Not Fueled by Chocolate

As I
slide
towards
another birthday,
I am reminded that
increasing age diminishes
my ability to shed those
extra pounds that cluster
around the part of my body
that makes me look like
a pear.

An unfortunate side effect of getting older is that it is getting harder to maintain anything remotely resembling an hour glass figure.

A brisk thirty minute walk in the morning and forty-five minutes at the gym after lunch just isn’t enough exercise to make my clothes feel ‘less snug’. I’ve been forced to cut calories too, starting with the ultimate sacrifice – no dark chocolate snacks until the pudginess is brought into submission again. For some indefinite amount of time, my blog writing will Not Be Fueled by Chocolate.’

There are any number of articles and advertisements that suggest how to lose weight (many are for bogus diets or are designed to drain your bank account), but it is only in the last few years that researchers have identified how our body fat makes us fat. With the rise in obesity and diabetes, researchers have had increased incentive to investigate how fat cells work.

It has now been suggested that the number of fat cells in our bodies increases from infancy into our early twenties. After that age, we keep the same number of fat cells throughout our lives. Gaining or losing weight does not affect the number of fat cells.

Fat cells do many good, important jobs besides being able to store a lot of energy in a small space. Unfortunately, when we take in more calories than we burn by exercise, the extra calories make the fat cells larger.

Scientists now say that our bodies have THREE kinds of fat cells: white ones, brown ones and beige ones. White fat stores extra energy. Brown and beige fat cells burn chemical energy to create heat.

Brown fat is present in most adults, but adults with more brown fat are generally slimmer than those without. (That explains that skinny friend who doesn’t exercise and can eat whatever they like.) Unfortunately, as we age, the heat production ability of brown fat cells decreases. This causes a natural increase in weight.

Beige and brown fat activation are both triggered by exercise. Combined with a decrease in calories, this is still the best way to shrink fat cells.

Scientists are hopeful, though, that they can find other ways to enhance the function of brown and beige fat cells or cause white fat to turn into brown fat. They have evidence that exposure to cold temperatures (16 degrees C) triggers beige and brown fat activation, but they continue to search for the ‘silver bullet’ that could be the game changing treatment for diabetes and obesity.

Other interesting facts about fat and weight:
– a single study published in the journal ‘Obesity’ showed that a year after liposuction removed fat, the fat came back, but not in the areas it was removed from. An increased fat appearance was observed in the upper abdomen, shoulders and the back of the arms.
– about 10 percent of your fat cells die and are replaced each year.
don’t diet – think instead about how to satisfy your hunger for fewer calories. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. (Eat less chocolate…)
exercise (aerobic and strength training) – the more you do, the more calories are burned. The largest muscles (and therefore the largest calorie burners) are in the thighs, abdomen, chest, and arms.
one size does not fit all, so to speak. Researchers are trying to understand why one person may lose weight faster or slower than another, even when they eat the same diet and do the same exercise.
– the set-point theory of metabolism may be a myth. Studies suggest that if we lose weight, our metabolism shifts to a normal rate for that new weight.
walking for 30 minutes most days of the week, is as effective as a structured exercise done three to five days a week.
“low-fat” or “fat-free” food is not necessarily low calorie food. A bunch of low-fat cookies might have more calories than one or two regular cookies.

With that, I’ll go have a carrot…

Do share – are you an hour-glass, a banana, a strawberry, an apple or a pear shaped person?

Layered Treats – S’mores and Rice Krispies

There are many layers of history for the ingredients in this  S’mores and Rice Krispies® recipe!

Chocolate has been around for more than 2000 years. Sweetened chocolate didn’t appear until Europeans discovered the Americas and sampled the native chocolate drink, which was bitter. They added sugar, and by the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink.

Marshmallows were originally a plant based product that was used for centuries for medicinal purposes. When the plant sap was replaced by gelatin in the late 1800’s, today’s marshmallow was born. In 1927, the Girl Scouts Handbook came out with a recipe for ‘Some More’ which quickly became ‘Smores’.

Graham crackers are made from Graham flour, which is named after it’s inventor Sylvester Graham who began making them in the 1830’s.

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies® debuted in 1927. Their Rice Krispies Marshmallow Treats® recipe was first advertised in 1940. It became a popular food for mailing to service people abroad.

