Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Summer Treats

Charity Grace was kind enough to send me a link to her recipe for sugar free soft serve made from frozen bananas. I tried it last night and I have to say it was a definite success. I had some difficulty at first because I was afraid of adding too much liquid, but once I added enough to keep the blender going while pulsing it worked very well and the texture is very creamy. I added cocoa powder to the "ice cream"and put it in cones, which was very messy. My test group was my children who will eat just about anything I give them for dessert because they're not used to a pile of sugar and some of their friends who get to dip their fingers in the chocolate frosting on a daily basis. Even the children who are used to very sweet things ate it and enjoyed it, except the 2 year old who left half of hers sitting on a bench in order to go down the slide and then forgot about it.

We will be having this treat at our house this summer that's for sure. Since the Genius Husband DOES NOT like bananas (See I capitalized it so you would understand that he really doesn't like bananas.) I'm wondering if this recipe would work with frozen mango chunks also. I'll be trying it right after I get me some mangoes and I'll let you know. In the meantime, feel free to try it yourself to see if it works.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

decisions, decisions

Today I want to talk about making choices to eat right, to respect ourselves and our bodies, and to maintain or attain a healthy weight. We all have our triggers, moments when we are sorely tempted to go off of our regular diet and outside of our safe parameters for indulgence. If we give in too often those indulgences become our regular diet and then we are in trouble. My triggers are late night after the kids are asleep, and when I occasionally get to a store without 2 children in tow. The light and easy child free feeling is definitely an occasion for celebration and I find myself eying the candy bars, detouring off of my regular route through the baked goods section, and seriously contemplating food I normally avoid. This is never a problem when I'm out with my children. When I'm with my kids I'm strong, they are watching me, I don't want to give them any because it's not good for them. I've worked hard to get them to the point that they no longer ask for candy, they just look at it like orphans and say mournfully, "I would really like to get some candy but I know that it's not good for me and that we shouldn't eat it, but I would really like to get some." (Direct quote) At which point I make sure to praise them for being so smart and strong and remind them of whatever yummy treat we are planning for our indulgence later or another day and stress that it tastes much better than whatever they are eying. I'm not going to purchase fake food in front of my children, but I think about it when they aren't there. Am I hungry? No. Am I bored and in need of something unusual? Perhaps.

Now we are getting to what I really want to talk about. You see, every decision we make reinforces one behavior or another, every time I choose to raid the fridge at 11pm makes it that much easier to do it the next time, and every time I choose not to makes it that much easier to resist the next time. No moment exists only for itself but builds on past moments and influences future moments. The great thing is that life presents us with many opportunities to change our course and start off in a new direction. Every time to stand in the cookie aisle at the grocery store eying the chocolate covered orange blossom cookies on sale, not because you are planning a special tea with friends later that week and plan to serve them and perhaps taste one yourself, but because you are thinking about eating them on the way home and then hiding the rest of the box in the back of the cupboard and wolfing them down when no one is looking is a chance to change you habits for the better. Just say no this time. You don't have to eat them. Yes it's only one box of cookies, but saying no today helps you to say no tomorrow, and then the next day, and the next. Saying yes makes it harder to say no later. You strengthen yourself or weaken yourself with every response to every temptation. Even on indulgence days, choosing to leave on bite on your plate of the lovely chocolate mousse or ice cream strengthens your resistance your ability to say no when it's in front of you. But it's only one bite you say, what's the big deal? Try it. Can you leave just one bite on the table in front of you and go on without thinking about it, eying it, cutting it in half and eating one half and then cutting it in half again? If you can't, you are not alone, but the practise of leaving it there strengthens your resolve and your ability to be in control of your appetite.

So here are a few tricks that help me get through my tempting times and stick to the plan that I have chosen.

I brush my teeth as soon as I'm finished eating dinner, before I clear the table. I am put off enough by the bother of doing it again before bed that I don't snack, or take bites of my husband's dessert or whatever he brought home with him or eat leftovers that I don't really need if my teeth are already brushed.

I try not to keep snacks in the house that I find hard to resist.

When I go out and want to celebrate I get non food items. Some ideas are:

Fresh flowers, just one or two stems will do, they make me happy to look at them and last a lot longer than a candy bar.
Fruit. I was at the store two days ago and for some reason I could not stop looking at the chocolate brownies. I wanted cherries too but they were more than I wanted to pay, and then I realized that I was about to spend that on chocolate any way and took the cherries home instead.
READ THE LABEL. Nothing puts me off a craving faster than a dose of cold hard reality. Those brownies I was thinking of buying are made out of corn syrup and hydrogenated oils, and dye's and preservatives. I know from experience that that is going to taste disappointing, and I'll want to keep eating because it's not what I really wanted. And, one serving, half a brownie, has more than 200 calories, %50 from fat. It took my whole morning workout to burn that much off, no way walking home from the store is going to make up for it.
Light reading material. I don't normally buy check stand magazines, or any at all for that matter, but I do sometimes if I want to just take a break and relax.
Herbal tea: I like to stop at a coffee shop and get a nice herbal blend, like a citrusy roiboos or something that tastes good without cream or sweetener and sit and savor and enjoy my break.
Water. Stay hydrated and you're less likely to have cravings.

I promise the more you resist the urge to eat mindlessly, and for emotional or habitual reasons, the easier it will be to continue to resist, and pretty soon you will feel better and look better too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Creamy, Smooth, and Sometimes Fluffy

So I was walking along on my way home from the store, thinking about how sadly neglected this little food blog is, and the last two questions that I have yet to answer, in particular Becca from Glasgow's question?

If you have any more tips on satiating a sweet tooth without too much sugar (and I'm really not into artificial sweeteners, hence the fact I'm asking you!) that would be much appreciated.
I find that it's texture as much as taste that I miss when I'm trying not to consume too many treats, or am substituting apples for cakes! (i.e. creamy/smooth, cakey/fluffy, creamy/smooth&cakey/fluffy! *lol*).
I've got the chocolate needs under control, it's more the dessert-without-sweetener needs I'm having trouble with. Any help would be gratefully received. =)
I was thinking of the things I've already said, like the three bite rule, and limit your indulgences to once or twice a week, enjoy smaller portions and really take pleasure in it when you eat it. But Becca has already read that, I needed something else. Suddenly, the clouds parted, a ray of sunlight fell upon my face and a heavenly chord resounded in my ears along with a single word, "CUSTARD!" Okay, so maybe I was imagining the choir.

Anyway, custard is full of yummy healthful eggy goodness, high in protein, creamy and delectable in texture, and relatively low in sugar, especially compared to cake. Though there is fat in it from the milk, you can control the amount by using lower fat milk. (I hear my husband scoffing at the idea of using low fat milk in the back of my head because he is like that, but we don't have to tell him.)

I like to eat custard with unsweetened chocolate flakes or cocoa powder sprinkled on top and fresh strawberry slices.

There are many different kinds of custard, baked, boiled, and hundreds of variations on a very popular theme some higher in calories than others. I consulted with my friend Google to find you a few to start with. For fluffy try this recipe.
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