Friday, June 22, 2012
I love Waitrose, and their own brands are generally excellent, but they suffer from one issue which seems to be universal among supermarkets. Their cooking instructions on wholewheat foods suck!
Follow the instructions on their organic Love Life wholegrain rice, for instance, and you get a partially mushy, partially hard, chewy mess that does nothing to whet the appetite.
So I went online for a solution, and I found it!
It is so simple.
Measure out the portions of rice you need. I measured 100g, which for me is two portions.
Put the rice in a big saucepan, and pour in a lot of cold water - two thirds full or thereabouts, so the rice has plenty of water to swirl around in while it is cooking.
Bring the water and rice to a boil, and leaving the lid off the pan, boil on a mediumish heat for 20 minutes.
Strain the rice through a sieve for ten seconds, then return the rice to the now empty pan. Shake it a little to spread the rice out, and place back on the same cooker burner, but with the heat now off. Put the saucepan's lid firmly on, and leave the rice for ten minutes.
Remove the lid, and stir the rice with a fork before serving.
That ten minutes of steaming on top of the cooking time makes the rice comes out separated, as fluffy as brown rice can get, and with just enough bite to be perfect. No mush! :-)
I ate half of it with some Slow Cooker chinese pork spare ribs cooked with onion, leek, red bell pepper, and courgettes, and using an Amoy Chow Mein sauce for the liquid and flavour.
I froze the other half, and defrosted that yesterday to eat with sweet and sour chicken.
Really tasty! I think I feel secure enough about eating brown rice instead of white easycook rice now.
Over the weekend I am having some more experiments. Making two leek and courgette risottos in the slow cooker. One with the Arborio rice I normally use to make risotto in a saucepan, and the other with the Organic wholegrain rice. I'm intrigued to see how those turn out, as there seem to be conflicting opinions as to how well different types of rice cook in a slow cooker. :-)
In other news...
TOM did not play ball, and arrived too early for the scheduled appointment at the hospital, so BE-Day is now Friday 20th July instead.
However, the walk-in clinic finally got back to me about the ultrasound scan, and that is scheduled for Monday 2nd July. If that shows up the problem, I may not need BE-Day at all, but that remains to be seen.
In the meantime, I've tweaked my eating, and the smaller meals seem to be helping because I haven't had a bad attack since Sat 9th. A few twinges, but that's it.
TOM kicked in Wednesday, but it doesn't seem to have unduly antagonised anything, so I am doubtful that endometriosis is the issue.
I am a little irritated by TOM though.
I really am not looking forward to the barium enema, and just wanted to get it over with, not have it hanging over my head for another month. Bryony had managed to get the days off to be here for me and everything, so its kicking in early has been a real nuisance all round.
But hey, what can you do? Nature is nature is nature, and it is in my Nature for my bod to do its own thing! LOL
I'm getting my exercise in every day, being completely obsessed with Exerbeat to the exclusion of all other games and exercise options currently. I am working to increase the number of gold medals I have at the moment. Now I have all 20 golds in the Aerobics section, and all 20 in the Boxercising section, plus 19 out of 20 in the Karate section, and hoping to make that 20 tomorrow. The rest of the areas still need work.
So, the weekend is about here, and I need to get some work hours in. Been slacking this week, due to being more stressed than I care to admit, so I have some catching up to do. Fortunately I have a ton of TV shows saved on Tivo, so I'll grab my wool and settle down to some viewing and hooking. :-)
I'd sit outside, but it's threatening to plother down!
Enjoy your day! :-)
Monday, June 18, 2012
As we Brits splash, paddle, wade or swim our way to the end of what is probably going to be the wettest June on record, we are all apparently getting fed up with the limited vocabulary they use in our weather reports. Not fed up with the rain, you understand, just the descriptive failures.
Yeah, right... That's what's causing our disgruntlement! *shakes head*
So, after extensive research, some bright spark from the Beeb has come up with a chart that he hopes will be adopted for future use.
1. Not Raining
Outdoor furniture is erected cautiously in gardens and on balconies.
Light to moderate rummaging takes places in rucksacks for cagoules and pac-a-macs. Women on way to hairdressing appointments proceed apprehensively without umbrellas.
Overseas players on county cricket teams are surprised to discover that they're required to continue playing.
4. Woodfiddly Rain
Outdoor furniture is brought back indoors.
Lips are pursed.
6. Tippling Down
Garden furniture is returned to garden centres in hope of getting money back.
7. Luttering Down
Fingers drummed on indoor furniture. Eyes rolled. Tuts tutted
8. Plothering Down
Irritating displays of supposedly barbecue-friendly foods are removed from the entrance areas of supermarkets.
9. Pishpotikle Weather
Rain intensifies.Women with newly-done hair find aggressive hawkers have disappeared when they take defective umbrellas back in search of a refund.
