Healthy Dark Chocolate Pots for Easter

These little pots of chocolate are a healthier option to the traditional chocolate mousse.  The will satisfy your sweet tooth and they’re the perfect end to a meal.

Dark chocolate, orange and cardamom mousse

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep. time:
  • Cook time: Ready in about 40 minutes, plus 3-4 hours’ chilling time
  • Total time: Over 60 Minutes

ingredients

  • 60g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 1 orange
  • 3 medium eggs, separated*
  • 6 tbsp artificial sweetener
  • ½ tsp crushed cardamom seeds
  • 4 tbsp fat-free natural fromage frais, to serve

method

  1. Melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (or in the microwave on a low heat for 30 seconds). Allow to cool slightly. Finely grate the zest of half the orange and peel thin strips of zest from the other half. Set aside.
  2. Put the egg whites in a clean glass bowl. Beat with an electric hand whisk on a medium speed until they stand up in stiff peaks, but are not too dry.
  3. Whisk together the egg yolks, 4 tbsp sweetener, the grated orange zest and cardamom seeds. Mix with the chocolate.
  4. Using a large metal spoon, lightly fold in the egg whites until well combined. Spoon the mixture into 4 individual cups, ramekins or glasses and chill for 3-4 hours, or until set.
  5. Cut any white pith off the strips of orange peel and put in a small pan with the remaining sweetener and 400ml water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 12-15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
  6. Decorate each mousse with the crystallised orange zest and serve with a spoonful of fromage frais.

Tip: *Pregnant women, the elderly and babies should not eat raw or partially cooked eggs.

This is a Slimming World recipe so if you’re Food Optimizing these are the Syn Values per serving:

  • Green: 4½
  • Original: 4½
  • Extra Easy: 4½

Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

This brightly coloured dish of golden-orange butternut squash, red onion and white rice makes a substantial supper for four or a classic Italian starter for six. Serves: 4

Risotto

Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 50 minutes
Slimming World Syns per serving: Extra Easy: FREE, Green: FREE

Ingredients

454g/1lb butternut squash
1 large red onion
1 tbsp lemon juice
852ml/1½pt vegetable stock
1 garlic clove
340g/12oz dry risotto rice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp freshly chopped Sage

Method

1. Slice the skin from the squash and discard the seeds. Cut into 2cm/¾in chunks. Peel and finely slice the onion and toss in the lemon juice. Transfer both vegetables to a saucepan and pour over 284ml/½pt stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until just tender. Turn off the heat and keep covered.

2. Peel and finely chop the garlic and place in a saucepan with the rice and 284ml/½pt stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until the stock has evaporated.

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining stock until just about to boil, and reduce the heat to maintain the temperature. Add the chopped sage and seasoning to the rice mixture and add a ladleful of stock; cook gently, stirring until absorbed.

4. Continue ladling in the stock until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is thick, creamy and tender. Keep the heat moderate. This will take 20-25 minutes.

5. Drain the pumpkin and red onion and stir gently into the rice. Heat through for 2 minutes.

6. Ladle into warmed serving bowls. Sprinkle with black pepper to serve.

Tip: If you like blue cheese, a little Stilton crumbled on top just before serving tastes wonderful!

Recipe for Moroccan Meatballs

This is a really delicious recipe (courtesy of Slimming World) using extra lean beef mince for a really healthy version of this timeless North African version of meatballs.  I tried this last night and served it with Penne Pasta, or try it served with rice or couscous.  Enjoy!  Serves 4

ingredients

  • 450g/1lb extra lean minced beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • Low calorie cooking spray

method

meatballs

Place the mince beef in a bowl and combine with parsley and half the cumin and paprika, and season well. Using your hands, shape into 16 or so small meatballs.
Spray a large frying pan with low calorie cooking spray and brown the meatballs. Set aside.
In the same pan gently sweat the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes before adding the remaining cumin, paprika and a generous sprinkle of black pepper. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes.
Return the meatballs to the sauce and heat through. Stir in the coriander and serve with pasta, rice or couscous.

