Wednesday, 4 January 2012

A Happy, Healthy New Year - Introducing The Complete Kitchen and giveaway

Happy New Year everyone! I thought long and hard and asked several questions before agreeing to review a diet cookbook on my blog. Mainly as you will have no doubt of I am sure - I love my food!
Also whilst being a not so secret cookbook fan, its not often I review them, and if I do I prefer to normally choose and do things a bit more organically. However I was intrigued by this particular book and agreed to have a bash at it! 

Firstly, I am not getting any younger - a big scary milestone approaches this year - gulp - and after a year of health issues that’s seen me verge from barely being able to eat and being underweight; to now having to physically restrain myself from the baked goods aisle, something needs to give! ...Its also been an emotional few months and I know that I’ve been comfort eating too a little too much.. my friend L knows that my chocolate addiction has a gotten a little out of hand..! 

Secondly I rarely cook for more than little old me now, which brings another issue of portion sizes! I am never particularly fond of wasting food so will often end up eating things for the sake of it. In addition I find cooking one single portion near impossible. When it comes to lunch, I am not very bread inclined, yet alone into sandwiches so for a long time I've been cooking extra for dinner etc but I am now finding I am eating two main meals a day, and the work trousers are feeling a wee bit tooo tight for comfort of late! 
In addition I work shifts, which are an excellent way to confuse your body as I eat at all different times. 

A few years back I had gained a couple of stone more than needed due to eating mainly too many sausage rolls from the dirty snack van whilst working in an office of nearly all men, and having an excellent Chinese takeaway around the corner, but then successfully with that old saying ‘diet and exercise’ I managed to get back to a healthy weight, and this is where I want to be again. Finding time to exercise is not easy (nor do dogdy knee’s!), life is pretty busy right now but I am moving house next week, to be closer to work and will be gaining a whole extra hour a day so no excuses! I also have a new bike and I am determined to get out on it come rain or shine! 

And so this brings me to introduce the new Weight Watchers book ‘The Complete Kitchen’, just launched which has the tagline of ‘The Ultimate guide to cooking the Weight Watchers way. This is a book aimed for those who enjoy their food and cook from scratch, like me but want to make some healthier changes, to either lose or maintain weight, and also in general be that little bit healthier. 

Over the past few years I have changed my cooking habits, I use a lot less oil and butter now, as you might have noticed in some of my recipes, (excluding of course the recent Amaretto Butterfly cakes!) choosing half fat crème fraiche instead of whole, using spray oil to cook with etc but with having like most, a busy lifestyle it can be a challenge at times to not only plan healthy meals but also to make them satisfying – there is no point in my eyes of eating something that leaves you underwhelmed, and therefore more likely to raid the biscuit tin afterwards! 

The Complete Kitchen book has a huge selection of recipes, with normal ingredients so no needing to buy anything weird and wonderful (unless of course you want too!) and if you ignore the pro-points logos splashed throughout you would think it was a ‘regular style’ of cookbook. I honestly have no idea how many you are supposed to do/ use (?), nor intention right now to start doing the ProPoints system but it is a handy guide to see what recipes are a bit more naughtier than others, allowing me to balance my meals a little better. 

For me personally the book will be a great start for the New Year to get back into a healthier way of eating. Once all the Christmas sweets are gone that is! I am starting fresh with near empty cupboards so can make a more concentrated effort! 

The book starts with some cooking know how’s such as frying onions with stock, rather than butter – something which I discovered a few years back and it’s a great way of not adding extra calories to a meal (and in my eyes leaves more calories to a bigger pudding!). Additionally it gives a list of store cupboard basics, how to organise your kitchen and a very useful list of roasting times. 

I must say on my first read through, I was pretty impressed with the book – I really like the clean, modern layout and how its split into sections including Soups, Salads and sandwiches; Weekend Suppers; The Modern Vegetarian and Sweet Endings. There really is something for everyone! Additionally the recipes also advise if they are freezeable – ideal for when I don’t want to cook from scratch everyday but at the same time don’t want to eat the same dish three days running! 

After going through the book, I had one main problem – I couldn’t decide what I wanted to make the most first! There were lots of tempting recipes that sound distinctly un-diet food including Roast Lamb with jewelled rice stuffing, Barley salad with gorganzola, Ricotta gnocchi, Autumnal Chicken stew, Apple and Cranberry traybake, Marbled meringues with chocolate mousse……and the list went on! However with moving house so soon, and a dreaded trip to the dentists coming up and also a short break coming up, I’ve decided to hold off testing a recipe immediately but once I am settled in I will let you know what I finally decided to make! 

In the meantime though I am very pleased to announce I have a copy of this book to giveaway to one UK based winner, simply enter via the below rafflecopter form and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great review, I'm always keen to hear about healthier food recipes, since I try to cook healthier to justify baking lots! Know what you mean on portion control; when I was at uni and cooking for one it was so difficult to get it right and I knew I was eating more than I should.

  2. This year I'm making an effort to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

  3. Well, Anne, like you I need to lose a few pounds or 10 and I've given myself till the end of March to do it. I haven't started in earnest yet but this book would certainly help.

  4. I am only seeing a stickers giveaway when I click on the link Anne

  5. Good luck with the weight loss Anne. I use cooking for others as an excuse not to be able to lose weight, so hopefully, with no-one else to consider you have a head start!

  6. One of my New Year resolutions is, as always, to eat more healthily and it sounds like this book would be a great help.

  7. My resolution is to declutter my home and my diet - so my kitchen cupboards are getting some serious scrutiny.

  8. Oh the usual eat less move more!


  9. last year's resolution was to learn Spanish,instead I lost weight.So this year I go for losing weight and hope to speak Spanish in the end.Adina

  10. To sell my house and move into a bungalow before my hubby retires at the end of this year

  11. Just came by to see your review of the book and found you had a giveaway too - bonus! Thank you x


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