10. Raining Like a Cow Relieving Itself
Cows relieve themselves. (this needs illustrating LOL)
11. Raining Stair-rods
Any garden furniture not taken indoors floats away. Reporters on 24-hour news channels began using words like torrential and holding their hands out with their palms upturned.
12. Siling Down
Hardy British holidaymakers are finally driven from the beach at Herne Bay. Garden furniture begins appearing on eBay. Water companies introduce hosepipe bans, pointing to dry spell five years ago.
Hope this clears things up a bit.
Today in Colchester, it has been Tippling Down overnight, but is currently Not Raining. However, I suspect it will be Grizzerable before the end of the morning! :-)
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Just substitute your own town/city/back garden for London, for an instant and accurate forecast pretty much anywhere around the globe, it would seem!
I promise, on my honour, that I have NOT been raindancing!!!
And anyway, it isn't that bad...YET... *gulp*
However, having received three months free subscription to Spotify's Premium service courtesy of Virgin Media, I will admit I've been dancing to a lot of songs I haven't heard in years!!!
And I was a HUGE Grease fan back in the day...
The dancing, etc, plus my shrinking meal portions as the attempts to minimise my pain continue along the lines of feeding myself small amounts at a sitting (I think it is called 'grazing') has resulted in a 2 1/4 lb weight loss this last week. Awesome!!!
"I'll take Silver Linings for $500 please Alex!"
So, who do we have here who is a Billy Idol fan? I'm currently listening to his Vital Idol album on Spotify. I bought the album on tape back when Bry was a toddler, so well over twenty years ago, and it still has me dancing round the room to all the songs, specially this one...
and this one...
and not forgetting this one...
Enjoy guys and gals! :-)
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Plenty of that. :-) For example, I have had my Exerbeat game for a month now, and I have played it every single day. Apart from one day when my abdominal pain caught me out, and I was only able to do 15 mins as a result, I have done at least 30 minutes of exercise with it every day, and usually more like an hour!
*pauses to see if trainers are smokin'*
So, according to the game, in one month I exercised for a total of 25 1/2 hours, went round the world very nearly three times, and burned a total of 17024 calories!!!
I've done hours of Aerobics, Hip Hop and Latin Moves. I've boxed and karate-chopped my arms off. I've attempted yoga and pilates moves that stretched my body as well as my stamina (made easier by that bargain of a mattress I picked up to lie on). I've done amazing stretch routines to complete my efforts, and I've played some very daft games, like swimming standing up in my sitting room, pretending to be John Travolta's dance partner, tossing pizzas topped with such diverse foods as whole roast chickens and burgers, smashing walls down using boxing moves, and wielding a sword to smash melons, boxes and barrels.
It is a really awesome, diverse and fun game, that I look forward to playing every single day.
As you work through the game you have to unlock a lot of the exercises, and in the month, I have succeeded - just - in opening all 60 Aerobic, Hip Hop and Latin Workouts, all 20 Boxercising Workouts, all 30 Karate Workouts, all 20 Yoga and Pilates Workouts, and all 10 Stretching Workouts.
The only bits still not unlocked are some of the games levels. I reached Intermediate in the Pirate Game and the Wall Smasher, but I am still something of a beginner in the other three still, and Advanced is a long, long way down the road I reckon for all of them! LOL
I will say that there are one or two minor niggles with the game. For instance, the World Map is lovely the first time around, and the second time they give you new facts about each place so that takes the edge off a bit, but after that it gets boring. It just repeats the second trip info, and although I now have a 3 over my Mii's head to show I've been around the world three times, the little animated note character, doesn't acknowledge it.
Also, you can't cut corners with the map, or stop the game from running the (very long) credits EVERY time you complete a world tour.
However, as long as you aren't trying to improve your medal scores on individual workouts (you can earn gold, silver and bronze medals for each workout) you can use the My Exercises section to build the routine of workouts you want to do that day, and it will take you through them all without interruption, so that you only have to visit the map once at the end of your session, instead of after every workout.
That really is the only complaint I have about the game. There is so much variety that you can exercise your upper, lower, and core, and stretch at the end - it really is an all-in-one game. :-)
Another good is that I bought my first reusable water bottle today.
It is made by Thermos.
It is BPA free, has a 700ml (25oz) capacity, and the icing on the cake is that it has a core that you can fill with water and freeze, so that when you pop it back in the bottle it keeps your drinking water nice and cool for longer. :-) That'll come in handy if we ever see the sun again! LOL
And it was only £5.50, which compared to a lot of much more basic models I've seen is quite the bargain in my view. :-) Specially as Thermos - on their OWN website - are selling the exact same bottle for £8.95!
