Thursday, 17 August 2017

Here and Now 4

Hello Dear Reader,

It was so lovely to catch up with all my favourite blogs, that I missed, while I was away. I spent some time yesterday morning reading what everyone has been up to. I loved reading that Brandy's daughter Winter, from "The Prudent Homemaker" has been doing some beautiful sewing, that Morag from "Our Permaculture Life" is writing a book, that Rhonda from "Down to Earth" is still giving wonderful sage advice, that Meg from "A Hopeful Nature" has been baking some yummy slices, that Kylie from "Home is my Haven" has been making another delicious winter warming soup and that Sarah from "Say Little Hen" has posted her "Here and Now"for this month.

It seems to come around very quickly, doesn't? I have been joining in on Sarah's "Here and Now" theme for the last 3 months and I find it interesting to see what is going on inside your head when asked these simple questions. I never have to think more than a few seconds about the answers, which, I guess, is the whole idea.

I think this months "Here and Now" will be a little different because I am still on holidays and my mind is free and calm. Here goes.

Loving//Being at Home after being away for 2 weeks

Eating//Simple homemade food

Drinking//Cups and cups of my favourite Liquorice tea. I so missed it while I was away

Feeling//Still a little out of whack but content and happy

Making//Hay while the sun shines-I mean-getting all the washing dried on the line, to date I have done 10 loads of washing since arriving home on Tuesday morning. I ran out of pegs and room on the line

Thinking//How wonderful it is to sleep in my own bed

Dreaming//Of a time when I don't need to go back to work, ever

So that's a wrap of what is happening in my life, here and now.

Have a lovely day.

One Year Ago-What we bought, spent and ate this week

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Hello Hello

Hello Dear Reader,

Well, it's all over, our holiday of a lifetime was amazingly beautiful, exhausting some days, very restful others, historically fascinating, with mind blowing nature, up close and truly magnificent food, that we will never forget. I knew we were going to Alaska but I don't think I had any idea what to expect, of course I had read our itinerary and where we were going, but until you actually arrive in such remote places you don't appreciate the struggles of living in such isolation and the sheer beauty of such places. I tried really hard to capture the enormity of the mountains and glaciers but there was just no way to do that. They are so huge! With a few photos I zoomed right in and then right out, to try and give some scale to it all, like the two below. We booked a half day guided excursion to do a glacier walk, an hour or so outside of Copper River Wilderness lodge. The people you can see below were doing the whole day tour and went up a lot further than we did.

Over the next few days I will try to give you little snippets of our trip, I certainly don't want to bore you, I would just like to share some beautiful photos of amazing nature that we were fortunate to see along the way. I think I took hundreds of photos of ice and snow capped mountain ranges, many glaciers, trees, animals, fungi (I have a thing for beautiful mushrooms) and of course, the food.

I am sorry for the blog silence but I just couldn't justify the cost of the internet, both on board the cruise and on land, plus we were busy every day and so I just didn't have the time, thanks for sticking with me and my normal blogging schedule of posting something every day will resume. I still have a week and a bit before going back to work and there are a few things, around the house, I need to get done (skirting boards, I am looking at you) but other than that I will be settling back into my frugal living routine and sharing those things with you.

We have always loved cruising and we have used Princess Cruises for most of those cruises, with a few P & O ones as well. We were not disappointed, wow what a cruise, starting in Vancouver with 3 stops in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway with 4 "at sea" days as well. The land part of the holiday took us to Kenai, Copper River and Denali Wilderness Lodges and we finished our land holiday in Fairbanks Riverside Lodge. Everyday was different but equally beautiful with plenty to do at every place we stopped. Although when we arrived in Kenai we decided to have a rest day and did absolutely nothing all day, we slept in, had a lazy late breakfast and just relaxed around the lodge and river, it was heaven and just what we needed.

Last night, I woke up at some stage and couldn't work out where I was for a while, it took me a few minutes to recognise my bedroom, but other than that one time, I slept soundly in my own bed, which was divine. There is no place like home.

