How to make a fast day go by FAST

So I mentioned I was going to start fasting again.

The 5:2 way of eating makes sense to me.
What does 5:2 mean? It means eating normally 5 days a week, and fasting for 2 days a week. When you fast you can consume up to a MAXIMUM of 500 calories.

The 500 calories can be split into 3 meals, 2 meals or 1, 500 calorie meal.
I prefer to sip water and herbal tea throughout the day and have one decent meal in the evening, when the family are eating too. Plus I have never managed to go to sleep hungry.

Today Ive had 2 coffees, 2.5ltrs of water, and two fennel teas and I’ve just made myself a broccoli and stilton soup for dinner.
I used 1 medium red onion, 1 whole broccoli(400g) with half the stalk and leaves, 100g of stilton, 1ltr of water and 2 small courgettes(100g).

Non stick pot, soften onion with half a tspn of olive oil, add chopped broccoli and courgettes. Add water (you can add a chicken stock cube if you’d like to). Simmer till tender, around 15 mins and add stilton. Blitz till smooth. Check for seasoning.

The soup is warm, tasty and full of calcium, vit C and green veggie goodness. Calories for 1.2ltr of soup – 346cals cheese/100cals broccoli/olive oil 20cals/courgette 17cals – 483 cals total
chicken stock cube – 30cals (optional)
Ive got three portions there! Thats Thursday sorted too! 🙂

I like to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. It breaks the week up and I can enjoy a full and proper weekend. There is a wonderful and informative facebook group – they are all so helpful and supportive. You’ll love reading the posts. You get some truly inspirational stories in there too!

Tips on making a fast day go fast –
keep busy; make fast day, chore days.
Eat early, prepare the family meal after you’ve had something.
drink plenty of water & herbal teas.

Lastly, take 58minutes of your life and watch this –http://



A new year, 365 new days full of promise and hope.
I like the ring to it, sounds like a nice solid number.

What are the most common New Year’s Resolutions, I wondered?

Well a quick Google search helped and this is what I found –

1 Lose Weight
2 Getting Organised
3 Spend Less, Save More
4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5 Staying Fit and Healthy
6 Learn Something Exciting
7 Quit Smoking
8 Help Others fulfill Their Dreams
9 Fall in Love (in my case)Do not take love for granted
10 Spend More Time with Family

I seem to fall into the most common category of human being as I would like to do all the above this year and quite frankly, that gave me comfort.

Statistics on success rates of Resolutions aren’t that hot. Again, Im glad I fit the norm –

Age Success Rates
Percent of people in their twenties who achieve their resolution each year 39%
Percent of people over 50 who achieve their resolution each year 14%
Length of Resolutions
Resolution maintained through first week 75%
Past two weeks 71%
Past one month 64%
Past six months 46%

Over the next ten months, I will be getting out of my comfort zone and documenting the above list. Hey, I know a year has 12 months in it but month ten is pretty special to me, it happens to be my birth month.

No time like the present I guess.
copy for blog
This is me, dated January 5th.

What can I say? Well for one – Ive been bigger and I’ve been smaller – all in the past 20 months.
October 2013/June 2014

Why on earth would you put photos of yourself online for all to see? I hear you asking.
Well because I am a classic YOYO. The heaviest Ive ever been was last October (please dear husband do not read this!) 69.7kg. By the way, I am 5ft3. So that’s some timber.

I am a comfort eater. Anyone else out there? I mindlessly eat when I am unhappy or bored, upset or under pressure.
I drink a little too much wine.
I love potatoes and bread,
I have been cooking for a living for the past few years and well, anyone who works in catering or knows someone who does, knows our eating habits/times are not the healthiest.
I am not too pleased with my reflection at the moment.

What would I like to achieve this year?
Well, I would say I’ve gained well over a stone in the past 6 months, and my body could do without it.
I would like to get lean (forever)
I would like to lose the cellulite (forever)
I feel heavy and sluggish, I want to feel light and full of energy.
I need to move around more.

Plan –
Keep up a workout routine – no excuses (forever)

I started going to gym for the first time in my life in November 2013. I got myself a personal trainer and worked out 3 times a week. For the first few weeks I died but as time went on and my endurance started to build I became addicted. I still ate and drank what I wanted, so weight loss wasn’t great or fast but wow did I transform. (see pictures above!)

