Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cereal Bowl Cakes

Cereal Bowl Cakes

One of the things that many of us have a problem with is desert. I am one who likes sweet things and often have a problem with saying I have had enough. Buy a packet of chocolate biscuits when you know that there will not be anyone to say "Didn't you just have one?"

My daughter came up with this great idea some years ago when she was living at home. Cereal bowl size cakes made in the microwave. Instead of using a set of scales to measure the quantities we use the spoon that we eat our breakfast with:

1 heaped spoon of margarine or butter.
1 heaped spoon of sugar.
2 heaped spoons of flour.
1 heaped spoon of full cream milk powder.
1 heaped spoon of your favorite milk flavor or ice cream topping.

Blend together with a fork, add water till the mix is the right texture and pop in the microwave for a few minutes.

Of course these cakes were not actually diet food, but they gave me the basis for a change into healthier eating. At least I had a measurement to help me say "Enough food has been consumed". If you can convince yourself that you do not need to buy any chocolate biscuits because you can make your own desert at home you will be on the right tram to take advantage of a couple of ideas I have had in the recent past.

About a year ago I had reason to experiment with rice flour while trying to help a sick friend. Our initial ideas did not work but it gave me an oportunity to learn a lot about its ability to absorb liquid. I added rice flour to my pantry stock list.

I already knew quite a bit about flour from my years of making my own bread. One of the things I used was maize flour. This is also a main ingredient in South American traditional breads. Another thing I often did was to take my breakfast muslie and put it through the coffee blender.

Now I have started a new page in my recipe book with the addition of my weight loss diet. (See the previous post on this blog). But how do you tell yourself you must stop coming up with new ideas? Enter the weight loss cereal bowl cake.

When you are on a liquid based diet there are often times when you fancy something to eat but really want to still have your scheduled diet food. If you make your eating "include" the diet meal you still keep most of the benefits of the meals ingredients. So here is a recipe for a cereal bowl cake using some of my diet food ingredients.

2 heaped spoons of rice flour.
1 heaped spoon of maize flour.
1 heaped spoon of wheat germ and LSA mix
1 heaped spoon of skim milk powder.
2 spoons of olive oil.
1 heaped spoon of your favorite milk flavor or ice cream topping.

Blend these together with a cooking fork.

Take care with this next step. You will not need very much water.
While still blending with the fork, add enough water to make it smooth but still thick.

Place this mix into a microwave safe cooking container and place in your microwave.
Cooking depends on the power of your microwave. Mine takes about 4 minutes to cook this amount of food. You must NOT let your cake dry out completely or it may ruin our microwave. Better to try 1 minute at a time and just keep restarting until the mix has become like a cake. Once you have made your first cake you will know how long to cook for next time.

Remember that we have not added any yeast or cooking powder so it is not going to rise unless the flavoring you added has some rising effect.

Your cereal bowl cake will probably be more like a biscuit than a sponge cake but it will be very enjoyable. Have it with a cup of your favorite drink.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Eastwind's Diet

My Diet - The Beginning

Having a slow metabolism can be a problem as you get older. I find that I do not use all the energy that I take in when I eat the same meals that I did when I was younger. The result is that I gradually increase in weight through the year and then come summer I look like a pregnant woman when I put on my swimmers.

A couple of years ago i went on a diet from one of those chemist weight loss plans. It was very successful but cost me a small fortune. My actual food bill was much higher than eating my normal large meals.

I decided to go on a diet again recently and was going to try the cheaper meals from the supermarket. I went shopping to buy the packets of food and returned home having completely forgotten to go to that section of the shop.

I was disappointed with myself for having done this, wanting to start the diet that day. I sat down to think about when I would return to the shop to get the meals. While sitting and thinking I remembered that I had several flour types in the cupboard along with my usual breakfast add-ons and decided to try mixing up my own meal using these ingredients.

I just used one tablespoon of each of the flours then added some chocolate drink mix and finally some milk powder. I added this to some water and stirred it up. When I tasted my concoction I was pleasantly surprised.

I decided to make up a larger batch and try it for the next week using the measurements for mixing a diet meal from the one I had purchased from the chemist; 1/3 of a cup of diet food to 200ml of water. After one week of having this diet food twice each day I had lost 1kg and that was without any serious exercise at all.

So here is the recipe for my diet:

First you get a bag of wheat germ and add one bag of LSA [Linseed Sunflower and Almond] mix (both from your supermarket health food section). You need to blend the LSA into the wheat germ in a container so that you will always get an even amount when making up your meals.

