AIP & Low FODMAP Burgers

Finding an AIP Low FODMAP recipe for burgers is pretty much impossible but not anymore – yay! This recipe is egg-free, dairy free, gluten free, paleo, AIP and low FODMAP. They are really easy to make and can be frozen too.

If you want more details on the Low FODMAP diet or the Auto Immune Protocol, take a look here at my post The Low FODMAP diet – a basic guide or Autoimmune protocok – the basics.

Serving Suggestion

Serve these burgers with some salad leaves, sliced avocado, Low FODMAP / AIP coleslaw and roasted sweet potatoes for a great tasting dinner.

More AIP Low FODMAP Recipes

For more AIP and Low FODMAP recipes check out my posts Salmon fishcakes, Meatballs, Yuk Sung and Lamb Curry.

NON AIP Ingredients

For those of you are not AIP try adding in one tablespoon of ground black pepper and one teaspoon of mustard powder for an extra spice kick!

Print Recipe
AIP & Low FODMAP Burgers
Great tasting burgers that are full of flavour but without high FODMAPs and using all friendly AIP ingredients. Serve with salad, some coleslaw, roasted sweet potato and some avocado for a really satisfying dinner.
Course Main Dish
Cook Time 25 Minutes
Passive Time 10 Minutes
Servings
Burgers
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cook Time 25 Minutes
Passive Time 10 Minutes
Servings
Burgers
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180'c (350'F)
  2. In a bowl add all the spices, herbs and sugar. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the minced beef into the bowl with the spices etc and stir to combine.
  4. Using a burger press or your hands, shape the mixture into four burgers.
  5. Place the burgers on a baking sheet and cook for 25 mintues
  6. When cooked served with some salad, coleslaw and roasted sweet potatoes for a great tasting dinner.
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Paleo Somerset Pork with Sausages

I’m actually quite excited to be sharing this recipe with you because it came about from a bit of a mix up and a wing it job! I had been talking to my mum about cooking and she mentioned a particular dish known as Somerset pork that she cooks for my granddad, however she uses a packet recipe. I remember eating it as a child and thought it would be great to make with the sausage that I had from my new meat box from The Well Hung Meat Company.

I went away to look on the Internet to see what this recipe was meant to be made with and discovered that it was made with pork loin or pork belly draft – doh! By this point I had already taken the two bags of sausages out of the freezer so it had to go ahead!

Many of the recipes that I looked at had similarities such as they all contained apple or apple sauce, many of them contained sage and most of them contained onions and garlic. I decided that these would be my main ingredients and then the rest I would tweak as I went along. I decided to include cider in this recipe as it was going to be eaten by my husband, however if you are going to be making low-carb you would probably want to omit the alcohol altogether. If you want to make it non-alcoholic then you could use apple juice instead.

I made this recipe mainly in a slow cooker but I did fry the onions first in order to give them a little bit of a caramelised taste and I also browned the sausages as I found it gave a much better colour and appearance to the dish. However if you wanted to you could always just chuck everything into the slow cooker and leave it to cook and just have the dish like that or, you could brown the sausages after the slow cooker has done its thing. If you do decide to brown the sausages I would say to do this last (after the slow cooker has done its magic) simply because I tried both methods; I browned half the sausages first before putting them in to the slow cooker, and half afterwards. I found that they kept their colour if browned last and had a much more appetizing look about them (but the choice is yours).

The sausages that I used for this dish were from The Well Hung Meat Company and there were two different flavours. One was just a plain sausage and the other was pork and leek and were not grain/ gluten-free (as it was for Mr Noodles). However in order to make this recipe 100% paleo you would want to use paleo friendly sausages, or even consider making your own. I personally would use Heck plain sausages as they are 97% pork; the reason for this is because many other brands / meat boxes companies still use yeast, gluten-free flour, rice flour or oats and I don’t tolerate these ingredients.

Cooking Methods
If you don’t have a slow cooker you can easily make this in the oven or on the stove top in a large dish, however the cooking times would vary and it would me you can’t leave it cooking while you go out to work. I should also point out that although the recipe states it takes 4 hours to cook, it can take a lot less time or a lot longer depending on your slow cooked options. I cooked this dish on a high temperature and left it for just over 3 hours. It was cooked and ready to eat an hour after being left in the slow cooker, but I left it to let the flavours infuse. If you were out at work you would want to leave it on the lowest temperature so that it takes its time to cook.

Vegetarian Option
I have tagged this recipe as vegetarian as it would be easy to make using vegetarian sausages, you would also need to swap the bone broth for vegetable stock.

