Fifty and Fabulous

The thoughts, loves, rants, interests & inspirations for Gen X


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Slimming World vs The Menopause

Hello Lovely Followers,

If you are one of my nice new followers, I should explain that I publish two regular posts a week. Mondays are typically quite a depressing day for a lot of people – back to work after the weekend, the next weekend seems so far away – so one Monday evening I shared a post about being perimenopausal – my experiences, my symptoms and what I had found online about the causes and remedies (read it here). Hey presto! Menopause Monday was born.

Back in August 2017 I was persuaded to join Slimming World by my mum (read my post here). I have done really well and decided to start sharing my weight loss journey with you, my lovely followers. I attend my local group on Wednesday evenings to get weighed and get inspired, so when I get back home I post how I’ve got on, any tips and what my loss or gain is for the week using the Weight Loss Wednesday tag.

Last week I was overjoyed to come in with a fabulous 2.5 lbs loss! My focus has been rewarded again this week with a 1.5lbs loss!

I have struggled with emotional eating and cravings this week; imagine my surprise and joy at finding this article on Slimming World about weight loss while going through the menopause! I just had to share it.

Many of you have been in touch with us to ask how the menopause might affect your weight loss journey – we’ve taken a look below.

The good news is that there’s little evidence that the menopause should be a direct cause of weight gain or inability to lose weight. Some people see an increase in weight particularly during middle age – this is thought to be primarily due to change in lifestyle and a gradual decrease in the amount of physical activity we do. So a healthy diet (Food Optimising!) and exercise (Body Magic!) will help you reach your ideal weight.

Staying on your weight loss journey

Increasing your level of physical activity can not only help weight loss by helping you expend more energy whilst active but it also helps preserve muscle tissue, and with maintaining your metabolic rate.

As at any time during your weight loss journey including plenty of Free Foods and Speed Free Foods in your daily Food Optimising will help satisfy your appetite and give your weight loss a boost.

You are what you eat

Eating a varied, well balanced diet during the menopause is beneficial to overall health, as it is at any time of life, but there are also some specific nutritional issues that are worth considering at this time.

Calcium

During the menopause, a good calcium intake along with a physically active lifestyle is considered important to help ensure that bones remain as strong as possible. Bones become weaker as we age due to the loss of calcium. Large losses can result in osteoporosis whereby bones become so weak and brittle they easily break. Women lose bone at a faster rate during the menopause due to changes in hormone levels, particularly oestrogen. Oestrogen normally helps maintain bone strength by preventing the loss of calcium but levels of oestrogen fall during menopause. The importance of calcium in bone health, particularly in maintaining bone strength as we age, has been the subject of much research. The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) recommends that women ensure a good dietary intake of calcium during the menopause.

The main sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurts. Low fat dairy products such as skimmed milk still contain plenty of calcium.

Extra calcium from supplements has not been shown to have much effect on bone loss during the menopause. However, supplements may be of more benefit in later stages – some studies found that calcium supplements slowed the loss of bone in women five years post-menopause. If you’re considering taking calcium supplements we’d suggest you discuss this with your GP first.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is also important for bone health as it is needed for calcium to be absorbed from food. Most of our vitamin D is made in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Dietary sources include fortified spreads, meat and oily fish and are important for those whose exposure to sunlight is limited. However, as sunlight is mainly relied on to produce vitamin D, and there are few dietary sources, many individuals may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency. As such everyone aged one year and over has a recommended dietary intake of 10 micrograms per day of vitamin D. Public Health England recommends that:

  • All individuals aged 5+ should consider taking a 10 micrograms supplement to ensure their intake is adequate between October and March when the skin is unable to produce vitamin D from sunlight
  • People with limited exposure to sunshine (i.e. those seldom outdoors, or who cover their skin when outdoors) or those from minority ethnic groups with dark skin, such as those from African, African-Caribbean or South Asian backgrounds, should consider a daily 10 micrograms supplement throughout the year.

