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I discovered this when as sick as a dog and about to go to a Rock Festival, my husband and I came down with terrible colds.  We ate it and for a couple of hours it made us feel better but it’s also just a very nice, tasty dish that is cheap to make and could be a recipe for using your own produce.  I know that for a lot of people good food is becoming hard to come by due to lack of finances, so I’m going to try and give an idea of costs. 

For 2 people, for more, double ingredients.

1 Carrot (I got a 1kg bag for 75p, so that’s a lot of carrots for other recipes)

1 Onion (1 bag for £1)

1 Stock cube (I get them from home bargains, they are 45p a packet and packaged in the UK, not maggi, they are Nestle and they want to patent water so I’m not buying their products)

3 tbsp soy sauce (I got a large bottle for under £3 in lidl

1 tbsp fish sauce (Optional, not for vegans and fine without, got it on offer for £1.50)

1/2 Pepper (75p for 3)

Noodles (I use the ones from home bargains for 45p a pack)

1/2 pint of water (or there abouts, cover the vegetables)

chillis 1/2 tsp (I used dried) (£1.50)

2 cloves garlic (£1.20 for 3 cloves)

1 tsp ginger (£1.50 for a piece, but you could use dried or the kind from a tube)

Slice veg (You can use anything really) and sautee in sesame oil if you have it (£1.50 a bottle from an ethnic section in a supermarket) or any oil, olive, sunflower, coconut etc, chop the garlic and ginger finely and add, stir every so often so nothing sticks, for the 2 person soup I use a small saucepan.  Add the stock cube when the veggies are soft looking, the onions start to get more transparent. and let it sit for a moment then mix it in, you can press it with the spoon to break it up.  Add the water, soy and optional fish sauce, simmer for 20 mins then add your noodles, without the flavour packet and wait for 5 minutes while they cook.  You have asian noodle soup, enjoy and obviously you can use proper noodles, but this is a cheaper version.  

I got the recipe from here but I amended it as below: http://www.holycowvegan.net/2011/12/lemon-poppy-seed-bundt-cake-with-lemon.html#.UkGMWMa3_pU

2 2/3 cup self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups caster sugar

1 3/4 cup soya milk mixed with 2 tsp vinegar. Set aside for minimum five minutes to curdle.

1/4 cup lemon juice (I’m going to add a bit more next time)

1/4 cup poppy seeds

Zest of two lemons

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1/2 cup coconut oil

Cream together the sugar and oil until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Mix the lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract and almond milk.

Sift into a bowl the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder

Add the flour to the oil and sugar mixture in three batches, alternating with the almond milk mixture. Mix for 20 seconds after each addition.

Add the poppy seeds and mix with a spatula to disperse them evenly through the batter.

Oil and flour a cake tin and place in oven on 175 degrees for around 45 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

For the glaze: 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup of icing sugar, mix.

Prick the top of the cake with a toothpick and pour or spread on the glaze.

1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup of icing sugar, mix.

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The images show our foraged apples ,with one apple from our tree, foraged blackberries and the leftovers as I forgot to photograph the finished pie.  I never measure my crumble mix but I’ll try and give rough amounts, i’m a cook that goes on flavour and texture and rarely follow recipes. 

Ingredients

Apples 

Blackberries

Brown Sugar

Flour

Vitalite or vegan margarine

Coconut oil

All Spice

Half a Lemon

Regarding quantities, I’d say I used 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup vitalite, 1/4 cup coconut oil for the crumble mix, you can use either white or brown sugar.  Combine in a bowl using a rubbing technique to produce breadcrumb like texture. 

For the fruit, there was about 6 cups of chopped apple and 2 cups of blackberries.

First peal and chop the apples, finely chop a teaspoon of lemon zest and juice the half lemon, once chopped coat in the lemon juice, put into a pan with a cup of brown sugar and 2 tsp of allspice, cover and heat until softened, add the blackberries once softened and stir for a minute then transfer into a baking dish.   Top with the crumble mix and bake for 20 or 30 minutes on 190 degrees, check for bubbling filling and light brown crumble. 

I served this with soy cream (non GMO of course)

 

 

For me, part of being green is to cook my own food.  I occasionally like a treat so this is my recipe for Vegan Chocolate and Lime Cookies.

Vegan Chocolate and Lime Cookies

Ingredients

zest of one lime.

1/2 cup of plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1 small packet vegan chocolate buttons

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup vitalite or vegan margarine

1/4 cup caster sugar and 1 tbsp

Chop the lime finely and put 2/3 into a mixing bowl, put the rest aside.  Add to the mixing bowl, the flour, baking powder, sugar, margarine and coconut oil.  I used the coconut oil solid and worked the mixture until it was melted.  Kneed together ingredients with your hands until all fats are dissolved and you have a dough.  Chop the chocolate buttons and add, kneed them in.  Take a small piece of mixture into your hand and roll into a ball, slightly larger than a walnut and place onto a baking tray with parchment, press your thumb into the centre to make a dent, you don’t see it when cooked, but it helps them spread evenly.  Chop together the sugar and zest until you get a lime sugar and sprinkle onto each cookie.  Cook on 190 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, check after 15, they should be golden.

