Before UniSlim I didn't cook. Point blank, didn't cook. Didn't think I could do it, didn't like the idea of the mess, didn't know what to do with the ingredients, I am also a little impatient, so the thoughts of not having a meal just handed to me was enough to make me reach for the take out menu!
I didn't own utensils like a sieve, a weighing scales or a blender. In fact, the most used thing in my kitchen was the frying pan, for big greasy breakfasts.
Ok, so all-a-that has changed. The first thing I done after my very first UniSlim class (Sept '10) was go shopping. I realised that I had NOTHING in my kitchen that was going to help me lose weight. Nothing. Not even low fat butter - oh no, I had the real stuff in the fridge. I loaded my trolley with fresh foods, pretty much every vegetable in the aisle. For the first time in my life I wanted to at least try to cook. The recipes my leader had spoken of in class, sounded so easy to make and listening to the reactions from my new class members who had tried and tested them, they were yummy!
Surely I could make a veggie soup.
So thats where it started. A simple, veggie soup. I chopped carrots, onions, mushrooms, peppers, celery, leeks, everything I could find...Eric was lucky he didn't get chopped too - I was a woman on a mission - chop chop chop! I bunged them all into a pot with a stock cube and waited patiently for my first ever masterpiece to be ready! I even got fancy and added mixed herbs!
And amazingly - it was delicious! I couldn't believe it! Why hadn't I been doing this all along?
So a few days later, after batch one was done, I tried another one, a tomato and basil one.....and that was gorgeous too!
Within my first 3 weeks of UniSlim, I had lost 10lbs and was on cloud 9! To this day, if I feel like I need to get back on track, or am having a tough day, I make soup. I find it totally therapeutic not to mention being amazingly delicious and a fat melter!
None of my soups have ever tasted the same, they evolve each time - only one went in the bin (due to dodgy mushrooms).
Like my soup repertoire, my kitchen utensils and store cupboard contents have expanded.
Here is a list of my favourite things that I cannot do without!
Sweetener (Canderel/Hermasetas etc) - I have a mega sweet tooth and don't like tea or coffee unless its sweetened. If I don't have a sweetener with me, I am looking at 2 Yumz per cup of tea (2 real sugars) - and to be quite honest, I'd rather save those Yumz for something else. I keep sweeteners in my handbag, my car, my kitchen cupboard, work. Everywhere. I refuse to be caught out by sugar again! Also great for making tomato soups - takes the flavour down.
Low Cal Spray Oil - Olive oil and me used to have a very one sided relationship. I used to love it, it used to make me fat. I cut it out. I am not fat anymore. Low cal spray oil means I can cook my food in a healthy way, without piling on completely unnecessary lbs.
Spices & Herbs - I am actually a spice Queen! I must have a little of everything in my kitchen, Tumeric, Tarragon, Saffron, Cayenne Pepper (my fave), Garam Masala, Peppercorns of every colour, Harissa, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.....the list goes on. I buy the bulk of my spices in my local Asian Emporium, where you can buy bags of spices for next to nothing. When I go on holiday abroad, I ALWAYS go to the local food market. In Turkey, its on a Tuesday and its my fave day of the holiday (sad but true!). I love the smells, the colours, the stacks upon stacks of powdered spice. I take a million pictures and barter for the best prices. Forever batting eyelashes! You can make anything from scratch when you have the spices and herbs.
Stock Cubes - Veggie, chicken and beef. Stock cubes will always add a great depth to the flavour of your soups and pasta sauces. I love to wander into little foreign food stores like Polish, Caribbean, Lithuanian stores, you will always find different takes on stock cubes that will give your sauces a great kick! Try something new! I recently bought a big bag of stock cubes (couldn't translate the label!) containing about 50 of them for €1.25. I bought them on a whim, thinking, if I didn't like them, it was a gamble of €1.25 - but they are yummy and are now being flung into everything I make!
Yoghurt - You will always find a selection of yogurts in my fridge as well as my freezer. A versatile sweet treat that can go from being a mid morning snack to a fully fledged dessert! Always check the Nutritional Info tho - Yoghurt labels can advertise all sorts of Low Fat/Lite-ness, when in fact, they are quite fattening. Less than 60Kcals per 100g is key!
Weighing Scales - I can't stress enough, the importance of having a kitchen scales when losing weight. You can pick one up in the pound shop for €2. It will open your eyes to what portion sizes you should be having. Rice, cereals, pasta.....do you really know what 30g looks like? A kitchen scales will make all the difference when it comes to the Weigh Day scales!
A Hand Held Blender - this may seem like something basic for a kitchen, but if you don't have one, invest. You will pay from €7 upwards for one. When it comes to making sauces for pasta, or blending soups, you will be glad of it - no mashing required! hah!
Now, I absolutely LOVE to cook. I try new recipes all the time, create my own concoctions, put twists on traditional recipes. I love it. Cooking with fresh foods means you know exactly where you stand. You are cutting out hidden salts, sugars, oil and can make entirely FREE dishes, safe in the knowledge that your body is really going to reward you for it when you stand on the scales.
Hope you all have a great day!
Keep kicking fats ass!