Blog of destiny

Fajita Pie – Recipe

Now I love a fajita. I haven’t had anything spicy lately due to a long standing tummy problem but I’ve been reintroducing it slowly and today was the day to share a little something I discovered many years ago with my fella. Fajita Pie.

This is a super easy, super tasty recipe which takes under an hour from chopping to munching. You can easily replace the chicken to make this veggie and theres such a variety of free from products this really can be modified for most people. Eat and enjoy!

Recipe

(Serves 2)

5 flour tortillas

1 fajita spice sachet

2/3 cup of salsa

360g chicken strips

1 small onion

1 cup mixed peppers strips

1/2 cup aubergine strips

40g cheddar cheese

Frylite cooking spray

1 pie tin for two

Method

Preheat oven to 180

In a nice deep pan cook off your peppers, onion and aubergine until they are half softened. Season with a little salt and pepper. You want these to be fairly moist for the purposes of a pie mixed so I kept the lid on and topped up a few tablespoons of water here and there.

Next add your chicken strips to the mix, lid back on and let the chicken cook all over.

Meanwhile prepare your pie tin. I like the traditional enamel tins but anything with smooth edges is fine.

Give the tin a few squirts of fry lite spray or your own choice, then push 3 of your tortillas into the bottom. You will need to fold the edges to get it snug and may need more or less depending on your sizes. Don’t worry about buts sticking up – we’ll chop them off later.

Remove the lid from the pan and brown off the ingredients just a tad, then add your fajita spice mix. Let this take to the ingredients a bitty then add your salsa.

Mix thoroughly and let this cook for a couple of minutes.

Now empty your mixture into the pie tin and flatten it out.

Now sprinkle your cheese on top.

Next up, put your last two tortillas on top and press down well to seal your pie in. Spray your frylite to the overlapping bit in the middle to get a good seal, then with kitchen scissors trim off the excess tortilla. If you don’t they will cook quickly and burn before your pie is ready. Poke a few holes in the top for good measure.

Now into the oven for between 5-10 minuets depending on how fierce your oven is. You want it to brown on top, thats all. Remember all your ingredients are cooked already, this is a cheese melting, gooey making exercise!

Remove from the oven and cut down the middle really well. Properly making sure you cut all the way through the sides and bottom or you will pull the whole thing apart when you take it out of the dish.

Serve with a nice salad and enjoy the yummy fest!!

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Targets – My crappy, wonderful belt

Who doesn’t love a story beginning with an oxymoron?!

This is my crappy, wonderful belt. It is a mans belt I purchased in a rage after looking for a plain black belt in the ladies section. I turned up nothing but spaghetti thin, blinged up useless rubbish. This crappy yet sturdy mens belt cost me a mere £3.00 in the supermarket. This crappy belt succeeds in holding up my trousers and on the first outing looked very smart. I was pleased with my bargain. However on the second outing my crappy belt started to shed its smart black skin like a bloomin snake… I was not amused. I had also lost my receipt and so out of further displeasure – this time with myself – I decided to keep wearing it as punishment for being slack.

And then I started my diet.

And now my crappy belt represents something wonderful. What a turnout for the books eh?

Yes its peeling quicker than a cheap plaster, but it’s also showing my progress. And what a pleasant surprise.

When I first wore it just over a month ago it was literally on the last buckle hole. And now I’m having to use hole number three. Two belt holes different!

In my last post I talked about tracking success without weighing yourself obsessively, and now I’ve just discovered a bit of progress by complete accident.

So now I’m not keeping this belt on my trousers as punishment, I’m keeping it there out of satisfaction.

This crappy, wonderful belt will be with me until I feel in shape. I’m aiming for the higher end of the satisfactory bmi for myself. I’ve a way to go, but now I’ve got a partner for the journey.

Hooray for my crappy wonderful belt!!

