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This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 3 April 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

My back is starting to feel better which is such a relief, I still have a few twinges now and then if I move in the wrong way, but I think it is 80% better. On another note I'm not sleeping well at all, first it was the pain in my back that kept waking me up, now it is the fact that I have run out of my bio-identical, hormone replacement therapy and it won't arrive until next week.

The compounding pharmacy I order it from has been inundated with orders and also Australia Post are super busy with everyone ordering products online. That will teach me to wait until I was just about out of my troches before ordering more.

Oh and one more thing, my hairdresser has decided to close her shop for the "next little while" I know, a hairdressing service is really not that important compared to other services but in the "next little while" combined with not sleeping, I will look like a zombie Yeti, no, it's true! My hair grows out and up...not down!!!

Right, Pity party is over, let me tell you how I saved money this week-

1. Soaked some limp lettuce in iced water to bring it back to life and give it some crunch.

2. Used a pastry brush to get the last of the Garam Marsala out of the TM bowl 

3 jars of golden Garam Marsala, here is the recipe I use

3. Made some Naan bread ( using a new recipe) to go with dinner one night to stretch it out. I will post the recipe if you like.

4. Made a couple of meat free recipes this week, I made a Roasted Sweet Potato Dhal and last night I made a Cheesy Macaroni Bake with Basil Pesto, Artichokes and Olives (definitely going to post the recipe for that one) 

Roasted Sweet Potato Dhal

A sneaky peek of the Cheesy Macaroni Bake with Basil Pesto, Artichokes and Olives (before it's cooked to golden oozy goodness)

5. Cleaned out the fridge and did an inventory of what need to be used up. A messy fridge will hide all kinds of neglected food if you're not careful

Your turn, how did you save money, time or food this week?

Have a lovely day, 

One Year Ago-No Blog Post Today 
Three Years Ago-Easy Banana Bread, Take 3
Four Years Ago-My Thai Sauce

Garam Masala Spice Blend-Thermomix Style

Thursday, 2 April 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Just a quick little in and out today. I make a jar of this Garam Masala spice blend every 12 months or so, it makes quite a large quantity so I usually give a jar to each of my kids to share the love. There is absolutely nothing like making your own spice mix, the process is very simple and so worth it.

The smell of freshly roasted and ground spice is just wonderful as the roasting process brings out all the amazing and unique aromas of each spice that is in this, old as the hills, spice blend. I use it in nearly every curry I make, veggie or meat based and it lends so much flavour.

I just had a little laugh to myself as the whole cloves bottle you see pictured below must be really old,  just look at the label! I had a look on the Masterfoods website, wow what a blast from the past, have a look, can you remember seeing some of those bottles and labels in your kitchen growing up?

Now on with the recipe-

Ingredients for Garam Marsala-Thermomix Style, from left-
15 grams of fennel seeds, 10 grams of whole cloves, 25 grams of coriander seeds, 15 grams of cinnamon quills, 10 grams whole nutmeg, 25 grams cumin seeds and 10 grams green cardamom seeds 

Add all spices to the TM bowl

Dry roast for 10 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1

Then blitz for 2 minutes/Speed 9

Let cool and decant into jars 

Simply, yummy, quick!

Have a lovely day, 

Three Years Ago-Honey Mustard Chicken 
Four Years Ago-Herbs I Grow and Use 

Wednesday Roundup

Wednesday, 1 April 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

And welcome to Wednesday already. I've had yesterday and Monday afternoon off of work due to an extremely sore back. When turning the very full compost bin on Sunday I must have pulled a muscle or dislocated something because I have never experienced back pain like it. I have to be very careful walking, turning over in bed and even sitting or my lower back goes into spasms. LH has been working his magic on my back, with some deep tissue massage, manipulation and cupping and I have been keeping the anti-inflammatory's up to me every 6 hours and paracetamol every 4 hours.  I have always looked after my back so this is very scary and I never want anything like it again.

