Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mini cheese, tomato and basil omelettes/quiches

I thought I'd share these with you as they are great for popping into a lunchbox as a snack for the on the go. Especially as I often find it really hard to think of things which are easy to snack on on the go apart from cubes of cheese and atkins bars! They are also v quick to make and will keep in the fridge for a few days once done as well. 

To make them is so easy, you will need (makes six):

  • 4 eggs
  • some grated cheese-I used 100g of mature cheddar which made them taste quite cheesy but you may prefer more or less
  • 6 cherry tomatoes- chopped finely 
  • a handful of basil- chopped finely 
You will also need a silicone muffin tray, (or you could you a cupcake tray to make them smaller), and some spray oil to stop them sticking to the tray (or you could probably brush the tray with a little oil instead)

Then you simply:
  • Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them with a fork as though you were making a normal omelette
  • Add the other ingredients and beat the whole mixture together untill it is well mixed

  • Spray the muffin tray with the spray oil very lightly just so it is coated all round but you may want to wipe some of the oil off it is too thick
  • Pour the mix into the tray, I used a tablespoon to 'drop' the mix into each hole but if you had made the mix in a jug (which I will do next time) you could easily pour it in

  • Pop the tray into the oven at about 200 degrees for ten minutes or untill the omelettes have risen nicely and feel firm

  • Leave them to cool (or you can eat the hot of course also)
  • Enjoy!
Once cooled these will keep in the fridge, I have kept them for about 3-4 days so far and they still taste fresh!

Next I am going to experiment with different flavours as they make such great little low carb tasty snacks!


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Fried goats cheese and hot vegetable salad

This is quite a simple recipe but it is very quick to make and feels very indulgent and filling.

You will need:
  • Lettuce
  • Basil – I tend to use quite a few branches from a basil plant
  • Tomatoes
  • 1 pepper, or two halves from two different coloured peppers
  • Goats cheese, I use the type which comes in large circles with a skin rather than the softer log
  • Some grated cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Pine nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Asparagus spears- about 4
  • Dressing- I tend to use Caesar as this is v low carb, but others would do

Then it’s pretty simple, you make the salad as you would usually do with just a few extras:
  • Place lettuce chopped cucumber and chopped tomato onto a plate, then I scatter the basil which I roughly tear into small pieces.
  • I cut the peppers into strips and drizzle with oil then place in the oven for about 25 minutes. I normally do quite a lot of peppers at a time as they keep in the fridge for days once done. If you have already got some of these in the fridge they will just need heating in the goats cheese pan right at the end for about 3 minutes until they’re hot.
  • Mix the grated cheese with the mayonnaise and put a few teaspoonfuls of it on top of the salad.
  • Heat a pan with some oil in it- I like flavoured oils like garlic or basil oil but any oil will do, add the asparagus spears to it, I usually break them in half once first so they cook a little but quicker. Let them fry for about 10 minutes turning frequently- if you can do this on a griddle pan even better! Like the peppers, the asparagus can also be roasted or fried in advance and will keep in the fridge for a few days, in which case it can also be heated in the pan with the cheese at the end.
  • Once the asparagus is nearly cooked and is feeling soft when prodded with a  sharp knife, add the goats cheese to the pan, the pan should not be too oily but should be slightly damp so it won’t stick. Keep pushing the cheese around in the pan to stop it sticking, do this with either a fork or a wooden spoon.
  • After about 4-5 mintues, turn the goats cheese over, the cheese should have browned and hardened, if it hasn’t then turn it back and let it cook until it has. Continue to cook both sides until both sides are brown and slightly hard, then remove the asparagus, peppers and cheese and place on top of the salad.
  • While you are putting the ingredients on top of the salad, place the pine nuts into the pan and toss for a few minutes until just starting to brown, then scatter over the salad.
  • Scatter some walnuts over the top of the salad.
  • Drizzle with dressing, you won’t need much as the peppers and asparagus will be quite oily and the goats cheese should be very soft no the inside and this will give the salad flavour.
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Induction menus- Day 5

Started the day off with a 3 egg omelette with spinach, cheddar cheese, goats cheese, cherry tomatoes and pesto. This was lovely and kept me going until past lunchtime. 

Lunch was the usual salad followed by an atkins bar.

Then for tea I had broccoli and cauliflower cheese which i made just by boiling broccoli and cauliflower and then covering with some seriously strong cheddar sauce and then topping with parmesan and baking for 20 minutes. So easy and filling, also had some left over for lunch the next day, or for snacking on when I got home from work (more likely!).


