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Tis the season..


'As she planted, so does she harvest; such is the field of Karma.'
Sri Guru Granth Sahib



Don't panic.. I'm not going to mention the 'C' word.. although tins of sweets are ALREADY in Tesco! I kid you not! I'm talking about harvest season! We're always being told to buy local and seasonal food… but sometimes we get swept up in the bargains on offer!


Grocery shopping takes time… and if you're not a list person or you don't have meal plans for the week *raises hand*… it can be overwhelming not to mention pricey… If you buy seasonal foods they taste better and are usually cheaper than the food that's travelled thousands of miles to get to you…  I'm watching your carbon footprint people! If you’re unsure of what’s in season, google will get you there in seconds, but September is harvest time and fruits and veg abound, good news for us WW peeps! Good news in fact for everyone! Grocery stores tend to stock up on these items in bulk because they are plentiful, making them less expensive for you… anyone seen the mad rush of french and runner beans at the moment… even better too when they go on sale… You can whip up a batch of soup and freeze it for those emergency late nights at work or lunchtimes .. or stew your own fruit to make some sweet desserts that are point free…  

September is a ripe old month… juicy plums, apples & blackberries… *drools* 
I've added a few recipes throughout that are worth a look!


Apples - the cooking ones.. core them, put some splenda/canderel into them and roast them in the oven… a dollop of creme fraiche… you. are. welcome!

Artichokes 

Aubergines

Beetroot


Blackberries

Blackcurrants

Blueberries

Broccoli

Butternut Squash 
   - Dear God I'd be lost without it! Best 0 PP chips EVER! Recipe >>> HERE  <<<;

Brussels sprouts 
   - I don't allow these in my house.. one of the few veggies I don't eat!

Cabbage 
   - So much goodness in those green leaves… no turn your noses up.. give it a try!

Cauliflower 
   - I use this as half and half with my mash potato.. you can't even taste the difference! 
     Half the points! >>> Here's <<< another great recipe for cauliflower!

Carrots 
     - Make you see in the dark! again, lovely mashed with your potatoes for less PP 


Celery

Courgettes 
   - Amazing done as a gratin! Great recipe >>> HERE  <<< my cheese points this out at 3pp per serving but I leave the olive out.. but trust me its devine!

Cucumber 

Damsons

Elderberries

Figs

French Beans 
   - they're all over the place at the moment!

Garlic 
   - Who doesn't love it!

Horseradish 

Leeks - Part of the onion family.. great in casseroles, stir fries and soups.. 

Lettuce - Last of the salad days ahead… 

Mushrooms - Spray oil and crushed garlic… all the noms!

Nectarines

New Potatoes

Peaches

Pears

Plums

Pumpkins

Quinces

Raspberries

Red Onions

Runner beans 
   - These are getting cheap in the supermarket because they're now in season!

Sloes 
   - For the gin lovers amongst us… Yes I'm making my own sloe gin.. 
     I'm gonna need a different type of meeting soon!

Spinach - quick and easy and SOOOOOO good for you!

Squashes - Great for soups and roasting as a zero point carb

Sweet Corn - 1pp for 30g

Tomatoes - Roasted as a base for your pasta sauces

Turnip 
   - Great mashed but do it yourself the 'mash direct' pre packed versions 
     are 3PP for the tray!

Watercress - to fancy up your salad… I'm not a big fan but its very good for you… 


Have a lovely weekend x

The lunchbox has landed!



Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch.
Orson Welles



I know people always blab on about breakfast being the most important meal of the day and it is.. it starts you metabolism... if you eat the right kind, it can get you through to lunch without the munchies... but skipping lunch .. isn't really a good idea either.. and its all too easy when you're heading out for dinner later to think that saving those lunchtime points is going to help! Here's seven really good reasons why you shouldn't skip lunch!






1 • You'll eat fewer snacks..
You know EXACTLY what I mean.. 'sure I didn't have any lunch.. I'll STARVE! AND this is only 2pp + 4pp + 1pp' etc etc.. Eating lunch at your desk at your screen means you'll eat twice as many snacks if you took a break away from it... Your brain doesn't register what you've eaten when your mind is on something else! Usually if you've got the right change its the vending machine!



