Thursday, July 24, 2014

Easy Oat Bran muffins ~ Mariella

Baking does not come naturally to me. So you can imagine my delight upon discovering a ridiculously simple oat bran muffin recipe! Oat bran is seen as highly beneficial in the fight against high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 
It is said to be good for weight loss and a happy digestive system. I was interested in trying it out because it's supposed to be a low GI food which would suit me just fine. 
It did make me a bit tired, like oats generally do, but not nearly as much as wheat or rye so I'm happy to use this recipe when I'm in the mood for something moreish and I think blueberries will be in order next time I try it!



Ingredients 

2 1/2 cups uncooked oat bran
2t baking powder
1 t salt
2t Cinnamon 
2 free range eggs
3/4 cup water
2t natural vanilla extract 
4 T coconut oil (pre-melted)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecan nuts (optional)

Then the sweetener...it's up to you! I used 4 table spoons of honey and then drizzled some over them afterwards. 

Preheat the oven to 220*c.

Mix the dry ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.

Add wet to dry and mix.

Pour into greased muffin trays and bake for about 20 min or until the knife come out dryish!

So simple! Its a great activity for the kids too as it doesn't require extensive concentration spans!
Happy baking!





Monday, June 30, 2014

Dealing with Liver Fluke ~ Mariella

It all makes sense now, after years of wondering why my child found nuts too rich to eat, why eggs and garlic made her nauseous, why she started to develop fine acne, why she always complained of fatigue. She had Liver Fluke.

Liver Fluke is a highly underestimated Parasite which lives in the bile ducts of the liver and the gall bladder, slowly blocking them up and causing all sorts of problems from tummy ache to Liver cancer. Long standing infections can also result in fatigue, abdominal discomfort, anorexia, weight loss, diarrhoea, and jaundice, as they feed off blood. They live for 20-30 years and can lay 2000-4000 eggs a day!

Approximately 35 million people are infected with liver fluke throughout the world, 85% of which live in China. Because of its mostly asymptomatic nature, Liver fluke can go undiagnosed for years, slowly debilitating the liver’s functions. 

The only way to get Liver Fluke is to ingest the eggs via eating:

-raw fish
-watercress and any water plants grown in contaminated water
-contaminated water (elementary really!)
-vegetables irrigated with contaminated water

If any livestock have access to the water you use to irrigate your vegetables, you should have them tested for Liver fluke.

How did we find out? My child broke out in hives, an allergic reaction, first to over-ripe banana, then apples, then chick peas, aubergine, anything really! Every day there was one more thing she couldn’t eat. I took her to a Doctor who said, Oh allergies, gave her an antihistamine jab, prescribed a bunch of antihistamines and gave us a natural one to take too. We dealt with it for a week, her reactions getting worse every day. 
Then I met a friend at a Saturday Market who introduced me to Hanna Grotepass, (hgrotepass@mweb.co.za) a homeopath from Knysna who said, so calmly, Oh that sounds like Liver. When she said it, it felt like the right fit.  
As per her recommendations, we treated it with a Rife Machine. Now I refer to myself often as a gullible skeptic, having good faith in everything until proven otherwise and I've always been skeptical about this little contraption! 

A Rife machine directs electrical impulses through the body and can be set to the exact frequency of the parasite or other ailment you are suffering from. You can understand why I was uncertain! But when the skin allergies vanished and her face started to clear up, I was so relieved. The other symptoms will clear up with time as her body deals with the aftermath and now we start with ways to support the liver without too much emphasis on detox and other extreme cleanses for the time being. We are dealing with this gently.

P.O.A. (Plan of Action)

Diet full of high-sulfur foods and also raw fruit and vegetables, as much organic as possible:

 






Avocados, olive oil, walnuts, garlic, lemon, leafy greens, beetroot, green tea, apples, grapefruit, turmeric, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower

Supplements and herbal helpers:

-Milk thistle

-Grape seed extract

-Chicory
-Dandelion
-Peppermint

As the Liver is the fastest recovering organ in the body, we are optimistic, but she’s probably had it for at least 2 years so we hope that supporting her Liver with diet, supplements and lots of water will do the trick sooner rather than later. The Symptoms are so subtle and can be over looked but when clumped together they can show Liver Fluke clearly. 



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Raw stuffed sweet peppers ~ Mariella

Winter, the month of grand temptations! When, for me, warm and rich and sweet wins with bells and whistles against raw and revitalizing! 

In order to refrain from broadening my midsection along with my culinary horizons, I have set myself a challenge, to replicate all of my favourite dishes in the raw! My first dish was met with skepticism by my teenage daughter who sighed, Mom, why you gotta mess with a good thing?’ 
She recanted after the first bite!



It was a rather fool proof start to my venture and the secret was in the sauce.

