Category Archives: Real Food Recipes

Charlie’s Rainbow Sorbet Cake

 

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Each year, I ask the kids what birthday cake they’d like, they look up cake’s in the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake recipe books, or we google ‘best cakes ever’, or they just think of ideas and let me know.    Charlie’s birthday is in the middle of January – Summer! – and she wanted  ‘rainbow sorbet cake’!  We had a look around google images but she could not find what she wanted.  So she drew it, coloured it in, thought of the fruits that we could have in each layer, and gave it to me…. and we managed to pull it off last weekend for her birthday celebrations.  The best part about this bright, colourful ‘cake’, was that it was all natural fruits giving it the flavour and colour!!!

Recipe for ‘Charlie’s Rainbow Sorbet Cake’

You need to think about the ‘cake’ a week in advance (unless you have an endless supply of cake tins!.. and loads of ice in the freezer).  It’s also handy to have a Thermomix 😉 or a really good food processor that can handle crushing a lot of ice.

Basic Sorbet Recipe

Pour 50g raw sugar into your Thermomix/food processor.

Mill the sugar on Speed 9 for 10 seconds.

Add 350g fresh or frozen fruit (peeled kiwi fruit, peeled oranges, blueberries, strawberries, banana, raspberries etc) and 1 egg white to the sugar. I added a banana to the fresh fruit for most of the sorbet layers as it makes a creamier, softer, ‘icecream’ type texture.

Mix on Speed 5 for 15 seconds.

Add 800g – 1kg of ice (4 to 6 trays of ice) to the bowl.

Mix for 1 min 30 seconds.   If the ice cubes start to get pushed to the top of the Thermomix bowl, then take the measuring cup out, and push the ice down with the spatula.  You can leave the spatula in the lid for the rest of the mixing time if you want.

Make a ‘batch’ of sorbet, and after feeding the kids a serve each, pour/plonk/scrape it out into a lined cake tin.   Flatten the sorbet into the tin using a spatula.    I used a ‘ring baking tin’ so that the layers would be thicker, so it would defrost evenly, and so that it was easier to slice up and serve everyone.  I lined the tin with baking paper on the bottom of the pan only.

Cover the baking tin with GLADwrap and put in the freezer for 3 hours, or until you make the next layer the following day.

Take frozen sorbet out of the freezer, dip a knife in hot water and run the knife around the edge of the tin to help ease the sorbet from the tin.  Turn the tin upside down and the ‘sorbet layer’ will pop out like a cake, onto your plate.  Leave the baking paper on the sorbet layer, as this prevents the layers mixing when defrosting, and it makes it easier to slice and serve.  Cover this layer with GLADwrap, and return it to the freezer.   Remember to refill your ice trays for the next layer of sorbet.

The following day, make another ‘batch’ of sorbet, and repeat the above process.

You can store each layer separately in the freezer, and put together on the day…. or you can clear out some freezer space and put the layers together prior to the day.

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Above: making a batch of sorbet… this one is blackberry sorbet….

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 Above: the ring baking tin I used for each sorbet layer.

Below: the blueberry sorbet layer resting on top of the kiwi fruit layer.

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By the time we brought the cake out to the table (on a hot Summer’s day!), popped some candles on top, took some photos and sang ‘Happy Birthday’, it was beautifully defrosted enough to slice and serve.  If it wasn’t such a hot day, you would take it out of the freezer at least 15mins before eating, so that it is soft enough to serve.

Here are some photos of Charlie’s birthday party ….

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Hills Homestead - Birthday Cakes

signed - hayley @ hills homestead

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Easy Sourdough Bread

 

 1 Sourdough Bread

Now that you’ve made your sourdough starter, have you tried making bread yet?

A lot of people have been making these sourdough crackers every week, and loving them.  They taste cheesy (but have no cheese in them), and most of the gluten has been broken down through the proofing time, and they have some lovely olive oil and sea salt crystals sprinkled over them.

I’ve been making our bread ever since we were married and received a ‘Country Loaf’ breadmaker for our wedding.  However, I’d only make it for when we had visitors or special occasions.   It was using the bags of bread mix (which I have since realised contain a whole lot of additives that I didn’t necessarily want/need in my bread – non-iodised salt, malt flour, mineral salt (E170, soy flour, emulsifier (E472), vegetable gum (E412), inactive dry yeast, ascorbic acid (Vit C), enzyme, Thiamine…. etc See here.).  Now we’ve been making our own bread for 2 years, and usually it’s the basic white bread (Thermomix recipe containing just Bakers Flour, warm water, yeast, salt, oil).  Since having the Thermomix we haven’t had to have store bought bread and I like knowing exactly what is going into my bread.  This has been the biggest saving for us as a family of 6.   With a large extended family and birthday parties and lunches/dinners with friends, we have been able to make our own bread rolls (white/wholemeal/seed loaf), bread loaves, scrolls for kids lunches (‘cheesymite’ scrolls, ham and cheese scrolls,  tomato and cheese scrolls, cinnamon scrolls, jam scrolls), danishes!, gluten free bread, fruit loaves, … and also loads of things like scones… for the cost of Bakers Flour (bought in 10kg bags) and a bit of yeast/salt/oil… Now, back to sourdough – sorry!

I have now started experimenting more with sourdough to decrease my gluten intake and increase the nutritious value of the bread I eat.  These HEALTH benefits are the reason why I’m starting to change my baking routines.

This sourdough loaf is slightly more time intensive than our usual white loaf (that takes 1 1/2 mins kneading time in the Thermomix, and 30 mins rising time, and 25mins baking time).   This sourdough loaf takes 5-10 minutes to ‘knead’, then it has to be left to rise or ‘proof’ for at least 8 hours (longer than this is preferable, as the gluten breaks down even more over time).  THEN it takes about an hour to bake.

This is how my sourdough ‘creations’ looked a year ago…

MY FIRST SOURDOUGH ‘CREATIONS’ – basic recipe – 1 cup sourdough starter, 1 cup water, 2 tsp sea salt, 3 cups flour (spelt, rye, wholemeal, any flour)

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The sourdough loaves left to proof for 24 – 48 hours.

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Sourdough loaf in the oven.

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Fresh out of the oven, kind of like little bricks 🙂 but delicious.  Chewy crusts and a tasty, dense, healthy loaf.  I would cut (saw!) it into slices and pop into the freezer to use a bit every day.

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However, only 2 people out of our family would eat this loaf.  So here’s the recipe for a different sourdough bread that my whole family (nearly!) eats.

After a bit of experimenting, my sourdough loaves now look like this (see below).

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 I was amazed that all the kids loved it – even Charlie!  Now don’t expect a light, fluffy loaf like your usual bread.   It is a denser loaf, with a thick, hard crust.

