Avocado Two Cheese Quesadilla

I'm on a quest for quick and easy snacks and light lunches that I can share with TC.  We both love pancakes, cheeses and Avocado and putting them together between tortillas and making Quesadilla was certainly a hit with both of us, must make one each next time, amazing what such a small person can pack away!


Avocado's have many health benefits, they are rich in monounsaturated (good) fats, vitamin A, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, Folic Acid and Potassium.  Phytonutrient compounds found in avocados, such as polyphenols and flavonoids have also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. 


Quesadilla's are so easy to make, hardly any "cooking" involved, just assemble, using the fillings of your choice.  I used a mix of Cheddar and Gruyère and added some black pepper and a little chilli seasoning to the Avocado, delicious and nutritious too.   If you don't have an electric griddle, fry the tortilla's until the cheese starts to melt then carefully turn over and fry for another couple of minutes.



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Beauty-full Things - Dermalogica

I was recommended by a friend to become a member of {Whats in my Handbag}, members they say get "exclusive access to beauty secrets from fashion, beauty and creative insiders"I just love seeing all the new beauty offerings they have every month.  Its a chance to try out a new brand or to stock up on products that I admire.

So, meet Dermalogica - I've been a fan of Dermalogica since my salon days, we were Dermalogica trained back then and the products have always been on my top ten list.  The kit I chose has a complete regimen that sees you through cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising face and eyes.


The Special Cleansing Gel is a soap-free, foaming gel that will remove make-up and impurities without stripping your skin's natural barrier.  I have normal skin that is now going over to the normal-dry side and this cleansing gel does not make my skin dry.

The Daily Microfoliant a rice based enzyme, polishes away dead skin cells, it is water-activated but I also pop a little of the Cleansing Gel with the water and it leaves my skin smooth as TC's posterior! 

The Skin Smoothing Cream improves the skin's texture and tone whilst restoring moisture, a lovely medium-weight cream that I'm using everyday at the moment.

Then comes the Multivitamin Power Firm eye treatment, a firming complex of vitamins, protective silicones and Red Seaweed extract.  This is a little different from your usual eyecream, it feels less moisturising than my usual eye cream but more smoothing (and filling of the cracks!) so I'm using it on top of my usual eye cream.

Dermalogica's packaging is a no-nonsense grey and white with the odd red touch, no nonsense like the range, effective and skin improving.  If you haven't tried Dermalogica products before, I can highly recommend them.

Mother's Day is soon upon us again and I shall be hinting between now and then for a Dermalogica facial ;)

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This week - 5:2? Eating out and a cold!

This week has been another busy one, no half term here as we are still at the nursery stage.  I've had to contend with a night out with the girls and Valentines Day dinner with friends, all involved some lovely food and a few drinkies, all very enjoyable and not to be missed, life can be full of downs sometimes so a chance to relax and enjoy is to be taken full extent of!

This week I managed couple of 5:2 fasting days, although I think I probably went over the 500 calories on both days but I'm getting pretty good at judging the calories.  I'm still in that honeymoon phase of being fascinated how many calories are in foods!

This week I managed one session with the kettlebells, really like them and the workout DVD so will be upping their use next week.

This week I have decided not to weigh myself, I still feel like I'm continuing to lose weight, just wanted a week off the weigh in.  TC decided to do the weigh in instead, it's been a while since I was 2 stone 7lbs!



This week TC caught her second cold in 4 weeks since she started nursery, this is a child who has only had 3 sniffles in the 2.5 years she has been on this earth but I knew that this may happen and with all the kissing that goes on round here, she is a prolific kisser and we love it but inevitably she has passed it on to mummy!  I rarely get a cold and a cold makes me want to eat, say no more! 

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Valentine Chocolate Cheesecake

I asked Mr J what he would like for Valentine's Day, he wanted a chocolate cheesecake. To make it Valentine inspired I cut a thin heart out of the middle with a cookie cutter and filled the space with raspberry jelly.

Serves: this is a small cheesecake for two to share or in our case, all for Mr J!


Prep time around 20 minutes
Cooking time - 40 minutes plus cooling

Ingredients

125g Chocolate Digestive biscuits
45g unsalted butter, melted
50g double cream
300g soft cheese
1½ tablespoons cocoa powder
1 medium egg
40g golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon of fresh orange juice
plain chocolate grated for decoration

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
Method

Line a 15cm springform tin with baking paper, I find springform easier to release cheesecakes intact!
- Place the chocolate digestive biscuits in a food processor and whiz up until crushed. Add the melted butter and stir into the crushed biscuits, press into your baking tin. Chill until your cheesecake filling is ready.

- Place the double cream, cream cheese, cocoa powder, egg, caster sugar and orange juice into your food processor and whiz up until smooth.

- Pour the mixture onto the biscuit base and bake for 40 minutes. Put a bowl of hot water into the oven too on a lower rack, the steam from the hot water will keep the cheesecake moist.

- Turn the oven off after 40 minutes and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool for abour an hour or so then place the cheesecake in the fridge to cool further.

- Decorate with shavings of chocolate to your heart's content.



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Happy Valentine's Day!


Sweet or Savoury? It's Pancake Day!

They say opposites attract, we are like chalk and cheese, me & Mr J.  He loves sweet and I prefer savoury, which means a lot of pancakes on Pancake Day!  Yes, it's Shrove Tuesday again, there must be a brake somewhere that we can hit to slow time down a little, wasn't it new year the other day, where did the last 6 weeks go??

