How To… assemble the compenents of a good stew.

Repost from a while back. ^^

Stew is awesome for you.

Think about it: it’s a combination of anything you want or need (fruits, tubers, meats, legumes, grains, fish, nuts, seeds, leaves, roots…), all cooked until perfectly digestible. If you want to preserve certain heat-unstable vitamins, then you can just add an ingredient at the end, when your bowl is cooled and ready to eat. The only utensils you need are a chopping board, a few knives, a pot, a stirring spoon and a ladle for serving; all of which clean easily because of the amount of moisture in a stew. You keep all of the nutrients that are lost in boiling and throwing the water away. You keep all of the fat that is lost in roasting or frying something. Chances of getting charcoal in it are very low, which reduces potential carcinogens. It is full of fluid for hydration. It can be recycled into soups, pies and curries. A stew is absolute nutritional and gustatory perfection, specifically because it’s so adaptable. You can make a Paleo stew or a legume-based stew or a fish stew or a vegetarian stew or a four-meat stew or a vegan stew or a boiled stew or a soaked stew… You can make it however you want or need and season it perfectly to taste. It is warming like a soup and hearty like a roast dinner.

It’s also amazingly good for you. But Jamie Lewis has already gone into this in far greater depth than anyone else; so, provided you’re not easily offended and/or can block images on your computer, read on: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Being the way I am, I’d also like to go into how economical stews, curries and the likes can be, as well as how easy they are to make. So, without further ado, here are some stews (new and from my old blog) that are cheap to make and good for you. Every one of these was basically made by hacking the ingredients up and putting them in a pot on a low-to-medium heat for a few hours. They are also hatchet stews: stews made with whatever we had lying around or needed to use up. So, whilst they’re all amazing and worth making, think of this more as an example of how cheaply and easily you can make an amazing stew with anything you have in the house.

Stew 1: Lamb and chicken stew.

  • Ingredients: 800g lamb chump chops, 6 chicken drumsticks, 5 chicken thighs, 800g chopped tomato, 700g potato, 2 large carrots, Italian herb mix, salt, pepper.
  • Servings: 9.
  • Cost per serving: 91p.
  • Nutrition per serving: 743kcal, 47g fat, 59g protein, 21g carbs.

Stew 2: Chicken liver curry.

  • Ingredients: 800g chicken livers, 300g rice, 400g peas, 200g mixed veg, 400g chopped tomato, (300g butter), tahina, paprika, anis, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, salt.
  • Servings: 6.
  • Cost per serving: 42p without butter, 62p with butter.
  • Nutrition per serving: Without butter: 375kcal, 7g fat, 28g protein, 50g carbs. With butter: 744kcal, 48g fat, 28g protein, 50g carbs.

Stew 3: Ox heart stew.

  • Ingredients: 300g ox heart, 10 mushrooms, 3 carrots, 1 onion, 300g chopped tomatoes, 75g butter, thyme, rosemary, basil, garlic.
  • Servings: 1.
  • Cost per serving: £2.14.
  • Nutrition per serving: 1093kcal, 73g fat, 64g protein, 45g carbs.

Stew 4: Sweet chicken stew.

  • Ingredients: 2 chicken quarters, 4 stalks of celery, 24 dates, 100g raisins, 100g butter, 600g potato, peppercorns, salt, cloves, thyme.
  • Servings: 2 without rice or butter, 4 with 100g rice and 50g butter.
  • Cost per serving:£1.07 without rice and added butter, 78p with.
  • Nutrition per serving: Without rice and butter: 1601kcal, 69g fat, 66g protein, 179g carbs. With rice and extra butter: 1484kcal, 76g fat, 35g protein, 165g carbs.

Bake in the oven near the end to brown the tops of the chicken quarters..

So not only are stews good for you and easy to make, but they’re probably one of the most economical dinners out there, regardless of whether you’re looking for pure value, value-fullness or value-calories.

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Triple Chocolate Marble Cake.

Not low carb, not Paleo, not vegan. Just chocolate.

Ingredients:

Makes: too much cake.

