Easy & Healthy Slow cooker Beef Stew

13 Nov

 

stew-words

As you are all aware I am all about EASY cooking. I hate complicated recipes with a million steps that take forever to make. I am after easy, quick & nutritious meals that I can put on the table for my family with a minimal amount of effort.

Hence why I loooove my slow cooker. That thing is awesome, its almost like a personal chef hanging out in your kitchen while you get on with conquering the world or the housework!

This stew is simple & easy to make, its a throw everything in, let it cook for hours & then finish it just before serving deal.

I try & get everything into the slow cooker while readying the kids for school, that way meal prep doesn’t cut into my work day & when the kids come home from school we can hang out – because I already have dinner covered 🙂

To make for fast prep time, I don’t even peel the vegetables, we purchase Organic vegetables which I just wash & chop which helps to cut down on prep time & also delivers more nutrition per serve. But we all know I do it, because I am lazy!

The flavours of this stew are hearty & simple, you could definitely add some fresh herbs like Rosemary or Thyme, but my little people object to “green stuff” in their food so we stick with traditional hearty beef flavours & lots of vegetables.

This makes a lot of stew, so if you don’t like left overs (you must be crazy) halve the recipe. I like to serve the leftovers on toast or top it with dumplings so that my family doesn’t feel like they are eating the same thing all the time. But it means you get two meals out of one dinner – which is a huge win in my book!!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 1.5 kilogram chuck beef roast, or some other cheap cut, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 5 Tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 750mls Beef stock (I used bone broth – but either will do)
  • 2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Thyme leaves
  • 4 Bay leaves (just be sure to pick them out before serving or the kids will complain about the foliage in their food)
  • 4 large carrots roughly chopped
  • 6 large potatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes chopped into large pieces as they can fall apart during cooking
  • 1 cup frozen pea’s
  • Himalayan salt & pepper to season
  • 1/4 c plain spelt flour
  • 1/4 c water

Place the beef, onions, garlic, tomatoes, beef stock, worcestershire sauce, thyme, carrots, potatoes & sweet potatoes into your slow cooker & leave on low for about 6-7 hours, or if your in a hurry place it on high for 4-5 hours.

stew-cooking

I like to place a tea towel over the top of the slow cooker to keep all the steam in & help the cooking process along – it seems to cook things faster even though the slow cooker is on low as it’s retaining the heat.

About thirty minutes before dinner add in your frozen peas, taste & season your sauce with salt & pepper. Mix the spelt & water together in a small bowl until there are no lumps, stir this into your stew & cook covered for another thirty minutes so it can thicken up.

This recipe normally makes two meals for our family of four, so you will have left overs!! Left over stew tastes even better the next day over toast or you can top it with dumplings, bake it in your favourite pie shell recipe or top it with mashed potatoes & a little cheese to make a heartier version of cottage pie. Two meals for the effort of one, makes this Mama very happy.

Enjoy

 

Exfoliating Grains, dry scrub mix

20 Oct

dry-scrub

This is my first time playing around with exfoliating grains & I have to say I love them. They are so quick & easy to make & can be used as a cleanser, mask & skin treatment.

Blend with a little water to make a great scrub cleanser to use as your daily cleanser. Add a little yoghurt, honey or an oil of your choice & you have a great treatment or mask to give your skin an anti-oxidant burst.

I like to use it each morning to wake up my skin, I leave it on while I brush my teeth, for a mini treatment – the kids call it my shrek face!!

I have chosen the ingredients of these exfoliating grains so that they not only cleanse & exfoliate but they also have great anti-oxidant & anti-ageing properties.

The kaolin clay cleanses & soothes your skin, the ground oats exfoliate & soften, the almonds create a lovely soft exfoliation, the milk powder moisturises, the brown sugar & bicarb soda polish your skin giving you a healthy glow.

The spirulina is our secret super ingredient, its full of anti-oxidants & chlorophyll  which cleanses the skin, strengthens tissues, helps skin to store moisture, improves elasticity & diminishes fine lines. Its soothing & hydrating & will assist in healing up any blemishes or skin conditions you may have.

spirulina-scrub

Exfoliating Grains a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 3 Tablespoons kaolin clay
  • 1 Tablespoon ground oats
  • 1 Tablespoon ground almonds
  • 1 Tablespoon milk powder
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon bicarb sida
  • 2 Tablespoons spirulina

Take all your ingredients & mix well in a bowl. Pour into a bottle or jar that has an airtight lid as any moisture will cause your grains to go clumpy & start spoiling.

exfoliating-grains

How to Use:

Always pour your grains out onto your hand & then add your liquid medium, so that no moisture can get into your exfoliating grains jar.

This dry scrub can be used with what ever liquid you feel will best serve your skin, I have to admit to just using plain old tap water, but I’d love to try using it with witch hazel or rose water for additional skin loving benefits.

