Monday, August 30, 2010

It's funny really - God always knows

I work part time in our church office and one of the many things I do is type up the birthdays and wedding anniversary's for the last week. I pop this list in a little basket along with chocolates, pass it on cards and little stickers or bookmarks for the children.
On Sunday mornings at the beginning of each service the names are called out and if you are there you go forward for a chocolate and one of the other things you can choose and you are prayed for.

Last week was our wedding anniversary, but I had forgotten by the time I got to church this week and was in no hurry to go in and sit down as I had wanted to catch up with the 'greeters' on this week.
The Vicar called me in saying that of all the 6 people on the list I was the only one there.
In my hurry to put my basket down at a seat and go forward I just grabbed a choccy and card un-be-known that it was one I had put in for the men, as most cards have flowers or butterflies on them.
This one had a male runner/athlete on it and I was going to pop it back and get another but the vicar said "No, that's the one you choose".

The words were:
Never, never quit.
That caused a little giggle around the church as those who know me, know of the things that my hubby and I have faced and been through over the years.

It was like God knew I needed this card even to the point of the vicar not letting me change it before we knew what it said.

The words "Never, never quit" are from part of a famous speech Winston Churchill said:

“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense”

He was a man who suffered from depression so he also knew what hard times were like.


The piece of scripture was from
Philippians 3:13-14

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

It is a reminder that in all things God is in control, so never never forget.

God made certain promises to Moses’ forefathers hundreds of years earlier, and then it was Moses’ time to take his place in the plan of God. Accepting that you’re a small link in a big chain can be humbling, but once Moses understood it he was able to connect with and focus on something bigger than himself.
So he never gave up even though he didn't get to see the end when the Israelites entered the promised land

Sunday, August 29, 2010

God’s Word

For the last few weeks our Vicar has been preaching on reading the Bible (the Word of God) and how to be walking in the influence of God’s Spirit, we need to know and hear the Word of God to know whether it is the truth. Not just little bits with a daily study reading but hunks (not a bag of chips but a whole meal).

I picked up an old daily reading and the message was the same.

Feed on God’s Word Each Day
Saturday, 1 May 2010
You’ll die spiritually if you don’t feed yourself on God’s Word each day!

Jeremiah 15:16
16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.

Today’s message at church was about setting up a ‘standard’. We were challenged among other things to make a stand for God. In 2 Chronicles 20: 15 and 17 we read that the people of Israel were told not to be afraid. God would fight their battle.

2 Chronicles 20:15-17
15 He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "
2 Chronicles 20:29-30
29 The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

And why did God do this? (29 +30)
Because they choose to seek help from God.

2 Chronicles 20:4-9 
4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 'If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.'

Our Vicar shared Isaiah 59 and in verse 17 it says

17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak
He reminded us that for Jesus he had zeal for God’s house, when he overturned the money changers tables in the temple.

John 2:17
17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."

I felt a desire to go back to my bible study in a deeper way. The word of God is a lamp to show us the way.

Psalm 119:105
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

I have cleared out the mess in what I call the quiet room of our house. Here I can sit in the sun if it is shinning. I can see the plum tree and have the door or windows open to hear God’s creation. I am not distracted by other goings on and just rest in the comfort of God and read.

All scripture is from (New International Version)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Peach Crisp

This is a simple recipe that is great to pop into the oven while it is still hot from a roast or casserole and is a nice warming type pudding. I love it with whipped cream but it really is just as nice without.

During the cooking the topping sort of forms a thin custard with the juice, hence the reason not to put too much juice in.

1 and ½ 410gr (approx) cans of peaches
(different brands have different weights)
25gr butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup coconut
1 ½ cups cornflakes

Drain the peaches (reserving the liquid) and place peaches in an oven proof dish.
Add enough juice to come up to half the level of the fruit.
Heat the butter until just melted and add the sugar, egg and vanilla.
Beat well to combine with a whisk or hand beater.
Stir in coconut and cornflakes.
Add a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Pile on top of fruit and bake for 30 minutes at 180ºC or until lightly golden.
Serve warm or cold.
Left over juice (about 1 or 2 tablespoons) can be slowly added to cream and whipped to serve or freeze juice to add to other recipes or as ice-cubes for drinks.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Today we had a funeral at church. I knew of the gentleman and his family as they live in our town but I didn't have a lot to do with the family.
Over the years I have administrated at a few funerals here but this was the first one that had a flower arrangement as well as the arrangement on the casket.

