Food and Fitness Tips

Happy Thursday All!  It’s Friday Eve!

Chef P has the day off tomorrow so we’re heading to Borough Market in London by train!  We were there just before Christmas last year, so at least I know what to expect and what I can get there!

I’ll talk about that in another post, but for today, I’m going to give you some food and fitness tips and just some general well-being tips; well probably more food tips, but it’s nice to throw something different in once in a while. 🙂

Stop-Smoking-Aids¤ Stop Smoking!  Probably the number one thing you really should do.  Women who stop smoking by the age of 30 reduce their risk of dying of tobacco-related diseases by 97%.  Quit by 40 and your risk is reduced by 90%.  Stop Smoking Day here in the UK is March 13….next week.  What a perfect time to give it up for good!

¤  Drink your H2O.  Water is a secret weight-loss weapon.  Dehydration slows your metabolism and stops fat burning.  But 10 minutes after drinking 500ml/17fl oz. of cold water, your rate of calorie burning rises by 30% and peaks after 30 minutes.  Nearly half of that comes from your body trying to heat the water.

¤ Enjoy your food.  Don’t just woof it down!  A recent paper published in Obesity found those who chewed their food properly, keeping it in their mouths for up to eight minutes(!) before swallowing, ate less.  Chewing properly also helps release nutrients from the food, so you don’t need to eat as much to absorb the right amounts.

pasta¤  Eat Pasta!  White pasta has an undeserved bad image:  The Mediterranean diet uses white pasta and is one of the healthiest diets in the world.  It proves you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to eat healthy.  Pasta is high carb, but low on the Glycemic Index, because the starch molecules are encapsulated in a unique way in the pasta dough.  However, don’t overcook it as this breaks down the structures, raising the GI.

¤ Keep a food diary.  Keeping a food diary can help you lose weight.  If you’ve had a bad week, you can go back and pinpoint where you screwed up it went wrong.

¤ Cut down on the saturated fats.  Yes, we’ve heard this before, but this is great for keeping your heart healthy.  Even though you cut out the saturated fats, your body still needs fat so you need to consume the good ones, in particular the oils found in avocados, nuts, sees and evening primrose oil.

¤ Try coconut oil.  Coconut oil is great in food and has so many benefits.  It doesn’t degrade at high cooking temps, unlike many other oils and you can even use it in smoothies.  It’s high in lauric acid – a good thing (a type of saturated fatty acid – also a good thing), which can speed up metabolism and great for your joints.  Go for an extra-virgin, raw, cold-pressed oil to really benefit your health.

nocake¤ Crave a dessert after dinner?  Brush your teeth after eating.  The taste of the toothpaste and the time it takes distracts you, so your craving goes away.  Pop a toothbrush in your bag if eating out.

¤  Avoid drinking water with dinner.  Too much fluid can dilute the digestive enzymes in your mouth and stomach, making them less effective.  Aim to drink 30 minutes either side of your meal.  An occasional glass of wine with dinner is fine, but sip it slowly to make the most of it.

sleepy_cat¤ Get some sleep!  Lack of sleep contributes to obesity as it affects the amount of calories we eat the next day.  Different hormones affect men and women after a poor night’s sleep.  The hormone ghrelin rises in men, increasing their appetite, and the satiety hormone GLP-I falls in women, so they don’t feel full after eating.


Silken Chocolate Pudding ~ South Beach Diet

Hi Gang!

StormNemoCartoonHope you all had a wonderful weekend and that all of you on the east coast of the US survived the big snow storm.  Many of my family and friends had anywhere from 22″ to 3 feet of snow!  We had a small storm last night with rain and snow and high winds…I was glad we were all snug indoors!

Today I’m going to give you a quick and easy SBD dessert you can whip up in about 5 minutes, assuming you have the necessary ingredients.

It’s a silken chocolate pudding, which I must explain first.  Chocolate pudding in the US is not the same as what it is in the UK.  In the US, when we hear ‘chocolate pudding’, our first thought (or at least mine) is Jell-o brand chocolate pudding.  That smooth, custard-like, melt-in-your-mouth pudding.  I always enjoyed the top after it set as it got a bit chewy and gooey, unless you like to cover it so you don’t get that.  In the UK, saying ‘pudding’ is like saying ‘dessert’ as it could mean anything from a sponge cake to an apple or rhubarb  crumble…something sweet to have at the end of the meal.

