Ladies who lunch, light hearted banter, art and an unexpected harp recital….

Sometimes an ordinary day turns into an exceptionally wonderful day…its a rare and wonderful phenomenon.  When they happen I wonder if they are by luck or by state of mind.  Probably a bit of both.  I do know for sure that those days I’m in a bad mood, more negative things happen.  However, this Friday, just gone…that would be yesterday(!) was highly anticipated as a planned busy but nice day.  The resulting day was glorious.

As you may know I am mid way through my first ever solo art exhibition.  it was quite a long time in the planning and prepping and quite emotional in the setting up and previewing… but it’s there now. It’s actually going well in terms of feedback and I am definitely extremely proud of it.

A small group of wonderful friends who I know mainly through teaching them stained glass during the wonderful Welsh Legends Window Project, had arranged a jolly to the Radnorshire Museum to see my exhibition and I had arranged to go with them and do our fave thing “Ladies Who Lunch”, first.  So as you can tell, it was already going to be a lovely day.

These, lovely, colourful, energy filled, inspiring women gathered to join me at The Herb Garden for pre-exhibition food.  The Cafe is my very favourite in Llandrindod Wells, a community cafe , serving wholesome, freshly made, delicious delights with top quality organic ingredients. It has friendly staff, cosy sofas, a selection of newspapers and magazines, a pile of toys for any kids, a local information board and a gallery wall.  In this instance there was a display of stunning photographs of China by a local photographer/friend of mine, Mike Lewis. A perfect accompaniment to our lunch with it being Chinese New Year. (sadly I didn’t take any photos at it would have meant leaning across strangers who were eating their lunch and I thought that might appear a tad rude!  the place was packed)

As we trotted round to the museum, it was a gloriously sunny early Spring day, the type of day that fills you with optimism and joy for new beginnings and the arrival of Spring flowers and the hope of Summer not too far away.

There was quite a buzz of excitement from my friends climbing the stairs (or using the lift) to reach the exhibition space.  I think there were genuinely impressed and enjoyed the exhibition, which really gave me quite a boost.  Additionally, because of the location, they had the bonus of discovering this quaint and eclectic collections within the museum itself.  So a fabulous afternoon..

… but there was icing on our daily cake … on arrival we were told that three internationally acclaimed harpists were about to arrive to look at the Welsh triple harp the museum has in its collection and that one of these harpists was going to play it…. we were allowed to sit in on an impromptu harp recital by Robin Huw Bowen (head to discography and click the listen button, its exquisite …  ).Robin proceeded to discuss the history of this harp, his interaction with the ancestors of the owner who donated it to the museum in 1952, and played some classic Welsh tunes and some Welsh gypsy popular music of the time

Those gorgeous looking ladies sat by the harpist are Camille & Kennerly Kitt, otherwise known as The Harp Twins here as part of a world tour, having just finished a 4th gig in Wales.  They play rock music on electric harps – something to behold!

Here’s a little clip from the recital.  Robin did apologise, he said if he’d known there would be an audience he would have arrived earlier to tune the harp!!!  Still …we were happy !

acrylic art, orion, great nebula, exhibition, acrylic on wood
TITLE: “There is beauty all around; we simply have to open our minds to see”. DESCRIPTION: Based on the Great Nebula in Orion, spirals of gas resemble a gargantuan flower. ……My friend , D particularly wanted a photo of me beside this piece as she said it was a perfect artistic impression of me and my personality ! how lovely XX
Mission Mindfulness

 

My Random Musings

Low Carb Pizza – Yes, there really is such a thing!

Hubby decide that for the first quarter of 2018 he wanted to adopt a high protein and low carb/no carb diet; and beyond keep to a lower carb diet as he feels his body runs better with that combination.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s a challenging one for me as “head chef”.  A few years ago we both engaged in Dr & Dr Eades Lose Your Middle Aged Middle, eating plan.  It worked. We both lost several inches around our middles.

However, and here’s the biggie for me, the diet plan made us completely antisocial.  Not because of the bad breath you might obtain from living solely on protein… we were very careful about our oral hygiene; but because it made it almost impossible to go out socially.

By making a few tweaks to the diet to better encompass our lifestyle we did find a way. For example, in restaurants we could have ham egg and chips without the chips or a mixed grill again without the chips.  I recommend you ask the waiter to leave the chips off the plate altogether because its much tougher just to choose not to eat them when they’re there and smelling so damned good!

