8 Cherrymember 2019 : Blog

Today we are Cherrymembering the Cullinary BFF (Best Friend Forever). We have obtained a deep boiling pan and have a collender-like basket which fits snugly inside the pan resting on the top. Over the top of the basket fits a dome shaped glass lid. Not only is the lid practical but we can admire the steaming vegetables. They look really pretty. Having a deep boiling pan means we can boil the water furiously for 25 minutes preferably, but the alternative is very forgiving, because as sometimes happens, the vegtables steam for a whole lot more minutes than that. The steamed vegetables are nicer if they are just cooked, but also we have found out that they quite edible if steamed for longer, they just have a softer texture.

As well as being great to cook food in, the Cullinary BFF is easy to look after. No soap powder gets near it. We only ever rinse out the pan, basket and lid with hot water and wipe them up preferably immediately, at meal serve up time. The best place to keep this kitchen treasure is in its own place with no obstacles to get it in and out of the cupboard. I like to keep it on a lower shelf so two sneaky “squats” exercises are done each evening meal.

7 Cherrymember 2019 : Blog

Today and tomorrow we are Cherrymembering Aprilcot. If it is possible, one of the summer tasks is to freeze fresh apricots to eat in Aprilcot. They are very little fuss because they can be placed in the freezer in airtight bags in their raw state. In Aprilcot we get what we need out of the freezer each night and steam them in the same basket as the vegetables. If it is at all possible we also like to have a special activity outing to visit real apricot trees towards the end of Cherrymember. This is when the fruit is at its very best. Some years we have had commercially preserved apricots. Care has to be taken to drain off all the sugar filled juice.

Aprilcot is the month when lean lamb appears on the menu. We serve fresh chopped rosemary with it. A lot of chopped rosemary. Making sure there is a good crop each year is a small task in itself. Bought dry rosemary is fine if circumstances do not allow gardening. Rosemary is a nice indoor plant in the kitchen so another special activity outing to visit a nursery one afternoon in Aprilcot could be a good way to place some distance between myself and my refrigerator.

6 Cherrymember 2019 : Blog

Today we are Cherrymembering the role of a small task to assist lose weight and then to maintain the smaller body shape. The task for Parch has been to drink a glass of soda water, instead of tap water with each evening meal. It is different and enjoyable. The task is so trivially easy that it may be difficult to actually remember to do it. Include the soda water on the shopping list if it is not possible to purchase it whilst out on a walk.

5 Cherrymember 2019 : Blog

Today and tomorrow we are Cherrymembering Parch. During the month of March we have never run out of ways to cook low fat beef mince meat. A particularly memorable and delicious one one was with a cup of finely chopped rosemary.

For tonight’s meal we are having low fat beef mince meat and apple rissoles served with oven fries potatoes, steamed cabbage and carrots. For tomorrow night’s meal we are having low fat beef mince meat with Taco flavoured spices,corn chips, tomato, onion and lettuce. One slice of cheddar cheese will be allowed on the meal. Barbecue crisps are the indulgent food of this eating theme so we will definitely remember them, hopefully eating a few less than in previous years. Pancakes with chocolate ice cream and fresh peaches conclude the Parch menu.

4 Cherrymember 2019 : Blog

Today we are Cherrymembering cheese. It is getting difficult to remember it too because whole months go by without eating any, or eating hardly any. However, the desire to eat cheese remains strong at all times. I am very happy to have allocated two eating themes to incorporate some cheese in them and have spaced them six months apart from each other so that although the wait is long, it is not interminable. As well as this there is always something different to look forward to in each eating theme, so there is not any strong feeling of cheese deprivation.

Realistically if I remove any thoughts of deliciousness from the word “cheese” what remains is a food which is composed of a tiny amount of protein and a devastatingly large piece of fat. I want to lose some weight, and what that really means is I want to lose some fat so it makes zero sense to eat a devastatingly large piece of fat. I will be much better off to eat a different tiny amount of protein from some other food source such as fat trimmed meat or from an egg. It also makes zero sense to never eat cheese. So we do: in Feburine, in Augrapes and in Cherrymember.

