Sunday, October 22, 2017

Camino Portuguese (Coastal Route)

We are planning another Camino walking holiday!  I couldn't be more excited.  The plan is that next year, in June, Grant, Paula and I will walk along the Camino Portuguese - taking the coastal route.  



Most people start in Porto, but because of limited time (and my impossible feet!) we are starting a little closer to Santiago, in the small Portuguese town of Vila Praia de Ancora.  We will be walking more than 100 kms and will end in Santiago de Compostela, so all being well, this time we will qualify to receive a Compostela.

Here's a video that shows some of the sights on the coastal route, doesn't it look gorgeous!




At this point our flights are booked and I am deep into planning this trip (you know me, I love, love, love to plan, so I am in my element!)  We've also been easing into our training, and we're thoroughly enjoying it.  So it looks like all systems go for Camino 2018!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Milk Kefir

Lately I've been been absent from my blog - but I've been having a lot of fun doing different things, things like making milk kefir!  I first noticed the kefir trend while browsing on the Faithful to Nature website one day and I was intrigued, so I did some research on the internet, decided this was something I'd like to try and went ahead and bought myself a little starter kit, consisting of about a tablespoon of dehydrated kefir grains, a jar and a plastic sieve.


kefir


Then began the process of activating the dehydrated grains.  My grains took about a week to 10 days to become active.  During this period, you basically toss the dehydrated grains into the jar and add a cup of room temperature milk and then wait for 24 hours before straining and repeating the process.  (I gave my dog the resulting milk during that time - he LOVED this process!) Once the milk developed a "yeasty" smell after fermenting for 24 hours I knew we were on the right track - I continued the process and a couple of days later we had our first "proper" kefir - a sad day for the dog, but a great one for me!

The experience has been something of a learning curve and definitely a process of trial and error!  Some of the things I have learnt along the way:

I cover my jar with a kitchen wipe, secured with a rubber band - this allows the kefir to breathe, without allowing dust, ants etc in. My jar of fermenting kefir gets stored in one of my kitchen cupboards - out of direct sunlight.

It is important to only use plastic implements when dealing with your kefir - kefir grains do not like metal.

In my experience the quality of the milk DEFINITELY has an effect on the end product - I've had the best results with high quality, full cream milk (I use Woolies milk). 

My kefir takes between 36 to 48 hours to reach the consistency that I like (my preference is quite a thick kefir) - I have found it's definitely not ready after 24 hours unless the weather is very warm. 

Once you have strained your kefir, you should wash and dry the jar before replacing the grains and adding the milk for the next batch. I add a cup of milk that is roughly room temperature (it shouldn't be above "blood temperature") - I heat it in the microwave. 

DON'T rinse the grains, it's not good for them - it's fine to toss the grains, covered in their milky coat directly into the clean and dried jar and it's fine if a little of yesterdays kefir lands up in the jar. 

The weather has an effect on the speed at which the milk ferments, on cold days my kefir takes longer. 


The ratio of kefir grains to milk also affects the speed at which it ferments.  If your kefir is fermenting too quickly it could mean that you have too little milk and conversely if your kefir is taking too long to ferment it could mean you have too much milk.

If left to ferment for too long kefir can separate into curds and whey.  Have a look at this page for recommendations when this happens.

I give my jar of fermenting kefir a swirl a couple of times a day, to aid the fermentation process and to stop the grains from sitting on top of the milk in a thick mass.

If for some reason your kefir isn't thickening as much as you like, try adding a couple of spoons of yesterday's kefir into the new batch and add a little less milk.


We mainly use our kefir in our breakfast smoothies, but it can also be drunk as is (I'm not a fan of the flavour myself) and it can be used very successfully as a substitute for yoghurt or buttermilk in baking.

Kefir is enormously beneficial for gut health.  It is full of nutrients and probiotics (it has more probiotics than yoghurt) and has potent anti-bacterial properties.   Click here to read more about the benefits of kefir.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

My favourite cold remedy

I've been knocked flat by a cold this week.  Sore throat, sniffles, stuffy head, temp..... feeling very sorry for myself!  In fact, it's verging on man-flu, only I'm a girl.


Remedy for colds


I've been turning to my trusted cold remedy multiple times every day this week and I thought I'd share it here on the blog.

What you need:

rooibos teabag
2 heaped dessertspoons of minced ginger
2 dessertspoons of honey
a good squeeze of lemon juice

Make a mug of strong rooibos tea, add ginger, honey and lemon juice, stir and drink while still hot.  The honey and lemon juice quantities can be adjusted to taste, I typically use more than the recipe suggests.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A walk in the park

One of the things we are blessed with in our area is a lovely park (Kloof Memorial Park.)  We regularly head there for a walk and it's always fun and often hilarious - things are inclined to get a little crazy when you chuck a bunch of people and a whole lot of unrestrained, but friendly, dogs into a fairly small area!