Targets without numbers

The plan is to do this without obsessively weighting and measuring myself.  How am I doing so far?  Well I have jumped on the scales twice so far.  This is more than I had planned but it was pretty much out of boredom while I was suffering with my winter cold.  I felt like things were going okay, and I though seeing the numbers would make me stick to things while I was poorly.  Actually that worked, I had lost weight in fact nearly two kilos since I began.  That’s two wee bags of sugar I’m not dragging around.  It was pretty much pure sugar I was pouring down my neck in chocolate form so I’m glad to see it go. Good bye!

So maybe it’s tougher to break the weigh in habit than I thought it would be.  That’s years of rigid training I’ve done there so it shouldn’t be a wonder.

But if I am going to stop all this weighing, how am I going to see my progress?  If not by pounds or kilos, by inches or millimeters then how do I know this is working?

There is one very simple way that I will know.  My bright pink uniform shirt.  Yes this is one of the most unforgiving colours known to man and it is my daily outfit.  Actually I quite like it.  I’m not a very pink sort of a girl but this fuchsia/raspberry is really rich juicy so it’s cool with me, but it’s not the colour that is the key.

It’s the buttons.

I got these new shirts last year when I was a bit thinner.  This brand’s sizes come up pretty big making me in this case a size 12.  But now I am definitely not a size 12 even by this standard, I am a decent size 14.  Looking in the mirror seeing the buttons over my chest pulling apart, I knew that it was time to sort this out.

So my target is not to drop a dress size, or to shed 3 inches or 12 pound.  My target its for this shirt to fit me without the bloomin’ buttons gaping!  And while it looks a bit dodgy in the mean time, I am refusing to change to a larger size.  I want to just put this shirt on one day and realise that, oh! look! it fits just fine.

I know people slim down for all sorts of things.  For a prom, a wedding.  For that dress you just had to buy that wasn’t in your size (I probably have this green shimmery  thing in the wardrobe somewhere from a decision I made like that many years ago…).  Something I have realised about my body is that even when I am slimmer, half the stuff I pick up really doesn’t suit me at all.  So why am I slimming down for something that I don’t even know will look nice when I get there?  Nope.  Not any more.  My pink delightful shirt is my everyday, regular goal.

Sickness and dieting – my first challenge

Well here it is folks, my first challenge of my health kick. A dastardly cold. Struck down and feeling gloomy. To make matters worse, I sneezed rather suddenly and have thrown out my back. This is the worst combination. Now I’m stuck at home, feeling horrible and I can’t move properly.

Normally this would be the end of my diet, but by jove I think I’ve cracked it! Ive taken my own advice and prepped my food supply.

Yesterday on the way home I knew this bug was going to get me, so I hit the shop. One low calorie Chicken Tikka masala for dinner, one loaf of low calorie bread, a bag of satsumas, some chocolate roll up crepes and a couple of cans of soup. Sorted.

So today I crept around the house feeling sad, bit still had tasty stuff to eat which work with my diet.

My dinner to tonight consisted of what ever I could reach – Quorn pieces, beans, spinach and peas with tomato relish. Yes it thusly looked bloomin odd but it was tasty and nourishing so I’m happy with that. Don’t judge, I’m in bad shape!!

So, lesson learned. Prepare. Have a good variety of foods in stock, including snacks and I won’t fall off the wagon. Huzzah!

My other half is coming to rescue me tomorrow so dinner will hopefully look a bit more appealing!

Banana pancake recipe – no flour

Tomorrow is pancake day and being on a health kick I am always up for new ideas.

I’d been pondering this and after a natter with a mate, a three ingredient pancake with banana sounded like a cool idea. Banana, egg and cinnamon was the suggestion. Now I really hate cinnamon. I had a bad night out once upon a time involving cinnamon Aftershock. Never again. Seriously. So unless its mega subtle I ain’t interested. I thought perhaps this is not for me. Also, suspicious, I thought that looks way too easy and I couldn’t resist it. So its time to test it out with my own non cinnamon twist.

To be honest I was lazy, didn’t pay attention to measurements and so went with my gut and tried a thing. Turned out BLOODY TASTY.

