Carbs, caffeine and charades

School holidays are quite a struggle without carbs and caffeine. Especially when Sprog 2 wants to play charades. Seriously? Charades? Oh yes! Sprog 2 is a DOER. She wants to garden, she wants to play badminton, she wants to cook, she wants to kick a ball around, she wants to play boardgames. Every. Single. Day. (Husband and I often wonder if she’s a changeling. She certainly didn’t get it from us.) Charades aren’t my cup of tea. Acting like a dill in front of others – though I’m pretty good at guessing the dill-like actions of others – is waaaay down my fun list. So the concept of charades when I barely have the energy to remain upright … I’d rather be locked in a room with a gang of rabid anti-abortion activists and their scary photos; give Rupert Murdoch a tonguey; watch James Franco hack off his own arm in 127 Hours …. on second thoughts, those examples are a bit extreme. If they were my actual choices, I might go for charades. Fortunately, Sprog 2 settled for snakes & ladders. Torturous but only requiring me to throw a dice, move a small piece of plastic around and have little catnaps in between. Sprog 1 is far easier to manage. She just lies in bed reading books. I wish I could join her. But I’ve got Sprog 2 and her boundless energy to channel. And no carbs to help me through. I’d forgotten how treacle-like life gets without carbs. How hard getting out of bed (at 6am) becomes. How it feels like the nerves in your legs have been partially severed, so the message has trouble getting through when you try and walk. Looking after the Sprogs all day? Brutal. So I’ve decided caffeine is allowed until February 1. I’ll try to cut back, but cut it out entirely? No can do.

DIET LOG: I gave the bowl of chips that came with my lunch to the Sprogs (virtuous!), but a couple fell on my plate, so I ate them.

WHAT THE SCALES SAID: Steady at 69.6kg. Well at least they didn’t go up.

TONIGHT’S MENU: We’re visiting friends at the beach, so dinner might be out somewhere. Otherwise, leftovers. To make up for it, here’s the meatballs recipe I’ve been promising. Go easy on the honey or you might find the sauce a bit too sweet. It’s from a cookbook called Dinner With Kids.

INGREDIENTS: (meatballs) 500g minced lamb; 1/2 large onion, finely diced; 1 garlic clove, crushed; 1/2 tsp ground cumin; 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon; 2 tablespoons tomato paste. (sauce) 1 tblsp vegetable oil; 1/2 large onion, chopped; 1 garlic clove, crushed; 1/2 tsp cumin; 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon; 2 tbsps honey; 2/3 cup chopped, pitted dates; 2 tbsps tomato paste; 400g can chopped tomatoes; 375g instant cous cous.

Put all the ingredients for meatballs in a bowl. Season with salt and mix together well. Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and shape into little balls, set aside. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, cinnamon, honey, dates, tomato paste and tomatoes and bring to a simmer then cook over a medium-low heat for five minutes. Gently place meatballs in the tomato sauce, then cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until meatballs are firm and cooked through, stirring occasionally. Serve with cous cous, prepared using directions on the pack.

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