Slimming World Cauliflower Pizza

Without a doubt, pizza is my favourite food. I love it. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pizza I didn’t enjoy, but let’s be honest, even a bad pizza is still better than pretty much any other food. Amirite?

Thanks to the wonder that is Slimming World, pizza is not off the menu even though I’m trying to lose weight and I get to have it pretty frequently. My favourite way to enjoy it is using a wholemeal pita for 6 syns, or a Bfree gluten free tortilla wrap as my HEXB. I have pita pizza and SW chips most weekends, topping the pita with syn free tomato sauce made from passata, herbs and garlic, sliced chorizo or veggie sausage, peppers, onions, and my HEXA reduced fat cheddar.

Exhibit A:

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I also make the perennial SW fave ‘Pizza topped chicken’ quite often, with either actual chicken or Quorn fillets. This is a nice alternative, and it means I don’t have to use my HEXB on bread for the base.

On Saturday night though, I fancied something a bit different. A proper pizza. Well, ish. I wasn’t about to spend all my syns on a single slice of supermarket pizza (I needed them for wine, obvs) so I decided to make a cauliflower pizza base. These have been going around food blogs for a few years now, and Slimming World put a recipe online last year when spiralising/vegetable replacements to carbs/cauliflower-based everything were all the rage. This is the third time I’ve made one and while it is a fair amount of faff, I really like the finished product. Obviously it doesn’t taste like a thick, doughy slice of Dominos or proper homemade yeast pizza, but for very low syns it’s pretty awesome. And, it means I can go nuts in the morning and use my HEXB for toast or cereal instead! (I know, I need to calm down.)

The recipe is pretty simple and you can really add as few or as many toppings and extras as you like/can be bothered to chop.

Slimming World Cauliflower Pizza

For the base:

1 head cauliflower

1 egg

salt, pepper, garlic powder, italian herbs to taste (you can’t really go wrong here, we’re just trying to flavour the base a bit)

For the sauce:

250g passata

Balsamic vinegar, italian herbs, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper (again, this is just what I add to my pizza sauce, all pretty much guessed amounts and it turns out just fine every time!)

Toppings:

I used spinach, basil, red onion, vegetarian sausage, tinned mock duck (all free) and synned black olives and mozzarella.

80g reduced fat cheddar (2 x HEXA as I ate the pizza in 2 servings)

Start by chopping the cauliflower into florets, and then chuck into the food processor. Blitz it until it resembles rice and is all evenly sized.

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Pop the cauli-rice into a bowl and microwave for 6/7 minutes until it’s cooked through. Now, here comes the fun bit. Most recipes call for you to put the cauliflower into a clean tea towel and squeeze it until all the moisture comes out. I tried this for about 2 minutes with kitchen towel as we didn’t have a clean tea towel, and let’s just say it didn’t go well. I burned my hand with the steaming hot cauli, and the kitchen roll cracked under the pressure and ripped. Thinking on my feet, I decided to just gently dry fry the cauli in a pan so it would get rid of all the moisture that way. Spoiler alert – this works really well!

Here’s the pan-fried cauliflower all dry and lovely.

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Then add the beaten egg and all the herbs and seasoning. Food bloggers who aren’t following SW generally add grated parmesan in here, and while I don’t doubt this is delicious, ain’t nobody got time for parmesan syns on Saturday night when there’s a bottle of wine in the fridge. Stir the cauliflower and egg together and you’ll be left with a bowl of wet mush. Mmmmmm. It won’t go doughy so don’t worry if it doesn’t look like you’d expect, the egg works as a binder in the oven and dries it out.

Pop your base onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and shape it into a nice circle. Bake it for 10 minutes, flip it over, and bake it on the other side for another 10 minutes. It’ll be quite delicate when you try and flip it so be gentle – let’s not forget it’s essentially egg and cauliflower so not structurally sound!

Here’s the finished crust! Yummy!

 

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Then, add all your toppings! Here’s my cheese and ‘meat’ (I was on a veggie kick this night so all fake meat.)

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Here’s the finished product pre oven…

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Et voila! I baked it for a further 20 minutes on 180 until the cheese was bubbly, and it was perfect. I ate it quite simply with a green salad and the slices were just sturdy enough to be held, so it felt like a real treat.

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I’ll definitely be making this again. As I said, it was time-consuming but not hard work, it’s just because of the number of steps involved in making the base. I believe some supermarkets now sell pre-made cauliflower rice which would speed up the process a bit, but I’m not about to spend £2 on 100g of cauliflower when I can buy a whole one for 90p. Each to their own, though!

