Saturday, July 15, 2017

Well, Burger Me 2: Breakfast Burger

Making a Breakfast Burger leaves us with quite the dilemma. Do you eat it for breakfast or dinner? We opted to eat it for dinner but we wouldn't judge anyone eating this for breakfast instead.

Burger Components:

Sauasage patty
Bacon
Black pudding
Fried egg

You could add other breakfast items if you wanted, such as a fried tomato or a hash brown but we decided to stick to the recipe in the book.


Peel the skins off some sausages and put the sausagemeat in a bowl. Add, salt, pepper and some mustard and squish together with your hands to mix. Form into patties and fry in some oil until cooked. JD did the frying while I hovered behind him worrying that the patties would break up.

They turned out reasonably well though and so we built up the burgers. Sausage patty followed by bacon, black pudding and then the fried egg. Top with whatever sauce you like. The bread of choice for this burger is an English Muffin.


The observant among you might notice one of these burgers doesn't have black pudding on it. I felt really wary about eating it. When I came to eat the black pudding one I wussed out and took it off. A hash brown would've been a better choice I think!

It's a good idea for a burger, made up of things that go well together but in execution it's not that great. The muffin doesn't hold together very well with all the ingredients inside. The sausage patty was a bit soft and neither of us like black pudding that much. All in all we weren't very impressed.

Ratings: JD - 1, Emma - 2


Sunday, June 25, 2017

No-Sugar Month Finishes

We made it, one month with no sugar! It was easier than I thought it would be. The only problem being that the food was a little repetitive at times. The only dessert type food we ate was a brand of yoghurt we found that had no added sugar. I ate it with some lower sugar fruits and it was nice to be having a dessert sometimes.

Mostly we ate meals based on meat and vegetables.

Chilli with extra vegetables added

 
Meatballs with sweet potato and kale

Beef stew and dumplings

Stamppot

For lunch we generally had a salad with meat and cheese. 

Gammon salad
Sometimes we had a collection of foods such as avocado, cheese, ham, sun-dried tomatoes, hot dogs, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, carrot, hummus etc.


We always ate plenty so we wouldn't get hungry and be tempted to eat something sugary. And it worked, we both enjoyed the food we ate and didn't particularly miss foods we'd cut out.

After the month I definitely feel like I have more energy and I want to keep eating a fairly low sugar diet. It's nice to feel like you're giving your body good foods. It's really stisfying.

I did miss baking, it's something I get pleasure from, making something sweet that everyone enjoys. I'll probably go back to making the occasional treat but do it less often than I used to and try to find some lower sugar treats for us.

But overall it was a good experience, I'm glad we did it. :)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Playing Silly Burgers 1: Indian Spiced Burger


I've got a new book. 40 burgers! Even though the book's tagline claims "The exciting varieties are endless". Hehe!

The travesties don't stop there! Despite it's claims, this recipe book only includes 31 burger recipes. The remaining recipes are for fries, coleslaw etc. I'm still going to do 40 burgers though, I'll just scour the internet for 9 more recipes. 31 burgers isn't a nice round number of burgers to make.

So here we go with the first of many burgers we'll be making and eating.

Indian Spiced Burger 

    

Lamb mince spiced with garam masala, tumeric, mustard seeds, and chili. Served between mini naan breads.


Saute the onions with the spices.


Mix together the meat, onions, breadcrumbs and an egg.


Form into patties and cook.



We ate ours sandwiched between two homemade mini naan breads (since we're still not eating sugar and shop bought ones have sugar in). The burgers were really good, nicely spiced and really tasty. I'm not sure I've had lamb burgers before but I'd have them again. They weren't as aesthetically pleasing as most burgers I've had but the taste made up for that.

Ratings: JD -3, Emma - 3

Friday, June 9, 2017

E is for Eggs and No-Sugar Update

How do we like our eggs in a morning? We like ours with a kiss ;)

Actually kisses aren't very filling so we usually eat our eggs with some meat and cheese. I do the prep and get the egg accompaniments cooked then JD takes over and scrambles the eggs in a frying pan. It's a really satisfying breakfast and a good start to the day having a meal together.  

Chicken and spinach

Pek chopped ham

Smoked sausage

Hot dogs

We try to vary the meat or way of cooking to stop us getting bored. We even tried haggis in our eggs on Burn's Night.


Corned beef and baked beans go great with a fried egg for breakfast.


We also enjoy Shak Shuka from Israel, eggs cooked in a thick tomato passata.


So yeah, we love eggs! If you've got any suggestions for something we could try with eggs then please comment below. :)

No-Sugar Update

We're over 2 weeks into no-sugar month and so far it's going well. We've eaten piles and piles of vegetables and our own body weights in meat too. It's tough for me going without sweet treats because I eat them fairly often. My work colleagues are keeping an eye on me at work so I don't eat sweets but so far I haven't really been tempted.

I definitely feel like I have more energy which has made it easier for me to get back into exercising more. We're being more creative with meals and making sure to eat plenty so we don't get hungry and succumb to sugary snacks.

Sugar makes you feel crap if you eat too much, there have been times we've eaten too much these last few weeks but it doesn't make you feel the same. It's nice to feel you're giving your body good food all the time.

