Two posts in one day! Look Out!

We all know how much I love to bake, and so far this year I haven’t made too many, especially the creative shaped cakes. So when it came up to my birthday I decided to make my cake, this year’s theme was Tea! Now I don’t know if I need to remind you how obsessed I am with tea at the moment.  A teapot cake is very me and I wanted a bit of a challenge! So I started out with 2 plain vanilla butter cakes, dyed pink and a little extra vanilla added, for the filling and crumb coating I used a vanilla and frangelico butter cream and then for the final layer I used a strawberry frosting. I baked it in the same tin I used to make a boob cake for my partner last year to get it rounded. Once baked I tried both cakes to have the thickest part flat to I could stick them together, as well as one cake was cut down to be a bit shorter to allow to for curved teapot shape with a flat bottom rather than a ball.

teapotserve

I rolled out my fondant and cut a few pieces off to make the handle and the spout. Once I shaped the spout (which was pretty difficult) and the handle I placed them into the freezer to harden. Lifting the fondant carefully, I then covered my cake and smoothed it out as best as I could and cut off the excess. Using toothpicks I attached the handle and the spout and piped on the decorative finishes. I did attempt to make a tea pot lid but it looked awful so I ate it. Instead I piped a circle of strawberry frosting and flooded the circle with some white royal icing and added a blue ball of fondant.

teapotbetter

By this stage I had so much cake left over and heaps of fondant, I decided to try my hand at make a cup and saucer. All I had left of the cake were off cuts, I crumbed the mixture and added a fair amount of frosting and mixed them together, this made a sort of cake-like goo. Using a teacup I moulded the cake-goo to the cup and placed it in the freezer. I took the matching saucer and pressed some fondant around it to get the general shape and placed it in the freezer to harden.

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One they had hardened, I popped the cake out of the cup and it has set into a really moist looking cake and held it’s shape. That was then covered with fondant leave the top open to pipe in some frosting on top. The saucer didn’t come out the best but it did the job!

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I have never attempted a teapot cake before this by far is my favourite one that I’ve made!

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You can drink that now?

I’ve been completely fascinated recently on finding out the effect that different types of tea have on our body. For a while I only ever had standard tea like English breakfast and I’ve always enjoyed it and still do, I especially love it when I’m sick and it’s only then that I ever add sugar to tea. So where am I going with this, well I’ve moved on to bigger better tea with more variety and flavours. Most of us know by now that drinking chamomile tea has a calming and relaxing effect on us, we know that peppermint tea helps to ease stomach problems, lemon and ginger for a sore throat, but there are so many others out there that are beneficial for the body as well.

While having a chat to my mother about my latest favourite tea (sounds thrilling doesn’t it?) She mentioned she had tried rose tea, I was like “What? You can drink roses now?” My first thought was how is that even remotely beneficial for your body, I don’t know if anyone else feels the same but I honestly thought roses in food were like some sort of decoration, serving no nutritional benefits at all. I was curious though as to what it does, as well as, what it would taste like. I’ve had trouble finding food grade roses to make my own and I wouldn’t use roses from the florist because those will be covered in pesticides, so I tried the next best thing I could find. I purchased a packet of Madame Flavour’s ‘White with Rose’ tea and I’m in love! As I’m typing this I am sipping away on some. I can taste the rose, not as strong as the tea flavour, but it is there and it smells divine. The tea is made up of Pai Mu Tan which is a white tea from China, rose flavouring and rose petals.  There isn’t as many rose petals as I thought that would be in there, maybe one or two petals per bag. Needless to say I still love it and it’s still bursting with nutritional goodness.

I can see it ticking over in your head “What’s so great about it, hurry up and get to the point”. Well here it goes, white tea is said to contain up to 30% more polyphenols than green tea or black tea.  Polyphenols are antioxidants and there are over 4000 different types of them.  Most of the stronger ones are anti-inflammatory and help to neutralise free radicals in the body.  White tea is also known to restore fluid balance in the body, accelerate the metabolism as well as having antibacterial properties. Woo hoo for White Tea!