Iron

Women’s iron requirements decrease at the time of menopause when periods stop. Requirements are then reduced to the same level as men (8.7 micrograms/day). Therefore, although there is a reduction in requirements, it is still important to include a variety of sources of iron in the diet. The best sources of iron are lean red meat, poultry and fish. Iron can also be obtained from plant foods such as dark green vegetables, pulses and nuts but is not absorbed as well as that from meat. Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron from plant foods so it helps to include vitamin C containing foods (such as fruits, salad and green vegetables) within a meal.

Physical activity

It’s recommended that we should all aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity at least 5 times a week to stay fit and healthy and help control our weight. This can include activities such as walking, swimming or gardening and doesn’t have to mean taking part in strenuous sports. Any activity that makes you feel warmer and speeds up your breathing and heart rate, while still being able to hold a conversation, counts as moderate activity. Including more activity into daily routines all counts, for example:

  • taking the stairs instead of the lift
  • walking short distances instead of taking the car
  • getting on the bus one stop further away

You’ll find lots of Body Magic inspiration in our activity section, including Building your steps to activity, Easy exercises at home and Choosing the right fitness class.

Phyto-oestrogens

Many women experience a range of symptoms during the menopause such as hot flushes, night sweats, dry skin, poor concentration and mood swings. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) often helps relieve these symptoms and has been shown to help prevent the development of osteoporosis.

There has been recent interest in the role of phyto-oestrogens as a more natural alternative to HRT to help alleviate some menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. The idea arose due to the fact that women in Japan tend to have a much higher intake of phyto-oestrogens in their diet and a much lower prevalence of menopausal symptoms than women in Western countries. Phyto-oestrogens are a group of substances found in plant foods, such as soya beans, and resemble oestrogen hormones. They have been found to act in a similar way to oestrogen hormones but have a weaker effect.

The potential benefits of phyto-oestrogens are currently being investigated in a number of studies. However, at present the effects are not clear – while a number of studies have shown a beneficial effect, others have not. The British Nutrition Foundation suggests that further studies are needed before firm recommendations can be made and appropriate advice given. They advise that anyone suffering from menopausal symptoms consult their GP to discuss the most appropriate treatment. However, those wishing to try increasing their intake of phyto-oestrogens could include more of the following foods in their diet:

  • soya beans (Free and also an F symbol)

  • tofu (plain or naturally smoked tofu is Free)

  • soya milk (calcium-enriched soya drink can be used as a Healthy Extra choice)

  • linseed (4 Syns per level tablespoon, 6½ Syns per 25g or 2 level tablespoons can be used as a Healthy Extra choice)


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Planning and Stocking The Freezer

Hello My Lovely Followers,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week?

I am full of the joys of spring, although the snowdrops are over, the sun is shining and the daffodils and spring bulbs have taken their place and are pushing their way out to fill my garden with colour.

Last week, I told you that I wanted to get back on track after the frustrating 4lbs gain that I’d allowed to creep on over the last month. I bought a 12 week countdown, a SW journal and I’ve stocked up the freezer with Free Slimming World meals for those times that I just can’t be bothered “to cook anything“.

I’ve been writing down everything that I eat – it’s so tempting to lie to ourselves, thinking that we’ve been good today when in reality the syns are piling on – and although I wasn’t 100% on plan for the first half of the week, journalling my food has helped me to at least be honest.

My new part-time hours also started this week, so I made the most of my time away from school and went for a couple of jogs using the NHS Couch to 5k podcasts. I can’t believe that I am actually running (well lightly jogging) for 28mins without stopping. I can’t recommend the programme enough; it’s certainly kept me going and I do feel so much fitter too.

I was rewarded with a 2.5lbs loss for all my dedication tonight – I am over the moon!

