Sunday, 6 December 2009

Out of the clouds

I'm feeling a lot like the picture below, as this weekend draws to a close:

After the doom and gloom of Friday's weigh in (which I also have to subsequently own up to - I can't add up - I'd gained another lb, not half a lb .... boooooo!), and the realisation that I'd been cheating myself last week, I feel like a bit of a rainbow peeking out from behind the dark clouds ... evidence that there might be better, less stormy weather on the way.

I've had a good weekend - I had a bit of a stroppy morning at work on Friday, when I realised that as per usual on my short day in the office, I had a list longer than my arm of stuff that had to be done. Yuck - but ultimately I knuckled down and got it sorted. There were cakes in the office yet again, but I behaved myself this time. By the time I left for the afternoon, I was feeling the need for a bit of therapy and relaxation time. I wanted some fresh air, and since I've been wanting sweet stuff all week, I thought it was time to go the whole hog (in a controlled fashion) and just bake something nice for the weekend.

I find time in the kitchen to be very therapeutic - especially if I'm doing something new which has lots of prep stuff to do, and requires me to pay attention to a recipe. It's time when I can just put aside the troubles of the day, and do something else completely. The other benefit to baking being that I get something sweet to eat, that probably tastes infinitely nicer than a chocolate bar or shop-bought cake (well, it does when it works anyway!), and isn't full of artificial crap, because I know exactly what all-fresh ingredients went in there.

After a happy 20mins perusing my baking book, I settled on Raspberry, White Chocolate & Cinnamon Blondie, and walked into town to go and collect the missing ingredients and have a little mooch. Feeling a lot better for the fresh air / leg stretch, I settled down to make a mess in the kitchen, and about an hour later, this is what came out the oven:

Dense, scrumptious cake with a raspberry and white chocolate layer right through the middle - think a kind of albino chocolate brownie. And better still - 4.5pts a square!! I took it round to the boys' next door and they happily devoured some with me. Well worth the splatter effect left in the kitchen, which it turns out happens when you don't grate the butternut squash finely enough and it gets caught in the whisk .... ooops!!

I was happy with Friday - I stuck to my points, I de-stressed for the weekend, I tried a new recipe which was a resounding success, and I remembered to take some of Thursday's tasty soup with me for lunch.

Saturday, I spent with my new flatmate Sheena, stripping wallpaper in the back bedroom, so we can redecorate before she moves in in a couple of weeks. We had a really productive day, and managed to do pretty much all of it - I just need to tidy up the bits round the skirting boards and coving before Dad comes round to help me rehang the lining paper.

I did learn a valuable lesson yesterday though - another bad habit that's contributed to my weight gain prior to the start of the year. By the time we broke for lunch, I suggested we do what we've often done in the past - grab some fresh baguette from the supermarket, a roast chicken from the rotisserie counter, salad and some crisps and build yummy, fresh sandwiches. Total error!!!! We used to do this all the time on weekends when there was a group of us - everyone just building whatever combination they want and sharing the food, but when I added it up to track afterwards, I realised that my little half baguette and vegetable crisps had cost me a mighty 16.5pts!! Good grief.

This actually made me pretty sad initially, as it's such a fun social way to eat, as well as marvelling at how deluded I'd been. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought of ways I could make it healthier without too much trouble. I mistakenly had cheese as well as chicken ... extra 4.5pts (god, I miss the lovely nutty taste of Jarlsburg - heaven!) and didn't measure out the crisps and just put them in a shared bowl - just sorting out those two things, would have saved me about 6 points or so, taking the lunch to a more manageable 10pts. Having a roll instead of my demi-baguette would have saved me more. Small changes, but at least I feel educated now.

Takeaway for tea (pre-planned and I didn't automatically scoff all of it), and then a lazy evening watching Strictly Come Dancing and Inglourious Basterds, which may well be my favourite Tarantino film to date. I also managed a pretty good job at keeping my hands out of the snacks Sheena had bought (Doritos and Cadbury's Buttons), and stayed off the vino in favour of Diet Coke. So, some points over from the lunch error, but not catastrophic by any means.

Cleaning up this morning, and be very proud of me please guys, all the leftovers - including half a share bag of Doritos went in the bin. No picking whatsoever!!

I've had quite a productive day today - I've cleared all the mess from the second bedroom and bagged it up, taken two of the four rubbish bags, plus two bin bags of non-recyclable clothes to the tip, tidied the flat, done some washing, been to look at ski jackets at Cotswold Outdoors, and now I'm sitting waiting for Bridget to come round for tea and tv. My food has all been planned for the day, including enough left for tea and a slice of cake afterwards. Nice.

In fact, since I've got a spare 5 mins, I might sit and plan my food for the next couple of days, something I very rarely do, but I've got a 3 course Christmas meal on Tuesday night with my spinning class and it can't hurt to be prepared.

So I'll leave you with a picture of my pretty Christmas tree which I put up on Sat afternoon - I've never had a full-size tree before, so I was very excited to have a proper 6ft one!! I love it as it's got all my mum's Christmas decorations on, some of which date from Austria in the 70's - it's nice to see them out again.

Hope you all had a good weekend!!


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