Category: Freedom from these chains

Making yoghurt

When I moved to Sydney 12 years ago, the first thing I noticed were the high prices for groceries. In the 12 years that I have called Australia home, nothing has really changed in that department. In fact, it seems that prices just keep on rising…..and quality keeps dropping…

It wasn’t until 2 years ago, that I decided that I had more than enough of paying $5 a liter for natural yoghurt. In Holland my family pays only 0.75 cents for a liter of yoghurt!!! I now pay $1.75 for 1 litre of yoghurt, if I make it myself and if  you buy the homebrand milk, it will only cost you $1.25 a litre.

This is all I use

  • pot
  • cooking thermometer
  • thermos flask or bowl with lid
  • towel

Ingredients

  • 2 liters of milk
  • 2/3 cup of milk powder (opt.)
  • smidgen of yoghurt culture

First cook your milk at 90C for 15 min. to kill all pathogens. While your milk heats and pasteurizes, add the milk powder and stir. When your milk has been cooked at 90C for 15 minutes, let it cool down to about 37-40C. Now, add your smidgen of yoghurt culture and transfer this to your lidded bowl or flask. Wrap a towel around it and keep it overnight inside a turned OFF oven.

When you wake the next morning, your yoghurt will be ready for you to eat.

How easy was that!!

 If you are as lucky as I am and have access to raw milk, you can leave out the powdered milk.

Instead of using a yoghurt culture, you can use a couple of tablespoons of good quality organic yoghurt to start your batch.

Make sure you keep some yoghurt to start your next batch!

Grain free Banana Choc-Chip Muffins

 

When I was forced to give up grains and coffee, I thought I would not make it! I am Dutch after all and this is what the Dutch love the most, bread and coffee.

Luckily, I did make it and I came out the other end a whole lot happier and healthier.

Grains make you gain a lot of unnecessary weight, hence the reason farmers feed them to their cows to fatten them up before slaughter!! Interesting…… I am glad to say, we eat grass fed beef for a whole lot of other reasons, but I will have to leave that for another post, another time.

I have been on quite a creative journey trying to healthily substitute my bread and muffins and other snacks. We don’t consume refined sugar in this house, because I regard it as drugs. In fact it is often quoted as it being “the drugs of the food industry”. It is significantly more addictive than cocaine! So why, would I want to get my beautiful children hooked on it??

I have been able to create some delicious muffins and I am excited to share the recipe here with you. My mother-in-law visited us the other day and she really enjoyed these muffins too. I know that she is looking forward to the recipe 😉

Banana Chocolate Muffins (I made 17, but it depends on the size of your tins)

 

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil/butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bananas mashed
  • 1/2 cup choc chips

 

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C and grease some muffin tins.

In a bowl mix the melted coconut oil, honey and vanilla.

Add the eggs and whisk well. Now add the cocoa, the cinnamon and the coconut flour. Whisk until well combined.

Then add bananas and choc chips.

Feel free to use a food processor for mixing, it will be a lot quicker and easier to do.

Pour the mixture into a greased muffin tin and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

If you can avoid it, do not use the microwave to melt the coconut oil/butter, it really defeats the purpose of using such a healthy oil.

 

 

 

 

A word of wisdom from my kitchen pantry – part 2

As promised, part 2 of the topic “wisdom from my kitchen pantry”.

Previously we discussed the principle of buying in bulk, online and direct from the farmer. This really helps not only your wallet, but it also supports the local farmers who work so hard to make a living. So, now that we have stocked our pantry, what do I do with all this food????

Here is a list of kitchen equipment i use for food preparation, I simply can’t live without them:

I have had my slow cooker for many years now. I bought it when we had our first child. It made life so much easier. You simply throw a whole bunch of ingredients in there, let it cook for 8 or so hours and away you go. BRILLIANT invention. It makes so much, that you can freeze half for the following weeks menu. AWESOME!

