Tag Archives: diet

Bilbo & Lady

Bilbo & Lady

Bilbo & Lady refuse to discriminate. They wish everyone a Merry Christmas regardless of how many legs you have and whether you do or do not have a tail. They hope everyone gets to eat gluttonously well without waking up with a tummy ache.

Love,

Bilbo & Lady xxoo

PS Lady is hoping Santa will still leave her a treat. She says that she’s been “naughty and nice” but does that matter? Don’t they sort of cancel each other out?

Lady has also repented a long list of crimes.

She is sorry for:

1) Eating Mummy’s Chocolate and Orange Muffin when she answered the door.

2) Stealing the fresh Turkish Delight out of the pantry and eating all but the last piece.

3) Eating a whole packet but 4 of Arnott’s Assorted Cream Biscuits.

4) Stealing lasagne.

5) Digging tunnels to China in the backyard.

6) Chasing Bilbo’s tennis ball and not giving it back.

Bilbo still isn’t sorry for barking at the postman even though he’s heard rumours that he really is Santa after all and those packages he drops off are actually presents not something menancingly dangerous. He isn’t sorry for barking at anybody who kidnaps the kids and takes them off in their car…even if they bring them back in the afternoon.

Lady's t-shirt reads: "Santa, define naughty!

Lady’s t-shirt reads: “Santa, define naughty!

 

White Chocolate Rocky Road

Last Christmas, my aunt made this irresistible White Chocolate Rocky Road. She also made this thing called Reindeer Bark where she recycles all those dreaded Christmas candy canes crushing them up and sprinkling the coloured gems over the top of the melted milk chocolate “bark”. She’s like the Christmas Lolly Fairy… a dazzling Pied Piper attracting anyone with a sweet tooth. Don’t tell her this but I’m pretty sure this is why she’s so popular with the wee folk!!

Anyway, last Christmas along with the delectable treats my cousin “the chef” brought from work, I was completely lead astray by the Christmas Lolly Fairy and her platter of White Chocolate Rocky Road, especially when she whispered: “I only use the good Turkish Delight, you know!” Ah! If you have tried the real thing you never forget it. It’s that gooey rose-scented stuff which still sticks to your fingers and everything it touches despite a dusting of “snow”.

Of course, in the great tradition of family recipes, my aunt had thrown the ingredients together and gave me a list of ingredients bt then I was on my own. Potentially facing an absolute disaster using ingredients you don’t want to waste, it’s times this when you yearn for The Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks with their legendary Test Kitchen where everything is tried three times before getting their expert seal of approval to go into print. This means they’re convinced that recipe is absolutely fail proof and just like The Titanic…unsinkable!!

Only use this authentic, fresh, rose-scented Turkish Delight!

Only use this authentic, fresh, rose-scented Turkish Delight!

After two goes, I was happy with the results. I must stress that you must use the gooey fresh rose-scented Turkish Delight as that is the key feature of this White Chocolate Rocky Road. While this recipe hasn’t been tried and tested in the Australian Women’s Weekly Test Kitchen, it has certainly passed muster here more than 3 times…especially with my husband who loves white chocolate!

It might be getting too late to make this for Christmas Day, although judging by the crowds at the supermarket Geoff encountered today and the greeting from the guy at the checkout: “Welcome to Hell”, I’m not the only one doing some last minute baking. My excuse is that I like everything to be fresh. Anyway, even if you don’t get it made before Christmas, it’s will make a wonderful treat for the Holidays.

By the way, not that I mean to pick on our puppy the inimitable Lady, but I caught her eating the fresh Turkish Delight the other day. That’s right. The greedy pup had eaten an entire try of Turkish Delight. I’m pretty sure she had accidently or very cleverly knocked the Turkish Delight out of the pantry while wagging her tail. She wags her tail a lot and is a very happy little dog but she’s also an accomplished food thief. I no longer give her the benefit of the doubt. She is usually guilty as charged.

Ingredients

600g melted good quality white chocolate

1.5 cups rice bubbles

1.5 cups roasted Macadamia Nuts

1 cup desiccated coconut

1.5 cups white marshmallows

Fresh rose-flavoured Turkish Delight (use your discretion)

Directions

  1. Line a lamington tin with baking paper.
  2. Snip the marshmallows in half with a clean pair of scissors and put to one side.
  3. Break white chocolate up into pieces. Place in a large microwave-proof bowl and melt on high for 1 minute and stir. It may need extra time. Check the chocolate for further instructions.
  4. Cool a little.
  5. Add rice bubbles, macadamia nuts, marshmallows and coconut to melted chocolate. You might want to chop the macadamias but personally, I like the large chunks of nut.
  6. Chop the chunks of Turkish Delight roughly into four and carefully fold through the white chocolate mix. The Turkish Delight is quite gooey and you want it to spread a little throughout the mix but not get lost.
  7. Refrigerate and cut into squares using a warm knife (pour boiling water into a mug and dip the knife in after each use and wipe dry.
  8. Keep refrigerated. It tastes best when it is served at room temperature and has been left out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving. In Australia, our summers can get incredibly hot, so it also depend on your conditions.

