Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Month of Food

On my original blog at Livejournal I would occasionally do a Month of Food, where I would aim to make a cuisine's dishes at least three times a week for four weeks in a row. Of course, this came with pictures! It's the most requested feature on blog, and I've had a very busy few years now and haven't had the time and energy to do another one.

Until now.

So, I'll be doing a Month of Food. This one is going to be a reflection of my current diet, which is the Harcombe Diet. It's primarily whole foods based, with little to no processed food. I'll only be photographing dinners as breakfasts are pretty boring (bacon and eggs in some form for most of it) and lunches are also boring (salad and tuna, salad and steak, salad and chicken legs, salad and cheese).

The basic guidelines of this diet are outlined below. I followed this diet for four months and lost about ten kilos. After the car accident and my trip to America, I didn't bother to return to the diet until after Christmas, and yet I am back at my previous car crash weight within two weeks. I was pretty excited about that! I've lost about 8 - 9 kilos. I fluctuate a lot with my weight, often staying the same weight or gaining three weeks in a row, and then lose between 1.5 - 3 kilos in the week I get my period. It turns out a lot of women lose weight that way! So for those of you who give up within a couple of weeks, you need to try for longer!

The Harcombe Diet is developed by Zoe Harcombe. Her into video is here:

1) The reasons why we over eat are usually one of three reasons: food intolerances, candida, or hypoglycemia. To deal with those, stage 1 is five days long, and focuses on no sugar, no wheat, no dairy-free except for Natural Yoghurt, no caffeine. During phase one, mixing fats and carbs is fine as the focus is on the issues, not on weight loss. I lost 3.7 kilos in the first 5 days, and John lost 1.5 kilos (he is much smaller than me and he kept his caffeine and milk) when we did this in May.

2) Stage 2 is the weight loss section in which the basic theory is moderate/low carbs and high fat. Meals are primarily fat meals, though if you want, you can have a carb meal but it should be low in fat if you do. There are three rules:

a) Don't eat processed foods
b) Don't eat fats and carbohydrates at the same meal
c) Don't eat foods that cause YOUR cravings.

Stage three means you get to cheat

Rules for Phase 3 are:

a) Don't 'cheat' too much;
b) Don't 'cheat' too often;
c) Be alert and stay in control

Most of the recipes in the future month are from her cookbooks, which I am working my way through. The cookbooks don't actually have much beef in them. There's a wide variety of meat and fish in the recipes, which I rather like.

My menu plan for the month includes Prawn and Cucumber Soup, Roast Pork, Spicy Moroccan Chicken Legs and osso bucco. Hope you enjoy the month!

Sarah P

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pick the Right Party!

How to Pick the Right Party Plan for You

There's so many new party plans out there that I thought it might be handy for me to put up a few questions for people to consider about how to pick the right party plan for you. Everyone has different needs and expectations, and there are so many party plans out there, how do you know what one is right for you?

What sort of hours do you like to work?
The first thing you should think about is how many hours, and which hours you wish to work in a week. Various party plans will say you can get away with as little as three hours per party, but what does those three hours entail? What parts will you enjoy? How much of it will be a drag and how much will be fun? And what sort of hours do you want to work? Three hours per party sounds fine, but then if you like to do adult parties, you will find prime time to be Friday and Saturday nights.

What are you good at?
Party plans need to be considered the same way a job interview is considered. What are you strengths and weaknesses? Who will help you overcome those issues? Is your manager or up-line supportive and competent? Do they already have supportive systems and structures in place to make your job easier? Is everything laid out and easy to follow?

How do you do the party?
What is expected of you? Are you expected to know your product inside and out beforehand. What is your prime directive within the party plan system? (And if you think it is to make sales, you are doing it wrong! Prime directive is to answer your customers' needs as best you can!)

Outlay and initial costs
You need to be very aware of how much your start up business is going to cost. Don't think for a second that your own party plan business is NOT a business - it is. You need to treat your business with the respect and attention it deserves. To be really successful, you need to do something every single day to develop your business further.

Financial issues
There is still every chance you will lose money. How much is an acceptable loss to you? How much investment is acceptable before you need to cut the losses? It is hard to lose money in party plan but it is not impossible. Consider how much you spend on new stock versus how much you are making. If your business is covering the costs and still leaving you with enough money as income, then well done!   If you are a low to medium sales demonstrator, then this may be a crucial piece of information. A spreadsheet detailing outgoings and incomings are crucial.

Is the product something you can believe in?
Party plan products should be of excellent quality and of excellent value for money. The first thing a customer does is examine the product for quality as soon it arrives, and if it is found lacking, you will be very lucky If they tell you. If they do tell you, this is a rare opportunity to put the customer first, and do everything in your power to turn that customer into a loyal customer by looking after their interests as best you can.