My Thermomix entered our family about 18 months ago. This machine is capable of anything. If you don’t believe me google it. In my Thermomix I make yoghurt, for example,  or ice cream. I knead all my bread dough in it too. Every morning we make smoothies in it. And at night I cook a meal in it. If you don’t have a Thermomix, don’t worry, you can get a lot of use out of a blender or food processor. I do believe that 1 of those items is a must in a healthy kitchen.

Of course we all have an oven! I hope…..I almost use it daily for baking. Or to keep my culturing yoghurt warm.

So, if you have access to those 3 items, than you have a very well equipped kitchen.

In the last part of this topic I will share with you a few meals we like to enjoy with our pantry items. Stay tuned!

 

 

A word of wisdom from my kitchen pantry – part 1

I promised you in my last post a word of wisdom from my kitchen pantry. I hope that all you ladies have enjoyed my previous post in regards to the laundry room and that you have been able to implement some of those ideas into your own laundry-life.

Today I will share with you, in part 1 of this topic,  how I manage my kitchen, my food supply and how this might lower your household budget.

I really need to stress the point, that in our house we have decided a long time ago to live healthy by making healthy food choices. This can look very different in your life as there are so many different ways in which a healthy lifestyle can be defined.

A healthy lifestyle for us pretty much looks like this:

  • No processed foods
  • No refined sugar
  • No additives

For me that makes buying food real easy, because everything I buy will be a basic ingredient or fresh produce. I cook everything from scratch with the advantage of knowing what is in the food that I feed my family.

Alright, having said that, here is how I shop:

  • I shop once a month for all my non-perishables, such as canned tomatoes, coconut milk, dried beans etc.
  • I buy in bulk,  all flours, oats, seeds and spices
  • I am part of a fruit and vegetable co-op
  • I buy fresh milk once a week from the farm
  • I buy meat every 3 months from a cattle farmer
  • And, once my chicken starts laying (aaargh) I will have access to free eggs

Have you noticed how I have not set foot in Coles or Woollies? Most of my ingredients I buy come from online independent stores. Some of them even offer free postage. By not shopping at the supermarket, you will never be tempted by their clever marketing ploys to influence you into buy more than you need and buying foods you don’t need. You will also be voting with your wallet and showing support to the little guys by shopping elsewhere.

There are several online spice stores, here is a list:

For meat I go to:

With our grocery budget we have to feed 5 people. I try to stay under $160 a week. If you don’t care about organic grass fed meat or healthy alternative natural sweeteners, than you can even do it for less. $115 is allocated to meat, fruit and vegetables. The rest is spent on flour, dairy, beans, natural sweeteners etc.

Now that you know my shopping habit, I hope I have inspired you into looking at grocery shopping from a different perspective. I know, not all of you will be able to employ this way of buying, simply because you are on your own, perhaps you have only a small family and buying bulk is not an option. Can I just suggest to you, the idea of buying bulk with friends?

In part 2 I will explain a few things about the appliances I have a love relationship with and help me be an effective cook.

 

 

 

 

 

The perfect crust……EVERY time!

A deliciously easy home made breakfast. Yoghurt, granola and bread.

 

Before kids,  I would always laugh at these mums who would bake muffins and scones for their morning tea parties or for the school canteen. In my opinion there were better things to do than bake your own goods, it was too fifties housewife for me…..mind you I was in my mid twenties at the time, so you can forgive me for thinking this.

Nowadays, I loathe at the thought of having to hop in the car, kids in tow, to buy a set of scones from the bakery for an exorbitant amount of money. Really, it is only milk, flour and butter. Who doesn’t have those items in the pantry?? Truth be told, before kids I didn’t have flour in my cupboard, EVER, because I simply didn’t know what to do with it. Now I do, I buy 25 kilo bags of flour and I bake everything myself from bread to cinnamon scrolls and English muffins. No scones, just not a huge fan ;-). Oh and I still don’t bake for the school canteen either! 😉

Let me share with you the easiest method of baking bread. I read it in a book called “Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day”. Before reading this book I had been making bread for a while and although I have a very powerful kneading machine, I still found it laborious having to make the dough daily and letting it rise. It was taking up to much time for me. So in this book I read that you can make an entire batch of dough, enough for 8 loaves and leave it in the fridge for at least 10 days. How BRILLIANT!

