December 15, 2017

Fast DIY Upcycle of an old sock and a cone to a unique winter/ Christmas decoration

We have been making sock monsters this week and then I suddenly had the idea to make these little fellows. All you need is a worn out kids sock and a cone. If you use a big pine cone you might need a grown up sock.

You need to cut the cap of a sock and then half it. Turn it inside out and sew the long side closed. Turn it back right side out and pull it over the cone. Cut another straight piece of the sock, thick enough that it fits as a scarf for the size of cone you use. In our case it was roughly a centimetre. Cut the loop open and tie it around the cone. If you want to you can use a permanent marker to make hime two eyes. Tada, you are done. See how fast this was?

If you have an old red sock you could easily turn this into a Santa with some added cotton wool for a beard.

October 25, 2017

Waste Free Homemade Popcorn for Movie Nights with a film review from "The inner Circle"

I am very honoured that Michael asked me to pair up with him & the Cheetah for his 100th Film review on the Inner Circle. He is reviewing a real popcorn movie,  a family friendly Hallmark mystery movie that I watched last night on his and Paladins recommendation and I can only agree with them! They reviewed the first mystery of the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries "A bone to pick". Michael & Paladins reviews are non sponsored so you can be sure to get their honest opinion! Michael is very resourceful in finding DVDs on sale ( I read somewhere he never spends more than 1,50$ for a movie). He then puts down 3 dvds on the carpet and lets his ginger cat Paladin, with the personality of a cheetah pick the movie. The movie Paladin sniffs at first is the pick for the next review. So go make yourself some popcorn and enjoy the movie recommended.

homemade lightly buttered popcorn with a roasted walnuts, dark chocolate and a hint of salt

October 24, 2017

How to make Homemade Ricotta Cheese - simple and fast!

Today I was frantically looking for a kid friendly recipe to use up my left over Rocket salad  (or if you tuned in from the states - you call it arugula) as you know it is a bit spicy. So I came across a recipe for a pasta dish with rocket in it, but it required ricotta cheese, which I didn't have. But I remembered seeing on many pages various recipes for homemade ricotta cheese, stating how simple it is! Well, let me tell you: it is not just super simple but also very fast! If you are not to picky on the consistency you can have it done in under an hour! If you like it more solid it might take 1,5 hours. But as I only needed it for a sauce this was a fast make!

How to make homemade Ricotta cheese - simple and fast

October 04, 2017

Homemade Potato Chips - an easy and fast guide

Some days just call for not the healthiest comfort food. You agree?
We had more than a hole week of it. And I decided I would share this very simple guide of homemade potato chips with you guys. Shop bought potato chips are often made from mashed potatoes with additives or cost an arm and a leg, when all it needs is a few potatoes! I bake mine in the oven, as I don't have a deep fryer.
homemade potato chips - an easy and fast guide

I wash the potatoes, if they are new ones, they get to keep their skin, if not, I peel them. Next I chop them lengthwise into chip size.

chopped potato Chips

September 20, 2017

Apple Harvest, Apple Storage and a Recipe for a Traditional Irish Apple Blackberry Pie

make a traditional Irish  apple blackberry pie and learn how to harvest and store apples through out the winter

The boys and I were out picking apples this weekend. Unfortunately this years harvest isn't as plentiful as the years before. In early Spring frost hit the trees while they were in full blossom and at their fragilest. I am not sure, if I will have enough to make apple sauce to last for the whole year, but we´ll find a replacement when time comes. The boys still had a blast climbing the tree and picking the apples. What we usually do is we collect them all, including the ones that have fallen on the ground as they only attract wasps and slugs if you leave them there. And we have plenty of those around anyway and we don't need any more.

September 14, 2017

Lemon and Sage Pumpkin-Pasta-Casserole

Pinterest Lemon and Sage Pumpkin Pasta Casserole

September 11, 2017

My most favourite Carrot Cake Recipe

my most favourite carrot cake recipe

Carrot harvest has started here. The days got cooler. I have started to light fires in our fire place again.  This time of the year simply calls, no what do I say it cries for carrot cake and some hot cafĂ© au lait!

