Thursday, December 29, 2011

adventures in fructose-free treats: icecream

It's been great hanging out with some others on this fructose-free journey and picking up their tips and tricks. The main message for me is that it seems to be more difficult the second time, so best to stick with the program. The other thing is that croissants make excellent sugar free treats (as long as you don't buy those ones from the supermarket that you stick in the oven - it has to be the super buttery flaky ones... I think I can hack it).

In the spirit of the boxing day sales we picked up an ice cream maker. I wasn't sure which one to get since Choice hasn't done a review (and seeing as it makes their top 20 of least used, most re-gifted gifts, I'm not sure they're going to do a review any time soon). So, we just waltzed into DJs picked their most popular model which also was on sale and we're giving it a go.


We chose The Sweet Poison Quit Plan chocolate ice cream recipe. Super easy. No eggs even. And I'm loving using all my mum's retro baking accessories.

I also inherited my sister-in-law's dextrose stash as they move overseas next week. It looks a little like caster sugar but is less sweet, weighs less and is squidgy like brown sugar. It takes a bit of getting used to. But here goes.

Now here we get to amateur hour. I hadn't realised that you need to freeze the ice cream maker's mixing bowl for 12+ hour before you can make any ice cream. Oops. So the ice cream mixture went into the fridge to be cooled which isn't a disaster and we ended up putting on the churner at 8am this morning.

Giggi waiting patiently for the churning to occur:

Churning under way:

Final product after a couple of hours in the freezer, with some blueberries and grated 99% Lindt:

The verdict pretty good first effort. Probably could have done with another churn as I didn't leave the freezer bucket in long enough to begin with. But yummy! Here's to our first ice cream this month!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the christmas wash-up

I know that there are people who only go to church at Christmas and Easter, turns out we don't go at Christmas. I suppose it was inevitable but I was still surprised that my body decided to pack it in and not cooperate at Christmas. I eventually got out of bed at around midday on Christmas day after battling a splitting headache all night and all morning.

I suppose on reflection I should have seen it coming. The last few months haven't been the best. My husband resigned from his work, our kids have been tag teaming infections for the last few months, so there hasn't been much unbroken sleep and they have been miserable the poor poppets. And in the last week I organised my first ever toddler carol service, we moved house, drove interstate and then had a big family dinner on Christmas Eve as we prepare to farewell my brother and family as they move overseas, and as we miss my Dad who died this year. There you have it.

So I was so thankful that I had been doing an advent calender with my sons. They and I had been reflecting all month on the exciting story of Jesus' birth, as God came to dwell among human beings. We have been 'getting in the mood' for Christmas the last 3 and half weeks or so. So I suppose that it wasn't a disaster that Christmas morning wasn't all I had hoped. And we all quite enjoyed our lunch of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon instead of the more gourmet meal we had planned. 

As Arch Hart would put it, I've been living 'outside the box of my human limitations' (it's not exactly the same but there's a summary of the idea here) and my body finally let me know about it. I seem to recall the same thing happening last year but on boxing day. Of course then we had a four week old baby, but there always seems to be something.

Now to spend some time with family and friends and away on holidays and recharge the batteries. Needless to say we're praying for a calmer 2012...

Friday, December 23, 2011

no crib for a bed

Christmas is almost upon us so here's the last installment for this year. Humble King Jesus lying in an animal trough. The wonder of the incarnation - God with us.

Much love from Louisa and Rene, Giggi and Badger xox.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

haircut happiness

I decided to go back for that haircut. It's a cliche I know but the cathartic value is not to be underrated. We have had a tough year. But now we've moved out of the tough situation, we've moved our stuff into storage, we're making a big life change, we're getting ready for holidays. Perfect time to get a radical haircut to signify the start of something new or really the end of something old. We're praying for better things to come and contentment in the mean time. Meanwhile I've been excited about this haircut.

