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What we spent and ate this fortnight

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

This is a bigger post than usual, as it spans two weeks, one week of that was away camping at Noosa North Shore. We always seem to have the same menu when camping, easy food that is also delicious. I make a batch of my rissole mix to take up with us, that will feed us for two nights, we usually have two meals of sausages, if we catch a bream or two they go into a very easy Thai Coconut Sauce and I serve it with steamed rice and lastly we have a can of Baked Beans with Steamed potatoes and sour cream. Although the Baked Bean meal didn't happen this time as I was able to bring up two serves of frozen leftover Beef Curry and I steamed some rice to have with it. We had this on the first night for a quick and easy meal after setting up camp that day. I also make up a big container of dry-slaw and just add mayo one the night we are having it. My dry-slaw is finely sliced red cabbage, carrot, celery and spring onion, totally easy and delicious.

Also you may notice I haven't included a weekly grocery photo, I have been having issues with my phone and I accidentally deleted the photo before it was downloaded.

What we spent
ALDI-$65.40 + extra shopping on Sunday $116.91(top up, after camping, to see us through until Wednesday, which is our normal grocery shopping day)
Coles-$71.55 + extra shopping on Sunday $13.62
Total for the Fortnight-$267.48

What we ate
First week, Wednesday-Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Frittata with steamed Broccolini 

Thursday-Chickpea and Chorizo Pot Pies with Green Beans, Tomatoes and Bacon 

Friday and Saturday-Pan Fried Fish with My Thai Sauce, Steamed Basmati Rice and Asian Greens

First camping night, Sunday-Leftover Beef Massaman Curry, steamed rice and chutney

Monday and Wednesday-Beef Rissoles with Coleslaw and Steamed Potato and home made Ricotta

Tuesday and Friday-Sausages with Coleslaw, Steamed Potato and home made Ricotta

Thursday-Bream in a Thai Coconut sauce and steamed rice, I also added some of the dry-slaw mix to this dish, it is always so delicious, unfortunately I forgot to take a photo, sorry.

Saturday (home from camping)-I pushed the easy button and bought a BBQ chicken, our son had bought some ready made potato salad and coleslaw during the week we were away, so we used some of these to have with the chicken. It was a lovely easy dinner, I was totally exhausted after packing up the camp, getting home and catching up with everything at home

Second Week, Sunday-Curried Mince, steamed rice, papadums, chutney and yoghurt

Monday-Brined Pork Chops with big tossed salad

Tuesday-Chicken and Pesto Pasta with steamed asparagus

So, that was the eats in our home, what was on your family table this week? 

My Plastic Replacement for November

Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Hello Dear Reader,

I am going to count this plastic replacement for this month even though we have had these items for about 2 years. We used them while we were away camping this past week at Noosa North Shore. They are an alternative to plastic plates, bowls and cups. I found them at Anaconda and I remember them being on a very good special at the time.

The brand is Eco-Soul Life and are designed to be robust, lightweight as well as bio-degradable. EcoSoulLife products are a range of sustainable tableware that tries to reduce our over-reliance on plastic products. They are made from natural materials and without the toxic by-products of traditional camping plates or single use plastic plates. Because they are made from natural materials they will decompose when buried or composted.

My quest to reduce or remove single use plastics in my life continues and after seeing all the plastic debris washed up on my beloved beach, it has given me more inspiration to keep it up.

I started this quest when I read about Plastic Free July, from "The Rogue Ginger" Blog and also on "Our Permaculture Life" blog. Food for thought.

Did you know that takeaway coffee cups are not recyclable? Just another scourge that is littering the world, next time you are out for coffee, bring your own mug and start a revolution. 

What our camping days look like

Monday, 28 November 2016
Hello Dear Reader,

This is what a typical day looks like when we are away camping at Noosa North Shore Beach Camp. We both love beach fishing and target Whiting as it is possibly the best eating fish in the sea, so really the whole day is planned around tide and location. Lovely Hubby and I have collected some great camping gear over the years and have invested in quality items that are made to last, I don't think there is another thing we need for camping and will happily go camping when we can, for the rest of my days or for as long as our bodies are able. Camping is fun but hard work.