Sunday, 1 September 2013

Induction menus- day 4

I fancied a bigger breakfast this morning so made halloumi, asparagus and cherry tomatoes with pesto- lovely! 

That breakfast kept me full for most of the morning, around lunchtime I snacked on some of the quorn cocktail sausages from the box of cheese and sausages I took in with me:

Mid afternoon I had an Atkins bar and then an Atkins shake a bit later on. 

For tea I had a salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and feta, but unfortunately I didn't take a photo of that salad so can't show it to you- sorry! 

Induction menus- day 3

Hello! day three and getting slightly easier though still getting regular carb cravings!! 

I was working very early so started the day with an Atkins shake. Then took a salad and a tub of cubed mixed cheeses for during the day:

Then tea was another salad, ended up having two plates full as wasn't full after the first! The salad had lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, quorn slices, cheese and mayonnaise and pesto. 
And that was it for another day, will let you know how I get on! 

Monday, 26 August 2013

Induction menus- day 2


Right it's day two and I woke up feeling slightly uninspired and desperately fancying carbs but have managed to push through and prepared myself firstly quite a filling breakfast of three scrambled eggs scrambled in butter and cream with a little grated mature cheddar, three veggie sausages and some chopped tomatoes. 

after that I had an Atkins bar as a snack then in the evening a salad of asparagus, half an avocado, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and pesto. This was so nice, I ended up having two portions! 

Following that I also had a veggie jelly and cream and then an early night as I was starting to get hungry again! 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Induction menus-day 1!

Well after having fallen off the wagon over the last month or so, I decided to restart the induction phase of Atkins, which you will know is the strictest part that comes right at the start of the diet. Typically in this phase you are allowed a maximum of 20g of carbs per day but as a vegetarian it is almost impossible to stick to this as there are carbs in most of the veggie friendly things (cheese, veg etc), but the carbs are low in these items and I never have problems getting into ketosis as long as I follow it strictly and keep away from all foods with higher carb counts. 

I started in on a Saturday which might seem a funny day to start as people usually seem to start diets on a Monday, but the idea was it would be better to start while I was at home over the weekend as I would have more opportunity to cook and would have more time to prepare food while I got into ketosis again as one of the hardest things for me is, particularly as a vegetarian, is finding food to eat while out and about if I haven't got anything with me ready. 

Well I started the day off with a big breakfast as below:

This consisted of veggie sausages, three fried eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms. As it was such a big serving and I had it quite late on I managed to only have some cubes of cheese and a chocolate decadence Atkins bar for lunch. 

My evening meal was also small, (though maybe bigger than it looks in the picture!):
This was a spinach and basil salad with cucumber, rocket, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, a few pine nuts and a chopped up sundried tomato. 

I did get hungry about an hour later so also had a sugar free vegetarian jelly with cream- lovely!

I plan to blog every day this week to keep me on track as I thought this would ensure that I actually stick to it as there's a bit more pressure this way!

Wish me luck...


Saturday, 10 August 2013

Greens and tomato pesto mix


Not quite sure what to call this recipe, and I am definately not happy with what I have currently called it! It's really something I tried to use up some ingredients in the fridge and because I felt like I wanted a side dish to go with my aubergine pizzas (a staple meal now!). It's basically a mixture of spinach, kale, two types of basil, tomatoes, pesto, sundried tomatoes, and cheese. It is so so easy to make and is very filling and very nice! 

NOTE: You will need to use a lot of the greens as they really do boil down to nothing once you cook them!  

Well, here's how I did it...

  1. Heat some oil in a pan- I like to use flavoured oils, for example basil or garlic oil, but any will do. You will need quite a bit of oil as the kale does absorb it quite a lot and using a lot of oil helps the kale go lovely and crispy!
  2. Take a good few large handfuls of kale, you might want to tear them up a bit in your hands first so the pieces aren't too big, but that's really up to you (I usually do). Here is the amount of kale and spinach I used, and it really did reduce down to about 1/4-1/2 of a pan full after a few minutes 
  3. Let it fry away for about 5-6 minutes during which time it will really reduce down to about a quarter of it's size. 
  4. Once it has reduced a lot, add a good few large handfuls of spinach, again you might want to tear it up a little bit first
  5. Let the spinach reduce and wilt in the pan for another 5 minutes by which time you might start running out of oil in the pan
  6. Add about 5 big tomatoes, chopped into small pieces to the pan, these will add lots of water, and therefore will eliminate the need for more oil. I use different types of tomatoes where possible as I think they look so much nice and are much tastier! Leave to cook together for about 5 more minutes 
  7. Add about two chopped sundried tomatoes and a tablespoon of pesto, stir well and turn the heat off. 
  8. Turn out onto a plate and add some cheese- grated cheddar goes well as does feta or goats cheese. 
  9. Enjoy!
I made this as a side dish, but you could also eat it with some fried quorn pieces, or use it to stuff other vegetables like aubergine or spoon it over large portabello mushrooms, I have also tried freezing it, and it freezes really well too!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Stuffed courgettes/zuchinni

Hi, so this recipe I thought of really as I was trying to use up some courgettes and other bits and pieces in the fridge and it turned out really well so thought I'd share it with you...

