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Upcycle your own Mini Terrarium

By Greta

If you've got a ton of  plastic and glass jars like I do, but are running out of things to do with them, then look no further! This simple and absolutely gorgeous upcycled mini terrarium project will bring natural living beauty into your home or workspace.

The project can be made as an open or closed terrarium. If you're opting for a closed terrarium, ensure you leave 5-7cm room for your plants and the lid to be closed.

For open terrariums, consider reusing the jar lid as a cup coaster, snack dish, or a resting place for your spoons/spatulas when you cook.



  • A cleaned pre-loved jar.
  • 10-20 small stones approx. 2cm in size.
  • 1-3 small indoor plants/succulents (think small enough to fit into your preferred jar).
  • Potting mix
  • 1-3 decorative ornaments of your choice
  • A thin and pointy object (skewer, toothpick, pointy pencil etc) for making a 'well' for your plants


  • Small shovel/spoon for scooping potting mix
  • Spray bottle with water


  1. Depending on what look you're going for, remove and clean the label from your jar.
  2. Place stones in the jar to create the water draining layer.
  3. Using your shovel/spoon, heap on potting mix for your second layer. For open terrariums, leave 2cm room on top. For an enclosed terrarium, leave a 5-7cm breathing space for your plants and the lid to be closed.
  4. Using your thin and pointy object (I use a skewer), make a small well approx. 1cm deep, and spaced approx. 3cm from your other plants.
  5. Plant your plants into the well and cover.
  6. Decoration time! Place extra garden stones around the plants, and ornaments of your liking (I use crystal quartz) around the edges of the jar.
  7. Lightly spray your terrarium to moisten, ensuring it doesn't get overwatered. You don't want the water to pool at the bottom of the jar.
  8. Maintain your terrarium. For open terrariums, spray once a week. For closed terrariums, spray once a month. It's best to place your terrarium away from direct sunlight.

There you have it. your very own unique, upcycled mini terrarium. A mini-ecosystem that will thrive for years to come bringing beauty and Zen to your living space.

If you make this project, please tag #alfalfahouse on Instagram so we can see your work and feature it!

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Homemade Oat Mylk Recipe

Make the switch from packaged oat mylk to a more cost effective, plastic reducing natural alternative. This quick and simple recipe is just the thing!

Homemade oat mylk is not only inexpensive, but also requires no soaking and saves lots of time. Remember to always use certified organic rolled oats. Commercial oats contain high levels of glyphosate, a commonly used herbicide in farming. Glyphosate has been shown to disrupt healthy gut bacteria (an underlying factor in many chronic illnesses) is toxic to aquatic life, and may heighten cancer risks. At Alfalfa House, we stock certified organic locally grown rolled oats.

Enjoy this quick and easy homemade mylk recipe below. Use it in your coffee or porridge bowls this winter. During the warmer months, use this mylk as a base to make chia puddings or smoothies.

Homemade Oat Mylk Recipe

Quick and easy homemade oat mylk recipe. This creamy mylk is made with whole ingredients, and is vegan and vegetarian. Use in smoothies, coffee, porridge and bakes

  • Strainer or cheesecloth
  • Spatula or spoon for straining (if you're using a strainer)
  • Blender
  • Jug
  • Glass bottle
  • 80 grams rolled oats
  • 2 cups icy water ((room temperature water will produce thick and slimy mylk))
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)
  1. Add the oats, icy water, and any additional flavourings into the blender. Blend for 20-30 seconds (blending it for too long can warm up the mylk making it slightly thick(unless that's what you're going for).

  2. Pour the blended mixture through a strainer or cheesecloth over a jug.  If you're using a strainer, use your spatula or spoon to stir and flatten the mixture into the strainer to really juice it out. An optional step is double straining the mixture to ensure all the oat sediment is removed.