Have a lovely day.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Hello Dear Reader,

I am posting an extra one today as I don't know when I will have access to a computer due to travelling. Yep, we are off on our trip today. So below is a wrap up of what we have bought, spent and ate this last week. I have been using up any perishable foods to make sure there is no waste. Our Son will be taking care of the house, our cat, Ninja and the two little fluffies, next door. He is more than capable of cooking himself dinner and I know he won't starve. 

What we bought
Shopping from Northside Discount Fruit Barn

Shopping from Coles

Shopping from Aldi

Meat from Marjax Meats, Rothwell

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$23.47
Coles-$55.35 + some extras picked up during the week (not pictured) $44.61
Marjax Meats-$64.10

TOTAL-$184.68 again, higher than I would like but we did have a family dinner of a Lamb Roast with all the trimmings and it easily fed 8 of us, with left overs for the boys lunches the next day

Saturday-Mexican Beans and an egg on toast

Sunday-Lamb Roast with Roasted Potato and Pumpkin, Cauliflower in cheese sauce, steamed Broccoli with home made gravy and mint sauce. And for dessert I made a Sticky Date Pudding. I was too busy enjoying myself with my little family, that I completely forgot to take a photo.

Monday-Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder

Tuesday-Bacon and Mushroom Carbonara with Angel Hair Pasta and steamed Broccoli

Wednesday-Panfried Pearl Perch with easy Potato Bake and Green Beans with Balsamic dressing

Thursday-Thai Yellow Chicken Curry, oh my this was so delicious, if I had another stomach I would have went back for more. This delicious curry was made by our Sons Girlfriend, it was such a blessing not to have to cook as I was still busy packing.

Friday, 28 July 2017

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Hello Dear Reader,

And, we're off! We are leaving this morning at 7.30 for the Brisbane International Airport for our flight to Canada, holy cow, I am so excited. Bags are packed and double checked, we will have breakfast soon and then shower and get ready. Our Son is taking us to the airport as he is starting work later today. Blog posts maybe sparse, but hang in there, I will try and post as often as I can. 

This week has all been about cleaning, tidying, paying bills, using food up and just generally putting things right, before we leave. We will only be gone for 2 weeks, the longest holiday we have ever had, but I don't want to worry about the house while we are gone and I also don't want to leave too much for our Son to do. He will be up to his eyeballs in work and keeping the home chugging along and the pets happy. 

This is what I managed to get done on the frugal front this week-

1. Made a spectacular Spicy Roasted Pumpkin and Roasted Capsicum soup to use up some pumpkin and 3 beautiful Red Capsicums. It was divine.

2. Made another batch of laundry liquid using this recipe. It is by far my favourite recipe and so very economical. 

3. Tidied the pantry, why is that frugal. Well, now I can see what I have and I also did a bit of a stocktake to see if anything needed using up before it's used by date. I found a litre of vegetable stock that was almost out of date, that went into the soup above.



4. Mended one of the dogs winter jackets, it is quite old, but it is a really well made one. I had some strong ribbon which I doubled over, stitched and then sewed it onto the jacket as an anchor point for the strap that goes under Pippa's belly, like a horses blanket. It will see her out this winter and I will buy her a new one for next winter

5. Froze the rest of a large bottle of tomato paste in ice cube trays. I bought these large ice cube trays from Kmart, each one of the square sections holds 1/2 a cup, an ideal recipes size. They are silicon so the blocks of tomato paste just popped out. Love no waste!

So, that was my week of frugal, I would love to know what your frugal achievements were this week.

Have a lovely Friday

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Where I Live

Hello Dear Reader,

I spend most of my days between home and work, not seeing much else for weeks or months on end, which is such a shame, when I live in a beautiful place like Redcliffe. Redcliffe is about a half hour drive from Brisbane, Queensland's capital city. We love it, it still has that small, beach side feel and anywhere you live, is not far from a beach. Redcliffe is a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides and is just spectacular at this time of year. The seas are flat and tranquil as far as the eye can see and there are loads of people out and about enjoying the sunshine.

