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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Sprouting lentils

I've been accused of having a kitchen that looks more like a science lab than a kitchen, and I guess I can see it. Yesterday I had the ice cream machine running, three anaerobic ferment jars on the side, the dehydrator and juicer out and my new sprouter starting!


I picked up this bargain at a thrift store in town, only £1! Of course you can sprout your grain/seeds/beans etc... in ordinary jars, but I love my new (old) sprouter.

Yes, it looks like its from the 70s, but surely that's part of its charm? No? Okay, well then here is why it's actually useful.

For a start, the sides are Perspex, but darkened, so it's keeps out most of the light whilst allowing me to see what they are up to - sprouting, obviously. But it's nice for me and the kids to have a nosey look. Maybe we'll make a science lesson of it.

Secondly, the bottom piece is a drip tray and each layer has slots cut in the base. This allows excess water to drain, eliminating risk of mould, whilst also meaning I don't have to dirty my sieve to rinse them each day.

Okay, it's not an essential piece of kitchen equipment, but it's certainly easier and for a £1 I totally think its worth it. For more on why you should sprout your grains/nuts/seeds/beans etc... check out this post from the Nourishing Gourmet.

I'm currently sprouting organic green lentils (bulk buying made them cheaper than ordinary lentils!) to make some GAPS legal hummus with. Recipe coming soon!





Monday, 28 January 2013

British Children Are The Unhappiest



"British Children are trapped in a cycle of compulsive consumption as parents shower them with gifts to make up fr their long working hours"

"While children would prefer time with their parents to heaps of consumer goods, parents seem to find themselves under tremendous pressure to purchase an excess of material goods for their children"

"Parents in the UK almost seemed to be locked into a system of consumption which they knew was pointless but they found hard to resist"

                                                   - UNICEF 2007
photo credit

To read the rest of my post on this, hop on over to GracieSchool!  

Thursday, 24 January 2013

DIY Vitamins



Well, making liposomal vitamin C turned out to be ridiculously difficult and frustrating, despite what everyone else on the forums says!! It may be that I don't have a good ultrasonic cleaner, but I don't want to risk paying out for a more expensive one and find it gives the same results. After my third session of standing over the cleaner, patiently stirring for four and a half hours, my husband told me to put it in the bin.  He says we will just pay for the ready made stuff, despite it being ridiculously expensive.

Everything in me wants to say 'No! We can't spend that much money on a supplement!!' but I'm so, so relieved that I'm just gratefully accepting his generosity. After all, I don't want to be stuck taking statins.

Meanwhile, I have a tonne of non-GMO soy lecithin and ascorbic acid that I don't know what to do with (my bulk buying to save money technique has backfired this time!).

Well, I don't know what to do with the lecithin.

I totally have a plan for the ascorbic acid!

photo credit
You see I recently learned how to make GAPS legal jelly sweets from Mommypotamus. We actually mixed it up a bit, and instead of adding honey I used blended raspberries and strawberries with lime juice and gelatin. My kids LOVE them.

My plan is to chuck a load of ascorbic acid in the sweetie mixture before it cools, and ta-da! Homemade chewy vitamins - without all the rubbish and sugar.

I'm not a fan of multivitamins in general. The New England Journal of Medicine  wrote that '29,000 male smokers were given synthetic beta carotene and synthetic Vitamin E. The study was stopped when rates of lung cancer, heart attacks and death increased.'  (1994) and 22,000 pregnant women were given synthetic Vitamin A. The study was halted because birth defects increased 400% (1995). They also tend to contain a lot of glucose, sucrose, starch and microcrystalline cellulose, nitrites, benzoates and other not real food stuff. 

If you want to make your own, here's how:

1/2 cup a berries blended (any you like, they are mostly for colour)
Juice of one lemon/lime
6-8 tbsp gelatin
10 tbsp ascorbic acid

Warm the juice and berries in a pan.
When warm (but not boiling) stir in the gelatin.
If you stir it in nicely by hand you will get clear jelly.
If you chuck it in a blender it will foam a bit and become somewhere between marshmallow and jelly.
My kids like both versions.
Stir in the ascorbic acid.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until set.

Mommypotamus uses little molds to make cute stars.
I am not that awesome.
I pour it all into and 8 x 8 inch dish and chop it into little squares.
You should use little molds if you can - way cuter.

Now, does anyone have any ideas for how I can use up all that soy lecithin? 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Carrot Cake Kefir Smoothie: A RiddleLove Recipe Hack

Doesn't this look incredible?
See the full recipe from RiddleLove here

I was totally inspired by Katie Riddle's Carrot Cake Smoothie this week and decided to create something similar, with just a few tweaks to suit our family a little more. 

