Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday thrift......

My husband had an early start this morning-so last night I organised a packed lunch for him to take: homemade biscuits & chicken splitpea curry. Both items were leftovers frm the day before-so instead of him spending $10 or so for lunch, it has cost very little. It is rare for him to buy lunch these days-and at up to $50/week saved our bottom line is healthier for it!

By baking/cooking bulk meals, costs are kept to a minimum. For example, the chicken splitpea curry used two chicken breasts, a pack of yellow split peas and 3 cups of chopped vegetables with a can of chopped tomatoes. Cooked in the slow cooker whilst I was at work, this effort has provided us with 6 meals ( 3 serves each)

The biscuit recipe is fantastic ( and cheap-we like cheap!) because once you make the dough you can store it in the freezer until required. When you find yourself hankering after a sweet treat ( or those pesky in-laws drop in unannounced!) you can remove a roll of dough and in less than 20mins you have fresh biscuits!

What hapens in your family? Do you buy lunch or do you enjoy taking a packed meal from home?

Monday, May 28, 2012

House or home?

We have been living in this house for 18 months. We bought the acre block of land and built the house to suit us ( as much as possible within our budget)-I love living here and call it my "pinebox" house...I'm not leaving here unless it's in a pinebox!

This is the 4th time we have built a house. It was never planned that way-just how life has panned out. Our last house never felt like home. People would visit and ooh and aah and say how wonderful it was, but to me it never felt like our sanctuary.

This house however is home. As we planned our build I dreamed of laughter filled meals around our dining table-of children playing in the rooms, of quiet times where I sit with a cup of tea and just be.

I realised over the weekend that it has become the home we dreamed of and craved.We had 22 family and friends here on Friday night to celebrate our grandson's 4th birthday and our home was warm and nurturing on a cold late Autumn's Eve.

 I am a moderator on a home building Forum and feel sad sometimes as people post about how they are searching for the "WOW" factor; how they have to have this "statement" piece or that particular product-no matter what the cost! Each and every one of these people is actually planning to impress others. They are more concerned about what others will think of their house than they themselves will FEEL living there.

For me, of course I appreciate it if you admire my decorating,but-most importantly I want you to feel relaxed and welcome in my home. I want you to feel that you could sit at our table to laugh and chat all day-and that when you leave our home you feel relaxed and refreshed.

What about you? House or home?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday thrift....

Don't spend-save. Very much the message that is out there in the current financial climate. Question is-if you are on a low income ( and I know many who are) just HOW do you save? Every cent is counted for, allocated, devoured by day to day expenses. Right?

I say that you can, indeed save-even if you are on the barest of margins with whatever source your income takes.

Get yourself one of those money tins-the type which can only be opened with a can opener-they can be purchased cheaply at any of the $2 type shops ( consider it an investment). It is important that you cannot open the container easily!

Every payday put $5 in there-more if you can. Do this BEFORE grocery shopping-you really won't miss it! If your grocery budget is $150/week-then put the money in the tin and THEN do your shopping. Choose a couple of cheaper products and you will find that it is easy to do without that $5.

Even if you can only allocate that $5/week for 1 year-at the end of the year you will have $260. Enough to treat you and/or your family to some thing special!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lovely, luscious lamb.....

After nearly succumbing to takeaway on the way home from work last night ( came home and made homemade pizza instead and dessert was sourdough banana bread from the freezer!), I decided that tonight I would have a meal hot & ready when I get home from work.

Of course, that means my trusty slowcooker is now on the bench, cooking me a lamb tagine-bless it's generous and reliable slowcooker heart! :)

The lamb is the scrag ends left after we bought a lamb a couple of months back. They were browned then tossed in the pot:

Then 2 diced onions were dry fried with some curry powder and a sprinkle of chilli flakes, before 2 cans of chopped tomatoes and a handful of dates were tossed in:

Then it is all left to simmer away until I'm ready to "plate up" tonight.

I have made mention of the fencing we have been doing for two reasons-firstly to keep next door's brat of a dog out of our orchard and secondly to keep our hens in!

Have you ever seen more beautiful fencing? ;)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Oh so orange.....

It's been a busy day here.  Late autumn as it is, it was a magnificent sunny day as we had parrots, galahs, corellas and magpies wheeling around overhead. A perfect day for some DIY fencing...105m of 900mm wire netting to be exact. Which takes around 500 netting clips-applied by yours truly. I am no longer considering a career change as a fencing poor hands! His Lordship & our son did a great job stringing wires and hammering fencing staples-all in order to keep next door's pest of a dog out so that our hens can free range through the orchard!

As well as fencing, a touch of baking has also been on the go. I sliced into one of the heritage variety pumpkins which had been harvested a few weeks ago......I have never seen a more orange pumpkin!

There was only one thing to do-make Orange Pumpkin Cake! I haven't made this cake for years and we have really enjoyed revisiting it's moist lusciousness this afternoon!

For dinner we are having fresh trout-caught by afore mentioned son and baked with orange en papillotte....mmmmmmm.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday's fridge...

It's a lean scene in the fridge this Friday!

There's leftover pasta, bacon, cheese, eggs, cream, yoghurt, sourdough starter, assorted spreads, carrots & some greenery!

Hmmm..... tonight the leftover pasta, tomorrow night Impossible Pie, Sunday Roast Chicken (chicken from the freezer & vegies from the backyard), sourdough Pancakes topped with maple syrup & whipped cream for breakfast and sourdough rolls for lunch-weekend food sorted!

I should make note here that I have done NO grocery shopping this week other than milk-we have been munching our way through the meals created from last Saturday's big dinner!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday thrift....

I haven't "cooked" a meal since Saturday.

