Low Calorie Lemon Coconut Slice

Low Calorie Lemon Coconut Slice - thelinkssite.comThis lemon coconut slice is heaven for any sweet tooth. It’s soft and sweet with a delicious lemon tang; no one will ever know that it is low calorie!

I have said it before but I will say it again – I love sweet lemon recipes! I don’t know what it is about sweet snacks and desserts with lemon in them but I just can’t resist them. I have a bit of a sweet tooth anyway, but when you add in lemon I just can’t say no!

Usually the thing that keeps me in check is the idea that these sweet lemony treats are loaded with calories. I am resigned to the fact that I can only have them sometimes – that they are an every now and again treat :(

That was until recently when I came across this yummy Lemon and coconut slice recipe at the Australian Healthy Food Guide website. I can’t believe that this recipe comes from a healthy eating website and that it only has 134 calories per serve. I think that I have just gone to sweet lemon heaven!

If you like a good lemon slice (like I do) you will not be disappointed with this one. It has all the flavour of a traditional lemon slice but with a lot less calories. This lemon coconut slice is lighter because it uses reduced fat butter/margarine and skim sweetened condensed milk. Also there is no generous icing layer like many traditional lemon slice recipes have. But, having said that, the lemon glaze that is drizzled over the top still has a sharp lemon tang.

This would be a great recipe for kids because there is no baking involved (only use microwave to melt butter/margarine) and because it is still nice and sweet they will love it.

As a certified sweet lemon addict I can highly recommend this lemon coconut slice. I am so glad that I have this recipe because I know that I will make it again!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Low Calorie Lemon Coconut Slice
This lemon coconut slice is heaven for any sweet tooth. It’s soft and sweet with a delicious lemon tang; no one will ever know that it is low calorie!
Serves: 20
  • 75g of reduced fat butter or margarine
  • 300g of skim sweetened condensed milk
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon (reserve 1 tablespoon of juice for glaze)
  • 150g of crushed Arrowroot biscuits
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • ½ cup of desiccated coconut
Lemon Glaze
  • 4 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  1. Line a 17cm x 27 cm (7 x 11 inch) slice tin with baking paper.
  2. Place butter or margarine and sweetened condensed milk into a large microwave safe mixing bowl and microwave on medium power for 2 minutes or until the butter/margarine has melted.
  3. Add lemon juice and zest (don’t forget to reserve a tablespoon of juice for the glaze) and mix until smooth.
  4. Add crushed biscuits, rolled oats, and coconut and mix well to combine.
  5. Press into prepared tin.
  6. To make the lemon glaze, combine the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small bowl and then drizzle over the slice.
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the slice is completely set, and then slice.


Yummy low calorie lemon coconut slice - thelinkssite.com



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Links I Love from October 2014

My favourite links from October 2014 - thelinkssite.comIs it just me or does it feel like the closer we get to Christmas the faster the weeks go? I can’t believe that we are almost up to the middle of November already! Before we get too much further into November I had better show you some of the great links that I found online from October 2014!

As usual the links focus on simple everyday things that cover interests such as crafts, gardening, and of course baking (I spend too much time looking at food blogs!). I love looking at these types of blogs because they pretty much cover the things I like doing!

So that I can provide a picture with the links (without stealing anyone’s photos) I always include a Pinterest pin for each link. That way you get to see what I am talking about and you can also ‘Pin it’ for later if you wish, as long as you have a Pinterest account. Alternatively, if you want to go straight to the content then I will also provide the direct link for that as well!

Anyway, here are some of the great links that I saw during October 2014!

I thought I’d start with one of my weaknesses which is apple recipes. I love a good apple cake so this Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake from Lori from Recipe Girl really caught my eye!


I also loved the look of this Vanilla Bean Yellow Cake from Nicole at Or Whatever You Do. It just looks so pretty and reminds me of the cakes that my Nana used to make.


Now that the weather is warming up it is good to try out some no-bake recipes. These Coconut Caramel Pecan Bars that I saw at Gourmande in the Kitchen looked really yummy.


The last recipe that I want to share is for Chicken Cordon Bleu French Bread Pizza!  I saw this recipe at Six Sisters’ Stuff and it had my mouth watering!


If you are into gardening like I am you will appreciate a good water saving tip. Last month Anne at The Micro Gardener shared 17 Water Saving Tips for Container Gardens – that will definitely be handy this summer!


I saw this post titled 10 Fun Things to Grow at The Home Grown Country Life and was intrigued. If you like gardening then you should check it out; I have 7 out of 10 growing in my garden!


