Friday, November 29, 2013

Chocolate that is actually good for you!!

I am starting a new quest!  Anyone who knows me, knows I do this, quite often!  This one is whole foods and very low carb based.  Not rocket science, but I'll be using the Trim Healthy Mama book, as a guide, as well as my own nutritional knowledge and of course my budget! I've also decided that we have to have it taste good.  Not just for me, but for the kids and hubby too.  So today, was my first processed sugar free day in a while.  Day one down!  Yay for me.  However, 3pm hit and all I wanted was a caramel or vanilla slice!  What to do?  I remembered my good friend Donna making amazing chocolate (of which I had bought the ingredients for long ago.   So here it goes.  Based on Quirky Jo's recipe away I went with miss 5 eagerly at my side! 

First I made Almond butter: Follow the nut butter recipe in your Thermomix basic recipe book, or just buy peanut butter! I used Activated nuts (pre soaked in salt water and dehydrated)

Then I made one ingredient Coconut Butter with desiccated coconut that I've had in the cupboard since before Jesus was born that I thought I should use up.

Step 3....Make the chocolate mix

Ingredients
100g pure virgin organic coconut oil
100g of above Coconut Butter (or you can just use  omit this and use a further 100g of coconut oil)
2 pinches of salt
60 g of raw cacao
2 flat tablespoons (about 15g) of Stevia powder (Natvia has nothing else added, I recommend it.)
2 drops of vanilla essence

Put all ingredients into the Thermomix, 10 seconds on speed 5-6 then on speed 2,  37 degrees for 10 min.

Place in silicon moulds, on a baking tray, muffin tins, whatever you like.  Add whole nuts or a dollop of nut butter (to make nut butter cups!) Place in freezer for a few minutes until set.

Result!


Ready to eat straight away.  It's a thumbs up from me.  Miss 5 thinks it needs more sugar....but I'm sure she will get used to it.  I like the ones I did with whole almonds in them the best.  SO GOOD, and GOOD FOR YOU!  Can it be?  Would love to know what variations you try, let me know what you think. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thermocharged homemade laundry detergant for HALF A CENT PER LOAD!

I've finally done it!  Wanting to do this for years really, in the end it took me a whole 5 min from start to finish!  That easy to save so much money, why did I put it off so long? We often procrastinate the unknown don't we?

Well, here you have it.  Making your own laundry detergent in just a few easy peasy steps.  This recipe is converted for thermomix from the Duggar Family web site, and to suit my sized bucket, and my big 10kg front loader.  You can use this for front or top loader machines.

Cut one bar of pure soap into 4, then grate in the thermomix (speed 8 for 5 seconds)
Add 1000g water, cook on 90 degrees for 3 min, speed 2 or until disolved



Add 100g Borax
Add 250g Washing Soda (MUST BE WASHING SODA, NOT BAKING SOADA OR BI-CARB SODA, THEY WILL NOT WORK!)

Stir till disolved, approx 2 min on speed 3.
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Pour into the bottom of a 15 litre nappy bucket (the original recipe calls for a 19 litre one, but since I have a 10kg washing machine, I don't mind my soap being a bit stronger, plus I already had this bucket on hand!)

Fill with warm tap water and stir through. Let sit overnight to thicken.




Half fill a clean liquid laundry soap dispenser with your concentrate, then fill with water.  You can add 3-6 drops of essential oil at this stage if you like. Shake well.  Shake well before each use as it will gel.

For front loaders use 1/4 cup per load and top loaders use a bit over 1/2 cup. If you use a 15 litre nappy bucket like mine, but don't have a monster of a machine, you can use even less soap! This will do about 500 loads in my 10kg front loader!  I think it costs me about $8 for the ingredients, but that will make 4 loads at least.  So $2 for 500 loads is less than 1/2 a cent per load!!!!



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Getting my home organisation on!

I'm back, but while I've been away I've taken on a few organisation projects around the home.  My goals are: Everything needs a clear place to live, Every area that's not working needs a structure to support it, Anything that doesn't get done needs a plan of action!  I've included free links for you to print your own organisational tools.  Have fun and let me know how you go! Oh, and you will need to download the google document viewer to print them off, it's free and only takes a min. If you are wanting to do these projects they are super super cheap! The most expensive thing was $9 for the A3 frame from chicken feed. I do have a laminator and colour printer, but you can pay for these to be done for just a few dollars at a printing shop.  I've put a link below for mine.