  • 700g flour and raising agents
  • 3 eggs
  • 300ml milk
  • 100g brazils
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 4tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3tbsp white chocolate mix
  • 5tbsp sugar
  • 2tbsp cinnamon
  • toppings

Utensils:

  • chopping board and knife
  • 2 mixing bowls and 2 spoons
  • 2-4 small kitchen bowls
  • 1 large greased or nonstick cake tin

Recipe:

  1. Roughly chop the brazils and dark chocolate. Put aside, separately.
  2. Whisk the eggs in one bowl.
  3. In one mixing bowl, mix half the flour, the white chocolate mix, 2tbsp of sugar and half your raising agent.
  4. Add 150ml of milk and half the egg mix.
  5. Stir in the dark chocolate and set aside.
  6. In the second mixing bowl, add the remaining flour, the cocoa powder, 3tbsp of sugar, the cinnamon and the remaining raising agent.
  7. Add the remaining milk and egg.
  8. Stir in the brazils.
  9. Alternately spoon large scoops of each mix into the tin until they are layered nicely.
  10. Bake at 170C until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the tin and cool before decorating.

This is a calorie bomb, stodgy and delicious. It was also too much cake. Halve the recipe for single people, couples and ordinary humans, or use the whole one for large families, parties or an ogre.

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For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

5 Diet Tips For Minimizing Morning Sickness.

With week 14 well underway, it’s pretty safe to say: I beat morning sickness. Woo-hoo!

Good thing too, seeing as I have an irrational fear of vomiting that could have put me into shock and possibly meant a hospital trip.

Now, I know a good part of this is luck, maybe genetics, but I did get the odd burst of queasiness. And I managed to not just suppress them, but nip them in the bud. There’s plenty of advice out there on managing morning sickness. This isn’t about that. This is about doing everything in your power not to get it in the first place. And it won’t work for everyone, but it’s just my personal experience in hopes it could help someone else who struggles with emetophobia.

1: Avoid slushy, easily digested food.

The one thing sure to bring on a rumble in my stomach or the smell of reflux was food that dissolves when it hits your stomach. Gooey cakes, yoghurts or even chocolate, any combination of smooth fats and simple sugars is a nightmare. Fast food and other foods with a high GI cause the same mess. Likewise for smoothies, juices and other blended foods. It’s like a food volcano.

Instead, opt for eating whole foods as much as possible. Fresh fruit and vegetables, well cooked lean meats, roughly mashed beans and starches. Minimize simple sugars, fats and salts and focus on fibre, protein and starch for a bedded stomach.

2: Eat plain, dry foods often.

This isn’t just for when you feel it coming on! Almost every well-seasoned mum has told me that if you nibble often, you can mitigate or even send away morning sickness.

Pick something bland and plain, preferably starch or fibre based, that is nice and dry. Corn cakes and home-made bread were my foods of choice, but crisps/chips, rice cakes, crackers and wafers work too. Try and go for whole grain or high fibre options, though, as the plainer and whiter the starch is, the more likely it is high GI or sweetened, which could bring you right back to step one.

3: Trust your nose.

I had an aversion the whole first trimester, but it was a huge one: mussels. Jon and I were eating a Thai fish noodle thing. And he was raving about it. But it tasted… very wrong to be. Still, cause Jon was enjoying it I put on a brave face and finished my bowl. BIG mistake. The next day I had reflux, was almost sick when I sat up and got stomach cramps. Bear in mind this was not food poisoning: Jon, whose digestive system normally can’t handle my “healthy snacks”, ate the whole bowl and then had more the next day and the following day with no issue.

So take this note: sniff your food, lick your food, spit it out if you need to. But don’t swallow something your body is repulsed by. Because even if there’s nothing wrong with it, if your body says “no” it will come out anyway. Your body laughs at wholesome tomato salad. Your body does not believe in a lentil soup. One way or another it will come out.

4: Sip and nibble when in motion.

Motion sickness really got me. Fast moving was fine, but a long car trip was the closest I came to actually experiencing morning sickness in full. Almost constantly queasy, tired, smell of reflux on my breath. And the one thing that beat it down, counterintuitively, was constant sipping and nibbling.

Eating properly will make it worse, as will a proper swig of fluid. But just let morsels the size of an average coat button pass your lips every thirty seconds and you should find yourself not getting (as] sick when you’re out and about.

5: Move deliberately.

Again, this ties into motion sickness. Because a lot of my sickness was actually caused by movement, I worked out that slower, more deliberate movements reduced my motion sickness and made me happier.

Think about your movements before you start. Don’t do anything that could spike or crash your blood pressure, basically. Get up slowly, sit down slowly, lie down slowly, walk slowly, have a good look at stairs and hills before climbing them. Just be mindful of your movements to reduce motion sickness.

