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.






A word of wisdom from my wardrobe and laundry room.

Being a mother of 3 little kids,  I have been challenging myself for years to lower my expenditure when it comes to our household budget. It is always a challenge, but I love to be creative with it. Creativity is an important key, however, I believe organisation is even more important in this area.

When there is organisation in a household,  you will have systems in place that work like a well oiled machine. Good systems will save you money. For example, in the laundry room, there needs to be a system in place that prevents the over-accumulation of dirty laundry. If after a week there is a pile of laundry the size of Mount Everest, than you simply said, own to many clothes, or you only wear your clothes once, which also means you have too many clothes. So, really, the organising part starts in your wardrobe!


Rule 1:

In my house,  you wear your clothes more than once before chucking it on the laundry pile. Unless there is dirty stain, of course 😉

Rule 2:

Sort out your wardrobe at least twice a year and donate unwanted items to a local charity. No, you really don’t need 36 jumpers and 38 pairs of jeans……sorry.

Rule 3:

In your wardrobe you should always invest in a few GOOD quality basic items, such as a few nice jackets a lovely pair of pants or skirts, perhaps some tops to go underneath other items. Other than that, I shop at less inexpensive shops to acquire the majority of my clothes and accessories.

Rule 4:

I sort out my wardrobe in summer and winter. In winter I will bag all my good-to-keep summer clothes and store them in the top of my wardrobe. I do the same in summer, with my winter clothes. I am able to oversee what I own with a clearer view.

Rule 5:

Make sure you wash when the basket is full! I know, not rocket science, but some of us might need to be reminded of this concept once in a while. (pointing the finger at myself). Basket full=washing machine on. This is so much easier when it comes to managing all these clean clothes that now need to be hung on the line. Yes…..dryer=$$.

Rule 6:

If you have kids, involve them!! They are very handy around the house, you know…..If you teach them how to put away their clean clothes and where to put there dirty clothes, it will be a much easier job to manage.

All these rules!! How does that save me money, you might ask?

Simple, when we are organised and  know what we have in our wardrobes, we  don’t go out buying clothes we already own, that are hiding in our dirty laundry pile. Trust me, been there and done that, until I saw the solution and changed my ways. It really is so simple, yet so effective. This principle, btw, also works in your kitchen. I will share with you in my next blog how I manage my pantry and food supply.



A “soft drink” with a twist.


Water Kefir Grains

You may have previously read about my love for milk kefir. If you haven’t here is the article for you to read. I have since been very busy with my water kefir grains and have decided that I love them as much. In fact, I crave it.

I recently went to Europe for almost 4 weeks and was not able to have any of my probiotic Kefir drinks. I felt sick for the entire time I was away. Because I have difficulties with my digestive system it is very important for me to ingest plenty of enzymes and probiotics to help me digest my food and absorb the vitamins and minerals that body needs to function properly.

Water Kefir Grains Fermenting


Here is what you need for making water kefir:

  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 TBSP white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp molasses
  • 1 3/4 cup of cold filtered water
  • 1/2 egg shell (free range)
  • 2 TBSP water kefir grains

In a jar, dissolve the sugar and molasses in the 1/4 cup of hot water. Add the rest of the cold filtered water to the sugar/water mixture. Put in the egg shell and the water kefir grains and cover the jar with a cloth. Let it sit for at least 24 hours and no more than 72 hours. After the fermentation period of 24 to 72 hours you will strain the liquid into a flip top bottle and add your favourite juice. I use pear juice. But the options are endless. Leave the bottle on your counter for another 1 or 2 days. During this time more vitamins and enzymes are released and more carbon dioxide will build up to create a fizzy and refreshing “soft drink”.

If you are worried about the sugar in the drink, don’t be, the grains will eat it and turn it into carbon dioxide.

Water Kefir with Ginger 2nd Fermentation


What are the health benefits of water kefir:

  • Kefir lowers levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, cleans the gastrointestinal tract and stops the growth of cancer cells.

Water kefir contains many different strains of friendly bacteria, such as:

