WWW. Beef Noodles and Cranachan.

The cooking lately has been very Jon-directed, largely because I felt I messed up a bit last week and wanted him to have whatever he wanted. So the big ones have been a beef noodles and salad meal and my first attempt at cranachan!

Black Pepper Beef Noodles and Salt and Vinegar Salad Recipes

Recipe 1: Beef Noodles.

First of all the beef noodles. We spied some reduced-price organic beef and Jon wanted to snap it up and make some black pepper steak, so that was what we did. 🙂

Ingredients:

[Makes 2-3 servings on its own, 5 servings with a side.]

-350g beef

-2 small onions

-4 cloves garlic

-200ml double cream

-2 servings rice noodles (soak or boil in advance)

-2tbsp butter

-black pepper to taste

-soy sauce to taste

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Finely slice the onions and mince the garlic.

2: Using 1tbsp of butter, lightly fry them until the onions are translucent and the garlic has lost its sharpness.

3: Chop the beef into small, evenly sized pieces. Add to the pan with the remaining butter.

4: Once the beef and onions are brown, turn up the heat and add the cream.

5: Once it has simmered a while, add the pepper, soy sauce and noodles.

6: Stir until the cream has reduced a bit.

Black Pepper Beef Noodles Recipe

Recipe 2: Salt and Vinegar Salad.

A perfect accompaniment for any BBQ, but also for this beef and noodles in black pepper sauce! Spotted some salt and vinegar potatoes in /r/food and improvised a recipe.

Ingredients:

[Makes 2-3 servings on its own, 5 as a side.]

-20 small salad potatoes (fit in a tablespoon)

-2 medium bell peppers

-1/2 an onion or 1 small onion, red or white

-3 carrots

-3 tsp salt

-1 tsp vinegar

-1 tsp chives or mixed herbs

-1tbsp butter

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

-mixing bowl and salad servers

-grater

Recipe:

1: Melt the butter in the pan.

2: Slice each potato in half and place in the butter at a low heat.

3: As the potatoes cook, grate the carrots into the bowl.

4: Finely dice the onion. Add to the bowl.

5: Roughly chop the pepper. Add to the bowl.

6: Be sure to turn the potatoes!

7: When the potatoes are brown, add the salt and cook a little longer, to reduce moisture.

8: When they are cooked through and dry, toss them in vinegar and herbs.

9: Add the potatoes to the salad and mix thoroughly.

Salt and Vinegar Salad Recipe

Recipe 3: Cranachan.

This was great fun. Proper Celt food from Scotland. Saw it on a food show and had to try it because it sounded like something Jon would love. He says my end result needs less cream or less whiskey in the cream. He gives my serving a 6.5/8 and his own quantities a 7/8.

As the raspberries aren’t ripe here yet, I made it using our first batch of rhubarb pudding/jam.

[Makes 4-6 servings.]

For the rhubarb:

-6 thick stems

-3/4 cup white sugar

-1/4 cup palm sugar

-2tbsp butter

For the cream:

-300ml double cream

-80ml whiskey

-2tsp honey

-oats?

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-small pot and spoon

-large pot and whisk

Recipe:

1: Peel and finely chop the rhubarb. Place in the small pot and heat thoroughly.

2: Once the rhubarb is soft, add the sugars and keep heating.

3: Once it has melted, add the butter, stir and set to one side.

4: In the large pot, whisk the cream until it’s stiff.

Make a gap. If it doesn't close, it's ready.

Make a gap. If it doesn’t close, it’s ready.

5: Add the whiskey and whisk again until a peak is formed.

6: Stir in the honey.

7: If desired, add oats.

8: Serve with the jam at the base and the cream on top.

My choice of quantities and presentation.

My choice of quantities and presentation.

Jon's ideal mix: 2 digestive biscuits, 4tbsp rhubarb, 1tbsp cream.

Jon’s ideal mix: 2 digestive biscuits, 4tbsp rhubarb, 1tbsp cream.

And those are our favourite meals from this week! What were yours? Found any cool recipes lately?

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Want to submit? Restrain your power.

All too often, when submission is mentioned, be it in the Biblical helpmeet sense, the BDSM sense or any sense you can imagine, we start finding the debate turning to what submission actually entails. After all, for every sort of submission there is, you also have “topping from the bottom”, ie, playing the part of submission, doing the jobs and saying the right things, whilst being in control the whole time. And we also have the concern that submissiveness is akin to being a doormat, relinquishing all your willpower and independence.

