Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I loved Coach Nicole's recent blog on homemade nut butters; here's the link if you want to take a look for yourself:
Peanut butter is one of my all time faves -- and yes, I prefer the not-so-good-for-you kind with a bit of salt and sweetener. Skippy reduced fat is generally the number one choice (occasionally good old Kraft chunky). I would love to try the Trader Joe's reduced fat peanut flour which you mix up as required to the thickness preferred: but haven't seen any source for that locally just yet.
But other than peanut butter, the more exotic nut butters (almond, cashew) are so expensive. And often to my way of thinking just too too oily as well.
And: Nutella (which I love) is something I almost never permit myself to buy because the list of ingredients is so scary: mostly vegetable oil and sugar, tiny amounts of hazelnut and chocolate. Not really a nut butter at all.
So now following Coach Nicole's lead I'm inspired to experiment with my own nut butter versions. Tonight it was toasted walnut with a little real maple syrup: easy to make (just toasted the nuts for 10 minutes at 350, cooled slightly, whirled in food processor for longer than I would have though necessary, added a tiny bit of walnut oil and about 3 tbsp syrup and a tiny bit of salt): delicious! Had two tablespoons spread on slices of Honeycrisp apple for dessert after my Thai coconut curry soup. It was a great supper.
And next up: I'm going to try a proper chocolate hazelnut that's mostly hazelnuts and cocoa (or maybe Lindt 85%). Anyone have a good recipe to share for that? I'm happy to experiment: imagine it's important to rub off the hazelnut skins . . . maybe with a tea towel after toasting??
I'm finding that adding a bit of fat to my diet is helping with satiety particularly now that the weather is getting cooler: and the nut butters may be just the thing (in moderation, of course: in moderation! Two tablespoons of the walnut butter clocks in at just over 200 calories . . . ).
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Went for a walk in the woods (with Charlie, crunching through the leaves) and then out for smokehouse BBQ tonight with my husband and son (Charlie not allowed) to a new restaurant in town -- which is the best BBQ I've tasted since last fall's trip to Austin. We all have backyard BBQs pretty much (for steaks, burgers) but this kind of smokehouse falling off the bone BBQ place is not particularly a Canajun kinda thing, so the new restaurant is a nice addition to the local market.
I was pretty moderate -- three ribs, a handfull of fries, a quarter cup of baked beans, less than that of coleslaw: but it was delicious, and I enjoyed every mouthful. Also enjoyed a (rare rare rare for me) diet Coke. Kept well within my daily calorie range while I watched with astonishment just how much my tall and rangy son can actually pack away: no doubt he'll finish off the ribs we brought home in the take-out container before morning.
I'm thinking that the smokehouse should consider cooperative marketing with the carwash around the corner: all three of us had BBQ sauce everywhere!! And although I've scrubbed my hands repeatedly, I can still smell that smokey sauce: mmmmmmmm!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Five fat turkeys are we
We slept all night in a tree
When the cook came around
We couldn't be found
That's why we're here you see!
Yesterday while golfing in glorious October sunshine, I saw five fat wild turkeys sauntering across the second fairway.
In my part of Canada, wild turkeys were extinct for many years. There was an attempt to re-establish wild turkeys by hatching turkey eggs, then raising and releasing into the wilds: but that initiative was spectacularly unsuccessful. The baby turkeys imprinted on their turkey handlers and were sitting ducks (to mix the metaphor) when released into wilderness areas. Much appreciated by coyotes and wolves but not lasting long enough to reproduce.
Then evolved the brilliant idea of capturing whole flocks of mature wild turkeys from the Carolinas, importing them (no word with respect to the security checks at the border, presumably they were not required to pluck themselves) and releasing the whole flock into forested areas.
Within a few short years, wild turkeys have re-established themselves prolifically, extending north well into Canadian Shield areas where apparently wild turkeys never roamed before. There is now a spring and fall turkey hunt for licensed turkey hunters. But so wily are the wild turkeys that only one in three hunters ever succeeds in bagging a bird. Apparently the wild turkeys know both when turkey season opens and what areas are off-limits to turkey hunters: such as my golf course. Presumably the wild turkeys move in a timely manner from non-protected areas and into the save haven.
So these magnificant birds showed no fear at all. Their bronze feathers gleamed, the male turkey was in full display, and his four hens strode confidently in his wake.
