aware.

Ok so I know this is the third (or fourth??) post in a row about food.  Can you tell it’s on my mind?  A friend made a good point when she noted how we feel when we’re told we can’t have something… It feels like it’s constantly on your mind.  what is it about the forbidden?

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What has really struck me though is not how much I’m thinking about food I’m trying to avoid (though I am thinking about it quite a lot) but how little I thought about the chocolate/cake/biscuits/crisps I was consuming when nothing was off limits.  It like it didn’t even register.  And when something doesn’t register, you can’t keep track and so it’s crazy easy to work your way through a giant bar of Dairy milk or a giant size bag of Walkers Sensations.  It’s just too easy to do it.

If nothing else this whole thing has made me so aware of what I am eating.  And how much I am eating.  I have this thing about being intentional.  I want to be intentional with my time. I want to be intentional with my money.  I want to be intentional with my relationships.  Because being intentional necessitates prior-thinking and care.  There’s no blagging it.  There’s no coasting. There’s no taking it for granted. So if I’m intentional with food then I’m thinking about it.  I’m caring about it. Not over thinking – there can be too much of a good thing – but just keeping everything on the radar.

Last night I broke off three triangles of toblerone and took them to bed with me (lets just say that there are some time’s when women need chocolate…).  Because I’ve stood back from all things that make me put weight on, this was a huge treat for me.  I was seriously apreciating it.  And in complete honesty I satisfied my longing for something sweet half way through the second triangle (you should have seen how slowly I was eating it).  Old habits die hard though and I continued nibbling away, finishing off that piece.  And I really regretted it! Honestly! Not because I thought I was going to hell for gluttony, but because I felt a little yuk.  That third triangle sat, in it’s foil, until I took it downstairs this morning.  A few weeks ago I would have eaten a good half of a big bar of toblerone without thought.

 

But I’m refusing to believe that that will be the only thing I take from this season of eating/thinking about food (can you tell I hate the word diet?!). There’s no specific deadline for my weight loss – there’s no event that I need to squeeze into a certain little black dress.  I don’t mind too much if it comes off slowly.  It just needs to come off.  By the grace of God no-one has congratulated me on my ‘baby bump’ – but I know that if I don’t flatten my midrif it’s going to happen sooner rather than later!

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I’m almost certain (you never know) that I won’t ever become a health-food fanatic. I’m not crazy about seeds and…..what else to healf-food fanatics eat? mushy green ‘smoothies’?  Plus, I just like chocolate and cake too much.  Meals wise I don’t mind sticking to the Slimming world plan completeley for the rest of my life.  For me, it’s everything in between.  I’ll never be able to give up sugar.  I kinda don’t want to, if I can make it a treat that I can really appreciate.  I mean could you imagine a world without Cupcakes or Marsbar cake?

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3 days.

Its been three days. Three whole days.

I think I’m having sugar withdrawal. Not that I’m a completely sugar free zone but the sugar levels have dropped mahoosive amounts.  You don’t really know how much you eat until you have to limit it.  And my body doesn’t like it. It’s missing the white stuff. If I wasn’t so determined to lose this extra weight I would have caved in by now and reached for some chocolate. Or baked a cake.  Here’s some things that have helped me to resist ransacking the ‘snack box’ so far: 

– I had a coffee. Even the making of the coffee kept my mind off what my body and my brain wanted, and then afterwards, I had something to hold in my hands.  This would kinda defeat the point if you have three sugars in your coffee. Thankfully, I’m ok with coffee-sans sugar.

– I got busy with work. Rather than procrastinate I threw myself into the list of jobs that needed to be done on the computer. I’m someone that becomes consumed with the task in hand so rather than dream of cream cakes, my mind was otherwise engaged.  Everytime my mind wandered to snacking I’d give myself just ‘one more’ job to do. 

– I picked up my Slimming world magazine and look at some success stories.  Some serious encouragement was needed and reading about people who had managed it made me feel I could do it too.  I think out of everything I tried, this was by far the most effective.  Distraction is great, but nothing beats a good dose of motivation.