 How does that relate to Thursday thrift? Well...on Saturday night we had 12 people here for dinner. I cooked a lasagne, french onion slowcooker chicken casserole, homemade apple pie, bread & butter pudding and tossed a large salad.

When I cooked the bolognaise sauce for the lasagna I made extra-which has since been sighted at our dining table as Chilli Beef and Fettucini Bolognaise. The chicken casserole was also resurrected-as Chicken Crumble Pie ( sourdough crumbs and cheese sprinkled over the top and baked until crispy) and Chicken Risotto.

Leftover lasagna also went down a treat!

I had spent $8-96 on the beef mince ( 2 kilos ) and $9-20 for the kilo of chicken thigh fillets-so for a grand total of $18-16 in the meat budget I have served 22 meals! Less than $1/serve for the meat component!

The other thrifty part of the whole process is the fact that other than boiling some water for the fettucini ( the risotto used up leftover rice from Saturday night) all the cooking was done in a couple of hours!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday thrift.....

Here's a way to jazz up the much maligned mainstay of broke uni students world wide- 2 minute noodles! This is a great recipe for kidlets to be involved in as well.....

Noodle Cups

2 x 85g packets of 2 minute noodles (lightly crushed or left whole-up to you)
3 cups grated vegetables ( carrot, zucchini, onion, sweet potato-whatever floats your boat!)
2 eggs-lightly beaten

1/2cup light sour cream (milk, evaporated milk or cream will work as well)
1/2 cup chopped ham ( or whatever is lurking in your fridge)
1/2 cup shredded tasty cheese.

Spray a muffin tray.

Preheat oven to 180c

Cook noodles, then drain under cold water.

Add remainning ingredients-EXCEPT cheese, mix well.

Place in muffin tins and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 30 -35mins.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Proof in the pudding....

Here is photographic evidence of how delectable and delicious Friday's cooking frenzy turned out to be!

The Fusion Beef in the slowcooker:

On the plate-please note that this is a MASSIVE serve for His Lordship!

Sourdough Banana & Struesel bread:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday's fridge....

Groceries here are usually purchased early in the week to coincide with payday; so heading into the weekend I usually have some idea of what base meals will be on offer-the decision will be how I tweak them! This morning is free for me to get organised for the weekend, so I'll be preparing as much food as I can for the weekend!

Left in my fridge this Friday are:

 lean beef sausages
 lean beef blade roast
last night's home made ricotta, plus some of the resulting whey
last night's leftovers-Filipino noodles ( AKA Pedro's noodles after friend who first made them for us!)
various condiments
asorted vegetables
yoghurt-small tub to make some more myself
tinned apricots
sourdough starter.

My plans today are to make:
Slow cooked Fusion beef ( based on a recipe spied at Veronica's Cornucopia  -except I've used crushed coriander seeds instead of sage and dolloped honey in the balsamic, poured it over the beef and set it to cook!)

Sausage casserole

Sourdough coffee cake ( also based on a recipe from Veronica's Cornucopia)

Apple pie ( harvested the Cox's Orange Pippins yesterday)

The leftover noodles will be lunches-they are amazingly cheap to make for the quantity they provide!

That's my Friday Fridge-what's in yours?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thursday thrift.....

No bright ideas here today-just good old fashioned planning! I see a lot of people these days rushing to and fro, wasting time and money because they haven't put any ( or adequate) thought into what they need to do.

We live some 20 kms from town; if I'm taking the time to go in then I want to get as much accomplished as possible to get value from the 40minute round trip-no forgetting the milk!

Planning is invaluable in the garden-you need to plan what to plant when and where....whether it's for vegetables ( to ensure you are growing them in the correct season!) or planning when you want ornamentals to put on their display! If you plant tomatoes in the middle of winter in our colder clime you are doomes to failure! Equally, you want to avoid gluts-there are only so many cabbages you can eat in a week! Staggering the planting means you can harvest over a longer period.

Even around the home, planning is imperative- if you wash the kitchen floor and then spend a couple of hours baking, chances are that the floor will need another wash! Better to plan on baking and THEN cleaning!

I like to set myself a mental challenge when I'm performing tasks around the house- I ask myself in what order can I do things to get the most accomplished in the shortest amount of time. By spending that couple of minutes planning I tend to get a lot done-and usually have a reasonably tidy home!

Any planning tips to share?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Deezy does denim.....

I've been wanting a new bag for work-something servicible, nothing pretentious and of a fabric that can be thrown in the washing machine easily.

Often when trawling the net I came across references to reusing od denim jeans-and surprisingly enough I have one or two pair which I have * ahem* outgrown! Even being on a bit of a health kick (read getting up at 6-30 every morning to walk dogs with husband and feeling smug for the remainder of the day for exercising!) I know that I will NEVER wear those babies I dragged out the trusty sewing machine, pulled out the pants and slashed at them with scissors!

Now I haven't sewn regularly since our kidlets were small (said kidlets now have children of their own) and would have to be described at best as an "impatient" seamstress......BUT my mother has taught me how to use French seams and I'm sure that she will be very proud to find out that I resurrected that knowledge.....

First, cut your crotch..of the jeans that is! Keep the legs as they will become the strap....notice the bit of bling?

Take each leg and cut down both sides of one of the side seams-these pieces will be stitched together at the raw ends giving you one long piece-turn right sides together and stitch a seam ( remember that you will need to turn the "tube" right side out-so don't make it too narrow!)

The "tube" being turned:

Then if you are feeling fancy, try a little French! For the bottom seam of the bag, keep the right sides of the fabric facing out and stich close to the edge:

Then turn the bag inside out and stitch again close to the previous seam...voila! a French seam!

Attach the strap to the bag and you are set to go! You can shape the bag to suit by adjusting how you stitch the bottom seam and the bag comes with pockets for phone, keys etc....

Thought I'd throw in a photo of the workplace supervisor!


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