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This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 30 September 2016
Hello Dear Reader,

I find a week of simple, frugal living, flies by, just as fast, as what the alternative to my lifestyle would. I think I achieve more though, as I stay at home as much as I can and don't spend time in the shops, looking for happiness. I work full time and retirement is a long way off, but I do daydream about the day I can stay at home more and work towards my dream of self sufficiency.

 I would have a large and productive veggie garden, a fruit orchard and chickens for eggs. In the kitchen I would be baking bread very early in the morning and I would be getting the housework done by morning tea time. I would then turn my attention to a quilt or such and spend some time in my sewing room. After lunch would see me in the garden, pottering, watering, weeding, planting and seeing to the chickens. I would become proficient at preserving, fermenting and jam making. All the while being healthy and staying active because of this lifestyle I have chosen.

That is the dream I am working towards, nothing flash, just a simple productive life. To me, it sounds like heaven.

So in preparation for that simple, frugal and productive future life, this is what I have been up to on the frugal front.

1. Made Sorrel soup from a home grown abundance of this lemon-y herb and home made chicken stock

2. Topped up the hand wash bottle with some unused body wash that was lurking under my daughters side of their vanity. My daughter moved out of home about 2 years ago, it's funny how there is still so much of her "stuff" here. *I use "Thank you" hand wash and hand cream, it's a wonderful idea that started with "Thank you Water" and have grown to incorporate lots of life changing products. All reasonable in price and very good quality.

*This is not a paid endorsement and the views are entirely my own.

3. Packed my lunch each day to take to work. I had a go at making my own bees wax wraps, it is a work in progress, these ones are okay, but I need to work on the ratio of wax and coconut oil. I am not 100% happy with them yet, when I am I will post about them

4. Fed the stag horns the banana peels every morning after cutting up our fruit salads for breakfast. The banana peels make excellent fertiliser for these magnificent plants. We have two of them and they are getting to be a good size now.

5. I have started to learn how to do some simple knitting from a lovely lady at work, she is just amazing at crochet and knitting and will often make her own patterns. I want to learn how to make dish washing cloths, I think it will be a good place to start for me as they are small and only require simple knitting. The one in the photo is using acrylic wool, just to learn on, but I want to make the cloths out of cotton. 

So, tell me Dear reader, are you living your dream? 

Sorrell Soup

Thursday, 29 September 2016
Hello Dear Reader,

This beautiful herb, Sorrel, found its way into my garden by default, I had bought a punnet of "French Provincial Herbs" so along with Marjoram and Thyme I planted out the Sorrel and now look at it.

I actually had tried it in three different locations, in the garden, until it was happy. I now have an abundance of this unusual herb. After googling "What to make with Sorrel" I came upon this recipe for classic Sorrel Soup. It is delicious, can be served hot or cold and just lovely with some fresh bread and butter. The original recipe called for two egg yolks however I didn't have any eggs when making this recipe. I don't think it will alter the taste so much, as the texture. I think the egg yolks that are called for in the recipe add a more luxurious mouth feel and a slightly thicker soup but I didn't miss them.

Ingredients for Sorrel Soup, from top left-4 cups chicken stock plus 2 cups water, salt and pepper, sour cream to serve, a good bunch of Sorrel(you will need 3 cups of finely chopped Sorrel), 60 grams butter plus 20 grams extra to finish soup, 2 tablespoons plain flour, 3/4 cup thickened cream 

And 1/3 cup finely chopped onion 

In a heavy based saucepan, melt the 60 grams of butter and add onion. 

(This is the pot that I saved after the charcoal chicken event, a while ago. It is still a bit black but each time it goes in the dishwasher it gets lighter.)

