Sunday, 30 October 2016

Halloween Recipes

If you have been following my blog over the last week or so then you will probably have seen my Halloween recipes but for anyone thaat might have missed them, I thought I would do a quick post which includes a link to the post for each recipe

Pumpkin Nests

Pumpkin Cinammon Muffins

Pumpkin Smoothie 

Let mee know if you try making nny of them.  Happy Halloween!

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Friday, 28 October 2016

Pumpkin Nests

I love pumpkin pie and normally make it every year at Halloween. However this year I decided to try somthing different and a little healthier. Pastry is not always a good friend to dieters so I invented these little nests which use filo pastry instead.The filling is a normal pumpkin pie style custard which I have tried to reduce in fat and calories. I think they have turned out really well especially as they are one of the hardest and most fiddly things that I have ever made.

2 eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamonn
1 tsp nutmeg
50g demerara sugar
150g pumpkin flesh
170g low fat evaporated milk
3 tbsp plain flour
6 sheets of filo pastry

1. Cut the pumpkin flesh into chunks and place in a larg pan with a little water. Cook over a medium heat until the pumpkin is soft.
2. Drain any excess water and put the pumpkin aside to cool.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar together until fully combined.
4. Use a blender to puree the pumpkin or if it is soft enough, you could just mash it with a fork, then add it to the mixtuure and stir.
5. Stir in the spices.
6. Add the evaporated milk and stir well.
7. Carefully fold the flour into the mixture and stir untiill it is fully mixed in.
8. Grease a deep muffin tin.
9.Take the sheets of filo paastry and cut each one into quarters.
10. Put 2 quarters together and scrunch them into the muffin tin to form a nest shape. Make sure the filo pastry iis touching the botttom of the  tin

11. Repeat this until all of the spacse in the muffin tin are full.
12. Carefully spoon the pumpkin mixture into each filo nest so that it is about half full.
13. Cook at the top of the oven for appproximately 20 minutes at 170 degrees or until the pumpkin mxiture has clearly set.
14, Allow to cool fully before removing from the muffin tin and do so with care to avoid damaging the filo pastry.
15. Dust witth icing sugar before serving.

Each Pumpkin Nest is only 73 calories each which makes them a much healthier alternative to pumpkin pie and one which won't break your diet.

If you are not going to eat the Pumpkin Nests straightaway then they can be stored in a container in the fridge for about 3 - 4 days.

I'm really proud of these so do let me know if you try making them.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins

If you follow my Instagram account then you will have noticed several pictures of the Muffins over the last week. This is version 2 as I increased the amount of cinnamon in the recipe to enhance the flavour. Hence the addition of cinnamon in the title.

1 egg
50g Demerara sugar
3 tbsp coconut oil
150g pumpkin flesh
200g self raising flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 taps ground Cinnamon

1. Cut the pumpkin flesh into small chunks and cook in a little water over a medium heat until soft.
2. Drain the excess water and set the pumpkin aside to cool.
3. Beat the egg and the sugar together until fully combined.
4. Add the coconut oil and mix well.
5. Use a hand blender or food processor to purée the pumpkin flesh until smooth.
6. Add the puréed pumpkin to the mixture and stir well.
7. Stir in the cinammon and baking powder.
8. Carefully fold the flour into the mixture. Try not to overstir it, just do enough so that it is combined with the mixture.
9. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases so that they are about half full.
10. Cook near the top of a preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes at 175 degrees.
11. Allow to cool fully.

Each muffin contains 122 calories so they are an ideal healthy snack and the perfect way to make use of your pumpkin.

You could even make a batch to give out to trick or treaters

The recipe makes 12 large muffins so there is plenty to go around,

Let me know if you try making them. I thought they make a nice change from pumpkin pie.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 42 - Curse of the school holidays!

So it's half of a pound back on this week. I've tried to workout a bit. It it's the usual problem that I'm not in my normal routine. I'm not going to fret though as it's only a week's holiday so next week I can work extra hard. I've got some new runs planned which is exciting!

It also probably hasn't helped that I've been creating some Halloween recipes this week so there's been a fair bit of tasting going on! If you have been reading the blog this week or you follow me on Instagram then you will have seen some of the recipes.

There's a few more to come so keep an eye on the blog and on Instagram for the rest of this week. I've gone pumpkin crazy!

Hope you are all having a great week! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Monday, 24 October 2016

Monday Motivation - Eyes on the Prize

My Monday motivation this week is just to remind myself why I started this weight loss journey and how I felt. When you have been doing this for a long time, it can be easy to lose focus. It's not new and exciting anymore and if your losses have slowed down, your enthusiasm can become dampened.

So take a moment today, look back and remember your aims and why you set yourself goals. The end goal is what you want to achieve; think about why, think about the benefits, think about how reaching that end goal will make you feel.

Life throws a ton of obstacles in our way. It may slow you down but try to keep focused on your end goal. It may take you a while but you will keep there!

Hope you are all having a great and motivated Monday. 