A local lady did it and it was just so beautiful I had to take a photo.

To get an idea of the size here is another shot taken further back in the church.
There were over 260 people there and some had to stand outside.

My job is to liaise with the funeral director, the family, vicar, caterer and any other people, i.e. the florist, and also organise a pianist and sound person, all before the day.
Then I have to have the pews moved so that the casket can be carried in and out with people either side and extra seating bought in and set up.

I have people I can call on to help but it is a very long day and today I also had to get my normal Friday jobs done as well. I hardly sat down but at the end of it all when everyone had gone I sat and took in the beautiful  display of flowers again and pondered the "meaning of life" and the wonders of God's creation.
Some would say the flowers were a waste of money and that now who is going to see them, but God gave these to us to enjoy. I certianly did and the parish will on Sunday morning at church.
Sure they will perish and pass away but their moment of glory was seen today by many.

Isaiah 40:1-9

Comfort for God's People
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.

3 A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.

5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

6 A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.

7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass.

8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."

All scripture is from (New International Version)

Wedding Anniversary

Yes today was our 32nd Wedding Anniversary.
We don't buy each other gifts but we received some cards and a dear lady who we have come to know, through her working with Harry on his CV, dropped in with a lovely orchid and card.

Harry did say this morning that we would do what ever I liked this evening so I said I wouldn't be cooking.
I decided we would go out for tea, just him and I and somewhere local so we could walk.
Harry likes The Settlers Inn although I would have preferred somewhere else, we went there and were the only ones eating in for the night. It was like being waited on in our own little house in a way, and a lovely time to just be together.

Its not the most flash of places and it has been on the market for a year, but in the mean time it is a very reasonably priced place to eat.
We sat on the left by the window

We sat in a little alcove by the window and could watch the passers-by below.

People made comments today on the achievement of 32 years.
We don't feel that it is a big "number" as both our parents reached 45 years and my parents have recently celebrated their 57th.
But then I think of what we individually and as a couple have been through over the 32 years and agree that yes we have done well and come through a lot to reach our 32nd.
In this day not many marriages stay together for this long or because they wait until later years the chances of both being alive by the time they get into the 30th's and 40th's can be hard to reach.
But for us we have learnt that a lasting marriage requires commitment, consideration, compassion and communication to come through the times when things are tough.

We have five beautiful children, two of them married to lovely men and two grandchildren.

Praise God that He is in control and will continue to bless us with more years.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mumsey's Chocolate Truffles

This is one of my save on food waste recipes. I use old left over biscuits or cake that has gone a bit hard rather than moldy. You can just use essences like vanilla / rum / brandy and fruit juice if it is for children, but you may want to use alcohol if it is for adults.

Mumsey’s Truffles

250gr of old homemade biscuits (or cake)
100gr soft butter (not melted)
¼ cup cocoa
½ cup icing sugar
½ cup coconut
½ tsp essence of your choice
1-2 Tbsp fruit juice (or rum/brandy or other alcohol of your choice)

Crumb the biscuits/cake in the food processor.
Add softened butter and process for a few seconds.
Add cocoa, icing sugar and coconut.
Process, scraping down the sides to make sure all is finely chopped and combined.
Add essence and liquid of choice.
I tip it into a bowl and stir with a spoon to make sure it is all mixed up.
You have to sort of judge how much juice you need. You don’t want it too moist or the “balls” will flatten a little before they are set. Too dry and the mixture won’t stick together.
Mold into balls and roll in extra coconut or chocolate hail.
Refrigerate or you could freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Great to do for Christmas, well before the busyness of the season.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Playlist - Perfect Time

You will notice that when you pop onto my blog now, songs seem to start!!

