Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lumpy (but yummy!) yoghurt, and my epic ethic sagas continued...

What a wonderful trip to Moe! Absolutely lovely spending time with family, and seeing my nieces head off to school/kinder. We also went to one of their swimming lessons; the children were so cute, and so courageous as they learnt to handle the water. I couldn't believe how confidently some of them - all of about 3 or 4 years old - jumped from the side of the pool into the water. I could actually see myself enjoying going to swimming lessons with some kids of my own and watching them encounter water for the first time! Boy did that day make me feel clucky :)

The yogurt the girls and I made was yummy with a teaspoon of sugar sprinkled over it, and a strawberry cut up. It probably didn't even need the sugar, but it helped make it go down easier, especially because it looked a bit gross - the whey had separated from the rest (as I expected it to do) but the yoghurt itself looked firm and set and yummy... the guide said to stir the whey back in as it is apparently nutritious. This I did, only to find that stirring the yoghurt made it very lumpy looking. I might look into the whole whey issue and see if other people drain it off instead of stirring it back in - I prefer non-lumpy yoghurt, and even my niece took a look at it and decided against it, so it might be something to work on perfecting before I serve it up to guests!

Still, the taste was good so I feel emboldened to try again... as soon as I get another easiyo (I gave the other one to my A.S.I.L, whose daughters LOVE yoghurt, so they should get plenty of use out of it!). It's nice to know there'll be someone I know out there making yoghurt that'll understand when I whinge about whey and lumps, and who I can point to when other people accuse me of being a strange and solitary freak ;)

In other news, the grace period for soft drink is over - I have read up a bit on the fructose issue, and from what I can tell some scientists don't think it's the leading reason for weight gain and obesity but that it is one of many serious factors, while others think fructose is the devil incarnate when it comes to the spread of obesity in the U.S. particularly. I found enough to worry me; after I read up a bit on the effects of sugary drinks on teeth as well I mentally put my foot down. I am suitably motivated to give up sweet fizzy stuff, ESPECIALLY seeing as I seem to be slipping back into coke drinking (two cans in two days ugh) and want to nip that nasty habit in the bud again before it turns into a fully blown caffeine addiction a second time. Last time I gave coke up (cold turkey) I got the shakes, headaches and extreme grumpiness for a few days. I can't believe some parents let their kids drink that stuff *shudder*

I now have a 'Soft Drink Confessions' count happening on the side of my blog, where I'll count the amount of soft drink cups/cans I drink, and what percentage of them are coke. Hopefully neither number will creep up from now on, but at least if they do I'll know I have to confess them here.

Another thing that happened over the last two days was that I got some reading done (it happens when you take the train to the country. Awesome.) I'm nearly finished reading Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off, and it's a shocking read. As in, the things Carol Off writes about are shocking, not the writing itself. It's actually very well written (when am I going to find one in my must-read pile that isn't? Surely it's time for a tear-it-to-shreds book review?). I was horrified -though admittedly, not that surprised- by her accounts of slavery and human rights abuses in the chocolate industry's past. Much more shocking was that it is still going on, in one form or another, today! And with children! I can't believe that children are exploited and abused to make the west's favourite (legal) addictive treat. Horrible, horrible stuff to read, and very eye opening. I can't believe that this is the first I'm hearing about it, though I've seen plenty of 'fair trade' chocolate around the place these days and had an inkling that all may not be well with my cherry ripes and milky ways. Amazing how I subconsciously 'decided' not to research it before now.

I think another ban might be in order, or at least a selective one. I just got home and had a look through my kitchen: for someone on weight watchers I sure have a lot of chocolate lying around or hiding away! I think, to prevent wastage of food I've already bought, I'll have a rule that I'm allowed to finish/give away any chocolate that's in my kitchen now, but not buy any new chocolate UNLESS it's fair trade stuff. I also won't offend friends and family by rejecting any chocolate I'm given as a gift, but I'll make it known that I'm changing over to the more ethical variety (I've told Mum tonight, but she always buys us fair trade choccy for presents anyway, go Mum!). This might mean that I have to get off my butt and learn how to use chocolate in cooking so I can transform fair trade blocks of chocolate into versions of some of my favourite chocolate treats - ice magic to go on ice cream (it might have to be more like chocolate sauce), lamingtons, chocolate covered turkish delight, and cherry ripes. I'm sure I can come up with some tasty (and probably healthier) alternatives. Hmmm maybe instead of cherry ripes I could do fresh cherries and strawberries dipped in melted fair trade chocolate. YUM!

Mum told me tonight that she'd like to read the Carol Off book, especially because she might be doing some stuff around fair trade chocolate with her students this year, which is just fantastic :D

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