Archive | June, 2013

Sauerkraut – super easy way to get probiotics for your family

28 Jun

Probiotic’s, cultured, fermented food – its all the rage. So we thought we had better get on the band wagon!

sauerkraut

Talk about old becoming new again. Captain Cook used sauerkraut to ward off the scurvy in his crew in the 18th century. Now us 21st century mothers are whipping up batches of fermented & cultured foods for our families to ward off the winter flu’s & keep stomach bugs & germs at bay.

My little one loves her “fairy cabbage” (as sauerkraut is known in our household) & would eat it by the cupful if I allowed it, but I am worried that there may be some stomach consequences, so I only allow her several tablespoons with her meals.

It is recommended that you add probiotic’s & fermented foods to your diet one tablespoon at a time, so take it easy until you have seen the results on your own digestive system 😉

This Sauerkraut recipe is so easy that you will probably doubt that it works!!

I did.

But it works, we are on to our fifth batch & going strong.

Sauerkraut a’la Mama Going Natural

This recipe makes a trial sized version – one 750ml jar serving. I think its best to start small & once you have your sauerkraut fermentation time down pat, then make large batches.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cabbage
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 green shallots
  • 2 t Himalayan salt
  • 1 t coriander seeds or carraway seeds or dill – depending on your taste preference

Shred all of the vegetables & place in a bowl – I use a food processor to grate the vegetables as this is the way my “little one” likes it best & it also makes the next stage super easy. Add the salt & any spices you care to use to the bowl.

sauerkraut-stage-1

 Then knead, squeeze & pummel your vegetables to bruise them & release all of the juices. This can take 2 to 10 minutes depending on how fine you have shredded your vegetables. Using a food processor to shred your vegetables seems to speed up the process.

sauerkraut-stage-2

Once the vegetables have released all of their liquids like in the picture below. You can begin to pack your sauerkraut into your jar, pack the vegetables in tight & pour over the juices that you have squeezed out.

sauerkraut-3rd-stage

Secure the lid & place the jar in a dark place & leave it to ferment for 3 -5 days, taste each day from the second day & when it reaches the desired flavour place in the refrigerator & start using. I find the longer you leave it out to ferment the stronger the flavour becomes, we normally refrigerate our Sauerkraut on the 3rd or 4th day. The sauerkraut tastes really good after a month in the fridge if you can get it to last that long.

As with all fermentation its a little scary at first, leaving food out at room temperature WTF!!

But once you have done it a few times I promise it gets easier. With all fermentation use your common sense if it smells putrid or starts to grow stuff it might need to be scrapped & start again from scratch. Lots of people attest to just scooping off mould etc that grows on the top of the jars, I am not quite there yet!! But in time who knows…..

Good Luck with your fermentation adventures

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Spelt Raspberry Tea Cake – so good you won’t believe it’s healthy

21 Jun

Ok, so I have used the term “healthy” a little loosely. But Women/Men & Kids can not live on vegetables alone.

Cold wintery days call for baking. Steaming pieces of cake that scorch your fingers & tantalise you with the smell’s of vanilla & berries are required when it is cold & blustery outside. Steamed vegetables just don’t cut it 🙂

They say your mental attitude affects everything – eating this cake made me so darn happy – it just has to be good for me!

This cake is delicious. It almost tastes like a sweet vanilla Danish, but then you get a bright pop of zingy raspberry that cuts through the sweet rich base giving the cake a whole new dimension of yumminess.

raspberry-cake

Spelt raspberry Tea Cake a’la Mama Going Natural

You will need:

  • 1 c milk (soy, coconut or a nut milk if you prefer)
  • 2/3 c kefir or yoghurt
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 c white spelt flour
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 2 sticks stevia
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t Himalayan salt
  • 1 1/4 c raspberries

Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl & mix well. Place the remaining ingredients minus the raspberries in a bowl & add the wet ingredient mix to the dry, stirring just enough to combine. Gently stir the raspberries through. Save the last 1/4 c of raspberries to place on the top of the cake just before placing it in the oven, as the mixed through berries have a tendency to sink.

