Posted by: savayla | April 27, 2013

Best Gluten-Free Carrot Cake ever !!!

I love carrot cake.   But too often you eat one that is either bland, dry or just not what a carrot cake should taste like.  I have a very good recipe from one of my favourite South African recipe books, however , it is not Gluten-Free, and I am often wary about direct substitutions.  I needed this carrot cake to be perfect, to uplift our souls, as we have been through quite a tough few months.  I needed to make a cake, using ingredients I had on hand.  I had carrots.  And, I had the other important ingredient which so many recipes don’t have, the crushed pineapple.

This recipe also called for walnuts, cream cheese and maynonnaise, which I didn’t have.  But I decided to do it anyway, because of all the recipes that I read, this one had great reviews (very important to read reviews as you also get hints and tips to do with that specific recipe ) and it had lots of carrots.  A carrot cake recipe that calls for 1 cup of carrots can be tossed in the bin.

Although I substituted 1 Tbs of yoghurt for the mayo, and a small handful of sliced almonds for the walnuts,  I added half a teaspoon of ginger powder AND instead of a cream cheese frosting, I made an orange icing glaze, it was absolutely amazing .  Seriously.  You can take my word for it.  Moist, very moist !!  Tasty.  Can’t wait to try it with the cream cheese frosting which I love, although both my husband and daughter said they loved it just as it was and I could make it exactly that way again.

For my gluten -free flour, I use a mixture that I pre-mix and keep in a glass jar in my pantry.  2 Parts Rice Flour , 1/3 part Tapioca Flour and 2/3 parts potato starch flour.

You do not add the pineapple juice.  I had chunks so I processed them a bit before adding.

I also added 1/2 tsp ginger powder and I may just increase that to 1 tsp the next time.

Here goes ……  And Enjoy and spread the word.   Next time I will post my delicious grain free carrot cake recipe which is also really good.

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 9×13″ baking pan. In a large bowl sift together the flou, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the sugar, corn oil, eggs, and mayonaise stir well. Stir well. Stir in the carrots, nuts, and pineapple. Spread in the greased pan and bake for 30 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean. Cool; frost with cream cheese frosting. Makes 18 3 by 2/14 inch servings.
  • Cream Cheese Fosting
  • whip all ingredients together till fluffy. If the frosting is too thick add a few drops of milk.

Think I will just add my recipe for the orange glaze in case someone wants to try it too.  Next time I think I will double the recipe.

1 cup icing

10g butter

1 tsp grated orange rind

2-5 Tbs orange juice

Place butter into a bowl which is sitting on top of a pan of simmering water (double boiler ).

As butter melts, add the sieved icing sugar and mix together

Add the orange zest and juice and stir until it is nice and runny.

Drizzle over the cake and let it run down the sides.   It hardens a bit.

Posted by: savayla | March 5, 2013

Building a Deck in my Backyard

There is one item that I really miss about our old home, and that is evidently missing from this one, and that is our deck.  Some people say that a kitchen makes a home.  I disagree!  A deck makes  a home.  It is where you spend countless summer days and nights with friends and family, burning the steaks on the BBQ, sipping wine, curling up in a chair in front of the brazier, drinking your morning coffee and celebrating birthdays.  Where the kids paint, make mud sculptures and the dogs sleep.

So I have decided to build a custom deck.  Knowing how much use it will go through, it needs to be practical yet stylish, hard wearing and functional. After much research, I have decided to go with Deckorators.  Wow, I could not believe their range of products.  Here I am thinking of a simple wooden deck and an exciting new world has opened up in front of me.  They have ballusters, beautiful lighting, posts, decking and accessories, all in different designs and materials.  Deckorators have taken all the guess work out of it for me by having an online Deck Visualiser where I can choose a scene that is most similar to mine, and then click on their different materials and products so that I can visualise what it is going to look like.

Although they do have a list of contractors, we are hands on people and their installation videos are very detailed so it will be so easy.

Spring, summer, autumn, here we come!!

