Last minute kiddo birthday present

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Let’s keep this one simple and straight to the point. Need a last minute kids birthday present and have no idea what to give?

A gingerbread biscuit bigger than their head, yes it’s true.

If you have school aged kiddos, other friends and class mates birthday parties come around quite frequently throughout the school year. But what to get little Hayden from down the street? What on earth would Chloe like? And did we already give Theo lego last year??

I tell you, gingerbread.

Guaranteed no one else is going to be giving that. Homemade, easy, kid friendly, and can be made ahead of time, (or in a last minute hasty rush as this one was). Most kids are quite happy on receiving a gingerbread the size of their head, (and if not, well, there’s usually a adult lurking to happily help them out.)

If you have time, decorate it beforehand, if not, decorate the outside. For this one I wrapped it in clear cellophane and glued a mouth on the outside.

Gingerbread recipe here.

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Fair Food

Fair Food || cityhippyfarmgirl

‘Fair Food, stories from a movement changing the world’.

I close the book up and sit there, long deep thinking, and a little frown to concentrate harder as needed. There are so many mixed thoughts and emotions to grab hold of, it’s a bit of a lucky dip, grab one and run with it. Conversation starters, that’s for sure.

Over all while reading the book, I feel completely hopeful, and really excited on how wonderfully driven people are and all that they do for our current food system. Then on another page, I’m feeling the complete opposite. Slipping hope and questions of how the hell did we let it get to this??

As I’m reading, I dog ear so many corners and underline so many lines and passages, it ends up looking like a high school text book. Why? Because it’s important this stuff, I want to remember.

Fair Food is a book told through the different experiences of people within the Fair Food movement of Australia. Personal stories from backyard food forests, urban farming, activism, regenerative agriculture and something that I hold firmly to, radical homemaking.

All topics that are relevant, food and the way that we grow it, support it, buy it, eat it…this is something that effects all of us, every single one of us.

If we are lucky enough to have regular food on our tables, well then we should be educating ourselves on the food system that we buy into, understanding even a tiny corner of it makes a difference, and has a wonderful follow on effect.

While I loved all the different stories from people contributing to this book, I think it was Cat Green, the Radical Homemaker that I identified with most.

“Radical homemaking grounds my day to day life…” I loved reading from her point of view because she clarified things for me (well in my head anyway) that were there, I just needed to join the dots.

“It is a framework for social change that seamlessly entwines personal change with broader collective change.” Damn straight it is.

“My ‘work that matters’ comes from being actively involved in life, not sitting on the bleachers paying for someone else to do it.” Yes. A beautiful resounding yes.

So, while I’ve momentarily closed the book to think on it’s content, I know I’ll be opening it again soon. To read aloud, to quote parts that resonate and most importantly to pass it on to others.

Fair Food || cityhippyfarmgirl

Food for thought 

The 3 daily meals Australians eat have travelled over 10,000km before they reach our stomach.

We waste nearly 40% of all food we produce.

The world produces enough food already to feed everyone on the planet.

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Important Links

Fair Food: the book

The Peoples Food Plan: food policy document

Fair Food Week: 2015

Australian Food Sovereignity Alliance

 

The permaculture community of Atamai

There’s a word floating around my head at the moment that I can not seem to shake off. So I’m not trying to, and instead I’m embracing it. I’m going to hold on to that word, feed it, water it and shower it in all the love and attention that it requires of me.

Community… it’s important stuff, really important.

Enjoy this little video that gives a tiny glimpse into the wonderful community and permaculture village, of Atamai in New Zealand.

“I’m surrounded by people who know more than I do about things I want to know about…I spend my days learning…continually”

loving…light, Wookiee Cookies and intact fingers

nasturtium || cityhippyfarmgirl.comwookiee cookies || cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Loving…the change of light. A subtle change, a little longer, a little warmer.

Loving… Wookiee Cookies. Not because I’m a diehard Star Wars fan. I’m really not, but I’m loving the fact that my small boy is, and on seeing my attempt at baked themed goods for him to take into his classmates at school. Well, seeing your child smile like that is pretty contagious.

cumquats || cityhippyfarmgirl.comcityhippyfarmgirl

Loving…a bumper crop of cumquats. Hardy little things they are, (and just quietly, quite delicious with dark chocolate.

Loving…not having cut a large chunk of finger off forever and ever. This one will heal, and I wasn’t overly attached to that finger print anyway.

Loving… a course I’ve been doing for the past couple of months. My brain is fizzling and popping and all kinds of things every time go. I’m sure if you stand still long enough, you might just hear it.

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What are you loving at the moment?

