Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Feb 5

Good Morning World!

It’s a bright and sunny morning here in the south-east, but very cold….brrrr.  The kitties are all in their favorite spots in the sun having a lovely nap.

Having a nice warming bowl of quinoa right now, so let’s get on with today’s tips..

dry fruit To stop raisins and dry fruit from sinking to the bottom of a cake or muffins, coat in flour before adding to the batter.

TT: Don’t usually have this problem, so haven’t tried it.  However, I do see this tip quite a bit.

∞ To clean rust from stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, mix cream of tartar with a little lemon juice and run in.  Leave for a few hours before wiping clean.

TT:  Who has rust on their appliances unless they’ve been stored in the cupboard for 20 years!  If they haven’t seen the light of day, I really don’t think you’re too concerned about the rust!

∞ Store honey in the cupboard, not the fridge.  If the honey becomes crystalized, put the jar in very hot water until the crystals disappear and the honey is fluid again.

TT:  I do this all the time.  Depending on how crystalized it is, you may have to add fresh hot water.

apple∞ Add an apple to an open bag of potatoes to delay sprouting.

TT: I’ve never done this so don’t know how well it works.  Depending on the advancement of the sprouts, we either just cut them off, plant them or put them into the compost heap.

∞ When kneading bread dough, there’s no need to add any more flour once it comes away cleanly from the work surface, even though it may stick to it.

TT:  When I knead dough, I put a bit of olive oil on the work surface as it prevents it from sticking and doesn’t add unnecessary extra flour.  The oil helps give a softer dough.

∞ When cooking cauliflower, add a little milk to the water to keep the cauliflower bright white.

TT: I’ve heard of adding lemon juice, but not milk.  I don’t do either of them.  I don’t need to wear sunglasses while I’m eating.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the tips!  Have you tried any of them?

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

South Beach Diet ~ Here we go Again!

Good day, dear readers!

weight-loss-cartoonWell as we all know, a new year usually signals the time to get back to proper eating and for me, it’s no different.  As many of you know, I’m an avid follower of the South Beach Diet (SBD) and am the first one to promote its wonderful, healthy way of eating, but over the past few months several months year an a half, I’ve completely slipped off the wagon as if it were covered in grease.

When I was following it back in 2010, I managed to lose 28lbs.  I felt great, I dropped 3 sizes, I had more energy, my clothes weren’t tight and it wasn’t a struggle to bend over and tie my sneakers!  I hit a plateau in my weight…something I’m sure all of us who have ever dieted before knows all too well about.  After a while I slowly started to eat things I shouldn’t have and the weight has slowly crept back on to me and I managed to gain back 20 lbs….sigh.

DietscaleMost of last year I kept telling myself that I needed to get back to proper eating (I never refer to it as going on a ‘diet’) and would always say I would start on Monday.  Obviously, that never happened as Monday would roll around and I’d be repeating the same mantra again.  Each time I stepped on the scale; maybe once a month or so, my weight would increase by a pound or more.  Sometimes it would actually stay the same and I would be quite thankful.

As the recent holidays approached, I started psyching myself up that I was going back to SBD after the new year and I have kept that promise to myself.  I didn’t start exactly on Jan 1, but on Jan 5 as I wanted to make sure I had all the proper foods in the house and also to get rid of all the junk such as all the crackers, cheese, canapes and especially the chocolate.

In the past two weeks, I’ve lost nearly 5lbs. and even though it’s a slow start, at least the numbers on the scale are going down and not up!

Many of us try to lose weight in the new year, and even though I’m sure you’ve heard most of the following before, it’s always good to get a refresher as it becomes engrained in our brains and hopefully stays there!  Breaking old eating habits can be tough, but here’s a few tips to help you on the way and hopefully keep your (and my) motivation high…

* Get rid of everything that will tempt you into unhealthy eating.  This includes cakes, cookies/biscuits, pies, chips/crisps, chocolates, candies, sweets and any other junk food you might have sitting around.

*Have some healthy snacks handy.  An apple with a small amount of sugar-free peanut butter or low-fat cheese, some wholegrain crackers with low-fat cheese, a few spoonfuls of fat-free Greek yogurt with some berries and artificial sweetener.  Celery sticks with a small amount of low fat cream cheese.  A small handful of nuts; almonds and walnuts are great choices.  You get the idea.