I'm over unmet expectations, lateness to school and arguments in the morning, I came up with a plan. With 3 adults and 6 children in this house, it's important we all run the morning with the same goals. It's simple, has check boxes, it's in a frame so a white board marker can be used and cleaned off easily (and it makes it pretty!) This morning was our first trial, and the kids enjoyed ticking each thing off as it was done. This morning we were only 1 min late to school! PDF for my simple morning routine




Inspired by my lovely framed morning routine idea, I've gone on to create our weekly routine.  I found the free template here.I found the free template here. Once I had it just how I liked it, I 'saved as' a pdf, and emailed it as an attachment to  They are at 105 Main St, Bacchus Marsh.  For $5 they printed it in colour directly on A3 paper.  Don't waste your time or money trying to print and photocopy it larger.  I found it ruined the colours and strength of the ink.  This is much nicer.  Having it in a big A3 document frame means that I can put sticky notes on it for individual weeks, use a white board marker as needed.  I also find that having my routines look like this demands respect and even I feel like it MUST be followed :-)

My next project was to put some labels on the washing baskets and to organise the plastics cupboard in a way that the children will be able to follow.  So I created these labels, printed them in colour, and cut them out.  I then laminated 3-4 in an A3 sheet.  I cut that out, leaving a nice margin of laminate.  Popped a hole in a corner and tied onto the containers.  Pretty simple, but effective. I was thinking of using rafia for my bamboo laundry baskets!  Let your imagination run wild.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bed buddy blues

"It's just not the same here without Zac" Said Ben.

Benjamin sleeping at the end of our bed when Zac was gone
Zac and Ben share a queen size bed while we save for new bunks for them. 60 yrs ago this would have been normal in a large family, but today it's not so common place.  Zac is away having a 'date' with his Aunty for a few days, so Benjamin was on his own.  We thought he would like the time away to have some space...Oh no.  We walked into our room that night (we've just discovered him there again tonight!) and found him sleeping on the floor at the end of our bed.  Obviously his bedroom was not the same without his big brother.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quality milk for 50c a Litre!



Thanks to www.girliegirlarmy.com for the picture

I have been on a journey to try and find milk that is cheap.  You can buy milk for less than a $1 a litre at our supermarkets, and even less at Costco.  Powdered milk is not that much cheaper and tastes BLAH...and all that processing!  We found a source of raw milk for $1 a litre, but it was far and cost so much in petrol and time.  Our family goes through 3L of milk a day, BEFORE we make yoghurt or custard!  Plus I was buying 2 Litres of soy milk a week for me. This recipe has saved us over $15 a week.

Then it happened.  I realised that I couldn't drink a lot of milk anymore without disastrous effects. :-( My body was saying no.

I've found the solution.  It's an Almond/Cashew/Rice milk.  I can make it for about 50c a litre and as I've tweaked the recipe to suit our family I'm actually impressed. This recipe is based on one from Quirky Cooking's web page.  Click here to take a look at her blog, it's great.  To buy Almond milk in the supermarket you can pay anywhere from $6 a litre, so this is an amazing saving for those who can't have dairy, or anyone really.

1. Place in dry TM bowl and grind for 2 min on speed 9:
- 100g brown rice


2. Add & grind on speed 9 for another 30 seconds:
- 50g raw almonds, and 50g raw cashews

3. Add & puree on speed 9 for 2 min.
- 1 litre filtered water

Leave in fridge for 6-9 hours

4. Add, and cook at 60 degrees, 7 mins, speed 4:
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (flat tablespoon) 
- 60g pure maple syrup, optional (or honey, or rice malt syrup, or other sweetener, to taste)
- A good pinch of salt

5. Puree on speed 8 for 2 min.

Set aside half in a jug.

6. Add and Puree on speed 9 for 2 min.
500ml of water
Cool, and enjoy! This makes about 1.25 Litres. 

Repeat step 6 for the half you've set aside. 

You've made 2.5 litres of really healthy yummy dairy free milk for less than a $1!
I used this milk to make a banana and chocolate milk shake for the kiddo's.  They had no idea it was not cows milk! 

If you want your milk thicker, add more rice, or less if you like it thinner.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

OUCH!