The turkey roasting now in my oven for Canadian Thanksgiving dinner is of course of the domesticated varity: and of the pre-stuffed, frozen solid variant (in keeping with my "pre-fab less-flab" approach to all feast days: as blogged about previously , the less time I spend in the kitchen, the less I'm likely to overeat. Although I did take a little trouble over my butternut squash soup this year!) Domesticated turkeys have had all the brains bred out of them --replaced by bread cubes and seasoning, perhaps -- such that they are by reputation at least too stupid even to come in out of the rain . . . in comparison, those wily wild turkeys are positively Einsteins! Culture can be highly over-rated, don't you know?
Dancing Gardener saw wild turkeys on her bike ride Saturday -- and says she is thankful for all her Canadian friends! (We thank her, and in turn are nominating her an honourary Canadian, eh?)
I am thankful for my American friends including of course Dancing Gardener -- and for all my SparkPeople friends around the world -- and for the glory of wild turkeys under brilliant maples.
Friday, October 08, 2010
It was an exceptionally beautiful day, sunny, morning glory blue sky, and nothing too too pressing in the calendar at work: so, I gave myself the day off. (I have an occasionally indulgent boss: me.)
Went to the gym first for a thorough cardio workout on the elliptical cross trainer, burned over 400 calories in 31 minutes: and then my upper body weights workout. A non-rushed shower, putting on my comfy blue jeans and a check shirt, visiting with friends I don't usually see at my regular gym time slot: all this was a great start.
Then I took myself for a drive down country roads with great blazing maples arching overhead -- and more woolly bears racing across the road. They were in a hurry: I was not.
Poked around doing a little shopping in a neighbouring small town -- found the replacement camel turtleneck I needed for some of my fall outfits AND on sale. Simple but nice!
And I considered treating myself to a small New York Fries. Until I noticed a lady eating a largest size tub of New York Fries who weighed -- ok, judgmental is not good, I do get that -- so suffice it to say, a fair bit more than I want to weigh.
Treated myself to TWO Paula Red apples instead. And the new Oprah magazine.
Lots of exercise, fresh air, a little retail therapy: and Charlie standing on his hind legs looking out the window to greet me when I got home.
And: a glass of white wine with my chicken barley soup for dinner.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
As a teenager and a young adult, I used to laugh at my parents going out to see the brilliant fall leaves, and in particular mocked ungently their ecstatic rhapsodizing on their return. To me this was definite evidence that they were well advanced into old geezer territory.
At least back then this activity had not yet earned the current and most unattractive sobriquet of "leaf-peeping". Which has a bit of a "Peeping "Tom" connotation to me. You just looked at the leaves full on, with nothing furtive about it. Vocalized loudly. Telephoned friends to recommend an especially colourful route so they could go and look too.
But it wasn't just their descriptions of the vistas they'd viewed which I found annoying. They could also remember quite a number of "autumn poems" (they had both been school teachers). And would be unable to resist reciting them in suitably exalted voices:
Oh the scarlet of the maples
Can shake me like the cry
Of bugles going by
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the purple asters
Like smoke upon the hills.
I'd roll my eyes, groan in agony. (But as you can see, I remember them too).
And then they would follow up with fresh torments: cranking up their LPs (vinyl, of course, back in the day) of bird song, replete with sonorous voiceovers. Like this: "Chirp. Chirpchirpchirp. SKARRRREEEEEE". And now the human voice, solemnly, and with excruciatingly precise enunciation : " RU---FUSS TOE - HEE". Or whatever.
Even then they would not be done: there was a test at the end of each LP, just the birdsongs in rapid succession without the voiceovers. Giving my parents their own opportunity to call out the bird identifiers. With enthusiasm. Each trying to be first, so of necessity speaking rapidly. ("No no no no no , that's NOT the olive-backed warbler, that's the yellow-rumped warbler. Just listen").
Really. They did. Triumphantly. So as not to forget, I expect, before the birds returned north again from their fall migrations. And of course I would leave the room. But you could hear those piercing birdcalls all over the house: there was no escape. (And yes: I still remember most of them as well.)
Alrighty then! Guess DH and I have officially entered advanced geezerdom ourselves since the two of us set out quite deliberately to "view the leaves" this afternoon in gorgeous October sunshine. Munched on fall-juicy apples too. And listened for the blue jays and cardinals and the fall warblers. And checked for woolly bear caterpillars. (Found quite a number, thanks: brought a particularly attractive one home and have made him a cozy residence for now in an old jam jar, with lots of clover.)
Not at all covert. There was no side-long peeping: I really looked. Listened. While trying to keep all self-conscious emoting to the barest possible minimum. But: it was a dazzling dazzling experience.
And I know. The apple did NOT fall far from the tree.
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