3 Cherrymember 2019 : Blog

Today and tomorrow we are Cherrymembering Feburine. Pan fried sausages served with commercial brand Hollandaise finishing sauce, oven fries potatoes, steamed carrots, peas and corn on the cob are on the menu. The pancakes have fresh nectarins with chocolate ice cream. Tomorrow the plate features home made pizza made with large amounts of mushrooms and green capsicums and a small amount of hot salami sausage and cheddar cheese. We fondly remember St Valentine’s day with a small chocolate nougat bar for supper.

2 Cherrymember 2019 : Blog

Today we are Cherrymembering water. Making the change to include a large glass of water with each evening meal has had the effect of slowing down eating. It is important to remember to place both the knife and fork down frequently whilst drinking some water. Pouring the glass of water at the same time as serving up the evening meal has now become a habit. I do not want to become complacent and forget that water has the important role of taking up some space in the stomach, lessening the desire to have meals of larger portion sizes.

1 Cherrymember 2019 : Blog

Each day of Cherrymember generous amounts of fresh cherries are on the plate.

This is the time of the year when we remember each eating theme. We anticipate that compared to last year the portion sizes will be less because less is wanted. It is the most varied of all the eating themes. Some weight fluctuation will be expected, in the upwards direction because so many types of indulgent foods are also remembered.

At the end of Cherrymember we also attempt to remember that Januberry of next year so perfectly follows the New Years celebrations. We are usually ready to return to the disciplined Januberry eating theme of lean chicken, steamed vegetables and pancake with berries theme.

Today and tomorrow we are Cherrymembering Januberry. Pan fried chicken served cajun spices, commercial brand Hollandaise finishing sauce, boiled potatoes, steamed carrots, beans and corn on the cob are on the menu. The pancakes have berries with chocolate ice cream. A choice of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, loganberries or blueberries will be made. There are very few indulgent foods in Januberry. Half a commercial brand nut topped cone icecream may dress up a pancake some nights.

30 Nolember 2019 : Blog

Today’s weight is 70.4 kilograms. Plenty of delicious fishious with steamed vegetables and oven fries potatoes or creamy basil and cashew salad have been this month’s eating theme. A pancake for dessert with lemon juice and sugar has also been included each day. A rotation of fresh apples, grapes or pears have been eaten in generous amounts. Even some pieces of licorice found their way onto the supper plate. So it is with quite a surprise to me that I am reporting a weight loss of 1.4 kilograms for the month.

The power of the eating themes in combination with a daily walk and collendar page has resulted in weight losses most months this year. Could it be that the secret of the success is more to do with what is not being eaten? It is a possibility.

It is a long time since a collendar page has had an image of an indulgent food. Not even an image of an indulgent food with an image of a half has been needed. I have not wanted foods such as chocolate ripes and barbecue crisps for quite a while now. Over the time span of years they have become less tempting. A nice large juicy apple or bowl of grapes is chosen because they are more appealing.

At the start of my weight loss journey fruit was not more appealing. The eating themes highlighting a different fruit each month has gradually made me eat more of them. More nectarins, more peaches, more mandarins, more apples, more pears, more grapes, more bananas. A lot more of them. As well as actually eating more fruits, I constantly see images of the themed fruit as I make my collendar pages. Indulgent foods have been reduced. Very cautiously, very slowly, very inevitably.

21 Nolember 2019 : Blog

I cut out some images of fish ages ago because I knew I would want to use them this month. Images of beautiful, lean, elegant fish. Fish I might like to eat in a perfect world, a world in which I am a wonderful cook. As I place the images on the collendar page they remind me that this is a month of cullinary compromise, and that is a good thing. It contributes to controlling my weight.

The reality is that this month we have commercially prepared frozen fish which look nothing like the images on the collendar pages. Sadly, they rarely even look like the images on the actual packaging they are bought in. We are told they are fish, with up to half the contents of the pack being not-fish, consisting of combinations of crumbs, oils, batters, and various etceteras. We trustingly place them in the oven on a tray with commercially prepared oven fries potatoes and half an hour later have them with steamed vegetables. This year we are favouring ones that are lemon and pepper flavoured.