Whole30
To make this recipe whole30 compliant then omit the alcohol. You can use apple juice to sweeten (as juice is allowed on the whole30 program as a sweetener), but the apple in this recipe should be enough to give it that Apple/ sweet flavour. You would also need to omit the tomato purée too and use about 5 small cherry tomatoes instead.

Macros
If you want to make this dish low carb/ ketogenic then leave out the alcohol; It will taste just as nice but wont have all those empty carbs. For your convenience I have listed the macros for the dish below for with and without alcohol. Both are based on making 4 servings.

With Alcohol
Total Carbs 16.9g
Fiber 2.6g
Net Carbs 14.3g
Protein 36.2
Fat 50.1g
Kcals 665

Without alcohol
Total Carbs 13g
Fiber 2.6g
Net Carbs 10.4g
Protein 35.9g
Fat 50.9g
Kcals 633

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Print Recipe
Paleo Somerset Pork with Sausages
Course Main Dish
Cuisine English
Cook Time 4 Hours
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine English
Cook Time 4 Hours
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
Browning the Sausages / Onions
  1. Gently heat the coconut oil over a low heat. Peel then dice the onions and add to the pan; allow to cook until really brown. This will give them a much sweeter taste and add flavour to the dish. You can omit this bit - its entirely up to you. It should take about 8 minutes.
  2. When the onions are cooked remove them from the pan and keep them aside for later. Add the sausages to the used pan and add in the olive oil. Cook the sausages until they are very brown on all sides (about 6 minutes).
  3. Place the browned onions and sausages in the slow cooker or in the dish/pan you are going to cook in.
Oven Cooking
  1. If you are cooking this in the oven then turn your cooker to 180' ready to warm up.
  2. Brown the onions and then the sausages as above. When the sausages are browned turn up to a medium heat, add the onions back in, add in the chopped garlic, meat stock and allow to cook for 5 minutes or so until hot bubbling.
  3. Add in the cider (or apple juice), the lemon zest, the Dijon mustard, the sage, parsley, paprika, cayenne and stir to combine. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
  4. Taste the sauce and if you desire add in extra mustard and seasoning. Add in the tablespoon of tomato puree, stir to combine. If you want to serve the dish soon then allow it to simmer for a further 10 minutes before adding in the coconut milk then serving.
  5. If you want to dish to slow cook, then leave on the stove top in a pan on very low and cook for another hour or so. Keep checking to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. (cover with a lid)
  6. For oven cooking cover with a lid and place in the center of the oven and allow to cook for a further - 2 hours.
  7. When the dish is cooked, add in the coconut milk and stir to combine then its ready to serve!
Slow Cooker Method
  1. If browning the onions and sausages - follow the instructions above before placing in the slow cooker.
  2. Add in (except the coconut oil, olive oil and coconut milk) all of the ingredients and stir.
  3. Cover with a lid and allow the slow cooker to do its thing - If setting to high the dish will take about 3-4 hours to cook. If set to low allow at least 6 hours to cook.
  4. When cooked If you want to brown the sausages, remove them from the slow cooker using tongs. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the sausages in - cooking until brown on all sides. Return back to the slow cooker when done.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and its ready to serve!
Recipe Notes

This dish is freezable, so you can easily make a large batch of this recipe and dish it up into freezer tubs. I would suggest keeping them in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. When you want to eat it, fetch the dish out of the freezer the day before and allow to defrost in the fridge. Re heat until piping hot either in the oven or in the microwave.

Hemsley & Hemsley – The Art of Eating Well Cookbook Review

Hemsley & Hemsley

I purchased Hemsley and Hemsley’s first cook book ‘the art of eating well’ about 6 months after it was first released back in 2014. I’ve only recently got round to reviewing it, simply because as with all things life related, my health impacts on me so much that I just don’t have the energy, strength or ability most the time, so things kind of happen on an ‘as’ and ‘when’ basis.

I have to admit that when I first got the book I did scribble some notes down on a pad which have been left rotting away in a drawer and it surprises me (I had forgotten what I had written), that I wasn’t that impressed when I first flicked through this book. Now don’t by any means let that put you off because let me tell you right now – I was wrong. Yep, I was oh so very wrong and this book is fast becoming one of my favourites.

First up I have to say that this book is beautifully detailed with lots of colourful photos and is in hardback format. It’s also a whopping 319 pages broken down into the flowing sections; Introduction – 10 things to do daily, our food philosophy, 12 golden rules, kitchen essentials and cooks notes; Meal sections – breakfasts, soups, salads, sides and snacks, meat and fish, vegetable mains, dressings and dips, baking and desserts and drinks. And finally – Basic recipes and methods, Sunday cook off, the menus, a guide to eating out, stockists, acknowledgements and index.