Let me know if you try making cauliflower pizza, and I’ll be back soon with some very much non-Slimming World Orlando food bloggage!

 

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Slimming World – Week 2 + recipe for Chicken Fajita Bowl

Okay before I go any further I have to just share;

I LOST 2.5LBS ON TUESDAY!!

Phew! Got it out of my system!! Obviously I am CHUFFED and it’s spurred me on so much to carry on Food Optimising and get to a weight I’m happy with. Yay! Ben also lost a fantastic 2lbs, meaning he’s already lost over half a stone! It’s only been 2 weeks! Blimey, the boy can diet.

I’m feeling so lucky to have a lovely group with a fab consultant; I enjoyed listening to everyones thoughts about the week they’d had. I even felt a bit emotional at times when people were saying how they’d struggled, how much they want it, etc. It’s also so inspirational; some members have lost SO much weight it’s insane! I don’t have a crazy amount to lose but hearing members saying they’ve lost 2/5/8 stone (!) just makes you think if they can do it, I can do it! Or I should be able to!!

So, a recap of this weeks eats! Apologies for the slightly late post this week, we’ve gone into the following weeks eats too, eek!

It’s been another week of lovely food. I cut back a bit on non-speed fruit and veg, and added in speed where I could.

Breakfasts have been my HEXB of porridge oats, made with water and splenda and topped with 1/2 banana. I find this fills me up till lunch at 1 which is brilliant! I experimented with yogurt, HEXB of All-bran and yogurt a couple of mornings but I just don’t find it as filling, or yummy! So porridge is my go-to weekday breakfast.

On Saturday I had a little treat of this:

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Smoked salmon, mushrooms in fry-light and two poached eggs with my new sillicone egg poacher. LOVED this! We were going to see Queen + Adam Lambert at the o2 in the evening and I knew we’d be having dinner out, so I wanted to minimise damage at breakfast and save both my HEX’s 🙂

An example of the food I generally take to work each day. I often don’t end up eating the fruit as the rest is filling enough! Breakfast this day was layered All-Bran, yogurt, raspberries and apples.

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Tuna and sweetcorn with extra light mayo, chickpeas, spinach, apple and ham slices.

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Tuna sweetcorn sandwich with ham salad

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Lunch on a weekend, way more exciting! A bunch of random leftovers piled on top of spinach. Surprisingly good!

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Dinners have been a lot more interesting. Friday night we had loaded fries…Slimming World style! We made sweet potato and normal potato fries then layered panfried peppers, onions, courgettes and Quorn beef strips, all coated with a BBQ spice mix. We topped the bowls with shredded lettuce, sweetcorn, our HEXA of cheese, and a dollop of fat free yogurt. SO GOOD! And a fantastic way of eating loads of speed food without really noticing.

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Sunday’s dinner was 5% beef mince simmered for a looooongggg time with 100ml of red wine (4 syns) and beef stock, loads of finely chopped carrots, onions, courgette and mushrooms, garlic and tomato pasta. This is my new favourite Sunday dinner and it makes looooaads! I served it over papadelle pasta with roasted brussells sprouts and my HEXA of parmesan. A proper winter warmer!

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I made SW hunters chicken this week! I made a BBQ sauce using tomato passata, chopped onion, garlic, sweetener and KEY INGREDIENT diet coke! I made hunters chicken on last years Slimming World attempt but I just couldn’t replicate the sweet, sticky BBQ sauce using the usual Slimming World recipes. ‘Diet cola chicken’ is a popular SW dish using similar ingredients so I chanced it and chucked some diet coke into the pan. I simmered it for a while until it reduced and went sticky, then tasted it. BBQ HEAVEN!! It was so good. I’m never making BBQ sauce without diet coke ever again. I poured the sauce over two chicken breasts I’d wrapped in bacon (fat cut off!) and then topped the lot with my HEXA of cheese. Served with roasted sweet potato fries and a simple salad, this meal was incredible. I want to make it every day! If you want some proper pub tasting food on SW, definitely give this a make. It’s about as far away from diet food as you can get!

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On Thursday, myself and the boy went swimming. It was a pretty big deal. We bought swimming caps (mine is for extra long hair as I have a lot of hair…) and goggles and dug out our swimsuits from the drawer they were probably shoved into after we got back from Florida in 2013. We were both weirdly nervous, but it turned out to be fine! It was relatively quiet, the pool was lovely, and we managed a full 40 minutes before it started to get a bit busier and we felt like our arms were going to fall off. We got home about 8 which wasn’t too bad and I was so proud of us! We’re going to go at least once a week from now on, and really make a concerted effort to stick at it.

