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Recipe: Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn Soup

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On our bank holiday day out to Skipton in the typical English bank holiday weather of drizzle, drizzle and more drizzle, we escaped the rain into WH Smiths for a while. I was browsing through the cook books and I saw the Biggest Loser cookbook (linked in to the TV programme). The TV programme is kind of a guilty pleasure for me, and the book seemed to have some good recipes in, so I thought I’d buy it. At £13 it wasn’t that bad, until I noticed a discount sticker knocking it down to £6.50. Then it scanned through the till at a fiver, which made my day!

My first recipe to try is for my lunches at work this week, a sweet potato and sweetcorn soup. The quantity of sweet potato didn’t seem like much (one medium/small potato), but when blended up, it made a lovely thick consistency. It doesn’t look that appetising in colour, but it sure is tasty! I think it would be easy to vary the spices too, swap the chilli for curry flavourings to make a completely different soup.

Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn Soup

(Serves 3)
Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Half a small red chilli, very finely chopped (optional, but tasty)
1 medium sweet potato (about 250g), peeled and chopped into small chunks
700ml vegetable stock (I used one Knorr Vegetable stock pot)
1 can of sweetcorn (mine was 260g drained weight)
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method
1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Fry the onions for about 5 minutes (until softened), making sure to stir so it doesn’t stick. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another minute or so.

2. Add the sweet potato and stir the pieces in the onion mixture. Add enough stock to cover the vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add the sweetcorn and the remaining stock and cook for a further 5 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.

4. Add a little salt and pepper (to taste), then whizz in a food processor until smooth.

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories: 200
Carbs: 33g
Fat: 6g
Protein: 5g
Sugar: 9g
Fibre: 7g

HM2014 – 22nd July

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Well at first, I stopped writing the blog posts even though I was carrying on with my healthy mission, but that very quickly turned into not being healthy either. I had the wake up call I needed yesterday when I had to go to a client meeting with work for the first time in ages and I could hardly fasten the button on my trousers! 8 hours sat in a car (and 2 in a meeting) wearing trousers that didn’t really fit was not very comfortable, so I’m making a change right now.

While I was on holiday last week, we went shopping at the Trafford Centre and I bought myself a new lunchbox from John Lewis (it was on sale), and I’ve filled it up with about 320 calories of healthy food for my lunch and snacks. I’ve had a shake for breakfast this morning, which means that I’ll be able to have a relatively normal dinner and be okay on my calories.

Healthy lunch and snacks

At the weekend, I also decided to replace my Fitbit One with a Fitbit Flex. It’s worn on the wrist instead of on the pocket, which is much easier for me, so hopefully it will give me the motivation I need to get moving again and get back in shape!

I’ve got 39 days to go before I’m going to a wedding, and while I know that I’m not going to be able to do much by that date, I can at least hopefully make myself feel better. I’m now just trying to persuade Cameron to eat healthily with me to give me some moral support and stop me from giving up!

HM2014 – 14th May

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Well it looks like the weather may finally have turned! I went for a quick ten minute walk around the block at lunchtime yesterday, after which it proceeded to rain torrentially all afternoon. But by the time I left the office and got to Golden Acre, it was glorious sunshine, and it made for a very pleasant walk!

I’ve reached my step target of 7,500 per day both days this week, but unfortunately Cameron has done 10,000 each day, so I don’t think I’m going to beat him this week! I beat him last week though, which made me happy!

My walk around Yeadon Tarn this morning was similarly sunny. Very warm and it looks like the sunshine may be here to stay today, so I might even be able to get in two laps around Golden Acre tonight!

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HM2014 – 13th May

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Yesterday was not such a great day at work, but a great day diet-wise. My day started off with my usual walk around a very sunny Yeadon Tarn, which definitely woke me up! After having a meeting that ran halfway over lunch and then coming out of the meeting to torrential rain, I decided to skip the lunchtime walk in favour of being dry for the afternoon. So after work I went up to Golden Acre for my nightly walk. It stayed dry, but the grey clouds looked very ominous, so I walked quickly to avoid any potential rain!

After my walk, it was a quick trip to Morrisons to get ingredients for my lunches for the next week, which I then spent the next hour cooking. It’s basically the same sausage and vegetable pasta bake as last time, but with a curry sauce instead of tomato to change it up a bit. It smelt delicious, but I’d already had my shake so I couldn’t eat any, so let’s hope it tastes delicious today!

HM2014 – 12th May

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Well this weekend has been pretty quiet, but I haven’t been on my PC, hence why there hasn’t been a blog post. But don’t worry, I’ve been sticking to it. I woke up early on Saturday morning and took a walk into Pudsey to take my books back to the library, racking up 2000 steps before 9.30am. I then went to Wetherspoons for lunch with Cameron, where I ordered the veggie burger and switched the chips for a salad. We then decided that since we were going to be watching Eurovision, we may as well make a night of it and have some snacks while we were watching, so I bought healthy snacks of beef jerky and Special K crisps, to go along with my low-calorie, non-alcoholic wine.

