The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. From learning one skill you get so much more! And the recipe for Sticky Buns.

Last week Cookie shared with us her easy one hour bread and we talked about being able to make basics from scratch and what an advantage this is... in both money savings and also being up to make meals from very simple ingredients.  Cookie's recipe can be found in last weeks post.

I am going to attempt a basic tutorial in sour dough another day.  It is thanks to Nanna Chel that I got started as she sent me some starter and instructions. She sent me to a blog called Gully Grove which helped me a lot as I found many instructions confusing but that blog made it much simpler!   Anyway, I am working on a tutorial to make it really easy for anyone interested.

Whether you are making bread with purchased yeast or sour dough starter it is like a lot of skills... it has many, many spin offs. You do not just get bread you get rolls, pizza bases, Calzones, focaccia and  fancy breads,  buns,  scrolls and sticky buns! (and many other things I haven't even tried yet.)

You can feed your family, fill lunch boxes, use for entertaining and gifts.

Then you have left overs. You get Bread and Butter pudding,  bread cases,  croutons, bread crumbs (for toppings, crumbed chops, meatloaf and more) and it goes on and on!  I wrote a post here about using up left over bread.  I make Bread and Butter pudding and it looks like a cake. It cuts like a cake and it is beautiful.  You can also make individual ones in a muffin tray.  This is also a great way to use up jam.

If you have a whole bunch of people to feed and they are always hungry all of this can really help! 

Anyway here is my Sticky Bun recipe. I adapted it from a very old recipe to my sour dough. I find really you can make any recipe calling for yeast. To do it I start with a cup or two of starter, make my sponge and go right ahead and use that instead of purchased yeast. Somewhere I will need to use less liquid than the recipe says or more flour (or both) to get the dough consistency but so far this has worked out with everything. 

For Sticky Buns (this makes 18)
Use about two cups of active sour dough starter and make your sponge with one cup of flour and one cup of water. Let it sit and become good and bubbly. I do this the night before. 
In the morning:
Heat up a cup of milk and add a large tablespoon of butter and a cup of sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let it cool down to warm.
I put my sour dough sponge in the mixer, add this melted mix, add 2 eggs and 4 cups flour.  (I used bread flour for everything)
Mix and keep adding flour until you have a nice soft dough, not dry but not wet! (I think I used about five cups overall)  Knead until lovely and smooth. I do this in my mixer with the dough hook.

Let this rise. I set it aside until mid afternoon. 

I use my largest baking dish and another smaller one. Line really well and up the sides with baking paper. 
Make a caramel sauce in a saucepan of 2 large tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of dark brown sugar, 1 cup of Golden Syrup.  (this is available in the Australian or British section in supermarkets overseas) 
Melt this all together and pour over your baking paper to cover the bottom of both tins.  You can make this anytime however I make it just before I fill the trays with my buns as this gives you warmth in your pans which will help the buns to rise. 
Sprinkle bits of pecans or walnuts over your toffee mix.

When your dough has risen to about double roll it out into a long section. 

Sprinkle this with 3 teaspoons of brown sugar and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon.  
Roll this like you would to make scrolls to form a giant long rolled up sausage.

Slice this into about 18 thick slices.  Then set each one onto your toffee base...

I got 12 in one tray and 6 in another. 
So it looks dismal at this point! Cover and let sit somewhere warm until at least double in size.  The warm toffee will help your pan be nice and warm. 
Once at least doubled you can bake them.  I used a medium oven for about 20 mins. Keep an eye on them. You want them to be golden but not get too dark...

Now for the good bits!  You want to let this cool down a bit as the toffee underneath is bubbly and would burn terribly if things went wrong. But you want it still nice and warm so it will tip out. 

Lay out a big baking tray or baking paper and tip the tray upside down so the whole thing comes out. 
Then carefully peel away the baking paper...

Underneath you will find oozy goozy sticky buns all golden and yum.

I served them warm at dinner when I had visitors....

They are really good! Later when they were cool I found microwaving them for 30 seconds made them like just out of the oven again.
I froze the whole tray of six and they freeze well.  

So that is it!  

