Making Homemade Rice Crackers

Reaching over in that middle aisle, you grab a pack of the rice crackers you love soo much, and probably the only ones you can eat thanks to the long list of allergy foods that you can no longer  eat. The price shows $ 2.99 which at first seems steep, as you glance over at the organic NON-GMO version sitting at about $4.00, you  begin reading the ingredients to compare. It reads: Rice, Salt. Is it really worth paying 3 – 4 dollars for a packet of crackers which will only last a few hours? What happens when you have 2 packs in the week, or goodness should you have a party for all your gluten free, vegan friends, how on earth do you buy enough for them. Let not forget the kids that eat you out of house and home, and pretty much live on rice crackers. As the calculations of cost begin to pile in your brain, you can’t help but wonder; could I make this at home? At $2.00/ LB  Organic rice comes fairly reasonably and cheaper than a packet of non organic rice crackers. In truth you can make them at home, all you need is patience, drive and rice! So lets get started

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Ingredients :

1 cup of organic rice ( jasmine or short grain brown)

pinch of salt

2 table spoons olive oil

 

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Prep:

Rinse rice till water runs almost clear. Add 3 cups of filtered water to white jasmine rice or 4 cups to short grain brown.

Put on stove to boil.

Cook until soft but still damp. If you need to add more water for longer cooking add 1/2 – 1 cup .

Turn oven on to 220 degrees F

Once soft but not dried, empty into food processor, or heavy duty blender, or a bowl to use hand blender

Blend till smooth.

Mix pureed rice and oil in bowl with salt to taste. It should be very gooey.

Pour mixture on to a metal baking sheet and spread no higher than 1cm.

Place on top shelf  in oven for 30mins or until surface of mixture becomes rubbery.

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Remove tray and place cooking weights or 3-4 butter knives on top of surface

Increase temp to 300 degrees F

Place tray back in oven and bake for 30 – 40mins till the rice starts to harden.

Turn off oven and leave try in oven to cool.

Once cool break rice spread/cracker into bite size pieces

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Severe with hummus or guacamole for a lovely snack!

 

 

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How to make soy milk

I really enjoyed making this, and even though I can’t have soy at the moment, I really felt a sense of accomplishment once I finished making soy milk all by myself. I have spent the last 12months really trying to make as much as I can at home, to ensure it is whole, not preserved, fresh and clean. For me, this meant learning to make many of the organic foods that I usually pulled off the shelf, such as nut milks, nut butters, breads, breakfast cereals etc. Along the way I have learnt soo much. At first I really found it scary and to be honest felt that some foods were meant to be made in facilities, but as the months have gone on, I have began to step outside my comfort zone. This week, I challenged myself to something that I have long felt was beyond my reach, as I had placed soy in a category all by itself. Once I began to see it as any other legume, I felt more comfortable to explore what can be done with it. With that, I took on soy milk, one of the last remaining foods, I still buy off the shelf. Now I have comfort in knowing that I don’t really need to do that anymore, and now I have infinite boundaries I feel comfortable jumping over! So with that, lets make soy milk.

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You are going to need:

1 cup of organic GMO-free soy beans. Use the bulk bin if you can, it will be cheaper

12 cups of filtered water

a massive pot that can hold at least 15 cups of liquid

unbleached cheese muslin cloth or sieve

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Preparation:

1. place soybeans in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of filtered water. Leave for  18hrs. After 18hrs throw water away after 18hrs, wash beans till all beans skin are gone.

2. place beans in a blender and add 1 cup of filtered water. Blend till smooth

3. Place soy content in pot and add remainder 9 cups of water.

4. Boil on high for 10mins, stir with spoon occasionally to prevent soy fiber from sticking to bottom of put. Skim of any foam layer that forms on top of milk, do not stir it back into the milk.

5. After 10 mins lower stove to medium to low heat and leave to cook for 45 – 1 1/2hrs depending on how creamy you want it.

6. Once cooking time is reached, place cheese cloth over a bowl (see jar & cheese prep)

7. carefully strain milk. Squeeze excess milk out of cloth and save soy pulp( akara) in fridge

8. sweeten milk as you please with vanilla extract or blend with dates. You can also leave it unsweetened.

9. pour milk in warm jars (see jar prep below). Seal, label and store!

10. Enjoy your homemade, healthy, fresh soy milk as you like

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Jar prep & cheese cloth prep:

1. Place jars & lids in pot and cover with water. Boil for 5-10 mins .

2. Carefully remove jars and place on clean dish towel rims up.

3. place cheese cloth in pot of hot water with stove OFF. Leave till ready to use

How to give your toddler water play in the winter months.