The introduction section begins with explaining who the Hemsley sisters are and how they got into the way of eating that this book follows. All of their recipes are free from gluten, grains and refined sugars and focus on nutrient dense unprocessed foods, good fats and bone broth. Their philosophy explains a number of things from how they source ingredients, e.g. what to look for when selecting food, gut health, fats – the good the bad and the ugly, dairy, grains and potatoes and the reasons for increasing or decreasing certain food groups. It also looks at the benefits of raw versus cooking, soaking and activating foods, simple food combining and the importance of sleep and hydration.

There is a section called ‘stocking your kitchen’ where it lists the types of ingredients their recipes use and gives a brief explanation of its benefits. For example under ‘Flaxseed (Linseed) oil’ it states “Contains high omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. It’s sensitive to heat so be sure to store in the fridge for use in dressings and drizzling over stews and soups”.

There is also a kitchen section which lists the types of tools you may need for creating their recipes. It lists things such as types of chopping boards (wooden is preferred and it explains why plastic is a bad choice), types of pans (cast iron or ‘green cookware’ is preferred; again it explains the reasons why other types are poor choices, such as the toxins in non-stick or aluminium bakeware).

Now on to the best bits – the recipes! The recipe section is quite extensive and begins with breakfast recipes. With 14 recipes in total it includes blueberry pancakes with mango cashew cream, cinnamon and buckwheat crunch granola, chai chai butternut breakfast pudding and goji marmalade.

Next up is you have 10 soup recipes including chicken tinola, roasted tomato and butternut squash soup, kelp pot noodle and no cook coconut soup.

There are 12 salads in total with puy lentil beetroot and Apple salad, pea peach and goats cheese salad, roasted bone marrow with salad watercress and fennel and cucumber and dill salad to name a few!

Sides and snacks has 19 recipes such as cauliflower rice and pilaf style cauliflower rice, baked courgette fries, garlic lemon green beans, pea mint and broccoli mash, falafel and Italian vegetable balls, toasted coconut chips, chickpea crunches, Apple rings 5 ways and baked broccoli and spicy avocado dip.

The mains are split into two sections which can be handy for those who do or don’t eat meat/ fish. The first part being meat and fish and the second being vegetables mains. The Meats and fish section has a whole 25 recipes including fish and celeriac chips and Tatar sauce, beef ragu and courgetti, sausage and cider stew, sea bream teriyaki, salmon with Argentinian chimichurri sauce, Sri Lankan lamb curry, Moroccan chicken stew and prawn laska.

The vegetable mains section has 21 recipes including mushroom quinoa nut roast with a chestnut apricot topping, flower power pizza, caramelised garlic tart with almond crust, smoked baked beans. Malaysian lentil and squash curry, beetroot and goats cheese terrine and feta and black bean burgers.

The dressings and dip section has 9 recipes including Thai sweet chilli sauce, pomegranate molasses dressing, kale pesto and lemon parsley cashew dip.

Baking and desserts has 22 fabulous recipes including avocado lime cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding, chocolate fig pudding, pineapple carpaccio with chilli, mint and lime, salted apricot caramels, pea and min ice cream or lollies with chocolate, chocolate avocado pudding, paradise bars, dark chocolate thins and chocolate wheels and multi seed load.

The final recipe section is drinks and it has 17 drinks from juices and smoothies to hot comforting drinks and a cocktail. They include fennel and mint juice, classic green cleansing juice, papaya smoothie, chocolate peanut butter and maca smoothie, Pina Colada smoothie, Mexican hot chocolate and blueberry lime and lavender cocktail.

The last few pages of the book include some great bonus information such as basic recipes and methods. It tells you how to make bone broth, activate and soak nuts/ pulses/ seed and pseudo grains, how to make your own nut butter, nut milks, sauerkraut and kimchi, it then lists quick menus such as which recipes are quick to make/ those for easy entertaining or those best for packed lunches and snacks and those great for festive seasons or Sunday roasts. It then has details on how to look after yourself when traveling and finally a list of stockists.

When I first got this book I didn’t cook anything from it and it probably sat on my book shelf for over a year (oh the shame!). However in January I stated a new protocol for my health and it left me quite unwell and pretty much tied to my bed or sofa. During that time I found watching telly white nauseating so I kept my spirits up and distracted myself by looking though my cookbooks.

I have now tried a few recipes from this book including Sri Lankan Lamb curry, baked broccoli fritters (my absolute favourite!), spicy avocado dip (yummy), chimichurri sauce, lamb meatballs (another favourite) and cauliflower tabbouleh and I have to say that they are now all regulars in my kitchen!