I ate a salad and I liked it…

I have never been able to eat a salad.  I really can’t eat raw tomatoes so had visions of just leattuce and cucumber.  Hhhhhmmmm, not so appealing.  I had no problem with side salads with meals but could not understand how people could eat a salad as a meal in itself and be satisfied.  Seriously, boggled my mind.

But then I went to our local Harvesters Pub.  They have a free salad bar with main meals, so you take a bowl and fill up.  I dubiously walked over to it and it was like a light flicking on in my brain.  Could you really have this stuff in a salad? Baby potatoes? Grated carrot? Beetroot? Light mayonnaise? Crispy Onion? I know this will be old news for everyone but for me it was a revelation!  I stocked up my bowl with all these foods and took it back to my table.  I ate it.  Then I was kinda feeling a bit full.  Ok, really full, and I had fish and chips on the way.  Uh.

This was a little while back now it it was only just recently when we started to look at healthy eating that I said to The Husband “Hey, we could recreate the salad bar at home!”  So I went to Aldi and bought some cheap plastic clip-boxes and loaded up with salad-stuff that would curb the craving for not-so-healthy food (We have to be careful at home because we don’t want the girls thinking that any food is ‘bad’).

Today I was starving by midday so I took a plate to my fridge.  A couple of minutes later I chastised my eyes that are bigger than my belly.

 

 

This is not a side plate.  I looked at it and figured that I’d eat half of it and leave half to finish with dinner later.  Only I ate the whole thing.  The whole yummy, beautiful thing.  And man alive, I was full.  But full on really great stuff: Lettuce, Spinach, Cucumber, grated carrot, diced beetroot, wafer ham, cold baby potatoes, a drizzle of ‘lighter than light’ mayo and a sprinkle of crispy onion type things.  The only indulgent stuff on there was the mayo and crispy onion sprinkles and to be fair, there wasn’t much of it.

So, go me! I ate a salad and I liked it….

clean children, chocolate and empty living rooms

Phew! What a week.  The Husband took a work trip to the Isle of Man and so I needed to really pull it out the bag.  My mum was here for the first part so I was able to ease into my independent-I-can-totally-do-this mode.  And by the grace of God I did! I managed to keep the girls alive – no, more than that – I managed to keep them fed and clean moderately clean.  I do reckon though, the only way I’d ever survive single motherhood would be to go to bed at the same time as my girls.

Ordinarily I would have kept it low key with the plan to accomplaish the bare minimum.  However, I needed some shorts for my physio session this week because I needed to start working on the muscles in my legs.  Problem was that none of my shorts fit me anymore and clothes shopping is not quite as fun when you’ve put a load of weight on – but I had to do it – so I hit the shops before one of the school runs.  My purchase ended up bitter sweet; I found a really cute pair of shorts in GAP for £5.00 – yes £5.00(!!) but to get them over my thunder thighs I had to go up yet another clothes size.  Yey for the GAP bargain, booooooooooooooooooooooo for the bigger size.

If you’re read this blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a stereotypical yo-yo dieter.  At best I start great and lose weight like a champ but somewhere along the road I meet a doughnut.  At worst I meet the Donut the same day as I decide to diet.  And don’t scream at the screen that diets are wrong and that its all about healthy eating, because left to my own devices I will just eat the chocolate.

And having pulled out an old recipe for making the worlds best fudge to put up on my new foodie page I now have a tub full of the stuff in my fridge.

Next week will be so crazy though that even thinking about it is burning calories.  After months of hmmmmmmmms the living room will be prepped tomorrow and plastered on Monday.  That means we The Husband will be clearing the room today while I supervise.  No its ok, he really loves it…

rock buns

My mum’s been over to ours helping out with the girls while The Husband has been off gallivanting on the Isle of Man.  When I chat with my mum conversation often jumps all about the place – and somehow, I really can’t work out the conversation trail that lead up to it, we got onto talking about rock buns. 

