Daily Archives: 11 January 2010

I am sick of diets!

Okay, it may only be the 11th January, but already I am sick and tired of hearing about diets and the latest slimming fads.

Please ignore the word ‘diet’ in my previous blog – I simply meant we would enjoy eating lots of soup rather than copious handfuls of chocolate!

I have just read a very inspiring article about how to be happier, not necessarily thinner. Dr Mark Porter: my prescription for better living in 2010 it contains so much fantastic advice. My mantra in life is probably quite similar (but of course involves food too!):

  • A LITTLE of what you fancy does you good.
  • Smile and always be cheerful.
  • Drink plenty of water (plus an occasional glass of red wine).
  • STOP eating when you feel full.
  • Be creative and make things.
  • Don’t buy sweetner-laden foods (research shows that the sweet taste actually makes your body crave sugar).
  • Read the TV guide BEFORE switching on the TV, if there’s nothing on you fancy, leave it off.
  • Cherish your friends but don’t waste time on those who don’t cherish you.
  • Use the Dairy Diary!
  • Cook.
  • Snack on healthy foods.

Talking of snacks, don’t forget our poor feathered friends during this cold snap. Our new book Seasonal Garden Ideas (due to launch this spring) has the perfect recipe for them to munch on.

Robin’s Christmas Dinner
Sturdy metal, ceramic or wooden container with a strong handle.
Large double-ended metal hook.
500g (1lb) lard plus mixed birdseed and nuts – try to find a mixture that contains dried mealworms which are a real favourite of robins. You can even find packets of dried mealworms to mix in with the other ingredients.

1 Melt the lard in the saucepan but ensure it doesn’t boil or burn.
2 Carefully pour the melted fat into your container, then stir in a mixture of birdseed and nuts and mealworms. Put aside to cool and set hard.
3 Attach the hook to the branch of a tree, then hang up your fat container from the handle. Try to site it in a reasonably sheltered area, and make sure the hook can’t slide off the branch. It will swing around as the birds land on it, but this won’t deter them – and it may help to keep greedy squirrels at bay.

And for us humans, snack on Cheese Flapjacks from Hearty and Healthy Dairy Cookbook (see below). Or for those lazy days why not visit Graze.com –  a mail order company who specialise in delivering healthy snacks to keep your blood sugar at a happy level throughout the day – what a revelation! I’m most excited about my first package due on Wednesday. There’s a voucher for a free sample in the February issue of Delicious magazine.

Cheese Flapjacks

Beware, as these are very moreish! They make an interesting, and healthier, alternative to the traditional sweet flapjack. Oats contain complex carbohydrates, which are released slowly to sustain energy levels and keep hunger pangs at bay.

Cheesy Flapjacks

Cheesy Flapjacks

Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 25-30 minutes
Calories per flapjack 167 Kcal
Fat per flapjack 12g
of which saturated 4.7g
Makes 12 flapjacks
Suitable for vegetarians + freezing

Butter or margarine 50g (2oz)
Cashew nuts 50g (2oz)
Macadamia nuts 25g (1oz), halved
Carrot 1 large, peeled and grated
Double Gloucester cheese 110g (4oz), grated
Porridge oats 150g (5oz)
Dried mixed herbs ½ tsp
Egg 1, beaten

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Melt the butter in the microwave or a saucepan. Remove from the heat and then add the nuts, carrot, cheese, oats, herbs and egg. Mix well.

2 Grease a 20cm (8in) round pie tin. Spoon the mixture into the tin and press down well. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until golden brown. Leave in the tin to cool and then cut into 12 wedges. Serve cold as a snack.

Cook’s tip
These are great to make and keep in an airtight container in the cupboard. If anyone in the family fancies a savoury snack, they are the perfect healthy alternative to crisps.

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