5 May 2014

Weight Watchers #StepintoSummer

The past week has absolutely flown by! I can't believe it's time to share Challenge Two already, but first let's catch up on Challenge One. For those of you new to #StepintoSummer, it's a fantastic campaign set up by Weight Watchers with weekly challenges, all of which should put us on the right track to reaching our goals. I say 'us' rather than me, because this is about all of us who want to make positive changes to our lifestyle and eating habits, doing it together alongside weekly challenges. The first week of the #StepintoSummer challenge was to try and have at least one portion of fruit and veg with every single meal. For me this was pretty easy as I eat fruit all the time, and I always have lots of vegetables and salad with my dinner. However I did eat out a couple of times over the past week (three, actually), and at these dinners out I knew I didn't have as much control in what I was going to get fruit/veg wise. Any day where I knew I was going to be eating out with friends, I made sure to pop an apple or a banana in my bag and have it either before or straight after my meals. This made sure that even though I couldn't control how much went on my plate, I could make sure I got that at least one portion of fruit in! Did you give Challenge One a go? I loved getting tweets and messages from those of you who decided to take part in Challenge One, you all kept me on track and motivated, knowing you were doing it too!

Weight Watchers #StepintoSummer Challenge Two

So we're on to week two of #StepintoSummer and Challenge Two is to try at least three new recipes! If you're not one for cooking, this week's challenge will be exactly that - a challenge. Personally, I adore cooking and unless we're being very naughty and ordering a takeaway or eating out, everything I cook is from scratch with fresh ingredients. For me, this week's challenge will push me to try some new recipes, as usually I just play things by ear and only rarely follow recipes from recipe books. Yet I have so, so many cookery books filled with incredible recipes; Challenge Two is exactly the push I needed to try some of them out. For those of you who aren't overly comfortable in the kitchen, don't worry! You don't have to make a three course meal worthy of a Michelin Star restaurant, nor does it have to be anything too complicated or daunting. If you have any recipe books, flick through them for inspiration, check out Pinterest boards for ideas, or catch up with your favourite food blog. The Weight Watchers website is full of delicious recipes to explore and try, too. I have several Weight Watchers recipe books which I have built up over the years, and I always find Weight Watchers recipes to be incredibly easy to follow, and super delicious! If you didn't try last week's #StepintoSummer recipe of Prawn and Courgette Curry, you could give that recipe a try this week, and here's another simple yet delicious recipe to start you off...

Pork Loin Steaks with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Weight Watchers Simple Start Hero Recipe
Pork Loin Steaks with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Preparation time; 15mins, cooking time, 40-50mins
Serves 4, 10ppts per portion

12-16 large new potatoes
1-2 sprigs of rosemary, broken into small sprigs
1-2 bushy sprigs of thyme, torn into small sprigs
Calorie controlled cooking spray
For the creamy mushroom sauce:
2 shallots or half a small onion, finely chopped
200g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
2 tsp mustard powder
200ml beef stock from a beef stock cube
1 tbsp grainy mustard
6 tbsp 0% fat Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
For the pork steaks:
2 tbsp crushed mixed peppercorns
4 pork steaks, visible fat removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Steamed baby vegetables, to serve

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut thin slices in the top of the potatoes, almost but not quite all the way through. Put the potatoes onto a baking tray and spray with calorie controlled cooking spray. Insert a sprig of rosemary and a sprig of thyme between one or two of the slices on each potato. Season, and bake for 40-50 minutes until tender and golden.

Step 2
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and spray with calorie controlled cooking spray and add the shallots/onion. Cook gently for about 5 minutes, adding a little water to the pan if they start to colour or stick. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the mustard powder before stirring in the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the grainy mustard. Leave to stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir a little of the hot sauce into the yoghurt. Add the yoghurt mixture and parsley to the mushroom sauce and season to taste, cover and set aside while you cook the pork steaks. If you need to reheat the sauce, take care not to boil or it might split.

Step 3
Rub the crushed peppercorns into the pork steaks along with a little salt. The steaks can now either be cooked on a BBQ, or a ridged grill pan, or under a hot grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side, until just tender.

Step 4
Serve immediately with the potatoes, mushroom sauce and steamed spring vegetables (e.g. baby carrots, leeks, courgettes, peas, long beans) or mixed salad. 

We had this tonight and it was so tasty! I'm not really a fan of mustard at all, but the mushroom sauce was perfect and there's a touch of a taste of the mustard, but nothing overpowering. I also really love the general flavour of the mushroom sauce, the parsley in particular was lovely. The pork loin steaks were really yummy with the seasoning, and the potatoes we much better than I expected, although next time I may add a touch more seasoning. Overall it's a new recipe learnt, and a delicious recipe at that! Now to decide on recipe two and three for me to try this week, too! Keep an eye on my Instagram where I'll be sharing the other two recipes I decided to give a try, later in the week. Will you be taking up Challenge Two of #StepintoSummer? 

Weight Watchers Simple Start Hamper
Just like last week, Challenge Two is accompanied by a fantastic giveaway from the lovely team over at Weight Watchers. This week you can win a hamper full of Simple Start goodies, giving you everything you need to kick-start your Simple Start journey (read more about Simple Start here

All you have to do to enter this week's giveaway is either a) tweet a picture of one of the recipes you decide to give a try, using the #StepintoSummer hashtag or b) tell Weight Watchers how you're getting on with this weeks challenge over on Facebook by tagging @WeightWatchersUK and using the #StepintoSummer hashtag! 

Don't forget you can keep up with Weight Watchers, the #StepintoSummer challenge and everything Simple Start over on the Weight Watchers Twitter, Weight Watchers Facebook, Weight Watchers Pinterest and Weight Watchers Google+! You can also check out the latest sign up offers over on the Weight Watchers website!

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*This post is part of the #StepintoSummer campaign for Weight Watchers UK. Food was provided by Weight Watchers UK for me to complete the recipe above. All thoughts and views are my own. For more information, please see my disclaimer