Sunday, 12 February 2017

Sugar and ... more sugar















The seedheads have been picked clean and the birds are flocking round feeders wherever they find them. Lots of energy used in these cold February days. I can attest to that having spent my share of hours outside. I'm always extra hungry after a morning in the chilly wind. Load up on fat where you can find it, that's my motto.

The middle boy's birthday is approaching this week. Eleven already. He is such a sweet quiet chap. No trouble at all. Well, almost none. We spent the morning at home together today while the others were out. Honestly, there was silence almost the whole time. We are the quiet people!

We're also absolutely terrible at making our minds up about things. We have to weigh up ALL of the possibilities, think it out thoroughly. We cannot be rushed. Even the tiny decisions. It all has to be thought through and agonised over. We have to get it right. Some other people don't understand this. But we do. Anyway, in a triumph of decisiveness he has actually chosen his birthday cake in advance. Normally we would still be weighing up the merits of carrot cake versus Victoria sponge at this point.

He has chosen Nigella's ice-cream cake. It's a hell of a recipe. Take a tub of ice-cream and throw in all sorts of naughtiness. I feel a bit peculiar just thinking about it. But it really is rather good, and I'm not even a great lover of ice-cream (it's too cold - I have been known to warm mine up in the microwave). This has hot chocolate sauce poured over it. I know, I know, but it's only once a year.

I'm already planning what to give up for lent. Sugar, soya and I'm thinking gluten. I've toyed with giving up gluten before but it seems like it might be a tricky thing. I eat lots of oats and bread and things. But I'm curious to know whether I'd feel different. So I think I shall give it a go. Corn tortillas, rye* sourdough and rice noodles might be the way to go. I'm looking forward to it, in a masochistic sort of way. But please don't remind me that I said that when I only last until lunchtime on day 1. I have form.

How are things with you? Any big cakes planned? Or are you all about the vegetables?


* Oops, apparently not gluten free. A little research needed first I think.

27 comments:

  1. I have already started dithering about the choice of my own birthday cake, in May. You can never go wrong with a Nigella cake of course, she knows how to enjoy all those naughty ingredients. I'd give up something different for lent, gummi bears or crisps or bacon or something but that's just me. I don't believe in giving up food groups altogether, unless I had to for medical reasons, for example if I had coelic disease. Moderation is more my thing, with the occasional slip-ups. Have a lovely week and enjoy the birthday treat. Happy Birthday to your young man. xx

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  2. He sounds a lot like my son and almost the same exact age too. Mine can't make up his mind easily either and I think in his case it's because he wants everyone to be happy. I hope he starts thinking about himself a little more. Good luck with your Lenten sacrifices; if it helps, I once gave up all junk food for Lent and lost ten pounds by Easter!

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  3. I gave up sugar for the month of January, and it was easier than I expected. I still craved it, but for me it was best to restrict it entirely rather than simply cut back. (Cutting back is too open to interpretation.) Any time I felt sorry for myself I reminded myself that I'd be able to eat it again when the month was over. I had no results--I didn't feel different or better, and I didn't lose weight. I thought about doing Whole 30, but that would have been too restrictive and would have driven my family crazy (I am the one who does the cooking). Now that I'm allowing myself sugar again, I am trying to limit it. I think I will do frequent no sugar days to keep my consumption in check. Good luck with whatever you try to do.

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  4. I spent most of January ill and didn't feel like eating much of anything, let alone sugary things. I've found that I'm more than making up for it this month though - I bought some of those tubes of mini eggs for the girls in preparation for Easter ............... all gone! Your son sounds adorable; I hope he enjoys his birthday and cake. xx

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  5. Glorious river photos. Bearded tit potential in those reeds I'm thinking. I'm going to cut back on sugar. Not lent just health. I think it unsettles me sleep and gives me strange dreams, not to mention being unhelpful for running. Good luck with your lent plans and happy bd to middle boy. Post a pic of the cake, eh? Xx