Here is how you put all these things together to make this layered treat! You’ll need:
* 10 oz miniature or regular size marshmallows (2 cups miniature Marshmallows or about 30 large Marshmallows)
* 1/4 cup butter
* 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
* 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
* 7 oz jar marshmallow creme (To make your own marshmallow cream, melt 30 large marshmallows with 2 tbsp light corn syrup)
* enough chocolate chips or chocolate bars to make the final layer (and to eat while you are cooking).

You’ll preheat your oven to 200 degrees and line a 10X15 pan or tray with parchment paper.
In a pot, combine the marshmallows with the butter. Heat and stir until well blended. Stir in the cereal and graham cracker crumbs.
Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the marshmallow creme on top with a spatula. Sprinkle the chocolate on top. (By licking all the spoons, spatulas, and pots, you can do your initial quality testing…)

Place the pan in the oven or about two minutes, or until the chocolate melts. Remove from the oven and spread the chocolate. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Starting at one end, carefully roll the layered concoction up like a cinnamon roll. Peel the parchment paper away as you roll. Pinch the seam when you finish rolling.
Place seam side down, and refrigerate for half an hour, or until the chocolate has set. Slice and serve!

My other S’mores recipes are at How to Make S’Mores – Traditional and Super Simple

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Layered

These Things Match up with Things on my Wants List

565-save-time

Sometimes it is best if The Car Guy just agrees with me…

565-bird-house-bench

This bench would be perfect on my patio! Too bad it is in a store in Calgary, not Phoenix.

565-neon-sign-dads-garageThis would be perfect in The Car Guys garage.
Too bad it was in a store in Phoenix and not in a store in Calgary.

565-cereal-and-ice-cream

Ice Cream and cereal and fruit – a good match when I’m out of milk and yogurt.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is A Good Match.

How Local is Local? Test Case – My Carrots

The movement to eat locally grown food can be relatively easy, or impractically hard, depending on how strictly you follow it. Kris Vester, president of Slow Food Calgary, describes a locally grown organic product as one that is grown locally, is free of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers and is produced in a way that does not use fossil fuels or any other matter that may affect the environment for future generations.

This definition made me think about the carrots I just harvested from my garden. Geographically, they are as local as you can get. They are free of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers. I didn’t use fossil fuels to put the seeds into the ground or get the carrots out of the ground.

But what about the seeds themselves? How did the seed company grow and harvest them? How were they transported to the stores where they were sold? I used a fossil fueled vehicle to go buy the seeds and bring them home. The Car Guy used a fossil fueled vehicle to pick up a load of mushroom compost that I dug into the garden (what was in the compost, and how was it made?). I used a fossil fueled mower to cut grass to mulch the garden. I used an electric pump to get the water out of the ground to put on the plants. What kind of fuel was used to manufacture my shovel or garden hose?

There are a whole lot of inputs to consider before you can really claim you have produced an environmentally friendly carrot!
554-carrot-songsIt is always interesting to see what the carrots have been doing under the dark cloak of the earth. While most of the carrots have chosen to grow straight and narrow, there is a surprising variance in length – the long, the short and the tall. Some clearly did it my way, and some will never grow up now.

(Did you catch the song references?  ‘The long and the short and the tall‘ is a war song written by Fred Godfrey in 1917. ‘I did it my way‘ is from a song written by Paul Anka and popularized by Frank Sinatra. ‘I’ll Never Grow Up, Now‘ is a Twisted Sister song. ‘Down the straight and narrow’ is from a song written by Don Schlitz and Paul Overstreet.)

How Local is the food in your stores? Do you grow or raise any of your own food?

Carrots are a great thing to eat when you are hungry and want to stay that way.
– Author Unknown –

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Local.

iPad Draw Something! How to Make S’Mores – Traditional and Super Simple

TRADITIONAL S’MORES

Ingredients: graham wafers marshmallows chocolate bar or Nutella

Technique: First, the ideal marshmallow cooking stick must be found, and then whittled to the exact right point. The stick has to be brandished like a sword by a child (or someone who is child like) for a few minutes, until some mom says, “Put that stick down before you poke someones eye out!”

In the meantime, someone has to build a fire. Probably a number of someones – the paper bringers, the match finders, the log splitters, the kindling scroungers. Then there is a discussion of how best to stack the paper, wood and kindling. Once the fire is off and running, the ritual of telling stories, adding more wood, and poking the fire with a big stick, has to take place. When mom says, “Put that big stick down before you burn up the forest!” it is time to get out the marshmallows, and find the very pointy sticks again.