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    Easy Sourdough Bread

  PREPARATION – 10 MINS (then left overnight to ‘proof’ or rise)

  1. Put the following ingredients into a large bowl

–         330g sourdough starter

–         15g (or 3 tsp) sea salt

–         420g warm water

–         40g extra virgin olive oil

–         150g rye flour

–         600g Bakers Flour

 

2.Using a rolling pin, hold it like a ‘dagger’ in your bowl, and move it vigorously back (towards you) and forth (away from you) to mix and ‘knead’ the sourdough bread mixture.   It is like ‘goo’ and you cannot knead it on the bench.  It will take about 5 minutes.  Keep going until you see the ‘gluten fibers’ coming together and it gets thicker – it really tones the arms!!             (Alternatively, you can pop all of the above ingredients in your Thermomix, mix on Speed 6 for 10 seconds, then Knead for 3 minutes).

  1. Plop it onto a lined baking tray and with floury hands, shape it into a ‘log’.
  2. Cover it with a clean towel, and leave it overnight (or all day) to rise.

BAKING – 1 HOUR

1.  Preheat oven to very hot – 200 o C

2.  Cut slits into the top of your dough with a knife (to allow for more rising in the oven).

3.   Put in the oven for about an hour.  Test if it’s ready by tapping it and it should sound hollow.  Wait about 15 mins before slicing.

4.  Enjoy with butter and jam or melted cheese!

Print recipe  Blog Recipe – Easy Sourdough Bread      or         Blog Recipe – Easy Sourdough Bread – without header

Now, a few pictures of the sourdough ‘kneading’ process ….19-DSC_0819    11-2013-05-03_4880PortVicNetball 2013-05-03_4886PortVicNetball   2013-05-03_4895PortVicNetball  01-1 Kneading Sourdough

Enjoy !

signed - hayley @ hills homestead

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Starting your Sourdough Starter – Where to Start!

Do you like sourdough?  Have you heard of the amazing health benefits of eating sourdough?

Did you know that you can make your own FREE yeast at home for your OWN sourdough starter?  and with just TWO ingredients – flour and water … and TIME !.

 Starting a Sourdough Starter in pictures

Why sourdough?

  • Sourdough is a fermented food.   Yes, that’s why it sits on my bench (and not in my fridge!)
  • Fermented foods are good for you.
  • Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria.  We need bacteria in our diets in a world that is now too sterile, where everything is pasteurised, and antibiotics are overused.  (Don’t get the wrong idea here – I work in a hospital – I know there is a need to wash our hands, pasteurise some foods, and the use of antibiotics can be life-saving – however, we are going OVERBOARD with all of the above).
  • In traditional societies, food was fermented to preserve it (as they did not have fridges, freezers, preserving jars! and chemical preservatives like we do now).   Think about wine, soy sauce, fermented fish sauce, kefir, yoghurt, crème fraiche (sour cream)…..  This article here is a great read about traditional foods and fermentation.
  • Eating fermented foods/drinks is a great (or the best) way to introduce PROBIOTICS into our diets (see my post on Kefir for more information on probiotics)
  • ‘Fermenting’ the flour (any flour) decreases the lectins, gluten, and phytates in the grain/flour making it easier for us to digest.   In a sense, the sourdough preparation ‘pre-digests’ the starches for us 🙂  So even if your are gluten-sensitive or have celiac disease, you may be able to eat sourdough because the gluten has been broken down (AND the taste, texture, and quality of the bread is so much better than bread made with gluten free flours).  Sources: here and here and here.  And I know I’m getting off track a bit, but this article from Celiac.com states that,
      "... sourdough isn't just good for making better bread. Recent studies show 
      that sourdough fermentation can also speed gut healing in people with celiac disease 
      at the start of a gluten-free diet."
  • Improved digestion means that more vitamins and minerals (zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus) are absorbed (ie because fermentation breaks down the mineral-binding phytates).  More information here.
  • Eating sourdough bread does not raise your blood sugar level as much or as rapidly as white bread ie it lowers your insulin response/improves glucose tolerance (source: here)

Do you agree it is a good bread to eat?    One of the blogs I read, Kitchen Stewardship, has collated a LOT of information and research that has been done on sourdough.  Katie, the writer, is convinced that sourdough is THE most nutritious way to prepare grains.  See all of her research here.

Sourdough starter is the traditional way of making bread. It’s how everyone used to make bread before they had commercial baker’s yeast.

Most bread these days is made with baker’s yeast.  I make bread/scrolls/buns with white Baker’s flour and commercial yeast nearly every second day to feed family and friends.  However, I’m starting to perfect the sourdough loaf, and my children at the whole loaf yesterday :), so I am going to try more sourdough recipes over the next few months because of the above many advantages to eating naturally fermented bread.

Now, to creating your own starter…..

Rye sourdough starter

  This is mine.  I have had many starters over the years.   I started my rye starter in January 2013.

Recipe for ‘Starting your own Sourdough Starter’

Feeding my sourdough starter

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Grab a clean jar.

Put 1/4 cup flour (any flour) into the jar, and add about 3 Tbsp water to it.  Mix with a wooden spoon.

Cover with a loose fitting lid, or some cheesecloth.  Leave on your kitchen bench.

(12 hours later)

Add another 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup filtered water to your jar.  Mix.

(12 hours later)

Add another 1/2 cup flour and 1/3 cup filtered water to your jar.  Mix.

(12 hours later)

Repeat.

Do this for about a week, and your very own ‘sourdough starter’ should be collecting the ‘wild yeasts’ from the air, and making it’s own natural yeast, and bubbling like the picture below…..

Thriving sourdough starter!

You then use this starter to make sourdough recipes… pancakes, breads, sourdough crackers, pizza bases etc.

Notes about the tools and ingredients you use…..

1.   You can use any kind of flour, as long as it is a grain-based flour.  I use rye flour.  You can use rice flour, spelt flour, wholemeal flour, barley flour, bread flour.. you get the idea.

2.  Feed your sourdough starter with filtered water if possible.

3.  You can purchase established sourdough starters if needed (they are sold fresh or dried and powdered) – this will give your sourdough starter a boost and ensure you have bubbles!  I’d recommend first finding a friend who has a thriving sourdough starter and take 1/2 a cup of the starter, and begin feeding it yourself.

4. Your sourdough starter will grow – because you are ‘feeding’ it flour and water every day!

When you get a jar full of bubbly starter, USE some of it for a recipe (Google it to find a recipe that suits you), or put some of it in another jar.

5.  If you plan to only use your sourdough starter once a week, store it in your fridge.  Before you want to use it for baking, take it out of the fridge and feed it flour and water 12 hours before you use it.

6.  If you see a  brown liquid floating on top of your starter, simply pour it off.  It’s called ‘hooch’ and it is harmless, but it just means that you’ve probably fed your starter too much water in relation to flour, or you’ve left it a few days inbetween feeds (this happens to me all the time!)