I assured the hairdresser that I was happy to do whatever she thought was best my only 2 constraints were no shaving and no colouring. And it needed to still be feminine, which is the only theological constraint I could think of. I've had the same haircut for about 7 or 8 years I think so it was time for a change.

   It's pretty short but good for summer, I think.

Here's me and my hairdresser:

We had such a good time. I love Christmas time, and I like how people like talking about Jesus at Christmas time. There are plenty of people out there who care what Christmas is all about: God come down to be with us as a tiny baby, to do for us what we can not do for ourselves, bring us forgiveness. It's a great time to pick up one of the biographies of Jesus life and have a good read of it.

week 3 fructose-free

We are still on the bandwagon possibly more committed than ever. I've finally read the Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie and found it thoroughly inspiring. He's a bit sarcastic in tone for me and despite my scientific training I kind of skipped over all the medical stuff. I'm a bit ambivalent about it: he's not medically trained himself and I'm happy to just try it out and see if it's good for us. Although if even half of what he says about fructose is true, it's pretty frightening stuff. Besides the putting on weight issue there are purported links to diabetes (my concern - got to love your genes), dementia, heart disease, stroke, cancer, PCOS, depression and anxiety.

He also has great advice about how to break the addiction. There's the obvious stuff of clearing out your cupboards (anything > 4g of sugar per 100g has got to go). Then there's working out when you're most tempted to indulge in fructose and having a plan of what you're going to substitute instead so that you don't feel deprived. Like the way I have a handful of cashews with my morning coffee... But I found it helped my mindset that we just don't eat the stuff anymore. If you're eating it sometimes you're constantly weighing up 'can I eat this or not'? I love just not having to make the decision, it's just automatically out.

I also LOVED his chapter on how to help your kids in the process. Insightful and wise.

The thing I'm trying to weigh up is whether to eat the sweet substitutes or not. I'm pretty much against the 'artificial' sweeteners. Not loving the metallic aftertaste anymore. I'm just trying to decide whether to go down the road of making your own cakes, biscuits, custard and ice cream using glucose (sold as dextrose in the home brew aisle). I guess it's good for celebrations and helping your kids not to feel left out but I've actually enjoyed not eating that stuff for the last 3 weeks and don't want to get back in the habit. Maybe we can make it less frequent - and I guess if I have to make it all myself (it's not commercially available) we won't be having it as frequently anyway ;-)

We're also giving 100% chocolate a go. Koko Black has a 100% Dominican chocolate bar (around $7.50 for 40g). And Lindt has a 99% excellence bar ($5.10 for 50g). It is a bit like eating cocoa powder but at least you don't demolish the whole block in a sitting. I'll get back to you on which one we prefer. We started with the Dominican...

PS is it terrible to re-gift chocolates or other sugary delicacies we've received when we think it's poison but the recipients are happy to receive them???

Saturday, December 17, 2011

finished in the nick of time

We have a birthday. We have two socks. They may be boring but they fit.

Now to make sure they don't get lost in the move.

a sugar-free update

Well, we've been largely fructose free for 2 weeks now. I'm still addicted to sugar. I still crave something sweet with my coffee. I haven't caved yet though :-)

I've finally started reading David Gillespie's book 'The Sweet Poison Quit Plan' and it's been thoroughly motivating. Plus I've lost a kilo and a half, which is helpful too. Feels weird to lose weight while bumping up your intake of chips, cheese etc. while riding out the addiction phase...

I'm still enjoying being less food focused. But I haven't adjusted to my hunger signals being more finely tuned. I forget to dish myself less and still eat too fast. The result has been a few evenings where I have just felt uncomfortably full even though I've eaten less than I used to. It really is quite amazing and I'm hoping that I can stick to it.

It's still hard for the kids. Giggi keeps asking for pieces of fruit. But I've got more savoury snacks on hand. And the other day when the dr was handing out lollipops we went to a cafe and had a mineral water instead. Giggi wasn't ecstatic about it but he wasn't devastated either. We'll keep persisting.