Collendar pages do not need to reflect reality. Making them is an activity which gives time out for the consideration of what is being eaten and what it might be better to eat. Some mental rewards are acknowledged for eating more steamed vegetables than were on the plate a year ago, a few years ago, or even a lot of years ago. Congratulations are definitely in order for eating less oven fries potatoes, and above all for eating some, even if it is not a lot of, fish.

14 Nolember 2019 : Blog

Sometimes if I find my motivation is less than desirable a compromise may be a good thing. Today’s collendar page demonstrates this.

I know that no amount of perfect images will ever make my pages wonderful. Even so, some of my pages are more appealing than others, and some, like today’s are, to state it mildly, real stinkers. Not even the most appealing images will help if I cannot find the right mood to arrange them.

Still I have completed my task. Some simple images arranged simply have sufficed.

8 Nolember 2019 : Blog

Here is the recipe for the Basil and Cashew pasta salad. Just as for other recipes in these blogs, adjust the amounts according to the goal of losing or maintaining weight.

Boil 4 handfuls of dry pasta, “Shells” or “Spirals” per serve. We cook four serves and have it two nights in a row. Boil the dry pasta for 25 minutes and then rinse them in a collender and allow them to cool.

Place the cooked pastas in a large bowl and add the following ingredients: one chopped green capsicum, one small pack (250grams approx) chopped or whole cashews, one large bunch of rinsed and slightly chopped green basil leaves.

Mix in 250 mL Creamy roasted garlic flavoured olive oil vinaigrette and 150 gm of garlic, onion and herb pizza sauce or tomato paste.

We have this salad with fish and oven fries potatoes. It is also a good accompaniment to pan fried lean chicken.

4 Nolember 2019 : Blog

There is no additional task for Nolember. My usual tasks of daily walk, flower photo and collendar page will continue. They have become a part of my routine and are a treasured aid to reduce incorrect eating.

1 Nolember 2019 : Blog

The weight reading for Mangober was 71.8 kg. That was a loss of 1.7 kg which would be wonderful if losing weight for the month was the goal. It seems that there is a need to eat a great many more mangoes than I thought, or at least some more of other higher caloric foods, as well as the lean meat and vegetable meals to maintain weight. At this stage it is also becoming easier to do more walking compared to the effort that it required a few years ago. This too is making a contribution to the downwards spiral of weight. Learning how to maintain a lesser weight is going to take quite a while.

The very first Nolember we called “Noplumber”. For some reason quite unknown to me, that name was, and still remains amusing. It might be that the idea of eating no plums for a month when we would not have eaten any anyway, so beautifully captures the absurdity of the whole concept of naming each month and then basing our diet around those names. However, what became quickly evident to us is that no matter how silly it might sound, and I am the first to agree it surely does sound pretty silly, when it is combined with some other complementing activities, the eating themes approach really does help to remove weight and then keep it off. They are easy to remember, cause a few hesitations if and when too much straying away from the theme happens and there isn’t too long to wait until the next theme starts, giving dietary balance and variety across the year.

Another Nolember we called “Nutber”. Losing weight and eating nuts generally do not go well together, so we tried to incorporate some nuts into one eating theme and chose November as the month to do it. Whatever else the theme might have, we consistently like to include our own recipe for cashew nuts, basil and pasta salad which I will do a blog about later this month.

Another Nolember we called “Nolamba”. This also caused some amusement for us because as you might guess, that year we ate rather a lot of Lamba. Lean lamb is very expensive so some years we tried alternating between lamb and fish. Prior to this fish did not get onto the plate very often. Not very often at all. Perhaps some boneless fish specimen, covered in batter, deep fried and accompanied by fatty potatoe chips, also deep fried, all wrapped up in paper (easy plate and no dishes to wash up) from the takeway shop.

