Holidays and procrastination

I procrastinate. I love procrastinating. It’s the reason why I start school on Sunday so that by Tuesday I’ve started school. It’s also why i’m posting this on a Thursday, the day before we head back home, and then will probably write about my holiday in two or three weeks time.

This week has been super busy. My auntie came from Syria and will be staying with us for 5 days, we’re on  holiday in Hurghada (some place in Egypt, 5-7 hour drive from Cairo) till the 6th, I have school holidays next week and we’re moving house!

The only way my parents got me to agree to going on a holiday was if I was allowed to pack my own food. ALL my food; breakfast, lunch,dinner and snacks. I have an intense fear of eating out. The only thing I do eat out of the house is  ice cream sundaes.

Four days is along time and a lot of food, so I made sure I had all my meals planned out and enough food for the holiday and the drive to and back.

I packed stuff  that was easy and quick; cereal, milk, green tea,bread, homemade peanut butter, slice cheese, cream cheese, nutella, homemade whole wheat scones, home made cinnamon chips, crackers, egg noddle stir fry. I also precooked and frozen homemade vegetarian pizza, mushroom filled mini pie, and pitta bread.

I’ve made my meals  a whole lot easier on myself but there’s still the fear that something will go wrong. I can’t handle having unplanned meals or eating food that I or my mom and sisters haven’t made. It’s not something I’m ready for.

Note: I’ll update my holiday experience in Egypt, Hurghada as soon as my procrastination allows.

Banana Nutella Oatmeal

I don’t ever want to pick up another book again, until next exams that is.

I recently completed my mid semester exams and let me tell you the pressure was on. I was stressed out the whole weak, I got moody, agitated, and angry, and mad at every small thing that went wrong. I’m pretty sure I was a nightmare to live with.

Personally, I don’t believe in exams, how can you base half of a students marks on a piece of paper they did in 3 hours, under pressure and all stressed out. I mean, come on.

I’m glad there over and done with for now.

Anyway, on to more important issues, like my thighs touch and I’m 2 kilos away from being weight restored and I have a muffin top. Eek!

I think people get it wrong, in recovery the hardest part isn’t the beginning,( that parts hard as well) but it’s the end.

It’s eating when you know you don’t need to gain weight, it’s accepting that extra fat on your stomach, back, arms and thighs.

It’s accepting the fact that yes, no matter how much you exercise you did to avoid it, your thighs still touch.

It’s accepting that you jeans will get tighter, that you’re going to need new clothes, and worst of all you have a muffin top (or you just need new undies.)

The most difficult part is not relapsing, staying motivated to keep on going forward.I have to always remind my self why I’m doing this, why I chose the path to recovery, let me tell you it’s no easy feat.

oatmeal edited

This oatmeal is what got me through my exams; it’s sweet, filling and yummy.

Banana Nutella Oatmeal

Ingredients

1/2 Cup oats (quick or rolled)*

1 Medium sized brown banana, sliced

3/4-1 Cup water/milk*

pinch of salt

1 Tablespoon nutella

Method

1.Pour water in a small pot, add oats and salt.

2. Place on medium-low heat, when it is about to come to the boil add in sliced banana, stir.

3. Turn down heat and allow to simmer till it becomes thick, or if you like it a bit watery add more water/milk.

4. Pour cooked oats in bowl and top with nutella.

Notes: If your using quick/one minute oats, boil water then add oats it gives it texture and the oats don’t come out gooey.

I use water but if you want your oats extra creamy, use all milk or half water half milk.

Japanese cheesecake

Cheesecake

single slice cheescake

Who doesn’t love cheesecake? Smooth, creamy, airy, light and  just plain gorgeous.

plain cheesecake side

This cheesecake is  beautiful, everything you would expect from cheesecake.

plain cheesecake top

With my vast experience in cheesecake I would have to say this is the best cheesecake I have ever tasted.( I’m raving, I know)

Sadly though I can’t claim credit. My second eldest sister ( Who I will call Po)

Coulis

Po loves to bake. Don’t tell her I said this but she sort of aspired me to start baking.

Every Thursday Po cooks as well as makes dessert and this Thursday she made this Japanese cheesecake with a biscuit crust bottom, accompanied with strawberry coulis.

cheesecake group

Before I give you the recipe I would like to inform every one that the 16th of April is semicolon project day.   Draw a semicolon on your wrist if you have self harm, suicidal , have anxiety, broken hart, lost a loved one, etc or to show support to those who have gone through and are going through these difficult times.

semicolon Collage

My semicolon, for my recovery struggles  and to support those who are struggling.