It has a nice big opening to drink from, is easy to fill from the brita jug, and the whole thing comes apart for easy cleaning.
Very user friendly. :-)
I don't know what is taking so long, but the ultrasound scan appointment applied for by my doctor more than three weeks ago still hasn't come through, and I rang the hospital this morning to chase the appointment up, only to get an answer machine! I'm still waiting for them to call me back!
The Icky: (Warning - may be TMI for some people. If so, scroll down to END OF ICKY)
However, the hospital appointment I'm really NOT looking forward to came through the post this morning. I was so excited at first, thinking someone had sent me a pressie, because a jiffy bag with an interesting bulge dropped onto the doormat. Thinking my eldest had sent me a wee something to cheer me up, I ripped open the bag, only to have a Turbo Laxative fall out of the envelope!!!
It was accompanied by a letter and a booklet of instructions for before, during and after my *gulp* Barium Enema!!!
I am going to have to go through three days or more of unpleasantness in order to have this procedure, and to stand the best chance of it going well.
Two days before the BE, I have to drastically limit my diet - Absolutely NO ... high fibre cereal (bye bye porage), bran, fruit, vegetables, red meat and dairy products (bye bye cereal and cups of tea)
I can eat rice krispies IF I am willing to eat them with coffeemate stirred into water! Ugh!
So, my diet will consist that day of boiled or poached egg, plain boiled potato, macaroni, spaghetti or noodles, plain boiled white rice, chicken or fish, stock cube gravy made with water only, white bread or toast (no butter), white or brown sugar, clear jelly, clear soup/broth.
The day before the procedure, I take two helpings of Turbo laxative 8 hours apart, and eat a very specific minimum food diet until 8pm, then no more food until after the procedure. However, I can drink and must drink plenty of liquid - water, bovril, black tea or coffee - to make up for all the fluid my body will lose, and that's it. Oh, and for the evening meal I can have a cup of clear soup (no solid food), and some jelly.
To be honest, after all those hours of, um, emptying out my system, I doubt I'd have the energy or the inclination to eat anyway!
Then, on the day, nothing at all until after the procedure. They suggest bringing some biscuits with me so that I can eat once it is all over. I think I'm going to want something nommier than that after going through all that hassle! I think, if I feel up to it, I'll head for the hospital cafe for a little something and a nice cup of tea! :-)
I am very much not looking forward to this. I am going to feel pretty rough, not eating properly, and hardly at all for the best part of two days. Never mind the rest of it! I get horrible headaches if I don't eat properly. And with the anaemia, it turns headaches into migraines, and I won't be able to take my usual migraine relief because I can't take codeine for those three days - or my iron tablets!
On the positive side, as long as I do exactly what they want me to do, they should be able to take some beautiful photos of my innards! LOL Maybe I should ask for an album of my own to take home as a keepsake. *kidding!!!*
I know that I want this to be a one-time thing, so I need to give them the best shot at getting the best shots, so to speak, so I would be silly not to follow the diet to the letter.
I found a book at the library the other week, called Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, by Susan Jeffers. I'm hoping that there might be some wisdom in it that will help me through this, because I don't mind telling you guys that - joking aside - I am scared stiff!!!
The only reason I am even considering going through this procedure is that the pain is so bad when it hits, and makes me feel so ill, that I am more afraid of that than going to the hospital!!!
So, tomorrow, hopefully, I'll have the revised date and time of the BE appointment, which has to be changed to fit in with my body cycles, and maybe even the ultrasound appointment people might ring me back and let me know when that is planned. :-)
END OF ICKY
We went to the library again today, and this time I came home armed with some books to keep in the bathroom to aid my extended stays in there. I have a couple of Pam Ayres books, The Cricklewood Tapestry by someone called Alan Cohen, and one of Jeremy Clarkson's books - Driven to Distraction. That should keep me entertained, and if we run out of toilet roll, Clarkson's book could end up serving two purposes!!! LOLOL
Oooh, a couple of out and about pics...
Sophie's "Well, are you coming to throw the ball or not?" look...
Proof that the sun has come out occasionally...
"Hey! Mum! Look! I have a shadow for a change!
Wish me luck guys!!!
A Double Dose today because laughter is the best medicine!
Friday, May 25, 2012
I do have fun trying to come up with blog titles sometimes. LOL
1. Big Bargains...
Check these out...
Genuine Disney merchandise Tigger Mugs!
How much would you pay for these new? Probably around £7 if other ones I've googled are anything to go by.
How much did I pay?
And also, check this out!
This is a thin mattress from one of those fold up guest beds. I bought the guest bed for a fiver! The mattress is fabulous for me to sit and lie on to do yoga, pilates and stuff like that. I can even kneel on it briefly without my knees moaning!