OK, so you’re probably wondering why, well a survival kit is something which is always useful when camping or making journeys into more rural areas and likewise, should we ever need to bug out, we’ll have our bags ready.  

So far we have 

a first aid kit

fishing wire

mini fishing kit

Para cord

an emergency shelter

emergency blankets (the silver kind)

a small sewing kit

compass

utility keyring

waterproof matches

water treatment tablets

basic medications, paracetamol, upset stomach medicine, antiseptic cream

 

OK so this is our plan, as you will see from my previous blogging our attempt at food production was an almost epic fail, however, we have learned from this and have adjusted our plan accordingly.   So here it is.

1.  Look into the purchase or making of solar panels (I have found a site, will find the link).  Use these to power various appliances and the pump for the aquaponics system.  We live in rented accommodation, we can’t make changes to the electrical infrastructure of the property, but we can operate small units designed to run a small number of items, this will reduce the amount of energy we use.

2.  Black out some plastic bottles and store water in them daily, keep them on a windowsill and the temperature increase, no matter how small, will make the boiling of water for cooking less, hence using less energy.

3.  Plant garden with wildflowers and grow on the patio in up planters, like bottle gardens, to try and minimise the bug impact on our vegetable growing.

4.  Clear our neighbours garden and build a large polytunnel, once built install solar aquaponics system.

5.  Plant seeds in the house over winter and use red and blue LED’s to try and keep growth through colder months.

6.  Try to produce less waste, upcycle as much as possible and reduce actual refuse (excluding recycling) from 2 bags a fortnight to 1.

7.  Weather proof the house as much as possible to reduce energy bills during winter.

8.  Save the money we hopefully will be saving by taking these steps and eventually buy some land, build a sustainable property on it and do all this again.  🙂

This last step isn’t for everyone, but others could use any of the above, we will be posting progress on all of these so that anyone can benefit from them if they wish to.  There are many, many ways to become more sustainable and if I’m honest it is easier if you have money, but we plan on spending as little as possible, for this to work for others it needs to suit everyone’s budget and this day and age more and more of us are struggling to survive.  Wherever possible we will make what we need, reuse what we can and if we do need to make purchases we will research them and share that research.  So that’s the plan, I hope to have all this running, with proof of working by next Spring.

Ok so we did get this idea of you tube, so feel free to go and see, however I can’t remember which one we watched so can’t give them any credit.  

You will need 1 air pump, with tube,  I picked ours up for £5, we have 2 so that was a cost of £10.  

K1 filter media – usually advertised as koy carp pond media – again we got 1kilo for £5 so that’s a total cost of £15 for the 2 pumps.

Plastic bottles (I mean recycled, as in use what you have.

Get your plastic bottle and either drill, stab or poke holes into the bottom so that the air can be released, you also make an incision large enough for your air pipe to go into, in the neck of the bottle.  You want the pipe to be in half way, so the air is released up through the centre of the bottle from top to bottom (it sits in the tank upside down).  We also poked holes into the side to attach suction cups so it sits in the side of the tank.  So with all your holes made, you take your plastic bottle and you fill it half way with the K1 media.  Attach the pump pipe, get a household sponge (un-used and you are best to sterilize it with boiling water first) cut a hole roughly the size of the bottle, place it on the top (which is the bottom, I know) and you’re good to attach it to the side of the tank and switch it on.  

So just to recap, 2 air pumps, plastic tube, K1 filter media, plastic bottle and household sponge.  

You will notice it’s very pretty in how it moves, a bit snow globe like, it also will get dirty, this is the idea, it filters out harmful bacteria but leaves the good stuff.  

We have also adapted a water pump by putting a cut in half plastic bottle on the end where the water is sucked in and put two household sponges into it, the water still pumps but the sponge sucks up the muck 🙂 

OK, so again, it’s taken months to finally come to my ideal products and original recipes have not worked so well on a continual basis.  So, the winners of the bunch are lip balm, shampoo, body wash, household cleaner, fabric softener, furniture polish and deodorant.  They don’t take long to make.

Lip Balm Recipe

1 tsp grated beeswax

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp shea butter

1 tsp cocoa butter

a few drops of chosen essential oil, I use 3 rose, 2 chamomile and about 8 peppermint.  Heat all except essential oil in a small pan, on a low heat, I use mess tins.  Once it is melted, turn off the heat and add the essential oils and pour into an appropriate container (or take an old tube you have cleaned out, squeeze out the air, hold it in the melted ingredients and suck it up into the tube, you may need to repeat this to fill it).  Takes about 5 minutes.

Shampoo

I was using melt and pour soap, which works fine, you just mix it with about 2/3 of the amount of soap with boiled water and add essential oils, but you have to keep mixing it so it stays smooth, which is a bit of a pain, so now I cheat.  I get a large bottle of castille soap, this makes 2 500ml bottles of shampoo, 2 household cleaners, 2 bottles of body wash.

