I might have gone over 15 for the day, depending on how “naughty” the desert was!

Day 7 – Weigh In Day!
HEA: 250ml semi-skimmed milk used in coffee and tea+++
Breakfast – Scrambled eggs, baked beans, grilled tomato, apple, coffee with milk
Morning Snack – pear, mullerlight, coffee with milk
Lunch – We went to Morrison’s Cafe since we had a meeting in town. I had a Jacket potato with beans and a salad (no dressing), a mullerlight, and 2 cups of peppermint tea (all free!)
Afternoon Snack – apple, 500ml squash and a cup of peppermint green tea
Dinner/Tea – Eggs over easy, Toast (HEB), lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise (.5 Syn), RitterSport (5 Syn), tea with milk
Evening Snack – 2 Pink N Whites (5 Syn), tea with milk
Total Syns: 10.5

And this week I lost 2.5lbs to finally get my 2 stone award!

Some days I ate lots of food, some days I didn’t eat as much, but the idea is to eat if you are hungry — ie, don’t starve yourself and always eat until you are full. Some days all I really needed to feel full was some eggs and toast. Some days I needed more. Most days I ate salad at least once, maybe twice. I know it’s not the season for it, but a small pile of leaves and tomato with cucumber on the side is manageable.

1889655_10152267807482160_614012872_o1780589_10152266179582160_467023877_o1794883_10152265816302160_1318356368_ochilli

~~*~~

* – BLTEP wrap or sandwich is a lean bacon, lettuce, tomato, egg, and pickle (gherkin) wrap/sandwich. I usually use 1TBS of Lightest mayonaise for 1/2 Syn, and either my HEB bread choice or I Syn a wrap. This became my go-to breakfast all week!

** – I made this in the crock pot on Wednesday and had the leftovers for lunch the following day. Combine diced chicken breasts, mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, peas, and tinned tomato in your crock pot with 2 Knorr stock pots, mixed herbs, and 3 bay leaves. If you are using frozen chicken and vegetables, you don’t need to add any water. If using fresh, add a mugful of water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. To thicken the stew, take a ladleful of the vegetables and blitz with a stick blender, then stir back in.

*** – See Slimming World Friendly Chilli

^ – I used a bag of 10 frozen chicken fillets from iceland and coated them with a beaten egg and then crumbs made from 2 slices of Hovis bread (10 syns for the bread), so I calculated these at 1 Syn per strip)

^^ – Super easy and free dressing made from 2TBS greek yogurt, 1TBS apple cider vinegar, and 1tsp dill, added to diced cucumbers and tomatoes on a bed of lettuce

^^^ – I coated pork steaks with 1TBS Tesco Whole Grain Mustard (1/2 Syn) and 1TBS Agave syrup (1/2 Syn) in a hot oven for 10 minutes on each side.

+ – I coated the fish with an egg wash and crumbs made from 1 slice of wholegrain bread

++ – Some of the iced tea I was drinking has 0 calories, so it is free, but another brand has 5 calories per serving, so 1L is 20 calories or 1 Syn.

+++ – I always measure out 250ml of milk in the morning and then keep track of my cups of tea/coffee. If I decide to have cheese later in the day, I change the tea/coffee to 1/2 Syn per splash of milk. If I have any milk leftover at the end of the day, I will either drink it straight or have an Options hot chocolate made up with water and topped up with the last bit of milk.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Recipe] Slimming World Friendly Chilli

chilli I made this for dinner tonight and put this photo on Facebook. My friend Jess asked for the recipe, so I thought I would share it here too.

This makes a mild, sweet vegetarian* chilli and it’s FREE.

[Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only.]

You Will Need:

300g Quorn Mince
500g/ml (one carton) Passata
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans
dash of Worcester sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of Splenda or other sweetener

To serve:
fat free Fromage Frais or fat free Greek yoghurt
grated reduced fat cheddar cheese**

Simply combine all ingredients in a heavy pot with a lid (I used my Le Creuset) and heat on high until it boils, then put the lid on and simmer it for 30-45 minutes. OR, you could put all the ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low. The longer this cooks, the better the flavours get.

Then just dish it up and add a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of fromage frais or Greek yoghurt. Yum.

