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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 18 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

How's your morning so far? Mine has been okay, I had a little sleep in this morning after being awake a lot during the night due to a rolling storm with thunder, lightening and lots and lots of soaking rain! I will have to wait until LH wakes up to find out how much rain we have received and will update this post later if you want to pop back later, I feel it will be a substantial amount (updated at 8.14am, we received 88 ml of soaking rain) I've fed our little black cat Ninja and she's currently keeping me company in the office, I unpacked the dishwasher, took the eggs and butter out of the fridge and the english muffins out of the freezer, in preparation for breakfast a bit later. After I finish this post and pop it up, I'll put on a load of washing, take the little woofs for their morning walk (with a rain coat and wellingtons) and once back home, they'll have their breakfast of sardines. They share a can of sardines every second morning, alternating with some steamed rice on the next morning, they are so used to this routine now, I think they really look forward to it.

Today I have a little something to look forward to, for Christmas last year the kids gave me a gift voucher from a beauty salon, I used half of it a few weeks ago for a pedicure and today I'll use the rest of it for a facial. I would never do this type of thing for myself, so it is real treat. Before I leave though I have all the usual weekend jobs to do, I need to do a quick vacuum including the lounges and door tracks, finish the washing, there are two loads today and there will be another one tomorrow for the towels.

I am trying out a couple of new recipes for dinner tonight including a wonderful Quinoa Salad with black beans, mango and red capsicum, so I'll pre-cook the Quinoa in the Thermomix and allow it to cool so it will be ready to assemble the salad this afternoon when I get home. I'll also make the filling for a Chicken, Leek and Corn Pie using some leeks from our garden, that should be delicious.

Other things on the list for today are, brush Ninja, she just loves it and you wouldn't believe how much hair comes off of her, spray the figs for an infestation they have at the moment, more on that next week, steam a large sweet potato for the little woofs, I add a few cubes of soft sweet potato to the dogs dinner each night, make a small batch of cashew milk, bake a tray of muesli and that should fill out the day.

Now on with the food-

What we bought

The Aldi Shop

A few items from Coles, I use 100 grams of that yoghurt as my starter for my yoghurt when it has run out of oomph!

Fruit and veg from the Northside Discount Fruit Barn 

What we spent
Aldi-$68.16
Coles-$15.30
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$23.38

TOTAL-$106.84-not too bad
What we ate


Saturday-Prawn and Lettuce Rolls with Avocado and Seafood Sauce 

Sunday-Ham with Apples and Maple Syrup, Herby Mashed Potato and home grown Perennial Spinach

Monday-Simple Fish Curry (recipe will be up on my blog on Monday)

Tuesday and Wednesday-Easy Lasagna with the addition of a jar of Marinated Artichokes and a jar of Roasted Capsicum 

Thursday-Pork Stroganoff using up frozen Roast Pork from Christmas Day (frozen obviously), it is a great little recipe and I will also be posting this one next week.

Join in, what are you up to today?

Have a lovely day,
💗Fi

Four Years Ago-Home Made Toasted Muesli

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 17 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Friday morning fridge

I've been a bit slack this week, regarding riding my bike to work, everyday we were expecting rain, which did occur, but I could have easily road to work without getting wet. We did receive some rain on Wednesday morning (about 1&1/2 ml) and it rained on Wednesday night too (38 ml WOOT!), so that left yesterday. When I was leaving for the morning dog walk, LH said "where's your rain coat?" I didn't realise it was about to rain, so I went and popped on my rain jacket and proceeded to have a lovely walk in the rain with the little woofs! The things we do, anyway that is a long way of saying I didn't ride all week long and probably won't today...so much for one of this years goal of riding everyday!

At the moment I am busy planning the year ahead, the things we want to achieve, budgets to make and meet, short and long term goals and planning our holidays for the year. This year we have two holidays planned, one camping holiday up at Noosa North Shore in February and a cruise to Fiji at the end of July to celebrate our 33rd Wedding Anniversary. We actually arrive back from the cruise on the day of our Wedding Anniversary but it was the only cruise leaving from Brisbane that was even close to what we wanted.