However, between work and family commitments, excuses I haven’t been going for the past few months. And then I lost it all. I lost the drive and motivation, I lost the addiction.

So new year, Life change. Drastic? Maybe, but at 36 I seriously need to get cracking!

Ive found these great, great, online personal trainer videos which I have no excuses not to do as I can fit them in any time of the day.

Ive already done one of the videos this morning as Im stuck at home with a sick little one. How am I feeling? I feel like Ive made a start.

I’m also going to start fasting again. If you’ve never heard of Dr Michael Mosley – watch this documentary.

Myth Busting 101 – Eating healthy is expensive

I’ve said it too. So we’re all on the same boat. No judgement, we all want to stretch our money further.
Of course, eating well can be expensive – That is, if you’re shopping in the wrong places.

So how do you eat FRESH AND HEALTHY on a budget?

Shopping ahead is key. I love to shop daily because I like to cook what I fancy eating. However this is costing me so much more on a weekly basis, not to mention its time consuming! Who has this sort of time these days anyway? One of my main tasks this year is to get this blog full of links from local producers of food items and going back to basics when it comes to diet.

Part 1. Vegetables
Where to shop?

Well, Saturday mornings for most of us folk is chores time right?
First things first, you need to get yourself up to the Farmers Market in Ta’Qali.
No really.
If you have never been, make it a priority on Saturday morning’s to do list.
The abundance is pretty amazing.
The set up is right in front of San Frangisk animal shelter.

The vans on the peripheries of the market sell a mix of local and foreign vegetables. So yes if you see a pineapple you’re in the wrong place.

You can get yourself a box load, yes, box load of fresh in season fruits and vegetables, a good weeks load for around 10€. Shop around, look at all the vendor stalls.


All the above cost €22.50 but as you can see that exceeds a weeks worth, more like two!

Haggle if you wish to, although; undeserved as these people work so hard, all year round. Come rain or shine! I should know, I had my own stall for about 6 months.

my brother and I at the farmers market! wonderful memories 🙂

Market sets up at 6.30 till around 1pm. You can get some super deals if you go later on in the morning, 12.30ish, although, you might not find everything.

If you’re a fan of the Farmer’s Market, show some ❤ love ❤ by leaving a comment below!

(Everything but the kitchen sink) Minestrone for less than 5€ – serves 4-6 big bowls.
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Avocado Pesto

Summer screams basil doesn’t it?
You can’t make better use of basil than an authentic pesto. Or can you? Well you can when you add avocado to it!

Here’s my take on a fantastic dish which I made with Gf spaghetti.

Basic basil pesto

2 bunches of basil leaves
150ml evoo
150g toasted pinenuts
3 garlic cloves
150g parmesan, grated finely.

I like to us a traditional pestel and mortar. It bruises the leaves and lets out so much fragrance. Another little tip is to have the oil nice and cold. That way you keep the vibrant green colour. Hey, if you have no time, chuck everything in the food processor, I won’t judge.

Next up mash a couple of ripe avocados with a fork, mix with the pesto. If your mix is too thick, fear not. Grap a ladle of pasta water and mix it in when tossing the pasta & pesto. Finish off with some chilli flakes and freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Paella my way – large!

So friends asked me to help out at a birthday party for 40. What feeds the masses? Well rice does and I happen to have a huge paella dish available for such occasions. What can I say it was so much fun and with a little help stirring and checking seasoning (I had terrible weather allergies!!!) it was a huge (pun intended) success.

Obviously me being me I wanted to research as authentic a recipe as I could while adding my own local twist.

First I had to find the rice – now I needed 3.5kg and I couldn’t find the traditional bomba or calasparra rice which was disappointing but that is why google is so awesome!! What you’re looking for in a paella rice is one which absorbs a lot of liquid (up to 3 times the quantity of rice) but holds its shape. Arborio can be used but I found a reserva carnaroli which was fabulous – not too creamy and absorbs so much stock! Wow! So that worked out perfect.

What I found was a common and very important factor of the prep was a tomato sauce called sofrito. sofrito is basically made up of tomato pulp, onions and garlic cooked slow in order to reduce to a very thick and dehydrated tomato paste which is dark in colour and super tasty flavour wise – but hey we’re mediterraneans so we know all about tomato sauce, right?

