Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Showing posts with label Special Occasions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Special Occasions. Show all posts

New year, new resolutions

Friday, 30 December 2011

Start diet today

With the 1st of January fast approaching, the majority of us will be thinking up a new set of New Year Resolutions to stick to throughout the coming year and I don't think I'm wrong when I say that the majority of us will be setting a goal to lose some weight! It might only be the couple of lbs you've gained throughout the festive period, it might be more, or you might just want to be more healthy, exercise more and become fitter. We're all in the same boat.

It takes a lot of hard work and motivation to stick to your goal and lose weight so we'd love to hear what your goals are, and how you plan to stick to them. Here's our own goals to start off...

Charlene - I'll admit that I've been a complete failure when it comes to losing weight this past year and I've definitely put some on. I think I need routine, in the form of planned meals or a set diet, to make this work. Living at home with parents and not being the one doing the weekly food shop is difficult. I also need to rejoin the gym and I'm going to keep a diary of food, exercise and inch/weight loss. The thing I struggle most with is my sweet tooth so I need to think of ideas to keep that satisfied in the healthiest possible way and the other biggie is that I also need to learn to say NO to the free takeaways, cakes and sweets at work every day.

Sarah - I am really pleased with my progress in 2011.  I felt like a million dollars on my wedding day and that was my main aim.  I have since had five weeks off, a week in the run up to the wedding, two weeks on honeymoon, a crazy week of work followed by Christmas and now New Year.  I have gained 7.5lbs of the 25lbs I managed to lose but I am fine with this... you only get married once after all!! My goal for 2012 is to get back on plan and lose about a stone and a half.  I need to stick to Slimming World 100% and wear my hotpants more often!  I think I will be happy when I get to my current goal weight but can always lower it if not.  I am still mostly fitting into a size 10 so it's just a case of feeling as good when not wearing ultra flattering clothes.  I have also done something I swore I would never do again and joined a gym! 2012 will be the year that I not only get to target but also get fit in the progress.

Sarah V - I charted a graph of my weight losses and gains this year and it looks like a heart rate monitor - up and down, up and down! I've fluctuated a lot and am currently the exact same weight now as I was when we started this blog, which is frustrating as I made such a good start in the Spring and lost nearly a stone. I make way too many excuses and allow myself to be swayed by holidays, special occasions, parties and friends and that's why I haven't been able to stick to a diet for more than a few weeks at a time. I have a big birthday in July and my goal is to feel good about my body by the time I get to that landmark age. So overall I resolve to conquer some of my food issues and get to a point where I am eating healthily, but not obsessing and overeating the moment I'm 'off-diet'. So rather than fixating on weight loss, I am going to focus on living healthily instead.

Lucy - so, hello. It's been a while. I think I've been avoiding reality since I returned from Australia, ignoring the fact that I've been eating everything in sight and not wanting to do anything about it. I really need to have a sit down and think about what I'm going to do for 2012, I need to stop saying I'll do things and then just... not follow them through. I'm miserable and I'm fed up, not just with my weight but with my life in general at the minute; I 100% know that if I even just lost a stone I would be so much happier within myself but it's just making myself start. I need to have some willpower, I need to discipline myself and I need to learn to say no. Things have got to change.

Gem -I'm really happy with my 2011 weight loss and want to continue this in 2012. I lost over 4 stone this year but after three weeks of indulgence over the festive period I have put about 5-6lbs back on. My first aim is to shed all the Christmas weight by following the Weight Watcher plan perfectly and keeping an accurate food diary and weighing all my food. I want to lose at least another 20lbs this year to reach my ideal size and then maintain the weight with a mixture of Weight Watchers and exercise. As Christmas shows, I can't maintain weight loss on my own and go off the rails if I don't regularly weigh in. I hope to become a 'Gold Member' of Weight Watchers and successfully keep the weight off, wish me luck!

Let us know what yours are!

Getting through BBQ Season!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Well, the summer holidays are about to start, and the weather is, well, sort of okay, in between rainshowers. This means that the smell of charred meat on a Saturday afternoon is becoming a regular occurrence – yep, it’s BBQ time.

I’ve always found BBQs a real test of dieting willpower – any social event that revolves around food is always going to be difficult – but they needn’t be. It’s kind of ridiculous to go home feeling sick as you’re so full, isn’t it? Barbequing is actually one of the healthiest ways to cook food – no additional oil required – and it’s totally acceptable to bring your own food, too.

Here are some of my tips…

Don’t forget what a normal meal looks like.
Even in an epic pig-out session, would you normally eat a burger in a bun, a hotdog, chicken wings, a lamb kebab… plus crisps and lashings of mayonnaisey salad? Yet somehow it’s okay at a BBQ.

Hit the salad.
I’m not suggesting you tuck into a plate of dry lettuce when the rest of the party is on the burgers, but do load up your plate with the healthy options first. You’ll be less inclined to want one of everything if your plate is full already.

Decide what you really want.
Personally, it’s not a BBQ for me unless I have a real burger. So bring a pack of low-fat burgers, and make up your proper, perfect burger. There actually aren’t that many calories in a slice of cheese, either, so allow yourself that. Fill the bun with lots of salad, too – it’ll seem HUGE.

Put out low fat dressings and sauces.
Sweet chilli, caramelised onions, balsamic glaze, yogurt, etc. Or make your own! Yogurt is such a great base for a dip, and ridiculously low in fat. Salsa is fat free and you can often get Tzatziki that’s under 5% fat.