Rose tea also has wonderful benefits on the body, as well as being anti-inflammatory, it aids in sinus relief, fights against infection as well as relieves bloating, diarrhoea, gastro, depression, insomnia and fatigue. After all that it also aids in pain relief from menstrual cramps! Turns out there is a legitimate reason women like and more importantly need flowers! There are also quite a few scientific studies showing positive results on the body from drinking rose tea. The only warning I have to give is if you drink too much rose tea it will have a laxative effect on the body…. Don’t ask me how I know this……

If you by chance have some food grade rose petals hanging around here’s how you can make your own:

2 cups of fresh fragrant rose petals
3 cups of water
Honey to taste

Clip and discard white bases from the rose petals, rinse thoroughly and dry.
Simmer in water for 5 minutes or until the petals have darkened
Remove from heat and strain into tea cups, add honey to taste.

Let me know if you have tried to make your own rose tea or have a better recipe than mine, I’d love to know!

I’ll be back soon!!!

Wow it’s been a long time; I really didn’t mean to leave it so long! I guess life just got in the way. So it’s been about 6 months since I wrote my last post so I’ll briefly fill you in. I’ve since gone back to study full time doing a Bachelor of Nutritional Medicine. I finally stopped procrastinating and did it and I can honestly say it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I feel alive and happy. I never realised how much a person can thrive on learning, I swear my brain is growing. I’m just about to finish my first semester and have learnt so much, I can’t even believe that the amount of stuff I remember!

I’m really looking forward to starting my next semester where I learn about food nutrition and can’t wait to share what I learn with you. One thing I am absolutely certain of is that I don’t want to stop here. I want more than this degree can offer me so after I finish my 3 year degree I’m going to go on and do a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics and who knows from there. I have so many options to choose from and I’m sure I will change my mind probably 100 times in the next few years, but at least I’m starting it.

I’ve really enjoyed learning about the history of medicine and the history of natural therapies and I’m really excited to share with you some of the research I’ve been doing over the semester. I’m just trying to find my footing and work out where I want this blog to go and in which direction to take it. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear it. I’d to keep sharing recipes with you and any tips and tricks I learn along the way.  So I’ll keep this brief today and spend the next few days coming up with a few new posts and look forward to the future of this blog!

Thanks for sticking around! I’ll be back in full force very soon!

Cheers for Chia!

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My mother’s chia pudding

I’ve been meaning to use more chia seeds but somehow have never got around to it. So I’m determined this week to try to include more in my diet, I’ve been looking around online to find different ways to include them so I thought I’d share with you what I have found so far. First of all I’ll give you a bit of an explanation as to what chia seeds are.

Chia seeds are amazing; I don’t know why they’re not used more! Just a tablespoon of chia seeds contain more protein than a glass of milk and is packed full of Omega -3 fatty acids. A serving of chia seeds has 18% of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which puts you well on your way to maintaining bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis. There are so many more reasons to include chia into your diet.

Chia is so easy to include into your meals and there are some great recipes out there where chia is the main ingredient. Try adding them to smoothies, porridge and yogurt. You can grind the seeds and mix them into pancake mixture.

To make Chia pudding simply mix with almond, soy or coconut milk, a few raw oats, sultanas, goji berries and vanilla xylitol or other sugar free sweetener.

They don’t have to just be used for sweet foods as well. You can put them in to breads, soups, stews to thicken and mixed into stir fry and pasta dishes.

They’re so versatile; you can add them to pretty much anything. I’m looking forward to experimenting over the next few days to see what I can come up with.

mmm food like products

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I was doing some research on portion control and the sizing of dinner plates over the years. I was so shocked at seeing the size difference! In the 60’s the average dinner plate was on average 21.5 cm’s in diameter, to give you some comparison the average dinner plate has grown to a whopping 30.5 cm! That’s a foot! Dinner plates have even turned into a more bowl shape so we can pile more on to it, but it’s not just dinner plates that have grown. Standing drinking glasses and cutlery have also grown. Why has this been happening?

The general consumer is always look for more food for less money and the manufacturers are more than willing to give this to us. So over time as we continue to look for more, companies have been increasing the size of food for less money. Do you know what else is increasing, our waistlines. How can food prices go down when they’re increasing the size, well it usually means nutrition is going down too. So now not only are we getting bigger, but now our food is giving us less nutrients. Companies have to modify the food we eat with chemicals, processing, additives and preservers to bulk out our food and to make it last longer. This is something we all know by now and yet, which I find quite funny, we still consume them because they’re cheap, the problem being is now we’re not consuming food any more but food like products. So while we are stuck in the cycle our food size is going to continue to grow along with our waists.