~~*~~
*You could use Turkey mince or lean beef mince instead of Quorn, just remember it has to have less than 5% fat to be considered free.
**If you do not use the cheese as your HEA, you will need to look up the Syn value for your cheese.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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[Recipe] Slimming World Syn Free Barbecue

January 2014 003 Barbecue sauce is a fantastic condiment/sauce that you don’t really think much of when you use it. You just grab a bottle and squirt, or grab a bottle and dump the whole thing in your crock pot with some meat. But bottled barbecue sauce is full of sugar and it can be a detriment to your weight loss. Fortunately, someone has come up with a Syn Free version of barbecue sauce! Below you will find the recipe for the barbecue sauce as well as a few recipe ideas for using it.

[Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only.]

You will need:

500g Passata (one carton)
4 TBS Balsamic Vinegar
1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp powdered mustard (Colmans)
3 TBS Splenda
1+ tsp mild chili powder
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

All you need to do is combine the ingredients in a pan over a medium heat and cook until it thickens. You can use as much mild chili powder as you want until you get it as hot as you prefer, and you can even add some dried flakes or use hot powder. If you’re balking at the price of Balsamic Vinegar, I found a large bottle for 99p at Lidl.

When it’s cooked, it’s ready to be stored it in the fridge for about a week.

Alternately, if you are going to use in in a recipe, you can put all the ingredients into a bottle and give it a shake.

Total Syns = 0

It goes fantastic with my family’s Kitchen Barbecue recipe, modified for Slimming World!

You will need:
500g lean turkey mince (or Quorn mince)
2 packs Quorn hot dogs, sliced into small rounds*
2 bags Uncle Ben’s boil in bag rice
200g frozen peas (or mixed veg)
1 Knorr Stock pot or stock cube (either chicken or vegetarian)
250ml hot water
one batch of Slimming World barbecue sauce

1. Cook Uncle Ben’s rice for half the time listed on the package (I think it says boil for 10 minutes, so only boil for 5)
2. Spray a wok or large frying pan with fry light and brown turkey mince.
3. Mix stock pot/cube with 250ml hot water and add to the mince along with the half-cooked rice.
4. Stir in the frozen peas or mixed vegetables. Cover, and let cook 5-10 minutes.
5. Stir in the barbecue sauce
6. Add the hot dog pieces, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until hot dogs are warmed through, the vegetables are cooked, and sauce is bubbling.

Total Syns = 0

Or, you could use the barbecue sauce to make a SW friendly Hunter’s Chicken with chicken breasts, bacon medalions (with the fat cut off), and your HEA cheese option (or Syn the cheese).

Another idea might be to toss the sauce into a crock pot with a piece of pork for shredded pork.

The possibilities are endless as you can use this sauce exactly like you would barbecue sauce from a bottle!

~~*~~

*If you’re not following Slimming World, you can use regular deli hot dogs (not the tinned ones) or you can Syn the hot dogs.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Making A Recipe Slimming World Friendly

sausagepie copy

In February 2012, I blogged a Hairy Biker’s recipe for Sausage and Bean Pie. Tim and I both loved it, but the recipe went out of rotation when I started eating low-carb in March 2012, and never made it back into the rotation until today. I was cold and I wanted some good, warm, comfort food. Since beans and potatoes are free with Slimming World, I thought I would try my hand at modifying the recipe.

So, let’s take a look at the original recipe:

You will need:
750g Maris Piper potatoes
3 TBS cooking oil
8 sausages (I used Tesco half-fat)
2 x 415g tins of baked beans

So right away, I see a swap I can make. Instead of cooking oil, I will use Fry Light. And instead of any sausage, I will pick a low-syn or free sausage. Fortunately, there’s this nifty little graphic floating around Pinterest to help:

sausagesyns

I chose to use Quorn sausages, which also makes this recipe vegetarian. The ones I had in our freezer were 1/2 Syn per sausage, so that makes the total Syns for the dish so far 4 Syns.

Beans and potatoes are free, so those can stay.

