This Snack Is Just Right


Sorry about the lame title and sorry for no photo’s. I might be able to update this post with photo’s later though. So today I accidently made a new type of snack. I screwed up making homemade chocolate with cacao butter and not wanting to waste it, I threw in some Just Right ceral and a new snack was born. I thought I would share it since it really is quite a lovely treat.

What you will need:

  • Glass Pyrex mixing bowl or measureing jug or a ceramic mixing bowl. If you have neither of these then use a tin mixing bowl, you can’t use plastic.
  • Vegetable steaming pots or a deep pot to put your mixing bowl in to steam melt the cacao
  • A spoon to mix
  • Cupcake paper cups or silicone cupcake cups

Ingredients you will need:

  • Cacao butter
  • (Optional) Coconut oil. I added this to help make it a little softer and for the taste
  • A sweet syrup such as corn syrup, maple, agave or honey to sweeten the cacao butter.
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Carob powder or Cocoa powder. Preferably pure.
  • Just Right cereal

How to make:

I did not measure my cacao. I simply cut it 2inches buy 4inch slice. It made approximately less than 1/3 cup of liquid cacao. So make a cut approximately 1/3cup worth and place into mixing bowl. Add approximately 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. If it’s solid just make the best educated guess you can. It’s ok if you have to much. This is so it doesn’t go too hard when cooled.

Fill your base steaming pot half way with water. Place only the first tier steam pot on top. This is just to keep Cacao from over steaming. You can do this in a regular pot. If you do, don’t let the bowl touch the water. Place the mixing bowl in the top tier of the steamer. Turn on the heat and bring to a steam slowly. When it starts to melt, stir constantly and slowly. Be careful not to burn yourself! When the water has been brought to a boil and starts steaming, turn down the heat to about medium. You really want to melt the Cacao butter slowly so you don’t cook out to much of the nutrients or over cook it.

When the Cacao butter has started to melt and the coconut oil has liquified, add syrup to taste. I recommend about 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar. When all the ingredients have melted and combined start to add the Carob powder by lightly sprinkling it into the liquid as you stir. After mixing in the carob powder and there are no lumps and it has all combined start to slowly add Just Right cereal. Turn off the heat as we don’t need it any more.

You can remove the bowl now if you like. To do this (the liquid will stay liquid for quite sometime before becoming solid), remove the pots from the stove first and place on an inactive element away from heat. Remove the top tier and let out some of the steam. Place the tier back on the pot. This will help prevent any steam from burning your arms. Grab either oven safe gloves or a tea towel that has been folded multiple times and use to remove the bowl. Make sure to place a tea towel on the bench first! This is the most important part, otherwise your bowl can smash! Carefully lift the mixing bowl away from the steaming pots with something to protect your hands and then place the bowl on the tea towel on the bench you set up. Use a tea towel or oven safe gloves to hold onto the bowl as you mix ingredients.

As you add the cereal make sure to evenly coat it in the mix. It’s just like making chocolate rice bubble crackle. Add enough cereal so it’s mostly dry but well coated. This will make it stick well together. Use a large spoon and start scooping it into the cupcake paper cups. Just remember to restore it each time before filling a new cupcake paper cup. The reason being that the liquid quickly sinks down to the bottom and the more liquid you have on the bottom of your cupcake cup, the more solid the base will be.

Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour before eating or until firm. After the mix has cooled and solidified they are ready to enjoy!!

 

I will try to get some photo’s to go with this post. The carob powder really makes the chocolate coating taste very rich and chocolatey.

Homemade Soy Milk Using A Slow Cooker


I’ve always enjoyed slow cooked anything but what lead me to using a slow cooker for soy milk was because my stove is awful. The element only heats on one side on all of them and it’s hard to cook things at an even temperature. My first milk batch was too raw. Second attempt had an under taste of burn. The bottom slightly burned. And since I can’t get a new oven I had to think of some other way to cook my homemade soy milk. I thought, why not the slow cooker? It wouldn’t over boil and foam wouldn’t rise so why not? First I googled if anyone had and I couldn’t find so much as a blog post so I went with what I knew and the results where beautiful. It made the perfect soy milk. It also doesn’t have a raw bean taste like my other milks had. I put in some vanilla bean this time for flavouring and slow cooked it on high for 2hrs. I’m going to be making my soy milk this way from now on.

Below a picture of my slow cooking soy milk. 1 cup of hydrated soy beans, 3 and a half cups of filtered water. 1inch vanilla bean.
Soymilk

Interesting Stew: Pepper Clover Beef Stew


I have to write this here so I don’t forget what I made. Last night I really felt like stew with a particular taste. Cloves and pepper. I wanted something very clovey with a slow pepper burn and I managed to achieve it.

