Thursday, February 23, 2012

a gift that keeps on giving

I'm so excited. For Christmas I was given an annual membership to the Cookie A Sock Club 2012. Cookie A is a really innovative sock designer. And she runs this club where every 2 months she sends out a skein of sock yarn, 2 new sock patterns for exclusive use of the sock club (for 12 months) and 2 cookie recipes. Everyone gets together on ravelry and posts as they receive their wool, comment on the patterns, and update how their sock knitting is going. Socks, cookies (I'm sure I can de-fructose the recipes) and community. It could only be beaten by a real knitting group but anyway...

The exciting thing for me is that I'm going to use the club to knit for myself. All the luscious yarn is just for me!!! This is a project that will go alongside the great sock knitting gift project of 2011-12.

Anyway I'm going to use the beautiful yarn to knit the wayward socks. And so far I've managed to work out the right gauge. Slow and steady... I've got 2 months to finish these beauties.

Isn't this yarn beautiful!?!?! It's a blend of merino, cashmere and silk. So smushy to knit with. Maybe I won't be able to go back.... It's by Alisha Goes Around. So great.

Maybe I'll be able to go back to WIP wednesdays, since these ones won't need to be kept secret :-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

deb's dazzlers

 It's been a bit of a busy time in terms of birthdays and my sock gift project. These socks are for my step mother-in-law, a bit of a mouthful but you know how these things go. Anyway it was a significant birthday and her favourite colour is purple. So I went searching for the right wool. It was a bit tricky to find a nice purple, but in the end I saw this wool that was quite variegated with aqua and a few other colours. The other nice thing was that the wool was from New Zealand, which is where she'd spent her birthday.

Given the variation in the wool I thought I'd stick with a simple rib. And I thought I'd give Ann Budd's On-Your-Toes another go. You can get the pattern in a free ebook here. It was good to practice the Eastern Cast-On again. Fun to knit a sock from the toe-up and good to practice the short-row heel again. I've ravelled it here.

Anyway, better get back to it. I've still got to finish my own version of these socks. I've made a bit of progress since I last mentioned them, finished the first sock and finished the toes of the second. The other socks I'm working on are a complicated lace pattern, so these socks are good for knitting while I'm out and about and don't have to concentrate too hard... :-)

Friday, February 17, 2012

my birthday ice cream

There are a bunch of great low fructose cake recipes out there. I've made a couple of cakes from The Sweet Poison Quit Plan and they've all been good.

For my birthday this year, however, I made this delicious ice cream and as my gift to you, I thought I'd share my recipe.

my choc mint ice cream
1 cup milk
1 cup mint leaves (tightly packed), you can use more :-)
1 cup dextrose
2 cups thickened cream
1 tbsp vanilla
30g chopped 85% Green & Black's chocolate

Heat the milk in a saucepan until it's steaming. Take it off the heat and add the mint leaves. Leave them for half an hour and then blend using a stick blender.
Add the sugar and mix further to dissolve. Stir in the cream and vanilla.
Put in the fridge for as long as you can, and then even in the freezer for an hour to make it as cold as you can.
Churn in an ice cream maker until it's almost overflowing (if you're using a 1.5L machine). Add the chopped up chocolate a couple of minutes before it's finished.
You might still need to stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours - depends on how soft you like it.

In other good news a fair few ice cream cones fall below 4g of sugar/100g, unfortunately it's not the waffle cones.

Enjoy :-)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

on the run again

Now that I have my eating all sorted out. I decided it was time to up the ante regarding exercise. I'm fortunate in that I get a lot of incidental exercise. We live within walking distance of the shops, the train station, kinder, the library and a couple of playgrounds.

For me, exercise and weight-loss don't really seem to have much to do with each other. However, exercise and fitness is a different matter. And you've got to love the endorphins.

my trusty shoes = no shin splints

I first took up jogging almost 3 years ago, between Giggi and Badger. I used the Couch 2 5k program. The idea behind this is that you can be transformed from a couch potato to a jogger who can cover 5 kms in half an hour in just 9 weeks. It took me 18 weeks but that was fine. It's a kind of interval program: a mixture of walking and running that gradually increases the amount of running that you do. I like the gradual nature of it as it tends to help prevent injuries. And apparently over the 9 weeks as you steadily increase the load bearing exercise your bones get more dense also preventing injury. Awesome. More info available here.

Second time round, I've just finished week 2. This time I'm using the c25k lite app on my smart phone. A musical tone sounds over your music instructing you on when to starting running or walking. Or you can use the podcasts such as the ones available here. Love it.

So far I've been jogging to Coldplay's Viva la viva and Adele. I'd love some other recommendations. No "Eye of the Tiger" thanks. :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

the melbourne museum

One of the lovely things about a) living closer to the city and b) having a husband who is under-employed is that it's easier to do things with the 2 kids like going to the museum. 

We were keen to see dinosaurs. Check. 

A marine biologist friend had said how accurate the octonauts stories were. We saw photos of Bob the blobfish and some remipedes in the deep sea section. Easily recognisable. Check.

Something girly for me. Check.

 Still within view of the dinosaurs. Check.

The thing I was most surprised was by how much Badger, our 1yo, enjoyed it. I think this was Giggi's first visit to a museum and he's 4. Ooops.