It's basically courgettes (or zuchini) stuffed with cheese and vegetables, and it is lovely!!

Here's how:

  • First take a courgette (or more) and slice all the way down the middle (longways). 
  • Carefully use a sharp knife to hollow out the courgette as much as you can while taking care not to cut the skin. 
  • Chop up the courgette that you have cut out of the middle and set aside. 
  • Heat some oil in a frying pan, I like flavoured oils ie garlic oil or basil oil but any will do. 
  • Fry the chopped courgette over a gentle heat and leave in the pan frying gently
  • Chop up some mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and a couple of sundried tomatoes
  • Grate some cheese or crumble some feta or goats cheese
  • Add the mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and spinach to the courgette mix and continue frying
  • When the spinach has wilted and the courgette is looking quite transparent add the cheese and turn the heat down until it has melted into the mixture. Then turn the heat off.
The mixture at this point will look something like this (and will taste lovely!):

  • Spoon the mixture into the hollowed out courgettes and put into an oven dish
  • Pop the courgettes into the oven (sprinkling with a bit more cheese of you fancy) and bake at a medium heat for 30 minutes 
  • Enjoy! 
Hope you like them, they really are delicious!!


Monday, 15 July 2013

Typical lunches/everyday food

Hi,  sorry again that it has been so long since I last wrote, I’ve not tried any exciting recipes recently but here are some ideas of things that I’ve been eating.

The main thing to note is that I have got stuck into a rut of eating pretty much the same meals every day, lots of salads (albeit quite interesting ones with lots of nice ingredients), a few omelettes, aubergine pizzas (which I wrote about here) and some stir frys. However, despite that I really have found that since being on the diet my appetite has really reduced and I don’t eat nearly as much as I used to. Oh I also have quite a lot of Atkins bars too!

Really enjoying having one of these coffees a day:

It really doesn’t feel like you’re on a diet when you have coffees like these!

Anyway here is a typical lunch that I take into work, it’s quite a lot of food and I don’t eat it all in one go, the main reason for this is that I have pretty much stopped having breakfast, though I do have an atkins bar mid morning, therefore when it gets to lunch time I am pretty hungry! 

So, it's obviously quite self explanatory but i'll talk you through it:
  • An Atkins bar- I do have one of these, often more per day, as I do have a sweet tooth and they're so nice and quick and easy. Lots of the online forums have said that they stop you losing weight but I have had not problems with them. The main problem is how expensive they are!!
  • Boursin cheese cubes- I don't take these everyday but I do always take some form of small snacking cheese like laughing cow, Babybel etc. 
  • A pot of assorted cheeses and cherry tomatoes- this is so filling and satisfying, I always mix about three different cheeses in there and snack on it throughout the day whenever I get hungry. 
  • A big salad- not sure what is in this one here but typically they have lettuce (a few different types), cucumber, cherry tomatoes (a few different ones), spinach, kale and samphire (fried so it's crispy), quorn pieces or fillets, again fried usually but not in too much oil. The for dressing I usually have pesto or Hellman's Casear dressing as they're both low in carbs. 
Here's another salad I made, this time it's rocket, baby leaf, spinach, kale, stirfried broccoli, feta and tomatoes:

And here's another, this isn't one for one the go, however it really doesn't take long to throw together some lettuce, feta, hard boiled egg, and for this one I also added mushrooms cooked in a little bit of cream cheese and hard cheese and some grated cheese mixed with mayonniase. Delicious!

I like to fry the things for the salad in lots of different types of oils, this way the flavour is a bit different and it stops them getting boring, for example I use sesame oil which is great for stirfrying broccoli and kale, basil or garlic oil is great for quorn and asparagus, normal olive oil is great for quorn and for samphire. But basically I just mix and match each time!

Another meal I've discovered which is super easy and are great for taking into work and snacking on is these mini stuffed peppers:

These are really easy to make basically:
  • Fry some mushrooms chopped into very fine pieces mix in a little bit of pesto and cream cheese, you can add some other vegetables like asparagus, chopped into fine pieces 
  • Cut the tops off the peppers then spoon the mixture in using a teaspoon
  • Put the top back on 
  • Bake on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, these can then be heated up in the microwave for about 3 minutes and eaten alongside your salad, or alone. 

