The satisfaction of making a plan

homemade fitbit band
My homemade Fitbit band.

For Christmas in 2016, I asked for a Fitbit. I was given a Fitbit Flex, one of the least fancy versions of the range.

But it does its job well – I use it principally to try to encourage myself to do more steps every day, and it gives me the data I need to try to meet that goal.

But this is not about the little Flex “pebble” which does the measuring  – it’s about the poxy plastic wristband that came with it. Continue reading “The satisfaction of making a plan”

Oatcakes, the perfect early morning snack – recipe

oatcakes in a glass jar
Oatcakes. Picture: Renee Moodie

I have started work in the early morning for many years now – and one of the challenges for early shift workers is what to do about breakfast.

Actual breakfast has to be eaten at your desk, and can be done quickly and healthily if you pack the food the night before. But if you are up at 5am, and won’t have a breather to make that breakfast much before 8am, there’s a long stretch of time in which to get hungrier and hungrier, and crabbier and crabbier. What’s needed is a small, nutritious snack that can be eaten on the way to work.

Enter the oatcake.

Oatcakes are widely recommended as a power snack – but the commercially available oatcakes in South Africa always seem to have sugar in them. A hunt on the Internet eventually turned up the perfect solution – a very plain oatcake recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Continue reading “Oatcakes, the perfect early morning snack – recipe”

When a woman is tired of Facebook…

Landscape showing rocks, water and seaweed
A picture which took me ages to get right – time I had because I wasn’t fiddling on Facebook.

There are many, many articles on everyone’s timeline about how much time can be wasted on Facebook, and how bad it can be for everyone (all that fear of missing out) and how damaging it can be for teens, and so on and so on.

So I am not going to say all that. Instead, I am going to note that a recent week-long holiday in which I simply did not look at Facebook was an eye-opener. In the run-up to our break, I had become aware of how much time I was spending endlessly scrolling through my Facebook timeline any time I had a moment. I had noticed how those “moments” turned into 30-minute holes in my day. So I just… stopped doing it for a week. Continue reading “When a woman is tired of Facebook…”

School biscuits, thanks to a past self

choc chip school biscuits
The latest batch of “school biscuits”. Picture: Renee Moodie

Yesterday I made some biscuits.
They’re known in our house as “school biscuits” and are filled with bran (yep, actual bran as in the stuff that no self-respecting kid would ever eat), wholewheat flour and oats.
Plus chocolate chips, and two kinds of sugar, and butter.
The recipe is one by Heidi Swanson and it so nicely combines nutrition with decadence that is has been a lunchbox favourite with both parents and child in our house for years.
But the best thing about them is that you make one huge batch of dough, bake one set of biscuits then and there and freeze the rest of the dough in three or four portions. And that means that on a busy weekend you can knock out a quick batch with minimal effort, remembering as you go to thank your past self for being so nice to you.
I recommend Heidi’s recipe in its entirety, but here are my notes for South African bakers:
Whole wheat flour – I have used both brown bread flour and Nutty Wheat and they both work fine.
I use three eggs instead of two
Unsalted butter – ordinary butter is fine, just cut back to half a teaspoon of salt
The all-important chocolate: we just use plain old Top Deck, cut up. In other words, you can use any chocolate you like, don’t worry about anything fancy.
So – print out the original, add my notes and get baking!