I don't think it's any secret on this blog that I love cake! It started very early on. On my first birthday, my mother asked my grandmother to watch me while she got the matches to light the birthday candle on my 1-shaped cake iced with yellow icing and dotted with Smarties. Unfortunately Nan's back did turn for a split second and I took that opportunity to dive in. In the photos I can see where they did a repair job, my grabby baby hand imprints still visible in the icing, the corner of the cake still slightly crumbling!
Fortunately I have a bit more self control these days! I hope by seeing me enjoy my sweet treats in moderation on here I'm showing you that it is possible to be healthy and still enjoy the things you love. These are my oft-repeated guidelines that help me not go crazy on all the freshly baked fumes:
1. Enjoy a slice or two fresh on the day you make it.
2. Freeze the rest in individual slices to enjoy another time OR take to work or round to friends/family/neighbours to share.
I don’t know about you but a whole cake used to be a ticking time bomb in my old life. I would make a chocolate cake – in an emergency I used to make Annette Sym’s microwave chocolate cake – barely wait for it to cool, wouldn’t even dust it with icing sugar, and then tuck in. I would eat the entire thing within the space of a few hours, maybe not even that. If anyone else was in the house they might get a piece if they were lucky. I’ve written a bit about how I couldn’t have something “naughty” or “forbidden” in the house without feeling this hideous compulsion to eat it all, at once, in one sitting. Once it was gone, I would be safe, or so I thought.
It took a lot of re-educating and work on my issues to realise why I did this and it took a few months into my new way of life to actually trust myself to make a batch of scones, or a cake, and not scoff the whole lot. “Old Phil never froze cake,” I remember writing.
Over the years, oscillating between denying myself everything and then denying myself nothing, as I've struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin and have a healthier relationship with food, I've come to the conclusion having a treat, especially a home-made one, is an essential part of a healthy life. It can’t all be brown rice, tofu and green things all the time. Balance is the key.
These are some of my favourite healthy baked goods if you’re in the mood for something delicious for morning or afternoon tea:
Skinny rhubarb and strawberry scones (even Tom likes these!)
Carrot and apple cake
Janelle’s mum’s Ovaltine bun
Sultana coconut tea bread
Black bean brownies
All of these freeze well!
And of course, tea is another one of my great loves and an indulgence you can have without “blowing it”, as it were. Sometimes all I need is a cup of really nice tea to sate an afternoon tea craving. If I listen hard enough sometimes it’s just something warm and sweet that I want. I’ve learned that I don’t have to give in every time. On these grey, rainy days we've been having I've been drinking lots of refreshing green tea:
If it were warmer I'd probably be going down the iced tea route. A few of your favourite fruity tea bags steeped for half an hour, served with ice and maybe with some still lemonade mixed in...heavenly!
Another nice thing to do, if you want to distribute your lovely freshly baked goods to good homes, is put together some tea gifts. A little hamper of a homemade cake or batch of scones or brownies with a nice box of tea makes a lovely hostess gift! All the nicer if you've made your friend their favourite treat :)
What's your favourite tea time treat? Do you like baking too? I think next time there’s a blogging bake swap I might have to join in!
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