This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Hello Dear Reader,

Well, that's another week down and only 17 days left of 2018, to me it's gone very quickly but as I look back I can see that I did get a lot done this year. The biggest job was sorting out my late in-laws home next door followed by building and establishing our raised garden beds. I am so glad those jobs are done and dusted and I can look forward to 2019 with a clearer mind and a lighter heart.

We have decided to start planting out the garden beds in March so the gardens will just sit idle while the green manure, which we will chop, drop and dig through shortly, can do its thing of improving the quality and structure of the soil. I will use Gardenate to guide me through what to plant out at what time. It has been a real labour of love but I think at last we are doing something right.

Now on with the frugal things-

1.  Rinsed the quinoa over a sieve and bucket to catch the water, it is amazing how much water it takes to rinse quinoa and I can't stand to see it go down the sink. I remember a sketch from Sesame Street years (and years) ago when the kids were little. It went something like "once a drop goes down the sink, it's kind of hard to drink". I save water whenever I can, there is precious little of it in our wide brown land. I went looking for it and guess what? I found the video and I've added the link here.

2. Picked another bowl full of cherry tomatoes from our vegpod, these cherry tomatoes self seeded and are growing wildly with no staking or fussing from me. I just give them some water every second day.

3. Used a splash of Miracle Spray in quarter of a bucket of hot water to wipe over the very dusty timber furniture, recently we had days of a wild westerly wind bringing in dust from out west, that dust has settle on to everything, just look at the pattern left behind when I lifted a doily.

4. Baked the left over Semolina Gnocchi "dough" with a splash of chilli infused olive oil and parmesan cheese as I can't stand to see any food wasted. These are so good, crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside.

5. Washed up the aluminium trays I use to make this Guinness Gingerbread, I made a double batch, some to take to work and some for home. I have used and re-used these trays for a couple of years now.

That's a wrap, your turn, how did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day,

Spicy Cauliflower Rice

Hello Dear Reader,

We eat a lot of rice here at Chez SHI, Lovely Hubby is of Chinese decent, although it is pretty watered down, so he grew up eating rice nearly every night. I think over the years we have evened things out a bit, eating rice about 2 or 3 times a week. I don't know how this compares to other families in Australia but it is quite normal for us.

Dietarily we can eat rice with no issue and we both love rice so I guess that is why I had never tried cauliflower as an alternative, but last Thursday I addressed that when I picked up an organic cauliflower that was marked down and finally made this Spicy Cauliflower Rice. I have to say it was wonderful, light and full of flavour it went beautifully with the Mushroom and Bean Curry I made to use up a random can of four bean mix I had in the pantry.

Ingredients for Spicy Cauliflower Rice, clockwise from centre top, 1 head of cauliflower cut into smallish florets, 2 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane or jarred alternative (this was left over from when our son and partner used to make their own meals occasionally and I was out of garlic, so jarred it was) a small bunch of coriander, finely chopped (this was frozen, I had chopped it finely and frozen it a while ago to prevent waste) 1/2 a medium onion and 2 teaspoons of turmeric 

In a Thermomix, in two batches blitz cauliflower florets, reverse direction, on speed 5, if using a food processor just pulse till rice like consistency has been reached

Rice like consistency 

Sauté onion and garlic together in a little oil till onion is translucent 

Now add the turmeric and sauté till fragrant, add the cauliflower rice and continue to cook 10 minutes of so until evenly tinted with the turmeric mixture and warmed through, stirring through the chopped coriander just before serving. 

Serve with curry of choice

One last thing, I want to share this meme with you, I think it is hilarious and so very true-

Join in, do you use cauliflower as an alternative to anything else?

Have a lovely day,

Spicy Lentils and Carrots

Hello Dear Reader,

In my pantry I have a couple of glass jars of lentils that needed using up, not that they go off (or do they?) I think that they are very shelf stable but I added them anyway to my list of things to be used up in my freezer and pantry challenge.

I adore red lentils and this is my fav way to cook with them, brown lentils, mmm, not so much, I prefer the red lentils as they cook down beautifully into a soft comforting mush whereas the brown variety holds their shape.

I thought I would use carrots as they are sweet and also hold their shape and team these two with some spice for this recipe. It is very simple but you could make it even simpler if you use a can of brown lentils instead of dried lentils.

Use what ever curry powder you have at home, I used the Special Malay Curry Mix from Gourmet Africa and it is my absolute favourite, I buy it from the Maleny IGA where they stock a lot of local produce.

Now on with this simple and really delicious recipe-

Ingredients for Spicy Lentils and Carrots, clockwise from top left-1 cup brown lentils or drained can of brown lentils, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds, 2 tablespoons or to taste of your favourite curry powder blend, 3 good sized carrots, peeled and diced, 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane, a good sized knob of ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane and 1 large onion, diced

In a large non stick heavy based frypan, sauté the onion for about 5 minutes then add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and mustard seeds. Sauté for another 5 minutes or until fragrant 

Add the diced carrots and let cook away on medium low heat to soften the carrots

Meanwhile rinse and pick over the lentils then cook them in 3 cups of water, bringing them to a gentle boil, turn heat down and with the lid off cook away for 20 minutes or so until soft and most of the water has been absorbed. Drain well, now add the soft lentils to the spicy carrot mixture along with the can of diced tomatoes and let blip away till carrots are nice and soft

Serve with steamed rice, papadums, chutney and greek or natural yoghurt

Delicious, easy and nutritious, love your lentils.

Over to you, what is your favourite brown lentil recipe?