Bake the cake for an hour at 175 degrees.

raspberry-tea-cake

Eat hot, eat cold but don’t ask me what it tastes like two days old – because I don’t know 😉

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Chia Seed Pina Colada Pudding – Sugar Free

16 Jun

Chia Seeds are the latest buzz ingredient, they seem to be popping up every where. They are the new Quinoa, the latest healthy ingredient to be lifted to Super Star status.

And with good reason too, these little seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, easy to make & taste pretty darn good too!!

This simple little Chia Seed pudding has become our breakfast staple, its super tough living in our household!!

I love that it tastes so good, can be pre-prapared & gives us a nutritional hit before we even begin our day.

Chia-pudding

This pudding is rich & creamy with its coconut cream base which contrasts nicely with the soft outer & then slighlty crunchy center of the seeds. The pineapple juice adds a nice hint of sweetness & acidity to make the pudding super yummy for young & old alike 🙂

Sugar Free Chia Seed Pina Colada Pudding a’la Mama Going Natural

  • One full Can of coconut cream
  • 3/4 cup freshly juiced pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly juiced apple juice
  • 1/2 c Chia Seeds
  • Stevia to taste.

This recipe is so easy to make, I’m almost embarassed…………..almost 😉

Place Coconut cream in a pan to heat, add juices & Chia seeds to the warmed coconut cream. Stir to combine. Add a few drops of stevia to taste (we have it without – but we have sweet Queensland pineapples). Pour into a container & leave in the fridge for 12 – 24 hours for the Chia Seeds to swell. Then Enjoy

Chia-pudding-close-up

So Whats so Great about Chia Seeds, apart from everything??

Supports Heart Health  – They are one of the highest natural sources of Omega 3 & 6. They have been reported to help lower blood pressure as well as support the cardiovascular, nervous & reproductive systems.

Stabilises Blood Sugar – They slow down the rate at which complex carbs are digested.

Energizing – Athletes have been reported to use Chia Seeds to help them perform at optimal levels, it is said that 1T can sustain a person for 24 hours – I’ll let you all test that theory 😉

Anti-Inflammatory Properties – The high levels of Omega 3 in Chia seeds have been reported to reduce inflammation in the body & ease arthritis.

Weight Loss – Chia Seeds are reported to boost your metabolism with their high level of essential fatty acids – more reason to eat them…

Detoxification & Elimination – The swelling action of the Chia helps to cleanse & soothe the colon while absorbing & eleminating toxins.

High Quality Protein – Chia seeds are about 20% protein.

Antioxidants – Chia Seeds are higher in Antioxidants than blue berries –  who knew?

Nutritonal Power House – Chia Seeds contain Omega 3’s, Omega 6’s, Protein, Fibre, Iron, Calcium, Niacin, Magnesium, Zinc & Phosphorous.

Brain Power –  their high level of Essential fatty acids make them great for assisting our brains with memory & concentration – as long as you remember to eat your Chia Seeds 😉

Want other ways to incorporate Chia Seeds into your day? Try my Sugar Free Chia Seed Jam recipe for another nutritional power house recipe.

So what are you waiting for, make Chia Seed pudding a part of your day – your brain, your body & your taste buds will thank you. 

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Soap Nuts in your wash

11 Jun

washing line

I have recently swapped to washing my clothes with Soap Nuts & I am loving them!!

These magic nuts (which are actually the dried berry of a tree) are amazing, with very little effort you can boot all of the nasty chemicals from your wash & still have lovely clean, fresh clothes.

They require slightly more effort than your normal washing powder (if you wash in cold water – like I do) but it is well worth it.

I use about 6 – 8 nuts in my wash bag & find that they generally last me about 4 – 5 washes. Most websites that sell the nuts will tell you that they can be used for 5 – 7 washes until the saponin runs out, I have not found that to be the case. So while it may not be the cheapest alternative it is definitely a healthy, green alternative to the chemical cocktail that I used to use.

