Fajita Chicken

This is a really quick and tasty dish for those evenings where you just want something fast, simple and scrummy.

Fry chicken and bacon in coconut oil until cooked through and then smother with fajita seasoning. While the chicken is cooking, slice some onion and asparagus and fry in a little coconut oil. When the onion is just beginning to brown add a handful of button mushroom for the last few minutes of cooking and season. Use the last few minutes of cooking time to throw together a quick salad of iceberg lettuce, beef tomato, avocado, cucumber, red pepper and jalapeños and you’re ready to go. I like to serve it with a little houmous and some sour cream.

Moving forward

So, my fears of plateauing were fairly short lived – let’s just say the past month has been slow progress, but there has been movement. I’m now only 1lb away from my end of month target, which I didn’t think I’d manage to reach. That means that I am only 2lbs from having lost 2 stone (28lbs), admittedly about a stone of that came off in the first few weeks, but I’m pleased with the progress and for those of you who are undergoing a similar progress please don’t rely on the scales – I find that weekly measuring is key to not losing heart when the scales seem to be against you.

I found that when I was ‘stuck’ a few weeks back that I was still losing inches (it might only be 1/4 or 1/2 an inch but that is enough to help keep you motivated) and after a bit of research I discovered that your body can go through adjustment periods when it apparently holds onto water replace the lost fat, which it later expels when it realises it doesn’t need it. I don’t know if this is actually true but the idea really helped me get through those weeks of no movement on the scales. In addition, I found that a little bit of naughtiness can help you get back on the straight and narrow. I had a take away Balti with some rice and a chapati. I really enjoyed eating it, but I didn’t enjoy how I felt afterwards!! Within about an hour I felt sluggish, bloated and tired. I started overheating (this is something that I don’t get so much when I’m low-carbing) despite the weather being decidedly chilly. I decided then that eating carbs just wasn’t worth the awful feeling afterwards.

I’ve managed all this so far without adding exercise to the mix. I know this is something I need to make time for. I did think of giving you a list of excuses – I’m a genius at finding reasons for not doing it, but if I’m being entirely honest – I’m just too lazy. Eventually I will find the motivation and then I will be exercising everyday with a tendency to be just a little bit obsessive, but until then I’ll just stick to the lifestyle change/diet. (I’m trying really hard to see this way of eating as a lifestyle choice rather than a diet!)

It’s difficult to know for sure the full range of benefits healthier living will bring, but I definitely feel more energetic, much less uncomfortable, bloated and tired, and generally happier overall. Whether I reach my target weight by the end of the year will remain to be seen, but as long as I feel more confident, healthier and happier it will be worth the inevitable bumps and falls during the journey!

What about you? How do you keep yourself motivated and moving forward?

Slightly Spicy Cabbage

½ sweetheart cabbage (sliced thinly)

2 shallots (chopped finely)

1 pointed red pepper (sliced)

6 baby plum tomatoes (halved)

2 large field mushrooms (chopped)

1 clove garlic (minced)

1 tbsp. coconut oil

Ground Sumac (a good alternative for this would be ground paprika)

Serves 2-3

  • Brown the shallots in the coconut oil, then add the sliced red pepper and the minced garlic
  • Once the pepper is starting to soften add the plum tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • When the mushrooms are starting to cook add the cabbage and fry off for about 5 minutes or until the cabbage is just starting to turn translucent.
  • Tip into a warmed dish and sprinkle over the ground Sumac (or paprika).
  • You can keep this warm in the oven for 10 -15 minutes until your protein dish is ready if you need to.

I used Bart’s Ground Sumac. It adds a lovely flavour which is slightly spicy and gives a delicious warmness to the dish. It’s a good flavour to try if you fancy experimenting, but you don’t want to try anything too outrageous.

 

 

 

Spicy Chicken and Bacon Bake

2 chicken breasts (cut into bite-size pieces)

4 rashers bacon

2oz grated sharp cheddar (optional)

2 tsps. Bart’s Baharat spice blend (any Moroccan spices or even fajita spices would work well)

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp. Coconut oil

Serves 2-3

Preheat oven to 200°c

  • Brown the chicken and bacon the coconut oil. Add the Baharat spices and the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Once browned place in an oven proof dish and sprinkle over the grated cheese.
  • Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and the chicken is fully cooked.

