Baking up a dream

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Sun streams through the window, marshmallow clouds gently flow through a faultless, blue sky as little hands gently and seamlessly press out symbols of love from the cushion soft dough. The sweet, warming aroma of ginger floats from the oven, with the promise of something both delicious and satisfying soon to be enjoyed by all.

The anticipation becomes too much and little morsels of dough sneak into little mouths. Only moments after the scorching heat leaves the tender treats, warm pockets of delight fall into eager mouths and tiny tummies are content….for now!?

Ok….maybe this isn’t exactly how it happened…but we can pretend can’t we?

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Have you tried a vegetable box scheme?

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I love my weekly delivery of organic fruit & veg (plus a lot of other grocery items to choose from, if I so desire). One of the changes I have made to our family’s diet this year is to try and eat as much organic food as possible – which fits into our budget!

I chose to try out the veg box delivery scheme offered by Riverford thought the recommendation of a friend who has used them for years. The quality of the food is great, with the bonus of sometimes receiving fruit or veg that I have never heard of, which always arrive with handy recipe cards!

In a recent veg box I received some tomatillos, which look like a green tomato in a husk. They originate from Mexico and are a key ingredient in many Mexican dishes, one of the most popular dishes they appear in is a salsa verde. This is the dish that I made with the tomatillos, using the recipe card that came with my veg box….I substituted the red onion with spring onions as that is what I already had to hand.

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How to:

  1. First I mixed the sliced onion with the juice and zest of 2 limes and a sprinkle of sugar and left it for 30 mins.
  2. In a food processor I whizzed the tomatillos with a red chilli.
  3. Then I mixed it in with the onion mixture, some minced garlic and chopped coriander.

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Simple, easy and delicious!

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Summer Bucket List…planned and achieved (almost!?)

IMG_8552I think years of working in education has made me into an extreme planner and organiser (I might be bigging myself up a bit there), but I do love a bit of planning – to motivate myself more than anything. I love getting to the end of the long summer holiday and looking back on all the fun and adventures we have had. The years are flying by with my children and one of the things I want to give to them are lots of happy memories, so they can look back on the golden years of childhood with fondness and maybe a hint of rose-tinted glasses.

We had rather a mighty list of activities to work our way through, managing all but 2! So I’m pretty impressed, especially as we did lots of other things that didn’t appear on our bucket list.

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We have had fantastic weather this summer, which makes all the difference, meaning we could spend a lot of time out and about enjoying the great outdoors. We became National Trust members this year and it is worth every penny! We have visited so many beautiful houses, gardens and beaches and they are very family friendly.

I have really noticed how happy the children are when we are out in nature and it’s all free! We did a fun scavenger hunt and some foraging as part of the Stitch & Forage Guide which has lots of fun cost effective ideas for the summer.IMG_9238 IMG_9257 IMG_9267

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My take home from this summer is definitely that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to build beautiful memories and have exciting adventures. I think my children had the best time when they were outside, climbing trees, inventing games and swinging in the hammock.

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To substitute or not to substitute?

There has been a transformation in my kitchen cupboards and the ingredients which they now hold. Once cutting out gluten and dairy in my diet, I ventured into a whole new world of ingredients, recipes and meals. I have read many articles and books which explore food intolerances and the possible causes and reactions in the body, which has opened my eyes to how the food I eat is processed by my body.

Some of the big changes to staple kitchen cupboard ingredients include:

coconut oil – replacing animal fats

Nut, coconut & rice milk  – instead of cow’s milk

Honey & maple syrup – rather than processed sugar

Organic fruit & vegetables via a vegetable box scheme

I have tried some gluten free products that can be found in the supermarkets, some of which are delicious, however there is a lot out there that I’d happily never eat again. Rather than trying to replace ingredients for gluten free items to try to recreate the same dishes I have always eaten (which can often be disappointing), I decided to find new recipes and meals which produce yummy results using ingredients and food items I can eat with any problem.

Some of my favourites…….

Dark chocolate & almond cookies, huevos rancheros, stir fry with rice noodles, spiralised vegetables, banana & oat cake, chocolate beetroot cake, roast squash & quinoa salad, frozen banana bites, courgetti & pesto.

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Having the stomach for it…..

 

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Did you know that 70% of your immune system is located in your gut?

I didn’t know this until recently, but it was something that made a lot of sense to me when I found out. I had been suffering from problems with my digestive system for a long time and it seriously affected my ability to fight off infections, resulting in both minor and more serious illnesses.

Unsurprisingly, I reached breaking point. It was completely miserable feeling ill all of the time, with the added responsibilities of family and work commitments. I didn’t have much luck with my visits to the GP for a diagnosis, so I began to investigate how to resolve these issues myself (I am not recommending this as a course of action for those suffering with severe digestive issues, this is just my own personal journey).

Due to some food intolerances already being prevalent within my family, I decided to restrict these from my diet. Positive results were apparent within a few weeks and continue to be so. I also take some excellent supplements, which have really boosted my immune system and energy levels.

I have learnt so much about food and nutrition throughout this experience…and I’m still learning! I am enjoying exploring this new way of eating and the positive impact, over time, this has had for my health and also my outlook on our family lifestyle.

Much more to come on this subject in future posts!

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All new ventures begin with one small step…

 

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So this is my ‘one small step’, to create a place that envelops the bursts of sunlight through doing and sharing the things I love.

I’m tentatively dipping my toes into the waters of the blogging world, already full to bursting with so many voices from novice to experienced. Here I am, a novice, hoping to capture someone’s interest and spark a note of recognition with the thoughts and content expressed on these pages. But mainly it is a place for me to express a part of myself and fulfil that need to create and share.

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