Party plan is a lot of work. Returns, exchanges and other minor problems will take up a surprising amount of time. It may be easier than a lot of other income streams, but it takes an amazing amount if dedication and self-motivation. You also need to have good people skills, and if you don't have then, then be open to learning them. Having clear and concise idea of your shortcomings is as important as knowing your strengths.

Having said all that, party plans can be so much fun! As well as making people happy, it's an excellent opportunity to make friends, meet other inspiring people and make a good income. Good luck with your party plan shopping!
Sarah P

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Grocery List/Coupon Holder on Lanyard - Sew4Home

A cute idea to try and help make your shopping trip easier! 
Grocery List/Coupon Holder on Lanyard - Sew4Home

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Start Your Meal Plan Now!

How to Get your Meal Plan to Live!

Every one has a system that will work for them. Every one can do it differently and still enjoy all the benefits! Meal planning saves you time, money and effort. It makes shopping easier and more streamlined, saving yet more time and money!

Track your meals!
What did you have for dinner last night? The night before? Most people can't even remember last night, let alone a week ago. Do you know what you are having do dinner tomorrow? The night after tomorrow? Do you already have the ingredients?

For a minimum of two weeks, write down all the recipes you use. And now you have a potential meal plan! Do it for a month and you will start to see patterns emerging.  Write down your favourite meals, and your special event dinners. Ask the family! They will all have new ideas to add to the plan.

Now you have pages of how you have had your meals, next is to do the planning!

Audit time!
What's in your fridge? What's in your freezer? What's in your pantry? I find this to be fun! Go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and write a list of everything you currently own. Is anything close to, or passed the use by date? Anything you may have collected slot of, and never realised before?

Now that you have all these lists,what do you do with them?
To start with, get an old calendar, or print one out. Make a new list of dinners you can make with foods already on your list, targeting items you have an oversupply of. Then sit down with your family and the calendar, and plan every social activity for the next week. Work out what nights you will be busy, what nights will be someone else's turn to cook, and what nights you are eating out of the house.  Using these questions, your calendar should fill pretty quickly!

Now for the exciting bit!
Match a recipe from your list to each night of the week. Write it on the calendar. Write down who gets to cook it, and make one last final list of items you think you will need for the week. You can always substitute ingredients, which can help reduce your excess tins, can, jars and frozen food.

All done. Now what?
Pin this to the fridge or handy central location. The next person who says 'what's fir dinner' wins the prize of reading the meal plan and collecting all the ingredients to help the chef. Or they can win the grand prize of cooking dinner!

What else can I do with meal plan?
You can also meal plan snacks, lunches and breakfast. You can use your system to manage your baking and food or drink preparation, particularly for soaking of dried beans and legumes, defrosting frozen items, and minimising last minute purchases.

Sarah P

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Approachably Reclusive: A day down the toilet, why boys don't read fiction anymore, and the how-to of personhood

Approachably Reclusive: A day down the toilet, why boys don't read fiction anymore, and the how-to of personhood: And that, I think, is at the heart of the "why don't boys read and what can we do about it" perennial uproar. (No, not hanging out in bars and looking hot, which I'm sure has fans of both genders.) I mean that crucial difference between valuing experience and relationship to other people, versus achievement and relationship to the self.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

BBC - Food - Recipes : Chocolate peanut butter cheesecake

BBC - Food - Recipes : Chocolate peanut butter cheesecake:

I feel a bit apologetic for the overindulgent vulgarity that is this cheesecake here. But, really, why should I be sorry? You won’t be once you’ve eaten it; though perhaps I should warn that it’s not for the faint-hearted. Unashamed indulgence, wallowingly so, is what this recipe is all about.

Birthday cheesecake! And... it looked exactly like it does in the picture on the BBC website. It was lovely, and it never got gooey like Nigella warns it might, even when it was room temperature.

I have never made a cheesecake in the food processor before, but now I am a complete convert. Oh my goodness, it was so easy! And really delish too!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Tom Naughton has ideas on the Rise of Crohn and Colitis in Children

Fat Head � Yes, We’re Aware of Crohn’s and Colitis … So What?: Considering that kids are eating wheat products that contain both more gluten overall and mutant gluten with a protein sequence that never existed until around 40 years ago, I think it’s entirely possible that Crohn’s and colitis are on the rise because kids (and adults) are consuming glutens their bodies can’t handle. These are, after all, auto-immune diseases. It’s not unreasonable to suspect that when these strange glutens seep in our systems, our bodies attack them and end up attacking our own tissues at the same time.