Last week I worked on rotating some food items from our storage. I ordered a bike basket and seat cover for my bike.  I added large size batteries to my supplies.
Our power situation made international news and Elon Musk came out and said he can fix our problems.  This will be interesting!  I know he is a really smart guy and can only imagine him talking on the phone to our Premier and find this somehow hilarious.  However it would be amazing if good came from it! 

Did you add to your preparedness this week or learn a new skill that would be helpful?

Today is a public holiday for us. I am trying to get off to a good start! Have a wonderful week! xxx


  1. Your sticky buns look wonderful. I was raised on them and my Mom always made them in a large cast iron skillet. She would make the syrup on the stove top and get it all bubbly before adding the rolls. It was always scary watching that heavy skillet get flipped with a large plate on top to catch the rolls. I have not make them in years since my family does not prefer them. Maybe I will make some soon! Just for me! :)

    1. Dear Lana, Thank you! The flipping bit is so exciting! Yes make some for yourself! Frozen individually you would have a stash for treats!
      Do you still have your Mums recipe? I love the cast iron skillet idea. With love

    2. My Mom never used a recipe but just added til it looked right. I have never been able to make them quite like hers. Her rolls are so sticky they stick to your teeth! Yummy!

  2. Replies
    1. Dear Kelley, Thank you! Thinking of you and hoping your Mum is doing well! With love

  3. Yum! Yum! And Yum! Annabel these buns look wonderful, thank you for the recipe.

    It seems SA is not the only state looking at power cuts - here in NSW we've also been told to expect cuts in the future. We are now looking at generators as I would hate to lose all that is in my freezer.

    This week I restocked the toilet paper supplies, made baba ganoush ( from eggplants gifted by DSIL) and took vantage of a few sunny days to catch up in the garden.

    Have a great week,

    1. Dear Janine, Thank you so much!
      Well from whats happened here I can tell you a couple of things. One is get a generator early before its either really cold or really hot. They sold out here. You could not buy a generator for any amount. They were on back order in big numbers and this kept up for ages. So when the rush happens... there are none to buy. Buy early.
      Next.... if you keep your freezer full as possible even if its bottles of water in the gaps and do not open then you only need to run your generator 15 mins out of an hour, if that. This is enough to keep the fridge and freezer good.
      Consider the noise of the generator and how close neighbours are as otherwise using it at night might be off limits. They are quite noisy. You can get covers that reduce the noise.
      And finally have enough fuel and rotate that so it is not sitting around more than 6 months. As in the power outages you generally cannot buy fuel.
      Overall now I think of everything in terms of does it need electricity? I have no carpet. I can keep hard floors clean without power and I have a big clothes line etc.... (like the old days!)
      How lovely to get eggplants! Yum! Sunny days in the garden sound beautiful. With love,

  4. Annabel the buns look delicious!we live in country vic out in the hills, and just after i set my clock last night the power went out its happening a lot lately, iam going to buy a generator very soon Ausnet keep sending us notices telling us our power will be off for the day and its becoming more often not good.
    Ways i got ahead this week,i made a big carrot & pineapple cake some to take for work,also made all my lunches for the week,i also made a batch of lux soap,i still have to get the shape right lol,i need more pratice,i found lots of fencing and stuff in hard rubbish to fix our fences big savings there.
    have a wonderful week xxx

