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Lasagna, Meat Lasagna

I asked Andy what he wanted for supper, and he replied, ‘lasagna, meat lasagna’…so I tried this recipe from Weight Watchers.  Every one loved it.  I do not like the American style lasagna where ricotta cheese is substituted for bechamel sauce, but I found that substituting fat-free cottage cheese worked very well.

I would chop the vegetables more next time – they were a little too chunky to sit well in lasagna…

9 lasagna noodles

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 zucchini, finely chopped

2 (15 oz) containers refrigerated marinara sauce

1.5 cups fat-free ricotta ( I used cottage cheese)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup parmesan

1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.

Drain. rinse, set aside.

2. In a large skillet over a medium high heat, heat the oil; add the beef, onion, pepper, and zucchini.  Cook , stirring occasionally, until all the pan juices evaporate and the beef browns, about 10 minutes.  Stir in marinara sauce and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened and the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 375f. In a 9 x 13 in baking dish, spread one-quarter of the meat sauce.  Top with 3 noodles; spread with 1/2 cup of ricotta (cottage cheese).  Repeat the layering twice and end with the meat sauce.

4. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan.  Bake until heated through and cheeses are lightly browned, about 20 minutes longer.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

This dish can be assembled up to the bit before the cheese is added and refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for 2 months.  To cook, thaw, cover with foil and bake 45 minutes.  Uncover, add cheese, and bake until heated through and cheeses melt.

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Day one is a bust

I logged everything yesterday and came in about 30 cals under my daily goal (for which www.myfitnesspal.com told me off), but this morning the scales showed no loss.  I find this particularly hard.  Yes, I weigh myself everyday, but I always have…and I have always lost after the first day. 

I ate my oats and yoghurt and got to the gym.    This is not a great experience for me, I go to a gym that is a wonderful mix of gym bunnies, serious athletes and fatties desperately trying to make a difference and no one cares, everyone is welcome.  I feel horrible though, my thighs are rubbing together, my shorts are riding up, I only manage 30 minutes on the elliptical and 10 on the stationary bike before I leave.  Of course I bump into a friend who is slim and chirpy and together, and that I guess is the crux of the problem.  I know she would be surprised to find out that I compare myself to her and obviously come out the loser, because I know she doesn’t do it.  I don’t hate myself, but I hate the way I look and even more hate that I am not doing anything effective  about it.

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Lemon Chicken

The other day Imogen was reminiscing on how she loves lemon chicken, especially when the sauce soaks into the couscous.  Can a seven-year old legitimately reminisce?

I went to my old white folder that I have full of leaflets and cuttings and recipes of my mom’s and found her lemon chicken recipe. My parents had guests for  lunch every Sunday, and the menu only changed when the guest list swung round to the top again which meant we could have lemon chicken every Sunday for six weeks.  This is ok when it’s something yummy…

She had changed the recipe slightly to make it less fatty, but still not enough for my tastes so I ‘improved’ on an already improved recipe.  It actually worked out a lot better than I thought. My mom took a high fat recipe and made it normal and I made it low-fat.  I am sure the original inventors of the recipe would turn their noses up at mine, but times and tastes have changed and I thought it was pretty good!

Serves 4 to 6 people

Ingredients  for chicken

1 dessert spoon flour

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

2 ½ – 3 lbs chicken breast no skin

Ingredients for sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

½ cup lemon juice

½ teaspoon each salt and pepper

¼ cup salad oil (Mom! What the heck is salad oil?)  I used olive oil

1 dessert spoon lemon rind finely grated

1 crushed clove garlic

Sauce

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate at least one hour before using.

Chicken

Set oven to 400f. Coat chicken pieces with flour, salt, pepper and paprika.  Arrange pieces in an ovenproof dish in a single layer. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  Turn chicken,  pour sauce over and bake for another 30 minutes or until chicken is tender and golden.

Can be served hot or cold, and is good with rice.

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How’s this for a motivator?

What made her like this?

