Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Snacks worth Having

After a day with fine but persistent rain, the container flowers are now looking much healthier. Doesn't seem to matter how careful we are to keep them moist (even using rainwater from the butt, nothing is better than a good shower of rain falling from the sky.
Sun shining at the moment, but a cloudy and grey sky does not promise much 'outdoor sitting' today, but we do need the rain especially for our veggies.

Having thawed out a nice piece of rump steak for B's supper, let him cook it himself, also cook his oven chips, some frozen peas, and fry a few mushrooms in the steak juices. He overcooked the peas to bullets in the microwave, but not really much of a loss. These peas were from a frozen Tesco own-brand cheaper pack and really are quite tough even when cooked properly. Will never buy them again. Probably turn the remainder into mushy peas.

Myself spent time to (unusual for me) to make up my own supper. This a tray of crudites: raw cauliflower, red and yellow pepper, celery, mushrooms, carrots, to eat with some home-made hummous (chickpeas, roasted red peppers, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice). Found it very filling (the hummous I'd left rather chunky), and half the hummous has been left for either today or later this week.
Beloved seemed to find his 'own-cooked' supper filling enough not to need more than a dish of ice-cream to follow, then 'something on toast' later on. He's getting there.

An early start to my day as Norma the Hair will be arriving in a couple or so hours, so will press on with first replying to comments, then listing up some 'healthy' snacks which could be useful for those who like to have a nibble now and again. Considering how many calories there are in a bag of potato crisps, these alternative suggestions (to the same amount of calories) could be worth offering to a child, working with the thought that there is more to eat then 'just a bag of crisps'. They are much more likely to eat what is offered than if we tell them 'it's healthier than crisps'.
Depending upon what we have (or can make), doubt the foods shown (calorie compared to crisps) work out any more expensive.

First things first. It is true Scarlet, that what we consider to be simple pleasures (good home-cooked food etc), are now so rare that they are like hens' teeth to most people. With so much available on sale ready-to- eat/ready-to-heat 'n eat, the only food comparable to 'home-made' is now so expensive that only the wealthy can afford to buy them, so no wonder what we consider to be pretty ordinary, is worth a pretty penny.
Have mentioned this before, but ages back a teenage daughter brought a boy friend back to 'have a snack' and, it being tea-time (and I was in the middle of my self-sufficiency crisis), all I had to give him were home-made (and freshly baked scones) with home-made jam. But not only that, the butter was home-made as was also the thick cream (both made from the rich cream from the top of Channel Island milk bottles). I think the boy scoffed the lot. He was absolutely swooning with delight, and said he could never remember his mother cooking at all - seemed all she did was 'heat things up' that had been bought.

When in Leeds - at Halloween - used to bake muffins, make popcorn, make flapjack/gingerbread and have a basketful to offer to the children when they came Trick or Treating. More than once a child has asked"are these HOME-MADE?", and when I said "yes", asked "can I take one home for my mother/sister (etc) ?". Once the word got around, the three or four groups (anything from three to six children) that knocked on the door yearly, grew to twenty or more, so a lot of baking of muffins needed to be done during that day.
We have been here only two years now. One knock on the door the first Halloween, several last year - and hopefully more this year.

Doubt cherry brandy will help your gout Sairy, probably the opposite (although it isn't necessary alcohol that causes it). The cherries don't have to be fresh. Dried cherries can also help the symptoms, I understand. These may work out cheaper than the fresh. You don't need to eat too many at a time, just a couple or so a day, so fresh can also be frozen (or dried), and if you have a garden, why not buy yourself a cherry tree - even the small 'patio cherries' that grow in pots appear to grow plenty of fruit. Birds love cherries, so always protect the fruit with nets or something.

Glad the cherry recipes were useful Karen, and that your jam-making session went/goes well. Another suggestion for a dessert using cherries is the ubiquitous 'crumble'. Probably worth mixing with another fruit such as apples. Almond flavouring goes well with cherries to give that 'little extra something'. 'Fruit 'crumbles' I find freeze well. Certainly freeze surplus cherries to avoid any waste, and keep that lovely fresh flavour going all through the winter months.