September 04, 2017

August 31, 2017

Courgette Soup - super simple and fast made

Here comes yet another courgette recipe, that was handed down by my wonderful sister - it is for a super simple and fast made courgette soup!

Courgette Soup - a very simple recipe

August 19, 2017

Boost Your Spirits and Immune System with a Blackberry Banana Smoothie

My boys are currently suffering head colds, and while fruit normally disappears into their little mouths faster than you can cut it up, it can be hard enough to get some vitamins into them when they need them most. I usually turn them into smoothies together with a natural yoghurt fill it into a boy approved cup add a reusable straw and voila: even little boys will drink a purple vitamin booster when they aren't feeling so well!

August 12, 2017

Raw Courgette Salad

No matter what you call these green health bombs in your country - they come in many names: Courgette, Zucchini, green squash (and yellow) and there might be more names - their possible ways of uses are endless! As mentioned this week here I will be sharing a few of ours and my sisters favourite recipes during the following weeks!

Raw courgette salad - photo collage

This week I will share with you one of my sisters recipe!

August 10, 2017

Crazy Courgette Time! And a way to treat for Mildew without Chemicals!

Courgette, Zucchini, summer squash, green squash.... it is a green (and sometimes yellow) delicious health bomb that comes with many names.

Courgettes/Zucchinies/Squash - how to grow them, how to trat for mildew/blight What causes all male flowers
Courgettes are easily grown in pots or in beds. This makes them probably one of the most home grown veggies around the world.

July 17, 2017

Peppermint Blackberry Jam - It is refreshingly different!

This will be the last jam recipe that I will share from my crazy jamming session last Monday.
I have used peppermint in jams before and my boys (who are a wee bit peppermint crazy) love this one.

peppermint blackberry jam It is refreshingly different!
Add caption

Making peppermint blackberry jam is super easy:
25 biggish leaves of fresh peppermint (I used moroccan peppermint, it pops up every where in my garden, some might call it a weed the way it spreads, but can anything that is so delicious be a weed?)

1 kg of blackberries

500 grams of gelling sugar (in the US jelly sugar) for the ones new to making jam this one has added pectin that allows you to use only half the amount of sugar.

Bring all to boil, let boil for 5 minutes on a medium setting while stirring. Whizz until most of the blackberry seeds are gone.

Bring back to boil and after positive gelling test fill into sterilised glas jars. A detailed how-to for sterilising jars and any jam making or canning basics you can find here.

peppermint blackberry jam It is refreshingly different!

I hope you you are enjoying your summer and will leave you to jam making for now!

July 07, 2017

Blackberry Chocolate Jam - Indulge in this divine combination

On Monday I was in a crazy jamming session. Not the music one but the juicy one! So here I am sharing yet another recipe. This one is for blackberry chocolate jam. I have never tried to mix chocolate with jam before. This was a first and I really like the outcome.
indulge in this divine combination - dark chocolate blackberry jam

For this nerve balm of a jam, aka blackberry chocolate jam you need:
450 grams of Blackberries
Juice of half a lemon.
100 grams of dark chocolate
250 grams of gelling sugar (in the US jelly sugar). Using gelling sugar will allow you to use only half the amount of sugar.

Bring Blackberries and gelling sugar to a boil, whizz until most of the blackberry seeds are not visible anymore!
Take pot off the hot hob and add chocolate in little chunks. Now stir until dissolved!
Fill in sterilised jars while still hot and screw lids on tightly. Now turn the jam jars upside-down. Let cool to room temperature while upside-down. Label and voilĂ  your Blackberry Chocolate Jam is ready for use!

dark chocolate blackberry jam

Preparing your own jam really is no rocket science and well worth the work put into it. Some of the ingredients in bought jam give me goose why does it need food colouring? Why would you add 60-70% of sugar? Do you really want to eat jam with corn starch syrup?

