Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Having Another Think!

Watched a very interesting programme on TV last night about how we can eat (or not) to live longer. It seems to have been proved that people who lived on a slightly better than starvation diet, lived many years longer than those who 'over ate', and that we should eat normal meals five days a week and fast for the following two days.

This could well be (as I've mentioned before after one of my 'thinks') the reason why we now have so many people living to a great age, due to the severe food rationing during World War II. It is said that this is because of advancement in medications etc, but as a lot of people (my B being one of them), don't take any medication at all - and he is 80 (with a physical age of at least 20 years younger), possibly what we eat - and how much does play a part. Even though B does eat large portions, he has only one mail meal a day - very little at all other than a slice of toast up to supper time (makes up for it afterwards), and is very energetic (gym, cycling, - most of the rest of the time sleeping!).

As with most programmes concerning food, the one above inspired me, and was going to begin that very minute on a two day fast. Until I switched over to the Food Network and seeing all that food made me hungry, so got up and made myself a ham sarnie (using some of the ham that had been cooked earlier that day). So perhaps I will fast today (and tomorrow?). Bet I won't be able to keep it up.

There have been many times in my life when I have 'fasted' either by necessity or choice (the choice being usually trying to lose weight). So perhaps these 'episodes' have helped to keep me young (at least in spirit). Do know that I used to lose a lot of weight (for a while until my body went into starvation mode - that dreaded 'plateau'), limiting my intake to 500 cals. a day.
However, as have reached this 'plateau' many times during my 'life of diets', can give some hope to other dieters - who find this stage very depressing - as while my body remains the same weight, it still 'shrinks'. So perhaps this plateau is normal, a way for the body to tighten up the saggy bits, otherwise we'd all end up with our tums hitting our knees.

Am noticing this now as although I am limiting my food intake, still not losing any weight, but noticed my arms (and legs) and a lot of the rest of me is a lot 'thinner' than a few weeks ago, and can get into an even smaller size garments. Just wish this 'plateau' would soon be over and I can go back to losing more weight a.s.a.p. I thought I'd lost at least 2 lb last week but the scales showed otherwise. Still stuck on the weight it's been for several weeks now.

Great day for the Team G.B. with the medals yesterday. As our daughter was coming for supper, had to plan the meal to fit in with watching the 'jump off' for the equestrian show-jumping team event, and when we won gold you could have heard me in Birmingham leaping up and down and yelling with glee. We also won other medals, but these I didn't see competed for. Roll on today when I hope we will win more. As long as we can stay third in the listings then we can't ask for more, China and the US always way ahead of the rest of the world, but then they have more competitors in each sport I believe.

How great you have cycled with Victoria Pendleton Campfire. She looks a really lovely person, and I've now given her a new name "Victorious Pedalton". Believe she still has another race she will be entering, not sure, but bet she wins that too.

You are absolutely right Alison, Laura Robson is very young and a newcomer to the 'advanced' level of tennis. She must have done remarkably well to get to the finals with Andy Murray, so credit where credit is due. Just feel that if he had a partner higher up in the seedings then he would have won gold. It seemed odd that he should be paired with a girl that hadn't much experience. Annoying for him to lose (but did he really expect to win?), and wonderful for Laura as she got a chance to partner a world top player and also play on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Am sure we will see more of her.

Those catering packs from Approved Foods sound really good value Jane. Many, many years ago I was given some of these (scone mix, sponge cake mix....) and - as you said - all they need is water. They also cooked well, the end results looking very 'professional', the only thing was they didn't taste very much like 'home-made', but that was then, this is now when improvements (over the years) must surely have been made.

The EasyYo strawberry and cream made a couple of days ago did thicken slightly more when chilled, some was served yesterday with the trifle (made with strawberries), and it was about the same consistency as any that would have been bought. I tend to make EasyYo using a little less water to (hopefully) end up with a thicker yogurt (end up a bit like thickish cold custard in texture).
The lemon EasyYo really is good, I make this regularly, tending to use it more as a substitute for mayonnaise when eating a salad, but also use it when making cheesecake, or a 'cheat's panna cotta' (made by mixing it with dissolved lemon jelly).