[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]

Ferragosto

Ferragosto || cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Ferragosto, the festival where all things Italian are celebrated and done so in a big vibrant noisy fashion that you just can’t help but get taken in by. I wasn’t sure whether things would still be running by the time we got there. Pushing by all the crowds, gripping my kid’s hands, I obviously needn’t have worried.

Despite having arrived in the middle of the afternoon, we easily squeezed in some Fiat 500 ooohing, icecream eating, coffee inhaling, pizza consuming, dance watching, tracked down the wonderful Five Dock City Farm (and all their amazing goodies), the end of a movie, while still getting home before sunset with a tray of cannoli in my lap. That’s a win right there I think.

Ferragosto || cityhippyfarmgirl.comFerragosto || cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Ferragosto || cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Ferragosto is an Italian Festival held annually in Five Dock, Sydney.

In Italy, it’s also a public holiday on the 15th of August.

The importance of neighbours (city living style)

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At the beginning of the year, I said goodbye to our wonderful neighbours of nearly five years, (excuse me a minute while I stifle my sobs.)

For city-dwelling-apartment-living kind of people, that live the way we do? I can’t put enough emphasis on just how important it is to have a good relationship with your neighbours. For many house dwellers reading this you will be nodding and saying yes, yes of course, good neighbours are important anywhere. Which is, of course true, but apartment city living with a young family kinds? Oooh it’s really important.

Neighbours with kids: where your kids and their kids play safely and interchangeably throughout each others households. You know when it’s time to finish up, you can either holler from your back door for your kids to come home or turf your extras out and promising returns another day. Because of this, impromptu playdates are held almost daily. Mostly just in a shared space out the back where adult ears can listen but adult eyes don’t have to watch. There is a pack of kids out there keeping a tab on things, back in my child hood we roamed the streets like this and hung out in parks. In shared smaller living environments it still happens, just on a, well, smaller scale.

Need a cup of sugar? No worries, your neighbours got your back…or your cake or what ever it is you need that cup of sugar for. Neighbours are excellent for sharing cake with too. You give them cake and they’ll probably take all of your kids for an hour at their place. That’s a winning trade right there I tell you.

With more and more people living without extended family around them, or other close support to call on. Neighbours can be rather crucial in those tiny life moments when you just need a little hand with something or other.

You might need a pair of pliers.

A second opinion on a split head, (nurse neighbours are excellent. EXCELLENT.)

A babysitter.

You can enjoy their pet without owning a pet.

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Someone to water your plants while you are away.

A neighbour can be someone to share good news with.

Someone to share bad news with.

Someone to share that huge bunch of bananas with.

Someone to chat to just while pegging out your washing, (living in an apartment does force you to be a little sociable.)

A friendly face to walk your kids to school while you are at home with their sick sibling.

Decisions can be made over shared laundry spaces. Options are talked over on back steps. Holiday mail collected easily and borrowed items returned straight away, (after all you know where they live!)

It’s certainly not always sunshine and roses out there, for every good thing there could be an equally frustrating annoying neighbourly thing. But for city small space living, it’s easier to work with your neighbours, to be a part of your immediate community. Each apartment block has a different set of people, dynamics and stories to be told. In this increasingly solitary life that people seem to be living either by themselves or even as a family, getting to know your neighbours is a really easy way to start and I think, an important one.

So after a good few months of being empty, a removalist truck sitting in the driveway and an array of cardboard boxes lining the hallway. I’m holding my breath a little. Now we wait for the new neighbours to move into the apartment next door… I certainly hope they like slabs of warm cake and little chats under the washing line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast Black Rice Pudding with Rhubarb and Lemon Curd

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That’s a triumphant jar of lemon curd right there I tell you. I’d tried making it a handful of times and, failed the same number of times. Turns out I was following the wrong recipes. I settled on a recipe from Three Blue Ducks cookbook, (they haven’t failed me yet) and a little nervously began whisking away.

Not long later, done and set. It’s creamy, lemony, doesn’t have lumps and is quite troublesome with a lone teaspoon. Now why had it been so hard beforehand?

Never mind, I had it now, but what to do with those golden jars of goodness?

Apart from the convenient jar with a teaspoon situation, I also played around with some black rice pudding. While I wouldn’t say it’s a tried and true recipe, it is evolving and I will definitely be playing with a few variations over the winter months. If they are flavours you like, have a tinker around with your ingredients and make it to your own tastebuds.

A really easy winter breakfast.

