Ju-Lyn might consider me a Queen of Lemon Cakes, but I am no reigning monarch of cooking, merely slightly obsessed with lemons. The family loves lemon cake, which means I am keen to try out any new lemon-themed recipe I find.
This month, in setting up a tasting contest between my most popular Lemon Cake recipes at home, I discovered how versatile lemons could be not only in improving heath, but also in replacing certain chemical cleaners and insecticides around the home with natural alternatives.
Lemons are a plant native to Assam, in Northern India and South Asia. Lemon juice in its natural state is acidic, but once metabolized it actually becomes alkaline.
The acidity of lemons makes them a great adjunct to cleaning around the home and lemon peel can even repel insects when peel is placed outside your door.
Rub your chopping board with a cut lemon to eliminate garlic or stubborn odours
Clean windows and chrome fittings with a half a lemon dipped in salt
Remove red wine spills (mix to a paste with salt and baking soda)
Add a cut lemon to your dishwasher in place of rinse aid for a streak-free wash.
With the Changing Seasons, lemons are a natural way to bolster our immune systems.
Lemon Cake Tasting Challenge
Renowned for reliable recipes it may be no surprise that a recipe from The AustralianWomen’s Weekly magazine took first place in the Lemon Cake Challenge. As voted #1 by colleagues and family. This is how it turned out:
Australian Woman’s Weekly Lemon Cake
Are you keen to make the winning cake for yourself?
According to the [U.S.] EPA, the average person produces approximately 4.9 pounds of “solid waste” or trash per day. Thankfully, you can recycle many everyday household items to help promote a cleaner, greener environment.
No doubt you have heard it all before and you may have already adopted some measures. You don’t need to be a hard-core zero waste advocate. Start with a minor changes and add one more each week.
Get your friends on board. You can set the example for your family, friends and workplace because we need to do better than the following graph indicates.
Simple Waste Solutions
Take Care or Take your Trash Home
• Eliminate your need for bins in forest areas. Birds and animals may spread litter from public trash cans around and it ends up contaminating waterways. When you visit a park or beach, remember to take your trash with you. Keep trash and recyclables in a bag or backpack until you can put them in a proper receptacle.
Public refuse bins in Japan are almost non-existent. You won’t see any trash in Japanese streets either. Japanese citizens take their rubbish home so it can be sorted to Recyclables, compostables and refuse.
• Keep a Litter bag in your car. Be like the Japanese people.
Choose Re-usable and Compostable Packaging
• Carry your own Re-usable stainless steel straws or decorative re-usable Water Bottle and Travel mug instead of buying bottled water or coffee in polystyrene cups.
• Avoid one-use plastics – they can’t be refilled unless you are happy to swallow micro-plastic.
• Polystyrene litter such as disposable coffee cups or packing materials can be eaten by animals who mistake it for food. Polystyrene can poison and/or clog stomachs leading to death by either toxicity or starvation.
Once released into the environment, polystyrene products does not decompose to a non-recognizable form.
Reduce Litter at Home
Keep backyards clean and free of things that can blow into the street and become litter.
Tie up garbage and recycling bags securely so loose papers and other items cannot fall out and become litter.
Avoid overfilling your bins and ensure the lid is properly closed after depositing your trash or recycling inside, preventing accidental spills and overflows contaminating local waterways – endangering wildlife.
Recycling in the Kitchen
• Cloth napkins and kitchen towel, for spills and cleaning, rather than paper disposables. They are much more absorbent and easily washed out for re-use many times over.
• Compost food scraps
Start a Worm Farm for food scraps and cardboard packaging. My worms love devouring cardboard. Break it up and wet it. A cardboard box is a good alternative to buying worm blankets.
• Use your consumer power to influence choice: Avoid buying food or ancillary items with excess packaging when you shop. This will decrease litter from the start.
Plastic shopping bags take between 10-20 years to decompose.
Wildlife such as Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them causing suffocation, drowning and gut obstruction. Do not accept plastic bags for items you purchase, if you can carry your purchase without them.
Alternatives to Plastic Carry Bags
• Refashion the scrap fabrics into re-usable bags or use natural canvas or fibre bags for your groceries and errands. Keep several reusable bags handy, in your car or handbag/backpack, so that they are always handy whenever you might need them.
