19 Januberry 2018 : Blog

19 Januberry 2018

Let’s talk about cheese. It’s not a swear word. Or is it? I try to reduce the amount of meals with cheese in them, and reduce the amount of cheese in any meal…

Let’s talk about pizza! I wouldn’t want to give them up. Thank goodness, yes you can eat pizza. This slow weight reduction and maintenance plan does incorporate them.

Consider the home cooked version, with a lot less cheese, some salami, and a lot more mushrooms and capsicums. To be eaten not this month, but next. “Feburin” features the great mystery bags we call sausages and that includes hot or medium salamis. In the month of “Augrapes” (“Porkust”) we incorporate home cooked Hawaiian pizzas with less cheese topping. This is offset with more ham and fresh raw pineapple.

I firmly believe that some of my permanent weight loss has resulted from making this hard cheese change.

20 Januberry 2018 : Blog

I am General Wattle, floridly engaged in the Excess Weight wars. The enemy is the Chocolate ripe/ Barbecue crisp alliance and they must not be allowed to win the battle of Januberry.

A cunning plan is needed. Some trained peppercorn soldiers in tomato uniforms will be deployed to the front lines.

Many more meals of pan fried lean chicken, steamed broccoli, beans and pumpkin will be required to win.

21 Januberry 2018 : Blog

Believe it or not, we have allocated a month to eating generous serves of boiled potatoes. Not a ridiculous amount, but also not a starvation ration of them.

In this same month we accompany the boiled potatoes with pan fried lean chicken. Again a generous serve. Instead of using commercial “Finishing sauce” or making gravy we just add a tiny amount of vegetable water into the bottom of the skillet to collect up all the caramelised flavour and serve that.

Now picture the plate with an enormous piece of steamed broccoli added to it. We rotate the other vegetables for variety. Peas and corn on the cob are included in the rotation.

A half a pancake is served up for dessert. We choose real ice cream, not any “LowFat-HighSugar” substitute. Chocolate flavour is featured, it seems to work well with any sort of berry. The berry types are all readily available here in summer. Frozen ones would do just as well.

Fresh fruit makes for pleasant after dinner snacks.

This doesn’t sound too hard do do, does it? Just for one month. We call this eating theme “Januberry”.

One year we called it “Panuary”. It is designed especially to lose some small amount of weight, a kilogram or two, without being too painful. Success happens, hardly even noticing it, without too many feelings of deprivation.

The goal is to maintain the new lower weight, the good start that Januberry brings, for quite a while, so the calories are more friendly in the other months of the year. That sounds good too. A bit hard, but not too hard to do, getting used to the smaller body.

We have different eating themes to help each month, bouncing up and down around the new weight. They will be revealed as the year proceeds.

22 Januberry 2018 : Blog

It is the start of the fourth big week of Januberry, and I have to say, “No, it isn’t too hard, I can do this!”

Even on hot days like today.

Move… walk, bend, the more you move the more the chance of success.

23 Januberry 2018 : Blog

Here is a suggestion. If you are going out, eat what you like. After all, there is plenty of the month left to eat what you don’t like.

I continue to pick up a tiny stone from the side of the road each walk. There are twenty three of them now, sitting proudly on the kitchen window sill. At the end of the month I will wrap them up in a serviette and keep them in a bottle, to be traded in on a rainy day.

Literally a rainy day, they will brighten up some wintry evening for us, dining out.

24 Januberry 2018 : Blog

Years ago I participated in a commercial weight loss program. I approached my weight loss vigorously, using scientific method, and had great success. Miraculous even!

I lost one kilogram each week for 14 weeks in a row. I was less adept at making graphs back then, but if I had of made one it would have looked beautiful. You can picture it, a straight line going downwards on a due south east trail.

That weight loss happened at the height of the print media driven, slender hour-glass figure era, and there I was, looking like a slender hour-glass! For about a week.

You can imagine what happened after that.

Suffice it to say, I am sure glad I didn’t buy those elegant size ten, designed and made in Italy trousers I tried on.

Here is another beautiful mathematics I present for your contemplation.

“Larger bones = larger size”.

After coming to terms with this equation any weight loss becomes less difficult. Losing some weight that doesn’t even belong there anyway is an appealing idea, but it is easier said than done. The one good thing is it is easier to do if done more gradually.

In the interim I think I have found some good sizes. I have come to terms with my somewhat pear shape. At least it is a smaller pear shape now, size eighteen instead of the size twenty of a few years ago.

Better yet, I now know that the portions to eat don’t have to be approached with such exactitude. The right amounts are the amounts that look and feel about right.

25 Januberry 2018 : Blog

Sometimes real packaging may be quite a good representation of the food’s proportion of the day’s caloric intake on the Collendar page.

A commercial ice cream for example, might use up quite a large amount of cautious Januberry’s allowance.

No wonder I need to be reminded to eat only half the ice cream.

26 Januberry 2018 : Blog

Another very useful way to keep hands occupied is to choose an activity each month that we wouldn’t usually do.

