Slimming World Friendly Mixed Bean Stew

This mixed bean stew is versatile and free on the extra easy plan. It's another meal where I use whatever I have to hand. So don't worry if you have to improvise, that's my type of cooking! Just to warn you, it makes a lot so use a large pan with a lid.

1 large chopped onion
2 leeks shredded
3 chopped peppers
2 chopped carrots
1 chopped courgette
Tin of chopped tomatoes
500g passatta
3 tbsp of tomato puree
3 tins of beans - I used chick peas, black eyed peas and adzuki, but you can have any combination
3 tbsp of mixed herbs
3 crushed garlic cloves
3 tbsp of Worcester sauce
2 beef stock cubes (or you can use vegetable stock)
Couple good glugs of balsamic vinegar


  • Put the onions in the pan with enough water to cover the bottom and cook until softened, takes about 5 minutes
  • Add all the chopped up vegetables, balsamic vinegar and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Chuck in all the other ingredients, plus about 200ml of water (I usually half fill the empty tin from the tomatoes and use that) Stir and simmer with the lid on the pan for about 30 minutes. 
  • The stew should be thick and glossy, if it isn't thick enough for you, continue simmering for another 10 minutes with the lid off.
  • Season to taste and serve! 

I like it in a huge bowl with a big spoon! MrC enjoys it with a chunk of bread to wipe up the gravy. You can try it stuffed in a wholemeal pitta, or on a baked potato, or with rice or over pasta (with a little cheese ??! ) or maybe all of them if you're good with leftovers! It makes a lot! I've got my eye on some which I'm planning to use to stuff red peppers and then bake.

Oh, and if you like it spicy, try adding some chilli, beautiful! 

Beef Casserole Recipe - Slimming World Syn Free!

This is a delicious, warming and easy recipe for beef casserole. I'm not very good at following recipes myself, I tend to not weigh anything unless I have to or forget to buy an ingredient here or there. Whoops! So this one, although my own, is to be used as a guide. Go with what you fancy (or have in the fridge!)

It's Syn Free on Slimming World's Extra Easy plan. Pack it full of vegetables if you want to and/or serve with extra vegetables and get food optimising.

500g of stewing beef
1 large chopped onion
4 carrots, sliced
4 or 5 large handfuls of fresh washed spinach
Beef stock made with 2 stock cubes (about a litre I think)
1 minced clove of garlic (or 1 large tbsp of garlic granules/powder) If you haven't got a mincer, bash it around a bit with the back of the knife and chuck it in.


  1. Dry fry the beef in a hot pan until all browned. 
  2. Set the meat aside, drain out any fat from the pan, but leave the brown bits.  Add the chopped onions to the pan and add a little water (just enough to cover them) Soften the onions, making sure all the lovely brown bits from the beef are dislodged from the bottom of the pan. These will give your casserole a lovely flavour.
  3. Once softened, add the beef you'd set aside earlier, sliced carrots and minced garlic (or granules/powder) and add enough stock to cover the ingredients in the pan.
  4. Bring everything up to boil, turn the pan down, add the lid and simmer for about 60 minutes. Stir occasionally and if needed add more water.
  5. Five minutes before serving, check and see if it needs any salt or pepper. I tend to season at the end, especially when using stock cubes as they can be very salty.
  6. Once seasoned, add the spinach leaves and stir through.
  7. Voila! 

The casserole can also be cooked in the slow cooker or oven. 

Slow Cooker
Brown the meat and cook the onions as directed, add all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Add a little less stock and only check it once about half way through. Did you know every time you lift the lid on your slow cooker, you should add 20 minutes to the cooking time? Stir the spinach in 25 minutes before serving.

For the oven, follow points 1 to 3, then transfer into a casserole dish. Put in the oven with a lid for 60 to 90 minutes at 190 degrees. Stir the spinach leaves in 5 minutes before serving.

Can be frozen, just leave the spinach leaves out and add when its reheated.

Served with rice or potatoes and a portion or three of vegetables, whatever takes your fancy. Would also be great over a baked potato.


Try adding some extra herbs or chilli to spice it up
At the end, you an always add a dollop (technical term) of fromage frais to make a lovely creamy gravy. (this will add a couple of Syns though)
Worcester sauce or mustard powder can also be added to give the casserole added depth of flavour and taste. 

Experiment, find what you like. That's what makes cooking fun! 

Photo A Day Challenge - Week 3 Round Up

Phew,  21 whole days and I'm still here, posting an image which fits the prompt set by Chantelle over at Fat Mum Slim. Never thought I would stick to it..... or enjoy it quite so much.

I'm finding it's helping me focus on the photography, whether that's taking it or finding an image in my archive, and to think outside the box about the normal pictures I would take.

The images on the Facebook page. which people post to, are just inspiring and I can lose hours looking through them.I t's a closed group, but you can request to join, just search for 'FMS Photo A Day'

Here's my round up for the week.

There's a mix of staged images and quick candid shots taken with my iPhone.

I post regularly on my other blog, FayC Glass Half Full Depiction, if you'd like to see more images and descriptions to go with these prompts.

And if this inspires you to give the challenge a go, take a look at Chantelle's Blog for details. You don't have to do a full month or even a week. You can post up when you want to, there's no pressure.  quality and type of image is wide and varied, from the quick snap on the phone to something beautifully edited with Photoshop.

So if you're looking for a distraction, due to say illness or wanting to take you mind off snacking (yup, thats me!) to improve your photography skills, or just try something different, then what's stopping you from giving it a go?