Now, we’ll look at the instructions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Quarter the potatoes and put in a pan of boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until soft.
2. Meanwhile, fry the sausages in 1 TBS oil until browned. (or grill them)
3. Put the sausage in the bottom of a shallow casserole dish and cover with beans. Set aside.
4. Drain and roughly cut the potatoes into chunks. Don’t worry about the skins. Some of the skins will fall off after boiling, some won’t.
5 – Fry the potato chunks in the remaining oil for 2-3 minutes. Pour potatoes on top of sausage and beans
6 – Bake at 200C 15-20 minutes until potatoes are crisp on top and the beans are hot.

Right away, I spot the word fry. Instead of frying the sausages, I could grill them as that doesn’t add any syns. And the potatoes that need to be fried can be done with Fry Light, which is free. Or, I could Syn the oil, but I want this dish to be as low Syn as possible. I’m also going to take my advice from my previous post and add poached eggs to the meal to help fill us up more. Other than that, it looks pretty straight forward. So my new and improved Sausage and Bean Casserole now looks like this:

You will need:
750g potatoes
8 low or no Syn sausages
2 x 415g tins of baked beans
Fry Light
2 eggs per person

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Quarter the potatoes and put in a pan of boiling water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until soft.
2. Meanwhile, grill the sausages as per package instructions,
3. Put the sausage in the bottom of a shallow casserole dish and cover with beans. Set aside.
4. Drain and roughly cut the potatoes into chunks. Don’t worry about the skins. Some of the skins will fall off after boiling, some won’t.
5 – Fry the potato chunks in Fry Light for 2-3 minutes. Pour potatoes on top of sausage and beans.
6 – Bake at 200C 15-20 minutes until potatoes are crisp on top and the beans are hot.
7 – While casserole is cooking, bring a pan of water to the boil. Carefully drop in two eggs per person, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 2-4 minutes, depending on how soft you want your eggs.

The result? This:

1618126_10152225918837160_29270457_o

Total Syns for the whole dish? 4. So take the number of portions and divide to get your Syns. We each ate plenty, plus I have some to save for breakfast in the morning, so dinner tonight was 1 1/2 Syns.

~~*~~
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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[Recipe] Slimming World Friendly Weetabix Muffins

1184829_10152221698197160_1021972023_n 1520789_10152221699362160_573881586_n I sometimes struggle to eat my Healthy Extra A and B each day, particularly the B choice, as I got myself out of eating carbs the year I followed a low-carb diet. Fortunately, I found this recipe for Weetabix Muffins on facebook that makes eating my Healthy B easy and spreads it out through the day (or makes a night evening snack). Since I also needed my Healthy A, I frosted the muffins with cream cheese.

[Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only.]

You will need:

for the muffins:
-2 crushed Weetabix biscuits
-2 eggs, beaten
-1/2 of a container of any flavour müllerlight yogurt (I used 3 desertspoonfuls of the Cranberry & Raspberry flavour)
-2 tsp Splenda
-1tsp vanilla essence

Silicone muffin cases

for the “frosting”:
-70g Philadelphia Lightest
-1-2 tsp Splenda
-1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1) Pre-heat the oven to 180C
2) combine Weetabix, eggs, yogurt, Splenda, and vanilla and spoon into muffin cases. you should fill the cups to nearly the top. I made 5 using my heart-shaped cups from Lakeland, but I think it would have made only 4 in regular sized ones. If you don’t have silicone cases, you could use paper liners in a cupcake pan.
3) bake 20-25 minutes, until the edges pull away slightly and they are springy.
4) If making “frosting”, combine cream cheese, vanilla, and 1 tsp Splenda. Give it a quick taste test and if it’s not sweet enough for you, add some more Splenda.
5) Spread on top of slightly cooled muffins for your HEA and HEB in one go!

Since I used a pink coloured yogurt, mine had a slight pink tinge to them and a vague taste of berry. They were slightly on the sweet side, so I might use less Splenda the next time and also try them with just vanilla yogurt.

If you have already had your A and B for the day, you would need to calculate the Syns. Philadelphia Lightest is 1.5 Syns per 25g on all plans, and Weetabix are 6.5 Syns on all plans. I would round up the cream cheese in the frosting to 75g, making the icing 4.5 Syns and the muffins 6.5, or 11 Syns total for all the muffins with frosting. Obviously, you could then divide this into your per muffin Syn value. If you made this into 5 muffins, they would be just over 2 Syns each.