On Sunday, I stayed in bed later than usual. After a bacon sandwich (calorie counted), we spent the early part of the afternoon doing housework, hoovering, washing up and then grooming the dog, who is currently malting everywhere, hence the need for a good vacuuming! After a lunch at McDonalds (a 190 calorie salad with a small amount of dressing), that left me at about 2,500 steps for the day. Obviously not enough to get me anywhere near target, so I dragged Cameron for a walk around Golden Acre after tea (vegetable stir-fry with noodles and black bean sauce). So by the end of the day I was much closer to target (although not quite there), and feeling pretty good about my weekend!

Here’s a selection of pictures from the weekend:

HM2014 – 9th May

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The rain made my walk last night very miserable. It poured down all the way around Golden Acre and I was soaked by the time I’d finished! But at least I got my steps in for the day!

Today’s post is a tad late but it’s been a busy day! It was my workplace’s tenth birthday so we were taken out to a fish and chip restaurant for lunch. I actually stayed really good though, having steamed fish and a jacket potato, even forgoing the butter and the bread!

But since we were at the restaurant for lunch, that meant I couldn’t go out for my lunchtime walk. I still went to Golden Acre after work but that still left my short on steps, so I’ve spent the last hour walking while watching TV to get my target!

Thankfully it wasn’t raining at Golden Acre tonight, although the sky was looking pretty dark, but there are some pretty flowers starting to come out which makes it all look nicer!

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HM2014 – 8th May

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Damn the rain! It’s been so miserable here the last couple of days, although that didn’t stop me from getting all my walks in yesterday. I started the morning with a 7am walk around Yeadon Tarn, which was pretty peaceful.

I then went out at lunch for a mile walk around the local park/housing estate. I must have been walking faster than I thought because when I got back to the office, not only was I soaked from the rain but I was also very hot! I also managed to turn the bar on the ‘steps’ graph on Fitbit to green, which I don’t do very often!

Then after work I went to Golden Acre for a walk around. I would have done two laps round, but the rain put a stop to that! Instead, I went home and walked on the spot for an hour while I watched TV, so I still got to my 10,000 steps goal!

My morning walk around Yeadon Tarn this morning was not pleasant. I don’t know if I overdid it a bit yesterday, but the tops of my feet were really hurting when I was walking. Hopefully a slower stroll around Golden Acre tonight will help. It is pretty cool to watch the planes taking off on a morning though, even if some idiot has scrawled graffiti over all the signs round the lake!

HM2014 – 7th May

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Well yesterday was my first ‘off-day’. Although saying that, according to Fitbit I was bang on target for calories, so I guess it wasn’t that off, but I’ll let you decide for yourself!

The day was supposed to involve a trip into Leeds to walk around and do some shopping, but after spiralling up 18 floors of the multi-story car park and not finding a single space, we decided to drive to Manchester and go to the Trafford Centre instead. After a lunch at Nando’s, which I kept to quite a low calorie limit by swapping the chips for a delicious bowl of ratatouille (108 calories instead of 400+ calories), we walked around all the shops and finished on a step total of just under 5,000.

Fountain at the Trafford Centre

I think I’ve pushed Cameron to the limit with all the walking that I’ve made him do over the last few days, and he really wasn’t in the mood to go out for another walk, so we decided to just stay at home for the evening. And since there was nothing in the fridge, we treated ourselves to Dominos.

And boy do I wish I hadn’t. I spent the entire night feeling uncomfortably full, and woke up this morning feeling with an extremely upset stomach. Not to go into too many details, but this morning has definitely taken the shine off the Dominos last night. I don’t think I’ll be doing that again!

But to make myself feel better, I’ve just been for a 2000 step walk this morning before work to kick-start the day, and I’ll make sure I get in plenty of steps today and drink plenty of water and I’ll be feeling back to normal in no time!

Yeadon Tarn - 7th May 2014

HM2014 – 6th May

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Yesterday was the first day this week that I managed to get over 10,000 steps!

To start the day, we went to Beningborough Hall, a National Trust property near York. Twinned with the National Portrait Gallery, they had an exhibition called Royals: Then and Now, with portraits from Charles I right up to cute Prince George. As well as walking around all three floors of the house, we also walked around the gardens and to the nearby farm shop, taking us to about 5000 steps in total.

After all that, we treated ourselves to tea and cake sat outside in the garden. At £9.50, it wasn’t cheap, but since we get in to the property free as National Trust members, it’s worth it really!

After that, we went to Asda to get some stuff for tea, and that tagged on another thousand or so steps, but after we’d eaten tea, I was feeling restless and didn’t feel like we’d walked enough, so I dragged poor Cameron out for a walk in the rain around Golden Acre. Since all the benches were wet, we couldn’t have our usual sit down half way round, so we pretty much power walked the whole way!

Walking in the rain at Golden Acre!

 

I have to say, I’m really loving going out for these evening walks, especially since all the extra calories burned means I’m getting nowhere near my calorie limit for the day!

HM2014 – 5th May

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Another good day yesterday, stuck to my food plan pretty well, shake for breakfast, a sunday dinner from Morrisons Cafe for lunch and a jacket potato and salad for tea, definitely under my calorie limit!

Before tea, we went for a walk around Roundhay park, about 2.6km in total. It was a lovely walk, just late enough in the evening for the temperature to be cooling off and it got us about 4,500 extra steps for the day! It’s a bank holiday today so we’re not at work, but we just need to figure out somewhere to go for a walk that isn’t insanely busy!