You need a bag of rice flour and a bag of maize flour. I got these from an Indian food outlet but you may get them from somewhere else depending on your supermarkets.

You also need a container of some sort of milk additive food flavour. Kids milk flavour or drinking chocolate will do. I have made up one batch using half drinking chocolate and half instant coffee. You could use anything you like as long as it will dissolve in cold water.

And you need a bag of skim milk powder. Make sure the milk powder mixes easily in cold water. Most of them do but some do not.

Now to the measurements for a batch of the meal mix:

2/3 cup of rice flour
2/3 cup of maize flour
2/3 cup of wheat germ and LSA
2/3 cup of your chosen flavouring
2 cups of skim milk powder

Place these dry ingredients in a large container and mix well with a wooden spoon or cooking fork.

Using the diet food:

For your meal you take 1/3 cup of your meal mix and add it to your chosen amount of water. You can use anywhere between 200ml and 600ml of water depending on your hunger level. You must continue to stir the meal as you drink because the wheat germ tends to settle out and you don't want a large amount in your mouth at one time. The taste is not unpleasant but it tends to be uncomfortable in your mouth. Its a bit like eating sesame seeds off of a spoon.

If you use these meals for two of your meals each day and eat a normal meal for your third you will loose weight quite fast. If you add a bit of exercise you will loose it even faster. It is important that you have one meal a day that matches your current normal diet so that you do not let your stomach shrink too much. You MUST maintain your ability to eat normally. You can limit your diet meal to one per day when you have reached your goal. This will help you maintain your loss. Once you have made your goal, you only need to use the diet meals if your weight goes up more than 2kg.

It is important that you do any weighing of yourself first thing in the morning after you have been to the bathroom. Do not repeat the weighing later in the day. It is normal and required that your weight be higher at the end of the day than in the morning for normal body functions. It is normal for your weight to be around 1kg higher at the end of the day than it was in the morning. Also it is important to realize that water, an essential part of life is very heavy. We must drink around 1ltr per day to allow our body to operate properly. If we get dehydrated we will get sick. Water is required to flush out the waste products from our body every day. For most people, water is not part of our weight problem. So weighing ourselves once a day is healthy and will not cause us to panic when we drink a bit of water in the heat of the day.

It is perfectly ok to take a day off from the diet once a week and even to "Pig out" on that day. You will still gradually loose weight over a couple of months even with such days off. That is how I have been doing my diet. It has taken me about 3 months to go from 92kg to 84kg. I have only had a small amount of exercise each week during this time.

How to succeed at dieting:

I know many people want to loose weight but fail. There are many reasons, most of them are in their own minds. It is hard to think of diet when everyone around you is eating junk food and drinking loads of alcohol. You need to have a definite reason to want to diet and also set a goal that is reachable. It is better to plan to loose 5kg and succeed than to plan to loose 20kg and fail. You can set your goal for another 5kg when you have completed your first journey.

So tell all your friends and family that you need to go on a diet. Tell them your goal and tell them about your progress. You will get support to win if you share with people who care. You are sure to find someone else who has succeeded and you might inspire others to join you. Treat this as an adventure, not a prison term. You are increasing your quality of life, not missing out on some poorly planned "eat fest".

Remember that with this diet you do not have to outlay loads of money buying food that you can only use as diet food. The ingredients I have listed here can be used in many ways in all sorts of recipes. When you have reached your goal and you cut down on the number of diet meals you can add the ingredients to your other cooking and use them up while they are still fresh.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What I do for a job

One of the questions often asked is "What work do you do?" I thought I would put a small post here with some of the highlights of my work.

I have been working on an on-line shopping centre for about four years. It started out just as a hobby with a friend who wanted to learn about Linux, but now I actually receive a few hours wages each week looking after it.

The url is and the site is based in Australia. Our focus is for companies who already have an established business but do not have a website or do not have any e-commerce features but would like them. We offer a range of services including assisted site maintenance. For those who do not have programming skills, this is the perfect way to have a powerful e-commerce site.

The structure of the site is based on the MySql, PHP, HTML trilogy with just a sprinkling of JavaScript to add a couple of special features. Most visitors to the site can have JavaScript turned off if they don't normally allow it to run. Except for the odd special page that includes video, there is no need to have any of the special page viewers installed. The oldest web browser is capable of seeing the majority of the site.

So take a look and feel free to use the "Contact Us" page to give us some feed back on your impressions. Please keep the comments on the constructive side. I have enough negative thoughts of my own :-)