*Try to find a friend who also wants to lose weight and you can do it together.  Going along with a friend will help you achieve your goal as you are there to push each other along.

*Start an exercise program if you haven’t already.  You don’t need to spend hours (or money!) at the gym.  Put on a pair of walking shoes and head outside.  Start slow if you’re not used to doing a great deal of walking.  Even 10-15 minutes of walking is better than sitting down in front of the TV.  Get yourself a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day and work your way up to that.  A 10-minute walk is around 1,000 steps. Remember, the more you move, the more calories you burn.  You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of weight.

*Be realistic.  Keep your ultimate goal at the back of your mind, but focus on the small bites that will help you get there, such as a certain amount of weight to lose each week.

*Keep focused and motivated by reminding yourself why you want to lose weight.  Whether it’s for health reasons or to fit into your wedding gown or swim suit this Summer, it’s easier to do something when you’re clear about why you’re doing it.

sugar1*Lower your sugar intake.  Many foods have hidden sugar such as ketchup, peanut butter, canned soup, bread and salad dressings.  Try to avoid ‘light’ products such as mayonnaise as they compensate for the lower fat by adding more sugar. Too much sugar can play havoc with your blood glucose levels and increase your risk for diabetes. It may also cause obesity, and increase your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. It has even been linked to cancer.

*Avoid white foods: potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.  A sweet potato is actually better than a white potato, swap white rice for brown or wild rice and go for whole wheat pasta and whole grain breads.  They all provide more fiber which is digested more slowly and doesn’t give you that sharp spike in glucose levels which leaves you feeling hungry.  You can also replace rice with grains such as whole wheat couscous, bulgar wheat, quinoa or barley.  Oats are a great way to start your day, but avoid the instant oats.

*Try to limit your eating of the starchy vegetables such as green peas, parsnips, beets, corn, pumpkin, turnips and carrots as these all contain a higher level of carbohydrates than other veggies.

*You should also limit yourself on the following fruit for the same reason as the starchy veggies: canned fruit, all fruit juice, raisins, pineapple and watermelon.

So there you go.  There are so many more ideas and thoughts that go along with all of this, but I figured this is enough for now.

Maybe it’s time to go build a snowman….

♥  Terri  ♥

Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Jan 8

Hello!

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  ♥

I’m Taking a Break

Good Day dear readers!

Now I know I’ve been AWOL again, but I have been SO busy over the past couple of weeks that I’ve barely had time to check any emails, let alone do any blogging.

And why, do you ask, have I been so busy??

Well let me tell you…you see, this weekend, Sunday to be precise, I’ll be at a rather big event going on in Margate at the Winter Gardens.  It’s World Food Day, presented by Thanet Fairtrade Initiative.

I’ve been so busy making chutney and preserves, that I seriously had to take a break today.  I did make pickled onions this morning and made up some jar labels, but I’m just really tired and decided to take today off as I’ve been in the kitchen practically non-stop for the past week or two.  I’ve been making 2-3 batches of different things each day, including brownies and bread dip mix.  I still have to make some whoopie pies and a loaf of bread to use for the samples of the bread dip mix.  Yes, I make the bread for that.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but everyone needs a little time off every now and then.  I figure if I take it easy today, then I’ll be fresh and raring to go tomorrow!

Unfortunately, because I’ve been busy with cooking, my housework has been a bit neglected and I’ve just kept up with the things that really need to be done such as cleaning the bathroom and doing laundry.  Gotta have clean clothes to wear and I hate a dirty bathroom!

This past weekend, we did manage to get out on Sunday and head down to town for the Broadstairs Food Festival.  I didn’t bring the camera this time, but you can see and read all about it here from last year.  I had said that I would have liked to have been one of the stall holders here, but with next week’s event, I just couldn’t.  I don’t know if I’ll ever do the Broadstairs festival; you have to set up for all three days that it runs and it’s not that cheap to set up.  It also seemed a bit disappointing this year as there didn’t seem to be as many stall holders as last year.  We did buy some things; almost the same as last year…some venison sausages, the same blue cheese (it was really good!) and a bag of jasmine blossom tea.  We also picked up some Italian cookies for my mother-in-law.