~~*~~
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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24 Hours in Lincoln County Hospital

hospitalinstagram Thursday to Friday last week I was on the Shuttleworth Ward at the Lincoln County Hospital for what amounted to 24 hours. The care I had in hospital was excellent, and the staff there even waived the visiting hours rule for me since I was brought in as an emergency case and my status was unknown for large parts of Thursday evening and Friday afternoon. But before I get to that, let me explain what was going on with me, in a sort of diary form as that’s the easiest way for me to get everything out.

30 December 2013
I woke up with a very large, very painful lump/bump on my neck. A call to my regular GP yielded no available appointments, so a trip to the Monk’s Road Walk-In Centre was made. At the clinic, the nurse diagnosed me with an Abscess and prescribed Flucloxacillin, with instructions to seek medical help if the pain or swelling got worse.

31 December 2013
I was wheeling around Waitrose and started to feel ill in general. I don’t even remember going through the tills, but I did stop in the cafe for my freebie cup of tea (Peppermint, I thought to calm my stomach) and a sandwich. Well, I wasn’t able to eat my sandwich and only could sip at my tea because the pain was getting worse by the minute and the pain was spiking up into my head and across my shoulders to the point where I was holding in tears. After talking to my husband, it was decided that I needed to get to A&E and my options were waiting for the bus, going home and waiting for Tim to get home, or asking someone to take me. Fortunately, Tim works with someone who was coming on to relieve Tim and he happened to live near to where I was, so he gave me a lift to the hospital.

While there, I was sent straight up to the ENT Clinic and the doctor there diagnosed me with Cellulitis and prescribed a higher dose of Flucloxacillin and some Codeine for the pain. He set me an appointment in two weeks, where it should “be the size of a pea” and he would be able to easily cut it out. Oh, if only we had a crystal ball…..

1 January 2014
I woke up completely disoriented and didn’t even know where I was. A text message full of gibberish went to Tim who was at work, and I eventually got it together enough to ring 111. 111 sent me to the After Hours GP at the hospital, where it was determined that I was having a reaction to the codeine and was prescribed Naproxen (Alieve! Hey, I know that drug!) instead. The after hours GP also told me this wasn’t an abscess or cellulitis, but was a sebaceous cyst.

2 – 4 January 2014
The cyst got bigger.

5 January 2014
Just as we were getting ready to welcome friends to a garden railway party, I started to feel amazing. No pain whatsoever, but…what’s that smell? I went all over the house trying to find the source of this smell before I said to Tim “I think it’s me” and he looked at my neck and sure enough, the cyst had exploded. It wasn’t a burst, so much as an explosion. Friends came to the rescue once again and our local friend Sue took me into A&E so Tim could stay with our guests. At A&E they drained it….which was really painful and told me I “wouldn’t need to be seen again” for this issue. Again, where’s that crystal ball?

6 January 2014
Yep, it got bigger again.

7 January 2014
I noticed hives on my arm and back, and just assumed it was from the dust we kicked up cleaning the workshop earlier in the da, so I took some antihistamine and went to bed.

8 January 2014
I had a routine appointment with my dermatologist and showed her my neck. She was alarmed at the size of it and said I needed to see an ENT urgently (good thing I had the appointment already booked) and made noises about plastic surgery on my neck to remove the “capsule”. Yikes. She also refilled my flucloxacillin, but when I told her about the hives, she advised that it could be the flucloxacillin and to keep an eye on things and if the hives got worse to seek medical attention or come in to see her.

Later that night, the hives came back. I wound up ringing 111 and going into after hours to get my prescription changed to Erythromycin, and the GP there advised that I have my GP office add an allergy to Penicillin to my record.

9 January 2014
Despite being off the flucloxacillin, the hives got WORSE. Painfully worse. My fingers were swelling, my wrist were swelling, and my hands were painful. I rang my GP office as it was still during their open hours and I was told to come straight in. I saw Dr Nellist who took one look at me, measured the abscess (which had grown and started to weep), took my vitals, and said “I’m ringing the hospital and sending you there”. eeek!