Ingredients:

  1. Beef stock
  2. Garlic
  3. Whole Cloves
  4. Bay leaves
  5. Mixed herbs
  6. 1 Onion
  7. 4 Carrots
  8. 1 and a half cup of celery, chopped
  9. 2 Large potatoes
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Beef or Veal
  12. Salt
  13. Pepper
  14. Gravy, Steak and Pepper gravy. Gravox

This dish you need to taste test often. Depending on how much meat and veg you have, will depend on how much stock you need. I started out with 1 liter and by the time everything was added I ended up using 3 litres of stock and got quite a few serves out of it. First I brought 1 litre of Aldi beef stock to boil then turned it down to a very light bubbling simmer. Next I diced the onion and put it in first. Then I put two small pinches of cloves in. I love cloves so if  you’re new to cloves or don’t like them only put in 4-6 whole cloves. Next I put in 6 nicely sized dried bay leaves. This really compliments the cloves and takes some of the edge away from the harshness cloves can cause.

Next I added the diced veggies, carrots, celery and potato. When the veggies were half to almost cooked I added a decent pinch of mixed herbs too add a touch of flavour. At this point I also added a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. I didn’t add a lot because the pepper from the meat and gravy would be added. Just before I added the meat I added a table spoon of garlic. You don’t have to use that much, only use enough to taste. Because I had 3 litres of stock the garlic was not very strongly tasted through my stew but it added to the flavour and nice flavouring to the meat.

I left it on a low simmer to slowly cook while I cut meat. I used veal chops since that’s what I had in the freezer. First cut off any and all fat. As much as you can. I used scissors since it was easier. Then dice the meat. Prepare a pan or electric fry pan and use a little bit of olive oil to grease the pan. The aim is to only seal in the meat with a little flavour. Put salt and pepper on the diced meat and lightly fry. The meat should still be pink inside and then added it to your slow cooking stew. Slow cook until done. Make sure to keep your pot lid on so you don’t loose your stew to evaporation. I checked how ready my stew was by cutting the meat to see if it was properly cooked through and how soft it was.

I have an awful oven too so I had to keep turning my stove top up and down depending on whether or not it would be simmering properly. Towards the end, add some gravy powder. You may have to bring the heat up to make it thicken properly. Add and cook in the gravy to the thickness desired. This would generally work a lot better in a proper slow cooker.

This stew is very tasty and very fully of flavour. It was a big hit in my house. Because it was slow cooked there was a lot of flavours mingling beautifully together with the spices and I was able to judge how it was going by it’s smell and taste. This isn’t the type of stew that would suit everyone though. If you’re not a fan of strong tastes then I wouldn’t recommend making this but like I said, I had to write it down for myself so I could remember how to make it again.

Food Fussy Smoothie Cure


English: A glass of soy-rice milk ("Soja-...

English: A glass of soy-rice milk (“Soja-Reis Drink Natur” made in Germany by “Alnatura”). Brightened version of the old photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I’m in a bit of a food fussy mood. Having loads of headaches again because it goes hand in hand with heyfever and it’s left me food fussy. I want chocolate and sugary sweets one day then nothing next. Everything is out to since it’s spring here in Australia. The mango’s aren’t exactly cheap right now but soon they will be ripe and a good price so in the meantime it’s been apples and strawberries. On the weekend my fiance bought exactly that along with some really nice low fat greek yoghurt.

If you know me, you know that I LOVE greek yoghurt. Beside all natural I love it’s tangy taste and sometimes I get the stronger more sour one to use instead of sour cream. Lately however I’ve been using it in a variety of smoothies for flavour and to thicken my shakes instead of using ice-cream but too it’s been hot so I’ve used a little ice-cream a few times. But here’s what I have made so far and sorry for no photo’s. I need new batteries for my camera. I have like a bullet blender so it’s already a cup, or large cup so I put my ingredients from the order I write all the way to the top then blend so you’ll have to add your own milk accordingly since I sadly didn’t measure it.

Nutmeg, oats and greek yoghurt smothie:

  1. 1/3 cup of rolled oats
  2. 1banana diced (optional)
  3. 1teaspoon of honey
  4. freshly grated nutmeg, about a pinch or to your liking
  5. 2-3 large spoon full of greek yoghurt or to your taste
  6. Milk or Soy milk or Rice milk or Almond milk. So far the winning combination for me is soy or almond milk.
  7. Blend and enjoy

Apple Greek Yoghurt Smoothie:

  1. 1 whole apple
  2. 1/3 cup or 1/4 cup of ice cream
  3. 3 large spoonful of greek yoghurt
  4. Milk or Rice milk or Soy milk or Almond milk. Particularly nice with low fat or skim milk and very nice with soy milk.
  5. Blend
  6. If you need sweetening I recommend honey or 1-2 teaspoons of raw natural sugar.