 

Thriving sourdough starter!

Thriving sourdough starter  +    oil / water / more flour / sea salt

=>     leave to ‘proof’ overnight          => bake in the morning

 

Sourdough bread - you can make it in your Thermomix!

 

=     beautiful,soft, fluffy sourdough loaf of bread.

 

Next time I write, I’ll post my latest adapted sourdough bread recipe that I’ve been making.signed - hayley @ hills homestead

 

ADDIT –  Something I’ve been reading about….

What about STARTing a community garden… or a FOOD FOREST !  A guy in New Zealand has written a manual about how to start one and is getting funding to use public land for a community ‘free for all’ FOOD FOREST!!  Here is the link to the manual for ‘How to create a community Food Forest on public land’. 

What is a Food Forest?                           See here for a handout – Principles of food forests

 “Food forests have a very long tradition in many areas of the word. For example in the oases of the Middle East, Africa, Nepal, India, Vietnam. ….. It is definitely not a new type of food production.   A food forest is a young forest made completely from plants that a chosen (by) people.  Every forest, except the one in the hot humid tropics, are composed out of 7 layers of plants.
The keys to a well-functioning food forest are:
– a thick layer of ground cover plants that are:
   – not grass. Grass is useless in a food forest, it impede all other layers.
   – dense enough to suppress germination and growth of weed seeds.
   – as much additional uses as possible. Something like fixing nitrogen, edible, bee attracting, etc.
   – can take light pedestrian traffic.
– enough nitrogen fixing perennials/bushes/trees to feed your other plants.
– enough nutrient pumping plants like Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) that pumps up nutrients from  deep soil layers and makes them available to other plants.
– a high diversity of plants to get a balanced relationship of pests and predators.
– enough space between the trees for a productive bush, herb and ground cover layer.
– enough maintenance in the first 20 years. (Rapidly declining maintenance every year)
 If you carefully comply with all key elements you ending up with a carefree food forest that produce very high amounts of food and other useful products in 7 layers instead of just one.”  Source:  here.
Another source Edible Forest Gardens“,  states that “We can consciously apply the principles of ecology to the design of home scale gardens that mimic forest ecosystem structure and function, but grow food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, “farmaceuticals,” and fun.”
How cool are ‘edible forest gardens’ ?!!!
signed - hayley @ hills homestead
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How to make Sourdough Crackers

They love them – Yea!

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Recipe – Sourdough Crackers

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup sourdough starter

1/4 cup coconut oil or butter  (I used butter this time)

1 cup wholegrain flour (I don’t have any wheat left to freshly mill in my Thermomix, so I have been using plain wholemeal flour or spelt flour)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda (I now use an Aluminium Free baking soda – Bob’s Red Mill Baking Soda – available at Foodland)

And for the ‘topping’ – some EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and extra coursely ground Sea Salt

 Sourdough Starter on my bench

METHOD:

Combine all of the above ingredient (except for the ‘topping’ ingredients) in a plastic bowl.

It should form a stiff dough.

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You can add the 1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, the 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the bicarb soda now or after the 7 + hours of sitting on your bench …

Cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 7 hours on the bench (NOT in the fridge).   I prepare the dough in the evening to bake the next day, or in the morning to bake later that day for after school snacks.

When you are ready to make the crackers, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Dump 1/3 of the dough onto a well-floured piece of Baking Paper (or non-stick baking mat) on a baking tray.

Roll out as thinly as possible using a rolling pin (then use your fingers to push the dough right out to the sides)

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Slosh some EVOO on top and spread it around with a pastry brush.  Top with a sprinkle of sea salt – sea salt has amazing flavour and you don’t need much.  I’ve also made  a few batches of crackers with chilli powder (from the Indian Spice Shop) sprinkled on top – YUM!!

Run a pizza cutter (or knife) along the dough to make shapes of your choice.

Pop into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.    After the baking time, you can turn the oven off and open the door to let them ‘dry out’ a bit more.

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Once cool, store in an airtight container.

I’m sure they would last for weeks in an airtight container, but ours never last that long.  I’m now making these crackers every couple of weeks for snacks and lunches and to go with dips and cheeses.  They taste amazing and are very ‘morish’ and yet so healthy with the good stable and saturated fats, sea salt, and of course the SOURDOUGH STARTER.   When the sourdough starter is left over night mixed in with the ‘normal’ flour, it helps to break down the gluten in the flour, and the fermentation process removes phytates and enzyme inhibitors which makes the crackers far easier for us to digest.    GREAT for people who are intolerant to gluten, children, and ANY of us who have far too much gluten in our diet.

The above recipe is a modified form of a crackers recipe from a GNOWFLIGNS ebook “Sourdough A to Z” that I bought  – you can find it here.   This ebook is now on my desktop and I refer to it for ANYTHING to do with sourdough!  It contains information, instructions and recipes for …..

  • Starting a Starter, Caring for a Starter, and special section on Gluten-Free Sourdough
  • Sourdough Routines: An Interview with Three Bloggers
  • Tortillas & Tortilla Chips
  • Cakes: Chocolate & Spice
  • No-Knead Sourdough Bread with Many Uses: Pita Bread, English Muffins, Cinnamon Rolls and more!
  • Spelt Sandwich Bread, Dinner Rolls, Hamburger Buns, and Swirl Bread
  • English Muffins 
& Sandwich Ideas
  • Skillet Pancakes and Waffles
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Crepes & Crepe Cakes
  • Basic Muffins & Variations
  • Crackers: Plain, Cheese, and Variations
  • Honey Whole Wheat Bread
  • Gingerbread
  • Pizza Crust & Pizza Pockets
  • Pasta
  • Pocket Bread and Middle Eastern Pizza
  • Cornbread & Corn Fritters
  • Donuts
  • Biscuits
  • Pot Pie
  • Basic Scones & Variations
  • Dehydrating/Preserving a Starter
  • Cookies
  • Impossible Pies

I haven’t even tried half of the above recipes, but am keeping my sourdough starter alive and well (‘feeding’ it flour and water every day or so!) on my kitchen counter for the usual sourdough pancakes, sourdough bread, and crackers.

WHY SOURDOUGH?

Here are some additional nutritional benefits of using sourdough in your cooking…..