  3. Transfer your delicious oat mylk into a glass bottle and store in the fridge.

  4. Enjoy!

Oat Milk, recipes
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Winter Warmer – Spinach Dal Recipe

Winter has arrived. Despite the cold weather and short days, there is a lot to look forward to in terms of cooking and winter recipes. It is the time for soups and stews, fragrant curries and pies, rich chutneys and cheeses. We could go on, but for now we will leave you with this easy spinach dal recipe. This dal is vegan-friendly, high on flavour and packed with fibre + proteins leaving you feeling full for longer. Serve it with some Basmati (or any long grain) rice and a dollop of yogurt for a complete meal.

Lentils To Choose From

There are a variety of lentils available to choose from. This spinach dal recipe uses “split” red or yellow lentils. Yellow Mung dal lentils are the best as they cook the fastest and are the easiest to digest. Because of their split nature these yellow/red lentils cook quickly and turn soft. These lentils are best for curries, stews and dal recipes like this one.

Further we found a cool infographic with quick tips on cooking lentils, nutrition facts and ways you can incorporate more lentils in your diet. Enjoy!

Source: Blog

Sourcing Lentils & other Ingredients at Alfalfa House

Alfalfa House stocks all the ingredients for making this wholesome flavourful dal i.e. lentils, cumin seeds, turmeric powder and fresh spinach( Order our weekly veg box here).

Using dried lentils vs the canned variety makes a huge difference. We have access to a wide variety of dried lentils in our very own Alfalfa House. Buying a bag of red lentils won’t break the bank, will be good for your body and the planet. So whatever your reason for including lentils in your diet, we hope you enjoy cooking these as much as we do!

If you do make this spinach dal, please share your photos and tag us on Alfalfa House Instagram. We would love to see your creations 🙂

Types of mung bean lentils
Featured above : Split Yellow Mung, Yellow Mung, Whole Green Mung

Spinach Dal (Lentil) Recipe

A  recipe for a quick and easy vegetarian gluten-free spinach and lentil dal. This is great as a light meal or can be served as a side. Use coconut oil instead of ghee to make it vegan. The soup uses yellow mung/moong bean , but you can substitute any other lentils on hand like red lentils, green mung, split peas

  • 1 cup yellow mung bean lentils
  • 120 g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 small tomato (finely diced)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 knob ginger (grated, thumb sized piece)
  • 1 medium green chilli  (chopped)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp ghee (or virgin unrefined coconut oil for vegan version)
  • 1/2 small small lemon (juiced)
  1. In a deep sauce pan, boil the mung bean lentils with water. Keep cooking for about 20 minutes until the lentils turn soft and mushy. Alternatively use a pressure cooker to quickly cook them in about 10 min.

  2. Once lentils are cooked, begin the tempering process. In another sauce pan heat ghee and cumin seeds. Allow them to sizzle.

  3. Next add in the chopped green chilli, garlic and onion in that order. Sauté until the onions turn translucent.

  4. Add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder. Then add in the chopped tomatoes and chopped ginger. Sauté for a few minutes until the tomatoes are cooked through and turn mushy.

  5. Next add the boiled lentils and baby spinach. Mix well.

  6. Add boiling water to bring to the thickness of soup / stew you desire.

  7. Bring to a boil for a few minutes. Then pour the soup in bowls and squeeze over the lemon juice.

Making it Vegan: Use coconut oil instead of ghee to make it vegan

Main Course, Soup
dal, lentils, spinach, turmeric

Recipe Contributor : Adity Kaushal, (Volunteer and Member at Alfalfa House Co-op , Newtown)

She also writes all about vegetarian, healthy plant-based recipes over at the urbanfoodlover website

Or follow along her Foodie journey for more recipes and Inspo over on Instagram @urbanfoodlover

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Meet Freya Haywood Coyle, shop co-ordinator

Interviewed by Caroline Brakewell

I’ve been part of the Alfalfa team since last November and I love it.

You can find farmer direct produce that's also biodynamic or organic and an important, safe space community for people with similar principles to gather together and work as a team.

I love our community notice board. There's a wide variety of organisations and events that are run and created by our members all on display as you walk into the shop. It's a great way to get involved with the community.

As a not-for-profit, the co-op's purpose is to give back to the community. That's something that’s earned my support. I've learnt so much from being part of Alfalfa House. It's clear, people can achieve so much when they come together.