Strawberry, Greek Yoghurt Smoothie:

  1. About 1 cup or half a cup of strawberries.
  2. 1/3 cup of light or low fat ice-cream
  3. 2-3 big spoonfulls of greek yoghurt
  4. Milk or Rice milk or Soy milk or Almond milk
  5. Blend

Green Tea Banana Smoothie

  1. Matcha Green Tea- cooking grade if possible and about 1-2 teaspoons depending on how much you plan to make
  2. 1 whole banana
  3. A little bit of ice-cream is optional
  4. Soy milk. Other milks optional but I like it best with soy.
  5. If you need sweetening, honey.

A few other things I have added to these mixes has been cardamon pods, cinnamon and vanilla bean or vanilla essence if I didn’t have the bean. Also a nice muslie mix with dried fruits and various oats on the top for topping. But I’m out of it now and need to get more. My favourites so far have been the apple mix and the green tea smoothie. Next I’m going to see what I can do with mountain tea and camomile.

Almond Milk Chai Late Recipe


Almonds

Almonds (Photo credit: Shelby PDX)

So I’ve been experimenting with almond milk. Looking for an alternative to milk and soy milk. I love soy but not so much so for coffee. Then I discovered this love blend in the kitchen. I have a bullet blender style blender but a cheaper but still good version of it with full sized milkshake cups to blend in.

Ingredients:

Almonds

Water

Manuka Honey

Cinnamon

Vanilla Extract

How To Make:

Since I have a bullet style blender I fill my milkshake cup with about a quarter of almonds. Then I place half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder not cinnamon sugar. Next I add 1 teaspoon of Manuka honey. Then I fill the rest of the cup with water and add about half a teaspoon or a quarter teaspoon depending on how much I want to taste the vanilla.

Next, I make sure the blending lid with blades is very secure before I place onto the blender and I blend until I can’t see much of the almond skin and it becomes a lovely pale browny colour. Depending on the type of blender it will take anywhere from 30seconds to 2minutes. Fairly quick though.

Next I strain it as thoroughly as possible using a fine mesh strainer. If I don’t have a nut milking bag then I might use an old clean and sterilized stocking. I tend to keep the left over almond meal to dehydrate and place in cereal. Then it’s ready to put in coffee or tea.

This mix tastes a lot like a chai tea or chai late and it’s fantastic! I like it better than most store bought chai teas now. Wonderful taste, fairly quick to make. I have noticed with other almond milk recipes that it recommends soaking over night. I tried both and got the same kind of results for my almond milk but really it’s up to you on how you make it.

Hope you like what I had to share ❤

Healthy Noodles & Homemade Bread


Soy Sauce Noodles.

Image via Wikipedia

Healthy Noodles + a ramble

How? Wholemeal plain flour and water. That’s it. Guilt free and ok for diabetics to eat. You only need a golf ball size to make two bowls of noodles.

You roll it out thinner than paper, cut it into the desired lengths, allow to dry out for an hour or until hard, then place in boiling water until it rises to the top and there you go, noodles. You can store it in the fridge for up to a week when they are dried out properly, if not they are likely to go mouldy so dry them first and make sure they are well coated in wholemeal flour.

I’ve been making these noodles all week. I cook them and rinse them in luke warm water then I make the noodle soup. Beef stock or chicken stock, veggies of my choice, cooked well or till still crunchy, put it in a bowl, put in noodles and have the best damn lunch ever! Potatoes of course are always fully cooked. It would be ideal to google why if you don’t already know why. I won’t say here just because the post would never come to an end 😉

I’m high risk for diabetes even though I am not overweight like so many believe that you have to be overweight to have diabetes, this is a myth. My mother is a diabetic so we try to cook for the one menu instead of two separate things so I eat diabetic like anyway and when I say like, I mean I don’t include all the junk food I’ve been known to have on hormonal days. Plus it seems like the more preservatives the more sick I seem to be getting eating food so for the last few months I’ve been like, well screw it, I’ll make my own things.