Think back to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  There’s a scene where they all get on the cart with Luna Lovegood (being pulled by a horse-like animal that only Harry and Luna can see)  and one of her lines is: ‘I hope there’s pudding’  It didn’t matter what type it was, as long as it was available.

This chocolate pudding is more on the lines of the US version.  It’s not exactly Jell-o brand, but I think it gets the job done.

This is made with silken tofu, which has a softer consistency than regular tofu and is perfect for this creamy Phase 1 pudding.  Tofu (in the US) comes in soft, medium, firm and extra-firm consistencies.  I’ve only ever seen silken and firm here in the UK.   Be sure to buy the soft type to use here.


16oz/454g soft silken tofu, drained

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 C granular sugar substitute

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt (i left this out – didn’t see the need for it)

4 Tbsp no-sugar-added light whipped topping (garnish, optional)

2 Tbsp dry-roasted raw peanuts, chopped (garnish, optional)

In a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, cocoa powder, sugar substitute, vanilla and salt.  Purée until smooth.

Spoon the pudding into 4 dessert dishes, dollop each with 1 Tbsp of whipped topping and sprinkle evenly with peanuts, if using.

Serve right away or chill to serve later (add toppings right before serving).


Sorry mine looks so dull, but I don’t have any sugar-free whipped topping, nor do I know if I can even get it.  We don’t have Cool-Whip here. 😦


♥♥  Terri  ♥♥



Friday Foodie Word ~ Paris-Brest

In honor of Comic Relief/Red Nose Day and The Great British Bake Off, I thought it fitting to use a word pertaining to baking and even one that was made on The GBBO….


Named after a famous 19th century bicycle race, this is a cake consisting of concentric baked rings of choux pastry, split in half and filled with whipped cream or crème pâtissière mixed with a fine praline and decorated with icing/powdered sugar and flaked almonds.


Should you care to indulge yourself with making this, here’s a recipe for you.


Have a great weekend!

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Jan 22

Good Morning Campers!

Hope you’re all keeping toasty and warm on this bitterly cold January morn.  I’m sitting here with a nice hot cup of vanilla black tea….mmmm.    Here’s this week’s tips:

AT THE GROCERY STORETry to do the weekly shopping trip on a Wednesday.  Research shows only 11% of people shop midweek so the stores will be quieter.

TT:  For those who work all day, this could be a bit difficult.  If you can’t get out during the week, my suggestion is to get out as early as possible on the weekend.  We have found the stores are fairly empty before 10:00am on a Saturday.

When buying a whole chicken, bear in mind that the bigger the bird the more meat you will get per lb.  It is more economical to buy a whole chicken than various cuts of chicken and the carcass can be boiled for stock.

TT:  I’m a firm believer in this and do use the carcass for stock.  i usually stick the carcass in the freezer for later when I want to make chicken soup and use the meat that is still on it.  However, when we have chicken it isn’t always a roasted chicken.  We do buy big bags of frozen drumsticks, thighs and breasts.

Never use water that has boiled twice to make a cup of tea.  Fresh water has a higher oxygen content so should extract more tea from the leaves, making a tastier cuppa!

TT:  I do agree with this and it does make a difference.

When making a crumble mixture, make a double portion and put one in the freezer.  It can be sprinkled straight from frozen over semi-cooked fruit, then baked.

TT:  I guess this is fine if you make a lot of crumbles.  For now though, I won’t be seeing any fruit crumbles anytime in the near future!

Before leaving for work, put chicken breasts, chopped carrots, potatoes and onions, a can of chopped tomatoes and some seasoning into a slow cooker.  A complete meal will be ready when you get home.

TT:  When I was back home living in the US and working outside the home, I would put all the ingredients into the bowl of the slow cooker the night before and leave it in the fridge.  I would take it out when I got up to allow it to come to room temp and then put it right into the slow cooker before I left the house.  Who has time to deal with prepping veg when you’re trying to get ready for work?

liver-kidneyTo counteract the sometimes overpowering flavor of liver, kidney and other offal, soak overnight in a little milk to draw out the bitter taste.

