Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Low calorie and cheap tuna and tomato pasta

Like many in their early twenties I wonder how old I will get before I feel like I belong here in the adult world and I'm not just pretending. There are many things I don't fully understand and that terrify me about being a grown up and one of those things is 'money' and/or lack of it. I am now a totally self sufficient person - I left home five years ago but I always had a student loan/ financially secure ex as a safety net. Now it's just me, I earn the money that puts the food on my table and pays the rent for my own room. It's terrifying, but at the same time I kind of love it. Everything here is all mine and paid for with my own money and no one else's. The house I live in? I pay rent for it! The car I'm driving? I bought the driving lesson for it! The clothes I'm wearing? I bought them from Primark! I could go on.

Anyhow, my financial situation has changed quite a lot over the past month or two as I'm sure you can imagine and now I am really trying to cut back on everything. So I thought I would be "creative" and create a recipe that is not only healthy(ish) but cheap! I know that this could definitely be more healthy, I know it could be cheaper, but cut me some slack, I'm just trying to get into the routine of not every dinner being a ready meal and/or takeaway.

A little background info: All food bought from Sainsbury's today (12th Nov 2013). I was cooking two portions, one for myself to have today and one to have tomorrow. I then won't be eating at home for three nights so wanted to minimise food wastage.

Tuna and Tomato Pasta
312 calories, 7 points and £1.25 per portion.

Ingredients - for 2 portions

70g dry pasta (7 PP, 240 calories). = 4p! Based on the fact you can get 500g Sainsbury's pasta for 30p. Amazing.
4 mushrooms (0PP, approx 40 calories) = 27p, bought loose.
1 red onion (0PP, approx 40 calories) = 14p, bought loose.
1 pepper (0PP, approx 40 calories) = 80p, bought loose. It would have been cheaper per pepper to buy a pack of 3, but I knew I couldn't use the other 2 before they went off so didn't bother.
1 carton of chopped tomatoes (0PP, 74 calories) = 34p.
1 can of tuna in water (2PP, 82 calories) = £1.30.
40g of low fat cheese (4PP, 107 calories) = 32p.

TOTAL for 2 portions - 13PP, 623 calories, £2.49.
Total for 1 portion: 7PP, 312 calories, £1.25

Well you can probably work this out but....

1) Put the pasta on to boil. In the meantime, chop your vegetables. BEFORE AND AFTER SHOT:

2. Heat some Frylight in a pan and then cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes.

3. Add your chopped tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes.

4. Then add your tuna. NOTE: I am living with cats for the first time in my life. Heed my warning: if there are cats in the kitchen, there is no such thing as being too vigilant when opening a can of tuna.

5. Then add your cheese. This step is optional yet DELICIOUS.

6. Then mix up with your pasta.

7. Divide into two portions and serve! Yum yum.

This meal is pretty delicious if you like tuna and any meal for only just over 300 calories is pretty useful once you are on a diet. It is also actually pretty filling. You might feel that 35g pasta per portion is crazy small, but the veg doesn't make it feel like it's any less pasta than normal, really.

Perhaps more importantly this is two days' dinners for £2.50. If I ate this every day for a week imagine how much money I could save! (But I won't.) It didn't taste like it was cheap and it actually tasted much better than the ready meals I have been living off that are more expensive. From now on when I post recipes I will also calculate the costs.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Blogging strikes back

Well I have been off for so long. Basically I might as well just jump into it: I am now single and my living situation and circumstances are so different from my last blog post I wonder if anything I've ever written on this blog even means anything anymore. Now I just food shop for myself, cook for myself, live in a house rather than a flat so am not on the same level as the kitchen when chilling out of an evening (this has changed my snacking life = win for laziness), and I could go on.

I have lost about 10lb since I last wrote. Most of this is not exactly for the right reasons. I didn't really eat anything at all for a week. For the next 3 weeks I had nowhere to live - I ate a million calories in takeaways during this time but still lost the weight anyway which I assume is 'stress'. I now have a routine again. I have been pretty good at eating to be honest. Basically, I don't really buy any unhealthy food for my fridge and cupboards at all, so the only time I eat badly is when I go out to eat/get a takeaway or whatever, but 5 days out of 7 at least my diet is pretty squeaky clean. I don't eat for enjoyment but for necessity and only eat when I'm hungry.

However, I haven't done any exercise. I haven't done any running for seven weeks which actually makes me feel quite upset as at the time I felt as though I was getting somewhere with my running - I'd even signed up for a 10k in March. However I just don't know where I am supposed to fit it into my life - I don't want to run in the dark, especially in an area I don't know that well and I can't afford to join a gym. I really want to get cracking with it but I don't really know what to do - any advice would be much appreciated.

I have had a lot of time to think recently about myself and the person I would like to be. I want to keep writing this blog - I want to be a runner, I want to get myself back into the blogging 'fitness' community. But at the same time I would like to make this blog a little bit more 'me'. I don't want to dwell too much on my relationship break up but in a way I do feel a little bit like I have found some parts of myself that I had forgotten I had lost. I want to try and share those parts of me with the people that read my blog a bit more; I feel I do have the capability as a writer to make this blog actually interesting to read but it was becoming so, so vacuous. I have no idea how exactly I am going to do that but watch this space.

Anyhow, my next goal is to get back into running and find some sort of way to make it work. Send any advice you have my way!


PS: "How are you?" you might ask. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have bad days, but people I know are always commenting that I've dealt with this all very well. The future scares me, but at the same time I feel a bit excited by it. Albus Dumbledore once said we must choose between what is right and what is easy. When everything I had known for three years all fell apart, it would have been very easy for me to hand in my notice at my job and go back to move with my parents, rather than starting somewhere new in a new area and being the only person responsible for my own survival for the first time in my life, but it wouldn't have been right. I feel I have done the right thing and I already feel as though I am becoming a better person for it.