Eat What You Want

As you may have noticed, there are blog posts where I refer to the Days of the Year site, and choose to celebrate along with them. There are a few ‘days’ being celebrated today, but of course the one that I’ve chosen absolutely appeals to me ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜›

Apparently, today is Eat What You Want Day. Do you understand now why I couldn’t resist? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I see that this holiday was created by Thomas and Ruth Roy. So of course I wanted to see who these wonderful people were ๐Ÿ˜‰ and I popped off to Google. My goodness, then the fun really started.

Their business is called Wellcat – and according to their site :
Wellcat Herbsย features fine herbal products and informative commentary on the medicinal, culinary & mystical uses of herbs & spices.

But they also appear to have the copyright, and have published, somewhere in the region of about 80 different ‘holidays’. And I laughed my through the list because there are some really fun ones in there.

Now please don’t misunderstand.
EVERY day is a gift, no matter what. Every day is a day worthy of celebration. I definitely do know that, and I am grateful that I can wake up each morning to a new day, filled with possibilities and potential.

But here’s something I also know, and I’ve been made even more aware of it the past 8 weeks : sometimes circumstances (even those beyond our control) distract us. We still keep our chins up and try to remain positive and hopeful, but sometimes we forget to ‘celebrate’ life.ย 

And for me personally? Having that little push and reminder of ‘something in particular’ to celebrate can actually make a huge difference to my day.ย 

(Just as a side note : I had a good giggle when I saw that my birthday is actually one of those copyrighted days, and it’s so applicable to me. Of course, the days are different here because my seasons are the complete opposite, but it was so funny to see my birthday listed as ‘Stay Out Of The Sun’ day. I’m not a Summer person, I am a Winter gal through and through. I also don’t spend hours in the sunshine, ever! The sun makes me lazy and then I am completely unproductive, ha ha! I’ve always preferred night time and the mystery in the darkness/moonlight. So it’s rather appropriate that THAT day is listed for my birthday, don’t you think ๐Ÿ˜‰ I feel quite honoured ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

But back to today and eating what you want ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s the thing : thereย are limitations for me because there are some things that I really am not allowed to eat – not because of allergies, but because of a mild case of IBS coupled with some stomach ulcers due to a bacterial infection from three years ago that reappeared in January this year. ย So I do still need to be really careful about what I eat. Especially since I absolutely refuse to give up my coffee ๐Ÿ˜›

I’ve decided though, that for today, I am going to eat an 80g slab of wholenut chocolate for lunch ๐Ÿ˜‰ I simply have to celebrate this day somehow ๐Ÿ˜‰ And just the thought of lunchtime is making me smile, making my heart feel lighter – although I know it won’t make my body feel lighter ๐Ÿ˜›
But right now, my heart is more important ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

4 things

I saw this little game on my Facebook timeline, and decided to share it with all of you… just for fun. Because we all need some fun in our lives ๐Ÿ˜‰

4 names I go by :

Meg
Megs
Megster
Meggie Pegs

4 series that I like to watch :

(Hmmm… so it’s really tough to choose 4… and these are not my top 4… but I like them ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Criminal Minds
Law and Order – all of them
NCIS
Forensic Files

4 places I have visited :

Morgan Bay
St Fagan’s outdoor National Museum of History (My favourite international place so far! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
Hogsback (my favourite place in my country ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
Cambridge

4 things I love to eat :

Salty biscuits/crackers with a variety of cheeses
Vegetable Spring Rolls
Beef curry Samoosas
Cheesecake ๐Ÿ˜‰

4 things I love to drink :

Water
Coffee
Water
Tea
๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

4 things I like to do :

Make a braai (similar to a BBQ).. but not for the purpose of cooking meat. More to just sit and watch the flames, and enjoy the warmth and peace I feel in doing so.
(Although the kids get super excited, and I wind up cooking meat on it in the end ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
(One day I am hoping to have a house with a fireplace – I just know I’d sit there for hours though ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Read, read, and read some more ๐Ÿ˜‰

Writing. I love to write. ๐Ÿ™‚

Spread love and kindness in practical ways, offer encouragement, help others to feel hopeful when it seems like all is lost.

4 things I don’t like to do :

Iron. I just don’t like ironing.