And sauté until transparent, don't let it colour 

Meanwhile, bring the 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of water to a gentle boil 

Chop Sorrel up finely 

Once finely chopped, measure out Sorrel, you will need 3 cups 

Add finely chopped Sorrel to sautéed onions in saucepan 

Keep stirring until the Sorrel has wilted. It will happen quite quickly and it will also lose its vibrant green colour 

Now add the plain flour and cook away on lowish heat for 5 minutes, stirring every now and then 

After 5 minutes on lowish heat 

Ladle in some hot chicken stock and give it a good stir 

Continue ladling in the chicken stock until all used and then add in the 2 cups of water, stirring the whole time 

Bring to a gentle simmer 

And add the cream 

Again, stir well to incorporate cream 

Its probably not the most attractive soup, but it is delightful

Serve with sour cream, parsley and some fresh bread and butter

So, tell me, what unusual herbs do you use? Any other suggestions for Sorrel?

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

I made a couple of bigger meals this week and were able to stretch them to make two extra meals, so my meal plan didn't go as planned, but that is totally fine with me as it meant an extra two nights where I didn't need to cook, just heat through. Excellent! The two recipes that made bigger dinners were the Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta Bake and the Beef and Red Wine Casserole with Parsley and Olive Dumplings. They are really recipes for six to eight people or in our case, three people for two dinners, Sweet!

So this is how last week went

What we bought

Shopping from Woolworths, ALDI and Nothlings Prime Meats. If you are wondering what we use the Soda Water for, lovely Hubby used it for the Tempura batter for the fish 

What we spent

Coles-extra trip on Sunday afternoon for green veggie-$4.55
Nothlings Prime Meats-$38.27
Coles-extra trip on Tuesday afternoon for green veggie and Cocoquench-$6.78

What we ate 

Wednesday-Steamed Fish with Pickled Ginger and Green Onion, Steamed Basmati Rice and Asian Greens 

Thursday-Pizza night, it's my Mother in laws treat 

Friday and Saturday-Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta Bake with Asian Greens. I know, it's a bit of weird combination, but at least it was green veg 

Sunday and Tuesday-Beef and Red Wine Casserole with Parsley and Olive Dumplings and Steamed Broccoli 

Monday-Tempura Whiting, Steamed Basmati Rice and Asparagus. The Asparagus was bought from Coles, is Australian grown and was on special for two bunches for $3.00! It was just so lovely and fresh

So, over to you, did you try anything new for dinner? What are the prices for green veg, in your part of the world?

What I did yesterday afternoon

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

I try to get a lot done of an afternoon, when I get home from work, I usually have a list that I write up early in the morning and sometimes add to it when I get home. They are all little jobs, each one taking not very much time but it does add up. I find if I keep on top of things I don't feel over whelmed or think it's all too much.

About twice a week, lovely Hubby cooks fish for dinner and all I have to do is cook the rice and the veggie to go with it, so that gives me a bit more time to get things done. Yesterday afternoon was such an afternoon and this is what I achieved in two and a half hours. Sweet.

Started making sourdough bread. I had fed the starter yesterday morning before going to work. The starter had bubbled up nicely and was well and truly ready to use by the time I got home. I let it prove overnight 

This is what the sourdough looked like this morning at 5.35am. I will continue to let it prove until I get home from work this afternoon and I will make the sourdough bread then. You can prove the sourdough for up to 24 hours, depending on the weather 

Made my lunch to take to work, today I am having a piece of fruit and spice sourdough, toasted with home made nut butter and pancakes (left over from Sunday Breakfast) with butter and maple syrup for morning tea. And for lunch I am having a cheese toastie with belino snack tomatoes and my one piece of dark chocolate 

Pulped another bumper pick of home grown passionfruit, the vine has almost finished cropping. I froze down, four more bags of passionfruit pulp, each bag holding six passionfruit 

Cut up a beautiful pineapple I bought, when I visited a friend and her family up at Glasshouse Mountain on Sunday. There is a stall out the front of a pineapple farm, just down the road from her, that sells pineapples for only 50 cents each. I will keep the pineapple top and plant it out. I know it takes ages to grow, but it's a bit of free fun 

Yesterday afternoon was bathroom cleaning arvo. So thats what I did. I cleaned the vanities, mirrors and bath with my homemade cleaners 

The second bathroom, finished, nice and clean 

It's amazing how dirty the bath gets from not using it. We all prefer a shower rather than a bath 

Cleaned the slow cooker bowl after it had been soaking overnight. I had made Beef and Red Wine Casserole with Parsley and Olive Dumplings with steamed Broccoli for dinner on Sunday 

Cut up two bunches of Asparagus to have with last night dinner. 