 You're body will be happier!
Sitting down all day and you'll burn 350 calories or less than you're working pals who get up and move about! Research has shown too that women who sit a lot have higher levels of insulin .. leading to type two diabetes.. so GET UP!

 You'll be happier!
Getting out for even 15 mins for a walk will top up your vit D and you need more of that with the winter coming, more Vit D means more serotonin and that's what beats the winter blues!

 Your back will thank you!
Physio's most popular clients aren't the sporting hero's with dodgy Achilles tendons that we all think... its the desk bound workers! Your body isn't designed to sit in one position for a long time...  Sitting for too long compresses your spinal discs ...

Tangent... I'm a victim of this! My back suffers from either sitting on my bottom looking at a screen for hours.. or pretending I'm superwoman and lifting stuff that's WAY too heavy! My chiropractor also told me the lump I found in my bum, cue dramatic music, was in fact my hip bone.. I can feel bones now! Chuffed I was... much to his eye rolling... ahem.. carry on...

...  and every time you get up.. you relieve that pressure! A lil lunchtime stroll will stretch them out again! Don't even get me started on your eyes!



5 - You'll actually get more done!
The day you're too busy is actually the day you need to take a break! The longer you work.. the less productive you become... you're mood, motivation and concentration will improve with just 10 mins walking about...




 You'll be nicer to live with!
Having a good old bitch and gossip with a colleague pacing around the car park at lunch time is essential! Worst thing you can do it sit at your desk.. bottle it up and take it home with you! Your family love you... not all the drama from work!



 You'll improve your digestion!
The faster you eat, the larger the bites of food in your stomach, the more likely you are to suffer from indigestion and acid reflux! You'll also gulp air down and you won't be pretty to sit beside later on! Chew your lunch properly... and we all know it takes 20 mins for the brain to catch up with out tummies! 


So no more skipping lunch... you're entitled to a break.. so take it.. and use it wisely!

I can't even begin to tell you all how much I want that Lego lunch box! LOL 



couscous got me thinking...




Spicy week in Chateau Doll! For those requesting I got MOST of the menu and its not all bad news... this is posted in the takeaway list also over yonder... >>>>


Nandos


Caesar Salad = 8 pp
Couscous Salad = 10 pp
Houmous w/ Peri-Peri Drizzle = 23 pp
Mediterranean Salad = 7 pp
Mixed Leaf Salad = 0 pp
Peri-Peri Nuts = 17 pp
Red Pepper Dip = 15 pp
Spicy Mixed Olives = 4 pp


Peri-Peri Chicken

½ Chicken = 9 pp
¼ Chicken Breast = 3 pp
¼ Chicken Leg = 6 pp
Butterfly Chicken Breast = 8 pp
Chicken Wings, 10 ea = 16 pp
Chicken Wings, 3 ea = 5 pp
Chicken Wings, 5 ea = 8 pp
Chicken, whole = 18 pp


Burgers, Wraps & Pitas

Bean Burger = 14 pp
Bean Pitta = 14 pp
Beanie Wrap = 20 pp
Chicken Breast Burger = 11 pp
Chicken Breast Fillet wrap = 15 pp
Chicken Livers & Crispy Portuguese Roll = 18 pp
Double Chicken Breast Burger = 11 pp
Double Chicken Breast Fillet Wrap = 18 pp
Double Chicken Breast Pitta = 12 pp
Mushroom & Halloumi Burger = 16 pp
Mushroom & Halloumi Cheese Wrap = 21 pp
Mushroom & Halloumi Pitta = 10 pp
Prego Steak Roll = 16 pp
Tropico burger = 12 pp
Tropico burger (No mayo) = 11 pp
Portuguese BBQ burger = 11 pp
Portuguese BBQ  burger (No mayo) = 10 pp
Veggie Burger = 12 pp
Veggie Pitta = 12 pp
Veggie Wrap = 18 pp
4 grilled tenderloins = 6 pp
8 BBQ ribs = 8 pp
5 Wings = 9 pp
4 BBQ thigh pieces = 6 pp