This week I have made barely flour. Barely is good for lowering cholesterol, I made basmanti rice flour, rice noodles, wholemeal fetuchini and a whole heap of other pasta with wholemeal. ALSO, I can tell you now, handmade wholemeal doesn’t taste like utter shit when you make it yourself! You don’t even know what wholemeal is like until you make your own bread! The store and bakery stuff, it’s nothing compared to home made with no preservatives. I’ve got nothing against preservatives, they just make me vomit or other illness symptoms. I can’t be bothered getting tested for food allergies, I know what makes me sick and I know making it myself doesn’t. I even made my own bacon and cheese bun with low fat cheese and cooking and draining the fat of the bacon before putting it in the roll. I didn’t get sick or have any repercussions.

I’ve lost weight to when I’ve made my own wholemeal stuff in the past and I don’t mean dramatic I just mean a normal healthy body type is what I got and stayed at. Lately I’ve “blossomed” so to speak but for me with the risk factor I can’t sadly allow it to go on so now I have to keep up with less junk, more wholesome healthy and exercise >_> I hate exercise lol but it’s the only sure fire way to a longer happier life.

I totally lost interest in food though for many reasons. Things weren’t tasty any more or it just made me sick and I was sick when I ate and sick when I didn’t so I couldn’t win. The headaches and migraines daily were the worse part. There was worry that I had an eating disorder which is total crap because I love food!

But now that I’ve looked into things more, more about preservatives and about grinding my own flours blah blah blah hippie talk hippie talk, I’ve been happier living a more all natural foods diet where it can be helped, home grown… if it can break through the clay lol and all that jazz. I’ve always been a fish and chicken girl but you have to have red meats for iron and many other dietary minerals and vitamins you simply can’t get. Vitamin pills make me vomit and I don’t know how vegans and veggietarians do it having iron pills and suppliments all the time and being so sick and no energy all the time and drinking energy drinks which do nothing for them or give them energy because they’re so deficient. I’ve had iron deficiency before and it is not fun! It does damage to your body to lack necessary vitamins and minerals and a lot of it is long term damage in your later years. It’s been hard finding a balance but when I do I find I have loads more energy and way less art blocks. My thinking is much clearer and my sleep is better. Everything is better, even the health of my hair and skin and eye sight. I say, not matter what the diet, if it works for you then go with it because we are all different. Not everyone that becomes a vegan or vegitarian suffers deficiency, in fact sometimes it is better for them because the way their body breaks down things they may have to much and only need it on a rare occasion. But that is only for some people. So be careful.

Always study any diet fully before you chose to follow it. Always look for the cons, not just only the positives. Always look at how a particular diet could harm your health because some can! You will always end up much better off when you chose proper moderation eating, foods that lower cholesterol such as almonds, foods with less fat, draining the fat from your meats and low GI foods and gluten free where possible. You’ll find even better luck with low carbohydrate foods and drinks since carbs convert into sugar. This is why I will never approve of those milkshake diets. There are no real minerals, vitamins or health benefits. Yes you MIGHT get skinny but at what cost? You don’t actually get improved energy at all from it either. I actually knew a number of people desperate to loose weight quickly and they put on more weight with that diet because they were so hungry. Their body was crying out for minerals and to be feed. Like a car our body needs fuel, so give it the fuel it needs. Have poridge/oatmeal instead of bacon. Oatmeal is great for lowering cholesterol and it’s good for your heart. It sticks in your stomache so you aren’t likely to be hungry again ten minutes later. It helps you have energy for longer since it’s slow burning. Little things like that. Have olive butter instead of regular butter. Olives, olive oil, olive butter all help lower cholesterol and it’s a lovely and light butter. There’s no taste difference either. Just a better health option. Personally I don’t eat butter at all. I just don’t like the taste of it much. I only have it on Vegemite toast on the rare occasions I have that and toasted fruit loaf which is once a year. Actually I have a really good heart and health because I have so little butter in my diet.

Olive oil is a lot better to use to replace any oils in your cooking. There’s no fat in olive oil. It’s also great for your skin and heart. You can use olive oil as a bath oil and it helps to repair skin damage. Great for stretch marks as well. Just a little random info for you there. Anyway back to my point since I am clearly getting off subject.

If you do choose a diet where you end up needing to take supplements instead of just eating the foods and meats and nuts necessary for your body to absorb then it would be in your best interest to research the damage you could potentially be doing to your body. Like eating disorders of anorexia and many others, ones that cause obessity and other things that can’t be helped because of genetic’s, or maybe it’s just the lifestyle, you end up missing out on so many minerals for meats, veggies and nuts and grains. It does long term damage to your liver, heart and kidneys. Not eating can contribute to diabetes to because it messes with how your body produces insulin, producing to much or to little at a time.

