Our Pitanga bush has produced a bumper crop this year. Pitanga fruit – also called Brazilian Cherries – are delicious. Tangy, but quite sweet as well. I’m going to try making a jam out of them. Continue reading
For a few days, no eggs at all! Or so we thought! But, it turns out our lovely girls just decided to lay their eggs elsewhere in the pen. We located a rather large egg horde underneath a fruit tree in the corner of the pen.
And, a few times since then, eggs have turned up in other random locations throughout the pen. They seem to be going back to their normal nesting box now, however.
I think the issue was related to the fact that we laid a fairly thick bed of hay through the pen. Plenty of new places to make comfortable little nests.
I have started to spend a little bit of quality time in our garden. I tend to think of all that I am NOT doing, and all that I COULD do and less on what we are actually accomplishing so far.
I went around the garden with my camera this morning to record some of what is happening.
The garden is teaming with life. The tropical rains have nourished and brought forth life in abundance. Butterflies are everywhere as well as native bees.
Our guava trees we planted about three years ago are all fruiting this year for the first time. We ate our first strawberry guava (aptly named as looks like a strawberry growing on a tree). It has hundreds of fruit on it for a little tree (only about 1.5 metres tall) and I took a photo of the next ripe fruit ready to pick. I love the taste. I spat out the seeds as they are quite large and hard and I didn’t find them pleasant but the fruit was divine.
The small low growing shrub guava is also covered with dozens of fruit but am not sure what type this is as the tag blew away.
Our citrus trees (we bought a mixed half dozen trees very cheaply as they could not tell us if they were lemons, limes or orange trees) are all full of fruit. One of them looks like it may be an orange (fingers crossed) but there appear to be at least two limes from the size and shape of the fruit. The others are looking like different varieties of lemon and all look healthy.
My herbs are ready for picking and the basil (I have about three large patches) I am going to make some pesto with it.
A Thai Basil bush self propagated from seed dropped the previous year and is also looking good. The bees are loving it.
The view of the backyard is of dense tree growth and vegetable gardens. When we moved here it was just grass. It helps me realize how far we have come. It is swarming with bees, butterflies, insects and green living plants.
The Pawpaw and Papaya trees look healthy and are full of fruit. I read the other day that the seeds can be ground up and used as pepper. Just put the seeds into a pepper grinder and use that way. I am going to try it.
Also my Moringa trees (I have 3 large trees I keep cutting back and they reshoot) are full of long drooping seedpods again. The leaves look beautiful, fragile and fernlike.
I was reading that when the seedpods are young you cut them into pieces and boil or stir fry them and they are meant to taste like Asparagus. Also if you take out the seeds inside (like a bean) you can put them in a hand oil grinder (About $170 online to buy) and extract an oil to use for cooking that is extremely healthy for you. This is the first purchase I will make once I get some extra cash. The leaves of the Moringa tree I put into green smoothies and I also give to our chickens, as they are extremely rich in nutrients and minerals.
To be able to produce our own oil and pepper would be awesome.
Brett and I have finished the second draft of our soon to be published book for our website. We are on final stages. It has felt quite overwhelming at times, as the size has increased as we keep thinking of more things we need to clarify and say. However, we are hopeful it will meet a need and be received well.
I went and took some stem cuttings of geraniums and some herbs and have placed the roots in water after removing most of the top leaves. Waiting 2 or 3 weeks for them to grow roots and then will plant out in some pots.
The three coffee bushes have beans growing up the stems. Once they turn red/black I believe they are ready to harvest and process.
So, all in all, for February 2015 things are looking good in the garden.
Life goes on regardless of whatever stresses may be affecting us humans- and that is inspiring and hopeful in itself.
Today we set the alarm (just in case we slept in) and woke up at 6.45am so we could have our coffee and read the online news before we set out for our 3km walk at 7.15am (without the dogs).
It was awesome. The weather was overcast so was not too hot and we chatted away so the time just flew. We could have kept walking.
The days work schedule went well. I am still unwinding after the family left (who came from Christmas) so I had an afternoon nap of about an hour and a half whilst Brett succumbed and put on the air conditioner to work in.
Yesterday, we had gone to the shops after planning our meals for the week, and shopped. I made some chocolate treats to keep in the freezer for when the “sweet urge” hits to prevent me going out and buying processed packaged sweets or chocolate. This recipe I found on Just Eat Real Foods Group on Facebook and is made from 4 ingredients only (coconut oil, walnuts, maple syrup and cacao powder). Thats it! I cut it up before it froze solid and put it in a container in the freezer. If I limit myself to one small slice a day then I will be getting a daily dose of good fats and my chocolate fix at the same time. This is what I am telling myself.