I digress, it's Pancake Day!!  I'm sure you don't need a recipe for basic pancakes, easy to put together with store cupboard ingredients.  The fillings or toppings are what makes them special, these are our favourites:


 
Sweet

Banana mashed onto the pancake, fold the pancake into 4 and drizzle with melted chocolate.  Mr J also loves a drizzle of maple syrup too.

Toffee apple (or banana aka banoffee!), gently warm dulce de leche in a pan, add sliced apples to the pan and cook until the apples are soft.  Slather over a pancake, fold then add another layer.

Savoury

Grate Gruyere cheese onto a flipped pancake whilst still in the pan, it will melt whilst the pancake cooks, add your favourite seasoning to the cheese whilst melting (I love black pepper and chilli), add ham of your choice, fold and devour.  Anything with melted cheese is a favourite of mine!

Smoked salmon on a pancake with a squeeze of lemon, black pepper, fold and dollop some creme fraiche or soured cream on.  Not just for pancake day, this is great for a special weekend brunch.  I prefer brunch to breakfast, never hungry when I get up but by 11am I am usually starving!

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& for TC a mini pancake with sliced strawberries and blueberries on her favourite Greek yoghurt.  I may join her on that one!

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5:2 Alternate Day Diet - week 5

Weighed myself yesterday morning expecting no weight loss as although I have fasted this week I have also had family celebration lunches and dinners last weekend which involved a) cake b) cheese and c) wine!  So very pleased to see another lbs off. 

This "diet" definitely suits my body and along with the regular exercise I'm managing to squeeze into my day, well about 4-5 days if I'm totally honest, it's staying off and continuing on the downward trend.

There is a big thing about not skipping breakfast as the phrase goes.  I cannot eat when I'm not hungry, I can nibble but even then it's never more than a few bites.  Once I've had my first cuppa I then wait until I feel the hunger pangs, which is usually around 11am and to be fair if I ate anything before then it would probably be something I shouldn't as I'm too busy sorting TC out and seeing what work has come in etc.  It has no bearing on how hungry I'll be later or whatever else "they" tell us will happen!  So each to their own I say, as always do whatever suits you.


I've just bought myself a set of kettlebells and a DVD as I have no idea what to do with them apart from heave them around!  My usual pairs of weights are half a kilo and 1 kilo, the kettlebells are 2, 3 & 4kg!  I better get eating my spinach!

On food, Prawns.... 80 calories per 100g, who knew!  Those of you who are seasoned calorie counters probably already knew that.  I'm not posting the minutae of what I've eaten, I expect everyone is a little tired of New Year diets and eating plans by now, suffice to say apart from last weekend I am keeping off as much sugar as I can and still having good fats like avocado and coconut oil. 

I will put together some simple meals and snacks on here that are on the lower calorie scale, so much easier when you know what calories are in foods when you go to grab something from the fridge as I do!  I have been coating chicken strips with Total 0% yoghurt and harissa paste then grilling and when the urge to nibble comes (usually in the evening) these are sitting there ready.  They are pretty low in calories and full of protein and very delicious too! 

Wish me luck with the new exercise regime, I'll either have arms like Popeye or a hernia!

Linking up as usual for #wobblewednesday with the Naked Mum

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Reasons to be Cheerful #R2BC

I haven't had much time to stop and think in the last couple of weeks about R2BC, when time flies it can mean that things are going more smoothly in our household.

My reasons to be cheerful this week (and probably last week too!) are:

The flat roof on my garden studio sprung many leaks and finally the men arrived to fix it properly.  Mr J had patched it up several times but new leaks just kept on coming!  I love my studio, its like the male equivalent of a garden shed except its got proper bricks and windows!

We've had some deliciously sunny days where I can sit on my front porch with a steaming hot cup of tea, watching TC playing with on her slide and chase the dog around the apple tree.  It truly is a lovely picture.

I'm slowly and sensibly losing weight and feeling great now that I have added exercise regularly into the week.  

The evenings are getting visibly lighter, even more so when the sun has been out and the sky is clear, plus the added bonus of some spectacular sunsets we get here.  TC is no longer falling asleep on the short car journey home from nursery now, the darkness and the lull of the car sent her off after a busy afternoon.  This is a good thing as it always upsets her being woken, as you know that girl can sleep!

Pop on over to Michelle's blog at Mummy from the Heart to join in the linky. 
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Daydream Believer


daydream - a pleasant, dreamlike musing or fantasy whilst awake, especially of the fulfillment of wishes or hopes. 

When I was a small child I noticed my dad used to daydream, his eyes would glaze over whilst he stared off into the distance, he looked relaxed, I remember staring at him wondering what he was thinking of.  If I interrupted his daydream he would gently scold me then tell me to always daydream if I got the chance. 

When my grandfather passed away I went to stay with my lovely grandmother for a week, she seemed to daydream the days away, she said it felt like she was seeing a film playing through the entire time with my grandfather, all the memories of love and marriage and having a house full of 4 daughters. 

The advice out there is to daydream more.  Apparently our brain is not designed to go full pelt all day, it is supposed to rest and regroup at least every 90 minutes (not with a toddler around clearly).  

Like meditation, daydreaming allows your mind to take a break, to release tension and anxiety and "return" refreshed.   Mine is usually working full on all most days, except for a time a few years ago when I had a family loss, then I seemed to daydream over and over, losing myself in the moment, maybe the brain's way of making me take time to work through the grief, where I could have some peace, it lasted for months and still there are times when I am lost in glorious daydream of times gone and sinking into my memories - again not with a toddler around! 

I do like the chance to go off into a world of quiet, where all my hopes and dreams seem to be played out in front of me, then *snap!* back to reality, awfully good while it lasts though ......

my favourite place to daydream

Are you a daydreamer??  
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