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Recipe - Diet friendly green lentil, pea & ham soup

  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g dried green lentils, soaked if required on pack instructions
  • 1kg frozen peas
  • 200g chopped smoked ham
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 3 litres hot water (I use it from the kettle)
  • Peppercorns in grinder (I used a mixture of black & pink)
  • Olive oil spray

Gently fry off the onion & garlic in a couple of sprays of oil.

Make up the stock with the hot water & stock cube.

Add the peas, lentils & stock to the pot.

Bring to the boil.

Reduce to a simmer for approx 35-45 minutes or until lentils are cooked.

Using a stick blender or food processor blitz the soup in batches until it is reasonably smooth.

Add the ham & gently heat through.

Season to taste with pepper & serve hot with crusty bread.

This recipe makes approximately 10 bowls of soup so I have frozen half of mine in separate servings for another day. You can easily halve the recipe if you don’t need as much. You may like to add some freshly torn mint as an extra twist on the flavour just before serving too!

Vegetarians/vegans can leave out the ham & use an appropriate stock cube for an equally tasty soup.

When made exactly as described this recipe is 146 calories per serving.

Recipe - Diet Friendly Brunch Version 2: Baked egg, mushroom & tomato layer.

  • 200g pack chestnut mushrooms, wiped & sliced
  • 6 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into slices
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 150ml skimmed milk
  • Peppercorns in grinder (I used a mixture of pink & black)
  • Spray olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Use a few sprays of oil & clean fingers to grease two individual oven proof dishes (it really is best to make this dish in individual portions)

Place a layer of sliced tomatoes in the bottom of the dish like this:

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Place a layer of sliced mushrooms on top of the tomatoes:

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Repeat with alternating layers of tomato & mushroom until you reach just below the top of the dish. (As all vegetables & fruits grow to different proportions you may find that you don’t quite use all the slices or your dish may be deeper than mine so it may not layer up to the top.)

Put the milk, eggs & a generous twist of pepper into a bowl & beat together with a whisk/fork.

Pour half the egg mixture over each dish. It should ideally just cover all the layers like so:

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Carefully put the dishes into the oven (you may find them easier to handle if you put them on a flat baking tray) & bake for 25-30 minutes or until set.

Serve & enjoy whilst hot!

This produced two generous servings with a calorie count of 298 calories per person. 

Recipe - Diet Friendly Brunch: Sautéed chestnut mushrooms, peppered scrambled eggs & seeded toast.

  • 200g pack chestnut mushrooms, wiped & cut into quarters/sliced
  • 6 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 50ml skimmed milk
  • 2 slices seeded bread (I love M&S Super Seeded Bread)
  • 14g clover spread (or whatever spread/butter you prefer)
  • Peppercorns in grinder (I used a mixture of pink & black)
  • Spray olive oil

Sauté the mushrooms & tomatoes in a few sprays of oil over a moderately high heat stirring with a spatula/wooden spoon to prevent them from sticking & burning.

Once the mushrooms begin to colour & the tomatoes soften pop your bread into the toaster to your preferred setting for brownness.

Mix the eggs, milk & a few twists of pepper in a bowl with a fork.

Just as your toast pops up turn off the heat under the mushrooms & tomatoes & pour the egg mix into a small pan over a moderate heat. Stir it continuously as it cooks until it is just setting then turn off the hob.

Spread the clover/butter on your toast (if you wish you can omit this to save the extra calories) & serve up everything on a warmed plate. Eat immediately.

This recipe serves two but the quantities can easily be increased to serve more. According to the recipe builder on Dailyburn this recipe when made with exactly the ingredients listed as above contains 408 calories.

You could try this with scrambled tofu instead of egg for vegans!

Diet update:

Well I am surprised at my progress.

The scales have continued to be unfriendly just sort of hovering around the same weight sometimes sneaking a kilo or so up or down & then back again for some time now however I have now gone down TWO dress sizes!

I would never have worn the clingy maxi dress that I had on when we visited the Sensational Butterflies attraction at the Natural History Museum before. I would have been worried about my stomach sticking out too much but I look pretty slinky even in this picture Tris took of me with a butterfly sitting on me.

This certainly gives me positive reinforcement of my progress so far as the scales don’t seem to want to help!

Easter is not a diet friendly time!

There are chocolate treats everywhere, the traditional easter roast dinner, & hot cross buns. 

I was shocked when I looked at the calorie content on a pack of hot cross buns today, 270 calories for one! Fortunately a slice of hot cross bun loaf is only 110 calories so I can still enjoy a bit of easter tastiness. 

The easter roast is also possible using my olive oil spray roast potato recipe & making lots of vegetables.

Chocolate is not a problem providing I don’t deny myself completely. Rather than gorging on huge easter eggs made of inferior quality chocolate I’ve asked Tris for a treat from a good chocolatier. By having a better quality chocolate the cocoa content is higher & I find I get the “hit” I need from a smaller quantity. (I have proven that this method works for me as I made the box of posh chocolates Tris gave me for Valentine’s Day last over a month!)

This particular Easter weekend I will also be tempted by my own baking as I’m making an engagement cake for my cousin & his fiancée. I will share a small slice of this with Tris rather than devouring it by myself.

As well as all the temptations of naughty foods I can’t go to the gym for 4 days as they are closed over the entire four day weekend. To combat this my plan is to go for a lovely walk/cycle in Kensington Gardens with Tris on Monday as well as maybe breaking out the Wii Fit at the Annexe.

What are you up to for your Easter break?

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