Once a marshmallow is skewered, they are slowly browned until they are golden on the ouside, and drippy goo on the inside. Alternately, the marshmallow can be burned to a crisp in just a few seconds. In addition to the Marshmallow Cookers, there is the Keeper of the Graham Wafers and Chocolate. This person will line up the graham wafer squares on a suitable surface. Alternate wafers will have a square of chocolate or a smear of Nutella put on it.

The Marshmallow Cooker presents the cooked marshmallow to the Keeper of the Graham Wafers, who will try to sandwich the marshmallow between two wafers without burning their fingers. (This ‘recipe’ for Traditional S’Mores is dedicated to the 305 families of Hidden Valley, Alberta who lost their community (and all their campfire rings) in the Floods of 2013.)

SUPER SIMPLE S’MORES

There are other simpler ways to make S’mores, of course. If you have a gas stove and a long handled fork, you are half way there! You can cook wieners that way too, though your mom may not like you doing that any more than my mom did when I was a kid.

 No gas stove? Well, there is always the Microwave Oven. Put the chocolate on one of the graham wafers and the marshmallow on the other. Pop it in the Microwave Oven for only a few seconds, then check to see if the marshmallow has started to melt. If not, microwave a few seconds more and continue until the marshmallow has expanded to about the size of the graham wafer.

Watch the chocolate too. You don’t want it to melt and run all over the place. Remove and make your chocolate marshmallow sandwich. Let it cool before eating. Each S’more will have about zmfxn calories and nbxz fat, sodium and sugar – but they are worth it.

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.
-Erma Bombeck –

What are your S’More memories?

How to Make a Simple Nutella Dessert

There are many Nutella Desserts, but none is simpler than this!

Ingredients: 1 jar Nutella hazelnut spread

Equipment: 2 extraction tools – a spoon and a rubber spatula

Directions:

1. Open the lid of the jar.

2. Use your spoon (size optional) to scoop out the Nutella.

3. Put the spoonful of product directly into your mouth. Enjoy! Repeat until your conscience tells you to quit, or you don’t feel so good any more.

4. Switch to the rubber spatula when the jar is nearly empty.

Nutrition: Nutella has NO artificial colors or preservatives and is a source of Fiber, Calcium and Iron. It does, however contain oodles of sugar and saturated fat.

Conclusion: I really like Nutella, but because foods like this are going to migrate directly to my hips, I agree with the following observation:

Nuts just take up space where chocolate ought to be.
– Author Unknown –

Do you stock Nutella in your pantry? What is your favourite way of eating it?

Beery Best of Canada – Molson Canadian Beer Fridge (Video)

Happy Canada Day to Canadians everywhere!

Savage Chickens beer

The website ‘Beer Canada’ mentions these statistics about beer:

Canada has many competitive advantages in making world class beers: proximity to malt barley, large fresh water supply, educated workforce and more than 10 million local beer drinkers.

 

Per capita consumption of Canadian and imported beer was 63.34 litres per person based on total population. At the provincial level, consumption is highest in Newfoundland at 77.32 litres per person. Beer is Canada’s most popular adult beverage and the Canadian beer industry continues to hold an impressive environmental record. On average 99% of beer bottles were returned in 2015.

Contemplating Sardines

The Curmudgeon at Large is compiling a Cookbook and one of his first selections is a menu that incorporates the nine food items that will help you to prevent a heart attack. He says that one of the foods is the Sardine.

I can’t remember the last time I bought a tin of Sardines, but the thought of oily fish packed tightly in a tin made me curious about the current status of sardines in the world of the gourmet. Taking that one step further, what would be a sardine-wine pairing?  (Wine is also on the Curmudgeon’s list of heart healthy  foods) . The first web site that addressed this question was on a Chowhound discussion forum – What to drink with four year old sardines?  Apart from the suggestion that it might not be good to eat a tin of sardines of that age, the pairings included Maalox, Pepto-bismol, beer, sherry, and several white and red wines.

From there, I clicked on the link to The Society for the Appreciation of the Lowly Tinned Sardine.  This site artfully combines serious dedication to the fish with not so serious delivery of information.

Some of the great Chefs appear to be fond enough of the sardine to have figured out how to put it into a recipe. Jamie Oliver posts recipes for pizza, spaghetti and potato salad, while also paying tribute to the British favourite, sardines on toast.  Alton Brown kicks it up a notch (though not the way Emeril would)  in  a recipe for  Sherried Sardine Toast.