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  6. That sounds a gorgeous cake! And happy birthday to him!
    Good luck alsomkeeping to your Lent intentions, I never manage any really... Just be aware that wheat, oats, barley AND rye contain gluten. My son is coeliac and can have none of them, but also has to be aware of cross contamination which makes it a hard diet. You can use corn, potato, rice flours as substitutes, as well as buckwheat, gram (chick peas), quinoa, sago, tapioca. And sorry, beer contains gluten, too ;-)

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    1. Thanks Sandra, I clearly need to do more research about it all! It must be really difficult for your son. Thanks for the tips on substitutes, I shall investigate further. CJ xx

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  7. Hey CJ,
    I'm a bit of a procrastinator. A lot of one actually. We had birthday cake for pudding last night. It was quite unexpected, and the buttercream could melt fillings. It went down very well, as you can imagine. I'm trying to keep an eye on my carbs, but I do love a potato. In any guise. They may just be my favourite vegetable. Lovely wintery photos, CJ. I dusted down my camera last night. I need to get back into the habit of using it once more. Have a lovely week.
    Leanne xx

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  8. I would be careful about giving up sugar and gluten at the same time. I gave up gluten and was really very poorly seemed that my digestive system couldn't cope. Because it was the only sudden change it was easier for Dr to find out what was wrong.
    I can absolutely recommend the "sugar free diet" based on 10 days but can then be a way of life and it is so much better for you. It does involve giving up bread, rice, potatoes ect at the beginning. For Lent I not only give up something I find hard but I also challenge myself to do something I find hard. Preferably that something should be for someone else rather than me.
    In the past I've thought really nice thoughts and been polite then friendly to an abusive neighbour.
    Incredibly hard at the beginning but by the end I felt better for doing it and he was confused as h*ll by what I was doing and got a very little bit nicer to all his neighbours.
    Volunteered for charity work, I'm extremely shy so this was hard.
    I found your blog through Lucy @ Attic 24 and I love your pictures (along with Lucy's and Mitenska) which I save and look at when days are grey or I'm not well enough to get out out.
    Happy Birthday to middle Son, 11 is a lovely age to be.
    My 60th is on 21st no cake though. A quiet day as I was widowed 7 days after my 50th. I understand the desperate need to get it right and weigh each decision, but at the same time we can't count tomorrows so enjoy today to it's maximum. Lucy

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  9. Warm up ice cream whatever next? How does the ice cream affect the taste rather than using uniced cream ingredients?

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  10. Happy birthday to your middle boy. That sounds one amazing cake! I'm trying to cut down on sugar, which I think can only be a good thing but I would find going gluten free more tricky. Having said that, I don't eat a lot of pasta, but do love porridge for breakfast. I also love bread, but we now mainly eat sourdough which although not gluten free is more easily digested due to the cultures found in the sourdough and the long fermentation.Good luck with whatever you decide x

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  11. A nice post and good pictures. As usual you had me smiling. Happy birthday to middle boy.
    I prefer biscuits to cake but always happy to eat a slice or two when offered any. Flighty xx

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  12. Good choice from the about to be birthday boy. As there's someone with a borderline baking obsession here (not me), there's often a towering cake of some description beckoning from the kitchen/fridge. Been similarly pondering all things sweet recently, though in a more 'I ain't about to go sugar-free anytime soon' kind of way. As for what to give up for Lent....maybe procrastination.

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  13. Happy birthday to your middle boy! He's at such a nice age. Your pictures are all, as always, lovely, but I especially like the pictures of the snowdrops. They are such a hopeful little flower, popping their heads up before the others dare.

    As for giving up those three items for Lent, that seems like a lot. Maybe choosing just one would be easier. Not just for actually being able to stick with it, but also for changing your cooking plans and educating yourself about substitutions, etc. And not to be controversial, but my understanding is as long as oats are labelled gluten free, meaning they have been processed in a way that doesn't cross contaminate them with gluten containing grains, they are safe to eat when on a gluten free diet.