I really must make an effort and get down to the beach more often, it lifts my spirits like nothing else can and I always come away recharged and de-stressed. I took these photos on Monday and Tuesday, while we were running some errands and going to very boring (read tax agent) appointments. We are so very lucky to have some very old and huge trees all along the beach front, mainly Norfolk Pines and Moreton Bay Fig trees, with many natives as well.

We have a whole park that was built around very old and gnarled Cotten Tree's, in fact that is what the park is called, Cotten Tree Park. The trees are just wonderful for kids to climb, my kids loved it when they were young. It is always full of families celebrating birthdays and family get togethers.

Yesterday I had to run an errand down the other end of the peninsula, along Margate beach, again I was greeted by beautiful blue water and gleaming sunshine, the warmth of the sun on my back was glorious and again I wondered why on earth don't I get down here more often. It is maybe a 10 minute drive to Margate beach and is where lovely Hubby and son have their business. This is the view from their clinic.

And lastly, this is the walk I do with the dogs of a weekend but as I am on holidays at the moment the little fluffies have been enjoying this longer walk everyday. On Sunday we had a family dinner and my little Grandnieces always love to take the dogs for a walk, the afternoon was still warm and it was just lovely. My darling sister bought her little dog down for a ride as well, she has a little Bichon Frise called Remy, he hates being left at home. 

My darling Sister, Niece and one of my Grandnieces, the other little one was too busy walking one of the dogs to stop, apparently😉

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin and Roasted Capsicum Soup

Hello Dear Reader,

We only have 2 more days until we leave for our Canadian/Alaskan trip, so I am in the process of making sure all perishable foods are used up. Last Saturday we did a smallish grocery shop, only buying what we would need for the week ahead plus a few specials on pantry items. As most readers would know by now, I hate waste of any sort and try to use everything up in a timely manner. I also don't stockpile or buy more than what I can use in a week, this reduced the chance of waste, dramatically. The reasons I don't stockpile or buy in bulk can be read here. It is a system that works for us, it's not for everyone as everyones circumstances are different.

Any way, that is a long way of saying, holy cow, this is an amazing soup. I had 3 beautiful red capsicums and some pumpkin that needed using up before we go away, so I thought a nice soup could be made using these lovely ingredients. I added chilli flakes, cumin, a red onion and some garlic for extra flavour and I used a litre of vegetable stock that I already had in the pantry, from a while ago. Simple, everyday ingredients turned this vegetable soup into a deliciously sweet, spicy and deeply flavoured soup. I also roasted all the veggies to boost the flavours tremendously.

Ingredients for Spicy Roasted Pumpkin and Roasted Capsicum Soup. clockwise from top right-
1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 500 grams of pumpkin, cut into chunks, 1 red onion, quartered, 2 garlic cloves, peeled, 500 grams of red capsicum, de-seeded and quartered, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 litre of vegetable stock and 2 tablespoons of oil, a small handful of coriander, chopped and a 1/4 cup of cream (not pictured)

Preheat oven to 200 C and prepare an oven tray with non stick paper. Throw all the ingredients into a bowl, sprinkle over the spices and 2 tablespoons of oil (I use rice bran oil for everything)

Toss to coat in oil and spice mix

Spread out spicy veggies in a single layer, onto the prepared oven tray

Bake for 30 minutes at 200 C or until soft and well roasted

Put roasted veggies into a large saucepan, pour over the veggie stock, bring to a gentle boil, pop a lid on, turn heat down to low and let bubble away for 20 minutes 

Blitz until smooth and silky. If you wish, you could freeze the soup at this point

Then add the 1/4 cup of cream and blitz again

Sprinkle over chopped coriander or herb of choice. Chives or parsley would work well also

We had this soup for lunch yesterday, with toast and butter, and it will be eaten for delicious warming lunches over the next day or so, just perfect for a cold winters day.

Do you make a "whatever is in the crisper draw, soup" what has been your favourite?