That is about all I can dredge up on the sardine. If there is anything else to be said about the sardine, I’m sure you will tell me!

It is much better to eat little fish like sardines directly from the ocean, rather than after they have been filtered through a larger predator.
– Deep Sea News –

Some Blue Things at my House

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is titled Mine. I don’t have any photos of land mines, or strip mines or mine shafts, so I took a photo of something that I think of as Mine.

This blue glass is mine.

I have two others just like it. The fourth one got broke. It is my water glass, and I use it every time I want a glass of water. It makes the water look very blue, and I like that. I used it once for milk, but blue milk is wrong.

There is no known navy-blue food. If there is navy-blue food in the refrigerator, it signifies death.
– Erma Bombeck –

Blue food – there aren’t many things I would eat that are bluish in colour, so when I looked in the fridge recently and saw that the Pickled Garlic had turned blue, I was ready to throw it out. But it wasn’t Mine to throw out, because The Car Guy was the one who pickled it.

I checked on the internet to see if there was any possible way blue garlic could be safe. According to LifeTips, this isn’t an uncommon event and blue garlic is safe to eat as long as it doesn’t exhibit any signs of spoilage.

Raw garlic contains an enzyme that if not inactivated by heat reacts with sulphur and copper, to form copper sulphate. The amount of copper needed for this reaction is very small and is frequently found in normal water supplies, and in some utensils.

Moving from odd colours to odd flavours: I read a post today by a blogger who describes her experience with vomit flavoured Jelly Beans. That reminded me that we have a few small boxes of similarly disgusting Jelly Belly beans.

Notice how there are two different flavours for each coloured Jelly Bean. Pick a black one, and it could be licorice, or it could be skunk spray. A red one could be strawberry jam, or it could be centipede. A brown bean could be chocolate pudding or canned dog food. (I think canned dog food would be a relatively easy flavour to develop, but exactly how did they determine what flavour skunk spray or centipede is, I wonder.)

Back to blue things, the blue jelly beans could either be berry blue or toothpaste and I’m not sure that toothpaste would be all that bad.

If you want to try these Jelly Beans, they are made by Jelly Belly, and they are called ‘Bean Boozled’.

How to Lose Weight – The Strawberry Diet

I lost 2 pounds last week. I’m not sure where they went, but I won’t be sending out a search party to find them. How did I do it? I’m going to claim it was because of my Strawberry Diet.

It I had an ounce of Entrepreneurship in me, I would write another book about this diet (I’m not the first person to eat a boatload of strawberries and write about it). But the procedure is so incredibly simple, and I’m all for the free sharing of ideas (and Garage Sale Stuff), so I’m going to tell you my secret.

First, you need a bargain hunting husband like mine who bought a very big container of strawberries from Costco because it was so much cheaper than a small container at the grocery store. Then, you need him to wash and hull and chop them all up for you.  My spouse also came home with one good size watermelon which he also cut into bite size chunks.  Since he doesn’t really like strawberries all that much, he overdosed on the watermelon, leaving me to use up the strawberries.

Day 1 – Breakfast is a good time to start eating the strawberries. A good size bowl full of them and a chopped apple, with granola sprinkled over top, and a big dollop of yogurt – I ate it with enthusiasm. Lunch – more strawberries, more yogurt, and a spoonful of peanut butter on the side for a bit of protein. Afternoon snack – a bowl of strawberries, a banana, and a small spoonful of ice cream. Dinner – a bit of meat and a bunch of vegetables, then dessert – a bowl of strawberries, and a squirt or two of chocolate syrup. (A bit of exercise is good too – I painted a bedroom.)

Day 2, 3 and 4- Pretty much a repeat of Day 1 as far as the strawberries were concerned. I varied the other foods, just to keep it from getting too boring. (Keep up the exercise! I painted the dining room, weeded the flower beds and cleaned the house.)

Day 5 – Coming down the home stretch on the strawberry front – I finished them off by bedtime. I didn’t like strawberries all that much by then. My enthusiasm for painting, cleaning and weeding wasn’t all that high either.

So there it is – The Strawberry Diet. Of course, I should call it the Strawberry, Yogurt, Other Foods, Painting, Weeding and Cleaning Diet, but I don’t think that would sell as well.