I got to the hospital around 7PM. We had no idea what was going on, but then Tim saw my name up on their board that shows who is in what bed and we both said “uh-oh”. Tim stayed with me and I was seen by the ENT within an hour who prescribed an IV antibiotic and an IV anti histamine. The plan was to drain the abscess, but at this point they weren’t sure if it would be that night or the following day. They finally decided to wait until morning, and told me I could eat until 3AM. At this point, Tim went home to get me some things for overnight (pyjamas, a blanket, entertainment) and some food. He came back around 11PM and helped me change (hard to do with an IV stuck in your arm!) and I got into bed. The nurse offered to bring me toast and tea around 230 in the morning so I’d have something in my stomach in the morning just in case. They also added an IV drip around 6AM of what they called a “meal in a bag”. You might recall the last time I was in hospital I had to ask for this, so I was happy to not need to ask!

10 January 2014
A very nice trio of doctors came to see me and the consultant wanted it to be drained that morning. However, the junior doctor didn’t feel comfortable doing it since she hadn’t done it before on a neck, so I had to wait for the other doctor to be free. After finding out it wouldn’t happen in the morning, they decided to feed me Lunch, but I was advised to take it easy on the food just in case, so I just had a salad.

The surgeon came past just as I was walking to the loo and told me he was going to do it now, so I hurried back. The whole procedure took maybe 20 minutes under local anesthesia, but it still was really painful. Tim arrived partway through and I told him to stay away because it was really gross! After he was done, the surgeon advised for me to stick around for another hour but he didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be able to leave as long as I had no complications and to keep it dry for 48 hours.

Of course, there were complications. They came in the form of a lovely ring of hives on my back and across my chest. Crap. So, more anti histamines and IV antibiotics and I needed to see a doctor to determine if they needed me to stay another night. The anti histamine worked, so the doctor decided to release me into the care of my GP if the hives came back and they gave me prescriptions for Clindamycin and an anti histamine.

10 – 11 January 2014
I was okay, but the dressing came off so Tim had to help me apply a new one. It was bleeding a little, but nothing to be concerned about.

12 January 2014
I decided to take a bath, and Tim and I had a date night, a lovely meal out at Ask! Italian followed by the latest Hobbit film. I only had a small plaster over my neck and all was well, so we went to bed.

13 January 2014
This morning, I woke up with my hair covered in blood. At some point overnight my movement caused it to burst again. A phone call into my GP had me going in to see the nurse, who gave me some dressings with stronger adhesives and took a look at it. She discovered that there is still a core inside my neck several inches long and I would need more antibiotics, so I was given some Erythromycin again, and a follow-up appointment for Thursday. Tomorrow I see the ENT (the original appointment given to me by A&E way back on the 30th), so we will see what happens. Like I said, the dermatologist wants me to see a plastic surgeon, so we shall see what happens.

But let’s sum this up…in the past two weeks I have been to:

-a walk-in clinic
-A & E 2x
-seen an ENT doctor 3x
-After hours appointments 2x
-admitted to hospital for 24 hours
-on-call/emergency GP appointments 2x
-seen my dermatologist

and been prescribed:

-Flucloxacillin 3x
-Codeine
-Naproxen
-Erythromycin 2x
-Clindamycin
-Chlorpheniramine
plus 3x antibiotics via IV and 2x antihistamine via IV

as well as had minor surgery.

Because I have a pre-pay prescription certificate the total cost out of pocket to us for all of this care? about £10 in parking fees.

Who exactly thinks national healthcare is a bad thing again?

PS: Yes, I have photos of my neck day-by-day but they really are too gross to post!

~~*~~
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Slimming World: Success with the Countdown to Success

S7 S14 S21 Club10

Wow. I joined Slimming World 12 weeks ago and bought a Countdown to Success….and well, I’d say it’s been a success! Tonight was my week 12 weigh-in, and not only did I achieve my Club 10, but I also got my 1 1/2 stone award. Yep. 10% lighter than I was at the end of October. I can’t tell you how pleased I am.