Ingredients

3 medium bananas nice and ripe.

1 egg

Abt 2tsp lemon juice

Method

Peel the bananas, peel peel the bananas.

Mash the banana, mash mash the. Banana… save me from this song…

Crack the egg into the mixture, add the lemon juice and stir it all together with a fork. Ok, this looks like batter!

Heat up a pan, nice and hot. I sprayed about 10 squirts of frylite buttery into the pan.

Now add a third of the mixture, spread it out into a nice round and cook the beast. I left mine 30 seconds before beginning to poke around the edges with a spatula.

Flip and cook the other size.

Then you’re done!!

Now my first pancake fell apart a fair bit as I made it too large. Go smaller, and thicker and don’t much around with it too much.

So I’d say depending on your banana and egg size this mix makes 3 – 4 small pancakes. By my calculations this was bang on 100 calories and great for breakfast.

They are super fluffy and really lovely. I always have lemon on my pancakes and having it run through them like this is absolutely perfect for me. I topped it with a bit if naughty golden syrup and my word, oh wow.

Ohhh yeahh!!

Goodbye flour, hello bananas! 🍌🍌🍌

Walking and weighing – what to do?

I love to walk. Which is very convenient as I can’t bloomin run anymore, but I anyway I like wandering and I live in the gloriously insane city of greater London. I am also a walking tour guide so this all works out rather well. I am on my feet all day and my phone in my pocket ticks off the steps diligently, but I have noticed that when I walk with my partner, his phone counts more steps. We have the same stride pretty much but he often registers an extra mile or two per day when we have been side by side the whole time. What’s that all about??!

I wonder if it is worth getting a fitbit after all.

But then I realise the trap I am falling into, suddenly its clear, which hence forth I wish to avoid.

I am not doing this for a few months. I want this to be the way I am as a habit, as normal, rather than hoovering shitty snacks and junk food. While in the past I enjoyed the challenge of step counting and distance trials, I am not that bothered at heart. And that is the first thing to go when I get less motivated.

Weekly weigh in’s, daily targets, calorie limits. It’s too much. Let’s stick to one of those things and get it right.

And at the moment I need to drop two stone, so calories is the one thing I choose.

I will keep my phone in my pocket, use MyFitnessPal and earn what ever extra calories I do for dinner, but I’m not going to push harder. As I am already trying to adjust I am dooming myself to fail if I keep adding more rules.

I will weigh myself perhaps every month and see whats going on, but loose on the dates nothing rigid. Weekly weighing becomes a stick to beat yourself with if you level off or don’t loose and your body has different needs at different times. It can be a negative. No more negatives. If I clearly stop loosing I’ll look into it and reassess. Till then no more sticks.

What I am looking for is my stomach to feel less bloated, my efforts to become easier, eventually normal and my cloths to gently loosen.

I’ll keep on walking, and wandering but worry less about logging every second, and more about enjoying my life.

Looking back – Analysis of a diet flop..

I’m pretty self aware. I know my strengths and my weaknesses but sometimes it’s cathartic to really examine your own behaviour, and I want to understand why I dropped out of my healthy regime last year. I think many people have similar experiences so maybe my thoughts can be helpful to someone in the same predicament.

I was doing extremely well, loosing weight and feeling good. I was full of energy and enthusiasm, but then quietly at first, the crap food crept back in bit by bit with a tremendous peak last month I was chomping through the mega giant holiday sizes bars of chocolate and family sized bags of crisps like they were nectar of life. Time to sort it out.

As a fan of lists I’m going to start listing my thoughts about why and how and see where I end up.

Reasons my diet failed?

