Week 3 – Friday Fitness & Weight Loss Restart (Yummy food helps me lose)

Week 3 image diet food helps me lose

I would have been quite surprised if I didn’t lose weight this past week! I was determined to meet my interim goal of reaching the next lower 10 lb weight bracket, by today. Though my exercise did slightly dip, my daily food allowances were not exceeded. And yet, I think that some would not have thought all of my daily menus diet-like. Menu planning takes effort, but it’s more than worth it. Loving to cook and bake helps, too. Curious about my week’s weight change? It’s right below. Continue reading

Diet-Friendly Wild Blueberry Blintzes

Diet Friendly Wild Blueberry Blintz1 (3)
Each blintz is ~ 120 calories, excluding whipped topping and extra berries (as made below)

Fewer than 20 minutes drive from my house is a Polish food shop. Having a Czech husband, that store’s presence is valuable, since some products are the same or similar as ones he grew up with. They always have fresh blintzes for sale, which I especially enjoy eating. Since theirs are definitely not low calorie, I worked out a version that is diet-friendly, but still tastes plenty good. Continue reading

Week 2 – Friday Fitness & Weight Loss Restart (Cognitive Distortion?)

Hikers in woods
Exploring new paths ends boredom.

I continued to stick to my eating plan perfectly, this second week of my Fitness & Weight Loss journey. My large Week 1 weight loss kindled my zeal to continue, along with some nice hikes in new places. I’m happy to report good results again, and share some of my newest observations. But first, my weigh-in results: Continue reading

Week 1 – Friday Fitness & Weight Loss Restart (Water Weight Loss)

Water weight loss

As announced in my post two days ago, Weight/Fitness Journey Restarts, I finally restarted my journey towards better health. Though it’s only been four days since I started tracking my food intake, and staying within a designated allowance, I have already seen a most pleasant reduction in my weight. Normally my weigh-ins will be every seven days, on Fridays, but look what’s happened already after four: Continue reading

10 Varieties of Czech Christmas Cookies (České Vánoční Cukroví) and more

Christmas cookie platter 2018 metal (2)
My 2018 Christmas cookie platter. Not all Czech cookies in this post are shown above.

This post marks the end of my Czech Christmas cookie countdown. Phew! On November 11th, I posted my first of 10 Czech Christmas cookie/confection recipes, with my last posted yesterday, along with a bonus Czech sweet bread. According to my husband, my mother-in-law would make as many as 13 different varieties for their platter. Frankly, I can’t manage all of that baking! Continue reading

Princess Cookies (Princezky)

Princezky Princess cookies finished
Filled Princezky. Pipe the filling to make slightly prettier. Sorry the otvírák is in the photo.

Czech Christmas Cookie #8

Bite into these chewy nutty meringue-style sandwich cookies to reach the bliss of a delicious chocolate buttercream filling. My mother-in-law usually used roasted hazelnuts or walnuts for the meringue cookie, but some Czechs use blanched almonds. The nut choice will affect the color, a bit. Meant to be a one or two-bite cookie – that is, if you can stop at only one cookie! These were my husband’s favorite Christmas cookie, as a child. The pictured Princezky were made using finely ground roasted hazelnuts, our favorite nut choice. This combination, with the chocolate buttercream, is a little reminiscent of Nutella. Even yummier, in my view. They do crisp up a little over time, but are still great. Continue reading

Biskupský Chlebíček (Bishop’s Bread)

Bishops bread-Cthebird
Bishop’s Bread made in small Rehreucken pan (I used two). Ignore muffins.

Have you ever had Bishop’s Bread? If not, many recipes you’ll see online resemble the notorious fruit cake that Americans joke about as a “re-gifting” item.  My Czech mother-in-law’s recipe does contain some lemon zest, but beyond that, it’s more of a chocolate chip and nut lover’s dream. This cake wonderfully combines bittersweet chocolate with hazelnuts (or walnuts or pecans), with the lemon zest adding just the right bit of pleasant zest for ultimate deliciousness. This sweet bread contains lots of beaten egg whites. Occasionally, I add some chopped candied orange peel to the batter, if I have some left over from making Marokánky cookies. If I do that, I reduce the chocolate and nut quantities slightly. Continue reading

Chocolate Walnut Meringue Cookies (Pusinky s vlašskými ořechy)

Chocolate Walnut Meringues
On salad plate. Make smaller for Christmas platter, but be consistent with size.

Czech Christmas Cookie #7

A nutty meringue cookie with a hint of chocolate flavor. This cookie can last for weeks. Because of that, during WWII, my Czech mother-in-law sent a large batch of these cookies to Jewish friends that sadly were taken to a concentration camp. These were a favorite of my husband’s father. My mother-in-law spread the batter in a pan, then cut them into squares. I prefer to bake them in individual traditional small rounds. I think they’re prettier that way. As with many others, these taste even better as they age.

Do follow the recipe exactly as written. Definitely use walnuts and real confectioner’s sugar. I tried other nuts with less success. Low/no calorie confectioner’s sugar substitutes made the recipe fail.

Continue reading

Rum Balls with Rum Soaked Dried Cherries inside (Rumové Kuličky)

Rum ballsCzech Christmas Cookie #6

Rum, chocolate, walnut balls with the delight of rum-soaked dried cherries in their centers, pack a delicious flavor punch. No wheat flour needed. They even improve with age, but I tend to eat up the first batch quickly. They are traditionally rolled in unsweetened cocoa, which gives them a nice flavor bite, but you can get even more creative, as I did for the photo above (cocoa, finely grated coconut, finely chopped/ground nuts, and multi-color nonpareils). Continue reading

Bear Paw Cookies (Pracny or Medvědí Tlapky)

Pracny croppedCzech Christmas Cookie #5

Pracny (or Medvědí Tlapky) are very traditional Czech nut and spice cookies baked in special cookie molds, some looking like bear paws. The following recipe has a light amount of spices. Other recipes include more. Feel free to increase the ground cinnamon and clove amounts a bit, according to your taste. Too much clove can get overwhelming, though. This is an eggless recipe. Traditional molds for pracny can be found online. I purchased mine at https://www.slovczechvar.com/?cat=26&scat=88, which is an online store in the US.

I have only ever used smooth flour for this recipe. Unbleached pastry flour (see below) should be an equivalent. I’m not sure how they would turn out using all-purpose flour. Continue reading