It is from my Mixpod which is a selection of my songs I have added to an online Ipod on here.

If you don't want to listen to it, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the little speaker image on the top right hand corner and the mute will go on.
Or if you would like to listen but at a different volume, move the volume control just above the 'mute' button to the volume you would like.

I have added the videos with the songs and if you would like to watch them then click on the 'video' button just under the little screen on the top left of the playlist and it will enlarge the screen and you can watch. These videos are part of what I have down loaded not something I have made up.

I would like to tell you a little about some of the songs I have chosen and what they mean to me. The first one is:

Perfect time 

This song is sung by Máire Brennan or Moya Brennan and I have had a copy of the song for a few years.
It is from her DVD titled Perfect Time
I see this song as God telling us we are not alone.
The things of the past are in the past.
Jesus is the only way to peace and this song is like a reaffirmation of faith.
I am not afraid to learn God's ways and grow, expecting all is in His Perfect Time.

Believe me
I'm not afraid to
Marie Brennan
Teach me
To learn your ways
Carry me
Under your wings
In your perfect time

Only you
Can dreams come true
Only you
Can make me shine
Only you
Can days be right
In your perfect time

I know You told me that I'm not alone
A shot from the video
You know I couldn't do it on my own
See my eyes are older now
Broken dreams behind
Fill my heart with precious love
I know it's there to find

Believe me
I'm not afraid to.....

Precious love
You give me
DVD - Perfect Time
precious love
I know forgiveness is the key not pride
I want to heal this pain I hide inside
Free my fears and promise me
That you won't let me go
You're the one to comfort me
The past my God You know

Believe me
I'm not afraid to...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Banana Sponge Squares

1 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs (separated)
50 mils milk
1 tsp vanilla
60gr butter
2 bananas
50gr ( ½ cup) chopped walnuts.
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

In a mixing bowl beat together the caster sugar and egg yolks with an electric beater.
When light and creamy (you may have to scrapedown the edges of the bowl a couple of times during this process)
Beat in the milk and vanilla a bit at a time so it continues to be creamy.
Gradually add the melted butter beating in well after each addition.
I add a tablespoon of the flour to stop it curdling.
Gently fold in the mashed bananas and walnuts.
Gently fold in the flour and baking powder that you have sifted.
Lastly beat the egg whites stiffly in a separate bowl with clean beaters and just fold in to the batter.
Tip in to a well lined baking tray (I use a 30 x 23cm tin)
Spread the surface level and bake at 180ºC for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Turn out on to a wire rack and let cool completely before dusting with icing sugar or dribble with icing.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Banana Bran Muffins

This is a great recipe for using up bananas, the riper the better. They are best served warm too. If you are not sure of the consistency of muffin mix before you cook it you may struggle a little, as the milk content is only an estimate, if at all, depending on how 'mushy' the bananas are.
It is another recipe from Alison Holst but I omit the walnuts.

¾ cup flour
¾ cup wholemeal flour
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup wheat bran
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup sultanas

50 grams butter
1 egg
1 ½ cups mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla
Milk, as required

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and toss to mix adding the sultanas too.
Melt the butter to liquid and then add egg, mashed bananas and vanilla and mix with a fork to combine.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and fold in, adding more milk if muffin consistency is not reached.
Spoon into 12 medium muffin tins that have been well sprayed or greased. (I use margarine on a kitchen paper towel)
Bake at 200ºC for 10-15 minutes for until the centres spring back when lightly pressed.
Bang muffin tins on floor or bench to loosen and let cool on a wire rack.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A meal to stop food waste

As I have shared in my post on food waste I want to share on of the ways I save on food. Not only is the food knot going out in the rubbish I have not spent any money on this meal as I have used what would have been wasted
Yesterday for lunch I made a meal from left overs as I had mentioned to do.

There were left over peas from two nights ago.
Left over mixed veges and cauliflower from the night before's meal that was a quick cook up of easy vegetables with meat.
Katrina had made some instant noodles when she had come home from school but didn't eat them all and there was half an onion in a container form some other time..

