High Tea at home – a great idea for a large group

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If you have a cupboard of inherited, mixed not matched, china and perhaps some interesting table cloths, ( or even if you don’t) then hosting a high tea can be a great way to bring people together.

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It’s relatively easy, because everything can be made ahead (much even frozen) and set out on tables before guests arrive. You can choose to serve savoury options as canapés first with a glass of bubbles, before everyone sits down for tea and sweets delicacies.

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By creating a high tea at home you have lots of flexibility with the food, drinks and seating arrangements. You can cater easily for dietary preferences and plan the event so that everyone can chat and get to know more people. Also more people  can afford to join in than when you book a $50 per person set menu, and where you only get to talk to those directly next to you.

Good ideas for savoury canapés in include cheese chorizo and corn muffins…..

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….smoked salmon on cucumber or 1/2 scones…

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Asian style frittata….

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pinwheel sandwiches with smoked oyster, cumin, lemon juice and cream cheese dip ( ask the bakery to slice the bread length wise)

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Pikelets with blue cheese/cream cheese dip and caramelised pear with date and walnuts.

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It’s also easy to make these options gluten free is required.

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Sweet options that can be made ahead include chocolate dipped strawberries….

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….scones with jam and cream ( less preparation if served halved with whipped cream and jam separately)..

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…mini cup cakes decorated (e.g. Lemon curd centred muffins, with lemon icing and candied lemon…

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…pancake swirls with cinnamon and brown sugar and cream cheese and walnuts..

…chocolate rum balls..

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…meringues with chocolate…

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…chocolate caramel slice…

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Mini trifles in shot glasses ( available from Home Base, Woden Westfield).

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You can also accept offers of help with food preparation if you choose as things are easy to add to the table as they arrive.

Cups and saucers can be matching or miss matching. It works well with mugs and small plates too. Look out for inexpensive three tier stands at Aldi or use cardboard versions available from Home Base or Reject shops.

Trestle tables are about $34 and folding chairs about $8 each from Bunnings.

Super quick and easy ‘light’ meal

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It doesn’t get much quicker and easier than this stove top variation of baked eggs.

Served with a slice of good toast it makes a great breakfast/brunch/lunch or even evening meal. Perfect for eating light.

Mix a teaspoon or paprika (preferably smoky paprika) into jar of pasta sauce. Add a tin of diced tomatoes if you like, and stir.
When this is hot, carefully break eggs into the hot sauce and let them ‘poach’ until they are just as you like them.

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Can you have your cake and eat it too? – or where do the extras fit in a healthy diet?

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Foods like cake that are low on the essentials we need in food to stay healthy, are called ‘discretionary foods’ in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

This is because some of us (not many!), who aren’t overweight and a bit taller or more active actually have a few spare kilojoules in their day over and above what they need for just the core foods. Ideally one would spend the extra kilojoules on more core foods full of goodies like fibre and antioxidants, but there’s no problem in spending at least some of them on extra ‘empty’ kilojoules, as long as you pay attention to serve sizes.

When the ADTHE is thinking about ‘discretionary foods’ it’s thinking 1 or 2 ‘small’ serves…surprisingly small serves.

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One ‘discretionary’ serve only has about 600 kilojoules so that’s

….. ¼ of a caramel slice from the bakery……

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….2 large squares of chocolate…

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… 1 mini-muffin……

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…or two medium apples….

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…so yes, some people can have their cake and eat it too….but only a small slice.

 

Useful eating plans for a healthy weight

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There are plenty of useful, well balanced eating plans around to help plan meals and snacks for a healthy weight, but a few free and easy to use plans from Meat and Livestock Australia are the Look Good, Feel Good plan for young woman, the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and the Live Well Plan for adults up to 50.

Nong Kiau Riverside Resort Restaurant, Nong Kiaw, Northern Laos

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Nong Kiau Riverside Resort Restaurant is a good spot for dinner in Nong Kiaw if you’d like a nice atmosphere and alcoholic drinks (Deens and Chennai Indian restaurants have strong recommendations from others but don’t allow alcohol).

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It has a large menu that includes western and general asian dishes.The Lao menu is only short.

There’s lots of good dishes for around 40,000 kip ($5US) but the green curry is the tastiest followed by the chicken laab and then the fish laab

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Spring rolls  are also a good choice for 25,000 kip

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Sticky rice is 6500 kip
Prices are average and quite good for this lovely setting.

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Great Ideas in Nutrition – useful Christmas secrets

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Great Ideas in Nutrition has some great resources for enjoying food but staying light. Here’s some of their Christmas wisdom.

One day of overeating does not a disaster make, but it may equate to indigestion and a lot of lying on the couch.  Put your Portion Perfection knowledge to good use so you feel better at the end of the day.  Useful secrets below…..

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SECRET 1 – 1/4 plate of turkey or ham + 1/4 plate of baked potatoes + 1/2 plate of salads or steamed greens + a swish of gravy makes a perfect Christmas meal.

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SECRET 2 – The smaller the bowl of nibblies you put out the smaller the handful you will take.

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SECRET 3 – Plan not to have too many leftovers.

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SECRET 4 – Cherries make a great gift when dropping in on friends.

SECRET 5 – Take time out to relax and restore.

SECRET 6 – Whatever happened it isn’t a disaster. Enjoy your day and then get back on track.

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Merry Christmas!

(* FREE POST for orders of Portion Perfection products valued over $50 within Australia – Use COUPON CODE XMAS2014.  Valid till 22 Dec 14, however order before 12 Dec 14 for pre-Xmas delivery).