Thursday, May 30, 2019

Around here - Additive Free Lifestyle - 7 days of Podcasts

Around here I have been thinking more about the food we put in our mouth.  We all get time poor, lazy or can't be bothered sometimes that things slip.  It wasn't until a few weeks ago I listed to a podcast called "Whole Circle Podcast" by Tracey & Jo who are Mums and live in Tasmania.  Their website is called "Additive Free Lifestyle" and they have a program to help families meal plan and get more preservatives and additives out of their food whether they cook it themselves or learn how to select the right brand from the supermarket shelves.

Jo's story about why she went additive free truly makes sense.

Here's a few episodes that might be of interest to you. Personally I think all of them are amazing and you should work your way through them.

How to save money whilst eating additive free.

Top 5 Questions from our additive free challenge.

Top 5 episodes.

This week the girls are running a free 7 day challenge to help you become additive free which I'm in the middle of.  It focuses on one thing a day and the first day it's about preservative 282 found in supermarket bread, wraps etc. to extend their shelf life and stop mould from growing.   It has reminded me to get back into making our own bread on a weekly basis as my kids love it.  This bread is the Thermomix 5 Seed Bread recipe which you could easily make even if you don't have a Thermomix as most food processors these days have dough settings.  I can highly recommend an electric knife [mine broke a while back and ended up throwing it out] and then someone was selling theirs for $5 on our local FB buy sell page so I snapped it up.  So along with your electric knife I also have a D.line Bread Slicer Cutting Guide which is fantastic to get uniform slices of bread that fit into the toaster.  I can highly recommend this item if you make bread all the time.

I listened to these podcasts a couple of weeks ago and it was very eye opening.  The 7 day challenge is happening now and each day there has been an information sheet sent to your email address and a little task to complete ie check your pantry to see what things contain Caramel 150c or try making this home made ice cream recipe.  Or give bread making a go.  A bit like "That Sugar Film" where manufacturers put things on the front of boxes so you think you are selecting the healthier option the labeling really is a mind field with numbers and things listed we don't even understand.

With all the time in the world we would all love to make everything from scratch however sometimes that's not an option.  When it is, you are doing your family a great service, however it's even more important to understand how to purchase things if you don't have time, run out of time or aren't that way inclined.  Listening to these podcasts was such a reminder and eye opener for me to be more organized.  On labels when the words "natural flavours" are used what does that mean - it covers a lot of "unknown" things to the consumer and we assume "natural flavours" must be okay.

Here is a quote about spinach wraps you buy in the shops.

 "You will notice that the reason they are green is from a combination of blue and yellow food colour and they use spinach ‘seasoning’ (no real spinach!)"

This is the ingredient list from the store bought spinach wraps [as per Additive Free Lifestyle blog]

Ingredients: Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Shortening (Interesterified Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/or Palm Oil), contains 2% or less of each of the following: Seasoning (Spinach Powder, Onion Powder, Spice, Salt, Garlic Powder, Soybean Oil, Artificial Colors [FD&C Yellow #5 Lake and FD&C Blue #1 Lake], Natural and Artificial Flavor), Salt, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate and/or Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate), Distilled Monoglycerides, Enzymes, Wheat Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Antioxidants (Tocopherols, Ascorbic Acid), Vital Wheat Gluten, Cellulose Gum, Dough Conditioners (Fumaric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite), Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid and/or Citric Acid).

Here is a recipe to make your own spinach wraps using real spinach, flour, baking powder, salt, butter, water and olive oil. These 7 ingredients we all know what they are compared to the list above.  It's quite frightening and if you were buying wraps generally you would think spinach wraps are healthier than plain wraps so again our perception of healthy is buy the spinach ones when in fact they are probably all the same.  It's a bit of false sense of security about buying the healthy option for your family as we think we are doing the right thing.

Here are the podcasts that relate to the 7 day challenge that is truly eye opening and a good reminder about why products are able to sit on supermarket shelves for a long period of time.  It's simple they use lots of "preservatives an additives" that we shouldn't really be consuming.  Some of these things cause lots of health and behavioral issues in children and adults.  I can highly recommend you listen to at least one of the podcasts below once a week until you get through them.