Have a lovely day,

Upmarket Tuna Pasta Bake

Hello Dear Reader,

This is another recipe that was born out of using up bits and bobs I had in the pantry and freezer and I have to say it is probably my favourite recipe, closely followed by this Baked Semolina Gnocchi with Tomato and Oregano Sauce. My freezer and pantry challenge is still in full swing and I am loving finally seeing some room in both the freezer and pantry.

This recipe is full of pantry ingredients plus a few from the fridge/freezer and is so totally delicious and easy, I used only 160 grams of penne pasta for this recipe as that is what was left in a jar that needed using up, of course you can use more, I would suggest 250 grams and it would make this dish stretch a bit further. In saying that it was more than enough for Lovely Hubby and I for two dinners, although I did make this garlic bread on the second night just to pad it out a bit more.

Ingredients for Upmarket Tuna Bake, clockwise from top, 160 gram or more of penne pasta, 1 teaspoon each of fennel seeds, thyme leaves and oregano leaves, a large can tuna, which ever variety you have, 1 onion, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste (once I have opened a jar or tin of tomato paste I freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays) 1 teaspoon or more to taste of flaked chilli, 2 large garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, 1 1/2 cups of grated mozzarella, 2 tins of diced tomatoes and 3 anchovy fillets (you really don't taste them they just up the flavour exponentially)

Cook pasta in the usual way and set aside until needed. In a large, non stick, heavy based frypan, heat a splash of oil on medium heat and sauté the onion for about 5 to 10 minutes or until translucent. Then add the grated garlic, fennel seeds, tomato paste, chilli and anchovy fillets 

Continue to sauté on medium heat for a few more minute or until the anchovy fillets have melted into the mixture 

Now add the tins of diced tomato and turn heat to medium-low

Let bubble away until thickened and reduced 

Now add the thyme, oregano, drained can of tuna and cooked pasta, give everything a thorough but gentle mix, you don't want to break up the tuna too much

Pour and scrape into a large greased casserole dish and top with grated mozzarella and a little drizzle of olive oil to finish (easily omitted)

Bake in a 200C for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly

You know growing up we didn't eat tuna, the first time I tasted tinned tuna was at school during Home Economics where we made Tuna Mornay from the recipe book "Everyday Cookery" well I wasn't fussed on that dish and it put me off eating tuna for ages. I finally started eating tinned tuna with tartare sauce mixed through for a sandwich filling when I first met Lovely Hubby. Our son had this filling on rolls with cucumber every day of his high school life and never got tired of it. So, here's praise for the humble tin of tuna, this recipe takes it to whole other level.

Do you have fond or not so fond memories of making Tuna Mornay at school? And what is your favourite recipe using a tin of tuna?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-My Annual Flybuys Shop

Last Weeks Grocery Bargains

Hello Dear Reader,

Just a quick little post today. I hadn't been grocery bargain hunting for ages, I just didn't have the time or inclination, but last Thursday afternoon I did pop in to my local Coles and were rewarded with these three markdowns. A kilo bag of red ripe tomatoes for $1.00, a 500 gram container of sliced mushrooms for $3.00 and an organic cauliflower for $1.70. Now, I don't normally buy organic produce as the prices are usually eye watering but in this instance the marked down organic choice was a couple of dollars cheaper than the non-organic variety.

As you know I don't do the grocery shopping here at Chez SHI and can get out of touch with the cost of items but I do know for sure that fresh veggies have lept up in price in the last couple of weeks, it is probably the drought that is forcing prices up, but I also think that the supermarkets put prices up for Christmas just because they can.

This fresh produce was still in perfect condition, I have already used the mushrooms in this Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff and with the cauliflower I made Spicy Cauliflower rice to go with a Mushroom and Bean Curry last Thursday night. The tomatoes will be used up in lunch time salads this week.

I really loved this Spicy Cauliflower Rice, it is easy to make and quite delicious

Over to you, how would you have used these mark downs? And have you noticed an increase in the cost of fresh fruit and veg of late?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunny Side Up Sunday

Hello Dear Reader,

Today I am grateful for a reliable car. I guess that sounds a bit strange but stay with me. My dad was a car salesman and as such always drove a "demo" we had so many different cars over the years, both in Gympie where he worked for Hammond Ford and down here where he worked for Sun Ford at Caboolture. He won numerous awards for his salesmanship and was trustworthy and honest.  He was a good, down to earth man.

There are a few minor marks on the exterior of the car

When dad retired he bought himself a beautiful Volkswagen beetle which he just loved and kept it in immaculate condition. It was vintage but in beautiful condition with red upholstery and perfect paint work.

The inside is still perfect

I didn't learn to drive until I was 24 with 2 little babies in tow, that is when Dad started to get sick and I realised I needed my licence and could no longer be a burden on dad or lovely hubby. My first car was a monolith of a car, it was a big ford falcon wagon with no power steering, I used to drive around the shopping centres in hope of any easy park, of course there never was so I would park on the side of the road and walk a mile with the kids to do the shopping.

My second car was much smaller, a holden Barina, it was way too small for all of us to fit in it (lovely hubby is very tall with extra long legs) and it was useless on the highway, it just had no get up and go. My third car was a Nissan Pulsar it was bigger but also had no get up and go, so was useless long distances. In between the Barina and the Pulsar I was without a car for quite a few years and that is when the kids and I biked everywhere, we were fit as fiddles.

In her last few years my late MIL was unable to drive so I started driving her where she needed to go in her car, it is a lovely car with quite a bit of power behind it. We inherited her car when she passed away and now we own a Lexus, a car I could only dream about previously. For it's age it is wonderful condition and will most likely be the last car I own.

18 years old and 92,107 km on the clock

Over to you, what are you grateful for today?

One Year Ago-What we bought, spent and ate this week
Two Years Ago-This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday
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