24 September 2014

Recipe: Slimming World Rice Pudding

Sometimes you just need a big bowl of the warm creamy comfort food that is rice pudding.

When you're trying to eat healthily and lose weight, you would think that rice pudding would be off the menu. Think again. If you make it yourself, from scratch, you can make it without sugar or even milk.

There is one rice pudding recipe doing the rounds at Slimming World where you cook pudding rice in diet cream soda to make a rice pudding. This used to be free on Slimming World, but it is now considered a "tweak".

There are lots of tweaks in Slimming World. People tweak the plan by combining free foods to make other foods. Eventually Slimming World catch on and allocate syn values to these foods (you can have between 5 and 15 Syns per day). Fair enough. You're only kidding yourself if you think you can lose weight if you eat your own body weight in - for instance - cooked lasagne sheets (free), coated in spray oil (also free) and baked in the oven. They're kind of like Doritos, but they're not a filling healthy meal. Tweaks are essentially free foods, but you're not eating them as intended, so they are given a Syn value. Pudding rice is a free food, but rice pudding (made with milk or diet drinks) is not.

I've made the cream soda rice pudding and it's okay. One day I realised I didn't have enough cream soda to make it, so I improvised and came up with a new method that is just as delicious and - most importantly - SYN FREE*.

*The small print. My recipe could be considered a tweak (although after a Google search I can't find an official statement by Slimming World about it), UNLESS you make it part of a food-optimised meal, i.e. one third of the meal is Super-Free. I'm yawning just typing this. In a nutshell - I think - if you have a plenty of veg on your plate for your dinner you can have this as a pudding if you serve it with fruit. Whatever. You don't really care about all that, you just want me to tell you how to make my rice pudding.

Sandy's Recipe for Slimming World Rice Pudding

Serves 4
Takes 20-30 minutes


  • 6oz Pudding Rice (usually found in the baking aisle of the supermarket)
  • 1 litre cold water
  • Artificial Sweetener (to taste)
  • Flavourings (we'll come to that later)


  1. Put the rice, water and sweetener in a large saucepan and stir
  2. Bring to the boil
  3. Cook for 20-25 minutes
  4. Stir occasionally, gradually reducing the heat down to a gentle simmer 
  5. The rice pudding is ready when almost all of the liquid is absorbed by the rice
  6. You can serve it warm or cold


This is where you can be a little creative.

I sometimes add a few drops of custard, banana or buttery caramel flavouring to my rice pudding. I love Lakeland Natural Flavours (usually £3.99, but currently on offer - buy one, get one half price). I was just getting the link for you when I saw two new flavours: mulled wine and Christmas pudding. Oh my.

Lakeland Natural Flavours also work well mixed into that other Slimming World favourite, Quark.

If you like cinnamon in your rice pudding, add cinnamon. I can't think of anything more revolting, but it's your rice pudding.

I also like to stir through a teaspoon  - who am I kidding? -  a tablespoon of jam (2 Syns). Just like school dinners in the 1970's.

My other favourite is to add a heaped teaspoon of Options Belgian Chocolate powder to the cooked rice pudding while it's still in the pan (2 Syns-ish, that makes it approximately 1/2 a Syn per bowl).

Syn Free (probably) Slimming World Rice Pudding.

You're welcome.


10 September 2014

Anti Social Media

Enjoy this blast from the past while you're reading. All will become clear...

Over the summer holidays I unplugged. This post about turning off electronic devices and spending summer outdoors struck a chord with a lot of people. It was picked up by Child Psychiatry UK and was also Netmums' Blog of the Week.

We did have a good summer. The boys enjoyed soccer camp. We had days out at Gullivers, the Milton Keynes beach, Pirate Golf, soft play, local parks and friends' houses. We had a jolly week in Hunstanton and spent a very long, very full, weekend at my in laws. We saw my mum too. We celebrated birthdays. We got new shoes. Okay, that last bit wasn't fun, but you get the idea. We were busy. We got plenty of fresh air. I took my book into the garden, not my phone. I only did a tiny bit of work in the evenings.

Now the boys are back at school - Year 2, oh my - I have time to get back to my online life. I'm finding it difficult to come back. That first tweet, that first Facebook update, that first Instagram felt difficult. Does anyone else feel slightly uncomfortable after a social media break? Joining back in is a little daunting.

When I was young, the end of the summer holidays was signified by the arrival of the fair on our village park. My brother and I would watch from our bedroom window as the the waltzer and the dodgems arrived on the backs of brightly painted trucks. We'd shout down to Mum with minute by minute updates. We'd go back to school on the Wednesday and the fair opened that night. We'd go for a look round then, to see what was there. We would usually go properly on the Thursday night, holding a handful of 10 pence pieces. I can smell the onions cooking, see the red, blue, orange, green and yellow flashing light bulbs, feel the force of the rickety rides and hear 'Feels Like I'm in Love' by Kelly Marie, like it's yesterday. We'd come home with our friends, holding a half-dead goldfish, a battered bag of candy floss and a half-eaten toffee apple.

Now the end of summer is marked by a back to school blaze of photographs of children in their too big school jumpers, stood outside front doors. Pinterest is full of autumn crafts, Halloween nonsense, bonfire toffee recipes and Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. And don't get me started on the Ice Bucket Challenge. It's all a bit too look at me in your face for me (apart from the back to school photographs, I love those).

Last year September to December flew by as I fitted in preparing for my family Christmas, with PTA duties and my freelance work. It's a busy time, but I want to enjoy the run up to Christmas this year. I want to have time to decorate the house, make cards, decorations, wreaths and gingerbread houses without feeling like I'm up against it all the time, like it's a chore, a job to get ticked off the endless to do list. Something has to give, and I now know what it is. My online life.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post called What is the Point of Social Media? Revisiting it today I realise that I still feel that way. I'm not that active online, although I can spend hours quietly nosing around blogs and bloggers, news websites and Pinterest. I often feel like this is wasted time, when I could be more productive. Perhaps it's time to keep the laptop closed more often and for longer?

Is is just me? Am I just being anti-social?

Do you have the balance right? I'd love to know how you do it.


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