If your skin is dry you can even use an oil of your choice to make your scrub, just be sure to wipe off all traces with a wet cloth or you may have a little green sheen going on.

To make your exfoliating grains into a mask, simply mix with plain yoghurt, honey, aloe vera or some coconut oil, smear on your face & relax, add some water & scrub off to gain the full benefits of your grains.

Enjoy

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Baby bum cream to prevent nappy rash

9 Oct

babby-balm

This baby bum cream is fantastic, it can be used with cloth nappies or disposables & can be used as a soothing all over balm for your baby’s skin. It works wonders on that dry skin babies often get behind their ears & can even be used to gently lift cradle cap.

With the addition of lavender essential oil its great to use as an all-over massage balm, perfect for naturally soothing your little one off to sleep after bath time.

This Baby bum cream is full of a host of goodies that will protect & soothe your babies skin, like coconut oil which is anti-bacterial & anti-fungal as well as being highly moisturising. The shea butter is full of fat soluble vitamin A & E for a soothing, emollient base. The beeswax creates a protective layer on the skin to keep moisture at bay. The chamomile is soothing, anti-infalamtory, anti-bacterial & helps to keep fungal rashes at bay.

But best of all its really quick & easy to make, this is a melt & stir recipe.

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Baby Bum Cream a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c shea butter
  • 1 tablespoon beeswax
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa butter
  • 5 drops chamomile essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil

Measure out all of your ingredients except the essential oils. Place the ingredients in a glass jar. Put a pot of water on the stove to simmer & place your jar in the pot of water to melt & combine all the ingredients. Once it has all melted, gently stir to combine. Let your cream cool to just above room temperature, add in your essential oils & stir well. Leave to cool in the jar if your going to keep it in the jar or pour it into your chosen containers.

Store in a cool, dark place preferably. You can always split your cream into several small bottles so that you can keep a couple in the fridge so that they don’t spoil as this recipe contains no preservatives.nappy-cream

When using make sure that you don’t double dip as you can contaminate the balm with fungus cells if your baby has a fungal based rash.

 

Enjoy

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Left over roast Chicken Soup

13 Sep

chicken-soup

Eating Organic isn’t cheap, but we feel like it’s worth it for our families health.

Organic chickens are quite expensive here in Australia, so when I buy one I need to get the most out of it, this recipe allows our family to get two meals out of the one Roast Chicken.

This soup is perfect to make the day after having a roast chicken dinner, any chicken that has been left over can be turned into a healthy & hearty soup, ensuring zero waste & helping to stretch the family budget.

This soup can be made using just about any vegetables that you have lying around in the crisper, it’s perfect for cleaning out the fridge!

It is simple, hearty & tasty as its not a broth style soup, but more a cream of chicken soup.

It makes a great, cheap end of the week meal, you can use up any leftover vegetables & get the most out of your roast chicken left overs, instead of leaving them to spoil in the fridge (like I used to do!).

Our kids love it & I am sure it’s helping us to keep the winter flu germs at bay.

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Left Over Roast Chicken Soup a’la Mama Going Natural

  • Four large potatoes cut into 1 cm cubes
  • Three large carrots cut into 1 cm cubes
  • One Zucchini cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 1/4 cauliflower cut into 1cm cubes (stalks & all)
  • 2 onions finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons good quality virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme Leaves roughly chopped
  • 1.5L chicken stock
  • 1/2 c frozen pea’s (additional item, because I have a pea lover in the family)
  • Your left over Roast Chicken Carcass
  • Himalyan salt & pepper to season
  • Cream or Natural yoghurt for serving (makes soup so much creamier)

Place your olive oil in a large heavy based pot to warm (I like to add a few shakes of himalayan salt & pepper to the oil to season it). Place in your cubed vegetables, onions, thyme & garlic. Cook gently over a low to medium heat to sweat out the vegetables for approximately 10 minutes.

Once the vegetables start to look cooked, add in your chicken stock & let it simmer gently for 10 minutes.

While your soup is simmering away begin to pull apart your chicken. I pull all the meat off the bones, even off the neck (waste not, want not!). I roughly chop this chicken into large pieces about 4cm’s cubed. I then place half of it in the soup pot to simmer away. I place the chicken skin in as well (if there is any left) but you don’t have to, I just feel it adds to the flavour.

Let your soup cook for another five minutes then pour half of it into a bowl or blender & puree till smooth & creamy. Pour this back into your soup pot & add the rest of your chopped chicken. Taste & season with salt & pepper accordingly.

Add your frozen pea’s (if you too have pea-loving kids) & let your soup simmer for another five minutes.