By now you should get the gist of why things have increased. We also eat with our eyes, our appetite is easily stimulated by looking at delicious tasty food with lots of colour and freshness and by filling our plate we feel compelled to eat it and finish it. Did you know that using a smaller plate you’d feel just as satisfied and you’d also put less on your plate.

The correct portion size is pretty easy to remember. A piece of protein should be about the size of a deck of cards, starchy vegetables and food likes pasta and rice should be about the size of a tennis ball. I’ve been using The Waitplate Systems which includes the perfect size portion templates. It has a protein template, bread, pizza, cake, starchy carbs and dressing, fats and oils. This has been helping me to take the guess work out and giving me back control of the amount of food I’m eating.

The templates along with the portion control plate and cutlery, which have also been made smaller, give you complete control. The portion control all works in conjunction with the unique chew timer which aims to slow down your eating and how quickly you chew.

I was going through a few forums online where people were talking about the changes in size on crockery and I came across and excellent saying, “To be a 1960’s size you must use 1960’s crockery!” I love it and I personally plan to adapt this! It finally means I can use all my antique china that I have collected. Another person made an excellent point, special occasion meals were served on larger plates, so at one point in time we’ve adapted special occasion portions for every day. Finally food was never piled to the edge of the plate, the rim of the plate is supposed to clear of food; this is why chefs wipe the edges clean.  However, I agree with what one woman posted saying that in days gone by, it was probably because the masters of the house didn’t want their servant’s fingers in their food!

Quick get me a coffee… STAT!

coffee

One thing we seem to be trying to get in our lives is more energy; we talk supplements, drink coffee, have energy drinks and are constantly looking for ways to get more.  I thought we’d look at a few different ways to get some energy with having to resort to calorie, sugar laden energy supplements. As I was researching for this I came across a website that was talking about an energy boost called “sugar rush” It was simply 18 Jelly Belly Jelly Beans blended together! Oh my goodness! That is certainly not the way to get long lasting energy!

Sometimes 8 hours of solid sleep is not enough to keep us going all day as we lead hectic fast paced lives, rushing from one to the next. Then we get worn out and look for something to give us a boost. Without thinking a lot of us will reach for coffee, energy drinks and snacks high in calories, sugar and carbohydrates. While tired you’re more likely to snack and look for these foods than choose something like fresh produce or nuts. Sugar and carbs, although these provide energy and fast, it is often very short lived, causing you to consume even more.

If you find yourself reaching for that snack why not try a banana or an apple with some peanut butter. The fructose takes longer to metabolise in our bodies than processed sugar and the peanut butter provides a longer lasting form of energy.

Not all carbs are bad; some complex carbohydrates like whole grains and beans are some of the best long lasting energy boosters out there that make you feel full at the same time. Try some whole grain crackers with some hummus.

If lacking energy leads to crave sweet things, avoid the sugar which gives you a short time high but an awful sugar crash and swap it for something like Greek yoghurt, muesli and berries. A small serving of this will cure those sweet cravings and supply you with long lasting energy and leaving you feel satisfied.

Eggs are fantastic! A boiled egg in the afternoon help you stay awake is a good idea! Eggs are packed full of protein and offer nearly the same benefits as lean meat, including B vitamins, iron and protein

Sometimes all you need is to move. A brisk walk outside will give you a boost in energy and a fresh air to blow away the cobwebs that start forming in your head when you get tired. Finally, try a glass of cool water with a slice of lemon. Dehydration can lower your metabolism and your energy levels. The lemon provides some vitamin c, or you  can try coconut water which has extra electrolytes and potassium.

So next time you’re looking for an energy boost, why not swap the energy drink for something more substantial and sustaining!

