My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Honey instead of sugar


Cooking and Preserving with Honey:

An advantage to using honey in place of granulated sugar in cooking and food preservation is that honey is sweeter than granulated sugar so you can use less honey for the same sweetening effect. For equal sweetening power, substitute 2/3 to 3/4 cup honey for each cup of sugar. An additional advantage is that baked products made with honey remain moist longer during storage. Use these tips when cooking with honey:

  • You can replace all the sugar in puddings, custards, pie fillings, baked apples, candied sweet potatoes, sweet and sour vegetables, salad dressings, sauces and glazes with honey.
  • Use honey to replace up to half the sugar in cakes. Reduce the liquid called for by one-fourth cup for every cup of honey used.
  • The amount of honey that can replace sugar in cookies varies with the type of cookie: Replace no more than one-third the sugar with honey in crisp cookies like gingersnaps; honey can replace one-half the sugar in brownies and up to two-thirds the sugar in fruit bars.
  • When making either cakes or cookies, first mix the honey with the fat or liquid, then mix it thoroughly with the other ingredients. This will help prevent a soggy layer from forming on top of the baked product.
  • Neutralize the acid in honey by adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of honey used, but if the recipe already calls for soda, don't add more.
  • Products made with honey brown faster than foods made with other sweeteners, so lower the oven temperature 25°F when baking with honey.
  • It's easier to measure honey if you lightly grease the measuring cup or spoon first. Or, if liquid or solid fat is called for, measure it first, then use the same cup for the honey. Every last drop will slip right out.
  • One pound of honey equals about 1 1/3 cups. A three pound container holds about 4 cups of honey.

Honey can replace up to one-half the granulated sugar in syrups for canning fruit and up to one-fourth the granulated sugar in syrups for freezing fruit. You can also use honey in all types of sweet spreads. Guidesheets on all these procedures are available at your county extension center.

This and that

Okay. So now I know where the idea of the crocheted clothespin bag came from. Thank you, Amber from blogspot "Unstuffed." This girl is so wise. Her bloggings inspire, challenge, and educate.

This year I have challenged myself to buy locally, or at least within Ontario. (I have a feeling that this is gong to be a long year.)

I bought white sugar on sale this week in preparation for canning I will do this fall. Duh! (Smack on the side of the head!!) Sugar cane is not exactly native to Canada, let alone Ontario. Perhaps I need to revisit my challenge. What do I want to accomplish? Well I hope to lessen my trips to the grocery store. I want to feed my family more of what is prepared and grown at my home and in the process reduce the amount of packing that is brought into and thrown out of this home. I want to buy locally as much as possible but to do this I will need certain tools that will help me with my goal. Sugar is one of those tools. Without it I cannot can goods in prep for the winter. Hopefully I can switch to using honey along the way. There is another challenge, then. (The list lengthens)

Hubby and I have challenged each other too. I challenge him every time I find a light left on where it is not needed. He challenges me as being "self-righteous." I think we are both learning and making small improvements along the way.

Till next time...



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The journey continues....

I have decided that I am not a talented blogger. I am not as literate as many that blog. I am frequently at loss for a direction. I choke on how to get beyond my struggles with this... and then I remind myself.... This journey is not about how to become a better journalist. It is about how to live better with less. It is about how to live as a better earth citizen. It is about how to live more mindfully. So... onto some thoughts.

I have a Birth Day Coming up. My grandson Halen will be born in 8 weeks. It is remarkable that we can now know ahead of the birth what to expect. I suppose that knowing the sex of the baby beforehand has its advantages... like whether to buy blue or pink.

I gave birth to my two sons without knowing what to expect and it was a nice surprise at the end of all that hard work. I knew the sex of my daughter beforehand as she was at risk for miscarriage. So... for now... I will take advantage of the known fact that we will welcome another little boy into the world this spring. Halen will receive a quilt from his nana to celebrate his birth, and it will be in bright crayonbox colours, no pinks.

I have made several small quilts over the years. One was for a cousin who was ill with Breast Cancer. She was of Scottish decent so I made squares up with Scottie dogs in various patterns of black, and each had a scarf on its neck, again, in a different pattern. Hearts were qulted throughout. I wanted to surprise her with it but unfortunately she passed away before I finished the quilt. I did finish it and gave it to her daughter as a comfort quilt. I wish I had told her.

I have done a number of "cheater" quilts. (Prepatterned) I made a lap quilt for my mom, and a large single for my daughter, a rag quilt for Alexia, and an "I Spy" quilt for Dustin. From all these projects I have produced many scraps that I have kept and will now find a home in Halen's quilt. I should not have to buy anything for this quilt and this is in keeping with my goal of buying little this year.

How much more simple this year would be, if buying little or nothing, were my only goal. It seems I have many "balls" in the air, and sometimes that is overwhelming. Would it have been better to settle on one goal, one direction? Lets see what I have on my plate...