And that’s what I did to reduce my morning sickness whenever it surfaced. I understand that for many women it’s just an ordeal that needs to be got over. But anything you can do to reduce it, in any way, matters. So I hope I helped!

How did you handle your morning sickness? Any other tips for women who are having morning sickness troubles?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

The Smarts Count, How You Use Them Counts More.

A common refrain in many dating and relationship forums, as well as often in real life, is that men do not like or want smart girls, women do not like or want smart guys. Men just want sexpot bimbos and women just want obnoxious jocks. Being smart or educated just counts for nothing, guys!

Sometimes it’s phrased as a complaint towards the discriminator: “All these girls want is idiot obnoxious Chads!”

Sometimes it’s phrased as a criticism towards the would-be-partner: “Nobody needs girls to be smart, just show cleavage and smile.”

Sometimes it’s just matter of fact: “People just don’t care if you’re smart or not.”

But it’s always wrong.

You see, humans are a brain animal. That means that for eons our survival depended on being smart. For the last few million years, we have admired intelligence and it has embedded itself in our definitive “hotness ranking”, even in ways you would not imagine. For example men like women with wide hips because wide hips = higher omega storage = more omegas for baby = smarter babies, or women like men who take risks because more risks = more chance at reward = strong natural selection = if he’s alive and risk-taking, he’s smart. We are literally horny for smarts.

So what gives? If we like brains so much, why aren’t sci-fi nerds and PhD feminists and people who can recite Shakespeare backwards at the top of the sexual hierarchy?

Simple, because it’s not about the brains you have, it’s about the brains you use.

If you are a sci-fi nerd and science fiction is out of fashion, then you are signalling that you value science fiction more than you value group membership. Which rings alarm bells unless you’re chasing an Other Girl who’s into Sigmas. And in the latter case: you had better be able to chameleon your way into social settings properly before retreating to your spaceship man-cave, because even Sigmas need to survive the social order. That’s right, there’s no opt-out, you have to be social.

If you are a feminist with a PhD, you had better be young and cheerful and interested in a broad range of subjects. Because throwing away your fertility on an education and becoming bitter and jaded is a surefire way to look like a human failing at life. And if you look like you’re barely surviving life, your smarts are worthless on a sexual level, because your actions suggest your children will also barely survive life.

If you can recite Shakespeare backwards, but that is your only skill, then you are wasting your brain. It’s great to have a party trick, a gimmick, something weird and fun for starting conversations. But if that’s all there is to you… then what are your survival prospects? How will you feed a baby? What genes will your descendants inherit? If you’re legitimately smart, you need to start using your brain for more than just gimmicks. And if you can’t afford to learn some equally important skills alongside your reverse barding, then maybe you’re not smart enough to pull that stunt off.

And that’s the crux of it. If you desperately want to have sex, get married, have kids perhaps, then the smart thing to do would be to work out how and do it. Perhaps the blonde bimbo cheerleader gets the hot guys because she is pleasant and smily and sensual, not because she is an idiot. Perhaps the dumb obnoxious jock gets the hot girls because he’s confident and connected and successful, not because he doesn’t do maths. You can be smart and attractive. If anything, smarts should be used to make you more attractive, seeing as that is the whole point of human evolution.

Your brains do count. If you can make a boatload of money in a year, or save a boatload of money in a day, if you can properly guard against wild animals or deter them from visiting, if you can save your own and your partner’s time, if you can navigate life successfully and hand those skills onto your kid… then you have brains and they do matter.

But for all that is holy, don’t advertise them by making your entire life about arithmetic. That’s not smart. That’s dumb.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

FitFriday, FatFriday IX. I could eat a house.

Baby.

Still nothing obvious other than we saw the scan and s/he’s literally floating around in there. And I still can’t eat mussels or pilchards. They’re nasty, apparently.

Keep wondering about an odd sensation I get. It’s like a period or digestion cramp, but weird and “bouncy”. Makes me curious as to whether that’s when baby bounces off the wall, like s/he did during the ultrasound.

Weights.

Sticking at my 6×4 routine and working my squats up to 60kg before I can’t do squats any more. I’m sure I’ll be fine, but my damaged abs might not hold much longer.

Everything else is going great, though, and all this work in the garden, squatting on hills as I plant beans, making steps up and down the hill, moving rocks and weeding beds, is keeping me nicely busy throughout the day. Got drenched through when the sky literally opened a few days ago, but seems I managed to get in and change fast enough to avoid catching anything.