Second important part of the recipe is a good stock. So i bought some chicken necks, a half dozen wings and a few carcasses from my chicken supplier and got to work on a basic stoc – including the usual suspects – carrots, celery, onions, peppercorns and salt. Left that to work its magic for a few hours. Alternatively you can opt for a fish stock.

Next I needed to decide on the meats of choice – I chose boneless chicken legs but the options seem endless! Pork belly, chorizo sausage, rabbit – so most white meats..

The seafood is also very optional – I opted for local Rossi prawns and some beautiful black mussels. Choice is calamari, baby squids, clams, white fish fillets… As opulent as you could imagine really! Yumm.

I’m going to give you my recipe for 40/50people because I worked very hard at building the recipe as I couldn’t find one online! If it can help out just one person that would be enough! 🙂

Sofrito –
4kilos of fresh local tomatoes – pulped
2 kilos of red onions – blitz
4 tablespoons olive oil
1whole head of garlic
Cook down for 2hours minimum (real low and slow)

500g chicken necks
3 carcasses
750g chicken wings
8ltrs water (topped up as reduced)
10 pepper corns
4 tablespoons sea salt
Cooled and fat skimmed off surface
2 Schwartz jars of saffron – wrapped in foil, lightly toasted on lid of stockpot then crushed in a pestle and mortar – added to the stock

Others –
4kg rice
8 coloured peppers – roasted and skinned
2kg onions chopped finely
10 local garlic cloves
1.5kg local French beans
1kg frozen peas
2ltrs boiled water
150mlolive oil

4kg of boneless chicken legs – skin removed, cut into bite size pieces
1kg local Rossi prawns (about 65)
2kg mussels (steamed till just opened)

Smoked paprika – 150g
Sea salt – 150g – to taste but there abouts even a bit more…. The last thing you want is a chalky flavoured dish
Quite a bit of pepper lol.freshly ground.

Method to the madness – total cooking time 1.15 of which 45mins is just rice

Heat up the stock to a simmer, keep warm till ready to use
Turn the heat up high on your paella cooker
Add olive oil and chicken, add smoked paprika
Fry till golden
Add onions and galic, cooking till translucent,
Add sofrito and turn down the heat
Add half the chopped peppers, turn heat up again
Add the rice in a cross shape across the pan – this helps stirring. Use two wooden spoons and stir in circular motion, making sure all the sofrito mixture and rice are coated. Now you’ll be working fast!! Add half the hot stock, the French beans and peas and let the mixture bubble. You’ll want the rice to be submerged. Once you see the rice bubbling and coming to the surface add the rest of the stock and stir making sure no rice is sticking to the bottom. Once he stock has yet again reduced add the 2ltrs of boiling water (this can be substituted with a good white wine) and add the seasoning. Turn down the heat.
Taste your rice, you should be about 15minutes away from being ready… Now stop stirring! add the prawns and mussels, try to decorate around the dish. These will take around 5 minutes to cook. At this point you should start hearing a little crackle in the bottom of the pan. DO NOT WORRY… This is a great sign, infact if you manage a little crust on the bottom of the paella pan that is a huge success! This is called the ‘socarrar’ and it is a highly anticipated part of a paella! switch off the heat and leave to rest for 5 more minutes. Season with chopped parsley and lemon wedges. I used 8 local lemons cut into 6 wedges and around 150g of finely chopped parsley.

Oh and now you can relax!!! 🙂 phew what an adrenalin rush! I love it!!!!



paella collage

Paleo Chowing Part 2: Oven-Free Cooking

Gluten is my Bitch

gluten-free paleoI’m not sure if I have complained enough this week about my oven, and my laptop both crapping out. Oh, also, I think my 15-year-old dog is on the way out too. But hey, why not stick with a paleo diet when it offers you no cheese whatsoever?

All right, I did have nachos once this week. Once. And I felt horrible after, and I’m realizing that I feel a zillion times better if I stick to (at the least) a dairy-free, refined-sugar free and duh, gluten-free diet. I have added the occasional legume and even less occasional potato (in fact, I was planning on eating a baked potato the night my oven died but refused to debase the ‘tater by popping it in the microwave, so still, no white potatoes that are not on the approved paleo list) to my diet. Also, I’m still trying to figure out…

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