Suppose I could go to Tesco at Carnforth Eileen, but with any Tesco 'been there, done that', and my favourite in-store shop is Morrison's, as it is laid out differently with all its little 'shops' to browse round. Am tempted to shop at Sainsbury's, as believe they have a good and different selection of foods, but then always end up buying most of my stores from Tesco, as am happy with their quality, delivery and customer service.
Had to complain recently to Tesco because they hadn't allowed me to use a voucher that I felt should have been OK. They apologised and deducted the £1 (lost because of this) from my credit account, and - because I also complained that I'd been given a voucher for £5 but it had to be used within the following week (and as I always order a months food at a time I would never use this voucher), was sent another that I could use within the next three months).
My complaints were written to customer services by email, but got a phone call back from their team so I could speak directly to someone about my grievances, and he said customers should always complain when things are not right for this helps the store to improve when there is a problem.

Thanks also for the definition of 'mo-jo' Eileen. Am wondering if the 'mo' bit stands for 'motivation', but as to the 'jo' that can be anyone's guess. Not that it matters. Why do I bother with such trivialities?

Good to hear you had some rain Lisa. Am sure your plants will have doubled in size overnight because of this. It doesn't seem to matter how much water we give them by hand, one shower of rain seems far more beneficial.
After an early wet start to the day yesterday, it then cleared up and the sun shone, certainly during the afternoon, although the rest of the country (in parts) had rain. On of the presenters at the equestrian event (at Greenwich Park) said it was pouring down at the Olympic Park, and heading their way, but although we could see the black clouds, and a few spots of rain began to fall, thankfully the clouds moved slightly away and the show jumping was finished in sunshine.

Had a lovely email back from on of the catering committee at the sailing club, with 'huge thanks' for the baking done this last weekend. Wants the recipe for the shortbread as 'it was absolutely wonderful and melted in the mouth'. So there you go, all my concerns as to whether my baking was up to standard or not were unnecessary.

Realised yesterday that as my on-line shopping list would contain mainly the ingredients used up when doing the baking (flour, golden syrup, treacle, sugar, eggs....) with these being paid for by the club, although I will buy more than was used, much of the cost will be offset by this, so with just the other 'few' (and the word 'few' can mean 'a lot') of other items ordered, with the vouchers to be used, this could mean the order costs me very little indeed. Just need to control myself and buy only what is needed. Am sure I can do that, having done so before.

As we had a third for supper yesterday (as I don't eat a 'main course' this mean only two to cook for, but for me that was twice as many as usual, so happy with that), decided to cook a rack of lamb that I'd included in the 'mega purchase' of quality meats bought as a birthday present for B.
Normally, rack of lamb is cooked/roasted fairly rapidly, but as I've never had much success cooking 'chops', decided to finish cooking the rack by the slow- roasting method, as having done it once before it worked beautifully.
This is done by first searing the rack of lamb on all sides (in a pan on the hob) for a total of 7 minutes. Meanwhile heating the oven to 80C (yes, as low as that), and also heating the roasting tin at the same time.
When the lamb was seared, this was then put into the pre-heated roasting tin and then into the oven to continue 'slow-roasting' at that very low temperature for a good hour. As B doesn't like his meat too pink, allowed an hour an a half, then reduced the temperature down to 60C, where it can stay happily for a further half hour (or an hour if cooking larger cuts of meat), so a perfect dish to serve when entertaining. No need to 'rest the meat' after roasting, as it doesn't need it.

The lamb was just perfect when cut between the 'french cut' ribs to make individual chops, and served this with new potatoes and green peas. Plus the usual mint sauce and redcurrant jelly (only couldn't find the r.jelly - B said he'd put it back in the fridge, but we couldn't find it - so ended up serving it with cranberry jelly).
For 'afters' served the strawberry trifle with some of the strawberry and cream EasyYo and also double cream poured on top of that. Myself managed to have a small helping of that before it all went.