TT:  I don’t really eat much of these kinds of meats.  I don’t mind calves liver and I don’t like kidney (yes, I’ve tried it) and we won’t even talk about the other offal…

If custard curdles, put the bowl in cold water and keep whisking until the sauce goes smooth.

TT: Great idea if you make your own.  Another item of foodstuff I won’t be seeing or eating anytime soon.

When cooking with a wok, if food starts to stick, don’t be tempted to add more oil.  Instead, add a splash of water.

TT: We cook with a wok on occasion and have done this.  It also helps give a little bit of sauce to the mix.

So there you have your Tuesday Tips!

♥  Terri  ♥

Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Jan 8


I’ve got a new calendar with lots of kitchen tips so thought I would share these with you on a weekly basis.

Here’s the first round along with my two cents….

BOGOF♠ It is estimated that food worth £420 ($638) per person is thrown away every year.  Turn over a new leaf at the start of the year ~ avoid BOGOF (by one, get one free) offers in supermarkets which encourage waste and plan the weekly menu before shopping.

Terri’s thoughts on this one:  I see nothing wrong with these as long as it’s a product that you actually use.  We tend to get these more on store cupboard items, such as coffee or pasta; something that isn’t going to go bad in a short amount of time.  Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale.  Yeah, that BOGOF offer on the 20lb. bag of flour is great, but unless you run a bakery or do a sh!tload of baking, do you really need 40lbs. of flour??

♠ Use the unpopular chocolates from a selection box by melting them all together and making a fudgy chocolate sauce to pour over ice cream for an instant dessert.

Terri’s thoughts:  Unpopular chocolate??  This was definitely written by a member of the male species or Martha Stewart.  That’s like saying ‘leftover wine’. The only chocolate I don’t eat is if it’s wrapped around marzipan or a sickly sweet cherry.  And of course, that’s what most of us want to do, especially if you’ve decided to start a healthy eating regime!

♠ If a recipe calls for thinly sliced meat, freeze it for a couple of hours as it will then slice more easily.

Terri’s thoughts:  This actually does work!

♠ Put a damp tea towel under the chopping board to prevent it slipping or under a bowl while mixing.

Terri’s thoughts:  I actually have a piece of that rubbery shelf liner under my cutting board and I have a stand mixer so no need for it under the bowl.  Even if I’m using my hand-held mixer, I usually have my other hand on the bowl, turning it.

♠ When preparing a packed lunch in the morning, use frozen bread.  It will defrost and taste fresh by lunch time.

Terri’s thoughts:  A good idea if you take a lunch to work.  Taking a lunch is always a better idea than buying your lunch.  Think of the money you save!

Cheap-white-bread♠ To freshen a slightly stale loaf of bread, steam in a pan with a lid on until warmed through.

Terri’s thoughts:  Not a bad idea if you want to use it for a sandwich, but slightly stale bread will taste just as good as fresh when toasted.  It almost doesn’t seem worth the trouble.

Next week, how to sooth a sore throat, an idea for tissue paper and making a tastier cup of tea!

Terri  ♥

Christmas Cocktail ~ Hot Buttered Rum

Wow, can you believe it?  Christmas is just around the corner now and I’m sure many of you are still in frenzy-mode trying to get those last minute items taken care of; I know I am!  The holidays can be a wee bit hectic with all of the gift buying and wrapping, cooking, decorating, entertaining and those annoying wonderful Christmas tunes we hear everywhere we go on constant mind-numbing repeat.

Drinking a mug of hot buttered rum is like settling down in an armchair in front of the fire with a toasting fork, except that it’s all in a mug.  It also contains maple syrup which is scientifically proven to make everything all better!


1 tsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp ground allspice
50ml/2fl oz golden rum
apple juice, warmed, to top up
cinnamon stick, to garnish                                                                                                                                   whipped cream
freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish

Place the butter into your favorite coffee mug (a clear glass one if you have it), then add the maple syrup, allspice and rum.

Top up with warmed apple juice and mix it in with a spoon until the butter has melted and emulsified in the liquid (like mixing a salad dressing).

Using a lighter or gas hob/stove, lightly warm the cinnamon stick (be careful not to burn it).