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Pumpkin Smoothie

Now that Halloween is just around the corner, my thoughts have turned to pumpkins. I have always made pumpkin pie but this year I wanted to branch out and try a few different things. This is the first recipe that I have come up with.

1 banana
100g low fat natural yoghurt
100g pumpkin flesh
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vanilla essense
1 tablespoon cinammon 

1. Cut the pumpkin flesh into small cubes and cook in a little water over a medium heat until soft.
2. Drain any excess water and allow to cool.
3. Peel and slice the banana.
4. Put all the ingredients together in a blender. I used a Nuribullet which was perfect.
5. Blend until completely smooth.

The recipe contains 376 calories in total and it made enough for two small glasses.

You could easily reduce the calorie amount by using less honey.

This is a very filling smoothie that's perfect for between meals. My daughter loves it and keeps asking when I am going to make more.

Let me know if you try it. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 41 - Feeling Good

I lost another half pound this week which has really perked me up!

It's been quite a good week. I enjoyed trying out a cross country run on Monday

It's definitely something I plan to do again. Unlike road running I had no bad reactions from my knees which was a bonus! I just need to get some trail shoes now. 

Next week will be a little harder as it's the school half term holiday. It's only one week though so it should not be too hard to stay on track! Watch out for some tasty pumpkin recipes coming up before Halloween too.

Hope you are all having a great week! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Extra Fruity Baked Apple

If you follow my Instagram then you will have seen that I've been experimenting with fillings for baked apples. Now that the weather is getting colder, it's nice to treat yourself to a hot pudding. This combination was my favourite.

1 cooking apple
10g flaked almonds
10g dried cranberries
10g raisins
15g dates
10g oats
30g golden syrup
1 teaspoon coconut oil

1. Carefully core the apple. This is easiest to do with an apple corer or you can use a paring knife.
2. Measure out the dry ingredients for the filling

3. Combine them in a small bowl with the golden syrup. Make sure that everything is coated with the syrup.
4. Carefully spoon the sticky mixture into the hole in the apple where the core used to and press down so that it is levelled off on top.
5. Rub the outside of the apple with the coconut oil.
6. Place on a greased baking sheet and cook at 175 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. You will need to keep an eye on the apple as they can soften quite quickly. Mine was literally left for 5 minutes longer while I answered the door and the skin started to split.
7. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
8. Serve hot with a spoonful of low fat natural yoghurt over the top.

The great thing about baked apples is that you can vary the fillings so much to suit your own tastes.

This recipe contains 402 calories but you could easily reduce that by leaving out one of the fruits.

Next time I'm going to include less fruit, increase the oats and add cinammon and vanilla. 

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Monday, 17 October 2016

Monday Motivation - Just Try It

I'm writing this in my car while I get my breath back after a run and before I drive home. I just ran the cross country course my daughter ran yesterday with her club. I was really nervous about trying it as I knew it was 3 miles and included hills. But I convinced myself to go for it and that's my motivation this week.

It's easy to overthink things and worry too much but sometimes you have just got to push forward and try it out.

The run was hard and at the moment it's too far for me. I just walked when I really struggled and took some nice pictures!

So next time you're worrying about something, just give it a try! Hope you are all feeling motivated this week and are having a great Monday. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Help With Weight Loss?

I've been reading about this lately. A lot of people say that just sticking to a healthy diet helps re-educate you and teaches new habits. As an emotional overeater though, I dispute that. The link between feelings and food is something that I know I haven't managed to completely break. I have to be wary as it is always there lurking beneath the surface and trying to catch me unawares. I found the following list of tips for using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help.

1. Build Self Belief - have belief that you can achieve your goals. Boost this by setting small achievable goals each week. This could be eating more fruit, having a healthier breakfast, walking more. Just make sure they are achievable and don't set the bar too high. As you see yourself reach these goals, you can then set new ones. Your ultimate end goal will then seem more achievable.

2. Self Monitor - look at what you are doing and think about why something may be easy or hard. If you haven't lost weight one week but you can see why then acknowledge the reason and move on. Be aware of what is going on with you and your life around you and how it has an impact.

3. Set Goals - this is one that I haven really done up to now although I have an idea of my end goal and how much weight I want to ultimately lose. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy recommends a series of goals. I read that you should visualise the goals as stepping stones so that you can see yourself moving along the path to success.

4. Feedback - this can help reinforce in your mind that these steps to improve your health and fitness are having a positive effect. You could consider booking a check up with your doctor or practice nurse as part of this. Personally I use this blog and my social media accounts as a way of gaining feedback and it does help me. 

5. Incentives - give yourself something to look forward to. If you set little rewards then it can help to maintain your motivation.

I found this really interesting to read about and I'm certainly going to think more about setting goals and incentives for myself. If you have been an emotional overeater then it is good to acknowledge that it may take a long time to change that mindset and re-educate your brain. I see it as another part of me that I will need to exercise on a regular basis. 

Hope you found this useful. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Mushroom

Mushrooms are one of my favourite vegetables but I've never tried stuffing them before. I think this turned out rather well! I used Quorn lardons as they taste like bacon but are lower in calories.