For a start, we are skipping the raw milk and using kefir (made from raw milk) to give a tangier flavour, a boost of probiotics and to cut down on sugar. After listening to the HealThy Mouth Summit online all week I'm trying to cut down on how much sugar my children (and I) have daily. I know that sounds weird because we are on GAPS and don't eat any refined sugar/carbohydrates, but we do drink a LOT of fresh raw milk, and that contains... sugar. 

Secondly, whilst ginger and cinnamon are lovely, my kids love a little nutmeg and allspice too.

We had to skip the raisins, partly because my daughter is allergic to grapes (and partly because they are always covered in vegetable oil, but I'll write more on that in another post), but lucky for us Abel & Cole delivered fresh dates this week, so we are using those instead. 

Here's the Gracie Family recipe:

  • 5 large organic carrots
  • 1 inch piece of organic ginger
  • 1.5 cups raw milk kefir
  • 3 frozen bananas (bananas are a low spray crop with thick skin, so don't worry about going organic on these ;0) )
  • 4-5 fresh, organic dates (Christine - take the stones out!)
  • Seeds from two scraped vanilla pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
Juice the carrots and ginger. Blend all the other ingredients together, making sure to hold tight on to your blender so it doesn't jump off the side (this happens when you try to blend frozen stuff. Ask me how I know).

With the mixer running, pour in your carrot and ginger juice.

Enjoy with a straw. 

I don't know why, but smoothies always taste better with a straw...


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Clafoutis and Duck Eggs

Never heard of Clafoutis?

Me neither until recently. My kids are calling this 'pancake cake' because it reminds them of pancakes. It's really delicious. I thought I'd try the recipe I saw on pinterest because we are having a little egg drama in our house.

Basically the fruit and veg box scheme we normally get our eggs from seem to have been having a few problems recently. Firstly I keep getting boxes full of smashed eggs. They are very lovely about refunding me, but the reality is I have to go out to the shops and buy more, which kind of defeats the object of getting them delivered in the first place.

Secondly, over the last few weeks the yolks (which are normally vibrant orange and huge) have become smaller and paler, until last week I made my kids an omelette and they refused to eat it, convinced that it was just white and I'd taken all the yolks out. In fact, I sliced a hard boiled egg and the only thing distinguishing the yolk from the white was texture.

I don't know tonnes about eggs, but I'm assuming that's not a good thing.
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I'm aware that free-range and organic labels mean little to nothing when bought from a supermarket, but I really want my eggs delivered, and I have this vague idea that ducks are not usually battery farmed (turns out I was wrong!) so I bought some duck eggs from Ocado.

Duck eggs out perform chicken eggs nutritionally in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, Vitamins B, A and E, and almost all amino acids, so it's not all bad news. The problem is my kids just don't like them. We've tried boiled, scrambled and omelette (usually household favourites) and I'm not getting anywhere.

Enter Clafoutis. The recipe I used was from Nourished and Nurtured and it goes like this:


  • 10 Tb (1 stick plus 2 Tb) butter
  • 1/3 cup mild-flavored honey (we only used a 1/4 cup, but it depends how sweet you like stuff) 
  • 5 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tb sour cream  
  • 1.5 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • heaping 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
  • zest from one large lemon (juice the rest with some other fruit and serve whilst your impatient children wait for the cake to bake) 
  • 1/4 cup plus Tb coconut flour (this should be sifted if you are not using an immersion blender)
  • 2 large bananas
Melt the butter and stir in the honey.
Chuck all the other ingredients (save the bananas) into a blender and blend. 
I always like to let the batter rest for 5-10 minutes if there is coconut flour in it. It improves texture.
Whilst that's resting, butter an 8x8 pan and slice bananas to cover the bottom of it. 
Pour over the batter and bake at 160c for 50-60 minutes. 

My kids ate this plain and said it was delicious. I ate mine with a little drop of tangerine oil mixed into a drizzle of cream, even though it was breakfast, and it was divine.

Enjoy. 

This recipe was such a hit that my son started spontaneously thanking God for 'all the delicious things' He'd made within two mouthfuls, despite the fact that we'd only said grace thirty second earlier!! 

Food that inspires worship in the morning? That's a definite parenting win!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Orange Dream Ice Cream!

We've made a delicious new probiotic recipe that the kids and I are LOVING at the moment, so I thought I'd share :0)

**You do need an ice cream machine**
Mine broke :0(
But my father-in-law and his girlfriend bought me a new one for Christmas, so ice cream is back on our menu!!