After nearly a week of scorching weather today was much cooler.  I decided I would get some soil and top up the holes that have eroded around the base of our fruit trees, and cover up some more of the potatoe plants.  Well with 23 fruit trees it took me a little longer than my well intentioned mind envisioned. But still, the sun felt lovely and it was a peaceful way to spend the morning.

Hours later this is what I found in the mirror!

1.5 hours in the morning sun....it wasn't even that hot!
A friend gave me an Aloe Vera pup this past winter and thought I'd put it to use.  You've probably all heard of the natural remedy of putting Aloe Vera gel on sunburn.  I'm not sure if it works, but it has kind of created a second 'skin' on the burn and it feels nice going on, and afterwards too.  I'm not sure if it actually aids in the healing of sunburn, but I do thank God we have a plant that can be a relief when accidents happen.

As you can see, lots of pups for splitting
A single leaf where you can see the flesh











I'm going to plant this in the ground this week and bring some replanted pups to our Bacchus Marsh Produce Swap on Sunday.  I just love the idea of the produce swap, we can give what we have extra of, and receive what we have nothing of.  Great community event, come and have a look. For everyone who comes I will have a FREE Aloe Vera Pup for you to plant, even if you have nothing to swap, come and have a look.....see you there.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You're not that fat!

Today I'm getting personal.  I'm not deliberately going to try and offend anyone.  This is not a research based post like some of mine are, this is my heart.  Maybe I'll be able to take a bit of taboo out of the subject.  I don't really believe in taboo subjects.

Well this year is my year friends.  I am on a waiting list with my private health fund and on Dec 2nd this year, I will take the plunge and have 'lap band' surgery.

I've had lots of feedback about this.  Statements like "Isn't that taking the easy way out"....actually, there is no easy way out.  I still have to exercise and watch my diet even more strictly.  It's a tool so I can not feel hungry all the time.  "Isn't it dangerous" ...actually, it's far less dangerous that being morbidly obese. "Can't you lose weight through diet and exercise"....Yes you can, and that's what I'm doing.  I've lost about 50kg over my lifetime, it's not the losing it that is the trouble, it's the keeping it off. "You're not that fat"...the scales beg to differ, I have 55-65kg to lose to be in a healthy weight range!

Things you may not know about the weight range I'm in now, or about "Gastric Banding"
*At my weight I am at serious risk of developing many diseases and premature death, some statistics even say that I have the same life expectancy as if I have been given a diagnosis of cancer!
*I cannot enjoy life in the same way most of you can.  I can't bend down as easily to look under things, I don't feel comfortable sitting in most positions, it's not a fun way to live your life. Getting into training has really helped in this area too. As I get stronger and lose weight I know this will keep getting better.
*Hardly anybody in my weight range gets down to a healthy weight and stays there....it's just the facts.
*I don't want to be fat any more.  Just about no one at my weight does, but I do feel trapped in this body that doesn't even look like who I am inside.
*Lap Band surgery is not without risk, but if you know someone who is morbidly obese, or you are yourself, it's worth a think.  Saying "Yes I really shouldn't eat that chocolate" or "I really do need to start walking more" Will never make a morbidly obese person lose enough weight for long term health.  It takes drastic life changing choices, and everyday choices too, over a very long period of time. Anyone who is where I am, or has been where I am will tell you that it is a very very hard thing to do long term.
*I want to live to see my grand kids, and great grand kids.  I want to be able to walk in the park and push my great grand kids on the swing.  I don't want to get diabetes, or arthritis.  I already have hip and back problems that I'm sure are weight related, as well as mood swings and hormone problems that fat storage aids. I don't want to die from, or be debilitated by a disease or ailment where by losing weight I wouldn't have.

Drastic surgery is not going to change my life overnight, I know that.  This whole year (and probably beyond!) I am sticking with my Personal Trainer.  I'm still trying to go to the gym 6 times a week when possible.  I'm trying to eat lots of raw  foods, less carbs, more protein, and cutting out processed sugar as much as possible (accept in the occasional beverage of choice....a girl has her weaknesses!) I've lost about 4 kg in 2 months and I'm HEAPS stronger and fitter than I was.  I'm going to keep doing these things. I am worth it, I can do it.

Today's photo is of me, very glamorous, the first week in November last year, the first day of training with my Personal Trainer.  I'd just finished my nervous wee and was about to start.  2012...it's my year!

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