Meal Planning Monday 20th January #MealPlanningMonday

Meal Planning Monday

This week's menu looks like this
  • Baked potato, beans and cheese (Cheese as HE)
  • Liver and onions, with carrot and suede mash with vegetables (Syn free)
  • Pork, rice and beans (Syn free)
  • Pork casserole with potato and vegetable (Syn free)
  • Bean bolognaise with carrot & courgette tagliatelle (Syn free)
  • Stuffed peppers with bacon and rice

Am pleased to say I didn't throw any food away last week. Every last scrap was used up, nothing was wasted. I'm pretty good at using up food but there's usually something which ends up in the bin. Let's see how I get on with this menu and food shop.

Fingers crossed I've lost a pound or two when I weigh in later too. 

Don't forget to check in for more meal planning inspiration over at Mrs M's. Click the image at the top of the post.

Take care and have a great week! 

Photo A Day Challenge - Week 2 Round Up


Week two completed and I think I've made a few Facebook friends as well. Thoroughly enjoyed this week's prompts. I even set up four of the images to fit rather than resorting to archived pictures, so feeling very pleased with myself.

The prompts were

8: Lucky Number
9: Natural
10: Manmade
11: Looking Down
12: Colourful
13: Makes Me smile
14: Three Things

What do you think?

Meal Planning Monday - 13th January #MealPlanningMonday

Meal Planning Monday

Really enjoyed last week's menu and hopefully when I weigh in later, I'll be able to report a loss because of it. The paprika pork was amazing and I'm having it again, but with chicken, if that makes sense. I'm cheating a little though. Last week I used the Sunday roast to make a couple of meals, which was very cost effective, so thought I'd do that again. So at the time of posting, I'll have already had the roast chicken! Hope you don't do me under the trades description act.

Onto the plan

Roast Chicken, potato and vegetables - Syn free
Paprika Chicken - Syn free
Leek and Potato Soup - Syn free
Butternut Squash Risotto with green vegetables - Syn free
Tomato Beef Burgers with rice and vegetables - Syn free
Liver & Onions with Mash and Cabbage - Syn free
Slimming World Chips, Eggs and Mixed Beans - Syn free

Just realised it's all Syn free! Fabulous. Plenty left for snacks! 

Lunches will be left overs or savoury rice and porridge with fruit for breakfast (which I must admit am loving more than I thought I would)

And if you're wondering what tomato beef burgers are its a meal I've picked up somewhere. I'll post the recipe later this week, please check back.

There you go, sorted. 

Don't forget to check out other meal plans with At Home with Mrs M. Click the badge at the top of the page to get yourself there.

Update at 1500 YAY!!!!! 4lbs off. Last weeks plan really worked!

Photo A Day Challenge - Week 1 Round Up

Set myself a challenge for January of joining in with #FMSPhotoADay. 'What's that?' I hear you say. Well, it's just what it says on the tin. You're given a prompt for each day and take a photograph which fills the brief.

If you want more details go and take a look at Fat Mum Slim's page here.

I tried to do this last year and failed, so I can't quite believe I've managed a whole week already. I want to learn how to use my camera and this is really helping: it keeps me looking out for great pictures to take and generally just have some fun while I'm doing it!

The Facebook page is brilliant, some wonderfully talented and generous people post from all over the world. The images are just mind blowing.

And I've also been posting them over on my other blog Glass Half Full Depiction, which was set up just for photography. But thought I'd give a weekly round up here.

Hope you like them! 

What do you think?

If you'd like to join in, give it a go, it's lots of fun

Meal Planning Monday 6th January 2014 #MealPlanningMonday

Meal Planning Monday

Well, here I am joining up with Mrs M's meal planning Monday, just like the old days. I may not have posted the meal plans, but I've still been doing them. 

They're still Slimming World friendly and I've a good feeling about 2014!

This week's plan, with some help from my Slimming World group friends, as I'm still suffering from a really bad cold and needed some inspiration, looks like this:-

  • Slimming World Tomato Soup (the one with pickled onions) Syn free
  • Beef Stew with Dumplings 10 syns (syn free if you leave out the dumplings)
  • Sweet and Sour Pork and rice 1 syn
  • Paprika Pork Syn free
  • Homemade Burger and Slimming World Chips and salad Syn free
  • Lamb chops, mash and vegetables Syn free

We'll be having the stew over two nights, once from the pot and again in the oven, with the dumplings like a cobbler. And yes, there's a lot of pork, but we had a large joint of it on Sunday and with there just the two of us, it'll keep us going.

Breakfast will be porridge made with water (which I actually love) and fruit. Lunches will be something from the leftovers of the evening before, so they could be interesting. I'm determined to waste as little food as possible and make things go further.

Don't forget to check out other meal plans over at Mrs M's and I'll check in next week and see if I've managed to actually lose some weight

It's the little things .......

......which make a big difference

You know, the small things someone special in your life does for you, which maybe inconsequential to anyone else, but mean the world to you. Here are my top 10 courtesy of MrC

  1. When the TV remote or my kindle needs charging, I can pass it over and know it'll be sorted
  2. Any IT queries? He's onto it, he's my very own helpline number
  3. Always available for wonderful foot rubs when the pin wielding fairies start.
  4. Organises the media centre, so all our music and films are available at the touch of button
  5. Knows what I need, before I even realise it and sorts it out
  6. Had the brilliant idea of having remote controlled sockets. So easy turning on cabinet lights now, rather than scrabbling behind, trying to find the switch.
  7. Something needs backing up/setting up? It's done, no need to worry about it
  8. Does all the research when buying new stuff, from the best washing machine to the right paint for the job
  9. Says the right things at the right time
  10. Just knows and gets me

I'm so lucky to live with my best friend, what more could a girl ask for? 

What little things do your loved ones do for you which make a big difference?