Saturday, 29 November 2008

Pick a Cake

Warning - not necessarily healthy, not necessarily sustainable, but ....

I was just sent an email with all of these links to cake recipes for the festive season. Thought you might be interested.

'Night Before Christmas' Coffee Cake
'Real New York Style' Cheesecake Supreme
A Cake That's Fit For A Queen
Amaretto Italian Sour Cream Cake
Amazing Tropical Fruit Cake
Apple and Nut Cake
Apple Cake
Apple Cake
Apple Sauce Cake
Applesauce Fruitcake
Apricot Nectar Pound Cake
Baby Cheescakes Baby Cheesecakes
Barron Family Cheesecake
Baumtorte (Tree Cake)
Becky's Pumpkin Cupcakes
Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake
Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake
Broken Angel Cake With Chocolate Chips
Candied Fruit Cake
Carmel Coffee Cake
Carrot Cake with Hot Glaze
Carrot-Pineapple Cake
Cherry Cake
Cherry Cake Sauce
Cherry Cheesecake Cups
Cherry-Pineapple Dump Cake
Chocolate Angel Food
Chocolate Browny Cake
Chocolate Chip Muffins
Chocolate Cookie Sheet Cake
Chocolat e Éclair Cake
Chocolate Ice Box Dessert
Chocolate Logs
Chocolate Lovers Heaven Triple Threat Chocolate Di
Chocolate Sheet Cake
Chocolate welington fudge pudding
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cake
Christmas Cake
Christmas choclate cake
Christmas Mixed Glace Fruit Loaf
Christmas-Comes-But-Once-A-Year-Chocolate Cake
Cinnamon Morning Delight
Coca-Cola Cake
Coconut Cake
Cookie Pizza
Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Cream Puff Cake
Creamy Chocolate Cupcakes
Creamy Chocolate Layered Cake
Decadent Chocolate Cake
Decadent Fudge Cake
Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
Dream Cake
Dreamcicle Cake
Drizzle Cake
Earthquake Cake
Easy Cocoa Snack Cake
Easy Coconut Cake
Éclair Cake
Edie Ching's Cherry Cheesecake
Eggnog Cake
Extra Moist Coconut Cakes
Festive Pumpkin Gingerbread
Flower Garden Cake
Fruit Cake
Fruit Cocktail Cake
German Chocolate Upside-Down Cake
Golden Bacardi Rum Cake
Gooey Butter Cake
Gum drop cake
Heavenly Pecan Cake
Hedge Hog Cake
Holiday Cake
Holiday Poke Cake
Holiday Rum Cake
Honey Bun Cake
Honey Cake
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
Hummingbird Cake
Ice-Cream Chocolate Roll
Jewish Apple Cake
Johnny Appleseed Cake
Lemon Cake
Lemon Poppyseed Cakes
Lemon Pound Cake
Linda's Yule Log
Mama's Homemade Banana Cake
Mandy's Cake
Microwave Scottish Pudding
Mini Fruitcakes
Miniature Cheesecakes
Mississippi Fudge Cake
Mississippi Mud
Mock Lemon Meringue Cake
Neiman Marcus Cake
No Bake Fruit Cake
Norwegian Gold Cake
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake
Old Fashion Pound Cake
Old Fashioned Light Fruitcake
Orange Date-Nut Cake
Orange Slice Cake
Oreo Cheesecake
Peanut-Topped Devil's Food
Pecan Icing
Pennsylvania Dutch Pastry
Pineapple Heaven
Plum-Nut Cake
Pound Cake Pound Cake
Pumpkin Cake Roll
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin log
Pumpkin Nut Roll
Pumpkin Pie Cake
Pumpkin Roll
Queen's Cake
Reese`s white cake
Reese's Brownie Cupcakes
Refrigerator Chocolate Cheesecake
Russian Tea Cakes
Russian Teacakes


love and light

Friday, 28 November 2008

Green Meme #1

Well, I've been "green memed" by Em.

Here's the low down:
1. Link to Green Meme Bloggers
2. Link to whoever tagged you
3. Include meme number
4. Include these guidelines in your post
5. Answer questions (that bit's quite important)
6. Tag 3 other green bloggers.

1) Name two motivations for being green?
I'd like to leave the planet in a better state, for future generations.
Nature can show us so much and is our greatest learning, so why destroy it? It just doesn't make sense.