Kids

Nandindo Chicken Breast Fillet Burger = 9 pp
Nandindo Veggie Burger = 12 pp
Nandino Bean Burger = 14 pp
Nandino Chicken Breast Fillet Strips = 3 pp
Nandino Chicken Wings, 3 ea = 5 pp


Sides & Extras 

Chicken Mediterranean salad (No dressing) = 7 pp
Chicken garden salad (No dressing) = 4 pp
Chicken Paella = 13 pp
Chips w/ Peri Peri Sauce, large size = 31 pp
Chips w/ Peri Peri Sauce, regular size = 10 pp
Chips, large size = 30 pp
Chips, regular size = 10 pp
Coleslaw, large size = 14 pp
Coleslaw, regular size = 7 pp
Corn on the Cob (1) = 3 pp
Creamy Mash, large size = 15 pp
Creamy Mash, regular size = 7 pp
Garlic Bread = 9 pp
Luso Beans = 3 pp
Macho Peas, large size = 9 pp
Macho Peas, regular size = 4 pp
Mediterranean salad (No dressing) = 4 pp
Mixed Leaf Salad, side = 0 pp
Ratatouille = 3 pp
Regular spicy rice = 8 pp
Regular cous cous = 10 pp
Regular Coleslaw = 8 pp
Regular corn on the cob = 8 pp
Regular old-style chips = 14 pp
Side Salad = 0 pp
Spicy Rice, large size = 13 pp
Spicy Rice, regular size = 6 pp
Sweet Potato Mash = 6 pp


Desserts

Banana Frozen Yogurt = 2 pp
Bolo De Coco (Portuguese Coconut Tart) = 10 pp
Caramel Frozen Yogurt = 2 pp
Carrot Cake w/ double cream = 23 pp
Chilly Billy Lolly =  1 pp
Choc-a-lot Cake w/ double cream = 19 pp
Chocolate Cheesecake w/ double cream = 17 pp
Chocolate Frozen Yogurt = 2 pp
Chocolate Gelado = 5 pp
Gooey Caramel Cheesecake w/ double cream = 17 pp
Nata = 5 pp
Passion Fruit Gelado = 3 pp
Strawberries & Cream Gelado = 4 pp
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt = 2 pp
Toffee Gelado = 4 pp
Vanilla Frozen Yogurt = 2 pp
Vanilla Gelado = 5 pp
White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl w/ double cream = 17 pp


Ready.... steady.. Couscous!



cous·cous  

/ˈko͞oˌsko͞os/
Noun
  1. A type of North African semolina made from crushed durum wheat.
  2. A spicy dish made by steaming or soaking such granules and adding meat, vegetables, or fruit.






Couscous - the food's so nice they named it twice.
Dale Denton - Pineapple Express




So a few enquiries lately about couscous and how to point it, cook it etc .. so here goes ...

For dry couscous, the 10g = 1PP rule applies like rice, pasta and noodles. 

So 60g = 6PP is 100% correct... (60g is LOADS!) 
 I tend to use 40g for 4 pp

Couscous like rice absorbs water on cooking, so it increases in weight, the points do not change though. So 75g of cooked couscous might only be 25g dry.


Dry pointing is 100% accurate, pointing cooked isn't because the longer you cook them for then the more water they absorb, if that makes sense...


Now how to... This is one of the easiest things to make... especially for those emergency dinners... All you just need boiled water mixed with half a stock cube (I use chicken or veg but mix it up for variety) and pour over the couscous in a bowl. Make sure you use enough water to cover the couscous then cover, I use a plate, for a few mins until all the water is absorbed, then just fluff it up with a fork. As Gordon Ramsay says.. DONE!

You will need to seriously season it, its very bland... I usually use chilli flakes, herbs or garlic but its all down to personal taste... Couscous is great for stuffed pepper recipes too or mushrooms or even cold in a in a salad... 


ALDI do a 'lemon & corriander' couscous and is only 5pp for half the pack when made up!! Its lovely hot with chicken or fish!!