Enjoy! Wishing you love and Blessing this Christmas and throughout the New Year!!

Xx Rowena

Christmas 2014.

This is my piece!

This is my piece!

Recycling the School Jam Sandwich

Despite the stories of starving children in Africa and “waste not, want not”, our kids stubbornly refuse to eat their school lunches.After even more full lunchboxes arrived home, this time with sandwiches made using my own homemade strawberry jam which was just  oozing with lusciously plump delectable fruit, I became desperate. I could not… I would not… throw them out.

Somehow, they had to be eaten!

I'm getting sick of the sight of these full lunchboxes arriving home again completely untouched. What is it going to take to get my children to eat?

I’m getting sick of the sight of these full lunchboxes arriving home again completely untouched. What is it going to take to get my children to eat?

You see, I hate waste…particularly food waste.

For awhile there, I dutifully fed their sandwiches to the dog and I swear he could pick a lunchbox from space. Code-named “Garbage Guts”, he simply doesn’t stop eating.

Walking with the dog

Out trying to walk off more than a few kilos worth of school lunches. Bilbo alias Garbage Guts just can’t say “no”.

But there’s waste and then there’s waistline. Unfortunately for the dog, avoiding waste on my part meant he packed on the kilos. After getting slammed by the vet, there were no more sandwiches for the dog.

Yet, I still hated the thought of throwing out perfectly good sandwiches spread with lashings of my home-made strawberry jam so I decided to take up Bob the Builder’s environmental challenge to “reduce, reuse, recycle” and came up with this little invention:

Jam Sandwich Bread & Butter Pudding

Ingredients

6 eggs

4 tablespoons castor sugar

2 teas vanilla essence

1140 ml (2 pints) full cream milk

Cinnamon

125g or ½ cup blueberries or sultanas

4 jam sandwiches, crusts removed

Spreadable butter

Directions

  1. Pour milk into a large mixing bowl and heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, using a medium-sized bowl, crack in the eggs. Add sugar and vanilla essence. Beat together lightly with a fork or hand-beaters.
  3. Add the egg mix to warmed milk gradually and stir to combine evenly.
  4. Pour into a shallow, ovenproof dish.
  5. Sprinkle blueberries or sultanas evenly over the surface.
  6. Turn oven onto 180° C and grease a shallow, ovenproof dish.
  7. Now to prepare the sandwiches. Using a bread knife, cut the crusts off the sandwiches. Pull the sandwiches apart. They need to have plenty of jam and I prefer my homemade version which contains large, juicy pieces of fruit so you might want to add some extra butter and jam.
  8. Crusts
    Crusts
  9. Arrange the pieces of bread over the top of the custard and they’ll float across the top like boats.
  10. Add a few bits of butter on top of the bread if desired.
  11. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  12. Carefully place the dish inside a baking tin with enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the dish. This is called a water bath. See note below.
  13. Bake in a moderate oven at 180° C (160° C fan-forced) for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to moderately slow oven to around 160° C (140° C fan-forced) and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until set. My oven timer broke sometime ago so cooking times are an approximate science for me.
  14. Serves 8.
The pudding baking in the oven.

The pudding baking in the oven.

Obviously, while this approach worked well with jam sandwiches and could be adapted to include the honey sandwich, obviously it really isn’t an option for your leftover Vegemite or peanut butter sandwiches. Yet, where there’s a will, there’s a way. It looks like I’ve just set myself my next food challenge.

Enjoy!

Xx Rowena

Note: Why do you bake custard in a water bath?

Baking your custard pudding in a water bath is your best insurance against curdled custard. You see, although you set the oven temperature to 180° C ,the egg proteins which thicken the custard, set below 212°F.This means that unless these egg proteins are protected from the high heat of the oven, they’ll overcook and tighten or shrink, causing your custard to crack or separate into curdled egg and liquid. A water bath insulates custards from the direct heat of the oven because the water can’t exceed 212°F, unlike the air in a 350°F oven. Without a water bath, the outside of your dessert would also overcook before the centre is done. Moreover, in a water bath, you have more time to bake your custard to the perfect degree of doneness.

The Greatest Discipline Challenge

Is it fair to punish your children for committing the very same crimes you committed as a child? Wouldn’t that make you the very worst of sinners…a hypocrite? Or, as a parent and the ultimate role model, guide and police person for your child, do you simply keep your secrets secret and apply the strong arm of the law regardless? Hard liners would also argue that if your child shares your weakness, then you really need to be firm and stamp out that undesirable behavior to help them overcome their genetic heritage.