  • it pre-digests starches, making bread/pastry/crackers easily digestible
  • it lowers your insulin response
  • it somehow protects Vitamin B1 from the damage of the heat of baking
  • it breaks down the protein gluten (which is difficult for us to digest), resulting in a bread that gluten-sensitive/intolerant  people can eat
  • it activates phytase to hydrolyze (dissolve) the phytates, thus freeing up minerals such as:
    • zinc
    • iron
    • magnesium
    • copper
    • phosphorus

(Source: here)

” I am convinced that sourdough is THE most nutritious way to  prepare grains.  ”  Read more at http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/03/05/food-for-thought-health-benefits-of-sourdough/#mR3wlTeyLPhXfbEI.99

I’d really like to share just how EASY it is to start your own sourdough starter, because you don’t need to order packets of anything, you just need FLOUR and WATER and over a few days you will collect the WILD YEASTS (I’m sure that’s the technical term!) from the air to make your own starter!!!!!!   See here to ‘Start your own Sourdough Starter’…..  

So you don’t miss the next post, feel free to SUBSCRIBE to my blog via email  (just pop your email address in the box in the top right hand corner of this page) and my blog posts will come directly into your inbox 🙂

Bye for now,

Collages-002PS  Photo’s from the hail storm we had a week ago – the cousins raced over and all the kids filled up cups of hail to make ‘slushies’ !!!

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My youngest, Max, has just turned 2 years old!  I was looking through his baby photos and found these ‘Winter Days’ photos from 2 years ago – featuring little baby Max… and my milk kefir and sourdough starter!!

2011VinceFamilyAlbum001… and my other son, Jake, turned 5 and we had a party last weekend….

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BELOW – Abbey did a magic show for the young cousins….

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Bye (again!)… and don’t forget to subscribe via email to this blog, so that you get the EASY, FREE, HEALTHY recipe for making your own SOURDOUGH STARTER

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Cacao Beans – Health Benefits & satisfy that chocolate craving – Cacao bean recipe!!!!

I have now found many uses for my cacao(chocolate!)  beans!!  AND many reasons why it’s great to eat them!

What are cacao beans?

Milling Cocao Beans

I found the following picture on Facebook that shows the Cacao Bean and the various forms it comes in – it helped me work out what I need when I experiment with making chocolate!!!

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Picture above:  My Cacao Beans in my Thermomix – ready to be milled for a recipe.

  • Cacao beans are small, quite bitter (if you eat them ‘raw’), and brown in colour.
  • It is a seed of the fruit of a tree in the Amazon jungles!
  • The natives used cacao as a medicine – it was used to build strength, help digestion, decrease fatigue, anaemia, and fevers.
  • Nearly all of the world’s cacao trees are grown on small family farms because cacao farming is labour-intensive and time-consuming (Source: Harcourt-Cooze, Willie 2010 “Willie’s Chocolate Bible” Hodder & Stoughtom Great Britain)
  • The word ‘cacao’ actually means ‘cocoa’.   Apparently the Brittish found it difficult to pronounce the word ‘cacao’ – or ‘ka-cow’ – so it’s been ‘cocoa’ to us all ever since!
  • So cacao is chocolate!   ” All the antioxidant value, mineral benefits, neurotransmitter rejuvenating properties, and overall health-giving qualities of chocolate are found in Cacao Beans! ” (Source: here)
  • Theobroma cacao, which literally means “Cacao, the food of the gods.”
  • Cacao is actually one of the great weight loss foods because it contains the minerals and molecules that shut off the appetite.
  • It is one of nature’s most fantastic superfoods due to its mineral content and other varied properties.
  • Recent research shows that dark chocolate stimulates feel-good endorphins, contains flavonoids (a powerful antioxidant), serotonin (which acts as an anti-depressant), and may be beneficial to blood circulation and helpful in lowering blood pressure. (Source: Harcourt-Cooze, Willie 2010 “Willie’s Chocolate Bible” Hodder & Stoughtom Great Britain)
  • I originally bought the cacao beans because I’d been reading about their health benefits.

Health Benefits of Cacao Beans?

Cacao beans are JAM PACKED with nutrients, and I’m keen to include them somehow in my daily diet.

  • They are powerful ANTI-OXIDENTS: more antioxidants than any other food! (Sources here and here)

“Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Source: Medline:Plus    Do you know what other diseases are caused by free-radicals?

Some of the degenerative conditions caused by free radicals include:

  • Deterioration of the eye lens, which contributes to blindness.
  • Inflammation of the joints (arthritis).
  • Damage to nerve cells in the brain, which contributes to conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Acceleration of the ageing process.
  • Increased risk of coronary heart disease, since free radicals encourage low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to adhere to artery walls.
  • Certain cancers, triggered by damaged cell DNA.                        (Source: here)

The list is not to scare you! but to make us realise that we need lots of anti-oxidents in our diet.     Getting food sources of anti-oxidents is so important.  Some studies suggest that antioxidants are less effective when isolated from food and presented in tablet form.    Another source states that “research indicates that simply taking antioxidant supplements is not the best way to go about getting what your body needs. In fact, it’s possible that some of these supplements could be harmful. Fortunately, research is also increasingly showing that you can reap the potential health benefits of antioxidant intake by eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods”.

Great sources of anti-oxidents are blueberries, blackberries, green tea, coffee, red wine, spinach, pistachios, almonds, And for dessert — Don’t forget that a piece of dark chocolate ranks as high or higher than most fruits and vegetables in terms of antioxidant content (Source here).  Notice they are mostly dark foods!

Now back to cacao beans (a nice dark food!), apparently they contain more anti-oxidents than ANY OTHER FOOD (Sources here and  here).

“Now blueberries are quite dark too, and they’re often thought of as being fantastic for our skin [and a great source of anti-oxidents] . But while blueberries contain 32 antioxidants, and wild blueberries contain 61 antioxidants, cacao beans contain an unbelievable 621 anti-oxidants!!! That is an insanely high amount”. (Sources here and here)   This is because the antioxidants are so concentrated –  antioxidants known as polpyphenols make up more than 10 percent of the weight of dry raw cocoa beans.

  • They contain an amazing amount of CHROMIUM, more than ANY other food! (Source here)

The top five chromium health benefits are:     1. Monitors the blood sugar      2. Aids metabolism    3. Reduces food cravings     4. Regulates fat and cholesterol    5. Prevents hypertension  (Source: here)

and chromium aids in weightloss (because it helps metabolism and reduces food cravings) (source: here).

  • They are a great source of MAGNESIUM, and again, the beans contain more magnesium than ANY OTHER FOOD!! (Sources here and  here)

“Magnesium: Cacao seems to be the 1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium is one of the great alkaline minerals. It helps to support the heart, brain, and digestive system (it fights constipation). Magnesium is also important for building strong bones. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during the monthly cycle. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with more happiness. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in Magnesium! Cacao has enough magnesium to help reverse these deficiencies.” (Source)

Magnesium deficiency — here are just a few:  anxiety, asthma, bowel problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, food cravings (chocolate is high in Mg!), headaches (including migraines), heart disease, hyperactivity, infertility, menstrual cramps, mitral valve prolapse, muscle cramps and/or tics, osteoporosis, tremors, wheezing and the list goes on and on… (Source)  I’ve also read about how magnesium deficiency is linked to experiencing morning sickness whilst pregnant (Source).