Some that we have tried are ten pin bowling, pub quiz, social lawn bowling and mini golf. Visits to the botanical gardens, the cat shelter and the cinema have also been enjoyable. We will repeat most of these during the year and try out some new ones.

Even on a budget, the activities are affordable because the expense of buying cigarettes has ceased and less is spent on indulgent foods.

27 Januberry 2018 : Blog

Sometimes I wonder if a glass doored refrigerator might be nice to have. But no. My guess is that the pressure to keep the contents always looking beautiful would prove to be too great.

Hidden behind our metallic refrigerator door, the shelves are arranged so that a plastic bucket fits in. Kept clean with absorbent paper on the bottom, it contains all the many space-greedy vegetables. They are wrapped in greaseproof paper so they keep better. They are fresh and appealing.

And what of the unapeelings? Well wrapped in plastic bags, we keep the scraps in the crisper part of the refrigerator until a suitable time arrives to bury them in the garden. Any temptation towards postponement of this task is balanced by the suitable time being quite capable of announcing itself to the nose.

It is well worth the considerable effort, because the clay we have masquerading as soil has improved slightly and last summer we actually grew 3 moderate sized pumpkins. Even so, perhaps Waratah might get a shiny, rotating compost bin for his next birthday. Wouldn’t that be lovely, the perfect present!

I am trying to think of what would happen if I did not have a garden. The unapeelings generously give their nutrients to any ground so it is quite acceptable to place them in the rubbish collection. Do you recall those old fashioned plastic rubbish bins? Hardware stores still sell them. I think with some holes drilled into the bottom of them they could sit on an apartment balcony holding a combination of unapeelings and potting mix. I would have three or four of them in rotation. The potting mix will improve its nutrition over time and in the summer I’d plant tomatoes in them.

28 Januberry 2018 : Blog

Some months I like to pick some additional task that I believe I am able to do. The amount of effort needs to be about right so that I do continue to do the task willingly, in the designated month.

A really good example is the task set in “Parch”. Soon after giving up cigarettes I set the goal to be “Each day I drink a glass of soda water”.

The amount of effort to do this is trivial, you would think, right? Wrong!

Any task needs to have a meaningful aspect to it, and so for a person who thrived on cigarettes and black coffees, the meaning starts to become a lot more apparent. Non-trivially, soda water is being substituted for some of the smokeless, black coffees. Not only that, a walk was struggled through each day, at the height of the weight gain, to go and purchase the bottles of soda water.

I would say that the amount of effort was about right and I did continue to do the task all through the month. In fact it was such a success I have kept this task set and actively look forward to it now.

Unlike some other months, no thought is required to allocate Januberry’s task. It picks itself. Watering the garden with a hand held hose, delivering a survival ration to the plants is a must do task in our scorching hot, almost rainless summers.

It is not so bad. I contemplate things, all sorts of things…

29 Januberry 2018 : Blog

The additional task I choose in any month needs to be something which will not rapidly transform me into someone who is unrecognizable to me. A subtle transformation is taking place, but it is very slow, almost a subterfuge.

I ask of myself, could I, a hoarder, well alright, quite a distinctive hoarder, throw out one little (or big) thing each day for a month?

Yes I think I could. There would still be so much hoarded that the house will not look particularly different to me to me. The dust stirred up will settle down again. Various stacks of precious items will only be marginally less high.

Feburin is going to be busy, decisions about what to throw out can be very time consuming!

30 Januberry 2018 : Blog

30 Januberry 2018

Many catalogues have images of words like “win”, “great”, and “value”. They have different font sizes and colours that can be cut out and collected, ready to be used on Collendar pages in the various seasons.

Images of phrases like “Great value” can be placed next to an image of a fruit on a Collendar page. I often do this for oranges. I might not want to eat an orange each day, but I try.


31 Januberry 2018 : Blog

Weigh day has arrived.

The news is good. The stringent eating plan of Januberry, combined with gentle walking has resulted in a weight loss of a bit more than one and a half kilograms. I am delighted. The point on the graph will read 78.5 kilograms.

The next few months are going to be devoted to not putting that weight back on again, but at the same time introducing some delicious calories to prevent a downwards spiral.

Just in case you do not have a pancake recipe, here is ours. It makes four serves.

“Pancakes” adapted from the traditional.

Place one cup of sifted plain flour in a large mixing bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar and one egg. We use 185 mL whole milk (about three quarters of a cup). Using a wooden spoon slowly mix in the milk, small amounts at a time. The mixture becomes a runny liquid which has a similar runniness as thickened cream.

Pour one half of the mixture into a cup to make the second pancake. We make a foil lid for it and refrigerate it to be cooked the next night.

On low heat use a small amount of salted butter (about one quarter of a teaspoon) to melt on the bottom of the skillet frying pan. Bring the temperature to about half way around the dial, on ours it is 5 out of 10. Pour in the other half of the mixture encouraging it to spread across the bottom by moving the pan around, tilting it carefully. Cook the pancake for about 5 minutes till just before it loses the liquid appearance to have a solid look. Using a lengthy spatula turn the pancake over and cook the other side for about 5 minutes.