Our day starts off very early as there is so much bird life and as soon as they start their early morning squawking/serenades, I am awake. I get changed and I amble over to the amenities block using this time to also wash my face and tame my hair. Once back at camp we pop the kettle on and make breakfast. We always have Weetbix and honey for breakfast, when camping, as it is easy to carry, are filling and nutritious. This time we had them topped with magnificent mangoes that are in season now. This good brekky keeps us going until morning tea time.

After brekky, we make lunch and fill a thermos for tea while on the beach, clean up the kitchen, make the bed, teeth are cleaned, sunscreen is applied to our faces, legs and feet and our 50+ sun protection gear is put on. We both have long sleeved tops and legionnaire type hats that we wear while on the beach. I just love this 50 + sun protection gear so much, they are incredible light weight and breathable and you never need to worry about getting burnt by the sun. We then pile into the truck and head to the beach. The beach track is only a little way from the camp ground so we are on the beach by 7 most mornings. And so begins a day on the beach looking for signs of fish life, the phrases "melon holes" and "gutters"are mentioned throughout the day as well as "wind direction" and "tide times". These all have a bearing on how stealthy you have to be to catch a fish.

 Lovely Hubby has the patience of a saint, I don't, however, and if the fish aren't biting, I go off for a wander on the beach. I walk the high and low tide marks looking for shells and this last time saw me collecting plastic bottles and debris as well as glass bottles. Every time we drove up the beach looking for a better fishing spot, I would do the same, see if the fish are active, if not I was off for a walk. I must do heaps of miles, walking on the beach, but I just love it. Sometimes I will slosh around in the crashing waves and other time I will walk the high and dry, powdery white sand. 

My stomach always lets me know when it is morning tea and lunch time. Morning tea is just a Nut Bar and a cup of tea and lunch is a wrap with tuna and coleslaw and sometimes leftovers from the night before. We carry a good esky in the truck and use a frozen water bottle in it to keep things super cool. We bring 2 water bottles with us so while one is being re-frozen in the freezer section of our camp fridge the other frozen one is keeping things cool in the esky.

We head back to camp at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, of course depending on whether the fish are biting or not. We then unpack the truck, take out the lunch containers and head for the showers. I tell you, there isn't a shower like it in the world. Even though it is timed, 2 minute shower and it uses bore water, you end up feeling like you have been to the best beauty spa. Every part of your body feels refreshed and clean, I just love it. 

Back at camp I start on an early dinner, I put on either rice or potatoes to cook and make up the coleslaw. I make a dry-slaw at home and put into a sealed container. I then just take out what is needed for that night and mix through some mayonnaise and Voila, the best tasting, fresh coleslaw. I find making and taking this dry-slaw mix so convenient and versatile. Great with BBQ dinners and on wraps for lunches as well as going in my Thai fish curry (without the mayo of course) I just finely chop 1/4 to 1/2 a red cabbage, 1 to 2 carrots, 4 celery sticks and 2 spring onions. Mix it all together and seal it in a container. It stays perfectly fresh for the whole week. 

After dinner we clean up the kitchen and read for while before heading for bed by 7.30. It is just bliss.   Simple living at its best. No shops, no maddening crowd, no TV, just spending a thoroughly lovely day with the man I love, at the place I love the most in the whole wide world. 

So, over to you, any avid campers out there? Where do you love to go?

Beautiful One Day, Perfect The Next

Sunday, 27 November 2016
Hello Dear Reader,

Sorry for not being able to post for the last few days, Blogger decided to change its format while I was away camping and the old laptop I was using didn't like the change. I am not very tech savvy and am yet to work out how to blog from my phone, I can't seem to import the photos from my phone onto the blog post. Never mind, I am back into the swing of it now that I am home.