I finely chopped some of the onion and fried it in  a little olive oil. Once that was soft I added the vegetables (chopping the cauliflower up a little).
When that was well heated through I stired in a good tablespoon of my home made plum sauce, heated again and then added the noodles.
When that was all heated I served it up and enjoyed a warm low fat meal.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Homemade Weiner Schnitzel

My daughter once asked me for these instructions so I am adding them to the blog in case another one asks. It is more a "how to" rather than a recipe as such.
There are no real amounts as it just depends on how much meat you have.
You will need to just add more to the coating ingredient amounts for the quantity of meat you have.

Slices of beef Schnitzel
An egg
Olive oil

In a flat style dish whisk the egg with a fork.
Place about ½ cup of flour on a kitchen paper towel and about the same of breadcrumbs on another.
If you have pieces of schnitzel that have a curved edge it is good to just snip little bits along the edge to stop the meat from curling up when it is cooked.
It is best to work as quickly as you can doing this process.
Dip the meat in the flour so the whole piece is coated in flour.
Then dip it in the dish of beaten egg making sure the meat is covered in egg. I use a fork to flip the meat and then to transfer it to the breadcrumbs
Then drop it onto the breadcrumbs and coat completely.
Having the flour and breadcrumbs on paper towels makes it easier to coat the meat by sort of holding up the edges on the paper so the dry ingredients 'fall' back onto the meat.
Work each piece at a time.
If you can do this earlier in the day, place the prepared meat in the fridge to allow the egg and coating to sort of set.
(Save the breadcrumbs and flour if you are going to do the potatoes as mentioned below)

I fry the meat in equal amounts of butter and olive oil. Make sure the pan is hot but not smoking or the coating will burn.
Fry for a few minutes each side with plenty of oil/butter in the pan so the crumbed mixture does not stick to the pan.

I also serve this with crumbed potatoes.

Boil the small pieces of potato as you normally would then drain the liquid off.
Let the potatoes dry a little in the hot pot then give them a good shake to sort of loosen the surfaces of them.

Tip any leftovers of the breadcrumbs and a little of the flour from the coating into a bowl and add the cooked potatoes.

Shake to coat completely then fry in the same pan the Schnitzel was fried in, shaking to cook.

I usually squeeze lemon over the meat and serve with a fresh salad in the summer or vegetables in the winter.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Recycling Clothes etc!!

I've talked about my love of recycling things in the forms of our rubbish and food in this house.
But it goes a lot further than that too.
With the availability of cheap clothes now days we can run the risk of buying too much but I have kept our purchases to a minimum over the last few years.
When the cherubs were growing up we used hand-me-downs both within the family and from friends.
We in turn passed ours on to others. And we still do both of these things.
I also recycle items for our own use.

All the flannelette pyjamas and shirts get the buttons removed (I keep then in a container and use them on home-made garments or when buttons go missing etc) and then cut up to make excellent cleaning and polishing cloths. I especially like to use them for cleaning mirrors and windows.

I bought some new towels and face cloths in the weekend as some of our towles have become very thin.

The old towels are now cut up to make great dishcloths for the kitchen.

I have not bought cleaning cloths of any kind for years.

Sheets that are worn are made into pillow slips. I can usually get two out of each end of a single sheet and four from a double.
If I don't need them I will give them to others or take them down to our
churches monthly Community Get Together. All sort of items can be dropped off there that have a resale value even if a small amount. Sometimes things like linen are even given away if a family truly are in need

The rest of the sheets will be used by hubby in the garage for cleaning oil off things etc.

Clothes that no one we know seems to want we take down to the CGT as well. Money raised from this day helps people within the community and we also sponsor a child through Save the Children Fund.

I have also used old woollen items that have shrunk from many washes to make a baby blanket that my cherubs played on when they were younger. Now I use it as a knee rug.
(I know!! but I am a Nana you know!).

Anything else beyond that is dropped off into the local clothing bin so that they are used some other way and I am helping that organisation to raise funds.