What I like
This book really is becoming one of my favourites because there are just so many recipes that I like. Many of the sides or salads could easily be served as a main as they are quite generous servings. I like how many of the recipes have side recipes included in them so you have an idea of what recipes go together. I also like that there are plenty of condiments and sauces that you can make that you can add to salads or cooked meats to keep them from being boring. Another plus is that many of the recipes are very tweak-able – if you don’t do quinoa or pulses it’s easy to make most of the recipe without these ingredients and sub with other foods that you can have. I’m also impressed with the section on basics such as how to make your bone broth and nut milks etc, as these are really useful things to know if you want to eat clean without breaking the bank (they are cheaper to make than buy!). I should point out here that many of the recipes in this book are quite large servings however that could be because I’ve been low carb for so long that I don’t fill my plate up high with food. Some of the dishes were listed as 4 servings where as I was able to get 6 portions. I decided to list this under a positive note because I personally like having left overs or extra servings when making recipes, as I dish them up into glass containers and freeze them, have them the next day for breakfast or they get packed and sent with my husband to work the next day for his lunch!

Any Downsides?

The only real downside (which really hasn’t been much of a problem for me), is that this book isn’t paleo and it’s not low carb/ ketogenic. However like most of the other cookbooks I have reviewed if you are low carb/ ketogenic chances are you will buy a book that’s aimed at that particular diet. Even though I am ketogenic I have been able to try plenty of these recipes easily – all I did was enter them into my keto diet app and work out how big/ small the portion needed to be for it to work with my macros.

Overall Rating

I have to give this book a whopping 5 out of 5 simply because I’m finding myself going to it more and more often. I don’t even have to follow the recipes – I can use the seasoning recommended on the meats or fish, make part of the salads or dips and before I know it, I’ve got a meal in itself! It’s great for inspiration, it’s got plenty of flavour, lots of ideas for making meal times exciting and still the old family favourites but more ‘clean’ than the originals. If you were thinking about starting a clean diet then this book is for you; if you want to go paleo but don’t know where to start – this book would be a great stepping stone. If you want to just try some new recipes then BUY THIS BOOK!! It really is a great all-rounder and even if you are low carb/ ketogenic or paleo I would STILL recommend this book as it has lots of recipes with avocado, meats, fish and other healthy low carb foods and uses homemade stocks and simple seasoning to flavour foods. If that isn’t enough to convince you, then I should add that it easily explains the reasons behind soaking foods, buying good quality produce (like organic), why It’s best to avoid things like plastics and non-stick cook wear, all without being too complicated, too long or boring. It really is a fantastic book that will leave you feeling rather smug – I can vouch for that and you’ll only need to take a look at my Instagram account to see people’s comments asking for the recipe or saying how delicious the foods look!!!

You can purchase The Art of Eating Well by Hemsley & Hemsley from Amazon for £12.49 (June 2016) and if you are interested they also have a Hemsley & Hemsley Spiralizer (Yep, I also have this – See the photo below!). In Spring 2016 they released their second book called ‘Good & Simple’ which is available on Amazon, also for £12.49 (June 2016) and I am just about to purchase my copy!

Spiralizer (1)

Other Cookbook Reviews

For more cookbook reviews take a look at the following posts…

Family Food by Chef Pete Evans
The Ketodiet Cookbook by Martina Slajerova
Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine by Sarah Fragoso
Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind by Vanessa Barajas
Energy Bites by DK

**The above review is my own personal opinion and I purchased the book myself**

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Chocolate Truffles – Paleo Ketogenic and Vegan

Paleo, Ketogenic and Vegan Chocolate Truffles

These chocolate truffles are so delicious and really easy to make. The only ‘difficult’ part is waiting for the mixture to chill in the fridge! I would recommend making the mixture on the night then leaving it overnight in the fridge.

If you have any latex gloves or washing up gloves you can use these when rolling the mixture into balls, as your hands WILL get sticky! It’s not a must have, but it can make things easier and less messy. Just remember to wash your hands once you put the gloves on – just to make sure any powdered residue (from inside the latex gloves) is washed off before handling the food.

The flavours for these truffles are endless, you can have coffee, toffee, caramel, strawberry, cherry and so on – all you need is a decent extract.If you wanted to go one further you could add nuts, dried fruit, or even have fresh berries in the middle. You can also play around with the coating too, I rolled some in roasted chopped almonds (see featured image) but I prefered them plain. If you wanted you could try toasted desiccated coconut, cacao nibs, powdered erythritol for that powdered sugar look or melted chocolate for a smooth crisp outer shell.

You can easily change the type of nut butter, percentage of chocolate or sweetener used to make these as long as you use the same amounts.

If you are making these for someone who is vegan, you will need to make sure that the chocolate you are using has no dairy in – some dark chocolates DO contain traces or have small amounts of dairy.