A quick mention of a programme I saw on BBC3 last night. Think it was called 'Kill it, Cut it, Use it". Mainly about the products that are made using all the waste after animals are killed for meat. We know that vegetarians (certainly vegans) avoid using animal products, but how on earth they can go through life without reading a book (the glue used comes from animal bones), or washing with soap (the tallow used to make soap comes from boiled sheep's bones), not to mention many other products we all use on a daily basis that we had no idea contained any animal products altogether (such as fabric softener). No doubt there are products such as the above that uses ingredients that have never come near an animal - but I bet they are mega-expensive, just because. But as to books. Will this now mean that vegetarians/vegans will now never read a book again - or have to resort to using a comp to read them instead? For that matter - are comps. that 'clean' when it comes to animal products. Seems that just about with everything - an animal 'by-product' is there somewhere.

One other TV prog - "the 10 mile Cookery Challenge" (or whatever). This was interesting, but of course gave no thought to the cost of buying locally grown/reared foods. If we can afford venison, game birds and superb cheeses, than perhaps worth watching. At least one of the desserts shown yesterday was a Clafouti (but made with plums instead of my recipe given yesterday). So perhaps 'my' type of cost-cutting cookery is not always below the standard of the top chefs. However inexpensive a dish may prove to be - many can still hold their own at Michelin star level.

But - as ever - I am moving away from my topic for today, which is to do with 'healthy snacking'. The list below shows foods that have around 50 cals each (as in portions given). Have divided them into sections (bread, biscuits etc) fruits, dairy, sweets, so that we can make up different types of 'snack meals' to satisfy any cravings we might have. With fifty different foods to choose from we could graze all day eating any twenty from the selection (but nothing more) and still keep our calorie intake to around 1,000. Might myself now keep to the foods on this list to tempt my jaded appetite, just allowing a few low-cal veg and salads to supplement this diet.
50 cal foods:
2 sesame breadsticks
5 baked tortilla chips with 1 tblsp salsa
2 cream crackers
4 Ritz crackers
half thick slice unbuttered wholewheat toast
2 mini pittas
3 Ryvitas
1 digestive biscuit
1 poppadum (microwaved)
1 1/2 rice cakes
1 slice rye bread

2 tblsp low-fat muesli
1 tblsp trail mix
1 handful air-popped popcorn

3/4 oz (20g) reduced fat Cheddar cheese
2 1/2 oz (75g) low-fat cottage cheese
1 small pot diet yogurt
5 fl oz (150ml) skimmed milk
1 small hard-boiled egg

1 oz (25g) raisins
4 dried apricots

1 mini doughnut
2 small Jaffa cakes
1 fig roll

2 tsp peanuts
1 tsp almonds

5 oz (150g) strawberries
1 small orange
half a banana
1 thick slice melon
4 oz (120g) cherries
5 oz (150g) blueberries
1 baked apple (unfilled)
2 prunes
2 - 3 plums
2 fresh figs
16 olives
1 1/2 peaches
small handful grapes
2 kiwi fruit

8 fl oz (225g) gazpacho
2 slices turkey breast
3 oz (85g) refried beans

5 liquorice allsorts
2 chocolates
15 Smarties or M & M's
1 tblsp chocolate chips
1 tblsp toffee popcorn

Time has now moved on, so have to finish to allow time for me to get the conservatory ready for Norma to have the space to stand her hair-dryer. Yes, I know I should have done this yesterday, but B was asked to remove all his 'stuff' first (gym kit drying on the clothes airer etc) and he still hasn't done this. He leaves for the RNLI shop shortly, so will probably not have time, so rather than rush am taking my leave of you rather sooner than planned. Nevertheless, hope you will join me again tomorrow. Keep those comments coming.