Saturday, 20 September 2014

Girls Day

Matt has taken William and a friend camping for Exeat weekend, so Elisha and I have some free time. After running a few errands in town we decided to have a day of kitchen experiments (don't you just love those?).

Today we have made Kezia's delicious crepes, but we didn't have any arrowroot powder, so tapioca flour was subbed in. Turned out great anyway (phew!). For those still on full GAPS, these are NOT legal. Tapioca flour and arrow root are both off the list, but as we've completed two years now, I felt that the small amount in this recipe would be fine for our family.

Then we went on to make cauliflower hummus, but... no lime, so we used food grade lemon essential oil in water - good news, it was delicious! We used onion salt too, and subbed the olive oil for avocado oil. I have no idea what the original recipe was supposed to taste like, so I can't tell you if this is better, but it was great. 

We made some more elderberry Kombucha, which is fast becoming one of Lila's favourite drinks and I topped up a bottle of lacto-fermented apple juice I'm culturing for William. 

Finally we made chocolate soup (because this is a girl's weekend and we need something sweet to go on our banana ice cream whilst we watch the Tinkerbell movie).

It was all so quick  and easy, and my little helper was so interested and genuinely helpful (apart from eating all the butter...) because without her big brother to play with I think she was feeling a little needy. 

In other news, my new white curtains finally arrived so I got to put them up in the school room. 

Now I'm trying to debate whether I should use Lila's bed time to relax and have a bath, or finally paint the ceiling....

I do so love a productive day!

Sunday, 31 August 2014


We've been on our first family holiday abroad (thanks to Tesco clubcard points!) and had a fantastic time. Here's the video:

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Elderberries - Freeze or Fork?

Despite the beautiful weather my children have managed to catch colds. It started off with a bit of a runny nose and a temperature, but after taking them swimming for a few hours (what was I thinking??) William at least has developed a chesty cough. I've been using some essential oils and vitamin B3 to help him sleep (he always gets very restless and has nightmares when he gets a temperature), but today I decided to make some elderberry elixir to kick this thing for good.

If you've never made it before, you should follow this simple recipe, and the nice part is elderberries are in season right now, so it's easy to make a big batch and freeze some for the autumn/winter. 

Elderberries are super stain-y and used to be used for making dye, so I've always been a little wary when processing them. I was told the simplest way was to freeze them in a bag, then crunch the frozen berries off the stalks. That's the way I've always done it, but today I was feeling bold, so I went with the messier 'forking' method. 

Thing is, it wasn't messier. In fact, I spent a lovely 20 minutes sat out on my patio in the sunshine scraping berries off with a fork, and I didn't get any on my hands. The best part is that because the berries are so soft and the stems are pliable I don't end up with lots of sticks that I need to sift out of the mixture like I did with the freezing method.  In fact, this method was so fast I don't think I'll ever freeze the berries again. 

WARNING: Most species of elderberries are poisonous when eaten raw. You must cook them to benefit from eating them. 

I've had people ask me why I'd risk cooking something that is dangerous to eat raw, well I also eat chicken and no one has ever suggested I shouldn't because it needs cooking. I feel the same about elderberries, but you need to decide that for yourself. 

If you want to know more about the health benefits and risks, click here

Monday, 21 July 2014

Four years old

Can't quite believe my baby is four!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Musical Garden

Behind the scales I built last week there's a secret passage that led to a massive compost heap. 

We dug all the compost out and used it to build our raised beds, but it left us with a massive crater that was just begging to become a play space. 

A few xylophones and some tambourines later and we have what the kids are calling their 'musical den'. 

All that was needed was a little fishing wire for hanging some cheap plastic instruments.

And a screw driver to remove some of the fun parts from said plastic instruments.

And the best part is that now all the noisy play can happen in the garden making our home a much more peaceful place ;-)

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Grow Your Own Food Summit

Anyone interested in learning more about growing your own food?
I totally am, and I'm super excited about this free online event where you can watch some amazing speakers for free! Joel Salatin is going to be speaking and I can't wait. Here's the blurb:
JoelSalatin"The Grow Your Own Food Summit will teach food growing people, both novices and experts, how to improve the world more than any other event in the last decade. Learn step-by-step instructions for what you can do today to put healthy, trusted food on your table in the future! Plus, it’s ONLINE and FREE from July 7-14, 2014.
Enthusiastic food growers and community builders, Valerie Kausen and Gary Heine, have created 34 presentations to show you how growing your own food can change your life. This event is truly for everyone… because growing your own food contributes to improved health and connected community. It’s also an activity for the whole family that builds friendships in your neighborhood as you share each other’s skills and interests

You can buy all the videos after the summit if you miss some, but if you are super organised you can just watch them as they stream.
Here are a few of the speakers:
  • The Good Food Revolution is Here… Take Action!, by Will Allen, Founder, Growing Power; Winner, McArthur Genius Grant; Farmer; Author, Speaker
  • Why Our Current Food System “Just Ain’t Normal” and How to Change It, by Joel Salatin, Sustainable, Maverick Farmer; Lecturer; Author (personal favourite of mine!)
  • How Mushrooms Created, and Can Save, the Living World!, by Paul Stamets, World-renowned Mushroom Researcher; Inventor; Entrepreneur
  • Saving Seeds, Growing Food and Ending GMOs Can Save the World, by Vandana Shiva, World-renowned Indian Activist
  • The Food Revolution and How GMOs are Disrupting It, by Ocean Robbins, Co-founder, Food Revolution Network; Author, Speaker, Educator

If you register today you'll get a free gift, but also an email to remind you when the talks go live each day :-)
Enjoy fellow gardeners!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Tomato and Lime 'almost' Hummus

Tomatoes and limes are a match made in heaven.

It's been warm and my kids are loving eating outside so today I said we could have a picnic dinner in the garden. 

Wanting to make salad a bit more interesting I remembered that we used to really enjoy hummus in our pre-GAPS days. We've tried it since weaning off GAPS, but found it still left us feeling bloated and uncomfortable, so I came up with this totally legume free version of hummus, based on the lime flavoured Doritos I used to love (back when I didn't know about corn). 

I can't really call it "hummus" because that's the turkish word for mashed chick peas, and it doesn't contain any, but here is my tomato and lime "almost" hummus recipe.

3 tbsp of tahini
3 tbsp lime juice 
1 small shallot
3/4 cup of sesame oil
3/4 cup of dried tomatoes (if you don't own a dehydrator, make sure you buy the ones that don't have lots of preservatives added). 
Lime pepper* 
Water (up to 1/2 a cup which you may not need)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend away until you get a nice consistency. 

You may need to add some water. 

* You can (and should) make lime pepper! All you need is a pepper grinder salt, peppercorns, lime zest, dried corriander leaves, lemon zest and lemongrass. Mix it all up to suit your tastes. 

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