I like to write about simple healthy living. This blog has evolved over a few years and includes some time living in the country and enjoying raising chickens, walking dogs and growing our own veggies. We are back in the city for a while to build the bank account so that we can retire back in the country in the not too distant future. Till then it's two days at a time.

Monday, 11 August 2014

No Such Thing as a Standard Egg??

When it comes to our chooks it seems like there is no such thing as a standard size egg.

Our baby chicks are laying little eggs and our big chooks have the whole size range covered.

That big one is 127grams!!!  Some poor chook must be a little sore tonight.  The one on the left (as you look at the pic) is a standard 60gram egg.

It's lucky we aren't a professional egg farm, our sorters would be having all kinds of problems.

Can't wait to see how many yokes are in that big one.  We often get 2 but I'm sure this will be more.  Stay tuned.





Sunday, 10 August 2014

Rosemary Focaccia

The finished product. - simple ingredients, water, yeast, flour, salt and oil

 It helps when you have a Thermomix to need the dough

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with Rosemary before putting in the oven

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Yoghurt Cheese

Some people call this Quark and some call it Labna - I call it yoghurt cheese.  Super simple to make and a great replacement for cheese and dips.  These photos show you how to make it rather than how to eat it.  There are many ways to enjoy yoghurt cheese.   Add herbs or chilli or honey just depends on whether you want a sweet or savoury flavour.  Sometimes I don't add anything and just spread some on a rice cake for a really quick snack. 

 
I use a plastic strainer that fits nicely into a plastic jug.








I place a piece of muslin inside the strainer and then pour in a whole container of my favourite five:am plain yoghurt.




It then needs something on the top to weigh it down.  This pushed all of the liquid out. The liquid is full of pro-biotic so good to put into food or a drink.

This one I left in the fridge for a few days but usually 24 hours is enough.
The strainer I use gives it a great pattern but I don't have a dish big enough to keep it in like this so I've squashed it into the glass container below.



Sunday, 3 August 2014

Bliss Balls

I've been making a version of this for about the last 20 years.   For many many years it was a staple treat for the kids and a lot healthier for them than I ever led them to believe.
 
I don't follow a recipe so they are a bit different every time.

This is today's recipe.  I didn't actually measure anything so I'm going have a stab at the quantity.  Basically use just whizz it up till it all starts to stick together.  If it's too dry to stick together, just add more dates.

15 Medjool Dates (seed removed)
1 Cup Almonds
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
2 tablespoons Cacao Powder

I used the turbo button on the Thermomix until it's combined and sticking together. Then form into balls and rolled in Sesame Seeds.

I like to take a couple of these to work to have mid afternoon rather than visiting the chocolate box or the vending machine.  Two is plenty to cure a sweet craving.   



This is what I take if I haven't made bliss balls.  Ha Ha the lazy woman's bliss ball.   Still bliss to eat though!






Thursday, 31 July 2014

Magnolia - A Hint of Spring



I've been in bed for a couple of days with a winter bug and outside my window I've been watching the Magnolia tree start to bloom. They are beautiful flowers and I love how they fill up the tree without a leaf in sight.  I don't know much about trees but apparently Magnolia's are the early bloomers and I'll take that as a sign that spring is nearly here.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Our First 1/2 Dozen


Yesterday we got our first 1/2 dozen eggs in one day.  We've have had Polly, Penny and Prue for over a year now and recently introduced Suzi Q, Sybil and Sabrina. 
Sabrina, Suzi Q and Sybil

We bought them all when they were just a few days old and hand reared them.  This is a fun exercise and we prefer it to buying "point of lay" chooks although it can be a bit challenging intergrating them with the existing flock.

3 Big 3 Small

These little ones lived in a house below the big chook house until they were big enough to climb the ramp to the "big house".  That's when the big chooks decided they didn't want to share the house.  It only took a few days for the little chooks to realise if they got in before the big chooks did they could move to the back of the house and bed down for the night. 