So once again I am reducing and reusing so that our rubbish leaving this house is at its minimum

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Orange Slice

This was originally a microwave recipe that I have adapted to the oven as I am finding I'm not sure about microwave cooking and its affects on our overall health.

100gr butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup coconut
¾ cup cornflakes
¾ cup flour
Grated rind of one orange

Melt the butter and add the sugar.
Remove from the heat and add the other ingredients.
Mix well and press into a lined 20 cm square tin.
Bake at 180ºC for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
When cold ice with orange butter icing and cut into squares.

Orange butter icing.
25gr butter
Juice of one orange
Icing sugar.

Melt butter and add orange juice. Don’t worry if you have bits of orange flesh in as it adds colour to the icing.
Mix in icing sugar until you have a spreadable mixture like thick cream. You don’t want the icing to drip off the square.

You may well have icing left over but this can be covered and stored in the fridge for another use and if cocoa is added makes a lovely jaffa flavour as an alternative to chocolate icing. 

Friday, August 13, 2010


Recycling - I know its something you either hate or love to do.
In our house we recycle all we can. Harry will actually keep some rubbish "Because it just might come in handy one day" and "If I throw it out now I know I will want to use it next week". Well that is fine, he can just keep it in his double garage workshop that is so fill of "stuff" we can't park the cars in it!!

Sustainability NZ states

Up to two-thirds of household rubbish can be reduced, reused or recycled. Reducing rubbish lowers carbon emissions, saves energy and resources, and cuts your rubbish disposal costs.

Each month, New Zealanders dispose of enough rubbish to fill a rugby field 30 stories high. A lot of this could be recycled instead of going to landfill.

As for our household rubbish, we have eliminated our rubbish by more than two thirds.

How do I know?
Our roadside rubbish collection is once a week. Every second week there is also a roadside recycle collection.
I had forgotten to put the recycled items out last fortnight so this fortnight there was a months worth.
I also only put out a rubbish bag once a month. This was today's.

How do I do that?
With winter we have our fire going all the time so I burn a lot of paper and cardboard waste from daily living.

We put out for recycling;
Glass bottles
Drink cans and empty tins
Newspapers, junk mail and cardboard
Plastic bottles, bags and containers

No food is disposed of in the rubbish as I have said in Food Wastage .
I actually find it a challenge to reduce the rubbish and we also give away items that can be reused by someone else.

Our recycling is picked up by The South Waikato Achievement Trust so I feel we are helping these people also.
They have a drop off spot in Tirau too that has been painted and is a welcomed place to leave you recycles if you don't have room for them at home. I drop the bags of newspapers etc from work there on my way home when they need disposing of.

I know that I am not going to "safe the world" but I feel comfortable that I am at least doing my bit for the world God created for us to use not abuse.

Genesis 1
The Beginning
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth....
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good....
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

All Scripture is from (New International Version)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Food Wastage

“Wastage” Is that a word? I looked it up and it means, among other things...

3. An amount that is wasted or lost by wear.

I googled (as you do!) and got this:

Food waste
Every day all over New Zealand, families throw out food that could have been eaten. Bread that has gone stale, bananas that have gone black, and mince that we didn’t cook by the use by date all end up in the rubbish. A good part of the family grocery bill simply gets thrown away.

How much food gets wasted?
We don’t have the exact figures for New Zealand but a 2008 United Kingdom study found that on average each person throws away 70kg of edible food a year. That is one third of the all the food a household buys a year – and a huge amount of money! The study also showed that most of the food wasted was avoidable. Sixty-one per cent of the food thrown away could have been eaten if it had been better managed (e.g. left over take-aways, food that has past its expiry date).
The UK study also found the top ten types of avoidable food waste were:
1. Potatoes
2. Bread Slices
3. Apples
4. Meat or fish mixed meals
5. World bread (e.g. naan, tortilla)
6. Vegetable mixed meals
7. Pasta mixed meals
8. Bread rolls/baguettes
9. Rice mixed meals
10. Mixed meals

We don’t waste that much in our house (I don't even buy 'world breads') but some food is disposed of when not eaten, but not in the rubbish.

