Category Archives: Off-Grid Living

Healthy breakfast options

I am probably the worst person to give any advice on breakfast, as I tend to skip this very important meal and give it no recognition, credit, second thoughts, significance, nothing whatsoever.

When I eventually have my breakfast at about 12 noon (or any time by which I’m borderline fainting), I try to make it as “healthy” as possible. Mix of (ready-prepared [*cough*]) cereals, usually muesli, fresh fruits and yogurt. But I realised that usually an hour or two later, I get really hungry again (especially when I had no muesli but a mix of other breakfast cereals). When I say hungry, not just a “oh I feel a bit peckish” type thing, I mean a real mixture of thunder, earthquake and revolution going on in there! You know when you get that feeling of literally an “empty” stomach..

This is when I realised that even though I was trying to get as healthy a breakfast as possible, it probably wasn’t very nutritious, hence the lingering feeling of not being satisfied.

I therefore set myself to try to make my own breakfast cereals, out of nutritious stuff, not full of sugars and buffers. This is when I came across this article

http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/why-you-should-make-your-own-breakfast/

I chose to try Teff as it seemed like the most varied in terms of nutritious content. The second on my list would have been quinoa, due to lesser calorie content and greater potassium content, however no calcium…

Quinoa is usually available in your favourite supermarket, although the price will probably let you think each grain has been individually wrapped with an edible gold leaf. I went for the novelty and bought 1 kg of Teff seeds online for I think £8. Pricey might you say, perhaps not when you consider that I only need the quarter of a cupful for breakfast. I haven’t done any weighing to be able to say how much a bowlful of this would cost (I also bought some dried fruits, nuts, shredded coconut, and seed/nut mixture), but as a comparison a £2 pack of muesli will last me four days.

What I am trying to say here is that if my teff seeds last me for over 2 weeks, there’s a winner.

Here is how to cook the teff seeds

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-whole-grain-teff-porridge-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-200038

The picture above is teff seeds (a quarter of a mug) cooked, yogurt, fresh plums, dried fruits and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Another version below:

Healthy Breakfast Options - Teff Seeds
Cooked teff seeds with pear, mixed nuts and roasted pumpkin seeds.

 

I have only tried this over three days, so I would say a little early to notice any health benefits. However I seem to be able not to snack as often during the afternoon.

Morale of the story, don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. As I always say if it doesn’t do you any good, it won’t do you any harm.

Brox

Correction: the price for the seeds was in fact £6 and not £8… even tastier!

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Biomass Briquettes

With my beloved announcing a couple of days ago that he would be making a woodburning stove for the winter (I love a fire!), it didn’t take me long to start collecting all sorts of paper and cardboxes, whatever was destined to either the fire or the recycling bin.

I should probably mention that the end result will still be the same, burning all that paper material, however not the way you might think. This gathering phase precedes a processing phase.

I explain, or rather this tutorial explains

http://www.offgridquest.com/green/biomass-briquettes-an-alternative-fuel

Et voila! “Gottatrythis!!”

So with my biomass material, scissors and a suitable bucket, outside I sat under the beautiful sunset.

The poetry kind of stopped there, I have to say the whole shredding process got slightly boring after 10 minutes. The bits of paper half way up the bucket are somewhat much larger than the ones at the bottom! For this reason, I will probably leave it to soak for a good ten days. If you have the luxury of working in an office (yes I did just say that) that has a shredder, you have no excuse whatsoever to not try this.

Otherwise, any type of paper/cardboard that you would have otherwise burnt would do, from scrap paper, to envelops (there are some window envelops in that batch, which may be best removed (the windows, keep the paper bit of the enbvelop) as not ideal to burn), junkmail (not the glossy type ones), cardboxes, letters from the Revenue (joke!), newspapers…

In hindsight, and once I have done my first batch to see if it really works (which I do not doubt, but rather try small and add afterwards, than having too much on your plate for no result), I will operate a two-bucket system whereby when one is soaking, the other will be used to gather the paper, which will be manually shredded when thrown in. That way you can save yourself a good hour of shredding (depending on how much material you have) and all you have to do is add the water, when you feel like it/the previous batch is about to run out. Which makes the availability of briquettes pretty much on demand.

I will also stir the content of the bucket a lot (everytime I walk past more or less), to help the breaking of the fibers.

As for the pressing process, I have thought of another way instead of a chaulk gun, which not everybody may own.

I’ll trial that, and will post the results, with a couple of updates probably in between.

For the moment, it’s only been soaking for less than 24 hours, it’s still looking very papery and not very sludgy 🙂

Biomass Briquettes making. Thick sludging process
Biomass Briquettes making. Thick sludging process

 

But I am very excited about the end results, fingers crossed it’ll work!!

 

Brox

 

 

Off-grid living: it’s time to take back the power from the energy companies

“The bankers are saying that off-grid living is now so viable that it threatens the whole utilities model. Nick Rosen, editor of off-grid.net, argues that it can’t happen a minute too soon.”

This article published in The Guardian in April last year was a liberation. From a business point of view, it proved us when times were a bit tough, that we actually were on the right track. But from a more personal point of view, in the last year off-grid living has stopped being synonym of tree-hugging hippies (to remain polite), it has become almost fashionable. The concepts of “tiny homes” and “homesteading” are now widely accepted pretty much everywhere. If you read anything specific to the renewable energy industry, the strain some put on their national grid, is a real problem, and without going completely off-grid, the only real answer is “self-consumption”.

Off-grid living is not seen as a silent protest by long-haired cavemen anymore, it has become a young and proactive development movement in which we take charge of ourselves pretty much individually but for the benefit of the rest of us.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/apr/11/power-energy-companies

Brox