I am studying Horticulture, and focusing on conservation and bush regeneration. This aligns perfectly with what we do here. The co-op has an ethical and sustainable approach to sourcing the right produce. Alfalfa House promotes a zero-waste lifestyle that looks after the environment.

The shopping experience at Alfalfa House is different.  As a community, we all work to find the best zero-waste, ethical produce and groceries available. We encourage customers to reuse their old jars and containers and we stock things you can't find in your average supermarket. We sell in bulk, so you can buy as much/as little as you want!

My hope for the future is a zero-waste planet, with thriving fauna and flora environments.

Freya has a beautiful kelpie dog but loves all animals equally!

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Meet Phil Lavers, owner of Moonacres Farms

Interview by Jennifer Saminathen

“Food is part of the planet – you’re going to put it in your mouth and eat it. You can do it in a way that honours life, or just takes from the planet.”

What’s your name, and your role in the farm?

  • Phil: farm owner and hands-on manager.

How would you describe Moonacres?

  • 150 Acres, 2 main growing areas, 1,800 fruit trees, verdant, high rainfall area, year-round farming – the soil is some of the best in the country. The farm brings me a lot of pleasure, the work is outdoors and varied. I enjoy seeing the kale healthy and alive!
  • It’s also, very spiritual – you’re working with a living thing, that’s frail and delicate. Humans incorrectly assume they can control nature – if they can’t, they often destroy it. You have to let go, and be an accepting participant in this amazing process that we’re all part of. I recognize my limitations and want to work WITH nature. What’s not spiritual about that? It’s just beautiful.

What is the most important thing about what you do?

  • I’m looking after the soil. With agricultural industrialisation after WWII and widespread conventional farming, globally, soil has been neglected and degraded. Soil IS a living thing, and we must look after it, because if we don’t it won’t feed us anymore. I have been entrusted with the care of the soil, and am looking after it on the community’s behalf. Working with something that is alive, like soil, is rewarding – spiritually, physically, and intellectually. What a great job!

Why do you partner Alfalfa House? (We whole-heartedly appreciate this!)

  • I was an Alfalfa House member in 1986, and I’m honoured to be on the Alfalfa team. Lots of Inner West people know what good produce tastes like. When you eat food that is naturally and properly grown, your life can change. Being connected to real food, brings a level of aliveness – you become clearer. Alfalfa House has been a good customer for us, it allows connection to the soil.

One of the core pillars for Alfalfa House is sustainability – we try to reduce our environmental impact through our practices and supply chains. How does Moonacres approach sustainability on the farm?

  • I’m insane about sustainability. Moonacres is organically certified and ferociously looking after its soil. We’re working on a project called Farming the Sun. The goal is to get the farm solar independent, create a virtual battery, and share energy with each other. Energy reticulation will also run our café.

Describe the Soil Project.

  • Soil is a living, breathing, biologically active membrane on the surface of the planet, which provides us with nearly all of our terrestrial food, not just chemical nutrients. It’s actually a LIVING thing, a whole cosmos of life we know very little about. What we put into it affects how alive it is. I want to learn how to grow better food. The aim of the project is to keep the microorganisms, the living system healthy.

What is the one thing you want people to know?

  • Life depends on healthy soil. Picture what I call the upside-down food pyramid of doom, with its point is pushing into the soil. Shops and markets are at the top, with the combined weight of our unsustainable society squeezing down on farmers, and crushing the life out of the soil at the bottom. Consumer choices at the top of the pyramid either support sustainable farming, or contribute to the pyramid of doom, are they are made every time you shop. Food is part of the planet – you’re going to put it in your mouth and eat it. You can do it in a way that honours life, or just takes from the planet.
  • I’m asking you to make a wise choice: help me and help the soil. Because when you do, you lift a tiny bit of weight off the pyramid of doom, and if we do that, we will be healthier, and so will our planet.

When you shop, be grateful you have an opportunity to commune with the planet. People can make a difference, and create a food pyramid of joy instead.

Rapid fire questions

  1. Sustainability = joy
  2. Food = life
  3. Change = what you make it

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