Raw Stuffed Sweet Peppers


-2 Ripe avocados - cubed  
-1 Tomato - cubed
-Handful of mung bean sprouts
-Thinly sliced green beans

-Dressing: Small handful of Sun-dried tomatoes and about 6 dried olives, a little lemon rind, quarter onion and one clove garlic chopped fine and marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar dressing.
-A little salt, pepper, cumin powder and paprika to taste

Stir it all up, stuff the peppers and lay down on beds of lettuce leaves, dressed in olive oil and lemon juice with a pinch of salt

Serves three



This is a basic recipe but so yummy and serves to illustrate a point, it took the same amount of time to make as a salad would, but it’s different and keeps the raw food option enjoyable. So many ingredients could be added to this like Tahini, tamarind paste, sesame oil, lightly roasted seeds, dried mushrooms, seaweed etc. So take a look at what's in the fridge and mess around with good things! 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Its Porcini mushroom season again! ~ Mariella

It’s that time of year again, Autumn brings mushrooms! We waited for just the right sequence of events, knowing that there’s always a chance of coming home empty handed. It rained, we had a few hot days, full moon was a few days away; everything said, ‘Head for the forest armed with knives and baskets’. We did and we were in luck.


We found enough to cook, fry, bake, give to everyone in the family! What we couldn't eat in time, we sliced and strung up to dry in a space in the house with good ventilation.  


I think this is the prettiest Porcini I've ever found!


After baking, drying and giving away, we still had some left over so i made mushroom pate. 

-I peeled any sponge off which had already opened and turn from a fresh cream colour to a dull mustard yellow colour and cut the Porcini into slices.
-Fried in olive oil with garlic and added a little water and salt to taste.


-Blended with a hand held blender until smooth and voila, something new and delicious on Rice cakes (I know its a travesty but we don't eat bread!)

I then added the Pate to an Aubergine and tomato sauce. It was sumptuous and no body could guess what the secret ingredient was!


So there you have it. If you find these decedent and delicious mushrooms at your local deli, do not be afraid! They are as easy to prepare as Denny mushrooms and if all else fails, let them eat Pate!  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lady Serendipity and Afrika Burn 2014 ~ Mariella

If you've ever felt that impulse to pack a small bag and head for the horizon with an open ticket in your hand and an adventurous spirit speeding you onward, you would have made contact with Lady Serendipity at some point.

That delay at the bus station, that road side vendor with the takeaways taking a little longer than usual, conversations at exactly this right moment, a perfectly sublime sequence of events leading your hand through timeous meeting after timeous meeting…

Trust plays the only part we, the traveler, have any control over in this process. The moment you release the outcome is the instant the outcome comes to you!



I’ve always begrudgingly accepted that Serendipity is the crippled  cannon fodder of routine life, always utterly surprised should I bump into an old friend in a new place, or have seemingly irrelevant things fall into place in effortless flowing ways leading to the ease of very relevant things! It seems that Serendipity is squelched by our pre-planned and overly organised lives but after Afrika Burn 2014, I am adamant to stand at the doorway of destiny and beckon this elusive shy aspect of life into       mine with bells and whistles! 

The theme for this year’s Afrika Burn was ‘The Trickster’, and for me, the Trickster showed itself by reminding me of the natural flow of life. I was witness to it in every direction, from long lost friends finding one another in a crowd of 10 000 people to camp members arriving, sans directions, at their destined camps in the dark amid sprawling suburbs of tent after tent! 





 On our last evening there, I had a brief conversation with a fellow burner concerning the galloping nature of this year of the horse, according to the Chinese calendar, and how perhaps the best advised course of action is to have faith, hold on tight, and go with it. The next piece of ‘litter’ I stopped to pick up off the ground on my way to the next burn was a small plastic toy horse, painted bright red! 

And so it went, people completing one another’s sentences in their absence, someone being there in time to direct someone else to where they need to be when they need to be there. I felt ‘held’! So this is me, reaching out my hand to Lady Serendipity, reaching, reaching into the dark and knowing, without seeing, that knowing she’s there is enough to draw her into the light!



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How we dealt with Flu 2014 naturally! ~ Mariella

We got The Flu 2014! It sucked! We didn’t enjoy it at all. However, compared to stories from the moms I spoke with in the parking lot at school, we had an easy time of it. It seems most of them put their children and themselves on antibiotics. This completely bewilders me as we rode the storm and come out of it stronger, not weaker. Here’s how we battled this years Flu naturally:


  1. Bed rest
 This wildly under-estimated piece of logic did wonders for us. Although there was little else for it as I didn’t really have it in me to get up until it was all over!

  1. What to give up:
 We took it seriously so we excluded many foods in order to starve the bug in record time; wheat and sugar (which we don't eat anyway!) and dairy (including butter!) We did however find it interesting to note that my husband consumed a lot of fruit and honey whereas I didn’t eat any. His flu lasted 5 days, mine lasted 3. Not sure what to make of that one.....



