Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Cider Braised Stuffed Chicken

My apologies for being so late today with the Tasty Tuesday post! Normally I schedule the post at least the night before but with yesterday being a bank holiday here in the UK things got turned upside down. Normally I schedule the posts beforehand because Tuesday is one of my busiest days of the week with nursery and school run, gym, housework, collections, lunches, swimming lessons etc. And that is all BEFORE Herself comes home from school and all the homework needs to be dealt with! So today I'm busy typing this at the dining table, having finished my lunch and while Weeself if finishing hers. Once she's done we'll be off for her swimming lesson and then back just in time to collect Herself from the bus stop. Phew! I really should have pulled my finger out yesterday and scheduled this post but ho-hum.

So, today I wanted to show you this beautiful dish. We seem to be on a roll with Chicken dishes at the moment... and this one was to die for.

2 x 150g skinless boneless chicken breasts
low fat cooking spray
1 red onion, cut into thin slices
150ml dry cider
freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing:
50g wholemeal breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons capers in brine
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 garlic clove, diced
15g low fat spread

  1. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of cling film on a chopping board and bash gently with the end of a rolling pin to flatten slightly. Use a sharp knife to cut into the meat to form a pocket.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the stuffing and season with some black pepper. Push the stuffing into the pocket, pulling the chicken over. Keep back about a tablespoon of the mixture.
  3. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180C/fan oven 160C. Spray a non stick frying pan with the cooking spray and heat until hot. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until softened. Spoon into an ovenproof dish which will hold the chicken snugly.
  4. Place the chicken on top of the onions and pour over the cider. Scatter over the remaining stuffing. Spray a sheet of foil with the cooking spray and cover the dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately.
White breadcrumbs work well in this recipe if you have them to hand, but wholemeal adds a good nutty flavour. Serve with 150g chopped carrots, 100g boiled peas, as well as 125g potatoes mashed with 30 ml skimmed milk each for an extra 5 ProPoints values per serving.

Serves: 2
ProPoints Total: 14
ProPoints/serving: 7


Wow. This recipe is gorgeous!! The first time we made it just for Himself and Myself and we were completely blown away by it. Last night we made it again and this time we made enough for the kids too. Hmmm, to say that they were unimpressed would be an understatement. Although Herself did actually eat most of the chicken. However, Weeself decided that the chicken was a step too far for her. Oh well, we will carry on putting new foods in front of them in the hopes that they might oneday grow up to be less fussy children and eventually non-fussy adults!! We live in hope!!

Anyway, I'm off to the swimming pool now with Weeself. We will be a little late but hey at least we'll be there!

Thanks for dropping by and leaving me a comment. Please feel free to drop by FTLOB to see what other recipes have been shared today!

Friday, 27 May 2011

April WW Round-up

Wow, this is such a late post. I completely forgot to do a WeightWatchers round-up for April, although I did remember to take photo's. So it was obviously on my mind to do it and then life must have gotten in the way as it usually does.

So here are the photo's I took...

Strike the normal poses... LOL. As far as weight loss goes April was not great. I was still really struggling with the new ProPoints plan and getting my head in the right place. So my overall weightloss for the whole month of April was 1lb. As I said, not great. However at the end of April things started clicking into place for me and I managed to get my head together too... so I'm hoping for a decent overall loss in May!!

While I was taking these photo's this happened... and I thought you'd find it amusing.

... and then she insisted on having her photo taken....

What is it with my kids and always wanting to pose for the camera? At this rate they'll both end up as models when they're older!

Anyway, it's a lovely day here so I'm going to take them to the park. I haven't spent a whole lot of time with them lately due to being extremely busy with prepping for workshops etc. So today is going to be a Mummy and Daughters day and with the sunshine finally making an appearance I'm thinking that a trip to the park might be a good call.

Thanks for dropping by and leaving me a comment. See you soon!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

WOYWW 25th May '11

Wow, it's Wednesday again! Fancy a look at my seriously messy desk??

Oh my! A little tidier than last time isn't it?? It's tinged with sadness though as I've had to pack away the mini album project for now. I promise I will get it out again soon though as I really want to finish it. I'm about halfway through the photo's that I wanted to scrap for this mini.... and I must admit that it's not looking so 'mini' anymore! In fact, it's going to end up quite a chunky, fat album. The only thing mini about it is the pages really. It's going to be lovely though.... once it's finished, that is!