These are not my rock buns – I’m way too lazy to go downstairs to get my camera and upload my photos.  image source: www.goodtoknow.co.uk

I’ve not made Rock buns since I was in high school.  It was about the only thing they taught us to make in food tech apart from a sandwich.  I kid you not.  I remember making a couple of batches at home too.  But then life happened and I forgot all about those little pieces of heaven.  Until yesterday when chatting with my mum!  So of course we had to make some just to see if they were as yummy scrummy as we remembered.  And indeed they were.

Rock buns, I think, are a mix of cake and biscuit – not as fluffy and light as a cake but not as crunchy/chewy as a biscuit.  On of the best things about them is that they are so so so easy to make.  The intentional shape of them lends itself perfectly to little hands, where uneven and messy ‘clumps’ of batter/dough on the baking sheet is not just acceptable but required.

The original recipe calls for raisins in the rock buns.  I replaced them with chocolate chips.

I used the Be-Ro recipe (you can find it at http://www.be-ro.com/recipe/showrec5.html) and for that you’ll need:

225 g (8 oz) Self Raising Flour

pinch salt

100 g (4 oz) margarine

75 g (3 oz) mixed dried fruit (I used chocolate chips – and I reckon they’d be amazing with nuts in too!)

25 g (1 oz) mixed peel (I didn’t use this)

50 g (2 oz) caster sugar

1 medium egg

milk to mix

 

Heat oven to 200ºC, 400ºF, Gas Mark 6. Grease two baking trays.

Mix the flour and salt, rub in the margarine.

Stir in the dried fruit, mixed peel and sugar.

Mix to a stiff dough with egg and milk.

Place in rough heaps on the baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Warning/Disclaimer – Please be aware that once you try this recipe your family, friends and your own taste buds will hound you for more, so do so at your own risk.  I take no responsibility for the financial cost of having to buy ingredients over and over again, nor will I take responsibility for weight gain caused by eating the rock buns by the batch when your loved ones are not looking.

 

 

 

 

 

today.

I have a couple of thought-filled posts coming together that may take a little while longer, but for now I need to acknowledge today’s little bits.  It mas no monumental day but nontheless a day I’d like to remember.  It’s ridiculously cliched but it’s all in the little things.

The Stewards and the Lewins’ drove over to Richmond.  It’s my very fabourite market town, an affection I’ve held since a school field trip when I was nine.  We didn’t get into the town centre (sigh) but went to a real jewel in the town’s crown – Richmond Station.  An old station that has been opened up as cafe, old-fashioned cinema and various artisans selling their ware.  From outside I was squashing my face up against the ice cream parlour’s window.

Please excuse the flash-induced reflection, I was too busy drooling to select the right camera settings.  But look at that ice-cream!

Walking in, a smell of fresh bread hits you and pulls you to the bakery and there’s a fudge shop that makes it’s fudge right there behind the counter, be still my beating heart.  It’s a brilliant concept that balances an astute buisness eye with a deep sense of community.  I love it.  I’ve not been to the cinema yet, but when I do you’ll know about it.

The Husband, the girls and The Grandad set off on a walk to Easby Abbey, and The Granny and I headed into old station.  Queueing up and eyeing up potential purchases left us spoilt for choice.

A. Mazing. We had to indulge our weakness for fresh cheese scones, with the full intention of going back for cake.  Armed with plates of deliousness and coffee I sat down with my mum to brainstorm a possible and very exciting project.

The scone was amazing and conversation very promising…! Our motley crew returned and I was so proud to hear that Ruby had walked the entire way.  The Husband reckons it was about 2 miles, Go Roo! That was definitely a call for a celebratory icecream.  For all of us.  I had Raspberry pavlova ice cream and it was awemsome.

Yes, that’s real raspberry in there.  If it wasn’t for Thunder and Lightning (more on that soon) this icecream would become a firm favourite. Chloe told me that they’d had an icecream at a different place each day of our holiday.  I wish that had originally been intentional – what a challenge to set yourself! It would be a shame not to continue with it.

The Station is very cool indeed.  If you’re passing, you must call in.  If you’re not passing, drive through the night if you have to, just go there.  You won’t be sorry.

