Category: In the kitchen

Pantry staple #3……….Coconut Butter

Artisana_coconut

 

Just lately in the world of health food a “new” product is being marketed, called Coconut Butter.  Back in the days of my raw food adventures, coconut oil and coconut butter were the same thing. But when I kept seeing these ads for coconut butter,  I realized that this was something different than coconut oil. Really it is a product which I believe has been re-namend and re-marketed. I did some digging and found that it also goes by the name “coconut cream concentrate”, which is the hard layer you will find on the top of your can of coconut cream.

However,  if we are to believe that this indeed is a new and trendy ‘must-have’ item and an impossible one to make at home,  you will be confronted with a price tag that is higher that the tree from which the product  came.

Let me tell you the truth about this trendy coconut butter. All it is?  Shredded coconut blended for a minute or 2 in your high speed blender. That is all there is to it. Absolutely nothing fancy, whatsoever.

What does this cost at the shops, you might want to know? I did some online shopping for you and found several different brands of coconut butter going for around $37.90 a kilo! That is more expensive than coconut oil. Shocking, considering it is an easier process to make the butter than it is to extract the oil from the flesh of the coconut. Go figure….

I made some of this delicious butter the other day in my blender. Once it was creamy I transferred it into an ice cube tray and put it in the fridge where it became really hard. After dinner I popped one out and ate it. It was so satisfying and it literally melted in my mouth. I immediately thought of all sorts of ways for which I could use this incredible ingredient. First thing that came to my mind was of course……CHOCOLATE! I will be experimenting with this as soon as I find some time to do it. I promise I will share with you the things I made. There are many other ways this butter is used. You can put it on your toast or drizzle it on your veggies. You can also cook with it and use it in baking instead of using butter. Or you can just eat it by the spoonful, like I do. It is also an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Natures anti-biotics!

Here is what it really costs, when made at home.

1 kilo of Organic Coconut Butter = $8.00

Want to know where you can purchase Organic Shredded Coconut for that price? Check out our Whole-foods co-op, in the Hills District NSW.

 

Pantry Item #2….Here is a money saving tip.

freshcoconut3

 

I have been itching to make this for ages and yesterday, when our very first Co-op order arrived, I finally had the chance to do it. I get so excited about real food, it is almost sickening. And when I find a way to make things myself without going to the supermarket, I get even more excited.

I love coconut milk and I buy lots of it in evil BPA lined tin cans from the Aldi. I have found the Aldi one contains the least crap and has the most yummy layer of cream on the top. In fact I use that layer to make whipped coconut cream and even chocolate filling to put in between a macaron or a cake. Oh yeah, I can taste it right now and I am salivating. However, it is not organic and it is in a tin can, lined with BPA and as we all know by now this is toxic, as are many other things……and it is 0.89 cents per 400ml tin. Being Dutch, I like to save money wherever I can. I know ya’ll think the Dutch are tight as anything, I would like to suggest I am frugal. It has a much better ring to it, don’t you agree?

So, when my 10kg bag of the most beautiful organic shredded coconut arrived, I headed to work and made myself some nice coconut milk. And it was quick and it was easy and it was also money saving!

I boiled 1 liter of water and poured it over 2 cups of organic shredded coconut.

I let it sit for 2 hours to cool down and then whizzed it in a high speed blender.

Then it was ready to be strained through a nut bag. The pulp sits in my dehydrator at this very moment and later tonight I will store it in a glass jar. And guess what, it is now coconut flour! Tada! You can of course put the pulp on a tray and chuck in the oven to dry it, if you don’t have a dehydrator. Or you can leave the pulp in the milk, this will create that yummy creamy layer on the top.

Of course I would like to share the math with you:

400ml of home made certified organic coconut milk = 0.53 cents!

If you dry the pulp you have “free” flour as well, which is especially exciting for those who are gluten intolerant and grain free. I remember paying $18.95 a kilo for coconut flour before I started the Organic Whole food Co-op. Thank goodness, those days are over!

To join our co-op, please click here.

 

 

 

 

Pantry staples from scratch…..Food Item #1

 

I promised to show you how to make food,  generally bought ready-made, at home from basic ingredients.

I thought it would be appropriate to start of with breakfast. A recipe I heard of a few years ago revolutionised my life. I know……sounds dramatic, BUT it just created a zing for me in the mornings. And best of all everyone in my household liked it as well, which is always a bonus for mummy.