Unfortunately, though, I've run out of time for personal crafting as I have another workshop tomorrow night. It's my first mid-week one ever and I'm being told to expect 12-15 people so it's going to be  busy! So in preparation for that I've had to pack my Dorset mini album stuff away so that I can get cutting and glueing for tomorrow night.

Here's my desk now.... with a fresh piece of grid paper.

I love that grid paper cause I can get as messy as I like and I know that my cutting mat is not going to get all gunky. Mind you, it's had it's fair share of gunkiness over the last few years!!

So now, bid me adieu... cause I'm off to get all inky again! That grid paper isn't going to stay clean for long!! If you'd like to see some really messy desks, organised desks, pretty desks, haphazard desks, feats of engineering desks and desks with piles of stuff on that somehow manage to defy gravity and all the laws of nature.... then hop over to Julia's blog for a peek at other WOYWW entries!

Thanks for popping by today and leaving me a comment!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Oooooh, yummy!! Welcome to Tasty Tuesday!! If you're not sure what Tasty Tuesday is then please hop over to FTLOB for details and lots more tasty recipes. Some of them are healthy, some are most definitely not.... but they're ALL delicious! If you just try the recipes from one Tasty Tuesday you won't have to reach for a recipe book in a looooooong time. Just make sure you come back here once you've had a look over there!

Now, are you back? Did you like those recipes?? Mmmmm..... yum.

We've been trying recipes from several different recipe books, class leaflets, online resources and also ones that we just made up. However, there is one particular book which constantly seems to provide tasty recipes that are quick and easy to prepare. This one! (Click on the picture to check it out on Amazon). I got this book in Tesco. It was an impulse buy and totally random. I don't know if I even looked at the recipes before I put it in the trolley. I just know that it had those two magic words.... "WeightWatchers" and "Easy"! What a gem of a purchase it was too! So here's another recipe that we tried from this particular book recently:

50g Smoked Ham, diced
2 teaspoons snipped chives
100g low fat soft cheese
4 x 165g skineless, boneless chicken breasts
low fat cooking spray
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200C/fan oven 180C
  2. Mix the ham, chives and seasoning into the low fat soft cheese
  3. Using a small sharp knife, make a pocket along the length of each chicken breast, taking care not to cut right through. Fill with the stuffing then place the chicken breasts in a small roasting time and spray with a little cooking spray.
  4. Roast for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through; the juices should run clear when the thickest part of the chicken is pierced.
Serves: 4
ProPoints Total: 21
ProPoints/serving: 5

Don't forget to count the ProPoints for your potatoes/rice and any other sides you might have! 


We first tried this recipe a few weeks ago and it's been done at least 3 times since then. I was absolutely amazed to see two little girls who absolutely wolfed it down and then asked for seconds!! Now, those of you who've been reading my Tasty Tuesday submissions for a bit will know how fussy my kids are. Not many of these recipes have gone down well with them and yet, here is one that they can't get enough of. Yay!! Happy Mum! This is quickly becoming a family favourite and will stay in the repertoire long after Himself and I have lost the weight and become super-skinny.

I hope you liked today's recipe! I'm really enjoying doing the Tasty Tuesday submissions and we're enjoying trying out new recipes as a family. It's a real bonus when the kids enjoy them as much as we do!! I have yet to pluck up the courage to try them on the Spinach Lasagne yet. I might serve this one a few more times before I try feeding that one to the world's fussiest children!!

Thanks for dropping by and leaving me a comment!

PS. I've suddenly realised that I didn't do a Weight loss update for April! I have the photo's ready and waiting so I'll put that post up tomorrow.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

WOYWW 18th May '11

Wow, what a busy day I've had today!! My apologies for not posting my WOYWW earlier today but it really has been manic today and this is the first time I've managed to have two minutes to even think about posting. Actually, I had actually decided not to post as it was so late but then had second thoughts about that too. I'm so decisive, aren't I?! However, since Julia takes the time to host it and I've not joined in for a few weeks I figured I just had to!

Anyway, I'll stop chattering now and show you this:

Oh yes, I've been getting creative again! This time, however, it's been personal stuff not business related! It's been such a long time since I last did any scrapbooking just for me! I nearly forgot what it felt like actually. Anywho, I don't know how much you can actually see here.... there are a few random things dotted about as I had to quickly make a birthday card this morning to put in with a gift that was being posted. The birthday 'girl's big day is tomorrow so I thought I'd better get my butt in gear! So I hauled out my SU inks and stamps to get that done, but they've already been cleared away. The open printer is because I had to print off directions to get to someone's house last night and the rest of the stuff is what I've been using to scrapbook with!