So get about 60 chunks of melt and pour soap and melt.

Pour in about 250ml of the castille soap

Add 100ml of boiled water

Mix and add essential oil, I use rosemary, tea tree and peppermint, I’ve been told this shampoo helps with irritated scalps.

OK I’ve decided to amend this to pure vegetable or castille soap as this mix left some of the hair with a residue.

Takes about 5 minutes.

Body Wash

50 chunks of melt and pour soap

About a cup of castille soap

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

an equal amount of water to the liquid you now have, so about 2 cups of water.

I use sandalwood, orange and rose in mine and hubby has bergamot, kiwi and lemongrass.  Add oils to scent but don’t add more than 30 in total.  It’s meant to be mild.  Takes about 5 minutes.

Household Cleaner

1 cup of distilled white vinegar

1 cup of castille soap

2 cup of boiled water

30 drops of lemon essential oil, 10 of tea tree, in the bathroom I use this but add eucalyptus and peppermint.

Takes less than 5 minutes.

Fabric Softener

The EASIEST of them all.

Boiled, cooled water, I use about a litre

4 tbsp of Bicarbonate of soda

Essential oils of choice, about 10, done.  Takes about 2 minutes.

Furniture Polish

Melt 2tbsp of grated beeswax

Add about 5 tbsp of olive oil

10 drops of orange oil

1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

Put into a spray bottle and shake until the ingredients emulsify, spray and polish as normal, takes about 10 minutes with melting the beeswax, it will settle but give it a shake and it will emulsify again.

Deodorant

Ok, I did make and use the deodorant for a while, but during my experimenting I made one with alcohol in, big mistake, I burned the underneath of my arms and when they were healed they were horribly discoloured, so I stopped using any of the home made and started using crystal clear, however the recipe does work and it doesn’t have alcohol but my poor pits are awfully sensitive now!  I will tell you how I cured it also, but beware, it works and is potent.

Equal quantities of bicarbonate of soda, cornflour and coconut oil, mixed, I used a roll on I had cleaned and warmed it up in the mornings in my hands, I added sandalwood essential oil, but anything goes, takes about 5 minutes.

Discoloured Skin Treatment

Please be careful with this, it really does work, I had a lot of dead skin so it flaked off revealing healed skin underneath but on normal skin it will bleach it.

1 potato

1/2 a cucumber

Blend as much as you can and get as much of the juice out, apply 4 times a day if you can, twice if not, I didn’t wash off but some sites recommend you do.

Facial Toner/Moisturiser

1/2 cucumber

blend and squeeze, or pass through muslin/cloth to remove liquid, add half the amount of boiled water, 5 drops of rose oil, 5 drops of chamomile and if you have oily skin 3 drops of tea tree, smooth over skin twice a day or when you need to feel refreshed.

Body Butter

I make up small amounts at a time of this, a little goes a long way, but I like to change the scents I wear so make a small pot, then just make more when I fancy a change.

Equal quantities of cocoa butter, coconut oil and beeswax, and double that amount of shea butter, melted and add essential oils to the scent you like.

Eye Gel

1 tsp cucumber juice

1 tsp witch hazel

2.5 tsp aloe vera gel

Cut a couple of slices of cucumber (I did 4, but used the remainder to make my facial toner, the slices were about 1cm thick.  Blend and squeeze through muslin or similar cloth to get the juice out.  Add 1 tsp witch hazel (pure and pharmaceutical grade) and 2.5 tsp aloe vera gel and stir together, I used a mini jam jar for mine, the kind you find as single serving, I mixed it in the jar and I keep it in the fridge.

All of these recipes take about 5 minutes each to prepare and at the most 15, you could set aside an evening and do them all with plenty of time to spare, the ingredients can be found at a reasonable price and it works out slightly cheaper than buying from stores, plus you are using natural products, without the chemicals and those pesky corporations are receiving less demand for their products, without the demand there is no need for supply and maybe when they realise that we want products without the impact and excess packaging, maybe they will start producing ethically.

I use all these products on myself, but you should check for any allergies.  I use food grade products in their natural form, with the exception of soap, which isn’t food grade but is in the most natural form I can find it.  Rose essential oil is good as a moisturiser and for ageing skin, chamomile should soothe, tea trea is antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial as is Lemon.  Lemongrass can be used to lift mood.  Bergamot for deodorising and refreshing, lemon can cause sensitivity to sunlight on the skin so should be avoided in skin care, peppermint is good for the hair as is Rosemary.  I love sandalwood for it’s calming, fresh almost soapy smell.  These are personal choices selected for their respective properties and scents.  In aromatherapy it is often the case that if you don’t like the smell, don’t use it.  I would always recommend you do your own research and if you use any recipes you do so at your own risk.

UPDATE: 15/09/13 – A great site for home remedies and products. http://www.jameswong.co.uk/#/remedies/4569723827