We are really looking forward to camping this year as it is the first time we will be camping at our favourite place since it was closed last year for redevelopment, by the looks of the photos they have really done some great work. A camp kitchen has been installed and new amenities block with outdoor showers to have a quick rinse off when coming back off the beach has been built too. The layout of the park has been completely re-designed, where we used to camp is now off limits with new camping areas established. Lovely Hubby gave the managers a ring to see what was available and they kindly said we could take our pick of where we wanted to camp, we need sunlight for the solar panels which run the electricity in our camper trailer,  we'll have to scope out a good position so we get sunlight most of the day.

Now on with how I saved money this week-

1. Dried the washing on the line.


2. When making some mashed potatoes for dinner on Sunday I realised I had peeled and cut up way too many potatoes, so I popped them into a container and covered the diced potato with water. The potato cubes remained perfect, no discolouration or softening, just crisp cubes of potatoes ready to used up later in the week.


3. Made a batch of thick and creamy vanilla yoghurt, I had to buy a new pot of yoghurt to use as my starter, I use the Farmers Union Natural Yoghurt to start off my home made yoghurt. I buy the 200 gram pot, use 100 grams to start my yoghurt off and freeze the other 100 grams for the next batch. From there I just keep back 100 grams of the current yogurt for the next batch and so on. You know when your starter has lost its oomph!


4. Made a fabulous Fish Curry using the last of the fish from our freezer, love free protein.


5. Cleaned up some jars to add to my ever growing collection, I simply can't throw out a good glass jar. 


See, full to overflowing 

5a. Packed my lunch for work everyday, I know I post this all the time, but it really is the best starting point to save money and save food each and every week. 

Homemade Hummus with rice crackers for morning tea, home made bread with smashed avo for lunch, plus a piece of peanut brittle and for afternoon tea (I always get hungry about 3pm at work) The container at the back contains Apple Dutch Baby with butter and maple syrup, left over from Sunday lunch (I usually have a 3 day rule in which to use up food, but it was still perfectly fine)

Over to you, how did you save money or food this week?

One Year Ago-Decluttering in 2019
Four Years Ago-Here Comes the Sun

Super Quick, Tea Cake with Caramelised Apples and Whipped Cream-Thermomix Style

Thursday, 16 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Quick, haphazard photo of todays cake, using a Queensland Health tea towel as a back drop, what you can't see is that I had just knocked over my tea plunger full of peppermint tea over the table and had to mop it up quickly before taking the photo!

Two cakes in one week? What's going on here? This is another really simple Thermomix recipe that is easy and quick to make, it reminds me very much of an Apple Tea Cake that Mum used to whip up on a whim for afternoon tea. I have served the caramelised apples separately but you could indeed top the cake with the apples before baking, but on the day I made this cake I was in such a hurry and needed the cake cooked through in a timely manner (read, I was running so late for work already) so I simply served the cake with apples and whipped cream.

I used some more of my failed yoghurt that I had frozen down to prevent waste and it worked a treat in this recipe too, but any plain yoghurt would work in this recipe. I love that the actually cake batter takes less that a minute to come together but it still remains light and airy.

This is the method I use for making whipped cream, I love that I can throw the cream, vanilla essence and icing sugar in the TM and know I will always end up with pillowy, soft peaked, whipped cream. It is yet another reason I love my TM.

You probably have gathered by now that I rarely ice or decorate cakes, my solution is to either sieve over icing sugar or serve the cake with whipped cream, I know my strengths and icing a cake isn't one of them!

And on another note I have made a promise to myself to stop baking anything before work of a morning, it is just too stressful and who needs that?