There's still my trusty SU Stampin' Scrub for cleaning my stamps, grid paper for being messy on and punches for adding lovely handmade elements... but the rest is all from my stash!! OH MY! I've actually managed to cut up one of those Scrapagogo kits that have been hanging around in yellow pizza boxes for the last 2½ years! Yes, 2½!! I went to a charity crop last weekend in aid of Arthritis Care Scotland and took along a whole load of  'Beach holiday' pictures, masses of tools and one Scrapagogo kit. I completed all of one double page spread for a Paperbag minibook during the whole day and I really thought I would end up unpacking it and shoving it underneath my desk and forget about it. However, for some reason the Mojo has really got going with this one and I'm really enjoying it again. Yay!

On the grid paper you can see the results of my only Non-SU purchase in the past 12 months. At the crop I got my hands on two bottles of Mica Mist. I've never seen or used this stuff before so I was intruiged. Wow. It's gorgeous.... even if a little messy. I'm normally a very clean lines, crisp edges sort of crafter so it's been refreshing to get really inky and shimmery with these. You can see a little bit of the front cover for the minibook on the desk and it's well and truly covered in Mica Mist! Oh and ribbon, lace, chipboard letters, stickers, papers and...... a beautiful rose that I made using 2 punches and a pair of scissors. I'm really rather pleased with that rose because it came out so beautifully!

Anyway, none of that has been played with at all today (although I'm considering a late night session tonight!) as I was out and about all day. This morning started late for me and then proceeded to be a headlong rush all day. Took Herself (aka TwirlPower) to school, rushed back and gave Weeself (aka DestructoGirl) her breakfast. Changed nappies, got dressed, made a birthday card, grabbed present, rushed to train station, caught the train to Edinburgh, found friend, strolled down to her house, kids played, kids had lunch, unpacked wardrobe, moved wardrobe, held baby, had lunch, ordered taxi, got into taxi (forgetting changing bag at friends house), got to the train station, walked 2 million miles to get to the correct platform, ended up running for the train whilst pushing Weeself in manic pushchair dash, got on train, entertained Weeself in order to stop her getting killed by grumpy businessman, got in car, dashed to bus stop to pick up Herself, went to Tesco to buy wrapping paper, wrapped present, posted present, rushed home, helped Herself with homework, greeted hubby, helped cook tea, ate tea, helped bath kids, attended screaming child after she fell off the changing station, calmed distraught hubby down, calmed screaming child down, convinced distraught hubby that it wasn't his fault, got kids dressed and into bed, read bedtime stories, did some business adminy stuff, surfed Facebook, blogged and collapsed! Phew!

Any chance I can have a quieter day tomorrow please? Mind you, it's been good to get out of the house and see some real people again so I'm not complaining too loudly. PLUS, I got to hold my friend's new baby which is always well worth any rushing around that was done to get there in the first place!! Shhh.... dont tell hubby I said that! LOL.

Anyway, I'm off to bed now. I know now why the chinese curse is "may you live in interesting times"..... Right now a quiet life sounds like a good idea to me!

All advise on how not to run around like a headless chicken would be gratefully received!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Blog Makeover

Oh my! Oh my!! Isn't it lovely?? Shimelle has done such a brilliant job on this for me and I'm so honoured to be one of only 5 people from the 'Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers' class that got a makeover like this. For once I was quick off the mark for putting my name down for stuff. Unlike normal, when I'm usually about 3 weeks too late!

So, I asked Shimelle to make it look more 'website-y' and less 'bloggy' and I think she has managed to do that really well. I wanted nice clean lines and a not-too-cluttered look. Lovely, lovely, lovely!! Now you can see my 'about page' and my 'fat to fit' page tabs on the Right hand side, along with ways to contact and connect with me. I'm mostly on Facebook but just recently joined this thing they call Twitter. So I'm still getting to grips with that! Also, Shimelle has handily (and very neatly) listed all the classes, meme's and communities that I'm involved in. I'll be adding more as I join and take-part too.... if I can find out how to resize all the little logo's.

I am soooo happy with the end result! A big "Thank you!" to Shimelle for working so hard and putting up with my rather large amount of questions and modifications. It's brilliant!!

So what do you think?? Come on, be honest!!

