Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Smoothies - Greens And Other Additions

I'm a big fan of smoothies. I find it so easy and handy to be able to just fire some cottage cheese or yoghurt in a blender with some fruit and water and there's a healthy breakfast, lunch or a snack in a few minutes.  If you put them into a suitable container they're also great to take with you.  If there's a delay between making and drinking the smoothie though I find it best to avoid using bananas and apples.

I'll sometimes make a large smoothie with some cottage cheese or yoghurt and peaches or apricots and put a couple of bottles from it in the fridge,  These are very handy to grab for a quick meal, especially on your way out the door if you're pushed for time.

It's even better to turn it into a green smoothie by adding some greens.  Below is my list of "good greens for smoothies".

Good Greens For Smoothies:

(Wash first)

Silver Beet
Swiss Chard
Dandelion greens (small amount) 
Celery, including tops
Lettuce - green and red, romaine etc
Boy choy
Beet greens

Good Additions For Smoothies

Raw honey
Lemon juice
Ground flaxseed
Ground almonds
Ground sunflower seeds
Ground pumpkin seeds
Spirulina powder
Peanut butter
Cereal - oats, bran, wheatgerm etc

Silver beet growing in the garden.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A Life Long Love Affair With Sunflowers

I have been enchanted by sunflowers ever since I was a small child.  When I visited my grandmother, who lived five miles away, I would often cross the road and see my delightful great-aunts, Auntie Lizzie and Auntie Sarah.   They were the proverbial sweet little old ladies with their long white hair tied back in neat buns.  Auntie Sarah was hard of hearing and spent most of her day in a rocking chair.  Auntie Lizzie used to talk to her down a horn. Auntie Lizzie was the younger and more sprightly of the two.  Neither had ever married.  They'd been born, raised and lived down on "Bridgefield", the farm at Lakeside, till they'd retired to their cute little cottage in  the small town of Leeston.   They always showered me with kindness, warmth, milk, home-baked biscuits and sweets.

It wasn't only my lovely aunts themselves who drew me over the road but their cottage garden.  I would stand and stare up in awe at their giant sunflowers. They were so tall and glorious I could scarcely believe it!  Thus began my life-long love affair with sunflowers.

Aunty Sarah and Auntie Lizzie are both long departed this world, one aged 99 and the other 97, but every time I see a sunflower I remember them and the visits to their cottage and garden which were one of my childhood's delights.

Not only are sunflowers beautiful but they are easily grown and their seeds are nutritious.  I like to plant a climbing bean at the base of a sunflower so it can grow up the stalk of the sunflower.

Sunflowers from my garden:

Nature's Palette

One of the best things about growing, cooking and preserving your own food is savouring Nature’s stunning and vibrant palette.   

The deep, rich crimson of red beet.

The sunny, golden glow of apricots.

The deep purple and white flesh of the blackboy peaches.

The vibrant red of succulent, homegrown tomatoes.

The rainbow in a patch of coloured silver beet and Swiss chard. 

How easy it is to stop and just be enchanted by the gift of their beautiful hues.  Life is such a feast.

Some of the red beet in the pan being  cooked before making beetroot chutney.

Beautiful apricots glow in the early morning sun.

After making apricot jam I am still so enchanted by it's glorious colour I have to photograph some on the windowsill.

Mmmmm.  Juicy, fresh, homegrown tomatoes.

The pretty purple of the blackboy peaches.

 The rich burgundy of  fresh cherries against pale, ripening apricots.

The First Of The Spring Daffodils

In August some of the first of the Spring daffodils brighten up the living room with their lovely, cheering colours.  This is the time for dreamily perusing through seed catalogues as well!