To understand the difference between “genuine” submission, forced submission and subversive submission, we need to understand that, in terms of wording both are still submission.

The literal meaning of “submit” is:

1: To accept and/or yield to a superior force.

2: To consent to something.

3: To refer something to a third party for judgement.

4: To subject someone to something.

5: To present something for judgement.

6: To suggest or argue.

Now, ignoring the last one that is a metaphorical use, we can see where the confusion lies. 1 and 4 clearly suggest something being forced on someone. 2, 3 and 5 suggest willing participation. 3 and 5 suggest deference to the third party. The very word has its trouble.

So firstly, we must understand that people against submission are thinking of definitions 1 and 4, whereas people who believe in submission are thinking of some variant or combination of 2, 3 and 5.

And in all of these definitions, a sort of power play is happening, with the result being clear.

1: The submitted gives up all power. They have no power.

2: The submitted willingly restrains their power. They disengage some of their power, but retain the rest in full.

3: The submitted accepts the limits of their power. They employ their power alongside that of others.

4: The submitted has their power forcibly removed. They have no power.

5: The submitted agrees not to subject the object to their power alone. They employ their power disregarding that of others.

Therefore, we can see how a positive sort of submission differs from a negative sort. The positive forms of submission all give the submitted room to exercise their independence or to back out of a bad deal or situation. The negative forms leave the submitted helpless in the hands of their leader.

And that is the other key aspect to submission: there must always be a leader for there to be a submissive. The very nature of submission requires that you in some way give your power over to someone whom you’re trusting to use it well.

And giving power over isn’t the same as giving power up. When you give power up, you are doing the equivalent of putting yourself in a straight jacket for anger management. Sure, when you’re angry it stops you hitting people. But when you need to defend yourself or, you know, just make a cup of tea, it becomes inconvenient. That is an example of giving up your physical power. But all power can be given up, to a point where someone won’t defend themselves or make themselves a cup of tea because they lack the mental or emotional power to do so. And someone who is powerless is, by definition, weak.

When submitting, you need to hold onto your power. You need to have it. All of it. You need to be able to run and jump and fight, to think and talk and read, to make yourself a tea or to buy a computer, without turning to your leader every time.

What you’re doing instead, if you are giving your power over to them. You are accepting that there can’t be two leaders in a relationship, two captains to a boat, two teachers to one piano student. Too many cooks spoil the broth. And when you submit, you are saying to your leader: “You make the better leader. You have the confidence to make the right decisions. You have the mind to be the most rational out of the two of us. You have the connection to understand my wants and needs without letting them blind you to reason. And I trust you.

And you’re not just giving them power in some areas, or a little bit of power. All your power is for them. They can’t take it, but like a little soldier, you are using your power to fight for your leader. You don’t doubt their leadership skills in any area. Feel free to question their knowledge, their conclusion, their emotional state. After all, you are a human being with agency and sometimes even a leader will not have all the facts. But never question their authority, their confidence, their respect for you or their ability to lead. It’s equivalent to questioning an artist’s ability to draw an egg: at best it’s insulting, at worst you have just killed their drive to draw or to lead.

Submission isn’t easy. It isn’t the lazy path. It isn’t giving your leader all your troubles and having a meltdown when the leader can’t or won’t magically fix them.

Submission is an exercise in discipline. Just like the person with anger management issues, you need to learn to hold your power inside you and not use it. You need to learn to restrain any behaviours or actions that could negatively impact on yourself or your leader. You need to learn to defer to your leader’s decision when there is doubt or when they have a clear picture.

Submission is allowing your leader to guide your power, so as to establish some sense of order in the relationship.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What is your perspective on submission? Are you the submissive or the leader? What struggles have you met when it comes to leading or being led? How do you control and direct your power?

How To… know when you’re full.

In the vein of this week’s post on getting your family to eat healthier, this post is on how to tell when you’re full.

In the West we have an abundance of food. We rarely if ever feel true hunger. Generally we feel peckish and eat, or eat at set times. And as we don’t feel hunger often or at all, we are almost certainly eating when we don’t need food. We have lost track of the usual signals that tell us we’ve had enough. But with a little focus we can recognize and reintegrate these signals.

I am trying to put them in the order they generally happen in.

Signal 1: The Taste Change.