2) Name 2 eco-UNfriendly items you refuse to give up?
I doubt there's anything I'd refuse to give up if push came to shove. Chocolate would have to be high on the list, though, as would bananas and other tropical fruits that don't grow here.

3) Are you at peace with or do you feel guilty about number 2?
Guilty about chocolate?! :) Pretty much at peace with it, but if things became more dire, I wouldn't be.

4) What are you willing to change but feel unable to/stuck with/unsure how to go about it?
I'd willingly go vego again, but the rest of my household are hard to convince. I could also go without the car mostly, but my partner needs it in order to see his children and I must admit it is easier when getting supplies. Electricity makes things pretty convenient, too - we try to minimise our usage, but it would be hard to go without - especially if I wanted to keep blogging!

5) Do you know your carbon footprint for your home? If so, is it larger/smaller than your national average? (
I think ours is about half the national average (it's a little while since I've done the calcs).

6) What's eco-frustrating and/or eco-fantastic about where you live?
Our biggest eco-frustration would have to be waste - not ours, but from some of our neighbours. We are putting our rubbish bin out only a couple of times a month now and it's not usually full even then (average waste going to landfill from our house is one-two small bags each week). BUT some of our neighbours then add extra stuff to our bin - things that could easily be composted or recycled. Very frustrating!!!
Eco-fantastic is that we can catch a bus within two minutes walking of our house. It's a great way to get to work and the car then gets to stay home. Also, and this would have to be the best part, we have a reasonable sized back yard for growing food and housing bees (and hopefully chooks one day when we get their house built). And I loooove our solar hot water system!

7) Do you eat local/organic/vegetarian/forage/grow your own?
Try to grow as much of our own as possible, but need to get better at continuous planting, so harvest is continuous. We also go to local farmer's markets and certainly try to buy organic food. But sometimes, when things are super busy, we do our whole shop at the supermarket, although usually that's only for cleansers and cat food and such like.

8) What do you personally find the most challenging in being green?
Not having enough time to do all I would like to, eg, making things from scratch, keeping the garden in better condition. Also, the whole wasteful feminine hygiene thing.

9) Do you have a green confession?
Once every few months, we get plastic bags when we shop, rather than using our cloth bags. Rationale: to put our rubbish in them!

10) Do you have the support of family and/or friends?
Mostly yes. My partner and the children are walking with me, as are some of my friends and broader family. But I think that some of the others consider me to be slightly nuts and making life harder for myself than it needs to be. And I'm OK with that.

To tag or not to tag?
I know lots of people don't like tags, so I'm reluctant to do so. So, if you read this post and you'd like to join in the fun, consider yourself tagged and visit green meme bloggers.

love and light

Woohoo! Exams are over!

My last exam for the year was yesterday, so now I can get back to a normalish life for a couple of months.

Yesterday afternoon, I walked out into the front garden and took a couple of snaps - a Silky Oak flower and one of "our" honey bees in the lavender. Bees are tricky little creatures to photograph - puts me in awe of Cheryl's gorgeous photos.

Now I've got a little more time, there's a few posts I'd like to do. Look out for posts on herbal tinctures, oils and oitments, as well as tips on bottling and how to make glace fruit for Christmas.

love and light

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Bee Update

I opened up the bee hive on Friday morning to have a look at the bees. They are still there doing their thing, with a couple of frames starting to look pretty full.

Because the hive is new, these will probably be brood cells (I didn't take the frames out for a closer inspection), so hopefully we'll have some more baby bees soon.

love and light

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Oat Harvest

The oats I planted back in autumn were finally ready for harvest. Last Sunday there was no well-muscled, bare-chested, god-like young man wielding a scythe available (as if!), so a chubby woman in her mid-forties attacked the oat patch with a pair of kitchen snips LOL! Well, it was only a small patch . . .

The result was a couple of boxes full of oat sheaves (as pictured). The oats are hanging upside down for the moment and in a couple of weeks when my exams are over, I'll set about threshing them to extract the grain. Not quite sure how as yet, but it should be good post-exam therapy.

After the harvest, I dug over the patch, putting the residue of the stalks onto the potato patch in the next bed - instant mulch! Interestingly, the roots on the oat stalks were only about 4cm (1.5") long (maximum), so oats are obviously very shallow rooted. The soil in the bed where the oats grew was quite fine and looked somewhat depleted, so I dug in some cow manure.

