Wednesday, 29 October 2014

PACKED LUNCH IDEAS . . . FOR WHEN YOU'RE SICK OF SANDWICHES . . .

Mackerel with "faux potato" cauliflower salad, and individual crustless quiches...
I don't know about anyone else, but I have a real problem when it comes to finding easy and healthy ideas for lunch in work. It's fairly straight forward if you just want to buy your lunch every day and waste money, or you have a microwave in work . . . but what if you don't have the funds to splurge every day, or want to know exactly what is in your meal, or - this definitely applies in my case - there are only three microwaves in your work and trying to heat up a healthy meal involves random guesswork of when there will be a queue on any one day? What do you do then?

Well, I'm going to try and help you out here with some ideas in case you are in the same boat...

  • A Mugshot. This is one of the easiest "convenience foods" you can get. All you need is a packet, a mug and a kettle. Or in my case, I usually replace the mug with a plastic container and just get a cup of hot water out of the drinks machine. (like I said, I'm lazy.) Most Mugshots have less than 300 calories or, if you're doing Slimming World, some of them are considered "syn-free". Results all around! And they're cheap too. I recommend the Tomato and Herb or the Roast Chicken varieties.
  • If you have issues with waiting for the microwave like myself, you could invest in a thermos and make yourself some soup in the morning. I got a flask for the low price of £3.50 in Asda, and after heating up the soup before work, it is still warm at lunchtime. I will have this with a wholemeal pita bread in order to fill me up completely. This has been a revelation for me as I can have soup five days a week and just varying the flavour I choose makes it different. Now I just need to start MAKING the soup myself and I'm golden... (update: I HAVE now started making my own soup and turns out I'm pretty good at it!)
  • Chicken and ham roll-ups with Laughing Cow or Philadelphia as a filling. Low carb and delicious. I usually will have this with some pickled onions (I am currently obsessed with pickled onions) and a chopped up hard boiled egg.
  • Pate/soft cheese and melba toast. I LOVE melba toast and it's pretty low calorie.
  • Tuna fishcakes. Easy to make and delicious, and you can eat them cold no problem.
  • Sweet potato hash/veg cakes - Grate up sweet potato and courgette (I use a julienne peeler) along with whatever other veg you want, fry it up, then add an egg and form into patties and fry these). I ate these cold along with a home-made yogurt and coriander dip.
  • Salad. I know, I know... salads are boring. But they don't have to be. I usually grab a packet of spicy chicken from M&S (the sweet and smoky chicken or Mexican chicken is amazing) and mix it up with chopped up cherry tomatoes, avocado, peppers and some fromage frais. You could make up a bean salad (I like butter beans and tuna mixed up with onions) or my very favourite (and very simple) is low fat mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil. Yum!
  • Cold curry sauce with chicken. You wouldn't think this would be nice cold but it honestly is. I use the Harcombe Diet butternut squash curry recipe for the sauce.
  • Mackerel with cauliflower "faux" potato salad. ASDA do an amaaazzzing chilli and garlic smoked mackerel which can do me a couple of days lunch. I've included the faux potato salad recipe below.
  • Crustless quiche. So easy to make...  Recipe also below! (Don't say I'm not good to you...)
"Faux potato" salad
*****CAULIFLOWER "FAUX" POTATO SALAD RECIPE*****
Ingredients:
One small cauliflower
Fat Free Fromage Frais
Extra Light Mayo
Spring Onions
Red Onion
Method:
Chop up cauliflower into small chunks, microwave for five minutes and let cool. Take half of the cauliflower and blend with two tablespoons of fromage frais and one tablespoon of mayo. Add blended mixture back in with the rest of the cauliflower and mix, adding chopped red onion and spring onions. Refrigerate until required.





Crustless quiches, step by step...
*****CRUSTLESS QUICHE RECIPE*****
Ingredients:
2 eggs
Low fat cottage cheese
Ham (not compulsory but delicious)
Whatever vegetables you fancy (I tend to use mushrooms, onions, peppers, kale)
Low fat grated cheese
Method:
Put ham on the bottom of six silicone cupcake cases, mix eggs together with two tablespoonfuls of cottage cheese, add veg, pour mixture on top of ham. Sprinkle with a little grated cheese, then cook in the office for about 30 mins at 200 degrees.