The first step is to only buy what you know you will need to prepare and eat.
You will need to have an idea of the meals you will be having, but that is another post altogether!!
I try to only prepare the amount of food we are going to eat.
Leftovers are either served up the next day as lunch (especially pastas, rice meals and pizza) or an after school snack.
Sometimes if there is enough to make up a meal I will reheat that thoroughly for hubby and the rest of us will have a pasta meal as he doesn’t like pasta.
Cooked veges will be made into a quiche  and left over casseroles will be frozen and added to the next casserole as flavour or thawed for a single meal.

If cooked meat has been left for a few days our dog Charlotte gets it as a meal or snack!

Biscuits that have gone stale will be made into chocolate truffles and old cake is frozen for the same reason. One of my Christmas treats uses old cake.

Crusts are frozen and when enough are collected to cover a baking tray they are put into the oven straight after baking to ‘dry out’ and then processed in the food processor to make homemade bread crumbs. I have not bought store bought bread crumbs for years.

Fruit that is not so nice to eat raw can be used in cooking and puddings.
Vegetables can be added to soups stews etc.

In years gone by there weren’t fridges like we have now and people didn’t die from food that was a few days old. In fact it just wasted wasted as people couldn't afford to waste it.

If bananas go brown they are made into muffins, cakes or frozen until I have time to do so. Banana skins are placed around the base of roses bushes as the skins produce potassium as they rot down which rose bushes love.

Any other food scraps are feed to the chooks They will either eat them (and the bonus is we get eggs) or scratch the scraps into the ground which helps to fertilise the ground for our gardens.

Before we had chooks we had a compost heap and the scraps would go on it along with grass clippings, leaves, weeds, vacuum cleaner dust, wood ash from the fire, branch clippings etc.
Anyone can have a compost heap and it is easy to make from a basic heap on the grown to a purchased manufactured one.
The secret to making good compost is turning it so the air gets through it and keeping it warm. Even a heap on the ground can be covered with plastic or an old carpet to help the process.
If the end result isn’t enough to build a garden it can be just added to the garden you do have or it would certainly be enough, to add to the ground as you plant trees, plants or to place around them for mulch etc.

So although you may have food that needs to be tossed, think twice before it goes in the rubbish as there maybe other ways to put it to use.

Today as I sit here the slow cooker is clicking away and the smell of a warm winter meal is filling the house. It is oxtail meat and it was given to us. In the slow cooker the meat just falls of the bones and I serve it as a casserole.
I added some peas left over from last night’s tea. The vegetable juices from the carrots and peas cooked the night before were the only liquid I put in..
There is a chopped onion and some meat juices I collected after the fat was taken off from a roast a few nights ago.
To finish it off I added ¼ cup of my home made tomato sauce.
In doing so I cleaned out the fridge of food that was beginning to need to be biffed, but it hasn’t been. I will soon add some finely chopped silver beet and serve it with lots of mashed potatoes and carrots (all from the garden). And none of this food has cost me anything.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chelsea Lemon Slice

I have a few recipes for this slice, but the one I like the best is from the Chelsea website.
I have changed the way I make it as a convenience to me but it is still the same basic recipe.
When we had our big lemon tree there were always lemons to be had at any time of the year and I loved to make this. Two of my daughters, Jennifer and Katrina love it. Sarah rung the other day asking what was wrong with the one she was making only to discover she wasn't using the recipe I use so (as this was the first reason for creating this blog) I have posted the recipe I use so that it will "taste just like Mumsey's"

A day later the icing sugar starts to dissolve
125g butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
1 cup Caster Sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp custard powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs

In a food processor mix the butter, flour and icing sugar until it forms a soft dough around the blade.
(If you don’t have a food processor simply chop butter into the flour and sugar and mix with your fingers until it forms bread crumbs then knead on a floured board until well combined)
Press into the base of a baking paper lined 20x30 cm sponge roll tin.
Bake at 180°C for 15 - 20 minutes until lightly golden.
There is no need to clean the processor.
Mix caster sugar with peeled lemon rind so the rind is finely chopped and mixed amongst the sugar.
Add the lemon juice, custard powder, baking powder and eggs and process until well combined.
(For this step is you haven’t a processor grate the lemon rind separately, then beat all the other ingredients with a beater)
Carefully pour over the warm pastry base and bake a further 25 minutes until set.
Cut into slices when cold and if desired sprinkle with icing sugar.