Washing/Mopping floors – it’s endless with two dogs and tiles! ๐Ÿ˜›

Cooking liver, kidneys – basically all those types of delicacies! :/

Watching someone chew gum with their mouth open! ๐Ÿ˜›

 

If you want to make a list for me in the comments on just one or two of these, or even all of them, please feel free ๐Ÿ˜‰
If you decide to do the same on your blog, please let me know so that I can go and read! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Be safe, be well… and remember to laugh ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

Sweet as Sugar, the chocolate coated kind

Today I am breaking away from my usual style of growth, inspiration, encouragement and purpose to bring you something of equal importance. Funny enough, this thing can be known to elicit responses in all of the above too! ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today (according to Days of the Year) is Chocolate-Covered Peanuts Day!
How awesome is that? And what a fantastic type of day to celebrate!
Of course my euphoric level of excitement is prompted by the fact that Chocolate-Covered Peanuts are my absolute favourite!

And it’s just another reason for little old me to absolutely love the big old US!

Rumor has it that the first ones were sold in America in 1925, and that the unofficial festival pertaining to this day originated in the US!

The upside of these delicious little treats is that most times the peanuts are whole and not processed, so you get the nutritional benefits of them, as well as some fiber. The downside is that they are not calorie friendly at all, and because they’re so tasty, portioning them into smaller amounts to consume is tough.

I gained some very much unwanted kilos last year. I don’t know who said it, but it seems that last year I was the poster child for ‘I try to lose weight, but it keeps finding me’. That said, I have been assured a few times that I don’tย look bad – and my doctor told me the other day that I’m very far from an unhealthy weight.ย My problem with it though is that Iย feel uncomfortable. So I knew I needed to change it.

Mid January, I started training my brain towards healthier eating – I’ve never been a bad eater… but I know there are things I could eat less of. And I have begun to ‘count my calories’. Not in an obsessive, ‘you’re such a failure because you’re 50 calories over’ kind of way…. I am just more conscious of the calories, and my food choices.

And I realised, upon discovery of what day today is, (chocolate-covered peanuts day, in case you didn’t know ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) that I haven’t eaten any of these heavenly treats since before Christmas! Wait, what? How is that even possible? Oh yeah, I’ve been looking for other food stuffs in the shops when I go – healthier options that are not so calorific!

I don’t think we should always deny ourselves small measures of things that bring us pleasure. I’m not deviating from my original plan, but because today’s celebration is one that is close to my heart (and even closer to my stomach ๐Ÿ˜› ) I think I will head out to the shops and purchase a small bag of this delightful treat! (Small, because I am still going to try and make healthier choices.)
We’ve already established (as mentioned in a previous post) that mystery isย not my superpower – but I know I have other superpowers.

And today I will prove that making a small bag of chocolate-covered peanuts disappear is one of them ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

really random

I’ve been quite absent the past few days, for numerous reasons.

One to celebrate was a dancing prize giving I attended for my daughter, where we also received her exam results from recent Hip Hop and Modern examinations. She scored highly in all 3 (having done two grades of Hip Hop in one year), achieving above 90%, and honours with distinction in all. She also received two trophies. I’m very pleased with her results, but can’t take any credit, other than the fact that I am the one who ensures she attends her classes ๐Ÿ˜›

My car has gone in for a service, and to fix brakes that were beginning to grind as if they too were taking part in a dance exam, with a partner ๐Ÿ˜› Hopefully it will be returned to me today. Don’t get me wrong, I love to walk, but personal safety trumps that love these days.

I’m exhausted this morning, and my pain levels are quite high, so attempting a meaningful blog post requires a lot more of me than I can give right now.
As I was leisurely going through the multitude of emails in my inbox that require my attention, I saw one that made me smile. And decided that that’s about all I can manage to post about today ๐Ÿ˜›

Did you know that today is World Fritter Day?

Here in South Africa, the most popular type is Pumpkin Fritters. You can find our recipe here, which is also where I got the picture from ๐Ÿ˜‰

1304627101.pumpkin-fritters

Different countries have different varieties, and of course what they call a fritter we usually have a different name for.

I was scrolling through the different types in various countries, and once again, the US has won my heart ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰
These apple fritters look like just what my stomach thinks it needs ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Emphasis on the thinks, because Iย know that it doesn’t…. but thoughts are always good.)

