Well the morning so far is going way better than expected. I woke up before my alarm at 8am and I’d decided what to cook for Slimming World.
The recipie in the Slimming World magazine looked easy enough – but I’d NEVER cooked stuffed peppers before – so it was a bit of a gamble.
It was time for a little challenge.
I’d double the ingredients and make enough for 8(ish) peppers – which chopped up should be enough for the group.
I started with the filling as directed – and two large onions went into the frying pan on a low heat to soften up. Before long the kitchen was filled with a warm caramel aroma.
These were joined before long with some garlic, and then a few moments later some mince (5% fat pork) and tomato puree.
Initially I started to measure the tomato puree with my spoons (I love my spoons) but then realised that it was a ‘free’ ingredient and guesstimated.
It looked about right.
Once the mince was browning off I added two cartons of chopped tomatoes with mixed herbs and two tablespoons of oregano (dried not fresh as I couldn’t find any in Sainsburys)
While this simmered I topped and de-seeded the peppers. These had to be placed together tightly in a baking tray so that they they all stood upright while cooking. My battered old enamel one seemed to fit the bill, and they all looked really nice and summery when sitting together.
I was already thinking that I’d made the right choice – this would look way better than fishcakes.
After 20 mins or so the mince and tomato mix had reduced down and was almost ready, so I turned off the heat and focused my attention on the feta cheese. This was not QUITE feta (but as near as dammit) as I decided to go for a healthier option.
This was the one thing that needed weighing – as guessing this could result in my fellow slimmers getting sabotaged and that would NOT do.
I cut a chunk off the block that was just under the 90g I needed. It seemed surprisingly small – but I guess you don’t need much!
So – since I was now cooking 7 peppers (it was all that would fit in the pan!) I was pretty careful about the amount that went into each. Instead of mixing it into the mince as the recipe suggested I portioned it up and put it individually into the peppers as I filled them.
Once done they looked pretty cool and were ready to go in the oven.
The recipe said 20-25 mins in the oven at gas mark thingy or electric heat whateveritwas.
I’m always a little unclear about cooking things in the oven for the first time at pre-set temperatures as I have no numbers on my dials.
My brother managed to scrub them all off years ago with a brillo pad when enthusiastically cleaning – so anything placed in my oven cooks at the speed of guesswork and finger crossing with a little bit of occasionally burned around the edges.
It wasn’t until they’d been in the oven for over 15 mins that I realised I had forgotten to add the Worcester sauce. It was just sitting on the work surface, unmolested with its plastic anti tamper wrapper intact.
I opened the oven. The tops were already browning but I could totally save this. I individually lifted them off (HOT HOT HOT!!!) and with a teaspoon made a ‘sauce hole’.
Drip, drip drip. OK thats enough for all of them. Three shakes each. I put the pepper lids back on and popped it back in the oven.
(10 minutes pass.)
Ok – the tops of the peppers are cooked but the bottoms still look a bit crunchy.
I took the tops off and laid them out (in order) on another baking tray so that I knew which little hat went on which pepper. I then put the bottoms back in on the oven, set my timer for 10 mins and went to get changed.
I looked around for the lightest pants, tee-shirt and socks that I had, and my featherweight jogging bottoms. My top had a front print, but the combined weight wasn’t as heavy as my black tee-shirt which was made of thicker cotton.
Short of standing naked on the scales my outfit was the minimum I could possibly wear in polite company without them thinking my nipples were looking at them.
I wanted to lose weight this week more than anything and despite my clothes feeling loose it was the loss that meant the most to me. I wanted my two stone award so badly I could taste it – but I really really thought it had been a bad week. I wasn’t expecting anything but grief.
(note. There are two REGULAR readers who know who they are and will appreciate the bold type and extra special efforts on the last paragraph.)
My watch alarm pinged. It was now 10.20 and group started in 10 mins. Hopefully my peppers (which took way longer to prepare than the recipe said) would be done.
I padded downstairs in my lighter than air, spray on pants and opened the oven.
Phwoooar! Pepper porn….
I’d cooked 7 but could only get 6 in my tupperware. That would have to do. I think each one accounted for 2 syns – so if they got halved it would be 1 syn per taste.
By the time I got to the meeting things were in full swing – and I popped my food on the table.
There was quite a variety of food on the there already – and I was keen to try some of the things people had made. But first things first. NO FOOD UNTIL THE SCALES HAD BEEN STEPPED ON.
I took off my shoes, emptied my pockets and stepped on the scales.
I immediately found myself saying ‘I think its going to be bad. I think I’ve put on this week.’
I had to place it in context before the lady saw the horror and had to give me the bad news. I braced myself and waited for the machine to beep.
‘Four off.’ The lady whispered with a smile in her voice and looked at me with a grin.
‘IN YOUR FACE FAT!‘ I said (maybe a bit too loudly) and grinned from ear to ear. This takes me irritatingly close to the two stone mark.
Just 1/2lb away.
But either way I’m edging ever closer! I also got slimmer of the week and got a basket of treats – which was a big boost, and gave me another little sticker for the back of my book (although now I have enough teabags to start a coffee shop lol!
While we waited for Angie to start her usual talk the group chatted and people started comparing notes about what they had cooked and how they did it. I took my chance to ask for some slow cooker tips as I’ve still not tried to make pulled pork.
Hopefully now I’ve been armed with enough info from the responses I will be able to give it a go!
Angie briefly then took centre stage, talked through what was on the table and how it was made – then it was time to eat!!!
My particular favourites were a loaf (which I need to get the recipe written down for as I’ve ALREADY forgotten it) made predominantly from beans and rice and Angie’s absolutely divine mini quiches (Ham base in a fairy cake case filled with bacon, leek, quark and eggs) and some little meringue thingies – which just melted in my mouth for (a totally worth it) two syns!
People seemed to like my peppers too (including me I’m ashamed to say!) and I think I’ll definitely make them again.
I have to say the meeting was brilliant – absolutely my favourite of all so far.
Some people had big losses after working REALLY hard for the week and most others kept moving toward their goals. Even the ones who’d struggled that week looked happy after Angie had finished with them!
She really is rather a good egg. 🙂
Everyone today seemed in a really good mood as they left, and while clearing the hateful little red chairs with the others I spent a while chatting to one of the ladies about blogs and weight loss in general, which was really really nice – and she pointed me at another blog which I’ll have a look at later.
I have to say it was totally worth getting up early and making the effort.
I’m beginning to realise that Saturday mornings is now part of my routine. Although I approach it with mixed feelings (either hope or trepidation and it’s never a pleasant moment stepping on the scales) it’s a positive and life affirming start to the week. We all get together and try to make sure no-one falls off the wagon and if they do they’re helped back on again.
As I left one of the girls said:
‘Remember Dave – even if you think you’ve f**ked it up then f**k it. Come anyway and get on the f**king scales.’
Honestly internet I couldn’t have put it f**king better my f**king self.
She speak a my language.