So, today, I want to share with you my favourite FREE Slimming World meals that I always have my freezer. I’ve found that if I plan my meals on Thursday evening – what I’m going to have down the week – I don’t have to think about food so much and I’m less likely to snack on high sys foods.

Slimming World Mums certainly do go to Iceland 😉 yum!yum!

Before you go, I’ve got a money off code to share with you. If you haven’t shopped online with Iceland before quote ICE5OFF409VRGJM and get £5 off your basket when you spend £40.


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Getting Back On Track

Hello My Lovely Followers,

Welcome to another Weight Loss Wednesday. So, how was your week?

I haven’t have a reduction in my weight since the end of January and if I’m honest, I’m frustrated with myself for not sticking to the Slimming World plan 100%. I’ve gained 4lbs over the last three weeks! 😥 But I have been reminding myself this week about how far I’ve come and how much weight I have managed to shift.

I’m drawing a line under this week; Hubby’s birthday last Wednesday meant a major high syn food-fest; pizza twice, Chinese on Friday and the big family Sunday lunch at a local pub. All of which was lovely but, goodness me! 😉

As I’ve said before, breaking the habits that I allowed to grow over the Christmas period is so much harder than I had expected and this week certainly didn’t help. We’re almost at the end of February and I still keep snacking!


I was reminded by a fellow SW member that Slimming World have produced beautiful Journals to help us by physically logging our food and any activities we do for Body Magic. She is writing everything down and it reminded me that I used them myself for the first 24 weeks after joining back in 2017. I know that having them really helped me; writing down what I was eating, what I was feeling, how often I was being active seemed to keep me focused and reduced the little lies, you know, the ones we tell ourselves when on a “diet”. 😉

This week I dug them out and have been reading back through the weeks to re-ignite my passion and focus. I’ve been specifically looking at those weeks that saw the best results (losses) and what I was doing then that I’m not doing now. I can see from my entries that not only am I having too many syns throughout the week but I’m no where near as active as I was.

I have bought a 12 week countdown and a journal this week and I am DETERMINED to get back to basics like I was in the beginning – plan what I’m going to eat, increase my activity and stick to food optimising 100% – and finally achieve my goal weight.

While we’re on the subject of planning, I didn’t want to go without sharing another of my favourite Slimming World recipes. I’m still not wanting salads and dips most days so thank heavens for their delicious soups.

Now I need to be completely honest with you, I haven’t actually made this myself, I’ve cheated and bought it from Iceland but it certainly looks simple to do and I can definitely vouch for it’s tastiness. 😉 very yummy!

Let me know if you’ve tried it (or bought it).

Minestrone soup

An Italian classic packed with vegetables, pasta and herbs.

Ingredients

1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ tbsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
3½ tbsp tomato purée
227g can chopped tomatoes
1.2 litres boiling vegetable stock
2 large carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
½ x 400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
120g dried conchigliette or other small pasta shapes
80g kale, large stalks removed, finely chopped

Method

  1. Put the onion, celery, roughly chopped carrot, garlic, herbs, tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Discard the bay leaves and whizz until smooth using a stick blender (or use a food processor or liquidiser and return the soup to the pan).
  3. Add the finely chopped carrot, beans and pasta and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the kale and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked but still has a little bite. Season lightly and serve hot.

Tip: You’ll find this soup available as part of the Slimming World food range in Iceland stores.

Check it out here.


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Pea and Mint Soup

Hello My Lovely Followers,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week?

I’m happy to say that my cold has finally gone. Woo!Hoo! I was frustrated with myself after the 1.5lbs gain last week so this week I’ve been stricter with myself and although I didn’t get a loss tonight, I maintained.

I didn’t stay to group tonight; it’s Hubby’s birthday and this coming week will be a major food-fest because of it. Pizza tonight, Chinese with friends on Friday evening, Saturday evening pizza then big family Sunday lunch at a local pub. Goodness me, if I don’t come in next week with a half stone on, I’ll consider myself lucky! Lol!