Stay strong beautiful, your story is not over yet.

Japanese cheesecake

Biscuit Base

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 cups crushed biscuits

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees

2.In a bowl mix biscuits and butter.

3. Press biscuit crumbs to bottom of 6,8 or 9 inch spring form pan make sure to press the base in tightly.

4. Bake for 1-15 minutes.

Cheesecake adapted from Jo Cooks

Ingrediants

300 g cream cheese
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 eggs, separated
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Wrap  a Spring form pan in foil, make sure there isn’t any holes.
  2. place egg whites into the freezer till it just begins to freeze around the edges.
  3. In a large bowl, melt the butter and cream cheese over a double boiler and whisk well to combine.
  4. In another bowl mix the egg yolks, 1 tbsp sugar and cornstarch. Mix well and set aside.
  5. Heat the milk till it comes to a boil. Add it to the egg yolks and whisk until it thickens in a double boiler over boiling water. Add this mixture to the cream cheese and combine well.
  6. Add a small amount of the 1/4 cup of sugar to the egg whites and mix on medium low speed for about 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites and beat on medium until a soft meringue forms.
  7. Add ¼ of the meringue to the cream cheese mixture and combine. Add the remaining meringue to the cream cheese mixture and fold to combine.
  8. Pour mixture over biscuit base and smooth out the top.
  9. Put the cake pan in a large pan and add boiling water so it comes up 1/2 inch up the cake pan.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 150 degrees and continue to bake for 25 minutes until the top turns slightly golden. Turn off the oven and leave the cake pan for another 40 minutes to an hour.
  11. Take the cake out of the pan, at this point run a knife between the cheesecake and pan to loosen it. Allow cheesecake to cool completely.
  12. Refrigerate cheesecake completely before taking it out of the pan.
  13. Serve with strawberry coulis.

Strawberry Coulis adapted from easyliving.com.uk

Ingredients:

125 ml water

125 g caster sugar

300 g hulled and halved strawberries

Method:

  1. Bring water and sugar to boil, don’t stir the sugar or it will crystallize.
  2. Add the Strawberries and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft.
  3. Puree mixture and strain, so you don’t get the seeds.
  4.  Stores in fridge for up to 2-3 days.

 

Roti

Roti is a simple Indian flat bread that takes minutes to make it is soft and chewy and taste great on it’s own.

When my mom was 12 she travelled to India with some of her sibling to go to an Islamic school, while she was there she picked up a couple of things and one of them was how to make roti and I’m glad she did.

20130404-180427.jpg

The thing with this recipe is that there is no specific amount a lot of it has to do with feel and practice so don’t get too down if it doesn’t work the first time around. It never did for me, it took me a couple of ties to eat it just right.

Ingredients:
4 cups flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 cup oil/butter
1-1/2 cups boiling hot water
1/2 tsp salt

Method:
1. Sift flour and salt in a large bowl.
2. Pour in 1/4 cup oil/ butter and knead, add a 1/4 cup of water at a time slowly, making sure to bring the dough together each time before adding more.
3. Knead dough until soft and stretchy.
4. Divide dough in to 8 even balls, sprinkle counter with a little bit of flour.
5. Roll 1 ball with rolling pin and spin the dough every now and again to get a nice circle, roll really thin.
6. Turn frying pan on high and allow to heat, place dough in pan and rotate dough to cook evenly, when it bubbles turn over and spread with butter/oil, turn over again and spread butter on opposite side, place on plate and cover with dish cloth to keep warm.
7. Repeat with rest of dough.
8. Enjoy

Celebration and Cereal Pancakes

So much has happened these past couple of months I seemed to have lost track.

My summer holidays have come and gone and I’m officially in my last year of school.I’m juggling school work, Arabic lessons twice a week, Quran lessons twice a week and lessons in the mosque once a week. there seems to always be something to do or something to think about. This week though I had to find time to take a break and celebrate, a late celebration but one nonetheless.

On the 23rd of March I got my period for the first time in  1 year and 55 days.

I developed secondary amenorrhea due to fast weight loss, whacked up hormones and malnourishment.  I had to gain 10 kilos and eat  a ton of PB and Nutella sandwiches (these were yum)  before my body responded to the food it was given.

I decided to celebrate this accomplishment with two of my favorite foods, pancakes and cereal.

