Project Lockdown: DIY Fun To Keep You Busy
No one needs to be bored during lockdown - we've got some easy and fun DIY recipes to keep you and the kids busy during this time.
Sprout Seeds And Watch Them Grow
If you aren’t doing it already, sprouting seeds is the perfect activity to get going during lockdown, plus it allows you to grow your own food!
From alfalfa to wheatgrass and everything in between, sprouted seeds are some of the healthiest additions you can make to your diet. Add them to salads, smoothies, sandwiches or just have a mouthful on their own.
We stock an entire range of seeds especially for sprouting, from trusted South African brand Umuthi Botanicals. All you need are the seeds, a glass jar with a wide opening and water.
Add the seeds to the jar and rinse a couple of times with cold water. Then cover the seeds with water, cover the jar opening with a cloth and elastic band and leave to soak overnight. Once soaked, pour off the water and allow air circulation. All you have to do then is ‘water’ your seeds 2-3 times a day for a few days by rinsing and draining (instructions are on the seed packet).
Once your seeds are sprouted and ready for eating, give them a final rinse and remove any hulls or seeds that didn’t sprout. Besides eating them, you can also transfer sprouted seeds to soil to grow into plants or to grow grass (eg. wheatgrass) for juicing purposes. You can also dehydrate the sprouts then grind them into a flour for use in baking.
If you are homeschooling your children during lockdown, you can also use this as a learning opportunity: teach or revise plant life cycles with younger children, or research topics such as nutrition or sustainability for the older kids.
Make Your Own Tahini
Growing up, tahini or sesame seed paste, was a luxury in the house, so my mom would scout out the loose sesame seeds from Fruit & Veg City and we would make our own. For those who don’t know what it is, tahini is a seed butter (like a nut butter but made from sesame seeds instead of nuts), and it is highly nutritious and delicious! Drizzle over French toast, add to porridge or smoothies or use it as a dip - the taste is fairly neutral so it can be used as a savoury or sweet condiment.
Making your own tahini can work out quite a lot cheaper than buying it, and it's a fun project for adults and kids alike.
I just add sesame seeds to the coffee grinder and grind until a paste forms and all the seeds are smushed, then drizzle in some sesame oil and some water, depending on the thickness you like. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can use a food processor or even try a normal blender. It will probably take a bit longer though. You can also lightly toast the seeds in a dry pan over low heat to bring out more flavour.
To make 250ml tahini you will need:
2 cups sesame seeds
5 T sesame oil
Water as needed (optional but I like to add in some)
If you like, lightly toast your sesame seeds before adding them to your food processor or coffee grinder. Then grind until a crumbly paste forms. Drizzle in half the sesame oil and blend, stopping to scrape down the sides. Then add in the rest of the oil, blend and check the consistency. Add in a tiny bit of water if required and blend till completely smooth and creamy. If you like you can add a touch of salt for taste but it isn’t necessary. You can store the tahini in the fridge for up to a month. Enjoy!
Baking is a relaxing and fun activity to get the kids involved in, and homemade chocolate will not disappoint! This is a healthier take on conventional sugar-filled chocolate and is an approved lockdown activity for kids of all ages, even the grown up ones ;) Head over to our Baking section for ingredients or click the links below.
What you need:
Cocoa butter - depending on how much you want to make, start with 2 chunks, finely grated (grating it makes it easier to melt). I tend to make multiple batches and then flavour each one differently.
3 T (heaped) cocoa powder - you may need a bit more if using more cocoa butter
A squeeze or two of honey, or for vegan or sugar free chocolate use erythritol or xylitol (take note that these sweeteners may melt differently or may change the texture and taste of the final product). Adjust the sweetness according to your taste.
Coffee - use coffee bean oil and sprinkle some coffee beans over the top for decoration
Peppermint - peppermint essential oil
Orange - sweet orange essential oil ; add in orange peel too
Nutty - add in nuts such as cashews, almonds and hazelnuts
Peanut butter - blend in a dollop of your favourite peanut butter
Coconut- if you enjoy a coconut flavour, try substituting some of the cocoa butter for delicous coconut oil, and add in some flaked or desiccated coconut
Cayenne pepper for a bit of spice
Cacao nibs sprinkled on top
Dried fruit - goji berries, raisins, cranberries
Biscuit - add in some crushed shortbread biscuit pieces
Dried strawberry or raspberry bits make for a stunning presentation when sprinkled over the top.
Gently melt the grated cocoa butter in a bowl over steaming water. Use a whisk to ensure everything is melted and smooth then blend in your honey if using, and the cacao powder. Lastly, add in your desired flavourings and whisk well. Pour the chocolate batter into molds, sprinkle on your desired toppings and leave to set in the fridge for an hour. Pop the chocolates out of the molds when set and place in a box with tissue paper for a pretty presentation.
You can also make chocolate ‘bark’ slabs by lining a shallow dish or baking tray with wax paper then pouring the chocolate batter over. Spread it out evenly then decorate with nuts, dried fruit, cacao nibs, coconut or whichever toppings you prefer. Leave to set then break up into smaller pieces.
Store your chocolate in the fridge or in a tupperware in a cool place.
Stepping away from the kitchen...
Play Around With Making Different Hand Creams
Regular hand washing and disinfecting can lead to dry skin and not-so-soft hands due to our natural oils being constantly stripped away.
Use our lovely cream bases and add your own extra ingredients to customise special creams for gran, mom and the neighbors. Leaving little hand cream gifts on the neighbor’s doorstep or giving to the hard working ladies at the shop tills will definitely be appreciated.
You can use the cream base on its own or simply add in different essential oil, but if you really want to jazz it up and make it ultra moisturising, try these additions:
500ml cream base
1 T shea butter or cocoa butter
1/2 T coconut oil
1 - 2 drops natural vitamin E
2 T carrier oil of your choice (apricot and almond absorb easily into the skin, whilst rosehip or tamanu oil provide intense moisture and healing effects)
5 - 10 drops essential oil(s) of your choice
Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in a pot on a low heat and then remove from the heat. Add the vitamin E, carrier and essential oils and whisk in the cream base (whisking increases the ‘fluffiness’ of the lotion). Once fully combined, decant your mixture into a glass jar and use as needed.
Try adding your own ingredients to other bases too - we have body lotion, shampoo and conditioner bases that are all waiting to be experimented with! The kids will love making their own body products too.
For more DIY inspiration during lockdown, check out our For Kids series of blogs or have a pamper day with fabulous recipes from our Face Care Series.
SHOP THE TOP INGREDIENTS: sprouting seeds, cocoa butter, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and everything from the Baking section.