Hopefully this little bit of mindfulness will take my mind off the pain-

On My Mind-
This is quite over the top and theatrical, but I've been thinking what if this back pain doesn't go away? What is this is my new normal? I've always been very active and haven't ever has any kind of ongoing pain. This is unchartered territory for me.

On the Breakfast Plate-
Regular readers will know that we eat the same breakfast during the week (Homemade muesli, fruit and homemade yoghurt) and change it up a bit on the weekends, last weekends breakfast was smashed avo and Danish feta on toasted homemade seeded bread topped with a perfect egg

On My Reading Pile-
It's been a long time since I last read a book, somehow over the years I just got out of the habit so this will sound really boring the only thing I read everyday is the Covid 19 updates from this offical website. Oh and I am always on the look out for new recipes to try!

On My TV-
Same as last week, just the nightly news then the TV is switched off

On the Menu This Week-
I made a Roasted Sweet Potato Dhal this week, it was so very delicious. Hands up who would like the recipe?

From the Camera-
Found this little cutie pie sitting on top of the fence near our water tank, I just love his/her little padded feet.

Looking Around the House-
I leave the sewing room door open and every time I walk past I think to myself, I wish I could get in there more and do some quilting.

Housework I'm Not Looking Forward To Today or This Week-
It is time to clean out the fridge and tidy up the pantry, both are looking messy and I don't want to overlook anything that may go to waste.

Would you like to join in? Simply cut and paste, fill in the blanks and post it in the comments.

On My Mind
On the Breakfast Plate
On My Reading Pile
On My TV
On the Menu This Week
From the Camera
Looking Around the House
Housework I'm Not Looking Forward To Today or This Week

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-One Second Everyday-March 2019
Two Years Ago-Happy Easter and some Easter Reading
Three Years Ago-Rain, At Last!
Four Years Ago-This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday, 31 March 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Today's hot tip comes from my first TM consultant, from when I bought my second hand TM from her, many years ago. Is that enough "from's" in one sentence?

Anyway, if you cook with turmeric in your Thermomix your lid will most likely end up like this-

And all you need to do to get rid of the stain is to pop the lid out in the sun for a couple of hours and this will be the result. Like it never happened!

So yesterday I tried this trick for my Dyson vacuum cleaner-WHY, I hear you ask. Well, I dropped a whole big jar of turmeric in the pantry a couple of weeks ago and after using the vacuum to clean up the mess, this is the result-

Did it work?

I think it's a slight improvement! 

Have a lovely day,

Three Years Ago-A New Beginning 

Easy and Delicious Chickpea Curry-Thermomix Style

Monday, 30 March 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

There must be thousands of different kinds of chickpea curries, I'm sure all of them are delicious but making this one in the TM makes it super quick and easy as well. It is ready in about 30 minutes and when accompanied with all the usual things curries like to seen out with, such as steamed rice, chutney, yoghurt, papadums and finely sliced green chilli, makes for a totally yummy dinner.

I buy my chickpeas in bulk from Simply Good and cook them all at once in the slow cooker, then portion them up into 250 gram lots and freeze them down until needed. Using this method I find you end up with a lovely plump and soft, but not too mushy chickpea. The 250 grams equates to a drained 400 gram can of chickpeas.

I love that this recipe doesn't have too many ingredients, just everyday spices and pantry staples and you have a divinely golden red-yellow hued curry with so much flavour and a wonderful texture. With minimal cooking time, you end up with a great combination of a soft, almost creamy sauce dotted with smaller pieces of chickpeas. You can please yourself how much chilli you add or you could completely omit it if cooking for young ones in your family, there would still be so much flavour without the heat.

I have cooked this chickpea curry twice in two weeks, it's that good. Easy, quick and totally delicious! Make it today.

Ingredients for Easy and Delicious Chickpea Curry, clockwise from left-500 grams of cooked chickpea or 2 x 400 gram cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, 1 teaspoon or more or dried chilli flakes (easily omitted) 1 can of diced tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 10 grams of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 1/2 teaspoons Garam Marsala, 50 grams of sultanas, 2 good sized knobs of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped, 2 cloves garlic, peeled and 1 red onion, peeled and quartered.