I also kept track of my measurements in an excel spreadsheet and I’ve managed to lose 28.5 inches overall in 12 weeks AND my BMI has gone down by more than 4. Even more amazing is I’ve lost over 4 inches from my belly, something that as a PCOS sufferer is really hard to do!

I’m getting there.

Slowly, but steadily. I had a few wobbles in the past 12 weeks (gained 1 lb at our wedding anniversary week, gained 1 pound over Christmas), but overall the trend has been down. I might only be dropping a pound or two per week, but it’s all going in the right direction.

And honestly? I don’t miss the junk food. With 5-15 Syns per day, I’ve still been having “junk”, just in moderation. A Lindt truffle is 4 Syns, so when I have one I get to savor the flavour and enjoy it instead of just shovelling it into my mouth. Or biting into a crumpet with a little bit of Flora light spread on it. Even drinking an Options hot chocolate becomes a taste event as the hot chocolate is 2 Syns per 11g (one sachet). Sometimes I save my Healthy Extra A and use it to make a milky Options hot chocolate before bed. Most of the time my HEA is cheese. If you put milk in your tea, you can either take it out of your HEA or you can count it as .5 syn for a splash, so I tend to spend my syns on milk and go for the cheese. Our consultant said she doesn’t like having cheese because of measuring it out, but when you start to shred it, it really becomes quite a lot of cheese! I got a hand crank grater from Wilkos for less than £2 and that makes it super easy to grate. Or I’ll stir Philadelphia Lightest into some pasta for a take on macaroni cheese.

When it comes to my Healthy Extra B, I sometimes struggle. Especially when crackerbread got removed from the options! But 2 Alpen Light bars or 2 Hifi Light bars count as the HEB, and that includes some chocolate variations. A couple of Ryvita topped with cream cheese is both my HEA and HEB at the same time. Lately, I’ve been eating 2 slices of wholegrain bread from a small loaf for toast. The most important part is carefully measuring out your As and Bs. Argos sells a cheap digital scal for a fiver, and most measuring jugs, cups, and spoons can be had for less than £1 for a set at Wilkos.

And the free and superfree food! Some of the things that are free are Amazing! Baked beans, Mullerlight yougurts, rice, pasta…..all unlimited. All free. Fresh/raw fruit….superfree. Veggies? Do whatever you want to them and they’re superfree. And don’t forget your lean meats, bacon with the rind cut off, quorn mince (and some other products, like quorn hot dogs!), mince with less than 5% fat…..All unlimited. I have made so many meals totally free, which saves up my Syns for treats later.

So what has a typical day looked like in the past 12 weeks?

Breakfast – Baked beans and scrambled eggs done with fry light (sometimes on Toast as my HEB), sometimes an omelette with my HEA cheese), mullerlight yogurt, an apple, a banana. On days that we have extra time, I do a Slimming World “grill up” – grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, bacon without the rind, and eggs. I’ve made breakfast sandwiches combining my HEA & HEB with eggs and bacon. And always a cup of coffee with a splash of milk (.5 syns) and a cup of tea with milk (.5 syns). Sometimes I’ll enjoy a glass of Innocent Orange Juice (2 syn per 100ml), though I haven’t had juice in ages. Usually if I want orange juice, I’ll mix up some orange sugar free squash (FREE).

AM snack – a cup of green tea (milkless) and an Alpen bar or Hifi Light bar (3 Syns or half my HEB). Usually another piece of fruit or a handful of cherry tomatoes.

Lunch – Salad, a jacket potato topped with Tuna and lightest mayo (1 syn per TBS), a grilled gammon steak (no rind) with fresh pineapple and a fried egg, If I haven’t had my HEA and HEB yet, sometimes I’ll do Ryvita with lightest Philadelphia topped with some chopped veggies. For a dressing for my salad, I’ll take some fat free fromage frais or Total 100% greek yogurt with some dill and other herbs in it (free) or a 1/2 Tablespoon of some imported Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (.5 Syn). I usually round out the meal with a mullerlight and an apple, banana, some grapes, or strawberries.

Afternoon Snack – A cup of green tea, and some veggie sticks. for a dip, I make one out of greek yogurt or fromage frais and some dill and other herbs.

