So it turns out Christmas time is a lousy time to start a blog.
But it is NOT a lousy time to stay on plan!
I'm still working out the blogging kinks, things like how on earth I sign in on Google with my original blogger account and how do I change my ridiculous profile info! And how how HOW do I put pictures on?
So what's been on the menu this week?
I've managed to persuade my lovely consultant to let me try Extra Easy SP (I still breastfeed once or twice a day, but it's so irregular and it's got to point where I really don't need that extra carb boost.) I thought back to favourite recipes that could have been SP and also had a look through the latest magazine, more on that later.
Possibly one of the best things on the menu was the bolognase recipe from one of my favourite SW blogs, Pinch of Nom (they have a Facebook group too, which is active and inspiring.) The original recipe calls for low fat beef mince but mince recipes are the easiest recipes to veek (that's a vegan tweek!) as you just swap like for like. 200g beef mince? No problem, throw in 200g of soy mince. I like to use Sainsburys Meat Free Mince from the frozen section. It's still free and a good protein source, and I find it chunkier, chewier and less grainy than the dried stuff (though that would be fine too.)
For the original recipe, visit the link below:
Have you picked up the current magazine? The next issue is due on the 15th December so grab it quick if you haven't! I found some quite nice looking recipes that were either already vegan (YES!) or had an easy veek option (this is so my new word!)
The carrot and butternut squash veggie burgers on page 27 we had last week. They were OK, though a little soft and mushy for my taste. I'm also not big on cumin as the main flavour, so if I were to do these again I would probably use more smoked paprika (which tends to go in EVERYTHING) or curry powder instead. And I'd just mash by hand instead of blitzing them in the food processor to give them a bit more texture.
This week, when I haven't had an SP day, I've enjoyed some slow cooked sweet and sour tofu (original recipe calls for chicken) on page 60. This would have gone a LOT better if I had a) a bigger casserole dish and b) not forgotten about it and burnt the top! It is a scrummy sauce, worth using 2 syns on. I normally like to keep meals free so I can use syn on chocolates but this just sounded so heavenly! Although I used tofu instead of chicken, I wouldn't again. I would be tempted to either omit any meat or meat substitute and just have it as a veggie dish or add some vegan Quorn instead as it would definitely hold shape better. If you really wanted to splash out a few tins of mock duck would be just delicious! This recipe also makes 8 portions, so 4 have gone into the freezer so I feel quite chuffed with that too.
Finally I couldn't resist the Greek-style aubergine stew bowl on page 68. I'm not a big fan of aubergine but as it had the SP label I thought I'd give it a shot. The photograph of the ladle ploughing through did sway me massively too. And it's a good dish, lovely on cold days and so easy to dress up or down. Today Squiggle and I enjoyed it with spinach Cous Cous; I also enjoyed it as a quick breakfast this morning with tofu quiches and it was lush on its own after I got back from a long afternoon/evening out.
I'm hoping to try the herby quinoa and sweet potato cakes next week, they do look especially nice too (replace egg with egg replacer, or wait and see what it looks like without, I find some recipes like this don't really need it and keeps together well.)
Cooking wise, I've also been experimenting with sweet things. I have a crazy sweet tooth, the sweeter the better. The problem I have found with veeking SW sweet recipes is that the yoghurt was never the right consistency, and there wasn't anything to replace quark with, really. NOT ANY MORE! Alpro have released a strained soy yogurt... basically quark! Unfortunately, still not free, but on the plus the whole 400g pot is just 1.5 syns. Alpro Go On had existed for some time, but as smaller yogurts with a fruity layer on the bottom. They range from 1-1.5 syns each, which is good as soy yogurts go but 400g of yoghurt for the same syn value is not to be sniffed at.
So I've been far braver with desserts and sweet treats. I have basically replaced most yoghurt components with Alpro Go On and seen what's happened. Success has been varied but so far I've used it to make cheesecake, waffles, pancakes and wheetabix muffins! Links and veeking instructions soon I hope.
And finally, I set myself a target of running twice this week. Today I went for my second run of the week. I couldn't tell you how far, I suspect it was less than 3 miles but I can work my way up again. Running with Squiggle in the buggy does create some resistance, I hope that's why it's still such hard work.
Posts might be a bit sporadic in the run up to Christmas but I'm hoping that this can be more regular.
Hope to less of you next time!