  1. Garlic, Lemon and Chili
 Packed full of flu fighting vitamins, antibacterial and antiviral and immune-boosting properties, I found these three made up the bulk of our arsenal! We juiced them whole, ate them raw, made tea with them. Rice cakes with Coconut oil, marmite, avo and slices of Garlic and chili is now my new favourite snack! I found an almost alchemical reaction with the chili, in the height of the flu, I could eat as much as I wanted without feeling the usual burn, as I got better, my tolerance shifted becoming less and less! Intriguing stuff!



  1. Septogard
 This is a fantastic natural antibiotic that we keep in the house. We had approx 8 a day.



 5. Oscillococcinum by Heel

This is my backup remedy of choice, if any of us have the flu, which we rarely do, we take a course of this product. It targets flu in particular.



  1. Diet:

We upped the green leafy vegetables and raw dinners along with soups filled with herbs from the garden.



All elementary really! We included homeopathic, herbal and dietary remedies. If this flu finds you, just remember, if we could do it sans antibiotics, you can too! The trick is to catch it early. And if you avoid antibiotics, every year you’ll just get stronger!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Date Season, Stones and a family road trip! ~ Mariella


I needed a family holiday! Throw the kids in the car and go. So when the thought presented itself to go hunting for stones for Moonstone, our Crystal and Mineral shop in Plettenberg Bay at the same time as fetching dates for our Market at Old Nick Village, it was decided! Incidentally these things happen to come from the same place, the Northern Cape of South Africa. Here is a photo essay of our adventure in this utterly stunning country of ours which is filled with lovely people, magical place, and more dust roads than you'd think! 



This is Wuppertal. a small thatch roofed white washed village in the Cederberg mountains in the Western Cape founded in 1830 by two German missionaries of the Rhenish Missionary Society. In 1965, after the Rhenish Mission had gradually scaled down their activities in Southern Africa, a decision was made that Wupperthal should in future become part of the Moravian Church, and it remains a Moravian mission station to this day. Seeing the little town of approx. 3000 people cradled in a small valley just in time for sunset was like discovering our own Brigadoon in the mountains which no one knew was there! Was it a dream? It was beautiful, the streets were clean, the people friendly and we walked around until after dark taking in the wonders of this intriguing little town.



We met Jason selling fish in Doringbaai, a small town on the West coast and he pointed us to a camp site on the beach in Springfontein where we spent the night. we woke in a shroud of mist, a brief respite from the heat of the inland we were soon to return to. The road from Lamberts Baai to Springfontein is untarred but easy and beautiful with sea views and a sense of riding in the bush, not above it on big intrusive roads 


Springfontein Sunset


Springfontein sunrise!



Our mission to the Henkries Date farm took us along never ending dust roads and Mrs Olivier kept the office open for us long after closing time.
In between selecting dates and making sure we'd had tasters of each delicious juicy batch, she told us about the farm. It's 50 years old. During the Anglo-Boer war, the British hid in those hills and had nothing but dates to eat. Their continued complaints of being hungry, hungry, hungry morphed into the region's name, 'Henkries' and their wide discarding of dates seeds resulted in the first date palms along the Orange River which eventually turned it into a date growing area! 




Mental note, unripe dates do not taste great!


Orange River at sunset.



The little town of Goodhouse, in the Orange River valley. A small flat town baked by the sun with one road in and one road out.


There are still places in South Africa where you can pull off the road and camp without being in fear for your life! We found a hill, black from the relentless sun and camped under the full Northern Cape night. We watched the full moon come up over the landscape, turning it twilight. 


From the hill above where we camped.





I took this photo while my husband was changing a tire! I learned much in the good hour of waiting and trying in vain to be of assistance that there are many ways to do things. I watched my family while we waited. Alluring clouds on the distant heavy horizon seemed suspended at one altitude like a flock of birds, too cautious to land on the piping hot midday ground. My son drew the giant rats in the audio book we listened to and my daughter did ballet in the infinitely empty road to the heavy voice of Lorde over the speakers. No body got uptight, no body lost their cool. There's always a choice!


Amazing haunting Koekerboom Trees on a small alternative route to Pella.


Rose Quartz in the Bush, Bright pink in the sun against the brown rock.


I think I was the only one who thought the advertisement of snake meat was hilarious, no one else seemed to catch the joke! 


On the way home we drove through De Rust, a sweet sleepy town with a pretty main street bursting with creative little coffee shops and galleries.


Breakfast in Oudtshoorn, another sleepy town in the Klein Karoo.


I remember going home when I was a child. I willed the car to slow down, to turn back, to take a little longer! 

But going home to a place you love is different, our country is beautiful and quietly whispers to be explored. We should know what all of it looks like, it's our home!