Breakfast Black Rice Pudding with Rhubarb and Lemon Curd

1 cup of black rice

2 tbls coconut oil

2 x pureed soft pears

1 bunch of rhubarb

coconut milk/ or natural yogurt

1 tsp of vanilla essence

lemon curd (recipe found here)

Overnight soak your black rice with cups of water. In the morning, cook the rice up, adding 2 pureed pears to sweeten it a little when you start cooking. Cook it as you normally would rice using the absorption method. Once it’s cooked, stir through two tablespoons of coconut oil.

At the same time and in another pot add your rhubarb. Cut into 1 cm pieces and cook until soft. Turn off and add either half a scraping of a vanilla pod or tsp of vanilla essence.

Serve with coconut milk, (or natural yogurt) fresh fruit and lemon curd. The curd gives it a little zesty sweet kick.

7 of the Best Natural Cold Remedies

Sore throat? Hacking cough? Nose that’s doing its best impression of a tap turned on?

Yep, it’s that time of year. Time to fight bugs with your natural super powers, (most of which you’ll find conveniently already in your kitchen ready to go.)

Now, most of the time I feel it’s fairly inevitable that our family is going to get sick at some stage. Especially with three small kids, two of which are in school. While I can monitor hand washing and keep sick ones slightly separate here at home. At school? Well it can just be a washing machine of germs. I can’t do much about that, but I can prepare my family with the best cold remedies.

master tonic || cityhippyfarmgirl

7 of the best Natural Cold Remedies

Turmeric Tea– immune enhancer, liver detox, soothing, healing, anti inflammatory, all that good stuff is attached to turmeric.

Green Ginger Wine- I find it’s a good preventative one if you’ve got the beginnings of a scratchy throat, not one for the kiddo’s though obviously.

Citrus and Honey Shazzam- In a mug add, the juice of a lemon, juice of an orange, grated knob of fresh ginger, top it up with water and heat gently. Add 1 tsp of honey just before drinking and stir, (top picture.)

Master Tonic– I wrote about my experiments with this one recently over on Milkwood. Firey hot, but worth it, I’m completely won over with this one.

Tanya from Ecolosophy recently posted her Nanna’s Old Cold Remedy

Honey- immunity booster and cough suppressant. Dry coughs can be soothed a little by a teaspoon of honey (not for bubbas though.)

Garlic- get it into you, oodles of benefits in there.

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What are some of your favourite natural cold remedies? 

Plastic Free July

plastic free july || cityhippyfarmgirl

As many of you might be aware, we have now come to the end of Plastic Free July. While I’m not awarding myself any plastic free sainthood just yet, I have had a rejiggle over the past few weeks with our plastic use. Top 4 single use plastics? No problem. I’ve got that one in the (reusable) bag. (The Top 4 is not using plastic straws, coffee cups, shopping bags and water bottles.)

Keep Cups we’ve been using for years, we make our own yogurt which would otherwise use a substantial amount of plastic tubs, bread is made at home; stopping approximately 208 supermarket plastic bags from being used in a year. Carry our own shopping bags, use waxed wraps where ever possible, buy larger amounts of things, bamboo toothbrushes for teeth cleaning and love stainless steel containers etc. There’s nothing new there, so how could I step it up a bit for Plastic Free July?

Buying in bulk certainly knocks a lot of plastic off, but you have to have somewhere to store it, our small kitchen says err, no to that one. (You see my bags of flour lining the kitchen floor take regal precedence.)

Now, Ecolosophy did a post back in June about reducing your plastic. Not ruling it out completely, but decreasing the amount that you use, and keeping it still practical for a young family. I liked this idea but again, what could I change?

I thought I’d start with a visit to the local butcher. While I always declined the extra bag they offered for carrying their meaty treats. The hunks of chunks in question were still encased in plastic for them to weigh the meat, price it and then give it to me to take home. But what if I brought my own container, would that cut down on some plastic?

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Verdict?

Well yes, yes it did. Not a piece of plastic crossed our path. The butcher didn’t even raise his eyebrows when I said… can you put the snags in here thanks mate. He plopped them in, I sealed them up, paid and back on my bike I peddled home.

A ridiculously easy plastic decrease, that really, I should have rejigged long ago.

Now, question is, what else can I change?

plastic free July || cityhippyfarmgirl

A few other practical plastic decreases

Buy butter in paper, rather than a plastic tub

Keep Cup for take away coffees

Bake your own bread, (have I hammered this one enough yet?)

Carry your own shopping bags

Avoid using cling wrap by using reusable bees wax wraps. Buy them or make your own

If your kids are keen on straws, use reusable stainless steel ones

Stainless steel snack containers

Bamboo toothbrushes

Glass jars for storage of kitchen goodies

Take your own containers to the butcher

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What are some things that you’ve changed over?