Posted by: savayla | March 4, 2013

Darwin and Paper Marbling

I am behind in my homeschooling agenda for the year.  My Excel worksheet that I painstakingly put together is starting to crumble like the proverbial cookie.  The dates are all out of sync.  A year or two ago I would have been tearing my hair out, stressing.  This is the new me.  I look at my girls, see what they have been doing.  No, we did not finish our Norse Block with a bang, more like a fizzle or a wheeep from a fart cushion.  However, the girls are reading the Kalevala, an edited version of course, and loving it.  In fact, I was most surprised when Ayla, the reluctant academic, told me the other day that some of the words are difficult to understand, so she had been looking them up in the dictionary.  Yes !!! 

I was going to start my new block on Darwin and Evolution, going into Botany, with a story called Born With a Bang:  The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story (Book One) by Jennifer Morgan and then we were going to do proper paper marbling like they do in Japan and Turkey.  However, after all the research, getting up at 6am to experiement with oil paints and water, poster paints and water, making a size out of guar gum, using old size that I had, nothing worked !!  Not nicely anyway.  More like marbling for young kids. 

Needed to source and buy a decent marbling kit with the proper inks.  Eventually managed to find one place in Christchurch but it is not in my budget at the moment. 

So, we have just been continuing with Math U See for maths,  creative writing which the girls are loving, reading, and art.   Lots of art.  They both go to a fantastic textile art class every Wednesday afternoon after gymnastics.  On Thursdays Ayla goes to a clay art group and Savannah works on her sketching using the book Art For Kids : Drawing.  By Kathryn Temple.  Really good, very similar to Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right  Side of the Brain, but written so that she can do it all by herself without my input.  I will do new posts and go into detail about each of these books that I have been using. 

Today however, I decided that I should start our Darwin block, with some Botany, and we will just do the marbling later. 

Thanks to my friend Shelly, who has put a lot of work into her Darwin and Botany block, and shared it all with us.  Let me start the day with a BANG !! 

Posted by: savayla | March 4, 2013


I am  well and truly back.  I left the blogging scene for many reasons and for no reason at all. A bit like life, where we often  make decisions but can’t really recall why.  Sometimes it is the right reason, sometimes not.  Cest La Vie !! 

I am slowly being drawn  back because writing is one of my passions, as well as sharing, whether it be a fantastic new recipe, or health rememdy that actually works, or just a glimpse into my crazy life.

When Savannah, my daughter, told me the other day, that 10 828 people had viewd my blog already, I was blown away.  I have only posted 95 times, so that ain’t bad.  I think I started it when we were living in Langkawi , Malaysia, so that would be 2010. 

I  have a lot to catch up on, a lot of recipes, homeschooling, natural healthy remedies, and my own opinions on current issues, which can often be contentious as I am definately not a PC person.  I say it like it is. 

That is enough for the beginning of a new journey.  I have kids to get up, breakfast to make, school to start.  What is happening today?  It is a lovely sunny, hot day, as has been for almost the entire summer.  Apart from one or two days of snow on the mountains during the middle of summer.  That is New Zealand for you !!  Actually, think I will post it somewhere else. 


Posted by: savayla | January 7, 2012

Gluten Free Rusks

Today I got all excited because I found a recipe for gluten free rusks.  I am quite good at reading recipes and determining the outcome of the meal, and have only been wrong a few times.  Well, rusks are in the oven drying out, look nothing like the photos from the blog where I got them, although they do taste nice.  In fact, dear  husband Kyle said that they looked like dried out dog poo when they have gone white.  Get the picture ???

I will end this post now, and let you know how it goes tomorrow, once they are all dried.


Added Comment.

I see that I have not commented on this post and my changes.   The rusks were awful !!  However, by simply adding baking powder to them, they were so delicious and even looked good too.


Here is the recipe


Remember to add baking powder, I think I added 1 teaspoon to every cup, and they will be delicious.  If you don’t add it, then it will look like white dog poo !!



Posted by: savayla | January 1, 2012

When do you change your life ?

Happy New Year to everyone.  Ha ha, makes me giggle saying that I as know of only 3 people who read my blog, the rest stumble upon it looking for information.  But that is no worries for me, this blog is not meant to be one that I try and get up there with the best of them.