I love camping, I love everything about it, from sleeping in a tent to eating "camp" style food and having a 2 minute $1.00 shower in the amenities block. The water at the amenities block is bore water and it leaves your hair so super soft. There is no where else, that I relax as much as I do, as when we camp. This past week we have been camping at Noosa North Shore Camping Grounds. It is right on the beach, but in a bushland setting. It takes us about 1 1/2 hours to drive there and approximately 2 hours to set up our camp.

We don't rough it, I am passed that, I need comfort and practicality when we camp. We have a fantastic tent which almost erects itself and it sits underneath a very large gazebo, we then run walls, as needed, around it, which attach to the gazebo giving us all weather protection. I have to admit that putting up this huge gazebo takes us the most time and energy. But once it's up, it is wonderful. It keeps the tent nice and cool and gives us plenty of "kitchen" and "lounge" area. We don't spend a lot of time there really, as we are on the beach all day looking for fish.

We have a good vehicle for driving on the beach and lovely hubby has got the packing down to a fine art, everything fits beautifully in the back of his Nissan Patrol.  I always say it's like a big game of tetras.

He has a very good vehicle but he also has 30 years experience of driving on the beach, it can be treacherous if you don't know what you are doing. There have been many a time when he has saved a bogged 4WD by snatching it out, it is sometimes bad luck on behalf of the other driver/vehicle, but unfortunately some people think that once you have a 4WD, you can drive anywhere and in any condition! That is certainly not the case.

 When we were fishing on the Rainbow Beach side on Wednesday, we saw a ute, drive straight into the water, trying to drive across what appeared to be shallow water. That was most definitely not the case and the vehicle sunk. Everyone in the ute was okay and there was absolutely no way anyone would jeopardise their own vehicle to save another one in so much water. We went back over to that side on Friday and there was no sign of it, lovely hubby said the sand would have just sucked it up! I have no photos of this event as I was too dumb struck to reach for the camera.

My favourite thing to do, in the world, is walk on the beach, especially this beach, I love its squeaky white sand and blue water and the constant roaring of the waves. Over the years I have collected the most amazing shells from this beach, but the last 2 times we have been I have only found a few keepers. I keep saying that one day Mother Nature will come knocking on my door asking for all her shells back. I have always been obsessed with perfect shells and have collected them from when I was very young. The photo below is of one such haul of perfect shells, collected over one week in November 2012. I have them displayed throughout the house.

Now, on to another, not so nice, topic. Rubbish! namely plastic and glass. I know in my heart that rubbish has always been a part of this beautiful beach, and I have always seen it there on this beach, but it never really bothered me, before. The scourge of the plastic water bottle epidemic and the use of plastic in our lives is so evident in the debris that is washed up or thrown out along this glorious beach. As there were no shells to be found, I, instead, picked up rubbish, over the week I filled two bags of plastic rubbish and countless glass bottles of all sizes and shapes. This pollution fills me with dread for the future of our oceans and beaches. Not to mention the tiny pieces of plastic now being found in the gut of fish and sea birds.

I know what I did, over the week, to clean up the plastic and glass from this beach, in the end, means nothing. You could clean up and collect bags of rubbish every day/week/month/year but until we, as keepers of this earth, stop littering there will always be this scourge that is diminishing the natural beauty of this beach. We had a local identity years ago who was a fishing/boating and weather reporter, he always finished his segment with this quote "Don't destroy what you came to enjoy" I find this quote so very true. 

There is so much wildlife in this National Park and it is so lovely to see them thriving in this protected environment. Over the week we saw many Kangaroos, Rainbow Lorikeets, Black Cockatoos, Galahs, Pipi Birds and Sand Pipers 

I will end this post with a photo of a mystery creature. I saw what I thought was another small blue bottle and as it was the brightest blue, it must have caught my eye. It is very small, about 2 cm wide by 3 cm long. It was such an unusual "thing". I thought it, what ever "it" was, was dead. As I held it in my palm, upside down, I could see its little heart beating and then lifted its head and then turned itself over! I was amazed. Its body was very soft and the brightest shades of blue I had ever seen. Does anyone reading know what this could have been? It is really quite beautiful, sorry it's not a very clear photo, but you can see it has a body, head and I guess what are "flippers/tentacles" and a tail. 

