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.

Coffees are more like mini meals than you think!

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It’s so easy to think of milk based coffees like lattes, cappuccino and flat whites as just drinks that don’t really count towards your kilojoules.

But when you realise that even the smallest sizes have around the same kilojoules as a slice of bread, medium potato, small yogurt or a piece of fresh fruit, it becomes clear that they are really more like a mid-meal.

A small milk-based coffee even a skim one, has similar kilojoules to a small yogurt

A small milk-based coffee even a skim one, has similar kilojoules to a small yogurt

And then if you order a medium sized coffee, it’s one and a half times more and a large is double.

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A large milky coffee has the kilojoules of two pieces of fruit or two small yogurts….

So it might make you re-think about whether to add a coffee to your morning or afternoon tea snack, or to just have it instead?

Piccolo lattes can be a good alternative. They still give you the coffee, but not so much milk and far fewer kilojoules.

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Twenty Top Tips to eating well, while staying lean

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  1. Compensate for social eating days by keeping other days ‘lean’
  2. Keep treats, favourite foods and alcohol for social eating
  3. Stick to plenty of salad and coloured veggies, some fruit and low fat protein foods, on lean days with very small amounts of low GI carb foods
  4. Don’t keep foods or drinks you can’t resist at home, just have them when you’re social eating
  5. Know your triggers to overeating, comfort eating, boredom eating and avoid them
  6. Make it easy on yourself; treat yourself like a best friend (or a tantrum throwing toddler)
  7. Make sure everything you eat and drink is ‘calorie worthy’
  8. Eat and drink mindfully – slowly, thoughtfully, savouring each mouthful
  9. Stay aware of mindless eating (nibbling, snacking, binging, ‘just because it’s there eating’
  10. Have a plan – for lean days, social eating and danger situations
  11. Keep a ‘toolbox’ of strategies that work for you
  12. Keep portions small, only as much as you need to enjoy it, share dishes, under order, take some of it with you to enjoy later
  13. Don’t let yourself get over hungry or it’s difficult to eat mindfully
  14. Always stay comfortable, never more than half full
  15. Serve foods and drinks attractively, using garnishes, attractive crockery, glassware and cutlery
  16. Always eat from a plate, at a table, never on the go
  17. Alcohol makes it harder to stay aware of what you’re eating and drinking (and to care) so drink plenty of water as well, sip drinks slowly, pace yourself
  18. Collect ideas and recipes that are delicious, but not your triggers to overeat including interesting salad ideas, fruit based desserts, vegetable based nibble platters
  19. Milky coffees are like a mid meal or small meal so have them carefully

Use a calorie counter book to know your stuff (Alan Borushek’s Calorie Fat and Carbohydrate Counter is inexpensive and easily avail