Easy DIY vases are also popular in this house so I had to include this DIY Colorblocked Twig Vase from Real Housemoms. I think this would also look good done in a bright colour.


Finally I wanted to share this really cool Wine Cork Bulletin Board that I saw at A Beautiful Mess. I like this one so much it has definitely been added to my to-do list!


Well that’s it for now; I hope you liked seeing these great links from October 2014! If you want to see more great links feel free to check out my Pinterest page!

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November Gardening Plus What’s Going on in My Garden

Talking about November Gardening - thelinkssite.comWow where has the year gone? Now that the days are getting longer and the weather is warming up it feels like Christmas and the end of the year are approaching fast! I can’t believe that October is behind us and it’s already time to get stuck into the November gardening jobs!

While the daytime temperature here these last few weeks has definitely increased we have still had a few really cold nights. Just when we think that we have used our wood heater for the last time the overnight temperature drops again and we have to start it up again. It’s hard at this time of year because it is too hot for a fire during the day but it still gets cold some nights. We even had frost forecast a couple of nights ago but thankfully that didn’t eventuate!

Despite the changeable temperature I really love this time of year because it won’t be much longer and it will be too hot to be out in the garden during the day. Our summers can be really hot which means that often the gardening has to be done early in the morning or in the evenings. It is great to be able to work in the garden all day during spring!

There seems to be so much that is happening in the garden as the weather warms up. I find it hard to get my inside jobs done because it is really great being out in the garden at this time of year!

Here are the November gardening jobs that I will be doing in the weeks ahead:


My November Gardening Jobs


  • monitor vegetable patch daily and water as required
  • mulch around newly planted vegetables
  • stake tomato plants as they continue to grow
  • deadhead roses to encourage fresh blooms
  • control aphids on roses using natural control methods
  • monitor drip irrigation system for leaks and blockages
  • clear leaf litter and twigs from gutters and around garden to prepare for upcoming bushfire season
  • protect fruit tree from birds as fruit develops
  • move pots of spring flowering bulbs that have finished to a cool shady area to die back before lifting


Our zucchini plants have been thriving in the warm spring weather! November Gardening - thelinkssite.comOne part of the garden that is not hard to get obsessed by during spring is the vegetable patch. Once you plant out some seeds it is so much fun to check on them every day and see if any have sprouted! During the last couple of weeks we have planted beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, and watermelons. We have been watering the seeds and new seedlings everyday so that they are kept damp but our other more advanced vegetables are surviving quite well with a good soak every three or four days.

A new vegetable in our garden that I am really excited about is our zucchinis! I love zucchini so I can’t wait to harvest some home grown ones. We only have three zucchini plants, but I believe that they are very productive so that will probably be enough for us :)

We have been enjoying harvesting lots of our own vegetables over the last few weeks. I was very pleased with my crop of three nice big cauliflowers and we have also had a good harvest of silver beet, parsnips, and onions. A couple of days ago we even dug up some of our own potatoes and had them for dinner – and they were delicious! We planted quite a few so we won’t have to buy potatoes for a while!


Lots of yummy plums on the way! November Gardening - thelinkssite.comOur fruit trees are also loaded with fruit at the moment. Since we have not had a lot of rain over the last couple of months we have been giving them extra water so that the trees don’t get stressed. Even though the fruit is still very green we will soon have to start thinking about protecting the fruit from the birds. Only the other day we noticed that the birds have ‘taste tested’ a couple of the apricots!

Our fruit trees end up looking a bit silly in the lead up to Christmas and through January because we hang lots of shiny objects up to try and scare the birds. We have a stack of old CDs and aluminium trays that catch the light quite well and seem to spin and flap around in the breeze. I don’t know what our neighbours think!

Our lemon tree has also been flowering away over the last few weeks. We find that we get lots of lemons if we make sure the tree is well watered while it is flowering. It is only a small Meyer lemon in a pot but it provides quite a few lemons if we keep it well watered!




Alstroemeria plants add colour and bring bees to our vegetable patch! November Gardening - thelinkssite.com

Now that we are really utilizing our vegetable patch we have decided to incorporate some flowering plants to help attract the bees. We grow most of our vegetables during the spring and summer so we have tried to add some plants into the veggie garden that will flower over the warmer months. There is a happy wanderer creeper in our garden that has been there for years but it flowers at the end of the winter which is a bit early for most of our vegetable plants.

The salvia plants that grow in our front garden seem to flower for months and months so we now have one growing in a big pot in the vegetable garden. They can spread a bit so we thought that having it in a pot would be the best option.