Ingredients

100ml (preferably raw) cream
200ml dairy kefir
1 tbsp honey
3 drops tangerine oil
1 drop lime oil

Whip the cream until its firm.
In another bowl stir together all the other ingredients.
Fold in the cream and put the whole lot in your ice cream machine.

Done!


Monday, 14 January 2013

Coconut cookies

Grain free, sugar free, coconut cookies are what I've been baking today!

I've also had the idea that once the rest of my food grade essential oils arrive I'm going to bake these again with some lemon oil in them. That would be incredible.

Here's the recipe:
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
6 eggs
2 tbsp of vanilla extract (homemade)
2 tbsp of honey

Blend it all together and let it sit for 10-15 minutes in the mixer (this lets the coconut flour absorb all the liquid so it doesn't taste gritty).
Blend again for a few seconds to smooth and the bake tablespoon sized lumps at 180c for about 20 minutes or until they look golden.

That's it.

You can experiment with all kinds of essential oils to flavour. They can be expensive, but are so much better for you than synthetic and sugar-laden flavourings you find in the shops.

Perhaps your local food co-op could get together and buy some? They're very economical after the initial outlay, but get vastly cheaper as you buy larger quantities.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Bentonite clay

It appears I confused a few people on our local food co-op page when I asked if anyone wanted to buy some bentonite clay with me recently, so here's the low down on what it is and why you might buy it.

Bentonite clay is actually made from weathered volcanic ash, and it's one of the most detoxifying substances in the world, which can be used to eliminate toxins an chelate heavy metals. It soothes IBS, calms nausea and indigestion, and has even been used by NASA to counter act the bone depletion caused by weightless environments!

It's great for poultices and face masks, as well as detox baths, but what I'm using it for it tooth powder.

Bentonite's antibacterial properties make it an excellent tooth powder choice, but be sure to add water! This stuff is seriously colloidal and makes your mouth fell like... Well, clay, unsurprisingly! It's a much milder abrasive than bicarbonate of soda, and doesn't contain any of the nasty fluoride or glycerin (not GAPS legal anyway) that toothpastes do, the added bonus is that it's also rich in minerals like calcium and potassium that your teeth actually need.

Using a little essential oil means I can flavour the clay as anything I want (thanks to my new selection of NHR organic, food grade, essential oils ) but I'm being boring initially and sticking with peppermint and tea tree. Maybe one day I'll do lime. Or tangerine.

So, it's cheap, it's healthy, and it's available on amazon. What more could you want?
photo credit
If you are interested in a holistic approach to tooth care and dentistry then I recommend signing up quickly for the HealThy Mouth Summit this weekend. It's totally free, it's online (so you can watch it in your pyjamas) and schedule looks great.

Here's a video called 'The Smoking Tooth' to whet your appetite.

Close Enough to Hear God Breathe

The great story of divine intimacy is the subject of Greg Paul's book 'Close Enough to Hear God Breathe'. He likens studying scripture to dissecting your pet frog: you may learn a lot about the frogs anatomy, but what you have left at the end is not a pet frog.

Paul encourages the reader not only to study portions of scripture, but to read the bible as a whole story, with four great themes; Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation.

Although I agree that we can sometimes miss the bigger picture when studying scripture, I do feel that Paul leans too heavily on his story metaphor, retelling sections of the bible in dramatic ways, but with so many added details that the actual scripture becomes a very minor part of the story. His poetic license is stretched to the very limit.

It reminded me of the time my English teacher lost her temper over a piece of coursework that talked about Tibalt shooting Mercutio (the offending author had seen Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet and had never bothered to read the actual play). I wouldn't recommend this book to a new Christian or someone who didn't read their bible well.

However, I did enjoy the book and found two parts particularly striking. The first was in the 'Creation' section of the book.

"A theology that begins with the "total depravity of man" is a theology that starts the story off in chapter two... ...[that] theological system starts too late, essentially ignoring the foundational value of the creation story... ...and all that happens before the Fall, is too precious to relegate it to the status of meaningless introduction".

All too often we can focus on the sinfulness of mankind, without recalling the height from which we have fallen; the wonderful creation that we were always meant to be.

The second thing that really struck me in this book was in the section on the Fall. Paul uses the example of his two children. One is injured through his own fault and one through a sickness that could not be helped. Both end up in hospital. His response as their father is not to be angry with either one, despite causation, but to buy them chocolates.

A beautiful example of how God's favour rests on us, regardless of our sinful nature or the predicaments we find ourselves in. This single chapter revealed more about my Father's heart to bless me, regardless of my circumstances, than many sermons ever have. I'd heard it before, but the simple illustration allowed me to understand it.