We headed back via the Co-op for some basic food essentials.  It was going to be in and straight out but I was bemused to see a Dorothy perkins Sitting there at the end of the store.  It have been rude not to go and have a look.  And check out the clothes.  And peruse the Jewellry.  By this time The Husband and Roo had headed back to the car but Chloe stuck with me.  I saw a gorgeous chunky brass ring and pushed it on my finger to see if it would fit.  And it wouldn’t come off.  I’ve been in this sotuation before in Blackpool’s Marks and Spencers but after a minute or so it had come off.  This time the ring was not coming off.  There was just no movement at all.  And my finger was going purple.  I looked over to the counter and a lady was being served, that seemed to take forever.  Yes, even in a crisis my pride made me wait until no one else could see me.  When the counter was free I crept over to the girl behind the till.  She looked up and I just lifted my hand up.  “I’m sorry.  I’ll pay for the ring, but could you get it off for me?”  The girl went white and just kept repeating “Oh my goodness”.  She picked up the scissors but her nerves made her shake a little too much for my liking.  Unsuccessful she looked around for help.  She looked again at my finger and looked like she was going to pass out when she informed me it was starting to go blue.  I knew that already thanks, there’s not much else I could really look at right then.  She dashed off to find someone else and I grabbed the scissors.  Risking life and limb I hacked at the plastic strap that held the ring to the store card.  I just about got the tip of the scissors behind the strap, snapped it off and the ring fell free onto the counter.  As the girl came back with the cavalry I was waving the offending ring in the air proclaiming joyfully “It’s off! it’s off!).  She was so sweet and quietened my apologies.  You’d think I’d make a hasty exit but stayed another twenty minutes at the jewellry stand.

Oh I forgot to say that before we went for ice cream I bought a slice of Flapjack and a slice of Chocolate Brownie.  It’s all cut up into pieces in the kitchen and I’m practicing my self control to see how long it will last.  Don’t tell me Ma, she’s only next door and these cakes are supposed to be sharies. The Brownie is lovely but The flapjack is hands down the best Flapjack I’ve ever had (even Marks and Spencers! Am I allowed to say that?).  Perfect level of chewiness with a buttery aftertaste that makes it very difficult not to go straight back into the kitchen for another piece.

Challenge Rubbish Bin Update

It’s been going so well! I’m quite surprised.  Almost everything has been able to go in the fire or into the recycling bags.  It didn’t take long to notice that the bags didn’t include space for plastic, and that’s just silly in today’s age of plastice overload.  So we have a carrier bag with plastic containers that I refuse to put in the bin.  I’ll find somewhere for it.  I’m not going to expand on my thoughts much because you’ll be hearing more soon.

Phew.  All that in just a day.  I’ll sleep well tonight.

‘anti-diet’

Today I ate 6 chocolate chip cookies on the trot. I wore a t-shirt clearly too small for me.  I glared at myself in the mirror…Then ate another cookie.

Since christmas I’ve been kidding myself about my eating lifestyle.  But the reality is that when my back has hurt too much to walk around the kitchen, I’d grab something convenient.  ‘Convenient’ is nearly always junk food.  It doesn’t have to be but it nearly always is.  The husband, bless his soul, will jump right in and make dinner for us but it’ll be processed food we have lurking in the bottom of our freezer.

I’ve been a yo-yo diet victim for over five years since cutie-pie #1 came along and stretched my tummy to high heaven.  The husband says I look the same as when we first met.  God bless him for lying to me.

So when I stumble upon this article I wanted to kiss the computer screen.  It not only gives me an excuse not to ‘diet’ but promises that I can lose weight anyway.  Granted, it does skim over the importance of motivation and I think its a way bigger factor than that.  I reckon unless you’re following a step-by-step approach to eating, you need mahoosive amounts of motivation and self-discipline to maintain a healthy lifystyle.  Nevertheless, these words are logical, refreshing and inspiring.

You can read this article and the idea of the ‘anti-diet’ here

Not having chocolate biscuits and crisps in the cupboard is a good idea too.