The is a lot more detailed information in the book “The Magnesium Miracle” and see here for more information on weaning off of anti-depressants and the importance of magnesium.

  • They contain high levels of Vitamin C.

I’d rather get some raw cacao beans into my diet rather than a little pill containing all of the above!

NOTE: The chocolate we eat usually contains no more than 5 to 10% cacao, the rest is fat and sugar and other additives.   Today’s chocolate, according to Willie, has been “diluted and polluted”, has almost nil health benefits.  So my recipes will be containing cacao beans in their raw state as well as other healthy whole ingredients.

I found a recipe that uses cacao beans and some other amazingly healthy ingredients AND tastes yummy.

I have cut it into bite sized pieces (like chocolate) and the kids LOVE them, I love them, and we can have one a day like a tablet – because it’s so full of goodness.

I have modified a recipe that I found in a book Rawlicious – Raw Food recipes for everyday! by Thermomix (you can find the book here).

I’ve called them…

Sweet Cacao Bean Bites

Cacao Bean Bites

 What you need / INGREDIENTS

55g Cacao Beans  (peeled or unpeeled – I used unpeeled)

75g Chia Seeds  (these are called ‘nature’s complete superfood’ – they contain more Omega 3 and Dietary Fibre than any other food from nature)

75g  mixture of whatever nuts/seeds you have in your pantry (I used sunflower kernels and almonds)

50g Pistachio Kernels

60g Raw Honey

Pinch of Sea Salt

(I then added a few drops of Peppermint Oil – I LOVED it – but the kids weren’t so keen, so I made it ‘plain’ next time)

METHOD

1. Mill the Cacao Beans –

(Thermomix: Mill for 20 seconds on Speed 10)

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2.  Add the rest of the ingredients.

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3.  Blend until well combined

(Thermomix: 40 seconds on Speed 7)

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4.  Press into a container on some baking paper (or a baking sheet) and refrigerate until you want to eat it!

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5. Peel off baking paper and cut into small ‘chocolate piece’ sizes.

2013-02-03_2396CacaoBeansSourDoCacao Bean Bites

6.  Store in the fridge.

Method Summary… in pictures…

Milling Cocao Beans

Method for choc cacao bean recipe

 

   Enjoy!

 

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PS I bought my Cacao Beans from Loving Earth – $12.50 for 250g – at the moment, Loving Earth have FREE shipping on orders over $50!

 

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Homemade Vanilla Extract – Why didn’t I do this YEARS ago???

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Do you use vanilla?  In baking?  In smoothies?  I use it all the time.  We add it to our smoothies in the morning.  I add it to cakes/biscuts/slices.  I add it to homemade bliss balls or honey granola!

I previously used vanilla essence – it was cheaper.

ie Queen flavouring – natural vanilla essence = $3.98 / 50 mL

Queen imitation flavouring – vanilla essence = $1.50 / 100mL (or $0.75 / 50mL !!!)  Yes, cheap.

Ancor food flavouring – vanilla essence = $2.00 / 250mL (or $0.40 / 50 mL  !!!)  Even cheaper!

Then I had a look at the ingredients – Water, cane sugar, vanilla flavours, caramel colour (150(d)).   I was starting to try and avoid additives in food so that my children can really taste the true flavours and see the true colours of real food, and also see what actually went into their food.   So I began to purchase Vanilla Extract.

Now this has been expensive the last few years.  I’ve been buying 50mL Vanilla Extract for $12!  The cheapest I’ve found online is $9 for 100mL which is A LOT cheaper, but has water added, and it’s not organic.   Vanilla is something with such a strong flavour and such a long shelf life, and something I use daily so I choose organic.

So I looked at the ingredients list on the vanilla extract I was buying:

1. Water

2. Alcohol

3. Vanilla pod and extracts of vanilla pods.

And then made ….

Homemade Vanilla Extract

 

 1. Gather the ingredients – 5 Vanilla Beans + a bottle of Vodka.

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I used ‘local’ organic vanilla beans from Beach Organics in Middleton, South Australia.

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See address below – you can order any of their products online – they also have coconut palm sugar, cacao butter, herbs & spices, sea salt, local honey…

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I used a bottle of vodka that I just added to my home delivered grocery order.  It cost my $38 for a 700mL bottle.

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2. Get out 5 vanilla beans, and with a sharp knife, slit each of them open lengthwise

See picture below.

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3. Pop the split vanilla beans into the bottle of vodka.

And you’re done!  It’s that easy!

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Put the bottle of homemade vanilla extract in your dark pantry next to something you see everyday (like your butter, or spices, or salt and pepper) so that you remember to give it a gently shake every day (for about a week), then just give it a gentle shake whenever you see it or remember too, to disburse the vanilla extract through the vodka.  Leave it for a couple of months ( or 6 or 7 months!! depending on how concentrated you want the extract to be) before putting into smaller bottles.

I pour the homemade vanilla extract into my bought vanilla extract 50mL bottles (I kept them all… for some reason!), and I pop an extra vanilla bean into it, for “continuing maturity” (that’s what it says on the back of my bottle of purchased Equagold Pure Vanilla Extract).  This vanilla bean can stay in the little bottle indefinitely, you just keep topping the bottle up with your homemade vanilla extract.

I stick a “Hayley’s Homemade – Vanilla Extract” sticker on the bottles and give them away for presents and keep a couple topped up in my pantry for every day use.

Now this recipe cost me …

1.   I bought Skyy Vodka, a 700mL bottle for $38 from Foodland (I don’t know whether that’s expensive or cheap.. I don’t buy Vodka all that often.. actually at all!!!)  = $2.70 / 50mL

2. Beach Organics – organic vanilla beans, a bag of 10 for $20. = $2 per organic vanilla bean

(… at local supermarkets they are usually around $4 / 5g  = usually only 1 vanilla bean … you can find them cheaper at large fruit and vege stores and markets …)

So for each 50mL bottle of vanilla extract, I’m paying less than $4.70 (compared to $12)  … it’s less than this because there is definitely not a whole $2 vanilla bean / 50mL of extract, AND I’ve been topping up with a bit of water to make it go further.

I hope that you are able to try this in your own kitchen.  Imagine never having to buy vanilla extract or flavouring again because you make your own.  TOO easy.  SO much cheaper the buying Vanilla Extract.  Also, it’s a much healthier option vs Vanilla Essence or Flavouring.

