‘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
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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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Look what was delivered today!!!!

001 Raw Chocolate delivery

Is this normal??  To get this excited over a food delivery??  It’s just that it’s my first bulk order of coconut oil (which I use for everything – from eczema to lip gloss to peppermint creams coated in dark chocolate and cooking)

and my first EVER order of Cacao Beans.  All from lovingearth .  Loving Earth is a Melbourne-based company that are dedicated to distributing products that are  ….

 

 

Healthy:

 

  • They are sugar, dairy and gluten free.
  • Are minimally processed, with low temperatures where possible.
  • There are no artificial additives to any of the products.
  • Our focus is to source and develop products that are in their optimal nutritional
  •  state.
 Sustainable:
  • Produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides and
  • herbicides.
  • Cultivated in such a way as to help restore native ecosystems, prevent erosion and
  • support water conservation.
  • Use traditional permaculture systems and where possible are shade grown using
  •  native canopy species.
 Fair:
  • Are produced according to Fair Trade standards, that involve producers and
  •  workers being paid not only a fair price,
  •  but also being empowered with the skills and infrastructure to add as much value
  •  to the raw products as possible.
  • Create healthy environments in which producers and their families live and work.
  • Re-invest in community infrastructure such as educational, health and other
  •  essential services.   See lovingearth website for more information...

Oh, and they are delivering for FREE all over Australia in Jan 2013!!!

I can’t wait to share some of the new recipes that I’m going to trial using Cacao Beans, Coconut Oil, Vanilla Powder, and the Agave Syrup!!

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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 –

 https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/536178_385872841485580_578807439_n.jpg

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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Christmas at Hills Homestead

We are having Christmas lunch in our home with extended family this year, and the children and I have been busy with decorating and baking and putting together homemade / homegrown gifts.

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Some of the gifts this year ….

  1. Home grown cherries – our tree was laden this year with rich red cherries!!
  2. Raspberry Couli and Raspberry Jams – this is our 2nd year having raspberry bushes and the kids loved picking them – (and eating 1/2 of them!).  ‘Child Picked’ raspberries are perfect for couli or jam as they are a bit squished!!  I picked some ‘non squished’ raspberries to put on top of our pavlova tomorrow.
  3. Free range eggs – we get about a dozen eggs a day, too many to sell and people love getting fresh eggs (or they say they do anyway!!)
  4. Homemade Vanilla Extract – I’ve now posted the recipe  – I started it about 6 months ago, and it’s now ready to put into little jars for gifts.  It’s too easy, and I wish I’d started making my own vanilla extract years ago!!  It’s basically just vodka and vanilla beans in a bottle.  You leave it in the pantry and give it a gentle shake every day for a while, then every week or so…. not too much effort, cost effective, and so much healthier and nicer that vanilla flavour/essence …
  5. Kefir grains – for people I know are interested in getting more probiotics into their diets, I’ve popped some kefir grains and printed out my ‘Kefir Daily Routine’ for their gift.
  6. Gingerbread – last night I did 3 batches of this gingerbread recipe in my thermomix, had it in the fridge overnight, and this morning it’s ready for the kids to make gingerbread angels, stars and hearts.
  7. We are also making these little packages to put as table settings tomorrow.

 Thank you Ann Voscamp at A Holy Experience for the envelope template.  The packages will be folded and tied with red ribbon, and the verse below will be inside.

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,

and they will call Him

Immanuel

which means “God with us”

Matt.1:23

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Hayley’s ‘Daily Kefir Routine’

There has been a lot of interest in the kefir grains, and some people have even accessed kefir from their local shop or have picked up some kefir grains from me!!

Now you know how good it is for you (see here for health benefits of kefir), here is how to ‘take care’ of the kefir grains … and they will last forever!!!

The daily routine takes less than 5 minutes (this includes walking to the fridge to get the milk and walking back, and getting out a jug or bowl for the kefir!)

My Daily Kefir Routine

This post is linked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday blog carnival – I check this site out a lot for real food ideas!!

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What’s that going off on your kitchen counter? Kefir !!

