Mayfield Gardens.

Autumn is my favourite season. I love the cool air with the sunny days. I love the colours of the leaves. Everything about autumn makes me happy. So when we visited the beautiful Mayfield Gardens a few weeks ago I was so excited.

IMG_20130420_170521It did cost $20 per adult to get in, but it was so worth it.

IMG_20130420_170805There were beautiful water gardens with ponds and bridges and so many beautiful plants.

IMG_20130420_171311I really liked the birch forest. How cool are silver birch!?!

IMG_20130420_173642You could even explore through a pine forest.

IMG_20130420_173219There were so many small trees and plants. Imagine what it will be like in another 20 years!

IMG_20130420_173501There was a purpose-built chapel on top of a hill with amazing views of the garden beyond!

There were heaps of other amazing things to see; luxury chook yards, a grassed amphitheatre, a huge bird Avery, display veggie gardens and even a new oriental garden in the works. I’d love to come back in spring and see everything in flower!

 

One year of marriage.

To my dear husband,

It’s been a whole year since we were married. How time has flown by. I knew marriage was supposed to be good, but until I married you I didn’t realise just how good it could be. It’s certainly not always perfect. Not always rainbows and lollipops. But sharing the bad as well as the good makes it all so much richer.

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If we each only thought of ‘me’, I don’t think our marriage would have lasted even this long. It’s only by the grace of God that we still love and respect each other. We love each other only because He loves us. Our love for each other overflows out of the great love God has put in our hearts. We can forgive each other because we have both been forgiven by Him so, so much. I need to remind myself of this every day, or else I slip back into selfish love of self.

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You’re such a good man, and husband. So kind and generous, full of forgiveness for me (and others). You work hard at your job as well as all your other commitments. You’re so much fun! You don’t mind my weird-ness, and even embrace some of it (thankyou!). You’re strong, yet so very tender – I can’t wait to see you as Dad to our babies one day!

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I’m so happy you’re in my life, and I’m so happy we’re sharing life together, as husband and wifey. I love you so much more than when we were first married. Maybe one hundred times more already! You’re my very favourite. My best friend and constant support. I look forward to sharing however many more moments and years God has for us.

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Love always,

me.

Homemade fermented hot chili sauce.

As you might have seen in these previous posts, I’ve been experimenting with fermenting foods as a way to preserve them. It’s also a great way to get probiotics.

Sam grew heaps and heaps of chilis over the summer. We couldn’t keep up with eating them (especially as Sam doesn’t really hot food), so I thought I’d give making sauce out of them a go.

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I got the recipe from Nourished Kitchen. It’s one of my favourite sites. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 kg red chilis (not sure what variety mine were, anything works!) 
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, squashed and diced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh whey

Method: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor until finely chopped. 
  2. Spoon mixture into glass jar, cover and allow it to ferment for 5-7 days at room temperature.
  3. After it has bubbled for about a week, place in fridge and store for several months.
  4. (The original recipe strained the sauce before refrigerating it, but I like mine chunky so left it.)
  5. Use sparingly, as it’s very, very hot!

Coconut-vanilla ice cream.

Some people say ice cream is only for summer. I say ice cream is for every time! I’ll eat ice cream in the middle of winter, and even claim it warms me up (probably all that sugar).

I really love ice cream. I used to go for a walk every other day to the ice cream shop when I was on uni holidays. I justified eating all that ice cream by walking the 3km to the shop and back.

Now that I’ve decided to quit sugar, and more importantly quit fructose, ice cream presents a problem. All commercial ice cream contains heaps of sugar (as well as lots of other nasties). Even homemade ice cream recipes contain heaps of sugar (or honey or other natural sweetener, which is full of fructose anyway).

So I adapted this recipe for a dairy-free fructose-free ice cream. Here’s my version:

Ingredients: 

  • 2 x 290 ml cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup dextrose*
  • 2-3 tablespoons vanilla extract

Method: 

  1. Whisk ingredients together until dextrose is dissolved.
  2. Add to ice cream maker and follow its directions.
  3. Allow to sit in freezer for 1-2 hours before eating.

Here’s a picture of my finished product:

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Easy! This ice cream tastes lovely, it’s very creamy and coconut-ey. There’s a fairly strong vanilla flavour in there too, which I like.

* I’ve used dextrose because it is 100% glucose (no fructose, which is what I am more worried about). I wouldn’t eat too much of this at once though, as it will still raise the blood sugar levels. Also it’s not a natural sweetener, which I don’t love. Next time I’ll try to use stevia.

 

A roadtrip and a wedding.

A couple of weeks ago, my parents, my brothers, my husband and I took off on a 12 hour drive to see my cousin get married. I took lots of photos…

IMG_20130425_104743Of roads.

IMG_20130425_105716My brothers the back seat bandits.

IMG_20130425_115157Interesting buildings as we drove through small towns.

IMG_20130425_135330An awkward picture on the wall of a cafe where we stopped for lunch.

IMG_20130425_135544More great buildings.

IMG_20130426_100630Giant silos.

The wedding was lovely. My cousin looked absolutely beautiful! The church was full of joyful friends and family, gathered to see the people they love commit themselves to each other in marriage.

IMG_20130427_160237Walking down the aisle (excuse the blurriness! My phone camera is not the best).

IMG_20130427_160530They’re married! What a good kiss!

IMG_20130427_161528Sarah and her brothers outside the church.

IMG_20130427_160739So happy!

The reception was lots of fun, with great food, good conversation, and some interesting speeches. The best was my uncle’s father of the bride speech (watch it below if you’ve got 15 minutes to spare).

Congratulations to you Sarah and Brendan!

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A red front door.

We’ve been busy renovating our house. We’ve finished painting (mostly). The bathroom’s almost done. The floor is about to go down. One thing I’m really looking forward to doing is painting our front door bright red! I’ve found some great looking red front doors on Pinterest:

I can’t wait to have a happy, welcoming red door like these! Would you paint your front door bright red, or any other bright colour?

Homemade muesli.

I’ve always loved muesli. It’s one of my favourite breakfasts. But ever since I quit sugar, I’ve had to give up on the ones I used to love. Yes, muesli (though it’s supposed to be quite healthy) is full of sugar! All that dried fruit is chock-a-block full of sugar. So I’ve made my own version of muesli with no sugar. Here it is:

ingredients: 

  • 4 cups coconut flakes
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw buckwheat grains
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Method: 

  1. Preheat oven to 120°C and line large baking dish with baking paper. 
  2. Combine ingredients and spread evenly across tray.
  3. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. Give the dish a good shake and flip halfway through.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in large glass jar.
  5. Eat with homemade yoghurt (my favourite way) or any other way you like!

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Have you made your own muesli/granola before? What’s in yours? Is it sugar free?

 

Homemade cold and flu remedy.

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I was sick a couple of weeks ago. It was a cold. It started as a sore throat, then it got sinusey, then a bit coughey. Thankfully it didn’t last long.

One thing I like to do when I’m sick is make a lemon-honey-garlic-ginger-chilli drink. I drink lots of it when I’m sick (even though it doesn’t taste the best). I think it works!

Ingredients: 

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cm piece ginger
  • Half a red chilli

Method: 

  1. Chop up ingredients and place in saucepan over stove.
  2. Heat for half an hour or so, then drink.

(You can compost the chunky bits, but I just eat them, I figure they’re pretty good for you!)