I really miss not staying tonight. Once again, I can’t stress enough how beneficial staying to your group IMAGE Therapy is (read about it here); I couldn’t have lost the 2 stones (28lbs) without the continued support, tips and understanding that is freely offered at group from our amazing consultant Carol O’Neill and my fellow members.

Today, I wanted to share another of my favourite Slimming World recipes. It’s still cold and wet so salads and dips just aren’t doing it for me at the moment; I’ve been needing comfort food. Hello Pea and mint soup.

Now I need to be completely honest with you, I haven’t actually made this myself, I’ve cheated and bought it from Iceland but it certainly looks simple to do and I can definitely vouch for it’s tastiness. 😉 yum!yum!

Let me know if you’ve tried it (or bought it).



Soothe your soul with this satisfying soup.

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 200g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1.3 litres boiling vegetable stock
  • 400g frozen peas
  • 10g fresh mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Put the onion into a large pan with the potatoes, garlic and stock. Bring to the boil over a high heat, turn the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft.
  2. Add the peas to the soup, simmer for a couple of minutes and stir in the mint. Take off the heat, cool slightly then pour into a food processor or liquidiser and whizz until smooth.
  3. Season to taste and serve.

Tip: You’ll find this soup available as part of the Slimming World food range in Iceland stores.

Check it out here.




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Recipe: Nando’s Style Chicken

Reading this recipe makes my mouth water. Yum.

I should confess, am a bit of a wuss when it comes to “spicy” but I have increased my chicken meals since joining Slimming World. I will have to hunt out JD Seasoning in my local supermarket and give this recipe a try.


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Weight Loss Wednesday – Chicken and Vegetable Soup from @SlimmingWorld

Hello My Lovely Followers,

It’s another Weight Loss Wednesday post. So, how was your week?

Like so many, I’ve been suffering with a cold recently. I haven’t been as active and I’m sure having a cold has influenced my food choices. I gained 1.5lbs this week 😦 which is always so depressing even when we know where the gain has come from but I’ve come away from group feeling re-focused so that next week I will stay on track and see that gain disappear.

Today, I wanted to share another of my favourite Slimming World recipes. It’s cold and I’ve been needing comfort food. Hello Chicken and vegetable soup.

Now I need to be completely honest with you, I haven’t actually made this myself, I’ve cheated and bought it from Iceland but it certainly looks simple to do and I can definitely vouch for it’s tastiness. 😉 yum!yum!

Let me know if you’ve tried it (or bought it).



Soothe your soul with this satisfying soup.

ingredients

  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 200g cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 large floury potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 litre boiling chicken stock
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 150g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut into small chunks

method

  1. Put everything except the carrot, broccoli and chicken into a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary sprig and whizz until smooth using a stick blender (or use a food processor or liquidiser and return the soup to the pan).
  3. Add the carrot and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the broccoli and chicken and cook for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Season lightly and serve hot.

Tip: You’ll find this soup available as part of the Slimming World food range in Iceland stores.

Check it out here.




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Weight Loss Wednesday – My Favourite @SlimmingWorld Houmous

Hello My Lovely Followers,

And here we are again another Weight Loss Wednesday. How was your week? Last week I told you that breaking the habits that I allowed to grow over the Christmas period was turning out to be harder than I had expected. I needed to get more organised, I used the Slimming World recipe books, app and the online site to help me.

My plans have been well and truly scuppered! I’ve been fighting off a cold this week (who hasn’t) and lost my voice. Was it coincidence or something more nefarious that our science lesson this week was teaching our pupils all about sound!? Yes, that was a fun lesson without my voice. Lol!

The good news is that although I didn’t stay to our group’s THERAPY session tonight, the scales rewarded my renewed determination and confirmed that I am 2lbs lighter this week! Woo!Hoo! Our group’s consultant, Carol, said she was so proud of me. I know that it’s her constant motivation, tips and support that keep me (and the rest of the members in the group) going.