IMG_0938

Photo credit : foodwishes.blogspot.com

And I learnt something else this morning, besides all the delicious types of fritter that made me stomach rumble and reminded me that I still haven’t had breakfast ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m not too widely travelled, and admittedly my knowledge of the world map is relatively limited. While I have heard of Borneo, I have never heard of Brunei – and their fritters were featured. In Brunei, they call fritters ”cucur”, and they’re usually made with banana, shrimp, yam, sweet potatoes and vegetables. Apparently it is very popular street food. They look delicious – probably more like what we’d call dumplings here though….

cucurudangprawnfritters

While reading up on Brunei, I think the thing that made me happiest was when I discovered that it was the first country in Asia to ban shark finning. Good for them. I love sharks ๐Ÿ˜‰

a3b55e88799ddbb8a04032ec98b3459d.jpg

And that’s total randomness for you all ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Monday ๐Ÿ™‚

 

‘Wood’ you believe it?

“What are you eating this time?”

Yes, this is a question I regularly ask. And I ask it of my dog. If you have a dog, have ever owned a dog, or have ever been a regular visitor to a house where a dog resides, then you will understand my need to be continuously asking this question.

Unfortunately, for the most part, the answer comes in the form of a screeched,
“Drop that!” It’s usually issued in reference to the item in his mouth :ย a shoe, an eraser, a pen, underwear, kitchen towel – you get the picture.

Yesterday was interesting.

Continue reading

South Africa’s Tummy

There are so many more word differences like the ones mentioned in yesterdays postย that I definitely want to touch on some more of them in a later post. But as I rummaged about in my kitchen in search of something to eat, I started thinking about the foods in my country. I’ll mention some that are considered ‘traditional dishes’, but I will also mention some products that are ‘exclusively South African’ – although with the internet being what it is, I am sure you could find somewhere to purchase the products, if your stomach so desired ๐Ÿ˜‰

Koeksisters – pronounced ‘cook-sisters’. (An Afrikaans word) These are truly sinfully delicious, if you have a sweet tooth. I can usually only manage one or two, but my daughter could eat a whole bag of ten in one sitting, if I allowed her to. They’re about 4 inches in length, and are made of dough, which is braided/twisted and then deep-fried. Once the deep-frying is done, they are dipped into a cold, sugaryย syrup, and are best served/eaten straight from the refrigerator. I know someone who makes the best ones I have ever tasted. They’re crisp on the outside, and soft and juicy on the inside. As you bite into it, the juice/syrup runs down your fingers and into your hands. If you eat another, you’re guaranteed the stickiness will find it’s way to your forearms. Eating them can be a messy job, but someone has to do it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Biltong – Similar to beef jerky, but not. I always use the beef jerky reference, simply because biltong is also a form of dried meat. But I have a feeling that that is where the similarity ends. I’m not sure though, since I have never had beef jerky.
There are different variations: Kudu, Beef, Venison….and recently I found bacon biltong. It’s not quite the same taste as the traditional biltong, but it was rather delicious – it is bacon, after all. Biltong is air dried for 3-7 days, and then doused in vinegar, before addingย salt and various spices. The biltong is dehydrated as one large strip of meat, and you can either buy it as a whole, or ask to have it sliced. It is probably the most delicious ‘savory snack’ of our country – but can be on the expensive side for us…not so expensive for you,ย and you have the exchange rate to thank for that ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ouma Rusks – (Ouma is pronounced ‘omar’, without the ‘r’; and is an Afrikaans word which translates into ‘Grandma’.)
Rusks, I think, may be the South African word for this treat. I did a google search and I think it’s similar to what Americans might call ‘Biscotti’.
This particular brand of rusk has been around since 1939, and it has yet to disappoint. There is nothing quite like a cup of coffee, and a buttermilk Ouma rusk.
It is essentially double baked bread dough, and comes in a wide variety of flavors – the most recent addition being ‘condensed milk’ flavor. A box of those lasted two days in my house – but then again, I don’t buy rusks very often, so when I do, my children just can’t get enough of them!

Amarula –ย Amarula is a cream liqueur with an alcohol content of 17% by volume. It’s made from the fruit of the African Marula Tree – which we also call the Elephant Tree…and sometimes is referred to as the Marriage Tree. Sugar and cream is added to the fruit, to create a delicious tasting alcoholic beverage. ย It won a gold medal in 2006 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and I have read that they are trying to break into the American market, but I don’t know how long ago that was – so by now, it might be something my American friends could purchase in store? I am not a big drinker, but I have tasted a glass of Amarula, with crushed ice. It’s smooth, and definitely enjoyable when sipped slowly. At Christmas time, my friend gave me a box of Amarula chocolates, and I have to say, they were every bit as delicious as the drink itself – minus the alcoholic content. The best part was that my children didn’t care for the ‘fruity’ flavor, and so I could eat the whole box alone.