If there is one thing all parents can agree on, it’s that children love water, the love to drink it, pour it, lay in it and just about cover everything in it. Child development research shows that water play has essential benefits in child brain development.

Yes it can be messy, wet, and a pain to clean, but it is also a calming and enjoyable exercise for little people. Water play helps in the development of hand-eye coordination, learning to lift, pour. Whilst, they don’t really care about it right now, it sets the foundation for early mathematics and some science concepts, such as differentiating between heavy and light items, those that will sink and those that will float. Water play also allows toddlers to develop concentration and focus as well as some problem solving skills.

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In the summer months and living in countries with warmer climates, this can be easily achieved by allowing little ones outside with a bucket, visiting paddle pools, water fountains, and so on. Water play during the winter months can be challenging until you step outside the box. Bring it indoors, make it simple, make it safe, make it fun.

Here is a simple and easy way too bring water play to your toddler during the winter, when you are sharing each others’ company indoors.

You will need the following:

1. Time, lots of it. This kind of play is a free range play that does not need to be rushed

2. 3-6 items (toddler hand size) that sink and float

3. A stool about 8-10 inches high. No higher or you might find them in the sink. Step stool will also cause them to climb in the sink, so only use them with constant supervision.

4. 2 medium towels

5. bath room sink

6. water

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Monterssori set up

1. Take your toddler with you to collect all items needed. Make sure to let them carry some light things, and have a designated stop where they are to be place. Make sure to say the name of each item being used as well.

2. Work together to set up towels. Ask your toddler to help you place the towel on the floor by showing her which end to hold. Allow room for error.

3. Next have your toddler carry stool from designated spot and place on top of towel in front of sink. Work together to cover stool with second towel.

4.  Next fill sink with warm water.

5. Ask toddler to carry water play items to sink and place next to stool. Once task is complete, allow toddler to place items into sink on his own.

6. Give some space and let them work and have fun. Best to leave them till no longer want to play.

7. Pack away using prep step but in reverse!

More detailed video coming soon…

Not into Montessori? Use these steps

Prep: place 1 towel on the floor where the activity will take place, in front of the sink. Next place stool on top, and cover the stool with second towel. Next clean sink and fill with warm water. Remember there might be some drinking of the water so make sure to keep everything clean. Next place water play items in sink and let your little one loose.

Alternative set up

Don’t have a sink, or your sink is too high? Don’t worry you can follow any of the above steps with the following changes

1. Use a large camping basin.

2. Place on coffee table. For set up see step 2&3 of the monterssori set up

3. continue all other steps

4. stay close and keep a watchful eye, with water below your toddler head, you want to make sure they do not try to put their face in it. Safety first

5. Have fun

How I cut/ trim my hair for healthier hair & better hair growth

I have used this method over the last 9months and notice a big difference in how my hair grew all over. I really think it helped in making my front and sides grow a lot better. This method can be used for any hair type from straight right through to coily. Gave it a go if you can, and see if it makes a difference for you!

xoxo

Gluten Free, Lactose Free Ginger Bread Cookies

I thought we could do this together as we go along and see how things turn out. It is 3pm on Monday December 23 2014, and I have just turned on the oven to 380 F.

In progress

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What you will need:

1 cup quinoa flour

1 cup brown rice flour

2 table spoons virgin coconut oil

2 table spoons olive oil

2 table spoons blackstrap molasses

2 teaspoon ground ginger or more if you like it spicey

1 min I am going to put the cookies in the freezer for five minutes…

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2 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of cardamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg

1/3 cup Demerara sugar

Preparation:

Mix oils, egg and spices together till smooth.

Next add baking soda and eggs and mix till eggs are blended

Now add molasses and mix

Add flours and mix will into a soft dough

Roll dough into a ball and press down till 1/2 inch thick.

Cut shapes with cutter and place on metal try, no baking sheets!

Place in freezer fro 5 minutes.

While that is happening, place oven on 380 F

Remove raw cookies from oven and place in oven.

Leave for 20 minutes on top shelf, 25 max. Any longer and it might start to burn. Enjoy!

Pumpkin & Pistachio Risotto

Well, that’s different, but a gal’s got to eat. It looked totally amazing on the plate. Creamy and garnished, it looks ready to eat.  Fluffing a portion of round white rice with spots of purple green, you wonder if this idea, which perhaps was fulfilled in hast might have been a not so good idea. After all who cooks pistachios with rice. Ice cream, yes! Salted, yes. You had to take it a little further. As you stem through your other dinner options, the folk hits your mouth, and there it is. the subtleness of the truffle oil hits you first, musky and strong, but not over powering. As you continue to chew, the creaminess of the pistachio wakes your pallet. Yum. The sweetness of the butternut resets your tastebuds to begin the experience all over again!