Here's the largely fructose free cake I made for Rene's birthday:

You can find the recipe here.

BTW he wasn't turning 2, it's just that it was 2 people's birthday. It really wasn't very sweet. I think I would add some sweetness to the 'biscuit base' or maybe use a more sweet nut such as cashews. But the filling was delicious.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

magical magi

Here's some Matthew 2 magi goodness... enjoy...

Special props to Rene who managed to whip this up in the middle of us moving house!!!

Remember, select the picture, right click, save as, and then insert into a word processing document. Should work :-)

Friday, December 9, 2011

one week on - a sugar update

Well we've pretty much managed to stick to the sugar-free plan for the past week. I was surprised to find that I didn't get headaches or even many sugar cravings. The worst is just that first morning coffee, I'm desperate for something sweet. But when you're off sugar even a handful of raw, unsalted cashews tastes creamy and slightly sweet. Actually quite yummy with a cup of coffee.

BTW some sushi seasoning vinegars are sweetened with glucose syrup which is allowed. Yay!

It was quite odd to go and buy a lot of food that I haven't bought much of in the past few years: cheese, crackers, nuts and the only dip we can have is that basil and cashew one. The plan recommends upping your intake of fatty foods in the initial period so that you don't feel as though you're denying yourself. And it is amazing without sugar in your diet you don't even feel that hungry and are easily satiated.

It's great not to feel so controlled by food. It's weird that following this plan feels strangely liberating... a pale imitation but similar nonetheless to the liberation that's found in following Jesus... Anyway, that's just occurred to me, I need to think it through a bit more.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

awestruck shepherds

For those of you waiting with bated breath here's the next instalment. Particularly good for Luke 2:8-12.

Remember click on the picture, right click and save image as...

packing packing packing

Sorry about the blog silence... We're busy packing packing packing up our house at the moment. It's our third move THIS YEAR but that's another story. Needless to say not much gourmet cooking, knitting or pondering life is happening.

For some reason I always start with the laundry and that is almost done. Almost, aaarrrggghhh. I hate that you can't finish it completely, but it's probable that I'm going to have to do some washing and cleaning in the next 10 days.

My strategy this time is to make up 4 big boxes each morning that have to be packed that day. I know I'll still have to do a big push at the end, but at least this means 56 boxes will get packed over the fortnight. I'm a little bit behind but it does make it seem more manageable.

We're also using a different colour pen to label the boxes from last time. So hopefully the contents of the box for this move should be obvious.

The spare room is mostly done.

The kids' clothes and toys we won't need are done.

I'm thinking that I might have to start on the kitchen next. Dreading that.

Of course this move is further complicated by the fact that 2/3 of our stuff will be going into storage. So we have to store the packed boxes in different places depending on their final destination. I'm also trying to see how diligent I can be about numbering and labelling boxes and filling out my spreadsheet. Trying to find something in the storage unit is not going to be fun.

Well I better get back to it.

On another note, my mum is also moving in the next fortnight, and my brother in the next month. We didn't plan that well.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

more advent colouring in goodness

For your advent pleasure here's the next colouring in page. Good in particular for use with Luke 2:3-5.

Remember click on the picture, right click and save image as...
Enjoy :-)

more advent adventures

Yesterday we spent some time reflecting on how Mary responded to the amazing news she heard from the angel. That she was going to have a baby. The activity was to get dressed up as Mary.

Mary riding her donkey:

Mary with her "new" baby, Jesus:

Good times. Thanks go to Oma for her fantastic photography skills. :-)

Friday, December 2, 2011


Giggi built a stable to 'protect the baby from the veggie muncher'....

advent adventures

So far so good.

Yesterday we did the fabulous colouring in sheet from here.

Today's activity was to put together our nativity scene.

I think we might need to find some shepherds.

(We've been reading verses from Luke 1, following 'be a fun mum's' advent template.)