So that’s about all for the foodie things.  If you live in the area and you’re coming to the World Food Day next weekend, mention you read my blog here and I’ll give you a 10% discount on your purchase!

See you there!

♥  Terri  ♥

Waste Food? Don’t Do It!

What kind of person throws away perfectly good canned items?  Well, a certain family member has done that but I managed to retrieve the items and save them from an already overflowing land fill.

Here’s the scoop:

Chef P’s aunt (M) passed away a year ago and her children are now in the process of cleaning out her house as it has now been sold.

We were asked if we would be interested in any of the furniture in the house so we now have a new bookcase at the top of the landing.  When we were there a couple of weeks ago to pick up the bookcase, we noticed all the canned goods sitting on the kitchen counter along with a couple of jars of mustard and two full spice jars (cinnamon and mixed spice).  As I’m always on the lookout for jars, I wondered what they were going to do with them.

Just this past Saturday, Chef P’s cousin (S) was back at her mother’s house packing up more personal items.  We were at my mother-in-law’s and she said that she was going to take M’s microwave as it was bigger and newer.  We went over to M’s and got the microwave and while we were there, I asked S about the canned goods and the jars.  Her response?  ‘Oh, we just put them out in the bin’.  I asked if they were in bags and they were so we grabbed all three bags, left and headed back to mum’s with her new microwave.

We sorted out the canned goods when we got there.  We kept some and gave some to mum.  There were 3 or 4 small cans each of baked beans and chopped tomatoes plus one large can.  There were also two cans of peaches, one can of fried onions, one of steak and kidney pie and one can with no label which we dubbed ‘chef’s surprise’ and I later found out it was a can of apricots.

The jar items included two jars of mustard (one wholegrain, one English), a jar of blackcurrant jam, one of orange marmalade (which I ended up throwing away as it looked a little fuzzy and green around the edges!) and full jars of cinnamon and mixed spice.  There was also a tin with a non-opened bag of loose tea which I’ve already sampled (a lovely jasmine tasting tea with camomile) and another full tin from Harrods with Assam tea bags.

It’s bad enough that UK households waste 25% of all the food they buy.  I absolutely hate when I have to throw something out, although it’s not really that much; usually the last 2 inches of a cucumber or some spring onions that got stuck at the back of the veggie draw.  However, rotten veggies don’t really get thrown out in the trash…they get put on the compost heap so at least they are going to a good cause!  We don’t really throw away much of anything else.  Leftovers are used for Chef P’s lunch or mine.  If bread starts going stale, I cut it up into cubes and throw it in the freezer to use for stuffing.  If it has a few moldy spots, I just cut them off.  I even save apple peeling and cores in the freezer to use to make my own pectin.

You want to read some more interesting and saddening facts about food waste?  Read on…

The UK, US and Europe have nearly twice as much food as is required by the nutritional needs of their populations. Up to half the entire food supply is wasted between the farm and the fork. If crops wastefully fed to livestock are included, European countries have more than three times more food than they need, while the US has around four times more food than is needed, and up to three-quarters of the nutritional value is lost before it reaches people’s mouths.

There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world, but the approximately 40 million tonnes of food wasted by US households, retailers and food services each year would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them.

All the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe.

A third of the world’s entire food supply could be saved by reducing waste – or enough to feed 3 billion people; and this would still leave enough surplus for countries to provide their populations with 130 per cent of their nutritional requirements.

Between 2 and 500 times more carbon dioxide can be saved by feeding food waste to pigs rather than sending it for anaerobic digestion (the UK government’s preferred option). But under European laws feeding food waste to pigs is banned. In Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, by contrast, it is mandatory to feed some food waste to pigs.

2.3 million tonnes of fish discarded in the North Atlantic and the North Sea each year; 40 to 60% of all fish caught in Europe are discarded – either because they are the wrong size, species, or because of the ill-governed European quota system. (this one really gets my goat!)

An estimated 20 to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables are rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets’ excessively strict cosmetic standards. (as does this one!)

24 to 35% of school lunches end up in the bin.

The bread and other cereal products thrown away in UK households alone would have been enough to lift 30 million of the world’s hungry people out of malnourishment.

4 million people in the UK, 43 million in the EU and around 35 million in the US suffer from food poverty.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

What have you thrown out this week?

