Calorie Counting is something I’ve been doing for around 6 months now, Calorie counting isn’t just a case of counting an amount up to your recommended intake though, obviously eating 6 bars of chocolate a day is no good for you even if it does meet your calorie intake. Most adults know what they should and shouldn’t eat to maintain a healthy diet, I’ve always struggled when it comes to eating what is good for me which is why I started to count my calories to ensure that I wasn’t eating more than I was burning off each day.
When I received my place in the London marathon for 2016 I knew I would have to change my eating habits so that my bdy was improving both outside and inside, this has been incredibly hard for me. I’ve cut down my sugar intake and I’m trying to ditch the takeaways, cakes, chocolate and biscuits and see them more as treats than necessities.
I currently use the MyFitnessPal app for calorie counting, I can merge details from my running and yoga apps into this app so I know when I have extra calories to eat. When I talk about extra calories I am talking about good calories not a bar of chocolate or a whole cheesecake. When I started trying to change the way I ate I was really interested to see what I was getting for my calories, for instance a medium banana contains 95Kcal compared to a two finger kit kat which contains 107 Kcal, I would usually have had the kit kat for a snack however the banana keeps me fuller for longer and helps to maintain my blood sugar.
The other app I use quite frequently is FoodSwitch which is another free app that helps you make healthier food choices. The app allows you to scan the barcodes of food and drink products either at home or in the supermarket to instantly see whether they are high, medium or low in fat, saturates, sugars and salt, not a calorie counting app but a great resource to have.
The infographic from evoke.ie below shows some great comparisons of 200 Kcal foods, I like to use it when making my food choices especially for snacks.
Calorie counting doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to rule your life either, I prefer to look at it as something that helps me to maintain a balanced diet.
Do you look at the back of packets in the supermarket before making a purchase?
It’s Meal Planning Monday again and today is Mini Gourmand’s 15th Birthday so we’re not having a meal as such, more a party tea with cakes, sandwiches, potato wedges, pizza, crisps and cheese and pineapple on sticks as they are a family favourite.
Last week’s Gousto box were a massive success so we’re having them again this week, my recipes will be a mix of Gousto’s and my own.
This week I’m actually planning our Halloween menu and if I have time I’ll also think about Christmas, it doesn’t seem that far away but it has a habit of creeping up on me too quickly so I’d like to be prepared this year.
This week the Gourmand family will be eating:
Monday – Party Tea
Tuesday – Chicken Satay
Wednesday – Harrissa Halloumi
Thursday – Lamb Burgers
Friday – Jerk Chicken
Saturday – Stuffed Jackets with chopped salad
Sunday – Vegetable meatballs with spaghetti
It’s not often that Madame Gourmand allows me space on her corner of the internet so when she asked me to share details about my favourite way to spend a Sunday I couldn’t resist.
Usually our Sunday consists of a rushed breakfast, Rugby Tots, brunch then back home so Madame Gourmand can try and catch up with her never ending pile of work but last Sunday was a bit different as I spent most of it with Baby Gourmand as Madame Gourmand was elsewhere so I’m going to share with you some of what I did and what my ideal way to spend a Sunday is.
After a leisurely walk into town my first port of call is somewhere to hydrate, usually with a coffee or pot of tea. Last Sunday saw me sitting in a café having a cup of tea with Baby Gourmand while he played with his ever expanding collection of Peppa Pig figures and a couple of micro machines.
Breakfast is always next on the agenda. I’m a fan of most breakfasts and don’t mind if they contain meat or not. I visited the Royal Pug in Leamington for one of their mammoth bacon and mushroom sandwiches which is so much better than a fry up in my opinion!
After a hearty savoury breakfast I like to grab something sweet, as it’s summer we were lucky to have a bit of sun and there is nothing better than enjoying an ice cream in the park when the sun is out, Baby Gourmand agrees with this however Madame Gourmand can’t eat the stuff so we tend to go for cake if she accompanies us.
You can probably see a bit of a theme going on here, my ideal Sunday revolves around my stomach! I do enjoy a Sunday lunch but Madame Gourmand usually complains about spending so long in the kitchen cooking a roast so we tend to eat them out. Last Sunday I was treated to homemade thai chicken koftas for dinner – yum!
Although the food changes on a weekly basis, my ideal Sunday stays the same. I love food in all of it’s forms so as long as my Sunday is filled with sweet and savoury treats I’m a happy man.
How do you spend your Sunday?
A long time ago myself and Mr Gourmand used to go to a little Italian restaurant in Newcastle upon Tyne called Roberto La Dolce Vita or Roberto’s as it was known to us. Now, we were both young, and I am not proud to admit this, but we used to think it was the greatest restaurant around because the carafes of house wine were about £7 for a litre, and we would get pretty drunk while ordering far too much off the menu! To be fair though, we did visit the restaurant when sober as well, and the food was really good with possibly the best chips ever – perfectly seasoned and just a dream to soak up the house wine…
As time went by we stopped visiting Roberto’s because Roberto died, the restaurant closed for a long time and when it reopened the menu had changed and it seemed to lose a little bit of that special charm that used to make us visit so often. So we simply stopped going.
