Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Battles with Sleep and HOs, and Snow Break #1 of 2010-2011 idea what possessed my son on Wednesday night, but we were not interested in sleeping. Syd woke up at 1 and didn't go back down, not really, until after 3. Along with a few other interruptions, I legitimately got 2 hours of sleep. I am so glad Mother Nature pulled through and gave me a snow day.

And wonder of wonders! It has turned in to an early dismissal for the holidays! We're out again, today. Good thing, too, since the city hasn't even plowed my road, yet.

In good news, I've made some serious strides on getting rid of my baby weight. I made my first weight goal shortly after Thanksgiving. I'm hoping to make my second weight goal by spring break. We'll see how that goes.
While I can't help but think that not all the weight is falling off due to healthy methods (Stress. Oiy.), I truly believe that my attempts to remove hydrogenated oils from our diet is significantly impacting my health and weight in a positive light. I first mentioned my intention to minimize the use of these additives in October. Since then, I've gone a little crazy. I'll admit it. I've also run in to some road bumps.
I've heard, numerous times, that the best place to be in a grocery store is the perimeter of the store. The perimeter houses the fresh veggies, the fresh meats and fish, and the dairy section. The center of the store does have some good items. But it also holds the processed foods that are, albeit yummy, not very good for you. I still travel through the store the same way - I always start with fresh veggies so I can make sure I pack my cart in a way that doesn't damage any of them. I then travel up and down the rows of the store, sometimes moving rather quickly, sometimes taking my time depending on what I need. But I've increasingly found that even small, mid-week trips are taking more time, and I think it is because I'm checking everything out. You would truly be surprised what items contain hydrogenated oils.
Steve thinks I'm taking this too far. I don't think I've gone too far, yet, but I do know I need to keep it in check. I make all baked goods from scratch, now. I tried to make my own creamer, since the type and flavor we like the best (and that doesn't use artificial sweeteners - blech!) contains HOs. That fell flat. I forgot how sensitive I can be sometimes to liquid dairy. I'll use up the rest of my creation (low fat half and half, sugar, vanilla bean heated up on the stove and then chilled quickly and stored in the fridge), but then I think I have to give in on my creamer. I've also discovered that our peanut butter has HOs in it. Now, we had a horrible time finding a peanut butter that we liked after Peter Pan was recalled for salmonella, several years ago. They finally started restocking the shelves after a year. I don't think I can ask Steve to go to a different brand.
Why the panic? Hydrogenated oils are fats that are altered - hydrogen gas is forced in to the fat molecules to make them more stable - essentially, they are used to improve the shelf life of food. Think about it - are humans intended to eat something that sits on a shelf for who-knows how long? No. HOs are beneficial only to the food companies that make a buck from us. They have adverse health effects for humans - diabetes, coronary artery disease, infertility, etc. Why would I feed this to my son? Why would I put my life and my husband's in danger?
Like everyone else, I am, still, subject to the whims of life. I will continue to buy our peanut butter. I purchased another brand to try, but we'll see. I will resort to the creamer, but only because I truly need something I can just 'dump and go' with in the morning. But I will not make concessions in other areas that I can control. And I will not question myself when I am out to dinner or eating out in other areas. I cannot possibly monitor every single bite I eat. Not without winning the lottery and retiring and being wealthy enough to buy everything fresh, hire a chef, etc. The things I can control, I will, and the rest will fall under the "in moderation" category. Here's to trying to do the best I can for my family with what I've got.
Ok - enough with the HOs. I've been thankful to have the snow days the past two days. I've gotten a lot of my holiday baking finished, managed to clean the house, somewhat, and mapped out a plan, of sorts, for winter break. We'll see how closely I am able to follow that. But in the meantime, I've got Snickerdoodle. He was so much fun today! We made his first fort out of the blanket my Grandmother made for me - I was about 10 when she made it, and the couch and bench.

See him peaking around the corner? He loved it!

Syd plays 'peek-a-boo' through the fort!

I really don't know what this was about. I can't remember. But he looks so happy I had to put it in my blog.

Oh, and this is just for Dawn!! You asked about my recipe for the Pumpkin Creme Brulee - the misconception about creme brulee is that it is difficult to make. It's not - it is a custard. The excitement comes from the brulee - if you do not have a torch, I've seen the ramekins put into the oven and broiled so the sugar hardens. Let me know how it turns out!!

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

1/4 cup of pumpkin

1/4 cup of sour cream

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

generous pinch of nutmeg (fresh ground, if possible)

pinch of salt

1/2 cup of heavy cream

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all the ingredients, except the heavy cream, using a whisk. Set aside. Put the heavy cream in a small saucepan and stir while heating - just to the point of boiling. Whisk the cream into the pumpkin mixture in small amounts to temper the egg, until you mix in the entire amount.

Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins, which are placed in a cake pan. Add a hot water bath (approximately 1/2 to 1 inch. Place in oven at or slightly below the middle rack and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the centers are softly set - not liquid-y. Cool the ramekins in the water bath until they are cool enough to handle. Cover and refrigerate from 1 hr to 2 days before using.

To make the brulee - I spoon a tablespoon of granulated sugar on top and then tap the sugar around, almost as if you are flouring a greased pan, to coat the entire top. Use a torch just until bubbling and browning, or try to oven broiler.

For anyone who tries this, let me know how it turns out!!

1 comment:

  1. Hurray for sheet forts! .. and delicious treats!