I'll be posting when we finish with pictures of meals we've been having. 12 days to go!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

D is for Diet (Start of No-Sugar Month)

JD picked up this book on a recent trip to The Works bookshop:


He read it and then passed it on to me to read. I was aware that sugar isn't good for our bodies but I wasn't aware of the extent of the damage sugar consumption can cause.

In the book the author Damon Gameau experiments with eating 40 teaspoons of sugar a day for 60 days. Sugars added to supposed healthy foods like muesli bars, orange juice and cereal. He doesn't eat any junk food.

After 60 days he gained weight, a fatty liver and high cholesterol. It was an interesting experiment to read. He ate the same number of calories daily as his usual diet but because the calories came from carbohydrates/sugar he negatively affected his health.

JD and I make an effort to eat well. We usually make sure to eat our 5 a day including plenty of foods that are good for our bodies. But we do (me especially) eat treats fairly often. JD has a weakness for Doritoes and my nemesis is chocolate. I also work in a sweet factory which doesn't help with avoiding temptation.

People who devote their lives to eating clean, sugar-free, low-carb diets often extol the feeling of high energy, feeling good and having a completely changed outlook on food. We feel suspicious that isn't the case but also feel a bit optimistic that it could be true.

So just to check for ourselves in case it works, we're going to have a month of no-sugar. No foods with added sugar, no bread, no chocolate, no crisps. I'm still going to eat fruit but only the lower-sugar ones. We started on Monday 22nd May and so far so good. No energy boosts yet but also no terrible feelings of loss!

We'll be back in a month to share how it went. :)

Note: Neither of us are cutting out sugar in order to lose weight. The word diet in the title refers to us changing our diet to avoid sugar not to be on a diet.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

C is for Chocolate

I'm very much a fan of chocolate, so when Easter comes around I like nothing more than a huge Cadbury's Easter Egg. Cadbury's has always been my favourite chocolate but I'm not very fussy, I often have Galaxy or a supermarket own brand instead.

JD has always said he doesn't think I could tell the difference between the brands if I didn't know what I was eating so I had to put my chocolate-lovers reputation to the test.

Quite nervously too, because previously I've completely failed to tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke and between various flavours of crisps! Plus we're always laughing at people on Eat Well For Less when they have no idea their favourite brand has been swapped for a cheaper option. Not so funny now!

We picked a variety of higher end, regular and cheaper chocolates to try.


We had:

Galaxy
Cadbury's
Lindt
Tesco mid range
Asda value range
Hotel Chocolat
Thorntons

We chopped the chocolate into small pieces to disguise it even more. Any chocolate aficionado can tell the difference between Cadbury's chunky bar and Galaxy's smoother rounded bars.



We took turns trying each chocolate and guessing which was which. All while blindfolded. This is serious stuff!



The results:

JD was the winner guessing 4 correctly and the rest of us recognised 3 of them each.

Most importantly, I recognised Cadbury's chocolate. I completely mixed up Hotel Chocolat and Asda value, so I don't seem to know which is good quality and which isn't. We all liked the Asda value chocolate which is impressive as it's only 30p a 100g bar. I found the Thorntons chocolate quite tasteless after trying the others.

My reputation is intact for now, I can smugly claim to know my favourite chocolate without reprisal from JD. It probably won't last long if we do more taste tests though!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Another Writer in the Family


Our 13 year old daughter Erin is following in her step-dad JD's footsteps as it seems she's caught the writing bug. She spends a lot of her spare time writing and has so far completed two short stories and has started a third. They seem to be a bit macabre so I'm hoping she'll be the next Stephen King. I won't spoil the plots of either but one has murder and the other has zombies. What will she write about next?
She's been reading her stories to us as she writes them for feedback and advice. We can tell she's already improved as she continues to develop her own style. JD's advice is to write lots, not worry about a title and to finish what you start. It seems to be working for Erin. I'm proud of her for sticking at it.

Here's an excerpt of one of her stories titled 'Robbie'. Jack's wife Zoe has been recently bitten by a zombie:

---I woke up and looked over at Jack. He was sat against the wall; empty whisky bottles laying on the ground and a half full one in his hand. “Morning, Jack,” I said. “Morning,” he grunted. I smelt the booze on his breath. He was drunk. “You know, this is your fault,” said Jack, drunkenly. “None of this would have happened if you hadn’t shown up!” 
“Jack, you’re drunk,” I said, placing my hand on the bottle. He smashed it to the ground and picked up his axe. “Well, Zoe’s hurt and it’s all your fault!” He yelled, swinging his axe, aiming for my head. I darted out the way and shouted “Jack! Stop! You don’t want to do this! Zoe wouldn’t want this!” 
“Oh, you think you could tell what Zoe wanted! Should’ve killed you at the beginning!” I grabbed my knife and with tears running down my cheeks, I said “Don’t come any closer, Jack! I will stab you! I don’t want to but I will!” “Go to Hell, Iris!” He screamed before lunging towards me. I jumped out the way and stabbed him in the back. He howled in pain. He fell to the floor with a thud. He turned onto his side. I could see that he was sobering up. He said “Please, promise me something. If you see Precious, please look after her. She deserves to have a parent.”  
“Okay, I will,” I said, tears streaming down my face. And like that, he was gone.---

 Dramatic stuff! Well done, Erin, keep going :)