Thursday, 8 December 2016

General Round Up

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!


Sunday, 27 November 2016


So, how does one start a blog? Especially one as personal as one about lifestyle choices and life long battles with weight?

Maybe let's start with who I am, and where I'm at.

Hello, I'm Bron.

So life looks a little like this; I am married to the most amazing, supportive and outstanding man I've ever met, and together we have a fearless, funny, adorable little 18 month old. For protection of identity, let's call husband Top Cat and little one Squiggle.

We currently live in South West London, or thereabouts, having moved from our hometown of Hull. Life is very different down south, but after 6 years here I think we're starting to get the hang of it!

By day - and by night, come to think of it - I am a church lay worker. This involves lots of people facing in the community and within the churches I serve. Also by day, I am mother to Squiggle, as previously mentioned. Squiggle comes with me to most of my work appointments which means days can be a bit crazy and sometimes time is tight. But I wouldn't change it for the world; I love my job, and I love that I can still see my little one growing and changing.

This is my second shot at Slimming World. I won't go into details now, but I had a lot of success with Slimming World two and a half years ago, losing about 4st. Pregnancy and new motherhood curtailed that, and so I'm back to square one plus (that's all the weight came back on and then some.)

Slimming World is a plan I highly rate. It's not about quick fixes, but complete lifestyle changes. It also uses real food in wholesome recipes. It is also the best plan to follow for someone following a vegan lifestyle, which I also do.

Again, I won't go into details, but I've been vegan now for 7 and a half years. Things have changed a lot since I first made the change in lifestyle, and the options available now for a vegan lifestyle are phenomenal in comparison. Sometimes this makes life easier, though for a vegan trying to lose a lot of weight with a real addiction to chocolate, it makes it a whole lot harder.

Being vegan and on Slimming World is great, and there is a lot to enjoy, but there's also a lot we miss out on. Foods that people take for granted - Muller Light, mini chocolate bars with low syn value, cheese that can be used as a healthy extra, puddings made from quark and other animal dairy based products - are off the menu.

It was with child like glee that I found Pinterest had a wealth of Slimming World friendly recipes, but typing in "vegan Slimming World recipes" offered little inspiration. A couple of slow cooker casseroles, a lentil based curry and lots of other recipes that either weren't vegan, weren't Slimming World friendly, or weren't vegan OR Slimming World friendly.

What I hope to do here, as well as journelling my experiences, thoughts and feelings, is to share recipes that vegans CAN enjoy. I'm no Isa Chandra Moskowitz, so original recipes will be far and few between, for now anyway. It'll mostly be links to vegan friendly recipes, links to non vegan recipes with instructions on how to make them vegan or referring to books that can be bought in group. It might not sound like much, but I would have loved something like that. Still would.

One final promise before I sign off and think of something more meaty to blog on (or should that be, more tofu-y? Man, I crack me up!) I promise I won't be that needy, teary person that will type reams about how they tried so hard and only lost half a pound. Hearing that is my consultant's job and Top Cat's job (sorry Top Cat!) Secondly, I promise I will not EVER shame or be judgemental about omnivores. I'll be honest, I would love to live in a world where eating animals and their products became a thing of the past but right now I am the minority. Even in my family I'm the minority, Top Cat and Squiggle don't follow a vegan diet and I would not force it on either of them. It is the choice of the individual. If you want to chat about it sometime, great, but I won't bang on about it here.

I think I've covered everything. 

See less of you soon!

Bron x