Mrs H.S. Balls Chutney – Although the name brand is slightly disturbing (and was selected way before my time, so my generation had nothing to do with it), there is nothing disturbing about this condiment, other than its addictive taste! What I love most about this particular brand is that it was a recipe that got shipwrecked…and survived. And the shipwreck? It happened right here, in the seas of the town where I live, in 1852! In doing some research, I was pleased to discover that there IS in fact a US range – so I won’t have to go without it when I visit ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am still more inclined to go with the ‘Original Recipe’, but enjoy the Peach Chutney too. I don’t eat it a lot, but always keep a bottle in my refrigerator, because there are those times…oh yes, there are those times!

Bunny Chowย – No, you will not be eating a rabbit. So if you ever see this and order one, in the hopes of some form of rabbit stew, then you will be disappointed. Originally created in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal here in South Africa, it’s a delicious meal that can be found all over South Africa. It consists of a hollowed out loaf of bread (although I buy the smaller version if I do get it, which is usually a quarter loaf of bread – and still never manage to finish it all) ย filled with curry – the Indian kind, although not always too hot. A lot of places will let you choose your filling when it comes to the ‘burning your mouth’ possibility, and you can opt for a mild curry filling. I prefer to have it hot! ๐Ÿ™‚

Afval ย – another Afrikaans word, pronounced ‘uf- file’ (although I found it difficult to tell you how to pronounce that last part, and I still may be wrong. I know how to pronounce it, but trying to explain it is sometimes tough). ย This word translates into ‘waste’.
I have to mention that I have no personal experience when it comes to the taste of this dish – I don’t eat livers, hearts, kidneys, or anything of that sort.
This particular dish is made from the stomach lining and trotters of lamb. It’s either served curried or stewed, and I have been told that if you are a person who enjoys oxtail, then you’ll enjoy this dish too because the meat is very tender and tasteful.
if you ever happen to visit South Africa, and taste it, please let me know if my information ย on the tastiness of the dish is correct. I’m afraid that tasting it is not a sacrifice I am willing to make, even for the purposes of this blog!

Sheep’s Head – Yes, you read that right. And it’s popular. But again, it’s something I have never tasted and probably never will – not like this anyway. You get served the entire head of the sheep on your plate, after it’s been cooked for several hours in the oven. I am told that the meat is, once again, full of flavor and extremely tender. I’ll leave it to you to decide!

Frikkadel – pronounced ‘frick-a-dell’. ย This is something I do eat, and my son says I make the best ones, but I think that’s just because he wishes I would make them more often. They’re basically just meatballs – deep fried balls of minced meat, combined with grated onions and carrots, bread crumbs, a little bit of whisked egg, and herbs and spices. They are sometimes served with a sauce, but not usually. Smaller balls are often found on what we call a ‘snack platter’, which is pretty much what it says it is. A platter with various ‘small’ versions of foods, for snacking purposes – and usually supplied for entertainment purposes. Sometimes, I will make a snack platter for my children for supper – I can hide the vegetables in the makings of the platter, and they get happily consumed ๐Ÿ˜‰

Amasi – pronounced ‘uh-maas-i’. It’s basically fermented milk, and I am told it tastes a lot like cottage cheese or plain yoghurt. I have never tried it as a drink on its own because it has a tendency to have a lumpy texture, but it is very popular amongst black South Africans. I have, however, used it in a recipe for ‘traditional bread’, and it certainly didn’t affect the taste negatively in any way!

Umngqusho – this is one of my favorite ‘black South African’ dishes. I don’t have a clue how to tell you to pronounce this word, so I will just say that an English way to ask for it if you’re ever here is to request ‘samp and beans’.
There are so many different variations, but the base ingredients are stamp mielies/samp (which are dried corn kernels that have been stamped and chopped until broken into pieces) and sugar beans. The best way to make this particular dish is by soaking the samp and sugar beans overnight. The next day, you begin the cooking process, adding onions and butter and often times a ‘soup meat on the bone’, for added flavor. The cooking process usually takes about four hours, then it’s ready to be drained and consumed! I cook mine with the meat in it, but when I serve it up, I keep the meat out of it. I add extra butter and salt, and have been known to overindulge – in other words, it’s something I will always have a second helping of! It can be quite filling though, which sadly rules out a third ๐Ÿ˜‰

There are so many other foods and branded products that I have yet to mention, but I hope you enjoyed the ‘taste’ of South Africa’s food variety for today!