I'm always up for a stroll in the park,but my very favourite time of year to head there is Autumn.  Because the change of season isn't really dramatic in this area, we don't get a whole lot of Autumn leaves, but Memorial Park is always full of them, it so pretty.  I couldn't resist whipping out my phone for an impromptu photo shoot!







Monday, May 22, 2017

The Big Walk

For years I have wanted to do the Discovery East Coast Radio Big Walk and finally this year we did it - "we" as in the whole family.  It was SO much fun!  The weather was lovely, the view of the sea as we walked along the promenade was perfection, there was a large, but well-controlled crowd and great fun was had by all... well except for Danny who slept through pretty much the entire event!

We parked at Sun Coast Casino and then walked to the Park and Ride bus stop, where we hopped on a bus to ride to the start.  Issy has been obsessed with buses ever since our trip to Europe last year, so she was delighted to get an opportunity to "go on a bus" and it was Danny's first ever bus trip, so that got the day off to a good start.  





The walk started at uShaka Marine World, where we spent some time listening to the ECR jocks and mingling with the crowd.  





We'd signed up for the 10km walk and set off promptly at 9:00.  Surprisingly, the 10km was the biggest event of the day.  There were about 30 000 participants in total and, if I'm not mistaken, about 2/3 of the entrants walked the 10km.  It was pretty congested to begin with, but soon thinned out.




The sea really put on a show for us.


There was a really nice vibe, with ECR jocks along the way and plenty of refreshment tables.



Such a fun event, we definitely plan to walk again next year.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Dealing with grief

I just read this amazing blog post by a mom who recently lost her baby. She gives real, practical examples of what to do/say to someone who has lost a baby. I think it's well worth a read and most of her advice applies to ANY loss, not just a baby.
I had 2 ectopic pregnancies before Paula was conceived and it was hard, because so often people just said... nothing, or mentioned my surgery, but not the reason for it - "how are you feeling after your op?"  By not acknowledging my loss, they made it seem as though I hadn't suffered a loss, so I had to carry my grief alone.
After Craig died, while some of our friends were AMAZING, there were others that avoided us at all costs (in one case actually crossing a road to avoid having to greet me!), or else carried on like nothing had happened, and it hurt. It made it seem as though his life had no value in their eyes.
Dealing with grief is difficult and uncomfortable, yet sooner or later we all have to do it, so I think any bit of advice is helpful.


Hi, my name is Lindsay. Mother’s Day is coming up and I’m thinking about this a lot because I am that friend. The one who lost a baby. I am probably…
PINCHOFYUM.COM|BY PINCH OF YUM

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Anti-bucket List


I am busy ruminating on an updated bucket list - it's a lot more difficult than one would think!  The last time I created a bucket list was in 2012 (you can see that post here) and things change in 5 years!  There are things I can scratch off my list because I've done them (yay me!) and many things I still want to do... but are those things important enough to be the stuff bucket-lists are made of ? Decisions, decisions....   But while I am still umming and ahhhing and to-ing and fro-ing about the things I really want to do, I find that the things I really DON'T want to do pop into my head with the utmost ease.  So here is my ANTI-bucket list!

* I do NOT want to sky-dive
* I do NOT want to go cage-diving with sharks
* I do NOT want to go hunting
* I do NOT want to ride an elephant
* I do NOT want to go for pole-dancing lessons
* I do NOT want to pilot an airplane
* I do NOT want to compete in the Dakar rally.
* I do NOT want to ride in the Tour de France
* I do NOT want to be a competitor in Masterchef, or Survivor, or any other reality show for that matter!
* I do NOT want to pose naked for Playboy
* I do NOT want to meet Kim Kardashian
* I do NOT want to perform live in front of an audience
* I do NOT want to go bungee-jumping
* I do NOT want to climb Everest
* I do NOT want to learn to surf
* I do NOT want to be interviewed on TV - even if it is by Ellen.
* I do NOT want to meet the president of any country
* I do NOT want to eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant
* I do NOT want to smoke a cigar
* I do NOT want to perform surgery

So there you have it!  20 things I positively do NOT want to do!

Camino Portuguese (Coastal Route)

We are planning another Camino walking holiday!  I couldn't be more excited.  The plan is that next year, in June, Grant, Paula and I wi...