Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Written 23rd August 2011

It is Charlie's third birthday today. I spent a bit of time in bed this morning, my beautiful little boy bouncing around and on me, reminiscing his birth. I remember waking up, quite sure he'd be born on that Saturday. The labour progressing gently, going into the hospital and having the anti-biotics administered for the strep-B.

The labour was smooth, and for the first time, in five births, I did it all without drugs for pain relief. In fact, between contractions I feel very relaxed and peaceful.

His birth was wonderful. I was so impatient to meet Charlie. I felt I had waited much longer than the usual 9 months. And of course when I first met him, he was, still is, perfect.

He has given me, and our family so much happiness this past three years. I can't know what our lives might have been without our darling boy, but I do know it's been wonderful.

I really feel like a very lucky woman.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Beautiful Bone Broth


I have been learning about the beauty of bone broth. It may not look pretty, but it is full of good stuff for our bodies. It is also cheap and easy to make.

This was my first attempt. It made a generous amount of broth from about 1 kg of beef bones. It cost about $6.

So, I covered the bones with water, added a small slug of vinegar (which helps bring out the minerals), and brought it to the boil. Then I added a whole lot of vegies and scraps - the bits of leeks that we don't eat, a big bunch of parsley, some carrots and onion. Then I simmered it for about 5 or 6 hours. Then I strained off all the liquid.

This is what was left behind:
Our dog enjoyed chewing on what was left of the bones and meat.

Bone broth is full of minerals: calcium,magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals. It also contains glucosimine and chrondroitin - great fro your joints.

It is rich in gelatin, which is a great supplementary protein, and also works to support our connective tissue. When the broth is cold, it sets with a lovely layer of solid fat (or lard - great for frying, sauteing and roasting vegetables), and the broth sets like a jelly. It turns liquid very quickly when it is warmed.

I learnt today from here:, that it is a good idea to roast the bones first. I think I will try that next time, because my broth didn't have as rich a flavour that I'd like.

Tomorrow I'll go to the farmer's market and see if I can get chicken carcasses to make chicken broth. I'm excited.

Tonight I made a beautiful vegetable soup using the broth and fat from the broth. I sauteed some leeks, onion and garlic in the fat, then added  chopped brussel sprouts, a bunch of silver-beet (Swiss chard) from our garden, along with some lemon thyme and a little bit of massel stock for flavour.

I have been craving stodgy, carby comfort food, and have done really well avoiding it, but tonight I just had to have something - so rather than succumb to something sweet, I decided to make some dumplings for the soup. They turned out quite well, despite  their not-so-good looks.
Here's the recipe:

Beat 1 1/2 tablespoons of soft butter with an egg. Add a cup of ricotta cheese, a cup of gluten free flour ( wheat flour if you eat it), half a cup of grated tasty or Parmesan cheese and salt to taste. It makes a sticky, wet looking dough, but it still makes fine dumplings. Boil a pot of water and drop spoonfuls of the dough into the boiling water. When the dumplings rise to the top, reduce to a simmer and cook for about three minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve the dumplings in the soup.

You'll be surprised how filling and satisfying this meal is.


Sept 17 - I've just blogged about chicken broth - see it here:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Home Grown

It's always such a pleasure to eat food that you have grown yourself.

Lately we've been enjoying some of the fruits of our labours, and I'm happy to admit that not a great deal of labour was involved.

The micro-greens I've been growing on the kitchen bench have been very successful. I'm so happy with them. I bought the seed from this little website, a great source of organic seed in Australia.

So far the seeds have grown in three medium:
  1. In glass jars as sprouts. I like to do alfalfa, mustard and mung beans in jars.
  2. In little jiffy pots. I grew red cabbage, sunflower sprouts, broccoli and brussel sprouts.
  3. Just on wet paper towel. This is an easy method, but it does dry out quickly. I grew wheat grass with this method.
It's been nice to snip the sprouts onto salads, breakfast, anything really. For a snack the other day, I had some little sprouts mixed into goat's curd cheese. Delightful!

My other little exciting home grown produce is the portobello mushrooms. So far, I haven't had a huge crop, but for taste, nothing is like a freshly picked mushroom. Beautiful. I had them for breakfast with some refried potato wedges I'd baked last night, along with some spinach. Sprinkle on some gomasio and sprouts...delicious.

We've also had a great harvest of grapefruit. They aren't very sweet, but I still love them. I added some to our totally home grown salad tonight. A little vinaigrette - yum!

Are you eating anything home-grown right now?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sorry - Missing in Action....

It isn't that I have nothing to write, more that there is so much, that I don't know where to start, and also never feel there's enough time to finish a reasonable post.

So, to summarise, the reasons I haven't been writing on the blog lately:

  1. I have started working(outside the home, for money) again. It is only one day a week, but it is the day that I used to have to myself when Charlie went to family daycare. Now - I go to work instead. So I don't get that day to run around and do errands, appointments etcetera. Now I have to try and fit them in somewhere else. I know, I know, one day a week is a gift, but all the same, the family and household still need me...
  2. I have had  blood tests run, to see if there might be a reason for my miscarriages (other than my advanced age). And something has shown up. I'm not really surprised, but it has now opened up a huge can of worms to consider. It isn't serious or life threatening for me, but it may have been for our babies.
  3. So, I've been spending a bit of time trying to find out more about how autoimmune antibodies can cause miscarriage. I've been trawling the internet, reading a few books, and have made an appointment to see a specialist in September. This has certainly been on my mind and is very time consuming.
  4. I've also been trying very hard to stay committed to eating well. I've been learning more and more about the "Primal" way to eat. I've been reading this book by Mark Sisson. I may have mentioned it before, but I'm reading it again, and have been inspired to really commit to his way of eating. I'm still not sure about dairy, but that's a whole other post...
So, that's mainly what has been taking up space in my head. Of course I still have to keep the household ticking over, and that has not been easy lately. It's no one's fault. I am still grieving over the miscarriage, it was only a month ago, and some days are tough. Sometimes, accomplishing anything is like swimming through treacle.

Hopefully, I'll get back on track, and will post all about some of the great new recipes I've been trying out sans grain (and sugar).

More soon...