The flavoured packs available are handy as cupboard basics... the sundried garlic one from Ainsley Harriott is really yummy!














Ainsley Harriott Sundried tomato and garlic couscous = 5 pp per half pack



Ainsley Harriott Roasted vegetable couscous = 5 pp per half pack




Ainsley Harriott Lemon, mint & parsley couscous = 5 pp per half pack




Merchant Gourmet Polenta - 5 pp per 50g serving

Fear...





I think this says it all.... Giving up is not an option!

Doll x

From little acorns...


“An oak tree is an oak tree. That is all it has to do. 

If an oak tree is less than an oak tree, then we are all in trouble.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh





As you can see from the new badge on the right.. I have indeed been nominated for the Blog Awards Ireland ... in four categories... (FOUR!!!!!) Best Health & Wellbeing, Best Food & Drink, Best Lifestyle & Best Personal Blog...

I know people can think I'm being coy or aloof or shy or just trying to play it cool when I say I'm surprised by it ... but I am genuinely thrilled to be nominated... sure I'm still not over the amount of hits I get... you do love your takeaways kids! 

This little blog started off as a tool to look inside myself, to see why I was on this path of destruction ... using food as a weapon, covering myself in a layer of fat to protect myself from the world and hiding out from all the living I could have been doing... (and also to have one place where all my fav foods in Supervalu were propointed!)... it has been hard... there has been tears and laughter and successes and failures .. I've met some amazing people.. I'm motivated every single day by a message or tweet or email... and its hard to believe that something as silly as my general musings and occasional swearings/rants is so liked ... 

I'm humbled and grateful ...

Thank you to whoever nominated me (they can't all be my mum!)

Doll x


PS: I'm currently writing my Oscar type speech and practicing my gracious 'I'm so happy YOU won' face >>HERE<< .. tears or no tears a la Gwyneth???

Boys Boys Boys!

a little mini rant today.. (NO eye rolling or sighing!!!) 



Too many times I hear.. 'but its SO much easier for men to lose weight!' .. well ladies of the sweeping statement kind, its not you know.. they follow the same programme as us women folk.. they're surrounded by the same temptations and if anything they have less of a support system cause they can't drunkenly spout out in the chipper after 10 pints.. 'I can't have chips I'm doing weight watchers', cause their pals will just have enough ammunition to last a lifetime ... men make the decisions to do it and, in my opinion, most of them don't attach emotions to food as much as we do! But some of them do!!!


We love our gossiping.. our brunches.. our 'he's such a muppet.. *have another biscuit*' tea breaks.. Our lovely hormones allow us to eat Ben & Jerrys JUST BECAUSE OKAY!!!! We cook and feed the young, old, sad and happy! Emotions are attached to food for women since the cave.. Sure hasn't the entire cupcake industry been established for us! I only met up with some friends on Friday I hadn't seen due to 'AWKWARD' circumstances and they brought ice cream! Wimmin!


yes... there is the old 'Venus V Mars' malarky.. but to be honest, its really more Venus V soup! We're THAT different sometimes! But the boys do struggle just as much as us gals do... There are boys in my family who can't pass the biscuit tin without looking inside.. or ask when they arrive for a visit.. 'Did you bake anything nice?' and others who can eat for Ireland and don't understand why we harp on about diets all the time..

Whilst the majority of hits/comments on here are from women... the amount of emails, DMs in twitter and messages on Facebook I get from lads asking all sorts of questions is unreal... and I love that they feel confident enough to ask me.. or let me know they're 'down a pound' or 'hit another stone' or 'they're following the challenge' and 'don't wanna comment but what are wall press ups?' or 'how many points in...?'



It kinda begs the real question.. why can't they ask on here?! 

Bravado? Egos? The fact that losing weight has always been seen as a women's club? The lads would have a field day? I'm happy to answer all questions, to all of you if I have the information... (a pint of Carlsberg is 6 pp btw...) if I don't know...  I'll definitely try to find it for you...  but ladies no more sweeping statements... perhaps a little leaf out of their book... they just do it.... as Nike says! 