So here is the recipe, feel free to half it. This recipe makes 8 loaves.

  • 6 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp of yeast OR 3 cups of sourdough starter
  • 13 cups of bakers flour

You can mix your flours (no need to knead), for example 8 cups of wholemeal and 5 cups of white bakers flour. Or you can do 7 cups wholemeal, 5 cups white and 1 cup of seeds and grains. It is really flexible and this recipe works with your tastes and preferences.

In a big bowl mix all ingredients together, give it a 45 minute rise and then put in in the fridge. When you want to bake a loaf you remove a ball of dough from the container. Be warned, the dough is sticky, so make sure to sprinkle it with flour before you try to take it out of the container. Shape the dough in a boulle shape (round) or in any other shape you want. When baking, put the loaf on a floured baking stone in a 180C oven for 30 minutes or so. For the perfect crumb and crust, place a bowl of water in the oven with the bread. The steam will work wonders.

Let me know how you go. x

 

Woolies and Coles, who are they??

As I mentioned in my previous post “Freedom from these chains” I thought I’d explain to you why I refuse to spend my grocery budget there. Admittedly it is not always possible, but as sure as the sun will rise, I will try to limit it.

I really only have 1 reason and that is the fact that both these corporations not only own the supermarkets, they own almost everything you buy. From petrol to liquor. That makes me feel as though they own me, since it leaves me with no choice where to spend my hard earned cash. As a consumer and individual I demand freedom of choice in every area of my life. We live in a democracy, right? I don’t want to be the person that caused my local butcher and greengrocer to go bankrupt.  Indirectly,  I believe, by shopping solely at Wesfarmer and Woolworths owned outlets, that is exactly what happens….

Secondly, I believe by shopping locally we support our farmers who work incredibly hard to make an honest living. And believe it or not we really don’t need to be reliant upon the supermarket as we can make and build,  or acquire directly from farmers everything we need for a decent life ourselves. It’s a big statement, I know……..but I challenge you to give it a go! 🙂

Here are 2  great videos that really simplify this topic of the 2 giants taking over the world (tongue in cheek)

 

Freedom from these chains

For about 2 years now, as a family we have been trying to get away from the “duopoly” of Australian supermarket chains. No need to mention the names of these 2 giants who are trying to take over the entire market and your life and squeezing the last life out of the little guys who are trying to make an honest living.

So, with this in mind I started our journey to freedom from these chains (pun intended). Along the way I have learned everything from how to make butter with fresh milk from the farmer, to how to make my own bread without using a prepackaged yeast, to making our own toothpaste.

Over the next few posts, I will help you in your journey to freedom from these chains.

The first thing you might want to consider is looking for, or organizing your own co-op. A co-op or cooperative is a group of people who work together to receive mutual benefits through a joint purchase of bulk goods. In this case I am talking about buying fruit and vegetables directly from the farmers or the market garden (e.g Flemington Markets in Sydney).

I am part of a co-op that organizes a box of fruit and veggies every fortnight for cost price. We can do this because it comes straight from the farmer or the market and the produce is bought in bulk. You, as a co-op are entitled to bulk or wholesale prices, which keeps more dollars in your wallet and fresher food in your tummy.

Our co-op also donates $5 of each box to build wells in Cambodia, which I love about our co-op, because it makes a large difference in someone else’s life and not a large profit in Mr. Coles’ pocket.

So, it’s easy to get started. Simply get some friends, family or neighbours together, find your local farmer or market and share the duties of picking up the produce each week or fortnight. You will see the difference in your grocery budget and eat seasonal food (instead of 12 month old apples from China).

Summary of all the benefits of joining a co-op

  • It builds community
  • You will eat fresh food in season
  • Supports your local growers
  • Reduces your carbon foot print
  • Saves money

So, what are you waiting for?