Yet Another Bandwagon

Over the last few weeks life kind of got the better of us, leaving husband and myself feeling incredibly drained and rather touchy. The Motorhome we purchased needed a lit more work doing to it than we had imagined and now, 4 weeks since we took possession of it, it is still not ready for the road.

As a result of both our moods being low we have also fallen well short of our healthier eating plans. last week we had takeout Chinese on Thursday, pizza on Friday and a chip shop takeaway on Saturday followed by a McDonalds breakfast on Sunday morning! Comfort food it may be but I always find that while I enjoy this sort of food a lot more than I should, it actually makes me feel worse afterwards. I feel heavy and sluggish and just generally bleh.

Thankfully things do seem to be looking up as day by day the motorhome is inching closer to being ready and as it does, the mood improves too. This week I am trying to claw our way back into a better meal plan too. Monday was quiche and chips with salad, yesterday we had lasagna and garlic bread with a side salad and today is sausage and mash. Tomorrow we will be experimenting with Quorn kievs which should be interesting considering neither of us have ever eaten Quorn in our lives.

I have also decided to throw a bit of money at the problem and bought myself a Fitbit to try and help me focus on being active more. I work in an office which makes getting any form of exercise during the day rather difficult. My Fitbit arrived yesterday and it seems like it’s sleep monitoring system will be quite useful and today it has been buzzing away on my wrist to tell me to more my ass a bit more. It does feel strange just walking up and down the office while waiting to be taken off hold, I feel like a tiger pacing round it’s territory! luckily I work in a small office so my coworkers know what I’m doing and that I haven’t just gone round the twist!

Fingers crossed we will be able to stay on this particular bandwagon for a while.

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A Successful Week

A few days ago I posted this about how I was going to try my very best to stick to a set meal plan for this week. Well, I am very pleased to say that for the first time since I started planning out the weeks meals, we have actually kept to the menu! This has had the added effect of my not even setting foot in the local supermarket once this week since I did the main food shop which has naturally saved us some money.

Let me tell you, that place is tempting. I my office building is actually directly behind an ASDA Megastore (which regretfully contains a branch of McDonnalds) so I am quite often tempted inside just to see what they have on offer which inevitably ends up in me spending somewhere in the region of an extra £20 or so.

Tonight is my night off from the kitchen so we will be having a takeout of some sort but this gives me the opportunity to formulate a plan for the next weeks meals. for me I find it most useful to start the plan for a Saturday so that I can include Saturday and Sunday’s dinners in my shopping list for the week.

We did have quite a few red meat meals last week so this week is much more poultry based with a couple of healthy options thrown in too.

Saturday: Chicken fajita mix with spiralizes sweet potato.
I’m still trying to get the hand of cooking sweet potato so fingers crossed this one will work out OK.

Sunday: Roast chicken with all the trimmings
I love a good Sunday roast and if we get a whole chicken for the two of us then we will have enough leftovers for a couple of extra meals or lunches out of it too.

Monday: Zucchini & Mushroom pasta with leftover chicken
Another trip out for my spiralizer, I will probably add something a little carby in there too as I find my system doesn’t react very well to zero carb meals.

Tuesday: Sweet chili chicken with jasmine rice
And the chicken week continues!

Wednesday: Individual steak and red wine pie and mash
Nothing beats a bit of comfort food to get you through the middle of the week.

Thursday: Hamwiches with potato wedges and vegetable mountain.
These things are my husbands most favorite food ever! I know they are unhealthy and processed beyond recognition but I do combine it with a load of fresh veg and home made wedges … and seriously, these things are sooooooo good!

Which then brings us up to next weeks take-out night!

Some of the above meals are from recipies I have found on blogs so I will post linkbacks to them when I can track them down again (I keep all of the recipes I like the sound of as print outs in a file in my kitchen).

Also, for some reason I find it quite funny that my spell checker wants to change the word “spiralized” to “liberalize”. America sounds like it needs more spiralizers (it wants to change that to ‘moralizers’) at the moment!

 

A Weekend Of Toil

I think it is safe to say we have just had one of the best and most productive weekends since we got marries last year. We had assumed the weather would be cold and damp much like the previous week so we had a less than inspiring weekend of housework planned, which became even less appealing when I opened the curtains on Saturday morning and let the bright sunshine pour into the bedroom.

Resigned to our plan for the day I set about making breakfast. A caramelized onion sausage and fried egg butty for the husband, and a sausage, mushroom and spinach omelette for me (with a bit of crusty bread on the side). Having taken on our fuel for the day, husband stood up and decided to turn the weekend on it’s head.

“Should we make a start on the driveway?” He said suddenly, hands on hips as he looked out at the strip of gravel outside.

We have kind of overloaded our driveway recently, what with buying a boat that needs a complete overhaul and now a motor home which only just squeezes past said boat on our double driveway. It’s a risky think and ended up making it very difficult to get the motor home off the driveway when we took it for a habitation report at a specialist the day after we got it (long story for another post).

With a rather bemused “Errm…’kay” from me we donned our scruffy clothes (the only time I seem to wear blue denim anymore is when I’m working in the garden), boots and head outside into the glorious sunshine.