Cut the pancake in half and serve with fresh or thawed fruit and ice cream.


1 Feburine 2018 : Blog

Welcome to “Feburine”.

The eating theme for this month features fresh nectarines on our pancakes, along with chocolate ice cream. It does sound good, doesn’t it?

We are very lucky to have a nectarine tree growing at our house. The best time to pick the fruit is the last few weeks of this month. The fresh ones are delicious and we freeze some too. Thanks to cool store technology fresh nectarines are available at the supermarket for most of the summer, which covers the earlier weeks of the month of “Feburine”.

This is also the month we celebrate the great mystery bag, the sausage! Most meals will be sausages with steamed carrots, rotating the other vegetables. Sometimes fries will be substituted instead of boiled potatoes. We include a modest serve of our favourite commercial brand, hollandaise flavoured finishing sauce with the meal.

One of our favourite kitchen item sets will make three or four appearances. It consists of the heavy duty chopping board, the pizza tray and the circular specialist pizza cutting tool. We really celebrate the hot salami mystery bag! Look out for the recipe soon.

Last but not least, we are partial to some commercial brands of pre-prepared Quiche Lorraines. The egg pie bag of mystery. Have you ever read their list of ingredients? I am always totally lost by about item 28. None the less, they taste quite lovely and this month we accommodate some of them on our plate.

2 Feburine 2018 : Blog

I do so enjoy the Feburine menu. I need to get it into my mind that I will not need as many sausage rolls for breakfast as I did this time last year. I will try two of them this time around. It will be a good idea to have some oranges first so as to not be starving hungry and eat too many…

Delicious sausage rolls for breakfast, yum yum.

3 Feburine 2018 : Blog

Feburine is all about the idea of combining small amounts of dangerous, non-filling deliciousnesses with larger amounts of not at all dangerous, quite filling deliciousnesses.

For example consider snap, crackle, sugar-coated, chocolate flavoured rice cereal. About one cup of this dangerous, non-filling deliciousness will be great for some of the Feburine breakfasts. Combined with whole milk, it will be just like having a chocolate milk shake, only crunchy! My generous addition of raw, or thawed nectarines will be a perfect match, giving the breakfasts some much needed substance.

However, the highest accolade of all must go to the Pizza.

Home cooked pizza perfectly incorporates controlled amounts of two dangerous, non-filling deliciousnesses, namely cheese and salami, into the meal.

We buy fresh pre-prepared pizza bases from the supermarket. The first step is getting the temperature of the oven to very hot, I mean really hot, the top of the dial, so it is important to have that happening while getting all the pizza toppings ready.

Now I would classify onions, green capsicums and tinned champignons as, “Not at all dangerous, quite filling deliciousnesses”. One could eat truck loads of them. The trouble is why would one want to eat truck loads of them? The answer to that is so obvious, right?

When they are added as toppings on a pizza, combined with 50 grams (5 thin slices) of commercial brand cheese, 50 grams of sliced hot salami, tomato paste and crushed garlic. When all the ingredients are cooked together for about ten minutes, I become more convinced about the deliciousnesses part of the classification. Onions, green capsicums and tinned champignons become elevated, closer to heaven.

I know that our recipe for home cooked pizza will not win any cooking competition, Pete and Mannu would find the proportions quite unusual, but it does win my “Wattle Weight Warrior” five star value recipe award.

4 Feburine 2018 : Blog

The task I have set for Feburine to throw out some little (or big) thing out is proving harder than I thought it would be. The difficulty to make decisions about an item’s potential future usefulness defies belief. My crystal ball predicts an outing to the rubbish disposal site this month, so I must press on. We need to take something to dispose!

At least some repacking, redistributing and dusting around items is making us tidier.

I am so glad there are only 28 days in Feburine!

5 Feburine 2018 : Blog

The weather has been perfect here today. It was mostly sunshine with fluffy white, intermittent clouds giving some shade. A light breeze, almost indetectable, gently caressed. I found myself smiling and cheerful, looking around. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk.

Isn’t it amazing how our mood can effect eating.

I had no thoughts what so ever today about chocolate ripes or barbeque crisps!

6 Feburine 2018: Blog

Sometimes I have to remind myself that no matter what projects I am working on, no matter how important they might seem to me, no matter how busy I get…

I need to do my walking.

Thankfully, taking photos of flowers gives a purpose to the walk that is quite capable of motivating me in its own right. I learn a bit more about the functioning of the camera all the time. Hopefully it will lead to the quality of the photos improving.

7 Feburine 2018 : Blog

The seemingly purposeless walking, day after endless day for some nebulous health benefit, some reward that is so infinitesimal, so gradual, that they it can barely be perceived on any given day would be so easy to give up. So easy. If I hear myself saying, “I am too busy today, I’ll go tomorrow,” my antennae will go up, high up. Up sufficiently high enough to greet a Martian.

I know I say it frequently. I said it yesterday. I think it is so important I am going to say it again today…

I need to do my walking.