Melt 20 grams of butter with 20 grams of oil for 3 minutes/Varmoma/speed 2 then add the cumin and fennel seeds. Cook for 1 minute/Varoma/speed 1

Now add the prepared red onion, ginger and garlic 

Blitz for 5 seconds/speed 7

Next add the can of tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, coriander, turmeric, chilli and Garam Marsala 

And cook for 10 minutes/100 C/speed 2

Scrape down the sides of the TM bowl and finally add the chickpeas and sultanas and cook again for 10 minutes/100 C/speed 1

Decant into a serving bowl 

And serve with chutney, sliced green chilli, yoghurt and papadums 

Have a lovely day,

Three Years Ago-No Blog Post Today 
Four Years Ago-What we ate this week 

Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 29 March 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Today I am grateful that our bulk goods shop, Simply Good, was not only open but fully stocked with what we needed yesterday. The lovely owner welcomed us like old friends, politely pointed out the plastic gloves we were to use on the scooping hand, weighed our jars for us and let us do the rest. She did tell us that she didn't know how long the government would let us bring in our jars from home for filling with bulk items as Victoria and New South Wales has already banned their use. Hopefully that won't happen as that is the main reason I buy from there, to prevent single use plastic from coming into our home.

What are you grateful for today?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday 
Two Years Ago-Mexican Potatoes
Three Years Ago-No Blog Post Today
Four Years Ago-The Best Roast Potatoes 

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 28 March 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

As I mentioned yesterday our shopping and eating habits have not changed as yet, even with the supermarkets being wiped out of some basic groceries. The only items we couldn't buy this week was a can of borlotti beans for a new recipe I am making tomorrow and powdered milk that I use for our homemade yoghurt, I'm not going to worry yet, hopefully we will be able to pick up some other kind of pulse today at the GCFO and while we are up that way I will call into a supermarket to see if there is any powdered milk.

Can I ask, was there anything you couldn't buy this week?

We have council elections that end today, LH and I went and voted on Tuesday afternoon and were in and out in less than 5 minutes with only two, social distancing, attendants, there was probably only 5 other voters there at the time, which was very late in the afternoon, so it was easy to keep our distance. It was so wonderful not to have pamphlets thrust into your hands, I hope they learn something from this!

I will keep it short and sweet today as I have quite the day ahead of me and I've slept in this morning, here is what we bought, spent and ate this week-

What we bought

The Aldi Shop

A few items from Coles, the bottle of Eureka water soluble Eucalyptus oil is the only kind of Eucalyptus oil LH has been able to find in weeks. The Nori is for his tropical fish, they go bonkers for it!

Fruit and veg from The Northside Discount Fruit Barn, LH stocked up on sweet potato as they were only 29 cents a kilo!

What we spent 
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$17.79

What we ate

Friday-Leftovers-Butternut Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese 

Saturday-Meat Pie with Herby Mashed Potato and Nigellas Upmarket Mushy Peas 

Sunday-Fish Burgers 

Monday-LH had the rest of the meat pie and veggies and I had smashed avo on toast with the last of the smoked salmon that I had bought for our weekend breakfasts last week, plus a perfect egg. 

Tuesday-Prawn Stir Fry 

Wednesday-Tempura Whiting, steamed Basmati rice with choy sum

Thursday-Chickpea Curry, again, it is such a simple and delicious curry, I will be posting this recipe on Monday 

What was on your family table this week?

Have a lovely day,

Three Years Ago-No Blog Post Today 

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 27 March 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

It seems a bit trivial to do a post like this when the world is experiencing a pandemic but, as with my life, I will also try to keep this blog as "normal" as possible. My everyday life, so far, hasn't been affected, I still go to work everyday, I still make bread, yoghurt and muesli, I still pack my lunch everyday for work and make sure all leftovers are used up in a timely manner. We still menu plan and shop only to the list, we haven't bought any extra food and so far have been able to buy what we need.