ADDIT !!!  A reader just sent a comment in (see below) about another supplier of organic vanilla beans – Sunshine Vanilla – who sell organic vanilla beans in bulk – you can get them for under a $1 each (if you buy 60 of them for $50) … you can make it NOW for EVERYONE for Christmas this year!!!!  Thanks Tanya!

signed - hayley @ hills homestead

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‘Made it in my Thermomix’ Monday

My ‘Amazing Thermo Machine’ – ATM

Have you heard of a Thermomix?

It looks like this….

My ATM - 'Amazing Thermo Machine' !!!
My ATM – ‘Amazing Thermo Machine’ !!!

It can …. “Chop Beat Mix Emulsify Mill Knead Blend Cook Stir Steam Weigh Melt and much, much more…

It’s like having another person (or two) in the kitchen at the same time as you!

It saves SOOOOO much time in the kitchen especially when you are trying to make things from scratch and buy less processed foods.

How long does it take?

  • 3-4 seconds any salad
  • 30 seconds peanut butter
  • 30 seconds any cake mix
  • 60 seconds sorbet
  • 30-60 seconds any juice or drink
  • 1 minute butter
  • 2 minutes pizza dough
  • 1 1/2 minutes for bread dough
  • 3-5 minutes sauce & gravies
  • 7 minutes custard
  • 10-20 minutes soup
  • 10-60 minutes jams & spreads

It’s also saving me money on groceries.   I now don’t buy any snack foods for the kids (except crackers – I haven’t attempted them yet) – we make sorbet, custard, muslei bars, pancakes/pikelets, honey baked granola!, biscuts, cakes, muffins in the Amazing Thermo Machine instead!   I don’t have to buy Gravox, chicken/beef/vege stock, any flavourings for savoury foods, bread/bread rolls, sweet buns for visitors, custard powder, icecream, yoghurt (we save HEAPS here), biscuits/cakes, etc.

I follow quite a few ‘real food blogs’ and I am amazed at how many people out there are making all their own food from scratch, not buying processed foods, avoiding additives like preservatives, flavours and colours, ….. AND they don’t have a Thermomix!!!!  They DO have milling machines, juicers, breadmakers, barmixers, digital scales,  food processors/Kenwood’s, icecream makers, yoghurt makers, rice cookers,  …… etc.    Having a Thermomix simplifies all food preparation and decreases clutter in your kitchen – none of the above appliances are needed anymore when you invest in a Thermomix.

I have one of these Amazing Thermo Machines – a Thermomix – on my kitchen bench!  How blessed am I????  I use it many times (at least 4 times – even if I’m out all day!) a day and I want to share just how much my ATM produces in an average week, for a family of 6 plus visitors ….

Savoury

Vegetable stock – a 1 L jar is now 3/4 full of homemade vegetable stock.  No special ingredients – just some old / leftover raw  vegetables from the fridge/pantry (I had extra zucchini, celery, a squash, a few cherry tomatoes and a couple of carrots), some olive oil and salt (himalayan salt or sea salt) and whatever herbs are in your garden (or fridge… or pantry) – I had sage, rosemary, basil, parsley, and another few leaves from a small green bush that smells ‘herby’… not sure what it is but I pop it in everything…

Dips – for my work lunches, kids snacks, and for visitors I made 2 huge dips – cashew/capsicum/parmeson dip and a Thai Chilli Hommus dip… Mmmmmmm.

Red Thai Curry Paste (to store in the fridge) and Red Thai Curry for dinner one night.

I had a huge green salad left over from the previous nights tea, I popped it in my ATM (my Thermomix ) and pressed turbo for 2 seconds and it was a perfectly chopped salad ready to add some dip for a lunch.

Found an extra 600 mL cream in my fridge left over from icecream making, so made some BUTTER.

Pizza dough – 2 batches used immediately to feed children and cousins, 2 batches to make mini pizzas to freeze for school lunches, and 2 batches to wrap in Glad wrap and pop in the freezer to use later.

Making mini pizzas for school lunches

Mini Pizzas
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Bread – a loaf every second day.  The Thermomix recipe here is the one I use – but without the sugar or bread improver!  Only when we have visitors I’ll bake an extra loaf or rolls to go with the meal.

White bread - homemade
So easy you can make it every day!! It’s so much cheaper than buying bread (especially when you purchase flour in bulk). www.hillshomestead.com

Sweets

Yoghurt – 4 batches (Litres) of yoghurt made this week.  The kids are on school holidays, and they love it with honey and vanilla extract or with stewed rhubarb and apple stirred through it – if we have it for breakfast, we nearly go through the whole 1 L !!!  I make it in the Thermomix (recipe here) then pour it into a 1 L glass jar (from Gaganis), then pop it into my old EasiYo thermos and pour boiling water around the jar – it fits perfectly!!

Homemade Yoghurt in the Theromix
www.hillshomestead.com

                                                                                                         

Sticky Buns – I just use the Thermomix bread recipe, add sultanas, a Tbsp of sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice in the kneeding part, after it rises, I make the dough into rolls, bake, then once cool I put some icing on top.  Sickly sweet buns that kids and adults love!!

CADA – handful of coconut, almonds, dates, and an apple, pulsed X2 in Thermomix – great, light, (sweet) but no sugar, grain-free breakfast

For another quick breakfast with cousins who slept over – pancakes – pop 2 eggs, 2 cups SR flour, some vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp sugar (optional), and some milk (to make it the consistency you like) into the Therommix bowl, mix at speed 4-5 for 20 seconds – a smooth, perfect pancake mixture ready for the frying pan.

Whipped cream – to go with desserts x2 with visitors, to go with pancake toppings (maple syrup!!)

Banana/Walnut Cake – while it was baking we had people pop in (perfect timing!) and I had someone for coffee that night so we had a thick slice with some butter (hope you liked it Anne!!)

Banana Choc Chip Muffins – I used the basic muffin recipe in the Every Day Cookbook and added 2 bananas and a handful of choc chips.

Vanilla Custard x2 for visitors one night (to have with pie) and Chocolate Vanilla Custard (Vanilla Custard with cocoa added) to put in fridge for the kids snacks – choc/vanilla custard cold tastes like those little Milo custards from the shops.

Made chocolate, vanilla, and choc/peppermint ICECREAM for Charlie’s birthday dinner.

Mmmmmm, fresh raspberry sorbet @ www.hillshomestead.com
Fresh raspberry sorbet @ www.hillshomestead.com

And of course, sorbet – every day these holidays – whenever there are extra kids or visitors or just us, sorbet is always welcome – and now the leftovers are being frozen in little containers ready for kids school and kindy lunches – it’s the perfect consistency by recess/lunch time.  We’ve had mango sorbet, chocolate sorbet! the kids made, raspberry sorbet, watermelon sorbet, and lemon sorbet.

Our daily fresh fruit sorbet (sugar, fruit, egg white and lots of ice – all crushed in the Thermomix). Perfect for Summer!