  5. Hi Annabel,
    This week I picked up four gutter solar lights to go up on the driveway side of the house. I have to read all this bits to make sure I install them properly. This is the dark side of the house where I had identified we needed light as a security measure.
    I have purchased more sugar as I have enough rosellas to make jam. Hoping to pick these tonight and make jam tomorrow morning.
    Your sticky buns look delicious. I have written out the recipe and added it to the 'want to make' pile. I'm making a rye loaf and a small sultana cinnamon loaf. I hope these loaves last longer than the one I made on Saturday. Between Katie, her Jared and Bluey the whole lovely loaf was gone before it had had a chance to cool. I didn't even have a chance to have a slice.
    The power issue seems to be a countrywide impending disaster. Qld is looking at not having enough power by 2020. We have been having all these experts saying this is going to happen, yet it appears that those in government are not prepared to do anything about it. We looked at going off grid with solar but found it cost prohibitive. So for us its our gen set for when the power grid goes down.
    Time to go and start watering my poor dry garden.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Light it a big deterrent. We have solar lighting out the front. It is really amazingly bright and no one could tell is it a sign we are home or not? Plus anyone could be seen. Now I plan to put them down the back and the side also. They are amazing.
      We had three solar mobs through and also found it prohibitive.Unless you go for a fancy system it doesnt work when the grid is down. If we had done it when the feed back traffic was high it might have worked out cost wise but now we worked out we would about break even the same year it would be due to be release, upgraded PROVIDED we never had any trouble with it. So overall to have power when there is none a generator was better for us. There are supermarkets here now finding it cheaper to run on diesel generators than electricity off the grid.
      I hope you get some rain! We have had a start and things look much brighter like a good wash! With much love

  6. As you know I gave Cookie's 1 hour bread a go. Will need to modify it a little as the first one was a bit doughy. My preparedness is a bit slow due to limited finances but I am doing what I can. I have made sure our camp hob has heaps of canisters and that the
    BBQ has a full gas bottle. My bike is up and running and I am making sure the cars are kept as near to full as I can. Making lots from scratch and ensuring the pantry is well stocked with canned produce and staples. My garden is slowly growing and it will be more productive next spring than it was this year. My Lemon tree is full of little green lemons just waiting to ripen. My chooks (chickens) are only laying an egg a day as they hate the hot weather. (only have 2 chooks). Have a transistor radio with batteries and a wind up clock. Let's hope Elon Musk can educate our governments. I can cope in the heat, its the cold that I dread but I have lots of blankets and hot water bottles so if all else fails in winter we can all cuddle down in bed to keep warm and I can boil water on the camp stove or little fire pit in the backyard. I need to get a bit fitter as my work is 5kms (2 1/2 miles) from home and up a huge hill. So would really challenge me on a bike at the moment. The good thing about work is that we have solar panels, a generator and tank water so it could become a mini haven in a disaster.
    It was interesting that we should keep are medications one pack ahead in case the chemist (drug store) is unable to dispense them but some medications they will question if you order them two weeks after your last prescription (especially with pain killers). Food for thought. I just told my chemist I was going away for 8 weeks and wouldn't be near a chemist. And I had to sign a declaration to the same. But now I have one in reserve.

    1. Janine, I just thought to check - did you divide the dough into two loaves? We don't want you to have soggy bread!!

    2. Hi Janine

      Yes there are ways around getting medications from the chemist. Having worked in one for just over 18 years I know some of the ways around it.

      If your prescription is a NHS one then if you do not meet the saftey net a pharmacist can endorse it with immediate supply necessary. It is classed as a private script (Non NHS) then they should not need to be as stricty (unless it is pain medication)

      In our chemist we were fairly lenient as we knew there were always different circumstances for needing medications. We would often ask the customer if we could keep the script and put it through on the due date and either post the repeats out or keep them on file as a first option and most people were happy for this to happen.

      The other option if your truly were not going to be near a chemist would be to talk to the Dr and get a regulation 24 which gives the authority to dispense all the medications at the original script and the 5 repeats totalling a 6 month supply of medications at once.

      So find a good chemist and stick with them as they can be kind to you in return.


    3. Did you know that you can request the Dr to write Reg.24 and / request increased quantity authority on your scripts? This means that you can get all the repeats in one go or have a larger qty on hand and then the pharmacist does not get into legal trouble and risk loosing their registration.not to mention the safety net still gets added to. Also for pensioners if you normally reach your safety net ie about 5 scripts or more a month please consider continuing to pay $6.30 for your scripts.It pays to do your a lot of cases you will get there faster and actually save yourself more.
      paying only $5.30 means you will have to pay an aprox a additional 11 scripts before hitting the free list. I have a few farm folk that do this and also a few folk that struggle to get out and about. Remember also if your a Repat card holder there are non pbs items you can access.Repat card holders can in a lot of cases have their webster packs paid for by the DVA.(scripts excluded)

