Puffy Origami Star Tutorial

What you will need to make a puffy origami star:
- Scrap paper, this could be printer paper, magazine pages, make sure you have about 11 inches in length.
- Scissors.

How to make a puffy Origami star:

- Take your scrap paper and cut out thin strips, you can start out with about half an inch wide
strip ( I wouldn't go wider than that) and make it really long. That way you can practice and see what is going on. Although I did find that the wider strips give me some problems later on when trying to puff up the star, so I suggest you cut out different width strips so you can test out what works for you. I like to make them about half a cm in width and about 11 inches long, so magazine pages (the colorful advert ones) are perfect for this.

- Now that you have your strip you will make a knot. Do this by making a loop at one end of the strip and putting the tail through.

- Flatten the knot, and tuck the short tail into the loop, or just fold it over. Now you should have something that resembles a pentagon.

- Take the long tail (rest of the strip) and fold it over following the edges of the pentagon until you run out of the strip.

- The remaining piece of the strip should be tucked into a fold on the pentagon, you might need to trim it if it sticks out the other side.

- Now you need to press the edges of the pentagon so they puff up and create the star. Some people do this edge by edge, but I prefer to take it in both hands and press it, this leaves me with one of the edges that I do separately in the end.

I realize that while this is quite simple to do it might seem confusing or hard to understand when reading the instructions so I found this video online that does a great job of demonstrating in case you need extra help:

Best Pedometer Under 20

This is a review for the Omron HJ-203 Pedometer.
First and foremost I have to let you know that I am NOT utilizing this to its fullest potential.
When I was looking for a pedometer I wanted something that will measure my steps and calories mainly, and I wanted it to be cheap.

Price: Under $20.00
Pros: Multifunctional, small in size.
Cons: Apparently the lack of the belt clip.
Color: It comes in a variety of white and: yellow, orange, pink, green, purple, or black and grey
Packaging: A no fuss cardboard box with a detailed instruction manual booklet that tells you all you need to know.
Size: Approximately 2.5inx1.5in excluding the strap.
Battery Life: Supposedly 3 years, I have had it over a year now and no problems.

- Daily step counter
As you might have guessed, this counts the number of steps you have taken! Now there is one thing worth mentioning as far as this goes. I suppose this was not meant for the way I use it (pop it on in the morning along with my glasses and take off before bed) but to be clipped on when you are going for a walk or whatever.
That is why it has one little tick that might make some people think it is faulty. It is not.
It does not count the first four seconds when you start walking, unless you continue to walk after the 4 seconds. It does this to avoid counting the steps that are not a part of the walk.
I, personally do not mind this as it tricks me into making a little bit more steps and is in the end good for me.

- Daily distance walked
I have bought my pedometer in the UK so this displays the steps I took so far that day in a converted form of kilometers. I have seen US based ones that have miles on them.

- Daily calorie burn counter
I really, really wanted this one because there are about fifty different ways you could calculate the calorie conversions and you cannot ever know if your steps are the same as that person online who posted the conversion. Same goes for any other action. So this was one of the things that was a must as far as having a pedometer goes.

- Daily fat burn counter
This converts your steps into the grams of fat you have burned. It is quite useful and eye opening but also depressing as far as I am concerned. For instance, yesterday my 10,300ish steps are only 26.8g of fat.... too small of a number so I tend not to pay attention to it as much. But it is definitely good to have.

- Action mode
The Action Mode is a mode you can choose when you want to keep track of a specific activity. For instance, if you want to get specific measurements of the walk or jog you are taking.
I, personally, have never used this function so I cannot really comment on it.
Why? Well at first I had no need, and then I got my pedometer all sorts of dirty when gardening one day and then I took some heavy cleaners to it and rubbed off the lettering.... which caused me to forget that the button is not just there to bring the display up.

- Clock
Pretty self explanatory.... it tells time!

- Memory
This function memorizes your stats for the past seven days which is rather nifty if you are keeping track and want to know if you are doing better or worse than a couple of days ago.

