Banana & Date Smoothie

I know a lot of people usually struggle to eat Suhoor (pre dawn meal during Ramadan) so here is a recipe that although is quite high in syns. it is still within the recommended daily syns allowance. I like to use unsweetened almond milk for this recipe for a nutty flavour but you can use any other milk of your choice. Just remember to check what the health extra allowance is for the milk you’re using. Top tip: try to use the ripest banana you have as this will make the smoothie even sweeter without having to add any extra syns for sweetening the smoothie.

Banana & Date Smoothie

Banana & Date Smoothie

 

Serves: 1

Syns: 13 syns plus part of healthy extra A choice

Time Taken: 5 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana, chopped
  • 3 Medjool dates
  • 200ml unsweetened almond milk
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Method

Remove the pit from the dates and mix all the ingredients together. Serve immediately.

Cajun Chicken & Orzo

A simple dish ready in minutes and it is great cold too. This is lovely topped with some feta cheese as part of your healthy extra A choice. I topped mine with green chillies and cherry tomatoes.

Cajun Chicken & Orzo

Cajun Chicken & Orzo

 

Serves: 2

Syns: FREE

Time Taken: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, diced in small pieces
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 3 tbsp. tomato puree
  • Fresh parsley and coriander to taste, chopped
  • seasoning to taste
  • 250g orzo pasta

Method

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water for around 9 minutes. Once cooked, drain the water (reserving some for later) and cool the pasta under cold water to stop it from sticking together whilst you cook the chicken.

Spray a pan with plenty of syn free spray oil of your choice and cook the onions for around 5 minutes till they start to golden. Add a little hot water if the onions start to stick to the pan. Add the garlic and the carrot and mix well. Cook until the carrot has softened slightly.

Add the diced chicken, Cajun seasoning, paprika, seasoning and chilli flakes (if using). Mix the chicken with the spices well.

Add the tomato puree, mix and let the chicken cook for around 15 minutes (cook for longer if your chicken pieces are bigger). Add some of the reserved water from the pasta to the chicken to stop it from drying out. Add the peppers in the last couple of minutes of cooking together with the parsley and coriander. Cook for another couple of minutes before adding the cooked pasta and mix it all well together.

Cinnamon French toast

Fancied something different for breakfast this morning so decided to make some French toast, all syn free when you use the bread as part of your healthy extra B choice and the milk as part of your healthy extra A choice. I topped it with fresh berries but you can use anything you like – jam, fromage frais, honey etc. just remember to keep track of the syns you add. Enjoy x

Serves: 1

Syns: FREE, using healthy extra choices

Time Taken: 15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Cinnamon French Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of wholemeal bread (from a 400g loaf)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tbsp sweetener
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

French toast ingredients

Method

Beat the eggs with the milk, sweetener and ground cinnamon.

Place a slice of bread in a shallow plate and pour half the egg mixture to it. Let it soak for a minute and then turn it around to soak the other side. Repeat for the other slice.

Spray low cal cooking spray oil to a frying pan and cook each slice of bread at a time for around 2-3 minutes on each side.

Serve with fresh fruit or any other toppings of your choice.

Piri Piri Chicken

This piri piri marinade can be used with fish, meat or even cheeses such as haloumi or paneer. We like to serve this with chips and salad but if you prefer rice instead, have a look through my previous recipe here. I usually leave the chicken pieces to marinade for a few hours before cooking, but if you don’t have much time, leave it to marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Piri Piri Chicken Nibblets

Piri Piri Chicken Nibblets

 

Serves: 4

Time Taken: 25-40 minutes, plus marinade

Syns: FREE

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg chicken nibblets, skinless
  • 1tbsp Schwartz piri piri seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • Season to taste

Method

Put all ingredients together in a bowl apart from the chicken, and mix well. Add the chicken to the marinade and ensure all the pieces are well coated. Place them in the fridge until you are ready to cook.

If you have an actifry, place the chicken pieces in the actifry (a few batches at a time) and cook for around 25 minutes. Alternatively, spray your chicken pieces with 1cal spray oil and place them in a pre heated oven, gas mark 6 for around 40 minutes, turning halfway.

Masala Chips

These have got to be the best masala chips I’ve made so far! Really simple to make and very low in syns too. I normally cook my Slimming World chips in the actifry but if you haven’t got one, you can make them in an oven too. Click here for the chips recipe.