And started digging.

What was our mission? To extend our driveway sideways by about a meter into our lawn along the 8 meter length of that part of the driveway.

Husband did the majority of the digging with me scooping up bits of terf and soil and piling it in the rough vicinity of the area where a raised veggie patch is going to go eventually. While we were half way through this I dashed off and wandered around the local DIY store like a lost sheep trying to find a suitable piece of weed barrier and trying to match up the gravel in our driveway to what they had in bags.

Having returned with the weed barrier and the truly pitiful number of bags of gravel (who knew you would need SO MUCH to cover a 1×8 meter slice of driveway) I set about the next part of my mission, to scrape up as much loose gravel from the back of the driveway as I could to compensate for my lack of calculations when at the DIY store.

I dug up, carried and poured out about 15-20 full buckets of gravel which was just enough to cover the patch … and then we had to move the boat.

She is a small ‘trailer sailer’ called a Lysander which we bought as near scrap with the intention to do up over last summer, but we never got round to it what with wedding planning and all that. But even though she is small, this girl is heavy! We had to MacGuyver a way of hauling her up the slight slope of the driveway in order to zig-zag her across so she sits neatly next to the new lawn line and let me tell you, it was not easy (or safe) but somehow we managed it.

All in all it took about 5 hours to get done but by the time we had finished we were both exhausted, aching and absolutely filthy, not the type of dirty weekend one might have had in mind.

but, even though I am covered in bruises and my back is still giving me grief, we both feel so accomplished and proud of what we have achieved. And I dread to think how much it would have cost if we had hired someone to do it.

The Best Laid Plans

I do really like to plan out the weekly meals that I’m going to cook for myself and my husband each week, especially as it helps to keep a reign on what I buy from the supermarket. I have blogged about meal plans a couple of times but never realized there was a “linky” as I have seen people calling it! I’m a bit of a twitter fiend so naturally I do love a good hashtag and #MealPlanningMonday fulfills that love beautifully!

 My main trouble is sticking with the plan. The hubby is rather indecisive and doesn’t like to sit and plan the weeks meals with me but will wait until that morning before he decides he doesn’t want to have that particular thing for tea. However, this week should be good as he has decided to put a couple of suggestions forwards for things he would like to have, thankfully both of which I like too!

 So, here is what I will hopefully be making to our evening meals this week … *drumroll*

 Monday – Lasagna, garlic baguette and salad

I love lasagna, its simple, warming creamy and it is the perfect partner for garlic bread! This was husband choice no.1

 Tuesday – Rump steak with chips and veg

This is a big treat for us tonight, we hardly ever have steak at home so this should be a really nice hearty meal. As if you couldn’t guess, this was husband choice no.2 in a “man want meat!” moment.

Wednesday – Sausage & mash with veg and onion gravy

I have some really nice reduced fat pork and leak sausages which are just too good to go on a sausage butty at the weekend. The weather is set to be wet and cold so this is a simply yet filling favorite.

Thursday – Chili Con Cane with jacket potato and salad

I love chili but husband and I had Chinese food on Saturday and then the leftovers on Sunday so we didn’t want to have rice again so we decided on a baked potato!

Friday – Takeaway

Friday is this cooks day off 🙂

I plan my meals with Saturday as the start of the week as this works best for my weekly food shop but as we were doing a lot of work around the house and the garden this weekend (to be featured in a future blog post no doubt) we decided a cheeky Chinese takeaway would be a nice reward for some very hard work.

Now, I hope I have done this link thing right so all that remains to say is “happy #MealPlanningMonday weekly meal planners!!!”

Hijacked By Twins

The Shadow Of Doubt

Doubt. It is a terrible thing.

It can make a person reconsider a decision that could vastly improve their lives for ever, just because that person is afraid that something bad might happen. It clouds judgment, blinds you to new possibilities and prevents you from taking that leap of faith.

Sometimes it can be over something truly monuments, like getting married. I never had an ounce of doubt in my mind over getting married to my truly amazing husband, but I know a fair few who did feel a pang of “what the hell am I doing?!?” as they walk down the isle.

However it seems to be smaller, but still reasonably big decisions that cause me the most anxiety from doubting a decision once it has been made. Well, we are both feeling this level of doubt right now. We just bought a motor-home.

We have been wanting a motor-home for a while now, we currently have a caravan which is perfectly good but the car that we use to tow it is a total and utter money pit and hardly gets about 13 MPG. But that car was my husbands favorite toy, he would spend hours working on it, cursing at it and then grinning with pride when he finally got it to do what he wanted it to do.

But now it and the caravan has to go, and although we are gaining an added level of freedom in the form of this motor-home, we are taking a rather large financial risk.

We have no real way of knowing if this thing is any good. we know it has some faults and we managed to barter the salesman down by pointing out some obviously broken (but fixable) things. But there are still so many unknowns and now we are without the 4×4 car that has always been the workhorse in our lives.

It’s doubt over which one was the lesser of two evils. The financial drain of the car and caravan or the unknown of the motor-home.