Roll on about 8 years, and myself and Mr Gourmand found ourselves in Newcastle visiting family and popped into town for a bit of lunch from our favourite Italian in the Bigg Market that we started going to before we moved to Leamington Spa. As we walked to the entrance we noticed it was shut and going to re-open under new management, not usually a good sign, so slightly disappointed we walked over to our second choice Italian which was closed for refurbishment! Oh dear, we had been talking about looking forward to lunch all day and it looked like we would end up somewhere not so good. Our journey searching for somewhere to eat lead us to the Westgate Road area of town, where Roberto’s was – and with a little persuasion we thought we would try it once again for old times sake.
Now, we didn’t have much time so we knew it would just be the case of a quick pizza and chips, and sadly for Mr Gourmand, no caraf of house wine!. We started with a garlic bread with tomatoes, yum. very garlicy, lovely tasty seasoning, perfect base. delicious. Some people might say where can you go wrong with a garlic bread, believe me it must be easier than you think because I have had some terrible ones! This however, was delicious.
I decided to have a seafood pizza which is usually my first choice, only problem is they irritate the top of my mouth a little depending on what brand of tuna is used but as they usually taste so good I put up with the discomfort! This one again was perfect, excellent base, mouth watering toppings…please – just look at the picture, it was rather excellent. Although I couldn’t finish it so doggy bag home for this one!
Mr Gourmand went for the Kiev pizza, and again perfect base. the topping was so garlicky and mourish according to him, I honestly can’t look at this without wanting a bite – sadly this photograph is about as close as you get to a pizza when Mr Gourmand is around, as he ate it all up without offering me any!
The chips were also delicious and reminded us both of how they used to be…in the good old days…
If you get a chance and you are in the Westgate Road area of Newcastle this place is well worth a visit, even the decoration and tables coverings were the same from all those years ago!
It’s Meal Planning Monday again, doesn’t it come around so fast?
This week we’re trying a Gousto box again so a few of the meals are from there, Mr Gourmand wanted me to use my new Magimix this week so the bread buns and burgers will be made in that along with pastry for my pie.
This week the Gourmand family will be eating:
Monday – Waldorf Chicken
Tuesday – Hoisin meatballs
Wednesday – Teriyaki tofu
Thursday – Chicken pie
Friday – Mushroom stroganoff
Saturday – Reuben Burgers
Sunday – Roast Chicken with vegetables
The title of this recipe isn’t exclusive, it doesn’t have to be a Summer Quiche it can in fact be an Autumn/Winter or Spring quiche depending on what seasonal vegetables you can get your hands on.
The inspiration for quiche didn’t actually come around because of the fabulous bunch of local grown asparagus it was because I knew I wanted to make chips using the French fry attachment of my new magimix and quiche was the first thing that popped into my head when I looked in my fridge to find something to accompany the chips.
You can use whatever vegetables you have at hand, I popped down to my allotment for peas, broccoli and onions and the mushrooms were purchased at the same time as the asparagus.
If you are making your own pastry you can use my recipe from here or if you’re short on time use shop bought pastry. I suggest you roll it no thinner than a £1 coin to ensure it doesn’t split.
Mini Gourmand is back home today and we have a guest until Thursday (Grandma Gourmand).
I have a brand spanking new Magimix arriving this week so I’m looking forward to creating some delicious pate, cakes, bread and biscuits with it which I’ll be sure to share here.
My menu plan this week is subject to change because Grandma Gourmand has a tendency to visit M&S when she arrives for things she likes to eat so my menu might go out of the window in favour of something else so watch this space.
If things go to plan this week the Gourmand family will be eating:
Monday – Spaghetti alla puttanesca
Tuesday – Mustard chicken with dauphinoise potatoes
Wednesday – Steak sandwiches with baked flat mushrooms
Thursday – Chicken pie with mash and peas
Friday – Spaghetti Bolognese
Saturday – Vegetable tart with salad
Sunday – Takeaway
And that’s our meal plan for this week, pop back next week for Meal Planning Monday.
We love eating out as a family, it’s something we do most weekends and if Baby Gourmand is lucky he gets taken out for lunch during the week too. What usually puts me off about most places when we go to eat out is the amount of places that don’t cater for children. I’ve lived in both a big city and a medium sized town and both have a huge number of restaurants who don’t have high chairs, small cups, smaller cutlery or a children’s menu.
We recently visited Café Rouge to sample their new children’s menu, we have visited before when Baby Gourmand was much younger and it’s the perfect place for a family to visit for lunch or dinner. Our local Café Rouge is very spacious so people with a pram wouldn’t have a problem getting a table, there are high chairs available, staff are incredibly child friendly and best of all they have a great children’s menu.
