Monday, December 22, 2008

A Matter of Mass

Diets. I've got a theory of why they don't work. I discovered this years ago, when either hubby or I would be trying to knock off a few pounds. We'd watch what we ate, cut back on treats, eat smaller portions. However, it seemed that when he was doing the weight loss thing, I'd find my own weight creeping up despite no change in my own eating habits.
We decided that there's a logical explanation.

Remember those laws of physics? Matter can neither be created nor destroyed? Well, I discovered a corollary to that law. I called it "Conservation of Marital Mass." No matter what, the sum of the weight of the husband and wife shall remain constant. What one gains, the other loses.
Lately, I think this law has expanded to cover anyone I know. Despite my efforts to hold the pounds at bay, doing all the right things, the things that had worked before, those pounds not only wouldn't go away, but they kept inviting their friends to join them.

Why, I wondered. And then I noticed that one of our casual 'see you at Panera on Sunday' friends had dropped almost a full person's worth of weight. And we visited friends in Washington who were on weight watchers, and their pounds were disappearing. Now, I know I haven't gained
all their poundage, but all that matter has to go somewhere, and I'm sure there are others out there who are sharing in the redistribution of body matter. It's holiday time. Parties. Friends and relatives bearing gifts of delectable edibles. Traditional foods, all bursting at the seams with calories. Everyone says they put on weight during the holidays. Maybe this time, while they're gaining, I'll be able to take some off.

That being said, here's my daughter's recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cake.


1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 c Guinness
1 c flour
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
1/3 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla
1/3 c low fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan. (dusting with cocoa powder works best)

In a small saucepan, combine cocoa and stout and heat over low-moderate heat until smooth. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Beat butter with an electric mixer on low-medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until pale yellow. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Stir buttermilk into cooled cocoa/stout mixture.

With mixer on low, add liquid mixture and dry ingredients alternately, in 3 batches.

Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until cake pulls away from the edges of pan and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack. Poke lots of holes into cake with a fork.

Chocolate Guinness Sauce

1/4 c Guinness
4 T brown sugar
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t vanilla

Mix ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Allow to cool. Pour into/over cooled cake.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

5 fl oz heavy whipping cream
5 oz semi-sweet chocolate. Chunks or chips.

Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Turn off heat and add chocolate, stir until smooth. Pour over cake! (works best when cake is already on serving plate)


Dara Edmondson said...

DH and I have always reduced together - and gained together! Since he doesn't cook, he eats healthy when I cook that way and vice versa.
Cake sounds yummy. Although I'm a great cook, I'm only a fair baker, so I buy instead of bake;-)

Terry Odell said...

So, Dara, that must mean you and DH have 'weight' doubles somewhere out there who are losing and gaining in the opposite direction. I may tackle that cake -- but not until January when we have to go to a pot luck meeting of the Civilian Police Academy. I'll have my cake, but only eat a little of it.

Today, I'll tackle my rugelach (affectionately called 'rug latches' by hubby) recipe. Going to try it with apricots and almonds this year.

VmC said...

I just finished catching up on your blog. Love the hard-body shots! Eleven long months until next year’s SWAT event.

It’s long past your due date but I found my 5th sentence on page 56 “In the larger vessels, as the iliac, femoral, an carotid, elastic fibres unite to form lamellae, which alternate with the layers of muscular fibre and are united by elastic fibres which pass between the muscular bundles , and are connected with the fenestrated membrane of the inner coat (fig. 72).” – a description of the vascular system

This sentence makes me evaluate the contents of my bookcase. Closest to hand and source of my quote is Gray’s Anatomy, plus a small, dusty collection of reference books - dictionary, thesaurus, writing manuals. Along with gardening books, high school annuals and there is a precariously listing collection of computer paper, labels and card stock. Though on a lower shelf but still within chair scooting distant are my copies of books by an award-winning author – maybe you know her, Terry Odell?

As to your corollary of Conservation of Marital Mass – I agreed whole-heartedly. I haven’t gained all the weight DH lost but certainly a fair percentage. I attribute it to food. I used to have yogurt, butter, cheese, a loaf of bread and a 12 pack of diet-Dr. Pepper in the frig. Now, no telling what I’ll find in there – chickens, veggies, big blocks of cheese. No telling how much he’s cooked while I was at work and generously ladled into plastic containers for my lunch.

Gotta go, it’s almost lunch time. Help meeeeeeeeee!

VmC said...

Oh, I forgot to tell you how much I enjoyed your "interviews" with Frankie,
Molly and Ryan. Too bad you didn't include your trip to the OC Animal
Shelter when testing the various breeds of dog that might be suitable for
the story. What would have happened if a shih tsu, Chinese Crested, OE
Sheepdog or Kellerman's Frenchie had interviewed better than the German