Serves: 2

Syns: 1 syn per serving

Time Taken: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 3 baking potatoes, peeled & chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne chilli pepper
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp water

Method

In a bowl mix together all the ingredients (apart from the potatoes) to make your masala sauce. Keep aside till needed.

Cook your chips. In the last 5 minutes of your chips cooking, take them out of the oven/actifry and mix into the masala. Pop the chips back into the oven/acyifry to finish cooking.

Running Alone

I did it! I went out to run on my own outside today. I received a few messages yesterday from people who suggested starting at a park to build my confidence up and that really helped. It didn’t seem so daunting running in the park. It was a cold morning and I set out later than I had hoped to be out by, but I didn’t back down! I set the timer for 30 minutes on my phone and launched the Strava app to record the length of the run. I must admit, even though I only did 30 minutes it felt a little boring running around the park. I just kept going round and round! I did 4.4km in that time which I was happy with.

First run statsI’ve signed up for Park Run (http://www.parkrun.org.uk/) this Saturday and hope I will get a good time for 5k. This will be my first ever proper timed run. I have done Race for Life (https://raceforlife.cancerresearchuk.org/) in the past but I normally just walk, never attempted to run!

I really want to try and do a different route tomorrow even though I am really nervous to go out on the roads. I might have to go super early when there aren’t many people outside! It sounds pretty stupid right? Grown woman like me nervous to go outside to run. I don’t know what’s stopping me. Maybe I feel I will get judged for running because I wear a headscarf? I know it is silly, most people are probably too busy going about their day to notice but I think that is my main fear. Anyhow, I’ve got today to sort myself out and plan a route before I attempt going out tomorrow morning. Wish me luck guys! x

strava map

 

 

 

2019 Resolutions

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

I don’t normally do Resolutions but with so much that has happened over the last year or so, I thought I’d make a bigger effort this year to smash the goals I’ve wanted to set out but have been too afraid/lazy/not bothered in the past.

Blog more – I have a few go to recipes that I have shared on here but I would love to include a lot more content on this website that is not all necessarily food related or Slimming World. Let me know what you would like to read more of.

Stop comparing myself to others – that is one main issue that I struggle with. Social media is great to interact with others and see what others are up to but I have on so many occasions felt I was not doing enough after seeing other’s posts, feeling like I’m falling behind. I must stop this as it really affects not only my mental health but it affects the loved ones near me. I have seriously doubted myself in the past because I felt I was not as good a mother as I could be, I felt I didn’t have the right clothes or went out enough when compared to others. It was pretty stupid to be fair thinking about it now. I intend on taking more breaks from social media.

Running – I fell in love with a new passion towards the end of 2018. Running! Who knew I could enjoy it as much as I did. I must admit I am not exactly a marathon runner but the little jogging that I do makes me feel so good at the end of it. This year I am going to work on building the courage to go outside to run on my own. I love to run when I am with the running group but the days I don’t meet up with them I try to fit a run at home on the treadmill and it is just not the same! I almost went outside this morning, I opened the front door and was all set up to leave the house and backed out 🙁 I turned around and used the treadmill instead. Maybe if you are a runner you could give me some tips on how I can build my confidence to go out on my own?

Healthy lifestyle approach – lately old habits started to creep up back up again and my approach to diet is all or nothing! I need to get back to the mind set that this is a healthy lifestyle change and if I have a bad meal or bad day/days it doesn’t mean I’ve given up or lost my way – the long term plan is always to eat healthy and be healthy.

I can think of a few other resolutions but for now these are the ones I am going to concentrate on. I will review this in a few months and update you guys on where I am! Do you keep new year resolutions? If so, what are your resolutions for 2019? x

Hummus

A super easy and syn free hummus recipe without all the oil and tahini paste. You can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. Enjoy the hummus with some crudités or flatbreads like I did. I had mine with Ryvita flatbreads (1.5 syns each). If you don’t want to use any syns, you can opt for crispbread that can be counted as part of your healthy extra B choice. Have a look here for all the options available from Ryvita.

Hummus

Hummus

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 2 tbsp. 0% Greek yoghurt
  • Cayenne chilli to taste

Method

Blitz all ingredients together till it is smooth. If you find the hummus too thick for you, you can thin it down with a little water or more yogurt.