      Did you also know that the government often offers free home medication reviews .a specialy trained pharmacist comes to your home and reviews your medication. The report back to your Dr with suggestions to improve your medication and health.Sometimes this results in less scripts being prescribed and improved quality of life.
      These are things that I have discoverd along the way.... hope this information might help some folks. Di in Aus

    4. Dear Aly and Di, Thank you for these tips! They are wonderful,
      As Andy takes a couple of things and needs blood thinners (he has a stainless steel heart value due to a birth defect in his heart) and we decided to try to get ahead with a supply. We noticed in the blackout shops closed.... but also as far as we can see if they were open they might not fill prescriptions as all the information is on computers. Either way, and considering the many reasons a person may not be able to shop, getting ahead is a very good idea.
      My Dad travels a lot and he is able to get ahead as the Doctor knows he is going away and then they will give him what he needs as there is no doctor or chemist up north where he goes.
      Many thanks to you both! Love Annabelxxx

  7. Hi Annabel and everyone out there

    Well after watching the news tonight 87% of QLD is in drought....that is an awful lot. Decent rain has not been had here since well I can't really remember.

    Almost everything here is made from scratch. I have just found a recipe that I am going to try out for tomato sauce which is suitable for a diabetic me thinks (further investigation is required) it will keep in the fridge for 3 months but the downfall is that once you use it is only viable for a week. Annoying as I have a child that eats sauce so rarely.

    I have been cheating with bread and buying as I find we just don't eat a loaf quick enough to warrant making it. I rarely eat bread and DD6 only has 1 possibly 2 sandwiches per week for school.

    Living rural and being diabetic I find I am able to keep ahead in the medications as they allow me to get more regularly as you never know when you may not get through to town.

    We have 2 big lead light torches that will go for longer than 24 hours left turned on (so would go for a few nights) a spare battery for each as well as a few normal torches and batteries. There are plenty of canned foods in the cupboard and we have a gas stove, shower is run by the gas....we have the gas that hooks up to the house as well as gas bottle for the bbq. We always have a spare of each.

    Our only trouble would be if we were without electricity in the heat. Autum seems to have forgotten us again this year with temps currently 37 during the day and the air con still running.

    Those sticky buns look wonderful Annabel and would be a wonderful treat but sadly I must eat a piece of fruit instead.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week. We secretly had a few days away and a long weekend without letting anyone know and it was wonderful and peaceful but not a cheap weekend but we did not care as it was long over due.

    Take Care
    Aly xxx

    1. Dear Aly,
      I am glad you had a special weekend! That sounds wonderful.
      The heat must be really hard. In my opinion that is the thing that is hardest for me re no electricity. I am pretty ok with everything else... but the heat!
      The tomato sauce sounds lovely. I would tend to freeze it in the portion sizes you think is right for you. Or do the fridge version and freeze the left overs right away. I have to do that or it gets away from me once opened in the fridge.
      I saw about the drought. I am amazed that in areas even up to the seaside is in drought. To me thats incredible. Its a bad situation. I hope there will be decent rains soon. Drought is just terrible... we have lived through them on the farm and its dreadful.
      You are doing well Aly and thank you very much for the chemist/medication tips above they are brilliant! With love

  8. Dear Annabel,

    Your sticky buns look so yummy. It's been a weekend of preparation here as we're about to get about 16 or more inches of snow over the next two days, and possibly more with lots of high winds and drifting. Snow emergencies have already been declared in some surrounding towns and it hasn't even started yet. It's due to start here tonight. We've been told that our roads will become impassable. Thank goodness for a well stocked pantry and the ability to produce meals from what's on hand, as we won't have to get into the fray that's happening at the grocery stores.

    We're headed for the library early today before the storm comes in to return books and get some new things to read. The bathtub will be filled with water just in case, some meals have been premade, bread, rolls, coffee cakes, cinnamon buns (scrolls) are in the freezer, the generator is at the ready as well as battery run lighting if needed. We've been very fortunate in the past during storms like this and our power has stayed on, so here's hoping it will stay on during this one too.

    I hope all who are in the path of this storm will be warm and safe.