Your body preempts the foods it will be eating based on cravings, sight and smell. The foods that seem most pleasant are the foods your body is primed for. But after that urge is satisfied, the perceived taste of the food changes slightly. Whether it’s pure grease, pure sugar or a pizza, everything has a taste change once your craving is satisfied, however early or late it is. Because many of the foods we eat are so palatable the taste change is less obvious, but by looking for it you’ll notice it.

Signal 2: Body Heat.

As digestion progresses, your body heats up to help in the breaking down of food. When your body starts feeling warm you know that the stomach is starting to reach its digestion capacity. Not full, just the most food you can optimally digest. Any more and you may get sweats or break into the following fullness signals.

Signal 3: Thirst.

Again, as digestion progresses, your stomach acid intensifies. And once your digestion capacity is almost there, the combined body heat and extra acid will make you thirsty. Don’t drink during your meal and when you get thirsty, drink plain water or tea until your thirst is satisfied. Your hunger will be also.

Signal 4: Boredom.

Definitely into the danger zone here. This is like the mega-evolution of the taste change. You have eaten so much that even the primitive part of your brain no longer enjoys the flavour. Even a different tasting food leaves you wondering why you’re still eating and you’re pushing to finish the plate just so you don’t leave any. It is just eating for the sake of eating.

Signal 5: Stomach stretch.

The slight to intense pain caused by your stomach reaching its full capacity. This is definitely too much food. It can be anywhere from uncomfortable to painful, you probably feel very thirsty but don’t have room even for water.

Signal 6: Gurgling.

Gurgling is the sound of your stomach emptying and gas bubbles being forced through the intestine. It happens when you haven’t eaten for a while and your stomach is discarding old, unused, neutralized acid. It also happens when you have had a meal and the digested food is passing through. If your stomach gurgles during a meal, then the contents have been digested and are on their way out. Adding more food on top of it can lead to inefficient digestion and is almost certainly more than you need anyway.

Signal 7: Sickness.

Definitely gone too far. You have consumed so much that your stomach can’t digest it fast enough to pass it through to the intestine and is trying to force it out the way it came. Abort mission meal.

And those are the seven signals your body gives you that it is full. More or less in the order they occur, though sometimes a step will be missed, ignored or happen early or simultaneously with another.

So if you start feeling the tastes change, know your body is almost done with that food. When you feel thirsty and warm, the meal is over. Keeping on going after that is pure greed.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How do you control your food intake? Do you find you have a good or a bad appetite signal? What methods do you rely on to pace your meal? Do share!

Belated WWW.

Sorry it’s so late. Just getting back into the swing of things and working around a new puppy, improved nutrition for when we’re TTC (around February or March, wish us luck!), new students and loads of writing, I’ve not had much time for recipes or fitness posts.

However I have completed my Beginner Homemaker book and got the timetable mostly in order, so regular recipe and fitness updates can return.

Recipe 1: My best pie crust.

Between a music festival and lots of jam to get through before berry season, I’ve been making many pies and I think I have worked out my best crust recipe yet.

Ingredients:

Makes enough for over one pie, so freeze or make snacks with the rest.

-2 cups plain flour

-3 eggs

-150g butter

-5tbsp sugar

-1tsp salt

Utensils:

-mixing bowl

-fork

Recipe:

1: Mash the eggs, salt and flour together.

2: Fold in the butter and sugar.

3: Knead until uniformly yellow. Fold in half, stretch and fold again at least 10 times.

4: Place in the fridge.

5: Bring to room temperature before halving the dough. When you roll it, roll it out nice and flat.

Recipe 2: Chicken pan stew.

Another new staple, can be mixed up with different seasonings but really makes for a wholesome and tasty dish on its own.

Ingredients:

Serves 4-6.

-6 deboned chicken thighs

-200g bacon

-2 onions

-2 carrots

-400g pureed tomato

-400g presoaked lentils

-400-800g presoaked butter or cannellini beans

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan

Recipe:

1: Chop the carrots and onions finely.

2: Place in a pan with tomato and lentils and bring to a boil.

3: Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and add the chicken and beans. Let both rest on top.

4: Turn the chicken once cooked on one side.

5: Once both sides of chicken are cooked, lightly salt and pepper.

5 Ways To Make Your Family Eat Healthy.

However you define it, healthy eating is important to pretty much everyone who seeks self-improvement. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, control disease, gain muscle mass or improve your running speed, you’ll look at your diet.

Inconveniently, in most relationships and most families there is usually someone who is far more invested in healthy eating than the other. Or at least slightly more invested.