Have you ever heard of Kefir??  You may have seen it in health food stores, in supermarkets next to the milks and yoghurts, or you may have seen it ‘fermenting’ on someone’s kitchen bench!

                                           

I thought I should put together some of the research that I’ve done on kefir… for a few reasons….

  1. I give my kids a ‘kefir’ shake (milkshake) every day
  2. I have 2 jars sitting on my kitchen counter, full of kefir,
  3. Dealing with kefir is part of my daily routine,
  4. I drink it
  5. I give away the kefir grains knowing that they are an amazing source of ‘free’ probiotics, but I need to start giving an information sheet with my grains so people understand how to care for them and just how beneficial they are!

So, how do you say it??

It is pronounced “kef” as in deaf and “ear” as in fear.

WHAT IS KEFIR?

I describe kefir  as a yoghurt-like drink.  It’s ‘stronger’ than yoghurt, hence why I usually make a smoothie with the kefir + banana + vanilla extract + honey for the kids.   I can’t drink it ‘straight’ yet, and my husband can’t face it at all!!!  It has HUGE health benefits because it has a very high level of live and active probiotic cultures that are good for your immune system and gut health.

The following information is from Dom’s Kefir Website … (Dom, that’s his name, is the Australian guru on all things kefir!)

  • Kefir is a cultured-milk beverage which originated in the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains (which are in Europe) believed to date back over 1,000 years.
  • The tribes-folk of this particular region consumed the nutritious beverage in large quantities, and they were known for living long, healthy lives with little to no known disease. An active life span of over one hundred years was common for folks living in the region where kefir was cultured and liberally consumed as part of a staple diet.
  • Traditional, authentic kefir can only be prepared by culturing fresh milk with Kefir grains.
  • Kefir can be strained and consumed fresh (ie at room temperature… or I strain it straight into my Amazing Thermo Machine! (my Thermomix) and make a fresh fruit smoothie with crushed ice to make it cold… the kids aren’t too keen on warm kefir milkshakes!!)  OR it can be ‘ripened’ at room temperature over a few days (this reduces the lactose in your kefir, improves flavour??, increases Vitamin B1, B6 including B9 or folic acid, .. also increases the alcohol content I’ve found!!!… I don’t usually ‘ripen’ it)

What do kefir grains look like?

Kefir grains look like soggy cauliflower florets.       Here is a picture of mine….

 Straining kefir grains through a colander

This is my kefir grains after I’ve strained the milk kefir off in the morning.   I’m about to pop them back in the jar and pour some of our raw milk over the top of them (you can definitely use pasteurised milk, I did before we bought our cow!) and leave on the kitchen bench for around 24hours.

Health Benefits of Kefir

Kefir is the ‘original’ probiotic! – long before people even knew what probiotics were.

Probiotics…..

  • are friendly or ‘good’ bacteria that help strengthen your body
  • the word ‘probiotic’ means “beneficial to life”
  • are SO good for you
  • (research shows evidence that they ….)
  • help boost immunity
  • promote better digestion
  • lower cholesterol levels
  • help to restore gut health after you take a course of antibiotics
  • …..  research on the above and more potential effects   (list found here)
    • 2.1  decreases diarrhea 2.2 decreases lactose intolerance 2.3 helps to prevent colon cancer 2.4 decreasing cholesterol 2.5 noromalising blood pressure 2.6 increases immune function and infections ……… 2.10 aids in prevention and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and colitis 
  • Studies (see here)  have also shown that giving probiotics to children preventatively can reduce the incidence of respiratory tract infections, diarrhoea, reduces the number of sick days from daycare, helps to prevent allergies such as exzema and hayfever, and it may decrease the incidence of ear infections.

The Kefir Association  state on their website that kefir contains 10 probiotic strains and is an excellent source of protein, calcium and fiber (VERY nutritious for children and women!)