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  14. Happy birthday to your son, 11 is a great age. So much to explore, so many things to feel older about, yet still young enough to be little when you need to be. I gave up gluten for 3 weeks, the first two weeks I was starving all the time, but then I found it was not that hard at all. Good luck.

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  15. happiest of birthdays to your middlest! i'm not a great fan of ice cream either, it has to be REALLY hot outside for me to even fancy it. that said, the cake sounds rather heavenly.

    i've been all about the fruit and veg this last while...and i gave up processed sugar (still use honey and pure maple syrup). i have, however, made exceptions when eating home-baked things that i presume have sugar in them. one has to be somewhat flexible. :)

    i hate to demonize any particular food group, but then again, food isn't what is used to be, is it? i'd heard somewhere that GMO wheat wasn't allowed in the EU? Is that right or merely an elaborate fiction designed to make us genetic mutants jealous? The reason i ask, is that i think it's the GMO-ness of the wheat etc that causes digestive/nutritional distress, rather than the gluten per se. Which is just a madcap theory of mine.

    i gave up chocolate for Lent last year and did surprisingly well. I haven't quite thought what i'll give up this year....

    xoxo

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  16. I've just looked up Nigella's ice cream cake, and I'm deffo making it for my own birthday next month!!

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  17. Good luck CJ. I've been leaving out a lot of things, trying to lose the 9lbs I put on while we were away. And so far I've lost, precisely.. none of it. More exercise, that's what I need. Going to dig up a conifer tomorrow. That should help.

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  18. Happy Birthday to your son and the cake choice sounds scrummy. Like you I'm not keen on ice cream and will only eat it mixed with hot fruit crumble or when the sun is cracking the flags. Good luck with the new diet.

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  19. I would not recommend that you go gluten-free unless you have a confirmed medical need to do so as you would miss out on necessary vitamens and other essentials contained in foods containing gluten. I am a type 1 diabetic who has suffered coeliac disease for over twenty years and although there are a great many GF foods available nowadays, the flavours can be bland, decent textures are often lacking, and the financial cost is high. I still remember the taste of home-made wholewheat bread and proper puff pastry but I have a healthy gut on a GF diet so I can't really complain. Love reading your blog!

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  20. My one and only has a birthday coming this weekend. He's requested ice cream sandwiches for his gathering with his pals. He would like his grandmother to make him a chocolate cake when we visit her (she asked.) He didn't want to put her out, but he wouldn't refuse a chocolate cake either. I find this interesting since he never requests cake from us, but that is okay. He would like whipped cream since he is not a fan of heavy frosting. LOL lots of opinions where I am...

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  21. I think it's sweet that you all analyze the options together. I am going to share your birthday boy's ice cream cake with mine. I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a request :) thanks for sharing!

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  22. you can get Gluten free oats Claire, (oats are gluten free anyway - well they contain something very similar so some people can't tolerate them - the problem is usually that they get contaminated, but most supermarkets sell a gf alternative.) You can also get rice and corn pastas - some are better than others. If you find corn tortillas will you let me know as I've been hunting for some. (unless you mean tortilla chips, in which case beware doritos, not gf)

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  23. I think the ice cream cake sounds outstanding! I'm trying to lose a little weight but my constantly hungry body craves cake like you wouldn't believe, especially around 4pm. I hadn't thought what to give up for lent. I think I'd find wheat harder than sugar. But neither as hard as alcohol! X

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    1. Also thank you for the advice re iron - I'm taking multivitamins and drinking spinach smoothies for breakfast every day...

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  24. How nice to see something of yourself in your children. I have two, and neither are like me. My son looks like his father and has his own ways and personality, and my daughter looks like my sister in law, and even has some of the same traits and mannerisms. This is really odd as we don't see her very often.
    Hope the cake making and eating goes well. :-)

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  25. We will occasionally have Nigella's ice cream cake too, it is always a winner. My daughter was going to make me a birthday cake but she has been too busy at work this week. Sarah x

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