Macros
Below are the macros for one truffle – based on making 24 orange flavoured truffles. If you change the flavour or add in extras such as nuts or chocolate coating this will change the overall macros, but the information below can be useful to get an idea of how many you can eat!

Protein 1.3g
Fat 6.5g
Carbs 3.8g
Fiber 0.85
Net Carbs 2.9g

If you want to make them smaller (I’ve tried), you can get 35 chocolate truffles and the Macros are as follows :-
Protein 0.89g
Fat 4.4g
Carbs 2.6g
Fiber 0.58g
Net Carbs 2g

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Print Recipe
Chocolate Truffles - Paleo Ketogenic and Vegan
These chocolate truffles are so delicious and easy to make. You can change the flavour, add in dried fruit or nuts or coat in chocolate for a more decadent taste.
Course Sweets
Prep Time 10
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Course Sweets
Prep Time 10
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a pan over a low heat, warm the coconut milk until it starts to bubble.
  2. Reduce the heat a little and add in the vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, erythritol, nut butter and stevia, then stir to combine.
  3. Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate, square by square until it has all melted. You will need to keep stirring to ensure it doesn't burn.
  4. If you want orange flavored balls you can add the orange essence into the mixture here. If you would like to have half plain and half orange you will need to add it later. (Alternatively if you want a variety of flavours, you can split the mixture into bowls and add the extract in to each bowl then give it a good stir.)
  5. When the mixture has completely combined and there are no lumps, pour into a bowl or jug and allow to cool. Once cooled place in the fridge for a few hours to thicken up. (Approx 3 1/2 hours)
  6. When ready it should be firm like butter - the best test is to prod it with your finger, it should easily squish but not stick to your finger.
  7. Place the cacao powder onto a plate and place an empty plate near by.
  8. If you would like to make half of the batch orange flavoured, you will need to make a line down the center of the mixture splitting it into two. Make the plain balls using the one half of the mixture. When that runs out and you are left with the other half of the mixture, add in the orange extract and give it a good stir. It will be thick and difficult to stir but will loosen up. If it becomes too sticky you can add in a sprinkle of cacao powder.
  9. Use a metal spoon (or a melon ball scoop) scoop out the chocolate mixture and roll into balls using your hands. Drop the ball into the cacao powder, shake off excess powder then place on to the plate.
  10. Once you have made all your chocolate truffles, place the plate into the fridge and allow to cool again (chilling will help them firm up again).
  11. If you are able to stop yourself from gorging on these little beauts, they will last 3-4 days in the fridge. They can be easily frozen too - just fetch out and place in the fridge a few hours before eating.
  12. If you want to give them to a friend as a gift (e.g. for Christmas) check out the link below for recycling glass jars (which are perfect for storing these in!).
  13. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Click here to go to my blog post 'Memory Jars'. It will tell you how to decorate and up cycle a glass jar, which would be perfect for giving as a gift with some chocolate truffles in.

Memory Jars

Memory Jars - can be filled with trinkets, poems or even treats such as chocolate or homemade sweets.
Memory Jars – can be filled with trinkets, poems or even treats such as chocolate or homemade sweets.

Whether it’s for christmas, a birthday or another special occasion these ‘Memory Jars’ are so easy to make. You can fill and decorate them with as little or as much as you like. I made one for my husband for our first wedding anniversary and filled it with ‘promises’ – little notes of days out/ places I wanted us to visit.

The original idea is that the jar is used to collect memories in such as ticket stubs to concerts you’ve been to, love notes given to each other or any other little trinkets that you acquire throughout your journey together. Whether it’s for a loved one or a friend, you can add details to the jar that represent what that person means to you.

Materials Needed
Glass jar – (recycled)
Black chalk spray paint (optional)
Ribbon
Outline stickers
Stickers
Gems
Label
Glue
Note papers (optional)
Fillings such as sweets/ nuts/ chocolate (optional)

Method

  1. If you are recycling your jar from an old nut butter / jam jar, then give it a good wash with some liquid and a sponge.
  2. Once dry, decide whether you are going to spray the lid. I spray paint all jar lids (see my post here) with chalkboard spray paint so that I can write on them with chalk (as I use them to store left over food in). However, it is optional and you can skip this step. Alternately you can choose to spray paint the lid any colour you like, It all depends on whether there is any writing on it that you might want to cover. If you have a sticker big enough to cover the lid, you can do that instead.
    As my lid was already spray painted, I chose to use outline stickers to add some detail on the top.
  3. Using gems, stickers or whatever you like, decorate the jar. I used black outline stickers that I had in my craft trolley – I kept it simple with a few stars, words and candy cane. See diagram 1.
  4. Wrap some ribbon around the neck of the jar and tie into a bow. Trim the ends if needed and to prevent them from fraying, you can gently burn the ends with a lighter. ** Be careful ** when doing this so that you don’t burn yourself or set fire to anything! The best option would be to do it next to the sink!