Your body contains about 100 trillion bacteria — more than 10 TIMES the number of cells you have in your entire body. Ideally, you should have 85 percent “good” bacteria in your gut, and 15 percent “bad” bacteria in your gut.     If you have an excess of unhealthy bacteria in your gut, it can manifest in many ways, such as gas and bloating, fatigue, sugar cravings, nausea, headaches, constipation or diarrhea. You may also find that, despite a healthy diet and exercise, you have difficulty shedding weight.   (See more detail on Dr Mercola’s website)

By adding things like yoghurt and kefir to your daily life,  it helps you to get the good bacteria in your digestive system.  Dr Mercola explains that this is important because an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is located there (in your digestive system!).   So supporting your digestive health is essential to also supporting your immune system, which is your number one defense system against ALL disease.

Things that interfere with your keeping your gut healthy –

  • eating a lot of processed foods (as they tend to destroy healthy bacteria and ‘feed’ the back bacteria and yeast)
  • taking antibiotics (of course, you sometimes HAVE to take antibiotics, so just ensure that you have adequate probiotics in your diet to replace the good bacteria that’s been wiped out!)
  • drinking chlorinated water
  • using antibacterial soap all the time
  • chemicals used in growing food and food production
  • pollution (need some of this fresh hills air!)

All of us are exposed to some or all of the above on occasions, so it’s a good idea to keep up the numbers of good bacteria in your gut by eating/drinking probiotics (e.g eating fermented foods/drinking kefir).

(Note: pasteurization kills the naturally occurring probiotics in milk, so pour your pasteurized milk over some kefir grains!!  OR even better, access some raw milk!)

In order to be considered probiotic, the bacteria must be present in sufficient numbers of live and active cultures, resistant to acid and bile, able to attach to the intestinal wall and colonize the intestinal tract and beneficial to health. Probiotics can be taken in tablet form, but most experts agree that it is better to get any nutrient through food consumption. Often the processing of tablets causes cultures to become inactive. With kefir, that’s not an issue since it’s ‘living’ on your bench, plus you’ll get the added benefits of calcium, Vitamins A, C and D, lactic acid and potassium.

Also, Kefir is so much CHEAPER than a tablet.  I’ve had a mum from school take home some of my kefir grains and now makes milkshakes/smoothies with the kefir each day for her children.  She previously had to purchase probiotics in tablet form for her children but can now ‘make her own’ probiotics.  The Microgenics Probiotic tablets cost $27.95 for 60 tablets – that’s nearly 50 cents EACH tablet – that all adds up if you have a few adults and a couple of children taking them every day!  Alive Probiotics (they are meant to have 25 billion friendly bacteria in each tablet!) cost $41.95 (on special) for 60 tablets – that’s 70 cents each tablet.  Yes, kefir on my bench, using milk that I have in my fridge anyway, is cheaper.

So why not try some kefir … look for some in the grocery store or health food shop (so you know I’m not making this up!), or see here (Dom’s Website) or here (source in Queensland) for Australian sources of kefir grains, OR if you know me, contact me and I’ll give you some grains (mine are thriving and I have SO many) so that you can easily make traditional kefir in your own home (and you never have to buy them again!).

 

For more information regarding Kefir – and sources of the grains – please visit Dom’s Website.  He’s the ‘King of Kefir’, from Australia, and has pages on the origin of kefir grains, benefits, and uses.

For more information on Raw Milk – see this series of blog posts from Kelly the Kitchen Kop on Raw Milk Benefits, Raw Milk Safety, and Farming Practices

Mmmm, I’m thinking of getting the kids to video the daily practice of making real kefir…. THEN you’d be impressed and request some grains from me immediately… or not….

 

Addit….

On another topic… if you have a Thermomix, check out this site for amazing, SIMPLE, additive free lemon tarts… and I LOVE the French accent.

I’m an OT – Occupational Therapist – it’s a GREAT profession, I LOVE my job, but NOBODY knows what it is!!!    Thanks Danielle for the link, here is a 3 minute, easy to watch,  YouTube clip describing OT very well!!

