Tuesday, 31 August 2010

This made my day!

I squealed with delight when I turned the page of this months Papercraft Inspirations magazine and found that two of my entries for a paper punch design had made it into the top ten. £1 from the sale of every punch (the winning design) will go towards Marie Curie Cancer care, so it is for a very worthy cause. They do a wonderful work.Now it is all down to texting votes, so who knows what will happen. I guess it depends just how many people are willing to use up 25 pence plus the cost of a text to vote! But still, I am delighted that my designs were chosen! I based the bird design on one of my papercut cards I made back in March.
...and if you are in the UK and feel like voting...here's how!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Fat free, healthy oaty bites

Here's one of my little guessipes. I call them guessipes because the measurements are by no means exact, and sometimes a little adjustment is required or desired.

I started making these because after my husbands heart attack we have been trying to cut out any unnecessary fats and additives. Our diet was fairly healthy already, but we still want to make sure we are doing the best we can.

My husband always used to take a store bought muesli type biscuit to work every day to have with his cuppa, but if you look at the ingredients of these things, they are not particularly low in fat (and they are also expensive to buy).
Due to the fact I have no added fat in my oaty bars, the texture is different- not crunchy, a bit chewy but not too sticky like a flapjack - but they are good - OK so they are not as yummilicious as a flapjack, but then these are healthy - flapjacks I am afraid are not!
(The mug in the picture is my favourite one given to me by a dear friend some time ago - you know who you are !!!)

Fat Free Oaty Bites - the Guessipe

Approx 250g rolled oats or porridge oats.
I jar apple sauce. (I used a 280g jar)
Approx 4 tablespoons runny honey
A handful each of the following:-
pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, goji berries, dried cranberries, chopped dates.
Mix everything together adding more honey if it is not sticking together enough. Press with your fingers into a large rectangle on some baking parchment on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes at 160 c in a fan assisted oven- adjust according to your oven type. While warm cut into squares and when slightly cooler place squares upside down on a cooling tray to dry out properly. When cold, place in a storage container. Enjoy. They are a good healthy snack to nibble , and they are quite filling - and so cheap to make compared to store bought alternatives!
Chop and change the recipe as you fancy. You can add things like coconut, dried papaya and mango, almonds,crystallized ginger or anything else that you enjoy.
Why not wrap them individually and grab one when you go out to work or play !

Monday, 23 August 2010

We've not had much of a summer this year. The start seemed promising enough, but then we had rain and more rain and not nearly enough sunshine. However, we have had the odd rare moment of warmth. Here is little Miss G enjoying herself on an afternoon walk at a little beach about 10 minutes drive away. (As I write this it is grey and damp out.)

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

From the garden....

Looks like I'd better get busy with some jam and jelly making. These are our gooseberries, red currants and white currants from the garden. Something ate all our blackcurrants and I don't think it was just little Miss G. We have to compete with pheasants, deer and rabbits up here in the Highlands.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

My Next Jam Jar Project!

I have transformed some old empty jam jars into - (drum roll please) - jam jars!
Plum and Ginger jam jars to be precise!
I am excited to share this with you, because unlike many of my talented blogging pals, I have never attempted to make jam before. I found that it wasn't such a big mystery after all and want to encourage you if you haven't tried it before to give it a try.
I didn't use a recipe. I just tried to remember what my mum does. I weighed the de-stoned plums - (very kindly given to me from my friends garden) and then added almost the same amount of sugar and some ginger. You could use root ginger or dried powdered ginger. I just did it to taste. Then I boiled the mixture gently until when I tested it on a saucer it was starting to set. I seem to remember my mum showing me that a drop of jam on the saucer when cooled slightly will wrinkle when you push your finger along it.
I washed my jars and dried them in the oven putting them in cold and then turning the oven to a low heat and leaving them there a while to dry out and sterilise.
I allowed the jam to cool a little before putting it in the jars, and then - the best bit for me - finishing touches- I made some pretty labels.
A handy hint for jam makers - If you are going to put sticky lables on your jam, just use ordinary paper and fix them to your jars with PVA water based glue, so that when you want to re-use the jars again, the labels will soak off easily and not leave any sticky residue.

..and I finish off todays post with a little peek at our baby House Martins. They are chirping away beside my kitchen window.