Day 1 - Preservative 282

Day 2 - Annatto 160B

Day 3 - Perservative 220

Day 4 - Caramel 150c

Day 5 - Take Away Foods

Day 6 - Swapping it up

Day 7 -  Embracing the Change

Years ago we swapped from Margarine to Butter as it's a natural product so that's one step already done.  I am wanting to stop buying store bought Tomato Sauce, BBQ Sauce and Sweet Chilli Sauce and am going to try the following recipes and see if I can keep up with using these instead of relying on the supermarket sugar preservative ones.

Tomato Sauce
Easy BBQ Sauce
Sweet Chilli Sauce
Tomato Paste

My kids reminded me the other day about how fabulous this sauce was and we also used it on pizza's which is what we were making at the time the kids thought about it.

Big changes can be so overwhelming and the idea of the 7 day challenge was look at one thing at a time.  Just like anything making your home made laundry powder or cleaning products just do one thing until you get that right and then move onto trying the next thing and pretty soon you'll have a whole lot of things you do on a regular basis.  Baby steps and do one thing at a time.

I recently purchased this little ceramic butter crock so I can make some butter and have it spreadable.  I did try and make some spreadable butter a little while ago by whipping it up in the Thermomix with olive oil however all I could taste was the olive oil and it was so horrible I ended up throwing it out.  My sister has been doing this with her butter for years however she said you need a "light" oil not extra virgin olive oil like I used.  It put me off after my first attempt so I'm going to make some butter in the Thermomix and store it in this little container.

A description about this.  The Butter Crock works by storing up to 170 grams of butter in the bell and placing water in the crock. This keeps the butter airtight and controls the temperature of the butter. All you need to do is to change the water every 3 or 4 days for soft, spreadable butter year round.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Around here - Crumpets Recipe

I have wanted to make home made crumpets for a long time however I have never attempted them until the other day when I saw this recipe on IG.  They mentioned that they make them in the pie maker which I thought was a brilliant idea as they are all the same shape and no messing around with egg rings.  It's a Thermomix recipe however you could easily make this using your food processor and a thermometer.  The person used a Kmart $29 pie maker in her IG post and luckily for us we have had a pie maker for years that we love making Chicken & Leek pies in.

You do need a couple of hours up your sleeve because you need to let the mixture sit for one hour and then another 10 minutes and you can only make 4 crumpets at a time in the pie maker.  Each batch take 5-6 minutes to cook however it was a nice Sunday morning and I made these while I was watched the Gardening Show I had recorded.

The recipe is called Thermomix Recipe - Crumpets anytime.  I always link to the recipes I use and then type them out on my blog as I have discovered some years later if I only use the link and someone closes their blog I've lost the recipe.  It's easy reference for me to go and search my blog for a recipe that I know I've written about.

Finished crumpets ready to eat.

INGREDIENTS FOR BATTER [makes 30 crumpets]

285 gms water
285 gms milk
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
450 gms of bakers flour
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda [bi-carb]
150 gms of warm water


  1. Place sugar, yeast and milk into Thermomix bowl. Set to mix for 3 minutes at 37c degrees on speed 2.  The mixture will become a little frothy.
  2. Add bakers flour, salt and cream of tartar and mix for 10 seconds on speed 7.
  3. Mix for 8 minutes at 37c degrees on speed 1.
  4. Leave in Thermomix bowl for one hour - until it has nearly reached the top.
  5. Add the baking soda [bi-carb] and warm water and beat on speed 6 for 2 minutes.
  6. Leave to rest for 10 minutes

If using a pie maker, heat the pie maker and add 1/4 cup of mixture to each of the 4 pie spots.  NOTE: you must leave the lid up - do not close lid while crumpets are cooking.
Cook for 5-6 minutes until most of the mixture has been cooked to the centre.
Finish off the crumpets by browning them in a fry pan for a minute or less on each side.