It’s  a granola recipe created by Cindy O’meara. She is such a gifted lady and has a website called http://changinghabits.com.au/   Absolutely brilliant, so please check out her wisdom as well.

Anyway, back to the recipe. There are only 4 ingredients:

  • Coconut
  • Almond
  • Date
  • Apple (1 whole)

That is it, CADA. All you do is, cut up the apple, dates and the almonds and mix it together with the shredded coconut. If you have a blender or food processor or even better a thermomix, you can use that to do the chopping.

If you feel a little adventurous, you could add some rolled oats as well and roast it for a short time in the oven. You might want to drizzle a mixture of water and honey over the top of it to make the oats crunchy. You can eat this granola with yoghurt.

For me, I eat it as is, for breakfast or a snack. Yum, yum.

 

Save with pantry staples you can simply make yourself.

Have you noticed that buying convenience is a whole lot more expensive than making your own? And have you noticed also that buying these foods can have a detrimental effect on your health and the health of your family?

Yes, it is easy to go to the shop and buy a box of A, B or C, but is it really beneficial to our lives and health? Would it not be a wonderful thing to pass down some basic life skills, such as cooking,  on to the next generation? It is such a tragedy, that some of today’s kids and even their parents struggle with sickness and obesity, simply because we have been led to believe that buying box A, B or C is easier, more convenient and not an unhealthy option.

It might be easier to open up a box or buy a cake mix from the store but at the end of the day it does not teach our children anything other than, “food is not important for our bodies” and “We must spend more time on activities and work, than on keeping our bodies healthy” and “If we are sick, we will buy another box from the chemist to fix us quickly” (but makes us sicker in the long run).

I wonder how we ever got into such a mess? Even with the economic climate we find ourselves in today, many of us still spend a lot of money on convenience foods rather than on basic ingredients to make these staples at home. The amount of debt that the average Australian carries is a very daunting statistic. And with a high rate of mortgage foreclosures in my area,  I wonder what can be done to teach parents and children the basic life skills of healthy home cooking.

Healthy home cooking certainly does not need to be expensive at all, I believe I spent less on my monthly budget than the average family in Sydney. We have a family of 5 and spend around $600-$700 a month on food.

The majority of the food we eat is organic and delivered to our house. I used to be part of this wonderful co-op for quite a while as you may have read in my previous post, but when I got sicker I decided to go onto an organic diet to heal myself. I changed from spending $50 a week on fruit and veggies to $90 a week on organic fruit and veggies.

We spend around $180 on organic beef every 3 months. I am really stretching that meat as far as I can. Some weeks we eat no more than 1 kilo of beef a week, shared between 5 people! But it is worth the stretch. And truth be told, our bodies don’t need anymore meat than that to function at it’s peak, no matter how much the man of the house thinks he needs it!

I also receive lots of bones from these organic cows from which I make delicious soups and stocks. This is an excellent and very frugal way to prepare nutritious dense foods. I purchase around 2 kilos of organic chicken carcasses for $12 to make stock with. Again, nutritious dense food for less. Stocks these days are mainly purchased in a carton or a can a cube or powder form. But when the butcher cuts all the meat of the chicken carcasses, he has no purpose for the carcass which to him is a waste product. To me it is real food, which I turn into golden liquid to strengthen my families bodies!

We used to spend $15 a week on raw milk and made kefir and yoghurt with it, unfortunately I no longer drink milk and have decided to deprive my whole family of it as well. I now make Almond milk for my smoothies instead or coconut milk, which I am experimenting to turn into yoghurt!

In the next few weeks I will share with you a few food items I make from scratch. These items are almost always bought in boxes, jars or cans from the supermarket. If you only had these basic ingredients in your cupboard you can make anything you desire……..well almost!

So, stay with me and learn some nifty tricks, to keep you away from the dangers of additives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best, no seriously, THE BEST, almond flour pancakes EVER.

 

 

pancakes

 

 

 

I had been looking for a nice and easy, fluffy, moist and tasty pancake recipe for a while now. I have tried many different recipes and still not one of them exceeded my expectation. Until now……

When we were away on holidays this Christmas break, I really wanted to make it special for the kids by baking some delicious pancakes for breakfast. The day before I had just made some Almond milk and had lots of pulp leftover, which I dry out in the oven or dehydrator and turn into flour! I know, pretty smart, eh?!