Because the sun was shining brightly and few clouds in the sky, decided to serve the evening meal at the kitchen table instead of in the conservatory as at that time the sun is getting low and shining right into faces. Really must get some roller blinds fitted in there.
This meant clearing the floor under the table. For the last month (or maybe even two), the carpet there has been covered with thick layers of newspaper with heavy boards on top to help soak up all that oil that had been spilt when B kicked over the 3 litre container of sunflower oil.
Yesterday - for the very first time - there was no oil on the papers at all, so every bit must now have been absorbed by the papers over the weeks, and so was able to clear away the lot once and for all. Not a mark on the carpet, so well pleased about that.
As had to clear the kitchen table as well to give room for serving, have to say the kitchen now looks very neat and tidy, and am going to try and keep it that way. Possibly may put a set of small, narrow shelves (that at the moment are holding some paperback cookbooks) at one end of the kitchen table (where it butts up against a wall) to hold the things that are usually left on the table, and this will make it easier to keep the table clear. That's the idea anyway.

Although we have kitchen cupboards fitted over the units on two walls, they are tall with two shelves (not including the bottom floor of the cupboard) so can only reach the base and the first shelf, and in each cupboard there is a top shelf standing empty, which really should be used. Could of course store things there that are rarely used, but once up there would probably never again be used, and most things in the kitchen I do use regularly.
B won't let me use a small step ladder to reach the highest shelves, but perhaps if I bring out the small solid stool (this his brother made when at school) I could then reach up. Am a lot steadier now than I was months ago, my weight loss has helped. B won't like it, but if I don't tell him....!

Obviously, B would put things on the top shelf for me, and would get them down again when needed, but almost always my 'needs' come at a time when he is out of the house, and when I want something I want it NOW! Me being Mrs Independence, really don't like to have to rely on someone else to do something for me, even though (at my age) it does - sometimes - make sense.

Have to say, despite being exhausted after my 'bakeathon', managed to work my way through a lot of chores yesterday and also watch a lot of the Olympics. The washing is almost dry on the airer due to hot sun shining on it during the late afternoon/evening, the living room AND kitchen tidied, all I need to do today is write up and send my grocery order (for delivery tomorrow), see what B wants for supper and then prepare as much as possible, then work out how much the 'bakeathon' cost so I can send in my bill (expenses only). The rest of the time will be glued to the TV watching more of the Games. It feels good to fill my hours with something 'useful'!

One recipe today - this for the 'easy' carrot cake made last weekend. I made a double batch and baked it in my extra large baking tray, but am giving the basic recipe for the traybake, so you can double it up if you wish. A 7" (18 cm) square tin suffices for the recipe below and said to "cut into 12 small squares", but these would be very small, so suggest cutting it into nine.
Normally, a carrot cake has a cream cheese icing spread on top before serving (cream cheese blended with a bit of icing sugar), myself like to add a little softened butter to the cream cheese before adding sugar as this helps to prevent the cheese becoming too soft (sometimes it can end up a bit runny). Omit 'icing' if wishing to freeze, add this after thawing and before serving.

Carrot Cake: gives nine (or more) squares
7 oz (200g) carrots, finely grated
6 oz (175g) soft brown sugar
7 oz (200g) self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
grated zest and juice of 1 small orange
3 medium eggs, beaten
5 fl oz (150ml) sunflower oil
Sift the flour, bicarb and cinnamon together. Put the carrots into a bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well until combined. Spoon mixture into a 7" (18cm) square tin that has been greased and lined, level the surface, then bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 30 minutes or until cooked. Cool in tin before removing to a cake airer and adding any cream cheese icing if using (I leave the cake in the tin to get cold and slice it in the tin). Can be stored in an airtight tin for several days, or can be frozen.

Off now to write my list and get the rest of today's chores out of the way. If I don't watch a cookery prog between now and bed-time, might even get a chance to have a day's fasting. Tomorrow will let you know if I can be that good. See you then.