We have added a patch of alstroemeria to the back of our vegetable patch and it seems to really like the full sun position. We plan to put in a couple more different coloured alstroemeria plants because they also make a great cut flower for arrangements.

The alstroemerias that are already in the vegie garden are already attracting the bees. Just the other day I saw a bee moving between the alstroemeria flowers and the tomato flowers!


Well I can’t wait to get out into the garden and get stuck into my jobs for November! If you want more November gardening inspiration check out the following links:


November Gardening in Australia:


Organic Gardener: What to do in November

Yates: November Gardening


For my northern hemisphere visitors.


November Gardening in the Northern Hemisphere:


Horticulture Guy: November Garden Tasks

Seasonal Gardening: Gardening in Autumn: What to do in the Garden in November


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Pumpkin Fruit Cake Recipe

Pumpkin Fruit Cake Recipe - thelinkssite.comPacked with plump, juicy fruit and sweetened with pumpkin and apricot nectar this Pumpkin Fruit Cake is a luscious snack cake that is almost irresistible!

These days most people can be placed into one of two categories; fruit cake lovers or fruit cake haters. I myself am very much a fruit cake lover! I grew up eating fruit cake as a regular afterschool snack and in my family Christmas just would not be Christmas without a traditional Christmas fruit cake!

Speaking of Christmas cakes, if you want a great Christmas cake recipe check out this Easy Mix Christmas Cake recipe that I shared a couple of years ago. I usually make this Christmas cake a few weeks before Christmas so that it is really rich and moist by Christmas day!

If however you don’t want to wait a few weeks to get a moist and tasty fruit cake then you need to try this pumpkin fruit cake. I came across this recipe on a packet of Sunbeam mixed fruit that I had in the pantry and decided to give it a try (see the original recipe here).

We still have one of our butternut pumpkins from our autumn harvest so I thought this would be great opportunity to try using it in a sweet pumpkin recipe. The only modification that I made to the recipe was to change the shape of the baking tin. The original recipe suggested using a 20cm round tin but I wanted to be able to cut it up into small slices so I chose the rectangular slice tin instead. As a result the fruit cake is not quite as high as it could be but I really don’t think that it matters – as long as it tastes good I say ;)

So if you can’t wait till Christmas to have a delicious slice of moist fruit cake then I can highly recommend you make this Pumpkin Fruit Cake!

If you count calories like me you will also be pleased to know that each piece of this pumpkin fruit cake is 192 calories (using My Fitness Pal to calculate calories).

Pumpkin Fruit Cake Recipe
Packed with plump, juicy fruit and sweetened with pumpkin and apricot nectar this Pumpkin Fruit Cake is a luscious snack cake that is almost irresistible!
Serves: 24
  • 500g of mixed fruit
  • 1½ cups of lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of golden syrup
  • 125g of butter
  • 1 cup of apricot nectar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup of cold pumpkin, cooked and mashed*
  • 1 cup of sifted plain flour
  • 1 cup of sifted self raising flour
  1. Grease and line a 20cm x 30cm rectangular slice tin.
  2. Place mixed fruit, brown sugar, golden syrup, butter, and apricot nectar into a large saucepan and stir it continuously over a medium heat until the mixture comes to the boil.
  3. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer gently for 10 minutes as you continue stirring.
  4. After 10 minutes remove from heat and add the baking soda. Stir the mixture thoroughly and allow it to cool.
  5. While mixture is cooling preheat oven to 160 °C (320 °F).
  6. Once cooled (saucepan is just warm to the touch) add eggs and pumpkin and beat with wooden spoon until smooth.
  7. Add flours and mix well to combine.
  8. Place mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool completely in tin before slicing and serving.
* 300g of raw, peeled pumpkin was enough to give me one cup of cooked mashed pumpkin


Pumpkin Fruit Cake - thelinkssite.com

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DIY Solar Halloween Lights

Easy DIY Solar Halloween Lights - thelinkssite.comHalloween is not a huge event here in Australia although it is getting more and more popular each year. We haven’t made any Halloween decorations at our house in the past because we don’t get any trick or treaters where we live – the distance between houses is a bit big for the kids probably! But I got thinking about Halloween decorations recently when I was out at the hardware store and saw that they were selling solar Halloween lights.

I love using solar lights for decorations; I made my own solar Christmas lights design last year! The solar Halloween lights that I saw at the hardware store were selling for around $2 each and most of them seemed to be based on a carved pumpkin head style. So I got thinking about the solar lights that we already had at home and decided that I could make my own solar Halloween lights. We still might not get any trick or treaters this year but we will have some Halloween lights ready just in case!