Bee haven:

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An overview of the garden a week ago:

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Pictures of the edibles (potatoes, peas, beans, tomatoes, assorted berries, turnips, leaves, etc] will be up next week, when everything has bedded down enough to get a good look!

Diet.

Why am I so hungry???

Oh yes, baby. 😛

In all seriousness, I’m not sure if I’m running a low level deficiency, starving for protein or just overdoing the gardening, but I am starving right now. As I type this I have had rhubarb tart with a pint of sweetened soy milk for breakfast, two hard boiled eggs and half a mango for snacks, egg and sausage oatcakes, another slice of rhubarb tart and am still eyeing up some corn cakes to load with peanut butter. A part of me wonders if I need more calories, but another part of me knows that you only need to add around 200/day in the second trimester and that my calorific needs are well under 1800/day when I’m not hiking around with 27kg on my back every day. And I am well over 2200 today anyway.

Still want to eat everything, though. 😦

How did your week in fitness go?

Proteiny Low-Carb Tart Base.

I do get a few requests here and there to post more low-carb and high-protein foods. Ultimately, our diet is pretty low-carb, but the recipes aren’t much fun because there are only so many ways to say “vegetable omelette”, “avocado and egg salad” or “mince in wine sauce”.

BUT sometimes I do get a bit crazier with our proteins. So here’s a proteiny low-carb base for tarts. Can be made for savoury or sweet dishes, and used to lower the GI of open pies.

Ingredients:

Makes 1 thick or 2 thin 12 inch diameter bases.

  • 1 cup brazils
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 eggs
  • 2tbsp peanut butter
  • 2tbsp flour
  • flavourings as desired

Utensils:

  • chopping board and knife (or food processor]
  • mixing bowl and fork
  • greased or nonstick baking tray

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Finely dice the brazils and walnuts.
  3. Mix in the other ingredients until a thick paste is formed.
  4. Pat into the bottom of the tray.
  5. Bake at 200C for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Cool.
  7. Use as a pie base.

We used ours with a filling of stewed rhubarb, apple and bananas, so not a low-carb result, but would be pretty cool with a ham and cheese filling, or a tuna bake filling too!

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For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

5 Baby Essentials I May Do Without.

A post on r/BabyBumps got me thinking about all the things that we have around now for babies that we really didn’t use to use in the past. Some are great innovations. Expecting a baby and having a family history of clotting disorders makes you appreciate things like Vitamin K shots. But others seem… not so useful. So here are five “baby essentials” I can’t see myself using.

1: Bath thermometer.

I know the temperature needs to be right. But I also know how to use my elbow to check temperature. I’m sure a thermometer is more accurate, but I’m not sure the water needs to be exactly 37.50000C. Plus, if I really do panic we have a few waterproof thermometers in the med set that work just fine.

2: A full cot.

There is not a lot of space in the cottage. It’s not a small house, but we have a gym, a tutoring room, two pets and a lot of books. And I don’t think having one cot in one room in an old, cramped cottage with a dog running around will help in the long run. Baby will be in a moses basket, then I will move her/him onto a travel cot, with a decent mattress installed. That way baby can be with me when napping, watch me when I need to keep her/him confined and the cot can go away when we need floor space.

3: Baby bath.

Almost every site for second hand baby goods lists numerous baby baths “never used” or “used once”. Apparently everyone finds it easier to use a sink, or to just hop into a few inches of warm water with baby!

4: Maternity clothes.

Have you seen the prices?! Even the cheaper ones are in the £20 range, for something I will wear for 3 months and store for a year before I need it again.

I’m sticking with my usual strategy for general clothes: good charity shop buys. I have two dresses now that should fit me the whole way, and if I need any more I can just throw on a big dress and go out shopping again.

I struck lucky with bras and have found some sports bras that have no underwire, are soft and elastic and can be comfortably rolled up and down, even one boob at a time, so I might not need maternity bras either.

5: Disposable nappies.

Bit of a trick one here. I know I will probably use a few in the first days as I get the hang of having a baby. But I got what looks like hundreds of reusable nappies for free and in no way do I want to spend money on something I already got.

So those are five “essentials” I really don’t see the point of. What is your angle? Am I getting anything wrong? Is there anything else we can do without, in your experience? Would love to hear from other veteran mums and mums-to-be on the subject!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.