    Diagram 2
    Diagram 2 – Adding ribbon and the label
  5. Making your label:- I had some pre-made cardboard labels which I chose to keep plain and decorated with outline stickers and gems. I trimmed it down to size and tied the string round the neck of the glass jar, wrapping the ribbon over the top to hide the string. See diagram 2
  6. Filling:- If you chose to write notes, love poems, ‘promises’ or anything else, ideally chose some pretty paper to write it on. I bought a mini note pad from hobby craft as the pages were just the right size.
    If choosing to fill with treats, this can be sweets, chocolate, nuts or even homemade goodies such as cookies or truffles. See diagram 3.
Diagram 3 - Filling the jar
Diagram 3 – Filling the jar

There you have it – a simple but effective gift idea that you can personalise however you like.

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Homemade Jar Labels

Homemade, Jars, Labels, recycled, paleo, upcycled
Make use of those recycled glass jars and funk them up with some easy to make labels!

Since going Paleo I’ve been conscious of using plastic tubs and cling film on my food as certain plastics have shown to leak chemicals into the foods. As a result I’ve taken to recycling any glass jars with lids that I come across and using them to keep left overs and homemade sauces in. When using a jar I usually write on some sellotape with a marker and stick it to the lid or the jar so I know what date I made it/ what it is. Being a little OCD it drives me nuts having the peel off the tape each time the jar needs washing out so I’ve decided to make some labels that I can reuse.

Methods

Spraying onto Glass
I had purchased some chalkboard labels a few months back but found they were not very hard-wearing so decided to buy some chalkboard spray and try out a few ideas I had. The first idea was spraying the chalkboard spray directly onto the side of the glass jars. I used masking tape to create an oblong shape so that when the tape was removed it would look like a label. This idea did work and the paint stayed on even when I washed them in the sink (after I had allowed the paint to dry). The only down side was that normal chalk didn’t write on it very well so I had to use a chalk pen.

Spraying the Lids
The second idea was to spray the lids of the jars. It worked really well but I found that the writing would rub off when taking the lid on and off. Again this was using normal chalk however when I tried a chalk pen it wasn’t a problem.

Homemade Labels
My final idea was to make labels that I could reuse and replace when they became worn out. I did this using double-sided glue sheets stuck on foil that I sprayed with the chalkboard paint. This was my favourite idea because it meant I could make lots of labels and also keep some aside for when I need them.

Shopping List – what you need
Black chalkboard spray paint (I got mine from Hobbycraft approx £7.99)
Masking tape
Newspaper
Double sided glue sheets (A4 size)
Kitchen foil
Ruler
Pen
Craft knife and mat
Scissors
Chalk/ chalk pen

Time approximately 30 min – 1 hour

Notes

The spray paint didn’t say it was suitable for glass but I didn’t have any problems with it staying on the glass jars.

You can get a variety of coloured chalkboard paints or even make your own (Pinterest has lots of tips/instructions for doing this).

If you decide to use the method where you spray directly onto your glass jars I recommend using gorilla tape or frog tape. It costs more but is so worth it. I bought cheap masking tape and I found it didn’t do such a good job – I was left with imperfect lines / some leakage at the edges.

  1. Method
    Go somewhere with lots of space and a flat surface.
    Take an A4 glue sheet and on one side mark out the lines for your labels with the ruler and pen. You can be more creative and draw shapes etc – it’s really up to you.
  2. Take a large sheet of foil (bigger than the glue sheet) and carefully place it on a dry clean surface.
    Slowly peel the edge of paper off one side of the glue sheet (not the side with your markings on!) and leaving enough foil around the edges, stick the glue sheet to the foil. The excess foil will act as tabs for taping the sheet to the newspaper when spraying so that it doesn’t move about. You may need to use your hand to smooth the glue sheet down.
  3. Spread the newspaper out on a surface/ floor outside (where you are going to carry out the spray painting) and place the glue sheet/foil on top (foil side facing you). Use some masking tape on the edges to tape it in place to keep it from moving as you spray it.
  4. Following the instructions on the can spray the whole of the foil sheet. You may need to do 2-3 coating but make sure you allow each coat to dry thoroughly before you do another one.
    When dry peel off the masking tape and place it onto the cutting mat with the foil facing down (so you can see the paper side and your markings)
  5. carefully using the craft knife and ruler (or scissors if you have made shapes) cut the sheet into labels. And trim off the excess foil from the edges. Be careful not to press too hard or the foil on the reverse might tear.
  6. Your labels are now ready to be used or kept for later.
  7. Make sure your jars (or whatever you are sticking your labels to) have a clean and dry surface before applying. Peel off the paper side, stick to the surface and smooth over with your finger.
  8. Use chalk or a chalk pen to write on it.
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Doctor Who Christmas Card