If you are like me and have solar lights that have a twist off top then you can easily add your own Halloween cut outs to the lights. I had these made up in an hour or so and they are super easy. I found the hardest part was carefully cutting out the shapes! I used regular scissors to cut out the outlines and then a utility knife (help children with this step) to cut out the inner pieces like the pumpkin face. I used the point of a compass to make the small eyes for bats and spiders. See below for the steps I used to make my Halloween lights.


How to make your own solar Halloween lights - thelinkssite.comHow to Make Your Own Solar Halloween Lights


  1. Visit PicMonkey and create your Halloween cut-out images (or use mine here – right click image and select print)
  • Click on Design
  • Click the pumpkin icon on the left menu bar to choose Halloween themes
  • I then chose the Trick or Treat theme
  • Click on the Classic Creepies overlays
  • Select which images you would like for your lights
  • position images on you design board (don’t make them too big or they won’t fit in your lights)
  • Save your design to your computer
  • Open the saved design and print


  1. Carefully cut out images (may need utility or craft knife for inner pieces and a compass for the small eye holes – be careful!)
  2. Place several very small pieces of Blu Tack to the front of each cut out
  3. Take the top off the solar lights and position the cut out inside. Press the cut outs onto the inside of the lights so that they stick in place using the Blu Tack
  4. Put the top back on the solar lights and place them back in the garden (where they get sun)
  5. Go outside after dark and see the Halloween lights!


The best thing about these DIY solar Halloween lights is that once Halloween is over you can take the paper Halloween images out and they go back to being regular solar lights!



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Removing Sticky Labels and Glue Residue from Jars

Removing Sticky Labels and Glue Residue from Glass Jars and Bottles - thelinkssite.comYou can do so much with empty glass jars and bottles; you don’t necessarily have to just put them out to the recycle. Glass jars are great for storing small items in the pantry or for storing jams, chutneys, and pickles. You can also use them for storing small craft pieces or even as a vase. The only problem with many of the jars is that the sticky labels and the label glue can be hard to remove.

If you are lucky then all you will need to do is soak the jar or bottle in some warm soapy water and the sticky label will just peel straight off. But more often than not the paper part of the label will come off but the sticky glue residue remains.

I have used tea tree oil before to take the glue residue off but I don’t like using it because it has a very strong smell. Once you get even a couple of drops of tea tree oil on anything it takes ages for the smelt to disappear. It gives me a headache!

Recently however I came across an easy solution at The Creek Line House that showed how to remove sticky labels and glue residue without using any smelly chemicals. It suggested that the glue residue from sticky labels could be removed using only cooking oil and baking soda.

We had a couple of jars in the pantry that had been saved so I thought I would see if I could use this method to remove the sticky labels and glue residue.


Removing Sticky Labels and Glue Residue from Glass Jars and Bottles


Removing Sticky Labels and Glue Residue from Jars and Bottles without Chemicals - thelinkssite.comFirst I soaked the jars in some warm soapy water for around 30 minutes. Most of the paper labels came off after this time but some sticky labels took longer and I had to leave them soaking in the sink for a few hours.

Once the paper part of the label was removed I dried the jars and made up a paste of cooking oil and baking soda. I found that a thick paste worked best so I mixed 3 heaped tablespoons of baking soda with 2 tablespoon of canola oil (any type of cooking oil will do).  If you feel your mixture is too runny just add a bit more baking soda.

I then put a small amount of the paste onto a non-scratch dish scrubber and rubbed it over the sticky residue. In some cases the residue would come off quite easily and then the paste could be wiped off with a clean damp cloth.

If the glue residue didn’t come off easily I would rub some of the paste over the stubborn areas and then leave it for a couple of minutes while I worked on another jar. After a few minutes the stubborn glue residue rubbed off quite easily.

I then gave the jars another quick rinse in some warm soapy water and they were ready to be reused!

This amount of oil and baking soda paste seemed to go a long way and could easily be used on 10 to 12 jars. I had quite a bit left over after doing 4 or 5 jars.

The best thing about this method is that there was no need to use nasty chemicals or smelly oils. Also because you are only using regular cooking items it is safe to wash everything in the kitchen sink afterwards!