 

Extras

I milled another lot of coffee beans to use in our plunger, and milled a whole  1 kg of raw sugar => castor sugar and icing sugar for the pantry.

I grated 1 kg of cheese and put it into a large container to use during the week (especially for all of those pizzas!)

** If you would like more information on the Thermomix, please see the official Thermomix Australia website  ** Note, I am a massive fan of the Thermomix, but HillsHomestead.com is not affiliated with Vorwerk (the manufacturer of Thermomix), and if you are looking to order a Thermomix, please visit the Thermomix Australia website here, or contact me if you are in Adelaide, SA and I can link you up with a consultant!!!!!

Have a great week,

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Birthday Celebrations Today – Cake Pictures… and Real Food at a Kids Party?!

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I LOVE birthdays.  My mum always made my sisters and I feel so special on our birthdays growing up.

I also want to make my children feel special as we celebrate the DAY THEY WERE BORN and how BLESSED WE ARE to have them in our lives!

Every year, I ask the kids what special birthday cake they would like me to make … and yes, they can choose anything… and this year Charlie wanted a ‘Carousel’ or ‘Merry-Go-Round’ cake.

 

She Googled this picture….

Source:  http://www.pinkfrosting.com.au/persistent/catalogue_images/products/301-1335b.jpg

… and said “I want this one please mummy!”   This picture is what we based our creation on.

So after 3 trials of different ‘icing’, and a leaning, top heavy cake sliding off of it’s post, and a lot of ‘fixing’ mistakes… and a LOT of licking of fingers… the Carousel Cake was completed in the early hours of this morning!!!!!!!!!

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It was put together in one night (last night) only because of a lot of preparation.

The cake…

A few weeks ago, I baked the chocolate cakes X3 and put them in the freezer.

I used ‘Mrs Ripberger’s’ recipe for ‘moist chocolate cake’ because it is –

1.  EASY to make

2. you can make TRIPLE the quantity in one big saucepan

3. you don’t need a machine (even the Thermomix sat quietly while I made this mixture in the saucepan!)

4. and it’s DELICIOUS !!! and MOIST and EVERYONE loves it at a party.

Recipe for ‘Boiled Chocolate Cake’ (I’ve just doubled the recipe – so it makes 6 log cakes)

Get out a HUGE saucepan (if you triple the recipe as I usually do for birthdays).

Pop it on the stove and turn it on low.

ADD a 250g block of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of water, and 4 Tbsp of cocoa.

Turn up the heat and stir until butter is melted and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Take it off the heat and cool.

Then (once cooled) ADD 3 cups of Self Raising Flour, 4 eggs, and 1 tsp of Bicarb Soda.

Mix well.

Pour into baking tins or muffin trays.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celcius.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

For today’s Carousel Cake, I made 3 round cakes (in 8 inch or 20cm round baking pans) and a whole heap of muffins.

I pull the cakes out of the freezer a couple of hours before I decorate.  Half frozen cakes are easier to cut when making cake creations – they don’t crumble or break – and the icing ‘sets’ quickly on the cake too.

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The icing….

My aim for the icing was to make it ‘colour’ and ‘flavour’ free so I looked up some egg white recipes (we have a LOT of eggs at the moment).

The first icing I tried (see white icing top/centre in the picture above) was Royal Icing – just an egg white and 1 cup of icing sugar whipped up in the Thermomix for 2 mins.  It didn’t work.  I would have had to make  6 batches to cover the whole cake! and it went SO HARD before I could even spread it! and it tasted of course like ‘wedding cake’ icing which the kids aren’t keen on, just too sweet …….. so even though it was  a beautiful white I tried something else.

I then made my usual butter icing (whip up a cup of unsalted butter with a drop of water and vanilla extract, and  4 or more cups of icing sugar – yes, I do it in bulk) but I kept on adding too much water and needing too much icing sugar and the it was kids bedtime and I was distracted…. so I put the huge bowl of icing in the fridge to ‘set’… and went to Google to find another ‘colour-free’ and ‘flavour-free’ recipe.

And the I found THIS recipe on the Super Kitchen Machine blog for the most amazing ‘Swiss Meringue Butter Cream Icing’!!!

I had never heard of it before, but it sure looked delicious, and there was a Thermomix recipe for it so I gave it a whirl.  (You could also do it in your Kenwood /Kitchen Aid etc).

It has egg whites, sugar, pinch of salt, and unsalted butter – all real ingredients – no colour or even flavour added – it turned out a beautiful pastel yellow colour – AND tasted even better than any other icing I’ve ever tasted!!!!

I used this meringue icing on the top 2 cakes of the carousel, then the butter icing for the bottom cake, and for all the cupcakes.

The pink butterflies and flowers…

The ‘candies’ we made a couple of weeks ago with the kids.  Simple ingredients (icing sugar, gelatine, water, and a drop of red food colouring),  easy, and so effective.  The last few years we’ve even made ‘candy Easter eggs’ using this recipe.  I’ll do a post on these another day (because it is so cool to make ‘lollies’ or ‘candies’ for your own birthday parties – the kids love it and it saves money also!)

The horses….

They are little wooden horses from Spotlight, painted white one night with the kids, then the next day decorated (painted eyes, saddles) with coloured paints.  Another holiday activity with the girls.  The above horses were the same one’s that I used a couple of years ago for my other daughter’s cake, so they were already in the birthday box!

Other bits and pieces…

I received a new ‘Cookie Press and icing set’ from my in-laws for Christmas…  (what a cool gift!!)

   Its the SAVANNAH Cookie Press and icing set and I just found a review on it here

I used this to put the icing in the centre of the flowers, to stick on some of the obnoxious little pink flowers that kept falling off (most just stuck so easily and beautifully to the sticky meringue icing), and  to decorate all of the chocolate muffins.

The pink stripy patty pans/cups were 3.95 from Neds – I bought them in bulk a few years ago and use them at the girls birthday parties.

And with the help of my Thermomix, I was able to feed the kids some ‘real food’ this birthday party (aside from the musk sticks, mint leaves, and candies on the cake!)

Menu – Spicy Thai Hommus & Sundried Tomato/Cashew/Capsicum Dips

– Corn Chips

– Carrot/Capsicum/Celery Sticks

– Dried Apricots

– Fresh Cheese/Tomato Bread (pull apart)

– Meringues drizzled with dark chocolate

– Homemade Chocolate and Vanilla Icecream

– Caramel Popcorn Balls

– Fresh Fruit

Then for extended family and extras who stayed for tea, I made some extra fresh bread, had extra piles of carrot sticks, celery sticks, capsicum stick, and I had frozed some mince patties shaped into ‘sausages’ (minced meat from our grass-fed beef… by the way, did you watch Food Inc the other night on SBS??  It’s still on the SBS website for another few days).  I pulverised a whole huge zucchini, some squash from the garden (that I never know what to do with!), an onion, cloves of garlic, a capsicum, and a few stalks of celery in the Thermomix, then added this to the mince and mixed it with my hands – the veges made the mince go even further, and if the kids didn’t eat the vege sticks, it didn’t matter as the veges are in the patties! AND they tasted delicious (not just my opinion, others commented also!!) AND all the children ate them!!!