- Cheer Squad
When you hit 10k steps in one day this lovely little fella shows up on your display and keeps dancing and happily cheering you on!

When my Omron pedometer was delivered it was in a smallish cardboard (well paper rather.... you know what I mean!) box. Nothing too fussy which is right up my alley. I decided it might be best, at least this once, to actually read the instructions before continuing.
I wanted this bad boy for a while so I was not going to mess a thing up.
The instruction manual is quite easy to read and easy on the eyes. It has plenty of photos, instructions and explanations of how and why. You can take a peek at it here :

Before using the pedometer you have to set it up by putting in your stats. I believe it takes in your height, weight, and you will have to measure out your stride. So it is quite tailored to your body and it will not measure the same amount of steps for someone who is 5"2 and someone who is 6" tall. Not sure how the weight comes into play but I am sure they know and that is all that matters.

Once you are all set up, to bring up the display you press any of the buttons. The pedometer is on 24/7 and will track all your steps as long as it is attached to you so do not get worried if the display is off. The pedometer goes into sleep mode after several seconds, this means that it saves the battery by not displaying the information if you are not looking at it anyway. It is still tracking so have no fear!

Now for the attaching of the pedometer to your self. Another thing I looked for in a pedometer is something with a clip. I did not want a stupid band that has to be on my arm or something for everyone to see if I do not want them to.
The Omron HJ-203 hes a little strap which you attach to it and a small plastic clip. It works like a charm for me.
I will usually have it either in my pocket, if pockets are not available I clip it either to the hem of my top, or to the waistline of my pants, I often clip it to the belt loops as well.
Now I was told some customers are complaining about the fact that it does not have one of those pager type of clips which you clip to your belt. That is true, and for me, that is not a problem at all. If this is a must for you then I suggest you move on and look at a different pedometer.

- Durability:
Trust me, I am not the one to take utmost care of such things. Often times it dangles around me and gets smacked about, I have fallen on it, slept with it, accidentally buried it (gardening, do not ask), scratched it, got it stuck, dropped it a number of times, flung it down the stairs, and yes it has been washed and dried.... and it is still going strong!
So it is pretty darn durable if you ask me, true some of the letters have rubbed off but for what I put it through I do not mind one bit.

Overall, we are all different and have different needs. For some this pedometer will have far too many options and functions while for others it wont have enough information.
As far as I go, it works like dream for me and I would definitely recommend it!

There was some confusion about the clip, and can it or cant it be clipped to a belt so I took the closest pair of pants with a belt (hubbys and snapped a few photos).
Technically it can be clipped onto his belt as you can see. The belt is leather and when I take the clip off the little teeth leave a mark as I tried to show in the last photo, the longer the clip is on the deeper the mark... so not sure how advisable that is. But yeah it definitely does not have a belt clip as such.
Those are a few other ways I clip it, I also clip it onto the waistband of the trouser itself or on my tops.

I hope that makes more sense as far as the clip goes!

Chocolate Cake in a mug

If you ever have cake craving, but there is no way in hell that you are baking a whole cake, you can always make a cake in the mug. I know my one is not the most beautiful thing out there but it tastes lovely and it takes under 5 minutes to make with minimal clean up.
Note: the cake in my pictures was one of my more goopy ones, just how I was feeling that day :)

...............What you will need to make a chocolate cake in a mug...............
- A large mug
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa, or 2-3 tbsp hot chocolate
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp oil
- Optional: Some chocolate chips, or break up regular chocolate and a splash of vanilla

..................How to make a chocolate cake in a mug..................
- Add all of the dry ingredients into a mug and mix well. I find that fork works the best for this.
- Add in the egg and mix it in real good, if you leave some egg that isn't mixed in you will get something that results in a chocolate cake marbled with cooked egg white. Not nice. So just make sure it is all mixed together thoroughly.
- Add in the milk and oil and again mix it up.
- Optional: Now you can add in the vanilla and the chocolate chips/pieces. I wouldn't mix the chocolate chips in too much because you want them distributed nicely and not sinking to the bottom. I usually leave mines towards the top and it all melts nicely.
- Microwave for 3 minutes on high.