A detailed how-to for sterilising jars and any jam making or canning basics you can find here.

I hope you will enjoy your blackberry chocolate jam. If you combine this one with peanut butter on some sweet bread. You should feel heavenly instantly!

July 01, 2017

Strawberry Blueberry Jam - simple and divine!

Making Strawberry Blueberry Jam is no rocket science. In fact it is so super simple that I was seriously considering it unworthy writing a blogpost. But I thought, what if you have never tried this? Simply didn't think of it? This is such a great combination for a jam jar and if you haven't tried it wait no longer. I made 4 different varieties on Monday and this one is my most favourite! I actually only wanted to write about blackberry peppermint jam and blackberry dark chocolate jam. (they will follow) But over the week I fell in love with the strawberry blueberry combination that I simply had to share. Seriously, try it with a dollop of cream cheese on a pancake and you will understand what I am talking  about.

June 26, 2017

Banana Hazelnut Smoothy - another tasty and fast way to use up those overripe bananas

banana hazelnut smoothy, great use for overripe bananas

This is a smoothy my kids and I currently are somewhat addicted to. It is also a great way of using up those overripe bananas.

June 14, 2017

Dandelion and Herb Pancake with Feta and Daisies - And no, I haven't gone bonkers - it is delicious!

I think my husband has given up been sceptical when he gets served things like dandelion and herb pancakes garnished with daisies served with a dollop of dandelion pesto....
But honestly it was so yummylicious that my forever-pasta-for-every-dinner-requesting-boys gave it a thumbs up as high as our universe, that´s the 5 and 6 year old ones, the older one, aka my husband was rather surprised how good it tasted. I was told I am aloud to serve it again! And have since made them 3 more times. Every time with the same success rate.

June 08, 2017

How to make any old cheap withered wooden chair look like an expensive teak wood chair

As you might remember I refurbished an old teak wood chair back in April (If you missed it, click here). I was surprised for how little money you could make it look like a new chair. I was also surprised when I read on the label of the teak oil can, that teak oil was actually made on a base of linseed oil  and you could use it on any wood. There was still so much oil left in that can and no more teak wood furniture in this household so I thought of this very withered and old looking Ikea garden table and chairs set that I still had from my long passed student days.

May 30, 2017

Dandelion Syrup - Because Dandelions are no Weed!

As I have mentioned before Dandelion should not be considered a weed, it has many health benefits and the different parts of the Dandelion can be a tasty addition in your cooking or baking.

picture collage to promote Dandelion Syrup with Dandelion flower heads and a bottle of Dandelion syrup

Today I share with you our Dandelion syrup recipe which I have been making for the past 4 years every spring. We eat it with pancakes instead of maple syrup and I also use the dandelion syrup in cooking and baking. I like to add a table spoon of it so my bread dough as a starter help for the yeast or sour dough. It also adds a little extra flavour to the bread.  Dandelion syrup is also said to be a cough remedy if combined with ginger and used one teaspoon per day. But I have not tried this yet as we usually use thyme extract from our trusted pharmacy as a cough remedy which works wonders for my boys and they love taking it.

To make the dandelion syrup I send my boys out in the garden every spring with a bowl each and tell them collect me as many fully opened yellow Dandelion flower heads as you can.  This is this years result!

dandelion flowerheads after collecting for dandelion syrup

Once those bowels are filled with flowers we all sit down and pluck off just the yellow bits of the flower.
little boy plucking dandelion flower heads for dandelion syrup

plate full of plucked dandelion flowers for dandelion syrup

Next I browse them off with cold water and then put them in a sauce pan for every 3 cups of yellow Dandelion tips ( loosely filled into cup not squashed) you add  4 cups of water.