Maybe it’s the competitive runner whose girlfriend is a carboholic pizza-junkie. Maybe it’s the mum dieting to lose a few lbs, but her also slightly tubby husband and children will only half-heartedly join in. Maybe it’s the person who does a load of research into processed foods and goes almost cold-turkey, whilst their best friend still eats processed food on a daily basis.

Whatever the situation, the person who is more invested desperately wants the other people to “wake up” and “eat healthier”. The runner knows his girlfriend would be happier to run with him if she was less sluggish. The mum knows her family would benefit from losing a few lbs with her. The person knows their friend is risking their health by eating processed foods every day. And they all think that what they are doing is the bare minimum for health. And they all want to know how to make their loved ones eat healthier.

So, if you find yourself in that camp, follow this simple step by step guide.

1. Accept You Can’t Make Them.

Oh come on, you didn’t really think you could make someone eat healthy, right? At least not in any ethical, humane way.

People will eat what they want to. You have more control over your kids and partner if you shop and cook for them, but if chocolate bars are handed out at school or someone brings cake into work, you can’t stop them having it. They are humans with free will, opportunity and incentive. They will eat chocolate. Let it go.

2. Accept That Everyone Is Different.

Just because you have celiac disease, need to avoid carbs to not get fat or get headaches from aspartame doesn’t mean everyone will.

Sometimes it can be frustrating to not be able to eat a piece of cake when your friend can eat the whole thing and not suffer at all, or even feel better for it.

Likewise, it can be frustrating to think the perfect recovery food is pineapple and find someone whose mouth is burned by it or who hates the taste.

But people are different and your idea of health food needs to account for that.

What is right for you may not be right for all your family.

3. Offer Them Literature.

If you are worried they don’t know enough about food and diet and are making an uninformed decision, then offer them some good sources. Other than yourself. You may be walking encyclopedia on health food, but they need to understand health food first.

Depending on their age, interests and attention span, choose a source they are likely to finish reading, find credible and enjoy. If after reading they have their own counterarguments, then listen and debate with them.

You won’t get anywhere with someone who doesn’t actually understand things like epigenetics or the effects of salt on the human body.

4. Sneak Them Healthy Foods.

Sometimes the issue is that the very idea of healthy food is countercultural. That is, it defies modern culture so much that some people will be averse to it just because it is the opposite of what they like.

If a salad is automatically rejectable because your culture loves burgers, or “real” fried chicken is deep fried in hydrogenated oils, how are you going to compete with tribalism?

The answer: with stealth. If someone doesn’t want a certain food because it’s unfamiliar or because the name, such as “salad” suggests one thing to them, then be more stealthy.

Serve a warm potato salad with steamed broccoli, aubergine, raw red pepper and tomato, grilled chicken cubes and a light dressing. Just don’t call it salad.

Serve a pasta sauce that’s ten different vegetables blended into the tomato base and lean mince or grass-fed lamb mince.

Chances are they’ll like it anyway.

5. Bond Over Food.

People who like eating healthy often also love food. Many people who aren’t into healthy eating haven’t developed a love for food great enough to break outside of their routine. They enjoy the small selection of foods they actually eat, but nothing more. Many others love food and can’t stand the idea of restricting or eliminating junk foods, however much they enjoy healthy food as well.

Whatever their issue is: get them in the kitchen. Take them out shopping or foraging. Find out the ingredients to their favourite dish. Ask them to help you bake. Have a proper sit-down meal without media involved.

By bonding over the preparation and consumption of food, you’re helping your family to focus on its enjoyability. And if you’re also relaxed about their diet, teaching them about health food and making meals out of healthy, whole ingredients, then the food they are enjoying will be good, healthy food.

What an insidious, horrible way of making people eat their greens.

Aren’t we terrible?

🙂

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How do you think your diet fares? Are you the health nut in your family? How do you sneak vegetables into your family’s diet?

The Butterflies.

Everyone is familiar with that “butterflies in the stomach” feeling you get when you fall in love with someone. The sensation is named that way because your heart is beating faster, your internal muscles, like your diaphragm, are flexing and your adrenaline is shooting up, similar to a fight or flight response, creating a sensation of pulsing or “fluttering” in your chest, an internal tightness or even an urge to vomit. If the sensation is intense enough, the constriction can worsen bloodflow to the head, resulting in giddiness, loss of balance, sweating and a very deep all-face blush. Your body is so excited to see this person that it goes into fight-or-flight mode whilst simultaneously making you worse at fleeing.