Tip: You can make your first cake in a mug following these exact steps but after you can tweak it. Sometimes I put in less oil and more milk. Sometimes less sugar and sometimes if I want it more gooey I nuke it for 2 minutes. It is worth playing around a bit to get the result that you like the best.
Also there are a TON of other flavor cakes that can be made in a mug out there so get exploring!

Photo Credits: My photos.

White Fudge Chunks

Fudge is a much adored sweet no matter what the time of the year is. Usually it is associated with small specialty shops and being sold in cubes or pricey slabs, and a wide variety of flavors. Well this holiday season why not try your hand at making these incredibly sweet treats your self? Give them out as gifts and make the lucky recipient very happy! They will be done in no time ( just add the time it takes for them to chill) and will make a perfect gift or a treat for your guests. If you happen to have children, not only can they help you out, but they can make the whole thing all by themselves. This will show how to make Holiday Fudge Stars, however, please feel free to substitute any shapes, flavors and colors to fit your needs and liking.

What you will need to make your Holiday Fudge Stars:

- A large flat bottom pan. Square or round will do.

- Some foil to line the pan.

- One teaspoon of butter

- One can (16oz) of frosting, flavor of your choice. Here I will use vanilla.

- Two cups of chocolate chips, again white chocolate, semi sweet milk, etc. up to you. I use white chocolate chips.

- Half of a cup of chopped up jelly candy, flavors and colors of choice. I like red or green.

- A star shaped cookie cutter. Once again, please feel free to substitute for a different shape.

- A microwave safe bowl and a spatula.

How to make your Holiday Fudge Stars:

- First you should get your pan ready, line it with the foil on lightly grease the foil with the butter.

- If you haven’t chopped up the candy yet do so now, just so you have it ready to go when needed.

- Pour the whole can of frosting into the microwave safe bowl, add the two cups of chocolate chips and stir it up.

- Melt the mass in the microwave at 10- 15 minute increments until it is all even and liquid. Depending on the microwave the times will vary so don’t walk away and leave the chocolate and frosting unattended.

- Stir the mass to make sure there is no lumps and that it is smooth.

- Let cool for a couple of minutes then stir in your chopped jelly candy. Make sure it gets in everywhere. You don’t want a large sum of it on one side and nothing elsewhere.

- Once the candy has been added pour out the mixture onto the foil lined pan. Spread it out nice and even.

- Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until the fudge is firm.

- Once the fudge is firm use the foil to lift it out of the pan.

- Cut out the star shapes with the cookie cutter. If wanted you can add sprinkles or sugar on top to decorate it.


- For storage use an airtight container and refrigerate.

Photo Credits: A) My photo. B) Sorry I Know it is not a star I just did them in chunks last time C) Sorry it's a really crappy picture I was having trouble with flash and whatnot.


I just put a bunch of stuff in my tea, lets hope I survive

So my hands have gotten quite stiff and cold and I wanted a hot drink but I didn't feel like anything we had so I figured why not make an improvised spiced tea? Mind you I never made any kind of spiced tea let alone proper....but hey how hard can it be?
I just made a regular cup of black tea, added in some milk and some Innocent orange juice (yep... i said it.. OJ) and then shook in some ground ginger and mixed spice. Stirred it well and did a little prayer to an unknown deity for it not to make me ill.
*sniff...sniff sniff* Well it smells quite lovely... 
AAAAAAAAAnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd it tastes fantastic :D I over did it on the milk a bit, a tad less and it would have been perfect. I should have been making this stuff ages ago!

