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Recipes | Split Red Lentil Dahl.

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Yesterday was our 5th Fast Day. And it went surprisingly well. It definitely get’s easier… infact, I look forward to our Fast Day, as we’re trying such lovely recipes – and the added bonus is,  I wake up the day after a fast feeling great – feeling lighter and brighter. I wish the scales would actually ring true with the lighter part though, as I’m not seeing a huge difference. I’ve seen how some people have lost 10 – 14lbs by their 3rd week of fasting. I’m so far only seeing a 3lb drop. But still, that is a 1lb per week I guess and not to be sniffed at. I guess I’m just being inpatient!

SO! Yesterday was a fast day, as I say. And I made the most wonderful red lentil Dahl! The first time I’d ever made a Dahl… and dare I say it, the first time I’ve ever actually eaten one too! So only going on how mine turned out – but it was super yummy, warming and filling – just what you need on a Fast Day! I was inspired by several Dahl recipes that I found online. I loosely followed this recipe from the wonderful London-Unattached. But as Fiona mentions in her post, most Dahl recipes are more or less the same – just depends on what veg/meat you want to add! Our recipe was meat-free last night. This recipe would be awesome during the cold Winter months too – you can throw in so many things to bulk it out, while it will still remain very healthy.

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SPLIT RED LENTIL DAHL*
SERVES 2 – PREP 15 MINS – COOK 20 MINS
300 Calories, per portion.

Ingredients.
90g Sainsburys Dry Red Lentils
100ml Knorr Vegetable Stock
1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
2 Medium Tomatoes, chopped into chunks (can be skinned before chopping if you prefer)
2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Ground Tumeric
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 large clove Garlic (I pushed through a garlic press, but can be sliced or grated)
1/2 teaspoon Waitrose Hot Chilli Powder (Or one fresh chilli. Adjust according to taste – the Waitrose Chilli Powder is so powerful, you don’t need a lot! And I like heat!)
2 teaspoons Ginger (I chopped as I like to taste ginger, but can be grated)
1 Medium Onion (Finely Sliced)
3 Spring onions (I had leftover in the fridge)
1 Red pepper (I had leftover in the fridge)
150g Spinach (Torn or roughly chopped)
Splash of Rapeseed oil

Optional – to garnish.
Parsley
1 tablespoon Low Fat Yoghurt
Sliced cucumber

Directions
1) Cook lentils as per packet instructions. For the Sainsbury’s lentils I used, I boiled them rapidly (in cold water) for 10 minutes. Drained and set aside.
2) Add some oil to a frying pan and add the dry spices and cook over a medium heat till the mustard seeds start to pop. I used Rapeseed oil, but know that a lot of people use coconut oil as an even healthier alternative.
3) Add the onion (and spring onions), garlic and ginger and cook gently for 3-5 minutes till the onion starts to soften. Then add the cubed peppers (I just had a pepper leftover in the fridge).
4) Add the tomato puree, stock, fresh tomato and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary
5) Stir in soft lentils and the spinach and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
6) Serve garnished with a dollop of Low fat yoghurt, sliced cucumber and a sprig of parsley (or coriander would work well too).

ENJOY!

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Do you have any 5:2 recipes to share? Get in touch! I’d love to try them out!

MM.

*Recipe adapted from Fiona Maclean’s Red Lentil Dahl recipe, over on London-Unattached.

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Recipes | Harissa Chicken and Bulgar Wheat Salad.

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We’d tried this lovely Harissa Chicken and Bulgar Wheat salad a few times, from the Hairy Bikers ‘Hairy Dieters’ cookbook before we even knew about the 5:2 diet! It really is a delicious, well rounded meal – very tasty! And better still, it’s very filling – just what you need on a Fast Day! This cookbook is perfect if you’re also undergoing the 5:2 diet. A lot of the recipes are under 300 calories! So perfect for Fast Day’s.

So here is the recipe!
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HARISSA CHICKEN AND BULGAR WHEAT SALAD*.
SERVES 4 – PREP 15 MINS – COOK 20 MINS
270 Calories, per portion.

Bulgur wheat salad:
100g Waitrose bulgur wheat
150g  cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
1/4 cucumber, diced
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley (about 10g), plus extra to garnish
Small bunch of fresh mint (about 10g)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Harissa chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp Harissa paste (preferably Tose Harissa, I used Waitrose Ruby Rose Harissa).
Lemon wedges, to serve

1) To make the salad, rinse the bulgur wheat in a fine sieve and tip it into a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then cook for about 10 minutes until just tender, or follow the packet instructions. Rinse the bulgur in a sieve under running water until cold and leave to drain.

2) Tip the cooked bulgur wheat into a large serving bowl and add the tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, garlic, parsley, mint, lemon zest and juice. You’ll need about 3 heaped tablespoons of each herb once chopped. Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper, toss everything together well and leave to stand while you cook the chicken.

3) Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of cling film and beat with a rolling pin until about 1.5cm thick. You need to make the chicken breasts about the same thickness so they cook evenly.

4) Brush a griddle pan or non-stick frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat until hot. Griddle or pan-fry the chicken breasts for 2 minutes, then turn them over with tongs and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes.

5) Brush the chicken breasts with half of the harissa on 1 side only and turn over. Cook for a minute while brushing the reverse side with the remaining harissa. Flip over and cook for a further minute or until cooked through. Check that there is no pinkness remaining.