  •  Lactobacillus brevis, A colonizing species producing lactate, carbon dioxide, ethanol, and acetate. Resistant to gastric acid, bile acids, and digestive enzymes. Excellent adherent properties. Increases production of interferon. Metabolically unique in the production of arginine deaminase to break down arginine and reduce polyamine production, compounds associated with vaginal dysbiosis and intestinal carcinogenesis.
  • Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus , Produces more peptidases than any other Lactobacillus species. Favorably enhances innate and acquired immunity. Inhibits proinflammatory cytokine production. Outstanding colon epithelial cell adherence. Suppresses pathogenic Escherichia coli internalization. Antagonizes rotavirus and Clostridium difficile. Supports gut microflora during antibiotic therapy. May support immune function in infants with allergies.
  • Lactobacillus alactosus,
  • Lactobacillus casei casei, A hardy, adaptive transient species. Makes many proline-specific peptidases enhancing casein, casein-derived polypeptide, and gluten break down. Beneficially modulates innate immune responses. Increases the number of intestinal IgA-producing cells. Antagonizes Helicobacter pylori. Decreases proinflammatory cytokine secretion. Inhibits E. coli adherence to and invasion of intestinal cells. Decreases Shigella-mediated inflammation.
  • Lactobacillus pseudoplantarum,
  • Lactobacillus plantarum, A highly beneficial transient bacteria generally lacking in people consuming a standard Western diet while universally present in people consuming traditional plant-based diets. Exceedingly resistant to gastric acid and bile salts. Facilitates induction of the central regulatory cytokine, interleukin-12. Decreases production of inflammatory mediators. Supports intestinal barrier function. Reduces translocation of gut bacteria. Antagonizes C. difficile. Supports normal microflora in people with irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Streptococcus lactis,
  • Streptococcus cremeris,
  • Leuconostoc mesenteroide,
  • Saccharomyces florentinus,
  • Saccharomyces pretoriensis,
  • Kloeckera apiculata,
  • Candida lambica,
  • Candida valida 
  • Lactobacillus brevis has been identified as the species responsible for the production of the polysaccharide matrix that forms the grains.

Another health advantage of water kefir is that people who do not wish to consume dairy or have a vegan type diet may find that water kefir provides the living probiotics without the need for dairy or tea cultured products, like kombucha.Vegans also may like to know that through the fermentation process kefir becomes an excellent source of vitamin B12, and is high in vitamins B1 and B6.

Dr. Gabriel Cousens, a leading expert in the raw food community, writes in his book “Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine“:

“Kefir grains produce right-rotating L(+) lactic acid, which is an important constituent of the human body. It is particularly important in the prevention of cancer and has been used experimentally with success in the treatment of cancer. In addition, right-rotating lactic acid may help maintaining healthy functioning of the heart. According to some researchers, the cells of the heart muscle obtain their energy primarily from right-rotating lactic acid.”

If you want to get an even deeper understanding into this amazing culture than feel free to have a read of this website. It is very extensive and incredibly interesting http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

So, there you go, a wonderful refreshing and most beneficial drink to share with the whole family!

Enjoy x




reference http://www.klaire.com/probioticleader3.htm


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


Real Stock, Fake Stock

Today I had a cooking lesson with my 6 1/2 year old son, who is enjoying his school holidays at the moment. It’s always a challenge to find new and fun things to do, so today I came up with the brilliant idea to show him how to cook real stock from a real chicken. His dad recently had the guts to purchase a 500 ml. packet of Campbell’s Real Stock, which I aptly call FAKE STOCK. I obviously was not in the country at the time of his purchase, if I was this travesty would never have occured!

The easiest and most inexpensive way of making the most nutritious chicken stock, is by slowly boiling a whole chicken in a large stockpot or slow cooker for 24 hours. Add some celery, lovage, onion and carrots as well as 2 tbsp of vinegar and you are ready to go. To put into perspective the cost of homemade stock compared to store bought stock, I went and looked up the price for you to show what an overpriced article this is.

Store-bought stock 1 liter $4.24

Home made stock 1 liter $1.68

I have made stock for as long as I have had my slow cooker (which is long), but I never realised how incredibly nutritious this really is, until I read a book called; “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon.

In her book she explains;

“Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate”.  “Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium into the broth”.

Wow, if that isn’t enough reason to make your own, lets have a look at the gelatin in your homemade broth.

Sally writes:

“The public is generally unaware of the large amounts of research on the beneficial effects of gelatin taken with food. Gelatin acts first and foremost as an aid to digestion and has been successfully used in the treatment of many intestinal disorders, including hyperacidity, colitis and Crohn’s disease.”

“Gelatin also seems to be of use in the treatment of many chronic disorders, including anemia and other diseases of the blood, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and even cancer.”

So, a quick recap on how to make this AMAZING healing miracle broth:

  • In a stockpot or slow cooker, put a whole chicken, chicken neck and even feet, if available.
  • Add celery, lovage (if you have it) 3 carrots, 1 onion and 2 tbsp of vinegar.
  • Cover with 3 to 4 liters of water.
  • let simmer for 3 or so hours and remove the meat from the bones.
  • Keep the meat for another dish.
  • Leave the bones and vegetables in the pot and simmer for another 20 hours or so.
  • Drain the stock into a glass jar and let cool before putting into the fridge. It will turn into a jelly like substance, this is what REAL stock is.
  • If you have a dog you can give the bones and veggies to the dog. Because the bones have been cooked for so long they will fall apart.
  • Campbell’s stock is not REAL stock, simply because it is a liquid and not a gelatin like substance, don’t get sucked in, do yourself a favour and make it in your own kitchen. Super simple and super yummy!



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?