What do you do to save waste?

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

Diet not Working?

So you’ve decided to embark on a healthy eating plan.  It starts off quite well, you lose a few pounds and then suddenly you find it’s not working.

Why is it that your diet and exercise plans never seem to work?  Possibly because you’re unwittingly undoing all your best efforts.

The British Nutrition Foundation identified more than 100 factors that influence our weight.  Many of the tips they offered were fairly obvious, such as eating smaller portions or not eating ready-made meals.  Here’s a few habits that might actually surprise you…

What’s that in your shopping cart?

Cereal.  A U.S. study found breakfast cereal sweetened with sugar left overweight participants hungry before lunchtime and they consumed more calories a day than those given an egg as the protein kept them full.  Egg eaters also had significantly lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.

White bread.  Too many refined carbs such as white bread and white rice can lead to weight gain, particularly around the midriff, according to researchers at Tufts University in Boston.  Two groups ate roughly the same number of calories each day, but those who ate mostly refined carbs added a half inch on their waist per year compared with those eating unrefined ‘whole’ foods such as vegetables and wholegrain bread.

Fruit juice.  Fruit juices and other sugary drinks have a stronger impact on weight than calories from solid food.  Cutting out just one sugary drink a day resulted in a weight loss of more than one pound after six months.

Is working out, not working out?

Exercising at a steady pace.  Short sharp bursts are just as effective and less time consuming and you’re more likely to stick to it.  Canadian researchers compared the effects of cycling at a moderate pace for 90-120 minutes with a workout of 20-30 seconds of gut-busting pedalling followed by four minutes rest and repeated four to six times.  After two weeks, both groups had almost identical improvements in fitness despite the fact some had only worked out for six to nine minutes a week but others had put in five hours.

Eating after exercising.  When women exercised hard they ate almost enough calories afterwards to make up for the ones they just burned, according to a U.S. study.

Indoor workouts.  Most studies show that exercising in natural environments is associated with greater boosts to mood, decreased anxiety and an increased likelihood of sticking with the workouts.

Is life in general giving you more curves?

Overweight friends.  If your friends gain weight, chances are you will too.  Why?  A Dutch study found that we tend to mimic each other’s behavior when we eat out, taking a bite at the same time.

Not chewing enough.  The longer food remains in the mouth, the more chance the tongue has to send messages to the brain to release the necessary digestive juices.  Chewing and digesting solid food fills you up.

Getting some shut-eye.  A study published in the journal Sleep suggested too little encourages the genes that cause weight gain.  Longer sleep (nine hours) suppresses the action of these ‘obesity’ genes.

Being stressed.  Stress encourages the body to put on weight around you middle.  This is because it triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol.  Over time, raised cortisol levels cause belly fat to accumulate and also makes individual fat cells enlarge.

A large variety of foods.  Fewer food choices and instilling culinary boredom could be the key to successful weight loss.  Researchers reporting in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition found that when women were offered the same food over and over again, they tended to eat less overall.

It’s all your (body’s) fault.

You’re a woman.  Using brain scans, U.S. researchers have found overweight men could suppress cravings or what they called ‘the conscious desire to eat’ more successfully than women.  It’s thought hormone differences were involved.

You don’t have enough brown fat.  Thin people are known to have higher amounts of beneficial brown fat than the overweight.  Brown fat’s great appeal is that it burns calories faster, like a furnace.  A recent study found that a form of brown fat is turned on when people get cold.

It’s your age.  Basal metabolic rate, which accounts for about 50%-70% of your total energy expenditure is thought to decrease about 1%-2% per decade.  After age 20, daily energy expenditure decreases about 150 calories per decade.  The upshot is that you need to eat less as you get older.

You’re hardwired to yo-yo.  Scientists now think that soon after people lost weight, their metabolism shows and they experience hormonal changes that increase their appetites again.  These effects can be long term.  People who have lost weight need to remain vigilant and understand that once they have lost weight the battle is not over.

Your parents made you fat.  Whether you are fat or thin could be an inherited factor.  A UK study showed only 4% of girls with normal weight mothers were obese compared with 41% with fat mothers.  Research suggests a very strong link between mother and daughter and father and son obesity, but no link across gender divide.

All of us who have dieted know it’s not easy.  If it were, we’d all be fit and healthy….