This week, I decided to use my blog to share some of my favourite Slimming World recipes and meals with you in the hopes that it will not only keep me focused but may be of help if you are on a health and fitness journey too.

When I first joined Slimming World back in August 2017, I used to always have a pot of their Speedy Houmous in my fridge to help with my snacking! I started making it again a couple of weeks ago, it really has helped me and it’s one of the easiest things to make!

Here’s the recipe copied from the Slimming World website.

Whip up a batch of basic Free houmous – and jazz it up with your favourite Free flavours.

ingredients

  • 400g can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, plus extra to taste
  • 2 tbsp fat free natural Greek yogurt (Actually, I use plain Quark instead – it increases my protein intake and makes for a creamier thicker houmous)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of smoked paprika or cayenne pepper (optional)

method

  1. Put the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and yogurt into a food processor and pulse until fairly smooth. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add more lemon juice to taste and sprinkle with smoked paprika or cayenne pepper if you want a bit of extra spice.
  2. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and serve with your favourite crudités or crispbreads.

See? This recipe is sooo simple anyone can make it. I would love to hear from you if you do. Just leave a comment below.

I’m off to find another of my go-to Slimming World recipes that I can share with you next time. I hope you have a great week.


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Tis The Party Season – Cheers!

Hello Lovely Followers,

As we approach that time where my social diary begins to look a lot less bereft, I’m starting to worry that all my hard work will be for nothing. I’m still trying to weigh less and feel fitter but I do love a good party… or meal …. or evening at the pub!

faery-red-lily-bye-for-now1111I found this interesting article about booze on the My Fitness Pal blog, I might work my way through the 11 suggestions to find my favourite. 😉

I wonder what other gems I can find…

 


In one of the more unfair laws of the universe, alcohol isn’t exactly a health elixir. Liberator of deep, dark secrets, yes. “You have dance moves like Beyoncé and need to share them with the world” cheerleader, sure. But whether you’re trying to lose weight or generally live a healthy life, a frequent drinking habit doesn’t usually fit in the picture.

Luckily, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to give it up for good—indulging is a necessary part of maintaining a good outlook on food (and your sanity). Here, 11 registered dietitians, aka those healthy-living paragons who know how to eat well even when getting Chinese takeout and fast food, share the alcoholic drinks they choose when it’s time to unwind.

1. A vodka seltzer with lemon or lime
“There’s a common misconception that tonic water is the same as seltzer water, but it actually contains a lot of calories and sugar. I opt for seltzer, which is just water with bubbles, instead. A squeeze of either lemon or lime gives the drink a healthy (and sugar-free) boost of flavor!” —Rebecca Ditkoff, R.D., CUNY School of Public Health and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

2. A bloody mary, extra spicy
“I especially love when they come with pickles, olives, or other fun garnishes. I prefer bloody marys to sweet drinks because the extra sugar in most cocktails gives me a terrible hangover. Also, when a drink is super spicy, it slows down my drinking and encourages me to have a sip of water between each sip of alcohol.” —Abbey Sharp, R.D., Abbey’s Kitchen

3. A glass of pinot noir or champagne
“I rarely pick a mixed drink as the added sugar and calories are just not worth it for me. I like a glass of red wine, preferably a pinot noir as it has a high concentration of antioxidants including polyphenols, flavonoids, and resveratrol. And of course, I appreciate the occasional glass of French champagne because life’s too short not to.” —Denise Julia Garbinski, M.B.A., R.D.N. of Botanical Nutrition Therapy

4. A Johnny Walker Black and Diet Coke
“I’ll get flack for this—many whiskey-lovers make fun of me for mixing the good stuff with Diet Coke, but that’s just my taste preference. I also ask the bartender to use a jigger so I know how much alcohol is mixed in.” —Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes For Every Meal Of The Day

5. A low-calorie version of a cosmopolitan
“It’s raspberry-infused vodka, club soda, and a splash of lime and cranberry juice. Even though fruit juices contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, they also contain a high amount of natural sugar, which can add up in a drink. Just a splash of the cranberry juice adds enough flavor, but keeps the calories in check.” —Dawn Orsaeo, R.D., L.D.N.