New Year, New You – 5 easy steps

It’s always a daunting prospect to committing to making changes to our lifestyle.  How many times have we made New Year’s resolutions only to break them within 48 hours – sometimes we put far too much pressure on ourselves to achieve the impossible!

By making some simple changes can really help to make a difference to our lives over the long term.  Taking small steps to make those changes is key.  All too often we set ourselves impossible goals which are either too ambitious or too hard to stick to.  We end up feeling guilty and deprived and give up at the first hurdle.

There are many small simple, achievable shifts we can adopt which will make a big difference to how we look and feel over a longer period.  Research suggests it take 16 to 21 repetitions before an action becomes a habit so, stay strong and by the end of January, many of these small changes will have become a fixed part of your health & fitness regime

Resolve to:

1. Eat a low-fat, low energy diet – make healthy choices by swapping high fat foods for lower fat/fat free options

2. Make small steps to increase activity – nothing drastic to start – get off the bus one stop early/leave the car when the journey can be walked/take the dog for a walk (the long way round)!

3. Have mainly healthy foods in the fridge at home – don’t deny yourself some treats, but be in control

4. EaBrighton Slimming World Cooked Breakfastt Breakfast! Whilst having breakfast isn’t essential for weight loss, research shows that eating breakfast is linked to making healthier food choices throughout the day resulting in less snacking between meals.

5. Follow a consistent eating pattern – research shows that people who continue to eat a fairly consistent and healthy diet throughout the week are more likely to keep weight off in the long term than those who follow a strict ‘diet’ on weekdays and let themselves go at weekends.

Slimming Christmas Party Food Ideas

Strawberry Santas

Fab festive finger-food idea  for a Christmas party buffet – quick to make, eye-catching, super sweet and Free! Courtesy  of  Slimming World member Claire from Tyne & Wear.

information

Serves: 12
Prep time:
Cook time:
Syns per serving:

  • Green: FREE
  • Original: FREE
  • Extra Easy: FREE

ingredients

½ tub Quark
2-3 tbsp sweetener
12 strawberries
24 chocolate balls (cake decorations)

method

1. In a bowl, mix together the Quark and sweetener.

2. Cut the bottom off the strawberries (pointed bit) to create Santa’s hat. Spoon or pipe the Quark mixture on top of each strawberry and down the front (to create his head and beard) and place the hat back on.

3. Add two little chocolate balls to make his eyes and serve as soon as possible.

Slimming World 7 Days of Healthy Eating

Food Optimizing includes hundreds of delicious Free Foods which provide satisfying meals and snacks to ensure you’ll lose weight beautifully without ever having to go hungry. And together with Healthy Extras – portions of food including wholemeal bread, cereals and milk for extra fibre and calcium – they ensure you have a healthy, balanced diet you can enjoy for life.

Sample our typical menus over the next 7 days for a taste of how you can eat yourself slim!  Just click on the image below for your FREE 7 day menu.

Brighton Slimming World

Super-boost your health this Winter

Following a healthy eating plan and changing your eating habits to include everyday inexpensive basic foods, including vegetables, fruit, lean meat and complex carbohydrates, can give your health a super-boost!

These everyday foods are great-tasting, appetite-satisfying and health-giving.

  • Steak – as well as being a good protein-provider, beef contains most of the nutrients our body needs and is a particularly good source of iron and zinc. It helps increase dopamine levels and mental alertness.
  • Oily fish – just 4 canned sardines provide more than 50% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for calcium, a third of the RDA for iron (which prevents anaemia), and 20% of the RDA for zinc (essential for healthy skin, the immune system and the reproductive system). Oily fish are also a great source of omega three fatty acids important for a healthy heart and circulation.
  • Green leafy vegetables – such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts – are a good source of vitamin C and beta carotene, which is vital for a healthy immune system. And they contain folic acid and iron, important for healthy blood.
  • Baked beans – providing lots of filling fibre and B vitamins important for energy release, baked beans help to keep hunger pangs away for longer because they release energy slowly.
  • Cantaloupe melon – one of the few really good fruit sources of the antioxidant beta carotene and the most nutritious melon having three times more vitamin C than watermelon or honeydew melon.