Saturday, 7 February 2009

How to make rice milk and oat milk

Ok, so we have enough milk to keep us going a few more days, but maybe you haven't? What are you going to do, the shop shelves are empty.
How about you make your own? I've found recipes now for rice milk (delicious in red bush tea) and oat milk.....

Rice Milk

1/4 cup brown rice
4 cups boiling water

Put into a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1hr. Allow to cool and blend till smooth. Strain through muslin.

It looks less milky than milk but tastes just as good, with a nice light rice taste! I reused the strained rice adding sugar and heating to make a (gruel like) rice pudding!!!

Oat Milk

3 Cups Very Hot Water
1 Cup Rolled Oats
2 Tsp Sweet White or Barley Miso

Combine all ingredients in a container with a lid, being sure that miso is dissolved. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, blend until smooth in a blender or food processor. Keeps for one week. Always shake before serving.

The miso is there for added B12 and fermentation, but I dont have any in so I'll be trialling it without for now???

Does anyone else have any tips for 'making do' with store cupboard stuff?

Friday, 6 February 2009

What do when you are snowed in - and everyone else is panicking

or rather how I've been coping!

Its been snowing here for a week now and it seems as if the country has ground to a halt! We hardly ever get snow here, a mild dusting if we are lucky, never enough for a snowball let alone a snowman or sledging, yet we have had 5 inches on the ground for the last week.
Before the snow, we dropped our car at the mechanics for repairs, bad move! Unable to walk very far in the best of weather I have been almost housebound for 7 days ! Even if we had a car we couldn't get far - the councils in the south west are running out of grit to treat the roads.
The start of this week was traditionally when I would have done my fortnightly shop, so Yesterday I finally ventured out, (we needed eggs and sugar), the snow was beautiful as we walked into the village..... if you see the two footprints with the small round hole next to them, littered with smowballs that me!! trainers with breadbags inside to stop my feet getting wet (my wellies give me blisters!) and a walking stick to steady me whilst the kids and PJ attacked me with snowballs!!
The village was transformed it was full of families walking together (school has only been open 1 day this week) but when we got to the shop the shelves were alarmingly empty - no milk at all! We popped across to the butcher for free range eggs and local cheese then headed home, thankful that I had supplies at home of the staples that were quickly disappearing from the Cooperative!

Steps to take to be prepared:-
Keep a stockpile of essentials to keep you going
MILK - we always buy cartons of UHT milk anyway, and always ensure we have a weeks worth in. A supply of dried powdered milk is our backup for longer periods.
BREAD - we have frozen loaves at home but also enough supplies to make our own for a few weeks
WATER - We have bottled water, but are looking at ways we can harvest rainwater for drinking etc.
FOOD - we have frozen meals and ingredients at hand to last and a good supply of tinned goods and dried food to keep us going for a good while. Thinking about whats plentiful / in short supply can help us emergency meal plan. Luxeries are put on hold or rationed out.
FUEL - (essential as I can't walk far) we keep our car tanks topped up with diesel so strikes and shortages shouldn't bother us for a while. We minimise car useage.
ELECTRIC - We have candles for power cuts and for the future we are looking at solar panels and storage.

This isn't by anymeans a complete list just a reminder for me more than anything. A good post on stockpiling can be found here and here The website food lifeboat gives great daily dietry recommendations .

Rhonda over at down to earth has loads of posts on this whole topic here

Monday, 2 February 2009

Celebrating simple traditions - Candlemas Day

Looking out at the frosts today and predicted snow its hard to think that Winter will soon be over yet in pre-Christian times, Feb 2 was a day of celebration known as the "Festival of Lights." Coming midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, it heralded the coming of spring.

Candles were lit to symbolize the return of the sun and lengthening days after the long months of winter darkness. Called Imbolc in Celtic cultures, this day marked the beginning of lambing season, and according to folkloric tradition, the initial stirrings of seeds in the earth.

The holiday is a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring. Rituals often involve hearthfires, special foods, divination or simply watching for omens (whether performed in all seriousness or as children's games), a great deal of candles, and perhaps an outdoor bonfire if the weather permits.

So tonight we will fill the house with candles and celebrate Candlemas!!!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Living without a refridgerator Challenge - one month on

I'm sorry I haven't posted for a while, the last two weeks have been awful. I've had a few personal problems and aswell as having to focus all my efforts on finding a job (unlucky so far) i've had my dream of keeping chickens here cruely snatched away from me. Breaking it to the children that we had to cancel our trip to colllect them broke my heart!

Today marks a whole month of living without a refridgerator..... have we missed it?


We've been coping by keeping chilled goods in a keepcool and chilling it with iceblocks or recycled plastic bottles of frozen water that we change morning and evening.

Over the month i've learnt that

I need to keep my milk covered - smells seem to transfer easier in a confined space.
I should cut cheese into portion sizes when I buy it and then freeze them so we only defrost a couple of days worth at a time to use.

We haven't had to throw away any food from the cool box, you know exactly whats in there! I often threw spoiled food awy from the fridge as I had forgotten it was in there.
I don't put leftovers into the coolbox, i box them up and freeze them straight away.
Fresh vegetables have been kept in a vegetable rack and used within a couple of days with little or no wastage ( I started shopping at a market stall and served by the stall holder not sure if i bought damaged beg or not). I'll be monitoring this and looking for better places to keep these.

Steps I have taken this week towards more simple living:-
The children have walked to school 4 out of 5 days
I have cut back on hours at school to re balance my work / home life
I have turned off a freezer and removed it from the kitchen