Now that they are laying eggs I'm sure they will be better accepted by the bigger chooks.
 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Pumpkin and Ham Slice

Ready for the oven
This is my twist on the old Zucchini slice.  I had ham that needed to be used, an excess of pumpkin and eggs (one of the baby chicks laid for the first time today).


I cubed up some Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese and grated in the Thermomix. The weight was 120 grams all up - mixed for about 5 seconds on speed 8.  Put the cheese aside in a bowl.

I then roughly chopped one carrot and about 200g pumpkin.  Put the carrot, pumpkin and an onion cut in half into the Thermomix.   I then chopped on speed 5 for about 6 seconds.

Ready to eat
Then I roughly chopped up a whole red capsicum and put this in to the Thermomix with the other vegetables and a few sages leaves I got from the garden. I chopped just for a 2 seconds on speed 4.

Then back in with the cheese, 6 eggs, 50 grams macadamia oil, 170g chopped ham a good pinch of salt and pepper and 150g of SR Flour.

Mixed it all together on reverse speed 5 for 10 seconds then poured into baking tray lined with baking paper.

Put into a 180 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Fighting Winter's Ill's

Garry has a fairly serious cold /flu (possibly even Man Flu) so I made him this smoothie for breakfast.   He doesn't even bother to ask what's in it anymore but it went something like this.


Almonds
Camu Camu Powder
Probiotic Powder
Vital Greens Powder
Coconut
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
Vanilla Bean
Frozen Banana
Lots of Silver beet

Blitzed in the Thermomix for 2 minutes

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Making Stock Powder

400G of Vegetables and Herbs
I've owned a Thermomix for about 6 months now and the first thing I made with it was Vegetable Stock.  This is so simple to make and it adds such great flavour to our meals. I make sure I always have a supply.
After 20 mins in the Thermomix

Pouring on to the dehydrator Tray
After making a couple of batches and freezing in ice cube trays I came up with the idea of drying it out in my dehydrator and turning it into a powder.  This is the only way I'll bother making it from now on, it's so much easier to have on hand in  powder form.  I just keep making up a new batch when I have vegetables that need using up and I keep adding to the same bottle of powder and give it a bit of a shake up so the old and the new mix together.

Into the Dehydrator
After 12 hours of drying and broken by hand


It looks kind of like a bottle of coloured sand.   I am lucky enough to have a Thermomix and a dehydrator but the stock could be made on the stove and then the paste dehydrated in the oven.  My appliances just make the job quicker.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

My First Green Caravan Order

I've been running down my supplies for the last few weeks in readiness for my first Green Caravan Order.

Green Caravan is a Brisbane based food ordering group that supplies organic whole foods and luckily for me I can pick my order up and incur no delivery fee as the pick up point is only 5 minutes away.
The empty jars make my ordering process very easy.


When people visit our house we always get asked about our bottles and labels.  I love having the bottles out on the cupboard as I find ingredients don't get lost in the pantry and we actually use everything we buy.  Smoothie making in the morning always involves grabbing a few jars and we come up with a new flavour every day.   We got the bottles from the Japanese shop Dasio where everything costs $2.80 so an absolute bargain for glass jars.   I only recently bought the chalk labels and I love them and am constantly looking for things to label now.  I got the labels online at Label Kingdom.  



Oops didn't mean to make this blog an infomercial !  Just answering the questions I get asked a lot. You can be sure I won't be receiving any free goods because of this blog.  Have you noticed I only have 13 followers !!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

When I Grow These


Thought I'd fire up the blog again as we have a plan to get back to the farm.  It will take a few years but there is a lot to plan and that will keep me focused.

I've just been washing this week's fruit and veg and thinking about how hard it would be to grow a week's worth of veggies.  We have the space but I know from my attempts before I need to do a lot of research on planting cycles so we consistently have food.   So exciting to imagine this one day.