My New Toy


I had another post half written but I just have to show you my latest acquisition.

It is a cast iron Dutch oven that I bought from Aldi for $20.  Today we parked at Beerwah to catch the train so we could go to Aldi on the way home to buy some cat food, milk and ice-cream. Of course, while we were there The Duke had to have a browse at the items in the middle section (not food) and saw these.  Normally, I would have said that we did not really need one, but 2 days ago I had read this post at Down to Earth about making artisan bread in a Dutch oven.  So, we are now the proud owners of this.

2012-07-13 01Here it is with the lid off.

2012-07-13 03It is a 4 litre capacity so I am sure it will be used for reasons other than making bread.

2012-07-13 02This was an unplanned, spur of the moment purchase but I do not think I will regret it.

Friday Favourites – Orange & Poppyseed Muffins


I have tried various muffin recipes over the years and although they have been relatively successful I have never found one that suited what I was looking for.  Some were too sweet, too dry or just like an over-sized cupcake.

Here is a muffin recipe I tried quite recently but it has already become a firm favourite.  The basic recipe come from the book “Down to Earth”, written by Rhonda Hetzel who writes the blog of the same name.


1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups self raising flour
1 cup orange pulp
1/4 cup poppyseeds

Beat the oil and sugar, add egg and milk and mix thoroughly.  Add orange pulp and poppyseeds.  Finally, add the flour and combine gently.  Do not overmix.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffins pans.

Bake at 180C for 20 minutes.

I make these to use up the orange pulp from when I squeeze the oranges from our trees.  If you want to increase the orange flavour you could try substituting orange juice for some of the milk.  I have not tried this but might next time I make them.

I make 12 generous-sized muffins from this quantity.  The muffins also freeze well

The basic recipe suggests that you can add anything you like.  I have made lime and coconut, banana , cherry and coconut as well as apple and cinnamon using this recipe.

Now it is my turn to ask a question.  I would love to be able to make good savoury muffins with grated cheese, grated vegies and herbs.  Could I use this basic recipe and just leave out the sugar?

I look forward to your suggestions and ideas.

DIY Dishcloths


In response to an earlier post about the dishcloths I had finished knitting, Cathy asked if I could share the pattern.

This pattern is from the ‘Down to Earth’ book by Rhonda Hetzel who writes a blog of the same name.  If you have not seen it yet please pop in here.

This is the pattern which I have put into my own words.

Using 8 ply (or doubled 4 ply) cotton, cast on 38 stitches.

Rows 1 – 3      Knit
Row 4             Knit
Row 5             K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3
Row 6             K3, [P2, K1], repeat to last 2 stitches, K2
Row 7             K3, [K2, P1], repeat to last 5 stitches, K5

Repeat rows 4 – 7, 14 times (total of 63 rows)

Rows 64 – 67    Knit

Cast off, fasten thread and weave in the ends.

Module and Launch


No , it is not the space shuttle!

I do not wear make-up every day but this afternoon I was going out and planned to put some on, so it was a simple matter of retrieving the module containing my make-up from the drawer of the bathroom cabinet.  Here it is.

Make-up module

Yes, this is my entire make-up collection.

In her book on minimalism, ‘The Joy of Less’, Francine Jay talks about setting limits on the amount of stuff you have and one way of doing this is to create modules.  My make-up module was simply a matter of putting my current streamlined supplies into a container, however, it will help me to maintain a small collection now that it is contained.

Since we do not yet have a bathroom mirror I was able to easily pick up the container and take the whole lot into my bedroom to use the mirror there and then return the module to where it belongs in the bathroom.  No fuss, no searching and no time wasted which suits me perfectly.

Now to the second part of the title – Launch.

I went to the Queensland launch of Rhonda Hetzel’s simple living book, ‘Down to Earth’ at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre this evening.  I had bought my book about 3 weeks ago and it is well on the way to being a much-loved reference book in my home.  You can read my review in a previous post here.  There was a good crowd of interested and enthusastic people and I really hope that this is just the beginning of more people making a real effort to simplify their lives and reap the benefits.

Book Review – Down to Earth


Since I have begun to look seriously at the stuff we own I consider every purchase we make carefully.  Books are no exception and this has been particularly so since I bought my Kindle about a year ago.

However, last week I bought a new book.  It is ‘Down to Earth’ by Rhonda Hetzel.  Rhonda writes the blog of the same name and you can check it out here.  When I first started reading Rhonda’s blog about a year ago, she made reference to the book she was writing and I dismissed any thoughts of buying it as the blog had heaps of information.  How could there be anything new? Besides, I really didn’t not want another book to take up space in my house.

006After seeing a copy of the book, I was convinced it was worthwhile and would make an excellent reference book.  This was not a knee-jerk reaction and after due consideration I purchased it at Rosetta Books in Maleny.  This is our local bookshop and it is where Rhonda will be a guest for the Queensland book launch on Wednesday 14th March.

The book is 325 pages of wisdom bound into a linen-look, hardcover volume measuring 18.5cm x 23.5cm.  It is an easy-to-handle size resource which I will use frequently.  The information is presented in a logical format with a comprehensive table of contents.

007Rhonda has written a well-rounded guide to simple living suitable for all ages and stages.  The title of one section is ‘Ages and Stages’ which explains, with outstanding clarity, the relevance of simple living during various decades of our adult life.

This is not a glossy coffee table book, it is a gentle, honest guide to the benefits and value of simple living through one woman’s eyes.

008I would commend this book to anyone who is interested in simplifying their life.  Whether you are well along the way or merely contemplating embarking on the journey, there is value in this book.  As Rhonda says on the first page,

“I was pulled into simple living before I knew what it was.  It crept up on me using the smallest of steps and didn’t reveal its true beauty and real power until I was totally hooked.  I was searching for a way to live well while spending very little money.  What I found was a way of life that also gave me independence, opportunity and freedom.”

Come and be hooked, too.