So, tell me, what is your "Beautiful one day and Perfect the next" place?

Our most favourite place in the world

Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Hello Dear Reader,

Welcome to my most favourite place in the world, Noosa North Shore.

This place has a very special place in my heart, my darling Mum and Dad would bring us here from Gympie, for day trips, fishing and swimming. I can vividly remember the squeaky white sand and the sparkling blue, blue water, it brings me so much contentment and simple joy. Mum would pack us a great lunch, all the buckets and spades and our most loved beach towels and togs. The smells, sights and sounds of the beach touch me bone deep and I feel a special connection to this part of the world. We camp on an unpowered site as we have solar panels that keep everything humming along nicely. We have a camp fridge/freezer that is so wonderful to have, keeping all of our provisions super cold as well as being able to freeze down any fish we catch.

Not that we have had much luck with fish so far, lovely hubby has only caught 8 fish, 6 Whiting and 2 Bream, but we have until Friday for our luck to change. The above photo is of the hugest blue bottle I have ever seen! It would give you a nasty sting if it got wrapped around you. I will leave you with some more photos of our camping week at Noosa North Shore. Enjoy.

Have a wonderful day, see you tomorrow.

My Best Guacamole

Tuesday, 22 November 2016
Hello Dear Reader,

As you probably know by now, nothing is ever wasted in our home, especially fruit and veggies. I will do almost anything to prevent waste of fresh produce as I understand how hard it is to grow really beautiful fruit and veggies and how much water it takes for them to reach their full potential. I had bought 3 rock-hudson-hard avocados from ALDI last Thursday and as I love to have an egg on avocado and vegemite toast for breakfast on the weekends I put the avo's in a brown paper bag with a ripe banana to see if I could ripen one up for the weekend breakfasts.

I managed to get one ripe-ish for Sunday breakfast, but it unfortunately had some brown marks through it, it tasted fine, it just didn't look gorgeous. With the other two, I checked them again on Tuesday afternoon, and they had gone a bit too far, they were very soft and also had some brown marks through them. Only one thing for them-a great Guacamole! That fixed them right up.


2 ripe avocados
1 very ripe medium tomato, diced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 teaspoon crushed chilli
A small handful of coriander, chopped finely
Salt and Pepper to taste


Mash the avocados with the lime juice and salt and pepper
Add all other ingredients and mix well

The lime juice will keep the avocado looking gorgeously green. I had mine with some brown rice crackers for lunch.

So, tell me, how do save, almost passed it, fruit and veggies?

My Best Beef Rissoles

Monday, 21 November 2016

Hello Dear Reader,

I got this recipe from a friend, years ago, he had brought them along to a BBQ we had and everyone just loved them. I think it's the sweet/savoury flavour of the ABC sauce that wins everyone over. I make this beef rissole mix every time we go camping, to have for one of our dinners, they are also divine on a bread roll or wrap, with BBQ sauce and sliced tomato, the next day for lunch. It must be the salt air that makes me really hungry and everything tastes better at the beach.

I mix a batch of these rissoles and freeze it down into a small flat tupperware container, then when we are camping I simply defrost the mix and roll them into rissoles as I put them on the BBQ. Easy and delicious.

Ingredients for Best Beef Rissoles, from top right-
2 spring onions, sliced finely or 1 brown onion, diced finely, 2 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane, 1 egg, 1 carrot, peeled and grated, 500 grams lean beef mince, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup chutney or 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1/3 cup ABC sauce, salt and pepper to taste 

Add all ingredients to a large bowl 

Using wet hands, give everything a really good mix 

Put into a container and freeze until needed or use straight away

So, tell me, what is your favourite camping recipe?