That doesn't mean that me as a person hasn't been affected, I'm stressed, worried about what might be, I'm not sleeping well and seem to have a constant headache, this may be my new normal and I'm sure that every one is feeling the same way. We all just need to roll with the punches for the next little while, be adaptable and keep a level head.

On Saturday we plan to go to Simply Good to stock up on some bulk items, this is just our normal every 4 to 6 week visit, however I have a feeling a lot of what we plan to buy will be in short supply or completely sold out. I want to buy some bread flour, nuts, rolled oats, honey, spices, laundry liquid, dish washing liquid and hand wash, we'll just have to wait and see what the have in stock. We'll also pop into the Golden Circle Factory Outlet to see what they have that may come in handy. We only buy food that we like and use and try to buy good quality food as well. Again there may not be much left in this crazy time of over buying. We will practice social distancing, hand hygiene and will not tarry in the two shops for longer than we need to be there.

How has the shopping been in your area?

Now on with how we saved money this week-

1. Caught the warm up water in the shower to keep the figs out the front hydrated.

2. Made a wonderful soup out of a lack lustre butternut pumpkin, I roasted it along with some sweet potato to make this soup. We had it for lunch on Saturday, gave a big bowl of it along with some freshly made bread rolls to our daughter and her fiancรฉ and had the rest for a couple of my work lunches with buttered toast.

3. Line dried the washing.

4. Menu planned and bought only to the list, at the moment we are eating one meat based dish a week, with fish, prawns and pulse based meals making up the rest.

5. Watered the garden using our tank water.

Your turn, how did you save money during this unique and somewhat stressful time?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Thick and Creamy Vanilla Yoghurt in the Thermomix
Two Years Ago-Chads Bread with a Twist 
Three Years Ago-No Blog Post Today
Four Years Ago-Setting the Table

What's Happening in the Garden-March 2020

Thursday, 26 March 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Not a lot is happening in the garden at the moment as the pumpkin vines are still going strong and in the last few weeks they have set another 4 baby pumpkins that are growing rapidly. I was going to cut off the 6 existing big pumpkins in a couple of weeks time but now, with some baby pumpkins needing to get to a bigger size first, I may not be able to pull out the vines till May. Next year we will only plant one pumpkin vine as two vines were too much for the space we have. Another gardening lesson learnt.

With the lovely rain we had recently the citrus trees are doing well, but I do need to get on top of the leaf curl, as gardeners will know you need to be constantly looking and checking your fruit trees for any signs of bugs or disease. Unfortunately I have left it a bit too long and now the leaf curl has taken over again.

With the citrus out the front I have purposely picked off any of the fruit that tried to set this growing season, as the trees are only young I want all the energy to go into growing big and strong before attempting for grow fruit. As hard as it will be I may even do it next year to ensure healthy mature fruit trees that are abundant.

On the plus side I have finally conquered the dreadful Cuban Laurel Thrip that had been infecting our Moreton Bay Fig Trees. When we got back from camping in February the infection was so bad that we decided to cut the figs back dramatically to try and eliminate this pest. Well, it finally worked, there are still a few and I'm only picking off a couple every week or so.

Here is some more photos of our garden in March-

Our Eureka Lemons are huge this year 

My favourite-Lemon Myrtle or Backhousia citriodora 

The sweet potatoes are doing well in the raised garden bed out the back 

Our "grown from seed" avocado tree, I don't know if it will ever bear fruit but hey it was a fun and free experiment 

One of the mature pumpkins almost ready to pick 

One new pumpkin on the left and one mature pumpkin on the right 

Lots of limes on the lime tree, the variety is Tahitian Lime 

What's growing in your garden at the moment?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-That Time I bought Fresh Yeast, Chipotle Chillies and Bottled Water 
Two Years Ago-Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake
Three Years Ago-No Blog Post Today
Four Years Ago-My Easter Menu