Add the cinnamon stick as a stirrer, top with whipped cream and garnish with fresh grated nutmeg.

Sit back and enjoy your mug of comfort.


Proper Cheesecake

As a child, cheesecake was not on the top of my list of yummy desserts.  First of all, it was cheese!  Who eats cheese in a dessert?   And where was the sugar?  (I had the same problem with cannolis, but that’s a whole other post!) Cheesecake, you have to admit, is not very sweet.  But alas, over the years I did develop a liking for it. (cannolis too!)

For you cheesecake connoisseurs out there, you have to admit that the best cheesecake is New York cheesecake and have to agree, as I am originally from New York, and well…what more can I say?

It had been a long time since I’ve eaten cheesecake…PROPER cheesecake. My mum-in-law’s cleaning lady made her a small cheesecake which I tasted.  I’m sorry to say, I did not like it.  It wasn’t very creamy and had a rather grainy texture to it and she also had sprinkled cinnamon on top.  Mind you, I have nothing against cinnamon.  I use it often but I’m not crazy about it on things like cheesecake or rice pudding, which is another thing that I’m not too keen on.

Last year Chef P said he wanted to make some cheesecake but we didn’t have can’t get any graham crackers here.  Since my sis-in-law asked if there was anything they could bring us when they met us in London last year, one of the items I asked for was a box of graham crackers.

The box had been sitting in the cupboard all this time…until this past Monday.

Since I got my electric mixer last month, we’ve both been wanting to make things using it. (so far, I’ve gotten the better deal on that!)  Chef P mentioned the ‘cheesecake’ again.  We were going to make it last Sunday, but never got around to doing it (read: I didn’t realize the cream cheese had to be at room temp and I hadn’t taken it out of the fridge) so I got to make it all by myself on Monday…but couldn’t have any until Tuesday due to its chilling time to firm up.

(Now I know that cheesecake is not part of the South Beach Diet, but to be honest, I have really fallen off the wagon and my cravings for sweet has gone completely out of control.  I should say that I haven’t been completely bad; I’m trying to eat proper meals but it’s the in-between stuff that I shouldn’t be having…like the cheesecake.  I haven’t been totally off my rocker about it, I’ve had just one piece a day.  I gave a quarter of it to my neighbors across the way and Chef P has been taking a piece each day to work.  There’s still slightly less than a quarter of it left so the pieces haven’t been huge.)

I have to admit, for my first ever attempt at making cheesecake, it came out pretty damn good!  The other thing I was rather pleased about was that it didn’t crack on the top.  Woo hoo! This doesn’t appear to be a traditional NY cheesecake recipe, but it was quick and easy and doesn’t use as many eggs as some recipes I’ve seen.  So for those of you not worrying about what you eat, I’m sharing the recipe here.  Remember, this is NOT SBD FRIENDLY!


◊ Use FULL FAT on cheeses and condensed milk ◊

◊ Equip: 9″ / 23cm spring form pan, well greased with butter ◊

◊ Preheat oven to 150°C / 300°F ◊

1/3 C butter, melted

1½ C graham cracker crumbs (UK – use digestives)

21oz/600g cream cheese, room temp (UK – use Philadelphia)

5oz/140g marscapone cheese

14fl oz/400g condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

Make the cracker crumbs by placing them into a food processor and processing until fine crumbs.  Add the melted butter and pulse until mixed thoroughly.  You’ll know you have a perfect mix when you can pick up some with your hands, squeeze it and it stays together.  If you don’t have a food processor, put them into a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin until crumbly then stir in melted butter.

Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press down evenly into the pan, coming up the sides about a half inch/1cm and set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and marscapone until fluffy, using an electric mixer.  Add condensed milk, beating until smooth.  Add vanilla and eggs and mix well, but DO NOT OVERBEAT.

Pour into pan.  Place in preheated oven and bake 1 hour then turn off oven and leave cake in oven for 1 hour with door ajar.  Your cake should be golden brown on top (unlike mine which came out a bit dark, but that’s because I had to use the regular oven as my fan oven is broken at the moment).

Place in fridge and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight until firm.

Serves 10-12


♥♥ Terri  ♥♥