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Superquick Spinach and Cheese Lasagne

Yay! It's Tuesday, which means Tasty Tuesday is here again. If you're new to this blog and don't know what I'm talking about then please hop over to FTLOB to see all the entries for this week's meme. There's loads of lovely recipes all waiting and crying out to be tried. Over on this blog I try to inspire my fellow Weight Watchers with yummy recipes that are not going to result in the dreaded weight gain at the weekly weigh in. Most of the recipes are from various WW cookbooks, leaflets, websites etc. 

When Himself (aka Lego Man) decided that he wanted to try this recipe, I will admit, I pulled a face. Hmmmm, yes. Spinach. Need I say more?? My perception of spinach has an awful lot to do with boarding school food. It was a mass of soggy, stringy green stuff that was schlopped onto your plate on a fairly regular basis. It sat there looking malevolent and giving off a smell - no, an odour - that was only a mild foretaste of the horrors that you were going to have to endure. And it had to be eaten because the Boarder Mistress/Master would be checking. The first mouthful would be enough to put anyone off spinach for life because it would reveal that the wonderful odour was just a confirmation of the flavour. The second mouthful would reveal that it hadn't been washed properly and still contained grit, and then you had to chew your way through half a bucketful of soil that had managed not to get boiled out of the soggy mass. You also learned to pick your way very carefully through it after one unfortunate girl found a teeny tiny baby snail on her plate. Yes. Really. 

So, it was with much trepidation that I agreed to put this recipe on the menu for the week. Himself did the honours of cooking it. It was surprisingly quick and easy to do...

Low fat cooking spray
200g frozen spinach, defrosted and drained (we used a whole bunch of fresh spinach instead)
100g low fat soft cheese with garlic and herbs
6 sheets no pre-cook lasagne (ok, we used a few more... about 9 or so)
400g can chopped tomatoes
50g low fat Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a handful of fresh basil or parsley to garnish, optional.

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180C/Fan oven 160C. Spray a small ovenproof dish with the cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the spinach and soft cheese and season with black pepper. Place two sheets of lasagne in the oven dish, then spoon over half the spinach mixture.
  3. Place two more sheets of lasagne on top and spoon the remaining spinach mixture onto it. Repeat with the last two sheets, pours over the chopped tomatoes, season generously and sprinkle with the grated cheese
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Garnish with basil or parsley, if using.
Serves: 2
ProPoints Total: 17
ProPoints/serving: 8


Oh my! This dish completely changed my view of spinach!! I never knew it could be this good. I'm definitely not a vegetarian and love my meat, but this lasagne was a great addition to our repetoire. We will definitely be putting it on the menu more often from now on. Although, I have to note that we didn't attempt to serve this to the kids as we predicted that a riot would probably be the result. However, I think the gruesome twosome could probably learn to eat this without too much fuss......

Who am I kidding? Expecting them to eat greenery in a new recipe is going to be disastrous, but I might still try. They pull their noses up at everything else, so it won't make much of a change will it?

I heartily recommend it, even if you don't usually eat spinach. Let me know what you think, and if you make it I'd love some feedback!!

Come back tomorrow for WOYWW. Hopefully I'll be able to participate this week. It all depends on how organised I am in the morning. 

See you soon!!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Orange Mustard Chicken with Parsnip Mash

For quite a number of weeks now, himself and I have been trying out some new recipes. We figured that we have so many Weight Watchers recipe books that we never seem to use! Each time we try a new recipe I try to take a decent photo of the plated dish. I'm not sure I always succeed though as I am by no means a food-photographer. Here's my contribution to FTLOB's "Tasty Tuesday" meme. As I've got quite a selection of photo's and recipes now I figured I'd join in!! 

2 Parsnips, peeled and sliced thingly
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons reduced-sugar orange marmalade
150g skinless boneless chicken breast
1 tablespoon low fat fromage frais
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives or parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the grill to medium high. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the parsnips for 15 minutes or until tender.

2. In a small bowl, mix the mustard and marmalade together.

3. Meanwhile, place the chicken, upper side face down, in a foil lined grill tray. Season. Grill for 8 - 10 minutes, then turn the chicken over and spread on the mustard and marmalade. Cook for a further 8 - 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the glaze has turned a deep golden colour.

4. Drain the cooked parsnips. Mash with the fromage frais and chopped chives or parsley. Slice the chicken and serve piled on top of the mash.

Serves: 1
ProPoints per serving: 10
Takes 25 minutes


Himself and I loved the chicken done this way. It comes out wonderfully succulent. Not dry at all, which is the problem I normally find with doing chicken breasts under the grill. However, as I'm not overly keen on parsnips, I didn't particularly enjoy the mash. It was okay-ish when eaten with the chicken; but once the chicken was gone I found the flavour unpleasant.... much to hubby's amusement. He loves parsnip! However, even he was struggling with the mash. We tried this recipe a second time using potatoes for the mash and found that to be much better as long as you don't use the fromage frais. 