I like to eat mine with butter and golden syrup.  I froze most of them in a container and placed some "freezer paper" in between the layers so they would not stick together.  They have no chemicals in them and taste great.  I can highly recommend you give this recipe a go.

Mixture in the Thermomix bowl and the start of the crumpets in the pie maker - lid remains open.

As you can see they cook from the outside in and you can see the different colour on the outside that is already cooked.

Pan fying the tops to get them golden brown.

So happy with how these turned out and they are super easy to make, you just a couple of hours.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Around Here - Week in the Life

Last week was our "Week in the Life" photo project which you can read about here.  It's takes some effort during the week however the project is so worthwhile.  I have all my photos in my templates and now just need to do all the writing on them which I will do over the next couple of weeks.

I picked the last of my corn and froze it and also my beans are coming along nicely.  It's the first time I have gown beans so it's pretty exciting.  This afternoon I planted out from my seed boxes leeks and broccoli.  Our chickens are doing well in their fenced off area although we haven't had any eggs yet so hopefully soon as I'm looking forward to fresh eggs every day.

Last week the kids and I did a Kayak Tour for 1.5 hours which was a lot of fun and I won't mention that I did fall in the water half way through and the kids thoroughly enjoyed seeing that.  I wore clothes that I knew if I went it it would be okay and it made for a good story.  The afternoon was such a beautiful Autumn day and we loved it.  Here's some pics.

Pizza scrolls for school lunches in the making.

Straight out of the oven.

Mother's Day Breakfast in bed compliments of the kids.

My Mum's garden path.

Our Kayak adventure.

More Kayak adventure.

Our beautiful little bird Ricky.

School lunches in the making.

Home grown corn....amazing if I do say so myself.

Love watching this show on TV.  It's onto series 2 where he moves the cabin to the seaside.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Around here - Week in the Life

Day 2 of Week in the Life photo documentary project done so I thought I would share a few pics so far.  A big theme has been food so there are quite a few food pics.  Enjoy.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Around here - Week in the Life

Loving the change in the weather as Autumn and Spring are my favourite times of the year.

Next week starting on Monday it's time again for my annual "Week in the Life" photo project.  I have been doing this time capsule project since 2008 so this year will be my 12th year.  Basically you take photos of your everyday life for a 7 day period doing life. ie making school lunches, driving the kids to school, dinners you eat, places you go, books you read, the breakfast cereals you eat etc.

Just think how cool it would be if your own parents could hand you a photo book of what a week in your life looked like when you were 5, 8, 12 etc.  My kids were really little like 4 and 2 when I first did this project and now they both are taller than me and as tall as me respectively.  Over the years kids interests change, TV shows they like etc. food they like, friends change, once at kindy, then primary school and now they are both at high school.  I always used to take photos of the DVD's they liked, the books they were reading and any hobby they were into like magic or knitting.

This project was created by Ali Edwards a USA storyteller and memory keeper.  I am ever so grateful for this project because I have these "time capsules" of what our life looked like from year to year.  What is normal every day stuff in 2019 may look different in 2020 even though you can't imagine it.  As an example I have photos of us at the local nursery that was operating for over 30 years and it has now been torn down due to a townhouse development.  I have photos of my kids in the video/dvd shop picking out their dvd's for the week and a year and a half ago it closed it's doors due to streaming services.  We used to go every Tuesday afternoon and get $1 weekly movies out and these little rituals have all been documented in my "Week in the Life" project.  We have moved house and schools during this time and having documented the school drop off and pick up and school uniforms etc. we will always have these memories.

I also love this project because Ali picks a week and everyone documents the same week [some have other reasons and do it at a different time] however for the most part I have always documented it the same week so everyone gets inspired.  It's a glimpse into people's daily lives from all over the world. Each day Ali posts her "photos and words" on her blog and then she puts her book together.

I do my book digitally rather than a scrapbooking style and use Blurb to do my book.

This is Elise's "Week in the Life" book before she had kids and her husband was deployed so even if you don't have kids there are still things to document in your life.