For £6.95 children can have a starter, main course, dessert and a drink, there were quite a few main courses that Baby Gourmand would have loved so I found choosing a dish for him almost as difficult as deciding what to have myself!
Baby Gourmand’s starter was artisan bread with d’Isigny butter, cucumber, carrot and tomato with a tomato dip which he proceeded to get all over his fingers ready to lick off.
Instead of ordering a started each, Mr Gourmand and I thought we would just order some bread and olives so we ordered the Rouge Olives (£3.25) and the Plateau de Pain (£4.95) The Rouge olives were delicious and the caper berries added a sweetness which cut through the heat of the Roquito chillies perfectly, for such a small little chilli they really can pack a punch. The bread was all warm and I particularly liked the rye & caraway bread. Baby Gourmand was convinced that the black olive tapenade was chocolate and didn’t look too impressed when I popped some into his mouth, I thought it was delicious and could have happily ate it with a spoon – I’m such a glutton.
I was torn between ordering the Poulet Ooh La La and the Petite Croque for Baby Gourmand and went for the latter. I had ordered the cheese and ham one but the ham seemed to have taken a holiday from the toastie as it was missing, this didn’t seem to bother Baby Gourmand though as he thought it was rather tasty.
Mr Gourmand is a little predictable so I knew even before he did that he would be ordering the Rouge Burger (£10.95) I’ve just actually realised whilst writing this that the greedy man didn’t even offer me a bite so I’ll just have to take his word that it was delicious, it didn’t stay on his plate for very long so I assume it was just as good as he said it was.
I was torn between a couple of dishes, I thought since we were in a French restaurant I should really go for a typically French dish and something that I’ve never had whilst on holiday in France, The Moules (£11.95). I wasn’t expecting to receive such a huge pan of mussels, I wasn’t complaining though as I ploughed my way through the mussels which were steamed in a cream, garlic & wine broth, my favourite part of the meal was dipping my French fries or frites into the salty broth. Yum.
Surprisingly both myself and Mr Gourmand were too full for dessert but Baby Gourmand still had room so we ordered him Vanilla Ice-Cream which came with a choice of toppings.
The above food plus a diet coke, glass of milk and large bottle of water came to £39 I was incredibly impressed with the choice of food especially the food on the children’s menu.
The restaurant was full during our visit, we were there for 1 hour and 45 minutes which is an awfully long time to sit with a toddler, our main course took around 50 minutes for our main course to arrive from the point of ordering this had nothing at all to do with the waiting staff who were great it’s just something to think about if you’re visiting with small children.
* I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.
Last week we had Mr Gourmands family staying with us, we don’t have guests that often so it was a great opportunity to make some canapés and open some wine.
My Philadelphia canapés were rather spur of the moment and as we were not hungry enough to eat a big dinner I decided I would make both savoury and sweet treats using the three flavours of whipped Philadelphia.
If you have never heard of Philadelphia Whipped before it’s a really awesome concept and comes in three flavours, Plain, Garlic & Herb and Black and Green Olives. I find Philadelphia to be an incredibly versatile product, not only did I use it to make the delicious and simple canapés below but the following evening I used it as the base of a pizza and the next evening I used it in a curry.
For a really simple snack when friends or family come round just open up a pot of garlic and herb Philadelphia whipped, decant into a pot and serve with some crudités, simple but incredibly delicious.
There were four of us enjoying the canapés and the Black and Green olive crackers were the stand out winners by far, I had plans for the rest of the pot so there were a couple of angry faces when I said that the crudités couldn’t be dipped into the pot!
I’m going to make a point to buy this whipped cheese on a regular basis as it makes a great snack and it’s so delicious you want to eat it off a spoon!
I used the plain whipped Philadelphia to make Lemon and Raspberry Cupcakes. The cupcakes are super easy to make and can be done in 30 minutes. The topping has a slight tartness to it which cuts through the sweetness of the cake and is ideal for those who don’t like a sickly sweet cupcake after a savoury meal.
The garlic and herb Philadelphia whipped helped to make a delicious curry sauce and cooled down the heat from some Naga chillies, I did lose the whipped texture of the cheese which was a shame but it’s good to know that leftover cheese can be used in this way rather than wasting it.
The black and green olive Philadelphia whipped made an incredible base for one of my puff pastry pizzas, an unlikely combination but it worked so well. I used a tomato sauce on top of the cheese and topped with some mozzarella. The Philadelphia is quite a strong flavour which is why I think it works so well, I’ll be trying the garlic and herb flavour next time.
If you’re looking for something that’s indulgent and delicious at the same time I can recommend Philadelphia whipped. My mother in law headed back up to Newcastle at the weekend with one of the lids from the pots so she could find the black and green olive cheese in her local supermarket she loved it that much.
*I received a voucher to put towards my purchase of the Philadelphia Whipped, all thoughts and opinions are my own*