Now on with this great little recipe-

Ingredients for Super Quick, Tea Cake with Caramelised Apples and Whipped Cream-Thermomix Style, clockwise from left- For the Caramelised Apples-40 grams butter, 4 large Granny Smith Apples, 80 grams brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (not pictured)

For the Cake-75 grams each of brown and white sugar, 275 gram plain flour, 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 130 grams oil of choice (I used rice bran oil) 180 grams of yoghurt (natural, greek or vanilla) zest of one lemon plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and two eggs at room temperature

Preheat oven to 170C and grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin.
Peel and slice the apples and add them to a small saucepan along with the butter and brown sugar and let cook away on medium-low heat, stirring often, until soft, take off the heat and let cool

Meanwhile add all remaining ingredients to the bowl of the TM 

And blitz for 20 seconds on speed 7, scrape down sides and repeat 

Pour and scrape into a greased and lined 20 cm, round, baking tin 

And bake at 170C for 35 to 40 minutes

There you go, another really simple and delicious cake to add to your repertoire, you're welcome. 

Have a lovely day,
💕Fi

Four Years Ago-No Blog Post Today   

Wise Words from my Late In-Laws

Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,


I have been having a bit of a sort through of recipes that I kept from when I cleared out my late In-Laws home next door. My late MIL was always writing down ideas for recipes or actual recipes in her lovely hand writing on bits of paper and little diaries (for this purpose only and not actually used as a personal diary) I had kept them so one day have a good look through them to see if there were any hidden gems of recipes amongst them.


So, starting on New Years Day, I started to sort through all the bits and pieces and I did indeed find some wonderful recipes which I will try out soon, but I also found some lovely sentimental writings that both she and my late FIL had written down over the years.

This poem was written down by my FIL in his strong, angled writing, I had to look it up to find out the name of it and who wrote it-
Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
They too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
And everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
It is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labours and aspirations,
In the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata.

And this one was in my MIL's beautiful hand writing -


Walk awhile through yesterday, which slipped away so fast
And recognise with aching heart
Today is almost past
We strive to keep with slender ties the continuity in the here and now
For herein lies our own eternity

ANON
Cheverton House
Northampton WA 1991

And these little snippets of gold were also from my MIL-

-We only love once, for, once only are we perfectly equipped for loving, and on how that first great love affair shapes itself depends on the pattern of our lives

-A Mother holds her children's hands for just a little while, but she holds their hearts forever

-A man's best friend is his dog because he wags his tail and not his tongue

It is clear that my late In-Laws were very sentimental with a love of poetry, they were born in the late 1940's and early 1950's and lived long enough to see and use all the modern advances in technology, they were both gifted business owners and extremely hard workers. They both had one foot in the yesteryear and another in the here and now, which I think is a lovely way to be, not forgetting the past but living fully for today.



Over to you, have you ever uncovered some hidden gems from your late Parents or In-Laws that gave you a unique insight into their lives?

PS. the little video was one I made for my MIL's funeral, I did wonder whether to include it as it is very personal and made me cry buckets to watch it again, but how lovely are all those old photos?

Have a lovely day,
💕Fi

One Year Ago-Apple and Cinnamon Pancakes
Two Years Ago-Apple Dutch Baby
Three Years Ago-Two New Additions to the Garden 
Four Years Ago-Excess Worm Food

Lemon Yoghurt Cake-Thermomix Style

Tuesday, 14 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,


A few weeks ago I had a bit of a failure with my homemade yogurt, over time the starter does lose its oomph and that particular batch was quite grainy and unset. Currently our favourite flavour is lemon myrtle, simply infusing about a dozen lemon myrtle leaves after the milk has been heated for the first time and it tasted just as delicious as ever, but the texture was a little off. As I hate waste of any sort I froze down the yoghurt in small jars and popped them in the freezer till I thought of what to do with it.

Enter this great little recipe. I really wanted to shine the light on the citrus flavour already humming along in the yoghurt but had no lemons at home so I decided to use my doTerra lemon oil in this recipe. You can, of course, just use the zest of one lemon instead of the doTerra essential oil. I have used doTerra essential oils for a long time now for health issues but never in cooking, when I first bought doTerra I used to attend their information evenings, that is where I learnt that as doTerra is of such high quality you can ingest them. If using a lemon essential oil please only use it if you trust it as not all essential oils are the same.