Ryvita

Hi lovelies, first of all apologies for the delay in writing this! I know many of you have been waiting for the syn values of the Ryvita goodies I was sent last week, so thank you for your patience. I have finally got around to finding them all out for you. I haven’t yet tried the whole range I was sent but I could not resist trying the new Sweet & Salted Rye Cakes – wow, they’re absolutely delicious! I had them plain and also had them topped with fruit and yogurt as well. I reckon these rye cakes would taste amazing with chocolate spread too, just remember to keep track of your syns! They’re currently available from Sainsbury’s and Waitrose only but I am pretty sure they will have them at other major supermarkets at some point too. Each rye cake is only 1 syn or you can enjoy 5 of these as your healthy extra (HE) B choice!

Ryvita

Ryvita

 

Thank you to the lovely Yessi from Ryvita for sending me all these goodies. I was not expecting such a beautiful range to try. I thought I was going to receive the new rye cakes only so when I opened the door for a huge delivery it was such a nice surprise! Thank you once again.

I will list the rest of the syn values below. Have you tried any of the Ryvita range? What’s your favourite? Comment below and feel free to share this with your fellow Slimming World friends.

  • Cheese crackerbread – 1 syn each
  • Cheddar & cracked black pepper thins – 1.5 syns each
  • Currants, seeds & oats crispbread – 2.5 syns each or 2 as HE
  • Multigrain crunchy rye bread – 1.5 syns each or 3 as HE
  • Rosemary & sea salt thins – 1.5 syns each
  • Caramelised onion thins – 1.5 syns each
  • Protein rye bread – Chia seed & buckwheat – 1.5 syns each or 3 as HE
  • Protein rye bread – Red quinoa & sesame – 1.5 syns each or 3 as HE
  • Protein rye bread – Linseed & nigella seed – 1.5 syns or 3 as HE
  • Cracked black pepper rye bread – 1.5 syns each or 4 as HE

Couch to 5K

I finally plucked up the courage to join a local Couch to 5K group. I had been thinking about this for a few months now but could not get myself motivated to register and get started. If you’ve not heard of Couch to 5K, it is basically a running plan for absolute beginners. The plan involves 3 runs a week, with a day of rest in between, and a different schedule for each of the 9 weeks.

One of the main reasons I didn’t initially want to get involved was because I felt too conscious of running in public! I had all sorts of thoughts going through my head – the main fear being judged by passers by or drivers in their cars, so I kept putting it off until I saw a post on Facebook recently about a new Couch to 5K group. It was all very positive so I decided to give it a go. I signed up just for one week, I didn’t want to commit to any more than that in case I was totally rubbish! I managed to persuade a good friend to sign up too so it didn’t feel as daunting.

We went along to our first session yesterday. I was sooooo nervous. I had no idea what to expect as we were joining on week 3 and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the group. But I was put at ease straight away by fellow members and the run leader. It was an extremely cold morning and it would have been so easy to give it a miss and stay at home in the warmth but I am glad I had a buddy to go with as we motivated each other to go to it!

Once we got started I absolutely loved it! Yes, you read that right, I loved it. I ran for 3 minutes straight and wanted to carry on for longer. It sounds crazy but once I got started, the cold weather didn’t bother me. I soon warmed up and enjoyed the cold air hitting my face.

Run Together RunFit Shirley

Run Together RunFit Shirley

So what are the benefits?

There are plenty of benefits from getting into running. For starters, it’s an easy way of improving physical health.

Running requires little equipment, a good pair of running trainers and you’re good to go!

Running regularly will improve the health of your heart and lungs. It can also help you lose weight, especially if combined with a healthy diet. Absolutely perfect for those following Slimming World plan alongside it – running can count towards your body magic.

There’s evidence it may help increase bone density in some people, which can help protect against bone diseases like osteoporosis.

There are also mental benefits of running. Taking on the challenge of Couch to 5K can help boost your confidence and self-belief, as you prove to yourself that you can set yourself a target and achieve a goal.

Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression.

How to get started?

You can get started on your own by downloading The One You Couch to 5K app. It gives you a choice of coaches and helps you track your progress. You can also check out the Coach to 5K website for a weekly 9 weeks running plan.

Or you could do what I did and find a group you can join near you. Most of these groups are free and I find it more motivating being part of a group rather than running on my own, plus it is safer if you’re thinking of running outside.

There is a new 8 week plan starting on 7th Jan. If you’re local and would like to get involved or for details and how to pre-register visit https://groups.runtogether.co.uk/RunFitShirley