6) Transfer the chicken to a board and leave to rest for 3–4 minutes before serving. Garnish with extra parsley and the lemon wedges and serve hot with the bulgur salad.

ENJOY!

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Do you have any 5:2 recipes to share? Get in touch! I’d love to try them out!

 

MM.

 

*Extracted from THE HAIRY DIETERS by Si King and Dave Myers published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson priced £14.99.  Copyright (c) Byte Brook Limited and Sharp Letter Limited, 2012. 

 

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The 5:2 Fast Diet | And so it begins…

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I’m rubbish with diets. I like food and wine far too much. I don’t really exercise; but I do walk 2 hours a day, everyday, to take Eli to nursery and back. So I’d say I’m lightly active. I’ll be honest here, because I think it’s important, I need to lose around a stone. Maybe even a little more. I feel dreadful. I’m exhausted, I’m sluggish, I’m bloated – and for some reason have recently acquired a sweet tooth. The 5:2 diet is brimming with health benefits, as well as the incredible weight loss results. Without going into the massive science and logic behind the diet… it sounds like the perfect for us. Due to work, I barely have lunch until 2/3pm anyway and we never have our tea before 8:30/9pm due to it taking Mr Memoirs so long to get home. We I do however have trouble with portion control – I cook for a family of ten, so we eat for a family of ten! Always have.

A friend had started the 5:2 diet a few weeks ago and has had great results so far. It took a while for me to get my head around it. Giving up food for an entire day, not once, but twice a week? NO WAY, GET REAL. No way could I do that! But actually, as a female, I get 500 calories for my fast day. If you’re lucky enough to be male, you get 600 calories. Bonus round. It doesn’t sound like a lot – but if you’re clever, and make the right choices, you can actually still have 3 meals a day! YES WAY!

Yesterday was my first fast day. It is advised by fellow 5:2’ers that you try and miss breakfast (I know, it goes against everything you’re taught growing up!) and try and last as long as you can throughout the day without food. Meaning you have more of those important calories left for your evening meal. I’m already a massive water drinker. I don’t drink tea or coffee. I don’t drink fizzy drinks. So at least I don’t have to give extra’s like that up. I kept gulping down the pints of aqua till around 12, when I quite literally felt like my stomach was eating itself. I also had a headache. Not wanting to ‘waste’ my valuable calories on paracetamol, I opted for a 13 cal beef OXO cube drink! This replaced the salts that my water intake may have been taking away. I somehow, managed to get to 3:30 and had my Knorr soup, 172 calories. I then had a medium-banana on my way to pick Eli up from the nursery, a around 89 calories. And for my big meal of the day, we had the below – Halloumi salad, at 215 calories, at 9pm. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed agsalad so much in all my life. I will be continuing to collate 5:2 recipes over on my Pinterest, here >> 5:2 Diet Recipes. I had a total of 489 calories yesterday and I SURVIVED! I feel proud to get through Day 1 of fasting.

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Halloumi Salad, by 5:2 Recipes Blog. Serves 1, 215 calories.

This is by far the most yummy salad I’ve eaten… I’m not sure if it was because I was so looking forward to my evening meal though! But it was delicious, calorie counting or not. You could easily slip some chicken in there to bulk it out. But it was zingy and filling – am looking forward to having this again!

Do you have any swear-by 5:2 recipes? I would to hear your recipe ideas and experiences with 5:2!
MM.

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Another one of ‘those’ blog posts…

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Yes, I am sorry. But this is another one of ‘those’ blog posts where I apologise for not writing for so long.

Life – as I always say – has taken over! I work more or less full time right now. Which is great for exercising my brain. But my god, do I miss my little boy. Needs must however, and the work is fun, engaging and what I’m passionate about. So it’s not dull in the slightest! I’m very lucky that I can work from my own office space at home, so I know Eli isn’t too far away. And the best thing? I know I can wear my onesie to the office, if I feel so inclined! But yes, it’s been pretty full on…

So much has happened in the past few months. We were discharged from the consultant who looks after Eli’s Torticollis back in May – due to their being no treatment, cure or support. We will self-refer should our situation change. But right now, *touch wood*, things are working as they should be. We also saw our consultant who looks after Eli’s Talipes on the same day. We will go back for a review in around November/December time. But overall, he was over the moon with Eli’s progress, as are we! We certainly have a very fast little runner in Eli. Well, he is an Olympic baby afterall!

Just this week we have started the 5:2 diet – which I hope to document through my blog and my Instagram (click here to follow me, @JudyPink!). Yesterday was my first fast day, (I’ll write a separate blog on this), and I survived!

I’m sure a whole lot of other stuff has happened inbetween (like Mother’s Day, Easter, failing 3 driving tests, Tonsillitis, being asked to be a bridesmaid, meeting Iggle Piggle, turning 28, Father’s Day… oh and seeing One Direction!) So I’m sorry I won’t be catching up on that stuff – probably for the best. BUT I do promise to try and spend a little bit more time on my blog again. I do miss my writing and documenting Eli’s progress and lovely outfits that he has 🙂 (Plus it means that Mr Memoirs can play on his PS4 at the same time! 😉 )

For now, I bid you a pleasant day!
MM.