New challenge in the making... time to focus!

Doll x

PS: In case you sang the title and you're of a similar vintage! A lil' flashback HERE

Happy New Year!!!


Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve.  
Middle age is when you're forced to! - Bill Vaughn


You heard me... in 21 weeks.. it will be 2014.. WHERE is the year going?!?!

If you lost 1 lb a week by the time New Years Eve hits us.. you would be 1.5 stone lighter... think about it... nearly two dress sizes... 

and if you lost 2 lb a week... you would be 3 stone lighter.. THREE stone!!! 

My mojo has been completely restored.. getting over that last hurdle ... I think finally getting that last stone has spurred me on! 

So .. theres a challenge on the horizon in the next few weeks for anyone wanting to join in ... but this week... look at the bigger picture .. having another stone and a half off by New years would certainly be a lovely way to start 2014! 

Mr.Q started his journey in August and was 3 stone lighter by Christmas! So it can be done... if you want it badly enough! 

Doll x




Something fishy...

You all know my eternal quest to make lunch less boring.. I'm a big tuna fan... but have only recently spotted these little 'infusion' beauties.. (its also shark week so its gonna get a lil' fishy in here!)

With your 'Pat-the-baker' slimbos, a wrap or feck it .. bread! Add loads of fat free salad stuff and you'll have a very flavourful lunchbox! Just something to spice things up before we all face the winter soup-a-thon! 

Doll x



John West Infusions - chilli & garlic, per 100g - 5 pp
7 pp per 130g pack



John West Infusions - Basil, per 100g  6 pp
8 pp per 130g pack




John West 'Light lunch' - Mediterranean style salad per 100g - 2 pp
5 pp per 220g pack




John West 'Light lunch' - French style salad per 100g - 3 pp
6 pp per 220g pack




John West Tuna with a twist - with french dressing per 100g - 4 pp
3 pp per 85g pack




John West Tuna with a twist - with lime & black pepper per 100g - 4 pp
4 pp per 85g pack




John West Tuna with a twist - with oven dried tomato&herb dressing per 100g - 3 pp
3 pp per 85g pack

The girl who ate 126 points in a single day...

Another inspirational post from Mr. Q! If you're not motivated after this you never will be... Doll x     PS: I FINALLY got my fifth stone.. yippppeeeeee... ahem.. carry on..


The girl who ate 126 points 
in a single day…

By @quinlivan


Yesterday, 11 months since I went back to Weight Watchers, I was given my 14th Silver 7. It’s hard to believe how far I have come in less than a year. Before I started writing this post for The Skinny Doll, I went back and had a read over my previous posts on her site. The post ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ is still the one that strikes most resonance with me today, mainly because what I wrote then at the start of my journey I still believe whole-heartedly as I approach goal. “The road ahead may be long and bumpy, the end may seem impossible to get to, and yes we may fall off the beaten track somewhere down the line, but let’s not look forward just yet – look at NOW… at least we have had the balls to turn up at the start line.”



Last Summer (in Dun Laoghaire) vs This Summer (in Spain)


I have learned so much from Weight Watchers over the past year – so much about myself,
about how it is all about making the choices, being in control of what I eat and the power of exercise. In my opinion, the real teachings along the way of my Weight Watchers journey haven’t come from the books or leaflets distributed in class – they have come from the other people who attend the meetings. Other people’s stories, food discoveries, setbacks, frustrations and joys fuel me – it’s the people we encounter along the way who make it an experience. This blog post is about a few people who unbeknownst to themselves gave me the motivation I needed at that time to continue.


Person 1: The girl who ate 126 points in a day 

One wet February evening a girl who I had never noticed before spoke up about how difficult tracking is, especially over the weekend. We’ve all been there. For me, Monday to Friday go by and I track my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks without a bother. The weekend however throws me out of routine – sometimes I’ll have lunch in town or a drinks on a night out. 