This is the dinner we had when we got home, which I had prepped before we left. SW syn-free carbonara with courgettes and spinach.

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Finally, my favourite meal of the week! Chicken fajita bowl, mmmm! Everyone needs to make this, right now. It’s so perfectly suited to SW! I didn’t really follow a recipe but I’ll jot down what I did in case anyone fancies giving it a go.

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Serves 1 with a small bowl of leftovers for lunch the next day, can easily be doubled to feed 2 (or 4 etc etc) quantities are pretty flexible depending on what you have!

Ingredients:

Chicken breast (I used one big one!)

Assorted fajita veggies; I used half a red pepper, half a yellow pepper, 1 courgette and 1 onion

Tomatoes

Coriander

Lettuce

1 Lime

Rice

HEXA of cheese

0% natural yogurt

Fajita seasoning (I used the Schwartz Fajita one)

Optional: avocado, chillis, black beans, refried beans…anything else you’d normally have with fajitas!

Method

1. Get your rice on! I used a sachet of microwaveable spicy Mexican rice which was in the cupboard, but normal white or brown rice would be fine too. The sachet is 2 syns so plain rice would be better as it’s syn-free! If you’re using plain rice, I read a lovely recipe where the cook mixed chopped coriander and lime juice into the rice which I think would be amazing!

2. Coat the chicken breast(s) in the fajita seasoning, spray Frylight on a baking tray and pop in oven for about 20 minutes

3. Meanwhile, slice the peppers, onion and courgette into long strips and fry slowly in a pan with Frylight. I find a slow pace reallllyy helps when you’re cooking with Frylight, it means the food doesn’t catch too quickly and cooks fully before browning. Add the fajita seasoning after the vegetables have been cooking for about 10 minutes.

4. Super quick pico de gallo time! This isn’t essential but really made such a difference to this bowl of goodness. Finely chop half an onion and a handful of cherry tomatoes and season well. I didn’t have fresh coriander so I used frozen, but either would work! Sprinkle coriander over the onions and tomatoes and mix it all together. I added a sprinkle of garlic powder too, for an extra kick. Put the pico de gallo in the fridge for the flavours to combine!

5. Chop lettuce, grate your HEXA of cheddar (I used reduced fat cheddar so I get 40g, score!) and cut a lime in half.

6. Get the chicken out of the oven and slice it up reaaallll good. Add your cooked rice to a bowl, and add the sliced chicken. Once the veggies are at an acceptable level of caramelised crispy-ness, pop them on top of the rice too. Add the chopped lettuce, pico de gallo and cheese, and top with a generous dollop of yogurt. Squeeze a lime all over the bowl and voila, ready to go!

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So it’s been a good week of eats! Fingers crossed I’ll see a loss on Tuesday! Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend 🙂

First Few Slimming World Days

So, my first week of Slimming World! I started following the plan on Monday, weighed in to my new group on Tuesday, and it’s now Thursday night. We (me and the boy are both following the plan!) have been Food Optimising for 4 glorious days. It’s been really great! I already feel better, happier, calmer, and more in control. We pretty much spent 2 weeks over Christmas just eating whatever we wanted and to be honest, by the time we went back to work, I just felt so groggy and bloated. I felt like I’d eaten everything I could possibly have wanted over the Christmas period and I was ready to start eating fresh vegetables, smaller portions, and just generally food that was better for me.

Which coincided nicely with my return to Slimming World! My first weigh in was obviously not pleasant, but it won’t be going any higher than that now 🙂 The consultant was fab, the group was friendly, and it’s right down the road from where I live! Very convenient indeed. I optimistically bought a 6 week countdown and I’m feeling SO motivated and excited for the next 6 weeks! I really am going to try to be strict and not have any ‘treat’ or ‘cheat’ days; I hate to be a cliche but I’d only be cheating myself! As I did last time. But we won’t go into that.

So, my eats! I’ve been eating some lovely things so far, and we have even more yummies planned for the rest of the week!

For breakfasts, I’ve been having porridge. I’ve never really had it before but I don’t know why, it’s so lovely! i’ve been having it with splenda and cinnamon, and also ‘whipped’ with a banana! I slice the banana really thinly and whip it into the oats with a whisk as the oats cook. The banana melts away and creates a really creamy, fluffy texture that also increases the volume of the porridge. I end up with a huuuuge fluffy bowl of oats and it fills me up until lunch, perfect!