Now on with this fabulously quick and easy cake-

Ingredients for Lemon Yoghurt Cake-Thermomix Style, clockwise from top left-
120 grams of sugar, 200 grams of plain flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 120 grams of yoghurt of choice (natural, vanilla, greek) 2 drops of lemon essential oil or zest of one lemon, 3 eggs at room temperature and 80 grams of neutral flavoured oil (I use rice bran oil)

Grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin and preheat oven to 180 C. 
In the TM bowl add the sugar and lemon essential oil or lemon zest

And blitz for 10 seconds on speed 10

Add eggs and blitz again for 30 seconds, speed 5

After 30 seconds

Finally add the flour, baking powder, yoghurt and oil

And blitz for 1 minute on speed 5

Pour and scrape the silky smooth mixture into a greased and lined 20 cm round cake tin and bake for 30 minutes or until baked through. Let cool in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack 

Sprinkle with icing sugar and lemon thyme leaves for decoration, if you have it on hand.

This cake is airy and light and tastes just wonderful, make it today!

One Year Ago-Readers Photos 
Two Years Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday
Three Years Ago-Corned Beef Fritters 
Four Years Ago-Using Whey in the Garden 

Look at this Waste

Monday, 13 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,


Last Sunday, while walking the little woofs we found a shopping trolley from our local Coles supermarket full of, passed their "Best Before" bread and bakery items and there was also lots of bread rolls that had been strewn around the park as well. This was so wrong on so many levels, firstly it is obvious that Coles is throwing out perfectly good food, we found this bread on the 5th of January and the "best before" was the 4th, which means it would have been put into a bin on the 4th, why wasn't this bread donated to a food bank? Coles should hang their heads in shame.


Secondly, why take the bread only then to waste it? I know many people take food from dumpsters to feed themselves and I don't have a problem with it but to take the bread and not share it around, just to leave it there to be totally wasted, that is what I have a problem with.


I was so incensed that on the Monday morning I rang and spoke to the manager, he wasn't too interested in what I had to say and couldn't get me off the phone quick enough, he didn't even ask for my name. When we went for dog walk that afternoon the trolley and all the bread was still there, it was still there on Tuesday too, so on Tuesday afternoon after our dog walk I rode up to Coles and again asked to speak to the Manager, of course he had already left for the day. A very young man at the service desk wrote down my complaint and he didn't turn an eyebrow, again he didn't think this was such a big deal.


By Wednesday afternoon the trolley with the bread was gone but bread rolls were still strewn about the park, the birds were having a field day with all the extra food! So then I thought I would contact head office to show them the disgraceful waste that was happening at store level and this is the response I received.


Dear Fiona,

Thank you for contacting us. 

We always appreciate it when our customers take the time to offer suggestions on how we might improve our service to our customers and the community and we take this opportunity to thank you for your suggestion. 

Coles has national community partnerships with Redkite, Foodbank, SecondBite, and Guide Dogs Australia. We support these national charitable organisations with the aim of developing healthier communities throughout Australia.

In relation to fresh produce that does not meet Coles’ quality standards, Coles has a national fresh food donation program with not-for-profit food rescue organisation SecondBite. Coles Community Food with SecondBite, is committed to donating surplus healthy, fresh produce to charities around the country which provide millions of healthy meals to those in need. 

