Thursday, October 24, 2013

Beneficial beetroot


Easy to grow, highly nutritious and absolutely delicious - you haven't really lived until you've eaten a freshly harvested, home grown beetroot!

Beetroot are high in folic acid, fibre, manganese and potassium. That's just the root, the leaves are also edible (I think it would be a waste not to eat them!). The leaves are high in calcium, vitamins A and C and iron. They are also delicious! There are many other reported health benefits from beetroot consumption too.


Beetroot are easy to grow and take up little space in the garden as the leaves grow quite upright. They require minimal care and don't seem vulnerable to many garden pests, so it is simple to grow them organically as we do.  

You can even dye yarn with beetroot - not something I've tried, but if you were lucky enough to have a bumper crop....

How to eat them?
Roasted, steamed, boiled, raw (grated into salad etc), juiced!
I have a tray roasting right now in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper, so easy.
The leaves can be used like silverbeet or spinach. My favourite way to eat them is either tossed and chopped into a stirfry or steamed lightly and served with extra virgin olive oil, organic apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper.


Monday, October 21, 2013

3 ways to save money today - Volume 6

Today I'm focusing on grocery shopping and how to make more savings on your regular shop. This is all about thinking outside the square.

1. Shop around. Oh no, what a pain! I hear you say, but if you're serious about saving it can be done without too much trouble. For example, today I did a large shop at Coles - where I look for specials and clearances. Not many of the items I buy there are full price. Then I walked over to the Indian grocers in the same shopping complex, and instead of buying 1kg of natural yoghurt at Coles for $6+, I bought a 2kg bucket of good quality natural yoghurt for $6.  Indian or Asian grocers also have bulk spices at excellent prices.


2. Share the burden. Following on from the first point, shopping for a family is much easier if the burden can be shared. Although I do the regular supermarket shop, my husband's work is in an area with many Asian fresh food markets and ethnic stores. Most of our fruit and vegetables come from these markets (he shops during his lunch break or when he gets a spare minute) at roughly half the cost of the supermarket! The added benefit of this is that the markets have a massive turnover and produce is so incredibly fresh that it puts the supermarket fruit & veg sections to shame.



3. Meat is so expensive. And don't even get me started on fish (I could write a whole other post about the terrible waste and inflated prices within the commercial fishing industry). Meat is generally cheaper and fresher from the butcher. There have been times we have had the opportunity to buy very affordable meat through buying a whole sheep slaughtered, cut up and packaged and then sharing the cost with someone else and dividing the meat between us.
We also at one time had our own cows that were kept at my husband's family farm and had some fabulous fresh and economical meat that way.
If you have a deep freeze, you can always ask a butcher whether there would be a discount for bulk meat.
It goes without saying that meat consumption on a budget comes down to the cuts you choose. We choose the cheapest cuts and cook accordingly, steak is a special treat.
We also have at least a few meat free days each week. Doing this allows us to afford organic free range chicken and pork (we refuse to eat caged animals pumped full of hormones or intensely farmed animals - in my opinion it's not natural and not what God intended by providing animals for our food).

                                                                    Image credit

So what do you think? Could any of these points save you some money on regular grocery shopping? There are so many other points to make, but perhaps I'll save them for another post :)


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Apricot balls

I've been trying to make healthier treats for the kids with quality ingredients. I'm glad they are adventurous when it comes to food and are always willing to try out my experiments!
These little balls were inspired by the Apricot Bites recipe on Wholefood Simply.


Ingredients:

1 cup organic dried apricots (soak in very hot water for 20 minutes, drain, then chop into smaller pieces. If your apricots are very moist you may be able to skip the soaking part)
2 cups dessicated coconut, plus extra for rolling
1 tablespoon of raw organic cold pressed coconut oil
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons of LSA mix

Place all ingredients together in a food processor and process until smooth and the mixture is coming together. Roll into little balls, roll into extra coconut and you're done! Keep in the fridge and try not to eat too many :D

*A lot of people have been asking me where to buy ingredients for the healthy snack recipes I've been posting lately. One place is the health food section of Coles - this is ok if you just want smallish quantities to try, otherwise it can be very expensive.
Another option is Bulk Whole Foods - they have reasonable prices and post is free if your order is over $100. If you don't want to spend that much at once, you could pool with one or several others to take advantage of the free post, this is what I did with my last order :)


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Healthier pikelets


1 cup SR white flour
1 cup SR wholemeal flour
1/2 cup of LSA mix *
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
2.5 - 3 cups of milk kefir (if you don't have kefir, then plain milk will work fine)

Whisk all ingredients together. Heat a frying pan, add some rice bran oil or coconut oil. You want the pan nice and hot (not smoking!) Place spoonfuls of the batter in the pan and cook each side until done. 

Serving suggestions:
There are so many, but here are a few family favourites.

Fresh lemon juice and raw sugar
Butter and cinnamon sugar (just mix cinnamon and sugar together in a jar)
Jam and cream
Maple syrup or honey and cream
Raspberries dusted with icing sugar
Sliced banana and honey or brown sugar
Even just plain butter is nice!

These will disappear very quickly if there are small mouths around, enjoy!
They freeze very well if you want to make extras.

*LSA mix is linseed, sunflower seed and almond meal. It is available in health shops, health food section of the supermarket or at online whole food stockists like this.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's been a funny week...

And I don't mean "good" funny, I mean mixed up, exhausting "what day is it?" funny. We've all had the flu, all 6 of us and it hasn't been nice. Things are gradually getting back to normality as we regain our lost energy. So, I've really been in survival mode and unable to do much more than the basics. Something has amused me this week though.

A strange sort of friendship, or perhaps it's more of a business agreement has been struck between our cat and Mary's silkie hens. Yesterday, kitty was seen availing himself of the silkie's little nest in the fresh straw pile - right alongside one of the silkies who was sitting there at the time.

Then this morning, there he was again to witness the littlest silkie laying her very first egg!


                                    What cuteness! God certainly has a great sense of humour.