Chicken, mozzarella and tomato salad, ham, and pickled onions, with a side of fruit...

I hope these suggestions help someone, and if you have any other ideas for good packed lunches, please feel free to comment - you might give me or someone else further inspiration! :-)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

ON FRIENDSHIP . . . OR NOT.

I've always considered myself a good friend. A very good friend in fact. I am always there for the people I care about when they need me. I'm not a "phone person" but if I think they need a call, I'll do so. I'll make time for them. I'll listen to them, support them when they require it, and sometimes when they don't even REALISE they require it.

And it's hard for me to let a friend go. But there has to be a point where you just think "fuck it, there's no point in continuing with this friendship."

Thing is, it wasn't me  who decided so in this most recent case. I had always been there for this friend. But apparently it wasn't good enough anymore. Despite the fact that I had tried to maintain the friendship, tried to meet up with them, tried to engage with them when they popped up on social media more often than they could be bother keeping their real life friendships going . . . somehow I ended up being the one being punished.

Since the only difference between now and a year ago is I'm now in a relationship, I can only assume that she assumed I was no longer interested in a friendship now I had a boyfriend. The thing is . . . that was not and has never been the case. Okay, I have a little less free time than I did previously when I was single . . . but I was always there. And I think the fact that I still have all the other friends before the relationship started and still see them proves that point. All my other friends still wanted to hang out. All my other friends were also interested in my relationship. Not a glimmer of interest was shown in MY life while I tried to still be involved in hers. I think that says a hell of a lot.

Yet, the day I realised she had unfriended me on facebook, on top of already having unfollowed me on twitter with no reason why, on top of seeing what I assume was unnecessary bitching about me to other people on twitter . . . well it had all just piled up on me, especially after that missed call which, when I text asking if everything was okay, I got a standard brief and downright cold response which told me everything I needed to know in that one text.  Perfectly timed too, on the day of me and the boyfriend's one year anniversary. Yep, crying in the pub over this was not my finest hour. But . . . I sent the text I should have done ages ago, acknowledging the end of the friendship. Which she never bothered to do to me.

If anything now, I actually feel a bit free. Feeling like shite for a couple of months and wondering if I was imagining this ill-feeling was getting me down a lot, wondering what I'd done wrong, what I could have done differently... I realise now that I couldn't have. It was obviously just something that had came to an end, albeit naturally or not. Am I sad about it? Yes, of course. I have so many shared memories with her, so many GOOD shared memories... But the fact that she didn't even fight for the friendship says a lot to me.  Or the fact that she couldn't speak to me about why she unfollowed me or unfriended me, or ignored me.

Sometimes a friendship is meant to be finite, I guess. Or maybe it just wasn't ever meant to be in the first place.

Regardless, I know who my real friends are. The ones that stuck around.

Thanks guys. You know who you are. <3 p="">

Thursday, 16 October 2014

SCOTLAND THE BEAUTIFUL: THE FALLS OF DOCHART . . .



I think I've already mentioned me and the boyfriend's love of waterfalls . . . pretty much every Scottish trip we go on we try to find one! The Falls of Dochart is a particular nice one  - it's not a high dramatic fall like some we have visited . . . but it's very long and pretty and you can kind of climb about in it to some extent, like a playground full of rocks and cascading water! (Disclaimer: it's not really a playground and if you DO choose to climb around in it, be careful!)

These first pictures were taken in around March, where it was still very cold...






These next two were taken on a more recent trip, about a month or so ago, where it was a tad warmer . . . as in, I wasn't quite wrapped up as much!!!



The Falls of Dochart run through the pretty little village of Killin and I would definitely recommend as visit if you are a fan of water/nature/waterfalls/all of the above. Visit http://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/falls-of-dochart-p662781 for more information... and let me know if you've been before or are planning on going anytime soon!!!


 
What's YOUR favourite waterfall???