Doctor Who Tardis CardOk, now I know you get some terribly annoying people who count down to Christmas from like, October but I think I am safe to say (what with only a few days remaining) that Christmas is now upon us! I have to admit that I haven’t actually made Christmas cards this year except for ONE!!! And boy, let me tell you that this is one heck of a – blood, sweat and tears – kind of special card, because ladies and gentlemen, it’s a TARDIS!!!!! …. ok, so if you’re not a Doctor Who fan I can see how you might be thinking what!!!??? … but really, neither am I. I am a crafter, well, a card crafter to be precise, I make handmade cards. A friend of mine introduced me to crafting about 5 years ago and i love it. I don’t do it very often now as my ME can cause me to flag (slang for get really tired) and I struggle to concentrate and be able to sit that long. However occasionally if I know I’m planning to make a card for a certain date I can spread the making over a long period of time, like I did with this one.

So, why a Doctor Who card?
Well, a friend of mine is a massive Doctor Who fan and has been for years. Its something which he holds close to his heart and recently stated on Facebook (when the anniversary episode was aired) that it had helped him deal with some tough times. When the special episode was due to air my friend was so excited, he did a count down till it was aired, he even visited a Doctor Who event, taking his photo with a number of the aliens that appear in the show. Now I have to say, I’m not a Doctor Who fan. It’s not that I don’t like it, I do, I think its great, but I’m not a big telly person and have never really watched all the episodes of anything (yes, including friends, lost and heroes etc). It was seeing someone get that excited and baring their sole and emotions about how something as simple as a TV show had helped him in life, I thought that it would be a good idea to make them a card! so, thats how it started. Im crafty, I didn’t think it would be too hard to do and I wanted the challenge (as I’ve made many cards but not like this!) so, thats more or less it. I took my time, made a template, ordered the card etc that I needed and hey presto, Dr Who has landed!

How to make it
So, if you want to see how I made it, Click here. To see the finished article, just keep scrolling down.

Feedback
I have to say I’m really proud of the finished article. I would tweak the odd thing or two if I were to make one again, but I think it’s clear to see what it is and my friend was very pleased with it, he even said he would keep it and put it up every year with his decorations! Bless!

So, what do you think? Doctor Who fans and non-fans, let me know. Its my first (and hopefully last) attempt so be gentle with me! … maybe next time I will make a Dalek!

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Doctor Who Card – How to Make!

Doctor Who Christmas TardisTo begin you need to make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials. The items I needed to make this were as follows:-

Craft knife and cutting mat
Scissors
Pencil
Hole punch
Double sided tape
3D foam pads
Needle and thread
Hole punch
Computer and printer
White card
Dark blue card
Black card
Silver card
Green card (I had 2 tone of green)
White paper
Silver bow
Very small gem stones
PVC glue
Holly stamp

Size and Measurements
Now I have not put any measurements on here as to the dimensions that I used and the simple explanation is that I wasn’t actually planning to write about it. (I was simply making a card for my friend, it was an unrelated conversation with another blogger on Google+ that made me decide to post it). Anyway, it shouldn’t really matter what size you choose to make your tardis as long as your card is in proportion.

1. To begin, I would recommend printing off a photo of a tardis, alternatively search for an image and save the photo (I did this on my iPad), that way you can refer back to it when you are working out your template and putting all the sections together.

2. I would recommend making a template of the whole card and all sections before you cut into your black/ blue card. When you have the whole card completed then use the templates to draw round. For the templates you can use paper but I used and would recommend using card. Start by drawing the outline of the tardis, bare in mind how big you want it to be and whether you will have an envelope or box, big/deep enough to send it in. Also consider if you are going to build up all of the doors, windows and roof. You can choose to only build up certain areas, such as just the door and windows or just keep it 2D.

3. The size of the doors will depend upon the size of your Tardis, they need to be 3/4 of the length of the card. Place these on top of the Tardis template then cut two more doors, half a cm smaller than the ones before; these will go on top of the doors. By doing this (two layers) it gives the card depth and you can use foam pads between the layers to make it 3D. You can choose to only do one layer, but if you do two, the first (larger) doors will be made from black card, and the smaller sized doors will be in blue. The black card is to give a kind of shadow/ depth look. If you only want to have one layer, you will be missing out the shadow, so remember to do the doors in Blue.

