New Years resolutions, bucket lists, ambitious goals and lofty dreams.
The mere thought of it all makes me feel pressurized and resentful.
I know it’s weird ( please tell me I’m not alone ) I actually dread new year, I feel the angst rising as I peruse Facebook.
I stop, switch off my mobile device and reflect. What is causing such an extreme reaction in me this year.
Have I had a bad 2016?
No, not at all. In fact I can not recall a more peace-filled year – personally ( I’m not talking globally)
So why the apprehension ?
I love planning, I plan my plans, I have to do lists of the plans I’m going to make. I have several note books for all my different plans.
I mind map, I use different colour markers, and gel pens, and every new piece of stationary TYPO launches.
And that’s the problem, right there.
I blink , and a day, month, year has gone by and I have wonderful, colour coded plans.
And little else.
I spend so much time and energy on the planning, I seldom get to the actual doing ….
I get stuck in my planning ( and procrastinating)
Oh curse the procrastination!
So I reflect, and in my attempt at living an examined life I realize that focusing on not having items to cross off or tick on a list is robbing me of something:
The observance of all the unplanned things I had no idea to plan or prepare for.
I never planned to be content with the simple life I now have, no striving, and driving, stressing and searching. They were all on my list, along with ambition, and recognition and acceptance.
I never planned to overcome my fear of authority, I never planned to speak up, and address issues that troubled me directly, not once, twice but thrice ( practice makes perfect )
And I never planned to love spontaneity; to make plans, and then have the freedom to adjust, or even ignore them, without guilt or condemnation.
So where does that leave me on the brink of 2017?
Probably in a similar place as last new year, with resolutions that won’t make it past Valentine’s Day, and a new found appreciation and gratitude of the unplanned.
PS. I’m going to take the advice of the fortune cookie – ” you will take a chance in the near future” and not make too many plans
Rather than embark on mission impossible, I took the advise of my daughters kindergarden teacher and applied it to the party. When faced with disciplining issues ( which I hardly ever have because my child is an angle, ha ha ) She sagely advised, ” pick your battles, and only fight the ones you can win.”
So rather than attempt a 2 year olds party without the obligatory cupcakes I strategically applied my no sugar rule where I could. I follow a LCHF diet ( low carb, high fat ) commoningly known in South Africa as Banting. A few of my friends follow the same and I wanted the adult food to cater for them.
I made all the sauces, the lemonade and a couple of cakes using xylitol as a sugar substitute and I was thrilled at how they all turned out and tasted. I dont like the artifical taste of Stevia, and I haven’t tried Erythritol. If you’re not worried about carbs or calories, you can use sugar or honey in any of the recipes.
We made boerewors ( South African type sausage) rolls with either cauliwraps ( recipe here) or hot dog rolls ( for those not following low carb) and Im thrilled to say , judging by the “leftovers” or lack of, the food was all a success! From the coldrinks to the cake, I felt I achieved my objective to be balanced and as sugar free/ low carb as possible under the circumstances.
Now for next years party….
SUGAR FREE HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup honey or xylitol for sugar-free
1 teaspoon salt
700g tomato puree/ passata
300g tomato paste
1 tspn mixed dried herbs
Heat oil, Add onion and cook until softened.
Pour in vinegars, honey and salt.
Bring to a boil.
Add tomato puree and paste.
Bring to a boil.
Cook until reduced and sauce thickens about 15-20 minutes.
Pour into blender and blend until smooth.
Refrigerate. Makes 2 consol jars
Notes Adapted from this recipe -http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/healthier-homemade-tomato-ketchup/
SUGAR FREE BBQ SAUCE ” RECIPE” This is more of a guideline as I improvise each time I make this recipe.
1 med onion, finely chopped or minced ( I whizz in a food processor)
1 tblspn garlic, crushed
1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can diet (sugar-free) Cola
1 cup sugar-free tomato sauce
3 T mustard, I used commercial whole grain mustard which does contain a small amount of sugar
1-3 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch ground cloves
Hot sauce ( optional ) see note
Boil together for 20-30 minutes, reduce until thickened
It will not be as thick or sticky as commercially made sauces
Note – I divided mixture in half and added Tobasco to one to make a spicy sauce and 1/4 cup honey to the other to make a sweeter sticky sauce
Play around with what works for you
Made approximately 2 consol jars HOMEMADE PINK LEMONADE
Serves 4 – 6
1 cup sugar or xylitol (can reduce to ¾ cup if using sweet grapefruit) or 1/2 cup honey for Paleo
1 cup water (for the sugar syrup)
1 cup lemon juice or pink grapefruit
3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)
1. Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.
2. While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from the fruit , enough for one cup of juice.
3 Add the juice and the sugar water to a jug. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.
If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.
Serve with ice, sliced lemons or cubes of frozen grapefruit wedges
300g Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate
250g castor sugar/ or zylitol
6 meduim free range eggs
150g almond flour
100g coconut flour
For the ganache
200g Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate
1/2cup/ 125ml cream
1. Line and grease a 23 cm spring form tin, preheat oven to 180oC
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler
3. In a bowl beat the butter and zylitol until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, eating between each addition. Do not be alarmed if the mixture begins to appear curdled, it will come together again when you add the chocolate
4.Slowly stir in the melted chocolate, alternating with tablespoons of almond and coconut flours.
5. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and transfer to the oven.
6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
7. Switch off oven and leave cake to cool in the oven with the door ajar.
8. Cake can be prepared a day ahead, and will keep for 5 days in an airtight container
For The Ganache
1. Melt the cream and chocolate together in a double boiler.
2. Allow to cool slightly before spreading over the cold cake.
3. Serve decorated with berries and a dusting of icing sugar.
I’m not very technical. I wish I was. But I’m not. I try my best but often my spacing on this blog is not as it should be, my picture sizes are not what they should be, and well, I’ve just never quite figured out how to load my portfolio pages. Despite owning a good few books, read blogs and researched websites on the subject of blogging I just never really seem to have got the hang of it somehow. It always feels “extra difficult ” for me. I blame my old laptop and even older version of Photoshop for my lack of regular blog posts. Until now that is .
Now I think I might finally have figured a way around my limitations. Last year I was invited to a presentation on the technical aspects of blogging ( I hear you snorting ) given by friend and blogger extraordinaire Tanya Kovarsky and a year later ( stop that snorting !) I have got around to implementing the stuff we were shown on the course.
Sooooo, here’s to a whole lot more blogging, including a new ( hopefully ) once a week feature called aT home.
Starting with these pretty pics my lovely cousin Amanda Dovey took of a small family gathering we celebrated at home last month ( on Mothers Day actually ) the decor and colour theme ( apricot and gold) were inspired by the Meri- meri collection at In Good Company
Julie from In Good Company also, very kindly, designed the beautiful invitation to match the theme. And I tried my hand at an ombré cake.