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Sour Cream and Chive Dip

Sour Cream and Chive Dip - thelinkssite.comThe weather has been so nice recently that I have been craving some warmer weather snacks. I have really enjoyed having a couple of crackers with some sweet chilli dip at the end of the day (sometimes with a glass of wine!). It got me thinking about making my own dip. I had some sour cream in the fridge and chives in the garden so I figured that it wouldn’t be too hard to make my own sour cream and chive dip.

Sour cream and chive would have to be a classic dip flavour. The best thing about classic dips like sour cream and chive is that they appeal to people of all ages. Often it is hard to get kids to try a dip that has ‘strange stuff’ in it! The kids in my family would run a mile rather than try a dip that had spinach or artichoke in it! But because they love sour cream and chive chips they also love the same flavour in a dip.

So this recipe is definitely going to be a hit at family parties and BBQ’s this summer!

I found a really easy looking Sour Cream and Chives Dip recipe on the Food.com website. I have modified the recipe just slightly because the first time I made it the taste wasn’t quite right. It seemed to be missing something. I did a bit of looking around online and saw some other sour cream and chive dip recipes included mayonnaise. So I decided to add a small amount of mayonnaise to mine.

Wow that really did the trick; now I have an awesome dip recipe that the whole family loves and it is so easy to make. All you have to do is put the ingredients into a small bowl and give them a mix –you can’t get any easier than that can you!

I used light sour cream and fat free mayonnaise so this sour cream and chive dip is a tasty snack that you don’t have to feel guilty about! We have enjoyed it with crackers, vegetable sticks, and it is really nice spread on some fresh bread.  I could eat this stuff all day if you let me :)

Sour Cream and Chive Dip
This Sour Cream and Chive Dip recipe is great for a quick and easy appetizer. The recipe will be a regular at my house because the whole family loves it!
Serves: 4
  • 5 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and serve!

Quick and easy sour cream and chive dip - thelinkssite.com


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Tips for Growing Strawberry Plants

Useful tips for growing your own strawberry plants - thelinkssite.comWe had a couple of strawberry plants sitting on our veranda for a couple of years and in the autumn we planted them out in our vegetable garden. They have been fairly quite over the winter months but now that spring has arrived they have really taken off.

Strawberry plants like quite a bit of sun but because we get some really hot days during summer we have planted ours in a position where they get some shade in the afternoon. When I was young my parents had a big strawberry patch and it got quite a bit of afternoon shade so that seems to work in our climate. If you have a milder summer then you might need to make sure that your strawberries get full sun all day.

Our strawberry plants are covered in flowers at the moment and we are giving them a deep watering under the plants every few days. Strawberry plants like plenty of water but they don’t like to be watered overhead.

We have grown strawberries before but I wondered what else we should know to get the most out of these strawberry plants. So I have been looking online for any hints and tips that I can find to maximise our yield of strawberries!

One thing that I didn’t know until recently is that strawberries like a slightly acid soil and that they can be mulched with pine needles. The pine needles are acidic so they create naturally acidic conditions for the plants. We have a couple of pine trees in our backyard so we collected up a container of pine needles the other day and put them out around our strawberry plants.

There are lots of helpful tips available for anyone who is new to growing strawberries at home. After doing some reading I have compiled a short list of useful tips that will help with caring for and growing strawberry plants.


Tips for Growing Strawberry Plants


  • Tips for Growing Strawberry Plants - thelinkssite.comStrawberries like an open sunny location (we have best results with some afternoon shade in a hot climate)
  • Don’t plant your strawberries where you have had other berries or any of the plants from the tomato family (e.g. tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum or eggplants)
  • Strawberries like plenty of water but not from overhead – set up drip irrigation or water strawberry plants underneath
  • Mulch around strawberries to retain moisture, prevent weeds, and keep fruit clean
  • Strawberries like a slightly acid soil so mulching with pine needles is good
  • Fertilise with seaweed solution every two weeks – especially during the growing season
  • Cover strawberry patch with bird netting when fruiting and watch out for snails and slugs
  • Prune out runners so they don’t overcrowd the patch
  • Replace strawberry plants with new ones every four of five years


When I was growing up we had a big strawberry patch and we used to pick big bowls full of strawberries. We used to pick them and eat them straight from the plant or we would have them with cream or ice cream.

I’m hoping that with the right care our current patch of strawberry plants will soon be rewarding us with a bountiful harvest!


If you would like some more information about growing strawberry plants check out the following links:

Strawberry Plants .org: The ONE stop for EVERYTHING related to strawberry plants and growing strawberries…

Green Harvest: Strawberry Growing Information

Gardenate: Growing Strawberry Plants

The Old Farmer’s Almanac: Strawberries


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