I confess that I’m a bit stumped and am not really sure how to proceed.

You see, my child is guilty of stealing. Not from the local shop or anything sinister like that. My son has been sneaking chocolate biscuits out of the pantry. Actually, his sister has too. That means both my children are thieves and if I followed the letter of the law, they would both be condemned… sentenced to time out for the term of their natural lives. Convicts were sent to Australia for far lesser crimes such as stealing a loaf of bread. My kids are eating my Tim Tams and that should be a capital offense… if only I wasn’t going to be heading to the gallows with them!!

Although it is my house and I paid for the Tim Tams, I shouldn’t be eating them either. The Tim Tams with all their layers of chocolate temptation might be masquerading as my very best friends understanding my deepest and most crushing emotional needs, but I know better. They are not friends at all. They are the serpent in the Garden of Eden looking ever so good but are trying to lead me astray.

That said, I’m not saying that I can’t eat Tim Tams all. Moderation is fine.  They are a sometimes food and if I can only be strong and keep that sometimes sometimes, I can have my Tim Tam and eat it too. That’s one Tim Tam…not two, three or even the entire packet. Tim Tams are very, very hard to resist especially when they get a little warm in summer and the chocolate gets  a bit melty and they just squish in your mouth. Hmm!

For the initiated, there is also the Tim Tam explosion where you dip your Tim Tam in your coffee and use it as a straw and the whole thing becomes so gooey, chocolatey and irresistible just before it drops into your mug.

Anyway, I’ve deviated again. I was supposed to be talking about my antics as a child although I guess you can see that maturity hasn’t cured my chocolate tooth.

When I was growing up and particularly when I was in high school at an age when I really did know better, I used to “find” my mother’s chocolate stash and eat whatever I’d found. These weren’t just a few squares of Cadbury Dairy Milk either. Mum used to buy these special hazelnut clusters from the cafe made from special, dark chocolate. There were also Ferrero Rochers. I also remember sneaking Nutella by the spoonful out of the fridge. I was a bad, bad girl and as you can see, I’m still not sorry!

As a teenager, I never considered my mother’s feelings at all!! I’d found the chocolates, they were mine. All mine! I didn’t consider that maybe she’d felt like a chocolate with her cup of tea before she went to bed. It never crossed my mind that she might need an emotional pick-me-up at the end of her day? Oh no! Mum and I were waging a war. She wanted me to lose weight and I only had eyes for chocolate. This was more than a game of cat and mouse. It was a battle. In her efforts to outmaneuver me, Mum found new places or hidey holes to hide her stash. However, she often forgot where she’d put it and I found it first. You see, I had great perseverance!

DSC_3708

I must tell you that all this writing about chocolate hasn’t been good for my resolve. I’ve just indulged in a Ferrero Rocher. They are just magic!

So if I am a chocolate thief from way back, am I in a position to punish my children for the very same crime? I don’t want my kids to believe they can get away with stealing but I find it difficult to punish them.

I have considered not having any chocolate or lollies in the house. This is one approach to the problem but that isn’t teaching them restraint or manners. I would let them have the occasional Tim Tam but not every day and not before school. I also believe that it’s important for the kids to understand boundaries and that other members of the family, even their mother, have needs too that need to be respected. Letting them get away with stealing the chocolate isn’t teaching them that.

That said, what is getting away with it? I’ve told them off but I couldn’t think about what to put in time out and I doubt the kids would have gone into time out. They usually don’t do what I say. I have also been really tired lately. My prednisone dosage dropped down to 15mg this week, which is great news but my artificial energy source has gone and after being so pumped up, I am feeling particularly flat. It is hard to follow through with the kids when I just feel like going to sleep.

The Giving Tree

I have a very good book called The Giving Tree by Shel Silberstein and I read that to them the other night and at least our daughter got it. The little boy keeps taking from the tree until there is nothing left. This is a story with no happy ending. The tree dies.  I explained to the kids that they can’t take and take and take until Mummy and Daddy have nothing left. It applies to Tim Tams but it also applies to love. As parents, we need to feel loved and a bit spoilt by our kids just like they need to be loved and feel loved by us. When we are giving them so much, it is so easy to feel drained and our love tanks need to be topped up too. We can’t run on empty.

It is up to us as parents to put some boundaries in place so that we actually have something left for ourselves but as our kids get older, they also need to put other members of the family first at times and be considerate, decent human beings who will be valued, considerate members of our community.

For better or worse, that begins at home  although I’m still not really sure how to tackle the chocolate. Any ideas?

xx Rowena

Wickedly Sweet…my cupcake awakening!

You want me! I know you want me! I know just how much you want me! Take me! I’m yours!