Eventually we found a different month to base an eating theme around lamb and for the last few years have been calling Nolember “Nolember”. Fish is on the plate for most meals. Fresh lemons feature. In some previous years we have made efforts to learn how to bake fish, without batter, at home. A lot depends on whether the goal is to lose some weight, or maintain the lesser amount of weight. We found a reasonable compromise. Cook commercially prepared, packaged frozen fish, being very well aware that about one half of what is in the pack is not actually fish, but some combination of oil, crumb, batter and or sauces as covering and must be compensated for by having a lesser amount of similar foods like pasta or oven fries potatoes. Our attitude has become that eating any fish has to be better than the previous eating of zero fish.

Desserts are usually pancake with sugar and lemon juice. Lemon meringue pies from the bakery might make an appearance on the plate. In fact it sounds like a few appearances of them might be called for, to assist with maintaining weight rather than losing it.

23 Mangober 2019 : Blog

Today my collendar page reminds me that mangoes are a luxury. So, of course I want to eat luxurious food. At home, dressed in my oldest, non-luxurious clothes.

22 Mangober 2019 : Blog

Some things are really difficult to imagine. Like being an astronaut or running a marathon. Like mangoes tasting better than I ever imagined. The reality is they do taste quite nice and better than they did a few years ago. Perhaps next year they will.

What I don’t have to imagine is the success of the eating themes. Eating a mango most days of October combined with the gradually reducing portion sizes each year is the taste of success.

17 Mangober 2019 : Blog

On a quiet afternoon making a collendar page causes a delay to incorrect eating. On today’s collendar page I have reminded myself that a half of a commercial brand mango ice cream is enough. I do not need a whole one so I will not have a whole one. Certainly I don’t need the two or three whole commercial brand mango ice creams that are currently residing, apparently less safely than I thought, in the freezer.

Sometimes a delay to incorrect eating is sufficient to turn the situation into a correct eating one. Some extra fruits might help. As well as apples and bananas an afternoon snack might include an extra mango. It is really quite amazing just how long a mango stone can be gnawed on, the mango itself can be the source of a different sort of delay to incorrect eating.

15 Mangober 2019 : Blog

My keyboard sometimes runneth over with toast crumbs. In the past some cigarette ash has sometimes also floated down into the keys. Never mind. A good shake and the keyboard is back to as good as new. This is all testimony to the great talent of electrical engineers.

I wonder if they design for eating mangoes at keyboard? I don’t think I had better test that one.

After a few weeks of dining on mangoes I have to report that the novelty is rapidly dwindling. I knew it would.

On the one hand, all covered in mango juice, they do taste delicious. I like them, I do enjoy them. However, on the other hand, which is also covered in mango juice, they are a difficult fruit to eat. Very difficult. I am not sure that the deliciousness of them equals the annoying, difficult fuss of eating them. My chin runneth over with mango juice.

This is where making collendar pages helps me. After giving my hands a monster wash and dry, making a collendar page reminds me to keep true to the Mangober eating theme. There are many great images that may be paired with mangoes. Some are “Great”, “Shine” and “Win”. “Win”, “Win”, “Win”.

11 Mangober 2019 : Blog

Fresh mint on my mango tastes delicious. I chop the mint up finely so that the perfume is released into the kitchen. Another thing to do is take some mint leaves in a bag if the walk is just before lunch, or just before the evening meal. Hunger might make me walk inside a fast food shop. Instead I squeeze the leaves of the mint in my hand to smell that instead of the aromas of fast food. Fast food shops that I am walking right on past, without going inside.

I have brought some of my 25 year old mint plant in a pot to this new place. Thankfully it remains alive. After removing the bottom leaves of a sprig for use in the kitchen I plant the remaining stalk with a few top leaves left on the top of it, to get a whole lot more mint plants growing. There is no such thing as having too much mint growing. Mint is very new-gardener friendly plant. It would be well worth trying to grow some bought from the fresh herbs section of the supermarket, or one already growing in a pot from a nursery may be turned into several plants.