The patch now has some "seedless" watermelon seeds in it. We saved them from a watermelon we purchased and they were plump and brown, so looked to be fertile. Does anyone know whether these will grow? I thought I'd give them a couple of weeks and if they don't sprout, I'll plant something else there - maybe some other watermelon seeds.

love and light

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Money Can't Buy Me Love . . .

. . . but it did buy me my new favourite gadget - a pasta machine.

Confession: I went to buy some groceries yesterday, but before entering the supermarket, I popped into the little shop that sells brewing supplies and lots of interesting bits and pieces. I thought I would just ask if they had a pasta machine and see how much it cost (you know, reconnaissance for future purchase). I almost walked out of the shop without it, but it kept calling me back - so I lashed out and bought it.

It is an Imperia pasta machine that makes lasagne, fettucine and tagliatelli. You can also get other attachments to do gnocchi (but I generally make these by hand) and one for ravioli, as well as a motor attachment. I wanted a hand worked one, so I don't think the motor is on future shopping lists, but the ravioli maker looks pretty good and could be in danger.

The reason I bought a pasta machine is that we mostly don't eat wheat (my darling man and I both seem to react to it if we eat too much). Consequently, we buy gluten-free pasta. These pastas tend to be very refined and I would prefer we eat whole-grain pasta, hence the machine.

Of course, as soon as I got home, we had to make some fresh pasta. The kids joined in and had a good time. They even made meatballs to go with it. Here's our raw fettucine before we cooked it.

For our first attempt we used a 50/50 mix of Orgran gluten-free all purpose flour and FG Roberts gluten-free plain flour. We added the eggs as instructed (plus one more) and a little water. It all held together during cooking and was truly delicious. In the future, I'm going to try buckwheat and oatmeal and such like, but for the first attempt we thought it best to stick with a fairly refined flour. The end result was very yummy and definitely superior to shop-bought pasta. I'm now dreaming of canneloni and lasagne and wonton wraps, etc, etc.

love and light

Saturday, 15 November 2008


In the sidebar, under the moon gardening, I've started recording the rainfall we receive.

love and light

Pea Harvest and Other Garden Things

Last weekend, we harvested quite a few peas - both shelling and snow peas. Here is a photo of the harvest.

Clockwise from top left, they are:

Yakumo Giant Snowpeas (tender, juicy and sweet even when 12cm long)
Greenfeast peas (shelling)
Red Flowering Pea (these turned out to have the purplish bi-coloured flowers common to snow peas, but they are a dwarf variety rather than a climbing pea)

I'm not sure that the photo shows off the quantity that well, but there were enough to eat fresh as well as plenty to freeze. I've never frozen snow peas before, but they seem OK so far. The snow peas and red flowering peas are both still producing and I've left the last few pods on the shelling peas go so we'll get some seed for next year.

Now to foam boxes - last weekend on Gardening Australia they showed ways to re-use common items in the garden. One of these was styrofoam boxes, which you can usually pick up for free from your local markets or greengrocer as they can only be used once before being thrown away. So, I went to the markets and picked up some boxes, figuring I could use them to raise seedlings, etc.

After planting up the boxes, a discussion with the Crone revealed that we shouldn't really be using these in our gardens because of the fumes they emit. Looking on the web, I found a site called Non-Toxic Life, which had this to say about polystyrene:

NEVER use Styrofoam cups, especially for hot drinks. Polystyrene, #6 PS, is usually found in foam containers and cups may leach styrene. Styrene, considered a possible human carcinogen, may also disrupt hormones or affect reproduction.

*SIGH* I thought I might be doing something to help the environment by re-using a product which is otherwise disposed of after a single use. Now it turns out it may not be such a good idea. But what I'm thinking is this - the boxes are not getting really hot like they would if filled with boiling water and if I take the seedlings out when they are large enough and plant them out into open ground, the likelihood of them having loaded up with much toxin is pretty low. After they grow on and produce food, the amount of toxin should be extremely low and the food will still be heaps safer and less toxic than the commonly available fruit and veges. Then the boxes go!

Sometimes I have to agree with Kermit the Frog - it's not easy being green! But all things considered, I'd rather be green than not.

love and light

Monday, 10 November 2008

Back to Basics Challenge Update (a little late)

I should have posted last Thursday; thought I'd do it Friday night; had an almost computer free weekend, so it's Monday and I'm just posting this.

