Quick and Easy Winter Warmer – Thermomix Lasagne!

Well, I recently joined the Thermomix Community with the purchase of my Thermie, and I must admit, I am very surprised at how it has changed the way we eat at home.

 

The Thermomix is a multi function kitchen appliance that replaces about 10 other appliances in your kitchen. Not only does it mill, grind, grate, chop, dice, puree – but it can whip, beat, knead, saute, cook, steam, and stir for you also! I can now whip up a risotto in 16 minutes, and all I have to do is put in the ingredients, follow a couple of steps, then walk away while my Thermomix cooks and gently stirs the risotto for me until its done!

 

Let’s get one thing straight – I am not a cook. A busy working mum of two young boys, juggling work and family can be crazy at times. This left me no time to cook things from scratch or try new recipes. When you only have 20 minutes to get something on the table, you tend to resort to the same old same old meals that you know you can make in time – and that your picky eaters will eat!

 

Well, things have certainly changed. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Make Creme Fraiche and Sour Cream Using Kefir and Cream

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Creme Fraiche, originating from France, is a soured cream made by adding a bacterial culture to a high fat content cream. It is similar to Sour Cream, but with a more subtle taste, and a richer texture. Sour Cream is made from Cream which is 35% or lower fat content, Creme Fraiche is made using a higher fat content Cream.

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You can make your own  your own probiotic Sour Cream and Creme Fraiche at home, with Kefir Grains! Kefir is a live probiotic with amazing health benefits.

Kefir grains can be used to ferment and culture a variety of foods to produce probiotic rich products, such as yoghurt, cheese, and sour cream.

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Kefir has many health benefits also – it is high in minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorous), vitamins (B12, K2, folate, thiamin), and amino acids.  It can assist with a healthy immune function, and improve digestive health.

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It is very easy to use – I simply use live Milk Kefir Grains (not powder), as I find them versatile and re-useable.  Here is the process for making Sour Cream and Creme Fraiche:

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1. Place kefir grains in your tub of full fat pure cream, or into a sterile jar with cream. Cover with a cheesecloth so it can breathe, and allow to sit at room temperature for a 24 hours.

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2. After 24 hours, you should notice the cream has considerably thickened and the grains have risen to the top. Remove the grains with a plastic scoop and put your ready-to-use sour cream in the fridge. It will continue to thicken so if you prefer it at a nearly solid jelly like consistency, just leave it in the fridge for another 24 hours until it is ready – it will last up to  a week in the fridge.

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3. Put your kefir grains into a new tub of cream, or in a jar of milk for re-use. Repeat the process (24 hours room temperature, followed by refrigeration). You will find making milk kefir after having your grains in cream, will produce a thicker yoghurt style culture! If you do not wish to make another batch just yet, you can store the grains in a jar of milk in the fridge, where they will hibernate for up to a week. I make sure to change my milk once a week when hibernating my grains, so it stays fresh.

Sensory Toys for Child Development

Child Development

Young minds are all different. Each has their own needs, ways of thinking, and past experiences, which all contribute to development.

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One thing they have in common in is the amazing rate of growth and development that occurs in the early stages of life. Young children have a huge capacity to learn and apply new knowledge in their early years.

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Book Review: Game of Thrones, by George R Martin.

“A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)”

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I must say this book did not strike me as a fantasy genre. It is more based on Mediaeval society with only some slight references to fantasy.

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Despite this it is an enjoyable read with a rich cast of characters and a great amount of detail around them. If you like epic sagas with complex characters and many parallel storylines all going on at once then this is a book for you.

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Even though most of the characters are not likeable, I was surprised that some of them evoked my sympathy! To me, the fact there is no clear hero or heroine helps the reader form their own opinions about the characters and adds to the unpredictability of the book.

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Real life is not predictable and doesn’t always yield a happy or anticipated ending. Just so with this book.

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The book is a must read before watching the series purely due to the lack of background detail in the TV show, rendering the series quite simplistic in comparison to the complexity of the book.

Tupperware Sandwich Keepers – The Best Way to Keep School Sandwiches Fresh Longer

I love my Tupperware Sandwich Keepers … so much that I had to share. This is a great tip for all you parents out there who have to prepare school lunches daily.

 

 

Personally, I was tired of having to use plastic ziplock bags for sandwiches and snacks such as cut fruit. Not only was I feeling some guilt over the environmental consequences of all this wasted plastic (the bags come back home almost clean enough to use again, but have to be thrown out for hygiene reasons), but in most cases, my son would not eat all of his lunch because it had become squashed in the bag – even though it was packed in a lunchbox to protect it.

 

Nothing worse than a squashy sandwich, with the filling smeared everywhere … or squishy bruised strawberries … yuk!

 

I also found the bags ‘sweat’ – ie, the moisture of the contents would condense on the plastic, making the bread inside soggy. Paper bags were not much better as they are not air-tight, and I found cling-wrap to be just as wasteful.

 

Then there was the expense of having to continually purchase zip-lock bags. I was tired of constantly spending money on something I would use once and throw away.

 

I finally found my solution …

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Easiest Way To Fix Google Redirect Caused by ‘Bon-Search.net’ Malware

 

I recently found myself unable to use my web browsers to search the net. I have both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox installed, and this funny glitch kept occurring – when I clicked on a search result, instead of taking me to the site I wanted, my browsers would redirect me back to the Google search screen, or would misdirect me to random sites.

 

I was completely unable to access sites unless I typed the address I wanted directly into the address bar. This was VERY frustrating!

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Minimizing Exposure to Hay Fever Allergens

Hot days, cold days, rainy days, dry days…  I seem to be talking about the weather a lot lately. It has just become so unpredictable – 40 degrees one day and 16 the next. This can wreak havoc on the body’s defences, but there are preventative measures you can take.

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Hay Fever, Pollinitis, or Allergic Rhinitis, are common allergic conditions to grass, pollen, and other allergens that are otherwise not harmful to the human body.

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If you suffer hay fever, or pollinosis, then  a runny nose, sneezing fits, ‘itchy’ roof of the mouth, and irritable watery eyes will be familiar to you. Hay fever is often referred to as allergic rhinitis – inflammation of the mucus membrane of the nose and sometimes also the sinus passages. Not only is it annoying to have to deal with the runny nose and sneezing, but prolonged symptoms without treatment can lead to more serious problems like painful sinus headaches, and chronic sinus infections.

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Natural Remedies for Hayfever

If you suffer from reactions to allergens, then read on. There may be ways you can manage the discomfort of hay fever, allergic rhinitis, and pollinitis just by making some changes to your nutrition and environment.

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Woman in flower field

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Hay fever occurs when your immune system overreacts when it comes into contact with certain substances such as pollen, grass spores, or other plant material. The body detects certain proteins in these substances and activates antibodies, which trigger the release of histamines and other chemicals that cause your body to protect itself by producing excess mucus, tears, and triggering sneezing to flush out the allergens.

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Here are some ways to protect your body’s defenses, in order to reduce symptoms or prevent attacks from occurring.

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Book Review – The Tale of Murasaki

The Tale of MurasakiThe Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is based in eleventh century Japan, around the real life of the author of the famous ‘Tale of Genji’, reputed as the world’s first novel.

Murasaki Shikibu’s story gives insight into the life  and culture in the Imperial Court during the Heian era.

It is a beautifully detailed book, with rich imagery, and poems written by Murasaki herself.  This historical fiction is a gem that I will be reading again.

View all my reviews