Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Taking it Easy

Have to say that although writing my blog late at night really does give me more time in the morning to do the domestic chores, find that it takes me longer to get to sleep, and harder to get up in the morning.  Today felt exhausted even before I began.  So didn't do very much at all.  Kept out of the kitchen and confined myself to sorting out the bedroom/wardrobe/cupboards, sent several sacks to the charity shop, a pile of old clothes that are now far too large for me (hurray, hurray) B is using as rags to clean up when painting the new kitchen extension at the sailing club.  Am sure one skirt, cut open would be large enough to cover the kitchen floor!!

Daughter came round this morning and we had a bit of a chat about Twitter/Facebook.  She had met someone who was keen on using these social sites, who had said that just that morning had posted up a photo of a jacket potato that she had just cooked.   My B - who has a great sense of humour - said it would be more interesting to "post up an obscure photo of the north end of a south-facing donkey"?  Squeals of laughter could be heard coming from the Goode living room once we'd worked that out.

Thanks for your comments.  Two from Les, one about sugar and cravings.  It is very true, eat something sweet (or even carbohydrate like a sarnie) and we want more.  Eat protein and there is no urge to continue.  Probably why high protein diets work.  One meal and we have to force ourselves to eat another one later - if at all.
Second comment re unsweetened fruit juices.  We need always to read the label when it comes to buying fruit juice as the sugar content varies.  Even the 'no added sugar' can have quite a lot of natural sugar (fructose).
Checking the booklet the only one with 'none' (sugar) is 'Skinny water pomegranate flavour'.  With something like Lucozade (that we expect to be sweetened), the 'energy original' 380ml bottle has 8 tsp, the 'energy orange' has a massive 13 tsp, and the 'sport lite' only 1 tsp.
Surprisingly a can of Pepsi Max contains no sugar. but a large glass of orange juice contains 5 tsp, and the same of apple juice slight more.  Possibly one of the best (for children) is orange squash, as when diluted with water the sugar content is then half a teaspoon.

Although we are advised to eat 5 portions of fruit/veg a day, it's not always we eat as much of each as we should.  Although I have quite an assortment in my 'salad supper', there is rarely enough of each to count as one portion.  Have read that Italians eat as many as 12 portions a day.  Possibly their climate has a lot to do with it - gardens full of assorted fruits growing all year round, and also local greengrocers stores with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to choose from.

As you say Sarina and Margie, we really don't have to be too concerned about what we eat as long ass we stay away from the ready-prepared meals and processed foods. 
Myself am not really concerned about the content of convenience foods as I rarely buy them, but do like to know as much as possible about what they contain.  This evening watched 'Food Unwrapped' (or some such name), that showed just how we are easily led to believe the food we buy is what it appears to be (scampi, chicken Kiev etc...) when the content is (again) something that is often not what we expect and has been fed through a mincer and 'pre-formed' before being egged and crumbed....  Another case for making the same thing from scratch in our own kitchens - this time properly!!

Margie's mention of the sugar content of ketchup and mayo got me reading that section of the booklet again, and it's not all bad.  One tablespoon of Hellman's mayonnaise has 'none', same amount of Heinz Salad cream has half a teaspoon, and Heinz extra-light salad cream has a quarter of a teaspoon of sugar - the same as Hellman's French Dressing.  A tablespoon of honey, marmalade and jam have 3 tsp sugar, but peanut butter has only a quarter of a teaspoon.
Unfortunately a banana contains 7 tsp, so as I prefer sarnies made with peanut butter and banana (OR with) jam, then probably the sarnies would take up all my sugar allowance for the day.  Not that I really am that bothered.  Life's too short to stuff a mushroom they say.   A pity as mushrooms have a zero sugar count, so we should eat (and stuff them) more.

It's been a beautiful day today, and guess what - I was too tired to go out for my scoot.  Possibly will be going to Glasson Dock tomorrow as B has to call there at a ships chandlers to buy some special rope. The drive there is pleasant as the cottage gardens will probably have a lot of spring bulbs in flower.   Noticed that next door's big magnolia tree is covered in buds, and last year this tree flowered TWICE.  Once in early spring (a bit later than now), and again in the autumn.

The gulls are now building nests between the chimney pots on the houses at the back of ours, so we should expect to see the baby gulls ending up falling out of the nest (again) and having to stay on the sloping roof until they grow old enough to fly.  It's really nice being able to see them grow bigger each day - and they do grow rapidly.
Blue-tits too are flying back and forth into the nest boxes, probably building nests, but maybe they have already laid eggs and are feeding their young.  There seem to be enough insects around for them to pick 'n eat.   Everything seems to have a head start this spring due to the very mild winter we have had.  It's only the heavy rain that has caused problems - and still is as despite the dry weather we are having at the moment, it is slow to drain away, the ground being still sodden.

Just one recipe today - as am still aiming to make the best use of the longer-lasting vegetables that many of use keep in our veggie basket or fridge.   As many vegetables are similar (pumpkin/butternut squash/sweet potato/ordinary potato; or swede/turnip; carrot/parsnip....) with a recipe such as these we can usually find an alternative veg if we haven't the one listed. 

To save time, prepare the vegetables in advance and keep them in a covered bowl in the fridge for up to two days, then when ready to cook, follow the instructions and meal should then take less than 20 minutes from start to serving.

Squash and Apple Curry: serves 4
1 tblsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb (450g) pumpkin or butternut, cubed
1.75 oz (500g) baking potatoes, cubed
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored, diced
2 tsp curry paste (mild or to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
1" (2.5cm) piece root ginger, peeled/chopped
2 bay leaves
1 pint (600ml) vegetable stock
salt and pepper
3 oz (75g) raisins
4 tblsp Greek yogurt (to serve)
naan bread or rice (to serve)
Put the oil in a large pan and fry the onion for 5 minutes stirring in the garlic for the final minute.  Add the pumpkin, potatoes, apple, curry paste, turmeric, ginger, bay leaves, and the stock with plenty of seasoning, then stir in the raisins.  Continue to stir as you bring it to the boil, then cover the pan, reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 15 minutes (giving an occasional stir) or until the veggies are tender.
Spoon into individual bowls, topping with a dollop of Greek yogurt, and serve with warm naan bread or cooked rice.

Still finding it difficult to get my brain into 'write blog' mode.  It seems harder to write at night than it does first thing.  I may have to go back to making the early start.  Will see this week out first. The good thing is you won't notice much difference other than the blog will not appear until nearly lunch-time (as it used to), rather than be ready to read first thing each morning.

After midnight, so now off to my bed.  Will continue to blog daily (but not Sundays) unless I say otherwise.  TTFN.