January 10th, 2021

Since I last typed I’ve returned to work after the Christmas break (working from home) and suddenly realised how all my days are taken up with work and little time to do anything else except prepare food and deal with necessary things before falling into bed. This week I managed to walk for just one early morning before my work day started and by the time the days finish it is dark so I just didn’t go out.

My mental health thrives on being able to get outside in the fresh air multiple times in the day (in a ideal scenario) but when one works full time, especially during winter, it’s a challenge. I love working and having my brain stimulated, I love the job I do but if I’m brutally honest, I NEED to be able to devote more time to my health and well being. Life is so brief, so fleeting, every day is beautiful, it seems a shame to miss these moments behind a desk. It’s finding a happy balance where you can earn enough to pay your bills and save a little while having the time to spend on those things that call you, that make you happy, that are fundamental to your well being. At the moment I need all the money I earn to keep a roof over my head (my daughter and I) and food on the table. I am sure most of us do this, its life. But I’m feeling more tired these days.

I turned 55 a couple of days ago. I had a couple of days off work, took my van in for it’s MOT (it passed!) and spent lots of time taking myself off for walks (we have been advised to take just one form of exercise a day during lockdown but it’s not law). I’ve felt during the last few days, that if I haven’t walked briskly outside twice a day I may have become sad and turned to food so I’ve walked early morning and late afternoon when it’s been very quiet and in places where I hardly see a soul. It’s keeping me sane and away from the kitchen cupboards. I worry so much that being behind a desk all day again will send me into a downward spiral with my addiction to over eating/food.

BUT with starting to walk outside again when I can, it has had a positive affect. I’m eating some very nutritious meals, mostly wholefoods, plant-based and the combination of the well-being felt from the walking, I’ve not over eaten and have dropped 8 lbs in 7 days (a lot of peeing so a lot of water weight!). I’m hoping with perseverance I’ll soon lose the weight gain over the last couple of months and work towards moving out of the obesity category.

I’m still working on the Pandemic Cookbook. When I say working I haven’t done all week because after work and doing chores its mid-evening and I’m falling asleep. I just can’t keep awake. I have next Saturday set aside to put a few more hours in and I’ll just keep moving forward and get there soon! My brain still thinks like I am a 30 year old where I did everything far, far quicker than I do these days!

Finally, everyone is in my thoughts with the spread of the new variant of Covid-19. It is thought around 1 in 30 people in the UK has now got the virus. Some areas less, some areas more. Special thoughts to our American friends too, both our countries have similar percentages on our infected and Covid deaths. I know it must be a difficult time right now, politically too. Lets hope everything gets better for everyone soon.

Best wishes to all,

Stay safe, C xxxxx

PS: Below is some of the food I’ve eaten this week which I’ve been sharing on Instagram.

PPS: I’ve just read my post back. I want to apologize, I really don’t have ANYTHING to complain about in the big scheme of things. I’m lucky, very lucky. Was just letting off a little frustration I guess. Hope everyone stays healthy xxxxxx

38 thoughts on “January 10th, 2021

  1. Thank you for the update–always look forward to them. Belated Happy Birthday! Really looking forward to trying the chickpea dip recipe. It is expensive to buy, isn’t it? Thank you for inspiring your readers to always be on a journey toward health. Take care. Winter can’t last forever–it just seems like it does. CNM

      • Happy New Year & belated Happy Birthday to you Carolyn. What !, no garlic in your hummus ? No tahini either ?, but then again that’s expensive, so I use peanut butter, it’s just as good. I don’t use the smokey hickory stuff as it contains hidden sugars, to make the smokey flavour only use smoked paprika & whole cumin, dry toasted then ground (I have a coffee grinder just for spices), it’s cheaper & whole spices retain their flavour. I don’t add any vegetables to mine as I use the hummus as a dip with raw veggies, especially capsicum, courgette & cucumber – but roasted veggies sound great and will bulk up the dip. Also I use evoo (extra virgin olive oil) on top of the mix, like a skin, to stop the discolouration then sprinkle dukkah over the top of that. As a linked aside, I like some of the Moroccan/North African foods, especially dukkah, do you make/use dukkah ? I love it ! It’s great sprinkled over veggies (raw or cooked, especially new potatoes & butter !), mixed into sausage meat (or meatless pastie/pie filling), scattered over plain rice, mixed with savoury crumble mixes, etc.