1. To put out less garbage.
2. To shop less... To consume less.
3. To buy only those products that are produced in Ontario.
4. To live in a chemical free environment. (this includes cleaning and eating organically.)
5. To lose weight and become healthier.
6. To make the people I love a priority.

Wow! Those are big plans! Nonetheless...I will tackle them all then in the way that I would if I were sitting down to dinner and elephant was on the menu. (How do you eat an elephant? One spoonful at a time!)

Until next time...

Friday, March 20, 2009


I have to keep reminding myself that this blog is for me, and the only agenda here is mine. I have to remind myself that in this year of Transition, there will be discoveries, and finding my self along the way will be the by product of more mindful living.

In purging my closets, I will also purge from my life those things that do not make me happy...whether it be long ago accumulated things... or long ago accumulated relationships that have soured, and have become unhealthy.

In pledging to bring less into my life, I have pledged to honour those items and people that have value, and in turn, remind me of my value.

Today is bright and sunshiney. Today holds the hope of a coming spring. The earth is in a state of transition.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A question of garbage

In my mailbox today, I found our local schedule for garbage collection, and it seems like our township is finally taking steps to encourage people to cut down on waste! What welcome news! We have had a 3 bag weekly limit but our collection was every week. Now there is going to be imposed a 4 bag limit every 2 weeks! The best news is that now our compost and our blue bins will be collected weekly.

I have my own composter but often send excess to the town and once a year in the spring, the public can help themselves to what has been collected by the town over the past year.

MY goal is going to be to put out less than one bag of garbage every two weeks and....this is only a start. I am hoping that by bringing less into the house, that less will go out.

My friend was concerned about meat scraps and garbage in the summer. I am not. I freeze leftover meat and bones until collection day.

Plastic bags remain a problem, but I was pleased to see that grocery bags can be returned to a few retailers.

I discovered, in my cruising, instructions for a crocheted clothespin bag,and unfortunately I can't give the credit for that right now, but will do some more searching and will post a link here for anyone interested. I have used every plastic bag in this house, and the bag is only halfway done..but that represents almost 20 bags so far.

I have cut down on my trips to the grocery store and now leave my cloth bags in the car for shopping days. I have gone back to making my own baked goods and the benefit of that is less packaging.

A great site to check out is "Unstuffed" This gal has crocheted onion bags and uses them for produce. I have been inspired by her journey.

Well... Off to work! Until next time...


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Overhaul: My year of Transition

I decided to start this blog as a means of recording my struggles and achievements at making some significant changes in my life. I turned 58 years of age yesterday. It was a time of reflection for me, as I had been making tiny little steps to change over the past year, motivated by the state of the economy, the state of the environment, and the state of my health and happiness. I want to lessen my footprint on this beautiful green planet. I want to live with purpose and more mindfully. I want to spend less and enjoy more. I want to serve as an example for my children. I want to de-clutter, and consume less.

I have made some changes in our home already. I have been diligent about turning off lights that are not used. I collect water for my plants from the first cold jolt of the shower. I have quick showers every second day. I do not flush the toilet as often. I have turned the heat down to 67 degrees and only occasionally turn it up to 68. I unplug everything I can when it is not in use. I recycle. I compost. However, in spite of all these efforts, I feel that there is far more that I can do.

I am going to attempt to buy locally as much as possible. I would like to think that I can stay within a 100 mile radius of home, but I know, that this is not always easy to do, especially when jumping into a project during the winter and unprepared for such an endeavor. For now, I will limit my purchases to those products that come from Ontario only. I went shopping yesterday and picked up a can of fruit cocktail In reading the label I discovered that this product had been made in China for a company that was located in Toronto. Needless to say, it was put back on the shelf. In doing that I realized that I need to do some homework if I want my little project to work.

So! My plan is to doing some gardening this year. I have asked for raised garden beds as my birthday gift and my husband has promised to make these beds for me and has enlisted my son's help. Our ground is still frozen so that is a job that will be put on the back burner for a little while, but I have been perusing the seed catalogs for ideas of what I can grow and preserve this summer. We are living in close proximity to Mennonite country and those things I cannot grow, I will buy from them. I have started some seeds and plan to do more at the beginning of April. I need to do some homework on composting, and I think I have found some blogs that will help me in that regard.

My next little focus will be on consuming less and THAT will be a challenge! Book buying is a costly habit for me and totally unnecessary given the information that is provided on the Internet. I don't buy for myself as much as I do for others but I hope to make more gifts and cards this year, and in the event that I cannot make what is needed I am going to buy "Canadian."

I use my car for short jaunts work (approx 2 km)...and to the grocery store. I no longer make unnecessary shopping jaunts out of town. My goal is to ride my bike to work this year. A friend gave me a head light, so a little tune up of my bike, and I am ready to go!

There is so much more I want to accomplish, but in keeping with another goal I have of spending less time on the computer, I must end here.

I hope that this blog does not bore anyone who happens on this site. I hope that we can learn from each other.

Until next time...