I also made a snack of some zucchinis that I had in the fridge – I baked them in the oven for 20 minutes after slicing them in long thing wedges and sprinkling with a mixture of olive oil, mixed herbs and parmesan cheese. I had enough for an afternoon snack yesterday and for afternoon tea today. Here is where I found the recipe.
Exercise (Walking again)
Tonight, we took the dogs on a half hour walk (3 kms) and they nearly ripped our arms off in excitement. We were all pretty exhausted due to the high humidity and heat that we find very draining.
All in all, a great day even though we have not officially commenced 1 January 2015 our year of living more sustainably and healthier.
My 3rd child Olivia turned 21 today. We officially celebrated her birthday yesterday as this year she is spending Christmas with her partner’s family. She requested a family dinner and an ice-cream cake for her birthday cake. As we live in Australia and it is super hot at this time of year this is a good choice!
My goal was to make one from scratch and not go out and buy one as I would normally do. I found two great recipes and decided to make them both as odds were that one at least would turn out. The Australian Woman’s Weekly September 2014 (given to me to read courtesy of my sister-in-law) had a great recipe “Frozen citrus delicious” on page 180 that looked fabulous.
Frozen citrus delicious
6 egg whites
½ cup caster sugar (110grams) (I just used normal white sugar)
1 ¾ cups (430mls) of thickened cream
2 teaspoons of finely grated lime rind
2 cups prepared custard
1 lime, segmented or sliced thinly
2 oranges, segmented or sliced thinly
1 pink grapefruit, segmented or sliced thinly (I didn’t have this so did not use)
½ cup caster sugar (110grams) (I just used normal white sugar)
- Grease a 20cm springform pan; line the base and side with two layers of baking paper.
- Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. (My electric mixer broke so I beat the by hand with a handheld egg-beater). Gradually beat in sugar until peaks form and sugar dissolved.
- Beat cream in separate bowl until soft peaks form.
- Fold whipped cream, and grated lime rind together, then fold into custard, then fold into beaten egg white mixture.
- Spoon into prepared pan. Cover, freeze overnight.
- Just before serving, remove from frozen pan, and transfer to chilled plate. Top with segmented citrus (remove all white pith) and drizzle with a little of the citrus syrup.
- Remove rind from one of limes, one lemon and one orange (either using a fine grater or zester). Squeeze juice out of all fruits.
- Combine juice and sugar in saucepan and bring to boil until sugar is dissolved. Stir so it does not burn. Simmer until slightly thickened (it said 5 minutes but I only did it for 2 minutes).
- Cool and pour into jug ready for pouring over at time of serving.
Blueberry Strawberry Banana Ice-cream Cake
The second recipe I discovered on a website called OneGreenPlanet. It is a Blueberry Strawberry Banana Ice-cream Cake. The recipe is found in link on website above.
Both turned out amazing. The Blueberry Strawberry Banana Ice-Cream Cake has no dairy or added sugar and was scrumptious. It was amazingly simple to make if you have a blender. The vanilla cake layer was made by blending cashew nuts, banana and dates thinned slightly with coconut water (I used coconut milk from a can watered down 50%). The fruit layer was made by blending frozen blueberries, strawberries, a banana and some coconut water.
I made them both the evening before we celebrated her birthday and took them out the freezer about an hour before we ate them so they were creamier and less icy. I have included some photos taken during the process of making them both.
Exercise: Brett and I are gearing up towards our integrating healthier habits in our life. Our exercise goal (commencing Monday 29 December) is to walk from 7.15am in the morning for one hour, and then at the end of day after we have prepared the evening meal walk for half an hour only (with dogs). Our aim is to do this every Monday – Friday and on weekends we will walk during the day at a designated location.
Food: In regard to food, I am really keen because of my ongoing sinus and inflammation to try the Paleo diet. Brett is less keen due to concerns at cutting out two major food groups (carbohydrates and dairy) and his reading on Paleo. I think we are going to compromise by eating NO processed foods whilst at home, and I will forgo dairy and grains myself for a couple of months to see if it makes a difference. Brett is keen to try making a sourdough bread each weekend as this is a treat he has enjoyed most Sunday’s and this will be a healthier alternative and by making ourselves hopefully less expensive.
The goal is to stop buying as many products as we can, and make them ourselves or do without them if we don’t really need them.
Well happy Christmas and New Year everyone and we look forward to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.