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Healthy Living eBooks

Healthy Living eBook Bundle Sale      Click here on Monday to buy the 34 eBooks for 87 cents each (and get $73 worth of FREE bonuses).  thanks toGNOWFGLINS     

Please have a look if you’re interested in real food and health, if you want to look further into why Palm Oil/Coconut Oil/Butter etc are GOOD for you, and why Canola Oil/Margarine etc are NOT!, what are the good fats/bad fats, if you want some ideas for herbal / home remedies, homesteading ideas for where to start  (Your Custom Homestead)- whether you live in the hills, on large or small property, in an apartment in the city, or in the suburbs…… lots of ideas, how to make a sourdough starter, how to make yoghurt (even if you don’t have a Thermomix!!)   ……..

It includes ebooks such as ……

Real Food Meals for the Whole Family

Real {Fast} Food by Trina Holden @ Trina Holden

Real Food… Real Easy by various bloggers @ The Humbled Homemaker

Baking, Snacks and Desserts

Smart Sweets by Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

Healthy Snacks To Go by Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

Sourdough A to Z by Wardee Harmon @ GNOWFGLINS

Homemade “Everything” (Condiments, Pantry Basics, etc.)

Restocking the Pantry by Kresha Faber @ Nourishing Joy

Easy. Homemade. by Mandi Ehman @ Life Your Way

Grain Free and Paleo/Primal Eating

Grain Free Meal Plan Cookbook by Cara Faus @ Health, Home & Happiness

Toadally Primal Smoothies by Todd @ Primal Toad

Simple Food {for spring} by Shannon @ Nourishing Days

Simple Food {for winter} by Shannon @ Nourishing Days

Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan @ The Clothes Make The Girl

Saving Money on Real Food

Real Food on a Real Budget by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home

Plan It, Don’t Panic by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home

Don’t Compost It, Cook It by April Patel @ An Apple a Day Wisdom

Skincare and Beauty

My Buttered Life (Baby edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion

My Buttered Life (Gift edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion

My Buttered Life (Summer edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion

Simple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy Karen @ A Delightful Home

Food on Your Face for Acne and Oily Skin by Leslie @ Crunchy Betty

Holistic Mama’s Guide to Homemade Skincare by Roxanne King @ The Holistic Mama

Homesteading, Gardening and Preserving

Your Custom Homestead by Jill Winger @ The Prairie Homestead

Guide to Gardening and Preserving by Laura Coppinger @ Heavenly Homemakers

Healthy Lifestyle

Simple Living by Lorilee Lippincott @ Loving Simple Living

Herbal Nurturing by Michele Augur @ Frugal Granola

Simple Natural Health by Nina Nelson @ Shalom Mama

Healthy Homemaking by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home

Music: An Essential Ingredient for Life by Resound School of Music

So, pop over to GNOWFGLINS  to purchase all the ebooks for $29  –  offer only for a few days….

 

 

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“T-Rex” our Turkey chick

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“T-Rex” is the latest edition to our family.  He found it difficult and was slower hatching out of his egg than his 25 brothers and sisters, so my husband kept him warm in the incubator, and he survived!   He now goes outside with the kids to play, to get some spring sunshine, and to peck around the grass and eat bugs.  He has a Duplo home built for him in the sandpit, he gets carted around in the tipper truck, my 3rd born (son) turns his hooded top around and pops T-Rex into the hood and goes about his business – riding on his bike, jumping on the trampoline, digging in the garden.   T-Rex wanders around after the children and does not seem to mind all the attention.  We have him inside under lights overnight to keep him warm.

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I tried to tell the kids that T-Rex is actually a ‘poult’, not a chick, but they don’t agree that that matches our turkey.

Now, the kids named our ‘poult’  “T-Rex” because “T” is for Turkey, and “Rex”, well they liked this as a pet name!  I think he’s named “T-Rex” because when he gets older he is not going to be as cute anymore!!!   Grown turkeys do look somewhat similar to the usual “Tyrannosaurus Rex”   ???!!!!

This morning already he has sat on my son’s lap digging in the sandpit, climbed the clay cliff next to the clothes line (on my son’s head!), been chased by my 15month old (I’m sure T-Rex will chase him back when he’s fully grown!), and had a peck around our lawn and garden.

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Enjoy your week!

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