Gotta love charity shops! :-)
2. Tricky Tech
Well, that was the Virgin Installation. It was quite a day, trying to get the Tivo box up and running. The Internet Superhub was a complete sweetie, and was working within a minute of the tech guy swapping it with our very old modem and wireless router.
The only hiccup was that Tara's DS didn't like it so he had to go online and alter the password to something it would accept, which then meant that she had to reset her laptop too. My baby is hardwired into the hub though, so it doesn't affect him. :-)
Collects dust like the proverbial magnet though! LOL
But I'm ahead of myself...
Bear in mind the rotten day before (Wed) when I came within a whisker of having to go to casualty with my abdominal pains. Well, I was barely out of bed on the Thursday morning, after a less than good night's sleep because of the worry more than pain, when there was a knock at the door at 8.20 am. Assuming it was the postman, I went to the door, only to find the virgin tech on the doorstep. And he wasn't supposed to be here until 11am!
So, what can you do? He couldn't come back at 11 because he had a health and safety appointment to go to after doing our install, and so, with many apologies for the mess, and explaining that I had quite literally only got out of bed five minutes earlier, I let him in, to a crescendo of barks from Sophie, who would have been safely tucked up in her room if he had arrived at the booked time.
When he went out to his van to get his tools, and the gizmos, I took the opportunity to scoot Sophie upstairs to her room, and swap out what I was wearing for something a little more presentable. LOL
Then I stood there brushing my hair and plaiting it, while he started to pull the old set top box out to make the swap for the Tivo box.
Thus began two hours of frustration!!! Nothing he could do would make the box work. He eventually contacted someone who told him the national system was down, and no one could dowload info to Tivo boxes anywhere!!! Considering how long he'd been trying and that he'd already been in touch with them about three times, it is astonishing to me that no one told him sooner!
So, he had to leave us with a screen of, well....
and a promise that the box would do what it was meant to do as soon as the national problem was fixed.
Which it didn't.
Because there was also a local problem as it turned out.
It was around 4pm when I got sick of waiting and called the customer service centre. I got transferred to a lovely Scottish lady with the exact same Scottish accent as my dear departed Grandma, who basically told me that there was a switch at the back of the Tivo box, and to switch it off and on again.
It worked! And within minutes we had TV, although it took about an hour for everything to finish downloading.
And we could watch Pointless:
So, there you go. Every single time we have had our set top box needing replacing or upgrading there has been an issue in the area or nationally. But, to be fair, once it is sorted we have rarely had a problem.
Then, last night I switched it to standby because I gather you are supposed to leave the Tivo switched on all night for uploads, recording and so forth. But, when I felt it, the box was pretty warm, and I am not a fan of leaving things plugged in that have a high level of heat emanating from them. So I took a chance, and switched it off for the night.
It was a case of what would worry me less, leaving something that hot on all night, or it not working in the morning because I'd switched it off. To be honest, it was no contest! Plus switching off is way more environmentally friendly. :-)
So, figuring that it would take a few minutes to set up in the morning, I switched it on as soon as I got up, went off to feed Sophie and the birds, and when I walked back into the sitting room a few minutes later, all I had to do was press one button on the remote and it was all working just fine! :-)
3. Tasty Treats
After some deliberation, and a chat with a couple of Waitrose staff today, I decided to buy a tub of frozen yogurt to try out. I've been thinking about it for a while, and a recent Sparkpeople article mentioning the pitfalls with frozen yogurt being less healthy than you'd think sometimes had put it back into my mind again.
Anyway, the one I decided to try was Waitrose own brand. It is from their Love Life range, and is raspberry and blackcurrant flavour, and it is utterly delicious!
Typical values per 1/5 pot (100ml)
Energy 318 kj
Energy 75 kcal
Protein 3.15 g
Carbohydrate 13.10 g
Sugars 12.65 g
Fat 1.05 g
Saturates 0.77 g
Fibre 0.32 g
Sodium 0.039 g
I think the stats are pretty good. :-)
As long as I can resist going back for seconds! LOL
4. Precocious Pains
This one is simple. No more major pain since Wed, just twinges, but not only is my Costo playing up at the mo, but TOM kicked in today too, so I am on my pain threshold, and praying the acute pain stays well away!!!
Oh, and the dratted pain hasn't stopped me claiming the completion of my first Around the World trip on Exerbeat! I got crowned! LOL
So, off to sort out dinner. Paprika Pork, yum!
Oooh, meant to mention that yesterday I threw some chunked up lightly fried onion, orange pepper, leek and courgette into the slow cooker, threw some chunks of chicken thigh over the top, and stirred in a sachet of Amoy sweet and sour wok sauce. It was delicious!!! :-) And the whole sachet of sauce is only something like 60 calories.
Hope everyone in the UK is enjoying our wee heatwave! Sounds like we have a nice weekend ahead of us!
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