  • Physical bodily issues.
  • I developed chest pains which are due to indigestion. Now this may make you wonder why the heck I didn’t want to eat more healthily at this point, but junk food wasn’t the issue here. In fact probably my healthy food was causing me issues. Let me explain. It took me months to test exclude foods to see what was triggering my tummy. What I discovered was anything spicy or very acidic was a huge issue. Ok fine got rid of things with spice and pineapple and whatnot. Still having trouble though further experiments gave me a mega list of tricky foods. Beetroot, cucumber, fresh tomato, peppers, peas, green beans, raw celery, radish, raw carrots, all fruits except banana, hard cheese and cheddar, avocado, bacon, lamb chicken for a time. Well I was left with pain and a lot of my favourite foods off the list.
  • My back went again. My discs slipped hard and I was really in a state for a good couple of months. Being in the kitchen longer than I had to was a literal pain with one of my main issues being that I can’t lean forward. Even brushing my teeth has to be done to the side so chopping and washing up is awful. If I can limit it to one oven tray and a plate hurrah.
  • I felt sad about my back and wanted comfort food. No doubt about it by the time I staggered home from work I was in my chair and wanted snacks. So I had them.
  • I took loads if overtime. Sometimes I was ill prepared and forgot to take meals with me. OH GOD NO PLAN … lets have a random sandwich, in fact a meal deal, and a cake… I’ll be do better tomorrow..
  • My commute home takes over an hour. I get in if I’m lucky by 7.30. So in really hungry by now. On a bad day its 8.30. Pizza is easy… I can oven it and chill out while its crisping up.
  • Christmas came and so did the festive treats. Not great surprise here. It was tasty!
  • I lost my fitness tracker.. great sadnesses and no fun step counting. Now I have a phone which can do it but I can’t have that visible during the day so it’s way less fun.
  • My general moral was down, I suffered anxiety and stress and was just wanting to go to be early when I got home. No perceived time to faff in the kitchen.

Can I draw a conclusion?

Well Lets be honest. Life throws a lot at us and I can give excuses for anything. I was tired, I was late bla bla bla.. But really I should have made the time. However reality is that I didn’t. I’m not going to beat myself up about it, it’s done now. But looking in to the reasons I think that apart from my body being a jerk as usual, convenience is absolutely the biggest continuous factor. If my meals were easier and quicker I wouldn’t drop off at all. Maybe I’m lazy, maybe not but there it is.

So what can I do?

Plan. Simplify. Vary.

I did a lot of batch cooking in the past which was great but after a while I’d get bored of stuff and there it would sit in the freezer growing frost..

I am hopeful this strategy will help me keep on track.

Today is day three and all is well so I’m filled with a renewed optimism and enthusiasm.

If this sounds like you, I feel it for you, literally. Good luck to us all.

Return to the mission – it’s been bloomin joyful

Well its been a while. I fell off the wagon and put on nearly two stone which is actually quite an achievement. I’d like to thank Dairy milk, crisps and pies for their incredible assistance during this process.

But now I am at the night before rejoining my mission. I’m prepping like crazy and planning to make this easy and sustainable.

Here is what I’ve done so far.

  • Clearing my cupboard of incompatible food.
  • I’ve taken the usable stuff to the local food bank, and passed the rest to my flatmate.
  • My Fitness Pal is back installed – weight and goals updated and ready to go.
  • I’ve taken my ill-fitting cloths to the charity shop. I have a habit of keeping stuff for the future but I enjoy charity shopping so I’m just letting go, making space and getting rid of guilt triggering outfits I’ll never wear.
  • Sorted the freezer out. Now I have space for new things.
  • I’m getting stuff I can use to partition the freezer draw. It will make it less of a hassle and therefore help me stick to things.
  • Digging out my silicon cupcake moulds to use as portioning moulds for freezer stock.
  • Looking for a new Fitbit style thing as my last one got lost.
  • I enjoy the challenge of step counts and it helps me a lot. Walking is a thing I can actually do so hurrah for that.
  • I’ve sorted the junk cupboard and gotten new tuppaware. Moving stuff around so I don’t have to stretch. My physical issues really don’t help me in my healthy efforts so this will be great.
  • My boyfriend is on board with all this. He has just lost lots of weight doing meat free January and although his calorie target is way more than mine he will be a huge help as ever.

