Saturday, March 27, 2010

Battle of the Bulge(y) Mummy Tummy

Ahhh! It is such an eye-opener when one sees an unflattering photo of oneself. This photo was taken while we were on summer vacation last year. Yes, I was still breast-feeding Mietta. No, she wasn't yet one year old. Yes, this was my third pregnancy - and yes, it had been a little more difficult with an appendectomy at six months. Yes, I'm a little older now. Yes, we had a particularly indoor winter season... BUT, the shock of seeing this photo, and the realization that my 'mummy tummy' only got worse once we started living a rural existence - made me finally take some notice. Many years of living inner-city where I was able to walk to work or walk to the supermarket, or even walk to friend's places or kid's school, had a tendency to keep me in shape without trying or even noticing. Our current residence, has meant we now rely on driving far more and we do far less spontaneous exercise.

NO MORE! I am currently on a bit of a health kick. No drastic changes - just eating a little less and exercising a little more. My plan is to say goodbye to the bulge by Summer. Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life is better with Lemonade

What a lovely way to welcome the official start of spring: some lovely spring weather. The boys found enough enthusiasm to suggest holding a lemonade stand. I think they may have set their expectations a little high after their experiences of well-patronized lemonade stands in Chicago - a rural Virginia setting is a little less 'fast-paced'. I wasn't about to argue with them - and so helped the boys to mix up a batch of homemade lemonade.

The boys sat for some time and were lucky to score several customers walking, driving past and a neighbor across the road who was curious enough to check out the offerings. Thirty to forty minutes of waiting, sampling, serving, waiting, sampling, waiting, sampling, waiting, serving, waiting... was enough to tax the attention spans of a six and four year old and they finally gave up. I applauded their efforts.

I heard this recipe for lemonade on the radio about a million years ago. It is so simple (in metric) as it uses the same amounts for each major ingredient. The recipe can easily be increased / decreased depending upon amount of ingredients on hand or the amount required. Any type or mixture of citrus can be used (lemon, lime, orange, kumquat, clementine, blood orange...) dependent upon personal taste.


500 g white sugar
500 ml water
500 ml fresh lemon juice
peeled rind of squeezed lemons (using potato peeler and with no white pith)

Filtered, sparkling or soda water

Ice cubes
Slices of lemon
sprigs of mint

Place sugar, water and citrus rind in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once sugar has dissolved, take saucepan off heat and allow to cool. Once cool, remove rind and stir in the fresh lemon juice*. This mixture makes a concentrate to be diluted with water.

Pour some concentrate over ice and add filtered, sparkling or soda water to taste. Garnish with slices of lemon and some sprigs of mint. Try 1 part concentrate to 3 parts water to start with and adjust to taste.

*When I used to have access to my mother's lemon and lime trees, we made the lemonade with fresh fruit. In the absence of this, use bottled juice.