I have also taken this as a desert to dinners by making it in a flan dish and having the bas come up the sides to form a ‘case’ for the filling to cook in. I them serve it with whipped cream.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ginger Cake Squares

  This square was something my youngest and I used to make especially for Harry. He tends to like things with a ginger flavour and Katrina loved to decorate it and knew she was doing it for her Daddy.

150gr butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
100ml golden syrup
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
2 large eggs

Glace cherries

In a large container, (ie a pot on the stove or a bowl in the microwave) melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together then cold slightly.
(I use this time to prepare the peanuts for decoration *)
Sift the flour, baking soda and spices into the mix and stir to combine.
Beat the eggs together with a folk and stir into the mixture.
Transfer mixture into a 23 cm tin that is lined with baking paper.
Arrange the peanuts and half a cherry in a flower pattern, keeping in mind that you will be cutting the cake into pieces with a flower on each one.
An easy way to do this is to lightly mark out the places to cut with a knife and then keep the ‘flower’ within each ‘piece’. Once the cake is cooked the marks will have disappeared. If not you will just have a mark to cut through.
* I husk the plain peanuts and split in half. This is easy if you place a few in you hand and just rub them between your palms.
Bake at 170ºC for 40 minutes or until a warm skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
Cool in the tin and cut into squares when cold.

This is also very nice served warm as a pudding with custard, cream, yogurt or ice cream.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kiwifruit Muffins

The Kiwifruit, originally known as Chinese gooseberry, is a bit of a national icon for New Zealand. Around this time of year they become abundant and although we don't grow any ourselves people often pass on their excess to us and they become very cheap in the shops as well.

This is another Alison Holst  recipe from her Marvellous Muffins cook book.

2 cups self-raising flour
½ cup wheat bran
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

50gr butter
1 Tbsp honey
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup of peeled chopped kiwifruit

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and toss to mix.
Melt butter and honey and then add egg and milk and beat with a fork.
Chop the kiwifruit into small chunks about 1 cm square and add to the dry ingredients with the liquids.
I fold them together for about 14 ‘folds” – it is OK to have the odd bits of unmixed flour.
Spoon in to 12 well greased muffin tins. (I grease them with margarine using a kitchen paper towel to apply)
Bake at 200ºC for 12-15 minutes until the tops are golden and centres spring back when lightly pressed.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Plum Tree - The Secret

I was feeding the chooks this evening when I suddenly noticed that the plum tree was starting to bud. Just those little tell tale swellings that you only notice up close, as from the distance the tree still looks like it is dormant for winter.

It made me smile as it’s like a little secret, that soon, buds will be ready to burst open to beautiful blossoms - the beginning of the new season for fruit.

Every year it happens with out fail, but what becomes of the blossoms and the fruit they produce are affected by the elements around them. It reminded me of a verse in the bible about the secrets of God.

Deuteronomy 29:29
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

The ways of life are God’s secret but once revealed they are affected by our actions, reactions and our free will. They are placed in our care as gifts but for us to have and use to fulfill God’s purpose. His plan is not something we know until we are living it. It’s a secret just like each of us were before we were born.

Psalm 139:14-16
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

His plan for our lives is unique. Each one of us has our own journey to go on, but God knows what that is even before it comes into being. It is His secret. But He will reveal it to us when we are ready.

I too have a secret and it is so special to have something secret before it is revealed to others.

When I took the picture of the buds on my plum tree I found one blossom already open, another secret that spring is just around the corner.

All scripture is from (New International Version)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sad Blokes: Workshop

Yesterday I went to an all day workshop titled Sad Blokes: An Introductory Workshop on Men, Depression and Suicide.
It was taken by Barry Taylor who runs "Taylor Made Trainings" for Men's Well Being.