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With a change in my diet, as a non lactose vegetarian, with food intolerances I had to find ways to increase my protein, calcium and other nutrients while still enjoying food, because well I love food. This risotto gave me the whole food experience without the addition of the processed substitutions.  It really was bliss.

 

Butternut is rich in beta carotene which converts to vitamin A to help you keep your immune system healthy and strong. With cold season on its way, getting as much high carotene foods in will help you fight illnesses better and recover alot faster.

The pistachios. Well, who knew these tiny purple and green nuts had this  much power! Another food not given enough credit. IT is from the cashew family, but it is able to provide so much more. Packed with protein, lutein, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc,  Studies have also shown that they help to lower LDL so if you have a cholesterol risk, start eating. You will be putting these where ever you can!

Finally Thyme,  wonderful for the upper respiratory system, especially with coughs and infected tonsil. So when paired with the richness of butternut and superfood of pistachio. You should be feeling a mountain of health in no time.

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

half butternut pumpkin

3/4  risotto rice

1/2 red onion

1 cup shelled pistachio unsalted

2 cups vegetarian stock

3 cups filtered water

2 table spoons of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon black truffle oil

stick of fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

watercress for garnish or more for nutritional benefits

 

 

Prep:

peel and chop butternut pumpkin in to nice small squares or just small abstract pieces. The smaller pieces allow for quicker cooking time.  Next chop onions and place in frying pan with pumpkin. Remember frying pan not pot. Add olive and turn stove to low heat. Cook pumpkin and onions for 7mins to 10mins.

Next rinse rice till water is clear. Drain and add to pumpkin and onions. Add thyme. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes, to prevent stick and burning. Add stock and 1 cup of water. leave to simmer. Stir occasionally, remember you are cooking in a frying pan so water will evaporate faster. Add 2 cups of water to pan once water evaporates and leave to simmer. Stir ever 5 minutes until rice is soft.

Put pistachio in food processor with last 1 cup of water and blend smoother with small chunks. Stir through rich and leave to cook for 2 minutes. Stir through 1/2 teaspoon of black truffle oil. Add salt to taste. Garnish and enjoy!

 

Quinoa waffles – Coconut island banana nut bliss! wiggle wiggle wiggle

Starts like any other day. It’s waffle/ pancake day. He looks forward to Sunday mornings. As the sun shows it’s face and the light passes through the turquoise shades of the bedroom window, you feel his excitement build, as he tries patiently to wait for the rest of the house to wake. Tossing and turning he can no longer resist the urge to poke at me and his brother. A hand gently reaches over followed by a head peeking over the other side, “mama, are you awake?” he says loudly in his whispering voice.  I sense the hope in his voice that I will answer, which will lead to a domino effect of a 13month old summersaulting  over my body to find the voice that woke his slumber. I try to be still, in the hope that he will wait just a little longer, but my efforts are meaningless  and up pops beaver with a light in his eyes as he scans for his companion and best friend. Everyone is awake, it’s breakfast time ! As we make our way to the kitchen, a memory floods over me.  ‘ These waffles are going to take gluten free to another level.”

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It hits the pallet with the hint of coconut, just beneath the aroma of cinnamon. The texture is moist and smooth.  As you chew, the sharpness of the sunflower butter takes you to an exotic island, there you sit eating coconuts, bananas, & nuts. It’s a banana nut bliss. Full of richness and nutrients, every bit makes you feel nourished. and guilt free.

Stuff you need: makes – 6 waffles

quinoa – 1/2 cup : Well, what can I say but it has it’s own recognised day! Thats right this super food is pretty awesome and great to have when your diet has been cut down to a teeny tiny list laking in essential nutrients required to sustain you. It is abundant in protein, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, zinc & potassium. It really is super

brown rice  –  1/2 cup : really really really rich in niacin! Yes something we all need to help us avoid hight cholesterol. It also helps in healing impaired digestion. It doesn’t stop there though, it has been shown to successfully treat acne as well as prevent extremely painful migraines. The winner in my book is the use of treatment in depression and impaired memory. With winter knocking at the door, this will be my go to vitamin to keep the winter blues away. So when in doubt this winter, eat brown rice

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virgin coconut oil – 1 table spoon: Thanks to the medium chain fatty acids, you won’t need bile to digest this fat. This is great news for those with fatty livers as it is absorbs through the gut. It also helps with protein metabolism, and we all know how we need our protein. So don’t over do it, but don’t fear it either.

olive oil –  50ml

egg –  2 egg whites & 1 yoke

baking powder – 1 teaspoon

rice milk (homemade) – 200ml

cinnamon – 1 teaspoon

banana – 1 medium (whole): potassium, potassium, potassium

sunflower seed butter –  2 table spoons:  Another seed on  my superfood list. If it’s not on yours, it should because it has everything! High in protein, niacin, rich in folate and calcium why would I eat anything else. It’s got an abundance of iron and a fair amount of potassium. Eating this will make your vegan intolerance free diet a breeze and delight.