Challenge Update

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Just a quick update! I’ve started The Waitplate 4 Week Challenge, so I’d thought I’d provide you with a keep update. I’ve done really well in my first week and have followed the guidelines really well. Cameron is doing it along with me and we have felt really good after each meal instead of comatose because we have eaten too much! So here’s my measurements from before the challenge

  • Bust: 107 cm
  • Waist: 96.5 cm
  • Hips: 119 cm

End of Week One

  • Bust: 107 cm
  • Waist: 93 cm
  • Hips: 117 cm

That’s a total of 5.5cm in my first week! I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see what the next week will hold for me. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to do another update to include some of the stuff I’m doing to lose weight!

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For all things portion control visit http://www.waitplate,com

Time to look in the mirror

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visit http://www.waitplate.com for your lifestyle change

How do you feel when you hear “you’re going on a diet”? What feelings does this invoke in you and be honest. Can you hear that little voice saying in panic “I’m going to starve, I’ll be deprived, I can’t do it, I’ll still be hungry, I don’t want to go without”. I know you hear this because I hear it to. That mean little inner voice is screaming NO NO NO! What if I tell you diets don’t work for most people in the long run and I don’t want you to go on diet? Does that make you feel better, relieved even? Diet is a scary word, it has the word “die” in it, and of course we’re going to be afraid of it. What if I tell you the anxiety you feel when it comes to food can be changed, will that help? It can be changed and your relationship with food can be changed.

Let me tell you about my experiences with food. I eat when I’m stressed and emotional, that’s not a surprise most people do. However, the emotions I felt when eating were worse than what I felt before the food. I often would eat to squash an emotion, and as I ate I felt even more ashamed and frankly embarrassed by myself. So I ate more. The more I ate the more I focused on becoming full, overfull, and the quicker I ate the more full I could become. It got me thinking about why I turn to food and my relationship with food. I’ve had body image issues for a very long time; this seems to be happening to more and more people at very young ages. We criticise and scrutinise ourselves until we feel so bad about ourselves that we look to something to make ourselves feel better.

The first time I really criticised myself, and I remember exactly when I first doubted myself, my parents are divorced and I lived with my mother, on a visitation to my father he said to me “Why are you so fat? Doesn’t your mother know anything about nutrition?” I was no more than 6 or 7 years old. This cut me to my core, not so much about me being fat, but criticising the person I love more than anything in this world, my mother. I felt like I was an embarrassment to her because I was fat and people would think she was a bad mother. She wasn’t a bad mother at all. She’s the most amazing person in the world and I wasn’t fat at all. But someone had forced their opinion of what I should look like on me because they have their own issues with themselves. This is the worst thing we can do for each other, but it doesn’t stop people from doing it. During high school I remember overhearing people talking about how fat I was. Once again I wasn’t fat at all. I was very tall, taller than most girls, with broad shoulders but because I didn’t look like the other girls and I was different, I was instantly fat. Once again someone else was forcing their opinion into my mind.

No matter how many times people tell you not to listen to others, it still affects you and deep down. It’s ok to feel these things; sometimes you just can’t help it. The choice though you need to make is whether to keep letting it bother you or not. Be really honest with yourself and let your vain side show, look in the mirror and what do you see? I know there is a very small voice in there that is saying something positive. Sometimes you really have to listen hard, but when you find it turn the volume all the way up. Can you hear that voice telling you you’re too fat? Turn it down and become aware of what you see, remove yourself from your body so to speak and look at your body and let’s make some realisations.

From what I see and I’m being completely honest, I’m a overweight, but I also see, nice hair, nice eyes, I look good in what I’m wearing and what I know for sure, is I’m a good person. I know what I look like physically and rather than attach an emotion like sadness to my negative traits I have removed the emotion and see it for what it is. I focus on the stuff I like about myself and soon everything falls in place. I’m not saying to deny the way you look or your weight, but weight can be changed, you need to change your mind first. Once you start making these positive steps to fixing the way you see yourself then you’ll be in a better place to actually change what you don’t like.

I personally feel no shame in my body, yes I would like to lose weight and have a nice body, but I’m not ashamed. I don’t want to attach those sorts of negative words to myself, so I removed them. It takes a bit of persistence but it’s worth doing.  As the commercials say “You’re worth it”, because you are. Work on focusing on those good things about yourself, you may only find one thing at first, eventually you’ll find more and more.