Across most ethnic and age groupings men are over represented in measures of poor mental health including suicide and depression. This is a serious challenge not only for the men but for the whanau and communities they belong to.

This workshop examines the particular characteristics of depression and suicide in men and issues that should be considered when developing effective mental health promotion or suicide intervention programmes or supporting men in crisis. 

Topics covered include:
• Introduction to Depression and Suicide in Men
• Risk Factors for Suicide in Men
• Engaging with the Suicidal Male
• Effective mental health promotion strategies

It was an excellent workshop in that it provided insight into men's depression plus suicide prevention.

We were given a hand out that had a copy of every slide from the presentation with room for our own notes and I would recommend anyone running a workshop to do so.
Most of the people there were health providers and counsellors and I was the only one who had a man in my life who has survived suicide attempts. I was able to share things that I had experienced, confirm information and share other ideas.
I learnt a few new things but most of all I felt empowered to help open the door to men's Mental Health.

It shows that God can use the hurts etc in our lives to benefit others as well as growing us.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mumsey’s Italian Pizza

One of the bonus’s of having children is that when they grow up they will probably marry and you will then have more (well in-laws but they will still be children).
And what is really special is when they in turn treat you like parents. Out daughter Jennifer’s, husband rung me to ask for my pizza base recipe. Unfortunately I don’t use a recipe so I gave him instructions as best I could from memory. I have since made one of my pizza’s taking note of the quantity so no-one else has to guess how I make it and realize I gave him wrong amounts.
(Sorry Jason)

Mumsey’s Italian Pizza

1 ½ cups flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Herb Stock powder
20gr butter
½ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Mix flour, baking powder and herb stock in a bowl.
Melt the butter and milk, and warm so the butter is melted.
I do this in the microwave. I heat the butter until it is just about melted, add the milk and reheat until the butter has melted completely.
Pour into flour mixture and stir until just mixed and even a bit flaky
Tip out onto a floured surface and mould together then roll out to fit a 30cm pizza base/tray
Try not to over work the dough.
Roll left over bits of dough into a long strip and twist around the edge to from a side edge.

1 x 420-430gr can of spaghetti
1 x 227gr (approx) of pineapple chunks in natural juice
1 onion sliced into thin rings
150gr cheese – grated (I use Edam)
50gr ham – chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley (use about half if you are using dry)
¼ tsp mushroom stock powder.

Spread spaghetti (this is the Italian bit)over base making sure the sauce covers all the dough – the spaghetti won’t quite.
Drain the pineapple lumps. (cooks privilege – drink the juice!) Place pieces over spaghetti evenly.
Scatter onion rings around and then top with the grated cheese.
Sprinkle ham over evenly then garnish with parsley and mushroom stock powder.

Bake just above the centre of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the topping is cooked and the edges just start to turn golden.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lemon Honey

We used to have a large lemon tree and any time of the year I could go out and get a lemon. People used to come to get lemons as they knew they would be there.
A couple of years ago it finally died and we have since planted a new tree but it is still little and doesn't produce fruit yet.
I do miss it and all the recipes I used to make from the fruit.
However a lovely lady gave me some lemons and I have made my favourite lemon honey spread. Thank you Tanya.

It is from an old Edmonds Microwave cook book.
I keep this in the fridge as it can tend to go mouldy if it doesn't get eaten quick enough when left in the pantry.

Lemon Honey

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
50gr butter
1 tspn grated lemon rind
½ cup lemon juice

Put the eggs and the sugar in a two-litre microwave jug or bowl.
Beat until well mixed.
Add the butter, lemon rind and juice.
Microwave on high power for approx 5 minutes on high (100%) - see Note*, stirring with a whisk every 1 ½ minutes.
Cool for a few minutes then pour into hot dry jars.
Seal when cold.

This makes about 2 cups.
I dry washed jars out in the oven at 150ºC while I am making this.

My microwave is a 1100 watt oven.
To change the times for other ovens that are a different wattage try this site