It's nice on the school holidays to be able to offer the adults a nice biscuit to have with their cup of tea. If your children don't mind ginger they will love these too. These Ginger Snaps are far better than a bought one and easy to make. Double the batch and freeze some for lunch boxes.
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g brown sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup, warmed in the microwave for 20 seconds (treacle is fine too)
Preheat oven to 180c fan forced and line two trays with baking paper.
Rub butter into flour until like breadcrumbs (if butter isn't soft enough, grate into flour with a cheese grater)
Add spices, bicarbonate, baking powder and lemon. Stir through.
Str through sugar.
Pour in syrup and work into stiff mixture.
Roll mixture into walnut size balls and place on sheets leaving a 5 cm gap.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. The biscuits will crack and harden when cool.
Store in an airtight container or freeze.
Today is the start of the winter school holidays here in Victoria, the least favourite holidays as that means (for me at least!) lots of children inside getting ratty on rainy days.
I actually like winter holidays, it means sleep in under a warm doona while it rains outside, afternoons by the heater with a good book or board game, arts and crafts, lots of baking and afternoon movies while still in your pj's.
The food is an important part of any school holidays as is the playdates! Having other peoples hungry children over for a playdate can be a little stressful, so it's a good idea to be a little organised. I have just spent the morning making a batch of biscuits for the freezer, ready to pull out, but I also have made homemade Sausage Rolls.
Homemade means no artificial additive and preservatives to make them more flavoursome. You can whip these up super quick, and then pop in a container once cooled and pop in the freezer. Take out and put in the oven to reheat like you would store bought ones - too easy! I used Coles Puff Pastry as it has no bad additives or colours. It makes about 52 rolls. Better than a bought one!
500g sausage mince
1 1/2 cups homemade bread crumbs
1/2 cup dick smith tomato sauce
1 grated carrot
1 grated onion
2 tablespoons parsley (fresh or dry)
Salt and Pepper
Coles Puff Pasty (6 Ready Roll Sheets)
Another egg for pastry.
Combine all ingredients for filling in bowl. Season to taste.
Slice one sheet down the middle and run filling down the middle of each sheet.
Brush egg down the right hand side of pastry.
Fold over left side onto meat and then fold the right side.
Place right side up on lined baking tray.
Slice into roll sizes, brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for 20 minutes in 180c fan forced oven.
Ever wondered how you cook Kale, the latest fad vegetable? Have you ever wondered if carrots would be alright in the microwave?
Well wonder no more. It sometimes seems hard to get more vegetables into your diet and even harder to find interesting ways to cook them for the family. This little guide courtesy of Cook Smarts can help you know how to cook the most common of vegetables found in every grocers.
Print it off and pop it up on the fridge for easy reference!
A lot of people may assume that to change one's diet to avoid eating chemicals is a costly exercise. I would like to put your mind at rest. Making your own foods from scratch often means using less ingredients and using more fresh foods or basic pantry staples.
These items are usually a lot less than an item already pre-made in a packet. So who wants to pay extra just for a cup full of chemicals and fancy packaging - not me?
Our family is like most families, we budget for our grocery shop and try to keep our costs down as much as possible, so I am always keen to learn a new trick or two on how to do it. This week I heard an interview on the radio with a lady called Sandra Reynolds who has a food blog all about eating on a budget - a $120 a week budget!
Sounds interesting huh? Plus there are loads of great recipes to fill your meal planner up with! Check out her site at www.120dollarsfoodchallenge.com
Last month I told you about how I was chopping up all the vegetables we needed for practically every meal we were eating for a whole month and then freezing it. Thus freeing up my precious time in the evenings with meal preparation.
Well this certainly worked and the added bonus was that we also had home cooked meals that were chemical free and jam packed full of healthy vegetables. And guess what? Since we were bulking out our meals with more veggies I also had left overs enough for other night time meals or lunches. I even ended the month with a meal or two spare.
The only lesson I would say I did learn was that for my stir fry vegetables it may pay to blanch the zucchinis/courgettes before freezing, as they do defrost a little mushy.
I plan this week on having a chopping session again for this months food. I also plan on taking it a step further and having a once a month baking day. I'll let you you know how that goes.
Below is a list of what my meals will be this week. I also have included for you to download a free blank meal planner for the month, so that you too can have a go at planning your meals for a whole month.
Monday 2 June
Meatloaf with Potato and Sweet Potato Mash
Tuesday 3 June
Wednesday 4 June
Rissoles with roast vegetables (Rissoles are made from half the meatloaf mixture and rolled into balls to bake in the oven - serve with the vegetables and gravy!).