1. Sowing seed or Planting
Squash and Zucchini - various; Rockmelon - Hearts of Gold; Beans - Giant of Stuttgart, Purple King; Fig - Preston's Prolific; Grapes - Black Muscat, Pink Iona and 2 I can't remember; Nasturtium; Sweet Corn - Sweet White; Cucumbers - Orbrad's; Cape Gooseberry - Golden Nugget; Ground Cherry - Aunt Molly's; Blueberry seeds (wonder if they'll sprout??)

2. Planning for The Future - meal planning, the next seasons garden plan, working out storage plans or more long term goals and projects like plans for digging root cellars
I've sorted my seeds (at last!!) and have worked out just how much straw/hay I'm going to need for my mulching (hoping to put this off till the end of the month, when it'll be cheaper). Also started work on a mortgage-reduction plan.

3. Working for the Future - storing food, managing stores, preserving, building that home made cob or solar oven, adding house insulation, saving for manual grain mills etc
Vacuum-sealed and froze shelled peas, snow peas and asparagus on the weekend. Am delighted to have excess this early in the season. We've also constructed a pair of heavy trellises for the grapes, with the usual wires on one side and wire netting on the other side for climbing beans or peas.

4. Building Community - volunteering, donations, joining an existing community group, forming your own community group, taking a cake to a friend having a hard time, calling someone you just let drift out of your life, etc
Have received my Climate Connectors information pack and viewed the video; need to find audiences for that now and to start discussions about grass-roots projects people can undertake to help stop / reverse climate change.
Have planted up some foam boxes (more about these later) with seeds for friends for when they move house in a few weeks.

5. Learning a new Skill
Ummmm - does studying for exams count???

That's my update for now. Will do another post, hopefully in a couple of days, about the pea harvest and foam boxes.

love and light

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Garden People

The other day I planted some cucumber seeds. These seeds came from my elderly neighbour who passed away a couple of years ago. So, I call the cucumbers Orbrad's cucumbers, after him. I'm not sure of the exact variety, but they are good sized green cucumbers which are quite tasty.

What I like about them most is their association with a kind old gentleman who was a fellow gardener. He produced the most magnificent tomatoes each year and tenderly kept his garden in pristine condition. A couple of times I came out the back door to find him hastily zipping up his trousers after fertilising his lemon tree (chuckle!). His fig tree is one of the very best I've seen in Canberra. Although he could hardly speak English, we'd have great conversations about our gardens over the fence. So, every time I plant these cucumbers, I remember him.

Last season, I was lucky enough to find yellow egg tomatoes growing in my garden. They reminded me of my Pop, who used to grow them when I was a child. One of my fond childhood memories was visiting my grandfather and walking down the back to pick and eat these yellow tomatoes.

Some of the tools I use in the garden once belonged to my father and also to his father. The same goes for some of my gardening and self-sufficiency books. And when there's something a bit tricky to do and I'm having trouble with it, I ask Dad for help and things go smoother.

Then there's the plants given to me by various friends over the years - the tiny loquat seedling, no more than a twig with two leaves, rescued from the Crone's garden before she left for warmer climes is thriving and ready to be planted in the open ground. Her daughter's birthday rose is in the front garden and still going well - see pic.

And there's other treasures, like the Goji cutting another friend gave me last year, which came from her uncle's garden. Or the bees, which remind me of some of my blogging friends.

The point of all this is that my garden is more to me than a producer of food and flowers. It's also a place of lovely memories and lots of garden friends. I hope yours is too.

love and light


Well, I've just been given two awards - I'm very humbled.

The first one is from flmom who has a lovely blog about her journey to a more sustainable life.

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.
The rules are:
1. Accept the award and post it on your blog along with a link to the person who has awarded you.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

The second one is from Molly who is a fantastically politically aware blogger who provides us with lots of well-researched information.

The rules are:
Put the award logo on your blog or post (right click on award, save as).
Nominate at least 1 blog that you consider to be Uber Amazing!
Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog. Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.

Many of you have already justifiably received these awards, so please don't be offended if I don't award you again. Soooo, I choose to award (with both the awards):

Daughter of the Soil

My Wildlife Sanctuary


The Dance of Small Things

Towards Sustainability

Feel free to pass on (or not) as you wish.

love and light