Bring to boil and then let cool down and let stand at room temp (18-22C) for 12-18h.
Pour boiling water into the bottles and caps which you want to use for storing the dandelion syrup. This is to sterilise them. Next discard water in caps and pour either vodka, rum or any other drinkable high percent alcohol into the lids to sterilise them. That little amount of alcohol I pour into dandelion liquid, just to not waste it, it isn't really part of the recipe, it is more an ongoing joke between me and my husband, that I am not wasting his good stuff just because I want to sterilise my caps. Once you have all this prepared pour the dandelion-water-mix through a  tight meshed sieve into another pot. Make sure all dandelion flower bits are caught by the sieve and are discarded onto your compost pile. Bring the remaining dandelion infused water to a boil and add for every 4 cups of it 500 grams of raw brown sugar and the juice and zest of one organic lemon.
zested lemon for dandelion syrup

Leave at mild boil with no lid for at least 10 mins stirring it most of the time.
Fill into your sterilised bottles screw lids on and store in fridge for up to a year!

bottles of dandelion syrup

a bottle of homemade dandelion syrup decorated with a dandelion flower

The dandelion syrup is a versatile addition to your food. A bottle will go a long way, similar to maple syrup or golden syrup. It is a great substitute for sweetening with something other than the usual sugar, maple syrup or honey. Especially in the vegan kitchen where the cook is also thinking green and doesn't want to use maple syrup or rice syrup for various reasons (making and transport would be two major ones coming to my mind) this is a great addition to the pantry. Nearly anyone with a backyard has Dandelions, they are easy to spot and identify. There isn't really much where you can go wrong and if you are new to foraging, this one would make a great start. 

What was your first foraging experience? Mine were Blueberries and wild garlic both in an old forrest. 

I hope you enjoye this recipe.

the bitten one signature

May 17, 2017

Dandelion Pesto - Because Dandelions are more than just a weed!

Most people would see Dandelions as weeds, but trust me if I tell you they are not just full of yumminess but also have many health advantages.

Dandelion Pesto - Because Dandelions are more than just a weed!

Dandelions are not just a rich source of the vitamins A, B complex, C & D. They also contain minerals like iron, potassium or zinc. In herbal medicine is often used for liver and kidney disease, skin problems or even as part of a cough medicine.  As a kid I never knew their real name I only knew them under the not very nice name "piss a beds". Today, when I looked a little closer into the medicinal properties the connection struck me for the first time, because our ancestors gave them this not so polite name, because Dandelions are a very potent diuretic, which in lay man words means they make your kidneys produce a lot of urine, hence young kids with less bladder control might wet their bed during the night.

Apart from adding a few leaves into our salads I make dandelion syrup every spring and dandelion pesto every couple of weeks. I am working on a post for the syrup, but today I want to share the dandelion pesto recipe with you.

You start by grinding 80 grams parmesan cheese and put aside.
Roast 60 grams pine kernels in a pan with no oil.
roasting pine kernels for dandelion pesto
put ground cheese, roasted pine kernels into your food processor bowl and add
80 grams young dandelion leaves (the older the more bitter),
dandelion, ready to be harvested for dandelion pesto and dandelion syrup

freshly picked dandelion leaves for dandelion pesto

chopping dandelion leaves for dandelion pesto

1 tablespoon honey or dandelion syrup (more if leaves of dandelions are a bit older hence more bitter)
150 grams olive oil good quality!
1/2 tsp salt
some pepper (preferred red but black will do if not at hand)
zest of half a lemon
zesting a lemon for dandelion pesto

1-2 cloves of garlic.