Close enough to hear God breathe has many examples like this, and despite the amount of fiction thrown in, I still think its a great book for an adult who already knows these scriptures and won't be easily influenced by the extra details.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Celeriac Chips and Bike Riding



Today we stumbled across a delicious new way to eat celeriac. My children used to love this ugly vegetable but recently they seem to have changed their minds.

photo credit
I sliced it thin, spread a little coconut oil on each side, sprinkled on some salt and some dehyrdrated garlic. I roasted it as hot as my oven would go for about 10-15 minutes, then when they were starting to brown I flipped them, sprinkled them with parmesan cheese and put them back in until they were golden again.

The verdict:

Delicious.



In other news:

I'm pretty sure you're all desperate to see a video of my baby's first attempt at riding a bike, right?

For those who don't know me well, I always add dramatic music when my children achieve something. I think it encourages them...

video

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Small Change: Vest + Skirt = Dress

'Tidying' Mama's cupboards
My daughter's growing up.

At the tender age of two and a half she has started doing household chores without being asked!

Whilst making juice this morning I felt a tap at my feet and realised she was sweeping the floor with my dustpan and brush and my foot was in the way of her getting to the vegetable trimmings I'd dropped.

She also tidies my kitchen cupboards.

Well, she pushes everything to the back where it's unreachable anyway, and seems to think this looks tidier.

Unfortunately she isn't maturing in all areas and still has a habit of pulling her shirts up to show everybody her tummy.

In an attempt to prevent her flashing ways, I came up with a solution; I'm sewing vests into all her skirts.

It's super easy, and I don't really know why I hadn't thought of it before.

Simply make sure you match up the side seams and pin at regular intervals. Sew with a zigzag stitch and a double needle if you have one (if not, make sure you stretch the skirt really well whilst sewing so that it has room to expand and go over her head!) and it's that simple.

Ta Da!!! Flash proof!
If your skirt had a zip, just back stitch and leave a 1.5 inch gap. The vest will stretch around the zip and allow easy on/off.
Gratuitous picture of my gorgeous baby.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Grey hairs

I found a grey hair this morning and rebelliously left it where it was.

It's nothing new, I've been finding grey hairs and carefully plucking them out for years, but this morning I decided to leave it. I'm going grey in my 20s, so what?

The best part is that it's right on the very front of my fringe, on the parting, and I am currently wearing a black hairband that contrasts it strongly.

Do I care less about my appearance? Not really, I'm still wearing make-up and jewellery and trying to look nice, but the difference is that I want to work with what God gave me, and relax about conforming to others ideas of beauty.

Since losing a large amount of weight on GAPS I have had an unbelievable number of comments on my weight. I don't mind that. Initially I was embarrassed, but I'm over it. I understand that it's not usual to see someone drop weight rapidly and people want to know what I did.

What I do find sad, is the number of mothers who have approached me in the last few weeks to tell me that their daughters have privately told them how 'pretty' or 'beautiful' I am. These are girls who have known me for years, who have suddenly decided I'm 'pretty'. I can genuinely say that I haven't changed my make-up, or the way I style my hair. Whilst I don't expect young girls to be recognizing my 'inner-beauty' (1 Peter 3:4-6) although it would be nice (!) I'm saddened that 'beauty' and 'pretty' appear to only be linked to weight.

I'm convinced that even as a teenager I was able to look at larger women and notice beautiful hair, or stunning eyes, but more and more I'm starting to realize that the only features that matter to our young girls is a waist measurement.

I'm determined that I will bring my daughter up to find beauty throughout God's creation, regardless of whether it conforms to society's latest fashion (let's face it, slim wasn't always beautiful).

This is for all the "Pro-Anorexia" crap on Pinterest. Take that. And what we really know is that what men like doesn't matter... You should love yourself inside and out, and be happy and healthy. So there. Super funny though that this add is about gaining weight with yeast pills. haha
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 I'm not quite sure how to do this, but I will start by not exposing her to damaging media. We don't have a TV and I am committing now, whilst she is young enough that we haven't battled over it, that I will not buy her any beauty magazines. I'm going to look for beauty everywhere and comment on it in her hearing. We will discuss people's appearances, but only in positive ways. I want to tell her that healthy is pretty.

And above all, I want to teach her that true beauty, comes from adorning oneself with good deeds and worshiping the Lord  (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

I'm posting it here because I want everyone who reads this to keep me accountable. I can't teach my daughter something I haven't learned and aren't working on myself. If you see me reading a beauty magazine, or commenting on someone's weight, or even just spending too long checking my reflection in the mirror. Call me out on it.

Remind me to adorn myself with good deeds and worshiping the Lord.

 
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