I searched and searched online until I found a recipe with the heading “Almond Flour (extra fluffy) Pancakes”
That totally grabbed my attention and it listed ingredients I had on hand. Bonus.

Away I went with my mixer and ingredients and before I knew it I had a succesfull festive breakfast waiting for the kids to attack.

Here is Heather’s recipe from http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/recipes/almond-flour-extra-fluffy-pancakes/

I left out a few things, this is my version and I tripled it so we had some leftovers for lunch. I mean seriously, if your doing all the work, you may as well make it worthwhile, yes, yes!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
3 egg3/4 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
9 egg whites ( I think I may have done 7, but can’t remember for sure…)

 

Directions:

 

Stir together all ingredients except egg whites.Whip egg whites until white stiff peaks form and then fold them into your pancake batter.
Fry pancakes over low heat in a greased skillet or on a pancake griddle.

 

I decorate my pancakes with:

Maple syrup
Berries
Banana
Whipped coconut cream

You can also drizzle chocolate sauce over it……too good.

A grain free diet, what does that look like? And what can I eat now??

Since July 2012 I have been completely grain free, sugar free, caffeine free, lactose free and fructose free, because I had a fungal infection and was practically a walking mushroom! Trust me, this was not a food group I would lay down voluntarily. I was found kicking and screaming for the first 5 days with SEVERE withdrawal symptoms and awful Die-off from the toxins that were being released into my system. You would have thought I was a heroine junkie! It was nasty, so nasty, that my husband had to stay home whilst I lay in bed frothing at the mouth 😉

But…..I have to admit, it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself and my family. I am a much happier momma and a much healthier person, simply because I no longer suffer from the symptoms of a fungal overgrowth. It is interesting to note, that many people have an overgrowth of fungus in their bodies. The reason for this is our lifestyles. Lots of us live high stress lives, others are constantly taking antibiotics or eating a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates. These factors cause an imbalance in our gut and in turn cause an overgrowth of fungus and bacteria not so beneficial to us.

Here are some of the symptoms I experienced:

  • Fungal skin infection
  • Food and chemical sensitivities
  • Feelings of anxiety, panic attacks, feeling “blue”
  • Brain fog, poor concentration, feeling ‘spacey’
  • Poor memory
  • Extreme lethargy, fatigue
  • Eye fatigue, spots in front of eyes, burning or tearing eyes
  • Frequent ear infections, pressure, swelling or tingling or ears
  • Irritability, mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Asthma
  • Poor libido
  • Fungal Sinusitis
  • Inflammation of the hair follicles (candidiasis folliculitis) of various parts of the body (feet, legs, arms)
  • Muscle weakness and pain
  • Joint swelling and aches
  • Obsessive behaviour
  • Sinus problems, post nasal drip
  • Symptoms worse after waking
  • Allergy symptoms

Now that I have cleared all of these symptoms with a specific diet, designed to kill off these bad bacteria and yeasts, I have been able to add some fruit back into my diet.

I am still grain free, sugar free, caffeine free and lactose free.

Let me take  you through a typical day of food choices for me. It might give you some ideas and inspiration.

In the morning I make a smoothie .

These are the ingredients I use:

Breakfast Smoothie

  • 330ml coconut water preferably fresh, If not available, from a carton
  • 1 bananas
  • handful of berries
  • 2 tsp psyllium seeds
  • 1 tbsp slippery elm bark
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp flaxseed oil
  • some almonds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 raw egg (fresh)

This keeps me full for ages, but if I am still hungry I might have a boiled egg or a carrot and apple juice.

For morning tea I have a slice of Pumpkin bread or a muffin and a glass of green juice.

For the green juice, I use the juice recipe from the Gerson Therapy

For lunch I often have a bowl of soup from my homemade chicken stock,  or scrambled eggs with sauteed silverbeet and garlic, fresh from the garden.

When I feel peckish I grab a yummy grain free muffin, a handful of nuts, a salad or some flax seed crackers. Or all of the above 🙂

For dinner I will have pretty much anything as long as it is grain free and dairy free, That is pretty easy. We do enjoy eating meat, but only if it is organic and pasture fed.