        There are so many versions, this is my favourite one, it makes just under 1kg & keeps indefinitely if stored in a burped zip lock in the fridge.

        Lightly toast the following in a dry frying pan, cool, tip into a food processor, pulse to a fairly smallish crumb then tip into a jug.
        300g chopped peanuts
        150g pumpkin seeds
        150g sunflower seeds
        30g whole cumin seeds
        30g whole coriander seeds

        Now add the following:
        80g lightly toasted whole white sesame seeds
        40g whole poppy seeds
        1 tbl lemon pepper
        1-2 tsp salt (or to taste)
        1 tsp smoked paprika (or to taste)

        Mix well, store in a burped zip lock bag in the fridge. Kept in the fridge it will last extremely well. Other lightly toasted chopped nuts can be added to change the flavour, walnuts for their dry taste, almonds for their sweetness or whatever you prefer.

      • Only one clove roasted with the onion and pepper,I like garlic but not too much, just used the smoked paprika, not the hickory smoke. I don’t buy tahini so added a little peanut butter. I love fresh leaf coriander and some nooch added too 🙂 ….ooo your recipe sounds nice! Xxx

      • Okay Carolyn, what’s nooch ? Yes leaf coriander I love.. Curly parsley not so much, prefer flat leaf variety.

      • Hi Carolyn

        Never heard NYF (nutritional yeast flakes) referred to as nooch, or is it a UK brand ?

      • Hi Carolyn

        Interesting, must say it’s like learning a new language ! The ‘scooper-market’ I use in NZ is called The Bin Inn (https://www.bininn.co.nz/products), there is another called Bulk Barn (not so good in my opinion), and (naturally) the supermarkets have various in store sections. They all sell Vegan specialties but I haven’t tried many myself, but am willing to try new ideas for my other half, his diet is complicated to say the least.

        My main food focus is my other half who has had cancer (tongue), he has had multiple surgeries which (generally speaking) have been uncomplicated resulting in the loss of about one third of his tongue – but the radiation has been the killer.

        We had no idea how bad things could get, mainly chewing problems to begin with (loss of muscle strength) followed by swallowing problems (really scary choking problems) then he had a PEG (feeding tube directly into the stomach) with ‘liquid food’. The product used looks and smells rather like evaporated milk and (unfortunately) seems to be made from a cocktail of sugars.

        After a total weight loss of about 20kg he was determined to have the PEG removed and forced himself to learn to eat again, mission accomplished. He then discovered that saliva just wasn’t there anymore (both types) so now his diet is mainly very soft foods of Greek yogurt thickness to aid swallowing without choking. Due to the sugar overload whilst on the PEG diabetes inevitably followed. Yet more restrictions on the few edible things followed.

        The result is that he is on a mixture of diet types (high protein, low sugar, low fat and low GI) so it’s not easy to find much in the way if variety for him, so he survives on a very narrow menu.

        Life can be a real bummer to say the least.

  2. Happy Birthday! I completely understand how hard it is to get outside some days. At least the days are finally getting longer!

  3. Hi Carolyn, all of your food looks delicious and super healthy. I fully understand where you are coming from regarding getting out in to the fresh air. I enjoy going for a walk along the promenade on a morning before I switch my lap top on and I walk during the day on a Saturday and Sunday. I do have to push myself to walk on a weekend though, oddly enough 🤔. I have been working from home since March 19th last year and I really miss the divide between home and office but I do think I am very lucky if that is all I have to complain about, some people are really suffering both emotionally and financially. Good luck with your weight loss journey…….. you can do it ! X

    • A very good way to look at things! I do honestly feel very lucky, sometimes just a bit worried. All the best and thank you xxxx Oooo love that word, promenade xxxx

      • There’s nothing wrong in feeling worried at times. Even though people might be going through much worse than others we cannot minimise our own concerns, they are very real to us. My Mam always said ‘try and pick out the good bits’. Oh, and Happy Belated Birthday!🎂🥳 x

  4. Can you take ten-minute breaks every couple hours? If you can, why not plan to go out in your garden or walk to the end of the drive? Might help with the need for fresh air. I’m sure, if you do some more thinking about it, you will figure a way to get outside more.