But the best part about the Soap Nuts is that my laundry comes out super clean & fresh smelling (as in no smells!) & the waste water from the washing machine can be used as a natural insecticide & bug repellant for our plants & garden. This is fantastic for us often drought stricken Queenslanders & a great way to minimise our waste & environmental foot print. So a win for us & the environment 🙂

Soap-Nuts

So how do I use my Soap Nuts to get the best I can out of them in cold water washes?

I place about 6 – 8 nuts in my wash bag & place my wash bag in a glass of hot water to get them to start activating. I do this before I sort my laundry so that they can soak in the water for a good 5 minutes while I am hunting down dirty towels, missing socks etc. I pour the hot water & the wash bag into my laundry load & set my washing machine to agitate for about 10 minutes & then soak for a minimum of half an hour before it re-continues the agitating phase. This allows the saponins to be further released from the nuts & seems to make the clothes come out cleaner. If you can’t set your machine to soak, then manually pause it & re-start it after an adequate soaking period. I also add a good dash of white vinegar to the rinse to freshen, deoderise & soften the clothes.

One important thing to remember is to not overload your washing machine, do medium sized loads so that there is ample room for agitation which is a vital part of ensuring your clothes come out clean.

So why don’t I make the liquid from the Soap Nuts that everyone talks about?

  1. Because it takes more effort, you have to boil up the liquid & then cool it & store it – this takes time & effort!
  2. The liquid has to be frozen or refrigerated & used within a few days (so this requires strategic laundry planning to ensure your not wasting your liquid letting it go rotten in the fridge).
  3. You use more Soap Nuts to create the liquid & more liquid is used per wash load so it ends up costing roughly 25% more per load.
  4. So more time + more effort + more planning + more expense = No for Mama Going Natural

towels

Soap Nuts 101

How do you tell if your Soap Nuts are still doing their job or if they need replacing?

Place your wash bag (filled with your soap nuts) in warm water, squeeze your wash bag a few times & if it becomes sudsy they are still good to use, if they are a little less sudsy than normal you may want to think about adding a few new soap nuts to the batch or retiring this batch of soap nuts & starting afresh.

What do you do with retired Soap Nuts?

I let mine dry out & then I grind them up in my food processor & make a paste that I add to water to clean the bath, sinks etc – waste not, want not 🙂

I accidentally put my Soap Nuts through the dryer, whoops?

You too?? To check if you can still use your Soap Nuts let them soak in warm water for a few minutes & squeeze them to see if they still suds up, if they do – your fine to keep going. If they don’t – you might need to make some bathroom cleaning paste out of them, so all is not lost 🙂

Best way to store un-used Soap Nuts?

In a dark cool place in an airtight container – moisture is the enemy of the Soap Nut

How to store your wash bag filled with Soap Nuts between loads?

I let my Soap Nuts dry out between loads, I open the drawstring wash bag & place the Soap Nuts on top & leave them on the laundry shelf to dry out. If you are a frequent washer you can store them in a glass of cold water, but this does keep them active & the resultant juice (because they are a fruit) can go rotten & rancid if not used up often.

If the Wash Bag is left in throughout the wash cycle do your clothes come out soapy?

Come on admit it, thats what you were thinking, right?

Me too, but no – they don’t come out soapy. If your rinse cycles use cold water the Soap Nuts will release very little saponin & the bit they do release just leaves your clothes soft, my air dried towels are no longer hard & scratchy boards, they are soft & fluffy without the added electricity expense of using the dryer – so its a win for me. The Soap Nuts also release no harmful or skin irritating agents so any residue is not harmful but could actually be beneficial as they have found Soap Nuts to be anti-fungal. You can also get away with just one rinse as your clothes are not covered in chemicals from the washing powder, so that means less use of natural resources.

Stain Removing???

I have a wee one, who is a dirt, food & paint magnet, the best stain remover I have found at this stage it to wet the stain cover it with bicarb soda, leave it to soak over night & then rub it with a warm water activated wash bag of Soap Nuts until all sudsy & wash in cold water. This is the best stain remover I have found so far, but I am open to any & all suggestions as I still have no idea how I will keep my daughters clothes not looking like they came from the rag bag without our dreaded “NapiSan” laundry soaker.

Any ideas???

Anyone???

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