Picture this. The Christmas tree has gone to the great Christmas tree graveyard in the sky (= recycling bin). You are getting ready to go back to work. You put on your jeans - your everyday, comfy jeans - and they don't fit. In fact you are having a bit of trouble pulling them up past your thighs. Sound familiar? It's where I find myself currently. Not surprising really. Not considering the insane amounts of baking I have been doing lately and all the rich holiday food I have been indulging in.
I don't regret it. Not a single mouthful. Sometimes, to quote Bridget Jones, 'you have to sink to a nadir of toxic fat envelopment in order to emerge, phoenix-like, from the chemical wasteland as a purged and beautiful figure'. So I will embrace this philosophy and implement a few sensible eating rules.
- No dieting. It's not that I don't believe diets work. They do, as long as you stick to them and exercise as well. The problem is that they very rarely work long-term unless you are a super-disciplined type of person (in which case you probably don't need to diet in the first place).
- I will start eating a healthy breakfast everyday instead of skipping it out altogether.
- I will snack sensibly.
- I will (mostly) eat homemade soups for lunch (and save a fortune into the bargain).
- I will have skinny versions of my favourite foods for dinner.
- I will continue to bake because "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". No, wait, "a little bit of what you fancy does you good".
- I will exercise, EXERCISE, exercise.
This snack came about through a Twitter conversation I was having with other baking friends. It is very easy to make, it's cheap, it's healthy and it doesn't taste like diet food. It's... a skinny snack!
Take one loaf of slightly stale, preferably homemade, bread. I used a sourdough challah, but brioche, any type of sourdough and wholemeal breads would all work well. Slice the bread as thinly as you can - you may want to chill it in the fridge first.
Preheat the oven to 150C | 300F. Spread the bread slices on two large baking trays and toast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the edges just start to colour. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. These are delicious eaten on their own, with dips and toppings or crumbled in soups. Just don't eat too many of them in one sitting...
Whipped feta dip with lemon and dill
100g | 3.5 ounces Quark cheese (substitute with fat-free Greek yoghurt)
50g | 1.75 ounces Feta cheese
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill (or mint)
1 tbsp lemon juice
Smidge garlic purée (entirely optional!)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to season
Sliced avocado, snow peas, watercress, sliced tomatoes etc.
- Place all the ingredients in a mini food processor and blitz together until smooth. Alternatively chop the herbs and mash together with a fork. Season to taste. Store in the fridge and eat within a couple of days.
- Spread some of the dip on a couple of bread chips. Add any toppings you fancy. Enjoy.
NOTE: If you fancy making a spicy version, add half a roasted red pepper (from a jar or DIY), a 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and replace the dill with coriander or parsley.