Anyway, this girl sat there looking so defeated as she told the room how she tracked everything she had on Saturday… on Sunday morning. She had felt she had been ‘a bit’ bold on the Saturday but when she added up her few pints and the Supermacs she had on the way home, along with the Domino’s Pizza she had before she went out – she had eaten 126 points in a the day. 

Two things immediately struck me: First, How quick points can add up and spiral out of control without fully realising it. More importantly, she taught me one of the biggest lessons you won’t read in any handout given in class… She was 100% honest with herself and the class. Her honesty has always stuck with me. I don’t know if I would ever confess that to the room, even if I knew it myself.



Person 2: The girl who is very hard on herself

We all know someone who is very hard on themselves – who never gives themselves a pat on the back. They are the people who say things like ‘I only lost a pound’ or ‘I’m up this week but I knew I’d be’. There is one girl in particular who doesn’t go to my class but I know from online. She constantly criticizes herself, either her weight loss is ‘not fast enough’ or if she doesn’t reach her own mini-goals, such as ‘Lose 7lbs this month’, she gets completely deflated, unmotivated and hard on herself – despite actually losing 5lbs that month.

I like to think of myself as a fairly positive person but am guilty of falling in to the ‘very hard on myself’ category too. After a lengthy conversation with this girl on Twitter, I realised that what I was championing in her (her successes), I wasn’t championing in myself. She taught me one of the most important lessons I’ve learned to date… Reward your successes, regardless of their significance in the grand scheme of things. I have so many mini-goals which keep me motivated. I make sure to recognise each one. 

If I hadn’t, I can see how easy it is to get lost along the way. I remember a few months ago I was going through a bit of a Doubting Thomas phase. I couldn’t see the wood from the trees. Instead of looking at where I had left to go, I was thinking about the effort it would require to get me there. Instead of looking at how far I had come, I started making excuses to justify why I should make this weight my finish line.


Person 3: The girl who ran a marathon and never came back to class

Early November last year, a girl in class received a well-deserved round of applause from the class as she had run the Dublin City Marathon the day before. She spoke about how difficult it was, how sore she was afterwards and how amazing she felt having completed the marathon.

At the time it was something I couldn’t identify with directly but I could appreciate the immense effort and dedication she had put in. Finishing a marathon is surely something high up on many Bucket Lists. As a 19st guy who had never run a day in his life, I couldn’t connect to her story there and then – now she is all I think about. 

I think she stopped coming to (my) class early this year. I don’t know if she is attending a different Weight Watchers class, but I would love to have a chat with her now. I’d love to know if she is still running, I’d love to know how hard the training was, I’d love to know if she is planning on doing another. I have so many questions that may go unanswered because at the time I never made the connection.


Person 4: The guy who… ?

You’ve probably noticed that the people I have talked about are all female. Although Weight Watchers is for Men & Women, you can’t deny there is a distinct lack of men in attendance in classes. Maybe it’s the case that the Men Only classes are busier or all the men just go to different classes than I do.

In the 11 months I’ve been going, I could count on one hand the amount of men who have turned up – and never at the same time. I’ve said it before but I have honestly never felt like Weight Watchers or the meetings have been women focused. Everyone is on the same journey, everyone has room to contribute and everyone learns something from the meetings. I don’t know what the guys are so afraid of!



I want to thank those people for continuing to educate and teach me. I also want to thank all those people in my class in Oranmore, my leader Phil and the people I talk to online (Twitter/blogs etc) who share their successes, food finds and struggles with other people. We all struggle, we all have bad weeks, we have epic weeks and we have mediocre weeks. I always try to take something new from my previous week forward with me into the next week - be it a new dish to try out, a new product to try or a lesson like the ones I’ve mentioned above. 

My Weight Watchers journey is far from over (ye won’t get rid of me that easily) but for right now I just wanted to thank all of those who have contributed with their insight to my experience:

To the girl who ate 126 points - 
you taught me the importance of being honest with myself.

To the girl who is very hard on herself - 
you taught me the importance of recognising my achievements 
and successes along the way.

To the girl who ran the marathon and never came back to class – 
you have taught me how important it will be to continue coming to class, 
even when you see the finish line.




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