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Posts Tagged ‘food’

  1. Life advice #9: When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

    March 9, 2013 by Amy Hansford

    Life advice from a 90 year old? I’ll take it.
    Backstory blog can be found here.

    An oval of happiness Picture credit: Graham Turner/Guardian

    An oval of happiness
    Picture credit: Graham Turner/Guardian

    9. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

    Alex and I have been trying to follow Slimming World. I say trying – dinners are brilliant and ‘Syn free’ (the crux of Slimming World is that naughty-but-nice things have a Syn rating, the lower the better). Breakfasts are pretty good too. Lunch is near enough. But it’s the bits in between that we struggle with. The treats.

    I am the head shopper in the house. I literally write a menu each week of what the family will eat for every meal so I can purely buy what we need, minimising waste and cost. That means I don’t buy sweets, or desserts, or chocolate.

    This in turn means that I crave chocolate. Absolutely crave it. And when I get my hands on some, it’s gone in seconds.

    I bought myself a box of Nerds for Christmas. I should say, this means a box of a dozen boxes of Nerds. Having so much sugar to hand led to a shocking conclusion – I didn’t want it. This set me on a great path – if I have plenty of chocolate to hand, perhaps I won’t want it?

    It didn’t work. I still want chocolate. But, now that there is always enough chocolate in the house, I don’t crave it. When I want it, I just grab a bit and I’m done. There’s no primitive fear that it’ll be taken away, so I don’t over indulge. And they do say that a little of what you fancy does you good.

    And I’m sure Slimming World doesn’t really mind.

    Don’t fear the chocolate – embrace it!

  2. Slimming World: I’ve lost count

    January 11, 2012 by Amy Hansford

    My memory is dreadful. I have no idea how long we’ve been doing this now other than it’s over a week. This I know because everyone had their weigh in on Monday and they were all very happy with how much weight they’d lost. Alex lost 5.5lb, which we were impressed by.

    Last night we had spinach and mushroom cannelloni which allegedly takes an hour to prepare and cook. I started at 5.15pm and we at at 7.15pm. It tasted brilliant, but was a bit too much for me to be playing around with at the end of the day. I think I’ll need to prep it all in the middle of the day next time, give me a bit more time to breathe (and feed/bathe daughter, tidy for visiting photographers).

    It was carnage in the kitchen by the time I’d got it all in the dishes. Slimmers World suggests that you pipe the spinach/mushroom mixture in or use a teaspoon. Sod that – get stuck in and use your fingers. It’s the only way to get it all done in less than two hours.

    The finished product was lush. The highest aspiration I have is that my food be like a Marks and Spencer ready meal, and this wasn’t far off. We also have plenty left for another day – the recipe is for four, but we easily got six portions out of this and I still had some broken Cannelloni and mixture leftover.

  3. Slimming World: Day 1

    January 5, 2012 by Amy Hansford

    Alex, like many of the Griffin Players, has started Slimming World. The theory behind this diet is that most meats trimmed of all visible fat, veg and fruit is ‘free’, while other things have ‘Syn’ points. For example, two tablespoons of light mayonnaise is 1 Syn, a Jaffa Cake is 3 Syns, etc. Alex has up to 15 Syns a day. I make up a menu at the start of each week (mainly so I can make sure we have enough shopping in), only now it’s run by Slimmers World.

    You should know at this point that I dislike cooking. I don’t hate it, but there is a definite resentment at the amount of time it takes to grate an onion, chop veg, measure out spices etc. You should know also that whenever I’m preparing dinner I’m also feeding my nine month daughter whilst aiming to be out of the door as soon as Alex arrives home in order to make it rehearsals 20 minutes late. This means that these meals had better bloody be worth it, or I’m going back to sticking something in the oven for 40 minutes.

    I thought it might be valid to have a real world look at someone on Slimmers World, so here it is.

    Day one.

    Breakfast was brilliant. Giant fry up. Lovely and took me through to well past lunchtime hunger wise.

    For lunch we nipped over the marina to the Carvery. Nomilicious. Alex found he could eat pretty much everything on offer but needed to check Syns of a few things when we got back.

    For dinner, I made meatballs and spaghetti. We used wholemeal spaghetti – I bought pretty much wholemeal everything in the last shop as it’s meant to be better for you, Syns or no Syns. You know what? Wholemeal spaghetti tastes fine, don’t fret it. It was a bit of a pain prepping and cooking everything simultaneously, but it came out pretty good. I whacked a salad on the side so my portions didn’t seem too small. I’m impressed at how good it tastes. I made enough to put two portions aside to ‘ding’ another day, so not a bad start.

  4. Ring a ring of roses

    February 26, 2011 by Amy Hansford

    On Thursday night we popped down to our local lovely pub, The Olde Swan for some dinner. They always do gorgeous, gorgeous food and the staff are always great fun. After a top steak and chips followed by scrummy ice cream, I popped away from the table for a few moments.

    When I came back, Alex was twirling a very shiny diamond ring on his little finger, at which point he suggested it didn’t really fit him very well so maybe I should wear it instead.

    So all great happiness this weekend as he proposed and I said yes :o)

    I now have a fiance, and he a fiancee!

  5. Moodog – to eat or not to eat

    February 6, 2011 by Amy Hansford

    When you’re doing a show run, dinnertime is a slightly fraught issue. Trying to get food down you quick enough before a show is one thing – trying to find somewhere that does fast food where the queue isn’t 100 people deep is another.
    Debs and I tried? a new outlet in Luton’s Arndale shopping centre called ‘Moodog’, focussing around hot dogs, hot drinks, ice-cream and doughnuts. All well and good. Or so you might think.

    The hotdogs themselves – great. The french bread around them, coated in a dried syrup – vile. I can appreciate caramelised onions, but this was like eating a spoonful of pate with a spoonful of honey. Doesn’t work.

    After all that, I couldn’t face the doughnut. I’d already had enough sugar! So instead, the doughnut faced me :o)

    In short, if you’re passing Moodog, grab a doughnut, or a hot dog, but certainly not the two together.

  6. Christmas dinner

    December 27, 2010 by Amy Hansford

    As we’re expecting our first child in March 2011, we thought we’d treat ourselves this Christmas Day to having dinner cooked by someone else. It’s probably the last chance we’ll get for another 20 years or so. We have a gorgeous old pub around the corner, ‘The Olde Swan’, complete with original land documents framed around the place as well as old pictures of Milton Keynes (yes, it has an actual history) and open fires galore. Anywho, Alex booked Christmas Lunch there last month so off we set through the snow for our noms.

    I say, through the snow – we had originally planned to walk. However, our cat Echo has a habit of thnking she’s a loyal dog when we walk anywhere and tends to follow us. Last time we tried to toddle to the pub we got within 50 metres and she refused to go any further, meaning we had to turn round and go back (within having even sniffed a bevvy) lest she get lost. So it was safer to take the car. Sorry environment!

    Anyway, long story short, brilliant dinner and great to have someone else deal with all the cooking/cleaning up. I had butternut squash veloute to start. Basically, very very thick home made soup. Nom. Then venison for the mains – I’ve not had venison in years! Finally, some sort of strawberry creme brulee thingy that was also delicious. And of course, it was all followed up with nibbles for the rest of the evening – Twiglets, After Eights, all those must haves :o)