I know when you first have wholemeal most of us go EW YUCK WHAT IS THIS! I admit it, I hate wholemeal. But when I made it myself it tasted nothing like the store bought crap. Sorry but it’s crap, plain and simple. It’s stuffed full of preservatives and things we don’t need. Me and mum did a little test. I made her a bun, a sizable bun of my wholemeal recipe which I doctored myself. It had a table spoon of caster sugar and she must be very careful with her sugar intake, I did the same with another bun the next day with brown sugar and the next day with raw sugar. Sugar in bread is used to sweeten the dough. Anyhow, all of her blood sugar reads came back better than they have all year round. Her diet was no different. She’s a strict eater, worried for her health so she never eats white bread. She’d rather starve than risk pushing up her sugars since she knows the damage it does to your kidneys. Well we were surprised at the results. The home made bread worked and digested better than the store bought bread. With all it’s health talk and things on the label, it all started to mean nothing after that experiment. And I though Why not share the recipe on my blog?

Ingredients:

1 cup of sifted wholemeal flour, either plain or self raising. Me personally I like self raising. The buns are HUGE! Must be sifted or it comes out incredibly dry and flakey.

1 teaspoon of yeast

roughly 200 ml of warm water. For taste you can make it a mix of warm water an milk just as long as it is 200 ml

1table spoon of the sugar of your choice. I have found it doesn’t matter

1 table spoon of olive oil. The olive oil is the most important ingredient, I’ve made it with out and it came out like a brick. The olive oil makes the bread moist and fluffy with a lovely even browning coat

1 egg

Preparation:

In a lovely large steel/metal mixing bowl pour in the cup of flour, then the sugar, then add the yeast and mix through the flour. Next, make a volcano shape out of the flour by placing your fist in the center and pressing down. Crack the egg and make sure it cracks in the hole you made, next add the oil. slowly begin to mix the egg in the center creating an even dough mix and add water slowly. You don’t want it to runny or too dry. You may have to have some sifted flour ready incase you need to add more to the mix. Knead well for about 5-10minutes. Then, prepare a pot of water in a steamer pot set. This is the tricky part. Depending on your stove, get the steamer pot and place above said boiling pot of water as if you were about to steam some veggies.

Bring to an almost boil so you can see some steam. Then when you have a nice steady flow of steam going, turn either all the way to low or a bit before low. You don’t want scalding steam, but you might want to add one more pot on top. This is why the metal mixing bowl.

Place the mixing bowl atop the steamer and cover with a tea towl/dish rag. This will allow your bread to rise in a shorter time with a controlled temperature. The old fashion way was to store in a warm room for 15 minutes or until the bread dough rises, if you do it this way with gentle steam it will rise within 5-15 mintues. Now if it is too hot the dough will go stick and not rise, if it is too cool it will rise incredibly slowly. The other way to do this, is to fill your sink with warm to hot water. Like you would run a bath, place the metal bowl in the water and cover so the warm air stays inside. Do this if you have no steamer, put timer on for about 15minutes. When you check on your bread you will see it has trippled in size from a base ball almost to a basket ball. Depending on how well you kneaded it before. Take the bowl, allow to cool then knead thoroughly. Repeat the steaming step again. The dough will again gain a large size possible larger possibly the same it can be a bit unpredictable until you get use to the mixtures and kneading for the right amounts of time. Knead well, repeat again. So basically you want the dough to have risen 3 times and kneaded it 3 times.

Now for cooking. You can either place into a bun type tray, whatever tray you plan to use, through it in the oven whole, you will leave it there on 180 for about 45mins, you might even have to leave it in there for an hour. The times can be very tricky. You also have to play with the temperatures. I found with my oven some days it came out great after 45mins, other days I had to cook it at 150 for an hour. If the bread comes out to hard on the bottom lower the temp for next time and put on an extra 5-10 mins for every 10 degrees you minus. I have found however that a toaster oven cooks these buns the best. I put a small flat ball in my toaster oven for 10-20 mins, times vary on size, wait till it’s golden brown then eat it. It’s wonderful but in the toaster oven with it’s instant heat I out the temp on 200. But that is my oven. The other way to cook it in the oven is on the 3rd steam and rise, instead of kneading, place that carefully into bread pan so when you cook it, it is extra soft and fluffy since it has already risen it then rises again in the oven because of the yeast and it turns out incredibly taste and fluffy and more than enough for a family.

I have found that it costs almost $2 for one loaf of bread yet it cost me $0.89 for a 1kj bag of flour to use only 1cup to make bread. Adding up the small amounts of the other ingredients it has worked out to be cheaper and more efficient for me to make my own bread and noodles than it is to shop for them on their own.

And that’s it. I hope that is helpful.

So yeah, that’s my little healthy food ramble for the day ^w^ hope something out of it was helpful at least. Got questions then feel free to ask.