Pancakes from above                                                                                Cereal in pancake form, my kind of breakfast.

Adapted from Naturally Ella

Recipe:

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoon light crushed cereal or left over cereal powder

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons of sugar (optional)

1 egg or egg white

1/2- 3/4 cup milk

Method:

1. Soak cereal in a quarter cup of milk*

2. In a medium sized bowl, sift flour, baking powder and sugar.

3. In separate bowl whisk egg or egg white then whisk in 1/4 cup milk.

4. Mix the cereal mixture with the egg and milk mixture and lightly whisk into the dry mixture. add milk if necessary until batter is slightly runny.

5. Heat pan on medium to low eat, pour 1/4 cup batter on pan and cook till bubbles form or around 2-3 minutes, flip, and cook on other side for 1-2 mins. repeat with  rest of batter.

6. Serve warm

Serves one (yes, all for you. Can easily be doubled or tripled.)

Note: alternatively you can also not soak the cereal and mix it in after batter is prepared, leaving the 1/4 cup of milk out.

Breakfast Pancakes

close up pancake

I love pancakes, I can eat pancakes every single day of the week for every meal. Seriously.
While I was in my worst stages of  my ed (eating disorder) I stayed away for them like the plague, but thankfully I’m over that now.

pancake cooked angle

It has taken me forever to find the perfect pancake recipe, there was the recipe my mum used but it was too eggy and then another one was just to thick so I went on a pancake hunt and after trying out a billion of them I finally found one I ( and everyone else) liked. I tweaked the recipe just a bit to suit my taste.

Adapted from She Makes and Bakes

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
3 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2-2 cups milk
2 table spoons butter, melted and cooled

Method:

1. Sift the dry ingredient in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
2. Add in egg and about a cup of milk. Whisk.
3 keep adding milk until you get a nice thick but runny consistency.
4. Pour in cooled melted butter, whisk.
5. Heat a pan on medium low heat ( add oil/ butter if necessary)
6. Ladle batter in pan, cook for 1-2 minutes or until bubbles form then flip and cook for another minute.
Makes approximately 18 medium pancakes.

That’s How They Do It

I wondered how they did it. How they could skip meals and fast for days at a time without no one taking notice. I thought it was ridiculous, won’t their parents notice, what about their friends and teachers, anybody.

Nobody does, you know why.

I’m a liar, compulsive liar. I got so good at lying, and pretending that it eventually become second nature, I’ll do it without thinking. Now, in recovery I do it and I don’t even notice.

I don’t understand. I never did. How a person could let themselves get that far, how could they let that happen to them. How could their family and friends allow it to happen.

As I’m on the other end of the line I can see how. As a recovering anorexic I struggle everyday in being honest with my family and myself, and in staying focused on my goal.

During the early stages of anorexia my family and friends told me I was getting skinny, I would brush the off and tell them I was eating, I was just losing a couple of kilos, nothing to worry about. Later on when mum noticed I wasn’t eating enough she would watch me eat, but I had a couple of tricks up my sleeve.

Sure, I’ll eat breakfast. A quarter cup of oats every morning for six month, then 2 weet-bix, water, no sugar, cereal without milk measured to the gram, 2 plain slices of bread with slice of vegetarian deli slices if they were around and the bread was low calories.

I knew my way around food, which was safe, which was not, what brands had the lowest calories, I could eye ball the amount of food I was eating and estimate the calories, lunch wasn’t higher that 500, dinner 200 same as breakfast. I had a calorie limit of 800 calories a day, if I ate more in one day I’ll cut it out of my next day’s food. If we were going out for dinner I’ll skip lunch and breakfast all together, do a water fast so I could eat at dinner and not feel guilty.

My family saw hints here and there but I don’t think they ever really realized what was happening.

When we traveled to Malaysia in May 2012, I got worse. We would eat take out a lot, and take out equals calories, to make up for it I would skip meals, If we were going out for dinner I would fast the whole day, and pretend to eat in my room.

I would look up the calorie content of the restaurants or the takeout we would order and choose the lowest calorie food and work my day around the meals.

Once we went to a restaurant and I fasted the whole day just so I could have a meal and pretended I was eating.

It was around this time that my parents noticed how thin I was getting and insisted I eat. So eat I did.

Breakfast: wake up early; pour cereal in bowl some milk. Throw it out.

Bread crumbs on plate, cheese smeared on knife. Done.

I ate didn’t I, the evidence is right there.