6. A Moscow mule with a twist
“My absolutely favorite for the summer is a Moscow mule with ginger beer, vodka, lime juice, and lots of ice, skipping the simple syrup. It’s so refreshing, and when you don’t use simple syrup, it’s only around 80 calories.” —Molly Morgan, R.D., C.D.N., C.S.S.D., owner of Creative Nutrition Solutions

7. A scotch on the rocks
“My favorite is Macallan 12-year aged scotch. I like to avoid sugary mixers like juice, and since scotch is stronger, I sip it slower and one glass can last me the whole evening.” —Rebecca Lewis, in-house R.D. at HelloFresh

8. Silver tequila on the rocks or with soda plus lime juice or an orange slice
“Silver tequila usually has less sugar in it than brown tequila or other brown liquors. I skip the sugary mixers and drink it straight up or with no-calorie club soda and a little flavor from a splash of citrus.” —Sarah Rueven, R.D., owner of Sarah Rueven Nutrition

9. An ice cold beer
“A true Wisconsin native, I’m especially a fan of a nice hoppy craft brew. Not only do I enjoy the flavor complexities a craft beer has to offer, beer gives you the most volume for about the same total of calories and alcohol as wine and spirits, meaning it takes longer to drink and therefore helps moderate total alcohol consumption.” —Emily Brown, R.D.N., L.D., wellness dietitian at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program

10. A toned-down mojito
“I love the mint and lime in a mojito, but I find many places make them too sweet, so I get a sugarless mojito with extra lime. Most of the time, the mint and extra lime are enough flavor for me. If I’m feeling like it needs a little extra sweetness, I’ll add my own sugar or stevia. I end up with a perfect drink every time.” —Dina Garcia, R.D.N., mindful eating coach and founder of Vida Nutrition

11. A glass of sauvignon blanc or a simple marg
“I don’t worry about calories or sugar. I drink my favorite wine of choice—Sauvignon Blanc—or a margarita on the rocks with salt (no mix, just straight tequila, lime, and agave). I know I can drink two beverages, enjoy the taste, and still get up for yoga the next morning!” —Laura Cipullo, R.D., C.D.N., C.D.E., C.E.D.R.D., owner of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition

Tags:  alcohol beer bloody mary drinks wine

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Source: 11 Low-Calorie Alcoholic Drinks Registered Dietitians Love – Hello HealthyHello Healthy


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How to cook with pumpkin

Hello Lovely Followers,

The supermarkets are overflowing with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, it makes me sad to think that many will just be used as season decoration or Jack O’Lanterns – what a waste! So, I have had a peek at the BBC Good Food website and found these great ideas. I’ve left all the original links to the recipe pages so that you can peruse them too.

I’ve made pumpkin soup myself a couple of times from the discarded flesh after my girls have carved their Jack O’Lanterns and we have a great quick pumpkin bread Food Technology sessions so I’m looking forward to trying a few of the ones listed here. I’m not sure how they will fit in with my calorie counting though, but everything in moderation, right?! faery-red-lily-bye-for-now1111

Let me know if you’ve either cooked any of these recipes before (and how it went) or if you’re thinking of trying any of them out like me.

