Archive for July, 2010

The Wonder of Freecycle! By Nicki Cawood

July 20, 2010

I recommend FC to anyone and everyone locally and otherwise. I stumbled across it several years ago and have never looked back. Basically the idea is you give away your unwanted things to members of your local community, for free, encouraging recycling and keeping items out of the landfill.

It is so simple to use too! Basically you post a “wanted” request or “offered” post. If you, for example, “wanted” a computer chair, you would ask if anyone has one, then if anyone locally does, they will email you via the site. Then, it is up to you to collect the item. The rules stipulate that the item must be free; no payment is to be offered or asked for (bonus!).

If you are “offering” an item you post a description and wait for the emails to come in. You’d be surprised what people will ask for and accept too!

I have given away loads including a freezer, fridge (which was a bit dodgy but I listed it as such and the guy who picked it up was thrilled with it as he could fix it easily), bookcase, old magazines, Slimming World books, baby & child items…. and have received a pc chair, baby and child items, homeware, a brand spanking new printer (seriously!), all given and received for nothing!

It really is an amazing case of one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! If for example I wanted to get rid of my fridge & freezer, my council were going to charge me a minimum of £35 to collect and safely get rid of them, instead they were picked up by someone who could use them and were grateful for them and it saved us both a packet!

Now, you can see why its a great idea, but for those of you moving house, setting up house for the first time, having a child perhaps who is going to uni and needs essentials or a new mum to be with a list of wants and needs… is a Godsend!

Lots of people dismiss it as a faff, but seriously, it could save you a packet and really help you get rid of the clutter/unwanted items. It’s very easy to use and there is a comprehensive FAQ file to read to help you with the basic rules and FC etiquette so there is no need to be worried or apprehensive about trying something new.

Not my usual witty blog type but an important one, both environment and budget-wise.

Give it a whirl and look it up, after all, what have you got to lose? Look up your local group now!

Will catch up with you all again next month.

Nicki Cawood, Mum to 1.5 kids, blogger and general lunatic.

Di’s Jam Doughnut Muffins – Irresistable

July 11, 2010

JAM DOUGHNUT MUFFINS 

125ml Milk 

85ml Vegetable Oil (plus a little extra for greasing) 

1 Large Egg 

Half a Teaspoon Vanilla Extract 

200g Self Raising Flour 

100g Caster Sugar 

12 Teaspoons of Strawberry Jam (you can use any jam though if you don’t like Strawberry) 

100g Butter/Margarine 

150g Granulated Sugar 

 1 Extremely well-greased Muffin tin! 

 Preheat the oven to 190’C/170’Fan/Gas mark 5. With a fork, beat together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla extract. Stir this into the flour and castor sugar to combine – just mix as it doesn’t matter about the lumps because if you overbeat the mixture, the muffins will be tough. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin, just about a third full, then add a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each one. Then put more muffin mix in until they are just about full. Put them into a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until the sponges feel springy and they look a bit like mushrooms!! When your muffins are nearly ready in the oven, melt the butter slowly so it doesn’t burn, and put the Granulated sugar in a large shallow bowl/plate. As soon as the muffins are ready, remove them from the tins, dip them in the butter so it covers all of it, then roll it around in the sugar so it’s coated all over. Eat them warm. 

ENJOY!!!! I apologise now to those of you on a Slimming regime as you really won’t to be able to resist these!!!!  Love Di xxxx 

  

  

Di’s Lemon Cupcake Recipe

July 11, 2010
LEMON CUPCAKES WITH LEMON ICING

110g Butter/Margarine

225g Caster Sugar

2 Large Eggs

150g Self Raising Flour, sifted

125g Plain Flour, sifted

90ml Milk, at room temperature

2 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon grated Zest of 1 Lemon

Preheat the oven to 160’Fan/180’C/350’F/Gas mark 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cases. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until it’s pale and creamy which will take you approx 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each one. Combine the 2 flours in a separate bowl and combine the milk and juice in a jug/cup. Add about a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and mix well, then add about a thrid of the milk mixture and mix well again. Repeat these steps until it’s all been added and mixed well. Add the lemon zest with the last bit. Carefully spoon the mixture into the cases, filling them to about two thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until raised and golden brown.To check if they are cooked, put a sharp knife or skewer into the cake and it should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave them in their tins for about 10 minutes, then put on a wire rack to cool completely before adding your icing.

LEMON BUTTERCREAM

110g Butter

500g Icing Sugar

2 Tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Grated Zest of 1-2 Lemons

In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter, lemon juice and zest with half of the icing sugar, this will take a few minutes with an electric hand mixer. Slowly add the rest of the icing sugar and keep beating until it’s all mixed in well. Your icing should be smooth and creamy, if it’s bit too runny, add a bit more icing sugar. When you have iced the cakes, put a small amount of icing sugar into a small sieve and just sieve a little bit over the top of the cakes. *TIP* When you are mixing the icing sugar, hold a clean damp teatowel over the mixing bowl or you might find that the icing sugar goes everywhere!! Happy Cooking xxx Love Di xxxx