Lunch: this was a meal I was watched with if I got ‘lucky’ I was allowed to eat in my room or if no one was looking, I’d put my food back or throw it in the trash.

Dinner: I’ll have my 150 cal worth of bread, I’m not hungry had a big lunch.

I would find excuses to not go out and eat. They probably have nothing vegetarian, or I’m too tired. I woke up early.

At some point my dad brought dates and milk and made me eat 7 dates a day with a glass of milk. I would take the dates to my room or sit in a corner of the house and pretend to eat them, by pretending I mean I would put the date to my lips then stuff them in my bra, go to the kitchen and put them back in the box. I would bring the glass of milk to my mouth keep it closed and ‘drink’ milk; I would later pour it down the sink.

I lied, threw away, and hid my food.

Now I understand how they do it, how they can fast for days in a row, skip meals and pretend everything is normal.

This isn’t easy, it actually quite hard, you always have to be on your toes and worrying, looking out for anything odd or new that will jeopardize your food plan.

I apologize to my family and friends who I have lied to and hid things from.

I’m sorry I hurt you and made you worry, whilst hurting myself in the process.

Forgive me oh Allah, for I have harmed this amana, this body that you have blessed me with.

Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

I was supposed to make pumpkin white sauce macaroni, but….a couple of things happened along the way and it didn’t turn out like the recipe, it had a more of a more garlicky (only garlic) flavour.

Image

This by the way tasted awesome.

I definitely think you should try out the original pumpkin macaroni and cheese and try not to forget anything.

A few pointers:

  • Make sure your pumpkin is flavorful (mine wasn’t)
  • Have all the ingredients
  • Measure the ingredients correctly
  • Don’t forget any steps
  • Have fun

You can find the original recipe here

(Great blog by the way)

I adapted the recipe a bit and made a Garlic White sauce.

Garlic Mac and cheese

Ingredients

1kg of macaroni

¼ cup + 1 table spoon butter

5 tablespoons all purpose flour

4 cups whole milk

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Black pepper

2 big garlic cloves

2 heaping tablespoons cream cheese

Method

1. Cook macaroni as direct on packet. Strain and rinse with cold water when finished, put in dish

2. Heat pot on medium.

3. Add butter and let melt, add flour and whisk together. Cook for a few minutes.

4. Pour in milk while whisking, bring milk to simmer and allow to thicken.

5. Take pot off heat and stir in the cream cheese, grate garlic, add salt and pepper to taste.

6. When the sauce is done, pour the white sauce over the macaroni. Mix gently.

Server 8-10

Notes

I didn’t put this in the oven but if you want to preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Place macaroni and cheese in a baking dish, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Breathe in. Breathe out. Only a few more bites left, you aren’t going to die.

I sat alone at the dining table, everyone else had finished eaten.

Two pancakes sat on my plate,  slathered in cream cheese, intimidating me.

“Mom, I’m full.”

“How many did you eat?”

“One”

“One, only one, do you want to die; I saw two on your plate, eat the other one”

“But I’m full”

I stared back at my plate.

I’m not really full, this isn’t real, it will pass.

I turned my face up to the sky and prayed.

“Oh Allah help me.”

I grabbed my knife and fork and slowly worked my way through my second pancake.

See Daaniah it wasn’t that hard, you finished.

I’m going to have another one, like normal, I can eat another one, I’ll show who’s in charge today.

You don’t need to though, she didn’t tell you too, she’s not looking.

Go away. I’m eating another one, I can do this.

I took a third pancake, slathered it in cream cheese and slowly worked my way through it.

Finished.

I did it. Point one for me.

If I had to describe these pancakes with one word it would be, delicate. These pancakes where literally falling apart while I was flipping them. Make sure you have a big enough spatula and you’ll be fine.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

1 ¼ cup plain flour

½ cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

1/3  tsp pumpkin spice mix

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1-1/2  cups of milk

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 table spoon butter, melted

Method

1. Sift flour, baking powder, spice, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a medium size bowl.

2. Mix milk, pumpkin and egg in another bowl, whisk lightly.

3. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, stir till combined, add a little more milk if batter is too thick. It is OK if it has lumps, don’t over mix or pancakes will become tough.

4. Lightly coat a non-stick pan with oil, heat pan on medium heat. Pour batter in to the pan in circular motion. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until you see bubbles and it begins to firm. Flip and cook for 1-2 min more. Makes 14-16 medium size pancakes.