♥  Terri  ♥

In memory of those who lost their lives 11 years ago…

 

How Sweet it is!

Sugar.  We all know we shouldn’t eat so much of it, but yet we do.  It’s irresistable.  It’s sweet.  It gives us a pleasurable taste on the tongue.  How can we say ‘no’???

The average American eats approximately 1,500 pounds of food every year. Of that, 160 pounds are primarily sugar.

Of all the food stuff we eat, sugar is the least nutritious.  In fact, except for the energy in its calories, there’s not much to recommend about sugar. It’s a prime source of empty calories, and for those of us who are trying to lose weight, sugar’s the first thing we should start trimming from our diets.

The problem is that it’s added to so many of the foods that we eat on a daily basis, hidden from view.  You say ‘no, how can that be’?  Try reading food labels.  The food manufacturers have ways of hiding it by giving it different names:  sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, fructose, sorbitol, maltose, lactose and maltodextrin, just to name a few.

One of the best ways to disguise the amount of sugar in a product is printing the information in grams. Most Americans haven’t the foggiest idea of how much a gram is, because they’re unaccustomed to the metric system. So when they pick up a can of soda that contains 40 grams of sugar, they pretty much shrug their shoulders and pop the top, assuming they’re even reading the label.   But what if the label said 10 teaspoons of sugar?  If you saw someone popping 10 tsp. worth of sugar into their coffee or tea, you’d think they were crazy, but that’s how much is in a typical 12oz. can.

The food industry has cleverly snuck its sugars and corn syrups into products where we never would have thought to look for sugar. It’s good for the manufacturer. It hikes up the calorie load, can enhance the product’s appearance (high-fructose corn syrup gives hamburger buns their golden glow), and can keep our sugar cravings simmering at a low boil. Here are some types of products whose labels you should look out for.

Spaghetti sauce. A half cup of store-bought sauce can contain as many as three teaspoons of corn syrup or sugar. While some of the naturally occurring sugar in tomatoes and other vegetables will show up on the nutrition label, most of the sugar is added. Look for brands that don’t include sugar.

Ketchup. Ketchup can be 20 percent sugar or more. Not to mention that you’ll get 7 percent of your daily sodium allowance in one tablespoon. Look for low-salt, no-sugar brands, or make your own, using pureed carrots to add flavor and texture to the tomatoes.

Reduced-fat cookies. Most brands of cookies now offer a reduced-fat version of their product.But while you’re patting yourself on the back for choosing the low-fat option, check the label. The sneaky food manufacturers did take out the fat, but they replaced it with, you guessed it, sugar. And because there’s no fat to make you feel full, you’ll be tempted to eat more “guilt-free” cookies. And just because there’s less fat, it doesn’t mean you’ll be less fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar make you fat.

Low-fat salad dressing. Like the cookies, manufacturers have taken the fat out of the dressing, but they’ve added extra salt and sugar to make up for it. Check the label to make sure you’re not replacing heart-healthy olive oil with diabetes-causing sugar-because that’s not really a “healthy choice.” Your best bet? Make your own vinaigrettes using a small amount of olive oil, a tasty gourmet vinegar or fresh lemon juice, and some fresh herbs.

Bread. Most processed breads, especially white hamburger and hot dog buns, can contain a good bit of sugar or corn syrup. That’s what gives them the golden-brown crust. As always, check the ingredient label, and consider making your own or getting your bread at a real bakery or a farmers’ market – it’s the best idea since, well, you know.

Fast food. Needless to say, fast food is generally not good for you. But even if you’re staying away from the sodas and the shakes, everything from the burgers to the fries to the salads is a potential place to hide sugar. Check out the ingredients carefully at your favorite restaurant. You may be getting more than you bargained for.

And don’t forget that alcohol also contains sugars.

********************

And how do you know that you’re consuming too much sugar?  Well if you eat too much sugar…

You’ll have trouble getting enough healthy nutrients without going overboard on calories.
You gain weight.
You do not feel the need to eat food that contains more of the important nutrients that our body needs, such as vitamins, iron, calcium and magnesium.
Tooth decay and gum disease.
Unstable blood glucose.
Obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Malfunctioning immune system.
Chromium deficiency.

Soooo….you still want that candy bar??