Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Christmas Rush

You know what the problem of Christmas is? You are so busy getting everything sorted all month for the big day, that little things don't get done.

I made all these really yummy treats to share on Christmas day. I got a lot of positive feedback about it all, and I wanted to make a really cool blog post showing you all, photos, recipes etc. Well, um, I never did get around to taking those photos! But I want to share the recipe for what I thought was the winner on the day (and I think it was the favourite of pretty much everyone) - gingerbread cake balls! (yep, them cake balls again lol). So christmassy, and something a little bit different. I actually got the idea from Pinterest, from this blog here - linky link. I, however, don't do packet mixes, so I baked my own gingerbread loaf from scratch - and I have to say, my recipe its pretty damned awesome. So here it is

Gingerbread Loaf

50g Butter
1Tbsp Golden Syrup
1 egg
1/2c brown sugar
1c flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
(I then also add some grated fresh ginger in, just to make it extra yummy!)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4c milk

Melt together the butter and golden syrup.
Mix together the egg and sugar. Add the syrup mix.
Mix all ingredients bar the baking soda and milk.
Mix baking soda and milk together. Gradually add to mix, and stir in.
Pour into a greased/lined loaf tin

Bake at 180c for 35mins

Now, this particular recipe makes a very flat loaf in my loaf tin, so the last time I made it (for these cake balls) I doubled it, and it was the perfect loaf! I cannot tell you how long it took to bake though, it did take quite some time. But the end result was this beautifully moist, gingerlicious loaf that I nearly cried when I had to crumble it up to make the cake balls haha!

Right, now to make them into cake balls. Just use your fingers and crumble the loaf up (cake balls are the perfect way to use up cake that has failed... even if its dry and overcooked, cake balls make them so moist and yummy). Make up an icing, I just made a very plain vanilla icing (ya know, a knob of butter, however much icing sugar, a dash of milk, a splash of vanilla and voila!), and then SLOWLY add it into the crumb mixture. The trick is to not put too much icing in, you only want enough to bind the crumbs together and no more. Though even if you do put too much in, they will still taste fine, just be a lot wetter in texture.
Then chill the cake ball mix in the fridge for a while (I actually prepared the mixture a day early, just as I ran out of time to finish them haha). Once they are nice and cold, start rolling them into balls (think rum ball size).
Now to finish the cake balls, you have a couple of choices. I choc dipped half of them in white chocolate (like in the link) but I hadn't bought enough white choc melts (and being Christmas Eve I was NOT going to brave the supermarket for more). So the other half I rolled in coconut. And you know what? I think I preferred the coconut ones, the white chocolate gets a bit much after a while, but you can eat more coconut ones in one sitting. Oh, did I mention I put on 1.6kg over this past week? Yeah, all my goodies along with the usual Christmas fare have not been diet friendly lol!
Anyways, other flavour cake balls I have done in the past I have rolled in cocoa - but the cake ball itself has to be really sweet to offset the cocoa, and then others I have rolled in drinking chocolate as that's sweet itself (or if you have no drinking chocolate, mix cocoa and icing sugar together).

I made a few other truffles and stuff too, maybe I'll blog about them another day! It is school holidays now, and being Summer I am spending less time indoors and more time at the beach and school pool, so while I will try to blog about some fun things we are getting up to, I may be slack about it!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

From Flab to Fab

Recently I lost weight, and toned up... I have 3 kids so there was quite a bit of toning in the mid section to be done lol. Anyways, the past week or so I have been getting a few comments about my weight loss (it wasn't dramatic, I wasn't overweight to start with but as you will see in the photos I definitely had some to lose!). All up I have lost about 7kg. People want to know how I did it. So I have decided to write this blog post to tell you how I personally have done it. It's still a work in progress - I don't want to lose any more weight, but I do want to build more lean muscle. Especially in the mid section - it looks fine (good even) when standing, but when sitting, it pushes all the fatty bits back out lol, so I'm still working on it.

And for the first time in years, I bought a bikini. A well fitting one, and I wore it for the first time last weekend, in front of my husband's extended family. It felt a lil weird, but I have to admit, I don't think I looked half bad lol, despite having a VERY indulgent weekend with a lot of bad food and a LOT of alcohol.

This is the picture that sparked it all, the one that it dawned on me I had been putting on weight instead of losing it. I am normally around 60kg, and in this picture I was 66.2kg. A friend took it and posted it on facebook. And I had back rolls. I was horrified. It's the heaviest I had ever been without being pregnant. I wish I took a proper before photo for comparison, as the one in my comparison shots I took a couple of days before I weighed in around 64kg. But here, this is the culprit

Now, you may not think it's bad, but it sparked something in me! I wanted to get back on top of my weight now, rather than putting more on and having more to lose. I estimated my weight was about 65kg, I had been 64kg when I got married in March, and this photo was taken in June. But no, I was 66.2kg. That really shocked and upset me lol so there sparked my desire to lose weight.

So there we have it, excuse the fact I am in a bra (at least it's a pretty one aye! haha). I actually have abs you can feel. You can't *quite* see them yet though, that is what my next goal is, just for kicks!

So how did I do it? The old fashioned way really - diet and exercise. But I didn't "diet" - I still had my treats, I would still eat maccas and muffins and everything - I just moderated what I ate a lot more!

I joined www.myfitnesspal.com - HIGHLY recommend doing so. It's calorie counting made easy. It helped me learn a LOT about what I was putting in my mouth. It makes me think twice about eating all the treats I used to eat. I will still have one or 2, but I no longer will eat 6 or 7 muffins in one sitting like I previously might have lol (gross I know). With using MFP (myfitnesspal) I managed to shed 6kg in 6 weeks - I thought it would be a struggle being that I was already at a healthy (just chubbier) weight. But it was really easy. I wasn't even exercising at that stage.

But then it came time to maintain the weight. That was the tricky part. My weight started fluctuating, I started exercising, and it took many months to balance out to where I am now.

What do I do for exercise? Well I play netball once a week, I always have done that though. Then I came across Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I can not recommend this HIGHLY enough. It is only 20 minutes a day, and it gave me my abs. TWENTY MINUTES. Its so easy to find 20 minutes a day! I even did it in the school holidays with all 3 kids around me. Mr 1 likes to pretend hes doing it with me, and Mr4 and Mr7 like to have a go at the video when I'm finished. I have been lent a couple ofher other dvds but they are 40minutes long and so far I haven't been able to find 40 spare minutes. But 20, that's easy.
And then more recently I have realised I really need to step up my cardio, it's the only way I'm going to burn the last of the fat off my stomach. I have been walking/jogging just under 8km 2-3x a week. I wish I could do more, but unless I invested in a treadmill, it's just too hard with the kids.

So there we have it. I will repeat the important 2 things I said here, if you read nothing else, at least read this - www.myfitnesspal.com and Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.