That's it! It's a lot of food but it's very filling and really tasty and doesn't feel like diet food at all!

I'd love to know what sorts of veggie things other people take in for lunch when they're on the Atkins!


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Mini aubergine 'pizzas'

Right, I've not been terribly good at keeping on top of this blog but tried a new recipe and so felt inspired to share it as it was 
a. so nice, and 
b. so easy! 

I got the recipe or idea at least from Pinterest and it's for mini aubergine pizzas. 

Here is a picture of the completed pizzas:

Here's how to make them:

1. Slice an aubergine into thick slices, (I sliced them into about 2cm slices, I think when I make them again I will slice even thicker as I could hardly taste them and they cooked down quite a lot).

2. Rub oil onto the aubergine and fry for about 5 mins on each side. (I used a griddle pan but sure they would work on a normal pan just as well). Beware they do use up quite a lot of oil but then on atkins that's not really a problem!

3. Put the slices onto a dish, I used a small enamel plate but any flat surface would do. I didn't bother oiling it up first as the slices are already quite greasy. 

4. Put some tomato sauce onto the slices- I used sundried tomato purée as there's hardly any carbs in that and the flavour is very rich.
5. Put whatever other toppings you like on, I used goats cheese, pesto, sliced cherry tomatoes, and some vegetarian parmesan. 

6. Pop them into the oven for about 10 minutes till everything has nicely browned- I didn't take much notice of the temperature but it was probably about 200 degrees 

7. Serve with a nice salad or whatever accompaniment you fancy.

8. Enjoy! 


Saturday, 27 April 2013

Stuffed mushrooms

So, I've so far not been that adventurous since starting, certainly the cauliflower pizza was the most adventurous I've been up to now, but thought I'd share a few more ideas that I've had for easy vegetarian meal ideas that are Atkins induction friendly. 

First of all, this barely merits a recipe as it's so easy and probably something people do all the time anyway, but stuffed portabello mushrooms, here I've stuffed them with A little bit of shop bought pesto, a couple of chopped cherry tomatoes, some garlic and then topped with goats cheese, then they just go in the oven for about 20 minutes. So nice, really filling and taste very naughty without hardly using any carbs! 

I was so pleased to see that pesto is so low in carbs, it makes everything taste better and is so packed with flavour! 


Monday, 1 April 2013

Cauliflower crust pizza

Right it's day one and feeling inspired I headed to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for this recipe which I saw here

Well I will say it wasn't as good as the one in the picture and I've put this down to various reasons, namely:
a. I am not a particularly competent cook
b. I did not wring enough of the water out after cooking the cauliflower 
c. I only used parmesan and no mozzarella in making the base. 

Despite the above it was still somewhat of a success here is the finished product

The recipe can be found in the link above but to briefly summarise the way I did it:
  • one medium head of cauliflower
  • parmesan cheese
  • dried oregano 
  • toppings (I used 4 mushrooms, goats cheese, sun-dried tomato purée and tomato pasta sauce, basil- to garnish)

  • Cut the leaves off the cauliflower and some of the stem off and put the whole if it in the belnder untill it looks like this:

  • Put it in a microwavable bowl and cover it and cook for 4 minutes 
  • Leave it to cool down for a few minutes
  • Put it in a tea towel and wring the water out, do this really hard and persevere as the water will keep coming. I didn't do this enough and I think it showed in the base. 
  • Start mixing the cauliflower and also add the egg, a few pinched of the oregano and the grated parmesan. I just basically kept adding the parmesan bit by bit until the mixture started to resemble dough.
  • Pop the dough on oiled greaseproof paper on a baking tray
  • Start rolling it out until you have a smallish pizza base, mine looked like this:

  • Pop the base in the oven at 200 for about 8 minutes, when you get it out it will look a bit like this:

  • Then just treat it like a normal pizza base and add your toppings and put it back in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the top looks suitably browned!
  • Easy as that! 



So having just started the extremely daunting task of the induction phase of Atkins whilst also being a vegetarian  I thought I'd keep this blog as a way of charting for myself how I'm doing and also as a sort of scrapbook of all the recipes that I've tried (good and bad). 

I also thought it'd be nice as I'm UK based and lots of the recipes I have seen have not been and have measured things in cups or used ingredients that I've never heard of/ can't get here. 

Anyway I'm quite faddy so no sure how long it'll last but also thought this would be a good way of making me stick to it. 

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