Serve with salad or Slightly Spice Cabbage.

This is the first time I have tried the Baharat spices, which give an exotic flavour to the dish. If you are unable to buy the spices (I brought it from Waitrose) I have also made it using fajita spices and Moroccan style spices.

 

 

 

 

Burger Stacks

I’ve tried several times to make my own burgers; it has never gone well. All too often they are bland and tasteless; I’m not actually sure quite where I’m going wrong. I suppose with some practice I could master it, but why should I when Costco do it so well for me!

2 burgers per person (I like to use Costco’s Aberdeen Angus Burgers or Minted Lamb Burgers)

3-4 rashers bacon per person

2 slices of cheese (in the Burger Stack in the picture I used stilton, but a nice strong cheddar is great too)

  • Turn the oven on 180°c
  • Start off the burgers by frying them (without oil) until they are starting to brown. Transfer them to a deep baking tray and pop them in the oven while you prepare the salad. I usually give them 15 minutes in a preheated oven.
  • If you like really crispy bacon – dry-fry it (without oil) until it is cooked through and then pop it on a baking tray in the oven on a shelf below the burgers. If you prefer your bacon less crispy you can cook it straight in the oven, just fry it or grill it. I often use the grill feature of my microwave and cook it for 15-20 minutes, which saves a lot of mess!
  • Slice your cheese ready for stacking.
  • Stack the burgers, bacon and cheese and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted. I stack them in this order – burger, bacon, cheese, burger, bacon, cheese.
  • You can of course add a slice or two of beef tomato, or perhaps some fried onions and mushrooms and, of course, you can omit the cheese if you prefer or if you are avoiding dairy. The choice is yours.
  • Serve with a simple salad and enjoy!

 

Chicken and Spinach Madras

One of the things that I’ve never managed to get right is a really good curry sauce. So, I have to admit I resort to a quality ready made sauce. The one in this recipe is from Aldi, but any that you like would work. Of course if you can make your own Madras sauce, I’d love you to share your recipe! One word of caution is to check the amount of carbs, I’m not the best carb counter so I just pick the sauce with the lowest carbs per 100g.

1 jar of Madras Curry Sauce (Aldi)

2-3 chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces

Spinach (I use frozen spinach from Sainsbury’s, which comes in little portions and I use about 6)

coconut oil for frying

Serves 3-4 people

  • Fry the chicken and the spices (they come separate from the sauce if you are not familiar with the brand) you don’t need to worry about browning the chicken as the spices and flavours are absorbed better if the meat is still a bit raw.
  • Pour over the sauce (I always fill the empty jar with a little water and give it a good shake to get all the sauce out)
  • Add the spinach and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • If the sauce isn’t thick enough sprinkle over some coconut flour, but add it slowly a tsp at a time and avoid using too much. If you need to try reducing it by turning up the heat and giving it a short rapid boil (it doesn’t affect the taste in my experience).

Serve with Spicy Cauliflower Medley or So Simple Greens.

Spicy Cauliflower Medley

We Like this with curry instead of rice, it’s also delicious cold as a salad!

1 small onion

1 clove garlic

1/2 Cauliflower cut into bite-size florets

1/2 packet of purple sprouting broccoli

handful of green beans

1 heaped tsp. ground cumin

1 heaped tsp. ground coriander

sprinkle of peanuts (optional – pine nuts also work well)

seasoning (to taste)

coconut oil for frying

  • Fry the onion and garlic in the coconut oil until softened.
  • Add the cumin and coriander and fry briefly to release the flavours.
  • Add the cauliflower and broccoli and mix into the onion and spice.
  • Sprinkle over the nuts and the green beans.
  • Add ½ cup of boiling water and put lid on so the veg can steam for about 10 minutes.
  • All the water should be gone once the veg are cooked – if there is some left scoop out the veg and thicken it with a little coconut flour and pour over the veg.
  • Season right at the end if you think it needs it – I usually find it doesn’t need it.
  • Get stuck in and enjoy!