Those damn cupcakes were calling me. Whispering sweet nothings at me and I was quite powerless to resist. The temptation…all that temptation was all too much. I succumbed. Not just once but twice. A greedy little glutton without any willpower whatsoever, I had two cupcakes and I didn’t even care if someone else missed out. I needed my fix! I was a woman possessed!!

Eating two little cupcakes is hardly a crime but that all depends on the context.

You see, I was at a business lunch.  Just before lunch, I’d shot my mouth off to a colleague about all my great health goals and objectives. I’ve lost ten kilos this year. You can achieve a lot of things but losing weight is almost the Holy Grail. Then, as everybody knows, there’s the battle to keep it off…to somehow maintain the rage. That’s where I’m struggling at the moment.  So far, I’ve been able to sneak in a few treats and get away with it but I could always lose more. Also, horror of horrors, I could always put the weight back on!

Whatever else happens, I certainly don’t want to go backwards. I’ve even thrown out all my old fat clothes and have drawn a very determined line in the sand.

I am a new woman.

Yet, there I was stuffing my face full of cupcakes. With my all-important credibility and self-respect hanging around my ankles like a pair of saggy, baggy undies with broken elastic, I had well and truly shifted gears from winner to loser and I knew it. But did that stop me? No, I still went ahead and ate that second cupcake.

Why did I do it? Why was I so weak-willed…especially in such a public situation?

I don’t know. I’m not a bad person. I don’t smoke. I’m not an alcoholic and I don’t do illegal drugs. I’ve never shoplifted and I’ve certainly never left my kids in the car while I’ve gone to the casino. I don’t really pig out either but those little things I’d given up are sneaking back in. They’re only small but it’s a bit like joining up the dots. They all add up, creating something big and rather scary in the end.

But you’d think that when my health is so precarious, I could stop at one cupcake. I have such a huge incentive for staying on track. You’d think that I’d be able to give up cake, chocolate and sweets without a second thought. Eating junk food when you’re battling a health issue is so ridiculously stupid like smoking in front of your obstetrician when you’re pregnant. It’s a no brainer and yet, I persistently persist.  “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence!!”  I just wish I could harness this persistence for good instead of evil!

After all, I’ve had the wake up call. It’s now time to get out of bed. Burst out of my cocoon. Get moving! But who hasn’t pressed the snooze button, ignored the alarm and gone back to sleep? Who hasn’t heard the alarm beeping again and again and again but left it to the very last minute to get up?  I’m only human but this sort of thinking isn’t going to help. Instead, I need to find some seriously superhuman willpower… tough love even!

So if I know all of this why can’t I just go ahead and do it?

I would like to blame the devil or even the cupcakes for leading me astray but the bottom line is that it’s me. I am my own worst enemy. I am constantly shooting myself in the foot. Indeed, my feet are so riddled with bullet holes, they look like Swiss cheese. I could even eat them on toast.

This was a bit of a revelation because I certainly like to think of myself as a “good person” and my enemies as being external not an insider and certainly not myself!

We have a really horrible neighbour who is probably my only “enemy”. He is what I describe as a nasty piece of work, specialising in intimidation. I just see him and feel horrible. Yet, as much as he drives me crazy, I have to admit that I’ve done more to hurt myself than he has ever done. He isn’t the one making me self-destruct. That’s me. I am doing that to myself and bringing myself down. I can’t tell you how creepy and uncomfortable this makes me feel.  I don’t like it. I really don’t like it at all!  This new perspective could actually be the thing that changes me once and for all!

But how is this all going to change? How can I convert good intentions into lasting, meaningful results?

The first step, of course, is just to get started and so far, I’m cruising. You see, the morning after the cupcake incident, I caught a very nasty gastro bug from the kids and was sick for about four days. I was very, very ill and feverish and obviously couldn’t eat. As bad as it sounds, I couldn’t help thinking that this terrible bug might be just the thing to get me back on track. Yet, when it comes to developing more willpower, being too sick to eat doesn’t count! I need to work at it.  So in a sense I’m ahead but the reality is that I’m still just as behind as ever.

Lasting change is going to take some serious effort.I also need to plan. Be strategic. Identify my strengths and weaknesses and be prepared.

Alternatively, I could just say “no”. That would be a novel concept.

The trouble is that I’ve now spent most of my available time blogging instead of doing. This could be interpreted as a more sophisticated form of procrastination or perhaps a terminal case of paralysis through analysis. Yet, even though I’ve missed my walk and managed to do nothing, I’m looking on the bright side. I’ve been too busy typing to eat and surely all of  this typing and thinking have burnt off something?!!

Stay tuned… the battle plans are coming. In the meantime…

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

 Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu

Hmm… I wonder if blogging about it counts?

In the meantime, at least I now know who to watch out for.

It’s Me, Myself and I!

xx Rowena