In all honesty, I know that what I eat is a very simple diet, which is not always easy to do for people who are not used to it. Trust me, I had cravings too when I got forced into this lifestyle. After a while though, you will have no cravings anymore other than for fresh vegetable juices and healthy soups and salads. It is bizarre how quickly your body adapts to a new way of eating. Yes, the withdrawals are severe, but after a while it feels like you never had any withdrawals at all and it feels like there is no way back to the old way of eating.

Why don’t you give it try and see how you feel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious breakfast recipes for the whole family

Sometimes breakfast can get a bit boring, with porridge, porridge and more porridge. At least that seems to be the way in our house!

Although we do start the day with a smoothie as well, porridge is always a sure thing for our children in the morning. They love it though, and that is all that matters. But on the weekends I like to do something else.

Here are some of the breakfast meals we make.

CADA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy O’meara from Changing Habits, Changing Lives, has an incredibly tasty and easy breakfast recipe which we use when we want a change and not have loads of time to bake or cook a full breakfast with the lot. She calls her recipe CADA which stands for

  • Coconut (shredded)
  • Almond
  • Dates (pitted)
  • Apple (cored)

And that is all you need, a handful of each and 1 whole apple. Put it in the food processor and blend (not puree!)

You can add this “granola” to yoghurt if you like or eat it as is.

Homemade Chrunchola

  • 2 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of mixed nuts of your choice
  • 1/4 of a cup of seeds of choice (e.g Chia, Sesame, Sunflower, Pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey mixed with water

After the muesli has cooled down, you can add some raisins and other dried fruit, such as apple, banana, cherries, cranberries, apricot, dates, plums, prunes etc.

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir. Combine the maple syrup and vanilla and stir so everything is combined. Spread the muesli on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast at 140ºC  for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes, making sure everything is evenly toasted. Leave to cool completely in a bowl then add the dried fruit and store in an airtight container.

 

Scrambled eggs with Spinach.

Scramble your eggs and saute the  spinach with garlic and a little onion in the same frying pan. Less dishes!

 

 

The following recipe I learned from Wardeh Harmon from gnowfglins.com. She is a brilliant cook and teacher on the subject of real food. A real inspiration!

 

Apple-Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal (Soaked)

  • 6 cups thick rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup acid, such as whey or raw apple cider vinegar (or sourdough starter, to improve the effectiveness of the soaking)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts (or any other nut/seed — I often add a handful of raw sunflower seeds)
  • 1/2 cup butter, lightly melted
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup rapadura, sucanat or palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 apple, diced finely or shredded
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (optional)

Yield: 1 9” x 13” pan or 2 8″ square pans.

Combine oats, acid (or sourdough starter*), water, and nuts/seeds in a big bowl. Cover and let soak overnight.

*Sourdough starter improves the soaking’s effectiveness by adding phytase to reduce phytic acid — which otherwise the oats lack — as well as organisms to accomplish an overnight fermentation. Don’t worry, it won’t be sour — if you rinse well the next morning!

In the morning, preheat the oven to 190 Celsius. Drain the oats through a fine sieve. Rinse and allow to drain again.

In a big mixing bowl, whisk together butter, milk, eggs, sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Add oats and mix well. Add the apples, raisins and coconut and mix in gently.

Transfer to a greased 9” x 13” baking dish (or two 8” square cake pans). Smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Allow 15 minutes to rest before cutting into bars. Eat in a bowl with yogurt, kefir, or milk. Or as a bar with maple syrup and fresh fruit. Store leftovers in refrigerator, though I usually leave them out for a day or so first. ;)

For more of Wardeh’s great wholesome recipes, please visit her website.

 

Breakfast waffles with chocolate sauce

 

  • 250 gr. butter melted
  • 2 tbs of honey/maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 400 gr. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 400 ml milk

Chocolate sauce 

  • A handful or more of dark chocolate chips
  • and 1/2 a can of coconut milk
  • maplesyrup if you want extra sweetness

Combine in a bowl, butter, honey, vanilla and eggs. When well stirred add the milk. Now slowly add the flour and the baking powder. Best stirred with a mixer, a blender or a thermomix.

Warm up your waffle maker and bake these delicious waffles for a special breakfast occasion. Top with  your favourite toppings. We use berries and maple syrup in our house as well as the chocolate topping.

To make the chocolate sauce, simply warm the ingredients in a sauce pan and stir till combined.

 

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!