How to make plum jam

One old way of preserving fruit is by making jam. This type of jam, however, gets characteristically less sugar added to it. While you are adding less sugar, by cooking it you will gain a mass with less water, and thus with higher concentration of sugar already found in fruit.
It is quite simple to make, although depending on the fruit it could take a while and require lots of stirring. Different recipes will vary somewhat depending on fruit so you might want to find a specific recipe. Here we will use plums as an example. You can vary the amounts to your taste or need. Some people, due to health problems or diet restrictions, don’t put any sugar into jam, instead they depend on fruit alone for taste or add sweeteners.

To make plum jam you will need:
- Ten pounds of plums. It is very important that the plums, or any other fruit you use is ripe. If it is not then your jam won’t be as sweet without adding a lot more sugar to it, it might not have the right texture either.
- Two pounds of sugar. As this varies greatly by taste you should start with one pound and then go from there. So have a few more pounds ready on hand just in case. 
- A large and wide pot. Wider and lower pots are desirable due to the ease of stirring over the deep pots.
- A clean or new wooden spoon for stirring.
- A small ladle. The ladle doesn't need to be tiny just comfortable enough a size for you to be able to pour into the jars quickly and without much worry of spilling over.
- Clean jars. For the above amounts a safe number of jars is about ten average sized jars. The amount you will need will vary largely on how thick or runny you make your jam.
- Several clean kitchen towels.
- A stove with an oven.

How to make the plum jam: 
- First you will need to prepare the fruit by washing it thoroughly and pitting it.
- After the fruit has been cleaned put it into the large pot you chose and basically cook it until it starts to fall apart and get mushy. Make sure you stir the jam constantly or it will burn.
- Add a pound of sugar, stirring it in well. 
- After a few more minutes of cooking carefully take out a spoonful of jam. Let it cool on the side so you can taste it to see if more sugar is needed.
- Keep cooking and stirring the Jam until the bottom of the pot becomes visible.
- Towards the end take out your jars, put them on low temperature into the oven. They need to be hot when you put jam into them.
- Once the jam is done use a ladle to carefully pour the jam into the hot jars.
- Make sure there are no big air bubbles in the jam (get rid of them with a thin straw).
- Put the jars, uncovered, back into the oven, turn it off and let the jam sit at least 24 hours in a closed, turned off oven. Leaving it in the oven will create a thin crust that will help prevent it from spoiling.
- Once cooled completely cover the jars and store them in a cool dry place until giving away.

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

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Coffee and Walnut Cake

This is for all of us who have a tough time in the morning ;)

What you will need to make the coffee & walnut cake:
- 175g/6oz unsalted butter, a bit extra for greasing up
- 175g/6oz light muscovado sugar (I used regular brown sugar before)
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 3 tbsp strong black coffee
- 175g/6oz
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 115g/4oz walnut pieces
- Optional: some walnut halves for decorating
- 115g/4oz unsalted butter
- 200g/7oz icing sugar
- 1 tbsp strong black coffee
- .5 tsp vanilla essence

How to make the coffee & walnut cake:
- Preheat the oven to 180*c/350*f/Gas Mark 4. Get your cake pans ready by greasing and lining two 20cm/8in cake pans.
- Cream together the muscovado sugar and the butter until it is all pale and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, beating well after each addition and finally beat in the coffee.
- Mix the flour and the baking powder into the butter and muscovado sugar mixture, then fold in lightly and evenly with a metal spoon. Mix in the walnut pieces.
- Split the mixture between the two prepared cake tins and smooth the tops so they are level.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until it is golden brown.
- To make the frosting beat together butter and icing sugar, coffee and vanilla until it is all smooth and creamy.
- Use half of the frosting between the two sponge cakes and the rest on top or along the sides if you wish.
- Now if you opted for walnut halves you can decorate the top with them.

Photo Credit:

Fried Sandwich Rolls

I am feeling sick as a dog and craving some dirt nasty foods! Has anyone here tried making fried sandwich rolls before? 