It sounds cuter without the explanation, I guess.

Anyway, many people seem to view it as the initial attraction that wanes with the weeks and after the years is completely dead, fixable only with novelty.

However I completely disagree.

Butterflies aren’t attraction. Attraction is necessary for butterflies to form, but not everyone who experiences attraction has butterflies, which instantly disproves that theory.

So what are the butterflies? The butterflies are EXCITEMENT so intense it overwhelms you. And anyone who has ever given a child a piece of cake knows that excitement is not actually bound by novelty. Excitement is bound by good things, great things, things you look forward to, yearn for and relish.

The butterflies, as far as I have experienced and heard, do not have an expiration date. They may be more frequent during the first few weeks. They may be constant for those weeks. This is because humans are neophiles. We love new things and we love change. The excitement you felt with your partner for the first few weeks was in part excitement at them, and in part the same sort of excitement you feel when you meet anyone new and interesting. It was a compound of two sources of excitement, not a lot more excitement of the same kind.

Of course, the neophile excitement has an expiration date. That date being: when the thing in question ceases to be new to you.

If you found that you had amazing butterflies, but the second you were familiar with someone, you stopped feeling butterflies completely, forever, then all those butterflies, every single one, was neophilia. Maybe this person wasn’t actually appealing to you. Maybe they were just the most different anyone has ever been from other people you know. In other words, out of everyone you liked, they had the least in common with all your friends, past partners and relatives. And once they became mundane, all this novelty ceased to excite you, because it isn’t new any more. In fact, if they have so little in common with anyone you regularly see, chances are you’ll like them less than anyone else. Because they aren’t the sort of person you actually like.

“Neophile excitement has an expiration date: when the thing in question ceases to be new to you.”

But the interpersonal excitement has no expiration date. If you love someone’s humour because it clicks well with yours, then it will be as exciting the fortieth time as cake is the fortieth time. The joke may not be as side-splittingly funny, because you’ve already completed it in your head, but you’ll still smile and feel all warm from the endorphins and oxytocin that’s released when someone’s sense of humour matches yours.

The more someone excites you as a person, the more butterflies you will still feel after the neophilia has worn off. If someone is deeply interesting, funny, attractive and synced with you, then you will feel some butterflies forever. You can even learn to trigger them on demand, if you are butterfly-inclined.

Hugging your partner and smelling their scent for a couple of minutes, if you find them sexually appealing, will give you butterflies.

Telling jokes with your partner and laughing together, if you find them funny, will give you butterflies.

Looking them in the eye and discussing something deep and impersonal, if you find them interesting, will give you butterflies.

The sad downside to this is, if you experienced butterflies aplenty at the start of the relationship, but now you’re experiencing fewer than you experienced with any other partner, then the problem isn’t them or neophilia. They haven’t changed and you aren’t driven to find something brand new at their expense. The simple fact of the matter is, you probably never found them that funny, interesting or sexy to begin with. And you probably never will.

“The more someone excites you as a person, the more butterflies you will still feel after the neophilia has worn off.”

Butterflies with your partner don’t actually need to end. The only limiter is how much you like them.
TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Agree or disagree? Are you a butterflier or butterfly-free? Have you tried to trigger butterflies with your partner? How do they excite you (SFW please)?

FitFriday, something Roman numerals, I need a blog accountabuddy.

Because I have seriously neglected my on-the-day posts again. Boo. 😦 Sorry.

Fitness updates:

I have kept off the fat and water weight I wanted to, but with the rising temperatures exercise has been a drag, so I’ve got lazy. Jon, as my personal trainer, is going to “sort that out”, apparently, so it seems I’m in fro some harsh workouts.

Besides that not much has changed. I’m eating corn again without issue, but the reintroduction may not be forever as Jon is allergic to it and I shouldn’t eat too many carbs anyway.

We’ve restarted work on the garden, have worked out a new plan for babymaking and have a puppy soon to arrive, so all is looking well. Which means I can afford to sit around in my almost-retro housewife dress, drinking coffee and working on books.

There's no such thing as gratuitous pictures of retro dresses. Or of this retro dress, anyway. I love this dress.

There’s no such thing as gratuitous pictures of retro dresses. Or of this retro dress, anyway. I love this dress.

At least until I remember the dusting that needs doing…

How have you been coping with your fitness goals this Summer?

TTFN and Happy Hunting.