Thursday 5 June
Homemade Pizza Night
Friday 6 June
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Saturday 7 June
Fish with Homemade chips
Sunday 8 June
Roast Pork with Roast Vegetables
Cut the Chemicals Blank Monthly Meal Planner
If you read our Facebook site you may have already seen this, if not read on!
It's no secret I have become a big fan of Pinterest and on our Pinterest boards you can see the recipes and ideas that I come across pinned ready for you to use. Lately I have been investigating the idea of once a month cooking and using my freezer a lot more.
My project this month is to fill my freezer, do once a month cooking and eat healthier and it is well and truly underway. I ordered a lovely side of beef from my local butcher and yesterday I got to work on making May an easier more efficient month.
Using Pinterest and my other favourite site Cheapskates Club I meal planned for the month and then proceeded to chop up all my vegetables for the month of dinners that I will be cooking. Every meal is accounted for except Roast night.
It took just over two hours, but on busy nights will help save some tears and tantrums and that's not just from mum! Not to mention our meals will be jam packed with healthy vegetables and there will be no waste of something lingering in the bottom of the fridge because I couldn't be bothered cutting it up one night. Happy days!
P.S. Sorry for the plastic bags, I'm keeping an eye out for cheap Mason Jars for future months!
This year my husband and I decided that we needed to change communities and move home. It wasn't because we hated where we were or that we didn't like the people we lived with. In fact we will miss the other families in our community very much.
We decided to move to keep our focus on our children's health and well being. We have 3 boys as you know and eventually those boys will be teenagers and young men. Teenagers need healthy interests and awesome friends and role models to get them through what can sometimes be a rough ride into adulthood.
The community we were in was all like us, young families and although this is great when the children are little we didn't think it would be good when the children were older. Life in the suburbs with thousands of bored teenagers didn't sound appealing.
Our quest to find a new home took us to the seaside for a sea change. We have found a suburb that has a village feel and a mixed demographic. Our new neighbors are retired and the children's new school is half the size of their old. Furthermore, their school overlooks the ocean and we are a mere 5 minute walk from the beach.
My husband can fish with the boys, my daughter and I can peruse the markets for good, local fresh food and together as a family we can spend greater quality time together ... mostly renovating at the moment ... the new house is a real fixer upper!!
To my loyal followers, I just want to let you know that things may be a little quiet on the social media front for the next two weeks as I am moving house ... and we all know what a pain that is!!
Please feel free to post your ideas, recipes and more in my small absence and I look forward to reading all about your chemical free lives when I return!
In the meantime don't forget that my books are always available for purchase and when I'm back on board we can have lots more fun together living the chemical free life!
Once upon a time there was a very tired mummy. After a week of rushing around at work and after the kids and husband she looked in the pantry to find something for dinner.
The cupboard was almost bare but for a packet of Continental Pasta and Sauce and some chicken fillets in the fridge.
In almost robotic fashion the mummy prepared the meal on the back of the pack and in 2o minutes the family were fed and happy.
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR TO YOU? Well now that we are Making Our Own I decided to fashion this family favourite from scratch. Above is the result. It was delicious and had no added chemical flavourings and colours. And it was just as quick to prepare!
500g pasta of your choice
1 small onion chopped
500g chicken fillets or thigh diced
1 cup of diced vegetables of choice (i.e. frozen peas, carrot, capsicum)
1 can carnation evaporated milk
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tsp chicken stock
Sprinkle of Onion Salt
Pepper to taste
Prepare Pasta in pot as per packet instructions. Drain and leave aside.
In pan with sides melt a tablespoon of butter and then fry of onions until clear.
Add chicken and cook until brown.
Add vegetables and toss through heat for 2 minutes.
Mix cornflour, chicken salt and onion salt in with Evap Milk. Add to pan and stir.
When thick add some Parmesan cheese and stir through sauce.
Add pasta to pan and stir through vegetables and sauce.
Serve in bowls topped with more cheese and pepper to taste.
Note: If you don't have Evap milk use normal milk or cream! Change the recipe to suit other flavours just like the packet varieties i.e. add mushrooms and pepper, tuna and bacon for Carbonara!
Looms have finally invaded my home! My daughter has caught the bug and is having some great fun fishtailing her way through the evening.
It got me thinking though about our next major holiday here in Australia, Easter! Last year we posted some chemical free Christmas ideas so I thought the same could be done for Easter.
Chocolate is the treat of choice this holiday but not all chocolates are created equal and some have a lot of bad stuff in them. Easter always rains here, so maybe a fun idea to while the Easter holiday away inside is for the Easter Bunny to leave a Loom Kit instead of some chocolate eggs. Cute huh?
Bec Taylor is a lover of all things quick, convenient and tasty. Her favorite foods are sloppy, cheesy and hopefully cooked in one pot as she hates doing the dishes!