4. To Make the door panels, again the concept is similar to the doors where they have a black under layer to give depth. if you choose not to do this then you only need to make 8 panels for the door (in blue). If you want the depth/shadow effect you will need to make 8 panels in blue and 8 larger panels in black. I played about with scraps of card to work out the size of the panels.

5. Windows
The top left and right panels of the Tarids doors feature the windows. The easiest way to make these, is to print an image off (onto plain white card) and stick it onto the panels. Now I have to admit that my husband did this part for me. He also printed off the notice on the left hand door panel, the St Johns ambulance sign found on the right hand door and the ‘police box’ sign at the top. He did this by creating the images in PowerPoint then printing them off. You may have to print them off and resize the images a few times until you get them in the right proportions for your card.

6. Window panes
For the window frame you basically create a rectangle shape in PowerPoint on a new slide then fill the shape with black colour. Following this, create a new rectangle shape (filled white or light blue). This will be the used to make the 6 small window panes. Resize the shape until you have it small enough to fit onto the black rectangle (that you have just created). Copy and paste 5 more times so that you have 6 panes of glass.

You will need to mess about with the dimensions of the shapes to make sure it’s all symmetrical. Once you’re happy, highlight and copy the all the shapes in one go and paste to a word document then print. If the images is too small for your card, you may need to drag the shape about from the corners to resize according to the dimensions of your card.

7. For the ‘Police Box’ sign, use the same concept. Create a black rectangle in PowerPoint. Drop a text box on top of it. Type ‘Police Box’ change the font to white, resize the font according to your shape. Hit the space bar a few times so you get the spacing between the two words. Then, drop another text box Into the space between Police and Box. In this text box, type ‘public’ hit return and type ‘call box’. Same again, white font and make the font smaller. Print and again, you may need to play about with the sizing until you have it right.

8. For the St. John’s ambulance sign, copy the image from google images then drop into a word document and print. Again, if needing to resize, play about with the image until you are happy.

9. The roof
I chose to layer the roof to keep in theme with the rest of the card. I used the template to draw round the top part, stopping when I got to just above the doors. For the section where you place the ‘Police Box’ sign cut out a strip of card just a bit bigger than the sign in silver then cut another strip a bit bigger than this in blue. This will give the roof some more depth (you can leave out both these layers if you wish).

10. Light
For the light on top of the roof I didn’t make a template as it was such a small section. I cut out an extra ‘triangle -ish’ piece of card (in blue) and added 3 very small rectangles on to it (cut out in sliver) to give it the appearance of a light.

11. Door handle and key hole
Again I didn’t do a template for this section. I made the handle with a cut out piece of silver card and used a small hole puncher to make the key hole. I used a dot of PVA glue to stick these to the completed card.

12. Snow
I used white paper to make the snow, but didn’t make a template. I just drew a wavy line on paper and cut it out and used double sided tape to fix to the completed card.

13. Wreath
I didn’t make a template for the wreath as it was pain in the butt to do!!! I had to stamp a holly image onto different pieces of green card and cut them out. I cut out a ring of card and stuck all the holly leaves round the ring (using PVA glue) layering it up. When it reassembled a wreath I stuck a silver bow to the bottom and a few small green and red gem stones to look like berries. I used a foam pad to stick the wreath to the card.

14. Putting it all together
Draw around your templates onto the relative card and cut out carefully on a mat, using a craft knife and ruler. When you have cut everything out in the right card, it’s time to stick it all together.

15. Sticking order
– Stick the roof on first, then the doors/shadows
– Stick the shadows/door panels
– Add the windows, the St Johns Ambulance sign and the ‘notice’
– Stick the door handle and key hole
– On the roof, add any layers under the ‘police box’ sign (finishing with the sign)
– Add the triangle to the light on the roof and then the 3 little windows
– Add any snow and then the wreath (or other effects such as balloons maybe if you were making it as a birthday card rather than a Christmas card).

For any sections that you have layered, you can either stick the card on top of each other (using double sided tape) or use foam pads between each layer so that it makes the card 3D.

16. The Stand / Back
To make the Tardis stay upright I made a ‘stand’ like you get on the back of photo frame. I folded a piece of A4 card in half long ways, glued the two sides together (using double sided tape) and folded the card over by 1cm at the top. The 1cm piece will be stuck to the back of the card. Because the size of my cards this was the right height for my card to stand up straight (so from the side it gave a ‘V’ shape).

Finally
If you want to add a verse, do this before adding on the stand. The easiest way is to to type one on the computer and print it out, then take it (double sided tape) to the back. If you want to write on the back of the Tardis, the best way would be to use a nice gold or silver pen.

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