And so it begins again. I have been getting my head ready for this for a while and now its time. I know from experience its not worth doing this if your not there in your head yet.

Good luck to me, and to any else doing the same!

Blackberry Jelly 


I am bery, er, very lucky to live beside a huge common which is filled with enormous mountains of brambles. I took my boyfriend up for a wander this week and we harvested a huge load of fruit!

Collecting blackberries from the wild does give you something to consider. They will inevitably have wee beasties lurking within. Wild fruit isn’t sprayed with insecticide or chemicals so it can’t be avoided! To combat this, place your fruit in a large bowl or sink of cold water, give it a good shake (about 2 or 3 tablespoons) of table salt on top, swoosh it about and leave it aside for a good 20-30 mins. Then rinse your fruit thoroughly. This will rid you of the majority of anything living within. Sorted. 

As its my friends birthday this week I thought I would turn this into something useful for both myself and a cake, so I have made some Blackberry Jelly to use as a filler.

I’ve made jam in previous years but I am not a fan of blackberry pips so this year they are coming out!

I dug around for a recipe, and after reading a few and realising I didn’t have quite the ingredients/ quantitys required, I went for it myself.  And its tasty! Yey! 

Ingredients 

  • 950g Blackberries 
  • 950g White Sugar 
  • 1 large Cooking Apple – peeled and diced

Method

Tip your blackberries and apple into a large sturdy pan, add 200ml of water and gently cook them off till the berries are squidgy and apple is soft. For me that was about 20mins.

Now mash the heck out if it all to get all the lumps out. Grr!


Next add the sugar and let that melt down gently, about 10 mins or so.

Now cook it all fast for 10 mins or so, stir once in a while to stop it sticking.

Meanwhile get a big bowl and hang a sive lined with muslin over it to get ready for the straining.
When your fruit is suitably cooked, pour it into the sive and whiz a spoon round to get it all dripping through. Get as much as you can out of that cloth! I wrapped it round a wooden spoon to squeeze more out – carefully guys its ruddy hot and burns your hand! A silicon mitten is advisable!! It also looks like you are harvesting organs so don’t freak out your flatmates like I did…

Once its all through, pour into warm sterilised jars and allow to cool.  

This made me two good sized jars. Voila! Enjoy delicious pip free jelly!

Prune Flapjacks 

I have had rather a long break from my mission over the last few months. Life has pretty much gotten in the way but I’m back and feeling great!

A lucky find in a charity shop yesterday had me on a mission to do some baking.  I came across a multi partitioned rectangular silicon baking tray for the princely sum of 50p. Excellent! I’d been pondering getting for one for ages but hadn’t seen any in the shops. It needed a wash but it’s silicon so nothing fairy liquid couldn’t handle! 

Doing my usual sweep of the supermarket and on a mission to improve the calorie count of my breakfast flapjacks I stopped at the dried fruit isle and had a good look around what was there.

Raisens were a few calories less than the sultanas I had been adding so they were a contender and heading for the trolley, but then I picked up a bag of good old prunes. HALF the calories of the sultanas?! And they are sweet and sticky and yummy?! Just chop them up small and voila! IN THE TROLLEY YOU GO!


When I started compiling the mixture I figured that I could shave off a few calories from the flora and sugar as well – may as well give it a whirl.

Ingredients 

  • Scottish Porridge Oats- 125g
  • Flora Light – 70g
  • Soft Brown Sugar – 70g
  • Ready to eat Prunes – 50g
  • Plain flour – 35g
  • Golden Syrup – 15g

The partitioned tray made life SO easy. I squished the mixture down and bunged it in the oven.


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The results? Really delicious breakfast bars! I’ve baked them a little crisp and golden so the texture is a bit crunchy, but thats how I like them.  The new silicon tray is fab! Makes life so much easier. I highly recommend getting hold of one if you’re making bars – its much less crumbly.