Dinner – We might use some syn free barbecue sauce (recipe coming soon), a HEA worth of cheese, bacon, and some chicken breast to make hunter’s chicken served with lots of steamed veggies. Or I might put some salmon with lemon pepper and dill in the steamer along with some potatoes and other veggies. If I haven’t used my HEB for the day, I might blitz some wholemeal bread and make breadcrumbs for fish and chips or chicken nuggets. Occasionally we’ll have a pasta based dish, since pasta is free, but I’m still on the low-ish carb thing and I’d rather eat potatoes than pasta for a carb! On Sundays, I do a full roast with potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.

Bedtime snack – Options hot chocolate (2 Syns) with a splash of milk to make it creamy (.5 syns) and a pink and white wafer biscuit (2.5 syns)

At this point, I usually tally up my syns for the day to see if I can have anything else. If I eat everything listed here, that’s 12.5 syns for the day so I usually will end it at that especially if I had any other cups of regular tea with milk, but if I had less than 10 syns, I might break into the chocolate and have an Lindt truffle.

I still sometimes keep a food diary. My cousin suggested a journal to track things, and Slimming World encourages you to track your first four weeks. I very religiously tracked for my first 4 weeks and continued on until around week 8. Then, I only tracked things when I felt like I needed to keep track, like if we ate a meal out. But I find tracking my food a very good tool and while I don’t want to track food for the rest of my life, if it works, it works.

And next week? Another Countdown to Success. 12 more weeks. If I can lose another stone and a half, that will bring me within a few pounds of my first target!

Are you interested in joining Slimming World? Check their website for your local group’s information! Their website also has some great taster menus for you to try out before you join, and several women’s magazines have been running coupons this month to get your first week for free!

~~*~~
The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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My Slimming World Journal

When you join Slimming World, you are given a booklet with all the information you need and the back of the book has your weight loss log. Your consultant also gives you 4 weeks worth of food diary pages. I decided that I needed to have my own little journal to use as I saw fit, and I thought I would share my journal with all of you so you can work out how to make your own.

First, I needed a really nice notebook. Fortunately, I had a Cath Kidston notebook I received for free back in March, and I decided to use that one.

December 2013 598

As you can see, I added a red ribbon to the inside and back cover to tie it shut, and I made a pen loop from some Union flag ribbon on the back. I also used some post-it tabs to tab off the weeks as they happen so I can easily go back and look at other weeks.

The inside front cover is peppered with things I printed off Pinterest. Some are silly/sarcastic, some are motivational…basically, anything that would keep me going and bring a smile to my face. I also glued in the post-it tabs so they would be handy. I use the smaller purple ones to mark important things I want to be sure to be able to find again.

December 2013 599

This was my very first day on Slimming World. My week goes from Thursday to Wednesday since we have our group meeting on Wednesdays.

December 2013 601

When I got my first 1/2 stone off, I pasted it into my notebook and marked the spot with a purple tab to find later.

December 2013 602

And when I reached personal milestones, I wrote them down in my book, too.

December 2013 603

One stone gone, and an inspirational quote I needed to see that week.

December 2013 604

I also cut things out of other weight loss magazines that offered some encouragement, like this woman who was around the same age, weight, and height as me.

December 2013 605

Lastly, on the back cover, I pasted in some syn value charts I found online and kept a running list of the synned items I had frequently. During the first four weeks of dedicated daily food tracking I found this list invaluable as it meant I didn’t have to keep flipping through books, checking an app, or going online. This is particularly useful if I’ve had to put the nutritional information of something into the calculator on my own, so I don’t have to check it again.

December 2013 606

Today is the start of Week 12 for me, and my notebook is about halfway full. I might get 12 more weeks into the book, I might get as many as 20, it just depends on what I feel I need to put in the book each week. Some weeks have a page for every day (if I was tracking everything daily), some weeks I squeezed a whole week onto 2 pages, some weeks I only needed one page. It all depends on what I want to put in my book to remember. And when I fill up this notebook, I’ll start a new one. For me, this is helping to keep me on track!

Want to print out some of the inspirational phrases for your own book? I saved many of them to my hard drive and will put them below. I’m afraid I can’t give credit to the original creators because I don’t know where they came from, they were just gathered off of Pinterest.

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