The kids, however, pulled their noses up at it. As usual! I'm not sure why we don't just serve them chicken nuggets and fries for dinner every single day. However, himself and I are not giving up. We will continue to put new foods and recipes in front of them in the hopes that oneday they might try something and find that they actually like it! Hmmmm.... hell might freeze over before that happens I'm afraid!

All-in-all, I'd say this is a good one to try if you adore Parsnips. If not, substitute them with normal mashed potato and it still works well!

If you'd like to see some more recipes then please head over to FTLOB to see what everyone else is up to! Make sure you come back again next Tuesday for another Tasty recipe!!

Monday, 9 May 2011

.... and the winner is......

.... dah, dah, dah, dah....!!!

Which means that I need your contact details please Becky Bromley - Craft Jar. Yes, you! Email me please and let me know your postal address so I can send these goodies off to you asap. I hope that this will help you get more into stamping.

To everyone else who took part but weren't lucky enough this time.... I'm sorry. There will be more draws on this blog, probably around my 200th post or annual anniversary. I rather enjoyed putting the kit together and then reading your comments so I will definitely be doing it again!! Thanks for taking part and make sure you come back regularly. I intend to be posting regularly so there should be plenty to read. Speaking of posting... join me tomorrow as I'm going to start taking part in 'Tasty Tuesday' again. It's hosted by FTLOB each week and I will be sharing some of the latest Weight Watchers recipes that we've been trying out. Some have been a great hit, others..... not so much.

See you tomorrow morning bright and early! (It's all scheduled and waiting to go, so don't worry about it relying on my actually being awake at that time of the morning!!)  Right now, I'm off to my bed.

Congratulations again to Becky!

Friday, 6 May 2011

11 years ago....

11 years ago, at the tender age of 23, I walked up the aisle of a church in Sheffield, South Yorkshire to say "I do" to the most wonderful man in the world. When we married we had only known each other 9 months and a lot of people said it wouldn't last. A lot of people thought I was marrying him because I needed an extension to my visa. A lot of people thought it was being hurried because I 'had a bun in the oven'. There was a sweepstake held in his office, amongst his closest work colleagues, for people to guess when we would be announcing the impending arrival of a little person.

We married on a beautiful May day. It started off extremely foggy but the sun was out in full force by 11 o'clock.  We had a beautiful day. A day I will never ever forget. I promised myself, my life and my whole heart to my man and in return he promised his. What we both got was soooo much more than that.

So today, I want to officially tell the world about how much I love him. He does so much for me!! I'm not the world's best housewife and yet he puts up with that and tidies up after me. He does all his own ironing. He always goes way above and beyond the call of duty. He adores our children (and they adore him). He provides and protects and, most importantly, perseveres!! Even when I'm hormonal or just plain grumpy. But above all... he loves me, and he lets me know that every day in a million small ways.

For that I love him even more.

Thank you God, for sending me my perfect other half. You knew exactly what I needed and sent him my way. Amen.

Happy Anniversary my love!

(PS. You still have time to enter my Giveaway!)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Welcome to my 100th post! Ok, so I don't really have a reason to post today.... other than the fact that this IS the 100th post and I figured you might want to have a look at this:

Fancy this?? It's got some retired Stampin' Up! papers (double sided), some random cardstock, Rouge de Garance rub-ons, an 8x8 album, a random selection of buttons, some retired Stampin' Up! ribbon, 3 packs of letters, a brand new and unopened pack of American Crafts papers, a Stampin' Up! ink pad in Soft Suede and a set of Stampin' Up! stamps from this year's Sale-a-bration. I tried to coordinate colours, but I can't guarantee it's a good match as I'm useless at matching colours properly. However, I thought that the colours mostly matched what was in the American Crafts paper pack. So hopefully you can find some use for it!!

Entries for this giveaway will close on Sunday 8th May and I'll announce the winner on Monday 9th.

So if you'd like to get your hands on this pile of yummy stuff then here's what you have to do.... Click on 'Follow' and then leave a comment. Well actually, comments are optional but as I love reading them it would be nice!! Tell me what you would do with these items. Anything specific you can see yourself creating? Would this challenge you at all, or is it what you would normally pick out for a crafting session??

Good luck!