Highly recommended. Also children and concession card holders are free.

navigating morning tea

We found ourselves in a bit of a pickle this week. We'd arranged to have morning tea with some dear old family friends but had neglected to tell them about our seismic shift in diet. The morning of, I thought help what are we going to do? So I packed some dip and crackers to take with. Such as I've mentioned here. Then I chickened out. I didn't pull them out when I arrived. I just felt like it was too rude.

They had baked a beautiful lemon and yoghurt cake. It was absolutely delicious. Yes I had a slice. Well, in fact I had only half a slice. It was all I wanted. The fructose may have put my appetite control out for the next few days I suspect, but it was ok. I didn't start trying to lay my hands on sugary delights with abandon. I didn't fall off the wagon. This is for keeps.

Next time I'll let them know in advance and give a few suggestions of what we can eat and offer to bring something along.... Next time....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

winter hedgerows

I thought that the socks I made for my sister were actually quite gender neutral so I thought I'd try them again with a masculine feel for her husband: heavier weight wool and a more neutral colour. These are the biggest socks I've ever knitted so they took AGES. And I think they might even be a bit big :-/ Oh well... I've ravelled them here.
Here's the comparison:
and hers...
I'm now in the process of trying to get pictures of each of the recipients in their socks in some zany situation. Let's see how I go.

Anyway, better get to it. 2 more pairs of socks to knit this month :-)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

some low-fructose life savers

I thought I would mention some products that have been real life savers for us over the last 2 and a bit months as we've quit sugar. I'd love to make everything from scratch and one day when I can justify a thermomix I might just do that but in the mean time here are a couple of yummy products which are low sugar particularly for their category.

Dips: Most are very high in sugar. We stick to this yumi one or otherwise the basil and pine nut ones are usually ok too.

Sauce: BBQ sauce is over 50g sugar/ 100g food. Most tomato sauces are around 20g sugar/ 100g food. This pasta sauce, however, is around 3g sugar/100g food and while it takes a bit of getting used to, if you have a sauce addict in the family it's not too bad on a sausage roll, as a pizza sauce or even a pasta sauce :-). Thanks to my sister-in-law for this recommendation.
Chocolate: I know this chocolate at 14g of sugar/100g of food doesn't quite fit in to the schedule but if you just eat one square it's 0.5g of sugar, which isn't too hard to fit into a low-fructose diet (less than 24g of sugar per day). Plus it is yummy! Love the madagascan vanilla... mmmmm. And it's certified fairtrade and organic so you can feel good about that too :-)

Breakfast Cereals: It's very hard to find a cereal with out honey, dried fruit, out and out sugar etc. So you pretty much need to stick to weet-bix or rolled oats without all the additives. We prefer weet-bix or toast.

Spreads: Here's another difficult one. Jam, honey and nutella are out. If you're Australian you're in luck as you can have Vegemite (Marmite and Promite however are high in sugar. There's also quite a variation in the amounts of sugar in peanut butters. This one without added salt or sugar is our favourite. It comes in at 5g sugar/100g of food.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

two months on - I finally get it

We are now 2 months into our low fructose journey. I've loved the whole process but I feel like in the last week I finally get it.

I hardly snack any more. I eat less at meal times. I don't know what the fuss is about, having pretty much no interest in lollies, cakes, ice cream etc. Weird. I even have quite yummy low fructose choc mint ice cream (made with real mint) in the freezer and I'm not really interested.

We had a cake on Monday night for my stepmother-in-law's 60th birthday. BTW I made David Gillespie's Coconut Meringue Cake (from the Sweet Poison Quit Plan) - really good, even got the thumbs up from the rest. And I realised this is the first piece of cake I've had since I made one for new years eve. 30 days later. Unheard of.

In other news my 4yo has started eating 85% cocoa chocolate. He quite enjoys it. Even his tastes must be changing. (We've been a bit more gentle with him, I'm still formulating my approach to children and fructose, I hope to post about it soon). A couple of weeks ago he wasn't interested. I think 85% chocolate has been the one thing that we eat outside the 4g sugar/100g of food guideline. I haven't changed my habit of wanting something to eat with my cup of coffee. But now I'm completely satisfied with half a square of chocolate (5 whole grams of chocolate, less than one gram of sugar). Rather than 1 or 2 or 3 chocolate biscuits...

We've got a few strawberry plants (5 or 6 I think) and we finally have some fruit but you know one or at the maximum two are ripe at the same time. So it's lovely my son can pick a strawberry every day or so. I kind of think that this is what our fruit consumption ought to be like. Seasonal. A bit sparse. No gorging. But delicious.

Surprise, surprise another outcome has been my hypoglycaemia is more under control even with less snacking. No plunging blood sugar levels has been fantastic.

Well it really has taken this long to rid our systems of so many of the negative effects of fructose. But we feel fantastic and it's something we really hope to continue for the rest of our lives. Something that really helped was Sarah Wilson's 8 week I Quit Sugar plan. And I think 8 weeks is a good span of time to really feel the benefits. It's a pretty quick but comprehensive way to start this journey (I'd pick up a copy of David Gillespie's Sweet Poison Quit Plan as well). So I've decided to be an affiliate. If you'd like to get a copy of Sarah's e-book just click through from my sidebar and I'll benefit from your brilliant decision :-) You can also join in with a whole community who are up to week 5 of their quitting sugar journey.