So the much anticipated Easter Parade begins … and whether you plan to have an all-out formal kind of gathering; a very casual laid-back get together; or get out into the outdoors this coming weekend the decorations, food and gifts have an important part to play.
I love to dress up the house with Easter-themed decorations – eggs, bunnies, chicks, cards – some very old from when my children were young and now some very new ones to add a bit of interest. I also like to fill as many rooms as my budget will allow with spring flowers, bulbs and budding branches of blossom trees. I use the excuse that by keeping busy doing this I am staying well away from the chocolate, candy and other Easter edibles that seem to call my name! The table above can be made easily and cheaply with help from the younger members of the family. The one below (somewhat more grown-up) simply needs just a bit of styling flair and a raid on the better china cupboard.
And sometimes it’s just the little touches – quickly and easily assembled – that have the most impact, for both children and adults alike.
Easter gifts often dictate themselves – children often won’t settle for anything less than chocolate eggs, fluffy toys and perhaps some craft-based colouring or sticking project, but do consider giving them some exercise-based egg hunts and gifts to keep them active and perhaps get some fresh-air out of doors.
Grown-ups love the chocolate too and bariatrics are no exception! I manage my Eastertide treats by acknowledging in the first place that I can have some. I then work out what … Often just a few squares of good-quality chocolate, a sliver of chocolate cake or a spoonful of decadent cocoa-based dessert will satisfy any craving I have and means that I do feel I’m not missing out. It’s surprising how once I have given myself ‘permission’ to do this the desire retreats – I’ve rarely therefore binged because somehow this isn’t now viewed as ‘forbidden fruit’. I also know not to have it around too early (it get’s eaten in advance) and I don’t let it linger too long afterwards – I give away any that is still around by the evening of Easter Monday so that I can greet Tuesday with clear focus.
This year I have a no-added-sugar egg waiting to be cracked – the best Easter egg – no yoke! The egg is hollow and I shall nibble on a little and use the rest to make a bariatric-friendly dessert (see below) and the 6 small chocs it comes with will be eked out over the 4 days. I won’t be tempted to eat them in one sitting because I know the effects they can have if over-indulged! This one came from Thorntons, cost about £7 (although I believe there are deals that reduce the cost considerably).
For those who don’t want chocolate or don’t want all-chocolate offerings then why not consider a spring flower arrangement gift; a special mug or some indulgent beauty/fashion accessory? A few of my favourites are below:
Muscari in pots for indoor or outdoor tables; potted hydrangeas for inside (but planted out later); a festive Easter-themed door wreath to welcome visitors, a butterfly mug (from M & S) for that all important cuppa; a Weight-loss Countdown Plaque details here to encourage those who are on the weight-loss trail to stay or get back on track after Easter; a home-made, gift-wrapped bariatric hot-cross bun (see recipe here); personalised mug, notebook and pencil set; and … my favourite … an Easter egg charm for a bracelet.
We have covered some Easter eating and food ideas in our recent Easter Newsletter (see here) – have you subscribed on the home page to get future ones? It has some great ideas using eggs, lamb, seasonal vegetables, fish and, of course, chocolate. There are also some further ideas at the bottom of this page – simply click through for Easter recipes from our archives.
But here’s a quick and easy individual carrot cake recipe that would be perfect for the Easter buffet table and doubles up as a great gift to take along if you’re a guest rather than a host. It’s bariatric-friendly by being low in sugar and fat and has a healthy helping of protein in the topping to validate its inclusion … If you’re very sugar sensitive then give the frosting a miss or use a powdered sweetener instead of the icing/confectioners’ sugar.
CARROT CUPCAKE MUFFINS WITH GREEK YOGURT FROSTING
225 g wholemeal self-raising flour/2 cups wholemeal all-purpose flour sifted with 2 tsp baking powder
additional1 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp Splenda granulated sweetener
25 g/ scant 1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
2 large eggs, beaten
6 tbsp melted low-fat spread
200 ml/scant 1 cup skimmed milk
175 g/11/2 cups grated carrots
75 g/generous 1/2 cup seedless/seeded raisins (optional)
3 tbsp extra light soft or cream cheese
3 tbsp thick fat-free Greek yogurt (strained if necessary to remove excess whey)
3 tbsp icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas mark 6. Place 12 muffin cases in a 12-hole muffin tray.
2. Put the flour, baking powder, Splenda, bran and mixed spice into a large bowl and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs with the melted low-fat spread and milk. Add to the flour mixture with the carrots and raisins if used. Quickly stir with a wooden spoon until everything is just combined but do not overmix.
3. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for 18-20 minutes or until well-risen, cooked through and a light golden colour. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
4. To make the frosting, beat the soft cheese with the yogurt and sugar until smooth. Swirl or pipe on top of the cold muffins and decorate with edible decorations such as sprinkles or carrot candy shapes. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
WLS PORTION: 1/2-1
V suitable for Vegetarians
* suitable for Freezing
CALORIES: 150 (INCLUDING RAISINS AND FROSTING BUT NOT DECORATIONS CHOSEN)
YOU CAN OF COURSE MAKE THESE MUFFINS PLAIN WITHOUT THE FROSTING, IN WHICH CASE THE CALORIES ARE 130; PROTEIN: 4.8g; CARBOHYDRATE: 18.6g; FAT: 4.2g
HAVE A WONDERFUL FEASTER WEEKEND!