    1. Dear Cookie,
      I am so glad to know you are well organised and prepared, aware of whats coming so you can be ready (I am always amazed by people who have no idea despite warnings) and you will have cooking and your generator ready. After that you will probably be inside snug and crafting!
      Thinking of you and hoping the power does stay on! With love

  9. Dear Annabel, Your sticky buns look wonderful! I have been following your sourdough saga. Do you ever have to toss any of your excess starter out or are you able to save it to use later?
    You must bake everyday!
    It's interesting to read about Australia's power problems. Makes me wonder about our own here in the states. We do have a generator that we purchased when we got our travel trailer for when we go dry camping; that is to say we would go camping out in the woods like being off grid. So far we have never had to use it here at the house but good to know it's on the ready.

    1. Dear Laurie,
      As far as I can remember every tutorial I read had you cook something or else throw away half your starter. I refuse to do that. I really only bake once or twice a week but it seems endless lol!
      Anyway the starter needs feeding once a week if kept in the fridge. I take it out and let it get to room temp and wake up. I split it and feed both. One lot would normally go back in the fridge to keep me going. The other lot I make into something... however if say I didn't have time I would put that in a jar and back into the fridge also... then I have two starters. I can give a starter to someone or just make something extra next time. I just don't throw it away. Also I think I use a lot of starter and if I have too much my bread will just turn out bigger! You can also spread a starter across baking paper very thinly and dry it. Then you have a preserved starter in case of a disaster!
      I think hacking is a big risk for the grid. Its been done overseas where hackers just take it over and no one has power. So its an obvious target. But also as governments turn of coal and go to renewables this will happen.... as the grid is designed for stability and doesnt go well with surges and our renewables are wind and solar (mostly) and both produce then stop and are all over the place... apparently the grid doesnt like this! Your camping experience really sets you up to be experienced and capable of managing without power. That is excellent! With love

  10. Dear Annabel,

    My mind boggles that your area would have such a problem with power! I keep thinking, "If the government knows that the system isn't producing enough, why in the world aren't they taking measures to produce more right away?" How weird to just send out notices to cut off peoples' power periodically at a moment's notice to eke things out!!! You'd think this was a situation that didn't develop overnight, so a solution would have been thoughtfully sought some time ago! The faith we put in the powers that be... It is so odd, because basically each individual is having to come up with their own "power plan", not just to conserve, but also to produce. It's not an efficient production model, is it? Crazy. Fingers crossed for your area to find a solution quickly!!!

    Your sourdough sticky buns look absolutely delicious! You are such an intuitive cook; sourdough is ideal for you because you are so good at adapting and seeing the potential! (Which is, of course, an ideal mindset for your "Preparedness" series!!) :)

    Lots of love,

    Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      The frightening answer is because they sold the power stations to overseas companies and these companies don't care if we have power or not or if people die even only that they make a profit. If they don't they just close the whole thing down and are allowed to! No it didn't develop overnight and now its spreading to other states as they have power stations closing. Its reaching crisis point now as power is also too expensive for many businesses and they are going over to generators or just closing down. Its all mad and a cautionary tale...
      Thank you! I am finding just use sourdough anyway you need yeast. It works like a dream. As long as the dough feels right it will be fine!
      One more crazy thing I can tell you .... the power we need goes way up in a heatwave as everyone wants air-conditioning... but the power producers don't watch the weather report and decide to produce more! They just turn off people instead. This recently happened! Too hard to keep their eye on the weather report... so don't bother. Not making this up!
      Have a great week! With love

    2. This is absolutely crazy, Annabel! In some of our provinces, the power company is a "Crown Corporation", which means that basically the citizens own the power company. It can make money, but it goes into the province's coffers. Here in N.S., it is controlled by a private corporation, so it is worse, but at least they are highly regulated. One thing we found in one province we lived in, is that the power companies also sold "extra" power down south, which was highly lucrative. We were finding more and more instances of our power going off periodically for really specific periods of time, for no rhyme or reason, starting on the hour...cutting off the province's citizens, we suspected, in order to have some "extra" to sell for a bigger profit. It's all well and fine, except it often ruined appliances, heat sources, and lost people's fridge and freezer's supplies of food, etc.