The program re-distributes fresh produce and bakery items which do not meet our in-store quality standards, but which are still safe and nutritious to eat. The food is then donated to more than 1,200 local community food programs in both metropolitan and regional communities, providing a positive health impact on the estimated 1.2 million Australians who don’t have access to a safe, regular, and affordable food supply.  In this case it appears the bread was not fit for consumption.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Kind regards,

Cody
Coles Customer Care

"Not fit for consumption" what a load of rubbish! Of course the bread by this stage was not fit for consumption but it would have been perfectly fine on the 4th! I know this is just the tip of the iceberg and that there is a dreadful culture by supermarkets of throwing out good food, but I also thought that there was some kind of legislation that meant all perishable food went to a food bank. You know I hate waste of any sort that is why seeing this has upset me so much. 



Your turn, have you every witnessed something like this? What did you do about it?

Have a lovely day,
💔Fi

One Year Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday
Four Years Ago-Free Food

Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 12 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,


Today I am grateful for a cautious husband, especially when planning on going fishing. Lovely Hubby studies the weather most intently and if there is even a slight chance of the wind getting up, he postpones the fishing trip. Which does lead to a lot of disappointment but then I would rather them not go then to expose themselves to an angry ocean.


I would rather no fish in the freezer than worrying about if they will return safely to me. Moreton Bay can be treacherous and has claimed many lives, better to be on dry land when the wind picks up. I've said it many times before the boat looks huge in our garage but it is but a tiny blip on the ocean. I call Lovely Hubby Captain Sensible!

What are you grateful for today?

Have a lovely day,
🐟Fi

One Year Ago-What we bought, spent and ate this week
Two Years Ago-This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday
Three Years Ago-Corned Beef in Ginger Beer with Parsley Sauce 
Four Years Ago-Our Daily Bread

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 11 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Sourdough Starter, it was my first post on my little blog

And hello to my fourth year of blogging, I started this blog on the 11th of January 2016 with an aim to share my simple and frugal way of living, looking back so much has changed but also, so much has remained the same. We are in a better financial situation than we were but we still stick to a budget and think about every purchase before we make it. Our focus is still on our home but now we are able to make some improvements to help to future proof it. We have built terrific raised garden beds that feed us for part of the year and have also installed more water tanks to help keep up to the higher demand for water in the garden.

Fresh Sourdough Bread

I still menu plan and only buy what we need for the week ahead, I line dry the washing and keep an eye on the lights and air-conditioning use, I make our own cleaners (except for toilet cleaner) and pack my lunch every day for work. All of these money saving ideas add up exponentially over time and they are so much a part of our lives that they happen automatically. Happy Birthday to my little blog!
Free form Rye Bread

On another note, this coming week I am going to try and up lots of things from the fridge, freezer and pantry as I feel I have too much food in the house at the moment, which I am so very grateful for but it also makes me feel quite anxious, I'm always worried I will miss something and it will go to waste. I did have to compost a small Lebanese cucumber this week and I am quite angry with myself for overlooking it, I had put it in a recycled brown paper bag in the crisper draw thinking it would be good for a while, well by the time I looked at it, the only thing it was good for was the compost.

Now on with the rest of the food-
What we bought



What we spent
Aldi-$56.21
Coles-$27.00
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$39.82
Bakers Delight-$10 for 4 giant croissants 

TOTAL-$133.03

What we ate

 Friday-Ham and Cheese Croissants

Saturday-Sausages, Sweet Potato Mash and Nigellas Upmarket Mushy Peas

Sunday-Ham and Mushroom Carbonara with Linguini

Monday and Tuesday-Prawn Stir Fry with steamed Basmati rice and Kim Chi

Wednesday-Lemon Chicken with steamed Basmati rice and home grown perennial spinach. The Lemon Chicken recipe is one I found when sorting out my recipe folder, it is one from my late MIL and one I never did taste in all the time I knew her. Every time we would make Pineapple Chicken she would mention the recipe for Lemon Chicken and how similar it was to make, well I finally got around to making it, following her sketchy instructions (like"add a little water" how much is a little water?) and LH said it was exactly the same as his Mum made. I am not 100% happy with it so I won't post it quite yet.

Thursday-Cheesy Artichoke Pasta Bake

Your turn, do you feel anxious if there is too much food in the house?

Have a lovely day,
💚Fi