 

 


How To Cook With Pumpkin

Once carved to perfection, don’t forget to put the rest of your pumpkin to good use. From sweet classics to savoury mains, the options for the bright orange squash are endless.

diy-pumpkin-seedsDIY pumpkin seeds

The first thing you will do with your pumpkin, whether you’re carving or simply cooking, is to scoop out the seeds. These little kernels are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fibre – so it would be a shame to throw them away. To roast and eat, simply clean your seeds, boil for 10 minutes to soften, then drain and dry on a paper towel. Finally toss with a little oil, spread out on a baking sheet and place them in a low oven for around 45 minutes (about 120°C) until they are crisp and golden brown. If you want to add a bit of flavour, sprinkle over salt, pepper, paprika, or whatever takes your fancy when you add the oil.

pumpkin-passion-cupcakesGrate into cake

The sweet, honied flesh of the pumpkin lends itself perfectly to cakes and bakes when grated. Combine with cinnamon for lightly spiced cupcakes, enhance the sweetness with clear honey or give your favourite carrot cake recipe a makeover. If you find your grated pumpkin is a little wet once prepared, simply give it a good squeeze before using and keep an eye on it when baking – the added moisture may mean it needs a little longer in the oven.

Our favourite pumpkin bakes:
Halloween pumpkin cake
Pumpkin passion cupcakes
Pumpkin & ginger teabread

bacon-pumpkin-pasta30 minutes or less

It’s often assumed that cooking pumpkin will keep you in the kitchen for quite a while. This isn’t always the case as our speedy squash favourites prove. Make a moreish mid-week meal by adding diced pumpkin to pasta, roast and serve with sausages or simply serve lightly spiced as part of an antipasto or as a side.

Our favourite speedy squash recipes:
Bacon & pumpkin pasta
Sausage & pumpkin roast
Sicilian spicy pumpkin

pumpkin-soupA perfect blend

Soft pumpkin flesh blends effortlessly into a thick, velvety soup. Simply add onions, cream and stock to keep the colour bright and bold, or give your bowl an Asian twist with Thai flavours such as lemongrass and ginger. For a blend worthy of your next dinner party, first roast the squash to exaggerate the depth of flavour and serve with contrasting pancetta.

Our favourite pumpkin soups:
Thai pumpkin soup
Pumpkin soup
Roasted squash soup

roast-pumpkinKeep it for cooking

Not a fan of the Jack O’Lantern? There are other ways to use the hard skin of your pumpkin. Bring all the beautiful Indian spice of a biryani to your squash and then serve inside the pumpkin itself. Alternatively, scoop out the seeds and strands, pour a garlic cream inside and allow it to penetrate the skin as you roast the pumpkin whole.

Our favourite recipes for using your whole pumpkin:

Pumpkin biryani
Roast pumpkin with cream, thyme & Parmesan

pumpkin-lattice-pieClassic pumpkin pie

One mention of pumpkin pie in the Good Food office proved it to be something of a Marmite dish. Love it or hate it, nothing tastes quite like the spiced pastry. Opt for the traditional with shortcrust pastry, nutmeg and cinnamon or give it a twist with a lattice top or filo finish.

 

Our favourite pumpkin pie recipes:
Classic pumpkin pie with pecan & maple cream
Pumpkin & pecan strudel
Butternut, maple & pecan lattice pie

Try our favourite pumpkin recipes

What are your top tips for cooking the winter squash?

Source: How to cook with pumpkin | BBC Good Food


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Rosh Hashanah Apple Horn

This looks like a yummy recipe…

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Rosh Hashanah Apple Horn

Greetings! We’re one day away from the year 5775!* If you’re reading this from the year 2014, my goodness, life has changed.

First off, I know you think standing in a gold and lapis encrusted chariot is impressive, but I’ve got a chariot made from metals you’ve never even mined and pulled by invisible horses. I call it a Toyota Matrix.

Second, I know you love drinking fermented barley through a straw, but you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted pumpkin pie spiced apple cider. Er, I don’t have time to explain what a pumpkin is. Or a pie. Look, have a six pack on me. Oh, those bottles are made from something called glass. We plug up our windows with it so we can look outside without letting all the heat out of our houses. No, the houses don’t fill up with smoke and kill our children. We’ve got something…

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