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Prep:

First turn on your waffle iron.

Once you have done that, seriously mix together your flours and dry ingredients, oils, eggs, and rice milk. Do not put in the banana or sunflower butter. Be warned the coconut oil might have bits that are undissolved. Don’t worry about it, just mix it as well as you can and the heat from the waffle iron will do the rest. Place 4-5 tablespoons of mix on each side of the waffle iron plate. Close iron on mix and let cook. remove when lightly brown or to your crunch!

To serve: Place waffle on the place, top with at least 1 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter and spread over waffle. Top with banana and enjoy!  For added sweetness, dress with maple or agave syrup.

 

Blueberries & Buckwheat squares oh yay – Our visit to Blue Dot Farm

Our visit to blue dot farm wonderful. The hour drive out of the city was wonderful and pleasant, nothing short of amazing. Watching the wonderful green lush of evergreens line the edge of the roads, I began to appreciate all that nature offers.

As we approached the farm just off the main road, I began to feel my excitement build. My heart began to palpate and I felt as though I could not breathe. I could feel every beat as my heart pumped with glee.  We were about to harvest our own food.

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A two story home sat at the edge of the field, silent and still. It was early and there was little movement. Surrounded by trees and bush, it was a sight of tranquility. As we walked towards the building, I felt my mind confirm. “this is right, this is what we are suppose to do”. Build a relationship with our farmers. Like us they are people and not just a farm, but people that put their passion into providing us with nourishing food. To repay them and say thank you it made sense to physically say thank you and help harvest and show our appreciation for all the work they had done.

The bushes were new, young and organic. None more than two years old. They were beautiful. Filled with clusters of fresh, deep blue berries that were firm to touch and sweet to taste. Time past and buckets filled. We roamed the lanes in search of more berries and more peace. It was therapy. I began to sense a deep calm as I stood among the trees, observing the enjoyment among all those involved. The children laughed and ran with joy, picking and packing. They understood, a deep appreciation was being set in them.

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The summer has been brilliant. I can not find any fault with the wonderful warmth we were lucky to have this year.  Appreciating every ounce of D providing rays even on the hottest of days. As the summer comes to a close, I eye the many punnetts  of blueberries upon the shelf, knowing that not long from now, they will be a distant memory until the summer returns once again. I remember our farm host that allow us to be a part of their process. I remember the faces behind the boxes of clear plastics sealed with rubber bands. I remember were they began and how far they traveled.

We love making these delicious squares. I love that it is dairy free, margarine free, and low in sugar. They are easy to make anyone can do it. They make great snacks for school lunch boxes and morning and afternoon teas. Once made they can be frozen and eaten over a few weeks. They are awesome.

Buckwheat &  Blueberry Squares

What you will need:

1 cup of fresh organic blueberries

1 !/2 cup organic buckwheat flour

2 eggs

6 tablespoons of olive oil

1 level teaspoon aluminium – free baking powder

4 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/2 cup almond/soy/rice milk ( your choice)

2 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses

Preperation:

Mix  olive oil, maple, molasses, eggs, and baking powder together until mixture looks creamed. Next add buckwheat flour and non dairy milk and mix well. Finally add blueberries and mix through.

Set oven to 400 F. Oil pan and place mix in pan. Place in oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until ready. Let stand to cool. Serve.

This weeks lunch idea – Spicy shitake noodle soup

Cold days, rainy ways. What better way to fill your belly aches. Simple and fast you won’t believe your eyes, but it really is that quick to make. Onions and mushrooms in a pot, a spoon of olive oil, if that’s all you’ve got.  A taste of chilli to warm your belly. Miso and water this soup will not be airy! Throw in your choy and soy and boy what have you got? A simple soup that fills with delight! noodles

You will need:

1/2  red onion

1  cup shitake mushrooms

2  heads of choy

1 table spoon olive oil

1 teaspoon of brown rice miso paste

1 teaspoon of chili oil or 1/2 teaspoon fresh chilies

3 cups of water

2 table spoon of soy sauce

120g tofu (optional)

Preparation:

Place oil in a pot with onion and  choped fresh shitake mushrooms. Stir on low heat until mushrooms start to soften.  Next add chili oil and miso paste.  Stir for 2 minutes. Once done add choy, and tofu.  Stir for an additional 2-5 mins. Add water and soy sauce, let soup boil for an additional five minutes and voila! Serve on noodles of your pick and garnish with spring onions (shallots) .

Enjoy