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I made a big batch of tuna pasta salad on Tuesday and have been having it for lunch every day.

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It’s just pasta, extra light mayonnaise, sweetcorn and red onion. The EL mayo is 1 sun per level TBSP and there were 4 in the mix. 4 portions, 1 syn a portion! Yay! I’ve been having this with salad and fat free balsamic dressing, and occasionally a boiled egg if I really want to push the boat out. It is REALLY filling – on Monday I just had a salad and I felt all light-headed and horrible all afternoon which I think was a combination of not eating enough, and my poor body complaining that I wasn’t having any sugar or fat. We didn’t have the shopping delivered until Tuesday so Monday was slim pickings in the kitchen, hence the lame lunchtime salad.

Finally, onto dinners! The best meal because I have complete creative control in the kitchen and more importantly, TIME!

I believe that my first foray into Slimming World failed because, well, I gave up. But, before I gave up, I was trying to shoehorn my favourite food into the SW plan and it just wasn’t working. Some things work great cooked the SW way, some don’t. Creamy, fattening Italian sauces don’t work so well, simply because it’s hard to replicate creamy, buttery flavours without the calories. Natural yogurt has a funny twang IMO, as does Quark. I do love using Quark, but sometimes it splits even if you’re super careful with the heat, and then your dinner is ruined and you cry. Anyway, my point is, this time I am going to try to make new dishes that I wouldn’t have tried previously that work AMAZINGLY cooked the SW way, rather than trying to make pizza crust from Smash and feeling slightly dirty.

This week thus far, we have had a delicious tofu vegetable noodle dish on Monday (which I didn’t photograph 😦 ) a quick Quorn chill and baked potato on Tuesday:

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A rather experimental chicken korma on Wednesday:

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This I possibly wouldn’t recommend…I LOVE korma and I love it because of the buttery, creamy, coconutty, almondy flavours, all of which are tricky to replicate when you’re fat-restricted. The korma in the Fakeaways book (my new bible) didn’t mention coconut at all and to be honest I wasn’t having any of that. I popped to Co-Op on the hunt for a fat free coconut yogurt (fairly optimistic given the size of the shop) and unsurprisingly, they didn’t have any. They did, however, have a new ‘Pina Colada’ Mullerlight. Hmmmm….would that work?I was tired and hungry so decided it would, and bought one. I also randomly bought a tiny bottle of almond essence which I thought might be a good substitute for the almonds normally in korma.

It…wasn’t great. The yogurt was okay (I sieved out the pineapple…) but even half a cap of the almond essence was too much, and it just reminded me of a cherry bakewell. Don’t get me wrong, I ate it all, but it left a weird taste in my mouth. If you like curry, I’d recommend going with a tikka or jalfrezi or something more tomato based, which is better suited to the ingredients you’re allowed to use.

Finally, tonight was the inaugural outing of the pork pad thai recipe, again from the Fakeaways book:

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I’m happy to report this was a much more enjoyable experience! I made it as per the book, with twice the amount of garlic and chill as I like strong flavours. However, when I tried it, it was bland 😦 so I added more of each, more soy sauce, and a tablespoon of sesame oil (2 precious syns) to jazz it up a bit. It tasted a lot better after this, and a whole lime squeezed all over it completed the experience. I didn’t have any of the required veg in the recipe so I stir fried some veggies in a separate pan, and ate them alongside the pad thai to ensure I had my 1/3rd speed veggies.

I halved the recipe as I’m the solo meat-eater in the household, and I have over half left for another day 🙂 Success!

I don’t snack a huge amount but when I’ve been peckish, I’ve gone for apples and lean ham slices. Exciting stuff. My daily synage has been between 4-7 each day which i’m THRILLED with (I know it’s only Day 4 but humour me) because last year I pretty much always spent my daily 15 on silly things like condiments, wine and chocolate, which I don’t think was really helping my losses. So I’m chuffed with my restraint.

I’ll leave it there as I’m knackered and it’s been a long week at work. On tomorrows menu is CHEESEBURGERS, a meal that works insanely well cooked the SW way! We’ll have them with a boatload of free SW chips and I can’t wait. We’re staying in on Saturday night (January is a very frugal month for us, out of necessity!) and I’m planning to cook a lovely steak which always feels like a treat on SW. Sunday I fancy a nice winter warmer and I think I’ll do the Slimming World beef bourguignon mmmm!

Ooh I hope this happy, motivated attitude continues for the next 6 weeks! Wish me luck 🙂