Friday, September 05, 2014

Check Before We Buy

After making a sarnie using Weight Watchers Danish Bread (50cals per slice), I decided to check the calories per slice on a small Warburtons 'Toastie' that B had brought (to save me baking earlier this week).  Over twice the calories per slice in that, but of course the bread was thicker and the slices slightly larger.

So I decided to check the calories per 100g and surprise, surprise, there were less calories (239) in the 'toastie', than in the Weight Watchers (243).  At first I was tempted to think we were being conned and there was little difference in all breads, but certainly the W.W's was very much lighter per slice, this had to be caused by each slice having less dense crumb than normal bread - this being replaced by air.   But I like the bread, it is light and helps me not to gain weight (I pile on the lbs when eating normal bread), but it made me think.

So often we pay a lot more for something that has had an extremely cheap (or free) ingredient added.   When the first low-calorie margarines came on the market, the first ingredient on the list (printed on the back of the pack) was water.   So I discovered by beating softened butter (or marg) and water together I could make the same thing, ending up with a third more weight. For free!
Even now we can pick up packs of 'low-cal' spreads and water is often first on the list (a reminder than ingredients listed on a pack are in order of amount used, the most listed first, and then down the list until the least ingredient shown last.

We know that water is often pumped into poultry to make it weigh more, and I believe this now has to be mentioned in the ingredient list.  It goes into other things too, so we end up paying for something we don't want, and don't need.

Air too (another 'freebie' for the manufacturers) can fool us into believing we are getting more for our money.  The above bread is an example, but sensible reasons for including air, so will let that one pass.
Buying a leafy vegetable sold as-is and not by weight (lettuce, head of celery, cauliflower, cabbage etc) is something we really need to be careful about when buying.  A huge iceberg lettuce can look a worthwhile buy, but very often the leaves are looser than in smaller ones, so give the lettuce a bit of a squeeze to find the firmest, and if possible weigh before you buy.  I've often found an iceberg lettuce will weigh more than one twice its size.

I once went into a supermarket in Leeds to buy a lettuce, and there was an elderly lady at the counter carefully choosing the heaviest lettuce.  I had to wait until she had finished weighing most of them.
She then turned to me (having recognised me probably from TV) and said "that was a very good idea of yours to check the weights before buying" (I'd written this in an article published by the Yorkshire Evening Post).  Do you know, I was quite miffed - the little lady had walked off with the heaviest lettuce before I had a chance to buy it myself.  That'll teach me to share my tips" I told myself between gritted teeth.

So far very little noticeable difference with the pain in my knee - at least when I first rise after sitting or sleeping for any length of time.  Early days yet.  However, I do seem to be able to move around far more easily when I walk, and - quite amusingly - I've discovered my right knee is also a bit arthritic but never noticed it before as the pain in the left knee was so much worse I couldn't feel anything else.

Today bought some glucosamine tablets, and hoping these will help keep the arthritis in check.  A bit annoyed at the price, well over £4 for 90 tablets, and they say 'from one to three tablets a day', so if I take three they will last me only 10 days - that's at least £12 a month!!  Still - if they work, and if they do I could perhaps cut down to two a day or even one.

Thanks to Sandy for telling us about the glucosamine plus tablets.  As these are a mixture of three anti-arthritis chemicals no doubt they will cost even more.  But worth it if they work, and it will give me a good reason to go back to cost-cutting so that I can save the money to pay for them.

That is if I get the chance.  B chose to have Fish Risotto for his supper this evening.  I'd thawed out the fish, and I'd popped the diced shallot in the pan with butter to gently fry, and then added the rice.  Went to the cupboard to draw off a glass of white wine from the box of white (and also red) wine I keep for cooking, and found there was no white box.  B had been helping himself to it (again!!), and not replaced it when empty (he still expects me to pay for it).

So instead of the wine I added a slosh of Ouzo as I'd read that fish and aniseedy (things) go well together.  Fennel tastes of aniseed (and so does Ouzo).  B didn't seem to miss the wine although he said 'it didn't taste quite as good as normal', so I made him realise that it was his fault this time (is it ever my fault when it comes to cooking? Perhaps sometimes but I always know and warn him).

Thanks CTMOM for explaining about the CSA.  Even if the crops have to be allocated according to the amount there is, they allowance seems very generous, more than enough per week (going by the organic veggie box schemes).

Am relieved the mileage v kms mistake was due to your car being French Sairy.  So now I'm wondering if it was bought in France and made so the driver sits on the left-hand side (is that near or off-side?). Or was it produced especially for the UK?  I've always thought it must be very difficult to drive in another country where they drive on the other side of the road as you can't see if anything is coming towards you when you want to overtake?

For that matter, why is it we in the UK and the Republic of Ireland - and many Commonwealth Countries, even India, drive on the left of the road, and everyone else drives on the right? It would make it much easier (and safer) if we all did the same (as long as we were the ones not to change).
Am sure it won't be long before the EU decide we should conform to driving on the left as they do on the continent.

What a lot of nonsense about not allowing us to sell vacuum cleaners that are high powered.  That has led to most of those already on sale being sold at low price (that's good news anyway) before the ban started this week.
If a vacuum cleaner has a high powered motor it cleans up much faster than a slower one, so it could take twice or even three times as long to hoover up using a lower powered one, so wouldn't that be using more electricity overall? 

Perhaps we ought to start banning things on the continent like not allowing foie gras to be made any more (cruelty to animals), or eating snails or frogs legs (ditto) and not allowing live rabbits and chickens to be sold at markets to be bought to slaughter at home to cook for supper.  Horse meat should be probibited for sale on the continent (there are special butchers in France that sell this for human consumption), and bread should not be baked and bought fresh twice a day (as the French do) as it uses too much power.  Bake once a day.
Even if we managed to get a ban on the above, the French would take no notice, so why do we take notice of what they tell us to do?  We have always made our own decisions as to what is right and what is wrong, so let it stay that way.  Why we ever got involved with the Common Market and the EU I don't know, we pay in far more money to them than we ever get back.

It's been a gorgeous day today (again). and my neighbour and I sat and drank our coffee outdoors this morning sitting on the garden bench.  We do this every Friday and there have only been a very few days this summer when we have had to stay indoors due to rain or a cold wind. 
Apparently the good weather is supposed to stay with us until late November, I find this hard to believe but in the past once we have a settle summer, it does tend to continue right through autumn. 

Although I had thought we had some rain once or twice, obviously not a lot as every pot on the patio had dried out, so I spent quite some time watering them all.  Managing to do this quite easily, stick in one hand, heavy bucket of water in another, so my knee must be starting to improve.

Hoping to go out on Norris tomorrow, and maybe even scoot along the prom (first time this year), as although I do love summer, the warm gentle autumn sunshine has a magic of its own and I love to be in it.  The views across the Bay look even lovelier when the sunlight falls at a lower angle on the Lakeland hills.  Must take a photo and hopefully put it onto my blog when I can work out how to do it.  I've got the camera working, and have managed (in draft only) to reproduce one of the old foodie photos onto my blog, so hope to do it properly very soon.

That's is for today.  Seem to have got over my withdrawal symptoms and my mind is now working more clearly.  Common sense tells me to have an early night (it is just after 11.00pm anyway), so as B is still out at his sailing social night, hope to be asleep before he comes in or he will keep me awake with all his noisy coughing, blowing, singing and talking that he always does in his sleep after a Friday night out.

As is now usual I won't be blogging tomorrow (Saturday), probably back again Sunday but certainly on Monday.  Hope you all have a lovely weekend.  TTFN.