Watch the booze.
I am a great believer that you do not have to quit alcohol to diet successfully. However, what you drink can make all the difference – there are about 500 calories in a bottle of white wine. Switch to a spirit and diet mixer and 500 calories = 10 single vodkas and diet cokes! And it’s pretty unlikely you’ll drink all that. Probably. If you’re worried about drinking too fast, use less coke – if it’s strong, you’ll have to sip it!

Go gourmet.
Fun fact - often fancy food seems to be lower in calories. Put out exotically marinated chicken (I recommend soy and ginger). Instead of burgers, do toasted pittas filled with rocket, caramelised onions, barbequed Portobello mushrooms and a little feta or goats cheese (strong cheese is always best as you eat less, keeping fat down). If you’re feeling crazy, you could even cook kangaroo! It’s one of the least fattiest meats around.

I don't eat fish (because it is disgusting) but I am told that seafood is awesome on the BBQ - practically fat-free, cooks fast, and filling. If you like that sort of thing. *gags*

Check the labels.
Did you know that McCain’s potato wedges are only about 5% fat? And that you can get lots of pizzas from Tesco, Coop and Pizza Express that are just over or even under the 5% fat mark? I was amazed when I found out that low-fat junk food DOES exist.

Bring healthy options.
If you can’t rely on the host to make the food healthy, do it yourself. Here are some of my favourite healthy BBQ options:
- Sweet potato wedges (toss them in lots of honey, rosemary and a capful, tops, of olive oil. Chuck in oven for 30-40 mins.) They’ll fly off the plate AND fill you up.
- Couscous/pasta/rice salad. There are loads of low-fat options in the supermarket, or make your own!
- Love coleslaw and potato salad? Use half low-fat mayo, half yogurt. I swear it’s nicer.
- Chicken and fresh pineapple kebabs. Practically fat-free and so delicious.
- Put out a big bowl of cherry tomatoes for people to pick at. Always popular.
- Marinate Portobello mushrooms in garlic and plonk them on the BBQ. Yuuuuum.
- Bring crudités to nibble while food is cooking.
- Instead of cakes or ice cream, barbeque fruit for dessert. Barbequed pineapple and bananas are amazing.

What are your best tips for BBQ season?

Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

There are a lot of things I miss when I’m dieting. After not eating them for a couple of weeks, you stop craving them as much, but it doesn’t mean you don’t still MISS them. I’m not going to lie, you guys, I could totally go for a KFC right now. I don’t care if it’s ostensibly deep fried cardboard – YUM.

Another thing that I miss is cake. The problem is, good cakes involve butter. LOTS of butter. I went to Paris last year and ate a lot of cake, and the reason all the cake was so amazing was BUTTER. It’s so hard to make a healthy cake.


I have got hold of a book which changes all that! Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache by Cook Yourself Thin’s Harry Eastwood is described as ‘The ultimate feel-good book of natural cakes that taste naughty’. And it is ace. Harry makes low fat cakes that taste yummy by adding vegetables – I know, I know, this sounds crazy suspicious but I have just two words for you: CARROT. CAKE. Back on board? Thought so.

I tried out her chocolate cake for my friend’s birthday, as we were both watching our figures. I carefully didn’t say anything until people had eaten it and then burst out ‘IT IS LOW FAT!!’ No one had guessed. That’s the true test, right? It was super moist and full of flavour. This recipe uses a LOT of butternut squash – which, yes, you have to grate yourself. It does take ages. But, hey, surely that burns calories? Unlike carrot cake, though, you cannot tell it's there in the texture.

I played around with the recipe a bit, substituting plain flour for rice flour, and low fat cream cheese for mascarpone. I also got fed up with the icing technique and just added extra cream cheese to loosen it up!

"Light Chocolate Cake"

3 eggs
160g sugar
200g peeled and grated butternut squash
120g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
80g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125ml buttermilk

50g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted
50g mascarpone / low fat cream cheese
4 tsp cocoa powder

1 - Preheat the oven to 180c / 350f. Line the tins with baking parchment and brush a little vegetable oil over the base and sides.
2 - Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 4 full minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the grated butternut squash, followed by the flour, cocoa powder, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add the buttermilk before beating again one last time to make sure that all the ingredients are well introduced to one another.
3 - Pour the mixture evenly into both tins, then place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
4 - Once cooked, remove the cakes from the oven, unmould, peel off the baking parchment and leave them to cool down completely on a wire rack.
5 - You can make the icing whilst the cakes are cooking, as long as you don't ice them until they are completely cold, otherwise the icing wil run off. Beat the butter with 100g of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. You will need to work them together patiently, using the back of a wooden spoon. It will seem like an impossible task at first, but they will eventually turn into a lovely rich paste.
6 - Once you reach this stage, beat vigorously for 10 seconds to loosen the butter even further. Add the mascarpone, cocoa powder and the remaining sugar. Beat once again to combine.
7 - Refrigerate the icing for 15 minutes. Give it a good beating with your wooden spoon before icing the middle and top of the cold cake. Decorate as you fancy!

With Easter coming up, and various Royal Wedding parties and Baby Showers and all sorts of other things, I’m looking forward to trying out some of Harry’s other recipes. I’ll be sure to post my results. If you’re intrigued, check out the book – or, friend of the Knees girls, Helen, has posted about this too!