For Hubby it was a great diet, He loves nothing more than a high meat content meal.  He loves grilled bacon and fried eggs for breakfast every day.  He doesn’t have high cholesterol or blood pressure so that’s OK.  According to the doctor he’s fit as a fiddle (even for a man of his age 😉 )  He could even stomach the disgusting body builder high protein meal replacement drinks.  I, on the other hand would wretch at the smell of them so in the end I just didn’t bother with the shakes at all.

Overall the diet was successful, we didn’t feel hungry, we weren’t miserable and we both lost 1.5 – 2 stone.

Several years on our weights have exceeded our pre diet weights.  As with all diets, they just plain don’t work long-term.  UNLESS you can find dietary habits that fit your lifestyle and the new eating regime becomes your lifestyle choice.

We’re trying again.  John is back to high protein / low carb and I’ve taken from the Dr Eades book those recipes and tips that worked before and done my own thing for him.  For Hubby I cook up loads of interesting meat based or egg based meals and he can have as much cheese as he wants with those. So I make lots of creamy/cheesy sauces which he loves, and as long as he supplements his diet with potassium, magnesium and multivits, hes a happy bunny.

I decided I don’t do as well on high protein and low carb. I could do it short-term but it wouldn’t be sustainable for me.   I prefer veggie options quite often and would rather have no meats than all meats.  I struggle to give up fruit and salad and much of that is a no go if you are being a strict no carb dieter.

I’ve chosen to cut out cake/alcohol/chocolate and crisps. and drastically reduce my bread and cheese intake.  Funnily enough the only one I’m struggling with is crisps.  I crave them constantly.  I’ve replaced those with natural seeds and nuts and I salt those myself – it seems to (almost) satisfy my needs. I also discovered during the first diet that nuts and seed vary greatly in their carb/protein ratio .. i can’t have walnuts but i tend to stick to hazelnuts, almonds and pecan and add pumpkin seeds to the mix.

You have to read this

Very occasionally I crave chocolate but other than a couple of teeny treats. I’ve managed that too, even when I’ve had PMT (big high-five to me).  (BTW I cannot stand carob, it’s NOT an equivalent option in my opinion, I don’t care what anyone says!  I’d rather do without completely.  )

These days there so many great alternatives on the market and many of them can be bought in mainstream supermarkets.

This alternative to spaghetti is available in our local Aldi store. It has 6.6g of carb per 100g compared to 76g in standard durum wheat spaghetti, most importantly hubby likes it and it only takes 3 minutes to cook.  So I can stick to my normal whole-wheat spaghetti and make a bit of this for him.

Of course there are fresh veg options to spaghetti, which are really easy to prep yourself but can be bought pre prepared , for example courgetti (which I think is available in the fresh veg section of most supermarkets these days – but is a very expensive way of buying fresh veg #justsaying) .  Really easy to make yourself though.

I make hubby mashed cauliflower or cauliflower cheese to sit in place of potato on his plate.  But you can also rice cauliflower….and if that sounds like a lot of hassle you can even buy it ready done… (I got this in Tescos)

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Then there are all the alternative flours.  I bought The Groovy Food Organic Coconut Flour from Tescos in my home delivery.  Only 16g carb compared to plain flour at 81g

I bought it to make this Fat Head low carb pizza base with a recipe from Ditch the  Carbs.com (thanks Graham Miller for this link) thinking it would be a good alternative to almond flour (which Tescos didn’t have ).  Subsequently I’ve discovered this Sukrin sesame flour with only 6g carb (although it was in my local whole food shop Vans Good Foods  in Llandindod Wells; and it wasn’t cheap).

So how did the pizza go?…..

I doubled up the quantity as Hubby can easily eat a whole normal pizza to himself and I can usually manage with a bit of patience and persuasion.  However, these were so filling even though his was bigger than mine we each only managed half.

Basically you plonk the mozzarella, and flour in a bowl with the egg and lightly microwave and it will mix into a dough – ts hard to believe, its like a magic trick, I really didn’t expect to get a rollable dough but…

surprisingly it rolls out very easily

TAH DAH!!!

After that its simply a matter of cooking the base, 15 mins in a gas 7/225 degree oven, taking it out, adding your toppings of choice (pre-cooked especially meats), then popping them back for 5 more minutes.  Whats more, Hubby said he would happily eat it again.  I would too but I might try the coconut or almond flour, I did find it a tad over sesame-y.  Extremely filling though and lovely rustic looking.

five minutes further cooking with the topping on and voila!
serving suggestion 😉

Just so you know, this post is not affiliates or sponsored in any way.  I have tried the products purely for our own health wellbeing and my views on the outcome and mine alone – as they would be even if someone were to ask me to review something (which I am more than happy to do #hinthint 😉 

My Random Musings

Letters to my Daughter