Thursday, 11 June 2009

waste less, eat cake

Today, running more than usual on not enough sleep, I've been spending too much time sitting on the couch wasting time with the computer and tv. I watched some of an Oprah show on recognising waste and challenging oneself to waste less.

I've been trying to push myself a little at a time to waste less and do more. Still a long way to go for my idea of what I could be achieving, but watching Oprah made me feel positively virtuous at times (if the families they were following are representative of average middle class America anyway). Setting the heat to run at 75 on a warm day? Trashing still edible food to make space to go grocery shopping? Why would you do these things?? I also can't imagine sleeping with the tv on all night but then I've never had a tv in the bedroom - I do like falling asleep to an audio book and using the radio to wake myself up but I don't think I'd sleep well with the tv on all night. I am definitely guilty of watching too much tv, spending too much time at the computer and of allowing my daughter to watch way more tv than I ever thought I would (especially at her age). I noticed several people on the show (children in particular) saying without those technologies there's nothing to do. Once again my mind boggles. I kick myself for wasting my time with these things because there are so many other things I want to spend more time doing. I don't want my daughter to develop that attitude (I don't think that's likely to happen any time soon thankfully).

Later in the show I caught some of a woman who had challenged herself to consume more mindfully and was thinking about only consuming her "share"; what she needs rather than over-consuming because there's so much on offer out there. That struck more of a chord with me it is an issue I think about a lot. I've been so happy lately because we finally got a compost bin. I try to always bring containers to our coop for my bulk items, and cloth bags for shopping. But thinking, globally, about what my share of the earth's resources always makes me uncomfortable because even though I don't consume as much as the guests on Oprah's show today I do still waste and I do still consume more than I would if resources were shared more equally across the world (which would mean many of us consuming much less of course since the world resources are limited - check out this "game" where you can see what the world would look like if everyone lived like you).

I don't know how much of that I am willing to change in the near future but I do want to challenge myself more. I'd love to live more of a Slow Life but how much my husband would go along with I'm not sure. Little by little though perhaps we can move in that direction. I'm not going to be Riana any time soon (she's certainly one of my sources of inspiration though).

What I did do was turn away from the computer, switch off the tv and spend time with my daughter. We checked our plants outside (we're growing some peas, beans, tomatoes, greens and herbs in containers this year), read a few stories, talked with my parents (using technology to tune in rather than switch off), did a jigsaw puzzle and prepared food.

I've had some over ripe bananas which I've been meaning to make banana bread with for several days and have not quite got around to the baking. So rather than let them get to the point of no return I decided to bake a cake. My daughter liked this idea but wanted to make a smoothie first (there would have been 3 bananas in the cake). By that time we really needed to get on with dinner so I put softened butter and banana into a bowl and gave that to my daughter to mash up while I cooked adding new ingredients for her to work in at intervals.I was going to make banana bread but in the end made a somewhat lighter textured cake. We ate some for our dessert before bedtime with cocoa (which I also sweeten with molasses) and my daughter announced she's having this cake for her birthday. It's just as well I made notes as I went along so that I can recreate it.

Double Chocolate Banana Cake

2 over-ripe bananas mashed
1 stick/4oz butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
a glug of walnut oil
1/4 milk*

1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup whole wheat cake flour
1/4 cocoa (sieve)
1 rounded tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg (one could also use cinnamon or no spices according to taste)
3/4 cup chocolate chips

  • mix together wet ingredients in a large bowl and dry ingredients in a smaller bowl
  • add dry ingredients to wet and mix to combine
  • pour into prepared 8"x8" square pan
  • bake in 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes

*I actually added the milk in at the end because I wanted the batter a bit wetter

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