Walked my Mother in laws two fluffies, It's just a quick walk, about 20 minutes worth, which does them and me the world of good. We have good lighting the whole way so I feel safe

We eat next door with my Mother in law as she is unable to walk very far and its just easier for us to bring everything over to her. We finally sat down for this yummy dinner at 7.15pm. 

So, tell me, am I a bit bonkers for trying to get it all done or is this just a normal afternoon for you? 

Happiness is...

Monday, 26 September 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

I have borrowed todays post idea from Clare at "The life of Clare" blog, it does make you think, What makes me happy?

I recently wrote about my little holiday away and also about my joyful feelings of coming home. I love the feeling of being at home-relaxed, happy, satisfied, energised and motivated. I definitely do not get the same feelings when going to work, don't get me wrong, I still love my job, but, for me, nothing can compare to being at home and getting stuck in to all the jobs that I do, to make my house a home. Today I am writing about simple things, that make me happy.

On the weekend we have more time to sit and enjoy breakfast and we love either of these two special breakfasts. Homemade sourdough bread, toasted with vegemite and avocado topped with a perfect egg and sweet chilli sauce.

Or Pancakes with Bacon and Maple Syrup. We love our leisurely breakfasts on the weekend.

Hanging the washing in the sun and looking after it so I don't need to iron. I par dry the good clothes in the dryer for 5 to 10 minutes, then hang directly on coat hangers. The end result is wrinkle free clothing. I also love the smell of line dried clothes, it smells like sunshine

Converting abundance into divine passionfruit butter. I will "spend" time to avoid waste of any kind 

Dabbling in the kitchen to come up with an easy, healthy recipe, that works

Being amazed each time I make sourdough. It's just fermented flour and water, that makes it rise and gives it its unique flavour and texture. This is my fruit and spice sourdough, rising

Welcoming the early morning sun, each weekday. My alarm goes off at 4.45am and I would like to say that I bound out of bed, that is not the case and will often struggle to get up at 5am. I am always so happy I made the effort though. I get quite a lot done in the morning, it's my most productive time. I sleep in a bit on the weekends though, getting up around 6am

We enjoy eating fish about twice a week, sometimes more. The fish we eat is caught by lovely hubby and our son. The landed fish is looked after from the moment it is caught so that it retains the integrity of the flesh. Hubby freezes the fillets down into trays with a vacuum sealer to retain the freshness. The four main ways we eat fish are-pan fried, tempura, steamed and curried. As hubby catches a wide variety of fish there is a way of cooking each kind of fish to enjoy it at its best. I really look forward to our fish meals, so healthy and absolutely delicious

Every week morning I have a bowl of my home made muesli and a bowl of fruit salad and yoghurt. I love it so much, it's one of the main reasons I get up early each morning, just so I can enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading off to work 

Spending time in my sewing room. About a year ago I converted the spare bedroom into a sewing room for myself. I just love it, it means I can just turn the sewing machine off, cover it and walk away, without having to clean and put everything away. It also means I can do a little bit when I can without having to set the machine up. It's bliss.

Learning a new skill, like how to make these bees wax wraps. The top one is one that I received from Mighty Fix and usually retails for $15.50 for the medium size. The ones I made, I would estimate, cost 50 cents each to make

Happy holidays, for me, mean camping at Noosa North Shore. The photo above is of Double Island Point, a 35 minute drive along the beach from where we camp. As a child my parents would take us here for holidays and day trips. There is something about this place that speaks to my soul. The water is so clean and the sand so white, I just love it here. We fish all day, go back to camp and have a lovely dinner and go to bed with the sun, it's the perfect relaxing holiday. We try and spend one to two weeks here a year and are booked to go in November.

So, tell me, Dear Reader, what is your "Happiness is" list?