When you are ready to eat your soup ladle it into bowls & top with your choice of yoghurt or cream for an extra indulgent soup experience.

This soup is super easy & although it seems simple on the flavours it tastes great, but best of all the kids will scoff this without complaining!! That makes for a win around here!!

Enjoy

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Organic, Vegan Concealer – you asked, we made it

18 Aug

I know so many of you have been patiently waiting for us to release our concealer & after countless hours of testing & millions of formulation tweaks we have created a concealer we think is worthy of wearing the MG Naturals name.

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It’s lightweight and glides on silky smooth ideal for camouflaging skin imperfections. Our natural minerals light reflecting properties help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and hide dark circles. It provides SPF protection and moisture to your skin while repairing damaged cells. Our formulation is made with premium cosmetic grade, organic ingredients which include Rose hip oil, Carrot seed oil and soothing Aloe Vera.

The soothing aloe vera base will do wonders for healing & soothing any blemishes while hydrating your skin.

Our concealer formulation is great for sensitive skin and sensitive eyes. It is made with pure organic ingredients and does not cause eye irritation’s.

It comes in two great shades perfect for concealing blemishes, dark circles & pigmentation while helping to even out skin tone, creating a flawless base.

So what are you waiting for get your hands on one of these bad boys today, you won’t regret it.

Homemade organic nipple butter

26 Jul

nipple-balm

I am in love with this butter, its so great to soothe those cracked sore nipples, but it also works great on chapped lips & any dry cracked skin. It has been a great addition to our nappy bag as our go anywhere, fix anything balm.

With my first daughter I used a popular lanolin ointment, but since then I have learnt lanolin contains a heavy load of pesticides as the wool is soaked in chemicals to remove parasites before the lanolin is scoured out if it. Not something I want my little baby ingesting.

So after researching other brands of nipple butters I decided to give the DIY option a go as I got to be in charge of the quality of the ingredients. My baby is ingesting this so I want to make sure its made on the best quality, organic, edible ingredients.

This recipe is so simple it’s made from all pure, organic ingredients that can be consumed. I recommend using cocoa butter from your local health food or bulk food store that is used to make chocolate – that way you know it’s 100% safe for your baby to consume, I don’t recommend using cosmetic grade ingredients as our babies tummies are so new that we want to be sure we are giving them pure, natural ingredients that won’t effect their gut flora.

Although this recipe is simple, it has some great ingredients that will soothe & reduce inflammation.The chamomile reduces redness & irritation all while calming your baby. The Coconut oil protects against thrush & has the same medium chain fatty acids that are naturally present in breast milk. The Cocoa butter is super hydrating, protective & moisturising & the beeswax creates a protective layer.

Our nipple butter doesn’t use shea butter although its a super ingredient for soothing balms, its not so good for your babies tummy as it can cause diarrhoea when consumed so we have stayed well away from it.

nipple-butter

Nipple Butter a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon beeswax
  • 3 teaspoons cocoa butter
  • 2 drops chamomile essential oil

Place your wax, oil & butter into a jar & set it into a simmering pan of water to melt.

Once the wax & butter has melted, take your jar off the heat & let it cool for a few minutes then add your chamomile essential oil & stir well.

Pour into containers & let set, this recipe made two 20gm round containers full, which are perfect for carrying in your baby bag.

Enjoy

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Our first ever eyeshadow tutorial video

7 Jul

The lovely Holly from VIP Bridal Beauty has shared her knowledge with us on how to easily create a beautiful day look with our new range of eyeshadows.

If you need special occasion make up be sure to check her out here

Hibiscus anti-ageing Clay Cleanser Bars

4 Jul

clay-cleansing-bars

I love my clay cleanser bars, they are my favourite cleansers for winter as they keep the winter dryness at bay. They keep my skin hydrated, moisturised & super soft throughout winter.

This time we wanted to make an anti-ageing clay cleanser & after some research I decided to make a hibiscus clay cleansing bar.

Why hibiscus? it’s a natural source of aha’s & provides the same benefits without the harsh chemicals. It exfoliates, speeds up cell turnover, increases moisture, improves elasticity & soothes your skin with anti-oxidants.

Who doesn’t want a dose of that each day??

We also decide to mix it up & use castor oil for this bar as it is super cleansing, anti aging, fades scars & age spots. The Geranium essential oil is a collagen stimulant so it will work on minimising any sagging or lines.

I love applying this clay cleanser in the shower & leaving it on while I wash my hair because the ingredients are so good, its like a mini-mask for your skin while you shower. Leaving your face plump & primed ready to apply your MG Naturals BB cream & face the day.

clay-cleanser-mix

Hibiscus Clay Cleanser Bar’s a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 30gm cocoa butter
  • 30gm shea butter
  • 30gm castor oil
  • 40gm kaolin clay
  • 30gm full milk powder
  • 30gm almond meal
  • 30gm hibiscus powder
  • 5 drops geranium essential oil

Melt the butters & oil in a glass jar in a pan of simmering water. Mix your clay, almond meal & hibiscus powder until well combined. When your oils & butters have melted, mix them into your clay mix & stir well to create a paste, add your geranium essential oil. The mix is best set in silicon bakeware containers in the freezer.