  5. Two little walks with my Pug, blogging, reading and television are the only things keeping me sane at the moment. It’s a good job I do have a dog as with all this cold and now wet weather I would have stayed tucked up at home. But once I get back and get warmed up or dried off, I feel so much better for having made the effort. I’m sure she would rather stay in though, she’s a lazy little oink 😉

  6. It does not get light out where I live until after 11 am and dark again by 4:30 pm so we have all adapted to walking at night for exercise and because this is a place where everyone has a dog. And dogs do not care if it is 30 below zero Celsius outside as long as they get to walk. Which is great because it forces us to walk and that helps so much with weight and mental health. The best thing for night walking is a headband light which leaves your hands free and points light in the direction you are looking. Without this we would never have the time to walk during daylight.

  7. Belated birthday wishes Carolyn. I think we are all fed up with, “Carrying on”. We have all been carrying on since March. All my carrying on has buggered off, I wish I could! I tell myself, my house has not been bombed, my love ones are well (so far), l don’t have to queue for food that is rationed and I don’t have to work a twelve hour day in a factory, as people did during the war. Some days it works but not today so I’m having a sulky Monday. I’m not walking but tomorrow I will, it helps. Love from June (behaving badly😂) x

  8. thanks for the new hummus recipe Carolyn I am going to try that one. I resigned up for this blog as for some reason I no longer get notice when a new blog appears, and missed seeng your “doings”! hope you are vaccinated, I’m still waiting. ann lee s

    • Dear Ann, I created an even better Hummus recipe today. It was the best one I’ve done.

      I can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in water, drain the aquafaba (chickpea water in can) and set aside as you’ll need to add about 1/2 this liquid, 1/2 fresh lemon squeezed, handful of fresh coriander chopped, 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic finely chopped or minced, 1 flat tablespoon of tahini, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper, optional spices such as paprika or cumin to taste.

      Method: Place all the ingredients (apart from salt, pepper, spices and chickpea water) into the food processor/blender, add 1/3rd of the drained chickpea liquid and then blend until it’s as smooth as you’d like it (add more chickpea water if you’d like it smoother). Once all blended then add in your alt, pepper and spices to your own taste and blend again until mixed in.

      I made mine today with all the ingredients apart from cumin and it was delicious. Half the price and half the calories of shop bought! xxxx C

  9. Carolyn I have been unable to find any “newer” blogs, are you still blogging? I am not on facebook. hoping all is well with you, ann lee s., vancouver island, bc, canada

    • Hi Ann, I haven’t really had time to blog but always intend too xxxx I’m planning to do a recipe blog hopefully next weekend though as I want to recreate a WW2 recipe for Guernsey Potato Peel Pie! I watched the movei and thought I need to cook that and share the recipe/outcome. Hope all is well xxxx I really do wish sometimes I had more free time. I have a little fantasy about winning the lottery and no longer having to work full time so I can spend more time blogging/writing, creating in the kitchen, art and hiking! xxxxx

      • Re ‘The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society’. I have read the book but not yet seen the movie – the book was brilliant ! I don’t recall a recipe for ‘Potato Peel Pie’ but I do recall a description using the potato peel as a pastry substitute – interesting !

        Have you read ‘I’ll be Seeing You’ by S Hayes & L Nyhan ? It’s in a similar vein, set in the USA in WW2 with letters between the characters where (aside from the horrors of loosing loved ones, life in general & problems) they exchange recipes. The first one is for a kind of soda bread which the character calls beer bread, as follows:
        Beer Bread
        1 bottle of beer (35ml standard apparently)
        3 cups self raising flour (130g per standard tea cup, not a mug)
        1/2 cup corn syrup (UK golden syrup)
        Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 45 minutes

      • Hi Carolyn, thank you for letting me know all seems to be well with you, albeit rather busy!! no wonder, working full time is just that … full time!! At 79, I thought I would have hours and hours to fill, but it does not seem to work out that way, always “something” waiting to be done! with a home and garden, perhaps I should blame it on that. enjjoy what time you have free, all the best, ann lee s

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