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Well, that was Charlie’s 7th birthday party today.  It was a lovely day.  And I’m going to go and fall into bed….

Addit…

I just looked up the above white carousel cake that Charlie found on Google images  – it cost $75 – and that’s with 20% off!!!!  So I saved a bit  (and I don’t mind ‘spending’ the time).

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Healthy Homemade Honey Baked Granola… for the Holidays!

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Mmmmm, there is nothing like the smell throughout the house of baking granola (it comes a close 2nd to the smell of baking bread!!)

You may be used to the smell coming out of cafe’s if you go out for breakfast ….. of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, honey and vanilla, baking in the oven.

When I pulled out the trays of ‘honey baked granola’ from the oven to cool, the kids came up and took handfuls of this yummy breakfast food.

A friend gave me a huge bag of homemade muesli for my birthday,  then a large jar of baked granola for Christmas the same year, and I (WE!!)  LOVED it …. I love handmade/homemade gifts …. and I

asked her for her recipe.  Ever since then, the kids and I make it during the school holidays as our special breakfast food (although my husband eats most of it!!!).

I have adapted her recipe so it now has no added sugar, and we add dried fruit and raw rolled oats to the mix to make it go further!!

 

Baked Granola originally consisted of baked rolled oats, and other ingredients like almonds, pepitas, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, maple syrup, butter and cinnamon.

When you make it at home, you just add whatever you have in your pantry that you think would taste nice.

Here’s the recipe:

Healthy Homemade Honey Baked Granola

Ingredients –    

(Note: I usually triple this recipe!)

1/2 cup honey

1Tbsp sunflower oil / coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup almonds, chopped

and whatever quanities you like of – sunflower seeds,     pumpkin seeds,      chopped dates,     cranberries,      sultanas ….

Method –

Preheat oven to 120 degrees Celsius.

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Bring the honey, oil, and vanilla to the boil in a saucepan.

Pour the hot honey mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well.

Spread evenly on a baking tray and bake for 40 minutes at 120 degrees Celsius or until golden brown.

See also pictures below for method ….

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Granola Recipe Method in Pictures

Extra information regarding ‘Granola’ …

Granola is a popular breakfast cereal in North America, and I think it sounds very American, but it is also trademarked to Sanitarium in Australia….

Here’s what I found on Granola in Australia – Article:  “Granola off the menu for Aussie chefs”     Source:    NewsCore   Date:      May 28, 20129:58AM

“AUSTRALIAN chefs are being forced to change their breakfast menus after cereal giant Sanitarium threatened legal action against them for using the word “granola.”

Mr Ingersoll said he had done some research into the product and found it had a long and checkered career, spanning back to the early 1800s, when it was developed as a health food featuring baked wholemeal flour.
It was originally called “granula” but Sanitarium claimed the name “granola” after a legal dispute over the name with rival cereal giant Kellogg’s, in the US in 1876.
Today, “granola” is trademarked to Sanitarium only in Australia. Hundreds of recipes exist for the cereal, which often feature hard-baked rolled oats, nuts and seeds.
Mr Ingersoll’s recipe includes rolled oats, almonds, pepitas, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, maple syrup, butter and cinnamon. “We roast it up once a week and it’s such a good smell in the cafe,” he said.
HOWEVER,
AUSTRALIAN chefs are being forced to change their breakfast menus after cereal giant Sanitarium threatened legal action against them for using the word “granola.”   
GranolaThe only official Granola in Australia since Sanitarium has copywrited the name. Source: The Sunday Telegraph

So, instead of granola, they now have to write something like this on their menu …..

… he (the chef) changed his menu description from “granola” to “Cereal, Nuts, Poached Pear & Sheep Yoghurt.”  

See full article here.

2012-12-31_1766AnAfternoonHome1I have linked this recipe to another website where there are other amazing real food recipes.

See here at “Real Food Wednesday” for more real food recipes with Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Anyway, I do hope that you try the recipe above,

and please let me know what you put in your baked granola to make it your own!!

 
 
 
Honey Baked Granola

 

ADDIT – some photos from Hills Homestead –

Our bee hive and raw honey.
Our bee hive and raw honey.

Off to milk the cow with Grandad

                                                                                                                                                                                  Off to milk the cow with Grandad

 

signed - hayley @ hills homestead
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The ‘bests’ of 2012…

Over here at ‘(In)courage – home for the hearts of women’, there is a growing list of BEST books, BEST recipes, BEST music, BEST everythings……  add yours and you can win Ann Voscamp’s book/devotional  “1000 Gifts” (or can purchase at Koorong Bookstore Online here).

Here’s my list …

  1. BEST song 2012…  “Blessings” by Laura Story
  2. BEST book 2012… “1000 Gifts” by Ann Voscamp… every friend who has had a birthday or needed encouragement (or for no reason at all!) has been given this book this year!  It’s been a blessing in my life these last few years to see and focus on and write down 3 gifts each day.
  3. BEST (easy) recipe 2012 … CADA that’s for sure.  CADA (made in the Thermomix – 2 seconds!) or (made in a blender) consists of a handful of Coconut (shredded), handful of Almonds, handful of Dates, and an Apple (cored) => blended for a couple of seconds to make a beautiful, sweet, grain-free, healthy breakfast!  Top with some yoghurt.. or kefir! or just eat it plain – YUM!
  4. BEST family experience….   my husband and I and our children all saw our calf being born one Saturday morning.  The photo below is just after it was born.  It was the first time any of us had seen a cow give birth – what a miracle!

 

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  5. The BEST website 2012 … GNOWFGLINS – God’s natural, organic, whole Foods, grown locally, in season.  WHAT a name! and what amazing things Wardee does in her ‘homestead’.  AND when I started this blog in Nov 2012, I was featured in her Down Home Farm Tours (click the picture below to see!!).

6.  BEST project to support for 2012 – Support for Children with Autism in Tajikistan – My friend, Karen, who has just returned from Tajikistan, has set up this amazing project that raises awareness and supports children who experience Autism and their families. This project has to raise $5,000 from 40 donors by December 31, 11:59 PM EST to earn a permanent spot on GlobalGiving!!!  Please consider giving today – Donate here.

7.  BEST quote found on Pinterest –

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8. BEST picture posted on Facebook –

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9. “BEST things in life are free …. ”

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10.  BEST new blog on the internet … www.hillshomestead.com !!!

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 What are your bests of 2012??

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