Keep the majority of your cleanser blocks in the freezer & keep one out in the bathroom to stop spoilage.

Simply pinch off a piece add some warm water & rub it into your skin to get your anti-ageing, anti-oxidant morning burst.

Give it a try, what do you have to loose other than wrinkles 🙂

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Contour like a celebrity without the chemicals

21 Jun

Introducing our amazing new all Organic, Vegan, No nasties Contour kits, this is natural make up gone serious!!

But it is so simple, even a make up novice like me, can do it……….check out the video below to see my efforts 🙂

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Want a beautiful radiant sculpted complexion?

Just without the hassle & fuss of using a million different products & spending hours in front of the mirror.

Well now YOU can create the same look as a professional make up artist with just three products and all in a matter of minutes.

The result is flawlessly shaped features from defined cheekbones to a seemingly perfect nose to the appearance of a sculpted jaw line.

Simply apply your foundation all over then swipe on your contour wand to create shadows, sculpt & define. Apply the illuminator wand to highlight & draw attention to your best features. Blend gently & you are ready to go – it is as easy as that.

You don’t have to be a skilled make up artist to achieve flawless, polished skin our simple instruction chart will walk you through how to identify your face shape & apply your wands to magically transform your features.

Our kits are so much fun, be sure to check them out today.

 

 

Refined Sugar Free Butter Cream Icing

13 Jun

butter-cream

My kids will eat anything if you smother it in Butter Cream. I am not such a fan, I find it sickly sweet & can’t see the point of baking them healthy treats if we are going to smother them with that much icing sugar.

So I have been on the hunt for a compromise & I am happy to tell you I have found it!!

This icing contains no refined sugar, I sweetened mine with Maple syrup, but I have tried it with pureed dates (its just best in a caramel or cacao version as it comes out quite caramel coloured), I have also used pureed banana’s, honey & coconut sugar & they all worked great. So feel free to substitute with your preferred sweetener.

I sweetened this batch with maple syrup & then added a few frozen raspberries to give it a natural slight pink colour which my girls went crazy for.

If your kids are used to traditional butter cream icing I would double the maple syrup & then slowly start reducing it batch by batch, otherwise they may decide they don’t like it straight off the bat & you could have a mutiny on your hands.

I like this icing better than butter cream, because its light & fluffy. I find traditional buttercream to be quite dense & heavy, this has a lighter consistency more like whipped cream, but it’s not prone to melting & curdling like cream can do.

This icing is a little more complicated to make than my usual recipes, but its well worth the effort & it isn’t so bad once you get the hang of it.

The first time I made this, I was sure it was going to be a massive fail, but it does actually work, so persevere with it.

I know you, like me, have probably tried hundreds of healthy substitute recipes where it says it tastes as good as the real thing. Only to make it & wonder what the hell the writer is used to eating, because it is nothing like what it’s supposed to be. This is not one of those recipes, I promise.

Once you make it this will become your standard go-to icing recipe.

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Refined Sugar Free Buttercream Icing a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 3 T plain spelt flour
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

In a pan cook the spelt, milk & maple syrup over a low heat until it thickens to a thick pudding like consistency. I use a spatula to constantly stir & flatten out any lumps on the bottom of the pan as it thickens.

Once your mix resembles thick pudding (this should take 5-7 minutes worth of cooking time) scoop it into a bowl & top with cling wrap. Push the plastic wrap down onto the pudding so a skin can not form as the pudding mix cools.

I am always in a hurry, so I place my pudding mix into the freezer to cool, but you can always refrigerate it & use it later if you have the time.

Once your pudding mix is cold, put the butter & vanilla essence into a stand mixer & beat till the butter is soft & creamy. Add the cold pudding mixture & continue beating on a high setting. It may look like a curdled mess, but just keep beating it. It will eventually start to come together & look like whipped cream, but don’t be shocked if it needs to be whipped for 5 or more minutes for this to happen.

Once it has come together you can add additional flavourings like cacao powder, or tint it with hopper food colourings. I like to add dried beetroot powder or a few frozen raspberries to mine to make a pink toned cream, but you can add blueberries or a hint of turmeric to create other shades without the nasties.

It can be used straight away or kept in the fridge to be used later (it may just need re-whipping for a minute or two so it comes back light & fluffy). It pipes well & spreads just like butter cream just without all that sugar 🙂

Enjoy

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