Yes, this is a material issue and is not in any way intended to reflect against people going through much more serious situations. However to us, this is a big step and I have been going from nervous to excited to down-right nauseous just thinking about it. I’m still not sure if we have made the right decision over this particular one.

I guess we will have to wait and see …

Baby Steps

After the horrors of this last weeks fat-fueled convenience meals and takeaways, I promised myself I would start once again to try and make healthier meals for myself and my husband. I really do need to get a handle on things, especially portion sizes (I tend to over-fill plates) or we will be feeling the consequences. Even after a week or so of ‘binge eating’ I felt podgy and bloated for days afterwards.

One thing I am trying to do is get myself more readily organised. I already have lists of things I have in the freezer but as that list is on the freezer itself, I can’t make up meals while I am at work if I am struggling to think of what to cook. So, I have treated myself to a new zip-up A5 organizer which has the normal two ring binder rings in it (I find the specialist filofax 6 ring things to be too fussy to make my own inserts for) and I have spent some time developing a weekly meal plan and shopping list that fits what I want.

Now, while I am waiting for that to arrive I am also trying one other small thing on the road to healthier meals. Swapping out just one of the components to a healthier one. It’s a small change but it will hopefully help to get us on the right track.

Last nights meal consisted of, admittedly, one of the unhealthiest cuts of meat out there but also one of the nicest … pork belly. I have always found pork too dry to have normally, I like pork in casseroles but I am not a fan of a pork chop. Belly pork however is always very juicy and flavorful which all regretfully stems from it’s high fat content. But still … YUM!

I cooked the strips in the oven on a wire rack to avoid it sitting in it’s own juices but letting the melting fat baste the meat as it cooked. A good rub with some salt also meant a rather naughty treat of crackling for the Husband (I can’t stand the stuff myself). These were served up with (and here is the “healthy” part) some spicy vegetable couscous and a shredded salad comprised of various types of lettuce, cabbage and bell peppers.

The couscous works really well as an alternative to a potato product which I would normally put with pork, and it added much more in flavor too. It went down a storm and didn’t result in either of us feeling that we had over eaten. The carefully dissected pieces of solid fat piled neatly at thew side of my plate helped to ease my conscience over the fattiness of the cut at least a little bit.

That meal then formed a major part of my lunch today which is a very nice change. Normally I’m a white bread sandwich kind of girl but this time I made myself a little box of goodness.

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Leftover spicy vegetable couscous with lambs lettuce and pea shoots with a few mushrooms I kept back from my breakfast omelet. I added the mushrooms as I was worried it would be a bit bland without but to be honest it would be fine just as couscous and salad. The salad added just the right bite to it and lamb’s lettuce is my favorite leafy green to have. I feel like my lunch time hunger has been satisfied but not to the point of feeling too full.

I think we are heading in the right direction. To change the way we eat we need to take baby steps and work on one thing at a time otherwise we will fail just like last time.

A Loss Of Rythem

The saying goes that when one does not stick to a promise to better themselves in some way, they have “fallen off the wagon”. Normally this applies to people struggling with the incredibly difficult journey that is being a recovering alcoholic yet I apply this to the current state of mind and body that I have found myself in.

My body has been thrown off rhythm.

I feel tired and sluggish, I struggle to think clearly and I ache. I have felt like this for a couple of weeks and it has only been today that a light-bulb has gone off over my head and the answer has appeared to me.

I have fallen off of the wagon of even moderately healthy eating.

I have never been a massive health food nut but I do try and avoid snacks, limit the amount of fatty foods I intake and I try to eat as many vegetables as I can. For some reason I just do not enjoy eating fruit so I take vitamin pills to make up for it and focus on my veggies.

However, in the last couple of weeks I have well and truly gone on a un-health food binge! Last weekend alone I at twice at Mcdonald’s and once at KFC, the meals I have planned for this week comprised of burgers and pies and chips, all things from the freezer that while being healthy on my bank balance, not so much on my insides. Drinking has also crept up again as well resulting in indulging an a glass or two too many of red wine because it would go nicely with the meal I’m having.

I really need to kick this habit before it becomes a bigger problem. If I feel like crap during the day I’m more likely to make crap for tea too under the guise of comfort food. The stupidest thing is I have a ring binder full of wonderful recipes I’ve found online and I heave shelves full of cookbooks all with nutritious, healthy and delicious recipes in them yet day in, day out I reach into the freezer and pull out a piece of processed turkey shaped inexplicably (and unrecognizably) as a dinosaur, or a pack of chicken nuggets, or a beef burger and so on.

I lack motivation for anything right now and I know it is because the fuel I am putting into my body is not allowing it to run effectively meaning I’m trying to operate at a low rev (and yes, that is a car metaphor).

So, the burgers I had planned to use for tonight can stay in the freezer for now. I have some home made potato wedges in the fridge (leftovers from last night’s beef and onion pie and wedges)  so it is off to the supermarket over the road to pick up something a little bit better. A little less processed.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.

I know I am not going to be the only one who has gone through an issue like this with food, where you get caught in a spiral of junk food is making you feel bad so you eat more junk food to cheer yourself up. I would be very interested to hear stories from anyone reading this who has had the same sort of journey themselves. *sits back and watches tumbleweed to pass by*