      I can't understand how a power supply could be put in the hands of such unconscionable behavior, such as you are having there. When the extreme weather hits, hot or cold, there are people who are relying on their power to STAY ALIVE. One has to wonder whether we are moving forward with the times and the wonders of technology, or moving back to the dark ages. Figures on a balance sheet all have a story, and I wonder some people can live with themselves. I'm surprised they don't raise the prices of power during the most vulnerable times, too!?! (That's what they do with fuel, here....)

      Very interesting, and not in a good way! I hope that by making international headlines something good will arise!!

      Lots of love,

      JEn in NS

    3. P.S. Does learning Italian count as a new skill that will help in Pantries and Preparedness? :) Jen

    4. Jen, I think Italian could help! Just think - a Torte Della Nonna, Ravioli, a Pastrami ....

  11. Annabel,
    Your sticky buns look so good I could probably eat a whole pan by myself. I try not to eat a lot, but boy do I love sweet things!
    Your right learning one new skill can open up a whole host of things. I love learning new things especially things that will save or make the household better. I often find that when things are chaotic the concentration of learning something new drowns out the chaos a bit and helps keep my crazy in check! LOL
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I agree with you... the impact of a new skill can be huge and it is fun to learn. It is kind of exciting and I sure had a lot of fun learning this and still learning. What next, that is the question! Although I am working on painting thanks to Cookie so that is a project...
      I hope your week is going well! With love

    2. Vicky, I have a really bad sweet tooth too. Someone once told me that it can be tamed by making sure to eat your probiotics. They said that it really means your body is craving that stuff the probiotics provides.

      I have tried it and it really works for me. And I feel better. Some suggestions of probiotic intense foods are live culture yogurt, homemade sauerkraut, and kimchi.


  12. Hi Annabel,
    Yum! Those sticky buns look dangerously good.
    Here's hoping the Tesla guy can sort out the power problems! We are getting solar and would like to get Tesla batteries but the cost is a bit prohibitive at the moment. I am sure it will drop in a few years. I am just wondering, what kind of generator did you get and how much was it?
    I hope you are getting some Autumn weather where you are. I love Autumn.
    All the best,

    1. Dear Peach, This wont be a very good answer but its a petrol generator and cost just under $1000. It has worked well. It will run the fridge, freezer and a small air conditioner in our bedroom etc.
      It is getting much more like autumn. This is my favourite time of year as well... its still a little warm today but we are nearly there! With love

  13. Annabel, looking at those buns made me hungry :)
    With limited finances and space being prepared is a challenge but I am moving forward every week. Even if we could afford a generator, we have nowhere to store the necessary fuel and our neighbours live very close. Security could be a major issue as I live in a village type situation and most of the people are over 70.
    I have a long list of things I need to get and will keep plodding along to fill it.

    1. Hi Margaret,
      Just wanted to let you know that there are generators that are essentially large batteries that can either be charged inside or with the solar panels that come with them. No fuel required. They are noiseless, which makes them perfect for indoor use and come with their own little cart so that they can be moved around. We have one that we purchased several years ago. Blessings, Cookie


  14. Hi Annabel!

    Thanks for posting your sticky buns recipe! You've done well!!

    I'm thinking of a version that I think could suit our household! Ideas!! Ideas!! Bluebirds are full of ideas!!!!!

    Thank you!

  15. Mouthwatering post Annabel! Now if only I could get a Gluten Free sourdough, I'd be happy! I've been following the news on South Australias energy woes, and it defies belief that in this day and age, things are not more reliable. I feel for you! We have woes of different kinds with water and drought issues, but it doesn't interfere greatly with day to day life. Whereas power or lack thereof, does! Fingers crossed for a solution! Love, Mimi xxx

  16. Dear Annabel, the post has arrived in VIC! I was so excited when I checked because first I seen it was a pink envelope and then I seen the nest stamp in it, so I knew it was from you. I have immediately started the process. I am beside myself with excitement. Thank you sooooooo much. Love Anne

    1. Dear Anne, I am so pleased! Good luck! Let me know how you go! What patiently for those bubbles! With love Annabelxxx


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