For me, it  is about writing, getting it off my chest, leaving something behind for my kids.  Now that I have started my Facebook Timeline, that means there is quite a lot to leave behind for my kids.  Great !!!

This morning, after a refreshing skinny dip with my youngest in a freeezing cold pool, Kyle and I were discussing our life and this new year.  We both agreed, that although this year we had some amazing times, good times, it was definately one of the most shittiest in terms of stress.

Kyle said that he is so sick and tired of this life we are living and it is has only been one year.  I don’t think this as much, because I get to go out and experience more of this wonderful country we live in and the area, all the time.  He is generally stuck in his office.  Not a good place to be, even though it is at home. The rest of his off time is spent mowing the lawn (yawn ), building chicken coops and putting up fences.   I sometimes drag him kicking and screaming to one of our events , like the raft building on an island one the other day, and although he was the only dad, he thoroughly enjoyed himself and agreed he needs to get out more.

We both agreed, however, that we will give it one more year to make more money, and if that ain’t happening, if by the end of next year we are still leading the same old life, then we will make a huge change.  Knowing us, these are not empty words. We have never lived an ordinary life .  In our 22 years together we have lived as university students for 4 years, sailed across the indian ocean for a year, lived on a yacht for 3 years, backpacked with two toddlers for a year, lived on a wine farm for 6 months, lived on a Malaysian island for over a year, lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for 4 years, and so it goes.  I think it has been only 6 years of our lives together that we have lived ordinary lives (and we still moved house more than once a year ) but we were building up a business and raising babies, so didn’t notice it fly by in all its ordinariness.


So, when do you change your life ?  What is the straw that breaks the camels back ?  I know in South Africa, the first time we left, it was when we drove past a dead body on the verge near our house (100 metres to be exact ) and decided that that was that.   The second time we left, I had been reading the book Travels on my Elephant by Mark Shand and that made us go and live in South East Asia for 18 months.  So I am wondering what it will be this time.  Will it just be “ok, it is the end of the year so now we buy that housebus we have our eye on and lets go and live an alternative lifestyle ” , or will it be something much deeper, much weirder.


I cannot wait to find out.  But what I do know, is that for this year to be less ordinary, we have to make it so, and I have to drag Kyle out kicking and screaming more and more.  Listen for it.


Posted by: savayla | December 31, 2011

What is New Years all about ?

I am writing this not in the New Years spirit.  No big party with a festive atmosphere, fireworks or new year resolutions being bandied about like a new fad.  I am thinking what it is all about.  To me, it feels like just another day.  I got up, had to deal with the dogs having messed in the house, the cat meowing because it wanted me to carry it to its food, dishes to unpack, breakfast to make, a load of washing to do, and school for next year to prepare.

Perhaps if I knew I was having a party or going to a party, I would be feeling different ?  I don’t know.  Did go and get some movies, but that is not exactly a wow experience.  In fact, I find that good movies, those treasures that stick in your thoughts for years, are very hard to find nowadays.

They remind me too much of so many of those talk shows on TV, empty spaces filled by empty bubbleheads.  Of course, I have just discoved the Graham Norton show and think his is fantastic.  Perhaps because it is English ??  Wow, let the games begin.

The thing is, that I find New Years worse than birthdays (which I really do enjoy ) in terms of thinking of getting older.  For me, that big date changeover, that little number going from 1 to 2, rather quite harmless in other scenarious, is for me a huge big WAIT A MINUTE !!!!!  I HAVEN”T DONE EVERYTHING I SAID I WOULD LAST YEAR, GIVE ME JUST ONE CHANCE …. PLEASE ,…… 4 MORE MONTHS TO GET IT ALL RIGHT.

So that is where I am at the moment, as I sit here in front of a bright screen, a glass of rose next to my mouse, and my thoughts rambling on.

What have I achieved this year that I am proud of , no matter how small it is ?