So what’s the next step? Let’s look at change. Change can be hard, difficult and scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re even thinking about change, then you probably need it. Listen to that inner voice that speaks your truth, we tend to lose our ability to listen to that voice and it becomes hard to hear but you’ll find it. You’ll know what you need and change is not scary. It’s true what they say “change is as good as a holiday”, maybe not a holiday but it’s still pretty good. You’re reading this because you think you’re overweight, that’s ok a lot of people are, but let’s change this. This is where I sound like infomercial, that’s because I believe so much in this that I know it will work for you.

The Waitplate System is your lifestyle change, it’s my lifestyle change. This system address’s the psychological and physical aspects of eating. It takes the guess work out how much and re-teaches you to eat properly. Don’t think of it as a diet (there’s that word again), it’s not, you won’t be deprived and you won’t miss out. In fact the changes happen almost instantly. The first time you try it you’ll realise you haven’t missed out at all. I promise you, you will still feel satisfied after your very first meal and the next and the next. Take that first step and make the change.

So how does it re-teach me? It’s a whole system, the focus is restoring your hunger/satiety response. Think of this as a reset to default for your body. With assistance you’ll restore this balance and eventually you’ll be able to do it on your own. How does it assist you? The Waitplate comes with a unique chew timer to slow down how fast you eat. It also comes with food templates which show you the correct serving of each food, as well as a portion control plate. The thing that won me over was the cutlery. It’s small. Being small serves a purpose though, it’s help you to put smaller amounts of food into your mouth and it works together with the timer to slow down and reduce how much you eat.

So why not take that first step now to making you feel great.

I’m back!

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Now I know I haven’t been around for a while but let me just fill you in on what’s been going on. The last few months have been very tough for me. A few months ago I started feeling just all round crap. I was tired all the time and had no motivation to do anything, let along get out of bed. I was getting severe stomach pains constantly that would only be eased by heat packs and I was getting constant headaches and gaining a lot of weight quickly and constantly bloating. I went and got a blood test and an ultrasound to see what was going. The ultrasound came back fine but the blood test showed some interesting results. My iron levels were severely low and I have an underactive thyroid.

I started getting iron injections and went on some thyroid medication and for a while I started feeling really good again. That all went downhill again. I constantly felt on the verge of tears, I became moody again and the headaches started coming back again. I had taken on a complete doom and gloom view on the world. Going back to the doctor and discussing a few things, turns out my depression has come back in full force. Lucky me right?

I had to sit down and think about what in my life was making me feel this bad. Last time I had it this bad I was in an awful relationship, not this time though. I have a great relationship with Cameron and feel very supported. I took note of when the recent headaches started again and it was always as I was about to go to work. I felt my at my worst at work, I had just had enough. The feeling of dread as I walk in the building was crippling and the depression was manifestoing into physical symptoms. After everything I had going on with my health and then to go to a job I didn’t like, I had come to breaking point.

It’s taken me a few weeks to figure out what I was going to and I have to say these were the most stressful weeks of my life. Do I stay or go? What about money? What do I want to do? It came to decision time on Monday morning when I was dressed in my work uniform and sat on my bed and burst into tears. I couldn’t bring myself to go back, why was I putting myself through this. It’s not worth it. I sat there home alone just crying and crying. I rang work and said I wasn’t coming in today and as I work casually I said not to call me for a few weeks to work. Decision made.

I spent the day job hunting and am still job hunting. I haven’t quit my job because it’s my safety net in case something goes wrong. Instead I’ve been working with my mum to help launch her new business The Waitplate. The longer I spent working with her and writing articles and researching the more I started discovering my passion for healthy food again. As I’ve gained weight I’ve decided to do a 4 week Waitplate challenge. I’ll be posting as often as I can with how I’m going on it and any hints and tips I’ve come across.

So what’s The Waitplate? It’s not a diet but a whole lifestyle change. I can still eat what I like but using The Waitplate I will re-learn how to eating properly and with proper portions. I’ve already learnt so much in just a few days. My mum writes a blog called Perfect Portions which you can check out as well as the website www.waitplate.com to find out more. Even just reading the articles is fascinating.

This means my blog will be taking a different turn, it will still be about food and will still have recipes but you’ll be following my journey as I learn more each day and feel better each day.