Pulse in food processor until you have reached pesto consistency. Taste and maybe add more honey/dandelion syrup if it is too bitter for your taste. But give the bitterness a chance before you sweeten it away! You know why? Our tongue has taste buds for sweet, for salty, for sour and for bitter? While the first ones get used regularly the bitter ones don't get used much at all in our day and age. But we should get back into the habit of using them! If you are one of those that hasn't used their bitter tasting taste buds in a while, you might dislike the first try, taste again, it will grow on you and eventually you will get addicted to a certain extend! Serve with pasta, on a sandwich or on a burger or  on fried potatoes with melted feta cheese or any other use you can think of!

dandelion pesto

The Dandelion Pesto will keep in the fridge just make sure it is always covered with a layer of olive oil. The longest I have kept it without going off was 3 weeks, but I only used clean cutlery and storage container! It might have lasted longer, I can't say. It simply was empty at this stage not gone off!
One little side note: When foraging for your dandelion leaves, please be aware of where you pick them. You don't want to pick them along the most popular doggy walk lane and if you pick them outside of your garden be aware of Echinococcus multilocularis if this is a problem in your area! As you don't heat pesto up enough to kill these larvaes.

But don´t be put off by this. Just watch were you forage and stay safe! And this is not just for Dandelions, I mean in general!

And with this I bid you good bye for today and hope you enjoy the dandelion pesto as much as I do!

April 24, 2017

refurbish that withered teak wood chair and give it a new look and safe a lot of money

I take it, you all have figured out by now that I can be a bit of a save the environment nutter! So here is my appeal to you to not kick your old withered looking teak wood garden chair into the land fill and make it grow even bigger! Rather, spruce it up! And if I can´t make you see the impact on the environment let me show you the economical impact it will have on your wallet!
Redo an old teak wood chair and safe a lot of money and the environment

April 18, 2017

Easy Carrot Bread Recipe

I have baked a lot of bread over the last 6 years and this easy carrot bread loaf recipes became one of my boys current favourites. That´s why I thought I would share it with you.

Easy Carrot Bread Recipe. Makes one loaf of carrot bread.

This carrot bread recipe is really very simple.

April 08, 2017

Banana Chocolate Waffles - a good & fast way to use up those giraffe coloured overripe bananas

Are You guilty of collecting some of those ripe bananas and then let them end unused in the compost?

Well, join to the club! I decided I need to fight this wasting! So from now on I will come up with uses!
Here is my first experiment. As so often it involves the waffle iron!

March 23, 2017

How to make your own yummylicious peanut butter or any other nut butter

Did you ever look at a label of peanut butter and wondered why it needs all those ingredients? Well, it doesn't! It only takes two! Peanuts and a little bit of salt. The salt is necessary otherwise your butter will taste stale. It has the same impact in peanut butter as it has in bread baking. If you get the amount just right, you will not taste the salt but your butter will taste yummylicious! Two little and you have stale tasting peanut butter. And too much, well that needs no further explanation....

February 21, 2017

Roasted Hazelnut Chocolate Brownies - A gluten free taste bud explosion!

You can make these very tasty brownies out of any left over nut meal from making nut milk. You can also just use any ground nuts or nut flour, if you have no left over nut meal in your freezer.  These roasted hazelnut chocolate brownies were made out of the roasted hazelnut meal from last weeks roasted hazelnut milk post. They are incredibly moist and rich in taste. Roasting the hazelnuts really adds the extra bit of flavour to these little taste bombs.

Here is the very simple recipe:

Melt 70 grams butter in a saucepan
and add 150 grams of chocolate (I use a mix of 70% and 85% dark chocolate) and stir until melted
add 150 grams of brown raw sugar
and 6 eggs one ofter the other, while risking on high speed for a while after each
and add 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract (find out here how to make your own) Whisk all well
Now gently fold 200 grams of defrosted roasted hazelnut meal (you can add any nut meal here, we have also tried almonds or cashews. Both make very tasty Brownies!) Here you find out how to make your own. You can also use 200 grams of very finely ground hazelnuts (or really any nuts to make a different brownie) if you have no nut meal in your freezer. Be aware if you take ordinary ground (hazel)nuts your brownies will be a little less moist!  Once all is a homogeneous mass pour it into your buttered baking dish (I use a 23cm/9 inch square silicon form that is 4,5 cm in hight)  Now bake in preheated oven at 180C/360F for 15-20 minutes. You don't want to over bake them, rather still have them a little moist instead of bone dry....they should be just about baked.