  • Made my first Gouda cheese
  • Made my first halloumi cheese
  • Made my first paneer
  • Made my first farmhouse cheese
  • Finally got my yoghurt down pat, so that I get 2 litres and I don’t run out
  • Culled my first chickens (well, I held the legs ) and gutted, plucked and cooked it
  • Started dog training lessons with my pig dog
  • Stuck to my silly diet so that I am no longer in so much pain anymore
  • Started playing the piano again
  • Built our first gingerbread house
  • Spun and wove our own wool
  • Grew my own lettuces, potatoes, beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs
  • Made and perfected my pavlova, to the extent that I am known as the Pavlova queen
  • Cooked mussels that Ayal had collected from the rocks whilst camping


What have I not achieved that I wanted to or done that I was dissappointed in myself


  • Kept on a good exercise routine
  • Gone to the beach with the kids more often
  • Had more patience
  • Not been so quick to shout instead of calmly dealing with a situation (I am doing a hypnotherapy course for this🙂
  • Drank far too much wine
  • Played more board games with the girls
  • Not completed the art course we are doing at home
  • The dog training went down the drain due to whooping cough, my staf infection and rain.
  • Dogs not trained and I have taken their naughtiness very personally
  • Didn’t get through the girls multiplication like I wanted to and for some dumb reason this annoys me
  • Gone on a hike or tramp
  • Not started my ginger beer brew


As I write this I realise that most on this list is quite silly, actually.  In the greatest scheme of things, VERY SILLY.  But, I have decided to add to it when I remember.


Having purged myself, I now feel much better and am actually looking forward to the new year.



Posted by: savayla | December 30, 2011

Almond Meal Tart Base

This is a lovely tart base for when you are having a filling that is protein, or not !!!  It is gluten-free and yummy.  Came up with the recipe my self.  Don’t let it be too thick as it does rise a bit .

2 cups almond meal

1/4 cup dessicated coconut

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

pinch salt

1 egg, whisked

1 Tbs oil


  • Mix all together and press into a buttered dish, coming up the sides if you wish, using your fingers
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees celcius.

As easy as !!!!

Posted by: savayla | December 30, 2011

Almond Meal Pizza Crust

My husband makes pizzas at least 3 times a month.  He starts everything from scratch, the dough, the sauce, etc.  He makes a mean pizza.  And then there is me.  When I was just following a gluten-free diet it was easy, just make a gluten-free pizza base which is tasty and easy as.  But since my food combing days, I have been served my pizza on an egg omelette.  I kid you not.  It didn’t taste bad, but it sure didn’t taste right.

Sick of this all, I started roaming the internet , looking for some pizza sanity, and found it in the least expected place.  A group of body building guys who like to cut carbohydrates out of their diets but still want to eat pizza.  Yeah !!!  Thanks guys.  Due to this idea, I have taken almond meal and run with it, coming up with so many different recipes .


This is not mine, it is theirs.


2 cups almond flour (will make 2 pizzas )

2 eggs

1 cup grated cheese

dried herbs


1 Tbs olive oil


  • Mix all together
  • Put dough onto wax paper , another piece of wax paper on top, and roll out thinly.  Don’t do a thick crust, as it tends to be dry and stick in your throat.  Death by pizza !!
  • Bake for 15-20 mins at 180 degrees celcius.
Posted by: savayla | December 30, 2011

Almond Meal cheese muffins

These muffins are my bread, rice, potatoes …. my staple.  I eat them with stews, with butter and jam for breakfast, with my curries, etc etc.  They are my bread and I can’t do without them.  Before them, I was literally starving myself as I follow a gluten-free plus food combining diet.  Now I am a happy camper🙂

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups almond meal

4 tsp baking powder

2 Tbs fresh parsely, chopped fine

1 1/2 cups grated cheese (if you omit, then add some extra almond meal )

milk (Hmmm, not giving a quantity here as it all depends on the amount of almond meal you put in, and cheese )

1/2 cup cooked bacon, chopped fine (optional)

  • Beat egg, salt and oil
  • Mix almond meal, baking powder, cheese , bacon, and parsley
  • Add egg mix to almond mix
  • Add enough milk to give you a wet but still stiff texture, almost like thick porridge.
  • Mix all together lightly
  • Spoon into 12 muffin cases
  • Bake at 190 degrees celcius for 15-20 minutes
  • Turn out and cover with cloth till cool
  • I keep them in the fridge in a tupperware and take it out when needed

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