What you will need to make fried sandwich rolls (multiply by the amount of rolls you want to make):
- A slice of bread
- A slice of ham, smoked or cooked your preference, you could dabble in other meats
- A slice of cheese, again your choice of which cheese you want but stick with fatty ones because they melt good 
- An egg, scrambled well
- Bread crumbs 
- Oil to fry in

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How to make fried sandwich rolls (multiply by the amount of rolls you want to make):
- Take a rolling pin, glass, bottle or a jar (be creative if you don't have a rolling pin) and flatten the piece of bread
- Put the ham and cheese onto the flattened slice of bread and carefully roll up.
- Dip the rolls first into egg then bread crumbs, then repeat the process.
- Fry the rolls in hot oil, making sure you get all the sides, until they are golden brown.

Soooooooo who wants to volunteer to make these for me today??? 

Photo Credits:


Natural homemade fruit jelly: Raspberry jelly

What you will need to make natural homemade raspberry jelly:
- 4 kg of raspberries.
- Sugar, amount depends on the amount of juice you get from the raspberries.
- A strainer, make sure it is not metal.

How to make natural homemade Raspberry jelly:
-First cook all four kg of the raspberries, without any water, for about eight minutes. 
- Keep stirring so it doesn't start to burn or stick to the bottom.
- After eight minutes put it into a fine strainer and let the juice drain into a bowl.
- When its all drained weigh the juice and add the same amount of sugar.
- Put the mixture into a pan and cook on low heat while stirring occasionally.
- When it comes to a boil stop stirring and just take the foam off the top while cooking for another 3 minutes.
- While still warm pour the jelly into cleaned dry jars, do not close them until it is completely cooled off.

Before following any of the natural homemade jelly recipes make sure you read the following post which acts as a quick intro to natural jelly making:
Natural homemade fruit jelly: the intro to jelly making 

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Natural homemade fruit jelly: Mint jelly

By Midori (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.1 jp (], via Wikimedia Commons

What you will need to make natural homemade mint jelly:
- 1/4 kg mint leaves
- 1 kg of sugar
- 1 apple
- 4 dl of water
- A strainer, make sure it is not metal

How to make natural homemade Mint jelly:
- Clean the mint leaves with a damp cloth and remove the stems
- Peel, and dice the apple.
- Heat up the mint leaves with the 4 dl of water
- Add the sugar and the diced apple to the cooking mint leaves
- Once it has been brought to a boiling point turn the heat down and keep cooking until the mass stiffens
- Strain the mass and store in well cleaned and completely dry glass jars.

Before following any of the natural homemade Jelly recipes make sure you read the following post which acts as a quick intro to natural jelly making:

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Natural homemade fruit jelly: the intro to jelly making

Jelly should be firm, see through, and should retain the color and fragrance of the fruit. 
It is prepared with fruit juice, and you should only use fruit which has enough acidity and pectin (essentially the thing that makes it turn into jelly). I realize that nowadays you can buy all sorts of additives and pectin that will act as firming agents but this is meant for natural jellies without those. 
The fruits that contain pectin are sour apples, nearly ripe raspberries and grapes and they are the easiest ones to make jelly with, you can mix them with other fruits too.
It is generally good to add some lemon juice to any fruit when making jelly because of its acidic properties.
If you want your jelly to look really nice don't peel your fruit or take out the core because they contain the most pectin.
Instead wash the fruit and cook it either whole or just cut up, with just enough water to cover it.

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Cook it on high heat so it would get soft, but be careful not to have it fall apart. 
You should line your strainer with two layers of gauze and leave the fruit in it to drain on its own. Do not press it just let it sit there for a few hours and do its thing.
The juice drained from the fruit should be weight and then added the same amount of sugar, then cooked on low heat. 
In general the jelly is done if you put a drop of it on a plate and it hardens straight away.

There is also raw jelly which can be attained from cherries and from red and black currants.
The fruit should be washed and seeds removed then the juice pressed out. 
The juice should then be warmed up, but not to the boiling point. 
once warmed up turn the heat off an add the same weight in sugar to it. 
Keep stirring it well until the whole thing starts to cool and harden. 
The raw jelly should be done in small quantities.

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