* AP Photo/ Florin Ardelean/ Adevarul Daily

This woman just died.  She was 28 years old.  She had just had her first baby. She was 528lbs…She was also just my height.

                   Annie      Victoria Lacatus

Age              45               28

Kids               3                 1

Height      5′ 3″              5′ 3″

Weight     177               528

The only factor that I scored better on than her was weight  and she is dead…

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Passing whales are mistaking me for one of their own…

ARRGGGHHH!!!!  Can you hear me yelling?   I am steadily putting on weight, and I can’t even blame the vacation I just came back from.  We are going to a party tonight, it is a party that is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness and we are all supposed to wear pink.  Pink is NOT my color, but I have a cute dress that I wore in the UK for my mother’s birthday.  I tried to squeeze into it and not even Spanx could help… 

definitely qualifies as pink

 

Dejectedly I told my girls that Mommy was fat and I had to go to the store to buy a pink kaftan, normally they would all cry out and tell me that I wasn’t fat, just a lovely, perfect mommy.  This time they volunteered to come with me to help me buy a fat outfit .  ARRGGGHHH!!! 

Here is what we found.  Not too bad for a fat top…now I just need an industrial strength invisible bra to go with it. 

needed the wide angled lens to get it all in...

 

I lost ½ lb. this week, going in the right direction at last, but it’s going to be 17lbs. before I even get back to where I started. Crap. The road is long and I keep wandering off it, but I guess I am at least enjoying myself on my diversions.

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I am the Uberparent

I went to the gym this morning (first time in a long long time, don’t tell Chandalyn).   This is the conversation I had with my eldest daughter Niamhy before I left.

Me: Niamhy, I’m going to the gym. If there is a small crisis, you are in charge.  If there is a large crisis, your Daddy is working in his study.

Niamhy: Ok – so if there is a big crisis, I tell Daddy and then I phone you for help.

Step aside Andy – Super woman coming through…

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The Mysterious Disappearance of Great Uncle Kristof or Goulash

The weather is glorious here…it makes me hot and sweaty and I feel vaguely tropical as I listen to the cicadas and watch the fireflies in the back yard.  Sheer bliss!   

So what did I make for supper?  Gazpacho, I hear you cry, or salad served with iced tea – and you would be completely wrong.   

I made goulash, warming, rich, perfect for winter weather goulash.  Apparently the word goulash comes from the Hungarian word for cattle stock man, but I am unclear as to why it’s called that.  I get that beef is used in the dish and cattle stockmen by definition have a lot of beef handy, but why not goulash stew?  After all we don’t say shepherd, we say shepherd’s pie…it makes me kind of uneasy that I have misunderstood what the original ingredient may actually have been.   I have visions of some Hungarian peasant woman smiling to herself making stew as her family look for great-uncle Kristof who has disappeared….  

If I haven’t put you off here is my recipe for Great Uncle Kristof stew…and he freezes too.  

Ingredients  

1 or 2 pounds of cubed beef – whatever you have lurking at the bottom of the freezer.  

1 onion, chopped  

1 green bell pepper chopped, traditionally this should be a red bell pepper , but I only had a green one, what can I say, I’m a rebel…  

Garlic – lots, because I like it.  

1 jar or can of tomato sauce, I used spaghetti sauce – Hungary/Italy same continent, that’s good enough for me.  

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained  

Some small new potatoes left over from the fragrant sticky chicken you made a few days ago…  

Paprika  

Salt and pepper  

Pasta of your choice, cooked.  

 1. In a large skillet, cook beef with onions until beef is browned and onion is tender, add garlic and paprika.  Drain well.  Add green pepper, tomato sauce, and un drained tomatoes.  Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes to blend flavors.  

2. To thaw and reheat: Thaw overnight in fridge.  Pour into skillet and add ¼ cup water if necessary.  Heat mixture until bubbly and serve.  

I deliberately did not specify how much paprika, but I will tell you that I used 2 teaspoons.  The reason why I am being unusually shy is that spices change when frozen and can get stronger in flavor, you have been warned.  

Uncle K never looked so good

 

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