1 portabello mushroom
1 clove of garlic
1 medium slice of onion
75g Boursin light cheese
100g Quorn lardons
Low fat cooking spray
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

1. Finely chop the onion and garlic
2. Fry the Lardons, onion and garlic in a pan with the cooking spray for about 6 minutes or until the lardons are cooked.
3. Mix the cheese with the lardons, garlic and onion then stir until fully combined
4. Thoroughly wipe the outside of the mushroom and carefully remove the stalk.
5. Spoon the mixture onto the mushroom. It should be roughly level with the sides of the mushroom.
6. Place carefully on a greased baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.
7. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and serve with a green salad.

This made quite a substantial dinner for only 469 calories.

The flavours combined beautifully and I will definitely be cooking this again.

If you prefer then you could switch the lardons for chopped bacon rashers but remember to check the calories. Let me know if you try making this.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 40 - Weighing Things Up

So this week saw a half pound loss which takes me to 28.5 pounds in total. I'm quite pleased with this as it wasn't a crazy workout week.

One thing that I have been thinking about this week is portion control. I think it's something I need to tighten up on. I should be weighing everything as I am back on Weight Watchers Smart Points. It's is too easy though if you are in a hurry to let things slip and just judge the weight of food. Even if you are only slightly out, that difference will add up over a week and could really impact on your weight loss. So my scales are going to get a lot more use as from today I am weighing everything again!

It does feel good to have a loss again this week after a couple of weeks of staying at the same weight. 😊

Hope you are all having a great week so far, speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Monday, 10 October 2016

Monday Motivation - Let It Go

I think that most of us would agree that we all carry around emotional baggage with us especially as we get older. It's part of life. We also carry habits and behaviour patterns that may have become our automatic responses. I know I certainly do and my motivation for today is to try and just let it go. Definitely the cue for a song there!

For me it's a lot of emotional baggage from an emotionally abusive mum who died before I gained closure, also from a horrific marriage breakup leaving me with a six year old and a three month old baby to bring up. I've dealt with the latter well but I need to acknowledge that scars are still there.

It's also continuing to try and let go of the emotional hold that food has over me. I fight every day to recognise that I shouldn't turn to food as a way of eating my feelings and lifting my mood. 

I also want to let go of being bothered by other people's expectations. I'm doing this for me. It's acknowledging that it hurts if people express doubt that I can do this or question why or tell me that I looked better fatter and I look ill when I lose weight (real comment someone actually said to my face!). It may hurt to hear these comments but ultimately they are completely irrelevant!

I suppose it's about being at peace with myself and believing in what I'm doing. So that's my Monday motivation this week and I'm going to work on just letting go of all the  rubbish and nonsense that is cluttering up my mind

Hope you are all having a fantastically motivated Monday.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 39 - No Change

So nothing lost and nothing gained this week but that's not bad when I look back at what has actually happened during the week. I've been ill since the weekend so haven't exercised and I eased up on my diet a little as I just wanted to factor in food that made me feel better. I've got a terrible sore throat and in attempts to try and soothe it, I've had ice cream a couple of times.

It's good to realise that I can have blips like this though without actually putting weight on. Previously I would have put 2 or 3 pounds on by eating junk food just to try and make myself feel better! I'm in this for the long haul so I need to be able to cope with all the crap that life throws at me. Hopefully I'll shake the cold off soon and can start running again!

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Should you still exercise with a cold?

I have a cold coming on, I can feel it. I keep sneezing, my head hurts and my throat is sore. I automatically decided not to work out today because of this. I generally felt rough and out of sorts. I was intrigued to see what the general advice is for this situation seeing as we are now heading into winter and cold and  flu season. I was a little surprised at what I discovered in my research.  

If your symptoms are all above the neck such as sore throat, blocked nose then the online advice is that you can work out as normal although you should stop if the workout makes you feel worse. Also you should be aware that some cold medicines make your heart beat faster. This, when combined with exercise, could result in the heart beating extremely fast and could cause difficulty breathing.

If you have a fever at all or aching joints then the general advice is to not exercise and concentrate on getting better.

Personally I take the view that you should listen to your body. If you are constantly sneezing and coughing then you are going to find it hard to workout to your full potential. In my opinion, a couple of days rest will not hurt and may mean that you can shake the cold off more quickly.

If you are really desperate to exercise then maybe think about adapting your workout. If you were going to run then try a brisk walk instead.

For me personally I won't work out until I have shook the cold off. I'm prone to chest infections so I need to be careful. I will just stick to my healthy eating and drink plenty of fluids.

Hope you are all well at the moment. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 3 October 2016

Monday Motivation - New week and new start

 I think we all get too caught up in the negative view of Monday. I know I've done it, you wake up and think oh God, start of another week. 

What we forget though is that yes, it is the start of another week and that may mean back to work for many of us but it's also a brand new week and a new start. It's up to us what we make of the week ahead. Imagine that this week is like a blank page and its up to you to decide what to write on it. Forget what happened last week, particularly if it wasn't the best week and look ahead.

This is definitely my mantra for today

So let's all try and make it the best week that we can! Look ahead, not back!

Hope you all have a great Monday. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

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