Plastic beer can holders or bags can entangle an animal swimming. It may suffocate or drown. Six packs rings causing 6 million sea bird deaths a year and over 100,000 marine mammal deaths.
Eco Six Pack Rings, started in 2017 by three different groups, are made with all-natural ingredients. These include both straw and wheat fiber. While sturdy enough to hold six full-size cans, Eco Six Pack Rings are intended to fall apart if accidentally littered. This prevents them from creating the same environmental damage their plastic forefathers did. According to the company, “the product will degrade in less than 200 days (depending on the ecosystem).”
If you are in USA, and you are into visual learning, here are heaps of solutions. I especially noted the online shipping options: who knew Amazon/online options were so wasteful? Choose slower shipping to save cardboard.
Smoking in the Workplace
Cigarette butts, are made of a form of plastic and can persist in the environment for 10-12 years! 4.5 trillion non-biodegradable cigarette butts are littered worldwide.
• Do you have a “no smoking” policy at your house or workplace? Containing cigarette butt litter is facilitated by requiring smokers to use only designated areas or not smoking at all.
• Do not dump anything toxic down a storm drain.
Marketing Flyers and Advertising Leaflets
• Remove flyers or take-out menus promptly from your post box/front door or windscreen before they are blown away and become litter.
• You can stop litter at the source. Reduce your junk mail by writing to Direct Marketing companies to request no junk mail to be sent to your address.
• Participate and promote local recycling programs such as kerbside cleanup (Australia).
Here are some more ideas on reducing and recycling waste:
Metal: Old forks and spoons, as well as cans, are perfect for making a variety of unique items like a custom key holder, beautiful jewelry, or a fun mirror. Old cans make excellent cookie cutters, too.
Clothing and bedding: Get creative and use an old pair of jeans to make a funky “jeans chair.” Old bedding can be torn or cut into smaller pieces and used for cleaning rags. Any type of fabric is also great for reupholstering furniture if you’re really feeling crafty.
Coffee grounds and tea bags: You can use coffee grounds as fertilizer or dried coffee grounds or tea bags [plastic free tea bags, of course], in the freezer as a deodorizer, too.
Today I traded in about ten of my good quality used books, at a Second hand book store ( that doubles as a nice cafe) and received enough store credit to purchase two more books. There is a really nice atmosphere in this shop. It is unlike the dusty musty stores of yesteryear and has an assortment of new books as well. The cafe section allow you to browse the second hand books as you enjoy your light meal and coffee
What do you do with all your “read” books? Do they gather mould and dust on your shelves? Do they end up in the thrift shop bins?
Here are several ideas for a better destination of your unwanted books:
This is essentially a trading club. You have to list at least 6 books you wish to give away, to get started and then you can request people to send you books that they have listed. Be careful to check the language the book is written in, as this is an international group and your may end up with a title in German, and you wanted Spanish! Can also be a bit costly as you have to bear the cost of postage to send your books, but not to receive! Extra points are earned ( which can be used to mooch more books) by sending internationally. The site is linked to Amazon in case you really want to buy the book asap. You can also donate your points to charity, if you like.
2. Used Book Store
Take or trade in at a recycling book store, like the Book cafe in Brisbane, Australia. You can trade in used good quality books for a store credit on their second hand lines. You can return the ones you bought on credit for further credit if you like. A great way to save trees, but also for retailers to make some money and share the wondeful things that books are….
3.New Book Swap/Club
Start a book club with your friends. Gather about 10 books and about 5 friends. Rotate the books amongst each of you, by placing or sending to each person’s letter box, when each person has finished with them. Keep rotating until you have read all five of the titles. Have a meet up once or twice a year at a nice inexpensive restaurant to discuss how you liked or disliked each book.
4. Book Crossing
Leave at a counter in a shopping centre or Doctors’ surgery or library for someone to find. There is an international program where you can track your book. To do this, register your book at Book Crossing http://www.bookcrossing.com/ and download a free label, for your book. As well as identifying it for tracking, it also gives directions so that the book’s movements can be tracked around your city or perhaps, even the world. The idea is for your to release your book to the ‘wild’ by leaving your labeled book on a park bench on a summer day, in a train station, on the table in your favorite coffee shop — anywhere it’s likely to be caught by another delighted reader. Then visit the website to read about your book’s new adventures!
5. Charity/ Thrift shop or library. The underprivileged or refugee centres love books. And it can be a source of income for those who have no other means.